Wednesday, December 31, 2008

25 years ago: my first homeschool "parent-teacher conference"

We've recently begun the process of digitizing some old cassette tapes.

Among them is this 20 minute jewel. My parents started homeschooling me in August, 1983, back when home schooling was still new and scary in America. This recording of my first 'parent-teacher conference' is from November 11, 1983.

The sound quality is not great after all these years (a lot of 'buzz' to try to hear over, and the end of the recording seems to be missing).

You will, however, get a kick out of hearing how my voice sounded back then. (There are some really cute moments on this recording.)

You will see what good parents God has blessed me with.

And you will see the faithfulness of God, who has continued working in us all these years, drawing us closer to Himself. How patient He is! Looking back 25 years gives me courage to trust Him for the next 25.

If you don't see the embedded player above, click here to listen in a separate window.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sharing the Good News Using Your Hand!

This is a very creative way to share the good news about Jesus using your five fingers as a teaching tool. I am looking forward to trying this out.

Click here to see it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thoughts on Narnia

A younger friend recently asked for my opinion on the Narnia books.  Here, for what it's worth, is what I told him:

Narnia.  Wow.  That is a toughie.  My parents first read me the Narnia books when I was very young and I have read them many times since then.  They are extremely well written and are hard to put down.  I have also watched the movie versions of some of the books (the older movies which were produced in the early 80s, not the ones produced in the last couple years).  They are, as you know, Christian allegory which depict truths from the Bible.  There is no doubt that Lewis was a brilliant thinker.  However, as you have already probably heard, he uses characters from pagan Greek mythology as some of his “good” characters in Narnia.  Doug Phillips of Vision Forum has written a couple of articles about how detestable these ‘gods’ were in Greek mythology.  You can read what Doug said at,

This is one reason why some people feel that Narnia books blur the lines of distinction between what is good and evil magic (in a similar, but much milder way, to what the Harry Potter books have done in our generation).  Bottom line: when I was young I enjoyed the Narnia books.  The movies had some really great parts (but also some immodest dress).  (The newer movies, I hear, are less faithful to the books and are even more worldly.)  They did not cause me to think highly of pagan gods (I didn’t even know what ‘dryads’ were because I had not studied Greek mythology).  They did awaken a sort of desire in me to escape into a Narnia fantasy world myself and have fantastic adventures like the Pevensky children did.  (As if I, or any normal child my age, would have been as brave in combat as they were!!! Ha!)  This desire is of course futile and to some extent counterproductive.  My conscience was not as sensitive then.  I guess if I had kids now I would not encourage them to read the books or watch the movies.  Not so much because the stories are terrible but because there are better things to do with our lives.  

We tend to want a spectacular adventure like fighting a werewolf.  For Christians, the adventures we get sent on are far more difficult: washing feet, or perhaps dishes!  That reminds me of what Oswald Chambers said (

"Arise, shine." Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Well, I’m getting off on a rabbit trail there.  Hope that helps some though with thinking through for yourself what to do with Narnia.

Books like “The Three Comrades” {another book we had discussed}, although not as beautifully written as Narnia, are more beneficial to our lives in the end.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dad's Christmas letter

We don't always get around to writing Christmas letters, but this year, my father did. It came out so well I thought you all would be blessed by it. -- Daniel

Well here we are again – the end of another year. This year has been a year of growth, physically and spiritually. Physically a little too much growth around the middle – so I now exercise most mornings upon rising and eat less – especially at dinner. I have been working less in town, so I have been sitting too much in front of the computer.

Early this year we finally found a church home. We visited a lot of churches in the process and have made a lot of new friends. The church is not large, but it is growing slowly. The music is basically hymns and some choruses. Our pastor and the adult Sunday school teacher both have a passion for the word of God and love to teach/preach expositionally. We are being fed the word of God every Sunday. Currently Pastor Jim is preaching through Leviticus and it is really exciting what we are learning. For the month of November I have been reading the book of Leviticus over and over and am learning just how serious God is about our worship of Him only! For the past 2 years I have been reading a different book of the bible over and over for the entire month - this method has really changed my life and walk with our Lord. The richness of the scriptures really begins to rise off the pages of the Bible when reading this way!

Another benefit that we have enjoyed at our new church is that Ann can listen to the Sunday school and church services at home by using Skype over the internet. We put the Skype program on the church’s computer so that whenever the computer is turned on the Skype program starts up. All Ann has to do is connect like doing an internet phone call and she can hear everything. Often Ann connects others to the church services – people who cannot also go to church, sometimes people in China listen with her. On Sunday evenings we all listen from home – we are 20 miles each way from church. If you would like to see or hear a sermon go to:

Pastor Jim’s passion is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Gospel has also become our passion. Every sermon contains a presentation of the gospel. We have no altar calls, just an invitation to meet with the pastor or a deacon to discuss what God is doing or has done in your life. To become a member, you must have a genuine salvation experience with our Lord, with evidence of a changed life. There must be fruit. And you must be able to present the gospel to others. Such as the following:

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all His ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin.

Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is separated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation in hell at the hands of God.

But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of His great love, sent His eternal Son born by the virgin Mary, to die as a payment for our sin and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people like you and me.

And now, through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and His willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following Him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in His sight, have eternal life, and receive the Spirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God Himself.

In these last days, the gospel is really all that matters. Most of all, the way we live our lives should be a real demonstration of the gospel. The four spiritual laws are good, but they do not go far enough.

