Monday, April 18, 2016

Devotional Reading for Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The team has landed in Narita and will be resting until tonight's flight.  They arrive tomorrow morning (their today all over again!) at 9:25AM.

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 22; Psalms 17,35; and Matthew 6

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? —Matthew 6:25-27

God is in control.  He loves us. We only need to put our trust in Him, and he will take care of us.

Welcome back home.  It is great that you have had this wonderful experience together.  I pray that you are all closer to God and to one another.  Continue to pray for one another and lean on God.  Don’t let the worries of this world zap your energy or forget how God’s provision on this trip will continue on in your everyday life.  Live differently by seeking after God daily and knowing that His miracles never cease.

Lord, bless my brothers and sisters.  Heal those needing healing. Refresh everyone as they return to their homes and families.  Fill them with your love and your peace.  May they live according to your will and cooperate daily in it.  Let them see the world through your eyes and live differently.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Devotional Reading for Monday, April 18, 2016 (the journey home begins)

Omigosh! It's time to go home!! Morning with the boys, then down the mountain... so sad :(

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 20,21; Psalm 34; and Matthew 5,17 (Croxford edit...)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them... —Matthew 17:1ff

Today marks a very new point in all of your lives. For some, the experience of leaving India after a short-term mission is like a revered custom.  You have completed one or two, or ten or twelve trips, and the journey home to Hawaii is a familiar trek, accompanied by sighs of satisfaction, knowing that you’ve given your all during the past 10 or 12 days and in the time leading up to the mission.  For some, this entire experience is a new one, and the incredible sense of happiness at completing a God-given task is an amazing high.  For everyone, this journey has brought new experiences.  Witnessing the power of God in a different country.  Recognizing that God is no respecter of persons and provides the Holy Spirit for anyone who will hear His voice.

Matthew 17:1-9 details the transfiguration of our Lord.  Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain by themselves and there allowed them to witness a conversation with Moses and Elijah.
Peter, ever bold, speaks and asks Jesus for permission to erect three shelters: one for Jesus, one for Elijah and one for Moses. While he is asking, God shows up in the form of a bright, light cloud that surrounds them, and they hear the voice of God affirming Jesus as the Son of God. The three fall face down in fear and for a few seconds are probably scared witless, wondering if they would survive.

If we ponder this event for a moment, we begin to see that Peter wanted to relish the moment on the mountain top.  His request to build shelters seems to be a request to linger in the spot where something unique and special was taking place.

Today as you journey home, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit that some of you are saying quietly, can we just stay a little longer? We have seen God do amazing things; can we just linger here on the mountain; can we indeed build shelters and stay?

There is a phenomenal response that Jesus gives while the three are prone before him. Verse 7 says that Jesus came and touched them, tells them to get up, and they begin their journey down the mountain.  As they go, Jesus gives them their task.  Tell no one until I have been raised from the dead.

With every mountaintop experience, we are given that same task. We are to recognize the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection and then share our mountain top experiences. The Resurrection gives perspective to life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we no longer live in fear of death but can share the promise of eternity with God. But in order to do that effectively, we cannot linger in the moments at the mountaintops in our lives. Every mountaintop experience is given to us within the economy of God.  He wants us to share those experiences, and to do that requires our entrance back in to the world of Normal.

Your journey home to Hawaii begins today. Your journey off this mountain top has begun, and we are excited to hear of the amazing things that God accomplished, in you and through the team while you were there.

God bless and God speed as you travel together.

From Janean...

When it started hailing, the Hawaii team played it it was no big deal  #not #alohaindiainitiative #abbottsinindia

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Devotional Reading for Sunday, April 17, 2016

A special devotional from Pastor Ashish to celebrate our favorite day of our trip: Sunday!

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; and Matthew 4.
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul... Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.  —1 Samuel 18:1,3-4

Today is a very special day. The opportunity to worship the Lord in another country, in a different language and culture is amazing. Truly our God is glorious. We are here not because of how smart we are, but purely because of His grace and great power. The blood of Christ has redeemed all of us. We all have received the same grace and we have the same Father.

