An Evangelism Reading List

Image Credit:  Christianity Today

PEI is having a real focus on evangelism in 2017.  ALPHA will be rolled out all across the Island in the fall and Will Graham’s Celebration of Hope will be held in Charlottetown in early November.  As part of my personal preparations for these events, I’ve been reading up on evangelism.  Here are some interesting evangelism-related blog posts I found this week:

To borrow from the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada’s vision, how are you preparing to “join God in changing [PEI] one neighbourhood at a time”?  Have you read any interesting evangelism blog posts or seen any evangelism-related videos you’d like to share?

“Go… I Am With You Always”

Image Credit:  The Pastor’s Pages

This post is based on a sermon I preached at Murray River Baptist Church on July 10, 2016.

In Deuteronomy 1:6-46, Moses recounts the Israelites’ first attempt at occupying the land God had promised them.  Israel’s rebellion prevented them from occupying the land the first time.  God punished the Israelites by making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until the entire generation that had rebelled had died (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb).

We, both individually and as the Church, are like Israel in many ways.  We regularly rebel against God and forget what God has done for us.  We sometimes place our faith in people and things rather than in the Creator.  In the New Testament, Paul tells us to learn from Israel’s rebellion so we can avoid the same pitfalls and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).  The writer of Hebrews tells us the same thing in Hebrews 3:1-4:13.  Jude 1:5 says, “So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful“, referencing the very history recounted by Moses in Deuteronomy 1.  With this in mind, we can learn a few things from Israel’s experience. Read More

Head First

Image Credit:  International Biblical Training

Self-help gurus have been touting the benefits of positive self-affirmations for years.  They claim that telling yourself positive messages will re-program your subconscious mind so you will naturally act in a way that makes those messages become reality.  Studies have shown that positive self-affirmations can, in fact, be helpful for some.

There are other situations, however, where self-affirmations can cause more harm than good.  In one study, people with low self-esteem who were asked to repeat phrases such as “I accept myself completely” and “I am a lovable person” felt worse afterward.  Why?  When someone repeats positive statements that come into conflict with their perception of themselves, it seems to reinforce their original belief about themselves rather than reverse it.  These people actually felt better after repeating the negative statements about themselves that they already believed, but that’s not helpful if you’re trying to change your mindset so you can have a healthy self-esteem. Read More

The World is Watching

Image Credit:  Know Your Meme

Wow!  We’ve seen some pretty bad public relations missteps in the past week or so:

  • First, it was the Pepsi ad that, amazingly, united the Internet in mockery and hatred of the ad to the point that Pepsi issued an apology and pulled it the day after it was released.
  • Next, it was United Airlines forcibly removing an already-seated passenger from an airplane to make room for airline employees who were due to work at the flight’s destination the next day.  The Internet responded again, calling for boycotts and smearing the airline’s image with snide memes and advertising slogans.  The day after the incident, United’s CEO issued a public statement apologizing “for having to re-accommodate these customers” and an internal memo that defended the actions taken by employees, which was promptly leaked to the media.  Backlash became even more heated and the resulting drop in United’s share price finally elicited a proper apology from the CEO a day later.  Ironically, this is the same CEO who was dubbed Communicator of the Year by PRWeek only weeks ago.
  • To top it all off, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a major gaffe on Tuesday by saying that, unlike Syria’s Assad, Hitler at least had enough decency not to use gas on his own people.  It seems Spicer’s knowledge of history isn’t very strong considering Hitler made regular use of gas chambers during his extermination of German Jews (and other “undesirables” plucked from Germany’s citizenry).  The only thing more stunning than the statement itself was its timing — the week leading up to Passover, a major Jewish holiday — and the number of follow-up statements it took for Spicer to issue a satisfactory apology for his inaccurate and insensitive comparison.

Read More

Image Credit:  Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment

I’m a bit of a superhero movie nerd.  I watch them over and over.  I watched Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man so many times that the VHS tape wore out.  I own Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the Iron Man trilogy and have watched both several times.  With the advent of Netflix, I can binge-watch movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as many times as I want without even leaving my chair to switch from one movie to the next (assuming I can find the remote).

