April 2017 - Volume ix Issue ii

A Student From a Cell to a Church

One of SOCPM's goal for 2017 is connecting more paroling students to a church prior their parole. A first, it was a slow start for students submitting a church request. It was a bit disheartening, but after some lecturing, I consider myself more of a teacher than preacher else it would be preaching, a few submitted a request. But it was after Brain sent his apply for a church and Brian getting a response that was more than he was expecting, the applications for a church has been quite steady the past few weeks.

After my lecture, Brain a student in discipleship class at Sheridan, as he was leaving the classroom asked me, "Can you find me a church Blue Island?" I replied, "I'll see what I can do." I utilize three church networks to begin my search, plugging in the zip code for Blue Island, the closest was 'Renewal Church of Chicago," 29-miles from Blue Island meaning a 45-minute drive by car or 1-hour using public transportation. Brian just coming out of prison and staying at a transition home was going to be challenged to make it each week to church, let alone be close to any potential mentors.

OK, let's try 9 Marks, Trinity Presbyterian, approximately 5 miles. Doable for a for a determined person, which I believe Brain is. So, I sent an e-mail to the Pastor, Michael Langer, asking if his church would welcome Brian and possibly connect him with a mentor. Within the hour I received a reply,   ‘Absolutely…’ on both a welcoming church and a possible mentor. Praise God.

The next day I was contacted by phone from George, a member of Trinity. He loved to help Brian; he lives in Blue Island so if Bran needs a ride, he has one. A mentor, I'm very willing…, I have a family history of alcoholism... I'm also open to visiting him before his parole date.' God is great! I told George I'd follow-up with Brian and see if he is willing to pursue the church and mentor offer. 'Yes!' 'Are you open to George com visit you before your release date?" "Yes!" Let me backtrack a bit Brian's request for a church came two weeks before his parole date. And God was not done yet with filling my heart with joy let alone Brian's. As I was entering Sheridan Friday and Brain was being released we crossed paths as he was exiting, a quick pause to shake my hand and shared as he walked away 'He visited me this week, thanks!’

Omnes gloriam Deo (All glory be to God).


Books from a Publisher to a Prison

In March I attended the Ligonier Ministries 2017 National Conference in Orlando. Jack Jenkins, who pastors a church in Orlando and I met while he was a guest instructor at Chaplain Training Academy last Fall and his wife Nora hosted me saving SOCPM lodging costs.

Conferences have been a good place to get meet with current SOCPM ministry partners and hopefully get connected to new partnerships. My hope this year was to plug in with a few book publishers.

At The Banner of Truth Publishers booth, a publisher of many Puritan classics as well as current authors of Christian theology, I met Pat Daly. I and shared a bit about SOCPM and SOCPM’s desire to give students, who complete an SOCPM course, a book related in addition to their certificate.

Pat suggested I contact him after the conference. Following up on Pat's suggestion, Banner of Truth is donating 85 copies of “Sermon on the Mount” by Sinclair Ferguson. The book matches well with the soon to be completed Discipleship course, 'Sermon on the Mount' taught by none other than Sinclair Ferguson (Read Conference to Classroom below about another blessing from LMNC 2017).  

SOCPM connected with several other ministries (White Horse Inn, Christian Focus Publishers, P & R Publishers) in hopes of providing SOCPM students additional resources. One that looks very exciting and promising is with White Hose Inn by using some of their Core Christianity course material in future SOCPM Discipleship classes. Please pray that any potential partnerships that would glorify God would come to fruition.

videt Deum, (God Provides)


A Speaker from a Conference to the Classroom

Sinclair Ferguson, a highly recognized and respected theologian, was one of the speakers at LMNC 2017.  Being that SOCPM is currently teaching his course 'The Sermon on the Mount" I wanted to share that with him. As I was listening to his teaching,  the Holy Spirit prompted me also to ask him if he'd be willing to personalize a short video message to my SOCPM students.

After some strong persuading by the Holy Spirit, I approached Dr. Ferguson. I said to him something to the effect "Hi Dr. Ferguson I'm ...  I'm currently teaching 'Sermon on the Mount' to my students. What are the odds other than a million to one (don't ask me where the 'million to one' thing came from, I'm figuring the Holy Spirit let me speak on my own) of recording a short video message to my students?' I, the forever pessimist was expecting some kind words of encouragement, but because of a very busy schedule, he wouldn't be able to do it.  But when he 'Give your e-mail to someone from Ligonier, and I'll be sure to follow-up with you.’ I was all giggly inside as I made a quick path to Dave Theriault a Ligonier staff person who I've to know for a few years and shared Dr. Ferguson's reply.

Again the pessimist inside me was expecting Dave to say something like ‘Sorry Scott, but…’  Instead, Dave stated Dr. Ferguson was scheduled to do some other recording for Ligonier, so it would be an opportune time to pursue. Would I hear back though? Check it out!

Fiduciam in omnibus (Trust God in All Things)


Ligonier Ministries National Conference 2017 Photos

January 2017 - Volume ix Issue i

The Power of the Gospel, Even in Prison

The Sunday before my beginning the current winter quarter of classes at Dixon and Sheridan I was looking forward to the start of the new term and the teaching of the Gospel in the three Discipleship classes and two Fatherhood classes. The sermon for that Sunday was on John 1:1-17 and it increased my being pumped to the new term as it spoke to me on the importance of the Gospel, not just for myself, and my loved ones, but the prisoners I’m called to disciple.

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
— Romans 1:11-12 ESV

The first week of classes is a joyful occasion with most of the last term’s students returning and us greeting ach other with warm embraces, shaking hands or pumping of the fists. It is also a blessing to see the men have a seeking a deeper understanding of the Gospel who also hunger for discipleship in God’s Word would put many professing Christians in today’s local churches to shame. However, despite the warm greetings and the desire to learn there are the challenges when some of those returning come not to learn but to socialize and sadly some souls still blind and deaf to the Gospel.

always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
— 2 Timothy 3:7 ESV

Yes, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to open the eyes and ears, but it doesn’t mean I’m just to show up spew some words and upon my leaving say, "they're all yours Holy Spirit, do your thing.” I take my call to prison ministry and teaching the Gospel to for these men’s as serious I do my own son’s salvation. God has shown me, before my salvation, I like many of my students just had the desire for a better life, and if it meant my becoming a ‘Christian’ I'd give it a try with the I’m still in control of my destiny, what did I have to loose. But, I also see the underlying hopelessness, fears, and remorse that they don’t think any takes seriously. They see most people as seeing them as just doing the ‘Got Jesus in prison thing.’ It probably is why prison ministry is one of the most shunned ministries in the church. Many professing Christians see the prisoner as someone who is due his time in prison because the prisoner has committed worse sins than I’ve ever done.

Yes, there are sins that more heinous than other sins but no sin is so egregious that the power of the Gospel cannot change the heart of the sinner. But it does require the sharing of the Gospel. God has blessed me by using my sins and broken past in making disciples, and it is my pray that God will in return use these followers of Christ Jesus to share the power of The Gospel with the countless lost souls whose paths they'll cross .

Paths that are in most cases not in middle-class suburbia but the devils den in the lives broken by poverty, drugs, and crime.

SOCPM's seeks to fulfill the great mission (Matthew 28:18-20) by 'Bringing the Gospel to prisoners and provide holistic discipleship through the teaching of sound theology and doctrine both during and after incarceration.' And a vision 'To see prisoners and former prisoners with renewed hearts and minds glorifying God and sharing Christ with others.' If you like to be a part of SOCPM's mission and vision, please pray about becoming a partner by becoming a monthly supporter. To be a partner see the next page.  - To Him be the glory in ALL things!


Equipping the Soldier for Godliness after Parole

grow in godliness.jpg

One of the ways SOCPM seeks to equip SOCPM students for every good work beyond the classroom is providing them additional resources to utilize outside the classroom.

As I mentioned in previous Barbed Wire Newsletters (Sept/Oct 2015 & July 2016), SOCPM brings in various articles related to the week’s teaching or if a student has a question associated with the Bible or theology in general SOCPM gives the student some articles providing answers. SOCPM continues to provide the student with monthly devotions and applications to enroll in correspondent Bible studies.
 
But SOCPM's mission statement is to provide holistic discipleship both during and after incarceration. SOCPM helps SOCPM students find a church before being paroled. But to keep the flame of passions to grow in Christ burning SOCPM is developing a packet for students upon parole.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV


The parole packet, still in development, will contain a list of online resources for sermons, essays, online Bible studies, and Christian websites with material related to Christian living. It will also include materials on how to memorize God's word and various plans for reading the Bible in a year. SOCPM’s intention and hope is to fan into flame the gift of God that is in them (2 Timothy 1:6).

To grow in godliness SOCPM believes for the student needs to know God's character. He needs to know sound doctrine and use God's Word correctly. The SOCPM student, as are all Christians is called to teach and entrust what he knows of God and His Word to others (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2:3, 4:3; Titus 1:9, 2:1; 2 Peter 3:18).

The more equipped the SOCPM student is, the less likely he will fall back into his old ways and return to prison and more likely to fulfill the SOCPM vision of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.


Sorry, for Delay in Publishing of The Barbed Wire

Tine management is a big challenge for me. Toss in a couple of hospitalizations and any time management that I may have been fooling myself as to doing well collapses and then I worry as to people realizing just how disorganized I am all around.

In December I was hospitalized for a few days, leading to several doctor appointments. It was nothing serious, so I'll skip the details, and you can avoid having heavy sighs.

