When Christ is Supreme

I am angry. My heart remains heavy as I still try to process the events from last Saturday in Charlottesville. The displays and touts of white supremacy are sinful and pure evil. Yet, I am not only angry. I am disturbed. I am distraught over the response of some white brothers and sisters in Christ. What follows is not meant to condemn but to rebuke and correct. This cultural moment calls for Christian unity, not political pairings.

The Matter

When Colin Kaepernick chose to protest and sit during the National Anthem, some of these same white brothers and sisters were vocal about their disagreement with it. Whether you agree or disagree with Colin’s stance, the reality is it was a matter of free speech. What happened last Friday evening into Saturday was not. The actions of the Alt Right were blatantly sinful. Their hatred for other groups and races reveal the wickedness in their hearts. The proper response to such a malicious mindset is to speak out against it and to name racism for what it is: sin.

The Wrong Response

I am grateful for those who have spoken up on behalf of others in the body of Christ, particularly standing with their black brothers and sisters in Christ. At the same time, I am grieved by what I see from some who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. In this cultural moment, their response to this tragedy is to get political. In the face of racism’s display, their stance is to argue about the statutes and to stand up for the president at what seems to be no matter the cost, even when his words fail to forcefully denounce such a sinful mentality. Don’t misunderstand me: we need to be praying for our president. However, that does not mean we have to affirm everything he says and does.

To Remain Silent is Sin

I want to be clear and say I am not calling my white brothers and sisters in Christ racists. But I feel I must say a word to my white brothers and sisters in Christ: we cannot remain silent. I believe to remain silent on this issue is sin. The Word of God from James 4:17 reminds us, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Two chapters earlier, James exposes the Christian to the sin of partiality. So, for the one who calls themselves a Christian, knows racism is sin, but never speaks out against it, they are committing sin.

My Confession of This Sin

In transparency, I write these words as one who has committed such sin. In the past, my apathetic heart was not overly angered at the real issues going on. While I never would affirm or support racism, I failed to speak up for my brothers and sisters in Christ of other races. While I have shown private support for my black brothers and sisters, my public proclamations fail to mirror the unity I have with them in the gospel. To that neglect, I say “No more!”. I confess my apathy and my fear of speaking up. I ask for forgiveness from my black brothers and sisters in Christ. I repent of remaining silent when I know the right thing to do is speak up.

The Supremacy of Christ for the Joy of All Peoples

So, hear me my white brothers and sisters in Christ: We must speak out against the sin of white supremacy and denounce racism. We cannot live in a way which denies racism still exists or that downplays the problem we face. We all have been made in the image of God and are equal in dignity (Genesis 1:26-28). We must speak up and stand with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, showing we are one in Christ. When we do, we show the power of the gospel and witness to the world the supremacy of Christ. Because when Christ is supreme, our primary response to such events will not be political but spiritual, calling out sin. When Christ is supreme, we will be willing to listen to those who are of a different culture and color than our own instead of shutting them out with our preferences and presuppositions. When Christ is supreme, we will not seek to justify every word the president says but we will live out the Word of our God and Redeemer. Because when Christ is supreme, it is for the joy of all peoples (Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9-10).

Book Review: God’s Crime Scene for Kids

The thought of excitement came to my mind, followed by feelings of anxiousness. Our church had begun holding Wednesday evening Bible study for the youth and three of the neighbor children came to attend. The background of these neighborhood children lacked attendance in the church and knowledge in the truth of Christianity. Therefore, my response of excitement and anxiousness centered around how I could teach these three neighborhood youth while also training the youth who regularly attend our church. My concerns were answered with J. Warner Wallace’s new book God’s Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective.

