Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saint Nicholas - Man or Myth?

Is Saint Nicholas merely legend? 

This question comes up every December around the world, among young and old. 

What is the answer? 

It’s easy for us to think, Yes, Saint Nicholas may or may not have been a Catholic bishop in the 3rd or 4th century. We don’t have any factual data, however, about the real man (if there was one).

On the contrary, Wikipedia provides us with a wealth of historical data, artwork down through the ages, where his skeleton resides (two locations in Europe), who has forensically examined it (and used DNA to prove both sets of bones are from the same man), hundreds of ancient churches named after him, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas


















Thanks to Liverpool University’s Face Lab, the BBC, et al., we also have a facial reconstruction that shows his countenance in detail, including a nose that had been badly broken and veered well to the right, etc. Amazing! http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-30354994
















Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sufi Scholar Dr. Habibeh Rahim, “Love Your Neighbor,” and “Who Is My Brother?”

Shortly after lunch I find a quiet moment to work on my new MacBook Air. I’m sitting on the outside edge of a fairly large booth in the midst of an enormous exhibit hall at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The center is adjacent to the banks of the River Walk in scenic downtown San Antonio, Texas. It’s the third day of the concurrent American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meetings.

I look up to see Dr. Habibeh Rahim walking toward me. I later learned that she earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard upon approval of her brilliant 1989 dissertation, Perfection Manifested: `Ali B. Abi Talib’s Image in Classical Persian and Modern Indians Muslim Poetry.

Dr. Rahim is a Sufi Muslim scholar who serves as Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at prestigious St. John’s University in New York. The courses she teaches include Religions of the World, Introduction to Hinduism, Introduction to Buddhism, Introduction to Islam, The Family in Islamic Life and Theology, Sacred Scriptures of the East, Buddhism and Christianity in Dialogue, and Religious Mysticism: East and West.

How I would love to spend a year in New York auditing those courses!

Instead, Dr. Rahim has a much different agenda. In the heart of San Antonio, she walks up to me and I stand to greet her.

“What group are you with?” she asks.

“I’m not sure what you mean by ‘group.’”

“With which faith group do you identify?”

“I was born into a long line of atheists in Seattle, Washington,” I said. “When I was 13 years old, I wholeheartedly embraced the Christian faith.”

“Good,” she replies. “Would you please pray for my elderly mother? She is in her 80s and quite ill. Would you please pray for her healing?”

I pause but only briefly. “Yes, it would be my honor and privilege to pray for your dear mother. Do you have a business card?” Dr. Rahim apologizes and asks if she can write her name and email address on the back of one of my business cards. I trade her for another one of my business cards.

Then up walks a distinguished gentleman I assume is her husband or another St. John’s University professor. Dr. Rahim introduces us. She goes on to explain to the gentleman that I had agreed to pray for her mother’s healing and full recovery. Then she turns her attention back to me.

“Will you join me in my work?”

She pauses, and then continues.

“One of our revered leaders taught that we should care for anyone within a distance of 30 minutes. At the time, that was understood as the 200 houses closest to yours. Over time, however, a distance of 30 minutes changed. Now, a jet can travel 250, 350, even 450 miles in that time. What’s more, mobile phones have swept across the world. We now can reach people almost anywhere on earth.”

She pauses again. “Do you know what I think? It’s time to change our thinking again. Now, we need to care for anyone in need, anywhere in the world. It’s what Jesus taught: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ He certainly meant anyone in need. So, will you join me in my work?”

I quickly say yes.

I go on to echo my agreement with her statement about mobile phones sweeping across the Middle East and Africa, even across the Sahara Desert. Then I say, “That phrase, ‘as yourself,’ is hard to understand. I like to translate what Jesus taught this way: ‘Love your neighbor well.’”

“Exactly!” she says.

At that point, the gentleman standing to her left asks for my business card. “We need to keep in touch, brother. Thank you so very much.”

Later that afternoon I catch another quiet moment and sit down to write to my new friend, Dr. Habibeh Rahim. I can make out her handwriting fairly well. “Habibeh” was clear. I wasn’t sure on her last name, however, so I did a quick Google search. The top hit was her bio on the St. John’s University website.

