Overcomers Overcoming

THE week before the most recent JCF retreat in Kobe, three separate people emailed me reminding me to be aware of spiritual resistance in Japan. At the same time, Ive been reading a book that a friend randomly gave me: Warfare Prayer by C. Peter Wagner. Not surprisingly, the theme of the JCF retreat this past weekend just so happened to be “Overcomers Overcoming”. In my small group we discussed a feeling of spiritual “disconnectedness” from the reality of God, which all three of us have encountered over the past year. Not only was it encouraging simply to hear that others are encountering similar challenges, but I felt convinced that God […]

Spending Time with God

IN THE midst of the colder weather, we can easily forget how blessed we are by God. God has chosen to give us breath in our lungs, food to eat, money to buy it with, employment and relationships with other people. We can not only forget to count our blessings (God didn’t give us enough appendages to count them!), but we can also forget to ask for more. As children of God, we have the blessings of heaven at our disposal. We can also pray these blessings into other people’s lives as well. God is our Father, and like a good Father, He wants to give us good things. He just […]

Being a Messenger of Jesus

THERE is no doubt about it, Christmas is a season of wonder. Even people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus easily get into the Christmas spirit. People are more generous during this time, more joyful and even sing Christmas carols and songs of worship about a Savior! There is just something special about Christmas that people who aren’t even saved and don’t even understand, know there is something about it that is special. As Christians, we know that it is because of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of love ever given. This is a beautiful season for Christians although we don’t really believe it is on December 25th,  it is a great opportunity to […]

Adventures and Wonderlands

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your task. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle. ~ Phillips Brooks THERE was one chance I didn’t take. But I’m not going to talk about it now because I don’t believe that God has called us to live a boring, “cotton-candy” Christian life. I believe God wants us to experience life for ourselves and live it to the full (John 10:10). At the beginning of this year, I have already “made up my mind” to […]

In Times Like These

Do you ever feel as though God has forgotten about you or earth in general?  Maybe you were greatly impacted by the devastation wrought by the disasters around you and feel that God does not care about his creation.  Or maybe you believe or have faith that God is real, but don’t believe He has the time to consider you or is think He is too busy running the heavens to really care about your personal situation.  Isaiah 40:26-31 tells us something quite different: 26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them […]

Lost in Transition

SUDDENLY, the rain washed away the humid days in Osaka during this last week of August. Although it is still hot, the nights have started to become cooler and for the first time this summer I got by without an electric fan assisting the air-conditioner in my apartment. It seems like the impetuous summer just stepped out, pulling in the unwilling autumn. I sometimes wonder whether abrupt changes are good or bad. When I first came to Japan at the beginning of April a few years back, I was wearing only a cotton t-shirt under an athletic track suit, naive of the northern Japan spring. As soon as I landed in Narita International Airport, I knew I was in for lots […]

What Will Matter

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.Even […]

Shaken But Not Stirred

A year ago today, I had an experience that brought these scriptures to life in a way that goes beyond that of just a nice thought on a greeting card that some people might think they come across like if not being specifically applied in a context. However, for me, they are permanently associated with March 11, 2011 and the weeks and months that followed from there… Thus resulting in my frequent comments that I’m “shaken, but not stirred“.   Colossians 3:14-16, New King James Version (NKJV)   14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule […]

Earthshaking Opportunities

In the summer of 2009, God called me to be a missionary in Japan. Personally, I thought He was nuts, to which he simply replied, “I made you. If I’m nuts, what are you?” Realizing I couldn’t argue with God, I shut my mouth, packed my bags, and with nothing to go on but a few contacts and a job teaching English, hopped on a plane and went. God’s hand seemed to be guiding me from the very beginning. Within the first month, a small church near my apartment contacted me. I visited them the next Sunday, nervous that with only two semesters of Japanese, I wouldn’t understand a word. […]

The JCF Retreat Message – A Good Reminder

by Aaron Peterson   “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” – Dr. Johnson, as quoted by C.S. Lewis     At this most recent JCF Retreat, the speaker, Seth Philip, expounded on the Book of Romans. And while I have read the Book of Romans before, I was reminded of some very important truths.   First, I was reminded that I must have God as my God. Oftentimes, we say that we are doing things for God, and then we focus so much on the things themselves that we lose sight of God. This had happened to me. I was so concerned with helping […]