He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 

Your Best Life Now?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 

Globalization & the Gospel

"New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told a group of World Bank employees Thursday that "the free, global movement of labor, capital, and ideas" was essential to his city's growth over the past 30 years. Bloomberg praised the impact of immigrants on his city, where 3 million residents - 37 percent of the population - are foreign-born. "Their ambition, hard work, and entrepreneurial drive continue to bring dynamic new life to our economy and a fresh new spirit to our city," Bloomberg said. "New Yorkers understand that. Even after 9/11, when it would have been understandable for us to become fearful about the rest of the world, we have continued to welcome immigrants at a history-making pace. And they have more than repaid us." He said that other cities can reach toward New York's success by adopting what he called its four values: "harnessing the forces of immigration and globalization; tapping the power of innovation, instituting rigorous and accountable governance; and having the independence to take on entrenched interests when they stand in the way of progress." - full article

The flip side of this is that the Gospel has fewer obstacles standing in the way of its progress. Instead of Christians in America having to go away to learn foreign languages, immigrants are now coming to our country & learning ours. As the world shrinks & becomes more global, the accessibility of the peoples of the world is getting easier to gap. God, because of or in spite of our disobedience to go, is bringing His sheep to a gospel saturated land. O God help us to be faithful to share with those you have brought to be our neighbors from every tribe, tongue, people, & nation! Help us to continue to go out as You commanded!



Did you know that...

The Hebrew/Greek manuscripts have 612,483 words

The NIV has 726,133 words
The ESV has 757,439 words
The NASB has 782,815 words
The HCSB has 719, 089

- source taken from a 2007 ETS paper by Karen Jobes on Bible translations in which she mentions among other things the matter of verbosity.

- more interesting facts about the HCSB found in this article



I think it is true that in our day there is a growing number of pastors, authors, & other ministries that either unwantingly receive "fan worship" or those who shoot for it & enjoy it well. I am not of the masses who clamor for Joel Osteen but I can find myself being more inspired or pumped up by some of my favorite pastors & authors than I am the Word or Christ Himself at times. Perhaps it is an unguarded infiltration of American Hollywood celebrity that sneaks into our own lives at times.

I'm even guilty of it in having this blog. I found myself at some point along the way writing in hopes for comments that would in turn boost my ego that people were reading or listening to me, even sometimes folks I didn't know, for the sake of the feeling that gave me. I didn't pray or really even consider what I was writing, if it was already said better somewhere else, or if I was even honoring Christ in the words written & the heart behind the keyboard. That caused me to step back, stop writing for a while, & to begin to just link articles or things that built up the body or glorified Christ that others had written already. That way, even if 100 people talked about that post, it meant nothing to me because it was someone elses & if those who come across this site can come across things that teach, admonish, encourage, or open someones eyes, I can justify the few minutes it takes to point others towards something edifying. And when I feel the freedom to write something myself once every 6 months or so, I can now discern more clearly my motivation for doing so. I am glad I can enjoy many, many fruitful insights from others, so please don't hear me saying blogs are bad or wrong.

Everyone wants to be liked, to be important, to feel like part of something bigger than themselves, to connect, & I think that has led to those who both follow a cult of personality & to those who crave & seek it out fame &/or fortune, all in the name of Jesus. Danny Akin preached a strong message about this very thing in January. I'd encourage you to read his manuscript or listen to the sermon itself. The outline is below is an attempt to lure you to listen or read it to help you combat your desire for or celebration of "Celebrity Christianity": listen / read

When God Does His Most Perfect Work

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I. Spiritual maturity teaches us the wisdom of consistency. 12:1-6

1) Boasting about a personal experience from God is foolish. 12:1-5

2) Setting a public example for God is wise. 12:6

II. Personal difficulty guides us to the wisdom of dependency. 12:7-9

1) See God’s purpose. 12:7

2) Seek God in prayer. 12:8

3) Submit to God’s plan. 12:9

4) Speak of God’s power. 12:9

III. Supernatural sufficiency drives us to the wisdom of humility. 12:10

1) Serve for Christ’s sake.

