Sunday, 10 March 2013

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Two Years Later…

Today is the two year anniversary of the great Tohoku earthquake.  I remember two years ago, watching what was occurring on TV and feeling sorrow for those who lost their lives.  I wondered why a loving and compassionate God would allow such disaster to occur.  I processed and processed and all I could feel was pain over thousands who lost their lives without knowing Christ.  Then, I remember stumbling upon a prayer John Piper had written:

Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.

O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.

Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.

Grant, O God, that the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Grant us, your sinful creatures, to return to you, that you may have compassion. For surely you will abundantly pardon. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, your beloved Son, will be saved.

May every heart-breaking loss—millions upon millions of losses—be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures’ pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.

In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.

And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen

This prayer still hits me emotionally.  It makes sense of the tragedy.  First, it dealt with God’s sovereign and righteousness.  That no one deserves the life they breathe, but it is a gift and a free grace from God.  Second, it dealt with God’s love.  That God desires for us to know Him.  He is a God quick to love and slow to anger. And finally, it revealed to me that God loves Japan.

Immediately following the disaster, Japan got a lot of attention from Christian leaders.  Leaders and pastors trying to shepherd flocks in understanding this tragedy.  Japan was prayed for due to the tragedy more than ever.  For a nation that has less than 1% Christian, it needs the world to be praying for it.  Because of that attention, the spotlight was turned to missions.

I love this video from another missionary here in Japan.

This video talks about the deeper issues existing in Japan; things like the incredibly high suicide rate.

In fact, I am here serving in Japan in part because of this disaster.  God used this tragedy to open my heart up to Japan and to go and serve Him there.

Two years later, how has God worked?

God is relentless in his love and grace.  And, he really does love Japan.  Watch this video talking about what is happening 2 years after the tsunami from Hope Miyagi:

It is amazing to see the softening of hearts to the gospel.  What is happening near the disaster area is also happening here in Nagoya.  In Christ Bible Seminary, we have a student who lived close to the Nuclear Disaster plant.  Leaving the disaster area, he decided to pursue seminary.  His story recently came to the attention of NHK News which is a national channel in Japan.  They did a story that was broadcast, giving light to what God is doing in our seminary.

491_523266814391142_661109412_n 544208_523266867724470_921689830_n 529960_523266907724466_59595181_nBeing here in Japan, I see God moving in the hearts of the Japanese people.  I pray for revival here.  And I pray for more people be to be filled with Jesus who can only truly satisfy us.  I am so thankful God has allowed me to be a part of this mission.  So, today I will pray the same prayer John Piper prayed 2 years ago.

In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.

And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

In Jesus’ merciful name,
Amen

February 2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013

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3 (not-all-inclusive-list) things I miss in San Francisco

1.  Food
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Anybody who knows me, knows food is an important piece of my life.  I love food.  Maybe I’m a foodie, but I’m a cheap foodie.  And, Japan, you are not the best place for a cheap foodie. When I land back in the states this summer I already have it planned what I want to scarf down, yet savor at the same time.  (Here’s looking to you Amos, Aaron, and Jeff to be my foodie buddies when I come back…because I know you miss me tagging along just as much.)

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Checklist of things to eat, in no particular order.

  • Double-double (no onions), neapolitan milkshake, and extra-crispy fries from In n Out.
  • Carne-asada super quesadilla and large cantaloupe juice from Taqueria Guadalajara’s.
  • Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs from Hakka.
  • Everything from Koi Palace Dim Sum.
  • Two plates of grilled pork over rice from Mr. Loi’s.  First plate to fulfill my hunger, and the second to remind him we are family.
  • Two scoops: Roasted Banana and whatever today’s flavor is from Bi-Rite
  • A large bowl of Pho from that place I go with Aaron, across from Home Depot.  I forgot your name, but not your Pho – and that’s what matters.
  • A nice and relaxing American breakfast from Broadway Cafe.
  • A tall glass of Anchor Steam and Shepherds Pie from Parkside Tavern.
  • A late-night boba run to either Purple Kow or Teaway.  More for the fun of company, rather than for the drink itself.
  • Pan-fried Shanghai Dumplings and Dan Dan (Peanut-Sauce) Noodles from Dumpling Kitchen.  Oh, and a cup of hot soy milk.
[/checklist]

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Dang it, why’d I have to post a picture.  It looks so good.

2.  Weather
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What I love about San Francisco is how incredibly consistent it is with weather.  It may not feel like that after living there so long, but after living here in Japan it is dead obvious.  I feel like I’m feeling seasons for the first time in my life.  Summer is actually really hot and winter is actually really cold.  Who would have thought?

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(FYI, never forget to wear gloves riding your bike in the cold.  Something I did once and my hands were numb for a while.)

3.  Walking dead extravaganzas, and other like-minded hangouts.
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I really do miss hanging out on the whim.  One hang out in particular I miss is our weekly hangout at the Lee’s watching Walking Dead together.  It was fun to mess with Victor by scaring him at any chance given or to laugh at the best walker death with Jeff.  (OK, Aaron, I miss your puns just a little bit.)  It’s just nice to have regular fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  That’s something I’ll always miss as long as I’m distanced from it.

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P.S. I love the Lee family.  And Chloe is “totes” adorbs.

 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

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The cost of coming to Japan.


“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  (

Acts 2:42-47 ESV)

This week I woke up to some interesting news in the job I quit to come to Japan.  The CEO had given every employee a free iPad mini.  This is in response to a stellar quarter that LinkedIn had.  Such a stellar quarter in which wall street shot the stock up from $120 to over $150.  Wow.

So, here I am now in Japan.  In a tiny room, no iPad, and thinking about the stock I had given up to come to Japan.  This is probably the first time in which I truly reflected upon what sacrifice I had actually made to come to Japan.  And the question that certainly, almost instantly, pops into mind is: “Was it worth it?  Is it worth it?”

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January 2013

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

写真を見てください!

Please take a look at the pictures telling some of the story of the past couple months!  Also, if you follow the blog, but want more detailed updates on how to pray for ministry in japan, please send me your email address.  I will add you to the mailing list so you can receive updates! :D

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My family eating some real sushi with Ayako and KenKen!

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Hakata City, large shopping mall.  Fukubukuro madness!
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2012

November 2012

Monday, 12 November 2012