Guido Stark


About Guido

Guido has Bachelor’s degrees in Astrophysics, Mathematics and Theology and works for a leading global software company in Wellington. He is on the leadership team of the Thinking Matters group Reasoned Faith Wellington which runs regular apologetics training for local Christians.

He frequently discusses the origins of life, the nature of God, world religions and the meaning of life with those he meets. From hundreds of conversations with people from many walks of life and spiritual understandings, he has gained experience that can encourage you to confidently articulate what you believe and invite others to question their assumptions.


Talks & Presentations

The following presentations can be delivered as independent sessions, Sunday sermons, or as a combined workshop.

An Introduction to Apologetics

What is apologetics? This brief introduction will give you an overview of what apologetics is and a taste of some of the evidence available for our Christian faith. Including hints and tips for starting God-conversations and also covering common objections that may arise, you will be pointed towards a range of resources available to help you approach these conversations with greater confidence. 

Does God Exist?
Simple arguments for the existence of God and a road map for a conversation

Engaging in a conversation about the most fundamental questions of life and being able to follow through with a reasonable argument isn’t as hard as it sounds. This presentation will provide you with a road map for conversations about the deepest questions of life and will help you effectively articulate several straightforward arguments for why God exists.

Why Christianity?
Good reasons why it’s true

Have you ever been asked why you think Christianity is true? Discover a range of evidence for Christianity and learn to confidently demonstrate solid reasons for why Christianity is true. A fun and practical session that will leave you energised to share your faith.

Engaging Well With Arguments Against Christianity

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and felt ill-equipped to respond to their challenges about Christianity? Do you fear being in those kinds of conversations? In this interactive session we’ll discuss lots of examples that will help you in everyday conversations or debates about the truth of Christianity. By using logic and reason to engage well and respond to common arguments used against Christianity, this session will help you feel more confident to successfully navigate God-conversations and ultimately lead people to truth. 

Religions of the World
Aren’t religions all the same?

As part of a multicultural society, we find ourselves living and working alongside people with different religious beliefs. We need to be increasingly skilled at understanding and navigating this difference respectfully. This overview will give you insight into the essential beliefs, practices and distinct features of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

 

John Norsworthy

John Norsworthy


Thinking Matters Board Member


Tauranga



About

John has taught in secondary and primary schools, and in the tertiary sector, Bible colleges and teacher education for over 45 years and is a board member for Thinking Matters NZ.  He has served on curriculum committees and professional development in both the state and Christian sectors and served as secretary to the NZ Association for Christian Schools for twenty years. He has authored the books, Why Culture Matters, a Biblical approach to things cultural, Educating Our Children Faithfully, a history of the NZ Christian School movement, and Why Science Matters. He currently is an adjunct lecturer at Faith Bible College, NZ and is passionate about the influence of the biblical revelation on all areas of human life.

Talk Topics
  • Christian Education
  • Science


Contact John

Email:

Phone:

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 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

MandM Blog

YouTube

Email

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

“There are good reasons to believe that God exists, and that Jesus was who he claimed to be. We want both Christian and unbeliever alike to wrestle with these reasons and ultimately be transformed by them.”

Tena koutou, I am the CEO of Thinking Matters NZ Foundation, a national Christian apologetics ministry that encourages Christians to know the reasons why we believe what we believe. As an itinerant speaker, I preach & teach at churches, youth groups and conferences in New Zealand, Australia and in the U.S. on the reasons why Christianity is true.

I teach staff, parents and youth at various Christian schools, am an adjunct apologetics lecturer at Faith Bible College and a visiting lecturer at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and Carey Baptist College. I also teach ‘Introduction to Christianity’ courses to non-Christian parents at Bethlehem College and have served on the board of Bethlehem College Limited.

I’m passionate about seeing people loving and seeking God with all of their mind, developing a resilient faith that is supported with solid reasons to believe, and able to confidently and graciously share that faith with others.

Church Sermons

The following are Sunday sermons I’m available for:


Why Thinking Matters: the Importance of Apologetics in the Church

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

In this message, I give an introduction to apologetics and the growing need for Christians to be better prepared to give clear and gracious reasons for our faith. While sharing my testimony, I highlight the first great commandment and the need for us to seek God with our minds, as much as our heart, soul and strength.

