Friday, February 22, 2008

Barack Obama Interview


Senator Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters

Interview by Sarah Pulliam and Ted Olsen

Barack Obama wants to set the record straight. He is not a Muslim, as recent e-mails falsely claim.

The Democratic presidential candidate is fighting the e-mails that have been widely circulated. Obama has been continually speaking about the role of faith in politics since his Call to Renewal address in June 2006.

In the days before the South Carolina primary, he is driving efforts to speaking with media to emphasize his Christian beliefs. His campaign also sent out a recent mailer portraying the candidate with his head bowed in prayer and says that he will be guided by prayer when he is in office.

The senator from Illinois spoke with Sarah Pulliam and Ted Olsen today about his faith, abortion, and the evangelical vote.

What do you think your biggest obstacle will be in reaching evangelicals?

You know, I think that there's been a set of habits of thinking about the interaction between evangelicals and Democrats that we have to change. Democrats haven't shown up. Evangelicals have come to believe often times that Democrats are anti-faith. Part of my job in this campaign, something that I started doing well before this campaign, was to make sure I was showing up and reaching out and sharing my faith experience with people who share that faith. Hopefully we can build some bridges that can allow us to move the country forward.

What would you do in office differently than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards that would appeal to evangelicals?

I have not focused on all of their policies so I don't want to speak about what their positions will be. I know that as president, I want to celebrate the richness and diversity of our faith experience in this country. I think it is important for us to encourage churches and congregations all across the country to involve themselves in rebuilding communities. One of the things I have consistently argued is that we can structure faith-based programs that prove to be successful — like substance abuse or prison ministries — without violating church and state. We should make sure they are rebuilding the lives of people even if they're not members of a particular congregation. That's the kind of involvement that I think many churches are pursuing, including my own. It can make a real difference in the lives of people all across the country.

So would you keep the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives open or restructure it?

You know, what I'd like to do is I'd like to see how it's been operating. One of the things that I think churches have to be mindful of is that if the federal government starts paying the piper, then they get to call the tune. It can, over the long term, be an encroachment on religious freedom. So, I want to see how moneys have been allocated through that office before I make a firm commitment in terms of sustaining practices that may not have worked as well as they should have.

One of the critiques of the Bush office on faith-based initiatives — beyond the church and state question — is that while it opened up competition to religious organizations or church-based organizations to compete for some of these federal funds, there was no additional allocation; there was no change in the funding. Instead, there were more organizations competing for the same the slice of pie.

I think that's right. There's always a danger in those situations that money is being allocating based on politics, as opposed to merit and substance. That doesn't just compromise government. More importantly, it compromises potentially our religious institutions.

For many evangelicals, abortion is a key, if not the key factor in their vote. You voted against banning partial birth abortion and voted against notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. What role do you think the President should play in creating national abortion policies?

I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion. I think it's very important to start with that premise. I think people recognize what a wrenching, difficult issue it is. I do think that those who diminish the moral elements of the decision aren't expressing the full reality of it. But what I believe is that women do not make these decisions casually, and that they struggle with it fervently with their pastors, with their spouses, with their doctors.

Our goal should be to make abortion less common, that we should be discouraging unwanted pregnancies, that we should encourage adoption wherever possible. There is a range of ways that we can educate our young people about the sacredness of sex and we should not be promoting the sort of casual activities that end up resulting in so many unwanted pregnancies.

Ultimately, women are in the best position to make a decision at the end of the day about these issues. With significant constraints. For example, I think we can legitimately say — the state can legitimately say — that we are prohibiting late-term abortions as long as there's an exception for the mother's health. Those provisions that I voted against typically didn't have those exceptions, which raises profound questions where you might have a mother at great risk. Those are issues that I don't think the government can unilaterally make a decision about. I think they need to be made in consultation with doctors, they have to be prayed upon, or people have to be consulting their conscience on it. I think we have to keep that decision-making with the person themselves.

You've talked about your experience walking down the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ, and kneeling beneath the cross, having your sins redeemed, and submitting to God's will. Would you describe that as a conversion? Do you consider yourself born again?

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.

