On August 6, 2016, we’ll set sail from Seattle, Washington for seven days aboard Holland America’s ms Westerdam. We’re planning a voyage you will never forget. It is specifically designed for those who care to represent Christ to a world looking for answers to life’s toughest questions.
Our plan is to challenge you with stimulating presentations, answer your questions in “open forum” discussions and enrich you through interaction and fellowship with expert speakers and fellow passengers. Add to that the stunning splendor of the Alaskan coastline and a seven-day itinerary that includes Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C.
Come join Stand to Reason and our excellent line-up for a memorable spiritual adventure. You’ll enjoy plenty of fun and relaxation, along with ample opportunity to meet our speakers, ask questions, and enjoy each other’s company. If studying Christian subjects with some of the sharpest minds on the planet in the fellowship of other believers of kindred spirit aboard a beautiful ship sailing the Alaskan coastline sounds like your idea of a perfect vacation, this is the trip for you.
You don’t need any prior understanding of the subject matter. Simply bring a desire to learn and an expectation to relax. Everything about this trip is being planned with your enjoyment and enrichment in mind.
Learn more and book online via our cruise information page, or simply contact Inspiration Cruises and Tours at (800) 247-1899. We’re looking forward to seeing you on board!
Is Eternal Punishment Just? by Tim Barnett: “This young Christian schoolteacher took issue with the idea that a loving God would send a person to Hell for eternity for a finite number of sins committed while on earth. ‘It just doesn’t seem right,’ she exclaimed.... At first blush, this question seems to resonate with our moral intuitions concerning justice and fairness. However, at the heart of the question lies a fundamental misunderstanding about man and God. Specifically, we minimize the seriousness of man’s sin and guilt, and we distort the perfection of God’s holiness and justice.” (Read more.)
Despair in 2016? Never. God Will Do Big Things by Brett Kunkle: “[T]he modern university is an intellectual wasteland, as well as a moral mess. This is the chaos our young people walk into as they attend secular universities across the country. A cause for concern? Absolutely. If we don’t win students’ hearts and minds before they head off to college, the secular culture will. A cause for despair? Never. No matter how bad things get, nothing will put Jesus Christ back in the grave. We can be confident the gates of Hell will not ultimately prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18). So I’m not despairing, I’m redoubling my efforts.” (Read more.)
Still Following Jesus by Alan Shlemon: “Before returning to the Father, Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey His commands (Matt. 28:19-20). Although I live 2,000 years later and 7500 miles away, that Great Commission still animates my life today.” (Read more.)
Today we celebrate the coming of the One who rescues us from the chains of our sin. Merry Christmas to all of you!
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us.... (Romans 8:1-4)
Here are the top ten posts of 2015 (measured by the number of page views):
The Line between Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience – “Rule of law is what makes a good society possible, and the value we place on it should be great—it should never be compromised as part of a regular strategy for getting what we want…. But there is also a time and place for civil disobedience, grounded in a Law higher than man’s, against an unjust law. Determining where the line should be drawn between them is not a simple task.”
About Those Crusades… – “Since the Crusades are back in the news, these excerpts from a 2005 article by Crusade historian Thomas F. Madden will help you brush up on the basics.”
Why Christians Don’t Seek to Avenge Insults against God – “[T]he most honored act of all time, for which Jesus was highly exalted by the Father, was not avenging His Name, but dying for those who disgraced it. He didn’t dismiss justice, but instead He upheld it by bearing it on His own shoulders. This central act of Christianity burrowed into our understanding of the virtuous life and slowly infiltrated all of Western culture—so much so that we in the West now take for granted the beauty of patient, gracious, self-sacrificial humility over an immediate exercise of punitive power. We forget that not every culture has seen this as desirable. It’s an echo of Christ, not something men naturally reason to on their own.”
Refusing to Serve Individuals vs. Refusing to Participate in Events – “Compelling someone else's speech (through creative or expressive services) can be a soft form of slavery…. To argue in essence, ‘But giving people liberties and freedoms might enable them to act unethically toward others’ is fundamentally to argue against the Constitution. Liberties and freedoms require vulnerabilities and risks that are worth having.”
Christians, You Will Suffer – “If suffering disproves your Christianity, you’ve missed Christianity. The Bible is filled with the suffering of those whom God loves. The central event of the Bible is one of suffering. Love involves suffering. ‘We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’ That means suffering…. The truth is that even if you’ve been taught these things, a time will come when an experience will make this real to you, and then you will struggle to learn how to entrust yourself to God when you can’t trust He’ll protect you from pain and tragedy, can’t trust that things will get better. The only thing you can trust is Him. That He is good.”
How to Defuse the Accusation of Intolerance – “I can think of a specific instance right now when I used this approach in response to a hostile questioner. It completely defused a very tense situation, enabling us to have a deep, profitable conversation about same-sex marriage that ended with him understanding my position and saying he believed I wasn’t a bigot after all.”
Why Is Evolution so Widely Believed? – “Dr. Craig points outs that the mainstream acceptance of the theory of evolution is not for scientific reasons; it’s accepted for philosophical reasons. More specifically, it’s believed because of a commitment to methodological naturalism.”
What Jesus Said about Homosexuality – “The Bible’s view of the Bible is that it is God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.’ Jesus is God, therefore all of the Bible is His Word, not just the parts in red in the four Gospels.”
When you're teaching, whether it's apologetics or any other topic, it's not just the information but also the presentation that counts. You may be able to dump theological knowledge on your audience, but that doesn't mean it will stick and have the impact you're hoping for, so you've got to work on your presentation skills too. This is especially important with youth audiences.
When I'm asked for advice on teaching youth, here are some of my suggestions:
Have a strong opener for your talk: Use stories, object lessons, and illustrations to draw them in, gain their attention, and earn their trust. And get into it quickly. Don't waste time with filler (e.g. "Glad to be here with all of you…").
Cut content to the most essential elements: Often you have such limited teaching time (30-40 minutes), so make sure you're focusing on the most essential material for each topic. Avoid an "information dump" where you regurgitate every single aspect you've studied. You may study hours upon hours for a single talk, but you'll need to boil it down to the key ideas and arguments for your audience.
Illustrate, illustrate, illustrate: As you explain spiritual truths and abstract concepts, you will need to illustrate these for your audience. For example, we use the ice cream/medicine illustration to explain objective/subjective truth. In addition, I created a "Truth Test" years ago to further illustrate the distinction between the two.
Close your talks with ways that hit home: Show your audience how ideas have consequences. Illustrate how what you've taught plays out in real life. Use powerful stories to close. Help them see the relevance of your teaching to life. This will help give your talks a strong finish.
Hang out with your audience: If I'm speaking to a group I don't know, I will take the initiative to get to know my audience (as much as possible) beforehand. Greet people as they come in, walk around, introduce yourself, ask questions and mingle with them as they wait for the event to begin. If I'm at a camp or conference, I'll try to have meals with them and even participate in some of the camp activities with them. And afterwards, make yourself available for further questions and interactions. I typically try to be one of the last to leave the event. All of this will help the audience connect with you personally and, therefore, help them connect with your teaching at a deeper level.
If you do a lot of teaching, I suggest you get a copy of Timothy Koegel's book, The Exceptional Presenter. You'll benefit from it tremendously and so will your audience.