just adding posts from my other blog now.. ^_^ trust me, it’s interesting~
Gosh, I am so confused these days.
The way I see it now, there are two paths I could take — one that many Christians are on, and don’t speak in tongues, or I could seek that gift.
And I honestly feel that God is calling for me to take my relationship with Him to the next level. (What is the next level?) <– important!
But I still have a lot of questions to ask.
Last Sunday, I shared my testimony about the Aso conference to the church. It was so hard for me because I am still in the middle of this struggle, and I don’t know how to put it into words. Also, usually my testimonies have had “happy endings”.. I’ve always learned a lesson. But this time, I still struggling.
And then after church, I asked Yoji (pastor) “Why is speaking in tongues the most important way to have the Holy Spirit? What about the fruits of the Spirit, and other spiritual gifts?” And then we talked, well, mostly he talke, about the Holy Spirit, and what he said all makes sense to me. And I can understand it. And mostly, I agree with him. but. After listening to a couple sermons from oh, I forget his name, who is very anti-speaking in tongues, I need to hear from Yoji his defense for speaking in tongues.
Oh also, in my testimony, I shared about how it’s so hard for me to fall backwards. And that fear of falling has seeped into my spiritual life. I can’t fall, or blindly trust God. I need to be settled into my mind before I can do something. But actually, often that intellectual proof is hearing God’s voice, and confirmation from various sources. My experience from TACF and other Pentacostal churches I went to in high school, and my growing up in the Presbyterian church all play a huge role~
What does it mean to fall into God?
I was talking with some people about this at Prov two or three years ago, and one guy said, “if you have the predisposition to not fall, you won’t ever fall.” That stuck with me (I even wrote it in my journal!).
Falling into God means to me that I trust God completely. In everything without question. It means that I give up my free will, and am His “hands and feet” anywhere I am.
Don’t get me wrong, I really want to fall into God. But I have the presdisposition to not fall, so I can’t.
What’s holding me back?
Well, first, I need to have my questions answered. ^_^
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
There is quite the thunderstorm raging now.
It’s rather unlike any other storm I’ve experienced!
I feel in some way it reflects the struggle in my mind, soul these days.
Two sides are tugging, tearing at my soul.
Maybe I’ve been wrong in my last posts about my relationship with God.
Have I been tricked?
I don’t know which way is up anymore.
And I need God to show me.
My soul is groaning with the weight of questions I am waiting to ask…
Our God is an awesome God.
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power and love.
Our God is awesome God!
Last night、I went to Chuck and Julie’s house to do a little book study. We read The Shack, and because it’s fully stocked with conventional ideas about God, we decided to get together to talk about it. So, I shared about my adventures last weekend, and a lot of our conversation was based on speaking in tongues and communicating with God. This book really introduced the idea of communicating with God to me, and in a way, set me up for the retreat last weekend.
The main thing I came away with from last night at Chuck and Julie’s is that communicating with God is a very personal and unique thing for each person. Some people use music to commune with God, some people dance, some people speak in tongues.
So, the question presented to me is, “Is speaking in tongues really important for me for communicating with God?” Which means that I need to do some more soul-searching with God to discover if this gift is really something He wants for me. I hope so. I want more of God. At the retreat, I was presented with more of God. But I couldn’t take it. I really want it. I want Him. Something’s holding me back, so I am praying to God these days for Him to do something miraculous to me.
Of course there are other ways in which I can commune with God.. writing, singing, praying. Is tongues really a gift that God wants for me? I don’t really know for sure yet. I think it is, but I need to keep praying about it. Actually, last night, Sarah really encouraged me to start writing poetry again. My pen has been dry for a few years, I wonder what I will come up with?
The last day of the conference was the most intense for me. (you know, build up!)
Morning devotions was about John 19 – the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. A prophey to “look upon the one they pierced” led me to Zechariah 12:10-13:6, which had two parts that stood out to me: bitter grief and cleansing from sin. Taking out the old flesh is very painful and requires a lot of discipline, but the new fleshis so rewarding. And I thought, “God really wanted to do this for us so that we could be reconciled to Him, and be in right relationship with Him. Even though it put Him through the worst pain, it was tremendously important for Him to do this for us.”
