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

Monday, August 31, 2009 

King-ly Preaching

What relevance does the Old Testament have to your life? Does the Gospel of Christ really appear in the Old Testament? How does the OT challenge the life-long believer? What about the life-long believer with perfect church attendance in the deep South? Is there any reason unbelievers should pay attention to the OT?

If you want to understand how relevant the OT is to your life, how the OT brings us the Gospel, challenges the believer, & bids lost sinners to repent & trust in Christ, then the current sermon series out of Concord Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tn on the OT book of Judges is must-listen material for you!

David King preaches with boldness & authority, but in grace & love. As God speaks through David through the OT, you will be challenged, exhorted, admonished, but as the Gospel is found in the book of Judges you will also be restored, renwed, recharged with gratitude for who Christ is & your sonship with God. But you will be asked to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith, nothing is held back, but your gaze will not be inward long, before this preacher of the Word sets your gaze, your hope, your heart on the living Christ.

Click here to go to the series on the book of Judges. Right click the download link & select "save target as" if you want to download, or click the stream link to listen without downloading. Anything by the Concord staff you can listen to on this resource page is well worth your time. Now, listen & be blessed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 

If This Blog Had Theme Music

...I would adopt Andrew Peterson's "The Far Country" to go along with the title & main idea of this blog:

The Far Country:

Father Abraham
Do you remember when
You were called to a land
And didn’t know the way

‘Cause we are wandering
In a foreign land
We are children of the
Promise of the faith

And I long to find it
Can you feel it, too?
That the sun that’s shining
Is a shadow of the truth

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

In the dark of the night
I can feel the shadows all around me
Cold shadows in the corners of my heart

But the heart of the fight
Is not in the flesh but in the spirit
And the spirit’s got me shaking in the dark

And I long to go there
I can feel the truth
I can hear the promise
Of the angels of the moon

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

I can see in the strip malls and the phone calls
The flaming swords of Eden
In the fast cash and the news flash
And the horn blast of war
In the sin-fraught cities of the dying and the dead
Like steel-wrought graveyards where the wicked never rest
To the high and lonely mountain in the groaning wilderness
We ache for what is lost
As we wait for the holy God
Of Father Abraham

I was made to go there
Out of this far country
To my home, to my home

- Andrew Peterson

Friday, August 28, 2009 

Loving People

I can remember saying to Boyce College Dean Denny Burk when we were in school together: “I don’t want to spend time with people, there’s too much to read.” His reply came with a piercing look in tones of prophetic conviction: “Then you’re never going to minister to anybody.”

I also remember the sermon I preached on the absolute sovereignty of God, and there my sweet wife sat in the front row weeping. She wasn’t weeping because of the beauty of what I was saying; she was weeping because I was beating the people of God over the head with the club of truth in good know-it-all, seminary graduate fashion.

The people of God are familiar with us seminary types, and they have their guard up against us. There is only one way to convince them that they can let their guard down, to convince them that they can talk to us: love them. Listen to them. Let them talk. Stop correcting them. Let them explain their views, and if they don’t want your response to what they’ve said, don’t counter them. Ask the Lord to use your preaching to form their thinking. Trust him, and love the people in your care. Don’t back down from speaking the truth in love, but make sure that they sense love as you speak truth.

- Jim Hamilton, What I Learned in My First Pastorate

Thursday, August 27, 2009 

The Power of the Word of God

David Wells says the mark of the evangelical church in America is superficiality. I am convinced that authenticity comes from the clear exposition of the Scriptures. People encounter God when His Word is read to them, explained to them and applied to them by the power of the Spirit. How do you get past the happy-smiley veneer people wear to church? Preach the Word.

Do you want singles in their late 20s and early 30s confessing anxiety about finding a mate, asking you to pray for them to trust the Lord’s providence in their lives? Do you want guys confessing their struggles with pornography as they seek to join the church? Do you want people with real problems (homosexual urges and the fallout from past sexual sin, whether lingering STD’s or guilt from an abortion) joining the church and coming for counsel in their struggle against sin? Do you want guys coming to you because they’re afraid of the way they’ve been rough with their wives and they don’t want it to go any further, so they’re seeking accountability?

