Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Meet the Skeptic by Bill Foster

“What is a skeptic? ...
...For our purposes, skeptics are people who discard the biblical worldview in favor of other ways to see the world...

...Some had non-believing parents.
Some had believing parents who were legalistic.
Some have been deceived by false teachers and false religions.
Some have been turned off by hypocrites.
Some have put their trust in material success and their own abilities.
Some have been influenced by skeptical academics and experts...

...We meet them every day at work, in class, at the gym, and in the grocery store. We are long past the time of dropping a biblical reference into a conversation and expecting its significance to be recognized. Our post-Christian culture requires us to do more remedial work with potential believers in order to make an impact.” – Bill Foster in Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations

Thorough, accurate definition. 

I would however like to add a little to it. Some (skeptics) would not classify themselves as such. Additionally, some skeptics (professed or not) may be reading this blog right now. Is that you? If not, are you thinking of someone you know who is? Most, if not all of us, know a couple of (potentially MANY) skeptics. I do. I once was one. I guess at times “it takes one to know one.”

As I have been blessed with the privilege of reading Bill Foster’s Meet the Skeptic, I have gained some practical, on-the-level insight on how various types of “skeptics” think and what may be some of the main underlying reasons for their disbelief, distrust, and skepticism toward God. Some things I had already discovered through the Holy Spirit’s teaching through many life lessons and interactions. Many things Foster reveals however I had not already connected.

Foster structures his “field guide” in an easy-to-read yet very thought-provoking format. He gives examples of thoughts and conversations as well as practical advice in relating honestly and transparently with almost anyone we may come into contact with who questions or flat-out denies God.

I will use this valuable resource indefinitely and will even share it with others as I feel led. I challenge you---skeptic or not, believer or not---to get a copy of this book and see what kind of impact it has on your life, your thoughts, and your conversations.

And to my Christian friends, I leave you with a couple of additional truthful, challenging nuggets as written by Foster:

Objections are opportunities. They reveal a nonbeliever’s need for truth, and they challenge us to make our faith relevant.

Even if we don’t get a chance to mention Jesus, that doesn’t mean we can’t reveal truth that ultimately leads to Him.

How about you? 

Would you classify yourself as
 a skeptic, a believer in Christ, or neither

Please share…if you dare! ;)

Oh, and there is a workbook as well as a Leader's Guide available to supplement this book if you do find it to be of interest and one which you would like to help others dig into. Check out the Meet the Skeptic website as well as its Facebook page and Twitter page for more info and resources.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Retreat! I QUIT!

I did it.


I quit my job. 

"I" couldn't take the stress anymore.
"I" was overwhelmed.
"I" went looking for a "better", "more convenient" job.
"I" found it.
"I" got an offer for it.
"I" accepted it.
"I" resigned from my job.
"I" still didn't feel a peace.

"But God..." stepped in.
God clearly showed me the error of my ways.
God lovingly reminded me that He will care for and provide for me and my sanity where He has me.
God gently but firmly put me in my place---or rather told me to stay there.
God humbled me by having me rescind my acceptance of the job offer AND rescind my resignation.
Then God gave me peace---a peace I cannot explain nor understand.

Solomon Episcopal Conference Center
And here I sit, literally on retreat by the edge of a beautiful, peaceful body of water on the grounds of a serene conference center He led me to.

"He leads me beside still waters...He restores my soul..."

