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 August 2001
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
“Let all things be done unto edifying.”
The Apostle Paul
“The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the command of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:8
“What We Do” by Sensei Mark McGee
What we do at Grace Martial Arts Fellowship is simple: we support and encourage. We do that through prayer, words of encouragement, Bible studies, information, counsel, and guidance. Whatever is needed is what we do.
By “we” I’m not talking about myself or any one person in GMAF. We means “we.” That’s everybody who is part of the fellowship. We don’t have any dues or fees, no requirements or deadlines to meet. The one thing we ask everyone to do is encourage and support each other.
If it cost money to get encouragement these days, it would be very expensive. It’s not often that people hear an encouraging word. That makes encouragement valuable because so little of it exists. Even Christians sometimes don’t encourage each other as much as we should or could.
The Apostle Paul spent a lot of time in his first letter to the Corinthians addressing what Christians should do for each other. He told them what’s important to do and not to do. He went into great detail about relationships and worship. He explained how God gave spiritual gifts to Christians and what they should do with their giftedness. Right in the middle of all that, Paul slipped in a little verse that placed everything into the correct atmosphere and context:
“Let all things be done unto edifying.” 1 Corinthians 14:26b
He wrote those words in the context of when Christians came together into
one place for worship, public testimony and learning.
“How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”
What does “edifying” mean? It means “to build up” as in building a home. It carries the idea of building as a process. Paul’s primary concern in his instruction to the Corinthians was they focus on “building up” each other instead of tearing down fellow Christians. If that was THE concern of every pastor, every teacher, every evangelist, every worship leader, every children’s worker, every youth worker, every believer in every church around the world … we would live in a different world. We would leave every church meeting, every prayer breakfast, every Bible study, every choir practice, every youth meeting, every children’s church, every group experience encouraged and refreshed.
How wonderful that would be!
Most every Christian I’ve ever communicated with admitted to loving encouragement. None of us get enough of it. However, we should get plenty. God designed a system called “The Body of Christ.” If the Body works the way God designed it, every Christian would get all the encouragement and attention they needed. Unfortunately, the Body does not function well and millions of Christians leave group meetings and services throughout the years receiving little or no encouragement. What a shame.
Even secular programs understand the need for encouragement. Some of the most successful businesses and sales and marketing programs in the world today are built around the idea of encouraging members of the program.
A recent bestselling management book asked some questions employees are asking about their managers. Notice the emphasis on encouragement in the workplace.
- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work
- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
Think about these questions in relation to a Christian church or group. How would you answer these questions about your local assembly? Your pastor? Your deacons or elders? Who in the Christian community is looking out for the emotional needs of people? Have you received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last week? Does your pastor, deacon or elder seem to care about you as a person? Who is encouraging your personal development? Do your opinions seem to count in the church?
I hope you are encouraged today. If you are saved, you have every spiritual blessing. You have Christ in your life. You have hope. You have righteousness flowing through every cell of your body. You have it all! Thank God for it. Enjoy His Gift today and every day. Don’t forget who you are.
If you read this and are not saved, you can be saved immediately. You don’t have to wait for salvation. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the time to receive Christ into your life. God loves you. Christ obeyed His Heavenly Father and finished the work God sent Him to do. Jesus died for your sins. He stands ready to forgive you and give you His Gift of Eternal Life. It’s Free! Ask Him for it.
If you do ask God to forgive you and save you, let us know about it. We’d like to support and encourage you on your first day as a child of God.
“The Game of Life”
What is Faith? by Pastor Robert Xavier
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
- The Bible tells us that salvation is experienced through faith: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy
house.” (Acts 16:31)
- Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is not just a mental assent to the fact that He lived, died for us and rose again. It is evidenced by the commitment which a person who has faith makes with his very life. (Remember you only truly believe that which activates you to action!)
- Faith is a quality, which can be seen in our lives. Before you received Jesus Christ as your Savior you performed FOR acceptance of others and perhaps God. Once you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you perform FROM acceptance.
- It is very important that we do not just flippantly “say” we believe, while continuing to live like we don’t believe. It is important that we examine ourselves carefully to see if we are truly living by faith: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
- Faith may be defined as freely trusting God’s Word concerning His offer of salvation through Christ. Anyone who truly believes commits and submits his soul to God. Having been reconciled to God through faith in Christ, it follows that we continue to grow in relationship with Him, since we are discovering how wonderful He is. This kind of faith becomes obvious in our lives, from the inside – out.
- Faith is not earned or deserved. God’s Word tells us that God has given us a measure of faith: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to every man a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
- Our faith is a gift from God. God’s Word also makes it clear that we must exercise our faith in order to please Him: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Our faith is exercised as we come to God, and it is by coming to Him that we get to know Him.
