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Through the Word

5 Aug

James 1:23-25 reminds us that, “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”  (NASB)  Obviously, the first step to doing is remembering… and for most of us, remembering requires focused study.  That why, this week, we’re featuring the ministry of “Through the Word” – a group of pastor’s dedicated to helping Christians develop a daily habit of study and thoughtful application.

Each day, Through the Word posts a 10 minute audio guide focused on a single chapter of Scripture.  These guides aren’t a deep Bible commentary, but they do help prepare listeners to carefully consider the lessons to be learned as they read the day’s passage.  Users are then encouraged to follow up both the audio material and the printed Word with time spent in contemplation and fellowship with God.

Download the Android or IOS app and you’ll be provided with a special forum for recording your thoughts on the day’s passage and tracking your progress as you read God’s Word.   Take notes on your favorite verses from the day’s reading, record messages that God has shared with you, and write out your plans for putting them into action in your daily life.  There’s even a place to store your Scripture-prompted prayers!  And if you don’t like typing out your observations, the app gives you an opportunity to make voice recordings, instead!

Looking to start with a specific book?  Check out the Bible section of the website and you’ll have the opportunity to begin your journey anywhere you please!  Get started today and become a doer of the word, not just a hearer!

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Utah Lighthouse Ministry

4 Feb

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.”  Bold words?  You bet!  If you’re like most of us, you’d be hard pressed to identify who spoke them… and you might be surprised to discover that they are found in an official account of a sermon delivered by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Like many of the prophet’s teachings, these words come not from hearsay or the accounts of those who seek to destroy the LDS church, but from the records of the church, itself… in this case, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409

For many, claims like this, are sufficient to elicit suspicion.  After all, how many leaders of Christian churches would be so bold as to claim themselves capable of that which Christ, Himself was not?  Unfortunately, many modern members of the LDS church are unaware of the teachings of their founder and his early successors, choosing, instead to simply repeat the line that the Mormon church is Christian… merely a denomination of a larger faith.

It is for the purpose of addressing this claim and others like it that the Utah Lighthouse Ministry was established.  Created in 1983 by Jerald Tanner (a great-great grandson of John Tanner) and his wife, Sandra (a great-great granddaughter of Brigham Young), UTLM seeks to make teachings such as these readily available to both members and non-members of the LDS church in the hope of encouraging careful analysis of the doctrine of the prophets upon whose teaching the church was established.

Visit their website, and you’ll find a multitude of useful resources starting with Jerald Tanner’s testimony of his own journey out of MormonismView the stories of others who have left the LDS Church, then take a look at what they found to be a compelling case for their departure as you examine 3,913 Changes to the Book of Mormon as well as an extensive list of places in which the Book of Mormon directly contradicts the teachings of the Bible and view a few of the contradictions which exist within the LDS Scriptures.  Explore LDS Theology in-depth as you tackle topics from the test of a prophet to church teaching on the role of Lucifer.

Then, learn to effectively share your faith with your Latter-day Saint friends and family.  Check out a variety of FREE gospel tracts including Jesus and Joseph Smith, Testing the Book of Mormon, and The Fall of the Book of Abraham.  And when your friends are ready to leave, check out the comprehensive explanation of the process for removing your name from the church rolls.

The site is full of great resources from audio interviews and video clips to a selection of online books, so take your time.  Read the resources carefully and you’re sure to be ready to address the claims of the LDS church with your Mormon friends in a way that reflects both gentleness and respect!

Stand to Reason

28 Jan

It doesn’t take long for most Christians to realize that evangelism isn’t just about presenting knowledge; It’s about how we present that knowledge.  Rattling off the Romans Road and a list of facts that lead to a reasoned faith in the resurrection isn’t bad, in and of itself.  But if we do so without attention to the direction of the conversation or an understanding of the positions of those with whom we’re sharing, it can have a major impact on how others perceive our God!  And that’s where Stand to Reason comes in.

Stand to Reason exists not for the purpose of helping Christians accumulate knowledge, but rather to assist believers in developing wisdom in regard to the presentation of knowledge.  Their goal is not simply to teach what a Christian ought to think, but to help Christians learn how to think – assisting believers as they form the skills to critically analyze the claims of other philosophies as well as their own.  Take a moment to review the Ambassador’s Creed for an overview of what makes a good Christian apologist and see if you’re willing to commit to developing these skills.  Then dive right in!

The site offers a wide range of resources for anyone seeking a ready answer, but without the time to read lengthy articles.  Check out Quick Thoughts where you’ll find concise answers to difficult questions as well as insightful articles from other Christian philosophers and theologians. Or examine on-site articles on topics ranging from bio-ethics to science and philosophy. Explore the link between abortion and human rights, discover a good reason for evil, and struggle with the question of animal ethics.  Want to be certain you can defend your point?  Why not take a look at the Solid Ground archives where you’ll find organized cases for everything from Israel’s attack on Canaan to the rejection of Mormonism as a Christian denomination.

Prefer to listen instead of read?  STR offers a broad selection of podcasts ranging from the Stand to Reason Weekly Radio Show to Thinking Out Loud, a few brief thoughts on the subjects that really matter.  Then, visit the Stand to Reason Blog for follow-up on the shows and links to relevant sites.

There’s plenty to see on this easy-to-digest site, so give it a quick scan, then bookmark it for future reference.  You’re sure to be back time and time again!