The question is NOT: “Do you know you’re a sinner?” But “Has God changed your heart so that you hate sin?” “Do you now hate the sin that you used to LOVE?” “If you do not have a new relationship with sin, you do not have a new relationship with God!

The question is NOT: “Do you want to go to heaven?” Everybody wants to go to heaven; they just do not want God to be there when they get there. The question is: “Has God changed your heart so that you desire Him?”

Have you become a new creature with new desires? Have you grown since you made a decision for Christ? Do you continue to repent – even daily? A mark of true Christianity – When we sin, we grieve and repent for it. The desire of your life will be that you want to be like Jesus. Do you want to be with the people of God?

Once a month Daniel and I go to the local jail (400 inmates) and do two or three church services. Sometimes we meet old friends? Anyway, we love this ministry and opportunity to serve others and present the gospel to those who are usually open to hear the truth of the gospel.

We are still living in the mountains of Arizona where you can see the stars and enjoy fresh air most of the time. We have a beautiful view of the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. Traffic is usually very mild except on the freeway on the weekends.

Our health is fairly stable and we enjoy walking most days. We have a walking group of “old folks” that enjoy serving each other and the community. All three of us enjoy encouraging people and customers over the internet using “Skype”. Our hearts desire has been to spend our lives for “Jesus Sake”.

Anyway, we are still learning new things every day – so life is never boring. We are not able to travel very far, so we are at home most of the time. God has blessed our home businesses in remarkable ways. He loves to prove that His ways are the best, so we try very hard to be in the center of His will – a great place to be!

May our Father in Heaven bless you in remarkable ways during this coming year and give you a fresh testimony of His faithfulness to you and your family that you can share with others and encourage them greatly. Our MOTTO: It is ALL about JESUS!

Love, Ward

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Google Chrome: surprisingly speedy but frustratingly buggy

From the amazing engineers at Google (whom I expect to be putting a film of everyone's life on the Net soon, if their current rate of data collection continues), comes Google Chrome, a lightweight alternative to Internet Explorer.

It's now out of Beta. It is really very fast loading web pages compared to either Internet Explorer or even Mozilla Firefox. But it has some odd and intermittent glitches which seem to hit at frustrating moments.

Bottom line: if you are medium to advanced in computers, give it a try. If not, stick with Mozilla Firefox (or IE in a real pinch).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Good Reason to Get Rid of Cats

This is just for fun. Confirms my general opinion about cats! (If you can't see the embedded video, click here.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gospel in Christmas for Hip Hoppers

Some friends of mine who run an Internet-based Hip Hop radio station asked me to record a short message about Christmas for use in their broadcast last night.  Although they're not Christians, for some reason they gave me this opportunity to speak.  

It is a challenge for me to know what to say.  I don't have much in common with hip hoppers, other than an utterly sinful heart.  Mom suggested a song, and after prayer and lots of script-rewriting and recording, this is what I came up with.

(If you don't see the embedded audio player, click here to listen to it.)

Pray for God to save the two young men who run the station.  They both have great voices which could be speaking His praises.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Contentment of Childhood

After our church potluck, the pastor's son fell asleep in Dad's arms. Hard to tell who is more content in this picture!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trouble Sharing Jesus? Join an Evangelism Accountability Group

Christian friends, does fear or apathy hinder you from speaking with others about Jesus?  

I’m thinking about starting a weekly, one hour evangelism accountability group. It’s been my observation that I am more alert to seize opportunities to evangelize when I am accountable to someone else. So, I figured maybe others want to be accountable too.  Think of it as a sort of "Evangelists Anonymous" meeting.  

The hour would include components like these:
  • Accountability
  1. Whom did you share Jesus with last week and how did it go?
  2. What opportunities do you feel you missed, and how can we avoid this failure in the future?
  • Prayer 
  1. For more laborers
  2. For boldness
  3. For the people we have been sharing with or are preparing to share with
  • Training
  1. How can we make our evangelism more Biblical?
  2. What aspect of the gospel do you struggle to share clearly and/or accurately?
  3. Tips on conversation starters, places to witness, etc.
I will try to do a "test meeting" or two.  Probably using some combination of Skype and telephone.  If you are interested in participating, send me an email or leave a comment on this message, telling what times / days of the week are best for you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pilgrim's Progress, The Movie

My friend Arne Gasch recently alerted me to a recently released movie of John Bunyan's classic work, Pilgrim's Progress.

As a reviewer noted, "Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven is a faithful and creative adaptation of a timeless classic. The genius lies in bringing Christian and his fellow travelers into a modern context.

I haven't seen the movie, but the trailers I have seen are gripping, and yet seem to accurately portray the message of the book.

Check them out for yourself:

(watch the trailer on the main page)

(slight differences from the main trailer)

(much different from the first two trailers)

It's impossible to film the whole book in 1 hour and 43 minutes, so hopefully the film will motivate people to read the book.  If you don't own a copy (shame, shame!) you can read it online here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Prescott Christmas Parade

Thank you to those who prayed for our time of evangelism in Prescott last Saturday. God blessed us with great weather and a large number of people showed up for the parade.

Due to my not taking into account the fact that the streets would be blocked off for the parade, we wound up missing the turn to join the rest of Karl Borman's evangelism team before the parade.

