Sunday, November 15, 2009

Resolving disputes in the church - "Go tell it to the church"

In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus says,

15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
At each step of the process, it is possible that the 'victim' may realize, or be told by the others, that he has been mistaken in his accusation.
Many pastors try to circumvent the order, "Go tell it to the church".
Some say it meant 'tell it to the small group', or elder board - not the entire church congregation.
But it clearly says 'church' here; the small group may have been the 'two or three witnesses' earlier.
Could it be that Jesus meant "entire church" so that justice would be done?
Otherwise "small group" could be a handpicked group of people who would, out of loyalty or other reasons, blindly go along with whatever the leader(s) said, and not impartially examine
the actions and cases of both parties with the Bible.
In other words, "small group" could just be a lynch mob.
(For pastors, is this one of the Hard Sayings Of Jesus? :)).

Furthermore, I wonder if telling it to the entire church removes politics (or manipulation) from the situation and lays it before God.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Royce Gracie Jiujitsu/MMA Seminar, Cameron, MO

Rear Naked Choke'd out by Royce Gracie. He said, "this will be a pleasure for me"
(credits: photos by Rita Philip)

Four hours of training in a patriotic rural town with the UFC legend, Royce Gracie, for $100.

What did I learn? Here is as much as I can remember:

Our class
. Royce is pacing up and down in the blue gi

(Note: He did not use any technical terms and so I am using the labels from my class in Overland park which is a training center for Gracie Academy, Torrance, CA. I have only described the 'new stuff' he taught. If you are unfamiliar with the basic moves, you can try a keyword search for the technique on youtube).

  • Takedown. Both vie for position, pushing each other facing at 45 degrees. One knee drops, hooks inside of farthest leg. Grab inside of other knee with other hand and push to takedown.
  • Americana.
  • Kimura. trap his other leg.
  • Guillotine choke (pull guard variation) and Guillotine defense. In this defense against the pull guard version, arm around BG's neck holding BG's head "like he is your friend" and when you are on the ground, post off your toes with a wide base, and push your shoulder to his throat.

Guillotine choke. Also, my sparring partner can be seen. I am in the white gi with my back to the camera.
I discovered while practising during the session, what I felt was a possible counter to the Guillotine defense (which irritated Royce who insisted it wasn't valid, "who is teaching you? you are learning wrong" - however, I disagree) Use the non-choking arm to wrap your arm around BG's defense arm - now he can't put it around your neck. You can still continue the choke by grabbing the wrist of the choking arm. So if your right arm forms the 'V', use your left arm to wrap around BG's right arm and then hold your right wrist and close the 'V' and inhale to exert pressure. Since BG's right arm is trapped, he cannot loop it around your neck.

Also, in the curriculum taught by Rener, Ryron and Rorion Gracie, the guillotine is an artery choke, not an airway choke. So we learned to form a V using our forearm with the BGs chin in the valley. Royce insisted that this was wrong. He taught the wrist is kept horizontal and raised upwards. He got annoyed, "Who is teaching you this? It is completely wrong. You can tell them in the class to [unprintable] out of here". Discretion prevented me from saying, "It was your nephews who taught me this, Sir".

  • Swinging to different sides of BG to do arm lock from the guard on each side.
  • Turning a failed Kimura into a mount. If BG pulls his hand out, support yourself with the hand you used to grab his wrist, and assuming your leg on the same side is bent, drive forward with your hips, knocking him off balance. You can now get into the mount.
  • punch block 2 (PB2). grab his biceps. No space between your forearm and knee. feet on BG's hips.

Submission Variations from PB2:

  1. In PB2, let BG's arm in. move 'around the world' to do the triangle.
  2. In PB2, let BG's arm in, grabbing his elbow. drive your legs up his body and twist your hips, pushing his body to the side forming a triangle with corners of your knee, your foot, your knee, and your groin. This traps him. From here, do the kimura with your hand. see photos below.
  3. Kimura variation using your legs only! As above in 2), but move your leg around his head, so you are sitting next to him. grab his waist. Now rotate your legs to sit sideways.

