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Monthly Archives: August 2011

How are you gettting there??

Sometimes I need to stop and think about what I’m doing. Life. What are we doing with it? How are we living it? Or are we even living it at all?

Life is a journey, but it all depends on what we do to get there.

When we go on a trip, there are many forms of transportation we choose to get to our destination, some are cheaper than others, some take a lot longer, or some or more environmentally friendly.

But most of the time we always have a choice, we choose the route or which kind of transportation to take. Sometimes we don’t think about it, we just take the easiest option, sometimes we spend hours planning.

Life is the same, there are many options and many ways to get where we want to go, but do we often give enough attention to how we are getting there, or are we more focused on the’ holiday destination’.

When we just go somewhere automatically without giving it enough thought we can often end up where we don’t want to be, exhausted, stressed, lost, or even in the total wrong direction. Maybe we need to realise that the decisions we make to get somewhere is going to affect how we live our lives.

Whether we choose the bus, train, aeroplane, taxi, ferry. We have a choice.

I was thinking about this and I came up with these examples of the choices we make.

When we go on holiday sometimes we choose the CRUISE SHIP!

 

A cruise ship can be fun at first, you can do whatever you want on it, live life up! The cruise ship lifestyle, is a life led by money, parties, boys and girls, drugs, drink –fun, fun, fun!! But sooner or later our money runs out and when we reach the port and realise we don’t have enough money to ride again, we can end up feeling very lost in a destination unknown to us.

Sometimes we want to take this route to run away from things in our lives, but I want to encourage you, with God we can face anything – he really will help us through it, as cliché as it may seem!

Maybe you’re the opposite and you are living the BICYCLE lifestyle.

 

It’s simple, cheap and you can be in total control of it!

Being in control of our life seems important. We can get whatever we want, whenever we want it, we don’t need to stop for any one, we don’t need to let people hassle us, or annoy us, we can just get on with our life, how we want. Simple.

 But on a bicycle, by yourself, we realise we can’t travel far, there is only SO far we can go by ourselves. The “I can do this by myself” attitude can leave us burnt out, and not getting where we really want to go.

A lifestyle led by ourselves, pedalling away at the things we really can’t do by ourselves, is tough, sometimes we end up feeling very alone, lost and depressed. This isn’t where we wanted to end up. But it doesn’t need to be that way because God is there to help us, to lead us in life, to  live a more fruitful, exciting life.

“Self help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but loose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Matthew 16v 25-26

The next ride on my list of lifestyle choices is the ROLLER COASTER!

 

The roller coaster, it’s thrilling,

                                                                                     it has its ups and downs,

           its twists and turns,

                                               you don’t need to stop and think

 you can just go,
                                         go, 
                                                             GO!!

 How amazing would it be to have a roller coaster lifestyle, always something exciting happening!!

But as thrilling as it may be, it doesn’t go anywhere, there is no driver, it’s an automatic lifestyle, based on the roller coasters theme, not on our life goals. It’s chosen for you and you just end up “going along with the ride”.

Maybe it seems we have a great job, an amazing relationship, but the theme of the ride is only that, we can’t change rides, it just keeps taking us on the same course over and over again. We end up making the same mistakes, again and again. The rollercoaster lifestyle, leaves no room for improvement and no need to learn anything new. But the more we keep going around and around we are eventually going to feel very, very SICK!

Choosing one thing to be the theme of our life can be dangerous, a job, a career, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a business, or anything that we revolve our life around, as a theme of our rollercoaster life, when we lose it and we realise we don’t have anything else great in our life, the roller coaster breaks down, that’s it – ride over!

Then there’s the BUS.

The bus can be great if the driver is God – then we can know we are heading in the right direction. Many Christians choose the Bus route, this isn’t a bad choice, choosing a journey led by God is amazing, but it’s not just about getting on the right form of transport, we have to be careful when we are riding it too!

Many people get on and ride the bus alongside us, just like many people come into our life that we can’t choose, or can’t avoid and they try and influence our decisions. Sometimes they try to change our mind about getting on the bus altogether and convince us to get off!!  New Christians may often struggle with this, they find God and accept him in their life, but then later on they get swayed by other people’s opinions and life choices.

Sometimes we get on the total wrong bus and end up going in the wrong direction with the wrong bus driver. Maybe we choose the wrong boyfriend/girlfriend, people tell us that persons great and we should stick with them because we can’t do any better. We stay in the wrong job because others tell us we can’t be more, there’s no chance you can be an actor, or singer, or world famous musician. We even stay in the wrong country or city, because no one believed you could make that jump and go, so we ended up believing that too.

