Friday, August 27, 2010

God’s Plan in Car Troubles
God has been outdoing us in showing love (as usual) even in our troubles. We know that God is sovereign & in control of all things. But that is more difficult to believe when troubles come!

On August 7th we set out for a two week trip.
My dad had his car serviced and ready for us to take. (Thank you, Dad!) We made it within a quarter mile of our destination in Des Moines before the car started to overheat! What a blessing this didn’t happen on the side of the interstate with our two little boys! We were able to get to the church safely and then without my asking, my friend Marc offered to help us. To make a long story short, God allowed us to spend time with our good friend and his new wife, go to their church the next morning and get the car fixed for free! Without our car problems we would not have experienced any of these gifts of grace.
A few days later we arrived in KY to visit my twin brother, Doug and his family. While
there, our parked car was side-swiped and so we were given an extended stay with Doug and with our good friends, the Vaughans! The Vaughans have special missionary
housing, including a pool and 18 acres of land. It truly was an oasis for tired people! We want to personally thank each of these great people for their love and help. We also thank God for getting us safely back, in His timing... especially when we later found out the tie rod to the front wheel was not even fastened on tight! God truly spared our lives and gave us multiple opportunities to praise Him and love others.

And to think it all came through our troubles.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Does God Love Us?
God gives us Himself in Christ, as our center, our everything... because He is the center; He is source and the end of everything that is good.

Something To Never Forget
God is fond of you...
If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
If he had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
He sends you flowers
every spring
and a sunrise
every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, he'll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe and he chose your heart.
Face it, friend. He's crazy about you.
By the way, it may be difficult for you to believe that God knows your name...
but he does.
Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Whispered by his lips.
Your name.
"I have written your name on my hand." Isaiah 49:6
Our hearts are not large enough to contain the blessings that God wants to give.
So try this.
The next time a sunrise steals your breath...
or a meadow of flowers
leaves you speechless...
remain that way.
Say nothing and listen
as heaven whispers,
"Do you like it?
I did it just for you."

Was he obliged to make the birds sing?
And the funny way
that a chickens scurry...
or the majesty of thunder when it rings?
Why give a flower fragrance?
Why give food its taste?
Could it be that he loves to see
that look upon your face?
So promise me
you'll never forget...
that you aren't
an accident
or an incident...
you are a gift
to the world,
a divine work of art,
signed by God.

Quoted from Max Lucado, "God Thinks You're Wonderful" (2003)

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Sounds Pretty Cool


NEC Corp. has developed eyeglass equipment that interprets foreign languages into mother tongues and projects the translation onto a person's retina.

This device makes it possible to speak with a foreigner naturally in one's mother tongue without an interpreter.

If the accuracy of translation continues to improve, it is expected to be used in various fields and situations, such as international conferences and business negotiations with foreign companies.

The equipment comprises of a miniature script-projector and microphone attached to the glasses, and a tiny computer that can be attached to the waist of the user. When two people with different mother tongues speak to each other, the projector displays the conversation in both languages.

NEC's application of such technology to project images by casting light directly onto the retina is a world first. The retina transforms the optical information into a nerve signal, which is sent to the center of the brain via optic nerves.

Sources say that the device can be used for hours without eye strain as it is not necessary to focus on the script display. Because the script appears on the peripherals of a person's vision, it enables people to look at each other while they speak.

Possible future applications include car navigation systems and video games. It also would enable police to distinguish whether license plates that come into sight are stolen by using a small camera attached to the glasses.
Source: Yomiuri News, 2009-09-25

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is God Short-Tempered?

About 10 times the Bible says that God is, "slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love". And he, "is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) God wants all to know his grace and mercy and love.

However, sometimes we see God's righteous anger towards sin displayed. I thought this article was a good reflection on understanding that. As a good Parent, God will not forever be patient towards our rebellion towards him but will discipline us for our good and in the end will punish us if we do not change our way.