In a world where everyone is chasing after something – after recognition, value, they want to be remembered, feel valued – how as a child of God should I live my life? How much is enough for me? Is there is a continuous hunger in my heart for achievements, to feel valued, to be recognized, want to matter and feel a sense of worthiness? People can use any means to reach to that goal.
In today’s devotion, we have two men, Saul and David. We see Saul is very strong; he can do anything to accomplish his desires. Saul assumes he is in control of his world, and he hurls his spear at David thinking he will fix David’s fate, but David dodges out of the way, leaving the spear stuck in the wall. Surely God always delivers David from the hands of Saul.

Let us remember that God is in control over our lives. He rules over everything. Though the enemy out there may look big, and the world around us may seem powerful, our God is on the throne. He is in control.

Another aspect that I see in this passage is the deplorable situation of Saul. Well, not to forget that everyone who has not found the living water is in the same condition. Through Christ Jesus I am complete; I don’t have to strive for recognition. I am a new creation, I am a child of God, I am righteous through Christ Jesus.

We have received the Holy Spirit, but can the Holy Spirit still move in a powerful way just as He had done in the first century?  This passage gives me hope. In the context of anger (18:8), jealousy (18:9), mention of evil spirit (18:10), fear of man (18:12), conspiracy (18:25), enmity (18:29), restlessness (19:1), ungratefulness (19:5), lying (19:6), and deceiving (19:9), we see God moves through His Holy Spirit.

We see God intervene in an unexpected way. Yes, the Spirit of God came upon the troops of Saul who had gone to nab David (1 Sam.19:18-21), and the Spirit of God came upon even Saul (1 Sam.19:22-24).

Our God has not changed. If He could override the world then, He can do that even today.

Lord, I thank you that you have promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I am weak, Lord; I am thirsty for your Spirit. Fill me with your presence. Thank you, Jesus, for the price that you paid for me. I am complete in you; the fountain of living water flows in me. Lord, use even me today; you flow through me. Lord, help my unbelief. God, you are on the throne and have gone ahead of me. The things that seems impossible to me are not for you, Lord. Thank you that this is a day of miracles. I love you, Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Ashish

Friday, April 15, 2016

Devotional Reading for Saturday, April 16, 2016

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 18; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 11; and Matthew 3

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul... Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.  —1 Samuel 18:1,3-4

Forget today’s definition of being “a bro.” There is no better “bro” in the history of mankind than Jonathan to David. One of my favorite relationships of all time, portraying Godly loyalty and love, Jonathan was not only a dear friend to David, he was “knit to the soul” (ESV) of David! In two separate verses, Jonathan is described as loving David as he loved himself, as his very own soul. Just after Saul takes David in, Jonathan pours his love out for David, even taking his own prince-grade armor and personalized tools and placing them on David’s body. In a situation where most princes would be jealous of the new favor that his king father had toward another boy, Jonathan acts the opposite and shows David that “what is yours, and together we serve the Lord.”

Do I feel this Jonathan-like connection with another, and if I do, how am I exemplifying it in a way that pleases Abba Father? How will I strive to show this Christ-like brotherly love to my companions, to encourage them in their efforts and support them in their journey to fight for the Lord? Have I made a covenant to serve my brother/sister in Christ?  I’m so excited for some of you to reconnect & for some of you to experience  the love between these boys at HBS and the orphanage for the very first time! In a life where most of them have no one but each other and God to rely on, they have experienced what a Jonathan-like love means.  You have the privilege to experience something so unique and life-altering that so many would love to experience but cannot. You have come here to serve these boys, but... what will God be revealing to you about yourself these last few days? By now, I also would not be surprised if you have discovered a Jonathan-like commitment with one or two of your fellow teammates, too. Take advantage of this feeling Jesus has placed on your heart. Follow it, ask Him what more you can do to serve your teammate, and pray!

Thank you, Jesus, for the specific and intentional bonds you have created between myself and my brothers and sisters. Without them, I would not be where I am today. May I continue to seek ways to decrease myself and increase my commitment to You by serving them. Amen!

James \m/

DESIGN Conference, INDIA style, April 13-15, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Devotional Reading for Friday, April 15, 2016 (tax day in USA!)

