Thursday, October 28, 2010

Does the Bible Say Anything About Astronomy?
I have been enjoying teaching my 4-5 grade students about Astronomy lately. It is amazing to think that although the Bible is such an ancient book, it always gets scientific information right. Take for instance Astronomy. The Bible makes some claims that would have been pretty outlandish to the ancient reader, and in the case of #3, outlandish even 60-70 years ago:

1. The Earth is Round
(Job 26:10, Isaiah 40:22)
2. The Earth Floats in Space
(Job 26:7)
3. The Universe is Expanding
2 Sam 22:10 Job 37:18 Isaiah 51:13
Psalm 18:9 Isaiah 40:22 Jeremiah 10:12
Psalm 104:2 Isaiah 42:5 Jeremiah 51:15
Psalm 144:5 Isaiah 44:24 Ezekiel 1:22
Job 9:8 Isaiah 45:12 Zechariah 12:1
Job 26:7 Isaiah 48:13

Read the details here, along with some reasons to think twice about believing the Big Bang Theory.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thank You For Praying!

What an amazing couple of days at the Franklin Graham Festival in Osaka.

I was amazed by:

1. The turn-out (about 7-10 thousand each night for three nights)
2. The quality of music (probably the best quality I've ever heard in my life - not kidding)
3. By the response of the people (as you can see many people went forward to receive Christ - for three nights in a row).

The people that went forward are now being followed up on by various churches in the area with very good materials. In addition to the people that came forward, four-hundred others also became Christians through the Christian training seminars that were put on in the months proceeding the festival. It is exciting to think of future home-grown festivals that we will be able to put on as a result of what we learned from this one. Thank you for your prayers!

Official results are in:
  • During the three day festival 30,786 people participated.
  • About 2,500 came forward for the invitation.
  • A little over 50% came to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives.
  • The remaining people of the group that came forward did so for (1) reassurance of their eternal life or (2) rededication of their lives for the Lord.

During the four week Christian Life & Witness Course 420 seekers made a decision for the Lord Jesus.

Please pray that the budget of 1.5 million dollars will be met.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Deception and Destruction of Nations

Josef Ton, the former pastor of the largest Baptist church in Romania (now living in exile):
"I came to the conclusion that there were two factors which destroyed Christianity in Western Europe. One was the theory of evolution, and the other, liberal theology... Liberal theology is just evolution applied to the Bible and our faith."

James and Marti Helfley, in their book, By Their Blood: Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century, write:
"New philosophies and theologies from the West also helped erode Chinese confidence in Christianity. A new wave of so-called missionaries from mainline Protestant denominations came teaching evolution and a non-supernatural view of the Bible... The Chinese intelligentsia who had been schooled by orthodox evangelical missionaries were thus softened for the advent of Marxism. Evolution is destroying the church and society today, and Christians need to be awakened to that fact."

AFA reports:

For the third time in just over one month, President Obama has refused to include any mention of the "Creator" in his recitation of the Declaration of Independence.

The Founders believed that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Repeatedly now the president has simply said Americans are endowed with certain rights, but persistently refuses to acknowledge with the Founders that these rights are a gift from God.

He stripped God from our founding document on September 15 (video here) when speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He did it again on September 23 at a fundraiser in New York City. And he did it yet a third time on Monday night at in Rockville, Md. when speaking to Democratic Senate candidate donors.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jesus Is Better - Missions to the Unreached

Wow, do I resonate with this story! This is so good on so many levels. If you don't have 20 minutes to spare, just watch the last 10 minutes.

#35 and #36 of 100 from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.

(HT: Z)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Please Pray
Satisfying Marriage

A 73-year-old man in Tokyo, whose wife died sometime ago, exchanged vows with a 69-year-old woman who had agreed to live with him.

Thinking of the mistakes they made in their first marriages, they worked hard at it and typed out 18 pledges to each other, including:

We acknowledge the differences in our sense of values and ways of thinking.