By the time I spotted Karl he was already engaged in a one on one conversation with an elderly woman. I chatted briefly with his wife and kids, then picked a section of the route that seemed to have no one else passing out tracts. I distributed about 200 copies of my favorite tract to adults and about 100 "Ten Commandment Coins" to kids. This took me about an hour.

Then I had to find Dad to "reload" (he had a bag with more tracts). Karl was just finishing talking with the same woman! He was really a good example to me of not overlooking the individual. I tend to concentrate more on reaching large numbers (quantity instead of quality).

On my way back to the crowds, I bumped into some more people from the evangelism team. Several of them were itinerant evangelists from Oregon. Two young families (related by marriage) have taken to the road in small RV's, traveling the US together to share the gospel. You can check out their ministry, Agents for Christ.

We also had the joy of bumping into Mike McLeod, a brother in Christ who lives near Prescott. We communicated with him via email and phone but never met in person before. Here he is, looking very serious as he studies a "big money" tract that he was preparing to use.

I then gave out about another 80 tracts and some more coins, but after a while I reached an area which I believed had already been "tracted" by other evangelists, so I started (nervously) looking around to see if I could find someone to talk with. Back behind the main lines of parade-watchers were some people less interested in the parade.

Praise God, I got to talk with 4 very different people.

The first one was a young man who seemed to have a genuine sense of his sinfulness before God. This is extremely rare to find. He comes from a Christian home but is struggling to find truth for himself. I attempted to point him to Christ as the cure for his sinfulness. I felt like the conversation was going well but after a while he abruptly told me he needed to leave. Richard Wurmbrand said he won more people to Christ by listening to them than by talking to them, and in hindsight I think perhaps I should have listened to this young man more.

Next, I spotted a nerdy looking young man (even nerdier than me!) wearing all black with a skull printed on his shirt. He was standing by himself. By the time I had gotten over to him he was climbing behind a railing and walking out on top of the men's restroom. (This was not quite as bizarre looking as it sounds, due to the layout of the courthouse building.) I did hand him a tract as he went. I handed out some more tracts and looked back at him periodically. He was reading the tract. When he finished, I asked him (from down below) what he thought of it. He said he basically agreed with it. Hmm, that's not good!... I chatted with him a bit more... he is still in school but hopes to work for a video game design company when he graduates.

Then I found a middle aged man standing by himself and struck up a conversation with him. I didn't find any clues to his spiritual condition so I finally just asked him "What kind of church background do you have?" He told me that he'd joined a Methodist church but then quit when they refused to help a needy family he was trying to assist. Just then he said, "Don't say anything more on this topic--here comes my wife!" Then he added, "Don't worry, everything is fine between me and the Heavenly Father." I left him with a tract.

Last, I found a native American with an "Operation Iraqi Freedom" hat. I asked him if he'd been a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and he said yes. Then he told me he'd been in the Navy from 1992 to 1998. I started scratching my head trying to figure out how he could have served in Iraq during those years. It turned out he was homeless, and surprisingly, he didn't ask me for a handout. He told me that there were plenty of agencies in Prescott helping the homeless, and that they even gave him food for his pet German shepherd puppy. After he shared with me about some of the hard knocks he had experienced in life, I asked him if he ever wondered why God had allowed these things to happen to him. He had. He told me he had tried praying to God / Jesus many times but that he'd never heard anything. He follows the Hopi religion more or less. He said, "I don't know why I've had such an unlucky life." I soon found why he felt this way. It turns out that he believes he has never sinned, not even told a lie! Another one of his homeless buddies walked up and showed me his "Operation Iraqi Freedom" flack jacket and told me he'd been in Iraq also. I am not the brightest person in the world and it wasn't until after the conversation was over that I realized the Iraq story was probably a lie. It might have been interesting to point this out to him. What I did tell him was that the reason God had never answered his prayer was because his sins were separating him from God (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 66:18). I told him, "I don't know what your specific sins are, but you need to start reading God's book to find out. God's book says that we are all sinners. Without looking at God's book, it's easy for us to think we are OK, because we naturally draw the bullseye around our own arrow." I asked if I could pray for him and he agreed. The conversation ended amicably although I don't know if what I said penetrated very far.

Then the crowd evaporated because the parade had ended. The evangelists regrouped for a few minutes. Here's a picture of a few of us.

Then we headed home. I think the rest stayed to do more evangelism later in the evening at the courthouse lighting.

Karl's blog contains better pictures and reports here.

Thanks to my Dad for taking lots of pictures. You can see more of them (and even a few video clips) on my photo album.

And thanks to Jesus for making it all possible!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Reason US Carmakers Want a Bailout

I found this short news video fascinating. It shows that there are clear solutions that could help US car manufacturers, but unfortunately the UAW is unwilling to adopt them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Lost at Sea" has been found again!

Quite some time ago I posted a link to the short, gripping film produced by Christ For All Nations called "Lost at Sea". Since that time, the film has been removed from CFAN's web site. But I recently found it again on Google Video.

Since I'm not sure the person who posted this film to Google had CFAN's permission to post it there (they are selling a DVD series that includes Lost at Sea), I hesitated to post the video on my blog. But in the end I decided this would be a good advertisement for the series and perhaps even motivate some people to purchase it.

