AWANA Hike Night – Significance of Mountains in the Gospels

This past Wednesday was “hike night” at AWANA.  We do this once a year, normally in the spring.  Our Church is blessed to have a 14 acre property with 2 small mountains (really foothills) behind it.  The views from up there are really spectacular.  Here is the mountain we hiked up:


Here is the same foothill from the street-view:

From there, we could see all the mountains in our city (Ahwatukee):

After we got to the top of the mountain and looked around, we gathered all the 3rd to 6th grade clubbers around to pray.  I told them how Jesus hiked.  At least He must’ve since the Bible talks frequently about Him going up mountains to pray by Himself, to teach or to heal the multitudes, or to teach His disciples and to be transfigured before them.  He appointed His 12 disciples on a mountain (Mark 13:13-15).  He was even arrested at the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:47-57).  In fact the Mount of Olives is very significant in the whole Bible (it is found by name 14 times – most in the Gospels).  The first reference to it by name is in 2 Samuel 15:30, when David was fleeing from Absalom and the Bible says that the Messiah (Jesus) will return to this world again at the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).  At the end of Jesus’ life, He left this world after giving His disciples the great commission from a mountain (Matthew 28:16-20)   Here are the verses in the Gospels where Jesus is described as being on mountains:

Matthew 5:1-2
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying

Matthew 14:23
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone

Matthew 15:29-30
Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

Matthew 17:1-2
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Matthew 24:3
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Matthew 26:30
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said

Mark 3:13-15
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve–designating them apostles –that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

Mark 6:46
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 21:37
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

Luke 22:39
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him

John 6:3-5
Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?

John 6:15
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

John 8:1-2
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them

So many significant events happened on mountains in the Bible.  Moses received the 10 commandments on a mountain.  God showed him the Promised Land from a mountain.  Elijah had his show-down with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.

We are blessed to live in a village that has mountains we can climb. I’ve even talked our men’s Bible study into having our study next Thursday at the top of the same mountain where the AWANA club hiked to!  We’re going to bring fold-up chairs and when it becomes dark, we will use our smart phone flash lights to read. During our study, I plan to start by reviewing these passages about mountains in the Bible.  It ought to be a great time of communion and fellowship with each other and with our Lord!

mid-week apologetics booster (4-20-2017)

Good morning all,

I hope you’re having a wonderful week following our resurrected Savior, Jesus the Christ.  If you are following Him, your wonderful week is likely full of:

  1. Denying yourself
  2. Taking up your cross daily
  3. Following Him
  4. Losing your life for Him
  5. Not gaining the world
  6. Not being ashamed of Him or His words

Jesus made that clear when He said:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:23-26

Like Paul I hope we can all say, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”  Philippians 3:8-9  That’s the true joy, knowing Him.

And like anyone else we know and love, we will defend our belief in them in the face of attack, but with gentleness and respect – that’s Apologetics – Paul practiced it, Peter practiced it and Jesus practiced it.  Let us do likewise:

  1. Hank Hanegraaff’s Switch to Eastern Orthodoxy, Why People Make Such Changes, and Four Ways Evangelicals Might Respond: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/april/how-should-we-respond-to-hank-hanegraaffs-switch-to-orthodo.html
  2. 10 Worst Nations To Live In As A Christian | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/10-worst-nations-to-live-in-as-a-christian/
  3. Notecard Answers for Why I Believe the Bible | TGC: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/erikraymond/2015/10/15/notecard-answers-to-why-i-believe-the-bible/
  4. World-Famous Physicist Drops Bombshell “God” Discovery… Atheists Will NOT Like This: http://conservativetribune.com/physicist-bombshell-god-like/
  5. Funsized Tactics: Chapter 9 – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/funsized-tactics-chapter-nine/
  6. Why I Put My Son Back in Public School: http://thinkdivinely.com/why-i-put-my-son-back-in-public-school/
  7. It’s Time for Youth Pastors to CH.A.T. With Their Students: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/its-time-for-youth-pastors-to-ch-a-t-with-their-students/
  8. Gender-neutral Chromium code – I’m a software developer and during the course of technical reading I do for work, I ran into this.  I include this just to emphasize how this insanity is permeating every part of society now: https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/+/master/styleguide/gender_neutral_code.md
  9. Four Ways the Earth Is Fine-Tuned for Life | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/four-ways-the-earth-is-fine-tuned-for-life/
  10. Three Important Questions to Balance in the Wake of Gun Violence: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/three-important-questions-to-balance-in-the-wake-of-newtown/

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Blessings to you all

AWANA Game on Miracles 4/12/2017

Last Wednesday at AWANA, we’d planned to show a short video on evidence for the resurrection:

However, minutes before showing the video, we were concerned that, as a mixed group from 3rd to 6th grade, there may actually be some clubbers who still believed in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, so, since this was a central theme in the video (Jesus is not a fairy tale like Santa), we had to decide to not show the video.  I was very disappointed, because it was a great video with a great message at the right time.

So, we had to improvise.  Fortunately, I had a presentation stored on the computer in our room that I’d given several years ago and could reuse.  It was a game on guessing the miracle by looking at a painting / artist’s rendering of the miracle.  It was a fun time for the clubbers and the rewards for the points were given in candy 🙂  In case you would like to do the same thing with your children, here is the PowerPoint.  Here they are:

 

mid-week apologetics booster (4-13-2017)

Good morning beloved of God,

I hope you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter Sunday, contemplating the marvelous sacrifice and vindicating resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Your Kids Need to Think Critically About the Resurrection, because Secular Media Does Not: http://christianmomthoughts.com/your-kids-need-to-think-critically-about-the-resurrection-because-secular-media-does-not/
  2. How to T.R.A.I.N. Christian Students (Rather than Teach Them) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-to-t-r-a-i-n-christian-students-rather-than-teach-them/
  3. Does the Bible Have Contradictions? Quick Response. – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/does-the-bible-have-contradictions-quick-response
  4. Why Some Arminians and Calvinists Need to Calm Down – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/why-some-arminians-and-calvinists-need-to-calm-down/
  5. Why Should I Believe that Jesus Rose from the Dead? – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/why-should-i-believe-that-jesus-rose-from-the-dead/
  6. How to Defeat Modern Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions | Shadow To Light: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/how-to-defeat-modern-day-atheism-with-three-easy-questions/
  7. Five atheists who lost faith in atheism | Christian News on Christian Today: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/five.atheists.who.lost.faith.in.atheism/61784.htm
  8. 7 Reasons You’ll Be Glad You Saw The Case for Christ – Thinking Christian: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2017/04/7-reasons-youll-glad-saw-case-christ/
  9. A Brief Overview of the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/a-brief-overview-of-the-jehovahs-witness-worldview/
  10. God’s Word vs. Roman Catholic Tradition | HOME: http://www.reformingamericaministries.com/single-post/2017/04/03/God%25E2%2580%2599s-Word-vs-Roman-Catholic-Tradition
  11. 5 Signs You Glorify Self: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-signs-you-glorify-self
  12. How To Avoid Being A Hack As A Christian Apologist: http://thereforegodexists.com/avoid-hack-christian-apologist/
  13. GREG KOUKL EXPLAINS THE RIGHT WAY TO HANDLE AN ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE ATHEIST: https://winteryknight.com/2015/09/18/greg-koukl-expains-the-right-way-to-handle-an-angry-aggressive-atheist-2/
  14. Apologetics and Your Kids: Part 2 – Authenticity & Worldview: http://sharperiron.org/article/apologetics-and-your-kids-part-2-authenticity-worldview
  15. How to Raise Your Kids So They Will Remain in the Faith | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-to-raise-your-kids-so-they-will-remain-in-the-faith/
  16. “Debunking Christianity” Writer Becomes Christian Because Of Evidence | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/debunking-christianity-writer-becomes-christian-evidence/
  17. Critical Tactic: Surfacing the Question Beneath the Question – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/critical-tactic-surfacing-the-question-beneath-the-question
  18. What the Fallen Governor of Alabama Can Teach Us – No amount of privilege or power can shield us from temptation: https://stream.org/fallen-governor-alabama-can-teach-us/

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ “ The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ “ The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13

Have a blessed week!

mid-week apologetics booster (4-6-2017)

Hello Friends,

Last night I had the awesome opportunity to speak into the lives of 3rd to 6th grade AWANA clubbers by teaching them the word of God, which I’ve been doing once a month this year.  The Bible says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17b). Earlier in the same passage, Paul says “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14).  Also, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

I was overjoyed to be that “foolish preacher” last night.  The topic was Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”.  I’d planned the message for 5th and 6th graders, but we decided on the spot to bring the whole club into the same room and deliver the message to all of them.  The Gospel was preached.  If you would like to see the contents of the message (slides, speaking notes and a self-examination questionnaire), you can take a look at that on my blog.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 12 Reasons Millennials are OVER Church. I’ve included this link, not for apologetics value, but for the perspective of a millennial on why millennials are largely absent from the church.  In my opinion, I think he gets some things right and some things wrong.  If I get time, I would like to write a blog giving my comments on these 12 Reasons.  Make sure and read the comments at the bottom of the article too: http://www.recklesslyalive.com/12-reasons-millennials-are-over-church/
  2. Faith and Lifestyle of Born Again Christians Evaluated in Extensive National Survey | American Culture and Faith Institute.  One interesting stat from this article was “only 30% of born again adults have a biblical worldview”: https://www.culturefaith.com/faith-and-lifestyle-of-born-again-christians-evaluated-in-extensive-national-survey/
  3. Biblical Creation Confirmed [Podcast] | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/biblical-creation-confirmed-podcast
  4. Watch “Creation in the 21st Century Creation and Mathematics” on YouTube – this is really interesting.  It talks about how our current human population only makes sense in light of a young earth view: https://youtu.be/1oFAooUFbdY
  5. Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe? (Christian Mom Thoughts) – http://christianmomthoughts.com/is-how-we-live-more-important-than-what-we-believe-bad-secular-wisdom-series-1/
  6. How does God relate to time? http://creation.com/god-and-time
  7. Quest for Truth: Lee Strobel on The Case for Christ Movie | CBN.com – this movie opens this week: http://www1.cbn.com/movies/quest-truth-lee-strobel-case-christ-movie
  8. Dinosaurs ate birds – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/dinos-ate-birds
  9. The way it really is: little-known facts about radiometric dating – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/the-way-it-really-is-little-known-facts-about-radiometric-dating
  10. Fallacy of Composition | SES: http://ses.edu/fallacy-of-composition
  11. Christian Student Reprimanded for Disagreeing with Muslim Professor about the Resurrection – Christian News Headlines: http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/christian-student-is-reprimanded-for-disagreeing-with-muslim-professor-about-the-resurrection.html
  12. College drops charges against Christian student who challenged Muslim prof’s claims about Jesus – The College Fix: https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/31930/
  13. Did Jesus Ever Do Apologetics? – Hope’s Reason: https://www.stephenjbedard.com/2016/10/21/jesus-ever-apologetics/
  14. Two Things to Remember When Discussing Creation with Other Christians | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/articles/two-things-to-remember-when-discussion-creation-with-other-christians#.WOA9as-p7qD
  15. A Look at Jewish Messianism: A Crucified Messiah: What An Embarrassment! – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/a-look-at-jewish-messianism-a-crucified-messiah-what-an-embarrassment-3/
  16. Microevolution versus Macroevolution: Two Mistakes | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution/
  17. The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem – AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/01/20/the-scandal-of-biblical-illiteracy-its-our-problem-4/
  18. Christian parents, your kids aren’t equipped to be public school missionaries – Matt Walsh: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/matt-walsh-christian-parents-your-kids-arent-equipped-to-be-public-school-missionaries/
  19. A Very Brief Review of Arguments for the Existence of the Soul: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/a-very-brief-review-of-arguments-for-the-existence-of-the-soul-bible-insert/
  20. The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation About God: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-best-question-to-ask-when-starting-a-conversation-about-god/
  21. Top 5 Reasons Most College Students Give Up their Christian Faith – Summit Ministries (at the end, this was an advertisement, but I thought it was a good article): https://www.summit.org/resources/articles/top-5-reasons-college-students-give-christian-faith/
  22. Study: Only 4 Percent of Millennials Hold a “Biblical Worldview” | The Stream: https://stream.org/study-4-percent-millennials-hold-biblical-worldview/

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  Matthew 20:29-34

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Teaching on Romans 1:16 (4/5/2017)

Today, Lord willing, I will be teaching the AWANA 5th and 6th grade clubbers on one of their memory verses, Romans 1:16.  Below are the slides and the speaking notes (above each slide), as well as a self examination survey (Are You Ashamed of the Gospel):


Can anyone quote this verse from memory?

Someone please read it.  This is a rich verse!  There’s so much in it. Just look at all these important words in this verse!  We’re going to go through this phrase by phrase to make sure you understand it.

What does it mean to be ashamed? (wait for answers)  Ashamed means that you’re embarrassed about something or someone and you don’t want to be associated with them.

Our verse tells us that Paul is not ashamed of “The Gospel” this word appears 91 times in the New Testament, so it’s a pretty important word.  What does the word Gospel mean? (wait for answers)

The word Gospel literally means “Good News”.  Let’s read this definition together: “the Gospel is the Good News that Jesus died and rose again and offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life if we will repent and trust Him as Savior and Lord.”  That is what Paul is not ashamed of.

The Gospel is only made possible because of what happened on Good Friday and Easter.  It is only made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

If there was only Christmas (Jesus coming into the world), there would be no Gospel – no good news.  If He only came into the world, but didn’t die for our sins and rise again, we would not even know about Jesus today – and our salvation would be impossible!

This verse says the Gospel is “the power of God”. The word translated “power,” is the Greek word dunamis. That is the word from which we get “dynamite.”

What is the Gospel powerful for?  The next phrase talks about “salvation”.  For the salvation of everyone who believes.

Salvation, means to rescue, to de­liver, to set free.  Talk about picture of guy drowning…

Like the guy drowning in the water, we also need to be saved from something:

1.From the Penalty of Sin – Hell / the Wrath of God – Romans 5:9 says we are “saved from God’s wrath” through Jesus’ blood shed for us.

