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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Resurrection, the Cross, and Trusting Jesus: 3 free ebooks

If you haven't noticed, this blog has been on an extended hiatus.... I don't know how many of my readers are still here in this corner of the Internet, but I wanted to let you know that I am still here. Life has been a rollercoaster ride of the good, the bad, and... the busy. :) And while I do have some ideas for content for this blog,  the time to write it out has been challenging.

But on to the point of this post.... we all like freebies, right? And if you're a bookworm like me, you LOVE free books!!

I recently received a kindle fire and I've been searching for free books to upload to it. Some of  the books have been worthwhile, but I particularly love it when they are apologetics related. Below are three such books -- for free (for a limited time; please be sure that the price is still listed as free before purchasing)!

Did the Resurrection Happen... Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

The Coffee House Chronicles are short, easily devoured novellas aimed at answering prevalent spiritual questions. Each book in the series tackles a long-contested question of the faith, and then answer these questions with truth through relationships and dialogue in each story.

In Did the Resurrection Happen, Really?: A Dialogue on Life, Death, and Hope, the college campus is rocked by a shooting spree that leaves nine students dead. Their up-close experience with mortality allies the coffee house discussion group together to really wrestle with the spiritual and eternal ramifications of whether or not Jesus rose from the dead.

The Truth Of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul surveys the great work accomplished by Jesus Christ through His crucifixion the redemption of God s people. Dr. Sproul considers the atonement from numerous angles and shows conclusively that the cross was absolutely necessary if anyone was to be saved. Opening the Scriptures, Dr. Sproul shows that God Himself provided salvation by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and the cross was always God s intended method by which to bring salvation. The Truth of the Cross is an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.

Why Trust Jesus?: An Honest Look At Doubts, Hurts, Desires, Gripes, Questions, and Pleasures by Dave Sterrett; forward by Dr. Norman Geisler

We are looking for relationships that are authentic and full of life, but we have many questions in regard to faith, reason, suffering and even the person of Jesus himself. Author and speaker Dave Sterrett helps us answer these and other questions:

-Why Should I Trust Jesus when So Many Other Spiritual Paths Exist?
The foundation of trusting in Jesus is that he is true. But if absolute truth does not exist, then to say that "Jesus is the Truth" is a meaningless statement. Many definitions of truth fail, but a good definition of truth is "that which corresponds to reality"; simply put, truth is "telling it like it is."

-Why Should I Trust Jesus When All I Need to do is Trust Myself?
Human knowledge is real, but it has its limitations. Jesus, however, is all-knowing. He knows everything about me. He knows everything about you. He knows what you are thinking. He knows what you are feeling. He understands you better than you understand yourself! This is one of the many good reasons for us to pray to the Father in the name of the Son.

-Why Should I Trust Jesus in the Midst of Suffering and Death?
The ultimate foundation of Christianity is a historical event: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. A man who walked this earth in history claimed to be God, died on the cross, and bodily rose from the dead. 

Enjoy, and have a blessed Resurrection Day week! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

FREE ebook: SEAL of God by Chad Williams

In honor of Veteran's Day, Chad Williams, a former Navy SEAL, is offering his book, SEAL of God (ebook format),  FREE of charge on amazon! You may remember that I did a review of this book a few months back. It is an excellent read, and I highly recommend that you go download yourself copy. You can read my full review of the book here. And if you want a taste of what the book is about, you can listen to this interview with Chad done by The Poached Egg.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Reasonable Faith Launches New TV Program

Reasonable Faith is launching a new TV program on NRB Network! The program description is as follows:
Apologist and author Dr. William Lane Craig joins NRB's primetime lineup in Reasonable Faith! Each week, Dr. Craig will equip you with the tools needed to win skeptics and defend biblical truth with maximum effectiveness. Series premieres on Monday, Oct. 1 at 9p ET (re-airs at 1a ET). 
NRB Network already has several other good programs available from such Christian organizations as Answers In Genesis, Cross Examined (Frank Turek), and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Now, Reasonable Faith is a delightful addition! Tune in, if you can, because this is sure to be a viewer-favorite program!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Objections 101: Can God Make A Rock So Big He Can't Lift It?

Welcome to the first in the new series, Objections 101, where we will take a look at some misconceptions and objections commonly brought up by the skeptics. Today, we will take a look at the question, "Can God make a rock so big He can't lift it?"

Q. Can God Make A Rock So Big He Can't Lift It?

A. This is a common question that that skeptics bring up in order to suppress the idea that God may actually exist as the Theist claims and believes. It questions God's omnipotence by claiming that if He were all-powerful He could do anything -- even make a rock so large He couldn't lift it.

