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Coffeehouse Questions

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Evangelism

Starting Faith Conversations

Over the last two weeks I have had multiple questions about how to get people to think about Christianity. How can we motivate students to think about other people and future decisions? What can we do when they are apathetic? How can we initiate conversations about Christianity with friends or family members? This week I answer these questions by giving a few practical steps that we can take to discuss Christianity with those around us.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number only for questions).

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Evangelism and the Big Bang with Dr. Jeff Zweerink

Dr. Jeff Zweerink, an astrophysicist and research scholar at Reasons to Believe, joined me to talk about what Christians need to know about Big Bang cosmology. It was interesting that he was able to show how the Big Bang can be useful when it comes to Evangelism. Listen and see how he connected the two!

You can find last week’s interview on the integration of science and faith here.

What are your thoughts on the Big Bang? Make sure to leave a comment below!

Are you a student who is interested in studying science in college? Or may you’re a parent who has a student who is interested in science. If so, you should check out this promo for The Lab, where their goal is to equip students for careers in different scientific disciplines.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number only for questions).

Discussing The Story of Reality with Greg Koukl

Today, I had the great privilege of spending an hour talking to Greg Koukl, the President and Founder of Stand to Reason, about his new book. The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between was released yesterday and it is a must read! This incredible new book will introduce you to the most important topics of the Christian story (God, Man, Jesus, Cross, and Resurrection), explain them in a way that is clear and accessible, and then put the pieces together so you can see the complete picture. You will learn something from this book no matter if you have been a Christian your whole life, you’re new to the faith, or you don’t even believe in Christianity. This book will help you see Christianity in a new way and help you make sense of reality.

“If you are a Christian, this is your story. If you are not a Christian, this is also your story, because this isn’t a religious fairytale. This is the Story of the way things really are.” – Greg Koukl

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Get your copy at STR.org

Enjoy my two part discussion with Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT. This broadcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT immediately following the radio show.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number only for questions).

Trust Your Instruments with Claudia Kalmikov

This week’s post was written by my friend Claudia Kalmikov. Claudia recently graduated from Biola’s MA in Apologetics program and is producing great content at straighttalkwithclaudiak.com. I hope you enjoy this article and go check out her other work!

At our church, my husband and I co-teach an apologetics class with our missions pastor, Kevin. Recently, the discussion evolved from the subject of how some people think with their emotions rather than what we know to be true, to how we sometimes feel unworthy to serve because we don’t feel close to the Lord.

Kevin was an MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) pilot years ago. He told us a story about how he used to train new pilots. He’d take them up in a plane, put a hood over their head so they couldn’t see out the window, and make them fly the plane with instruments only. Sometimes he would take over the controls, crank the plane to the right, climb it way up, then put it into a dive and say, “Here you go, it’s all yours now.” The student had to get the plane level again just by looking at the instruments. Kevin would continuously tell them “Always trust your instruments.”

Sometimes the plane would be level but the student’s body would be leaning way over with their head on Kevin’s shoulder saying, “It doesn’t feel level.” Kevin would again say, “Trust your instruments.” Pretty soon, the student would straighten up and realize the plane was level. They had let their feelings control them rather than the facts in front of them that they knew to be true.

When we behave in any matter because of what our emotions tell us, we are letting our emotions rather than facts, dictate our behavior and our decisions. If one is not willing to listen to truth because they are emotional, one can miss the truth and the consequences can be devastating.

When we feel unworthy to serve in church or anywhere because we haven’t completed the checklist that Christians like to complete such as daily devotionals, regular prayer, irregular church attendance, etc… we forget what we know is true. That God created us in His image and sees us as someone worth dying for. That he sees us as righteous because of the blood of Christ. We are forgiven of our sin. Jesus paid a high price for us with His blood, forgiving all of our past sins, present sins and future sins. To feel we are not worthy is to fly the plane with our feelings rather than to trust the instruments. We must trust what we know about our salvation. We are loved and we must remember what the Bible tells us about God’s promises, for they are our instruments. Trust your instruments.

