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Summary: Escaping your Alcatraz is a message of hope for those that are caught in their own prison of addiction, depression or anything that has us bound. All of our efforts cannot set us free. The Spirit of the Lord can.

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On June 11, 1962, Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris tucked papier-Mache heads resembling their own likenesses into their beds, broke out of the main prison building via an unused utility corridor and departed Alcatraz Island aboard an improvised inflatable raft to an uncertain fate, never to be found.

During the 29 years that Alcatraz served as a federal penitentiary, there were 14 escape attempts that would involve 36 inmates. Twenty- three were recaptured, six were shot and killed, two drowned, and five (including Morris and the Anglin brothers) are listed as missing and presumed drowned.

Leon “Whitey” Thompson, former inmate in Alcatraz, speaking concerning Alcatraz said, “It’s a beautiful view. You have the Golden Gate Bridge, the fresh air, you could see all the ships coming in and out of port. There was never a day that you didn’t see all that you were missing in life. It was all there, everything I wanted in my life was right in front of me – yet it was a mile away and I couldn’t get to it”

Sometimes we get caught in “Our own Prison” – The prison of addiction, the prison of homelessness, the prison of unforgiveness… We often try to escape using human means - We put on a fake smile (Paper Mache’) and we try digging ourselves out in our own strength. And in our efforts to do so we often find ourselves drowning in our addiction, our depression, our despair. Some of us are not so fortunate as to even survive. Those of us that do survive, as often happens are recaptured and placed back in our prison cells once again. The band Creed wrote a song called, “My Own Prison”, which clearly describes this vicious, endless cycle.

We can see the world passing us by, everything we’ve ever wanted, right before our very eyes, yet we can’t see how to get there.

Is there anybody here who would say you sometimes feel like you are in a prison of your own making? A prison that you can’t escape? You’ve tried and you’ve tried – but always in your own strength.

Do you ever feel like life is passing you by, you see what you want but you just can’t get there?

If you feel that way, I want you to know that God wants to set you free! He not only wants to set you free, he wants to give you the desires that He places in your heart.

Acts 16 tells the story of Paul casting a spirit of divination out of a woman in the name of Jesus. Because this disrupted her master’s financial gain, her Master captured Paul and Silas and brought them before the cities rulers and magistrates in the town square and accused them of bringing exceeding trouble to the city and persuaded the crowds to stand with them in their accusations. Paul and Silas’ clothes were ripped off of them, they were beaten and cast into prison.

James 1:2-4 says, consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


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