Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Duty of Delight
"Remember, O my soul,
It is your duty and privilege to rejoice in God...
Let God be all to thee,
and joy in the fountain that is always full."
- The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett

I love it. Self can't do it. Money can't do it. Nothing on this planet can do it. Nothing is meant to satisfy us fully but God Himself.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jesus Daily
This looks like some good news for your day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Japan - 2 Months After
This is definitely worth the time it takes to watch.

"Jesus Christ"(2months after the Earthquake in Japan. English ver.) from Dear.Japan on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reasoning Away God's Word
This video was another reminder of how easy it is to exalt our minds above God and His Word. In the doctrine of hell, creation, predestination, you name it - am I trusting in my own logic or simply taking God at his Word?
He knows more than me.

Randy Alcorn writes:
I promise the nearly ten minutes it takes to watch this video will be a great investment. Listen to it thoughtfully and prayerfully, and look at Francis as he talks. These aren’t just sound bites or a sales pitch, even though a forthcoming book is alluded to. This is from the heart and vitally important. It embodies both grace and truth.
I agree with Zach Nielsen: This is one of the best responses I have seen to "Love Wins" by Rob Bell.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Comparing the Apocalyptic Mindset & The Evolutionary Mindset

Many Christians are sad or upset about Mr. Camping and the recent major neglect of verses such as Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."

However as I read the following article I was amazed by the similarities in the belief structures of those who fall for apocalyptic theories and with those who fall for the theory of evolution.

Lorenzo DiTommaso writes:
"Historically, failed prophecies tend to result in disillusionment, with members deserting the group, or, more typically, a faith-saving (and face-saving) statement to the effect that while divine revelation remains infallible, human calculation is not. In short: The math was off, and it’s back to the drawing board. If the logic seems a bit self-serving, recall that in the apocalyptic mindset, faith precedes theory, and theory informs the evidence." (Emphasis mine)

How about the major failed prophecies of evolution?
1. Darwin predicted a fossil record filled with transitional forms of life. What was found? Nothing. There are missing links in the fossil record within every branch of Haeckel's prophetic "evolutionary tree". Perhaps "wood pile" would describe the facts more clearly.
2. Darwin predicted that we would continue to discover that the simple cell could be easily formed by itself. Even today scientists continue to be amazed at the amazing complexity and design structures of the anything but "simple" cell.
3. The famous Miller experiment of the 50's was the first attempt to make good on the prophecy that life could form on its own. Today the inability of even the most intelligent scientists to make even the simplest life forms on their own demonstrates the absolute failure of this prophecy.

What do the evolutionists say in response?

In short they say, "The math was off...", but of course it is never the theory.

I am happy to say my science and faith rests on eyewitness, first-hand accounts from God himself in his own Word, and not on the mathematical equations based on the philosophy of naturalism. God's "theories" have never changed and remain fixed forever as promises for all who would seek to know Him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Safes Wash Up on Shores
Interesting theme God seems to be teaching me here...

The earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11 is the most expensive natural disaster on record. But current figures don’t take into account individual losses from home-held cash savings washed away by the powerful waves.

There are no cars inside the parking garage at Ofunato Police Headquarters. Instead, hundreds of dented metal safes, swept out of homes and businesses by last month's tsunami, crowd the long rectangular building.

This will likely be true in many other towns and cities and the safes are likely to keep on coming every day.

A safe could hold someone's life savings.

The police are trying to find the owners of the safes washing up along the tsunami-battered coast - - a unique problem in a country where many people, especially the elderly, still stash their cash at home . There' s even a term for this hidden money in Japanese: "tansu yokin" or literally, 'wardrobe savings'.

As workers and residents pick through the wreckage, they are increasingly stumbling upon locked safes and cash.

Police departments, already stretched thin now face the growing task of managing lost wealth.

Identifying the owners of lost safes is hard enough, but it's nearly impossible when it comes to wads of cash being found in envelopes, unmarked bags, boxes and furniture.
Associated Press, T Hosaka, 2011-04-10

Possessions are here today and gone tomorrow! So let’s follow the sound advice of the Bible and invest in eternity!

Command those who are rich in this present world
not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain,
but to put their hope in God,
who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to do good,
to be rich in good deeds,
and to be generous and willing to share.
In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves
as a firm foundation for the coming age,
so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life
(1 Tim. 6:17-19).

While we still have the opportunity, let’s be extravagantly generous! 
- By Neil Verwey

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lessons from Touhoku
My co-worker Kami Alexander writes:

As I shoveled my way through the debris and bagged away the washed out remains of broken homes, broken dreams, and broken families, I found a treasure hidden in the piles of junk. The treasure was the realization of just how very little and just how very much we need. We need very little of the "precious" things most of us covet, horde, and slave away to buy. Those precious things have all become rubbish, shoveled into bags and piled into mountains and heaps. In contrast, we need so very much of God.

I was so "blessed" to find the contents of a fish shop that had washed into a ditch. As I uncovered the pile of six-and-a-half week old stinking rotten fish teeming with maggots, my stomach and I vowed to stay clear of sushi for a very long time. My gag reflex has still not recovered from the trip even now- the slightest whiff of fish makes me nauseous. That's alright, though. I could go the rest of my life without sushi. I could not go a day without Jesus.

What strikes me to the core is how this community has suffered the loss of everything they built their lives upon- success, homes, family, work, cars, material things. If you've built your life on those things, and they wash away, you need to find a better foundation! That is what I want most desperately to offer them. A foundation built on a relationship with God. God's love will never change, shake, or wash away. It is the only thing which we can have both here and hereafter.

