Report from New England and New Brunswick

In a land where spiritual darkness reigns, a nation’s prime minister dances with the homosexuals and lesbians in the streets, and it’s stated in the halls of government that the greatest obstacle to the socialistic agenda is evangelical Christianity, there shines a light from the Miramichi River Valley in Canada’s New Brunswick province.

Three church plants in this region are countering the spiritual decline with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. One Monday, May 15, Brother Mack Tomlinson and I pulled into the driveway of lead pastor and senior church planter, David Storey. David and his gracious wife Lisa welcomed us into their home and hearts. We went to be a blessing to them but ended up the ones greatly blessed by God’s activity in New Brunswick.

Eleven years ago, the Lord brought David and Lisa back to his hometown of Doaktown to plant a church. David burdened for the perishing in the area, would pray and weep over a long list of people he knew. In the ensuing years, God has done a steady work of saving sinners. Although Doaktown has a population of 793, the church runs on average 175, with visitors almost every Sunday.

I was blessed and convicted by the personal evangelism of this pastor and the other pastors of the other two church plants.

This fervor for evangelism has spread to many of the converts in the churches and believers are sharing with families and friends the Gospel that can transform them.

Each night, but Thursday, we were in one of the church plants in Doaktown, Fredericton, or Richibucto. In each church, we found vibrant New Testament Christianity. The majority of the folks in the churches range in age from 20s to 40s, and every service has unconverted people attending.

On Sunday morning, I preached at Cornerstone Church of Richibucto, a two-year-old church plant pastored by Brother Chris Sippley. Chris is a young pastor advanced beyond his years. Many unbelievers were in attendance and, as I preached, the Spirit of the Lord pierced many hearts. Many people wept as the word of God was declared. I counseled some after the service who admitted that God had exposed their hearts and they knew they were lost and needed His mercy. Please, join me in praying that the seeds Brother Mack and I planted and watered will germinate and produce much fruit for the Lord.

We also had the privilege on Saturday to conduct a pastors’ and church leaders’ retreat in a gorgeous Canadian setting.

A cabin nestled in a pine forest overlooking the Miramichi River was our backdrop. There were nearly 20 of us there and the Lord blessed us all. Both Mack and I spoke to the pastors, Mack about the theology of pastoring, and I about the importance of personally feeding on Christ so that we, as pastors, can feed Christ to our sheep. The Q &A times were especially rich and valuable. We can only thank the Lord for how He conducted our time with these dear brothers.

What we found in the budding spring of New Brunswick is one of the strongest works of God that I have seen in years. Please lift these churches under David’s leadership in prayer. Pray for pastors David, Chris, and Corey, as well as the other elders who serve the churches. Their hearts burn to see many more churches planted throughout the New Brunswick province.

Mack and I ministered in Redeeming Grace Fellowship Church in Portland, Maine the weekend before our trek north into Canada. While there, Mack performed pastoral visits and counsel to this church plant of Providence Chapel, Denton, Texas, where Mack is an elder. On Sunday, he and I both preached to an eager and hungry fellowship. I preached evangelistically on The Righteousness that Saves, from Romans 10:3-5. Brother Mack preached on the Theology of Singing and encouraged the saints with why God has given us the gift of singing to each other and Him.

This is a wonderful group of saints serving Christ in Portland under the leadership of Jeff Hebert. Please pray for them as they desperately desire to sow and reap the Gospel harvest in New England.

Lastly, do not underestimate your ministry on this trip.

Even though you were not there physically with Mack or me, you were there in spirit by your prayers. I only hope you truly know how much work is done by prayer and not to be credited to our efforts alone. I remind you and my heart of what the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7). To God be the praise for the great things He has done and is doing!

Jesus Doesn’t Develop Us the Same Way

The new RTM Magazine is here.

Come on in and experience Christian writing committed to the old paths and ancient ways of apostolic Christianity that still believes Sola Scriptura.

This edition focuses on discipleship. And although you may think you already know all there is to know about it, we invite you to join us as we look at discipleship through the lens of both the discipler and the discipled. I’ll never forget when it dawned on me that what I thought about discipleship was not true and that I actually had no clue about it. I had been pastoring Oak Grove Baptist Church for about seven years when this realization occurred. Then, for the next several months, I studied the life of Jesus in the Gospels and observed how He made disciples. It was revolutionary; a turning point in my ministry.

It is not our goal to use this edition to teach a system of discipleship.

Frankly, systems of discipleship assume that all persons are the same and will fit the cookie cutter mold. But that is false. All of us are distinct persons, which means each of our personalities, life experiences, environment, and education will resist systems and require individuality. Jesus did not deal with Peter as He dealt with John, and He didn’t disciple John in the same way He did Bartholomew. There were things He did with all the men at the same time, but I’m sure that if we could see His individual time with each of the twelve, it would not have been similar.

