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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Investigating Easter: Were the Disciples Fooled By An Imposter?

As an atheist, the Resurrection of Jesus seemed preposterous to me. I was willing to accept the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, but I rejected the supernatural claims of the New Testament Gospels, especially the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. When I eventually decided to investigate the Resurrection, I made a list of all the possible explanations for the claims of the disciples. Were they mistaken about the death of Jesus? Did they lie about the Resurrection? Were they hallucinating? I examined a number of explanations, including the possibility that an imposter tricked the disciples and convinced them that Jesus was still alive. If this were the case, the disciples might have unknowingly advanced a lie.

While imposter theories may account for the observations of the disciples, they require an additional set of conspirators (other than the apostles who were later fooled) to accomplish the task of stealing the body. Many of my partners spent several years investigating fraud and forgery crimes prior to joining us on the homicide team. They’ve learned something about successful con artists. The less the victim understands about the specific topic and area in which they are being “conned,” the more likely the con artist will be successful. Victims are often fooled and swindled out of their money because they have little or no expertise in the area in which the con artist is operating. The perpetrator is able to use sophisticated language and make claims that are outside of the victim’s expertise. The crook sounds legitimate, primarily because the victim doesn’t really know what truly is legitimate. When the targeted victim knows more about the subject than the person attempting the con, the odds are good that the perpetrator will fail at his attempt to fool the victim. For this reason, the proposal that a sophisticated first-century con artist fooled the disciples seems unreasonable. There are many concerns with such a theory:

1. The impersonator would have to be familiar enough with Jesus’s mannerisms and statements to convince the disciples. The disciples knew the topic of the con better than anyone who might con them.

2. Many of the disciples were skeptical and displayed none of the necessary naïveté that would be required for the con artist to succeed. Thomas, for example, was openly skeptical from the beginning.

3. Who would seek to start a world religious movement if not one of the hopeful disciples? This theory requires someone to be motivated to impersonate Jesus other than the disciples themselves.

4. This explanation also fails to account for the empty tomb or missing body of Jesus.

5. The impersonator would need to possess miraculous powers; the disciples reported that the resurrected Jesus appeared miraculously (Luke 24:36), performed many miracles and “convincing proofs” (John 21:6, Acts 1:3), and ascended into heaven miraculously (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9).

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How Do We Engage Muslims?

In the final part of a 4-part Q&A on his new book, Answering Jihad, Nabeel Qureshi addresses some of the most fundamental issues of the global concerns concerning Islam: Do Muslims want to take over the West? Should Syrian Muslims be admitted to the U.S.? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? And perhaps the most important questions for Christians, How do we engage Muslims so they can know the triune God?

Do you believe that Muslims want to take over the West with sharia?

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Investigating Easter: Did the Disciples Imagine the Resurrection?

In the many centuries since the disciples of Jesus reportedly observed the risen Christ, critics of Christianity have challenged the supernatural claim of the Resurrection. Some skeptics believe the disciples, as a result of their intense grief and sorrow, only imagined seeing Jesus alive after His death on the cross. These critics claim the appearances were simply hallucinations that resulted from wishful thinking. But this proposal fails to explain the empty tomb and only accounts for the resurrection experiences at first glance.

As a detective, I frequently encounter witnesses who are related in some way to the victim in my case. These witnesses are often profoundly impacted by their grief following the murder.

Islam, Jihad, and ISIS

Nabeel Qureshi was raised in a devout and loving Muslim home, but during his college years he began to closely examine Islamic teachings along with the claims of Christianity. As a result, Nabeel committed his life to Jesus Christ, a dramatic and engaging story he told in the New York Times bestselling and award-winning memoir, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, is Qureshi’s just-released book, rushed to press in the wake of the growing global concern over the threats and actions of Muslim extremists. This is Part 3 of a 4-part interview with Qureshi, currently studying Judaism and Christianity at Oxford, pursuing his doctorate in New Testament studies.
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Learning about God from my Son: Create vs. Copy

My two year old son Justice is really into cars and trucks lately. He can race his cars around the living room floor at what I am certain he imagines is lightening speed. "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!"

