September 19, 2019

Dispatches from the Front: New DVD Series

Dispatches from the Front DVDs

Believers everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth. Our view of God’s Kingdom is often too small and limited to what we have experienced. Dispatches from the Front highlights the marvelous extent, diversity, and unity of Christ’s Kingdom in our world. The journal format of each episode underscores the daily unfolding of God’s activity on the “frontlines,” bringing viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.

Our prayer is that Dispatches will magnify our God. It will unite our hearts with our brothers and sisters in different parts of the world. It will awaken us out of our comfortable Christianity. It will expand our vision of the King and His powerful Gospel.

Watch the Trailer

Dispatches DVDs

Islands on the Edge Southeast Asia

A Bold Advance: Albania, Kosovo & Montenegro

I Once Was Blind: West Africa

Souls of the Brave: India

Father, Give Me Bread: Ethiopia & South Sudan

 

Endorsements for Dispatches

“Apart from the Bible, I believe this is the most important resource we have promoted in my eight years at the bookstore. Rarely have I seen a resource that so clearly communicates something that our Lord cares so much about. The gospel transforming lives, the Church laying siege to the gates of Hell, and Christians living with a clear view of eternity — it was a stirring reminder for me to reclaim my first love.”
– Chun Lai, Director, Westminster Bookstore

“Beware of watching these “dispatches” if you don’t like being moved and inspired and shaken out of the ruts of your life. My wife and I were riveted in watching the frontline reports of God’s work recorded in the Dispatches from the Front. This is the sort of information that builds faith in the present providence of Godover his mission, and stirs up action for the sake of lost and hurting people near and far. I would love to see thousands of people mobilized as senders and goers for the sake of the glory of Christ and the relief of suffering on the frontiers, especially eternal suffering.”
– John Piper, Desiring God Ministries

Dispatches from the Front is a series of DVDs which show first-hand the work of missionaries and pastors in some of the tougher parts of the world. I have just watched the episode on Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. The low-key presentation enhances the drama and the beauty of the stories told. But be aware: this is sobering stuff. I came away ashamed of my own lack of zeal for the Lord’s work and my ingratitude to him for all of the material comforts I enjoy. This is not a celebration of the pyrotechnic entertainment of the American church; it is an account of genuine works of God. It will convict you of your own sin, drive you to Christ and encourage you to pray for Christians working on the front lines of the Kingdom and to reassess your own priorities wherever you are.”

– Carl R. Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary

“I want, and I want my kids to have, a heart for world missions. These videos stir that passion. . . . I would highly recommend this series.”
– Joshua Harris, senior pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, MD

Dispatches offers a potent reminder that in the darkest places, the gospel shines brightest. It should come with a warning label. Danger: Graphic scenes of mission reality that will disrupt your comfort and ignite your heart for God’s work on the frontlines. Pray, watch and act!”
– Dave Harvey, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Church Planting & Missiology

“Who knows what might happen if churches and small groups and families were to watch these videos together, open to God’s leading for going and sending? It is a risk to watch them. But the motivation is Gospel grace, not guilt. I cannot recommend too highly these DVDs.”
– Justin Taylor, VP of Editorial, Crossway

“Are you afraid to open your eyes and see death and destruction in the world? Dispatches from the Front will open your eyes to the great needs of the lost, enflame your heart to go to the nations, and give you the courage to carry on the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God. This is a bold call to action.”
– Burk Parsons, pastor, author, editor of Tabletalk magazine

Dispatches from the Front is a fascinating look at how the gospel is penetrating some of the world’s neediest places. These are regions where all the worst agonies of human life are multiplied and magnified relentlessly by war, extreme poverty, sex trafficking, drug dealing, false religion, and disease. . . . But your spirit will be encouraged by the triumphant power of Christ.”
– Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You

“These videos are unlike any resource I’ve encountered. Rather than asking for financial contributions or embarking on an international guilt-trip they invite us to see the power of the gospel as it penetrates into even the darkest regions of our world. They invite us to meet and rejoice with our brothers and sisters who are part of the Kingdom’s “bold advance.” I was moved to tears as I witnessed the faithfulness and goodness of our God to change hearts and transform lives. I wish that individuals, families, and churches would “take up and watch,” having their hearts stirred and eyes opened to the glorious riches of grace and the saving power of Jesus Christ. I cannot commend these strongly enough—if you make only one purchase this year, make it these!”
– Benjamin Thocher, Associate Director, Westminster Bookstore, 2012

 

The Primary Purpose of Global Evangelism

I suppose it really all began around the age of six or seven.

