Summer Project

by kwong on December 24, 2012

‘Last’ Summer project via Jennifer

For the past four years, I woke up every day at 4am and started working before the bakery opened and stayed until the bakery closed at 6pm. Some days I couldn’t go home until after 7pm. The hours were long and baking required strenuous physical labour. By the time I got home, I was so tired that I ate dinner, took a shower and went straight to bed.

On Tuesday July 26th, 2011, I had a chance to go home early and rest. I made myself a nice hot cup of ginger tea, put my feet up and rested. The house was quiet. I just loved the quietness, the comfortable chair with my feet up, looking out the window, admiring the beautiful weather and the creation of God. Every day I longed for this moment, my quiet time with God. I picked up the Bible and read. That day’s reading was on 1 Chronicles Chapter 16 David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving. David was anointed King of Israel and greatly blessed by God. He brought the ark of God into Jerusalem and worshipped with singing of praises to the Lord.

V8-13 “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered, O offspring of his servant Israel, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

As I meditated on what I had just read, I thought of the situation that I was in at that time. Kneadings Bread & Café was not doing well. We had been struggling financially for the past three years. We were at the point that we would have to make a decision as to whether we should continue the business or close it down. Mosaic was not doing well financially either. There was not enough money to pay the pastors. I had no income since Kneadings opened four years ago. With Ka’s income alone, our family was living under the poverty line according to Statistic Canada. I didn’t know how we were going to survive with zero income for our family.

It was easy for David to worship and sing praises to God. He was successful and prosperous because the Lord was with him. I had neither success nor prosperity. I was in great debt in the verge of filing bankruptcy. There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. How could I worship and sing praises to God in such a way as David?

As I was thinking about how bad my situation was, the “This Summer Project” came to my mind. On Sunday, Pastor Lon asked us to think of what we would do in the summer and share our project in the fall. Suddenly my spirit started to brighten up. I thought to myself: David worshipped and praised God in his high time. Will it be amazing if I could worship and praise God in my lowest and most troubled time? The song “Yet I will Praise” came to my mind. I went back and read 1 Chronicle Chapter 16 again. I thank God for giving me the insight. He gave me “this summer project” despite of all the difficulties I was facing. I told myself that I would:

1) Give thanks to the Lord as always

2) Call on His name daily

3) Make known His deeds among all people. “Remember the wonderful works He has done, the miracles…… Tell of all his wonderful works…..”

4) Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually.

Every morning I gave thanks to the Lord as soon as I got up from bed. As I drove to work, I called on His name and sang praises to Him. I sought the Lord and His strength. I sought His presence continually throughout the day. I was waiting for His wonderful works and miracles so that I could tell and share in the fall.

Those few months were the most difficult time for me. Facing the uncertainty, the closing of Kneadings, the huge amount of money we owe to the bank, friends and relatives, and no income for our family, every day I cried to the Lord for help. The more I cried out for help, the more I called on His name, the more I sought His strength and presence, the more frustrated I felt. Doubt, upset, loss of hope…… all negative emotions overwhelmed the knowledge of knowing what I should do.

As summer was drawing to an end, I did not feel the Lord’s presence or strength as expected. There was not much to tell, no wonderful works or miracles to tell. When Lon sent out a schedule for everyone to share, I asked Lon if I could delay and share my project in January. May be after Kneadings closed, I would have something to share.

Kneadings finally closed on December 24, 2011. The last week was the busiest week of the year. We closed at 4pm and rushing to finish everything before we could leave and enjoy Christmas Eve. Ka and the children left at 5pm. I had to stay behind to close all the data and records for the month. nike kwazi I left the place at 8pm. I went home, checked my emails for the last time and found out that my mother had a stroke and was admitted to the hospital on that day. I called my sister wanted to find out exactly how mom was doing. No one knew what happened to her but there were speculations from the doctor waiting for the results of more testing.

My sister wanted me to go to Hong Kong with her. timberland pas cher She had brain surgery a year ago and was afraid to fly alone. I did not know if I should go. Although the bakery was closed, I still had a lot of things to do. We needed to clean up the place and move everything out in two days. I needed to take care of the financial and legal matters for Kneadings. The most important thing for me was to find a job as soon as possible.

After the phone conversation with my sister, Ka encouraged me to go and visit mom. He asked me: “Isn’t the closing of Kneadings for a time like this?” Maybe it was God’s plan for me to go to visit mom. If the bakery was still opened, I definitely would not be able to go. I called my sister back and told her that I would go with her. At first she could not find any seats available at that time. As she tried to call every hour, she finally got tickets for both of us. I had to pack, leave everything behind and fly right away. Originally, I wanted to go for two weeks. Due to the ticket availability, I had to take whatever was available. I ended up going for one month.

