Sunday, August 28, 2011

祈りは難しくない Praying is Not Hard
I admire this guy for getting the value of communication.

Hi! I’m Takeshi from LifeChurch.
I want to write about a particular “habit” that I have; I talk with my parents by telephone every morning.

私の両親は大阪から遠く離れた福岡に住んでいます。17年前に大学に入るために家を出てからは、それまでは毎日話をするのが当たり前だった両親と、 言葉を交わさない日の方が多くなりました。親だからといって何でも知っているわけではないので、コミュニケーションが薄くなれば、お互いに誤解し行き違う ことも増えてきました。
My parents live in Fukuoka, far from Osaka. Ever since I left my home to enroll in university 17 years ago, I have rarely had a conversation with them, although we had talked with each other everyday up until the day I left. Just because they’re my parents doesn’t mean that I know them very well. and because of the lack of communication, we have sometimes misunderstood each other.

One morning, I called my parents on the way to my office. First, my father and mother were surprised and said, “What’s happened? Is something wrong?”, but after our 5 minute talk they were glad. Since that time two months ago, I have kept this habit and feel that our words are getting milder and that our relationship has become deeper than before.


「祈り」も同じようなことだと思うのです。私たちが神様との会話を怠れば、神様のことを誤解することが増えていきます。けれどももし一日5分でも神 様と「会話」をするなら、神様を正しく理解し関係は深まります。難しいことではありません。神様は遠く離れた九州に住んでいるのではなくて、いつも私たち と共におられるのですから。
I think that “prayer” looks like this. If we neglect our communication with God, we will tend to misunderstand Him. However, if we have “conversation” with Him, even 5 minutes per day, we will be able to understand and get more deeply involved with Him. This is not hard to do because God always stands by us, not in far off place like Kyushu.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Watch "Chosen by God" for Free
Ever since I heard about this book (and video) I've been wanting to get a hold of it. It has made a great impact on some people I really respect. What a surprise when I heard this whole course is now being offered for free!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip to Tohoku Video
This is a video I made for my parents' church in Iowa about my trip to help in the devastation area from March 31 to April 8.

Mission to Japan - Tohoku from Mark Wolter on Vimeo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Women Rejecting Marriage in Asia

Asian governments have long taken the view that the superiority of their family life was one of their big advantages over the West. That confidence is no longer warranted. They need to wake up to the huge social changes happening in their countries and think about how to cope with the consequences.

Read more here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Balance of Unity & Truth
John Owen:
"I can freely say that I know not that man in England who is willing to go farther in forbearance, love, and communion with all that fear God and hold the foundation, than I am;


that this is to be done upon other grounds, principles, and ways, by other means and expedients, than by a condescension from the exactness of the least apex of gospel truth,

I have elsewhere sufficiently declared. Let no man deceive you with vain pretenses; hold fast the truth that it in Jesus, part not with one iota, and contend for it when called thereunto." (emphasis mine)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Always Positive Messages?
J. Gresham Machen:
"Men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Revealing God's Word to Your Kids
Great post by my brother Doug here:

Here’s a simple outline to follow in balancing the law and the gospel in our parenting:

  • Give them God’s law – You must do it.
  • Remind them they’re sinners – You can’t do it.
  • Point them to Christ – He has done it.
  • Tell them as believers – In Christ, you can do it.

Step 1: Give them God’s Law – You must do it.

For example, let’s say your daughter whines and refuses to help serve you in the kitchen because she’d rather watch T.V. You come to her and say, “You need to stop whining and obey your daddy by serving cheerfully right now. You must do it.”

Step 2: Remind them they’re sinners – You can’t do it.

Your daughter looks away from you and whines even louder, “I don’t want to.” So, you tell her, “I know that you don’t want to and I also know that you can’t serve cheerfully and think of others first on your own. You’re just like me, you’re a sinner. You can’t do it.”

Step 3: Point them to Christ – He has done it.

Your daughter gives you a strange look. So you sit down beside her and say, “You know what, I’m so glad that God has mercy on sinners like you and me. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in our place to take our sin and give us his righteousness if we would simply trust in him. Jesus never whined and always obeyed his Father cheerfully. He has done it.”

Step 4: Tell them as believers – In Christ you can do it.

Finally, you look at your daughter and tell her that as believers in Christ we have been made new. We are clothed in his goodness because of his grace. Therefore, we have a heart that wants to serve and think of others first. It’s in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In Christ you can do it.

Realistically, you won’t be able to delve into this deep of discussion every time, but this is the heart (and basic outline) behind how to approach these situations. Note: If you’re child is not yet a believer in Christ, the Last Step is an opportunity to help him or her respond to God’s grace offered to them in Christ – pointing them away from their performance to Christ’s performance on their behalf. Remind them that Christ took our filthy rags, he took our failed test of obedience, and in exchange he gave us his white robe of goodness and his perfect score of obedience. We receive it all by faith in what Christ has done for us, not what we must do for him.

