Episode 027: Rick Duncan, A Son’s Account Of Finding Happiness During His Father’s Incarceration

In this twenty-seventh episode of the Detention to Redemption podcast, I talk to Rick Duncan from Milan, Michigan. Rick is an author, prison volunteer, speaker and blogger. He shares with us how his family was impacted by incarceration and how that experience changed his life forever. He shares of the hurt he felt and that through his blog, and his book, his journey came full circle of losing happiness and then finding it again. Rick shares with us also about the many different ways that he now volunteers inside of prison and how God has used his experience to reach so many others. His testimony and vulnerability blessed me as we talked and I believe you too will be blessed by it!

Make sure you purchase his book “Opening Happiness” in it he writes: “There’s no living without joy. When I was twenty-four, my joy was stolen. It was a dark time. I remember the deep pain inside, an infinite ache that tore out the very core of my soul…” This book is about the journey of losing happiness and then finding it again. Rick believed that if he could only open a moment of happiness, he would find the answer to his longing and relief from his suffering. When that moment was found, it was not where he expected. You can purchase it by clicking on the below link.

SHOW NOTES

Blog: Opening Happiness

Book: Opening Happiness

Prison Fellowship

Children’s Literacy Network

 

One Day With God Forgiveness Ministry

If you have been touched by the music that is shared during this podcast you can buy an album that was written and recorded inside of prison at “Another Captive Free.”

Pray For Protection

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121

Let’s pray this week for the protection of the men at St. Clair Correctional Facility. Pray that their eyes would be lifted up to the Lord and that their hearts would be poured out to Him. Pray that they would rest in the fact that their help comes from the Lord and not from themselves. Pray that they would resist the snares of the evil one, Satan and shun drugs and other types of contraband that get into prison. Pray that they would be safe from sexual assault and other forms of victimization and be healthy and free from serious illness. Ultimately pray that their lives would be surrendered to the Lord and by His hand transformed into His likeness!

Episode 026: David Noles, The Importance Of Discipleship, Prayer And Manhood Ministry Inside Of Prison

In this twenty-sixth episode of the Detention to Redemption podcast, I talk to David Noles from Tallassee, Alabama. David is a volunteer chaplain at a Work Release near Montgomery, Alabama. He shares with us why prison ministry is important, his love for the incarcerated and how that a curriculum “Knights of The 21st Century” is changing the lives of many inside of prison.  David’s mission is the same as that of the curriculum and that is to walk beside each man as he strives to fulfill the potential God has given him. Many have been changed by David’s ministry and you will be blessed and challenged as you listen to this podcast.

I highly recommend the “Knights of The 21st Century” curriculum to anybody that is involved in men’s ministry. You can purchase it by clicking on the link below.

SHOW NOTES

Website: Knights of the 21st Century

Phone Number: 334-315-3086

Email: chapnoles@gmail.com

If you have been touched by the music that is shared during this podcast you can buy an album that was written and recorded inside of prison at “Another Captive Free.”

Lets Pray For Those Of Other Religions

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

This week I want to encourage you to pray for the Muslims that are incarcerated. Pray that these men would receive a full revelation of the true God and His loving character. Pray that they will also understand that God desires for everyone to know Him as children and not as slaves. Pray that they would get saved, pray that they will be convicted of sin and know true repentance. Pray that they would experience God’s total forgiveness and thus be able to forgive others. And also pray that they would know the assurance of salvation through Jesus, something Islam can never offer them! Pray for guidance as Jeremy interacts with these men at the prison that he serves at. Pray that relationships would continue to be built and that these men would seek out the Godly counsel of the Church inside of prison!

Teach Them to Dream

This following poem was written by a father that helps facilitate our Fatherhood program in the prison that I serve at. He wrote this poem begging fathers to become the daddy’s to their children that God has created them to be.

My only intention is to expose the flaws in our system,

And the life we have chose. We are our own foes…

Kids left to the streets with no daddy’s, and no goals.

No ambitions…mama got to beg us just to clean up the dirty dishes.

She is disrespected in her own house. Why…because daddy is still missing.

With daddy gone some looked to the streets for what’s missing at home.

It’s tough trying to raise up kids on your own

Mama is doing her best, but she can’t do it alone.

And it’s tough coming up when daddy ain’t there

And it’s hard for a kid to comprehend that life ain’t fair.

And when you’re living like this…it’s even harder to care.

Are we the ones that caused this division?

How do you think I feel about daddy being in prison?

I came up without a father so I know what it’s like.

I spent my first 15 in the street, and my last 15 doing life.

Now my daughter is coming up without me in her life.

It doesn’t take a scholar to figure out that none of this is right.

So how long are we going to let our baby’s cry into the night?

