Month: September 2009

Friendship Evangelism

I have been involved with Activate for five years and when people ask me who we are and what we are trying to acheive this is the simplest two word answer – friendship evangelism. We know there are other great organisations, networks and charities that are out there doing street missions, pamphlet printing, crusades, tv adverts, media campaigns and other attention grabbing activities. We are different because our emphasis is relational. We believe that reaching out with God’s love and the story of Jesus is best done through friendships and natural connections.

You won’t find us printing a pamplet that you could hand out to strangers on a street corner, nor will we be paying for adverts on the sides of buses. For the last 40 (and hopefully the next 40) years we have been encouraging relationship building within our communities, neighbourhoods, workplaces, school gates, book groups, gyms, golf clubs…wherever you are.

Since we started our new website we have been adding polls for our supporters to add their opinions. Usually only a handful actually vote. Last month we had our most popular poll by far when we asked ‘How did you become a Christian? How did your faith journey begin?’ The answers were really interesting –
60% started their faith journey in a Christian home. How great that so many of us have had the privilege of a faith filled background. This shows how important the family unit is and reminds us of the importance of supporting and praying for Christian families.
The next highest score was 13% – ‘a friend introduced me to Jesus’.That is why we are a friendship orientated network. Our relationships are crucial if we are to earn the right to share the reason for the faith that we have and the peace that we have found. What a privilige and a responsibility to carry on!! The only score with zero votes was the one referring to ‘a conversation with a stranger’.
Let’s not be a stranger in our neighbourhoods and communities -let’s continue being involved, friendly and real with the love of God.

And we would love to hear more details of your faith journeys, who were the friends that introduced you to Jesus? How did they do it?
For the 13% that ticked ‘some other way’, tell us more. We want to hear your stories…

Creation

The following article is taken from the Damaris website.

People are talking about God, evolution, humanity, suffering and faith because of the buzz surrounding the feature film Creation, which opens in cinemas across the UK on September 25th.

As we expected, the discussion that this film is provoking will provide marvellous opportunities to talk with people about big spiritual and moral questions. So we are delighted that we have been able to create a set of resources that will help you to make the most of this outreach opportunity.

All of our resources are available free at www.damaris.org/creationmovie thanks to the support of Icon Film Distribution. (It took the Damaris team a huge amount of work to negotiate this deal with Icon and to create these resources – it would encourage the Damaris team immensely if you would email the office to tell them what you think and how you hope to use the resources.)

Finally, as part of his contribution to the debate, Nick wrote a short press article. We have copied it below. You may freely republish this (as long as it is accompanied by the paragraph at the bottom).

Yours truly,

Nick and Carol Pollard
Co-founders of Damaris

Nick Pollard says: If atheists think Darwin killed God they are not thinking widely enough.
“You’ve killed God, sir,” says Huxley to Charles Darwin in the forthcoming film Creation (UK release date 25th Sept). “Darwin has delivered a fatal blow to religion,” says Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society in a Daily Telegraph article related to the film.

They are quite wrong. Those who think that Darwin’s theory can be used to establish the non-existence of God are missing the point. Well, at least three points out of four, actually.

We are conscious human beings, living in a world full of life, within a universe of matter and energy. If someone wishes to argue that there is no God then they have to answer at least four questions about our existence (only one of which is tackled by Darwin’s theory). What is the origin of the universe? What is the origin of life? What is the origin of biological diversity? What is the origin of consciousness?

Put in this wider context we see how Darwin’s theory only tackles the third of this big series of important questions. Whether or not Darwin’s theory is a true explanation of how biological diversity might have evolved from a common ancestor, all this could tell us is something about the process by which the variety of life developed. It cannot, in itself, tell us anything about the existence or non-existence of God.

So let me lay down a challenge to such atheists and ask them to stop making unfounded assertions about God’s existence just from one particular view of one quarter of the big questions, and to consider the bigger picture, including the other three questions.

First, the origin of the universe. When we look at the universe around us we have to ask ourselves, “Why is it here at all?” Why does anything exist rather than nothing? Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which parts of this universe may have formed – such as stars, sandstone and even species – that doesn’t tell us why those processes happened. Even if we can establish how the laws of nature could lead to such developments within the universe, that doesn’t tell us why those laws exist. Why not another set of physical laws? Why any physical laws at all? Why does anything exist rather than nothing existing?

Second, the origin of life. When we look at the various forms of living beings that exist in this world we have to ask ourselves, “How did life begin?” Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which complex life may have evolved from simple life through the natural selection of mutations in reproductions, that doesn’t tell us how reproductive processes began in the first place. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection can only work on a self-replicating system where variations in the product of the replication might be more or less fitted for survival. But how did the first self-replicating, naturally selectable organism arise? How did we get from non-replicating matter to self-replicating, naturally selectable life?

