This month, I’m excited for the new release of Sharing the Good News with Mormons, and a few other goodies to help us reach our LDS friends.
To be fair, I’m probably not the right person to be penning this post. In a given month, there are many days during which I “just can’t even” and don’t scrounge up sufficient motivation to accomplish much-needed tasks- mopping floors, raking the chicken run, and reading a book falls by the wayside. Cracking my Bible open begins to feel like a chore. That’s when I know the motivation needs to happen and the “can’t even” excuses need to end, and I suppose that’s why I’m writing this post: defending the faith is an active process, we’ve ALL been through a drought, and we can help each other out.
This summer, our church’s Sunday School program pulled together a curriculum for the K-5th grade students. They focused on God and science. Biologists, mathematicians, astronomers, nurses, and chemists from our church congregation presented lessons to the children each Sunday morning, accompanied by group experiments, worship songs, and more. The kids came alive with each presentation and excitedly discussed God and science in one breath. We could all see that something uniquely important had taken place this summer. God and science aren’t two opposed “things” to these children; they go hand in hand. It was a beautiful effort on the part of our teachers and members, and is one of the many reasons we’re thankful to presently be part of this church body.
This week, we were pleased to receive a review copy of White Sail Film’s Mining for God.
The documentary was birthed through a successful Kickstarter campaign spearheaded by director and narrator Brandon McGuire. We were hooked by the man-on-the-street perspective shown in the trailer, as well as the special appearance list (Lee Strobel, Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, Mary Jo Sharp, J. Warner Wallace, Craig Hazen, and the list goes on), so setting aside 64 minutes was a no-brainer.
Initially, we were a bit let down as we realized the street interviews were used to illustrate the reason McGuire started the project but were not the primary style of the film (a la Ray Comfort), however as the documentary unfolded, the interviews with excellent apologists did not disappoint and definitely outweighed our expectations.
Once the question of “What is Christianity?” is posed and answered poorly, McGuire asks what has brought us, as a culture, to this point where religious doctrines are often treated like options at a cafeteria. Topics ranging from naturalism and the Kalam Cosmological Argument (Have you seen the children’s book about that?), to the uniqueness of Christianity and the Minimal Facts approach are discussed in response to his question. Ultimately, naturalism and relativism are identified as key components of the root problem.
The dialogue is compelling and certainly seems like a great conversation starter with teens, as well as a handy overview for parents and ministry leaders.
Movie review left you interested? Visit the official website and order a copy: Mining For God Website
This week we were pleased to receive a review copy of Tipping our Kings: Finding the Truth in a World Full of Options by Jack Crabtree.
Jack is an international missionary in training who isn’t waiting to be in a far off land before he takes part in the great commission. He writes, “Talking to people is easy, but impacting lives is God’s business, not ours. It must be Him working through us.”
Tipping our Kings recounts the true story of two men whose budding friendship is built upon conversations of the utmost importance. Jack candidly shares his initial feelings of prejudice and selfishness as he tries to avoid Nicholas, a philosophy student and professor, after his wife suggests that they should meet. His feelings quickly change as he sees the eternal significance of their conversations.
In Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis wrote:
“It is a serious thing, to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ‘ordinary’ people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
Readers will find that the retelling enables them to trace the work of the Spirit throughout the friendship, and will be reminded that no one is exempt from the outcomes described by Lewis above.
The book crescendos with an all-night conversation between Nicholas and Jack that is sure to encourage Christians, and conversely challenge non-Christians.
- Professional book quality. Sturdy paper and a typeface that won’t leave you squinting.
- Quick and enjoyable read. We both read through in one sitting.
- Jack’s writing style and the content of his story is very interesting and encouraging.
- The appendices offer valuable tools for practical apologetic conversations.
- This is not so much a “con” as it is a “heads up.” There are some philosophical discussions included that will likely fly right over the head of younger folks. There are definitions for some of the trickier terms, though, which we find to be a helpful touch. For this reason, we would probably recommend that parents read the book before passing it on to their high school aged child so that they will be able to better answer any questions that arise.
Pick up a copy here: Tipping our Kings: Finding the Truth in a World Full of Options
We hope you will find this list of collected bits from around the web interesting and useful today. This week we focus on the problem of evil(why does a good God allow pain and suffering?) and end with a wonderful article about why it matters to think about these things. Let us know what you think, or if you’ve seen something else that we missed! Be sure to also check out the Picture Book Apologetics project on Kickstarter. We greatly appreciate your support!
