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 September-October 2002
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life…I am the living bread which cometh down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
The Apostle Paul
“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”
Sensei Mark McGee
I’ve had lots of ideas about what to write for the newsletter this month, but none seemed to be what God had in mind. Then, just days from our publishing deadline, it hit me. I was writing to a dear Christian friend who had asked how our move to Tampa had gone. I responded with the normal stuff about moving and our new jobs. I almost sent the message when I felt prompted to write one more paragraph.
“The most important part of our life is Jesus. There has never been and never will be anyone like Jesus. He is our heart and soul. He is the Love of our lives. He has given us eternal life and meaning beyond words. I can’t say enough or write enough about Him. He is Wonderful, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
That is what God placed on my heart to write this month: Jesus.
Life can be very complicated. We think this and think that. We say this and say that. We go here and go there. We do this thing and that thing. We meet this person and that person. We work, we eat, we sleep, we go to church, we play. We’re busy, busy, busy.
Pause for a moment and boil down everything you think, feel and do as a Christian. What is the center of a Christian’s life? What is the core of your existence? What is our most basic focus as Christians? Very simply, it’s Jesus. If we don’t have Jesus, we don’t have life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus made it even simpler than that when He said, “I am.” Jesus is our I Am. He is our Life, our Hope, our Dreams, our Path to Heaven. He is the Bread of Life. Jesus is our Alpha and Omega. Our lives began with Him and will continue with Him throughout Eternity.
Even though I was raised in a Christian home, I turned to a variety of worldly philosophies as a teenager and young man. One of those was atheism. I can’t explain what my heart and mind felt when I placed my faith and trust in Jesus 31 years ago. The feeling is still there and has grown because of the abundance of His Love and Grace toward me. Jesus touched my life in a way that no one else could. He immediately became my best friend and closest confidant. I can tell Him anything. He listens, then speaks softly and powerfully to me about what’s right and wrong, what’s good and bad, what’s helpful and hurtful. Jesus truly lights my way in this dark world.
The songs I love most are the ones about Jesus and His Love and Grace. Those are the songs that bring tears to our eyes and a lump to our throat. Songs like Amazing Grace and More about Jesus.
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed. Thru many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.”
“More about Jesus I would know, more of His grace to others show; More of His saving fullness see, more of His love, who died for me. More, more about Jesus, More, more about Jesus; More of His saving fullness see, more of His love, who died for me.”
Songs like Wonderful Grace of Jesus, Jesus Paid It All, At Calvary and My Burdens Rolled Away.
“Wonderful grace of Jesus, Greater than all my sin; How shall my tongue describe it, Where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden, Setting my spirit free; For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching to all the lost; By it I have been pardoned, Saved to the uttermost, Chains have been torn asunder, Giving me liberty; For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching the most defiled, By its transforming power, Making him God’s dear child, Purchasing peace and heaven, For all eternity; And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, Deeper than the mighty rolling sea, Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, All sufficient grace for even me, Broader than the scope of my transgressions, Greater far than all my sin and shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus, Praise His name!”
“For nothing good have I Whereby Thy grace to claim; I’ll wash my garment white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb. Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”
“O the love that drew salvation’s plan! O the grace that brought it down to man! O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary! Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”
“I remember why my burdens rolled away, That had hindered me for years, night and day; As I sought the throne of grace, just a glimpse of Jesus’ face, And I knew that my burdens could not stay. Rolled away, rolled away, I am happy since my burdens rolled away; Rolled away, rolled away, I am happy since my burdens rolled away.”
These songs were written by people just like you and me. They were sinners lost and headed in the wrong direction. God reached down from Heaven, grabbed their hearts and turned them around. He showed them His Love and Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness. He showed them the Face of Jesus and they sang loud to declare their undying love for Him.
The Christian life is simple: it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus. Christianity can become complicated given the multitude of voices clamoring to lead God’s Church in one direction or another. But at its very core, the Christian Life is about you and me having a personal relationship with Christ. That’s where it starts; that’s where it ends. Everything between is what you and I decide to make of it. We can relax and enjoy Jesus or we can get caught up in all the clamor. I highly recommend Jesus.
“Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, Without Him I would fall. When I am sad to Him I go, No other one can cheer me so; When I am sad He makes me glad, He’s my Friend.”
“Martial Arts The Christian Way”
I’m excited to tell you about a new book about Christian martial arts! Wendy Williamson, a member of GMAF, has written a wonderful book that explains Christian involvement in martial arts. We’ve needed a book like this and I’m so thankful we finally do. It’s a book you will enjoy reading and sharing with others. It’s a book you’ll use as a reference when you’re teaching classes or answering people’s questions about Christianity and the martial arts.
Grand Master Karl Marx, Founder of Keichu-Do the first Christian martial arts system in the United States, wrote this about Wendy’s new book:
“I can use words like TREMENDOUS, WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC, however I prefer to challenge you and just say if you don’t read this book, you cheat yourself and your mind…this book explains how martial arts and Christianity can and do complement each other, and I enjoyed reading it tremendously.”
Grand Master Joseph Lumpkin, President of Karate for Christ, wrote:
“In Martial Arts – The Christian Way, Wendy Williamson presents an exciting concept that strengthens children’s bodies, minds, and souls and help us to raise capable, disciplined, Christian leaders. If you are a parent, minister, or teacher, this book should be your constant reference.”
I agree completely! This is the book I will recommend to anyone who asks whether it’s right for Christians to practice the martial arts.
Wendy presents her information in a logical sequence. Chapter One is about Christian martial arts. Chapter Two gives a brief history of martial arts. Chapter Three is about martial arts forms and styles. Chapter Four is about the benefits of Christian martial arts. Chapter Five is about the teaching of Christian martial arts. Chapter Six is how to find a Christian martial arts school. The first appendix includes devotions, Bible studies and prayers for the teaching and ministry of young people. The second appendix includes a directory of Christian martial arts schools and associations around the world. Several GMAF members have devotionals and studies included in the book and many GMAF schools and associations are listed.
I highly recommend “Martial Arts – The Christian Way” to you, your family, church and Christian martial arts class. You can learn more about how to order the new book at Amazon.com.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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