During this Christmas season it is easy to get overwhelmed with all that is going on, but if you are a Christian concerned about spreading God’s glory to the ends of the earth (and you should be) it is also a great time to think about supporting missions that minister the Gospel to the unreached and least reached nations (both overseas and here) . As a pastor who has served as a missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB), the North American Mission Board, and have been on numerous volunteer trips around the globe with the IMB, I realize how important the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) is. It is important to note that every penny of the offering goes to the International Mission Board’s overseas budget, thus supporting their missionaries with 100% of the money collected through LMCO going to the work of reaching every nation with the Gospel.


When it comes to money and giving to missions we must lead the fight against our natural tendency to keep it for our comfort and convenience. This is not a new battle but one that is raged and even affected the pastor who Lottie Moon was converted under in the 1800s. That pastor is the famous John Broadus, who Charles Spurgeon said was the “greatest of living preachers.” Before Broadus became one of the founders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina(later moved to john_broadus.250w.tnLouisville, KY), he was a faithful and renown pastor and preacher. Under that faithful biblical expository preaching untold numbers came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. One of those that was deeply impacted was the young Lottie Moon. Here is a convicting and encouraging story I read years ago that you should use to help in casting a vision for giving during this LMCO season. This happened while Broadus was pastoring and his church recently had completed a new building. It comes from Broadus’ former student, son-in-law and well known New Testament scholar, A.T. Robertson, in his compilation of Broadus’ Life and Letters:
The church was not built without a debt, which hung like a millstone on some necks. Many wished to use it as an excuse for not giving to other things. Dr. R. J. Willingham tells the following :
I remember in one of Doctor Broadus’s last sermons before his death he told this incident : When he was a young pastor in Virginia the church had just put up a new building. On Saturday one of his deacons met him and the following conversation took place:
“ Brother Broadus, tomorrow is Foreign Mission Day, is it not?”
“ Yes.”
“ Well, you will not press the subject, will you?”
“ Why not? “
“ We have a debt on our church, and ought to pay that.”
The young pastor answered : “ Do you think that after being blessed of God in building a house for our comfort and convenience we ought to neglect the lost souls out yonder for whom Christ died ? “
He went home, fell on his knees, and prayed to God for wisdom to lead his people. He then prepared the best sermon he possibly could on the subject, and urged his people to give. A glorious collection followed. The people were so rejoiced that they met Monday night at the young pastor’s house and paid every dollar of the debt which had been worrying them. God honors those who in his name reach after dying men and women.
Some of the members of the church remember to this day that sermon, and how Mr. Broadus used with tremendous and wonderful effect the charge…
excerpt from pages 104-05 of A. T. Robertson’s LIFE AND LETTERS OF JOHN A. BROADUS printed in 1910.

May we be faithful to give, support, & partner in the Gospel being proclaimed to the ends of the earth!
Also, as we near to the end of 2018 consider how you can impact the nations with the Gospel God is bringing to the U.S. in this unprecedented missional opportunity by learning more and considering partnering with the Acts 17 Initiative

#LottieMoon #JohnBroadus #SBTS #IMB #LMCO18 #EveryChurchEveryNation 

*Originally posted December 8, 2012.



Today, March 17, most of us (if we remember) will break out some green apparel while kids everywhere will try to pinch you if you do not wear green! Towns will color their foundations green and many will tell about that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But do you know who Saint Patrick really was and what he did? Russ Moore says that to our shame, most evangelical Protestants tend to think of Saint Patrick as a leprechaun. Let that not be the case and take a few minutes to read about St. Patrick today and even tell others who he really was and what he did. 

Here are some helps:If you have never read it you need to give The Confessions of St. Patrick a quick read that will tell about his fascinating life and ministry.
Russ Moore is helpful with this quick and insightful read : An Evangelical Looks at Saint Patrick.

Jim Elliff’s ministry once again has helped us with one page reads (designed for bulletin inserts) that cover a brief biography of St. Patrick, a children’s insert, and one to help us understand luck.

