Darwin Debate

On February 12, 2009, Kyle Butt, editor of Discovery magazine for Apologetics Press, participated in debate with Dan Barker over the existence of God. For many weeks this debate was available online at the Apologetics Press website. It is now available on DVD through www.apologeticspress.org. I highly recommend it. If you are not familiar with Kyle, he is a member of the Lord’s church and a accomplish writer and speaker. The following is a note from Kyle which can be viewed at www.apologeticspress.org. If interested the DVD can be purchased here.

In Him,
Tyrel Hatfield
Little Acorn


A Personal Note About the Darwin Day Debate
by Kyle Butt, M.A.

DDDDVD
As most of our readers are aware, I participated in a debate February 12, 2009 in which I defended the existence of the God of the Bible. My opponent was Dan Barker, the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the largest atheistic organization in North America. The debate took place on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. The venue for the debate held 550 people. It was filled to capacity, and several came that could not get in due to fire regulations. From what I can gather, there were probably about 650-700 who showed up. The entire debate lasted about two hours with alternating speeches from Dan and me and an audience question segment that lasted about 30 minutes.

We don’t have any precise records as to the make-up of the audience, but in my estimation, it looked as though there were about 400 members of the Church in attendance, with another 50 or so Christians who could not get in due to seating limitations. Many of the Christians traveled several hundred miles, driving for 6-8 hours to be in attendance. Several congregations brought bus loads of people, some even chartered buses. It was truly energizing to see so many Christians who cared enough to spend their valuable time and money to be there to support the Lord’s cause.

Months before the debate, Christians all over the world had been including the debate in their personal prayers as well as congregational prayers. From what I have been able to gather, literally thousands of Christians, some from other countries, were praying for the success of the debate. As the debate got closer, many Christians fasted and spent hours praying specifically for the truth to be obvious and God’s name to be glorified.

We arranged for Apologetics Press to have a table set up at the debate, from which we distributed material. We passed out information about A.P., as well as articles and books that addressed the specific arguments that were part of the debate. In all, we gave away about $5,000 worth of materials (of course, this was only possible through the generous donations of our supporters). We also gave people the opportunity to sign-up for weekly e-mail updates, and we made hundreds of personal contacts with other members of the church, those in denominations, and those in the skeptical community. We have already been involved in several e-mail, postal mail, and phone exchanges that stemmed from the debate, and we anticipate many more opportunities in the upcoming months and years to spread the truth because of the networking done at the debate.

I had about six months to prepare for the debate. During that time, I tried to watch each of Dan’s debates on the subject, as well as read all his books and many of his articles or other writings. I also found various Web sites that addressed Dan’s specific arguments. Thomas Baxley, a senior at Faulkner University who was interning with us at the time, also watched the Barker debates and helped me tremendously in narrowing down the material to be used during the debate. For the six months of preparation, my co-workers Eric Lyons, Dave Miller, and Caleb Colley, picked up most of my other writing responsibilities for our monthly journals and our Web site. I am extremely grateful for their extra effort that allowed me to stay focused on the debate.

My overall assessment of the debate is that it was a huge success on several different levels. First, I believe it invigorated the Lord’s Church, and reminded our people that New Testament Christianity is founded on truth and reason, and can stand against and defeat the best that the atheistic, unbelieving world has to offer. Second, it also manifested what the Lord’s Church can do when we work together. The prayers offered up to God, the financial support given to Apologetics Press, and the personal presence of so many Christians were an overwhelming testimony to the fact that the church of Jesus Christ is alive and well in the United States of America and is not afraid to stand up and be counted for His cause. Third, the debate helped show some of those in the skeptical community that rational, logical arguments undergird the Christian faith, and that those arguments are powerful and respect the dignity and God-given freedom of choice for all humanity.

Finally, and most important, it needs to be stressed to the point of redundancy that anything good that has been or will be accomplished by the debate must be attributed to the God of the Bible Whose existence I defended. It is His truth that was presented, His providential hand worked out the arrangements for the debate to transpire, and His strength and power, accessed by the prayers of thousands of faithful Christians, support those who are employed in defending His cause. We must always remember, that no matter what part we play in furthering the Lord’s Kingdom, at the end of the day, we are merely servants of the Most High who are doing what it is our duty to do (Luke 17:10). To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Copyright © 2009 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

For a catalog, samples, or further information, contact about the Darwin Debate DVD Please contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558
http://www.apologeticspress.org
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CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
January 5
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 10-11; Matthew 5:1-16

CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?
Devotional Text: Genesis 11:1-9


Here’s a fun group exercise everyone will enjoy. For the next two minutes, each person in the group needs to make up their own language. Think of fun, unique words that no one else will understand. On the count of three, begin speaking to one another in your own language. Give someone directions, tell them how your day went, tell someone how much you love them. Just communicate the best way you can. Now, on the count of one, two, three…..!

