Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Dream Come True - RTM Magazine

Today is a very exciting day for Real Truth Matters and for me personally as we just launched the new RealTruth Matters Magazine.

One of my long-time dreams of designing my own magazine has been fulfilled and my heart feels like it could explode in tiny little particles of joy and gratitude. I am so excited for this magazine and the opportunity to take God’s Word to the nations in a completely different avenue than I ever imagined. God is so good and may He receive all the glory! 

For the past several months, the Real Truth Matters team has been working on a brand new interactive web magazine that launched yesterday. RTM Magazine has a little something for everyone: a Christian living section, a pastors section, a missions section, and much more. This magazine is designed to equip, encourage, challenge and motivate Christ-followers around the world to a greater pursuit of Jesus Christ, who is the Gospel. 

As you open the first issue of the magazine you will journey on the mission field of Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Europe, read about God’s commitment to you, and discover the real definition of meekness. You will also meet a family with a heart for displaced children and a couple driven away from God and right into His arms.

Below is the promotional video for the magazine. Please watch and then share it on your Facebook and Twitter as a way to inform others of this exciting new publication.

Real Truth Matters Magazine from Real Truth Matters on Vimeo.

We are eager to share this new resource with you and hear your feedback. However, we need more than feedback, we need your help. We are asking you to send us 10 names and email addresses of people who would benefit from this exciting new magazine. 

In addition to the email addresses, we ask that you join us in prayer asking God to use this publication to spread His fame and glory among the masses.

Thank you for helping us spread the word about this new resource and the Gospel of Christ! Together we can join God in wrapping His arms around the nations. 

To access the magazine made ideally for the iPad, but also available for viewing online, visit:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 6 - The Art of Deception

The world lies. I'm pretty sure every true Christian realizes that.

But do we realize how subtle its deceptions appear? I mean, Satan has this whole misleading thing down to a glowing art that has the sinner--and sometimes saint--blinded.

I suppose that's why he's called the Father of Lies.

Anyway. The subtly of sin has been heavy on my heart this week and it has surfaced more than I've ever seen.

Or maybe I was just aware of its constant presence.

The following pictures were taken this week and are subtly deceptive.

The lesson?

Be on guard. The enemy is real and his devices cunning. Be sharp, stand firm and bathe yourselves in Truth (Truth is a Person, not a concept- John 14:6) through the Word of Truth so you can fight against the lies of the wicked one and his kingdom, the world.


 Okay, we'll start out with this easily discovered lie found in good ol' Walmart. 

Just incase you were tempted to try to and ingest something to make you more like God, just know that if you drink this you will, in fact, not gain eternal energy.

...Sounds strangely familiar.

Oh, right. It was Eve who tried to eat the fruit in the garden to be more like God. Yeah. That was it.


 Oh, look. Walmart again. 

This isn't necessarily a lie, but should be a wake up call to the deceit bombarding us and young people everywhere. 

"SinfulColors" professional nail polish.

Wow. Now you can have pretty, brightly colored sin on your nails for less than $2. 

Sounds perfect.

Again, this isn't really a lie, but tossing around the word "sin" flippantly, decreases its harshness and makes sin, well, less sinful.

This is broadcasting sin to be cool, hip and stylish as opposed to the truth that sin is the absence of God, offensive in every way and will lead you to an eternal torment. 

Sin is creeping in more and more and wants to be deemed acceptable in any way possible. This is just the first step, folks.

I really like Dove dark chocolate. Actually I like just about any kind of dark chocolate. In this case, Dove is known for its "Silky Smooth Promises," variously written in each wrapper.

Smooth is right.

A smooth lie.

"Do what feels right." 

Uhh, pretty sure God doesn't say anything close to that.

In fact, I think His exact words were: "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's will save it." -Mark 8:34-35

That doesn't exactly scream enjoyable feeling, now does it? 

Do not do what feels right. Do what is right no matter how it feels.

Where to start on this bag of ridiculousness?

"It's OK to be fabulous AND flawed."

