Summer Trips Deadlines Approaching

***TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. INQUIRE VERY SOON!***

Hey TD!

One thing that made Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, one of the best basketball players of all time was his resolve to continue to get better each year; and the summer is when he went to work on adding new dimensions to his game before each new season.

Summer is an awesome opportunity to for you to “up your game” too. Whether it’s going overseas or staying in the US to serve others in Christ’s Name (and growing immensely in the process) or going to a special conference focused on helping to equip you better for the journey ahead, prayerfully consider how you can make the most of this summer to grow in honoring the Lord.

Here are some trips to consider that some fellow TD’ers and TD leaders will be participating in – Bring Me Hope’s Summer Camp, RZIM’s ReFresh Conference, and our very own Youth Summer Missions Project (YSMP). Check them out below:

Bring Me Hope Summer Camp 2019

Week 1: July 8 – 12 (Hsiehs, Calvin)

Week 2: July 15 – 19 (Calvin)

Week 3: July 22 – 26 (Megan, Calvin)

Week 4: July 29 – August 2 (Megan, Calvin)

TO LOVE

Our five day summer camps center around bringing forgotten children out of orphanages to experience a week of fun, love, and attention. This often includes many firsts for the kids—their first time swimming, eating ice cream and hearing “I love you”. Demonstrating God’s love in action is what camp is all about.

TO DEFEND

Most overseas trips end when you fly home, leaving you with only memories and pictures. However, our desire is for you to continue to have an impact long after you’ve left camp. Through our advocacy program, you can bring awareness to your child’s needs and even help find adoptive families. Our goal is to equip volunteers to defend vulnerable children.

DAY 1: The kids are coming! Today, you become a proud “parent” as you and your translator(s) are paired with 1-2 children to form a family group. Spend the day getting to know each other before you begin an amazing week of camp!

DAY 2-4: Let the fun begin! Camp is filled with activities for your family group to enjoy together. From arts & crafts to talent shows to dance parties, this is a week for your child to explore new experiences in a safe environment. You will have the unique opportunity to empower these children and show them unconditional love during camp. These are the moments that Bring Me Hope Camp was created for!

DAY 5: Today is the day that the children go home to the orphanage. It’s a bittersweet celebration of the relationships you’ve created and how far your family group has come in just 5 short days. It becomes more than just the last day of camp; You are left with memories and passion to do something about this orphan crisis.

AFTER CAMP: Bring Me Hope will provide you with the skills and training to make a greater impact on these children’s lives when you fly back home. You will be given the privilege to be an advocate for the children’s needs and help them find adoptive families!

If you have detailed questions about the camp, you can ask Megan, Calvin, Rebecca, Elissa, Sissi, or Abigail, who all have been.  Check out BMH Summer Camp and contact a TD leader if you have interest in going this summer.

If you are interested in doing the Bring Me Hope internship, ask Megan, Calvin, Angela, Sissi, or Aileen what they’ve been doing: BMH Internship

“ReFresh: Ready For College?” Conference for High School and College Students

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Hosted by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

July 18-21, 2019 @ The Zacharias Institute in Atlanta, GA

“I’m lost. I’ve gone to find myself. If I should turn up while I’m out, tell myself to wait here.” These words, written on a sign in a bookstore in downtown Atlanta, capture the feeling of displacement that High School and college students across America are struggling with today. We don’t know who we are anymore. In a world swept up in identity politics, our own identities, both as individuals and as Christians, can feel less secure than ever.

This summer, at our annual ReFresh: Ready for College? conference, we will be addressing the question that Jesus himself once asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” This was the most important question that the disciples had to answer, and our response to this same question remains just as critical for our own lives. Truth, justice, morality, sexuality, freedom, meaning, love, identity: everything that we care about, everything that we live for, all of these are grounded by the answer to that one question. To know Jesus is to know ourselves. Only when we are confident of who he is can we be sure of who we are, and what he has called us to.

So if you’re a junior or senior in High School or a college freshman, then don’t miss the opportunity this coming June to get time away with each other, with members of the RZIM speaking team, and most importantly of all, with God.

 

Check out ReFresh: Ready For College for more info and contact a TD leader if you are interested.

YSMP 2019

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YSMP is our youth short-term mission trip to the Native American reservations in Arizona. The dates are July 5-13, 2019 and the cost is $170 per person. Our two-fold purpose and prayer for this mission trip is:

1) To participate in the proclamation of God’s glory in the gospel by bringing annual short-term support the local church pastors and congregations within the Native American Reservations in Arizona. Our aim is to hear the needs and vision of the local church pastor and assist the church with our team.

