Immigration Resources

immigrationperspectivesBecause I’ve been talking about immigration this week, I thought I’d share a few resources if you want to do more reading…

*This link to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention has several good articles and other links that are helpful.

*Here’s a brief response from John Piper on immigration.

*The Gospel Coalition has a roundtable video on thinking Christianly about immigration.

*Check out this pastoral perspective on illegal immigration from John MacArthur.

They Have Names

emptyfaceDuring my introduction to Sunday’s sermon on immigration I mentioned Olivio, Geraldo, and David. Years ago, all three of these men lived in our city as illegal immigrants. They worked hard while they were here for the good of their families back home in Mexico. All three came to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, attended our Hispanic church, and were discipled as followers of Jesus.

All three are now back in Mexico where Olivio pastors a church plant in their town and Geraldo and David are active members.

I mentioned these three men by name because it’s easy to see illegal immigrants as a class of people instead of as individuals. When we know their names, enter into relationships, and start to care for people, they stop being unnamed masses we denigrate and start being people we care for.

It’s easy to shout at women who have had abortion. It’s another thing to befriend a woman after an abortion and love her. It’s easy to shout at homosexuals, lesbians, and those who are transgendered. It’s another thing to befriend these people, to listen to their stories, to know their names. It’s easy to shout at the atheists and agnostics. It’s another thing to get to know them on a personal level and become their friends.

If we learn anything at all from the life of Jesus we learn that one can be strong on the teachings of God’s Word while at the same time be a friend of sinners.

Illegal immigrants have names. Most have families. And most are simply trying to make a better life for their families. As Christians, when we remember our status as strangers in this world, perhaps we’ll show mercy and grace toward the illegal immigrant.

We might want to start by knowing their name.

Justice, Mercy, and Illegal Immigrants

illegalimmigrationAs I preached on What Would Jesus Say About Immigration? on Sunday, I hit on two wonderful aspects of the gospel that should inform how we think about immigration: justice and mercy.

It seems that currently those two words describe the rancor within the public debate about illegal immigrants. There are loud voices on the justice side who see nothing but a need to rid our nation of those who are illegally living within our nation, no matter how long they’ve lived here, no matter the status of their family situation, no matter the good they may be doing as hard-working contributors to their cities. These loud “justice” voices can see no cause for showing mercy for all they see are lawbreakers.

Those loud voices on the mercy side see nothing but a desire to welcome these immigrants with open arms with no possible consequences for their illegal status. They see no need for a path to legal status leading to citizenship. These loud “mercy” voices can see no cause for showing justice for all they see are people in need.

As is usually the case, the path lies somewhere in the middle. I’m no policy expert. However, there are some hopeful ideas that give illegal immigrants a path that includes both justice and mercy. We would all be wise to think about some of these complex issues not through loud rhetoric but through helpful dialogue.

How does the gospel inform our thinking about illegal immigrants and immigration/refugees? The gospel tells us that as rebels against our Creator we deserve His full wrath, justice. We are lawbreakers and God is just to condemn us as such. However, through the finished work or our Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t get what we deserve which is mercy. We receive forgiveness of our sins, adoption into God’s family, the righteousness of Christ, and the hope of eternal life in a resurrection body living on a new earth (all of this is grace).

If we have received mercy even in the midst of our just sentence, shouldn’t Christians be quick to offer the same to others, at least modeling it in some way? As Christians, we can’t look upon any cultural issue, any policy, any struggle we face as a nation through purely a secular world-view. Our Christian world-view radically changes how we see the world, it’s people, and the solutions needed for the problems and issues we face.

Properly thinking about all these issues reminds us of why we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Without reminding ourselves of the gospel, we easily drift from biblical thinking which should inform all our thoughts, words, and actions.

What Does Jesus Say About Immigration?…The Notes

Social_Media 5.1.16Yesterday I continued through our series What Does Jesus Say About…? as I preached about immigration from Matthew 25:31-40. You can listen to the sermon here. I made clear that this wasn’t going to be a sermon on policy, but that we have an obligation and responsibility for how we treat the immigrant (legal & illegal) and the refugee in our midst. Here are the notes…

1. When Jesus saves us, there is a change in how we view life and the people He has created in His image.

2. There is a compassion that flows from us because of Jesus’s compassion towards us.

3. We see people from all nations, if in Christ as brothers and sisters, and if not yet in Christ, as potential brothers and sisters.

4. The good we do for the glory of Jesus and for the good of others doesn’t save us, but indicates that we are saved.

What Does Jesus Say About Immigration?

Social_Media 5.1.16We’re continuing in our sermon series What Does Jesus Say About…? this morning as we take a look at immigration. The text for the morning is from Matthew 25:31-40…

Matthew 25:31-40 (HCSB)
31  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33  He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35  For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’

37  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ 40  “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

Saturday Stuff, April 30, 2016

SaturdayStuff_socialmedia* Check out these 11 superpowers Captain America has that you may not have known about.

* And here are 12 things you didn’t know about Black Widow.

* With the success of the Punisher character on Netflix’s Daredevil season 2, it’s no surprise that Netflix has ordered a Punisher series.

* You might want to check out some of these 20 summer movies you need to see.

* Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is coming to the small screen with Amazon ordering the series with John Krasinski to star.

* And here’s the final trailer for this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse

6-String Salvo, April 29, 2016

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. Appreciated this from Russell Moore on how to explain the Trinity to children.

2. Trevin Wax reminds us that we should see going to church as a privilege and not a chore.

3. Here’s what you should know about suicide in America from Joe Carter.

4. Ken Braddy is a great help when it comes to learning the value of small groups in the local church. Check out his 3 essential tasks of teachers and 3 requirements for shepherd-teachers.

5. John Piper gives us much to think about as he answers should Christians cremate their loved ones?

6. Tim Challies taps Peter Krol to find out 3 ways college students can finish the semester strong and not waste their summer.

Last week I showed the Jeff Healey Band covering George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Here’s another cover featuring Tom Petty with an amazing guitar solo by Prince which one again highlights the incredible musical giftedness of this man…