June 18, 2017   Jane’s Heart to Heart….                    Pastor’s Help Mate

National Center for Fathering associated with

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students)

The father absence crisis in America is real. When we talk about father absence, we mention the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistic that 24 million children—one out of three—live without their dad in the home

Ninety-two percent (92%) of parents in prison are fathers.

In 2007, 52 percent of prisoners were parents. This amounts to 1.1 million absent fathers and 120,000 absent mothers—impacting 2.7 million children—within the prison system alone. That’s more prison-induced, single-parent children than three times the population of San Francisco.

More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father.  Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent.  If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.

Prison Ministry

Since prison is God’s will for the offender’s life, they may rest assured He has a plan for their life after they are released or even if they are in prison for life, and it is a good plan to give them a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

Since prison is God’s will for the offender’s life, they may not be bitter toward anyone who played a part in their incarceration (friends, family, law enforcement, judicial, the administration of the prison or correctional officers).

The answer to this is not more prisons.  It is not locking people up and “throwing away the key.”  It is not even the death penalty, as studies have shown that even this does not effectively deter crime.  The answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the demonstration of power!

Prisoners need regeneration not rehabilitation–and Jesus has commissioned His followers to reach beyond the barbed wire fences and steel bars to touch the lives of men and women bound by the shackles of sin.

The mandate for prison ministry is clear in God’s Word, both by scripture and example.

SCRIPTURE: The greatest scriptural mandate for prison ministry is given in Matthew 25:31-40.  Jesus said: `…..for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  `I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, `Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

EXAMPLE:

Jesus Christ Himself is our example for prison ministry.  One of the main targets of Christ’s ministry was prisoners: To open blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.  (Isaiah 42:7)

Jesus declared: “eThe spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound”. . .  (Isaiah 61:1)

Even while dying on Calvary’s cross, Jesus took time to reach out in love and concern to a prisoner.   As a result, that convicted criminal experienced God’s love, grace, and forgiveness. During the time between His death and resurrection, we are told that Jesus ” . . . went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19).

Unfortunately, despite the clear Biblical injunction and Christ’s example to minister to prisoners, many believers prefer to pass by on the other side of the street, as did the religious leaders in the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37).

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