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An Invitation to the Miraculous

Matthew 14:13-21 / マタイ14:13−21

Our text for this morning is the well-known story of Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000. It’s the only miracle account that appears in all 4 gospels.

As our reading begins, Herod has just killed John the Baptist and Jesus has just heard this tragic news. He retreats to a quiet place… but the crowds follow him and find him. Jesus looks on the crowds and seeing their great need – he feels compassion for them – and spends the day healing many of them. As evening approaches the disciples come to Jesus and say “the people are hungry, it’s late, send them home so they can buy something to eat.”  Jesus says to them “there’s no need to send them home. You give them something.” The disciples reply that “we have only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.” Jesus then says: “bring them to me.” He then tells the people to sit down, looks toward heaven, gives thanks, breaks the bread, and distributes the food to the disciples who then give it to the people. All eat and are filled – with 12 baskets left over.

What interests me the most today is the unusual position in which Jesus seems to put the disciples. They are afforded an opportunity to participate in a great miracle – as well as seemingly put in a place of great difficulty. While Jesus could have fed the crowds without their help, he chooses to involve them – “You give them something.” For the disciples, the situation seems hopeless. Too many people, no food, no resources of their own. Yet Jesus invites them to bring the small items that they DO have – 5 loaves and 2 fish. In the end, it is of course the power of God that brings about the miracle of bounty – food for everyone! Yet, it requires risk and faith on the part of the disciples to bring (redistribute) the limited resources that they do possess.

Isn’t this what happens to us everyday?  We see the world’s needs all around us – in our community, city, state, nation, and world – and we tend to feel hopeless in the face of it all. The problems are too large. How can we make a difference at all?

And yet, Jesus invites us every day to bring the small items that we have – our money, our time, our abilities, our commitment to prayer, etc. – to offer them to him. It’s God’s job to multiply and bless the offerings – but it’s our job to bring our small resources to God – and believe that it matters.

Jesus invites us daily to participate in the miracle of God’s provision for others.

But it’s scary and risky. Will there be enough for us? Will WE be OK if we sacrificially give? Can we count on Jesus to supply the needs of our neighbors…. as well as ourselves? This account in Matthew not only seems to encourage a resounding “YES” to that question but even indicates that it may be the ONLY way that the crowds’ needs will be met. What items do YOU have to redistribute today? What are the loaves and fish that you wish to offer the Master?

(the above is a summary of the message shared during our JCC ZOOM worship session on August 2, 2020.)

 

 

 

Poetry by Jon Honeycutt

(Here are a few examples of Jon’s poetry which were recently sent to me and JCC – Pastor Tim)

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Pink-Plumeria-450w_large

It isn’t that odd, since it cometh from God

That the blossom gives fragrance to all

Knowing not what it does, it is only because

It’s obeying its clarion call

 

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istock_illustration_literary_art

Let not the question make you stumble

For we were made to understand

Accept the promise and be humble

For the answer is in God’s command –

 

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A warrior-poet must live in meoriginal

To pen such livid poetry

And fan creative urge to flame

To let it out means more of the same

 

 

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Thanking God we are not in His passions alonemagic-book-with-magic-lights-vector-id1060895936

But alive in the doing, the truth becomes known

And may He, in His wisdom grow seeds we have sown

May our highest intentions ally with His own

 

 

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Shall I listen, and it, understandpoetry-image

Or shall I speak and be confused

If I reject my Lord’s command

I’ll be unflatteringly used

 

 

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You can read it in the Biblepoetry_by_women_SQ

E’en though you didn’t hear it here

And if it’s true, then we are liable

To face the former foe we fear

 

 

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Sometimes I can feel God smiling on me

Awash in a wave from within to without

I feel it now as I sit by the sea

And I gaze in amazement about

It’s a tangible tamer of troubles and times

That I hold in my heart as I survey the shore

A moment of grace giving rise to the rhymes

And I know in my soul what I wandered here for

In this vision of calm, like a hand in my hand

As alone, yet not lonely, this splendor appears

And of how many others have sat on this sand

Where one’s thinking and actions and vision clears

It would be nice to share such a treasure as this

But with no one around to distract from the still

Like an opening flower or a lingering kiss

That awaken the memories wrapped in my will

harris31

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God bless you all and JCC

Your friend and fellow servant of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus

Jon Honeycutt

 

Census 2020: 10 Questions ~ 10 Minutes ~ 10 Years of Impact!

