In July, I had an opportunity to attend Paul Tripp’s conference with my mom. It was very encouraging and I was very glad that my mom was able to come and hear what I have been learning. He taught through his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s hands (互いに助け合うために) which was recently translated into Japanese.
Here’s an overview of what I learned.
- We all need counseling. God counseled Adam and Eve how to live in the garden when they were perfect in a perfect place. You don’t need to feel ashamed to be counseled.
- Lasting change is connected to our hearts. We often look outside to find reasons. But we need to look inside in order to change. If the roots are bad, they won’t bear good fruit.
- We all are worshippers 24/7. We don’t worship only on Sundays. Every word we speak and action we take reflects what we worship. Are your words and actions coming from the worship of God or of his creation?
- Everyone lives for some treasure in which you value. Things you treasure control your heart, which in turn will control your life. A desire for a good thing could be a bad thing if you let it control you. The more you recognize your own treasure the more you can recognize others treasures.
- God makes his invisible grace, visible through us. We build relationships for God’s glory not for our comfort. God uses all of us. You don’t have to be a teacher, counselor nor leader to tell the truth. Don’t underestimate what God can do through you.
After the conference, my mom and I had dinner together.
At dinner, my mom asked me if its a good thing for her to continue her hobby of teaching the Taisho Koto. It’s a Japanese traditional instrument from Taisho era. She said one of her Christian friends told her to quit playing it if she can’t use it for the church. I challenged her from what Paul said that we worship God 24/7 wherever we are. I asked her if she goes to practice playing Taisho Koto with the mindset that God has sent her to the class so that she can build relationships with others and share the Gospel to glorify God. She said she had never thought about that way. I pray that God will work on her heart and lead her to be a disciple of Jesus all the time not only at church gatherings.
My mom also shared this story when we were talking about how we all need counseling and that God uses everyone to counsel others. One time during a Sunday gathering at her church, a new person came. At coffee time after worship, my mom was talking about faith with the new person. Another member of the church overheard their conversations and later she told her that she shouldn’t talk about faith with others because those are things only pastors can talk about. I think this is typical thinking in traditional churches in Japan. They put too much respect on pastors and expect them to do teaching, caring, counseling…. everything. Too much pressure and burdens on Japanese pastors. My prayer is that in churches all across Japan, Christians would move from a legalist understanding of scripture to learning to become disciples of Jesus in the every day stuff of life so that this nation would be saturated by the gospel of Jesus Christ.