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, June 30, 2010 

Wilson's Wisdom: Praise

Better to deserve praise than to get it.

- the Douglas Wilson -

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 

サッカー日本代表 Blue Samurai

What an effort by Japan, only ranked 45th, & nearly lasting to the final 8 teams in the World Cup. Thanks for the excitement & buzz you brought to our calm, at times stoic, country. We are proud of you! Now go worship Jesus.


Radical or Plodding? Jesus or Paul? Platt or DeYoung? Yes!

Paul wrote:

17) Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18) Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19) For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20) Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21) Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23) You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24) So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. - 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

Jesus said:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18b-20

So do we remain where & as we were/are, or do we go to the nations?

In this interview, David Platt talks about how American Christians should live radical lives sold out to Jesus.

Kevin DeYoung writes that instead of a revolution we should learn to be ordinary & plod obediently with God day by day. (I cannot recommend this article more highly)

So are our lives marked by radical living or by church-attending plodding?

So who's right? Paul or Jesus? David or Kevin? The answer is YES!

For a healthy, helpful interaction on these views, see Kevin DeYoung's book review of David Platt's Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. At the end of the review, Platt is allowed some space to respond to DeYoung's assessment of the book & movement.

Monday, June 28, 2010 

2 Chronicles 16

1) In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2) Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, 3)“There is a covenant between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.” 4) And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. 5) And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease. 6) Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.

7) At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8) Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9) For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” 10) Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.

11) The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12) In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13) And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14) They buried him in the tomb that he had cut for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art, and they made a very great fire in his honor.

Sunday, June 27, 2010 

Better Than a Boycott on Disneyland!

Previous years Southern Baptist resolutions have been things such as boycotting Disneyland, but I like the direction I see our denomination going. This year alone there were resolutions on praying for the Gulf Coast oil spill as well as taking action to prevent further such disasters, a call to lament the scandal of Southern Baptist divorce, a call to reaffirm the centrality of the Gospel & this one:

2010 Southern Baptist Resolution on Family Worship:

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches the spiritual discipline of family worship for the glory of God, the strengthening of the church, and the spiritual nourishment of the family (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Psalm 78:1-8; Ephesians 4-6); and

WHEREAS, Scripture pictures the Christian home as a place in which parents are instructed to teach and disciple their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Ephesians 6:1-4); and

WHEREAS, Family worship has been a cherished Southern Baptist principle reflected in church covenants which have called believers “to maintain family and secret devotions” and “to religiously educate” their children; and

WHEREAS, In recent years, family worship has been emphasized in The Baptist Faith and Message, which states that “Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth”; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have launched major initiatives which have brought to the forefront the need for families to pray, read from the Bible, memorize scripture, and give praise to the Lord within their homes; and

WHEREAS, In 2009, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention included family worship as a key catalyst for a Great Commission resurgence calling on Southern Baptists “to build gospel-saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and as our first and primary mission field”; and

WHEREAS, Family worship is integral to laying a foundation for multi-generational faithfulness to the gospel (Psalm 145:4) and a necessary complement for the strengthening of the local church to fulfill its commission (Matthew 28:18-20); and

WHEREAS, Family worship serves as an important preparation for the corporate worship of the local church on the Lord’s Day (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:25); and

WHEREAS, In recent generations, the act of family worship has been neglected, evidenced by the breakdown of the family in our time; and

WHEREAS, The embracing of the spiritual discipline of family worship in the Christian home has the capacity to nurture stronger families, a stronger church, and a stronger nation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, encourage churches and families to rekindle the spiritual discipline of family worship; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we define family worship as the regular meeting together of a family for a time of prayer and Bible reading, which may include other activities such as scripture memorization, singing spiritual songs and hymns, and discussing biblical truth and Christian mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage families to cultivate not only structured times of worship together, but also ongoing intentional and informal conversations about the things of the Lord; and be it further

RESOLVED, That as we call families and churches to embrace family worship, we urge fathers particularly to fulfill their divinely mandated responsibility to lead their families toward spiritual maturity (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:19-21); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all parents to consider times of family worship to be an opportunity to introduce their children to the gospel, to train their children to seek the salvation of their friends and neighbors, and to pray for the nations; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches and families to make use of the many resources produced to aid in family worship; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their pastors to promote family worship and encourage the families of their congregations to place the highest priority on embracing this foundational spiritual discipline for the well-being of families, the spread of the gospel, the making of disciples, and the glory of God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010 

Short-term Missions

Just thought that one of yesterdays 38 points should be reposted for its incredible accuracy!

Short-term Missions: Short-term missions are a part of the Christian’s life. Please note that if you go on a short-term mission, there is a universal pattern of experience. 1) Fear: Going to another country is frightening. 2) Excitement: The Lord has personally arranged for this trip and has someone for you to meet. 3) Shock: this is the initial disturbance that Americans have to the poverty and needs of the visited area. 4) Attachment: this represents the love that you have for the people and places you have gone along with the desire to remain. 5) Mourning: this is the time when you have to leave. Expect a lot of wailing and crying. 6) Telling: this is where you fruitlessly try to explain everything that happened and every emotion you felt to everyone you meet. 7) Judging: This is where you look down upon everyone for being so materialistic and not being passionate about the needs of the poor. 8) Adjustment: this happens two weeks after the mission trip and represents the return of self-pity because your neighbor just got a new car and yours has nearly 50,000 miles on it.

Friday, June 25, 2010 

The Beginners Guide to Christianity: 38 Things You Need to Know Right Now!

