It’s a war, boys
(Straight talk about lust)


I haven’t seen the new movie Fury yet but it sounds like a great war movie. I am a World furyof Tanks fan and I love war games. But real war is not pretty, or fun, or exciting. There are many realistic depictions of battle and war in movies like Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, and The Hurt Locker. So we have a small idea of what war is like and its definitely not a game. Most of us grew up in a generation without the draft – and we currently have a free choice whether or not to serve in the military. But if you think this means you are not already at war right now, wherever you are, you are sadly mistaken.

You are in a battle that has been waging since the beginnings of human history. You were born into it and you have no choice in the matter. The final outcome of the war has never been in question. But there is still the matter of casualties along the way. The enemy wants to inflict as much damage as possible out of spite. If he can pull you down he will. If he can take your entire generation down, he will. It won’t change the fact that he lost the war, but his only purpose left is to steal, kill and destroy whatever he can.

The battle I an talking about is being waged quietly. It is a struggle for heart and soul. The battlefield is your mind, and the enemy is sin. This enemy is real and the battlefield is just as dangerous as any you have seen in war movies. So be warned – you are at war and your enemy is working hard to kill you. You’d better wake up and start to fight back.


One of the biggest weapons that our enemy has brought to bear on this generation is war-hammerpornography. Over just the last couple of generations photographs and videos showing explicit porn have become common – even normal. Porn is prevalent in movies, television and the internet. I want to talk openly about this – when I was a young teenager some of my friends and I got a hold of a magazine with nudity in it. It was a huge deal back then because we had to work so hard to see such a thing. But now, only about one generation later I find that I sometimes have to work hard NOT see nudity. Somehow, the enemy has created a minefield of porn in this generation and we are taking heavy casualties – especially among young men. Even non-religious, non-government organizations are realizing that pornography is one of the gravest dangers facing our youth today.

The battle is real, it’s intense and it is costly. But I have some good news. We can win this battle. So don’t be discouraged. Take heart. If you have been defeated by the sin of lust and addicted to pornography in the past, it is time to get free today. It really is possible. The fact is, we have some very effective weapons at our disposal – we just need to use them. I’ll try to lay out three of them right here. If you are struggling with temptation and lust, read about these three weapons slowly and – most of all – ask God for help. Once you enlist on God’s team you will always be a winner.


God tells us in the Bible that if we take up the shield of faith, we will be able to quench fierydartsevery fiery dart that the enemy shoots at us. So accept that God is God and the battle is ultimately his. Think about this, do you really believe that God is the one who judges and decides what is right and wrong? Do you believe that God is stronger than sin? I hope so. Faith is believing, even when you can’t see a way out. But God has promised us a way out. Not only did he promise it, he sent Jesus to prove it by living a sinless life, dying on the cross, and rising again with eternal life.

According to the Bible, there shouldn’t even be a hint of immorality in our lives. That is God’s standard and it is non-negotiable. When Jesus said the famous words, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” he was setting a very high standard. Real faith has to admit that God’s standard is non-negotiable. He is the judge – no matter how bad that makes us look. The first step is to admit honestly that we have a problem.

Does that mean we have lost the fight? No! Ever seen Rocky, or Cinderella Man? The best fighters take some hits – sometimes they even get knocked down. But they don’t stay down. The Bible says that  there is one big difference between those who have faith and those who don’t, “…Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” So believe God 100% when his word says that looking at porn is sin, but also believe him 100% when he promises that you CAN walk in victory, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”


Many voices tell us today that any attempt to control your sexual urges are just old-fashioned and hold you back from true freedom and happiness. That is a lie. You were holy-spirit-filleddestined for victory over all forms of bondage, including lust. It is possible to overcome and walk in purity and freedom from bondage if you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…” The only way to overcome the lust in your own heart is to allow God to change it. You can’t change yourself but Jesus can change you. He promised that God would pour out his Holy Spirit on everyone who asks for it and receives it by faith so that we could walk in God’s power and not just our own.


The Bible says that Jesus was tempted “in every way” but did not sin. He was tempted just like you. He experienced boredom, physical attraction, emotional attraction, etc just helmetlike you. He walked through this life without sin the way we were supposed to and then he voluntarily suffered and died to take the punishment for the bad things we did. On the third day, he rose again in the power of God to bring new life to anyone who would believe in him. If you want to believe in Jesus to save you instead of trusting yourself, just begin talking to him by faith right now – this is what the Bible calls praying. Jesus knows what you are going through and he hears you when you call out to him.

Being born again is almost like taking the red pill in the movie Matrix, except that when God opens your eyes you realize that life is more wonderful than you thought. Life is not a purposeless repeating cycle, or a random accidental evolution. Real life is full of wonder and purpose because God is awesome and he made you for a purpose. The first step in your eternal destiny is to go through the “boot camp” of this life and learn to take your orders from Him.

