Sunday, April 12, 2009

"It Changed My Life!"

I was flipping channels recently when I came across an infomercial for Chuck Norris' "Total Gym" home fitness system. Christie Brinkley read a customer's letter saying, with great passion, that the Total Gym had "changed my life!" I immediately thought, "Should any product be able to truly change our lives?" Sure, products can change our "quality of life." But what can TRULY change one's life?

I believe that only Jesus Christ can truly change one's life. He takes me, a self-centered, self-righteous man who does not naturally love his neighbor, and who continues to struggle with the same sins over and over, and He humbles me -- shows me my sin and reminds me of what HE did to pay the price of those sins. He died an excruciating death, and He did it because of His unfathomable love for me and for all those He came to redeem. We celebrate today Christ's victory over death -- He didn't stay in the grave, but took back His life! He offers this victory over death to each one of us. THAT is love! Romans 5:8 says, "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We don't need to clean ourselves up in order to come to Christ; in fact we CAN'T clean ourselves up. Christ died for us while we were still in our sins and our filth. He cleans us up! That is love. That is truly life changing!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why Japan?

You may be wondering why I am preparing to be a missionary in Japan. Wouldn't the Gospel be better served in a nation where the people struggle just to survive?

That is a fair question. My first response is that I did not choose to go to Japan. Actually, I didn't even choose to be a missionary! God made His will abundantly clear to me through two mission trips in 2007 & 2008. I never had a desire to be a missionary, but God changed my heart so that I can no longer imagine any other path but to be a missionary in Japan!

But "WHY JAPAN?" Don't they have it all together? It is one of the most affluent nations on earth. The people are known for their extremely strong work ethic. Their products -- cars, electronics, etc. -- are virtually flawless. The problem is that the Japanese standard of perfection also applies to people. They expect everyone to be perfect. Even though they know within themselves that they are not perfect, they pretend to be perfect -- constantly disappointing themselves. This results in what some call "the zero defect affect." Japan has the highest rates of depression and suicide among industrialized nations. The people are isolated and hurting. What they need is Jesus Christ -- the only Person who ever lived a perfect life, and Who offers us forgiveness for our imperfections.

Yet less than 0.4% of the Japanese people have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. God has laid this nation and these people upon my heart. I can think of nothing more important than to share the grace of Jesus Christ with this hurting nation.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Proclaiming the Risen Son in the Land of the Rising Sun

Well, this is my first attempt at a blog. The purpose of this is to share what God is doing in Japan, in me, around me, and through me. I am currently living in Jackson, Mississippi, working for five more weeks at Belhaven College, and preparing to be a missionary to Japan this fall. Please come back as I will be developing this blog in the coming weeks and months.