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 May-June 2002
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
“When Times Are Tough”
Mark McGee (GMAF Director)
Many members of GMAF have been going through tough times the past several months. Some are ill. Others have family members who need surgery. A few have lost jobs. Some are facing persecution. I appreciate your e-mails asking for prayer. We are praying for you during these tough times.
The Apostles knew about tough times. They wrote often about how God’s children can face trouble and opposition. God did not leave us defenseless.
“Now the just shall live by faith … Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 10:38 – 11:1
The writer to the Hebrews made a bold statement to his readers. He wrote that the “just” will live by “faith” and “faith” is the “substance” of things hoped for and the “evidence” of things not seen. Every Christian knows that “faith” is necessary for salvation (“For by grace are ye saved through faith” ), but many of us forget that “faith” is how we are supposed to live on Earth. Living by “faith” is not strange or unusual. It is the normal Christian life. We don’t depend completely on God for eternal life, then depend completely or even partially on ourselves for this life on earth. The just live by “faith.”
As examples, the writer mentions Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel and the Prophets. Through faith these people “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let’s get a few word definitions to help us understand what God means here. “Faith” is pistis . It is a “firm persuasion based on hearing.” We are firmly persuaded by what we hear. We are convinced without doubt because we know the One Who tells us is True.
“Substance” is hupostasis. It means “reality, assurance, essence, substance, foundation, guarantee.” In Hebrews 1:3, Jesus Christ is called the charakter tes hupostasis of God. He is the “representation of the reality” of God’s Character. When you see Christ, you see the God and His Character. Christ could be seen, heard and felt. He was real to His disciples. He is the Reality of God. So it is with things in our life. The “faith” we have in Christ is our “reality,” our “substance,” our “guarantee.
Faith is the reality “of things hoped for” (elpizomenon). This is what we “expect with desire.” We have many passions in life. It may be a person, a belief, a job, opportunities to help others, things. Faith is the reality of whatever we expect with desire. Faith means that what we hope for is “reality.”
Faith is also “the evidence of things not seen.” “Evidence” is elegchos . It is the “proof by test.” The word was used of truthful evidence against the accused that led to a conviction and reproof. “Things not seen” is pragmaton ou blepomenon . It means things that can’t be seen by the eyes. Faith is the “proof” of things we cannot see with our physical eyes.
If we are facing tough times and have great hope that things will improve to our liking, what do we do? We believe God. We have faith. It is the reality of things we hope for. It is the proof of what we cannot see.
“Faith” is delightful and difficult, easy and hard at the same time. We are human. That means we are imperfect and needy. We make mistakes. We mess up. We hurt and feel things deeply. We worry. We care deeply. We want so much for things to be better than they are. What does God give us to deal with all these concerns? “Faith.” We believe what He says. We ask, then listen. We don’t lose heart.
How do we live a “faith-life?” We keep believing God’s Word. We keep walking forward, one step at a time. We cast our cares on Christ because He cares for us. We pray instead of worry. We have faith because the faith God placed in our heart and mind at the moment of salvation is the “substance” and “evidence” we need to get through the tough times. It is more than enough.
“We Are Here For Such A Time As This”
Master Joseph Lumpkin
In our training we learn the hard way about the necessity of timing. Balance, timing, technique, and breath make up the four crucial ingredients of martial arts. God expects us to have the same four-point focus in our ministry as our martial training: balance, timing, technique, and breath.
God wants us to have timing. If our timing is not correct in our martial art we get hit or kicked, or we will not be in the right place to do the technique. We practice our timing in our martial arts over and over again, looking for any sign of imperfection. Yet, in our lives we virtually ignore the timing. Many times we have no sense of what is happening around us and what part we play in the grand plan unfolding. One never knows why God chose for us to be at a place in a certain time, but we can be sure it is to do two things: Love His people and spread His name.
Timing is an amazing thing. A word spoken in season will take root even if the person has heard the same message a thousand times. Work done in God’s time yields a thousand fold when compared to the same work done in our time. Like a crop planted in the wrong season, our hard work gives little result if not done in the proper time. We can work hard or we can work in God’s season and reap the harvest. The Lord puts us in the situation he wants us in when it comes to helping people and doing His work We never have to worry about our timing if we trust God and we understand that we have been put here for such a time as this. We need not run all over the globe trying to find our place. God will place us where he wants us. We will be invited to do His work in His time and in the place he wants us. God wants us to have His timing.
He expects balance. An unbalanced Christian is a detriment to the salvation of others. We should be loving and caring. We should be balanced between heaven and the world. We should understand that people need comfort and friendship here before they will be open to our words about salvation. Condemnation, hate, judging, or confrontations yield nothing but pain and distance. They are acts of hateful, ignorant people. We must lead by example, by trust, and by love, not by force, manipulation, threats, or coercion. We must have balance in our ministry.
We must have technique. We must know how to pray. We should understand how to listen for God’s instructions. We must know how to listen to others and have compassion. So many times it is in the telling of the story that people begin to heal. Sometimes the story must be told many times and the person comforted and prayed for many times before healing begins. We must know the Word in order to teach the word. We must have technique.
We must have breath. Breath is the most important thing in life. It is the thing we die most quickly without. Breath is the Spirit of God. God breathed in to Adam and he became a living soul. God inspires us. The word inspires means that God breathes in to us. We must have the spirit of the Living God. We must have the Holy Spirit. We must have breath. Without the spirit of God in us we can not know his timing, we can not have his loving balance, nor can we hear his instructions or understand his Word. Without balance, timing, technique, and breath we are poor warriors for God or self.
“The Game of Life” Home Base
Master Robert Xavier
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
As the Scriptures say, this earthly tent, our bodies, will die. However, we will live in a building made by God, eternal in the heavens. Our stay here in this world is only temporary. We must understand our life here is intended to prepare us for life in the hereafter.
Our whole outlook on life changes, our motives, our value system, our goals and our purpose, as we begin to understand what the Lord has prepared for us in Heaven. God has given us a picture of heaven in the following Scriptures:
• “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”
• “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake, which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Perspectives On Heaven – The Natural Man
• The natural man is blinded into believing he will gain entrance to heaven based upon his good performance while here on earth.
• He ran those bases alright, but he never really touched any of them, and when he stands before the Great Umpire, he will not have much of an excuse. Sadly enough, most of the human race will face this Day without proper preparation, when salvation could have been theirs as a free gift.
• No one will accidentally slip and fall into hell. They will climb into it, over every barrier God places in their paths in an effort to turn them around.
The Carnal Christian
• The carnal Christian does not understand that eternity is affected by the choices he makes today. Often he will choose to meet his natural needs by his own means, not submitting to the Lord’s plan for his life.
• His growth will be stunted by his disobedience and self-centeredness and, as a result, many of the souls which he could have led to the Lord have been unable to see Jesus in his life.
• Although the promise of all his tears, mourning, pain and sorrow being wiped away still remains, he will suffer loss, indescribable loss, when he realizes he has wasted his life, as he sees it burning away.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
The Spiritual Christian
• The spiritual Christian takes the gift of salvation very seriously. He/ she grows as the Lord provides, and serves as the Lord leads. They are not ashamed at the Lord’s coming. There is no fear of home base. They look forward to home with great expectancy, knowing they will be totally free from the presence of sins’ many afflictions and adversities to live with the Lord’s blessings forever.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
[Join our Grace Martial Arts Facebook Community!]