I recommend watching the film twice in a row (it's only 12 minutes). The first time through will be more or less just adrenaline for you, and rather confusing. The second time you'll be able to focus clearly on the message, which is stirring. If you don't see the embedded video below, you can click here to view it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Evangelism in Prescott Saturday

God willing, Dad and I will be joining Karl Borman's team to evangelize in Prescott this Saturday. Click here for details. If you are nearby, consider joining us. If you're not, please pray for us! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Touching Movie about North Korean Refugees

The power of film to convey emotion and shape worldviews is remarkable.

The trailer for the South Korean movie "Crossing" is a great example. It is based on the true story of some North Korean refugees.

Take a few minutes to watch it by clicking on their web site below. It should start playing automatically for you once the site loads and you close the pop ups.

Here is a link that gives a short synopsis of the story.

I haven't seen any more than the trailer so I can't vouch for the movie, but it is nice to see a movie that is not based on sex, conveying an important message to the world. May God use this film to raise prayers and aid for the oppressed people of North Korea.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

World Evangelization Statistics Map

At church this week I saw a new, very sobering map on the wall. While I have seen maps depicting the status of world evangelization before, this one was better than any of them, because it takes population densities into account.

Here's the map. You can click for a full screen version, or visit to learn more about their work.

This map makes it clear that we live in a real "bubble" in the US. To me the saddest parts are the dark red dots, which are hard to see but even more needy for the Good News about how they can be freed from their sins.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Raised from the Dead (Yes, Really!)

With all the hocus-pocus charlatans who claim supernatural gifts nowadays, it's easy to become cynical when you hear a report of a miracle.

This one seems very legitimate. Sean George, a medical doctor in western Australia, had a heart attack last month. His heart was stopped for 55 minutes and doctors gave up working on him. Then his wife arrived and prayed for him...

You'll have to watch him tell the story for himself.

Click here for the page that tells about his current condition, and make sure you don't miss the video of him sharing with his church about it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Harbingers of Hatred for Christians in the U.S.

I published another short blog entry a few days ago about the cross-carrying elderly woman who was harrassed by homosexuals.

Since then I've learned of two other recent attacks on U.S. Christians which were even more violent.

Some Christians recently began going to a downtown district of San Francisco at night to pray and worship God publicly. They were not even preaching or evangelizing. One night it got ugly. Read the story here or watch a woman tell about it on the video below.

While I may have some theological differences with the Christian group the woman is part of, I am nonetheless impressed by their love for Jesus and for homosexuals. The last half of the video above (after the woman's testimony) contains footage of the homosexuals shouting, etc. Here is a clearer copy of that footage.

The other attack was carried out on Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan on November 9th, when about 30 anarchists disrupted the Sunday morning church service, accusing the church of being an "anti-queer, anti-choice radical right wing establishment". Please read about it here.

In the end though, we probably have less to fear from our violent citizens than from the clean cut, articulate men in suits, such as this news commentator, Keith Olbermann, who provide the pseudo-intellectual foundation for disobeying God. His closing words are particularly tragic.

Tony Miano does a great job on his blog answering the arguments put forth by Mr. Olbermann.

If persecution comes to American Christians, may it only inspire us to love Jesus and love our enemies more than ever.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fascinating Details about Plymouth History

Dad read us an article during lunch today. It sets the record straight on how Godly the Pilgrims really were. An example to all of us. Click here to read it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Handy Screenshot Gadget

Thanks to a friend in China, I recently learned about a handy tool for taking custom-sized screenshots.

As you probably know, you can take a screen shot by simply pressing the "Print Screen" key. But this captures the entire screen, which often includes far more than you needed to capture.

Enter MWSnap, a small piece of freeware which allows you to press a button and simply draw a box around the part of the screen you want to capture. You can then simply paste it into a document or email, or save it as a JPG file.

If you are an inexperienced computer user, this is probably something you don't need. But for those who do... you can download it from Tucows.

For example, here is a screenshot of my MWSnap settings page. It's a handy tool if you want to be able to show people what you see on your screen, either to help them or to ask for help from them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Breaking of Karl Borman

I first met Karl Borman last year when I did a brief presentation for VOM at the church where he is assistant pastor. He struck me as the quiet, friendly, solid, dependable, content-to-be-behind-the-scenes type guy, ideal for an assistant pastor, and hardly at the top of my list for people whom God needed to break.

Last week I got an email from him after he stumbled upon my blog. It turns out that he's now got a blog of his own. God has done a major work in Karl's life. The best way for you to find out about it is to watch him tell the story in his own words. I regret that I was unable to find a way to embed the video directly into my blog, but you need to visit his blog anyways, so this will give you a good reason! Click here to be taken to the video on his blog. But don't forget to come back to read the rest of what I have to say!

What has impacted me perhaps as much as Karl's testimony is seeing what God has done in his children's lives through breaking Karl. Both his children now have blogs which I also urge you to examine.


Ask yourselves how many children this age you know who are this in love with Jesus. It shows the powerful ripple effect that occurs when God truly breaks one man.

May God grant the Borman family grace to continue to walk humbly with their God, that the ripples may continue to change the lives of those who know them, including me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My New Blog Bookshelf

Just learned about a handy blog tool that allows me to easily post book recommendations. You'll find my Shelfari "bookshelf" on the right hand side of my blog or you can click the picture below.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feel the Tolerance

I'm not sure whether this elderly woman's idea was wise (what did she expect them to do when she showed up with a large cross?) but she certainly has my admiration for the courage she displayed when confronted by a mob of angry homosexuals.

