PUEBLA 2020: A Well-Spent Week Comes To A Close With A Blessing

This year marked the fifth in the past six that I have joined a devoted and talented team of nearly two dozen men and women who are present and former members of Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) in Sykesville, Md., on a week-long mission to Puebla, Mexico.

Sunday breakfast in Puebla 2020.

At the outset, let me be clear that my saying this is not “virtue signaling” on my part. That God led me for the first time to go on this mission trip in 2015 was in itself a miracle and concrete evidence of how radically He has transformed a previously selfish, booze-addicted and politics-obsessed egotist with a new heart and desire to love and serve Him, my family, fellow believers, and my neighbors. I get zero credit here, it’s all to His credit and glory.

Led by Senior Pastor Mark Massey beginning in 2001, the FBC mission team has worked with the extraordinary pastors, members and friends of Hananeel Baptist Church in Puebla in building a facility that began as a small garage and is now a beautiful sanctuary, classroom building and courtyard. Continue reading “PUEBLA 2020: A Well-Spent Week Comes To A Close With A Blessing”

PUEBLA 2020: Monday Is Mexico’s Constitution Day And WorkDay One At Hananeel

Fireworks are heard pretty much all day and late into the night on Constitution Day in Puebla, Mexico, to commemorate the 1917 Constitution that was adopted on February 5, 1917. The holiday is celebrated the first Monday in February.

Welders connecting josts and putlins on the Hananeel Baptist Church’s sanctuary building roof.

For the Friendship mission crew, Monday is also the first workday and it is inevitably a little disorganized.

But it’s a great day as old friendships are renewed, work plans are agreed upon, and crews organized.

This year, our main construction task is to erect a roof on the third floor of the main sanctuary building. So much of the work is done manually in order to keep costs down, which makes it harder but it also makes for wonderful, long-lasting fellowship.

The welding crew today is connecting the josts and purlins to create the skeleton for the roof, then we will be hefting the actual metal roofing sections up to the third floor to then be attached and sealed. We’ve had very few injuries over the years, but all prayers are appreciated, as a bunch of us will be working up high on scaffolds during the week.

Our main evangelism tasks include daily trips to the market to buy fruits and bakery goods for the morning break, plus a medical clinic for pregnant mothers, soccer clinics led by Pastor Nevil Johnson and, my personal favorite, talking to passersby about the Lord. I say my favorite because I am convinced the typical Mexican is among the friendliest people on Earth.

In one especially striking encounter earlier today, an older man who was clearing a lot of vegetation and assorted junk, by hand, from a nearby lot came over to us and explained “I have to do this kind of work because I didn’t go to school.”

Hananeel Baptist Church’s congregation worshiping.

When he was shown the red and green cards that appear to be different sizes, he asked a great question when shown the appearance of one being bigger than the other was an optical illusion.

His question (in Spanish) was this: “How can I see the Lord when I can’t see the difference between the red card and the green card?” I explained that Jesus is no optical illusion because He opens our eyes to see ourselves as we truly are and our need for His saving grace (See John 3:16-20).

A little while later, we saw the man sharing the optical illusion cards with some of his co-workers!

More to come.


 

THINK ABOUT THIS: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? Here Are The Facts, Part 2

Critics and skeptics over the centuries have come up with a multitude of theories attempting to discount the claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after His death on the cross.

These theories fall into four primary categories:

  • Some sort of conspiracy.
  • He only appeared to have died.
  • Somebody moved His body without telling the disciples.
  • There were hallucinations.

In Part 2 of the Reasonable Faith video looking at the facts about the claim Jesus rose from the dead, each of these theories is addressed head-on and shown to be a less satisfactory explanation for the undisputed truth about the death of Jesus:

If you missed it, Part 1 was posted yesterday here on HillFaith. If you have questions about anything you heard in either video, please tell us about it in the comments.

Christians Are Just A Bunch Of Gullible Bible Thumpers, Right?

Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallaces Responds to a great question during a recent conversation on the campus of Ohio State University

That question posed in the headline above is a commonplace criticism one often hears in the media, on campus, and in a wide range of public forums in America.