Open up your eyes men…and step into the light.

Let’s put an end to this cycle and start a fatherhood revival.

Supporting every football game and every piano recital.

Be a father for your kids and repent for your wrong.

Tell them that daddy apologizes and he wants to come home.

You can go where you want to, and you determine how far.

Teach ‘em how to dream and show ‘em the stars

And tell ’em daddy loves them…simply for who they are.

Pray For The Upcoming Kairos Weekend

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? Ezekiel 18:21-23

This coming weekend we will be having a Kairos weekend! Kairos is an interdenominational Christian ministry that comes into at. Clair twice a year for a 3-day short course in Christianity. It begins with a spiritual introduction on Thursday evening and then continues through Sunday afternoon. This ministry aims to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to all the men that participate. Kairos is a Greek word for time and is used in the sense of a time set by God for a particular occurrence. This weekend we have chosen 24 men from St. Clair that have never went through this weekend before to participate in this time set by God. Pray that these men will find God this weekend and experience His love for them! Pray that these men would be affected by this love, repent, turn from their sins and surrender their lives to Jesus.

Pray that everything would run smoothly and God would be glorified!

Complacency in Sharing Jesus

I recently came across a survey question that was asked of church goers in the United Stares. The question was asked in a statement asking them to agree/disagree. The statement was “I intentionally spend time building friendships with non-Christians for the purpose of sharing Christ with them?” I was deeply disappointed to discover that only 7 percent of respondents said they “strongly agreed” with the statement, and another 18 percent “agreed somewhat.” In fact I was so disappointed that I felt it was worth my time to write a post about it!

To think that only seven out of one hundred churchgoers can strongly affirm this statement is disturbing. No wonder most churches in America are declining or on a plateau. When looking at responses of other related questions in the survey I was even more shocked to find that when these same people were asked if they felt that it was their personal responsibility to share Christ with others 46 percent agreed strongly! A huge discrepancy is apparent. While 46 percent “agreed strongly” that it is their responsibility to share Christ, only 7 percent actually work on building bridges to do so.

We all may know it is true, but good intentions are not enough. Intellectual assent is not the same as actually putting feet to our intentions. As we sadly see in this survey, the intention to engage in gospel conversation with others that we daily encounter often fails. It points out the principle that there is no merit in good intentions unless they are acted on.

Another question asked to these same people was “How much do you agree/disagree: While interacting with others on a normal, daily basis, I seek opportunities to speak out about Jesus Christ?” The response to this question was only minimally better than the previous one: 10 percent said they “strongly agreed,” while 25 percent “agreed somewhat.” To state it another way, only ten out of one hundred regular churchgoers consistently seek opportunities to share Christ.

These answers to these questions were rather devastating and surprising discovery to me. I work daily in ministry and part of my vision, mission and goal for ministry is to disciple, equip and mobilize the church to make disciples among the incarcerated. The very goal of my ministry “disciples making disciples” is the very thing many Christians least desire to engage in, why? Why do so many struggle sharing Jesus with those they encounter? Why do so many have good intentions but fail to act on them? Perhaps we need to spend more time helping people understand the importance of relational evangelism. Maybe we need to share more success stories of one friend reaching another. Perhaps we need to allow more opportunities to share how God has used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.

These questions led me to ask several Christians that I serve with what they thought could be the reason for these survey results. The following are several of their answers.

  1. The fear of being ridiculed, disapproved, rejected and persecuted by the world, especially those close to us. Also, to avoid harassments, to avoid debates that can end whatever relationship yours in, friend, work, social situations, networks, neighbors, etc.
  2. They don’t feel or think that they are qualified. Because their personal walk with the Lord is suffering, and they feel inadequate or hypocritical.
  3. Complacency, lack of compassion and passion, spiritual laziness. Also the fact that some Christians focus on what Jesus can do for them and not what they can do for Jesus. Discomfort, costs time and sacrifice, it’s not in the routine.
  4. Too many worry about “political correctness”. It’s not politically correct anymore to share your faith.
  5. Influenced by worldly culture. They have believed the lie that they are “pushing” their beliefs on someone. They think belief is a private matter instead of going out to make disciples. They would rather stay quiet then offend someone.

Friends, Christians must be taught, trained, and challenged to take the gospel to lost and unchurched people in their lives. Before Jesus sent out seventy followers to share the good news, He explained: “After this, the Lord appointed 70 others, and He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go. He told them: ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'” (Luke 10:1-2) With so few Christians seeking opportunities, it is easy to conclude that we have lost our vision for the harvest God has prepared. We should be greatly encouraged that God always goes before us and is our witness. He is the One who changes the human mind and heart. Our part is simply to testify faithfully to the gospel’s truthfulness. Let’s make it our mission to encourage others to not let fear, complacency, worry and the culture around us keep us from fulfilling our Lords command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.