However, it is important to realize that there are some things that God cannot do: He can’t do anything contrary to His nature. Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason explains it very simply in the following video:

D. James Kennedy summed it up well in his book Skeptics Answered when he stated, "To me, this is like asking, 'Did you drive to work today or did you pack a lunch?' We are now in the territory of mind games, and generally the skeptic who asks this question is more concerned with creating confusion than in asking honest, searching questions about God. Still, it's provocative. The Bible says God can do all things and nothing is impossible for Him. If that is true, says this questioner, then can He make a rock so big He can't move it? The person has asked the question in such a way that God loses regardless of the answer given. The problem, then, is the question itself, which is designed to entrap. Furthermore, I think we should remember that just because God can do all things doesn't mean He will do them to prove His capabilities. God will never do anything contrary to His nature. He can't tell a lie. He can't sin, even though He is omnipotent. God can also choose to limit the power He expresses. In light of the immense, complex and powerful cosmos He created, are we not presumptuous to ask what He is capable of?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bill Nye Says Creationism Is Inappropriate For Children

I am a little behind on this, because I was busy with a project at the time of the video's posting. However, I feel it is important to address it now while people are still talking about it. In the following video, Bill Nye, also known as "the science guy," states that creationism is inappropriate for children, and that, "There's no evidence for it [creationism]."

I realize it's hard to condense one's thoughts and/or arguments into a two-minute video, but if Bill Nye is going to state that there is no evidence for creationism, then he should at least try to provide some evidence apart from the claim that "we need them [your children]," and that "creationism is not appropriate for" them.

Creationism is treated as an enemy of education. Why? "Because," as Ron Rhodes states, "Creationists want creationism taught in public schools as an alternative to evolution, creationists are caricatured as enemies of education because they want myth to be taught alongside the facts." It would seem, then, that Bill Nye's implications are eerily similar to the motive behind the establishment of our public school systems. Don't get me wrong, there are some good, Christian and secular public schools. But Dewey explains his main reason for setting up "progressive education systems" (as he called it) as follows: "Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent." This is applicable, because it is the public schools that teach children evolution -- and, in many cases, that evolution is the only way to interpret the world, an idealogy to which Bill Nye agrees. J Dunphy stated, "I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level.... The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new –the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism..." (As a disclaimer, I will also say that many teachers in public schools do not share this agenda; they are just trying to do their job.) What better way to promote evolution than to teach it in the classroom? So, although, Bill Nye doesn't mention the classroom setting, I believe he has the same idea in mind.

But this provides a dilema for those like Bill Nye who believe in evolution: since many people do not believe in evolution (more than you would think), parents have begun to teach their children their views -- creationism -- at home. They recognize that creationism doesn't stunt American progress at all, even if it is in the minority of opinions; and to many, it actually makes better sense of explaining the world around us, emphasizing a Creator who is responsible for it all. "Creationists... are very happy to teach their kids about evolution and teach the problems with it; and teach their children how to think critically, and the difference between historical science and observational science. Isn't it interesting that Christians are not frightened to teach their children about evolution?" says Ken Ham, president of Answers In Genesis. (See the following video for more information...)


In fact, teaching both creationism and evolution side-by-side has even been known to encourage critical thinking in children:
“No teacher should be dismayed at efforts to present creation as an alternative to evolution in biology courses; indeed, at this moment creation is the only alternative to evolution. Not only is this worth mentioning, but a comparison of the two alternatives can be an excellent exercise in logic and reason. Our primary goal as educators should be to teach students to think and such a comparison, particularly because it concerns an issue in which many have special interests or are even emotionally involved, may accomplish that purpose better than most others.” ~ R.D. Alexander, Professor of Zoology at the University of Michigan, evolutionist; "Evolution versus Creationism: The Public Education Controversy," p. 91; as quoted in Duane T. Gish's book, "Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record."
This is why Nye stresses, "don't make your kids do it because we need them." But let me ask two questions: Who is "we"? And I always thought parents were entitled to teach their children their religious beliefs according our First Amendment rights. Bill Nye says to people who don't believe in evolution, "Why not?" But by the same standards, why doesn't Bill Nye believe in creationism? Apparently, it is because "There is no evidence for it" -- evidence that he doesn't even bother to provide for or against either side. But if Bill Nye, as an evolutionist, is entitled to his beliefs (and evolution and creationism are beliefs, or world views), certainly we creationists are entitled to ours and may teach it to our children if we so choose!