To me this reads: "It's okay to sin because being flawed is the accepted norm and you will never be anything else."

Let's just get one thing straight: we are all sinners. We sin. That's what we do. And no, we can't change ourselves, but we can be changed.

We are changed forever when God replaces our heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). When He does that, the new heart hates sin and loves righteousness. We do not become instantly perfect--in fact we will never be perfect this side of heaven because we still live in a fallen body--but we are no longer seen as flawed. 

For Christians, our lives are hidden in Christ with God. Hidden. Meaning unseen apart from Him. And thanks to the beauty of imputation, we are given Jesus' righteousness and His very character and Spirit at salvation, therefore we are no longer flawed because He is not flawed. 


If you are not a Christian, being flawed is still not "OK," as this eloquent wrapper tries to make you believe. 

God demands perfection. We can't reach it on our own, hence the need for the perfect substitute, Jesus. (For more on Him, read the Gospel of John.)

I'm going to wrap up my little expose on lies with these four, but believe me, there is more where these came from. Satan has a whole arsenal filled with lies and he fires them every minute, each one aimed to deter you from experiencing the person of Truth. Don't let that happen. Seek Truth and abound in it. Be aware of the lies and don't let even the most subtle one suck you in. 

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." -Colossians 2:8

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heart Beats: Matt Papa

I don't know how frequently "Heart Beats" will be updated, but there are a few songs and artists that have jumped in my heart from the very first beat of the drums or strum of the guitar and I really want to share them with you.

Isn't if funny how joy has to be shared? If we love something we will share it.

Anyway, below is an artist that I especially dig.

Also, I've never said 'dig' in that context before. I'm not sure how I feel about that.


Heart Beats: Matt Papa

Matt Papa led worship at the Campus Outreach National Conference this year and it was so awesome. [If you want to read more, I talk about Matt Papa and what God taught me through the conference here.]

Why I love Matt Papa: 

He is 100% biblically sound.
He doesn't compromise lyrical content to sell records.
His colorful world map jacket.
His songs take you to the throne.
The tunes are just plain awesome and are easy to pick up.
He loves missions.
His daughters' names are Paisley and Stella.
He still has a myspace and uses it.
Every Monday on his blog is Martyr Monday and you can read of a fellow believer who gave it all for the One who gave it all.
He follows Christ and his music leads us to Him.

I have two of his albums [This Changes Everything and Your Kingdom Come] and I love them.

If you want a snippet of how he doesn't compromise his lyrics to sell records, try this on for size:

"You won't ever hear this song on Christian radio
Cause the Jesus that I serve is not safe
He'll say take Your cross and die
So if you want a comfy life
Stay away from Jesus" 
-Matt Papa, Stay Away From Jesus from the album This Changes Everything

If that still isn't enough, here is another bite of the less-publicized portion of Scripture he isn't afraid to preach or sing:

"Religious people
You white-washed tombs
Beautiful on the outside
But you’re full of bones 
You look very religious
You follow all your little rules
But you don’t follow Jesus
You just talk like you should" 
-Matt Papa, Woe to You from the album Your Kingdom Come

Top-3 Favorite Matt Papa Songs:

It is Finished (number one favorite song)
Here Am I, Send Me
Open Hands

Bonus Song:

The Reward of His Suffering

Please watch the following video or go to the website and watch it and donate. 

From the website:


Watch. Click. Donate. Be lifted up and encouraged to share the Gospel and go and make disciples. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Board of Gratefulness

This is my office:

These shelves have a little more love on them now.

I basically love it. 

My favorite thing is the Board of Gratefulness.

When people come into my office I ask them to write something they are thankful for on a Post-It Note and put it on the bulletin board. 

This is a way to cultivate a heart and attitude of gratefulness and point our hearts to the Lord who does exceedingly abundantly above all we ask, think or imagine [Ephesians 3:20].

We've been working on filling the board since I started work at Real Truth Matters in May [you can read about my third anniversary at RTM here] and it filled up yesterday!

