28 June 2014 By Jason Law CM –
Recently, on the 13th-15th of June, 2014, Dr Joseph Ozawa shared an eye-opening and heartfelt camp session with the church of KAOG. In his first session, Dr Ozawa challenged us to really know Jesus, and to understand what it is often like to be a true disciple of Christ. He shared many other aspects of the authentic Christian life in the later sessions.
‘Many Christians love to sing songs about surrendering everything to God, but how many of you really know and mean what you’re singing? When we say we’re giving everything to God, how serious are we? When we’re singing unto Him, we’re in an act of worship. We must mean what we sing. But each of us has something that we find difficult to give up, whether it is your finance, reputation, home, family, children, etc.. Therefore, we have to be careful about singing these types of songs. Don’t sing them if you don’t mean them or are not really ready to give up all,’ he teased.
‘We need to ask ourselves; what is the purpose we became Christians? When we say we love God, do we really love Him, or do we love the blessings that we are expecting from Him? What is the reason that God initiated a relationship with us? We have learned that the lives of Jesus and His disciples were not easy ones. So, He did not come to make us rich or powerful. Where can we find Jesus?
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to first, love God with all of your being, and secondly, to love others with all of your being. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus told the parable of the Sheep and the Goat. He told us that His identity can be found in the poor, in the prisoners and strangers, in the children. He came to restore and reconcile us back with God,’ Dr Ozawa imparted.
Jesus is there when a family that is struggling with poverty has miraculously enough to eat everyday; He is there when a crippled or a stroke victim gain the ability to walk again; He is there when families that have everything going against them stay strong, united, and righteous; He is also there when broken lives are given hope and children grow up to be pillars of society. Dr Ozawa shared that among the most powerful signs of Jesus’ presence he had seen, was witnessing people with medical handicaps and greater needs than others praying for others.
‘Mother Teresa said that while not all of us can do great things, all of us can do small things with great love. As Christians, we must make this so much a part of our life that it becomes an instinctive, natural response,’ Dr Ozawa exhorted.
He also shared that the names of God, especially in the Old Testament tells us much about who He is. He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider; Jehovah Rapha, our Healer; Jehovah Shalom, our Peace, and so many other names. Many of us take these things for granted, and we think of blessings only in terms of the material. What is the character of God the Father?
‘There are many things in life that have no answers to them. Why do some good people die young, while wicked people live long and wealthy lives? Why do we so often see the people of God being oppressed by enemies? Why is it that so often doing the right thing ends up with us ‘losing out’?’ In the Bible, we find the example of Job. He was a good man. Why did he have to suffer? Elihu tried to provide an answer by stating that through trials, God teaches lessons that strengthen us.
‘It is a basic fact of life that no one is exempt from trouble. Every person goes through them, and often we find that the greatest trouble people have is other people. People are complicated, even Christians, and we have to deal with them. If we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes our problems are caused by ourselves, and sometimes we may also cause trouble to others.
‘We land ourselves into trouble when we try to tell God what to do instead of the other way round. We don’t want to do the things God wants us to do. We want to do things in our own way, whether it is out of fear, stubbornness, or some other reason. Only God knows what is going on most of the time, but sometimes we think we’re smarter than God,’ he shared.
‘Many things are uncertain in life. Tragedies always take people by surprise. When the Twin Towers fell in 2001, it was a beautiful morning and the planes seem to come out of nowhere. Just before the 2004 tsunami happened, people were enjoying a lovely holiday at their hotels and beaches.
'But I also want you to know that good things can also take people by surprise. When the Pentecost took place in the Book of Acts, it was by surprise. The Blood Moon Prophecy is out there but most of the world will be surprised by its events. The Rapture and Second Coming of Christ will also take us by surprise. We must not miss out on these things. We must be ready. We must make prayer a habit and our lives one of prayer; it may be required suddenly!’ he reminded.
‘Men, especially, must also get themselves more involved in intercession. These days intercession seems to be the domain of women, but we find many men intercessors such as Daniel and the other prophets in the Bible,’ Dr Ozawa said.
Dr Ozawa shared that the Christian journey is like a walk up a mountain. Some people rush ahead only to exhaust themselves. Others give up even before reaching the half-way point. He shared that the Japanese has a saying; Saigo Made, which means to ‘do the best until the very end’. That is how we should walk our Christian journey. Don’t ever stop but don’t rush it as well. We must learn to enjoy the journey.
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Note: Some pictures of church camp courtesy of Kajang Assembly of God