More than fifty men began the new Godly Dads course at Dan River last Friday. We have praying for years, asking the Lord to open the doors and to provide the direction for a class to teach men in prison how to become Godly Dads.
This is a HUGE need (see the stats below). The doors opened a couple of months ago and the Lord has been providing the content. So, we have started a 6-week course that will provide a solid Biblical foundation for men to stand upon as fathers. It is called … Godly Dads: Men of Integrity, Love & Leadership. This may be the most important thing we have done in eleven years of full-time prison ministry. Think about it, among this first group of fifty men, God can affect the lives of close to 200 children!
· Pray for God’s protection and His provision for the course.
· Pray that the hearts of the 50+ men who have signed up will be open to hear God’s Word on the subject.
· Pray that ALL of the men involved will apply the lessons learned as they prepare to leave prison and when they get home.
· Pray that hundreds of kids will benefit from the changes that God will make in their dads.
Most men in prison did not grow up with a father in the home or positively involved in their lives. Many of them have a strong desire to get this right, to be the dad that God wants them to be. So, they need transformation, Biblical instruction and inspiration. There is no place better to teach this course than in a minimum custody prison. Most of these men will be back in their homes and communities with the opportunity to apply these lessons within a few short months.
Thank God for His direction, His provision and for this opportunity!
Free In Christ Prison Ministries
P.S. For those interested in supporting us financially, you can send tax deductible contributions to: Calvary Chapel of Cary, 1600 Center Street, Apex, NC 27502. Just write “FICPM” on the memo line of your check. Thank you!
Godly Fathers make all the difference.
Let me share a few statistics with you that help to bring this problem home:
Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
· Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse - Researchers at ColumbiaUniversity found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households.
· 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
· Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
· 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
· Father Factor in Incarceration – Even after controlling for income, youths in father absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that:
· 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).
· 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
· Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household.
There is much more but this paints the picture pretty well – and we have the opportunity to do something to help men in prison to become Godly Dads!
June 6, 2013
Where does ministry end?
Where does ministry end? Short answer … it doesn’t. The book of Acts provides a flowing account of the beginning of the church on Pentecost in Jerusalem and moves through many cities on three continents until Paul (who was a persecutor of the church in Acts 7) is imprisoned for his faith in Rome in Acts 28. This account has no conclusion, the final verses simply say, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” The story continued in the lives of men and women who had surrendered their lives to Jesus and spread the good news. The story still continues.
This is the course of ministry. In our case, we see that prison ministry isn’t limited by the fence. The work the Lord is doing in men’s lives inside prison moves in and beyond the confines of prison grounds. I’ll give you two examples.
Todd was set free in prison. The Lord used Todd’s prison time to establish a solid foundation that he is still building on today. Todd has been out for almost two years and is actively involved in a local church in western North Carolina. Late last year he contacted me to see if he could teach the Beyond Addictions course in the small town where he lives. Working under the leadership of his pastor, he is now discipling men and he is seeing them set free from bondage to addiction through a daily relationship with Jesus Christ!
It is exciting to read his emails and to hear him tell me about people who have been freed from darkness and are now walking in the light of Jesus Christ. So, the work continues and other men’s lives are being changed through the work that the Lord did in one man’s life while he was behind the fence.
Jeremy is serving a life sentence. He gave his life to Jesus when he entered prison. Over the past ten years, I have seen him grow in his relationship with Christ as he learns to live a life of real value while still in prison.
Jeremy’s parents have been divorced for many years. Shortly after he was saved, he started praying for both of them and he consistently witnessed to them in visits, letters and phone calls. Last year, Jeremy’s dad gave his life to Jesus. Last month, his mom got saved too! Talk about fruit!
Both of his parents have written and told me that they could see a real difference in their son, and I know that this was a weighty factor in their decision to commit their lives to Jesus. They saw real peace and joy, and they didn’t see it once or twice, not for a month or two, but week after week for years and years. Through their incarcerated son they saw evidence of what it means to live free in Jesus. The fruit if the Spirit in his life bore fruit in their lives.
Praise God that the work continues. As people are born again and discipled in prison, the Lord uses them to reach far beyond our sight, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
The work continues …
Going Beyond Addictions
We completed two more Beyond Addictions classes at Caswell and Dan River prisons last month (the 45th and 46th groups). Since the Fall of 2002, 533 men have graduated from this course at one of the two prisons where we serve. Many others have also completed the book in jails and prisons in Texas, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Over the past 20 months, we have given 609 copies free to men and women in prison, and another 971 copies have been purchased by prison or recovery ministries.
