Leftists cause prison populations to swell then wring their hands over it

Leftists often remind me of Homer Simpson, when he says things like this.

To Alcohol! The cause of… and solution to… all of life’s problems.

Why?  Because they put policies in place that cause problems (just like alcohol can) then they think they have the solution to the problems as well — even though they are just more of the same and/or new things that make the situation deteriorate further.

Example: False teacher Mark Sandlin was lamenting the size of U.S. prison populations in If You Only See One Video This Week, It Should Be This One.  I share his concern, but he thinks the solution is to just watch a video and care more about it.  I’d rather actually do something!

My comment there:

I wonder how many people cheering this video do prison ministry?  I’ve been going into prisons with the love and truth of Christ for 8 years and have found it to be very rewarding and effective.  Of course, we take the real Gospel and not Leftist theology, which is why it works so well.  Not only does it transform lives, families and the prison culture (which is why wardens love the ministry), it dramatically REDUCES RECIDIVISM.  That means less broken families, less victims, less costs to society, etc.

In addition to supporting prison ministries, if you really want to reduce prison populations, stop supporting policies that promote fatherlessness.  I know countless murderers, drug dealers, thieves, addicts, etc. and over 90% of them have one thing in common: Absent or terrible fathers (usually absent).  One example of hundreds: If your Mom’s latest live-in lover views you as a threat and convinces her to put you on the street at 14, there is a good chance you’ll end up in prison.  That isn’t an excuse, of course, but it helps explain why it happens.
The “war on poverty” has destroyed the black family.  They used to have HIGHER rates of staying married than whites.
Also see Charles Barkley’s latest comments about the black culture.  Any culture, regardless of skin color, that uses peer pressure to discourage hard work and education is going to suffer mightily.  Calling people racists for pointing out obvious truths like that is cowardly and counter-productive.
Oh, and of course, stop pushing the anti-Jesus LGBTQX agenda that further mocks the importance of the family.

Hey Harris County area Christians: If you’ve ever considered trying prison ministry . . .

. . . now is a great time.  I’ll be leading a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend this October 11-13.  If you have any interest please contact me for more information.  It is a highly effective and rewarding ministry.  There are roles for men inside and outside the prison and roles for women outside (and everyone gets to go inside the prison chapel for the closing ceremony to hear how the weekend went).

And as a bonus, the first 10 people to sign up get a free prison tattoo!  Just kidding!  Probably!

Prison ministry and a big hug from a Hampton Inn employee . . .

I was getting breakfast recently at the Hampton Inn (Mmmmmm . . . waffles) and heard an employee in the kitchen singing Power in the Blood ( “. . . in the precious blood of the lamb . . .”).  I leaned in to tell her that I liked that song and we shared a smile.  Then without thinking I leaned back in and mentioned that we had just been singing it at a prison ministry weekend.

Her co-worker walked out with me and thanked me for the ministry.  I didn’t think much of it  at first, but she repeated it and then leaned in with tears in her eyes and said that her son was locked up and how she really appreciated people going to minister in prisons.  We talked for a minute then she gave me a giant hug.  Please pray for Valerie and her son and that God will send people to him with the truth and love of Jesus.

It reminded me of how effective and important well-run prison ministry programs can be.

Thanks and blessings to all the people who have established and are running these programs!

—–

Also see Kairos Prison Ministry.  I’ve leading a weekend program this October, so if you are in Houston area and would like to participate on the inside or outside team, or just come to see the closing program to hear how the weekend helped the offenders, please let me know!

Prison ministry visits

We had our monthly visit to the prison to follow up with the guys who have been on Kairos Prison Ministry weekends.  It was the usual routine of donuts, singing, small group sharing and testimonies.

A few testimonies stuck out, as usual.  One was from a guy who was a gang leader both outside and then inside prison.  I wish you could have seen his demeanor.  He is a truly changed man since his Kairos weekend.  Complete peace.  For him, the Kairos weekend was the greatest time of his life.  He admitted he just went for the food, but that changed halfway through the weekend.  He forgot about all the things that used to consume him: Drugs, money, women and generating fear in others.  As you can imagine, vulnerability is not winning strategy in prison.  But he is so Christ-focused now that he can authentically say he isn’t worried about trying to make people fear or respect him anymore.  He is just looking for ways to love people.  He is focused on continuing to transform so he can be a great father and break the cycle.

Another man spoke of his childhood and extensive abuse at the hands of his family.  He had a major breakthrough during the forgiveness exercises of the weekend and said he regained the innocence that was stolen from him in his youth.

Yet another spoke of going from being a major drug dealer to getting “high” on singing in the prison choir.  His daughter visits and can’t believe he is the same person she used to know.

It is like that every month.  If you’ve ever thought about getting involved in prison ministry in some way, I urge you to follow through.  There are lots of great ministries out there, and this is one of them.  God uses it to changes lives for eternity.  I never get tired of seeing lives changed by the Holy Spirit.  God ordains the ends and the means, and one of his means is using his followers as bearers of his love.  Over and over I’ve seen God use that as the catalyst, along with the other things they’ve learned, to radically transform people for eternity.

