Nonogaki Reports – Oct-Nov 2020

The American Congregation – Oct 2, 2020

We did not have a worship service at the building from the beginning of March to 20 September. On 27 September, some of us met for the worship service at the building. We had a good service and meaningful time together.

We will continue meeting at the building as often as possible.

Preaching from the Psalms – Nov 5, 2020

Beginning this Sunday, I will preach from the Psalms. But in this Sunday’s lesson as Intro to the Psalms, I will encourage the congregation to have a daily devotional time and mini-worship time by reading a Psalm. Although it depends on an individual’s schedule, I will suggest that it is good to have a mini-worship time in the morning because it is the beginning of the day. It can be only 10 minutes. There are no rigid rules.

The mini-service consists of the following three: reading a Psalm, praying to God, and singing. Psalms are basically believers’ prayers. You don’t have to think about how to interpret them. They are not as complex as Paul’s letters and other biblical materials. In some of the Psalms, there are only praises to God, but others are prayers of agony and pain in which the writers hope in God’s everlasting love and mercy.

I think that singing is also a form of prayer. We pray to God by singing. There are two types of prayers: inaudible and audible. You can pray to God without saying actual words. I would pray to God in a train silently. (If I prayed audibly in a train, the police might come to take me to the police station.) But in singing, we express our thoughts audibly. We hear ourselves while we sing. I think that this has double effects.

I have this devotional habit for a long time. It works well for me, so I would like to share it with others.

One of the Biggest Challenges – Nov 23, 2020

People come and go. Unfortunately, some people don’t stay long in the church. Many people who come to visit church have experienced negative relationships with others. Some of them may have been to other churches and have suffered moral harassment from Christians there. They come to our congregation to look for some positive relationships.

Here is a challenge. Our members are very sincere and honest. A few of them are very straightforward to express their opinions, but those new people are not used to such an attitude. Also, our members always have good intentions to help them. For instance, our members may encourage them to read the Bible and pray daily, but sometimes they overdo it. This can create tension between them and those newcomers.

I hope that our congregation will become where people feel completely free to come and visit anytime. Every week I encourage our members to make a free atmosphere so that visitors feel comfortable. I believe that this is biblical. People can be encouraged to do a certain thing, but should never be forced to do it. After all, Christ is always patient with us and gives us free will to do what we think is right and good.

Having a good intention is not good enough. Some people may be very sensitive. They may easily feel harassed by others.

I pray daily that God will give us the wisdom to discern what is right to do.

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