Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Response to EE-Taow! & Thoughts on U.S. Missions


Preaching the Gospel in the United States can be frustrating. We want to see revival among God’s people, and our desire for an awakening to spread like great tidal waves over the vast number of lost people in our nation feels like a heavy burden locked firmly within our bosom. Oftentimes, reality seems to mock our attempts, and efforts to foster revival and awakening seem to be feather strokes against a people and culture who are barreling far too quick in the opposite direction to ever be slowed down let alone stopped and turned around.

Frustration with our own people seems to swell even more after seeing a documentary such as EE-Taow! where we see the Mouk tribe of Papua New Guinea hunger and thirst for what God has to say to them month after month as they go to great lengths to hear a preacher present God’s word. And once the groundwork for Christ had been laid and Christ is preached, the tribe repents individually and corporately as their mourning over sin finally bursts into glorious praise over their new-found savior, Jesus Christ.

It makes one want to pack up his bags and go to a foreign land where there are those who are hungry and thirsty for the Gospel of Christ in order to see Him work in ways that many in the United States are shunning. We have a glut of religious information here, and access to the Truth is now as easy as turning on a computer. Yet the eagerness and desire to know God and do His will is oftentimes a rarity. As I thought about this and the future of Real Truth Matters, God settled my heart to know that in spite of the opposition, our mission to take the Gospel to our own people here in the United States is where He wants us right now, and the similarities between reaching those here and those in New Guinea are not that far removed from one another.

First, the Mouk tribe, like many here in the United States, did have a spiritual belief system before they were confronted with the Truth. The Mouk tribe was steeped in demonic activities designed to communicate with the dead and keep the tribes people in bondage. Here in the U.S., there is a diversity of belief systems, yet all are like that of the Mouks in key ways. They all drive and govern how people act, make decisions, and live, and they keep their followers in bondage to sin and satan. To evangelize the Mouks was to rescue them from that bondage. To evangelize in the U.S. is to rescue people from the same bondage. Here, we see people enslaved to false religions, forms of Christianity that are nothing more than false religion, and those who say they adhere to no particular beliefs at all, who, in the end, have formed a belief system based on no beliefs. The mission field in the United States is no different in this regard than a mission field found in Africa, South America, or any other remote corner of the world. False doctrines by any other name need to be confronted with the truth of what God says.

Secondly, the missionaries going to New Guinea had no idea how the people would react to the true revelation of God. It is easy to see in hindsight that they were a people God was preparing to hear the Gospel. They were hungry and thirsty for what God had for them, but at the onset, there was no way of knowing whether or not the message of Christ would be received. The Mouk could have flatly rejected the message of God and turned on God’s messenger as we have seen many times in overseas missions. Fear of rejection and so-called failure can hinder us if not paralyze us all together when it comes to reaching those within our own nation. We are to be obedient to God and leave the consequences in His hands.

And lastly, we think of people in the United States as being saturated in the teachings of the Bible and Christianity so why not go overseas to those who have no access to even a page of the Bible. Since the access is so great here and people openly reject it, why not leave them to themselves and help those who haven’t even been exposed yet? Even though the information may be freely available to all in this nation, without a heart that is being moved by God, no one will seek it out. And how does God choose to move on the heart of a sinner? Through His church taking the word to the lost. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” –Romans 10:14. We must go. There may be access, but without a heart to seek it out, they might as well be thousands of miles away.

As Real Truth Matters moves forward in 2010, it is my firm belief that God has called us to primarily reach out to the unreached people groups in the United States. Yes, there are many wonderful churches and ministries available here, and many are doing a wonderful job at getting the information of the true Gospel out. But as our country continues to decline and slide deeper into paganism and post-modern thought, we see the need to also join where God has called us, and that is to be missionaries to people in our own nation. I pray that our hearts are moved by those in our country, our own cities, our own neighborhoods who, like the Mouk tribe, are enslaved to a false religion, and are ignorant of who God is and who He is in Christ. They have yet to have someone come and tell them the good news.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I heard of the short documentary EE-TAOW! referenced in a sermon by John Piper I downloaded last spring. It was a brief reference, but it piqued my interest to want to see it. I watched it for the first time last week, and I only wish that I had seen it sooner. To see the Gospel move in such a way is a blessing to those of us to live in a world of cynicism, unbelief, and outright hostility toward the things of God. There are several valuable lessons in what is presented, and if the Lord wills, I hope to discuss those this week. For now, please watch EE-TAOW!

(If you have problems with the video below, please watch it here on Google Video. This link will actually allow you to watch it without ads unlike the video below).

