Another Graduation at Prison

Bob RoanePrison Ministry

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3)

Happy Day at Jester III

Last month, we had a party at the prison in Richmond, TX to wrap up 9 months of classes. Our program focuses on practical Christian living, using the material of Dr. Tony Evans. Through Tony’s national ministry, he promotes a kingdom agenda philosophy that teaches God’s comprehensive rule over every sphere of life for individuals, families, and society. Christ commands us to obey all things He has commanded and to live by every word that comes from God’s mouth in day-to-day matters.1 Dr. Evans uses the Scriptures in practical ways to give us a God-centered moral and spiritual compass for making right and responsible life choices.

Tony’s classes are not designed for use with offenders, but they work so well here. The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, and reintegrate offenders into society. Thank God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), many of the men we see have not succumbed to the trauma of prison and they want, with God’s help, to totally change the direction of their lives for good.

Poem from a Graduate

Kevin Smith read his poem, “The Detour,” at our graduation ceremony:

What is a detour? How do you bypass the strongholds of your life?
What roadblocks are holding you back? How do you avoid sin and strife?
Is the road you’re on dark and lonely? Do you lack peace in your heart?
Has resentment poisoned you? And ripped your life apart?

Satan is the deceiver. His directions lead you astray.
There is a Detour (Savior) named Jesus. He will show you the way.
Avoid the dodging and ducking. Look to Jesus’ cross.
Christ is ready to redeem you. Get off that road where you’re lost.

God showed me a Detour (Savior), men of God reflecting His light.
Bob, John, Gene, Everett, Dick, and Henri showed us Christ’s path that is right.
The classes have been a blessing, another seed planted in me.
An inmate lock up in prison. But through Christ, now I am free.2

We used Tony Evans’ program “Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny” part of this year. Nobody likes detours when we are traveling, but the Lord use setbacks (like prison and other problems) to spare us from greater trouble and to save and sanctify us for service to Him and other people. We also covered Evans’ program, “U-Turns: Reversing the Consequences in Your Life.” We are 100% responsible for our choices and can’t blame others. We must suffer the consequences that come from bad choices, and learn to recover from them and get back on track for God. We are to be a blessing to other people, not a burden. Kevin’s poem blends thoughts from both of these classes. Jesus is both “The Good Detour (Savior)” who is also “The U-Turn,” bringing us back to God’s narrow way that leads to life. Proverbs says: “Though Jesus’ followers fall seven times, by God’s grace they can and will rise again.”3

Some Quotes From Tony Evans

Here are some snippets from the class material that the men appreciated. Maybe they will help you too.

  • There’s one thing you can count on in life. Your path will not always be easy. Setbacks are unavoidable, part of the struggle of living in a fallen world. Some setbacks are due to our own sin and failures. Some are not and they are beyond our control.
  • There are two answers to every question, God’s and everybody else’s. Everybody else is wrong when they disagree with the Lord. The more we shut out the true God of the Bible, the more chaotic things become. The exclusion of God automatically means the inclusion of evil.
  • When you repent of sin and live by God’s standards, you can be restored and reconciled with the Lord and other people. Comebacks don’t seem likely when your back is against the wall and your hope is depleted. But if you stay the course, you discover God’s power to reverse irreversible things.
  • You can’t blame things for being dark if the light bulbs aren’t working. Christ says that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Forget about pointing fingers at others to fix what they may never fix. Our nation’s ills are not merely the result of corruption or racism, although these are evil. Our troubles can also be traced directly to ineffective Christians.
  • Prayer is the God-given communication link between Heaven and Earth, time and eternity, the finite and the infinite. And Jesus’ cross is our center point of reference for every area of life all the time.
  • Whenever you define family as anything other than a man and a woman married together, you have created an ethical nightmare. When you redefine the family other than what the Creator intended, then you bring the devolution of civilization.
  • When fathers come home after a tough day at work, they should come home to serve, like my father did. He taught lessons around the dinner table and led the family in worship and prayer.
  • The saga of a nation is the saga of its families. Whoever owns the family owns the future. When families break down, many bad repercussions come (poverty, crime, lack of discipline, and more).
  • Let us be who God made us to be. We submit to Him and obey His commands to relate properly to people who the Lord has made different from us. God has established how we must live. He commands and expects us to do it His way, never independently of Him. When we go our own way, we will get consequences we will not want to bear.

Thank You

I appreciate you praying for our ministry to the men at Jester III! They would thank you if they could! Please ask the Lord to continue His work of grace in and through them!

Notes (various Bible translations): 1 Matt 4:4, 28:20.     2 Lightly edited.     3 Prov 26:15, my paraphrase.