Yesterday we had the most amazing experience of worshipping at the feet of the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha in the largest wooden structure in the world…. But we were worshipping the living God, and doing it in great style at that!
Our visionary Gospel singer friend, Jaye Koyama was invited to do a Gospel concert on the very same stage shared by this most famous Buddha. Jaye is a dynamic believer with a heart for reaching the disabled and nonbelievers through the power of music. (Photo last year with Olivia). He and his wife and two sons were all baptized at our church. Some of you may remember that Owen was his biggest fan, and at the age of two he knew all of Jaye’s songs by heart!
We are still very much in awe that the whole event happened. Jaye had several choirs join him, including the Gospel choir from Imani, Kentucky that we have helped to host in Sanda for several years past (see last year’s blog entry here). The combined voices and energy and prayers rocked the temple – I’ll tell you what! We were sort of hoping that the big Buddha would just crumble to the ground right then and there…
There was so much passion and joy that I felt the power of the Spirit fill this place as it has never been filled before…Here is a short video clip. We were all standing close together on a very hot day, but it did not prevent us or our children from praising Jesus!
As I stood there with Ian strapped into a front pack and both of us just dripping in sweat, I made myself stop worshipping and thought: Do I really believe that I am serving the LIVING God? and that He really is right HERE in this place? and that this huge Buddha who millions of Japanese have worshipped at this place for 1300 years is an instrument of Satan’s meant to deceive? These were important questions… because they make a difference in what I do daily; in the very vocation to which God has called me. As I participated in this event, I realized it is only historic if I completely believe in the God who came to save; quite different from the cold, relentless stares of the various gold and bronze gods scattered throughout this hall.
Yes! My God is alive! My God is might to save! My God is a Redeemer of any and all who call out to him. Twice during the forty-five minute concert God’s spirit just erupted through me and I stood weeping for the God who saved me; and weeping as God shared with me His heart’s desire to save the people of this country. Truly – the eyes of the Japanese have been blinded and deceived by lies…
Habakkuk 2:18: Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For he who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
I love the truths of Zephaniah 3:17: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Beyond the voices of the amazing gospel singers; above the din of the hundreds of sweaty, exhuberant worshippers down below; surrounding the speechless idols is a rejoicing God; desiring to renew us each; absolutely mighty to save all. Amazing day. Amazing God.