Sometimes we might see a ‘someone’ on a different bus that we like, we want to ride with that person too, so we change buses and end up leading a life not led by God, but by a totally different driver. Or we see a bus that looks like it’s going to a great place, “hey, let’s get on that one!” – Without any real thought as to where it’s going or what the consequences might be.

But my favourite of rides, and the one that will take me exactly where I need to go is the TAXI.

The taxi driven by God is the best way. We are not alone, we don’t end up wasting our life away on fun and games, it’s not going round and round in circles and we don’t have random people jumping in and trying to change our life. It’s just US and GOD in the taxi of life. We can choose who we invite into our ride and who we don’t, better than that we get our own personal chaufferur!!

He can take us anywhere! The sky’s the limit – although not really with God!

It’s a risk, yes. Sometimes we don’t know where He is taking us, we don’t know the route ourselves, we don’t have the map and we can’t tell him to cut a corner if we don’t like that road. But if we trust him we can know he will lead us to a far better place than we could ever imagine.

We don’t need to get out of the taxi in search of a boyfriend, in search of an amazing job, in search of our dream. God is taking us directly there, we just have to trust him! No short cuts!

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3 v 5-6.

Whatever decision you make it’s going to take you somewhere because life is about choices and you have a choice which ride you can take!

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin to tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” Romans 6 v 22

www.lifehouseosaka.com

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“Open your eyes” – to freedom!

                                                                   

“I want so much for you to open your eyes, because I need you to look into mine.”

 Those are the words of a Snow Patrol song.

The words of this song really struck a chord with me. They make me recall the time when I opened my eyes to look into God’s, he made me realise what was actually going on in my life and that I wanted to make a change.

It is so easy in this world to get lost in everything the world wants us to get lost in.  Money, parties, our hectic work schedule, the celebrity lifestyle we so want to lead, the model we want to be, are we too fat or too thin? The car we spent all our money on, the drinks we need to drink to help us forget, the boyfriend who wants us to be something we aren’t, or the girls that flit into our day to day lives.

There is certainly plenty to keep us occupied. But are these the things that make us feel GREAT? The things of life that make us want to get up in the morning, to jump out of bed and start living?!

They certainly weren’t for me. I thought the world could bring me, this happiness, that I could get my hope from money and people. But when those people had walked out of my life and I had spent all my money, I quickly realised, that was far from the truth.

When I finally opened my eyes and saw this, I was lost in despair where could I go now? That’s when God turned my eyes towards him.

Galatians 5 v 13 “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. “

In him I found a new freedom and joy for life, it gave me a passion to be more, than what I am with God and share that love with others. I didn’t need to depend on the media for guidance or the things of the world to make me happy because I had found a freedom in Jesus.

I AM FREE!!

!

“Get up, get out, get away from these liers, because they don’t get your soul or your fire.” Snow Patrol

We all have a passion inside of us, to make a difference, to be somebody, to live a life worth living not just a life to get by with. There is a fire in each and every one of us, but sometimes we just need to ignite it!

I wondered what the world would think when I decided to turn away from everything I had been consumed by and start living with Jesus in my life, but I soon realised  I just couldn’t keep the fire down, the passion inside me wanted to
                                                                                   grow and
                                                                                           grow and
                                                                                                    GROW!

We don’t need to let other people tell us who we are, or what we need to be. God already has a special plan for us, we are unique to him and he wants to stir up the fire in our hearts to be something more than what we can only do by ourselves.

With him, our potential is huge!

Jeremiah 29 v 11 “I know what I am doing I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

Now Jesus has ignited the fire inside me, I am living a life of real freedom and passion and I know he has a great a plan lined up for me – there is no way I want to go back to all those things I was doing before!!

“We will walk from this dark room for the last time. Every minute from this minute now we can do what we like anywhere.”

These are the last lines of the Snow Patrol song, and they ring true for my life too, I have finally walked away from the dark room I was hiding in and I have left everything that was creating that darkness in my life behind. Now I can go forward with God, anywhere and everywhere and have fun living his plan!

But it’s not just me who can find this freedom and passion, you can too!

For me it all started at Jesus Lifehouse Osaka, where I met other people who had found Gods freedom from the things of this world that had trapped them, all filled with passion, on fire with love for Jesus, their joy for life is contagious!

They introduced me to what Jesus could do in my life and I too found my joy and passion too! Why don’t you come and find yours? God can really open your eyes and help you see your life for the amazing, joyous, passionate life it can be!!

www.lifehouseosaka.com

 

YOU!!

YOU

Yes you, YOU are significant. You have a significant role in this world, as do I and the person in the room next to you!

Sometimes it’s so easy to feel like we are nobody in this big world, but that’s not true! You and I and Mr Tanaka, who sits next to you on the train every day, we all have a significant part to play in life. God made us all individually, unique, and for a purpose.

But life can sweep us away sometimes, make us feel insignificant, like we are just another switch in the circuit and at these times we can often find ourselves trying to be someone we are not in order to be recognised.

“This isn’t me!”

I have spent most of my life wishing I was someone I am not, until I finally realised I don’t need to be anything more than I am. Because God made me this way and he loves me this way. I don’t have to feel ugly anymore, untalented, useless or insignificant.

Psalm 139 v 13-14 “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside then out, you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you high God – you’re breath taking! Body and soul I am marvellously made!”

Since a young age I have battled with who I am, what I look like, whether or not I can match up to other people’s expectations or if that person really fits into the circumstances that surround me in my day to day struggle to be Laura. I created a persona for myself in my head that I was ugly, unconfident and irrelevant to this world. And for a while I lived up to it.

Whether it was dolling myself up in heels and a mini skirt to imitate that model on the front of Vogue and make myself feel I was beautiful, or reeling off a list of achievements at an interview too boost my confidence that I was somebody, or hanging out with the popular people and flirting with guys to gain popularity and make myself feel I am worthy.

We all more or less have had this kind of pressure at some point in our lives, to live up to the standards of other people, the media etc.

But the more we try to identify ourselves through worldly things, compare ourselves to others or try to be something we are not we are only heightening our insecurities.

Sometimes we let other people define us, the social circle we are in at university, our jobs, our family, our nationality. Yes maybe we are part of some of those things but aren’t we MORE than that?

The answer is YES.

We have a God who loves us just as we are and accepts all of us, whether we are fat or thin, ugly or pretty, worn and damaged or shy and unconfident.

He loves YOU!!

Isaiah 43 v 4 “That’s how much you mean to me, that’s how much I love you. I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”

When I realised this, I could finally be myself. I was free to be me. Gradually I became more confident not just on the outside but on the inside, in who I was. I could be me, not the me everyone else wanted me to be, but the me God created me to be!

We don’t have to be perfect!

None of us are perfect and we don’t have to be.

Sometimes the world can chip away at our self esteem, bit by bit until we don’t have a lot left. The things we don’t like about ourselves, who we are, what we have become. We battle everyday to hide it or defend it but we don’t need to. Maybe we don’t like who we are but there is somebody who does. JESUS. And he can change how you think of yourself too!

He can give you the confidence in him to be you, the YOU that you want to be!

He has given you gifts, the talents you think nobody notices, he can use them to lift you up and give you a chance to be a better you!

He can fill you with love, so you SHINE from the inside out!

Learning to love who you are

You are unique, one of a kind, and perfect to God, because he made you that way.

You may think you don’t have the ability to be who you want to be, you can’t achieve your goal, or you may think your fat, or ugly, shy and unimportant. You may feel that people think your strange or a nobody. But God doesn’t, he has a great plan for us, he can lift us out of our insecurities and give us a confidence we never knew we could find, if we just let him.

Jeremiah 29 v 11 “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

If we fill our lives with God’s love, we too can shine from the inside out. The more we can accept that God loves us and made a place for us in his special plan, the more we can learn to love who we are.

At JESUS LIFEHOUSE OSAKA there are so many people who felt the way I did, unconfident and unimportant, but God has lit a torch in all of them and they are now smiley, confident and beautiful people, who believe they can do and be anyone through Jesus. You can shine like them too.

If you want to know what God’s plan is for you, if you want to become confident right now, find the real you and start living the amazing life that you can lead with God’s love, then come to Jesus Lifehouse and we can start the amazing journey together!

If you are apprehensive or scared that’s ok too, we all have been unsure. If you don’t want to go by yourself or need a friend, I will go with you! Let’s Go!

http://www.lifehouseosaka.com

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Could there be a place in OSAKA you haven’t been to yet?!

OSAKA!!

Have you been there yet?