- Jesus said, “…if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say
unto this mountain, ‘remove hence to yonder place;’ and it shall be removed.” (Matthew 17:20). Our measure of faith is never too small for us to tackle even the largest of problems in our lives. We tackle them by using our faith to come into the presence of the Lord, for “mountains” are moved by His Spirit, not by our own might or power. (Zechariah 4:6-7)
- In this world, we are too often judged by our performance, plus the opinions of others. With repentance and faith toward Christ, we receive Him into our hearts. He sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, bringing the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ to give us new life. We are now sealed for redemption and are able to live unto Him instead of only for ourselves.
“In whom ye also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
(Next month: Safe on First )
A Comparison/Contrast of the Relationships of a Sensei and Their Student, and Christ and His Disciples
Written by John Huff
The relationship between a sensei and their student is one of great importance. I have learned, in my short time as a student of the martial arts, just how special that relationship can be. It is a deep bond, which transcends mere friendship. My senseis are the light to a path that I have never traveled before. I do not know where we are going next, but I have learned to trust them as my guide.
Another important relationship, one with much more spiritual and eternal value, is that of Christ and His disciples. Simply by definition, Christians today are disciples. The dictionary says that disciples are: “1. People who believe in and help disseminate the teachings of a master. 2. One of Jesus, followers. The disciples of the Bible were persons of various backgrounds, some were anglers, some were tax collectors, and the list goes on. However, they all had one thing in common, they totally depended on the man, Jesus the Christ, to light the path they so desired to walk. Jesus had simply said, “Come, follow Me. and they knew that this was something they had to do. So it is with us, as karateka and our sensei, we desire to walk the path they have walked themselves. The only difference being that our sensei can only touch the physical and “human spirit of our lives, as with Christ, who touches us deep into our very souls.
When we begin our studies in the martial arts we all go thru the “rules stage. Learning the etiquette of how we should conduct ourselves with our sensei, other students and both in and out of the dojo. Christ also taught the disciples about conduct, after he called the “twelve in Matthew 10 and Luke 6; He charged them with a basic set of rules of how to direct their ministries. One comparison that I was struck with was how we are taught that the ultimate goal of a martial artist is to be peaceable, but that we must defend ourselves.
Jesus taught his disciples in Luke 6:29 “And unto him that striketh thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. ” (emphasis mine)
As we study at the dojo, we have experiences and lessons (good and bad), which help us grow in our walk as a martial artist. We learn thru basics and kata training, through Kumite, or just though common dojo practices. I know that there have been numerous times I have forgotten the basic rules and my sensei has had to call my hand at it. Quite embarrassing, though we have all done it. That something that was very important that we honestly knew was wrong, but either forgot, or our perspectives on the situation made us choose otherwise. This was the case on many occasions for the disciples, such as in Mark 8:31-38. Jesus had just foretold of His own death, and Peter grabbed hold of Jesus ready to rebuke Him, but Peter was the one who was rebuked, and Jesus did not pull any punches.
Jesus said in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Sometimes we fail to see the truth. Pilate certainly did. Before Him stood Truth Himself, and yet Pilate still refused. The story reads in John 18:37-38: Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
I have caught myself many times in the dojo, after I have been corrected on technique, thinking that I knew a better way, only to find out that I had been given “truth of how to perform the technique properly. Even though we see the compelling evidence, sometimes we still refuse to believe that we CAN do it. Jesus revealed to His disciples the truth of who He was through His miracles, parables and examples. This gave the disciples the confidence they later needed to begin their own ministries. The sensei also has to prove themselves sometimes, not by miracles, but by leading by example and showing their superior skills to students eager to learn, instilling in them the confidence they need to succeed.
So why do we do it? Why do we put up with the rules, the hard training, and the scratchy gibecause of our desire. The training our sensei presents to us is truly a gift. A gift of truth and enlightenment that through hard work and practice, (lots of practice), we will one day reap the rewards of self-respect, confidence and self-reliance. They even sacrifice time away from their families and their bodies for injury so that we may learn. However, rest assured that they would stick by our sides and finish the course, as long as we are willing to learn.
Christ also sacrificed Himself, but here is where the similarities end. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, an eternal one that affects the spiritual side of us all. He gave His life on the cross of Calvary, to insure that our confidence could be placed fully in Him. And our reward for trusting on Him is that of eternal life! Moreover, I do not know any sensei that can do that!
Would you like to know Jesus personally? The book of Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me. Confess your sins and He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins! Come just as you are, and Jesus will give joy, peace, life, happiness, friendship and, most of all, eternal life with Him in Heaven. Trust in Him today!
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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