33 Goes Behind Bars
It was a big win in the Estelle Unit at The Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, TX when 60 inmates began 33 The Series Volume 1: A Man and His Design. Spontaneous applause broke out when the first session ended. The men in this prison were energized by the presentation of the content, engaging in conversations and discussion about how to apply the biblical principles of manhood like never before.
Mark Norris has been leading these men well for several years. I was recently connected with Mark through Carl Hazlewood, one of the House Church Pastors at Church Project, who is part of the Authentic Manhood - Houston network. That's how this movement of men reaching men works—men locking arms to lead courageously and invest eternally.
I connected Mark to Dick Wall, his counterpart who takes 33 into the prison in South Houston. I had the privilege to go with Dick and his team into the Jester Unit when the inmates were going through Volume 4: A Man and His Work. I was blown away by the discussions after the session as these inmates processed what they were learning and applying the Biblical Blueprint for Work to their responsibilities in prison—to see it as a vocation (a calling), to create and cultivate, and to be a life-giving presence through their responsibilities behind bars. The biblical principles framed in the content of 33 The Series are clearly applicable for EVERY man WHEREVER they are.
We need more men like Mark and Dick to be God's image bearers, to love and serve Jesus by loving and serving others.
In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-48), Jesus describes the difference in what his followers (the sheep) will do and what those who don't follow him (the goats) don't do. The profile of the sheep is in Matthew 25:34-40:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
No Regrets Men's Ministries takes 33 The Series into the Milwaukee County House Corrections. Watch this short video of their story.