420 of Another Kind

Today is April 20. Pot smokers have hijacked the day by making “420” a symbol of getting stoned. White supremacy gangs like Aryan Brotherhood and Nazi Low Riders have embraced the day—Adolph Hitler’s birthday—as a quasi-holiday, oftentimes wreaking havoc on this date to celebrate the ultimate sociopathic racist.

But there is a story that begins with marijuana, yet ends with God’s mercy. It’s a story that can only be explained by God’s power.

In 1982, Danny Duchene was arrested for the deaths of two people in a robbery he’d taken part in as an 18-year-old drug addict.  While awaiting trial in the county jail, Danny accepted Christ, and his life was radically changed by the mercy of God. Regardless, there was a penalty to be paid, and he was given a double life sentence. Danny spent the next 32 years as a Christian in prison.

In 2003, Danny wrote my pastor at the time, Rick Warren, indicating he had read “The Purpose Driven Life” and that he and other inmates wanted to be a part of the 40 Days of Purpose Campaign.  Rick and other staff members went to Sierra Prison in Northern California, and many inmates surrendered their life to Christ.

They started a church in prison and Danny has been the pastor of that church. To see rival gang members from different races come together under the power of the Holy Spirit was an incredible moment—and it has continued, enduring the test of time.

Last year Pastor Rick wrote to the parole board and asked them to give clemency and release Danny so Saddleback could hire him as pastor of Prison Ministries, and they did!

Earlier this month, as a part of Rick’s message, “God Can Use Anybody,” Danny shared his full story, and was publicly commissioned as a new pastor of Saddleback Church! Danny’s life is exhibit “A” of the mercy and grace of God and how it transforms us! It does not glorify or diminish his past, but magnifies the life changing power of our Father in heaven!

Danny Duchene sharing his story at Saddleback Church. (YouTube)

While today is 420 in the eyes of the unmerciful, I must share Acts 4:20. Preceding these words, Peter and John were hauled before the Roman Council, and told to answer for their actions—spreading the gospel of Christ. “[F]or we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

That is 420 of another kind! And I concur with exactly 420 words in this blog!

-Jim

#Godsmercy #Godsgrace #420ofanotherkind #dannyduchene

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