September 19, 2019

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!

 

Faith in Testing, Provision in Lack

Maranatha Logo

The following is a paper I wrote for school. It is a true story and I hope it is an encouragement to your faith!

I  could not believe that someone would steal the much needed funds from our Christian school! In May of 2009 when I was in eighth grade my school, Maranatha Christian Academy, was broken into and the safe containing twelve thousand dollars was 4 stolen; that money was supposed to go to pay the teachers’ end of the year salaries. Through the godly example of Pastor Bell, my principle, and witnessing first hand the provision of God I learned two very important things. First, how I should be thankful and trust God in every situation and secondly that God can and does provide for the needs of His people.

 As mom pulled into the school to drop my brothers and I off at on that early Monday morning I noticed a couple of police cars in the parking lot. That was unusual and wondered what the police would be doing there. As I walked to the lunch room I saw police tape roping off the computer lab down the hall. I joined my friends and our discussion revolved around what had possibly occurred.

Then, suddenly, the bell rang dismissing my classmates and I to our homeroom class. I took my seat in one of the front row desks and wondered what my teacher, Mrs. Tipton, was going to tell us about what had happened at the school. Mrs. Tipton crossed the classroom to the yellow wooden podium in front of the class; in a clear, serious voice she informed us that someone had broken into the school over the weekend and stole nearly twelve thousand dollars out of the school office. Later, I learned that the person had come in through an unlocked window in the computer lab, had broken in one of the office doors and stole the safe from the office. As we were dismissed to our next class we all could not believe that such a thing had happened to our school.

When I heard that Pastor Bell’s first response to the theft had been to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and to give the whole situation over to God I was surprised, but encouraged to see his faith and trust in God. Furthermore, I was encouraged when Pastor Bell in an interview with a local newspaper said “This instance is not just about a safe … God will use that person for his glory. This is the Lord’s doings. It’s marvelous in our eyes. We’re going to thank him. It’s his safe. It’s his money. It’s his school that sits up on this little hill and we’re going to trust him.” Even in such a desperate time for the school, teachers, and students Pastor Bell remarked to my Bible class that week that he was not angry with the person who had done this but rather was praying for whoever it was that God would change their heart. As I would go throughout my school day, Pastor Bell would be totally at peace, his faith placed firmly in Christ and seeing that helped to strengthen, grow and encourage my own faith.

Before long word got out about the burglary and newspapers and news channels were at the school interviewing teachers, administrators, students and parents about what happened. As the story made its way online and onto multiple television news stations calls began  flooding in with people wanting to know how they could help. The community was coming together to help our little school in need.

Amazingly, less than a week after the twelve thousand dollars was stolen God provided and began to restore back to the school almost two times what had been lost! As I waited in the office the Tuesday after the theft waiting to go somewhere after school I saw and heard God working marvelously to provide for the school. As I sat in one of three green vinyl chairs available in the front office I heard the secretary on the phone with someone wanting to donate to the school. Also, a person came into the office with a donation to help, but it did not stop there!

During most of the school day Pastor Bell had not been at the school. He had gone to Atlanta to meet with a businessman who had called him wanting to meet. He arrived back a little after school let out at three fifteen. He was on the telephone for a while but when he hung up I walked to his office door and saw tears flowing down his face. For a second I was concerned about whether everything was okay. Pastor Bell relieved my concerns saying that everything was okay and that he had just been overwhelmed by God’s goodness and provision. He told me how amazing God was and how He had worked. He told me about donations coming in and the businessman he had met with who gave him a ten thousand dollar donation for the school. Seeing and hearing first hand of God’s provision and Him restoring back two times what had been stolen had a tremendous impact on me and made me start crying there in his office. All I could respond with in absolute amazement was, “God is so good.” and “Praise God!” God was doing something amazing that no one could have imagined!

As Pastor Bell reflected later, he said, “I think as things developed throughout the day, what blew my mind was just how much people were saying, ‘OK, how can we help?’ “They said, ‘In this day of bailouts and people not recognizing their responsibility, you committed to help these families and stick to it and we want to help you.’” The community came together and gave over two times what had been stolen from the school. God provided and showed us how powerful he is and that he takes care of his people.

