Friday, March 30, 2007

Short Term Mission Evangelism Opportunity to India!

by Antonio da Rosa

Dear readers of This is a Cult. Want to Join? : I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus. Between the dates of October 10-21, 2007, God, our Father, will be using a team that He is raising up to declare His glory to the Meitei and Rongmei people groups of Imphal (city), Manipur (state), India. The team will be proclaiming freedom to the captives and healing to the brokenhearted by doing saturation evangelism in villages with a view to planting an estimated minimum of four (4) new churches.

Are you willing to prayerfully consider stepping out in faith to bring the gospel to people groups that are less than 1% 'Christian'? During a recent missions conference at my church, the plenary speaker gave a most sobering statistic:

If you add the number of unsaved in North America, Central America and South America to the unsaved of Africa, you still have less unsaved people than you have in India.

India is in the strategic 10/40 window and is in dire need of men and women from the ages of 14 - 100+ to come share the gospel. The fields are white for the harvest! It is impossible to get full-time missionary visas in India, so the Short-Term option as presented in this specific trip is a strategic endeavor that will result in new church assemblies in villages that do not have a single Christian witness.

This team, which I will help in leading (the Lord willing) and that I am in the process of recruiting and mobilizing, will be partnering with a national mission organization that will be the team's guides and interpreters. Once the evangelism has been done, funds are left for the full time salaries for ably trained and experienced disciplers to do the follow-up work.

Because of tribal distinctions and caste considerations, these nationals cannot even go to the villages to do evangelism! The team that God is recruiting is the 'in' into these villages, as Western people's are viewed as the highest caste and heartily welcomed by the tribal people.

The commitment of this trip is minimal in time: only 11 days, from the time we leave LAX to the time we return. Anyone in the United States (citizen or resident aliens) are able and welcomed to come. Actually anyone from around the world is welcomed!

Please contact me if you are interested in going on this strategic and significant trip. The itinerary is chock full of interesting and unique ministry opportunities and divine appointments.

Matt 16:25-26
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Expand your horizons, and build upon and invest into the abundant life that God has for you. This trip will be one of unlimited significance. What are your plans for this year? The significance of our actions that are not done with eternity in mind is lost the very moment we live them, like the fleeting taste of candy on our lips. But such sacrifice as this, to take the gospel to a foreign land in great need, will achieve a meaning, not only for time, but one that will transect into eternity, to the praise and glory of the Father, and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you willing to go?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

When did Satan fall?

I am going to do a Jim and ask you a straightforward question.

Did Satan fall before, during or after the creation week?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?

Re-post

You may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

Monarchist League

I have become a member of an organisation called the Monarchist League that promotes the principle of monarchy around the world.

I suppose I am thoroughly reactionary.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Woodgreen Evangelical Church

Woodgreen Evangelical Church

I feel it is only right that I post a link to my church on this blog. My church has given me immense support, before, during and after my mission trip to Japan. Many people from my church visited this blog to find out my prayer needs. That has been a real encouragement to me.

I remember somebody saying on another blog that us Free Gracers never reveal anything about our churches; implying that we are unaccountable loose cannons. Well, if anybody wants to know about my church visit this website.

Woodgreen Evangelical Church is a member of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. It is Reformed Baptist in theology(with plural elder government). However, it favours a moderately contemporary approach to worship and uses the NIV. It rejects female eldership and women preachers (one of the things I like most about it). It is not Charismatic, but not dogmatically Cessationist. They use an evangelistic course called Christianity Explored, but not Alpha courses.

While I have my differences with the theology at Woodgreen, this church is an exciting place to be. It is a church which is growing and where lives are being transformed by the teaching of the Word. It is a church which has a real commitment to mission.

Wow! Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sit in the same room and manage to make an agreement

It seemed like it would never happen, but finally the Rev Ian Paisly, leader of the Democratic Unionist party and Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish nationalist Sin Fein party, sat down in a room together for the first time and agreed to a power-sharing deal which will commence in May. This will lead to the re-establishment of regional government in Northern Ireland.

This is an historic and an incredible breakthrough. This is a blow to the pessimism and despair that seems to fill so many people. Northern Ireland is an example to the world of how long-standing conflicts can be resolved. We can have peace in our time. We do not have to continually despair at the world; there are often so many signs of hope and progress.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Presentation to my Church

I gave a presentation to my church this evening about my time in Japan. I was a bit worried, as I have sometimes made a mess of presentations. However, it seems that people found it both informative and entertaining.

I started by telling them that in Japan, people take their shoes off and wear slippers in church. I then took off my shoes and put my slippers on for the rest of the presentation. That was something they did not expect. I suggested that the elders and deacons ought to consider introducing a shoes-off rule here at Woodgreen Evangelical church.

One of the elders very helpfully scanned my photos and put them on a powerpoint. So I was able to show them some photos of the church and Ajigasawa. The congregation were very amused by my stories.

