Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Answers In Genesis Videos: Faith and Science Resource





Where do you go for answers to challenging questions about science and the Bible? The Bible obviously. But sometimes it helps to get answers from people who have made it their career to study these issues. We trust theologians to help us understand spiritual truths, why not Bible-professing scientists on matters of science? While we should never take a person’s word as truth without checking it against the Bible, we can learn a lot from Christian scientists.

Answers In Genesis is an organization that exists to provide Biblical answers to scientific questions. They create fantastic material such as videos and articles as well as more in-depth educational material. You may have heard about this organization in the news because they have been building a life-size Ark encounter. They do much more than that. They actively work to educate Christians on Biblical answers to modern scientific topics. These topics range from evolution, to carbon dating, to biology, archeology, astronomy, the flood, and more.

The articles are a great resource to answer specific questions. They are written by qualified, practicing scientists. The articles can get very technical and way above the average person’s head. But they are usually written so even children can understand the main points. Of all their resources, I like the videos best. They are well made, entertaining, and very educational. The videos are not so technical. They tend to be short and stick to the important points. I like to use them in a group setting to supplement a discussion. I also find them a great resource to share with curious minds. They cover a wide range of topics and most are less than 5 minutes! Check them out here.

Written by David F. Garner

Friday, April 21, 2017

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 51: Sweet Living






Key Verse

“If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18 WEB


Lesson

What is an animal that looks like a chipmunk, glides like a flying squirrel, and has a pouch like a kangaroo? Any guesses? A Sugar Glider of course. If you have seen one before then you would agree they are quite cute. They also make very good pets. Sugar Gliders are amazing creatures.

They get the name “Sugar” from their love of sweet food and “Glider” from their ability to glide from tree to tree. They have a membrane of skin between their front and back legs that allow them to glide on the air. They can glide up to 150 feet (45m).

The Sugar Gliders diet includes lots of fruit as well as nectar, sap, and small insects. They live in Gum Trees and also eat the gum they produce. Sugar Gliders are very social creatures and live in groups of 20 to 40. Interestingly, they rarely fight among themselves. They are peaceful creatures and only fight when attacked.1

As humans we have a tendency to argue and even fight. But as Christians, Jesus calls us to live differently. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:18 to live as peacefully as we possible can. We are to be quick to forgive and slow to anger just as Jesus is. Sometimes this can be hard. But it will help our lives be more peaceful and sweet. Jesus left us an example of how to live peacefully in the Sugar Glider. 


Questions

Is it easy to live peacefully with others? Why or why not?

What are some practical ways we can live peacefully even when its difficult?

What can we do when we are angry at someone else?

Can you think of another lesson we can learn from the Sugar Glider?


Sources

1. Active Wild, “Sugar Glider Facts,” Active Wild, October 15, 2015, retrieved April 21, 2017 from http://www.activewild.com/sugar-glider-facts/.


Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: andyround62 via www.pixabay.com






Friday, April 14, 2017

Science Class PowerPoints: Faith and Science Resources



Many students have questions regarding science and faith in the Bible. Can science be consistent with the Bible or are they irreconcilable. Is it possible to fit modern scientific data into a Biblical worldview? Many teachers feel at a loss when it comes to tackling these issues. It is difficult to review all the evidence and to weigh it. There are textbooks out there that do a good job at delving into the science and make great resources for a science class. But changing textbooks can mean a lot of money and new lesson plans. What if there were a free, ready made PowerPoint resource tailored to teachers? Look no farther. At this link you can find nearly 100 free PowerPoint presentations specifically designed for middle and high school science class. They include pictures, charts, bible verses and age appropriate material. The topics covered includes General Biology, Genetics, and Molecular Genetics. Check them out and let us know your opinion in the comments below!




Photo Credit: geralt via www.pixabay.com



Friday, April 7, 2017

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 50: Fixed Compass



Key Verse

"Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually." 1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV


Lesson

The magnet of the ship's compass is…very like a godly man in the course of his earthly pilgrimage. The magnet on the sea and the believing soul in this life are firmly fixed on one Bide, and hang loose on every other. Both alike are fastened mysteriously to the distant and unseen, but are slack and easily moved in all their material settings. Precisely because they are unattached beneath, they are free to keep by their hold on high; and precisely because of their hold on high, they do not turn round with every movement of their material supports.

The magnet is by far the slackest, loosest thing in the ship. It is the only slack, loose thing there. It is not tied to the spars or nailed to the deck; it is not even laid down and left to the force of its own gravity. An elaborate machinery has been constructed for the purpose of reducing the friction, both vertical and horizontal, to a minimum, and so leaving it nearly as free to move as if it were imponderous. I need not describe the contrivance in detail: suffice it to say, that it is so softly poised on a needle-point in the middle, that if it chooses to fix itself by its own nature—as it were by the tendency of its heart— to a known but unseen point in heaven, it is at liberty to do so, and not obliged to turn with every turning of the ship that bears it.