X-Men: Days of Future Past

One of the more prolific movie series based on Marvel comics is the X-Men series.  There are currently ten X-Men movies and related spin-offs and there are five other X-Men-related films in development.  One of my favourites from the X-Men series is X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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Image Credit:  Comic Vine

In the movie, Wolverine (pictured in the centre) goes back in time to try to prevent an assassination that will trigger the creation of highly sophisticated robotic weapons that target mutants and humans that carry the mutant gene, eventually leading to the annihilation of both mutants and humans.  I don’t think I’m spoiling the movie too much to say that the X-Men are successful in their quest.  I’ll let you watch the movie to find out how everything worked out in the end. Read More

About Those “20 Minutes of Action”

Image Credit:  Global News

I will not disgrace myself or this website by mentioning the name of the so-called man who was recently convicted of sexually assaulting a woman on Stanford University’s campus in January 2015.  I will not mention the name of the judge who handed down an extremely lenient sentence of six months in county jail and three years of probation when the recommended sentence for such a conviction is between eight and twenty years in state prison.  I will not mention the names of those who have callously denied the seriousness of the crime by insisting that the attacker should not receive the recommended punishment; they believe the attacker is really a good kid who doesn’t deserve to experience the full consequences of his actions because it would ruin his potential.  All of these people are already receiving more than enough attention.

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Image Credit:  Special Broadcasting Service

I will, however, name and honour the two Swedish men, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson (pictured above), who saved the woman from further harm at the hand of her attacker.  They are the male heroes of this story.  I will also honour the female hero of this story – the woman herself, who continues to bravely face the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual consequences brought about when someone broke the 10th commandment and coveted his neighbour’s body. Read More

Maybe We Shouldn’t Ask People to Read the Bible

Image Source:  The Gospel Coalition

At some point, someone in church has likely told you that you should be reading the Bible regularly.  When I was a child in Sunday School, we even sang a song about what happens when you read the Bible every day (and what happens when you don’t).  So why is it that so many people, whether they are regularly in the pews or not, don’t read the Bible each day?

Why We Don’t Read the Bible

First Things First

When I first volunteered for a children’s summer reading program that our church was offering to the community, a representative from the PEI Literacy Alliance came to explain to the volunteers why literacy is such an important issue on PEI.  I was surprised to learn that almost two-thirds of Islanders have limited reading skills.  It was then that I realized that when churches ask people to read the Bible, they may be asking them to do something they literally are not equipped to do. Read More

Hope In Spite of Suffering

Image Source:  Time Out 4 God

When I attended Crandall University, I took a course called “Suffering” (a biblical studies course).  I believe it ranked second in the category of Most Depressingly Titled Course after “Death and Grieving” (a psychology course).  Who knows?  Perhaps they now have even more dreary course options for those inclined to look at the darker side of life.  But I digress.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is suffering in this world.  We suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We suffer from natural disasters, illness, warfare, and cruelty over which we have no control.  We suffer justly as a consequence of our own decisions and unjustly as a consequence of the decisions of those we know and of those we will never meet.  We suffer because of decisions made yesterday and hundreds of years ago, we suffer because of decisions made today, and we will suffer because of decisions made tomorrow. Read More

Happy Earth Day!

Image Source:  Meetings and Conventions PEI

Abegweit, Cradled on the Waves.  Million Acre Farm.  Garden of the Gulf.  Spud Island.

Prince Edward Island is certainly a beautiful, fertile place.  Its nicknames reflect the Island’s bounty.  Much of the Island’s economy is driven by agriculture, by fishing and aquaculture, and by the one million visitors who flock here every year to enjoy our homegrown food, beautiful surroundings, vibrant culture, and welcoming people.  Many Islanders depend on the environment for their livelihood, directly and indirectly.

Islanders realize the importance of taking care of their surroundings.  Whether they are maintaining their lawns, planting flower and vegetable gardens, sorting their garbage to separate recyclables and compost from waste, or participating in the annual PEI Women’s Institute Roadside Clean Up Day, every Islander does their part to keep PEI beautiful.  Islanders are proud of where they come from and make sure the appearance of their homes and businesses reflects that pride. Read More

Good Spiritual Habits

Image Source:  Shades Mountain Independent Church

We’re now into the second quarter of 2016, which usually means that any New Year’s resolutions we may have set have long been broken by now.  That’s okay.  When we’re cultivating new habits, we likely won’t be consistent at first.  As long as we’re persistent (and, for believers, asking God for help with the changes we’re making is always a good idea), we can get past our faltering first steps and begin to walk more consistently and confidently in our new ways. Read More