Graduation and Celebration 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)

Authentic Manhood Class

Last month, we had a party at Jester III Prison in Richmond, TX to wrap up a class that ran 36 weeks. It teaches biblical masculinity as modeled by Jesus in His 33 years on earth. Six weeks are given each to these topics:

A Man + His Design (Manhood Realities; Create + Cultivate; Manhood Definition; King/Warrior; Lover/Friend; Seasons of Life)

A Man + His Story (Looking Back; Dad; Mom; Healing; All-Alone; Heart)

A Man + His Traps (Heart Idols; Empty Promises; Battle Plan; XXX; Control; Significance + Comfort)

A Man + His Work (Tension; Blueprint; Courage; Essentials; Traps; Catalyzers)

A Man + His Marriage (Foundation; Die to Live; Friendship; Intimacy; Threats; Game-Changers)

A Man + His Fatherhood (Foundation; Grace-Based Parenting; True Greatness; Sons; Daughters; Decisions)

The men were reminded to Reject Passivity, Accept Responsibility, Lead Courageously, and Invest Eternally for Christ in attitudes and actions. Many of you have been praying for the class and we thank you! You would have loved to have been there. I wish I had it on video for my own repeated viewing and encouragement and for you! Here are some highlights.

We provided a meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken and brought it to 65 offenders, guards, and the warden’s staff. It included chicken, mashed potatoes + gravy, coleslaw, biscuits, and lemon cake. They enjoyed it as much as food from the fanciest restaurant! They were thrilled and so grateful!

The praise band and choir led us in Christian songs, all sung with great gusto, enthusiasm, and heart-felt-ness. Singing was interspersed with testimonies of admission of their wrongs and extreme thankfulness for God’s grace, mercy, and peace to them in Jesus. One man sang “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis and another sang “Honey, Open That Door” by Ricky Skaggs. Someone volunteered me to play drums and I did a sloppy job on a 1960s song. But everyone got a chuckle from my attempt. Someone else led us in the children’s song, “Ho-Ho-Ho Hosanna.”

The band and choir was a mix of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites all blending together beautifully and hugging each other. It was a foretaste of Heaven. Revelation 7:9 tells of huge multitude of believers from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before God’s throne and the Lamb, wearing white robes. The offenders were all wearing the standard white prison uniforms!

Here are some comments from offenders:

  • Stu said: I didn’t want to come to this class, but another man pushed me. I’m glad I did and have been so blessed. I attended church all my life, but these truths about godly manhood were never taught in my church or home. I wasted years living in foolishness, but now I’m committed to following Jesus.
  • Darren said: I have really profited from your “old man” wisdom. I never knew my father or grandfather and you guys fulfill that role for me. You really pour yourselves out for us!
  • Carl said: I didn’t meet my father until I was 19 and he was and still is in prison. That doesn’t excuse my crimes, but his abandonment left a deep wound in my soul. By God’s grace, I’m healing and am committed to trusting and obeying Christ for real when I get out soon.
  • Stan said that he never finished anything in his life until this class. He was planning to fail by failing to plan. He was only recognizing opportunities after they had passed. Now he knows better and wants to follow through. He also expressed thanks for another class, “Watch Your Mouth” Bible Study with Dr. Tony Evans. Now he realizes that he doesn’t know it all and can learn more by listening.
  • Carl sang about the need to bring others to faith and discipleship in Jesus. He’s looking forward to Christ’s commendation in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
  • Earl led us in a rousing call and response song, “I’m A Soldier in the Army of the Lord,” that went on for a long time and was wonderful! Lyle Lovett also sings this.
  • Tom said: I learned from the class that marriage is a covenant relationship and that God created men and women to complement each other, not to compete. I learned that women must be treated with respect and I grieve that I have not done that.
  • Eddie, well known to all, has had a very hard life before prison and inside and he was turned down for parole recently. Yet he sang Cici Winan’s song, “The Goodness of God.” All of us who know Eddie’s story were teary-eyed, but we are glad that Christ is still hanging on to Eddie and that Eddie is still hanging on to Christ.
  • Chaz said: I have felt loved by all the volunteers and other offenders over these 36 weeks and don’t want the course to end.

In Bible times and now, God’s people sometimes feel hard-pressed on all sides, squeezed, crushed, puzzled, depressed, depleted, anxious, persecuted, abandoned, abused, struck down, and about to be destroyed. That’s true of people in prison and also of people in the “free world” (that’s what they call us). But Jesus promises that He gives us eternal life and we shall never perish. No one will ever snatch us out of His or His Father’s strong hands.

Thank you for sending us to the men at Jester III! They would thank you if they could! Please pray for God’s continuing work of grace in and through them!

To Him who is able to keep US from stumbling
And to present US before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy.
To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 24-25)