Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Whatever-You-Can-Afford" Policy

Even though we seek to keep our prices on resources as low as possible, we understand that sometimes others simply cannot afford to pay for the resources we provide through our online store. For that reason, in 2010 we are implementing a "whatever-you-can-afford" policy for our materials. We will accept whatever people are able to pay—even if that means nothing. In this way a lack of available funds will not need to prevent anyone from hearing the Gospel of Jesus or obtaining a resource that may help encourage them in their faith.

If you would like a resource from Ten-Four Ministries, but you just cannot afford it, please just request the resource from us. The easiest way to request the resource is to select what you would like in our store and when you check out select "pay by check" and tell us in the comment section that you would like the "Whatever You Can Afford Policy." You can also contact us by e-mail or mail and let us know what you would like. It is our humble honor to fulfill the request.

Before utilizing this policy, we ask that you read it in full here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Book of 2009

Last December I announced my favorite book of 2008 and for 2009 there were no shortages of excellent Christian Books. In fact, I believe as Christians today we are exposed to some of the most edifying books both current and reprints than ever before.

Technology has also made the information available to Christians at an all-time high. Yes, there is a bad side to this and there is no shortage of very bad teachings but overall, if you compare your resources to the Bible, 2009 had some of the finest materials available in recent years.

This year's favorite book was a tough choice and while my gut tells me to call this a tie and move on, I just can't do that. There were two books that made a profound impact on me in 2009 and both were printed in 2009.

Honorable mention and in a close second place is a book by Randy Alcorn called "If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil." It is a wonderful resource on God and His role in suffering. At 494 pages, it is no small addition to the subject but I found it very good and a resource I will continue to go back for.

The 2009 Book of the Year is by Dr. Russell Moore and it is called "Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches"

The title speaks for itself. It might be easy to ignore the book if you don't think ytou are called to adopt but the book is about so much more. The author states: “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.”

Let me challenge you to get a copy and find out how you as a Christian can play a role in this important work.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Decision Making & God's Will

The question has surely been asked in your life. What is God's Will for my life? While there are no shortage of books on this subject, the excellent resource we use when others ask us about this subject is a book called "Decision Making and the Will of God."

It is a classic work on the subject and will certainly be a blessing to you. We have a few in our store if you are interested. You can view details here.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon on Depression

It's a good thing he wasn't born in the 20th century. Many believing brothers and sisters would label his tendency to melancholy sinful, or evidence of a lack of self-discipline, or even the result of shallow faith. A psychologist would probably send him away with a prescription and a self-help book with twelve easy steps to overcome depression. But Charles Haddon Spurgeon, perhaps the greatest preacher of the 19th century, had a different attitude toward his affliction.

Spurgeon knew "by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited therewith at seasons by no means few or far between." He warned his students, "Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy." Although he said, "Spiritual darkness of any sort is to be avoided, and not desired," he never assumed that a Christian suffering depression must necessarily be in sin. Instead, he wrote, "I note that some whom I greatly love and esteem, who are, in my judgment, among the very choicest of God's people, nevertheless, travel most of the way to heaven by night."

Spurgeon goes on in his book, Lectures to my Students, to give some of the reasons believers fall into sadness. He also provides hope for those so overtaken.

"Is it not first, that they are men?" Spurgeon acknowledged that being a Christian did not make a man or woman immune from suffering. In fact, he said, "Even under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities, otherwise there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them. It is of need be that we are sometimes in heaviness. Good men are promised tribulation in this world." But he points out that through this suffering, we "may learn sympathy with the Lord's suffering people." Paul says something similar in 2 Corinthians 1:4; God "comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

"Most of us are in some way or another unsound physically." Spurgeon suffered terribly with a joint disorder that was diagnosed as gout. He was forced to stay in bed, sometimes for weeks at a time in excruciating pain. "I have been brought very low," he wrote to his congregation during one long bout, "My flesh has been tortured with pain and my spirit has been prostrate with depression. . . . With some difficulty I write these lines in my bed, mingling them with the groans of pain and the songs of hope."