However, my wife Michell suffered a stroke on Jan. 3rd. Thankfully it was not severe. She did have to spend a few days in the hospital, but she's back home now getting physical and occupational therapy. I've had to cancel prison ministry classes and church members are bringing meals lessening the number of tasks between Michelle's and my doctor visits. Despite that, the days are going by quite fast. In one call I thought it was Tuesday, maybe Wednesday? Nope, it was Thursday. Geez, then what happen on Wednesday go?

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
— Psalm 28:7

At times like these, it is easy to lift up prayers of petitions, but we need to be mindful of the many blessings that we have received.  The stroke was not severe, and caught early; medical attention was nearby, the medical care was excellent, surgery wasn't needed, the doctors expect a full recovery. We also have many loved ones and friends lifting both Michelle and me in prayer and most of all we have a sovereign and loving Christ Jesus full of mercy and grace with an eternal love for both of us.   

Nonetheless, so to avoid the appearance of being unorganized and not relying on the grace that comes n Christ I felt a need to explain myself.

To Him be the glory in ALL things!

October 2016

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

Tom Beatty, Director of New Life Corrections, a ministry of Wayside Cross, went home to be with Jesus on September 5th, five months after being diagnosed with cancer. Tom was a brother in Christ, a prison ministry colleague and a friend who was also a great influence to me personally in my serving in prison ministry.

More importantly though he had a powerful influence in bringing the Gospel and love of Christ to the incarcerated men and women of Illinois Department of Corrections and the four Federal prisons in Illinois through his programs ‘Transforming Incarcerated Dads,’ ‘Freedom From Fear’ and the distribution of literature in Stateville’s Northern Receiving and Classification and other county jails. To accomplish all of this Tom recruited over 400 volunteers.

Rich Hines a friend and colleague of Tom’s said ‘How fitting that Tom should die on Labor Day, his being such a laborer for the Kingdom.’ Indeed Tom was.

I learned a lot from Tom. He encouraged me to become ordained minister thus allowing me to be able to do pastoral visits in the county jails.

Tom very much looked forward to going home to be with Jesus. However he did not stop laboring for the Kingdom as he shared the Gospel with unsaved family to the last day. When I first heard of Tom’s diagnosis I did not known the extent and when I inquired in an e-mail his response was ‘The doctors say 6 - 10 months, God says eternal life’. Tom will truly be missed, but through God’s grace it will be only for awhile


Barbed Wire Spikes - Short Barbed Wire News Items

October in November - If you’re wondering if this issue of The Barbed Wire is late, it is. Personal health issues and just a lot of busy prevented me in finding the time to write this issue. Barring health and time restraints I hope to have the next edition of the Barbed Wire distributed the first week of January 2017.

Pursuing a Hope in Rockford - You may remember the mention of Anthony wishing to get connected to a church upon parole. SOCPM introduced him to a church partner ‘Living Stones’ pastored by Jeremiah Griffen. They began communicating and Anthony shared with me a few months back that getting connected to Pastor Griffen this was the first time, after four previous paroles only to be sent back to prison, that he had a true hope of staying out this time. Anthony paroled October 20. I contacted Pastor Griffen on October 21 who confirmed that Anthony did contact him. Praise God. It is a long road ahead for Anthony but it is a joy knowing he was vigilant in pursuing that hope he expressed by getting him and his family connected to a church upon parole. Please pray that Anthony continues the pursuit of that hope.


Malachi Dads

SOCPM is changing the primary curriculum in the Christian Living program. Beginning with the Sheridan Winter 2016 session (Dec. 2016) the new curriculum will be Awana Lifeline’s Malachi Dads. It is a return of sorts to a program SOCPM taught in October 2010 to August 2011. However, at that time, Awana Lifeline’s Malachi Dads program was a whole different curriculum.

It was then a yearlong curriculum and resulted in a high drop out rate. SOCPM consulted with the then Assistant Warden of Programs at Sheridan, Mary Johnson, about the high drop out rate and she suggested reducing the length of a curriculum to 10-12 weeks. Following the advice of Warden Johnson SOCPM adapted the last module of the old Malachi Dads program “InsideOut Dad Christian” so it could be taught in a 10-12 week time frame. In November 2011 SOCPM implemented what SOCPM called “Christian Living: Renewing Fatherhood” and since has taught 30 classes using the InsideOut Dad curriculum at Sheridan and Dixon.

This past August, Sheridan approached SOCPM about teaching Awana Lifeline’s revised Malachi Dad’s curriculum. Initially SOCPM was concerned that the complete curriculum, which consists of 4 books on average would run XX weeks and would result in a return to high dropout rate.  After expressing that concern Awana Lifeline agreed with SOCPM’s suggestion of teaching each book as an individual class. A student will receive an SOCPM certificate for each attended class. After a student has attended all four classes he will receive a certificate from Awana Lifeline for completion of the entire Malachi Dads curriculum.

As for curriculum content “InsideOut Dad Christian” was a revision of a non-Christian version of “InsideOut Dad” and SOCPM personally felt the Christian content was not as strong as SOCPM was seeking. For sometime SOCPM was planning to write its own curriculum but it became clear an, with an already heavy schedule, it was not going to happen. When SOCPM was given the new Malachi Dad’s curriculum for review it was clearly more Christian based meeting SOCPM’s desire for a stronger Christian based content. Also the cost of the Awana Lifeline books are much lower than the InsideOut Dad workbook. With Awana Lifeline willing to reduce the shipping cost, SOCPM is saving 50% annually.

A more solid Christian based curriculum at half the costs it doesn’t take a Harvard Business graduate to determine that Malachi Dads would be a good choice. After a couple of weeks of prayerful consideration SCOPM has partnered with Awana Lifeline to teach Malachi Dads as “Christian Living: Malachi Dads” in Sheridan beginning December 2016 and plans to begin teaching at Dixon at a yet undetermined date.

SOCPM and Awana Lifeline have also discussed brining Malachi Dads to Chicagoland county jails. SOCPM would oversee the partnering with the various county jails and the teachings. Awana Lifeline would help assist with recruiting volunteers. 

SOCPM asks for prayers in the implementation of the Malachi Dads to reach deeply into the hearts of the SOCPM students, and that they would hear weekly the need of the Gospel in their lives. Additionally please pray for God’s leading in possible future teachings of Malachi Dads in county jails.


October in November?

If you’re wondering if this issue of The Barbed Wire is late, it is. Personal health issues and just a lot of busy prevented me in finding the time to write this issue. Barring health and time restraints I hope to have the next edition of the Barbed Wire distributed the first week of January 2017.


Pursuing a Hope in Rockford

You may remember the mention of Anthony wishing to get connected to a church upon parole. SOCPM introduced him to a church partner ‘Living Stones’ pastored by Jeremiah Griffen. They began communicating and Anthony shared with me a few months back that getting connected to Pastor Griffen this was the first time, after four previous paroles only to be sent back to prison, that he had a true hope of stay    ing out this time. Anthony paroled October 20. I contacted Pastor Griffen on October 21 who confirmed that Anthony did contact him. Praise God. It is a long road ahead for Anthony but it is a joy knowing he was vigilant in pursuing that hope he expressed by getting him and his family connected to a church upon parole. Please pray that Anthony continues the pursuit of that hope.


SOCPM is a donor-supported ministry

Would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

SOCPM has many objectives it hopes to bring about for God's glory but your financial support is the means to make it possible.

To help support, you can give a tax-deductible donation online at Redeemer Fellowship
Click the "To:" drop down menu and select Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries


July 2016

Reaching Out @ Katie's Cup in Rockford

On May 12th I received an e-mail from John Evans, Executive Director of Rockford Reachout stating he had met with Jeremiah Griffin, Pastor of Living Stones Church in Rockford. I met Jeremiah in February at Plant Midwest Chicago (see The Barbed Wire March/April 2016).  Jeremiah shared with John about SOCPM’s mission and vision including the connecting of paroling SOCPM students to solid Bible teaching churches.

John, following his meeting with Jeremiah checked out the SOCPM website and after doing so, he was eager to meet me. My being familiar with Rockford Reachout (click link to learn more about Rockford Reachout) was eager to meet John as well. We agreed to meet on May24th at A Starbucks in Rockford. During out meeting e found that his and my vision for jail and prison ministry had some commonality. 

The primary one being continuous discipleship of the incarcerated from entry into Winnebago County Jail in Rockford, into and throughout their incarceration in IDOC and their eventual paroling back into Winnebago County Jail by connecting them to a church family. John and I agreed we will need to have further follow-up meetings to develop and implement a strategy that IDOC chaplains would agree to become involved with to bring the vision to fruition.

In addition to the continuous discipleship program, John told me of a weekly gathering Rockford pastors called ‘Pastor’s Corner’ on Tuesdays at Katie’s Cup a coffee shop in Rockford and invited me to attend. On June 7th Pastor’s Corner and met nine pastors from the Rockford area. I was humbled when they all expressed a strong interest in hearing about SOCPM and was blessed in my hearing their passion for the incarcerated upon parole.

I’ve since attended a second Pastor’s Corner meeting a few more pastors and looking forward to building relationships for fellowship but even more importantly working with the Rockford churches.

As of this newsletter one individual who came from Winnebago County Jail and was sent to Sheridan is now enrolled in SOCPM’s discipleship class.  There are seven men currently enrolled in a SOCPM class who are looking to parole to Winnebago County. Two of those men have already connected with Jeremiah Griffin. Five I’m working with the remaining five to hopefully get them to connect a Solid Bible Church in the Rockford.

