A New Study on SARAH

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.

Click here to go to the GENESIS page.

A New Nature Hike Video

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.

Paul's Testimony

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.

Click here to go to the ACTS page.

New Elizabeth Study

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.

Click here to go to the LUKE page.

Paul's Important Defensive Ministry

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.

Click here to go to the ACTS page.

Troubles that the Women in the Bible Faced

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.

Click here for THE TOP 60 WOMEN page.

The Rainy Season Is Here.

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.

A LOG BLOCKING THE ROAD

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.

New Video: A Short Walk

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.

Click here for MORE VIDEOS.

Eve

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.

Click here to go to the GENESIS page.

BEWARE!

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).

Rahab's Faith

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.

Click here to go to the JOSHUA page.

Blaming Parents?

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.

Today's Ladies' Photo

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.

Pastors are not super-heroes.

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.

Click here to go to the ACTS page.

Preparing this was part of my preparation for our online Bible study in Japanese tonight (Friday) and my message next Sunday.

The judges were not super-heroes.

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.

Click here to go to the JUDGES page.

Preparing this worksheet was part of my preparation for our online Bible study in Japanese tonight (Wednesday).

A Happy Day

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.

Paul's ministry in Ephesus

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.

Click here to go to the ACTS page.

After going to the ACTS page, scroll down the page to this great study on chapter 19.

hidden river

April 27, 2022

Yesterday was not good for bright photos, but the fog was interesting. The river, chilled by snowmelt, is much colder than the saturated air on a damp day. So there was lots of fog, completely hiding the river near our house. My day was bright, however, as I enjoyed working on the Esther worksheet which was also improved a bit today.
   There was also a phone visit with my retired truck driver friend. He was thankful for recently getting some relief from back pain. Thanks to him, I am thinking about doing a survey study on pain in the Bible. That may sound dark too, but the final mention of pain is about its removal, (Rev. 21:4) "no more pain."

Esther

April 26, 2022

Esther is the second most mentioned women in the Bible. Only Sarah is mentioned more. Today, the worksheet below and a new study on Esther's life was added to the Esther page. I plan to use portions of this worksheet in our online Bible study Wednesday (tomorrow) night. For notes with answers to the worksheet, click this link.

Click here to go to the Esther page.

the bride in the Song of Solomon

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).

Click here to go to the Song of Solomon page.

God watered the flowers.

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.

Click here to go to the Four Gospels page.

the woman who was healed by touching Jesus' garment

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.

Click here to go to the Top 60 Women page.

New Isaiah 53 Study

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.

Click here to go to the Lord's Suffering Page.

Two Easter Graveside Messages

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.

Thankfulness is a light in the darkness.

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.

Fukui Children's Meeting

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!

Creation & Psalm 119

April 13, 2022

I have always loved ponds, streams, and fishing. So Thoreau's WALDEN POND has been a favorite for many years. From time to time, I pick it up to be reminded of the wonders of God's creation. Therefore it seemed totally appropriate to me to compare the stanzas of Psalm 119 to places along the Appalachian Trail. The page with these analogies is one of our most popular. -- Tonight, I wrote a few lines about this on the Jon's Opinion page.

Click here to go to the Psalm 119 Hiking Page.
Click here to go to the Jon's Opinion Page.

The Lord's Suffering (#2)

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.

Click here to go to the Lord's Suffering Page.

a photographic report

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.

The Lord's Suffering (#1)

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.

Click here to go to the Lord's Suffering Page.

Describing Abigail

April 5, 2022

Descriptive studies with worksheets on individual women are now being added to the Top 60 Women in the Bible page. The first two are on Abigail (#11) and Delilah (#51-d). Additional studies will be added.

Click here to go to the Top 60 Women Page.

Describing Delilah

April 2-3, 2022

Today, a great new study on Delilah was added to the Judges page. The worksheet and directions for the study are attached below. This can be used in various ways, including as a game if desired. Click on the worksheet for a larger view and for printouts.
    The worksheet's goal is not to quickly fill in the blanks. It is good to question and discuss the answers. For instance, while Delilah was unable to deceive Samson (He willingly went along with her.), it may be better to point out that she was unable to destroy him. She was stronger than Samson in a way, but God did not allow her and the Philistines working with her to kill him. Limits were set, like in the book of Job. So she was ultimately a failure and bad for the Philistines as well as Samson. Evil was defeated.

Click here to go to JUDGES Page.

Parenting our Bible Study Sets

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.

Click here to go to Jon's Opinion Page.

How can a river be on a mountain top?

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.

Click here to go to the EZEKIEL page.

New Ezekiel 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.

MITSY'S MOTHER

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.

Five New Studies in Ruth

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.

New User Friendly Links

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?

What Does God Do?

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.

Click here to go to the GOD 101 page.

What does the Bible teach about war?

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!

Who was Joyful in the Bible?

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.

Hebrews 11 Summary Chart

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.

Click here to go to the HEBREWS page.

A New Video Update

February 20, 2022

Today, a new video report was added to the VIDEOS page.

Click here to go to the VIDEOS page.

Ice Fishing Long Ago

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.

Click here to go to the Hebrews page.

SIN 101

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.

Click here to go to the SIN 101 game page.

THE MORE _______ THE BETTER!

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?

CLICK FOR THE MORE ___ THE BETTER PAGE

SNOW REMOVAL

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTO GALLERY

Four Gospels Summary Charts Page Expanded

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOUR GOSPELS PAGE

Yumi Engaged!

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.

New Theology Page Added

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SERVANT THEO. PAGE

Tomorrow's Message

January 22, 2022

Ittai is mostly forgotten, and sadly along with him some great teaching on loyalty and commitment is forgotten as well. Tomorrow's message is on this great but little-known man in Second Samuel chapters 15 and 18. There are 82 lines on my two pages of notes and 16 lines (nearly 20%) of these contain questions!

In line with this, yesterday, I uploaded an opinion piece on why I ask so many questions when preaching. You may wish to check out that short article. (It's much shorter than my sermon notes!)

CLICK HERE FOR THE OPINION PAGE

Snowy Day Pedometer Reading

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.

A Short Winter Walk

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.

To Fukui in the Snow

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.

Old Photos & Tripod

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.

Still Puzzled

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. 🙁

The New Camera & The First Two Photos

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!

Better Videos Coming Soon

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS PAGE

Merry Christmas!

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CHRISTMAS PAGE

VIDEOS!

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS PAGE

New Psalm 119 Video

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).

CLICK HERE FOR THE PSALM 119 PAGE

One Year Anniversary

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.

New and Better Solomon Cover

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE LIFE OF SOLOMON PAGE

DAVID WAS...
(today's sermon notes)

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!)

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE DAVID STUDIED PAGE

Song of Solomon?

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE SONG OF SOLOMON PAGE

21 David Studies - Now in English & Japanese

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE DAVID PAGE

Roof Repair Nearly Finished

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.

Proverbs Seminar

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE PROVERBS PAGE

Japanese Beliefs

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
JAPANESE BELIEFS PAGE

Studies in Japanese Added Today

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!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE LESSER-KNOWN
WOMEN PAGE

The Emphasis on Speech in Proverbs

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).

CLICK HERE FOR THE
FULL-SIZE VIEW
CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE PROVERBS PAGE

12 Minute Video Report

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE VIMEO VIDEO

New! Photo Gallery Page Added!

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).

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
the PHOTO GALLERY.

Today's Wonderful Fellowship

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.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE BIBLE TOP 55 PAGE.

47 Years Ago Today

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!

The Great Calm

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.

FOR MORE DETAILS,
CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE NEW MARK PAGE.

Bible Study Via Phone

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.

Elisha Summary Chart #1

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.

elisha studies page

New Revelation 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.

studies in revlation

Happy Day!

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.

An International First

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.)

Newsletter Copy

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.

Cherry Blossoms & Optical Cable

First In-Person Visit in Six Months

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.)

Missionaries in Serbia (Europe)

March 1, 2021

SERBIA
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.

Homeschools: Seeing the World Differently

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.

more materials going out

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.

New Who's Who in the Life of David Game

December 26, 2020

more 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.

Website Published Today!

more info.

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!

Paul's Important Defensive Ministry

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.

Click here to go to the ACTS page.