November 25, 2022
We are in Shizuoka (Shimizu) tonight and have a view of the city. If it were a clear day and not night, Mount Fuji should be visible in the distance. Tomorrow there will be an English Bible reading group, and Mitsy will help Bree (the new missionary since May). I (Jon) will have some wood-working time with grandson Kaichi (5). Then Sunday it will be a blessing to join the church as son-in-law, Pastor Ken, speaks. Tuesday, is to be our return trip (6 hrs. drive). We are here about once a month, Mitsy coming more often. Along the way today and part of time while here, I have been and will be working on a study for next Wednesday -- a summary of the life and work of Jeremiah. I noticed that there are not nearly as many wild animals and dump trucks on the street below as we have at home on the other side of Japan. I wonder why. 🙂
November 17, 2022
TODAY, a new website page on selected prominent individuals on the Bible Top 55 list was added to the website. The first study in this series is on Moses, the third most mentioned person in the Bible. It was used for the first time yesterday. Additional studies will be added at a rate of about one per week.
November 4, 2022
There are now 22 studies on special animals in the Bible. The one added today is on Peter's fish in Matthew 17:24-27. This is a great set for personal or group study, and it can be adapted for use with children as well.
November 1, 2022
Recently two additional studies were added to the Special Animals in the Bible page. These are on the TEMPLE DOVES in John chapter two and the 2,000 SWINE in Mark chapter five. There are now 21 studies in this set.
October 20, 2022
Today, a summary study on special animals in the Bible was added to the Special Animals page. The chart for this study is shown below, but additional notes are available on the actual page. This brings most of the work on this set in English to an end, though it will be edited a bit and put into Japanese by Mitsy in coming weeks. This is a great set.
October 19, 2022
Today, a new study on the quail in Numbers 11:31-34 was added to the Special Animals in the Bible page. There are now 18 studies in this set. This study will be used for the first time tonight online.
October 12, 2022
Today, an important new study on the fiery serpents in Numbers 21:4-9 was added to the Special Animals in the Bible page. There are now 17 studies in this set. This one is especially important because of the connection with the cross as seen in John 3:14-16. It will be used for the first time tonight online.
October 7, 2022
Yesterday, we apparently "went" to the capital area of Bolivia (La Paz) by means of the website as someone downloaded several samples from our Bible outlining page. We have no idea who this person is, but we do know that he or she accessed the page in Spanish rather than in English.
By the way, this method of Bible outlining was developed many years ago and was the first project that we worked on together to put into Japanese, way back in 1986.
October 6, 2022
There are now 16 studies on special Bible animals. The latest study added today is about the plague of frogs in Exodus 8:1-15. We did this study for the first time in our online meeting last night.
By the way, did you know that some toads, which were probably included, migrate up to five kilometers every year during the spawning season?
September 29, 2022
There are now 15 studies on special Bible animals. The latest study added today is about the donkey on which Jesus rode as he entered Jerusalem. We did this study for the first time in our online meeting last night.
By the way, did you know that the colt's mother was present as well. Only Matthew mentions this. Why was she included? For much more about this, see the Special Animals page.
September 22, 2022
There are now 14 studies on special Bible animals. The latest study added today is on the scapegoat and the Day of Atonement in Leviticus chapter 16. We uses this study online tonight. For much more on this, go to the special animals page.
September 17, 2022
Today, the target-like diagram of First Thessalonians 5:14-24 was added to the page of survey studies of Paul's Letters. The diagram shows the relationship between the many commands in 5:14-22 and the precious promise of future perfection given in 5:23-24. There is much more about this on the page linked with this button.
September 15, 2022
There are now 13 studies on special Bible animals. The latest study added today is on the great fish (or whale) in the book of Jonah. We uses this study for the first time yesterday. For much more on this, go to the special animals page.
September 7, 2022
There are now 12 studies on special Bible animals. The latest study added today is on behemoth and Job 40:15-24. We will use this study for the first time tonight. For much more on this, go to the special animals page.
August 31, 2022
There are now 11 studies on special animals in the Bible. The latest study is on the peaceful and harmless animals that will be on the earth during the millennial kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 11:6-9). We studied this in our online Bible study tonight.
August 25, 2022
The four girls who came to the children's meeting at the Fukui church today are also regulars in the Sunday school that was begun a few months ago. This is a great blessing!
Pastor Shirai told the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In the background, you can see my computer running a program / game that I made and used in the English lesson part of the one hour meeting.
August 24, 2022
There are now two studies on the new Paul's Epistles page. These are on PHILEMON and TITUS. Descriptive worksheets and notes are included for both. Philemon was Paul's most relational Epistle, and Titus was God's health plan for ministry on the sinful (sick) island of Crete.
August 20, 2022
A new survey study on PHILEMON was just added to a new webpage on Paul's Other Epistles. A descriptive worksheet and notes with answers are included. Philemon was Paul's most relational Epistle. Therefore this is a very practical study.
