Camp Koinonia Retreat
I had the great privilege of being the guest speaker this past weekend (Oct 22-24) at Camp Koinonia’s reunion retreat. This retreat was a culmination of past campers, staff, directors and a number of students for a church in Mississauga along with their pastor and leaders.
All in all this was an amazing weekend and I met some fantastic and fascinating people. People who taught me as much as I was supposed to teach them. haha!
I chose to speak on APOLOGETICS (defending their faith) because I believe a lot of believers (even older believers) don’t know how to defend their faith so I wanted to equip them with information and evidence that would help them to do so.
I started off the weekend with my testimony on Friday night so they knew a little bit about me and where I have been and what I am doing. Then on Saturday morning we talked about a very controversial subject “DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO HEAVEN?” And we discovered in a nutshell, NO they don’t. Jesus said himself in:
John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
So the only way to heaven is through Jesus himself! The amazing thing about this topic, is that it lead to much discussion among the campers and their leaders, so much so that we ended up having a special Q&A gathering that afternoon with over 12 people. What a great discussion and many of the students had great questions that both the other leaders and myself were able to answer. Great time!
On Saturday night we continued our series on Apologetics with the topic of “CAN THE BIBLE BE TRUSTED?” I shared some evidence from the 1) Bible itself:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God-breathed means it finds its source and origin in God. The words of the Bible are the very words of God himself. Now this doesn’t mean the Bible fell from heaven. Rather God moved upon men to write, communicate and transcribe His Word with their own language, style and even background. So Luke a doctor writes very different than Peter a fisherman and Matthew a tax-collector.
I had 3 students and 1 adult describe for me my fav drink: Mountain Dew. We discovered how hard it is to have unity between 4 people in just describing a can of pop! Then how impossible it would be to have 40 different authors over 3 different continents and 3 different languages over a period of 1500 years to have unity in their writing (God’s plan to restore his creation). This is a short description of how the Bible was written. Wow!!!
Prophecy means predicting the future. The prophecies of the Bible are precise. Many times they’re given 100’s even 1000’s of years advance of the event they are predicting. The OT contains 48 specific prophecies & 300 more referring to the Messiah. Every prophecy was published at least 500 years before Christ was born. Here are just a few:
Micah 5:2 predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Came true: Matthew 2:1.
Zechariah 11:12 predicted he would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Came true Matthew 26:14-15.
Psalm 22:16-18 predicted he’d be crucified 600 years before it was invented. Came true Luke 23:33.
The last 2 evidences I shared were for those people who didn’t believe the Bible is the truth:
2) Archeology: critics of the Bible are always trying to use archeology and history to discredit the Bible. One of many, some have claimed Pilate never existed, yet recently archeology has uncovered a theater in Caesera bearing his name.
3) Manuscripts: Old Testament – dead sea scrolls were written 1000 years before Jesus was born and they were almost identical (99%) to the manuscripts they already had that were written 100 years before he was born. New Testament – there are 24,000 manuscript copies of the NT with a 25 year time span between the original and the earliest manuscripts. The Iliad ranks next — it has 643 manuscript copies with a 500 year time span between the original and the copies. —> we discovered clearly that the Bible can be trusted with the 3 evidences we looked at, not to mention the way the Bible has changed lives, mine included!
Our final topic I spoke about on Sunday morning was “DOES GOD EXIST?” and I shared some evidence:
1) Teleological Argument: means God’s DESIGN is seen in the UNIVERSE or CREATION.
Psalm 19:1-4 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
God is speaking to us everyday through the sun, moon, stars, and all of his creation. He is showing himself in the wonders of nature – a bird flying, the smell a flower, a mountain, even your skin. Take a second and look at your hand. Really look at it. Now compare it to your neighbours. Is it the same, or is it unique. Imagine someone had to have created it. God shows us he is the designer by his fantastic designs.
Human body. Heart, perfectly designed to pump 2000 gallons of blood a day. Lungs, designed to filter oxygen out of the air you breath. Brain, 100 billion brain cells, far more advanced than any computer system in the world. Tongue, has 8000 taste buds. Eye, moves 10,000 times a day, 130 million light sensitive cells in the retina. Ear, grooves, bumps and ridges were created to catch passing sound waves and channel them into the eardrum. I can go on…imagine if some of the things I mentioned weren’t exactly as God created them. Say you had 2 tongues OR your nose was upside down. You would drown whenever it rained.
It is obvious that these things didn’t happen by chance or all of sudden happen, NO, God is the designer/creator and it is seen in his creation.
2) Anthropological Argument: God’s CHARACTER is reflected in MANKIND
Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. The human person is made in the image of God. In other words, when God created us, he made us to be mirror images of himself; we are creatures who resemble our Creator in distinctive ways. We have free choice, we are creatures of reason, we are creative, we have the ability to experience love and hate, we are meant to have relationships — in all these ways and others we are made in God’s image. For this reason we sense, without being taught, that there must be a God!
Right & Wrong. One other thing that makes it very obvious God’s character is reflected in our live is that we understand the difference between right & wrong. Would you say it was wrong to kill someone?
Where did you get that idea it was wrong? I believe this is a moral code that God gave to us when he created us. You go as far back as Genesis when God put Adam and Eve in the Garden, he told them they could eat of any of the trees except the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. You see, God gave us the notion that some things were right and other were wrong. CS Lewis (an atheist that set out to prove that there was no God, instead became a deeply committed Christian) calls this Tao = sense of right and wrong and it comes from God, not biology, genetics or psychology.
The final evidence is changed lives, like showing the Bible can be trusted we can prove the existence of God by example of changed lives:
Irina Ratushinskaya grew up in an atheistic home, was taught there was no God all of her childhood. When she was 9 years old she figured something out, “My parents told me there is no ghosts. They told me there aren’t any goblins. The only told me those things once, though. They tell me there isn’t a God every day. There must be a God!” In other words, if there weren’t something to it, they wouldn’t be fighting so hard against it.
Irina eventually accepted Christ into her life and many years down the road was imprisoned for her belief. While in prison the guards try to freeze her to death but she continued to hold onto her faith and she said that she knew that ppl were praying for her, which in fact was true. Somehow she knew it and got thru the pain.
I challenged the people at the retreat after each talk, first to respond to the fact that Jesus was the only way to God (heaven) by either wanting to know more or making a decision to believe and accept him. Then I challenged them to start to use their Bible on a daily basis instead of only on Sunday or once in a blue moon. Lastly I challenged them to stand up for God like they have never done before.
Again I was so blessed to be the speaker this past weekend and I am hoping the seeds that were sown will take root and grow.
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