2.From the Power of Sin – We are no longer slaves to sin – Romans 6:14 says “for sin shall not be your master”

3.From the Presence of Sin (one day) – when we get to Heaven – Revelation 21:27 says “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful

(may want to ask if they know what sin is – talk about sins of commission [doing or thinking wrong things] and sins of omission [not doing what you know you ought to do – James 4:17])

Then it says “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”. Most of the first believers in Christ were Jews.  But the Gospel was intended for everyone. Jesus said that He was sent to the Jews (Matthew 15:24). Paul initially tried to share the Gospel with the Jews, but they opposed him, so he went on to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6). You and I are (most likely) Gentiles.

Now that we’ve gone through the verse one phrase at a time, do you have any questions? (wait for questions)

Now, before we continue, I want to make sure you know that none of what we’re talking about here applies to you if you’re not saved.  So, I have to stop here and ask you point blank – are you saved?  Only you know the answer to that question.  I would suspect that for many of you the answer is a definite yes.  The Bible says “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Now back to our verse Romans 1:16 – I’d like to focus in on the part of the verse where it says “I am not ashamed of the gospel”.  This is very important for us as Christians.  God specifically says in His word that He does not want us to be ashamed.

In fact Jesus specifically warned us not to be ashamed of Him and His words. In Luke 9:26, He says “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  Matthew 10:32-33

The Apostle Paul also tells us in other places not to be ashamed, for example in 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul says “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

The Apostle Peter tells us, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name

Then of course, there’s the AWANA verse: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

So, the Bible is really clear – God does not want us to be ashamed of the Gospel – He wants us to be proud of it and to share it whenever the opportunity comes.

Now we’re going to take a little self-assessment survey.  You don’t have to turn this in and I won’t ask you your answers. It’s to get you to think about whether you’re ashamed of the Gospel.

(here is the survey that I handed out to the clubbers to have them work on it – if they have enough time, in class)

Self-examination Test: Are You Ashamed of the Gospel?

Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Question Your Answer
Do your friends and those at school know you’re a Christian?
Have you ever talked with someone about your faith?
Have you ever invited someone to church or AWANA?
In a group, if others were making fun of Christianity, would you speak up?
Are you worried about offending people?
Are you worried about pleasing people or pleasing God?
Do you care more about what people think of you than what God thinks of you?
Are you afraid that you won’t be able to answer people’s objections or questions about your faith?
Have you ever had to go against the crowd when they were all doing something wrong?  If so, when they asked you why did you mention your faith?

Finally, this is my last night of the AWANA year for teaching the 5th and 6th graders.  It has been such a pleasure teaching all of you, that I want to give you some small gifts as a token of my appreciation.

(end of presentation)


I pray that this teaching would draw any non-Christians in the group to repent and place their faith in Christ, and that it would embolden any Christians in the group to not be ashamed and to share their faith with those in their circle of influence.  Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and one of the things He has commanded us (that we have to teach to the disciples we’re making), is the command to go and make disciples.  So, I’m trying to teach the believers to go and make more believers – it’s a self-replicating process – that’s how God designed it!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-30-2017)

Good morning friends,

Once again, I had the awesome privilege of serving in AWANA (3rd – 6th grade) last night.  Our Pastor had come to AWANA last week to talk about what a pastor is.  He described that pastor means shepherd and that Jesus is described in Scripture as being the Good Shepherd.  Later in the evening, one of the clubbers asked a really good question.  The question was, ‘If God is a Shepherd, then why does he allow bad people who hurt and kill others?’  It’s hard to give a quick answer to a question like that in a minute during AWANA handbook time, so we decided to show this excellent little ~2 minute video to the clubbers at the start of Counsel Time last night:

This really hit home with the clubbers!  They were able to summarize the message of the video and make additional comments on the topic.  In fact it was so popular, many of them wanted to watch it again!  But when we told them it would take away from their game time, they opted not to 🙂  It was such a blessing to see these precious young clubbers excited and interacting with this topic, thinking deeply about their faith!  We also had a great sword drill during Counsel Time, focusing on God’s faithfulness (e.g. 2 Thess. 3:3).  I pray this prayer for them:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. ”  Numbers 6:24-26

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 5 apologetics arguments Christians should avoid: https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/5-apologetics-arguments-Christians-should-avoid
  2. Watch “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” on YouTube – this is really good – 4 ½ minutes – cartoon video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyZ1l7faKSw
  3. Spiritual Inventory Questionnaire – I ran into this while searching for some spiritual inventory questions.  It is REALLY extensive (10 pages long), but seems to be really good – note: it is a PDF file: http://www.bethanychurch.com/home/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/1_Personal-Spiritual-Inventory.pdf
  4. Sanctuary Cities in the Bible: https://historyforthechristianfaith.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/sanctuary-cities-in-the-bible/
  5. CE 5: You’re Only Christian Because You Were Born in the West – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/ce-5-youre-only-christian-because-you-were-born-in-the-west-2/
  6. Watch “Tim Keller on evangelism in the 21st century” on YouTube (first step is let ‘em know you go to church): https://youtu.be/DHQBoLo31Ns
  7. The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/world/middleeast/the-jihadi-who-turned-to-jesus.html
  8. Is Christianity Jewish?  Dr. Michael Brown:
    1. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 1/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kjkm6XS149s
    2. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 2/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cwDWnXdyV9U
  9. Was Jesus’ Death & Resurrection Copied From Krishna? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/was-jesus-death-resurrection-copied-from-krishna/
  10. Top 10 Lies Christians Believe: http://www.unsealed.org/2016/05/top-10-lies-christians-believe.html
  11. Christianity is rejected because of dislike rather than rational reasons | Real Life Apologetics: https://reallifeapologetics.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/is-the-rejection-of-christianity-an-emotional-or-a-rational-decision/
  12. The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians | PragerU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytdMUddGe-U
  13. Tell Someone | Harvest Online Courses – free course with video teaching on evangelism sent to your inbox: https://tellsomeone.harvest.org/register/tell-someone/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=paid&utm_content=harvestamerica&utm_campaign=tellsomeonecourse&hs_fb_account_id=22405970&hs_fb_campaign_id=6052164846641&hs_fb_adset_id=6053392481041&hs_fb_ad_id=6070678863441&hs_parent_creative_id=6070679192041&source
  14. C. Boycott Over Bathroom Bill Fails Magnificently: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/03/22/this-just-in-boycott-of-n-c-over-bathroom-bill-dies-with-a-whimper/
  15. How Christianity Led to the Rise of Modern Science: http://www.equip.org/article/christianity-led-rise-modern-science/
  16. Stop Using the Term “Fetus”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/stop-using-the-term-fetus/

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:11-12

Blessing to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-23-2017)

Good morning friends,

I sincerely hope you’re enjoying your week!  I was blessed again to be a Community Judge at a homeschool speech and debate tournament – the Camelback Classic!  What an event and what an encouragement to see these young people so proficiently able to defend the faith and to speak intelligently about current events!  I was judge for 2 different events:

Apologetics – Semi Final Round – Saturday morning.  Here are the questions that I judged:

  1. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Mediator?  Why does this matter?
  2. What does John 1:1-3 mean when it says that Jesus is the Word?  Why does this matter?
  3. How would you respond to the common observation: “Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, but certainly not the Son of God”?
  4. What does it mean to call Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?  Why does this matter?
  5. Is the Resurrection essential to the Christian faith?
  6. Compare and contrast the origins of the Quran and the origins of the Bible?
  7. Are Mormons Christians?
  8. What are unique features of Christianity that set it apart from all other religions of the world?

Extemporaneous (Current Events) – Friday morning.  Here were the questions that I judged:

  1. What will be President Obama’s legacy?
  2. Is ‘Alt Right’ the new face of American Conservatism?
  3. Will conservative Republican congressmen scuttle the repeal of Obamacare?
  4. Will punishing the media backfire on President Trump?
  5. Was it wrong for Attorney General Sessions to ask all of the federal district attorneys to resign?
  6. Will President Trump’s affinity for Russian President Putin last?
  7. Will the “Resistance” topple President Trump?

I was greatly encouraged to watch them “make the case”.  My thought was, could any adults get up and give extemporaneous talks on any of these topics?  Maybe, but it would certainly be a challenge.  If you want to be encouraged about the next generation of Christians being raised up, I would highly recommend that you volunteer to be a community judge.  The local events occur in November (Cactus Clash) and March (Camelback Classic).

Here are your weekly links:

  1. The Source of Our Fear When It Comes to Evangelism: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-source-of-our-fear-when-it-comes-to-evangelism/
  2. Carbon-14, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils: http://creationstudies.org/articles/science/geology/196-radiometric-dating-and-fossils
  3. Three Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/three-things-the-gospel-authors-would-have-never-invented-about-jesus-4/
  4. Watch “G.O.S.P.E.L. – Propaganda (Full Video)” on YouTube this is a “rap” presentation of the Gospel: https://youtu.be/jyYFxp7apl4
  5. Reasons To Believe : 12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 1: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/12-evidences-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus–part-1
  6. This Will Help Quiet Pro-Lifers Speak Up | Jim Daly: http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/will-help-quiet-pro-lifers-speak/
  7. Did Jesus & His Disciples Speak Greek? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/did-jesus-his-disciples-speak-greek/
  8. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/st.-patrick-reclaiming-the-great-missionary
  9. Answering another abortion argument: http://creation.com/abortion-answer
  10. Bible Contradictions:
    1. HOW TO ANSWER ALLEGED BIBLE DISCREPANCIES AND CONTRADICTIONS: http://christianapologeticstraining.com/how-to-answer-alleged-bible-discrepancies-and-contradictions
    2. Are There Any Errors in the Bible? http://normangeisler.com/are-there-any-errors-in-the-bible/
    3. Watch “Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?” on YouTube – Tim Barnett – we watched this video in our apologetics class Sunday: https://youtu.be/YQgR3BrBhss
  11. This is the ‘Single Greatest Contributor’ to Millennials Abandoning Faith According to New Book – Faithwire: http://www.faithwire.com/2017/03/09/author-reveals-the-single-greatest-contributor-he-says-has-led-so-many-millennials-to-abandon-faith/
  12. Why Apologists are Not Reaching Pop Culture – Free Thinking Ministries: http://freethinkingministries.com/why-apologists-are-not-reaching-pop-culture/
  13. CNN religion quiz needs to take Christianity seriously | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/19/cnn-religion-quiz-needs-to-take-christianity-seriously.html
  14. Here we go again: Will someone please explain Christianity to the Associated Press? — GetReligion: https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2017/3/20/here-we-go-again-will-someone-please-explain-christianity-to-the-associated-press
  15. How to Unmask a Hardened Skeptic: http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/skeptic-scoffer.php
  16. Disney:
    1. A Beast of a Decision? Should Christians Watch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/should-christians-watch-disneys-beauty-and-beast/
    2. Is It Time to Kiss Disney Goodbye? https://answersingenesis.org/family/homosexuality/time-to-kiss-disney-goodbye/
  17. Romans 1:16:
    1. What does it mean to not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)? https://www.gotquestions.org/not-ashamed-Gospel.html
    2. The Power of God for Salvation | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/power-god-salvation/
    3. Romans – Wayne Barber/Part 5 | John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/bible/bible-studies/romans/romans-wayne-barberpart-5/
    4. Watch “I Am Not Ashamed of the TRUE Gospel. (Paul Washer)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vwpm1G5pVho
    5. Six Signs That You May Be Ashamed of the Gospel: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/six-signs-you-may-be-ashamed-of-the-gospel/
  18. Watch “An Atheist’s Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/h4j7FBYXQKs
  19. Watch “Living Waters University, Kevin” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4Uftyxz0SWk
  20. Watch “I’m A Christian, But I Don’t Read My Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jvBmRGD8FuI
  21. Watch “I’ve Kinda Given Up On God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jPNslXAxAvI
  22. Watch “Ricky Gervais & God’s Existence” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EM-53Bq_U6M
  23. Watch “Ten of the Top Scientific Facts in the Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/t2sMJMXDiH4
  24. 17 States Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortions. Does Yours? | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/17/17-states-force-taxpayers-to-fund-abortions-does-yours/
  25. Watch “Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2htOWOF4gqs
  26. Watch “Shabir Ally & Dr.Nabeel Qureshi – What is GOD really like? part 1 of 2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dghjlgnZzuY
  27. Ten quick responses to atheist claims | Christian News on Christian Today: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ten.quick.responses.to.atheist.claims/41439.htm
  28. Don’t All Religions Basically Say the Same Thing? (Quick Video) – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/dont-all-religions-basically-say-the-same-thing-quick-video
  29. Let’s Make Jesus Less … Offensive! | The Stream (Satire): https://stream.org/make-jesus-less-offensive/
  30. Remember Those Exciting “Earth-Like” Planets of the TRAPPIST-1 System? The Honeymoon Is Over | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/03/remember-those-exciting-earth-like-planets-of-the-trappist-1-system-the-honeymoon-is-over/
  31. The Shack Author Rejects Biblical Substitutionary Atonement: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=703
  32. Frank Turek podcast and a guy calls and asking about predestination at about 34 minutes into the show. Frank gives interesting analogy about God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will: http://subspla.sh/ohvtxka

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  Galatians 1:6-8

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-16-2017)

Good morning friends,

I was reminded again last night of the importance of heeding the words of 1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3, Colossians 4:5-6 & 2 Timothy 24-26 – being ready to give an answer.  Our AWANA Truth & Training leader gave our 3rd to 6th grade clubbers a chance to ask questions about the Bible and their faith last night during counsel time.  What a great session it was.  Once we got them started, the questions were non-stop and we had to cut it off at the end due to running out of time.  Here were some of the questions asked by these young, precious ones:

  1. Who made God?  How could He just always be there?
  2. Why did God make hell?
  3. Why did God create the first people if He knew they were going to sin?
  4. Why did God put the tree in the garden if He knew they were going to eat from it?
  5. Why did God make Satan?
  6. Why doesn’t God (Jesus) come back to earth to prove to everyone that He exists?
  7. How do we know Angels and Devils exist?
  8. (the answer to the prior question prompted this one) How do we know the Bible is true?
  9. Why did God love Satan more than any other angel?
  10. Why did God make people if He knew they were going to be evil and bad like stealing things and killing?

