Monday, April 30, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions.

The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely
missionary we become." - Henry Martyn,
Pioneer Missionary to India and Persia.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Arminius on Calvin
In the eighth volume of Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, the historian quotes Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (after whom the anti-Calvinistic movement Arminianism was named) with regard to the value of Calvin's writings:
Next to the study of the Scriptures which I earnestly inculcate, I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin’s Commentaries, which I extol in loftier terms than Helmich himself (a Dutch divine, 1551–1608); for I affirm that he excels beyond comparison in the interpretation of Scripture, and that his commentaries ought to be more highly valued than all that is handed down to us by the library of the fathers; so that I acknowledge him to have possessed above most others, or rather above all other men, what may be called an eminent spirit of prophecy. His Institutes ought to be studied after the (Heidelberg) Catechism, as containing a fuller explanation, but with discrimination, like the writings of all men.
(Wikipedia: Calvin)
The Missionary Heart
I pray that whatever your calling in life, you and I would have this same heart...
(from the DGM blog)
She was a Southern Baptist missionary to Iraq and was killed by unknown assailants March 15, 2004. I am mentioning it now simply because I was reading the book Lives Given, Not Taken: 21st Century Southern Baptist Martyrs, by Erich Bridges and Jerry Rankin. In it I ran across the letter that Karen wrote and left behind in an envelope that said "Open in case of death." It said in part:
Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger,

You should only be opening this in the event of death.

When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn't called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward . . .

The missionary heart:
  • Cares more than some think is wise
  • Risks more that some think is safe
  • Dreams more than some think is practical
  • Expects more than some think is possible.
I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. . . .

There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you two and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen
Iraq - Fear and Hope Video
Watch here to see how you can pray
for Iraqi Christians.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why Japan?
Operation Japan prayer handbook
Did you know that Japan is the largest unreached people group in the world?
Joshua Project defines an unreached people group as "A people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group." It is estimated that of the nearly 130 million people in Japan, .4% are Bible-believing Christians.
Please join with us in our prayers and in our laborers for Christ's Name in Japan. Check out these tools to help you gain a heart for salvation to come to Japan.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Most Motivating Message
For Maki and I both, this message sums up and
helped form our ministry philosophy more than
any other. I wouldn't be the same without this message.
("Born to Reproduce", by Dawson Trotman - founder
of the Navigators)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Forgiveness

"In the midst of such depressing news I’ve been amazed by the articulate and shining Christian testimonies coming out of Blacksburg, even through the secular media. For me, the most touching of all was an interview on Foxnews.com with Navy Captain David McCain as he spoke through tears about his slain daughter, Lauren McCain. Referring to Lauren he said, “She firmly believed that Christ forgave the people that killed Him. And she believed in forgiving, no matter what.” Fox News reporter Shepard Smith was visibly moved by McCain’s final comment, “I forgive him.”

Forgiveness like that is only possible through Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection restore us to God and bring us eternal life. Through faith in Jesus we are freed to live life in a whole new way. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)"

(From a former VT student, fellow missionary and friend, Bryan Gibbs, Utsunomiya, Japan)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Grief Observed
I remember as a 19 year-old man desiring wisdom. I was not yet a real Christian, but I longed for wisdom and peace. I longed for a real escape from grief. Then I picked up C.S. Lewis' book, "A Grief Observed", in which he discusses the horribly grieving experience of losing his wife to cancer. Through this book my eyes started to open to the need for God and for the realness that I needed in my life.
My hope is that in the same way, the massacre at VT will work for good more than for evil. As Christ is ruling over this world, my hopes are confident. I encourage you to equip yourself with how to talk to people who are grieving. (And how to talk to yourself when you are grieving.) Through real, life-on-life ministry to these friends, we can be ministers of grace and pointers to true freedom of joy in God.
Here are some resources from R.C. Sproul to equip yourself

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A few more pics...
Please pray for us and for our soon coming baby!

Relaxing with complimentary hotel kimonos!

Enjoying some crab!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Japanese Worship Music

Although the recording quality is low, check out our original
worship music
made at our church in Kyoto. I will tell you when
a better recording comes! - By the way, I think #6 and #7 sound
the best here.

(All songs were written by Pastor Kenichi Ogata)

p.s. Please pray for the rest of us to step up to the plate as Kenichi moves
on to seminary in July!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

When Your Wife Pulls Out the 'Honey to Do List'
Since Maki is pregnant, I don't think I should use this idea...

(HT: JT)

Friday, April 13, 2007

My 2 Favorite Messages of All-Time

Aside from Dave Busby's messages, these two messages from
John Piper have changed my life and altered the course of my life
and my thoughts about God more than any others.

Since Passion '97, this conference has grown and has become one of
the keys movers of the college revival across America by God's grace.

You can just listen or you can download these messages for free
to make your own CD. John Piper encourages you to make copies
for your friends.


I am curious to hear what your favorite messages are!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

2 Year Anniversary Trip



I ran into Bruce Lee for the second straight year!

He had me down for awhile, but then I came back with a big uppercut...

Anyway, I am learning more than just Japanese during my free-time!

Maki and I at Kinosaki Onsen (Hot Springs) - It was very refreshing!

We enjoyed a crab and steak meal and a nice evening cherry blossom walk.
Soon our baby will be coming, so it was nice to have some peaceful time alone
together before the action starts!
We had a great time reflecting on our marriage so far and praising God for what He
has done in our marriage. We also dreamt about our future lives together and wrote
all this down in a journal and prayed together. I have to say that this was my
highlight, and I believe Maki's as well!

Zach Johnson Masters Green Jacket Presentation

Zach Johnson wins the Masters

With the odds being 60-1 against him the Iowa native won the Masters golf tournament yesterday. Zach Johnson, in his third Masters ever, calmly won by two-shots over Tiger Woods.

There are just too many cool things about this story:
1. Zach is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa - my hometown.
2. Zach is the same age as I am - 31.
3. Zach went from nowhere (golf-wise) to the highest glory of golf.
4. Zach gives all the glory to Jesus Christ for everything.

"This being Easter, Jesus was with me every step. I felt him. It was awesome."

"Today was a day of perseverance and patience, I guess. I just feel very blessed and very honored."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Einstein and God

April 8, 2007 — - Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Ben Franklin and Henry Kissinger, is tackling Albert Einstein in his new book, "Einstein: His Life and Universe." According Isaacson, Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist of the 20th century, struggled with God.

Isaacson: You know, he was at a dinner party once in Berlin and everybody assumed he was an atheist and he said, "No. I have a deep feeling of faith, a deep religiosity that comes from my appreciation of the way the Lord made the universe," and everybody was stunned.

He said he was like a child walking into a library, and you see the books and you know somebody must have written them, and you see them ordered and you know somebody must have ordered them, and there's a sense of awe that's manifest in that, where you kind of understand that there's an order underlying everything and the more you appreciate it, the more humble you become in the face of it, and the more you have a sense of what he called cosmic religion.

In some ways, his belief in God, that God had created an orderly universe, informs his science. He believes that underlying everything, there are laws. He would always repeat, when he saw something that violated his laws of causality, he'd say, "Well, God doesn't play dice with the universe."

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Stars -- David Crowder Band

In Japan we can't see stars so often and I find myself missing Iowa where the stars are so clear. In Japan the light of Christ is often not as easy to see either. Would you pray for His light to shine on Japan? I want my Japanese friends to see the stars, like this song says.

Science and Faith
Scientist Dr. Francis Collins (MD, Ph.D) writes for CNN.com about why he sees no contradiction between science and faith.
In my opinion he still gives too much credit to macro-evolution "science". What do you think?

(HT: Timmy B.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Top 5 Questions

Listen to Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig
give you answers to the top 5 asked questions about
Christianity. This is a 5 part series done at the U of
Iowa. Very well done for Christians or skeptic alike.