First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
A nasty fact we learn in school is that we don’t learn if we don’t work. I especially learned this lesson in seminary where I had to work really hard to keep up. I had to read an excessive amount of church history. I was sneaking time at work and staying up at night just to keep up. That teacher challenged me unmercifully. But I got through it and I learned a lot. But it’s not just in the educational field that we need to be challenged, but also as people. When we are up to the challenges of life we grow as people and we become more caring and giving.
I met Mark in the hospital sitting with his Mom. Mark’s Mom had cancer and all of the available treatments were tried and given up. Mark had decided to take care of her until the end. He put his job aside, left his home and was taking care of his mom for as long as he had to. I was honored to spend some time with this man who was willing to give up so much to care for his mother.
His relatives were a different story. Mark’s mom had a sister and a brother. They spent as little time with their suffering sibling as possible. When it came to helping his mother, Mark was on his own. He also has a grandmother. Mark’s mom was caring for her mom, who also happened to be the mother of her two siblings. Quite a coincidence. When the primary care giver went down to illness guess who took over the cooking, cleaning, transportation, prescription needs of Grandma? You guessed it – Mark. Aunt and Uncle were too busy to help. Hard to believe they couldn’t help out their own Mom!
Mark talked to his Aunt and Uncle about their assuming responsibility for their mother. But they wouldn’t move on it. He then asked them for control of her assets so that he could use her money to pay for her care. This must have made them nervous because they did something unusual. They borrowed Grandma for a few days. While they took care of her they rummaged through Grandma’s house looking for things they wanted. I guess they were worried that Mark would take and sell precious family heirlooms – or whatever junk they thought was worth something. After they pilfered whatever they wanted, they tried to give Grandma back. They were in for a big surprise.
Mark gave them the keys to Grandma’s house and said – you have her money, her possessions, her house and now you have your Mom. I am going to take care of my Mom and you are going to take care of yours. And that was the last time I heard from him. I am sure he took good care of his Mom until she passed away. He was willing to give her everything. He was also willing to give to his Grandmother. But I think he gave a great deal to his Aunt and Uncle. I think that he gave them an opportunity.
I believe we all need to be challenged in order to learn how to be good people. Opportunities and challenges are presented all of the time to serve and care for other people. But most of us are not happy with the idea. Most of us don’t want to be put out. Let’s face it – I am lazy and I like to avoid as much responsibility as the next guy. I like to help out but I like to go fishing too.
I believe we need to be presented with a challenge to reach our potential as people who care. As a student in school is challenged to write a research paper, we need to be challenged to care for someone else. Those of us with children know that we will spend the rest of our lives with the challenge of caring for these special people. But all of us can be challenged to care for many of the people around us. Our parents – neighbors – friends. Everyone needs a helping hand at some point and we can be that.
Being challenged to serve someone is an opportunity to grow. I believe Mark helped his Aunt and Uncle by handing over responsibility for their Mom. I am sure that they didn’t like it. But they needed to own up to their responsibilities. Maybe they will learn and grow from this uncomfortable situation. Maybe they will gain something more than the family silverware. Maybe they will grow in love.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Please pray for our Spanish mission at FBC Rahway. Our first service is this Sunday! And lift up Pastor Marquis Arrue in your prayers as well.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Genesis 2:2 says that after God created humanity, God rested from His labors. Another way of saying this, God stopped creating new animals on this planet.
Up until the time of the rise of human beings, the creation of new animal species ran at a rate of approximately one per year. A pretty amazing pace. But since humans hit the scene, no new animal species have been created upon the earth. This includes habitats where no humans were present. When God created us, the creation engine stopped.
There is still argument between biologists over the definition of an animal species. I am using the broadest sense that science is currently using. Dr. Hugh Ross describes it as this; “In natural habitats undisturbed by human activity, biologists have yet to observe the production of one distinctly new (physiologically incapable of interbreeding) animal species.”
The Bible says that on the seventh day God rested. Modern biology says that when God rested, the earth stopped producing new animals.
