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{}   *Thinking Big For the New Year* 


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Thinking Big For The New Year

by Mark Earley

What resolutions have you made as you start this new year? I've made a few in the past, a few I'm embarrassed to recall. You know--the kind that last about two weeks.

This year, I'd like to encourage you to consider resolutions that go beyond the small and personal. Consider making at least one big resolution that is focused, not on self-improvement, but on looking outward: a resolution that embraces your neighbors and your culture.

Someone I know who is doing that is Ron Gruber. His modest New Year's goal: to win his prison for Christ.

Ron is a former biker gang leader who has spent years in and out of prison on charges ranging from rape to murder. One day, on the run from authorities, Ron armed himself with a gun and hid in the woods. That's the day, he later said, "When I realized how lost I really was, how much I needed the Lord." He begged for forgiveness--and turned himself in and was sentenced to fifty years.

Not long afterward, Ron enrolled in the InnerChange Freedom InitiativeŽ program launched by Prison Fellowship. He waded through Bible classes, educational opportunities, and vocational training. He apologized to his victims. He began to mentor fellow inmates and pray with them.

In 2005, a unit manager in the segregation unit noticed Ron's ability to calm his fellow inmates. He invited Ron to visit prisoners in the "hole" to see if he could help them with the behavior problems that put them there. Ron agreed on one condition. "I'm not going to talk to the guys about not wrestling with the guards," he insisted. "I'm going to tell them about Christ."

Because Ron himself had spent time in solitary confinement, the inmates listened to himand their behavior began to improve.

Because of his murder conviction, Ron will probably be in prison a long time. What better New Year's goal for him, then, than the one he has chosen: to witness to every inmate in his prison about Jesus Christ?

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, members of our Centurions have a few big ideas of their own as well--great examples for the rest of us. One of them told me, "My New Year's resolution is to teach Christian bioethics to my church family and my theology students."

Another Centurion announced he was leaving his job, moving to Georgia, and joining a small animation company. His resolution: to help shape the worldview of children through creative and biblically sound media.

Yet another Centurion has resolved to teach Christian worldview classes to inmates at a Texas prison; he has recently received permission from the prison chaplain to do so.

These are tremendous resolutions--the kind our Lord would heartily approve of. When you are making your own resolutions today, ask yourself: Are they as centered on Christ as Ron Gruber's? Are they as committed to life-changing outcomes as our Centurions?

So go ahead, if you must: Resolve to lose those pesky holiday pounds, exercise daily, and obey the speed limits. But I hope you'll also have at least one great and glorious resolution on your list: to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to transform the world around you for Jesus Christ.

Mark Earley

Mark Earley, 50, former State Senator (1987-1997) and Attorney General of Virginia (1998-2001), became president of Prison Fellowship on February 1, 2002.

As President and CEO of Prison Fellowship USA, Earley oversees the national ministry founded by Charles Colson in 1976, which has since spread to 108 countries in addition to the United States. Prison Fellowship's core commitments are Fellowshipping with Jesus, Visiting Prisoners, and Welcoming Their Children. In line with these commitments, PF works with thousands of churches and volunteers across the U.S. to disciple prisoners and prepare them to re-enter the community; to minister year-round to prisoners' children through Christmas, camping, and mentoring programs; and to help redeem the culture by embracing, defending, and applying a clear biblical worldview.

Earley is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he received a B.A. in Religion.  He earned a juris doctor degree from Marshall-Wythe School of Law.  He resides in Lansdowne, Virginia, with his wife, the former Cynthia Breithaupt, and their six children (Rachel, Justin, Mark Jr., Mary Catherine, Franklin, and Anne Harris).

You can contact Mark via the Prison Fellowship website at:


Thought For The Day:

"A wise man hears one word and understands two. There are two sides
to every story." --Yiddish Proverb

Verse for the Day:

"Any story sounds true until someone comes to tell the other side and
set the record straight." --Proverbs 18:17 TLB

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Garbage bags or umbrellas do not make good parachutes."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"A vital team characteristic is the ability to overcome adversity. Any
team acquires experience and endurance as it learns to fight back. This
in turn builds the kind of character which seldom crumbles at a time of
crisis or testing." --Tom Landry

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." --Henry David Thoreau

Deep Thought For The Day:

"There are indeed two sides to every arguement, but I don't have time to listen to yours."


Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!

Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of  Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your computer as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house.  Be sure to come back and visit each week!   

This Week: "" by Jeff Williams


Over 95,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others".  If you aren't one of them just visit: and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message!


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos!
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Chimney Balloon Fireplace Damper

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