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 MARCH 2001
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Apostle Paul
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
“Lover of Souls” Part One
by Sensei Mark McGee
“God is Great. God is Good. Let us thank Him for our food.” I remember that as being one of the first prayers I ever learned. It is a wonderful little prayer because it teaches us so much about God. He is Great. He is Good. He does provide our food and for that we should be ever thankful.
God does many fantastic things for human beings. He provides air, water and food to sustain our lives. He shows us mercy. He forgives our sins. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to sacrifice His Life on the Cross so that we can be forgiven. God is Gracious toward us every day in every way.
What motivates God to do these good things for us? What’s behind His generosity?
Why does He bother for a planet full of sinful, God-hating people? Why?
Because He Loves us! God is the Lover of Souls. He created us from a Heart of Love. He created us for the Purpose of Love. He created the human soul so He could shower it with His Eternal Love.
How do we know God’s Love is real? How do we know He’ll continue to Love us no matter what happens? How do we know God will live up to the Love promises He made to us?
God’s Love begins where it should begin; with Self-Love. God Loves Himself. Anyone who does not love themselves cannot truly love others. If God failed to Love Himself at any point in history or eternity, we could not trust His Love for us. I am pleased to report that God does now, has always and will always Love Himself.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11
What powerful truth! God is love. Love is of God. Every one who loves is born of God and knows God. God demonstrated His Great Love for us because He sent Jesus Christ into the world so we can live through Him. Love is not our loving Him. Love is His Loving us first. If God loved Himself and Christ and us in this way, we should also love each other.
Jesus Christ is God made known to the world in Flesh. Jesus Loves Himself. He Loves His Heavenly Father. The Heavenly Father Loves His Son.
“But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” John 14:31
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:23
Jesus Loves His Father. The Father Loves His Son. The Father Loves us in the same way He Loves His Son. The Love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have with Each Other is the foundation of God’s Love for us, our love for ourselves and our love for others. We are truly a people of Love.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“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 savour.” Ephesians 5:2
Jesus Loves you! Jesus loves your soul, your body, your mind, your spirit. He loves all of you. None of us are perfect. None of us do everything right. None of us are without sin. We all make mistakes. We all stumble and sometimes fall. But God’s Love is forever. It is unconditional. He Loves us no matter what. He Loved you before you were born. He Loved you before your parents were born. God Loved you before He created the world and He will Love you long after this world is gone.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself; according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
You received a Perfect Love when you received Christ as Lord and Savior. Everything Christ does for you is Perfect. Everything He does for you comes from a Perfect Love. That includes things we might call bad.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We can face life and all its challenges knowing we are Loved. God calls us
His Beloved. We are the souls He Loves.
Let the Love of God wash over you today. Feel His Hand upon your heart. Feel His Love fill your mind as you meditate on Him. Sense the Power and Joy of His Love in your life as you share His Love with others. Be strong in the knowledge that God’s Love is more powerful than the hate of the enemy. Go forth to do spiritual battle knowing that God’s Love in Heaven and in you is greater than the strength of your opposition. Do not fear. Do not give up. Do not look down. Do not forsake God or yourself. Do not turn away from those who are lost and in desperate need for the touch of God’s Love. Our opportunity to love others on earth is short. Use every moment, every opportunity, to demonstrate the Love of God for others.
“Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly; While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high. Hide me, O my Savior hide, Till the storm of life is past; Safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last.”
(Charles Wesley-S.B. Marsh)
(Continued next month)
“The Game of Life”
by Master Robert Xavier
The Lord Jesus Christ often used parables to illustrate the concepts He was teaching His disciples and followers. We’re going to introduce an Overview of the Christian Life through the parable of a baseball game.
The game of baseball is symbolic of the “Game of Life,” in which we are all active players. The umpire is God and the final decision of whether we win or lose in the Game of Life is ultimately His. Unlike human umpires, God never makes a mistake in judgment. The Rule Book is the Bible, for in it we find God’s instructions for the game. The ball diamond, with its bases, represents four important aspects of the Christian life.
As we go around the bases, we will see how each experience has a different meaning to each person, depending on his spiritual condition. The natural, carnal and spiritual men all see these bases in a different light.
