Friday, March 31, 2006

Kairos Prison Ministry

"...I was in prison and you visited me." Matthew 25:36

Studies show that correctional institution residents who are active in Kairos are significantly less likely to return to prison after serving their time. Why? Because it’s more than a ministry. It’s a relationship.

Please consider joining me in participating with God through
Ohio Reformatory for Women – Marysville Ohio
Kairos #25

Have you ever felt hopeless? Imagine that feeling and being in prison.

Kairos is a Greek term that means God’s Special Time. The purpose of the Kairos ministry is to help grow and nurture strong Christian communities within state and federal adult correctional institutions. During a Kairos weekend and subsequent follow-up spiritual growth activities facilitated by Kairos volunteers and prison chaplains, residents are challenged to accept God’s call to a life of Christian witness and service to one another and to staff during their stay in the institution and beyond.

Here are some ways you can participate with God in restoring hope in the lives of the residents at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW):

1) Prayer Vigil

2) Green Agape

3) Agape Cookies (Columbus/Marysville vicinity)

4) Kitchen Team (only those who have attended a renewal weekend)

Prayer Vigil
Prayer is primary in the success of Kairos. John 6:44 tells us that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him. The Father alone knows who will attend and what they will hear. Our desire is to seek God’s guidance so that we may be a physical representation of the work he is already doing in those around us. The prayer is for the residents to be receptive and for the volunteers to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Many people are already praying for Kairos #25. Several of those people are the volunteers that will be in the midst of what God is doing May 18-21.

We are asking for prayer support for the 72+ hours in which the Kairos team will be interacting with the residents. Some team members have never been in a prison. Some of the residents have never heard the truth of Jesus Christ. Your prayers will provide the peace that calms and guards hearts.

If you would like to commit to one or more hours of prayer from Thursday May 18, 10am through Sunday, May 21, 9pm, email me with your name, date and time you will be praying. Be sure to write down the time/date so you don’t forget this vital support. A construction paper chain will be created with the first name of each person praying. This prayer chain will be displayed as a visual reminder that many people on the outside truly care about the residents.

Green Agape
A Kairos weekend for 42 residents costs approximately $5,000 for food and materials. Team members contribute $25 each to cover their costs for the weekend and $10 for a Program Manual.

Your financial agape will be used by God to change lives in immeasurable ways. Donations of any amount are appreciated. You or your group can cover the expense of one resident with a donation of $125.

The residents are seated at tables with three volunteers. To emphasize the importance of unity, tables are recognized as “families” and given a name. (i.e. Family of Ruth). Your group or church may sponsor a Family for $725.

Checks should be made payable to “Kairos Prison Ministry of Ohio with “ORW #25” in the memo line. Mail donations to P.O. Box 14490, Columbus, OH 43214. Please include your name and address to receive acknowledgement of your donation.

View more info at

Agape Cookies
John 13:35 teaches us that our love for each other reveals our devotion to God. Simply by baking cookies you show God’s unconditional love. Renewal weekends include a flooding of small gifts called “Agape.” These gifts remind participants that God’s abundant love is not dependent on who we are. Cookies are used in Kairos as the prison environment does not allow for the variety of gifts.

Each team member for Kairos #25 is asked to collect 130 dozen cookies. That’s roughly 8,000 dozen cookies! Please sign up to bake two dozen or more cookies. You would be amazed at the impact your cookies have on the ORW residents. Please read the Cookie Brochure for more information on how the cookies are used and guidelines for baking the cookies. One additional note: cookies should be stacked in zip lock baggies like a sleeve of cookies to prevent breaking – do not lay flat.

If you are in the Marysville/Columbus Ohio vicinity, contact me for a drop off location for the cookies. Several churches will be collecting cookies.

Kitchen Team
If you are female and have experienced a renewal weekend such as Catholic Cursillo, Cum Christo, Emmaus Walk, or Via De Christo; please consider volunteering for Kairos #25 Kitchen Team. Kairos guidelines have recently changed which require the kitchen team for ORW to be made up of women only. This team was in place with seven men. If you would like to get a taste of Kairos, please email Tess at about volunteering in this way.

For more information on Kairos Prison Ministry of Ohio go to or call 614-268-4333.

This information is compiled from but is not official Kairos material.
Kairos Prison Ministry of Ohio is a member of the
International Network of Prison Ministries

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free from What?

My eight year old is blowing me away with his thoughts these days. Last night at our bedtime chat, he told me sin entered the world when the serpent “came down the tree” in the garden. Not sure where he got the idea that the serpent was in the tree but I like the imagery.