J.D. Payne encourages us to think about this holiday from a different perspective.

Joe Carter with the ERLC helps us look at 5 Facts About St. Patrick.

The question of should Christians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is discussed here at Ligonier Ministries.

Also, you may want to check out this funny short animated bit from Lutheran Satire on the doctrine of the Trinty and St. Patrick.

originally published March 17, 2012

45 years: a Tragic Anniversary.*

Posted: January 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

January 22 will mark the 45th anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court ruling, Roe v Wade. This decision gave American women the constitutional right to have the unborn baby in her womb murdered by the act of abortion. Since that ruling in 1973 it is estimated that upwards of 60 million babies have been aborted in the US (over 3,000 a day)! That’s 60,000,000, we must weep and act but it seems we  have grown numb to those numbers. But they should stagger us. 60 million is much more than whole countries like our neighbor to the north Canada (34 million); actually a county like South Korea (50 million) or South Africa (51 million) would be closer but still much smaller. Whole countries gone! This would be a major holocaust. Let’s say maybe you are not into countries outside of the US, let’s look at cities. If you took 35 of the largest cities in the US it equals 42 million people (equal to the number of worldwide abortions annually). Just imagine: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago; and 32 other cities in the US are gone!  So let those numbers sink in. January 22 marks 45 years of a tragic anniversary.

Let me say that all who are reading this probably find abortion as tragic and as horrible injustice as I do. You may not have time to read this so feel free to skim down to the end of the article and be directed to some helpful resources to help us blow the trumpet for the unborn. For others, I hope you will take the time to read this brief article, pray and act.

We may be quick to lament to ask “how did this happen in the land of the free?” A number of answers could be given. Historically, the few days and weeks that surrounded 1/22/73 were loaded with cultural and historical events.  Abort73 puts the decision in a timeline of events in a great video that shows and tells what happened:

“On January 30, 1973, former presidential aides James McCord and G. Gordon Liddy were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping for their roles in the Watergate Break-in

  • which came just 3 days after the Paris Peace Accord was signed to end the war in Vietnam
  • which came 5 days after former president Lyndon Johnson died at his Texas ranch
  • on the same day that George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier to become the heavyweight champion of the world
  • which was 2 days after President Nixon was inaugurated for his second term in office
  • which came 5 days after offensive action was suspended in Vietnam
  • which was the day after the Miami Dolphins completed the only perfect season in NFL history
  • on the same day that Elvis Presley’s televised concert from Hawaii was watched by 1.5 billion people worldwide.

It was a busy two weeks, and while an entire nation had its eyes on “bigger” things, seven men, non-elected, and appointed for life, changed the course of history for the worse.

On January 22, 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court wiped away every state law that had previously protected human beings in the womb. Without a vote, without due legislation, abortion was made legal in all 50 states. Through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason at all, more than 60 million human beings (in the US) have lost their lives as a direct result of this one decision.”

Through the providence of God it was an action packed couple of weeks that the Roe V Wade decision happened in, but as Newsweek then stated:

“The end of a war & the death of a president got bigger headlines, But in a quiet way a 3rd event last week may have as lasting an influence on American life. In one of the boldest and most sweeping decisions of the Nixon years, the court ruled 7-2 that criminal abortion laws of almost every state violate a constitutional “right of privacy” and must therefore be struck down. ”  Newsweek, 1973

How poignant and prophetic statement it would prove to be when Newsweek claimed “a 3rd event (Roe v Wade)” that took place that week would have such a “lasting  influence on American life.”

No matter how it happened, the reality is that: it happened! Did the church or American Christians fall asleep at the wheel leading up to January, 1973? I don’t know. Now, you may be like me and say “I wasn’t around or I was just a kid when Roe v Wade happened” but as Christians who are American citizens that is not enough. We  must deal with where we are now and what scripture tells us. In Proverbs 24:11 it says “Rescue those who are being taken away to death;   hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
   does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,  and will he not repay man according to his work?”