2) Serve in Christ’s strength.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 

John, not David, Brainerd


David Brainerd's life and legacy have become a special part of Christian history for Christians worldwide. The sacrificial giving of himself to take the gospel to the North American Indians, as recorded in his journals and Jonathan Edwards' Life of David Brainerd, has been used of God to stir missionary zeal and action among succeeding generations of believers, both in the U.S.A. and worldwide. But one quickly forgets that David Brainerd's entire ministry lasted only three years before his death at the age of twenty-nine. He is so well-remembered and rightly so, as his pioneering mission work became a catalyst for missions and gospel zeal in the future.

So one wonders how it is that so little is known and remembered about his brother, John, in light of the amazing fact that John replaced David as the appointed missionary and pastor among the Indians shortly before David's death at age 29, and would remain there for the next 34 years. So John’s ministry exceeded David's by over 30 years among the Indians, exhibiting the same kind of sacrifice, loneliness, commitment, and zeal that the older and more well-known Brainerd had shown. How can we not remember John Brainerd as well?

- Get acquainted with John Brainerd here


Mormons & Jehovah's Witnesses Fastest Growing US "Churches"

Largest 25 Churches (ranked by membership)

1. The Catholic Church – 67,515,016
2. Southern Baptist Convention – 16,306,246
3. The United Methodist Church – 7,995,456
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 5,779,316
5. The Church of God in Christ – 5,499,875
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. – 5,000,000
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – 4,774,203
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. – 3,500,000
9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – 3,025,740
10. Assemblies of God – 2,836,174
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church – 2,500,000
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America – 2,500,000
13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. – 2,500,000
14. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) – 2,417,997
15. Episcopal Church – 2,154,572
16. Churches of Christ – 1,639,495
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – 1,500,000
18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. – 1,500,000
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – 1,443,405
20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. – 1,371,278
21. United Church of Christ – 1,218,541
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International – 1,200,000
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ – 1,071,616
24. The Orthodox Church in America – 1,064,000
25. Jehovah’s Witnesses – 1,069,530

read article here

Monday, February 11, 2008 

You Know You're a Missionary Kid When...

01. You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"
02. You think that barrels make good end tables, and think that barrels make good night stands.
03. 011 is a familiar area code.
04. The vast majority of your clothes are hand-me-downs.
05. People send you used tea bags in the mail.
06. You speak two languages, but can't spell either.
07. You flew before you could walk.
08. The U.S. is a foreign country.
09. You embarrass yourself by asking what swear words mean.
10. You have a passport, but no driver's license.
11. You watch National Geographic specials and recognize someone.
12. You have a time zone map next to your telephone.
13. You don't know how to play Pac-Man.
14. You consider a city 500 miles away to be "very close."
15. Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times.
16. You prefer a Land Rover to a Lexus.
17. You watch nature documentaries, and you think about how good that would be if it were fried.
18. You can cut grass with a machete, but can't start a lawnmower.
19. You think in grams, meters, and liters.
20. You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
21. You go to the U.S., and get sick from a mosquito bite.
22. You send your family peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.
23. You worry about fitting in, and wear a native wrap around the dorm
24. National Geographic makes you homesick.
25. You have strong opinions about how to cook bugs.
26. You read the international section before the comics.
27. You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.
28. You don't know where home is.
29. Strangers say they can remember you when you were "this tall."
30. You grew up with a maid.
31. You do your devotions in another language.
32. You sort your friends by continent.
33. You keep dreaming of a green Christmas.
34. "Where are you from?" has more than one reasonable answer.
35. The nationals say, "Oh, I knew an American once..." and then ask if you know him or her.
36. You aren't terribly surprised when you do.
37. You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.
38. You realize that furlough is not a vacation.
39. You'd rather never say hello than have to say goodbye.
40. You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.
41. You've spoken in dozens of churches, but aren't a pastor.
42. Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have to eat it all to seem polite.
Y43. ou realize that in Australia, statement 42 would be very rude.
44. You commit verbal faux pas, as demonstrated in statement 43.
45. Your parents decline your cousin's offer to let them use his BMW, and shoehorn all six of you into an old VW Beetle instead.
46. You stockpile mangoes.
47. You know what real coffee tastes like.
48. The majority of your friends never spoke English.
49. Someone bring up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.
50. You bundle up warmly, even in the middle of summer.

Monday, February 04, 2008 

Japanese of Sendai

February 2008 Pacific Rim Prayer Emphasis:

The Japanese of Sendai, Japan

“‘And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.’” Malachi 4:6, NASB.

