Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: March, 2007


I’m a tidy-looking child of Bhaal,
a man after my father’s heart,
Trying to fight against my nature
with helps few and far apart.

I had a big, boring post prepared that I’ve decided not to post. It was all about how much I suck and sin and how there seems to be no hope in my life about ever having a positive relationship with God and such. It was all ready, but then I scrapped it.

Did you know it was my birthday today? Birthday’s are kinda neat things. They don’t actually mean much but they remind you to do one of two things.

  1. Look back over your years and take stock.
  2. Look forward to the future and dream and plan.

The first post was about looking back and taking stock. It wasn’t really pretty. Not that I’m trying to beat myself up or anything, but I cannot say with Paul, “Ah, I have fought the good fight and finished my course.” I’m saying something more like, “Ow, my ankle! It’s too hot to run today. I wanna coffee.” Sometimes the past is not an encouraging place to dwell. Therefore my first post was not an encouraging one.

But then I got to thinking and got to turning things around. You know, it’s vitally important in the Christian life to have a good, accurate picture of the sin that besets us. So many have got shipwreck because they underestimated their sin problem. The strong Christian is the one who knows that his sin is strong and dangerous. But that’s not the whole story. If we leave things there we will find ourselves in trouble. There is another part that we need to realize. Before my sinful heart began beating Christ bled and died to fix it. Before the foundations of the earth were laid the almighty Godhead planned and plotted to grab a hold of Matthew Cook, break his rotten soul and put him back together again. There was a solution before I ever had a problem.

And so I’m looking to the future. I am always sad that I cannot seem to control my passions and sins, but I am very happy that one day I won’t need to anymore. The future looks good. Here’s why:

  1. All things work for good. Applying that to the future and we realize that if everything works for my good now, then the future must be better than now because more things will have worked for my good.
  2. He’s not done yet. Paul thought that Christ would finish what he started. He’s certainly started. And he’s not even close to finished yet. Therefore we know that he’s gonna mess with our lives some more and bring about something clean.
  3. Even here in Pakistan, so far away from friends and family, I know that there are crazy folks in the west who are praying for me. This morning and last night I was given some really encouraging things from dear friends. You guys are all very encouraging people. You have no idea how far a little e-mail or blog comment goes in making someone feel happy. And if all you folks are actually praying for me, all will be well.
  4. God is my God. Sometimes I’m not sure of that, but it’s true. He is mine. I love this line from Latimer, “When sometimes I sit alone, and have a settled assurance of the state of my soul, and know God is my God, I can laugh at all my troubles, and nothing can daunt me.”
  5. The future of my work, both here and in Canada, looks oh-so-very-good.
  6. Beatific vision. Need I say more?

And so be encouraged and fight for joy. Grab the Bible and pray your butt off. If you don’t pray you probably shouldn’t expect anything good to happen to you, eh?

I’m done, Cook out.

PS – Got some pics up for your viewing pleasure.

The flesh is willing, but the spirit is…elsewhere

Why is it that when I’m tired I can’t pray? And why is it that when I don’t pray it makes me spiritually very tired? Why can’t I remember that the soul that sins dies? Why can’t I kill this sin when I know exactly how to do it? Why can’t I do what I know is right and good? Why does death live in me? Why does my heart want me dead?

I don’t quite know at this point.

A little frustrated. Can you tell?

Added later:
You know what? I’ve realized that there are a few things in life that I just cannot understand. I don’t know why my heart is deceitful. Maybe it’s just sick or something. I do know a few things that can help the situation. Many of them I do. Many of them I could do, yet don’t. A few of them are not really available to me right now. Fellowship with a local body, for example. Perhaps the biggest struggle Ruth and I face here is the fact that there is no gathering of believers withing a hundred miles of our house. There are ‘churches’, yes, but I honestly could not call them pieces of the body of Christ. I wish I could, but I can’t. Christianity here is big business, nothing else. I don’t exagerate when I say there I think I have met two believers in this entire town besides us. Two! Everyone else uses religion as a means of gain. Spiritually we have more in common with a faithful Muslim than with the average Christian.

Why do I say all this? I’ve been thinking about my time in Canada. I’ve been thinking about the reasons people leave churches and go it on their own for a while. I’ve realized that most of our reasons are…a little dumb. Let’s face it! You will never, ever find a perfect church! And if you do, please don’t go there because you’ll likely ruin it! The only people who are in a perfect church are dead. I can’t understand, after being placed over here, why people would be willing to spiritually cut their own arms off because of personal problems or petty interpretational issues. I know that there are sometimes good and pure reasons for leaving an assembly, but how often are those the reasons that we actually leave? Let’s be honest, we usually say good-bye to the body because some guy bugs the crap out of us and won’t say ‘sorry’! And when that is the reason we leave it’s not righteous indignation, it’s a proud heart that wants to takes its ball and go home.

A message to all of you who live within driving distance of a place when beleivers meet and love God: Join them! You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I see very clearly how much good my dear local assembly was for me. Even (or especially) during those times when I was so frustrated with the people there I wanted to pack it up and become Baptist or something. Don’t underestimate the power and benefit of the local body in your life. It is invaluble. I wish we had something like it over here (although I’m sure that if half a dozen of you would pack up and get over here our problems would be solved). The heart may be homocidal, but at least the encouragtement and accountability of other believers takes the edge off.