You don’t get this from wearing cool clothes, having a trendy name for your church or learning to preach from comedians. If it comes - and if the authenticity about “big” sins is accompanied by authenticity about “acceptable” sins - it will come by the power of the Spirit through the preaching of the Word. The Bible convinces us to quit playing games. The Bible shows us the beauty of holiness. The Bible convicts us of the worth of this treasure, and we sell all we have - or risk exposing our sin - to buy the field in which the treasure lies.

- Jim Hamilton

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 

Jesus Keeps His Promise His Way

Jesus said, “I will build my church.” It’s His church. His glory is at stake in it. He keeps His Word. And he does it His way.

Have you noticed what a bad strategist the Lord seems to be? If you were God, and you wanted to save the world, would you do it by parading your deity or by sending Jesus to take on human flesh? And, if you chose the route of incarnation, would you go somewhere important, say, Rome or Jerusalem, or would you go to a hick town like Nazareth?

Once there, what would you do? Write some books and network with significant people? Or do manual labor for 30 years, then the big time: three more years of ambling around the Galilean countryside with smelly fishermen, preaching to unlearned crowds that happen to gather? To top it all off, would you let a bunch of wicked rebels kill you?

The Lord may seem to be a bad strategist, but His strategy is the best strategy. God accomplished salvation in Christ by the way of the cross, and Jesus calls His followers to take up their crosses, too. Jesus keeps His promise to build His church as His people follow in His steps.

Jesus gets glory when nobodies gather and love each other. Jesus gets glory when nobodies gather in moldy buildings in bad parts of town. Jesus gets glory when pastors forsake the wisdom of the world, set aside attempts to show off, open the Bible and preach it.

- Jim Hamilton


No Government But the Holy Spirit

Some churches, particularly very new churches with more mystical or extremely pietistic tendencies, function with a [No Government but the Holy Spirit] government.

In this case, the church would deny that any form of government is needed, it would depend on all the members of the congregation being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their own lives, & decisions would generally be made by consensus.

This form of government never lasts very long. Not only is it unfaithful to the New Testament pattern of designated elders with governing authority in the church, but it is also subject to much abuse, because subjective feelings rather than wisdom & reason prevail in the decsion-making process.

- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 936

And Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009 

Go Figure (or - the Devil's in the Details)

The IMB's definition of a church guidelines tenth declaration states:

10. A church has identifiable leaders, who are scrutinized and set apart according to the qualifications set forth in Scripture. A church recognizes two Biblical offices of church leadership: pastors/elders/overseers and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

As the Japanese would say, "おもしろい (面白い)." Interesting.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 

Why I Want Out

Most everything that is shameful about being a Southern Baptist these days is in this article. I just don't have the Christian maturity or the time to go through the article blow by blow, but good grief! Are we for Christ or some half-dead institution known as the Southern Baptist Covention? If this is how the majority think, I want out. If this is how the majority think, God be rid of this convention.


SBC Faces 10 Questions About Future

Mohler said the SBC faces at least 10 questions, which he put in terms of dichotomies. Mohler said Southern Baptists in the future will be either:

- Missiological or bureaucratic. The denomination will be driven by the work of the Gospel mission as set forth in Scripture or it will die a slow death along a path clogged by bureaucratic red tape. “The missiological logic, I would suggest, is the only logic that fits the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Unless the SBC very clearly asserts an unashamed, undiluted and ruthless missiological logic, we are going to find ourselves out of touch with our churches, with the generation now coming into leadership and with the world we are trying to reach, because the logic of bureaucracy will never take us where we need to go.”

- Tribal or theological. The SBC must be driven by common doctrine and not a “cradle to death” ethos in which one is a Southern Baptist by virtue of being raised in a SBC church. The SBC “tribal identity” no longer exists because the cultural assumptions that underpinned such a nostalgic identity have disappeared, he said.