Royce watches Master Johnson's technique

Master Johnson demonstrates the technique
  • Twisting arm control. use your chest to roll him in. Then do RNC. variation: take the back.

with Jonathan... and David :)

with pretty woman ;)

After he autographed my white belt, I said, "God bless you". (I wasn't feeling very spiritual this week, and said no more).
The tough old warrior was visibly touched. He reached out and patted my arm.

follow up: Ryron Gracie addressed the contradiction in the versions of the Guillotine choke - Lesson 23. (I asked this question on their website forum).
Both variations of the guillotine choke are valid. We learned it the same way that Royce taught you. Our father has taught us that way and you will see it taught that way on the Rorion/Royce video series. Our version, approved by the Grandmaster and our father, achieves the same purpose, but can be even more effective as it is tighter and more quickly causes unconsciousness due to lack of blood flow. If you can't wrap the arm deeply enough to achieve this effect, then the painful version is a valid, time-tested alternative. - Gracie Academy 1

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life and Death

Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sept 11, 2009

Vibrant strong tall trees, green and healthy, reaching for the skies.
Dead rotting corpses in their watery grave, their bodies releasing back to the soil, air - and trees above.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hooray, my wife had her first Jiu Jitsu lesson last week!

Finally, after two months of pleading, argument and persuasion, she agreed to join Gracie Jiu Jitsu class, but once a week.
She learned Standing Armlock, and Headlock Escape 2 (scissors).
Of course, it all made no sense to her, but it is a start :)

breaking her husband's arm
From Rita and Chitra Jiujitsu

with sister-in-law Chitra in a clinch
From Rita and Chitra Jiujitsu

Sunday, June 28, 2009

David Smarr, on how Jiu-Jitsu has helped him in life.

David is our instructor on Saturdays at the Blue Valley Gracie Jiujitsu training center. He has practised Jiu-Jitsu under Helio and also Royce Gracie and is a deep instructor. In his words,

"Jiu Jitsu's principles will help you with everything you do in life. Also will never out grow a technique or principle. Here are a few principles that have helped me.
  1. Finding the most efficient ways to do things. This comes from Jiujitsu's principle; leverage over power.
  2. You are never in a bad situation if you know how to get out. This comes from Jiu Jitsu's principle; that you are never in a bad position if you know how to escape.
  3. Focus & Dedication as with anything in life you must work hard for acomplishments. Jiu Jitsu is no different you get out of it what you put into it. Nothing will be given without dedication.
  4. Determination Everybody will find themselves in situations they struggle to get out of including me. You must learn to build on your weakness's first before you build on your strengths. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
  5. Planning & Preparation As with anything in life you must first plan before you can execute. Jiu Jitsu has taught me the better you prepare for a goal or technique the deeper you will understand it and the more rewarding it is to accomplish.

Hope I helped. Have a good day


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Great messages

Our church, Vineyard at Overland Park had the Reflect Conference and their sermon audio is here.
I would recommend listening to at least a few of these life-changing messages.
They are listed here and are marked Reflect 2009 in the third column.
My favourites are the sermons by Gary Best (4/24,4/25,4/26) and by our senior pastor Mark Warner (5/10,5/17,5/24).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Understanding why George Tiller performed partial birth abortions with an untroubled conscience

“These are the things we do,” he said, pointing to color snapshots of aborted fetuses. “Hydrocephalus, spina bifida, fused legs, open spine, lethal chromosome abnormality. Nature makes mistakes.”
George Tiller, Wichita abortion doctor, shot dead in June 2009.

Reading this quote in the newspaper article by Judy Thomas, I suddenly understood how someone who performed late term abortions could live with an untroubled conscience. Even though he was an usher at his liberal Lutheran church, he apparently believed that babies were created by Nature, not God. He believed that a woman, and the planet, should not be burdened by one of Nature's grotesque mistakes. In contrast, the pro-lifer believes that even deformed babies were created by God for a purpose, and that we do not have the authority to decide what the cutoff point should be - to grant life or death. Who knows what wonders God can do with a seemingly worthless lump of clay?
This is consistent with pro-life support for the death penalty. God, as described in the major religions, requires man to administer justice - even to the point of taking life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penalized for her religious views? A new low...

It is a given that free speech is protected in America. Unfortunately, in the Miss USA contest, Carrie Prejean was penalized for her answer opposing gay marriage, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. (news report here). As a result, she lost the crown.
Penalized for her religious beliefs? I am dumbfounded that this could happen in America. Another name for this is persecution.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For any Birthmother considering placing her baby for adoption

Thank you for having the courage to consider adoption. We are Rita and Anil, and would like to tell you about ourselves.

We have been married for twelve years now. We have no children and would love to have our lives filled with the joys and cares a child brings. We do have one cute child-loving dog, “Kacey”.

Anil is a quiet, sensitive person. Rita is an optimistic, sociable person. We are East Indian in origin but like a wide variety of foods, fashions and activities. We are American citizens now.

It is important for us to raise a child with lots of love, attention and prayer. We are committed to having Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and our marriage. We look to God for guidance in big and small things. We have daily devotions. We believe in showing children love and affection and encouraging honesty, hard work, individual responsibility and academics.

Rita is in the dental field; Anil is a computer programmer. We live in a house in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We cook American, Indian and lots of other foods. We love to cook, garden, eat, watch movies, play games, train jiu-jitsu and visit new places. We are open to other cultures. English is our first language and we speak it at home.

Regarding Adoption: We are looking for a child under one year old, preferably a baby. We would like contact with the birth family, before and after the adoption – if the birth parents are okay with it. We would explain the adoption process to the child and speak about his/her birth parents in a positive way. We have undergone a background criminal check and a home study as part of our preparation to become foster/adoptive parents. We are licensed foster parents. Though we are not perfect people, we are honest and law abiding.

We are happy to provide you with any more information you require.


Rita and Anil

Note: As you can probably tell, we are seeking to adopt!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Life is not Just, only God is - but when...?

Life is not always Just. Human systems are just as Unjust. When we are small, we are fed stories of how it all works out in the end. How the crooked are punished and how the righteous are finally rewarded. This carrot and stick helps one to live in the fear of evil, and embrace the good. It helps small children grow up into a well-mannered society.
However if you put aside the fairy tales, you will find, like the writer of Ecclesiastes, that it fails as often as it works.
Nowhere does it say that Life, Society, the Earth, the Church, your family, the Law [add your choice here] are Just. Only God is Just. And even He, will execute final justice only in the Great White Throne judgment. But then here is a heretical thought - will it matter then?
So perhaps while on this earth, victims should pursue Healing rather than Justice - easier said than done.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to find Healing for Life's Most Painful Questions (or, Disappointment with God).

The most painful dilemmas in Life are not when the devil and his followers attack and wound you; it is when God fails you. Disappointment with God is a mortal wound.
for me these three were unresolved dilemmas:

1) How can the Holy Spirit be speaking to me one set of truths and under that prompting, I share it with the elders of my former church - only to be promptly expelled by them - under the influence, according to them, of the Holy Spirit?!
Alternately, as I asked myself for years, using this school geography illustration in my mind, how can sincere Christians come up with completely opposing doctrines?

2) "I believe I was following God when I did _[fill in the blanks]_ in faith. However it led to loss, grief and even evil".
Alternately, when I look back at my past, in many areas I see that if I had taken a small action or been aware of a certain fact, my life would have been far different. Now, I can only try to partially offset the losses in these areas. But then I stop and ponder... God knew then, and God promised that He would guide me, and I was his follower at the time. Why didn't He do so? If He spoke and I didn't hear, then why didn't He speak more clearly or loudly? However, so many years were lost, irretrievably. Why didn't God prompt me in this direction earlier? It would have made me into a better, more successful person and more fruitful Christian.
An alternate question: "what purpose was served by God allowing _[this evil or tragedy]_ or not alleviating this problem earlier?"

3) When I read Leviticus, I am horrified at some of the practices. How can the same God of Mercy of the New Testament have ordered seemingly unfair executions and repressive treatment of women and slaves in the Old Testament?

Many theologians have pat answers for these questions above. Many Christians have ready explanations and even more pat answers. So do I. However they are unsatisfying. Perhaps because the answers may be wrong, but even if they are partially correct or even correct and have biblical support, they do not heal - if we are honest.

I believe it is because the mind cannot heal the heart. Many people turn against God for reasons like these because they are unresolved.
Pain leads to Anguish leads to Bitterness leads to Hatred leads to Estrangement and Rebellion against God. They become disillusioned, abandon the faith and even become followers of Satan. Perhaps this was Judas' path?

After almost 25 years of struggling with such painful questions, I believe I have the key:
Trust and Thankfulness!

First disconnect your logical brain - stop wrestling with the dilemma. You will not fully understand nor explain it.

Trust that God is Love, is Good, is Merciful, is Just.
Question: Why should you trust God?
Answer: Jesus who is God, shed His blood for you and died for you.

Be Thankful even in a crisis. Important: Do not be thankful for the evil that happens - that came from the devil, not God - remember that Jesus was not thankful for the cross. Do not be thankful for misfortunes - they are either a result of the interactions of the laws of Nature that God created, or man's free will. However, be thankful that God moves all things to work for good to those that love Him. Be thankful for the things you can be thankful for - you will know them!

These two will heal you as it has started to heal me!

Trust and Thankfulness!

Bible passages to support these thoughts:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God Psalm 50:23

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. (God). Job 13:15

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then [when we are in heaven] we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Without faith, it is impossible to please God... Hebrews 11:6

Trust and Thankfulness!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love in the Time of Prostate Cancer

touching article

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A new idea for Internet Evangelism (and help prevent a suicide)

Would you like to help prevent a suicide? (and help spread the gospel across the internet)

There is despair and desperation across the world as financial systems are collapsing. Daily in the news we read of individuals and even families committing suicide.

If you would like to help spread the gospel across the internet and help people find a reason for living, then do one of the following:

1) When you post in a newsgroup or mailing list or forum or even in an email, as part of your signature, add the following lines:

Are you planning to kill yourself? Stop! listen to this song
broadband version:
dial-up version:

2) Pick a Christian song, and inject a gospel message into it. Explain the lyrics using passages from the Bible. Look at the Toby Mac song clip I used above. I have another clip using a recording from a Muslim imam dying of AIDS miraculously healed by Jesus. Be sure you explain every bit of jargon you use. Concepts like repent, sin, sacrifice, crucify, eternal are alien to most unchurched people.

Why is this better?
Take most Christian songs - can anyone who was not steeped in Christianity listen to them and understand the message? I don't think so. There is so much jargon that only "insiders" would understand.
For example, take Toby Mac's "I was made to love". Most people will think it is about a boy singing of the girl he loves. Only an insider will understand it is about our relationship with Jesus.
I took the audio song clip and used a voice recorder to record the song as it was playing, then paused the player, spoke a bit explaining what was being said, play some more song, give a gospel message, and so on. For the youtube version, I have added captions.

How did I start this?
I did a precepts (Kay Arthur) study on the book of Acts (Holy Spirit) and it took me two years to complete as I was very slow. There were no personal opinions, only questions to answer and to write our observations in a notebook as the Holy Spirit taught - she got out of the way.
A few weeks later, in July 2008, a pastor Mike Hernandez, preached on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and laid hands on me after the service and prayed for me. I did not speak in tongues, but my study of Acts and an innovative idea to do internet evangelism using audio skypecasts was the basis for God to use me.

It was a powerful and innovative tool for internet evangelism since lots of people around the world, especially muslims from closed countries, flocked to Skypecasts as a community.

What were the results?
In 5 weeks, this resulted in 13 people around the world praying the prayer of salvation.

The skypecast feature was discontinued by Skype and two of the people turned hostile to Christianity (the devil took away the seed as in Luke 14:12), but I believe at least a few were saved. I am putting up those clips with captions added, on youtube.

Here is a list of those who prayed to receive Jesus (only first names to protect their privacy)

-----July week 3-----
Nikole, Bulgaria. 14 year old was abandoned and beaten by successive fathers and is looking for love from her boyfriend.
Thiago, Brazil. said he was in trouble and needed God's help.
Jefferson, Brazil. pray he will understand his salvation.
-----July week 4-----
Peder, Sweden. although he wept and prayed, has turned against Christ and said he is "controlled by Satan". He was in jail before. Pray that Satan's grip on his life will be broken.
Andre Abreu, Brazil. recommitted his life and he and his wife said his life was changed.
Aleksandra, Serbia.
Kitty, Ireland.
------Aug week 1-----
Elizeberth Hong, UK.
------Aug week 2-----
Ibrahim, Istanbul, Turkey. pray he will not turn away because of fear of persecution from Islam.
He is an architect and a muslim who spent 90 min. debating and trying to understand the gospel using a turkish-english dictionary to understand gospel jargon!
He was sincere and prayed the prayer of salvation.
------Aug week 3-----
Deepak, Chennai, India. Hindu. understood the gospel and prayed.
Aisha, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
------October week 1----
Kurt, Svante. Sweden.
I prayed with them for Kurt's marijuana addiction and Svante's alchohol addiction to be broken.
A few days later, Kurt turned hostile to the gospel. This has been puzzling to me - Swedish people will pray sincerely and then turn hostile - 180 degrees around!

Unfortunately, the results were not all good. I got kicked out of my former church because the senior pastor did not like some of the thoughts I shared with the leadership.
(in case you are curious regarding what I said: 1. the church should be Christ-centered, not pastor-centered.
2. submission to the Word should be above submission to leaders.
3. our church should be a new covenant church, not an old covenant church.
4. the church is a wheat field, not a banyan tree.)

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