*Surveys were taken from the book “The Shape Of Faith To Come” by, Brad J. Waggoner

Disturb Us Lord!

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show Your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.

This prayer from Sir Francis Drake has been challenging me recently! I am challenged at how often we tend to think we have arrived in our Christian lives when in reality we haven’t. How often we tend to lose our thirst and zeal to be more like Christ and how our vision of heaven has a tendency to grow dim. So often we hang up the Do Not Disturb sign on the door of our lives because we don’t like our comfort, safety and status quo living being interrupted by the turbulence of big dreams, the deep waters of radical obedience, the rough seas of suffering, and the dark nights of uncertain adventures.

Pray this week that the Christians inside of prison would be disturbed, that they would not lose their thirst for the waters of life and would step out with courage, having placed their faith in God. Pray that while on this sanctification journey that they would open their eyes and identify those “smooth sailing” areas of their lives. Pray that the Church inside of prison will become more like Christ and be a radiant light to the rest of the population.

Featured Book “Inside The Criminal Mind”

“Inside The Criminal Mind” was written by Dr. Stanley Samenow a criminal psychologist. This book is a controversial read and many people react strongly to Samenow’s conclusions. He is simultaneously accused of being “too hard” on criminals by some and “too soft” on criminals by others. He is “too hard” on criminals because he expects them to take full accountability for themselves and not blame their disadvantaged childhoods, abuse by parents, poverty, etc. for their problems. But he is also accused of being “too soft” because his approach is treatment focused. I personally have found Dr. Samenow’s work fascinating and insightful and would encourage anyone that works among the incarcerated to read it!

The book relies on case studies, which fill the first 9 of its 14 chapters. Those chapters tear down existing theories by using individual examples. Then in Chapter 10 Dr. Samenow argues that the criminal knows right from wrong and when it suits him, he is law-abiding and even takes pride in being meticulous about it. If a criminal regards something as wrong for him personally, he will not do it. And if a criminal makes an error in judgment and is caught, he will say what he did wrong, but only because he was caught. Samenow goes on to disagree with other psychologists by this unusual claim, “Criminals do experience guilt and remorse. They have a conscience but it is not fully operational. When they commit a crime, they can shut off considerations of conscience as quickly and totally as they can shut off an electric light. Just the fact that the criminal can feel guilt, no matter how ineffective it is as a deterrent, helps him to maintain the belief that he is decent.”  Chapters 11 through 14 then address what is needed in order for criminals to change.  Samenow argues that crime is not reduced by social programs alone but also by consistent confrontation and education, teaching them habilitative procedures to control their anger and thoughts, to acquire new goals, and to perform a daily moral inventory. He suggests that criminals experience brief periods of dissatisfaction with their lives during which they sincerely want to change and those in corrections must learn how to take advantage of these periods by helping the criminal to see himself as the rotten person he is and then teaching him new ways of thinking.

This book debunks long-held myths regarding sources and cures for crime, redefines what motivates criminals and explains what must be done to deal with them effectively. Though it is controversial and I don’t necessarily agree with all of Dr. Samenow’s claims, I believe that we can all learn from this book and to be more effective in our approach to prison ministry. You can purchase this book by clicking on the books cover in this post!

Episode 025: Danny Duchene, Celebrate Recovery Inside And The Importance Of It Inside of Prison

In this twenty-fifth episode of the Detention to Redemption podcast, I am releasing my second interview with Danny Duchene, from Lake Forest, California. Danny is the “Celebrate Recovery Inside Pastor” at Saddleback Church as well as the Celebrate Recovery Inside, National Director. Danny shares with us the importance of the Celebrate Recovery Curriculum inside of prison. Celebrate Recovery encourages fellowship and celebrates Christ’s healing power in the lives of people as they work their way along the road to recovery. Many anonymous programs provide help for a single issue; alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, etc. Celebrate Recovery Inside deals with the whole person, every kind of issue that keeps people from being who God created them to be. Danny describes himself as a Celebrate Recovery Inside “Happy Customer” since he began Celebrate Recovery in 2003 while incarcerated at the Jamestown, CA prison.
This interview is mainly focused on Celebrate Recovery Inside, but for those who have not heard my original interview with Danny, I would encourage you to go back to Episode 15 where Danny shares with us his testimony! You will be encourage by both of these interviews so listen to them, rate them, give me a review on ITunes and share them with your friends!

SHOW NOTES

Website: Celebrate Recovery Inside

Curriculum: Celebrate Recovery Inside

Email: danny@saddleback.com

If you have been touched by the music that is shared during this podcast you can buy an album that was written and recorded inside of prison at “Another Captive Free.”