Let me start that part over again from the top.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He has provided miraculously and frequently for me and my family.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
on my orange and green plaid picnic blanket napping in the breeze.
He leads me beside the still waters.
Solomon Episcopal Conference Center
as I ambled along the water's edge to find this very spot.
He restores my soul;
as I just attended a Ladies' Retreat called "Restore My Heart" by Denise Glenn.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
even though my own chosen path seemed like an easy way out.
For His name’s sake.
He lovingly keeps me on track in the ways that will glorify Him most.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
as dear friends have tragically lost loved ones this week, and as the vehicles in my family keep requiring unexpected, costly maintenance.
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
I feel you, hear you, see you, and even smell you all around me as I sit basking in the beauty and complexity of your creations of nature.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I have felt the loving, firm rod of your correction and the gentle, consistent staff of your shepherding direction so often recently which remind me that I am loved greatly by you---too much to let me make big mistakes---too much to let me give up.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You clearly display your love and provision for me in full view of those who may disagree with and even be angered by the truth of your word that I share.
You anoint my head with oil;
As you write this through me right now I feel your anointing washing over me like precious oil and soothing balm.
My cup runs over.
Solomon Episcopal Conference Center
Countless, unexpected financial blessings of provision at just the time they are needed have come to me from you recently; not to mention the even more innumerable immaterial blessings of family, friends, and the freedom to read and share your word.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
They have always been following me and will never stop---whether I deserve them or not. You give them freely; I could never earn them.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
As I am in your presence even now I live the abundant, eternal life you give now and will join you in our heavenly home for eternity on that appointed day.

So for now, I persevere, press on, and promise to be present wherever I am, fully and completely presenting the light of Jesus Christ to the world in whatever way He would have me do so.

And those are my OneWord(s) for 2012:

PRESENT and to
PEACE and I 
PRAY the same for you.

{Okay, so maybe I chose OneLETTER rather than OneWORD.}


What about you? 
How has this post resonated with you?

Please share with me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Awesome Science with Noah Justice

Are you ready to explore?

Looking for an adventure unlike any you've been on before?

While you're at it, would you like to learn some interesting, crucial facts about how some of America's most impressive natural attractions were formed?

Well, if you answered YES to any or all of the above, then the Awesome Science DVD series with Noah Justice is just for you!

My son---Mystery Ranger Buster---and I watched these two DVDs and talked about them as we watched them. He & I both were fascinated by the video images of both the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone as Noah Justice led us through them. Noah pointed out many interesting facts about how these amazing natural attractions were formed---and how they were formed in a very short period of time as compared to what many mainstream scientists claim.

Watching these videos allowed us to have some important discussions that I hope will help build a foundation in my son's mind of remembering that he doesn't have to believe what he is told by those he may hear louder or more often through TV, school, and other exposures he has.

It is hard not to fall into the trap of thinking that everything that is on TV (even from National Geographic) or is in a book (even a highly acclaimed textbook) is true. Scientists of all kinds are continually studying, experimenting, observing and learning new things everyday. Many things scientists once claimed to be true and absolute have since been proven by scientists to not be true. Therefore, how can mainstream, secular scientists today claim that their explanations and beliefs of life, creation, and nature are absolutely, undeniably, solely true? If that is the case, why are they still studying the same things they have claimed to have already proven? Just a thought...

Anyway, I love being able to have meaningful conversations with my six-year-old son (as well as with adults) on these subjects so that he has more of a solid foundation of understanding why he believes what he believes later in life. I pray that God through His Holy Spirit works in his little Mystery Ranger heart to cement it and bring it back to mind at the times he needs it most.

By the way, many of the things shown and discussed in these videos refer to the eruption of Mount St. Helens that Mystery Ranger Buster & I learned about in Kim Jones' awesome book The Case of the Missing Mountain! God is good like that! He weaves quite a beautiful tapestry.

Oh, and in addition to the awesome videos, Master Books has also created a study guide to go along with each video which includes several fill-in-the-blanks, questions, and bonus activities to drive home the learning associated with watching these videos.

One note about the videos & study guides: I do believe the target audience is more suited to be late elementary/middle school through high school. The terminology used and all was a little over the head of my six-year-old, but I think a 4th or 5th grader or above could watch these alone without needing much additional explanation.

So, if you think these are something you are considering for you or your family (I learned a lot from these myself, by the way)...then check this out!

Awesome Science
#TeachtheTruth Twitter Party!
Giveaways & FUN Galore!

See the details below to join us...and if you don't have a
(Click HERE to read Michelle's post that gives 
a great description of how to participate in a Twitter Party.)

Date: Thursday, April 19th
Time: 8pm Central (lasts about an hour)
Hashtags: #TeachtheTruth (entire party), 
(to check-in & say Hi when you first join the party)

Spread the word and come join us!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.