Dear President Obama and Anyone Else Wanting to be President

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Obama (and any candidate who will listen):

Mr. President, I don’t mean to be impersonal in penmanship or in greeting. First, my handwriting isn’t going to win any awards and secondly, when I voted for you, you were still Mr. and Mrs. Obama, a couple who understands that family life takes work and that the American life also takes work.

I am writing to encourage you and for two additional reasons. First, you don’t need another critic. In fact, criticism is not what I learned from my community as a value in civic duty. Secondly, I want your help.  Let me set the context a bit. I too am from Illinois and I have a graduate degree in education from the University of Illinois. I have worked in faith based relief organizations for most of the past decade and took quite a bit of slack from fellow evangelicals for supporting you in 2008.  To me, the evangelical camp has become far too politicized in its efforts at social change and has sent its share of mixed messages recently in its political activity. In fairness, both parties have their sincere flaws. I don't think that that is news to anyone. My commitment is to follow God, conscience, and country in that order and I feel blessed to do so because our own Bill of Rights supports such convictions. I resonate with what you and Michelle highlighted in your recent speeches at the DNC, though I am white and yes, my real name is Bo. And yes, if you google my name pictures of your dog come up first. Thanks for that! But, let me explain why I am writing and why I am asking for your help.

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Tags | Global | economy | faith | global

From Waste to Opportunity: A Discovery Made at Disneyland

"When they [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Can you picture the scene above unfolding? Peter and John, two ordinary dudes, find themselves standing before prestigious, educated, professional court officials because they had just been part of something extraordinary and unbelievable. Actually, the healing of a man's legs was simply one of many extraordinary happenings taking place leading up to their moment in court.

The events recorded in the book of Acts are wild to say the least. Pop some popcorn, get settled in your comfy chair and read it for yourself. It’s incredible! Only God could design the supernatural and extraordinary events in the beginning of Acts which led to the advance of the Good News of Jesus` resurrection around the world. I can’t help but think the events in the first few chapters of Acts were Peter and John’s lightbulb moments when all the puzzling stories Jesus told and the wild things He did began to click and make sense.

Standing before the court that day, I imagine their hair was a mess and their eyes were blood shot from both lack of sleep and from a fresh, Spirit filled awakening in their souls.

What exactly does one look like who has “been with Jesus?”

Jesus spent most of his time with the poor, the outcasts, the down and out and the suffering. I imagine his hands were often dirty and his hair may have had the wind-blown, all natural look going on. Jesus was the dark skinned, poor guy from a struggling, low income family and neighborhood with a bad reputation. I imagine Jesus` disciples were an unpolished, wild looking bunch too.

What does it look like to be recognized as someone who has “been with Jesus?”

When I think of people of who look like they have been with Jesus I think of my friends Camille and Esther who willingly moved into an area of conflict in Eastern Congo to love and empower the suffering Congolese people.

I think of my friend Beth who, for close to 3 years has consistently spent her time, in order to be present and provide a listening ear and a smile for the dozens of neglected people residing in a local motel.

I think of those who tear down walls intended to divide us by race, nationality, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, etc. like Dr. John Perkins, LaTasha Morrison, Shane Claiborne, the Hatmakers, my friends Adriana, Meredith, Monica and Melany.

Do We Live in a Dark World?

People who see the world as “dark” aren’t held in high regard. They are called curmudgeons, pessimists, even villains.

By contract, people who see the world in a positive light are considered optimistic. They’re the good guys.

Donald Trump’s speech at the close of the Republican National Convention was castigated by the opposition and the press as being “dark.” President Obama was so bothered by its tone that he felt compelled to reply the next day, “This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse—this vision of violence and chaos everywhere—doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people.”

Taking politics out of this discussion (I know, that’s nearly impossible), this sunny statement by the president against the negative images conjured by Trump begs an important question, one that doesn’t concern only our time, but all of time, the way it’s always been, at least since the fall.

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Play with Fire

Play with Fire is the debut book by dynamic speaker and Bible teacher

Jesus’ Authority Was Based in His Deity

In Cold-Case Christianity, I make the case for the reliability of the New Testament Gospels based on a template we use to test eyewitnesses in criminal trials. This book traces my own personal journey as I investigated the Gospels and ultimately became a Christian. When I first started considering the words of Jesus, I was only interested in gleaning some wisdom from an ancient sage. But the more I read through the Gospel narratives, the more I realized Jesus spoke and taught as though He were God Himself. Jesus possessed more than the authority of a wise teacher; He demonstrated a power and authority that can only be described as Divine:
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6 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Growing Police Dilemma

When we heard about the shootings last week, my wife and I were heartsick. Seven people died in what feels like an escalating national crisis. Two people died at the hands of police officers, while five officers died at the hands of a single suspect. The tension and distrust between African Americans and police officers is at the highest level in my lifetime. As my son Jimmy (a third-generation police officer himself) flew as a member of the Honor Guard to represent our agency at five officer funerals in Dallas this week, I began to gather my thoughts about how we, as Christians, might respond to the growing dilemma. I’ve tried to accurately communicate the nature of police work, but for every person who asks for my police perspective, there’s another who wants my advice as a pastor and Christian Case Maker. In this article, I’d like to outline six things each of us, as citizens and Christians, can do to respond to the growing dilemma:

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Six Things That May Change the Way You Think About Police Officers

After the horrific events of last week, I’ve been asked repeatedly about race relations in America, the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers, and the increasing violence against police officers. As a member of the law-enforcement family (and a member of the Christian community), I would like to respond by providing some insight into the training and daily practices of police officers, particularly given the number of requests I’ve received.
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Justice

When I chose the name Justice for my son, it was for one simple purpose. I believe the name means what ought to be. The world is clearly not what it ought to be. 

When God created the world, He did so with purpose, intention & design. As you read over the narrative of Gen 1 and 2, you may pick up on the theme God first created a space and then He intentionally filled the space (i.e., he first created sky and later birds to fly in the sky). When God created Adam, He called him "very good."  God's design was for He and Adam to exist in the company of each other in a vibrant community.

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