Who Do You Trust? Really

For your first week of reading, Why Trust Jesus? Here's several questions that I want you to ask yourself but also ask your friends in your community group/ book study group.  After you have read Norman Geisler's foreword and my introduction, consider these questions.  

1. What characteristics do you look for in someone else, before you can trust them?

2. What are the greatest barriers to trusting Christ daily in your own life? Is it intellectual, emotional, or self-sufficiency? Talk it out. 

 3. We have all probably been let down by Christians. Maybe a pastor or priest,  a father or mother, an ex-lover. In the midst of  disappointments or failures, why do you believe the Christian faith is most trustworthy? Or more specifically, why Jesus? 

4. What steps will you take this week to grow in trust?

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Oprah's New Prophet is Dwight Schrute???

I like the show the Office. I like Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight Schrute. He is hilarious. I like Oprah. But I can't stand the false doctrine that Oprah and Rainn promote.  

I wrote my book, Why Trust Jesus? and the book co-authored with Josh McDowell, "O" God for Christians!  Sadly, some of my peers have bought into a "social gospel" so much that we often feel apathetic to speak out against religious pluralism.  The Baha'i faith that Rainn holds to may seem open minded and inclusive, but in reality is very exclusive. For example, teachers of the Baha'i faith deny the doctrine of the Trinity. They are "intolerant" of it.

Now, in my book, I commend Oprah for reaching out to the poor. That's a good work. James, in chapter one, refers to taking care of orphans and widows as "pure religion." But religion is not the "gospel" and it won't take anyone into heaven. The so-called "New Spirituality" and pantheistic books that Oprah has endorses like Eckart Tolle's The Power of Now and Rhonda Byrne's The Secret are selling just as much as the books of New Atheists. We might not watch her show, but this woman has influence.  Watch this video of Oprah and Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schute), If you were sitting in a chair next to Oprah, how would you respond? What would you ask her? How would you present the true Gospel?

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I Believe in Jesus, SO THERE!

Jenna Levon, a freelance writer in her twenties was one of the first to look at my brand new book, Why Trust Jesus? I was very encouraged with her with words, because I wrote this book for both believers, doubters and spiritual seekers.  Below are words from Jenna. 

Ten years ago, I made a huge mistake. I can picture the table where I sat in my high school cafeteria. I quickly found myself in a heated conversation about Jesus with my new friend, who was Jewish. As a Christian, I asserted that Jesus was crucified, he rose, and He’s coming back some day. 

Stephanie disagreed. My defense? “Because it happened. It’s what the Bible says, and it’s what I believe.” Hindsight is always 20/20, right? I am disappointed that I spoke with such little kindness, grace, and clarity about my Savior. I’m sure this lunchroom encounter left my friend with a bitter taste in her mouth not only for (foolish) me, but for Christians in general.

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FREE Bible Giveaway

Thanks to our friends at Holman Bible Publishers, we are giving away some copies of the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, designed to ground Christian students in the truths of Scripture by equipping them with thoughtful and practical responses to difficult and heartfelt challenges to core issues of faith and life.

To be eligible to win a copy of the paperback edition (1400+ pages in length), here's all you do:

  • Send an email to: info@conversantlife.com
  • Put "Free Bible" in the subject line of your email
  • Tell us you want to be in the random drawing for a free copy
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More Than a Feeling

It was eighty against one.  Not good odds but when I role-play an atheist with the typical Christian students, I like my chances.  But these weren’t students.  They were adults.  And not just any adults, but Christian leaders on the East Coast.  Pastors, youth pastors, parachurch leaders, school teachers, and administrators.

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Who's Waiting for Your Kids?

In a few short years, students will leave our homes and graduate from our churches. They'll head off to college. Who's waiting for them? What kinds of people will they meet? And are they ready?

We Live at the Mercy of Our Ideas

I recently spoke with a youth worker who told me he was not teaching theology and apologetics to the students in his youth group because he was focusing on “practical Christian living.”  Certainly he’s well-intentioned but with this approach, I have no confidence much practical Christian living is going to happen in the lives of those students. This dichotomy between beliefs and behavior represents a profound misunderstanding amongst Christians and not only does it harm our young people but the church-at-large.  Here’s why.

We are what we think.  Recent discoveries in neuroscience make this clear.  Change your thoughts and you can change your brain chemistry.  In turn, these brain alterations affect how we deal with things like anger and anxiety.  False ways of thinking lead to destructive patterns of living.  When young people have false ideas about God, His requirements, the authority of Scripture or the meaning of life, certain behaviors follow.  We live at the mercy of our ideas. 

Of course, before neuroscience came along God had been telling humanity this from the beginning.  His Word is filled with instruction about the relationship between thought and action: 

  • Hosea 4:5 & 6 – You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you...my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
  • Romans 1:28 & 29 – Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness...
  • Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  • Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  • Colossians 1:9 & 10 – For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God...
  • II Timothy 2:25 – Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.
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Questioning Evangelism

Christians talk too much.  At least, they feel the pressure to.

I have a talk entitled “Why I Am a Christian,” where I discuss the primary reason we ought to follow Christ:  because He’s the Truth.  Christianity (in the sense of C.S. Lewis’ “mere Christianity”) is true and we have good reasons to think so.  But sometimes, when people hear this they feel pressure to have all the right answers for their non-believing friends.  I hear the stress in their voices when they ask, “So what should I say to my non-Christian friends?”  I have some advice. 

First, start with questions.  Oftentimes, Christians think evangelism means we talk and others listen.  So, the believer is supposed to have a polished “Gospel presentation” and a finely tuned response to all objections.  But this approach is undignifying to non-Christians and it completely ignores the unique questions an individual might have.  And it’s why some Christians are really good at answering questions no one is asking.  Francis Schaeffer’s words are instructive here:  “If I have only an hour with someone, I will spend the first 55 minutes asking questions and finding out what is troubling their heart and mind, and then the last 5 minutes I will share something of the truth.” 

I encourage students to start with Stand to Reason’s first two “Columbo” questions

#1 -- What do you mean by that?

#2 -- How did you come to that conclusion?

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