December 15, 2018

How I Became a Christian

God blessed me to be born into a Christian home with parents whose desire was to see their children walking with Christ. I have grown up both home-schooled and in Christian school, learning Bible verses, and going to church whenever the doors were open. I had always heard about Jesus but never really considered my own standing before God because I was a good kid by outward standards.

When I was about eight years old, God began to do a work in my heart to draw me to himself. I do not remember everything, but I remember having a lot of questions about God, Heaven, Hell, sin, and salvation. Nearly every evening for weeks, when my dad got home from work, we would sit and talk about the things of God, and he would answer my questions. I do not know the exact day and month when God saved me, but I do know that at some point I began trusting in Christ and not in the fact that I was better than others, or went to church, or had Christian parents. I had a desire for the things of God that I never had before. I wanted to read my Bible, pray, fellowship with God’s people, and worship God and I pray God would give me grace to continue to grow in intimate knowledge of him.

I believe God is calling me to serve him in missions. I want to be able to teach – on the mission field. I don’t know what this looks like or where the Lord will lead, but my desire is to prepare myself – the best I can – for whatever the Lord has planned for my life

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No Matter Who is President, Jesus is King

I just heard the announcement this evening that President Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. When I first heard the news, like many others I was disappointed – an understatement, I know. Then my thoughts were turned back to God and how He works everything according to His will, the good of His people, and how He is in absolute control of what is going on. I am afraid that many Christians will be of the mindset that because our chosen presidential candidate did not win, all hope is lost. But what is that really saying? It is saying that a man, who happens to have won a presidential race, is bigger and more powerful than God, and therefore we will place our hope in an office and not in God.

Does anyone see what is wrong here? Our hope should be in nothing but in God alone! Apart from God we have no hope of anything! We cannot expect change to come to this nation through the election of a man, no matter which candidate. The only way our nation can truly change is through Christ. Only Christ can change men’s hearts and lives.

A post I saw on Facebook sums up what I am saying quite well:

“While I obviously don’t agree with the presidential outcome, Christians need to remember this: voting a moral man in as President will do nothing for this country. Only Christ can change the hearts of wicked men; and don’t be mistaken our country is defiantly wicked. How much more should we evangelize the lost around us. Is Christ not more capable of changing this country than a man behind a desk? I know I’m guilty of this, but how many people could we have reached with the gospel if we shared it as much as our political posts…the only “hope for change” this country has is Christ and Christ alone.”

In the following days remember that Christ is our only hope, and God holds the hearts of kings in his hands and turns them as He wills. (Prov. 21:1) Also consider Psalm 118:8-9, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” I hope this is an encouragement to you.

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor Video

The amazing story of Gianna Jessen, a saline abortion survivor. This is a MUST listen!

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

20 Week Fetus

The topic of abortion is a big deal in our country today. On the one hand there are the pro-choice supporters who say a woman has the right to choose whether she has an abortion, and on the other hand there are the pro-life supporters who say that abortion takes the life of an innocent, defenseless human being . Which position is right? In this post I want to explain why I believe the pro-life position is right.

One of the biggest objections to the pro-life position says that a woman has a right to choose whether or not she will have an abortion, and pro-lifers should not try to take that right away from her. At this you might ask, “Well, where does the right to have an abortion come from?” To which they would reply, “The government.” “If abortion used to be illegal and the government gave you the right to have an abortion then the government has the right to take that right away.” “Well, we have an intrinsic right to an have an abortion!” What people who argue this way do not realize is that they are denying the humanity of the unborn in the womb. If the unborn is NOT human then of course we can abort it, but IF the unborn is a human being it has a right to life because all human beings are valuable and are made in the image of God. The right to ‘chose’ does not justify the killing of millions of innocent human beings.

Some might object and say that the fetus in the womb can’t be human. I’m pretty sure you all would say that a newborn is a human being. There are four differences between fetuses and newborns that people use to argue for abortion. They are: Size, Level or Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency. The acronym to remember this is S.L.E.D. Let’s look at each one of them.

Size: Would you agree that the fetus is smaller then the newborn? Yes, it is! Many people would ask how something that is the size of a dot be a human being. I would say so you believe large people are more human than smaller people. Men are typically larger than women are, so do they have more rights than women do? No. Therefore size is not a factor in saying that the unborn is not human.