Furthermore, Bill Nye makes those who don't believe in evolution out to be... well, stupid. He states, "And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems." Excuse me, "science guy," but there are plenty of scientifically literate voters, taxpayers, and engineers who, although they don't believe in evolution, are responsible, educated human beings. To say anything less is to be dishonest, or perhaps, blind to reality. What would the "founding fathers" of science such as Newton, Pasteur, and others who were all Christians who rejected evolution, think of such a statement? Many of the foundational principles and laws of science are dependent upon their discoveries... These were not inconsistent with what we observe in the universe, and they solved lots of problems with their discoveries. And, as many have already pointed out in the numerous responses that escalated concerning Bill Nye's statements, evolution has absolutely nothing to do with being a good taxpayer or voter or being a good engineer; these are not the result of some random processes... If they were, we would have some serious problems on our hands! Creationism is completely compatible with what we observe in the universe; and if Mr. Nye wants to imply that we are "bad" for being creationists and therefore can't be "good" at engineering, taxpaying, voting, etc. that is a logical fallacy!

Non-belief in evolution doesn't hold people back. It's just another -- and I believe, more accurate -- way to interpret the world. One does not simply look at his own a priori belief and say, "This is correct; that is wrong!" without examining both sides of the issue. And, even though Bill Nye is called the "science guy," I don't believe he has done this. Therefore, it is an unfair statement supported by no evidence.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: SEAL of God

I first learned of Chad Williams when I watched him debate an atheist during one of his street preaching events. Later, I found him through Ray Comfort’s ministry; he was always the one who would bring up the apologetics-related topics on their show, On The Box. Needless-to-say, I loved it! So when I heard that he was writing a book, I knew I had to read it. That book, SEAL of God, is an excellent read. It is the testimony of former Navy SEAL, Chad Williams, chronicling his life from before he met Christ to his unexpected encounter with Him, and his experiences in BUD/S SEAL training.

The book begins with stories from Chad’s “wild” side in his younger years. Always the adventure seeker, Chad chased every dream he had, and he was always in search of the next “thrill.” It was obvious that he was searching for something, though at the time, he didn’t know what that was. He finally decided that becoming a SEAL was the way to fill the void. A former Navy SEAL, Scott Helvenston, took Chad under his wing and began to prepare him for the grueling work he would encounter in SEAL training. But although Chad had made up his mind to become a SEAL, it was Scott’s sudden murder while on a mission in Iraq, which strengthened his resolve to enlist as a Navy SEAL in honor of his friend. The book follows many of his experiences in SEAL training, as well as his attitude and lifestyle before he met Christ.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Just days before Chad Williams was scheduled to report for basic training at the Great Lakes naval base, he turned on the television and was greeted with the horrifying image of his mentor and training partner, US Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston, being brutally murdered in a premeditated ambush on the streets of Fallujah, Iraq.
Steeled in his resolve, Chad committed himself to completing the US military’s most difficult training to become a Navy SEAL – and avenge his friend’s death. One of only thirteen out of a class of 173 to make it straight through to graduation, Chad went on to serve o SEAL Teams 1 and 7, completing tours of duty in the Philippians, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and finally Iraq. There, Chad’s journey came full circle when his team was ambushed by enemy machine gunners – close to the same road where his hero had been killed five years earlier.
SEAL of God follows Chad’s extraordinary journey through twenty-five grueling weeks of BUD/S training and onto the hostile streets of Al Anbar Providence, Iraq, where he witnessed the horrors of war up close. Along the way, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and discovers the true meaning of ultimate sacrifice.

Chad had known that God was with him throughout the years, since he had witnessed some personal miracles early in his life. Still, he seemed to resist Him, even perusing alcohol a bit too much. For this reason, after many pages on his rebellious lifestyle and the dangers he encountered in SEAL training, it was refreshing to hear Chad’s testimony of how God met him when he was least expecting it. (You can listen to a short audio of Chad’s testimony here.) It was at one of Greg Laurie’s events that Chad knew that he was going “to do what that guy up there on the stage is doing.” (And if you know anything about his life apart from the book, you know that Chad is now ministering full time!) Of course, life as a Christian was not always easy for Chad, and the book tells of some of his struggles as a new-found Christian.

SEAL of God is a page-turner. Personally, I have never found books on military life to be an engaging read. However, I could not put this book down! It is written in a very easy-to-understand way, and it reads much like a novel, though it is actually the testimony of former SEAL Chad Williams.