This was too funny & accurate to not repost:


1. “Heads bowed, eyes closed . . .”: During a church service, you may hear a preacher abruptly break into this unexpected dialogue with the audience: “Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you have accepted Christ into your heart [more later], I want you to raise your hand.” Don’t get scared. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. It is not a fancy way to steal your money or pull anything sneaky. It is the preacher’s way of helping the uncomfortable seeker feel more at ease about accepting Christ. It is best if you just follow instructions here.

2. “Into the Word”: This is a portion of an important phrase that may be communicated by seasoned Christians in many different contexts. It always has reference to the Bible. Yes, I know, the Bible is more than one word, in fact it is thousands, but once you are a Christian, it becomes singular and has a definite article, “the,” attached to it. If you hear someone say, “Are you in the Word?,” this is another way of saying, “You need to read the Bible if you are going to be spiritual like me.” IMPORTANT: This has no relation to the phrases, “Word to your mother,” “Word up,” or just plain “Word.”

3. Backslidden: This has no reference to the past event of sliding down a hill on your back. It is used to refer to those Christians who are now suspect in their original confession due to their current participation in a particular sin.

4. “Ask Jesus into your heart”: Although there is nowhere in Scripture that people are commanded to ask Jesus into their heart, this has become the primary means by which Evangelicals believe a person becomes a Christian. Don’t be scared here. Heart surgery, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular exercise (or lack thereof) have no bearing on Christ’s presence in your heart. He does not actually live there.

5. Soul Winning: Please understand, this is not a game. It is the act whereby one person tells another about Christ and the person believes, thereby having their souls “saved” (i.e. “won”). I know that normally if there are winners, you would think there are losers, but not in Soul Winning.

6. “I see that hand . . .”: This is related to #1. The pastor has just asked for raised hands while everyone’s heads are bowed and eyes closed. “I see that hand” can mean one of two things: 1) Someone is indicating that they have accepted Jesus by raising their hand. 2) The pastor is acting like someone has to be more heroic and finance the new building. VERY IMPORTANT: Avoid any temptation to look for the hand when the pastor says “I see that hand.” Although science is inconclusive, we are not sure if you looking for the hand raised has any bearing on the effectiveness of the salvation process. It is best to be safe and avoid giving in to this temptation. To be very spiritual, just thank the Lord for that person and pray that they become a Calvinist.

7. Contemporary Christian Music: Avoid at all costs. Yes, many of your Christian friends will act as if they like it. Musicians, sociologists, and psychologists are perplexed as to the reasons why. We believe it is due to the pressured environment of the Christian community for Christians to do all things Christian, but this has no bearing on your salvation. Please, don’t feel pressure to like it.

8. Christian Movies: See “Contemporary Christian Music.”

9. Baptism: The spiritual act of going under water. Yeah, I know, most people don’t understand it, but you must do it anyway. Oh, also, someone else has to push, drop, or lower you; otherwise, it is ineffective.

10. “Blessed”: This word must take the place of many words, but the most important replacement is with the word “luck.” Super-spiritual Christians (SSC) will often be offended and pugnaciously correct you if you ever say, “Good luck.” Even if you are just using it as a casual phrase with the best of intentions, the SSC will see it as an opportunity to correct you and show you how Christian they are compared to you by saying “I don’t believe in luck, only God’s blessings.” When you have someone correct you, just act as if you have learned something and then be on your way.

11. The Water that Jesus Turned into Wine was Diluted to a Watery Grape juice: Although there is no biblical, historic, or cultural evidence to suggest it, you must believe that Christ did not turn the water into wine, but into watery grape juice. This is a cardinal doctrine.

12. Lord’s Table (Baptist): It goes by many other names, but this represents the time when you eat a really small cracker and a small cup of grape juice and afterwords are more spiritual because of it. Think mystery. It is very important to know that this is not the church providing lunch. As well, those who are on the Atkins diet cannot become Christian because of the high carbs in both the juice and cracker.

Lord’s Table (Presbyterian/Anglican/Methodist/Catholic): Free booze.

13. Public Prayer: You will often find yourself in a situation where others are praying and you don’t know what to do. As a general rule, you should remain quiet and attempt to pray with them. If your mind drifts just try to make a quiet, yet slightly audible, sounds like “um” (not “ummmm”), “yes Lord,” and “amen.” They may be completely out of context, but you will still be better off. This is very well accepted.

14. God D*%n: The only phrase that you can use that will immediately let others know that you are not a Christian and the only exception to the once-saved-always-saved doctrine (despite the fact that it is not really taking God’s name in vain).

15. “Jesus”: This is an acceptable answer to pretty much every question in the Christian community. For example: Who is God? Jesus. Why are you alive? Jesus. Why are we here? Jesus. What website were you looking at? Jesus. What did you learn about today? Jesus. What is your favorite music? Jesus. What book are you reading? Jesus. Why don’t you want to go to _________ with me? Jesus. What planet is that? Jesus. It always works.

16. “Jesus!”: Bad word, see # 14.

17. Rush Limbaugh: This is the only person in existence who has not asked Jesus into their heart but is nonetheless going to heaven.

18. Raising hands during worship: Be very careful with this. The first thing you need to know is that this is not the way to ask a question during church service, but a way to worship. Churches are not in agreement about its validity. Some churches allow the “Full throttle” (raising hands above your head either with hands spread or index finger pointed), but some places only allow the “Governor” (hands raised to chest high position). Some churches will see any extension of hands as a sign of self-promotion and you will be asked to leave. The best approach is to ask the usher while being seated.

