Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why won't you believe

Stepping into Korea we found a world we have not known. The language the signage the social cues are all foreign. In Japan, when riding an escalator you stand on the left and allow others to pass on the right. In Korea there were no formal rules. The streets were like in the US drive on the right. The airport was very modern and then we drove south toward Osan. It was not like the TV series MASH that I grew up knowing. It is a beautiful country. In Osan, the buildings are many with high rises on every side. Yet as we got closer we noticed the area take a drastic turn and become seedy and run down. The streets had slum like conditions with open garbage dumped on the streets. Not in cans or bags. The buildings were stacked one on top of another with massive signage that made it confusing to know which sign belonged to which business. I noticed in the days that we were there the repetition of the businesses. A liquor store, a bar, a sports store, a gift shop repeat. There were many restaurants like BK-31 McD's, and Pizza shops. Once on base we entered another planet. The groomed grass parkways and organized streets with condominium like buildings for housing and offices gave way to a sprawling landscape out of a movie. It was another city within the city. We walked for 30 minutes before we got to the Commissary and food court. Beyond that we came upon the Schools. In that area was a fitness building with a gym that has two basketball courts back to back. This allowed the organizers to layout 5 wrestling rings end to end. 16 High school wrestling teams assembled for the three days of wrestling in multiple wrestling classes. Nathan wrestled in the 141 weight class. He place 4th out of 16. We praise God and thank him for the opportunity for Nathan to wrestle and enjoy the sport. I really am thankful that dispite the difficulties he stuck with it to the end. Each night we went with the wrestlers to dinner at various Korean restaurants. It was wonderful. The food was good and hot (spicy hot) but everyone had a good time.
    After the wrestling was over we had our last day to visit two friends from our kids school. The Korean government is very strict about what school the kids can attend. It is very difficult to go to an international school. So many families will relocate outside of the country and gain two years experience which earns them the right to attend an international school in Korea. The Kim family is a family of Doctors. The husband and kids are all Christians but the mom, who has attended church for 15 years has never given her heart to Christ. She knows the gospel and knows the consequences. Yet still she is playing with fire. I tried to politely pursuade her to reconsider. She politely declined. We talked on the way to the airport but she has her reasons. I told her I would pray for her as we love her and want to see her in Heaven with all her family. She thanked us. Please pray for Mrs. Kim. I really feel the wrestling was secondary to the primary mission God wanted us to plead with her soul to receive him. She is wrestling on the inside and she can't pin down what it is. Yet, she continues to grapple with God. May He prevail over her life and she surrenders to Him.
    On Tuesdays, I meet with other Calvary Pastors for breakfast and study. We have been almost a year in the book of Jeremiah. This week we were in Jeremiah 40.  It is so sad that though the people knew Jeremiahs prophecies and saw the fulfillment of it all they still refused to listen and though they were told to not got to Egypt they still went. How is it we as humans can ignore God's warnings? It seems unfathomable yet we all sin including me and we all disobey and stray. It is by grace that we are saved through faith and that not of yourselves. Oh that God would give to Kim san that saving faith to receive the grace he has for her. Love you all thank you for reading and praying.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jama or Ojama or Love

Today, 10-29-2016
I was in a hurry. A lady was not driving though a green light as she was waving to someone on the sidewalk. The person wasn't looking and the driver was taking 30 seconds to try and get their attention. When she did turn I pulled up to pass her and rolled down my window and shouted 'Jama" 邪魔 [じゃま (jama)]" see note at the bottom. "Jama," can mean, "you're in the way," or get outta the way depending how you say it. I believe I had the best intentions when I said it. My son swears it was close to an epitaph. I didn't use the honorific “O”in front to make it more polite (Ojama). At that point, my son sitting next to me and sinking down in his seat says, "Hey dad, can we go back and invite her to church?" I shot back, "Dude you sure know how to ruin my day." I now know what book I'll write now. "How NOT to be a missionary/pastor/father/Christian/or ambassador for Christ”

I got to thinking more about it and reflected on the scriptures this afternoon. Below are my thoughts.

