We’re heading up the mountain :)

So, we’re about to load the coaches and head off up into the mountains around Hamamatsu for a 3 day youth camp. But as promised, before I head off, I’ll leave you with a little blog update from another wonderful church service at HSK.

Our pastor here is speaking for these next three weeks on his vision for the church. And this was week was the first one. I had a sneak preview in a conversation with him last night, so I was excited, and I’ll definitely be streaming the rest of these messages from the UK.

I really love this church and the heart of the leadership. I’m excited to see what God is doing and the joy and freedom and salvation He is releasing, even in the battle. HSK is bilingual, with English and Japanese spoken and sung from the front. But because there are a large number of Brazilians here, there is also a Portuguese translator. I love it!

We have a desire for the whole church to become stronger Christians. An understanding that living for God, and fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit is the best and most fulfilling way to live.

And today considered the worship and the teaching of the church.

Psalm 30 is a great starting place when thinking about worship. David praises the Lord for lifting Him up. He is praising God for being so great and so mighty, because God did not let His enemies triumph over him. This is the reason. He knows God as his rescuer and his healer. David had a reason for crying out and he now has a reason for saying that the Lord is great. David is saying that his soul was being pulled away, but he knows that God grabbed a hold of him and saved his life. He is stating the reasons that he has for giving God thanks. There’s a key here about knowing the mighty rescue of God.

We have these experiences that we can’t get out of. But when we cry out to God He pulls us out. And we have these reasons, so many of them, to let Him know that we are so thankful for all He has done. This is the God who saves us, leads us and gives us answers to the hard questions. He makes a way and a future for us. It’s more than our emotions, which are so swayed by our feelings and a shallow peace, and it’s a choice to worship Him for who we know He is.

We then reach Psalm 33. David is using instruments to sing songs of praise. And David was a man who loved music. He is calling musicians here. He’s saying, ‘Where are the musicians?’ When we praise God we want to have all the instruments. We can play and make a lot of noise. David brings in a lot of ideas about praising and worshipping the Lord. He wants to write a new song. He wants us to play our instruments well.

So first we have to have a lot of reasons to praise the Lord. Don’t let the reasons be few. Think about what God has done for you. Meditate on it. Come in with your mind set on Him. Remember the rescue. Remember the healing. Remember all the times He protected your walk. Search for reasons. Search Him out. The reasons for singing. This makes worship. Thinking about what God has done. And then we search for and encourage musicians. We pray for each other and our expression of worship. That we can play better and with joy. We play instruments with joy.

Then turn to Psalm 40. Verse 3. ‘He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord’. David was singing one day, playing his harp and giving thanks. He was remembering all of the reasons for worshipping the Lord. Maybe there were others with him. They’re all singing with a shout of joy. But then a new song comes. Someone begins to sing words that no one had sung before. A melody comes out of one of the instruments. David saw that as this song, the people listening began to listen to the Lord. That song caused others to listen to the words of God. The new song had an effect on the others who were standing around. Others were attracted to notice the power of God. And those people began to trust in the Lord. It was an amazing experience.

So this is the worship of the church. So what is the message of the church? 2 Timothy 3 v 10 – 17. All Scripture inspired by God. The Word of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. The words of God should make every Christian stronger. There should not be some part of the Christian which is underdeveloped. There should not be some feeling where something is continually bothering you. There should not be some thought that the devil keeps attached to your mind. There should not be some kind of activity that you have to keep running away from. But the Word should strengthen and equip us for good works. We keep getting closer and more like Him. We’re not there yet, but we’re moving forward.

It’s important that we understand what the Word is saying to us and for this church very clearly.

The truth should increase our knowledge of God so at we correctly understand what He has done in the past. This means not misunderstanding our experiences.

The truth should increase our knowledge about how to live righteously right now. That we keep learning everyday.

The truth which God speaks should increase passionate pleading with Him to do greater things in the near future. We must pray passionate prayers and sincerely ask God to do greater things. We keep praying and asking and seeking.

Truth should increase our dislike for the works of the devil.

Truth should increase our love for sinners and the way He loves them.

Truth should increase our love for each other in the same way that He loves us.

Truth should increase our love for God with all our heart, with all our souls, with all our minds and with all our strength.

Great worship. Great message. Great church. Thank you Jesus 🙂

I’m excited to see what God will do these next few days. So I’m signing off to head up a mountain whilst I finish up my time in Japan. Please keep the camp in prayer, and please keep me in prayer as I prepare to come back to the UK… for a little while. I love that God goes before and behind and guards the way of my steps.

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