Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to Share Your Faith...

Faith Is Like Skydiving is the title of Rick Mattson’s recent book from IVP, www.ivpress.com.  I think he means that if you want to share your faith in God, or anything, including skydiving, you better check out all the evidence before you get to the point of believing. Mattson started out 30 years ago as an IVCF staff worker at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is now an “apologetics specialist” for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and a frequent speaker on college campuses across the country. He can be reached at www.rickmattsonoutreach.com.

Mattson offers “memorable images for dialogue with seekers and skeptics.” His goal is to help readers “get out of the trap of being unprepared...for seekers and skeptics,” who come with their questions and objections to Christianity. He regrets times when he was not ready for the skeptic’s question, and lost the opportunity to offer the “good news.”

I perceive that Mattson is an extrovert. And he has practiced and he has prayed and he is ready whatever the question may be. He loves dialogue and he is definitely ready to take on anyone who wanders into his path. And he wants his readers to do this also. Easy for him to say. Introverts would have more hesitancy, I know, but still, we could take his advice, practice, and pray. He suggests: tell yourself the story of Jesus. Make and learn in your own words a 5-minute talk, a 10-minute talk, a 20-minute talk, pray and be ready for any opportunities the Holy Spirit may slip into your conversations with a neighbor or friend, or stranger, anyone who comes along.

Mattson divides his book into four parts: Making Your Case, Responding to Tough Questions, Science and Faith, and How-To’s. He concludes with a word of encouragement, reminding us that he has tried to offer a balance between “maximum preparation and maximum reliance on God’s Spirit when it comes to conversations with seekers and skeptics.” He reminds us also of his friend and colleague Jim Sire’s good advice: “....begin with the stories of Jesus because the best reason to believe in Christianity is Jesus.”

—Lois Sibley

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One for kids and one for teens

Bless This Way is a fun-filled book of poems and songs by Anne E. Kitch  that will bring smiles to any reader, any age, though it’s designed for kids. Published by Morehouse at www.morehousepublishing.com, each double page is beautifully illustrated by Carolyn Digby Conahan. The poems are brief but memorable and easy to learn and remember. The pages of children having fun together are a good combination with the poems, expressing both joy and sadness. My favorites were Thanking, Walking with God, Singing, Quiet Time, and Safe in God’s Hands, but I like all of them really. I think children will, too.

Here’s a sample: God and I are going for a walk, We’ll pick up leaves  and step over puddles and probably jump in some....God and I are going for a talk....

Anglican Young People's Dictionary is an important book for older children and teens, especially for any who are becoming acolytes, or just for those sitting in the pews who wonder “what does that word mean?” Written by June A. English, with helpful illustrations by Dorothy Thompson Perez and again from Morehouse, the words are explained alphabetically. Author June English reminds us that many words used in the early church came from Latin and Greek. Some words still are remembered in that way, including “acolyte” which came from a Greek word meaning “one who serves.” I know some young acolytes who are pleased to be a part of that service.

Readers will learn the origin of many of the words in this dictionary, explaining the “why” and “how” of our use of them in our worship today. English notes that “on a deeper level, the words in this dictionary offer a history of the Anglican faith,” and for those who wonder, they will find helpful answers to their questions. Some of the words may seem ancient and cause us to wonder why we still use them, she says, but they “take us back to the time when Christ and his apostles walked the earth.” They “remind us of his message of hope” and they may serve as a key to young readers, helping them find a deeper understanding of their faith as they talk about it and practice it in the church and neighborhood where they are today.

—Lois Sibley