Matthew 5:21-22
21“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you
commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’
22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!
If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the
court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (NIV)

I was wrong and verbal and expressive. This is not by any means an excuse for my behavior in fact it wasn't the first time. I probably feed this attitude of my heart because I mumble under my breath. In stead of having a heart of compassion I had a heart of business and indifference. I was rude and a misrepresentation of Christ. So according to 1 John 1:9 I am forgiven as I confess my sin to Jesus. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As much as I am addicted to coffee I am more addicted to God's grace.  The final thought I had on this even though what I did was bad on many levels because I was verbal... the scriptures show that even if you think the thought of something bad your are equally guilty. Oh may the Lord purge our hearts of evil thoughts. I need the heart of Jesus more and more. 


邪魔する ‎(hiragana じゃまする, romaji jama suru)
  1. to impede, to obstruct
    その車が通過 (つうか)邪魔 (じゃま)しています。
    Sono kuruma ga tsūka o jama shite imasu.
    That car is impeding passage.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Christians that are haters...Stop it!

Warning I'm treading into the ring and shouting at the Christian haters. I am not endorsing any candidate. I am talking to Christians in general. Yes this is way too long.

1 John 5:16 "If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.

Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

6 months ago Donald Trump was not a born again Christian. Recently Christian leaders have been meeting with Mr. Trump and have stated that he has in fact prayed to receive Christ. If this is true (and this is a big if) then the above verses must be applied especially since his sin was in the past and our Savior Jesus has forgiven and forgotten Mr. Trumps Sin. Yet I am seeing just vile anger and guile toward this sinner saved by grace. I am questioning many of my social media friends on whether or not they have truly received grace?

Trump is not an idea candidate but he is who God sovereignly has provided to you republicans. Trump 6 months ago was and still is a Sleazy real estate mogul that was known for his strip clubs and gambling casino's around the world. He's cheated on his wives not a new revelation. He is rife with sinful actions. Now he turns and hears the gospel and receives Christ. He is a new creation. You hear about his past sins and the American Christian turns on him and shouts off with his head. Like crazy demonic eyed ISIS fighters there are many Christians that are hateful to Trump. Stop it! It's not Christian. I am a pastor and missionary here in Japan and I have to explain your vile actions to our church members. Trumps actions are easy to explain because they were pre-Christ. But you Christian are just flat out embarrassing. I have no explanation for why a so-called Christian would become so blood thirsty for one of their own.

I am reminded of the parable in the book of Judges.
Jotham’s Parable

When Jotham heard about this, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted,
“Listen to me, citizens of Shechem!
Listen to me if you want God to listen to you!
Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king.
First they said to the olive tree,
‘Be our king!’
But the olive tree refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing the olive oil
that blesses both God and people,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the fig tree,
‘You be our king!’
But the fig tree also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the grapevine,
‘You be our king!’
But the grapevine also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing the wine
that cheers both God and people,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said,
‘Come, you be our king!’
And the thornbush replied to the trees,
‘If you truly want to make me your king,
come and take shelter in my shade.
If not, let fire come out from me
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”

If you don't continue with what you started and Hillary gets elected you may find yourself burned in the process.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beware Ministry Machismo

 The following is a quote from a book called "Zeal without Burnout" with the subtitle "Seven Keys to a Lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice."

I found myself greatly bothered by others in ministry with long prayer letters which were really bragamonies (Bragging testimonies). Then I discovered I was the worst offender and in my pride I was guilty on all counts. This quote really opened my eyes:

"Until recently, I lived in the centre of London, where, as in many vibrant cities, there is a somewhat cocky workplace machismo. "I'm working harder than you," is the culture, "and therefore I am more important than you. Indeed, it is necessary for me to let you know how hard I work, for only then will you truly appreciate how important I must be."
      It is not surprising that we can detect this culture seeping from the world into the church. We get kudos from how hard we are seen to be working.