Because_everyone_counts_in_GOD_s_eyes_

As Christians, we believe that all people are made in the image of God. Participating in the 2020 Census helps all of us have equal access to representation and resources. The census determines how many books and computers our schools can afford, whether our elders have access to heath care, and where bus routes are located.

You can choose any one of the three following ways to complete your census questionnaire before a census-taker comes to your door:

  1. Online at 2020census.gov A letter from the Census provides a personalized ID code to participate, but you can also just enter your address instead.
  2. By phone: Call 844-330-2020 for English or 844-460-2020 for Japanese. Phone completion is also available in 12 other languages or TDD. Phone numbers are here: https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html
  3. By mail. Some people will get a census form in the mail to complete by hand. If you haven’t responded online or by phone, you will also receive a form in the mail.

You should not be asked to fill out a census form by email, and you will never be asked by the Census Bureau to provide your social security number, bank account numbers, or other private security information. There is no citizenship question on the census. The results cannot go to law enforcement, ICE, or your landlord. It is safe and secure.

Information provided by:

Elizabeth Dickinson
FAN Census Equity Outreach
206-498-4654

FAITH ACTION NETWORK

www.fanwa.org

The Parable of the Weeds

In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus tells a parable about a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the wheat later appeared… so did the weeds, causing consternation among the man’s servants. “Didn’t you sow good seed in the field?” they asked. “Where did the weeds come from?” “An enemy did this” the man replied. “Should we pull out the weeds?” they ask. “No” replies the man. “While you’re busy pulling up the weeds you could end up pulling out or damaging the good wheat along with them. Wait until the harvest and then I’ll have my workers collect the weeds first and burn them. Then it will be easier to harvest the wheat and store it in my barn.”

Later, Jesus’ disciples specifically ask him to explain the meaning of the parable – and he does, in verses 37-39.

“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.”

Even with this explanation from Jesus, it can be tricky to tease out the main theme that Jesus wishes to share with his disciples…. and us. At the very least, the following seem clear:

  • Evil is real. Jesus’ statement that “an enemy did this” makes clear that the weeds were not simply from natural causes or poor luck. Whether we interpret the evil as sin from within each of us (i.e., Paul’s struggle at the end of Romans chapter 7), systemic evil that takes root in our societies and institutions (e.g., racism and discrimination), or Satan and the evil in the spirit world that he controls – evil is real and cannot be treated lightly or ignored.
  • For now, evil and good (weeds and good wheat) will exist together. Attempts to “root out” evil should be handled with great care because,
    • in early stages, it’s not always easy to tell which plant is good and which is bad
    • in early stages, pulling out weeds may produce damage to the good plants
    • it would be best to wait until harvest, when things will be clearer… and the professional harvesters will be able to take care of the problem easily.

So let’s assume from Jesus’ explanation that the field is the world and that we are called to be good seed in that field. Our main task would be to simply grow mature and strong, trusting the owner of the field (God) to protect us from the weeds and other problems until the time of harvest.

Or, perhaps, we could change the metaphor a bit and think of ourselves as the servants. Although as Christians we would love to “pull up all those nasty weeds” and purify the field, we are being reminded that the field is God’s – not ours – and that we have limited ability to even discern the good from the bad, much less to actually eradicate the bad without doing great damage. Yes, weeding and harvesting are the work of God.

A brief look back at history would confirm the number of times that Christianity – as an institution or as individuals – have zealously attempted to “root out evil” and “purify” the field – only to do great damage to the cause of the gospel and create more trouble than when they started. Are we perhaps in such a situation today…. where the word “Christian” or “Evangelical” in the public media elicits not an impression of love and kindness – but one of anger, impatience, intolerance and just general grumpiness with the culture around them? Yes, it’s not always fun to be grouped in with “this set of people”… but have Christians in a very real sense earned this reputation?

So, given that evil is real…. and that we must proceed with caution when it comes to judging and weeding …. how should we then live? How can we fight boldly and bravely for justice while refusing to play God?

No simple answers are available – even from this parable – but perhaps keeping our eyes on the example of our Master will help us. Humility, Servanthood, and the constant act of Blessing others will be the necessary posture to maintain. This will allow our message of seeking justice – and standing up against evil when necessary – to be heard by the world around us.

(this is a summary of the message shared on July 19th during our ZOOM worship session.)

Fleeing from the Presence of the Lord

Jonah 1:1-17 /  ヨナ1:1−17

This story takes place after the united kingdom of Israel has divided into two (the southern kingdom became Judah which kept Jerusalem as its capital, and the northern kingdom retained the name Israel and made Samaria its capital), after Solomon’s death. According to 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah was a prophet that served the northern kingdom around 786-746 B.C.   He was from a town called Gath-Hepher, just to the west of Sea of Galilee.

Although Jesus was asked many times for a sign that He was the Messiah, the only sign He would allude to was Jonah. An interesting side note is that Gath-Hepher was located very close to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.

God took note of the great wickedness of the people of Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, and commands Jonah to go there immediately and speak out against them. However, instead of following orders, Jonah heads toward Joppa, which is in the opposite direction. He intends to go to Tarshish, which was in Spain, in an attempt to run away from the presence of God.

Jonah definitely is not acting as someone who is in the service of the Lord. Not only does he not obey God’s orders, he is not acting as an ambassador of God’s love. Although he knows that God brought on the supernaturally strong storm out on the sea, he does nothing to try to help those on board. While the sailors are valiantly trying to save the ship by praying to their gods and physically doing all they can, Jonah is sleeping down below. When God made it clear to everyone that the reason for the storm was Jonah’s disobedience, Jonah doesn’t even offer to pray to God, nor to repent. Jonah is more ready to die than to obey God’s orders, at the risk of the lives of everyone else on board. Not a great witness for the Lord.

The sailors realize how powerful Jonah’s God is and realize that there is nothing they can do to save themselves except to appease this God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. They are horrified that Jonah had brought on God’s displeasure by disobeying such a powerful God. They ask Jonah what needs to be done, and Jonah tells them that they must throw him overboard. The sailors are not willing to do that, so they continue to try to guide the ship to safety, but when they are convinced that there is no other way to save the ship than to throw Jonah overboard, they reluctantly do, but only after praying to God.

So why was Jonah disobeying God? Was it because he was afraid that God would destroy Nineveh and all the people living there? Was he acting out of love and concern like Abraham did, when Abraham was told that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? It ends up being the opposite. In chapter 4 of Jonah, Jonah reveals why he disobeyed God. It was because he was afraid that the people of Nineveh would repent and that God would spare them. Jonah would rather that God destroyed Nineveh. He wanted nothing to do with God if He was going to spare Nineveh

To understand where Jonah was coming from, we have to realize that Assyria was an emerging great power in the region, and they were on an expansion plan. They were violent people who would invade countries and scatter the conquered people and have them intermingle so that they would lose their national and cultural identity. In fact, a few decades from when this story takes place, in 722 B.C., Assyria does conquer Israel and destroys it as a nation. They almost succeeded in conquering Jerusalem and Judah, but the southern kingdom was spared for the time being. As a result, the people of God got intermingled with other people and from the eyes of the Chosen People, they became impure and their religion also diverged away from the worship of the true God. That’s why by the time of Jesus, Samaritans were so hated by the Jews.

So from Jonah’s perspective, Nineveh was a danger to God’s people and to the worship of God. Although Israel and Judah had their faults and disobeyed God often throughout their history, they were the Chosen Ones, and they had a special relationship with God. They were loved by God in a special way. So it made no sense to Jonah that God would show love to such godless and wicked people who would end up destroying Israel.

Unbeknownst to the sailors who probably assumed that Jonah drowned, God saves Jonah and we know in chapter 3 that God gives him another chance to obey, and Jonah obeys, albeit reluctantly.

So is it possible to run away from the presence of the Lord? Since God is omniscient and omnipresent, we can safely conclude that no, it is not possible to run away from God. Jonah tried, but was not successful.

Psalm 139:7-10 7Where can I go from your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

But is it a bad thing that we cannot run away from God? It might feel that way when we are planning to disobey God, and that He keeps pursuing us and will not leave us alone. However, this is because He loves us and wants us to repent and obey His commands. God created us to do His good works, and He will not allow us truly to be satisfied unless we are doing so.

When we are in need of help, it is a great comfort that the presence of God is there, no matter what. So it is a good thing that we cannot avoid being in the presence of our God.

