Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday Night Home Fellowship

 Friday Night Home Fellowship was started about 6 years ago with 3 guys seeking Jesus. Mihoko and I ministered to many through this time of being in the word. Jesus was always the center of our time together. He is the glue to keep us and sustain us. So after 2.5 years of ministering in Japan we are so blessed to see the fellowship continues and it is still centered on Jesus. Praise God. We had some special guests that blessed everyone. Hanna Sakurai from CC Kokobunji came in and sang some worship songs for us and it was amazing. About 1/4 of the group remember Hanna when she was 4 years old here in Cali while her dad attended Fuller and SOM. She was such a delight then and now wow what a blessing. She started out singing timid and quiet. People were mingling and talking but then she closed her eyes and sang to Jesus. There was a ferocious lion of a singer in that girl the place got real quiet and then all were enraptured to worship along with her. All were stunned at the focus of singing to God and even those who did not know Japanese were moved to tears. Judy Kimura is with Hanna singing in this picture. She is a Professor at UCI who teaches Japanese. She loves to sing and was so blessed by Hanna's gift.
 Our long time friend Yumiko Takada was there as well. She has been so supportive in all we do. Her heart is to serve Jesus. It was an honor and blessing to see her and hang out.

 The Arendse Family have also been such a blessing over the years. They were one of the first families at CCCM we hung out with. Nathan and Luke are best friends and it was so fun to see these young men together again. Luke is tall like his brother but he is only 12 like Nathan. Wow Roger what did you feed that boy. Thanks for coming guys God bless you.
After some great food we moved into a time of sharing. We were so blessed to have Tommy Ruiz's son Zach Ruiz come out and lead some worship. Like his dad he is so gifted and he is one of those guys that can take a rowdy group of Jesus loving people and get them to come together and all begin to worship. Zach is serving with his dad at CC Ginowan in Okinawa. They started the CC Bible College Japan and it has been growing so much. It brings tremendous joy to my heart to see the brothers and sisters seeking Jesus and just to blessed each other in anyway we can.  We wanted to take a group picture but that would minister to my pride. A lot of people came and were in the kitchen while we were beginning here. It was a blessed time.

I shared my heart as to what God is doing in Japan and more specifically what is Jesus doing in my heart. In John 6 the feeding of the 5000 Jesus escapes them trying to make him a King prematurely. He is found by the thousands later the next day as they were working hard to find Jesus. The people who were fed the bread were working and laboring to find Jesus. Jesus says labor not for the bread that perishes but for the bread that leads to eternal life. He also told them you are not seeking me but the bread.

Today in the church so many people are being sold a bill of goods claiming life enhancement in exchange for religious devotion. Many are being taught; "Come to Jesus for riches." "Come to Jesus for a better marriage." "Come to Jesus for drug rehab." "Come to Jesus for a job." ETC. The problem is as Jesus points out in the passage that the people are not coming to Jesus. He says, "Your are not seeking me you are seeking the bread." Those reasons to come to Jesus are not bad per-se but they are not the real reason of why we should come to Jesus.

This caught my attention as I have been guilty in the act of planting a church to try to turn people on to church or turn them on to the benefits of attending the church. I have been guilty of trying to turn people on to the benefits of coming to church more than coming to Jesus.  I have been taught not to do that I have been taught to focus on Jesus but in my carnality I think if only I can convince them of this they'll come to Jesus. To which Jesus says later in the chapter. "No one can come to the father unless he draws them." I am trying to draw people in without the work of the Father. Ouch. It is true. I am working to draw people into the church my focus is well meaning and the benefits do happen yet that is not how God the Father wants us to believe and come to faith. I can take a robotic arm that mixes powerful chemicals to make medicines that cure and I can use that robotic arm as a back scratcher. I can then tell people to get the robotic arm as a great back scratcher and it make medicines. But that is wrong. So too with the way churches are being built. But How does the Father draw them? V29 "This is the work of God that you believe in Him He has sent." Believe in Jesus! Preach Jesus, Live Jesus, Love Jesus. When Peter made his glorious confession saying, "Thou art the Christ the Son of God." Jesus said upon that confession is what he will build his church. Jesus even called it a key to the kingdom. Jesus unlocks many things for us but we are not to focused on the things we are to focus on Jesus himself.

The church today in Japan or in the US is selling the benefits of Jesus but I see (myself included) our focus is not on Jesus and who he is. He is God the Word John 1:1 come in the flesh as the Son of God. He is the second person of the unified God. Col tells us Jesus is the creator of the universe and he holds it altogether. Jesus is so awesome and worthy the Bible even tells us that one day at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is LORD. Jesus is worthy to be worshiped. For HE alone is worthy. Christ the Lord. Let's this season of Christmas seek to worship Jesus for who he is and because he is worthy rather than trying to gain brownie points with God to gain some benefit. When you seek God for healing but not Jesus...When you seek God for a job but not Jesus...When you seek God for provision but not Jesus you are not seeking Jesus you have not because you ask amiss says James. This year let's get our eyes off of self-centered life enhancement and get out eyes on the giver of life and worship him for who he is for HE ALONE IS WORTHY. AMEN

A note of thanks: The Fujikura's Yumiko and Keizo have been wonderful hosts of our meetings and it is such a blessing to know them and see them grow in the Lord. Blessings of God upon your family and home. Also a note of thanks to Toshiko Yokota for coming and blessing us. She is a Professor at CSLA and teaches Japanese. Thank you for the lessons Sensei. God bless you. 

1 comment:

Yasutomo said...

Thank you for the post. happy to see some of familiar faces. And the thought was really convicting to me as well.
Praying for you, Bolingers!!