There is one thing that I want to mention that I think is important. Part of what we've been seeing during the course this campaign is some scurrilous e-mails that have been sent out, denying my faith, talking about me being a Muslim, suggesting that I got sworn in the U.S. Senate with a Quran in my hand or that I don't pledge allegiance to the flag. I think it's really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam. I am respectful of the religion, but it's not my own. One of the things that's very important in this day and age is that we don't use religion as a political tool and certainly that we don't lie about religion as a way to score political points. I just thought it was important to get that in there to dispel rumors that have been over the Internet. We've done so repeatedly, but obviously it's a political tactic of somebody to try to provide this misinformation.

Is there any sense of how wide this e-mail has been distributed?

This is similar to these smear tactics that were used against John McCain in 2000. We have to continually chase down this stuff. It's obviously being sent out in a systematic way. You guys really help by getting the story straight.

Source: Christianity Today - January 23, 2008.

Christian Look Blog


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pastor Wins Human Rights Award

Pastor Cho Hwa-soon

By Park Si-soo

Pastor Cho Hwa-soon, a progressive Christian received an award from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) in recognition of her decade-long efforts to improve the human rights of laborers, females and minority groups.

NHRCK held the awarding ceremony on Monday, December 12, 2008, at the Kim Koo Museum and Library in central Seoul to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in December 1948 by the United Nations.

Pastor Cho Hwa-soon, 73, received the Order of Civil Merit, the most honorable reward given to those showing the best performance in human rights movements. She has engaged in these activities since 1966. She has long been regarded as a proactive human rights campaigner, encouraging females to participate in various social affairs and also raise their voices in Korean society.

Ahn Young-do, a lawyer who had worked for the Koran Bar Association and the Lawyers for Democratic Society, won an award for his contribution to improving overall conditions regarding human rights here.

Pastor Choi Eui-pal also received the same award in recognition of his role in supporting foreign laborers in Korea and managing cross-culture programs devised for expatriates.

Including the three, a total of 17 individuals and organizations won an award in the event.


RCC - Pole position in Cuba

Vatican Secretary of State

in Cuba

February 20, 2008 - "BY invitation of the Cuban government and the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Vatican, is to arrive in Havana this evening.

The visit, of an official and pastoral nature, is taking place as part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic journey to this country.

At the same time it is a reflection of the excellent relations and the fluid, cordial and respectful communication that exists between Cuba and the Vatican state.

During his stay in Cuba, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will meet with Cuban authorities and participate in church activities in Havana, Villa Clara, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo".

Source: Granma journal.

The Ministry of Groups

By Steve Mills*

John and Sue Church enjoyed life with their two children, Matthew and Crystal. One evening John read an article in the local newspaper explaining the need for families to take in orphaned children. The Church family decided to invite two siblings, David and Sheila, to live with them.

The first few days together were enjoyable apart from minor tensions.

At the table one evening Matthew said, "It's neat having David live with us. It's great to have a brother."

Crystal added, "Sheila and I play dolls together, just like our next-door neighbors."

It wasn't long, however, before the Church family tired of David and Sheila. They were irresponsible and slow to catch on to the "Church way" of doing things. And they started coming home late from school. They dropped by the Barrs down the street, mixing with other children who came there every afternoon. Eventually they didn't come back to the Church house at all.

John didn't worry. He assumed someone else was taking care of the children. He reassured Matthew and Crystal, "If David and Sheila want to be part of our family, they know the way back."

One day Stan Gadded, David and Sheila's social worker, visited the family. He was shocked to learn that the Church family hadn't seen Sheila and David for 2 weeks and that they didn't really miss them. John told Stan a larger family was a hassle and that the new children weren't making the necessary adjustments.

Stan was incredulous. It hardly seemed possible they had so readily rejected David and Sheila. But the Church family insisted that David and Sheila had chosen to leave. They had not been rejected. The Church family decided to release Sheila and David. They told Stan they were content with their own family.

The Church story has many parallels to the way some churches treat newcomers. It should remind us that the church must take responsibility for accepting and integrating new people. The story also reminds us that the church is to be a loving, caring family where people can be nurtured and trained.

Throughout history developing disciples has been effectively done in groups. John Wesley developed small group communities called "societies" and "bands." New and mature believers were expected to participate. These groups met weekly and helped people to develop the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, confession of sin, Bible study, and accountability for Christian living.

