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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Now I Walk On Death Row

What does it look like for someone to live a life that makes no sense unless the gospels are true?  And what happens in a life, when Jesus is taken at His word in the Bible and that person believes that Jesus really does mean what He says?

Those questions are ones that Dale Recinella grapples with along with his family and he tells their amazing story in his book Now I Walk On Death Row:  A Wall Street Finance Lawyer Stumbles Into The Arms Of A Loving God.  Bethany House Publishers sent me this book for the purpose of review. 

Dallas Willard says this about the book:
"Now I Walk On Death Row is a shocking book.  It will make you uncomfortable.  But if you are not uncomfortable in this world, you haven't yet seen it as it is." 
Recinella tells the amazing story of how he goes from working with Wall Street finance, closing huge money making deals and rolling in ridiculous amounts of money to volunteering as a prayer partner to men confined in Florida State Prison's death row and solitary confinement.  It is on death row working with these men that Recinella sees himself as he really is and the world as most people refuse to consider.

As one reads how Recinella prays with and ministers to these men through blocks of heavy concrete walls and through tiny peep holes, one comes to understand what passages like Matthew 16:26 and Matthew 13:45-46 and Matthew 6:24 and Matthew 25:36 and Mark12:30 really look like lived out in a person completely surrendered to the Lord.  These are just a few of the passages that Recinella and his family struggle to understand and apply and the one who reads this amazing story gets to wrestle with those passages too.

This book won't be a quick read.  I found myself stopping and praying as I considered for my own life if I'm really living like I believe Jesus meant exactly what He says in His word about living and serving others in His name.  This particular passage is just one among many that caused me pause.  These are Recinella's thoughts after he has officially given up his position as a lawyer to volunteer as a chaplain on death row.  He has wrestled with defining his self-worth by "what he does" and is in the position of volunteering in the prisons while his wife supports their family financially:

"The life that walks in the essentials of day-to-day needs inside my home is adorned with service...My fleshly eyes want to pick and choose between different kinds of service to the least of His brothers, to decide which service is valuable based on what the world holds to be valuable.  God will not allow it.  He is teaching me that I need to peel potatoes, wash dishes and launder clothes in order to live a surrendered life.  It has to do with living as a created being serving a sovereign God.  It has to do with everything, because nobody and nothing ever looks the same after one has seen life from the laundry room and the kitchen sink. Whether I am in prison, on the streets or at home, I must be rooted in the fertile soil of service to my family and others.  I must be careful to never slip into the trap of resentment by forgetting who it is that I serve.  It is always Jesus in disguise."
You will be both blessed and challenged in your reading of this book; and I do recommend you read this book!   It tells a beautiful story of a father surrendering everything in service to his Lord, and leading his family with a servant's heart and example to do the same. 

The book can be purchased from Bethany House by visiting HERE.

Or if you are an user, you can order the book by following the link provided below: