mid-week apologetics booster (3-29-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Dear Dr. Peterson: The Resurrection is Credible. Dear MSM: Just Stop It. | The Stream: https://stream.org/dr-peterson-resurrection-credible/
  2. Study Shows Only 10% of Americans Have a Biblical Worldview | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/culture/study-shows-only-10-percent-americans-have-biblical-worldview/
  3. What Are the Two Dominant Worldviews? | Dr. Henry M. Morris III: http://www.henrymorris3.com/dominant-worldviews/
  4. The Resurrection, An Event To Be Confident About: https://pluggedintoleadership.com/2016/12/15/the-resurrection-an-event-to-be-confident-about/
  5. Is Your Transformational, Religious Experience Evidence Enough? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/is-your-transformational-religious-experience-evidence-enough/
  6. The Evidence For Jesus’ Resurrection — Part 2: How To Do History: http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-evidence-for-jesus-resurrection_25.html
  7. Manuscript Evidence Part 4 Can we trust the Bible translations we have today? Truth, Faith and Reason: https://truthfaithandreason.com/a-case-for-the-bible-101-manuscript-evidence-part-4-can-we-trust-the-bible-translations-we-have-today/
  8. Apologetics is Unassuming: http://www.travisdickinson.com/apologetics-is-unassuming/
  9. Who Were Cavemen? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/cavemen/who-were-cavemen/
  10. How Did the Early Christians Influence Their Culture?: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/07/how-did-early-christians-influence.html
  11. Witnessing to Zen Buddhists | John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/guests-and-authors/dr-john-ankerberg/witnessing-to-zen-buddhists/
  12. Evidence, History Supports Jesus Resurrection – Stand Up For The Truth: https://standupforthetruth.com/2018/03/evidence-history-supports-jesus-resurrection/

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Isaiah 26:19

Blessings to you all

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Apologetics Class 3/25/2018

Yesterday in my apologetics class, with it being Palm Sunday, we watched a video lecture on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the Old Testament prophecy He fulfilled in doing that.  Here is the video:

 

Here is the note-taking form I passed out before the video, with discussion questions we covered afterward:

Daniel’s Prophecy of Palm Sunday (Andrew Russell) 3/25/2018

John 12:12-19; Daniel 9:24-27 (the “backbone” of biblical prophecy)

  1. Jesus’ tr____________ e_________ is mentioned in all 4 gospels – John’s account is the briefest.
  2. John 11:35 – Lazarus died – Jesus wept about this because:
    1. He was filled with grace, mercy and compassion – grieving for those who were hurting.
    2. Because of what sin has done to mankind and what He was going to do about it.
  3. The original creation was perfect: __________________________________________________
    ______________________________________________________________________________
  4. The fall of man occurred in an instant. World is now g_________________ (Romans 8:22)
  5. God had a plan to r___________________ mankind which would take thousands of years.
  6. “The time has come” (Mark 1:15) – all history has been moving towards this moment.
  7. Christ makes it clear that the kingdom is not p_______________, but is within you (Luke 17:21).
  8. 2 things capture the “heart” of this thronged assembly:
    1. Christ has won the v_______________ – His will has been done.
    2. The wedding feast of the Lamb – we’re not just invited to wedding, we’re the b_______!
  9. The proclamation of the good news (Mark 1:15) includes a call to r__________________. Radical change in heart, resulting in a radical change in a person’s l___________.
  10. The coming of the King is the best news. Change is possible because the King has come.
  11. What to do when another believer acts in a discouraging or sinful way:
    1. Don’t allow a person/relationship to d__________ you from your relationship with God.
    2. Forgive them and refuse to harbor any r____________________ towards them
    3. Draw comfort from the H__________ S________________.
  12. We don’t offer people a “system”, we point them to the R________________. He is the hope!
  13. During Passover in Jesus’ time, there were 250,000 lambs slain in Jerusalem. During this time, the population swelled to about 2 million people in (not even) a square m___________.
  14. The 1st promise of Messiah was Genesis 3:15. Israel’s job was to w___________ for the Messiah
  15. God told the Jews that the Messiah would be:
    1. A J______ from the tribe of Judah
    2. From the lineage of King D___________
    3. Born of a v______________, conceived by the Holy Spirit
    4. A worker of s__________, wonders & miracles (sight to the blind, hearing for deaf, etc.)
    5. D______________ would be no match for Him
    6. Bring f________________ of sins and salvation to the world
  16. The above description narrows down the field of possible candidates for Messiah.
  17. God actually predicted the e__________ d______ that the Messiah would make Himself known.
  18. Zachariah 9:9 predicted that he would come on a donkey’s colt.
  19. Daniel 9 is the most i______________ piece of prophecy in the entire Old Testament
  20. Jesus says this is the key – Bible scholars say this is the b________________ of biblical prophecy.
  21. Daniel 9:24-27 – the “70 W___________ of Daniel” (given by angel Gabriel [v.21])
  22. This prophecy is talking about J__________ C___________ – the Messiah:
    1. To make an end for s________
    2. To make reconciliation for i_________________
    3. To bring everlasting r_________________
    4. To seal up the vision and the prophecy
    5. To a_______________ the most holy
  23. These 70 weeks refer to 70 “weeks” (7’s) of years – 70 weeks of years = _______ years
  24. God wanted Israel to know the exact day that the Messiah would come – wasn’t a mystery
  25. 69 weeks (_______ years) after this decree to restore/rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will come.
  26. From a book called “The Coming Prince” by Sir Robert Anderson
  27. Jewish calendar has 360 days in it (vs. 365 days in Gregorian calendar), so 173,880 days after the decree was the time the Messiah would come.
  28. The decree was given to restore/rebuild Jerusalem was given in Neh. 2:1-8 (March 14,444BC)
  29. 173,880 days later is April 6th, 32 A.D., which was P_____ S_________ (5 days before Passover)
  30. There are 116 days for leap years that have to be subtracted. So considering the leap year days, the prophecy is fulfilled exactly.
  31. In Daniel 9:26, there are 3 specific prophecies:
    1. The Messiah will be “c__________ o_________” (executed) for us
    2. The people of the prince – Rome to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple (70AD)
    3. Jews s___________ to the 4 corners of the earth (until 1948, when Israel is established)
  32. The 70th week (Daniel 9:27). The gap of time between the 69th week and the 70th week is what is known as “The Church Age”. This will end with the r______ of the church before the tribulation.
  33. The 70th week of Daniel is the great t______________ – the start is the coming of the anti-Christ
  34. Israel, who rejected the t_____ Messiah, will buy in whole-heartedly to this f________ Messiah.
  35. The world will be “great” for 3½ years at which time the anti-Christ will stand up and proclaim himself to be G_____ and that is the abomination that Jesus was talking about (Matthew 24:15)
  36. After that, all hell breaks loose on earth which is described the judgments in Revelation.
  37. Picking up the palm branches is a symbol of victory. H______ means “save now” / “please save”
  38. Maccabean revolt – after Judas Maccabees defeated Greeks, they were waving palm branches
  39. The people were not looking for s______ deliverance, they were looking for political deliverance
  40. Jesus wept over the city – “…You did not know the time of your v______________” (Luke 19:44)
  41. Jesus says because they missed the day, there would be b__________. (Luke 19:42; Rom. 11:25)
  42. There is a day of visitation for each & every one of us – 2 options, a_______ or r_________
  43. “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not h______________ your hearts…” Hebrews 3:15
  44. He becomes Lord of all your life (your schedule). End times – are we ready for Him?