2) To provide a learning experience for our youth and other church members who want to explore cross-cultural missions. We desire for participants to get a sense of the devotion to Christ, training, focus, and flexibility it takes to be on mission, to be challenged to share their faith, and to have their eyes opened to the need for the gospel in less-reached areas.

Each year the YSMP coordinators touch base with each church in the reservation sites to see what kind of support they would like from the STM team. Generally, what that support takes form in:

1) VBS and Youth Camp

2) Visitations and Evangelism

3) Adult Bible Studies

4) Work Projects and Harvest Night

Prayerfully consider joining us on this short-term mission trip! If you have any questions, contact Robert at bobert.chan@gmail.com.

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Life-Changing Trips For TD’ers This Summer

Hey TD!

One thing that made Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, one of the best basketball players of all time was his resolve to continue to get better each year; and the summer is when he went to work on adding new dimensions to his game before each new season.

Summer is an awesome opportunity to for you to “up your game” too. Whether it’s going overseas or staying in the US to serve others in Christ’s Name (and growing immensely in the process) or going to a special conference focused on helping to equip you better for the journey ahead, prayerfully consider how you can make the most of this summer to grow in honoring the Lord.

Here are some trips to consider that some fellow TD’ers and TD leaders will be participating in – Bring Me Hope’s Summer Camp, RZIM’s ReFresh Conference, and our very own Youth Summer Missions Project (YSMP). Check them out below:

Bring Me Hope Summer Camp 2018

Sponsored by Bring Me Hope

July 30 – August 3, 2018 in Zhengzhou, China

TO LOVE

Our five day summer camps center around bringing forgotten children out of orphanages to experience a week of fun, love, and attention. This often includes many firsts for the kids—their first time swimming, eating ice cream and hearing “I love you”. Demonstrating God’s love in action is what camp is all about.

TO DEFEND

Most overseas trips end when you fly home, leaving you with only memories and pictures. However, our desire is for you to continue to have an impact long after you’ve left camp. Through our advocacy program, you can bring awareness to your child’s needs and even help find adoptive families. Our goal is to equip volunteers to defend vulnerable children.

DAY 1: The kids are coming! Today, you become a proud “parent” as you and your translator(s) are paired with 1-2 children to form a family group. Spend the day getting to know each other before you begin an amazing week of camp!

DAY 2-4: Let the fun begin! Camp is filled with activities for your family group to enjoy together. From arts & crafts to talent shows to dance parties, this is a week for your child to explore new experiences in a safe environment. You will have the unique opportunity to empower these children and show them unconditional love during camp. These are the moments that Bring Me Hope Camp was created for!

DAY 5: Today is the day that the children go home to the orphanage. It’s a bittersweet celebration of the relationships you’ve created and how far your family group has come in just 5 short days. It becomes more than just the last day of camp; You are left with memories and passion to do something about this orphan crisis.

AFTER CAMP: Bring Me Hope will provide you with the skills and training to make a greater impact on these children’s lives when you fly back home. You will be given the privilege to be an advocate for the children’s needs and help them find adoptive families!

If you have detailed questions about the camp, you can ask Megan, Calvin, Elissa, Melody T., Sissi, or Abigail, who all went last year.  Check out BMH Summer Camp and contact a TD leader if you have interest in going this summer.

If you are interested in doing the Bring Me Hope internship, ask Megan, Calvin, Angela, Sissi, or Aileen what they’ve been doing: BMH Internship

“ReFresh: Ready For College?” Conference for High School and College Students

2018 ReFresh Graphics_Screen2

Hosted by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

July 24-27, 2018 @ The Zacharias Institute in Atlanta, GA

 

Are you a high school upperclassman or a college freshman? Then don’t miss out on ReFresh. As students, you know what it’s like to be surrounded by questions. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed. In the face of so many questions, how can you keep your faith strong? Are you prepared to answer the questions and objections of your friends and classmates? At ReFresh, no question is off limits, whether questions asked from within the Christian faith, or questions from those without faith. We want to give you the space to think through some of the toughest challenges to Christianity and equip you to live out your faith at high school and on campus. You will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from Ravi Zacharias and many other members of RZIM’s Global Speaking Team. ReFresh is designed for students, youth groups, and their leaders.

 

Check out ReFresh: Ready For College for more info and contact a TD leader if you are interested.

 

YSMP 2018

ysmp 2

YSMP is our youth short-term mission trip to the Native American reservations in Arizona. The dates are July 6-14, 2018, and the cost is $170 per person. Our two-fold purpose and prayer for this mission trip is:

1) To participate in the proclamation of God’s glory in the gospel by bringing annual short-term support the local church pastors and congregations within the Native American Reservations in Arizona. Our aim is to hear the needs and vision of the local church pastor and assist the church with our team.