I am thankful that it went so well.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I dare say Bismarck would have enjoyed reading 'Thy Kingdom Come' by Dwight Pentecost

I was re-reading Dwight Pentecost's book 'Thy KIngdom Come the other day. It occurred to me that the chapter on the 'Kingdom of God in the present dispensation' was very authoritarian. Pentecost argues that the theocratic rule of God is delegated in the present dispensation in four areas, government, family, employers and the church. It was obvious that Pentecost was not at all a fan of trade unions.

I had this image in my mind of the great German chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck reading the book and nodding with approval at Pentecost's comments.

As a Right-wing conservatitve monarchist, I find the authoritarian tendency of Dispensationalism very appealing. When Dispensationalists write on the subject of government, regardless of whether they accept Christian involvement in politics or not, they tend to adopt a very ultraconservative and authoritarian tone.
They tend to take a very Lutheran (like Bismarck) Two-Kingdoms view of the state. They tend to take the position that any opposition to the state is opposition to God (ironic given that most Dispensationalists are Yanks).

The reactionary tendency of Dispensationalism can be traced back to that good old Irish nobleman, J.N. Darby. John Nelson Darby would never have voted, but if he had, he would almost certainly have been a Tory. He had only contempt for democracy (hence his contempt for the democratic constitutions of most nonconformist denominations).

On the other hand, while most Reformed people are politically conservative, Reformed Calvinism has always had a democratic republican flavour. Reformed politcal theology has tended to follow Samuel Rutherford in allowing the possibility of revolution in some circumstances. It was Calvinists who executed our king Charles I. The Presbyterian bodies all aspire to a democratic structure. It was Calvinist king William of Orange who overthrew James II and signed the Bill of Rights. It was Yank Calvinists who were behind the American War of Independence.

I suppose the Calvinist opposition to idea of the free-will of man and their over-emphasis on the sovereignty of God means that they have a hard time accepting the idea of delegated authority, hence their unwillingness to see any extraordinary authority being invested in government.

A Sound I hate above all other Sounds

The sound of the word workers spoken in a Liverpudlian accent.

Especially if the Liverpudlian is a trade unionist or Labour politician.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Matt

I have absolutely no objection to being addressed as 'Matt.' It seems the majority of people I know address me using that abbreviated form of my name. Even the pastor and the elders of my church call me Matt. It is quite nice that they are on such familiar terms.

It does amaze me, however, that people take the liberty of adressing me as Matt without ever asking me if that is my preference. I would not dare to call anybody anything other than their stated name unless they asked me otherwise.

Some people are of the opinion that Matt does not suit me at all. I am certainly not much like most of the Matts that I have met.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Catherine the Great

I went to the library earlier this week and borrowed a pile of books on Catherine the Great, the infamous empress of Russia.

I have been wanting to find out a bit more about Catherine the great for ages. The Eliotts (who are very interested in Russia) had a movie about her in their video collection, but they warned me it was not very good, so I did not bother watching it. Anyway, I think reading books is a better way to learn about history than watching a movie.

The Biggest Change in me

I think the most striking change about me is my new liking for cats. My friend Andrew Geuter was amazed to see me petting his cat when I visited his house this week.

I found living with the Eliott's four cats rather difficult at first, however, I came to really like them. I am really missing those cats.

This change of heart puts me at odds with my very much cat-disliking family. But I have no desire to own a cat of my own.

But maybe I could marry somebody who likes cats. But not dogs. Never dogs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thanks to my church

Thanks, everyone who prayed for my trip. I would particularly like to thank the people in my church who showed such love, support, encouragment towards me and who kept me in their prayers. Many of them even took the trouble to visit this blog.

What I will really miss about Japan

What I will miss most about Japan is wearing slippers in church. It was so comfortable!

Last Meals in Japan

In my last two evenings in Japan, I went to a couple of restaurants.

The first was a restaurant that sold Tempura (battered stuff) meals. You could have either a bowl of rice, thick noodles or Miso soup with the Tempura. However, being greedy, I opted for both noodles and Miso soup.

The next evening I went to a fast Japanese food restaurant. You order your meals by pressing a button on a machine and then you eat them on a counter. I had some beef and rice and Miso soup. I had this with Kinchi (Korean pickles).

I also went to a great ice cream parlour a couple of times. Normally I do not eat much ice cream, but I enjoyed it. I had Orange Sherbet flavour the first evening, then Musk Melon. I sampled the Green Tea ice cream, but I did not order any.

The Biggest Insult

In Japan, packed lunches (o bento) are a big thing.

I bought a packed Japanese lunch from a convenience store in Ichikawa. Normally they give you chopsticks. Instead of giving me chopsticks, the lady at the shop gave me a plastic fork. She has assumed that because I was a foreigner, I could not use chopsticks (a common assumption, I have heard).

As it happened, I found it much harder eating Japanese food with a fork. Chopsticks would actually have been easier for picking up the various things in the bento.

