Simeon Hawkins

Simeon Hawkins


Youth Leader, St. Paul’s Church


Auckland



About

Simeon Hawkins was a high school history teacher in the UK before emigrating to New Zealand with his wife in 2010. Since then, he’s completed a Grad Dip in theology at Laidlaw College and been the youth pastor at St Paul’s, Symonds street for the past 6 years. Simeon has a comfortable, compelling and interactive teaching style, bringing his topics alive with lots of illustrations, media and whiteboard scribbling. His primary passions are in Biblical and Church History, Apologetics, reading Scripture well, contextual Creation and generally making potentially complex issues digestible and fun. He lives with his wife and two small children in Auckland.

Biblical History:

The world of first century Palestine was a vibrant and three-dimensional place, but with 2,000 years distance between them and us it can feel dry, irrelevant and at times a different world altogether. Who were some of the groups the Gospels refer to like Herodians, Sicarii and Pharisees? What were Jewish concepts of Messiah and how did that permeate daily life? What’s the big deal about the temple? Who was Pilate if there was King Herod? When we can understand some of the political, social, religious and economic situations, Scripture can hit us with sudden HD clarity.

Church History:

Dan Brown’s daVinci Code would have us believe the Council of Nicaea was a power-hungry conglomerate selecting scriptures that suited their agenda. This is one example of countless accusations of church corruption or inaccuracy based on a total misunderstanding or ignorance of Church history. As Christians living a life of faith, it is crucial we know our stories, own our mistakes, learn our lessons and celebrate our successes. Get equipped to answer those ill-founded accusations and at the same time, encouraged that God would use such a broken collection of followers to change and shape the world.

The Reliability of Scripture:

Christ revealed in Scripture is the sole foundation for the Christian faith. If that cannot be trusted, then our measure for morality, Salvation and truth is gone. This areas includes topics like How did the Bible come to us in its present form? Can English translations be trusted as accurate to the original? Is there any non-Biblical evidence that supports the claims of Scripture? Once we can establish the complete reliability of Scripture, then we have a framework and measure from which to navigate our life and to bring life to others.

Easter:

Christianity pivots on one central figure: Jesus Christ and him crucified. Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection is essential; without it, there is no forgiveness, salvation, or future hope in the age to come. Explore not only the certain death of Christ, but the beautiful significance of his sacrifice from an Old Testament atonement perspective. Also consider the evidence for and against the resurrection, and weigh up if there is any credibility to alternative theories like disciple hoaxes, common graves, mistaken identities or slipping Jesus a Micky Finn giving the appearance of death. Fortunately, our faith is based on evidence as solid as the rock which was rolled away.

The Supernatural:

Supernatural movies and series’ drop weekly from the Hollywood machine, clouding our conceptions of the spiritual realm but also highlighting the widespread interest and hunger to explore the supernatural. How can we separate Hollywood from Scripture? Are there such things as ghosts, demons or angels? If so, what can we know about them and do they have any bearing on our life? Let’s open the only true supernatural authority and discover what it says and were the boundaries are on what is and is not ok to do.


Contact Simeon

Email:
simeon@stpauls.org.nz

Phone:
09 373 7247

Lew Meyer

Lew Meyer


National Director, OAC Ministries



About

Lew Meyer is married to Angela and they have three children. They live in Glen Eden, West Auckland and are members of New Lynn Bible Chapel.

Lew works with OAC Ministries as a senior evangelist. He is currently the National Director. He has worked with OAC for the last 27 years.  Before that he worked for Scripture Union with the Inter School Christian Fellowship groups in High Schools, and prior to that as a youth worker with New Lynn Bible Chapel.  He has also done some relieving teaching, worked in a research laboratory  on proteins, in a paint factory, a clothing retailers,  a timber yard and ran a small paint shop though not in that order..

Lew has a BSc from Massey University in biochemistry and also trained at the NZ Assembly Bible School in 1980 (Diploma in Biblical Studies).  He has also done some tertiary studies in Apologetic (Simon Greenleaf School of Law) and Early Church History (Tyndale School of Divinity).