One measure of the effectiveness of the course is the recidivism rate of the graduates. Each year we conduct a recidivism study to find out if Beyond Addictions graduates who have been released from prison have returned. The 2013 study shows that only 21.3% of all graduates who have been out of prison for two years or more have returned. We pray that every graduate remains free from prison but compared to the national average for recidivism of over 67%, this isn’t too bad. So, four out of every five Beyond Addictions graduates have remained free from prison while two out of three in the general prison population have returned.
Clearly, it has an effect. Why? The answer is as old as the earth. All that we are doing with this book and course is to apply the Word of God to this issue and to help men establish a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Once they have completed the course, most of them continue building on this firm foundation. When the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God in a willing heart, lives change.
We are praying that the Lord will open the doors to teach this course in more jails and prisons and that He will raise up men and women to take it there. Let me know if you are interested.
“Focus on the people in front of you.”
This has been the Lord’s answer as we regularly ask Him what we are supposed to do. A famous politician once said that “all politics is local”. While there aren’t many good comparisons between politics and ministry, this one is – most all ministry is local too. Occasionally, God enables us to reach beyond our sight through books, letters, Internet, audio and video broadcasts but the meat of the ministry is still personal contact from one surrendered Christian to someone else.
I have a tendency to forget the local nature of God’s work, to look past the person in front of me to someone else, or to prepare for the “special message” down the road rather than studying for the regular weekly Bible study. Then the Lord gently gets my attention and says, “Focus on the people in front of you.” They are important to Him and they should be most important people in the world to me right now. Ouch.
This is true when I leave prison too. Who am I bumping into at the supermarket, outside the church building, in the neighborhood or wherever? You may struggle with this one too. Look around you. Let’s ask the Lord to show us how to become more useful to Him now, today. Ask the Lord to be involved in our day. Is there someone you or I need to pray for, to pray with, to help, to visit? Let the light and love of Jesus Christ shine right where you are. Don’t worry about the results; He will take care of that. Just be faithful – focus on the people in front of you.
Some people have asked if they could hear the Bible Studies or courses that are taught in prison. Well, yes … sort of. If you are interested, you can listen to MP3 files of the weekly Bible Studies and the Beyond Addictions classes that we teach at Caswell and Dan River. We have been granted permission to record these studies for use on the radio stations. You can find them on the “Bible Study” page on our website at www.ficpm.com/bstudies.php.
Please pray for us!
· Right now, 72 men at Caswell and Dan River are involved in a course on how to study and apply the Bible. Pray that it takes root and that they will see Jesus more clearly in the Word as they learn to observe, interpret and apply what it teaches.
· Pray for us regularly, particularly on Tuesdays and Fridays when the bulk of the teaching is done. Pray for physical strength, for spiritual protection, for open hearts and minds, for the Lord to bring the men that need to hear and to apply the messages. Pray that I will have the time to study, and the good sense to hear from the Lord. This is important.
· We have a good ministry friend in Mexico City who is in the process of translating Beyond Addictions into Spanish! Pray for her and for this to be a tool that will be used extensively in Latin America.
· Pray for more fruit in our lives – more evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in me and in the men we are discipling.
· Pray that God will use these men, these new creations in Christ that He has purchased with His own blood as witnesses to change the lives of other men in prison and their families outside of prison.
· Ask the Lord to put this work on the hearts of His people to provide for what He has called us to do. God is SO faithful. He has provided everything we need for the past 138 months of full-time ministry and I believe that He will continue.
· Finally, pray for our family (see photo). Our oldest (along with his wife and toddler) are doing well, our two middle ‘uns are serving as counselors at New Life Camp this summer, and our youngest is with us at home.
Thank you for your prayers and your support!
Jeff & Deb Rudd
It’s been a while since we sent any information to you. I apologize for that. Praise God that we have so much ministry in front of us that it is hard to turn and communicate with the people who are praying for us and supporting us. Please forgive me.
God is blessing His work; it only makes sense that He would. He is also providing the grace to worship Him and to serve Him through the normal trials of life.
We are writing to ask for your prayers, and to encourage you with accounts of what the Lord is doing here as you serve Him where you are.
Thank you for your prayers and your support. Feel free to print and share this with others in your church.