Groups are the foundational component of all effective disciple-making churches. Regularly starting new groups and cultivating healthy group dynamics is essential to strong, effective churches. Using these groups to reach, assimilate, and develop people is fundamental to developing Christian community in the church. Let's look at some of the benefits of strengthening the groups in your church.

Groups reach new people.

Groups are an effective means of evangelism because they meet people's needs and deal with issues important to them. They connect people to Christ and His church. Some have discovered the effectiveness of Bible study groups that enroll non-Christian friends, relatives, and associates of class members. They've found that 2 out of 4 new enrollees are unsaved, and that 1 out of 4 new enrollees will accept Jesus Christ within 12 months. In the same period only 1 out of approximately 400 people who are not enrolled in a Bible study group will be saved.

Evangelism is most effective in a group context. It is 100 times more effective than trying to reach people through worship services, crusades, or outreach events alone.

Groups assimilate new people.

New people come to church to have their needs met, but they will only stay if they've developed meaningful relationships. Getting them involved in a group facilitates this process and helps them to grow.

New groups are more effective in assimilating new people than older groups. In Twelve Keys to an Effective Church: Strategic Planning for Mission Kennon L. Callahan writes, "New people in a church tend to search out new groups in which they can establish relationships of sharing and caring... It is easier for new people to establish deeply profound relationships with one another when the network of relationships is still comparatively new, flexible, and in process for development" (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983, pp. 36-37)

Every church believes that it's friendly, but many newcomers don't feel that friendliness. They may find the church initially friendly, but in surveys they say, "It is a friendly church, but the smile stopped at the door." I've been here a year, but I can't seem to get into their groups. I don't fit or belong." People who feel they "fit in" or "belong" to a small group remain in the church, but those who are not able to develop 6 to 7 meaningful friendships within 6 to 9 months usually leave.

Groups nurture and develop people.

Acceptance, caring, and learning occurs best in small groups. Research demonstrates that 1 out of 5 people led to Christ through personal soul winning were baptized. Only 1 out of 10 led to Christ through crusades and mass evangelism events were baptized. However, 9 out of 10 people saved in small groups and Sunday school classes were baptized.

All of these methods have merit. It is evident, however, that when people accept Christ in the context of relationships, 90 percent will continue to develop as disciples and be baptized. This means that if people respond to the pastor's altar call but don't have existing relationships in a group or class, only 10 percent will continue to develop as disciples. On which means of evangelism does your church focus? Far too often we use the least effective means of reaching and discipling people.

Groups care for people.

The words that open the once popular sitcom Cheers reveal the hunger in the world for caring relationships:

"Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name...and they're always glad you came."

The Boston bar was a place where this socially diverse group of people found acceptance through relationships. Bruce Larson and Keith Miller talk about this kind of group dynamic..

"The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give His Church. It's an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic. You can tell people secrets, and they usually don't tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved" (The Edge of Adventure. Waco, Tex: Word, 1974, p. 156).

The church must provide the community and family that people are seeking. What about your class or group? Do people attend out of obligation or because they're developing meaningful relationships and growing?

Establishing ministry teams in a Sunday school class or a Bible study group is one way to identify and care for people's needs. A caring team, for example, would help class members to develop meaningful friendships with others, include newcomers into the class, and care for one another.

A sharing team would equip the class to evangelize unenrolled prospects. They would identify prospects, make contact with them, and seek to evangelize those who need fellowship with Christ and other believers.

A teaching team, usually lead by the teacher of the class, would meet the administrative needs of the class and provide opportunities for other members to gain experience teaching and leading a group.

Encourage everyone in the class to get involved. The goal is to involve them in ministry and train them to reach and develop people.

Groups teach.

A Christian's spiritual development is enhanced by being part of a healthy group that teaches biblical values, Christian disciplines, and the principles of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Its teachings bring healing and hope to those involved. Characteristics of a healthy group include:

  • a close family atmosphere;
  • life application of biblical principles;
  • individual care;
  • opportunities to share testimonies;
  • instruction and edification;
  • unlimited opportunities for meaningful service;
  • relational evangelism;
  • intensive care and discipling of new converts;
  • spiritual growth;
  • leadership development.

