Social Media: Fight or Flee?

Vince Vitale: “Is Free Speech Dead?”

Hey TD!

A member of RZIM’s online community posted this recently, and I thought it was apropos for us to consider at TD.  My friend, Dr. Vince Vitale, does a great job in the video that sparked this member’s thoughts.  I hope it will do so for you as well.

Watch the 5-minute video, read her questions, and let us know what you think! – Arthur

Social media is a double-edged sword – we have so many opportunities to speak, but so few opportunities to be heard. I’m a millennial working in communications, and social media perplexes me as a Christian. It’s been on my mind lately, and Vince Vitale’s recent YouTube video got me awonderin’.

  1. What are social media examples you have seen of someone sacrificing themselves to show both love and truth online?
  2. WWJD[SM] – What would Jesus do … with social media? :slight_smile: Jesus is God’s Son, but He also chose to walk with us humans here on earth. What are practical ways you are are deliberate in being a member of social media communities while still shining His light?

 

 

“Who Do You Answer To?” (mp3) – Ruth Malhotra’s Testimony

Ruth at TD

Ruth Malhotra answering TD’ers’ questions

Hey TD!

Please listen to the following  inspiring mp3 before our first small group this Friday, as we’ll be using it as a launching pad for our small group discussions:

“Who Do You Answer To?” (mp3) – Ruth Malhotra’s Testimony

Last month, Ruth Malhotra (Director of Public Relations, RZIM) shared her amazing testimony with us.  It’s an incredible story of courage and conviction as she stood up to one of America’s major universities, filing a court case in support of the ability to live out one’s faith and hold conservative views.  The case was filed in “opposition to the school’s ironclad speech codes, which severely curtailed any student conversation, publications, events, or activities administrators arbitrarily deemed “intolerant.” The codes banned free exchange of ideas except in very limited areas of campus, denied student activity funds to clubs and organizations that engaged in ‘religious activities,’ and officials even instituted a program, “Safe Space,” designed to demonize anyone or any group that considered homosexual behavior immoral.” (courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom)

Not only are the details of the story pretty crazy, but the outcome was landmark for our nation.

We at TD are committed to do our part to help you TD’ers think through what you believe and don’t believe, help you to know what God wants you believe and not believe, and then help you to be able to live out what you do believe.

Ruth says she loves TD, and we feel the same; so much so that we’ve made her an honorary member of TD! 🙂

 

TD Going to “Is God Dead?” Debate feat. John Lennox/Dave Rubin – RSVP today!

Image result for john lennox  Image result for dave rubin

Hey TD!

This Friday, we will be heading down to Orange County to attend a live recorded broadcast of “The Big Conversation: Is God Dead?”, a conversation/debate on faith, culture, and the modern world.

The conversation/debate will be between the UK’s world renowned author, speaker, apologist, John Lennox, and popular American political commentator, Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report.

The cost is $15 to the public, but TD’ers get in FREE! You just need to RSVP with a TD leader by Wednesday!

Here’s some info on the debaters:

John Lennox

John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, is an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of science, philosophy and religion. He regularly teaches at many academic institutions, is Senior Fellow with the Trinity Forum and has written a series of books exploring the relationship between science and Christianity.

He debated Richard Dawkins on “The God Delusion” in the University of Alabama (2007) and on “Has Science buried God?” in the Oxford Museum of Natural History (2008). He has also debated Christopher Hitchens on the New Atheism (Edinburgh Festival, 2008) and the question of “Is God Great?” (Samford University, 2010), as well as Peter Singer on the topic of “Is there a God?” (Melbourne, 2011). Furthermore, he has participated in public discussions on similar topics with many other academics on campuses around the world.

Lennox is also a member of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) global speaking team.

Dave Rubin

Dave Rubin is a “free thinking classical liberal” who has had quite a journey.  As a gay married man living in America, Dave spent the majority of his adult life subscribing to a certain political belief system based primarily on his immutable characteristics. Fed up with the mainstream media narrative and click-bait news, Dave decided to open up about his awakening, for all to see. He came to realize that no person or idea should be expected to join a side, but rather they should embrace their status as an individual. He now feels that the modern left has lost its way by taking political correctness and groupthink to a dangerous level, distracting from the true American dream of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

The Rubin Report is one of the world’s most popular talk shows on free speech and big ideas. His YouTube channel and podcast have over 1 million subscribers each.

My Messy House (The Monster Who Was Sorry)

Marc Chagall, The Yellow Room, oil on canvas, 1911.

Hey TD!

