Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Christmas Season is Here: What does Christmas mean to You?

It's Christmas, it's Christmas!  Thanksgiving is over.  But I try to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving, of being thankful for the little things I have, and the big things in life. But now we move past turkey day, and into the Christmas season. I'm a big Christmas fan, and I hope you are too.  It comes around every year, doesn't it? Over and over but it seems like every year it surprises me.  I'm surprised by each season when it comes, I'm surprised by the wintry air, the fall, and so on and so forth, and I'm surprised by the advent, the coming of Christ.  

When I was a little kid I asked my mom: Why do we do this?  We were at Catholic mass watching a shadow play of the crucifixion of Jesus.  I asked Mom: Why do we crucify Jesus each year?  That's how I interpreted the event each year.  And the Catholic view is really that we do something like that, and we receive the bread and wine as the living, real body of Christ, and each year and each service we repeat that ritual to receive continuous salvation.  Today I realize that such a practice is not rooted biblically.

My family, mom, dad, sister and me would sit around the Christmas tree and pass out presents.  I loved it as a kid.  I loved the excitement.  We would leave out cookies and milk for Santa. We had a little calendar that we'd open the day each day, and eat a little piece of candy. We'd count down the days until Christmas and it would seem to crawl by so slowly!  We'd decorate the trees on our property with lights.  We'd go out together as a family, out to the tree farms, and buy a tree, cut it down, and set it up in the garage and dad would flock the tree.  We decorated the house, set up the nativity set, and hung our Christmas stockings above the fire place.  It was picturesque, sublime.  

We'd gather around the Christmas tree, dad would spill his coffee, because it was tradition, and we had one of those old massive camcorders, set up on a tripod, set to record, so we could record our family memories via videotape.  

Why do we have all these traditions?  What do they mean? Is it biblical?

There is something biblical about celebrating a season, a date and time each year to bring into recollection in our minds the importance of something we can so quickly forget: The coming of Christ.  So on Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  On Thanksgiving we thank God for all the gifts we receive from Him.  On Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  This is biblical because the Bible in fact instructs us to meet weekly together to celebrate Christ.  And in the Old Testament we see the nation of Israel celebrating yearly festivals like the festival of booths and other holy days.  Why?  To remind themselves each year of what God had done for them in the desert, and how God set them free from slavery in Egypt.  

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord..." -Leviticus 23:33

"On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. " Acts 20:7a
So it's biblical to celebrate Christmas.  It's a time when we remind ourselves that God came to save us from sin.  God became a man and was born in the stable because there was no room at the inn. Interesting that the world had no room for the one who made it.

"...she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." -Luke 2:7

Jesus came into the world.  So we dedicate the time between Thanksgiving and December 25th to celebrate the birth of Christ into the world.  

So here is my question: What does Christmas mean to you?  How does it come together in your mind?  What is your focus during this season?  

Think about it.  What traditions do you uphold?  How do you spend your time?  Do you hoist up a Christmas tree?  Do you attend church services or mass?  Do you drink and party?  Do you spend large amounts of money on gifts?  

Christmas has meant a great many things to me.  It's been a time of tedious family get togethers.  It's been a time of magic, and a time that reflects something special in my mind.  It's been a time when things seem possible that might otherwise be impossible.  Christmas time has often meant to me, that this is a time when humanity tries to be it's best.  And we see some good in people.  Fair enough, fair enough. Yet it's also a time when I saw my life begin to unravel, when I began to drink heavily, when I began to misuse cough medicine, when I would connect with strange women, and watch my family begin to fall apart and collapse.  Yet Christmas was always a special time, even as my life begin to unravel. 

It's hope, in the winter night.  It's cold, it's dark, the snow is falling, and sometimes it seems like life is dismal, dark, and dull.  Maybe it's just my SADs!  But winter to me reflects the fall of man, the collapse from summer, to fall, to winter. Yet winter in all it's beauty also offers a future hope, a silver lining in the cool snow drifts.  The beauty reminds us of the hope that springs forth in the midst of winters... which is the coming of Jesus.  

When you lose hope, all is lost, and we bring a little bit of hope, when we bring Jesus. 

I didn't know about Jesus for most of my life, but I still found Christmas to be magical.  But I thought Christmas was about Santa, and reindeer, and gifts.  But Christmas is really about Jesus.  I knew that, sort of, but I didn't understand what it meant or how it applied to my life. 

I knew Jesus as a far off historical figure of sorts.  I knew Jesus Christ was born.  I probably even doubted that. But what I didn't know about Jesus was why he came.  Why did he come?  What did he do? 

Jesus was God come to Earth.  We could stop there and reflect on the incredible nation of this statement.  God the architect of reality, time, space, matter, dimensions unknown, the designer of the human body, the brain, the systems that cause lifeforms to function, the one who made all this, from nothing, the one who is timeless, who exists beyond finite time and space... came into His own creation on a rescue mission.  And he came for you... and for me.  That's crazy.  That's incredible.  It's shocking, stunning, totally amazing!  

What exactly does it mean? The full scope of this is beyond us.  There is a great deal of mystery in this coming.  But it's clear from a practical stand point that Christ came to deal with a very serious and damning problem: The problem of sin.  Some have called this the problem of evil.  Others call it the problem of suffering.  But specifically in this equasion Jesus came to deal with the sin in us.  Essentially this "sin in us" is this lingering struggle within each of us.  It's the thing that causes us to steal from our parents, that which causes us to lie, and to act selfishly, and hurt those around us.  This sin is the issue that causes us the world to be the state that it is in right now.  Celebrities who molest children, politicians who cheat on their wives, corruption in 3rd world countries, overcrowded prisons, on and on the list goes... the problem of which, is sin.  And Jesus came to set us free from that thing within us that causes us to be self destructive and selfish.  