2) To provide a learning experience for our youth and other church members who want to explore cross-cultural missions. We desire for participants to get a sense of the devotion to Christ, training, focus, and flexibility it takes to be on mission, to be challenged to share their faith, and to have their eyes opened to the need for the gospel in less-reached areas.

Each year the YSMP coordinators touch base with each church in the reservation sites to see what kind of support they would like from the STM team. Generally, what that support takes form in:

1) VBS and Youth Camp

2) Visitations and Evangelism

3) Adult Bible Studies

4) Work Projects and Harvest Night

Prayerfully consider joining us on this short-term mission trip! If you have any questions, contact Robert at bobert.chan@gmail.com.

This is Higher Education???

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Hey TD!

As the school year is now fully underway for you, there are a host of TD alum who have begun another year of “higher education” at colleges and universities across the country; and I wonder if their time in TD was able to help do its part in supporting, challenging, and equipping them spiritually during their years with us … because for many, it’s a spiritual battle – socially, academically, and spiritually.

A few years ago, one TD alum of a major local public university told me that the professor opened the class asking if there were any Christians in the class; because if there were, they wouldn’t be by the time the semester was over.  Another from a prestigious Ive League school emailed me to tell me that she walked out of her class because of the strong assault on her Christian faith by the professor.

At another prominent private university’s Honors English course, the student showed me the very first writing assignment.  The teacher gave the class two paragraphs to begin their essays with; then the students were to complete the essay by finding evidence to support the opening paragraphs.  Here were the opening paragraphs:

  “In contrast to some of the differences between God and human beings commonly assumed in Western culture, Anthony Heck’s poem ‘Sacrifice’ depicts the God of the Hebrew Bible and human beings as having in common a frightening power to determine life or death, and a terrifying, even capricious will, whether good or evil, whose chief purpose above all else seems to be to command others’ obedience; even a sacrificing of a family’s most basic family values or of the human rights of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.

     The Scriptural sources for this poem, Heck implies, represent a God whose chief interest is obedience, not love; whose chief interest is punishment, not mercy; revenge, not justice; fear, not human happiness.  The following textual evidence from Genesis, Exodus, and/or 1Samuel supports Heck’s interpretation of these frightening correspondences between God and human kind.

Finish the essay.”

I asked the student if there would be another essay to be able to present the other side.  He said, no, and asked what he should do.  To hear what I told him to do, listen here.

Should you encounter one of these experiences when you head off to college, how will you respond?  Are you equipped?

This month at TD, we plan to offer you some help:

9/12 – Movie and discussion

9/26 – 9/27 – “RETHINK” Student Apologetics Conference  – We want you TD’ers to come so much that we’ll pay for half of your registration costs.  Just sign up at TD this Friday.

See you this Friday! – Arthur

Why a College Now?

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Hey TD!

You seniors are beginning the college application process.  You juniors are now beginning to think about which colleges to apply to next year.  I want to ask you a couple of questions.  On what basis are you making your decisions?  What criteria are you using?  Who or what is influencing your thoughts most?  What are your motives?  What place have you given God in this process?  First? Last? Somewhere in between?  Your honest answers to these questions (and more) are critical to the quality and value of your college years.

Many “Christian” colleges really aren’t distinctly and thoroughly Christ-driven; more like colleges where lots of Christians attend with some Bible classes thrown in.  A few years ago, Ligonier Ministries (the teaching fellowship of RC Sproul) opened the doors of Reformation Bible College. Their vision? Distinctly rigorous, distinctly God-soaked education.

Now, I know it’s not likely you’ll be sending RBC and application for admission, but you need to read the following article to at least help you know how you should be approaching this whole process, and what kinds of things you should be thinking of and looking for.  I pray that it will at least ignite a spark within you. – Arthur

WHY A COLLEGE NOW?

From Stephen Nichols | July 2, 2014

When Jonathan Edwards was turning thirteen and ready to go off to college, his father had a difficult decision to make. Jonathan’s father, Timothy Edwards, was an alumnus of Harvard. But, his alma mater was already showing signs of drifting away from its original commitment to orthodoxy. In those days they called it “latitudinarianism,” as in professors were granted “latitude” in their commitment to the Westminster Standards. No, Harvard would not do for young Jonathan.

Instead, Timothy chose the up-start college then known simply as the College of Connecticut. It would soon be renamed Yale University.

