Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

15Jun/102

So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore

I recently read the book "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore" by Jake Coleson, except Jake Coleson does not exist, but is a pseudonym for the combined work of Dave Coleman and Wayne Jacobson.

Although this work of fiction creates a story which most people would agree is the epitome rather than the norm, it does so in order to very clearly illustrate the points the author wants to bring across. As I read the book, it sometimes reminded me of the very simple parables that Jesus used to illustrate his teachings.

In the story, Jake Colsen, a disillusioned pastor of a dysfunctional church meets someone who he believes may be John the Beloved from the New Testament. He repeatedly meets this man throughout the story and discovers new truths and observations comparing what Jesus had taught in the Bible versus the way most churches operate and teach their parishioners to live today.

If you haven't read this book yet you just might want to, because it's helped me to formulate so many of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head lately.

As many of you know and may be experiencing yourselves, I'm facing some pretty big changes in my lifestyle and the future of my personal family. As a Christian I want to be effective in my life and service for the Lord, while at the same time successful as father and financial provider for my wife and children.

This is nothing new for Christians worldwide, and I deeply respect those who have gone on before me and successfully found their balance between the two. I believe that I will find my balance by becoming financially successful with my business endeavors and through this new level of success I will be able to, as a peer, reach those who I would previously not have had access to.

Community, friendship, and support are some methods through which we modern-day Christians can demonstrate our love for our brethren and neighbors and at the same time show our love to Jesus.

"In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

15May/103

As Yourself

Would you cringe if I were to tell you that you need to love yourself? Do terms like "self-love" make you feel a bit uncomfortable?
I don't know about you, but it did for me until recently when I read the passage in the Bible which says that as Christians we should "Love your neighbor as yourself." It's easier for many of us Christians to love our neighbor than it is to love ourself. Somehow it's been commonly accepted that it's wrong to love yourself, an unspoken rule, if you will.

But here is how I see things now: if we are to "love our nieghbor AS ourself", that means roughly the same amount. And after thinking about it a bit more, it started to make more sense to me. If we are like a cup, and love is the water that fills it, then how can we possibly give more love than we have? And if we are not giving ourselves enough love, then we will crave and seek it elsewhere, becoming a leech on others for love and attention.

Here's another analogy that I heard from Peter Sage over a lunch we had together: Picture yourself flat-broke, late for your bills, three hungry children and a wife in a run-down house. You have only two dollars left in your pocket, and you set it on the table in front of you, looking at it, wondering how you can make it stretch. In runs a vagrant off the street, snatches the two dollars from in front of you, and dashes out the door with it. How does it make you feel? Probably pretty upset and angry.
Now picture yourself sitting in front of a desk with stacks and stacks of money, so much you can't even count it all. Basically you've got all the money you could possibly need and want. In comes the same vagrant, again snatching two dollars from off the table, and dashing out the door with it. How does it make you feel now? I would guess not quite as bad as in the last scenario. You were emotionally stronger because you had so much more left. It probably hardly fazed you.

Now think of the money in the above story as being love.

When you're not getting enough, and something bad or unloving happens to you, it can really destabilize you because you hit rock bottom pretty quickly since you don't have enough love within yourself as a cushion. And the opposite is true for the second scenario. The event didn't change one bit, only the circumstances surrounding the event, which is how much "money", or love you already had within yourself.

I know that some people will say that they already get lots of love from their close friends and spiritually from the Lord. These may be true, but first of all, as humans we all need physical love in our lives, and even if we get love from our close friends, why not really top it up? Why not make yourself really wealthy by adding another "income stream" of love by simply giving it to ourselves, as the Bible commands us to?