(the above picture is the first new species created since humans – the KermitCat.)
Monday, September 27, 2010
Alan and Pamela Skuse originally from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, have six grown up children and a growing number of grandchildren. Three of their children are now married to Mexicans and most live in Queensland.
Pam and Alan arrived in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico in November 2000 to spend 12 months volunteering at an orphanage. The organization they came to help closed down within 6 months so Pam and Alan were left with the dilemma of what to do regarding the children in their care.
"Do we just leave and let the children go back to the streets and lives of abuse after giving them a taste of what life could be like or do we take on this huge responsibility with no resources to support us?"
"It didn´t take long to realize that we could not abandon these kids and because we could see that there was such a great need in this area of work, we decided to stay."
Alan and Pam ‘stepped out’ and established their own refuge, Albergue Mission Mexico, Dando, Amor, Vida y Esperanza (Mission Mexico Refuge, Giving Love, Life and Hope) to care for the children and have dedicated their lives to doing this work. They care for children, boys and girls, aged 2 to 17 years, who have been abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned and are often from backgrounds of extreme poverty. The number of children in their care changes constantly but on average they care for 50 children on a permanent basis.
Since the refuge was established Pam and Alan have helped around 250 children from various circumstances of need.
If you wish to learn more, go to their website;
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
What was the one thing that the lion in the Wizard of Oz didn’t have? Courage. What did he receive from the Wizard at the end? A medal. Somebody has to explain to me what one has to do with the other. I don’t have any medals, I haven’t fought in any wars, nor have I donated a kidney to a sibling. But I did learn something about courage once, in what seems like a long, long time ago in a Bank far, far away.
I was working as a loan processor for a mortgage company. It was an ok job. I collected documents for people applying for loans and then would hand them all in to the underwriter. Our underwriters would either say everything is ok, or complain about all of the missing pieces of paper. Then we would start all over. I worked with a curious breed of people. They are called Loan Officers. This title leads to certain misconceptions. They don’t process or approve any loans. And they aren’t gentlemen. Not even the ladies. They are sales people. They are the ones who go out and beg / borrow / and steal business. Their job is to go to Real Estate agents, schmooze them and get them to recommend customers to our mortgage company. They then take the application, gently as if it were a new born baby, carefully guide it through the approval process, smooth out some of the rough edges and present it clean and beautiful to the Real Estate agent who closes the deal. You see a mortgage application isn’t really a loan to a Realtor. It is a commission that the Realtor hands over to the Loan Officer for a short time while it gesticulates and then is born as a fat commission check at the closing. The Loan Officer also gets a little piece of the action; a portion of the points we pay goes to them.
As you can see, the relationship between Loan Officer and Real Estate Agent is a very close one. If a Realtor no longer likes the Loan Officer, that individual gets no more business. If a Loan Officer messes up a deal and subsequently takes away that Realtor’s commission (which in their mind was already his/hers) then that evil Loan Officer will definitely get no more business. Get the picture? Therefore there is a lot of pressure on the Loan Officers to make sure that every loan gets approved so that they don’t lose any future business. A lot of pressure!
And this leads to my little story about courage. I worked with a Loan Officer who brought in a lot of business. The top producing salesman in the office. He came to me one day to talk about a customer. I had learned from a phone call to the customer’s accountant that the customer sold his business and was no longer employed. This is a problem when one applies for a loan. It said on his application that he was working. I did what I was supposed to do and wrote the conversation down. I told the Loan Officer that we had hit a snag. He told me to forget the conversation and throw the paper away. He said that we were in business to close loans and if we didn’t none of us would have a job. He then suggested that I cooperate or else.
At the time I was married, had a small child, and a house with a pretty big mortgage payment. Hinting that I would lose my job over this was a good way to scare the stuffing out of me. I wouldn’t budge though. I handed the loan in to the underwriter with the conversation included and it was turned down. And then I waited for the fallout. Every Monday I woke up with my stomach in knots because companies fire people on Monday’s. The idea is that the person can start the new job search right away instead of waiting through the weekend. Isn’t that special? I was nervous for the next few weeks, but when nothing happened I started to calm down. I guess it was all a bluff? Who knows?