Third, the origin of consciousness. When we look at the people who live around us (and, indeed, at ourselves) we have to ask, “Where does consciousness, and all that flows from it, come from?” Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which the complexities of the human body may have developed, that doesn’t tell us why we have a conscious awareness, why we have such a strong sense of morality, or why we have the capacity to reason. It is interesting that Darwin himself, in the last decade of his life, began to doubt the reliability of the human brain. If, according to his theory, the brain has evolved because of survival rather than for truth, would it have the capacity to address metaphysical questions with any level of reliability? Why should we trust anything it says about the big questions of morality and meaning? And (here is a real problem for anyone who wants to argue for atheism) what is our basis for trusting the brain’s capacity for any high level reasoning at all – such as the level of reasoning required to consider the existence or non-existence of God? Perhaps, for the atheist, this question is logically unanswerable?

Nick Pollard, co-founder of The Damaris Trust. For more resources related to the film Creation (UK release date September 25th) see www.damaris.org/creationmovie

Damaris, PO Box 200, Southampton, SO17 2DL, UK. Email: office@damaris.org

Ask Alison September

What happens when the relationship you’re in looses its spark? Do you
A, walk away?
B, dig deep and hang on in there?
C, take action?

So, what did you pick? A, B, or C

Let’s look at the likely outcomes of each answer.

A-walk away

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Say you’ve been married some time and over the last few years you’ve had children, acquired a mortgage and lead pretty busy lives. The magic’s faded and life has become humdrum. Walking away certainly appears a favourable option. Wouldn’t it be great for Prince Charming to come along and sweep you off your feet, leaving behind the mundane trail of familiarity?

For a while life with Prince Charming could indeed be exciting, romantic and fairytale like. But what happens when he starts to put on a few pounds, looses his hair and has more interest in the TV or his job than you?

Would you walk away again?

B- You’re not the type to walk away but you feel powerless to do anything about your dull marriage. You believe he should be the one to make the first move, bring you flowers and take you out for a surprise lunch. He doesn’t and so you resign yourself to the fact that that’s your lot and you’ll have to make do, except winge! That’s the end of it and nothing can be done to change it. Sound familiar?

C- Take Action-

Okay. You’re not happy with how things have turned out after having such idyllic notions of wedded bliss. Cleaning toothpaste from the wash basin, picking up dirty undies off the floor and removing skid marks from the toilet isn’t your idea of a romantic life for two! So what are you going to do about it?

By taking action you are taking charge of your responsibility to make the marriage not just work, but to work well. You are taking responsibility for your own happiness and deciding to live an independent life which doesn’t depend on the actions of others- even your husband. Can you imagine how liberating that can be? No more being let down, no more unfulfilled expectations and no more if only’s.

You can steer the marriage in the direction you’d like it to go. You can surprise your husband on his lunch break, arrange a romantic night in or go up, up and away in your beautiful balloon!

Taking action means that you can lead your life instead of following and waiting for others to make the first move. You may not change the way your husband behaves but you will feel so much better about yourself and the future of your marriage. Your marriage has much more opportunity to thrive if one of you act now.

So today, what will you do? Walk away, do nothing or act on creating a rewarding relationship?

September Devotional – The Joy Letter

The Joy Letter

It might sound rather sad but I love opening my post box and receiving a hand written letter! It makes me feel special that a friend has put pen to paper and I still get excited as I eagerly open the envelope!

Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison in a special way that showed his love for them and in the prayers for their love to increase.
Not a very joyful place but Paul still managed to find reasons to be joyful during his trials.

‘I thank my God every time I remember you, always praying with joy for all of you. I thank God for the help you gave me while I preached the Good News- help you gave from the first day you believed until now. God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again. (Philippians 1:3-6 NCV).

Paul tells us to ‘pray with joy’ 1:4 and further on in Philippians to, ‘join each other in joy’ 2:17-18, to ‘welcome those who work for Jesus with joy’ 2:25-30. Also to ‘enjoy your faith in the Lord’ 3:1, to ‘enjoy being with other Christians’ 4:1 and to ‘always be joyful’ 4:4

I hope that when I write to someone I love, that love is conveyed in the words they read and I hope that they feel special too.

I pray we continue to acknowledge the good work God is doing in our lives and reflect that not only to those we love but to all God’s people.

I wish you all a happy summer whether you are enjoying being at home or away and I hope you too receive some letters or postcards of joy…

Written by Adrienne Leach

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