Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
In addition I was introduced to the Prison Fellowship of Canada’s Executive Director, Rick Arsenault. PFI’s mission statement is “ to work through the Christian community to mobilize outreach and ministry in response to the needs of prisoners, ex prisoners, victims, and their families, as well as, to advance the application of restorative justice principles within the criminal justice system”…….. PFI was founded in 1976 by Charles W. Colson. Prison Fellowship feels they are not doing justice to their men and women when they leave prison. Rick and I will be visiting this week.
State Directors requesting our implementation manual:
Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington
Country Directors requesting our implementation manual:
Canada, Mexico, South Africa, UK
God is good!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Susan from Willow Creek shared the following when asked if SITG had a spiritual impact on her, “It has been an honor to be part of a SITG family and be connected. I have found more connection in my SITG family than in any small group or area of the church that I have served in. It really does feel like family.” (Willow Creek in Chicago is regarded as one of the most influential churches in the U.S.) PTL!
I am also happy to report the Catholic Diocese of Eastern Oklahoma is implementing SITG. Some 61,000 strong in terms of membership.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Absolutely, how could you not? If it would do as much good for someone else as it has for me, how could I refuse?
Participating in Stand in the Gap is life changing, it is a process that deepens your spiritual maturity and your desire for relational depth and being real and transparent and during the journey it transforms you and brings you closer to Jesus.
Are you interested in joining a spiritual family or championing and starting SITG at your church?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Impact to you:
I can personally guarantee prayers will be answered if you pray in unity. This is our second SITG spiritual family; I expect miracles.
I think the big word is love, God’s love. Only God could bring together such a diverse group and make us a family. Our group is growing in faith and trust in the power of God.
Impact to your neighbor:
It just totally blows her away to be cared for and loved. She was struggling with a couple of losses that came close together. She is awed that we are there to uplift, love and pray and not tell her what to do better, just do the best she can.
She came to us almost hopeless and through prayer and sharing, she is a reborn believer whose faith has supported her over the last 4 months.
I see things happening in her life that need to happen. Prayers are being answered and we just keep on keeping on. Build our courage up so that we can encourage others.
Impact to other Spiritual Family members:
We knew one another in our church but had never been in a small group together. We have gotten closer, friendships are deeper, we are more open with one another. There is intimacy. We were all prayer people but have a deepening of that intimacy. It is enriching to see God at work, it’s fun and enjoyable.
Everybody is starting to recognize God acting in their lives. Things they took for granted before are now recognized as God sightings.
All have had our prayers answered by the Lord, some in miraculous ways.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Recently I was in Ohio to evaluate the Women in Transition curriculum being taught in the women’s prison there. I developed the curriculum based on my journey from incarceration to freedom. I was able to integrate back into society with nothing more than the few possessions I had while in prison. After my own Stand in the Gap experience, my heart's desire was to help other incarcerated women transition and be able to place them in a SITG spiritual family. I have been able to do just that when we launched our Women in Transition (WIT) program. We are now teaching the WIT program in Ohio through a Stand in the Gap partnership with Opening Doors and have been working over the past year to improve and enhance the curriculum with the training team in Ohio.
I was prepared for criticism, suggestions, editing and more work to be done on the curriculum as a result of the evaluation. That didn’t happen. The facilitators said the curriculum was perfect. I was amazed. But as I think about it now it’s about truth, reality and the power of the story. Once the women on the yard who are incarcerated read the story they are drawn to the WIT program. It’s so simple, put it all out there; the facts versus the fantasy of transitioning out of prison; how one woman did it and others can choose to do the same. God is good!
Barbara Saunders - Women in Transition Founder
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'm so excited about how this Spiritual Family is forming and becoming part of each other's lives. It's awesome to have this happening for kids aging out of foster care. To have a "family" to stand and cheer as she got her deploma... well! it just doesn't get any better than that!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make many decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I choose to love.
I understand that many events that occur will be out of my hands and that there are inherent dangers and risks in all decisions I make. Life and people have no obligation whatsoever to live up to my expectations; I have no obligations to live up to the expectations of anybody else. Life is a high-risk sport and I may become injured along the way.
I agree that all the decisions I make are mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control. I hereby forfeit my right to recourse as a victim, including my rights to blame, complain, and whine or hold someone else responsible for the path I choose to take. I am responsible for my participation – or lack of it- in life. And I take complete responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of all decisions I make, understanding that ultimately it is my choice whether I become joyous and free or stay miserable and trapped.
