Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Prayer Warrirors Needed!

New Life Prison Community is looking for prayer warriors.  Each week we will collect prayer requests from the men in Newton and forward them to our prayer warriors.  Would you consider being a prayer warrior for New Life Prison Community?  

Contact Pastor Rick  ~  

                     or Rose ~  

Thanks for serving the Lord!

'Gearing Up' for RAGBRAI

I'm gearing up for RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).  Part of gearing up means getting the road bike in good working-order and running sweetly.  So I brought my bicycle down to Iowa Bike & Fitness yesterday to get Marty's assistance.  After 9,000+ miles over the life of my bike it was time for a new rear-derailleur.  So here's a picture of my new bike part.  The bike should be shifting like a champion now!

Gearing up for RAGBRAI also means doing the necessary training.  RAGBRAI is 471 miles this year - not as hilly as last year but it's a little longer.  It starts in Sioux Center, Iowa and goes all the way to Clinton, Iowa in one week.  So I've been riding my fair share and logging the training miles.  But don't worry - it's no chore.  I love to ride!

Gearing up for RAGBRAI also means preparing for Pedal for Prisoners.  Last year we gathered sponsors between seven riders and raised over $18,000 for the New Life Prison Community.  This year the goal of six riders is to top the $20,000 barrier.  Will you sponsor one of us?  Will you make a stand and support this important ministry to men at the Newton Prison?

What I'm reading

I just finished reading Howard Zehr's classic The Little Book of Restorative Justice.  Don't give me too much credit - it's only 71 pages and that includes the endnotes!  Although it's short, it says much in few words.  Zehr concludes that retributive justice and restorative justice are not necessarily opposites but they ask different questions.  These are "the questions that drive our current justice systems: What laws have been broken?  Who did it? What do they deserve?"

True justice requires, instead, that we ask questions such as these: Who has been hurt?  What do they need?  Whose obligations and responsibilities are these?  Who has a stake in this situation?  What is the process that can involve the stakeholders in finding a solution?  Restorative justice requires us to change not just our lenses but our questions."  (Zehr, p.63)

I appreciated Zehr's brief comment in passing about the death penalty.  "Many acts and efforts are being labeled 'restorative,' but in fact they are not.  Some of these might be rescued.  Others cannot.  The death penalty, which causes additional and irreparable harm, is one of the latter."  (Zehr, 57)  I agree.

I liked the book so much that we purchased copies for everyone who was at the restorative justice workshop and every member of the New Life launch team.  I hope all of them appreciate this informative read about a new and better way to do justice.  I also recommend the book to you ...

Pastor Rick
April 25, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Incredible Poem!

On Good Friday, John B. marched out of Newton Prison on his way to freedom and family in the Quad Cities.  Before he left he shared this incredible poem with us during the Holy Week service in the prison gym.  Enjoy!

My Commitment as a Christian    
Submitted by: John B.

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed,
I have stepped over the line
The decision has been made,
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I will not look back, let up, slow down, or be stilled.
My past is redeemed,
My present makes sense,
And my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living,
Sight walking, small planning, smooth knees,
Colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking,
Cheap living, and small goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position,
Promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I do not have to be right, first, on top,
Recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.
I now live by faith, lean on His presence,
Walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my goal is heaven,
My road is narrow. my way is rough,
My companions few, my guide reliable,
And my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, deluded, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice,
Hesitate in the presence of adversary,
Negotiate at the table of the enemy,
Or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I will not give up, shut up, or let up
Until I have stayed up, stored up,
Paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus.
I must go until he comes,
Give until I drop,
Preach until all know Him,
And work until He stops me.
And when He comes for his own,
He will have no problem recognizing me
For my banner will clear!

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Week at New Life

We have some new materials at New Life for this new week.  On Tuesday, we have a prayer group featuring materials from Henry & Richard Blackaby - Fresh Encounter.  It's a DVD / workbook series emphasizing spiritual awakening and revival.  Pray for revival to take place at the Newton prison.  Pray that the Spirit will blaze a trail through the lives of men, transforming hearts and changing their Way of Life.

Then on Thursday we start a new study featuring a book from Crossroad Bible Institute.  It's a book written by Dr. David Schuringa called Seven Secrets for Success in the Workplace.  Good stuff.  Very practical.  Some of us may consider the material to be common sense but I've found that common sense just isn't that common any more.   We're hoping to supplement the material by getting input from business owners and those in administrative positions in order to find out what they expect from their employees.  It'll help to have a Bible-based curriculum that speaks into the reality of our workplace world.  We want to grow more than just Sunday-Christians at New Life.  Instead the Spirit inspires men in prison to take their faith seriously and live out what they believe.  Glory be to God!

A Caregiver's Prayer - from Rose

We are - Easter People!

I received this poem from Mary Mortenson of Prison Congregations of America.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Week in Prison

This week we celebrate Holy Week in prison.  On Tuesday, New Life Prison Community meets in the prison chapel for prayer group.  We'll sing songs of Good Friday and Easter.  We'll pray together.  We'll read God's Word and share devotionals that lead us to meditate on the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

On Holy Thursday, New Life Prison Community meets in the prison gym for worship.  Last year at this time, Maundy Thursday marked our first ever large-group worship service.  This year we're once again celebrating what Christ has done for us.  We'll sing great songs like Blessed Redeemer and My Redeemer Lives!  The message will focus on the 7 Words of Jesus spoken from the cross (recorded in John 19, Luke 23 and Matthew 27).  Then we'll hear one of the inmate-members sing "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"  Maundy Thursday marks the day when Jesus gathered the disciples in the upper room and re-defined passover in terms of himself - his body and blood.  Of course, this prison worship service will include the celebration of the Lord's Supper!  Praise God!

Pray that the Holy Spirit will make his presence known.  Pray that God will bless us as we worship & fellowship together in prison this week.