This was such a great year for us as a ministry. God took us all over the country and let us share the Gospel with over 30,000 people. I had the opportunity to take the Bryan Drake Show to Guatemala which was a great experience.
My favorite thing about 2013 was seeing hundreds of students come to know Jesus. My 2nd favorite thing though for 2013 was looking forward to the birth of our daughter Harper. At the time of writing this, she isn’t here yet, but we can’t wait.
Thanks for making 2013 an awesome year. Pray with us for an even crazier 2014 (except without looking forward to another child…2 under 2 I don’t think so lol)
Check out this great Flipagram Karla made for us.
Funny enough I was listening to a pastor preach on the parable of the Prodigal Son tonight. I noticed something in the story that I have never really thought of before. The younger son when leaving his father basically tells him that he’s better dead than alive. He tells his father he can’t wait for him to die, but rather wants his inheritance now.
Funny enough the father is a clear picture of God, and something I haven’t pieced together before is that the younger son is much like the atheist or naturalist who claims outrage at evil in the world, who clings to logical truths, yet doesn’t believe that God exists. They want the things that God has to offer. Justice, love, reason, morality, good, etc. but don’t want to grant that the source exists.
You say so what? The point is that the son wants all the riches of the father, yet wants nothing to do with him. In fact the son would live as if the father is dead. This is how the atheist cuts his own feet out from under himself. By showing outrage at injustice they are automatically asserting that there is some form of objective justice or morality. This however cannot come from a naturalistic worldview. After all science alone can only tell what is, not what ought to be. Therefore when the atheist makes a claim such as, “Slavery in the Bible is immoral” he has no ground to stand on. He has taken from the father the riches and things that benefit him, yet chooses to live as if the father is dead. On naturalism there is no basis for morality, for justice, for reason. Things just are.
So to say that something ought to be a certain way after all is just one higher primates molecules firing one way or another without any true dignity of humanity. However if the Father does exist…if He is alive, then all of these things have a purpose and a meaning.
Borrowing from theism to try and refute it is just like telling the father you want his riches, but want him dead.
One of the trends that I’ve noticed lately for atheists, mainly the FFRF, to do is to attack a small town usually in the South, for “violating the 1st amendment.” The problems with this are multiple, but let’s deal with just the glaring one.
As they say here in the south, “They don’t have a dog in that hunt!” We are talking about a group based out of Wisconsin who’s entire purpose is to wipe religion (gee I wonder which one…) off the map. They don’t just want an equality of viewpoints, but merely a complete and utter obliteration of Christianity. They attack a small town over some trumped up “complaint” and threaten to sue either a school district, or city council. They use this tactic not because they have any legal legs to stand on, but because they know it’s an effective fear tactic. They know that most of these targets would rather quietly bow to their wishes than have a media backlash.
Behind the Scenes Goliath…
Now I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I never even looked into what they claim or profess. However I have. I listen to numerous debates between atheists and Christians. One such popular opponent in these debates is none other than Dan Barker, a very prominent member of the FFRF.
The problem with using him as your go to debater…he’s not very good. I don’t say this in a biased way, but in all fairness he is a terrible debater who basically says the same thing over and over ad nausea. I don’t mean by this he sticks to his guns, but rather he pulls out an irritating and easily defeated point, yet trumpets it about like it’s some unheard of wisdom granted just to him, but when confronted with a more learned Greek student (by many years)…he’s right every time and they are just mistaken every time.
Really? That’s the best argument?
Anyway back from that rabbit trail. I mention all of this to say this. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted a story about a school district in Cullman, Wiscon….no wait that’s wrong, Cullman, Alabama (right in the FFRF’s back yard….) being threatened by the FFRF for what’s known as the prayer caravan. Basically private citizens on their own volition go to each campus during the summer and stand on public outdoor property and pray for the students. How hideous! How vile!
Here is the story:
Yeah that’s it. That’s all they do, yet somehow that’s a violation against the 1st amendment?
Anyway the Superintendent is not caving, is not backing down from these tyrannical atheist bullies, but rather saying, “get over it.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! Stand strong. Yes we are going to be persecuted, and mocked for His namesake, but we are also called to be salt and light. Salt in a wound is not comfortable. Light shined into the darkness hurts people’s eyes at first, but when adjusted to it, that light can grow!
Stand strong when the enemy attacks, don’t back down. Paul, Peter, James, and the others stood strong even unto death. Do I think that’s where we are headed in the near future? No, but if we live with the mindset of, “I’m not backing down” we can do great things for the kingdom.
To start off I need to be fair. The reason that I wrote part 1 of this series was out of a response to athiests on twitter and Facebook espousing one thing with their mouth, yet living out a completely separate idea. At its core, this is hypocrisy no ifs, ands, or buts.
Now here’s where I have to be fair. The only reason that I am even able to notice this hypocrisy is not because it’s only on their side of the fence. No in fact quite the opposite. The problem generally occurs on our side of the fence. On one hand we espouse the love of Christ, yet don’t live it out. We talk about one thing and live another. I am not saying Christianity is about being sinless (completely different theological discussion), but it is about keeping the flesh at bay on a daily basis. The second we’ve “beat” the flesh in one aspect of our life, is the second it sneaks in for another chink in our armor. Like Amalek in the OT would attack the weak rear of Moses’ people, our flesh will never rest, never sleep, and never stop fighting for dominance in our life.
That is why we have to be diligent in being the face of Christ, not just the words. What good are empty words without hands and feet?
