Archive for March 2020

Plenteous Redemption

Missionary Papers, The Cross & The Culture:

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Autogenous Drug Addiction: The Reality

The burden of choice:

The world into which we bear our gospel is filled with irrational, self-destructive behavior. Christians often find this reality difficult to see from the pew of Bible-Believing Churches. We become naive to such trouble by fidelity to God’s word and repeated warnings from honest pulpits. Yet, individuals of this world are not so fortunate, their destructive behavior is often encouraged, not corrected. Without watchmen warning them of danger ahead, they’re ravaged by sin and tossed by every whim. Their own free-will and its resulting freedom of choice are the worst of enemies. A life of revelry along with indulgence in every seasonal, yet sinful, pleasure feeds their desire to awake and seek it yet again.

 

People need the Lord!

One distinct characteristic of man, further proving separation from animals, is with full conscious aptitude choosing to harm himself. One example is the autogenous (self-produced and self-generated) nature of drug use. When difficulties arise, with no friend that sticketh closer than a brother, man deceives himself into thinking substance abuse is the escape. They know not the Great Physician, they seek not his assistance. The choice is made to obscure difficulties through alcohol or drug use. Rather than bringing bodies into subjection, they give themselves over to a life dominated by uncontrolled feelings and addiction.

 

The disease and its cause:

Labeling addiction a “disease” has become the catch-all counterfeit explanation. How profound, an illness whose cause is snorting, smoking or injecting the object thereof. Just as ludicrous is the modern approach to treatment. Rehabilitation created a world in which addicts are coddled. Continued contraction of this unfortunate disease motivates money-making facilities to help subjects of this infirmity through their doors. The addicts and the rehab facilities alike work to help us understand addiction is just as incurable as cancer or GRID. Effectively expressing this idea relieves the addict from responsibility and fuels the rehab industries' greatest need: patients. Rough city streets and rehab centers are the perpetual ditch that addicts find themselves repeatedly falling into.

Addicts have mastered the art of manipulation and enjoy successfully practicing its methods of deceit. Sadly, societies and doctors have become the manipulated. This creates a vicious circle of revolving doors at treatment centers where the same faces pass through repeatedly, but rarely gain victory. Thousands of dollars are charged by these facilities to bring addicts in and diagnose them unfortunate victims of a deadly disease. The price to receive this diagnosis is so high only federal, state and local governments would be silly enough to cover the cost.

 

Predator vs Prey:

The choice to use drugs (the “u

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Plenteous Redemption

An Interview With A Bible Believer: Pastor Andrew Ray

 

Andrew B. Ray is the pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. We were blessed to sit down with him for the purposes of this interview. Pastor Ray is a hardworking and faithful pastor. He is the author and co-author of many books and dedicated Bible Teacher. It is our hope this interview will be a help and a blessing to you wherever you are in your Christian life. Please comment below on your favorite aspect of this Podcast.

Questions:

  • What is your name and what church do you Pastor?
  • Briefly tell us about the immediate members of your family?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What was life like for you as you grew up in Knoxville?
  • Who was most influential in your early life?
  • Were you a rebellious or obedient teenager?
  • Do you have any memorable stories from your teenage years?
  • How did your teenage years prepare you for the future?
  • Did you go to college, if so, where?
  • What position did you play in Baseball?
  • How many hours per week did you dedicate to Baseball practice?
  • At what age were you saved, and how did you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • How did you come to be the Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church?
  • What role has the King James Bible Played in your ministry?
  • What do you enjoy m

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Plenteous Redemption

Missionary Papers, The Cross & The Culture:

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“The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” Psalm 94:11 KJV. Perpetual performance anxiety now dominates our world. The trouble is that we are not dealing with a reasonable form of performance (Public Speaking, Musical Performance, Sports Performance, etc.). Social media creates a form of performance anxiety in which individuals of the selfie-generation compete against themselves. With viral hope, one selfie after another is offered to the social media gods.

