Saturday, June 30, 2007
"America is blessed with 1.5 million full-time Christian workers,
or one full-time religious leader for every 182 people in the nation.
What a difference this is from the rest of the world, where more
than 2 billion people are still unreached with the Gospel. The
unreached or “hidden peoples” have only one missionary work-
ing for every 78,000 people, and there are still 1,240 distinct
cultural groups in the world without a single church among
them to preach the Gospel. These are the masses for whom
Christ wept and died."
"In India alone, 500,000 villages are without a Gospel witness."
Who will go?
- K.P. Yohannan, "Revolution in World Missions" p. 49, 56
Get your own free copy here.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Rudy continues to encourage us through his
pilot/preaching/encouraging ministry. We are
happy to partner with him in helping our Japanese
Please watch his videos here. (especially #51 about
our ministry in Kyoto.)
*For those of you who don't know, Rudy goes to my
twin brother Doug's church in Kentucky. We made
contact with Rudy a few years ago and have become
good friends in the process. It is great to partner
with a guy who is so passionate to reach the nations
for Christ! Thanks, Rudy!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Some people have asked us why we named our son Noah Luther.
Noah - We want Noah to have hope in God and to bring that hope to others
望有 means, "There is hope!"
Luther - Mark's heritage is Lutheran. Though I don't consider myself a
Lutheran, I think I respect Luther more than most Lutherans! He was far from
a perfect man, but he did as much as anyone to bring three important Biblical
truths back to the world - Sola Gratis, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura -
(1. Saved by Grace Alone, by Christ's death and resurrection,
2. This is evident through Faith Alone - in what He did for us,
3. we know God and truth clearly through Scripture Alone).
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
As my beautiful son (!) Noah (望有）proceeded from my lovely wife (!) I was too amazed to be moved. It was just all too surreal.
It is hard to believe that I am actually "Dad". It is like a dream! Of course I imagined that I would be a father, but it is completely beyond what all I could imagine to actually now be a father. To know that for the first time I am completely responsible for another person’s life. To be the leader of not just my wife, but a family, my own family. To know that this little life is completely a gift from an unimaginably great Father in heaven. It is stupendous just to be a part of this process and see first-hand a new life brought into the world, all of his parts immediately working together better than any machine men could ever make, all of the right things in place – the desire and the ability to suck – the presence of breast-milk right when Noah needs it, the incredible love that I have been given by God to care for this little guy. I never thought I could experience a love that was even close to the love I have for Maki. After only a few hours with a little person I have never met before, I know a love deep inside that is close to my love for Maki! What an amazing dream. What an amazing heavenly Father. His grace is beyond words.
I had been praying that Noah would come during a weekend so that I wouldn’t have to find a substitute teacher. Noah’s delivery was a complete answer to prayer. The ride to Kyoto wasn’t bad for Maki. The hard contractions started right after we got to the hospital. I was so happy to go through that time with Maki and be able to encourage her. It was such a joy to be able to help her, even though I couldn’t actually bear the pain myself. The process was very fast for a first-born. 3 and a half hours after we got to the hospital, Maki had given birth to our first son! She was encouraged by the movie we had seen the night before, “Facing the Giants”. Maki faced the giant of her pain and fear so well, I just stand in awe of the works of God that surround this event. I don’t know how anyone could be so dead of heart to not see God through all of this, but I guess the Bible does say that those without Christ are spiritually dead. Thank you God for your grace that rescued me to see!
From here on out I hope to be a help to Maki and show the same grace that I have been shown to both her and Noah. Noah has inherited Adam’s sin and sinful nature just like we all have. I will need patience and wisdom – more grace from God every single day. But it brings me great joy that what God loves to do most is to give and keep giving. In this God gets the glory and we get the opportunity to glorify and enjoy Him. What a wonderful thing it is to be a part of Your family, O God!
(Stay tuned for pictures coming soon!)
Friday, June 15, 2007
My friend Trey, who just got back from visiting America
brought the movie, and Maki brought the meal. Our good
friend Naoya, who also just got back from Texas after 9
months there, was along for the ride. It was great to see
this good movie and be able to spend some time with these
good friends. For those of you who have not seen this
movie yet, Maki and I both really recommend it. Though
made by amateur actors, this movie exceeded my expect-
ations in every way... and not just because I love football!
The best part was that we were able to have some good
discussion about it afterwards. We felt blessed to see God's
grace upon this night.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Most people know that things need to be buried very quickly
and be under pressure in order to make a viable fossil. So how
do whole dinosaurs get buried quickly in sedimentary rock and
appear as if they died of asphyxiation ?
Something horrible must have happened.
