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Welcome to thomasterry.com
Monday, September 01 2014 @ 09:34 AM EDT
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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 reach 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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A Christian Response To The Crises In The Muslim World

This is going to be controversial. I’m going to say something about Hamas, ISIS, terrorism, and Israel—and you may not like it. I don’t know if I like it. But since when do we not declare a truth just because we don’t like it?

Once, when I was working in TV ministry in Mongolia, I was talking with a group of donors, telling them about the successes we were seeing in our TV ministry. At the end of my comments an elderly man named, Richard came up to me and said, “I fought in the Korean War. My regiment fought against a Mongolian regiment that was sided with the North Koreans.” He began to weep and said, “You have turned my enemy into my brother.”

There is a people group today that as Americans, we look at and say, “That is the enemy.” Who are these people? Middle East Muslims. Because of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the threats of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and more, we look at that area of the world, or that people group and we say, “That’s the enemy.” We see them not only as our enemies, but even as enemies of God as they seek to intentionally harm and kill God’s people (as we have seen happening recently in Iraq). Yet, as individual Christians we must keep in mind that their judgment lies not with us, but with God. It is our job to “love our enemies.” Remember the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 5 which essentially says that while we were still God’s enemies, Christ died for us. Did you catch that? We were God’s enemies. Yet, he died for us anyway. We were his enemies in no less way as many in the Muslim world are today. God loves the Muslim world to no greater or less degree than he loves us, than he loves you. As Christians, it is our role to help turn our enemies, even God’s enemies, into God’s friends—even the ones bent on our destruction.

This can be a hard teaching to accept. It’s one thing to say that we love our enemies. It’s another thing to actually do it in a day-to-day, practical way. If the ISIS terrorist stood before you, ready to slit your throat, how would you express God’s love to him when he is an enemy seeking to destroy you at that very moment? Instead, should you hate him? It seems that we can have both emotions. To further complicate the matter, let’s compare these statements from the Bible:

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Together Through The Bible Returns

From 2007-2009 I hosted a popular television program in Mongolia called, Together Through The Bible.

Produced in a documentary style in both English and Mongolian, each week I taught on a variety of subjects, usually tied to Christian character and essential Bible truths.

Originally, the program was limited to ten episodes meant to be filler for an open slot in our schedule. But when it launched, during our first season the program was our highest rated offering, sometimes pulling five times the audience of our nightly news programming. We quickly extended the first season beyond ten episodes to fill out season one. Because the program was rated so highly we renewed for a second season. However, my duties as Managing Director of Eagle TV prevented me from continuing the program beyond its two-year run.

Hosting Together Through The Bible was a wonderful experience. I hope you find these programs useful to you in your walk with Christ. Click below to view any of the programs.

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Like An Eagle: Free Sample Chapter

Have you had the opportunity to read my newest book, Like An Eagle? If you haven't, then you might enjoy this sample chapter about some of our most controversial and difficult challenges in Mongolia with Eagle TV.

To purchase the book, visit Amazon for the paperback or Kindle versions.

Enjoy.


The News 

To say that Eagle TV was a Christian TV station is not really painting an accurate picture. I prefer to define Eagle at that time as a news/talk station with strategic hours of Christian programming. I’ll talk in a coming chapter about our Christian programming, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t anything like the Christian TV programming often seen in America.

Eagle TV built a reputation for being the most independent TV station in the country. Certainly, all of our news staff were Mongolians and they had their own personal political biases. But, unlike the other stations in Ulaanbaatar, Eagle TV was owned by an American nonprofit, AMONG Foundation. AMONG had no Mongolian political agenda in terms of supporting specific political parties or platforms. AMONG’s first concern was with sharing the love of Jesus with the Mongolian viewership. However, the station needed to earn its own income and there were opportunities to help contribute to Mongolia’s new-found freedom and democracy. So, when the station was originally founded, it had a dual purpose: advance Mongolia’s freedom and democracy through programming that advocated freedom of speech, press, and conscience; and advocate Christianity through originally produced evangelistic and discipleship-oriented Christian programming.

The news was not only our bread and butter. It gave the station a reputation that it couldn’t acquire otherwise. I lost count of the number of times I would get into a taxi or be in a store and someone would recognize me from Eagle TV. “Eagle TV is my TV,” they would say. “Only Eagle TV tells the truth.” What makes this remarkable is that Eagle never positioned or branded itself as “My TV” or as telling the truth. This was something that occurred at the audience level without any marketing push from Eagle. Never once did anyone tell me anything similar about any of the other Mongolian TV stations they watched. For many people, Eagle wasn’t just a TV station. It was almost an institution. When the station was forced to shut down in 2003, one person even came to our studio and wrote on the wall, “Eagle come back to us!”

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Robin Williams And Six Inescapable Truths About Sin And Depression

The tragic suicide of Robin Williams left Americans grieving for one of its most beloved entertainers. Soon, media outlets and social media were discussing depression, its effects, and its role in suicide. Some Christian bloggers took the position that depression is a sin. As someone who has experienced bipolar depression I have my own perspective on the issue. To be up front, never in my experience with depression did I ever consider killing myself. I had long before determined that murdering myself was a sin and a violation of God’s plan for my life. However, in 2008, for a period of several months, I was in a severe state of depression. I was mostly nonfunctional. My perspectives were all screwed up. I had a wrong view of myself, my family, my ministry, my life. Though I would not intentionally kill myself, I still wanted to die. If something bad had happened to me, then I would not have done anything about it. I would have let happen whatever would happen, even if it meant letting me die. I suppose that’s as close to suicide as I had ever come.

During my time of being treated by a doctor and going through counseling I was also reading books about how the brain functions, what it needs to stay healthy, and how certain mental disorders can permanently change the brain, literally causing physical damage to the brain. Everything we feel and experience centers on our brains. With our brains we experience the world around us, the world inside us (whether real or imagined), and how we feel about our experiences. If the doctor could come up with the right cocktail of medications we could alter my perceptions, minimize my mania and depression and get me thinking straight again. I was one of the fortunate ones. Finding the right mix, along with counseling, brought me back to a healthy mental state in a matter of months. For many people suffering from bipolar disorder the treatment can take years.

When I was suffering from depression I felt strongly that I was in sin. I reasoned that if I had faith in God and believed his promises that my depressive feelings were a failure on my part to trust God with my present and my future. Taking that view did not help me. In fact, it only made things worse. It became a spiral until I sank deeper and deeper into depression that kept me from functioning. But when I began to understand that the interaction of chemicals in my brain was a significant factor in my depression I reasoned that perhaps depression is not a sin after all. If I am prisoner to my body and to my brain how can I feel anything other than what my brain chemistry makes me to feel?

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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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