Although people may voluntarily nurture and love me, I and I alone am responsible for taking care of and loving myself."
Signed and Dated by our Neighbor
Monday, May 11, 2009
We are the only re-entry model being asked to share at the national Kairos gathering. Kairos mission statement is "to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to all incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them, and to assist in the transition of becoming a productive citizen." Kairos is now active in 33 states and 5 countries. The ministry is active in over 300 sites. Given our recidivism track record we have landed on their radar screen i.e., we have surrounded 50 x-offenders with spiritual families for one year or more in Tulsa, Columbus, and Cleveland and not one, not one has returned to prison. Go God!
I was blessed to attend the Catalyst West conference in Irvine, Ca. last week. 3,300 young (20 and 30 year old) Christian leaders from 48 states and 10 countries attended. And yes I stuck out, but my heart is warm with encouragement regarding the energy and deep faith these leaders bring to the body of Christ. It appears this will be an excellent distribution channel for SITG, these young leaders want to "do the Gospel."
While in Irvine I was blessed to have lunch with our SITG friend Dr. John Townsend and one of his pastors. We were sharing with the pastor the ministry model and why the church should implement SITG. It was kind of like having a color commentator with you—I would share the model and Dr. T would explain the "How People Grow" detail. By the way this church is interested and has over 700 small groups. WOW!
Similar to this California church we are working with the leadership team of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. When I am with this team it is like being in a Fortune 500 board meeting. The mental capacity of this group is off the charts but they kindly bring it down to my level. Their mission statement is the most crisp, clear, and concise I have ever read: "to equip and unleash Christ followers to change the world through lives of irresistible influence."
I am about blogged out but one more God sighting. SITG-Oklahoma City. My dear friend Scott Manley started SITG under the umbrella of his non-profit Cornerstone Assistance Network last year. Scott first hired a very capable director Doug Mclerran. Doug, Scott, and I presented to 67 hand-picked churches in the 3rd and 4th Q of last year. There has been so much interest we have stopped our initial presentations and have moved into the church implementation stage. Doug is knocking the ball out of the park. Thank you Lord. I am sorry to report Scott at a young 69 years of age has gone to be with the Lord. Our loss.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
This being my first encounter with the BLOG, I have to say, pretty cool stuff.
making Him famous,
Stand in the Gap America
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
See below: 2 O''clock awakenings
The “two o’clocks” are those nights when you awaken at the same time several nights in a row. They are gifts for you. They are your quiet time with your God.
After that first flush of self-pity about being “awake again” in the middle of the night and getting past my self-centered pain syndrome; I wonder, “Who Lord, could need my prayer? There are so many who suffer, who fear, who despair. Who Lord?” And then as I listen in the quiet morning I begin to flip through my mind the list of those I know who are struggling. Slowly, and oh so gently these little things occur to me. “Remember when you hurt Jeane’s feeling on Saturday? Remember when you were lecturing Doris about your concern, your fear on Friday night when what she needed was simply someone to listen? (The lecture was for her own good, of course. ) Remember yesterday when you called Sally seeking a favor and did not immediately hear the fear and tension in her voice? Remember when Buddy needed an Aaron yesterday and you were too weary to even suggest that we all pray?”
Oh sweet Jesus, could it be me that needs prayer? Have I been so caught up in my pride and arrogance and ignorance that I haven’t seen the pain in other’s eyes?
Forgive me Father for I have sinned………
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
While I could multiply examples of how God has used SITG to impact the lives of folks at Sanctuary, I'll share just one:
Bob and Sarah (not their real names) had been struggling with a really ugly extended unemployment situation for months. Bob, who had previously held a great position as a business manager for a medical practice, was now in a position of having to work temp jobs and cut lawns just make ends meet. With three kids and a mortgage, things were getting pretty scary. And with a job market here in Tulsa that was not what anyone would describe as booming, Bob's prospects looked pretty thin.
So we formed a SITG community around them. The group began meeting for prayer and within not more than two months a position as a COO at a non-profit corporation up in Green Bay, WI, opened up. Bob and Sarah and the three kids - sadly, but joyfully - moved up to Green Bay where Bob is loving his new position.
Chalk it up to coincidence if you will ... And perhaps it was ... But I'll tell you this and tell it on good authority: The level of such happy "coincidences" seem to rise when a SITG community is involved.
Perhaps Jesus was right when he said, "Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them."