There is a clear and a specific call here for us to “rescue.”  But just what does that mean here in Proverbs 24?  Michael Spielman (with Abort73) is helpful here:

“Like almost all Biblical proverbs, the text gives us no indication as to what specific injustice, if any, the author has in mind. It serves as a general guideline for what God’s people are called to do in the face of violent injustice. If innocent human beings are in danger, God-fearing people are to come to their rescue. This proverb becomes even more poignant in light of verse 12. The author anticipates circumstances in which injustice will be cloaked to such an extent that people, with some plausibility, will be able to deny that they had any knowledge of it. We are warned against taking up such an excuse and reminded that God knows our every thought. False claims of ignorance will do us no good on the day of judgment.

Let us ask ourselves then, are there people among us, right here in America, who are stumbling towards the slaughter? Are there injustices in our day that God would have us raise our voices against? Yes, and yes. Abortions occur thousands of times a day, affecting nearly every community in the nation, yet most Christians barely give it a thought. We know it’s happening; we know it’s bad; but we seem content to remain as uninformed as possible, as if a general ignorance on the subject will somehow clear us of moral responsibility. According to Proverbs 24, this is a very dangerous line of reasoning to take.

God knows our hearts, and he will repay each of us according to the work we’re doing (or not doing) to rescue those who would otherwise be slaughtered. And just in case you feel the word “slaughter” is too severe to apply to abortion, think again. “Slaughter” is defined as either “the brutal or violent killing of a person,” or “the killing of great numbers of people.” Abortion fits both definitions. It’s hard to imagine a death more brutal or violent than having your body literally torn to pieces. And if the more than 50 million American children who have already lost their lives to legal abortion don’t qualify as “great numbers of people,” then the term is meaningless. Can any of us point to another injustice, happening in America today, for which Proverbs 24 would be more applicable?”

Some may say, “but it is legal, so what can I do?”  Remember the convicting words of Martin Luther King when he said: “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” So we must look to speak and act in such a way to help “rescue” the innocent that are perishing.  Proverbs 31:8-9 says:“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
So if you are a Christian you must look beyond this just being a social action to get involved in but see it as a call and command of God that we must embrace!

I emphasize such action words like “speaking” and “rescuing(in this case the unborn) because the  invisibility of abortion can lead to a deep apathy. By “invisibility” I mean that an abortion happens in a alleged “clinic” or doctor’s office it is not the open injustice that has happened with some genocides or terrorist attacks. Take what happened in our country on 9/11/01. It was a terrible tragedy but to not have responded, to do nothing, that would have been absolutely unthinkable!  But over 60 million more than the amount of people that were killed on 9/11 have been killed in the US “legally” due to abortion! So that invisibility can lead to apathy because for many of us what happens with abortions may not be a leading news headline or something we are dealing with personally. That in and of itself is a tragedy. As Albert Mohler notes that “Abortion is now one of America’s most common surgical procedures performed on adults” and as he notes “the normalcy” of it in America is one of the most chilling aspects about abortion.

My years in ministry though has shown me that abortion is often a hidden sin in more Christians’ lives than most church going folks realize. I will never forget, years ago, sitting in an ethics class in seminary where the professor showed us a shocking video that showed what happens in abortions and to aborted babies. I was moved as I shed some tears over the graphic depiction of little lives snuffed out. As I looked around the room some were moved like I was while others began to openly and almost uncontrollably weep. Soon the weeping turning to confessing as they shared how the had fathered a child that was aborted or helped others in the abortion process. I am grateful to have seen James 5:16 (Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed) lived out that day. But the more memorable thing was that there in that room of dozens of current and future gospel ministers were lives that had come in close contact with abortion.  It is a telling reminder to me to always try to handle the topic with much grace as you never now what lives have been directly impacted by abortion.

So how do we respond?  Here are some tips for starters:

1) We must pray about the situationThis is spiritual warfare, meaning it is ultimately a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-12).  Pray for Christians to get involved in the pro-life causes. Pray for pregnant women considering abortion. Pray for God to close abortion clinics.   Pray for pro-life judges to receive Senate confirmation, especially to the Supreme Court. Pray for the horrors of abortion to become obvious to our self-centered culture.