It was a 20 minute session and, wow, were the clubbers engaged and loving it… Unfortunately, I don’t have the time (or the memory) to remember all the answers the leaders gave, but it was a great session – they asked tough questions – deep questions.  We even had one of the 4th grade clubbers answering one of the questions and she was right on target!

I pray to God that this session was meaningful for these clubbers.  It is so important that kids at this age know that they are welcome to ask questions and that it is OK to have questions and even some doubts.  And it is extremely important that we adults have done what Peter has stated (as a command for all believers) “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you”.  That means you can’t be “winging it” at the time you’re asked.  That command implies that you have (already) been preparing yourself through study prior to the child asking the question.  I truly believe that the parents are the number 1 apologists in our culture.  We need to be ready when the question is asked.  Being ready can consist of having answer ready “off the top of your head” or knowing about a resource that you can get to that explains the answer.

Because this is such an important command, I continue to bombard you with these articles and videos each week.  I pray that you find something useful here, coming just at the right time!

  1. When the emotions are gone, what’s left? Engaging the mind as well as the heart is vital: http://creation.com/emotion-gone
  2. Why would a loving God allow death and suffering? – This is a very good (and very long) article that gives comprehensive, Biblically based answers to this issue – excellent!  http://creation.com/why-death-suffering
  3. The Absence Of A Papacy In Early Responses To Christianity: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-absence-of-papacy-in-early.html
  4. Indulgences – CHRISTIAN HISTORY TODAY (March 15th) – “My guess is that if Pope Leo X knew what he would set off by allowing the sales of indulgences on March 15, 1517, he’d re-think that one. The building of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican had gone way over budget (it would be almost 80 years until it would be completed) and the Pope’s financial adviser suggested the idea of buying an indulgence would help get a repentant sinner out of purgatory sooner and it was a “win-win”. Then a regional indulgences salesman stopped by the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and ran into a priest named Martin Luther who decided he’d read about the sale of indulgences in the Bible and found no basis for it. The rest, as we like to say, was history.
  5. Questioning Jesus’ Existence: http://breakpoint.org/2017/03/questioning-jesus-existence/
  6. Staying Outside The Shack | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/staying-outside-the-shack/
  7. Parents, Hollywood wants to brainwash your kids. Don’t let them: http://www.theblaze.com/podcasts/matt-walsh-parents-hollywood-wants-to-brainwash-your-kids-dont-let-them/
  8. Does James 1:5 teach about praying for a testimony? http://www.mrm.org/james-15-testimony
  9. Celebrating gender confusion: http://creation.com/celebrating-gender-confusion
  10. Convergent evolution of crocodile and dolphin skull shapes | Uncommon Descent: http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/convergent-evolution-of-crocodile-and-dolphin-skull-shapes/
  11. A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely-Tuned Cosmos (with Dr. Luke Barnes) – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/a-fortunate-universe-life-in-a-finely-tuned-cosmos-with-dr-luke-barnes/
  12. Biblical Faith VS. Blind Faith | Crossexamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/biblical-faith-vs-blind-faith/
  13. Every American Needs Know Qur’an (Bill Federer) | Video | C-SPAN.org: https://www.c-span.org/video/?314071-10/every-american-needs-know-quran
  14. Watch “How to Listen to the Lord (Mark 4:21-34)” on YouTube (this is a John MacArthur sermon I watched on Sunday since I couldn’t go to church because I was sick): https://youtu.be/RFzGD7S-w3g
  15. DOES GOD REALLY HATE ESAU? http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/05/25/does-god-really-hate-esau/
  16. Why did the early church decide to indoctrinate a canon of New Testament books in the first place? https://www.josh.org/early-church-decide-indoctrinate-canon-new-testament-books-first-place/
  17. Will We Ever Colonize Mars? http://www.icr.org/article/9900
  18. Greg Koukl Stand to Reason podcast – at about 26:30 into the show, an atheist calls in (he calls himself the “Street Epistemologist”).  They are talking about the difference between mind and brain and whether there is a “non-physical realm”.  It is quite a long call (and very cordial, not adversarial at all): http://subspla.sh/0376859
  19. What You Can Learn From the Pilgrims (Bill Federer): http://subspla.sh/7277698
  20. Watch “Wretched: Nothing made everything.” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sK2yNkTuJkY
  21. 3 Horrific Consequences When a Nation Rejects God — Charisma News: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/63453-3-horrific-consequences-when-a-nation-rejects-god
  22. Q&A with Sam Allberry: Same-Sex Attraction, Synod Remarks, and Why The Gospel Is Truly Good News For All | RZIM: http://rzim.org/global-blog/qa-with-sam-allberry-same-sex-attraction-synod-remarks/
  23. Planned Parenthood abortion quotas: https://m.facebook.com/video_redirect/?src=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent.fphx1-2.fna.fbcdn.net%2Fv%2Ft42.1790-4%2F16616327_245823025863146_1673784158666620928_n.mp4%3Fefg%3DeyJ2ZW5jb2RlX3RhZyI6InN2ZV9zZCJ9%26oh%3D6e69f150dc01e34d1c5525689be4b732%26oe%3D58CABADF&source=misc&id=10154959592988728&refid=52&__tn__=F
  24. Here’s 5 things to say when discussing Planned Parenthood: http://www.liveactionnews.org/heres-5-things-to-say-when-discussing-planned-parenthood/
  25. Watch “Hollywood and God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Fohrk2jt0LA
  26. Watch “Mark Spence & Shaw the atheist” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dfsS3BB5C-I
  27. Book of Job: https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Job.html
  28. Cannabis boosts risk of stroke and heart attack, independent of tobacco, new study finds: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/09/cannabis-boosts-risk-stroke-heart-attack-independent-tobacco/

Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. ” Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear ; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see ; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. “Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. “Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God.”  2 Kings 19:14-19

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-3-2017)

Good morning friends,

I’ve been sick the last few days, that’s why I’m a day late today.  Here are your weekly links:

  1. Don’t Expect Your Kids to Care What the Bible Says Unless You’ve Given Them Reason to Believe It’s True: http://christianmomthoughts.com/dont-expect-your-kids-to-care-what-the-bible-says-unless-youve-given-them-reason-to-believe-its-true/
  2. The Need for Apologetics in the Local Church – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/the-need-for-apologetics-in-the-local-church/
  3. Christ Journey Church Apologetics Series – Pastor’s introduction, “This series is designed to help believers think and to help thinkers believe.” – interview with John Lennox, PhD: https://youtu.be/KFLIyX-J_-E
  4. Watch “The Gospel Message (HD)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/n1Ex2FpwqvI
  5. Watch “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus | Nabeel Qureshi Testimony” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/HVBiELaxzAs
  6. Watch “Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox | The God Delusion Debate” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/zF5bPI92-5o
  7. The Three D’s of Tolerance | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-three-ds-of-tolerance/
  8. The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/religion-cause-war
  9. Discovery of 7 Earth-Sized Planets | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/extrasolar-planets/7-earth-sized-planets-trappist-1/
  10. 3 Textual Variants Every Christian Should Know About – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/3-textual-variants-every-christian-should-know-about
  11. How Abortion Led an Atheist Feminist Professor, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, to Christianity. | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/how-abortion-led-an-atheist-feminist-professor-elizabeth-fox-genovese-to-christianity/
  12. 10 Signs You Might be Rejecting Biblical Authority Without Realizing It: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/10-signs-you-might-be-rejecting-biblical-authority-without-realizing-it
  13. Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/testimonies-ex-roman-catholic-priests
  14. Watch “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Session 2) – Norman Geisler, PhD” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/FNsdkBK4iO8
  15. You Don’t Need to Believe in God to Know What’s Right and Wrong, But… | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/you-dont-need-believe-god-know-whats-right-and-wrong#.WLYoP8tlDqA
  16. Tucker vs. Bill Nye the Science Guy on Climate Change ~9 min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN5L2q6hfWo

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Sam 12:15-23

Blessings to you all

AWANA Teaching on Titus 3:5

I’ve prepared my monthly teaching for the 5th and 6th grade AWANA clubbers.  This month the verse is Titus 3:5.  Below are the slides and notes I will be using to present this material this coming Wednesday evening.  My timing of this took 17 minutes.  First is the notes for talking about the slide, then the slide image:

Today, we’re going to be talking about one of your memory verses – Titus 3:5.  This is from the Ultimate T&T Challenge Book 1 (Challenge 3:6 – pg. 65)

slide1

Here is that verse – who would like to read it?  “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

slide2

Now, I’m going to read the verse in context.  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” This passage was written by the Apostle Paul to Titus, who he calls “my true son in our common faith” (1:4).

slide3

Titus was someone that Paul left in charge of the church he’d established on the island of Crete.  You can see this on the map here.  As you can see, this is in the Mediterranean Sea, just southeast of Greece and southwest of Turkey.

slide4

I want you to notice several things about this passage.  (click) The first part of the passage describes how Paul and Titus used to be before their conversion to Christianity.  Consider verse 3 …

slide5

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” They weren’t acting very nice – they were disobedient and enslaved by passions and pleasures.   They “lived in malice and envy”.  (click) Do you know what malice is?

slide6

The New Testament dictionary describes Malice like this: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, depravity, evil, trouble.

slide7

But then, God intervened in the situation.  It says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”.  So, while we were still sinning and rebelling against God, He stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ and saved us.  The Bible (click) says “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Notice that Titus 3:5 says that God saved us “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy”.  This is very important – we did not and cannot do anything to merit salvation.

slide8

Instead, we are receiving God’s mercy.  That’s the word used in Titus 3:5, and it means that we are not getting something bad that we deserve (punishment).  Mercy is kind of the opposite of grace, which is where we are getting something we don’t deserve (God’s favor).

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The meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited favor from God.  Later in this passage (v.7) it says that we are “justified by His grace”.  There are many places in the Bible that talk about this concept of Grace – the word appears 156 places in the New Testament to be exact.  You need to understand that (click) this is a uniquely Christian concept.  Some people wonder what sets Christianity apart from other world religions.  Outside of Jesus, this is probably the main thing.  No other world religion has a concept of Grace or unmerited favor from God – you always have to do something to please the god of other religions.  Let’s talk about a few of them.

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First, Judaism.  This is the Jewish people – they believe in what we would call the “Old Testament”.  They call it the Tanakh.  Remember, we believe much of what the Jewish people believe, because we also believe what is written in the Old Testament.  However, the Jewish people largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah.  The New Testament talks a lot about the Jews and their beliefs.  They believe that being a Jewish person (a descendant of Abraham) and adherence to the Law is what will get them into heaven.  However, the Bible says “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20)
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Next, Islam.  These are Muslims.  They believe that God will weigh up your good deeds and bad deeds and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you will go to heaven, otherwise hell.
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What about Mormonism?  That’s also referred to as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” or sometimes abbreviated LDS.  They believe that good works factor into their salvation.  The book of Mormon is what they call their scriptures (which they say is “the most correct of any book on earth”). It says “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”  By the way, who can say that they have done everything they can do?  No one!  Contrast this with the Bible which says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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Then there’s Hinduism. Hinduism is a very diverse religion that began in India.   They have the concept of Karma and Re-incarnation, which are connected. Karma, is a system they believe in where your behavior, whether good or bad, will affect what happens to you in the future – both in this life and the life to come.  They believe that Karma affects what you are re-incarnated as.  If you’ve led a good life, you will be re-incarnated as a higher life form (click) (maybe a King), but if you’ve lived a bad life, you will be re-incarnated as a lower life form (click) (maybe a bug).  But the Bible says “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27)

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For example, Fakirs are holy men in India.  Here is a fakir sitting on a bed of nails to demonstrate his religious devotion to the gods. They believe that eventually, if you keep living a better and better life each time, you work your way up through the “caste system” to be able to escape the cycle of birth and re-birth and achieve Nirvana. Nirvana, they say, is a place of perfect peace and happiness – it is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person’s individual desires and suffering go away.

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Here is a Hindu devotee lying on a bed of nails, being carried by fellow devotees during a religious festival in India. Hundreds of faithful devotees offer sacrifices and perform acts of devotion during the festival in the hopes of winning the favor of Hindu god Shiva and ensuring the fulfillment of their wishes.

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Finally, Buddhism – Buddhism is based primarily on the teachings of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama – a spiritual teacher from India who lived from approximately 563BC to 483BC). Buddhism incorporates a variety of religious traditions, beliefs and practices. They believe in what is called (click) the “Eightfold Path”.  These are the “works” they have to do to achieve nirvana or the state of enlightenment.  Like Hinduism, they believe in the cycle of re-incarnation leading to nirvana, but they reject the “caste system”.

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So, in summary, all of the other religions we’ve talked about, require man to work (often hard) for their salvation – to please God, but in Christianity salvation is a free gift.

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Think about a gift – like a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.  Do you work for that? No.

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When someone hands you a gift, do you take out your wallet and pay them for it?  Of course not.  That would be an insult!

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So, religion doesn’t save you – Jesus saves you.  Religion is man reaching up to God

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Christianity is God reaching down to men.

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Now, I want to make sure you know that although we’re not saved by good works, that does not mean we’re not to do good works.  Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” and the book of James tells us that faith without works (good deeds) is dead. (James 2:26)

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Now, back to our verse. The passage goes on to talk about the results of our salvation.  It says “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”.  What does justified mean? Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God.

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Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous. As this graphic shows, justification is where Jesus Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, and our guilt is credited to Jesus as he was on the cross.