If you don't see the embedded video below you can click here for the direct link.

You have to watch a brief advertisement before the news clip plays.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Remembering Persecuted Christians

Yesterday it was my privilege to speak for the persecuted church in my church's observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).

A careful viewing will show that my speech-writing skills are better than my speech-giving skills. Your constructive critiques would be welcome.

If you can't see the video embedded below, you can click here to watch it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chairman Mao and God's Sovereignty

by Andrew Gomen


Finally, after two years it is finally election day, and tonight I will sleep well no matter who wins. Tomorrow if it is like 2000 an we don't know who the next president is, I will still sleep well. Why is that? Because I know that God is in control.

The following is the transcript of a five minute message of encouragement that I gave at my church a few weeks ago.

Who is the most influential evangelist to China? Who did more to further God's message, and spread Christianity through out China than anyone else? If you asked that question to a Chinese Christian their response would be Chairman Mao. The great Chairman Mao, China's savior, China's messiah. Also referred to the butcher of Beijing. (This answer is an inside joke among the Chinese.)

In 1949 China declared itself a socialist state with Mao Zedong at its head. But Chairman Mao did not want to be another two bit dictator, he wanted to be China's God. He demanded everyone to speak his name in reverent tones, everyone was to say a prayer to him and thank him for their food, when they had food. He was to be worshiped as the great savior of the nation.

The Christian church in China was in deep trouble. There was little growth relative to the population approx. 800,000 to 1 million at the most, and it was full for heresy, modernism, new ageism, and mysticism. Basically it was in need of a through cleansing.

Many stumbling blocks prevented the spread of Christianity through out mainland China.

The first being Travel. Chairman Mao set out to have roads built, and pretty soon what once took missionaries 7 to 9 months by donkey, could be done in a few weeks by bus or train.

The nation was also divided by language, 4 races, 57 tribes, 300 languages, and thousands of dialects. Mao made mandarin the official language, all business, education, and public conversation must be done in mandarin. He also had the language simplified from 37000 characters the much more realistic amount that it is today. The nation was also 94% illiterate, he mandated learn to read or pay the consequences.

He then set out to purge the nation of all religions, Christianity, buddhism, muslim, taoism, confucinism, and all other pagan beliefs. His Red Guard burned books, tortured, imprisoned, and killed followers. The only publically recognized messiah was Mao. A population that was used to keeping emotion to themselves and shunned public displays of emotion were suddenly publically confessing their sins and weeping in repentance.

Mao created a unified nation. But it was only unified on the surface, under the surface their was an atmosphere of painful uneasiness, anxiety, a sense that everything was out of control. Nobody trusted anyone, every evening there ware compulsory rallies that lasted all night long glorifying Mao. The people were exhausted and had no energy for anyone or anything but Mao. Life became empty, pointless, meaningless, and hopeless. And at that point China became ready for conversion.

And convert it did.

That tiny group of believers, based mainly on the coastal regions, was not beaten down by persecution, but was strengthened by it.

There are now more members of the underground Church in China, than card carrying members of the Communist Party. the best estimates are 20 to 30 thousand new Christians being added to the ranks daily. Christianity is no longer looked at as the religion of the west by the Chinese, but as the religion of China. Chinese Christians are now leaving China and preaching to the rest of the unchurched regions of this world. The nations of North Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia.

Now I ask you, who was in control? Was it Chairman Mao who was playing God, or was he just being played and God was and is in control.

Many people are saying that this is the most important election in our lifetime. Keep in mind that they say that every four years. No matter who wins God is in control. God has a plan and it is moving forward. God's plan is greater than any presidency, or political campaign. God's plan is greater than any Governors race or initiative measure. God's plan is greater than any of man's plans. God's plan in moving forward and it won't be stopped. Whatever man tries to use or do for evil, like what Mao did, God can turn it around and use it for good. The Lord will not be stopped.

Two more quick points

1. China's messiah chairman Mao eventually died, three days after his death, he stayed dead. To this day he is still dead. Jesus however still lives and rules in heaven.

2. I am not saying that whoever wins, or whatever party has control, has God's stamp of approval and endorsement. All I am saying is that God's plan will move on no matter who wins. I am also not saying that voting is not important, I will vote and you should to.

The revival that happened in China, is happening in the Middle East, praise the Lord.

The information about China was taken from the book The Coming Influence of China by Carl Lawrence and David Wang. it can be purchased at

Andrew L. Gomen

concerned citizen

Thursday, November 6, 2008

History Repeats Itself: Martin Luther "on war against the Turk"

On Monday I was made aware of a fascinating aspect of history I had been somewhat ignorant of. Our world has already faced one round of the "war against terror" and it happened about 500 years ago! We forget that Muslims came very close to totally conquering Europe then.

Martin Luther wrote that "the Turk is the rod of the wrath of the Lord our God", punishing Europeans for their polluted Christianity (sound familiar?).

Here's where you can read his full treatise, "On War Against the Turk".

So many fascinating lessons for our generation:
  • Because of the great turmoil, he thought that the coming of Christ must be very near.
  • Homosexual "marriages" were taking place in Italy (the homeland of the Roman church)
  • He urges serious repentance among Christians as the first step in winning the war.
  • Secondly, he gives advice on how military action should be undertaken against the Turks. He had a very balanced perspective which recognized the dual need for both prayer/repentance as well as military action--neither alone.
The parallels are simply stunning. It is interesting to note that as the theology of Luther (and other Christian reformers) gained ascendancy in Europe, the influence of Islam waned in Europe.

