Kezer: Faith helped him stay on the right path
The Rev. Jeff Long, Centenary's senior pastor, hosted "Liberty for the Captives: A Conversation with Josh Kezer" as a way to welcome Kezer back to the church and to build on the congregation's relationship with a man who says his faith in God keeps him on the right path.
"I've been down a long road, but there's a lot of road left to be traveled," Kezer said. "If I don't process the road I've been down the right way, I'm not going to be able to walk the rest of it the way I should."
Kezer, who visited Centenary Church two months after his release from prison last year, was incarcerated for 16 years for a murder he didn't commit. He was declared innocent by former Cole County Circuit court judge Richard Callahan who ruled that prosecutors improperly withheld key evidence from his defense attorneys.
Kezer said that although it was easy to pity himself in prison, he began to build on a brief relationship he had with God as a child and started to study Scripture. Through Scripture, Kezer began to learn about Jesus's own trials and tribulations.
"Whenever I begin to feel pity for myself, that rolls around in my head," Kezer said. "I think about what our Lord went through for us."
His faith makes him a man without bitterness, he said.
"When you're at your lowest point, when you're at ground level and feel like the walls are closing in on you, there's really only one way you can look, and that's up," Kezer said. "Anybody who has been that low, they know what they see when they look up -- love, grace, acceptance, it's the face of the Lord."
The 35-year-old Columbia, Mo., resident took questions from the congregation, who were curious if he would be releasing a novel.
Kezer said he hopes to write more than one book. He said he may team up with a University of Missouri professor to write about how the jury system could be more effective. He's most interested, though, in writing about his relationship with Christ and how it developed while he was in prison.
"I'm not going to rush that process because I know that the writing of that kind of book involves my relationship with the Lord," Kezer said.
300 N. Ellis St., Cape Girardeau, MO