“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” – Luke 6:47–49

Bradford’s world had collapsed around him. Although he had grown up in a Christian home, his family hadn’t practiced prayer or Bible study outside of Sunday services, so he never learned to follow God or live life according to His will. After building the foundation of his life on selfishness and sinful acts, he found himself in a cold, lonely jail cell.

“From early in my life, I was enslaved to sexual sin, which . . . ultimately culminated in my first arrest in January of 2001,” he said. “Sitting in the county jail that night, I finally invited Jesus into my life and turned my life over to Him—or so I thought.”

After serving two years in prison, Bradford was released. He attempted to stay on the right path, but without a solid foundation, he fought a losing battle.

“In hindsight, I only turned over the problem areas of my life, the parts I knew needed to change. And while I began to learn a little bit more about God, I still didn’t really get to know Him,” he said. “As a result, . . . I began backsliding into my old sinful behaviors, which ultimately led me back to prison in 2010. It was not until this second time around that I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior—turning all of my life and will over to Him.”

Sentenced to life in prison, Bradford wasted no time diving into God’s Word and developing a relationship with Him.

“For the first time in my life (at age forty-six), I finally read the entire Bible cover to cover,” he said. “What I found was astonishing. Time and again, I discovered verses that could have been written either directly to me or about me. I also quickly began to recognize the Bible, God’s Word, as the infallible truth. . . . I was truly blown away the first time I read chapter 7 of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, as he perfectly described my experience with my sexual addiction.”

In 2012, Bradford signed up for the Crossroads mentorship program to supplement his own studies.

“I have greatly enjoyed and benefited from these Crossroads courses. They have helped increase my Bible knowledge and application of God’s Word,” he said. “Part of what I like most about Crossroads is the student-mentor relationship. . . . Receiving the letters of support has been a great source of encouragement, and being able to have a spiritual pen pal has been a true blessing.”

After completing Tiers 1 and 2 of the Crossroads program, Bradford eagerly signed up to study the seminary-level courses in Tier 3. In his Tier 3 application, he reflected on the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders: “What I relate to most is the last part of that Scripture. For when my house (my life), which had long been built on dirt, finally fell, ‘the ruin of that house was great.’ But fortunately, I have rebuilt it with God as the foundation (and Jesus the Chief Cornerstone).”

In addition to faithful Bible study, Bradford works as a legal clerk in his facility’s law library, helping others fight their cases while also fighting his own. He also participates in a program called WordMasters, which teaches sermon writing and public speaking skills. Although he used to hate writing and fear public speaking, he now eagerly shares the Gospel through the written and spoken word.

“I have had opportunities to ‘preach’ during family events here, and I send written copies of the essays out to many friends and family, including my previous Crossroads mentors,” he said. “It blows my mind that God has me now sharing His Word in such a way.”

Holding on to the hope that he will be released from prison one day, Bradford has big plans for serving God and helping others through his life experience.

“God has also put on my heart and in my head a growing number of ministry ideas for when I get out of prison,” he said, noting that he wants to focus on awareness and prevention of the crimes that he committed in his former life. “I will leave it up to God to see what doors He opens—starting with the doors of this prison. But I will take any opportunity to preach and teach His Word and to share my testimony.”

Many people in prison are working to rebuild their lives on Christ, the solid Rock. Will you walk alongside them as they seek to hear God’s words and put them into practice? Learn more about serving as a Crossroads mentor.


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