A Fantastic Weekend At Bonnyville Alliance
On June 14-16, I got the chance to hang out with old friends and make new friends up in Northern Alberta. The congregation of Bonnyville Fellowship Alliance church was a joy to work with.
It once again reminded me of the importance of bringing apologetics to the local church level. I saw people equipped to reach their friends, family members and whoever else they encounter on mission in Northern Alberta.
Just wanted to say thanks to Pastor Steve McLean, his family, the Driedgers and everyone else in the community for all their support and encouragement. It was a wonderful weekend of ministry and I hope to return again.
After years of studying and a year of writing, editing, writing, praying, trashing, writing, editing, drawing and pleading for help, I am pleased to announce that my new book, Clear Minds & Dirty Feet is officially ready for release.
I have drawn from my database of apologetic resources, illustrated with my experiences, tapped my network, and am ready to share it. Here are some of the topics that I cover in it:
- Understand why everything starts with a person’s worldview.
- Cultural misconceptions about faith and science.
- Evidences for the existence of God.
- How God is love and not all will be saved.
- The exclusivity of Christianity.
- The Christian response to the problem of suffering and evil.
- How can we know there is life after death?
- Why the Christian message is worth sharing.
I have provided a a sample chapter called “Faith And Science: What All The Fuss Is About”.
Clear Minds & Dirty Feet has been published by Apologetics Canada Publishing and is available on Amazon today.
A Few Things I Learned About Dating
On May 31, 2013, Hayley and I, after dating a short while, decided we should get married. That is, I asked and she agreed. It was an amazing moment and we are excited to prepare for the rest of our lives together.
As I reflect on my journey to this point, there are a few half-baked ideas I want to share about dating. I’m sure more will be published in a book one day. There is a lot to be said. Here’s are three points I’ve learned:
1. Dating Can Be A Wonderful Experience
Even though you don’t really know the person, there can be a lot of excitement getting to know a member of the opposite sex. Thank God for this. When you think of how comfortable and intimate couples get with each other after many years of marriage, it is great that God has put excitement and “fun” into these early, awkward days of getting to know each other. Everything is interesting. Everything is new. It’s fun.
I have thoroughly enjoyed dating Hayley. I love opening doors for her, surprising her with flowers, leaving notes on her car, peppering her with silly and deep questions, listening to her dreams and praying for her. Though those things will never stop at engagement, our time dating was a season of discovery that I will always look back on with joy.
Dating can be very exciting. Dating can also be very broken. Since the life-long commitment is not yet there, sometimes dating goes horribly awry.
2. Dating Can Be A Very Broken Experience
I have thought a lot that if someone can design a process that doesn’t involve the pain caused by dating, I think they could become very rich, very quickly.
If you have dated much, you know it can be an awful experience.
At the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness. Now exposed for their true selves, they became ashamed of who they were, lost trust and hid from each other. The Bible says that they sewed fig leaves together in an effort to cover up their shame.
We all do the same today. Dating even encourages this kind of behaviour. Sometimes we hide who we are in light of promoting our best accomplishments, travel experiences, flattering character traits and everything else that we are proud about in ourselves. We say things we don’t really mean. We mean things we do not really say.
The process of dating is getting the courage to be who you really are; to slowly peel away the metaphorical fig leaves (with your clothes still on) in an effort to see if you can one day trust the other person with your naked self. To summarize what Tim Keller says in The Meaning Of Marriage, “To be fully known and accepted is our deepest desire. To be fully known and rejected is our greatest fear.”
In dating, you are essentially holding your heart out to a stranger and saying, “Here, you can take a look at this and do what you want with it.” Often we offer our hearts like this to people at an age when they are completely unable or unwilling it to cherish it with the care it deserves. Some will trample it. One will cherish it. It is no wonder the Bible says, “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).
I learned that you can abstain from sexual sin, do your best to honour Jesus with all your heart and yet still hurt another person very deeply, even while maintaining the best of intentions while doing so.