Maybe the first one goes viral, or even the first couple, but the trouble comes when the social media titans that so admired that perfect selfie no longer takes an interest. The competition begins and anxiety performance follows! The desire of the selfie generation is to gain victory over the vicious circle of self-deception leading them to believe they can regain the number of likes they once achieved. Just as a heroin addict seeks their fix, the social media addict seeks that flood of dopamine to temporarily relieve them of their depression or anxiety. This may seem like a silly proposition, but the reality is this routine dominates the lives of many. At times to the extent that it fully controls them, just as the drug of choice dominates the behavior of the addict.

The doctrine of self-esteem:

The selfie generation is a product of the self-esteem doctrine. Their entire lives they have been told if you would just “esteem yourself” or “believe in yourself” then all would be well. If you would just “believe in your heart” then one emotional trouble after the other would fall, never to rise again. Proponents of these foolish ideas often give me a perplexed look when I ask them: “Would you tell Charles Manson to “believe in his heart?” If only he had “esteemed himself” more highly, maybe he never would have turned out to be the sadistic leader of a death cult. Of course, we know such a philosophy does not work due to its unbiblical nature.

This doctrine fails primarily, of course, because it is unbiblical. But it is necessary to try and establish some specifics rather than just simply making a dogmatic statement. The idea of “esteeming self” at no point takes into account the person that has made no attempt whatsoever to establish any sense of character or morality. They live life subject to their impulses, freely given over to the lusts of their flesh. This, of course, leads to disastrous outcomes of which the consequences can be very serious. Rather than receiving proper instruction concerning the destructive nature of their choices, they are told to “believe in themselves.” As a result, the person never gets the help they need. Instead, the vicious circle that is their life turns into a cyclone of sorts leaving destruction in its path.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 KJV. Had Charles Manson esteemed the other people in his life higher than himself, then we may not have had those brutal murders stain American history. The self-esteem doctrine is a complete failure. Soci

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Missionary Papers: The Cross & The Culture

Plenteous Redemption

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Missionary Papers, The Cross & The Culture:

Is Christianity not a sort of psychological crutch?

Questions are great, they reveal certain assumptions. As a Bible-Believing Christian that spends a goodly amount of time street preaching, preaching in prisons and preaching in rescue missions; I encounter many relevant questions. This one, in particular, reveals much regarding the thought process of the individual asking. Furthermore, the more common or repetitive a question is, I find they tend not to be original thoughts, but rather parrotings of the discontents of some other larger influence (College Professor, Hollywood Stars, News Media, etc.). Let’s consider a few assumptions made here. The first assumption, Christianity is a mere crutch for the many in life that are somehow halt or lame. A prop for the weak incapable of standing firm under the weight of life alone. The second assumption, psychologically impaired individuals compose the makeup of Christianity. As though sanity only exists in the secular world.

The crutch of Christianity?

The members of society that tend to provide such verbal pandering also often stumble to their cars in drunken a stooper. They don’t need Christianity when weekly religious rituals of depleting finances at the local bar or nightclub will suffice. I once preached outside one such place of enlightenment, a bar called “The Backdour.” (pronounced “back-door”). As one lewd fellow of the baser sort after another passed by, they zealously expressed their discontent with “my God.” I suppose he doesn’t mix well with alcohol.

Yet consider the assumption, especially coming from the masses that compose such groups. “I do not need a crutch like Christianity” they have glorious weekends of drunken frolic to assist their hobbling. They don’t realize their self-prescribed cure is just an extension of the frailty that is their life. When the highlight of a persons week consists of alcohol blackouts and perverse forms of sexual immorality, I would suggest far more than a crutch is needed.

Also, consider the crowd more dedicated to the religious use of alcohol than the weekend warrior. When preaching on the streets or in rescue missions, I encounter what society has dubbed “alcoholics”. The Bible calls them “drunkards” and deals harshly with such lifestyles. There have been fewer moments of illumination in life than when drunk homeless individuals boldly declare they have no use for Christianity. They are sad sights to behold, their lives ravaged, relationships cut off, employment long gone, no sense of personal responsibility, but they have an opinion regarding the validity of the Christian life.