19. Quiet time: Please note, this has no relation to “time out.” In fact, it could be just the opposite. All Christians are expected to have “quiet time.” It is at this time that you renew your relationship to God through prayer and Bible study. The longer the better. If you do this first thing in the morning, people will count you blessed.

20. The gentle hand squeeze at the end of a prayer: While this is not a phrase or word that you need to know, it is a practice that might get you caught off guard if you are not aware of implications. It will come at the end of a prayer in which hands are being held. It is a gentle squeeze as the prayer says “amen” or immediately after it. Either is acceptable. It means, in essence, ”I love you and we are in this together. So hang in there and call on me if you ever need anything.”

21. Short-term Missions: Short-term missions are a part of the Christian’s life. Please note that if you go on a short-term mission, there is a universal pattern of experience. 1) Fear: Going to another country is frightening. 2) Excitement: The Lord has personally arranged for this trip and has someone for you to meet. 3) Shock: this is the initial disturbance that Americans have to the poverty and needs of the visited area. 4) Attachment: this represents the love that you have for the people and places you have gone along with the desire to remain. 5) Mourning: this is the time when you have to leave. Expect a lot of wailing and crying. 6) Telling: this is where you fruitlessly try to explain everything that happened and every emotion you felt to everyone you meet. 7) Judging: This is where you look down upon everyone for being so materialistic and not being passionate about the needs of the poor. 8) Adjustment: this happens two weeks after the mission trip and represents the return of self-pity because your neighbor just got a new car and yours has nearly 50,000 miles on it.

22. “Lord, we just pray that…” This phrase should be uttered at least twenty different times throughout a public prayer. It is to show the simplicity of your requests and the humble mood in which they are asked by supplying the key word “just.” Variances such as “We just ask…,” “Lord, we just…,” “Lord we just come before you” or just “just” are also acceptable. As long as it has the word “just” in it, you should be good.

23. “Lord,” “Lord God,” “God,” and “Father God” references in prayer: This is related to the previous, but an important addition to your understanding of public prayer. While praying, Christians will continually repeat God’s name so as to remind you and themselves to whom they are praying. Therefore, do not be surprised to hear “Lord,” “Lord God,” ”Father,” or its popular variation, “Father God” at the beginning of every sentence. It sometimes will even occur multiple times in the same sentence such as the following: “Lord God, we just pray that you will be with us God during our trip God.” Pretty much, the more you say a variation of God’s name, the more spiritual you are.

24. “Hedge of protection”: This is the way to pray for the protection of a loved one. Its the primary Christian defense against demonic forces. No one really knows what a “hedge of protection” is, but everyone knows that Satan does not fair well when its presence is evoked.

25. “Pot Lucks”: Although this may be confusing considering #10, this is the one time in which Christians believe in “luck.” These are Sunday night “fellowship” dinners where everyone brings their favorite dish. Various movements within contemporary Christian history have attempted to change the name of this to “Pot blessed” with no luck. Not only has the designation “luck” been challenged, but many objections have been raised to the use of the word “pot” due to the muchies that are involved.

26. Prayer walks: These serve a double purpose. 1) They help to work off the “pot luck” and 2) they keep Christians awake during prayer. They also have been known to have a geographically positioned spiritual effect upon the tracked area.

27. “Post-Sermon Prayer”: This comes at the end of a sermon or lesson. While this is normally referred to as simply a prayer, it has a life of its own, serving primarily as an extended summary of the sermon you just heard, sometimes with additional points or applications the preacher didn’t think of during preparation.

28. “Worship”: Singing

29. “Amen”: The way to give a sense of approval to the pastor concerning his teaching. It is another way of saying, “I already agree with what you are preaching, therefore it is approved. Preach on.” Preachers who do not receive “amens” during their sermon begin to question their calling, so use them liberally.

30. “Anti-Christ”: Obama

31. “Fall Festival”: Halloween

32. Vacation Bible School: Free summertime babysitting for parents.

33. Fish symbols on the back of your car: Hard core evangelism.

34. Glen Beck: The only Mormon who is getting a special dispensation to go to heaven.

35.If it be God’s Will”: A spiritual sounding addition to prayer. It indicates that you don’t really think God is going to answer your prayer. Use this phrase a lot, it’ll save you a lot of disappointment.

36. Rebaptism: “This time I really mean it.”

37. Beer. Depending on where you live, beer is either representative of your freedom in Christ and solidarity with Martin Luther or your identification of your reservation in hell. So be careful.

38. Home Schooling. Publicly: Better education. Privately: The Christian fathers’ attempt to instill an anti-social behavior within their daughters in hopes that they will never meet anyone of the male species.

- Parchment & Pen

Thursday, June 24, 2010 

Something I Wish All Missionaries Understood

Regarding how God is to be worshiped, God must be worshiped as he wishes, not as we wish. The Bible is clear that God is to be worshiped in ways and forms that he deems acceptable. This explains why God judges those who seek to worship him with either sinful forms externally or sinful hearts internally. This is incredibly important. Some churches care more about what is in people's hearts than about what they do in their lives, whereas others are more concerned about doing things the 'right' way and care little about the motivations behind those actions. When it comes to worship, which is all of life, the God of the Bible cares about both what we do and why we do it.

