Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Japan Mission Trip Video

Here is the video that my church did for our mission trip. The statistics concerning suicide in Japan are quite alarming. I hope God used us in amazing ways, and I hope He gives me the chance to go back and do even more!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

There's Just Something About Hymns...

I love Hymns, especially old hymns of Irish origin like Be Thou My Vision and Before the Throne of God Above (written by an Irish woman in America, but it still counts). There is just something there, the rich, deep lyrics; the beautiful melodies; the gospel of Christ portrayed unashamedly and unmasked. One does not have to search for the Spiritual truths when reading the lyrics of a hymn, as they are often right there in the open, even taken directly from scripture at times. Martin Luther, the author of numerous hymns and the founding father of the reformation, believed that when people sang, it subconsciously reinforced their beliefs, and he advocated singing hymns at home as well as church.
Don't get me wrong, I love the newer contemporary worship songs as well, and I sing them often at church, but there is just something about hymns, that will always hold a special place in my life...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

日本 - There an Back Again



The young man sat down in one of his favorite chairs and reached for the laptop. The old beast sprang to life with the touch of a button, and he surfed his way over to his website. Many people had been promised a debrief on his recent trip to Japan, and he knew he had to write it soon. Tonight was as good a night as any. Pressing his fingers to the keyboard, he began to write.

For those of you who were unaware, I recently returned from a mission trip to Japan. Twenty members from our church, including my two younger brothers and I, visited Yokohama and Saitama in the course of 11 days. We spoke at New Hope Church in Yokohama, a Lutheran School in Saitama, and New Life Family Church Saitama. We shared our testimonies, preached, and shared the love of Jesus Christ through sign-dance and dramas. Our main purpose was to form relationships between New Hope Hawaii Kai and the churches in Yokohama and Saitama. The day after we got off the plane we were already busy, travelling from one area of Yokohama to another for youth welcome party the church held for us. Travelling is pretty awesome in Japan, even during rush hour I liked riding the trains. We never had any instances where the men in the white gloves were pushing people on the train, so I guess that'll have to wait for next time :D 
The people at both churches were pretty awesome. It was always an encouragement to go from the train system where everyone looks super tired and depressed - absorbed in their own world - and jumping into a church service where the people really enjoy being there. At both churches, the congregants come together only once a week, so they arrive early for the service, and then stay later so that they can spend as much time together as possible. At the after party for both Yokohama and Saitama's church services,  one of our team members taught the members of the churches how to line dance. This is a picture of a combined service from both churches doing the line dance at an after party, with one of our team members learning and helping out at the same time. Thanks to Mel for this photo. 
It was also a chance for all the interns at our church to get to know one another and grow as a team and individuals. Our team of 11 interns spent a lot of time in crowded conditions with each other, and there was a little bit of friction. I think all of the interns really learned a lot from the experience. We learned the necessity for accountability, letting others know where we are at all times, and also what it takes to get a large group of people from point A to point C through crowded conditions... while changing trains. Everyone on the team is on the team because they are wanting to become involved in full-time ministry. It was an honor and privilege to work with such an amazing group of people. I hope I have the privilege to serve with them even more in the future.  Here is a picture of the whole group waiting for a train. We certainly look like a goofy group, eh?
While the people at the churches were amazing, the other people around us on the trains or in other places were a bit intimidating at times. The first night we were on the last train heading from the airport to Yokohama a man was growling at our youth pastor and a couple of our chaperons, and despite most of the people being extremely polite, there were a few other unsavory characters. We got an extremely cold reception at one of the two chapel services we did at the school, and the head pastor at our church had to remind a sleep-deprived and discouraged team of young adults that it wasn't our love for them that they were rejecting, but Christ's. He then proceeded to remind us that we cannot judge how many seeds were planted in the minds of the High Schoolers.
The best part about the trip was getting to leave the US for the very first time, and serve God while doing it! Here are a few more pictures from the trip that I took. 
Ryan, Chris, and Myself at a restaurant 

Me in front of a nice Sushi shop in Tsukiji

Sushi at aforementioned Sushi shop
We performed a skit teaching the power of Christ over temptation at two services.

All in all, I think the trip was a complete success, and I pray that those who saw our outreach would be moved to seek what we showed, the love of the one true God. I definitely plan on going back to Japan, there is so much work to do there.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Japan Mission Trip

Wow, I can't believe it is only a week and three days away! If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me fill you in! As an intern at my church here in Hawaii, I will be travelling with a team of roughly twenty people to Yokohama and Saitama in Japan. We will be working with two churches there, teaching English, and spreading the gospel. I am really looking forward to it, but I barely know Japanese (my fault, I haven't been studying enough). Please pray for a safe trip there and back again, and that we could reach the youth of Japan with the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected for their sins. This partially explains why I have been inactive on the blog, although I must confess that it is also my fault for not taking the time to post more often. Please pray that we may be an effective weapon for curtailing the work of the devil, and that we may be a light to those around us.
I will post with updates on how the trip is going, and when we're done I'll post pictures and type up a debrief of sorts.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Please Pray

For those of you, my readers, who are members of Holy Worlds Christian Fantasy Forum, this is nothing new. But to those of you who are not members of that site, I am turning to you for help.

