Nonogaki Rpt – Nov ’15

Introducing a new member – November 4, 2015

Recently the Lord added a new member to the Yokota body of Christ.  Her name is Emily.  She was born in Hong Kong.  Her mother is Japanese; her father is Chinese.  She moved to Japan when she was 13 years old, which made her go through a culture shock.  She is still trying to adopt herself in Japanese culture.  Chinese people generally have a straight talk with others, but Japanese people tend to avoid talking directly to others in especially dealing with touchy subjects.  Emily has to work hard to cope with this type of Japanese culture.  She was baptized at another Church of Christ four years ago.

She is married to a Japanese man who is not Christian yet.  She has been very faithful to the Lord and not skipped a worship service.  Church life is big part of her life.  She wants to grow spiritually.  Also she is very happy that her brother and mother were baptized 3 months ago.

Her husband and she will take my “Western Civilization and History” class in January 2016.  They are already excited to take it.  I am also eager to teach and share some important lessons from Western History with them.  History of Christianity will be  covered in this class.  I hope her husband will know something good and positive about Christianity.

A new class –November 6, 2015

Next year I would like to start a new class that is based on the book called “12 steps to a closer walk with God” written by Don Umphrey.  The preface of the book says, “this workbook utilizes the 12 steps to recovery originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s.”  The book is very helpful to those who are struggling with problems such as obsessive behavior, low self-esteem, self-centered attitudes, and addictions.   A lot of people have these problems lately.   I got this book 10 years ago when I went to the States to raise money for the new building.

I know that it is not easy to make up a support group which consists of people having the same problems, but I can promote the idea of a support group when I speak from the pulpit or teach a regular class.   I have begun to pray for this class.  God will help me if it is God’s will.

Seeking a retired military worker/missionary – November 22, 2015

We have been seeking a retired military worker/missionary. We would like to invite him or a couple to work with us for 4 to 6 months during the PCS season.  The main objective of this endeavor is to reach out to people on Base and let them know Church of Christ is near the base.  The worker is expected to preach and teach a class for the American congregation and make a contact with new comers to the Yokota base.

Recently the American congregation has a low number of attendance for a number of reasons.    We need to build up the congregation again.   Civilians do not have an access to the base so it is not easy to reach out to people there.  Also we are not familiar with military codes and  regulations and customs.

We have made contacts with people and friends and churches.  Several people have responded to us and told us their interest in working with us and helping us to build the congregation again. We pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in this project.

Warnings about false teachers – November 22, 2015

One of the spiritual battles we face today in Japan is to protect new Christians from false teachers.  A great amount of information(true / false) on the internet is flooded in the world and even in Christianity.  New Christians watch Youtube and listen to all kinds of “pastors.”   I can give them a strong warning, but I should not prohibit them from listening to them because they should have their own freedom.

Last week I had a class with a young man.  He often listens to Youtube “pastors.”   We watched his favorite speaker of a Pentecostal church together and asked him to critically listen to the speaker.   I showed him how the speaker was taking the texts out of their context and was making a wrong application.   That was a eye opener for him.  He has come to a realization that there are false teachers out there.

It is so easy for new Christians to be impressed with a dynamic speaker and a well known speaker of denominations.  I think this will be a continuous battle until the end because the devil will keep on trying to deceive people and confuse Christians.

Facing temptations in life and looking on the bright side of life – November 25, 2015

The devil tries to put us down and forces us to look on the dark side of life.  There is enough evil in the corrupted world.  This reminds me of Jesus’ temptations.  The Satan told him, “If you are the Son of God, make these stones bread.”   This is a temptation of “you are a loser.”  Satan is telling us “After all you cannot do anything useful and have no power to made a difference in your life.  Give up.” But Jesus did not run away from the Satan but told him “man does not live bread alone.”  Amen.

The second temptation is a temptation of “you don’t have faith.”  Satan told him, “If you are the Son of God, you can jump off because your angels are supposed to support you.”   Satan is telling us “After all you don’t have faith at all because you do not trust God enough to jump off here, so give up.”  He did not back down but told Satan “Do not test your God.”

The third temptation is a temptation of “you can satisfy yourself because I can give what you want.”  Satan told him, “If you worship me I can give you all the kingdoms and all the riches of the world.”  Satan is telling us today, “I know you can feel good about yourself by indulging yourself.  I will give you what you want.  After all it is your life.  Forget God.”   Again Jesus did not back off but told him to worship the God only.

Jesus did not turn away from the devil but defeated him by the word of God.  Jesus knows what the dark side of life is like, but at the same time because he is the light he helps people around him to look on the bright side of life.  We should be like him.  Thank God for Jesus’ victory over the temptations.  Thank God for our victory over them too.