The ship rolls from side to side; the ship pitches, now her bow and now her stern raised high above the water; the ship changes her tack, now going east, and now west, and anon driving before the wind. All things in the ship move with her except the magnet of the compass. It alone keeps ever one attitude, whatever changes of attitude take place in the ship; or if it turn partially and momentarily, with the sudden heavings of the labouring vessel, it is only for a moment—it rights itself again. Steady and still otherwise, it is when driven for a little out of its normal attitude that the magnet moves—moves, trembling and uneasy, until it regains its own place, and there it rests.

It is thus that a heart is loose to the world if it is fixed on Christ. It may have needed many rendings to slacken the heart's hold of things seen and temporal. There are sometimes more of these, and sometimes less. There are diversities of operation. Some are more gently set loose, and some are severed only by the wrenching of God's own hand, leaving a right arm cut off, or a right eye plucked out, behind. But whether he comes in an earthquake or in a still small voice, it is the doing of the Lord, when the bonds are loosed that bound a soul to the dust, and the soul, delivered, swings round free to follow the Lord.1



Questions

What is it that draws us to Christ like a compass to north?

According to the lesson, do we change suddenly or slowly to become fixed on Christ?

What practices can we keep to facilitate our continual focus on Christ?

Read the story of Peter walking on the water in Matt. 14. What lessons does this story teach about staying focused on Christ?


Sources

1. William Arnot Rev., The Lesser Parables of Our Lord (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1884), 222-223.

Question Written by David F. Garner
Photo Credit: David F. Garner

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Case For Christ: Faith and Science Resource




One of my all-time favorite books is The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel. I was required to read it for a class in college at a time when I was questioning my own faith and the existence of God. This book was one of the most influential in my decision to accept Christ as my Savior. Strobel is an excellent author and detailed researcher. This book answered so many of my questions, especially those regarding evidence for the historical Jesus.

Strobel did not stop at presenting the evidence. He sought to help the reader understand the various types of evidence and how they supports the case. The brilliance of this book is its ability to keep the reader’s attention. I did not want to put this book down. It was not dry or dull as one might expect a book on evidence or history to be. If you or someone you know is searching for the truth about Jesus or to deepen their understanding of who He was as a person on earth than check this book out. For those like me who prefer to listen rather than read check out the audiobook version here.

The most exciting part is that Strobel did not stop at writing a book! There is a great study guide to go along with the book for group or personal study. Even better is that in less than one week The Case For Christ movie come out! It will be a recreation of Strobel’s own search into Christ. Check out the trailer below and click the link to get tickets! http://thecaseforchristmovie.com/

This is not the first film though. Strobel made a documentary reviewing the evidence for Christ along with interviews from several leading figures. It is just as intriguing as the book and provides footage of many of the historical items discussed in an entertaining and educational manner. You can watch it free here. Finally, Zondervan published The Case For Christ Study Bible which includes articles and facts inserted directly alongside relevant passages. It is laid out much like an archeological study bible. It is perfect for people like me who grow in their faith through intellectual material to supplement their bible reading.

Written by David F. Garner 


Friday, March 31, 2017

Leadership Lessons Series: Protecting Participants



Key Verse


"The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." John 10:10 WEB


Lesson


As a high school student, I heard a lot about suicide and how to spot it. I never thought it would affect me. Everyone at my private Christian school was happy, they all had loving parents and would never think of such things, right? The day my principle came into our 9am class was a wakeup call. We immediately knew something was wrong by the look on his face and the fact that he never came during the middle of class. He told us Caleb*, one of our classmates, had attempted suicide early that morning by swallowing an entire bottle of ibuprofen.

Suicide affects all races, classes, and age groups. Worldwide someone dies from suicide every 40 seconds. The sad part is that it is completely preventable. Is your ministry doing anything to prevent it? With just a few simple steps you can help reduce the risk of suicide among participants in your ministry. The first step is to avoid my mistake, know that everyone is at risk. Being a Christian, or appearing highly social and upbeat does not make one immune. People can fake those things.

Step two is to follow a few simple guidelines to reduce risk and be prepared for an attempt. While participants may not attempt suicide during an event with your ministry, you may unwittingly expose them to suicide aids. Also, know that, teens especially, can attempt during overnight trips where they are away from home.

