Setting up house 🏠

24 05 2017

IMG_2396We arrived in Japan on January 14th and moved back into my former home.  Since the downstairs is being used for church purposes, we are on the second floor with two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.  I think now we’ve gotten everything else that Pri wanted (like an oven, iron, blender, and other stuff I never needed 😄 ).  

Married Life

IMG_2399I have never had such a great roommate :) From dorm rooms in college until now, I’ve had a lot of experience with house/roommates, but marriage has definitely been 100x better than anything before!  There’s a little more red and pink than I’m used to, but I’m not complaining.  The transition to married life has been an easier and a more wonderful experience than expected, and we’re both thankful for that!  We’ve laughed so much—at each other and with each other and love serving God side by side!

Ministry in Japan

IMG_2186Pri is focused on learning English.  She already knows a lot of songs in English and has sung in several church events. I’m working on media stuff, concentrating on organizing and producing training material to accelerate our leadership development.  And of course, both os us disciple young people, work with cell groups and participate in various outreach events.

IMG_2153Thank you so much for your continued prayers, love and support!  We pray for you daily and love being co-workers with you in winning the world for Jesus!  It’s because of Jesus and because of you we are here.  
All our love,
Paul & Pri

Where I sit in church

15 05 2016

I’m a very logical person, so when I choose a place to sit, it’s usually very calculated.  How close to the front, how far from the air conditioner, if I’m blocking someone’s view (because of my height :)  But yesterday I felt like the Holy Spirit was showing me that church is much more about relationships, and I should take advantage of that time to find SOMEONE to sit by.  I believe that will make the person feel loved, it will make the church feel more like a family and closer, and I will be fulfilling the will of God in the church.  I’m excited to put this into practice next week!

Proverbs 9, wisdom, folly

25 04 2016

I was reading Proverbs 9, and it starts off with Wisdom calling from the rooftops, inviting all the naive to turn in there and gain understanding.  But then it ends with Folly seated in the high places calling to the naive to turn in there and taste stolen water and eat bread in secret.

If someone is naive, then how should they know where to turn?  From what I gathered here, you can tell which is folly and which is wisdom by their works, the preparations, the invitations, what are they inviting to do…I believe we all have a moral compass, and even though we can numb our conscience and stuff, deep down inside we know what is right, and if we will listen and turn to wisdom, the rewards are described over and over in Proverbs (as are the consequences of following folly).

Forcing themselves into the Kingdom

20 04 2016

I read now in Matthew 20 about the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven when Jesus tells about the guy who hires workers for his vineyard.  In the end he pays them all the same amount and says the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

First, I think God is not always fair, but He is always just!

Second, I really don’t completely understand what the “first shall be last, and last shall be first” means practically…how does that change our lives?

Third, this reminds me of the other part of the Bible where Jesus says people are forcing themselves into the Kingdom of Heaven and it is taken by force.  I think I finally understood this, because until now I used to think how? What does this mean?

In the context, as I understand it, the Kingdom of Heaven came first to the Jews, but some of the Greeks were “forcing” themselves into the Kingdom because with a lot of effort and maybe even criticism, they were finding and believing in Jesus, and receiving Eternal Life even before the Jews!  This is amazing because to me it means the following: even though we are preaching the Gospel to certain people, and sometimes “trying to win someone for Jesus”, there are those who are searching for salvation and forcing themselves in even before those who we are working with.  In a sense, these who have the opportunity to hear the Gospel every week should wake up to the fact that others are jumping in before them :)

And I think this can mean that there are those who grow in the Kingdom of God faster than others, and it’s not by who arrives first or anything like that, but by how “violent” or forceful we are in the Kingdom that we grow….just a thought :)

Compassion that Heals

20 04 2016

I had written down a while ago about a leper, and now again about 2 blind guys, who come to Jesus and ask for healing.  The Bible doesn’t say in these cases that it was because of their faith in Jesus, but because Jesus was moved by compassion that He healed them. (Mat 20:34)

I believe we too have the power of God to heal people, but maybe it’s lack of faith (like Peter on the waters), or sometimes lack of the other person’s faith (though I don’t think we can ever blame them or be judgmental), but I wonder if we had more compassion, if then we wouldn’t be able to see more of the power of God flowing through our lives?  Or move God’s heart out of compassion :)

Leadership, a situation, experiences, a decision

15 04 2016

I was reading today aw well about how a situation was resolved when some Jews were preaching that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. Now it’s in the Bible that we don’t have to, but at the time, how did they figure it out? The relied on the Scriptures (very little), on the Holy Spirit, and on experiences (a lot)!

I find it interesting how judgmental people can be for teaching something based on what the Holy Spirit has shown a pastor and the experiences that followed. Of course it’s easy to be misled, and CANNOT contradict Scripture, and I think there is one more key point to note in Acts 15:25. In the letter the apostles sent to the churches, it reads: “[…] it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul[…]”.  It wasn’t just Paul’s idea, or even the leadership of Antioch (Barnabas at the time), but all the leadership’s agreeing on it, and even sending others to confirm to the church in Antioch that Barnabas wasn’t saying it of himself (lots of care taken, I love it!)

But all that to say, this principle or whatever you want to call it, was defined/decided mostly by experience!  Brings to mind the verses that good fruit can only come from a good tree…

Samuel and his sons

15 04 2016

I was reading today at the end of Samuel’s life how his sons were taking bribes and not following in Samuel’s ways, and that was the “reason” that the people wanted a king. Before Samuel, Eli’s sons were much worse. Moses’ children didn’t continue to lead Israel. 2 of Aaron’s sons are known for taking strange fire before the Lord, and the other 2 sons aren’t really known for anything as far as I remember.
Why does it seem like these minister’s children aren’t doing greater things than their parents, like Solomon did after David? Instead of starting from the shoulders of these amazing men of God, they bring disgrace. I believe it has to do with how the parents raise the kids :)
I’m so thankful for my parents and grandparents who raised us loving Jesus and challenging us to do more for the Kingdom of God than they ever did! I think raising children is a huge challenge, but I’m thankful for those who have had success before me…I know I can do it too :)