Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Madness ~ High Impact

Here's one final devotional entry for March.  It's the last one!  I didn't know when I signed up that there would be FIVE Tuesdays in March.  Oh well.  It gave me a chance to express myself and dig deeper into who God wants us to be.

This Saturday I'll be at the High Impact Men's Conference at 3rd Reformed in Pella.  Stop by the New Life Prison Church Table and say hello!  Also in the works is a 3 minute commercial!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Life Logo

Today we introduce the New Logo for New Life Prison Church.  How do you like it?  The primary color is green to emphasize the new growth experienced in Christ.  Our key text is Isaiah 11:1-2.  Picture an old dead stump with green growth piercing above the surface.  The leaf represents new growth, new possibilities, new beginnings, new life for a transformed community of faith.  That new life does not happen by our careful strategies but only in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Pray for God to breathe new life into his church, including the church behind prison walls.

Pastor Rick Admiraal, New Life Prison Church (Newton, IA)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Madness - St. Patrick

Here is another devotional entry that I wrote for the Vital Men's Ministry.  St. Patrick!   March 22 Devotion

St. Patrick

On Saturday, April 2, Vital Men hosts its High Impact Conference - HIGH IMPACT.  I'll be there at a display table promoting New Life Prison Church.  I hope to share the vision of the prison congregation with as many guys as possible while soaking up wisdom from the keynote speakers.  Can't wait!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not Breaking the Bruised Reeds

Today I was reading my devotional from Bread for the Journey by Henri J.M. Nouwen.  And I thought I'd pass it along to you because it is extremely relevant for ministering to those who are imprisoned.

It's the March 17 reading entitled:
"Not Breaking the Bruised Reeds."

      Some of us tend to do away with things that are slightly damaged.  Instead of repairing them we say, "Well, I don't have time to fix it, I might as well throw it in the garbage can and buy a new one."  Often we also treat people this way.  We say, "Well, he has a problem with drinking; well, she is quite depressed; well, they have mismanaged their business ... we'd better not take the risk of getting involved with them."  When we dismiss people out of hand because of their apparent woundedness, we stunt their lives by ignoring their gifts, which are often buried in their wounds.  
     We all are bruised reeds, whether our bruises are visible or not.  The compassionate life is the life in which we believe that strength is hidden in weakness and that true community is a fellowship of the weak.

The notion of bruised reeds is based on Isaiah's Servant Song in the 42nd chapter ....

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.  (Isaiah 42:1-4 TNIV)

At New Life Prison Church, we are forming a community of bruised reeds by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We believe that Christ restores his bruised reeds, providing promise & hope.  May the New Life Prison Church become a fruitful field of bruised reeds ready to serve God. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pedaling for Prisoners

A few weeks back I signed up to ride the RAGBRAI - Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  On July 24-30, we'll work our way across 454.2 miles of Iowa from West to East.  Can't wait.  The late July event will present its challenges: hills, heat and humidity.  Still it will be fun to pedal my bike along with several thousand others.

I'm not just doing this for fun but to raise funds for New Life Prison Church.  And I'm not alone - 4 other riders have committed to ride RAGBRAI while raising funds for New Life.  Should be a lot of fun as we pedal for prisoners.

Passing through central Iowa, the route is not far from Pella and Newton.  Day 5 is a 57 mile ride from Altoona to Grinnell.  Maybe some bike riders would like to do that day trek while raising sponsor $$ for New Life Prison Church.  Let me know before June 15 if you're interested....

This afternoon, it's supposed to be 62F.  Gotta get out there & ride!

I ride a Giant Defy 3 road bike - it's good exercise & great fun!

The City Between

Reasnor - population 190!
On the road from Pella to Newton lies the City Between.  It is the "city" of Reasnor.  In fact, it says it on one sign - Reasnor City Limits.  

But this welcome sign admits that there are only 190 residents.

Towns like Reasnor are often forgotten.  It's too small to have its own high school.  It doesn't show up on the weather-maps of the TV stations from Des Moines.   There are no bustling subdivisions on the town's north side.  Instead, here's what you find just outside the city limits:

The "Suburbs" of Reasnor

I often pass through Reasnor as I travel from my home in Pella to the prison in Newton.  When I'm with Rose or other volunteers, we discuss the ministry or share stories.  When I'm driving alone, I listen to music, think and pray.  God is always working on me and sometimes he does his best work on the way.  This is God's good work of transformation.  We never graduate from God's school.

Jesus did some of his best work on the way in cities-between.  In Luke 9:51, we read - When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.

On the way to Jerusalem and the Cross, Jesus encountered a city-between, a place along the way.  Luke describes it this way: Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it.  A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.  (Luke 19:1-2)  

Some of us know the rest of the story from Sunday School days. Not only a tax collector but also vertically-challenged, Zacchaeus scaled a tree to see ...  Jesus.  But he didn't just see Jesus but also heard Jesus call to Come Down!  Come down from that tree, Zacchaeus because we're going to dine together at your house today.  Almost immediately Zacchaeus promised to change his ways, committing to give back the money he had stolen in his multiple white-collar crimes against his fellow citizens.

Great change happened in that city-between.  Jesus stopped along the way ~ SALVATION came to Zacchaeus' household. At last Jesus made this incredible statement that some say is the main theme of Luke's Gospel - For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.  (Luke 19:10)

May that also be true of New Life Prison Church - May we have Christ's compassion for the lost, bringing the God's Good News to incarcerated men by the power of the Holy Spirit!

written by Pastor Rick on the 3rd Wednesday in March.

More Devotional Entries

As I wrote in this earlier post ( March 2 -Training 4 Christ ), I've been writing devotional entries for Vital Men's Ministry.  My efforts are posted each Tuesday in March.  I've added two more Tuesdays since that first post.  Here are the links just in case you want to check it out ...

Capital L for Life

March 15 - The Word who gives Life

Magic Johnson - All Star Point Guard

March 8 - March Madness ~ Unselfish Play 

Look for more entries on March 22nd and 29th - Vital Ministries

Pastor Rick Admiraal, New Life Prison Church (Newton, IA)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Training Day - Save that Date!

On Saturday, April 16th, New Life will be having a Volunteer Rally. It will be held at the Calvary (Pella) Youth House.  All current prison volunteers are welcome to attend.  In addition, anyone who wants to find out more about the new prison congregation & its vision for ministry are also invited to attend.  Tentative schedule is 9:00 - 2:30, lunch included.  Let me know if you are interested.

We will have two guest speakers.  Mary Mortenson will travel to Iowa from her home in South Dakota.  The executive director of Prison Congregations of America, Mary will describe what it means to become a prison congregation while describing key differences from traditional prison ministries.  

Dan Kingery will also speak.  Dan is currently one of two workplace chaplains at Vermeer Corporation in Pella.  Previously he worked for Prison Fellowship's Innerchange Freedom Initiative (I.F.I.).  He also worked for a time as a parole officer.  Dan will address strategies to maintaining a good relationship with the Department of Corrections (D.O.C.).  

And who knows?  I may get in my two cents too...

Rick Admiraal
Pastor of New Life Prison Church

Training for Christ

Getting Stronger!

This month I'm writing devotionals for Vital Men's Ministry. Mike Sereg, a brother in Christ, asked me to write every Tuesday in March.  So look for these devotions at this link  Vital Men Devotions
for these dates: March 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29.  Mike is passionate about men's ministry but also prison ministry.  He leads a regular Sunday worship service at the prison.

Rick Admiraal, 
Pastor of New Life Prison Church