In Jonah chapter 2 it tells us how uncomfortable it was for Jonah to be sinking to the depth of the sea and drowning, and how glad he was when God saved him. Let us strive to be obedient to God’s commands, even if we are not fully in agreement with them, lest we find ourselves thrown overboard and be reminded that we cannot escape God.

(the above is a summary of the message shared by Shun Takano on July 12th via our JCC ZOOM worship time.)

Come To Me…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30

「すべて、疲れた人、重荷を負っている人は、わたしのところに来なさい。わたしがあなたがたを休ませてあげます。わたしは心優しく、へりくだっているから、あなたがたもわたしのくびきを負って、わたしから学びなさい。そうすればたましいに安らぎが来ます。 わたしのくびきは負いやすく、わたしの荷は軽いからです。」マタイ11:28−30

Today’s text is the well-known and well-loved invitation of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” Are there any among us who haven’t felt that way at times? A kind of bone-weariness, tiredness, helplessness….it’s possible that you’re feeling that way today.

But along with the rest that Jesus offers in verse 28 – he appears to offer us work and a burden as well, when he says: “Take my yoke upon you”, and later when he says “my burden is light.” What does Jesus mean by this?

While there are many ways to view this text, the image of the yoke itself seems to give us insight to the meaning of Jesus’ words.

  • The yoke that is talked about here is a double yoke. It is designed for two animals. Some labor is too difficult for one animal to do alone, but a yoke provides a way to combine the strength of two animals.
  • When two animals were connected by a yoke, they were never the same. One of the animals was more experienced and the other was often younger and less experienced. Thus, during the work – whether it be plowing a field, or turning a millstone, etc. – the younger and less experienced could be guided and helped by the older and more experienced. This is always true, whether it’s a team of horses or a team of huskies for a dogsled. Jesus’ words to “learn of me” would point to this kind of relationship in which Jesus teaches and guides us through example.
  • When Jesus gave his invitation to “Come to me if you’re weary” he meant “Are you tired of trying to live your life on your own? Are you tired of struggling with such a difficult task?”
  • When he said “take my yoke” – he wasn’t offering a new burden to us – he was inviting us to come into his yoke so that we could work together. This is basic faith and discipleship in the Christian faith – it describes a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are being invited into a life and work relationship with Christ.
  • When we live our life with Christ – letting Christ guide us and lead us – i.e., walking and working together in the same yoke – we find that the result is much different than when we were trying to do it all on our own – more efficient… less stress…. a lighter burden!

Won’t you accept Jesus’ invitation to join him in his yoke – to enter into a relationship with Christ?

There is a warning here – the invitation is only to those who are weary and heavy-laden with burdens. Many in Jesus’ time saw his miracles and heard his teaching but refused to believe, feeling that they had a better answer. If you feel proud and sure that you can do it on your own – then of course this invitation makes no sense.

But if you’re at the end of your rope – exhausted and tired – then now is the time to accept this beautiful invitation and promise. Come!

(this is a summary of the message shared via our ZOOM worship time on Sunday, July 5th)

What Do You Most Fear?

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

 わたしが来たのは地に平和をもたらすためだと思ってはなりません。わたしは、平和をもたらすために来たのではなく、剣をもたらすために来たのです。マタイ10:34

 What is it that you fear most today? In this time of pandemic, social isolation, unemployment, social upheaval and unrest – we may have many answers:

We fear a lack of supplies and money, we fear illness, we fear violence and an apparent crumbling of our society, we fear death. This is normal and these are things that are truly frightening.

During these times we, as believers, also seek the opposite of our fears – we seek peace and safety and assurance of well-being.

So what are we to make of today’s text? Jesus says “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” How are we supposed to understand that?

First, it’s important to recognize that this entire text (Matthew 10) is about discipleship. Jesus is preparing his own 12 disciples to go out and share the good news. He gives them specific instructions about how to act and what to bring with them. He challenges them by saying – “Do you think that they will treat you differently than they’ve treated me? Don’t be surprised when you’re persecuted, hated, and misunderstood.” In other words, if you take your faith seriously, and preach this good news joyfully, you will meet resistance. True discipleship will be a dying to self…

Jesus is not speaking prescriptively, but descriptively. Jesus is not happy when there is division… he does not wish for broken relationships between father and son, mother and daughter. He is describing what happens when a person begins to take their faith seriously. THEY WILL MEET RESISTANCE. If you are not feeling resistance from some quarter today, maybe you need to take another look at your faith. Has it become a soft and easy substitute for real discipleship?