2) Be informed, ignorance is not an excuse. There are a TON of great resources out there. Let me help navigate through some of them:

  • Speak for the Unborn is a an incredible resource for the church, a ministry that I partner with, and I encourage pastors and ministry leaders particularly to use. Speak for the Unborn equips local churches to engage in making disciples of abortion minded men and women. Engaging the abortion industry is not an easy task, and they seek to create biblical resources for believers’ edification and encouragement. Consider launching a Speak for the Unborn chapter in your city by learning more here.
  • If you have never heard of it please check out  Abort73. It is a one stop shop for video, resources, gear, and helpful info that is biblically driven with the goal of stopping abortion and advocating to stop it.
  • Know where your crisis pregnancy centers are. If you live in Georgia, a list of crisis pregnancy centers can be found here. Here is a list of South Carolina crisis pregnancy centers Care-Net is a Christian network of pregnancy centers with lots of good online resources. If you don’t know where pregnancy center is near you, then go here and put in your zip code: http://www.optionline.org/
    Meet the staff, become familiar with it, & see how you can volunteer or advocate for them.
  • You hear the term “Pro-life” being thrown around a lot, do you even know what it means?  Personhood USA helps explain it with a great video clip here:   What is Pro-life?

(3)     We can vote for pro-life candidatesDon’t vote for pro-abortion/pro-choice candidates! This timely as we are facing a presidential election. You ask, “Are you a one-issue voter?” I grant that just being pro-life does not qualify a person as a good political leader. But being pro-abortion/pro-choice should disqualify anyone from public office. For example, if a candidate said, “I believe that Native-American people should not hold public office,” that one issue should disqualify the candidate from office. Why doesn’t favoring killing babies disqualify a candidate?   If you don’t know much about the candidates then check out Right to Life.

(4) We can write/email our legislators and the newspaper to support the pro-life causes. Hold them accountable as much as possible! Again, National Right to Life can be helpful to stay abreast of legislative issues and links to help keep you be  informed locally.

(5)     We can support the pro-life cause with our money and time. Godly women are needed to counsel young women with problem pregnancies, so that they choose life for their babies. Godly families that are able should consider taking in such young women and helping them carry their babies to term. There are many ways to get involved. This is just intended to help us start.

(6)  Know the Gospel, Fear God.   This is last, but the most important.  Never let your driving focus be the Pro-Life causes, but an unwavering commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My hope here is that all reading this know Jesus, truly and have come to a place in your life you have turned from your sins and trusted in Him. If not please consider the dangerous and deadly road you are on and understand that we all have the choice of 2 ways to live. Please leave me a comment if you want to know more about this.  But, if you are a Christian, you must know the Gospel and realize that it is not the “good works” of pro-life advocacy that saves us but the  instead the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). But if we have been saved by God this way we will desire to do these good works.

If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is your driving motivation then you know that  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10).   Let’s unpack that briefly to apply it to our discussion. The reason that people have abortions is ultimately they don’t fear God.  So that right and holy fear drives us; but if people seeking abortions or believing it being a “right” feared God they wouldn’t do it because Proverbs 8:13 says “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.”  More could obviously be said  about the Gospel and the fear of God but may it be our driving motivation.

Conclusion: Rescue & Speak Church!

Let is hear the call from the prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

Let us speak for the innocent and seek to rescue them. Let us not feel overwhelmed at all there needs to be done and know that we can’t do it and then fall into Satan’s snare and not do anything at all. Pray and see how specifically God wants you to Rescue & Speak up! If we don’t let us remember those words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Let us not betray those precious little innocent lives. Let us weep and repent over this tragic 45 year anniversary and then let us speak church so we can expose this deed of darkness with light. Let us speak about sanctity of life very specifically, consistently, thoughtfully, humbly, biblically, and graciously with Holy Spirit empowered boldness. Let us speak out of an abundance of the love of Christ,with a commitment to expose these evil deeds, and a motivation to love our neighbors by rescuing the innocent.