Reasonable Faith

21 Jan

Is faith in God reasonable?  If God’s exists, what type of being is he?  What moral responsibilities do human beings have?  Is there an afterlife?  Such questions shouldn’t go unanswered.  That’s why Dr. William Lane Craig started Reasonable Faith.  A former atheist and a trained philosopher, Dr. Craig understands the importance of responding to skeptic’s questions with clarity and depth… and is dedicated to training Christians to provide both.

On the site, you can explore a wide range of popular articles on topics ranging from the Existence and Nature of God to Science and Theology.   Discover how Christianity relates to other faiths or start learning the fine art of Apologetics – defending the faith with accuracy and precision.  Want something deeper?  Why not hone your philosophical skills with a few of Dr. Craig’s peer reviewed scholarly articles.

Got some time to spare?  Watch as Dr. Craig debates philosophers, scientists, and theologians from around the world. Then, download the Reasonable Faith Podcast or take your training a step further with the Defenders Class.

Got something to say?  Share your thoughts and get answers to your questions on one of the site’s many forums or find a Reasonable faith chapter near you.  You’re sure to have some great conversations with other Christians passionate about giving an answer for their faith!

There’s a lot to see and hear, so plan to spend some time exploring the site.  You’re sure to come away both more confident and more competent!

Mormonism Research Ministry

14 Jan

Established in 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry is dedicated to helping both Christians and non-Christians navigate the maze of LDS teaching.  MRM strives to present the LDS Church in an honest and truthful light, drawing from the actual publications of the LDS Church and the writings of its prophets.  The staff at MRM seeks to present the case against Mormonism in a way that expresses their genuine love for the LDS people.

Visit their site and you’ll discover a variety of resources ranging from an A-Z Introduction to Terms and Issues Related to Mormonism to an overview of the LDS Church and Culture. Learn more about the origins and history of the Book of Mormon and delve into LDS teaching concerning the Nature of God, The Plan of Salvation, and the purpose of Temples. Subscribe to the Free Newsletter to receive up-to-date commentary on current LDS news and teaching, listen to episodes of the Viewpoint on Mormonism Podcast where LDS doctrine is discussed in-depth, and check out the opinions of staff members and guest on the Mormon Coffee blog!

Want to better understand what is currently being taught in Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings?  Join your LDS friends in 2013 as they study “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow”.  Then follow along as Eric Johnson shares his thoughts on the text through a progressive commentary.

Looking to share your faith more effectively?  Why not check out the MRM Store where you’ll find a variety of well-researched books, DVD’s, PDF’s and MP3’s?  Haven’t got any money to spend?  MRM offers a variety of Free Tracts to help you walk your Mormon friends through the doctrines of traditional Christianity in a way that shows both gentleness and respect.

And, if you’re LDS and are currently struggling with the teachings of former and current church leaders, there’s help here for you too.  Check out the list of support groups or take a moment to Contact MRM directly where friendly staff members will do their best to help.

Whatever your viewpoint or your level of knowledge concerning the LDS Church, you’re sure to find the resources on this site both interesting and informative!

Please Convince Me

17 Dec

J. Warner Wallace, a cold case homicide detective, spent 35 years as an “angry atheist”.  Vehemently opposed to Christianity, he decided to apply his crime scene experience to investigating the case for the faith – and concluded that a person should believe not “in spite of the evidence, but because of it.”

The Please Convince Me was designed to document his own journey to faith and to help others along the way.  Check out the blog to read about the continuing journey of the skeptics at Please Convince Me or download the weekly podcast to listen to J. Warner Wallace discuss common objections to Christianity from a detective’s point of view.  Not sure about what you hear?  Why not join the Please Convince Me Facebook group where believers, skeptics, and seekers have the opportunity to tackle tough questions about life and faith in a friendly environment.

Got some time to kill?  Why not check out some of the awesome YouTube videos highlighting both Wallace’s case for Christianity and one of his real-life police stories!  Or, visit the Academy where you’ll find a FREE and fully developed curriculum to help both individuals and groups learn to present their faith in a solid way that will stand up in even the toughest court.

And don’t forget to check out Wallace’s new book “Cold Case Christianity” due to release January 1st!

There’s plenty to see, so take the time to sit down and explore the site.  You may be surprised where the evidence leads!

Worldview Ministries

3 Dec

Sean McDowell (son of Josh McDowell) is a High School teacher with a passion for teens and apologetics.  A gifted writer and speaker, he recognizes that our worldview not only defines who we are, but also dictates who we will become.  His Worldview Ministries website is dedicated to helping young people both develop and defend their worldview and is just the place for teens seeking to equip themselves to answer questions about their faith and lifestyle.

Start out by reading how Sean came to question the Christian faith in which he was raised.  While the article is geared primarily towards parents, his words also reassure teens and young adults who are starting to ask the tough questions about what they believe and why.  Then check out the articles link where Sean answers questions on a range of topics from apologetics, theology, and religion to science, ethics, and youth culture“Is it okay to have doubts” about our faith?  “Is Christianity a copycat religion” composed of various elements of other world faiths?  “Aren’t all religions basically the same?”  Sean carefully addresses a wide variety of issues from the current debate on abortion and same-sex marriage to questions about pornography and smoking pot.  There’s plenty to read, so set aside some time to really explore the site!

Sean also provides a number of resources for student leaders and youth ministers.  Take a moment to visit the curriculum page where you’ll find fully prepared lessons on apologetics and youth culture complete with video clips, power point presentations, and worksheets!  Click on the media link to hear Sean address some of today’s most pressing issues or view Sean’s blog where you can read his latest thoughts or download a podcast so you can listen on the go!

Whatever resources you use, you’re sure to be blessed with a more complete understanding of the Christian life and message!  And remember: your worldview matters.  It will determine who you become.

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