How does Jesus do this?  He does it by dying.  He's arrested, he's put before the judge, their is this conspiracy against him where false witnesses testify against him and the leaders try to find any way they can to get rid of this Jesus guy.  And Jesus lets it happen.  But think about it, he's God almighty, He would snap his fingers and be free. But he offers himself freely, as a sacrifice, as an atonement for sin.  He deletes sin on the cross by receiving the just penalty for sin.  Understanding the deep theological and philosophical implications of this event is secondary to the primary practical quality of this event: The fact that is applies to your own sin.  If you'll access this absolution, if you'll step into belief in Christ, and accept Christ's gift, done on the cross, to set you free from sin, then, you will be reborn.

You'd say well, that seems too simple.  It is simple, in a way.  Yet it's also so hard, because we as people are arrogant and egotistical.  We don't like to admit our own sin, and we don't like to admit our need for a savior.  Both are necessary to receive Jesus as savior.  That's a very humbling experience, to admit we're sinful and admit our need for Jesus.  But if we do, everything changes. Our whole world changes when we finally get "plugged into" the source, who is God almighty.  

So if I could go back in time and talk to my twelve year old self I'd tell Him: Jesus is a living God.  He's not dead.  He's not far away.  You need Him right now.  Your caught in a dead end consumerist lifestyles that leads nowhere.  In all your pain little Justin, only Christ can heal you.  Would I have listened?  Who knows!

But in any case, that's why Jesus came.  He came to save us.  He came to give us new life.  He came to die, and to rise from the dead three days later and declare victory over death itself.  Amazing. It's very deep and intellectual and mysterious and melancholy and spiritually and philosophically meaningful.  It's there to be searched for those who think deep, but it's also simple, simple enough to be received by a three year old child.  

In Christmas, as I think to myself about the future, I think about my hope of one day getting married and having a family.  I have neither now.  But I think about Christmas and how I would want my children to know what is behind all the Christmas celebration.  Behind it all is the birth of Jesus.  I love Christmas season.  I love the joy.  I love seeing my family.  I even love the Salvation Army kettle season and all the strife and stress of it.  It's still fundamentally good and a blessing of service from God.  I love going to nursing homes and preaching the gospel.  I love all the things we do in the army.  But most of all today, I love Jesus and the fact that God was born into human history to save us.  Hope came, and set me free five years ago.  Today my life is totally new, I was so lost, so broken, so suicidal and dark, and addicted, and today, I'm free.  I'm free at last and it's amazing.  And I have a bright future now... All thanks to a little baby who was born two thousand years ago, who was named... Jesus.  

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

-Isaiah 9:6

So this Christmas season, I'd like to encourage you: Reinvent some things in your Christmas season.  What new traditions can you establish in your family to more clearly point your family toward Jesus?  What times of prayer?  What devotionals or activities?  I decided that I would purchase a Christmas tree shaped as a cross, so that I myself and my family would always be pointed toward the victory of Christ on the cross during Christmas season.  But there are many ways we can establish a Christ-centered Christmas season.  Be creative, start in prayer, and ask the Lord to be the centerpiece of your Christmas season.  Light candles, burn incense, attend services, or just sit down and talk with your family about what it means to follow Jesus.  Because, very simply, Christmas is all about Jesus.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2:1-2

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

If you Struggle with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Read This!

Depression, suicide, discouragement...  Are you disturbed, wrought with depression, and teetering on the brink of self harm?

Hopelessness, well, I've known it well.  Depression, yes, it's been a constant companion on my life journey.  So if you struggle with these very real problems, I'm glad your here.  

It's a blackness of the soul.  It's a sincere emptiness.  It's truly a dwindling hope that eventually opens up to a giant black space where hope has no place.  One has given up, and there is no longer any hope that things will get better.  When hope is gone, then suicide starts looking increasingly helpful as an end to the pain.

Depression is pain of the soul.  It's extended.  It lasts for days, weeks, months, and years.  Each day seems to only offer the gift of another day of misery.  Sometimes it get be blotted out with drugs or strong drink, or lustful sexual encounters, or fickle, insipid relationships, but nothing seems to drive it off completely.  

It urged me to stay in bed.  Though I didn't need much encouragement to do so.  In my story specifically it played a part in a circular pattern in my life: Drug use, drug use, more drug use, exhaustive collapse, mental breakdown/physical breakdown, withdrawal, depression, more depression, sobriety, recovery, more recovery, and slowly more and more anxiety, and depression and anxiety and depression, and discomfort... and relapse, drug use, drug use, and the cycle repeats.

I did that for years. But there was always a question lingering in the background: Why am I here?  What is the purpose in anything?  Why do anything?  What is the meaning of life?

Without understanding the meaning of life, without understanding why I existed, depression was a natural consequence. 

Depression can express itself in society as gothic teenagers, or emo boys, or teenage girls with cut marks on their arms.  That's the stereotype, and often it fits, but there are many other expressions of depression.  

Ravi Zacharias tells the story of a doctor and his wife.  The doctor worked long hours in an ER.  He was a surgeon, very successful obviously.  Each day he would return home from work at 9:00 PM and his wife would be in bed and hear sometimes come in.  And then he would leave again for work around 3:00 AM.  And she would often awake when he left.  She would always listen for him, because she seemed to hardly ever see him.  Over and over he worked in this routine, day by day, week by week, and year by year.  He helped others.  He had meaningful work.  He served everyday.  And then one day she heard him come home, and then she heard a thud noise.  He had killed himself.  

Deion Sanders after winning the Superbowl was on the phone ordering a new Lamborghini, and he got off the phone, and he realized that he'd just achieved his ultimate and it had failed to satisfy him.  And there he got on his knees and accepted Jesus Christ as savior, realizing, that every pursuit in life was meaningless, and He needed an eternal future.  

The famous quarterback Brett Favre took many sacks and endured many concussions in his career. The pressure and the struggle of his fame, fortune, and family concerns led to addiction to Vicodin.  He achieved so much in his career, but still struggled with meaning, and with drug addiction.  He got clean from drugs and turned his life around.  He had a great career. But there still seemed to be something missing. And isn't it interesting that when Brett Favre came to be conducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, he credited all his accomplishments to his savior Jesus Christ.  Very interesting, that even when we achieve so much, even when we're at the top of the world seemingly, we still find meaninglessness in our hearts that can only be filled by a transcendence beyond the decadence and finity of this life. 

