“LIVING AND SHARING THE GOSPEL”
August 12, 2018
– Call To Worship –
“Before The Cross”
“Salvation Is Your Name”
Prayers of Intercession
Worship God in Spirit and Truth
Grow in His Grace and Knowledge
Share the Love and Hope we have in Christ.
Grace Communion International – We are an international Christian fellowship, on mission with the Father, Son and Spirit, living and sharing the gospel in ways that birth all kinds of churches, for all kinds of people, in all kinds of places. As an international Christian fellowship, we have about 50,000 members formed into 900 churches spread across 100 countries.
GCI BurundiPosted by GCI Update on August 8, 2018 Eugène Shibomana, GCI’s representative in the Central African nation of Burundi, requests prayer for the GCI congregation in Carama, Burundi. The President of Burundi recently issued a decree that churches in that nation will not be permitted to operate unless they have a modern church building. Unfortunately, the building our congregation recently built on the land it purchased does not meet the decree’s criteria and must be torn down. There is concern that this might lead to loss of attendance and other hardships.
Another plane conversation
From Joseph Tkach ~ August 8, 2018
I’m half-way convinced that I should write a book titled Transformed by Airplane Conversations. I have two reasons: First, over the years I’ve had some interesting conversations on airplanes with a variety of people, and at times the conversations have addressed the Christian faith. Second, your responses to my sharing these conversations in the past leads me to want to share some more.
Though Christianity is not always the topic of my airplane conversations, sometimes it does come up—typically when my seatmate asks what I do for a living. When I reply that I’m a Christian pastor, the conversation often quickly ends. However, sometimes it continues. Let me share one of those times with you.
As the flight was taking off, I began privately thanking God for the first class upgrade, which meant a more comfortable seat, some wine and lunch. My thoughts were interrupted when the man seated next to me introduced himself as a Jewish lawyer. Before I could reply, the flight attendant started serving lunch. First, she brought us shrimp cocktail, revealing that my seatmate was not a practicing Jew—he was eating his shrimp so fast that I decided to offer him mine. He gobbled it up right after telling me his doctor had told him to cut back on cholesterol! As we continued eating, he asked what I do for a living. I replied that I was a Christian pastor—fully expecting that he’d reply with silence, and I’d then be putting my earbuds back in to listen to an old Beatles’ album. But to my surprise, he continued the conversation, telling me that he respected me for being a Christian pastor!
As the conversation continued, we talked about our favorite foods, wine, beer and music. Then he asked me a question that seemed to come out of nowhere (though I suspect he had wanted to ask it as soon as I mentioned I was Christian). “What reasons,” he asked, “would you give me for believing that God exists?” Though I had not anticipated that question, I quickly replied, “Let me count the ways!”
Thinking that he probably was at least an agnostic, I began by noting that, from my perspective, apart from God there is no logical, philosophical or reasonable explanation for how everything exists in our universe. I continued by noting that atheism is a false religion in that it requires an irrational faith commitment to believe that life comes from non-life, and that everything popped into existence on its own by accident, without any purpose. He agreed that the creation question was huge for him. I then attempted to illustrate the nature of atheism as a religion by showing that it makes its own faith statements and has its own evangelistic ministry. I mentioned the names of atheism’s two “apostles”: Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss; and its four “evangelists” (pictured below, left to right): Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens.
Amidst our give-and-take, I made several points concerning atheism, noting that its belief in blind chance as the origin of an unimaginably complex universe takes as much or more faith than belief in a loving, sovereign God who created it all. I also mentioned that the atheism peddled by Dawkins and his cohorts focuses largely on what it doesn’t believe in and why it hates religion, especially Christianity. Though that approach might satisfy some people, it is not enough for me and many others who grapple with the great mysteries of life and reality.
He asked why I have concluded that atheism is inadequate as a rational worldview. I replied by noting that atheism is unable to provide a consistent explanation for the origin and order of the universe. If an atheist argues that matter is eternal, they are going against modern science, which states that the universe had a beginning and is gradually running down. If they affirm that the universe had a beginning, then they must account for what caused that beginning.
Either way, atheism cannot adequately explain the universe and a world full of complex life forms. I also noted that the atheistic worldview is incapable of providing the necessary preconditions to account for the universal laws of science and logic. In short, it is unable to account for the meaningful realities that people encounter in life, especially considering the atheistic view that we have no free will and all our choices are an illusion.
I then noted that atheism cannot furnish a rational basis for determining good and evil, or the human need for absolute moral standards. If there is no God—who by definition is absolutely good—then there is no absolute standard for judging something to be good or evil. Ironically, atheism objects to the existence of God due to the presence of evil in the world, yet it is unable to account for the difference between good and evil, much less provide a solution, apart from God, to the problem of evil.
My seatmate and I had an enjoyable exchange, and he said he appreciated most of my points. He confirmed that, while he is not an atheist, neither was he following any religion. He said he was searching, and felt he had not found the right place yet. Then he got up from his seat and headed for the restroom. While there, the smoke alarm sounded. Immediately, he was interrogated as to whether he had been trying to smoke a cigarette in the restroom. The flight attendant even asked me if I had seen him holding a cigarette when he entered and exited the restroom. When he was permitted to return to his seat, I told him that I know a good Jewish lawyer if he needs one! At first he laughed, but then he asked who I was referring to. He laughed again when I replied that I was referring to Jesus Christ, though this time his laugh was somehow warmer.
As we deplaned and went our separate ways, I wondered what he had been thinking when I mentioned Jesus to him. I’ll never know, though I’m happy I had the chance to do so. On my way into the terminal, a quote from G.K. Chesterton came to mind: “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.” Something to think about.
Grateful that God has revealed himself to us and we can share that knowledge with others, Joseph Tkach
Prayers for our Country and Pres. Trump
Prayers for the Body of Christ World Wide
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers & Sisters Around The World
Local Prayer Requests
Mary Coffey, prayers for healing, strength & encouragement.
Haiti – That peace and calm can return to the beautiful people of Haiti.
Joe Radzikowski (Works at Trinity Life Ministries in Lafayette) – Stomach cancer
Sue Durbin Prayers for increased blood levels
James Salerno (Chuck Davison’s son-in-law) Weak and having tests
Lucy (Anita Franz’s sister) Prayers for her overall health and strengthening – also for Anita’s sister Rachel who has a bad virus and is helping care for Lucy
Connie Whitlock – Continued knee pain – prayers surgery can be put off
June Perry – Heart and breathing issues
Ashton (Harriette Cox’s great grandson) Dealing with health issues
Anthony & Jane Gachanja – (GCI National Ministry Leader in Kenya) They live in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa…prayers for blessings and protection as they minister to the beautiful people in the GCI churches in Kenya.
Deben Sam (GCI affiliate in Nepal) Prayers as it seems restrictive anti-conversion (to Christianity) laws will come into effect in Nepal in August.
Hector & Paulina Barrero (GCI Mission Developer/Coordinator for Columbia & South America) For blessings, protection and inspiration as they minister to others.
Eugene & Lulu Guzon (GCI Mission Developer/Coordinator for Philippines) Prayers for wisdom, inspiration and safety as he travels, serving the Philippines
Kalengule & Nsama Kaoma (Lusaka, Zambia, Africa) Prayers for wisdom & protection as he oversees Africa as GCI Mission Developer/Coordinator.
Joseph & Georgette Franklin, Our Haiti Church & School – Prayers for joy, safety & blessing & provision. The school year ends the end of June.
Joe & Tammy Tkach & Greg & Susan Williams – Protection,wisdom& encouragement