Should all else wash away in my life, I would still be able to praise God for his mercy and love. Should even my life be required of me, I would go into the presence of God knowing I will meet his love and mercy. Nothing else, NoONE else, can promise that to me.

Like Paul says in Philippians 3:8: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."

Christ Jesus. Only Christ Jesus. May this be the foundation of my life.

These and the maggoty fish are the reason I am staying away from sushi for awhile.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Comfort for Japan from Long Ago

Justin Taylor writes:

The lyrics to William Cowper’s final song are worthy of deep reflection, especially when you know the backstory of his pain and struggle:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

David Ward’s contemporary rendition and adaption, “You Are Mysterious,” can be listened to online. Bob Kauflin also has a version of the song on the Worship God Live CD, which you can sample here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Status of Global Mission 2010

1. The total global church member annual income is $28.8 trillion ($28,800 billion).
2. Of this, $513 billion (1.73 percent) is given to Christian causes.
3. Of this, $29 billion (5.7 percent of the 1.73 percent) goes to Foreign Missions.
4. Of this, 87 percent goes for work among those already Christians; 12 percent goes for work among already evangelized non-Christians, and one percent - $290 million - goes to the unreached.

See more here.

John Piper writes, "If we, like Paul, are content with the simple necessities of life, billions of dollars in the church would be released to take the gospel to the frontiers. The revolution of joy and freedom it would cause at home would be the best local witness imaginable."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Made for Global Missions
Piper: Just reaching your city or your own country will make you sick.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tsunami Power

Yomiuri News:

The massive M9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011. It laid waste the world's deepest breakwater and carried with it a momentum equal to that of 250 jumbo jets flying at 1,000 km per hour!

The colossal two-kilometer-long breakwater at the mouth of Kamaishi Bay was 20 meters thick, at depths of as much as 63 meters with its top rising 8 meters above the water's surface to protect the port. It was recognized by Guinness World Records as the deepest breakwater in the world, but it was obliterated by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. Many of the coastal levees - the final line of defense between the breakwater and the shore - were swept away by the tsunami as if they were pieces of cork.

Another 10-meter-high levee at Miyako that stretched along 2.5 kilometers had been nicknamed 'The Great Wall of China’ by the locals, an apparent reference to their belief that it would protect them. However, the powerful tsunami breached the levee within moments and destroyed the city transforming it into a muddy swamp. The town is now covered with fishing boats, and its damaged houses stick out of the gray mud.

There were some traces of seawater from the tsunami found at places as high as the 37.9-meter point.

"The wave’s power was far beyond our predictions.” Tomoya Shibayama, professor of ocean engineering at Waseda University, confessed. “The whole country needs to revisit its disaster measures."

What is scarier than this?

There is a larger tsunami warning sounding out for those who do not want to know God!

No matter what the situation might be -- God promises to look after those who flee to Him.

In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence:
and his children shall have a place of refuge

(Prov. 14: 26).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Power of Praying over God's Word
from Colossians 1:9-14

...we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
- fully pleasing to him,
- bearing fruit in every good work and
- increasing in the knowledge of God.
- strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might,
- for all endurance and patience with joy,
- for giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Foundation for this hope
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Detailed Report from CRASH Japan
I have been looking forward to this kind of news for a long time. I am happy to see how CRASH is helping with the recovery in so many ways. Please don't forget to keep praying and giving!
Read more here.
God Loves Using Small Things - Like Us

From a fellow missionary in Japan who volunteered in the devastation area:

It was rewarding to see the encouragement 10 people can bring to a family helping over a 2-day period. We spent another day cleaning up around the greenhouses of a strawberry farm. But as we looked at the extent of the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami, our contribution seemed like a drop of water in the ocean.

I feel like Philip and Andrew when asked by Jesus how to feed 5,000 people.

John 6:7-9 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

The Kansai Earthquake in 1995 probably covered an area with a 20-kilometer radius. The East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami covered an area 500 kilometers in length.

Please pray for a multiplying of our small efforts for God's glory in Japan!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mark's Interview on Today's Family Radio
Thought you might like to listen to a recent interview I had with a Christian radio station in America. They broadcast to about 5 states including Ontario.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Special Earthquake Issue
Download a free portion of the latest Japan Harvest magazine here. It tells some personal stories from people living in Japan that have experienced the great earthquake here and its aftermath.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Quote of the Day
"It is astonishing that he gave the Beloved (Jesus) for those who hated him... If even when we hated him and were enemies he gave the Beloved, what will he not do for us now?"
- John Chrysostem commenting on Romans 8:32, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. 8, p. 108)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

One More Great Video
Betty Kwan:
The thing that strikes me in this video is that the shots are of Japanese Christians! The Japanese Christians are rising up and are praying confidently, and sharing Jesus with those who have not heard. This video is very powerful! There are English subtitles.

"The light of the world"_After the Earthquake in Japan(English ver.) from Dear.Japan on Vimeo.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Most Shocking Footage I've Seen
Some of you should not watch this.
If you recover from the pain in your heart, get to your knees to pray.
And to think this same thing happened for hundreds of miles down the coast! I just weep to think of it. Right now more than 26,000 are gone, more than 130,000 in evacuation centers still.

Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?

What is God up to in the recent disasters in Japan & America? God is up to something, though we may never know the full extent of it.

Read one of the most informative & world-view-shaping messages I've ever heard on the topic here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

This is Just Crazy
Watch how the tsunami came into the Sendai Airport. The people in the background say that there are people in some of the cars. By the end I think they are ready to flee to the next floor up!