In the session that morning, it was less of a sermon, and more of a class on being in the Spirit. I had never been through anything like that, and it was so amazing. Yet terribly painful.
Let me explain.
Ming gave a few demonstrations of being “slain in the Spirit”, and how to do it, even on your own at home. Then he had us all stand up, relax, and get ready for the Holy Spirit to come to us. At first, I wasn’t going to do it, because, well, I had gotten along so far without speakin gin tongues or any of that “Pentacostal stuff”, when I suddenly had a great desire to stand up, and I found myself relaxing, as Ming was saying. Then I felt Him. He came. And I wavered. I almost fell. But I wouldn’t let myself. I just couldn’t let the Spirit really into my heart, my soul, my spirit. Of course, my mind, He is always there. But I couldn’t open up more to Him.
My Bitter Grief.
I realized that even though God has been with me everywhere I’ve gone, and even though I’ve known He was there, there was so much I’ve been missing out on. Because I wouldn’t, I couldn’t let Him in! I need control over my body. I hate alcohol because you can’t control what’s going on, really. And I realized it is the same with God. I can worship Him, I can love Him, and I can serve Him, but only with my mind.
Matthew 27:40: “Then Jesus replied, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second in like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets have on these two commandments.'”
What is holding me back? My desire for control, of course, but what is feuling that? Why can’t I let Him come into my heart, my soul? Spirit to spirit contact is not possible for me yet. It’s my bitter grief. I really want to. But I can’t. And it really touched me this weekend. I strongly believe this is the reason God has brought me to this church (Kumamoto Harvest Church): so that I could learn Spirit to spirit contact with God. So that my relationship with Him could go to a whole new level, one I had never dreamed of. And I am still struggling. I will struggle until God delivers me, and opens my spirit to Him. I can’t do it. Not without Him.
The next day, we all woke up early for devotions. Together, Kumamoto Harvest church got together to read John 18, and pray and think about it, and then share. I was thinking about heaven, and the Kingdom of God, and what that looks like when it’s here on earth.
Before the morning sesson, there was a kids program, which was really fun to watch. A clown did some magic tricks, and there was some dancing and a short message. This part was all in Japanese, so I didn’t really understand that much, but it was still fun to watch~
After the afternoon sesson, before dinner, TWO people got baptized! Actually, this was part of the reason why I really wanted to come to the conference, was to watch the baptisms. I love them! They are amazing! And this one was no exception. A young girl (maybe about 10 years old~) and a man (who was maybe in his thirties) got baptized today, and I was so happy to watch the guy (Ken) get baptized, because he was so excited about it! Even pumping his arms above his head and shouting hallelujah! wow! Also, Yoji sensei, as he was bringing him up shouted, “atarashi kata!” (a new person!) which was really touching for me~
Finally, the evening session was directed towards the youth. The worship was a lot of fun~ I knew a lot of the songs in English, but it was hard to concentrate on remembering the English words! And then the sermon started. Ming was talking about why God called young people (because apparently all the disciples were between the ages of 17 and 24!) — because they were willing to try new things, because they are more flexible then older people, because they are more adventurous “why not?” and such. Well, we did this exercise where we went to the front according to what profession we wanted to pursue: pastors/missionaries or business men, or media, or sports, etc. I went up, because I want to do humanitarian aid, and classified it as “missionary”. Then Ming got the other people to join us at the front, parents with their kids, and everyone else with church members, or etc. Two church members came to join me, and then they prayed for me. After some minutes, Yoji sensei came over to pray for me, and he asked, “what do you think about speaking in tongues?”
Now, speaking in tongues is something that I have been struggling with since I was first introduced to it in high school. I didn’t understand what it was, and also, coming from a Presbyterian background, it wasn’t something that is taught in the church I grew up in. And so when I came to Kumamoto Harvest Church, many people were speaking in tongues, and I just accepted it as something strange, and I worshipped in my way.
Then one day, I asked Greg about it – what is it like? what happens to you when you are speaking in tongues? and questions like that. Of course it intrigued me, so I started praying to God to give me the desire for this gift of the Holy Spirit if it’s what he wanted me to have it. So when Yoji asked me about this gift, the question really touched my heart, because I knew that I didn’t understand it, but I also knew that I was starting to want it.
