Nonogaki Rpt – Jun 20-24 ’15

A class on Christ’s Church

I have been teaching the Basic Doctrines of Christianity.  Last week I taught a class on Christ’s church.  Jesus said, “I will build my Church.”  Jesus also said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….and teaching them to obey…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   I believe that Jesus has entrusted his disciples to build his church.  1 Cor. 3:10-17 tells us Paul laid a foundation of the church as an expert builder.  We are Jesus’ workers to build His church while Jesus is the overseer and designer. However, at the same time Jesus continues building his church through the Spirit and help his disciples through the work of the Spirit.  This is one of many reasons we need to seek his will concerning the health of the church.

Sometimes I talk to fellow preachers and missionaries.  Occasionally some of them tell me about their problems and struggles, so we pray together.  It reminds me that we have to continue seeking Christ’s will to do right in the church.  We must follow the design of the church that Christ has set for us so that we can “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13).  At some point, church will stop being Christ’s Church unless we follow his design and way.

English Classes

I have had an English class with two Japanese since two years ago.  Both of them are about 35 years old.  I have taught them basic English grammar.  Also I have taught them how to read English faster than they do. They pay the church ¥1000 per class.   It helps the church financially.  Now I teach them “Western Civilization and Japanese Culture” in English.   I took a class on Western Civilization in college, so I can teach some about it.   This is a very interesting class and maybe give me an opportunity to teach them about Christ.  I will teach them culture and history of the West and talk about Biblical history along with European history.  Because we have developed a teacher-student relationship for two years, I believe it is the right time for me to speak about Christianity.

Also I have a class with three junior high school students.  Each student pays the church ¥3000 a month.  This also helps the church financially.

Our Communication in Our Church

Bad communication takes place even in the church if we are not careful.  Here are three rules that we try to follow.  First, our communication is open to everyone.  Any member can express his or her opinions.  Our decision is made through open communication.  Second, our communication is clear to everyone.  Announcements of events or any new item are made in a few months in advance and again several times before they actually happen so that nobody misses them.  Also in the beginning of a year, we make a rough schedule of events and activities.  I let a 6 month preaching and teaching schedule known to every member in advance.  The schedule shows the topics and Bible passages of my lessons (6 months) and also the names of guest speakers who come to us every month or every other month.  The third and final rule is that our communication is transparent.  We do not have anything to hide from any members, so we tell exactly what kind of issues we have.  Our discussions are always positive even when we talk about difficult things because we pray together to seek God’s will. We are confident that God will work things our for us.

Truth and Peace in Japanese Mind

If you asked Japanese people which is more important, truth or peace, a majority of them would answer peace.  Truth is a relative term.  That means, each person has his own truth.  It’s all relative.  This sense of ambiguity is permeated in all aspects of life in Japan from politics to religion.  For example, the Japanese constitution declares Japan does not have armed forces, but we do have self-defense forces which are armed. They are real guns and jet fighters which have real bullets and missiles. Distorting truth is acceptable if peace can be maintained.

Many Japanese people are very kind and gentle to you, but it does not mean they are truthful to you. (Most of them are truthful.) This is always a tricky part when Americans become friends with them.  Americans are sometimes surprised to hear what Japanese are really thinking. When we teach them Christianity, eventually we have to come to the point that Jesus Christ is the truth and teach them about who Christ is.  I pray to God that His Spirit will convict people of guilt in regard to sin.  Only God does so while we are His instruments.