Why You Should Be Open and Listen to Opposing Views (Podcast)

Being closed minded doesn’t help in a discussion. In fact, as one student pointed out, being close minded may cause you to miss the truth! Plus, why would we expect anyone to change their mind after talking to us if we are unwilling to change ours? This week I discuss a few reasons why I think we need to be open minded and listen to opposing views, yet at the same time learning to think critically.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT. This broadcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT immediately following the radio show.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number only for questions)

The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist with Dr. Andy Bannister (Podcast)

Dr. Andy Bannister, Director of Solas Centre for Public Christianity and speaker at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, joins me this week to discuss his book, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments. Listen as we discuss arguments from atheism and why tolerance is disrespectful, and then frame it all in a picture of evangelism and pointing people to Jesus.

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You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT. This broadcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT immediately following the radio show.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number only for questions).

Is Jesus eternal? Responding to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (Podcast)

Has Jesus existed from all eternity past or is he a created being? This is a very important question to ask. John 1:3 and Isaiah 44:24 help us see that Jesus cannot be a created being. Listen as I explain how these verses can only be understood in the context of Jesus being the eternal God.

Also, I begin this podcast by responding to a listener question that was submitted on Facebook. I was asked how to reconcile 2 John 10-11 with my conversation last week when I mentioned that we should welcome Mormons into our homes for a discussion.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

This podcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT. Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with me by asking questions and commenting.

Send in your questions on Facebook or use #AskRyanP on Twitter.

Is God unchangeable? Responding to Mormons (Podcast)

What do you do when Mormons knock on your door? Do you act like you aren’t home? Do you politely say that you are not interested and shut the door? Do you argue with them and tell them that they are wrong? The Mormons that frequent my house tell me about people yelling at them and saying that they are of the devil! I know that not every person responds in this way, but it breaks my heart. I believe that Christians are able to have a fruitful, friendly, engaging discussion with Mormons. I will give you one simple tool that is very easy to remember and very effective. Just remember this and instead of shutting the door, calling them names, or hiding, you will be able to engage the Mormons in a fruitful discussion and help them see the True God.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

This podcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT. Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with me by asking questions and commenting.

Send in your questions on Facebook or use #AskRyanP on Twitter.

Are you prepared for an emergency?

It’s almost time for the students to return at my school, and the teacher have already started preparing. We reported last week for orientation and today we began training. To kick off our week of training we started with emergency procedures including preparation for fires, earthquakes, chemical spills, bombs, and active shooters. We went over many different types of emergencies and were trained on how to respond in each circumstance. As I was listening to the presentations from both our administration and the sheriff, I began to see many similarities between what we were learning and training in apologetics. Now I’m not saying that having an apologetic discussion with someone relates to the horrible situation of an active shooter, but I do think there is a similar foundation in the reason that we train and prepare.

I remember growing up in school and frequently performing fire drills. We didn’t wait until after their was a fire to start the drills. Instead, we did them because we knew that a fire was possible and we needed to be ready. In the same way, studying apologetics prepares us to be ready to make a case for the Christian faith even though we may never have to. It is best to prepare and be ready for it to happen so that we can minimize the damage. If we wait to prepare ourselves until the event finally happens, then it may be too late. Here are a few words of advice that were shared with us today.

Knowledge, Not Emotions

One of the first things we were told is that in an emergency our emotions could take over and cause us to make bad decisions. They said that in times of crisis, we need to rely on our knowledge instead of our emotions. Emotion can lead us astray. Knowledge helps us know what is right, but in order to have knowledge we have to prepare and learn.

I have spent a lot of time with Mormons lately. Most of them return to their feelings when you begin to ask about certain beliefs. The problem is that feelings can cause us to make bad decisions. We instead have to rely on our knowledge of what is true rather than just our emotions.