The founder of the Forum, Jay Lauser (Sir Emeth Mimetes), has been charged guilty of Child Molestation in the first degree. Before you form any opinions, please go here and read this story. I am of the opinion that whether or not he has been correctly judged, he has changed. The event in question occurred over three years ago, and since theen he has come to know the Lord, founded Holy Worlds, and been an inspiration to all around him, including myself (though I only know of him through his work with the forum).

Please pray that the Lord would use Jay's situation to work for His glory, and that whatever comes about due to his circumstances will be according to the Lord's plan. Also pray for his family, one can only imagine what they are going through.

Sincerely, Joe Anderson
(Novadar Mimetes)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Changes Coming

Hello All!

Sorry I have been inactive for so long, but I have been pretty busy with our internship here at New Hope, publishing my first fantasy fiction novel, and keeping up with music and other miscellaneous things. I am hoping that I will be posting more when college begins in August, when I will have more things to blog about (I will be very eager to share what I will be learning, believe me), which leads me to my next point. I am mulling a name change to suit a new direction for the blog. Nothing is finalized yet, but the idea is that this blog will start changing to a teaching/application blog, where I can share what I am learning and get discussion on what I am learning and debate on different points. The goal would be to show you, my readers, what I am learning, and hopefully allow us all to grow in our love and understanding of the One True God. The goal of this blog, with Christ's guidance, will be to equip all (including myself) to be ready at all times to give a reason for their faith, and that we may learn to live by the commands of 2 Peter 1:5-10, adding virtue to our faith, knowledge to our virtue, self-control to our knowledge, steadfastness to our self-control, godliness to our steadfastness, brotherly affection to our steadfastness, and love to our brotherly affection. 2 Peter states that if we attain these qualities they will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful. 

That being said, I will try to keep you up to date on how the trip to Japan is progressing. Please pray daily for our mission team, and especially for the people of Japan. Pray that God gives a heart which drives us to reach the youth of Japan with the gospel of Christ and him crucified for our sins, and that he would prepare the hearts of the people to receive this gospel. If you want to pray specifically for me, please pray for faith in God's ability to provide. When it comes to raising money for the trip, acquiring donations for our silent auction, and trying to learn Japanese, I tend to rely on my own understanding rather than put my faith in God. Lately, I feel he has been testing me. My faith is growing, but too slowly in my opinion (that's probably a good thing, but I'm only human).

Thank you all for your prayers regarding the Mission trip to Japan. I will try to be a little more active in the future, letting you know how we're progressing.

Until next I write, farewell.

Joe

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19 & 20

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Next Chapter Begins

Hello Everyone!

I pray the Lord has been watching over you since my last post. I just wanted to let y'all know why I have been largely absent from the blog here. We are down to the final two weeks to earn donations for a Silent Auction/Dinner fundraiser that will be going towards the Japanese mission trip. We have been out several hours each day for the last few days going door to door on businesses asking for donations. Please pray that the Lord opens the hearts of the businesses men and women here in Hawaii, and allows us to have a successful fundraiser. Other than that, I must confess I have been goofing around a bit, running around the island doing crazy things with my brothers, but that must be expected. I am hoping that blogging will pick up a bit while I am at New Hope Christian College, when I have more things to share (I will be learning, after all!), so until then please hang in there. Speaking of which, the next chapter in my life is starting to unroll, as I have just been accepted to the college! I will try to keep you posted about life, and any brilliant thoughts I have regarding theology and doctrines.

Until next time, may the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand!

Sincerely,

Joe

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Palm Sunday

Grace and Peace to you in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! Such were the words of the crowd that greeted Jesus as he rode on the donkey into Jerusalem. If I were there back on that day I would probably be one of those in the crowd. I hope that I would not have joined the crowd that only a few days later shouted "Crucify him!" I'm sure there were many who belonged to both crowds. As I sat in church this morning, I once again reminded myself it was my sins that sent him into Jerusalem that Passover, that kept him there, and later drove him to the cross. Great is our Lord, who could work the greatest miracle in all history out from the depths of the greatest travesty in all time.

As you go about your life today, remember that this was the day our Lord rode into Jerusalem, praise him and thank him for his sacrifice, for if you do not, the very stones will cry out.