No limiting the crutch?

The drunkard, whether speaking of the weekend warrior or the full-time over-achiever, are easy to pick on from a biblical perspective. The Bible is so clear regarding not only the abuse but simply the use of such substances. <

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Plenteous Redemption

Missionary Thomas Irvin: My Personal Testimony

BIMI Missionary to the country of Uganda, Africa.

Thomas Irvin

Missionary Thomas Irvin: My Personal Testimony

BIMI Missionary to the country of Uganda, Africa.

This testimony was given at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Carthage, Tennessee.

For when we were yet without strength…

My testimony stands out due to its abnormality. I grew up in and around Memphis, TN. I was consistently inconsistent concerning church attendance and spiritual matters. Fortunately, when we did attend church we visited gospel preaching Baptist Churches. Therefore, I grew up knowing the gospel, though I did not trust Christ until I was twenty-nine. With this brief introduction allow me to take you through thirty-seven years of personal history.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

I was born on September 24th, 1981 in Memphis, TN. I was stillborn to a sixteen-year-old homeless mother. My birthplace was the Med, which is kin to the city zoo. After resuscitation, the Lord saw fit to restore my life. Our lives together proved God’s word is true; starting a family in an unbiblical fashion produces a troublesome life. The Lord blessed me with a wonderful mother who was not slack concerning her responsibilities.

In January 2000 I joined the U.S. Air Force, escaping the rebellious and the bad city. By 2005 I was a civilian again. In 2006 I became a defense contractor in Saudi Arabia. While there I met an American Muslim family who gave up U.S. citizenship to live in an Islamic country. Fifteen hundred years of the fruits of Islam proved that to be a bad decision. A member of the family asked me a question I could not shake; “How does a person become a Christian?”

Until then, I assumed I was a Christian. I’m from the south, it never occurred to me that we must “become” Christians. This burst of light shone on my empty existence. I knew the answer to their question, I explained that all are required to trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The trouble is, I had never called upon the Lord.

Nevertheless, my curiosity was peaked, my heart was convicted, and I needed answers; yet I was still in Saudi Arabia. There was no pastor available, there was no church available, so I did what any sensible American would do in 2010; I turned to YouTube. Coming from Memphis the only Pastor I knew of was Adrian Rogers. He had a sermon online called “The Simplicity Of Salvation.” He made salvation so clear to me.

I struggled with the decision to call upon the Lord for nearly two weeks. I understood my twenty-nine years of baggage could not come with me into the Christian life. Considering what Christ suffered for me brought me to a final conclusion. I happily bowed my head and came to be identified with the “whosoevers” that have called upon the name of the Lord. Our Saviour is so wonderful; he reached down into Islamic darkness and saved a wretch like me.

And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God;

I left Saudi Arabia a saved man. From there the Lord led in such a way that Kristin and I are now BIMI missionaries en route to Africa. During my time in Saudi, I came to be involved in Mixed Martial Arts. From Saudi Arabia, I moved to Long Island, New York for my next training camp. While there, I found myself attending a Bible Believing Church. The Lord made clear to me Mixed Martial Arts fighting was not for Christians.

My MMA training sessions subjected me to certain lewd fellows of the baser sort as well as colorful music and language. My next fight was in America’s version of Rome’s arenas, sponsored by unsavory products. It became clear as a follower of Christ, I would have to put childish and spiritually unprofitable activities away. My replacement for Martial Arts training was standing on busy shopping corners to pass out gospel tracts. The weapons of my new warfare were not carnal. I
became engaged in the good fight.

Living in Long Island, NY my savings dissipated. I began looking for work, but a background in aircraft armament systems was not exactly marketable. After diligent search, reality set in that living in New York was not sustainable. The company I worked for in Saudi Arabia called about a position in Egypt, I explained I would have to work out certain issues before considering the position. Primarily, I had only been saved one year and refused to isolate myself from the fellowship of the saints.

