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

Friday, October 29, 2010 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010 

Japan: The Gospel is More Rebellious than Skinny-Jeans

Chico Harlan's long Washington Post trend piece on Japan's "herbivores" — young men who prefer shopping and hanging out with friends to working 14 hour days before getting blackout drunk — is the latest entry in the increasingly popular genre of Japanese decline-watch stories in the U.S. media:

"To hear the analysts who study them tell it, Japanese men ages 20 to 34 are staging the most curious of rebellions, rejecting the 70-hour workweeks and purchase-for-status ethos that typified the 1980s economic boom. As the latest class of college graduates struggles to find jobs, a growing number of experts are detecting a problem even broader than unemployment: They see a generation of men who don't know what they want.

Japan earned its fortune a generation ago through the power of office warriors, the so-called salarymen who devoted their careers to one company. They wore dark suits; they joined for rowdy after-hours booze fests with co-workers; they often saw little of their families. These are the fathers of Japan's young men.

But among business leaders and officials, there is a growing understanding that the earlier work-for-fulfillment pattern has broken down. The economy's roar turned into a yawn. Concern about Japan's future replaced giddy national pride. As a result, this generation has lost 'the willingness to sacrifice for the company,' said Jeff Kingston, author of the recently published book Contemporary Japan.

Kingston added: 'And now as Japan begins to unravel in a sense, young people realize that the previous paradigm doesn't work. But they aren't sure what comes next. They've seen what amounts to a betrayal in Japan.'"

As James Fallows, Gideon Rachman and others have pointed out, there are a number of holes in the Japan as society-in-decline narrative. First of all, Japan is still a very, very wealthy country. Fallows writes in response to a recent New York Times Japan eulogy:

"[Japan], until only months ago, was second only to the United States in total economic output, and whose level of production and wealth per person is still nearly ten times greater than China's, the country that has just overtaken it in gross-output terms."

As for the fact that the country is being overrun by lackadaisical young men in "tight-fitted pants," I'm not really sure I buy this as a response to the Japanese economy unraveling. First of all, another recent New York Times trend piece informs me that rising economic power China also has kids with tight pants.

Secondly, the fact that these young Japanese men "now fantasize about balanced lives and time for their families and quaint hobbies" strikes me as an indicator that the country is doing relatively well. The article actually makes a nice companion to Robin Henig's recent Times magazine piece on American 20-somethings — another exploration of young people who, because they live in a highly-affluent society, have been able to adopt un- or semi-employment as a lifestyle choice.

Let's face it, most people on this planet — plus most people in 1970s or 1980s Japan — would probably look at the archetypal barista/conceptual artist in contemporary Osaka and think he had it pretty good. You could probably develop an economic indicator for the point at which a country becomes affluent enough to develop irritating hipster subcultures. The skinny-jeans coefficient perhaps?

- Joshua Keating

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 

Your Pastor Might Be a Dirty SBC Calvinist If...

5. He goes to an unreached people group at age 23, translates the Scriptures into their language, spurs the founding of 100 churches, and the salvation of over 8,000 believers as he spends virtually his entire life with them, like Adoniram Judson.

4. He trusts the power of God’s Word and sovereignty so much that he reads his sermons from a manuscript like Jonathan Edwards and sinners grab their pews for fear of tumbling into hell; and they cry out to God in repentance and faith. Oh, and he is used by God in a historic Great Awakening.

3. He frequently weeps while preaching his sermons for he knows that his lost hearers refuse to weep for themselves, like George Whitefield.

2. He has as much passion for the lost as William Carey, believing God has set him apart to reach the heathen; and he seeks to go where no one else will, without the funds to accomplish the task, without a strategy, simply because he believes the gospel of Christ is for the nations, not just the west.

1. He trains God-fearing missionaries like John Calvin, sends them back to their hostile homelands, and they then see millions profess Christ within a few years; and these professors exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in the face of physical harm.

It’s time to smoke out the dirty Calvinists in the S.B.C. After all, the Lord knows that the S.B.C. does not need men that have the same evangelistic foundation as Adoniram Judson, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Carey, or John Calvin; or any other godly Calvinist in history. God knows we’re the largest evangelical denomination in the U.S.

- Jared Moore

Monday, October 25, 2010 

Ten Reasons for Contentment

Here are ten reasons why we should find contentment, found from the matchless works on the subject by the Puritan ministers Jeremiah Burroughs and Thomas Watson.

Why should we want to be content?

1. The first and most important reason is because God commands it: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

2. It is our duty as Christians. We believe that our circumstances are not the result of chance or luck, but because our wise Father has decreed this for us. Therefore, contentment fits us for our duties and makes our duties lively.

3. Contentment makes our life more comfortable. When we are content, we are not dependent on the creature for our comfort. Contentment changes an affliction into something else. Quoting Burroughs: “Godly men get more riches out of their poverty than ever they get out of their revenues. Godly men are better for an affliction; many godly men are worse for their prosperity.”