Making up words is fun, isn’t it? Did anyone figure out what you were trying to say? Did you understand anyone else? Think of how the room sounded when everyone was talking at once. Chances are it was loud and confusing. That’s exactly what the descendants of Noah heard when God confused their language while they were building a great tower and city. But why confuse their efforts when they were just working to be closer to God?

First, it was always God’s intention that man multiply on the earth (Genesis 8:17). Second, man’s efforts to build a great city and tower were not to glorify God, but are summed up in these words, “Come let us build for ourselves...” (Genesis 11:4).

They were building a great tower to be closer to the heavens, but it was really for their own glorification, not for the glory of God. Our God is mightier and more powerful than anything man can build. That’s why our God had to “come down” (Genesis 11:5) in order to see the highest thing that man could build. God imposed His will and man was forced to scatter abroad. When you begin to delight in your own accomplishments, don’t be confused about who’s in control.
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Are You Happy?

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 5
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 10-11; Matthew 5:1-16

Are You Happy?
Devotional Text: Matthew 5:3-12

What makes you happy? For most folks it has something to do with circumstances; doing the things I enjoy, being treated well by the important people in my life (spouse, friends, co-workers, boss, etc.), success by my favorite sports team, etc. Sometimes the beginning of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as the “Beatitudes,” is reduced to a formula for happiness. Some translations even use the word “happy” instead of “blessed.” It seems as though people would have to radically alter their concept of happiness for that to be a very good expression of what Jesus is getting at.

There is a great difference between being happy (as typically understood) and being blessed by God. For one thing, we are going to have to recognize the greater value of being blessed than being happy. That certainly is not to say there is no happiness in following Jesus. But to be sure, being blessed is not the shallow, finicky happiness that serves as the typical object of people’s pursuits. The “joy of the Lord” (Nehemiah 8:10) remains even in the presence of unpleasant circumstances (note the conditions described in Hebrews 11:32-38).

Blessedness can be found where happiness may not. For instance, God’s blessing is found in poverty of spirit, mourning, and persecution for righteousness’ sake. Also, there may be no “blessedness” where happiness is sought (i.e., pleasure of sin, self-indulgence, works of the flesh, etc.).

Jesus proclaimed the approach of His kingdom (Matthew 4:17). His famous sermon was about life in that kingdom. When He returns one day, He’s going to gather those who are in that kingdom to deliver them over to God (1 Corinthians 15:24). Those people will be identified not as ones who found happiness, but those “blessed of my Father” (Matthew 25:34).
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Sometimes It's Hard

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 2
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 3-4; Matthew 2

Sometimes It’s Hard
Devotional Text: Matthew 2:16-18


A recent survey conducted by a major news magazine has found that 79% of Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Sure, it would be nice if that number were higher, but it is rather astounding considering the consistent bashing the Bible and Christianity have taken in the mainstream public for many years. Though many aspects of Jesus’ life and teaching have not attained such a high level of acceptance, the accounts of His birth are widely acknowledged (witness the Christmas celebrations each December).

The arrival of Jesus on earth is a story that continues to thrill the human heart. But let’s not be too taken by all of this. Not everyone is excited to hear about Jesus’ arrival. What was good news to the magi (wise men) was troubling news to Herod and turned into very sad news in Bethlehem. The excitement of the birth of the king of the Jews was soon drowned in the tears of “weeping and great mourning.”

Not everyone is glad to hear that Jesus has come. To those who love the darkness rather than the light, to those who would love their lives rather than loose them, to those whose treasures are on earth rather than heaven, news of Jesus arrival is not well received.

Blessedness, joy, and peace are all part of the Christian experience, but there is a hard side as well. Jesus talked about his followers being hated, insulted, ostracized and persecuted (Matthew 10:22; Luke 6:22; Matthew 5:10-11). We should not pursue the former and be surprised when we find the latter as well. If all we want from our faith is pleasantness and tranquility, following Jesus will be a bitter disappointment. It is not this life, but the next, that promises “joy inexpressible” and “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (1 Peter 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:18).
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Building Character

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
March 9
Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 5 – 6; Romans 5

Building character
Devotional Text: Romans 5:3,4


I’ve learned many lessons in my short time on earth. I’ve learned that stove tops will burn you when turned on, I’ve learned that trash does not take itself out, and I’ve learned that “cuttin’ wood” builds character. “Building my character” seemed to be my dad’s favorite pastime. He would wait and take his vacation time when my brothers and I were out of school on fall break so we could all go “cut wood.” Our father was a sick man with a sick sense of humor. “Why do we have to cut wood?” we would bellyache. “Because it builds character!” was always his response. Builds character? How was “cuttin’ wood” going to build character?! But never-the-less, “cuttin’ wood” was much better that a “whippin’ and cuttin’ wood”, so I always made the right decision.

