Thursday, December 13, 2012

SOLE SURVIVING PINE TREE (part 2)

By Neil Verwey: 
The lone pine tree which became a symbol of hope in Japan after surviving the March 11, 2011 triple disaster is dying.

The solitary pine was the only tree out of a forest of 70,000 to survive the impact of powerful tsunami waves as they swept across Takata Matsubara forest in Rikuzentakata, northeast Japan.

The 30 m tall tree subsequently became renowned nationwide as a poignant symbol of the nation's tenacity in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

However, conservationists have concluded that efforts to save the single tree are futile as its roots are now heavily rotted by seawater.

Local civic groups have been working for 9 months since the triple disaster using a variety of methods to save the tree, ranging from putting up protective iron sheeting to pumping seawater out of the surrounding soil. Despite such efforts it is not possible to save the tree due to its inability to receive nutrients through its rotting roots.
Source: The Telegraph 2011-12-05

Juxtaposed to this lone pine tree, a powerful symbol of hope and recovery for the tsunami survivors is a more powerful symbol: the tree upon which Jesus Christ died.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed
(1 Pet. 2:24, NIV).

There is hope in eternity for the survivors of the 11/3/11 triple disaster this Christmas!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a baby to live for us, die in payment for our sins against God, and to save all who would believe in Him.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Innkeeper

John Piper reads his classic poem, The Innkeeper, below.

I recommend watching this, especially if you are going through a difficult time this Christmas.



(HT: Justin Taylor)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Never the Same" — The Sawi People Fifty Years Later

In 1962 Don and Carol Richardson came into contact with a remote tribe in West New Guinea known as the Sawi people. They were cannabilistic headhunters without a written language, nor any clue about Jesus.
The Richardsons, along with their three children, preached the gospel to the Sawi people and witnessed a remarkable movement of God. The story is told in the best-selling book Peace Child and has inspired many to take the gospel to the furthest ends of the earth.
Just recently — fifty years after they first met the Sawi — the Richardsons returned to the village they once called home. This short 15-minute film from Pioneers documents that experience. It is one of the most amazing things you will ever see.
Never the Same from Pioneers-USA on Vimeo.
HT: DGM

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Free E-book on Luther
Click here to learn more about this new free book from John Piper.

Friday, October 26, 2012


A Pumpkin パンプキン
by Yuko
ある人がたずねました。”クリスチャンになるってどんな感じ?”
友だちはこう答えました。
“まるでかぼちゃになったみたいだよ。
神さまが、かぼちゃ畑からぼくを収穫してきて、汚れをきれいに洗ってくれる。
そしたら、ヘタをとって、中のぐにゃぐにゃしたものを取り出してくれるんだ。
疑い、嫌悪、欲望の種を取り除いてくれる。
そして、新しくにこにこ顔のカービングをしてくれて、
世界中のみんなが見えるように、
神様のピッカピカの光をぼくの中にいれてくれるんだ。
Someone asked, “What is it like to be a Christian?”
His friend replied, “It is like being a pumpkin.
God picks you from the patch, brings you in,
and washes all the dirt of of you.
Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate,and greed.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you
to shine for all the world to see.”

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another Wonderful Biography to Stoke your Fire
John Wycliffe: The Morning Star of the Reformation

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shangdi - East meets West
Often times it is said in Japan that Christianity is a western religion. However, today there are likely more Christians in China than there are in the U.S. The biggest objection though is that in the beginning, there was one God, one Creator God, both in the east and in the west, and that fact is clear to see if you look into ancient history.