August 17, 2022
Today, a new study on Paul and the viper in Acts chapter 28 was added to the "Special Animals in the Bible" page. There are now ten studies in this set, studies on ordinary animals that were used in special ways. This study is also one of the last ones on the Acts page.
August 16, 2022
Today, a new study on the dove that Noah sent out three times was added to the "Special Animals in the Bible" page. There are now nine studies in this set, studies on ordinary animals that were used in special ways.
August 11, 2022
Today, a new study on Samson's use of 300 foxes or jackals was added to the new "ANIMALS" page. There are now eight studies in this set.
August 10, 2022
Finally, today, seven new studies on animals in the Bible have been placed together on a new "ANIMALS" page. There is a worksheet for each study plus notes which bring out the main points and applications. The most recently study is the one on Elijah and the ravens. This is a great set for personal or group study, and it can be adapted for use with children as well.
August 7, 2022
A new study on "the beasts of the earth" in Revelation 6:8 was just added to the REVELATION page. This study on animals during the future tribulation period will be the final study on Bible animals. It will soon be added to a new Animals page.
August 4, 2022
A study on Leviathan was just added to the JOB page. Part of this study is about the uncertain identity of this great creature, but more importantly it is about what God was teaching Job and us through this unique animal. This is one of five recent studies on animals in the Bible that will soon be added to an upcoming Animals page.
August 3, 2022
Today, several new sections were added to the 2 PETER 1:5-7 page. These show how and why this special passage is: a literary gem, a structural gem, a floral gem, a mathematical gem, and a neglected gem. The graphic used to demonstrate the mathematical nature of the passage is shown below. Since I have always liked math, this is a personal favorite, but you may prefer the flora gem analogy in which I compare the passage to an orchid.
July 30, 2022
The lions in Daniel chapter six were instruments of intimidation. So too was the fiery furnace in chapter three. Who or what do you find intimidating internationally or personally? Russia? China? A health or financial crisis? The bottom line in Daniel chapter six is that men everywhere should fear the God of Daniel. Lions, Putin, Xi, cancer, high prices, drought, and the recession are ALL as nothing compared to the Living God of the Bible. Don't be intimidated! Be like Daniel!
July 26, 2022
A great new descriptive study on the naming of the animals in Genesis chapter two was just added to the GENESIS page. What and how did God teach Adam through the naming process? The worksheet for the study (below) and notes with it on the Genesis page answer this question. This is an important and easy-to-do study on God as Educator which is especially important for homeschoolers and others interested in Christian education.
I have been speaking on this topic the last two Sundays, but this worksheet for small group studies was just added today.
July 24, 2022
A new study on the deadly attach of the two bears on the 42 scoffing youth in 2 Kings 2:23-24 was just added to the Elisha page. Their mocking was much like that of those who scoff today at biblical teaching about the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
July 21, 2022
An interesting new study on Martha was just added to the LUKE and JOHN pages. Though the worksheet used is the same on both pages, the notes are different because the treatment of Martha is very different in these two Gospels. So the worksheet below is divided into two parts which are interesting to compare.
July 9, 2022
An improved study with a new worksheet on Esther was just added to the ESTHER page. This is the third study on the most mentioned women in the Bible to have been upgraded in the last three days. As is often said, "The only good writing is rewriting." Click the button below to access this great study.
July 8, 2022
An improved study with a new worksheet on the SHULAMITE was just added to the SONG OF SOLOMON page. Click the button below to access this great study.
July 7, 2022
The important and popular study on ABIGAIL on the life of DAVID page was improved and updated today with a new worksheet and additional commentary. Click the button below to go to the David material and then scroll down the page to study #5,
July 6, 2022
A new study on the virtuous woman in Proverbs chapter 31 was just added to the Proverbs page. Click the button below to go to the Proverbs material and then scroll down the page to the final study.
July 2, 2022
Paul's testimony in Acts chapter 26 was obviously great, but in what way? Truthful? Effective? Interesting? Informative? How about it being like a bridge? A new study on this was just added to the ACTS page. Click here to go to the page and then scroll down the page to chapter 26.
June 28, 2022
A new descriptive and meditative study on SARAH was just added to the GENESIS page. Click the button below to go to the Genesis page, and then scroll down the page to study number five. I plan to use this material in Japanese during our online study on Wednesday.
June 25, 2022
Today, I did a loop hike around the nearby dam and pond and recorded 25 short clips along the way which have been edited down to this NINE minute video. You will hear birds chirping and distant thunder as a storm chased me down the valley during the last part of the hike. Did I make it home before the storm hit? Check it out to see.
June 25, 2022
A new study of Paul's testimony was just added to the Acts page. This material was first used in the online study Friday evening, the 24th. It is one of several studies in Acts on the life and ministry of Paul.
June 23, 2022
How would you describe the wife of Zacharias and the mother of John the Baptist? Sadly, she is often overlooked because of being overshadowed by Mary. This new study was used for the first time (in Japanese) Wednesday evening. Click here to go to the Luke page.
