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LIJ Episode Videos

Grocery Shopping in Japan

When it comes to grocery shopping in Japan, there are a myriad of options. You can go the route of convenient and practical, near the train stations and along the way. There are many stores like this and can be very handy when in a pinch. If you want to save money, you can go to a number of different stores that are limited on selection and space but have a great price. And then there are the beautiful, large supermarkets where you can find just about anything, if you’re willing to pay a little more. It’s all here in Japan.

Not just your body needs food…

While preparing this video I kept thinking about the famous words of Jesus “Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Did you know that your soul, your spirit needs food just as much as your body does? Without proper nutrition, your soul and spirit starve into hopelessness, depression and despair. But with proper nutrition, the soul and spirit can thrive just as the body does. Jesus said “My words are spirit and they are life.” To interact with Jesus and His words bring health and life to the spirit just as a good meal brings nutrition to the body.

Has you been feeding your soul and spirit with good spiritual food? If not, I suggest a healthy meal of the book of the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. There you will read of the story of Christmas and the life of Christ and ask God to fill your spirit with life as you read His words.

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LIJ Episode Lives Videos

Living the Best Life

It’s tempting to think that life is better somewhere else, and it’s true that trips and vacations bring happiness for a moment, but when that moment is passed, only a memory remains. A truly rewarding life is built in everyday moments, prioritizing our families and communities. The way we live our normal life determines whether or not we will will enjoy a high quality of life or not. Here’s some of the secrets we’ve found for living the best life.

5 Secrets for Living the Best Life

Involve Others: Good friends and family know that one of the best ways to build good relationships is by spending time together. But it’s more than just spending time together. It’s involving others when you’re just going out to the grocery store, or inviting your child to help you make pancakes, or inviting a friend out when you need to go shopping. I’ve heard it said “If you want to get something done right, then you have to do it yourself” and many times I have subscribed to that thought. But the longer you go it alone to “do it right,” the further distanced you will become from others, ultimately losing what really matters: good relationships.

Get Engaged with Your Neighborhood: We’re learning Japanese because we live in Japan and we’re not just satisfied with skating by on our simple level of Japanese. We want to really get to know people, make good friendships and be a blessing to our community. To do that, learning Japanese is essential. We don’t expect others to learn English, we will rise up and learn Japanese. And in the process, we have met so many incredible people that want to get to know us and so they use English! That is special indeed.

Support Your Local Community: The community you live in should be better because you live there. I constantly see our retired neighbor out and about, cleaning the road, raking at the park, planting flowers, volunteering at community events, chatting with elderly neighbors. This man is an incredible example of someone who supports their local community. We too seek to support our local community by buying locally, supporting local businesses and even running our business to provide a useful service for our community. All of these things factor into supporting our local community.

Become a Part of a Good Church: A good church is a spiritual family that puts God and His Word first and others second. You don’t have to be a Christian to start coming to church. In fact, coming to church (whether online or in person) is one of the best ways to learn about what it is to be a part of a church and why it’s so important. In a good church you will learn not just about God, but led to know Him personally, and knowing God personally is the biggest life change anyone can undergo. In fact, it deserves it’s own point!

Put Your Faith in Jesus Christ: The sooner you can settle who Jesus really is in your heart and believe in Him, the sooner you can start living the fullest life possible. Jesus Himself said that He came to give us life and life to the full. It’s a life that goes beyond any of our natural capacities into God-sized living, and that type of living will blow the roof off of any other type of living there is, because it comes with a promise that once our life on earth is over, we will be with God forever in Heaven.

These are just some of the secrets we’ve found for living the best life. Would you add anything else?

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LIJ Episode Videos

Japan’s Epic Landscape

One of the best parts of living and working as a missionary, pastor and content creator in Japan is getting to enjoy the absolutely amazing landscape here. A couple of months ago, my friend Kazu told me about a hike he was planning on doing: a 3-night, 2-day hike down Japan’s deepest gorge. As soon as he told me about it, I knew I wanted to go! Little did I know the huge adventure that was in store. I ended up with close to 2 hours of footage from our adventure, and after many a late nights editing, came out with a 40-minute mini-documentary of our trip. Pop some popcorn for this one and settle in as you enjoy Japan at its finest!

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LIJ Episode Videos

Second Hand Stores in Japan

Second hand stores (or resell stores) can be found all over the world, but perhaps no where else in the world are they quite like they are in Japan. A whole second-hand store culture has developed in Japan, one where you can easily find quality used items for half of the retail price. But the way they function in Japan is perhaps unique only to Japan and is the focus of this week’s Life in Japan.

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LIJ Episode Lives Update

Our Future Plans

We need to plan to live. The better the planning, the better the living can be. Without good plans, the best intentions fail. But plans are a funny thing. We can only plan as well as our ability to see ahead. If you’re driving a car and see a sharp curve ahead, you know to pump the brakes, slow down, and prepare to turn safely. The problem comes when you don’t see the sharp turn and you’re barreling down the road full speed ahead.

We plan the way we want to live,
but only GOD makes us able to live it.

Proverbs 16:9 The Message

I love this verse from the Bible — full of wisdom! Our own ability to plan will only take us so far. When it comes down to it, we’re at the mercy of God to be able to live out our plans — we’re at the mercy of God to be able to live at all! So what does that mean for planning?

Every year our Paz Team — the team behind our church, our coffee shop and many other noble endeavors — takes a couple days out of our busy lives to prayerfully look down the road and anticipate the curves ahead. It’s best to plan ahead as much as possible. Last year we made some great plans for this year, almost all of which were obliterated by Corona and 2020! But something truly phenomenal happened — the goals we had for reaching more people and expanding the ministry moved forward by a huge rate anyway! It shows God’s hand at work in the midst of all the turmoil of 2020.

Planning Ahead

In light of 2020, how can any of us be so bold as to plan ahead? I think planning ahead this year looks very different than it did last year at this time. There are things we consider now that we’re even a discussion a year ago. We’ve seen how important it is to stay connected to people, even if we can’t meet them physically. We’ve seen the strain and the stress this year has put on families, homes, emotional health and the general well-being of people everywhere. And we’ve realized we can’t take anything for granted.

This year has refined our values and our purpose. It has put in perspective things that really matter — the “non-negotiables” of life. We can no longer plan ahead without a larger perspective. Living in different countries and cultures will certainly open up your perspective, but the greatest perspective we can have is a heavenly one — the very perspective God has.

In the Bible we read the story of God and his creation. We see how it all came to be, how man messed it up so badly, and how God is bringing it all back together. We realize that the stories of our lives are not individual story lines that criss-cross, but they’re a part of a much bigger story that God has been writing since the very beginning. God invites us into His story, and as we receive His invitation, our future is made secure and our path defined.

My recent message from Paz Church — God Has a Story for Your Life

Now the question remains — have I let God into my story to change it, to rewrite it as He sees fit? Have I truly put every part of my life before God, surrendered to Him? The result will be a complete transformation of our lives as we are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. I move from fighting to control the story line of my life to letting God fight my battles as I rest in Him and follow His lead. This is what the Christian life is all about, and I love it! There’s no other life for me.