Discussion Questions

  1. In what way is Daniel’s prophecy (and Jesus’ fulfillment of it) evidence that the Bible is divinely inspired?
  2. What are some other important Old Testament prophecies of Messiah?
  3. What are your views about the rapture and end times? On what Scripture do you base these views?

B.S. Detector

I thought this was great advice from the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday March 20th, 2018.  It reminded me of Greg Koukl’s Colombo Tactic:

  1. What do you mean by that?
  2. How did you come to that conclusion?

Here is the article:

Fine-Tune Your B.S. Detector: You’ll Need It

In the digital age, misinformation—from nonsense to lies—spreads faster than ever and is becoming an area of serious research

By Elizabeth Bernstein

B.S. is a form of persuasion that aims to impress the listener while employing a blatant disregard for the truth, the researchers explained. It can involve language, statistics and charts and appears everywhere from politics to science.

Of course this isn’t new. But false information moves faster and farther these days, thanks to social media. A new study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published earlier this month in the journal Science, analyzed the spread of 126,000 rumors tweeted by 3 million people over more than 10 years and found that false news spreads faster than truth. “We have reached epidemic levels of information pollution, and we need to do something about it,”

How Can You Spot B.S.?

Check the source. Is this person an expert or in a position to know the information? Why is he or she telling me? What does the person have to gain? “Sometimes it’s just a coolness factor,” says Jevin West, a professor of information science at the University of Washington, who teaches a class in how to spot B.S. in data.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that we all suffer from confirmation bias—we’re more likely to believe something that confirms what we already think or want. “It’s hardest to spot B.S. we agree with,” says Gordon Pennycook, a postgraduate fellow at Yale who studies B.S. “Question it if it supports your own beliefs.”

Ask questions. Research shows people are more likely to B.S. when they feel they can get away with it. “Ask them simply: ‘Why do you think that? How do you know that is true?’” says John Petrocelli, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., who studies B.S. “This will get them thinking critically.”

Don’t trust your gut. People who pause and think about whether information is true are better able to detect false information, research shows. “Rely on your prior knowledge,” says Lisa Fazio, an assistant professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University.

Ask for evidence. This is different than an explanation, which people can continue to spin. Facts don’t lie—but check them to make sure they are real.

Pay attention to people who discount evidence. “I don’t care what the experts say” is a red flag that the person is using B.S.

Stay offline when you’re tired. Research shows we’re more vulnerable to false claims when our cognitive resources—that is, brain power—are depleted.

 

mid-week apologetics booster (3-22-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Early mosaic calls Jesus ‘God’ – creation.com: https://creation.com/early-mosaic-calls-jesus-god
  2. Why Don’t Brilliant Scientists Like Stephen Hawking Believe in God?: http://christianmomthoughts.com/why-dont-brilliant-scientists-like-stephen-hawking-believe-in-god/
  3. Longest Evolution Experiment Dead-End: http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/2018/01/longest-evolution-experiment-dead-end/
  4. “It’s In the Bible, So Believe It! Won’t Help Youth At All: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2018/03/its-in-the-bible-so-believe-it/
  5. Who Was Saint Patrick and Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/who-was-saint-patrick-and-should-christians-celebrate-st-patricks-day/
  6. 12 Types of Truth the Scientific Method Cannot Prove – Candid Apologetics: http://candidapologetics.weebly.com/blog/12-types-of-truth-the-scientific-method-cannot-prove
  7. Defend Without Getting Defensive: http://apologeticsguy.com/2010/06/defend-without-getting-defensive/
  8. How Do You Talk to Kids About God? Interview with Author Natasha Crain. – Josh.org: https://www.josh.org/talk-kids-god-interview-author-natasha-crain/
  9. Why Do We Need Apologetics? | Women in Apologetics: https://www.womeninapologetics.com/why-do-we-need-apologetics/
  10. How to respond more effectively when someone questions your faith Matthew Ruttan: https://matthewruttan.com/2018/03/13/how-to-respond-more-effectively/
  11. Objections to Apologetics: its arguing and debating Christian Worldview Discipleship: http://www.discipleshipphilippines.org/objections-to-apologetics-3/
  12. A Very Challenging Task: Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/a-very-challenging-task-answering-jewish-objections-to-jesus/
  13. 4 Reasons the Internet May Influence Your Kids’ Faith More Than You: http://christianmomthoughts.com/4-reasons-the-internet-may-influence-your-kids-faith-more-than-you/
  14. Get Ready, Youth Group Leaders: Teens Twice as Likely to Identify as Atheist or LGBT | News & Reporting | Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/january/youth-group-leaders-generation-z-atheist-lgbt-teens-barna.html
  15. Why Is Christianity So Closed-Minded and Exclusive?: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/why-is-christianity-so-closed-minded-and-exclusive
  16. False Claims About Jesus in the Popular Press | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/false-claims-in-the-popular-press/
  17. Atheist Police Detective Examines the Resurrection of Jesus becomes Christian – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjXMsq6SscA
  18. Brain = Mind? Craniopagus Twins Argue Otherwise | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/brain-mind-craniopagus-twins-argue-otherwise/
  19. Why Do You Need a Fighting Faith? – Tim Challies: https://www.challies.com/why-do-you-need-a-fighting-faith/
  20. Verifiability Is A Christian Distinctive | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/verifiability-is-a-christian-distinctive/