Please pray for all of those coming and going through Rockford Reachout and IDOC to hear the Gospel, receive holistic disciples during their incarceration and then continue their holistic discipleship upon paroling to the Rockford area.

To Him be the glory.


Reaching Out in the World of Employment

I’m planning to do more reaching out, but this time to Christian Business owners by attending Christian Business Fellowship at Harvest Bible Chapel’s Elgin campus on July 20th.

With some of the pieces falling in place for forging connections with churches, I’m now looking to do connect to Christian business owners with the objective of them willing to employ paroling SOCPM students. SOCPM believes getting SOCPM students connected to a church upon the parole is the most critical need but another critical need is jobs.

Having listened to Christian business owners at various banquets and other prison ministry events a common statement has been that some of their best employees have been employees who had a felony conviction. A good number of those paroled know that their felony is a mark against them and that in a competitive job market it reduces their odds for being hired greatly and as such strive to excel to prove them selves worthy and express gratitude for the employer taking the risk in hiring them.

Please pray that as I venture into a adventure for to bring glory to God that God would bring forth Christian business owners who are willing to trust God in their hiring a person with a felony with the blessing of a great employee. Also, pray that the individuals these owners are stepping out in faith will indeed prove them selves worthy by glorifying God in there work ethic.


I gotta a Question?

Of the many tasks required as steward of SOCPM, one that has become most challenging, but most joyful, is answering questions submitted by SOCPM students related to theology.  The joy comes from the student’s growing interest in all things theology.  The questions vary from a proper interpretation of scripture to a doctrinal understanding on various topics.

Some questions are basic and aren’t too challenging and then there are others that are quite challenging. Regardless, I’ll go to various websites that I am quite confident will provide sound biblical answers. Monergism, Desiring God and CARM are a few to obtain essays, sermons, publications, etc., related to the question for the purpose of providing them in depth answers that go beyond what I can verbalize in few minutes.

Overtime I’ve accumulated a 1,000+ PDFs on numerous topics. I’m still in the process of entering and tagging them with keywords into a library module of the SOCPM dB.
With this issue of TBW, “Q & A on Theology” a new feature, featuring questions asked by SOCPM students with the articles the student was given. 

In this issue Sheridan Discipleship Matthew asks, “I’m wondering if I’m saved, how can I know for sure I’m saved?”

“How To Know if Your A Real Christian” by Jonathan Edwards

 

"A Believer's Assurance A Practical Guide to Victory over Doubt" by John MacArthur

"Can a Christian Lose His or Her Salvation?" by Greg Johnson

 

"How We Know We Know Christ" by John Gerstner

"How Can I Know If My Repentance Is Genuine" by John Piper


Online Giving is Here!!!

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries is a donor supported ministry
Would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

SOCPM has many objectives it hopes to bring about for God's glory but your financial support is the means to make it possible.

To help support, you can give a tax-deductible donations online at Redeemer Fellowship
Click the "To:" drop down menu and select Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

Contact

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?


May / June 2016

Barbed Wire Going Quarterly

SOCPM mission statement is "To bring the gospel to prisoners and provide holistic discipleship both during and after incarceration." In an attempt to provide holistic discipleship after incarceration SOCPM began 2016 with an objective of connecting paroling students to sound Bible teaching churches so they can continue being discipled in God's Word after being paroled.

With the beginning steps of church partnerships underway, SOCPM has also been challenged to pursue partnerships with Christian business men as potential employers for paroled students. The ministry is also looking to begin pastoral counseling in local county jails and is investigating the possibilities of providing pastoral counseling in IDOC prisons.

With the additional possibility of presenting an expanded curriculum of Christian Living through teaching 1 or 2 day seminars on the horizon, it has brought me to a point of scrunching time and by doing so stress begins to increase.

I've recently met with the elders of my church for guidance before I suffer the burnout syndrome. One of the initial steps is to recruit volunteers for the possible teaching of the Christian Living seminars and volunteers to handle some of the administrative tasks.

However, until then I need to cut back where possible and one of the decisions is to cut back on the number of yearly Barbed Wire issues from six to four. I truly enjoy keeping the supporters of SOCPM and other followers updated on how God is using the ministry for His glory but I feel the Barbed Wire is one of the current ministry tasks that has the least impact on the mission statement.

This issue of the Barbed Wire is limited in overall length. The next issue is scheduled for July and its length is dependent upon God providing a volunteer to take the lead on writing and editing.


Together for the Gospel 2016

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Together for the Gospel (T4G) is a biennial pastor's conference that I've been attending with fellow members of my church since 2010. Since then, T4G has become a conference I look forward to attending. In addition to hearing teachings from some great teachers, it is a great opportunity to network and fellowship.
It was at T4G 2012, through Pastor Joe Thorn, I met several individuals from Ligonier Ministries which lead to a ministry partnership that has been a fruitful blessing to SOCPM.

This year I was the only member from my church to attend. I was bummed that my pastor, Joe Thorn, would not be attending. In the past, he has introduced me to other ministry leaders. I thought it would be a less than fruitful conference, however, I did connect with several men I've met through various ministries, including Ligonier, for great conversation on theology.

The personal high point was meeting Chris Hunsberg, the Executive Director of Radical. Radical is the resource ministry of teacher and author David Platt. I taught a Radical course "How to Study the Bible" in the 3rd term of 2015 and it was one of the most well received courses SOCPM has presented. Though my time talking with Chris was minimal, he shared that Radical had recently partnered with a prison ministry from Alabama and would be very much interested in discussing how Radical could be a resource for SOCPM.

I had a phone call with Chris on May 16th and he's sending me the resources for "The Cross of Christ", including two copies of the study guides, pending approval by both Dixon and Sheridan, I plan to tack on "The Cross of Christ as a follow-up to Ligonier Ministries "What Did Jesus Do
" as part of SOCPM's Discipleship curriculum.  Chris also made me aware of other Radical material for possible use in SOCPM's Christian Living curriculum.  The ministry is looking to begin presenting Christian Living one or two day seminars in the latter half of 2016. 


Bubba-Bus- A trip to a employment agency or recruiting agency for ex-convicts

Courtesy of Inside Prison


Numbers

100 - The number of classes SOCPM has taught or participated in with the start of the Spring term Discipleship class at Sheridan Correctional Ctr. on Friday evening May 6, 2016


Online Giving is Here!!!

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries is a donor supported ministry
Would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

SOCPM has many objectives it hopes to bring about for God's glory but your financial support is the means to make it possible.

To help support, you can give a tax-deductible donations online at Redeemer Fellowship
Click the "To:" drop down menu and select Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Contact

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

March / April 2016

Living Hebrews 12:11 - Disciplining Oneself to Commit to Spiritual Disciplines


One of the ways I served in prison ministry was doing Cell by Cells in Pontiac Correctional Center (PCC). Cell by Cell is just as the name implies, meeting the inmates while they are in their cells and share the Gospel or encourage them in their Christian faith. Many of the inmates I would meet were confined to their cells 23 hours a day. During one of my drives to PCC, God brought to mind Hebrews 12:11 and I was led to use that verse as my primary verse for the day of Cell by Cell visits. Once I introduced myself to the inmates I would often recite to them Hebrews 12:11 and then say 'You are being punished for a wrong you committed in the way of man's law, but it very well might be God's will to discipline you in His Word.

You're going to be here for a long time and you can spend that time being bitter, blaming everything and everyone for being in prison or you can use it as a time to get right with God'. In some aspect many Christians would probably benefit to be confined to a cell by themselves 23 hours a day in order for them to obtain the spiritual disciplines all Christians should practice in their daily lives as follower of Christ. Sadly many, Christians do not have a full knowledge of spiritual disciplines for a Christian life let alone practice them.

Donald S. Whitney

Donald S. Whitney

Sadly, I too was one of the many who did not have a full knowledge of Spiritual disciplines for my Christian life until I read 'Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life' by Donald S. Whitney. I came to know, as Whitney states, that I was trivializing my effectiveness for the Kingdom.


Reflecting back on my days of teaching Hebrews 12:11 in Pontiac, God'sput a burden to expand on Hebrews 12:11. Beginning in February I started teaching 'Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life' in DeKalb County Jail. My teaching schedule in DeKalb County Jail isn't a set schedule as it is in Dixon and Sheridan where I teach on a weekly basis but it is my hope that the men in DeKalb will get enough exposure to the spiritual disciplines for their Christian life that they will have a foundation to continue practicing these spiritual disciplines whether it takes place for the time they will spend serving their sentence in IDOC or, more ideally, take back to their families upon being a recipient of God's grace and found not guilty.


Bucket- Another term for county Jail

Courtesy of Inside Prison


Forging Links to the Church

In the January / February edition of the Barbed Wire I wrote about SOCPM partnering with Plant Midwest Chicago by being a resource to connect paroling SOCPM students to a church well in advance to their actual parole date. Do to time restraints I was not able to present a personal request but Chris Wright, NAMB's primary point person for church planting strategies in the Chicagoland area, did introduce me and shared my objective. I was humbled by several pastors coming up to me expressing an interest in welcoming SOCPM students to be a part of their church families.

One pastor in particular, Jeremiah Griffen, of Living Stones Church, in Rockford, IL happened to be sitting at the same table with me and shared that his church has in the past had men who have paroled from prison come to their church and would be very willing to work with SOCPM.

Two students, Wayne, since paroled, and Anthony, soon to parole, were looking forward to connecting up with Pastor Griffen. Please keep Wayne, Anthony, and Pastor Griffen in prayer that the link from prison to church bears fruit for the kingdom.


Numbers

168 - Number of SOCPM students who have or are scheduled to be paroled in 2016 and in need of a church.


