Want Your Policy Perspective to Be Heard? Talk Like Jesus

In light of Holy Week and Easter, let’s talk about Jesus.

It’s been more than a decade since the popular “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) bracelets made their way onto the wrists of every youth group kid across America, but in an age of political division, the advancement of a secular society, and attacks on free speech, I think it’s time to revisit what this sentiment means and how we can apply it to our policy-based talking points.

Think: WWJD in a media interview? WWJD at town halls or political rallies? WWJD on social media??

Here are three lessons we can learn from the greatest communicator of all (sorry Ronald Reagan fans, but Jesus wins) and how it translates to current events.

Resist the Echo Chamber

Jesus didn’t speak to only one demographic. He spoke to men and women, young and old, rich and poor, believers and unbelievers. He was an equal opportunist, which was rare and rarely popular. Even his disciples rebuked Him for speaking to children.

But Jesus was not deterred by the unpopular. In fact, he often spoke to skeptics. The first time we hear from Jesus is when he engages religious leaders in the Temple—at the age of 12.

No doubt many people raised an eyebrow or two, but Jesus used it as an opportunity to “be about his Father’s business.” He had a message to spread and he was going to spread it.

So, what can we learn and apply?

Even when we’re met with a less-than-receptive audience, it doesn’t mean we back down and shy away. Instead, speak up!

Jesus engaged the skeptics, and we should do the same. Accept that interview on an unfriendly cable news show, or kindly share your opinion via social media and welcome the opposition, or wade into the hostile town hall.

It’s comfortable and safe in the echo chamber, but you won’t change hearts and minds there.

Tell Stories

What you say and how you say it matters, which is why storytelling works. As President Teddy Roosevelt noted, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Show you care about and want to help people by talking about … people.

Jesus was brilliant, but he didn’t destroy skeptics or critics with his words. Instead, he often communicated through stories or, as the Bible calls them, parables.

But why are stories so powerful? A story is sticky. It’s relatable, easy to remember, and communicates your message by engaging the heart AND mind.

There’s a reason Jesus stuck to agricultural references—about weeds, sowing, wheat, harvest, fishing, weather, etc. He was trying to win over a culture who worked with their hands to grow crops and fish for food on the Sea of Galilee.

We can talk all day about the importance of religious liberty in this country, but it doesn’t become real until we mention the 70-year-old grandmother who may lose her business because she’s operating it through the lens of her faith.

Or the family business that may have to close and leave its employees jobless because of “religious literature concerning marriage [displayed] on a breakroom table.

Tell stories—in media interviews, on social media, or from the stage at a town hall. It refocuses the issue on people instead of policy, and that’s powerful.

Keep Your Cool

Morton Blackwell, the president of the Leadership Institute, has a list of dos and don’ts in what he calls “The Laws of Public Policy Process.” One of my favorites is “Don’t get mad, except on purpose.”

Jesus exhibited righteous anger in the Bible, but it was always purposeful. The most memorable example is when he overturned the moneychanger’s table in the Temple.

But the Bible isn’t filled with examples of Jesus preaching fire and brimstone. Instead, a more common description is “humble servant,” and we’d greatly benefit from applying this discipline in our own lives.

Any conversation with those who disagree with us, whether in person or on a screen, is often thought of as a battle of wits. While a healthy debate with solid talking points is necessary, remember that you aren’t trying to win an argument—you are trying to have a conversation about an important policy issue.

You can’t assume you’ll persuade someone to agree with you after one exchange. But if you remain calm and reasonable, you’ll start to build trust and create space to ask harder questions next time.

While there may be an opportunity to rightly raise your voice and shout it out, it’s rare. Remember that a humble but confident demeanor wins more people to your side.

Jesus is the greatest communicator of all time. If we’re going to seek to win people to our cause, we have to do as Jesus did—speak the truth in a humble, understandable, and relatable way, and keep our emotions in check.


April 17, 2017 By Beverly Hallberg


Seeking Guidance: The First Step

1 John 1:8-10

By forsaking the worldly way, believers have chosen a narrow path (Matt. 7:13). However, we’re not wandering blindly on it. The Holy Spirit is our guide. He directs our steps toward new opportunities and offers discernment so we can make wise decisions that keep us on course for God’s will.

It is the nature of this journey that we have to stop often and seek guidance. God is pleased to respond to earnest requests for direction, as He wants to keep His followers in the center of His will. But I’ve discovered that many Christians wonder how to pursue divine guidance.

Seeking God’s direction involves a pattern that begins with cleansing—in other words, the first place to look is at ourselves. Ask, “Father, do You see anything in my life that might interfere with my understanding what You are saying?” Sin shuts down the guidance process: It impedes the power flowing from the Holy Spirit and thereby clouds our judgment.

The Bible teaches that God cleanses unrighteousness when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). It also contains a clear warning for those who refuse to relinquish a rebellious habit or attitude—the Lord doesn’t hear their cries (Psalm 66:18). As He reveals problem areas, we should lay them before the cross.

Cleansing is actually woven into the entire process of gaining divine guidance. The Lord brings sin to our attention as we’re equipped to deal with it. So on the way to receiving His clear direction, we may revisit this first step often and in that way can continually experience a time of rich spiritual growth and renewal.

Ye or Thee

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

In perhaps His primary teaching on giving, prayer, and fasting, Christ used an interesting blend of singular (thee, thou) and plural (you, ye) pronouns. Since even pronouns as recorded in Scripture are inspired and profitable, there must be a lesson to be learned from them.

Although Christ begins the passage using the plural pronoun—“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them” (v. 1), evidently addressing the large group assembled—He switches and speaks in the singular. In the verses dealing with giving (vv. 2-4), with praying (vv. 5-6), and with fasting (vv. 17-18), He uses the singular pronoun and singular verbs over 30 times, but each teaching is balanced by a comparison, in the plural, to those who practice these deeds wrongly (vv. 1, 5, 16).

Evidently, our Lord is stressing the need to do these things privately, as opposed to publicly. Public giving and public fasting are often done to gain the praise of men and to appear overly spiritual. “They have their reward” (v. 5). Public prayer is certainly not improper, and indeed Christ uses the occasion to teach on public prayer by giving what has come to be called The Lord’s Prayer (vv. 9-13), again in contrast to improper public prayer (v. 7). But public prayer can never totally substitute for private prayer, for there is a continuing need for the intimately personal “closet” time with our God. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (v. 6).

In each case, “thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (vv. 4, 6, 18). JDM

“Let us keep the feast.”

Leviticus 23:26-32, 37-43

Today let us consider two of the sacred seasons appointed by God, namely, the day of atonement and the feast of Tabernacles.

Leviticus 23:27

Sorrow for sin is a blessed thing. It cannot make an atonement, but it always goes with the reception of the atonement. If sin be sweet to us it will destroy us, but when we are afflicted in soul concerning it, the day of atonement has come.

Leviticus 23:28

Sin is not put away by works, for on the day of atonement, the sinner ceases to work with the idea of self-salvation.

Leviticus 23:29

No surer sign of destruction, than to have no soul affliction for sin. True sorrow for sin is deep. The Jews said that “a man had never seen sorrow who had not seen the sorrow of the day of atonement.”

Leviticus 23:32

This day of mourning led on to the gladsome feast of tabernacles. Sacred sorrow prepares the heart for holy joy. We must receive the atonement before we can enter into the joy of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:38

The Spirit of God lays great stress upon the joyful things, and recapitulates them carefully; the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

Leviticus 23:39

This was a very joyful season, so that the Jews said, “he who never saw the rejoicing of the feast of tabernacles, had never seen rejoicing in his life.”

Leviticus 23:40

Andrew Bonar says, “Imagine the scene thus presented to the view. It is an image of paradise restored—the New Earth in its luxuriance during the reign of righteousness and peace and joy. ‘Every goodly tree’ furnishes its boughs for the occasion. The palm is first mentioned because it was the tree which had oftenest sheltered them in the wilderness, as at Elim.” Thus reminded of what divine love had done for them, the people spent a happy season beneath the boughs, no doubt feeling and saying, “it is good to be here.”

Leviticus 23:43

Sunny memories were refreshed in men’s hearts by so delightful an observance, and the whole matter illustrated the lovingkindness of the Lord, who when his people have sorrowed for sin would have their sorrow turned into joy.


The hill of Sion yields

A thousand sacred sweets,

Before we reach the heavenly fields,

Or walk the golden streets.


Then let our songs abound,

And every tear be dry:

We’re marching thro’ Immanuel’s ground

To fairer worlds on high.


Herod Antipas Mocks the King of Glory!

Luke 23:11

On that day when Jesus refused to meet Herod’s expectations, Luke 23:10 tells us the chief priests and scribes were so infuriated that they stood up and “… vehemently accused him.” That word “vehemently” means at full pitch, at full volume, strenuously, or vigorously. That means those men must have been screaming like crazy maniacs who were totally out of control! They were most likely saying something like, “Some miracle worker! You have no power! You’re a fraud! If You can work miracles, why don’t You work one right now? You’re nothing but a charlatan!”

Once the screaming match stopped and the volume of their voices was turned down enough for Herod’s voice to be heard, Herod gave the official order for himself and his men of war to deliberately humiliate, mock, make fun of, and heckle Jesus. Suddenly the people in that room in Herod’s residence turned into a booing, hissing, mocking, laughing mob, with all their venom directed toward Jesus. Luke 23:11 tells us about this event, saying, “And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.”

Notice that Herod was gathered there that day with “his men of war.” Who were these men of war, and why were they at Herod’s side when Jesus stood before him? The word for “men of war” in Greek is strateuma. This Greek word could signify a small detachment of Roman soldiers, but most likely it suggests that these men were Herod’s personal bodyguards, selected from a larger group of soldiers because they were exceptionally trained and prepared to fight and defend if called upon—thus, the reason the King James Version refers to them as “men of war.”

The Bible informs us that Herod, with the assistance of his bodyguards, took Jesus and “set him at nought.” This phrase is developed from the Greek word exoutheneo, a compound of the words ek and outhen. The word ek means out, and the word outhen is a later form of the word ouden, which means nothing. Taken together, it means to make one out to be nothing. It can be translated to make light of, to belittle, to disdain, to disregard, to despise, or to treat with maliciousness and contempt.

Jesus had already endured the insane yelling and screaming that the chief priests and elders unleashed on Him. But now Herod and his bodyguards entered center stage to start their own brand of humiliating Jesus. Luke uses the word exoutheneo to let us know that they were malicious and vindictive and that their behavior was nasty and ugly. Then Luke tells us that Herod and his men “mocked him.” This gives us an idea of how low they sank in their ridiculing of Jesus.

The word “mocked” is the Greek word empaidzo, the same word used to portray the mocking behavior of the soldiers who guarded Jesus before He was taken into Caiaphas’ high court (see April 15). The word empaidzo meant to play a game. It was often used for playing a game with children or to amuse a crowd by impersonating someone in a silly and exaggerated way. It might be used in a game of charades when someone intends to comically portray or even make fun of someone.

Herod Antipas was a Roman governor—supposedly an educated, cultured, and refined man. He was surrounded by finely trained Roman soldiers who were supposed to be professional in their conduct and appearance. But these men of war, along with their king, descended deep into depravity as they began to put on quite a show impersonating Jesus and the people He ministered to. They probably hammed it up, acting as if they were healing the sick; lying on the floor and quivering as if they were being liberated from devils; groping around as if they were blind and then pretending to suddenly be able to see. It was all a game of charades intended to mimic and make fun of Jesus.