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. Luke 21:37-38

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 3/18/2018

Today in our class we watched J. Warner Wallace speak about the case for the resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of a Cold Case homicide detective:

 

Before the video started, I read Matthew 28:1-10:

1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, ” Do not be afraid ; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead ; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” 8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ” Do not be afraid ; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Here is the note-taking form I handed out before the video:

J. Warner Wallace – the Resurrection 3/18/2018

  1. What is r_________________ (not what’s possible), this is the judicial standard.
  2. Presuppositional bias, you tend to see things through the lens of your presuppositions.
  3. Although archaeological evidence exists to support the locations of the New Testament, it doesn’t mean that the miracles are true. It could be mythology set in a historical setting.
  4. The most singularly important piece of evidence in the Christian worldview is the r___________
  5. Gary Habermas surveyed the writings of 3400 scholars and came up with a list of m_____________ f__________ agreed by all of them regarding the resurrection.
  6. Here are the minimal facts according to J. Warner Wallace:
    1. Jesus was c___________ and b______________
    2. The tomb was e_______________ and no one ever produced his body.
    3. The disciples b__________________ they saw the risen Jesus.
    4. The disciples were tr______________ following their alleged Resurrection observations.
  7. Explanatory possibilities-the first six of the following are possible, but not reasonable:
    1. They were w____________:
      1. From Luke 22, “His sweat became like drops of blood”, this is a scientific condition known as psychogenic hematidrosis. This condition is most often seen in death row inmates.
      2. We have a tendency to underestimate what He endured, because Renaissance paintings don’t show Him as bloodied.
      3. John 19:34, “bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” Pericardial Effusion produces blood in a fluid that looks like water. The other possibility is Pleural Effusion.
    2. They were l_____________: Conspiracies take 5 things to work:
      1. A small number of conspirators.
      2. A short conspiracy time span.
      3. Excellent communication.
      4. Strong familial relationships.
      5. Little or no pressure to confess
      6. On the contrary, the disciples:
        1. Had to hold the conspiracy for about 60 years
        2. Were separated by 1000’s of miles
        3. Were men from all walks of life
        4. Never recanted their testimony
      7. 1st person who saw Jesus was a woman (not be trusted in 1st century society).
    3. They were d________________:
      1. Paul and James, as skeptics, would not have wanted to see Jesus alive
      2. No one has group dreams or group hallucinations
      3. There’s still an empty tomb
    4. They were f_________________:
      1. If you want to be successful conning someone you have to know more about the topic than the person you are trying to con.
      2. After His resurrection, He appeared miraculously, Luke 24:36.
      3. He performed miraculously, John 21:6, Acts 1:3.
      4. He ascended miraculously, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9.
    5. They were i_________________:
      1. Mary couldn’t influence others.
      2. Peter was seldom alone. Would Mary and the women then lie in retrospect?
      3. Paul didn’t wish it was true.
      4. Resurrection appearances are from multiple eye-witnesses w/extensive detail.
      5. If you run back to the tomb, and the tomb is empty, you don’t have an imaginary vision problem, you have a conspiracy.
      6. The tomb was empty and no one ever produced his body.
    6. They were d______________________:
      1. We know these are early accounts, and have been attested repeatedly by the “chain of custody”.
    7. They were a__________________ (the Christian explanation):
      1. Jesus was crucified and buried.
      2. The tomb was empty and no one ever produced His body.
      3. The disciples believed they saw the risen Jesus.
      4. Disciples were transformed following their alleged resurrection observations.
  8. Every single one of these 7 explanations above have s______________ and w_______________
  9. Weakness of Christian explanation is that it requires a resurrection, a belief in the supernatural.
  10. Are supernatural events possible? The evidence regarding these events was:
    1. Timely
    2. Quoted
    3. Verified
    4. Described
    5. Transmitted
    6. Attested
  11. Atheists begin with conclusion that supernaturalism is not possible. That is circular reasoning.
  12. There are only one of two possibilities about what happened to Jesus.
    1. Jesus rose from the dead: Only one barricade to overcome, anti-supernatural bias. I’m the reason that barricade is there, I won’t consider supernatural explanations!
    2. Jesus did not rise from the dead: Many barricades to overcome as listed above.
  13. Do your part to make c___ for the resurrection, & let God do His part to convince the individual.
  14. Not like game of tennis, like game of baseball. Just get up to bat & advance runner to next base.
  15. You are f__________ and o______________ to God when you get your butt up off the bench and get in the batter’s box. That’s it! If you “make contact” great.
  16. The writers of scripture claimed to be eyewitnesses, Luke 1:1, 2 Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:1-3
  17. I’m not a case maker to win an argument, I’m a case maker to be able to pull down the barriers between you and the G_______________
  18. You may not consider yourself to be an evangelist, but none of you gets out of the responsibility to be a case maker. If you are a Christian, you are a case maker according to 1 Peter 3:15.
  19. The first decision you made was for Christ, the second decision you need to make is to become A Christian Case Maker.
  20. It easy to call yourself a Christian, but it’s hard to d______________ what you believe.

Discussion Questions

What were the main points J. Warner Wallace was trying to make in this video?

mid-week apologetics booster (3-15-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Why sexual immorality should be repudiated rather than debated – Washington Times: https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/mar/4/why-sexual-immorality-should-be-repudiated-rather-/
  2. This Is Apologetics: An Argument from Christian Hypocrisy JOEL SETTECASE: https://settecase.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/this-is-apologetics-an-argument-from-christian-hypocrisy/
  3. The Limitations of Apologetics and Belief That and Belief In THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/the-limitations-of-apologetics-and-belief-that-and-belief-in-2/
  4. WALSH: Many People Have Asked Me To ‘Tone Down The Jesus Stuff.’ I’m Going To Do The Opposite. | Daily Wire: https://www.dailywire.com/news/27897/walsh-many-people-have-asked-me-tone-down-jesus-matt-walsh
  5. Does Jesus Really Want Me to Hate My Family?: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/does-jesus-want-hate-family/
  6. Why Generation Z is less Christian than ever | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/03/11/why-generation-z-is-less-christian-than-ever-and-why-thats-good-news.html
  7. Who Wrote the Gospels and When Did They Write Them? – Logic & Light: http://www.logicandlight.org/who-wrote-the-gospels-and-when-did-they-write-them/
  8. A Case for the Bible 101: Manuscript Evidence Part 1, A Few Important Facts Truth, Faith and Reason: https://truthfaithandreason.com/a-case-for-the-bible-101-manuscript-evidence-part-1-a-few-important-facts/
  9. Why Are Stories Such Powerful Means of Communication? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/why-are-stories-such-powerful-means-of-communication
  10. Science Confirms Climate Change! | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/climate-change/science-confirms-climate-change/
  11. Loving Christ – How can I get out of my evidentialist hole and find Jesus? How can I come to know my faith is true? | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/loving-christ/
  12. Isn’t the Christian View of Sexuality Dangerous and Harmful?: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/isnt-the-christian-view-of-sexuality-dangerous-and-harmful/
  13. Is Christianity Intolerant? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/is-christianity-intolerant/
  14. What is the Most Recent Manuscript Count for the New Testament? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/what-is-the-most-recent-manuscript-count-for-the-new-testament
  15. How Not to Teach Your Kids the Bible: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-not-to-teach-your-kids-the-bible/
  16. The Difference Between Knowing and Showing God Exists THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/the-difference-between-knowing-and-showing-god-exists/