During this off-weak from TD, we want to continue to lay the groundwork for real enjoyment of the life and call God has for us; and it starts with cleaning house. Please read this Slice of Infinity from Jill Carattini that illustrates what we’re looking for here at TD:

Kathleen Norris tells a story of a little boy who wrote a poem called “The Monster Who Was Sorry.” The poem begins with a confession: he doesn’t like it when his father yells at him. The monster’s response is to throw his sister down the stairs, then to destroy his room, and finally to destroy the whole town. The poem concludes: “Then I sit in my messy house and say to myself, ‘I shouldn’t have done all that.’”(1)

The confession of Saint Paul bears a fine resemblance: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but I do what I hate.” Regret has a way of shining the flood lights on the mess within us. Norris further expounds the faithful candor of the child describing his own muddled story: “‘My messy house’ says it all: with more honesty than most adults could have mustered, the boy made a metaphor for himself that admitted the depth of his rage and also gave him a way out. If that boy had been a novice in the fourth-century monastic desert, his elders might have told him that he was well on the way toward repentance.”(2)

The journey of a Christian through the many rooms of faith posits countless opportunities to peer at the monster within. There are days in the life of faith when I question whether I am living up to the title of Christian or disciple—or even casual acquaintance. In certain rooms of awareness I find there is no question: I am not. Yet, as G.K. Chesterton wrote in his autobiography, I have only ever found one religion that “dared to go down with me into the depth of myself.”(3) This is precisely the invitation of Christianity. What we find are messy houses, filled with hidden staircases built of excuses, and idols of good deeds atop mantels of false security—in short, the home of Christ in disarray at our own hands.

If we were to remain shut up in this place alone, we might begin to wonder why we should ever hope for anything other than mess and wreckage. Paul’s confession marks the futility of our own efforts to clean the house. But we do not make the journeys to the depths of ourselves alone. In fact, we should not have discovered the messes had they not been shown to us in the first place. We are guided to these places in our consciences, to images of ourselves unadorned, and finally to broken and contrite hearts. Faith in Christ is the opportunity to be searched by the Spirit of Truth, the Breath of Holiness, the God who maneuvers us through messy rooms and sin-stained walls and mercifully exposes monstrous ways. It would indeed be a futile journey if we walked this path alone.

Instead, the very Spirit that shows us the monster in a messy house shows us the one who removes the masks, clears the wreckage, and makes us human again. In a scene from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, Aslan the lion is seen tearing the costume off the child in front of him.(4) The child writhes in pain from the razor sharp claws that feel as though they pierce his very being. With mounting intensity, Aslan rips away layer after layer, until the child is absolutely certain he will die from the agony. But when it is all over and every last layer has been removed, the child delights in the newfound freedom, having long forgotten the weight of the costume he carried.

The journey of a soul through its messiest rooms is not merely a drive-by glimpse of the depths of our sin and our need for repentance; it is not a journey for the sake of guilt or even right-living. It is true that we are shown the weight of our masks and the extent of our messes; we are handed the great encumbrance of our own failures. But all so we can be shown again the one who asks to take them all from us. All so we can be fully human. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows… But he was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Quite mercifully, it is through the dingy windows of a messy house that one has the clearest view of the cross.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace (New York: Riverhead, 1998), 69.
(2) Ibid., 70.
(3) G.K. Chesterton, The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 334.
(4) Story told in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 115-117.

 

Breaking News: Special TD Tonight!

Ruth Malhotra

Hey TD!

We’ve made an exciting last-minute change to TD tonight that you won’t want to miss!

Ruth Malhotra, Director of Public Relations at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) will be coming to TD tonight! Though Ruth personally knows a ton of very influential people, including the President of the United States, she is about as down to earth a person as they come.  She knows who she is and Whose she is, which allows her to be both humble and courageous at the same time.

We at TD are committed to do our part to help you TD’ers think through what you believe and don’t believe, help you to know what God wants you believe and not believe, and then help you to be able to live out what you do believe.  Tonight’s meeting will help you towards that end.

Ruth has an incredible story of courage and conviction as she stood up to one of America’s major universities, filing a court case in support of the ability to live out one’s faith and hold conservative views.  The case was filed in “opposition to the school’s ironclad speech codes, which severely curtailed any student conversation, publications, events, or activities administrators arbitrarily deemed “intolerant.” The codes banned free exchange of ideas except in very limited areas of campus, denied student activity funds to clubs and organizations that engaged in ‘religious activities,’ and officials even instituted a program, “Safe Space,” designed to demonize anyone or any group that considered homosexual behavior immoral.” (courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom)

Not only are the details of the story pretty crazy, but the outcome was landmark for our nation.  She has graciously agreed to share her story with us tonight.

We at TD are committed to do our part to help you TD’ers think through what you believe and don’t believe, help you to know what God wants you believe and not believe, and then help you to be able to live out what you do believe.  Tonight’s meeting will help you towards that end.