Following up on Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace with Rob Suggs invite young readers to rejoin the young cadets in solving a new mystery. Through the case of the shoebox, Detective Alan Jeffries and the cadets assist Jason in discovering the letter in the shoebox and what it reveals about the items in the shoebox. Undertaking the patient work of detectives, the young cadets put their skills into action and look for clues, ask questions, and ultimately find the answer they are looking for. During each step of the process, Detective Jeffries uses the same observations and skills to apply in investigating the universe and creation. The eight clues Detective Jeffries and the young cadets discuss throughout their investigation lead them to the conclusion the universe was created by a single all-powerful Creator, God.

J. Warner Wallace does an excellent job intriguing young readers to join the team in solving both the mystery of the shoebox and, ultimately, the mystery of the creation of the universe. This book is a call to interactive investigation. Detective Wallace equips young people to see the evidence for the Creator and make a case for God as our Creator. He gives the reader CSI Assignments to go and look at what Scripture says, lists detective definitions to explain investigatory skills, and trains the young person with a “tool” for their detective bags. For those who are interested in going beyond the book, a website is available for the child to go through the academy with a parent or leader.

Because of God’s Crime Scene for Kids by J. Warner Wallace, I am no longer anxious on how to approach teaching Bible study to the youth on Wednesday evenings. This book is an instrument to evangelize to youth who do not know the truth of creation or Christianity and is a tool to equip youth who want to share and show the truth of creation and Christianity. If you are a parent or a Bible teacher of youth of ages 8-12, this book is for you and your youth!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Resources for Digging Deeper:

God’s Crime Scene for Kids is the children edition of the book God’s Crime Scene. If you are a parent or youth leader and you purchase a children’s edition, be sure to purchase a copy of this book too.

The learning and fun do not have to stop after your child has read the book. This website is interactive and is meant to implement the tools and skills the children received in the book.

‘God’s Crime Scene for Kids’ Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway: You Could Win!

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

An ‘Entrusted’ Life with Claudine Broussard

This is the second interview in a series entitled An ‘Entrusted’ Life (Our first interview featured author Jaquelle Crowe and can be found here). This series serves to introduce you to Christians who display faithful stewardship amid an entitlement culture. This interview features Claudine Broussard. Claudine is a young writer from the East Coast. She is the co-author of Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy (you can read our review of the book here). As copywriter/designer at Forward Marketing, she partners with churches and businesses to amplify their message. When not writing, she can be found playing Celtic and classical music, devouring a good book, or vending at a farmer’s market.

Claudine, would you begin by sharing your testimony of how you came to saving faith in Jesus Christ? Who and what did God use in your life to point you to Christ?

Claudine: I’ve been so blessed to grow up in a Christ-centered home. My parents created a climate saturated with joy, love, and the truth of God’s Word. One of the mottos we live by is, “When the doors of the church are open, you should be there!” Because of their faithfulness in taking me and my siblings to church, I encountered the gospel at an early age.

When I was just 3 years old, I recognized my need for a Saviour. My dad and I sat on white plastic lawn chairs as he explained the gospel to me. After he finished, I prayed to accept Christ as my personal Saviour. A weight of guilt was lifted off my heart. We walked up the stairs together to tell my mom, and she told me that the angels were having a party because of my decision (Luke 15:10). I remember being filled with new joy and jumping up and down in excitement. I’m so thankful for how God used His Word and my parents’ faithfulness to reach me with the gospel at a young age.

You have co-authored a book with Jason Homan, Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy. Oftentimes, people pit surrender against joy. To surrender oneself makes for a life of drudgery, not joy. How do you take a different approach in this book?

Claudine: I can definitely relate to the struggle to surrender completely to God. There have been seasons in my life when I covered my ears to block out the voice of God. With one hand, I held Him at arm’s length. With the other hand, I clutched my goals and dreams in a tightly closed fist. I refused to surrender to His will. Yet a nagging sense of guilt, of things left undone, dogged my steps.

At the heart of my struggle was a lack of trust in God. I did not believe that He was truly good, truly wise, and truly generous. I feared what He would do with my life if I gave Him everything. What if I ended up as an old maid or a missionary to Fiji? (My apologies to any missionaries to Fiji 🙂 ) Yet, time after time, God patiently spoke to my heart. Not with a harsh command, not with a lengthy lecture, but with a gentle call to surrender. His Spirit would move in my heart, convicting me of my rebellion. Sooner or later, I would choose to surrender.

