December 5, 2010

I Love My Church!

Today was another beautiful Sunday in Tokyo and my family and I enjoyed ourselves at New Hope Narimasu, our local church. This season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a great time to list up the top 10 reasons I am thankful for my church.

  1. God-honoring praise and worship. We have a wonderful worship team that consistently leads us in worship. The focus is always on God, and even when we sing songs I've been singing for years, the worship leaders somehow make them new again.
  2. Practical, biblical sermons. Shintaro Watanabe, our lead pastor, and the other New Hope pastors preach challenging sermons that are simple, applicable, and faithful to scripture.
  3. Friends. Many of my friends at church are people I wouldn't have made friends with except at church. At first, I didn't have much in common with them except our mutual faith, but getting to know them has been a great pleasure.
  4. Friends for my kids. My children's best friends are their church friends. Our church isn't all that big--50-70 people in attendance each week--but we have a LOT of kids. (And more all the time; five babies were born to church members this year.)
  5. Many new Christians. I've been a Christian for most of my life, so I take certain things for granted and tend to fall into predicable churchy patterns of thought, speech and action. The constant influx of new Christians in our church is refreshing and challenges me to think about what I do and why.
  6. The location. 10-minute walk or 5-minute bike ride. We still arrive late sometimes.
  7. Bilingual. This is important to us as a family with two languages.
  8. International. I think there are always at least five nations represented. A taste of heaven where every tribe and tongue will be gathered before God's throne.
  9. Teens. Amazing kids that love Jesus, serve cheerfully, and are great role models for my kids.
  10. Pot-lucks. New Hopers go all out with food.
Doing Church as a Team: The Miracle of Teamwork and How It Transforms Churches
A book by the senior pastor of New Hope Oahu, our church's grandmother church.

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