June 18, 2022
An important new study on Paul's defensive ministry was just added to the Acts page. A main application point is that the evangelical church and individual believers, like Paul, need to be careful about corruption if they are to maintain their testimonies. To see this study, go to the ACTS page and then scroll down to chapter 24.
This study was first used in our online study Friday night.
June 16, 2022
A new ranked study on the troubles that the sixty most mentioned women in the Bible faced was just added to the Top 60 Women page. What do you think was the most common problem? Click on the button below to go to the Top 60 Women page and then scroll down the page till you come to the TROUBLED BUT... section.
June 15, 2022
Rain? Rain? it's ok! I took a selfie, anyway!
It's cool during the rainy season (June & part of July). The hot weather and the deer flies will come in late July. They will make "walking the camera" everyday as I try to do much more difficult.
June 13, 2022
Was the log in front of our house this morning... Accidental? Dangerous? Exciting? In a good spot (with a drive-around)? Long? Potentially deadly? Well, it was all of these things. So for the most part was Paul's two year imprisonment at Caesarea in Acts chapter 24, BUT Paul's confinement was NOT accidental.
While the log was across the road, cars and trucks drove around it through a parking lot and our driveway. Likewise God provided Paul some freedom to minister during those two years of confinement at Caesarea and later in Rome as well. So his confinements in Acts chapters 24 and 28 were LIKE a great cedar log blocking the road BUT with a God-given work-around provided. Do you feel confined today? Look for God's work-around!
Rain? Rain? it's ok! I took a selfie, anyway! -- It's cool during the rainy season (June & part of July). The hot weather and the deer flies will come in late July. They will make walking the camera difficult.
May 24, 2022
Today, a two minute video with clips from my walk this evening was just added. It shows where I often walk in the early evening. Many song birds can be heard in the background. Making this was camera and editing practice as well as a bit of exercise.
May 24, 2022
Today, a great new descriptive study on EVE (and Adam) was added to the Genesis page. It has an easy-to-use, descriptive worksheet which is great for small group or personal study. I plan to use this material in our online study tomorrow.
May 19, 2022
Is this photo for real? -- Several small branches on the cherry trees point upward in unnatural ways. The same can be said of many leaves as well. Above all, the horizon line of the mountain is slightly wavy rather than crisp.
Ok, I confess! The reflection on the pond of the late afternoon sun from behind thin clouds was beautiful, and I used Photoshop to flip it vertically. I hope that I am not a false teacher for showing how deceptive photos can be!
Today, I worked on a study for next week on Eve, the 10th most mentioned woman in the Bible. Unlike Adam who sinned willfully, she was deceived by the serpent (1 Timothy 2:14).
May 18, 2022
Today, a new study on Rahab was added to the Joshua page. The worksheet for the study (below) shows that the Scriptures, including Hebrews chapter 11 and James chapter two, focus on her faith. So there is much to learn about genuine faith from Rahab.
May 17, 2022
The less-than-ideal steep slope and the light-blocking canopy caused these trees to have crooked trunks. Yet they can still grow and flourish thanks to the Lord's provision. Likewise, though less-than-ideal parenting can leave its mark, as an individual grows and comes to know the Lord, the crooked start will become a smaller and smaller percentage of the mature adult. So blaming parents is the wrong way to go!
These shots and thoughts came as I "walked the camera" for 45 minutes this evening.
May 15, 2022
Today, we were at the Ushitsu (Noto) Church, which is about a two and a half hours drive from our house. There were 18 in attendance, and after lunch I took this photo of most of the ladies. Mitsy is front right. Lorraine Nickerson is back left. Miho Truss is front left. So there are three missionary wives in this photo. Don, Bruce, and I are so thankful for them! There was also a Christian H.S. girl (not in the photo) there, AND one of her friends came to church with her for the first time! It was a good day.
May 13, 2022
A new study on Paul's exhortation to the Ephesian elders, as seen in Acts chapter 20, was added to the Acts page today. The worksheet is shown below. Go to the Acts page the answers to the worksheet.
Preparing this was part of my preparation for our online Bible study in Japanese tonight (Friday) and my message next Sunday.
May 12, 2022
A new study on Deborah was added to the Judges page today. It shows that the various leaders were not super-heroes. For instance, though Deborah was a prophetess and a judge, she was also a wife (4:4) and mother (5:7). So her position was difficult. She was not able to raise and command an army by herself, and she usually stayed close to home (4:5). So the Lord led her to call and work with Barak (4:6-9). Yet Barak was also inadequate. Thus, the lives of Deborah, Barak, Gideon, and others all point to the need for God.
Preparing this worksheet was part of my preparation for our online Bible study in Japanese tonight (Wednesday).
May 5, 2022
Eriya (Elijah in English) and our younger daughter Yumi's wedding was today, a Japanese holiday. The first photo is obviously of walking down the aisle.
The second photo (below) is with the family, including Ken and older daughter Amy and our two grandchildren. Mitsy's three sisters are in the back row.
Elijah is the assistant pastor of a church near Kyoto, and Ken is pastor of a church near Mt. Fuji and closer to Tokyo. We are so thankful for daughters and sons-in-law who love and serve the Lord.
