Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Ps 95:1–2
It's about fellowship:
I was talking with someone just the other day about the foundation, the fundamentals, the main purpose of this life. The usual Christian response; “To know God, to spread the Gospel, to be involved in the process of leading others into, and maintaining a relationship with God.”
As missionary, of course I have no argument with that view. I would like to concentrate on the essence of all this. As we walk through life, as we do the work of the ministry, and as we look at what God has always wanted from the very beginning, it could be summed up in one word, one concept: “relationships”.
The struggle for mankind and even much of Heaven ever since the fall of Lucifer, to the fall Adam and Eve, has been the Sin that, at its heart, destroys relationships. One of the most telling measurements of how we are doing in life is reflected in our relationship to God, to each other, and in our work relationships.
What is the most important, most vital factor in the quality of our relationships? How do we function in, create and renew, improve our relationships? It can be summed up in the quality of our “communication”. What is your communication like? Are you a “Twitter” style (255 characters at a time), communicator or do you really pour into the lives of others?
I hear it said often that God, in His Word, has written us a love letter. He has given us the information we need in order to know Him and walk with Him. But unless we read the letter and listen to His Holy Spirit when He speaks into our lives, communication breaks down. Our relationship with God suffers.
We have a unique opportunity to communicate our love back to God. In fact, if we neglect that, Jesus said; “… Even the rocks will cry out.” – Luke 19:40 Why is God so concerned with worship? Worship is one of the most powerful things we can do. It’s Spiritual. It’s healing in nature. It brings us face to face with God in a way that heightens our ability to communicate with God.
I am excited about how God is using us here to disciple others in the Christian life, and one key area is through worship. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in training up the next generation of worship leaders here in Japan. They are fully engaged in the process. They understanding that it is more than just playing an instrument. They desire to be used by God as instruments in leading God’s people into a place where they can communicate better with God.
What a wonderful way to discover more about communication, build quality relationships and apply those skills in ministry, by serving on a worship team.
Worship involves all of the people in the church and we have seen some new worship leaders trained up. Some highlights...
Anna has been leading worship as part of the team and helping coordinate the many worship leaders at GCF. In the last year, she has taken a more active role in the “leading of leaders” side of the worship ministry. Also this year, I have had the honor of helping her learn to play the guitar. Anna also has a huge heart for discipling young girls. Anna is a 3rdgeneration missionary ‘kid” and is as comfortable speaking Japanese as she is speaking English.
There is so much going on at GCF. Everyone and every relationship is essential in the ministry here. This month I would like to focus on one person in particular. Sayaka is one of our GCIS students. As is often the case with our kids at GCIS, Sayaka has some challenges with her home situation. With the help of the Lord and the ministry here at GCF, she has really been able to connect with the body of Christ.
In the last months she has learned to play the guitar. She is doing so well at it that she is already helping lead worship in the regular morning services. I have had the honor and blessing of being part of her music and worship leading training. Sayaka is also demonstrating a desire to help other kids her age in the vision to become skilled worship leaders. It seems like every time I see her, if she is not studying in school, she has a guitar in her hand and is playing on her own or with others.
She tells us how she really feels loved here at GCF. I pray she will continue to develop her skills and will use them for leading the next generation of Japanese into God’s presence. She certainly has the heart of a worship leader.
This year a large portion of the school’s students were invited to come to the U.S. and be part of producing a DVD of children’s worship music – all in Japanese. This is a first for Japan. We can’t share the videos with you YET, but maybe next month!
Belinda is continuing to meet with people at a Starbucks coffee shop that is fairly close to where we live. She has been continuing to teach English to one of the baristas. Now, she has been meeting with one of the members of the church, practicing teaching Bible studies in Japanese. It’s just a start, but I am excited to see her take her language skills and use them for teaching the Bible.
Of all the new people we have seen come through the doors at GCF, easily 80% of them found or at least visited our websites to find a church or to explore the possibility of placing their children in the GCIS school. In Japan, that same percentage or more use a phone for communication and surfing the web. Traditional computers are very secondary to the Japanese technical personal lifestyle.
All three of our church websites are being completely rebuilt. They will now be much easier for all the staff to manage content, send out electronic bulletins, schedule and communicate about events, post teachings, etc. Those browsing our websites will be able to see all this information in a format tailored to whatever devices they choose to use.
Our own ministry website has been rebuilt as well. It is built on the same technology as the church sites. Take a look at it with whatever your favorite device might be: mcbade.com. You will notice our newsletters have changed in format as well. It’s all about doing what we can to keep in good communication with you!
The school is one of those essential parts of the ministry at GCF. Belinda continues to oversee and coordinate all the school activities. This year our middle and high school students have been taking some of their courses through Calvary Online School.
Belinda has been putting a lot of her time into helping these students keep on track with the online program. COS has been a really good fit in the overall GCIS strategy and has been working very well for our students.
As the GCIS school year ends, much of the staff here will transition from the operation of the school to the annual outreach events, namely Easter and VBS. It’s a “different kind of busy”. We will keep you updated on how these events go.
How can we pray for you?
Belinda and I pray regularly for our family and extended family. You are that family. If you have things you would like us to include in our prayer time, please write us. Also, we want to rejoice with you. Please remember to update us on how God is answering our prayers - yours and ours. We treasure our relationship with you!
We never ask for support in our newsletters. We believe that as we pray, and you pray for this ministry, God provides. If you want more details, we provide these here.