- Mark Driscoll, from Doctrine (emphasis above mine)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 

The 'Choker' No More


Missionaries Are a Bunch of Dirty Dish Rags

I received this email yesterday from someone I've never met. How kind God is to not just never leave or forsake us, but to keep us on the heart of at least a very few, sometimes those you've never met. That's the beauty of the universal body of Christ. Please pray that we would embrace with joy being dirty dish rags even if that meant we never receive another email or encouraging word or feel completely forgotten:

"...I want you to know that we all admire you in what you are doing for the lord. I always refer to missions work like being a dirty dish rag. A dirty dish rag sits right where it’s master sits it and never gets any glory over anything it is used for. If anyone gets the praise, it is always the one who yielded it. The rag gets cleaned by its master and put right back by the sink where it presents itself accessible and willing to be used again for its master. You never hear anyone shouting “ now that’s a great dish rag, or look what that dish rag did”, no the dish rag just bows to its master as the yielder, the finisher, the worker of all good works gets all the glory! That’s the heart of the dirty dish rag and that is the heart of a servant of God! I say to you thank you for yielding yourself willing and ready to be used for the glory of God! Press on and fight the good fight!!!"

How kind of this pastor to take the time to love on strangers, & how merciful of God to continue to lift our spirits, the Author of our joy, day by day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 

10 Way to Get Kids Excited About the Bible

1. Let them see your excitement.
Let’s face it, excitement is contagious. How else would explain the “Stadium Wave” phenomenon that still rears its ugly head at sporting events. People get caught up in the moment. They get caught up in the excitement. Children are no different. Let them see you reading your Bible and enjoying it. Make certain that they hear you talking about the exciting things you’ve found in the Bible. Let them sense your excitement at the things the Bible has taught you. When they ask questions, refer to the Bible for answers. Let them see your excitement about the Word of God, and they are likely to feed off of that.

2. Hold your Bible.
When you are teaching kids, make sure that you physically hold your Bible. Whether or not you refer to it during your teaching, the mere fact that you are holding it implies to the kids that the story you are telling them in from that book. If they are interested in the story you are telling (say, David & Goliath), they are more likely to seek out the Bible to see what other exciting stories might be in there.

3. Teach them how to use it.
Some kids avoid the Bible because it is just so daunting. Take the mystery out of it. Show them how it is organized. Teach them where it came from and how it is arranged. Show them how to look up a verse. Teach them how to use a concordance. Help them to memorize the names of the books of the Bible. Show them the maps at the back. All of this will turn the Bible from a frighteningly thick book into a useful tool in the hands of a child.

4. Explain where it comes from and what is.
The Bible is not just any ordinary book. It was given to us by God. Children need to understand that what they have in the Bible is a recounting of the history of the Creator’s interaction with his creation. Furthermore, they need to understand how they fit into that story.

5. Give them a place to start.
Some people, including children, never get started into their Bibles because they just don’t know where to start. Challenge them to start reading somewhere. Figure out what interests them and suggest they start there, or pick a specific book and have them start reading it in small segments. The book of John is a great place to start.

6. Show them how it can be useful to them.
It is more than just a bunch of cool stories. It is the very words of the God who created everything they can see. When kids are playing video games (at least my teenager is this way), they love books full of cheat codes that show them the hidden levels and how to win the game. The Bible is just that kind of cheat book for life. Apply the Bible to real life circumstances and trials in a child’s life, and show them how to apply biblical precepts to the situation.

7. Encourage them to memorize it.
The Bible tells us that we should write the Word of God on our hearts. Kids should start memorizing scripture as soon as possible. Start with some core fundamental verses like John 3:16 and work on those over and over until they start to know God’s Word. Kids are capable of memorizing scripture before they are even capable of reading it. Playing music based on scriptural passages is another great way to help them memorize Biblical passages.

8. Find out what excites them and show it to them in the Bible.
The Bible is a cool book, and we should let kids know that. What other children’s book has God raining fire and brimstone from the sky, action and adventure like the flood and soap operas like the story of Esther or Ruth? There is something in there for everyone. Find out what interests an individual child and encourage them to read that story.

9. Use it in your class regularly.
Jesus should be at the center of everything we do in children’s ministry, and the Bible is what tells us about him. Therefore, make sure that the Bible is central to what you are teaching. Don’t just tell kids that the story you are telling them is from the Bible, put it in the context of the larger biblical story and tell the story from the Bible. When you use a verse as part of your lesson, read it directly from your Bible, not just your notes. Let the kids see and hear that the Bible should be central, and a guiding force, in everything we do.

10. Pray
We should do everything we can to get kids excited about God’s Word, but our efforts pale in comparison to what God Almighty is capable of. Accordingly, prayer is critical is your efforts to teach kids about the Bible. Pray that God would grow a sense of excitement and wonder about his Word in the hearts of your children. Pray that he would give them a burning desire to study his Word, and pray that he would help them to write his Word on their hearts.

- ministry-to-children.com

Monday, June 21, 2010 

Students & Global Evangelization

How do we communicate the gospel via the means of college students serving as missionaries (in BOTH North America and throughout the world)?

1) We need to cast the vision before college students to obtain marketable skills and degrees to be used in the global marketplace, while they simultaneously labor to share the gospel, plant churches, and raise up/train elders for those churches.

2) We need a vision that involves reaching international students, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, modeling before them a simple, biblical expression of the local church, equipping them, partnering with them, and sending them back to their unreached people groups as scientists, doctors, managers, entrepreneurs, teachers, etc., while they simultaneously labor to share the gospel, plant churches, and raise up/train elders for those churches.