I resist the temptation to write to Dr. Rahim using her professional email address. Instead, I use the personal gmail address she gave me and write the following:
__________

Dear Dr. Habibeh Rahim,

Thank you so much for our conversation today. What an honor and joy to meet you, and to hear your heart for bringing all peoples together in a new understanding of loving our neighbors, indeed all peoples, everywhere. I would love to share your vision with many others. Please add me to your email list.

As promised, I am praying for your dear mother’s recovery and full healing. How good that we can thank God daily for His sovereignty, providence, holiness, love and mystery. May your dear mother experience God’s comfort, solace, encouragement, strength, joy and peace…

Your brother,
David
__________

Notice what I do—and do not—say to my new Sufi Muslim friend.

I don’t say I am praying to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, as moved by the Holy Spirit. That would only drive an unnecessary wedge between us.

I do say “Your brother.” This is meant to draw us closer. I know: Christians like to call one other “brother” or “brethren.” That’s good and fine.

Yet, I’m on firm biblical ground when I said, “Your brother.”

In the Gospels, Jesus talks about natural brothers, about the apostles as His brothers, about all of His followers as His brothers and sisters, and about everyone including “the least of these” as His brothers and sisters.

What’s more, the book of Acts is replete with uses of “brothers” that stretch far beyond our modern subculture’s use of the terms. Uses of “brothers” include: Luke referring to Jesus’ half-brothers, Peter addressing the other earliest Christians in Jerusalem, Jewish men speaking to Peter and the other apostles on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles speaking to other early Christians, even Stephen speaking to the Jewish Sanhedrin, which was made up of both unbelieving Pharisees and Sadducees.

Additional uses of “brothers” in Acts include: Stephen referring to Joseph’s half-brothers, Moses speaking to two Israelite men, Peter referring to six Jewish Christian believers, Luke referring to Jewish Christians living in Judea, Peter referring to other Christians including the other apostles, synagogue leaders speaking to Barnabas and Saul and John Mark, Luke referring to Paul and Barnabas, Peter speaking to other Christian leaders, James speaking to other Christian leaders, the apostles and elders referring to themselves, and Luke referring to the Christians in specific cities.

Most surprising? Paul uses “brothers” to address Jewish men who hated and persecuted Christians, to address the Jewish Sanhedrin (which, again, was made up of both unbelieving Pharisees and Sadducees), and to address non-Christian Jewish leaders living in Rome.

So, I’m simply doing what Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and other early Christian leaders did. I’m using “brother” and “brothers” and “brothers and sisters” when I speak with Christians, non-Christians, anti-Christians, and just about anyone else I meet.

If we learn anything the Dr. Habibeh Rahim story, it’s that Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even a good percentage of atheists are willing to call me “brother” and I’m in good company when I return the favor.

The question isn’t simply, “Who is my neighbor?” It’s also, “Who is my brother?” Either way, it’s everyone you and I meet.


David Sanford serves as a leadership consultant and as a senior writer for three national and international ministries. He is executive editor of Holy Bible: Mosaic and author of Loving Your Neighbor: Surprise! It’s Not What You Think

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Does God Speak to Us Today? Anna’s Answer

My daughter Anna a few days after this story
(San Francisco, March 2010). 
“Does God speak to us today?” This question has been debated for centuries. 

Two of my beloved mentors have insisted for more than 35 years that the Lord doesn’t speak to anyone—ever. Sure, God spoke in ancient times to biblical prophets, but He stopped before the close of the first century A.D.

Yet I remember the first time the Lord spoke to me. It was at the end of an intensive time of prayer. God was quiet, yet crystal clear. I didn’t know what to do, so I grabbed a pen and recorded in detail what He told me.

Since that experience, my struggle has not been with whether God does speak today. Instead, my struggle has been with the thousands of times He chooses not to say a word.

This struggle was certainly true in the aftermath of the Great Recession. My wife and I were still recovering from steep business losses. Clients had canceled huge projects mid-stream, and then refused to honor contractual terms. In short, we were left with zero income.

At the same time, our eldest son, Jonathan, was to be married in San Luis Obispo, California—900 miles away from our home. My wife, Renée, and I did the math. It would cost at least $1,800 for the four of us—my wife, Renée, our son Benjamin, our daughter Anna, and me—to travel to the wedding, pay for the rehearsal dinner, help pay for the photographer, and then travel home. But we didn’t have the money to even show up. As a husband and father, I cannot begin to tell you how helpless and hopeless I felt.