"ShangDi," in Chinese, is the Creator-God in ancient history. This surely appears to be "one and the same as the Creator-God of the Hebrews. In fact, one of the Hebrew names for God is El Shaddai, which is phonetically similar to ShangDi. Even more similar is the Early Zhou pronunciation of ShangDi which is ‘djanh-tigh’ [Zhan-dai].4 Another name for their God which the ancient Chinese used interchangeable with ShangDi was Heaven (Tian). Zheng Xuan, a scholar of the early Han dynasty said, “ShangDi is another name for Heaven (Tian)”.5 The great philosopher Motze (408-382 BC) also thought of Heaven (Tian) as the Creator-God:

 ‘I know Heaven loves men dearly not without reason. Heaven ordered the sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them. Heaven ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, to regulate them. Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow the five grains and flax and silk so that the people could use and enjoy them. Heaven established the hills and river, ravines and valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man’s good or bring him evil.’ 6

 Today, Chinese Christians still remain truly eastern, as they trace the Creator God back in their histories and call God, "Shangdi" in respect to His love and deeds for them in the past. Incidentally, the earliest recorded histories in Japan (the Kojiki) also describes the creation, by three deities and chiefly by the deity in the center of heaven. Like the Chinese, the emperor of Japan since ancient times was an object of worship. However, the emperor in China became such because originally, he was the only one who could act as a priest to make sacrifices to Shangdi. Shangdi was believed to be too holy for just any person to approach. Slowly, instead of worshipping Shangdi, the emperor, whom they could see, was worshiped. It is interesting to note, however, that Shangdi was never to be represented by an image or by an idol. (Learn more here.) Lastly, it is important to look at the writings which both the ancient Chinese and the Japanese still use today. They give us many clues as to the thought processes of these ancient peoples. The following is a chart that shows some of the similarities between the Bible and the kanji characters still used in Japan and China today.
 Chinese characters
Here are three other interesting kanji: 魔  This character means "evil" or originally, "tempt". You can see two trees and hiding below them is an "oni", an evil monster -an orge or a demon. The top and left lines show "hiding". In Genesis, Satan hides in the trees to tempt Eve. 船 This character means, "ship", especially a large ship. A smaller ship would be 舟 A larger ship would be one where there are eight mouths (the top means "eight" and the bottom box means "mouth") Many believe this is because there were eight people on the ark, in which Noah made. This story is not just a Bible story - in various forms it can still be found in almost every ancient civilization.
 *Repost from 2009 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Very Encouraging Spurgeon Movie
If you only have 15 min, watch the first scene of Spurgeon's conversion. Very moving and helpful. I watched the whole thing with my 5 year-old and he kept saying, "I like this." "I really like this." It made me smile.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Forgotten Christmas
Here is a great way to get ready for Christmas.
(RSS click through to watch.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What to Preach to Non-believers
Good stuff from John Piper:

Let’s do this inductively. I ask. You answer.
John 3:17, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
  • Why did God send his Son? _______________
John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
  • Does not obeying the Son (e. g., when he commands us to trust him) bring us under God’s wrath or leave us under his wrath? _______________
  •  
  • So what did God send his Son to save us from? _______________
  •  
  • Is this a felt need among the unbelievers you know? _______________
  •  
What are the implications for the content of preaching and evangelism?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WHAT IS QUALITY TIME?

Quality time. Have you ever wondered what that is?

I wondered what quality time was until I heard someone
say that "quantity" time "is" quality time. Put another
way, it's not so important that every moment you spend
with your preschooler be life-changing and memorable;
it's more important that you invest a (large) quantity
of time into her life.

One thing I have learned about quality time: I can't
force it. It's not as if I can say, "OK. I'm going to
spend quality time with my daughter right now."

But I can say I'm going to spend a certain quantity of
time with her. And it's then, when I least expect it,
that the opportunity for quality time presents itself.

I encourage you to do the same. Invest "quantity" time
first. That way, you'll create an environment that
permits--even encourages--"quality" time.

Written by Sonlight

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Good News for a Teacher/ Disciple Maker

For the last several months I have felt the need to study Greek.
Though I have studied the Bible and theology with vigor since I became a Christian, I have felt the need to go deeper in order to teach more accurately the things of God to others. I have felt this especially because of the fact that I am preaching more and I will be held accountable by God as to what I teach!

One Greek word that caught my attention lately is "math". 
Yes, Math! It is the origin of our word "math" which basically means "learning". "Mathetes" is a word that means "one under disciplined learning", usually translated as "disciple".

