Black and Yellow Butterfly on a Leaf

Ravi Zacharias: Speaking for Jesus, our Creator

Ravi Zacharias-flickr

This is an article I wrote two years ago, but the only thing that’s changed is instead of having raised a few pennies for RZIM, my total is over $81. It’s still one of my favorite podcasts, and they still bring Jesus as Creator into the mix. Just the whole ministry is super careful not to drive away either Christians who think God used evolution and/or millions of years to “create” or those of us who know better!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I use GoodSearch to find things on the internet, and now it’s time to tell you who I support with this program!  Ravi Zacharias has been preaching and speaking around the world for many years about Jesus, humanity and the need for a Christian worldview to make sense of our lives.  When I was about 12, I saw him speak at a church on the north side of Chicago and I’ve been interested in him ever since.

His sermons are one of my favorite things to listen to on iTunes while I do my chores.  Dr. Zacharias has an unusual ministry that focuses on the very smart and “wise” people of the world.  He speaks and works at Cambridge and Oxford in England.  He has spoken to many of the most powerful people in the world, people whom most Christians never have a chance to talk to.  He uses some very big words and big ideas, but his whole focus is on pointing people to Jesus Christ and the life and meaning He offers to everyone.

I’ve noticed over the past few months how often the beginning of Genesis comes up in his speeches and I know it’s not an accident.  If we let go of God as Creator and Adam and Eve as our first parents, we lose all of the foundation of our worldview.  Life becomes just a squishy mess that we can mold however we want to, but that can’t support us in hard times.

The last two weeks the podcast has been a recent speech that Dr. Zacharias gave to a group of young people attending some sort of Bible school (at least that’s the impression I got from his closing comments).  It has a lot of big words, but the main ideas he shares I think all of you who are at least 11 or 12 should be able to understand, and all of us who are turning into or already are grown-ups need to hear.  They had to split the speech into two parts so here are the links:

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 1 of 2)

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 2 of 2)

Let me know what ideas struck you the most!

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. I Corinthians 23-29

Book Review: Examine Your Faith

examine your faith by pamela christianExamine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies by Pamela Christian

I found this book a convenient, all in one family resource for introducing world religions and the specialness of Christianity. It systematically introduces us to our basic need to believe in something, then explores where our faith can find a true and trustworthy resting place.

It can be incredibly difficult to state even basic information about a group of people so they all agree with you. Yet, this is the task Pamela Christian assigned herself here. After briefly sharing her own faith journey (ending in the Bible and Jesus Christ), she takes us through a course in major world religions. Next introducing us to people who were dissatisfied with each example given, leading them to Jesus Christ. The last section of the book presents reasons we can trust our fate to the God of the Bible.

Reading this book with families in mind, I was quite pleased with her handling of some delicate topics. Pamela Christian’s treatment of the other major beliefs (including Secular Humanism) came across as even handed and fair, but not worded in such a way as to make them seem more appealing than Jesus.

Her opening chapter was a little misleading when she stated that she was going to leave the choice of what faith we liked best up to each of us. In one sense this is always true and doesn’t need to be added. But usually people who claim this are following an “anything goes, so I don’t care” mentality. Mrs. Christian strongly disagrees with such thinking!

I especially enjoyed the section devoted to the answers various religions give for the Big Questions: for example, on the Question Of Evil. The book gives a short overview of major religions take on evil (does it even exist?) and then gives the Christian position. A few things she put in I would adjust slightly (the creation didn’t become “sin” when Adam ate the fruit, it became tainted, corrupted, infected by sin), but the over arching reasoning is clear and orthodox.

Her handling of Genesis is delicate and seems to be carefully worded to not offend either long-age creationists or Biblical ones. This isn’t surprising considering she attended Biola. But you won’t find anything to weaken your family’s confidence in the plain reading of Scripture. Evolution is addressed, but only as one of the tenets of Secular Humanism.

The last section of the book covers many Biblical and extrabiblical proofs for the Scripture’s trustworthiness. Several topics are covered in some detail providing a good primer for people starting out on a Biblical apologetics journey.

I wish she hadn’t been quite so dogmatic about several of the fulfilled prophecies. That they were fulfilled is beyond question, but from what I’ve read the precise dates she gives (such as for the crucifixion) are falsifiable in a way I don’t think she intended. Why expose people to danger if they hear the information they were told isn’t actually true and have their faith unnecessarily shaken?

