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Typhoon – Part 2!

Sorry for the delay, but here is the next part of my Typhoon story!

Rain – It might be raining, but anything is possible!

The wind.

The rain.

We are often stuck in the middle of a cyclone.

The wind begs us to question who is pressuring us, who is influencing us and who are we following?

The rain tells a different story.

Sometimes it starts as drizzle. Sometimes it’s torrential.

However it comes, we are more than likely to get wet.

When it comes in life we are also going to feel wet – sad, depressed, STRESSED OUT!!

There are so many things in life that can hit us full force like torrential rain. Whether its overwork and piled on stress from our boss, gossip at work flying at us left right and centre, maybe we have lost our job or failed our exams. We get sick, or a friend or someone from our family get sick. We have to look after our kids or our dog, or our friends kids. We lose all our money, we lose all our friends or we get dumped!!

Whatever happens, however it happens these things can pile up on us. Whatever it may be, even if it seems small at the time, when it hits us, it hits us HARD.
Sometimes we feel like giving up and we look to so many places to get us out!

I remember before I came to Japan, I was desperately looking for a way to get here, I studied at university hoping to come on the year abroad, but I never made it, I applied to endless jobs and got rejected, I tried many different ways to get here but money or situations just didn’t work out. The more I tried, the more stressful the situation became, there were so many times I just felt like giving up. I was flooded under the “I just can’t take it anymore” ocean and it seemed like no one was throwing me a life jacket – wherever I turned I couldn’t see any boats coming to help me out. I wanted to just give up.

There are many times in life when we want to just give up, retire, call it a day, realise that all our efforts just aren’t going to get us anywhere.

But with God we don’t have to give up! With him anything is possible!

Do you know the story of Abraham? Abraham is a guy in the bible, he really wanted a family, a child, but he was over 90 years old and his wife was infertile – pretty much no hopers, hey! But God pulled through for them and gave them a son – at their age and in their situation! HE gave them a son! That’s pretty unbelievable! But with God anything is possible. He really can do anything!

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19 v 26

Eventually as you can see I did get to Japan, on God’s time, with God’s plan and not my own scrapings together of one. And his plan was better, because through it I came to Kyoto, it gave me a great job and brought me to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka, where I have made so many friends for life. If I hadn’t of trusted God, I may not have ever made it to Japan and I wouldn’t be here now writing this blog.

No matter what we are going through, no matter how many showers we get, or how heavy the rain is, God can turn it around, he can change the scenario to make it even better than we could possibly imagine.

But if we give up instead of turning to God we are left with nothing. If we turn to HIM we can receive more than we could possibly imagine.

Maybe it’s hard to believe when all you can see is rain, but Jesus said also “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Mark 9 v 23. If we turn to Him and believe that He can pull us through the hard times, then we can be sure He will!

If you are struggling with something, if you are bogged down with things, if you feel like your life is flooded with bills and worn out relationships, if it seems like it’s just never going to stop raining. Why don’t you turn to him and let him take over, he wants to help and the best thing is he CAN!

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3 v 20

You can’t imagine it right? But that’s the best part, he can do MORE than we imagine!

If you want to know more, if you want to see through the rain, or have your situation turned around, come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka.

It’s an amazing place to make new friends, learn, grow, and receive God’s love that will change your life around.

Next time it rains, you will be singing in it!20110916-075148.jpg

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Typhoon!!! – Part 1

This weekend a Typhoon hit Japan!

The clouds were low and dark, it was blowing a gail outside and inside everyone was talking about it, “When’s the Typhoon going to hit?”

To be honest, when I first came to Japan I didn’t have a clue what a typhoon was….. 3 Years ago I had just arrived in Japan and I heard that one was coming, I thought we were all going to die and be swept away in torrents of floods! But that wasn’t the case!

Actually after that, I decided to fill in my ignorance and googled it up. A typhoon, which most of you will know is just a bunch of strong winds and stored up water, which later showers on us as rain. It’s simple, nothing complicated, but this simple thing can cause a LOT of damage.