As much as it kills me to admit it, dad was right. Those miserable fall breaks spent “cuttin’ wood” did build character. They assisted in shaping the person I am today. When we are placed in situations like this we can learn many things from it. I learned the value of hard work, endurance, and submission to my father’s will. I even learned how to handle an axe. In view of the discipline and submission I learned from my father, how much more should I submit to my Heavenly Father? Listen to Hebrews 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” Our earthly parents are parents of our bodies, but God is the author of our spiritual life. Through events and trials in our lives, he molds and makes us. And how we respond to these events reveals our character. When faced with events in my life that don’t fit my agenda, I need to remind myself who’s in charge. (Read devotional text) So next time your parents give you a job you’re not happy with, just be happy and think, “I’m building character!”
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Take time to pray

This video is taken from our Danny Do-Right & Dastardly Phil DVD and is a part of our Righteous Roundup VBS.
To review Righteous Roundup, visit our VBS website.

“Take Time to Pray”
It’s snack time! But when Danny Do-Right encourages the young boys to first thank God for their blessings, he quickly discovers someone else has different plans. No matter how hard Dastardly Phil tries to distract them, Danny’s persistence to thank God wins. A hilarious and delightful film for everyone!

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A Need to Escape

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
December 1
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 46-48; 2 Peter 1

A Need to Escape
Devotional Text: 2 Peter 1:4


How likely is it that a person will escape danger if they are unaware the danger exists? Pretty slight, huh? And what if that person actually views as good that which is in reality a danger? This is precisely the scenario regarding man’s spiritual condition living in this world. Peter says that corruption is in this world and that it must be escaped. Wouldn’t corruption be obvious to all and easily avoided? The problem is that this corruption is “by lust.” That is, by our fleshly desire. The fundamental struggle of human existence is between the flesh and the spirit. They are “in opposition to one another” (Gal. 5:17). Fleshly lusts “wage war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).

The world preaches indulgence. God teaches self-control. When we embrace the corruption that is in the world by lust we have befriended the world and thus become God’s enemy (James 4:4). When we embrace the world, we love it and therefore are without God’s love (1 John 2:15).

So, in order to escape, we’ve got to be “partakers of the divine nature.” That sounds like an awfully tall order. But the fact is Peter explains how this happens: when we are diligent to supply moral excellence to our faith, and to that, knowledge, and to that, self-control, and so on (2 Pet. 1:5-7). In that way, we are able to make sure we are both fruitful and useful (v. 8).

Ironic isn’t it? People embracing what needs to be escaped and people loving what makes them God’s enemy?
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Captain VBS vs. Grouchy Rooster

Many of you participated in Christian Academy last year. Help us spread the word about Captain VBS, the Grouchy Rooster, and this great VBS program by sharing our You Tube video promo. Any comments you would like to make about your VBS success will go a long ways in helping us promote this material. Thanks for your support!

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Righteous Roundup VBS

Hello everyone,

We apologize for being so quiet lately. We have been very busy putting the final touches on our fourth VBS program, Righteous Roundup. We are so excited about this year's VBS and pray that it will be a blessing to all that use it. Along with this year's VBS we have put together 4 short films to promote each day's theme. Here is Day two's, "Bearing Good Fruit", starring Danny Do-Right & Dastardly Phil. Enjoy!



To review Righteous Roundup, visit our VBS website.

God Bless!
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Charge it

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Justin Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

Charge it
Devotional Text: Philemon 1:17-18


I was walking behind my parents. Dad was off to the side checking out the sales on the two liters of soda, while Mom was up ahead with the cart busily selecting items from the shelves and checking them off her list. Having been excluded from this absurd ritual known as “Grocery Shopping,” I was completely bored. To amuse myself I began poking holes in packages of hamburger meat in the display case. (To this day I don’t exactly know WHY I thought this would be a good idea.) Mom, wondering what I was doing, turned around and my hamburger package destroying days came to a screeching halt. Too late, the damage had been done. Ten packs of thoroughly poked hamburger meat lay before me.

I couldn’t afford to pay for all of that meat, so my parents paid it for me. My wrong was charged to my parents. In Paul’s letter to Philemon he writes about Onesimus, “if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (Philemon 1:18). Amazingly, Paul says he wants to be charged for wrong things that Onesimus has done. Like my parents, Paul is willing to pay the price for something he didn’t do. Does this attitude remind you of anyone? Exactly! Christ has done the same thing for us!