In the Classroom

The current Discipleship class, A Soldier's Call to Know God, will be concluding the first week of April and the next term is already in the works. I will be teaching "The Gospel in Knowing Christ Jesus" based on book "What Did Jesus Do?: Understanding the Work of Christ" by R. C. Sproul. Most students understand the Gospel when it comes to atoning sacrifice and the significance of his resurrection, however many Christians do not fully comprehend the significance of the life of Jesus prior to His atoning sacrifice and His resurrection.

In this teaching series, R.C. Sproul uncovers what it means for Christ to be the "second Adam"-and what this means for believers today. The course is currently scheduled to run 10 weeks will cover in part; the incarnation, Baptism, temptation, transfiguration, Last Supper, crucifixion, resurrection, accession, the return and more.

Please pray that God will be glorified as the students seeks to know the fullness of the Gospel of Christ Jesus before the Cross, on the Cross, after the Cross, and the end times.


Online Giving is Here!!!

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries is a donor supported ministry
Would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

SOCPM has many objectives it hopes to bring about for God's glory but your financial support is the means to make it possible.

To help support, you can give a tax-deductible donations online at Redeemer Fellowship
Click the "To:" drop down menu and select Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

Contact

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?


Janaury / February 2016

Knowing God

One of my biggest concerns when teaching is that the courses are in God’s will. Recently, I felt God was affirming my choices while teaching lesson two of “Prayer” by R. C. Sproul. Sproul says “You want God to give you a prayer language. Immerse yourself in the Psalms” & “… that you think about the many excellencies of God. Think of His attributes.” This reminded me that, in other lessons, I am using Donald D. Whitney’s book, “Praying the Bible”, which focuses on praying the Psalms and part of a Ligonier teaching series “The Attributes of God” by Steven Lawson. Other resources I will be using is “The Attributes of God” and similar writings by various authors; Louis Berkhof, A. A. Hodge, A. W. Pink, John Piper, C. H. Spurgeon & more.

In my quest to teach theology and sound doctrine I am looking forward to teaching God’s attributes. I find many students, as do many Christians, only seem to have a misguided knowledge of the “feel good” attributes of God. There are many books about God’s attributes and a number of them include almighty, love, gracious, wise, and good. The attributes of God are many and a sound knowledge of those attributes is needed if a Christian is to know the depths of God and His character.

Despite what scripture says (1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 4:2-4, Titus 1:9, 2:1), I’ve been given quizzical looks when I tell people I teach doctrine and theology. I tell my students theology is the study of God. If you really desire to know someone wouldn’t you do all you could to know all you can about them? Then why wouldn’t you want to seek and know all you can about God?

My hope is that the students will come to know who God is and who they are and see that their only hope is the works of Jesus Christ, the Gospel which, I believe, will be a good lead into the next class, “A Soldiers Call to Know Jesus Christ” based on the Ligonier teaching series “What Did Jesus Do”, Deo volente (God willing).


Boned out- Chickened out Courtesy of Inside Prison


Sorry guys, I’m not Joel Osteen

On December 2nd I gave my second message at DeKalb County (IL) Jail and said at the end “Did I just make your day a bummer, sorry guys I’m not Joel Osteen, I’m not here to make you feel good I’m here to teach truth.” To those who are fans of Joel Osteen, I don’t mean to offend but I don’t know of or ever expect to know of a message by Joel Osteen on biblical repentance.

I began my message on repentance by saying repentance is not the same as turning over a new leaf in life simply by making a decision to give up gang banging, drug dealing and the like. It is as C. H. Spurgeon writes;

Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.

The basis of the message was based on “Five Marks of Repentance” by J. C. Ryle. Not wanting the men to think I was simply some guy trying to make them feel bad about their own “repentance” each person in attendance received a full printout of the message by J. C. Ryle with his supporting scripture.  I did have a majority of the 13 or so attending come up to me afterwards offering appreciation for my teaching which encourages me to continue to bring sound Bible teaching, to DeKalb County Jail. I’m not Joel Osteen who is gifted in speaking and being charismatic, nor will I ever be able to have the well groomed hair and awesome smile he possesses. If that is what someone wants in a teacher, so be it. When I apologized for not being a Joel Osteen kind of guy it was made in jest because I’m not sorry when it comes to teaching the truth that can possibly steer these men’s eternity to heaven or hell. Paul writes to Timothy in his 2nd pastoral letter

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV

If I’m rejected by some because of my passion to teach truth I’ll have a moment of feeling downtrodden, but knowing God has entrusted me to tell the truth words can't describe my willingness to endure being downtrodden for a day or two versus being be denied by Christ Jesus.

The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 ESV

Numbers

125 - Number of certificates issued to SOCPM students in the fourth term 2015. Dixon: Renewing Fatherhood 17, Know How to Pray 37 (largest class ever) at Dixon to receive certificates) Sheridan: Renewing Fatherhood 21, Know How to Pray 23 & 27). Deo gloria (to God be the glory)

Planting Paroled Students Midwest

On Monday February 1st, I’ll be attending Plant Midwest Chicago and have an opportunity to ask churches throughout the Chicagoland to partner with SOCPM in opening up their church families to welcome paroling SOCPM students. One of the most vital, if not the most vital, keys for a paroled student is to be connected to a sound Bible teaching church. I’m targeting 2016 to be a key year in getting paroling SOCPM students connected to a home church at least 90 days prior to their parole. I hope to have more about this in the March/April 2016 issues of “The Barbed Wire”.

Contact

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2016, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin
to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or
have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't
currently a monthly partner or have given a
one time gift before, would you please pray
about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct
the gift to  Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

November / December 2015

Prayer Matters

If I was to take a poll of Christians asking ‘what in your Christian walk would you most want to know more about?” The most likely two top answers would be, ‘know God’s will for their life’ and ‘how to improve their prayer life.’

I’m of the position that ‘God’s will for my life’ can be found in the scriptures and to gain a fuller knowledge of God’s will for my life, I need to have an ongoing deeper study of God’s Word. But for prayer the challenge is greater. True, how to have a better prayer life can be found in God’s Word (Matt. 6:5-13), but I have personally found it a challenge. Like many other Christians if they were to be truthful to themselves, I find myself saying the same old thing, my mind wandering, and I begin doubting if I was praying God’s will and so on.

I have also come to know in my Christian walk, though God created me unique in many ways, my struggles in my sanctification isn’t as unique as I perceive it to be, especially in prayer. If you are saying I have a great prayer life, well more glory to God, but for many others and me, though God calls us to pray, we need to be taught how to pray.

In a follow-up to “A Soldier’s Call to Studying the Bible” I will begin teaching “A Soldier’s Call to Pray”. I’ve chosen three resources for the curriculum; ‘Prayer’ a six part DVD teaching series by R. C. Sproul, ‘Developing a Healthy Prayer Life’ by James and Joel Beeke and ‘Praying the Bible’ by Donald S. Whitney.

I choose Prayer by R. C. Sproul because I liked a broad approach in why and how to pray using the acrostic ACTS; adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.  It is an easy method to use in how to approach God in prayer.

In ‘Developing a Healthy Prayer Life’ James and Joel Beeke give a deeper understanding of how to approach God, challenging the reader to examine their prayer life by using thoughtful meditations and offering encouragement to enrich this spiritual discipline.

Finally in ‘Praying the Bible’ Donald Whitney gives some very good practical lessons in how to lift a prayer life of redundancy and boredom by using scripture as a foundation to paraphrase the objects of our prayers. By using scripture, like the Psalms, we have an endless resource to keep our prayers feeling refreshed and vibrant.

It is hoped that by applying the teachings of these three resources the ‘Student Prayer Request,’ and my own prayers, will not be man-centered prayer to meet our personal wills but God centered prayer to fulfill God’s will and come away glorifying God and enjoying Him


prison-slang.gif

Cell-phone - Old nostalgic term referring to convicts calling home from prison. i.e.: using a "cell-phone" (calling home) Courtesy of Inside Prison


Bibles In the Jails and Prisons

It was a blessing of God’s provision through Joe & Janet Jones & Tyndale House Publishers that Dixon’s SOCPM students graduating from Discipleship “A Soldier’s Call to Study the Bible” received a copy of Our Daily Bread Devotional Bibles published by Tyndale House.

 Bibles as you may surmise are a constant need in the jails and prisons and though that need is being constantly supplied, it is never enough. Bibles that are donated in large supply are usually very basic, just the scriptures, maybe a concordance. Prison policy often forbids hardcover Bibles making soft paperback bound Bibles the norm. After a few years they are usually falling apart but because their Bible has been personalized with highlights and notes, a prisoner is reluctant to replace it. Because it is not copyrighted the most widely distributed translation is the KJV.  A lot of inmates will say they prefer the KJV for numerous reasons, the church they may have been raised in utilized the KJV, they believe it to be one of the original word for word translations, or believe it exceeds other translations immensely when it comes to accuracy. Pride also is a factor ‘I’m not bothered by all those ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ the Holy Spirit makes it all clear to me.’ Perhaps, but do away with the pride and most would confess it is hard to read let alone properly interpret.

The other common translations NIV, NASB, ESV and NLT are copyrighted and the cost can be exorbitant, but for large organizations. A good study Bible would be a strain on a lot of budgets so the distribution of them is minimal. SOCPM is a big advocate of study Bibles. When a student includes the reading of the study notes in his reading of the scriptures, it can more readily squelch any inaccurate or heretical interpretation which can easily be done when scripture is taken out of context. A lot of the scripture out of context is the foundation for many false teachings that is rampant in today’s churches. They’ve become so widely accepted an attempt to teach the scriptures properly are met with strong and sometimes hostile opposition (Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 4:1-5, 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).