Please pray for me. It's been very, very busy for the past few years. I do have to work, long hours, travel a lot, get rather little sleep, and often have to sacrifice my day off.

That is what I say with my lips, but the subtext in my heart may be this:

I want you to realize that I and my ministry are very 
important - and probably more important than you and your ministry. 
Such ministry machismo is proud and dangerous. To neglect sleep, Sabbaths, friendships and inward renewal is not heroism but hubris. It is to claim that I am a level or two above the normal members of the human race. When a fellow-Christian lets slip how very hard they are working, and that they haven't had a proper day off for a while, we need to find a way of saying to them (in love), "You are behaving like an arrogant fool."

     What is more, they will not just harm themselves. A friend in ministry wrote to me that one of the hardest things in his near-breakdown was "feeling like I was being expected to work at least as hard as I was, rather than being encouraged to be realistic and take a rest."

     I am so grateful that when I was an assistant minister, I was under a wise leader who understood this so well. He had a remarkable ability to work very hard. He guarded his days off and was very disciplined, and he certainly could work harder than me.

     But he never put pressure on me to work as hard as he did.

When I needed a break, he actively encouraged me to take as much break as I needed. I knew he thought none the worse of me for that. I thank God for that godly example and oversight. Those of us in leadership should try to emulate with the expectations we lay - or do not lay - on other."''''''
                                                                                                        Christopher Ash

Zeal without burnout by Christopher Ash, The Good Book Company 2016, pages 77 bottom to 79

Mindsets are powerful things but also very dangerous tools of the enemy Satan. If He can get us thinking a certain way he can cause many problems and divisions. He's being doing that for years.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!...Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky..." Philippians 2:5-16 NIV

 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Father forgive me a servant with a prideful heart. I ask of you to change my heart that has wrong motives and false mindsets. Help me to have the mindset of Christ Jesus. Help me to do everything without grumbling and thinking I'm working harder than others and more tired than others. Help me to get my eyes off others and keep them on you. Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Thank you LORD. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Watched a documentary of Donald J. Trump. I used to work for a Real Estate Trainer. We used training materials that have roots from a church in New York. It was sales techniques. The Pastor (Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale) was the originator of the Power of Positive Thinking movement. Not all bad stuff but the flesh of man has taken it for greed and power purposes and have built empires. Dale Carnegie, Tony Robins, Mike Ferry, Robert Schuller, John C. Maxwell, Stephan R. Covey, Donald J. Trump and still more have all sat under this mans teaching. Most mega church pastors are loaded with seasoning from this teaching. All have mastered the art of manipulation. The company I worked for taught verbal hypnosis and Neural Linguistic Programming for closing sales (NLP) Its a psychological term that is used in suggestive reprogramming of mental patients usually but it has become a powerful tool in getting people to buy what they don't want. The documentary I watched showed a Democratic Donald J. Trump with the views of a liberal and a master manipulator and negotiator. America is blinded right now. Trump is best friends with the Clintons. Romans 16:17-18 "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and AVOID THEM. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by SMOOTH WORDS and FLATTERING SPEECH deceive the hearts of the simple." Colossians 2:4 and 8 "Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words....8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. I am asking my family and friends to please truly pray about who to support and vote for in this coming election. I have heard many even evangelicals say God is setting up the end times and He'll place into power the guy he wants. That is the enemy talking. We've been in the end times since Christ ascended into heaven. We must remain vigilant and occupy until he comes. Don't give up. prayerfully vote wisely. God bless 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Love Never Fails