Dating is entering the risk of trying to sort out who is who: Is this the person who will trample or cherish my heart? Dear friends, proceed here with caution.
Since I have not come up with a better alternative that will work in Western culture, we are stuck with dating. If you can find an alternative and you will sell a lot of books and make millions. Thankfully, there is redemption available.
3. Dating Can Be A Redemptive Process
God is a redemptive God. He can make anything good. He promised the prohet Joel,
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
You can claim that verse over your past. God redeems history. He knows how broken all of us truly are. He can make good of any bad situation. He promises it.
I learned most about the redemption in the gospel because of my experiences dating. I learned how broken I am and how to interact with broken people. I learned that my biggest problem was not that I had not found “the one” but that I was a sinner. I learned that I, the winsome, Jon Morrison, was capable of really hurting God’s precious daughters. I was the common denominator whenever a relationship did not work out. I could blame no other than the person staring at me in the mirror. Owning your sin and sinful nature is the first step to repentance and restoration. This is because it is the first step towards Jesus.
I learned that the only solution for my sin problem was that I needed a Savior. Dating led me to Jesus. I could turn nowhere else.
While my friends were learning about their sinfulness and need for the gospel through their preaching, marriage, alcoholism, porn addictions or through raising kids, I was learning about it through dating. I learned the importance of being Grounded In The Gospel. I learned to renew my love for Jesus whose fountain filled with his shed blood for me never ran dry.
The Present Redemption
Thankfully and ironically, through the broken process of dating, that process I had grown to despise, God surprised me with a gift of grace at a time I would have never expected.
He slammed a door to do further studies at Oxford and then opened another for me at Apologetics Canada. That brought me to Northview Community Church which led me to meet Hayley. I chased her for awhile, we dated and then we got engaged. One day we will get married and seek to be a picture of Jesus’ relentless love for the church. She is a picture of redemption that I will always thank God for.
Once again, God has shown he is willing to give amazing grace to even a wretch like me. This gift of grace came as a result of my very own achilles heel, dating.
If you are single or wading through the murky waters of dating, may God can use this to teach you some amazing truths about himself and the good news that Jesus is good, sufficient and faithful. Remember that God knows you better than anyone and he fully loves you. He will redeem anything the locusts have eaten in your past.
For me, he has even redeemed the wonderfully, broken process of dating.
I could think of little else to write about today.
10 Ways To Ruin Your Talk
Here are 10 points that TED sends to its speakers as they prepare for their talks. I found it at the end of this great article: How To Give A Killer Presentation.
1. Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
2. Speak slowly and dramatically. Why talk when you can orate?
3. Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
4. Refer to your book repeatedly. Even better, quote yourself from it.
5. Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts.
6. Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
7. Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements.
8. Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
9. Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
10. Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.
This Poor Site
Sorry for the delay getting new content out. Life has been busy writing two books and blogging for two other sites, Apologetics Canada and Grounded In The Gospel.
Stay tuned for a brand new launch of JonMorrison.ca coming in the fall.
Thanks for your patience.
Dr Craig casting his vote at UBC student union building.
There was a very distinct and memorable moment when I had to step back (or adjust the stool I was sitting on) after I realized,
“Wow…I’m actually sharing the platform with William Lane Craig.”
I remember how when he visited us at Oxford how cool it was to ask him a question. Now I was asking him a bunch of questions…in front of 1400 people.
I had a funny epiphany while we were up there. I wanted to talk more than I did. That’s the way I get with microphones. I just like them. I always have really. Resisting the temptation to talk was important because people were there to see and hear from Dr. Craig. I was just helping facilitate that.
How often I do this with Jesus. The job of the Christian leader is not to draw attention to themself but to Jesus. The people are there to see Jesus. The people need to hear from Jesus. The people want Jesus.
Give them Jesus.
And we should just be giddy and blown away that we get to be a part of it.
That’s the way I felt while interviewing Dr. Craig.