4.It is a means of worshiping God rightly. In active obedience, we do what pleases Him. In passive obedience, we are pleased with what God does.

5. Contentment is excellent. As Watson says, “It is a remedy against all our troubles, a comfort to all our burdens, a cure of care.”

6. Contentment exhibits the beauty of grace and the strength of grace. It sweetens every condition. God’s glory is exhibited in contentment.

7. Contentment makes our souls fit to receive mercy. We must hold still to receive God’s mercy. Quiet your hearts; quiet your soul.

8. Contentment delivers us from many temptations. It keeps us from murmuring, envy, covetousness, anger, and a host of other sins. Contentment is a way of mortifying the flesh.

9. Sabbath is kept in a contented heart; where there is contentment, there is rest. Get into the ark of contentment.

10. By contentment our souls are nearer to God’s own excellence. When God is our portion, we are “self-sufficient” in the best sense, because we don’t need much, and what we have we are thankful for.

- Nancy Wilson

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 

Asia: Gospel Profile

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 

Senior Adult Choir Hip Hop

Monday, October 18, 2010 

Lost Language Discovered by Linguists in NE India

Saturday, October 16, 2010 

Do You Learn to Love?

This is the best conference message I've heard in 6.5 years. I wish every Christian would watch the whole thing. I wish the lost would all see the true heart of true Jesus followers. The message by Francis Chan is titled: Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind & the Peril of Pride. You can download it here or read a shorter synopsis if you can't find an hour to spare to watch it. But please, find an hour to spare!

Friday, October 15, 2010 

Life of a Japanese Christian

Back to Asia: Reaching Asia's Diaspora

Thursday, October 14, 2010 

Hikikomori or Shut In: Japan Below the Surface

Shut In | Japan: Below the Surface

One of my students is self-proclaimed Hikikomori, though I don't think they are as severe as Hikikomori status, but this is a serious issue thousands in Japan deal with on a daily basis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 

Hand in Hand: Japan - Below the Surface

Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen - this is a desperate place, as needy for the Gospel as it comes:

Hand in Hand | Japan: Below the Surface

Pray for OMF - they seem to be wise & look like they are doing good things.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 

Japan: Live to Work

Very, very accurate:

Live to Work | Japan: Below the Surface

Monday, October 11, 2010 

Prayer for Japan

Prayercast 014 | Japan

Sunday, October 10, 2010 

God Bless America?

America is a Christian nation, eh? Listen to these views from college students in the heart of the Bible Belt from the loveliest & best university in existence, UAB. I pray it would be a motivation for those in the US to take seriously Jesus' commands to make disciples. America is lost. Your neighbors and co-workers are lost. Many of your family members are lost. They will spend eternity in Hell apart from the love of God. Can you remain silent & comfortable with this reality at stake? Can a Christian ignore those masses around them made in the image of God & because you're too shy, too worried about how you'll look, not share boldly the bad news of their separation from their Creator, followed by the good news of Jesus' life, death, & resurrection paying the penalty they owe? For the love of God, for the love of the lost, do something!

Friday, October 08, 2010 

China's Lost Girls - Found

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 

A Rhyming Paraphrase of Psalm 67

(rough draft)

see Psalm 67

God, all glorious, Almighty, & King
Giver of life, Giver of Good, Give us Your blessing
Holy, all-knowing, all-loving, give us Your grace
In Your mercy, shine on us the light of Your face (v.1)
Not because we're worthy, not because we're due
Do it for Your fame, it's Your glory we have in view
Show Your ways to all the earth
By Your redeeming power, show the nations Your worth (v.2)
Mongol, Acehnese, Russian, & Malay
Tajik, Japanese, all peoples bow down in praise
Africa, Americas, Islands, Middle East
Worship Him, honor Him, always, without cease (v.3)
Strings, horns, voices, shout your joyous song
Your Guide is YHWH, the Judge Who does no wrong (v.4)
Villages, towns, cities, suburbs, slums
Praise Him, adore Him, exult o'er the Righteous One (v.5)
We reap in abundance, the land yields its increase
God gives & gives, we live, & yet we rest in peace (v.6)
God shall bless, so Repentant, fill your lungs with His joyous song
But those who refuse, fear Him - for He is the Judge Who does no wrong (v.7)


Missions is Bidding the Nations, "Sing With Us!"

Tuesday, October 05, 2010 

Five More Ways the Internet Is Changing Evangelism and Missions

  • Allocation of Resources. The Internet is allowing donors, foundations, and churches to efficiently assess projects and receive applications for funding across national boundaries. Groups such as JIMI (the Joint Information Management Initiative of the WEA-MC) and the Global Missions Fund are trying to refine this process of allocation so that the ministries who are most worthy are most funded. A big part of this is having trusted mission information facilitators who regularly supply quality information in a secure format so that it can be used for resource allocation purposes.