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalms 19:7-14

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 3/11/2018

Today in our apologetics class, Lord willing, I will be showing the following video lecture by Abdu Murray titled “Does Prayer Really Help?”

Below is the note-taking form with discussion questions I will hand out to the class:

Does Prayer Really Help?  Abdu Murray – 3/11/2018

Abdu Murray’s Testimony

  1. I thought I_________ was true, and that if it was true, you should believe it too.
  2. Relativism – “what’s true for you is true for you, what’s true for me is true for me” – Nonsense.
  3. He used to ask people, “Why are you a Christian?” Most common response, “I don’t know…”  Another common response was, “Its tradition.”  If its tradition, how do you k______ it’s t_____?
  4. Most Christians had no response to the objections Abdu would raise.
  5. Dave and Pete came to his apartment at university every Thursday to share their f___.  He grew to love Dave and Pete, because they wanted me in heaven, and he wanted them in heaven.
  6. Abdu, looking for contradiction in the Bible, comes across Luke 3:7-8 (John the Baptist):
    … do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”
    He was saying, you’re relying on your t_________ (children of Abraham) to save you, but t___________ doesn’t save, truth saves.  Abdu realized that John the Baptist was agreeing with him, and those words applied to him as well – he was in love with tradition and not with truth.
  7. Apologetics is about p_______________ – why the Christian faith is true.  It was the B___________ that got Abdu thinking about all this in the first place.
  8. May you never speak with lofty a_______________ and a closed Bible.  Use that Word of God!
  9. There are plenty of things you can lose if you’re a Muslim and you become a Christian.
  10. He began to see the beauty of the Gospel and that God is a t_____ God, when all of that became real to him, not just intellectually, but also in his spirit/heart, he gave his life to the Lord.

Does Prayer Really Help?

  1. He studied different religious systems, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, Confucianism, Etc.
  2. He’s convinced that the Christian worldview is u______________ t_________. It teaches us who God is, and who we are in relation to God. It conforms to reality.
  3. Does prayer help? Depends on what you mean by prayer & depends on what you mean by help.
  4. George Carlin made some very serious challenges against the Christian faith.
  5. Carlin prayed to God, and got what he wanted half the time, so did an experiment. He prayed to Joe Pesci instead. The results were the same. Therefore, he concludes, maybe there is no God?
  6. Carlin says, when you don’t get what you want, you say “it wasn’t part of the divine plan”. That’s a c_________ o__________. You’re just “talking to the wall”.
  7. In your darkest times, you may think I’ve been praying the same thing for 15 years and nothing has changed. Am I just talking to nobody? Is anybody l____________________?
  8. George Carlin presents a caricature of prayer-he only has it half right. So, only having it half right, he gets it all wrong. God is not a “Divine v______________ m______________”.
  9. The common misconception of prayer: it is the avenue through which we ask God for “stuff”.
  10. Matthew 6:7-13 (The Lord’s Prayer). Unfortunate name for it-isn’t the prayer the Lord actually prayed, because the prayer requests forgiveness. Yet we know that He needed no forgiveness.
  11. Don’t babble & don’t pray a “f______________”. God wants your heart, speak from your heart!
  12. 2 examples of short, simple prayers: 1) tax collector: “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:9-14). 2) The father who prayed, “I believe, help me with my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
  13. If the Lord already knows what you need, then w_________ a_________ Him?
  14. Prayer not just about asking for a bunch of things, but asking for our needs, based on God’s w__
  15. Plenty of things we want, but only a f______ things we need. We have way more than we need!
  16. He wants to change what we think we need to c______________ us so that we seek Him.
  17. Familiarity breeds contempt. The more you h_______ something, the less important it is to you.
  18. Abdu comes from a worldview where it is considered blasphemy to call God your Father.
  19. It is it is Christianity alone that allows you to call the One who created the universe “D_______”. It isn’t just D_________, or father, but His very name is holy.
  20. It is only the Christian faith that allows for God to be father, and yet majestic, at the same time.
  21. You begin to see who you are through prayer. You are a c___________ of the k__________!
  22. The primacy is for God’s will to be done. But God gives us our needs every day. It’s God’s basic will that you have your n________ m_____. He wants to give you more, but that’s his basic will.
  23. What needs? Food & clothing – yes, but the very next words are forgive us our debts. Our most fundamental need isn’t food, but to be forgiven. We’re in desperate need of daily f___________
  24. Every other worldview says we can f__ ourselves. Malcolm Muggeridge said that the doctrine of original sin is the most hotly-contested doctrine of all, yet it has the most evidence in its favor.
  25. If you want evidence that humans are in need of a Savior, just turn on the news for 5 minutes.
  26. If I could put your t____________ for the last 24 hours on screen for everyone, how many of you would say, “oh no problem!” or how many of you would run out of this room screaming?
  27. Jesus does not tell you what you want to hear. He says, “out of the heart comes evil thoughts, adulteries” (Matt. 15:19). i.e. you’re evil, come follow Me! That’s a terrible recruiting poster. He’s not telling you what you w________ to hear, He’s telling you what you n________ to hear.
  28. Story about woman whose only son was murdered-ended up inviting that murderer to live next to her. He was so impacted by her example of forgiveness, that he gave his life to the Lord.
  29. Your job in prayer is not to get s_________ from God, it’s to get in c________________ with God. He wants to give you character, and not stuff. He wants to change the world through you.
  30. Prayer is not about conforming God’s will to your will, it is about conforming your will to God’s will. If this is what you mean by prayer, it a______________ w_____________!
  31. Example from Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (…there was given me a t____________ in my flesh…)
  32. Idols will eat you alive, what you need is contentment!
  33. The best thing you can get from God this side of heaven is c_______________.  What a gift!
  34. Matt Chandler w/ brain cancer – “I now get to live the faith I preach”.
  35. Have I been treating prayer as my A___ machine?  Or have I been seeking God’s will for my life?
  36. What God wants you have more than anything is to be l___________ His Son!

