I Was a Stranger and You Took Me In…

20140207_195000568_iOSI was recently asked to write an article on immigration for GraceConnect Magazine.  Click the link and scroll down to page 12 to read it…


Our Role As Ambassadors

I Corinthians 5:20 says that “we are ambassadors for Christ”.

A U.S. ambassador to a foreign country once told a friend of mine that an ambassador represents their country 24/7 — there is no “time off”.

We don’t speak of Christ in every conversation, but we do represent Christ in every conversation.

Let’s represent Him well always and speak of Him at every appropriate opportunity.

I tried a thing.

Here’s an insightful and challenging blog post from my young friend, Andrew.

Andrew Ma Recording

Sometimes, you should stop and look around you. Really look. The things you’ll see might surprise you. They certainly surprised me.

In my time studying the Bible, I saw some huge, magnificent statements:

Jesus prayed,

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Paul spoke of the enemies of the cross, saying,

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Then, Paul shared of what God had taught him:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

The Biblical idea seems pretty…

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Let’s Make America Great Again

Some define greatness by how much power we have. I define greatness by the good that we do with however much power we have. God empowers those who use His power well.

When Character Takes a Back Seat

I’ve never written a political opinion piece before, but the issue at hand goes way beyond politics, so please forgive my rant. What’s my point?

Character matters. A lot. When leaders of low character are in charge, there’s only one way any organization (or country) can go.

Case study: Donald Trump. If Mr. Trump and I agreed on every single issue, I still couldn’t vote for him. He hasn’t demonstrated any character traits that I look for in a leader. Character always trumps issues (no pun intended).

I’m sure someone defends his character, but I don’t see how. So why does he have so many followers? I have a theory about that…

I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler’s as some have done, but watching how people align themselves with Trump gives me insight into the mindset that might cause people to follow leaders like Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin. It’s not that they like the leader, but they believe any radical change will be better than the status quo. I suspect many people aren’t voting for Trump as much as they are voting for radical change. That’s an understandable but dangerous path.

Lack of character has led to the downfall of the two-party system as an effective democratic mechanism. Party loyalty is now more important than finding the best solutions for America. It should not be so difficult to recognize a good idea just because it came from across the aisle. Politicians represent their party more than their people.

And while I’m on my rant, ignoring character has created a media machine that doesn’t seriously attempt to be unbiased. News organizations and journalists are motivated to create drama and promote agendas rather than discover truth – unless the truth creates drama or promotes their agenda. Instigative journalism has replaced investigative journalism.

Where does this lead? Never in history has a world power retained that status forever. Why, besides blind patriotism, would we expect America to be the first? Political, economic, and moral indicators all suggest the decline of America is well under way. That’s no surprise — Biblical end times prophecy mentions other nations but not America. That only makes sense if we’re not a superpower.

Enough doom and gloom. Whether America has a bright future or not isn’t what drives my hope and joy. I’m a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Whether I live in prosperity or suffering may change my momentary happiness but not my underlying joy. My fulfillment in life comes from revealing God’s glory to others and equipping them to be sources of pleasure to God. In the words of the Apostle Paul:

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Philippians 4:11-12 (NASB)

God has blessed America. Too bad America doesn’t bless Him.

Call to Prayer for the Central African Republic

Today, January 20, has been declared an International Day of Solidarity to encourage Christians to stand together with those in the C.A.R. who are caught up in the civil war and humanitarian crisis facing that country.

Whether you’re reading this on January 20 or at some later date, will you take a few minutes to pray for the families of the 1000+ people who have been killed in the past month?  And for the million people who have been displaced from their homes?  And the 65% of the people who are facing a severe food shortage?  Most of all, pray that against the backdrop of all of this evil the love of Christ and the truth of the Gospel would be a shining light that none can ignore.

For more information and detailed prayer requests, go to http://www.encompassworld.org/africarelief.