“I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” (Exodus 2:22)

I got to preach a msg yesterday in the church that sent us to Yokosuka 15 years ago. When I read about the life of Moses, wandering around in a foreign land, I can relate! I’m thankful for the people that God has given to me and my family, in Japan and in Every Nation. For those who want to watch, here is the live-streamed msg from Every Nation Church Yokohama.
BIBLE TEXT: Exodus 2:11-25


Pray for our churches in Ukraine

Yesterday, I was in a Zoom meeting with about 60 pastors and leaders and Pastor Steve Murrell, Every Nation President, shared a recent report and photos from Pastor Igor in Lviv (sorry, I can’t share those photos here). They have been housing about 200 people daily as they travel through to Poland. And they have church services every day now with all 200 people attending. Every day it is a different 200 people!
They have a fleet of trucks operating now, and our church in Poland does too. The trucks in Ukraine are driving daily into the conflict zone and bringing women and children back to the church. And our trucks in Poland are picking them up at the border and taking them to our church there and elsewhere. Pastor Steve and other leaders outside of Ukraine are meeting with the Ukrainian and Polish pastors regularly by Zoom to encourage and pray for them.

Map published by the UK Ministry of Defense on April 1, 2022 @DefenseHQ

If you want to give to our relief efforts in Ukraine and Poland you may give online here:

And please keep praying for this conflict to end!

There are Every Nation churches in several different cities all over the Ukraine.
1. L’viv https://www.lvivhs.com/
2. Ternopil https://www.love-healing.org.ua/
3. Buchach
4. Novodnistrovsk & Sokiryani
5. Berezhany
6. Angelivka

The ones with facilities have been operating as refugee centers since the Russian Invasion. Here are a couple of older reports from our churches there.

MARCH 18th

Looking for more great tunes?


If you are coming here from Adam Neely’s channel where he recently critiqued James and Alishea’s Christmas re-arrangement of Christmas Time Is Here, then you can find more great tunes here on their YouTube channel here:

Here is another re-arrangement:

Enjoy the musicality of Alisheability and her producer-big-brother 🙂
P.S. here is the link to Adam Neely’s video too:

Merry Christmas 2020!


Merry Christmas from our family to you!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
-1st Thessalonians 5:16-18

いつも喜んでいなさい。 絶えず祈りなさい。

(テサロニケ人への手紙第一 5:16-18)

Satomi on English as a Second Language

I stole these from Satomi’s Facebook page today. I thought they were worth posting somewhere that they won’t scroll down as fast in case I want to find them later. What do you think? Does this help you understand why Japanese people can tend to have a bit of an accent when speaking English as a Second Langauge?

Satomi on pronouncing “R” & “L”

Ret me exprain to you native Engrish speakers why someone rike me gets confused between “l” and “r”.

  1. There is no sound in my ranguage exactry rike “l” or “r”
  2.  There aren’t sepalate files in my blain to store those 2 letters
  3. When I learn a word with either retters I put them in one file.
  4. When I lemember these words, I get confused which retters to use.

By the way, did you notice that I did NOT switch these retters in some words? Those retters do not have vowels light after. They are fine for me!

Satomi on Consonants

Leto me exuplain to you nativeu Engulishu supeakersu.
Why someone likeu me hasu hardo timeu puronounceu wordsu likeu “sleep”.

  1. My language doesu noto haveu wordsu thato jumpusu furomu consonantsu to consonantsu.
  2. So, I tendu to addu vowelusu betuween.
  3. Even after learning that, some combinations are very hard like “r +l”, “s+l”, “t+l” etc.
  4. Simpulu sentences can be tongue twisuter for me.

Notice I did not add vowels after “n”. That is the only consonant that my language uses on its own!

Lessons about multicultural church from a barbeque in the pandemic

Recently, my family invited some boys to our house for a barbeque. Because of the ongoing pandemic and safety concerns, there was a discussion about safety and social distancing. On the morning of BBQ day, my wife suggested several rules which seemed overly draconian to me. “Everyone should wear a mask. Everyone should be assigned a cushion for seating and not move around…” My reaction was, “We already talked about this, and agreed to limit the number of guests. It will be fine. None of us are sick and none of the boys we invited are sick either.” I imagined 4 or 5 boys coming over and having to wear a mask and sit on their cushion without moving. Inconceivable to my American mind! But my Japanese wife imagined what would happen if we did not take reasonable safety precautions and someone got sick. In short, we did not see things the same way.

