What Happens When a French Restaurant Hires a Team of Former Prisoners?

A teenaged Brandon Chrostowski stood before a judge. He was facing a 10-year sentence on a drug-related felony charge.

He couldn’t believe what happened next: the judge let him off with probation.

Just like that, Brandon had a decade of his life back. The way he sees it, he’s on borrowed time, so he had better make the most of it.

He has.

Today, Brandon is the owner and founder of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. EDWINS is a fine-dining restaurant in the French tradition that has received recognition from The New York Times and has been called one of the best new restaurants in Cleveland by Scene magazine and Eater.com.

EDWINS is special. But not just because of its food, delicious as it may be. It’s the people behind the food that make the French restaurant unique.

Read the rest of my article on Prison Fellowship’s blog

A Recipe for Gospel-Centered Prayer

I can’t make someone love God more. I can’t make someone love their spouse more. I can’t even make myself do those things. That power belongs to God and God alone.

So what can we do for the people we love? Pray for them.

I know—you already know that. You understand prayer is important and it’s something we should do for those we love. But are you doing it? Are you actually praying for the people in your church or community by name? Actually begging God to change them?

For a long time, I wasn’t.

It wasn’t because I didn’t care. It was because I didn’t really know how.

Maybe that’s where you are. You love the people in your life and genuinely want them to change. You’d like to pray for them, but every time you do it seems like you’re bringing up the same minor details about their lives and asking God to make them a little bit happier.

That’s what it used to feel like to me. But one day God, in His grace, brought me to the book of Ephesians and showed me what it looks like to pray for the people I love.

Read the rest of my article at Gospel-Centered Discipleship

The Missing Component in Most Discipleship Strategies

Forget all the discipleship books you’ve read. Forget all the conferences you’ve attended and blueprints you’ve adopted.

None of them matter. Not really.

What matters is how Jesus made disciples. So how did he do it? What was his strategy?

At first glance, it might appear that Jesus didn’t have a strategy. His strategy “is so unassuming and silent that it is unnoticed by the hurried churchman,” writes Robert Coleman in his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism.

Yes, Jesus had a strategy for making disciples. And “when his plan is reflected on, the basic philosophy is so different from that of the modern church that its implications are nothing less than revolutionary,” says Coleman.

So what was Jesus’ plan for making disciples?

Read the rest of my article at Gospel-Centered Discipleship

Living in Light of the Gospel

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1).

With these words, the Apostle Paul challenges his young protégé, Timothy, not to grow weary or weak as he endures for the sake of the gospel and the church in Ephesus. The church at this time was experiencing heavy persecution from the Ephesian culture around it, which had little interest in the gospel. But the church was also facing pressure from inside in the form of false teachers. The church, and Timothy, was pressed on all sides.

Put yourself in Timothy’s shoes. Your mentor, who happens to be the Apostle Paul, is in prison and about to be executed for the sake of the gospel. You’re about thirty years old, which was when you would begin ministry in those days. You’re being asked to guard the true gospel, to reason against false teachers, and to teach the people of the church in patience and wisdom, even when they don’t want to hear from you.

A couple of weeks of that and most of us would want to quit; just walk away and let someone else deal with it.

Paul knew Timothy would face this temptation, so he told him to draw strength from the only lasting source—the grace of Jesus.

Read the read of my devotional at JustinHuffman.org