The Real Price of Prisons
There are more people behind bars in the United States today than ever before. Since 1980, the inmate population has more than quadrupled to two million -- an unprecedented explosion that is incurring unprecedented costs to all Americans.
Rehabilitation Is Not Working
Regeneration Through The Blood Of Jesus Christ Is
" Let the groaning of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve those who are doomed to die ." Psalm 79:11 (NASB)
The Outward Focused Prison Ministry came into being because I heard the groaning of the prisoner, differently. What I heard stirred me, it captivated me, and it engaged me. Having been in prison myself, I understand the emptiness and hopelessness that produces that kind of groaning. I know what it is like to be doomed to a never-ending cycle of pain and misery, where death always seems to be looming on the horizon of my life.
But I also know from experience that there is a power available to preserve from that very death and to get inmates free from those things that have imprisoned them. My ministry to inmates is called "Get Free." I have been called, not to get inmates free from jail, but to get them free from the things that got them into jail. External bondage (prison) is the direct result of some kind of internal bondage (sin). You can remove the external, but if nothing is done about the internal, it will be just a matter of time before they are back into some kind of external bondage.
Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines the word "free" in this way: "to remove from a thing any encumbrance or obstruction; to dis-engage from; to rid; to strip; to clear; as to free a body from sickness."
Combine this definition with a statement that Jesus makes in John 8:32 - "You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free;" and it is clear that the way to remove from the lives of inmates, those things that continually place them into some kind of bondage, is to know and practice the truth that Jesus has come to reveal.
Outward Focused accomplishes the task of teaching inmates the truth in two ways.
The first is by providing inmates with four different Bible Studies that Jim Newsom developed. In order to view and print these Bible Studies just click on the links below.
(You will need Adobe Reader to do so)
Transformed Into His Image Small Group Bible Study
Mighty Men Of God Small Group Men's Bible Study
Making Disciples (This Study is still being developed)
Lions Den Seminar
The second is by conducting mid-week seminars and weekend retreats at prisons through-out the country. Following is a report concerning a weekend retreat that we recently conducted.
On July 8-10, 2005 I took a team of six men into Mahanoy Correctional Institution, located in Frackville, PA to conduct a weekend retreat. These men are from a Church in Reston VA. Our theme was "Soaring Like Eagles." Over eighty men signed up for the weekend. On Friday night, two of our team led in a time of worship after which I preached a message entitled "Mounting Up With Wings Like Eagles."
On Saturday morning each of the other five men on the team, taught a workshop on some aspect of Christian living. The titles of their topics were: "Effective Prayer; Your Job In God; Persevering Through Trials; Walking In Righteousness; and Gifts For Service." These men taught their workshops twice, in order that each inmate could attend two of the five workshops.
After lunch, two of our team led in worship again. During this time, many of the inmates testified on how the workshops really minister to them. After this time of worship and testimony, I preached a message entitled "Eagle Training School." Both Friday night and Saturday afternoon messages were on what I have been writing about for the last two months in this newsletter.
At this point, I had to leave to go and minister at a Church in Greensburg, PA, but the other five men stayed for both the Saturday night and the Sunday afternoon services. On Sunday afternoon over 200 men showed up for the services.
Below is one of several letters which I received from inmates from Mahanoy concerning this retreat. Dear Jim,
I hope you had a safe trip back home. I just felt like I had to write you and say thank you to you and all the brothers for coming here and taking the time from your busy lives to fellowship and minister to us. I have never in all of my 41 years have been so touched and moved in my life!!! The workshops that you taught were out of this world, totally amazing, awesome!! I attended Fritz and Steves workshop, they have so much to share its mind blowing! I am not who I want to be, I am not who I am going to be, but I am not who I used to be. I have to say that even though I am in prison, I have never felt so great and free in my whole life as I do today!!! Please tell everyone I said thanks.
A Brother forever,
PS - I have never been so high in my life, and I am sober!!!
HERE IS WHAT PRISON CHAPLAINS ARE SAYING ABOUT
THE " GET FREE " PRISON MINISTRY
Listed below are a few of the letters that I have received from prison Chaplains, from around the country endorsing the "Get Free" Prison Ministry. You will need Adobe Reader to view and print these letters.
State Correctional Institution at Somerset - Chaplain Phil Maust
Zephyrhills Correctional Institution - Chaplain Archie Bright
New Covenant Fellowship - Chaplain Joseph Velotti
Good News Jail and Prison Ministries - Chaplain Dan Matche