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 17; Psalm 9; and Matthew 2

David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” —1 Samuel 17:32 NASB


Every opposition comes not only with challenges but also with opportunity and transformation. God has placed in each and every one of you such a unique gift in such a specific manner to ultimately bring victory to His people and glory to His name. Our God reigns, and there is nothing greater than to know that we serve a God who is unlike anyone or anything else.

Anyone can fight a giant. It’s quite common in our world today that people are willing to take on bigger and better challenges, but what makes this story unique is that it wasn’t about the fight or about the armies; in fact, it wasn’t even about David or Goliath. It was about God changing the world through a faithful son who would one day leave a lineage to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, created a video called “think different,” which featured a variety of people once thought to be crazy. Yet with perseverance and not losing heart, they literally changed the world. God hasn’t sent you just to gain victory over giants. God sent you to change the world through leaving a legacy. To see His Kingdom come and His will be done. By taking this trip, make no mistake: it wasn’t by accident or coincidence that you are here today. In the same way Jesse sent David to tend to his brothers, God has sent you to tend our brothers and sisters in India. The victory that God gave to David over Goliath in the process of his journey He’s given to you. From traveling miles across the world, laboring, raising finances, and making personal sacrifices, etc., giants are being slaughtered. Giants of false idols, giants of fear, giants of brokenness and slavery are being destroyed. Through you mighty men and women, a generation will not lose heart but be bold in faith, knowing that God is in control of it all.

So GO, Ohana, in the same way Jesus sent His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20! “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME in HEAVEN and on EARTH.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.’”

Love, your braddah Mako K.H. Arakawa
Praying for you all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Devotional Reading for Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 15,16; 1 Chronicles 5; and Matthew 1
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.  —1 Samuel 16:7

Appearances are everything in today’s world. Selfies, Facebook, Twitter... it is all so vain. The perceived idea of perfection. It is all so false. We have this desire to be on top of everything.  Our lives are on display. Except, of course, it is only that part of ourselves that we want to be revealed.
In India you will be judged by your outward appearance. You are foreign, American (by association, Tati & Laura), and perceived to be rich. You will be watched because you are different. However, only God sees who you truly are. He sees your heart. He knows why he called you to India. He knows what you have to offer. He knows how you will be changed if you allow yourself to be molded by Him. He will fill you with His love for you to pass on to those you have been sent to serve.

 David was not chosen to be king because of his size or his good looks. “So he sent for him [David] and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.” (1 Sam 16:12). He was chosen because of the size of his heart! A heart after God. David as a shepherd boy spent many days and nights out in the pastures alone with God. He played his lyre in worship to God. David was totally transparent before his heavenly Father.  As you breathe in the cool air and witness the true beauty of the mountains and all of the nature in India, remember that the God that created all of it created you, and you are beautiful in His eyes.

Lord Jesus, Please search our hearts. Clean out anything that should not be there. Replace it with Your presence. Fill every little crack with your Holy Spirit. May we only reflect You and radiate your love to those we meet today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Devotional Reading for Wednesday, April 13, 2016

[A little more background on these devotional readings: What we are sharing with you is a digital counterpart of a passport size "survival guide" that the team is carrying with them as they travel.  This guide is full of helpful information, travel itinerary, prayer team members, as well as these devotions which have been prepared by former team members who are aware of some of the challenges which will be faced by the current team. I hope they encourage you as much as they encourage the team!]

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 14; 1 Chronicles 4; and 2 Corinthians 13
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” –1 Samuel 14:6

In the previous chapter, Israel had initiated a fight with the Philistines, and at some point Israel saw that they were outnumbered and hid themselves in various places. King Saul was given specific instruction by Samuel to wait for him at Gilgal so Samuel could lead the sacrificial offerings and Israel would be ready for battle. Given the time crunch and the fear that the Philistines were masterminding a plan that would be hard to stop if he waited any longer, Saul took it upon himself to rush the plan, which cost him his kingdom because he did not obey what the Lord commanded him.  Moving to chapter 14, Saul—once a bold and brave king—is now sitting under a pomegranate tree while his son Jonathan boldly goes over to the Philistine garrison. The way to the garrison is bordered by rocky crags on both sides.  This is where verse 6 picks up.  Jonathan says to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us go over... It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