After the service, we went to our rooms, again they went to the onsen, and because I am shy I stayed behind. ^_^ When they got back, I asked my roommates, Hitomi, Misato and Keiko about their testimonies, and we shared a bit and it was a really good time for me to have with them! I love those girls~
I went to sleep that night with the Holy Spirit in me, more than I had ever experienced, but also knowing that there is so much more to find out about Him, and about this strange gift He has for me.
Friday morning, I woke up, packed my bags for the Kyuushu Aso Conference with my church. When I set off with Massun and her daughter Ruu, I was a little nervous, because of the communication barrier. But I was surprised.. we could talk about many things, and even at the end of the weekend, on our way to Joyful, I could tell them what happened to me this weekend. Of course we used a dictionary when words like “vulnerable” and “Self Defense Forces” came up. Just remember to use smaller words. ^_^
Anyway, our first stop was to the Nakamura’s house, and Aki joined us in Massun’s car, and we set off. Yoji said that we were going to do some sightseeing before we went to the hotel. So our first stop was to a waterfall! Wow, it was so pretty! There was an area where we could go wading, and many little children were there, but a few of my group went wading. Of course I did. I rolled up my jeans and got in the beautifully cold water! Just a little colder than Mary Lake. oh, it really made me miss all the swimming I did when I was younger~ natsukasiii!!!
I was walking around in the water, while everyone else was standing on the rocks because it was too cold. Well, I wanted to go exploring a little, so Kyoko, Yoji’s wife, I went towards the bridge. My jeans were getting wetter and wetter as the water got deeper and deeper. Suddenly I decided to just go for it, and dunk under. Haha, I love their reactions when I do something like that~ Kyoko was shocked, a little worried because it was so cold! Oh, it was so beautiful! I could have spent hours there enjoying swimming in the water. In my clothes. Great fun.
After we left the waterfall, we stopped to enjoy an icecream cone, and also I changed my clothes. I had bluberry/vanilla mix (delicious!!!) and someone got sweet potatoe iceream. so strange. it wasn’t bad though.
We got to the hotel, had maybe two hours until the session started, so I had a nap while everyone else went swimming and to onsen (hot spring).
I love worshipping in Japanese. I could understand maybe 1/5th of the songs that we sung.. enough to understand what the song was about, really. A lot of the songs I knew from Sunday mornings at church, so I could still sing along, even though there was a lot of kanji. The sermon was given to us by a pastor from Singapore, so he spoke in English, and there was a Japanese translator. So it was easy for me to understand. ^_^
On Friday night, he talked about Luke 5 and John 21. Both stories about Jesus showing the disciples where to catch 153 fish. The differences are in their spiritual walk, their relationship with Jesus; most interesting sermon. I really enjoyed it, partly because it appealed to my academic mind.
Then it ended, and we went to our rooms. I carried Yume-chan (Yoji and Kyoko’s youngest daughter) up to our rooms, and then they went to onsen while I babysat. When they came back, actually, I was sleeping. Or very close to it. But the next day was going to a long and early day.
新しい心を与えてください Please give me a new heart.
あなたをしたい求める心 I will seek your heart.
きよいみちえ日々引きよせて Every day I will seek your way.
主のめしに生きるように I live for your call.
私の願いわあなたの側を歩むこと My wish is to by your side.
あなたのきよい心を Your pure heart,
私の内に今与えて Put inside me.
So beautiful. So sad. this is one of my all time favourite songs. and that’s saying something for me.
by David Crowder Band
Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now
Be quiet and wait for a voice that will say
Come awake, from sleep arise
You were dead, become alive
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes
Climb from your grave into the light
Bring us back to life
You are not the only one who feels like the only one
Night soon will be lifted, friend
Just be quiet and wait for a voice that will say
Rise, rise, to life, to life
Light will shine
Love will rise
Light will shine, shine, shine, shine
He’s shining on us now
Written by David Crowder, Mike Hogan, and Jason Solley ©2005 worshiptogether.com Songs / sixsteps Music (ASCAP) Admin by EMI CMG Publishing / Inot Music (ASCAP)
Behind the Song:
“I don’t want to leave you,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
“Why? Why must it be this way?” She asked.
“I don’t know, “ he said.