First Base: Salvation
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
What is salvation and why do we need it?
“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
Salvation is the most beautiful word in the Bible, if we fully understand its meaning. If we were drowning and someone threw us a lifeline, we could understand that kind of salvation. If we were slaves and someone bought us at the auction market, then gave us our freedom, we could understand that kind of deliverance. But spiritual salvation is vastly more meaningful. It is the single most important event in our lives because it determines both the way we live here and where we will live in the hereafter.
Salvation is the most beautiful word in the Bible. By responding to God calling us and receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are completely loved, accepted and forgiven by God and it’s a totally free gift!
Why do we need salvation?
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
“From Adam to us, each one of our fathers and grandfathers have conceived children until we were born. We all have been born with Adam’s spirit of rebelliousness and have been separated from a natural love for God. But God Who is all Love has always continued to love us with an Unconditional Love. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to die for us, so that we all might know the True and Perfect Love of God and the love of others and ourselves. (Read Genesis 3:1-24)
God created you to have an intimate, personal relationship with Him forever!
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11
If we are to approach God and have a personal relationship with Him, we must do so on God’s terms. He desires holiness in His people: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) Since we obviously have not been holy, we need our sins to be forgiven and cleansed. Without this forgiveness and cleansing, we would be without hope, “for the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
We need to be separated from sin and set apart to righteousness. This is not something we can do by our own strength or ability. Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Who then can be saved?” His reply was simple: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26)
The Gift of Salvation
This gift of salvation was provided for us by God because mankind – by nature – is sinful and needs the righteousness that only God can provide: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one…'” (Romans 3:10)
The greatest gift of love that mankind has ever received was the sacrifice of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. Being without sin, He was able to take the sin of all mankind upon Himself in one great sacrifice. This act provided salvation for us by the Grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This gift of salvation, which we receive by faith, provides all we need to live a whole, healthy life here on earth, and in eternity.
(Next month: The Benefits of Salvation)
When a Door Closes, The Lord Opens a Window
By Sensei Charlaine Engelhardt
We moved recently, because of adversity, but also by God’s call. The pastorate Don had went sour, so the Lord took us to a small church in need tender loving care. Instead of trying to find our places in an active, established church, He put us into a small, dying church with a dedicated group of older adults. There were no children at all for ours to mingle with. We had been placed there to heal and bring healing, to regroup and aid in the growth process of this church. We have a church family who loves and appreciates our family, following Don’s pastoral lead. Don is bi-vocational as pastor rather than full-time, giving him the ability to meet more people in the general public. The Lord placed us in a less stressful place, but totally dependent upon Him.
I had been going to one university, so this meant a need to transfer to another. I filled out the paperwork for transfer and sent it in. We knew I couldn’t go to school during Fall semester and we would also have to wait to begin martial arts ministry again. It was frustrating, but necessary. However, there was a twist to the plot that only God knew about. Our family needed for me to look for outside employment. My plans of unpacking, helping Don at the church, and surveying the area for martial arts ministry potential had to be done differently. Only one month later, I began working at our local YMCA in the Aquatics Department. It happened that I went in to pay for our family membership; the lady who was at the front desk when we took our tour was out sick. In her place was one of the department supervisors for Aquatics. I asked if there was work since I needed a job. She asked me a couple of questions and then sent me to talk with the other supervisor at the pool. They hired me. My swimming was very rusty and in need of work. I am able to learn what I was studying for in college through training programs and can earn certifications in various areas. To make a long story short, The Lord put me in a place where I could be employed and still get training in various fitness areas. There was no way I could go to school, but He gave me what I needed not only for today, but for later as well. We also begin a new martial arts ministry next month. Is everything rosey? No, but I see God’s hand at work through all of these events.