With characteristic balance, Spurgeon understood that physical pain and natural temperament contribute to depression, but did not allow his students to use them as an excuse for despair. "These infirmities may be no detriment to a man's career of special usefulness," he said. "They may even have been imposed upon him by divine wisdom as necessary qualifications for his peculiar course of service. Some plants owe their medicinal qualities to the marsh in which they grow; others to the shades in which alone they flourish."

"In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labor, the same affliction may be looked for." Spurgeon's schedule was exhausting. In a typical week, he preached ten times. He answered approximately 500 letters, taught in a ministerial college, administrated an orphanage and dealt with dozens of individuals concerning their souls. He wrote for publications, entertained visitors at his home, taught his own family and encouraged his bedridden wife. It is no wonder that his health suffered under such a workload. Spurgeon's church finally insisted on regular vacations for him each year. Spurgeon told his students, "The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. . . . Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength."

"One crushing stroke has sometimes laid the minister very low." On October 19, 1856, the 22 year old Spurgeon spoke for the first time in the Surrey Gardens Music Hall in London. The church was no longer big enough to contain the crowds of people who wanted to hear him preach. Thousands packed into the music hall, seating themselves in aisles and stairways after all the regular seating was full, and hundreds more waited outside, hoping to hear part of the sermon through the windows. Just after Spurgeon began to pray, someone in a balcony shouted "Fire!" People pushed and shoved to get out of the building, and a stair railing gave way under the pressure. Seven people were killed and 28 more were injured. The tender-hearted Spurgeon never completely recovered from the emotional impact of this incident. He wrote, "I was pressed beyond measure and out of bounds with an enormous weight of misery. The tumult, the panic, the deaths, were day and night before me, and made life a burden."

Many have experienced a natural disaster, the death of a loved one, devastating financial loss or overwhelming disappointment when a child or a fellow believer has fallen into sin. Spurgeon offers hope from his own experience. "The fact that Jesus is still great, let his servants suffer as they may, piloted me back to calm reason and peace. Should so terrible a calamity overtake any of my brethren, let them both patiently hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God."

"The lesson from wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble." In the end, Spurgeon acknowledged that depression may come to some believers for no discernable reason. He did not consider it an illness, a sin, or surprising condition, but an inevitable season in the life of a Christian and an opportunity to demonstrate trust in the God who will one day wipe away every tear.

Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith's rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.
—Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students

Copyright © 2007 Susan Verstraete.Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright and web address. Other uses require written permission.

Thanks to by Susan Verstraete and for this original post.

Across America: City #12

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Department protects the 12th largest city in America. This week we ask you to pray for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department and for Sheriff John Rutherford. For the next 11 weeks Ten-Four Ministries will be contacting the police chiefs in the largest 50 cities in America and presenting them with The Gospel. This is an ongoing project called The Across America Project.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Armor of God Project Featured In Kentucky Magazine

The Armor of God Project was featured on page 49 of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Magazine. You can view the issue here.

We have already seen fruit from this article with requests from the State for vests. We would like to specifically thank Ms. Abbie Darst, a subscriber to our newsletter, who wrote the article.

New Year: Bible Reading Plans

If you are not currently on a Bible Reading Plan, now is a great time to plan out your 2010 Reading Plan. If you are like me, there is a real struggle with daily readings of the Bible and what works for me is a structured plan. It is easier than ever before to read the Bible each day. You can even be e-mailed the scriptures to read each day.

A common theme in reading plans is being able to read the entire Bible in one year and if you embark on doing this, you will find out that it simply doesn't take very long each day to do this.

As the new year approaches, the listed reading plans start over so now is the time to get your plan in place. I actually started my 2010 plan last week, just so I have a few days built in ahead of what is sure to be a busy year for all.

There are many plans to look at and decide what you would like to do. I would encourage you to look at a plan that involved multiple books each day. It leaves me wanting more and looking forward to future readings.

