Thursday, March 31, 2011

What it means to Pray for Japan

Mar 31, 2011
Jon Petersen (North America director of 24-7 Prayer) talks about what role prayer plays in the current situation in Japan, and introduces the Prayer Room at CRASH.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Featured Articles

Why There Are Still Atheists FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
Why There Are Still Atheists
The heavens aren't the only proclaimers (and are sometimes silent).

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The Busy Woman's Guide to Prayer FROM KYRIA
The Busy Woman's Guide to Prayer(No matter how packed your daily planner is!)

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Am I Lustful, Gluttonous, or Slothful? FROM CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDIES
Am I Lustful, Gluttonous, or Slothful?Spiritual formation is not just about reading your Bible and praying.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

Jennifer Moses, author of a recent WSJ article "Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?" talks with Kelsey Hubbard about the tempest her piece has provoked.

Live Chat

Today's teen and preteen girls are bombarded with images and products that tout the benefits of sexual attraction. But must we as parents, give in to their desire to "dress like everyone else?" asks author Jennifer Moses. She talks with WSJ's Kelsey Hubbard.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Salutary Good Fruit

Toyohiko Kagawa, a Japanese Christian once wrote:

"I read in a book, that a man called Christ, went about doing good. It was very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about."

God's fruit trees were not planted merely to look good, but to be good for something. The "sin" of the fig tree is not that it was doing something bad, but that it was doing nothing-just taking up space in the vineyard. The Gardener turned out to be more than a caretaker in a graveyard, but one who invested himself in fruitless trees so that they might not only look good, but bear fruit-good for people to eat and be nourished. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control" (Gal. 5:22-25). This is said of those who "belong to Christ," people who have undergone "cross fertilization"! In our troubled accident-prone, disaster-ridden world, might we not become "show-and-tell" trees that bear good fruit, samples of produce good for something, good for people in bad times?! 


Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil,
        for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me."

March 26, 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you all for your continuing prayers on our behalf, on behalf of the relief efforts currently underway through CRASH Japan and on behalf of the people of Japan. With the devastation and loss of life in northeast Japan being said to be five times the size of Hurricane Karina and with the enormity of the recovery and relief effort now before the nation of Japan, your continuing prayer support is much needed.

This past Tuesday/Wednesday (3/22,23) I was up in Tokyo for two reasons. The first was for our monthly Japan Leadership Council Meeting, which took place on Tuesday and then to visit the CRASH Japan Relief Command Center, in order to assess the possible need for Eileen and I to join the CRASH Japan EmoCare team, which is focused on disaster victim care and the pastoral support and care needs of the relief teams being sent up to the disaster area.

Two reflections on my trip up to Tokyo

Reflection #1: One sobering thought.... Since the Kobe of 1995, as our here in Central Japan was predicted to be the next area that would be hit by a major earthquake, as I rode the Bullet Train through our neighboring prefecture at a speed of 260 kph and passing right next to the ocean, I was struck by the fact that should that earthquake have hit where it had been predicted, literally, the entire area we were passing through along with the Bullet Train and it's tracks have been swept away into the ocean and no longer exist.

Reflection #2: One powerful thought.... Upon entering the CRASH Japan Command Center and seeing the 100 or more volunteers focused on the relief effort and led by a large cross-section of the evangelical missionary community, I was impacted in seeing how the Lord was mobilizing his people in bringing the needed physical, emotional and spiritual help to the nearly 1/4 million displaced and suffering people of northeast Japan.

Concerning CRASH Japan and its Three Pronged Strategy

While at the CRASH JapanCommand Center, I was encouraged to hear of the three pronged strategy that has been developed in order to get the necessary aid into to those who most urgently need it. That strategy first involves the establishing of six base camps through six area churches in the northeast which are able to receive the supplies and house the relief teams. Then, by avoiding the "hot spots" where other relief agencies are currently working with local pastors and believers in order to get the necessary supplies to the many hidden areas which have yet to receive the aid they need. And lastly, along with the bringing of the necessary supplies to meet the physical needs of the countless displaced people, to also to deliver a special piece of literature speaking of God's message hope from Psalm 23.