May 3, 2022
Today, a study on Paul's longest ministry was added to the Acts page. It has a great worksheet for group or personal study and is my favorite 2022 worksheet! The photos of city ruins help show the greatness of the work.
How would you describe Paul's ministry in Ephesus? Long & large? Reasonable rather than riotous? Unusual and spectacular? Why were there so many miracles?
Many of the points on the worksheet were used during an online study last Friday, but the worksheet itself was just finished today.
Click on the worksheet to enlarge or print out copies.
After going to the ACTS page, scroll down the page to this great study on chapter 19.
April 23, 2022
This is a fantastic new study, especially for couples. Although the Shulamite was awesomely beautiful (6:10) and respectful of her husband, she was not perfect. Moreover, she was married to a very busy man. There was stress in the marriage as well as love. Even so, the bride was somewhat like the church, especially regarding her longing for her husband's return (S.S. 8:14, Rev. 22:20).
April 21, 2022
Mitsy asked me to water the flowers while she's away for a few days IF it did not rain. Well, God Himself did the watering, and I took a few photos. They would be brighter on a sunny day, but our side of Japan gets lots of rain. So these shots are authentic. -- It was a bit of practice for me with the new camera and the editing software.
Notice the raindrops. Flowers with many petals concentrate the droplets near the center, but flowers with large petals do not. Comparing these photos leads to observation like this, which is a bit like comparative studies in the Four Gospels.
April 20, 2022
Today, a study on the unnamed woman in Mark 5:25-34 was added to the page on the Top 60 Women in the Bible. I will be using point from this worksheet in our online study (in Japanese) tonight. Click to enlarge and print out the worksheet.
April 18, 2022
Today, a study on Isaiah 52:13-53:12 was added to the page on the Lord's Suffering. So there are now three studies in this new set. The worksheet for the study is shown below, but there is more about it on the linked page.
April 17, 2022
Today, Mitsy’s mother’s name stone was added and her ashes were place below the Kanazawa church's grave stone. Pastor Saito gave a message on the resurrection. Meanwhile, new green leaves of nearby trees spoke of new life and resurrection as well. So we like to call this special color resurrection green.
April 15, 2022
Tonight, I went for a walk with a flashlight and camera in the large, empty parking lot near our house in the foothills of Hakusan City (Ishikawa Ken, Japan). This photo, poster, and the following thoughts resulted.
The cherry blossoms are beautiful even when there is nobody who sees them. Likewise, God is always good. When we shine a little thankfulness upward in His direction, we can see this wonderful but often hidden reality much more clearly.
April 14, 2022
Today was the first in-person children's meeting at the Fukui church in a couple months. I led the first part, an English lesson. Then Pastor Shirai gave the Bible story as shown. Finally at the end, there was a fun "Easter egg" hunt. 30 eggs! Yeh!
All seven children shown live near the church, which is trying to start a Sunday school. This is difficult since none of the children are from Christian homes. Yet, some of the older ones showed interest in coming next Sunday (Easter). Mrs. S. (seated near the piano) did a lot of work preparing the eggs etc. for today.
The Fukui church is about a 90 minute drive from our house. There really needs to be a missionary living THERE. More children would probably come if there were such a worker. Thanks for praying!
April 13, 2022
This second worksheet in the new Lord's Suffering page, on the Garden of Gethsamane, was part of my preparation for our online study tonight. I changed it some after the study as well. One of the points stressed was that it is humanly impossible to fully understand the Lord's suffering, though we, of course, do know a lot.
April 11, 2022
Since this blog is attached to our website, I often mention new pages and study materials. These are all related to our teaching ministry in churches, though they may give a false impression of what we do to some extent. We are active with people and churches, and not just a website!!! Tonight I put together a photographic report on my day to help show this. It was a good day, though not nearly as busy as yesterday, Sunday April 10th, when I preached twice in our main church.
April 8, 2022
Today, a new series of Bible studies on Christ's suffering was begun. For now, there is just one worksheet on this page, but several more will probably be added soon.
Different passages bring out diffident aspects of the Lord's suffering. The first study, the one on Matthew 16:21-23, is in a context concerning rejection, the church, and unselfish living. Other passages show more about the substitutionary, for-our-sins aspect of the Lord's death.
This worksheet and study was also part of my preparation for next Sunday's message.
April 2, 2022
Today, I added a short essay to the Jon's Opinion Page. It is about how developing Bible study sets is like the long process of birthing and parenting children. There are many parallels.
March 31, 2022
One is described in Ezekiel chapter 47, and our famous, local Kenrokuen Garden shows how such can be IF THERE IS A HIGHER SOURCE. This illustration was part of a message given about eight years ago and is now, as of today, on our Ezekiel studies page.
March 21, 2022
A mostly new set of five studies in and on Ezekiel have been added to the website in the last few days. Additional studies in this somewhat neglected book will be added in the future. The first half of Ezekiel, chapters one through 32, is mostly dark and negative, about sin, but the second half, chapters 33 through 48, is much brighter and full of the glory of the Lord.