Here is a link to the Robert Murray McCheyne Bible Reading Plan which containes links to each reading. This is the plan that I started about a week ago. I have found it to be very good. You can download a PDF Version to carry with you here.

Another popular plan is from Professor Horner. You can read about that plan here.

Here are additional reading plans with the option to e-mail you the readings each day.

This is not a reading plan but gives you a list of books and chapters that will help you keep up with your reading. Click here to download a PDF of this.

While I believe reading the Word of God is an important method of fellowship with our Savior, I also understand there are some of you that have a very difficult time with reading. I will at times supplement my readings with the Audio Bible. I have actually listened to entire Books of the Bible just driving back and forth to work.

Regardless of what plan you use, it is important to devote time each day to the Word of God.

Afraid of Sharing The Gospel?

"If you're able to live your life in some college, or high school, or in a work place or among your family and nobody knows you are a Christian it is because you aren't one."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

From Alabama to the World

If you question whether there is a God; If you question the Sovereign God of the Universe, you simply aren't paying attention to the world around you. As an example, take a look at the Armor of God Project. In late February, 2009, I had lunch with my good friend, Muscle Shoals Police Lt. Clint Reck and we discussed the possibility of starting this project.

We placed a one page website online around April 1, 2009 and today you can see the states and countries touched by the project.

After the second officer was saved in the Philippines, the President of that Country asked about the Project.

We have partnered with some of the largest agencies in the country, been featured in major publications and raised thousands of dollars that have gone to handing out over 600 ballistic vests free of charge.

This has been done without any advertising, no fundraising efforts, no salaries and no soliciting. How could that be?

From the very beginning of the Armor of God Project, the mission was set. Yes, providing bullet proof vests to those that needed them was important but not as important as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing comes close to the importance of a message, the only message that can truly save your life into eternity.

Every time a vest goes out, the Gospel is presented either in person or in written form. It is why this project exists.

Do we have needs in 2010? Of course but we aren't concerned. God is on His thrown. He is in control and if He wants His message of forgiveness to continue through this venue, He will provide for it.

When "Holding The Ropes" Means Pulling It

As a missions pastor, there is no story as singularly inspiring for me than the words of Andrew Fuller concerning his friend and fellow laborer William Carey:

We saw there was a gold mine in India, but it seemed almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it? “I will go down,” said Mr. Carey to his brethren, “but remember that you must hold the ropes.” We solemnly engaged to do so; nor while we live, shall we desert him.

Certainly, as you read of Fuller and Carey, you see this promise included much encouragement, caring for details, and fundraising. I came across a bit of their correspondence yesterday that showed this also included some good, straightforward, constructive criticism. Fuller wrote to carey on Sept. 6, 1797,

…You desire us to keep to your spelling in what we print. We will endeavor to do so but you do not always spell alike. . . If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who can prepare for battle?–You must allow me again to remind you of your pronunciation. I never knew a person of so much knowledge as you profess of other languages, write English so bad . . . If your Bengal N.T. sh(ould) be thus pointed I sh(ould) tremble for its fate… ( in The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, xiii).

This was an example of good, blunt, critical interaction between Fuller and Carey. In the context of loving co-laboring, this no doubt helped Carey be more careful and more effective in his writing.

We live in a day when “holding the ropes” tends to mean only the positives like praying, sending money, giving big love offerings and making available stocked missions closets. Holding the ropes also includes staying in contact, providing feedback, constructive criticism, and maintaining lines of accountability. It is all a part of real “rope-holding” and we all need it.

The original article appeared here. Special thanks to Missions Mandate.

Feeding The Sheep Or Amusing The Goats?

I recently spoke to a man in another church that is frustrated. He is frustrated because the church's focus is on entertainment and not Jesus. He is frustrated because instead of biblical evangelism, the church has large gatherings and gives away hot dogs instead of the Gospel.

This man has been on my heart since we met. He is a man on fire for the Lord and there are attempts, I believe evil attempts within his church to put out that fire.

Someone that would do that is an enemy of God. The below article was written by the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon. It is as applicable today as it was when he wrote it over 100 years ago.

