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

Friday, September 26, 2008 

1st Term Missionaries to Japan

Japan is easy for missionaries to enter, but then the difficulties begin! The difficulty of the language and script, the complexities of the culture, the bewildering strands of a web society, and the pervading influence of the demonic world are all barriers to adaptation and communication. Acculturation takes years, and many missionaries are still in that tearful stage. The high cost of living is a challenge for foreign missionaries. Pray for them.

- Operation World

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 

Iran Embracing Christ

Read this incredibly encouraging article on the Holy Spirit's revolution in the hearts of the Persian people of Iran...truly awe-inspiring!

It's true..."After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” - Rev. 7:9-10

Praise God for the glory He's receiving among the Persian people. It costs so much more to claim Christ in their home. I pray we can learn from them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 

Phil Johnson on Erwin Raphael McManus

Many will claim this post is un-Christian in it's treatment of McManus. But if this man is not a teacher of the Gospel, then this treatment is fair indeed. False prophets weren't embraced in the Scriptures - & the last I heard from this guy he basically said that if God sends people to Hell then that's not his God. Thus I would argue this guy worships some personal, made-up god, & seems to worship himself quite a bit as well.

Monday, September 22, 2008 

Summary & Review of THE MISSIONARY CALL by David Sills

I couldn't have read this book at a better time or at a worse time. I couldn't have read it at a better time because I had it in my grip during some of our final weeks of preparing to go to Japan with the International Mission Board. I couldn't have read it at a worse time for 2 reasons. First, I wish I had the time to write up & interact with every single chapter in detail - what is on the pages is good enough to do so, but because of all the things we are trying to get done before we leave for training in less than a month, I simply don't have the time. Another reason reading it now was the worst time was because I think I could have saved many anxious moments over the last 5 plus years as we sought God's guidance about our call to missions. But being able to read the book at the end of the journey of our calling (just the beginning of our actual ministry) & finding God's plan for us allowed me to validate how helpful this book is & will be for others wanting to know about God's heart for the nations & His will for their lives.


Dr. Sills divides his book into 3 sections in which he covers: I) WHAT IS THE MISSIONARY CALL? II) UNDERSTANDING YOUR MISSIONARY CALL & III) FULFILLING THE MISSIONARY CALL. Four chapters are covered under the first heading. Chapter 1 deals with what is involved in a missionary call - how do you know what it is - how you can identify it. Chapter 2 in many ways is foundational to the book as Sills helpfully explains how to know the will of God at all - not just for missions, but the will of God for anyone's life. Chapter 3 deals with the Biblical basis of missions, again, another chapter that the whole book must stand on - if there is no Biblical case for missions there's no reason to read Sills book. And Chapter 4 is a 101 crash course in the history of missions. I loved this chapter since the Lord used the life of Adoniram Judson to call me into missions. We cannot discount the importance of those who have gone before us as the Lord is pleased to use their life, even way beyond their living years, to bring others into obedience to obey the missionary call.

Part II deals with understanding your missionary call. Chapter 4 is helpful as Sills deals with how specific does your call have to be. If you are not certain the exact city, people group, or organization or God is calling you to, then does that mean you are not called? Sills addresses these issues. Naturally following is a chapter on timing, followed by how to deal with the compatibility of calling with a spouse (what to do if one is called & the other is not).

Part III is a discussion on getting to the field, the hindrances that can slow that process, the challenges once there, etc...The final chapters take excerpts of missionary heroes of the past - unfortunately, no Adoniram Judson, but did you know that Amy Carmichael originally thought she was heading to Japan? I wonder if history for Japan or for Amy would be different on a large scale had she gone there instead. The last chapter pulls the whole book together & ends with a pastoral-like plea by David Sills to obey God's calling in the reader's life. Clearly everyone is called to missions in some capacity, & Sills had clearly, Biblically, & historically laid out that argument throughout the book, but he admits that there is also a personal call, & encourages his readers & even prays for those who God is calling, to respond in obedience.


Reading this book at the last stages of a 5.5 year process to get overseas gave me a sound ability to see how special & helpful Dr. Sills' book is & will be over the years to those who are willing to seek the Lord's face about their role in seeing Christ's Kingdom come to all nations. I enthusiastically encourage any Christian to read this book. I think many have not even prayed about missions because they don't understand what the missionary call is & they can't conceive that they should have a role in it, either at home or abroad. Therefore, read & take heed.