Developing strategies and equipping approaches to carry out these points will involve a missiological shift when it comes to church planting.

We need to move away from believing that tentmaking is for the junior varsity missionaries who are not very committed to the Kingdom. Tentmaking is just as important today as it was in Acts 18; it is just that the evangelical Church does not believe it should be a priority for our church planters. We need to encourage our students to obtain marketable degrees and skills that will not only place them in strategic global positions for Kingdom influence but will also provide a means of financial support.

Providing international students with biblical teaching is a must; providing them with a massive dose of our culturally preferred expressions of Christianity (and equating that with biblical teaching) is not a good thing. We must move beyond the notion of simply reaching internationals with the good news and assimilating them into local church contexts that will not provide them with the necessary missional knowledge and skills that will translate back to their communities in China, India, the Middle East, etc.. We need to reach them, baptize them, and through membership in a local church (even planting churches with them), prepare them for the day when they will graduate and return to their nations, with both a degree in hand and a heart for church planting.

Much of what is modeled in our churches involves cultural preferences that do not connect with many international students (in this country), and will be a hindrance to Kingdom expansion if such students attempt to reproduce it when they return to their people. Remember: we know and reproduce what is modeled before us. So, how is our model that we will impress on these new brothers and sisters from different lands?

- Dr. J.D. Payne

Sunday, June 20, 2010 

Islam Honor Killing

The father and brother of a 16-year-old girl pleaded guilty in a Toronto courthouse to her 2007 murder for disobeying him, including refusing to wear a hijab, a court official said Wednesday.

Toronto taxi-driver Muhammad Parvez, 60, and tow-truck driver Waqas Parvez, 29, pleaded guilty to the murder of Aqsa Parvez in late 2007, and are to be sentenced to life in prison.

They must serve at least 18 years in prison before being eligible for parole, an Ontario Superior Court official told AFP.

According to a statement of agreed facts, Aqsa was estranged from her family when her brother picked her up from a school bus stop in a Toronto suburb and took her home on December 10, 2007. There, her father strangled her to death.

"I killed my daughter," he told a 911 operator, said court documents. Paramedics found her lying dead in her bed, blood running from her nose.

Muhammad's wife, Anwar Jan, told police he had killed their youngest of eight children over her delinquent behaviour.

"My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult," Muhammad had told her, Anwar Jan said to police. "She is punished."

The whole family was born in Pakistan and immigrated to Canada in two waves, in 1999 and in 2001.

Women in the family while living in Canada were still expected to dress "traditionally" and were financially dependent on the men in the family.

One year before her death, Aqsa complained of "conflict at home over cultural differences between living in Canada and back home," said court files.

Her father had already chosen someone in Pakistan for her to marry, she told a school counsellor.

She also told her vice principal "that she no longer wanted to dress traditionally like the other women in her family and she did not wish to wear a hijab," a Muslim headscarf, but feared her father.

After running away many times over several years, and a few family counselling sessions, her father relented and her mother took her shopping for Western clothes in September 2007.

But she continued to complain about not being given enough freedom at home, having to come home directly after school and not being permitted to get a part time job.

Aqsa was killed after multiple attempts by family members to persuade her to move back home.

- smh.com

Saturday, June 19, 2010 

Too Easily Pleased

Friday, June 18, 2010 

Japan: Cultural Bondage of Funerals

Funerals in Japan are a horrendous rip-off, on the whole, especially as many feel they have to call in priests to officiate, who often charge in the millions of yen for their services. I’ve seen people defend this practice by saying that as people are expected to bring a cash gift for the family they can cover expenses; this may be true, but then again one has to give presents back to everyone who gifts, and of course there is ongoing expenses of grave maintenance and annual services for the deceased, which again can run into hundreds of thousands.

Research results

Q1: Have you ever attended a funeral? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Yes (to SQ) 92.4% 90.0% 95.6%
No 7.6% 10.0% 4.4%

Q1SQ: Have you ever been involved in the organising of a funeral? (Sample size=399)

All Male
Yes 11.8% 12.5% 10.9%
No 88.2% 87.5% 89.1%

Q2: When you pop your clogs, would you want a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Definitely (to SQ) 6.7% 7.6% 5.5%
If possible (to SQ) 43.3% 42.6% 44.3%
No, don’t want 50.0% 49.8% 50.3%

Some of the main reasons why people wanted a funeral were a wish to properly depart from everyone, to allow relatives to sort out their emotions, to take the opportunity to let people know I was dead. Further reasons were because it’s the custom or what society expects. For those not wanting one, people didn’t feel it necessary, not wanting to burden the relatives, funerals are for the living, not the dead, and just that it is expensive.

Q2SQ: Do you have any wishes regarding the kind of funeral you want? (Sample size=216)

All Male
Yes, lots 0.5% 0.0% 1.1%
Yes, some 32.9% 20.8% 49.5%
No, none 66.7% 79.2% 49.5%

The sorts of wishes people had were a modest one, a simple one, a not expensive one, and a family-only affair.