Level of Development: A question to keep in mind with this is, “Does self-awareness and intelligence define us as human beings?” Pro-Choice supporters would argue saying, “How can you call something human that is not self-aware and does not have a functioning brain human?” If self-awareness and intelligence define who we are as human beings that means those who are more intelligent  have greater rights over those who are less intelligent. When we are born we have very little intelligence and self-awareness; as we grow we gain more, and as we age we begin to lose our intelligence and self-awareness. Do we therefore become more and less human throughout our lifetime. This is not true and therefore the level of development is not a factor in the humanity of the fetus.

 Environment: Another common objection to the pro-life view is that the fetus is not human until it is born. Does “who” you are have anything to do with “where” you are? If I were to place you on the moon would you be any less human there than you are here on earth? You get out of bed in the morning and go to work: are you any less human because you changed your location? No! How does it follow, then, that the travel of the unborn fetus down the birth canal transforms a non-human clump of cells into a living human being who has the right to life.

Degree of Dependency: Yet another argument used to support abortion is that until the fetus is viable it is not human. If our ability to live independent of anyone or anything is what makes us human, there is a big problem. What about the people in the world who are dependent on things like insulin or pacemakers? According to this logic we may kill anyone who is dependent on insulin, a pacemaker, or anything else because they are not completely independent and therefore are less human than everybody else.

There are only these four differences between the unborn and those who are born and none of these different justify the killing of the unborn child.

Scott Klusendorf Arguing Against Abortion Using the S.L.E.D Acronym 

Related Books

Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue

Healing after Abortion: God’s Mercy Is for You

Abortion: Open Your Mouth for the Dumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please keep a look out for part two of this important series on abortion!

“All Things Work Together for Good…”

Romans 8:28

Christian, does it ever seem that things going on in your life aren’t going on for your good? The Bible says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” But how can that be? How can things like the death of a close family member, losing one’s job, or developing a serious illness be for the good of the Christian? Many Christians today have the wrong definition of good. When Paul in Romans 8 talked about “good,” he was not talking about our comfort, health, or wealth. For the believer good means to be made like Christ and in the process accomplish the plans God has for us as well as for others. So when the Christian loses a close family member God often uses that situation to teach the believer certain truths, to refine him, or to draw him closer to Himself. The apostle Paul was no stranger to hardship and endured stoning, imprisonment, and rejection which would not seem to be for his good, but they were. Paul was imprisoned in Philipi and that is where the Philippian jailer was converted. In prison Paul was also able to write to the churches that he was not able to visit as well as spend more time in prayer for them. God used Paul while he was in prison and Paul knew God had a purpose for him there. From prison Paul was instrumental in the Gospel going throughout the world. So when you are in a trial wondering how it could possibly be for your good, remember God uses it to accomplish his will and to make you more like Christ.

The Power of Communication – A Call for Bold Christians

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Speak Out!

Hey everyone! Well, as expected after returning home from Summit there are so many topics that I could and want to write about. Things that I learned at Summit or things I have become aware of since coming home. I hope to write them all eventually but will deal with just one today! In this post, I want to talk about the power of communication.

Have you ever wondered why it is that those who are the minorities in the United States such as atheists or supporters of homosexuality are able to get their agendas passed and completed? Have you ever wondered why the Christian values that you believe in that used to be promoted in our culture are disappearing and are often looked down on? I believe the reason for this is that Christians are not standing up and speaking out for what they believe in and are not proclaiming the truth of the scripture. While at the same time these other groups who represent a small portion of Americans loudly proclaim what they stand for -whether it be for pro-choice, for the legalization of marriage of a couple of the same sex or whatever it be- and cause change toward their goals because they are the only ones heard and they are heard loud and clear. What we need to do as Christians is to be bold and have courage to stand up for what we believe in. Our boldness as Christians to proclaim what is right and true does not come from the facts that we have a right to say what we think in this country or we are passionate about what we are sharing. Our boldness comes from the fact that when we speak up with the truth claims of God we know we have a God who is sovereign and who uses His truth to change the hearts on men. Those who would make claims apart from what God has said in His word do not have the power of God behind them.

