Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Going Into 2010 With Good News

Going into 2010 with good news…

The word “gospel” means good news. The four Gospel that open the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – recounted the life of Jesus Christ and the good news that He brought to mankind. John 3:16 is at the heart of this good news. It says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Our desire is that you understand how Jesus loves you and that you know Him in a personal relationship.


To many, God seems distant and impersonal, but the truth is God desires a personal relationship with you and that it is possible to personally know the God of the universe. John 17:3 says “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who You have sent.”


Man is separated from God because of sin. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Good works or deeds will not resolve our separation from God, for even our best efforts fall short of God’s perfect standard. Isaiah 64:6 says “…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Ecclesiastes 7:30 confirms our situation “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”


In order for God to have a personal relationship with each of us, His perfect justice demands a penalty (punishment or chastisement) from each person for their sins. Yet out of God’s perfect love, He offered His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sin. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.


To know God personally, you must acknowledge your need to be reconciled, believe that Jesus Christ pain the penalty for your sins through His death on the Cross, and receive Jesus Christ as the Savior of your life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through Faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so no one can boast.”

Please contact your friends here at ICCS if you have any questions on how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. That will be Good News to your heart.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Merry Christmas to one and all!

We are trying out a new system here at ICCS. It is a message in AUDIO FORMAT. The file is smaller than MP4 and can be downloaded! It is in WMA format, so it can be played with Windows Media Player.

Though the sound is a little more "base" due to the mic setting. This will give you a VOICE of ICCS for the first time!

Give it a listen and contact us with your comments or suggestion. (Please know that this is our first attempt to do this, so be kind.)

Much thanks.

Maybe next week, we can have someone sing as well!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Psalm 119:17~24: The Word for Today

17 Do good to Your servant, and I will live; I will obey Your Word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law.

19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide Your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing for Your Laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from Your commands.

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep Your Statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, Your servant will meditate on Your decrees.

24 Your Statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

The question I have for you today is: How do you live such a life as this? A life that has His Word ALIVE in you 24/7?

You need to know His Word.
You need to be reading His Word.
You need to believe His Word.
You need to follow His Word.
You need His Word.

That would be a good start. How can you show others of the new transformed life in you when you let His Word slip from your heart? Stop right now what you are doing and enter His Word with an open heart. Read His Word as if your very life depends on it.

It does, you know...

Until next time,
Under His Grace.
Pastor Stan (in LA)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Need help? Feeling down?









JCCCのAndy Meeko 拝


Friday, November 6, 2009

My brother Ed once said...

I am honored to have such a good older brother. His heart is toward the Lord's work on Cape Cod and the world. And he knows how to tell us what is on the Heart of God. Earlier this month, Ed said something like this:

We are asking God to help us build God's church God's way. The Lord has been using our worship services to prepare us to grow in our understanding of what it will mean for us to become a biblical, New Testament-inspired fellowship of believers.

I'm sure you have heard the testimonies of Christian believers who live in countries where persecution is a real and daily possibility. When asked if we should pray for God to cause the persecution to be lifted, such disciples of Jesus often respond that it is hard and painful circumstances that keep them on their knees and growing in grace. In our own world today, a hard time is frequently no more than not finding your favorite coffee shop open for business. Although many Believers may live in poverty, most of us have experienced very little of the hardship that much of our world lives in every day. Indeed, it is the grievous sin of passivity that holds us in bondage and keeps us focused selfishly on our own ambitions and blinded to the priorities of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, given the lack of difficulty that might encourage us in growing toward maturity as children of God, I want to ask a few questions: are you developing in grace? Are you growing in fruitfulness? Are you taking what you are learning to help another to find peace in God? Or, do you find yourself so incredibly busy that God will just have to be satisfied receiving the leftovers of your life? If that is truthfully our condition today, then how will our church ever succeed in becoming the Biblical and New Testament-inspired fellowship of believers God has called us to become?

And I added: This Sunday, November 8, we will turn our attention to Luke 19:41-44, looking to God's Word to both encourage and challenge us. Vidar Aronsen will return from his ministry to a closed country where “persecution is a real and daily possible” and share what the Lord is doing there. As we need to be doing, please take time before you come to ICCS to pray for our church and for friends and members of our families that we believe God is inviting to personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ, Pastor Stan (in LA)

Friday, October 23, 2009

In contact


I am so pleased that you visit this site. Glad to have you with us. While it had been my desire to add new entries more often than I have, I will try harder to do just that in the weeks ahead.

While Pastor has been away, still people find that the Gospel is good for the soul. From what I understand, New Life is still being offered to those who come to ICCS. This is very good.

New life.

Since being in the LA area, I have come to re-understand a simple truth. Transformed lives speak loudly!

I have a friend here who lived on the wild side of life for a season. He grew up with a Christian upbringing, but left it to sample life without Christ. He worked very hard in business and was on call all over the globe to settle business deals. His nick-name was "Big Money." "Bring Big Money in to settle the issues!" "Big Money" would come in and in no time at all, the deal was cut. His company was ready to promote him to become VP-head the North American division. With this raise, he would need to lie. He had to fire a young person who was in the right, but the system was set in such a way that to let him go was their only recourse. My friend said no. That would be dishonest.

By the end of the next week, he was no longer working for the world-wide company. He was on his own. He felt good about not telling a lie but he was not making any money. He knew inside his heart that he had made a painful yet right decision. Now what?