Q3: For your own particular religious sect, do you know roughly how much it costs in total for a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Know most of the costs 18.8% 19.3% 18.0%
Know some of the costs 20.8% 18.9% 23.5%
Don’t know anything 60.4% 61.8% 58.5%

Q4: For your own particular religious sect, do you know what kinds of procedures must be done for a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Know most of it 14.6% 14.1% 15.3%
Know some of it 26.9% 25.3% 29.0%
Don’t know any of them 58.6% 60.6% 55.7%

Q5: Do your have money saved up for your own funeral service, cremation, etc? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Yes 13.7% 10.8% 17.5%
No 86.3% 89.2% 82.5%

Q6: If one of your family were to pop their clogs suddenly, do you have someone close to you who you could turn to for advice on funeral preparations, financial issues, etc? (Sample size=432)

All Male
Yes 61.6% 59.8% 63.9%
No (to SQ) 38.4% 40.2% 36.1%

Q6SQ: If one of your family were to pop their clogs suddenly, do you feel worried about not having someone close to you who you could turn to for advice on funeral preparations, financial issues, etc? (Sample size=166)

All Male
Very worried 12.7% 10.0% 16.7%
A little worried 42.8% 40.0% 47.0%
Not worried 44.6% 50.0% 36.4%

- whatjapanthinks.com

Thursday, June 17, 2010 

Most Popular Day to Watch Porn is Sunday

The Stats on  Internet Pornography

- Luke Gilkerson of Breaking Free

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 

Touching the World: Promote & Do Missions

- taken from BECOMING A GREAT COMMISSION CHURCH by Dr. Chuck Lawless -

For some amazing reason, God has graciously chosen to use His church to reach the world. Through the preaching of the Word and the witness of His people, God is drawing to Himself a people from around the world (Rev. 5:8-10). The fact that we are permitted to share in this great work is astounding to me.

Too often, though, we leave missions to the “professional” missionaries who are serving “somewhere over there.” How regrettable (and disobedient) this is, especially when communication and transportation are so advanced today. Consider these simple ways to increase your church’s commitment to global outreach:

1. Ask God to give you a heart for the world. I have seen entire churches grow burdened about the Great Commission after God moved first in the life of only one church member. Ask God to move in your heart in that way. Read about the world; learn about needs; weep over lostness. Passionate, mission-minded church members are difficult to ignore!

2. Teach the next generation about missions. I fear that many of our churches have so neglected missions training for our next generations that our children no longer have missionary heroes. If Lottie Moon is only a name and the needs of the world are known only through cable news, few of our children will ever grieve for 1.7 billion people who have little access to the Gospel. Who of the next generation will take the Gospel into the darkness if our children know nothing about missions? Decide now to start or strengthen your church’s missions training for children and youth.

3. Promote, promote, and promote again any missions offering that your church supports. Out of the wealth God has given us, we are privileged to help sustain global outreach. I am convinced that, even in a time of economic crunch, God’s people will give if they believe in the cause – and if their leaders challenge them. On the other hand, leaders who assume that members will not give should expect little in return. Teach your members about the needs of the world, and introduce them to the sacrificial work of missionaries around the world. Show them that their giving matters, and challenge them to give until the sacrifice is real.

4. Invite stateside missionaries to speak to your church. Here is a truth that church leaders must understand: it is not the responsibility of missionaries alone to seek places to speak. They do desire prayer partners, and they do want to tell their stories – but the process of recruiting speakers should begin with church leaders who want their congregations to do the Great Commission. Nothing speaks to churches quite like a “real live” missionary does, and the time set aside for a missionary speaker is time well spent. Contact your state convention or one of our Southern Baptist mission agencies to find the names of missionaries available to come to your church.

5. Challenge church members to pray daily for missionaries. I suspect that Southern Baptists talk about praying for missionaries more than we actually pray for them. Church leader, be a real leader here – set the example by praying at least weekly for North American and international missionaries. Provide for your congregation a list of missionary names and needs, being careful to protect those who serve in sensitive areas. Set aside time in the worship service to pray specifically for missionaries and unreached people groups. Great Commission praying should be such a part of the DNA of your church that you make it difficult for members not to pray for missionaries.

6. Sponsor short-term mission trips for your church members. Teaching about missions is a starting point, but actually experiencing missions can be life-changing. Perhaps your church will become the first to send a team to an unreached people group, or maybe your members will assist in planting a church in a North American urban center. Set a goal to send at least 10 percent of your church’s active attenders on a mission trip this year. Be sure to work with on-the-ground missionaries who are developing strategies, and plan to assist in doing the entire Great Commission: reaching people, and then discipling the new believers.

7. Challenge your church members to be missionaries, including in their own neighborhoods. No longer is the mission field only overseas. The world has come to North America, and our neighbors sometimes speak a different language and worship a different “god.” Evangelism in North America now requires crossing cultural barriers in order to gain a hearing and speak the Gospel. Challenge your members to be missionaries much like the early church, who “went everywhere gossiping the Gospel; they did it naturally, enthusiastically, and with the conviction of those who are not paid to say that sort of thing.” More specifically, intentionally and fervently pray for God to raise up career international missionaries from your congregation. Missionaries — both North American and abroad — should be Great Commission extensions of your local church.

Monday, June 14, 2010 

A 7 Minute History of Southern Seminary

Eager to see a day when the SBC / IMB will reflect this institution:

Saturday, June 12, 2010 

Shizuoka Baptism

Friday, June 11, 2010 

Bible Verses for Father's Day

In honor of the fact that Father’s Day is fast approaching, here are sixteen principals about being a Dad that we should remember from scripture:

All good parenting begins with a fear of the Lord.

