Saturday, July 30, 2011

John Lennon Consulted with Japan Missionaries
Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Joy of Joining God in His Work
My message on Sunday over Psalm 50:8-15. (バイリンガル)
Killer from Norway, a Christian Fundamentalist?
Michael Horton:
At least 76 people are dead after Anders Behring Breivik massacred campers on an island off the coast of Oslo, Norway.

Finally, the media has a face and a name for making its heretofor unjustified claim of moral equivalency between conservative Christianity and Islam. Religion may be fine as long as it’s private, and you don’t really believe the key teachings of any one in particular. In any case, those who think they need to act on their confessional convictions in daily life—much less encourage other people to embrace them—are on the path to terrorism. Finally, we can reassure ourselves that Islam is not the problem; it’s “Christian fundamentalism."

But for anyone interested in the facts of the case, the secularist narrative has lost its poster-boy. In an on-line manifesto, Breivik makes it clear that he is not a “fundamentalist Christian.” He prefaces one comment with, “If there is a God…” and says that science should always trump religion. So in terms of religious convictions, he sounds more like Richard Dawkins than Jerry Falwell. Yet, unlike Dawkins, Breivik pines for the “good ‘ol days” of Christendom, especially the crusades. “Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe…”

The nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche shrewdly observed that in his day the bourgeois elites of Europe wanted the fruit of Christianity (i.e., moral culture) without the tree itself (i.e., the actual doctrine and practice). Breivik is not a poster-boy for “Christian fundamentalism,” but the fulfillment of Nietzsche’s prophecy. It’s one thing to confuse the kingdom of Christ with the kingdoms of this age, but we need a new category besides “fundamentalism” for the secular faith in “Christendom” without Christ.
Read the rest.

(HT: Tim Challies via Z)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More than (but not Less than) Academic
John Frame:
"He is not a God who has gone away and left us with a book. He is the God who brings his book to us each day, each minute. And that fact makes that book all the more precious to us. It is his personal words to us, not only delivered by him, but spoken to our hearts whenever we hear or read them."

"...the word of God is nothing less than God himself, in his controlling power, meaningful authority, and personal presence."
Incarnating the Gospel in Japan
My heartbeat still rings along the same lines as the Navigators. I haven't been a Navigator for over 9 years now, but in my heart I'll always be one. I still believe there is no better way to share the gospel in Japan than to live it out in the context of real relationships over time.

To Incarnate the Gospel from Summmer Impact Japan on Vimeo.

(HT: Mark Rood)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Losing Pride = Changing my Focus
This week I had some pretty severe criticism come my way. Thankfully this came by way of e-mail. Because of this I was able to take time - to both calm down from shock and then anger - and then to examine my own heart and situation before the Lord. As I was praying, Philippians 2 suddenly came to my mind. In reading I saw some important things.

1. Jesus humbled himself and did not grasp on to all of his rights. (v.6) NO ONE actually believed in him enough to believe in the resurrection he prophesied about. It was enough that He and God knew the truth.
2. He made himself the servant - even unto death. (v.8)
3. God exalted Him (v.9) and will one day fully exalt Him. (v.10-11)

How did this apply in my situation:

1. I don't need to convince every doubter of my righteousness. Why?
I know who I am: Christ's child. It is enough that He and I know the truth.
2. Because of this I can be patient with criticism without anger. I can die to
my prideful need to be justified in the eyes of others. How?
3. Because one day God will be exalted and raise me up also. The truth will
one day be known!

Jesus humbled himself, and even now he is not fully exalted before all.

1. Jesus was exalted in his resurrection, but not by all.
2. Jesus was exalted in his ascension by more people, but not by all.
3. Jesus will be exalted as someday and all will acknowledge his Lordship, but this has not happened yet. Jesus must be patient just as I also must be. One day, the truth WILL BE made clear before all. This is a great comfort and strength for us against pride as we endure all kinds of struggles and criticism for the sake of the gospel.