This refreshes me as I think about my role as a missionary.
Jesus said, "Go and make DISCIPLES of all nations..." He did not say, "Go make converts." My gifting and inclination has always been to make learners - as I love to invest in individual learning wherever I am: at school, at home and at church. It was good news to hear that this is exactly what God wants. And yet the qualifier is that he wants his disciples to be characterized by love. "They will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another." (Jn 13:35) Our teaching can never be abstracted from loving individuals and personally training them and walking through life with them. This is the type of missionaries God is looking for!

Modern day Judsons
Adoniram Judson and his wife, Ann, left America in 1812 for Burma (today, Myanmar). Adoniram was the first American overseas missionary. For 38 years he endured imprisonment, torture, illness, depression, isolation and the loss of two wives and several children to take the Gospel to the unreached peoples of Burma. When he died at sea in 1850, people wondered who would follow.
Read the stories:

Judson: A tale of two men changing lives

‘You are contemplating a missionary life’

Myanmar singer works to prove Christianity doesn’t replace ethnic identity

Then and Now: Sharing the Gospel in Myanmar

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wonderful Free Book to Stoke Your Fire for Missions
If you haven't yet done so yet, stroll over to the DGM website and pick yourself up a free e-book/PDF of "A Holy Ambition" by John Piper. I am reading it now and man am I being lit up! I encourage you to do the same.

Get it here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

My 2nd Cousin's TED Talk
Great stuff from a guy we got to stay with and spend some time with this summer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God-Centered Missions
Listen to my friend Andy Kampman as he shares some great thoughts here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why Read the Bible?
Great stuff by D.A. Carson.

Friday, July 27, 2012

FREE Missionary Biography of Adoniram Judson
Get it here.
Judson was the first American overseas missionary.

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Picture of Gracious Surrender
Would that we treated all the defeated (including ourselves) in a like manner.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Is "Doctrine" Biblical? 
Sometimes I hear people say, "I think we should just follow the Bible, not any one doctrine or theology." I always cringe just a little bit, though I think I know what they mean.

Dr. R. Scott Clark answers in this month's issue of TableTalk magazine:
"Our English word doctrine is derived from a Latin word, doctrina, which means, 'that which is taught.'" In the old Latin Bible (before the English Bible in 1382), the word doctrine occurs more than one hundred times. "The King James Version (1611) used the word about half as often, and contemporary translations use it more sparingly. Nevertheless, the idea is present throughout Scripture."

As we see, doctrine is the teaching or instruction of the Bible. Where we get off track is when we teach things that are not in the Bible. So, should we teach the Bible or should we teach doctrine? The two questions have the same answer because they are the same question. We should teach what the Bible teaches, and hold to it firmly, as we have been instructed to. This is God's Word, and we must know and believe what it says in its entirety if we are to live and enjoy life as God intends. The teaching of doctrine is essential to a healthy church.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hope Story
Many people in Japan live like this man once did - without any hope. They know that money and materialism is not enough. And then sometimes, all of a sudden, a miracle happens to start to change everything.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Testimony of Pastor Sato from Fukushima
He lost his four chapels, his house, all of his possessions, many friends and his whole community; but he has not lost His hope and love for God.
Listen here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why You Should Consider Long-Term Missions over Short-Term Missions
by Darren Carlson
I have seen with my own eyes or know of houses in Latin America that have been painted 20 times by 20 different short-term teams; fake orphanages in Uganda erected to get Westerners to give money; internet centers in India whose primary purpose is to ask Westerners for money; children in African countries purposefully mutilated by their parents so they would solicit sympathy while they beg; a New England-style church built by a Western team in Cameroon that is never used except when the team comes to visit; and slums filled with big-screen TVs and cell phone towers.
I have seen or know of teams of grandmothers who go to African countries and hold baby orphans for a week every year but don't send a dime to help them otherwise; teams who build houses that never get used; teams that bring the best vacation Bible school material for evangelism when the national church can never bring people back to church unless they have the expensive Western material; teams that lead evangelistic crusades claiming commitments to Christ topping 5,000 every year in the same location with the same people attending.
Short-term missions is fraught with problems, and many wish such trips did not exist, at least in the common form today. Writing in his book Toxic Charity, Robert Lupton says, "Contrary to popular belief, most missions trips and service projects do not: empower those being served, engender healthy cross-cultural relationships, improve quality of live, relieve poverty, change the lives of participants [or] increase support for long-term missions work."