The Power of a Question: Creating Conversations that Matter

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Do conversations about your faith intimidate you? Do you let opportunities to share God’s love slip by with friends and family? In this message, I teach two simple questions which make conversations about God easy. Learn how to confidently and graciously present Christ in an attractively intelligent way, without having to know all the answers.

Watch this message on YouTube:


Answering Evil: If God is So Good, Why is There So Much Suffering?

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

One of the most difficult questions, and one which we all wrestle with: Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why does He allow it to continue? In this sermon, I highlight four significant reasons God allows evil and suffering to continue – at least for a season. And I point to the ultimate source of comfort in times of trouble: Christ who suffered alongside us.

Worldviews in Conflict: The Cosmic Battle for Our Minds

…The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth… John 18:37

In this message, I highlight the great war between the truth claims of God and the lies and deceptions of the world. I introduce the concept of ‘Worldview’ and contrast the two major worldviews in New Zealand today: Materialism/Naturalism (roughly 35% of the population) and Christianity (roughly 33% of the population) – showing that while the first is unliveable, the second gives profound answers to all the deepest questions of life.

Watch this message on YouTube:





Other Teaching Topics

The following messages I give to youth groups, Christian schools, at conferences and as professional development training for Church staff. I can deliver a single talk, or teach a series that builds a cumulative case for Christianity that includes a mix and match of any of the following:


The Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God

Everything that begins to exist has a cause – including the universe itself.  Is there any scientific or philosophical evidence for a creator as a cause of the Big Bang?  In this presentation, we examine the nature of the Big Bang and look at the evidence a divine supernatural cause was at work.  We’ll also examine how the original purpose of science as a way of understanding the natural world around us has become distorted, resulting in biased outcomes in scientific enquiry that unnecessarily exclude the possibility of God.

True for You, But Not for Me: Are Religious Truths True for Everyone?

In this talk, I examine the nature of truth and highlights two different kinds of claims: Universal Truth that is true for everyone, and Personal Truth based on your own preferences and personal beliefs. Then we examine religions claims about God and Jesus and ask: are such claims Universal or Personal; are they just true for me, or; is there something much deeper going on?

Is Jesus the Only Way? What About All the Other Religions in the World?

Jesus claimed to be the only way – but how can only one religion be true when there are so many beliefs out there?  What about those who are truly sincere in their religious beliefs – are they going to hell?  Isn’t it intolerant to think others are wrong?  Don’t all paths lead to God?  In this talk, we dismantle twelve of the most common claims we hear that suggest all religions are equally true – and show just how important the question of truth really is.

True for You But Not for Me. How Can There be Only One Way?

NOTE: This is a shorter combined version of the two above talks

Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God – yet we live in a society where multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance are highly esteemed and necessary for a peaceful civilisation. So, is it possible for one religion to be true?  Are there really many paths to God?  What does it mean to be tolerant of other religions?  In this presentation, we examine the difference between subjective and objective truth, while looking deeper at the nature of religious truth claims – in particular, the claim that Jesus is the only path.

Why Thinking Matters to our Kids: A practical four-part strategy to get our kids engaging with worldview and apologetics

Why is apologetics so important in the discipleship of our kids?  Why are so many of our young Christians not sharing their faith with others – or even walking away altogether?  In this talk, I examine the role apologetics and worldview training has in preparing our kids for adulthood and presents a practical four-part strategy for getting them intellectually engaged in their faith and culture.  This talk is suitable for parents, youth leaders, Christian educators and homeschoolers.

Understanding Transgender Identity – A Christian response to the Gender Identity Phenomenon

The Bible speaks unambiguously of the binary nature of human gender – “In the image of God He created them, Male and Female He created them” (Gen 1.27). Yet in secular culture today, traditional concepts of what it means to be a woman or a man are being rapidly challenged and re-imaged. So how does the Church understand and respond to this gender identity phenomenon? In this message, I answer this question from a Christian perspective and offer a practical and compassion-filled response to some of the issues surrounding transgender ideology and identity.