I think about my feelings during that little episode and came up with a few ideas. Courage has nothing to do with being fearless. I have heard many stories of Medal of Honor winners who said they were scared to death when they committed acts of bravery. Courage is the willingness to dig your heals in and stand up for what you believe in. Courage is doing what you know to be the right actions. Courage is being willing to sacrifice yourself for your principals or for the sake of someone else. It is often a frightening experience. But a courageous person takes action despite the fear.
I believe that we all face difficult decisions in our lives which cause us to face decisions of courage. They may not win us medals, but they do have the effect of building up our character. Our brave decisions to support righteous actions among our fellows help us become people of strength and wisdom.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Depression is a medical illness that involves the mind and body. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply "snap out" of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or other treatment.
To read more go to: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=symptoms
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
A testimony of a brother from China who faced serious persecution for the Gospel firsthand. He is now a teacher at Master's College and is working on a New Testament Commentary. Video courtesy of Grace to You: http://www.gty.org/.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Click on this picture to see the Slide Show of all of the Pictures from our 5th Anniversary of the First Baptist Church Telugu Service. God is Good!
Taking God’s Word to Eastern Europe
Three countries of Eastern Europe where the Gideons International operates are Czech Republic, Slovakia and Albania. The three countries combined have 251 Gideons, 72 Auxiliary and 36 camps.
Setting early precedents for Vision 2020
Overall, the camps in Czech Republic and Slovakia are well organized and their activities, such as Scripture distributions, are running smoothly. Meetings start on time and are well attended.
At least two camps in the Czech Republic are setting early precedents for the Gideons’ Vision 2020 goal to have intentionally developed relationships with each eligible church in a camp area. One camp reports that all seven churches in their area opened their doors for Gideon presentations. Another camp was planning to make visits to all six churches in its area.
Camps in Albania struggle with challenges
Gideon camps in Albania appear to be struggling more with challenges, ranging from lack of personal transportation to too few Gideons. However, it’s hoped that more training at the camp level will help the camps overcome some of these challenges. Thankfully, there are some Albanian camps that are performing very well, relying on God to help them overcome the challenges.
Stirring testimonies change a discouraged Gideon’s heart
As the Gideons arrived for an election of Gideon camp officers in Czech Republic, they noticed the camp president’s card and Gideon emblem lying on the table. He was discouraged and ready to quit not only his presidency, but the ministry, as well.
The Gideons continued with the meeting, during which a number of stirring testimonies were shared of lives that had been radically changed as a result of coming to know Christ by way of the copies of God’s Word placed by The Gideons International. After hearing a number of the testimonies, the room watched as the camp president reached over to the table and retrieved his card and Gideon emblem.
Before the meeting adjourned, the camp members unanimously agreed to re-elect that camp president. Never underestimate the inspiring power of testimonies.
Saved from the garbage
Caught up in hard drugs, Pavel lost his job and after the deaths of his parents, he was evicted from their home as he owed money to creditors. Homeless, he started picking out food scraps from trash containers. One day, while picking through the trash, he discovered a little blue Gideon New Testament. He started reading it, as he wandered from town to town, and eventually prayed to receive Christ. Soon after, Pavel found employment and was able to move into a home of his own.
To find out more go to; http://www.gideons.org/?HP=USA&sc_lang=en
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
The early earth’s atmosphere was rich in carbon dioxide, which was produced by a great deal of volcanic activity, and water vapor created when a large asteroid crashed into the planet and vaporized the oceans. The same volcanic activity caused the creation of land at just the right time for plant life to take advantage of the perfect atmospheric conditions. Looking at the above passage you can see a description of God created plant life on earth. Abundant plant life created enough oxygen to support large bodied animal life.
When you hide your face,
they (all living things) are terrified;
Friday, September 17, 2010
In the Southwest highlands of Guatemala is a beautiful mountainous region which contains the best preserved of the 3000 year old Mayan culture. Many Mayan communities exist here in much the same way they always have, close to the land.