Our lack of unity was caused by the fact that “reasonable safety precautions” meant different things to each of us, because of our cultural viewpoint. And in the middle of our discussion, my third-culture daughter interjected some wisdom from her own perspective. After listening to each of our sides in this debate she piped in, “Dad, imagine a country where everyone thinks like Mom does. Now imagine a country where everyone thinks like you do. Which country do you suppose will have a higher infection rate?”

My daughter was right. Japan is a country where most everyone assumes mask-wearing, safety and distancing, are reasonable and 「当たり前」 (which roughly translated means “obvious” or “of course you should do that!”) Americans like myself, on the other hand, tend to focus more on our personal freedoms. My starting point in thinking about what was reasonable was, “Why should I be required to do something that I don’t feel is really necessary?” But the reality is that during this months-long pandemic Japan has had a total of about 1,000 deaths, while America had about 1,000 deaths yesterday. No one knows how things will ultimately go or exactly where the line between “faith” and “safe” really is. But for a third-culture kid like my daughter, who understands both ways to view the world, it is obvious that these shocking statistical differences are due, at least in part, to the fact that “people in this country think like Mom.”

This started me thinking about how different our thinking can really be sometimes. That is why multicultural marriage is not always easy. When Satomi and I decided to marry in 1987, we knew that it would take a serious commitment to talk things out even when our disagreements were uncomfortable. We made a commitment to work things out for the sake of our marriage and by God’s grace we are still together. We’ve made it this far but even now after all these years, we need to regularly pause and talk things out.

Doing church together in a multicultural congregation may be even harder in some ways, because unlike marriage, the commitment required is not always obvious up front. Unless we do make a serious commitment that our local church is a spiritual body of which we are vital members it may just seem like a lot of work for nothing. It is very easy to get offended by people who look and think just like you, but it’s even easier when they have a totally different way of looking at the world. However that is exactly the kind of church that Jesus started when he commissioned the first believers and sent them by his Holy Spirit to go and make disciples.

The members of the early church in the Book of Acts “were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32) and they were extremely committed in their relationships with one another. Acts 4:32 also says they “had everything in common.” Yet this was a multiracial, multicultural, multiethnic, multigenerational congregation. But somehow they operated more like a family than anything else, even in finances.  They knew from the start that it would take a serious commitment to talk things out even when it was uncomfortable. And just like any family, especially a mixed family, those disagreements did happen.

In the verses starting with Acts 6:1, a serious disagreement did come out and we get a peek into it when we read the following, “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.” This would have been the perfect time for the Apostles to say, “I think it is best if we have two different congregations.” Or it might have been tempting for the Hellenistic Greek believers to decide to leave the Hebrew leaders and start their own ministry. But that is not how they dealt with it. The bond of love in Christ that held them together was greater. They worked it out. That talked about it. And they stayed together and grew through the situation.

I’m thankful for my mixed family, especially when I see that my kids have learned wisdom from being exposed to more than one culture. And I am also thankful that God has called me to pastor a church in Japan where more people think like my wife than like me. Having a multicultural church is not easy. People do get offended and sometimes they leave. But the believers in the Book of Acts did not all look like each other either, and in some ways they did not all think about things the same way either. How could God use them together in such a powerful way that they became known as, “These men who have turned the world upside down…” (Acts 17:6)? By keeping their focus on honoring God. By listening to the Word of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit. And by valuing their relationships. That is how the church was designed to operate. That is the kind of church that I believe God wants to build here in our city. That’s why we talk about every tribe and every tongue worshiping Christ together here often (Revelation 7:9). And that’s one reason our church is named Every Nation.

All those heavy thoughts came to me through a disagreement with my wife about a barbeque during the pandemic. But it made me very thankful for my relationships. Oh, and about the barbeque – in the end, we talked it through until we each understood the other’s point of view. And it was safe and awesome!

Do Not Disbelieve, But Believe! Jesus and Thomas.

I was asked to share a message about “Doubting Thomas” at our recent Every Nation Campus Japan Conference in Shibuya. There were about 60 students plus 40 older kids gathered there for two days of establishing, equipping, and empowering. I’ll post the recording here so you can hear how the conference started. Three other pastors followed me and challenged the students to reach their campuses for Christ. There was a great response of faith. Pray for the young generation of believers in Japan!

ENC Japan 2019 Campus Conference Boys

Keeping the Dream Alive (ministering in Shimada)

Recently, I was invited to minister in the Every Nation church in Shimada, Japan. I took two Japanese young men with me. Both are in their early 20s. One grew up in church and one became a believer last year. They shared at the beginning of the message about how God is moving in Japan. This is a bilingual message so you can hear English and Japanese. Give a listen if you want to peek in on a Japanese church. Thank you for your prayers!