If you are ready to accept God’s marching orders for your life and you want to start fighting the good fight, you need to find a church that has others in it who are following Jesus. You can tell if they love Jesus if they love His words and obey them. None of us are perfect like Jesus, but when we follow him together and obey his orders we are much more powerful than on our own. I can recommend my own family of churches, Every Nation. I am encouraged every day by people from my church who are following Jesus together with me. There might be an Every Nation church near you too. But there are many other great churches. The important thing is to ask the Holy Spirit to help you find a church family and then obey his orders. Remember you are on the winning side now. Don’t give up. Someday soon we are going to have the biggest victory party ever. I hope to see you there!

If you read this far you probably realized that I am very passionate about all this stuff. I hate seeing anyone dragged down in life and not finding the true joy of knowing God’s love. I don’t deserve it, but God came and helped me when I was lost. If you want to email me about any of this, you can always reach me through my blog here. I’d be honored to pray for you and I’ll do my best to steer you right. Drop me a line.

February 2011 Newsletter

Jan. 30th, 2011 – Yokosuka Church 4th Anniversary Celebration

The next level

Many leaders helped us get to this point and it is going to take many more leaders to get us to where we are supposed to be next year.



A quick start in 2011 

This is the fastest start of a new year that I can remember. We hit the ground running and the pace is not slowing down at all. Last Sunday we marked our fourth anniversary as a church with a guest appearance by Pastor Scott Douma and our biggest local crowd ever for our 10:30am service. We followed that up with a delicious potluck and then Pastor Glen Nabarrette joined us for an afternoon prophetic meeting that lasted over four hours. The power of the Holy Spirit was amazing. 
Please pray for our first Yokosuka Men’s Victory Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Pray for the men who will attend and also for the men who will be teaching and counseling. Just like our church as a whole, this event will be a mix of Japanese, Filipino and American men.

Every Nation in our Generation…

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January 2011 Newsletter

New Year 2011 with the Yamada Family

Thank you for your prayers!
We were able to drive to Nagoya during the last week of 2010 and visit with Satomi’s parents. Makimi went with us and Satomi’s brother and his family also joined came by during the week. Both Migiwa and Toshiko had some health issues this past year but both looked very good. We were very thankful that they have recovered so well and appreciate all your prayers for our family.
We drove back to Yokosuka on January 1st after having our tradtional Japanese New Year meal together and enjoying several days of reconnecting with our Japanese relatives.

Other Prayer Requests

  •   Special Prophetic Assembly (Jan 30)
  •   James’ finals for this semester (Jan end – Feb start)
  •   First Men’s Victory Weekend in Yokosuka (Feb 4-5)
  •   African Childrens Choir Japanese Website (almost done)
  •   New small groups for Japanese men and women

Yokohama, Minato Mirai 21 disctrict



How to give

You can send a financial gift to help support our work in Japan by simply clicking on the following link and following the instructions: 

January 11, 2011                                                                   

Yokosuka Church 4th Anniversary!

We are going to start our fifth year by re-focusing on hearing God’s voice. We have called the church to fast and pray from January 26 to 28th and will follow that with a special prophetic meeting the following weekend. I have invited two pastors in our group of churches here in Japan to come to Yokosuka and minister prophetically.
The church is growing both spiritually and in numbers. We often have 80+ or even 90+ in attendance on Sunday mornings. I feel a fresh responsibility to seek God for direction. He is the real Pastor and I am the “assistant pastor” working to build the way He wants to.
During the coming year I am hoping to see an expansion of our leadersip. Eventually I would like to be working alongside Japanese, Filipino and American pastors who share the burden and the vision for making world-changing disciples in Yokosuka and who can help turn us into a church planting factory which plants churches all around Tokyo and Japan.
I recently heard of a type of bamboo that doesn’t sprout for four years after planting. On the surface it appears that nothing is happening. But then, in the fifth year, in a matter of months, it suddenly grows 60 to 90 feet. I am praying that our roots are going down deep and sure now so that when God brings the miraculous growth we will be able to handle it!
We are about to go into our fifth year as a church and this is my prayer;
“Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.” (Isaiah 60:21-22)
Please pray with us for this scripture to come to pass in Japan.

