Articles on hope

Eternal Impact

Eternal Impact - The Work Of Transformation

Please celebrate with us the new eternal life of a Lifeblood participant who accepted Christ this week during our Lifeblood women’s group inside the Shakopee women’s prison! We are grateful for our amazing volunteer group facilitator Tabatha Perry. Tabatha is a consistent positive influence for these women who are putting in the time and effort to change their lives while incarcerated.

The following article is an example of the kinds of discussion we have with men and women inside jails and prisons through our Lifeblood curriculum. Like all of our curriculum, Lifeblood is built on stories of shared experience. We simply capture and share stories of transformation to help people explore their own lives. Our mission is to use story to bring hope and healing for those in need of change. We thank God that he has used Lifeblood and Tabatha to help bring one more person into his family for eternity!

A Vital Question: Who Am I?

If we want serious change in our lives, there is one serious question we need to address: Who am I?

Why do we need to answer this question? Because if we answer it honestly, we will have a good idea if we are on the right track to a better, healthier life.

Maybe we have allowed others to define who we were with terms like ‘convict,’ ‘drug addict,’ ‘absent father,’ ‘prostitute’ and so on. Or maybe we try to be like someone else or affiliate ourselves with the environment we grew up in or the types of people we associate with, like a gang.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

How Do I See Myself?

If we want to change, we first need to view ourselves accurately.

It’s so easy to focus on the wrong things.  Most of us allow our past or our circumstances to define the way we see ourselves. It’s important to face the past and deal with the damage we’ve done (or that’s been done to us).  But our vision isn’t always accurate in the way we see our past or our circumstances. Where our vision is flawed, God’s is perfect.  God sees you as His adored child. Rely on God’s vision to help you see yourself accurately.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Seek Input From Others

One helpful goal is to find a few trusted advisors who can help you understand yourself and to talk through the decisions of life.  If you think back on your life you’ll see that who you are today is, in part as result of who you have been influenced by in the past. Most of us who have stumbled in life have allowed other people to influence us in negative ways, to lead us down the road to poor choices.  Choose to surround yourself with a few people who will help to influence you sown roads to healthier choices. The right people can help you see yourself accurately too.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

Work Towards Becoming Who You Choose To Be

Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress we are making in life.  Take some time every day to reflect on the choices you’ve made and the people you’ve interacted with.  Change requires time,  but it also requires intentionality. Each of us makes choices every day that will either lead us closer to who we intend to be (and to who God intends us to be), or away from that life.  Understand that all of us have days when we move the wrong direction.  We need to understand that perfection is not a realistic goal to set for ourselves. No one is perfect, but we need to see ourselves as the goal. God has a plan for each of our lives and that is what we need to focus on. When we make a mistake, we need to get up and keep going.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Are You Ready To Step In?

We have ongoing opportunities for volunteers to join us as we reach men and women in jails and prisons. If you’d like to learn more about the Lifeblood curriculum or how you can be part of this rewarding ministry, reach out to [email protected]

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How Can I Be Part of God’s Plan

How do you fit in God's plan?

This question can be a struggle, even a stumbling block for Christians. Sometimes it seems like you have your hands full just getting through life and taking care of yourself. It can feel overwhelming and intimidating to figure out how God could possibly use us as part of some intricate and interdependent plan. Knowing yourself can be difficult but it’s such an important part of discovering purpose and meaning in life.

Our Lifeblood curriculum helps people who are trying to overcome incarceration see themselves in a new way. The group session on Understanding Identity challenges participants to make a choice about the way they see themselves, rather than just accept the labels created by their feelings or the world. It can be helpful for any of us to examine who we are in a new way. Rather than focusing on the things that you understand about yourself, think about the things God understands about you:

  1. The days of your life are also God’s days. Your story is also part of God’s story.
  2. You have been gifted I’m specific ways. Take the time to discover the special ways God has wired you.
  3. God is able to use ALL of your gifts and experiences (even those you think of in negative terms) for his good purpose. Reflect on ways God has used your experiences to help others.