Christ has taken the blame for us. We’ve messed up and poked holes in the hamburger of life, but Christ is the one who is paying for it and He has done so willingly. Why do you think my parents paid for all of that hamburger meat for me? Why do you think Paul was willing to take responsibility for Onesimus’ wrongs? Why did Christ pay the ultimate price for so many people? The answer is the same, because of love. Love is the reason that Christ has looked at our sins, yours and mine, and said “Charge it, to MY account.”
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“Having Loved This Present World”

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

“Having Loved This Present World”
Devotional Text: Philemon 20-24


One of the tragic characters of the New Testament is Demas. There are three references to him in Paul’s letters, but those three statements have a story to tell. In the first instance Paul included Demas in a list which he called “my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). In the next reference he was simply “Demas” (Col. 4:14). On the third mention the imprisoned Apostle said, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10).

The story of Demas is the sad history of a worker for the Lord who was led astray by his love for this material world. Every servant of the Lord should learn some lasting lessons from him.

Love for the world will cause one to forsake the Lord. By “the world” we do not mean mankind nor God’s creation, but the way of life which leaves God out. John defined all that is in the world as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16). No wonder the apostle wrote, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15).

The love of the world captures people gradually. Demas had evidently not caved in to materialism all of a sudden. Paul’s statements paint the picture of one who drifted away step by step. He was first Demas the fellow worker, then Demas, then Demas who loved the world. Worldliness has a way of creeping up on us.

The danger is real, no matter how diligent one has been. The tug of the world is so powerful that it captured Demas even though he had been a fellow worker with Apostle Paul.

The love of the present world will disappoint. There is something better to love. Let us set our affections on things above.
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Daily Devotionals

The following devotionals were taken from "Strength for the Journey" & "In Our Father's Hands." Check back each week to read a new devotional. Book(s) can be pre-ordered at Little Acorn's online store.

The following devotional was taken from
"Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9-10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

A Wedding Rejection
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


We’ve all heard stories of brides and even grooms being left at the altar. Perhaps it is that since a wedding is among the most significant occasions of acceptance, that rejection in that setting is so dramatic. In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast, we’re met with wedding customs different than our own. But the rejections on this joyous occasion are no less striking. The guests originally invited to the wedding reject the call to come when the wedding day arrived. The father of the groom rejects those same guests in rather dramatic, and violent, fashion. A spontaneous and gracious invitation to previously uninvited persons resulted in a full wedding hall. Both the evil and the good responded. This is a remarkable turn of events. Jesus said this parable, like so many of His, was to teach the nature of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 22:2).

God’s gracious invitation to all humanity to participate in the joys of His kingdom, as depicted in this parable of a wedding feast, is not without its own rejection. The king rejected a guest who had come to the wedding to enjoy its pleasures, but had refused to wear a provided wedding garment. In that day more than just the attendants were provided with appropriate clothing for the wedding. Here was someone who presumed to enjoy what the king provided (a wedding feast) without submitting to the king’s terms (wearing the supplied wedding clothes). That person was rejected.

The message is pretty straightforward. If we wish to enjoy the blessings and privileges God provides, it will only be on His terms. Therefore, we cannot presume to come to God on our own terms. It is His or nothing at all. Despite our culture’s message and emphasis, we are not the measure of all things and we are not the final arbiter. We comply to God’s wishes, not He to ours. Simple enough.

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9–10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

The chosen few
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


Picture yourself at a school gym. Several kids are standing before the class surveying everyone. “Bobby,” one of them calls out. A kid named Bobby runs over to the other side. “Oh, pick me! Pick me!” you mutter under your breath. “Susan!” A little girl with long curly hair skips over to the other side. There’s not much time now. If they don’t pick you, it will be too late. You wait, longing to hear your name. You anxiously watch a short little kid in braces as his gaze moves from person to person. He smiles, laughs, then shakes his head at the many attempts from others to win his vote. Finally his eyes rest on you! Could this be it? Will you be the last one picked? The anticipation is killing you. His gaze moves on. “Oh no!” you say, “he’s not going to pick me!” Then with a flash he looks back at you and says your name! You’ve been chosen!

After waiting anxiously for so long, when we finally hear our name, we are so excited! We feel appreciated, validated, loved, admired and respected. Isn’t it a great feeling to be chosen? You bet it is! We would do just about anything to be chosen.

Did you know that God calls all of us to his team, but Jesus says in Matthew 22:14, “few are chosen.” Why? Why would He call us all to him and then not chose us? That’s easy to answer. There are a couple of conditions that must be met for us to be chosen. First, we must be willing to accept the invitation. If we do not accept, we won’t be chosen. Second, those who accept the invitation must then live by God’s word (Hebrews 12:14-17). If they don’t, then they, too, will be rejected. You have been offered the invitation. Will you accept it? Will you live by the word of God? If so, then you too can be among the chosen few!
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