And I discovered a fascinating truth. Surrender to God gives me both freedom and real joy! Instead of trudging miserably through a swamp of disobedience, I can walk freely and happily down the path of His will. In our book, we explore what it means to truly surrender to God. Serving God is an amazing adventure, and it’s definitely not a life of drudgery. He is absolutely good and incredibly generous. Yes, it can be very difficult to surrender to God. But there is no sweeter place to be than in the center of His will.

In chapter 2 of Seeking Jesus, you share the story of how God used your time at Bible camp to call you into Christian ministry. How does learning to submit to God relate to the biblical concept of stewardship?

Claudine: The foundational truth behind both stewardship and surrender is that we belong to Christ. Often, we struggle to surrender because we have an incorrect perspective. We have assumed ownership of the time, talents, and treasures that belong to Someone else. When God asks us to surrender something, we feel that He is asking for a personal favour. “After all, it’s mine!

Yet, as a Christian, I know that my life is not my own. It was bought with the precious blood of Christ. Stewardship is not a favour I give to Him. Rather, it is a privilege that He gives to me. For the years I walk this earth, I get to borrow this body—to read with these eyes, sing with this voice, and write with these hands. I get to use His stuff, spend His time, and employ His gifts. To be a faithful steward of these, I need to submit to His plan for my life.

With a call into Christian ministry, how did you come to the realization God had given you the skill and platform of writing? How have you stewarded this talent?

Claudine: In the spring of 2015, Pastor Jason Homan started Forward Magazine, an online magazine for conservative Christians. I enjoyed reading the first few issues, but the headline that caught my eye read, “We need your help!” The editor went on to request article and photo submissions. I thought, “What if I submitted something? Could I write something good enough to be published?”

One afternoon, a wave of inspiration flooded my mind. I sat down and wrote an article on rosemary—how its fragrance reminded me of the fragrance our lives can be to the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:15). I found it both challenging and delightful to capture in words the beauty of a simple idea, a transient impression. I nervously submitted my article to Forward Magazine, and I was so happy to see it in print.

Over the next year, I wrote several more articles for Forward. I gratefully realized that God had given me a gift and a love for writing. After I overcame the initial writer’s block, I absolutely loved the creative process. Words gave me power—to express, to create, to paint a bare-bones idea in a thousand different hues. With words, I could shape ideas and define truth.

Last summer, God provided a part-time job which has grown to include writing for church blogs, marketing, and graphic design. In the fall, Jason Homan approached me and asked if I would like to co-author a book with him. We began last October and released our book, Seeking Jesus, on June 7. Throughout those months of writing and editing and marketing, I experienced the grace of God and my need for Him in a deeper way than ever before. God has been teaching me not to rely on my gifts, but rather to rely on Him. His grace is more than enough for my need.

Young people today are sometimes portrayed as entitled beings. However, as Christians, we know we are not our own (Romans 14:7–8, 1 Cor. 6:19–20). How does the understanding that we exist to glorify God and live for Him impact your writing?

Claudine: I am simply a steward of the hours, resources, and abilities He has lent me. Each starry night I gaze upon, each melody that lingers in my ears, each sentence I type—these are gifts of His grace. Without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). I cannot touch a life with pixels on a screen. I cannot write words that matter. I cannot discern what my readers need right now. But the glorious truth is this…He can, and He wants to use me! God doesn’t need my help to carry out His plans. He could progress a lot faster without my stumbling efforts. Yet because He loves me, God wants me to be involved. What an incredible privilege and joy it is to live for the glory of our Saviour! For He is so worthy.

