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October 2009

Viewing posts from October , 2009

Interview with Marty – Thailand Campus Crusade for Christ Staff

Marty was a Christian student I met 8 years ago. He was my Thai teacher, and quickly became a great friend, housemate, and fellow worker in the gospel. I saw Him graduate and become a full time staff with TCCC. He & his family have since had great impact on campus & now throughout Thailand through his work with churches and the Jesus Film Project. Meet him here. (From 2010).

Commanded to Do What I Cannot Do

From John Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God –

“We are commanded to do what we cannot do. And we must do it or perish. Our inability does not remove our guilt.  It deepens it. We are so bad that we cannot love God. We cannot delight in God above all things. We cannot treasure Christ above money. Our entrenchedbadness does not make it wrong for God to command us to be good. We ought to delight in God above all things. Therefore it is right for God to command us to delight in God above all things. And if we ever do delight n God, it will be because we have obeyed this command.  

That is the mystery: We must obey the command to rejoice in the Lord, and we cannot, because of our willful and culpable corruption.  Therefore obedience, when it happens, is a gift. The heretic Pelagius in the fourth century rejected this truth and was shocked and angered when he saw the way St. Augustine prayed in his Confessions. Augustine prayed, “Give me the grace [O Lord] to do as you command, and command me to do what you will! . . . O holy God . . . when your commands are obeyed, it is from you that we receive the power to obey them.”

We may paraphrase like this: “Let him who rejoices in the Lord, rejoice in the joy that God supplies, so that in everything including our joy God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Therefore, believing that joy in God is a gift from God is essential in our calling to live for the glory of God. It shapes all our other strategies. It makes them humble.  It makes them into acts of faith. In everything we do in our quest for joy we are praying and trusting the grace of God for a gift. May this
truth liberate the despairing soul and humble the proud.”

What is Matt Doing Anyway?

I’ve had more than a few questions recently that go something like this:  “Matt your pictures and videos on facebook are great, but what are you actually doing over there?  What’s your daily life like?  How do you fit in?”  Well, I fit in wherever I’m needed – which means – I do a bunch of random stuff.  Here’s a rundown of the last 3 months:

Students and Thailand Campus Crusade for Christ Staff

I’m volunteering with Thailand Campus Crusade for Christ and as such spend a lot of time on university campuses with college students and TCCC staff.  We go on campus and share the gospel with students, follow up with those who respond in any way with Bible study, discussion, activities, etc. and build the very few who become born-again believers in their faith.  I’m a part of two Thai CCC staff teams at two of the top five schools in the country – Kasetsart University and Thamassat University. 

But just between you and me though, I’m on campus to focus on things other than just university students…!  I’m actually even being a bit sneaky in what I’m doing.  I like telling myself that I’m sort of a special operative.  Many of the guys with TCCC staff teams are very young and are in desperate need of some mentoring in the faith.  What better way to do that than to be a part of their lives every day, going on campus with them, sharing the gospel with them, teaching the Bible with them, and being able to respond when they hungrily come to ask me for advice, guidance, help with students’ questions, and fellowship with an older brother in Christ.  They don’t know that they are my focus – (well, a few do) – but in this case what they don’t know won’t hurt them.  In real life though, and in dealing with God, the souls of men, and eternity, what they don’t know will hurt them – and others.  May Jesus alone do what I cannot dream of doing. May I depend on Him to work through me, and rest knowing that He is accomplishing what He wills, and He is doing so in His timing.  

How incredible a thought for now and so much more into the future – Impacting those who will impact many – I like the sound of that.

FARANG!

A general, often endearing, sometimes otherwise, term for foreigners here in Thailand – specifically Americans and Europeans.  Where did all of you foreigners come from?  There were not so many of you when I lived here before.  🙂  Not complaining though – far from it.  As a matter of fact, God has worked things in such a way that I am currently meeting with for either Bible study and discipleship or exploratory spiritual discussions with:  An American student, an American English teacher, a Chinese student, and an Indian student, in addition to several other friendships that I hope will develop and bear spiritual fruit – two students from Laos, a Burmese student, another Chinese student, and another Indian student!

How awesome is that?!  To think that God might use these relationships here in peaceful Thailand to impact China, India, Laos, Burma, and America!  

God hasn’t only brought students and others here to hear the gospel and be built up in the Lord, He also blessed us with a summer team of Korean-American students who came to share the gospel alongside us.  They were with us for three weeks around June/July and helped to serve as a springboard of excitement for Thai university students at the beginning of the school year.  Several of the most faithful and excited new students in the ministry came from God’s working through our Korean American friends.

9 Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it.”

– Isaiah 46:9-11 

Reunions with Old Friends!

It’s been great to catch up with old friends who were students during my first time in Thailand, and who have now moved on to their careers.  You’ll find a few pics below of Nu,  Ted, and “Moses.”  Nu recently got to visit church with me.  He was the one who asked me if he could go to church, not the other way around!  He told me very directly that he wants to become a Christian, he is just a bit fearful about family traditions and beliefs and about leaving his old religion that he has known since birth behind. 

Nu will be leaving for Australia in about 2 months, and plans to start going to church there after his move.  Would you join me in praying for Nu, and his girlfriend for their upcoming life decisions they must face and pray that Nu will soon experience the love, mercy, and grace of Christ at the cross – in his heart.  Pray that he won’t wait – that he will recognize his need and the perfect provision of Christ and flee to find shelter in Him!  (Nu, we are praying for you.  Let’s hang out again soon!)

Camps, Training, Bible Study 

We’ve had several camps already in the few months I’ve been here.  Leadership Training Institute’s weekend camp in August purposed to teach and equip students to clearly share their faith, (and to build up the new believers in their own faith).  It’s held each year through TCCC, and God never fails to use it to grow many students, and each and every time there are praise-worthy stories of people receiving Christ when the students go out from the camp into the community to share Christ.  This year was no exception as several people trusted Christ on the day of outreach.

We just finished a 40 day period of prayer and fasting [for some] and focused Bible study in Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 8,9, & 10.  God used this time to focus TCCC on the perfect atoning work of Christ – and helped to secure many young believers in their faith – giving them the solid rock foundation of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.  It is so clear God’s purposes in giving me the ability to learn Thai quickly.  I have been able to participate fully in helping to teach our small group of 6 guys at our house – and see them grow in knowing Christ.  God has done all – and all for His plans and glory.

The time ended with a 3 day prayer and fasting camp just last week.  The camp was held at the same mountain retreat where the Thai staff have been faithfully going year after year, offering up their prayers to God to see Him awaken this country to Christ.  How incredible to see Thai believers gather together time after time, year after year, placing their trust in God alone to answer prayer – to do the impossible – to open blind eyes to the majesty and glory of Jesus.