Discussion Questions

  1. What was the main point made by George Carlin related to prayer?
  2. Does unanswered prayer mean that God does not exist or Christianity is not true?
  3. What request that you’ve been praying to God for a long time about, where you’ve not received an answer yet?  Have you wondered why there is no answer?  Is it according to God’s will?
  4. What other Scriptures tell us about prayer?  What are great examples of prayer in the Bible? (Philippians 4:6-7; Luke 18:1-8 [the persistent widow]; Luke 18:9-14 [the Pharisee & tax collector]; Psalms 55:22; Psalms 139:13-16,23-24; Psalms 86:11; Psalms 119:11; Psalms 51:1-17; Revelation 4:11)
  5. According to Abdu Murray, does prayer work?  What about according to you?

 

 

mid-week apologetics booster (3-8-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. American Atheists Hide Behind the Fairy Tale of Evolution – The American Vision: https://americanvision.org/11504/american-atheists-hide-behind-fairy-tale-evolution/
  2. Why Belief in God is a Rational Position Straight Talk with Claudia K: http://straighttalkwithclaudiak.com/why-belief-in-god-is-a-rational-position/
  3. 3 Startling Truths about the Early Church from the Pre-New Testament Texts Bellator Christi: https://bellatorchristi.com/2017/03/28/3-startling-truths-about-the-early-church-from-the-pre-new-testament-texts/
  4. Atheist Garage – Adam4d.com: http://adam4d.com/atheist-garage/
  5. The Right and Wrong Reasons to Pursue Apologetics THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/the-right-and-wrong-reasons-to-pursue-apologetics/
  6. 10 Things Every Christian Should Know About Islam: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/10-things-every-christian-should-know-about-islam/
  7. Dinosaur Questions and Answers – creation.com: https://creation.com/dinosaur-questions-and-answers
  8. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 1 | Origins :: Cornerstone Network: http://origins.ctvn.org/2012/11/12/fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-part-1/
  9. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 2 | Origins :: Cornerstone Network: http://origins.ctvn.org/2012/11/19/fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-part-2/
  10. Neanderthal Man and the Bible: http://aliveapologetics.blogspot.com/2012/03/neanderthal-man-and-bible.html
  11. The Three D’s of Tolerance | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-three-ds-of-tolerance/
  12. Islam’s Claims of Biblical Corruption Actually Impeach the Qur’an: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/10/islams-claims-of-biblical-corruption.html
  13. Keep Praying for Melinda | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/keep-praying-melinda#.WpxfBOjwaUk
  14. China, officially atheist, could have more Christians than the U.S. by 2030 – Houston Chronicle: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/China-officially-atheist-could-have-more-12633079.php#photo-15118937
  15. The Impossibility of Life’s Evolutionary Beginnings: http://www.icr.org/article/10456/
  16. Science and God | Andy Bannister: http://www.andybannister.net/science-and-god/
  17. Can Christians Answer One Simple Question? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/can-christians-answer-one-simple-question
  18. Is Global Sea Level Rising?: http://www.icr.org/article/10403/
  19. Something Fishy about Global Warming Claims – Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/10460/
  20. Top 101 Theological Questions in 2018 (According to Google) – Theolocast: http://theolocast.org/blog/top-101-theological-questions-in-2018-according-to-google/
  21. Is Christianity Useful Anymore? The Younger Generations Don’t Seem To Think So: https://crossexamined.org/christianity-useful-anymore-younger-generations-dont-seem-think/
  22. Who Decided What Books to Include in the Bible? 5 Principles | The Stream: https://stream.org/decided-books-include-bible-5-principles/
  23. Are There Different Degrees of Punishment in Hell? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/are-there-different-degrees-of-punishment-in-hell/
  24. Fact Check: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: http://candidapologetics.weebly.com/blog/fact-check-extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence
  25. What does it mean to say Christianity is true? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/what-does-it-mean-to-say-christianity-is-true-3/
  26. Extremely Early Testimonies to the Deity of Christ: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2018/03/extremely-early-testimonies-to-the-deity-of-christ/
  27. 5 Ways Progressive Christianity and New Age Spirituality Are Kind of the Same Thing – Alisa Childers: https://www.alisachilders.com/blog/5-ways-progressive-christianity-and-new-age-spirituality-are-kind-of-the-same-thing
  28. How Can We Know Prayer Works? A Response to Neil deGrasse Tyson Relevant Belief: https://relevantbelief.com/2018/02/24/how-can-we-know-prayer-works-a-response-to-neil-degrasse-tyson/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
  29. Does Prayer Make Any Difference? | RZIM: http://rzim.org/just-thinking/does-prayer-make-any-difference/
  30. Why Doesn’t God Answer All My Prayers? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/why-doesnt-god-answer-all-my-prayers/

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:14-16

Blessings to you all

Teaching for Men’s Bible Study – Nehemiah 4:15-23

Nehemiah 4:15-23

Given March 6th 2018

The Work Resumes

15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah.

17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. 19 I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day.” 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water. (NASB)

In this part of Nehemiah chapter 4, we see the method that Nehemiah uses to motivate the battling and at the same time to maintain the building.  It was vital that the walls be built up.  The temple was in jeopardy and the people were in jeopardy.  The enemy could come in at will.  Roving bandits could move into the city, even without a great deal of armaments, and take what they wanted.

By way of application, this is a picture of what the defeated Christian is like. The Enemy comes in and runs rampant through his life, doing what he pleases.  Satan is out to defeat the Christian in every circumstance. He loves it when there are no defenses that are built up.  The book of Nehemiah talks about physical fortifications, but in the same way, a mature Christian must have “spiritual fortifications” built up.  These spiritual fortifications in the life of a believer represent maturity.  We need to be spiritually self-sustaining and able then to nourish others and to build them up.  This is particularly important with us men as spiritual leaders in our families.  We need to be mature, not spiritual babies.  The writer of Hebrews addresses this:

Hebrews 5:11-1411 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Verse 12 is saying that, considering how long you’ve been a Christian, it is a necessity that you ought to be a teacher.  V. 13-14 says you ought to be on Porterhouse and instead you’re on Pablum.