In a few days, he was walking through a home center when a lady asked for help. Store workers were no where in sight yet she was waiting for a long time for some help. She asked my friend what kind of materials would be used for a certain job and he said he could help her. After the material was found, she asked: "Do you know anyone who could do this work for me?" He replied he could do it himself. By the end of that first small job, she hired him again for some more work and a neighbor asked him to do something in her house and by the end of the month, he realized that he could make a good living doing what he had been doing since he was fired.

Now, he is an independent home builder. He pulls a 30 foot trailer with all his 'stuff' around to each work-site. He is busy--even in this economy.

Why share this story? Because this friend was in contact with the One who could hold him up. It had not been easy and it has not been easy. (Two years ago, his 30 foot trailer was stolen and ALL his tools were gone. Within a week, he had enough tools given to him to restart working again. The trailer was found and he fixed it up and now he is more careful where he parks the rig.) His Fellowship surrounded him. He had other men come stand with him during this hard time. He now helps other men who may need a job, gives advice and offers friendship. "Iron sharpens iron," is his favorite line. Last week, he had me helping him with some new cabinets he had been working on. In two months, we are in a play together.

New life. Transformed life.

Speaks loudly.

Stay in contact with Him. Stay in contact with those who know the One who gives life. That Man is Jesus!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s Relationship!

I shall not want
That’s Supply!

He makes me to lie down in green pastures
That’s Rest!

He leads me beside the still water
That’s Refreshment!

He restores my soul
That’s Healing!

He leads me in paths of righteousness
That’s Guidance!

For His Name sake
That’s Purpose!

Yes, though I walk through the valley of Death
That’s Testing!

I will fear no evil
That’s Protection!

For He is with me
That’s Faithfulness!

His rod and His staff comfort me
That’s Discipline!

He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies
That’s Hope!

He anoints my head with oil
That’s Consecration!

My cup runs over
That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That’s Blessing!

And I will live in the House of the Lord
That’s Security!

That’s Eternity!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Word from Pastor Stan

I have been thinking a great deal about the Folks at ICCS while I am in LA. One of the things I think about is friendships.

I really miss the friends at ICCS. There are great people there and there has been plenty of history with many of them but… There is something very special about ICCS friends.

Some of them have been with us for all the time ICCS has been. Some came to the very first Sunday and have been faithful ever since. Some of the people who started with us are no longer with us. John writes about some of them in 1 John 3:11.

11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

My first reaction to that is “Of course we are to love one another. That is a no-brainer.” And, of course, I would be wrong to say that. That is not easy-in the flesh. We really want to have our way in which we are to love. There are some people—you know who they are—who are not very loving. The Lord does not mean them, does He?

You guessed it! He does and He even loves them AND He even loves the likes of you.

So end of discussion. We should love one another.

But that sounds like there is a way out. We “should” love. Does that mean we might not have to love certain people after all? No. We are to love them because the Lord has told us to. It is THE way we KNOW we have eternal life! If we do not love, then the Love of the Father is not in me. I cannot afford that position. I need His love so I guess I need to love.

Why not? It is the Way of the Cross. Not that it is a cross I need to bear. No, it is our joy to do so.

We are not to act out our lifestyle as Cain did. He was jealous of his brother so he killed him. We don’t like someone so we EXCLUDE them from fellowship and that is the same thing. We kill relationships all the time and God does not want that of His Children. We are to love.

John goes on and touches our hearts: 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

Just a few things about these verses. ONE: John always hits the button right on the hot spot. Our actions and the way we use money affects our relationship with Him. If we say one thing and we do another, the Love of the Father is not in us. Again with the Love of the Father!

Verse 19 says how things should be IF we walk in the Truth. We know when we belong to His Truth. It is reflected in our hearts and in our actions. There is REST when it ‘works’. After all, there is no thing we can hide from our God. He knows it all anyway. Why try to hide-- like Cain?

TWO: We need to obey the Truth because … 23 And this is His command: to believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. 24 Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.

Do you know this? Do you act this way? Are there areas of your life that do not match up with what He wants of us? I am not talking about works vs. faith. I am talking about walking in His Truth and letting that way of life show how much we love the Father.

So I miss those people because I have seen them walk this way. “…this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.” This unity shows us (and the world) that we are in Him. United in Him.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When the fire comes!

Fire is seen on the top of the mountain. There is smoke everywhere. Ash covered our van and the air—even 20 miles from the fire is filled with uncomfortable smells and debris. As we drove by the homes of people who are just yards away from the fire line, some of them are standing outside with water hoses. They are trying to do what they can do to keep what they have. From the TV coverage, one woman said, “They say take out what is important and move away. What? It is ALL important to me!”

Another couple returns to their home. It is the only one left in the community. ALL the houses on their street are in ashes. Nothing of theirs is even hurt. When they saw what their neighbors had lost, they feel they could not return…not when all the rest lost so much.

What would you carry out of a house that will be burnt down?
What is important to you?

While talking with the manager of our apartment complex yesterday, he asked the same question of me. He had seen us move in with eight suitcases. Friends of one of our supporting churches brought in the things in the apartment. Beds, dishes, linen, lamps. The manager and myself agree. Those are only things. There are more important things to be concerned with in life. Ready the heart for His Return. Open the heart to His love. Receive the forgiveness only He can give.