Bottom line: if we are going to avoid becoming Islamized we must be truly Christianized. We need another Reformation, starting with real repentance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God is good at finding the lost

Last night, Mom came to me and said, "I've turned the house upside down looking for that registered mail receipt for the package you shipped to my brother." (Which hasn't arrived yet.)

I said, "Don't worry, it's probably still in my wallet." It wasn't.

Then I said, "It must be in the papers on my desk." It wasn't. It wasn't in my pockets either.

Then I remembered the lesson Dad has taught me from childhood: when you lose something, ask God to help you find it. "Lord, we ask for your help finding that paper."

I turned around. There was a paper on the floor between my desk and Mom's desk. It was the receipt! Why we hadn't seen it earlier, I have no idea.

This is, I guess, the modern equivalent of Luke 15, the woman who loses the silver coin and then finds it again and invites the neighbors over to celebrate. So, celebrate with us, God found our receipt! :) Now maybe we should pray that God will find the package that the receipt goes to! :)

But why is it that I get more worked up looking for lost papers than I do for lost people? Jesus point in Luke 15 was how excited God is when sinners repent. "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost." (Luke 19:10) May Your priorities be mine, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Evangelizing at a Polling Place Today

I've tried passing out tracts at various public events in the past. I got the idea (hopefully from God) to try passing them out to people who came to vote at our local polling place today. I arrived at about 7 AM.

First hurdle was finding a legal place to pass them out. There were signs at the 75 foot mark warning that being inside that limit for any reason other than voting was a class 2 misdemeanor (called "electioneering"). Fortunately, the layout of the polling place's parking provided me with an ideal place to stand, well outside the limit.

As new people drove in, I held out an "America, America" tract to them. Most rolled down their window and took it -- a few drove on by.

There were fewer people than I expected. In the two hours that I stood there, I only distributed 100 tracts. However, 100 is better than zero, and I still enjoyed my time there. During the quiet spaces I thanked God for the privileges of voting and prayed for His mercy on this once-great nation.

May go back and pass out some more later today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ten Indictments, by Paul Washer

Paul Washer delivered a stirring, heart felt, passionate, 2 hour sermon at the recent Revival Conference in Georgia. In it he enumerated 10 critical deficiencies in today's American church. While he spoke very severely about some subjects, he did it in a spirit of love and grief, not anger and condemnation. Watch, listen, read, or download for free at (Or use the embedded video below.) You don't hear many messages like this any more.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fighting Overbusyness

We can get so busy that we fail to do the truly important things. A few days ago, some of my VOM coworkers joined me for a phone conference on this vital topic. There were four segments of our discussion:

  1. What are symptoms of overbusyness?
  2. What is the root "heart disease" that causes overbusyness?
  3. How does the gospel free us from overbusyness?
  4. What are specific ways we can apply the gospel to our lives so that we are less stressed and more fruitful?
You can listen by clicking here or on the embedded player below.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I'm Voting for Chuck Baldwin for President

As I've said before, I believe Barack Obama will win the presidency. His policies are frighteningly liberal on both economic issues (wealth redistribution) and moral issues (abortion and homosexual rights) and will result, I believe, in serious problems for our country.

While tempted to vote for John McCain as a vote against Obama, I ultimately opted to vote for Chuck Baldwin, the Constititution Party candidate this year.

I disagree strongly with Baldwin and the Constitution Party on some issues, so please don't paint me as one of them. But I have been disappointed by the Republicans' slide to the left during the Bush years. John McCain is no conservative, and if Palin is a conservative, she seems too "nice" to stand up for her conservative ideals. It seems that the Republican party was more vibrant and conservative during the Clinton administration.

So, I'm casting a vote against Barack Obama. And a vote against the creeping liberalism of the Republicans. We don't need two Democratic parties! My hope is that the Republicans will learn a lesson from their loss this year and return to their conservative roots.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life in Rural Egypt

This is a fascinating, unvarnished account of life in rural Egypt written a few days ago by a young Christian American woman who married a Christian Egyptian man this summer. I know her mother. Names have been changed or removed. Don't miss my additional comments at the end. -- DB

No worries! I am still alive. The past few weeks the entire village has had no Internet (they all "share" the same wireless address, I put "share" in quotations because we would probably view it as stealing but in the Egyptians eyes they are sharing. For example I finally figured out why the electricity goes out frequently. There is no electricians or building codes here so if you want electricity you go to the nearest poll or wire and connect your wire to them. The same with water, they just attach their pipes to existing main pipes nearby. This leads to a frequency of shortages, but no one complains because it's free! Kind of a weird crafty form of self-imposed socialism)

I can't believe I have almost been here for over two months. I saw my reflection in a mirror the other day and I could scarcely recognize myself. I have lost 20 pounds (thanks to walking or riding donkeys everywhere and 1 harrowing week of "king Tut's revenge" or what I affectionately call "twin shooters" IE: vomiting and diarrhea) I have more freckles and my skin is darker, courtesy of the sun. There is a permanent grime under my fingernails from working in the yard, flaying fish and plucking chicken, and I smell like garlic and burnt wood all the time no matter how much soap I use.