In a recent report just received back from one of the base camps, "While on his assessment trip for CRASH, Ralph and his team found 9000 evacuees who were very low on supplies. They're now working with Samaritan's Purse and the Marines to get supplies like hygiene kits, rice, water & cup-ramen delivered to this huge group of people whose town was obliterated."

So how are we going to get involved? As a home near the CRASH Japan Command Center has been offered to us, Eileen and I plan to drive up to Tokyo in order to join the CRASH JapanEmoCare team in the preparing relief teams to be sent to the disaster area and also to be there to debrief them on there return. Thus, we will appreciate your prayers in the following specific areas:

1. For the Lord's leading in exactly what role He would have us play in terms of pastoral care and relief team preparation.

2. As CRASH Japan is currently working out of the campus of Christian Academy inTokyo, with school scheduled to resume in early April, they will need to move their operations to a longer term facility. Please pray for the Lord to open up just the right facility that will meet the needs of CRASH Japan.

3. And finally, as we will initially be committing to serve at the CRASH Japan CommandCenter for the next two weeks, please pray that we might be sensitive to the Lord's will if he would have us commit to a longer period of time.

Even though we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, for we know the Lord is with us and the efforts to bring physical, emotional and spiritual help and hope to those tens of thousands who are suffering greatly. Thank you for your continuing prayer support!

In Christ and for His Glory, Jim Nielsen TEAM-Japan

PS For more up-to-date information concerning the relief efforts of CRASH Japan, please visit:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


“Well, I'm off on Saturday to Tokyo…….. Pray especially as we seek to build a coordinated prayer strategy in partnership with key ministries, churches and leaders.  It won't be easy, but it is paramount for Japan's future.”  Jon Petersen, Colorado

“The US has made a huge contribution to the relief effort but gets little coverage, that's ok though.” Tom Nielsen, Guam

"So much going on!  The nuclear reactor situation, rebuilding in the devastated area, lack of food and water in many areas, the ongoing search for those missing, the climbing death count, contaminated spinach and milk, etc.  Yet in the midst of it God is doing good things!" Darryl Fast, Nagoya

“….meet with the leadership of CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) on Wednesday. We have been told there is a critical need for us to come and join them in preparing the growing number of relief teams and workers in going out… As one of the staff member said, "The situation is going to get much worse in dealing with people and their hearts before it begins getting any better." Jim Nielsen, Toyoake

“I am experiencing this feeling of desperation like I did when I was a 13-year-old boy and B-29 planes dropped bombs on my home city” said Ozaki, an HCJB Global radio producer who continues to do programming at age 78.”

“Here's why few of us from the Kanto plain north have gotten much sleep the past six days, especially those suffering without heat as a cold snap hit the main islands yesterday”   Joel Ingulsrud, Tokyo

“Our hearts are heavy for the country & people of Japan.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers & showing interest….. I am still considering my own response but as my father has taken a turn for the worse I will be “staying put” to tend to family matters for now.” Paul Gizzi, Orange County

A Benefit Concert for Japan ~ Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30pm Location: Eastern University” Jamie Nielsen, Pennsylvania

“Thank you so much for the link! I have been watching NHK World in English via the Italian state television channel, simultaneously interpreted into Italian, -- at times very confusing with Japanese at the back of the English narration, with the Italian voice-over, all three audible. But Ustream provides an elegant solution. I had never known its existence.” T. Taneda, San Diego

Monday, March 21, 2011

Disaster-ridden Japan in store for more trauma

Japan's relief effort intensifies

Japan (MNN) -- Japan's earthquake damages will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. For many survivors of crises, the most immediate concern is not the future, but the present need for food, shelter, clean water and heat. Asian Access estimates that nearly 300 churches were in the tsunami-impacted areas, and they've set up a relief base to provide help. Other churches are serving as shelters. A2 also has a million dollar matching grant right now, multiplying the impact of donations dollars. We've got more online.