March 17, 2022
Last month we celebrated Mom's 90th birthday, but last Sunday evening she suddenly collapsed and went to be with the Lord. (Physically speaking, it was the result of a sudden break in an intestinal artery.) Her funeral was yesterday and the evening before. Family members and friends from a number of churches were with us. Pastor Saito gave a good gospel message, and Mitsy spoke briefly at the end about Mom's salvation and life.
March 17, 2022
Five short devotional studies have been added to the Ruth page in the last ten days. All of these employ the Descriptive Bible Study method, which is designed to encourage biblical meditation. Studies from this set have been used in the online Wednesday meetings the last two weeks.
March 10, 2022
Recently, new buttons were added to the home page to help users quickly find material that they are most interested in. These eight new buttons and links are here as well. Which topics do you care most about?
March 1, 2022
The usability of the God 101 material has been GREATLY IMPROVED. It now includes studies on what God did in the lives of various people on the Bible Top 55 list. Through specific character studies, it is easier to relate to what God does in general. The helpful original list of 101 things that God does is still used, but it is connected to studies of what God did in the lives of people like Adam, Moses, Jeremiah, and Mary. To a surprising degree, God still does similar things in our lives today. So applications follow more naturally.
February 25, 2022
Today, a new webpage on war and peace was added. The summary of points and the worksheet for the study is shown below. This is to be used with the Bible Top 55 cards and lists to discuss the various aspects of war seen or not in the lives of leading Bible characters--- Joshua, Saul David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, Paul, etc. The most important point is that there are three levels involved. The satanic factor must never be overlooked. God does not cause wars!
February 23, 2022
Today, I began a study of the joy - or the lack thereof - seen in the lives of the Top 55 people in the Bible. One of the key questions is, "Why are joy and various similar or related terms rarely if even mentioned in the lives of many Top 55 characters such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Saul, Elijah, Ahab, Elisha, and Daniel but are often uses in the writings of David, Solomon, and Paul?"
I spent several hours with computer software looking for patterns in the usage, and then tonight we discussed 12 Bible characters during our online Bible study. David is especially interesting because of his joy in various psalms and when the ark was brought into Jerusalem. Saul's lack of joy stands in sharp contrast. Obviously, sin and unbelief were and still are great killjoys.
February 21, 2022
Today, a summary chart on faith as seen in Hebrews chapter 11 was added to the Hebrews page. (This chart was used in yesterday's message.) It is available in both English and Japanese. For an explanation of the chart, please read about it on the Hebrews page.
February 20, 2022
Today, a new video report was added to the VIDEOS page.
February 17, 2022
Though I am thankful to still be able to serve the Lord in Japan year round, this time of year I miss ice fishing a bit. Mitsy said this old photo looks like me, but it actually is of my father, on a warm March day in 1979 -- in Maine after my first 4 years in Japan.
Here in Japan, today, I worked on a Sunday message on Hebrews 11. The famous faith chapter is A BIG ONE, which is much larger than the small salmon that Dad and I caught 43 years ago.
By the way, how do you like the old (~1966) snowmobile? It is long gone now, but the heros of faith in Hebrews 11 are still very much with us! -- I plan to speak extensively about why the particular heroes in that chapter may have been chosen to be included while others were not.
February 15, 2022
Today, the format of the page dealing with the sinfulness of those on the Bible Top 55 list was significantly improved. The simple cover below was added as well. We plan to use this for a fun but evangelist game time after lunch tomorrow when two college students come for a turkey dinner.
February 12, 2022
A new page with a lively discussion "game" on what is truly important in life was just added. How would you fill in the blank in this important line?
February 7, 2022
These photos seem to show that I did a great job removing snow around the house and parking lot. BUT obviously a greater power was at work. -- We missionaries often use photos to show "our work," when in fact it is God's work. -- There is one scoop of snow behind me, in front of Mitsy's (lower central) office window that I actually moved. Can you find it?
In the beautiful landscape paintings of Frederic Edwin Church, if people are included at all, they are small and in the distance. Shouldn't it be so with our photos as well? It has been good exercise working on the snow around our door and car, and we are thankful that God includes us in his work.
February 5, 2022
There are now SEVEN thematic summary charts on the FOUR GOSPELS page. Each of these are available in Japanese as well as in English. Click on the images below in order to see the sample files full size.
January 27, 2022
We are VERY happy to announce the engagement of our younger daughter, Yumi, to Eriya (Elijah) Nishimuta of Kameoka, Japan. Eriya is the assistant pastor of the Kameoka Bible Baptist Church. The wedding is to be on May 5, 2022.
Kameoka is very near Kyoto and has over 400 Buddhist temples and the like but only two small churches that are large enough to have official (tax) recognition with the government. Kameoka BBC is one of the two.
January 26, 2022
Today, I added a new page, on the Theology for the Servants of God. Since this page is new, it is still "under construction." I've written a lot along this line in binder notes in the past, but this will all be new on the website.
