Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Rise of Atheism

Atheism is big in Japan - the overwhelming majority of young people we talk to say they are atheists. Atheism is also growing by leaps and bounds in America. My assertion is that atheism fits best with the modern secular mindset. In a global society that boasts the freedom to choose, we get selfishness, not theism. In a society that promotes tolerance, we get tolerance; but only for those who accept no absolutes. In a society that lifts up the human mind and "science" over God himself, we get macro-evolution, we get abortion and we get all other kinds of evils (Rom. 1:22ff). Put it all together and the new atheism today is not a far stretch at all.

Watch this video by Coral Ridge Ministries to learn more.
Driscoll on Predestination

"For those that think that God is not loving because He does not give us 'free will' Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has a great response."

(HT: DW, Z)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made
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This online video by AIG greatly moved me after having our first son. Truly babies are miraculously and amazingly made by God.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Origin of Life Revisited

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For more than 50 years we have heard reports that scientists are on the cusp of creating artificial life. The Associated Press recently announced that "scientists are trying to create life from scratch, and they're getting closer." (Aug. 20, 2007)
Brilliant scientists, devoting all their intellect and untold millions of dollars in facilities and manpower, are laboring to create life as evidence that life arose by chance.
Looking closer at the reports, it appears that these researchers are using chemicals from DNA to help create their protocells. Hardly "from scratch"!
Other challenges? How will the "new" life reproduce itself? How will the cell acquire food and make energy?
In the end, such experiments show that a Master Designer created life and that it did not come about by mindless evolution. These intelligent scientists could spend their time and tax dollars more wisely if they would first consult the Bible to find the answer to life's origins.
(Answers Magazine, Jan.-Mar., 2008)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Noah's "Surveillance" Camera (from Maki)


Mrs. Sasaki has a strange daily habit that sets her apart from the vast majority of Japanese corporate executives. She has dinner every evening with her family, rather than her business clients.

In a country where a corporate boss is still expected to work until 9 or 10 p.m. every night to keep clients entertained, Mrs. Sasaki's lifestyle is considered highly unorthodox. Even more unconventionally, she devotes her weekends to her two children, rather than escorting her clients to nightclubs or golf courses.

Mrs. Sasaki, who runs an Internet firm and a communications consulting company, usually leaves her office around 6 or 7 p.m. This means her average workday is only 10 or 11 hours long.

"That's very, very short," she laughs. "I encourage my staff to do the same. The problem with men in Japan is that they don't know any other way to spend their time or get happiness – except to work."

Mrs. Sasaki says she wants the "woman's way of thinking" to have a positive influence on the Japanese business world, making it healthier and more balanced.

The 45-year-old entrepreneur, a former television journalist, has created an open and flexible working environment. She allows her two dozen employees to take time off work to visit a school or a daycare centre if they need to look after their children, for example. There are no low-ranking "tea ladies" at her office. Whoever arrives first in the morning – usually Mrs. Sasaki – makes the tea for everyone.

"I want this to be a good workplace for women," she says. "My role is to spotlight the good side of being an entrepreneur."

Source: Tokyo Globe & Mail 2005-03-31

Jobs are necessary, but they are not life. Freedom is too precious to lose to a job.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty

wherewith Christ hath made us free,

and be not entangled again

with the yoke of bondage

(Galatians 5:1).

What a lesson for us to learn as followers of Christ! Never allow anyone or anything again to put on a harness of servitude on you!

Christ has gloriously set us free so that we can enjoy the benefits of freedom!

Neil Verwey

Japan Mission

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Atheist's Big Guns

Recently, more and more on popular video sites such as YouTube and Google Video, I see rampant atheist evangelism. It seems atheists are trying to destroy the grounds for belief, especially belief in the Bible. The main way they are doing this is through attacking special creation and the need for it. Bible believing Christians are portrayed as weak-minded or brainwashed. Sadly, many Christians are too busy with other things to realize that our foundations are being slighted and the faith of millions are being shipwrecked. I believe it is time for Christians, especially Christians in America, to get back to the foundations in Genesis. If Genesis can't be trusted or can't be taken seriously, how can the rest of the Bible be taken as such?

I have highlighted several points of attack and answers to these attacks in the past on this blog. I encourage you to find these articles and read them. If you want to be taken seriously as a Christian in the future, it is time for you to start taking these attacks seriously.

Finally, here is one "gun" that I continue to see in the atheist repertoire: Beneficial Mutation.

Read the article below for a great response. Science is not on the side of atheists. Sadly, brainwashing is.

Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria: An Example of Evolution in Action?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Listening and Learning from Non-Christians

"Francis Schaeffer used to say that if he had only one hour with someone, he would spend fifty-five minutes asking questions and five minutes trying to say something that would speak to his or her situation, once he understood a little more about what was going on in in his or her heart and mind."

(Quote taken from The Heart of Evangelism, by Jerram Barrs)

My friend Jonathan Dodson and my brother Doug have had some good thoughts on this topic recently.