We individually own the articles in our respective rooms and keep our respective bank passbooks, but share expenses.

We will enjoy our life together to the fullest.

If one of us gets angry, he or she will pay a penalty of 10,000 yen. (US$118; GB£75; R800)

“We have separate families and separate assets built up over the years,” the man said. “The 18 promises we made to each other reflect our desire to ensure that our new life doesn't conflict with our prior lives established from before.” The woman agreed and their children on both sides agreed.
Source: Yomiuri News, 2005-01-06

True believers in Christ do not agree to live together just by a set of rules, as a directive for happiness. The standard of the Bible is much higher that that!

Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her

(Ephesians 5:25, NIV).

When Jesus made a covenant with us, He held nothing back, not even His life!

If a couple cannot give of themselves freely in a marriage covenant, perhaps the marriage should be re-considered.

Trusting your spouse completely is the essence of a satisfying marriage!

(From Neil Verwey, missionary in Japan)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Franklin Graham in Osaka
(Oct. 22-24)

My good friend Trey Rowzie writes:

Please pray for:
  • A Great Harvest
    (Many would come with expecting hearts, hear the Good News, turn to the living God, and be saved)
  • Laborers for the Harvest Field
    (Many hard-working volunteers before, during, and after the events; at the venue and behind the scenes)
  • Working as One Body
    (Wise leadership, clear communication, strong unity)
  • Protection from the “Wolves”, “Foxes”, and “Bugs”
    (Personal security issues, equipment/facility problems, software bugs, etc.)
  • God's Glory
    (For all that we do and the way we do it to exhalt our Heavenly Father)

For more information on the Festival:

Kansai Franklin Graham Festival (Oct  22-24) [Japanese] [English]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Mistakes of Scientism

After refuting the claim by Hawking and Mlodinow (The Grand Design) that natural laws are consistent with creation appearing from nothing, J.P. Moreland explains why the influence of Hawking and Mlodinow’s claims are troubling:

In previous times when average people knew more philosophy, these claims would simply be laughable because they are philosophical assertions being made by scientists who have little or no philosophical training. Thus, however brilliant they are in their own field, Hawking and Mlodinow are laypersons when it comes to the relevant issue at hand.

But we live in a scientistic culture. When a scientist speaks, he is taken to be an authority irrespective of what the topic is. And that attitude reflects poorly on the educational level of the public.

Thus, the deeper issue for me in all this is not whether or not the universe could come into existence from nothing without a cause. It is, rather, the scientism that lies at the heart of Western culture. I have long believed that philosophical naturalism, with its unjustified scientism, has helped to create an intellectually unsophisticated culture, and this is one reason why I think this way.


Friday, October 08, 2010

The Songbird and Me
A few days ago on my way to work I overheard a crow and a sparrow. As I did, I began lamenting the lack of songbirds in Japan. "If only there was a nice song to start my day, instead of this rude and abrasive cawing and chirping all the time!" I began to notice right away that my heart was wrong and apologized to God for my lousy attitude.

Later that week I was watching a biology DVD that mentioned songbirds: "Songbirds mostly like to sing among the trees. Besides mating, these birds honestly just like to make music, if they are in the right environment."

Later that day, I was riding my mountain bike and decided to take a different route - a more scenic route and a more relaxing route - among the trees and fields. As I did, I suddenly heard in the trees above a songbird merrily piping a beautiful tune. I stopped to listen and soak up the beauty. As I did I felt God speaking to me: "This is why you need time away in the trees and the fields also."

I encourage you to take time to immerse yourself in God's creation during this fall also, and let your heart sing again. I know mine did.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Best Message I've Heard In a Long Time

Wow. That is all I can say. God really moved me through this.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dads are the 'Supermen' students need

The new documentary, Waiting For Superman seems to be a good one.