I'm happy to say that I was enabled by God to respond in a calm and patient manner, though probably not without a bit of pride. It is a grace from God that I was able to realize that I do have room to grow!
Confronting Our Idols
This is a great reminder. Idolatry doesn't just happen in foreign cultures, sadly it happens in the church as well.

Confronting Idols & Making Disciples from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Gonna Miss this Dude
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." - 3 John 1:4
It has been such a joy to work with my good friend, Yutaro, this past year or so. Though I am not quite old enough to be his Dad (thankfully!), I have so enjoyed watching this dude grow in the Lord and walk in the truth. Truly there is no greater joy to see another younger man grow spiritually through time spent together. I greatly recommend spiritual discipleship to all men. Get out of your comfort zone and get into the lives of a younger man. You have so much to give - if nothing else but your experience. Yutaro has also helped me in various ways, including helping me to stay! Meeting with younger men keeps my own faith fresh and more vibrant. I will truly miss this dude when he leaves.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Guest post by Neil Verwey

Hundreds of moving stories can be told of family members who thought their loved ones were swept away by the tsunami of March 11, 2011, and how they were re-united.

Yuko Sugimoto, 28, feared the worst. She had lost contact with her 5-year-old son, Raito, whose kindergarten stood in the path of the tsunami that devastated Ishinomaki on March 11. Two days later, wrapped in a blanket she stared bleakly in the direction of Ishinomaki Mizuho Kindergarten. She still had not heard anything about the fate of her son.

She was in an office building in a neighboring town when the earthquake struck. She immediately jumped in her car and drove to Ishinomaki, but the roads were impassable and she was forced to turn back.

On March 12, accompanied by her 36-year-old husband, Harunori, she again hunted in vain for her son . Torn with grief, she kept receiving conflicting information: “The children were rescued,” or “The children were swept away.”

Finally she learned the real story. There were 11 children and 14 teachers and staff members in the kindergarten when the earthquake hit. Everyone evacuated to the second floor as the tsunami swept in.

However, as the black, muddy seawater quickly rose to the second floor, the teachers pulled the children up to the roof. Gym mats were used to keep the wind off the children and stuffed animals and curtains were used to keep them warm.

Three days after the disaster, Sugimoto learned the children had been evacuated to Ishinomaki Senshu University. She rushed to the university and was finally reunited with Raito. She hugged him so strongly she thought she would never let him go.

“Thank goodness,” she could only say repeatedly while clutching Raito's legs and arms and listening to his voice!

Since then, Raito always clings onto Sugimoto and will not even go to the restroom by himself.

The Sugimotos live in a rented house in Osaki in another part of the prefecture, but Sugimoto cannot stop smiling with happiness!

“As long as my son is with me, I can look forward to anything,” she said.
Source: Yomiuri News, H. Inoshita 2011-04-16

Israel said to Joseph,
“I never expected to see your face again,
and now God has allowed me to see your children too”

(Gen. 48:11, NIV).

Jacob thought his son was dead for many years, and then found that he had not only survived, but had become very prosperous. Not only did he see Joseph again, but also his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Let’s treasure our families and treasure our spiritual families even more!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Best Way to Memorize Bible Verses with Your Kids
Phil Downer:
The best teacher is one who can share his mistakes and struggles...
I can talk with my kids about memorizing verses, but the most effective way to encourage them to learn verses is to hand them my verses, written on 3x5 cards, and ask them to quiz me on the verses I am trying to learn. As I stumble over them and have to rememorize and review them, not only do they see that I struggle with memory work, but also how important it is to me to struggle through the process of memorizing Scripture. And sometimes, as they help me learn the verse, they begin to get it too. Most importantly, they are learning that there is no shortcut to obedience. Memorization, like other godly endeavors, takes hard work.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Do Christians Have to Go to Church?
Pastor Mike McKinley, author of Am I Really a Christian?

Do Christians have to join a church? from Crossway on Vimeo.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Finish the Mission Conference
Wish I could get to this one. Glad I will be able to watch/listen online later!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Is it just me or is this hilariously sad?
Good News for the Family?
Get the free audio book here.
Great Reminder for Me Today
Don't Waste Your Life... Live for more than this!