Today is the first day of the retreat, and maybe some things happened along the first part of the trip that are throwing a monkey wrench in plans that you have been working on for months. Even though Jonathan was faced with cliffs difficult to climb, he boldly says, “...It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

Father, thank you for the privilege to serve those you love. We trust that the promises you have spoken will come to pass because your words do not return empty; the promises shall accomplish that which You purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which You sent it. I pray for the team’s minds and hearts to reflect the character of Jonathan, and when barriers evolve let their faith arise with... “It may be that the Lord will work for us...” Father, it is the “perhaps” that sustains our faith to prepare us for the promises when it comes to pass. You are a good Father and you will deliver. We trust You and will remain patient. In Jesus’ Name ~Amen.


Greeting Family :)

We're STOKED to see some of our family! What a great start to a wonderful morning!

Touchdown in Dehradun!

Aloha from India! Our team has touched down safely and is getting ready for today's DESIGN opening session. Please continue to pray for the people of this beautiful nation!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Devotional Reading for Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 13; 1 Chronicles 2,3; and 2 Corinthians 12

Yes, I am afraid that when I come God will humble me before you and I will be sad and mourn because many of you have sinned before God and don't even care about the wicked, impure things you have done.  –2 Corinthians 12:2

The apostle sends this warning shot of a letter to the Corinthians, stressing that this is not about his ego but about their spiritual failings.  The wisdom in Paul’s writing helped correct the early church and transcends time to teach us.

We learned from our brother earlier that he had asked God three times to remove the thorn in his flesh, but the Lord replied that his grace is sufficient and allows the physical handicap to remain.  The thorn has matured Paul’s humility, and he is now grateful for it.

Here we get a picture of why, because Paul can predict what is about to happen when he returns to Corinth.  God is going to lead him into speaking conviction to his beloved family, and this leading will cause Paul to embrace humility before God and those who have gone wildly astray. 
Humility will enable Paul to be an agent of God’s righteous conviction, speaking truth but also feeling the heartbreak of the Father.  Paul admits that he had a tendency to be prideful.  The old Paul could have dished out conviction with no emotion—no problem!  Shoot, this is the guy who used to help kill Christians!

This beautiful reading captures an image of “new Paul”: clear-minded about righteous behavior but sharing in the Father’s sadness for His lost children.

Good and Gracious Father,
I come from a long history of using pride to protect my heart, to wall it off from feeling the pain of sharing in your heartbreak.  But today I consider that Paul rejected pride and embraced humility as a means to convict with compassion, to correct with the tender spirit of the Christ.  We were created in your image, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.  As your children, we were designed for community, not isolation. 
I give you permission to recalibrate my heart.  Bring it back to its original design, to be in communion with you, with others and within my soul.  Forgive me from comforting myself with isolation, preferring to be alone with my pride rather than be in community through humility. 
In the name of Jesus, my all in all, Amen.

Aunty Jill

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Devotional Reading for Monday, April 11, 2016

(So just a reminder that we are posting on team time, so these readings are a day ahead...)

Today's reading is 1 Samuel 11,12; 1 Chronicles 1 and 2 Corinthians 11

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you… –1 Samuel 12:22 ESV

Samuel was Israel’s last judge prior to the time of the kings of Israel. Even though Samuel knew it was a terrible idea to have an earthly king to rule Israel he still supported it. He had warned Israel what having a king would be like, but he was still committed to praying for and teaching the people of Israel even after the beginning of the kingship.

As you spend time in Delhi today, don’t forget to pray for the people you meet and the people you see. India has nearly 1.3 billion people within it’s borders and over 1.2 billion have never heard the name of Jesus or know anything about the gospel. That’s close to 95% of the people. It’s hard to share your life with every one of those people, but what you can do is pray for them. Take of mental note of the people you meet today and spend some time in prayer pleading for the Lord to provide someone in their lives that knows Jesus. We can do things all we want for a long time, but we mustn’t forget to pray for people, pray that God would change their hearts, pray that God would plant seeds in their lives, pray that they would have an opportunity to grow and know the Lord. We cannot personally change a nation – only God can do that – but we can pray for people and ask that God would change people’s hearts and lives.


Japan transit #teamjesus

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