World Changers March 20, 2011
When you read this (allowing for the difference in time), I shall be worshipping in one of the member churches of the Japan Presbyterian Church, a denomination I had a part in forming many years ago. Five years ago I was invited to attend their 50th anniversary.
Now I’m here for another reason. Some of you know that I have been invited to give lectures, ten hours of them, starting tomorrow morning and going through Thursday – two and one half hours each morning at the Christian Bible Seminary located in Nagoya, Japan. With all-day Friday set aside for preparation, the graduation service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26. I have been invited to give the commencement address.
If you haven’t connected the dots, this is the seminary that Dr. Michael Oh, one of our mission conference speakers this past November, founded nearly six years ago. Part of the rational for starting this new venture was because of the advanced age of many Japanese pastors – the majority of them are over 50 years of age.
The opening words of the seminary brochure are these; “You’re Invited to be a part of what many consider to be the most challenging mission field in the world.” It is challenging inasmuch as of the 128 million inhabitants in Japan, only 0.2% are estimated to be Protestant believers. There are over 30,000 suicides per year. Along with these who take their own lives, we’re told that there are over 1 million young men who refuse to work or have anything to do with the society of which they are a part. One hundred and eighty-three thousand are attracted to cults and the deities of Japan, consisting of 8 million gods. Given these challenges, the vision of Christ Bible Institute (Seminary) is to reach and train a new generation of leaders that will impact Japanese society and the world for Christ.
Some may wonder how God can use ten hours of lecture in this context. The title of the course is “Communicating the Gospel God’s Way.” God is the Great Communicator, and as Christians we have received his message, the Gospel, and now as servants we’re responsible for communicating this Gospel message to others. How well do we carry out our part of the task and how may we improve our effectiveness?
This is what we’ll talk about. Pray with me that I’ll be able to communicate effectively the things that the Lord has put on my heart.