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.

The Brief Biblical Case for the Eternal Life of the Soul

What happens to our souls when our bodies die? Do souls “sleep” until the final resurrection and judgment? My Seventh-Day Adventist and Jehovah’s Witness friends accept a doctrine known as “Conditional Immortality”; the notion that the soul ceases to exist after the physical death of the body.  In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses call this “soul annihilation”; only those who are redeemed will have their souls recreated by God at the Second Coming of Jesus. In order to accept such a notion as someone who uses the Bible as their source of information related to the soul, people who believe in “soul sleep” must reject the following Biblical proclamations:

Souls Are Alive With God Immediately After the Death of the Body
See Luke 23:39-43 and Ecclesiastes 12:5-7

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Three Evidences That Point to Intelligent Interaction

When examining a death scene to determine if it was the result of accidental (or natural) causes or the malicious consequence of a killer, I begin by looking for evidence of intelligent interaction (I describe this process in great detail in God’s Crime Scene). Is there evidence at the scene that indicates another intelligent being (the killer) was present? In a similar way, when examining biological structures to determine if they are the result of accidental or natural causes, or the conscious consequence of an intelligent designer, I begin by looking for evidence of intelligent interaction. What are the features of design that all of us recognize intuitively every day, and are these features present in biological organisms? In God’s Crime Scene, I describe eight common characteristics of design and intelligent interaction, and although I think the cumulative case is overwhelming and persuasive when presented in it's totality, there are a few features of design that are even easier to communicate when making a brief case for an intelligent Creator:

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A Witness Can Be Wrong and Reliable

In every crime scene I’ve ever worked, both evidence and artifacts were present; it’s my job to separate one from the other. Did the murderer cause this blood smear, or was it caused by the paramedic who responded before me and tried to resuscitate the victim? Some smears may be evidence I can use to reconstruct the struggle, others may simply be artifacts that are completely unrelated to the crime. The evidence matters, the artifacts are inconsequential.

The “evidence” of scripture also contains unrelated “artifacts”. Bart Ehrman, for example, has drawn attention to the number of textual variations (artifacts) in the New Testament. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman describes his own descent from faith:

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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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The Great Commission Summit 2016: On Transforming Culture

Readers, are you ready for this? I hope so because it is so good and inspiring and well, challenging too. But oh so good. Read on.


If you live in America, i.e., the west (for those in CA, please read, the wild, wild west because I know you just imagined Will Smith wearing cowboy get-up while rapping “wild, wild, west” as did I and this is why I like you), the following is a short list of why we struggle to transform culture.

 

 

  1. We live in an individualistic society vs. a community oriented one.
  2. We have comfort and the ability to retreat to a dynamic subculture, free from pain and suffering.
  3. We tend to have a higher than what ought to be dependence on structure, laws, rights and self.
  4. We have a pretty low threshold for pain. The more affluent we become, the lower the threshold sails downward.

Why would I say such things to you?! This is not a downer blog; I pinky swear in the air to you right now.


I simply do not have the insight for the aforementioned list of our western woes, not to mention I am an American from the wild, wild, west specifically, so my perspective is limited here. I heard the statements above coming flying straight from the mouth of activist Prashan De Visser, President and founder of Global Unites at The Great Commission Summit 2016. Global Unites is a very large and very radical youth movement of peacemakers around the world. Their vision is to inspire, connect and equip youth to transform global societies through movements that promote hope, nonviolence and reconciliation.


Say what? Yes, youth, as in teens, babes, little lambs, littles, and the like are transforming global societies by promoting hope, nonviolence and reconciliation. (Side note: MLKJ was a mere 25 years old when he began his ministry of nonviolence and reconciliation. Respect and encourage your youths friends.).


Prashan is a humble and kind man, so naturally he did not leave us only with what hinders the west from participating in transforming culture and reconciliation work, he also reminded us of a different way of life; a way reflective of the Kingdom of God through His followers wherein we become active participants in reconciliation work so desperately needed in our world today.


  1. We were created for community. It is who we are. Resist the urge to withdraw, stand back and isolate. Rather, let’s shift our thinking from what’s in it for me to how might this benefit and care for those around me.
  2. From sea to shining sea, America is full of retreat like and feel gated communities of heaven on earth, and 10 min down the road people are experiencing hell.
  3. Our dependence ought only to be on God. He is our plan A, B and C.
  4. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Embrace pain knowing and believing God’s Spirit will be our helper through it. He will help us overcome it.
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Why Students Should Still Study Abroad

Since the academic year started, both beheadings from militant groups and the coverage of Ebola have gone viral. Concerned parents want to know if their son or daughter will get a disease or if life outside the United States is safe. Judging solely by the cable news outlets, one would remain almost paranoid as one crisis after another seems to get around-the-clock coverage.

Yet, nearly 300,000 U.S. students will study abroad in a given year and that is still a good thing. And yes, students should still consider study abroad and there are many reasons, but let me briefly explore three of them.

First, we live in an interconnected, economically interdependent, and increasingly globalized world.

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