You saw a typical example of this sort of ad hominem on Sunday if you happen to have watched “Meet The Press” when NBC’s Chuck Todd read a letter-to-the-editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald claiming people who believe Noah’s Ark actually existed are typically Trump supporters.

But this isn’t a new argument, as J. Warner Wallace explains during a recent presentation at Ohio State University. In the process, he addresses these key questions: “Why do Christian believe in – and expect – an afterlife? Is our belief in Heaven and Hell based purely on the teaching of the Bible? Is there any other good reason to expect a life beyond the grave?”


Here’s What To Expect On HillFaith In 2020!

Drink Too Much, Then Joke About China’s Police. See What Happens

The Chinese Communist regime in Beijing has launched a massive campaign against the growing movement of Christians and their churches across China.

People are forced to leave services, pastors are arrested and sent to prison, and church buildings are demolished by bulldozers. All for the crime of professing an unapproved religious faith.

But what happens in China if you merely drink too much and say something critical of the police in a “private” chat room? Watch this leaked video of the interrogation of a man whose only crime was doing just that. Notice the shackle chair in which he is held, defenseless:

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Is This How You Would React To A Big Setback At Work?

Quarterback Nick Foles went from being Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 to breaking his clavicle in his first game with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year.

To put Foles’ situation in a congressional staff context, imagine getting a big promotion from a good job on an important House staff to a bigger Senate slot that pays more and demands everything you’ve got.

Then a couple of weeks after starting, the chief of staff who hired you leaves and the new guy has his own favorite for the position you just took over. You can see where it’s going and it ain’t looking good.

So how do you react? Check out this video of Foles laying out his reactions for reporters to an injury that sidelined him at just about the worst possible time:

New Biopic Reveals Faith That Led This Courageous Freedom Fighter To Liberate Slaves

Can you guess what location this describes?

“These environments were hostile in so many ways for a person who may or may not have had shoes on, or warm clothing, or a place to sleep. They had to really hide themselves in bushes and marshes. It’s incredible what they were able to do to survive.”

“Harriett” opened in theaters across the nation on November 1.

Vietnam? Africa maybe? How about the United States of America, somewhere before the Civil War when Harriet Tubman was running slaves in the Antebellum South on the underground railroad to freedom in the North.

You’ve likely heard about Tubman, but odds are you have no idea how her Christian faith was the key to understanding her passion for liberating slaves and the amazing courage she repeatedly displayed in doing so. Continue reading “New Biopic Reveals Faith That Led This Courageous Freedom Fighter To Liberate Slaves”

Here Are Three Reasons To Reject Christianity

Bet that headline caught you by surprise. After all, why would it appear on HillFaith, which is devoted to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the men and women who work on congressional staffs?

Looking for the truth? (Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash)

Okay, I admit it, I’ve been a little deceptive. The post on iApologia by Daniel Currier I am about to encourage you to read does deal with three reasons people often give for rejecting or leaving the Christian.

But these aren’t evidential reasons, which, if you are intellectually honest, would be the only kind that could justify such a decision. Jesus existed in history, the evidence for His resurrection is abundant, as is the testimony for His having a far bigger and comprehensively positive impact on, literally, billions of people since His brief 33 years on this earth ended.

I won’t tell you the three reasons Currier addresses, but I will share this from his conclusion: Continue reading “Here Are Three Reasons To Reject Christianity”

Thousands Respond To Altar Call During Kanye West’s Baton Rouge ‘Sunday Service’

Baton Rouge Sunday Service (Screen shot from Instagram).

Something genuinely significant appears to be occurring in connection with Kanye West and his ‘Sunday Service’ evangelism events, with “thousands” reportedly responding to the altar call in Baton Rouge Friday evening.