Watch EE-Taow in Faith & Lifestyle  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paris Reidhead - Ten Shekels and a Shirt

For the last post of the week, we are sharing a Real Truth Matters produced video that closed out the 2008 RTM conference. It features clips of Paris Reidhead from his sermon Ten Shekels and a Shirt. The sermon is also prominently featured in the Revival Hymn video.

Avatar-induced Depression

J.T. Crawford

With the mass popularity of the movie Avatar ($505M box office revenue in just one month’s time) and the constant barrage of Avatar related news, it seems completely behind the times for a blog to just now mention this king of blockbusters. And I know it won’t be long before some church will start a series on Avatar and all the spiritual lessons that can be imagined, I mean extrapolated from the movie.

This is not a movie I have seen. I was intrigued by the technical innovations touted by director James Cameron, and the media hype surrounding the film’s groundbreaking visuals and effects were enough to pique my interest and cause me to want to check it out. But after reading the initial review of the movie and discovering the foul language that peppered the dialogue (including God’s name being misused many times), I decided it wasn’t worth seeing. But that is a topic for another blog.

I recently saw an article, however, about many who have seen the movie and are now experiencing what is being called Avatar-induced depression. The movie is set in the not-so-distant future where the fate of humankind is in question because the Earth is no longer capable of sustaining the needs of a burgeoning population. Humans are now traveling to a distant moon planet called Pandora in order to research and harvest the things the Earth needs in order to survive. Plot-wise, this is nothing new to sci-fi fans. Pandora, however, is depicted as a veritable garden of Eden where the humanoid race the Na’vi live. Because of the modern advances in movie technologies, Cameron is able to convey the sense of what a near perfect world may look and feel like, leaving the audience with a sense of wonder and amazement over all that Pandora has to offer.

This is where Avatar-induced depression comes in. On an Avatar fan forum site, a thread entitled "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible” appeared. Some viewers, after seeing the beauty Pandora, are now disillusioned over the seeming futility of life here on Earth and long for a place like Pandora to call their own. This is not surprising. God created mankind to experience the pleasures of Him and to enjoy Him forever. This far exceeds anything that can dreamed of on a movie screen, yet even in the imagination of men we see a longing for something to satisfy our desires for what we were created to experience.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that He has put eternity in our hearts. John MacArthur comments on this scripture by saying, “God made men for His eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction.” Nothing, that is, except God Himself as revealed in Jesus Christ. That’s what our lives are about. We strive day after day to amass and maintain a satisfaction in whatever we can find as a substitute for what God created us for. Nothing will do, however, as a replacement for the longing we have for what we lost in the fall of mankind.

Movies like Avatar, where the imagination of men can temporarily reach out into the longing for the eternal satisfaction of God, only magnify what we are missing, albeit in a way much below the imagination of God.

The hymn Satisfied is appropriate for the closing of this blog entry. If you have not heard it, look it up, listen to it, and made it a melody of your heart.


All my life I had a longing,
For a drink from some clear spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning,
Of the thirst I felt within.

Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me,
Only mocked my souls sad cry.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My redeemer is to me.

Hallelujah! I have found Him,

whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Thro His blood I now am saved.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maintaining Spiritual Zeal - Pt. 2

16. We all feel better if our minds are being exercised. Read more than the daily paper and novels. Do more than watch the TV. Think. Read non-fiction. The more you use your mind the better.

17. Get organized so that you use your time to maximal efficiency. It is amazing what you can do if you plan well.

18. Listen to CD’s while driving. That can redeem the time.

19. Write down thoughts and inspirations that have come to you or you’ll forget them.

20. Every day, find time to be alone. Once again, every day, find time to be alone.

21. When you are bowed down, then talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until later.

22. Make friends with as many godly people as you can.

23. Keep some little cards; inscribe new Scriptures on them; commit them to memory.

24. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is to say, 'The Lord Omnipotent is King.'

25. Keep smiling when you are tricked and criticised.

26. Take your work and studies seriously, but not yourself at all.

27. Develop a forgiving attitude (most Christians are doing the best they can).

28. Do everything for double usefulness. Bake two cakes or two quiches and take one to someone who is housebound. Write two letters to missionaries when you are in the rare writing mood.

29. Men and women, 'we must hurry.' That was the great word of William Chalmers Burns in Scotland as he thought of the shortness of the time. Buy up the opportunities of the week that lies ahead. It will never return.