Disaster-ridden Japan in store for more trauma

Japan (MNN) -- The triple threat in Japan of earthquake, tsunami, and radiation will likely have significant psychological effects on the Japanese. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are all expected to inflict a much greater number of people than if only one of the three had occurred. Rich Blanco with Biblica says fear will last for years. "When people experience a disaster like this, often they're not sleeping well, they're waking up scared, and there's the fear of another tsunami or earthquake." The ministry will help people cope with this emotional stress through three post-disaster booklets. The books allow people to work through their thoughts in their own timing, journal, and ultimately cast their cares on Christ. "People who've lost everything are going to really just be seeking how they rebuild their lives, and that's where Biblica steps in with God's Word in very appropriate formats to bring hope to a hopeless situation." Help with this project at our Web site.

Japan pushed to the limit with triple threat

Japan (MNN) -- The nuclear crisis developing in Japan's quake-damaged Fukushima power complex is complicating relief. Jeff Palmer with Baptist Global Response explains, "We've looked at plans for helping in the earthquake areas. The tsunami areas are fairly well closed to private volunteer organizations. The Japanese government is handling that, and [in addition], those are in the radiation areas." Because of this, Palmer says, "A lot of us are focusing our response on those peripheral earthquake-affected areas which are requiring food, shelter, and help for folks who are being evacuated or have left the area." Although there are limitations to where they can help, they've got a long view. "We will respond and help people where they are hurting. At the same time, we will also offer them a hope that is found in eternal hope: a hope that is here and now, as well as later and beyond -- a hope that is found in Jesus Christ."  Read more here….

Earthquake stirs emotion

Japan (MNN) -- The emotional and spiritual effects of the recent disaster are starting to show in people all over Japan. TEAM doesn't work in the region most affected, but everyone seems to be shaken. Ministry Area Leader Steve Baughn talked to us from Japan: "They need to just talk; they're scared. They don't know when the next big earthquake's going to come in their area; they don't know about the nuclear reactor. This is going to have an ongoing effect throughout the nation going to give Christians opportunities to share the love of Christ with people who are going to feel more needy and more insecure than they ever have, possibly -- no matter where they are in Japan." TEAM will certainly play a role in this, but "for the missions, the key is to continue to try to work with the Japanese and the Japanese church to make them the most effective they can be in reaching their own people." As opportunities arise, "The biggest prayer is that we would just be ready."
Read more……

Relief kits needed for Japan

Japan (MNN) -- The grim search for survivors continues in Japan as a half-million people are reportedly homeless. The need for food, water, and other essentials continues. In response, Medical Teams International is committed to help. President of the ministry Bas Vanderzalm says the church is meeting the basic needs for shelter, food, and water. Unfortunately, the needs are great. "There are thousands and thousands of people who need help right now with just basic essentials for life. It's those needs that we're looking to meet with local church groups in Japan." They'll need temporary shelter, such as tents. They'll also need blankets, clothing, and other items to protect them in the cold months of the year. Vanderzalm says it doesn't take a lot of investment. "For $30, we're able to provide a disaster kit to people in an emergency situation like this that would be enough to care for them for at least several weeks. So, even a small gift would make a huge difference." Click on the link at our Web site to help.

Triple threat hangs over response teams in Japan

Japan (MNN) -- Experts say Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami will rank among the most costly natural disasters on record. Peter Howard with Food For the Hungry (FH) says, "It's a modern country, so this is unparalleled for the scale of this disaster in a modern country." It's winter now, and millions are without food, water or shelter. Nuclear meltdown looms. The FH team has a plan that flexes with the needs. "For Food for the Hungry, our niche is really working with the local churches and local church partners throughout the region affected and trying to get supplies in through those churches and basically provide support through those churches and ministries." Keep praying as their team moves forward. "We believe that the church is God's vehicle for spreading the Gospel of love and compassion and the message of peace. We're really hopeful that the Japanese church supported by churches all around the world will rise up and truly show what Christians are all about." Read more here….

Damaged communication keeps status of churches hidden

Japan (MNN) -- It's mostly unknown how Japan's churches have fared in the wake of disaster. Asian Access pastor Hiroshi Kawasaki says, "More than 300 churches are affected." Kawasaki is attempting to contact churches nearly around the clock, but many wireless lines and landlines are down. He has yet to hear from most. Ministry Director for Japan Mary Jo Wilson says unaffected churches are doing all they can to help. "Some other churches have opened up and are supplying some long-term temporary housing. So we see the body of Christ working together." For now, aid and housing are vital for the more than 310,000 people made homeless. Asian Access has set up a relief fund to provide aid. But the church is preparing for another need as well. "Soon after, maybe they need a very, very big spiritual help," says Kawasaki. For now, "Pray that Japan experiences the reality of Christ's love."  Read here….

