It was uncanny. The prisoner standing in front of me shared my first name. Like me, he was raised on a farm in Michigan. In fact, our homes were so close together that we frequented the same ice cream parlor and hamburger joint growing up.
When I was still a pastor in Michigan, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson came up for a visit. He attended a lunch celebrating those involved in a church-based reentry program for the formerly incarcerated. Men and women came up to thank Chuck for his work with prisoners, and as they did so, tears sprang to his eyes.
Brother Potts will never go home. Because of the crimes he has committed, he will spend the rest of his days on earth locked behind prison bars. But he is also one of the most joyful people I know. He is humble, gentle, and caring.
By God’s grace, I have never served a sentence, but the men and women I am blessed to encounter in prison always teach me about following Jesus.
Recently, I was privileged to spend an entire day in prison with hundreds of prisoners and their families.
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.
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” – Acts 12:5 (NIV)
When Peter was thrown into prison at the order of King Herod, there was nothing his friends could do for him.
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.
The criminal justice system was a vital concern to the late Chuck Colson and the organization he founded, Prison Fellowship. The need for Reform is ongoing. And to that end, John Stonestreet welcomes former Congressman J.
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” – Matthew 26:38
Jesus’ deep sorrow in this verse takes on special significance when we see it through a prisoner’s eyes.
A version of the following commentary originally appeared on the BreakPoint website.
No human life is irredeemable—no one is beyond the reach of God. And if anyone in recent history embodied that truth, it was Chuck Colson.
In 1969, as a young, hard-driving, fast-rising political star, Chuck found himself in the oval office, accepting Richard Nixon’s offer to become special counsel to the President.
Prison Fellowship and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview are partnering with WORLD News Group and Focus on the Family for the Restoring All Things Conference, an inspiring event taking place this April with stops in Grand Rapids, Atlanta, and Dallas.
Angel Tree blesses hundreds of thousands of children each year, but did you know that it also leads their incarcerated parents closer to Jesus?
At a time of year that can be full of sorrow for parents separated from their children, Angel Tree allows moms and dads to reach out from behind prison bars with a message of love for their families.
At a recent event in New York City, I was privileged to introduce Quovadis Marshall to a group pf people who financially support the ministries of Prison Fellowship.
“Q,” as we call him, shared his story: He was raised in poverty by a single mom who worked diligently to feed her kids.
In the conversation about building safer communities, it’s easy to get caught up in the big topics: record-breaking incarceration rates, headline-grabbing crime trends, and large pieces of criminal justice legislation.
But it’s often the littlest ones among us who are hurt the most by crime.