If you had asked me at this time (or any other age after that) what I wanted to be when I grew up, you would have received the definite answer, “I want to be a missionary!”

Of course, I didn’t come close to understand all that being a missionary entailed. In my over-imaginative mind, I assumed a “missionary” was someone who went into jungles and rain forests on the other side of the world, having loads of adventures, and occasionally telling people that “Jesus loves you” (my family and I were not Reformed until about three years ago). I had always loved the idea of adventure, and since, to me, this whole idea of being a missionary could co-exist with the idea of “church”, I thought it would be the only adventurous thing I could ever do with my life that my parents might approve of.

I was saved at fifteen. Since then, and especially in this past year, God has radically changed my outlook on global evangelism. While I still aspire to become a missionary, my ideas regarding the true purpose and goal of missions is completely changed. Actually, I am here dealing more with Global Evangelism than with missions in general. Yes, there is a difference; all Christians are “missionaries” in the sense that they bear the gospel and are told to share it with all they come in contact with. The idea of Global Evangelism carries with it the idea of one or two individual Christians going amongst a people group with little to no gospel access whatsoever, and there sharing the Word of God.

Why would a Christian ever consider being a missionary on the other side of the world? What could possibly motivate Christian men and women to travel into hostile countries, putting their lives on the line, in order to share the gospel? Why would young Christians such as Jim Elliot move to a remote swamp in South America infested with mosquitoes, gnats, and spiders (not to mention cannibals) with virtually none of the comforts he left behind in the States?

Many times I have heard this answer given; “Because of compassion for the souls of the Lost”. That is, according to these people, the “Great Goal” of global evangelism. While there certainly must be a healthy amount of compassion for those poor and impoverished people in Africa who may go their entire lives without ever hearing of their great need for a Savior, this is not the primary reason we evangelize the nations. It’s a good reason, but not the main reason.

The first and most important reason for Global Evangelism is the glory of God. Does that surprise you? We don’t go for the people, we go for God? It shouldn’t surprise you. Just as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, a passage we should all be very familiar with; So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Likewise, we read in Isaiah 66;

“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
(Isaiah 66:18-19 ESV)

God is glorified when souls are saved. God is glorified when His children direct all of their efforts towards knowing and obeying Him. God is glorified in the deaths of His saints. Therefore, missions of all sorts, both local and global, are pleasing and glorifying to Him. As I have heard and read missionaries make the almost unanimous (and seemingly callous) observation from their experiences on the mission field, “Compassion for the Lost will not keep you on the mission field. Evangelism is hard. Living in another culture is hard. People are hard. Persecution is hard. Once you live in that sort of environment for a few years, you abandon every ideal and fantasy you may have had at one time about missions being “romantic”. Only a burning zeal for God’s glory will keep you on that field.”

Zeal for the glory of God gets you to the mission field, and zeal for the glory of God keeps you on the mission field. It is like that missionary (I can’t remember his name) who was serving in India. He walked into a temple and saw all of the idol-worship that was taking place. He covered his ears and ran out of the temple weeping and crying, “I cannot bear living if God’s name is to be so dishonored!” It was that same burning, all-consuming desire that God’s name be hallowed among the nations that lead men and women such as Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon, the Disciples, and Paul the Apostle unto the uttermost ends of the earth.

I encourage you to spend a significant amount of time in prayer concerning missions. Pray, as Christ instructed, “for God
to send out laborers into the harvest“. Pray for the missionaries currently around the world, that their ministries would bear much fruit, whatever that fruitfulness might look like. And lastly, pray that God would create in you a greater desire
for the salvation of nations. But remember, as my Pastor says; don’t pray unless you’re willing to be sent.

Elizabeth
————————————–
I am Forgiven–Romans 4:7-8
I am a Slave of Christ–John 12:26
I am set-apart–2 Timothy 2:21
I am a new creation–2 Corinthians 5:17
I am striving to be Biblically Feminine–Titus 2:3-8
I am becoming The Proverbs 31 Woman–Proverbs 31:10-31
I am a warrior against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil–Ephesians 6:10-20
I am being conformed to the image of Christ–1 Peter 1:13-20
I am a sinner saved by grace alone–Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:8
I am a follower of Christ Jesus alone.

