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October 11, 2013

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When we only see our fellow Christians at church and fail to engage nonbelievers outside the church in the fulfillment of the Great commission, we fail to realize the lack of depth of rank positive affirmations. I've seen a group of Christians baffled by the things they see on the news respond with, "I don't know understand how anyone can think that way."

It's like a tree planted in loose, rich soil that is watered regularly and never experiences anything more than a mild breeze. The tree grows tall, straight and narrow as in a friendly wood. It looks perfect in every way. But when a strong wind comes, it's shallow roots come easily out of the ground and it falls to its demise.

Contrast this with trees that are planted in harsh soil. The roots struggle to go deep to find nutrients that the tree needs. And harsh winds come regularly. The tree is stunted and grows thick against the wind. This kind of tree is knarled, scraggly, and misshapen. However, this tree won't blow down and it's very hard to kill.

And so when we send teams to engage certain people groups, my church prepares them for the kinds of discussions they are likely to encounter. We deepen the roots of their positive Biblical understanding and trim their self-sufficiency down by teaching them how to answer challenges effectively from their understanding of the scriptures. We say, this is where to be flexible and there is where to stand firm. And thus, many seeds of the gospel are borne on winds that would otherwise destroy the tree.

We began homeschooling our children last year. In the second half of the school year my 11 and 8y/o began an apologetics curriculum. They were baffled that anyone would question the Truth of Christ but we did and continue to have open and honest discussions about the questions they will face. As we read scripture together, I frequently bring up questions that are posed by unbelievers. I'm not really interested in their ability to reason things out right now. I want them not to be afraid of the questions; not be intimidated by doubt.

We have discussed the Kalam Cosmological Argument among others and my goal for now is that the lexicon of apologetics becomes familiar and like their favorite pair of sneakers. Comfortable, reliable, they know how to go through the pacing. When obstacles are thrown in their way how quick are their reflexes in these "old friend" shoes.

Most of the time I'm flying pretty blind. There is no established rubric for teaching children of this age but we've had some great conversations. Ones that give me hope. Hope that they will not face the struggle I nearly lost. They will face many to be sure but I want them go in full armor.

I would not send them out to drive without extensive preparation and practice: they could lose their lives from one small decision. I then must prepare and help practice for a world where they could lose their soul.

Please don't stop this important work Brett. While we are convicted by your words we are encouraged by your answers.

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