- Convictional or confused. The basis of cooperation among Southern Baptists must be a robust theology. Mohler said Southern Baptists must not be afraid to discuss and even debate theology: “If we avoid talking about theological issues, if we try to minimize the theological logic of this denomination…Or if we make every issue a first-order issue, we are going to have a very confused people,” he said. “Southern Baptists are going to have to grow up theologically in this new age and we’re not going to have any choice. Southern Baptists are no longer going to be insulated from the theological and ideological currents around us.”

- Secular or sectarian. Southern Baptists are sectarian by their very nature, he said. Because of their allegiance to Christ and Scripture, Mohler urged that they must be qualitatively different than the world in their mores, ideology and convictions. In the mid-20th century South, Southern Baptists did not have to be sectarian because they were “at home” within that culture, Mohler said, but no longer. “The South became the Sun Belt and the primary religion of the Sun Belt is materialism,” he said. “We have gotten contamination from other worldviews and we are going to have to recover the sense that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is always, in a New Testament sense, sectarian. It is going to be made up of resident aliens who are never fully at home in the culture because the culture itself is a Genesis 3 culture and the church is called to a different worldview under allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

- Younger or dead. The SBC, Mohler pointed out, is losing two-thirds of its young people between adolescence and adulthood. He said Southern Baptists must reach the younger generation with a theologically robust vision of the Christian life to rescue them from a deadly therapeutic ethos that says God wants their lives to be worry-free, prosperous and happy.

- Diverse or diminished. Mohler said studies show that by 2050, 25 percent of all Americans will have a Hispanic grandparent. The denomination will have to become more racially diverse to reach America, he said.

- Missional or more methodological. “For a long time when you asked the question, ‘Who is a Southern Baptist?’ you got a methodological answer,” Mohler said. “You got a certain historical answer, a certain minimal theological answer, but by and large, it was a methodological answer. By and large, that’s not going to be an option in the future. The church is not methodological, but is deployed for the cause of the Gospel.”

- More strategic or more anemic. Southern Baptists must update their missions strategy at every level. Local churches will have to become individual missiological units to reach their communities, Mohler said. A fast-changing world demands that Southern Baptist be constantly rethinking their missions strategy.

- More bold or more boring. “This is a generation that is not going to be satisfied with boring,” Mohler said. “The kind of boring logic which is the same thing being said in roughly the same way every time - no surprises - is simply not going to work because that’s not the way the New Testament is. The mission of the Lord Jesus Christ is so bold that it can never be boring. … This means we are going to have to take risks.”

- Happy or bitter. The SBC has gained a reputation for denominational crankiness, Mohler said, adding that Southern Baptists often seem upset, angry and frustrated even while claiming to be happy. “Crankiness often erupts on the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention,” he said. “We criticize people who are not even there. We raise issues as if this is where the SBC should direct its energies. … The risk here is that we will be cranky in all the wrong ways. If we stand by the Scriptures, we are going to have to say hard things to a culture around us that will consider us backward, unloving, intolerant, while having to stand by the truth. …We cannot afford to waste our energy on being cranky about things that are irrelevant and unhelpful and extraneous to the life of the SBC. When we gather together there had better be evident joy and there had better be a unity of purpose and a commonality of heart or people will stop coming.”

- Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 

What is Theology?

Dr. Moore explains:

It’s not about quarreling about words, or setting up partisan divisions. Theology is helping a shellshocked widow clean up after a suicide. Theology is about crying with a teenage boy who’s body is shaking with crystal meth. Theology drives you to rock orphans in India, singing “Jesus Loves Me” while you pray they learn what that means. Theology is hugging an animist African’s neck while you tell him Jesus can protect him from the spirits he fears…or hugging a self-righteous Southern Baptist American’s neck while you tell him he doesn’t fear those demonic spirits nearly enough.

He then goes on to explain what this means for his classroom:

That’s why we’ll start this semester off throwing the textbooks on the floor, pulling our chairs out, and getting on our knees to pray for the people in our future, those whose names we don’t know, that this semester would be profitable for them.

Satan doesn’t mind hearing us debate supralapsarianism or the days of creation or the noetic effects of the Fall (and we’ll do all of that). But what he trembles at is what we’ll start out doing today–calling out to the Lord Jesus: “Have mercy on us, sinners.”

