Making All Things New

I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference for chaplains in San Antonio, TX, in my capacity as a representative of the American Bible Society. As part of the event, people from various ministry organizations set up tables, hoping to be able to share what they have to offer to help chaplains with their work. When I had the chance to take a break and step away from my table, I wandered around to see which other ministries had come to the event. The one that caught my attention focused their efforts on bringing the Word of God to prison inmates.

As I looked at the literature on their table and listened to the representative tell me what they did, I quickly realized that people can find freedom, even behind prison bars. Their ministry was not just about bringing Bibles to inmates. Rather, their goal is to create a sense of community and provide a safe place where people can learn about the gift of salvation, share their stories of hope, healing, and restoration, and pray for the needs of other inmates.

It didn’t take long before I made the mental connection that this ministry is essentially creating a lifegroup program within the prison system, where people can find freedom despite their physical circumstances of living in a prison cell. Although this made me glad, since I’m a big believer in the power of lifegroups, what really brought me joy is hearing about the results of their ministry. The representative told me that people who regularly participate in their ministry not only find freedom for themselves but want to share that experience with other inmates. As a result, they’ll share the Gospel with fellow prisoners and invite them to come to group meetings. In the prisons this ministry has reached, they have created a revival where lives are being changed and inmates are becoming new creations in Christ. Inmates may have entered prison full of sin and rage, but they are becoming filled with the Holy Spirit and manifesting its fruit, and in many cases being released early from an extended prison sentence.

Although the people of our Church are not confined to physical prison cells, I would argue that many of us struggle with mental, emotional, and spiritual prisons. We may feel shackled with a belief that we are worthless, or brought down by feelings of shame and guilt, or trapped in the web of sin. These thoughts are nothing more than the lies of the enemy – prison bars that Satan tries to inhibit us with in the hope we never find freedom. Yet, the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ came to make all things new – to free us from sin and death.

In Romans 8:1-4, we read, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

If you are struggling with sin or feel imprisoned by negative thoughts and emotions, don’t try to do life on your own. We were meant to live in community, where we can help each other to find freedom. Do yourself a favor and join a lifegroup. Jesus Christ can make all things new, no matter what you have done or failed to do. He is reaching out His hand and waiting for you. You simply need to turn towards Him, ask for forgiveness of your sins, and give Him control of your life. You will be amazed by the results and who you will become.

by Paul McCullough
Paul and his family came to Kingsway in 2015, after moving back to the United States from an overseas military tour in Japan. He has been with his bride, Heather, for over 20 years and they have been blessed with two great kids, Paul IV and Sarah. Paul is passionate about ministry, working full time at the American Bible Society and engaging at Kingsway in KLS, Growth Track, Next Steps, and LifeGroups. He enjoys spending his spare time reading, building nanoblocks, and watching great movies.

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