Joy in Persecution: Letters of Paul and Chinese Christians

Joy in Persecution: Letters of Paul and Chinese Christians

Blog, Encouragement
Around 62 A.D. the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, most likely in Rome, and penned a letter to the church at Philippi. The church at Philippi had been the first church in what is now Europe to be founded by Paul and they had supported him in his ministry and had continued to support him even during his imprisonment. One of the most striking characteristics of the letter to the Philippians is its emphasis on joy and encouragement. For me, it is hard to imagine a less joyful situation. After many hardships as a missionary and church planter, shipwrecks, beatings, several imprisonments and now imprisoned yet again for preaching the Gospel, now with the threat of possible execution hanging over him. How could Paul be joyful and even offer encouragement in…
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Book Review: A Mind for Missions by Paul Borthwick

Book Review: A Mind for Missions by Paul Borthwick

Blog, Book Review, Missions
I read a lot of books, it is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. When you read as many books as I do every now and then you get a few duds; books that are forgettable at best, and maybe even a waste of time. Every now and then you find a real gem though; a book you can reread again down the road and enjoy it anew and discover new things. For me, one of those books is Dr. Paul Borthwick’s A Mind for Missions. I first read this book about 15 years ago. I had just returned from a short-term mission trip to  and felt like my life had changed from the experience. I had seen God at work in ways I never had before.…
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Philosophical Evidence that God Created the Universe

Philosophical Evidence that God Created the Universe

Apologetics, Blog
Today, there is no serious debate about whether the universe is eternal or whether it had a beginning. This was not always the case. For centuries the Jews, Christians, and Muslims have held that God created the universe. The first verse of the Bible says “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  However, others held that the universe was eternal. This debate was a big deal. You may be reading this thinking, why does it matter? It matters because if the universe is eternal, then there is no need for a universal creator but if the universe began to exist at some point, then it would need a cause which made it begin. It was certainly more attractive for atheists to think the universe was…
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Welcoming International Students

Welcoming International Students

Blog, Evangelism, Missions
This year over 1 million international students will come to the United States to study. While the number of internationals students coming here has declined in recent years, the US is still the top destination with nearly a quarter of all international students choosing to come here over other countries. This is a great opportunity for these students to get a top-notch education and also experience another culture. This is also a great opportunity for American families to come alongside and encourage and help students that are far from home.   International Student Statistics Who are the students coming to the US? Where do they come from? Where and what do they end up studying? Let’s take a look at some of the stats. In 2017, 1.1 million students came…
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I’m Back from My Short-Term Mission Trip…Now What?

I’m Back from My Short-Term Mission Trip…Now What?

Blog, Missions
Every summer, tens of thousands of Americans (probably more!) go on short-term missions trips either within the United States or abroad. Perhaps you are one of those who have been fortunate enough to go on one of these trips this summer and I hope that you have found that the Lord has changed you in some way because of the experience. But now that you are back home, what can you do to make the most of your trip? In other words, if God has used this trip to grow and transform you, what can you do to further nurture this new growth, rather than allow it fade as time passes? Below are a few suggestions to help you to make the most of your short-term mission trip now that…
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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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