All in all, Examine Your Faith is a straightforward, easy to use family resource for worldview and apologetics I am delighted to have run into. It would be safe to hand the book to a young person as soon as they are ready to look beyond their own upbringing (reading level 12 and up). Of course, a book like this is ideal to read and discuss as a family. The chapters are short enough to just about cover in a single session if you don’t get to talking too much (like my family would!).

You can follow Pamela Christian on:

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7179552.Pamela_Christian

Book Fun: http://www.bookfun.org/profile/PamelaChristian

Twitter: http://twitter.com/plchristian

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PamelaChristianMinistries

Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelachristian/

blog button examine your faith

There’s even a Giveaway!

The author is giving away one copy of Examine Your Faith! and a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Paypal for one blessed reader. U.S. addresses only. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

Examine Your Faith! Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced November 15, 2013.

Disclosure: I’d never heard of Pamela Christian until being provided with a free copy of Examine Your Faith! to review. She sent me one even knowing I could have told you all it was terrible if I wanted to. 😀

FREE Apologetics and Worldview Training for Kids!

(The instructions to sign up are under the extra big words)

I’ve been looking forward to posting this for quite a while now.

Typewriter adler3

As soon as I’d polished my book manuscript enough to send out a submission, I needed something to keep me busy so I wouldn’t worry. Learning to get the word out to as many people as possible was the next obvious thing to do.

Right away I learned the most valuable thing an author can collect is the emails and/or snail mail addresses of interested people. Much as I like facebook and Twitter, apparently they are too fickle to be trusted. Plus, if you’re offline even one day, you miss a lot. Emails wait for you.

OK, how to get more than a few email followers when social media is so much easier? Giveaways.

I like giveaways. They are fun to get and even more fun to give out. What’s great about setting up a “give me your email and I’ll give you this freebie” is everyone wins. 🙂

Question Mark Graffiti

But, what to give away? It took ages for me to realize (partly thanks to the great lady at Future Flying Saucers) we parents/youth workers need way more info to help teach our kids worldview and prepare them for apologetics. I was shocked at how little was available online. There are reams of info for adults, but much of it is harder to understand than a scientific journal!

Slogging through the adult stuff helped me realize some of the basic info they covered I’d already written up. It was just hanging around in my book manuscript waiting to get published. What could be better? I’d already done most of the work and could give you a book excerpt (another common freebie idea), too.

Now, how to automate my blog to make things easy for everybody? At first it looked like moving my whole blog was the only solution. That was, until a couple days later Jacob Howard of Already Answered contacted me. He just wanted to know how the baby and I were doing and could he help with anything online?

Thank you, God!

He loved the idea of a sign-up giveaway and within a couple days had set up his own (be sure to check it out) and offered to help me with mine. All I had to do was make time to prepare a PDF, collecting what resources I could find to give you the highest quality product possible.

Today it’s finally ready to check out and I pray God would use it to arm many families with the realities we face behind the world’s slick marketing.

If you already follow my blog directly, send me an email asking for a copy of the PDF and I’ll send it to you next time I check in.

Directions to sign up:

If you’re new, just click the “Follow this Blog by Email” button. You’ll get an email with the link to my Apologetics/Worldview 101 PDF in your inbox automatically. Except…

For WordPress users:

Click the “Follow this Blog by Email” button. Then, fill out the below form:

Once I receive confirmation of you following CS4K and see you have submitted your email, I’ll send you the PDF link.

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. Proverbs 5:1,2

Thank you!

Reasons for the Hope Within Me

English: William Tyndale, Protestant reformer ...

William Tyndale, Bible translator. One who was “absolutely confident” to the death

Yesterday I got a most interesting message on facebook. A creation doubter said he was interested in my answer to the question of why I am “absolutely confident” in my beliefs. I’d like to tell him thank you for such an awesome opportunity. We are commanded by God to “be ready always to give an answer for the hope [confident expectation] that lies within you.” I Peter 3:15 This is the first time I’ve gotten to give that answer!

First, I need to make an observation about today’s Western intellectual culture. It is considered a virtue and honor to rely on one’s own thinking to decide what is right and important for yourself. To rely on some authority (other than one’s modern peers) is to be weak-minded and backwards. God calls this foolishness and arrogance.

At the same time, to be fully convinced that one has found unchanging truth is considered highly arrogant. Doubt is, for them, perhaps the highest virtue of all. In their view, to say “I could be wrong about everything” is to be truly humble.

