Archive for teen nonfiction

Japanese Kids & Christmas

The timid youth hid their emotions as we began the English class.  Today, the last class before the break we would talk about Christmas.  Not about the pagan origins of the celebration that still remained to a vast majority in Japan but about the Christian meaning.  When I asked what Christmas was about besides Santa Claus, the blank stares I received reflected more than lack of English ability but little or no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus’ birthday celebration.  I had been surprised before in my English classes but never more than now.  These students seemed to never have heard of Jesus.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me, but I wondered if these junior high students might never have heard about Jesus if I had not come to Japan.  When I talked about the cross, the resurrection and the fact that Christians believe Jesus is God in the flesh, there may have been a glimmer of recognition in one or two pair of eyes.  The bottom line is that I am thankful that I did come to Japan and share the Good News of the Gospel because I not sure they would have ever heard the message otherwise.

Note: This is throwback article written a number of years ago while I was in Japan.

mypictures

What You Worship You Become

The title pretty much says it all.  If you worship a particular ideology, you will become like it.  If you worship an icon of society like a political figure, you will become like that person.  If you worship the truth, you become like the truth.  But which truth are you talking about because in our world there are supposedly multiple truths?

First of all, let us define truth.  According to Webster’s dictionary truth is “that which accords with fact or reality”.  For example, a math problem has one answer that is true not several answers.  In other words, there are not multiple truths but only one.

Now, we must decide where the truth resides.  Does it reside in politically correct philosophies, some religious dogma or in the Bible?  They can’t all be true as Webster pointed out.  In fact, in many ways they contradict each other, so there is no way they can all be true.

Two thousand years ago Jesus came to earth and fulfilled numerous prophecies of the Old Testament written hundreds of years before.  In addition, historians like Josephus attest to the truth of the New Testament.  Today you can go to Israel and walk where Jesus walked and visit churches on many of the prominent sites of the Old and New Testament.

Now, you can try and deny the facts of the preceding paragraph, but in the end there is no getting around them, and what is listed there is only the tip of the iceberg.  If what I have stated above is true(and it is quite easy to verify), then it is time to set aside the false and embrace biblical truth and place our worship where it belongs.

Motives And Purposes

What motivates you?  Is it some particular activity you enjoy?  Is it a particular purpose?  All of us have motives that drive us, but I wonder how many of us have examined our own motives or the motives of others.

Let me give you an example.  There is a religious group that continually condemns racism.  On the exterior that looks positive.  However, because the group is predominately of one minority, the motive of that condemnation is to get more members and to keep the members it already has.  In fact, in that particular religious group the leadership has condemned other ethnic groups in a kind of reverse racism.  Motives are not always easy to discern.

What is important is to try to keep our own motives and purposes pure.  Only with God’s help, the Bible and the Holy Spirit can we begin to face our own flaws and overcome them.  Motives matter because God judges the heart and why we do what we do not just outward performance.

Character Concert Slides