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Tuesday, July 29 2014 @ 05:55 PM MST
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Welcome. Here's What You Need To Know

Thanks for visiting our website, www.thomasterry.com. Before you browse the site, please click here to read more about our ministry with Cru and how you can help us use media to the world for Christ.

I’ve been in Christian media since 1983 working in radio, television, and the Internet in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Turkey, and Mongolia. Now the Lord is giving us a ministry with the Jesus Film Project that will have us involved in showing the Jesus Film on television stations worldwide.

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Finding The Truest Expression Of Christianity

I recently watched an interesting documentary about four college students who took a trip to Europe for the purpose of discovering true Christianity. Entitled, Beware Of Christians, the college students went traveling about Europe to see how Christianity was practiced and what made it different from their American expression of Christianity. Their purpose was to try and discover what might be called “true Christianity.”

Near the end of the movie the four college students essentially came to a simple conclusion, the truest expression of Christianity is to love God and to love others. While I don’t want to necessarily invalidate their discovery, I find that there is a subtle yet foundational problem in their premise.

They went into the world for the world to change them instead of going into the world to change the world for Christ. 

It is true, in a large sense, that the greatest expression of Christianity is to love God and love others. But the greatest expression of loving God and loving others is itself two-fold: sharing the Gospel and sacrificing yourself for others. Without the Gospel going out to change the world the world remains lost in sin with no hope of eternal life. While it is true that you can travel the world, learn much, and thereby have your life changed, the purpose of our Christianity is not to have the world change us, rather it is for the Gospel to change the world. 

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There's No Such Thing As Compassion Without Passion

I have to love him, but it doesn’t mean I have to like him! Have you ever heard anyone express this idea? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself? I know I certainly have. The problem with this statement is that it has no foundation in the Bible. In fact, this kind of statement actually contradicts what the Bible actually teaches.

We often attach extra-biblical ideas to our biblical understanding to give us an excuse not to follow what the scripture actually says. Here are some examples:

  • I don’t give the homeless money because they might spend it on booze
  • The Bible says I have to love my neighbor, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him
  • I don’t have the gift of evangelism, so I don’t have to witness to people
  • Tithing is part of the law, and I’m not under the law, so I don’t have to tithe if I don’t want
  • Love is a verb

These are the exact kind of things that the pharisees of Jesus’ day did so that they could feel like they were following the law even though they were breaking the law. Jesus rebuked them for this in Mark 7:6-12.

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The Brutality Of God

Recently I watched the movie, Son Of God. Toward the end of the movie I was deeply moved by the long portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, from his beating, to carrying his cross, and finally the crucifixion. I’ve seen a good number of movies and plays about Jesus but I was never moved so emotionally by a portrayal of the crucifixion like I was watching Son Of God. Why is that?

 

As Americans, we live in a sanitized and antiseptic culture. Everything is clean, orderly, and has its place; even our suffering. Most Americans don’t experience extreme brutality like Jesus experienced for us. And that got me thinking again about suffering.

 

What is suffering? More specifically, what does it mean to suffer for the sake of Christ? Immediately, we can put aside notions of suffering from sickness, accidents, or bad relationships. Everyone experiences some measure of physical and emotional suffering for various reasons. What I am referring to, specifically, is the biblical call to suffer for the Gospel, for the sake of Christ. But let me narrow it down further. I don’t mean suffering such as your teacher telling you that you can’t read the Bible during recess or forbidding you from writing about Jesus as the subject of an essay. Nor do I mean restrictions on speech that Americans regularly complain about regarding public expressions of religion. What I mean is the kind of suffering that Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles went through. The kind of suffering the early Christians endured. The kind of suffering Christians in the Middle East, Asia, and parts of Africa experience. To illustrate it graphically, I mean flesh tearing, hot iron branding, knife slashing, bone breaking, skin burning, bullet riddled suffering for the sake of sharing God’s love and forgiveness with the very people causing your suffering. In a word, I’m talking about nothing less than being brutalized for the sake of the Gospel. That is what Jesus suffered. 

 

When we think of suffering, what do we think of?

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Advice For Short-Term Teams

Pastor, do you want to send a short-term team to a foreign country? Do you want your people to engage globally for the Gospel? Then here are five principles to follow when putting together a short-term team. I promise that if you follow these principles you’ll have a better chance of fulfilling your ministry goals and your short-term team will have an experience they will never forget.


First, follow the lead of your full-time missionary in country. If your missionary has been in your target country for at least five years it’s most likely that he has come to know the culture and its expressions in such a way that he understand the dos and don’ts of making disciples in their host country. Instead of planning what you will do, involve your missionary in the planning process, or perhaps allow him to come up with the plan. He know the needs and probably have many ideas how to address them. All he need are the resources and manpower to get it done.


Second, don’t plan specific projects or presentations without your missionary’s counsel and consent. Many missionaries can tell you horror stories of projects and presentations gone wrong because the visiting group didn’t know how to communicate their passion for Jesus in a way that actually spoke to the culture. Run your ideas pass your missionary, then make sure he knows they should feel completely free to alter it or suggest putting it in the grave.

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When Is Discrimination Acceptable?

There has been a recent national discussion regarding religious discrimination and homosexuality. The most recent debate centered on a bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would have permitted a person or business not to serve someone based upon religious conviction. Central to the discussion was the example of a baker refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding. Gay advocates call that discrimination. Their opponents cited religious rights not to participate in sinful behavior. To the relief of many, the bill was vetoed by the Arizona governor.

For the purposes of this article I am not concerned with the law. My concern is what the Bible has to say about a difficult topic such as this.

What is discrimination?

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"Like An Eagle" Now Available

I am happy to announce that my newest book, Like An Eagle has been released as an eBook on Amazon.com

Like An Eagle tells the story of our ten-year journey in Mongolia with Eagle TV. Like An Eagle reveals not only the fruit of our ministry with Eagle TV, but also the trials and troubles we encountered with Mongolian power brokers and people of influence.

Along with dramatic stories of our experiences, we look back at the lessons learned and how Eagle TV helped to change Mongolia and how it changed our lives.

Like An Eagle is released as an eBook for the Kindle exclusively through Amazon. You can read it on your Kindle device or on an iPad or other tablet with the free Kindle App.

Get your copy today by visiting this link: http://goo.gl/pzS4pS.

Endorsements

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It’s Critical To Tell The Bible’s Story

When it comes to sharing the Gospel of Jesus there is one strategy that has resounding success in seeing people come to Christ: Bible story-telling. What is Bible story-telling? Simply put, Bible story-telling is a strategy of sharing the whole Bible’s story with a community or people group to give the target audience a historical understanding of who Jesus is and why we must receive him. Bible story-telling doesn’t necessarily tell every story from the Old Testament to the New Testament, but it does give the hearer a detailed overview to the extent that they begin to understand how Jesus fits into the Bible and the history of man. It is not uncommon in some countries for nearly whole communities to come to Christ as a result of taking part in Bible story-telling sessions.

Why is this method so effective, especially in developing nations? I’d like to present you with five key principles why Bible story-telling is such a critical tool for missions today and perhaps even for ministry in the US as most nonbelievers in the US have no familiarity with the Bible or the historical claims of Jesus.

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The Church Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You

American society is in decline. There’s no denying the obvious. It doesn’t matter if we examine our political influence or our spiritual history, there is no denying that America is in decline. America will eventually go the way of all nations. That is not to be pessimistic, it is simply an historical observation.

Those who care deeply for their country are working hard to restore America to its former glory, but ultimately such efforts can only lead to a short-term reform. Like the great kings of Israel—Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Hezekiah—noble efforts can be made for reform but he final conclusion is already at hand. There is only one kingdom that will never suffer decline, that of the returning Christ, but that day has not come yet.

When looking at the decline of America sometimes people say that the church has failed in its job to be a moral or spiritual influence in American life. I’ve thought the same from time to time but have come to a reformation in my thinking. I don’t think that the church is at fault for America’s condition. Nor do I believe that the church is out of touch or irrelevant to America today. On the contrary, I think the church is more in touch, relevant, and active when it comes to trying to reach American society with the Gospel. Allow me to explain why I believe this is.

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God Always Starts The Conversation

Here’s a question that every Christian must answer: What is God’s calling on your life?

Some people answer that question with a statement about full-time ministry. Others refer to volunteer roles they play at church or work done on short term mission trips. Others answer that God has called them to a secular vocation.

Now let’s try a second question: What do you want to do with your life?

Hopefully we answer the second question with our answers to the first question.

What has God called you to? Do you do whatever you do because that is what interests you or because you have a deep sense of conviction about what you are to do with your life?

Before I became a missionary broadcaster I worked in radio in the US. Though I was on the air as a DJ I had a particular talent and love for commercial production—making radio commercials for clients. Becoming a missionary broadcaster never occurred to me. I was only interested in pursuing my profession in the US. In fact, in my early days I had a couple of networks that were interested in my work. I was looking forward to a long and profitable radio career. But that all changed one day when I sat down in church to listen to a guest speaker talk about what God was doing in Lebanon through Christian radio.

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