Nonogaki Rpt – January 2016
A new assignment and class (January 2017) – January 12, 2016
I have received an assignment that I teach the role of the Holy Spirit in January 2017. I will teach an hour and half class three times from January to March 2017. This is like a monthly short course, but it has only three times.
This subject may be the most challenging to me because it has never been taught among Japanese Christians. I think that lots of people fall in one of the two extreme categories. Either they consider the role much more than the Bible teaches or much less. The role of the Spirit may have been completely ignored in some circle maybe because of reactions to the erroneous interpretations of the Pentecostal churches. Some of us have shied away from the study. At the same time, the role of the Spirit has been overemphasized especially among young Christians. I have seen this big trend among young missionaries who have come to Japan recently.
Many Japanese Christians have received the traditions of older missionaries and have not studied this subject, while they tend to use the expression “being led by the Spirit” almost every occasion, a few of the times jokingly and most of the times seriously. This is very puzzling to me. I do not know why they use the expression. Also I wonder if they use it correctly.
What can I say to a Christian who says confidently “This is God’s Spirit leading me”? He is saying this by faith. His conscience is clear. That point, I realize denying his claim is denying his faith. I do not want to cause him to be stumbled, so I get quiet and accept him as he is.
In this lecture, I will present the biblical perspectives of the subject as best as I can. I pray for God’s guidance.
Developing a personal relationship with Christ – January 18, 2016
As I teach Christian members the Bible, I have assumed mistakenly that they would develop their personal relationship with Christ. But this is not case. In reality it takes them their conscious efforts to know Christ. A person must desire to know Him. What I have to do in teachings and preaching is to help them know how blessed we are in Christ and to encourage them to desire Christ more and more. This is the most important in our work, but how forgetful I am to ignore it.
It is very important for Christians to understand the doctrines of the Bible such as God’s creation and the love of God revealed in the cross of Christ, but more importantly we need to know Christ personally and develop a trust relationship with Him. The focus should be on our personal relationship with Him whatever we study in the Bible.
2016’s challenge is to go back to the basic of Christianity. We will grow spiritually in Christ. I believe it is God’s will.
Seeking out a missionary – January 19, 2016
We have been praying for inviting a missionary to Japan. Last year I met a middle aged American man who desires to become a missionary in Japan. He visited churches and tried to find out if there are good congregations that he and his wife can work with. (His wife did not come to Japan that time.) He came to Yokota too; I showed him our church building. After that we had lunch together. In the lunch time, I asked some difficult questions (both practical and theological) we face to deal with people. I liked his answers. He asked me some questions too. Both of us tested one another to find out if we are compatible.
I pray to God that he will work with us and help us grow in Christ. He lived in Japan for some years, so he speaks Japanese well and he does not have to have a language training program. I think he is theologically sound and is very good at people. He has necessary qualifications (if not all the qualifications) for a good missionary.
I will find out within several months where he and his wife will go.
Writing a commentary on “Romans” – January 22, 2016
I have finished writing “Introduction” in the book on “Romans.” This section is a paper for Annual Report of “Japan School of Evangelism.” I will keep on writing a paper for the Report until I finish the commentary. I may not be able to finish it though. But this will be a life long project.
Protecting young Christians from false teachings – January 22, 2016
Like any other countries, many Japanese denominational churches use Internet as the means of communicating the general public. One of the big trends among them is to whip up the fear of persecution and the expectation of Christ’s second coming. The Bible teaches us that we should be ready for Christ to come anytime. Their tactic is very wrong.
Last week I had a Bible study with a young Christian. We talked about the subject because he brought it up. He likes to watch and listen to a message on Youtube. We studied what the Bible says about God’s judgment and Christ’s second coming. It was a good study. I have often realized that this will be an on-going battle.