The plague of flies have finally left only to be replaced by a more terrifying and perpetually annoying insect; the lamooze.

We would call them mosquito's, but they behave differently here than in America. It's almost like they don't want to inconvenience the host which they feed on, they are small, quiet, quick and painless. They do not cause the intense itching when they bite. So you rarely know that you being bit until the blood suckers have had their fill. It seems that they prefer my sweet American blood, for I am now covered in their little red marks, from face to toe. I seriously look like I have the chicken pox or some mid evil plague.

I wouldn't call myself a vain person (I know I am not the most gorgeous person and that I am too quirky to be seen as pretty) but I was always proud of my clear skin. That no matter how bad I felt or if I was having a bad hair day, I could always look at my skin and feel good about it. So this has been one of my biggest mental/emotional challenges. One day when I was particularly gloomy and throwing myself a large pity party over the loss of beautiful skin especially on my feet (where the lamooze have taken a special liking) God was good to remind me of a of a verse in Romans 10:15 "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" Which made me smirk and thing of Job's

reply to God "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God" 19:28

Please don't think I am trying to complain or that I am trying to paint the picture of being a martyr, I just wanted to show a clear view of what everyday life is like here. I have been on lots of short term mission trips, and they tend to paint everything in a adventurous and productive/fruitful light. I knew that longer term missions would be difficult but I wasn't expecting it to be so mundane and ordinary. I mean where are the revivals, and clinics and organized tours to exotic locations? Fleshing out Jesus is a lot harder in a foreign hostile land. How do you show Jesus to someone that has the legal right to kill you for doing so? It is only by God's grace, and I have come to realize that we as people have nothing to do with it, and the holy spirit has everything to do with it.

I am adjusting well, however there are still some things that are hard for me to still grasp logically..

1.Having people salvage through my trash.. Call it an ancient from of recycling, the result of extreme poverty or just being resourceful, At least once a week while a person comes over to visit they will begin to look through my trash. Which always leads to some interesting conversations with them holding an American product and saying to me "Eh da?" (what's this?) It isn't too bad sometimes like dasani water bottles or chipped and broken cups but it has lead to some awkward conversations (like how do you explain disposable razors or tampons?!) Eventually everything will get reused, food not eaten given to the chickens, empty bottles filled back up with Egyptian water boxes used for kids to play with, bags to carry an assortment of things and to my great nursing-sterile-technique horror needles being used more than once.

2. The use of the great outdoors. Sometimes while walking among my trees I will accidental see someone using my yard as a bathroom. I don't know why they don't wait for the restroom inside to be vacated or just go next door and use that one but the freedom to defecate and urinate in public is openly practiced here. This includes the streets and back alleyways. The nurse in me wants to sometimes scream and hold a public health meeting about the importance of separating waste from food and water and living quarters, but right now I guess I should be content that at least they recognize the importance of hand washing.

3. While I am sweeping my house and I have a sister-in-law come over they will take the broom away from me and begin to do it themselves and force me to sit down and they repeat over and over boo see (look at) At first I thought they were trying to show me how to do it, that I wasn't sweeping correctly (or washing dishes correctly, or mopping correctly or cooking correctly) then I thought they were saying boosee to me so that I would praise them for such good work and give them compliments. But my husband finally explained to me that in the villages eyes I am of a higher educated class, and so I shouldn't have to do the lowlier jobs, my sisters are trying to honor me and show me love by doing these things for me. I am still humbled by many of the acts of service the Egyptian women in my village display to me

4. One thing that completely shocks me is the legal right a man has to hit his wife. The law even encourages it saying that if a woman acts out of hand the man has a right to hit her. Now let me please clarify MY HUSBAND HAS NOT HIT ME, NOR WILL HE EVER. In fact the only "fist fight" we ever had was this extreme form of tag we were playing, he ended up with three stitches on his finger and I have a broken big toe (courtesy of him blocking a kick) But we are both in agreement that something must be done in a culture that protects women honor harshly but doesn't value or cherish them. One of the first experiences I had with this was in Cairo. I was watching the street from our balcony when I heard a commotion a little ways off. There was a man aggressively kicking and hitting a woman who was screaming. The most insane thing about it was that a cop was on the corner watching the same scene unfold.

Now I was on the 10th floor but I was so flaming mad that I made a dash for the stairwell in hopes to somehow stop this atrocity. Ali stopped me before I left the door and calmly explained that me getting involved would only make things worse, because I know no Arabic and I am a woman (all the while I am think in my head, "Yeah that may be true but I've got my two arm "guns" Liberty, and Justice and I am not afraid to at least try and shield the woman, because who in their right mind would want to hit an American?) So I went back to the window and finally the cops intervened but only after SHE started hitting HIM. It seems like the legal system has laws that protect a man
getting hit from a woman.

5. I part my hair to the side. A trivial note, but here in the village none of the woman wear their hair like this. So EVERY time I go somewhere and walk with an Egyptian woman she will eventually begin to touch my hair and then proceed to give me a slick hair part down the middle. This is an okay look if I wanted to look like Alfalfa from the little rascals but it really isn't my style. I still don't know how to respond to such roving hands. usually I just say thanks and leave it till I get back to my home to let my hair fall back to it's side part.