“’Tonight, worship was lifted, the name of Christ was exalted, the Word of God was preached, a multitude prayed together, the Gospel was clearly proclaimed, and an opportunity to respond was given,’ Faithwire’s Lindsay Elizabeth reports Saturday, quoting an Instagram post by a local pastor who described it in detail while attending the event. Continue reading “Thousands Respond To Altar Call During Kanye West’s Baton Rouge ‘Sunday Service’”

Huge Spike In Google Searches On ‘Jesus,’ ‘Christian Beliefs’ Due To Kanye West’s Conversion

This post is all Kanye, all the time

Kanye West’s latest album — “Jesus Is King” — appears to be generating big cultural waves being felt on the Internet, according to reporting by Faithwire Editor Tre Goins-Phillips.

Kanye West speaks during Sunday Service at Howard University (Screen shot from YouTube).

“The 11-track album is chockfull of Bible references, and according to Bible Gateway, online searches for Scripture passages and faith-based phrases in the songs have spiked since the record was released in late October,” Goins-Phillips said.

There was also a leap in searches for “What do Christians believe?” and “Jesus,” he said.

There was so much Internet activity that the American Bible Society decided to offer a free copy of the most-read book in history to anybody asking here. But wait, there is more on the jump! Continue reading “Huge Spike In Google Searches On ‘Jesus,’ ‘Christian Beliefs’ Due To Kanye West’s Conversion”

If You Think Aliens May Exist, God Can Get To You, Too

Read that headline again because it probably doesn’t suggest what you thought it did the first time through. That is, it’s NOT suggesting that if you think there are little green men somewhere “out there,” you must also believe God exists.

Free-Thinking Ministries’ Timothy Fox (Screen shot from the blog).

Now, check out this logic from Timothy Fox, one of the proprietors of the Free Thinking Ministries blog, in an illuminating post on Dr. Sean McDowell’s blog entitled “Aliens and the Existence of God”:

“So how could we demonstrate that God does not exist? Aliens are physical beings and so we must seek physical, scientific evidence of their existence. Continue reading “If You Think Aliens May Exist, God Can Get To You, Too”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Just One-Third Of Young Adults Feel ‘Deeply Cared-For By Those Around Me.’ Is Social Media The Culprit?

A major new survey of nearly 16,000 young adults aged 18 to 35 years old living in 25 countries around the world turned up numerous positive trends but it revealed some genuinely worrisome news as well.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

The survey — entitled “The Connected Generation” — was conducted collaboratively by World Vision, the Washington-based “global Christian humanitarian organization” for sponsoring a child, and The Barna Group, the California-based demographic research firm, and was released last month.

The genuinely worrisome news coming out of the survey is the extraordinarily low number of respondents who “often feel deeply cared-for by those around me” (33 percent) and who “often feel someone believes in me” (32 percent). Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Just One-Third Of Young Adults Feel ‘Deeply Cared-For By Those Around Me.’ Is Social Media The Culprit?”

THINK ABOUT THIS: Would You Give Up Everything For Your Boss?

If your boss called you into his or her office today and told you that, since nothing else matters as much as winning the allegiance of voters, you must sell all of your possessions, say goodbye to your friends and family, and focus your every ounce of strength and waking hour on the campaign until election day,  would you do it?

HillFaith founder and editor, Mark Tapscott

Think about it: If the boss doesn’t win another term, you are out of a job. If you are out of a job, how are you going to pay the rent, buy food and clothes, or take care of your family if you have one?

And will you ever be able to get your career back on track after such a setback? What does it mean for your plan someday to go back home and run for Congress yourself? Continue reading “THINK ABOUT THIS: Would You Give Up Everything For Your Boss?”

THINK ABOUT THIS: Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’

“That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

So what say you?

THINK ABOUT THIS: Four Serious Questions To Ask Yourself If You’re Considering Christianity

Big decisions normally require lots of thought before being made in order to make the best one possible, and nowhere is that more true than in deciding what you think and do about Christianity.

Evan Minton of crossexamined.org offers four questions that anyone who is looking at Christianity should ask themselves before making a decision one way or the other about whether they will accept it, reject it or simply ignore it.

The first of Minton’s four questions is this: “Question 1: If I Knew Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Christianity Were True, Would I Follow Christ?” This is not a decision lightly to be made, as it will affect every part of your life. Go here to see how Minton’s answers that and his other three questions.