When I teach on a topic while referring to the scriptures and I’m met with an opposing interpretation I will ask those in class who have study Bibles to read the notes and the other referenced scripture. I’ve witnessed the Holy Spirit change the hearts of many students when they hear or can read for themselves a deeper study of the scriptures using a good study Bible.


Jailhouse Preacher

I use to do cell by cell visits at Pontiac Correctional Center along with other Prison Fellowship volunteers including Phil Meyer. Despite cell by cell visits being something I truly enjoyed, busy Saturdays fulfilling Sheridan and Dixon responsibilities and a two hour drive, led me to forgo doing cell by cell visits and I lost contact with Phil. This past summer while grocery shopping I heard someone say ‘Scott is that you?’ Turning around I saw Phil. We got to talking and sharing how God was using us in prison ministry. For Phil he was preaching once a month on Sundays at DeKalb County Jail (DCJ). He asked if I would be interested in joining him.

Having a desire to enter DCJ for some time and after seeking God’s affirmation Phil and I arranged to meet to discuss in detail what a typical Sunday would consist of and I came away still feeling affirmed. Final affirmation came with being approved by DeKalb County Jail and Pastor Steve Persons of First Baptist Church Sycamore.

On Sunday September 27th I preached my first message at DCJ on 2 Corinthians 13:5 to eleven inmates of DeKalb County Jail. I will be going into DCJ with Phil on the first Sunday of the month and we will rotate on preaching.


Numbers

179 - Number of subscribers to Student Prayer Requests


Contact

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin
to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or
have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't
currently a monthly partner or have given a
one time gift before, would you please pray
about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct
the gift to  Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

September / October 2015

Theology Matters

When I first became a Christian I was unsure what doctrine was and I would often hear ‘we don’t hold to any doctrine because doctrine divides.’ But something within, perhaps my old rebel nature, wanted to rebel and at least know what doctrine meant. By chance (God) I started listening to a Christian radio broadcast called ‘Renewing Your Mind’ with R. C. Sproul. I became a fan simply because what he was teaching had ‘meat’ on it. I don’t remember how long it was before I realized that I was being taught doctrine. I confess I’ve become a 'theology junkie.’ I started acquiring different Bible translations from NLT to NASB, feasted on the teaching of not only R. C. Sproul, but also on the likes of C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, A. W. Pink, John Calvin, Augustine, and more.  I started attending my current church, Redeemer Fellowship, where a heavy emphasis is placed on teaching theology and doctrine. However, God began to convict me about how I was using what He was teaching me. Was I learning to boast on what I knew and glorify myself or was I going to use it to glorify God and God alone? So, through prayer and a humbling heart God lead me to teach my students theology matters.

Prisons like a lot of churches attract many with a false theology and unsound doctrine that adds up to a false Gospel. To begin to counter the false Gospels one needs to know the Bible and one comes to know the Bible not just by reading it 15 – 30 minutes a day but by studying, mediating and praying in God’s Word.

Don’t be satisfied in just saying ‘I’m saved.’ Begin to ask questions on things you don’t fully understand. At the start of each class session I invite the students to submit questions they may have on a topic or an interpretation of God’s Word and I’ll do my best to get back to them the following week with teachings on the question asked by renowned theologians with Scripture to support the teaching.

“We have to determine our theology from the Word of God, not from what we feel.”
R. C. Sproul

I’m currently teaching a course entitled ‘A Soldier’s Call to Study the Bible.’ Based on David Platt’s four-part video teaching series ‘How to Study the Bible.’ It has been well received after the first two weeks of classes. Though not definite, pending review of various curriculums, I’m planning to teach the classes ‘A Soldier’s Call to Pray,’ teaching the students how to make their prayers more vibrant and confident by praying God’s will, and ‘A Soldier’s Call to Know God’ teaching the students the attributes of God.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Titus 2:1 ESV

My push on theology matters and sound doctrine is often met with skepticism and some first time students may drop the class when they see the class involves more then discussing what certain passages of Scripture means to them. But over time those who stay have seen it bare fruit in their lives and they begin to share the truths of God and His Word with fellow inmates. The class size of the first discipleship class at Sheridan was ten students. Today there are two classes with a max enrollment of 40 students in each.

To Him be the glory


Prison Slang

Ghost-Train Prison slang referring to the act of repeatedly transferring a "problem-inmate" from facility-to-facility or unit-to-unit as a security precaution. i.e.: he's constantly getting put on the "ghost-train" 
Courtesy of Inside Prison


In the Classroom

I often wonder if people think my serving in prison ministry is just a few hours a day, a couple of days a week, and a few hours of admin here and there. Having just started the fall term of classes, I myself was reminded of how much goes into a week of prison ministry.

I won’t get to detailed as it then sounds like whining because I love what I do. There are times I do get drained of energy but that happens with everybody who has work and a family.
My weekly prepping for ‘A Soldier’s Call to Renewing Fatherhood’ is not that much. I’ve been teaching the same curriculum, “InsideOut Dad Christian”, in both Dixon and Sheridan since November 2011 and I’m very familiar with the weekly lessons. I only need to prep for the administration part, the printing of various articles distributed to the students. The articles are related to the area of fatherhood I’ll be teaching that week and there are usually three or four articles.

My weekly prepping for the discipleship class is more time consuming. This season I’m teaching ‘How to Study the Bible’ by David Platt, a set of four 1-hour videos. I prep a few weeks in advance to avoid any time crunch. I’ll watch each video lesson at least two times and using the transcripts make notes highlighting key points to address in the class. The week of the class I’ll watch the video once more and review my annotations and make revisions.

Wednesdays & Fridays are my actual days in the prisons. On Wednesdays I go to Dixon. I arrive at the main gate at 9:30 am and will teach ‘A Soldier’s Call to Renewing Fatherhood’ and the current discipleship class, leave around 3:00 pm. On Fridays I’m at Sheridan. It’s the same as Dixon except I teach two discipleship class and leave around 7 pm.

In addition to the prepping and teaching I keep track of attendance, respond to student requests for information on a Bible passage or various topics like predestination, eternal security. Quite often I’m asked to explain an alleged contradiction. Last task is the transcribing of prayer requests into my Mac for later distribution and review material for future classes.


SOCPM to Cease!

SOCPM is ceasing as a corporation, only. Was that a headline grabber? SOCPM is becoming an official ministry of Redeemer Fellowship Church of Saint Charles, IL. SOCPM has been a ministry of Redeemer in support and endorsement but has been it’s own entity.

Nothing changes in the mission and vision of SOCPM. I’ll still steward the ministry and do all that I’ve been doing. This is something I’ve been considering for awhile and was recently placed on the front burner when I began to investigate all the paperwork required if I was to pay myself a salary. My spiritual gift is teaching and I enjoy teaching. I do not have the spiritual gift of administration. I can fake the admin part in but when the admin becomes more involved with taxes and the like I don’t feel at peace faking it.

I met with the Elders on August 19th to make it official.  I’ll become an employee of Redeemer and donations made to Redeemer and designated for SOCPM prison ministry will pay my $250 a month salary as well as all operating expenses.

I’m truly excited about this change for a number of reasons but primarily I feel SOCPM is a full member of the Redeemer family.


The Numbers are…

6,912 - Total world languages in the world.
2,286 - Total world languages that do not have a Bible in their language.
Secret Church 3: How to Study the Bible Part 1


Online Giving Coming Soon!!

I don't have an exact date other then soon, but when soon actually arrives you'll be able to start giving support to SOCPM online with reoccurring and one time giving. Stay Tuned!!!


CONTACT

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin
to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or
have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't
currently a monthly partner or have given a
one time gift before, would you please pray
about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct
the gift to  Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

July / August 2015

Taking Heed of Matthew 7:23

One of my biggest fears is a student God has entrusted to me here the words“…I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Despite my often referring to 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:11, I tremble when I think how many will hear Matthew 7:23.

Recently during a teaching from 1 John by my Pastor Joe Thorn, I felt convicted that I was not being bold enough in my teaching of assurance to those God has entrusted to me. The following Wednesday and Friday I told my students of my conviction and asked for forgiveness and said I planned to be bolder. One student replied, ‘…isn’t that kind of rude questioning are salvation?’ I responded what would be rude if I chose to ignore my conviction and then one of you hear Jesus declare ‘I never knew you depart from me.’
In his three book series “Recovering the Gospel”, Paul Washer addresses how the essential elements of the Gospel are neglected in contemporary churches today. I enjoyed the series because I could relate to a lot of what he describes is the ‘gospel’ many of my students have based their faith, their salvation in. He writes in Gospel Assurance and Warnings, “Preaching is now carried out by life coaches who teach people principals that they may have their best life now.” [1]

The fallout of today’s preaching as Washer describes is many if not most who profess as being ‘born-again’ are in fact not born again. Quite often one falsely believes by simply saying the sinner’s payer will saved them. I’m not saying all who said the sinner’s prayer aren’t saved but I see a fair number of students profess to being born-again but do not exhibit the fruit of a saving faith. Washer The Gospel Call & True Conversion ‘the sinner’s prayer’ “…it has become the primary and, often, the only basis of assurance. That is, many individuals who bear little or no evidence of God’s work in their lives are convinced or assured of their salvation only because once they prayed the sinner’s prayer sincerely.” [2]

As I prayed and mediated on my conviction of not being bolder in teaching of assurance the Holy Spirit brought to my heart 2 Timothy 1:14 “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” And cannot help to realize the charge before me with those God has entrusted to me in my stewardship of Soldier’s of Christ Prison Ministries. Steve Lawson writes in Foundations of Grace “The church desperately needs men who are proclaimers of the full counsel of Scripture. Any true exposition of the Bible inevitably will point to the transcendent truth of God’s right to rule over all the works of His hands. If such men would be found faithful before God, they must concern themselves with declaring these ancient doctrines of God’s eternal grace. Where are such men today?” [3]

SOCPM seeks to be ‘such men’ and make disciples to be ‘such men’ and ask for your prayers in living 2 Timothy 4:5 ‘As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.’