30. Never resist an inclination to pray.

Paul the Apostle urges us to ensure that the energy of the Spirit is at work in us constantly with no hindrances preventing it. Resist the hindrances, remove the obstacles, and maintain the glow. You cannot work up the fire but you can remove the ashes and be stirring up the gift of God within you. We must not quench the Spirit. We must resist the drift to becoming lukewarm. That is not an option. The Lord will spew us out of his mouth if we do not become fervent in spirit. We must recapture every day our first love.

-- Geoff Thomas

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maintaining Spiritual Zeal - Pt. 1

-by Geoff Thomas

There is not one way to true spiritual fervour. There is no master key that opens every life to being fervent in Spirit. Let me give you many directives that are truly important, and some not so important (you must decide which is which for we are all different members of the body). How may this grace of true zeal be yours in greater abundance than it is at present? Thirty guidelines:

1. Don’t neglect asking God to make you more fervent in spirit every single day.

2. Go to bed on time and get up on time each morning so that you start unrushed.

3. Sit under the best ministry you can get each Sunday. If you can get better preaching elsewhere why stay here? Life is too short.

4. Hitch your wagon to a star. Our lives are creaking ol d wagons; our congregation is a groaning wagon, but there are stars to which we can be hitched. I am talking of Martin Luther, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, J. Gresham Machen, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Read what they say; if they have recordings then listen to them. Learn of their lives and their battles. Makes them your role models – a number of men not one. Let their example and teaching help draw you through life. Hitch your wagon to them.

5. Unclutter your life. Our lives are all a pruning away what is inessential and a search for the simple things of the gospel.

6. Allow extra time to do things and to get to people and places.

7. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over a period; don't lump the hard things all together.

8. Take one day at a time.

9. Separate your worries from your concerns. If a situation is a concern, think about it, and ask God what he would have you do and let go of the anxiety, and put your trust in him. Why worry about situations concerning which you can do nothing? Commit it to the Lord and get on with life.

10. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

11. Have backups; an extra car key in a friend’s house, an extra house key buried in the garden. A rickety old laptop . . . even a typewriter for emergencies.

12. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

13. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

14. When we are ill, we are never quite as ill as we imagine we are. We always add on a proportion. Remember you are never as bad as you think you are.

15. Get enough rest, and eat sensible enjoyable food. One morning you don’t feel like reading the Scriptures. You don’t feel like working or praying. So you tend to say to yourself, 'Well I’m not feeli ng well today and I can’t do this.' No. You mustn’t say that, you must rouse yourself. Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Impossible Salvation

Have you ever thought of salvation as impossible? Most of the time, we don’t. In fact, it seems very possible to us. A few years ago a t-shirt company produced a design that parodied the famous Staples’ easy-button advertising campaign. The easy button was replaced by a Jesus button, and the slogan was “It’s just that easy.”

But what does that mean in the modern, Christian culture? It usually means that one must do something in order for God to respond and save one from hell, or, in the case of the t-shirt, solve life’s problem. And what does that “something” look like? For many, it means to say a certain prayer, ask for forgiveness, “accept” Jesus, believe facts about Jesus, and so on. So we have made it easy! I do A and God will do B.

It is doubtful, however, that the Apostles would have seen it this way. One key encounter with Jesus probably cemented it in their hearts and minds forever. In Matthew 19, a young, upright man with great wealth came to Christ and asked, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Here was a man who was morally upright and a leading figure in the minds of the Apostles. If anyone seemed poised to be right with God, it was this guy. Christ exposed his true heart, however, when he asks the man to give up all to follow Him. The man went away sad because he could not forsake what he had to follow Christ. Jesus showed the young man that his true treasure was not in what God deemed important, namely His Son.

After the encounter, Jesus says to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Thinking that the young man was the prime candidate for one who may enter the Kingdom of God, the Apostles reeled in amazement. Verse 25 says, “When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’” In other words, Jesus, if it is impossible for this guy to be saved, then how is it possible for anybody? What was Jesus’ reply? “With men this is impossible.”

With men, this is impossible! Go back to the young man’s question. “What good thing SHALL I DO. . .?” Shall I say a prayer; shall I just believe a list of facts, etc.? The answer is that in your current state and with your current abilities, it is impossible! Muster up what you can. Cross your t’s & dot your i’s. With you, it is impossible.

This prospect left the disciples right where Jesus wanted them. They obviously understood what Christ was saying in their astonished response. Can you just imagine the trepidation in their voices? Can you feel the panic that may have arisen in their chests as they saw any hope they had dash into million pieces on a single word – impossible?

