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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Japan Mission Trip Video

Here is the video that my church did for our mission trip. The statistics concerning suicide in Japan are quite alarming. I hope God used us in amazing ways, and I hope He gives me the chance to go back and do even more!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

There's Just Something About Hymns...

I love Hymns, especially old hymns of Irish origin like Be Thou My Vision and Before the Throne of God Above (written by an Irish woman in America, but it still counts). There is just something there, the rich, deep lyrics; the beautiful melodies; the gospel of Christ portrayed unashamedly and unmasked. One does not have to search for the Spiritual truths when reading the lyrics of a hymn, as they are often right there in the open, even taken directly from scripture at times. Martin Luther, the author of numerous hymns and the founding father of the reformation, believed that when people sang, it subconsciously reinforced their beliefs, and he advocated singing hymns at home as well as church.
Don't get me wrong, I love the newer contemporary worship songs as well, and I sing them often at church, but there is just something about hymns, that will always hold a special place in my life...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

日本 - There an Back Again

The young man sat down in one of his favorite chairs and reached for the laptop. The old beast sprang to life with the touch of a button, and he surfed his way over to his website. Many people had been promised a debrief on his recent trip to Japan, and he knew he had to write it soon. Tonight was as good a night as any. Pressing his fingers to the keyboard, he began to write.

For those of you who were unaware, I recently returned from a mission trip to Japan. Twenty members from our church, including my two younger brothers and I, visited Yokohama and Saitama in the course of 11 days. We spoke at New Hope Church in Yokohama, a Lutheran School in Saitama, and New Life Family Church Saitama. We shared our testimonies, preached, and shared the love of Jesus Christ through sign-dance and dramas. Our main purpose was to form relationships between New Hope Hawaii Kai and the churches in Yokohama and Saitama. The day after we got off the plane we were already busy, travelling from one area of Yokohama to another for youth welcome party the church held for us. Travelling is pretty awesome in Japan, even during rush hour I liked riding the trains. We never had any instances where the men in the white gloves were pushing people on the train, so I guess that'll have to wait for next time :D 
The people at both churches were pretty awesome. It was always an encouragement to go from the train system where everyone looks super tired and depressed - absorbed in their own world - and jumping into a church service where the people really enjoy being there. At both churches, the congregants come together only once a week, so they arrive early for the service, and then stay later so that they can spend as much time together as possible. At the after party for both Yokohama and Saitama's church services,  one of our team members taught the members of the churches how to line dance. This is a picture of a combined service from both churches doing the line dance at an after party, with one of our team members learning and helping out at the same time. Thanks to Mel for this photo. 
It was also a chance for all the interns at our church to get to know one another and grow as a team and individuals. Our team of 11 interns spent a lot of time in crowded conditions with each other, and there was a little bit of friction. I think all of the interns really learned a lot from the experience. We learned the necessity for accountability, letting others know where we are at all times, and also what it takes to get a large group of people from point A to point C through crowded conditions... while changing trains. Everyone on the team is on the team because they are wanting to become involved in full-time ministry. It was an honor and privilege to work with such an amazing group of people. I hope I have the privilege to serve with them even more in the future.  Here is a picture of the whole group waiting for a train. We certainly look like a goofy group, eh?
While the people at the churches were amazing, the other people around us on the trains or in other places were a bit intimidating at times. The first night we were on the last train heading from the airport to Yokohama a man was growling at our youth pastor and a couple of our chaperons, and despite most of the people being extremely polite, there were a few other unsavory characters. We got an extremely cold reception at one of the two chapel services we did at the school, and the head pastor at our church had to remind a sleep-deprived and discouraged team of young adults that it wasn't our love for them that they were rejecting, but Christ's. He then proceeded to remind us that we cannot judge how many seeds were planted in the minds of the High Schoolers.
The best part about the trip was getting to leave the US for the very first time, and serve God while doing it! Here are a few more pictures from the trip that I took. 
Ryan, Chris, and Myself at a restaurant 

Me in front of a nice Sushi shop in Tsukiji

Sushi at aforementioned Sushi shop
We performed a skit teaching the power of Christ over temptation at two services.