It was 500 years ago that Spain conquered Central America. The effects of this has been devastating to the Mayan people. Land rights were lost and they now find themselves living as indentured servants to the few remaining wealthy Spanish land lords.
The Community of Porvenir is one of these communities tucked away in the mountainous hill sides. The sounds of the marimba are everywhere heard, especially in their worship which is regularly offered in their traditional mass.
Their Mayan language, Kachiquel, is still spoken, however Spanish has become their public and worship language. You will hear Spanish in this video.
Shortly after visiting this community and recording their worship, a land slide slammed huge boulders into their village, tragically killing 27 from among their community.
The loss was deep and recovery has been slow, but the Community of Porvenir has managed to find the inner strength and faith to persevere. Sounds of their heart worship continue to fill the air.
Song title and lyrics are:
VIENEN CON ALEGRIA SENOR
They Are Coming With Joy, Lord
VIENEN CON ALEGRIA SENOR
They are coming with joy, Lord
CANTANDO VIENEN CON AGEGRIA SENOR
Singing, they are coming with joy, Lord
LOS QUE CAMINAN POR LA VIDA SENOR
The ones that walk through life, Lord
DEJANDO TU PAZ Y AMOR
Leaving Your peace and love
VIENEN TRAYENDO LA ESPERANZA
They are bringing hope
A UN MUNDO CARGADO DE ANSIEDAD
To a world full of anxiety
A UN MUNDO QUE BUSA Y VIDA
To a world that looks for but does not find
DEJANDO TU PAZ Y AMOR
The paths of love and friendship
VIENEN CON ALEGRIA SENOR
They are coming with joy, Lord
CANTANDO VIENE CON ALEGRIA SENOR
Singing, they are coming with joy, Lord
LOS QUE CAMINAN POR LA VIDA SENOR
The ones that walk through life, Lord
DEJANDO TU PAZ Y AMOR
Leaving your peace and love
COPYRIGHT HEART SOUNDS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
An unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis (MS) can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Many investigators believe MS to be an autoimmune disease -- one in which the body, through its immune system, launches a defensive attack against its own tissues. In the case of MS, it is the nerve-insulating myelin that comes under assault. Such assaults may be linked to an unknown environmental trigger, perhaps a virus.
Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40; the initial symptom of MS is often blurred or double vision, red-green color distortion, or even blindness in one eye. Most MS patients experience muscle weakness in their extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance. These symptoms may be severe enough to impair walking or even standing. In the worst cases, MS can produce partial or complete paralysis. Most people with MS also exhibit paresthesias, transitory abnormal sensory feelings such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles" sensations. Some may also experience pain. Speech impediments, tremors, and dizziness are other frequent complaints. Occasionally, people with MS have hearing loss. Approximately half of all people with MS experience cognitive impairments such as difficulties with concentration, attention, memory, and poor judgment, but such symptoms are usually mild and are frequently overlooked. Depression is another common feature of MS.
From The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Go to their website for more information; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/multiple_sclerosis.htm
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Nick Vujicic is a quadriplegic, and in this video he talks about his faith in Jesus Christ while we see him doing everyday tasks. Go to http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/ for more information on this extraordinary man.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The Murrow Indian Children’s Home was founded in 1902 by an enterprising missionary and educator who began taking in orphan and homeless Native American children soon after the Civil War. Two Indian tribes later donated land for an orphanage, and concerned Baptists in the local community also gave land and buildings. The American Baptist Home Mission Society assumed full responsibility for the school in the early 1900s, and the orphanage was moved to the campus of Bacone College in 1910. Over the years, the Murrow Home has provided loving care for hundreds of abused, neglected or abandoned children.