The four of us agreed to pray for $2,000 “just in case” and, as always, coveted to tell no one of our situation but God. Within a week, we received an anonymous gift for $1,000. Renée, Benjamin and Anna were thrilled. I felt smaller than ever. Sure, we could get to the wedding, and pay for part of the rehearsal dinner, but what then? I was depressed beyond words.

Sensing my downcast composure, my 10-year-old daughter tried to cheer me up. “Hey Dad, do you think that $1,000 came because you were praying? No, it was me! Don’t worry about anything. God is going to provide.” She paused. I didn’t smile.

“In fact,” Anna continued, “I want you to make a deal with me. You don’t pray. Just me. And you don’t get the mail either. Only I can get it. Promise?”

I didn’t respond.

“Promise?”

“Okay.” I turned to hide the grief and anger now racing toward my chin. Our trip was slated to start the following Wednesday morning. What kind of father can’t afford to go to his oldest son’s wedding?

The next afternoon, Anna came running through the door and said, “Dad, guess what? The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow, Saturday, Monday or Tuesday. Isn’t that exciting, Dad!”

“Anna, darling, another check isn’t coming,” I said. “I don’t know why, but God sent only $1,000. That’s all we’re getting.”

Anna smiled. “That’s why you’re not praying and not getting the mail, Dad!”

After school the next day, Anna came skipping into the house with the mail. She was almost giddy. “Dad, you’re not going to believe it! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday. Can you believe it?”

No, I can’t believe I’m in this situation, I thought. I can’t believe I can’t afford to go to my own son’s wedding. I felt worse than ever.

Saturday was terrible. When the mailman came by, Anna rushed out the sliding glass door, over to the gate, and ran up to his truck. He handed her our mail for the day. Anna was bobbing up and down when she came back into the house. I’d rarely seen her so excited. “Dad, I can’t believe it! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come Monday or Tuesday.” She couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. I couldn’t contain my anguish, so I quickly turned and walked away.

How can I get her to understand? I wondered. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need. Even here in America, Christians often go through much worse things than this. Still, I’m so embarrassed, so ashamed. I’m such a failure.

I didn’t have a good morning at church. I felt completely dry, empty, and hollow. I knew this feeling from one of my worst moments mountain climbing. I was hanging by one hand onto the edge of a precipice with no rope and more than 400 feet of air between me and the ground below.

I honestly couldn’t pray. Why even try? I thought.

After school Monday, Anna ran through the front door almost yelling. “Dad, this is so exciting! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow!” She was literally jumping up and down.

“Anna, you don’t understand. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but no check is coming. We already got $1,000. That’s it.”

Anna just smiled. “I told you. It’s not your prayers. It’s mine.”

Sure enough, Tuesday afternoon Anna ran into the house, jumping higher than ever. “Dad,” she practically yelled, “this is so exciting! The check didn’t come in the mail. That means someone is going to knock on our front door in 5 minutes and hand it to us.”

“That’s never going to happen,” I snapped, in the harshest of tones.

“But God told me.”

“God didn’t tell you that!” I yelled. I was so furious. I couldn’t bear the inescapable shame that lie ahead of me.

A few minutes later, when I had started to cool off, I heard the doorbell. I yelled again (but more politely) for Anna to take care of it. Thirty seconds later she flew into the kitchen with the biggest brown eyes possible. In her hands she held an envelope.

“Pastor Jim just came to our door. He can’t say who, but somebody came by his office and said, ‘God impressed upon me that David and Renée Sanford’s family needs help. I feel it’s urgent. You’ll see they get this within the hour, won’t you?’”

I couldn’t hold back the tears. “I am so sorry, Anna. I said terrible things no father should ever say to his daughter. I said God didn’t speak to you. He really did. Will you forgive me?”

I’ll never forget how hard she hugged me. After a minute she whispered in my ear. “I told you it was my prayers.” I laughed, hard, for the first time in weeks.

Then Anna handed me the check, signed by the senior pastor of Spring Mountain Bible Church, in the amount of $1,000.