Because we're going to keep doing this, one of my True Beauty girls and I picked out a cute little composition book to put all the Post-Its in. Now we can have a record of all the things we are thankful for. 

I think this would be a great idea for a school room or for your home to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness in your children and even yourself. It's a great exercise! 

This was from my 4-year-old nephew. Precious.

I think it will be so fun to look over this in a year [or more] and see what we were thankful for.  

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!  Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!" -Psalm 107:1, 8

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Month Anniversary- My Story

Six months ago I was convinced I would be working in Laos with ELIC (English Learning Institute China) in January after my December graduation.
Five months ago God starting changing my heart.
Four months ago He showed me where He wanted me.
Three months ago I started working for Real Truth Matters.
Today I have my dream job.


When I began working for RTM, the nonprofit media ministry out of my church, I knew it was exactly where God wanted me. But I never knew it would turn into my dream job.

I mean, it's a well known fact for students that you don't land your dream job immediately after college, much less while you're still in school. That's just not how it works. You have to start out as the low man on the totem pole and sweat, toil and claw your way to the top and hopefully land your dream job before you turn 35. That's how it's done.

Unless God does something else.

As I read through Scripture it seems to me that God doesn't typically act in accordance with the people's preconceived notions but rather He is in the business of blowing people's expectations out of the water and displaying His glorious excellence by opening doors no one can shut and shutting doors no one can open. And, like the unchangeable God He is, He did the same thing for me.

From the very moment I heard about ELIC back in September I wanted to go to Laos and teach university students English speaking/listening/writing classes. Because Laos is a country closed to the Gospel, the classes would be intertwined with the Good News and opportunities for one-on-one time with students to share the Gospel.

I was sold. I began the application process which led to an intensive interview process and I knew God wanted me to follow this process until He closed the door.

However, I thought the closed door would come because ELIC rejected me or said I wasn't a good fit for their organization or the school in Laos.

That didn't happen. In fact, they told me they wanted me to go and that I was a perfect fit.

Yet something in my Spirit was telling me it wasn't right.

"But God," I reasoned, "I could go on this awesome one-year adventure to Laos, love on the university students there, share the Gospel, obey the great commission, get out of my comfort zone and seek to make Your name famous. It would be so good!"

In an almost audible voice I heard this in the depths of my Spirit:

"You're right, you could go and declare My name, you could be on an adventure, be stretched out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience a different part of the world I created, and be used by Me and it would be good, but it wouldn't be the best."

Then in a whirlwind of prayers, Scripture and more grace than I could ever comprehend, the Lord showed me what was best.

Enter Real Truth Matters.

Never in a million years did I think I would end up at RTM. I wanted to go to the nations, not sit in a little office in Paducah, Kentucky and do whatever they do at RTM (I really had no idea what all they did... I just knew I would never do it. God is so funny), so I just prayed that God would make whatever He wanted clear.

Talking with Bro. Michael
during a mission trip to
Eastern Kentucky.
Then one day the director of RTM, my pastor and friend second dad, Michael Durham, shared his heart with me about his dream of one day having an interactive web magazine and when he spoke those words it was like the Holy Spirit did a little dance in my soul. It was so obvious that this is not just what God wanted me to do, but what He made me for.

I'm a senior at Murray State University with a double major in journalism and youth and nonprofit leadership. I've always wanted to have my own magazine, a Christian sports magazine, and although this wasn't a sports magazine, I knew this was it. This is what God had equipped me for.

Today marks my three month anniversary with the ministry God is divinely using to make His name famous among the nations and I am so grateful for my "job" that has never felt like a job.

I get to talk about God all the time, write stories of how God has saved people and continues to work in their life, design a magazine infused with the Gospel, work with three brothers following hard after the Lord and have staff meetings completely saturated in God's Word.

God. is. awesome. and I am so grateful He never skimps but always gives His children His absolute best. If you need more evidence, just look to the bloody but beautiful cross where He gave His Best to hang with the weight of our sin upon His shoulders.

The first issue of the bi-monthly Real Truth Matters Magazine is awaiting approval from Apple and will hopefully be released on iPads and online in the next couple of weeks. I am so excited to share it with you!

I'm also excited to follow God wherever He leads this ministry and watch Him display His majesty through the declaration and proclamation of His Word to the nations.
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness. Why should the nations say, 'Where is their God?' Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases." -Psalm 115:1-3

Take Aways: 

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9 
"But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”" - 1 Corinthians 2:9 

"Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass." - Isaiah 37:26

"The Lord of hosts has sworn: 'As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.'" - Isaiah 14:24

It is my upmost desire that God uses this magazine and RTM to show you His glory. To set aflame the hearts of believers around the world, encourage the fainthearted, lift up the downtrodden, strengthen the weak and give comfort to the broken. To equip His church, reach the furtherest points of the world, establish His Kingdom on earth, declare truth in a world of lies and magnify the Lord as the supreme Treasure among all treasures.

Praying for the refreshing of the hearts of saints,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 5 - He Died My Death

The purpose of MMM is to be a little breakfast of encouragement before the week starts, and today I want to share one of the most humbling but encouraging things I've read in a long time.

"Be hard on sin but easy on forgiveness. I think that's what the cross proves about our God. He's hanging there because I put Him there. God is making a statement about what He thinks about my sin as Jesus writhes in agony trying to get enough leverage to just breathe. He's there on the cross because God is saying something about my sin, "I hate it. I'm hard on sin. You want to know how hard I am on sin? Watch Me as I deal with My Son on Calvary." And without mercy, without grace, without pity, without compassion, He brutally killed His Son and made Him to suffer my hell. God is hard on sin so He can be easy to come to me one day and say, "Forgiven.""
-Michael Durham  

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
-2 Corinthians 5:2

If that doesn't wrap you up in a warm blanket of love, humility and awe, I don't know what will.

Jesus became our sin. We were supposed to have His death, but because of love He suffered in our place so that full atonement could be received by us and full glory could be given to Him.

Man of Sorrows! What a Name:

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, Who came 
Ruined sinners to reclaim. 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, 
In my place condemned He stood; 
Sealed my pardon with His blood. 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we; 
Spotless Lamb of God was He; 
Full atonement can it be? 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die; 
"It is finished!" was His cry; 
Now in heaven exalted high. 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King, 
All His ransomed home to bring, 
Then anew His song we'll sing: 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

I pray you are able to see with what pure, redeeming, relentless love God has loved you. He offers redemption and steadfast love to all [Psalm 130:7-8]. And, while He was hard on your sins, He is easy on forgiveness [which in no way makes it acceptable to sin, Romans 6:15]. If you haven't died to yourself and this world, do it today. If you have, be encouraged by the Gospel and preach it to yourself daily as you continue to die to your identity in this world.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 4 - Encouragement Through the Trials

"Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose...’
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it."
(Isaiah 46:8-11 ESV)

I don't know what is going on in your walk with the Lord, but as I spoke with brothers and sisters at church yesterday it was apparent that Satan was assailing people with doubt and discouragement through various trials. Even our Sunday School class was about that and it obviously resonated with the majority of the body of Christ. 

When we are attacked by the evil one, seemingly out of the blue, and taken by surprise (even though we aren't supposed to be surprised, 1 Peter 4:12), our hearts can rest and rejoice knowing God is not taken by surprise. He declares the end from the beginning and His counsel will accomplish everything intended, even if it's uncomfortable, painful or difficult for us. 

Yesterday's Morning entry from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening echoed this: 

"God is God; He sees and hears
All our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, 'mid thy pains,
God o'er all for ever reigns."

"Fear not death, nor Satan's thrusts,
God defends who in Him trusts;
Soul, remember, in thy pains,
God o'er all for ever reigns."

"For this life's long night of sadness
He will give us peace and gladness.
Soul, remember, in thy pains, 
God o'er all for ever reigns."