Roland C. Warren:
The film's title is intended to be a metaphor: America's schoolchildren wait for a savior to come and fix a system that prevents kids from achieving their potential, in the same way people would wait for Superman to arrive at the last minute to save a runaway school bus about to plunge off a bridge...

Of the five families portrayed in "Waiting for 'Superman,'" the father appears to be living in the home in three of them. And only one of those dads says a word on camera throughout the film. His daughter, Daisy, incidentally, seems to be the most ambitious and least troubled of the group.

All of the other family interviews are with moms and grandmothers. Dad is in the background. Education is apparently mom's territory. In one scene, a mom is shown trying to help her three young children do their homework. Where is the father? Another mom is struggling to keep her apartment and pay parochial school tuition. Where is the father?

As many as eight in 10 children in many of our nation's most disadvantaged neighborhoods live in father-absent homes. Study after study confirms children from father-absent homes are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to repeat a grade, less likely to enjoy school, less likely to be read to on a daily basis, less likely to get A's and more likely to misbehave in school.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Is It Just Me...
or is this really fun to watch?

Friday, October 01, 2010

How Not To Talk with an Atheist

Here are a few of the points addressed, along with my suggestions included:

Noah's Ark "story": Sadly, Christians are as guilty as anyone else for making the historical Biblical narrative of Noah into just a "story", or as O'Reilly says here, "an allegory". The Bible is emphatically not an allegory, and when allegory is applied in the Bible, it is used clearly as allegory- even introduced as such. (Galatians 4:24) If the text is read as it stands, we have no problem seeing that the account of the flood is to be taken as real history. This testimony is reinforced by the hundreds of ancient legends all over the world about a world-wide flood. The only way to explain that is that a world-wide really did wipe out everything!

There are "stories that are untrue": Because many have rejected the flood for evolutionary dating, we MUST accept that Noah's flood story is at some point untrue. However, if we take the Bible at face value, we come to a fossil record that can only be accounted for by a world-wide flood. As Maher said, the Bible is the "Word of God" and should be read as such.

"How about killing your neighbor if you see him working on a Sunday":
O'Reilly tries to switch the topic instead of addressing this legitimate concern/question. Obviously Maher is not out to get his questions answered, he is simply out to make people (who believe what the Bible says) look stupid. Unfortunately, O'Reilly does what many Christians do by neither addressing his question or his motivation- he goes right to the New Testament alone. Only THAT is important, they say. The O.T. is too hard to understand, right? Well, is it? This surely was not Jesus' approach. He affirmed and upheld the Law and the Prophets as being fully inspired by God, without error. Jesus wasn't afraid of looking stupid, neither was Paul.
(For some ideas on how I would answer Maher's question, look here. If Maher would accept his own premise, that the Bible is written by God, there would obviously be things that would seem, at first, to make "no sense" to finite, sinful humans.)

"Nobody can explain [our origins] but it doesn't mean we should make up stories like children to explain it."
This is the most laughable comment made in the whole piece. Unlike the agnostic (i.e. unknowing) story of macro-evolution - the fairy tale for grownups, the Bible is the only first-hand historical account of our origins. Therefore believing the Bible is not, like O'Reilly says, a "leap of faith". Indeed Christians put faith in God, but this is based on actual experience with God Himself, and an overwhelming amount of logical evidence to go with it (fulfilled prophecies, archeological findings, internal and external textual evidence etc.). Maher, on the other hand, believes implicitly in things in which he has no experience, nor any good evidence to believe. The driving factor for him, and for atheists in general, is that he does not want to believe in God. Romans 1:18 makes it clear that we all know there is a God by the created things we see around us, but we push away that truth so that we can do what we want to do. So in fact Maher's accusation falls on his own head: He is creating a fantasy world for himself so that he can do whatever he wants without God.

Instead of condemning Maher, it must be said that all of us do that same thing at times and therefore we all need the grace of God! My goal in a conversation like this would not be to end like O'Reilly did, but allow Maher to see the joy that I have in God and point him to this very loving God that can save him.