Sunday, June 9, 2013

One More Time もう一度

God did not bring you into this world to live without a purpose, to exist without a reason, or function without meaning.  Let me assure you once again that you are here, not by chance, but because you are a unique creation of God.  He loves you, cares about you and wants you to know Him as He knows you, with deep intimacy.  God desires to use you, according to His Will, to make His great plan known to this generation through you as you give your heart to Him in obedience.
Once more, there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more.  That is why this is called Grace and that we walk by Faith in that Grace.
Today is my last time to talk to you as your Pastor.  I have never been voted in as Pastor.  No one appointed me to this role.  It kinda fell into my lap as the co-leader and his family left Japan and I took over as THE man who would be Pastor.  I have never regretted it.  I have always looked with great joy to most Sundays as the Lord had shown me years ago what kind of a joy it is to preach the Gospel week after week.  The pay was not the best but then that was not my motivation.  My motivation was to be the pastor I wanted in my life.  Not a control freak, someone who is there, a pastor who has a sense of humor, and one who loves Jesus with all his heart. 
And as I was packing and sorting through literally PILES of old sermons and notes, I came to see that there was a thread that flowed through them all.  One was the topic of OBEDIENCE トピック 従順and the other was from my favorite Book in the Bible聖書の中でお気に入りの本.  I was pretty shocked to see so many references in so many sermons from that book… Let’s turn to it right now and begin, what will be, the end of our time here at ICCS—not the end of ICCS—just my personal leadership here.
2 Peter 1:1-11.  Are you surprised?
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
From verses 3-on, the topic of this letter is to Confirm One’s Calling and Election.  I truly can’t think of anything more important that having your life be confirmed by God’s clear calling.
There is something very RICH about what Peter and these people had in common with those of us whose experience with God is as life changing.  It was all given through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  His straight dealing with us and such a timely intervention of Jesus in our lives shows us of His Grace and Peace.  What a Faithful God have I! なんと真実な神を私は知っているでしょうか
There are three “items” I want to leave with you as we look once again at these verses in Peter.  The first is that this—what we have here at ICCS—is a ministry not a business これを宣教でありビジネスではありません.  We can’t move ahead into the new season if we look at this organism, we call Church, as work as usual.  When you come up to a wall or a question or even hard to understand people, you must not think of the bottom line. The Will of God is important.  Peter—as it appears—seems to understand that as he draws our attention to verse 3.  Our RELATIONSHIP with the Divine directs us神との関係が私たちを導く.  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  The Power is there because the Knowing is there知ることに力がある.  IF we know Him and the Power of His resurrection, we have all we need for living a Godly life.  His Divine Power has given us everything.  Our needs are satisfied in Himわたしたちの必要は主によって満たされるnot in the items we get.  Not in the money or power we can display.  Our life needs to be centered on His Own Glory and Goodness.  Can’t go wrong there!
The Message says it this way: Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.
Jesus is calling us!  He is inviting us all to know His Father.  And with the knowing, there is the Power of His Divine Nature.  What is His Divine Nature?  This is huge—massive!  His Holiness. His Eternal Power.  His Grandeur.  His Character.  Everything that makes Him … Divine…and He is willing to share that with His Church.  What do you do to get it?  Accept it.  There is nothing you can do to gain more favor with Him.  He wants to come into your life and change you into the person He planned you to be.  A reflection of Him! 主を思い返す
And through this knowledge of Him who called us, He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.
His Divine Power is ours!  His Divine Nature is ours!  This is all very wonderful…but there are times we may not feel His Power or His Nature in us.  What happened? 
This is where that fourth leg to the chair comes in again—from Acts 2:42.   
1) The Apostles Teaching使徒の教え,  
2) Fellowship交わり,  
3) Communion聖餐と and…  
4) PRAYER祈り!  
 Reality does change like our situations do.  Our blood sugar might change the way we look at certain things.  A low-pressure system might be causing us to feel pain in our joints but His Faithfulness never changes!  He is there.  He is ALWAYS there.  Even when He is not seen. 
He does that so that we can participate with Him.  Such a deal!  Us…you and I…able to take part in what God is doing in the World.  There is no one to small.  We can live our lives is such a way that we are working alongside His plans.  These are promises He has already given us—so that through them, His Glory can be seen in this world.  And we are part of that!
Because there are things going around that we may not be aware of—fighting in the heavenly areas—but we can escape the corruption that is caused by evil desires because we have joined with His Nature.  We can choose to remain pure.  Our hearts and minds will be flooded with His Divine Glory and that will cause us to flee evil.  His Divine Power at work in us.
Another factor we need to consider this day is that we are not leadership lacking.  His Divine Nature is at work in our Fellowship.  The Worship here at ICCS will continue and there will be men of Faith sharing from this lectern.  ICCS will have The Leadership Team—made up of five men—リーダーシップチーム 5人の男性from our very number—here to aid the ICCS Family to move along.  You need to know who they are and you need to be praying for them starting right now!  These men are going to help with the flow of the Fellowship.  Here they are: Please stand and come forward.
Josh Tsuchiya, Don Ekstrand, Hiroyuki Kimura, Ichiro Sato and Daniel Beck.  Come up now and pray for these men who will lead you.
Peter then says, in affect, to our community:  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness まさにことのことのために、あなたの信仰の善良さに付け加えるあらゆる努力をする   There is some growth going on.  We can no longer just sit here week after week.  Each of us NEEDS to be growing—making EVERY effort to add to your Faith.  It will not come by casual attendance.  It will not come with a critical heart or a biting tongue.  It will come when we ALL put in our time to help this Fellowship be all that God has intended it to be: a living, thriving Christian community of alive Believers who love God and desire to enjoy Him forever神を愛し永遠に喜びをともにしたいという願望もって生きている信者のクリスチャンの集まり.
And as you add これらを追加 to your Faith or complementing your basic faith, add goodness (or good characterよい性格), and to goodness, knowledge (or spiritual understanding霊的理解).  And to that knowledge add self-control (or alert discipline緊張感ある規律).  And to Self-Control-Perseverance or (passionate patience熱い忍耐).  And to Perseverance add godliness (which means Spiritual wonder霊的な不可思議) and to that add brotherly kindness (which means warm friendliness暖かな友愛) and to that add love (which is generous寛大さ).  The end goal is to fit into and develop the other qualities or drives.
And lastly: The Future将来.  He knows---so look to Him.  Don’t give up.  Come and be ready to worship.  Don’t be late to the service.  In fact, be early if at all possible.  Sing with the Worship Team—read the passage found in the handout.  Already have your offerings ready (from your time at home). Be prayed up.  Pray for the messenger and the message.  Pray for your family members, asking the Lord to make Himself known to them.  Be ready to speak to the visitor who might become a great friend.  Offer help to the family with small children.  Get them some paper and crayons.  Offer to sit in another place so that the new family can sit together.
And know that I will be watching my watch while in NC and know when the Worship Team will be starting singing.  When the sermon should be starting…when the tables are brought out for Covered Dish.  Make no mistake about it, I too will be praying for you all so that our Father God can bless you with all His Glory and goodness.  One of the most sought after ingredients of daily life is a sense of peace.  At times in the midst of our need and pressures upon us, our sense of peace seems to disappear.
During this next week as you walk through all of your responsibilities, we will be praying that you will be open to give and be the recipient of not only peace but the rest of the fruits of the Holy Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. ガラテヤ人への手紙522...愛、忍耐、親切、善良、誠実、柔和、自己制御

Thank you very much and God bless you richly.