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Bits of Art
(bits_of_art@hughes.net)
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 • Posted March 19, 2014

Today’s Lenten Lunch, at noon on March 19th, is at First United Methodist Church, hosted by St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

This week’s birthdays are Christian Dyess on Mar. 20th, James Gleghorn on Mar. 21st, Vicki Krcha on Mar. Mar. 22nd and Brenda Kothmann on Mar. 24th.Remember these great people on their birthdays.

In this 2nd week of Lent, we will be looking at Genesis 12 and John 3.

God called Abram to go, and Abram went. I am guessing that if God had not called him, Abram would not have left his native country, his relatives, and his father’s family. Some Jesus followers I get to hang out with go to prison because God has called us to go. If we didn’t believe God has called us, we would not go. It is too hard, too risky, and takes a lot of time out of our golf game.

Our prison team has nothing to do with their sentences. Our prison team has nothing to do with justice reform, or helping inmates with the parole board. We believe it was Jesus who said: “I was in prison and you visited me. We go with love in our hearts, because we believe it is love that brings in the Kingdom of God on earth. The fruit of Kairos prison ministry is the prisoner is set free. Once set free, the saved inmate’s behavior changes. Prison reform, like grace, is an inside job.

Three strikes and mandatory minimum sentences have produced a very large, and growing prison population. It has also broken families apart, and the children of the incarcerated do very poorly in our society. Kairos Prison Ministry is a Christian faith based ministry which addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth and their families. By sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, Kairos believes that the Holy Spirit can change hearts, transform lives and impact the world. We believe the Bible teaches heart change precedes behavior change.

Kairos is not about justice reform or reducing an inmate’s sentence. The United States of America spends over $60 billion every year to keep 2.3 million inmates incarcerated. The Kairos program is offered at no cost to State and Federal Institutions. Recidivism rates for those participating in Kairos are significantly reduced. In our country, there are 7.3 million children with at least one parent that is incarcerated. A child with an incarcerated parent stands a greater than 70% of being incarcerated. Recidivism and re-incarceration rates have hovered around 80% for as long as we have measured effectiveness of our criminal justice system. Why go to prison? It was Jesus who said “I was in prison and you visited me.” When an inmate repents and receives Jesus into his heart, some question if it is a jailhouse conversion. The person that can be the most skeptical is the woman that inmate used to abuse. If she sees real change, miraculous change in her abuser, it can give her hope. A separate program called Kairos Outside takes the gospel to her. If both father and mother repent and receive Jesus into their hearts, there is a ministry to allow their children to reunite with them for one day. The “1 Day with God” Camps began with a vision of one day inside prison walls where parent and child could reconcile with one another and spend time together with God-anointed mentors working beside them. Children mentored in 1 Day with God have significantly improved performance in school and in developing healthy relationships. Their levels of incarceration are significantly less than those who are not able to reconcile with their family of origin.

The fruit of Kairos prison ministry is the prisoner is set free. Once set free, the saved inmate’s behavior changes. Prison reform, like grace, is an inside job. Three strikes and mandatory minimum sentences have produced a very large, and growing prison population. It has also broken families apart, and the children of the incarcerated do very poorly in our society. Restored families through Kairos, Kairos Outside, and 1 Day with God is the work of the church. Prison reform is sorely needed in the United States.

Kairos is about freeing the prisoner, and restoring the children of inmates, not prison reform. Our prison team has nothing to do with their sentences. Our prison team has nothing to do with justice reform, or helping them with the parole board. We go to offer them God’s agape love, an opportunity to repent, and enter into a relationship with God. If they choose to repent, other members of our team go into the prison weekly and teach them to pray, and learn to walk with Jesus. Listening, praying, and making cookies for someone is an opportunity for Jesus followers to provide some grace, for someone “doesn’t deserve it”. The time and effort spent on inmates that are locked up for the rest of their lives is offered unconditionally to them … as a tangible sign of God’s agape love. I suppose we are blessed to be a blessing.

Maybe that’s why God called Abram. I suppose that is why God blessed all His people. The children of the incarcerated, that live in our land of milk and honey, need help. May God bless you for reading all the way to the end. Pray for the children of the inmates.

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