Friday, August 21, 2009 

Training Faithful Men

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11)

"You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:1-2).

With Timothy strengthened against the fears that will assault any minister who intends to be faithful all the way down. Faithfulness leads to trouble, and great faithfulness leads to great trouble -- calling for great courage. Having received that strengthening and equipping, Timothy is charged to train other men to do the same.

What Paul had charged Timothy to do -- in the presence of many witnesses -- he was to pass on to others. Just as Paul had delivered this charge to the faithful man, Timothy, so Timothy was to find faithful men and do the same for them. They in turn were to receive this charge with the understanding that they were to do the same.

We have four generations of ministers mentioned here -- Paul to Timothy, Timothy to faithful men, and faithful men to the next generation of faithful men. Notice also the assumption that the training of ministers for the church is to be undertaken by the church. Instead of individuals "feeling the call" and paying for graduate school, we have the church finding the men, and taking on their training.

- Doug Wilson

Thursday, August 20, 2009 

North Korea: Where God Has Been Banned

Shame on us for not using our freedom in many countries to testify to Christ. Shame on us for not fasting & praying diligently for people like this, & for not praying unceasingly against evil like this.

North Korea from Acts1v8 on Vimeo.

NK:PUSH from Acts1v8 on Vimeo.

- Thoughts on the Way

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 

The Great Outdoors & Abortion

Japan is a pristine country. There are few areas that you can go and find litter rolling about. This is a country extremely conscious of the environment, taking care of it, conserving natural resources, eliminating pollution, etc...And good for Japan. God has commanded that we care for the world He's entrusted us to be stewards of.

Have you ever noticed though, how the Bible is always right? Romans gives clear statements that pagan lands will rob God of His revealed glory in order to pin that glory to the creation and worship it instead.

In this land, Japan, you can find people deeply aged, not contemplating eternity, their soul, their life, or their beliefs, but working endlessly on pruning a garden, or stooped by the roadside picking out every minuscule piece of trash or foam, and doing so until their death. Not a bad thing unless this is done to the total neglect of the Creator God.

I find it so interesting that in a country where they care so much about the environment, energy, green, nature, & they are so recycle-conscious, that it is a land that despises human life so much. A plummeting birth rate is the first indication. But secondly & most despicable is the means of abortion as birth control or a way to save some money that would go to another mouth.

Japan does not have official definition of orphans & as a society is highly against adoption & will even sometimes abuse neighbors who are foster parents or who have adopted, because not having a child that shares your blood is extremely shameful. Don't you know foolish ones, it is less shameful to shed blood that to share a life with one who is not your blood?

And back to the Japanese doing what God commanded by caring for the environment - it has more to do with Shintoism & the animistic belief that all mountains, trees, rivers, animals, are mini-divinities anyways, so I think the commendation is a little over & above.

I say to Hell with your pristine water & your clean parks. Would that a dog litter your yard with a pound of dung & a trash can spill & scatter for every baby killed.

Excuse me - I just put my son, made in the image of God, down for a nap after playing in a pretty park. I guess it just makes me a little heated to think that the trees shading us in there would be considered of more worth than he is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 

Abortion, Michael Vick, Barack Obama, & My Confusion

HCD Research found that only 33% of Americans think that Michael Vick should be allowed to play football again in the NFL. Why? Because he tormented & killed dogs.

The Gallup Poll showed that as recently as May 2009, 42% of Americans are pro-choice, that is, they believe it should be legal to maim & kill babies.

Am I confused, or does the math say that Americans as a whole are more concerned with the life of dogs than with human life that is created in the image of God?

I heard President Obama say on more than one occasion that he wouldn't want his daughters punished for a lifetime for a mistake they had made (meaning, he wants abortion to remain legal so that those who are pregnant can be protected by the law for killing the babies).

But can somebody tell me if it would be any different at all if we just made a law that said any mistakes involving other people can be eradicated by murder? If Obama decides Biden was a bad pick, why not make it lawful to put him before the firing squad...who wants to be stuck a lifetime with a mistake?

Apparently, there's a difference between executing dogs vs. babies (with dogs being more valued), as well as a difference between executing adults vs. babies - someone explain this to me, I'm confused.