A Major Problem in American Evangelicalism
Guest post by David Dorr

One of evangelicalism's greatest problems is the way we focus on America's problems. We tend to look at America from the summit of Mt. Sinai. We look at God's law and we see that it is righteous and good. We also know the promise that is attached to it: that the nation that keeps the law will be blessed.

But the promise of blessing is conditional. The blessing is only for those who keep the law. And when a nation strays from God's will, as revealed from Sinai, then every crisis is a call for national repentance and a return to God's ways.

The problem with all of this is God is no longer operating from Mt. Sinai. We no longer relate to anything from the law -- the system of performance that promises curses and blessings.

We are trying to reform from the wrong mountain. Our sacred assemblies and calls for righteousness are all in the shadow of Sinai -- is it no wonder that people curse and rebel?

No, we are people who renew from Golgotha. Evangelicals are dead Americans that have been raised to the heavenly city. And Mt. Zion doesn't need princes and chariots, it needs sacrificial service, laying our very lives down for law-breakers that they might meet Jesus.

Evangelical, you have nothing to fear by our present crisis -- but you are uniquely positioned with a message of hope -- a gospel that destroyed Sinai so that we can be free to serve.

Now This is Cool - Flying Car
I hope this helps a lot of people.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I Really Like this Pic... I Love this FamilyWhat a joy it has been to spend more time with my young family this summer. Yes, I am growing in patience and need to pray more than ever before, and that is also a wonderful thing!

These precious boys of mine will grow up and leave someday. (Even though Noah told me today that he never wants to leave.) I do not want to miss the opportunities I have to spend with them. I encourage you also, seize the day with your family. While I cannot be with my extended family as much as I would like, I realize I need to make more efforts to love them as well. Faith, hope and love... these are the only three that remain.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Two Simple Reasons Evolution is Impossible

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Guest Post by Neil Verwey:

A trickle of suicides in the region, devastated by the March 11 M9.0 earthquake and tsunami, may soon become a river -- the farmer who hanged himself, distressed about a cabbage harvest ruined by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant; the overworked government worker near the same complex who took his own life; the father who killed himself after a fruitless search for his child after the tsunami.

“I feel sorry for these people in the same way I do for those who died in the tsunami,” said Naoko Sugimoto, 67, who heads a national suicide support group. “But they didn't die in the tsunami; they died afterward. They took their own lives. And that makes one ask oneself, 'what could we have done?’”

Public health officials have created suicide hotlines, pumped more money into therapy programs and sent more suicide counselors into the field as they wait and worry.

Some who have lost homes, family and friends probably will ask, “What do I have to live for?”

Japan's view of taking one's own life does not carry the connotations of sin or mental illness that it does in the West. For centuries, the country has maintained a romanticized notion of the noble suicide.

Even now, every 15 minutes, someone takes his or her own life in the island nation of 127 million, establishing suicide as the leading cause of death among Japanese men ages 20 to 44 and women ages 15 to 34.

“We never know what we have waiting for us on the next page of our lives,” Sugimoto said. “But people need to wait and see how they can cope through a difficult time!”
Source: Los Angeles Times, J. Glionna 2011-04-24

If you are suicidal, like many suicide victims you might mistakenly think suicide is the end of everything!

Not so! Life goes on! And your life is precious in the sight of God!

God gave you life, so let Him take it at the right time. Whether you die from age or from an illness, or whatever, allow Him to be in control of your destiny.

Realize how special you are to Him! As He spoke to people of old, He is also speaking to you!

The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing
(Zeph. 3:17, NIV).

Envision the Creator of the universe celebrating in refreshing your life in this world and also for eternity!

Give Him a chance and trust Him completely in the trials you face!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Look at Iwate Prefecture 岩手県
One of the most severely damaged prefectures in Japan after the March 11th tsunami was Iwate-ken. This is where I had the opportunity to help out with the recovery efforts for a week, and this is where recovery efforts will continue on for years to come.

Here are some statistics I found to be very interesting:
Iwate Prefecture:
Population: 1,405,060
Missionaries: 1
Missionaries helping in the area after the devastation: Thousands!

Worship Attendence average on a Sunday: 1,248. (This is only about 1 in every 1,400 people.)
After the recover efforts are done: Only God knows.

Will you not pray for these desperate people that God loves so dearly?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Hard but Pleasing Path of God's Word
"God hath strewed all the way from the gate of hell, where thou wast, to the gate of heaven, whither thou art going, with flowers out of his own garden. Behold how the promises, invitations, calls and encouragements, like lilies, lie round about thee! Take heed that thou dost not tread them under thy foot." - John Bunyan
Powerful True Story

(HT: Z)
Glad I didn't find this in my Kitchen!