|Jesus suffered great indignation and pain on our behalf. Although our sin and rebellion is offensive to God, He is not ashamed of us. Instead, He loves us with a joy and passion that is demonstrated by His willingness to send His own son to die for our transgressions. But wait – there’s more! He showed His victory over sin and death by raising Jesus up from the grave. That same power of salvation that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us as we put our Faith in Him.
Here is the part that is beyond the human heart and mind to comprehend; in and of ourselves we have no righteousness – none! But God gives us His righteousness that we no longer need walk in shame, but in the power of His gospel to save everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross – and moreover, His resurrection power to save us from our desperate condition.
Moving forward in Faith:
The above verse, from the opening of Romans, speaks of revelation from “faith to faith”. In Hebrews 11:1 it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have many hopes, dreams and desires that God puts in our hearts as we abide in Him. I’m so thankful that He does not leave us merely hoping, but demonstrates the fruition of our desires in Him continually. With each step of faith He brings us forward in His call, His plan and in His will for our lives. It’s the Godly motivation that draws us closer to Him with each step.
I marvel that, even though I know I am a sinner, God is faithful and the power of His grace and His love for me never fails. As I look to Him, He continues to bring His promises to pass in my life. When I get off track He lovingly sets me back on course. This is a relationship with my Father that is truly my own. I am not ashamed of that – no, I rejoice that the God of the very universe holds me gently in the palm of His gentle hand. It is my heart’s desire that I might be used by Him to share with boldness the power of the gospel to the Jew, the Greek and to the ends of the earth. God desires to have a unique and personal relationship with you as well!
Exciting News! Exciting News! Exciting News! Exciting News!
God is faithful in all things – the little things and the big ones. At the end of last month we submitted our request for a visa. When we applied, we made our request for the all three of us. We put together all our paperwork, (there was a substantial amount of that), including several letters from the missions board here at Calvary Chapel of Santa Barbara. Once sent to Grace Christian Fellowship, every item had to also be translated into Japanese, (thank you Rie!), and then submitted to the Japanese immigration department.
The Japanese immigration department is very strict in their guidelines for approving a missionary visa. The sponsors on both sides must be officially recognized as religious organizations. The status as a religious organization and a missionary visa are very difficult to obtain in Japan. Most missionary visas are granted for only one year and then must be renewed each year.
This last week I was in Chicago on business. During my return trip I got a voice message on my cell phone. I checked my messages and there was a very excited voice on the message I clearly recognized. It was Renee from the church office in Ome. She rarely calls me and here it was on my cell phone! I called back as soon as I could get to a relatively quite place in the airport terminal. Try doing that sometime! After listening to the voice on the other end responding in Japanese, I recognized it was Renee. “You called”, I said, “I’m returning your call.” She hesitated for a split second, “JOHN! I have three pieces of paper here with your lovely pictures on each one. Your certificates of eligibility grant you full missionary visas for three years!”
Well, I’m frankly blown away by this. God granted us the missionary visa, and once again our word from the Lord is confirmed. He wants us to make a long term commitment to Japan. I am also humbled by those you who are sharing in this vision to see the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in Japan. Step by step we are seeing the substance of this hope made more tangible every day. We have Faith that He will complete the work He has begun as he continues to provide for the work of the ministry in Japan.
- God is providing! We had a great visit with Pastor Rob McCoy and Calvary Chapel of Thousand Oaks last weekend. Another missionary family was there on furlough and it turns out they are serving with churches we know in Japan personally just a short train ride away. God is making connections for us here and abroad.
- The new information book is complete! – This is a key compilation on the ministry that we are sending to church missions boards, along with a video, as we ask them to pray about supporting this ministry work in Japan.
- The visa is approved! God is SO good!
- God is moving us forward! He continually demonstrates His love for us as he moves the hearts in His people to see the gospel shared throughout the world.
- We are in the process of sharing the vision for reaching Japan with churches and discovering God’s provision. Pray that God would direct our paths and speak to the hearts of those who are praying about participating in sending us.
- We need God’s clear direction as we seek His timing on stepping down from our jobs. Our present employers have been good to us and we want to transition with integrity.
- That God would continue to move on the hearts of those making one time and monthly commitments for support. All of them – great and small are blessings – to the giver, to us and to the Lord.
- Logistics: We have many details to manage as we begin to make the final preparations. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed. When we get there we have a whole new set of logistical decisions to manage as well.
- Still - for God’s protection and covering. As we get closer to departure the enemy works even harder to try and dissuade our faith and efforts.
We are so thankful for all of your prayers, words of encouragement and support.
Keep praying, God is answering.