Grace Martial Arts Fellowship began in 1990, went online with a website in 1995 and began publishing newsletters to the Christian martial arts community in 1998.
Because of the quality of information found in those early newsletter articles and the fact they are no longer available online, we’ve decided to re-publish many of them in the coming weeks and months. Our hope is that a new generation of Christian martial artists will be blessed by the wisdom of those who were on the path before them.
GMAF NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2001
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
The Apostle Paul
“Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. ”
“Dearly Loved” by Mark McGee
One of our family’s favorite verses is Colossians 3:12: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” The New International Version reads: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Christians are “holy and beloved, holy and dearly loved”. The Greek word for “beloved” is agapao . It expresses God’s Attitude toward us: He loves us deeply and dearly. If we are honest with ourselves, which is not an easy thing to do but helpful at times, we will see how difficult it is to love us. Human beings are, well, not nice at times. We say bad things, do bad things, think bad things … in general, we’re a bad group. Paul said it perfectly when he described humans this way:
“There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18
Not a pretty picture, but it’s the Truth. And it is that very Truth that makes Paul’s statement in Colossians 3:12 even more precious. Humanity is sinful. It is like rotting flesh on decaying bones. Yet, God dearly loves us! Why? Because of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus makes all the difference in God’s Attitude toward us. Without Jesus, you and I would be just another lump of clay prepared for Divine judgment. “We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:19-20, 23) “…who were dead in trespasses and sins…and were by nature the children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:1,3) With Jesus, we are dearly loved and protected for a great eternal purpose. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:22,24-25) “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
Christians are the most fortunate of humanity. We have experienced God’s Love, Grace, Mercy and Eternal Kindness. We are forgiven and our nature has been changed from “children of wrath” to “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” However, before we gloat over our good fortunate, let’s remember what we were and what we would be without Christ. All glory belongs to God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) We owe God everything, including our lives.
So, what does all that mean? We are saved by Grace. We are dearly loved. We are forgiven. We have Eternal Life. Those are basics of our faith. But what does it mean today, in the real world?
It means we have responsibilities and obligations to God and others. It doesn’t mean we have to perform good work s to”earn” our salvation, because that’s free, but it does mean we do good works “because” of our salvation. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Our new nature as children of God includes a view toward good works. What are those good works? What is it we should do with our lives now that we are “saved,””free” and “in Christ”?
Let’s go back to our favorite verse in Colossians. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” We have a special responsibility to our family and friends and other members of the Body of Christ. That responsibility is to have an attitude of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering. That attitude leads to the actions of forbearing and forgiving. We begin by putting on (enduno – to envelope in, clothe with) a Christlike attitude. Because we are holy (set apart for sacred service) and beloved (loved deeply and dearly), we are becoming “like Christ” in our thoughts and behavior. One Christian writer said we “become so possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling, and action to resemble Him and, as it were, reproduce the life He lived.”
The first action is “Forbearing one another.” The Greek is anechomenoi and means “to bear with, endure, put up with.” It’s a picture of the reality of relationships within the Body of Christ. The fact is that Christians are human and thus flawed. We are not always easy to put up with. It takes a “Christ- like” attitude to get along with some Christians. Before we get too proud, let’s remember that other Christians will need a Christlike attitude to put up with us. The word is used in Romans 2:4 and 3:25 (“the forbearance of God”) to describe God’s withholding of punishment against sinners while He gave them the opportunity to trust Christ for their salvation. God wants us to use that same attitude in our dealings with others. Not an easy job, but necessary.
The second action is “Forgiving one another.” The Greek is charizomenoi and means “to bestow a favor willingly and unconditionally.” The word comes from charisma (“a gift of Grace”) and tells us what we’ll need to willingly and unconditionally forgive Christians who sin against us. We will need special “gift of Grace” from God. Human beings don’t have a good record of forgiving others. If we’re honest, we’ve all had problems willingly and unconditionally forgiving Christians who did us wrong. That’s natural. What’s “supernatural” is “forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Yikes! That’s a tall order. God wants us to forgive sins committed against us in the same way Christ forgave our sins committed against Him. Whew! We’ll need a BIG “gift of Grace” to do that.
God’s Attitude toward us has been Mercy, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness and Longsuffering. God’s Action toward us has been Enduring and Forgiving. Christ is our Example: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
We are “dearly and deeply loved” by God. Let us now love each other “dearly and deeply.” By so doing we will demonstrate the reality of our Faith and the power of our Message.
“Mastering Kempo” by Dr. William Durbin
We’re pleased to share with you a new book by Soke William Durbin. Soke Durbin is a Christian brother and ordained minister. He is founder and director of Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei and Ki Bugei Kai – Christian Martial Arts Association, Inc. of Frankfort, Kentucky. He is a Vice President of Juko Kai Kokusai Remmei. Dr. Durbin is a recognized world authority on the history and practice of Kobujutsu, Jujutsu and Karate. He was a student of Richard Stone, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and Dr. Rod Sacharnoski. Dr. Durbin’s martial arts ranks include:
- Shodai Soke – Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei Kaiden – Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei
- Soke/Kiyojute Ryu – Shinjo Ryu Iaijutsu/Kenjutsu Hanshi – Juko Kai Karate
- Hanshi – Juko Kai Jujutsu
- Judan – Juko Ryu Kobudo/Kobujutsu Kudan – Nihon Ryu Kempo
- Hanshi Hachidan – Juko Ryu Kempo
- Shihan – Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Ninjutsu
- Shihan – Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Koppo
- Rokudan – ISTJ Judo
- Rokudan – Kenshin Kan Shorin Ryu Kobudo
- Shihan Godan – Dai Yoshin Ryu Aikido
- Shihan Godan – Shorin Ryu Karate
- Shihan Godan – Juko Ryu Toide
- Shihan Godan – Juko Ryu Aikijujutsu
- Shihan Godan – Okinawan Goju Kempo Karate
- Shihan Godan – Oikiru Ryu Jujutsu Bugei
- Yodan – Seidokan Motobu Ryu Toide
- Samdan – KwihanKu Sik Tae Kwon Do
- Si Bak – Shaolin Chung Kuo Chuan Shu Kwoon Tai Chi
Dr. Durbin is associated with many martial arts organizations, including:
- International Okinawan Martial Arts Union (Juko Kai, Seidokan, Kenshin Kan)
- International Kosho Shorei Association Sei Kosho Shorei Kai
- Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo Japan Martial Arts Society
- Dai Nippon Seibukan Budo/Bugei Kai
- Zen Kokusai Soke Budo/Bugei Remmei
- International Martial Arts League
Dr. Durbin has been a dear friend of GMAF and shared his writings with us for publication in previous GMAF Newsletters. He also has written articles for major martial arts magazines, including “Black Belt Magazine”, “Aikido Today Magazine,” “Inside Karate”, “Inside Kung Fu”, “Inside Martial Arts,” “Martial Arts Masters”, “Martial Arts Ultimate Warriors” and “Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated.”
Dr. Durbin’s newest book is titled Mastering Kempo. He writes about the history, philosophy, techniques, tactics and training of the Art of Kempo. It is one of the best martial arts books I’ve read in the last 40 years. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the martial arts. The fact that Dr. Durbin is also a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes this book even more special.
Here are some comments about “Mastering Kempo” from other martial artists.
“As one of the leading practitioners of Kempo, Durbin has in-depth knowledge of the history and philosophy of the martial arts. I recommend this book heartily to all martial artists who wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of the martial arts.” Bill “Superfoot” Wallace
“William Durbin is the most objective, authentic, and accurate Kempo historian in America today. I have studied his methods and worked and practiced with him for five years. His skills and abilities in the martial arts, especially Kempo, are fascinating. I enthusiastically recommend Mastering Kempo to everyone involved in martial arts.” Bill Beach, Judan/Shihan
“Bill Durbin is unequaled as a researcher and teacher of the art of Kempo. This work shares his technique and philosophy gained throughout his 30- year career. I am honored to recommend Mastering Kempo.” Richard L. Stone, Hanshi Senior Master
Human Kinetics is the publisher. You can order Dr. Durbin’s book online at
http://www.humankinetics.com/ for $19.95. It is well worth the investment. (Review by Mark McGee)
“Carrying Other People’s Burdens” by Shidoshi Johnny Russell
My intent in the messages I send out is to edify warriors of the Cross of Christ to a higher commitment and dedication to service to the King of Kings. My method in doing so is to stimulate its thinking rather than to stroke its complacency.
There is an aura of warm fuzziness that tends to surround the body of Christ that is due to its tendency to see itself in the role of martyr-ism rather than to be the overcomers and spiritual warriors who are on the offense attacking the Gates of Hell that Christ intends for us be.
Not long ago, I heard someone say that the job of the preacher is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. I think that statement is correct up to a point. In today’s modern culture, many believers would rather view themselves as victims than as overcomers and, therefore, seek out those ministers and ministries that offer solace rather than those that prod them toward personal responsibility.
The road we walk is difficult for all of us. It is not a question of how many sorrows we can valiantly bear but rather how many obstacles we can overcome. One can either be crushed by the weight of affliction or see it as an instrument of God so designed to build him up.
It was with that thought in mind that the Apostle Paul said, regarding his own life of affliction: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians12:10).
There is most certainly a time to comfort the afflicted. Failing to do so in an appropriate and timely manner is to contribute to that persons spiritual demise. However, there is little room in the Scripture for one who accepts the role of a perpetual martyr. Failing to see the difference is a pitfall that both the afflicted and those who minister sometimes fall snare.
To build one another up in Holiness requires discernment and wisdom. We must learn when to bear the burden of another and when to require him to bear his own. In one location Paul admonished us to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). A few verses later he commanded: “For every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:5).
As a minister in martial arts ministry, I find I am more equipped to prod the faithful toward greater responsibility and growth than to pour the balm of sympathy over their self-pity. In the American West there are bog holes that cattle, in search of water, sometimes wander into. If left to themselves they will only be drawn deeper into the mire by their struggles. One role of the cowboy is to find cattle in such need and rope them and pull them out to solid ground and security.
As ministers of Christ, we must be on the lookout for believers who wander into life’s “bog holes.” We must be dedicated to drawing them out to the safety of solid ground through the ministry of the Solid Rock. Unfortunately, many believers who are drawn into “bog holes” of life, become blinded by Satan and fail to realize the benefit of solid ground. It appears they would rather struggle in the mire of their own self-pity than to receive the effort and help required to place them on the solid ground of overcoming faith. Part of our responsibility in Christ is to sufficiently “prod the disoriented Christian so that they realize and address their need, submitting themselves to the help that is proffered.
As ministers and warriors of the Cross, our duty is not to make the afflicted feel comfortable in their affliction but rather to see them safely out of their sorrows and to convert them into overcomers, and fellow soldiers in God’s army.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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