Book Review: Seeking Jesus

The cry of many parents’ hearts ring, “I just want my children to be happy.” Sadly, this statement is made sometimes when the child has gone wayward in their walk of life. The child has decided happiness is found in seeking to be sovereign, not in surrendering your will to another. But, just as the Luke 15 parable reveals, such a life leaves one empty. The way to find joy in this life and in the next is not by seeking to be sovereign but by surrendering your life, seeking the One who is sovereign. This new book by Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard aims to do just that.

In Seeking Jesus, co-authors Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard take the first three chapters to lay the foundation. In chapter 1, they take us through the testimony of Scripture to show God first sought us. As those sought and saved, we now ought to prepare our hearts to seek Him (chapters 2–3). When we have prepared our hearts to seek Christ, we will put into practice the disciplines of Bible Study (chapter 5), Scripture memory (chapter 6), and meditation (chapter 7). Seeking Jesus this way changes us both outside and inside (chapters 8–9). It is an everyday pursuit (chapter 10), looking to Him for guidance (chapter 11) while persevering through it all (chapter 12). The result of seeking Jesus is not a surrender of drudgery, but of joy (chapter 13).

Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy is a Scripture-saturated resource bound to set your heart on seeking Jesus for joy in life. It is worth noting, for people like me who may use a different translation, the authors of the book use the King James Version when they cite Scripture passages. Nevertheless, the earlier chapters seem to be the strongest in the book and provide readers with a proper biblical view of the gospel. Homan and Broussard connect the truth God has sought us with the hunger we have in seeking joy, which is found only in Christ. They show us the proper response to Jesus Christ is repentance of sin and faith in Him and His work (see chapters 1–2).

This book does not come without critique, however. One seems pertinent. Throughout the book, various elements are introduced. Many chapters feature “Seeking Him” in the title, but chapters 8 and 9 depart from the pattern and could somewhat feel out of place. In chapters 2, 4, and 10 we get to read “From Claudine”, which involves a story from the life of Claudine Broussard in relation to the subject of the chapter. In chapters 3 and 4, the chapter ends with “Baby Steps”, encouraging the reader to put into practice what they’ve read. A more consistent structure would have benefited the authors’ audience, particularly sharing the “From Claudine” sections with greater regularity for a picture of what seeking Jesus looks like in everyday life.

With commendations put forth and critiques put aside, Seeking Jesus by Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard will stir one’s affections for seeking Jesus through the Word that reveals Him.

I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition

I am grateful for the ministry of Open Doors. I am thankful for the resources they provide about the persecuted church and for the persecuted church around the world. However, even though I have been familiar with the ministry for a time, I was foreign to the story behind its founder, a man known as Brother Andrew. God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition changed that for me.

Written with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, Brother Andrew, whose real name is Andrew van der Bijl, aims to reach the young person with his story. The book takes the reader on a journey from Andrew’s call to ministry through his time in ministry distributing Bibles behind the Iron Curtain during the time of the Cold War, a time faced with persecution against Christians and the Word of God. The book’s style is captivating and leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens next in the missionary life of Andrew.

The purpose of God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition is not merely meant to give a record of Open Doors founder. It is meant to make a present-day impact upon the reader. Particularly for the young person, the book causes them to not take the Bible for granted but to see owning a copy of the Word of God as the treasure it is. Stories in the book recount and reveal the power of prayer and serve as a testimony to young people of the power of God. The book ends with Andrew and his wife, Corry, saying, “Together, the two of us. Twelve of us. Thousands of us. None of us knows where the road will lead. We only know it is the most exciting journey of them all” (Sherrill 216). In essence, they invite others to join this journey of sharing Christ with all and sharing with other Christians in their suffering and persecution.

I recommend God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill to parents and their youth alike. I encourage this book to parents who desire their children to see the treasure the Bible truly is, and for youth to see the commitment of their Christian faith, as Brother Andrew has modeled, even in the midst of persecution and suffering. Join the journey!