[1] Washer, Paul. Gospel Assurance and Warnings. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2014. 209. Print.
[2] Washer, Paul. The Gospel Call and True Conversion. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2014. 37. Print
[3] Lawrence, Steven J. Foundations of Grace. Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2006. 102. Print


Slang It

Jointman: An inmate who acts like a correctional officer.   http://www.insideprison.com/glossary.asp


In the Classroom - A Passion of Love

If you’ve ever had the fortune or misfortune, depending on your point of view, of hearing me share about prison ministry, I am fairly certain you see my passion and love for what God has called me to do. I typically only share what types of curriculums I am currently teaching or plan to teach in future classes.  I also share how I want to get men connected to additional resources, primarily churches, once they are paroled.

However, I’m very hesitant in sharing what I have to do administratively to prepare for a course, teach the course and the other tasks outside the classroom.  At times, I wonder if people just think I spend a couple of days in a prison teaching a couple of classes and that’s pretty much it. I’m hesitant to share because I don’t want to come off as boasting or seeking affirmation for my own pride. But, as I’ve been preparing for the upcoming discipleship class ‘A Soldier’s Call to Study the Bible’ I feel God is leading me to share the ‘the labors of a passion.’

God has put in my heart to teach a class on how to not just read a Bible but to study the Bible with a desire to be transformed by the renewing of your one’s mind through a sound knowledge and understanding of all the richness of God’s Word. I tried one class a few years back. Although the students said they liked it, I felt it fell far short of the goal because of, in part, a less than ideal curriculum. After a search for new curriculum I decided to use a teaching series by David Platt ‘How to study the Bible. It is a series of four one-hour videos.

One shortcoming is the downloadable videos are not closed captioned, but I know of three students at Dixon who have hearing impairments who would seriously consider taking the class if their hearing impartments could be overridden. I’m not a computer geek by any imagination but through Google, I found a way to imbed close caption to the videos. Nothing comes easy though. It is was a tedious task.

1.     Download the video in mp4 format from the Radical website (the ministry of David Platt’s “Secret Church”).

2.     Download the transcript of the same video from its YouTube location

3.     Upload the video and the transcript to my YouTube account.

4.     Merges the video and text creating my own time stamped text file that allows me to make edits to the close captioning text.

a.     Editing consists of downloading a PDF of the transcripts for each session from Radical, copying and pasting it into a Word document.

b.     In YouTube I do the clicks to get me to where I have alongside the video a column of text boxes each time stamped in seconds. I then start watching and listening to the video monitoring the text boxes for errors. Seeing the number of errors makes the numbers of errors using my voice recognition software look miniscule.

c.      When I see an error I stop the video, look at the actual transcript, make the edits and cut out of the Word document all the text that has been verified. I thought at first it would be somewhat easy, but as it turns out it takes anywhere from 1 to 12 hours to do a one-hour video.

5.     When the editing of close captioning is completed, I download the edited close caption text and save it as a sbv file.

6.     Upload the sbv file to another website that converts the sbv file to a srt file.

7.     Using Wondershare’s “Video Converter Ultimate” software load the original mp4 file from Radical, the srt file of close caption text and convert it all into a vob format.

8.     Once I have a vob format, I load the vob file into the same software and burn it to a DVD.

From Radical’s website to a DVD is about 10-12 hours of work. As I write this newsletter I’m about 10 minutes into part three of the curriculum. So, I still have about 22 hours of work to do.

It was a great feeling when I popped in the first DVD in and saw the closed captioning. Michelle asked me if I thought it was worth the time it takes. I shared with her that I crossed paths with Ralph, an inmate at Dixon, who has a severe hearing impairment and told me he quit coming because though he can read lips my habit of moving around and turning my head made it impractical for him to learn. I shared with him, my yet untested plans of having closed captioning and he said he would return. There are two other former students who quit attending classes because of hearing impairments.  Even if only Ralph was to attend the class with closed captioning and he learns how to study the Bible it could take a hundred hours for one video and it be worth it to me.


The Number is...

16,350 - Sheets of paper it will take to print 100 copies of Crossway’s introduction to all 66 books of the Bible.


Thud, Pain, Trust

I apologize for the lateness of this issue of The Barbed Wire. But, I can blame it on my wife Michelle, who is my proofreader and she was simply late in getting her task done. I say ‘I blame Michelle’ in jest though as she an excusable reason for not doing the proof reading earlier.

I truly cherish simply sitting at my lovely bride Michelle’s side and watching Netflix. We had just completed doing so on July 2nd and turned off the TV. The room became dark. Michelle got up to turn the light on in the kitchen. Then, I heard a thud and loud cry of pain. Michelle had fallen and felt a great amount of pain. I quickly called 911.

Michelle broke two bones in her right leg, the tibia and the fibula. The latter required surgery where a rod was placed in her leg just below the kneecap. Michelle was a trooper though enduring the various stages of great pain especially when they temporarily reset it in the ER.

It will be a long recovery. The orthopedist told us it will be a minimum of three months for her fracture to heal completely. She is in to her third week of recovery and still cannot put any weight on her leg. She uses a walker to get around our condo, but for all intents and purposes she is incapacitated, limiting her activities to 98% bed rest and couch sitting.

Caretaking is not one of my gifts. God is teaching me how to I need to love Michelle more as I care for her by not having heavy sighs when she asks me to help her. I also am humbled to see just how blessed I am by Michelle’s trust in God. Michelle was having a conversation with her mother, who was expressing concern for Michelle. Michelle replied, ‘I’m not worried mom, God planned this, so my trust is in Him in getting me through this.’ I’m blessed with a godly woman indeed.

CONTACT

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org 
http://www.socpm.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to  Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

May / June 2015

Living 2 Timothy

When God called me to steward Soldier's of Christ He pointed me to 2 Timothy to be the scripture of foundation for SOCPM. And over the years I've seen how 2 Timothy cannot only be applied to how I'm to disciple the students, but in my own stewardship of SOCPM.

Terrance (not his real name) was a first time SOCPM student in 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood.' I'm always excited when a first time student attends a SOCPM class as my passion leads me to reach as many as I can. However, it became quite clear within a few minutes of Terrance's first class he was going to be a challenge.

After almost every statement I would make he would speak out and question what I had just said and proceed to give his opinion that was basically a theology of polytheism, which teaches there are many Gods. I would attempt to respond to his immediate question but it became clear he was not asking questions to learn but to simply be quarrelsome After about 15 minutes of Terrance's interruptions I could see the class overall was getting perturbed [2 Tim. 2:23-24].

I realized I needed to respond to his constant interruptions without 'breeding any more quarrels'. So I sought to correct him with gentleness [2 Tim. 2:26] 'Listen, you have to understand that the questions you are asking are not directly related to fatherhood, they are more related to topics we discuss in the discipleship classes. I would suggest you enroll a discipleship class where your questions would be more appropriate for the class' objective'. The objective of this class is fatherhood. Even though it is Christian based the primary focus is on fatherhood. So I ask if you would please limit your questions to fatherhood.' He responded with the 'I'm just simply... but if you don't want to that's cool just don't think you should keep referring to one type God just say a god'.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is in need of much more ripening. In my heart I wanted to say 'why don't you just leave' but the Holy Spirit held my tongue towards him and I turned my attention back to the class [2 Tim. 2:24]. After a moment or two he got up and left the room. In my heart I was joyful saying 'did he leave, is he not coming back?' After his leaving a couple of students asked 'Do you want us to say something to him?' I said no I don't want to risk things escalating and it ends up going back to your unit where it could then escalate even more.' My heart was saddened when Terrance returned a few minutes later. He was more compliant during the remainder of the class but still made it clear on occasion he did not agree with me.

At the end of the class JD, another SOCPM student, who has been in several SOCPM classes, asked if I wanted to him say something to Terrance outside of class about his actions that they are not the way the things are done in this class. I thanked JD but said, 'No, I'm getting the feeling he is hoping I respond with an angry tone in order for him to make the statement I'm just like all Christians a hypocrite but I'll just have to do my best to remain calm and endure [2 Tim. 4:5].

The following week, with a heart mixed with joy and despair Terrance returned. As I started my teaching I heard some side chatter and saw that it was Terrance who had sat next to JD and JD was pointing things in the Bible out to Terrance. I tend to silence side chatter, but JD had Terrance's attention and was keeping him quiet so I said nothing.

After class JD apologized for the side chatter but said that Terrance started talking with him saying how the Bible is supportive of slavery. JD said it appeared to him that he definitely saw Terrance has an attitude towards the whole race thing.  On my ride home God pointed out that Terrance was obviously not Christian but he was the type of student that I have prayed for, an unbeliever who could have his heart transformed and that all I could do is trust God.