Depression at it's core is an expression of meaninglessness in the heart of man.  It's an emotional and intellectual decay stemming from the human heart and it's desire for eternity, for something greater than itself.  We each have that desire for a power greater than human power.  We each ache after longings that no single experience or event in this life can satisfy.  

I've stood in a highway hoping a car would run me over.  I've looked at the person driving that car as the car approached me. What a thing, don't you think?  I've laid on roads in the night praying for a car to come, but none ever did.  I've held a hunting rifle in my hands hoping I had the courage to use it on myself.  I've lived in such wretched sorrow that I despaired of every passing moment of life.  I've wished for the end of conscious so I could finally have a little bit of peace.  

I've intentionally attempted overdose and death by pills.  I've been assaulted and abused in my life.  I've been locked away in mental hospitals and rehabs.  I've developed codependent relationships and had one night stands that left me feeling empty and gross. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  So that you understand that I'm not someone jumping into this topic who hasn't lived it.  I've lived depression.  In some ways I do still struggle with melancholy in my daily life.  

But I'm here to tell you that recovery and healing is possible despite the darkest bleakest depression.  I really wish someone had told me this when I first struggled with depression.  But no one did.  I just got pills thrown at me by pyschiatrists, art therapy, expensive inpatient treatments, and "coping mechanisms" from all the latest pyschology fads.  Some of the medications and therapy sessions could help take the edge off, but the underlying issue was always left untreated.

The truth is there is an answer to the sorrow and bitterness and emptiness of depression.  It's meaning.  Truth and meaning are the answer to the darkest depressions.  In short, the answer to depression is Jesus Christ.  Before you throw your hands up in anger and storm out of the room saying "Oh great religion! That's the last thing I need!"

I thought the same thing.  But I had a lot of old ideas about faith that weren't actually true.  I didn't know that there was good evidence to believe that there really is a God that guides the universe.  I never knew that there was good historical evidence that Jesus Christ actually existed and lived in the ancient middle east.  I never knew, because we've been raised up as young people in a society that has rejected faith, and decided to try to play god for itself.  Humanity has tried to play god in our society and it's a big mess.  That's why so many people are so depressed and suicidal and hopeless.  

I never knew any of that.  I was just a depressed, angry, bitter and lost kid with no meaning or hope in my life.  

Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  (John 14:6).

Jesus said," Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest." 

Jesus offers each of us rest, sweet, sweet rest.  To finally set down this burdens we carry, of darkness, of emptiness, of pain and lay them down at the cross.

Paul, a man writing about what Jesus had done for him said, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 3:14).  

Living with Jesus as my friend, is a life in which I don't ever have to face a day alone.  I don't have to be miserable and morose and lost.  I don't have to try to summon some inner strength to get through the day.  Christ carries me through the day.  And the truth is that we're designed that way.  We were never designed to try to make a way for ourselves.  We were designed to recognize and connect with Christ.  Then Christ puts his Holy Spirit within our souls.  It's like suddenly being plugged in to a new energy source.  We go from dead, empty 2-dimensional ghosts to 3-dimensional Spirit-powered living people.  

We were never designed to "cope" on our own or try to figure it out ourselves.  We were designed to be connected to God, to be plugged into Him, receiving love and joy and peace from His thrown that can then carry us through our days and lead us home when we die.  

If you've tried everything and nothing has helped your depression, try Jesus.  If your suicidal and depressed and considering death anyway, you might as well try Jesus before you kill yourself.  There is nothing left to lose at the bottom.  Jesus can transform your life.  Jesus can cause you to be born again.  Jesus Christ is alive.  He is a living savior, active in the world, and seeking you out.  Seek after Him.

I have a few recommendations, some things that I did when I was a lost, depressive kid who couldn't hardly hold a job or go a day without pills.  

First of all, get a study Bible, like the NIV Study Bible. Read the New Testament, and ask Jesus to reveal himself to you.  Start to pray and ask Jesus for help.  Next, order a DVD copy of the movie The Gospel of John, it's word for word the gospel of John.  I watched that movie about two hundred times over and over while I was loaded on dxm and drunk out of my mind back in 2011.  But somehow Christ still spoke through those words to me.  Check out this documentary by Ray Comfort on Youtube called "The Appeal of Suicide."  It's amazing. Next, Google some churches in your area, find a decent baptist, methodist, lutheran, pentecostal, Salvation Army, or non-denominational church community.  We all need a community around us.  When I had been going to AA meetings for a few weeks, then I joined a church in Weston where I used to live.  It was hosted out of a school where they rented the auditorium.  It was awesome, I met all sorts of people and joined a small group.  And about 8 months later I was baptized, a sort of public declaration that Jesus had changed my life and soul forever.  It was awesome.  

Honestly, my life was a total disaster and that's putting it lightly.  Now Jesus has totally changed my life.  But let me add this: I still take medication for depression and I still have my melancholy days. But fundamentally my life is joyous and peaceful now instead of hopeless and despairing.  If you're feeling lost, anxious, depressed, and out of your mind, then come to Jesus.  I promise you, Jesus Christ my savior will not let you down.  It's amazing what he's done in my life.  Now I have real meaning, and a real future.  And it's real. It's true.  Depression and meaninglessness no longer have a hold on me.  Christ be with you, come to Him before it's too late. 

Hope, Cc 2.0
Related Posts:
  1. After Jesus, What's Next: 10 Guide Posts for Christian Living
  2. Biblical Christianity vs. Progressive Ideology
  3. Ten Amazing Apologetics Presentations
  4. If You Deny Me Before Men: A Rebuttal to Martin Scorses "Silence"
  5. Five Provocative Sermon Messages
  6. What does it mean to Repent?
  7. The Divine Image, the Family & the Social Order
  8. A Philosophical Transformation Series: Science & Faith
  9. Five Christian Apologetics Presentations
  10. A Philosophical Transformation Series: What is the Truth?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Remembering Nabeel Qureshi: Five Presentations by the Former Muslim turned Christian

Nabeel Qureshi giving his last message and prayer request on his deathbed.
Nabeel Qureshi the famed Christian apologist who converted from Islam to Christianity died recently of cancer at the age of 34. Two years older than me. Wow. He was an amazing evangelist, someone I looked up to and deeply respected.  It's sad given the need in the Muslim world for Jesus. 