That’s all. I’m done.

Also, I think this link might have been lost among the posts. I wrote a short story you should check out.


So you’re on the road of life. Cruising down the street and trying not to hit any potholes. Of course, troubles always come. And when they do it sucks. Especially when the troubles are complicated and look completely hopeless. It’s funny how often hopeless-looking things seem to pop up into our lives, eh?

So what do we do when those hopeless-looking situations arise? When that relationship goes totally sour. Or when we see a massive conflict that we can’t avoid coming our way? Or when we can’t make ends meet or achieve important goals? Then what?

Jehoshaphat had a nasty problem one day. He didn’t have a little relationship problem. Rather, the Moabites, Ammonites and a bunch of Meunites decided it was a good time to get him. A bunch of guys came to Jehoshaphat and told him, “A great multitude is coming from Edom and, check it out, they’re in Engedi already!” That was only twenty miles from Jehoshaphat’s doorstep. The next verse reads: “The Jehoshaphat was afraid.” What an understatement. Hopeless? Unless you’re playing a video game that offers super magic powers, yep, it’s hopeless. That was the first thing that our buddy had to realize. Absolutely, positively, without a single doubt in the world hopeless. The enemy was at the gate and the enemy looked like a swarm of ants. Except really big ants with horses and nasty swords. Jehoshaphat was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t negotiate. He couldn’t fight with any hope of victory. He couldn’t think of any possible way to avoid this problem. So what does he do? He falls face down on the ground and tells God what he already knows.

I imagine Jehoshaphat was in tears at this point. I don’t know why, but I just bet he was. We all get that way when we are in the depths of hopelessness. Jehoshaphat prays the standard prayer of a man in darkness, but he ends it in a way that blew my mind and encouraged me a lot.

O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Will you not execute judgment on them? Will God? Who knows? Maybe not. All Jehoshaphat knew was that it was hopeless and he told God the truth that he was powerless. And then he said it. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

So we walk through the world, trying hard not to get too screwed up. Using all of our will and might and wit to avoid the situations we can’t get out of, but we get in them anyway. So what should we do? We fall down. We look and see the utter hopelessness of the situation we are in. It’s folly to look to ourselves for strength. Absolute, stupid, idiotic folly. I want to scream when I hear people telling folks to believe in themselves or follow their hearts. Newsflash: Your heart wants you dead and you are impotent. Never, never, never look for strength in yourself. Never, never, never follow your heart. I’m not trying to depress you. I’m trying to save you because if you rely on yourself and follow your heart you will never succeed and you will never find a way out of a hopeless situation. That’s why it feels hopeless. There’s still one or two parts in your soul that have the wisdom to scream that feeling through your system, hoping that you will do what Jehoshaphat did. Fall down. Say it’s hopeless. Say, “God! I don’t know what the crap to do! But I’ll look to you. I’ll try to find you. I’ll wait for you to do whatever it is you’re doing. That’ll be enough.”

Then what? Read 2 Chronicles 20:13-23

More stuff

Can’t talk long (again). It’s exam time for us here and I’m cramming to make them instead of preparing to take them. It’s about the same amount of work but much more fun because you get to watch your students squirm. Mua ha ha ha.

I promise to get something real on this blog soon…really.

In the meanwhile, read this.



You guys think you can come in here and mess around! I’ve got dibs here too you know. Just because your combined imaginative powers ammount to a pile of melted marshmallows doesn’t mean you get to rule the pakistory!

Aha! Once more, I exclaim! Aha! !
! !


….sigh, this poor thing is dead… sniff. Ok guys, we will be having a memorial service April 9th at approximately 11 pm EST. Matt, thats 8 am sharp on the 10th!

farwell fair blog… sniff*

Wits you want? Wits you shall have.

A battle of the wits? To the death? I accept.

We shall have four challenges in this battle of wits. I shall choose the first, you shall choose the second, I shall choose the third and the Urim and Purim shall choose the fourth.

That first challenge shall be thus:
Choose an object near your computer. Imagine that this object can think, see, hear, and feel. Describe what it is thinking, seeing, hearing, and feeling this very moment.

False Presuppositions

I had a thought the other day in regards to this things we call Christianity. I think many of us follow Christianity instead of Christ. We pay homage to the form and system instead of to the Christ that inspired the form and system. Forms and systems are all well and good so long as we use them to see Christ, not as an end in themselves.

So here is something that came to me while I was thinking about all this. It’s rather long so budget your time well.

As for the blog, it was a mercy killing. .it’s like finding a kitten with a fork stuck in his eye. .sure the kitten’s cute and all. .but you need that fork. .and that kitten has to die.

As for the challenge. .I challenge you to a battle of the wits. .winner get to slay this blog.


I wonder, dear Ben, how it is that you think the right of killing this blog falls to you? I believe that this blog rests on my blogger account, does it not? I think in order for you to close this blog you must defeat me in some sort of hokey challenge.

I leave the rest to you.

Do I really need a title?

Just got back from a trip to the in-laws. I’m tired. I’ll make a real post later.

Here’s something I wrote while I was there.

See ya tomorrow.