But no one actually lives like this. Mathematicians rely on unchanging constants as the foundation for every equation they ever work. Engineers assume the tests performed on the materials and shapes they work with will continue to follow the same laws into the future to build safe structures. Scientists fully expect an experiment done in the exact same way, under the exact same circumstances to have the exact same result. If it doesn’t they look for some unknown variable. They don’t just write it off as “the rules of physics changed since last time”.

Every person trusts so completely in gravity they aren’t fearful to leave their home. They know the power won’t suddenly stop causing them to tumble off the planet at any moment. We all are “absolutely confident” about any number of daily realities. If we weren’t, we would be huddled in our beds in constant terror.

Now to the question:

Yes, I am absolutely, 100%, I will die rather than admit any doubt, confident that God is who He says He is, has done the things He claims to have done, and will bring me into His heavenly home the moment my mortal life is over.

Here’s why:

  • I’ve experienced God. I know Him. I’ve trusted in Him, talked to Him, and seen Him work in, through, and for me. There have been times in my life when there was every earthly reason to be terrified and Jesus has filled me with peace. Often His peace came hours, days, or even years before the proof of why I needn’t worry came into being. Just this past week I’ve turned over rather serious concerns to God’s control, experienced His peace, and am starting to see glimpses of how He’s going to work things out.

I would give you specifics, but each case involves others who haven’t given me permission to share.

At other times, things don’t end up with a “happy ending” by the world’s standards. This is perhaps when I feel God’s presence the most clearly. Jesus is described as a “man of sorrows”. When I am in pain from any grief or loss, I sense His care and sharing in my pain. He helps me to walk through the darkness, keeping my sanity and finding joy when happiness is a distant memory.

  • I’ve also seen God at work in other’s lives. My husband was a grieving, bitter alcoholic in his youth. Jesus got a hold of him and turned his life completely around. Instead of focusing on his own pain and desires, he now focuses on the needs of others, living a life characterized by peace and joy. Hundreds of people knew him before and can testify to the transformation in his life.

My family works with people suffering from serious mental illness. I’ve watched hundreds of people with bipolar and schizophrenia turn over their hearts and minds to Jesus. Slowly they stabilize to the point where they not only don’t end up the hospital often, but they are reaching out to people around them being a blessing and exuding joy.

I fully expect you to write each of these off as mental exercises or coincidences that don’t require any god. Here’s the thing: I can’t put into words what is really going on. When a person believes in Jesus they receive a completely new dimension to their lives a unbeliever can’t imagine.

I’d like to give you an analogy of what I’m trying to describe:

The blind leading the blind

The blind leading the blind (Photo credit: Squonk11)

Imagine a valley where everyone is born blind. They’ve learned to survive as they are, although the large boulders scattered everywhere do cause them problems.

One day, a soft voice whispers to people going about their business, “I am the Eye Doctor. Come to me and I can restore your sight.”

Many people ignore his call, pretending they didn’t hear it, or that the words are nonsense. But a few are interested enough to follow the voice, including you. Gently, the Eye Doctor shares the unknown realm of sight and the beauties awaiting those who have their sight restored. He explains that if you will trust him, he can replace your defective eyes and then begin the long process of building brain connections to allow you to comprehend what you’re seeing.

You decide to trust the Eye Doctor enough to allow him to perform surgery on your eyes. It’s over in an instant. Even from the first moment a previously unimaginable world of color floods you. It’s overwhelming!

Daisies in dew 2

Daisies in dew 2 (Photo credit: aprilmo)

Over the next few months, the Eye Doctor works with you, building up connections so your brain can understand the information your new eyes are sending you. Suddenly the world is brimming with beauties. The tiniest flower, blade of grass, and rock are gems bringing great delight. More than this is the joy of getting to know the one who gave you this gift. He speaks to you, guides you, and explains to you why you are the way you are. Even knowing your weakness, he loves you. The feeling is like nothing you’ve ever imagined before.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Parable of the ...

One day, you realize you can recognize the faces of those around you. You can see them blundering around, slamming into rocks, hurting themselves and others. The next day, you try to warn someone carrying a small child that they are about to fall over a rock. A little later, someone carrying a heavy load heads for yet another boulder and you call out in alarm. To your surprise their response isn’t gratitude, it’s annoyance at your bossiness.

Many people begin to avoid you and you start noticing angry expressions on people’s faces even when they remain silent. It hurts.

But then there’s a face that looks right at you. This has never happened before! So, you move around to see if they just happened to be turned your direction. No, this person follows your quiet movements. You smile at them. They smile back. It’s another person who’s been to the Eye Doctor! Oh, the joy, oh the fellowship! Finally, someone who understands the wonder of what’s happened to you.