Lew specialises in preaching and training, and regularly speaks at camps, church youth groups, beach missions and school groups.  He also does children’s work, including kids’ clubs, rallies and Bible in Schools Assemblies.  He is usually involved in speaking at Church services on Sundays. Lew was for some time the weekly science reporter for Radio Rhema.

Lew is committed to the straight preaching of the Gospel.

He also likes to focus on the related areas of apologetics, evangelism, science and faith and the Gospel message.  Apologetics is understanding what we believe and why, and Lew likes to explain this in a way that is simple to understand, and help people to be able to provide answers to their friends and non-Christian contacts.  The area of creation science is providing a sound biblical basis for understanding the origin of the universe and of humankind – not being afraid of science – and again this is explained in a simple way – providing answers that other people can use.  Lew is involved in practical evangelism as he speaks to non-believing audiences, including open air work in the city at lunch times or evenings.  He also enjoys training ordinary cowardly Christians to go out and tell others about their faith.

Lew has written 4 small books.  Youth, Love and the Sex Explosion is written particularly for young people, bringing a fresh and positive understanding of love, relationships and sex.  The book is based on Biblical principles.  In a world of many beliefs – which faith is true? examines scientific and historical evidence for different belief systems and comes to the conclusion that Christianity must be true.  Ideal for the thinking unbeliever.  Evolution or Factor X ( about to be replaced by “What Killed Evolution”)  is written to demonstrate that the universe cannot have come into existence on its own (Evolution) without the intervention of a greater being (Factor X) – the book goes on to explain that this Being is God.  This is written for people with minimal High School science, and is aimed at young people. When Life’s A Mess – about  emotions, depression and suicide and containing a gospel message.  This is a Christ-centred and Biblical approach to these problems.

More recently he has produced the beginning of a series called Great News. Great News for Buddhists, Great News for Hindus, and Great News for Roman Catholics are in print, and for Sikhs, Moslems, Mormans, Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists yet to come.

Lew has also produced three video series, one for adults (Life Quest) and one for teenagers (RAD) and one for teens called Handling Hot Hormones.

 


Contact Lew

Email:
lew@oac.org.nz

Jason Knapp

Jason Knapp

Jason Knapp


National Youth Director, Thinking Matters


Auckland



About

Jason is the National Youth Director for Thinking Matters and is passionate about seeing young people equipped to navigate culture and persuasively share their faith with others. He is a student of Psychology and Philosophy, and is a dynamic communicator who speaks to students across the country at youth ministries, churches, and university campuses.

Talk Descriptions

If God is Good, Why is There Evil & Suffering?

Sooner or later we are confronted by the the reality of suffering and as a result many pose the question: if God is loving and all-powerful why is our world filled with heartache, disaster, and tragedy. Within this talk we explore this question, it’s implications, and the many answers that can be found when we look more deeply into this issue. You will find answers that are both intellectually compelling and emotionally satisfying.

Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality

According to the Biblical story every singe human being is born with inherent dignity and is designed to function as God intended. Yet, in modern society human dignity, value, and sexuality is under assault. Culture is rewriting the script and people are left more confused, broken, and off-track than ever.. In this talk you will learn about the underlying ideas driving much of this cultural change and learn how to respond to these issues both lovingly and truthfully.

The Truth About Freedom: How Limits Help Liberate Us

What does it truly mean to be free? Our answer to this question has huge implications on all areas of our life. With culture offering a vision of freedom that casts off all restraint many seek to find freedom in the pursuit of pleasure and gratification at all costs. However, upon closer investigation we see that this definition of freedom almost always leads to heartache, unfulfillment, and destruction. In this talk, you will discover how God’s vision of freedom is the most compelling of all – ultimately paving the way for us to live healthy and fulfilled lives.

