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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Crashing into Jesus

Enter Biblical Story:

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arm, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16


Pre-motherhood interpretation of the passage above:

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Held to a Higher Standard

Criticizing, marginalizing, shaming, and otherwise denigrating Christians has become something of a national pastime. And we don’t just hear the negative talk from the unwashed. A lot of the critical words come from Christians themselves.

Are you surprised? We Christians can be hypocritical, judgmental, and holier-than-thou—sometimes all at once. And when we are, we embarrass ourselves, not to mention the God we claim to follow. So we call out the offenders, mostly in blogs or books, hoping they’ll straighten out and fly right.

You know who we’re talking about. We wrote about them in our book, I’m Fine With God…It’s Christians I Can’t Stand. Here are a few categories from our book, plus a bonus category:

  • Christians who impose their morality on others
  • Christians who think science is the enemy
  • Christians who use the Bible as a weapon
  • Christians who don’t practice what they preach
Bonus Category
  • Christians who support Donald Trump
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Learning about God from my Son: On Easter

For God so loved the world

I have been known to say things like,


“I love coffee.”


“I love cupcakes.”


“I love road trips.”


Becoming mom to my son Justice has taught me an ocean full about God’s love for me and for all His creation; as in, all of the world and all of the peoples in the world.


This is actually why, this blog series, “Learning About God from My Son” exists. I wanted a place to share what I’m learning about God in the hopes it might help you to know and believe of His incredible love more and more and be a place Justice could one day look back on and read about his crazy momma’s love for him because of God’s faithfulness to me.

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On Raising Royalty

One of the more quoted movies in my household is Coming to America. You remember the movie. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who has servants upon servants at his feet, ready and willing to do anything and everything for him. On the night of the Prince’s 21st birthday, he is presented with a wife who has been groomed her entire life to serve him. The Prince wants a real relationship; not a mechanical, robotic one so he heads off to America in search of life outside the walls of his African Kingdom. If you haven't seen Coming to America, stop reading this and watch it right now.


My son Justice is a prince.

 

That's right; he is royalty!

 

With a last name like Ngangnang, you might be wondering if he is an actual African prince. He is African and as funny as Eddie Murphy, but my son's royalty isn't rooted in his Cameroonian heritage. It runs much deeper and wider.

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On Disneyland and Danger

There is nothing safe about the Christian life.

Jesus is the CEO of Restoration

Jesus is in the business of restoration. It’s who He is. He is the CEO of restoration. He has restored. He is restoring now. And he will continue to restore for as long as it takes until His global restoration plan is complete! All things will be new again.

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite stories of Jesus restoring two different women in two very different ways, yet both resulting in finding their place in the family of God.

Read Luke 8:40-56.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.  Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house  because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.  Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.  Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”  Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.  Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

This story is packed with counter cultural acts made my Jesus. Here we see a synagogue leader, Jairus, with a family emergency. Culturally, at the time this story was unfolding, synagogue leaders were held in high esteem, much like our Church Pastors and leaders are to us today. We respect them and care deeply for them and their families.

Jairus was correct in asking Jesus to go to his sick and dying daughter. He had great faith and he believed Jesus could heal and restore his daughter's health.

As Jesus sets out towards Jairus’ house, something unexpected happened, causing Jesus to stop on His way to an emergency. He felt healing power go from Him and He asked an intriguing question to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of people surrounding Him. It’s intriguing because with a crowd pressing in on Jesus, it would not be surprising if a number of people touched Him along the way. So why does He stop for this one?

And when we learn who He stops for, it’s even more counter-cultural. He stops for a woman who had been subjected to 12 years of bleeding. Culturally, during this day, women were second class citizens behind men, especially elite men such as synagogue leaders. Why would Jesus stop helping a prominent leader in the community for a woman, a bleeding woman at that. Also during that day, if a woman bled, it meant she was unclean and therefore was required to stay outside the walls of the city until the bleeding stopped. She was an outcast of society.

This woman had a condition that caused her to bleed for 12 years! She was isolated and poor because she had spent all she had in search for a cure.

She too had incredible faith to believe her cure was found in the touch of Jesus. And she too was right. The moment she touched even the hem of the Jesus` clothing, her body was healed and the bleeding ceased.

But we know Jesus isn’t only in the business of healing us physically. He cares about all of us and is in active pursuit of those desiring a holistic healing of the mind and heart and soul. He died for all of us.

By this time Jairus must have been sweating bullets. He must have known time with his daughter was fading fast. The Bible doesn’t tell us how long Jesus spent listening to bleeding woman’s story. All we know is He took the time to stop, turn, listen and the result of that relational encounter not only healed her physical ailments, in that moment Jesus restored Her into her God-given place as His Daughter in His family. She was no longer an outcast; she was now a daughter in the Kingdom of God.

And, as the crowd likely suspected by this unusual behavior of Jesus, while He took the time to see the culturally shunned woman and heal her, restoring her, Jairus gets word his daughter has died. In that moment he must have been devastated.

As if Jesus had accomplished enough crazy on this day, He says to Jairus, “she will be healed.”

He finally makes His way to Jairus’ home and commands his daughter to get up. Her life restored, she stood up again, living and breathing.

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Learning about God from my Son: The Ferris Wheel Ride

I don’t do carnival rides.

Spiritual Lessons From My Fitbit

I received a Fitbit as a gift for Christmas. I knew a little about this data-collecting device you wear on your wrist—that it counts how many steps you take, tracks your heart rate, measures how many calories you expend, etc.—but I had no idea just how popular these “activity tracker” devices are.

In fact, the Fitbit and similar products (such as Jawbone UP and Nike Fuelband) are part of the “Quantified Self” movement, first proposed by Wired magazine editors in 2007 as “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self-knowledge through self-tracking.”

Nothing new about that. Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Benjamin Franklin tracked 13 personal virtues, and Jonathan Edwards developed a list of 70 spiritually centered “resolutions,” which he vowed to read once a week.  I’m certain Socrates, Franklin, and Edwards would have worn a Fitbit had one been available to them.

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Glory Days with Max Part 2

This is the second of a two-part interview with Max Lucado on his new book, Glory Days (Thomas Nelson).

God promises to meet every need, yet we still worry and fret. Why?

I can think of a couple of reasons. We don’t know about our inheritance. No one ever told us about “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19). No one ever told us that we fight from victory, not for victory. No one told us that the land is already conquered. Some Christians never live out of their inheritance because they don’t know they have one. And secondly, we don’t believe in our inheritance. That was the problem of Joshua’s ancestors. They really didn’t believe that God could give them the land. The Glory Days of the Hebrews could have begun four decades earlier, a point God alluded to in his promise to Joshua: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses” (Josh. 1:3). The reminder? I made this offer to the people of Moses’ day, but they didn’t take it. They chose the wilderness. Don’t make the same mistake. Joshua didn’t.

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