Her eyes closed. They were heavy. And these thoughts were heavy. And she was tired. She wasn’t scared but she was tired. He was tired. His heart was heavy. He was scared.
“I’m so tired,” she said.
“So am I,” he said.
“It will be soon,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
“I’m glad. It will be just in time. I’m just so tired. And the weight is so heavy. In my chest. I’m ready for things to be lighter,’ she said.
“I know,” he said.
“I will miss you. I think. I hope. I love it here. But I’m so tired,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
“I’m not scared. It’s not that I’m afraid; it’s just that I don’t want to leave. I mean I do. I want to go to heaven. I’m certain it is beautiful. But I love your face. I just don’t want to die. It sounds so final. And I just don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to leave all of this. I mean I do, some of it, this weight. This pain. These tubes. And that stupid blinking thing that keeps getting lighter and quieter,” she said, her eyes opening, resting on the screen beside her.
He turned to look at the green blips of flat valleys and sharp peaks and wondered how long he’d stared at the monitor in total. He considered that if he were to count the minutes his eyes had rested on her pulse for these months it would add up to more than was comfortable to think about. Hours. Sitting. Watching life. Her life. Blinking from a screen. She was alive. She was here. With him. He remembered the night the peaks stopped for the first time. The long unwavering tone that was the loudest sound he’d ever heard. How it had brought so many people rushing about. All with the hopes to bring the screen back to vivacity. Everyone working furiously. Everyone’s eyes resting on the screen. He knew, when it came, he would stay in that loud unwavering monotone valley for the rest of his existence. He was scared. It was coming. Soon.
“I know,” he said.
“It will be ok,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
Her eyes had moved from the screen to his face. She loved his face. It was full of lines, deep lines that she had watched come, everyone of them. When she had seen him for the first time, so many years ago, his skin was smooth, so smooth for such a hardened boy. But the years had come and left their mark and she had been there for their arrival. She was worn into each of them.
“You know none of us are getting out of here alive,” she said.
“I wonder,” he whispered back…
– David Crowder
One of my favourite songs… and it’s interesting to read about “behind the song”
A Collision (album)
by David Crowder Band
Hallelujah, we are on our way
Hallelujah, we are on our way to God
From Egypt lately come
Where death and darkness reign to seek our new
Our better home where we our rest shall gain
There sin and sorrow cease and every conflict’s o’er
There we shall dwell in endless peace and never hunger more
Jerusalem, our happy home
Would God I were in Thee
Would God my woes were at an end
Thy joy that I might see
We soon shall join the throng
Their pleasures we shall share
And sing the everlasting song
With all the ransomed there
There in celestial strains enraptured myriads sing
There love in every bosom reigns for God Himself is King
Anonymous folk hymn, from 1616 / Arrangement and melody by David Crowder / Arr. ©2005 worshiptogether.com Songs / sixsteps Music (ASCAP) Admin by EMI CMG Publishing
Behind the Song:
‘I have a very thick book that was found at an antique shop not located in Chicago. It is very old. It is red. It has ornate patterns in gold that is flaking off here and there set against the red. It is called “The Book of Praise.” It is a collection of songs and prayers, most of which are well older than the book, which is itself very old as previously mentioned. In it I found this text from 1616, whose official title, according to the information in the back of the golden, red book, was: “A Song by F. B. P. to the Tune of Diana.” I thought it very close in content to the bluegrass music I had been immersed in. We recorded it. I then received a CD in the mail of Ralph Stanley lining out some songs. Ralph’s voice is that of an angel. All of human history is held within it. The last track on this CD is titled “Jerusalem, Our Happy Home.” I knew I had felt something similar turn inside my chest when I had read the words of this song, as it had that night Marty leaned over the table while tapping his index finger on the age-worn-yellowed piece of paper that he had just pulled from the box containing a slew of Hank Williams’ original handwritten lyrics. Hank had messing penmanship. I believe that not only are we headed toward an eschatological encounter, but that God is as well in motion. Toward us. Momentum and consequence. There is a musical metaphor for this in the outro of this song. The acoustic guitar repeats the main riff of the song as the banjo plays the same melody in reverse. They drop one note on each sequential cycle through the melody until they dissolve into each other finally concluding on the same note in the end.’ – David Crowder