Kings don’t fight alone

One classic message I heard preached years ago by a Nigerian preacher was “Kings don’t fight alone.” In the Old Testament, alliances would be made and counsel would be sought before going to war. I am very privileged to be in this spiritual battle with a team of mighty partners who invest their prayers, their finances and their lives in our ministry of church planting in this unreached nation. That is you! We are really out here on the front lines and we deeply appreciate how you help in many ways. Thank you for partnering with us for so long and so faithfully.
It has been a long time since I have visited the U.S. and I am praying that the opportunity will come again soon. In the meantime though, I also have a great team of fellow pastors that I meet with almost every week in Yokohama for encouragement, accounatability and prayer. We are meeting in the same part of town where the foreign minsters gathered last month for the APEC summit to discuss policy. Please continue to pray that the spiritual seeds we are sowing will change Japan even more than economic or political policies ever could. I’ll keep you updated on our progress. It is going to be a great year.  

December 2010 Newsletter


Merry Christmas from the Mercers! December, 2010

I can honestly say that this has been the most exciting year ever for Satomi and me. We have watched our kids blossom into young adults with a sense of destiny and purpose in their lives. And we have seen God continue to bless and grow the church in Yokosuka.

James has just finished his tests for this term and entered a two-week vacation from college. Alishea is also busy with school, work, church and friends.

 We will be visiting Satomi’s parents in Nagoya the final week of December, and returning to Yokosuka on New Year’s Day (while there is less traffic).

 Please accept this “green” Christms card from us with our blessings: DOWNLOAD CHRISTMAS CARD HERE…

Talent Show

We had our second annual church talent show last Sunday evening and many friends came to visit. For some it was the first time to visit a church. Christmas season is a great time to tell Japanese people about Jesus. For the last two Sundays our building has been full, with over 90 in the mornings. There were even more for the Christmas lunch party and talent show last week.

Thank you!

I can’t express how wonderful it is to see the Lord answer the prayers of my kids. Last month James received several special financial gifts from people, some anonymously and some with  heartfelt words of encouragement. Because of this, he was able to pay his college tuition for another semester.
We really do thank God every time we remember you.

First Victory Weekend in Yokosuka

Thank you for your prayers for our first Victory Weekend. It was a great success and six ladies in our church (see bottom row above) are walking closer to God in Yokosuka. Not only that but our leaders (see the top row above) were stretched and challenged too. It was a time of growth for the whole church and an important milestone in the discipleship process at the Yokosuka Church. Special thanks to Kaku Sager (not in the picture) who came out from Shuzenji to help teach, counsel and translate.
Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for our first men’s Victory Weekend, planned for February 4th and 5th. My hope is that each of these precious believers will be inspired and empowered to minister to others and disciple the next generation in Japan for Jesus Christ.John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

 Blessings to you from us

May the Lord bless you this holiday season as you remember all the wonderful things He has done.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

How to become a financial partner in our ministry to Yokosuka, Japan

You can send a one-time or monthly financial gift to help support our work in Japan by clicking on the following link and following the instructions:

 Our mission organization, Every Nation, is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountibility (ECFA). All contributions are tax-deductible in the United States and we are committed to the highest level of non-profit financial accountability.

October 2010 Newsletter

The Mercers in Yokosuka – Prayer Newsletter

October, 2010

EQUIP Japan: This photo was taken at the Biblical Church of Tokyo last month where I attended the John Maxwell EQUIP training. Going left to right, first is Pastor Sam Webb, a senior leader in our church movement. Standing next to him is Felix Camacho, the Governor of Guam, a member of the church that Pastor Sam is currently pastoring in Guam. Governor Felix came with his wife just for this conference. Next is my pastor, Scott Douma, followed by me and then two men who are helping me out in the Yokosuka church, Stephen Zimmer and Masayuki Fukushima.

I’ll be teaching two of the EQUIP sessions in Yokohama this Saturday. I’ll be teaching in English with a translator from the Yokohama church and this bilingual course will be used for the Bible training school. Please pray for me that the Holy Spirit will teach through me.

James’ first vehicle

James passed his scooter driver’s test and has his first driver license and a church member gave him a 50cc scooter and a helmet. This is a huge blessing for James. No more bus. Now he can ride his “bike” to church to teach music lessons, to Starbucks for his part-time job, and to the train station for his ride into Tokyo to his college.

Please pray for financial provision for James who is in his second year at Sophia University now and has only a 1/3 scholarship. He has a big tuition payment due in November.

Alishea leading worship

I snapped this picture recently while some of the young people were practicing music for our youth service. We now have a special second service on the last Sunday of every month at 3:00pm for the youth. Alishea has become one of the key leaders in this group.

Please pray for the young people that are being saved in our city. Some are struggling with peer-pressure, habits, and tough situations. We are working hard to create an atmosphere and culture of discpleship. With prayer, these young lives are going to be transformed into powerful leaders.

Our next event is this Sunday, October 31st. We have a worship service, party, potluck and movie planned from 3:00pm to 8:00pm.