It was sad to see mom lying in the hospital bed. Her face was skinny and yellow. I kept on saying to myself that this was not the mom that I knew from birth. The only function she had left was her hearing. For the first two days, she could still eat and respond by nodding her head. I fed her for two days and after that, she never ate again. She had no more responses after the first two days of arrival. She died the week after. It was very fast, sudden and unexpected. We thought we could spend some time with her after she got out of the hospital. The two weeks that we thought we could spend time with mom became the time of organizing and attending for her memorial and funeral services.

As I think back to what happened between this summer and now, there is indeed so much to tell about God’s wonderful works. He was with me the whole time even though I did not feel it at that time. David was able to praise God because He was with him. I was able to praise God because He was with me too. adidas zx flux He granted me strength to go through the most difficult times. He prepared me for my mother’s funeral. He knew that if did not go, I would regret and blame myself for the rest of my life. I had a good time with all my brothers and sisters. We haven’t had such a reunion for many years. God loves me enough to spare me from being miserable for the rest of my life. He gave me joy that nothing or no one can take away from me.

I was sick for a few days after I came back to Canada. I told Ka that I had to enjoy myself and relax as much as I could before I started working again. I didn’t know what would happen to us, I only knew that God is with us. Within two weeks of coming back home, God gave me a great job that I have never imagined. After these four years of experience, God shaped me and moulded me into a person of His own heart. He made me understand what is to “Deny yourself, Pick up the cross and follow me”. Now I can understand the authors of Psalm and Job better. I can resonate with their feelings behind the words.

To sum up, God is great and good to me. No matter what happens, I choose to follow Him. I will continue to sing praises to Him, call on His name daily, tell people of His wonderful works, what He has done in my life.

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Update from Paul & Jennifer

by pomankwan on December 4, 2012

Greetings from Tsukuba,
Over the last month we’ve had weekly design meetings with our architect and hope to have everything finalized in the next couple of weeks so that construction can begin in March. It’s an exciting time and God has been at work both in this process as well as in the lives of several individuals. Please read on below for the text version of our update.
Thanks you for walking this road together with us in prayer,
Paul & Jennifer
(Brooke – 15, Evan – 13, Caleb – 9)

P.S. As you may notice our prayer update e-mail has a new look starting this month and I have over-hauled the entire list of people receiving our updates. If you’re receiving in this error, or no longer wish to receive our updates just hit unsubscribe at the bottom of this e-mail. We don’t want to be SPAM to you!

I Believe in Miracles

I reported last time on what has been for our congregation a huge test of faith. After battling limited rental options and the challenge of meeting in the small apartments that make up the core of our city, attendees at our evangelistic ministries and then main worship services were hit with threats of police action for parking violations. We joked that our facility problems were forcing people to sin in order to come hear a message of forgiveness! Clearly it was time to build – but where would the money come from?

Our church of some 30 people was clearly tested as we looked at real estate prices in a booming housing market in Tsukuba. In early December we purchased a piece of land that seemed like God’s provision. Pictured at the top of the page, this land is just a kilometre from the train station, in walking distance of the new city hall and in the centre of a growing section in the as-yet unchurched west end of Science City. Adjacent to us are flags signalling the imminent construction of a brand new subdivision and other signs of development abound – my children were excited to see a new McDonald’s open up last week just two blocks away. But where would the money come from?

Our church was quick to respond with an initial $50,000 in offerings, another $50,000 in loaned funds and the commitment of another $70,000 over the next two years. Our young pastor and his wife have given over $25,000. adidas ultra boost Interested people in our Japanese parent church have already given over $200,000 and the official appeal won’t even be made until this weekend! Our two main sending churches have humbled us with gifts totalling in excess of $20,000 and by God’s grace we have been able to commit $30,000 from our support account. Our mission has covered the cost of the land between donated funds and an interest free loan and several individuals have responded with generous gifts of support. I believe in miracles! We are in the home stretch seeking to raise an another $185,000 by April 1 in order to avoid a burdensome bank mortgage.
Give thanks for God’s miraculous provision and ask that He would supply the remaining funds. For those who have asked about giving, please send your gifts to Fellowship International marked, Tsukuba Building.
$50 will buy a chair
$100 will buy a book-shelf
$500 will buy a large cabinet
$1000 will buy a baptismal
$3000 will buy a wooden deck
$5000 will buy a cross

On-line donations can be made at the following link:
https://www.fellowship.ca/qry/sd_donate.taf?dsfq=2&dsfd=117

We trust God to multiply any amount to provide for our needs.

Relief Ministry

On Monday night I slept 2 km from the ocean in a building damaged by the tsunami which our network has purchased as a base of operations for on-going relief ministry and as the future home of Yamamotocho’s first ever Christian church. A seminary graduate from our churches moved in there last week and we gathered as leaders to discuss the next phase of our outreach in that town. adidas zx flux pas cher site Jennifer did a Christmas concert there in December and I helped serve coffee at an event there Tuesday morning but teams are going in weekly to minister to those in temporary housing and asking God to open their hearts.
Pray that God would raise up seeking individuals and believers to form the core of a church in Yamamotocho.

Local Developments
Christmas is always a unique opportunity to minister to Japanese. adidas femme pas cher This year we had a great response to a pre-school Christmas event we held and had several of these families join our Christmas service for the first time as a result. Our Gospel choir performed in our mall in Tsukuba, at a regional concert, and at a church-plant outreach in Tamatsukuri in December. A number from the choir joined our Christmas service and two of these have attended services in January also. But the road is a long one.

For example one woman who has been studying the Gospel of John for more than a year announced that she had floated the idea of getting baptized to her adult children in November. She was amazed how supportive and encouraging they were. nike air max 95 “Well then?” I prodded, and she said that she was still concerned about her mother and brother’s potential opposition.

With two others, I presented the Gospel again and drew two circles showing the throne of their lives and where they see Jesus sitting. Both wanted Jesus in their lives but resisted the idea of Him sitting on the throne. This month I shared from Isaiah 53 about the Shepherd and sheep after preaching on this text at Christmas. They both said that they felt they needed to follow Jesus as Shepherd of their lives and not just go with the flock or walk their own path. When I asked about the throne they said that Japan’s history with Emperor worship has made any thought of kings and thrones very negative to them.

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Prodigal Son by Keith Green

by hwentland on February 18, 2012

Since tomorrow’s topic at Mosaic Baptist is the Prodigal Son here is a musical retelling of the story by Keith Green.

Prodigal Son – Keith Green – on Grooveshark

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Chris Heuertz on bearing witness to hope

by Lon on December 31, 2011

On evangelism as bearing witness to hope.

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John 19:38-42

by Lon on December 31, 2011

The burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. nike cortez With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.t40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. asics gel lyte 3 soldes This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

God in human flesh is dead and buried here. adidas yeezy boost Some call this the holy Saturday, situated between the death and resurrection of Christ.

Too often we quickly skip over this awkward moment. The moments between glorious sacrifice and victory. How do we embrace and live fully in these moments of silence? Of grief? of death? Of despair?

This passage seems to suggest a respect of what was and what is left.

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A portrait of Christ

by Lon on December 28, 2011

Created on April 20th,

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John 18:28:40

by Lon on December 28, 2011

Continuing our journey through the gospel according to John

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected.32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. chaussure asics With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

v36 is fascinating.

Jesus is announcing that the Kingdom of heaven is near, it’s begun, it’s here and on it’s way… adidas yeezy boost obviously Christ’s disciples hadn’t embraced this reality, and that’s why his kingdom didn’t seem to be in effect. But for the rest of us, today, if we’re really a part of this new kingdom Christ is ushering in, maybe we ought to be fighting for Christ to be king, in our lives and in our cities?

v38 “What is truth?” Pilate responds. In our world today, many of us live with our own truths – much of it often never tested or thought about much. We often believe what’s given to us. Maybe followers of Jesus ought to really dig deeper into truth. What does Christ really proclaim? What’s ultimate reality in this new Kingdom of his on earth?

v40 The crowd shouted for Barabbas to be released instead of Christ. I wonder, and this might be a stretch, would we, and do, do the same?

We’re often willing to accept what pains Christ to fit the way we think things ought to be. bottes timberland pas cher ie. In retrospect we might demand that Christ be crucified, because without it, he could not be our ultimate sacrifice and atone for our sins…?

or for example today because Christ mentioned there would be wars, and the poor, and evil, as a reality in our world…

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John 20:19-29

by Lon on December 28, 2011

Continuing our journey through the book of John

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. adidas superstar The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymust), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. adidas messi 2017 Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. chaussure asics Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Of all the words the resurrected Christ would have for his followers – it’s peace that he declares upon them, twice. louboutin homme If we could imagine for a moment peace being the centre of Christ’s message – how does that shape you and the way you live your life?

It’s interesting that the Holy Spirit was breathed on them. Very much like the Genesis account of humanity itself. If the Holy Spirit is to be ‘received’ though – could it be denied?

v23 is also troubling as it elevates the importance of our own capacity to forgive. Could we literally be damning others by our lack of forgiveness towards them?

Thomas couldn’t believe until Christ showed him his scars.

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