Jeff & Deb
· We have seen significant increases in the number of men involved in weekly Bible Studies and Beyond Addictions classes in 2012. Currently, more than 120 men are involved in weekly Bible studies at Caswell and Dan River prisons, and more than 50 are participating in Beyond Addictions.
· Deb’s dad went home to be with the Lord in August. His faith through the years was unflinching, particularly during the two months this summer when he suffered with an aggressive form of lung cancer. His example of a life well-lived inspires us too. He was a man of grace and wisdom. I pray daily for the grace, love and wisdom of Jesus Christ to flow through us too.
· God has provided everything we need for the past 11 years of ministry without any other visible means of support. We pray for His direction and provision as we move forward.
· Through the years, God has continued to focus us simply on discipling the men that are in front of us at Caswell and Dan River prisons. One-by-one, or small group by small group He has used us as He changes the lives of thousands of men who are being used to influence others. It is a blessing and it is an encouragement to remain faithful in the part of the vineyard where He has placed us without looking over the fence at someone else’s ministry. Just be faithful.
· Praise God for faithful volunteers – Luis Rameriz, Raul Herrera & Walter Baker, and for Pastor David Marini of Calvary Chapel of Chapel Hill who teaches for me when I am away. We look forward to serving with you and with the men who have applied to become volunteers in 2013.
· For the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin and to draw them to Jesus Christ at Caswell and Dan River prisons.
· For more … more of Jesus in us, for more men to surrender to the will of God, for more grace and power, for more discipleship, more training in righteousness and for more workers in the harvest that can take place in prisons and jails across the country.
· For me to be open to His leading every day as I have an open door to disciple men in these two prison units.
· Pray for the 50+ men who are involved in the Beyond Addictions classes right now at Caswell and Dan River prisons.
· Pray for God’s provisions for the work that He has called us to do in the coming weeks and months. He who called us is faithful!
God is in prison.
I know that this comes as a shock to some but … God is alive, well and changing lives in prison. How do we know? We see the results. In John 3:8, Jesus says, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” You do not see the Spirit of the Lord but you see the results of Him being here – men are being born again and lives are changing.
In 2012, we have seen an increase in the number of men surrendering their lives to Jesus and being discipled to live as men of God whether they are inside or outside of prison. Here are brief accounts of three of these men. I hope that this will encourage you to pray for them and for others who are behind prison wire. God’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear.
Timothy surrendered his life to Jesus in August. His involvement with the criminal justice system began at 16 years of age. Most of his convictions over a nine-year period involved larceny or receipt of stolen goods. It was just part of a lifestyle of running the streets, stealing, being angry and dealing in drugs. He looked and behaved just like some of the hopeless young men in your town. At 25, he received a sentence of nine years and two months as a habitual felon. His past is ugly but his future is bright. About one year into his current sentence, everything changed. I saw the light come on a few months ago, you could see it in his eyes – they were no longer dull, he had life. You could see it in his desire to learn, in his understanding of the Bible, in the men he began to spend time with, in the words coming (or not coming) out of his mouth. His only regret now is that it took this long and this much punishment for him to lift his head and to open his eyes to the Lord. His future plans have changed. He is building a foundation in Christ for life ahead and he wants to be prepared when the prison gate opens to him in 2018. Timothy’s life was once all about self; now he is focused on Jesus and his life bears witness that II Corinthians 5:17 is true, If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold all things become new.
William used to taunt other Christians in prison about their faith, and when they would share their testimony he would tell them to get out of his face. He knew that he was starving on the inside but he didn’t realize that he was pushing away the very thing that would fulfill him. During the Spring of this year, the light came on in his eyes too. He gave in to Jesus, his fists dropped to his side and his heart was filled with the love of God. In a recent Beyond Addictions assignment, he wrote, “At one time, I was a rebel, at enmity with God but through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and God’s love for me, I have been given new life. My love for Jesus motivates me to turn from my old ways. … All I need or desire comes from and is in Christ. That’s my new source of fulfillment.” Now he is sharing his testimony with others and he is singing the praises of the Lord (quite literally, he is a member of the praise team at Caswell).