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The verse talks about “heirs”…  What does “heirs” mean? The literal meaning of heir is “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

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An heir is a person who receives something of value from a father. The Bible sometimes uses the word heir to describe us as recipients of a gift from God

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Let’s wrap this up – our verse Titus 3:5 teaches us:

  1. (click) We can do nothing to merit eternal life (salvation) from God.
  2. (click) We are saved by God’s mercy, which is not getting the punishment we deserve for our sins.
  3. (click) We are justified (made right with God) by His grace (unmerited favor), which is a uniquely Christian teaching – all the other religions we talked about require the person to do good works to be accepted by God
  4. (click) All we can do is choose to receive His salvation by faith.
  5. (click) Since we’ve received this free gift, we can and should choose to thank Him by devoting the rest of our lives to loving Him and others.

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Who has questions either about our passage, what grace or mercy means or about the other religions we talked about?

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Questions (with answers) for AWANA

Next Wednesday, we’re going to have a question and answer session in our 3rd – 6th grade AWANA club.   If the clubbers are not asking any questions, we can use some of the following questions as starters…  In preparation for that I’ve attempted to give some answers to these questions:

  1. What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?
    1. First of all, everyone has a knowledge of God. Since there is a creation, there must be a Creator (Romans 1:18-25, Romans 2:14-15, Psalm 19:1-3). So since everyone has knowledge of God they can’t make the excuse that they don’t know that He exists. But God also promises us in His word that if we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:26-27). And that starts with the realization that God exists because of the creation that we all can see. See the case of Cornelius in Acts 10.  He knew God existed, but He didn’t know anything about Jesus, and God heard his prayer and sent Peter to him to share the Gospel about Jesus. Jesus said “anyone who comes to Me I will never drive away” (John 6:37b). So the offer is open to everyone. There are also many cases of people who receive dreams about Jesus in countries where it’s illegal to preach about Jesus (e.g. Middle East), and therefore no one would have ever known about him.  Anyone who responds to the light that they have (who seeks), will be given more…
  2. Is Christ the only way to God?
    1. What do you think Jesus said on this topic? (John 10:7-9; 27-33; 12:44-48; 14:6, Matthew 7:13-14; 24-27; 28:18-20, Mark 14:61-63). Now it’s clear that Jesus thought that He was the only way to God. So we have to ask ourselves the question: was Jesus lying? Or was he just a lunatic? If neither of those two things are true then Jesus really is who He said He was. Jesus was the most honest man and He definitely was not crazy. So the only option left to us is that Jesus was in fact the Lord of the universe that He claimed to be and the only way to God. We also need to ask ourselves, did any other religious figure claim to pay for our sins? Jesus was the only one who even claimed to be the Savior of the world paying for the sins of all who believe in Him. Buddha, Muhammed or Krishna didn’t do that, only Jesus did.
  3. Why do the innocent Suffer?
    1. First of all, biblically, there are no innocent people. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that there is not a righteous man on Earth who does what is right and never sins. Nevertheless we have the problem of human suffering and pain. If there’s a good God, who is all-powerful, then why doesn’t He stop it? Well, just because He hasn’t stopped at yet doesn’t mean that He’s not going to stop and in the future. In fact God promises in His word that one day there will be no more death, suffering, crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4). So for those who want to be part of God’s family, their suffering will end. And we must also remember that everyone dies. Whether they die at the age of 2 or 82, everyone dies. No one gets out of this life alive. The person making the charge that there can’t be a good God who’s all-powerful because evil exists – they are basically saying that they know better how to run the universe than God. But we are all limited human beings. God has all the knowledge in the universe. We only have a very small fraction of the knowledge in the universe. So how do we know that God doesn’t have good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to exist? For example, we look at Job who went through incredible suffering. Satan had asked God’s permission to harass Job, and God allowed it. He wanted to show the Job was his faithful follower and that he would remain faithful to God. There was also a time in the gospels where the disciples asked why this man was born blind. Was it because of his sin or because of his parents sinned? Jesus answered them that it was neither for his sin nor his parents sinned but that the glory of God may be manifest in this situation (John 9:1-3). Jesus also allowed Lazarus to suffer and die, so that later he could raise him from the dead displaying the glory of God. We have bad things happen in our world like the 9/11 tragedy. But many people returned to church and came to Christ during that period of time. God often does use tragedy to get us to turn to Him. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” So while we don’t have all the answers we can trust in One who is infinitely more wise than we are and be sure that He has good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to continue.
  4. How are miracles possible?
    1. If you believe in the first verse of the Bible which says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth”, then why is it unreasonable to believe that God, who created the heavens and the Earth, could perform miraculous actions inside the heavens and the Earth that He created? He set up the rules. The laws of physics and chemistry are descriptions of how nature normally works (as far as we know). God, being the creator of those natural laws can intervene to suspend or alter those laws since He Himself create created and sustains them. I’m a computer programmer. I create web pages and other programs for people to use. I can control how those web pages and programs behave. I can make a program (that I created) behave differently. No user of the program can do that – only me, the creator of the program can do that. This would seem miraculous to the average user of my program, but since I am the creator of that program I can make it do whatever I want. In the same way God is the all-powerful creator of this universe and He can make it behave however He wants. There’s no logical contradiction here.
  5. Isn’t the Bible full of errors?
    1. The person who asks this question should be required to give an example of such an error. I have a book called “The Big Book of Bible Difficulties”, where answers to many challenges and questions about the Bible are found. If there’s a specific contradiction or error that a person’s concerned about we can address that particular issue. Remember the Bible has been analyzed, questioned and attempted to be destroyed for over 2000 years and no one has been successful yet, so it’s highly unlikely that someone in 2017 is going to come up with the one error or contradiction in the Bible that makes it impossible to believe it’s true. If it is God’s word, it will continue to stand the test of time (as it has for 2000 years).
  6. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch because it makes weak people feel better?
    1. We could ask the same question about atheism, which is non-belief in God. Isn’t an atheist just believing something that makes him feel comfortable? Because if there is a God, that person would be accountable to Him and would have to answer for their behavior in this life. That’s uncomfortable for many people, so we could say that a person who doesn’t believe in God, holds that belief because it makes them feel comfortable. They don’t want to go to hell, they don’t want to think about hell, so they give the excuse that there is no God. Then they tell the Christian “You only believe in God because it makes you feel comfortable”. But actually we have many reasons for believing in the existence of God (existence of the universe, argument from design, evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, etc.) The atheist would have to be explain those things somehow without the existence of God, which would be very difficult. So I reject the charge that Christianity can’t be true because it makes us feel comfortable.  Yes, it does make us feel good and comforted, but that’s no reason to think it is not true.
  7. Won’t a good and moral life get me to heaven?
    1. My question to the person asking this question is: how moral you have to be? How many good things do you have to do to get to heaven? The biblical answer is that you would have to be 100% perfect. And there was only One who was ever perfect, and that was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Bible describes the human condition accurately – it’s depiction of humanity makes sense with what we actually see in the world. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Everyone here is told a lie. Everyone here has dishonored their parents at some time. Everyone has failed to do everything that they should to help those in need. So we’ve all sinned. Even if you’ve only sinned once that’s enough to condemn you. The Bible says “For whoever keeps the whole law in yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10), so if you’ve ever lied (even once) you’re guilty of breaking all of the law of God. The Bible also says or if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it that’s sin (James 2:14). It also says that anything that doesn’t come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23b). So all of us are condemned, it is impossible for any of us to be good enough to merit eternal life in heaven. Our only hope is God’s mercy.  Like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, we must say “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13), then Jesus will say as He said of the tax collector “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” (Luke 18:9-14)
  8. Who made God?
    1. This question misunderstands the nature of God. One of the attributes of God that makes him God is the fact that He’s eternal. So the questioner has a wrong concept of God to start with. Part of how we define God is that He is eternal – that He had no beginning and will have no end (1 Chron. 29:10, Nehemiah 9:5, Psalm 90:2; 93:2, Isaiah 44:6-8; Habakkuk 1:12, John 1:1, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 1:8). We and every other created thing had a beginning. So it’s very hard for us to conceive of someone who had no beginning. But that is in fact what Christians call God. So, the questioner has the wrong view of the Christian God. However we also have to look at the scientific evidence which tells us that the universe that we live in began to exist. Therefore, based on the law of cause and effect, something or someone had to create it. That someone Who created it is God. Now, if we ask who created God, then we would also have to ask who created whatever created God. And then who created that, and then who created that, and you would never end. There has to be an Ultimate Cause of everything – Aristotle called it “the unmoved Mover”.  That ultimate cause is what we call God.

I pray that this session goes well, and that clubbers would get answers that satisfy their curiosity.

Apologetics Class 2/12/2017

Yesterday our topic was abortion.  Here were some videos we watched in class:

  1. The 180 Movie (~ ½ hour): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
  2. The S.L.E.D. Test (total of 9 ½ minutes):
    1. Introduction: http://subspla.sh/cd6e7d6
    2. S – Size: http://subspla.sh/52200fa
    3. L – Level of Development: http://subspla.sh/c03b7b5
    4. E – Environment: http://subspla.sh/469db33
    5. D – Degree of Dependency: http://subspla.sh/fcd0a3f
    6. Conclusion: http://subspla.sh/60e03e2
  3. Trotting out the toddler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ktPmgBX_FU

Unfortunately, all the people making the argument in these videos are men.  However, there are many strong pro-life women.  In some quick research, I also found this video from a woman abortion survivor to the Australian parliament:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

Very powerful.

This was not necessarily a “traditional” Biblical apologetics issue, but it is a moral issue that certainly flows from our Christian worldview.  There are a few Bible verses I quoted in the class, which are relevant to this issue:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.  This tells us that God forms us in the womb.
  2. Psalms 139:13-16For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Again, here we are told that God is the one ‘knitting us together in our mother’s wombs.
  3. Finally, I referenced how the baby John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy SpiritLuke 1:41.  This tells us that John was a human person – a baby, not just a fetus, when he was in Elizabeth’s womb.

It was a good class and we had a good discussion at the end.

After the class, I was talking to one of the students (a female student who is a senior in high school).  She expressed a few different concerns regarding the topic and the video:

  1. She might be considered hateful by others if she tries to convince them about the pro-life view.
  2. She’s concerned that the woman that have abortions do not feel loved, but rather, judged by Christians – that we need to show them more love and less judgment based on the situation they’re in
  3. It would be more effective to have women make these arguments for the pro-life position, since they’re in a position to know more about the special burdens and trials of pregnancy and childbirth

By the way, I do agree with all those points.  Part of my purpose in showing the videos in the class, was not only to equip the students to make their pro-life case, but at a minimum to convince them personally that the pro-life position is the Christian position and the most logical/moral position.  So, my biggest concern is that the students are personally convinced and have a chance to think through the issues their selves in a safe environment where they can ask questions.  So, I hope that at least watching these videos has had an impact on their personal views.

That being said, I completely understand that it is a daunting task, as a senior in high school, to go out and convince others of that position.  My hope is that the students would be able to stand up and say “I’m pro-life” if the issue ever comes up and will be able to defend their views if someone asks them why they’re pro-life.  That’s defensive apologetics – giving a reasoned answer for your views when challenged, and not being persuaded by the pro-choice view because you’ve taken the time to think deeply about the pro-life view.

I did share with this student the one pro-life video by a woman (15 minutes), who happens to be a survivor of an abortion that she would possibly be interested in watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

She did watch it and said “I watched the video and it was really powerful and got me to think more about abortion.”

I also shared with her some links to several female bloggers that blog about pro-life issues:

http://www.lifenews.com/author/mallory-quigley/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/kristan-hawkins/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/cora-sherlock/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/rebeccataylor/

It was a great class and I think it was a divine appointment for this particular student, because she had just been struggling with this issue.

AWANA Teaching on Joshua 1:8

Last Wednesday evening I had the awesome privilege of teaching about 10 fifth and sixth graders as I do once a month.  The purpose is to take one of their memory verses and expound upon it so that they understand it at a deeper level.  The topic I chose for that evening was Joshua 1:8.  Below is the content of the Power Point I used to present along with the comments that I made:

slide1

Today, we’ll be looking at one of the verses that you are memorizing.  It is from book 2 challenge 4:2, Joshua 1:8

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Would someone like to read this verse? “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)

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First of all, who is speaking in this verse? I’ll give you a hint – it is not Joshua or Moses. Look at the context…  (click) Verse 1 of this same chapter says “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, (click) the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide”  So, when we read verse 8, these are the direct words of the Lord spoken to Joshua.

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“Book of the Law”. The Bible. Do not let it “depart from your mouth” and “meditate on it day and night”.  Read/memorize Bible daily.

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the reasons why we are to meditate on God’s Word day and night  – “so that you may be careful to do everything written in it”.  That’s obedience.  That’s action.

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Result :  “Then you will be prosperous and successful”. Do you think that God is saying to Joshua that he will get a lot of  money and no longer have any problems in life? No, He’s not telling Joshua that. We can be prosperous and successful in God’s sight by reading, memorizing and obeying His word.  This may include riches and it may not.

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In summary, Joshua 1:8 is the LORD telling Joshua (and us) that

1.the Bible is His word

2.We are to be

  1. reading it
  2. memorizing it
  3. Talking about it
  4. Thinking about it
  5. Obeying it
  6. Result will be blessing by God.

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Now, I’ve been telling you that the Bible is God’s Word, but, so far, I haven’t given you any evidence for that belief.  Why should we believe the Bible is God’s Word?  What makes it more special than any other book?  How do we know it is not just a book of fairy tales and fables?

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(hold up the Bible)

1.great privilege to have the Bible.

2. Many died to get this message to you (could’ve saved their lives by denying Jesus)

3.We don’t really appreciate what we have.

4.This is the Word of God He inspired men to write.

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What we mean by inspiration of Scripture:

1.Men wrote the Bible

2.Not inspired like music or artwork

3.But the wrote what God wanted them to write

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Americans becoming more skeptical lately – each generation…

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Will give several lines of evidence that Bible not man’s word, but God’s word.  Hope you walk away convinced, not become “statistic”.

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1.The Bible is indestructible

2.Many attempts to destroy the Bible in history

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1.Before Christ, Jewish people under Antiochus Epiphanes.

2.Known as “the madman”

3.Persecuted Hebrew people.

4.Attempt to destroy copies of the Old Testament.

