Friendship: a great gift from God

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We were created for relationships and each of us desires to have real connection. Did you know that God is interested in our relationships? Whether we find friendships difficult or if we are feeling lonely- He can help us. So how do we make friends and how can we be a good friend? We asked a few Lifehousers to share some of their thoughts.

         

Katie- Mother・30s・Married                             Nozomi- Worker・30s・Married

         

Taishi- University Student・20s・Single           Takuya- Worker・30s・Single

Q1. What do you think makes a good friendship?

Takuya: You can encourage one another to stay strong in faith and tell each other what we may not always want to hear. We are both committed to the friendship (they don’t cut you off just because something offends them).

Katie: A good friend for me is someone I can be myself with. We build each other up emotionally and spiritually. Not only do we laugh together but we support each other in the difficult seasons as well. We forgive each other quickly and speak to each other with honesty and grace.

Q2. How have you been impacted by good friendships?

Taishi: When I started having great friendships, I learned that it’s okay to share your worries and have deep conversations with them. At first, I was wondering why my friends were being such awesome friends to me but, through my friendship with them, naturally I started to look towards God, wanting to get to know Him more!

Nozomi: I grew up in church, so it wouldn’t have been possible to stay on track if I didn’t have Christian friends to help me overcome the struggles that I faced as a follower of Jesus in my school days. Now as a Christian in the workplace, I deal with different types of problems from time to time, but am blessed with Christian friendships where we can encourage, trust and pray for each other.

Q3. How do you invest in the friendships you have?

Taishi: Instead of just contacting each other through SNS, it’s important for me to actually meet them face-to-face. Simply making time to hang out. I meet them outside of class time if they are my university friends, meet them outside my working hours with my part-time job friends, meet my church friends on a non-church day.

Katie: By investing my energy, time and love. I try to make time for my friends in both busy seasons and slow ones. If I’m in a busy season, I’ll send a text to let them know I love them and am praying for them. When they are going through a challenging season I will sit with them, listen to them, give a good hug, pray or send encouraging scriptures.

Q4. How can we be good friends to others?

Nozomi: I’m a type of person who can become careless and start losing interest in people as time passes, so I need to make an effort to have genuine interest in people. So when someone comes to mind, I try to make a point to say hi or contact them!

Takuya: If I have a good relationship with God, I can be a better friend. God can give us solutions to challenges we face and most of all, we can find real friendship and fulfillment in Him.

Q5. How would encourage someone who wants to have good friendships?

Taishi: We’re all different and have unique personalities, so you may have disagreements. If it seems awkward but take courage and why don’t you try apologizing to your friend? Also, you will be able to be friends with different types of people. There are definitely people out there who you will get along with.

Nozomi: I am on the introverted end, so it takes time for me to open up. You can’t be friends with everyone, but if you’re interested in someone or have an opportunity to meet someone, have courage and open up to them. Then spend some time with them so that they’ll get to know you as well.

Takuya: I used to have an arrogant attitude toward people. As I grew in my relationship with God, He spoke to me about this. With His help I am growing in this area, so now I can treat people with respect. Of course, nobody is perfect. Everyone has had some sort of relational problem with others. When we realize and admit that we have an issue and seek healing from God, our relationships with others will be transformed for the better. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3 (NIV).

Katie: Don’t be afraid to ask someone to spend time together. Many people desire a good friendship just as much as you. But be prepared to give your time and energy. In big cities, like Tokyo for example, people can live quite far from each other. Building friendships might mean taking a longer train ride even when you don’t feel like it. Remember, Meaningful friendships take time to build. Keep praying for those friendships to grow, start with the little investments and before you know it that friendship will blossom.

Vision Sunday

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Vision Sunday

We asked a few people from our church in regards to what they are excited for in 2018!

Ryuhei

Are you excited for 2018? Why?
Of course YES, because I’m confident that God will give me breakthrough this year. I have a personal word encouraging me that I can do it in Jesus’ name. So this year’s personal theme is “I can do it”

What are you trusting God for, for Lifehouse church?
Jesus will make an impact through Lifehouse. The impact is love, joy, true friendships and more positive things.

What are you trusting God for breakthrough in the church and personally?
I’m personally trusting for the salvation of my family and especially my local friends. I strongly believe they’ll see something “different” in me.

