Newsletter Archive: Jesse Morrell Arrested for Trying to Preach – 3/14/2005

For many years, the newsletters for Open Air Outreach were only published through email. Those newsletters were not posted online. We are now in the process of archiving these old newsletters online so that they are available to the body of Christ at large to read and be encouraged and edified by them.

The content from this post was an email newsletter sent out on 3/14/2005

This newsletter has no copy-right.
Feel free to share it by forwarding it on or by printing it off.
2 Days and 1 Night in Smith County Jail

“I had a day dream today that you went to jail”
“Did you really?”
“Yes”
“Well, what happened?”
“You were arrested and brought to jail. You had an option of either paying
something or staying in jail, and you choose to stay in jail so you could
minister. And a lot of people got saved.”
“Hmm…That’s a weird day dream. Don’t worry about it Krista.”

That was a conversation I had with Krista, the women of God I am courting,
three hours before I was arrested and brought to Smith County Jail.

To the glory of God I spent 2 days and 1 night in jail ministering to
roughly 60 inmates with great success. It all started when I went to the
Tyler Junior College area to preach the gospel. I prayed from my home to the
campus that the Lord would give me His heart and His compassion for these
people, and that my ministry would be just as His ministry. I was planning
on preaching around the campus as the Administration said I could. I did the
smart thing and found the cops as soon as I arrived. I asked them if they
will bother me if I preach outside the campus. They made a call and told me
I can’t preach on the surrounding sidewalks, but that I could preach from
the actual streets. I thanked them very much and started looking for a nice
street to preach from.

I found one spot and thought I may be able to draw a crowd there, but I
still wanted to know if there was a better spot. I walked on a sidewalk to
another street to see if there would be more students in that section. As
soon as I stepped off the sidewalk two cop cars came pulling up and said
“That’s it, we warned you to stay on the street, now you’re going to jail!”
Apparently the sidewalk was apart of the public college and I was not
allowed to even walk on it, let alone preach on it. I didn’t even get to
open my mouth once and witness to even one student and they brought me to jail. It was quite bizarre. I never wanted to break the law but only to
preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I wasn’t able to preach to the college students that day, but I did preach
to the other inmates. I was placed in a cell with about 6 other guys. The
cell had nothing but a cement floor and a toilet. I stood at the door and
did as the bible tells us to and lifted up my voice as a trumpet, spared
not, and told the inmates their transgressions. “Jesus Christ is the King of
Kings and the Lord of Lords”. As soon as I started preaching down the
hallway for all the inmates to hear, six or so guards came rushing towards
me, took all the other inmates out of the cell, and slammed the metal door
on me. I was in what was called “The Drunken Cell” that was nothing but
cements walls, cement floor, and a think metal door with no window for me to look out of. But preaching to the door, the other inmates were able to
listen to me and I was told that when I preached, all the inmates would stop
talking and would listen.

For maybe 4 hours I preached “sin, righteousness, and judgment to come” and “Christ and Him crucified”. Taking drinks of warm water helped sustain my throat the entire time. Warm water is the best. Cold water will only close
your throat more. “The wages of sin is death”, “it’s appointed unto man once
to die, after this the judgment” “how shall we escape if we neglect so great
salvation” “cleanse your hands you sinners”. The entire hallway listened
intently as I preached. Once and awhile I would hear someone yell “Hey
Reverend, Reverend!?” “Yes sinner?” “What does Ps 69 say?” “I don’t know,
but I know what 1 Cor 6:9 says. It says…”. I also took a few breaks to get
on my knees and pray for the inmates and the guards and also to sing songs. The disciples in the New Testament sang hymns when they were in jail and sinners were converted, so I thought I could do likewise. I probably didn’t even get the words right.

“What can take away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me born-again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus”

Eventually they processed me in and asked me if I was going to bail out. How much is the bail I asked. They said “$500”. “I think I’ll stay in jail” I
told them. They put me in an orange jump suit and placed me in a cell with
about 20 other guys. The inmates warmly welcomed me in and said “are you the preacher?” “Yes I am” “We are the cigarette sucking sinners” they said.
“Nice to meet you” I responded. And I got to witness to them one-on-one.
When I started talking to one of them, they all would quite down and listen.
They had a respect for me and a fear of God and reverence for the
scriptures. Their faces lit up as I told my testimony and talked about the
new-birth. After I stopped I looked around and one guy said “wow, you can
keep talking like that!” with a huge smile and glow in his eyes. Certain
inmates would sit and talk very seriously to me about their sins, hearts,
and eternal destiny. Many seemed to be greatly impacted and disturbed.

There was also a Christian brother in there that had a New Testament that I
was able to fellowship with. I opened his bible and the first thing I read
was “the prisoner of Jesus Christ” Eph 3:1 which I thought was rather
interesting.

I did not sleep much that night. It was hard because there was nothing but a toilet, a cement floor, and a long wooden bench. But there were so many
inmates in each cell sitting on the bench, the only place to lie would be
the filthy floor.