Christians called to pray for Japan and USA

USA (MNN) -- While the world struggles to come to grips with the devastation in Japan, Ron Hutchcraft says Christians need to pray. He says our prayers need to focus on two areas. First, with only 1% of the population Christian, Japanese people need our prayers. "The millions of gods of Shintoism. The feeling that Christianity is a western religion. All these things have created great barriers, and my prayer now is for the people of God in Japan, that this could be their moment [they share their faith] because of their hope." Hutchcraft says in the United States, newscasters are talking about biblical prophecy. He says when people ask about it, he gives some suggestions on what to say. "You need to make sure you are in the hands of the One who predicted it all, whose coming preceded by it all, and who is the only safe place," which is Jesus. Listen to the full interview on our Web site.

Japan's quake creates opportunity and obstacles

Japan (MNN) -- Japanese seismologists have upgraded Friday's earthquake to a 9.0. The resulting tsunami has caused radiation contamination from damaged nuclear power reactors. We spoke to Howard Plucar with EFCA Reach Global from Tokyo via Skype. He says most of the team is safe, but there is no word from the Furukawa church and their team in Sendai, near the epicenter. "There's going to be immediate need that's going to flow in through churches and through Non-Governmental Organizations, but I think where the church is really going to have its greatest impact is in the long term--helping people rebuild their lives." TouchGlobal Crisis Response is assessing the situation. "As we show the love of Christ, we also declare the meaning of Christ to people whose lives have been turned upside-down and who don't have a lot of hope. So, to weave meaning into the acts of kindness is going to be key for the church." Read here….

God's timing prepares team for quake

Japan (MNN) -- Asian Access> reports that their team survived the quake safely. However, there are several partners who have likely been severely affected, but communications are limited. The team is confident that God will use the faith of these believers to reach out to the hurting in the community. A note of interest: six days ago, the leaders were part of an all-day training to help Christians in Japan be prepared to respond in case of earthquake. Pray with them as they move to respond.  Read here…

SEND International starts earthquake aid fund

Japan (MNN) -- International Director of SEND International Warren Janzen says they have 67 people working in Japan. "We've connected with our people, and everyone is safe--although not everyone is home. There were some people who were stranded in other parts of the city. Others chose to walk four or five hours to get back to their residences. All of our structures are all sound for now." SEND is one of the founding missions of the Japan Evangelical Church Association, and Janzen says they'll be working through that organization. "They are trying, right now, to connect with churches and believers in that affected region. They want to assess what the damage is and then begin strategizing on how to go in an assist." SEND has set up a fund to help. "SEND has created the Japan Earthquake Recovery Project to jump-start our national partners' recovery effort. These gifts are going to go to their immediate needs and the Japan Evangelical Church Association ongoing ministry for both physical and spiritual needs of people in the affected area." Go to to help.
Read more here….

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

City of Refuge Awareness

City of Refuge is a Christian community whose purpose is to live the gospel out everyday in a practical way.

P.O. Box 127777
San Diego, CA 92112

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ministry is the expression of Life

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, (John 5:39 ESV)

Ministry is the expression of Life, and not the taking on of a uniform and a title. Once I thought that to be in the ministry was to go into a certain kind of work, to come out of business, and, well, be a minister! So one got into the thing. Many, many are laboring and toiling in it, breaking their hearts, afraid to leave that order of things, lest they should be violating what they conceived to be a Divine call. Many others cannot get out of it because it is a means of livelihood, and they too are breaking their hearts. It is all false. Ministry is not a system like that. Ministry is the expression of Life, and that is but saying in other words that it is the outworking of the indwelling of Christ. Disaster lies before the man or woman who ministers on any other ground than that. When the Lord gets a chance in us, and we really will trust Him on that ground and take our position there, He will show us that there is ministry enough for us; we shall not have to go round looking for it. The real labor so often is to get us down to that ground, the delivering of us from this present evil age even in its conception of the ministry, unto the heavenly ministry.
The Lord Jesus is our pattern. You see the spontaneous ministry, the restful ministry of that Heavenly Man. I covet that! It does not mean that we shall become careless, but it does deliver us from so much unnecessary strain. That is how it should be. May the Lord bring us to it; the heavenly Man with the heavenly Life as the full heavenly Resource.
By T. Austin-Sparks from: All Things in Christ - Chapter 7