R.C. Sproul  (in his work: Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue) says  that “the organized church – more than any other institution apart from the Supreme Court – has neglected its duty to inform the public conscience (about abortion).  If the church says that abortion is a horrific injustice, but acts as if it’s no big deal, what is the world going to conclude?” Let it not be true of us, we must speak and we must rescue.

*an edited post that was originally posted on 1/21/12.

I was privileged to have featured columns in regional papers in South Carolina responding to President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order titled: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.  My goal was first calling Christ-followers to deal with the global crisis through a biblical lens to minister to the refugee and immigrant. It is difficult to deal with every nuance of the discussion in less than 900 words, so I hope to develop and write on my thoughts more after the President signs the replacement Executive Order (expected this week). I would love to interact more in the future but for starters here was one take I gave for the Spartanburg Herald Journal and  a different (but similar) one for the Greenville News.

As most realize immigrant and refugee resettlement policies are complex, confusing, and now have become extremely controversial in the U.S. Regardless of your stance on immigration policy or what you think about refugee resettlement, scripture clearly tells us that God’s sovereign hand is the one behind the movements of humanity and we need to realize that He is at work (Acts 17:24-27). God is placing the nations at our doorstep. My heart’s desire in launching the Acts 17 Initiative is to focus on the incredible missional opportunity God has given us with global migration. In a culture where the attitude of fear of immigrants and refugees has become prevalent across the U.S. this same attitude seems to have taken a seat in many of our church pews. Let us faithfully, lovingly, and boldly rally against this as Christians; so please, if there is anything I can do to help you or your church in responding the refugee crisis send me a message.




I was at the #MarchForLife in Washington D.C. yesterday*. I couldn’t escape the difficult contradiction that while thousands were marching for life our U.S. President was signing what could be a death warrant for many refugees when he signed the executive order halting refugee resettlement. The implementation of this executive order appears now to not only halt arriving refugees but possibly send them back to the country they were fleeing persecution*though it appears there have been some released.


#WhyWeMarch was certainly about protection of the unborn and never less(I’ve preached, taught, & wrote much on this, see here). I’ve tried my best to fight for the unborn and grieve for the almost 60 million lives lost to abortion. But having a biblically-driven understanding of being pro-life means standing for all vulnerable: for the unborn, for the refugee & immigrant, fighting against racism, for orphancare, care for the elderly & disabled veterans, serving the poor, fighting against human trafficking- and the list could go on and on. I hold this robust pro-life ethic (caring & fighting for all vulnerable from the “womb to the tomb”) and am deeply grateful to have been in Washington to be a part of the Evangelicals For Life conference #EFL2017 that the ERLC hosted (thanks Russell D. Moore) around the #MarchForLife to focus on fighting against those injustices and for the vulnerable.

I had a deep struggle as I knew the President had sent VP Pence to the rally while the President headed over to the Pentagon and rallied that this executive action was a show of national defense.

While I publicly grieved and acted with thousands during the focus on the horrific 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade I now post this after a whirlwind trip and am emotionally numb and mentally exhausted from it all. I hope to offer reflections and ways to respond later, but all I’ve said from earlier this week in a call to
Pray and Act is still true.

But now we must add a call to weep.
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!….” ~Psalm 39:12a

My friend and former colleague who I marched with, Matthew Soerens, wrote this for the Washington Post and it captures some of my sentiments:


Since having the opportunity to minister to refugees & immigrants in various capacities for quite a few years now I’ve always had a compelling biblical call to “rescue” as found in Proverbs 24:

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work.”