Some of the things I appreciated most about this book follow...First, I think the book was written in a very interactive style. Sills did a great job of pulling the reader in, grabbing their attention, & seemingly speaking to Christians in whatever vocation or stage of life they are in. By interactive, I also mean that I feel like the book served as a sort of counselor. You can tell the flow of the book was well planned & that all possible questions that may rise were addressed on some level. Most of these questions were ones that I have gone to mentors in my life with earlier in our missions call & Sills anticipates what the reader is thinking so well that it is almost as if he is across the table in dialog with you.

I also appreciated the way that Sills was balanced. Thankfully, he spoke truth in saying that every Christian is in fact called to missions, whether that be going, sending, praying, etc...Yet, Sills didn't demonize those who have truly prayed & wrestled with God about their role in missions, & yet God desires for them to stay. He also didn't let those off the hook who haven't wrestled with God in knowing His will without challenging them to do so. And again, those who stay, send, & support & not treated as "lesser Christians" than those of us going. Sills is wise to point out that we need both in order to be successful.

I do not intend to say that certain chapters are more important than others, but I am grateful especially for the chapters on knowing God's will & for the Biblical basis of missions. Often times, it is those of deep, theological bents who can tend to thumb their nose at the notion of things like a missionary call, or may question that God can speak to His children specifically about a people group or a place to serve overseas since those details about our personal lives are not in the Bible. Because Dr. Sills has years of both missionary experience & theological training & teaching, he brings a perfect balance of a missiology fueled by strong Biblical theology, which again, makes this book highly commended reading.

Hopefully, even if it is sporadically over the next year, time will allow me to post some more entries based on this book since there are so many nuggets of gold in it worthy of attention. I am grateful that I have had the chance to read it & that Dr. Sills took the time to write it.

You can find more information on this book below:

The Missionary Call Website
Author Dr. Sills blog
Author Dr. Sills Ministry Website: Reaching & Teaching
Buy the Book


Hurricane Ike - Bear Visits Galveston

You have got to watch this - I know, I know, I'm weird. But this had me laughing to tears for a long, long time!

Monday, September 15, 2008 

I Repent (part one)


If everybody in the church led the same amount of people to Christ that you lead to Christ, how often would your baptistery be used?

So asked Tom McCoy, current president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Granted, there are some doctrinal assumptions behind this question that are problematic. But is that a reason to brush aside the question altogether? Or could it be that a dismissive wave-of-the-hand would only be an effort at self-protection? For me, it would be the latter. I stink at personal evangelism.

I am convicted by the question, not because I have failed to produce “results” but because I have so few conversations with unbelievers in which a “result” could even occur. What to do? Well, I’m repenting of my sin. And like a good pastor, I’ve asked the church to repent with me. And like a really good pastor, I’ve outlined evidences of repentance, of which there are three (naturally).

Prayer is the first evidence of repentance over hoarding the gospel rather than sharing it. Here is what I’m now praying regularly, thanks to a very successful evangelist named Paul. The apostle Paul requested prayer for God to grant four things regarding evangelism:

1. OPPORTUNITY. Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ (Col 4:3). “Father, please give me an opportunity to share Jesus with someone today.”

2. CLARITY. Pray also for us…that I may make [the mystery of Christ] clear, which is how I ought to speak (Col 4:3-4). “Father, please help me to talk about Jesus clearly, as I should.”

3. BRAVERY. [Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph 6:19-20). “Father, please give me courage to walk through every door you open and to share the whole gospel, not fearing what anyone might think of me.”

4. RECEPTIVITY. Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored (2 Thess 3:1). “Father, please save people through my witness.”

Open doors, clear words, a brave heart, and changed lives. If Paul needed God to grant these requests, so do I. Hear my prayer, O Lord!

I’ll post a second evidence of repentance tomorrow.

- David King | To the Saints at Concord

Sunday, September 14, 2008 

God Does Not Need Us

Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God that is precisely what we see. Twentieth century Christianity has put God on charity. So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being, nor would He be less if we did not exist. That we do exist is altogether of God’s free determination, not by our desert nor by divine necessity.

Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world, but, as said the Lady Julian, “I saw truly that God doeth all-thing, be it never so little.” The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.

Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his listeners, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today.