And that’s how I feel dreaming about what God is doing with Apologetics Canada.
An Answer For Every Generation
Here is why I have dedicated this season of life to helping churches heighten the evangelistic and intellectual climate of their culture. This quote by late Christian apologists is fitting:
“It is unreasonable to expect people of the next generation in any age to continue in the historic Christian position, unless they are helped to see where arguments and connotations directed against Christianity and against them as Christians, by their generation, are fallacious. We must prepare Christian young people to face the monolithic twentieth-century culture by teaching them what the particular attack in our generation is, in contrast to the attacks of previous generations.”
-Francis Schaeffer (The God Who Is There, p151)
Here is a helpful apologetic for apologetics.
Watch this inspiring three minute video of how God used the ministry of Ravi Zacharias and then John Piper to transform a cocaine addict.
An Important Update
I am pleased to announce that I am joining the team at Apologetics Canada, partnering with my good friend, Andy Steiger.
Andy and I worked together at the first apologetics conference held at Coquitlam Alliance Church back in March 2010. We enjoyed early success despite the many who back in those days suggested that there was no “market” for an apologetics ministry anymore.
Since then God has opened doors for Andy including more ministry opportunities than he has time for.
I am keen to be a part of what God is doing. I have always been an evangelist at heart. I love to help people work through the hurdles that stand in the way between committing their lives to Christ. This position will allow me to have more time to teach, write and organize events that encourage this. I am excited to see what God will do in the coming days as Andy and I partner together in this.
For now we are focussing our efforts on the Apologetics Canada Conference coming March 1 and 2. I am thrilled to be hosting Dr. William Lane Craig (a hero of mine); Homicide detective, Jim Wallace; and Dr. Andy Bannister (from RZIM Canada). My friend Chris Price and I will also be teaming up once again to talk about combining apologetics with youth ministry. It is going to be an amazing weekend at Northview Community Church.
You should make sure you do not miss out and sign up today so we know you are coming.
Please take a moment to pause and pray for us that Jesus would lead us, open up doors and that many people will come to know the truth and that this truth would set them free.
What The Mona Lisa Says About You
I recently read a story about a man who was in Paris at the well known art museum, the Louvre. His friends back home strongly suggested he visit Leonardo Da Vinci’s popular work, the Mona Lisa.
After looking at the picture for some time, he frowned and exclaimed out loud, “I do not like it.” The guard who was stationed beside the painting replied to the tourist,
“Sir, these paintings are no longer being judged. The viewers are.”
It is the same thing with the Bible. It is not up for being judged. Only its readers are. The question is what kind of reader we will all be. It is our role to humbly place ourselves under God’s word and submit to its authority over our lives.
Dr. Wayne Grudem writes,
“The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.*”
If the Bible is God-breathed to us (2 Timothy 3:16) and if Jesus is God, the logic follows that all of the Bible was inspired by Jesus. Avoid the trap to think only the “red letters” from Matthew to John are Jesus’ words. Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 are Jesus’ words and therefore, should hold authority over our lives.
* Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008) See Chapter 4.
Courage Requires Fear
I read this post today and thought I would pass it on. Is there anything in your life that you are afraid of today? Good news, this is your chance to exercise courage.
We all want to be courageous, it takes the presence of fear to exercise the courage muscle. Team up with the one who tells you, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.” (Joshua 1:9).
Take a moment and give that fear a good kick and make the courageous decision.
Here is the article.
I Never Tire Of This
I recently spoke at a retreat led by one of my old (loosely used term) friend, Joe Chan. Joe recently sent me this email that made my day,
I just want to let you know… that two of my teens are getting baptized and both of them referred your talks and their experience at our youth retreat as part of the push to recommit to Christ.
That’s great news. Just a simple email was a huge boost to an already great day.
I don’t know what I said that impacted these students but it must have helped. I know what Joe said and I know that it helped. Let’s never underestimate the difference that a few minutes and words can make on another person’s life.