But I'm certain those impacted by his ministry will continue the efforts to evangelize the Muslim world. Here are five powerful presentations by Dr. Qureshi that I think will touch you deeply.

Additionally the final two videos are of his final message and the funeral service after his death.  The Lord can take us at any moment, always be ready. 

1. Jesus and the Christian Response to Islam

2. Fulfill Your Ministry

3. Georgia Tech Message

4. Jesus in Islam vs. Jesus in Christianity

5. Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward

The Final Message & Prayer Request from Nabeel Qureshi

The Funeral Service for Nabeel Qureshi

Related Posts:
  1. After Jesus, What's Next: 10 Guide Posts for Christian Living
  2. Biblical Christianity vs. Progressive Ideology
  3. Ten Amazing Apologetics Presentations
  4. If You Deny Me Before Men: A Rebuttal to Martin Scorses "Silence"
  5. Five Provocative Sermon Messages
  6. What does it mean to Repent?
  7. The Divine Image, the Family & the Social Order
  8. A Philosophical Transformation Series: Science & Faith
  9. Five Christian Apologetics Presentations
  10. A Philosophical Transformation Series: What is the Truth?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How to Survive as a Christian in a Post-Christian Post-Truth Culture

The country has changed so much since I was a young boy.  Many like to pretend like it isn't really happening, or that they don't notice the changes.  But I notice these things.  I see them.  And it is a difficult life for a Christian.  We are relatively new believers, in a strange world that seems to have gone insane.  

We gather together, sing songs, listen to the message given to us, and when we are home we read our Bibles and we pray.  We watch things happen in the world around us.  We see people on the streets who live differently than us.  And I remember how I used to be just like them.  I remember how I used to be one of the people out there, doing whatever felt good, and living for nothing but myself.  

Strange things happen in the world, like the Harvey Weinstein affair, and the rash of child sex abuse cases.  And then there's human sex trafficking.  And there is abortion, the killing of unborn children for convenience.  

It doesn't feel as safe as it used to be.  I used to bike around the neighborhood without a problem.  Today it isn't safe.  Today I don't feel like I can trust most people I run into.  There isn't a common ethic, there is moral anarchy.  Relationships are haphazard in such a place.  And if one spends any time at a bar, they might worry that one may drop something in their drink with the intention of taking advantage of them.  

Worse yet, there is a genocide being carried out against Christians in the middle east.  No one seems to care.  President Obama ignored it. The media won't talk about it because it doesn't fit their narrative of imperialist Christian oppression.  But hundreds of thousands are dying.  ISIS is decimating the Christian populations across Iraq especially, and the middle east at large.  But the media won't talk about it, and the corrupt UN won't even acknowledge it's even happening. 

Christians are tormented and murdered, yet regarded as mean and judgmental by people in the west. There is social justice, race baiting, and identity politics.  There are all sorts of mad things around us.  The truth is so hard to discern is a climate of deception.

In the media we see hatred, fake news, and vitriol on all sides.  Ideologies war against each other. Christian values are misused and abused, and most often, simply neglected.

What can we do? We see that Christianity has changed the world before.  We've seen how the gospel has transformed entire societies, and we wonder how things can change in our society.  We wonder if the field is even ripe for the harvesting anymore... 

We hide indoors sometimes.  We hide behind the four walls of our churches.  And we're afraid to speak, at times.  We hear about attacks on religious liberty.  We hear about people being shut down for speaking out on social media.  We're told by the media that there is no threat to religious liberty and if you even think there is a threat, then religious liberty is a code phrase for hatred, bigotry and white supremacy.  If we dare to speak up about religious freedom or identity politics, or political correctness we're slandered as racists, sexists, bigots, and homophobes.  

We dream of great awakenings, of revivals, of movements of young people turning to Jesus in droves.  But we don't see it happening.  What are we to do?  

We'll do what we can, is the answer to that question.  We'll do what the Spirit of God, our high commander instructs us to do in this conflict.  We'll pray hard, and we'll pray often.  We'll throw off the shackles of sin in this world.  And we'll pull the plugs from our arms and legs and torso, of the worldly views and secular thoughts that have invaded our Christian worldview.  And we'll participate in the holy resistance to the kingdom of Satan.  That's what we'll do.  And if we're destined to go down on the sinking ship of western civilization, then we'll go down in the ship preaching the gospel, though few believe.  And if we're destined to rally the people of western humanity to revival, and Christian great awakening, then rally we shall.  We'll obey the Spirit.

But we are in need of rest.  We must rest, regularly. And we ought to realize that we can't do it all ourselves.  We shouldn't try.  The Spirit will do His work.  We dishonor the Spirit if we think we can do ourselves with excessive work.  So rest.  

You know, let me tell you something: We can't help everyone.  We can't save everyone.  And I don't mean that some people are beyond help, though many certainly are.  

My point is this: I can't do everything.  I'll go crazy if I try, and I'll burn out.  So I have to be strategic in how I do my work.  It's OK if I can't reach every person out there in the neighborhood with the gospel.  That's not what I'm here for right now.  I'm here to learn and study, to be a minister.  It's OK to focus on that right now.  But can you understand how I could lose track of that?  I hope you can.  Because I get convicted about everything, and I get burdened about a lot.  That's OK.  But I can't do it all, I'm not God.  I'm just a man.  And that's OK!