The weeks progressed and Terrance, though less, still was speaking out but through the Holy Spirit I was able to endure and he indeed registered for a discipleship class. I am praying and trusting that God will use me to live 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

After the last day of class, I was leaving the lunch hall and was passing a long line. At the end of the line I met Terrance and a fellow inmate. He stopped me and said 'hey, preacher this guy is in need of prayer, pray for him?' The lunch line which was moving quickly and my holding it up by praying would not be well received by staff. But, stopped the line moving and put in my heart to indeed pray. Not only did the person I prayed for say thank you but Terrance did as well. Walking away God spoke to me saying my praying for the inmate went far in my prayer for Terrance to perhaps see Christianity is not how he perceives it to be and that God made indeed do transforming work in Terrance [2 Tim. 2:24-26].


Slang It

Sweet Kid: Prison slang referring to an inmate who allies with an older, more experienced inmate, possibly for protection or knowledge.  Inside Prison


In the Classroom

On April 29th and May 1st SOCPM launches a new quarter of classes at Dixon & Sheridan Correctional Centers.  In the 'Christian Living' program SOCPM will be teaching the 20th and 21st classes of 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood'. The Discipleship program will be teaching 'A Soldier's Call to Unlocking the Bible's Story' the primary curriculum will be '10 Keys to Unlocking the Bible' by Colin S. Smith. Thanks to ministry friend Robert Wolfson who provided SOCPM with the course material including 100 copies of the participants guide.

Many thanks to SOCPM's ministry partners & Grace to You whose generous gifting allow SOCPM to give all last quarter Discipleship students a copy of 'Saved Without a Doubt' by John MacArthur. Additionally the gifting of ministry partners purchased 50 'InsideOut Dad Christian' workbooks for this quarter's 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood'


The Number is...

27 - The number of Illinois Department of Correction facilities SOCPM has served


SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to  Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

CONTACT

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org 
http://www.socpm.org

March / April 2015

We Are Family

SOCPM collects prayer requests weekly. As I transcribe and pray over them my heart truly aches for the dire requests. A recent one was from Pablo, a SOCPM student since May 2015, who has been incarcerated since February 2013. He mentioned it was his mother’s birthday and he was hoping she was well. He also mentioned he hasn’t seen or heard from her in three years.

Family estrangement is common with many of the incarcerated. As I minister to these men weekly, God has shown me hearts of repentance that yearn for reconciliation with family and loved ones. Some know they are unworthy of forgiveness but as they were forgiven through Christ they seek forgiveness from family and loved ones.

I can relate to families choosing to remain disconnected. I’ve personally had to do that with my own son. Quite often what seems like an unforgiving heart is actually a grieving heart that needs to disconnect until the person seeking forgiveness has shown through action and not words a changed heart.

However, for many of those incarcerated who are seeking forgiveness words may be the only way they can exhibit a changed heart. Visits by family, if any, are often once a month and for a relatively short time. This makes it difficult to demonstrate a changed heart.

In my classes this topic is often discussed. As I minister to the hearts of these men many will say they love coming to SOCPM classes, not only for the discipleship, but for the fellowship.  The fellowship that comes about in the classes is truly God at work. During a Sheridan class one student was sharing how he was struggling with dealing with a cellie who constantly calls him the ‘B’ word and how he knows the best thing to do would be to ignore it but that if he does ignore it he opens himself to being seen as weak and prey for others. Not having personally experienced incarceration, I know there are some things that I’m not in position to minister. If I were to give wrong counsel it could bring great harm to someone. At times like this, I will back away and ask the class for godly wisdom. Quite often I don’t need to ask. Fellow disciples are there to offer wisdom in a road already traveled.

The hardest thing while in prison is the death of a loved one. Last year Derrick, another SOCPM student, shared that his brother was recently murdered. It was troubling to hear, but even more troubling was Derrick. He has had other family members murdered so the shock of a loved one getting murdered was nothing out of the norm. For Derrick, it was just a way of life.

A past student’s mother died. He hadn’t seen her for sometime and he was deeply grieved. When an inmate is informed the Chaplain wants to see him it is almost certain a loved one has died. Upon arriving at the Chaplain’s office he is allowed fifteen minutes of phone time to talk with a family member. As for a time to mourn that’s it, time to continue his life in prison. I try to imagine what it would be like emotionally if I received news a loved one has died and I only had fifteen minutes to be with a loved one and then only by phone.

For guys like Willie, a current SOCPM student, losing a loved one is something he has experienced. In a recent class he shared, ‘Losing a loved one is the hardest thing to encounter in prison. It is why God has put in my heart when I hear of a brother’s loved one dying I go to prayer and seek to comfort the brother’.

I truly love prison ministry and I’m humbled that God has called me to it.  I am humbled even more when the men give hearty welcomes and good-byes before and after class. In their prayer request, quite often, they will say how they so much look forward to Fridays knowing it is SOCPM day. But as joyful and humbling it is to serve God in prison ministry, I know there are times it is not only me the men come to receive. It is the wisdom and fellowship of their Christian peers as well. It was maybe best said by Lougin, a current SOCPM discipleship student, ‘We all here (gesturing to the class) cause for some, we is all we got.’

In person yes, but in Christ we all got so much more. To Him be the glory


Slang It

Viking: An inmate who has long since given up on bathing or showering.
http://www.insideprison.com/glossary.asp


Thanks Brian!!! Thanks Lulu!!!

Thanks Brian Malcolm, an Elder from my church, who used his spiritual gifts to create and develop Soldier’s of Christ Prison Ministries’ new web site.  Check it out! A few enhancements, mostly in content, are still underway but I’m forever thankful that Brian was willing to share his spiritual gift and time to bless SOCPM.

Thanks Lulu, as in Luanne Wild, a very dear friend and sister in Christ who used her spiritual gifts to create and develop a PowerPoint presentation. What she did with my original presentation amazed me. The PowerPoint shows the need for prison ministry and how God has used Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries in the past and seeks to continue using SOCPM for His glory.

If you, your church, or business want to learn more please contact me socpm@socpm.org.


The Number is...

119 - The current number of student enrolled in a SOCPM class


SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St -
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to  
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

CONTACT

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries      
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org 
http://www.socpm.org 

January / February 2015

Wayne's Story

My mom is a persistent prayer warrior and she also is one of the most caring people I know. You put the two together and a SOCPM disciple can get into the welding class. Such is Wayne's story.

Wayne, a S OCPM disciple since December 2013, began his persistent prayer journey by asking God to change the hearts of those who have authority over him and grant him a work release. This would give him an early start in re-entry into society.

Wayne, like many students will often have a prayer request for an early work release and question why God does not give it to them. I respond by saying, "It may not be God's will." After getting some frowns I continue, "Perhaps God foresees that because you are unskilled and have a felony, no employer will be willing to hire you and because of your your inability to get a job, you become desperate in your need to support your family. Finally, when approached by someone to earn money the old fashion way, by stealing it or selling drugs, in your desperation to support your family, you give in and get arrested. Now, not only are your not able to support your family, you're back in prison."

I don't know how God spoke to Wayne, but his prayer requests went from praying for a work release to getting into the welding class, to acquire a skill and make himself more employable upon release. However, after a couple of weeks he stopped submitting a prayer request and said how God wasn't answering his prayer. I told him, God is more than 'just ask and I'll give you what you want'. He wants your heart. Wayne's resumed his prayers, referring to his son as "my little boy, Dillon" and his wife as "my girl, Jessi". He began to pray for his ''girl, Jessi" and his "little boy, Dillon" to know Jesus so they could be a complete Christian family. But Wayne's journey had really only just begun. Like the persistent widow, Wayne had to become the persistent prisoner and trust in God at all times and through all things.

Enter my mom, Mary, and the other SOCPM prayer warriors. I mention my mom specifically because she began to ask me each week in our weekly phone call, "Did that man get into the welding class? I hope he does, he sounds like a nice man, talking about his little boy, Dillon, and them being a Christian family." I shared with Wayne how my mom took a personal interest in his prayers, especially his getting into the welding class. He was truly touched. 

On October 24th Wayne came to me, he was struggling big time, his step-mom was dying, lots of other negative things were happening. Luke 9:10-11 had been on his mind, he had been staying in the Word, but God was silent. I told Wayne God may be putting him through the fire to test his faith. It was time for him to really turn on the persistence and trust. The following Friday he told me his step-mom died and his dad was really taking her death really hard. But Wayne persisted in his prayer and trusted in God.

I can't describe the joy my mom and I had when I shared on November 8th that Wayne got into the welding class.  Wayne's story is only one of many I've come to know in doing prison ministry.

If you're desiring to experience the joy my mom and I shared and are not receiving the SOPM disciple prayer request or are receiving them and just haven't been praying, perhaps God is calling you to become a persistent prayer warrior.


Prison Slang

Chocolate Frog: An Informant Slang is from Inside Prison


Looking Ahead to 2015

Classes are scheduled to resume January 28th at Dixon and January 30th at Sheridan. 

Once again SOCPM will be teaching Renewing Fatherhood. A class that not only teaches incarcerated dads Christian basic fathering skills, but also draws many unsaved dads to attend the Discipleship classes, where they receive in depth teachings on the Gospel.

The upcoming Discipleship classes will pick-up where Defending You Faith, Part 1 ended. Part 1 started with only one lessons per session, but because of lockdowns and other unscheduled class cancellations we had to rearrange the lessons. We combined two lessons into one session and the impact on overall class time discussion was minimal. Part 2 will consist of two lessons per class session.

With the reduced class lengths SOCPM will be able to offer more courses from the overall increasing SOCPM Discipleship curriculum. One of the new curriculums A Soldier's Call to Know the Bible, based on the Colin Smith's teaching series 10 Keys to Unlocking the Bible, is planned after the completion of Defending Your Faith, Part 2. This class was made possible by the generous gift of 100 participant guides from ministry friend, Bob Wolfson.