I personally think this is one reason why God makes most missionaries clueless, both linguistically and culturally at first. As I (Mark) was deep in language and culture study, I began to learn so much FROM my Japanese friends; and that has continued to today. I am grateful that I can say so many positive things about the people who I am here to give my life to. They are not projects, they are friends for whom I expect to not only teach, but to learn a lot from.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A good message for "good people"

One of my friends sent me this message. This is what us "good Christians" need to hear; as well as any other person that calls him or herself a good person. You won't really know love unless you know this message.

Watch Paul Washer's message here.

How do you know the Bible is true? R.C. Sproul answers that question here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cool Flowers in Japan
I found these pretty close to my apartment.

These look like they are ceramic or something!

These looked like Hot Tomales or Mike and Ike's.

I love all the flowers that bloom here even when it gets down to freezing!
Tom Brady & Emptiness

(Scroll down for more thoughts on Mr. Brady.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An E-mail from a Christian Brother

Last week, I reported to you regarding extensive persecution of Christians in the Indian state of Orissa during the Christmas holiday period, December 22-January 1. Again, I ask you to pray for your brothers and sisters who face the worst persecution they have experienced since Indian independence in 1947.

Last week, I reported 74 churches and 800 homes of Christians burned. Since that time, we have learned of another 21 churches that were torched by Hindu radicals. We reported thousands of Orissa Christians who had to flee into the forests for their lives without water or food. Many of those people were existing on water licked from leaves. Some of the people reported deliverance from wild animals.

Since January 1, at least 4 evangelists have been burned alive in Orissa. At least 200 people are still missing, and of these, at least 100 are presumed dead. The state government has done virtually nothing to meet the needs of the suffering Christians. With little or no support by the police, Christians are still living in fear. They are getting sick from a lack of good food and water.

There is some good news. In the last day or two, members of six opposition parties have entered Orissa to talk to government officials and meet with those who have suffered. They are unanimous in finding that the root cause of the violence in Orissa comes from the radical Hindus. They have condemned the ineffectiveness of the government of Orissa and their complicity with the radicals, and they vow to present their findings to authorities in the federal government.

Orissa has long had policies hostile to Christians. It has one of the most stringent anti-conversion laws in India, ironically called the Freedom of Religion Act of 1967. In this act, conversion from one religion to another is forbidden under conditions of force, inducement, allurement, or fraudulent means ," terms that are very elastic in their meanings when interpreted by police officers and other officials who already have hostility against Christianity. These laws have not kept the church in Orissa from experiencing steady growth.

Pray for the ongoing situation in Orissa. Pray for the safety of Christians. Pray for those who have suffered and endured loss of family members, homes, churches, businesses and other properties. Pray that God will use these terrible experiences for good. Pray for boldness and patience and endurance for those who have suffered. Pray that God will give to the Christians a strong testimony that will impress those who are not believers and bring growth to the church. Pray for the 100+ IGO evangelists working in Orissa, that God will encourage them and strengthen them to go on.

Blessings to you and your family during these days.

With love in Christ,

T. Valson Abraham

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quote of the Day
is God's giving us sovereign joy in God that triumphs over joy in sin.
- Augustine

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Baptisms!Four people at our church were baptized on Jan. 6! Praise God!

We were so happy for Ayano to get baptized. God has really done a lot in her life this year.
We feel so blessed to have been used by God to help her this year.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Huckabee and Evangelicals

Michael Medved crunches some numbers from the Iowa Caucuses, and concludes:
Those who insist, over and over again, that the Iowa Caucuses reflected “Christian identity politics” or a “tidal wave of Evangelical support” are basing their analysis on feelings, not facts; on vapors, not voters. It’s dishonest to say that a guy who just won a crushing state-wide victory, without even winning the majority of his own religious group, displayed a one dimension appeal to Christian zealots only.

This endlessly repeated story line is not only tired, it’s a lie.

(HT: JT)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowans: Vote for Huckabee!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year! (A Time for Resolutions?)

As the New Year begins we think of renewing things and making resolutions to start other things. As I prayed about this last night I came to the resolve that I want to continue to live for the joy of God's glory and not for my own selfish and small plans. God's plan is so much greater, bigger and glorious!

As I mentioned to many in last newsletter, this last week Maki and I attended a missionary retreat. There we heard some outstanding messages on "All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness for those who keep his commands and testimonies" (Psalm 25:10) Even when we screw up, God's predestined path for us is still good and faithful for those who follow Him. (Rom. 8:28) In fact, God uses our mistakes for His glory and sometimes even allows us to see that glory (especially when we are seeking Him in prayer for this). Because of this, we can live without fear knowing that even the mistakes we will make this year are a path of steadfast love and faithfulness from the Lord, because ALL the paths of the Lord are these for those who keep his commands!

There is no need for regrets or fears if we live this way, therefore I have decided to make at least 2 resolutions for this year (taken from Jonathan Edwards' famous resolutions).

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do,
if it were the last hour of my life.

Click here for more of Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions