Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Many interested in singing gospel music come to understand Christianity through our gospel workshops at church on Sunday afternoons. These always include a Bible time, in addition to the rehearsal and singing techniques taught. This outreach definitely hits the cognitive and affective dimensions of man: while they learn with their head about the true Gospel message, their heart is being powerfully stirred as they sing.
But you have to listen to understand. So listen to the group in this video above sing, "He has done marvelous things! Praise the Lord!"
Sunday, December 16, 2012
"How are things going in Japan since 311?" Glad you asked. While the physical recovery is still a long way off, the spiritual harvest is here now. A missionary colleague put this video together of interviews from our church association pastors in the north. As you can see, the kingdom of God grows VERY slowly in Japan. In fact, the Christian population here actually shrank the last few years due to deaths and low conversion rate. But...
Now is the time for a great spiritual ingathering of Japanese. As Pastor Kishinami shares in the video, seven or eight out of ten people will respond positively to the gospel message when shared. Five out of every ten will trust Christ. This spiritual window will not remain open forever. And the Christian workers in the north are so few and overworked. Northern Japan's greatest need right now is more Christian workers. Please "ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Luke 10:2).
Thursday, December 13, 2012
It was right there on our mall store window. For most Japanese passers by, it was meaningless decorative lettering. But in a world where the sacred and secular rarely meet, the presence of these words spun me in my steps. What's more, this is Japan! You won't find talk or sight of the Lord Jesus ANYWHERE at Christmas time. My unofficial poll numbers show a 99% ignorance level concerning Christmas day. If pressed, Japanese kids will adamantly insist that December 25th is the day that Santa was born (or died).
But then I spotted it. On another sign immediately below "the Lord is come" on a rack of winter clothing styles was posted "New Arrival" (see yellow arrow above; click to enlarge). The juxtaposition of these signs made me grin. "This storefront could start another cult," I laughed. But after reflecting a moment, I decided to take the words as a bit of prophetic hope for Japan. Some 2000 years this side of the first arrival of Christ, the Spirit of Christ does come again and again to Japan, convicting this nation of sin, righteousness and judgement. And every heart that opens to him from stylish Tokyo to 311-struck Tohoku experiences a brand "new arrival" from the Ancient of Days. We missionaries dream of the day Jesus will be the new style in Japan.
Our prayer this Christmas is that many Japanese will experience the "new arrival" of Christ into their hearts and lives! Please pray along with us and for us.