January 20, 2022
After battling the snow outside for two hours today (and enjoying doing so!) my pedometer shows that I took 12,500 steps since this morning. Not bad for an old guy!
Last evening online, we discussed 2 Samuel 23:20 and Benaiah's encounter with a lion in a pit on a SNOWY DAY. Most of the group did not remember ever reading that verse before. (Proverbs 31:21 is much better known.)
By the way, in this photo I was practicing blurring the background. Also the commentary sets behind me were moved to that location yesterday as part of an attempt to make the background in my office more attractive for future video's.
January 18, 2022
Tonight, I took the new camera with me when I went for a short walk near the house. I talked about the large amount of snow that we get and how we deal with it.
January 13, 2022
Yesterday, I traveled in the snow to the Fukui church for a children's meeting. Today, I edited and combined several short clips taken with the new camera to make an eight minute video report.
January 11, 2022
Today, I found these old passport photos from 1988, as I was cleaning out an old file cabinet. They were taken shortly before we went to the U.S. for our first "home assignment." I added the photos to the Gallery page.
I also found an old tripod "hiding" in the dark corner beside the cabinet. I probably have not used it in about 20 years! It still works fine and should be helpful again now that we have a new camera.
January 10, 2022
King Asa is puzzling since he was mostly good but finished poorly. -- Today, I was experimenting with puzzling aspects of lighting and background blur (depth of field) when I took this somewhat dark photo and prepared to use the new camera for making videos. Hopefully, we will trust the Lord and improve rather than become worse like Asa. -- The King Asa page from the Bible Top 55 booklet is attached below. It has an important bottom line which is NOT puzzling.
Obviously, I need better lighting or the reflection of light on the right (darker) side of my face. The light from above is more than adequate, however, since my thinning white hair is easy to see. 🙁
January 7, 2022
Today, the lens for the new camera finally came. So this evening after the Friday online meeting, I mounted the lens and took these first two photos. The first one shows various Youtube tutorials on my computer screen, and the second one is of me facing a mirror with a puzzled look. I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN!!!
By the way, it ONLY took about an hour to take the first photo! Apparently, I did not have the lens on quite tight enough at first. So I tried many things -- studied tutorials, read the manual, etc -- but could only get a black screen in the viewfinder. Finally, I took the lens off and remounting it. What a novice! But at least I learned some things in the process!
December 27- 29, 2021
We finally purchased a good (but not super expensive) Olympus camera (E-M5 model) for making videos. So we should be able to make better ones in 2022. I also updated the video page of the the website. There are now 12 videos linked properly to the page, since I finally learned how to do so the right way.
The new equipment has not been used yet, since we are waiting for the lens that we chose for the camera to come. Today, I got a fairly large SD (128 GB) card and am studying how to use the camera.
December 25, 2021
Merry Christmas everyone! Lord willing, I will be using this chart (in Japanese) as a handout tomorrow, the 26th, to go with a message on the children who were killed by Herod (Matt. 2:16-18). I believe the main purpose of this sad passage is to help show the great need for the King of kings, the Lord Jesus, the only one who can bring true peace and justice to the world.
According to the weather report we may get three feet of snow tonight, but churches in Japan almost never cancel. I'm glad that we have a four-wheel drive car.
December 18, 2021
Today, I added a new page to the website which contains the videos which are otherwise scattered throughout. So far there are eight videos shown on this page, but several more still need to be added.
December 14, 2021
Today, I made a 13 minute video on Psalm 119 to share with an online fellowship of missionaries here in Japan. I skipped through Psalm 119 touching upon various stanza and verses while sharing ministry experiences and making applications. It is devotional, but it has depth to it as well. Click the photo below to view the video.
Which do you like to hear about more? If you are like most of us today, it is probably the shepherds, though many in the early mostly Jewish church may have chosen the wisemen. Nineteen CHRISTMAS BASKETBALL lines with 1, 2, or 3 point values are shown below. Which line do you like best? One of my favorites is the one about the shepherds & angels passage being like a bridge between heaven and earth (Luke 2:14).
December 4, 2021
It was exactly one year ago today that this Toa Ministries website was first "published" to the internet. Translations into Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish was added in late spring. The chart below is the summary of usage during the year -- featuring the top 15 countries. There were many other countries as well.
We have not promoted the website much in recent months, other than on Facebook which is usually not very effective. We have concentrated on improving the website content instead, especially adding more material in Japanese. Earlier in 2021 we promoted the material to homeschoolers in New Zealand and had a very good response. More promotion is needed and planned.
By the way, the totals users for the U.S. should actually be cut in half, since this include automatic usage by the hosting server whenever we make changes. If that is done, the average time per user goes up considerably. We especially encourage our friends and supporters to use the Blog page on the website for recent news items.
Also by the way, we wish the usage figures for China reflected genuine interest, but I'm afraid this is really just hostile internet surveillance.
December 4, 2021
This new cover for the set of nine studies on Solomon brings out the nature of the material in a more positive and comprehensive way that the older one, showing that the study of Solomon is NOT just about an ancient king. There is much about him and the time in which he lived which prefigures the future millennial kingdom, despite the sad way his life ended. Please try to read the small print on the cover. Click on it to enlarge.
