As many of you know, I just got back from a trip into Japan. Vol 1.
The trip was alive with the work of the Holy Spirit.
I know more deeply what John meant when he said,
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete." I John 1:1-4
My joy was completed in and during this assignment. To walk in the Spirit, bless, encourage and strengthen the church, call churches together in love and service with prayer fulled unity and to allow the Spirit to "lay out" and "paint" the picture of what we would do, where we would go in prayer and gospeling, and what we would say. The result = Joy!
From the simplest fix falling into place on a travel issue to the divine appointments of meeting a person who said, "I have always wanted to meet a Christian but never have."
We walked in the Spirit, stayed in a home that welcomed us, a church that welcomed us, a neighborhood that welcomed us as Ambassadors of Jesus.
The whole thing began with a word of encouragement.
After 12 years away the Lord was opening up Asia to me again. I would be returning to Japan. This was something I thought about and reflected on for years but felt was over and dead. After weighing that word and seeing the fruit, teams going to the nations and the open doors in Japan I am filled with joy at having fellowship with my brothers and sisters once more.
It took 26 months to walk through the gate.
I traveled to Bali, Indonesia and Kampala, Uganda first. Trying to fit Japan in to each trip but being unable. The way was not yet prepared and the connections secured for the timing of the Lord.
Japan clearly is a gate that opens to many nations and pathways.
I set out to explore Matthew 10/Luke 10 more deeply and walk more closely in the commission of the disciples in the way they were sent. As unscripted as possible. Staying in a welcoming home. Pouring out peace and blessing on all who would welcome us. Following those welcomes and open doors to people's lives, hearts and ministry. Carrying the Gospel and the power of the Spirit to save the lost, revive the saved and equip everyone.
The Spirit built a team that could do it.
The team that came together for this trip was nothing short of God's perfect fit. A married couple, Gabriel and Laurel, dynamic loving, flexible and big heart-ed couple and Kirk, a wise and peace filled Saint with a remarkable gift of calling people to the presence of God with no shame. All were worshipers and well acquainted with prayer and ministry in the Spirit. All were willing to dive into the arrow head of the Spirit's leading. Letting the Spirit put the value on and map our paths for 8 days. The team was also humble, flexible and willing to honor and love above themselves. They were steadfast and strong and could stand in uncertainty without complaint. Beautiful qualities of Jesus in the motion and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Spirit gave us a welcome that embraced us and so much transpired in a short time.
In praying and putting things together for the trip, the Lord pointed me to Nate and Azusa Stratton. They were living in Kyushu, in the city of Yamaga, right near Kumamoto. I've known Nate since his college days and his time at Metro Vineyard in Portland OR. Now 17 years later we were going to venture out together into the encouragement and mission of the Kingdom once more. We moved in what I'm starting to call Kingdom time. Some kind of accelerated Kingdom grace that multiplies time, ministry and relationship in what typically is not enough time. And along with such time comes the power of grace to go and go and sleep well. Spirit power in mind and body filled us and we went strong through out the trip. I saw this in Uganda. I need to unpack it a bit more.
The Kingdom of God is not hindered or limited by the Boarders of Nations. The time of heaven isn't hindered either. God can accomplish a great deal in a short time. I've seen this now in multiple trips. I'm looking forward to unpacking this more in the US.
The kingdom expanded - the lost were touched - the doors were open in massive fashion.
I will tell more about our prayer/evangelism walks and the people we met and interacted with, but in short the Lord seemed to set up works for us to walk in. Ephesians 2:10. Created by him for him for us to walk in. We saw this over and over. In fact whole days were mapped out to meet people, go here and there and share the gospel.
The overwhelming impression on me from this trip is WIDE OPEN DOORS. The Lord has gone before us and created works that call us into his workmanship through our obedience and walking with the Spirit.
A couple stand out points from this trip.
1. What can a church of 1000 people do in one day? What can a church of 10 do in one day?
The church is empowered with compassion. When that gets put in motion many wonderful things emerge. When that is linked with the ministry of the Holy Spirit things can change dramatically. In the US and anywhere we need to be bringing a touch to the community of hope and life and ministry to the poor. The church has a powerful witness in compassion and leading of the Holy Spirit. ACTS 13 Let's start listening and acting for those without and first with the family of God.
2. Pray for harvest workers for Japan.
Prior to our trip a friend reminded me, in a country with less than 1% confessing Christ nearly everyone you meet knows nothing of the Gospel of Jesus. It is hard to miss with such a large target. We need a massive stream of circuit Riders to flood the Universities and hang outs of Japan. Musicians, worship and prayer teams, gospel teams, church teaching and encouragement teams. And those teams need to activate the Japanese believers in working along side and partnering in the Gospel. There is a high need for American's to listen and learn from our brothers who have waged such a long fight in patient endurance! And there is a huge need to pour throughout Japan a Spirit empowered witness of compassion and love in all kinds of open doors.
I can see so many roadways leading from the Mountain. (Isaiah 49:11)
The Lord was clear with me that we are to welcome the Japanese as partners in the nations and encourage them to bring the Gospel to the nations with us. I am looking forward to partnering with Japanese pastors and leaders in impacting the Nations together.
I would love to dialogue with you.
Share your comments.
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