Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Year Highlights

Week 1 of the Men's Leadership training series
Teaching the summer Introduction to the Bible class

After the Ordination of Wesley Chuang.
In the back row: Rev. Lin, Rev. Shih, and Rev. Tsai (of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), Dr. Lu (O.P.C.), Dr. Wang (R.P.C.T.), Dr. Yates (P.C.A.), Dr. McCafferty (P.C.A) (of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei)
 In the front row: Rev. Pilson (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service), the Chuang family, Rev. Lin (from the Philippines), Dr. Yeo (with C.R.T.S.), and Dr. Linton (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service)
Men's leadership training class at New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taipei
Interviewing some young children who are professing their faith (including our youngest, Seren)
Although New Hope has a bi-lingual English-Mandarin worship service, the church also provides a Taiwanese-language Sunday school class after lunch. Providing venues for Taiwanese language shows welcome to a large percentage of the people whose heart-language is Taiwanese rather than Mandarin.
The Introduction to the Bible class that Dr. Linton taught
Temperate rain forest in the higher elevations of the mountains of sub-tropical Yilan County. During Taiwan's 50 years under the Japanese Empire from A.D. 1895 to 1945, Yilan was a major producer of Formosa Cypress timber. This tree species is now endangered and protected by the government.
Our youngest, Seren, did well on the hike
Yilan County church plant Saturday Bible study. Dr. Linton teaches mostly in Taiwanese. The reading and discussions are in both Taiwanese and Mandarin.
Hosting the Poythresses in Yilan County (always fun) 

October meeting of the Second Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

Three cute church kids
The sign of God's gracious covenant with Noah. We do not see rainbows very often in Yilan County because either it is too cloudy and rainy or the clouds build up in the west above the mountains in the afternoon.

Driving New Hope ruling elder Mark Kuo and his family to the airport.
The Kuo's moved to America so Mark could attend Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's M.Div. program.

Rice is harvested once a year in the summer. In other parts of Taiwan, rice can be harvested two or three times a year. But Yilan County is too rainy in the winter when the second crop would need to ripen in dry weather.

We took care of 14 chickens this summer for another family while they went to the U.S.

We sing one Taiwanese-language hymn before our Saturday Romans Bible study class in Yilan County

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What does the Bible say about itself?

I periodically teach on what God's Word says about itself. Does it contain a record of man's experience with God as Karl Barth claimed? Or does it contain God's Word down to every word choice: singular or plural, masculine or feminine pronouns?

Rather than approaching the Bible based on our own constructed theories, it is good to consider what the Bible claims about itself, what Jesus claims about the Bible and what the Apostles claim about the Bible.
You might disagree with them, but we have to say this is the Bible's testimony about itself.
So what does the Bible say about itself?
Even within all these different prophets of the Old Testament who have different writing styles, they say "Thus says the Lord."
Or look at the New Testament writers:
The testimony of the Apostle Paul: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 1 Timothy 3:16-17
The testimony of Apostle Peter: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
And the Apostle Peter also testified that Paul's writings were Scripture: "... just as our dear brother Paul also wrote with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable men distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's writings are treated as equivalent to the other Scriptures.
Now how do Jesus and Paul treat the Scripture? They make their argument based on every single word, even whether the word choice was singular or plural. Jesus states "and the Scripture cannot be broken."
That means that although the Holy Spirit used individual men to write Scripture and they wrote in their own styles, that every single word in the Bible is inspired by God even to whether the word is singular or plural.
There is no half-way point. If you want to except anything in the Bible, you have to accept it all. Otherwise, it is just a collection of opinions of man and can be thrown away.

All Scripture quotes are taken from the NIV1984 translation.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December Update

Invitation flier to the 500'th Anniversary Lecture on How the Reformation in Europe Affected Taiwan's history and culture

Invitation flier to the Christmas outreach lecture on the meaning behind different Christmas customs in America and on who Jesus is

Invitation flier to the Introduction to the Bible class series in January 2018

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall 2017

Giving Taiwan History Tour lecture to students at the Tsunah Foundation Democracy Movement Museum
A Gospel tract Joel wrote on "What is Love?"

The children love handing out Gospel tracts

Telling about the Gospel on Taiwan "Valentine's Day" 


Community Outreach Lecture

Romans 8:38-39 explains the hope of Christians that would make them be willing to die for their faith.

How the Reformation impacted future missionary labors

How the Reformation directly resulted in a world-wide Bible translation movement. And how the Bible-translation movement led to not just the spread of the church, but also the preservation of local cultures, languages and identities.

How the movement to abolish the slave trade was led by Protestants.

Ruling Elder Mark Kuo, of New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church sharing the Gospel using a tract he wrote.

Joel's former pastoral intern now planting a church in southeast Taiwan.

The widow, Mrs. Lai, sat was seated next to Joel on the train and then accepted his invitation to come to the church worship service. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sam-gia̍p Church Plant (Grace Hill Church) Community Outreach (Apple-Pie Evangelism)

Fellow missionary, Rev. Eric Pilson, and his family, along with Taiwanese coworker, Michael Liu, are planting a church ( in a mountainside community of Sam-gia̍p ("Three Gorges"), a more distant suburb of Taipei City. This town is home to National Taipei University and has been developed with tall apartment buildings and broad avenues, somewhat reminiscent of parts of Manhattan in New York City, but surrounded by mountains.  I had identified this area for church planting several years ago, but did not have anyone to move into the community. Eric and Annie Pilson moved there last year. Michael Liu moved soon after. He had been serving in an evangelistic ministry in Indonesia but had moved to Taiwan to finish his seminary degree at China Reformed Theological Seminary.

The location of the new ministry center of Grace Hill Church

On Saturday, the church plant hosted a community outreach. My daughters, Faith and Ashlyn, volunteered to teach how to make apple pie. While the pies were in the oven and people were eating two pies that Ashlyn had made on Friday, Eric gave the guests a brief introduction to the church and a warm invitation for them to visit the ministry center. They also invited them to a children's summer camp to be held in August. The church core group has been meeting in a weekly Bible study, but are planning to start Lord's Day worship in September, after a lot of outreach events in August.

The community event flier 
Ashlyn giving the introduction. Faith stood on hand to help 

Rolling out the crust


Teaching how to make the sauce

Adding the sauce

Others tried their hand

Ashlyn made two apple pies the previous day so people could enjoy while the ones they made were in the oven

While people are eating pie and ice cream, Rev. Eric Pilson introduces their church plant

While the pies are baking, Ashlyn shows how to make the crust from scratch

The finished pies

The window-front of the ministry center. They do not yet have a sign installed. It is a little narrow, but in a good location.  
An interior designer from New Hope Taipei volunteered to help the church plant with its interiors.
First floor being readied

Worship space on the second floor. When the church grows, they will need to find a new facility, but this one is what they can afford in their budget

Summer camp to be held at the ministry center

Please click on the following link to find out how to support this church plant. Unlike starting churches in America, there are not many churches to create a support network for church planting. Taiwanese church planters often have little salary while the spaces to rent for worship services are very expensive.