Patrick Day

The Melody of the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

I’ve talked about Tyler any number of times in this blog. He’s the young man who changed his life around after he met the Real Jesus and decided to go His way instead of his own way. He’s a Christian success story. But all stories of the men I mentor are not so positive.

Take Aaron, for example. In his own nature, he has two major problems. He’s addicted to alcohol and when drunk can be violent. I met him in the Wright County Jail before he transferred to Stillwater to finish out his time for stabbing someone when very drunk. When I met with him in the jail, he was reading the Bible daily and in Bible studies and otherwise trying his hardest to follow Jesus. But there seemed to be something missing. Wherever our conversations led us, they always seemed to go back to his girlfriend (who was married to someone else), his troubled life, and how he saw the world. He talked a good game, but I think it was all more in his head than in his heart. I see that in retrospect now, but I kept hoping he would truly stay with Jesus when he was released from jail.

That release happened six weeks ago, He had called me once or twice a week when he was in Stillwater and immediately called me when he got out. Because of the nature of his crime, he was placed on Intensive Supervised Release, sort of like being on house arrest. He chafed at the restrictions placed on him, and kept telling me how miserable he was and would be better off back in Stillwater, even though he was on 23-hour lock down there.  He had one foot in God’s world and one foot in his own world, which does not work very well for someone with his problems. After a number of phone calls back and forth, I caught him at a bus station going somewhere or another. He didn’t have time to talk then, but said he’d call back when he could. That’s the last time I heard from him. I have tried calling him several times, but he doesn’t answer his phone and has not set up a mail box so I can leave a message for him.

I can only assume that in the end, he decided to go his way instead of His way. Only God knows where Aaron is right now. If I found out he had died violently, it would not surprise me. Please pray for Aaron that he is still alive and will eventually get back to me. God hasn’t given up on him and neither have I.

Friday, March 16th, 2018

My name is Patrick, and tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. When I was growing up, on the front side of my life and part of a proud Irish family, I held this day higher than my birthday.

Now that I’m on the back side of my life, it’s not St. Patrick that I celebrate as much as the God who stood alongside him and stands alongside every man and woman who honors Him in this life.

Those who honor me I will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

A friend of Tyler’s died of an overdose of heroin two days ago. As Tyler told me, he had lost all hope that he could ever get his life back again. When I speak to inmates in jails throughout Minnesota, as I did yesterday at the Sherburne County Jail, and I mention that I have come to bring them hope, their faces light up. That’s what they need. That’s what they are desperate for. That’s the word they want to hear from me.

And where does that hope come from? What do I tell them? In the long run, their only enduring hope is in Jesus Christ, the lover of their souls. When Tyler came out of his room in a rehab center, having met the real Jesus, he told me his fears were lifted. He finally had hope, and hope changed his life.

I’m going back to the Sherburne County Jail tomorrow for three more presentations to inmates. Pray that they understand fully that I don’t bring them hope in myself. I bring them the hope of Jesus Christ as found in Scripture.

And what about you, my friends? Are you going through tough times? Is the wolf at the door? Is a job in jeopardy or a marriage coming apart? Is your health failing? You need hope too, the hope that rests only in Jesus Christ and His grace for you.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Are you going through an especially hard time right now? Do you fear what may happen to you in the months ahead?

Isaiah wrote this verse during the time the Israelites were being held captive in Babylonia and fearing the Lord may have given up on them. But their return to their home lay just around the corner.

Fear not, my friends, neither carry any anxiety in your hearts. For your deliverance is just around the corner. God has you in His hand and won’t let you drop. You can trust Him for today and for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

How can you be thankful if you are not humble, and how can you be humble if you are not patient, and how can you be patient if you are not dependent on God, and how can you be dependent unless you trust in the Lord God Almighty with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Tyler has his eyes set on bringing salvation to his old school chum Eric, who has been in and out of jail for the past year and is best friends with John Barleycorn (look that up on Google).  One night, in a drunken stupor,  Eric jumped out of a moving car, hit his head on the pavement, and was five days in a coma, three of which were spent on life support.

During that time unconscious, Eric had a vision of burning in hell, along with his family whom he could see there as well (they are still alive). He has recovered from the fall, by the grace of God, and has gone twice now with Tyler to Celebrate Recovery meetings. As Tyler, told me yesterday, Eric now knows the story of salvation and has no excuse not to surrender. And no excuse not to tell his family about Jesus Christ. “God is zeroing in on Eric,” Tyler said with a laugh; “he doesn’t have a chance.”