Because God allowed me to witness thankfulness in trial and His provision in He showed me how I should be thankful and trust Him in every situations and to know that He can and does provide for His people, often in ways not expected. When trials and hardships come my way I know that I am to be thankful because God is working in the situation to accomplish His goals. In future trials I can have confidence that God will take care of me because His word tells me so, but also because I have witnessed His provision and care for those who have put their trust in Him.

Making Your Life Count for Eternity

Hey everyone! I wanted to write on the topic of “Making Your Life Count for Eternity.”I recently heard a dear friend of my family preach on this and wanted to share some thoughts. One of the first questions a person would think of when hearing this topic would be, “How do I go about not wasting my life?”. Well, let’s see!

The beginning of a person’s life counting for eternity is his salvation. By God’s grace when He saves a man He saves a him from living a life separated from God and living for things that have no eternal value. To do so is ultimately a waste.

The Lord says in Luke, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” A person living for eternity must forsake sin and carry his cross. But, Christians shouldn’t think that they are losing anything when they deny themselves, but rather as Don Currin put it, we are gaining unsearchable riches, joy and happiness in Christ. [Read more…]

The 1 Timothy 4 Teenager

1 Timothy 4:12Hey everyone. I wanted to write about something I have been thinking about recently. Young adults (teens) I am talking to you. Even as Christian teens we are looked down upon and expected to be disrespectful, rebellious, lazy and irresponsible. It has become the cultural norm to expect little or nothing from someone between the ages of 13 and 19 just because they fall in that category. This is NOT what we are called to as Christian teens. Our teen years are years when we learn, grow and prepare for the years ahead of us. The verse I am sure all of us have heard or memorized, 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Matthew Henry explains this verse in his commentary on 1 Timothy saying, “To conduct himself with that gravity and prudence which might gain him respect, not withstanding his youth: “Let no man despise thy youth; that is, give no man an occasion to despise thy youth.’’ Men’s youth will not be despised if they do not by youthful vanities and follies make themselves despicable; and this men may do who are old, who may therefore thank themselves if they be despised.

To confirm his doctrine by a good example: Be thou an example of the believers, etc. Observe, Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their live, else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other: they must be examples both in word and conversation. Their discourse must be edifying, and this will be a good example: their conversation must be strict, and this will be a good example: they must be examples in charity, or love to God and all good men, examples in spirit, that is, in spiritual-mindedness,in spiritual worship,—in faith, that is, in the profession of Christian faith,—and in purity or chastity.”

It is hard as teens in this world to live like this when so little is expected of us. We need to step up and be what Christ has called us to be: examples of love, spiritual mindedness, purity, and edifying in our discourse. We can not do it of our own will or might but only through God working in us to make us more like His son. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

Related Books

Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

The Hidden “A” by Haley Dempsey

A Character Analysis From the Scarlet Letter

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is a well respected man, but in spite of his apparent godliness and purity he refuses to reveal himself as Hester Prynne’s lover for fear of public reproach. In “The Scarlet Letter” Nathaniel Hawethorne does a wonderful job of bringing Arthur Dimmesdale to life through dramatic scenes and his captivating personality. While the Reverand appears to be a pious man, he hides his sin trying to make it right himself. If he reveals his sin and repents, he will find peace that he cannot have any other way. Reverend Dimmesdale is an example of the effect of sin upon a person’s life, how any person can be hypocritical, and that no matter how hard a person may try to hide his sin, your sins will always find you out.

Reverend Dimmesdale is an man with a very sensitive conscience in regards to sin, but chooses to conceal his sin of adultery from the public. As a result of remaining silent, the minister’s health declines drastically over a period of seven years and he is seen with his hand constantly over his heart. The narrator of the story remarks, “Poor, miserable man! What right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choices either to endure it, or if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once!” (pg. 169) The Reverend is too feeble and weak to carry the guilty weight of his secret sin; it is a greater burden than if the whole world were placed upon his shoulders. Dimmesdale’s refusal to confess ultimately brings him to his death, where in his last moments he confesses his sin and reveals the letter “A” that is on the skin where he holds his hand over his heart.

