Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Evangelism

2013

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.

 http://flipagram.com/f/8i0BU0vscW


Does it even matter? Part 1

How old is the Earth?

Some people say that it is very young, only about 6000 years.
While others would say that it is very old.
The main question to consider in all of this however (and slightly overlooked by both sides sometimes) is this most important question…
In the grand scheme of eternity and kingdom work, does it matter how old the Earth is?
Think about it for a second. Before we dive in to looking at the two sides (as if it were just that easy and 2 sided) we need to remember one very important thing. Much like the talks about end times, once saved always saved, women’s role in ministry or discussions on the genre and structure of Biblical texts, this is an in-house debate for Christians. What I mean by that is, this is something that we need to discuss and dialogue about amongst each other, but when it comes to being in front of atheists and other non-believers, this should not be our hobby-horse or main focus.

Breaking Fellowship?-Not necessary.

The problem really comes in when the two sides start attacking each other in front of others. This doesn’t happen too often thankfully, but again much like any of the other topics listed above, there are multiple viewpoints each with their own merits.
I have personally seen one side tell the other side that if they don’t agree with them, then they have a very low view of scripture. This is particularly evident when it comes to the age of the earth argument.
Young earth creationists (I’ll call them YECs) think that OECs have a low view of scripture because they are not reading the 7 days of creation as literal seven days. However the OEC’s would argue that they are in no way diminishing the scripture because of the Hebrew language and the genre of the Pentateuch.
But before we even look at the merits of either side we have to note that there are multiple YECs and OECs views. For instance a YEC might hold the view based on modern cosmology and physics that the universe is in fact around 13.6 billion years old, with a relatively young earth. Likewise many OEC might take the view of a very old earth with 7 literal days of creation with ages in between the days.
So just in the last paragraph alone you see that the issue is not so cut and dry as we tend to think it is.
What’s important to remember is that neither view diminishes what Christ did on the cross for us. Neither view keeps Him in the grave. That is why this is an in-house debate, because if we are honest with ourselves, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how old the earth is if Christ is risen. That’s the central claim to our faith not the age of the earth or the timing of the rapture.

 

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Apologetics Tuesday: Apologetics meets Evangelism

Friends or Enemies?

So today is a quick post to get you thinking. Some people I’ve talked to have an aversion to apologetics because they fear that it creates a “win the argument not the person” mentality. This is a slightly unfair criticisms since this is not what the approach to apologetics should be at all.

As you know one of my hobby horses is evangelism. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter as commissioned to us by Jesus himself in Matthew 28. What I have discovered is that using apologetics IN evangelism is a very useful tool for some people.

There are really only two kinds of disbelief. Those who do so out of scientific knowledge and those who have an emotional block. You may be tempted to say that only the scientific doubter would be the person who could be reached with apologetics, but you’d be thinking too small. When it comes down to it, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work in someone’s life to make them new, but using something such as the moral argument to help people understand the true hopelessness without God can be an effective bridge to sharing the Gospel.

We will dive more in to this at another time, but I wanted to let you know that apologetics and evangelism can definitely go hand in hand.

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False Dilemma is no Dilemma at All.

If you have been in a philosophy class for more than a month, then you have heard this argument presented.

One of the oldest arguments about morality comes from Plato’s dialogues. A student named Euthyphro asks Socrates if the gods will something because it is good, or is something good because the gods will it to be good?

Let’s break down these two “horns” of the dilemma.

1. Do the gods will something because it’s good?

This means that there is some concept of universal good that is outside of God that he just ascribes to. This means that God is in essence unnecessary for morality.

2. Is something good just because the gods will it?

This basically means that God can just will whatever He wants to be good or evil. For instance if today God willed murder and rape to be moral and kindness to be evil, then it would be. That God can choose on a whim what’s good and what’s bad, and that He can change it at any time arbitrarily. This is clearly not the God that we see.

This presented through the ages by atheists against God and biblical morality because it’s presented as a real dilemma. The problem is that it isn’t a real dilemma at all. An actual dilemma means that you are presented with two and only two options that you must choose between.

di- “two” + lemma “premise, anything received or taken,”

However it’s not an actual dilemma at all. A false dilemma is a situation where there are only two options presented, but they are in fact not the only two options available. This is known as splitting the horns.

So what is the answer then?