Monday, August 17, 2009 

Children of the Republics

Repub1ics that set most store by their good citizens give m0st attention to the upbringing of their children. The depravity of the repub1ics proceeds frm the inattention and oversight of their good upbringing.

- Johanne van Beverwijck

Sunday, August 16, 2009 

Pastor Traps

Satan attacks the church most efficiently by picking off her leaders. Here is a series of four articles that speak to the peculiar temptations of pastors.

Pastor Traps - Money

Pastor Traps - Pride I

Pastor Traps - Pride II

Pastor Traps - Sex

- all four articles written by pastor Joost Nixon



“The world is full of resurrections. Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you that have been out early, and have seen the first of the dawn, will know it--the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life.”

- George MacDonald

Friday, August 14, 2009 

5 Maxims for Parents

The author says:

The following "rules of thumb" for parenting have three sources. First, all are either directly taught by Scripture or are derived from Scriptural teaching. This is fundamental, since Scripture is the basis for Christian parenting. God has given us His children into our care for a time, and He instructs us how we are to raise them. If we refuse to listen to His instructions, we are guilty of arrogance and rebellion of a high order.

Second, these maxims grow out of my wife’s (Noel) and my efforts to apply Scripture in training our nine children (ages 0 to 17). We have had successes and failures and still have much to learn. Yet, these are some of the important things we have learned so far.

Finally, they reflect mistakes we make as parents, and observation of mistakes that other parents make.

1. Children are sinners, not innocent and naturally good (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:9-18).

2. You are the parents and they are the children.

3. Corporal discipline is a good and proper method for child training (Proverbs 19:18; 29:15).

4. Children grow up.

5. God is sovereign.

- Read Peter Leithart's commentary on each of these maxims in full here

Thursday, August 13, 2009 

On Children

As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful
bulbous heads, three times too big for the body,
which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always
primarily to remember that within every one of these
heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the
seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a
new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.

G.K. Chesterton


You Are What You Do & You Do What You Are

Theology comes out of your fingertips, & what comes out of your fingertips is your real theology.

- D. Wilson

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 


COLLISION - 13 min VIMEO Exclusive Sneak Peek from Collision Movie on Vimeo.

Here's an exclusive 13 min preview to the new film coming out following my main man Douglas Wilson & atheist Christopher Hitchens as they make the debate rounds in the Northeast.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 

Provoking the Lions

This was a problem in the first century, and it is a problem now. Christians are more concerned with respectability than with righteousness. They are more concerned with putting up a fine show for man, than with lifting up pure hearts before God. Let a public controversy break out, and many Christians -- "all who are in Asia" -- will head for the tall grass, and will blame the Christian who is standing in the arena facing the lions for being too provocative.

- read whole blog post by Doug Wilson here

Sunday, August 09, 2009 

Happy Birthday!

To my hero of the faith, Adoniram Judson!

Friday, August 07, 2009 

Best Church Planting Book

The best church planting book, in my opinion, is not even a church planting book. But, if you're trying to plant a church, it's a top-knotch guide book to the Good Book on the basic essentials of a local church. In fact, it's so nuts & bolts, you can use this approach whether it's a tribe gathering under a tree in Africa, young 20-somethings in the heart of the upper-middle class of urban Jakarta, scarecly populated Islamic-majority islands, Savannah, Georgia, or New York City. This book can help you understand what God intends & expects from the church. If you don't have it, get The Deliberate Church.

Thursday, August 06, 2009 

Shall I Fall Down Before a Block of Stone or Wood?

In Shizuoka City, the Rainer’s are grateful to have some patient, friendly families in the building that they live in. One family in particular, the S-family, will go to great lengths to listen to, talk to, and try and make David and Mindy feel welcome despite the language barrier. They even are kind enough to compliment them on their infantile language!

The Rainer’s sense something different about this family. It does not seem that they are following the outward rules of the Japanese society of expected niceties, but instead, they seem genuinely interested in showing kindness to foreigners in their country and willing to go the extra mile to serve those who are different.