Not that those in the way of the fire were wrong, mind you. When it comes to push and shove, I’d be hard pressed what to carry out. I guess my MacBook because on it are so many photos of friends and many memories. Important documents. Contact information of friends. I would take my Bible. Maybe a shirt I just bought. I would be sure my children and my wife were safe. Then I would drive away and look back only once—not in the wife of Lot sort of way, but to see how close the flames were.

How about you? When the fire comes, what will you do?

We are told to look up and see Him as He really is. That should scare some! It did for John when he saw Jesus—his close friend—as he wrote the last book of the Bible (Revelation 1:17). There is a change in life we may not be ready for. I would suggest we get ready. It starts with a personal relationship with God’s Son. Read about it in John 3:16, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 4:24-25, (well, in fact, Romans 6-9.) We are asked to submit ourselves to God and allow the Maker of our souls and giver of our life to take control.

Because the fires in our lives are way out of control. He is the only one who can put the fire out. (Some of the firemen near this fire tell us they have seen flames over 100 feet high!) Once that fire burns out, many many acres of mountain brush and pines will be no more. Some will loose their homes. Some may loose their own lives. Two have already died. Is it too late to make preparations for the fires of life? No. Is there a way to keep us from being destroyed? Yes. Go to Jesus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time To-Rethink

Once, when I was a small boy, I had the notion that I was not from this planet. My older brother supported that notion. I began to feel that I was indeed an alien and I had not even heard of Area 51. I, as my story went, came from a planet much like Earth that was behind the Coal Sac in the Milky Way. I came to earth the usual way but was left behind only to be adopted by the De La Cour family as they traveled thru New York City. They heard about this poor child, without a home, without a family and without any passport. They took pity in me and brought me into the family. A real-to-life story but not true.

I had no real special abilities as an alien that I was aware of. Later in life, I found that I could fly but for some strange reason, not when the bully wanted to hurt me. I could also know, without anyone telling me, when your birthday was. I could also look at a person and ‘know’ if that person was alright in their spirit. Two of the three talents are lost to me now. The one remaining had gotten me in trouble sometimes. I could be wrong but the feeling was very strong at times.

Back then, I found myself walking around the woods behind my Esmond home. There were about two or three miles of trees, some areas with tall pine. There were brooks and some springs. Cold, clear water came bubbling up out from under the old granite stones. A small empty quarry had filled with water which became the home to many frogs. Then there were the ‘flat rocks’, the ‘frog pond’ and the one real pond which I only found once. What a magical place, indeed. Surrounded by needle and thorn bushes, it was very hard to get to. Once there, the sight was wonderful to behold! Clear water, a gentle current and a small water fall at the exit point. But as I said, I was only able to find it once…

There was also a Boy Scout Camp up there as well. Small huts that used to be the homes for the poor rubble that followed the trains during the ‘Great Depression’. I found that place only once as well.

Why I never returned bothered me for a long time, only to move away and dream of a time to return to the woods of Esmond.

But now, there is deer tick.

As an adult, I can remember even the smells and colors of those special spots of my youth. I spent hours up there. At times, I would be a special Indian scout, helping white folks get around the swampy areas. Other times, and here is the rub, I was reciting psalms of praise to the God of the Bible--even before I knew Him. Some of the songs were really good, but I don’t remember them any more. Wish I could. Take my word of it, it was divine.

I became really interested in the Spirit world at around 12/13. I used, what I called then, ‘white magic’. That did not run into any conflict with my Baptist upbringing. Or so I thought.

Soon I was invited to parties and they would ask me to do ‘my thing’. Got to meet some interesting kids that way. One time, I had the group believing I was speaking for the dead Grandmother of one of the girls. I used my voice to my advantage and some tricks I picked up along the way so I’d have a free hand to throw something to the other side of the room or touch someone’s arm or reach over and slam the side door shut. The desired effect was one of fear. I got what I wanted--plus!

Then, one day, I heard of the Gospel. Not that the message was so very different from what I had heard from Sunday School days, it had some new ‘things’ attached. Personal. Touched my heart. Saw my need. Prayed before I went to sleep.

In the morning, there were no sign of angles in the room or any special lights around my head. Just a 15 year old teenage with a new heart.

About two months later, while watching TV, I saw the EXACT things I had been doing at the party games being described as being not white magic but dark or black magic. Freaked me out! Even the free hand trick. Time to re-think.

The Scriptures tell us that as a child, I spoke as a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish things. The ‘story’ if the Coal Sack was in the past. Now, I had a new and truthful mission. Telling others of the Gospel I now embrace with all my heart.

Now, the ‘gift’ I had as a child come to me every so often. The only one I still have I have found to be one of the Gifts of the Spirit. Discernment. Sometimes I am wrong as I depend on my own strength and not relay on His Spirit to guide me. Every so often, I can see something like white lights around certain people’s eyes. Those who have these special eyes are not of God. I see it in some who come to church as well as on the street. Now, I am not as put out as I used to be. I now ask the Lord to help me and them, as I had to re-think what my role or responsibility now is as a member of the Body of Christ.

I say more prayers for them now. Try and talk with them of the freedom we now have in Christ Jesus. It is now time for them to re-think.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Word from Pastor Stan

Greetings from Rhode Island, USA!

I am back in the area where I grew up. Not far from this site is the high school I went to. Very close to the place were I first got kissed. We are down the street from my old friend Jim and his wife. It is ‘wicked’ being here!