In the book of Nehemiah, the MacArthur Study Bible lists 7 attempts to stop Nehemiah’s work:

  1. 2:19 – Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem mocked Nehemiah
  2. 4:1-3 – Sanballat and Tobiah mocked Nehemiah
  3. 4:7-23 – the enemy threatened a military attack
  4. 6:1-4 – Sanballat and Geshem attempted to lure Nehemiah outside Jerusalem to Ono
  5. 6:5-9 – Sanballat threatened Nehemiah with false charges
  6. 6:10-14 – Shemaiah, Noadiah and others were paid to prophesy falsely and discredit Nehemiah
  7. 6:17-19 – Tobiah had spies in Jerusalem and wrote Nehemiah letters in order to frighten him

Up to this point in the book, the Jewish people had been experiencing 4 things:

  1. Daunting and intimidation (4:1-3)

    1 Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. 2 He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?” 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, “Even what they are building – if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!”

  2. Discouragement (4:4a,5b)

    Hear, O our God, how we are despised … for they have demoralized the builders.

  3. Defiance, threats of open attacks (4:7-8)

    7 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.

  4. Doubts (4:10)

    Thus in Judah it was said, “The strength of the burden bearers is failing, Yet there is much rubbish ; And we ourselves are unable To rebuild the wall.”

 

The enemy was using all of these tactics to attempt to prevent them from “building the wall”, but Nehemiah had answers for all of this, because he was in touch with God.

In the beginning of our passage for today, we see that Nehemiah’s guards, and the overall show of force, had the effect of not just defending the Jewish people, but also intimidating the enemy.  When the enemy learned that Jerusalem was armed and ready, they backed off. God had frustrated their plot.

“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:10–11 NKJV)

As they were getting back to work, Nehemiah knew that he couldn’t interrupt the work every time he heard a new rumor, so he set up a defense plan that solved the problem: Half of the men worked on the wall while the other half stood guard. He saw to it that the people carrying materials also carried weapons and that the workers on the walls carried swords. In this way, the work would not be interrupted, and the workers would be ready in case of an alarm. The man with the trumpet stayed close to Nehemiah so the alarm could be given immediately if trouble came and they were attacked.

So, in the same way, we as Christians must build and we must battle.  We cannot stop battling to build and we cannot stop building to battle.  We must do both simultaneously.  We see this principle in James:

James 4:7-8a 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

When Charles Spurgeon started his church magazine in 1865, he borrowed the title from Nehemiah and called the publication The Sword and Trowel (note – trowel is a small handheld tool with a flat, pointed blade, used to apply and spread mortar or plaster):

He said it was “a record of combat with sin and labor for the Lord.” It is not enough to build the wall; we must also be on guard lest the Enemy take it from us.

Building and battling are both a normal part of the Christian life if we are faithful disciples (Luke 14:28–33).

28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

** Question: What are some areas (in our personal lives, in the church and in the culture at large) that we as Christians need to be battling against?

** Question: What are some areas (in our personal lives, in the church and in the culture at large) that we as Christians need to be involved in building up?

There are 3 prominent things in this passage of Scripture – the plan, the promise and the perseverance:

The Plan

  1. Why do we need a plan? Vengeance of the enemy, vitalness of the work and vastness of the wall
    1. The vengeance of the enemy demands that there be a plan that we might have victory. We saw this in v.7-8 of this chapter:

      Nehemiah 4:7-87 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.

    2. The vitalness of the work. In the book of Nehemiah up until this point, the emphasis has been how important this matter of building the wall is to the people of Israel:

      Nehemiah 1:3-43 They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

    3. Because of the vastness of the wall:

      Nehemiah 4:19 – I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another.”

      They weren’t all together in one place when working on the wall, but they were individuals, working on individual parts of the wall – they were separated by great distances. In the same way, we as Christians are not always together all the time (maybe once or twice a week).  But, during the times when we’re not together, we may be living or working in close contact with unbelievers. We not called to just stay inside the “Christian bubble”, but we are to go out and penetrate our society and infect them with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20):

      18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

      God doesn’t want us to sit around as a bunch of Christians and hold hands all the time.  When we come together, it strengthens us.  But we’re not just one big happy family living together all the time (for example, like the Amish or Mennonites).  That’s going to happen in heaven.  Rather, we are soldiers of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4):

      3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

      And ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20):

      Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

      We have been sent out on a mission – and the mission is the lost world (Acts 13:47):

      “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'”

  2. Who’s involved in the plan? Everyone:

    Nehemiah 4:16 – From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah.

    The load bearers and the builders were both working and were holding their weapons.  The rulers were in a supporting role.  They were feeding the people and were encouraging them.

    Nehemiah 4:17-1817 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me.

    Those who built on the wall were the laborers – they had one hand doing their work and one hand holding their weapon.  It also speaks about those who carried burdens.  The trumpeters stood by Nehemiah.

    This is a beautiful Old Testament illustration of a New Testament concept – “Spiritual Gifts”.  So everybody was doing his job – everybody was involved.  1 Corinthians 12 talks about the importance of these Spiritual Gifts.  God gives every single believer in Jesus Christ a spiritual gift.  We’re all to be involved and using these gifts for “the common good” – it’s not just the pastor, it’s not just the elders, Nehemiah put everyone to work (1 Corinthians 12:4-7):

    4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

  3. What is the plan? The plan consisted of 3 elements – they were to be armed, active and alert:
    1. They are to be armed – prepared for battle. They were carrying their weapons while working.  We as believers need to be armed and the Word of God is our weapon (Hebrews 4:12):

      For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    2. They were to be active (v.15b-18):

      15b all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me.

    3. They were to be alert (v. 20) for the sound of the trumpet:

      Nehemiah 4:20a – “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.”

      No matter what the workers were doing, or where they labored on the wall, they all kept an ear open for the sound of the trumpet. What an example for us to follow as we await the return of the Lord!

      “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess. 4:16)

The Promise (v.20):

Nehemiah 4:20b – “Our God will fight for us.”