During a conversation this month, the Rainer’s found out that this family is Buddhist. They have a six year old and four year old son, and the oldest boy attends a school started many years ago by Catholics. The Rainer’s used this conversation to ask if the S-family were also Catholic, assuming they were not, and were told that they believe in the ways of Buddhism.

There was no offense taken when David and Mindy had previously given written Gospel material to the family and they also had no problem with the fact that the Rainers are in Shizuoka City to teach others the way of Christ. However, it is most likely that because of the language barrier, the S-family has no idea that the truth is that the claims of Christ mean that Buddha is dead and unworthy. The claims of Christ mean they must repent and trust in Jesus in order to be saved. The claims of Christ are that He is living and worthy or worship that they are not giving Him.

2009 8 Rainer headless statuePlease pray that this family of four, with two young, precious sons, and loving, friendly parents, would through our influence or any means come to repentance and faith in the living, risen, Son of God. The Rainers recently spent part of an afternoon at a Buddhist temple, and all around were small statues of Buddha – with his head missing. They kept thinking of this family God has put them near, and how sad that something so dead was the closest understanding that had to a loving Father God. Pray that the people of Japan would no longer fit this description of the prophet Isaiah:

“The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, ‘Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!’ And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god!’

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, ‘Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’” (ch 44:12-20)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 

The Son of God Goes Forth to War

The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.

That martyr first, whose eagle eye
could pierce beyond the grave;
who saw his Master in the sky,
and called on him to save.
Like him, with pardon on his tongue,
in midst of mortal pain,
he prayed for them that did the wrong:
who follows in his train?

A glorious band, the chosen few
on whom the Spirit came;
twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
and mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
the lion's gory mane;
they bowed their heads the death to feel:
who follows in their train?

A noble army, men and boys,
the matron and the maid,
around the Savior's throne rejoice,
in robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven,
through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
to follow in their train.

- by Reginald Heber, 1812

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 

700 Words on Learning to Live as a Witness

I was given the opportunity to write in 700 words some things I am learning about how to be a living witness for 7th-12th graders Challengers Central curriculum. For the sake of word count, I had to leave Scripture references off, but here's the rough draft:

How can we talk about Jesus so people will listen? How do we live in such a way that those around us want to know the reason for the hope that we have? How do we show love to others when sharing with them the message of Christ which can be offensive? I do not have a single trustworthy method, but I have found that we have a trustworthy source, the Bible, and a trustworthy God who can enable and empower us to be living witnesses for Christ.

Recently my family and I moved to Japan so that we could tell the Japanese about Christ, His life, death, resurrection, and how He can reconcile us to the Creator God. This has forced us to lean not on our own understanding but to be totally emptied of self and to ask the Spirit to accomplish witnessing through us. Here are some of the basic lessons we are learning:

First, prayer is foundational. If my family has some tough days trying to learn the language and the culture, our focus can get off the main task of evangelism and we go into “survival” mode. Survival mode is just weathering the day, not caring what takes place, just to get to tomorrow because the day to day life is so difficult at times. However, if my family is praying for the lost by name, and we come in contact with that person, we are much more likely to try to engage them, to share with them either love, encouragement, and even the Gospel as much as we can in the language right now, aware that this opportunity is a direct answer to prayer.

Second, we try to be helpless and available. By being helpless as foreigners, we come to our neighbors and ask questions about customs we do not understand. We show that we do not think we have all of life figured out. This can help the lost in their outlook of you, seeing that Christians are not superior beings, but simply are helpless people who put their faith in The Superior Being. We also try to be available meaning when it is possible, we walk, if we cannot walk, we ride bikes, and if we cannot ride bikes, only then do we drive because we have yet to meet anyone or have a meaningful conversation with unbelievers when we are alone inside the doors of our home or inside the doors of our car. Teenagers have ample opportunity through all the activities available to them to both learn from others, thus making friends more willing to learn truth from you, as well as to engage others in daily life for the sake of Christ.

Finally, because of all the promises of God to save His children, the promise of the Holy Spirit to always be with believers, and our assurance before God because of our standing in Christ, we do not have to be ashamed of the Gospel, but instead can be confident. We can be confident to say “I don’t know” to difficult questions, confident that if we share that God then takes over to bring results, and confident that no matter how foolish we may feel or believe others think us to be, we know that the power of God can bring any heart of stone to life. And so we share in boldness and confidence and do not fear not being accepted by man since we know we are adopted children of the King!