Sendai is home to 1.3 million Japanese and is the capital of the Tohoku Region in the northern part of the main island of Honshu. Sendai is an academic city with many universities. Work and relationships bring great stress to the people. Within their culture everything has its place, every place has its thing and there is a particular and preferred way of doing everything. The average Japanese man goes to work before the children get up and come home after they are in bed. The men have little time left after fulfilling their obligations to the company. The wife, even if she works outside the home, handles all the other duties of household including the rearing and education of the children.

The Japanese of Sendai are predominately Buddhist, however very few are devout. By in large Japanese religion is a conglomeration of Buddhist traditions, ancestor worship, and animism. Having a “god shelf” inside their homes, a talisman hanging from the rear-view mirror and taking part in mamemake in February are all ways that the Japanese of Sendai ward off evil spirits. In the mamemake ritual a person (usually the dad) dresses up like a demon and the family throws beans at him until he runs out of the house. To welcome good fortune or to purify themselves from spiritual uncleanness Japanese here often visit a shrine. They wash their hands at the shrine’s entrance, approach the center of the shrine, drop money in a vestibule, ring a large bell or clap their hands to get one of the spirit’s attention and then make their request.

There is a large population of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sendai but very few Christians. Through Japanese translations of the Bible, Gospel tracts, the Jesus Film there is access to the Gospel if they desire it. But as the scriptures teach, “There is none righteous; there is none that seek after God.” Japanese are no different. Economical pursuits, a good reputation in “the eyes of society” and going through the motions in their predictable, comfortable culture are the things that have captured the hearts of these people. These things provide them with just enough of a false sense of security to keep them bound for an eternity apart from God.

Pray that:

- The people of Sendai will see their need for rest: mental, physical and spiritual.

- Jesus Christ will bring rest and restoration to the overworked, ever-dutiful Japanese of Sendai.

- The hearts of Japanese men will turn homeward and away from addictions to alcohol, gambling, pornography and homosexual practices that are becoming increasingly common.

- Sendai residents will realize the mighty power of God over and above all things they fear and revere.

- The Japanese of Sendai will see the instability of trusting in any other but Jesus Christ as their source of security.

- The moms of Sendai will find support and strength that Christ alone can give them as they deal with the heavy responsibilities of work, home and child rearing.

- God will burden believers in the United States to partner with believers in Sendai to pray and go so that this city will be reached for Christ.

Friday, February 01, 2008 


By Dena McMaster - 2008.01.31

Tears streamed down Morosin's face as God's Word pierced his heart.

He stood and declared, "I am a terrible sinner. You guys all know it. We are all sinners. I am going to die unless God helps me. These two guys [missionaries Jason Knapp and Chad Mankins] are like Noah telling us God's judgment is going to come and we need to listen."

The Tobo people of Papua New Guinea had gathered in the bright morning sunlight to hear another evangelistic Bible lesson. They were scattered across the grassy slope, sitting on the ground or on crude benches, spellbound by the Old Testament stories they were hearing. Their faces were solemn as each new truth added more to their sense of sin and hopelessness.

Most remembered the passage concerning Noah, and when Jason and Chad taught about Sodom and Gomorrah were somber and convicted.

"Don't be like Lot's two sons-in-law," Jason told them. "They heard God's warning and thought it was a joke, that it was nothing and went their own way. The next morning they both died."

After the teaching Megelin came up and asked, "If we died in our sins, and got the punishment for our sin, would we just be destroyed or would we go on living or would we go to heaven?"

Jason answered, "If you died in your sins, you would live forever in fire and torment, but if you believed in what God says, then you would live together with Him."

Then Komiti told Jason and Chad, "You didn't come here of your own accord, but God sent you so that we could hear this message …. The material things of this life are not going to help me. It is just fuel for the fires of hell."

Some of the Tobo people said, "We need to get our friends and other family members here to hear this message or we will all die in the flood. Our Noah is standing here building the boat and if we neglect the words he says from God, we will all die."

They did bring friends and family to hear the teaching and many have now trusted Christ as their Savior. The fledgling Tobo church continues to listen to God's Word and is strengthened and changed by those powerful messages in Old Testament passages.

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