When It Comes to Politics, What Would Jesus Really Do?

In Russell Moore’s recent interview on C-SPAN, a caller made this statement:

I really wish Christians would not have anything to do publically with politics…You’ve got to ask yourself: What would Jesus have done? Jesus wouldn’t have had a thing to do with politics.

This caller is not alone in his disdain for politics. Scores of Christians believe that Jesus was about saving souls, not addressing politics. They believe that Jesus cared about spiritual matters, not earthly ones. Perhaps you hold this opinion, too.

Is this perspective correct? When it comes to politics, what would Jesus really do?

Read the rest of this post at the Intersect Project>>

Don’t Think Your Job Matters? Here’s Why It Does.

My toddler occasionally watches Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. (If you haven’t seen it, think animated Mr. Rogers with a preschool tiger.) One day I heard the characters singing this jingle:

Everyone’s job is important. We all help… in different ways.

My ears perked up, so I sat down to watch alongside my son. I learned that Daniel wanted to be the line leader. But when he received a different classroom job, he was disappointed. By the end of the episode, he learned that some classroom jobs are less glamorous, but all of them are important.

This lesson is simple enough. So simple, in fact, that the show’s creators put it to music. But believing that everyone’s job is important is painfully hard to put into practice.

Read the rest of this post at the Intersect Project>>

The Ashley Madison in All of Us

He knew what he was doing was wrong. God had clearly told him not to. But he saw it. His eyes lingered over it, and he began to crave it. Finally, he went against his better judgment and took it. He knew the potential consequences — that it could destroy his family and community. He hid it, convinced that no one would ever know.

Yet one fateful day, his secret was exposed. All the gory details were out in the open. And he and his family suffered the consequences.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But I’m not talking about Josh Duggar and his Ashley Madison account. I’m talking about a man named Achan. Continue reading

When People Love You (or Hate You) for Your Faith

Have you ever had a good day turn bad? Elon Musk can empathize. Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX, celebrated his 44th birthday on June 28. The day started off great, I’m sure. Who doesn’t like birthdays? Yet that morning one of his SpaceX rockets, destined for the International Space Station, exploded after launch. What started as a great day quickly turned sour.

Paul and Barnabas had one of those days, too. Luke tells us the story in Acts 14:8-23. Continue reading

Four Ways to Pray for Christian Teachers

[Editor’s Note: My wife, Katie (a teacher), and I collaborated on this post.]

The dawn of a new school year is often a time for complaining. Parents complain about the early start to the school year, the local school system, or the fact that their child got that teacher. And teachers may complain about education policy, increased responsibilities (without increased pay), or the fact that they got that child in their class.

Yet a new school year also means that thousands of Christians return to their classrooms to make a profound impact on children’s lives. This is a huge responsibility and privilege — and teachers need your prayers.

Please consider praying for the following: Continue reading

The Gospel’s Remedy for Inequality

I’ll be honest with you: Philemon has never been my favorite book of the Bible. I knew the story: Paul encouraged Philemon to welcome back his runaway slave Onesimus. Simple enough. But the letter was brief, seemingly hard to apply, and dealt with the thorny topics.

But as I wrote a lesson for Treasuring Christ Curriculum, I was forced to wrestle with Philemon, study it, and deal with its complexities. And I was blown away. Philemon taught me how the gospel restores tattered relationships. It challenged my generosity.

Most of all, Philemon taught me that the gospel brings radical equality.

Remember: Onesimus was a slave. While first-century slavery was different than the slavery we know from American history, it was still unjust and unfair. As a result, Onesimus was considered socially and economically inferior.

But when Onesimus encountered the gospel, everything changed.

  • Onesimus had been an outcast, but Paul called him a “child” (Philemon 10).
  • Onesimus had been Philemon’s “bondservant,” but now he was a “beloved brother ” (Philemon 16).
  • Onesimus had been treated as sub-human, but now he was to be greeted like an apostle (Philemon 17)

With the gospel, the man who penned a third of the New Testament was no better than a runaway slave. The gospel brought a radical, Christ-centered equality.

At this point, most of us are nodding our heads in agreement. We think that inequality is bad and equality is good.

Yet practicing this truth is much harder than it seems.

Because we are experts at manufacturing inequality. We seek to frame our lives in such a way that we come out better than others. So we identify one of our perceived strengths — such as skin color, education, career success, theological knowledge, physical fitness, politics, or heritage — and we make it the standard by which we judge others.

We declare ourselves the kings of our own kingdoms, and we render others inferior.

It happens to all of us. Ask yourself:

  • Honors student, do you really believe you’re no better than high school dropout?
  • Wealthy executive, do you really believe you’re no better than cleaning crew that takes out your trash?
  • Political activist, do you really believe you’re no better than the party you oppose?
  • Stay-at-home mom, do you really believe you’re no better than the mother who leaves her kids with a baby-sitter while she goes to her 9-to-5?
  • Personal trainer, do you really believe you’re no better than your overweight neighbor?
  • Proud American, do you really believe you’re no better than an Iranian?
  • Pastor, do you really believe you’re no better than the untrained deacon?
  • Straight man, do you really believe you’re no better than the person who struggles with same-sex attraction?

Inequality is insidious. It creeps into our lives without our knowing.

Yet the gospel shatters inequality. The gospel tells us that we were all equally sinful before God. It reminds us that we all deserved God’s holy wrath. Yet it also points us to Jesus — who suffered and died so that we all could be forgiven.

You see, the gospel makes all our manufactured inequality seem petty. We are all the same at the cross: Black and white, blue-collar and white-collar, fat and thin, smart and dumb, even slave and apostle.

That’s why Paul could call a runaway slave his “son” and “brother.” That’s why Jesus taught us to love social outcasts like tax collectors, women, Gentiles, and the poor. And that’s why you’re no better than anyone else.

The gospel gave Onesimus dignity, spurred him to reconcile with Philemon, and it may have even encouraged Philemon to free Onesimus (Philemon 12, 17-18, 21). So the gospel changed everything for Onesimus. And it can change everything for us.

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Respectfully, Franklin Graham, Let’s Pray that MORE Muslims Immigrate to America

Franklin Graham has done more for the kingdom than you or I ever will. His humanitarian efforts have provided practical help and gospel hope to millions around the globe.

Yet his recent Facebook post about Muslim immigration troubles me. Here’s his main point:

“We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized–and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. “

Continue reading

Five Essential Survival Tips for Stay-at-Home Dads

I have been a stay-at-home dad for the past few years (in addition to being a full-time student and part-time writer). My wife and I decided that this arrangement made the most sense given our present life and work situation. And we are not alone, as statistics reveal. More than 1.4 million dads stay at home, according to a 2009 study.

Being a stay-at-home dad has taught me valuable (even spiritual) lessons — mostly via the school of hard knocks. So if you find yourself in the same situation, here are five tips for surviving and thriving as a stay-at-home dad: Continue reading

‘Ideas Have Consequences’ Book Review

The events of recent days, along with topics I’ve been studying on my own, have brought to mind the title of Richard M. Weaver’s classic book: Ideas Have Consequences.

Weaver recognized a decay in Western civilization; the culture had lost its center and desperately needed repair. As a result, In Ideas Have Consequences (1948), Weaver both diagnosed the problem and suggested a solution. He explains:

First, I present an account of that decline based not on analogy but on deduction…. Second, I go so far as to propound, if not a whole solution, at least the beginning of one, in the belief that man should not follow a scientific analysis with a plea of moral impotence. (1)

I agree with Weaver’s diagnosis. But his solution? Read the rest of this (admittedly heady) Ideas Have Consequences book review to get my perspective. Continue reading