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. [Proverbs 14:26 ESV]

Fathers set the tone for their household. Make sure your God is at the center of your family.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” [Joshua 24:15 ESV]

The chief job of a father is to teach his kids biblical wisdom at all times.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV]

Always remember that children are a blessing from God.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. [Psalms 127:3-5 ESV]

Find your parenting strength in God.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9 ESV]

Talk to your kids about the Bible and help them to learn scripture. Use scripture as the basis for your parenting.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV]

God works through fathers to impact their children and families. How is he working through you?

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” [Genesis 18:19 ESV]

Teach your children wisdom and they will bring you joy.

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. [Proverbs 23:24 ESV]

Teach your children to lead their live based on a biblical worldview.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. [Proverbs 22:6 ESV]

The way you lead your life can be a blessing to your kids. Lead a godly life.

The righteous who walks in his integrity– blessed are his children after him! [Proverbs 20:7 ESV]

Remember that your choices and actions will impact your kids and their kids and their kids.

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” [Exodus 34:6-7 ESV]

A good father disciplines his son out of love and with love.

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. [Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV]

Do not provoke your children.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4 ESV]

Parenting is a temporary stewardship. Marriage is forever. The best thing you can do for your kids is to be a good husband.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [Genesis 2:24 ESV]

God cares about the relationship between fathers and their kids.

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” [Malachi 4:6 ESV]

- ministry-to-children.com


World Cup Wishes

My 3 teams to root for:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Germany

No, I don't have some fascination with the axis of evil from WWII, but I'm proudly American & want to see them go all the way. I live & labor in Japan & of course would like to see them show up, but reality says the Blue Samurai will go down early & often. I don't see the US making it past the 2nd round at best, & some many generations ago the Rainers came from Germany, so I want to follow a team that I hope to go deep into the tournament (apologies to the US & Japan) so why not pick your peeps from wince you came? I've always been quite attached in curiosity to Deutschland. Despite the injuries, I think Germany will be hungry from the near win on home turf in 2006.

Why should you care? You shouldn't. Why then would I post this? I have no idea, I just wanted to - perhaps my excitement for the Word Cup just needed an outlet. I do feel better.

The USA does have a chance to win it all for the baddest (think Michael Jackson Bad as in good way) slogan for a country ever in the history of geo-political lands: "Don't Tread on Me." It's the kind of slogan I wish I could incorporate into my daily life in some way, but it's difficult. "Could you pass the peas?" "Don't tread on me!" Needs work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010 

What Are the Goals of Being Too Contextualized?

  1. Compromising our witness to the gospel. One danger of being too contextualized is that in attempting to adapt to cultural practices of those around us we adapt our way into sin or untruth and so compromise our witness to the gospel.

  2. Losing the sharp edges of the gospel. If we focus too much on making our message relevant, or appealing, or palatable to non-Christians, we may be tempted to adjust the gospel at those points where it is most offensive.

  3. Losing the gospel. If we begin to round the sharp edges off the gospel, we are in grave danger of losing the gospel itself.

- 9Marks

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 

Why is Pragmatism in Missions Particularly Harmful?

Pragmatism is the attitude that “results”—specifically, numbers of conversions—matters most in ministry. This attitude is particularly harmful in missions because

  1. It tempts us to ignore what God has said in his Word and focus instead on man-made techniques.

  2. It tempts us to rely on our strategies rather than God’s grace. If we’re fundamentally concerned with results, we will depend on our ability to produce those professions rather than on God’s power to awaken dead sinners.

  3. It generates nominal Christians. When missionaries are driven by numbers, they employ techniques that are geared towards getting as many people as possible to make a “decision” to follow Christ without necessarily understanding what that decision entails. This, in turn, can lead to huge numbers of people who now consider themselves Christians but have never genuinely repented of their sins and trusted in Christ. When missionaries want numbers, it’s numbers they get, but not real Christians.

  4. It causes missionaries to fixateon something they are utterly unable to accomplish: to change the hearts of sinners. While all missionaries long to be fruitful, they are primarily responsible for being faithful. Missionaries are responsible to plant the seed of the Word and water it faithfully, but only God can make it grow (1 Cor. 3:6). So when missionaries focus primarily on generating the most immediate, visible fruit, they are focusing on what they are unable to do, instead of what they are able to do.
- 9Marks

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 

How Much Theological Agreement is Necessary in a Partnership Between a Local Church & a Foreign Missionary?

  1. It depends. The answer to that question depends on what a church and a missionary are partnering to do. For instance, partnering together to distribute copies of the Bible or to make an audio recording of the Scriptures in another language requires less theological like-mindedness than partnering together to plant churches.

  2. None without the gospel. That said, no one should partner with those who do not believe the biblical gospel for any purpose. That may seem like a truism, but throughout the twentieth century, evangelical Christians partnered for missions with professing Christians who denied the biblical gospel.

  3. For church planting, lots! For a more intensive partnership, such as one that aims at church planting in another country, there should be a very high level of theological agreement. A church and a missionary should agree not only about the gospel but about the authority of Scripture, the nature and government of a local church, the proper subjects of baptism, doctrines that uphold the gospel such as election and effectual calling, and more.

  4. Agree on practical stuff, too. Not only that, but such theological agreement must lead to practical agreement about what faithful evangelism and pastoral ministry actually look like. In other words, the theological agreement between a church and a missionary must be functional, not simply confessional.

(Some of this material has been adapted from Ed Roberts’ article “Missions Partnerships from a Field Worker’s Perspective”)

- 9Marks

Sunday, June 06, 2010 

How Should Individual Christians Partner With Their Local Churches for Missions?