Much could be drawn from these verses but there is a call of helping and rescuing the vulnerable being potentially killed. The U.S. refugee resettlement program(while FAR from perfect-more on that at a later time) is an avenue to do that for us. Yes, we can go abroad and help refugees there and should; but I believe we should try to engage in the refugee crisis both ways.
Please read and and consider heeding from Ed Stetzer’s post: http://www.christianitytoday.com/…/how-to-respond-as-follow…

Do we need to talk policy and reform? Yes.
Do we need to talk about protection for our country? Absolutely.
Do we need to know facts on refugees and terrorists’ threats? You betcha.
Do we have to rest in God’s gracious sovereign plan? Yes, may the Spirit help us.

And many more conversations we need to have. But for now I can only think of more droves of precious people created in God’s image that could more easily be led to slaughter. Some I know by name.
So I stop, weep and pray.


*posted via Facebook on 1/28/2017

While news broke that President Trump will sign executive orders in many areas of immigration (from building a wall on the southern border to halting refugee resettlement) my heart grew heavy and anxious. It is best to wait and see what happens today and the details of any executive actions before speculating more. But here is some encouragement for us all:

  1. PRAY!

It sounds trite but if we are a people that are committed to believing that God can and does act when we pray.


We know the situation can be overwhelming and we may know the answers but we do know that we should pray. Pray for:

  • Our President. When news broke about the coming executive actions from President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement my social media feeds exploded. I do not think I saw one call for prayer for our President. 1 Timothy 2.1-6 is clear. While we should not stop advocating for refugees, immigrants,  immigration reform, and speaking prophetically into the government process; we must recognize the role government plays on the Romans 13:1-7 side. Pray for President Trump as he leads that he will have wisdom, discernment, compassion, and that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We can all agree that leading our country is no easy task so start in 1 Timothy 2:1-6  to pray and also Russ Moore offers help .
  • Immigrants & Refugees impacted. We are facing 65 million displaced globally today and a refugee crisis like we have never seen. Refugees fleeing their homeland from persecution (or fear of) for their race, religion, political opinion, national origin, or social group need help and when we look at the needs and numbers it becomes overwhelming. But begin with praying for refugees: pray for their protection as they flee, pray for provision(food, shelter, etc.), pray for peace and resolve in their homelands. We have over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and many came here believing it was the only hope of a better life or even for their children to survive. While these issues are complicated let us focus on praying that all refugees and immigrants are welcomed with love and genuine hospitality and not fear. Over 5,000 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 just looking to survive and flee persecution; what if we prayed like we believed it could stop the boats from sinking(faith to move mountains anyone?~Matthew 17:20,  Mark 11:22-24). 
  • Our Churches.  Estimates are that there are over 42 million foreign born live in the US with over 1 million visiting students and scholars. Many are from countries with little access to the gospel. Regardless of your stance on immigration policy or what you think about refugees coming to the U.S., scripture tells us that God’s hand is at work behind the movements of humanity and we need to realize that He is at work (Acts 17:24-27). God is placing the nations at our doorstep. Jesus instructs us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and even if new policy dictates that new immigrants and refugees can not come into the U.S. the ones that currently reside need us to serve and welcome them with the love of Christ in both word and deed. Our new Acts 17 Initiative can help equip your church for just that(so please contact us). slide1Let us pray that churches offer Christ-centered compassion to immigrants and refugees here and not be driven by fear. What if the diverse ethnicities God was bringing here was to lead to revival and renewal in our churches like we have never known? Let us be propelled to share the glorious Gospel to our new neighbors from the nations and understand that we can easily get involved in His mission to the nations at home.  Let us Pray!

2. ACT.

When I think about refugees and immigrants I am continually drawn to Proverbs 24:10-11:

“If you faint in the day of adversity,  your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death…” and

Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

These verses are a call to ACT. So while there are incredible compassion ministry opportunities with our newly arriving immigrant and refugee friends (and we would love to tell you about them at  Acts 17 Initiative) and there are needed opportunities for us to embrace this Gospel opportunity with biblical instruction; I want to focus briefly with a call to swift advocacy. Understanding that all refugees and immigrants (no matter their race or religion) are created in the image of God and as fellow image-bearers let us advocate on their behalf. So as we quickly face potential policy change (that has a real danger to thwart religious liberty- read here) will you take a few minutes to read and sign the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Principles here. Please let me know if you do sign them. The call to sign has been heeded by many evangelical leaders and I have posted it here below:

