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

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.

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.

Will Animals Be in Heaven?

This is a broad question that is easier to answer than you might think. The Bible talks about a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (Revelation 21:1). Heaven is not just a place “out there,” but also a place “down here.” Heaven will not only be a spectacular Holy City, but also an incredible “earthly” place of astounding variety and beauty.

The book of Genesis tells us God created the heavens and the earth with an extravagance of flora and fauna (plants and animals) necessary for our survival and enjoyment. The prophet Isaiah declares, “the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Even after the fall, God’s glory is evident, though clouded somewhat by sin. But in heaven God’s glory will once again be on full display in everything he created (Habakkuk 2:14), including animals.

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