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1.Maccabees says Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to destroy Scriptures by fire.

2.Wasn’t successful

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We know we possess same Scriptures today because of the Dead Sea Scrolls – contain every book of the Old Testament except Esther.

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1.Roman emperor Diocletian, known for persecution of Christians.

2.No tolerance for Christianity,

3.Called it a “cult”.

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Diocletian’s initiated the most terrible of all the persecutions of the early Church.

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1.302 A.D. he (Diocletian) told his government “to tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire”.

2.Massacred town because they where Christians.

3.Didn’t wipe out Christianity because of faith, perseverance and courage of the early Christians.

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As the Word of God says: There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

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And “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever”

slide22

1700’s in France, Voltaire hated Bible.

Within 100 years Christianity would be gone

50 years after his death, his house used by Geneva Bible Society for printing Bibles

Now, 91% of American homes have at least 1 Bible, and 47% of Americans read the Bible at least once a week

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The Bible best selling book of all time. “the Bible is the best-selling book of the year, every year.”

The Bible most stolen book as well.  In the United States alone, 50 Bibles are stolen every minute.

The Bible most read book of all time and remains the most important book of all time.

The Bible is amazing and could not have survived all these years without God’s direct involvement

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1.Bible has consistent message.

2.Its human authors:

1.Lived in different places,

2.Spoke different languages,

3.The message of the Bible in one sentence is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed”.

4.Couldn’t be true without God directing things

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1.The Bible is not a single book, but actually 66 individual books

2.written

1.on 3 continents,

2.in 3 different languages,

3.over a period of approximately 1500 years,

4.by 40 authors

5.who came from many walks of life (shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a doctor, a military general, and a Pharisee)

3.One unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.

4.This is evidence of Bible being God’s Word.

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2,500 prophecies in Bible, 2,000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.

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This document (show document) contains 60 of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth (there are actually over 300 in total). This chart shows 8 of them.  As you can see, many of these prophecies are not something a human being could have caused to happen.  For example:

1.Place of birth (Micah 5:2)

2.Date of birth (Daniel 9:25)

3.Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14)

4.Manner of death (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 22:16 prophesied before the invention of crucifixion)

5.Burial (Isaiah 53:9)

The odds of 1 man fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies are 1 in 1000000…. (lot of zeros) – essentially impossible, which shows that God had to be involved…

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1.Take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.

2.“Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.

3.Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.

4.What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

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Question:

Who, in all the history of the world,

1.Born of a virgin;

2.A descendant of Abraham;

3.from the tribe of Judah;

4.from the line of David;

5.was both God and man;

6.was born in Bethlehem;

7.was preceded by a messenger, and visited the Jerusalem temple before it was destroyed in A.D. 70;

8.died in A.D. 33;

9.rose from the dead (Isa. 53:11)?

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only possible candidate. Only he hits the bull’s-eye.

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There are many other prophecies that I could tell you about.  Please be sure that you can trust in the Bible, which is the Word of God.   He proves that He is the Author of it by fulfilled prophecies contained in the Bible

slide31

The 4th reason we know that the Bible is the Word of God is it’s reliability as a historical document.

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A reliability of a historical document is judged by a few things:

1. Does it contain eyewitness testimony?  The New Testament consists of 27 books that were written by 27 authors who were either eyewitnesses to Jesus or interviewed eyewitnesses of Him

2. How early are the copies we have?  Any writing of history is judged by how close the writing is to the events it records.  The New Testament events all occurred in the first century (0 – 100 A.D.) and all of the writings were written in the first century.

3. How many copies do we have?  Historical documents are viewed as more reliable if they have more copies of them.  The reason for this is that mass printing wasn’t invented until 1440 A.D., by Johannes Gutenberg.  By the way, the first book printed on the printing press was: The Bible. But before that, people (called scribes) had to copy the writings by hand so that they could be distributed to other areas.

slide33

27 New Testament books by 9 authors (eyewitnesses or interviewed eyewitnesses)

slide34

1.Why don’t we have more written about Jesus?

2. 10 non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life.

3.By contrast, over the same 150 years,  there are 9 non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus.

4.Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor at the time.

5.If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning  Tiberius 43 to 10!

slide35

the number of manuscripts compared to other ancient documents and the time gap from the events.

slide36

1.Wrap-up / Summary / Purpose:

1.understand Joshua 1:8

2.Overview of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

3.Increase your confidence and faith in the Bible

4.Give you information to respond to challenges you hear

slide37

We talked about 4 lines of evidence that the Bible is God’s Word.  They are:

1. Indestructibility – we reviewed the examples of Antiochus Epiphanes, a few of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, as well as Voltaire

2. The Consistent Message of the Bible – Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.  The consistent message of the Bible throughout is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed

3. Fulfilled Prophecy –Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament.  Many of those could’ve been fulfilled only by Jesus and many are not things that a mere human could arrange.  The fact that men wrote down hundreds of years ahead of time what was going to happen in the future, this shows God’s intervention.

4. Historical Reliability – the Bible is historically reliable.  We can be sure that we have the text of the Bible that was written down in the first century.

slide38

I hope that your faith has been made more sure by this information and that you’ll now be able to contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints!  Are there any questions that you have on this material?

mid-week apologetics booster (2-9-2017)

Good morning,

Hey everybody, I wanted to pass on a wonderful and encouraging opportunity for you.  A homeschool speech and debate club is looking for community judges for an upcoming competition.  The name of it is the Mars Hill Speech and Debate club.  The event is March 16-18 and they have a lot of different time slots to be filled.  It is on the west side of town, so it is quite a drive for many of us, but it is worth it…  In the past, I’ve done the Christian Apologetics events where the students are given a topic and have to prepare an impromptu speech to defend the Christian position.  It was so encouraging to see these young people defending their faith and so knowledgeable about such critical matters.  If you want to be encouraged and amazed, I would encourage you to attend.  You can find out more at: https://camelbackclassic2017.homeschooldebate.net/ .  You can look for a Judges link at the top of the page.  I blogged about an event I participated in November 2015, you can read about that to get more details on my experience.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/theres-no-good-reason-to-deny-the-early-dating-of-the-gospels/
  2. Who Is Jesus, According to Other Religions? http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/who-is-jesus-according-to-other-religions/
  3. Is salvation by works true? https://carm.org/is-salvation-by-works-true
  4. Why believe in Christianity over all other religions? https://carm.org/why-believe-christianity-over-all-other-religions
  5. World Religions: https://carm.org/world-religions
  6. How to Prevent Losing Another Generation: https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/church/how-prevent-losing-another-generation/
  7. Report: Christians Were Persecuted In Every Corner of Globe in 2016 – Leah Barkoukis: http://m.townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2017/02/05/open-doors-persecution-of-christians-report-n2280204
  8. William Murray, Son of the Founder of American Atheists, Converts to Christianity | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/william-murray-son-of-the-founder-of-american-atheists-converts-to-christianity/
  9. Jesus isn’t the means to something wonderful: http://adam4d.com/jesus-isnt-the-means-to-something-wonderful/
  10. Evidence for the Historical Jesus – free eBook from Dr. Gary Habermas: http://www.garyhabermas.com/Evidence/

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”  Mark 1:38

Blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (2-2-2017)

Hi Friends,

Below are some links for you to take a look at:

  1. A must-read series of posts on cosmic fine-tuning by Allen Hainline: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/29/a-must-read-series-of-posts-on-cosmic-fine-tuning-by-allen-hainline-4/
  2. Requiring Young Christians to Raise the Bar: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/requiring-young-christians-to-raise-the-bar/
  3. Clarifying Objections against Bible Reliability: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2017/01/clarifying-objections-against-bible.html
  4. Video: Evolution- A Theory in Crisis by Dr. Thomas Woodward: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-evolution-theory-in-crisis-by-dr.html
  5. Creation Is the Foundation: http://www.icr.org/article/9800
  6. The Beginning of Knowledge: http://www.icr.org/article/9803
  7. Major Evolutionary Blunders: Evolutionary Psychology for Serious Tabloid Readers: http://www.icr.org/article/9805
  8. The Atheist Delusion Movie (2016) HD – 1 hour – I would highly recommend watching this movie – the main thesis is that as a book requires an author, so DNA, the book of life, which is more complex than a book, needs an author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChWiZ3iXWwM
  9. The Top Three Reasons the Bible Is Reliable (Video): http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/the-top-three-reasons-the-bible-is-reliable/
  10. The Trinity is Not A Problem, It’s A Solution: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-trinity-is-not-a-problem-its-a-solution/
  11. Responding to National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution”: https://answersingenesis.org/family/gender/responding-national-geographic-gender-revolution/
  12. The Hidden Faith of Silence: http://www.equip.org/article/the-hidden-faith-of-silence/
  13. A Simple Reason Why The Qur’an Cannot Be The Word of God: http://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
  14. Answering questions about suffering: http://www.bethinking.org/would-a-good-god-allow-suffering/answering-questions-about-suffering

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  James 3:11-14

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (1-26-2017)

Hello friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. If we can’t see God, how can we know he exists? – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/if-we-cant-see-god-how-can-we-know-he-exists-/
  2. Faithful Thinkers: Your Challenge Does Not Apply- The Strawman: http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/your-challenge-does-not-apply-strawman.html
  3. When was the Bible written and who wrote it? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/when-was-bible-written-and-who-wrote-it
  4. Are We 99% Chimps? http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30394
  5. Why Are There So Many Atheists on College Campuses? https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/why-are-there-so-many-atheists-on-college-campuses-3/
  6. GARY HABERMAS AND JAMES CROSSLEY DISCUSS THE MINIMAL FACTS CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/05/gary-habermas-and-james-crossley-discuss-the-minimal-facts-case-for-the-resurrection-3/
  7. A Christian’s Rebuttal to “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/a-christians-rebuttal-to-why-i-am-not-a-christian-by-bertrand-russell/
  8. Is apologetics relevant to today’s Church? http://www.christianweek.org/apologetics-relevant-todays-church/
  9. 5 Reasons To Believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John Wrote The Gospels: http://reasonsforjesus.com/5-reasons-to-believe-matthew-mark-luke-john-wrote-the-gospels/
  10. Video: Understanding Greg Bahnsen by Kenneth Samples: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-understanding-greg-bahnsen-by.html
  11. When Someone You Love Says, “I’m Gay”: http://www.equip.org/article/someone-love-says-im-gay/
  12. Watch “Believing Means Behaving Alistair Begg” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3kpvq8FJ45U
  13. Watch “True & False Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/r_vRvn0rRFY
  14. Watch “The Way of the Master – “The Greatest Gamble”” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4uIZkYqkKqM
  15. Planned Parenthood / Abortion:
    1. Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/planned-parenthoods-most-misleading-statistic#When:2017-01-24T06:10:00+00:00
    2. 5 Reasons Planned Parenthood Must Be Defunded ASAP | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/12178/4-main-reasons-planned-parenthood-needs-be-amanda-prestigiacomo
    3. Money to Planned Parenthood Pays for Abortion. Period: http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/736192
    4. How Much Cash Did Planned Parenthood Clear Last Year? The Answer Will Disgust You. | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/11723/how-much-cash-did-planned-parenthood-clear-last-amanda-prestigiacomo
    5. New Video Destroys the False Claim That Abortion is Just 3% of What Planned Parenthood Does | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/14/new-video-destroys-the-false-claim-that-abortion-is-just-3-of-what-planned-parenthood-does/
    6. Watch “Ben Shapiro: The Truth About Planned Parenthood” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RhoFNmMeO8k
    7. Watch “Debunking Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Abortion Myth” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qtgqxvaV-8U
    8. Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist and eugenicist – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/margaret-sanger-darwinian-eugenicist
    9. Writer Tells Abortion Activists: If Your Sex Life is None of My Business Stop Demanding I Finance It | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/01/17/writer-tells-abortion-activists-if-your-sex-life-is-none-of-my-business-stop-demanding-i-finance-it/
    10. Abortion Justifications Flip Moral Reasoning Upside Down | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/abortion-justifications-flip-moral-reasoning-upside-down#.WIO38stlDqB
  16. Global Warming:
    1. Notes from the Great Global Warming Swindle movie: http://wp.me/p4WCk1-hT
    2. Inconvenient Question: Gore asked about failed ’10-year tipping’ point – Refuses to answer, enters SUV in snow | Climate Depot: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/01/22/inconvenient-question-gore-asked-about-failed-10-year-tipping-point-refuses-to-answer-enters-suv-in-snow/

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.  Hebrews 6:13-15

mid-week apologetics booster (1-19-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links to equip you:

  1. 5 Ways Christian Parents Fail to Prepare Their Kids to Engage with Questions of Faith and Science: http://christianmomthoughts.com/5-ways-christian-parents-fail-to-prepare-their-kids-to-engage-with-questions-of-faith-and-science/
  2. The Spiny Postage Stamp: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/spiny-postage-stamp-0
  3. What the Case Looks Like When Young People Are Your Jury | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/what-the-case-looks-like-when-young-people-are-your-jury/
  4. 7 Tips For Apologetics Judo – Intelligent Christian Faith: https://intelligentchristianfaith.com/2015/06/14/philosophical-judo-apologetics-as-a-martial-art/
  5. Watch “Ravi Zacharias – Jesus Among Other Gods” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Q0QM-DaOZtM
  6. Should Students Be Exposed to Evidence Against Christianity? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/should-students-be-exposed-to-evidence-against-christianity
  7. The Great Separation: http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm
  8. How Geographic Separation Affirms the Reliability of the New Testament | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-geographic-separation-affirms-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament/
  9. Problems with the Book of Mormon | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/problems-with-the-book-mormon
  10. Breaking the Materialist Spell: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30355#.WHkA5t6avQU.twitter
  11. evolution
  12. Minuscule Erosion Points to Hawaii’s Youth | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9751
  13. Christians Who Accept Millions of Years Undermine God’s Word | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2017/01/16/christians-who-accept-millions-years-undermine-gods-word/
  14. christian-persecution
  15. Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/climate-change-what-do-scientists-say
  16. Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/do-97-climate-scientists-really-agree
  17. Fossils Reflect Life’s Original Diversity | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/fossil-diversity
  18. Luke Barnes discusses the fine-tuning of the fine structure constant: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/08/luke-barnes-discusses-the-fine-tuning-of-the-fine-structure-constant-2/
  19. What’s Apatheism? https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/whats-apatheism/
  20. Atheism Became Way More Popular During The Obama Era | The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/12/atheism-became-way-more-popular-during-the-obama-era/
  21. What is the Geneva Bible? https://www.gotquestions.org/Geneva-Bible.html
  22. Watch “[official] Q&A with Tim Keller – Reason for God? Belief in an Age of Skepticism” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/L9jHlrMRJAo

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (1-12-2017)

Good morning all you who call on the Name of the Lord!