In fact, Jesus still doesn’t develop us in the same ways. My experiences with Christ will not be like your experiences with the Master Discipler. He meets us where we are and, more importantly, He meets us as we are. His approach and manner with you would probably not work with another. What an amazing Jesus we have!

Therefore, we will not offer you a system, but we will give practical suggestions that will help you be discipled or to disciple another.

We define discipleship, share insights on discipling children—especially teens—and wisdom from modern discipleship pioneers.

Please help us distribute this magazine by encouraging others to download the RTM app. We do not spend money marketing this ministry or magazine; therefore, we need readers like you to tell other potential readers about us. Thank you so much and “go and make disciples.”

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Faith, Doubt, and Unbelief

By Ben Morrow

Does faith in God mean never having questions?

If so, how do we go about searching out the nuances of life’s most vital matters without falling into the sin of unbelief?

God spoke through His prophet Isaiah and gave Israel this invitation:

Come now, let us reason (or dispute) together. –Isaiah 1:18

As we grow in the knowledge of God—His character, how He works, His will for us, etc.—there will be natural theological questions that arise. “Just have faith” will not be a sufficient answer. Hard questions require more than bumper sticker answers. These inquiries are not inherently sinful; they are the result of mortal people attempting to understand the immortal God as He has revealed Himself. The questions surrounding this immortal God of ours get quite complicated.

With that stated, a devious trap must be avoided when wrangling with many deeper theological concepts. Our thoughts can easily lead us beyond simple inquiry to doubt, or even further progress into outright unbelief. We must be careful how we navigate these issues.

Let’s think about an example in the context of how the Scripture reveals God’s nature to us.

The Bible shows us that God is sovereign, independent, self-governing, autonomous. The Bible also reveals that God has chosen to work in concert through real people, accomplishing His grand purposes through—not independent of—His people. On the surface those two sentences seem paradoxical, impossibly inconsistent. How can God be completely in charge and at the same time choose to work—or choose to risk His work—through sinful, stubborn people?

I can ask those questions and attempt to find what God has revealed in His Word. I could also regress, however, into trusting my questions— questions that sow seeds of unbelief—more than God’s revelation. One approach seeks out a matter in order to know God’s answers; the other criticizes revelation on the basis of fallen intellect. Reasonable questions that lead to a greater knowledge of God glorify Him. Unbelief reeks of pride.

In answering the question of how God’s sovereignty is married to His determination to work with fallen people, we admit that much of the answer has yet to be uncovered for us. However, there is a key to reconciling these two truths. God has sovereignly chosen to use particular means of grace to accomplish His greater purpose, and His greater purpose will be accomplished. God hasn’t risked His work at all. He has planned out the details of His intricate plan, not just the result.

In other words, God doesn’t simply choose the end destination for us; He has determined the road we’ll take and the vehicle that gets us there. The two principles of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility do not create a paradox; they work in tandem. God’s plan is so complete that He doesn’t just decide what should happen; He knows how to make it happen in the perfect way.

This is why we pray.

This is why the God who controls all things, who never has His purposes thwarted, who designed all, sees all, knows all, controls all, and needs nothing from us in order to accomplish His will, looks at us and says “you do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2).” God uses prayer. He has determined to use prayer as a particular means of grace to accomplish His greater purpose.

In the same way, God has determined to use faith. We make a mistake if we talk about God as if He were not able to do something because we don’t exercise enough faith; this tends to miss the point of God’s supernatural ability to do all that He pleases. However, the Scripture is clear that God has determined to work through faith; and God has chosen to limit or cut off what He blesses in the absence of faith. A quick study of Scripture bears this fact out.

In nearly every instance of the word unbelief in Scripture it is used in the context of God (or Jesus) choosing to not do something because of unbelief.

Jesus didn’t do many miracles in His hometown because of the unbelief of the people (Matt. 13; Mark 6). The disciples couldn’t cast out demons because of their unbelief (Matt. 17). Israel fell as a nation and were “broken off” because of the people’s unbelief (Romans 11). The original generation of Israelites who left Egypt did not get into the Promised Land because of unbelief (Hebrews 3 and 4). And the admonition to the reader is for us to not make the same foolish mistake that inevitably leads to the same horrible consequences.

The sin of unbelief is more than having doubts, and it is certainly more than posing legitimate questions. Unbelief looks at God’s revelation and says, “I don’t trust You.” It criticizes God’s promises with a skeptical “I hear You; but it’s not enough. Your Word isn’t enough for me.”

Unbelief casts doubts on God’s character—His trustworthiness, His goodness, His honesty. A humble approach will prove God’s character to be all the more dependable. Faith takes God at His word. Faith takes our questions and searches out the mysteries of God’s revelation so we will believe in Him all the more.

For more articles and resources like this,
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