Like all kids, his imagination is so alive and active, I’m pretty sure he has enough energy to run a marathon. He's constantly exploring and seeking newness and adventure. And I love to watch him play and figure stuff out. He's curious and not afraid to try new things. Seeing his desire to learn causes me to want to show him more, teach him more, encourage him more and ultimately create space for him to flourish into the daring, dangerous, compassionate man I pray he becomes.

Because I know, and so do you, creativity and imagination tend to get shoved down and left behind as we grow up and go about our day-to-day lives with domestic duties, job responsibilities, family care, friendships and so on. We lose the excitement of imagination and the energy to dream of what could be. Some would argue creativity and imagination are for children. How many of us have thought of ourselves as a dollar short in the creativity bank? I certainly have!

In his third book release, titled, Create vs. Copy, author Ken Wytsma rekindles the creative flame we were all created with. In his own words, Ken says, "this book is meant to encourage you about the good news of your God-given creative capacity and how to harness it to take charge of your life, flourish, succeed, and find innovative and exciting ways to navigate the circumstances of life.”

Did you catch the part about "God-given creative capacity"? If we have God-given creative capacity, then we have God-given creative capacity! Having an active imagination and being creative isn't set aside for energetic toddlers and kids. Likewise, being creative isn't just for artists.

In the first half of the book, Wytsma draws attention to the creative attribute of God. He is creative. God creates. It’s who He is. And because God creates and He created us in His image, we too are creative. Wytsma puts it this way, "I like to say that when we're being creative, it's as if we're taking the image of God in us out for a walk."

You are creative! You were born a creator. "Creativity is a human trait." If you are the person who has said, "I don't have a creative bone in my body", I completely get it and this is good news for us!

We’re not just talking creating art here. Being creative runs so much deeper than paint strokes on canvass. Being creative means fully recognizing issues or problems around us, dreaming up ways to correct the issue and then innovating to change the issue. This is huge!

“Embracing creativity is about leaning into who we are as children of a creative God, whose Spirit and power move in our lives as we respond to Him and endeavor to make space for life.”

Which leads me to the second half of Create vs. Copy where Wystma provides practical application on practising creativity via awakening the child like creativity we all innately inherited from our Creator God.

It’s important to keep our imaginations active. Authors and story tellers such as C.S. Lewis understood this and ran with it.

“Imagination not only helps us see more clearly what is, but what should be.”

You don’t have to go far to see, to know and to experience the brokenness of the world.  Things are clearly not what they should be.

As the redeemed and healed body of the Church, the followers of Jesus, we can live lives that reflect the what should be; even in the midst of the what is. Jesus taught us how to live in the what should be by how he treated people and by the illustrations he taught through the parable stories.

Our God-given creativity allows us to recognize the broken pieces of the universe and our imaginations help us dream up what should be. So we ought to create, to try new things, to move into some form of action in an attempt to take steps towards a dream made reality in our spheres of influence.

“Creativity makes space for life to flourish.”

“Our creativity most closely approximates God’s creativity when our ultimate purposes align with his.” I love this!

Prayer, wise counsel, and a supportive, encouraging network help us then innovate and bring our dreams into reality. Here is where change takes place and we step into the life God intended for us. And it’s never just for us. God uses each of us to share His love with those around us.

For 7 or so years now I’ve had an idea floating around my head. I’ve learned, collected a lot of information and feel compelled to write. Yet, it was only recently I began actually writing. I felt ill equipped and unprepared, yet the idea and the desire to just get it out and write has only grown.  As my pastor told me, “Carrie, this is either your thing, or it’s the thing you have to do to get to your thing.” So I’m writing more. Guys, I’m being creative! I’m intentionally creating space to write. I’m blocking out chunks of time to write. I’m just going for it. I also have a few trusted friends helping with it and a lot of pray around it.