The next day, a group comes to you and grabs your arm. They drag you to the council and demand you cease and desist your bothering of the good citizens of the country. “There is no such thing as sight. There is no such thing as color!” they cry. “If you insist upon your delusional beliefs, we will ban you from the valley. Admit you were wrong, or suffer exile.”

Are you in any doubt about what has happened to you? Not a bit.

Are you tempted to pretend it was all a lie? Just a little. Being exiled is a serious thing.

But then you see the Eye Doctor standing behind the crowd. He has his hand out, ready to walk with you into exile and care for you. All fear fades and you speak calmly and boldly, “I know whom I’ve believed, and am absolutely confident he is real and what he has given me is real. There is sight and there is color. I only wish you would come experience it with me.”

This analogy is my own, but the Bible often refers to people outside of Christ as “blind”. Jesus Himself said He is the light of the world. Another word picture God uses is to “pass from death into life”. The difference between death and life is not something someone can describe to a person who’s only known death.

Do I think this testimony will change my correspondent’s heart and mind? No. People have free will and adults have a lot invested in the life they have chosen. But, I also believe in the Holy Spirit. He is the one who shines the light of Jesus into hearts, and for some reason, He often chooses to work through ordinary words.

People praying at the Cenacle in Jerusalem.

So, all of you who have been to “the Eye Doctor”, I ask you to pray for my friend. If it was just me, I would ban any opposing view on sight, it “isn’t good for my blood pressure“. But taking the time to share with each person who comes to me is a sacrifice of love I make to the Creator God who “isn’t willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Peter 3:8

For another take on the experience of knowing God, check out Creation Clues: The Little Things

Creation Hymn: I Believe In Miracles

Creation shows the power of God
There’s glory all around,
And those who see must stand in awe,
For miracles abound.

I believe in miracles
I’ve see a soul set free,
Miraculous the change in one
Redeemed through Calvary;
I’ve seen the lily push its way
Up through the stubborn sod
I believe in miracles
For I believe in God!

I cannot doubt the work of God
It’s plain for all to see;
The miracles that He has wrought
Should lead to Calvary.

I believe in miracles
I’ve see a soul set free,
Miraculous the change in one
Redeemed through Calvary;
I’ve seen the lily push its way
Up through the stubborn sod
I believe in miracles
For I believe in God!

The love of God! O power divine!
Tis wonderful to see
The miracle of grace performed
Within the heart of me.

I believe in miracles
I’ve see a soul set free,
Miraculous the change in one
Redeemed through Calvary;
I’ve seen the lily push its way
Up through the stubborn sod
I believe in miracles
For I believe in God!

John Peterson

Snowdrops in Lothersdale Churchyard

Parents, Churches, have a Listen to Young Atheists’ Journeys

Another creation page on facebook, Returning to Genesis, shared an article today that I found so powerful I decided to pass it on to all of you.

It’s great to know this message isn’t just coming from Answers in Genesis and other creationist groups, this is a wide spread reality. When we understand the stakes, it helps us stand strong for God and motivates us to prepare ourselves and our young people!

The Atlantic: Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity

To encourage you to check it out, here are the headers:

  • They had attended church
  • The mission and message of their churches was vague
  • They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions
  • They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously
  • Ages 14-17 were decisive
  • The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one
  • The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

And a quote so Pinterest can pick it up:

CS4K-idealist

New Year, New Creatures

English: Interior photo of a courtroom in Broc...

Yesterday I was reading Persuaded by the evidence (I’ll write more about it when I finish, but GET IT for your library ASAP) and found Victor Marshall’s account especially powerful. He spent his early years searching deeper and deeper into New Age, the drug culture, and things like Carl Sagon’s “we are star dust” Evolutionary humanism.

How God quietly worked in his life to bring him to Himself is an everyday miracle. Unfortunately, Mr. Marshall’s story isn’t available online, so I can’t share it directly with you. Since it is a new calendar year today, I thought sharing how God makes us new through His truth and power was the perfect theme for a post anyway.

Austin - Texas State Capitol: Supreme Court Co...

Here are some testimonies of real people transformed and given LIFE by God partially by the awareness that God’s witness in Genesis 1-11 can be trusted. BTW for those of you who already believe God’s Word, pay attention to how the believers in these stories acted. God does the work, but He uses cooperative people like us!