Apologetics in prison ministry

Kairos Prison Ministry is designed to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to incarcerated individuals and their families and to assist the incarcerated in becoming productive citizens.  It is a highly effective ministry that dramatically reduces the recidivism rate and generates significant and lasting changes in the participants.  I’ve met countless prisoners who still cite Kairos experiences from years ago as major catalysts for their Christianity.

I was pleased to see that one of the many lessons during the course of a Kairos prison ministry weekend is on apologetics (a reasoned defense of the Christian faith).  They basically use a minimal facts approach, noting how these are facts of history and that our faith is grounded in evidence.

The people who created and refined this course did a great job in covering a lot of theological bases.  I’m disappointed that most churches are very weak on apologetics, so I was encouraged that it was highlighted in the midst of lessons on choices, forgiveness, study, service, etc.

The inmates will even note that there is a lot of bad theology in prison just like there is in the outside world.  One of the themes I try to get across when giving a talk during the weekend is the importance of daily Bible reading and prayer.  They are receptive to sound teaching.  At the last weekend I worked I gave them my usual “Do you want to hear from God” bit and it resonated so well that one table mentioned it in the closing ceremony.

I ask, “How many of you would like to hear from God?”  They all say yes or raise their hands.  Then I say, “OK, read the Bible.”  They chuckle.

Then I ask, “Oh, you meant you want to hear from God out loud.  OK, how many of you would like to hear audibly from God?”  Again, they respond affirmatively.  Then I say, “OK, read the Bible out loud.”  More chuckles, then I explain my point.

God could speak to you audibly, but it isn’t common and He doesn’t do it on demand.  How about if we nail down the 31,173 verses He gave us before expect personalized revelations?  If He does speak to you out loud, it will be unmistakably clear, just like in the Bible.  It won’t be some sort of nudge or hint.

When we do our monthly follow up visits I’m encouraged by how much many of these guys read the Bible.  Seriously, they put many Christians to shame with how much they read, understand and try to live out.

Please pray for this ministry and consider getting involved yourself.  There are all sorts of opportunities both inside and outside the prison.

Two of my favorite role models

Last week I wrote about the importance of retirement plans — not the financial part, but the activity part.  We should never retire from Christian activities, though they may change over time.  We should finish strong, just like Moses, Joshua, Paul and so many others.  Don’t succumb to temptations.  Don’t destroy what you’ve worked so hard for.  Don’t sit back in self-indulgence.

Then on Saturday I was reminded of two of my favorite ministry role models.  I was doing a monthly visit as part of Kairos Prison Ministry and got to see Mike and Vic (pictures below).

You might think that white guys in their 80’s wouldn’t be able to connect with much younger guys (roughly 50% black, 25% Hispanic, 25% white), but you’d be wrong.  The prisoners seem to instantly bond with them and develop meaningful relationships over the course of the weekend and the follow-up sessions.  They have an authenticity and a genuine love that you just can’t miss.

They are as humble as can be, even though they are the most popular volunteers in the unit.  The prisoners go nuts whenever either one is introduced.

Neither are in perfect health, so they could just stay home on Saturday morning.  But month after month they get up early to come out and serve.  And when they work the Kairos weekends they work very long days, often getting to the prison at 6:30 a.m. and not leaving until 8:30 p.m.  But they do it with a smile and never complain.

They are both quick-witted and fun to listen to, having lived full and exciting lives.  Mike has been married for over 60 years (to the same woman, as he likes to add!), and I think Vic has been as well. I’ve seen Vic’s wife working on the outside teams during the weekends, and I’ve seen Mike’s wife come to the closing ceremonies.

These men never fail to encourage me.  If they can keep marriages intact for 60+ years and still love and serve in the name of Christ into their 80’s, so can I (God willing!).   This is how it is supposed to work.

Mike & Vic, I pray that God blesses you with the strength to serve many more years!


If you like the Ted Williams story, you’ll love prison ministry

It is hard not to enjoy the story of Ted Williams.

A few days ago, Ted Williams was a down-on-his-luck, homeless panhandler on the side of a Columbus, Ohio interstate highway ramp.

But then a reporter who had “discovered” the “man with the velvet voice” and made a video of Williams demonstrating his golden pipes put the video online. It’s lured more than 13 million hits.

Of course it is great to hear someone beat the odds.  But Mr. Williams isn’t valuable just because he has a great voice, but because he is a human being.

As I thought of his story it reminded me of the seemingly endless examples of transformed and redeemed lives I’ve seen through Kairos Prison Ministry.  Just this morning a man who had been molested as a child and had his 2 yr. old murdered was able to speak of his forgiveness for the perpetrators and talk about how he mentors other prisoners.  A former gang member has turned his life around and is eager and equipped to be the father and husband he is supposed to be when he is released next month.  A 40 yr. old who has been in prison since he was 17 can’t wait to get out and work hard to earn a living.  All of them are eager to share the Gospel with others.  And on and on.

There are many ways to support prison ministry, even if you don’t go into the prison yourself.  You can pray, bake cookies, donate money, support the Prison Fellowship and more.  You’ll never get tired of seeing lives transformed today and for eternity.