- A.W. Tozer | Knowledge of the Holy

Friday, September 12, 2008 

Commission Week Thoughts

My wife & I were in Atlanta all week for meetings to learn more about all the things we need to get done before we go to Japan, & were also officially voted on & approved for missionary service in Japan. We are thrilled & humbled & I wanted to share some of the many jumbled thoughts in my mind from the week.

  • WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF PRAYER & HOLINESS. Our president of the organization we are going with shared that he'd been in over 90 trustee meetings in his 15 years as president, & in every single one of those 90 plus meetings they had to deal with the termination of a missionary due to moral failure. We need prayer warriors & we need a deep, abiding walk with Christ or Satan will have his way.

  • WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF PRAYER & HOLINESS. Our vice president shared how during the week we were there to get commissioned, they were dealing with 3 terminations based on moral failure. He reminded us how we've done nothing yet - we haven't spent a day on the field. He reminded us that those who are being terminated were once in our shoes, excited about glorifying God among lost peoples. Missionaries are not the cream of the crop Christians, we are simply fallen sinners trying to be obedient, therefore, we are all the more desperate for His Spirit to protect us from ourselves. Please pray for us.

  • WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF SUPPORT & ENCOURAGEMENT FROM YOU. Our head of member care shared how this year alone 4 career missionary units have resigned before the end of their very first year. Their reasons for leaving were burn out & culture shock. To think of being away for a period of time is possible to get through, but you are isolated, are quickly forgot about by your loved ones who are living busy American lives, your support shrinks, & you cave when you look at the long road ahead of you. These people too were once excited about going, were commissioned just like us. Please don't forget about us once we're gone.

  • GO WEST YOUNG MAN! And north too. I don't know what percentage of Southern Baptist Churches are in the west & north, but I know it's small. And yet a solid percentage of both areas is represented among the missionaries I have spent a couple weeks with. And those folks are the cream of the crop! I can't tell you how impressed I am by them. And they're so refreshing because they are so not typical Southern Baptist & get spooked by the wild production type services we're so used to in the South. They just love Jesus & I am loving them! So if you live in the states, head West & North!

  • I PRAISE GOD FOR THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM & THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD. As a guy who is well aware that the SBC has major flaws, let me also state that I think the cooperative program & the IMB are the strengths of this convention as of now. I'm praying one day I can say it's doctrine & practice are what make the SBC so great, but stay tuned! After spending a summer with the board in a Muslim country, seeing the good, bad, & ugly on the field, to now going through every aspect of the approval process, with multiple meetings in group settings, one-on-one, several training sessions, & informational meetings, I am proud to be a part of this organization. It has in it a majority of godly, godly people with a heart for lifting up Christ & a love for the lost. I could write for hours on different people who make the organization "go" who are just blessings of God. Also, their strategy, doctrine, & practice is throughly biblical & doctrinally sound. Don't be arrogant if you know Southern Baptist life but have never gone through this process & think that you know what the IMB is all about. Don't have spent time on a short term trip & seem some flaws & think you have it all figured out & that you should just try & go with some other organization. Doctrinally & practically, you can be sent by any other cutting edge agency & I'd put my money on the IMB in terms of purity & practice of glorifying God on the field. That said, it's a huge entity made up of sinful people, so there will be exceptions, but overall, I am grateful to God for it & those in it.
    And as I mentioned those from the north & the west earlier, they are probably for the most part in churches that are way too small for anyone to ever be sent & supported as a missionary overseas. The cooperative program is a beautiful thing. Thousands of churches pool together their resources to send & take care of those who are called. So I could be in a church of 12 in Podunk, North Dakota, & I can still get to the field & stay on the field to obey my calling through the loving support of others. It's an awesome arrangement. And to those who think it is less spiritual than raising your own support, try turning down money for your job or pastorate even surrounded by friends & families in the comfort of the US & see how effective or how long you last. God is our provider, but He appoints the means. Don't hate...appreciate!

  • And finally, YOU ACTUALLY CAN COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Jo, Matt, Tyler, Steve, Lois, Sam, John, Ilze, Larry, Nancy, Matthew, Christi, James, Ashley, Chris, David, Charlotte, Willie...18 blessings making their way from 2 states & 4 cities in the middle of the week to come lovingly support us - one staying with us all week to care for Luke, cooped up in a hotel room, making it possible for us to even get appointed. Others called & left messages who couldn't make it to express their desire to be there. One of the greatest joys of being in Christ is that your family expands & you share in a deeper united love made possible only through the blood of Christ & His Gospel. We are still counting our blessings.

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