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Remembering Chuck Colson – A Giant in the Faith

Posted by hjdenson on April 24, 2012

As many of you know, a giant of the faith went home to be with the Lord Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m. Charles W. Colson, my friend, mentor and brother in the fellowship, passed away with his family at his bedside.

I met Chuck in 1977. He was instrumental in leading me to the Lord while I was in prison. Chuck had recently been released from federal prison in Alabama. He understood the devastating effects of prison on inmates and their families. I remember his magnificent presentation of the Gospel and his warmth and concern for the common inmate.

He was a man who came from the halls of power, serving as special counsel to the president; yet, he understood our unique needs.  After my conversion, he was instrumental in my furlough from prison, to Wheaton College along with eight other inmates and their wives. For Donna and I, his leadership was an instrumental factor, teaching us how to minister and charging us charged to spend our lives serving others through the ministry. Chuck had just founded Prison Fellowship. Also, let me add, there is a fellowship among inmates and ex-felons who are in Christ. This fellowship is unique in terms of being set free while in bonds. You learn to “use” the time, instead of “doing” the time. Furthermore, you learn what it genuinely means to be set free. This fellowship includes Joseph, John the Baptist, the great Apostle Paul, many of the disciples, suffering saints today and, of course, the Lord Himself.

I recall our unique relationship. Upon my release, and then beginning in the ministry, I had a significant setback. Chuck immediately encouraged me by phone and letter to stand in the Faith. He even took time out of his busy schedule to meet with me in Detroit. What a blessing! Words cannot begin to express what that meant. I also remember working for Prison Fellowship, traveling with my wife, visiting prisons all across the country, and seeing changed lives of men and women set free while still incarcerated! Those were some of the best times in ministry for Donna and me.

The last time we saw Chuck was two years ago at the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention. He was on his way to the airport. We met and hugged, and although we did not have much time to reminisce, the bond of brotherhood remained strong.

One thing we as inmates always looked forward to was being released and going home. Chuck has now been released and gone home. Good-bye, my friend. I look forward to the day when we will meet again in the Kingdom, where we will collectively thank Him for our pardon and new beginnings.

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