So yes there is hypocrisy on the side of the atheist, which we will dive in to more next time, but before we can do that we have to make sure our flesh isn’t the one in the captain’s chair. We have to make sure that our flesh isn’t driving our Apologetic either.
Grace and love. That’s what has to come through, or there is no point in even starting the discussion. We aren’t doing Apologetics to win a fight or points, but to lead people to Christ.
Just wanted to catch everyone up on what’s been going on with us lately. This spring we had a chance to be in front of 20,000 jr. high students on the Presence Tour. It was awesome to see God move through so many lives all across the country. Apart from the tour we’ve seen over 120 people come to know Christ. That is the fuel that keeps us moving ahead.
Lately some of my first students I taught when I was a jr. high pastor have been coming over to talk all things apologetics/theology/anything else. It’s so awesome to see the passion that these students have for God’s word. Starting at their age as early adults, they are in a position to turn the tide in this dark world. After all we are the light of the world, a city set on a hill. We have to keep shining no matter how dark or occluded it gets.
Last but not least we are super excited about our new promo video and can’t wait to show it to you. Hopefully you should be the first to see it next week if all goes to plan. The rough draft looked great! It’s the vision that Karla, Gresham, and I had in order for it to be used as promo for us yes, but also as a ministry tool for pastors and youth pastors. So stay tuned to find out more.
Check out SmashMagic.com to see how you can bring us in next year for the 3rd year of the Smash Magic Tour!
Apologetics tuesday will continue this week! Sorry for the lull.
We also have some very exciting news that I can only tease right now….
Hmmmm…..what else? Oh yeah the nerd side of me is about to burst at the seems because of Man of Steel this week. Not gonna lie I’ve watched the previews waaaaay too many times ha ha. It’s gonna be fun.
Well anyway check out the new video and keep up with us on facebook and twitter to see where we will be!
So I have been doing a weekly series about apologetics for the last few months. If you look back at the previous posts you’ll see the different variety of subjects discussed, but what I want to know is what kind of tough questions have you been faced with? Maybe in talking with friends or family you have been hit with a statement or an argument that throws you a little bit.
What questions have you heard? What we will do is take some of the questions you guys send in and address them as they come in. Don’t be shy or think your question may be too easy or too hard or too crazy, anything is on limits. This is an opportunity to strengthen your faith and better equip yourself to defend your faith!
Let us know!
…rules the culture we live in. Any opinion you have can easily be called offensive by someone else. The word tolerance has had a drastic redefinition by those wanting to harness your opinions. Used to the word meant that you clearly disagreed with something, yet “tolerated” a viewpoint that wasn’t your own. Today tolerance means that if you don’t agree with a certain view you are hateful and intolerant.
A lot of this attention is aimed at Christians and our goal to be more like Christ and be less like this sinful world. But there is the word, sin. That’s the one that sets the internet ablaze by armchair atheists looking for an emotional axe to grind to support their chip laden shoulder against God. They begin to quote verses (albeit very out of any historical or even sequential context) like they were Sunday school teachers. Verses about stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath, or verses about permission to own “slaves”. NOw I’m not going to get into these issues today on this blog, but if you want a quick and awesome read that can help you with some of the most difficult passages in the Old Testament, check out Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? You will love it!
But back to the buzzword, sin. In this cultural and political landscape should we even be talking about sin anymore? Isn’t that an outdated notion that people came up with to scare their children into being good, like Santa? This is what a relativistic culture would like us to believe. If you are able to denounce the idea of objective morality, then you can basically say that only Hitler, murderers, and rapists, are sinners and everything else is just a matter of opinion. This idea of acting like sin doesn’t exist is an absolute rebellion against a loving God. Ironically the fact that we identify our sinfulness and evil in this world is actually some of the best evidence that God exists, and that we need Him.
Keep it Fluffy Keep-em Coming
The fear comes though from many pastors and youth pastors in the form of, “Well I shouldn’t talk about sin because I don’t want to run anyone off.” To some that notion sounds just fine because hey why would you want to run anyone away from God? This is an absolute red herring. Yes I agree your first step in evangelism shouldn’t be the Westborough Baptist approach, that’s not winning anyone to the kingdom, but what tends to happen is this mindset, “I’ll get them involved wit church and then start to breach the topic of sin and redemption.” Also a great notion that is following Jesus’ own example with the woman at the well. We sometimes forget the fact that Jesus pointed out her sin, but it was after showing compassion and His true nature of Messiah. What happens though is that we take the mindset above, yet we never quite broach the subject of sin. We talk about the love of God, but never His justice. Truthfully though we see the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s love for us while we are sinners, its when we are aware of our sinful nature. Romans 5:8 clearly says this.
If we are spoon-feeding a sugary sweet gospel of, “God loves everybody and wants you to be the best person you can be no matter what situation you’re in now” without a call to change and repentance clearly seen in the apostle’s, John the Baptist’s, and Jesus’ ministry, we are doing students a huge disservice.
Power Over Sin
For it is God who has the power to break the bonds of sin no matter what they are. God in his awesome power can forgive and change any heart willing to follow him. 1 John 1:9 tells us so. Don’t get caught up in the notion of, “they’re born that way, so maybe they can be the best gay Christian, or adulterous, or drug dealing, or partying, or lying Christian they can be.”
God can and will change us, temptation will always be there which is why serious discipleship needs to take place. Matthew 28, the Great Commission doesn’t stop with making disciples and baptizing them, but the last part is the part we stop with too often.
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.
We have to continually study the word together and learn how to be like Christ more and more everyday. Our first response to this culture should in fact be the unconditional love of Christ, followed by a call to repentance as seen in Christ’s own example.