  • Proclamation. The gospel is being proclaimed on websites, in chat rooms, on YouTube, on cell phones, and on numerous Internet-connected devices. Evangelistic crusades are using the Internet both as a decision mechanism and as a follow-up mechanism. Organizations such as Global Media Outreach, Jesus Central, TopChretien, and GodRev specialize in purely online outreach, while many churches and organizations use the Internet as an augmentation of existing outreach strategies. The Internet is an economical means of proclamation and Internet missionaries do not need visas!

  • Education. Online education has been a huge success and has revitalized Theological Education by Extension (TEE) and distance education. Groups such as MAF Learning technologies are working at developing highly effective Internet-based pedagogy. Many Masters and PhD programs are now partly or wholly via Internet-based distance education.

  • Mobilization. The Internet facilitates making connections and imparting information and motivation necessary for effective mobilization of pastors, evangelists, and missionaries into the global harvest. ChristianVolunteering.org matches tens of thousands of volunteers with Christian agencies. A ministry without an online presence will soon find it very challenging to gain new recruits, since for many people, the ministry simply will “not exist.”

  • Multiplication. The Internet brings leverage to networks and enables contacts to be made for the multiplication of house and cell churches, church-planting movements, and small TEE-based (Theological Education by Extension) Bible colleges resourced via an Internet-based curriculum.
  • Many people start searching for a new church by going online, start their search for information about God online, and start forming their theology online. Missionaries deciding which organization they will serve with, or students deciding on which Bible college to attend, will use online information to narrow down their choices. The Internet is not the be-all and end-all of ministry; however, it is quickly becoming the starting point for most ministry. I used to think of the Internet as a tool for outreach, much like having your own radio program. Now I see it as an ocean in which we must sink or swim.

    - John Edmiston, Cybermissions.org

    Monday, October 04, 2010 

    Five Ways the Internet Is Changing Evangelism and Missions

    There are currently 1.7 billion active Internet users; another three billion are expected to be added in the next five years. The developing world will soon go online as cell phones become smartphones and as cheap digital devices such as netbooks and e-readers proliferate. The rollout of fiber-optic cable in Africa and massive satellite communication projects will also mean that bandwidth availability and reach will increase.

    Within five years, at least half the globe should be online; within fifteen years, Internet reach should be almost universal. Global proclamation will soon be within the reach of any Christian with a computer.

    The changes are not only quantitative, they are also qualitative. The very nature and dynamic of Christian ministry are being fundamentally altered due to the new possibilities for relationship, connectivity, and information delivery that the Internet has brought about. The very heart of how we minister is being changed forever in at least ten significant areas.

    1. Information. The Internet is bringing an enormous amount of timely strategic information into the hands of even the smallest church or mission agency. These include religious and cultural statistics, demographics, compilations such as Operation World, and research websites such as Joshua Project, Caleb Project, and StrategicNetwork. This is allowing us to see the big picture better than ever and to drill down to the small details that affect how we implement our evangelism strategies.

    2. Ratiocination. People “think aloud” in cyberspace. The theology and practice (including ecclesiology and missiology) of most Christians is now primarily formed as a peer-to-peer online process with occasional expert input. There is less and less reference to decisions promulgated by the central governing ecclesiastical bodies of the major world religions. People do their own thinking, and they do so increasingly online through sources such as Wikipedia; out-of-copyright commentaries; and through browsing various websites, e-groups, and postings on social networks. Those ministries who wish to influence opinion need to start doing so in cyberspace, because that is where Christian opinion is now largely being formed.

    3. Exploration. People do their private, personal, and controversial thinking online. If a person wants to find out about a suspected medical matter or investigate a forbidden political opinion, they first check it out online. A Muslim wishing to find out about Christianity is not likely to ask his or her family or imam; rather, he or she will look at Christian websites. About one-quarter of all Internet users make regular queries about religious matters. They are exploring their own and other faiths. The Church needs to have an evangelistic, apologetic, and missionary presence in this new global marketplace of ideas.

    4. Collaboration. The Internet is facilitating collaboration across denominational boundaries and across national borders. Experts are now able to link up with other experts in fields such as church planting and theological education. This collaboration is making the denomination almost obsolete. Most Christian workers now operate in networks rather than in denominational silos. People are partnering with like-minded specialists in their area of interest rather than with people who totally agree with their formal belief system.

    5. Validation. People use the Internet to check things out. This applies to everything from a “too-good-to-be-true” investment scam to the local church they plan to attend when they move to a new city. One oft-quoted statistic is that eighty-five percent of young people check out a church's website before deciding whether or not to even visit that church in the first place. Churches and organizations that are easy to validate online have a huge competitive advantage. This includes having a clear statement of faith and making your ethos, programs, meeting times, address, contact information, operating principles, and finances clear and above board to the honest online enquirer.

    - John Edmiston, Cybermissions.org (5 More Ways Coming Tomorrow)

    Saturday, October 02, 2010 

    Made for Missions

    Friday, October 01, 2010 

    Has God Left Europe for Good?

    Another reason to consider spending some years in missions.

    TIME Magazine asks, "O Father Where Art Thou?"

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