I hope you’re enjoying your life in Christ as you live out your calling as His ambassador.  I like what Greg Koukl tells us in his Tactics book (which is currently $2.99 on Kindle) as he describes the “Ambassador Model”.  An ambassador of Christ should possess:

  1. Knowledge – An accurately informed mind
  2. Wisdom – An artful method
  3. Character – An attractive manner

The goal of these weekly emails is primarily to help you with item #1 – knowledge.  However, all 3 tenets are important in becoming an effective ambassador for Christ.  The Tactics book is a good investment for $2.99 and remember, if you have a smart phone (iPhone or Android), you have a free Kindle app on your Phone (or Tablet).

Here are your weekly links to help you build up your knowledge, leading to an accurately informed mind:

  1. 5 Things Christian Parents Must Do to Raise Godly Children in a Secular World: http://crossexamined.org/5-things-christian-parents-must-do-to-raise-godly-children-in-a-secular-world/
  2. Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/
  3. Do I have to belong to a church to be a Christian? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: http://carm.org/do-I%20have-to-belong-to-a-church-to-be-a-christian
  4. God’s Hiddenness Is Intended to Provoke Us | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/gods-hiddenness-is-intended-to-provoke-us/
  5. Pro-life Persuasion Always Succeeds | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/article/pro-life-persuasion-always-succeeds#.WHAgdMtlDqB
  6. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Christian Apologists – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/5-new-years-resolutions-christian-apologists/
  7. Opinions or Truth: Which Shapes You? – BELLATOR CHRISTI: https://pastorbrianchilton.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/opinions-or-truth-which-shapes-you/
  8. Six Fossil Timers Stun Secular Scientists | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9753
  9. Blinded by evolutionary brainwashing – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/ainsley-chalmers-interview
  10. If Naturalistic Evolution Is True, People Are Not Equal | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/if-naturalistic-evolution-true-people-are-not-equal#.WHE1d8tlDqB
  11. Atheist Astrophysicist Explains Her Journey To Jesus – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/atheist-astrophysicist-explains-her-journey-to-jesus/
  12. Popular Atheist Blogger, Leah Libresco, Converts to Christianity – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/popular-atheist-blogger-leah-libresco-converts-christianity/
  13. New Report Lists 50 Hardest Countries To Be A Christian In- Muslim Countries Make 9 Of The Top Ten And 75% Overall | Walid Shoebat: http://shoebat.com/2017/01/11/new-report-lists-50-hardest-countries-to-be-a-christian-in-muslim-countries-make-9-of-the-top-ten-and-75-overall/
  14. Christians the most persecuted group in world for second year: Study | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/01/06/christians-most-persecuted-group-in-world-for-second-year-study.html
  15. “I Got Gay Married. I Got Gay Divorced. I Regret Both.” | Denny Burk: http://www.dennyburk.com/i-got-gay-married-i-got-gay-divorced-i-regret-both/
  16. An Explanation of “Worldview” | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/explanation-worldview#.WHV2E8tlDqB
  17. 5 Royal Problems with MacroEvolution | CrossExamined Podcast: http://player.subsplash.com/xfn4kbl
  18. On the Origin of Human Mitochondrial DNA Differences, New Generation Time Data Both Suggest a Unified Young-Earth Creation Model and Challenge the Evolutionary Out-of-Africa Model: https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mitochondrial-dna/origin-human-mitochondrial-dna-differences-new-generation-time-data-both-suggest-unified-young-earth/
  19. Was Hitler a Christian? http://www.equip.org/article/was-hitler-a-christian/
  20. Twelve Points that Prove Christianity is True: http://www.lifestyleofpeace.com/2016/12/twelve-points-that-prove-christianity.html

“He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. “Every man is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance — the LORD Almighty is his name.  Jeremiah 51:15-19

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Teaching on John 5:24 and conversation with clubber

Once a month I get the awesome privilege of teaching our 5th and 6th graders.  I go in-depth on 1 or 2 of the verses that they are covering in their handbooks.  This past Wednesday was one of those mountain top experiences, which reminded me why I’m there every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30. I had chosen John 5:24, from the T&T Ultimate Challenge Book 1.  As usual, I made a power point presentation (link to PDF ‘handouts’ below):

Teaching on John 5:24

And here is the link to the actual PowerPoint presentation:

PowerPoint Teaching on John 5:24

The clubbers seemed to receive the teaching pretty well.  The message was about the urgent need to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.  After explaining what the verse meant, I started to challenge them a little bit. Why is it so necessary to believe in Jesus, which may seem strange to non-believers?  We talked through why Jesus is the only answer for our sin problem.  I made use of arguments presented in Greg Koukl’s excellent book Tactics.  After the message was complete, one of the clubbers, Crystal (not her real name) a 6th grader, came up to me and said, “Mr. Steve, what if we believe in Jesus and it’s not true?”  In response, I asked her, “If that’s the case, what have you really lost if you believe in Christianity and it’s not true?” My answer: nothing!  Nevertheless, I do believe that Christianity is true, and there’s a lot of evidence for it being true.  She brought up the “Big Bang” and told me that she thought that was evidence against the creation story in the Bible.  I assured her that the Big Bang was not evidence against Christianity, but rather, it provides strong evidence that a Creator God does exist.  Since counsel time was over and it was now handbook time, I told her that we could talk later at the end of the night.

So, after the night was over, I sat down with Crystal while her dad waited outside the door of the classroom. I asked her what specifically are her questions regarding Christianity and why she is having doubts about it. She told me that sometimes she doesn’t know if God is real. She said that when she reads the Bible, she likes the stories, but she doesn’t know if they are true. I asked her to clarify more. She talked about the miracles, like turning water into wine, or walking on water. I asked her, “If God created the universe, don’t you think that he could modify whatever He wants inside the universe?” She agreed that yes that was true. I also tried to make her see that the Universe came into existence, and someone outside of the universe must have started it.  I said, “Think about it – someone had to start the Big Bang. Universes don’t just pop out of nowhere, like a rabbit out of a hat.”  She liked that analogy and it made her laugh. We also talked about how the Bible, in addition to being the Word of God, is also another written report of history. I said, “I haven’t seen or met Jesus personally (physically). But I haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln either. I believe what I believe about them because I read what someone else wrote about them.” That point really seemed to hit home with her.  She felt a lot better after our talk.

So, when we were finished with our short talk, we went out to see her dad.  I heaped praise on Crystal about how we really enjoy having her in the AWANA club and her participation and behavior.  I mentioned to her dad that sometimes we have some pretty deep talks and this was one of those nights.  Then Crystal piped in and told him about how she was having some doubts about Christianity, and our conversation really helped her.  In her own words, she summarized what I talked about regarding God being the cause of the universe – that universes don’t just pop out of nowhere.  She also told her dad how it made a lot of sense that even though we don’t see Jesus ourselves, we are reading the writings of those who have seen Him – just like we haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but we can know they existed and what they did because of people who wrote about them.

I congratulated Crystal for bringing up her doubts to me.  I told her she should not be ashamed or feel bad about having doubts – everyone has doubts at some time or another and I would much rather have her asking questions rather than being apathetic about her faith.

I think next week I will have a little gift for Crystal.  I’ve been saving these “Student Editions” that I found (at very cheap prices) at the Goodwill books section:

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Student-Journalists-Investigation/dp/0310745640/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706800&sr=8-1
    caseforchrist
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Creator-Student/dp/B0064FMWSI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706877&sr=8-2
    caseforcreator
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Children-Demand-Verdict-Answering-Questions/dp/1600980120/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483706916&sr=1-1
    childrendemandvertict

I think she will benefit greatly to have those children / student versions of great books by world class apologists.

I pray for Crystal that she will seek and find answers to her questions and that in getting the answers she needs, she will be satisfied, and will grow in her faith.  I think a possible result of this could be that she could be the one in the future giving the answers to someone else who’s struggling with the same doubts.  I’ll end with the famous apologetics verse:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.  1 Peter 3:15

mid-week apologetics booster (1-5-2017)

Good morning beloved of God,

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  (1 John 3:1a)  The Bible tells us in many places that we are truly in a family – the family of God (e.g. Eph 2:19).  In the same way that you would defend your earthly father and family when attacked or maligned, so also, you should be prepared to defend your heavenly father and family (the substance of your faith).  Here are some links that will aid you in that endeavor:

  1. 5 Attitude Changes That Will Transform Your Christian Parenting in the New Year: http://crossexamined.org/5-attitude-changes-will-transform-christian-parenting-new-year/
  2. 3 Big Reasons To Believe God Exists – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/3-big-reasons-believe-god-exists/
  3. 3 SIMPLE WAYS TO DEBUNK RELATIVISM, SKEPTICISM, AND MATERIALISM: http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/3-simple-ways-to-debunk-relativism-skepticism-and-materialism/4747/
  4. Why These 66 Books? We believe in the 39 books of the Old Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed the Old Testament. And we believe in the 27 books of the New Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ authorized His apostles to write the New Testament. https://www.tms.edu/preachersandpreaching/why-these-66-books/
  5. 5 Pieces of News That Show Global Warming Still Isn’t Happening The Way Leftists Say | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/11977/5-pieces-news-show-global-warming-still-isnt-aaron-bandler
  6. Mark Zuckerberg says he’s no longer an atheist, believes ‘religion is very important’ – The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/12/30/mark-zuckerberg-says-hes-no-longer-an-atheist-believes-religion-is-very-important/
  7. Democrats’ Religion Problem – The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/democrats-have-a-religion-problem/510761/
  8. Ligonier series from RC Sproul on various differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism:
    1. “Scripture and Tradition, Part 1” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/scripture-and-tradition-part-1-dec-2016/
    2. “Scripture and Tradition, Part 2” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/scripture-and-tradition-part-2-dec-2016/
    3. “Papal Infallibility, Part 1” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/papal-infallibility-part-1-dec-2016/
  9. Are We Really Catholic Bashing? http://www.reachingcatholics.org/catholic_bashing.html
  10. Thinking Clearly, Listening Well | Andy Bannister: http://www.andybannister.net/thinking-clearly-listening-well/
  11. A Dialogue on the Relationship of Apologetics and Philosophy to Evangelism – drcone.com: http://www.drcone.com/2014/10/23/a-dialogue-on-the-relationship-between-apologetics-philosophy-and-evangelism/
  12. “Debunking Christianity” Writer Becomes Christian Because Of Evidence – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/debunking-christianity-writer-becomes-christian-evidence/
  13. Jesus vs Muhammad: 33 Striking Differences – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/jesus-vs-muhammad-33-striking-differences/
  14. Did God make pathogenic viruses? – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/did-god-make-pathogenic-viruses
  15. Plants Add More Greenhouse Gas: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/plants-add-more-greenhouse-gas-0
  16. Being a Public Intellectual for Christ – Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.: https://douglasgroothuis.com/2016/09/12/being-a-public-intellectual-for-christ/
  17. Epic Failure: My Biggest Evangelism Mistake: http://crossexamined.org/epic-failure-my-biggest-evangelism-mistake/
  18. Prove God Exists | Whattaya Do? http://www.newyorkapologetics.com/prove-god-exists-whattaya-do/
  19. He Is Risen: Historical Evidence That Jesus Rose From The Dead: http://reasonsforjesus.com/risen-historical-evidence-jesus-rose-dead/
  20. A Christian Defense against Atheism: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/a-christian-defense-against-atheism/
  21. The Danger of Belief “In” Without Belief “That”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/the-danger-of-belief-in-without-belief-that/

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  1 Peter 1:14

Blessings to you all,

Steve

mid-week apologetics booster (12-15-2016)

Good morning friends,

I hope this week finds you appreciating the fact that the Son of God became a man so that men may become sons of God.  Here are some links to help you defend what you believe:

  1. Christians Who Fear Christmas, Because It Has Pagan Origins, Is That Good Thinking? http://iapologia.com/christians-who-fear-christmas-because-it-has-pagan-origins-is-that-good-thinking/
  2. Watch “Methods for Sharing the Gospel on College Campuses | 2016 Meyer Lecture Series” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SOVcNpPq4Aw
  3. Do Varves, Tree-Rings, and Radiocarbon Measurements Prove an Old Earth? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/age-of-the-earth/do-varves-tree-rings-radiocarbon-measurements-prove-old-earth/
  4. How to Answer a False Accusation of Racism: http://townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/2016/12/09/how-to-answer-a-false-accusation-of-racism-n2257095
  5. Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/do-97-climate-scientists-really-agree
  6. How Christian Case Making Impacts the Convinced, the Opposed, and the Undecided | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-christian-case-making-impacts-the-convinced-the-opposed-and-the-undecided/
  7. Reasons To Believe : Does Dissipation-Driven Theory Explain Life’s Origin? http://www.reasons.org/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/does-dissipation-driven-theory-explain-life%E2%80%99s-origin
  8. “Dinosaur” in Amber: Evolutionists Spin Another Tail | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/dinosaur-in-amber-evolutionists-spin-another-tail/
  9. The ghost at the atheist feast: was Nietzsche right about religion? http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/03/ghost-atheist-feast-was-nietzsche-right-about-religion
  10. Should You Talk to a Friend Who’s Gay? | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/how-should-you-talk-friend-whos-gay#.WExwlctlDqA
  11. Reasons To Believe : Science News Flash: An Old-Earth Perspective on Dinosaur Feathers Preserved in Amber: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/the-cells-design/science-news-flash–an-old-earth-perspective-on-dinosaur-feathers-preserved-in-amber#.WEst5tHKVzE.twitter
  12. Washington Post, Your Attacks on Evangelicals are Getting Dangerous | The Stream: https://stream.org/washington-post-attacks-evangelicals-getting-dangerous
  13. The Folly of Answering Distracting Atheistic Arguments – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/folly-answering-distracting-atheistic-arguments/#christian-books-3
  14. Feathers on a Bird or Dinosaur Tail? The Media Are Certain; the Scientific Evidence Less So: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/12/feathers_on_a_b103354.html
  15. It is a common misconception that Christians are indoctrinated at birth. Many people hear of Christianity at birth especially if they are born in Christian homes, however, remaining a Christian is always based on that persons’ personal encounter with God.  Now, in EVERY school you are FORCED to learn Evolution. You are FORCED to believe it or fail your Science / Psychology course. You are ridiculed if you question it … considered “smart” if you believe it and “stupid” if you require actual proof of it.  What is indoctrination?… when you believe something wholeheartedly without proof simply because you are “forced” to. Want to know the lies of evolution?… Dr. Kent Hovind explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKQ-OmeNfFw
  16. How We Got the Bible, Part 3 – Reflections: https://reflectionsbyken.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/how-we-got-the-bible-part-3/
  17. Christianity is a crutch…you may need it someday – The Veritas Forum: http://www.veritas.org/christianity-crutch/
  18. FORMER ATHEIST WILLIAM MURRAY, SON OF THE FOUNDER OF AMERICAN ATHEISTS, CONVERTS TO CHRISTIANITY: https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/former-atheist-william-murray-son-of-the-founder-of-american-atheists-converts-to-christianity/
  19. Is it Stupid to Believe in Miracles? http://crossexamined.org/stupid-believe-miracles/
  20. Dark matter caused the demise of the dinosaurs? – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/did-dark-matter-kill-off-the-dinosaurs
  21. Hanukkah – Messianic Perspectives with Dr. Gary Hedrick – Hanukkah – Festival of Lights, Part 5 http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/messianic-perspectives/listen/hanukkah-festival-of-lights-part-5-567171.html
  22. Was Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Copied from Krishna? http://www.apologeticsguy.com/2016/11/jesus-christ-krishna/
  23. JUSTIN MARTYR — THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN (150-160 AD): http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-firstapology.html
  24. Is Reality One or Many? http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-reality-one-or-many
  25. The Milky Way: https://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/the-milky-way/
  26. Was the Story of Jesus Borrowed From Pagan Myth? | The Stream: https://stream.org/story-jesus-borrowed-pagan/
  27. Should we expect to know what God’s reason is for allowing evil and suffering? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2016/12/11/should-we-expect-to-know-what-gods-reason-is-for-allowing-evil-and-suffering/
  28. Why Kids Need a Biblical Worldview and Where to Start – Jonathan Morrow: http://www.jonathanmorrow.org/why-kids-need-a-biblical-worldview-and-where-to-start/
  29. 5 Reasons You Should Get Apologetics Training – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/5-reasons-you-should-get-apologetics-training
  30. Watch “I left Islam for Christianity” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/z-jjJwOtNEw
  31. “Moana” Disney Star Nicole Scherzinger Was Almost Aborted: Thankfully My Grandparents Were Pro-Life | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/12/14/actress-nicole-scherzinger-was-almost-aborted-thankfully-my-grandparents-were-pro-life/
  32. Scientists Confirm: Darwinism Is Broken: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/david-klinghoffer/scientists-confirm-darwinism-broken
  33. Culture Watch: The Cohabitation Trap: http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/2931-culture-watch-the-cohabitation-trap
  34. Testing Islam: https://georgesjournal.net/2016/12/14/testing-islam/

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (12-1-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links for you to take a look at:

  1. 11 Objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument: http://crossexamined.org/11-objections-kalam-cosmological-argument/
  2. There’s No Balancing This Moral Equation: Human Well-Being Doesn’t Explain Human Morality: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2016/11/human-well-being-doesnt-explain-morality/
  3. Christian refugees in Germany threatened with beheading for being ‘unbelievers’ by Muslim migrants: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/725193/Christian-refugees-threatened-beheading-German-migrant-camp-Muslim-unbelievers
  4. Ministering to Mormons in Utah Day 3: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/ministering-to-mormons-in-utah-day-3/
  5. Logical Fallacy Series — Part 8: Argument From Silence: http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2016/06/logical-fallacy-series-part-8-argument.html
  6. Does The Bible Need Defending? http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2015/01/does-bible-need-defending.html
  7. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/bible-homosexuality
  8. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bang? Why Christians should not Run from Science: https://www.hbu.edu/news-and-events/2016/07/18/whos-afraid-big-bang/
  9. How gay theology manipulates the book of Leviticus: http://evangelicalfocus.com/magazine/965/How_gay_theology_manipulates_the_book_of_Leviticus
  10. What is Hate Speech? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/hate-speech
  11. How Muslim atrocities impacted world history: http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/11/how-muslim-atrocities-impacted-world-history/#hDdxWoKFsaKQbz5d.99
  12. How Are People Actually Coming to Faith Today: http://magazine.biola.edu/article/16-fall/how-are-people-actually-coming-to-faith-today/
  13. Frank Turek (February 2017) – Fearless Faith Conference-Catalina Foothills Church (Tucson, AZ)http://subspla.sh/e74cd1f
  14. Transgender: Truth and Compassion – Alan Shlemon: http://subspla.sh/4d0ba56
  15. Can We “Agree To Disagree” On Sexuality and Marriage? | TGC: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2016/02/25/why-we-cant-agree-to-disagree-on-sexuality-and-marriage/
  16. Atheism’s Lucky Bullet Fallacies | The Stream: https://stream.org/atheisms-lucky-bullet-fallacies/
  17. Just Say “Merry Christmas”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwVpTYez82w
  18. Talking Snakes, Donkeys, and Believing the Bible: http://blogs.christianpost.com/confident-christian/talking-snakes-donkeys-and-believing-the-bible-11993/
  19. Homosexuality: Compassion and Clarity – Sean McDowell: https://youtu.be/w7a2RJgAGcM
  20. Speaking Up or Keeping Silent in Science Class: https://answersingenesis.org/public-school/religion-in-schools/speaking-up-or-keeping-silent-in-science-class/
  21. A Short Defense of Christianity (to myself): http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/12/a-short-defense-of-the-christianity-to-myself/
  22. What does Christmas mean to Christians? https://winteryknight.com/2011/12/25/what-does-christmas-mean-to-christians/
  23. Ehrman’s Problem 4: Why Won’t We Abuse Free Will in Heaven? http://www.clayjones.net/2012/01/ehrman%e2%80%99s-problem-4-why-won%e2%80%99t-we-abuse-free-will-in-heaven/
  24. The Finely Tuned Genetic Code: http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2012/01/finely-tuned-genetic-code.html
  25. The Bible: http://links.emagnify.com/q/119zwZjDepmd/wv?platform=hootsuite
  26. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE)http://www.icr.org/rate

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.  2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (11-24-2016)

Happy Thanksgiving brothers and sisters in Christ!

Let us remember and reflect upon the goodness of our God and the many blessings He has bestowed on us.  As we heard in the Thanksgiving message last night, let us not forget the Giver of all these blessings as we enjoy them today.  Jesus said to His disciplesIf you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:13.  Thank you God for treating us so well, even though we deserve only judgment.

  1. The Gospel Message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1Ex2FpwqvI
  2. My Favorite Analogy of the Trinity: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-favorite-analogy-of-trinity.html
  3. Reboot Christianity: Why apologetics is critical for youth ministry: http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/11/why-apologetics-is-critical-for-youth.html
  4. Does the church do a good job of equipping Christians to talk to non-Christians? http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/does-the-church-do-a-good-job-of-equipping-christians-to-talk-to-non-christians-2/
  5. Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize: http://michaeljkruger.com/the-complete-series-ten-basic-facts-about-the-nt-canon-that-every-christian-should-memorize/
  6. Watch “The Argument from Reason” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xKX-QtEo2fI
  7. Watch “Most POWERFUL video you will see all day.” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7n3ZKtvoprY
  8. What your political views say about your suitability for marriage and parenting: https://winteryknight.com/2016/11/18/what-your-political-views-say-about-your-suitability-for-marriage-and-parenting/
  9. Rapid Responses to Difficult Questions (J. Warner Wallace):
    1. Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLdKMA8c9h0
    2. Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pveIBtYNLE4
  10. Does the Bible Advocate Slavery? http://www.exploregod.com/does-the-bible-advocate-slavery
  11. The following passage reminds me of current political environment.  Notice how Pilate asks “Why? What crime has he committed?”, but the crowd refused to give any answer, they just shouted ‘Crucify him’: Matthew 27:21-24“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”   “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.
  12. Christianity is True! Mini-Book/Tract (25 Pack) – Ratio Christi Store (this looks like a good evangelism resource): http://store.ratiochristi.org/christianity-is-true-mini-book-tract/
  13. Lacey Sturm: Suicidal Atheist becomes Christian rock star: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Lacey-Sturm-Suicidal-Atheist-becomes-Christian-rock-star
  14. The 3 A’s of Apologetics: http://m.blogs.christianpost.com/dear-ephesus/the-3-as-of-apologetics-18687/
  15. Understanding the Times with Jan Markell – When God’s People Stun the Global Elite: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/understanding-the-times/listen/when-gods-people-stun-the-global-elite-565332.html
  16. Enjoy The Distinctly Christian Holiday We Call Thanksgivinghttp://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/enjoy-this-distinctly-christian-holiday-we-call-thanksgiving/

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Continued blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (11-17-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links to help you to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and encourage you to “be prepared” (1 Peter 3:15):

  1. Yes, You Do Have Time to Learn Apologetics | CrossExamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/yes-time-learn-apologetics/
  2. What Christian Parents Should Tell Their Kids About the Election: http://christianmomthoughts.com/what-christian-parents-should-tell-their-kids-about-the-election/
  3. Why Do So Many People Misunderstand the Word “Faith” – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/why-do-so-many-people-misunderstand-the-word-faith-2/
  4. A Christian view of economics: http://mbcpathway.com/2016/11/10/a-christian-view-of-economics/
  5. Why did Jesus tell people to “go and sin no more” if sinlessness is impossible? https://www.gotquestions.org/go-and-sin-no-more.html
  6. J.P. Moreland on Why God Won’t Force People Into Heaven: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/08/jp-moreland-on-why-god-wont-force.html
  7. OS Guinness, where is America headed: https://boxcast.tv/view/os-guinness-where-is-america-headed-274210
  8. How Did Christianity Prevail in Ancient Rome and What Can We Learn from It? http://crossexamined.org/christianity-prevail-ancient-rome-can-learn/
  9. Make Religious Freedom Great Again | Public Discourse: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/11/18221/
  10. Why we need to let Trump have a fresh start: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Why-we-need-to-let-Trump-have-a-fresh-start
  11. Why I Voted for Donald Trump: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/why-i-voted-for-donald-trump/
  12. 5 Misconceptions about the Bible | Sean McDowell Ph.D.: http://crossexamined.org/5-misconceptions-about-the-bible/
  13. 4 Reasons We Know Humans Have a Soul – Jonathan Morrow: http://www.jonathanmorrow.org/4-reasons-know-humans-soul/
  14. 3 Facts in Genesis 1 which confirms the Biblical Creation: https://samzlogic.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/3-facts-in-genesis-1-which-confirms-the-biblical-creation/
  15. Why are the Gnostic Gospels non- Canonical ? https://samzlogic.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/why-are-the-gnostic-gospels-non-canonical/
  16. Truth Is Narrow and Exclusive for Everybody. This is a fun little video from Impact 360 on relativism, tolerance, and Christianity’s claim to be objectively true: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt8bJyiUAhY
  17. Five Apologetics Questions You Need to Think Through: http://www.str.org/blog/five-apologetics-questions-you-need-think-through
  18. Deceit and Lies We Have Been Told on Homosexuality – REALity – scientific evidence not supportive of homosexual myths: http://www.realwomenofcanada.ca/deceit-and-lies-we-have-been-told-on-homosexuality-reality/
  19. 7 Things You Should Know About Temptation ($0.99 on Kindle) – this is a REALLY good little book, filled with Scripture and practical advice: https://www.amazon.com/Things-Should-Know-About-Temptation-ebook/dp/B01FY45DVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479312971&sr=8-1

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.  Romans 10:1-3

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (11-3-2016)

Good morning friends,

Another week has passed and God’s mercies are still new every morning.  Great is His faithfulness!  Here are some links for you to consider:

  1. How to think (not what to think): http://creation.com/how-to-think
  2. 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry: http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/160290-benjer_mcveigh_4_myths_about_teaching_apologetics_in_youth_ministry.html
  3. Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/love-your-neighbor-enough-to-speak-truth
  4. State of Georgia demands pastor turn over sermons | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/10/26/state-georgia-demands-pastor-turn-over-sermons.html
  5. Did humans and dinosaurs co-exist? Are dinosaurs in the Bible? See what lab tests show about the actual age of dinosaur bones: https://www.facebook.com/icrscience/videos/10154672274024451/
  6. What is the Diwali festival in Hinduism? https://gotquestions.org/Diwali-festival-Hinduism.html
  7. 5 Tips for Young Apologists: http://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/5-tips-for-young-apologists
  8. What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment? https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/god-is-good/what-kind-of-god-would-condemn-people-to-eternal-torment/
  9. Why a Quantum-Mechanical Universe Still Requires a Cause: http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2016/11/why-quantum-mechanical-universe-still.html
  10. Who Wrote the Gospel According to Luke? http://www.logicandlight.org/who-wrote-the-gospel-according-to-luke/

One other item I would like to pass along.  This month (Nov. 18th and 19th in Tempe) there will be a speech and debate tournament called the Cactus Clash.  If you are interested in being a community judge (no experience necessary), you can sign up here.  I did it last year and will be there on Saturday the 19th this year, and I promise, you will be blessed when you see these young people defending what they believe (there is an apologetics focus in the debates as well).

