West Africa--Running to the danger
Fire causes most people to run. For those finding themselves within the danger zone of the fire, fear and common sense lead them to runaway. For those whose calling and training is to put out the fire, a sense of duty and desire leads them to run toward the fire.
So it is with the fire of religious persecution. Many who are in the danger zone of persecution flee, not wanting themselves and their loved ones in harm’s way. Yet there are some from outside the area of persecution who are called to enter the danger zone because they are called and trained to bring peace and truth.
Last December, with plans in place for Laurie and me to return to West Africa, a friend in Iowa asked whether we had any mission trips planned. I told him, “Yes, we are returning to West Africa early 2015.” He asked, “Is it safe?” I said, “No, not really. But there are thousands, if not millions, of Christians living there under the shadow of persecution every day. If we are invited to come and help them through our teaching and training, we go, because they are our heroes. Just going to church, or being a Christian in this country, puts a target on their back, yet that does not stop them from standing up for their Christian faith. Thus, when invited, we go, with our eyes open to both the needs and the dangers.” The friend did not know what to say in response, and silently walked away.
Since our trip to West Africa earlier this year, in which Laurie taught the principles of biblical peacemaking to around 125 lawyers, magistrates and judges, and in which I taught some 30 Christian leaders, pastors and evangelists apologetics, the threat from terrorist groups has grown. Hundreds of Christians have been slaughtered, being shot, beaten and hacked to death. On top of the intensified persecution, the deadly Ebola virus has emerged as a new threat.
With the increasing dangers in West Africa, what do we do when we are asked to return, to build upon our previous two mission trips, to teach and speak at large gatherings? For us, there is nothing to decide. We go. We believe that that message we bring, not guns and bombs, is the ultimate answer to the evil that threatens us. We are hoping to return to West Africa early 2015, and the plans include advanced training in biblical peacemaking and mediation, plus presenting an apologetics conference. For security reasons we will not publicize the details, but suffice to say we welcome your thoughts, prayers, encouragement and support.
National Apologetics Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 10-11, 2014
I will be speaking at the National Apologetics Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 10-11, 2014. I will be in the company of some of the top Christian apologists (defenders of the faith), including Josh McDowell, Gary Habermas and Hugh Ross, and about two dozen more. I will present “The Case for the Resurrection,” in which I proceed as if I was in court making an argument before a jury. I will explain how to make a convincing argument that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, thereby proving He is the Messiah (Christ), the Savior sent from God.
Ratio Christi Symposium, Fort Mill, South Carolina, October 9-12, 2014
Concurrent with the National Apologetics Conference in Charlotte, Ratio Christi (“the reason of Christ”), the apologetic student alliance for which I serve as International Director, will hold its symposium. I will be leading the teaching of college students (and some high school seniors) in apologetics training on October 11 and 12, including an all-day session on October 12. Ratio Christi will be hosting a fundraiser banquet on October 11, with Josh McDowell being the keynote speaker. Laurie will teach on conflict resolution.
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Orange, California, October 19, 2014
We are confirming plans for me to speak briefly at the main (9:00 a.m.) worship service at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, then at 10:30 I will speak at the “Cutting Edge” Bible class on the church campus. I plan to give updates on my recent mission trips to the Philippine Islands and to Kenya, as well as bring a challenge to look outward and be part of seeing the world change for the better through the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Apologetics Conference, February 6-7, 2015
I have been invited to be one of the keynote speakers at the Cedar Rapids Apologetics Conference, sharing the stage with Frank Turek, a national speaker on apologetics topics, and author, and J. Warner Wallace, a former homicide detective whose message “Cold Case Christianity” is a way of showing evidence that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
We appreciate your partnership with Rolling Stone Ministries and your prayer and financial support as I spend more time developing the international ministry of Ratio Christi.