First of all I’d like to start talking about this statement which was directed towards the followers of Jesus Christ in a Pentecostal conference that was held in Shizuoka, Japan 2014 (www.jpf21.jp). I could not agree even more on that statement, it is what it is.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
It begins like this: First, our relationship with our Father God through Jesus Christ and then our relationship with the people. It is simple and tangible. May I say that for me it made me think a lot because I was wandering If I really was looking for a genuine relationship with the people or even if I was looking for the lost people so that they might become followers of Christ. To be honest with the first question, not really. You might be thinking that’s what I was supposed to do here, right? However I gotta say that even though my desire was to shared the gospel and the love of Christ to the people, my personality actually did not allow me to look for a genuine or in other terms “deep relationship”. It sounds tough but I realized during the time I spent in the conference.
One of the greatest testimonies that really encouraged me to change my mind, my perspective and of course my heart with the help of the Holy Spirit, was the following:
“A Senior Pastor in Manila was preaching in the service one day. Then a man came into the service and stayed for a while listening. A few minutes later the man left the room and the Pastor decided to look after him, leaving the preaching behind, leaving the people behind in the middle of the service. The Pastor found him after all and they went together to a Cafeteria. Hours and hours speaking and finally the man decided to share with the Pastor that he was the President of a Buddhist Organization in Manila and that was the first time hearing the gospel of Christ. With such a great joy and patience the Senior Pastor started to meet with him one by one. The result… months later this man became Christian!
Is it not Amazing? I mean, he is a Senior Pastor with the responsibility to lead the church but he invested his time with this man one by one for the sake of Jesus; it is like there is not excuse for anybody to do disciples, we can do it during our job, during events, etc. Simply we don’t have any excuse. Pastor Joey Bonifacio (Victory Fort’s Senior Pastor- http://www.joeybonifacio.com) shared with us about culture, which has values, vision and language. We can not change people’s values from night to morning, we have to identify what they are looking right now in their lives. Are they looking for love, are they feeling lonely, etc… with such points we will be able to connect more with the person, meeting one by one and finding the moment to introduce the gospel to them till they look for the highest value, which is God. My japanese is getting better, now I am able to share my testimony and I can understand conversations better, hopefully I am looking forward to share the gospel in Japanese soon!
Luke 15: 4-7
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent”.
With this, I started to meditate and from now on I am not looking forward to just preach the gospel and that’s it, I am looking forward to look after the people’s heart genuinely. It might take time, it might require lots of energy and patience, but for the one that gave his life for the ransom of many and for me, I want to do it and I know for sure that God is going to help me.
Around eight hundred people came to the conference, from all over Japan. What was quite interesting was to know from one Pastor Steve Murrell (Victory Manila‘s Senior Pastor- http://www.stevemurrell.com) that since the Tsunami and earthquake of 2011 in Japan, the Youth Generation are more open to the Gospel than ever before. I could see that Japanese people are really crying out for God and the best thing is that God is replying back. I’ve never seen it before, their hearts are full of passion to make the Lord Jesus Christ known in this nation! The worship was also AWESOME!
Please, keep praying for Japan because the Lord has been working in such amazing ways that you did not imagine!