November 21, 2021
This is a copy of the notes I used while preaching on the life of David this morning. The names on the graphic are in Japanese, as was my message. My points are in English because it is easiest to translate them into Japanese in my head. One of the main points was that David was protected by God (2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18). We are as believers as well, especially if we are in his will (1 Pet. 3:10). For the people in the life of David graphic in English, see earlier posts or go to the David page. To enlarge the notes, just click. (Sorry for the typos!)
November 19, 2021
Today, a short article was added to the Song of Solomon page on how I believe this beautiful book should be interpreted. This was written way back in June but was just added to the S. of S. page today. There are encouraging thoughts for every believer, married or single.
November 16, 2021
Today, Japanese copies of 21 studies on people in the life of David were added to the website. This set has already been used in several Japanese churches, but now it is readily available to many more.
The little that was remaining to do on yesterday's skylight "patch" was also done today, but there are still many more Japanese versions of Bible studies remaining to be "patched" onto the website. It takes many hours and even days to so, but it will be worth it.
November 15, 2021
The low roof over the front entrace has a large homemade skylight which has been leaking. Today, I finally was able to replace the two large acrylic sheets. It has rained nearly everyday for a week. So it has been difficult to replace some shingles and do the necessary painting. All that is left to do now is a little more caulking in one spot.
I've put this job off for quite a while, but I recently read Ecclesiastes 10:18 -- Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
Yet, I was able to do many other things in the last eight days while it rained -- online meetings, new Bible studies on the webpage, preparation for next Sunday, etc.
November 2, 2021
Yesterday, I had a great opportunity to lead a 90 minute online study for pastors on the use of Proverbs. One topic was how many chapters are somewhat like salads which are rich in healthy variety. Another subject was the use of computer programs to discover WHERE in Proverbs certain topics are stressed. (For instance, the graph below shows that "the poor" are mentioned most often in chapter 28.) Please check out our greatly enlarged Proverbs page. (link below) It is much like it was during the study. Not everything on the page was covered, and a few items have been added today.
October 30, 2021
What do most Japanese people believe? The top priority for most is security in this present life. The focus is very much on the present. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 shows that this is realistic in some ways, but unbiblical because God and eternity are neglected. We studied this passage last evening online, and today a new webpage on Japanese beliefs was added. The list and diagram in this set are not new however.
October 29, 2021
The Japanese version of all twenty studies in this set were just added to the "Lesser-Known Women in the Bible" page. Some churches have been asking for this material to be more readily available in Japanese. Now it is!
October 27, 2021
The summary chart below shows that about a third of all verses in Proverbs are about human speech, much of which is sinful. This chart and several others were recently added to the Proverbs page of the website, in preparation for a seminar on Proverbs for pastors next Monday (Nov. 1).
October 8, 2021
Today, I made a video report for a church in Maine. Some family and church photos are included but most of it is "on the road" in tour format. The church below is the Noto Bible Church (the Nickerson's church) where we will be on Sunday. Click below to access the video via Vimeo.
October 3, 2021
Today, I added a new photo gallery page to the website. There are SOME new up-to-date photos -- with the grandkids!! There is also even one old photo from way back in 1974. Some photos concern ministry, but many of them are family photos like this one, with Mitsy's mom and two of her sisters (at New Years 2011).
September 29, 2021
Today, our daughter Yumi (on the left) came for a few hours with four others from her church which is about an hour and a half drive from here. This is the first time we have had a group this size in for fellowship (Bible games, mini-studies using the Top 55 card set, and a meal) in a very LONG time. It was a great blessing.
We wore masks much of the time, but of course not while eating. It would have been difficult to eat that lemon-meringue pie wearing a mask! Masks were removed for this photo as well. Thankfully the number of Covid cases has dropped a lot in recent days.
September 1, 2021
On September 1, 1974, I arrived in Japan for the first time. On the long, slow train ride south and west from Tokyo, the scene out the window looked something like this. The only somewhat familiar thing was a Coca-Cola truck in the distance. It was not much comfort. The Lord was, however. Now, how I thank him for keeping me all these years and for giving me a family and a home in what was at-that-time a scary and unfamiliar land!
August 17-18, 2021
How would you describe the calming of the sea in Mark 4:35-41? The summary chart below was finished up today, and will be used online Wednesday.
By the way, it is nearly impossible to find a photo of the Sea of Galilee with it perfectly calm. So what a great miracle / sign the great calm was to the disciples! One reason it was so shocking to them was because they probably expected Jesus to pray, like a prophet might do. Instead, he commanded the winds and the waves.
A new MARK page was also started today, with this as the first study. See this new page for a great devotional study by clicking the button below.
August 2, 2021
Today, my retired truck-driver friend, Mr. Y., called as he often does, and we had a good Bible study for about 30 minutes. Since he lives far from us, in Yamaguchi City and there are no good churches in his city, our online studies and fellowship are a blessing. They are for me, as well.