It seems the place to be, a bustle of excitement, flashing lights, tall buildings, layers upon layers of shops crowded with hoards of people at every hour of the day and night. The smell of Takoyaki (battered octopus) sizzling on every street corner and Karaoke bars and Izakayas littered in between. You can even get a bit of culture thrown in at Osaka castle!

You can never be short of something to amuse yourself here, it seems!

But after a while the thrill of the hundreds of different Izakayas, singing ‘Barbie Girl’ at karaoke for the 15th time and dare I even say it, Takoyaki, can sometimes, just sometimes, loose the ‘buzz’ and you can be left feeling

what am I doing here??? Here? In JAPAN??!!

After living in Japan 2 years, there were defiantly times like this, when all the usual amusements were just not fulfilling enough for me, no matter how many bars I went to or songs I sang, I just couldn’t find what I needed. I quickly became tired of Japan, bored and yes I will admit it lonely.

These times when you are alone in a FOREIGN country can be hard, strange and sometimes just plain amusing but with no answer to why you’re feeling like this, you can end up feeling quite simply (excuse the pun) lost…in translation?

So what do you do then? Go home? Eat more takoyaki and hope it fulfils your loneliness??

Well, I decided not to take either of these routes but instead I made my way to a place I had not yet been to in Osaka. A place that is unlike all of these places, but just as much and even more FUN!!!222682_1835604424212_1663506979_183

That place is JESUS LIFEHOUSE OSAKA! It’s a church in Shinsaibashi, but it’s not what you typically expect of a church, this is a lively place full of young people (And those a little bit older!) who have gleaming smiles because they are full of JOY and LOVE for each other, for the city of Osaka and Japan itself.

These people are filled with passion and hope from God, a passion they can’t hold in, they just have to spread it! They have a vision to see Osaka change and bring more hope and love to the people of Osaka and Japan.

Jesus Lifehouse is not just a church, it’s a place to make GREAT friends, renew your VISION for life, and most importantly find JESUS and start an awesome relationship with him, that will leave you very far from lost!

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Since coming here and accepting Jesus back into my life, to make the change I really need, I have made more friends than legs you could count on a centipede, not only that but now I am full of joy too and I can’t stop smiling!

Now when I look at Osaka, I don’t feel tired and bored anymore, but renewed with hope and joy that Osaka has a great future, full of people with hope and vision and that I am also one of them!

I can go to karaoke countless times, and not get bored, because I have been renewed with a joy that’s not going to run out. Fresh from God every day, Osaka and my life have jumped into a different spectrum.

If you have felt like this at any point in Japan or your life, why don’t you come and check out Jesus Lifehouse,

you can make new friends, foreigners and Japanese alike,

renew your vision for your life

and start heading down an even better road,

with Jesus by your side,

full of love,

full of passion,

full of joy!

Yes, you may think this is not for me, you may be sceptical or believe you don’t need a church to make your life better, but don’t rule it out just yet, come on down and check it out, if not to at least to just check off one more place you haven’t been to in Osaka yet!

http://www.lifehouseosaka.com

I can’t wait to see you there!!

Laura

 
 

SOUL Surfer!

Awesome wave man!!

Surfing, at some point we have all tried it, on the net, through the ocean, or just in life. Up and down, trying to find something worth surfing for, something worth living for and when we do we find how thrilling and amazing it is!

Some of us are hidden artists waiting to burst out of our shells, or budding actors waiting for our big break, potential soccer stars, wannabe singers or even just the everyday stuff that we long to become, doctors, lawyers, carpenters, teachers, or even shop assistants.
Somewhere along the line there’s something we long to accomplish, to make a difference, to be somebody.
And when after striving we finally get it! Wow, hey presto! This is amazing! The life we dreamed of!

Life can be really exciting living our dream, until something happens that changes our view of everything.

Recently I watched the movie Soul Surfer, one of those tear jerker, inspirational movies that makes you want to do something more with your life. It’s about a girl, crazy about surfing – lives for it, dreams about it, talks nothing else but about it and then she gets bitten by a shark and loses her left arm. Woah, I cried at this part!

Sometimes we too feel like we have lost our left arm – when we get fired, or we lose all our money, we find out we have cancer, or our best friend turns against us, or even when we just lose our confidence or passion.

“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

At times like this we ask WHY???

The girl in the movie, Bethany, asked this too, she wanted to be a professional surfer, that was her dream, but with one arm how was that possible? “How can this be God’s plan for me?” she asked.

