Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3375

Jump Start # 3375

Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

  Over the weekend, I was in Dallas speaking at a youth lecture with my son Jordan. We both spoke Friday evening. Earlier that morning is when Jimi was executed in an Alabama prison for crimes he had committed. I read a letter that Jimi had written for me to use there. When I arrived home, there was a letter from Jimi. He wrote it the day before he died. Included in the letter was “Last Words by James Barber.” He was not allowed to carry that paper into the death chamber. He sent it to me, hoping that I could share it.

  I know I have written and talked a lot lately about Jimi, but it is an incredible story. Here are his final words to me:


  I received 26 letters last night (Tues the 18th). All were because of your kindness and faith to preach and spread my story. Although I am still taken aback that anyone finds it interesting or inspiring, I am humbled and thankful to have reached maybe thousands. Incredible!

  I want you to know I love you in Christ. Van Cooper and you have taken what the state of Alabama and my own actions meant for a curse and made it into the most edifying, spiritual experience of my earthly life.

  The strength, peace and godly joy this has brought me will carry me through anything. I love you and all the folks who took time to write and uplift me with their love and prayers. Please let as many know as possible. I can’t respond to them myself. Impossible. Please let as many know as you can.

  This will be my last correspondence if the state has its way. Enclosed is the “last words” I wrote, but been informed the warden will not allow paper to be held up so I can read them. I will try to get out a message as close as my feeble mind will allow. But here is the true last words. You may use them as seen fit.

  Love in Christ,

  James Barber

Last Words– James Barber

  God is so good! My life was over. Someone I loved, life was over. I was in jail, no bond, no chances left. At the edge of the abyss. Everything gone in the wink of an eye. But…I opened the Bible. And God reached down, lifted me in His hands and said, ‘Now, now your ready for me to use as an instrument for My glory!!’

  I read and learned of Him. As I did, He brought a light into the deepest darkness a man can find himself in. He brought peace where there was only chaos. He brought joy where there was only despair. He bought truth where only lies had dwelt. He brough wisdom to a fool. He brought life to one who was dead.

  God is the creator of all things. He created a new thing in me. Gave me wisdom I never had and assured me a permanent dwelling place in His presence.

  I’ve strived to show Him my love and utter awe at the great gift He gave by the way I tried to live. At times, I know I’ve failed to do my best. But I made up my mind early on that mere words could not express my deep sorrow at what had occurred at my hands. And so, I hoped the way I lived my life would be a testimony to the family of Dorothy Epps, and also my family, of the regret and shame I have for what I have done. I don’t know if I’ve succeeded. Not for me to judge. But I also told my brother on the phone from the county jail that I was never going to become a convict. Said I won’t cut my hair like one, conduct myself like one, speak like one and most important, think like one. I wanted, when either I walked out of prison or am carried out in a body bag, to be a better man than when I walked into prison.

  I hope God finds my feeble efforts worthy. I hope the Epps family will know I did the only thing that I thought could show my deep regret, and it helps them somehow. Please pray for the Epps family. I love them deeply. Pray for my family, for peace and strength.

  May the God of all creation create a new thing for each of you and lead you into the greatest, most spiritual era of your lives.

  Be instruments for His glory. I love you and thank you in Christ.”

  James Barber (July 19, 2023)

  I have written Jimi nearly every day for more than a month. I cannot write him anymore. His journey here is finished and he is in the hands of God. I believe his faith, trust and obedience in the Lord brought him forgiveness, peace and hope.

  I hope Jimi’s story will inspire you to live righteously. So many have been touched by Jimi’s faith and example. Thank you for allowing me to share Jimi with you.

  May the Lord bless each of us.