Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Japan Mission Trip 2.0

Hello all,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I know, it has been an extremely long time since I have written anything on this blog. Rest assured, I have not forgotten about it, I have about 5 or 6 drafts of blog posts that are in limbo right now, but college, an internship with my church, and a whole slew of new friendships have kept me quite busy.

On top of all that, 夏日本にいきます!!! For those of you who can't read Japanese (I'm still learning), I'm going to Japan this summer!!! I'm super excited that the LORD has opened yet another opportunity for me to travel as part of a mission team to Japan, and I can't wait until we leave in June!

With that said, I would like to share something that I observed in daily devotions this morning. Our church has a system called the Life journal, which I think is an amazing tool for studying God's word. For each day of the year, there is a corresponding Old Testament and New Testament reading, usually it combines to a total of four chapters. If you stick with the reading plan, you end up reading the OT once and the NT twice in one year. Quite often they also through in a Psalm (it's super awesome), which I really love, because who doesn't love reading Psalms? After reading all the passages, you choose one section that you found interesting (typically a verse, but I usually choose a whole paragraph), write your observations about what the text is saying (exegete it), write an application (how should I live differently after reading this text?), and then pray asking God to either a). help you live out what the Scripture teaches, or b). help you better understand this text. Today's reading was Numbers 5&6, Psalm 22 (beautiful Psalm!), and Acts 26. I will write out my whole journal, just to give you a better picture of how this works, but in the future I will only include the section that I want to bring to light for whatever topic I am discussing here on the blog.

Scripture: Acts 26:18-29 "And Agrippa said to Paul, 'In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?' And Paul said, 'Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me this day might become as I am - except for these chains.'"

Observations: Paul used every circumstance to his advantage, even in trials he preached the gospel with the intention of winning his judges and opponents! King Agrippa's question in response to Paul's push to have him come to Christ is probably defensive, a statement that it was too short notice for him to become a Christian. Paul's goal is not only for King Agrippa's conversion, but also for every single person in the room. (Notice that these are super basic observations, the goal is not to interpret the text, but to let it speak for itself!)

Application: Do I leverage every situation for the maximum benefit to God's Kingdom? If I were on trial for my faith, would I preach with the hope of converting my judge, the jury and everyone else in the room? It says in Matthew 10:18&19 that the Holy Spirit will give Christians the words to say when they are dragged before governors and kings, therefore I must trust in the provision of the Lord, and live my life in a way that the only thing they can try me for is my faith.

Ordinarily I would include the prayer also at this point, but for sake of space I will press on at this point.

One of my greatest dreams is that I could suffer for my faith and come out of it like the Apostles in Acts 5:40-42 "40 And when they (the Sanhedrin) had called in the Apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." I long for the opportunity to live out my faith in the highest way possible, by suffering for merely associating myself with the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth, the one and only Son of God, who stepped down from heaven, leaving his divinity behind, to become a man and die for my sins. And not only to die, but also to be resurrected from the grave, defeating the Devil and Death itself, that He could bring many children to glory! My greatest prayer is that on the day when I stand before a group of people ready to kill me for my faith, that the Holy Spirit would work through me to witness to them, even if it results in my death.

Anyway, it is highly unlikely that I would get arrested in Japan for preaching the gospel, but this has been on my mind quite often in the past year, so I thought I would share it here.

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

心から (From my heart),

Joe (じょう) Anderson

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" Matthew 28:18-20

1 comment:

  1. I love this. We've been reading about early Christian martyrs in Religion, so this is something I've been thinking about too.


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