The Intolerance of the New Tolerance

In today’s culture, tolerance is held up as a virtue. Yet, when someone disagrees with some of the common assumptions of culture there are branded with labels such as, hateful and intolerant. Interestingly, those who sound the siren song of tolerance are sometimes the most intolerant of all. In this presentation you will discover what it truly means to be tolerant and will be equipped with practical strategies for navigating this tricky area of culture with love, wisdom, and grace.

Breaking the Patterns of Porn Addiction

Pornography is more accessible, accepted, and aggressive than ever before. It is a HUGE problem facing all Christians, including Christian teens. Studies show that viewing porn affects how we view ourselves, other people, and God. It even physically alters the structure of the brain and hurts our ability to develop loving, lasting relationships. In this talk, I unpack scriptural, psychological, and practical strategies to escape the trap of pornography addiction.

Jason Knapp

Contact Jason

Email:
jason.knapp@thinkingmatters.org.nz

Phone:
0211147846

Todd Funk

Todd Funk

Todd Funk


National Director of Speaker Development



About

Unique, inspiring, helpful…awesome, have been words used by many in describing Todd’s presentations. Because Todd has somewhat of an eclectic mix of gifts, interests and experience, his delivery is quite unique…especially in the “apologetics world”.  He has a science background (BS. Biological Science University of California Irvine) and a love for knowledge and truth. Ten years as a public high school science teacher coupled with his years of experience doing youth camps, preaching and even weekly Bible-in-School programs has forged Todd into sought after communicator who knows how to engage diverse audiences.

In 2004, Todd, along with his wife Donna of 26 years and their two children, Alixx and Nikki, lay down the safety and security of their teaching careers and immigrated to New Zealand from the United States. In response to his obedience to fulfil God’s ministry call on his life, God has opened doors of opportunity for teaching, preaching and training throughout the USA, New Zealand, Ukraine, Australia, the Pacific Islands and beyond.

Todd‘s messages, teaching and ministry have powerfully impacted people of all ages on several continents. He has spoken for Thinking Matters at our Confident Christianity conferences and Unshaken Youth & Young Adult Conference and has been involved in men’s ministries and accountability groups for over 15 years.

Teaching Topics

Below are some apologetic topics I passionately share with Churches, youth groups and on University campuses:

Tolerance…the new definition

This gives the new “unofficial” definition and cultural attitude of tolerance and shows its inconstant and hypocritical self-defeat in regards to Christianity. It also encourages Christians in their response to the “new tolerance”.

10-15 minutes

“Loving God With all your mind”  

This message is a great encouragement for believers to obey what Jesus declared to be the greatest command. I explain WHAT it means to LGWM,  HOW we can practically LGWM,  and the WHY (the benefits to us, the church and the world) we should LWGM.  See message delivered at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcQE7EgNBGI

35 minutes

 
“U R W I S E” (six letter acrostic)

This teaching based on my own acrostic gives the top 6 best reasons as to why theism is more intellectually honest and tenable than atheism.  A great tool to have when someone asks “can you prove that God exists?”

  • U- The universe…that it exists and is highly ordered with laws etc.
  • R- Reason…that humans have the ability to think rationally
  • W- Wrong and right…that there is a universal moral code
  • I-Information…specifically that found in DNA
  • S- Science…not in opposition to theism but rather having its foundation on it.
  • E- Evil…can actually “prove” theism

Can be done in one 1-hour  session or more comfortably in 2 x  40 minute sessions.

10  Reasons Why We  Know The New Testament Is True

Statistics show that 75 +% of young adults walk away from the church and Jesus. One reason for this is due to the lack of evidence for their faith. I explain 10 reasons (all beginning with the letter “E” to aid memory) why the NT documents are accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

A 45 minute “lecture”

A Sure Foundation

For many Christians their faith, the reasons they are Christian and not another religion or an atheist, are based on SUBJECTIVE things such as: I was born into a Christian household; Jesus changed my life….stopped drugs, no longer depressed, gave me purpose; I feel his presence; I know by the Holy Spirit; He gives me peace; I’ve seen miracles.