Airport Security with a Japanese touch

The Japanese security checks were like those in Zurich, rather than those in Birmingham. That is, they did not ask people to take their shoes off, but if the metal detector bleeped, people would have to go back without their shoes. However, the difference was that the Japanese security people provided slippers for those who had to take their shoes off. I guess the Japanese are used to handling shoes-off situations.

Personally, I think the Birmingham strategy of making everyone remove their shoes was more sensible. It prevented delays and made sure that everybody's shoes were x-rayed. Think about it; if you were a terrorist, would you hide explosives in boots with metal buckles and zips like mine, or in soft sneakers with no metal?

Journey Back

The journey back went well. I had a lot of train changes to make, which was scary, but I got back to Ichikawa and then two days later, back to Tokyo airport and back to Zurich and finally, back to Birmingham Airport, where I was met by my good friends, Wayne and Vicky. I knew I was back home when I began battling Reformed theology with Wayne in the car as we travelled down the M6.

On the day of my return, I had been awake for 24 hours, there being a none-hour time distance. I think I am mostly past the jetlag.

I am back online, as well as back in England

We got the internet back today; a stupid line fault kept us off.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Street preaching in Montreal

Matthew often posts about his street preaching, but since he is struggling to survive a “death-like silence”, I thought I would post about my street preaching.

Ok, don’t get frightened, I DID not preach. Oh, oops, I meant to capitalize NOT. Here goes, I did NOT preach.

Yesterday, after the church’s morning service, 5 men and 3 women headed to the streets of downtown Montreal with the purpose of spreading the gospel of our Lord. The men preached, and the women passed out tracts. The last time we had gone street preaching was in November and we had faced major opposition. The man in charge of our group got arrested. He was released within a few hours and had even managed to make it back to the evening service! The good news though, was that two souls got saved that day.

Not that anyone from our group got scared into going back to the streets again, but our Pastor wanted us to wait for a green light concerning any “legal” issues (there really aren’t, street preaching is legal, and they had no right to arrest the man of God). By God’s grace, we made it back to the streets yesterday and this time, we didn’t face much opposition. Sure, there are those who despise the Word of God, but there are those who thirst for it. A number of tracts were distributed, and the Word of God was heard.

There is joy in serving the Lord. When we made it back for the evening service, the spirit of God got a hold of the entire church as we sung our lungs out to the Lord.

And I’ll tell you something else, there is power in the preaching of God’s Holy Word.

1 Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A photo of my departure

BLUE FOREST SOAPBOX: Yet Another Goodbye

A Death-like Silence from this blogger

I am afraid we are having internet connection problems again. I will largely be absent from blogging for at least a week.

Can my fellow cultists please find something interesting to say in my absence?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

MATTHEW'S BIRTHDAY


Don't forget to stop by and wish Matthew a happy birthday. And don't forget to keep him in prayer, as he should be on his way back to England.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Photos of the Monkeys

BLUE FOREST SOAPBOX: Morning Walk - Monkeys

Please pray for me

I hate to keep on, but I am traveling south across Japan by train on Monday. I am quite nervous, so please pray that I travel safely and get there in good time.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The 'Star of David' is an Hindu Symbol

I mentioned to a Nepalese-Canadian english teacher that I had seen the 'Star of David' symbol being displayed by the king of Nepal. He was not sure what symbol I was referring to. However, when I showed him a six-pointed star, he immediately recognised it as a symbol of his own Hindu religion.

People, the 'Star of David' is not Jewish and it has nothing to do with David. It is an ancient pagan and occult symbol, make no mistake.

For a very good set of articles on the six-pointed star visit:

The Six-pointed Star

I just saw some wild Monkeys

Ajigasawa is surrounded by thick and wild forests. We just watched a group of monkeys emerge and scamper about. It i s usual for the monkeys to come out at the start of spring.

Apparently, they had just eaten a ritual offering that was meant for Shinto gods.

The Omnipresence of Vending Machines in Japan

There are drinks machines everywhere in Japan. Of course, the ration of litter bins to drinks machines is apalling. However, the variety of drinks made available by these drinks machines is incredible. If you do not like the drinks in one machine, you just move to the next one.

You can get coffee or tea in self-heat cans or cold drinks. There is cold black or cold green tea (quite refreshing). There is mineral water. A popular drink is Pocari Sweat (typical Japanese use of English), which is a fancy kind of mineral water. There are several juice drinks and of course, quite a lot of different fizzy soda drinks. Oddly, Dr Pepper is completley absent here, while Coca-cola is very popular.

My favorite drinks so far have been a mixed fruit nectar and Fanta Melon Cream Soda.

solifidian: Is Faith a Gift?

solifidian: Is Faith a Gift?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Photos of the baptism I mentioned

BLUE FOREST SOAPBOX: Only Servants

Spot the best dressed man in the group photo.