Additionally, I need to pick and choose my battles.  This is a hard lesson for me, because I am someone who is outspoken.  I like to speak my mind.  In fact, I believe Jesus calls me to speak up when it matters.  But sometimes I need to shut up and listen, especially at the beginning. Sometimes you have to punt on 4th down.  But there will be times that I speak, and everyone won't like what I say.  But it's not all about people's feelings.  It's about my responsibility to Jesus.  Fundamentally if I do something, it's because I'm trying to do what God has called me to do.  Sometimes that gets me into trouble.  

We have an odd ethic today.  We seem to think being a Christian means never offending anyone, never pointing out sin, and never speaking tough truth.  By the ethics of the culture and the world, we think even talking about something controversial is bad.  We treat even bringing up a difficult topic as sinful.  But it's not sinful.  In fact we're called to deal with sin, to preach the gospel and to be different from the world.  

Jesus offended people.  He did it out of love and a desire to speak the truth.  Jesus was speaking to a crowd, including some pharisees.  
Recorded in Matthew 15:10-14 NIV: "Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Am I arguing that we should intentionally offend people? Absolutely not.  What I'm suggesting is that we should speak the truth, the truth of the scriptures, applied to our day and age, and we should speak it in love.  But we should speak it clearly and not shy away from those difficult conversations.  And we shouldn't shy aware from controversial topics.  Because everything important and relevant today is considered controversial.  We can't be silent on controversial topics, otherwise we end up rendering ourselves irrelevant. 

Love is the answer, right?  No. Jesus Christ is the answer.  He came full of love.  Yet He also came full of grace and truth.  He spoke truth and he showed mercy.  Yet he instructed the woman caught in adultery: "I do not condemn you. But go and do not sin again."(John 8:1-11).  If we leave out that second part, we're not speaking a full gospel. 

A full gospel is that we repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15).  Repentance is key.  Time and again in the epistles, the letters of Paul specifically, address first the grace found in Christ, and secondly Paul will speak in the strongest terms for our need to live in holiness.  Holiness is our calling as Christians.  We're saved 100% by Jesus, but our response to God is the most pure and holy life.  

We want so badly to be loving. We want so badly to obey Jesus' teaching about not being judgmental or condemning.  That's certainly an important thing to do.  And yes, love is a central ethic of the Christian worldview.  But the Christian concept of love is quite different from the worldly concept of love. 

Christian love is sacrificial love.  Christian love is a love that speaks difficult truth.  Christian love is selfless.  Christian love is grounded in doctrine and the teachings of Christ.  Christian love is scandalous love, a love that is not mere emotion or words, but deeds and actions. 

So in conclusion, we will fight, we must fight, there's no other choice, we must continue.  

As Winston Churchill said: "We must all hope it will bring a blessing; that after we have averted our gaze for a while from the process of subjugation and liquidation, everyone will breathe more freely; that a load will be taken off our chests; we shall be able to say to ourselves: “Well, that’s out of the way, anyhow. Now let’s get on with our regular daily life.” But are these hopes well founded or are we merely making the best of what we had not the force and virtue to stop? That is the question that the English-speaking peoples in all their lands must ask themselves today. Is this the end, or is there more to come?

There is another question which arises out of this. Can peace, goodwill, and confidence be built upon submission to wrong-doing backed by force?" (The Defense of Freedom and Peace, 16 Oct 1938)

And: "Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
We shall fight on the seas and oceans,
We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our
Island whatever the cost may be,
We shall fight on the beaches,
We shall fight on the landing grounds,
We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
We shall fight in the hills;
We shall never surrender." (We Shall Fight on the Beaches, 4 June 1940)

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Colossians Chapter 3: Positions of the Mind & A Lifestyle Response


The story is told of Sherlock Holmes and his trusted colleague Watson. Holmes and Watson were out camping, sleeping, later that night Holmes woke up Watson. And Holmes asked him,”Watson, look up, what do you see?”

Watson looked up: ”I see stars and stars and more stars.”

And What does that tell you Watson?”

Watson replied:

"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets."

"Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three."

"Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant."

"Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow."

"What does it tell you, Holmes?"

Holmes replied: "Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!"

And in the same way today we want to look up, but we can’t just look up, we have to realize what we need to see: We need to see Jesus and that should inform how we live. Often times we can notice so many things in life, but we fail to see the obvious, just as Watson failed to see that the tent had been stolen.

Today we’re looking at Colossians chapter three, so you can open your Bibles to there. We’ll be specifically addressing verses 1 through 4 and their outworking in connection to verses 5 through 17. And we’ll begin with a word of prayer.

Colossians 3 verses one through four says: "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

This is the foundation of everything we’re talking about here: Focus your mind and thought process on Christ who is seated above in the heavenly realms. Turn your eyes to Jesus, the rest of the teachings in Colossians 3 rest on these verses.

Next, we recognize that we are dead in Christ. Your dead. And your life is hidden with Christ, where He is now. And finally, focus on the reality that Christ is coming again, and that at His revealing, you will be revealed as you truly are. That’s what we all wait for, and long for, the return of Christ.

Given all of that: Since you are dead, consider all the sinful attitudes and actions of your old self to be dead as well. Put aside: “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” Why do we put these things aside? Because they are the reason that the wrath of God is coming, in the future.

But I think the key issue here is that we think: Can we really do this? It’s so hard to fight temptation. Can we really live a holy life?

The answer is yes: Why? Because don’t forget, we’ve been born again, we are new creations in Christ. I know this, because I’m different than I used to be. I used to live a very evil life. Today I live a good life, not perfectly, but I try to pursue holiness. The reality of Christ is what makes this possible, because we “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” (Verse 10). So your soul is being transformed into the image of Christ. We don’t have to walk in sinful lusts or evil desires; We’ve been set free.

Paul in Colossians 3 so far has taught us what not to do, so what are we supposed to do? Just as we’ve put off those evil desires, we want to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and [patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other.” (Verse 13).

Paul continues indicating that holy living means forgiving others, because God has forgiven our past sins. So we don’t have the luxury of holding grudges or holding onto sins done against us. We have to forgive them, totally. We see various principles outlined: Compassion, humility, patience and so on. But there is one principle that rises above all the rest: It’s love. Put on love. Love is the culmination of all these principles.