The true answer is that “the good” that Plato wrote about is in fact grounded in God’s nature. Or to say it as @ReasonableFaith ‘s Dr. William Lane Craig says it, That something is good because God IS good. Things like love, compassion, justice, kindness are part of God’s unchanging nature. They are not arbitrary, but they are also not from something external either.

God is Himself the good and is the source of our moral duties.

How have you heard this presented before?

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Torn and Restored Card

This is a classic Torn and Restored Card trick done in a very visual way backstage on the CIY Believe Tour.

The tour has been awesome so far!
Check it out and see more soon.

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Apologetics Tuesday: Embarrassing Testimony

Empty Tomb

Criteria

So we have had a short break from our “Can We Trust the New Testament” series because of Christmas and New Years. The last time we looked at the evidence we talked about the idea of certain types of criteria that are examined anytime an ancient source is examined to trust its historicity.

We have already covered early, and enemy attestation, and today we are going to look at embarrassing testimony.

Embarrassment

Now this isn’t the type of embarrassing we think of when you do that thing where you’re walking down the sidewalk and do the slight trip only to notice everyone saw it. This type of embarrassment comes from including certain elements in the Gospel narratives that would be considered embarrassing for the writers.

There are two very clear examples of this in the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark.

Joseph

First is the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. For the Jews at this time (Which the writer of Mark was) the Sanhedrin (council who tried and sent Jesus to Pilate) basically orchestrated a judicial murder of their Messiah. The sentiment toward the Sanhedrin would have been very negative. So one has to wonder why if Mark was just merely making up the story of Jesus’ resurrection why on earth would he make up a story where a member of the very same council who killed Jesus suddenly does right by Jesus. Giving Jesus his own brand new tomb was an awfully nice gesture, but why would Mark make that up?

That’s why embarrassing testimony is so important, is that it lends credibility to the narrative. Surely if Mark were making this up he would have had someone not on the Sanhedrin give Jesus their tomb.

Women

Even more telling, are Jesus’ first witnesses to His resurrection. The Gospel of Mark shows that a group of women discovered the tomb empty, and were the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Now in our culture today, nothing would be wrong with this notion at all, and will cause you to overlook this if you aren’t careful. Looking at 1st century story through the lens of the 21st century is anachronistic.

However in the 1st century according to ancient historians including Josephus, the testimony of women meant nothing. Critics try to claim that this isn’t true pointing to events such as the destruction of Masada in which women were used as witnesses, but the problem with this is that they were only used as a witness in this case because they WERE the only witnesses that survived.

Surely if Mark was making up this story, he would have made male disciples the first discoverer’s of the empty tomb. But he didn’t.

In fact what this shows is that the first witnesses to the empty tomb actually were Jesus’ women disciples.

That covers two clear examples of embarrassing testimony in the Gospel account. There are numerous other examples including the disciples doubting Jesus and running away from Him, as well as not realizing what He was telling them.

Next up Eye-witness.

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Update From the Road

Karla and I have been gone since mid September touring different dates around the country. From CO to GA to VA to CA to TX. The coolest thing about getting to do what Karla and I do is that we get to see people come to know Christ from all over the place. Now that’s not to say that there isn’t opposition form the enemy.

Friday night we were in Lynchburg, VA at Thomas Road Baptist Church. There were about 700 students from the community in the room, packing it out. All of the sudden as soon as I got to the meat of the Gospel presentation, the entire sound/video system shut off.

Now if you’ve read some of my posts about hecklers and dealing with issues from the stage, you know how this could easily derail an entire show, but God is bigger than the opposition. I decided I was going to just continue and pray that I was able to project my voice loud enough that everyone could hear.  The miraculous part was that in a room of 700 students, you could have heard a pin drop. It was silent, giving me the perfect atmosphere to continue and share the Gospel without the mic.

God moved, and changed lives that night.

It’s something that Karla and I will never forget. Sometimes we rely so much on making sure that the sound and video are working properly so that everything hits at the right time, that when something like that happens, it reminds us that no matter what I think is going on, God is bigger than this world. That when I feel like even from the stage things are going crazy, Jesus has overcome this world, and I can put my trust and cares on Him, and He will carry us through.

Nothing fires us up more than seeing lives changed for Christ. Pray with us, and for us that God will continue to open doors and give us new strategies to reach people with His message that this world so desperately needs.

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A view from the Rocky Mountains.