Later, I thought about my oldest mentor who had recently gone to be with the Lord. Yes, we’re all in for a lot of surprises when we get to heaven. He now knows, beyond question, that God can speak to anyone, anytime, and in such a crystal-clear way that there’s no other option except to know that God speaks. 

Thanks to His incredible sovereignty, providence, holiness, love and mystery, you and I can stop telling God what He can and cannot do.

“My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Saturday, September 9, 2017

35th Wedding Anniversary

We're getting ready to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary the next few days. 

Believe me, that's a knowing smile in the photo. I still can't believe Renee fell in love with me. 

Little did I know how incredible life would be loved by such an amazing, beautiful, courageous, delightful, exuberant, faith-filled, and God-filled woman... 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Toward a Theology of Diminishment

I often ask the wrong question. Well, it’s the right question, but only sort of. It’s not the most accurate and precise question, and therefore finding the answer(s) can be illusive.

Over the past few years, I have asked myself and others, “Why doesn’t someone write a book on a theology of diminishment?” By that, I have meant a biblical understanding of aging and losing one’s powers. 

If you and I live long enough, each of us will experience these unwanted diminishments. These diminishments will affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, volitionally, psychologically, socially, and possibly spiritually. I say “possibly” because, well, that’s a question I want answered!

It turns out I have been asking the wrong question. The right answer is a wealth of on-topic books by Richard L Morgan, Jane Marie Thibault, Missy Buchanan, Nancy Parker Brummett, the late Jim Reapsome, the late Henri J.M. Nouwen, and others. None are a “theology,” per se, yet they appear to address many of the specific questions I have been pondering.

Even better? I’ve discovered three small works on Amazon. Think of these as essays in pamphlet form. The first is “On Hallowing One’s Diminishments” by John Yungblut (28 pages), which I’ve just read in its Kindle form. Yungblut’s worldview was much different than mine is, but I greatly appreciate many of the insights he recorded. I have ordered two other small works, “Into Another Intensity: Diminishment and Retirement” (16 pages) and “The Creativity of Diminishment” (9 pages), both by a Sister Anke, and look forward to reading them later this month.

Best of all? I have ordered Paul Tournier’s classic book, Learn to Grow Old, which likely will offer more of the theology I am seeking.

Undoubtedly, I will discover many other classic writings—books, pamphlets, articles, poems, and more—thanks to better Amazon searches and thanks to specific recommendations from friends. If you have any such recommendations, please, let me know!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When Jesus Disappears


I used to underline or highlight the “important” and pithy statements I found in each book I read. Years ago, I changed my routine and stated posting those statements online. Some books merit two or three tweets. A few merit a blog post. 

In the present case, however, the only thing I can do is highly recommend my friend John E. Johnson’s wonderful, rich new book, Under an Open Heaven: A New Life Revealed in John’s Gospel (Kregel). 

There simply are far too many quotes on a single page to try to post Dr. Johnson’s “important” and pithy statements. 

Then again, I want to post what he says as it relates to this blog. In his compelling chapter about Jesus healing a man who had been a paralytic for 38 years, Dr. John E. Johnson writes:

To complicate things, Jesus does not hang around to continue the conversation. Jesus does not heal to amaze the crowds. He does not pause to win applause; He knows that “miracles [do] not readily convert into life-changing faith.” As suddenly as He appears, He disappears. 

We should not be surprised. Sometimes, Jesus “disappears” on us. At least it feels that way. He upends and expands our world and leaves us to sort things out…

There is so much more, but I’ll let you read the book yourself. You can find it for sale here (Amazon) and here (ChristianBook). You can also find it for sale on other major online book retailers. Enjoy!


Friday, June 9, 2017

How Large Is Too Large?

When it comes to dinosaurs, “longest” and “heaviest” keep changing.

At what point will the public in general, and Christians in particular, reach the point of incredulity?

In 1907, the longest complete dinosaur on record was a 27-meter- long (89 ft.) 
Diplodocus discovered in Wyoming and displayed in Pittsburghs Carnegie Natural History Museum.

Over the past 110 years, much larger beasts have been unearthed around the world.

The new heavy-weight champions were discovered in Argentina. Like the Diplodocus, the fossil records are nearly complete. Argentinosaurus huinculensis is an astounding 39.7 meters long (130 ft.) and is estimated to have weighed 96.4 metric tons.

