No. 564



Several years ago I remember the late Fred Herman telling about this man who was making a speech and he said, "If I were God, I would do a much better job of creating the universe." Then a fellow out in the audience spoke up and said, "Mister, this is not to say that I doubt you, but would you mind creating a rabbit, just to establish a little creditability." It's hard to argue with success, and I would like to share some thoughts with you along these lines.
All the surveys I have ever seen indicate that more than 90 percent of all Americans say they believe in God. Personally, I am a born-again Christian, so there will be no doubt about where I am coming from. A reader sent me some literature the other day about an organization that I believe holds tremendous promise for thousands of people who are incarcerated in our nation's prisons. The name of this organization is Crossroad Bible Institute, and its located in Grand Rapids, Mich. After reading one of the brochures and learning that Dr. David Schuringa is the president, I called and had a nice visit with him over the telephone.
David and his staff shared with me, through the power of the printed page, that now more than ever prisoners need the light of God's truth. That is why Crossroad Bible Institute has been working since 1984 to equip churches to deliver the only knowledge that can bring true freedom. These inmate students, who are referred by many organizations, embark on a spiritual journey with Bible study lessons and letters of discipleship that help them grow dramatically in a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here is how the program works. 1. An inmate contacts a ministry affiliated with CBI to request more information about something he or she has heard. 2. That ministry sends the inmate a CBI enrollment form. 3. The inmate completes and returns the enrollment form to CBI. 4. CBI mails Bible study lessons to the student one at a time. 5. The student completes and returns the lessons to CBI for correction. 6. Trained volunteer instructors correct and return the lessons to the student, along with personal letters of discipleship. 7. The student is awarded a handsome certificate when the course is completed.
If you recall, I said earlier that it's hard to argue with success. Remember, these are inmates, human beings locked away from society in our nation's jails and prisons. Unless you have been locked away in a dark, smelly prison cell at some time in your life, regardless of your faith, please don't judge what I am saying. Here is what research shows. Barna Research shows that 85 percent of all inmates will be released and 75 percent of these inmates will commit another crime. However, only 14 percent of released inmates will commit a crime, if they studied the Word of God while they were incarcerated. That's pretty amazing.
One thing I do know from even a practical standpoint, if I had a father, mother, brother, sister, other family member or even a good friend in prison, I would sure want them to study the Word of God while they were there. You understand that I am not talking church or some particular denomination here; rather I am talking about the cleansing of a person's heart and the change in their life that comes when they truly understand that God loves them, in spite of everything they may have done.
Here is what a couple of inmates have had to say:
- "This Bible study has cleared up any doubts that I may have had about God's love for me. I thank you all for helping me." Kanika, Calif.
- "I thank God for Crossroad, being a part of my life É thank you so much for your lessons, prayers and love." Dana, Va.
Many inmates read my column and you can also help someone you love who is spending time in prison by getting in touch with Crossroad Bible Institute, P.O. Box 900, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49509, or visit their Web site at
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")