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: Gray Matter by David Levy, MD

Finished GRAY MATTER by David Levy, MD a few days ago.  This is my first book to review for TYNDALE, and was selected because I had exactly two titles to choose from (Tyndale requires it’s blogger/reviewers to work their way up in the program).  I do not recall the other book I might have chosen, but since this one appeared to orbit around prayer, I gave it the nod.  Or click, I should say.
The sub-title is “A NEUROSURGEON DISCOVERS THE POWER OF PRAYER…ONE PATIENT AT A TIME.” The author, Dr. David Levy is a Jewish-born neurosurgeon who is also a Christian.  Given the gravity of his work and the situations he and his patients face daily, Dr. Levy finds himself convicted to pray with his patients before his surgeries.  This book is the first-person account of his experiences introducing prayer to his practice, and sharing it’s results for himself and his patients.
This is a fantastic book. Very readable, I found it difficult to put down.  Levy shares incredible stories which give us some insight as to what it’s like to be a neurosurgeon, and tells stories we can both relate to and be encouraged by as believers who sometimes struggle to elevate prayer to the level in our lives in deserves.  It is truly incredible the effect prayer has had on his life and career, and the lives of his patients.  He shares how he has seen a brief prayer before a procedure literally changes lives.  Read this book, you’ll not regret it.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review.

Hear Dr. Levy speak last Sunday, March 6th, at Ethnos Community Church, you don't want to miss it - check it out here.  It was a powerful message based in some very real and powerful stories.  Wow.  Share it with your friends too, if you can.

World’s Oldest Traveling Minister Credits Faith for Good Health, Longevity

Posted on March 4, 2011

Traveling ministries may seem a thing of the past, but not for Otis Clark.
Bishop Otis Clark has been preaching all over the world for the past 89 years, MyFoxHouston reports.
He continued his lifelong craft and spoke at a public gathering in Houston Tuesday night.
Continue Reading on

Thursday, March 3, 2011


A newsletter from the editors of Leadership Journal
Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hello Friends,

Certain sins are safe to confess at church.

Like being impatient. No problem—we'll pray for you. Or struggling with anger, or (my favorite safe sin) "perfectionism." Even some "bigger" sins get a pass. Someone struggling with alcoholic addiction is usually met with open arms.

Confess publicly to porn addiction, for instance, and reactions change. You might not get that same loving arm around your shoulder. In fact, it may feel like no one wants to touch you at all.

If you're a pastor battling porn addiction, the stigma multiplies. How could you ever confess that to members of your church?

That was exactly the position in which Darrell Brazell found himself. Ensnared by a porn habit that started in childhood, and terrified to confess his sin, Brazell withdrew from others and from God. Read about his painful story of addiction, isolation, and finally, redemption.

Also at
  • The Mar/Apr 2011 issue of Catalyst Leadership Digital is now online! The theme is conflict. In this issue you'll learn from Mark Driscoll, Ken Sande, Steve Mathewson and others about when to take over—and when to take cover.

  • When Gordon MacDonald was in his early twenties, a friend mentioned that he'd met a woman he thought would make a "great wife" for MacDonald. Read about how this "casual conversation" changed the course of his life.

  • Good things really do come in small churches. A smaller church context provides unique opportunities for spiritual growth, both for the congregation and for the pastor. Read a book review from Leadership's contributing editor, Brandon O'Brien on The Gifts of a Small Church.

  • Check Out of Ur's video series about women in ministry. You'll watch clips from Rose Madrid-Swetman, Bill Kynes, and some guy called N.T. Wright. Watch the videos and join the conversation!
Marshall ShelleyGrace, strength, and joy,

Marshall Shelley

Marshall Shelley
Leadership editor in chief