 

Masa and Reina

Are you excited for 2018? Why?
YES WE ARE! Because God always has something in store for everyone. We have already heard stories about people finding jobs, new babies coming and students making it into their dream universities. It’s been so good so far and we can always trust God for more. Even for those starting with a tough season, God always has something ready.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”- Romans 8:28
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Boom!
Our church has been blessed with a special “spark” that draws people in without doubt. Everyone here has their own special testimony so you can always find somebody that you can relate to and they’ll be more than happy to pray for you and help you along your journey.

What are you trusting God for, for Lifehouse church?
It’s been the same every year:
More people finding Jesus and miracles to happen. We have already seen God do so much- the broken, the lonely, the hurt, the sick – all kinds of people come to our church, receive Jesus and live their best lives ever. We know we will see Him do it again.

What are you trusting God for breakthrough in the church and personally?
For church, we would love to see more and more people find joy in serving Jesus in a dream team. When we serve in church we get to see how God is working in people’s lives, and the best part is that WE get to be a part of it!

We just started serving as leaders for the Resource Team and it’s already amazing.
It’s been very humbling to be part of a huge team that stands at the very front of the church welcoming new visitors and helping them start off their journey with Jesus. It gives us such purpose. Who knows? You might become a part of somebody’s testimony..

For us personally, we would love to see our own families find Jesus. Sometimes the closest people are the ones that are hardest to invite, but through His strength, we would like to keep inviting them. God always keeps His promises and we trust in His timing.

 

Tomoyo

Are you excited for 2018? Why?
Of course I’m excited! I came back to church about 2 years ago and that year, I tried many new things and thought that it was the best year ever. But God gave me even more opportunities the following year, opening my eyes to many things – my joy was doubled! This may be a year of patience, but I know that God will give me the best, so even through hard times, I can have hope and faith and believing for the best year yet!

What are you trusting God for, for Lifehouse church?
I’m trusting God that there would be more opportunities for people to naturally get connected! As church gets bigger, people may feel lonelier, but I believe that people will be able to gather and feel at home. Also, that as people discover what their gifts are or find what they enjoy doing, people will be used by God in different areas of the church and ministry.

What are you trusting God for breakthrough in the church and personally?
I want to see breakthrough in people around me getting saved. I feel this year will be a turning point for my family and friends. I want people to desire God and find healing. I’m trusting that people in the church, who are confused and insecure, will find healing and praise God from the bottom of their hearts. Personally, I want to see breakthrough in my workplace and also be able to trust others more.

 

Judith Hannah


Are you excited for 2018? Why?
Yes, because God has sent me to be in Japan for such a time as this. I believe He is going to use me to change my little part of Japan and send others to change their little parts of Japan. Together we have a greater impact.

What are you trusting God for, for Lifehouse church?
I’m trusting for the right facility for Lifehouse Centre. I’m believing for more church members. I’m believing for more leaders overseas to have Japan on their heart and commit to sowing into this nation as partners of Lifehouse.

What are you trusting God for breakthrough in the church and personally?
That we would have a hunger for more of the Holy Spirit and for the more that God has. That the Church and My own heart would be sold out for God, that we would know His purpose in all the steps we take.

 

Steven and Yumi

Are you excited for 2018? Why?
We’re excited about a lot of growth in our lives this year as we aim to be more effective in business and as a family, reaching our community and serving the church together.

What are you trusting God for, for Lifehouse church?
We are excited about the theme of breakthrough. We are looking forward to powering into new opportunities with God’s guidance and backing, and also through the multiplying force we have by being a part of a great church like Lifehouse.

What are you trusting God for breakthrough in the church and personally?
For the church, we are looking for a breakthrough in great connections with new people, making it easier for them to become part of the church community. Yumi and I are both passionate about creative people and we’ve started an Art Connect group, to connect with more creative people in Tokyo. We meet up every 2 weeks on Sundays from 12:45 to 1:45pm. If you like drawing or doing something creative come join us! You can checkout the details in the Community Connect Groups page.
https://lifehousetokyo.churchcenter.com/groups/community-connect-groups
Personally, we are aiming for breakthroughs in business growth and our giving potential.