Kevin was a successful businessman driving through North Carolina when the Lord arrested him. His life bore all of the marks of American success – well-educated, a great career, ability to travel, married with kids, nice house, bank account, benefits and … an addiction problem. The final mark was the one that landed him in prison. A two-week trip to see family was re-routed onto a 12-month detour for DUI and possession of a controlled substance. His drinking problem was really just a symptom; the underlying cause was one that is common to most men. Following a session we taught on “What the Bible Says About Pride and Anger” he told me that this topic explained why he was in prison, his pride and arrogance had closed his mind to the Bible and led him to believe that he had all of the necessary answers. He also told me that coming to prison was not only really necessary; it was the best thing that could have happened to him. His pride has now been broken; everything he thought he knew about life and success has been brought into question. Instead of conforming to the world’s ideas of meaning and value, he is being transformed as the Holy Spirit opens his mind to the Word of God. Kevin is listening and he is asking important questions that lead to a life of real purpose as a follower of Jesus Christ. Pray for him to fully surrender to the will of the Lord, and pray for his family, they are in for a big surprise when he returns from God’s detour.
Letters from prison …
We receive letters each week from men in prison. Some of them come from men we have discipled at Caswell or Dan River and have been transferred or released. Others come from men or women who have been reading Beyond Addictions or who want a personal copy. Here are excerpts from a few that we have received in the past month.
My name is Eugene. I received a copy of Beyond Addictions about six months ago. I hate to say it but I didn’t read it then. I spent most of the time moving it from my locker to my bunk and back to my locker until I had fallen back into addiction. It started out with cigs (cigarettes) and got worse until it landed me in the hole*. When I read your book while in the hole I could see why Satan fought so hard to keep me from it. I’ve read it twice now and intend to keep reading it, it has set me free! I have a year left and would like to have a strong foundation to step on when I step out of here.
Eugene in NC
* The “hole” refers to the 6 X 8 feet cell in the segregation unit. This is the jail within the prison where men can be sent for infractions.
Thank you for your Beyond Addictions program. I was recently incarcerated in Denton County, TX where I met a man named Tom who was teaching this course. He is helping us to continue providing this program to inmates in Texas. I left my copy of the book in the county jail. I really regret that and would hope that you may be able to send me a new one. I sure would appreciate having it. Please expect the amount of work in Texas to increase as other men get this message! Glory be to Jesus!
Tom in Palestine, TX
I talked with you at Caswell when I was there. I told you about some problems in my marriage and you told me to wait and to talk to God about it before I did anything else. Well, I stopped talking to God and I just gave up on everything. I don’t know why but I did. But I have picked my Bible back up again and Jeff, He is really telling me some good things. And God has put one of our friends from Caswell in my life and he is really helping me get to know God. I asked God to help me and I believe he sent me to this man. I know that God has changed his life and I want God to do the same for me. Maybe you could help me. Please send me anything you have that could help. I want to say thank you for everything and I hope to hear from you soon.
Justin in NC
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on 3-6-12 and I have since then seen my life change for the better more and more every day. I plan to stay with the Lord for the rest of my life. I have come to understand that I cannot manage my own life so I have asked the Lord to take over my life and for him to use me as He will. I read one of your books in the school library here in prison and would really like to take this course. It is very easy to read and understand. It uses the Bible to show me how to get past all of my addictions and it makes a lot of sense. I just want to learn everything I can.
Take care and God bless you. I will be awaiting your reply.
Rogelio in Mineral Wells, TX
Ten years ago tonight [ nov.30, 2011] I walked out of the Caswell County Courthouse
and received my final paycheck as County Manager
Thank you for continuing to pray.
If you would like more information regarding this ministry, please call us at (336)694-7381 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tax deductible contributions can be made to Calvary Chapel of Cary; be sure to write “FICPM” on the memo line of your check.
Jeff & Deb Rudd
Free In Christ Prison Ministries
PO Box 1492
Yanceyville, NC 27379
Beyond Addictions is now available as an eBook. And it is priced at$2.99.
available as a Nook Book through Barnes and Noble Here...............
Follow this link to purchase the Kindle edition through Amazon.com.
If you use an IPad or IPhone, you can quickly download a free Kindle app, and then get the book in less than a minute.
It also should be available as a nook book through Barnes and Noble within a week.
This is a good way to get the book easily and inexpensively, and to review it to see if it fits your ministry. Since August, the printed version has been picked up and used by more than 1,000 people in jail, prison, recovery ministries, and local churches.
You can find more information on our website regarding how to use Beyond Addictions. www.ficpm.com/gba.php.
Pray for us, and for the men and women who are seeking to be set free from addiction through a living relationship with Jesus Christ!
Free In Christ Prison Ministries
PO Box 1492
Yanceyville, NC 27379
P.S. Please share this information with other pastors and ministry leaders who may benefit from it.