1. Become a member of a local church.

2. Get to know the leaders of that local church.

3. Make your desires known to those leaders. Invite them to evaluate your fitness for the work you desire to do based on your existing track record in ministry.

4. Get to know the church’s overall vision for missions. Find out if there is any way for you to be directly involved with mission work the church is already supporting or is planning to begin.

5. Don’t just ask for money. Maintain an ongoing, open relationship with the church and its leaders when you are on the field. Do what you can, especially when you are at home on furlough, to continually reconnect with the church as a whole.

- 9Marks

Saturday, June 05, 2010 

What Are Some Ways Buisnessman Can Get Into Missions?

1. Businesspeople can be consultants for a business project that is serving as a missions platform. Many church planters in restricted areas use business as a means of gaining and maintaining access to such countries. Businesspeople can be consultants for such projects without ever having to leave their homes. And, with the relationships and knowledge they develop through consulting, businesspeople can engage in the mission work in a variety of other, more direct ways, such as short-term trips that combine evangelism and consulting.

2. Businesspeople can extend their operations into other countries in order for their work to serve as a missions platform. And in extending their work into other countries, businesspeople can also be involved in evangelism and discipling as they have occasion to visit the foreign branch of their company.

3. Businesspeople can move to a foreign country themselves in order to set up a business that can serve as a sustainable platform for missions. In doing this they would not only provide the platform for mission work but engage in it day to day as they live and minister in a foreign context.

- 9Marks

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 

Money For Nothing - the Joys of Japanese Gift-giving Culture

Sometimes Japan’s gift-giving culture can make life really complicated. Having to leave half your suitcase empty so that you have room to put souvenirs for all your co-workers, or trying to figure out if money envelopes are for funerals or weddings can be a nuisance, but this is only the tip of the gift-giving iceberg. Throughout the year and on countless occasions in daily life, Japanese people are socially obligated to slip little envelopes filled with money to one another. Here are some of the more famous and interesting ones:

Senbetsu (Japanese: 餞別) – Farewell money is given to someone who is moving, going on a long trip, or quitting her job to get married. Recent university graduates about to go on a working holiday can expect anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 yen from close relatives, and workers who are being transferred or are quitting their jobs to get married get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 yen per co-worker (usually depending on their rank within the company).
Average take: 50,000 yen

Choju Iwai (長寿祝い) – Make it to the age of 60 in Japan and you’re entitled to some cash. Kanreki is a celebration based on the Chinese zodiac, and happens when a person has lived through the entire cycle of astrological signs and returns to the same year and horoscope sign as they were born in. Achieve this amazing feat, and all your kids and grandkids have to cough up some cash. Children pay 20,000 to 30,000 yen, grandchildren pay 10,000 to 20,000 and other relatives 5,000 to 10,000. There are also celebrations at 70, 77, 80, 81, 88, 90, 99, 100, 108, and 111.
Average take: 70,000 yen

Sharei (Japanese:謝礼) – If you’re about to go under the knife, it’s probably best to slip the doctor a little gratitude money in an envelope before the operation. Although it’s technically illegal and is not as common as it once was, many patients still pay it.
Average payment: 300,000 – 1,000,000 yen

Tegirekin (Japanese:手切れ金) – When a man terminates a relationship with a hostess or mistress, he pays her separation money. The amount depends, of course, on his income, how long they’ve been going out, and how much trouble it would cause him if she revealed intimate details to his wife or company.
Average take: 100,000 yen

Otoshidama (Japanese: お年玉) – Most Japanese children and teens look forward to New Years a lot more than they do to Christmas because they know that there’s going to be New Year’s gift money from each and every older relative of working age. Elementary school students get about 1,000-3,000 yen, jr. high students take in 3,000-5,000 yen per relative, and high school kids get 5,000-10,000 yen.
Average take: 40,000 yen

Okozukai (Japanese:お小遣い) – Okozukai can mean pocket money when parents give it to children, but when a man gives spending money to a mistress, the word takes on a completely different meaning.
Average payout:300,000 yen/month

Kaiki Iwai (Japanese:快気祝い) – If someone has helped you out or visited you a lot while you were sick or hospitalized, it is customary to pay them recovery celebration money. The amount is usually one-third of the estimated value of presents or cash gifts that you received while ill.
Average payment: 3,000-10,000 yen

Isharyou (Japanese:慰謝料) – If you’re ever involved in a fender bender or get hit by a car, make sure you get your consolation money, which is paid for your mental suffering and is over and above the cost of car repairs and hospital treatment. It is also paid out in divorces in the case of infidelity or spouse abuse. Minor accidents and injuries start at about 20,000 yen.

Reikin (Japanese:礼金) – The most famous of Japan’s courtesy payments, this money is paid to landlords for the privilege of moving into their buildings.
Average payment: two months’ rent

Goshuugi (ご祝儀) – If you’ve passed an important examination, been accepted into, or graduated from school, or won an important prize, you might get some congratulatory money.
Average take: 10,000-30,000 yen

Kenshoukin (Japanese:懸賞金) – When you see banners being paraded around the ring before a sumo match, it means that there is prize money on the table. Each banner represents one sponsor, and for every sponsor, the winning wrestler takes home 35,000 yen.
Average take: 30,000 yen

Okaeshi (Japanese:お返し) – Okay, now the bad news. When Japanese people get gifts, there is usually an obligation to give a return gift called an okaeshi. For example, if you get a present for your baby, it’s common to give a return gift of one-third to one-half the value of the original gift.

- Quirky Japan Blog

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