Our national immigration laws have created a moral, economic and political crisis in America. Initiatives to remedy this crisis have led to polarization and name calling in which opponents have misrepresented each other’s positions as open borders and amnesty versus deportations of millions. This false choice has led to an unacceptable political stalemate at the federal level at a tragic human cost. We urge our nation’s leaders to work together with the American people to pass immigration reform that embodies these key principles and that will make our nation proud. As evangelical Christian leaders, we call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

Also, please read and sign “We Welcome Refugees” call to stand in solidarity with refugees here. Friends, this is just a start of how we should advocate. Spread this messages through your social media outlets and networks of influence, we cannot be silent, let us speak for those who have no voice (Proverbs 31:8-9).

So PRAY and ACT, stay tuned, and be challenged with the words of the Psalmist:

“How long will you judge unjustly  and show partiality to the wicked?  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” ~Psalm 82:2-4


“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.  August 28, 1963

It has been over 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I have a dream” speech. This is the day that our county honors and I hope many of us reflect on the sacrifices made by Dr. King (and many others) to see the dream of racial equality begin to happen in our country.

Last week I picked my 5 year old son up from school. One of his best friends (an African-American) boy ran up to give him a goodbye hug and then he talked about one of their other friends (an Asian-American) and it made me pause and think of Dr. King’s speech. I believe that today a bit of that dream had certainly come true. These young friends played with each other and had no passing thoughts of skin color or ethnic background.

It is truly a different place in America than when Dr. King had to boycott those Montgomery buses in 1955-1956. Though we are so often reminded there is much work to do in our country and in our churches in the area of racial harmony, I am grateful to God that we now live in a land that can be freely led by an African-American as President.  And though I may not agree on all our President’s politics nor  would I agree on  Dr. King’s theology;  I am deeply indebted that he had a just dream and gave his life for it. While a bit of that dream has been realized I know it will only fully come to pass when there are those worshipping King Jesus from  “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Revelation 7:9). On that day racism will take it’s final blow.

I am grateful by God’s grace to be a part of a Gospel-driven racial reconciliation movement of ministers where I live (though this article does not emphasize the “Gospel” focus)and may we all strive to answer in our on way what MLK Jr. said was life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’

Here are some resources helpful to reflect and equip us to remember Dr. King and the areas of racial harmony.

John Piper does a great service to us with his recent contribution called Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian. He had made it a free PDF download on MLK Day and you can download it here.

Take the time to download it and read it! If you are not into digitally reading go ahead and buy a copy here. You can see a powerful short video documentary about the book and Piper’s experiences growing up in the turbulent 60s south.

A must read is Dr. Russell Moore’s “How Martin Luther King Jr. Overcame ‘Christian’ White Supremacy.”

Here Ed Stetzer gives a look at Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter to American Christians that is just as applicable now as it was in 1956.

Of course you can go straight to the King Center for resources.

Take the time to hear Dr. King give his “I have a dream” speech.

Before Dr. Martin Luther King was a major civil rights leader he was a pastor and preacher. The Bible Gateway Blog takes a look at the Bible passages behind MLK’s  speeches.

If you have never watched it take some time in the near future to wath the PBS documentary: “Eyes On The Prize” that chronicles America’s Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1985. Unfortunately, PBS does not air as often as they used to but the series is available on DVD and most episodes on youtube. In the first episode called: Awakenings, you see a young 26-year-old pastor, Martin Luther King, Jr.;  “accidentally” become the leader in the Montgomery Civil Rights movement that leads to national prominence.

Jason L. Sanders gives some great insights into MLK and the Tyranny of Having a Day Off.

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most well known “I have a Dream” speech was delivered in August 1963 I believe one of his most powerful quotes came from a sermon he delivered at New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated. Where he said:

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

*this post was  originally written January 16,2012 and has been edited  and reposted.