Important Information from Japanese Government
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Matsuri (Festival) is a time of celebration: fun, joy, victorious and glory.
Doesn't this picture remind you something that you are familiar with?
2Samuel6:14-15, David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. The bible told us that was a grand occasion. It is about the return of the ark of God with His people.
Would it be the similarity of this account of bible event with matsuri, a tail of what the Creator had left for His people as a trail to salvation?
Who will speak to them, of this host of celebration which they had celebrated for thousand years?
This post is taken directly from Ramone's blog ~ Art for Jesus
If there is going to be a fellowship of the Ring in Heart4Japan, Ramone would probably be Legolas Greenleaf. Prince of Elf, that could see and hear spiritual things and have an understand of it.
By Ramone - November 29, 2009
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"When my friend Roseline Yong stayed with us here in Osaka, she mentioned how Japanese "omikuji" reminded her of our sins on the cross. Omikuji are little fortunes that people go to get at Shinto shrines every New Year's. If the fortunes are bad, they are tied to and left on trees at the shrine's grounds, and the "bad luck" is left behind there on the trees.
- Galatians 3:13
"He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed."
- 1 Peter 2:24
I had not been deeply impacted by the comparison with the cross. However, I had made a picture called "My Sins" and had displayed it at a church art show in early November. (The picture had come from a vision of my sins on red cards being posted one after another to the cross. In that vision God had utilized something a mission director had done with us years ago at a retreat: she had us privately write our sins on a little red piece of paper -- as many sins as we could think of, remember or confess. And then one by one we nailed our sin cards to the cross. In the end the cross had all these red cards on it.) After I displayed that church and was praying about sharing grace in Japan, I felt impressed by the Lord to make this Japanese version, using omikuji as Roseline had spoken of.
The comparison is not exact, however, the fortunes that are left on trees are bad ones... bad luck, bad events, bad things. In a sense, curses. Christ became cursed for us that we might be free in Him. I pray this helps at least one person understand even just a little of what He has done for us.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
The book after discount is:
RM 88 (USD 26.50/JPY 2400) not including postal charges
I still face many objections today as I share with people about the mission needs in Japan. Despite the discouragement from churches and people, I often gain encouragement as I hear and notice one new person that God had raised to pray for Japan, and even geared to move into this land. May our Lord Jesus Christ equip those who He had called, enable them to participate in His redemption plan for Japan!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
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Saturday, November 14, 2009
Japanese Spirit is characterized by eleven elements:
Yuugen 幽玄 The Subtle and Profound - things unsaid is understood in a suggestive way.
Wabi.Sabi わび.さび Subtle Taste, Elegant Simplicity - quiet, clear and calmness, free from worldly concerns and annoying human relations, expressed in Sado茶道and Haiku俳句.
Mujou 無常 Transiency - a Buddhism worldview of everything is under constant change.
Ma 間 Interval in Time or Space - an empty space that leave suggestable notions and individual interpretation, expressed in Noh 能and Kabuki歌舞伎
On 恩 Debt of Gratitude - social and psychological obligation taken on with favors received from others.
Giri 義理 Moral Obligation -principle of human relations that advocates returning debts of gratitude received from others.
Ninjou 人情 Human Feelings - spontaneous expression of feeling toward others: love, sympathy, compassion, and friendship. Together with Giri, both were the two key elements, traditionally applied to human relations among the common people in Japan.
Haji 恥 Shame - putting importance on an external feeling of shame.
Nemawashi 根回し Prior Consulation - gaining consent from everyone in advance before making a decision to avoid confusion.
Honne to Tatemae 本音と建前 Honest Feelings and Official Stance - to express an official stance which is different from one's honest feeling is a result of seeking a sense of harmony and togetherness instead of self-expression.
Wa 和 Harmony - Japanese feel that wa is more important than self-assertion, argument or confrontation.
Many of these attitudes which had once dominated the characters of Japanese people are not well understood or accepted by western people, or in the world community, and it has been gradually changing as Japan internationalizes.
Reference: Yoichi Sugiura and John K. Gillespie (2004). A Bilingual Handbook of Japanese Culture. Tokyo: Natsume
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Luis Shimba of Brazil says, “Pray for many Nikkei Brazilian descendents that are living in Japan. They are in a bad situation. Toyota Nissan and many company to eliminating many of the workers from South America.
~ updated by Don Wright
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Akita Prefecture, located on the Sea of Japan side of the Tohoku region in the north of Honshu, has a population of 1,159,022 (2004). In the winter it is characterized by heavy snowfall and a relatively low number of sunlight hours. Since 1997, it has had the highest suicide rate among all of Japan’s urban and rural prefectures.
A series of public health interventions was begun in the year 2001 with the lead of Akita University. The program encouraged civic participation and empowerment concerning suicide prevention, and the results have shown a reduction in the suicide rates of participating towns to half of the previous figure. Japan has now recognized the importance of community-oriented suicide prevention measures based on the experience of Akita Prefecture. (Motohashi et al., 2007) The intervention in Akita focused on raising awareness regarding the dignity of life, reducing the stigma of mental illness, organizing get together activities, and also doing home visitation during snowy winter season. The latter two aimed to alleviate the psychological isolation and loneliness of the elderly people. If you recapture the stories of the early church, the stated interventions are the very basic elements of the church. Instead of shying away, churches should take an active role in joining hands with other community centers, providing aid for suicide prevention. Mat 5:13-16, do not forget that the church is called to be the salt and light of the world.
Aomori, another place that shared similarities with Akita, also has one of the highest suicide rate in the nation. Driving down to the sea is one of the feasible suicide methods in Aomori because of many unfenced harbors. Pastor Shibuya of Joyful Chapel headed a suicide prevention network for the community in Aomori-shi. He shared with us that there were incidents where people came to knock on the church door to seek help after they saw the cross from afar as they were preparing to drive down
into the sea. A church sign viewable from the seaside, and a phone booth with a lifeline signboard remind people about the value of their lives are often life saving tools.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
4. H4J Prayer Meeting and Sharing Session: The Needs of Tohoku ( Sep 4, 2009)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I had a severe back pain that caused me to collapse after teaching in KBI, then I was immobile for a several days before I was able to walk again by myself and headed on to Tokyo by Shinkansen on Monday, that was Jun 15.
I wasn't able to move even an inch of the lower part of my body because of the pain. As I prayed to the Lord to take away the pain, this verse came to me, "My grace is sufficient for you." Then I thought I would probably be in that position forever as I thought about the accident that Joni Eareckson had.
I knew exactly the reason why I had suffered that pain: I had been traveling too long with extra loads on my back, physically and spiritually. My body had decided to protest and some parts of my body decided not to response. As I realized how serious it could be, I couldn't help by tears kept streaming down. I checked myself if there was any regret, but my heart was in perfect peace. I will still carry the materials with me, and I will still distribute the materials wherever I go. If there is no one that will help me to carry the loads, I will still carry it. If there is an invitation to share about the visions of Heart4Japan, I will still go. If there is an invitation to share the knowledge of Hikikomori and suicide, I will still go. The Lord said, "reserve these three months for Japan", then that should be, regardless whatever it takes. And that was the perfect timing to collapse, for the benefit of both KBI students and me. For the KBI students, they will probably never forget the lessons about Hikikomori and Suicide that day. For me, I fell into the hands of a group of experts (people who suffered back pain before, nurse, ambulance man, acupuncturist), and of course many prayer warriors to intercede on my behalf. Imagine if I fell a day before or a day after, I would probably be on the street....... Yet, there was a great sorrow when I thought I would never be able to dance and sign again in worship as I used to do.
In His perfect peace, I was able to walk again after putting myself in His great healing hands. I also survived seven hours of journey, with approximately 10 hours of sitting and reached home on June 18. All the dates were significant to me, as June 11, 15 and 18 marked the days when my father had an terrible accident, and finally left us to HOME. Remembering these days as I spent my time dealing with handicap humbled and encouraged me.
Now, it had been almost two weeks since I reached home. The condition of my back is improving each day. I managed to sit for a 4 hours exam on last Saturday, and managed to sit through the Sunday Services. God is GOOD!
My back is still pain, yet He is keeping me. Some friends had felt that this is a warning sign that God sent me, so that I will know when to take rest. ^^ I'm not sure if that's true... a warning sign?
Yes, yes, I will rest, and God had already signaled to me that I will take a long rest after the trip to Japan even before I went. Yet, taking a rest does not mean that it will be rightful not to response to His call because my physical health is weak. Yes, I have a weak back, I can't drive, I can't sit for long hours at the moment, it will not hold me from keep sharing the work of the Lord in Japan. If He calls me, this will not hold me from spending time to prepare any work that is needed for this course. Instead of just simply seeing this as a warning sign to the binge of my health, perhaps, we should see that He is calling His people into His service. It is time for more people to step in, to share the burden in Heart4Japan. My advice is: PRAY and SEEK for His heart and His will for Japan as a Father, and He will guide your steps! I don't head Heart4Japan, Jesus does. That's what I felt about this incidence.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Philosophy of Giving by the Wise: Third Talk
The meaning of the four circles marked on the picture above:
1. 弥师诃 Messaiah
2. 上悬高 hung up high
3. 有墓自开 The tombs broke open
4. 活起向人people who had died were raised to life and appeared to many people.
A literature translation of “世尊布施论第三” will be “The Philosophy of Giving by the Wise : Third Talk”. The print was discovered in Dunhuang敦煌 in 1912. Dunhuang is a point that was thought to be a major point of interchange between ancient China and Central Asia. The page above recorded the message of Matthias 27, the incident of the cross, and the resurrection too.
The Mogao Caves, “Caves of a Thousand Buddhas” had been collecting scriptures from the west. Interestingly along the discoveries, there were a few manuscripts that recorded the story of Jesus and Messaiah were found, which then marked the presence of Keikyo景教 in the East. With more and more evidences and scholarly review as well as research on these materials, Keikyo 景教 now is widely accepted as early Christians in the East, China.
The more cultural related discovery in Japan is the monument found in Kouyasan 高野山 in Wakayama 和歌山, which was presented by a British lady name Mrs. Gordon in Meiji 44. The monument was the replicate of the original in Xi-an 西安 in China.
This Keikyo monument 大秦景 教流行碑 recorded the statement of Trinity, and the account of the birth of Jesus. The scripture on the monument had also recorded that the Scripture reached Chang-an长安 in 635 year.
The importance of this finding does not only tell us about the step of the early Christians, it also raised issues such as (i) if Christianity is foreign to Chinese or Japanese at all if this was introduced in China during Tang Dynasty; (ii) if the culture has an influence of Christian teaching; (iii)how far could we trace back for the presence of Christianity in both China and Japan; (iv) if Christianity was presence so early and being accepted, why it had been seen so much as a foreign God in today’s evangelism, (v) if the scripture was in Hebrew order or Greek order; etc.
Among all these to be explored, a big question that we need to identify is that, what is this to do with Gospel in Japan?
Things that we need to keep in mind are: how can this discovery help us to preach Good News to the people in Japan? To which group of people that this piece of information will be helpful? And how can we use it as not to offend or destroy, but to build the people that we are reaching out to?
Koyasan in the northern part of the prefecture is known as a sacred place of the Shingon sect founded by Kobo Daish. The Keikyo Monument at Koyasan (Kongobuji金剛峯寺) could probably excite us as it seemed to have some possible connection with early Christianity in Japan. Yet whether the monument actually represent an evidence of early Christianity in Japan is still in debate. Various literature in the internet with regards to Keikyo are interesting. Adding all these together and by our active good will “imaginations”, we might be able to create stories of the connections of Christianity and Japanese believes system. Yet, if we do that, we will lost our Christian Dignity, and we would not be able to travel far with this piece of information. Again, we need to examine the facts carefully and check our motivations when we use this valuable information whether as a tool of “redemptive analogy” or “syncretism”.
Christian dignity on presenting the notes as “Yes” be “yes”, and “No” be “no”, is important.
In this case, if we can be careful with the evidences and have a firm grip on what we understand, be open to the opposite site of the stories if you ever encounter one when you try to use this piece of information, listen more, and keep all these into spiritual prayers, allow the move of the Holy Spirit, and let the Lord guide us into His heart for Japan.
With the limited knowledge that I have, yet tracing into the thread of Keikyo through these years by reading the internet presentation of Keikyo in Japan, meeting with a few people who had been crazy in this piece of evidence, and the interview with Kazuhiko Kawaguchi, I would be more comfortable to introduce you to the work on Keikyo by Kazuhiko Kawaguchi川口一彦. His strong understanding of Buddhism background, genuine interest in Kanji, his research spirit and firm ground of bible knowledge is convincing.
Kazuhiko brought up an interesting fact that: a missionary (Arahon 阿羅本 ) from Persia brought the Syrian Bible during Tang Dynasty, but it does not mean that it was the very first time for Christian to come to China. And the early Christians (Keikyo followers) have been persecuted by Buddhism during that period of time, During the time of Buso emperor（武宗皇帝）, Confucianism follower had deported all the other religions including Keikyo, Buddhism and Manichean from China....... ( ^^ a lot of interesting facts.....)
If you like to know more about Keikyo in Japan, please do not hesitate to be connect with E-grape Publisher, or Pastor Kazuhiko himself.
川口一彦 Kazuhiko Kawaguchi
MARCH FOR JESUS
May 5, 2009 - Nagoya
The MARCH for Jesus was organized by a group of Brazilians and called out to around 1600 people to join the March on April 5, 2009.
Knowing nothing, understanding not a word, except of sometimes a phrase pop out, "いえすは、あなたをーあーいーしーてーる！”(Jesus loves you), many people joined in the crowd. A crazy move, you can say it is for Jesus, or you can say it is for the love towards Japanese people.
Yet, many thoughts started to flow in even I enjoyed the fun that I have in the march. Is this a prophetic movement that resembling Joshua and the Jews walked around the Jericho city for seven times, and the wall collapsed which signified "Not by strength, not by might, but by the spirit of the God?" But the organizer didn't seemed to have much thoughts about that.....
The worship afterwards... I've been to more "louder" worship, more "crazy" worship, yet there was none such as this that made me feel so alien... this is difficult to explain, and I hope the readers don't get me wrong with this comment.
It is hard for me to criticize the event when I see so many efforts and good wills that had been put into it to make this come true, yet, accept of this passions to shout and the fun of it, i can't help to feel that it is more of a CULTURAL CRUSADE than a Jesus crusade.
I have no against with the passions that our Brazilian brothers and sisters have for the Japanese, and I respect that. Yet, I think cultural sensitiveness is needed in presenting Gospel to any nation. It reminded me about Corey Grinder's message, "when we bring the message of Jesus Christ to people, we often brought our whole package of culture across the bridge!" It is important for us to realize that our duty is not getting Japanese to know and to accept the our God, but to know that Jesus is their God. We really need to get ourselves back to the feet of Christ, be silent, and listen to His voice and touch His heart... for what does He wants for Japan? and be careful that we are not just doing what we think that is right.
Cultural crusade is not really welcome in any culture I guess...... and I am speaking from a perspective of a third party who have a crazy background in this circumstance...... how well was the acceptance of the street people about this MARCH? Is this a March for Japan? or a March that just a group of people who are crazy for their God?
Nevertheless, this gives us (People who have same visions) a good idea lot of thoughts if we would like to have in the next march.... perhaps we can have a more indigenous Matsuri Walk for Jesus? A more indigenous way, that we can identify God in ways that we can comprehend, in ways that we are once again ensure: Jesus is not a foreign God, but our GOD.