Much larger discoveries could be ahead. And new technologies may speed their discovery.

So, what happens when the scientific community announces the discovery of a dinosaur whose jaw is large enough to snap Argentinosaurus in two?

The problem isn’t what the Bible teaches. God very well could have created beasts twenty times larger than we’ve discovered to date. What we can’t do is wait—wait, that is, to stretch our own imagination—and then gently start stretching the imaginations of others.

In our lifetime, Diplodocus will continue looking smaller and smaller in comparison with the largest beasts known to have roamed the earth eons ago.  

So, how do we stretch the imagination?

1. Let’s indulge in plenty of good humor. Blaise Pascal said: “Nothing produces laughter more than a surprising disproportion between that which one expects and that which one sees.” Indeed!

2. Let’s continually cultivate humility. When new scientific announcements are made, we may want to say, “Who knew? Isn’t this fascinating? I can’t wait to learn more.” As well, we may want to add, “Imagine what we might discover in a few more years.”

3. Let’s pay attention to meta trends. The changing size of the largest known dinosaurs is one thing. The measurable size of the universe is another. True, we won’t ever reach the point of incredulity. Let’s not assume, however, that the same goes for everyone else. 

4. Let’s remind the public that these meta trends shouldn’t be seen as challenges, including challenges to the Christian faith. Newly established facts always stand atop a wealth of previous scientific findings. 

5. Let’s remind the Christian public that these trends shouldn’t be seen as threats to God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, Christianity, or the Church. Instead, let’s keep reaffirming that nothing—absolutely nothing—is too big for God to create.

Scriptures that stretch the imagination include this personal favorite from Isaiah 40. How good that we can thank God daily for his infinite greatness.


12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Glory through suffering? No, say it ain’t so, Joe...



Yesterday a friend mentioned on Facebook that he’s been meditating on the meaning of Romans 8:18, which says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I replied: Is “the glory that is to be revealed to us” in our heavenly future only? What of the glory of God in and through us here on earth?

Our sufferings now produce glory later—days, weeks, months and, yes, years later. They produce glory because only through such sufferings can we draw the closest to God’s heart this side of heaven.

I have suffered so deeply the past few years it sometimes makes my friends wince or cry when they see me. No, my visage isn’t marred. It’s that my wife, Renee, and I are more in love with God (and each other) than ever.

I wake up every morning and thank God for who He is, for His sovereignty, providence, holiness, love and mystery.

Believe me, I can’t wait for the glory to be revealed to us in heaven. What a day to be in God’s presence fully!

Yet I experience His presence more than ever now, and only because of my deep, deep sufferings here on earth. Suffering is the portal to the greatest closeness to God we can know in this life.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Don’t you love the cover of this book?

Surprisingly, the overriding question in biblical prophecy isn’t how the world is going to end. Instead, the big question is: How are you going to finish?

Wiped out? Or a survivor?

After all, “Silently and imperceptibly as we work or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak,” B. F. Westcott reminds us. So, how do we know which?

Author Jake McCandless aptly calls it a spiritual disaster.

I only wish I had read this book, Spiritual Prepper:Tapping into Overlooked Prophecies to Prepare You for Doomsday, before my own spiritual disaster.

My love for God, joy for life, and peace were shattered. In their place I felt angry, deceived, and desperate for a way out of my nightmare. In my despair, I doubted God’s character. Finally the day came I couldn’t read the Bible anymore. Not a single verse. I couldn’t pray, even over a meal. For days and weeks on end.

Experientially, I had lost my faith. Why? Because I had failed to heed the clear warnings of Scripture. And because I’d let the circumstances of life temporarily overshadow what I knew to be true. As a result, I couldn’t fall asleep at night. I couldn’t get rid of the stabbing pain in my chest. I was this close to my own spiritual doomsday.

Thankfully, God renewed my faith when I forced myself to open my Bible, read a verse, and honestly answer the question, “Do I believe it?” To my surprise, I said “yes.” It wasn’t a big “yes!” But it was enough to prompt me to read another verse, and then another. In time, God gave me a much stronger and more robust faith. Thanks to Him, and Him alone, a full-scale spiritual doomsday was narrowly averted.