Currently serving 22 children and youth, the home offers residential and crisis care as well as daycare for children of teen mothers. Children, many from the Creek Tribe, live in family-like cottage settings and attend local public schools or d ay treatment programs. The home often accepts children and youth whom state agencies have given up on, says Director Joan Brown, a commissioned American Baptist missionary who serves through National Ministries. Children are also encouraged to learn about their Native American background and culture. "Our staff is experienced and our program has a good reputation,” says Brown. “Most of all, we offer a loving, caring environment and an opportunity for the children to be more like normal children should be."
To read more about this wonderful mission go to the following link;
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Genesis 1:1 describes the following conditions that match what science is saying about the early earth;
1. Entirely covered with water
2. Wrapped in darkness
3. Devoid of life
4. Unfit for life
Modern science says that the early earth was covered in an ocean, and had a thick atmosphere that did not allow light to strike the surface.
Genesis 1:2 describes God’s Spirit present over the developing creation like an expectant parent. (see Deut. 32:11 for similar usage of language)
Genesis 1:3 says that God caused light to fall upon the world. Current science says that a large asteroid hit the earth causing the early oceans to turn to super heated steam thus blowing away the early opaque atmosphere, allowing light to hit the surface of the earth through a translucent atmosphere. This event also created our moon; Genesis 1:16.
Genesis 1:6-8 is a description of the water cycle, which makes life on our world possible.
Genesis 1:9-10 describes the growth of the land masses.
I hope you can see from this brief description, that the Bible and modern science are not as far off as most people believe. If you wish to learn more I suggest buying the book; “Why the Universe is the Way it is” by Hugh Ross. The above information comes from this wonderful Christian physicist.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Along with the new song, another historical moment is witnessed with the use, for the very first time, of Mongolia's unique cultural dress and dance in the worship of this church. The festive atmosphere is evidence that this, combined with the new indigenously composed song, produced a deepened expression in their corporate worship experience.
For the first time they were able to offer their own gift of worship rather than that which was borrowed from somewhere else.
This is one of the core values and beliefs of Heart Sounds International, that God is best worshipped when the music offered is birthed from the very heart and culture of the people worshipping. It is then that God is most honored and His people are most engaged in expressing their love and devotion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES VISIT THE WEBSITE OF HEART SOUNDS INTERNATIONAL AT . . .
Thursday, September 9, 2010
People say that if we have a conflict inside of us that we should let all hang out. I don’t really like this advice. Sure if you have a problem with someone you should talk to them about it. But too often this advice is taken to mean – let them have it. Too often people use this as an excuse to attack someone verbally. Expressing our feelings is one thing, but expressing angry feelings can wreck relationships, especially if the anger we feel inside is released over and over again. If we are always mouthing off and criticizing the people around us, for the sake of letting these feelings off our chest, then we won’t have any friends anymore. Often by expressing something negative we create more problems than we solve.
I didn’t like the Lord Mayor of our fair city. He was a nice person and all but I didn’t think he had the skills necessary to turn the city around. So I did what any citizen of these United States has the God given right to do, I voted for another candidate at election time. And before the election I did what any citizen of our wonderful nation also has the right to do, I expressed my negative feelings about our Mayor publicly. Bad move for this clergyman, as you will soon see.
We had a fundraiser at the church. It was to support MS and was being organized by our young people. We were having spaghetti and meatballs, salad, etc… Lots of people came out to support this cause. One of the people who came out was a surprise, the Mayor and his wife. They came in to buy take-out. When I saw him I thought of one thing. He’s trolling for votes. The election is coming up and this guy is getting his face into as many places as possible. My sarcastic mind started to race through the possibilities and I came up with a way to take a verbal jab at the Mayor.
I remembered a cartoon character from a Saturday morning show my kids watch. Mayor White, always dressed in white with white hair (must be a cousin of mine). He goes around the cartoon town with a button on his vest that says, Vote for Me. Whenever he finishes talking he says, Vote for Me. Whenever he speaks in pubic there are signs that say, Vote for Me. You get the picture. This image popped into my head and I just couldn’t hold back.