Special Prayer Request

We are about to go to the next level in our growth as a church and I have been feeling that I need to pray more and ask our ministry partners to pray more. So I am praying more personally and I am asking — would you please take a little time and pray for us in the next two weeks?

On Friday and Saturday, November 5th and 6th, we are going to have our first Ladies Victory Weekend in Yokosuka. This is an overnight retreat with lots of teaching, praying, counseling and impartation. The purpose is to set free, to equip and to commission new believers to live victorious Christian lives.

Kaku Sager is going to come and help Satomi as she leads this event along with several of our ladies who are small group leaders. We would greatly appreciate your prayers – especially for the following ladies who will be teaching:

Victory Weekend Teachers

  • Satomi
  • Kaku
  • Miwako
  • Ely
  • Marga
  • Teresa
  • Donnette
John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

My multi-talented wife

Satomi was recently asked to write a lengthy devotional for a Japanese language Christian magazine. It should be out in November so I will send a link when it is published. Besides keeping our family going and leading a growing church, she is staying close to God in her devotions. Recently she has been telling me about a growing burden she has for orphans in Africa, and especially a ministry called the African Children’s Choir. She is praying that she can visit Uganda and that the Choir can visit Japan. I’m sure she would appreciate your prayers too.
Signing off until next month…
Aloha, Yorokobi and Shalom
(Love, Joy and Peace)
Ray Mercer and family

How to become a financial partner in our ministry to Japan

You can send a one-time or monthly financial gift to help support our work in Japan by clicking on the following link and following the instructions:
 Our mission organization, Every Nation, is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountibility (ECFA). All contributions are tax-deductible in the United States and we are committed to the highest level of non-profit financial accountability.

Summer 2010 Newsletter

 The Holy Spirit is changing lives in Yokosuka.  Share the joy!


Group photo from our recent church barbeque in Umikaze Koen, Yokosuka.

Summer Harvest – More Baptisms


Nine new believers baptized in September
Japanese, Filipinos, and Americans added to the church

YOKOSUKA – Our summer baptisms at Tatarahama Beach in Yokosuka are a joyful time for the whole church. We had our biggest baptism to date in September. Nine new believers committed their lives to Jesus and followed him into the waters of baptism. This is a big step for Japanese believers especially because it signifies that they are not just adding another god to worship, but actually dying to the old life and commiting to obey Jesus as Lord of their lives.

Family News


Attending a wedding in Shimada

 Alishea is visiting the orthodontist at the Dental University in Yokosuka every month. She is enjoying the fact that her teeth are straighten out nicely and she hopes to get her braces off by the time she graduates high school in 2012.

James has just started his second year of university in Tokyo. He is working hard to put himself through school and has taken a lot of roles in the church too.

Satomi is celebrating her birthday tomorrow and we just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary last Sunday. 10-10-10 only comes around once a century so it is fitting that I got to celebrate my marriage to a girl who is one-in-a-million on 10-10-10.

How to stay in touch?


Thank you for your prayers and support

Youth Camp

James leading worship at youth camp
YOKOHAMA – About 90 young people gathered at Yokohama Grace Bible Church last July for four days of seeking God’s Presence and direction. James led a diverse group of kids from Yokosuka and every one of them came back with great stories of how God had touched them. Three of these kids got baptized the following week.
The Yokosuka gang at camp

Prayer Requests

  • New youth are coming in and some have problems, addictions, even trouble with the police. Please pray for truly changed hearts and the power of the cross of Christ to work in their lives. For true discipleship to happen in the small groups. For leaders to be raised up.
  • We are now planning our first Victory Weekend in Yokosuka. This is an important step in our discipleship process, an overnight retreat for new believers to get true freedom and launch into their Christian lives. Please pray for the preparations, the teachers, and the new Christians. Kaku Sager will come and help us teach our first Victory Weekend which is scheduled for November 5 and 6.
  • Ray will be flying to Sapporo this weekend to minister with Pastor Scott Douma and visit a Bible College their with ties to our church in Hokkaido. Please pray for the ministry and the believers in the church in Sapporo. Also please pray for the Yokosuka Church leaders who will be ministering this weekend without Ray. Neal Kawamoto will be preaching in Yokosuka and Satomi will translate for him.
  • For increased financial support during this difficult economy and sinking exchange rate. 

How to partner with us?


To send a secure, online, tax-deductible (in the U.S. only) gift designated to our work in Japan click on the link below or paste it into your web-browser. You can use your credit card or checkbook to help us continue making disciples, training leaders and planting churches. If you have any questions or want to find out what needs we currently have, please contact us directly.

Our mission organization, Every Nation, is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountibility (ECFA).