Can you see it? This beautiful creature gracefully and quietly slithering down a flowering shade tree like a hunter approaching his target dressed both to hide from his prey and be seen by his bright orange vest.

Do the animals know the hunter intends them harm? Do they enjoy their “garden” without awareness they are prey? Why do they respond to the hunter’s decoy? Did the serpent lure Eve and Adam to the trap or did he sit in the tree like a deer hunter knowing their ways, perhaps splashed with an attractive aroma, waiting for them to come to him?

When and why did the bondage of sin enter God’s created world? My husband would only go as far to agree sin came into the world with the serpent but did not corrupt creation until Adam and Eve sinned.

But I wonder...

…when does the nature of the forest change? Is it when the animal is disabled or when the hunter enters?

…is fear a physical concept or spiritual one?

...what part of me died with Christ?

…what have I been freed from?

…who is preying upon me?

…can man corrupt God’s creation or are we simply entrapped in it?

My soul has been set free from the sinful nature of this physical body. I am no longer bound by the things that entice the flesh. I am no longer defined by the body which has been corrupted by the hunter. For my soul has been set free. I am a purified soul. I have a corrupted body. The body will be consumed. The soul is eternal. I have been freed from fear.

O LORD, I have come to you for protection;

don't let me be put to shame.

Rescue me, for you always do what is right.

Bend down and listen to me;

rescue me quickly.

Be for me a great rock of safety,

a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.

You are my rock and my fortress.

For the honor of your name, lead me out of this peril.

Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,

for I find protection in you alone.

I entrust my spirit into your hand.

Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God.

I hate those who worship worthless idols.

I trust in the LORD.

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love,

for you have seen my troubles,

and you care about the anguish of my soul.

You have not handed me over to my enemy

but have set me in a safe place.

Psalms 31:1-8 (NLV)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Oops - wrong email for SUBSCRIBE

Have you tried to subscribe to this blog recently? Sorry, I forgot to change that address when we moved to Ohio in December.

Do you know someone who might enjoy receiving this blog in their email each week? Please send them the link, and encourage them to click on the word Subscribe in the left margin on the website. Or send a blank email to with "Subscribe to Sprout of a Mustard Seed" in the Subject field.

It is my desire to encourage as God leads. I never know who God may be speaking to with the thoughts he gives me. Thank you for your encouraging comments. I save every one of them. There are days I wonder why I write. Then I read comments you have sent. To know that God encourages you through this blog is humbling. There is nothing more thrilling than participating in what God is doing in this world. I want to share that thrill with others. That is why I write.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. "
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Lust for Ministry

…the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

The message this week at Newstart was titled “Being Religious Can Be Tragic.” I love titles like that.

Sr. Pastor Greg McNichols gave a bit more favorable perspective of the Pharisee than I had. Yes, the Pharisees were extremely legalistic but the motivation was not a lot different than many of us today.

The Pharisees greatest desire was to protect the Law of Moses. I would equate this to hitting someone over the head with the Bible. I’ve seen that done. The motive seems good to the person attempting to share truth but it seldom motives the one being struck.

Yesterday, I attend an Aglow meeting where the speaker was addressing the same issues. Debbie Hopkins of The Potter's House passed on a statement she had heard from another pastor. As he tossed his Bible to the floor he said, “Jesus is more important than the Word.” They are not one in the same.

Our church culture seems to be more impressed with Knowledge and acts of kindness in the name of ministry than with Jesus himself. Yet the distinction of being a follower of Christ rather than any other “prophet”, religious leader, or morally good person is the ability for the Christian to have a personal love relationship with Almighty God. Oh how this must hurt our Creator who desires to lure us to him – not just to his ways.

Debbie and Greg both offered great hope.

Greg referred to the story of Moses and the bronze snake in Numbers 21 as he reminded us to simply “look to Jesus and believe and be saved. To believe is not complicated but you do have to participate in it.” We participate in believing in Christ the same way we participate in believing in an intimate friend or lover. Look and believe in who he is. Then let your actions be a natural response to the relationship.

Debbie used 1 Corinthians 13 to point out that lust is the complete opposite of love. How often does our ministry fail because it is built on a lust rather than a love for ministry? She then used Hosea to remind us that even though we have been unfaithful to our first love, God himself will allure his bride back to him.

When we see Jesus face to face, it won’t be our titles, knowledge or ministries that matter. Those things may be good. But as Debbie stated, you will be known for knowing the Lord. Do you know him?