“Vote for Me”, I said over and over at the dinner table. Lots of people heard me and they all knew just what I meant. “Vote for Me”, I said waving the Nixon v for victory sign. “Vote for Me”, I said a little too often and a little too loudly. I felt like the life of the party, a real class cutup. I was having a good old time, until the party was over.
The Mayor heard me, his wife heard me, many of the leaders of my church heard me and some of them were embarrassed and ashamed. My people approached me afterwards and took me to task. They said that I should be setting an example of Christian love and hospitality and not taking a shot at anyone for any reason. Now, some people defended my actions and said that I was just expressing what everyone felt. But my detractors are right. As a minister I should be setting an example. And I shouldn’t be taking pot shots at anyone. It was a disgraceful episode that I should not have allowed to happen.
Because of this and other experiences, I no longer buy into the idea that expressing our feelings is an excuse for launching verbal assaults at another person. Expressing feelings has become the defense we use to explain why we hurt others. We now have an entire industry on cable TV devoted to expressing feelings. What it is really devoted to is making money through the verbal abuse. We all shake our heads at it, but we keep watching. Very sad.
It’s been my experience that the negative thoughts and feelings that bounce around inside my head eventually come out. Like I said previously, most councilors tell us that we should express ourselves. But if I constantly let my wife hear every negative thought that enters my brain, our relationship will be damaged and possibly destroyed. There is a difference between expressing our feelings and smashing someone over the head with them over and over again. There must be a better way.
If I want to prevent conflict with the people I love, I have to take care of the conflicts inside of me first. Then I can express my feelings with understanding and love, the way the Master taught us to.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The incredible story and testimony of Kenny Dobbs and all he's overcome. Throughout all the turbulence and turmoil F101 has undergone the past year, Kenny has kept his eyes on the true prize.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Imagine your youth group has been planning a mission trip. You join your friends in the group working to prepare for the trip. For 3 years many of your Saturdays are spent working to raise funds. Your pastor and youth leaders speak and teach about missions. Questions are discussed. “How can we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who speak another language?” Somewhere in the preparations for this journey, you meet Christ and the journey takes on a whole new meaning.
In a nut shell, I believe this is what happened with some of the young people at FBC Kansas City, Missouri. Mariko Prigel, one of the youth leaders is from Japan. A few years ago some of the youth suggested they go to Japan for a mission trip. A youth mission trip to Japan? Some people might ask, why Japan? It is a rich country. That would cost so much. However, Mariko said the Lord opened the doors each step of the way during the preparation.
Near the end of their time here in Japan, Tomoko took the group to the Hiroshima Peace Park, and then on to her home town of Setoda, on a small island in the Inland Sea. They stayed at the Setoda Baptist Church. I drove down to meet them and on a beautiful afternoon the youth gathered at “Sunset Beach” along with several members from the Setoda Church. With the blessing of their pastor, Rev. Doug Valentine, I had the privilege of baptizing Lexi and Jashuna. These two young ladies testified their lives were changed in the preparations for this journey to Japan and wanted to be baptized in Japan. So at the beach where Tomoko was baptized as a youth, they gave their testimonies and began another journey, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why a mission trip to Japan? That is a good question. Finding “work” to do isn’t always easy here, but who said “work” is the only way to show your love for Christ? Of course work trips are a great way to share your faith, and are an important part of ministering to the whole body and to specific needs.
The youth from Kansas City, MO, however, came prepared with songs and skits. Knowing that language would be a problem, they mimed one of the skits, using a few paper board signs written in Japanese to help the audience understand that Christ brings healing and salvation to lives broken by alcohol, bullying and suicide, problems well understood in Japan. It was a powerful message that brought tears to many eyes. They shared in churches, pre-schools, a hospital, in homes and more. These youth came to build a bridge in relationships through the love and peace of Christ. It was a job well done!
One last thought, if you think it is only about giving, you may miss what the Lord has to give to you. This applies to the World Mission Offering, or sending a youth group on a mission trip.