The Lord does forever reign over all things, not just the good things. Is He the author of evil? Absolutely not, but He still reigns over it because evil was conquered at the cross. 

In the midst of challenging, heart-wrenching situations, our comfort comes in knowing our great God will work each situation for His children's good, His glory and for the purpose of conforming us to the image of His dear Son. 

Encouragement for the Journey

Here are some verses of encouragement that have helped me over the past few days to not have a victim's mentality through these attacks, but to see God orchestrating a bigger, greater plan than I could ever conceive in my finite mind. I hope they encourage you in whatever situation you are facing.

"But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me." (Micah 7:7-8 ESV)

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV) 

"This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your Word gives me life." (Psalm 119:50 ESV)

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:7-8 ESV) 

 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)

"All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies." (Psalm 25:10 ESV)

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV) 

"The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV) 

This one should really encourage us and propel us to the throne with a heart drenched in gratefulness and humility: 

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." (Psalm 103:8-10 ESV)

Wow. Whatever we are going through, no matter how hard and painful it may be, our sweet, merciful, gracious Lord is still dealing with us in ways we don't deserve. 

Thank You, God, for being so gloriously good to Your children. Help us to not be blinded by circumstances around us or look at situations without seeing Your grace in the details, but rather fix our gaze on You and Your holiness. Help us not be consumed with ourselves, our struggles or our pain, but look at Jesus' example on the road to the cross as He took on the greatest struggle and pain as You turned Your face away from Him to bear our sin and conquer the evil one once and for all. Help us to be encouraged through this light momentary affliction and take advantage of it as a way to proclaim Your name in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation in which we shine as lights holding out Your Word. More than anything, may we glorify You in our response to trials and take comfort in Your abundant steadfast love that endures forever. 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Prayer

This week (today for some) the sweet girls of my True Beauty ministry go back to school. My heart has been heavy with that thought for about a week now and the following is my prayer for them (straight out of this morning's journaling session in my prayer journal) as they once again return to grade school. Join me in prayer for these and others who will be exposed to so much purity-sucking worldliness and straight sin in the halls, and sometimes classrooms, of the public (and private) schools.

Dear God,

I pray for my little ones as they go off to school now that summer is over. I pray that You bring them to the end of theirselves and show them their desperate need for You. Expose the emptiness of the world and the evil that lurks around them and may it cause them to run to You. I pray for teachers who will fill their minds with good things and who will pour truth into them at the risk of their own jobs. I pray You preserve whatever innocence these young girls have left and use all things to point them to You and magnify Your glory. I pray the lessons they have heard in True Beauty, church and from their parents will come back to their minds and that they will be true ladies who set an example for all with purity in speech, in doctrine and in attitude and actions.Help them to be uncomfortable so they find their comfort in You. May they be lonely so they find true companionship in You. May they be hopeless so they find You as their hope. May You show them their sin so they see You as the glorious sin-bearer.Help them not to consent when sinners entice and may they have nothing to do with the putting down of others and everything to do with putting others' needs above their own. I pray school for these sweet girls this year will be a place where they radically experience You and Your magnificent Gospel.Thank You for loving them more than I, and for going before them. Show them Your beauty, Lord- may You be the most attractive person to them. I love You, God. Amen. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Morning Munch No. 3 - God is in Control

Today's short MMM comes from a man much wiser than I; one of the heroes of the faith, Charles Spurgeon.

I pray this word encourages your heart to remember that God is in full control, never lacking in supply and never delayed in His coming. He is holy, righteous, beautiful and sovereign and will never leave or forsake you.

"Say not my soul, 'From whence can God relieve my care?' 
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.
His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind,
God never is before His time, and never is behind."

"If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall me if God ordains it." 
-Charles Spurgeon,
Morning and Evening,
August 5, Morning

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'" 
-Isaiah 35:3-4 

My prayer for the good times, the hard times and all the times in between:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

 -Be Thou My Vision,
Dal­lan For­gaill

With eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith,


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