We do not always understand why God allows bad things to happen to His children. Nor do we see how He will work things out for us, but we can trust that He will work it for our good and His great purpose. In Genesis 37-45, what seemed like a promising future for young Joseph as Dad’s favorite son and having big dreams did not work out according possible expectations. Some jealous brothers put a kink into the works, giving Joseph a very big surprise. Being dumped in a well was literally the pits! But to top it off, while he was being carted off as a slave to be sold in Egypt, Dad had been given a line by his brothers that Joseph was dead. God’s plans had not been ruined. For it was in Egypt that Joseph’s dreams were realized and his family saved from an impending famine. Joseph could have been bitter–at his brothers and God–but instead, he gave God the glory for using him to save his family. He even forgave his brothers, after making them sweat a bit. Joseph was not perfect, but he was faithful to God. He does not cause bad things to happen to His people. He also has not forgotten the plans He has for you or your family (Jeremiah 29:11). When we are faithful, He turns bad things around for good and clears up confusion. It is important to do these things:
1. Pray, asking the Lord to show you His hand in what is happening around you. He will tell you what you need to know when you need to know it.
2. Read Scripture passages dealing with God’s promises to His children, examples of godly people in the Bible who have been blessed for their faithfulness.
3. Admit your own errors, ask for forgiveness from God and others who may hurt from what you may have said or done. Then make the changes necessary to not do those things again.
4. Write down what happened. Later, as you see things changing around you, write down what the Lord has been doing through the transition as a sequel.
5. Praise God for His goodness and faithfulness, whether you are able to see it or not. God is good all the time.
Keichu-Do Black Belt Ceremony (Washing of the feet)
by Soke Karl Marx Sr.
What we are going to do now, has only been done one time before in Keichu History. My son Victor was the first to introduce this into our traditional ceremony. It should have been done at every black belt test from the first one. We are as of this date here in Santa Maria California following my son’s action and mostly by the prayerful suggestion of my wife Kathleen, going to preform this act of love as Jesus Christ did over two thousand years ago.
I speak from the Holy Scriptures found in John 13:verse 3-17. “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, ROSE FROM THE SUPPER AND LAID ASIDE His GARMENTS, TOOK A TOWEL AND GIRDED Himself. AFTER THAT, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet, and wipe them with a towel with which He was girded.
After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked ” Do you understand what I was doing? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, because it is true, and since I the teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash each others feet. I have given you an EXAMPLE to follow. Do as we have done to you. How true that the servant/student is not greater than the master/teacher, nor are the
messengers more important than the message. You know these things, now DO THEM! That is the path of Blessings”.
A model of Servant-Leadership
When Jesus washed His disciples feet, He demonstrated a fundamental principle that He regularly stressed to His followers: To lead others, one must serve others. That is as true in public life and the business world as it is in the Church. No number of corporate/Dojo’s, Belt promotions, memos or rah-rah, ata-boy’s speeches exhorting Keichu-Do Instructors to commit themselves to an organization, its leader (Soke) or their students as well, will have as powerful an impact as a person of authority modeling consistently and clearly the attitude of a servant: placing others needs before one’s own, committing oneself to doing concrete things to meet those needs, and looking for neither favor nor reciprocity from the people one serves.
This of course does not conflict with a person’s right to make a living, teaching Keichu. Nor the responsibility of every Keichu instructor to meet all the requirements, and standards set by the Founder and CEO of Keichu- Do, Karl William Marx Sr, his wife Kathleen Mary Marx, owner and President of the Business Keichu-Do-Cajun-Karate, and his son Vaughn Victor Marx, President of the World Keichu Instructors Federation, and Heir to Keichu.
The above statements concerning how Jesus Christ commands us to follow His example of LOVE and humility, are the subject of this event. We who are leaders, must remember that to become a leader one has first to learn how to follow. By the washing of your feet your instructors are by their example obeying Christ and teaching you that humility is more important than Martial Art techniques.
“A Martial Artist’s Prayer”
by Bryan and Elizabeth Baldwin
Dear Lord we pray thee. Keep us from doing wrong throughout the day. Be beside us as we undertake these exercises. Our sole purpose is to develop our bodies, to keep mentally strong, to be morally straight. It is God who arms me with strength and in Him I give thanks.
I dedicate myself before God to be honest in thought and deed and develop personal discipline To protect ourselves and our loved ones, from dangers that are forced upon us. I will keep the ways of the Lord and use my art only to defend myself, my family or those to weak to defend themselves.
Help us to do the things that we should, to be kind and good to others at all times. O’mighty God we thank thee for thy care, health and strength. In the name of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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