Faith in Testing, Provision in Lack

Maranatha Logo

The following is a paper I wrote for school. It is a true story and I hope it is an encouragement to your faith!

I  could not believe that someone would steal the much needed funds from our Christian school! In May of 2009 when I was in eighth grade my school, Maranatha Christian Academy, was broken into and the safe containing twelve thousand dollars was 4 stolen; that money was supposed to go to pay the teachers’ end of the year salaries. Through the godly example of Pastor Bell, my principle, and witnessing first hand the provision of God I learned two very important things. First, how I should be thankful and trust God in every situation and secondly that God can and does provide for the needs of His people.

 As mom pulled into the school to drop my brothers and I off at on that early Monday morning I noticed a couple of police cars in the parking lot. That was unusual and wondered what the police would be doing there. As I walked to the lunch room I saw police tape roping off the computer lab down the hall. I joined my friends and our discussion revolved around what had possibly occurred.

Then, suddenly, the bell rang dismissing my classmates and I to our homeroom class. I took my seat in one of the front row desks and wondered what my teacher, Mrs. Tipton, was going to tell us about what had happened at the school. Mrs. Tipton crossed the classroom to the yellow wooden podium in front of the class; in a clear, serious voice she informed us that someone had broken into the school over the weekend and stole nearly twelve thousand dollars out of the school office. Later, I learned that the person had come in through an unlocked window in the computer lab, had broken in one of the office doors and stole the safe from the office. As we were dismissed to our next class we all could not believe that such a thing had happened to our school.

When I heard that Pastor Bell’s first response to the theft had been to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and to give the whole situation over to God I was surprised, but encouraged to see his faith and trust in God. Furthermore, I was encouraged when Pastor Bell in an interview with a local newspaper said “This instance is not just about a safe … God will use that person for his glory. This is the Lord’s doings. It’s marvelous in our eyes. We’re going to thank him. It’s his safe. It’s his money. It’s his school that sits up on this little hill and we’re going to trust him.” Even in such a desperate time for the school, teachers, and students Pastor Bell remarked to my Bible class that week that he was not angry with the person who had done this but rather was praying for whoever it was that God would change their heart. As I would go throughout my school day, Pastor Bell would be totally at peace, his faith placed firmly in Christ and seeing that helped to strengthen, grow and encourage my own faith.

Before long word got out about the burglary and newspapers and news channels were at the school interviewing teachers, administrators, students and parents about what happened. As the story made its way online and onto multiple television news stations calls began  flooding in with people wanting to know how they could help. The community was coming together to help our little school in need.

Amazingly, less than a week after the twelve thousand dollars was stolen God provided and began to restore back to the school almost two times what had been lost! As I waited in the office the Tuesday after the theft waiting to go somewhere after school I saw and heard God working marvelously to provide for the school. As I sat in one of three green vinyl chairs available in the front office I heard the secretary on the phone with someone wanting to donate to the school. Also, a person came into the office with a donation to help, but it did not stop there!

During most of the school day Pastor Bell had not been at the school. He had gone to Atlanta to meet with a businessman who had called him wanting to meet. He arrived back a little after school let out at three fifteen. He was on the telephone for a while but when he hung up I walked to his office door and saw tears flowing down his face. For a second I was concerned about whether everything was okay. Pastor Bell relieved my concerns saying that everything was okay and that he had just been overwhelmed by God’s goodness and provision. He told me how amazing God was and how He had worked. He told me about donations coming in and the businessman he had met with who gave him a ten thousand dollar donation for the school. Seeing and hearing first hand of God’s provision and Him restoring back two times what had been stolen had a tremendous impact on me and made me start crying there in his office. All I could respond with in absolute amazement was, “God is so good.” and “Praise God!” God was doing something amazing that no one could have imagined!

As Pastor Bell reflected later, he said, “I think as things developed throughout the day, what blew my mind was just how much people were saying, ‘OK, how can we help?’ “They said, ‘In this day of bailouts and people not recognizing their responsibility, you committed to help these families and stick to it and we want to help you.’” The community came together and gave over two times what had been stolen from the school. God provided and showed us how powerful he is and that he takes care of his people.

Because God allowed me to witness thankfulness in trial and His provision in He showed me how I should be thankful and trust Him in every situations and to know that He can and does provide for His people, often in ways not expected. When trials and hardships come my way I know that I am to be thankful because God is working in the situation to accomplish His goals. In future trials I can have confidence that God will take care of me because His word tells me so, but also because I have witnessed His provision and care for those who have put their trust in Him.