It reduces us to hopelessness. Our situation is pretty grim. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). There really isn’t much a dead person can do to revive himself. What prayer can a dead person say or what faculties does a dead person have in order to accomplish anything that will bring him to life? There is none. Visit any local funeral home or cemetery and see for yourself. If this is true in the physical realm, the same is true in the spiritual realm. Paul says we are dead, spiritually. What can your dead spirit do to invoke a change? Death is death.

Secondly, we are beyond putrid when compared to the blazing righteousness of God. In Romans 3, Paul describes all humans when he says, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have all together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” But you may say, “Wait a second, I seek after God.” Surely the rich, young ruler thought the same. Until found the true God. Then he was incapable of seeking after Him.

Thirdly, our dead and putrid spiritual state leaves us in a huge quandary. We do not have the ability to do anything in order to be acceptable to God, and the scriptures says that “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15). We need to be justified, but the Word clearly says that anyone who justifies the wicked are an abomination to the Lord. The problem is that we need to be justified and God is the only one who can accomplish this. Can God be an abomination to Himself? How can He justify himself and still be true to His own nature?

All of these problems should lead us to something that has been all but forgotten in modern America: hopelessness. Our spiritual deadness and inability to do anything profitable, our state before God as depraved before His righteousness, and His inability to simply look over your sins and count you as justified without demanding a reckoning for your sin should lead you the same place the Apostles found themselves in. Then who can be saved? We are truly sunk. Eternal life is impossible! It should leave us sinking in a sea of black despair where we can only cry out to one, Jesus, and in that desperation and hopelessness call upon Him to save us.

How can we if we are spiritually dead? He makes us alive. Ezekiel 36:27,28 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Colossians 2:13, 14 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” God does what we cannot do for ourselves. He makes us alive! The work of regeneration is upon Him.

What about our mountains of sin that God must require a reckoning for? Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” A reckoning has been made! God’s eternal wrath against our sin was paid for in Christ! And for those whose hearts have been changed by God, therein is created faith, trust, and commitment to the one who can rescue us from our despair!

Could the rich young ruler have been saved? Yes! If God had granted him a new heart that beat for Christ and rested in faith in Him. The scripture says he went away sad, but not in holy sorrow. He did not have a new heart to feel the despair and hopelessness of his situation and therefore call out and trust the one who could save him.

This is what we are missing today. The hopelessness, the despair, and the true weight of the word impossible. Christ did not leave the Apostles with no hope. He said to them, “. . .with God all things are possible.” This is where we need to be. There is an impossibility to salvation that should frighten us as men to the core of our being and cause us to shake and tremble before God. Then, if God so wills, He will open our hearts to know that with Him, and only with Him, it is possible, and we will humbly call to him as a drowning man would call out for rescue in the midst of a black sea. Then we will truly know that salvation is of the Lord!

Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What to Do When God Doesn’t Play By the Rules

By S. Michael Durham

There are times in the journey of faith that God does not fit any mold, rhyme or reason. Whatever you have learned about faith is challenged. The lessons learned are torpedoed, not by the devil, but by the Lord Himself. He acts outside of the box. Why is that? Well, might it be, He’s outside of the box?

Faith cannot be a formula. Reduce faith to an equation and you will have no faith. Just because I have outlined lessons I have learned about faith over the years in this series on faith does not mean that faith can be mechanized. Faith in God is nothing more than relationship with God. To make a formula out a relationship is to effectively kill the relationship. Faith is to be in the person of Jesus, not some rules or principles.

I think we forget the Lord God is a Person. And like a person, He wants to be loved and trusted for who He is and not only for what He can do. His acts are an outflow of who He is, but do I love Him mainly and mostly because of what He does for me, or do I love Him mainly and mostly for who He is? If I loved my wife primarily because she prepared my meals, washed my clothes and satisfied desires for intimacy, then my love looks more like selfishness. Exploiting someone cannot be called love and it cannot have anything to do with faith. We are to love the Lord God and therefore trust Him for His character and nature. This is the way good relationships work.

Therefore, sometimes the Lord does not confine Himself to our contrived rules about faith. He throws us a curve, if you please, and watches how we will respond. If my faith is in my formula I will respond with unbelief and despair, perhaps even anger because He didn’t perform to my standard. But if my confidence is in Him and His inability to be anything but good, I will maintain faith in Him. Should Christ give me health I will trust Him, and should He give me sickness I will trust Him. If He answers my prayer I will thank Him and if He does not answer I will thank Him. Yes, I will thank Him because I am persuaded that He is too good to be unkind to me.

I know that doesn’t make a good formula for faith, but to me there can be no other way faith works. Either you trust God or you don’t. You either believe in Him as a person or you don’t. If you put your faith in His person, then the more you know Him the more your faith will increase.