Nonogaki Report – Dec 2020

Two Kinds of Christians – Dec 2, 2020

There seem to be two kinds of Christians in Japan: one who hears the word and put in practice what he hears and the other one who only hears the word, just as Christ describes in Matthew 7. The latter one is a Sunday Christian. Spiritual transformation has not taken place in such a person.

Recently I started having a bible study with a middle-aged man who used to attend a nearby church of Christ. He faithfully attended the service for over 10 years there, but he has not felt that he had grown spiritually while he was in that congregation. He listened to a sermon every week, attended the Bible study, and did faithfully what the preacher told him to do, but nothing clicked with him. He must have been considered a faithful member of the congregation.

His story was typical. He was always passive, not active with his spiritual life. He faithfully did what the preacher suggested, but he did not go beyond that.

At the beginning of our study, I told him that all of us were expected to be transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. We have to decide to follow Christ if we desire to grow in Him. He cannot be passive but must be actively seeking Christ and His kingdom.

He and I have made a covenant with one another that both of us grow together.

About the Tokyo Olympics – Dec 10, 2020

Nobody knows how long the covid-19 chaos will continue. As you know, the 2020 Olympics was canceled. I hoped it would be in 2021, but now we are not sure of anything.

Meantime, in Japan, the final athletic competitions have been taking place in order to select the best. Those athletes who have been selected have to be prepared for the Olympics even though they don’t know the Olympic definite schedule.

I hope that the Olympics will take place next year for their sake, but I am not sure if it is a feasible idea.

Up to now, no official announcements have been made concerning the Olympic schedule.

I know some of our friends who plan to come to Japan to do some mission work next year. I am hopeful, but I am afraid that it might be delayed.

One of the Biggest Challenges – Dec 10, 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 and self-assertive 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.

Return to Updates from Masa Nonogaki