Are There Breeches In Your Wall?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. –2 Peter 5:8-9

In ancient times, cities were fortified to protect against attacks from the surrounding enemies. Some cities, such as the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, had incredibly thick walls, built with ingenious craftsmanship and skill. Others had  short, brittle walls that could collapse under April showers. If you had live two-thousand years ago, you would realize the absolute necessity of such protection. There were always enemies who sought to capture various small towns. There were the Huns from the East, the Vikings from the West, or the Assyrians from the North, as is the case in the story revealed in the book of Nehemiah.

In Nehemiah 1:3 we read that the city of Jerusalem was in serious danger. “The remnant there in the province who had survived the xile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire”. What’s worse is that the city is now vulnerable. It is practically welcoming the enemy in. If the Assyrians were to attack, Jerusalem would have no practical defense.

Our spiritual lives are a lot like walled cities. Within our walls are held the things that are most precious to us; our loves, our theology, our faith, our hope. Imagine if your walls were brittle or broken down, and the enemy could have that type of access inside? No, He could not ever take away your salvation. Yes, God is greater than Satan. Yes, Satan will be defeated in the end. But we as Christians cannot put down our swords and say that Christ has left us nothing to do.

This enemy is strong; he’s stronger than we are. He’s deceptive; he has had seven-thousand years of practice, after all. His goal now is to tear you down, to so twist our intellect that what lose all reason. Allow me to share some quotes that have really drive this home for me and caused me to think;

“The focus of Satan’s efforts is always the same: to deceive us into believing that the passing pleasures of sin are more satisfying than obedience.” –Sam Storms
“It grieves me to say this, but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God. One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to convince us that God is a drag.” –Sam Storms
“It strikes some as odd to say that Satan has a strategy. They mistakenly conclude that because our Enemy is sinful he must be equally stupid. Such reasoning has been the downfall of many in the body of Christ. He does not act haphazardly or without a goal in view.” –Sam Storms [Read more…]

Making Your Life Count for Eternity

Hey everyone! I wanted to write on the topic of “Making Your Life Count for Eternity.”I recently heard a dear friend of my family preach on this and wanted to share some thoughts. One of the first questions a person would think of when hearing this topic would be, “How do I go about not wasting my life?”. Well, let’s see!

The beginning of a person’s life counting for eternity is his salvation. By God’s grace when He saves a man He saves a him from living a life separated from God and living for things that have no eternal value. To do so is ultimately a waste.

The Lord says in Luke, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” A person living for eternity must forsake sin and carry his cross. But, Christians shouldn’t think that they are losing anything when they deny themselves, but rather as Don Currin put it, we are gaining unsearchable riches, joy and happiness in Christ. [Read more…]

Thoughts on Prayer

Do you pray?

I don’t mean, do you say your prayers; I mean, do you pray? The two are very different. And I don’t mean, do you pray before you go to sleep at night, or when you wake up in the morning; I mean, do you pray at all times?

I get the feeling that God is trying to teach me something about prayer. My pastor spoke a lot about prayer this Sunday. Much of my Bible reading has been on prayer lately. My C.H. Spurgeon reading has had a lot to do with prayer. I’ve listened to a dozen sermons on prayer in the last couple of weeks. Clearly, God is teaching me about prayer. While I don’t pretend to know nearly everything about it, or claim to be a prayer warrior, I would nevertheless like to share with you a handful of the life-lessons that I am learning. I hope they will bless you as they have blessed me.

First, I would like to notice The Time Set-Apart and Devoted to Prayer in a given day. I am a firm believer in having prayer times in the early morning. I hate missing that time of communion with God. It sets my day off on the wrong tracks. When I begin my day in the shadow of His throne, I find that I have a greater tendency to linger there throughout the remainder of the day. I would like to share with you some quotes on this matter by several of my favorite puritans and other Reformed men;

“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” ~Martin Luther

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” ~E.M. Bounds [Read more…]

John Harper – Hero of the Titanic

John Harper

It was April 15, 1912, when HMS Titanic sank beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking with it 1517 lives. The largest and most luxurious ship at the time was gone, reminding the world of our frailty as human beings. But there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than a historical tragedy. There is a story of courageous heroism and unshakable faith.

