TD Fri. – “Food For Thought” Training/Prepping

Hey TD!

We need you to make sure you come to TD this Friday, so we can do some training and prepping for our big outreach to your friends on 4/28, Food For Thought (FFT).   We will not be doing this again before the event, so please make plans to join us.

We’ll go over what we’ll be doing, why we’ll be doing it, and how we’ll be doing it.  And then we’ll do some training in doing it.

In the end, we want to help you love and reach your un-churched friends with good food, good fellowship, and some good, thoughtful discussion.  We’ll post something next week that you send your friends to check-out.

FFT FAQ:

What will the evening be like?

It will be a casual, informal, yet an alive and engaging time of thought-provoking conversation, great made-to-order food, and good fellowship. Arthur will bring up some issues that are common to everyone, not just Christians, and not just non-Christians.  Everyone.  Then we’ll try to make sense of those issues over good conversation, good food, and good fellowship in small conversation groups.

What does it cost?

Your price of admission is to bring a friend that you know would like to engage in conversations that count, and who is interested in questions of life.  That’s it.  If you don’t bring a friend, but would like to come anyway, you will be put on a waiting list, and we’ll let you know if there’s space for you. Priority goes to TD’ers with friends.

Do we need to rsvp?

Yes!  Please let your small group leader know how many of you will be coming by 4/22.

Event details?

Date and Time: Saturday, April 28, 2018; 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (or whenever the last person leaves!)

Place: The Hsieh Residence

What can I do to help?

Three things:

  • Reach out to your friends to come.  We will do our part in preparing a great night to help you blessing your friends.  We need you to do your part in reaching out to them to come.
  • Pray.  Pray for our time together, yourself, your friends, and TD
  • Be who God meant you to be and do what God meant you to do.  As recording artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, reminds in his song, Meant to Be,

You were meant to be touching
The lives that you touch
And meant to be here
Making this world so much more
Than it would be without you in it

You were meant to be bringing
The gifts that you bring
And singing the songs
You’ve been given to sing

You are perfectly, wonderfully,
Beautifully meant to be
You were meant to be

See you Friday! – Arthur

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Video – Ask Anything Tour @ UCLA

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TD in front of UCLA’s beautiful new Luskin Conference Center

Hey TD!

We had a wonderful time at UCLA two weekends ago with Ligonier Ministries, as we got to watch Al Mohler answer tough questions from a live public audience during Ligonier’s Ask Anything Tour on Friday night; and then we were taught by Mohler, Burk Parsons, and Stephen Nichols during Ligonier’s Truth and Consequences training on Saturday.  It was a faith building weekend that challenged us to work on our skill set in representing Christ better in the public square.

Here is the video of Friday night’s Ask Anything Tour, with a Table of Contents of questions below, so you can go to the question you’d like to hear:

2018 Ask Anything with Al Mohler @ UCLA – 3/2/18

27:30 Were there any big intellectual barriers to you coming to Christ?
30:00 The traditional answer to why evil exists is that God wants to demonstrate His character against the backdrop of evil. Did God have to send billions of people to hell to demonstrate His goodness to a few?
36:35 What is the biblical worldview on transgender-ism and gender identity ?
47:20 Does theistic evolution contradict the Bible?
53:00 How should Christians approach government? Are we to be passive, if submissive?
1:00:45 Why is Christianity right and the rest of the 2,999 wrong?
1:07:07 Do you agree with the apostle Paul when he describes same-sex attraction as, “degrading passions, un-natural affections, abominable, perversed, indecent and depraved”?
1:11:17 Should I take medication for depression, should I see a physician for it, and what should I advise my friends who struggle with this? How can I approach this biblically?
1:17:47 Given that the Bible holds that human life begins at conception, what are the ethics of conducting research with established human embryonic stem cell lines? These are many generations removed from initial destruction, and who bears culpability in such research?
1:25:10 How do you read so much and retain information effectively?
1:30:20 When would you recommend someone for seminary, and when is one ready for seminary?
1:36:12 How do you explain Christian denominations? Should there be and is there a correct one? Starting at
1:45:00, Mohler goes into short(ish) answers for time.
1:45:35 How can God be loving and send people to hell? Different than the first, if the system is inherently wrong, can we believe in God?
1:47:23 My wife and I are seeing many of our friends foregoing marriage, and children. Is this biblically wrong and do you think there will be consequences?
1:50:05 How can you assert the divinity of the Bible given the history that precedes the publication of it?
1:53:21 What’s a biblical response to systemic racism, especially in light of scripture being used to validate American slavery?
1:57:40 In light of recent events, while embracing the sovereignty of God and the free will of humanity, what good do the “thoughts and prayers” of Christians amidst chaos and violence offer?