Homosexuality: Truth with Compassion

What should the relationships with our friends and family who identify as gay and lesbian look like? I attempt to answer that question from a Christian perspective, with truth and compassion. I clarify what both Scripture and science say about homosexuality, and then offer some practical principles for the church, our friends, and our family that will help guide our interactions with those we love.

A Misunderstood Theory: Understanding the limitations and implications of the theory of Evolution

In this talk, I outline the misconceptions about what evolution is and the power it has to create new organisms. I bring some clarity to a theory that is often wrongly used to explain things it’s not capable of explaining. I then highlight some of the problems in the theory of evolution and examine the very disturbing consequences that must be accepted if the theory is actually true.

What is Christianity? An introduction to the basic beliefs of the Christian Faith

This presentation is for those who want to learn about who Jesus Christ is and just what Christians’ believe.  We cover some of the central beliefs of the faith and why we believe them – including topics such as God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Sin & Salvation.  We finish by explaining what the Bible and the Church is and why we need them.  Come and learn the basics and ask your deepest questions about the Christian faith.

Testimonials

Rodney Lake is one of those rare individuals who can communicate the core truths of the Gospel to a lost world in a thoughtful way while still being accessible and fun. He’s certain to be a hit for any church service or youth event. I recommend him highly.  Lenny Esposito, President – Come Reason Ministries

“Rodney addresses difficult issues capably, thoughtfully and sensitively. His ministry greatly serves both leaders and laity, providing precious clarity in an age of increasing confusion.” Steve Burgess, C3 Church – Pacific Region Director

“Rodney did a great job of removing the guilt and pressure that the word ‘evangelism’ evokes. He brought the Great Commission down to a practical level and made our calling to evangelism something that is accessible and actionable for every Christian.” Reuben Munn, Senior Pastor – Shore Community Church Auckland

Rodney did a wonderful job, and the feedback from our church was excellent. He spoke clearly, and illustrated his points well.  David Dishroon, Senior Pastor – Changepoint Church Tauranga

“Rodney brings clarity to the role and need of apologetics in the church today, grounded in a passion for the gospel. His ability to communicate to youth and adults is evident and a major plus. I fully endorse Rodney in his speaking and ministry.” Rev Reece Frith – St Paul’s, Katikati

Brilliant. Rodney was enthusiastic, very well informed and able to bring so much information to the class. Really got us thinking and helped us prepare answers for people who ask questions about God and Christianity.  Student (anonymous) – Faith Bible College

Rodney was articulate, interesting and very informative with excellent content and delivery. Very sensitively handled. Conference Feedback (anonymous) – Confident Christianity Conference

Rodney Speaking

References

Feel free to contact any of the following pastors & ministry leaders who have hosted me as a speaker at their church, school or ministry event – for a reference:

  • Ps David Dishroon – Changepoint Church, Tauranga
  • Ps Alan Hood – City Church, Tauranga
  • Dave Mann – Shining Lights Trust & The Hope Project
  • Des Short – Principal, Faith Bible College
  • Eoin Crosbie – Principal, Bethlehem College, Tauranga
  • Rev Simon McLeay – St Peters in the City, Tauranga
  • Rev Ian Pittendreigh – Bethlehem Community Church, Tauranga
  • Ps Sam Bayly – O2 Church, Tauranga
  • Rev Reece Frith – St Paul’s, Katikati

Other talks under development

The following talks will be available soon.  Please talk with me if any of these interest you and I can bring them forward and finish them off:

Doubting your Doubts: I once was found but now I’m lost
What happens when you question your faith? Are doubts healthy or should we suppress them and believe anyway? This talk is an encouragement to those who struggle to believe – showing you how to turn your doubts into curiosity for the things of God.
 
Can the Bible be trusted?  What is the Bible and where did it come from?
What is the Christian Bible?  Who wrote it and who decided what should be in it?  The Christian Scriptures have been used for several thousand years by Christians all over the world to inform and guide them in all matters of life.  But what evidence is there that these ancient writings are reliable, true and should be taken seriously?

Planned talks yet to be started:

Right and Wrong: What is moral relativism? Who gets to decide what’s right and wrong?

God among us: The historical evidence for the miraculous life and claims of Jesus.

Post-modernism: An empty philosophy according to the traditions of man.

The Intolerance of Tolerance: How our culture has distorted the concept of tolerance.


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