New believers need intensive care and nurture. More mature believers need ongoing teaching, accountability, ministry, and fellowship. Groups should teach and reinforce seven basic disciplines of Christian living:

Word. The personal study of Scripture on a regular basis to hear God's voice and gain His perspective on life and ministry is essential. Believers gain additional insights through the teaching and preaching of the Word.

Prayer. Personal, intimate prayer with God on a regular basis is necessary so believers can respond and draw close to Him. Intercessory prayer for the needs of others and the church must also be learned.

Community. Believers must learn the value of commitment to others and establish the habit of regularly meeting with them. This is necessary for correction, edification, encouragement, worship, and guidance.

Obedience. Learning how to be obedient to God's Word and Spirit is important. Obedience leads to a life of holiness that pleases God.

Stewardship. Encourage members to regularly commit 10 percent of personal income to the ministry of God's people and cultivate a lifestyle of generosity.

Family. Believers must also spend regular times with their spouses and children, give attention to spiritual, emotional and physical matters, and attend to family finances and home maintenance.

Ministry. Praying for the lost, feeling concerned about them, and sharing your relationship to Christ with them is essential. Believers should share what they've learned about following Christ and be involved in ministries that develop and use your gifts.

Groups should teach and regularly reinforce these disciplines. Since a believer is an expression of his habits, the church must help believers know and practice right habits. The church is only as strong as the people it develops.

Transforming the church starts by taking advantage of its primary building block, the group. You transform the church the same way you build a house----one brick at a time. The house is only as strong as its bricks. The church is only as strong as the groups it develops.

As you reinforce healthy group dynamics, your people will rise to new levels of growth and commitment. Instead of being the John and Sue Church family, your church will be transformed into the living body of Christ where lives are changed and dreams are fulfilled.

Steve Mills
Executive Director of Church Ministries
Northwest District

Monday, February 11, 2008

Response to the Da Vinci Code

The Last Supper - picture of Leonardo Da Vinci

By Roger Cotton

The Da Vinci Code claims to be only a novel and as such I found it to be very engaging. It fabricates a very recent search for the Holy Grail, which it proposes is really secret documents showing that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and produced a royal bloodline. The use of a narrator, who comments philosophically and theologically on life, religion, and the church — using exaggerated language — causes those assertions within the novel to sound like truths we should consider — hidden truths we need to recover to free ourselves from the lies of the church. That interests people and sells books.

However, a leading New Testament scholar, Ben Witherington III, in his book The Gospel Code, (InterVarsity, 2004), responding to The Da Vinci Code, said: “It can be quite entertaining but also misleading. We need to treat this book as what it really is—not historical fiction but almost entirely fiction, at least when it comes to its assumptions and assertions about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and early Christianity” (p. 27).

I would like to clarify both the major mistakes in relation to church history and the Bible, and as well, the key points of our Christian faith from the Scriptures which are opposed by the ideas of this book. I am indebted to Witherington’s excellent research into the facts.

The first major fiction asserted in the book is that there are many other documents equal to or better than our four Gospels, which the church has suppressed, and which would exalt the “sacred feminine” and teach that Jesus was only human and not divine. The truth is that all other such documents (around 20, not 80) are clearly written after the writing of the New Testament. They are by groups outside the mainstream of the Early Church. The Dead Sea Scrolls are Jewish and say nothing about Jesus. The Gnostic Gospels that Brown often refers to actually teach that the material world is evil, including sex, and that men should be in authority over women. These ideas are contrary to what Brown’s book teaches and yet he claims these documents support his ideas that are in opposition to the Bible. Brown says these documents clearly state that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, but Witherington shows that he misquotes these documents. Furthermore, they were never on any one’s list of inspired, authoritative, Scriptures.

A second major area of fiction is that Constantine and the church council of Nicea brought in the new, unbiblical, teaching that Christ is divine and voted out the truth of His humanity and marriage to Mary Magdalene and eliminated the books that taught those things. The truth is the council did not propose the beliefs stated in the creeds or the list of canonical Scriptures but formalized what the majority had believed all along. The New Testament clearly always taught that Jesus is God, John 1:1-3,18; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 1:2,3; 1 John 5:20.