Yale was born in 1701, two years prior to the birth of Jonathan Edwards. Its original charter declared:

WHEREAS several well disposed, and Publick spirited Persons of their sincere Regard to & Zeal for upholding & Propagating of the Christian Protestant Religion by a succession of Learned & Orthodox men have expressed by Petition their earnest desires that fully Liberty and Priveledge be granted unto Certain Undertakers for the founding, suitably endowing & ordering a Collegiate School within his Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts & Sciences who thorough the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church & Civil State.

There are a number of significant phrases in this opening charge. One of them is the phrase of having “a succession of learned and orthodox” students. Another is the mention of the curriculum encompassing the arts and the sciences. Yet another still is the acknowledgement that this entire educational endeavor is through—and by and for—Almighty God.

“Learned & Orthodox”

History is riddled with examples of how the quest for academic respectability led scholars and their schools away from orthodoxy. Yale itself is such evidence. Sadly, too many mistake responsible scholarship with respectable scholarship. There really is a difference. As Christians we should pursue truth and justice and beauty—and we must pursue these with excellence. That’s responsible scholarship. That is a high and holy calling.

Seeking the respect of the academy too often means in a modern or a postmodern world that one has to check any religious commitment, especially a commitment to a religious text, at the door. As Christians we cannot do that. We cannot suspend our commitment—or our submission—to Scripture as we engage in our pursuits. Our unwavering commitment to Scripture grounds and governs all that we do.

We can be learned and orthodox. Given the complexities of the challenges the church faces today and will face tomorrow we need to be. We need to have that succession of learned and orthodox students coming out of our homes, out of our churches, and out of our colleges and seminaries.

A Curriculum of Two Books

And then there is the curriculum. It was a given that students would study theology. Edwards’s theology textbooks were written by Geneva’s Francis Turretin and by the Puritan William Ames. On the very first page, Ames tells us that theological study is the art of living toward God. Edwards took him seriously and went on to live a life of full-throttled devotion to God. They would have had to have already learned Greek and they would have studied Hebrew. They would have known their Bibles, but after college they would know them far more deeply.

Puritans were people of the Book, the Bible. Actually, they were people of two books, as they also believed that God revealed Himself in His world. So they looked to the arts and the sciences as well as to biblical studies and theology. They had a curriculum of two books, the book of Scripture and the book of nature.

In a letter home to his parents, young Jonathan asks for money (nothing ever changes) and a compass and a set of scales—absolutely essential, he assured them. Edwards was required to read and to write poetry. He would have been conversant in the classics. He knew his history. He had to study philosophy, the crowning jewel of which then went by the name moral science. We call it ethics.

What good is all this learning if one is not instructed in the way of virtue? Learning ends in loving God and loving neighbor, not at the transcript. Education entails both knowledge and character. In classical terms they spoke of scientia (knowledge) and formatio (character or ethics). Take a look at 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and Paul’s observation of how the Word of God takes root in us and is “at work” within us. So it is with all our learning of God’s word and God’s world. It shapes us; it forms us.

Through & By & For Almighty God

Scholars engage in their pursuits, students hustle to keep up, parents pray, churches rally to support, trustees oversee the goings on, donors keep the doors open—all these things come into play. Behind them, however, is what matters most. Or, should we say, who matters most.

The Yale charter makes it clear that these well-disposed and spirited persons undertaking this endeavor are entirely dependent upon the blessing of Almighty God. So we are back to William Ames and the pursuit of the Godward life. All that we do, including all that we do in college, is through, by, and ultimately for God.

Rather than lament the theological drift of institutions like Yale, we should instead focus our energies on the pressing matter of picking up the torch. Every generation has an obligation to the next generation. And in our day and age that entails an obligation to provide higher education through the blessing of Almighty God. We have an obligation to provide a “succession of learned and orthodox” men and women ready to serve their families, their churches, and their communities.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries. Originally published at Ligonier.org

The Cultural Revolution on the College Campus – Why it Matters to You

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In this season of working on and submitting college applications, it’s so important to get an accurate and clear view of what college really is … and isn’t.  Indeed, what happens in our colleges ends up shaping our culture tomorrow.  As totally devoted Christians, it is not only vital that you KNOW your role, but FULFILL your role on the college campus. But what is your role?  To answer this, you first need to get an accurate view of the landscape. Hopefully, this article by Al Mohler will help spark your first thoughts. – Arthur

Several  years ago, sociologist Peter Berger argued that secularization has been most pervasive in two social locations—Western Europe and the American college and university campus. The campuses of elite educational institutions are among the most thoroughly secularized places on our planet. This should concern anyone with an interest in higher education, of course. But it really matters to every American—or at least it should.