Take drills seriously

It is easy to become complacent when we are doing drills at school. We are told when the drill will take place, so when the alarm goes off, we grab the papers and escort students to the proper area. At times, this seems more like a hassle that class has been interrupted because we sometimes forget that fires are a real possibility, or we refuse to think that something like that would ever happen to us. In these times we have to remember that the real thing could happen at any moment, and for that reason we need to take the drills seriously. Being lazy now will increase our chances of making a big mistake in case of an emergency.

In the same way, we need to take the command in scripture to always be ready to make a defense seriously. We have to take seriously the command to go out and preach the Gospel. We even have people come to our doors that want to talk to us! Are we really taking those commands seriously so that we are ready the next time a Mormon or JW comes to your door? Are you training and preparing yourself as if it might happen soon, or do we assume that it will never happen and not take things seriously. This lazy approach may have serious consequences in the day that the real conversation occurs.

Training reduces fear

It is normal to panic and become fearful in a time of crisis. For this reason, we as teachers are trained on how to remain calm and help students during these times. The easiest way to remain calm in these situations is to train well and know that you were prepared.

I remember the first time I did my atheist role-play at a youth group. When I presented the first reason why I was not a Christian a young girl calmly raised her hand and responded to my objection. Their youth pastor had covered that issue the previous meeting and so she was confident in giving a response. When I quickly moved on to other objection the students became fearful and started doubting their faith. Yes, it happened that quickly. Proper training in that area greatly reduced their fear.

I also saw this play out in my recent mission trip to Utah. I don’t know very many students or even adults that feel confident talking to Mormons when they show up at the door. It is even more rare to be confident approaching them at Temple Square in Salt Lake City or BYU. However, the students on the trip spent months preparing, reading theology, and even reading the Book of Mormon. When they were presented with reasons why Mormonism was true and asked questions about their faith, they were able to confidently respond instead of being afraid that they might ask a question that they don’t know the answer to. Many Christians I meet are fearful that they will be asked a question they don’t know the answer to. Training and preparation reduces fear.

Awareness + Action = Prevention

We were presented with this equation towards the end of the sheriff’s presentation. He shared that in order to better prevent the risk of an active shooter on campus, we need to be aware that that kind of situation is possible and then take action to prepare ourselves. There is no way to stop the threat completely, but ignoring the fact that it is a possibility is not going to help. It also doesn’t help when we know that it is possible but don’t do anything to stop it. We have to take action!

As easy as this is to understand, we don’t do a very good job at in within Christianity. We are seeing a culture turning away from traditional Christian values and we are seeing many youth abandoning the church. Some choose to blind themselves to the issues and think things will just get better on their own, but it isn’t helping. Ignorance ≠ prevention. Others are aware of what is happening yet refuse to change. Awareness ≠ prevention. If we want to better prevent youth from abandoning the church then we need to be aware that it is a serious issue and we need to take action against it. This isn’t completely solved with apologetics, but it is a big aspect when students are questioning their faith. Awareness + Action = Prevention. Are we taking action in an effort to prevent more tragedy?

Lives are in our hands

The reason why teachers should take these drills so seriously is because we know that the lives of our students are in our hands. It is easy to get lazy when we think it will never happen to us like I mentioned before, but when we remember that lives are on the line, we should get that motivation back to work hard. If there is an active shooter on campus and I am panicking rather than going through the procedure, I put the lives of my students in danger. My responsibility to my students, and the fact that I care about them, is the reason I take these drills seriously.

The same should be true in evangelism and apologetics. The lives of the lost are in our hands. I’m not saying that we are responsible for saving people, but God chooses to use us in that great work! I remember the first few times I turned away Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses from my door because I wasn’t interested or too busy. However, when I realized that God calls us to evangelize and I had people standing at my door that were lost, my heart broke for them! Here are people that have been greatly discieved by their church and I have the opportunity to share the true Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, what a privilege! Their lives are in our hands and so we should take the act of preparation seriously if we want to make a difference. If your goal is to save lives, and someones life is at stake, what is preventing you from preparing well?

We can’t rely on someone else to do all the work for us. We sometimes have to motivate ourselves. So, I will leave you with the final question that the sheriff left our staff. What are you going to do to train yourself?

 

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