I met with Dixon's Assistant Warden of Programs (AWP), Lashonda Cameron, on how SOCPM can best serve Dixon. Because of that talk, SOCPM is planning to expand it's Christian Living Curriculum from just the current Renewing Fatherhood and Biblical Counseling, to include classes on marriage, anger management, and dealing with times of difficulty. 

SOCPM will also seriously look into presenting one or two day seminars allowing us to offer more programs. If they go well in Dixon and or Sheridan, I plan to investigate bringing them to local county jails and downstate prisons. This will require seeking volunteers locally and downstate to help teach the seminars. 

Speaking of downstate, SOCPM is going to be in search of downstate churches who would be willing to open their doors to our students upon their being paroled. This would include providing ongoing discipleship and raising up volunteers to teach SOCPM programs in facilities downstate. 

In my meeting with AWP Cameron, I also mentioned my interest in receiving some training in MRT (Moral Recognitive Thinking). She having attended the training, gave it a strong endorsement. This training will certify me to teach a wide range of cognitive behavior courses, offered by MRT.


The Number is ...

102 - The number of certificates issued by SOCPM to students in 2014


Soldiers of Christ is donor supported

I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.

If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?

Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St -
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to  
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

Contact

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries      
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org 
http://www.socpm.org 

November - December 2014

The Battle Against 'Itchy Ear Feel Good' Doctrine

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ( 2 Timothy 1:13-14 ESV)  
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Paul writes in his 2nd epistle to Timothy the importance of sound doctrine and warns of false teachings that will come in the church.

The church today, as Paul warned Timothy, is enduring false teaching. In large part because many do not teach doctrine but cast it aside saying 'doctrine divides. Well, in truth, it does divide. Many are not teaching sound doctrine in fear of seeing membership fall.

One of the biggest challenges in prison ministry is unsound doctrine. As we're told in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 sound doctrine  can cause itchy ears and people wanting to suit their passions will turn to false teachings that make them feel good. 'Itchy ear, feel good doctrine' as I call it. To counter this SOCPM has made 2 Timothy it's scriptural bedrock. But Titus 1:2 states it best in one verse "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine."

Sadly, the 'itchy ear feel good doctrine' is one of the most revered in prisons. To counter this SOCPM's ministry partner Ligonier Ministries gives SOCPM teaching curriculum at a greatly reduced cost and at no cost gives SOCPM 50 copies a month of Tabletalk magazine. Ligonier has also assisted SOCPM in choosing various teaching series that cover foundational and sound teachings. Because of this, the students ask insightful questions to help them better discern what they may have heard in the Ligonier teaching versus to a teaching they heard elsewhere. 

Tabletalk was unheard of prior to SOCPM bringing it into the prison it serves and has become one of the most popular of the several monthly devotions that SOCPM distributes. It was after reading three issues of Tabletalk that led Discipleship student Joseph to state 'I've been reading these',  (waving Tabletalk in the air) and then commented 'that prosperity gospel, it's the wrong stuff, this is the right stuff.' How much Joseph was a follower of prosperity gospel I do not know, but Joesph has taken to reformed theology so much, he asked me one Friday if I knew of a church near Normal Illinois that is reformed. I hadn't a clue but the very following Sunday, my pastor introduced a friend of his, a visiting pastor from a community church in Normal, IL. Guess who made a beeline to introduce myself after the service? Though Joseph isn't scheduled for parole until October 2016 he and the pastor from the community church have begun communicating. God willing, Joesph will have a solid connection to a sound Bible teaching church upon his release.

The teaching of sound doctrine has brought on several challenges but the Holy Spirit reminds me of another verse from 2 Timothy:

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3 ESV)

Slang It

Road Dogs: Inmates who do not declare any gang-affiliations but who buddy-up inside prison for protection.

Slang is from Inside Prison


World Religions, Other Religions & Cults

I first met Kent when he attended a New Life Correction's 'Transforming Incarcerated Dads' class at Vienna Correctional Center in February 2012. Upon his transfer to to Sheridan in October 2012 he became a SOCPM student and currently is in his seventh SOCPM class. He is going home November 7 and has a family member who is involved with Wicca and asked me if I had anything that could help him in what Wiccans believe. It was affirming to see Kent was pursuing a key point I stressed in apologetics and that is know what the person your going to debate believes.

I contacted Christian Apologetics Resource Ministry (CARM - www.carm.org) who has an extensive depository of apologetics on world religions, religious groups and cults. CARM gave me permission to assemble all the articles on Wicca and any other material I deemed beneficial into a PDF. I gave Kent the PDF on WICCA. He was eager to begin his preparation to discuss Christianity versus Wicca with his family member. 

The following week Tom a student at Dixon, a new believer with a great hunger for God's Word was excited about 3 Angel Broadcasting Network and asked me to check it out. Turns out they are Seventh Day Adventist. It is common and easy for someone new in faith to get sidetracked in teachings that on the surface seem biblically sound and unless someone takes the initiative to steer them away the evil one uses it as a slippery slope to accepting unbiblical teachings. I returned to CARM and assembled a PDF on Seventh Day Adventism for Tom. Modesto, another SOCPM Disciple student after seeing it, asked for a copy too.

SOCPM is developing an extensive library of articles on doctrine and theology in a multitude of areas including  prayer, sin, end times, free will and much more, authored by esteemed theologians; Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Owens, A. W. Pink. C. H. Spurgeon to name a few. 

2 Timothy 2:2 calls on us to take what we learn in God's Word and entrust it to faithful men so that they may teach others also. It is the hope of SOCPM that the Kent, Tom, Modesto and others will take what they learn in SOCPM Discipleship classes to the places God calls them to in the spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.


The Number is ...

547 - The number of various articles and publications in the SOCPM library of theology


World Religions, Other Religions & Cults

Scripture memorization is a spiritual discipline. However, for me it is a daunting challenge. I recently acquired a PDF on Extended Scripture Memorization by Andrew Davis. It teaches a method on how to memorize not just two or three verses but whole books of the Bible. The Holy Spirit challenged me to memorize a book of the Bible and after prayer I chose 2nd Timothy since it is the bedrock scripture for SOCPM. 

I shared with my students my undertaking and challenged them to memorize a book of the Bible. I was disappointed when only Tom a student at Dixon and Robert a student at Sheridan took on the challenge to memorize 1 John & 2 Timothy respectively. However, when I shared what I had memorized thus far, 2 Timothy 1:1-18 and knowing I'm a very forgetful person, it must have been motivating as several more students have since requested the PDF.

I can't say with certainty that all are in pursuit but I hope the students will come to hear that if I can memorize a book of the Bible it ought to be a walk in the park for them and that more students like Tom and Robert will put there trust in the Holy Spirit and seek to memorize a book of the Bible.


Soldiers of Christ is donor supported

If you are interested in partnering with Soldiers of Christ tax deductible Donations are payable to Redeemer Fellowship & mailed to:
Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

Contact Us

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org

September - October 2014

In Obedience to 1 Peter 3:15

Robert an inmate at Sheridan Correctional Center began attending SOCPM Discipleship in July 2003 after the chaplain recommend it to him. At the conclusion of the recently completed ‘A Soldier’s Call to Know Sound Doctrine’ wrote me a sort letter expressing his gratitude of what SOCPM has been bringing to him personally. 

“I just wanted to write to you and give thanks for this pass class on doctrine. I really enjoyed it. The materials you made available I have studied and stored safely for later use. Honestly, I never got to get into C. H. Spurgeon or with his sermons before. Now, I'm honestly hooked on deep theology. I remember getting a copy of The Holiness of God by RC Sproul, I've studied a lot of Christian literature, but I feel like I finally got some meat in me, and my faith in God went to new heights,. Now I'm exploring R. C. Sproul, C. S. Lewis, C. H. Spurgeon, Lee Stroble, Paul Copan, etc. Then the John Newton book also help me understand the early church. I really appreciate you bringing the deep things of God to us and allowing us to understand it on our own. I'm really looking forward to this apologetics class, thanks for the videos study guides. I'm pretty stoked for this”

When God first gave the vision for SOCPM, it was to have discipleship that had a emphasis on theology. Dr. R. C. Sproul theologian and founder of Ligonier Ministries says he often hears people, “I don’t need all that doctrine — doctrine divides. All I need to know is Jesus.” Sproul replies “Well, who is Jesus? As soon as you start to answer that question,” Sproul observes, “you’re in theology.”

Recently SOCPM has started distributing the monthly magazine produced by Ligonier ‘Tabletalk.” In the first couple of months of distribution it has become the second most requested of four monthly publications SOCPM distributes. Only ‘Our Daily Bread’ (ODB) exceeds Tabletalk but ODB has been synonymous with prison devotions worldwide. Joesph, another Sheridan SOCPM student, recently commented after taking the latest edition of Tabletalk, “This stuff is really good, that name it claim it stuff, don’t need that” as he gave a shake of is head and a wave off with his hand.

Ispi Gloria, as SOCPM seeks God’s will in bringing sound doctrine and Bible teaching to jails and prisons.


Prison Slang

Doing the Dutch: Prison term for committing suicide.

Slang is from Inside Prison


The Number Is …

763 - The number of certificates issues to SOCPM students since August 2009


SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED

If you are interested in partnering with Soldiers of Christ tax deductible Donations are payable to Redeemer Fellowship & mailed to:
Redeemer Fellowship
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries

CONTACT US

Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
socpm@socpm.org
http://www.socpm.org