At the end of the book, Chad does an great job of bringing the topic full circle as he explains that Jesus did for us what many military personnel do on a daily basis: He laid down His life for us! As such, while not strictly about apologetics, this book is an excellent evangelistic tool, especially for anyone who is familiar with military/SEAL life. SEAL of God is a book that I recommend to fans of Ray Comfort’s ministry and to those who have family in or retired from the military.

Disclaimer: I received this product free from Tyndale in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed in this article are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or author.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

DVD Review: October Baby

When I first heard that October Baby was coming to theaters, I knew it was a movie that I had to see. But if you’re like me, and were unable to make it to the theater to see it, you will be happy to know that release date for the DVD is September 11. Recently, I finally had the chance to watch this highly anticipated film, and here are my thoughts…

The story behind October Baby is loosely based on the true story of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. It is the story of nineteen-year-old Hannah Lawson who finds out that her personal struggles and physical sickness are the result of being an abortion survivor.

Here is the film’s synopsis:

As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah—unscripted—collapses in front of the stunned audience.
After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt.
Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future.
In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

I had heard Gianna Jessen’s testimony before, so I was very excited to see this movie; but I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to be portrayed… Usually, with a topic like this, one expects some sensitive or objectionable content. However, I love how the film tackles such an important, yet sensitive topic so effectively. The issue of how abortion affects survivors – and those who have had abortions – was excellently depicted. My favorite portion of the scene was when Hannah visits the nurse that helped to perform her failed abortion (played by Jasmine Guy). I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that it really added a depth to the film that will definitely have an impact on anyone who watches it.

The actors were great as well; each fit his character perfectly. Actors include American Idol finalist Chris Sligh – who does a good job of portraying the misfit Bigmac who won’t reveal his real name; famous actor John Schneider and actress Jasmine Guy; newcomer and main actress Rachel Hendrix, who plays the role of Hannah; and Jason Burkey. Robert Amaya, known as the “Snake King” on the movie Courageous, also makes a brief appearance. Each actor had something to add to the movie, making it a real success.

The movie has a very emotional element to it. When you consider the sensitive topic at hand (abortion), much of the film is sad; you will want to have plenty of tissues handy, because this film will make you cry. There is no objectionable content (though there is one scene at the beginning depicting a seizure that parents of young children may want to avoid), but from the moment that Hannah finds out that she was adopted and was a victim of a failed abortion, the movie follows her journey of internal struggles; you can imagine how heartbreaking that would be. Even so, I loved the fact that there was a lot of humor sprinkled throughout October Baby; there were parts where I actually rewound the DVD so I could hear that funny punch line again! Each actor very well portrayed the emotions, as well – and most of the time it was the expressions on their faces that said it all.

One of my favorite things about any DVD is the extra features, and I loved the extra features on October Baby. The “key scene” in the deleted scenes would have been worth keeping, in my opinion, since it highlights why Alanna – Jason’s supposed girlfriend – is so uptight around Hannah; I thought it would have made a nice addition to the film, but it was good without it as well. I was also delighted to see that the “Every life is Beautiful” segment featured Ken Bevel who has acted in several Sherwood Pictures films. Alex and Stephen Kendrick – directors of Sherwood Pictures – also give some thoughts on the movie in a segment called “Singing the Praises of October Baby.” (Incidentally, the Kendricks helped add some ideas to perfect the film while it was in the making.) As a Christian music fan, I also enjoyed the interviews with Casting Crowns, and Francesca Battistelli, which were included in that segment. Additionally, The Afters wrote the main song for October Baby titled “Life Is Beautiful,” and there is a music video which depicts scenes from the movie in the extra features. Another music piece by Gianna Jessen, the abortion survivor on which the story was based, is also featured in the film; and there are several extra features in which she shares some of her thoughts on the movie.

Overall, I loved October Baby. It is a great film with a great message, told in a unique way. It doesn’t condemn abortion clinic workers nor does it condemn those who have had an abortion. It takes a powerful approach at addressing the effects of abortion on both abortion survivors and post-abortive women – it is a “coming-of-age love story” about Hannah, an abortion survivor, and her many internal and physical struggles, as a result of a failed abortion. It also portrays her quest to find her birth mother, while demonstrating the power of forgiveness; and in this way it is very effective at tackling such a sensitive, yet pertinent topic to today’s society. I highly recommend this excellent film!


DVD release date: September 11, 2012  OctoberBabymovie.net

Want to win a copy of October Baby on DVD? See this post for details!! {Note: This giveaway is now closed!} 
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