6. Taking the law into your own hands. It is kind of like living in the old west. The recent buzz in the village right now is that a man was stabbed and then shot in the arm for saying some vulgar things about another man's sister. A man was beat up after he grabbed a girls chest. And currently there is a big family feud (complete with guns)between two families because one man insulted another man's son. There is no punishment for "restoring the honor" by way of killing or revenge killing as I see it. Sometimes the person that causes the offense can offer a monetary compensation but most of the time it is paid in blood.

Things that I am currently missing: Sonic, Teflon pans, American Radio, Shorts, comfortable beds, sanity and sanitation!

But please know, I am in good spirits. Though the challenges are many I welcome them as opportunity to grow. My English classes have just started. I help teach 9 year olds in Sunday school and I am learning Arabic songs on the guitar to play in the church.

Please pray for me to demonstrate to the people in village what Grace looks like. Because in this harsh world there is little grace or even an idea what that is.

Comments from Daniel: The sacrifices this young woman has made in leaving America for rural Egypt are remarkable. Who in her right mind would want to live in a place like she's described? And yet, her sacrifice is tiny compared with the sacrifice of the incarnation, when Jesus laid aside His rights as God, took on the body of a man, was born in poverty, lived in conditions even worse than what this woman has described, was rejected, beaten, and killed by those He came to rescue. It is His enormous sacrifice which has fueled this woman's sacrifices. We love, because He first loved us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pray for North Korea

This short video is a great summary of the tragic situation in North Korea, and why we cannot forget to pray and work for its freedom.

Open Doors has a good prayer campaign where you can sign up for a 10 minute time slot once a week. Click here for details on that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fighting Discouragement

The following is the text of the message I will, God willing, deliver tomorrow during my 5 minutes at the Yavapai Baptist Association's annual meeting. If you are a follower of Jesus, pray for me and the others who will be speaking there.

I’m here today representing 200 million people who live in daily danger of violence, imprisonment, or death because they’re identified as Christians. I’m here today representing The Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that provides spiritual and physical assistance to these courageous souls. And I’m here today as one of 9 VOM speakers in Arizona, both men and women. Any of us is happy to come and share about the persecuted church with Bible studies, small groups, youth groups, Sunday Schools, or worship services. Our presentations can be adapted to many lengths, topics, age ranges, audience sizes, and meeting formats. We’re flexible!

A word about money, because I know that’s in the back of your minds. All 260 VOM USA Area Representatives, including myself, are volunteers. No fee or honorarium is requested for a rep to come and share with your church. When we do a book table, like I’m doing here today, we do post a list of suggested donations for the items we carry, but our primary goal is raising awareness, more than raising funds. We trust that if God wants to provide for the persecuted church through VOM, He can do it without us manipulating people.

Our primary tangible goal is – our primary goal of course is to praise God by showing how His glory is revealed through the suffering church – but our primary tangible goal is to get people to sign up for the VOM newsletter. People will forget what we say in a week or two, but the newsletter comes every month, loaded with stirring stories and practical ways to get involved. The newsletter is totally free. When people sign up for our newsletter, they just get the newsletter. We don’t send out those “emergency grams” asking for twenty, fifty, or a hundred dollars. I’ve brought sample issues with me today for each of you to review, be sure you get one before you leave.

I have an extra gift for the pastors here. This is a book of 365 daily devotionals with short, powerful stories from the persecuted church. What makes it valuable for pastors is this handy booklet which indexes the stories by topic and Scripture reference, making it an ideal source of sermon illustrations! Come see me at the table and get your copy.

As pastors, you have probably been persecuted to some degree. At least, I hope you have been. Satan leaves the pew warmers alone. Even in countries where Christianity is severely restricted, for the most part, not always, but most of the time, if you just keep quiet and don’t try to advance the kingdom of Christ, you’ll not be persecuted. But long term opposition has a way of wearing down the resolve of even the strongest Christians. So, for those here who are growing weary in the battle, I have a brief word of encouragement from God’s word, as lived out today by the persecuted church.

“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your struggle against sin.”

That may not sound encouraging. Try that in your next counseling session. “My husband doesn’t love me”. “Well, you haven’t lost any blood yet, what’s the big deal!” But it’s the encouragement the author of Hebrews gave his readers.

First, notice he did not say “in your struggle against people” or even “in your struggle against sinful people” even though his readers did have very real human persecutors, but “in your struggle against sin”. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. And really, isn’t it the “sin” that we have to deal with every day that is so draining to our vitality and joy? Every day, everywhere we look, we find the constant signs of sin, spoiling our dreams, corrupting even the best of our friends and clinging tenaciously in our own hearts.

“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding of blood in your struggle against sin.”

At the close of chapter 10, he talks about how they had accepted joyfully the seizure of their property, but now their joy is waning. Rather than consoling them in their losses, or praying that their suffering will cease, he spends the 11th chapter giving them example after example of heroes of faith, beginning with the first martyr of our faith, Abel, and ending with a whole string of nameless heroes who suffered gruesome fates.

He’s showing us that others have gone farther in their fight than we have. We’ve shed tears; they’ve shed blood. The martyrs of the Bible, the martyrs of church history, and the 150,000 people who now die for Christ each year are our cloud of witnesses, joining voices to call out to us in our own struggles: keep running, keep fighting!

Then at the start of chapter 12 he caps it off with Jesus: “Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” This becomes most significant when we remember that we were the sinners whose hostility He had to endure. Jesus shed his blood for a vile sinner like me; will I not give my all for a glorious savior like Him?

“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your struggle against sin.”