Thank you Lord, for your greatest sacrifice, that your son may die, and we live.

Farewell,
Joe Anderson

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Next Chapter

A great chapter has ended in my life, and another is about to be written. For those of you who didn't know, I moved from Oregon to Hawaii yesterday. I have about six months until classes start at the Christian College here, so I will try to be a little more regular with my postings here until then. I am really looking forward to what the LORD will do with me at the college, and I am really really looking forward to learning from the wise professors there at the college, preparing myself for the work that the LORD is calling me to do.
I got to shadow our youth pastor today when he went to the college, met three different professors, a financial adviser, and several students. It was awesome! The library is also very awesome (go figure), and I fear that if I study in the library I will get distracted by the amazing books.
That's all for now, I want to do a post on my new favorite hymn sometime in the next few days, but that will have to wait for the next few days...

God Bless,
Joe Anderson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm Back

Just wanted to let you all know that I just finished up my last two finals yesterday! This was my final term here at the community college, and I am looking forward to leaving for Hawai'i, but I am still nervous about the results here, so please be praying.

A much more substantial post will be forth-coming, but until then this will have to do.

Meien Odaea meien Eidír Odav Esíl!

Joe Anderson

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Real Men Don't Cry?

Another brief thought: whoever coined the phrase "real men don't cry," had never heard, or at least truly understood, the gospel message.

This may or may not come as a surprise to those of you who know me, but as I sat in the church service this morning as we prepared for communion, I cried. What caused it? The reminder that after Jesus had been brutally scourged, humiliated, and nailed to the Cross, he bore the weight of all of MY sins, and the sins of the whole world. As the sins of the world descended on him, he cried out Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? For the first time in all eternity, Jesus Christ was separated from God the Father. Yes, he was physically separated from God when he was on earth, in that he was here and God was in heaven, but I believe he still daily, perhaps even constantly, heard God's voice and could talk to him. When the sins of the world came upon him, God the Father turned his back on his one and only begotten son, and for the first time in all eternity Christ could not hear his Father's voice. What a crushing feeling that must have been, to be totally and utterly separated from God, and yet Christ did it obediently, not loving his life, but obediently laying it down for his enemies. When I hear that Jesus Christ took my sins - my horrible, numerous sins - upon himself, I weep.
Great is our God, who willingly went to the cross with our sins. May his name be glorified forever and above all things, Amen.

Your Brother in Christ,
Joe

Monday, January 30, 2012

Concerning Hobbits

I'm sorry, this blog is normally for theological purposes, but when I heard this, I couldn't help but pass it on.

"The Mayans weren't counting down until the end of the world in December 2012, they were counting down until the release of the Hobbit."

'Nuff said. Carry on,

Your Brother in Christ,
Joe

"But concerning that day or that hour, ino one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Mark 13:32

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Witnessing: My Testimony? Or Christ's Testimony?

Grace and peace be with you all in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

::Note:: This will more than likely be the last post you ever read on this blog... for the next three months, so read it and comment on it, and I will write again int three months! ::End Note::

In keeping with the whole theme of evangelism that I started in the last post, today I will be discussing the term "Testimony." There are several different Greek words used: μάρτυς (Martus-witness), μαρτυρία (Marturia-evidence given (record, report, testimony, witness)), and μαρτύριον (Marturion-something evidential, evidence given (to be testified, testimony, witness)). As previously stated, however, I am no Greek scholar (after I learn Japanese I'm going to start on Koine Greek...), but what I can notice from Strong's Dictionary, is that each of these words can mean witness. I do know that the meaning of a word is decided by the context it is in (Greek has no grammar regarding the order of words in a sentence, instead relying on the words used to convey the meaning of the sentence), therefore, I know that depending on the context different translations of the word would be ruled out, so I cannot say it means all of these things all of the time.

So, first rule of Bible interpretation, context (the second happens to be context as well, and the third... well, you get the picture). Let's take a look at how Jesus told his disciples to apply these words, and then how the Apostles applied these words. Matt. 24:14 is the first place we see one of these words used in the new testament, but going on our three rules, we need to back up a bit and take a look at what is happening around this one verse. As you read through the passage, keep this question in mind: what is the testimony that Christ is referring to? Our story, or the Gospel (Christ's story)? Matt. 24:3-14 "3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" 4 And Jesus answered them, 'See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.'" What is the Testimony? The Gospel of God's Kingdom (if you saw that reading through the passage, congratulations!). What is the Gospel of God's Kingdom? The fact that Christ changed my life? Maybe. But the stronger argument here would be that it is the story of how every person on this earth is a sinner, dead in their fallen human nature, enemies to God. And, while we were still sinners, God sent his one and only son down to earth to live and then die the most painful and excruciating death ever invented, so that we could receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Crucifixion was so painful, we invented a word specifically for it (Excruciate comes from crucify). That, my friends, is the good news.