Some might say, “It won’t matter if I speak out anyway. It won’t make any difference!” If standing up for and speaking out for what you believe in does not have any affect then why is it that speech has ever been restricted in any nation? Why was free speech censored under the Nazi Germany? I saw one website that answered the question like this, “The aim of censorship under the Nazi regime was simple: to reinforce Nazi power and to suppress opposing  viewpoints and information.” If the people have no power to speak out against something they have no power to prevent or change it.  If we do not speak out against evil when we are permitted to we are not better than those who did not speak because they were forbidden to.

I want to encourage you, that as we where we have the right to free speech to exercise that right. I am getting tired of hearing Christians today bemoaning the state of our country but do nothing to change it! They sit at home and watch the news and just hope Jesus comes back soon. Stand up against the evils in our nation and tell people the truth of the gospel. Our desire in confronting evil is not for political or that through speaking the gospel people would come to know Jesus Christ as their savior for “the gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.” (Romans 1:16) As we proclaim the truth of God’s Word we do so in love desiring to see souls saved. Christian, realize that being a child of God He will strengthen you and be with you. Speak boldly, speak the truth, and speak it in love.

A few related verses are:

  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,” -Psalm 46:1-2
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
  • “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” -Isaiah 41:10-13
  • “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” -Ephesians 6:10

My Experience at Summit’s Worldview Camp

Summit Graduation 2012

Hey everyone! I wanted to take some time today to share with you about Summit Ministries Worldview camp that I attended for two weeks. My time at Summit was probably the most important two weeks of my life. It was a great blessing to me and I hope as I share some of the things I learned It is a blessing to you as well!

I got home a week from Saturday (July 28th) from spending two weeks with 280 other students at Summit at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. At Summit I spent a total of 55 hours in lectures and open forums (Q&A with the speakers.) That is not even counting the hour of small group time I had every night.

For those of you who are not familiar with Summit according to their website Summit is “a Student Worldview Conference that is an intensive two week retreat designed to teach students how to analyze the various ideas that are currently competing for their hearts and minds.” Summit has been around for 50 years and today is viewed as one of the largest leaders in training and and equipping Christians in the areas of apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement. Summit has ten two-week conferences every year at various locations around the country. Their  locations include: Bryan College in Dayton Tennessee, Cedarville University in Cedarville Ohio, Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia as well as at their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over 2,000 students graduate from Summit every year.    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me Sharing about Summit with my Church

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At Summit we had a total of 21 speakers, all of whom were fantastic! Some of the speakers that you may recognize include: John Stonestreet, Sean McDowell, Dr. Del Tackett, Scott Klusendorf, Dr. Jeff Myers, Dr. Ken Turner and Alex McFarland to name a few. At Summit it is hard to pick a favorite speaker because they are all so good! Most people at camp could choose their top three or top five but not a single person. My top five would probably be:

  • John Stonestreet- Is a speaker, writer, cultural commentator and collaborator on worldview initiatives. Mr. Stonestreet is also the host of The Point, a daily national radio program.  He has also worked with Summit ministries a the Chuck Colson Center for years.
  • Scott Klusendorf- Is the president of Life Training Institute and travels the United States and Canada training pro-life advocates to defend their views. He has also author of Pro-Life 101 and The Case for Life.
  • Dr. Ken Turner- Is the Professor of Bible at Bryan College
  • Dr. Del Tackett- Is the teacher of the Truth Project, he has recently wrote and co-hosted the television series Cross Examine which presents biblical worldview teaching through the use of real-life stories and is the executive Vice President of Focus on the Family.
  • Dr. Jeff Myers-Is the President of Summit Ministries. He has appeared on Fox News and other media programs. Dr. Myers has been described as being a fresh voice offering humor and insight from a Christian worldview.

There were numerous things that I learned at Summit that I could share with you but there were three main things that I thought I would share with you.

John Stonestreet and Me

One of the things that I learned at Summit that really stuck out to me was in our very first session with John Stonestreet. In his first session Mr. Stonestreet made the statement that, “No information is neutral; information has ideas” and also, “Every cultural expression communicates worldview ideas.” This was a big things because as he pointed out, everyone has a worldview, whether they know it or not, and we need to be careful to evaluate the worldviews (information and ideas) we are taking in because if we don”t we will accept whatever worldviews are communicated to us through things like movies, tv shows, books, music, etc.