But if these are the SOLE basis for our belief then two things are true… 1. That if these subjective feelings subside then our faith is in jeopardy and 2. We have ONLY subjective reasons to give for the hope that is within us.  In this teaching I give 5 OBJECTIVE evidences for the very keystone of our faith….the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

45 minutes – See me present it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CA6tktkkP4

The Darwin Delusion

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has unquestionably had more impact on modern man than any other.  Unfortunately, to many, it has led to several logical, yet erroneous conclusions: there is no God, man has no eternal future, morality is what each man decides, and man has no intrinsic worth, value or transcendent purpose.

For some, the road to faith has been impeded by this malignant theory.  The genuine faith of some has been shaken by the myriad of so called “experts” who claim that evolution is an unquestionable FACT of science.
In response to this attack on faith and the reliability of the Bible, I have composed a 2-part series I call “The Darwin Delusion. In this presentation, I give a brief history of individuals who have been “contaminated” by this theory and also the horrific consequences wreaked on humanity as a result.  I then go on to humbly, yet compellingly, dismantle the theory from a scientific point of view (I have a BS in Biological Sciences from U.C. Irvine and taught sciences at the high school level for 10 years) but targeted at the “lay” level.

45 minutes each session

 
What if Jesus had never been born

Many atheists over the centuries have claimed that Christ and His church have been a blight to the world. For instance, the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche “Christianity remains to this day the greatest misfortune of humanity.”  We will have a look at just what the world might look like today without Christ and the influence of His church and discover how Christianity has been a huge blessing to the world in numerous, varied ways.

45 minutes

 

Evil, Pain and Suffering…what’s that all about God?

The number one reason people lose their faith or refuse to come to faith resides in this topic.  In this talk, I will dissect it the topic and try to make some sense of it and offer some “answers” for those pondering this crucial question.

45 minutes

 
The Testimony of the Heavens

Using some of the best images of the cosmos available, this multi-media rich presentation will inspire wonder and build faith in the God of creativity whose word is true. This is similar to the Louie Giglio “Indescribable” presentation but from a former astronomy teacher…with better images and explanations.

50 minutes

 
3 Reasons why people reject truth

In presenting the gospel to people it is of utmost importance to quickly determine which barrier to truth the non-believer is erecting (emotional, rational or volitional). Without recognizing these 3 factors and dealing with each appropriately, miscommunication, misunderstanding and frustration result.

10 minutes

 
3 kinds of “faith”

I describe each of the 3 types of faith:

  • Blind Faith- Believing in something WITHOUT any evidence.
  • Reasonable Faith- Believing in something BECAUSE of the evidence.
  • Unreasonable Faith- Believing in something IN SPITE of the evidence.

and use an analogy of jumping off a sea-side cliff.  I explain which type the atheist has…and which type we, as Christians, should have.

10 minutes

 
 A Good Argument
In this session I defend the premise that we are to “contend for the faith”. I explain what a valid (as defined by logic) argument looks like and point out types of invalid arguments. Lastly, I demonstrate the value and power of asking questions (Greg Koukl “Tactics”-style).
45 minutes

Todd Funk

Contact Todd

Email:
todd.funk@thinkingmatters.org.nz

Phone:
021 745 544


Talks

  • Loving God with All Your Mind
  • Tolerance – the new definition
  • URWISE
  • 10 Reasons Why We Know the New Testament is True
  • A Sure Foundation
  • The Darwin Delusion
  • Evil, Pain & Suffering…what’s that all about God?
  • The Testimony of the Heavens
  • 3 Reasons Why People Reject the Truth
  • 3 Kinds of “Faith”
  • A Good Argument

Dr Zachary Ardern

Dr Zachary Ardern

Dr Zachary ArdernAvailable for talks, discussion, and debates on the reasonableness of Christian faith, in relation to science and general evidence.

Current Position

Postdoctoral Researcher, Evolutionary microbial genomics at Technical University of Munich.

Talk Topics

Will Science Bury Atheism?