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.  Matthew 10:23a

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (10-27-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are a few items for you to take a look at:

  1. Abortion Argument Destroyed in 6 minute video (this is REALLY good): https://www.facebook.com/PastorSundayAdelaja/videos/10154019515783845/
  2. 50 Recommended Apologetics Resources for Christian Parents: http://christianmomthoughts.com/50-recommended-apologetics-resources-for-christian-parents/
  3. Denzel Washington Reveals The Heartbreaking Journey That Lead To His Life Long Faith In Jesus: http://qpolitical.com/denzel-washington-reveals-the-heartbreaking-journey-that-lead-to-his-life-long-faith-in-jesus/
  4. Watch “What is Religious Pluralism and Why is it False?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jRAGzWrFnOE
  5. Watch “Shattering the Icons of Evolution” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RHmTfIXK1BQ
  6. Transgender: Truth and Compassion | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/publications/transgender-truth-and-compassion#.WA7IgMtlDqA
  7. 3 Reasons Why the Historicity of Jesus Matters: http://crossexamined.org/3-reasons-why-the-historicity-of-jesus-matters/
  8. Media Misleads About Ark Again | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/ministry-news/ark-encounter/media-misleads-about-ark-again/
  9. Watch “What distinguishes humans from other animals?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/j7PeKJjQaF0
  10. Approaching the Existence of God | CrossExamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/approaching-existence-god/
  11. Jesus Calling:
    1. 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling: http://www.challies.com/articles/10-serious-problems-with-jesus-calling
    2. The New Age Implications of “Jesus Calling”: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16568
    3. Developing Discernment in Devotional Reading: http://www.equip.org/article/developing-discernment-devotional-reading/
    4. Is Jesus Calling a Good Book?  Are there any doctrinal problems with Jesus Calling? https://gotquestions.org/Jesus-Calling.html
  12. What is Halloween? | Can Christians celebrate Halloween? | Origins of Halloween: https://carm.org/halloween

In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time –God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.  1 Timothy 6:13-16.

For those who are interested, I created a 15 minute video collage of our recent trip to Kaua’I here (Note – this has background music and the video can be viewed full-screen. I recommend you use a browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc, not Internet Explorer).  It was a fully paid trip for my wife and I that I received as an “most valuable player” award on my job.

mid-week apologetics booster (10-6-2016)

Good morning,

First, a house-keeping item – I will not be sending out this booster next week.  Rather than encouraging you with apologetics concerning God and His creation, Lord willing, I will be experiencing His creation in a place called Kauai!  So, you’ll hear from me again in 2 weeks.

Now, on to the good stuff…

  1. David Silverman Denies That The Holocaust Was Objectively Wrong in a debate with Frank Turek: https://youtu.be/ybiFlsLZU-A?t=2m01s
  2. New Bill Would Repeal Johnson Amendment, Protect Pastors’ Rights to Endorse Candidates | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/29/new-bill-would-repeal-johnson-amendment-protect-pastors-rights-to-endorse-candidates/
  3. How Christianity Created the Free Society | Public Discourse: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/09/17405/
  4. A Call to Repentance & Renewal – An Open Letter to Christian pastors, leaders and believers who assist the anti-Christian Progressive political movement in America: http://americanevangelicals.com/
  5. Did Man Get Here By Evolution Or By Creation? Chapter 3 Does Life Come from Nonliving Matter? http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/evolution67/evolution3.html
  6. Five Questions About Evolution that Charles Darwin Can’t Answer: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1579-five-questions-about-evolution-that-charles-darwin-cant-answer
  7. Holy Rebel: http://dangreenup.com/holy-rebel/
  8. Evolutionary dilemma – The more we know about DNA, the tougher things get for modern Darwinism: http://creation.com/evolutionary-dilemma
  9. Help! My Pastor Became An Atheist! https://clearlens.org/2016/09/28/help-my-pastor-became-an-atheist/
  10. Isn’t It Possible That The Jesus Story Was A Conspiracy (unfortunately, this is poor audio)? “Anything is possible, but not everything is reasonable.” A student alludes to the DaVinci Code, saying that it was put forth in the book/movie that Jesus’ follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XV7ajMLYO4
  11. The Imminent Death of Darwinism and the Rise of Intelligent Design: http://www.icr.org/article/imminent-death-darwinism-rise-intelligent-design/
  12. The Danger of Treating the Word “Disciple” as a Noun Instead of a Verb: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/the-danger-of-treating-the-word-disciple-as-a-noun-instead-of-a-verb/
  13. How Christ’s Incarnation Differs from the Hindu Idea of Avatar: https://reflectionsbyken.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/how-christs-incarnation-differs-from-the-hindu-idea-of-avatar/
  14. The Free Thinking Argument: http://www.reasonablefaithbelfast.com/blog/-the-free-thinking-argument
  15. Canyon creation – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/a/237
  16. Biblical Contradictions are as Scarce as Hen’s Teeth – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/biblical-contradictions-are-as-scarce-as-hens-teeth/
  17. Evidence for Design Grows Like a New Patch of Kudzu – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/evidence-for-design-grows-like-a-new-patch-of-kudzu/
  18. “I Just Don’t Have Your Faith” | Saints and Sceptics: http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/i-just-dont-have-your-faith/
  19. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective (new book for kids by J. Warner Wallace): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/cold-case-christianity-for-kids-j-warner-wallace/1123269143/2675127321420?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP3038&k_clickid=3×3038
  20. What Is the Essential Truth About the Holy Spirit? (J. Warner Wallace podcast): http://pleaseconvinceme.libsyn.com/what-is-the-essential-truth-about-the-holy-spirit?tdest_id=90058
  21. The Problem with “Friendship Evangelism”: http://www.missioalliance.org/problem-friendship-evangelism/
  22. Creationist receives six-figure legal settlement from public university: http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/29337/
  23. Evidence of the Resurrection Accepted Even by Atheist New Testament Scholars: https://cyberpenance.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/__trashed-3/

Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools. Proverbs 16:22

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (9-15-2016)

Good morning friends,

I wanted to let you know of a site that I maintain that has links to many of the sites where I get these articles.  It is http://coolgadgetssoftware.com/random_christian_link.html.  There it has a list of 316 sites that I’ve found that have decent content.  It also has a button at the top that allows you to visit a random site from the list (in a new window).

Here are some articles and videos for you to take a look at:

  1. Thought Snack: We Think God’s Unfair Because We Don’t Hate Sin – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/2015/09/21/thought-snack-we-think-gods-unfair-because-we-dont-hate-sin/
  2. Is God Unfair to Those Raised in Other Faiths? http://www.comereason.org/religious-exclusivism.asp
  3. 5 Popular Christian Teachers To Avoid: http://thereforegodexists.com/5-popular-christian-teachers-to-avoid/
  4. Three False Gospels You May Not Realize Are in Your Church: http://pulpitandpen.org/2015/08/20/three-false-gospels-you-may-not-realize-are-in-your-church/
  5. Verifiability Is A Christian Distinctive: http://crossexamined.org/verifiability-is-a-christian-distinctive/
  6. The unaffiliated: Why more than a quarter of Arizonans are leaving religion behind: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2016/08/17/unaffiliated-faith-why-more-than-quarter-arizonans-leaving-religion-behind/88900344/
  7. In What Sense Is It Impossible for the Universe to Come from Nothing? http://www.reasonablefaith.org/in-what-sense-is-it-impossible-for-the-universe-to-come-from-nothing
  8. Understanding and Sharing Truth in our Culture: https://youtu.be/5ODX5r3d_2I
  9. Tom Holland: Why I was wrong about Christianity: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/religion/2016/09/tom-holland-why-i-was-wrong-about-christianity
  10. Have archaeologists just unearthed stunning BIBLICAL PALACE once owned by King Solomon? http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/707419/archaeologists-unearthed-stunning-BIBLICAL-PALACE-King-Solomon
  11. Why Doesn’t God “Do Something” About Evil? http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2016/09/why-doesnt-god-do-something-about-evil.html
  12. John MacArthur joke: http://adam4d.com/got-joke/
  13. Is Criticizing God or The Bible A Valid Argument Against Gods Existence? or “On The ‘There Is No God And I Hate Him”: https://agroundfloorview.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/is-criticizing-god-or-the-bible-a-valid-argument-against-gods-existence-or-on-the-there-is-no-god-and-i-hate-him-part-2/
  14. How America Has Gone From the Old Deluder Satan Act to Banning Bibles in School: http://allchristiannews.com/how-american-has-gone-from-the-old-deluder-satan-act-to-banning-bibles-in-school/
  15. “I like apologetics, where should I start?” https://apologetics105.com/2016/09/09/i-like-apologetics-where-should-i-start/
  16. Trusting in Science Alone will Starve Our Ability to Know: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2016/09/trusting-in-science-alone-will-starve.html
  17. Mundanity as a barrier to faith: http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2015/04/mundanity-as-barrier-to-faith.html
  18. The Basic Facts that Everyone Agrees on About Jesus’ Death and Resurrection: https://beyondtm.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/20-b4-twenty-the-basic-facts-that-everyone-agrees-on-about-jesus-death-and-resurrection/
  19. 4 Reasons Why Every Christian Should be Pro-Life on Abortion: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/05/03/4-reasons-why-every-christian-should-be-pro-life-on-abortion/
  20. The 9 Forms of Infidelity in Marriage (Hint: 8 of Them Don’t Involve Sex): http://www.faithit.com/9-forms-infidelity-marriage-dave-willis/
  21. Is This the Biggest Barrier to Students Living out Their Faith? http://youthministry360.com/blog/the-biggest-barrier-to-students-living-out-their-faith/

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.  Proverbs 19:2

mid-week apologetics booster (9-8-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. The New Face of Atheism (And It’s Not Dawkins!) – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/the-new-face-of-atheism-and-its-not-dawkins
  2. God’s Foreknowledge Does Not Force – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/2015/07/24/gods-knowledge-does-not-force/
  3. Elementary School with Co-ed Restrooms: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Elementary-School-with-Co-ed-Restrooms.html?soid=1100422530046&aid=yGl2YXsMESA
  4. Atheists Who Convert: A Case Study: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Atheists-Who-Convert-A-Case-Study
  5. LDS Church and Same-Sex Marriage: The DOCTRINE Behind the Policy — dear Ephesus: http://www.dearephesus.org/blog/2015/11/6/lds-church-and-same-sex-marriage-the-theology-behind-the-policy
  6. Pornography and Purity: Pursuing a Biblical Vision of Manhood and Womanhood to the Glory of God – Servants of Grace: http://servantsofgrace.org/pornography-purity-pursuing-biblical-vision-manhood-womanhood-glory-god/
  7. Why isn’t God’s Existence more Obvious? | Saints and Sceptics: http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/why-isnt-gods-existence-more-obvious/
  8. You Don’t Always Have to Make a Defense – Apologetics 105: https://apologetics105.com/2016/08/31/you-dont-always-have-to-make-a-defense/
  9. How To Answer, “Can You Be Good Without God?” – DyerThoughts: http://www.dyerthoughts.com/home/how-to-answer-can-you-be-good-without-god
  10. Mark Spence videos:
    1. Watch “I Deserve Hell – Mark Spence’s Story” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xci422OZGWE
    2. Watch “Can We Trust the Bible?” by Living Waters on YouTube: https://youtu.be/XyNseXdd260
    3. Watch “Is It Wrong to Judge?” by Living Waters on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ef3P97nz0lU
    4. Watch “Mark Spence ‘The Good News is Great News’” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LdU3y7EIa8Y
  11. Harvard PhD tosses questions at fossil claim: http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/09/harvard-phd-tosses-questions-at-fossil-claim/
  12. Bad Arguments Against Christianity: Bible Contradictions – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/2015/08/11/answering-the-bible-contradictions-objection/
  13. Video Shows Mother Teresa Saying “Every Abortion is a Rejection of Jesus” | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/27/video-shows-mother-teresa-saying-every-abortion-is-a-rejection-of-jesus/
  14. The Problem of Evil Is Often A Problem of Understanding – Cross Examined: http://crossexamined.org/the-problem-of-evil-is-often-a-problem-of-understanding/
  15. ISIS Is Killing Us Because We Are Not Muslim – by Nabeel Qureshi: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nabeel-qureshi/isis-is-killing-us-because-we-are-not-muslim_b_11793770.html
  16. Lessons for America from the fall of Rome: http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/09/lessons-for-america-from-the-fall-of-rome/#67C09EVzvgw1FYx4.99
  17. The Case for Christianity According to a 7th Grader | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/10965/
  18. Our shrinking brains – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/our-shrinking-brains
  19. 4 Ways to become a better listener and a better Apologist: http://crossexamined.org/4-ways-become-better-listener-better-apologist/
  20. Why Would an Engineer-Turned-Mom Care So Deeply about Apologetics? http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/why-would-an-engineer-turned-mom-care-so-deeply-about-apologetics
  21. The Church of Chronic Denial and Dementia | Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past…… https://robertbridgstock.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/the-church-of-chronic-denial-and-dementia/
  22. Four Self-Refuting Statements Heard on College Campuses Across America: http://crossexamined.org/four-self-refuting-statements-heard-on-college-campuses-across-america/
  23. What Christian Parents Need to Know About New Age and Occult Beliefs: http://crossexamined.org/christian-parents-need-know-new-age-occult-beliefs/
  24. Greg Bahnsen: The Bible is the Word of God: http://evidence4god.blogspot.com/2016/08/greg-bahnsen-standing-on-scripture.html
  25. William Lane Craig Q&A: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/knowledge-of-god-and-his-will
  26. ‘Increasingly Aggressive’ Atheists Target Children in New Evolution-Promoting Book: http://christiannews.net/2016/09/05/increasingly-aggressive-atheists-target-children-in-new-evolution-promoting-book/

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalms 100:1-5