John Harper was aboard the Titanic when she set sail from Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. An evangelist originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he was well known throughout the United Kingdom as a charismatic, passionate speaker who led many to Christ through his gift of preaching. In 1912, Reverend Harper received an invitation to speak at the Moody Church in Chicago, U.S.A. On April 11, 1912, John Harper boarded the Titanic.

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
The ship that would never be sunk, a ship of dreams becomes a ship of nightmares as it is swallowed beneath the freezing Atlantic Ocean. Hit by a massive iceberg it was as much the arrogance of the ships owners and operators that caused the tragedy of the Titanic on 14th April 1912. 1,517 people perished that night but there was at least one man who was focused on saving souls amidst the horror.

As the icy waters brought the life of John Harper to a close he still had the energy to call one final person to come to Christ. This is a story of tragedy but it is also a story of faith and courage and eternal hope.
Check out the book!

Some of the wealthiest people in the world were aboard. While many passengers spoke of business deals, acquisitions and material desires, John Harper was diligently sharing the love of Christ with others. In the days leading up to the tragedy, survivors reported seeing Harper living like a man of faith, speaking kind words and sharing the love of Christ.

On the evening of April 14, as passengers danced in the ballroom and tried their luck at the card tables, John Harper put his daughter to bed and read his devotions as he did every night. At 11:40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The “unsinkable” ship was doomed. Either in disbelief or unaware at the time, passengers continued about their pleasures. It wasn’t until the ship’s crew sent up a series of distress flares that passengers realized the seriousness of their situation. Then chaos ensued. [Read more…]

The 1 Timothy 4 Teenager

1 Timothy 4:12Hey everyone. I wanted to write about something I have been thinking about recently. Young adults (teens) I am talking to you. Even as Christian teens we are looked down upon and expected to be disrespectful, rebellious, lazy and irresponsible. It has become the cultural norm to expect little or nothing from someone between the ages of 13 and 19 just because they fall in that category. This is NOT what we are called to as Christian teens. Our teen years are years when we learn, grow and prepare for the years ahead of us. The verse I am sure all of us have heard or memorized, 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Matthew Henry explains this verse in his commentary on 1 Timothy saying, “To conduct himself with that gravity and prudence which might gain him respect, not withstanding his youth: “Let no man despise thy youth; that is, give no man an occasion to despise thy youth.’’ Men’s youth will not be despised if they do not by youthful vanities and follies make themselves despicable; and this men may do who are old, who may therefore thank themselves if they be despised.

To confirm his doctrine by a good example: Be thou an example of the believers, etc. Observe, Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their live, else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other: they must be examples both in word and conversation. Their discourse must be edifying, and this will be a good example: their conversation must be strict, and this will be a good example: they must be examples in charity, or love to God and all good men, examples in spirit, that is, in spiritual-mindedness,in spiritual worship,—in faith, that is, in the profession of Christian faith,—and in purity or chastity.”

It is hard as teens in this world to live like this when so little is expected of us. We need to step up and be what Christ has called us to be: examples of love, spiritual mindedness, purity, and edifying in our discourse. We can not do it of our own will or might but only through God working in us to make us more like His son. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

Related Books

Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

31 Days: Fruitful or Wasted?

Well, we are 31 days into this year and it made me think how have we been doing on our spiritual lives this year. I wanted to share and encouragement for those who have been faithful in their spiritual life and those who have not.

What opportunities have the Lord given us the first 31 days this year to share Christ to others? Has our life so far this year glorified God whether we are eating, drinking, or whatever we are doing? Have we gotten into our schedules and routines and left God our of it except on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays? I want to encourage those who have been faithful to remain faithful and those who have not to repent get things right with God and starts this month by cultivating our everyday relationship with Christ.

“I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!”

Westminster Shorter Catechism

…in a city of intense excitement of violent rioting and the streets were overran daily by a dangerous crowd, then one day he observed approaching him a man of a singular combined firmness of character; whose very demeanor inspired in him a measure of confidence. And so impressed was he with his baring amid thee surrounding up-roar all around him, but when he had passed, he turned to look back at him only to find that the stranger had done the same. On observing his turning, the stranger at once came back to him; and touching his chest with his forefinger, demanded without preface, “What is the chief end of man?” And one, receiving then immediately the countersign, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever!” “Ah,” he said, “I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!” “Why,” said the man, “that is just what I thought about you!”