Over 3,000 prisoners at the Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California, joined with Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers in celebrating Jesus’ victory over death on Easter weekend. Musicians, a comedian, and other performers entertained those assembled in the prison yard, while Pastor Tim Rolen shared the Good News of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
On March 30, Prison Fellowship Vice President for Advocacy and Public Policy Craig DeRoche offered the closing prayer as part of the annual White House Easter celebration.
Every year after finishing his own prison sentence, Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson returned behind bars for Easter services, sharing the good news of Jesus’ resurrection with incarcerated men and women. Rather than celebrating in more comfortable surroundings with people of means and influence, Colson opted to worship in crowded prison gymnasiums surrounded by orange jumpsuits and ever-watchful prison guards.
In celebration of Prison Fellowship’s 40 years of ministering to prisoners and their families, we will taking a look back at the early days of the ministry and remembering the people and the stories that have helped to make Prison Fellowship the nation’s largest prison outreach.
Archeologists working in Jerusalem think they might have excavated the site of Jesus’ trial (Mark 15). Fifteen years ago, a team began digging through the layers of an abandoned building near the Tower of David. They believe they have uncovered the foundations of Herod’s Palace, a probable site for Jesus’ famous audience with Pontius Pilate.
In the Gospels, we get a sense of the profound, loving relationship between God the Father and His Son, Jesus.
Only once do we see the Father and Son separated. As Jesus hangs on the cross between two thieves, with the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders, He feels the agony of parental absence.
The word “arise” runs through Scripture like the repetitive chorus of a song.
When the people of Israel were waiting on the east side of the Jordan River, hesitating to enter the Promised Land, their leaders encouraged them, “Arise … for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good” (Judges 18:9).
“To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit.” – Jonah 2:6, NIV
The wayward prophet Jonah had to go into the belly of the whale before He really understood the message of redemption God wanted him to preach in Nineveh.