The Lord helped me find a faithful Bible Believing Missionary in Cairo, named David Gates. Excited about spending time with a missionary in Egypt, I accepted the job. On my way to Egypt, I was sent to the Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach for training. While there, I searched for a church to attend and found Bible Believers Baptist Church outside the Navy Base. In service, the pastor did something I found to be incredible, he preached line-by-line and verse-by-verse through the book of Acts.

It was refreshing, I stayed after church Sunday talking with Pastor Tim MacDonald for nearly three hours. He gave me a book and CD produced by James W Knox. The disc had brother James’ Bible School course “How to study and teach the Bible.” My life was greatly enriched! He taught me to unequivocally trust God’s word! His Bible-teaching gave me great confidence in God’s word.

Living in Egypt, encouraged to study, provoked to trust God, and serving the Lord with a missionary; the Lord gave me a taste of my future. Brother David and I spent hours nightly on the streets of Cairo witnessing. This was an exciting time, the Lord set my heart ablaze for missions. After one year in Egypt, my contract ended. I moved to Deland, Florida and started attending classes at the Deland School of The Bible.

I had been in Deland for one year when offered my last contract in Afghanistan. I spent the next seven months at Camp Leatherneck working with the U.S. Military. While there, the Chaplin allowed me to teach the Bible in the chapel each Saturday. This Bible study was open to anyone interested in coming. The same men came consistently, each of them was from Uganda. These men were wonderfully receptive to God’s word and captivated my heart, sparking the desire to learn about the need there.

I planned a trip to Uganda, my friends in Afghanistan made arrangements for me to preach daily while in Africa. The excitement was mounting then we received the news. President Obama was drawing down the war in Afghanistan. Instructions were given to prepare for an immediate return to the U.S.; this included canceling upcoming trips. I was devastated; it seemed to me the door was closed. As instructed I helped prepare for the return to the United States.

Returning to Deland, I eased back into Bible School and various church ministries. I also married the most wonderful woman God could give an undeserving man. We spent our evening dinners searching Google Maps for various countries to see who God had laboring there, all the while praying the Lord would show us where we could be used. One evening I received a message from a Ugandan man that I met in Afghanistan. The message detailed a series of Islands situated in Southern Uganda.

I searched the matter and found the islands situated on the Northern shores of Lake Victoria. This vast body of water demands reverence for its Creator. Northern Lake Victoria has eighty-four Islands known as the Ssese Islands. Kristin and I were unable to identify any missionaries laboring amongst those people. This was an answer to our prayer, the Lord gave us the desire of our hearts!

I contacted missionary Keith Stensaas in Masaka, Uganda. He is a second-generation missionary in Uganda, now more than twenty years. With zeal, I explained the desire of our hearts regarding Ssese. With reciprocated excitement, he offered to assist us along the way. He has done exactly that and more. We hold Brother Keith and Mrs. Sally in high regard and look forward to laboring with them. Starting under the guidance of an experienced missionary is foundational for us.

With his own hand, he leadeth me.

I enjoy surveying my life, a man amongst the chiefest of sinners, and identifying the wonderful ways the Lord has led. Few men could be more undeserving, yet the Lord would use such an one as I to labor in his fields. My hope is the Lord’s people read this brief sketch of his workings in my life and will be encouraged to trust him more along the way. It is good for us to note these points in our lives, bringing them to remembrance, a memorial unto the Lord. May he receive the honor and glory due him in each of our lives.

Psalm 52:9 KJV “I will praise thee for ever because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.”

 

Recent Articles:

Missionary Papers: The Preference of Homelessness
Alexander Mackay: The Childhood of a Missionary Engineer
Deputation Travel Log: The Mountain City Flood
Autogenous Drug Addiction: The Reality
The Emptiness Within

 

Recent Sermons Preached:

Answering The Lord’s Prayer
Romans 1:1 – Called To Be
Proverbs 8:30-31 – Wisdom’s Delight
Romans 1:1 – Are You A Servant

 

For Great Bible Teaching:

James W Knox Sermons
Brent Logan – Sermon Series

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