Read the rest...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

10 Tools to be a Great Father
Great stuff here. Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there... especially my own. Love ya, Dad!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Unchurched Cities in Japan
For those who are praying for Japan, please pray for these cities - and for missionaries and the gospel to go there!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

70 Years Ago, This June
The Battle of Midway was nearly lost. Japan had by far the more experienced, well-armed and equipped Navy. So what happened? Now you can view the battle in an incredibly modern way (see below).

Personally, I see the providence of God all over this battle. When I think of our spiritual battle against the evil spiritual forces in Japan, this kind of video gives me much insight. I encourage you to watch.
How I Pray each Morning
I commend this prayer to you (that I learned from John Piper). Personally, it has allowed me to focus on the things I should focus on as I approach the Bible each morning:

"I use the acrostic I. O. U. S as I come to the Bible.
I. Incline my hear to your testimonies. Psalm 119:36 (Since my heart is inclined to sleep and to work and to lots of things other than the Bible.)
O. Open my eyes to see wonders in your word. Psalm 119:18 (Since my heart is so often dull and blind to the wonders of the word.)
U. Unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11 (Since my heart is often divided and distracted in many directions)
S. Satisfy me with your steadfast love. Psalm  90:14 (Since my heart is so tempted to be satisfied in other things.)" - John Piper

I encourage you to print this off. As you begin praying this each day you will soon memorize the verses and will not the paper any more.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Families who are Together stay Together
One of the main things I got from a recent conference was this thought: "It is not the actual things you do together a family so much as the quality of time together as a family that makes the difference."

Are we vegging out in front of a TV together, or am I truly communicating with my wife and children and enjoying them personally?

I used to believe that "the family that prays together stays together." Obviously that is quite simplistic and unrealistic. In truth, the family that spends enough quality time together in communication will be able to form the depth of relationship needed to grow together and pray together each day. Even for families that are really busy, simply turning off the TV and shutting down the computer for an evening or two a week can do wonders!

My kids and wife need to see me live my life for Jesus, not just hear a good message or devotion time. They need to see me repenting for my mistakes, not just hear me telling them what to do. My kids and wife need to see practical acts of love, not just words and good intentions. The crux of the issue: My family is the best way for me to grow, the most important ministry to be involved in, and my most important legacy. What we do at home, with the family, really matters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Letter to a 12-Year-Old Girl About the Eternal Destiny of Those Who Have Not Heard the Gospel
From John Piper:

Dear [Sarah],
You asked what happens to people who live far away from the gospel and have never heard about Jesus and die without faith in him. Here is what I think the Bible teaches.

 God always punishes people because of what they know and fail to believe. In other words, no one will be condemned for not believing in Jesus who has never heard of Jesus. Does that mean that people will be saved and go to heaven if they have never heard of Jesus? No, that is not what God tells us in the Bible.

The main passage in the Bible that talks about this is Romans 1:18–23. Here is what it says. Then I'll make a comment or two.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Notice several things: All people "know God," even if they have never heard the Bible. "What can be known about God is plain to them" (verse 19). "Although they knew God..." (verse 21). The way they know God is by the way God has made the world and their own consciences (verses 19–20). Even though they know God, no one who knows God anywhere in the world "honors God as God or gives him thanks" (verse 21). Instead, they "suppress the truth" (verse 18). That is, they resist the truth deep in their hearts and "exchange it" for other things that they would rather have (verse 23). Therefore, they are "without excuse" (verse 20). That is, they are guilty and deserved to be punished.

 So I don't think the Bible teaches that people can be saved without hearing the gospel. Look at what Paul says in Romans 10:13–17. You need to hear the gospel to be saved. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So let's pray for missionaries and ask God if maybe we should be one. The world really needs more people to tell all the lost people in the world about Jesus and the amazing good news that he died for sinners so that whoever believes will be saved.