Verse 16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you.” And verse 17 concludes: “do everything in the name of Jesus.” Study the word of God, and whatever you do, do it for Christ. That’s a real mindset we can have.

So the big take away is to try and remind ourselves as we live, that we are born again, we are new people. The old self is gone, dead. And so as new people, we are to live in holiness, setting aside sin, and putting on righteousness, exemplified in love. Cultivate those attitudes in your mind, and when sinful attitudes boil up in your heart, and they will, counter them with the love that flows to you from the throne of Christ. Turn your eyes to Jesus, and set your mind on things above.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Evangelism is Everything: Building Evangelism Focus in your Ministry

We’re going to look at three important evangelism ministries in the Chicago area, and we’re going to address how the Salvation Army could integrate these techniques into corps community outreach. I personally interviewed three leaders of meaningful evangelism outreaches in the Chicago area and examined how they reach out to people. The three ministries I examined are Chicago for Jesus, Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository evangelism outreach. Their techniques include street preaching, community events, public school outreach, training leaders in churches, and evangelism related to food distribution. We’ll look at the effectiveness of these ministries and how the Salvation Army can apply these techniques to enhance our mission effectiveness.

First of all we’ll address the ministry of Chicago for Jesus. Chicago for Jesus is the outreach arm of Metro Praise International located in east central Chicago. They are non-denominational though loosely affiliated with the Assemblies of God movement. They have a calendar full of events and make evangelism the central mission connected to everything they do. They have a calendar of events, with men’s groups, small groups, youth groups, and Saturday night activities. Each activity, no matter what it is, will meet, engage in the group activity, and then go out and do evangelism for an hour. Evangelism is thus intricately connected to every ministry done at the church. With churches across the United States declining and losing attendance, this sort of evangelism approach could prove to be a huge game changer for the Salvation Army. Evangelism is our core mission, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet needs. This is what we’re called to.

I spoke to the leader of the Chicago for Jesus movement in Chicago, a man named Pastor Rudy Salt. What astonished me about Rudy and his team of evangelists is that each of them are in their twenties. It’s amazing how mass movements often start with small groups of dedicated young people.

Rudy dedicates Saturday nights from 5pm to 8pm specifically for evangelism outreach. I had the chance to participate in this activity. We met Rudy and his group at the church where we prayed, and Rudy led us in a devotional. Then we piled into a van, grabbed boxes of “gospel of John” mini-books called “life books” (available via and stacks of gospel tracts and we headed to a busy intersection in Chicago called Wicker Park. We set up a giant banner with John 3:16 printed on it, and Rudy, Abigail, Christian, Jack, and I began asking people if they had a moment to “talk about Jesus.” Most people ignored us or said no. However, in our two and a half hours talking to people we had about twelve extended conversations with people. And two young people listened, understood, and realized their need for Jesus. We prayed with two people, for them to receive Jesus as their savior and we invited them to join a local church in their area. I also personally had the opportunity to pray with a young woman who had been abused, kicked out of her apartment, and mistreated by her boyfriend. We gave her a gospel of John booklet, and prayed with her. It was an extremely moving experience. After we were done I felt for the first time in years that I had finally done what God had been wanting me to do for years. I felt the power of the Holy Spirit on me like I’ve rarely felt before, and it was when I was talking to strangers about Jesus. I’d been wanting to do that for years, but I was too afraid, too lazy, and I didn’t know how to do it exactly. It was an amazing opportunity to minister in this way, and I’ll be seeking to do it again. I hope we as the Salvation Army can learn from Pastor Rudy and his Chicago for Jesus ministry. In fact, there are many street ministries like this, some more or less successful than others. Another I can think of is the ministry of Ray Comfort and Living Waters, who preach the gospel to people on the streets of San Francisco, California.

With people increasingly unwilling to walk into churches, and with more and more people identifying as non-religious, increasingly as the body of Christ, as the army of God, the Salvation Army, we’ll have to go to them, on the streets and tell them about Jesus. In smaller or medium sized towns we’ll have to knock on doors or set up at local events to talk to people about Jesus. This is what we as Christian salvationists are called to do. Evangelism will have to be the cornerstone of future church growth efforts, otherwise our corps will continue to dwindle and die away. 

The second ministry I had the chance to learn about was Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship. Once again, what an amazing ministry to learn about! The mission of Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is to train leaders in churches to minister to children in public schools. CEF helps churches start after school gospel groups at public schools. Any organization is free to start after school groups at public schools, the doors are open to do that, but the local leader for CEF Jonathan King indicated that often pastors are afraid or misunderstand the laws about this. Fortunately though, many pastors have worked with Mr. King and by the grace of God there are over 100 volunteers and about 25 leaders involved with Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship. They are particularly active in nine public schools in the Chicago area, and Mr. King indicated that 99% of schools love having them.

The mission of CEF is to train leaders in churches. So all a church has to do is contact them and they will come in and host five days of activities and present the chance for churches to start after school groups at local public schools. They provide the training free, they host the event free for the children of the church, and their lawyers and leaders handle the process of plugging in with a local public school. And we aren’t talking about a legal battle, the CEF lawyers simply show the school the established laws regarding after school groups, and the doors always open wide for the church group to participate. “Unfortunately some pastors are too afraid to step outside the walls of their buildings to do this,” commented Jonathan King, sharing some of his frustration regarding difficult with pastors in the past. However, CEF has been highly successful, active in small and large cities across the United States and across the world.

We as the Salvation Army have always been highly active in ministry to children. It seems that CEF and the Salvation Army would be natural friends and allies in the mission of reaching young people for Jesus. In fact, Mr. King indicated that he had worked successfully with a Salvation Army corps officer in the Chicago area for several years, until the officer was moved, and then the relationship died. I would encourage any Salvation Army officer leading a corps to check out Child Evangelism Fellowship on the web and see if there is a chapter active in the city where they are located, and reach out to them. They are looking for opportunities to connect with churches. They will host an event for free in your building, they will train your leaders for free, and they will help you set up an after school club at a public school. It’s an excellent opportunity to reach children for Jesus. 