When we look at Jesus in scripture, we see that he challenged people and forced changes from everyone he met. He caused a crisis in people’s lives in order that they would change for the better.

  • He never seems to accept the status quo
  • He never seems to offer a quiet ease
  • He never directs toward the path of least resistance
  • He never encourages a “back to normal”
  • So here’s the question: “Does our faith challenge people around us in the same way?”

And so we return to the original question.

What do you most fear today?

If we are reading this text accurately, we may conclude that Jesus is challenging us NOT to fear persecution, rejection, hatred, discomfort. Those should be expected of a true disciple.

What we ARE to fear is :

A faith that’s pleasant and nice – but not transforming

A church that’s beautiful and peaceful – but not powerful

A gospel that’s good for some – but not for all

Jesus DOES offer real peace – make no mistake about that. Is it possible, however, that the peace he offers will NOT be a bland, back-to-normal, comfortable, easy-going, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of peace…. but one that will require hard work, change, tears, and some pain? As I consider our nation and our present struggle with systemic racism, white privilege, and blindness toward the plight of those that are marginalized due to the lack of economic power or the color of their skin…. Jesus’ words in today’s text sound uncomfortable – but ultimately challenging.

Come Holy Spirit, in this time of unrest in our nation. May we seek the Shalom that is possibly risky and dangerous. May we allow you to cut us with the sword / surgeon’s scalpel – in order that we may be truly healed.

(Thoughts for this devotional were inspired by the lectionary blogpost by Debie Thomas on the “Journey With Jesus” website. I encourage all of you to read it HERE.)

Remember…

Luke 24:1-12

1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.  2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8Then they remembered his words9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

ルカによる福音書 24:1-12

1週の初めの日、夜明け前に、女たちは用意しておいた香料を携えて、墓に行った。 2ところが、石が墓からころがしてあるので、 3中にはいってみると、主イエスのからだが見当らなかった。 4そのため途方にくれていると、見よ、輝いた衣を着たふたりの者が、彼らに現れた。 5女たちは驚き恐れて、顔を地に伏せていると、このふたりの者が言った、「あなたがたは、なぜ生きた方を死人の中にたずねているのか。 6そのかたは、ここにはおられない。よみがえられたのだ。まだガリラヤにおられたとき、あなたがたにお話しになったことを思い出しなさい。 7すなわち、人の子は必ず罪人らの手に渡され、十字架につけられ、そして三日目によみがえる、と仰せられたではないか」。 8そこで女たちはその言葉を思い出し、 9墓から帰って、これらいっさいのことを、十一弟子や、その他みんなの人に報告した。 10この女たちというのは、マグダラのマリヤ、ヨハンナ、およびヤコブの母マリヤであった。彼女たちと一緒にいたほかの女たちも、このことを使徒たちに話した。 11ところが、使徒たちには、それが愚かな話のように思われて、それを信じなかった。 12〔ペテロは立って墓へ走って行き、かがんで中を見ると、亜麻布だけがそこにあったので、事の次第を不思議に思いながら帰って行った。〕

On that Sunday morning after the crucifixion of Jesus, women disciples of Jesus who witnessed Jesus’ death and laying of His body in the tomb came to the tomb to prepare the Lord’s body. To their surprise, they found the stone to the entrance rolled away and His body gone. While they were wondering what had happened to the body, two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear and tell them that Jesus is not here, but is alive. They run to tell the apostles about this, but the apostles can’t believe them.

Later on the same day, two of Jesus’ followers who were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus are discussing what had happened, and a man joins them. The man teaches them about the OT prophesies concerning the Messiah, and suddenly disappears during dinner. Only then do the two remember the things that the stranger said and realized that it was the risen Lord with whom they just spent most of the day. They turn around and hurry back to the apostles to tell them what had happened.

The apostles had heard the reports from the women as well as from the two who were on their way to Emmaus, but they don’t know what to make of it. Even after Jesus suddenly appears to them, they cannot believe that He is alive and fears that what they are seeing is a ghost. They only are able to believe after Jesus reminds them of all the things He told them while He was alive that was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem.