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Scott Klusendorf

The second thing that really stood out to me were in Scott Klusendorf’s sessions on pro-life. He did not present the defence of the life of the unborn child by trying to prove abortion is wrong from the Bible because a non-christian would have no reason to listen anyway. Instead he rests his case on two points: What is the unborn? and What makes humans valuable? Is or is not the unborn human? He argues that if the unborn are not human than we can abort it and it is no different than pulling a tooth, but if it is the unborn is human we can not. He went on later to give us three questions to help in a discussion with someone about abortion. They are: 1. What did you mean by that? 2. How did you come to that conclusion? 3. Have you considered the implications of your view? Mr. Klusendorf told us that there were three purposes with these questions: 1. To gather information so you can accurately understand your critic’s view. 2.To reverse the burden of prof to the other person. 3. To show your critic must pay to high a price to hold his view. Mr. Klusendorf’s sessions were extremely helpful and practical in understanding and defending the pro-life position.

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Me and Dr. Ken Turner

The final thing I want to share with you was a big theme throughout many of our sessions and it was the idea of the metanarrative, the big picture of the Bible. Also, along those lines was knowing how we should read the Bible. Dr. Ken Turner dealt with these topics in multiple sessions. Dr. Turner dealt with understanding the metanarratice of the Bible being the: Creation, Fall, and Redemption and how we are to see this big picture throughout the Bible. He also dealt with how to read the Bible. Dr. Turner’s points on how to read the Bible were:

  • That the Bible was meant to be read in large portions at a time.
  • To be committed to the authorial intent (authors  original intent)
  • To understand the historical contest of a passage (details, occasion/purpose)
  • The literary context (structure, genre)
  • The theological context
  • Read the parts in light of the whole.

My time at Summit was probably the most important two weeks of my life. It helped me to better understand the beliefs and worldviews I will be and am being faced with. It helped me to understand how to engage with someone who has different beliefs than I do on multiple topics as well as having met some awesome people who I hope to know for the rest of my life. There have already been a few times where I have heard something after getting home and been like, yep we talked about that at Summit and discussed what the ideas and worldview behind that are. If you are able to go to Summit let me encourage you to do it. I think It would amazing if every young adult could go to Summit because I think it is so important that they understand what they will face in the world and are prepared to engage the world for Christ.

If you have any questions about Summit or anything I have mentioned above comment below or send me a message from my contact page! I hope this was an encouragement to you!

 

Summit Tennessee 2012 Slideshow

As many of you know I just got back Saturday afternoon from spending two weeks in Dayton, Tennessee at Summit Ministries world view camp. It was fantastic and I will write more on that later. For right now, I thought I would share the video that was shown on graduation night with pics from our time at Summit. Enjoy!

Five Missionaries Speared To Death In Jungle

Many people thought it was a tragic waste of a life when Jim Elliot and the other four missionaries died trying to contact the unreached Aucas.

Yet, how many Christians would risk their life for an opportunity to share the gospel? Jim Elliot, a young modern martyr, gave what he could not keep and gained what he could not lose.  A ‘missions’ statistic that profoundly challenged Jim was, “There is one Christian worker for every 50,000 people in foreign lands, while there is one to every 500 in the United States.” Early in 1952, Jim Elliot sailed for Ecuador. The plan was to locate in an old oil station that was abandoned because it was considered too dangerous for oil personnel. It was close to the Auca tribe and had a small airstrip. In February 1953, Jim and Elisabeth met in Quito and then on October 8, 1953 they were married. Their daughter, Valerie, was born two years later. Jim and Elisabeth worked together in translating the New Testament into the Quechua Indian language at the new mission station. The Aucas were a violent and murderous tribe and had never had any contact with the outside world. Jim wanted to bring the gospel there so he started a plan which was called Operation Auca. Besides him and his wife, his team consisted of five more missionary couples.

‘NOT A LONG LIFE, BUT A FULL ONE’

The men discovered the first Auca huts with the help of a missionary jungle pilot, Nate Saint. The first attempt to contact them was by airplane. They would fly around the camp shouting friendship words in the Auca language through a loud speaker and dropping down gifts in a basket. Encouraged by this progress, after three to four months of gift dropping, they decided to make a base on the Curray River, ‘Palm Beach’. After they had set up shelter they eventually made contact with the Aucas. After a little persuasion, they were able to convince some to come into their camp. Encouraged by this visit, the men felt that it was time to go in and try to minister to them.