The third fiction is that the Church was threatened by the idea of Jesus having a wife and children because then He could not be divine and the Church would lose its powerful claim to be the only way to God. On the contrary, the Bible clearly claims that Jesus is the only way to God and the Church does not control the way (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). On the other point, the Bible teaches that Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, is fully God and fully human so that He could have married and had children but He chose not to, in the plan of God.

Regarding the idea of the “sacred feminine” and the sacredness of sex the Bible and Christianity do not put down sex but affirm that it is very special and belongs only in marriage. However, it is not a route to spiritual fulfillment and experience of God as claimed in the book (p. 310). The whole Bible is against bringing sex into worship as the heathen have done since ancient times. The Bible clearly opposes all goddess worship. The One True God is neither male nor female but Jesus uses the term Father and teaches us to do the same. One major reason for not referring to God as mother is that, as Elizabeth Achtemeier has shown, in “Why God is not Mother” Christianity Today, August 16, 1993, it leads to the idea of God giving birth to us and thus lowering God to be one with us and with nature and raising us up to be gods.

The Da Vinci Code expresses many of the current popular ideas of our world and helps us see where the issues are for our faith. The attitudes encouraged by this book which are the most serious opposition to the truth God has revealed in the Scriptures are the following: to depersonalize God, to bring God down to our level and us up to deity—taking away from His holiness, to deny the need for a savior outside of ourselves and the need of repentance that sees ourselves as dead without Christ, to treat Jesus as only a great man, to deny that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, to make sex a part of worship, to take away most objective moral law, to deny that there is any absolute truth, to make our experiences the only spiritual/religious authority for our lives, and to disregard history as of any value.

The main Bible truths I think we must be clear on and affirm continually are the following: 1) God is personal, acting for our good in the world, which He created and from which He is totally distinct, and communicating openly with us in real human language, written down in the Bible, and not in hidden codes. 2) God made us, loves us, and wants to restore the personal, intimate, everlasting relationship we broke with Him through our selfish choices. He has provided the only way to Him through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Christ, who is fully God and fully human. He gives our lives meaning and purpose. 3) He made us to enjoy the greatest fulfillment through a life in harmony with His will, character, and values, through the Holy Spirit. This includes keeping sexual intimacy and intercourse within a life-long, exclusive, marital (male-female), relationship.

In conclusion, the best antidote is reading and meditating on the truth in the Scriptures and keeping our relationship with the Lord fresh and experiential. Here are some of the clear statements of the Scriptures that give some of the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 24:36-49; John 1:1-5, 10-12, 14, 18; 3:16-18; 14:6, Acts 4:12; 10:34-43; 17:30-31; Romans 1:16-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 17-19; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 1:2,3, 5-2:2; 4:1-16; 5:1-5, 11-12, 18-21; Revelation 22:12-17.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hands of Martha and a Mary's heart

Mary, Martha and Jesus
Joao Cruzue

Yesterday, when I went down to pray in the living-roon, I asked Lord to speak with me. So, before praying I opened the Bible and I felt God speaking with my heart. As I use to do, I am now here to share what I've heard. By the first time, I could see a beautiful link between the Martha’s house episode and the parable of the good samaritan.

Speaks with me Lord, through your Holy Word – I asked Him for. You well know there are some days we have more needs to pray, and this week has been specially tough for several motives. I needed to knock, to seek and ask for a urgent help.

An old fellow has been doing chemotherapy; a very close friend. He was co-pastor with me for six years in the past. Now he has a cancer. Another case: the wife of a minister, coleague of mine, had two heart stops; in the last one, she remained out for half an hour and her brain had irreversible damages. She lays in a ITU bed, it makes quite three months. And to end that needs, last week I did a visit to one pastor, from the time of my youth, and he is cripple for 12 years in a wheel-chair due to a brain hemorrhage. He never went back to church. He insists to be healed first, to reapear after a great miracle before his church. I asked him what he has been done to use fill his time, and he responded he just close the eyes and pray all the day long.

As I opened the Bible, I was before Luke chapter ten and Jesus was in the Martha and Mary’s house. Aside, in this page, there is the parable of good samaritan. A very known subject, yet he became fresh and new to me, yesterday.