Now that you have acknowledged that your participants (of all ages) are at risk, lets discuss the guidelines you can implement. The first line of defense is education. All staff (including volunteers) should know the basic signs and what to do. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national nonprofit that offers education and a hotline. This one page link tells you all you need to know about spotting and stopping suicide. Review the Warning Signs with each new staff and yearly with current staff. Include it in routine training. Post them along with the hotline number 1-800-273-8255. Add this number to the list of emergency numbers staff carry on trips. Go ahead and have them put it in their contacts. Of course, they can always dial 911.

Warning signs include:

· Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves or looking for a way.
· Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
· Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
· Talking about being a burden to others
· Withdrawing or isolating themselves

Another important guideline is preventing access to suicide aids. This is especially important for ministries working with minors and adults with a history of depression or suicidal thoughts. The most obvious aid is medication. You likely have a first aid kit. People also carry over the counter and prescription medication. Access to these should be controlled, especially on overnight trips! The American Camps Association (ACA) has specific guidelines for medications. All oral medications must be kept under lock and key, period. Only medially trained staff can administer them. For non-ACA members a staff trained in first aid will work fine. Non-oral medications may be kept unlocked.

First aid kits stored in a facility may not have any oral medication, if they do a small combination lock box can be effective. Or store them in a locked closet with cleaners and chemicals. These should be locked away at all times too! On overnight trips with minors or adults with a history be sure to collect all medications prior to departure. Check with parents of minors and explain your purpose. They will be grateful for your measures! On trips I lead, including backcountry trips such as backpacking, I like to keep all medications in a lock bag. It fits in my bag better than a box! Checkout the Master Lock Model 7120D.

Other aids include sharp objects. If you know someone suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts it is a good idea to constantly observe them while using these tools. Afterword, make certain they don’t keep any. All new participants and staff in my outdoor ministry receive basic knife safety instruction. That way everyone knows the rules. Here is a good example of rules.

The last key guideline I will offer is to know your participants. This is not always possible, but do your best. The main goal is to build report with them. If they trust you and other staff they will be more open with their feelings. People contemplating suicide feel vulnerable and worthless. Trust is everything. Also remember that it is often easier to talk to someone you slightly know than someone you know well. So new participants may find it easier to open up. The other way to know your participants is to learn their history. If your ministry has an application form include a short survey of medical problems and history. A checklist of common problems like you might see at the doctor’s office makes it easy for people to select. Include “history of depression” in this list. This is no guarantee applicants will be forth coming, but the easier it is to select it they more likely they will share.

Caleb had always been such an outgoing, cheerful guy. It was a shock to all of us. The principle informed us that a few minutes after taking the medication Caleb had called a friend and confessed. Because the friend had received the suicide education with the rest of the school he knew what to do. An ambulance was dispatched and medical staff were able to save his life! Without that education who knows what would have happened. Caleb’s friend might have thought he was joking and wasted precious time. Education saved Caleb’s life, will you help it save another?

*Actual name has been changed for individual’s privacy.
Written by David F. Garner
Photo Credit: Counselling via www.pixabay.com

Friday, March 24, 2017

Christian Outdoor Activity Lesson: Rescue



Key Verse

“Don’t be afraid because of them, for I am with you to rescue you,” says Yahweh.” Jeremiah 1:8 WEB


Activity Type:

Initiative


Time:

30 minutes - 1 hour


Goal:

Participants will be in teams of two and one cannot see. The second person guides the first through the obstacle course. Requires communication and trust and helps foster empathy.


Material:

Some basic objects that can be used as part of a short obstacle course. For example a hula hoop, bench, log, rope, tarp, mat, etc. Blindfolds are useful but optional.


Instructions:

Set the obstacle course ahead of time. Then tell the participants they are lost in a snow storm (or sandstorm) and are trying to get to shelter. One person in your pair has been blinded by the snow (or sand) and the other can see. The seeing person must guide the blind through the storm safely. In pairs the participants proceed through a tunnel (hoop), over a log, under an overhang (tarp), over a creek (mat), across a bridge (bench) to safety. Partners can maintain contact through their journey. Once the pair reaches safety they can switch places and try again. As a variation partners cannot touch but only communicate verbally or perhaps by singing or by clapping or humming. Alternatively, have partners communicate with a code.


Possible Lessons:

As lost humans we need rescue by our Savior. He has promised to do so in the verse above. Compare and contrast our spiritual journey to the obstacle course and the guide.

Sometimes we go astray in life and need to be rescued by others. Sometimes friends or family may try to rescue us. Discuss how our recognition of our waywardness impacts our reaction. Sometimes we don't think we are astray or don't want rescue. Or perhaps we see a friend making a bad choice but they do not see it. Discuss how this activity relates to learning how to help guide others who may or may not realize they need help.



Written by David F. Garner

Photo credit: Unsplash via www.pexels.com