I am pleased to share this week that the special Crowdfunding Campaign for our Books To USA Prisons Project I spoke of in my January 24, 2016 blog entitled, God Cares For The Incarcerated under the category, The Cause, will launch tomorrow, February 1st at 10AM PST on the Christian run, We Raise Web Site. Our campaign goal is to raise $9,000 in 45 days to send 2 copies of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to over 800 select State and Federal prisons across the United States. Our board of directors as well as every part of Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. is involved with Strong Man Ministries leading out.
We need as many Christians as possible to help us who remember what it was like to be a lost sinner and all of the many ways God used (including books) to tug at your heart and present the Gospel to you. We are especially appealing to those that have read The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to step up and help us since you know firsthand not only that the Gospel is plainly and purely presented, but also God’s design and program for biblical manhood throughout eternity! Just this past week I received a letter from an inmate quoted from previous correspondence he sent and presented on the We Raise Web Site. In his new letter Troy Bayless writes: “I truly believe the message of the book is foundational and needed for all men.”
Troy is an example of an inmate we have corresponded with after his initial contact letting us know he had read the book. We have also sent him with others our printed Strong Man Of God Monthly Newsletter as a form of continuing ministry into his life. Here is what he had to say about that:
I want to thank you for continuing to send me the Strong Man Of God Monthly
Newsletters. They have been a source of strength and understanding of who
God calls me/men to be, incarcerated or not.
Having read about the Books To USA Prisons Project in the newsletter, Troy also offers his sincere commitment to pray for and when he is able financially, to support it as he has previously done in making a small, unsolicited donation to help underwrite the cost of mailing out the newsletter to him. Troy and many other inmates who have come to or rededicated themselves to Christ as a result of what He is doing through Strong Man Ministries and my book, are the fruitful reasons I am boldly asking for your help not only to raise the funds we need to carry out the Books To USA Prisons Project, but also all of our continuing God ordained work as a faithful partner or friend of the Ministry! Learn how to do that on the Give Page.
This project is definitely not about my ego as the book’s author, but another way to reach the many incarcerated men like Troy with the Gospel and the Lord’s foundational instruction on biblical manhood as I wrote in the already referenced blog! Willing men in prison can be saved and their lives turned around by the Lord! If you doubt that, I have to wonder how it is you believe you were saved since as a sinner in the sight of a holy God, you stood no more worthy of salvation than the worst incarcerated offenders (Romans 3:9-20, 23)? Indeed, the Lord Jesus came to earth to call lost sinners to repentance and salvation, not the righteous (Luke 5:27-32, 19:1-10)!
Because they fully know they are sinners, amazingly, I have witnessed more hearts among the incarcerated ready to receive God’s grace in the sweet Gospel than in most of the churches I have been in over my lifetime! Therefore, in remembering where God has brought you from as a “redeemed sinner,” I appeal to you in His love and all care for the lost everywhere including the prisons largely neglected by professing Christianity, stand with us to pledge your support in funding our Books To USA Prisons Project beginning tomorrow. While you can make a pledge as low as $5, I want to challenge you to pledge the largest possible amount not thinking that many others will also be making pledges.
Your pledge can only be made by credit card because no charges are processed until our fundraising goal is met. In fact, if we do not reach our fundraising goal, we will not receive anything and your credit card pledge is cancelled. At first glance, this policy by We Raise might seem to be unfair. However, they believe and I do too that we are raising funds for a project in which we have already counted the cost. If our fundraising comes up short of what the project requires, then it cannot be done. Because they have strict accountability, investigated us and required that we submit a budget, you can be assured your support is going to go fully to support the Books To USA Prisons Project.
You can investigate We Raise and their operating organization, Wheat Ridge Ministries out of Itasca, IL as we did to learn more about them and how they securely handle your credit card as a donor on their We Raise Web Site. After you have done what you need to do including sought the Lord in prayer, make your pledge as early as possible since the sooner we reach our fundraising goal the better--the end of the 45 day fundraising period on March 18th will be here before you know it! Thank you in advance for any consideration you give or pledge made to help us with our Books To USA Prisons Project.1
1 As of the close of the Crowdfunding Campaign March 18th, we did not reach our goal. However, a Designated Gift Campaign on this Web Site is underway until we
reach our goal. For More Information Go to the Books To USA Prisons Project Page.
In this New Year 2016 I want to salute those Christian individuals, churches and ministries moved by God’s love for sinners to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teach His Word to the incarcerated. Talk about unsung heroes! These servants of God do not routinely get appreciated by Christendom unless they reach the celebrity status of the now departed and former Watergate conspirator, Chuck Colson, because what they do is literally behind barred and locked doors as well as among a people group most (keeping it real) consider unworthy. Nevertheless, they serve because the living God desires to reach the incarcerated with His grace in the Gospel too!