The concerning of Martha was her serving. Cleaning, aranjing, cooking, really worried about the dinner delay. Time was passing by and nor even a little help from her sister. Mary, sat down before the Lord Jesus, she heard and felt his heart warming by that heavenly words, she listened to the Master. I can imagine that, by remembering from some services where the presence of the Lord was strongly felt among us.

Martha was concerned of serving and Mary listened, listened and wished to listen more that words. Then, Martha, apprehensive for do not get his job on time, gave orders to Jesus: “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her, therefore, that helps me.”

Communication is a good thing, we do need to to do it. But communion is something better and deeper. Anyone of us can speak to each other and say: good-morning, good-evening, talk about time and politics, and even pray togheter. But not one of these subjects means communion. For instance: my wife and I have two daughters. One is already married and the youngster has a boyfriend that comes to see her in my home. Imagine you, that I go down to the living-roon and take a seat before them, and remain this way for all Sunday afternoon. Both can talk to various subject, but I bet, not any of them is going to say to another words like: “ I love you”.

Now, here we are in 2008, the beginning of the XXI Century. Too busy, concerned, without time to anything, maybe giving orders to Jesus, in a "running-running", "preaching-preaching", "singing-singing", "writing-writing" – al the days in the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... We are serving? Yes! We are working hard? Yes! We are fatiguing, Yes! But why we are crop so few?

We have no time at all to be in communion with Lord. We are no more as a impassioned couple. Jesus wants to hear and also to speak with us, but we are just mechanicly serving and we lost the perseption of that. We are mistaken on thinking if we multiply our tasks will be effective and our Church, department or choir will be blessed and greater than never. Thus, we are changing six to a half-dozen or to do much noise without results, because we have no more guidance from the Lord.

And, the consequence of that can be understood so: “Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you”

To whom shall I compare that priest and levite? They are likewise as the hands of Martha. Both saw that wounded man, but they felt nothing. They are dried of compassion. An estrange and unexpected attitude. They had theology, maybe the priest, a divinity graduation. They had all spiritual tools to be effectives... But they failed. Some time along the Way they became insensible.

Who was that samaritan? Maybe Jesus was speaking about a man alike himself. Although he is God, for many times in the Bible we can see him putting time apart, primarily at night, to be praying, in communion with Aba Father. From that samaritan, according to jewish culture, everything could be unexpected but compassion longanimity and generosity. He has a heart alike Mary.

And it was so, that I heard God’s Word, before praying, that it doesn’t matter how engaged we be in great visions or projects, before the eyes of our friends or before own
ours . If we are not getting see with compassion any needs around us, how can we preach and present Jesus to this World? We must re-priorize our things. Communion is primary, while serving, secondary. We need a Mary’s heart to turn merciful, ours hands of Martha.

Then Jesus said "Go and do likewise."

Author: Joao Cruzue
Brazil 02/10/2008
mailto me:
I want to know your testimony of faith


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Japan Pentecost History

Assemblies of God in Japan
The Nihon Assenburiizu obu Goddo Kyodan
From 1900 to 1949

JAG - Tokyo

The Assemblies of God are officialy in Japan since 1913. Here are addresses of 200 Churches; their webgate: . Besides that, there are an article of 29 pages (link below) containing the History of the Pentecost in Japan.

Asia Pacific Theologic Seminary
Graduating ministers to the glory of God


By Masakazu Suzuki

1. Introduction

There are two books published on the history of the Japan Assemblies of God (JAG).1 One was written in commemoration of the thirtieth year of the founding of the group and the other for the fiftieth year. Both books have a rather brief description on the pre-war history. The description of the second book is almost the same as the first book.

Reading the books, I had a somewhat unfulfilled feeling because there is
something ambiguous in them; it seemed as if something more than just details due to brevity were missing. In reaction, my research started, wishing to gain a bit more clarification of this history. But I was perplexed to find out other significant incidents which actually happened but which are completely excluded from the two history books published by the JAG.

The purpose of this article is to give a brief sketch of the Pentecostal
missionaries in order to examine the JAG historiography and then to propose a framework for the pre-war JAG history which could be used as an aid in understanding our future examination of that history.

Continue at this pdf file: 01-2-msuzuki.pdf

Joao Cruzue