Which is more important to you, Jesus or what you know and do? How will you respond to the invitation of marriage to Christ? Are you focused on the tasks of the wedding celebration or presenting yourself to the groom?

Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.
Revelation 19:7

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Battle

“For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20

Do you like to battle? Do you like to surrender? Hmmm, most of us would say no to both of those questions. Given the choice between the two, which are you more likely to do?

David Fulkerson spoke recently on this topic at Newstart Community Church. God spoke to me through Dave.

As Christ followers, we often talk about the armor of God and turning over our struggles to God. Scriptures such as Ephesians 6:12 remind us that our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Fulkerson worded this in a slightly different way that hit home for me. He said “Our battle is in surrendering to God.” That is so true.

For years, we’ve heard the phrase “let go and let God.” But even it that, where is the focus? It is on what we are letting go of. We are assuming the object of our battle is the problem in our life. That is not the object of our battle.

In the Ephesians passage we move closer to the truth by acknowledging that the battle is not the physical circumstances. Yet we – or at least I have still pictured the focus of the battle to be the spiritual forces of evil which are behind the circumstances. Note the word “behind.” In other words, I’m still seeing the circumstances as the more evident problem.

Fulkerson’s words reminded me that surrendering to our true object of our battle, brings victory in the physical battle.

None of us wants to surrender to a battle that will result in greater hardship. When I was battling internet addiction, I could have surrendered to my addiction and lost my life. Instead, God told me to look at him. When I truly took my eyes off the circumstance and looked straight at God, it was easy to surrender to him. As I look back, I see that my battle was in surrendering to God.

Ok, let’s take it down to childlike faith. Sometimes my kids get frustrated trying to fix a toy. They cry out of frustration but they won’t let me have the toy in my hands. They won’t even look up. When I offer to help, they respond repeatedly with “I can get it.” Finally, they look up and hand me the toy.

The broken toy was the problem but their stubborn battle was not with the toy. (Toys can only battle in movies.) The battle is with letting someone else fix it for them.

What is your problem today? What do you expect to gain from leading your own battle? Are you willing to surrender to God and be victorious under his leadership? All it takes is turning your focus directly onto God. Having trouble doing that? Pick up a Bible and read until you see him. Once you see him clearly, surrendering will be much easier.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Broken Leg

My husband broke his leg ice skating this weekend requiring surgery and two nights at the hospital. The best part of the hospital stay for my 43 year old husband was having a nurse tell him it is good that he is young and athletic.

At home, the young athlete is recognizing how dependent he must be on others for a while. He’s doing great with the crutches. However, he has discovered that his young athletic arms and left leg get tired doing the work of the broken leg.

This led me to think about brokenness in the Body of Christ.

What do you do in your times of brokenness? Some cling to crutches to get by. Others are determined to grin and bear the pain alone. My husband could have refused to go to the hospital, lived with pain and never used his right leg to its full potential again. But he sought out appropriate help.

As a part of the Body of Christ, we may want to discount our personal brokenness. Doing so keeps us from healing properly. It also keeps the Body of Christ from being able to function at its full potential. Our brokenness affects more than just us. Fortunately, my husband is able to get around because he has strong arms and a healthy leg. Are you surrounded by healthy people who naturally step in to help?

Satan has successfully deceived many of us into viewing individualism and independence as positives. Our natural instinct is to not let our weakness show. In reality, it is in our brokenness that we are united with others.

We have lived in this town just over two months. Because of this broken leg, our relationships with neighbors and church acquaintances have grown a little deeper. Although our kids miss wrestling with daddy, they are enjoying being actively involved in caring for him.

The process of setting the foot in place was interesting. An aid held my husband’s upper leg while the doctor got on the bed and pulled the foot back in place. Later, a few screws and metal plates were placed via surgery. He is to keep all weight off the broken leg for several weeks and elevate it to reduce swelling.

Imagine the strength of the Body of Christ if we would allow others to get close enough to set the broken bone back in place; support one another like metal plates and screws; and elevate our wounds in such a way that reduces swelling.

It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you are a Christ follower you are part of a Body that is much bigger than just you. If you are healthy, are you relieving the weight on the wounded? If you are wounded, are you in a safe place to elevate your brokenness while God restores you for the benefit of the whole Body?

I’ve pondered and edited this blog for a couple days now. This is not about responding to others needs or even allowing others to respond to ours. It’s about being united as a Body so that when crisis/brokenness happens, the Body responds naturally. The question for me and maybe for you is not about what we are doing but are we in strong relationships so that we can respond to others and they can respond to us, naturally?

Under his [Christ] direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
Email for reprint permission