And I have no idea what or how what I’m writing may be used. But that’s the exciting part. The unknown. With God, nothing is impossible! So my friends, create, create, create! It’s you are. It’s what you were made for! Create space for others to flourish and you will too.

Create vs. Copy releases tomorrow (March 1). Grab your copy today on Amazon. My hope for you is that you flourish into all of who God created you to be! Check out the book trailer too.

Investigating Easter: Did The Disciples Lie About the Resurrection?

Did Jesus really rise from the grave on Easter Sunday? Is the Resurrection of Jesus a fabrication created by the disciples in an effort to start a world religion or accomplish some other nefarious goal? Some skeptics claim the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the grave and later fabricated the stories of Jesus’s resurrection appearances. While this explanation may account for the empty tomb and the resurrection observations (as lies), it fails to account for the transformed lives of the apostles.

In my years working robberies, I had the opportunity to investigate (and break) a number of conspiracy efforts, and I learned about the nature of successful conspiracies. I’ve written about this extensively at ColdCaseChristianity.com. Based on my experience, I am hesitant to embrace any theory that requires the conspiratorial effort of a large number of people, over a significant period of time, when there is personally little or nothing to gain by their effort. This skeptical apostolic conspiracy theory requires us to believe that the apostles were transformed and emboldened not by the miraculous appearance of the resurrected Jesus but by elaborate lies created without any benefit to those who were perpetuating the hoax. In addition to this concern from the perspective of a detective, there are other concerns that have to be considered when evaluating the claim that the disciples lied about the resurrection:

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Why Trump Is Winning

In this crazy, unpredictable, perplexing election year, we’re seeing candidates who are redefining what it means to be a politician. Or not.

Consider the candidacy of Donald Trump, who is frustrating the living daylights out of the Republican establishment. You could say Bernie Sanders is having the same effect on the Democratic party, but he is a long shot, while Trump seems to have a chance of being his party’s presidential candidate.

Whether you are horrified or intrigued by that prospect, my purpose here is to neither endorse nor denigrate Trump, but to offer one very simple explanation for why one of the most polarizing figures in modern political history is winning. In fact, it has to do with why.

Trump is very clear about why he is running, and I’ll bet you know “why.” That’s right. He’s running to make America great again.

I’ve been doing a little experiment with the slogans (or tag lines) of the seven remaining presidential candidates (two Democratic, five Republican). I went to the websites of each candidate and noted the slogan of each one. Here they are:
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Islam and Muslims

This is the second of a four-part interview with Nabeel Qureshi, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Qureshi's newest book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, releases March 8.

Are there different kinds of followers of Islam?

Muslims interpret Muhammad’s teachings very differently, often along partisan lines of authoritative interpreters and cultural boundaries. That is why, in very broad strokes, Shia Islam looks different from Sunni Islam, why Bosnian Islam looks different from Saudi Islam, why folk Islam in the outlands of Yemen looks different from scholarly Islam in the halls of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Although the core of Islam is centered on the person of Muhammad in seventh century Arabia, the expression of Islam reflects local customs.

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Love Kindness

This Op-Ed piece by Dr. Barry Corey, president of Biola University, originally appeared in the Washington Post under the title, 'I'd like to punch him in the face': The incredible shrill of this election season.

“You are the single biggest liar.” “This guy is a petulant child.” “Let’s get the boy in his bubble out of his bubble.” “A lightweight choker.” “A low-energy ‘stiff.’”

Or the latest, from Donald Trump about a protestor: “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

Maybe I’m amnesiac, but does this year’s political season seem more outrageous than ever? By outrageous I mean the outrage, the heat, the shrill. Why have so many candidates put on red or blue ties and then wrapped themselves in razor wire before coming to the podium?

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