One morning, after numerous songs of praise and considerable prayer, the men radioed their wives saying that they were going to go into the village and would radio them again later. ‘Operation Auca’ was under way. The next day, a group of twenty or thirty Aucas went to Palm Beach. “Guys, the Aucas are coming!” As soon as the others heard that, they flew into action straightening up their camp. Little did these five men know that this would be their last few hours of life. The last radio contact they made was Jim calling his wife saying, “We’ll call you back in three hours.” Jim Elliot’s body was found down stream with three others. Their bodies had been brutally pierced with spears and hacked by machetes.

After Jim’s death, Elisabeth, her daughter and another of the missionaries sister, Rachel, moved to work with the Auca Indians. The love of Christ shown through their forgiveness allowed them to have amazing success with the once murderous Indians. Jim’s life was not a waste, in fact, God used his death to bring life through salvation to many Aucas and encouragement and inspiration to thousands of believers worldwide.

(This article came from this website: http://www.historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/jim-elliot.html but I can not vouch for anything else on the website.)

The Missionary Call Book Review

The Missionary Call by M. David Sills

M. David Sills in his book The Missionary Call does an excellent job of helping Christians to, as he says, “discern their place in God’s plan for the world.” Dr. Sills’s book brings insight to many of the questions and struggles Christians today have about world missions. The things that made this book so enjoyable to read were its readability, its logical flow and its practicality.The author’s mission in writing The Missionary Call is to help the reader better understand the place God has called him to in regards to missions.

The first thing that stands out about Dr. Sills’s book is its readability. While he has his Ph.D and is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Sills’s book is not highly technical or academic. Joe Martin said of The Missionary Call, “Can a book be brief and thorough? Clear and Scholarly? Simple and profound? Practical and heartwarming? This one is. It will be a great help to many.” When Dr. Sills deals with topics such as understanding God’s will or defining the missionary call, he does so without adding unnecessary commentary or information that would otherwise clutter his thoughts. This is an important aspect that I appreciated about The Missionary Call.

The second thing that I noticed about The Missionary Call was the flow of the book. Dr. Sills has done a terrific job of ordering the book in a logical fashion. He separates the book into three sections: (1) What is the Missionary Call, (2) Understanding Your Missionary Call and (3) Fulfilling the Missionary Call. In the first section Dr. Sills deals with defining the missionary call and how to know God’s will. The second section builds on the first by helping a person understand his specific missionary call. Finally, in the third section he deals with the mission field, hindrances and challenges of the field and answering the missionary call. Dr. Sills wrote the book in such a way that each section builds on the section before it giving it a clear, logical flow.

The final thing that stood out to me in the book was its practicality. Dr. Sills’s book provides the reader practical help and information in regards to missions. This includes things such as: how to prepare for missions, hindrances to getting to the field, challenges on the mission field and many others examples.  And he does not make these topics difficult but highly accessible for the readers of all ages. The Missionary Call will help readers discern God’s will for their lives regarding serving the Lord in full time missions.

The Missionary Call is one of the best books I’ve read on the topic of world missions. I would recommend Dr. Sills book to anyone who has a heart for missions, desires to be a missionary or just wants to learn more about “God’s plan for the world.” Dr. Sills’s book is a great help in understanding what part you play and where God has called you in His plan for this world.

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Book Description:
Christians of all ages recognize the heartbeat of God to take the Gospel to the nations and wrestle with the implications of the Great Commission in their own lives. The Missionary Call explores the biblical, historical, and practical aspects of discerning and fulfilling God’s call to serve as a missionary. Pointing the reader to Scripture, lessons from missionary heroes, and his own practical and academic experience, Dr. Sills guides the reader to discern the personal applications of the missionary call.

About the Author:
 M. David Sills (D.Miss. and Ph.D., Reformed Theological Seminary) is associate professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He joined Southern Seminary after serving as a missionary in Ecuador. While with the International Mission Board, he served as church planter and general evangelist among the Highland Quichua people in the Andes and as a seminary professor at the Ecuadorian Baptist Theological Seminary. David and his wife, Mary, have two grown children.