Make sure to come tonight and feel free to invite a friend!

Learning How to Think

Hey TD!

Now that we are fully vested into the summer, I’d love to encourage you to brush up your mental game, so to speak.  The Apostle Paul exhorts us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but to be TRANSFORMED … how? … by the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS (Rom. 12).  In a culture that is increasingly thinking with its feelings, Ravi Zacharias cautions us to remember that our feelings ought to be connected to thinking, and our thinking ought to be right; if we don’t think rightly, we will feel the repercussions of whatever it is that we’re thinking.  As Proverbs 23:7 comments, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

RZIM’s  Margaret Manning perceptively and honestly challenges us to work through the origins of our own thought patterns with the following contribution to RZIM’s A Slice of Infinity.  Think about it! – Arthur

Learning How to Think

by Margaret Manning Shull

There are patterns of thought that come as natural to us as our daily routines. These patterns of thought emerge from constructs and experiences that color and shape the way in which we view the world and they can emerge in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes we simply repeat what we have heard. Mindless phrases spill out of our mouths forming the patterns of response—even when the response is incongruent with the situation. “It is what it is,” we say, when compassionate silence is called for or “Everything has a reason” when faced with inexplicable chaos.

I recognize in my own life how these patterns of thought belie my true way of viewing the world, much to my chagrin. Oftentimes, they reveal callousness to the suffering of others. I’ll tell someone, “I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers” as a substitute for tangible assistance. Or my desire to fit every happening into a neat, understandable package compels me to speak when I first should listen.

Alexej von Jawlensky, The Thinking Woman, oil on canvas, 1912.Regardless of the situation, it seems a sad reality that so often these patterns of thought and action revolve around placing the self at the center of everything. Many function as if the world really does revolve around the immediate and urgent demands of living one’s own life. Everything is simply an incursion into the routine of putting me, myself, and I front and center. I automatically feel offended, for example, when cut off in traffic. I instinctively feel slighted or defensive that my very presence doesn’t delight and soothe the unhappy. I groan at the inconvenience of having to wait in another line and when I finally have my turn, I take offense at the clerk who doesn’t smile at me the way in which I think I deserve.

In his lauded address to graduates of Kenyon College, the late author David Foster Wallace exposed the routines of thought and action that place the self at the center.(1) In his remarks regarding the benefits of a liberal arts education in shaping one’s ability to think, he suggests that it is the “most obvious, important realities that are the hardest to talk about.”(2) In other words, one of those obvious realities is that when left to our own devices humans think and behave in self-centered ways. But it is one of those routines of thought that mostly goes unmentioned. He continues, “The choice is really about what to think about and how we think about it…to have just a little critical awareness….Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”(3) Rarely, Foster Wallace notes, do we think about how we think because what is revealed is that we are basically selfish in action and thought 99% of the time.

But what if we really made thinking about how we think the routine? Foster Wallace conducts a thought experiment to illustrate how this can be done. What if the car that cuts me off in traffic is not about being in my way or being rude to me, but is a father trying to rush his sick son to the hospital or the doctor and I am in his way? What if the person who is critical of me or sullen towards me has only known criticism and neglect her whole life? What if the grocery bagger is not without social skills, but someone who has had little opportunity, whose parents’ have recently split up, and whose general home life is nothing but misery? How different these situations might look if I took the time to think! Indeed, what if my routine became first thinking of the other person?

One of the beautiful aspects of the Christian story is that we really don’t have to live for ourselves in order to find the good life. In fact, the opposite is true: those who seek to save their lives will lose them. Jesus offered an alternative vision as the one who came to serve. As the apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian Christians to not merely look out for their own interests, but also to have the interests of others in mind, he looked to the life of Jesus. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant and made in the likeness of human beings.”(4) How different the world might look if each day we took time to think about the needs of someone else—even just once per day? In so doing, how might that change the very patterns of thought that conspire to keep us living at the center of our own universe, embittered by all the ways we’ve been slighted?

Foster Wallace concludes his address by telling the Kenyon graduates:

“Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation…. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad of petty and unsexy ways every day.”(3)

In a world that isn’t always sure what it thinks about Christianity, Jesus stands inviting us to encounter a very different kind of kingdom at the center of all creation, a kingdom in which he, the suffering servant, is Lord. In this kingdom marked by his living example of sacrifice and care, it is most freeing to discover you are far from alone.

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

(1) David Foster Wallace, “This is Water,” Commencement Address, Kenyon College Graduation, Kenyon, Ohio, 2005.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.

 

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

Image result for refresh: ready for college?

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

ysmp 2

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.