In college, I went on a rugby tour to Canada. For two weeks, our team of 26 was cooped up like chickens in a private school in the middle of Vancouver Island. As the only Christian there, I had many great opportunities to be a witness to those guys.
One of my roommates was a more senior player who described himself as a ‘Jewish Atheist who loved to debate.’ And boy did we debate. Word spread that we were having these debates frequently in our room and one night, about nine or ten days into the trip, 10 people ended up all crowded into our room.
Question after question came pouring in from player after player. ‘How can you trust something written so long ago, that makes such ridiculous claims?’ ‘How can you believe in God?’ ‘How can you believe that Jesus rose from the dead?’ ‘Hasn’t science disproved religion?’ Looking back, it was probably the most intimidating situation I have ever been in. I knew it must have been God’s Spirit at work through me, because as stupid as rugby players generally are, this lot were quite clever!
And it wasn’t just on rugby tour that my friends challenged me with these sorts of questions: it was all the time! I realized I needed to seek answers, both for myself, to enable my faith to remain strong, and for others, that they might come to believe. Last week, I was given a post-it note holder with the following Scripture engraved on it:
‘Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.’ (1 Peter 3:15)
This gift reminded me once again of the privilege I had of spending a whole year seeking answers to these sorts of questions at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics run by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. It was here that I met Frog and Amy Orr-Ewing, who you will have the chance to meet on Sunday. They are an incredible couple, and their story includes giving Bibles to the Taliban, car bombs in their front yard in South London, and selling their house and putting the proceeds towards a new church in a suburb of London.
In the story of my rugby tour, the thing which finally silenced everyone was not a perfect answer to a question, but the re-telling of my own story of faith. Up until that point, I hadn’t been able to speak more than two sentences without being interrupted, but for a full three minutes there was silence. They listened closely and I simply pointed my finger to God and told them what He had done in my life. They couldn’t refute it. They couldn’t argue against it. I was living proof of God’s salvation.
We all have a story of how God has been at work in our lives. It could be from 40 years ago, it could be from last month, or it could be from this morning. Whatever it is, we have the opportunity to share it. The Orr-Ewings will be doing that with us over the next four Sundays – they have some incredible ones to tell. You won’t want to miss it!
P.S. Join us on Monday nights for Hot Topics starting this Monday with ‘Why Believe in God?’ Invite a friend to this fun, summer café-style event including live music, an inter- view with the speakers, discussion and time for Q&A. No charge. All are welcome!