Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Reviews are in...

When David and Lindsey visited Midwest Bible Camps "Senior Week" in Iowa in June, they had a great time. One of the cool things that happened is that two of the student attendees wrote short essays about their experience and gave high praise to the AXiS team. We are so thankful the Lord allowed AXiS to make a difference in their lives! Following is what they had to say:

By: Lindsey Seufferlein
Town: Cedar Rapids, IA
Grade: 12 (just graduated)

There are a lot of programs out there that are supposed to reach out to teenagers and strengthen their faith. When I first found out about AXiS, I will admit that I had pretty low expectations.

When the presentation began, my expectations were immediately confounded. AXiS is the most worthwhile program of its type that I have ever seen. Many programs try to teach you what to think ... but AXiS teaches you how to think. David and Lindsey [the leaders] encouraged us to challenge what we’re told -- even by them. AXiS wants our faith to be our own, and they want us to be able to explain to others why we believe what we believe.

My faith has been challenged time and again. I have friends that are atheists, friends who are agnostics and friends that buy into feel-good spiritualism. AXiS gave me new ways to communicate with my friends and speak the truth to them. Beyond that, AXiS showed me how to speak truth saturated with love, because [when we do,] that’s when other people can best see God.

Another great thing about AXiS was that the program is engaging. It was easy to pay attention to the slick graphics, dynamic speakers and relevant examples from pop culture. Everyone that experienced the program with me was amazed at how quickly time passed during the presentations.

AXiS is a Christ-centered and relevant program that I would absolutely recommend to anyone. It helped solidify my faith and develop new ways to engage in conversation with people about the things that are most important to me. I am so glad I had the experience of learning from and getting to know AXiS and getting to know David and Lindsey. It was a blessing.

By: Daniel Lawrence
Town: Cresco, IA
Grade: 12

[AXiS] teaches the most eye opening ideas about Christianity, life and the way we should live. I thought that AXiS coming to camp was a great idea because it gave us evidence and questions to ask when we get into situations with people who say that God doesn’t exist. No one [at my school] really knew why they believed in God, including me, but looking around at the complexity of the world and knowing that it just could not happen by accident really helps me in my Christian walk.

The AXiS program taught me that ideas have consequences. Good ideas have good consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. Take ideas captive, or be taken captive by ideas. This means that when people throw out ideas about different things (life, religion, etc.) that we should not just agree with them because they sound convincing, but we should look it up and research the ideas that people are trying to sell to us.

They talked about the difference between knowing the path and walking the path and that everyone has faith. Faith in God, evolution, or anything that people can’t see or touch.

They touched on different religions like Atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism. They told us the percentage of the world that believes in those religions, where they are most popular, and what celebrities or people believe those types of things.

I think that the AXiS group is a blessing from God. They are great for young crowds and old ones. They communicate the message so well that everyone can comprehend the information that they present to the group. I think that AXiS was the best thing for my life at this stage. [...] AXiS is great and I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The All-Singing, All-Dancing Passion of the Christ - Part 4

My favorite church play was (and still is) the Passion play.

This year, my church put on a biggie-size one. I mean, really, really biggie-size: the Sunday I heard about it, they were calling for three hundred men, women, and children to don the bed sheet and Birkenstocks and join the back-up choir. I was ecstatic. This was going to be the ultimate antidote to all the dry sermons that I had endured, and a grand second act to all of the plays I had admired. It was going to be epic.

And it certainly was epic. A sweeping Miltonian opening scene, in which dark-skinned acrobats leapt, somersaulted, fell and then fought against the cosmic forces of good for lordship over the universe. Entire historical sequences, such as the Red Sea crossing, interjected as nothing more than a scene-setting device. Choreographed commotion surrounding the birth and celebration of baby Jesus (which looked a lot like the presentation of Simba into the Circle of Life). Two dozen hyper-muscular angels and demons hovering around a crucifixion sequence of grim visual realism. It was as if Cirque de Soleil had been sent through five years of Sunday School. Jesus never spoke an audible word, but all of his deeds were amplified by a wall of sound and music, which told you exactly how to feel and when to feel it. Right up to the epic, stirring conclusion, when Jesus stepped out of the tomb. The entire stage was suddenly wreathed in fireworks and blazing with white lights. It was epic.

And, after all of those histrionic outbursts, I somehow left feeling a little disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. The gospel is the Greatest Story Ever Told. The gospel is Epic. But not epic like actors pumped-up to look like the guys that Bruce Willis fought in every movie from the 1980's. Not epic like Chuck Norris's (or John Eldridge's) beard. Not epic like Braveheart. Not epic like the Iliad. And, sorry to say, not epic like Cirque de Soleil

To be continued...

Click here to read the previous post in this series.

By: Chad