Apparently the first shift of guards that dealt with me must not have liked
me because they put me in with what I perceived to be the high-risk inmates. I was talking to one man who has been in jail for 16 years, and he once was on trial for capital murder. There were two other guys who are finishing up a 5 year sentence, one man just starting a 5 year sentence, one guy just starting a 4 year sentence. “So what did you do man?” “Well, I was walking on a sidewalk trying to find a place to preach the gospel”.

When I asked the guard if I would see the judge today he said I was not on
the list. I asked when I would see the judge and they said probably in 5
months, with a completely serious look on his face! I thought maybe I’d have to spend the weekend and see the judge on Monday, but I decided I would rather bail out and get a court date. The guards wouldn’t let me bail out! They either ignored me or would say they would look into it and then never do anything. I figured if I wanted them to pay attention to me I just need to start preaching again. So I started preaching and the guards tried to get me to shut up but I wouldn’t, so the sergeant came over.

I spoke to the sergeant and told her that I was only here on a trespassing
charge from the day before and would like to bail out now. “What are you
talking about trespassing charge? You’re not here on a trespassing charge.
You just got transferred in from so and so prison and are about to be
transferred out to so and so prison.” “No I just got arrested for walking on
a sidewalk looking for a place to preach yesterday.” “Then why are you in
that orange jump suit? Why are you in that cell with all those other
high-risk inmates?” “I don’t know. This is where they put me yesterday!” The
sergeant said “What is your name? Hold on, let me look into this.”

She looked into it and came and pulled me out of that cell really fast! “I
don’t know why you were in that cell. Why aren’t you in your normal
clothing, why are you in that orange jump suit?” “I don’t know, this is what
they put me in yesterday.” “Make your phone call and bail yourself out.” I
called the Christian Ministry Bail Bondsmen and they said they will bail me
out for $140 and all I need is a co-signer. I couldn’t find anyone’s number
that could help bail me out except for David Ravenhill, so I called up Mr.
Ravenhill and he willingly came and co-signed me out. I have court July 8th
for this new case.

Here are some inspiring quotes:

“But though Pentecost meant power to the disciples – it also meant prison to
them. Pentecost meant enduement – it almost meant banishment. Pentecost
meant favor with God – it also brought hatred from men. Pentecost brought
great miracles – it also brought mighty obstacles. Pentecost brought
anointing for the upper room preachers – it also brought appointing a deacon
and under the enduement he turned Samaria upside down.” Leonard Ravenhill

Another great man of God said “And the problem today is that the salts lost
its flavor and too many candles are under the bushel and under the bed. Now if the church ever recovers the power to break up demonism in the community it will bring down the wrath of evil and the church may land in jail but she’ll learn how to sing in prison, pray down an earth quake. Folks are
asking “will the church go underground?” Well she may develop more power
underground then she’s got above ground these days. We’re not going to pray down earth quakes in committee meetings, sipping coffee and reading the minutes of the last meeting.”

This is from the article I wrote called “Power in Preaching: Unveiling the
Fire” “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, if there is going to be power in
our preaching, then there is going to be persecution in our lives. When you
assault the devil’s territory he will retaliate hastily against you. That is
to be expected if we go the way of our Lord. Many times the sinners that are
accepted are the ones who should be arrested, while the preachers who are
arrested are the ones that should be accepted. However the more our
ministries become as the ministry of Jesus, the more our suffering will be
as the suffering of Jesus. If Jesus were merely just another Mr. Rogers in
the world, and only went around telling everyone to love everybody, He would never have been so hated, rejected, and tortured as He was. If we are to be as powerful in our preaching as Jesus was in His preaching, then we must learn to minister as He did. And what did he do? He said Himself, “but it (the world) hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” (John
7:7). Who does that today and still has the stamp of approve by the world
and by the church? There are those who profess to love Jesus and faithfully
go to church week after week that treat holiness as if it were a sin, and
treat sin as if it should be expected. How can they tell the world that its
works are evil when they themselves are evil? No one can minister as Jesus
did until they become as Jesus was. Jesus “loved righteousness, and hated
lawlessness.” (Heb. 1:9). If you hate lawlessness, then the lawless will
hate you.”

This much I know, the gospel must be preached. Not only must we preach the gospel because we would be in direct disobedience to God if we didn’t and that is sin, but because the world is dying and going to hell and we have the message that can save them for all eternity. This mission is of the
utmost importance! Any obstacle must be overcome. Any fear must be
forgotten. Any desire to preserve our own lives must be entirely abandoned.
There is a dying world out that that needs Jesus Christ, and how can they
hear without a preacher? Do we want the world to have faith? Well, faith
comes by hearing! If you are not willing to die for the gospel, I would dare
to say you know nothing about the gospel. Brethren, those of you who love
God and love your neighbor, PREACH the gospel to every creature!!

Acts 5:41-42 “And they departed from the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, THEY CEASED NOT to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

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