Finally, we look at the third evangelism ministry I investigated called the Greater Chicago Food Depository evangelism outreach. The leader I spoke to was Ms. Ethel LaBranche. Ethel has been serving the community of Chicago in the area of Roseland and West Pullman since the 1980s. They serve the community evangelistically through the social gospel of providing for the physical needs of people through food, clothing, and toys for children. These social gospel outreaches are of course very familiar to the Salvation Army, so I don’t want to spend too much time on this final topic. Ms. LaBranche indicated that their evangelism is indeed simply showing the community they are loved and cared for through providing mainly food, but also other physical needs like clothing and toiletries. They began as an outreach to the community from their own church, building up a small pantry and a small group of volunteers. Today they work in tandem with the Greater Chicago Food Depository as part of that larger organization. In their region of Chicago they serve approximately 200 people a month with food and other services. The population they serve is mainly middle aged men. They have a volunteer team of about ten members, two of which are retired teachers, and one who works for FEMA. They try to develop good relationships with the people they serve to carry the love of Christ. They make sure they treat people with dignity, respect, and they try to make everyone feel comfortable. This is an area of evangelism that the Salvation Army is very good at. We do a great job serving people through the social gospel of meeting needs without discrimination. Indeed, simply by showing Christian love, people can come to realize that they need Jesus.

In conclusion, there are many important evangelism outreaches in the Chicago area that serve through many unique methods. Evangelism is an absolutely vital aspect of Christian ministry that we should not reject or minimize as a Christian Salvation Army movement. As we increasingly see church numbers dropping and corps losing people, and Sunday school attendance dropping we’ll have to look to emphasize evangelism, going to people where they are to tell them about Jesus, providing tracts, Bibles, and meeting needs of those in the world. If we want the church to succeed in it’s mission of carrying the gospel to all nations and peoples, we’ll have to go and be Jesus in the community.


Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

Chicago For Jesus. (2017, August 03). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

Chicago's Food Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

King, J. (2017, November 24). Interview on Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship [Telephone interview].

LaBranche, E. (2017, November 2). Interview on Greater Chicago Food Depository [Telephone interview].

Salt, R. (2017, October 28). Chicago for Jesus Interview [Personal interview].

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

What is the truth about Racism? Fact, Fiction, Myth, and History

CC 2.0 via Flickr
CC 2.0 via Flickr
Today in our world, as born again followers of Jesus Christ there are no more distinctions between peoples: There are no Jews or Gentiles, free or slave, black or white, Asian or Bostonian, democrat or republican, poor or wealthy, famous or unknown, for we are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Distinctions are erased in the fellowship of the church, or at least they ought to be.  Are we living that out in our modern day and age?  Or are we struggling and failing to adequately stand as a united church of much diversity, yet infinite unity? 

Today we address the issue of racism.  Racism is unfounded hatred, bigotry, and intolerance toward one group from another, or from one individual to another.  

There are two sides to this argument, with many in-between positions as well.  And we'll be addressing the United States primarily.  One side indicates that racism is a thing of the past.  Racism is a sad fact of previous American life, but it is no longer a clear reality, but something America has put behind itself. Racism was dealt with and defeated in the 1950s and 1960s during the civil rights movements.  Racism is an evil of the past, and we've moved beyond it.  That is their position.

The other position is this: Racism is alive and well in America, if not stronger than it's been in the past.  They believe that racism has "gone underground" after the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, and that hatred, white supremacy, white privilege, and other evils of racism are constant in America.  They would say America is fundamentally a place of racism, sexism, and bigotry. Some would even say that all people are racist, no matter what, aside from minority groups.   

Now, I don't want to fall into the fallacy of the false middle point. The truth is not necessary the middle point between these two positions.  

Part of my training right now includes classes that discuss among other topics, issues like multi-ethnic and multi-cultural emphasis in ministry, and addressing racism and bigotry.  And it's spurred me to research this topic more, and try to understand the ramifications. 

I would tend to fall closer to the camp that believes racism is a thing of the past. Though I would affirm that racism does still exist in America.  And I believe we need to address it when we can, and make sure racism has no place in our churches and ministries, or in our government or institutions.  

But I would add that I'm uncomfortable with things like affirmative action, trigger warnings, multiculturalism (in the context of intentionally dividing up cultures and keeping them separate in America), cultural appropriation, and concepts like "institutional racism" and "white privilege."  And I also struggle with the idea that absolutely every church must look exactly demographically like the neighborhood it serves.  There's no reason to think that must always be the case.  But I think it is wise to look to expand outreach to different people groups.  This is a common practice for missionaries to foreign lands, they look to target a people group, and help bring them to know Jesus Christ.

The gospel crosses all cultures, all colors, all people groups, and all languages.  And it will.  The Holy Spirit makes sure of this.  The gospel will reach all peoples, everywhere, and we should do our best to help guide and facilitate that process.

Racism and bigotry has no place in the body of Christ.  None.  There is no room for racism or bigotry in the church.  It has no place in a body that has left behind distinctions of race, class, gender, and ethnicity.  All are to be regarded as equal.  And if racism exists in our heart or mind, we ought to fight tooth and nail, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to see it rooted out, root and branch, completely.  There is no room for it.  And your love is desperately needed, for the lost of this world, of all peoples and classes and types.  Plain and simple.  

That said, let's look at some of the topics surrounding this debate regarding racism.  First of all we'll take a look at the concept of white privilege.  White privilege is the concept that all white people have an inherent privilege in the United States.  I think this concept is total garbage, and unsupported by facts and evidence.  White privilege is a highly political term, supported and propagated by the left in humanities departments on college campuses.  So it's surprising to me that I'm hearing it being taught in classrooms as undisputed fact. 

There is a great deal of debate about white privilege. So we should be skeptical about this concept.  Do white people really have an inherent privilege in western society?  I don't believe this is the case.  