Mitsy says I look much different now since I have lost over 30 pounds this year. I look older too, however.
June 22, 2021
The three key aspects of Elisha's ministry are summarized using Describe-It-Yourself cards. For an explanation of the three carefully chosen points, see the study near the bottom of the Elisha page.
June 16, 2021
Today, a new page was added to the website for studies in the book of Revelation. For now, there are only three studies on this page, but more will probably be added later. Two of the studies are descriptive ones which make use of the new Describe It Yourself set of cards and were recently featured on the QuickStop Devotionals page.
June 15, 2021
No, it is not my birthday! June 15th is tax day for Americans overseas. So I was happy to be on my way to the postoffice to airmail the form to the U.S. We will get a small refund, but I am always VERY happy to finish the paper work for another year.
And speaking of small(er), I have lost 33 pounds (15 kgs.) in six months, mostly by only eating twice a day. Now at only 5' - 6" tall / short and 156 lbs. (71 kg.) I still am a little over, but it is difficult now to lose more.
April 16, 2021
Today, "Dan" (his pen name) in Brazil joined our Friday online Bible study for the first time. He is the brother of Chiharu who is a member of our church here in Japan. It was a wonderful study, with various ones sharing insights on Matthew chapter three and what we can learn for John the Baptist regarding our testimony for Christ today. The study was mostly in simple English with some Japanese and Portuguese added in as well. It was a fantastic blessing! (8 pm in Japan is 8 am in eastern Brazil.)
April 15, 2021
Today, I used the Snappa app. a new way, to make a newsletter. Those of you with a desktop, laptop, or tablet should be able to read it ok. Smart phone? Those with translation software will be stuck with the English since it it a graphic. Sorry.
April 1, 2021
It has been great to visit with Amy and family this week. Our year old granddaughter (in photo) and nearly four year old grandson (hiding in back of the table) are a lot bigger than last time. This photo shows cherry blossoms at a Mount Fuji area lake, about an hour away from Pastor Ken & Amy's home / church. (I will be going home to the other side of Japan today, but Mitsy will be staying at Amy's for a few more days.)
March 1, 2021
Word of Life Serbian missionary, Darko Vika, just wrote to us saying, "Thank you very much for offering all this [toaministries.com] materials to us. . . . We will use some . . . for sure! . . . We do our ministry in the Serbian language but will translate your material and use it to reach youth and help them grow in knowing Jesus! The map below shows Serbia and the Vika's location relative to Austria and Romania, all of which are north of Greece.
You can check out the Vika's on the Word of Life Fellowship's missionary giving page. https://give.wol.org/dvika. They are doing a great work in Serbian churches, Bible clubs, and camps during the summer, but they are about 33% under supported.
February 26, 2021
Users of our new website are most numerous in the U.S. at 183 thanks largely to homeschoolers, and New Zealand is #3 at 25 for the same reason. Japan is #2 at 41, including only one or two home schools at most. Australia, #5 at 15, is gaining fast thanks to "distance education," but homeschooling in Canada, #4 at 20, seems a bit weak. (?) Christian schools are numerous in some African countries (10 users), and there are many in some U.S. states, but not in others.
Sometimes it is good to look at the world differently. This world map is from a New Zealander perspective. By the way, we don't have any users in Antarctica yet, even though it looks so big.
January 31, 2021
Yesterday, we received an order for Bible study materials from a large (for Japan) church in the Tokyo area. This church has previously used two other sets that Mitsy translated. Now we have three additional sets ready to use in Japanese, including the Top 55 People in the Bible materials. (cards shown, comes with booklet) Within Japan, it is possible for us to print out and package materials to mail to those who need them. People like hard copies! The English materials for the U.S. etc. can be printed out for free via the website, since it costs too much to ship internationally.
December 26, 2020more info.
I woke up unusually early this morning (before 5 AM), probably because of eating too many delicious Christmas snacks (with chocolate) yesterday! With the early rise, however, came a great new idea to turn the new People in the Life of David Chart (worked on yesterday) into a game board. With this new "game" learning from the 60 or so people on the David summary chart can be a lot of fun.
I had to create a new list to go along with the "game," and that took much of the day, but it is going to be worth it. Over lunch, Mitsy and I talked about using this material in our next youth / teen meeting. Please check out this great new game by clicking the button above or the "David Who's Who" item under the FUN menu on the home page.
December 4, 2020
What a great day it was, but why did it take so long -- nearly nine months in all -- to develop and publish the Toa Ministries website? The answer is obvious. There are 21 great sets of Bible studies, several of which contain 20 or more individual studies! You will not find nearly that many on most other websites, and certainly not if the site is new. It took months to collect and rework studies from the past, write dozens of new ones, and design the actual website itself.
Thankfully, due to the Corvid-19 pandemic, I had more time to work on all this since April than I would have had otherwise. Most of our ministries have continued in modified form since spring, and the work on the website fit in wonderfully with the various messages given and Bible studies taught (online and otherwise) during the period. So 2020 has been a surprisingly good year for the Lord's work!