My daughter's a 21-Pilots fan. Proof: today she bought pre-sales tickets to their December show, where they will play music she hasn’t even heard yet because their album isn’t due out until next month. What if their new album is a terrible disappointment? She might have to sit through a whole concert of terrible music...
But her purchase is an act of faith. The good kind: reasonable, not blind. The kind that makes for good relationships. There's not an iron-clad guarantee but there are enough reasons to make it worthy of trust.
Her faith is based on good reasons: their prior performances, the music she has already heard, the interactions she has already enjoyed in the fandom, their demonstrated trustworthiness as people to date. So she has good reasons to trust that the boys will deliver a concert worth the price of entry. So she bought in.
My faith is based on good reasons: God’s prior performances (in demonstrably reliable histories, writings and prophecies), the ‘music’ I have heard already in this life (the good, true, beautiful, life-giving ways that really work), the interactions with God I have already enjoyed alone and together with other believers, the demonstrated trustworthiness and wisdom of God’s character. I have plenty of good reasons to trust that God will deliver a Life worth whatever price he asks of me. So I bought in.
Some disparage “faith” per se as if it is blind, based on nothing. Some people seem to blindly believe cliches and assumptions, but these days I’d say that's far more likely among the agnostics of main-stream culture than among the Christians who go against the flow. Most Christians I know have had to challenge the mainstream cliches and assumptions, and have come to my daughter’s kind of faith, a reasonable and well-founded relationship.
When people actually examine the reasons for this kind of faith, they often become ready to buy in.
The Limits of Proof
The Phenomenal and the Noumenal - Noumenal realities are important and life-directing. Yet the more noumenal a reality is, the greater the need for good and sufficient reasons. Good reasons are there. Go get 'em.
Is the church better or worse than most people think?
The Centre for Public Christianity has produced a massive resource on that topic. It's hours of good stuff, more than enough.
But don't miss all the other material CPX has on other topics too. There's a search bar for libraries of articles, videos and podcasts on:
In my work I focus mostly on the Foundations. How we know that the basics of Christianity are true - that God exists, that the Bible is reliable, and that Jesus rose from the dead. And how these truths fit together to make a really solid and positive foundation for your life. Core Stuff and Boost. The bare minimum info, skills, and relationship that teens really need before they leave home.
I believe if you keep this Core Stuff central to your life, you'll be far less likely to distort good things into bad.
But then what comes next?
Good answers are there. Go get 'em!
The theme for 2018's Banksia Grove Family Camp was "Through Heaven's Eyes." Using this graphic and the movie Prince of Egypt we learned that through Heaven's Eyes we can see: WHOLE truth, with our heart, mind, soul, strength, not just a selfish fragment; WORTH of people; WONDERS of God all around us; WORLD history as HIStory.
Families worked together on: a family crest (depicting your family values heart, mind, soul, strength); sock doorstops for each valued family member; white-crayon paintings showing where God is at work perhaps unseen; and a 7-Color Story booklet showing the arc of all good stories, of the Gospel, and of Biblical/World History.
As usual Camp was a great boost for the relationships between families, between family members, and between us and God. This year saw the further development of about 8 high quality young adults, developed at Cheers, now taking on much of the responsibilities that make camp run. This made it that much easier for all concerned. The same young adults also are playing various roles in delivering BOOST to other young people. They are advancing along The Pathway.
Last year we were joined by a gentle soul with a true prophetic gift, having died, visited, and returned from heaven. We were just beginning our study of Revelation, and she could confirm numerous aspects of it for us. So unassuming, she's a real blessing. Also, early this year we had a new family move in to the neighbourhood with a fully functional Christian mum & dad. Sadly that's a rarity where we live, and we are thanking God that they've thrown their lot in with us.
We continue to look to God for the nooks and crannies to bless and benefit Banksia Grove and beyond. The life in this movement is wonderful to be a part of. We continue to work and pray for open hearts with whom to share the Gospel of Jesus, and for some of our trainees who are becoming trainers to launch and multiply elsewhere what God is doing here.
I returned to Israel in March 2017 (having first visited in 2013) to personally show 18 Aussies the Core Sites of the Core Stuff - where the key events occurred that founded Christianity on solid, historical foundations.
As tour leader, I had less time to process the journey, but on the upside I could take the tour where I wanted to go in the time available. We squeezed a lot in - maybe too much if you count that one time I forgot lunch! But it was worth it!
It became a presentation, CSI: Christ Scene Investigation. We personally investigated how the sites agree with the texts of the Core Stuff. We saw for ourselves:
Looking back so far this year...
Church 247 continues Sunday afternoons at the Banksia Grove community Centre. It has settled into a routine based on Discovery Bible Study, Looking Back (did you do what you said you would last time?) Looking Up (prayer, worship, Bible Study, listening for what God is saying to us), Looking Forward (planning to obey that word, community announcements, engaging with the neighbourhood). We've worked through Mark, now a series on varieties of mission (including doing Clean Up Day and Tree Day in our time slot), and look likely to tackle Revelation in term 4.
Cheers' Family Camp theme was Hearty Times, appreciating the role of various emotions, based on the Bible, using the movie Inside Out. We learned that:
From J-Walkers to J-Workers.
Building from last year's theme, Keep Moving Forward, we have been training the young people forward along a pathway toward leadership and mission. They are no longer just Walking with Jesus, they are also Working with Jesus - J-Workers. They run their own studies, help run Church 247, get involved in blessing and benefiting their neighbourhoods, schools, and workplaces. They are now beginning to step into camp leadership roles. This training is open to all ages, but it is mostly young adults attending - and growing forward. This is where BOOST is beta tested.
Previous Cheers logs back to the beginnings in 2003 can be found here.