Yearly Archives: 2016

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The above headline is that of the beginning of a famous song. Many of us can sing it by heart, it was that well-known. Written by Jackie DeShannon, the lyrics suggest all we need is love to solve the world’s problems.

Click here and listen to the song sung as you read the lyrics below.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last ’till the end of time

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh, listen, lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, oh, but just for ever, every, everyone

What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)

A few of the comments made concerning this classic song include:

“I had a hippy first grade teacher who used to play this song to us on the class record player.” — willyswear

“No truer words were ever so beautifully sung. I wish this song was a hymn in the church meeting I sometimes attend.” —Jonathan Leff

“There is so much truth to this song. This is such a filthy . . . violent world! Absolutely love this song.” —Shawn McCulley

It is written, “ . . . God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.”

Putting this expression into a super easy-to-understand meaning, love is a person, not a concept or some mystical theological idea. Love is the person of God. God came into our world to live among us and to show us His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, reasonableness, and faithfulness. He lived among us for over 30 years, and records of His deeds among us are historically recorded. He gave us a great gift before He left and returned home. The great gift is described as the promise of “eternal life” after each one of us physically dies.

It is written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus the Christ, the answer, the solution to ALL of our world problems), that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

The world has rejected Love’s solution to world peace. What is that solution? It is simply believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confessing with our mouths Jesus Christ as Lord, master, of our hearts. Believing and confessing. If you ask me, that’s a pretty simple solution. What the world needs now is God’s love.

The whole wide world is having a heart attack! Yes, the whole wide world needs “open (the) heart” surgery NOW. It needs more than a quadruple bypass. The hearts of men are clogged with bitterness, jealously, greed, lust, pride, self-centeredness, deceit, ambiguity, false accusations, disobedience, blasphemy, covetousness and unthankfulness.

The good news is there is a good doctor! He’s a pro, bar none the best . . . his name is  Jesus. The scalpel He uses is “alive and active; it’s powerful and sharp; it cuts all the way through to where the soul and spirit of man meets; it judges the desires and thoughts of man’s heart.” The scalpel is the Word of God.

The solution to finding world peace anytime soon will have to begin with “open (the) heart” surgery . . . your heart first. Yours is the most important heart in the whole world. The word “believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus as the Lord, Master of your heart” is the scalpel. God’s  anesthesia of His LOVE is already covering you, preparing you for this “open (the) heart” surgery. And afterward, you’ll have a wonderful bandaid to show the world you came through the surgery successfully.

(Note: Japanese character is that of a “heart.”)

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Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . . Hebrews 12:1

Please sit back and watch 6:47 minutes of the day of “Passing The Baton at MBCC” service-celebration of photos by professional photographer Riz Crescini. Even though this slide-movie presentation is a past event, it will bring the memories of November 13, 2016 alive over and over again.

 

 

 

 

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Passing the baton photo taken by Kent, WA River of Life Fellowship’s Tina Ury.

We passed the baton of pastoral leadership of Munakata Bethel Christian Center to James & Tracy XAVIER in the Sunday worship service here in Japan on November 13, 2016. The following is a brief of the message Nils spoke just before passing the baton.

Haggai 2:6-9 says, For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

The expressions of thus saith the Lord of hosts in these verses is none other than a declaration that God’s Word will of a surety come to pass. Revival to the church and the awakening of Japan’s eyes to the reality of Whom God is will come to pass because He said so. No questions or doubts about it . . . It is absolute . . . As surely as He said in the beginning, Let there be light, and there was light, awakening and revival in Japan will happen.

The glory of this latter house spoken of here is not how nice the building or the property on which it sits looks, but it is the PRESENCE of God; it is the work of the Holy Ghost; it is welcoming the Holy Ghost among us. Andrea and I have laid the foundation of Munakata Bethel Christian Center, but it will be the Holy Ghost working together with James & Tracy XAVIER who will build on that foundation to prepare it for the GLORY of God.

Pass the blue baton. Why not yellow? Why not red? BLUE is the color significant of the Holy Ghost. Blue skies above us and around the world show us that He is everywhere, a constant, never changing, and always with us. We must welcome Him into our families; into our lives; and when we gather to worship.

The Japanese character for “dove” shows nine birds ⏤ 鳩 ⏤ revealing the personality of the Holy Spirit in His nine gifts and and nine fruit.

We must WELCOME Him. The Japanese character for “welcome” reveals something about how our attitude should be when we gather to worship, when we gather as a family, and when we live our daily lives. 歓迎 ⏤ pronounced kan-gei.

歓 ⏤ the left radical shows a heron, a celebratory bird, while the right radical shows a person with a gaping, wide-open mouth standing by to eat it.

迎 ⏤ shows a person bowing as he comes out of his house to welcome (the person) someone to the feast.

When you feel a knock at the door of your heart, by all means open the door and welcome in the Lord Jesus. Once you open the door, you can be sure He won’t hesitate. He’ll come right in, sit down and feast with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrea and I came to Japan in January of 1978 and began our life as missionaries, working and preparing for four years in Kurume City before stepping out and moving to the city of God’s leading . . . Munakata . . . in September of 1982. Caroline was born shortly after moving here, so we know that it was exactly 34 years ago.

We celebrated the past 38 years this past Sunday, November 13, 2016, in a combined “retirement-passing the baton” day of worship, food, fun and fellowship. Passing the baton of pastoral leadership to James & Tracy XAVIER has been a work in progress since they arrived in January 2010. They have proved themselves, studied the language, captured the hearts of the congregants and put roots of intention to remain in Japan until the Day.

We regret none of the past 38 years. They were filled with God’s presence, signs, wonders and miracles. We look forward to what God has for us in the months and years ahead as we re-fire and are boosted like a rocket closer to the Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Please feel free to view this slideshow of our lives from high school graduation, marriage, ordination, arrival to Japan, four years in Kurume years and 34 years in Munakata.

You can also view the actual exchange and passing of the baton here in this 1hour-32-minute video. The baton exchange portion is toward the latter end of the video. It is mainly in Japanese and may sound muffled, but guest speakers from Alaska and Seattle speak in English with an interpreter. Nils asked his interpreter from 38 years ago, Hidekuni INADOMI, to translate his parting message for the Japanese present.

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Maybe you’ve never even really thought about Gospel humor, let alone heard any, but I bought this album at a Bible bookstore in Federal Way, WA this past summer while visiting family. It was the title that caught my eye by surprise . . . DOGS GO TO HEAVEN.

Sit back and enjoy this 4:05-minute comedy/live by Mark Lowry.