Since then, I’ve talked with many other people about my experience. Even crazy places like UC Berkeley. Not because my story is dramatic, but because it’s true to life. 

Every Christian is seriously tempted, at one time or another, to lose his or her faith. If only I hadn’t overlooked some of the Bible’s most important prophecies.

Don’t wait until the day of crisis. Instead, push everything else aside and read this book cover to cover. Take its message seriously. And, above all, don’t put it back on a shelf. Instead, share it with your friends!  

Foreword by David Sanford, author of If God Disappears (SaltRiver, Tyndale House, 2008) and the brand-new book, Loving Your Neighbor: Surprise! It’s Not What You Think (Amazon CreateSpace, 2017). 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Love Chapter, 21st Century Version

Love. It’s not just for Valentine’s Day, marriage engagements, and weddings…
A Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
One of the Bible's Most Famous Passages

If I talk about the hypostatic union of the second person of the Trinitarian Godhead, and can exegetically analyze the word “propitiation” in the original Greek, but fail to ask about your needs and truly help you, I’m simply making a lot of empty religious noise.

If I graduate from a big-name theological seminary summa cum laude and know all the answers to questions you’ll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it…and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and have incredible answers to my prayers to prove it, but fail to take the time to find out where you’re at and what makes you laugh and why you cry, I’m a big fat zero.

If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for poor starving kids, and if I give my life for God’s service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once thinking about the people, the real hurting people—lonely and depressed and orphans and widows and divorced and singles and second moms and stepdads and adopted sons and foster daughters—if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to make it relevant to those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.

Here is what love is like…genuine love. God’s kind of love. It’s patient. It can wait. It helps others, even if they never find out who did it. Love doesn’t look for greener pastures or dream of how things could be better if I just got rid of all my current commitments. Love doesn’t boast. It doesn’t try to build itself up to be something it isn’t.

Love doesn’t act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn’t seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn’t lose its cool. It doesn’t turn on and off. Love doesn’t think about how bad the other person is, and certainly doesn’t think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply (as God is) over sin, but rejoices over truth. It gets excited when God’s Word is read, and learned, and believed, and lived.

Love comes and sits with you when you’re feeling down, and finds out what is wrong. It truly feels with you and believes in you. Love knows you’ll come through just as God planned, and love sticks right beside you all the way. Love doesn’t give up, or quit, or diminish, or go home. Love keeps on keeping on, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn’t seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time. That, my friend, is what real love is!

Copyright © 2017 David Sanford. David’s book and Bible projects have been published by Doubleday, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and Zondervan. Reprint permission is granted for free distribution of this article within places of worship and education, and within public websites and blogs, if this full credit is included. For other uses, please contact the author here.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thanks, Dr. Brent Strawsburg!


My thanks to Dr. Brent Strawsburg for his outstanding Apologetics seminars during Mission ConneXion(Yes, people were sitting on the floor, standing along the walls, and packed into the back of the room. Amazing!)


What a delight to walk into this room yesterday, get a big huge from my good friend Dr. Brent Strawsburg, meet his wife Cheri, and then watch Brent in action!

About 18 months ago I wrote this endorsement for Brent’s first book:

In its day, More than a Carpenter was the most accessible apologetics book you could read and share with others. Today, Footprints of Faith: Defending the Christian Faith in a Skeptical Age fills that same need. With a winsome conversation style and contemporary talking points, Brent has crafted what easily is my new #1 favorite apologetics book. Whatever you do, don’t put this on a bookshelf. Read it! Enjoy it! Share it!

I was delighted to see that Brent’s newest book, Journey of Faith: Helping People Navigate 50 Key Obstacles to Christianity, has been published. 

Three of Brent’s favorite notable quotables follow below.

“God has given enough reason in this world to make faith a most reasonable thing. But he has left out enough to make it impossible to live by reason alone.” Ravi Zacharias

“False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation or of the world to be controlled by ideas which, by the resistless force of logic, prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion.” J. Gresham Machen

“One of the most dangerous threats to young Christians is an honest question left unanswered... I’ve had multiple friends tell me that their beliefs began to crumble when they voiced sincere questions to a pastor or family member and were essentially told, ‘You just need to have more faith.’” William Lane Craig