The American society is a "meritocracy" which means people rise and fall in the economic and social system based on ability, and based on how hard they are willing to work.  Now it's fair to say that some have been unfairly treated in this system.  But this is the fundamental system of America, that it doesn't matter who your father is, if your royalty, if your just a common peasant or a rich woman, you ought to be able to rise or fall based on the wisdom of your choices and your willingness to work hard.  

In the past has this system been heavily impeded by backwards laws that mistreated women and minorities?  Yes.  Do those abuses continue in some cases?  The answer is yes.  Is that OK?  Absolutely not.  We should seek to prevent these abuses if at all possible.  But the system is not inherently biased, racist, bigoted, sexist, or evil.  The system is inherently based on merit, though individuals sometimes muck that up.  And that's why we have laws that protect the sacred American concept of equality of opportunity.

So do all white people have a "white privilege" in our society?  Some scholars believe this is so.  Other scholars, academics, and commentators like lawyer, political commentator, and orthodox Jewish speaker Ben Shapiro, a child prodigy, and graduate suma cum laude of UCLA. Additionally, the renowned economist and social theorist Professor Thomas Sowell, an African-American, and graduate of Columbia University and the University of Chicago.  Additionally, he is a current senior fellow of the Hoover Institute of Stanford University.  Additional important cultural, academic, and political leaders in the United States who reject the concept of white privilege include: Milton Friedman (famed economist and Nobel prize winner), Robert George (legal scholar and political philosopher who holds the McCormick chair of Jurisprudence at Princeton University), Christina Hoff Summers (Feminist cultural commentator and author), Dr. Carol Swain (African-American political scientist, author of six books, & former professor of law at Vanderbilt University), Dennis Prager (conservative Jewish political and cultural commentator), Larry Elder (African-American talk show host), Lauren Southern (Canadian political commentator), Jay Fayza (political commentator) and many others.   
Let's look at some statistics. If white privilege is a truism, then one would assume that Caucasian people as a group must have the highest median income in the country right?  Actually that isn't true.  Asian Americans have the highest average median income.  Is this a case of Asian privilege?  Of course not.  

Additionally Asian Americans do better in school, perform better on IQ tests, and according to the Federal Reserve Asian Americans will soon surpass Caucasians as the wealthiest ethnicity in the United States. 

In addition, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Caucasian men make up 7 out of 10 suicides in the country, double the rate of African-Americans.  Only 3 out of 10 Americans are white men, so why the higher rate?  Is this the result of white privilege?  Of course not.  Because white privilege is not based in reality.  (Source: Article). 

There is a sort of privilege that does exist though:  It's the privilege of being in a two parents home/relationship.  If you are raised by a married father and mother, your more privileged than anyone else in American society, and it doesn't matter what ethnicity you are. The poverty rate among married black married families is a mere 7% (Source: Article).  

Additionally, according to a 2013 study by the Brookings Institute "white privilege" is not statistically factual and any person of any ethnic group can join the middle class by adhering to the three following rules: “at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.” (Source: The Brookings Institute Study). 

According to Western Journalism (2017) "The Brookings Institute referenced its findings, which revealed that nearly 75 percent of American adults who followed those three rules became part of the middle class (defined at the time as earning approximately $55,000 or more per year), and only about 2 percent ended up in poverty." (Source: Article).

It seems that the only privilege that exists in American society is the privilege of making good decisions in regard to education, work, and marriage.
Next, what about the concept of systemic institutional racism: Are Americans civic, legal, and government institutions systemically racist, with racism "built into their DNA" as former president Barack Obama said about the United States several years ago.

According to a July 2016 Harvard study that analyzed 1,332 police shootings over a 2000-2015 time frame, the facts showed that blacks are actually 20 percent less likely to be shot at by police than whites (Source: Harvard Study).

This data was corroborated by a study at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice which showed that whites are actually 1.3 percent more likely to die at the hands of police than blacks (Source: Washington Times). 

This article shares seven facts that dispute the concept of institutional racism: 7 Statistics. When considering statistics, the concept of institutional racism should be viewed with skepticism. 

It's important to continue to look at these issues, and continue to learn and study.  But we must base our conclusions on fact and evidence, not feelings and racial identity politics.  It's frustrating when people throw around terms like "racism" and "white privilege" without proper evidence.  And it's very ugly, and evil, when people call someone "racist" without any evidence of actual racism.  Racism is a real problem in the world, and when it's used for political reasons, it cheapens the suffering of those who have struggled with real racism in the past.  But racism didn't go underground in the 1950s and 1960s.  And America is not a fundamentally racist country.  Those statements are not simply not based in fact.  They are based on false assumptions and partisan politics.  

In conclusion, we've looked at some statistics, but we should continue to examine these issues, pray, study the scriptures, and ensure that racism is made a thing of the past in the church first, and in society in general as well.  

Can racism be fully defeated in our time?  Probably not.  The world struggles in sin, and racism is a sin.  But the fact that sin persists on Earth does not mean that we can't make significant progress in building a better society.  

Racism has no place in the body of Christ or in civilization overall.  We should continue to address this issue, pray against racism, and work to make sure our churches reflect the communities in which we serve.  How can we reach out to various people groups and races and serve those in need without discrimination?  It's an important question, and we should continue to wrestle with it and be intentional about our efforts to glorify Christ by serving all peoples without hatred, racism, or discrimination.  

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Bois, P. (2017, September 20). This 'White Privilege Checklist' For Students Is EVERYTHING. Retrieved from
Cohen, G. (2017, July 28). Watch: Ben Shapiro, Adam Carolla Spar with Dem Congresswoman Over 'White Privilege'. Retrieved from
Haskins, R. (2016, July 28). Three Simple Rules Poor Teens Should Follow to Join the Middle Class. Retrieved from
Mastaler, T. (2017, September 22). Mike Huckabee: I Can Prove "White Privilege" Is A Myth. Retrieved from
Prager, D. (2016, February 16). The Fallacy of 'White Privilege'. Retrieved from
Richardson, V. (2015, April 21). Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage. Retrieved from

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