While I am not writing to gain recognition, I know what I have written in the foregoing is true because I am one of those servants of God to the incarcerated as the Director of our ten year old Strong Man Ministries, a unit of Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. the Lord led me to found in 1985. The preaching of the Gospel through our Strong Man Of God Rally and teaching of the Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study by way of our Strong Man Institute in Northwest prisons are works of infancy compared to all that have gone before. However, our Ministry has in common with all others truly raised up by Him, God’s care for the incarcerated (Psalm 69:29-33).
The work in our nation is great! There are more than 2.4 million incarcerated men and women in the United States; a number that has quadrupled from 1980. We have the largest incarcerated population and highest rate of incarceration in the world! 90% of those incarcerated are men.1 It is estimated that black Americans make up nearly one million of those incarcerated and our men outnumber white men six times over. Blacks and Hispanics were 58% of all prisoners in 2008 though their combined total population is around 25%. Black juveniles comprise 26% of all arrests and 58% of those sent to state prisons.2 These statistics indicate a vast mission field among incarcerated men!
Even with all of our ongoing activity, we consider ourselves only partially engaged. Up till now, we have been waiting for more Christians, pastors and the churches they serve to joyfully come on aboard to help. Hoping against hope this has not happened for any number of reasons including a lack of Kingdom vision (John 3:1-8; Romans 12:1-2) and consequent lack of a mission and ministry focus typical of those practicing human invented religion (Matthew 6:31-33; Luke 9:57-10:16). Spiritually blind, carnal and deceived, the religionist believes that what he has made-up to do for God is enough to please Him.
However, even in the world parents and employers never reward for tasks carried out in complete disregard for what their instructions were! With God and sinful men obedience and diligent zeal to carry out assigned tasks are praised and rewarded as is plainly taught by the Lord Jesus in His parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). This leads to what I am convinced of the Lord is the primary reason many professing Christians in general do not get excited to support or serve in the work of ministering to those that are incarcerated. It is that they have no love for the sinner and have selfishly forgotten that they are redeemed sinners saved by God’s love and grace!
Indeed, God reminds us through the apostle Paul that it was not while we were yet righteous that He displayed His love and permitted Christ to die for us, but sinners and His enemies (Romans 5:6-11). God saves mankind from all stations and circumstances of this life out of His overflowing love for us (John 3:16). With His love and continuing gratitude in our hearts, we as redeemed sinners have been granted the wonderful privilege to take up Christ’s Kingdom cause of preaching and witnessing Him to sinners so they may hear (and sometimes, such as on lockdown, really hear) the Gospel. And as the Lord commands, all new disciples are to be taught His Word (Matthew 28:19-20).
In the course of discipling men as newborn sons it is imperative not only that they be taught the basic knowledge of salvation, gifts and ministry as servants of God, but also His express will for them as man the creature in this present age and eternity. It is downright sickening to repeatedly hear incarcerated men who have read my book or been a part of the group study exclaim while being taught the elementary principles of biblical manhood embodied in the strong man of God: “I never knew that!” Many of these men are middle aged and older professing Christians with their names on the membership rolls of churches from any number of denominations; and no wonder, many churchmen on the outside are without knowledge too of what God intends a man to be and do!
Whether it is lack of love, Kingdom vision, mission and ministry focus or any other sin in not caring for the salvation of sinners, the Lord would call all professing Christians to confess and repent from it. For not lately, but from the declaration of His Messianic mission and its initial fulfillment He has incorporated care for the prisoner (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-21, 23:32-43). Being a prisoner in His cause, the apostle Paul missed no opportunities to witness and teach Christ among his fellow inmates (Acts 16:23-28; Philemon)!
Laying aside then every cynical excuse including how the men got to prison, their motives for interest in the faith or their prospects for success upon release, I urge you to get busy with the Lord’s commanded work to reach men with the Gospel among our nation’s large incarcerated population. You can also partner with us (or any of our fellow reputable Christian prison ministries) financially and/or as a volunteer as we go into the prisons. Not only do we need support for our ongoing activity, but this Ministry is set to conduct a Crowdfunding Campaign to fund our national Books To USA Prisons Project that will send two copies of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to select prisons throughout the United States. Locally, we will be enlarging our transitional ministry to newly released Christian men we have served while incarcerated or directed to us by pastors.
1 Michael Snyder, Mass Incarceration: 21 Amazing Facts About America’s Obsession With Prison, July 27, 2014,
2 Criminal Justice Fact Sheet, www.Naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet.
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