Take some time to use these questions from Lifeblood and reflect on the way you understand who you are:

  1. In the past, has your view of yourself caused you to assume limitations or self-expectations? 
  2. Has the way you see yourself changed?  How?   
  3. Has anyone noticed a change in you? How so?   
  4. Is there anything about your old life that seems far-removed or unrecognizable? Why did those things change?

If You'd Like To Support the Lifeblood Reentry Ministry

We’d love to know that you are praying for our efforts to change the lives of men and women inside correctional facilities and through community-based reentry facilities.  We’d also appreciate your financial support.  Thank you for your consideration and generosity!

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From Gang Leader To Kingdom Builder

No One is Hopeless

No one is hopeless.  There are some people that society labels as hopeless. Yet, no one is hopeless to God.

A guest on a recent podcast proved that. John Turnipseed talked to LifeSupport host Paul Johnson about his incredible story of redemption and transformation. Mr. Turnipseed is now using his horrible past to further the kingdom of God.

John Turnipseed

John’s family moved from Alabama to Minnesota when he was young because his father was seeking opportunities for work and to be closer to relatives.

Things went bad for John soon after the move. His father began drinking heavily and became very violent at home. John didn’t have a healthy father figure in his life, and he fell into the drug and gang life. By the time John was 16 years-old, he had his first child. By 18, he had been locked up four times.

As John got older, he spent more time in prison, gangs, drugs and even became a pimp. He had lost his conscience entirely. During his life, a man in his neighborhood, named Art would continue to try to befriend John, but John had no interest.

After a long stint in prison, John was released from prison and began to pursue his GED. John ended up going to technical school where he became a computer programmer and eventually taught a class. However, his old ways came back, and he tried stealing a bunch of computer parts from the school.

He got caught and this time it looked like he was going to be put away for a very long time. He was indicted on 50 felonies. Miraculously he was given no jail time. It turned out that Art, the same man who kept pursuing John was also a friend of the judge and convinced him to give John another second chance.

Art was there again to support John and this time John turned his life around. He asked God to take control of his life. The change was immediate and profound.

God Never Gives up on the Lost

John’s mentor, Art never gave up on him, even when John told him to leave him alone. Art knew that John was an influencer in his community.  If he could reach John, he could reach many others in need of God, and that’s exactly what happened. Turnipseed served as the Director of the Urban Ventures Center for Fathering in Minneapolis, and he has helped countless men find a new life outside of crime and violence. John’s story is the centerpiece for our Lifeblood curriculum designed to help men and women understand who they are in God’s eyes, and find a path to new life following incarceration.

Meet John and Hear More of his Story

We’ll be sharing the story of how John’s life transformation sparked the idea for Five Stone Media during our upcoming StoryRising event.  We’d love  to have you join us on February 24, 2022 for this evening of music with Sara Groves and Eagle Brook Music as we celebrate what God has done through our ministry.


We created lifesupportresources.org to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.
If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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A Son Murdered – But God

Trauma is filled with unknowns…but God is always there

Trauma changes people forever.  God finds a way to help us grow through the challenges of life.  He creates opportunities for that growth happens when we walk through the process of healing. When a tragedy happens, only the pain and sadness seem real. Sometimes for years. But our limited perspective of events and life in general is completely opposite of the way God sees them.

This truth came to light during a LifeSupport Podcast in which a pastor shared the story of the death of his son by homicide. It was a complete shock, and the family had a long journey ahead of them, full of unknowns. However, God miraculously created blessings from this tragedy.

Paul Johnson, the host of the LifeSupport Podcast, welcomed his wife, Wendi, onto the show so they could both share their story of their son Taylor, who was the victim of a shooting.

Paul and Wendi Johnson

Paul and Wendi were proud of their son Taylor.

The 21-year-old was just two weeks away from graduating from a school of recording arts. Taylor was talented and gifted and his parents could not wait to see what life had in store for him.