You may be thinking, "Revelation 12:11!" Ok, Revelation 12:11 "And they have conquered him by the blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." (emphasis added). Ok, but the verse starts out with a conjunction ("Conjunction junction, what's that function?" "Hooking up words and phrases and clauses." (Yes, I just quoted Schoolhouse Rock on a theology blog)) Therefore, we can deduce that there must be a connected phrase before this verse. Revelation 12:7-11 "Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8  but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.'" Here we see that the Dragon (Satan, The Devil, the Accuser of the Saints), is thrown out of heaven, and that the power of God's kingdom and authority of Christ have come, by the blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony. What leads to the cleansing of sins and defeating of the Devil? Acceptance of the blood of the lamb that was shed on the cross for our sins. How does one come to this acceptance (faith)? Romans 10:14-17 "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' 16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?' 17  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." My story is not the word of Christ. The word of Christ is the word of Christ (yes, very profound).

Next, you may be thinking "Joe, you quoted Kristen Williams saying 'Testimony is just a fancy word for "Heaven touched earth right where I'm standing, and I'm different as a result."'" Why yes, I did, and I also went on to use Revelation 12:11 to back it up. This is one of the reasons that I started this blog, so I could grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God, and have everyone else benefit as well (and in many cases teach me). Since that post (wow, it was only three months ago) I have come to the realization that there is a time and a place for my story, and far more times and places for Christ's story. The writing of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 9:16b really grabbed me "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel." Yikes! Think about it. The Apostle Paul new the Old Testament like the back of his hand, he was zealous for the Lord (going so far as to persecute the church, whom he viewed as heretics). But upon conversion, all he talked about was Jesus, Jesus Jesus... If the Apostle Paul didn't get a get-out-of-jail-free card when it came to his preaching, then why should any of us get one?

As I said previously, there is a time and a place for our testimonies. But when we are witnessing to a group of unsaved individuals, it would be more effective to preach to them about the cornerstone of the Christian faith, our savior, Jesus Christ. The church did just fine with Christ for the last 2,000 years, and if you look at the history of the Catholic church, you can see what happens when we try to introduce human ideas, so why should we depart from preaching only Jesus Christ and him crucified for our sins now?

Sincerely,

Joe Anderson

Pelagianism is the default setting of the human heart; the religion of self-salvation. -Michael Horton

Acts 4:11 & 12 "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Into the East

Greetings to you all in the name of Christ Jesus Our Lord!

I hope this first post of the New Year finds you all safe and well, and I pray that all of you have an amazing 2012, in which you grow in the knowledge and understanding of our God and his inspired Word, the Bible. I hope that this year you all live, knowing that each day could be your last (especially if the day happens to be December 21st, 2012).

As the title suggests, I may be heading into the East, by heading west of course, but still into the area we have referred to as the Far East. My younger brothers and I are applying for a six-month internship at our church, which would take us on a mission trip to Japan at the fulfillment of the six months. Please pray that we may be accepted, raise the funds necessary, and that we would be able to be living examples of the love of Christ. Only approximately 1% of the population of Japan are Christian, so what is more important than prayer for us is prayer for the people of Japan.

I pray that everyone on the team can follow the examples of the Apostles and other early Christians, and preach Jesus Christ and him crucified for our sins, and teach the youth of Japan that all are born dead in trespasses and sins, that none are righteous (no, not even one (except for Christ, that is)), and that all need to come to the repentance and forgiveness of sins by grace alone through faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone. I pray also that we can accurately communicate what it means to "believe in" Jesus, and finally, that we can communicate the need for them to get a Bible, and read it every day.

That being said, I would highly recommend all of you go and read the Great Commission, it can be found both in Matthew 28:16-20 and Acts 1:6-11. All Christians are called to fulfill this last commandment of Christ, whether it is in your home, neighborhood, school, county, state, nation, or abroad, like Japan.

The goal for this blog, especially in this coming year, as I prepare for the mission trip, will be to help equip you to fulfill this mission, by getting you into the word. You will not agree with everything I say on this blog, I can guarantee you that! But, if you come across something you find questionable, search the Bible and back up your belief! Then come and post it here, so we can all read and learn your views, and then go and back up our beliefs. Please do not let the wall of disagreement come between us, but let the disagreement fuel you on to learn more.

Finally, expect the blogging here to drop off significantly for the next three months. I will try to do one blog post a month if I can, but I'm doing my last quarter at the community college here, and I really need to concentrate.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

さようなら,

Joe Anderson