Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All Together

When I was leaving for home assignment, our staff at Komyo Christian Church was finishing up reading a book together and discussing it in our meetings.  Then, they were going to start reading another book which many churches and leaders in the NAB were reading.  I read bits and pieces of it throughout my time in the US, but did not finish it.  Yesterday I was re-reading and then reading more of the book.  It is called "Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission."

As I traveled around the NAB during home assignment sharing about what is going on in Japan, in general, and at Komyo Christian Church, specifically, many people commented on how we are living out the premise of this book.  First, I was impressed by the number of people, not just church leaders, who had been reading and reflecting on this book.  Second, I was excited to hear that our hearts for the community were coming through in what we are doing in ministry.

The authors of the book are pastors.  The theme of the book is go be the church, not go to church.  Yes, they admit, gathering with believers is important, however, people who do not yet know Jesus will not just show up at church.

The buzz word 'missional' comes up many times in this book.  The authors remind us that missional is not some new program, something we tack onto what we are already doing.  It is who we are.  We, Christ-followers, are on mission with God, to be the light in the world, to live out the gospel in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, grocery stores, and every where we spend our time.

There is no five step process, no how to for becoming missional.  It is who we are called to be.  They suggest three core elements to every day mission: love God, love people, love life.  Simple, right?!

Two sentences I loved from this section:
You will never attract people to Jesus if you are not excited about Jesus.
Our job is to have fun to the glory of God!


So many unformed thoughts are rolling around my head about this topic.  Probably, if you heard me speak during the past year, you have heard some of them!  This is who we are called to be, people who love Jesus and live in the world-having fun to the glory of God!

Go have some fun!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It Can Be Done

Not alone, even in this country!
I started reading a new devotional this year on the recommendation of a friend.  It is called "Designed for Devotion."  Although not every page of the Bible is read, it does go through the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation.  I am looking forward to it and enjoying it already.

Yesterday I was reading Genesis 6 about Noah.  Like many people I know, the story of Noah is very familiar.  However, as I read yesterday, I was struck again by how Noah was described.  In verse 9 of chapter 6 it says:
"This is the account of Noah and his family.  Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God." (NLT)

The only person!  Not just in his town or his state or his country, but on the earth at the time!  Oh, my pity parties suddenly sound very hollow!

The next part is what cut to my heart yesterday, "he walked in close fellowship with God."  Okay, I have to admit, I did not like reading that one bit.  Times when I drift, when I am not so close to God, when I don't take my relationship with the Almighty seriously enough, in those times, I like to blame lack of accountability.  I like to think that if there was someone who was keeping me accountable, then I would not wander or drift.

And, then, wham!  I see that Noah was alone in his faith-on the earth!-and he walked in close fellowship with God.

Excuse #389 shot down!

Oh, Lord, thank you for reminding me that it can be done.  There is nothing wrong with accountability, in fact, it is a good thing.  However, I cannot blame other people for my own wandering heart.  It is possible to walk closely with You, even if there is no one else around who does.  Change my heart, oh God!