29 Jan New Year Reflections
What has God been teaching you in 2020?
In this season, I feel like God has been teaching me to look up more. Through the trials I’ve experienced and the realities I’ve had to face, I’ve become more aware that life doesn’t feel as eternal as it did in my twenties. In this process, He’s helped me to slow down and focus on the things that really matter in life.
Philippians 4:8 speaks about how we are to fix our thoughts on what is lovely, pure, true and honorable. Throughout the last few years, I focused a lot on hurts that came with ministry, but in this season, God has helped bring me to a place of deeper submission to His Word. Instead of meditating on life-stealing negativity, I’m learning to give thanks for the blessings of the Lord, both big and small. As I’ve begun thinking more positively, the hurts and pains that have wearied me are now being healed.
What do you want to see God do this year in Tokyo?
I want the Japanese church to know that they have what it takes to reach this nation. If we are in Christ, then we are called to be like Jesus. Not through our own efforts, special talents, or willpower, but simply by loving Jesus so much that our hearts are transformed; for it is from a transformed heart that we will be like Him.
Most Japanese Christians aren’t in full-time ministry positions. Pastors and missionaries can only reach out to so many but the call of the Great Commission is for each one of us! Wherever the Lord has you, that’s the “nation” where you’ve been placed to love people and to make disciples. This includes your co-workers who say inappropriate things, the boss who isn’t very kind and really anybody else that the world finds hard to love. No matter what they do, our Father still loves them. Learning how to be like Jesus in a difficult workplace can be challenging, but if you’re willing to step out in faith, I believe He will teach you how to be like Himself in an environment that does not welcome Him.
I encourage you to remember that you have more influence than you think, and often times, even more than a pastor like myself. I’m here to support my flock, but I also love learning from other believers doing this in their own “nations”. If an unbeliever agrees to visit church with you, we can’t assume that the pastor will take over from there. Through your own love and faithfulness to them, you may have an amazing opportunity to influence their decision to follow Jesus.
If you feel timid when sharing about Jesus, just begin by simply loving people. With this in mind, I encourage you to love them because God loves them, not just to have them follow Jesus someday. Simply following the lead of Jesus yourself is how the best testimonies are made. Even in places where Jesus isn’t welcomed by others, we still are the children of God and our Father is near.
Derick Domae (Pastor & Community Member)