So to recap, if we are praying for the lost by name, we are expectant and looking for opportunities to share with those around us. Because we are praying, we serve others through building bridges through their interest be willing to learn from them and being willing to take the time to be available to them so that they see in us the humility and service of Christ and our message is authenticated through our actions. And because we are praying and living in the example of Christ, we can be confident to share and confidently expect God to use us as living witnesses!

Monday, August 03, 2009 

Conviction vs. Obedience

Conviction is not the same thing as obedience.

For example, I may be convicted that I need to attend church regularly, but still choose not to attend & may even continue to feel bad about it. Obedience is trusting that God instructed us to be in the habit of meeting with brothers & sisters in Christ for the sake of our own souls & changing our pattern & attending church in trusting faith.

You can be convicted about viewing pornography. You can also be convicted & continue to do so. Obedience is finding satisfaction in the reality of the Gospel & being controlled by the Spirit & not viewing porn.

You can be convicted about the fact that you should share your faith more often. You can be convicted about it & yet never take the next step of actually sharing your faith.

Obedience moves, talks, cuts off, acts, rebukes, repents, etc...

Sunday, August 02, 2009 

Once Shunned, Hostessing is Now Popular - video -


With good jobs dwindling in Japan's deep recession, young women are increasingly drawn to the high pay and glamour of working as hostesses.

Saturday, August 01, 2009 

At Ease in the Land of Moloch

by R.C. Sproul Jr.

Suppose for a moment that the sky were falling. Now while you have your imagination engaged, imagine that Chicken Little was actively trying to sound the alarm, not that the sky is falling, but that a rat has successfully broken into the feed bin. Rats in the feed bin, that’s not such a good thing. Raising the alarm, all things being equal, would be a good thing. But if the sky were falling, concerns about rats and feed bins would be not just misguided, but dangerous, a genuine distraction of a truly calamitous event. Now suppose that Chicken Little suddenly hatched a bevy of baby Chicken Littles, all of whom became conservative pundits.

There we are. The danger of the day is socialized health care. Last month is was socialized car manufacturing. Nine months ago it was socialized banking, but since it was our guy doing that, we were in favor of it. Talk radio is all abuzz with the awful things the President is doing to our economy. The ghost of inflation future is haunting us. Doom and gloom is everywhere. It is true, terribly true, that the Obama administration is spending us down the river at rates far more rapidly than his predecessor did. Socialism is a dreadfully dangerous and destructive practice, whether it be in medicine, as the President hopes to bring us, or in medications as the former President brought us. It’s dangerous in the car industry, and pernicious in the banking industry. It’s all more horrible than even the pundits know.

There are, however, two things that are far worse. The first is our relative indifference to the second. That is, that Christians, and the radio talkers who lead us, are up in arms, running about like Chicken Little over the President’s handling of the economy is shameful. For we have forgotten the real tragedy of our day. Today, nearly four thousand mothers will murder their own children. Tomorrow it will be the same. Under President Bush, every day four thousand babies were intentionally murdered, even when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. Murder.

I believe in liberty. I long for limited government. I believe in fiscal wisdom, in hard money. But assaults on these things are so many rats in the feed bin while the sky is falling. Babies are being murdered while I type. Billboards advertise these services. Salesmen visit these offices, hoping to land an account. Landlords rent to these grisly customers. Policemen are standing guard at the door. Nurses are scrubbing implements of infanticide, and medical school graduates are putting on surgical gloves. Moms have paid their cash, and wait.

And Christians are listening to Glenn Beck complain about intrusions into the economy. Sadly, because the sky has been falling for thirty-six years, we no longer seem to notice. We are comfortable with murdered babies, at ease in the land of Moloch. I understand that we cannot look too closely at this horror. It is too terrible. But we need to look more closely, more often, more honestly, and with more repentance. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted and outraged by the rats. The sky is falling, and the blood is rising.

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