Then Luke tells us, “… they arrayed him in a gorgeous robe….” The word “arrayed” is the Greek word periballo, which means to throw about or to drape about, as to drape around one’s shoulders. The words “gorgeous robe” are the words esthes and lampros. The word esthes describes a robe or garment, while the word lampros depicts something that is resplendent, glistening, or magnificent. It was frequently used to depict a garment made of sumptuous, brightly colored materials.

It is doubtful that this was the garment of a soldier, for even a bodyguard of Herod would not be arrayed in such resplendent garments. In all likelihood, this was a garment worn by a politician, for when candidates were running for public office, they wore beautiful and brightly colored clothes. More specifically, however, this was almost certainly one of Herod’s own sumptuous garments that he permitted to be draped around Jesus’ shoulders so they could pretend to adore Him as king as part of their mockery of Him.

Although Herod apparently enjoyed this maltreatment and abuse of Jesus, Luke 23:14, 15 says he could find no crime in Jesus worthy of death. Therefore, after the conclusion of these events, Herod “… sent him again to Pilate” (Luke 23:11).

When Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, he sent Him clothed in this regal robe. One scholar notes that since this garment was one usually worn by a candidate running for office, Herod’s decision to send Jesus to Pilate in this robe was the equivalent of saying, “This is no king! It’s only another candidate, a pretender, who thinks he’s running for some kind of office!”

When I read of what Jesus endured during the time before He was sent to be crucified, it simply overwhelms me. Jesus committed no sin and no crime, nor was any guile ever found in His mouth; yet He was judged more severely than the worst of criminals. Even hardened criminals would not have been put through such grueling treatment. And just think—all this happened before He was nailed to that wooden Cross—the lowest, most painful, debasing manner in which a criminal could be executed in the ancient world!

Before you do anything else today, why don’t you take a few minutes to stop and thank Jesus for everything He went through to purchase your redemption? Salvation may have been a free gift to you, but purchasing salvation was not free for Jesus. It cost Him His life and His blood. This is why Paul wrote, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

And here’s one more suggestion for you: Rather than keep the Good News of Jesus Christ to yourself, why don’t you find an opportunity today to tell someone else all that Jesus did so he or she can be saved? God’s Spirit might use you to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus this very day!


Lord, I want to take this moment to say thank You for everything You went through for me. It is amazing that You loved me so much that You were willing to endure all of this for me. I know that my salvation was purchased with Your blood and that I could never pay for my salvation. But I want to tell You that I will serve You faithfully for the rest of my days as a way to show You my gratitude! Jesus, thank You for loving me so much!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ! God loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take away my sin, my sickness, my pain, my lack of peace, and my suffering on the Cross. Because of Jesus, today I am forgiven; I am healed; I am free of pain; I am filled with peace; and I am a joint heir with Him!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What did you learn new from today’s Sparkling Gem?
  2. Have you ever felt mocked for your faith? If so, how did you respond to those who mocked you?
  3. Can you think of someone you can share the Gospel with today? If your answer is yes, who is that person?


Gouging Out Your Eye And Cutting Off Your Hand

What price are you willing to pay, and to what lengths are you willing to go, in order to remain pure during your pilgrimage between here and eternity?


Consider the alarming teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9b, 10:


Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


Jesus, in recognizing our proclivity toward lust and theft, said in effect that we should take whatever measures are necessary to resolve these problems.


Even to the point of gouging out our eye or cutting off our hand:


And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)


Now I doubt that anyone reading this communiqué is blatantly stealing from their friends or even from their adversaries. But is it possible that in our business dealings we steal from them through such tactics as:


Exaggerating what we can deliver — Omitting to tell what we cannot deliver — Delaying services, payment and compensation — Bending the laws to ease procuring, accounting, manufacturing and marketing?


Recently, in reflecting on this tough issue of ethics in business, I came to the personal decision that I would rather clean toilets for a living in the most backwater area of the world and maintain my integrity than compromise my virtue and risk heaven.


Gouge out your eyes and cut off your hand? Yes! If that is what it takes to live a life that is reflective of Christ’s character.