Zion-Benton Times - Community News - Your Life

Mayor's 50th Annual Prayer Breakfast


September 7, 2018

Elected Officials At Prayer Breakfast

ion Benton Ministerial Association in collaboration with the Zion Jubilee Commission hosted their 50th Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast September 3, 2018 as part of the 70th Annual Jubilee Days Festival.

Held in the Zion Benton Township cafeteria, the event reached nearly sell-out status as community leaders both civic and spiritual from across the region came together to pray. Pastor Tim Eddy, Trinity Christian Center, opened the event in prayer followed by spiritually oriented police officers from the Zion Police Department. The keynote speaker was a Zion police officer, Matt Thornton.

One of the highlights of the morning was a contemporary Gospel music presentation by Tina Graves, a member of Trinity Christian Center.

Matt Thornton delivered a powerful and compelling message that left everyone in tears.

"There was not a dry eye in the house," said one attendant at the breakfast.

Upon finishing, Thornton received a standing ovation.

Matt explained that as a young police officer, he fell pray to some of the trapping of being a police officer such as having power and being able to get away with some activities that may be considered unethical. He called them "sins". He said that engagement in these activities led him to "a deep dark cavern".

"I sank into a deep depression," Thornton explained.

In his predicament, he felt the call of God to salvation and to a departure from his activities, but he ran. According to Matt, in his avoidance of God, he fell into a deep depression, so deep that he considered suicide. He had written a suicide note and planned his exit from the world. All he was waiting on was the trigger to push him over the edge.

One day, while in a state of frustration, in was sitting in his squad car, going over the details of his suicide when he noticed a little old lady making a b-line to his car.

"You need to have this," Thornton reports the woman saying as she handed him a red cross, which he interpreted as a message from God.

"I looked at it and this is the lowest point that I have ever been and It was like God saying to me, 'I am Here'."

Matt says that he screamed out, and God spoke to him saying "I know exactly what you have done...You are forgiven. Stop what you are doing and follow me."

He sought spiritual help from an area pastor and the next day accepted Christ as his personal savior, and he has not looked back.

"I still struggle with sin," says Thornton, "But I get up every day, thanking the Lord for his grace."

The "red cross" experience led to church engagement and a sports program where he coaches basketball on Friday nights and preaches the gospel at halftime to the young men who attend. And while they endure his sermons, they keep coming.

The basketball program began with six kids and grew quickly to about 50 after six weeks. Now the program bolsters about 150 youth each week. All of them willing to hear the half-time sermon. Thornton explained that about 50 of the participating students have accepted Christ through this ministry.

Near the end of his message, Thornton told the audience of a child who had accepted Christ and how he subsequently had died about a month later.

The presentation was powerful, and it revealed how God is still working with people in a little town, which was founded on biblical principles, once touted as the City of God, now commonly called, the City of Zion.

by Elroy Reed


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