Throwback Thursday – The Original Speakers!

The original Speakers story featured on the TD Commotion (with surprise anchors and cameos!) Produced by TD alum, Jenny, over a decade ago, it’s still a great piece.

Hey TD!

As we begin a new season of training youth speakers for the 2018 CA So. Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament (YST), I thought you’d enjoy a blast from the past! Back when we had the “Total Devotion Commotion” video program, we did a feature on the very first YST we entered in 2006.

About a week before the Los Angeles Association Drill, I had somewhat of an epiphany and saw a vision to begin training TD’ers to be able to communicate God’s Word effectively.  I pitched the idea to four seniors, asking them to be the guinea pigs and to take the first steps to open the doors for future TD’ers to walk through.  Even though all the other churches had already been preparing months in advance, I just wanted them to open the doors.  There was no way we were going to win or anything, but even entering would start the ball rolling for us.

I thought the four accepted the challenge, but one of them said she never did, so when she received my email thanking all of them for buying into the vision and being willing to do something crazy like enter YST with only a week to prepare, she went to the bathroom and cried.  Who could blame her? Public speaking is America’s greatest fear. Who was it? I’ll let you watch the video above to find out.

We spent nearly everyday at my home the following week preparing.  One speaker dropped out early, and then another had a scheduling conflict, leaving only two speakers left.  But God led us here and God’s hand was all over this (and clearly has been ever since).  The rest, as they say, is history.

Though we have had 13 tournament champions and 8 runners-up since then, we have had many, many more true winners – in the most important ways – before God. Through fierce struggle, perseverance, tears, and the mercy and grace of God, we have had speakers who thought they were Christians coming in, actually become Christians during Speakers.  We’ve had life re-dedications, victory over fear, personal “dragons” slain, and many tears of joy and triumph.

All I can say about the Speakers process is that it is … magic.  Enjoy the video! – Arthur

 

Calling Potential Youth Speakers – this Sunday!

2017 California Southern Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament Winner, Michelle, speaking at the Ignition Student Conference in Sacramento

2017 California Southern Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament Winner, Joshua, speaking at the Ignition Student Conference in Sacramento

Hey TD!

Robert. Kathy. Beverly. Daniel. Judy. Megan. Frances. Jay … Eunice. Clara. Aileen. Katherine. Abigail. Jenny. Nathaniel. Theodora. Jonathan L. Justin C.

What do all these current and former counselors and interns have in common? They were all part of our youth speakers teams when they were in TD!  They can tell you what an incredibly powerful and shaping process it is. There’s nothing we do at TD that is as life-changing and transforming as “Speakers,” as it is affectionately called.

If any of you 10th – 12th graders are curious or interested to learn more, we will have a mandatory information meeting THIS Sunday from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. in the basement of the Main Campus. During this meeting, we will answer any and all questions regarding the 2018 CA So. Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament (YST).

You don’t have to know for sure if you are going to do “Speakers” or not this year to come to the meeting.  In fact, the meeting is being held to help you decide one way or another.  And don’t worry, there will be no pressure to join.

Hope to see you there! – Arthur

RC Sproul (1939 – 2017) – He Fought the Good Fight

Video of RC’s surprise b-day greeting on my 50th

Hi TD,

It is with profound sadness that I inform you of the passing of one of the great ones, Dr. RC Sproul.  As giant a figure as he had become in Christendom for enabling the lay person access to the deep truths of God and powerfully and indelibly confronting us with His absolute and transcendent holiness, he was a humble, gracious, generous, funny, and loving man.  He was a hero to me and so, so instrumental in teaching me and helping to shape not only my theology, but my character.  He will be sorely missed.

In the video above, you can get a flavor of his warmth and kindness as he surprised me with a clever birthday greeting for my 50th this summer.

Please pray for his family, as they work through their loss.  They said they are weary, saddened, yet rejoicing for him.  Here’s why they are rejoicing:

We’ll be posting more from his life and ministry in the weeks ahead, so you too can be impacted and your faith deepened.

Here’s the official announcement:

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Called Home to the Lord

FROM  Dec 14, 2017 Category: Ministry News

Dr. R.C. Sproul went home to be with the Lord this afternoon around 3 p.m. surrounded by his wife, Vesta, and family in his hospital room in Altamonte Springs, Fla. He was 78. He died peacefully after being hospitalized twelve days ago due to severe respiratory difficulties exacerbated by the flu and complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Known to millions of Christians as simply “R.C.,” he was used of the Lord to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God in all its fullness. Through his teaching ministry, many of us learned that God is bigger than we knew, our sin is more deeply rooted than we imagined, and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is overwhelming.