Serving the Homeless is sometimes fun, sometimes difficult, and sometimes hard to walk away from. Not all homeless want help. Ministries all want to help those who want help. Here in Japan, I have found three men that are on their own and really like it that way even when the temps dip below freezing. I can see their hands with the borderline frostbite. They say they are fine, They say they don't need anything, They say..."No thank you." So a few months ago I was thinking of cutting my losses and jumping ship. Go and find some new homeless who want help and who need ministering so I began to pray about this. Then in our Wednesday night Bible study we are currently in the book of  Numbers. In Chapter 14: The Israelites were stubborn people and fearful and didn't trust God. They rejected God's plan, God's promise land, God's protection. They wanted to go back to Egypt. Fear blinds us beyond our own ability to reason. So too the homeless fear the future and the discomfort of now is better than facing the unknown. God condemned the 20 somethings and above to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It was their choice. They even said in their complaining "If we had only died in the wilderness it would have been better." So God gave them their hearts desire.
     Then we have Chapter 15, the Israelites are down, they are on death row, they are realizing they missed the opportunity.
 But God in his grace says, "I want you to remember when you do come into the Land I am giving you don't forget to offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving. That is God's grace. He is with them for the long run. But they rejected him. God in his grace is still supplying manna and water and meat. Their clothes are not wearing out. The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night is still there. Life will continue. It is amazing how blessed these people were by God. So as a ministry how can I give up on those whom God has called me to serve? They are his and
So as I minister to these men. I am not going to give up on them until 1. The Lord clearly says to. 2. They ask me to leave them alone. or 3. I die. The hard thing that is coming will be when I have different homeless who want help. I'll be tempted to go where the work is. God did not forget the Israelites and may he help me to not give up on these guys. I've shared the gospel we've read the scripture together for two years. They are more educated about the Bible than 98% of the rest of the population of Japan. I'm serious. Most Japanese people have never read the Bible. Most even own one but they have never read it cover to cover. Sad part is many evangelical pastors haven't done it either. Serving the homeless is not a right, or a call, but it is a ministry I am privileged to do. God calls someone to serve Him. I say yes sir how can I serve you? He puts a desire in my heart to go and love on these guys. I bought this man $40.00 boots last year. He hawked them for food. I'm not mad I love him. I can only come one day a week. We offer them winter clothes they take what they need. I don't get upset because they reject what I offer. I offer him help to get out of this situation but he's not ready. He is fearful. The Israelites were fearful. They rejected what God had to offer. He didn't give up but still even to this day pursue them with a love that hasn't changed on iota.  Paul says it is the love of Christ that constrains us. God has given me a heart to stand by and be ready to help when they want it. Love does not: 1Corinthians 13:5-8a "...Love does not behave rudely, love does not seek it's own... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. Love never fails."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter time exalt the Christ our Savior and King

Anemic Christians are anemic because they are never shown that the preeminence of Christ is the most important aspect of our faith. They don't learn that Christ came to earth as a seed of God placed in the womb of the virgin. They don't learn of "The Word", Christ, became flesh and dwelt among us. They don't learn that Christ purposefully died a brutal death. They don't learn that Christ being God although taking our sin into the death realm He could not stay dead as death has no grip on Him being God. They are not taught Christ rose to ascend to a much higher calling as a co-ruler with God the Father on the throne at the right hand. Christ is our personal advocate. Christ is our personal Savior. Christ is our King. Christ is our Lord and master. Christ justifies us. Christ purifies us. Christ sanctifies us. Christ holds us, He lifts us, He embraces us, He fills us, He overflows us with his love, He gives gifts to us, He has given us of His riches. He loves us, Oh how he loves us. Rise up and stand to applaud this Mighty King who deserves our glory and honor of Him. He deserves our praise. He deserves our attention, He deserves our Face time, He deserves our prayers, He deserves our respect and to stand for him, He deserves our voice to proclaim his truth. He deserves us to shout from the roof tops and mountain tops the glories of his name. Let's forget our troubles for a moment and let's look at the mightiest military commander in all the universe who is suited up and ready to mount to bring his people home. Ride Jesus Ride. YES and AMEN