Remembering is often overlooked in the process of faith, but it is very important in the gospels and is confirmed in our experiences. The women believe only after they were prompted by the angels to remember what Jesus had told them. The two men on the way to Emmaus were able to believe only after they remembered the encounter and teachings of the man who just suddenly disappeared. And the apostles were able to believe after Jesus reminded them of all the things He told them about the Son of Man.

Faith does not usually move from promise to fulfillment, but from fulfillment to promise. Often, recognition/understanding comes because of remembering. In other words, the promises in the Bible often go unrecognized as such at the time it is happening. It is only afterward that we remember the words of the Bible and how they apply to what had happened.

That is why it is important for us to keep sharing the story of Jesus. Such sharing may not have any immediate effect on the listeners. However, the time will come when the listener will be reminded of what was shared and then understand.

It is clear that today, both believers and non-believers need God’s love for them. God uses the Bible and His followers to tell the world about Jesus. Often, people will not react positively to what we have to say about God and His promises. Most of the time, non-believers do not come to believe in God’s love at the time they are reading the Bible, or when we are sharing with them (that certainly was the case for me).

However, if we continue to faithfully witness to the world, the Holy Spirit will help us. He will cause the people to remember our words and deeds, and some will come to be saved.

Of course, they cannot remember if we do not share or act. So let us keep studying the Bible so that we can fully appreciate what God has done for us and be able to share it effectively. Let us keep witnessing to our relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors about God’s love. Let us keep praying that someday, they will remember and be able to believe.

(this is a summary of the message that was shared at our JCC Worship Zoom session by Shun Takano on Sunday, June 14th)

Be Filled With The Spirit!

hawk and snakeThe Eagle does not fight the snake on the ground. It picks it up into the sky and changes the battleground, and then it releases the snake into the sky. The snake has no stamina, no power, and no balance in the air. It is useless, weak and vulnerable – unlike on the ground where it is powerful, wise and deadly.

Take your fight into the spiritual realm by praying and when you are in the spiritual realm God takes over your battles. Don’t fight the enemy in his comfort zone, change the battleground like the Eagle and let God take charge through your earnest prayer. You’ll be assured of clean victory. Pray without ceasing!                                                                          (shared on Facebook by Jonathan Kobayashi)

Many of us want to make changes in our lives.   We strive to grow and to be better people. We long to become more like Christ, but we don’t know how. Therefore, we continue to stumble and fall over the same things over and over again.   Knowing this, God gave us a special gift… the gift of the Holy Spirit. Why? So that we could do what we couldn’t do in our flesh.

The Bible says to be filled with the Holy Spirit. How? By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. By trusting in His Word. Believe that you have died with Christ on the Cross. It is no longer you who lives, but Christ lives in you (Gal.2:20). You have now entered the Spiritual realm. As you meditate on this simple but deep truth, thank Him. Rejoice in your new birth. Sing praises in your heart to the Lord.   Keep praying to God the Father of your needs, knowing that He is with you, as He has promised. Allow Him to do the inner work in your hearts. And through this work, the outward fruit of a changed inner life will begin to blossom.

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.  Eph.5:15-21

15そういうわけですから、賢くない人のようにではなく、賢い人のように歩んでいるかどうか、よくよく注意し、16 機会を十分に生かして用いなさい。悪い時代だからです。 17ですから、愚かにならないで、主のみこころは何であるかを、よく悟りなさい。 18また、酒に酔ってはいけません。そこには放蕩があるからです。御霊に満たされなさい。19 詩と賛美と霊の歌とをもって、互いに語り、主に向かって、心から歌い、また賛美しなさい。 20いつでも、すべてのことについて、私たちの主イエス・キリストの名によって父なる神に感謝しなさい。 21キリストを恐れ尊んで、互いに従いなさい。エペソ5:15−21

God Bless You!

(The above post is a summary of the message shared with us on Pentecost Sunday, June 1,  at our ZOOM worship time by Richard Nakamura)

 

Rohingya refugees, Cox’s Bazar and the coronavirus

Andrew West, of ABC Radio National (an Australian news organization), recently interviewed Rachel Wolff,  Senior Response Director of the faith-based international aid agency World Vision. The interview concerns the Rohingya refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar and how the coronavirus is affecting their situation there.

For a short recording of that interview with RACHEL, click HERE.

(Rachel is the daughter of Pastor Steve and Betty Luttio.)