Answers in Genesis: I’m sending you to the second testimony shared after reading someone else’s. BTW being from a particular section of Christianity wasn’t the problem here, it was the teaching accepted by them. That same idea of God using Evolution to accomplish creation is taught in many more branches than just Catholicism.

Evangelism At ICR is short and interesting. The second one is by a high school student!

Creation Ministries International has several:

Sonia’s Testimony (a chemist)

Claire S’s Testimony (a marine biologist)

Yoke Peng Kong’s Testimony (a former Buddhist) This time, finding Jesus came first and then searching for answers to the Evolutionist’s ridicule. She also has a helpful article giving examples of how she talks to people about Jesus and (surprise, surprise) Noah, Evolution and dinosaurs just happen to be a big part of people’s thinking.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Your God reigns! Isaiah 52:7

Animal Olympics: antelope water race :-)

Links: Olympic Animals

Animal Olympics: antelope water race :-)

A while ago I wrote an article comparing other fast animals and the Pronghorn.

Creation Evolution Headlines has a whole lot more entries for the Animal Olympics:

Weightlifters No Match for Insects

More Olympic Creatures

Olympic Plants Perform in Place

Then, Answers in Genesis has several articles on Cool Animals in their News to Note:

“Serpent Research” blog: A transitional snake from the Late Cretaceous of North America that turns out not to be so transitional after all.

Science: “Disarming Deep-Sea Tactics”  The battle of the bottle-brush induces squid to unleash its secret countermeasure.  Have to love watching a deepsea creature and and brush duking it out!

Discover blog: “Geckos evolved sticky feet many times” Evolutionists not only have to believe things developed once, but over and over again.

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:7-10 

Mossy Rock

New Links I’ve run into Today!

Rose window in Basilica of St Denis, France, d...

Rose window in Basilica of St Denis, France, depicting the ancestors of Christ from Jesse onwards.

I had planned on a topical article today, but there has been so many other things happening I’m doing two posts of links instead.

 

To “build my platform” as all writers are encouraged to do, I’ve finally joined facebook (you can also follow me on twitter- I think).  As I do here, I want to have as many links to other Creationist organizations and speakers as possible and found a new one!

the Genesis Creation Science Institute is a local organization in the LA area of California.  They have a very nice website with lots of resources and even a kid’s camp  out there one week each August!  I checked out their links page (all four resources pages have the same info) and am adding these sites to my links lists:

Evolution Flunks Botany– I’m definitely checking that one out, but it looks kind of technical (lots of big words)

Lambert Dolphin’s Library has a huge section of articles on Science and the Bible.  For example, if you’ve ever wondered how all the different versions of the Genealogy of Jesus fit together (which I didn’t start to think about until I was in my teens), you will enjoy this article.

I’ve had Creation Evolution Headlines up for a while, but never really checked it out.  I’m going to subscribe today so I can keep up to date on what’s going on in science and origins.

PS At Don Ruhl of The Bible Meditator‘s suggestion, I just submitted a request to write for Answers Magazine.  I had seen their submission form a while back, but had no credentials yet for them to want me.  We’ll see what they think of my writing.  I just hope if they do like it that I’ll have time to keep up with you all, because you guys are the best!

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. Malachi 3:16

 

Lawn With Hundreds of Dandelions

New stuff at Creation Conversations

English: There are no symbols that represent s...

There are no symbols that represent skepticism. This is one symbol that can be used to represent skepticism, skeptical inquiry, critical thinking, critical inquiry, and truth-seeking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remembered to check Creation Conversations earlier this month but they hadn’t put new Free Resources up yet.  Today got an email that they’re up now.

You will be excited to hear that they have a $3,000 essay competition for high schooler juniors and seniors.

This year’s winner is Timothy Weir with his essay Skepticism and Faith.   Here’s a quote:

“As Christians, we regularly engage in conversations with skeptics of our faith, and it is our duty to defend our beliefs before them, as stated in Jude 1:3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “…contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.” How, then, do we fight skepticism? To answer this question, we must first understand the various forms of skepticism, how they are similar, and how they are different. By understanding the concept of root ideas, we can focus on the core issues of debate, and not become entangled in countless objections.”

Whew, this guy uses way bigger words than I do!  Think he’s been reading  a lot of old books to build his vocabulary?

Here’s the rest of the interesting Free Resources to check out:

PDF intro to The Ocean Book

And one Giant PDF of The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved

There’s more that I’ve mentioned before or that are aimed at grown-ups, too, so be sure to check them out.

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.Proverbs 25:25 

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