Arguing that the principles and findings of science support theism over atheism.

God, gods, or Nothing?

Examining the evidence for a single personal God in comparison to polytheism, deism, and atheism.

Why do Many Scientists Believe in God?

Presenting the personal stories of some leading scientists, and reasons why they believe in God.

Evolution and God

Explaining why biological evolution does not provide strong evidence for atheism.

Background

Presented for groups in NZ including churches, Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (IFES) campus groups, Christian highschools, ‘Thinking Matters’ apologetics conferences and small groups, and ‘Skeptics in the Pub’.  Previous formal debates with sceptics are online.

  • BA|BSc conjoint, Economics, Philosophy & Biology – University of Auckland (UoA)
  • PGDipSci endorsed with Merit, in Biological Sciences, UoA
  • PhD, Biological Sciences – theory and analysis in experimental evolution
  • Previously Tutor for biology, critical thinking, and metaethics courses at UoA.
  • Board member of New Zealand Christians in Science
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Trevor Mander

Trevor Mander

Trevor ManderTrevor Mander

Trevor earned his Master of Divinity under Dr Norman Geisler with an emphasis in classical Christian apologetics and understanding world religions at the Southern Evangelical Seminary in the United States.

He is involved in Christian education around New Zealand including teaching apologetics courses and world religions at many organisations, colleges, churches, camps, and home groups.  Trevor teaches high school Physics and Science in Auckland and has a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) from Auckland University.  He attends Greenlane Presbyterian Church in Auckland.

Trevor has an unique ability to communicate complex concepts making them easy to understand. Combining his enthusiasm and humor with a sprinkle of “absent minded professor”, Trevor keeps his audience engrossed with effortless learning.

He is available for speaking engagements of any length both within New Zealand and internationally.

Course: The Logic behind the Love

Are you able to answer the common objections to Christianity?  Are you ready to confront any nagging doubts you harbour?  When witnessing can you quickly discern the world view of the person you are speaking with?  Do you know how to best answer them?  In this modern world Christians need to be able to give a clear reason for their faith.

The Logic Behind The Love is an introduction to Christian Apologetics.  After the course you will have a broad understanding of all areas of apologetics. You will know where to go for further study and you will be a much stronger Christian.

Some of the subjects we cover include:

      • Why ideas have consequences?
      • What is apologetics?
      • Why do apologetics?
      • What is truth?
      • Does God exist?
      • What about evolution?
      • What about cults?
      • What about other religions?
      • If God exists, why evil?
      • Are miracles possible?
      • Can we trust the New Testament?
      • Is Jesus God?
      • Did Jesus rise from the dead?
      • Is the Bible the Word of God?

Testimonies and Comments

      • I’ve learnt so many things I never fully understood and it has helped my my faith grow Immeasurably. (Michelle)
      • This is a wonderful course, I would recommend this to anyone. (Grant)
      • I found this course really helpful in learning to defend my faith. (Kimberley)
      • Fantastic to help you reason with people you rub shoulders with everyday. (Trevor)
      • I used what I learnt on the first night, the next day at work. (Roy)
      • Marvelous!! Recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of Christianity, or wants to know what to say when someone asks you “who is God”. (Dave)
      • Have enjoyed the relaxed laid back learning. Have learnt and all ready stared using stuff learnt; in work environment. (Shona)
      • A great learning experience. Really opens your eyes to the Logic behind Christianity. (Michael)
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Dr Matthew Flannagan

Dr Matthew Flannagan

Matthew Flannagan

Dr Matthew Flannagan

Dr Matthew Flannagan is a theologian with proficiency in contemporary analytic philosophy. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, a Masters (with First Class Honours) and a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of Waikato and a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute.

Matthew blogs on MandM – a Kiwi blog that addresses philosophy of religion, ethics, theology and social commentary.

Topics

Divine Command Meta-Ethics, Applied Ethics, Bio-Ethics, Old Testament Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Law, Critical Thinking and Apologetics

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