God called R.C. to proclaim the gospel to as many people as possible. R.C. did this knowing the Lord did not need him. In fact, he wanted people to know the enduring, faithful witness of God’s servants throughout church history. God powerfully used R.C.’s ministry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to awaken people around the world to the truths of classical Christianity.

It belongs to others in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead to assess the impact of R.C.’s ministry in the history of the church. In this moment, we feel loss—immense sadness and profound loss—the loss of a pastor, a teacher, a leader, a brother-in-Christ, a friend.

R.C. now sees the object of his faith, the risen Christ, high and lifted up. He now hears the seraphim’s song before the throne, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

We will be publishing details about the memorial service and providing an opportunity to leave a note of appreciation for Dr. Sproul’s ministry at RCSproul.com in the coming hours.

TD’er, are you a Christian that both society and the church can listen to?

(Al Mohler on CNN – the Christian lady interviewed sounds like many Christians sound – well intentioned but unclear on how faith intersects with life)

Hi TD!

Where do you stand on the Roy-Moore-running-for-senate controversy, especially since much has to do with his faith and his actions?  Wait, you don’t know who Roy Moore is and what the issue is about?

Christians have often been accused by both society and the church for being insular, burying our heads in the sand, caring only for our own local churches, and for not knowing what’s really going on in society and not making much difference in it.  While that cannot legitimately be asserted for Christians as a whole, sadly, I think it can be said for a sizable portion of the God’s church.

One of our aims in TD is to help those of you who are desirous and willing to become more effective in representing the Lord in your future engagement with society as a resident of this world, yet as a citizen of Heaven. We see that poignant engagement encompassing a broader scope of societal impact than perhaps you’ve considered; we’re talking about future engagement in academia, the marketplace, the church, the arts, the public square.

One of our aims in TD is to help those of you who are desirous and willing to become more effective in representing the Lord in your future engagement with society as a resident of this world, yet as a citizen of Heaven.

One way to catch a vision of this is to watch and study those ahead of you who are doing it well.  That’s why we have consistently exposed TD’ers through the decades to those who are excelling in their callings and who have made significant impact both in society and in the church.  The two cannot be divorced.

Jesus said that the very greatest commandment that His children need to live by – everywhere, all the time – is to authentically love the Lord our God with the energy, fortitude, focus, intentionality, resolve, intensity, humility that we have; and that kind of love comes with a practical, tangible, meaningful love that impacts others’ lives in Jesus’s Name.  Again, the two cannot be divorced.  They are natural bed fellows.  When the first happens, the second naturally follows and, in fact, is a significant part of fulfilling the first.

One such Christian who is representing His Kingdom effectively in this way is R. Albert Mohler

One such Christian who is representing His Kingdom effectively in this way is R. Albert Mohler (or commonly referred to as Al Mohler), President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, author, social critic and host of the radio show, “The Briefing,”  frequent TV news interviewee, essayist, blogger, teacher, speaker, Ligonier Fellow, Christian apologist, and more importantly, faithful husband and father, and most importantly, child of God.

Take a look at his web site, read, listen, and let him help you grow, sharpen, expand, defend, and think as a Christ-follower:  Al Mohler’s website 

His CNN interview above on the Roy Moore issue is an example of  how a thoughtful, faithful Christian can represent Christ clearly and faithfully in the public arena while addressing public issues fairly and effectively.

This is not even public news yet (you are one of the first to know), but Dr. Mohler is coming out to UCLA to address questions of unbelievers, those in doubt, and serious questioners of the Christian faith at UCLA.  We at TD plan to be there to support and to learn from one of the best!  I’ll share more as the event draws nearer; but we can start praying for the impact of the event now.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3:15

Let’s open our hearts and minds and hands and feet to let our God make us into who He wants us to be, to do what He wants us to do, TD! – Arthur

TD SG – “Metamorphosis” Videos, SG Study, and Instructions

 

(Nabeel Qureshi’s powerful testimony at RZIM Founders ’13 – go from 34:30 – 1:05:20. Just click on “Watch on Vimeo”.  We were there at that meeting!)

Hey TD!

As promised, Friday night’s meeting on Romans 12:2, “Metamorphosis,” was a powerful one, with some TD’ers surrendering their lives to Christ; while others who had already committed their lives to the Lord earlier in life, prayed to repair and make right their lives in Christ.  Others were just left on their knees convicted to honor Him better with their lives.  Praise the Lord for all of that.  Let us be praying for them all and for God to keep working in our midst, bringing restoration and life to those in TD.

This coming Friday’s TD meeting will be exclusively in our small groups.  Please review the videos above as needed to keep cementing the Lord’s word and His desires into your soul while you prepare your small group studies.

Please prepare your studies well! The better the preparation, the better the discussion!

Here’s the study:

“Metamorphosis” Rom. 12:2 (sg study)