All in all, I think the trip was a complete success, and I pray that those who saw our outreach would be moved to seek what we showed, the love of the one true God. I definitely plan on going back to Japan, there is so much work to do there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Japan Mission Trip

Wow, I can't believe it is only a week and three days away! If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me fill you in! As an intern at my church here in Hawaii, I will be travelling with a team of roughly twenty people to Yokohama and Saitama in Japan. We will be working with two churches there, teaching English, and spreading the gospel. I am really looking forward to it, but I barely know Japanese (my fault, I haven't been studying enough). Please pray for a safe trip there and back again, and that we could reach the youth of Japan with the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected for their sins. This partially explains why I have been inactive on the blog, although I must confess that it is also my fault for not taking the time to post more often. Please pray that we may be an effective weapon for curtailing the work of the devil, and that we may be a light to those around us.
I will post with updates on how the trip is going, and when we're done I'll post pictures and type up a debrief of sorts.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Changes Coming

Hello All!

Sorry I have been inactive for so long, but I have been pretty busy with our internship here at New Hope, publishing my first fantasy fiction novel, and keeping up with music and other miscellaneous things. I am hoping that I will be posting more when college begins in August, when I will have more things to blog about (I will be very eager to share what I will be learning, believe me), which leads me to my next point. I am mulling a name change to suit a new direction for the blog. Nothing is finalized yet, but the idea is that this blog will start changing to a teaching/application blog, where I can share what I am learning and get discussion on what I am learning and debate on different points. The goal would be to show you, my readers, what I am learning, and hopefully allow us all to grow in our love and understanding of the One True God. The goal of this blog, with Christ's guidance, will be to equip all (including myself) to be ready at all times to give a reason for their faith, and that we may learn to live by the commands of 2 Peter 1:5-10, adding virtue to our faith, knowledge to our virtue, self-control to our knowledge, steadfastness to our self-control, godliness to our steadfastness, brotherly affection to our steadfastness, and love to our brotherly affection. 2 Peter states that if we attain these qualities they will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful. 

That being said, I will try to keep you up to date on how the trip to Japan is progressing. Please pray daily for our mission team, and especially for the people of Japan. Pray that God gives a heart which drives us to reach the youth of Japan with the gospel of Christ and him crucified for our sins, and that he would prepare the hearts of the people to receive this gospel. If you want to pray specifically for me, please pray for faith in God's ability to provide. When it comes to raising money for the trip, acquiring donations for our silent auction, and trying to learn Japanese, I tend to rely on my own understanding rather than put my faith in God. Lately, I feel he has been testing me. My faith is growing, but too slowly in my opinion (that's probably a good thing, but I'm only human).

Thank you all for your prayers regarding the Mission trip to Japan. I will try to be a little more active in the future, letting you know how we're progressing.

Until next I write, farewell.


"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. Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19 & 20

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Next Chapter Begins

Hello Everyone!

I pray the Lord has been watching over you since my last post. I just wanted to let y'all know why I have been largely absent from the blog here. We are down to the final two weeks to earn donations for a Silent Auction/Dinner fundraiser that will be going towards the Japanese mission trip. We have been out several hours each day for the last few days going door to door on businesses asking for donations. Please pray that the Lord opens the hearts of the businesses men and women here in Hawaii, and allows us to have a successful fundraiser. Other than that, I must confess I have been goofing around a bit, running around the island doing crazy things with my brothers, but that must be expected. I am hoping that blogging will pick up a bit while I am at New Hope Christian College, when I have more things to share (I will be learning, after all!), so until then please hang in there. Speaking of which, the next chapter in my life is starting to unroll, as I have just been accepted to the college! I will try to keep you posted about life, and any brilliant thoughts I have regarding theology and doctrines.

Until next time, may the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand!