Lets see, I have been here now for 12 years. I am appalled at the condition of the church. Everywhere I go, christians lament that with all the work, only 3 to 4 percent of Japan are christian… My response is, "what work?" What this country could use is a couple of real churches with some real men of faith. Men to remind the people that the freedoms and the trappings of civilization that we enjoy today have all sprung from the Judeo-Christian culture.
- Welfare ( 6000 years ago in Leviticus 23:22 and not for the favored but for the foreigner as well )
- Public Education ( 6000 years ago in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that every boy would be taught to read)
- Public Health Care( 6000 years ago in Leviticus 13 and not for the privileged but for every man woman and child )
- Freedom from Racism ( 6000 years ago in Numbers 12 that God would not tolerate judgement of a person by the color of their skin )
Feel free to dismiss that idea but those concepts around the world exist only because they were shamed into them. Thousands of years before it became cool to be liberal, God commanded all to live in a way that would bring prosperity to all. Not a single of those concepts can be shown to have been followed in any culture worldwide for thousands of years after they were commanded to the people of Israel. Of course throughout history, selfish men have used religion to prosper themselves, and unwitting and ignorant fools have failed to understand Gods grace and proffered wars in Christ’s name but those mistakes do nothing to lesson the reality of what christianity is. People followed Jesus because he preached against the nonsensical laws of his day and showed the people the fullness of a life full of grace. He did not tolerate the people that used religion to profit. He forced the people out of the temple with whips that used it for profit.( John 2:15 ) He dismissed the preachers of the day that preached about Gods law, yet had no love and did nothing for their communities. ( Matthew 23 ) If he were here today, there would be few preachers that he would not call to the carpet. The world wants for miracles today. Each of us has a pocket full of miracles if we just decide to give them out. Time for our neighbor, bread for the poor, fairness for our community members. Those don’t sound like miracles? They are when you are on the receiving end, I assure you. They change lives and withholding them destroys lives.
Great quotes I have heard here in Japan:"In the end, the cost per soul is just too high to continue to function in Japan."
Was the price of Japanese souls too high? Or was money just wasted on ineffectual evangelism and projects. I will be bold and say it was the latter. Do apologetics really come into play when you are going door to door collecting bags of rice for the underprivileged? And to aim to gather a group of people with no established purpose… well, if one were to succeed, would they have succeeded only in assembling a group of people with no interest in having a purpose? Oh, and then there is my favorite of all. A real visionary who lays claim to the Starbucks ministry. They take a group of English speakers, go to a starbucks, buy one cup of coffee so they can annoy evangelize the guests for 3 hours a pop. Let me check… reveal the deep truths of spirituality to non English speakers… must be some power gloselelia going on there. Not to mention the disrespect for the poor store tender that is trying to feed his family one cup of coffee at a time. For Christ’s sake, and I do mean Christ’s sake. Is is so hard to understand? These people are just plain lazy. Shoe salesman turned super evangelist D. L. Moody said it best when queried about his ability to get a crowd to gather.“Well, you just set yourself on fire, n people will come to watch you burn.”
Lets just make this short and to the point. People are dying all around us, every day and God cries that we sit and do nothing because we are too busy… too busy to rescue the dying? It is just our selfishness that keeps us from reaching out. The deep loss is that our selfishness keeps us from realizing the very purpose we were born for. And end the end, we lose out ourselves.
Purpose: Do you want to make an impact or just fade away? ( Proverbs 29:18 ) The scripture is clear that unless a man has a vision, he will amount to nothing or worse. A man needs more than a nebulous goody goody thing like “ I want to share Gods love.” You need a real concrete goal and clearly thought out way that you feel God has equipped and ordained you to share His love. If you don’t have a purpose, you are like a boat with no rudder. Useless
Compassion: Do you really have compassion? Do you have the heart to stop what you are doing to take care of the people God has given you to touch? When Jesus was preaching on the mount, it says that when he saw the people, he was filled with compassion and he fed them… ( Matthew 15:36 ) Don’t even get me started on the ‘pastors’ that want food to give to homeless people that sit thru their message. If you have something of value to say, people will come to listen. If you have compassion, they will believe what you say. You don’t have compassion? You don’t even have a boat. ( James 2:14 )
A Plan: ( Gen 1:26 ) God didn’t just create man and set him loose. He had a plan for man and charged man to teach that to each generation. Oh, how many pastors I talk to that have no plan… My favorite was a well meaning older Japanese man from Kyoto. His plan consisted of, “If we build this beautiful church, people will come to see it and then we can tell them about God.” … That was no plan, just a dream, and a waste of everyones time that volunteered to build that church. Today, after 15 years, it sits empty except for the weddings that he contracted an avowed enemy to christianity to arrange because he wants to have an income from his investment. Pastors with no plans are like boats with no oars. Going nowhere and carried along by the currents around them.
There are Billions alive today. Only a few will make a difference. 100 years from now, only a couple hundred names will be remembered. A purpose, compassion, and a plan. Jesus had them, his name stands the test of time. How about yours?