This concept is communicated a multitude of different times in Scripture.  This is God’s promise repeated so often to the nation of Israel.  The “Plan” involves something you can do.  The “Promise” involves something you receive as a result of God’s marvelous grace.    For example:

Ex. 14:14 – The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Deut. 20:4 – For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Joshua 10:24-2524 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”

Ps. 60:11-1211 Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. 12 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

2 Chronicles 32:7-87 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

Isaiah 54:17 – “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from Me,” declares the LORD

The Perseverance

Nehemiah 4:21 – So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared.

They didn’t let anything stop the building.  They “carried on” the work.  That involved hard work and long hours (from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared – that was probably a 15 hour day!)  That’s a long day, but that was required, because it was a large task.  Jesus says:

John 9:4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.

They were so dedicated to this purpose that they were always clothed and always armed.  It would’ve been uncomfortable, but they were always ready.  Even in the matter of sleeping, they were always on alert.  Nehemiah had instituted a “second shift” and required the workers from the other towns to stay in Jerusalem at night and help guard the city:

Nehemiah 4:22-2322 At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day.” 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.

It is often while we sleep that the Enemy does his most insidious work and so we must be on guard:

Matthew 13:25 – But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.

Nehemiah not only organized the workers and guards and encouraged them to trust the Lord, but he, as a good leader, also set the right kind of example for them (Nehemiah 4:23):

So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.

The “Perseverance” then, is a great picture of what the Christian life really is all about.  It’s a battle from the start to the finish.  But it’s also a building process from the start to the finish.

The late Dr. Alan Redpath explained why the Jews succeeded in getting their work done and keeping the enemy at bay. The people had:

  1. A mind to work (4:6):Nehemiah 4:6 – So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
  2. A heart to pray (4:9a) and an eye to watch (4:9b):Nehemiah 4:9 – But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.
  3. An ear to hear (4:20):Nehemiah 4:20 – At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

And this gave them the victory.

They also had a godly leader with the faith to stand. Nehemiah was a leader who served and a servant who led. He stayed on the job and was alert at all times. He inspected the city’s defenses every night and made sure that the guards were on duty.

“Therefore … be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58 NKJV)

My sources in preparing this talk:

  1. BE Determined: Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition (Old Testament Commentary on Nehemiah by Warren W. Wiersbe)
  2. Faith Life Study Bible Commentary (included with Logos Bible Software)
  3. The MacArthur Study Bible
  4. The “Bible Nuggets” app I wrote for Android (used the “topics” feature)
  5. Sermon on Nehemiah 4:15-23 by Paul E. Steele senior pastor of the ‘Valley Church’ Cupertino, CA from Sermon Audio (https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=816081429374):

Apologetics Class 3/4/2018

Today, we watched an hour long lecture from Greg Koukl titled “Never Read a Bible Verse”.  Here is the video:

Here is the note taking form with discussion questions I handed out before the video:

“Never Read a Bible Verse” – Greg Koukl (3-4-2018)

  1. Greg Koukl says, “When I was going to school at UCLA, I thought I was too s______ to become a Christian. I thought Christianity was for people who were, I’m ashamed to say it, d________ or u____________.”
  2. I’m really talking to followers of Christ, so I hope you brought your Bible.
  3. If I could give one talk, or impart one skill to a group of Christians it would be this teaching.
  4. Some of you are going to get mad at me, because I’m going to talk about a m____________ almost every single Christian makes when reading the Bible to understand what it m_________.
  5. Sometimes we seize on promises from the Old Testament and claim them as promises for ourselves, but they weren’t m_____________ to be taken that way.
  6. A young lady’s favorite verse was E______________ 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” She thought that this was a promise that applied directly to her.
  7. In 1551, French printer Robert Stefani’s added v_________ n_____________ to the Bible.
  8. The passage applies to us when understood in context, but the verse does not directly apply to us when taken in i_________________, out of context.
  9. When you face opposition on campus, is this God’s instruction for you … that you’re supposed to stay silent and He will fight for you? Read Matthew 10, that isn’t what he told the disciples!
  10. Chapter divisions are also a____________________, and were not part of the original.
  11. First problem: treating your Bible as if the verses s___________-a______________.
  12. Second problem: called the “j________ Bible verse”. Reading surreptitiously, waiting for a verse to jump out – indicating that the Holy Spirit is talking to you specifically about your situation.
  13. Example given was an adulterous woman who found the verse that says, “put on the new man”, and believed that it confirmed her decision to leave her husband and go with her boyfriend.
  14. This does not refer to reading Scripture, seeing something applies to your c_____________. E.g. Eph. 5:25, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church & gave himself up for her.”
  15. What is being talked about is when we isolate certain verses and get d________________ meanings from them than what was originally i_________________ by the author.
  16. People say, “the Lord gave me this verse.” People normally say that when it is something that wouldn’t naturally a___________ to their life.
  17. The person is saying, “this verse is true for me, but not necessarily true for you.” That is like r_________. Once we approach the Bible that way, we destroy the original meaning of the text.
  18. There is no biblical justification for finding p_________, p________________ messages in texts originally intended by God to mean something else. A text can never mean what it never meant.
  19. With the exception of P_____________, you can’t get the meaning of verses by reading them on their own. You have to get the meaning from the larger context.
  20. Four Biblical arguments Greg provides to bolster his claims:
    1. The Bible teaches that there are no p_____________ i_____________, 2 Peter 1:20-21
    2. The Bible teaches that S______________ is i______________, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
    3. The Bible teaches we are to be diligent & study to get the c______ meaning, 2 Tim. 2:15
    4. The Bible teaches we must guard correct meaning from being t_____________ or d_________________, Jude 3
  21. The scripture never even teaches this approach (getting your personal interpretation). You don’t see the d__________________ doing this.
  22. Rule: Never Read a Bible Verse. Never read only a single Bible verse – read a p_______________ or more to be confident that you’re getting the correct meaning, the correct flow of thought.
  23. Here are some verses that have been understood and used inappropriately:
    1. John 12:32 – if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself. Often used by worship leaders. But Jesus is talking about being c__________________.
    2. Proverbs 23:7 – as a man thinks in his heart so he is. Often used to demonstrate if you have a p___________ m______________ a______________ you’ll succeed.
    3. Sometimes by reading a passage, you can see what it does not mean.
    4. John 20:29 – I will not believe unless I put my finger in the hole. Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believe. This is commonly understood to mean that Jesus is commending a kind of b__________ f____________. In the very next verse, John gives the reason that he wrote this gospel.
    5. John 8:32 – you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. The context is John 8:31-36. Jesus is not just talking about any truth, but the truth that He provides. He needs talking about providing freedom f_________ s_______.
    6. Jeremiah 29:11 (the most frequently abused verse in the Bible) – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. When you read the New Testament, do you see a promised life of welfare and prosperity or rather calamity? Where do we get the idea, then, that God has promised welfare and not calamity for Christians? The context of Jeremiah 29:11 is Jeremiah 29:10-14. This promise is for a very s___________ g_________ of p____________, the Jews who are in captivity in Babylon.
  24. Our understanding of God’s word is foundational for our Christian lives. This is the Book that tells us about reality. This is the Book that tells us how to live. It’s critical that we u________________ it a____________________.
  25. If it is not being u__________________ in the sense that He gave it, it is not His word.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the “jumping Bible verse” approach to reading Scripture? Why is it wrong?
  2. How then should we approach the practice of Bible verse memorization? Is there anything wrong with memorizing just a single verse?
  3. How can we “speak up” when we hear someone quoting a verse out of context or in an inappropriate way?
  4. How can we “speak up” when someone is apparently using the “jumping Bible verse” approach?
  5. In which part of the Bible can verses typically be understood in isolation?
  6. What is the some of the ways to determine the meaning of a passage in its context?
  7. What’s the difference between receiving a “private, personal interpretation” of a passage and experiencing conviction or encouragement that occurs when a passage applies to your situation?
  8. Do you take exception with Greg on any of the “correct interpretations” he provides?

 

 

AWANA Teaching on Faith 2/28/2018

The topic at Awana Truth and Training Wednesday was faith – our memory verse for the night was Hebrews 11:6 –

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The teaching focused on Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calms the storm:

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!””

First, I started off by having them read the memory verse as a group, then asked the group to define “faith”. I got some answers. Then I moved on to show this short (~3 min) video:

The clubbers enjoyed it. I reinforced the 3 points in the video that define what faith is. Then I had a clubber read the passage (Mark 4:35-41). I went through answering the questions in the handbook and we were talking about the story in Mark 4:35-41. I then showed this short (~2 min) video that depicts what happened in that passage:

Afterward we talked about the passage and the disciple’s faith (or lack thereof). I reminded them that just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean that your life will be smooth sailing and that all your prayers will be answered. In fact Jesus promised that in this world you will have trouble.

Then we dismissed for book time. During book time I was able to have a wonderful time getting one of the 5th graders to consider why Jesus is called the Lamb of God (based on one of the questions in her silver sections). I saw the “light bulb go on”, and I love when that happens!

Then we had the clubbers go to the “store” to spend their Awana bucks for the snacks, then afterward games – it was kind of a “free for all” volleyball – it was fun.

At the end I reminded them that next week is hike night and that they’re not to wear open toed shoes. Then prayed, announced the leader from last week and gave the winners more snacks!

We got several gifts/cards from the clubbers since it was “heart for leaders” night. It was funny – during the main opening time, the Awana director was asking the clubbers for examples of good leaders – answers were, God, Einstein and one 5th grade clubber shouted out “Trump!”

mid-week apologetics booster (3-1-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2htOWOF4gqs
  2. Do You Love Your Reputation More than Christ? | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/do-you-love-your-reputation-more-christ#.Wo7JnOCp40M
  3. 50 Alleged Bible Contradictions Refuted | The Domain for Truth: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/50-alleged-bible-contradiction-refuted/
  4. Thoughts on urgency and apologetics Thinking Matters: http://thinkingmatters.org.nz/2017/11/thoughts-on-urgency-and-apologetics/
  5. William Tyndale: Reformer, Translator, Martyr | ReasonableTheology.org: https://reasonabletheology.org/william-tyndale-reformer-translator-martyr/
  6. Undesigned Scriptural Coincidences: The Ring Of Truth: https://crossexamined.org/undesigned-scriptural-coincidences-the-ring-of-truth/
  7. Is God Selfish and Vindictive? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/god-is-good/is-god-selfish-and-vindictive/
  8. Developing An Apologetic That Works | Faith & Self Defense: https://faithandselfdefense.com/2017/11/21/developing-an-apologetic-that-works/
  9. 10 Reasons to Accept the Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Fact: https://crossexamined.org/10-reasons-accept-resurrection-jesus-historical-fact/
  10. Just the Facts: The Minimalist Approach for Talking about the Resurrection Relevant Belief: https://relevantbelief.com/2017/04/13/just-the-facts-the-minimalist-approach-for-talking-about-the-resurrection/
  11. Saved by Faith or Works? by Living Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwR7zT9NtZM
  12. Which side of the abortion rights debate is backed by scientific evidence? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2018/02/27/which-side-of-the-abortion-rights-debate-is-backed-by-scientific-evidence/
  13. Sharing Your Faith: Embarrassing, Inappropriate and Unprofessional – Amy Orr-Ewing – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQllrDz1qU
  14. Is There Absolute Truth? by Living Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lvSGCaicEg
  15. Is There Meaning to Life? – Dr. Craig Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKGnXgH_CzE
  16. Apologetics: Getting to the Gospel as Soon as Possible Here’s the thing: https://heresthething.blog/2018/02/09/apologetics-getting-to-the-gospel-as-soon-as-possible/
  17. Greg Koukl – What is faith? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRuxYaiTg4g
  18. Did Humans Evolve From Apes; Examining the Anatomy – DyerThoughts: http://www.dyerthoughts.com/home/did-humans-evolve-from-apes-examining-the-anatomy
  19. Why did God Create People He Foreknew Would Go to hell? – GiveAnAnswer.org: https://www.giveananswer.org/why-did-god-create-people-he-foreknew-would-go-to-hell/
  20. What Is Christianity?: https://thereforegodexists.com/what-is-christianity/
  21. Contentment is its Own Apologetic – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/contentment-is-its-own-apologetic/
  22. A Life-Changing Trip for Students: https://mailchi.mp/8cc65cf8733b/a-life-changing-trip-for-students
  23. 10 Ways to Get Your Kids More Interested in Their Faith: http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-ways-to-get-your-kids-more-interested-in-their-faith/
  24. 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry: https://churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/160290-benjer_mcveigh_4_myths_about_teaching_apologetics_in_youth_ministry.html

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:13-17

Blessings to you all