We hope you will find this list of collected bits from around the web interesting and useful today. The sites, pages, posts and articles are all relevant to raising up kids in Christ. Let us know what you think, or if you’ve seen something else that we missed! Be sure to also check out the Picture Book Apologetics project on Kickstarter. We greatly appreciate your support!
Websites to Visit:
- A blog by Kevin Conover and also apologetics classes for middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults: http://www.educateforlife.org/_blog/EFL_Blog/
- An engaging website, colorful and full of questions with child-friendly answers: http://kids4truth.com/Home.aspx
Posts from Around the Web:
- Less vacation Bible school?: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/july/barna-why-fewer-churches-offer-vacation-bible-school-vbs.html?
- Time to Ch.A.T. with students: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2013/01/its-time-for-youth-pastors-to-chat-with-their-students.html
- Christian case-making’s importance: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/yet-another-student-survey-confirming-the-need-for-case-making/
- A look at research on same-sex parenting: http://www.educateforlife.org/_blog/EFL_Blog/post/homosexual-parenting-children-at-risk/
- Kid’s screen time and idle hands: http://adammclane.com/2013/06/04/screen-time/
Millennials Leaving the Church
- Reignited the discussion: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/
- A good response: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/07/31/how-to-keep-millennials-in-the-church-lets-keep-church-un-cool/
Facebook Pages to Like:
- Book reviews of Christian children’s books: https://www.facebook.com/aslanslibrary
- Interesting shared and original articles: https://www.facebook.com/coldcasechristianitycom
Posts from the Other Side, Coupled with Christian Perspectives:
Dawkins and Religious Child Abuse
- The assertion: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2312813/Richard-Dawkins-Forcing-religion-children-child-abuse-claims-atheist-professor.html
- A Christian response: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/05/03/child-abuse-teach-christianity-children-dawkins
Raising Children without God
- The assertion: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-910282?hpt=hp_c3
- A Christian response: http://wellspentjourney.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/on-raising-children-without-god/
- “Spiritual” parenting: http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Parenting/2008/09/Spiritual-Parenting-Tips.aspx
- A Christian perspetive on spiritual parenting: http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/inspirationalteaching/Anthony_Spiritual_Parenting.aspx
We were excited to pick up a copy of the first book in the Young Defenders series, How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis, this week. Below, we will share briefly what we found to be the pros and cons of the book.
- Presents important Christian apologetic arguments in a children’s medium.
- The flow of conversation seems natural, and the young character’s imagination is endearing.
- The young character’s father is patient and thorough as he shares evidence for God’s existence.
- This book addresses the gap. That is, the lack of Christian apologetics materials available to families with young children. We look forward to seeing the next topic addressed by Travis!
- Written by a graduate of the well-respected Christian Apologetics Masters program at Biola University. We didn’t have to be as apprehensive about the theological undergirding of the material.
- Good Quality. The physical product is a sturdy, 48 page, hardcover book.
- The words are legible and readable.
- The illustrations are full-color and full-page. From artist Christopher Voss.
- At times complex for the assumed age range. At times, the language seems appropriate for young children, but at others, it seems to be for 5th grade and older. An adult can help clarify for younger kiddos.
- The illustrations have a “rough draft” flavor. Part of us wishes they had been polished a bit more, and the other part of us realizes children will probably not be bothered by this at all!
Do We Recommend it?
Despite the cons that we laid out above, we think that this book is a useful, entertaining tool that can help families begin conversations about why they believe in the Christian God. It is so important to begin these discussions at a young age, and to assure our children that asking questions is encouraged and biblical. We look forward to more Young Defender books, as well as other authors stepping into the youth apologetics gap.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’” (Matthew 22:37)
Read more about Melissa Cain Travis’ quest in Biola Magazine.
Pick up a copy here: How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis (2013)
This short, informative video, created by Nathan Hoffman, addresses a commonly raised objection about the accuracy of the Bible: unicorns!
We were fortunate enough to see this video shared on Facebook, and hope that it proves to be an interesting watch for you as well. Why does the Bible mention unicorns? Aren’t those things mythical? What is going on?? Watch with your kiddos, or explain what you learn to them as you read the verses provided in the video and in the article we’ve linked to below.
You can follow the link to the original article on Creationtoday.org. Enjoy!