Nonogaki Reports – Feb 2021
Christian Baptism and Conversion – Feb 5, 2021
In the last ten years, several people who were baptized in Christ in other congregations started attending the Yokota congregation. As I talked to them, they confessed to me that they had never experienced a spiritual transformation. They didn’t feel that they had changed anything spiritually. The only difference is that they went to church after their baptism. It is no surprise that some of them faithfully attended the assembly and every bible class available. The confession of those people made me think about the meanings of baptism and conversion.
By baptism, a person is born again in Christ. He is baptized into Christ’s death, buried with him, and raised with him. After baptism, he is expected to continue growing spiritually and be transformed spiritually into the image of Christ. I am afraid that only some of us experience this spiritual transformation. I conclude that a person’s conversion in Christ doesn’t take place in baptism instantly, but takes place in the process as he strives to follow Christ. More importantly, I believe that becoming like Christ is a lifelong goal for every Christian.
This is the Time of Evangelism – Feb 5, 20201
This is the 21st century. One-fifth of the century has already passed. I think this is the century of chaos and confusion. In the year 2001, September 11 attacks struck in the US. A big earthquake and tsunami struck Indonesia in 2004. A lot of Japanese people who saw it never dreamt something like that would ever hit Japan, but it happened even in a bigger scale in 2011. In the US, political chaos has been going on. Also, we have been fighting Covid-19 which is a new pandemic all over the world. Who knows what is going to happen this year and next year? What is going to become of the US-Japan relation and treaty? What will become of Yokota Base?
People feel uncertain and insecure about their future. Older generations may have experienced similar uncertainty during the depression and WWII. But things are much different from the past, and I think the degree of uncertainty has been a lot higher than in the past.
I think this is a great chance to evangelize people in Japan. We plan to do the following things.
(1) We will make a tract for non-Christians. This tract has a very important and relevant message to them.
(2) We will distribute the tract in the communities surrounding the congregation as much as possible. This is the toughest part of evangelism in Japan. We have to come up with the most effective way to distribute it.
(3) We will try to become a congregation that people feel friendly, free, and open. Always smile and friendly. No pressures are put on them.
(4) My sermon message is always God-Christ-centered.
(5) Although I am responsible for the entire congregation in many different ways, I don’t represent the congregation. Our members understand that every member is an ambassador of Christ. Nobody is regarded highly among us. Every Christian is considered as brothers and sisters in Christ.