Please don’t worry! That word is common here meaning ‘very good’! Different places have different words with way different means. Isn’t that wicked?

The one thing that does not change is the POWER of the Word of God. The power of a changed life!

As I looked out over the group I was worshiping with this morning, I was reminded of the wonderful fact that we are all in the same boat. We all have to deal with our sin the same way. It HAS to be though the Blood of Jesus. That is because we were wicked.

That is not a regional expression. “We all have sinned and have fallen far short of the Glory of God.” What do we do with this information? We act on it.

We come to God in prayer. Prayer or talking to God is not all that hard. We get more and more use to that when our relationship gets better and closer. We tell Him that we know we are wicked. Really wicked. Our sin caused Him to go to the Cross to begin with. We need to express that we are sorry for our sins. The need to understand how bad we are comes in here. We then ask Him to forgive us for those sins and for the sins we will fall into. He hears the prayer of a repenting sinner. He then takes those sins and removes them from our lives. Removes them from His memory and sends them away—as far as the east is from the west and they are not there any more. Just His love.

Ask Jesus to come into your life and make Himself known by His Holy Spirit. His Spirit will seal you with His love forever. His Spirit will teach you how to live a life that He wants you to live.

That, my friend, is wonderfully great! We are now forgiven! Able to now have fellowship with our Creator and His Son and Holy Spirit.

Wicked? I don’t feel comfortable giving that word to this situation. But it is great beyond words!

If you have done this, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, please let me know.

May His Grace fill you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Follow The Lord's Lead

When you are faced with the fears of every day life---and we all have them---what is our natural response? We tend to ask or plead or pray that they are removed. There is a real fault in that kind of thinking and action.

There is a need for all of us to grow up into a deeper Faith with Jesus. The whole 'thing', if you will, is based on a relationship that was planned from before time started. We are asked to walk in a way that is worthy of that calling. Not push it away. Not ask that it be changed. This does not mean we can ask for different things during this walk of faith but it does mean we need to look at what "life" is dishing out to us and thank God for it all.

We tend to want the easier road.

We tend to want it all filled with the promises of God.

We all tend to think that life should be better than it has become.

But, it will not change unless our hearts toward the One who calls all the shots change. He is God and we are not.

Simple but we forget it all the time.

I know I do.

Here I am, in the second half of my life and ministry. Soon, I will be 60 years old. I look back over my life and on one hand, I stand in awe of what the Lord has allowed me to do and see. People He has brought into my life. Situations He had placed before me. The ministry doors that He had opened. Contacts with a number of people who He has allowed me to touch—and for them to touch me.

One such couple touched me years ago and I don’t even remember their names. I remember that they had been missionaries in a hot war zone. Their group had planned to stay even when things got really bad. The enemy was out to kill them and those who followed the Lord with them. They not only stayed, they went deeper into the highlands and dug in. Feeling that if they left, the tribes’ people would be all alone. They had spoken to them of the Lord’s Hand on their lives. They had shared the Gospel and their lives with them
. How could they leave them now? They stood with them—even at a possible loss to their own lives.

Because of such a stand, the people group there STILL has a deep and personal Faith. Life’s hard times worked in them to make them to be better Followers of Jesus. When ‘they’ came for the leaders, one would come forward and be taken outside the village and shot. Thinking the Church now had not leader, ‘they’ would leave. On their return, a new leader had stepped up to lead the Fellowship. They too were shot. All the time, once a leader was removed, a new leader would take the leadership spot…knowing full well that they would be killed. It really did not matter. Jesus had called them to serve and serve they would.

The couple shared that with me during that early time in my ministry. It had stayed with me ever since. I wonder if the new leaders ever thought that it was not worth it. Death was at their door all the time. I believe because of the teaching they received from the missionaries, they not only believed the message but also would stake their very lives on the promises of God.
Even when it was hard to do.

The easy road? Not the one the Lord wants us to walk on. Even when I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with me. Even when it is hard. Even when it does not make any sense at all to me. Even then, I must keep my Faith in Him. He knows. He cares and He is walking with me.

That does not mean it feels good all the time but the challenge is to look beyond the pain…beyond the situation and see His Face. Feel His smile and know that a life of obedience pleases Him---Big time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE Hebrews 10:19-25

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His Body, and since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the Hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

What kind of salad do you like? I like mine with lost of lettuce and fresh tomatoes with oil and vinegar dressing. Maybe some cheese and avocados. And some red onions. With bacon. Maybe some bread cubes.

Five times in this passage, the author writes: Let us… That is a very nice salad. Lettuce alone is a great Honeymoon salad. This implies unity and the ‘feeling' of working together in agreement.
The writer of Hebrews really wants his readers to KNOW the Lord of their Faith. He goes into deep details to reminding them of how the temple has been set aside. The New Calling is to the Person of the great High Priest, the Lord Jesus.

We find ourselves in a similar situation. We, as well, want you all to know this One who has called you to serve Him. So let us… draw near. Let us… hold onto the Hope. Let us… spur each other to love and good works. Let us… not give up. Let us… encourage each other.

22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

The first instruction is to draw near to God. This should be our initial response to what the writer of Hebrews has written thus far. Because of Jesus death on the cross, resurrection and ascension we can have confidence to enter the Most Holy place.

If we look at this verse a little more closely, we see that what allows us to have this assurance is that we are cleansed from a guilty conscience. Think about it—what keeps you from drawing near to God? Somewhere in our lives we are struggling with sins that keep us from God. We feel inadequate, without worth, sure that we don’t measure up to what God wants. We have thoughts that wander to places they shouldn’t go. We hate, we grumble, we are dissatisfied, we are selfish, full of pride, or full of self-loathing. We may even like these things—and if drawing near to God requires us to give them up, we will resist. But we can be cleansed, released from that guilty conscience; we can be washed with the pure water. And when we respond in this way, we are drawing near to God.

Some of the Spiritual Formation materials I (Faith) work with in my role in missionary care and training says “doing flows from being.” Who you are determines what you do. We need to draw near to God before we can effectively do any of the following “Let us” instructions.

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the Hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

The Apostle’s Creed comes to mind here.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

It is to this Hope that the early church and the many millions that followed died to protect and pursued. They held onto the teachings of the Early Fathers unswervingly. Why? Because it is true. The author here wants us to remember where we have come from. This Hope is not based on fairy tales or myths. History bears witness with our Faith. This Jesus gives us Hope in the hereafter PLUS Hope for today! He was pressed up against the wall and was crucified and yet placed His trust-His Hope in His Father. There are no hopeless situations; there is life after death for those who believe in His Name. Don’t forget that and hold onto that truth. Your life depends on that!

We do serve the One who has set HOPE into the hearts of all who put their trust in Him.

We are not to be like the world. They have not lasting hope in the hereafter nor for any better life here and now.

Typical inscription on a grave in Paul's day:
I was not
I became
I am not
I care not.
Warren Wiersbe, Be Ready, p. 83.

But not with Jesus. We know the One who cares and He has placed our names in His Hands. He is our true Hope.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

I (Faith) have watched many of you already urging one another to do good. To love God. To live faithfully. I encourage you to continue, and to be responsible not only for yourselves, but for those near you. Draw others into this. “Catch one another doing good.” Remembering that doing flows from your being—keep drawing near to God, hold unswervingly to hope, and then you can DO the work of spurring one another on.

I have enjoyed participating in a women’s bible study here at ICCS for many years. Two years ago, the composition of the group created some of the most open and authentic sharing I have experienced. Almost all of us were dealing with really messy life situations. We encouraged one another to make life choices that demonstrated Christ’s love. Sometimes we were spurring one another to do something loving to people who were difficult to love. We were learning from one another about the power available to do these things as we prayed for one another. And God has done amazing work in each of us in answer to these prayers.

As we’ve just completed a series on spiritual gifts, each of you has the opportunity to explore how God has gifted you. I challenge you to consider how you can use those gifts in the body of Christ called ICCS. Whether your gifts are in teaching, administration, service, mercy or any of the others we’ve looked at, by finding a place to use them within the fellowship, you live out God’s love as you do good deeds.

25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.

There are some around today that feel that coming into a building like this is a waste of time. Some feel that the Church is a has-been institution without any claim on life or it’s followers. I dare to challenge that! The Church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. He is preparing the Bride for His return. He will gather the Bride up on the Last day and be united with her forever. In the meantime, we are to be getting ready for His return. (The biggest promise yet to be realized.)

Why would someone give up meeting together? Maybe they became angry with someone in the group. Maybe they got insulted. Taken for granted. Unloved by the group. All these things might be real or unreal; imagined or dreamed up. Nonetheless, feelings have been hurt and there has not been any forgiveness given nor received. The heart has been hurt. Broken. So, they, in their hurt condition, fall away from fellowship. Fall away is the right word for it. Here Hebrews encourages us all to stick with it. It is worth the effort. It is worth the pain. But not for us to stay separated. Even for a season. “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Eph 4:26.

but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I don’t know about you, but I find it a lot easier to do things, especially hard things, when people give me encouragement. One mental picture I will take back with me to the States from ICCS is that of people gathered in groups at coffee time, praying for one another. How encouraging!
And as our family prepares to leave Japan for a year, we want to encourage you to continue walking in the faith you have been taught. Continue to draw near to God with a sincere heart and in full assurance of faith. Continue to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. Continue to spur one another on in love and good deeds. Continue meeting together. Continue to encourage one another.

Our hope and prayer is that when we return, we will find that you have grown in your faith and in confidence. We hope that you will have discovered not only what your spiritual gifts are, but have enjoyed exercising them. We hope that the “Community” in ICCS will be blessed through you as you demonstrate Christ’s love to those right here in Enoki Cho.

We have confidence to enter the Most Holy place…So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Heb 10:35)

And as you encourage one another, you will learn of some deep hurts. You will hear of how some have traveled very far to get where we are today. Some still carry a very heavy load. Some of this load is not yours to carry. We are to be forgiving others and look for the good in their lives as they reflect God’s image. And as you encourage each other, you will find that the Great Physician is there to heal and to save. The community services Andy is willing to start here is one of the great steps God can use within us to bring inner healing and a great sense of how Grand and Glorious our God really is.

May His Grace fill you as you all seek to serve the One Who has called you!

And stay together!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keiko Holmes: Forgive Your Enemies

Keiko Holmes will be speaking at ICCS on the last Sunday of this month, June 28. The service starts at 10:30. Please bring your friends.



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Building On The Gospel

Here is the short answer...
Baring with one another in Love.
We have love for each other.
Forgive each other.

Jesus’ prayer is for us to be ONE as the Father and the Son is ONE.
One in Design: we look like this…not the same but diverse.
One in Purpose: mission that we do
John 17:1-26 (Please read this passage before moving on to the sermon.)

So where are we in this passage? How can this be true of our lives and our Church? Why did He pray this way? Does this mean that this is reality: we can be one in Him? Or is there some other meaning? Let’s explore this teaching this morning.

What we have just read is the most extensive and deeply profound personal prayer of the Lord Jesus. A while before, at the funeral of His friend Lazarus, Jesus made it clear that He really did not NEED to express prayer because He and the Father were already ONE. He did pray then to teach the followers and us. It was to benefit us. (11:41-42). The same is true here in John 17. To teach us what it is to be in union with God, the Father, Jesus prayed. He was about to exit this world. His death is soon coming. He was letting His Followers know of His prayer for them.

If you were to attend the death of a very wealthy man, and you knew that he was going to give you some very important information as to where to find his hidden riches, would you listen intently? He would be sharing the bank address, the pin number, the combination to the vault, and the details of how to unravel the directions. I think you’d listen well.

You can also believe that Jesus wants you to know and remember His prayer for you because of how Jesus prayed in this prayer. It is usually known as the High Priestly Prayer. Reading in Hebrews and see what the role of a High Priest is and you will see that His is the perfect One to make such a prayer—on our behalf. He really comes boldly before the Throne of Grace: our example of how it is to be done.

We also can see the relationship of the Father to His Son and the Glory They both have in common. The Father ‘gives’ (used 13 times in this passage), as He is the center or source of all that is in the God Head. Jesus singles out the special gift His Father had given to the Followers, that is eternal life that is found in Jesus. Jesus then is the One who reveals the Father to the World. As the Giver He gives His disciples the Father’s Word, gives His Glory and gives Eternal Life that is based in the Father to begin with.

Have you ever been someplace where there is an echo? It can be really weird, hearing your voice coming back to you…even on Skype or on the phone but esp. in nature. Helloooooooo. This is is is so so so cool cool…

Here we have echoes coming from the lips of Jesus. Me in You and You in Me… In the Father… in the Son…

This prayer has an outline. Do you think Jesus was thinking of an outline when He said this? I think so.
1. A petition for the glorification of the Father and the Son (vv. 1-5),
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. 2 For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. 4 I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.

2. after which He prays for the disciples gathered around Him, first describing their situation (vv. 6-10)
6 "I have revealed You to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me and they have obeyed Your Word. 7 Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. 8 For I gave them the words You gave Me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine. And glory has come to Me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me—so that they may be one as We are one.

and then…
3. praying that they be protected and be sanctified by God (vv. 11-19).
11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me—so that they may be one as We are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that Name You gave Me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. 14 I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify [set apart] them by The Truth; Your Word is Truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

4. Jesus then prays for all who will become believers through the witness of the 11, (and the Church that follows.) ...that they may share in the Divine Oneness (v. 20-24).
20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one: 23 I in them and You in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.

5. He concludes with a summary of His past and future Work (vv. 25-26).
25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26 I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them."

Jesus covers time from the Creation to the Cross. It is all part of who He is and what He had done in the World. His Work. And on the basis of that completed Work, He can now ask His Father that WE could be unified with His Father the same way He is. Oneness found in that relationship.

Jesus had begun His prayer with the relationship between the Father and the Son (John 5:19-23). The oneness-yet-distinctness continues here as Jesus speaks in a very intimate way with His Father. This is the way we can talk with God. Close; Sure. Boldly; Confidently. Built on a relationship already set in place by His finished Work on the Cross. He dies so that we can be forgiven. He paid the price; the full price for our Salvation. THAT is the Gospel!

The Gospel is the Plan of God that comes out our experiences. Our response is our responsibility. Our responsibility is to live out this Gospel, the transformed life, in all clarity, in all honesty and with all the Grace of God that He willingly gives to us who believe.

As we look to the new year, this building the Body of Christ is on His heart as well. He will help us—as we look to Him and surrender our hands and hearts to His Will for us in His Son, Jesus. Do you believe this?

Next Sunday is our regular Covered Dish Sunday (3rd Sunday of each month-plan to share a meal with the Fellowship. Bring some food or drink along with you or buy it next door at the Seiyu store.) This is also the last Sunday Pastor Stan and his family will be at ICCS for the year.
Next week is ALSO Father's Day.
MEN: Wear an Hawaiian shirt!
All neck ties will be taken and made into head bands!
Come celebrate the Lord together.
Faith and Pastor Stan will be sharing from the Word of God.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The KEY: Unity in the Body

Eph 4:1-16.

Live a life worthy.

Given by the Lord.

Each part does its work.
(This is the short answer...)

It is my firm belief that we all want what is best for ourselves and our family. Sometimes, when situations change, it is hard to hold on to those intentions. Something always seems to enter life and with it, brings a mixed bag of problems and interesting changes that must be dealt with over time.

One of the facts of the Holy Scriptures, from were we get all understanding of who God is and what He requires of us is found, is that our walk MUST reflect what we hold in our hearts. Should our hearts be dark and uncertain, then our walk would not be a true one if we act out our Belief system based on falsehoods and un-unbelief. For those who’s walk matches their growing Faith in God, they then are walking the right road and God gets the Glory.

Notice, I said growing Faith. We are not there yet! A process over time. We are not to be discouraged; not give into the pull of the World. We are to run the race of Faith with diligence and with truth.

Such was the case in the Church founded by Paul in Ephesus. It seems that Paul was well pleased with them in every way. We can see from the opening verses that he has been in prayer for them as they were blessed with every spiritual blessing that are found in Christ Jesus.

Paul saw in them such great evidence of their love for others in the Faith (1:15).

He then tells them just what he was praying for them:
Giving thanks for them
For the spirit of wisdom and revelation
For a better understanding of their God
That their eyes would be enlightened
That they will know the Hope they have in Jesus
Then Paul goes into one of his long sentences covering the full council of God—on their behalf.

Paul then explains WHY we are saved. By Grace. Grace alone. That alone covers all the things that had been on his heart for them. God could not love them any more than He does right now. They are IN Jesus, and therefore, all His Grace is on them. Not by works…not by guilt…not by wishing…not by any effort we could muscle up on our own…all by just His Grace---alone. And as he says in 2:10, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

He called the Believers to remember where they had come from. Outside the Faith. Far from God. 2:12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the Blood of Christ…

What does this mean for us today? Are any of you in some personal pain? Anyone going through a hard time emotionally? Are you feeling alone and forgotten? Yes, even you could feel this and be in the Family of God. That is why He has given us His Holy Spirit to be---what? Our Peace. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.

It means that we are no longer OUTSIDE God’s Grace. All of it! His peace. His Forgiveness. His love. His Grace. His touch—even in the times of hardship. His touch is one of healing—with time—and would cover all our pain and concerns. Over time: a process. Worth the wait.

It means that we are built into Him. Look at verses 19-22. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

This is one of the reasons I love the Church. (Oh, there are some problems with what the church looks like in history and what the church did in history,) but it is His Body and we are His Bride. He loved the Church and so do I. He died for the Church.

Which brings us to Chapter four. There is much in Chapter three, but we shall leave that to someone else to cover and deal with.

Paul starts chapter Four with: As a prisoner for the Lord… Strange way to put it but what a privilege. To be tied to Him. Under His authority. No freedom except what He gives us… No were to go. Tied to Him. Depending on Him. Surrendered to Him. Lost to your own ego and set free to be owned by the God who made the universe. All that in six words in English.

Paul then urges his fellow prisoners to live a life worthy of the calling they have received.
Not to throw the life away to foolish living like the prodigal son.
Not to waste the joy of forgiveness on temporary pleasures.
To walk in such a way that brings total joy to Him who has called us.
Live a life worthy.
Not drifting around like a ship blown by winds of the sea.
Not wasting time with silly petty foolish activities that pull us away from His Love and Service.
Not half-power but full power.
Not weakly following but strongly leading others to that life of worthiness.
Not luke warm but Hot for Jesus.

Living a life that is humble and gentle. Is the word “humble” a positive one in your heart language?
1. modest and unassuming in attitude and behavior

From the other words in this list, we can see that it is not a negative meaning. In fact, looks like the life of Jesus. So live life that way! Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love

You were called to a better way. Called to live a life that is worthy of His calling on you and that we are called as well into ONE HOPE. He is our Peace and He is our Hope. Paul states this as fact. No question about this at all. He is our Peace and He is our Hope!

As we have been looking at the Spiritual Gifts for a few weeks, we can see that Eph 4 continues in this same vein. There is a reason you have been given each a Spiritual Gift. Verse 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up.

We are to be prepared to work for this new life—not in the sense of working so that we get it but working so that we would walk worthily of the Calling.

And He has called us to this walk of Faith. Three reasons are found in the next verse. until
a we all reach unity in the Faith and Possible in Christ Jesus!
b in the knowledge of the Son of God and Our goal is to know Him! Not just a head knowledge nor just a bare accepting Christ to be the Son of God, but the kind of knowledge that brings trust and obedience. There is the FULLNESS in Christ. Never full measure until we arrive in Heaven.
c become mature, So that we are not falling away.

So that the Way of the Cross is followed to bring Him Glory as the result of our obedience. Mature. Isn’t that why we are here this morning. To grow up. To grow up in Jesus. Not to remain satisfied with how things are in our walk but to press on to the FULLNESS of Christ. Mature in Him. Grown up Godly People.
= attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

In no way are we to act as infants. Vs 14-15.
So that each part does its work. Mature and with unity of heart and mind. Working together to build a Kingdom-like community where we love each other and effect the society we live in because of the Grace of God alive in our walk of Faith. That is why we studied Spiritual Gifts!
Verse 16 From Him the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in Love, as each part does its work

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday is a Day of Rest!

GDOP came and went and it is now history but Oh, such a history! We started a little late yet the crowds kept coming. We ran out of out song sheets (200) and they still came. Ended with maybe 240, but we have not counted the heads yet. While it was raining heavy in Tokyo--and even at Higashi Kurume (CAJ area), it only had a very light rain fall at the Park. In short, the weather DID NOT cause a damp response to the event.

With the Shofar blown, a greeting prayer and a warm welcome (saying that today, all over the world, well over 500 million Believers were in prayer for repentance. Family, I got to tell you, it felt great! And I co-hosted with a most excellent friend and translator, Kiku-San. He had just returned from an Alpha/VIP Holy Spirit weekend!

A friend brought his professional video and took 60 min of the high lights of the day. From two Black Gospel groups--not one Black in them--to a Japanese/Jewish Believing Church's Jewish dance, we were prayed into the presence of our Lord. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, English, Tagalog, Hebrew, and Portuguese was used during this 3-5:30 meeting. (Well, it started around 3:40 and ended around 5:50.) For some, they never had seen so many Believers together in one place before!

I loved it!

And my voice held out for the whole evening.

We had the Pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers come to the front for prayer by the people in the seats. It was great. Later, we asked the kids to come to the stage and one Japanese young girl prayed and then our own Ken N. covered them with a powerful prayer. TJ, the worship leader from KBF (meets at CAJ) covered us with worship songs and played in the background during some silent times.

New Life League made a large poster! It was almost ten feet by 7 feet.
"Global Day of Prayer" in blue on while. Really set off the stage as we had not had one last year.

So, next year, I will be in the US and the group will need to grow much bigger. I spoke of a city wide program and the crowd seemed to love the idea. Maybe Tokyo Dome! This place had room for 2,000 so we need for more contact and more ads. Got to get local pastors on board. Those that did, came and had a wonderful time!

Now, today, Monday, I rest.

And God is Good! All the time!

Thank you for your prayers and support. Do come to the next GDOP event.
Look for the next time,
Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010!
Plan ahead! Save that Day!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

TODAY is THE DAY World-wide Prayer!

A Prayer for the World
“They lifted their voices to God with one accord…”Acts 4:24

Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Together with believers all over the world,
We gather today to glorify Your Name.
You are the Creator of heaven and earth.
There is no one like You, holy and righteous in all Your ways.
We submit to Your authority as the King of the universe.
We pray with one voice to enthrone You in our hearts
and to honor You before the world.

Lord God, You alone are worthy of our praise and adoration.

Our Father in heaven,
Thank You for loving the world so greatly.
You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ,
to die on the cross for our sins
so that we could be reconciled to You.
We are grateful to call You Father and to be called Your children.
Nothing can separate us from Your love.

Thank You Father, for adopting us into Your family because of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You alone are worthy to open the scrolls of history,
for You were slain and have redeemed us to the Father by Your blood.
We confess that You are Head of the Church
and Lord of all heaven and earth.
May people from every tribe and language become Your followers
so that Your blessing brings transformation among all peoples.
Let Your kingdom be established in every nation of the world
so that governments will rule with righteousness and justice.
And may Your Name be great, from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Jesus Christ, You are the Savior of the world and the Lord of all.

Father of mercy and grace,
We acknowledge that we have sinned
and that our world is gripped by the power of sin.
Our hearts are grieved by injustice, hatred and violence.
We are shamed by oppression, racism and bloodshed in our land.
We mourn all loss of life in murder, war and terrorism.
Our homes are broken and our churches are divided by rebellion and pride.
Our lives are polluted by selfishness, greed, idolatry and sexual sin.
We have grieved Your heart and brought shame to Your Name.
Have mercy on us as we repent with all our hearts.

God of mercy, forgive our sins.
Pour out Your grace and heal our land.

Spirit of the living God,
Apart from You, we can do nothing.
Transform Your Church into the image of Jesus Christ.
Release Your power to bring healing to the sick,
freedom to the oppressed and comfort to those who mourn.
Pour Your love into our hearts and fill us with compassion
to answer the call of the homeless and the hungry
and to enfold orphans, widows and the elderly in Your care.
Give us wisdom and insight for the complex problems we face today.
Help us to use the resources of the earth for the well-being of all.

Holy Spirit, we need Your comfort and guidance. Transform our hearts.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Because You were dead, but are now risen,
and the Father has given You a Name above all names,
You will defeat all powers of evil.
Tear down strongholds and ideologies that resist the knowledge of God.
Remove the veil of darkness that covers the peoples.
Restrain the evil that promotes violence and death.
Bring deliverance from demonic oppression.
Break the hold of slavery, tyranny and disease.
Fill us with courage to preach Your word fearlessly,
and to intercede for the lost faithfully.

Almighty God, deliver us from evil.

King of Glory,
Come and finish Your work in our cities, our peoples and our nations.
We lift our voices in unison with believers from Africa and Asia,
from the Middle East and Europe, from North and South America,
and from Australia and the Pacific Islands—together we cry:

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Be lifted up ancient doors so that the King of glory may come in!

As Your deeds increase throughout the earth,
and as Your blessings abound to all the nations,
they will seek You, asking, “Who is this King of glory?”
Together we will answer:

He is the Lord Almighty!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Come fill the earth with Your glory as the waters cover the sea.
The Spirit and the Bride say:

Amen! Come Lord Jesus!


The Global Day of Prayer can become a catalytic moment.
Those who pray together can become those who serve
together, bringing practical, transformational blessing to their
communities. To help you dream and plan about how you
might become part of the answer to your prayers, check out
“90 Days of Blessing” at www.globaldayofprayer.com.

To help you keep growing in prayer during the 90
days, make use of the excellent resources available at
• The 90-Day Prayer Guide. A daily guide to pray
toward transformational blessing.

• Seek His Face. Learn to devote yourself to God daily
with an hour of prayer.

• 24/7 Prayerwatch. Many are launching 24/7 prayer
in many styles and ways.

Global Day Of Prayer planed through 2010
Watch www.globaldayofprayer.com for announcements about more GDOP events. The NEXT big event is planned for Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010. Plan NOW to attend and take part in this Prayer Movement!