Happy birthday to Kristin Gleghorn on May 1st. Have a great birthday, Kristin!
If you are making cookies for the KAIROS Prison Ministry visit, please freeze them and have them at the church by noon Wednesday April 30th. Package them and leave them in the church freezer. We also ask for your prayers. Pray that those whom God selects to attend the Kairos and hear the good news, that they will be able to repent, and believe. Heart change comes before behavior change.
Next Sunday, May 4th, is Blue Sunday. A special presentation will be made to deal with Child Abuse Prevention.
The Good News Reading for the 2nd Sunday after Easter was from John 20:19-31.
When it was evening on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared to the disciples behind closed doors and said to them: “Peace be to you.” He showed them His hands and side and they rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said again, “Peace be with you; just as my Father has sent me, so I send you.” He encouraged them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive a man his sins, they shall be forgiven to him; and if you withhold forgiveness of a man’s sins, they are kept.”
But Thomas was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples later saw Thomas, they said to him, “We have seen our Lord.” Thomas said, “Unless I see in his hands the marks of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, the disciples were again indoors, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, when the doors were locked, and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and reach out your hand and put it in my side; and be not faithless but believing.”
Thomas answered, saying to him, “O my Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Now you believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen me, and have believed.
This week some Christians from around Mason County and beyond are headed to a maximum security prison in Kennedy. It is considered the end of the road for many who are there. For many, they are essentially, good as dead. When a person has been given seven life sentences, and no hope of parole, sometimes their family stops visiting. The state no longer tries to rehabilitate them. There are really no consequences you can threaten them with to change their behavior. Those sort of folks often become the leaders of gangs in the prison because the other inmates consider them to be fearless. The other inmates fear them. Those are exactly the folks we ask the warden to allow us to have on the Kairos prison weekend. Some might describe as the worst of the worst.
I seem to recall Saul was killing Christians before God got ahold of him. As I try and raise awareness of Kairos I get a lot of rejection. I often hear that folks don’t want to hear about it, and don’t want to help, and don’t want to go with me. The scriptures don’t say that God ever gives up on anyone. In 1st Peter 1, verse 3 we read: By His great mercy God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The person who is the real judge is the woman that inmate used to abuse. In some cases they still maintain control over them, even from their prison cells. But let me tell you this: when the abused woman sees and hears and experiences real transformative change - she begins to believe that God may be real. She is the least likely person to believe it. She doubts it even more than you. But when she sees real change, it gives her hope. You may know that each Kairos team is supported by an outside team. Kairos Outside takes the good news of Jesus to the wives and ex-wives of inmates. Then they have the possibility “to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him they will have life by the power of Jesus’ name. (John 20:31)
I am certain you can image the stigma that the wives of prisoners experience in life. Kairos Outside is the new way they can encounter Jesus. If both the husband and the wife begin to turn over their lives to Jesus, the hope for their children is born. You see, if a child in the United States has a parent that is incarcerated, they stand a greater than 70% chance of being locked up, too. I am certain you can imagine the stigma and teasing and horrible treatment kids experience when they have a parent that is in prison.
We know - scientifically - that when they experience this bad treatment by other kids - it shuts down their frontal cortex. The part of the brain they really need to work - to do well in school.
So I want you to know that they are the reason I ask you to support prison ministry. The ultimate goal is the children of inmates. When the mom and the dad both give their life to Jesus, and begin to experience the resurrection, we ask their permission to go and get their kids. We go and get their kids from foster care. No matter where they are in the United States, the ministry called “One Day with God” goes and gets them and takes them to Kennedy, Texas.