Feeding The Sheep Or Amusing The Goats?

An evil resides in the professed camp of the Lord so gross in its impudence that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate evil for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." That is clear enough. So it would have been if He has added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, "He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry." Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? "Ye are the salt," not sugar candy-something the world will spite out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead." He was in awful earnestness!

Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, "Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!" Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel amusement. Their message is, "Come out, keep out, keep clean out!" Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon. After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, "Lord grant Thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are." If they ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They "turned the world upside down." That is the difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to affect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy-laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Across America: City #13

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department protects the 13th largest city in America. This week we ask you to pray for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and for Chief Michael Spears. For the next 12 weeks Ten-Four Ministries will be contacting the police chiefs in the largest 50 cities in America and presenting them with The Gospel. This is an ongoing project called The Across America Project.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Special Sale Until December 24th

All of our resources are on sale until December 24th with most reductions at least 20% along with free shipping on any amount. We want to give you the best opportunity that we can to provide our resources to someone for Christmas.

To guarantee a Christmas delivery, all orders must be placed by noon on December 21st.

You can look at all of the specials here.

All proceeds from our store go to supporting our efforts in taking the Gospel to the law enforcement community.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Barna Research: What Does It Mean?

The Barna Research Group has been conducting public opinion research in regards to religion for many years and in recent years the results have been very troubling. As an example, Barna's research has revealed that among professing Christians, 50% believe you can earn your way to heaven based on good works. Only 46% of born again Christians believe in absolute moral truth and only 62% of born again Christians believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth.

Troubling? Sobering? Scary? Yes to all. I spoke about this research and what it means to American Christianity in this brief commentary below:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Half Truths

"A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth."

- J.I. Packer

MacArthur on TBN: Unholy Trinity

Pastor John MacArthur recently posted an excellent article on the false gospel and lies being portrayed by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

It is right on point and something that quite frankly has been on my mind. You will likely see a change of tone in 2010 from this ministry in regards to these false prophets as they spread their lies on television each night.

Why would a law enforcement ministry take a stand on this? I spoke about it last month and in short, because it is the duty of us as Christians to silence these liars (Titus 1:11) and it is a large reason so many in law enforcement (and everywhere else for that matter) run from God.

One particular part of Pastor MacArthur's article hit me hard:

And yet evangelical church leaders typically show a kind of benign tolerance toward the whole enterprise. Most would never endorse it, of course. They may joke about the gaudiness of the big hair and tawdry set decorations on TBN. Ask them, and they will most likely acknowledge that the prosperity gospel is no gospel at all. Press the issue, and you will probably get them to admit that it is a dangerous form of false doctrine, totally unbiblical, and essentially anti-Christian.

Why, then, is there no large-scale effort among Bible-believing evangelicals to expose, denounce, refute, and silence these false teachers?

I recently attempted to bring Justin Peters to the Tulsa area, the center of the lies that Pastor Macarthur spoke about and as of today, churches are running away from the opportunity to speak out and educate others in the dangers of the prosperity gospel.

Why is that? I could only guess and I have two of them. Either these churches are not grounded in biblical teaching or they indeed are scared of upsetting the "Mega-Churches" in the area that they often dine with and seek financial assistance which ofcourse means they are not grounded in biblical teaching.

Here is the entire article by Pastor MacArthur

Monday, December 07, 2009

Matt Chandler Update

Video from Matt

Across America: City #14

The San Francisco Police Department protects the 14th largest city in America. This week we ask you to pray for the San Francisco Police Department and for Chief George Gascón. For the next 13 weeks Ten-Four Ministries will be contacting the police chiefs in the largest 50 cities in America and presenting them with The Gospel. This is an ongoing project called The Across America Project.

Chief Gascón was the Chief of the Mesa Police Department several months ago when we prayed for him and that agency. He has been one of the few chiefs in the 2009 Across America Campaign where we were able to personally give him a copy of Take Up The Shield, containing the Gospel.

Don't Expect a Perfect Repentance - Paul Washer