I received this book for free from Chosen Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Taking Counsel

I am not a talented swimmer. Actually, I am not a swimmer at all. Never trained in the water, I do not know how to swim. If I would slip into the deep end, I would be in trouble. At best, I could fight to keep my head above water. Left to myself and without training in how to swim, my chances of making it out of the water are slim. As a pastor and Bible college professor, I admit I have similar feelings when it comes to biblical counseling.

Competent to Counsel

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14, emphasis mine). When Paul encourages the Romans of their ability to instruct one another, the picture he is painting is these believers are competent to counsel one another. They can swim in the deep end of instructing one another. While I was blessed to take one course in biblical counseling in my undergraduate, I received no further training in biblical counseling in my seminary program. I had the basics of biblical counseling but not anything more. At best, I was keeping my head above water.

My lack of training was further exposed when I began serving in pastoral ministry as an associate pastor. My interaction with the people in the church I serve opened my eyes to the various issues and problems these different groups and ages of people face. I began seeing more of a need to grow in this area of biblical counseling. This especially hit a tipping point this summer as I engaged with students at our summer church camp. A good number of the children came from broken families. As the camp speaker, I knew I could only do so much within a span of a few days. I shared the gospel with them, and I pointed them to the hope they can have in Jesus Christ. Yet, I sensed I could have better addressed particular desires and particular battles the youth were facing. It felt as if I told them to swim without training them how. Simply put, I felt incompetent for the task.

Time to Train

This pastoral concern of caring for others reaches both the church and the academy. As I continue in pastoral ministry and as I teach college students, the need to give biblical counsel will only grow. The matter is not whether I will counsel or not. The matter is will my counsel be robustly biblical or not. In order to prepare myself to meet the complexities of pastoring and shepherding people, I must take counsel. I must learn from other Christians on how to counsel biblically when the questions and situations one is facing are complex and multifaceted. I need training. Just as training is important in for swimming, training is essential in biblical counseling. For this reason, I am excited to share with you beginning this Fall, I am taking biblical counseling training courses with Rod & Staff Ministries. My intention is to work toward becoming a certified biblical counselor. As I take this necessary step, would you pray with me God would grow me to be “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct”? May the training I receive be for other’s good and for the God’s glory!

Book Review: Reformation Women

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Any discussion on the Reformation will likely bring up names like Martin Luther and John Calvin. And rightfully so. These men had a great impact on church history. Yet, what lacks in most discussions on the Reformation is a recognition of the women who lived then and made an impact during their lifetime. Some may fear to uphold women’s contributions during the Reformation might blur the complementarian view given in Scripture, that is men and women are equal in dignity and worth but they are distinct in roles, men entrusted with the responsibility of servant leadership and women given the call to help and submit. However, I find those fears unwarranted. As men and women’s distinct roles are meant to complement one another, I believe men and women’s contributions in the Reformation complemented each other as well. Rebecca VanDoodewaard believes this to be the case too, as evidenced by her new release Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth. In this updated text of James I. Good’s Famous Women of the Reformed Church, VanDoodewaard introduces us to fairly unknown women of the Reformed faith who committed their lives to the cause of the Reformation.

In this revised and expanded work, VanDooewaard sketches twelve biographies of these Reformation women. Each of the women in the book come from different backgrounds but a mutual love for God and His Word, a care for people, particularly the hurting, Protestant refugees, and children are found in each. These women were hospitable, opening their homes to many. They also faced many hardships, whether they feared for their husbands during a dangerous time of ministry or struggled with the pain of losing children to death. Above all, these two women, while not well-known, knew the cost the Reformation brought with it against the Roman Catholic church. These Reformation women stood firm in their commitment to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. They held to the truth we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and the Scriptures alone, as the Word of God, are our ultimate authority.

The stories of such women are, as the author says, “an essential element in church history” (ix). While all made unique contributions, the women are an example of faithfulness to the Lord, His Word, and His church. Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDooewaard will introduce you to women of the Word who fought for the truth of the Word and can give us the courage to fight for that same truth today!

I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.