Praying for Korea

Praying for Korea

Blog, Prayer
Last week, I was amazed and perplexed at the sight of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, cordially meeting, even embracing and surprised by a 180 degree turn in relations between these two countries. Like many, part of me is wondering what Kim Jong-un has up his sleeves. The crazy rhetoric and threats of nuclear annihilation as recently as a few months ago, make me suspicious of this friendly overture towards peace. And yet, part of me hopes that it is real. As a Christian, I know that God is sovereign and that all leaders and nations are under his control. I also know that God can amazingly change hearts and minds. So I hope that what we are seeing is the work of God…
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Using Stories to Communicate Truth

Using Stories to Communicate Truth

Blog, Evangelism
A while ago I finished a book about the creative collaboration of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the other Inklings. It got me thinking about these authors and how their works have impacted me and others. I also started thinking about stories in general and their power at communicating truth in a way that reason and discourse do not. Because of the way stories connect with people and create understanding at a heart level, stories can be very useful in ministry, evangelism, apologetics and missions. Stories immediately capture our attention in a way that the simple facts do not. Consider two takes on a recent Saturday yard project. On April 7, Salem, Oregon received 1.36” of rain along with high winds with gusts up to 45 mph which hindered the…
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Book Review: Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer

Book Review: Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer

Blog, Book Review
Confession time: I am a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy books. Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Brandon Sanderson...so many great authors and amazing books. Of the many great authors in this genre, my two favorite are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Although most of you have probably heard of these authors (or at least their books) you may not be aware of the many bonds that linked these men who were, in fact, close friends, colleagues at Oxford University, and members of a group of writers who called themselves The Inklings. So it was with great expectation that I began reading Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. The book explores the friendships of this group as…
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A Christian Hater and Persecutor Decides to Follow Jesus

A Christian Hater and Persecutor Decides to Follow Jesus

Apologetics, Blog
As you investigate the resurrection of Jesus you come to see that there are a number of widely accepted facts that require an explanation. Some of these “minimal facts”, as Dr. Gary Habermas refers to them, are that Jesus was crucified, after his death his followers claimed to have seen him alive again and they were willing to die for this claim, and Jesus’ tomb was empty. These facts need an explanation. Another fact that is accepted by the majority of New Testament scholars, both Christian and non-Christian, involves the unlikely and sudden conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus was a zealous Pharisee. In the book of Acts we see him approving the stoning death of Stephen and hunting down Christians so they can be imprisoned and punished.…
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Was Jesus’ Tomb Empty?

Was Jesus’ Tomb Empty?

Apologetics, Blog
There are a surprising number of facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection that are accepted by both Christian and non-Christian scholars such as the fact that Jesus died by crucifixion and the fact that Jesus’ disciples claimed to have seen him alive again and were willing to die for this claim. Another element of Jesus’ death and resurrection is that his tomb was found empty. There is strong evidence to suggest that Jesus’ tomb was in fact empty, so much so that, according to scholar Gary Habermas the majority of New Testament scholars, both Christian and non-Christian, accept it as fact. Why should we believe that Jesus’ tomb was empty? Jesus was a well-known public figure who suffered a gruesome and very public execution in Jerusalem. Jesus and his followers…
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Did the Disciples See Jesus Alive After the Resurrection?

Did the Disciples See Jesus Alive After the Resurrection?

Apologetics, Blog
There is quite a bit of evidence that Jesus was crucified. A number of biblical authors attest to this but several ancient non-Christian writers do as well. The big question then, and indeed the crux of the whole truth of Christianity, is whether Jesus came back to life after three days as the biblical authors claim. Many skeptics seek 100% certainty or proof that Jesus rose from the dead. Those seeking this type of proof will be disappointed. However, just like in an investigation or court case, we can examine all the evidence and decide which explanation best fits the evidence we have. When it comes to whether Jesus rose from the dead, one of the biggest facts that we have available to us is the fact that Jesus’ disciples,…
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Non-Biblical Evidence for Jesus’ Crucifixion

Non-Biblical Evidence for Jesus’ Crucifixion

Apologetics, Blog
Jesus was a real person. While you may encounter those on the Internet or even people you know who claim that Jesus never existed, that a man named Jesus lived in first century Palestine is one of the most solidly attested and accepted facts of the ancient world. Critical scholars of the time period, both Christians and non-Christians, agree that Jesus was a real person. While this fact is commonly accepted, where the debate arises is whether the Jesus described in the Bible is the real Jesus. Did he perform miracles? Was he crucified? Did he rise from the dead? Is he God? Many non-Christians dismiss these claims and many Christians believe that they only have the Bible to rely on for evidence…the very evidence denied by many non-Christians. Christians…
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What is an “unreached people group”?

What is an “unreached people group”?

Blog, Missions
If you have spent much time in a church that prioritizes global missions then you have probably heard talk about the priority of sending missionaries to unreached people groups. This is a great priority but I think at times those advocating for this priority forget that some of these terms may be unfamiliar to many in the church. I have been guilty of this myself when, as a missionary, I spoke to fellow believers about the importance of working with unreached people groups without taking the time to explain some of the terms I was using. So, let’s talk a little bit about “unreached people groups” and define what we are talking about. The world is like a waffle, not a pancake I once heard a helpful illustration about the…
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Weekend Reading (February 3-4, 2018)

Weekend Reading (February 3-4, 2018)

Blog, Weekend Reading
It’s Friday again friends! There has been plenty in the news world this week both good and bad. Here are a few items you may not have seen. Enjoy! Contentment in an Age of Discontent – Chris Grace and Tim Muehlhoff, The Art of Relationships For those of you unfamiliar with The Art of Relationships podcast, consider this a gift…you’re welcome! This is a fantastic podcast with two very smart, very funny guys. This episode focused on how many are experiencing discontentment and which social, cultural and technological influences are feeding it. I found this an encouraging episode as there are areas of my life where I feel discontent and it was a good reminder to stop myself and evaluate whether those feelings are justified. Here is a small excerpt…
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How to Turn a Conversation Toward Spiritual Things

How to Turn a Conversation Toward Spiritual Things

Apologetics, Blog, Evangelism
So, you’re hanging out with your friends and you would really like to share something about your faith…do you chicken out or do you take the plunge and, in a break in the conversation, dive right into the “Romans Road” or the 4 spiritual laws? Many people choose to chicken out because they assume that there are only two possibilities: remain silent or share the full Gospel with someone. Fortunately, there are easier and more natural ways to have a spiritual conversation with a friend. Last weekend, I attended Mission ConneXion in Portland and sat in on a very helpful workshop lead by apologist Dr. Brent Strawsburg, Founder of Brent Strawsburg Apologetics.  Dr. Strawsburg spoke about several ways to share your faith and I wanted to pass one on to…
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