Grace and Peace,
John and Tomoko Armagost – American Baptist Missionaries in Japan
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Long before the famous scientist Stephen Hawking gazed out into space and decided to be a physicist, we Christians knew. In fact, long before Einstein or Hubble or any of the giants of modern science even for a minute considered that the universe around us is expanding, people who studied the Bible knew. That’s right; the theory of the expanding universe is mentioned in the Bible, in texts that were written over 2,000 years ago.
Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity hinted at the expansion. But it wasn't until the astronomer Edwin Hubble took the light of distant galaxies and ran it through a spectrograph that he realized that the light rays were being stretched out. This stretching shifts the light towards the red end of the spectrum. Measuring this shift told him that the galaxies were moving away from us; in fact they were moving faster than the speed of light. The only explanation for this was an expanding universe. The laws of physics still work because light moves at a consistent rate, but light must travel more distance. The changing sound of a receding train is a good example of this principle.
Psalm 104:2 says; He (God) wraps Himself in light as with a garment, He stretches out the heavens like a tent.
There are ten other Old Testament passages like this one. In Biblical times tents were made from cotton or animal hides. Both can be stretched. God is seen by the writers as creating the heavens by expanding them to make room for God’s purposes. God stretches the fabric of heaven just enough to fill it with all of His creations.
And it’s a good thing that God’s universe is expanding. The early universe was so full of high energy materials, what we call radiation, that life as we know it could not have survived the constant radioactive bombardment. But as the heavens stretched out, the radiation stretched out with it decreasing the amount of high energy material that strikes us. God stretched out the tent of the sky just enough to make a safe place for us to live.
Thus the concept, though not the theory, has been sitting in the Biblical texts waiting for twentieth century people to apply them to science.
God bless you,
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
My Mom and I have had our ups and downs over the years. Like most people we have had our moments of anger and then patched things up. We have been able to keep the peace for a long time. I believe that it is worth the struggle to keep things calm and rational between my family and me. I think that we are adequately rewarded to the efforts to keep relationships between the people we care about peaceful.
Like anybody else my mom likes to receive a little help now and again. It does our relationship a lot of good if I chip in and help her out with some little job. For example, doing the dishes. When I am over her house I usually help out with washing the dishes. But it is not as easy to accomplish this task as one would think. I remember very vividly the first time I tried to help with the dishes. I got up from the table, I went over to the sink and my Mom insisted that I sit down. She said that she didn’t need any help with the dishes and that I should relax. I saw no problem with this. Relaxing is always a good thing. The next thing I remember she was banging dishes and muttering to herself about how no one helps her. Oops. What did I do wrong?
Now lets think about this a minute. Mom said that I should not do the dishes and that I should go and sit down. Like a dutiful son I obeyed her command. However then she gets upset that she is doing all of the work after dinner and this obviously isn’t fair. I can understand how she feels. So what do I do? On the one hand I can listen to what she tells me to do. She says do nothing, I do nothing. This is very doable for me. Doing nothing is very high on my priority list. If my Mom wants me to sit back and relax, well as a dutiful son I should not disappoint her. But if I do listen to her, she will not be happy because she will be forced to do everything herself. She may say, “don’t help with the dishes” but what she means is “someone better help me or else”. It took me a while to understand this because I am a little on the slow side. So on the other hand, if I do help to clean up the dishes I have to listen to her complain about how I shouldn’t be doing them. This goes on until the job is finished. That is when peace is restored. Peace is a good thing – being better than listening to an unhappy person. So let’s get this straight. If I don’t help, there will be peace temporarily while the dishes are cleaned by Mom, but no peace afterwards. If I do the dishes, there will not be much peace during the actual work, however peace and tranquility will break out after all of them are done.
I have chosen to do the dishes. Whenever I am over her house, I get up immediately after diner and start cleaning. Mom says, “don’t do that”, “what are you doing over there”, didn’t you hear me say I’ll wash the dishes?” I ignore her, finish cleaning the dishes and then all is right with the world. I know that she really wants me to help out, so I know that I am doing the right thing.
I have received a great benefit by helping my Mom. We have a better relationship. And peace is in the air.
God Bless You,