Taylor lived with Paul and Wendi until he into a place with some roommates. They would see him occasionally, sometimes he would just stop by quickly to get his mail that was still being delivered to his parent’s house.

Just one month after Taylor moved out, Paul and Wendi received the worst news they could ever imagine.

Their son had been murdered. He had been shot and that is all they knew for eight months, which seemed like eternity. The process of telling their kids, family and friends was painstaking.

During the podcast, Paul said he and his family had no idea what journey was set before them, or what the ripple effects would be from the tragedy. He described his family as being in a sort of ‘fog’ for months after Taylor’s passing.

After eight grueling months, an arrest was finally made in the case of Taylor’s homicide. Paul had a chance to sit down with his son’s killer. The young man’s name was Jesse, and he was just 23 years old. He told Paul he was sorry for what had happened and the two would end up hugging at the end of the interview.

Paul, Wendi and their three children agreed that they should forgive the man who took Taylor away from them. Although it was not easy, that is what they did. Not only did they forgive him, but they made it public at a press conference regarding the case. The case became a media frenzy and radio stations spread the word that a family was forgiving the murderer of their child.

Finally, the trial for Jesse arrived and that event in itself was a whirlwind of emotions. Paul and Wendi met Jesse’s parents, heard victim-impact letters, and received another apology from Jesse. Wendi saw that Jesse was just a scared 23-year-old kid who needed love and was crying out for something in his life.

Jesse was sentenced to prison, but that would not be the last time they saw him. They would visit Jesse in prison and share the Gospel with him.

Trauma changes people forever

As Paul and Wendi shared their story, they each gave some things they learned about themselves and God during that time in their lives:

  1. Don’t expect the same person to return – When a person experiences a serious trauma in their lives, it can change them forever. Before the trauma occurred, they might have been very outgoing or have particular hobbies they enjoyed. After the trauma, they might not be as outgoing or care for the things as they did in the past. This is not uncommon when it comes to trauma, and we cannot expect them to be the people they were before.
  2. Trauma survivors want the world to slow down – When a major trauma happens, a person’s world comes to a crashing stop. Nothing else seems to matter. However, other people around them continue with their lives as nothing happens. This is important to keep in mind when walking along someone who experienced a serious trauma in their lives.
  3. Trauma has ripple effects – It is always easy to see the immediate effects of a major trauma in someone’s life, but there are also a number of long-lasting effects that aren’t as apparent that can show up later in life. It might be a trigger or a memory, or something that is said by someone. Paul said his children are still suffering to this day from Taylor’s death.
  4. Think before you speak – When someone’s in trauma, it is very important to think before you speak to them because even if your intentions are good, what you say could hurt them even more.
  5. God is faithful – God is always faithful to those who are suffering or in trauma. As in Paul and Wendi’s case, He uses bad things that happen and can turn them around for good.

God is in every situation, no matter how good or bad it is

New opportunities arose for Paul after Jesse was sentenced to prison. He was given the chance to speak to different prisons about the Gospel and Wendi was given the chance to speak to different women’s groups. All of this happened because of the interaction they had with Jesse while he served his sentence.

Pastor Paul also now has a bigger heart for people that are walking through a similar journey.


We created lifesupportresources.org to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

A Son Murdered – But God Read More »

Holding Hope by Julie Hull M.A.

Something to Hold Onto

We are all searching for something to hold onto. An anchor, a solid foundation to steady us when the storms of life threaten our ability to hold on. I have been holding hope.
Sure it’s easier to lessen our grip when we experience long stretches of days overflowing with abundance and nights filled with restorative sleep. Jesus reminds me daily to hold onto Him, the only true hope as I live out his purpose until I am called to my true home.
I am a licensed counselor, in my practice I have been called to stand daily on holy ground as I listen and minister to many broken people. I am humbled and privileged to bear the weight of their pain as each one shares his or her need for Hope. Oh how the storms of life can test our faith and crush our hope.

Holding Hope by Julie Hull M.A. Read More »