Last Night I Ended Up in Jail

Cook County Jail (Chicago) is reportedly the largest single site county jail in the U.S..

Some 10,000 inmates and just over 10,000 law enforcement and civilians staff this institution.

For a number of years our church (JPUSA) sent several staff chaplains, full and part-time, to the jail. As time went on the political climate became such that between elements of corruption and a couple of people who enjoyed a hampering of the Gospel finally brought us to end our service to inmates there.

Several folks here at JPUSA have continued writing prisoners and sending music and other items to inmates through the years, that’s been an important service to many as well.

REZ Band played at Cook Co. Jail a number of times, and quite a few inmates made commitments of faith to Jesus, some eventually moving into our Christian community and serving alongside us after their release from the prison system.

Last night I was blessed to act on an invitation from a group from Willow Creek Community Church who have brought a Monday evening church service to one of the divisions (where largely drug charges are the reason these men are locked up) for some fourteen years.

Our Willow friends are good people and truly care that those they are able to reach with the love and reality of Jesus would come to both know and walk with Him… and never return once they’ve been released.

I was asked to bring the music and also a message to the men, and was really blessed to be able to interact with them in prayer and a bit of chat after.

What I want to say here is that all too few believers consider Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter twenty-five where He says “I was in prison and you came to me” and clarifies “As you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”.

Myself and a number of others at JPUSA have visited and ministered in jails and prisons off and on for years. There are any number of reasons why so few of us do, and why in my own case I don’t do it all that often.

But once again last night I saw the compassion of Jesus offered to people in deep need of it- and in need of a life-changing and re-directing encounter with the Lord that in part comes when the people of God reach out and give.

Time, money, relationship-building, prayer, careful planning and simply “being there” means a great deal to those behind bars.

So many Christians simply turn their backs and figure inmates are only reaping what they’ve sown and let law enforcement take care of such undesirables, end of story.

And then the Lord’s words come to us- “and you visited me (or “came to me”) in that lock-up situation.

I suppose there are as many reasons people get incarcerated as there are reasons God’s people ignore them.

I am so thankful that last night I was able to participate with another group of people who have not ignored them.

Those in jail or prison are some one’s dad, mom, sister, brother. They are people with sin (just like you and I) and people who need grace and solid but loving injections of the truth about God and the HOW of change for the better via faith in Jesus and His Word.

Perhaps God is calling you to bring it to one or more of them in a place near where you live?

Thanks to my friends from Willow who do more than consider them… but act on God’s call!

Thanks for stopping by.




  1. hey glen…I have enjoyed your music from when i first heard the rez band play along side judas priest featured on a radio station in the late 70’s in jackson county jail in medford oregon…I am a biker who has been in and out of jail all my life. I was mixed up w/ h.a. in arizona and just recently the bandits in s.e. texas….God got his hands on my through a prison ministry and now i serv Him with all my heart…i have a burdon for the people like me…the ones that society doesn’t want. I love street ministry and jail ministry, and am willing to roll for Jesus at any time…i will go into the heart of enemy territory to rescue a brother or sister from satan…i am glad to have found your website after discussing guitar players (christian) with my brother boa, from outlaw bible church. The Reserection Band planted a seed many years ago within me and i thankyou for being faithfull to His calling…..The Great Commission was given to EVERYONE that should believe….your bro in Christ-phil

  2. <br>Thanks my bro., and God Bless you as you serve Him. So many out there in need… Lord use us as You will to call them home!!<br><br>Bless?? you Phil.<br><br>-Glenn

  3. Glenn; thanks for this all important reminder. Over the years at CCO, I’ve found visiting (or writing) people in Cook County jail or hospitals, seems to have such a lasting impact for His Kingdom. I remember going there for my first time and it wasn’t easy, in fact, it was very hard. it is such a blessing to have a newly released prisoner come up to me on the street weeping, hugging me and saying thank you for that card or that visit. I bumped into a brother (Eric) on Wilson and Broadway just last week doing just that, remembering our (Scott Knies and I) feeble attempt of sending him a Christmas card in 04. He was so blessed by it, he kept on saying thank you and hugging me, yet sadly I could hardly remember him.I recently wrote a little piece myself on visiting prisoners and the sick and how it relates to Matthew 25.

  4. Thanks so much Jeremy! I'll read yours now… and yes, difficult but then the fruit… so encouraging!<br><br>I may eventually sound off on our criminal justice system, but that's for another blog on another day!<br> <br>Keep on serving in love as I know you will!<br><br>Hugs,<br>-Glenn

  5. thanks for your words glenn i have been involed in jail and prison ministry for many years being a former inmate myself i know first hand about the power GOD of to change lives being among the inmates keeps me ever so mindful "there but by the grace of GOD goes me".

  6. Hello Glen my name is Tony Young. I live in San Diego CA. I have a kind of longshot question for you. Did you or any of your former bandmembers ever own a travis bean guitar? I bought TB 1000A ser #420 from a friend named Nile Johnson back in the late 80’s. I was told at the time that the guitar had formerly belonged to a member of the REZ BAND. Just curious if you know or remember anything about this. I love this guitars playability n tone. It is my fav guitar. I bought a Vaccarro a couple of years ago with the same ser #. IT sounds almost as good n plays a little easier. Glad I found this site. Hopefully you are still jammin in the name of the lord. I found your site and stories/comments to be most inspirational!! Keep up the good work brother!! I appreciate any feedback n yer time. Thanks n GOD BLESS you n yours, Tony

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