Nearly a year ago, I met a man named Christopher Jason Guffey. My first sight of him was watching him get baptized as people all around cheered and cried uncontrollably. As he rose from the water, it was as if God tugged on my heart and whispered quietly, “That’s him.” Without knowing what that meant, I knew that whatever it was, it was BIG! A few weeks later, I talked to Chris for the first time. To put into words what happened that day could best be described by Winnie The Pooh who said:
It seemed they had always been, and would always be, friends. Time could change much, but not that. They were two halves of a whole, sharing a single spirit. It was the spirit of friendship, and it was alive and well.
In one instance, I knew God had given me not only a friend, but a partner in ministry. After talking with him for a few short minutes, I didn’t know much about his past, but one thing was certain…THIS MAN KNEW JESUS! I was at a time of my life where I was searching for a men’s group at church and Guffey said as if he already knew me, “Come be a part of what God is doing in our men’s group. God is on the move.” Even though I’ve heard many people share their excitement for Jesus, something was different with Chris. I could see it in his eyes that he had truly encountered Jesus in a way that had radically changed his life.
Over the next several months, we got to know each other very well. I began learning of his past and some of the decisions that he had made that had resulted in slowly losing his family, being homeless, and later imprisoned. He openly admitted to being guilty of several things, but also giving praise to a God who had now changed his life. To keep this blog ‘PG’, I’ll say that Chris was in one of the worst places physically, mentally, and spiritually that I’ve ever heard of.
On February 28th, 2013, Chris surrendered his life to Christ in a prison cell. Since that time, he has been one of the most impactful men I’ve ever known. His commitment to his family, the church, reaching the unchurched, and caring for those overcoming addictions is unparalleled. God has allowed me to mentor Chris for the past several months and it has been one of the great honors of my life.
Tomorrow, Chris will be faced with a sentencing for a crime that occurred about a year and a half ago. That sentencing is the potential for 0-10 years in prison. After spending several weeks and months praying and talking with Chris, his approach to it has inspired my faith. He is not going in claiming his innocence, but simply asking for forgiveness. He is holding tight to God’s Word and trusting that whatever happens, God has purpose. If he goes to jail, he is asking God to use him to minister to those he encounters there. If he walks, he is asking God to use him in the community.
To sum this all up, I just simply want to say thank you Chris, for the impact you’ve made in my life. You’re story has impacted the life of my wife and I and has given many others hope in Jesus’ name. I pray that whatever happens, you will continue to rejoice in the Lord and praise Him because He IS worthy! Thank you for being a blessing in ways you will never know. The best is yet to come!