Read this article and then read the account of the great flood in
Genesis and tell me what you think.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Do you love Jesus? Really, do you honestly love Him?
Or have you forgotten your first love? (Rev. 2:4)
I admit that I was driven to my face by this message.
(Return to Your First Love, by Dr. James Kennedy)
I pray that this message continues to work on my heart.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I spoke with my Dad the other night. He said that it might work out
for them just to take out all of the insulation in the attic and put new
insulation in and then to seal up the attic for good. Please pray that
this is all they have to do. Thank you!
Monday, June 04, 2007
In the midst of my parent's struggles (see next post), I began reading a book about Job. I was disappointed with how many people get the issue of God's Sovereignty over evil messed up. The greatest encouragement I have is that I hope in a Sovereign God who rules over Satan and evil. What do you think about this?
Dear (Name hidden to protect privacy),
I was very happy to receive your free book about Job, when the Dulous ship with OM visited Japan this week. I am a missionary, so it is very nice to see resources and help come to Japan. Thank you for this free resource.
While I was happy to receive this book, there was one major question I had with the book. On page 25, you quote Job 1:21-22 (which is one of my favorite verses) but give it a completely different exposition of it than I have ever heard.
The verse says, "He (Job) said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.' Through all of this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." (Emphasis mine)
Correctly you state, "Job did not grumble, murmur or blame God at this stage. Instead, he worshiped God in the midst of intense suffering. This is something very remarkable." I say AMEN to that. However, the next part I really cannot understand. "In spite of the fact that he WRONGLY (my emphasis) thought that God had taken away so much of what was precious to him,..." This text SPECIFICALLY says the opposite namely "Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Basically Job was saying, "God has the right to give and to take away", to which the inspired author does NOT say, "Job sinned and blamed God.", but to stop US from saying this, he specifically says the exactly the opposite!
Indirectly, God certainly did take much away from Job. God has this right and does no wrong in doing it. Just as 1 Cor. 4:7 says, "What do you have that you have not received" and James 4:13 says, "If the Lords WILLS we will live..." Cannot the LORD take what is his (like life and health) at anytime and still be perfectly righteous? Everything belongs to Him. Satan always plays right into God's plans, (Gen. 50:20, 2 Cor. 12:7) , but was not God behind all of Job's sufferings? Did he owe Job a pain free life? Does He owe anyone a pain-free life?
Things got even harder to follow when I got to the next page (26). You quote Job 2:9-10, "Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips." (Again, emphasis is mine.)
Instead of affirming the inspired biblical text here you go on to say, "He mistakenly thought that God was the one who was afflicting him." How can you make this inference from this verse? Nowhere does it say that Job made a mistake in this statement - in fact it says the opposite again! The inspired biblical author is clearly affirming Job when he says that we should accept adversity from God as normal and right. It does not say that we should only think Satan is behind evil and adversity. God is completely sovereign over this the whole way from first to last! Although Satan is real and must be considered, we do have a Sovereign God whom we can COMPLETELY rely on in any and every situation. His hands are never tied. If what you were saying is true, wouldn't this would controvert all of Scripture in its affirmation that God rules over all? (Is. 46:9-11 etc.)
Obviously, I would agree that God DOES no evil, however He certainly is Sovereign over it. (Gen 50:20) and has wise and holy purposes in it.
Please respond as I am very curious as to your answers,
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Today I got a very heart-wrenching e-mail and I felt that all I can do is
to make my struggles (especially my parents struggles) clear to you so
that you can pray.
As some of you know, my parents have been dealing with severe trials
with their health, home and belongings for some time. It is really a Job-
type situation. Let me give you a brief synopsis:
About 2 years ago my parents began to detect a musty odor in their house.
It began to get so bad that they would get headaches if the window wasn't
always open. For almost a year they sought to find the reason and the source
of the problem. At first they thought it was the septic tank leaking. This
lead them to dig up part of their yard to find the solution. Finally, that was
ruled out. Next they tested for natural gas leaking. Although this was found
to be the culprit, for months they could not tell where the leak was coming
from. After nearly 1 year they found the leak and fixed it. However, by this
time the house was nearly unlivable. They hired someone to cleanse the air
by an ozone spray. Instead of fixing the problem, this just made everything
worse. My parents had to move out with nothing - not even with the shirts on
their backs, since everything was contaminated!
Attempts at a lawsuit haven't come to fruition because of the extreme rarity of
this type of case. Meanwhile their health started to deteriorate and they had
to go to a special clinic in Dallas for chemical sensitivity problems. Because of
the type of chemical contamination, they could spread the contamination by
bringing even a small item into the next place they stayed. They had to get
rental cars and make sure they would not be in contact with ANY of their old
belongings. Of course this was impossible, so many times they would
recontaminate everything and have to start completely over again.