Tyler, the young man who had been addicted to drugs and alcohol since the age of thirteen, who accepted me as a mentor to stand alongside him, is now standing alongside Eric as his mentor. Tyler also has his eyes set on two other old schoolyard friends, Dan and Dillon, both addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they are starting to listen to him. “I guess I’m kind of a leader to these guys,” Tyler said as we ended the conversation.


Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The school shooting in Florida has become the latest incidence that divides this country of ours. And prayers are prayed to the Lord above.

On one side of the great divide, we hear this prayer: “Lord, smooth the way so that gun laws can be passed to protect the children throughout this land.”

On the other side, we hear another earnest prayer: “Please keep in place the gun laws already on the books so we can protect ourselves and our children.”

In places here and there, in Florida and Minnesota, in New York and California, in quiet times with God, away from the clamor of politics and nasty social media posts, comes the prayer that God can honor. “Oh, Lord God, You who are our Father and You who are our Messiah, and You who are the Spirit that guides us, we don’t want You to take sides in the debate on gun control. We want You to take over this land and bring men and women to their knees in repentance over what this country has become. Then, and only then, show us what to do to advance Your Kingdom here and now. May Your will be done on earth, not our will.”

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

WHEN THE DISCIPLES, overearnest as ever, asked Jesus who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus pulled a child out of the crowd and said the greatest in the kingdom of heaven were people like this (Matthew 18:1-4). Two thousand years of homiletic sentimentalizing to the contrary notwithstanding, Jesus was not being sentimental. He was saying that the people who get into heaven are people who, like children, don’t worry about it too much. They are people who, like children, live with their hands open more than with their fists clenched. They are people who, like children, are so relatively unburdened by preconceptions that if somebody says there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, they are perfectly willing to go take a look for themselves. 

Children aren’t necessarily better than other people. Like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” they are just apt to be better at telling the difference between a phony and the real thing.  


Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

“Yawn! The start of another day in jail. Day after day after day in jail, one week after another in jail.” That’s the interior dialogue of sleepy Christians in the Wright County Jail, or any other jail or prison for that matter. Below will be my opening statement when I give two talks at the Benton County Jail this Thursday (by the way, will you please pray for me that day that I speak only out of the power and direction of the Holy Spirit).


A young boy of seven named Charles accepted Jesus into his life during a Wednesday youth meeting at his church and excitedly told his whole family when he got home. Three days later Charles pushed his younger sister who had grabbed one of his toys.

She said. “Why did you do that?  I thought Jesus was living within you.” Still seething with anger, he answered, “He fell asleep.”

Now the story is a joke, but it’s not a joking matter. You see, it’s not Jesus who was asleep to Charles, but it was the young boy who was asleep to Jesus. And that’s the story of all of us.

There are a few Christians who are wide awake to God all the time. I’m not one of them. And there are non-believers who are sound asleep to God all the time. Thank God, I’m not one of them.

In between, there are Christians who are awake or asleep to God in various degrees. Some are mostly awake and some are mostly asleep. Some are awake more often and some are asleep more often. Which one of these are you? Which one were you when you committed your last crime?

I can’t 100% guarantee that you’ll never go back to jail again when you get out. But I can say this: “If you stay awake to God in your life most of the time, if you walk His way instead of your own way, your odds of staying out of jail will be dangerously close to 100%.”


You realize, of course, being the astute Christians you are, that I’m not speaking only to the inmates. I’m speaking as well to you and me. Are we wide-awake Christians most of the time or sleepy Christians much too often, like couch potatoes in the kingdom of heaven here on earth?



Thursday, February 15th, 2018

My wife and I dashed off to the Great Southwest for the past two weeks, a welcome relief from a steady procession of bleak and wintry days in Minnesota.  We stayed with my sister and her husband in Palm Desert, CA, for a week. Every day was in the 80s.  Then off to Phoenix for a week, with the weather in the 70s.

I played golf twice and Diane met with some of her cousins on three different occasions, once in Palm Desert and twice in Phoenix. It was fun, fun, fun and busy, busy, busy. I could go on and on about all we did and saw, but then I’d be like your out-of-tune relative who doesn’t know when to shut up. I had some good times with the Lord, but that’s not the focus of this message.

Late last night we pulled into our townhome and went to bed immediately. Well, at least after we hauled some luggage inside and took out necessities.  I slept well in our own little beddy bye and awoke to start the day in our own little bathroom and then went downstairs to spend prayer time before our own little fireplace. Then into the day’s routine.

It was a splendid vacation in every way, but I was reminded today of what Dorothy said at the end of The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.”