Sometimes we don’t know why terrible things happen to us, but we have to believe something good will come out of it. Because no matter what God is in control and he wants the best for us!

Jeremiah 29 v 11 “I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

It may not always work out the way we planned it and it may not all be as easy as we thought.

Bethany held tight to the belief that she could do anything through God who gave her, her strength. She very quickly realised that you need two hands to do a lot of things! But she didn’t get discouraged, she learnt again to do the things she had found so easy to do before. Cutting an orange, making a sandwich, carrying things – she had to work at all of them.
Eventually she even had a stab at surfing again. She wasn’t the same as before, but the more she persisted, the more she relied on Gods strength the better she got!

I’m not going to spoil the story for you, but Bethany achieved a lot more through her disability than she ever could have with two arms. Not only did she get back into surfing but she went to Thailand and reached out to the Tsunami victims there. She learnt that compassion can move us to do amazing things and give us a total different perspective.

In Thailand, She ended up teaching a kid who was afraid of the water, how to surf and realised that surfing wasn’t the only and most important thing in her life, love was!

God works in mysterious ways, with one arm, Bethany gained more fans and support and inspired more young girls to follow their dreams no matter what, than she may have ever done with both arms!

Even when it seems like the end of the world, God can turn it around to make it 10 times better than it was!

TRY, TRY, and TRY again!

There are times when Bethany felt like giving up! And there are times when we will want to give up, when we continuously fail exams, when we keep getting rejected by numerous employers or even when the treadmill at the gym feels like it’s just pushing us too much!

But the reason why she was so successful and why so many people were inspired by her was because she tried!

She believed that through God she could do ANYTHING!

Sometimes we try to do so much by our own strength, but we keep failing. There are some things we just can’t do alone. But with God’s help anything is possible we just have to believe! We may feel so weak and helpless at times, but with God’s strength we can do anything!

2 Corinthians 12 v 9 “My grace is enough, it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

When I believe this, it doesn’t matter if I’m not as good looking as all the other girls, or if I keep failing my Japanese exam, it doesn’t matter if I can’t understand the complexities of computer systems, or swim faster than the other swimmers in the pool, because when I focus on God’s strength in me, he can overcome all my weaknesses!

But we have to be willing to believe that he can do anything through us and then all we need to do is TRY!

Bethany said “Life is a lot like surfing, when you get caught in the impact zone you need to get back up, because you never know what’s over the next wave. And if you have faith anything is possible.”

Yes, we don’t know what’s over the next wave, but with Jesus surfing alongside us, we needn’t worry!

If you want a chance to meet Jesus and overcome your weaknesses and set back’s through his strength then come to Jesus LIfehouse Osaka and we can introduce him too you!

And if you are looking for an inspirational movie to get you up on your toes, Soul Surfer is one to watch!!

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Jesus, Jesus LIfehouse, love, strength, Surfing

 

The word on everyone’s lips… Jesus Lifehouse Osaka!

Waku,waku,waku!! Exciting, exciting, exciting! That’s my life in Japan!!

3 years ago to this month I arrived in Japan!

A little confused and trepid with excitement, I started living the up and down roller coaster adventure that I am still living.

You can probably guess I love Japan, I love the Karaoke, I love the food, I love the people! But most of all I love my church, Jesus Lifehouse Osaka, a place full of smiling people who love Jesus, who love Japan and who love each other!

That is a whole lot of lovin’!

I started going to this amazing place in January of this year, from the first day my life changed dramatically, I made so many friends, renewed my love for Japan and started viewing Japan and the world in a new improved light, with my shades off I could see the world for the beautiful place it is, I didn’t need any negativity cramping my style!

Now my life is so full of Jesus love that I can’t stop smiling! And the best thing is I also have a load of friends who can’t stop smiling too!

Not just foreigners, but Japanese too! These people are filled with passion and hope from God, a passion they can’t hold in, they just have to spread it! They have a vision to see Osaka change and bring more hope and love to the people of Osaka and Japan.

If you are in Japan and are looking for my adventure, more excitement, more love and more fun, come and join me at Jesus Lifehouse Osaka!

You may be sceptical at first, I was! I couldn’t understand why so many people could be so full of joy, I thought it must be fake! But it’s not everyone is genuinely full of hope and happiness and then I also became so full of hope and happiness, I couldn’t help but believe!

Whether your convinced or not, just come and give it a go! I guarantee that you will feel welcome and included as soon as you walk through the door!

http://www.lifehouseosaka.com

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Uncategorized