Anyway, this whole typhoon business got me thinking about life – life can feel like we are sometimes trapped in a cyclone of wind and rain coming at us in all directions.

The wind comes,

the rain comes and

sometimes it feels like a full speed cyclone hit’s us full on, when we least expect it and we are left to pick up the pieces and remove the damage it leaves on our hearts.
Sometimes we have more time to prepare, like the one this weekend, we can get under cover and protect our hearts – but that doesn’t always means it can prevent the damage or our hearts from being broken.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CYCLONE.

Being in the midst of a typhoon can be scary, we don’t always know what’s going on, we lose control of the situation and find things getting a little tougher. Sometimes we get so scared of a typhoon hitting us that we succumb to things we wouldn’t normally do, we let the typhoon take over.

The wind and the rain start coming at us and we don’t know how to react or how to face it.

The wind – Who are we following?

It’s strong and coming at us full force.
The wind can often push us in directions we wouldn’t normal go.
It can be the same in life, people and the pressure from other’s can often put us in positions where we find ourselves moving in a direction we didn’t really want to be moving in, doing things we actually, don’t think are right and that we don’t believe in.

A while ago I found myself in this position a lot, doing things I didn’t always want to do, going to parties I wasn’t comfortable in, where I found myself at times over the top drinking to impress the people I was with, because I didn’t want them to go and leave me and be left alone. So I dressed like them, I talked like them, I walked and drank and ate like them.
I didn’t want the cyclone to go and leave me alone, so I succumbed to the cyclone.

I let people persuade me to become like them, to live like they did. They didn’t have to push very hard… but eventually those people moved on and took the cyclone with them.
Although at times it may have been fun living in the cyclone of parties, after it had died down I realised I was relying on those people for happiness, I was basing my life and dreams and aspirations on their kind of lifestyle, when I should have been following God and the amazing lifestyle he had planned for me!

“Jesus said, I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8 v 12

When I hear this verse, I realise how much darkness I had been walking in, I was stumbling around looking for something to follow, looking for places to build my character and so I used my friends at the time and imitated their lifestyle.

Sometimes we can get persuaded by people, to live up to their expectations, to impress them. But we don’t need to live to impress others; we won’t achieve anything from that. Even if we impress others at first, we may be happy for a while, but we cannot achieve ultimate satisfaction from them being impressed at us. They also will move on and look to somewhere else or someone else to impress them.

Living to impress people is hard work, there is always someone else to impress, or something else to do to impress them, they will never be truly interested in us and it is not going to satisfy us for long.
The only person we should really be wanting to impress is God. Because he is ALREADY impressed with us, he is always going to love us, no matter what – he has our interests at heart, and he isn’t going to leave us when he gets bored.

“All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses. I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you. I won’t leave you.” Joshua 1 v 5

Now I am living to please God, with his goals in mind, I’m not always seeking other’s approval but rather God’s.
I’m following him, not the leader of the pack!

Now I have changed who I am living for, not to amaze my friends or to impress boys, not to please my parents even, but to live for God means I can live the best life. Especially because I know God is constant, I know he will never leave me. When the cyclone is gone, he will still be there, picking up the pieces with me.

Because he loves ME! He loves me more than all my party friends ever could! And he loves you too!

He is the best person to rely on!! The best person to follow!

No boyfriend, no friend, not even our parents can match up to him!

So it’s really important to think about what kind of wind is blowing in our direction, are we being influenced by the people around us or are we standing strong in the cyclone and focusing on our true leader God?

Tomorrow I will talk about the other key part of the cyclone, the rain – how things in our lives can build up and pour out on us in torrents of rain, and how believing in God can change that.

If you want to know more about God, if you want to meet people who will support you in your relationship with him and make true friendships, rather than push you in the wrong direction, come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka.

It’s an amazing place full of people who love God and live to impress Him, and live the best life together.

If you are unsure or apprehensive that’s ok, if you need a friend to go with I can be that friend, mail me and we can go together!

laura.2708@i.softbank.jp

Laura

www.lifehouseosaka.com

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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

 

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

 

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