In addition to the effect of sin on Dimmesdale’s life, he is seen to be extremely hypocritical . Even in Hester’s public sentencing, Dimmesdale pleads with her saying, “Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea-compel his as it were to add hypocrisy to sin.” (pg. 74) The Reverend pleads with her to reveal her lover to the crowd, but instead of stepping forward himself and speaking up, he leaves it up to Hester. Dimmesdale refuses the idea of public shame and therefore does not reveal himself as Hester’s lover. Dimmesdale’s hypocrisy is revealed again by Hester’s daughter Pearl when speaking to her mother in the following, “‘What a strange, sad man is he!’ said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. ‘In the dark night-time, he calls up to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder! And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strips of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kissed my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But, here, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange sad man is he, with his hand always over his heart.’” (pg. 267) The Reverend’s life is seen as being one of hypocrisy; he is the godly, esteemed minister in public, while in reality he is a guilty adulterer hidden beneath his public position in society. [Read more…]

His Testimony by Marcelina Spencer

I was reading a friend’s blog and came across this post that I thought I would share with you. If you are interested in reading more posts from Marcelina, visit http://marcelina-spencer.blogspot.com/ 

Who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16)? 

Our Lord came down from Heaven to die on the Cross for our sins. We, as humans, can’t ever make “right” the burdens our sins has caused us. That is why I glory in my Savior who loved us so much that He would die for our place, to die and take away the punishment of our sins. Now, because I have that knowledge, what am I to do? I live and go on the day praising Him for His love and follow in His ways and His steps. Why wouldn’t I? If someone died for you, took up your sins and burdens on their back, wouldn’t you live your life imitating his loving, unconditional, gracious actions to the world? To the community? And wouldn’t you tell the world about it?

I have a Savior who died for me, and His death on the cross at Calvary marks my life, remembering His love and grace bestowed so graciously towards me. And His resurrection, raising from the grave, reminds me of the ultimate power the Almighty holds here and forever. This is no dead god but a living God I glory in.

Recommended Books:
Heart for God by Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Heart of Christ by Thomas Goodwin
Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan 

31 Days: Fruitful or Wasted?

Well, we are 31 days into this year and it made me think how have we been doing on our spiritual lives this year. I wanted to share and encouragement for those who have been faithful in their spiritual life and those who have not.

What opportunities have the Lord given us the first 31 days this year to share Christ to others? Has our life so far this year glorified God whether we are eating, drinking, or whatever we are doing? Have we gotten into our schedules and routines and left God our of it except on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays? I want to encourage those who have been faithful to remain faithful and those who have not to repent get things right with God and starts this month by cultivating our everyday relationship with Christ.

“I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!”

Westminster Shorter Catechism

…in a city of intense excitement of violent rioting and the streets were overran daily by a dangerous crowd, then one day he observed approaching him a man of a singular combined firmness of character; whose very demeanor inspired in him a measure of confidence. And so impressed was he with his baring amid thee surrounding up-roar all around him, but when he had passed, he turned to look back at him only to find that the stranger had done the same. On observing his turning, the stranger at once came back to him; and touching his chest with his forefinger, demanded without preface, “What is the chief end of man?” And one, receiving then immediately the countersign, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever!” “Ah,” he said, “I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!” “Why,” said the man, “that is just what I thought about you!”

Challenges For This Coming New Year

Hey everyone! Sorry about not posting more on my blog, I have been very busy. I wanted to challenge you all in looking at this coming new year. In this I am not just talking to all of you out there but to myself also.

“Resolution 1: I will live for God. Resolution 2: If no one else does I will stand.” -Quote attributed to Johnathan Edwards. As we approach the new year lets resolve and predetermined that we are going to live for God this year, forsaking the flesh, carying our cross and following God. We need to resolve that even if we are the only ones we will stand up and do what is right before God and what he requires of us and not follow the main stream which is set against God. The verse that is going to be my theme for this year is one we all at one time or another have heard but is important to practice; Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrafice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Be not conformed to this world be be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This year let every thing we do be as 1 Corinthians says, “do all to the glory of God.”

More verses to reflect on for the new year
Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race by Jim Elliff

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race.

  1. Run to win: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
  2. Observe strict discipline: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training… I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
  3. Don’t look back: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
  4. Get constant encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us…run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  5. Throw off restraints: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
  6. Discount pain: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:22-24).
  7. Don’t let up until you cross the line: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
    -Jim Elliff