A wonderful and concise explanation of why this is so was provided in the pages of The Weekly Standard this week by David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University. In the course of making a proposal for the “reclamation” of higher education, Professor Gelernter wrote this very important paragraph:

Since the cultural revolution culminating in the 1970s, the left has run nearly all of the nation’s most influential, prestigious universities. Their alumni, in turn, run American culture—the broadcast networks, newspapers, the legal and many other professions, Hollywood, book publishing, and, most important, the massive, insensate, crush-everything-in-your-path mega-glacier known as the U.S. federal bureaucracy—and even more important than that, the education establishment charged with indoctrinating our children from kindergarten up.

That’s why it matters to you. And that’s how the future direction of the culture is set by the current culture of the elite colleges and universities. Many parents are unaware of how this happens. Their children may or may not attend one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. But in almost any other institution they will study under professors who want to be associated with (or eventually hired by) one of those elite institutions. Exceptions to this pattern are rare, and the influence of these elite schools extends throughout the culture at large.

David Gelernter is in a position to know. After all, he is a professor at Yale. As he makes clear, what happens at Yale doesn’t stay at Yale.

Would You Want a “Christian Harvard?”

Well, you seniors are now well into the college app process.  I’ve encouraged you to really think through this process and not just go with the prevailing cultural frenzy produced by the cultural air you breathe.  Please thoroughly pray through it, sincerely seeking GOD’s will.  Don’t just ask Him for a stamp of approval on YOUR will.  And … once again, I ask you to research solid Christian colleges as well and at least apply to one … even if just to support their efforts to train Christians for the world.  It may not be for you, but at least give God the opportunity to have the final say.

RC Sproul, Jr. gives us some solid food for thought with respect to how Christians should really look at their education.  Please read and resolve to follow Him … no matter what. – Arthur

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?”

Not only is that not my hope, but I actively hope and pray against such a conception. Christian, yes, Harvard, no. What, I wonder, do we actually mean when we are hoping for a “Christian Harvard?” A judgment of charity would assume we all agree on the “Christian” part. What we mean is an institution that is faithful to all that the Bible teaches. What Christian wouldn’t want that?

I believe we can also agree on part of what I believe people mean by “Harvard” in this context. I am in favor of academic rigor and am confident that Reformation Bible College not only will have such in the future, but enjoys such already. I am certain my students would agree. Our calling is to love God with all our minds. Deep, challenging thought and study on His Word is of course a good thing, a great thing.

What then is the objection? The trouble with this aspiration isn’t Christian and isn’t rigor. It is instead reputation. I fear that what we mean by “Christian Harvard” is that we want a school to be Christian the way we like it, and to be considered elite by the world around us. We want to be distinct and set apart from the world, and to be honored and respected by the world.

It is an old bit of wisdom that defines an evangelical as a fundamentalist who says to the liberal, “I will call you ‘brother,’ if you will call me ‘scholar.’” We all hunger for the respect of the world. We all desire to see our high academic standards recognized and affirmed by the world. We all want our studies to pave the way for all the honor and success the world has to offer. These desires, however, while eminently understandable, are not only not healthy, but are deadly to the long-term well being of any academic institution. They are the very engine of institutional apostasy.

We have forgotten our own theology once we come to believe that the world can give a sober, honest, accurate assessment of our credentials. To think that if our academic standards match theirs they will judge us as their equals is to forget that they are by nature the enemies of God, and His people. They reject us not because our GRE scores are too low, but because our moral standards are too high. Look at how creation scientists are treated. Consider how belief in a biblical view of marriage is now outside the bounds of the respectable. Affirming the conviction that the Bible is true is sufficient to destroy our credibility with the world. Which means we cannot have both a conviction that the Bible is true, and credibility with the world.

They don’t, of course, care what we think, so long as we keep it to ourselves, so long as we leave our faith on the coat rack before entering the groves of academe. We live in the midst of what CS Lewis warned us about more than a generation ago—“They’ll tell you that you can have your religion in private, and then they’ll make sure you’re never alone.” The solution is not to work harder to gain their approval. The solution isn’t to aspire to respectability. The solution is to embrace the scandal of the cross. The solution is to die to self, to lay aside the perks and prerogatives that they dole out to those whom they approve. The solution is to account our academic reputations as naught for the kingdom of God. The solution is to rejoice in the glorious truth that it is better to be a custodian in the university of the Lord than to be seated among lords of academia. When we seek the world’s approval, we lose it. And when we give it up, we will find His approval. Jesus said so.

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?” was originally published at RCSproulJr.com