Finally, with the help of friends from church, my parents were able to get rid
of everything in their house and shellac the walls and the floor again before
repainting everything. Finally, they were able to buy a new house last month
and things seemed to be moving forward. Now back to the e-mail I received
My dad said that their house was about ready to be sold when all 3 people,
the man and his wife, as well as the real estate agent, suddenly got headaches.
This means that the house must still be leaking the chemical from inside the
walls! The only thing to do now, they say, is the tear out all the dry-wall again
and do it over. Of course this would incur huge financial losses to them again.
For those of you who have made it this far... Please, please pray for my parents.
For a long time I haven't made this problem too public, but today I just felt like
they are at the end of their rope. We need to unite together in prayer to come
against all of this evil in their lives and to declare that we believe that God is
going to come through for them! He promises that "All things work for the good
of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose."
Let us call on Him to glorify His Name by showing His mercy and grace again on
my parents. Just like Job, may God bring them back to a place of abundance after
we and they and humbled. They are trusting God too, but understandably they
find themselves wondering why all of this is happening.
Thank you for your time and prayers!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
An excerpt from the final installment:
On the question of morality, you again attempt an answer: "My answer is the same as it was all along: Our morality evolved." There are two points to be made about this reply. The first concerns evolved morality and the future, and is a variation on my previous questions. If our morality evolved, then that means our morality changes. If evolution isn't done yet (and why should it be?), then that means our morality is involved in this on-going flux as well. And that means that everything we consider to be "moral" is really up for grabs. Our "vague yet grand conception of human rights" might flat disappear just like our gills did.
Our current "morals" are therefore just a way station on the road. No sense getting really attached to them, right? When I am traveling, I don't get attached to motel rooms. I don't weep when I have to part from them. So, in the future, after every ferocious moral denunciation you choose to offer your reading public, you really need to add something like, "But this is just a provisional judgment. Our perspective may evolve to an entirely different one some years hence," or "Provisional opinions only. Morality changes over time"—POOMCOT for short. It would look like this: "The Rev. Snoutworthy is an odious little toad, not to mention a waste of skin, and his proposal that we prosecute the brassiere editors of the Sears catalog on pornography and racketeering charges is an outrage against civilized humanity. But … POOMCOT."
This relates to the second point, which concerns evolved morality and the past. When dealing with people whose moral judgments have differed from yours, do you regard them as "immoral" or as "less evolved?" The rhetoric of your book, your tone in these exchanges, and your recent dancing on the grave of the late Jerry Falwell would all seem to indicate the former. In your choice of words, the people you denounce are to be blamed. The word fulminations comes to mind. You write like a witty but acerbic tenth-century archbishop with a bad case of the gout. But this is truly an odd thing to do if "morality" is a simple derivative of evolution. Are you filled with fierce indignation that the koala bear hasn't evolved ears that stick flat to the side of his head like they are supposed to? Are you wroth over the fact that clams don't have legs yet? When you notice that the bears at the zoo continue to suck on their paws, do you stop to remonstrate with them?
Your notion of morality, and the evolution it rode in on, can only concern itself with what is. But morality as Christians understand it, and the kind you surreptitiously draw upon, is concerned with ought. David Hume showed us that we cannot successfully derive ought from is. Have you discovered the error in his reasoning? It is clear from how you defend your ideas of "morality" that you have not done so. You are a gifted writer, and you have a flair for polemical voltage. But strip it all away, and what do you have underneath? You believe yourself to live in a universe where there is no such thing as any fixed ought or ought not. But God has gifted you with a remarkable ability to denounce what ought not to be. And so, because you reject him, you have great sermons but no way of ever coming up with a text. When people start to notice the absence of texts, the absence of warrant, the absence of reasons, you adjust and compensate with rhetorical embellishment and empurpled prose. You are like the minister in the story who wrote in the margin of his notes, "Argument weak. Shout here."Check out the whole debate here.
I found this post and attached article to be most helpful.
I was talking with my brother yesterday and he encouraged
me to write down some reasons why I felt Genesis is such an
important book in forming a Christian world view. This
forum (especially Terry Mortenson's contribution) sums
everything up pretty well for me.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Are you God-centered? Is God?
Get these free messages from the New Attitude Conference
Josh Harris, Mahaney, Dever, Mohler and Piper, who speaks
about God's God-Centeredness. I love this classic message
by Piper. People are not the center of God's plan, God is.
(And that is the best news we could possibly hear!)