Here is a nugget:
How do we credibly preach about a God who willingly kills men, women and children? This question challenged me this past week as I preached from Genesis 6 and the story of Noah. It challenged me because I know that two dear friends of mine reject the God of the Bible because of this very passage and others like it. It also challenges me because I wonder the same thing about God. Over the years I’ve grown fatigued with callous doctrinal academics or simplistic Christian cliches. I want a reasonable answer that takes into account our genuine condition as human beings. Here is a snippet of what I offered regarding this question. What do you think? Am I missing the mark? How would you approach this?

Read the rest.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Battle of Ministry

On Sunday I am planning to speak at my brother Doug's church about the fight of faith for all the nations. We fight in God's power - our weapons being the love of God as expressed through the Scriptures and through continual prayer for God's help. In light of this, I felt that Dr. Pratt's vision of an ideal seminary was a great one!

Can you imagine what kind of soldiers our nation would have if basic training amounted to reading books, listening to lectures, writing papers, and taking exams? We’d have dead soldiers. The first time a bullet wizzed past their heads on the battlefield, they’d panic. The first explosion they saw would send them running. So, what is basic training for the military? Recruits learn the information they need to know, but this is a relatively small part of their preparation. Most of basic training is devoted to supervised battle simulation. Recruits are put through harrowing emotional and physical stress. They crawl under live bullet fire. They practice hand to hand combat.

If I could wave a magic scepter and change seminary today, I’d turn it into a grueling physical and spiritual experience. I’d find ways to reach academic goals more quickly and effectively and then devote most of the curriculum to supervised battle simulation. I’d put students through endless hours of hands-on service to the sick and dying, physically dangerous evangelism, frequent preaching and teaching the Scriptures, and days on end of fasting and prayer. Seminary would either make them or break them.

Do you know what would happen? Very few young men would want to attend. Only those who had been called by God would subject themselves to this kind of seminary. Yet they would be recruits for kingdom service, not mere students. They would be ready for the battle of gospel ministry.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lies in Your Textbooks?

Do the finches on the Galapagos Islands show evolution in action? How about the famous peppered moths in England? Haeckel's embryos? Read more about these lies in textbooks that continue to try to promote the philosophy of evolution in our public schools.

Watch a video from Jonathan Wells entitled, "Icons of Evolution" here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Stop Whining!

Needed this little reminder today from my twin brother, Doug.
The Preeminence of Ministry to Kids

The challenge we have in Japan is summed up nicely by Peter Hitchens, as he writes chiefly about the state of Russia today:

"God is largely absent from the hearts of the people, who know little of him and were not introduced to him at the age when we learn to love ideas as well as people. If we do not learn faith then, it is unlikely we shall ever learn it. If we do learn it then, we are unlikely ever to shake it off, though we are afraid to do so." (p. 192, The Rage Against God)

I have never had to convince a child in Japan that God exists - all of them, without exception, already know there is a God and tell me that that is the case. It is only when they grow older and learn to suppress that truth (rather than nurture it) that the obviousness of God's existence begins to fade. (Romans 1) As Jesus said, "Let the children come unto Me." Let us be like Jesus and not abandon our most vital ministry for another.

See more from an earlier post on this topic.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

All Sinners (Including Christians) are Logically Inconsistent

Atheists want to establish a moral law (albeit one that suits their own interests) and yet throw out the idea of a moral law giver. Atheists also want to establish an ordered, rational, information-filled, beautiful universe and yet throw out the idea of an intelligent Designer. Peter Hitchens, brother of the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens, writes in his new book, The Rage Against God - How Atheism Led Me to Faith:

"From time to time I also try to wriggle out of the laws to which I have sworn obedience. I then reject parts of the teaching of my faith, those parts that condemn what I want to think or say or do. I can usually find clever and ingenious arguments for doing this. I invariably do so because it suits me personally. In this, I am doing exactly what the atheist does, only not to the same extent..." (p. 152)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Japan Needs This!
I'm with my friend Z - "This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen."

Store manager tells robber Jesus wouldn't approve
I was reminded by this story that most rebellious kids just need some practical demonstrations of love to help them turn around.