Thank you for your good question. Keep praying and reading your Bible. God will give you growing understanding.
Pastor John

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jim Downing on Meditation
Back in my early 20s, I met Jim Downing of the Navigators at a training program. What a rich store of wisdom Jim passed into my life. Immediately I made Bible reading my #1 priority every morning and every night. What a difference this has made to me. Now at 99 years of age, Jim passes a lifetime of close walk with God to us in this video. You can get his e-book for only $1.99

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finish the Mission: John Piper interviews David Platt

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"More to Life than That"

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Let's Keep Praying for Japan!
Great video and information here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Is Japan Really Unreached?
Japan has Toyota, Sony and McDonald's. Surely it has Jesus, right?
Wrong.
Is Japan really an unreached country? Could such an advanced, rich country truly be unreached?
The short answer, yes. In fact, Japan was only recently passed as the largest unreached people group in the world. (It is now #2.) In the scale below, Japan is rated as a 1.2.  Please pray for us and for Japan.
Stage
Level
Level Description
Unreached / Least-Reached
Less than 2% Evangelicals and
Less than 5% Christian Adherents
Very few, if any, known Evangelicals.
Professing Christians less than or equal to 5%.
Evangelicals greater than 0.01%, but less than or equal to 2%.
Professing Christians less than or equal to 5%.
Formative / Nominal Church
Less than 2% Evangelicals and
Greater than 5% Christian Adherents
Very few, if any, known Evangelicals.
Professing Christians greater than 5%.
Evangelicals greater than 0.01%, but less than or equal to 2%.
Professing Christians greater than 5%.
Significant / Established Church
Greater than 2% Evangelicals
Evangelicals greater than 2%, but less than or equal to 5%.
Evangelicals greater than 5%.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby to 12 in 2:45.
Check this out - 12 years in less than 3 minutes. This mom took a short video once a week for 12 years. Wow, talk about patience!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Disbelieve a Young Earth?
The issue of science and the Bible is increasingly becoming vital in our desire to help the secularized to Christ. It is for that reason I post the following.

Dr. Jud Davis:

I would ask my evangelical brothers some basic questions. If the text of Genesis 1-2 does not mean to teach traditional chronology and twenty-four-hour days,

1. Why does Jesus take Genesis 1-2 as teaching history (Mt. 19:4, Mark 10:6)?
2. Why does Paul take it as history (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 11:8-9; 15:21-22; 15:45; 1 Tim. 2:12-14)?
3. Why do nearly all world-class Hebraists assume that the writer of Genesis intended normal days and the text as history?
4. Why did the ancient, medieval, and modern church- until about 1800- have few commentators (if any) who believed in an ancient universe?
5. Why do all of the ancient translations and paraphrases, such as the Aramaic Targums, take the words at face value and translate them as "days," with no hint that they might mean "ages" in Genesis 1?
6. Why is there little or no classical Rabbinic support for an ancient universe?
7. Why are there well-qualified PhD scientists who still support physical data as consistent with young-earth view?

Nobody has provided me with answers that point to anything but a traditional view of the original meaning. Anyone who says that a closer study of Hebrew leads elsewhere is simply incorrect.

-Quoted from Answers Magazine, April-June, 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

20 MILLION TONS OF DEBRIS

By Neil Verwey, long-time missionary in Japan:

Up to 20 million tons of tsunami debris floating from Japan could arrive on Hawaii's shores as early as 2013 according to estimates by the University of Hawaii.

Jan Hafner, a scientific computer programmer, told The Associated Press that the research projections show the debris would reach the coasts of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Canada by 2014.

The field of debris is spread out across an area that's roughly 2,000 miles long and 1,000 miles wide.

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake produced the sort of devastation Japan hadn't seen since World War II, leaving more than 21,000 dead or injured. The tsunami that followed engulfed the northeast and wiped out entire towns.

The waves inundated the Fukushima plant, triggering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. However, it's highly unlikely that the tsunami-generated debris is contaminated with radioactive material.

“We are trying to get across our message that the debris is coming and it's about time to start planning some action,” Hafner said.

There is something more crucial than 20 tons of debris to prepare for!

For in the days before the flood,
people were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day Noah entered the ark;
and they knew nothing about what would happen
 until the flood came and took them all away.
That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know on what day
your Lord will come
(Matt. 24:38-42, NIV).

The return of the Son of God is imminent!

Are you eager and ready to welcome Him, the Creator of the universe, with open arms?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Stories of Great Hope Beginning to Come
God always brings spring after the winter. He always brings flowers after the frost. Enjoy these moments of grace.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Funny Statement of the Day

The extent of the neo-Darwinist deception is painful at times.
Fox News:
 "A catastrophic flood on Earth is spoken of in many ancient cultures: in Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek, Hindu, Gallic, Scandinavian and Chinese legends. Some even predate the Old Testament.

The odd thing, Zimansky says, is that even though there are written accounts of the flood in all these cultures, archaeologists have yet to find evidence of it."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Our "Small" Part in God's Kingdom
If you've ever felt insignificant in your work for God's kingdom, I encourage you to read this post from a good friend of mine who is a fellow missionary:

My brother owns a construction business and builds houses.  He skyped me this week and we got to talking about God’s timing and our faithfulness.  We don’t always know His timing or at what stage we are in His Kingdom planning in the history of a people group.  He said the architect has the idea and plan in his mind of how he hopes the finished house will look.  The construction starts, and you don’t always notice all the different stages a house goes through when its built.  And all the different kinds of people that prepare it and work toward its completion.  And those who are there to showcase the house in all its glory often hear the oo’s and aahs’ of those who see the finished work of the house.  Yet we often forget about the critical work of those whose work we can’t really see anymore.  For example, the foundation of concrete, those guys are the first one’s out to dig the site and fill in the basement, but they’re long gone by the time the finishing touches are being put on the place. But every stage, like that of the concrete guys, is so crucial.  Again, we each play just a small part in His overall, big, sure plan for His Kingdom.  May we each embrace our ‘small part’ and be faithful in it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Messiness of Meaningful Relationships

Today I read Proverbs 14:4, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

This verse reminds me of the old adage, “No pain, no gain,”  though I believe it cuts a bit deeper.

Last Sunday I preached a message on God’s sovereignty.
Though it is a tough topic to cover in such a short time, I knew it would be worth it. Because it is not a simple topic it could result in some messiness,
and yet it could result in people seeing and savoring God’s majesty more.
I hope that it did more of that than the former!

Though relationships with other sinful people may also sometimes be hard,
and though sometimes we may want to run away from all the messiness,
people are also worth it. They are worth the frustration, disappointments and struggles.

I am encouraged by this verse to stick with people through their messiness.
Someday, even later today(?), I may be quite messy as well.
I sure am glad God sticks with us, by His grace and love.
It would be easier not to have an oxen, and not have to clean up their mess so often, but the abundant blessings that come only through hard times would never be found.

UPDATE: Here is a good follow-up word.


(This blog is cross-posted at the ICM blog.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rejoicing in God's Sovereignty
For those of you who are interested, here is my message from last Sunday.
May it fill you with greater joy in our great God.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Interesting Exchange  
 One News Now:
Ray Comfort, a Christian evangelist of The Way of the Master, chatted about his book, Hitler, God and the Bible, and the film, 180, when he was invited on Carole Lieberman's radio program, "Dr. Carole's Couch." When he discussed with Lieberman the motives behind the Holocaust, the issue of abortion, and Charles Darwin, Comfort left the psychologist struggling for the right words:
Comfort: Do you think it's a baby in the womb?

Lieberman: At a certain time it is. It isn't at the beginning.

Comfort: Well, at what point does it become a baby?

Lieberman: Well, you know, I can't remember right now -- like five weeks or something. There's some point at which it has a heartbeat, and at that point is when -- and I think that that's around five weeks.

Comfort: Yeah, you're right. It's about five or six weeks… So, finish the sentence for me Carole: 'It's okay to kill a baby in the womb when ...'

Lieberman: Before, well, I mean, you know, again, I can't say; I'm not going to say that it's just okay before five weeks, if that's what you're getting at.

Comfort: No, no -- they kill babies right up to about 19, 20 weeks. So, there's really no justification for killing a baby. Just have it adopted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What is Being Done Now?
Great work being done by these guys.  I'm thinking about joining with them the first week in April.
This is Amazing
Watch with new technology how a baby miraculously develops.

Sunday, March 11, 2012