Saturday, June 19, 2010

Being Effective at Reaching Japan for Christ #2 -- Follow Your Passions

Do what you love to do, follow your God-given passions.

I learned this the hard way. About ten years ago I went through a period of depression that was absolutely no fun but it helped me make some changes in my life. The main change I made, something that made a huge difference, was resigning from the "preacher/church planter/pastor" role I had at the time. This allowed me to start focusing on what I love to do which is working with artists.

Now I am making films. Filmmaking is not easy, it is one of the most challenging things I have ever done but it is also a lot of fun and, most importantly, an effective means of communicating the gospel in Japan.

If I hadn't taken the scary step of resigning from a position that didn't "fit" me, I would have missed out on so much. Things like: being a producer on the award winning film Jitensha, being part of an amazing team that produced a music video of the first documented performance of Wadaiko & Black Gospel (I will embed that video below).

I want to make a difference, we all do. If I hadn't hit a rough spot and started following my passions I would have been locked in a negative cycle of trying hard, not getting anywhere, frustration....

Are you just "hanging on" because you don't know what else to do? Are you settling for "peace and pay" (an easy job and a secure paycheck)? If so, it isn't worth it. It might be time to quit and do something completely different.

If you could do anything, what would you do?



14 comments:

Paul Nethercott said...

The best book I have read dealing with what happens when we do indeed follow our passions is:

Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters by Jerry Porras

http://www.amazon.com/Success-Built-Last-Creating-Matters/dp/0452288703/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276977057&sr=1-1

Ashley said...

Thank you for your post. Your description of what happened in your life, I think, may very well be happening in my own.

I had a depression settle over me for about a year during the end of my bachelor's degree and I'm frustrated with my job a good majority of the time. But a few weeks ago I got back into an old passion of mine for doing manga drawings with colored pencils. I'm almost at a stand still wondering "what should my next move be?" and praying to God all the time to use me. So I hope to move on from being frustrated and move into doing something I'm passionate about for God.

It was also inspiring to see so many Japanese people doing something incredible for Jesus in the video you posted. There's a lot of repeated statistics that state there's something around .1% of the Japanese are Christian. But I believe incredible things are happening in Japan. God has laid the Japanese people on my heart for many years now and I hope to be a part of God's plan for that country.

Thanks again for your post. I'll look forward to more about how to reach Japan for Jesus.

Paul Nethercott said...

Thanks Ashley for your comment, really good to hear from you.

Do you have someone to talk to about direction for your life? Often, others can see things better than we can. My wife, and many others, have been a big help to me along the way. God can use you, no question about it.

I agree that there are some incredible things happening in Japan, we are living in very exciting times. I hope we can keep in touch!

Scot Eaton said...

Well said, Paul. I think it was me following my own passions that led to you getting the idea for that video. It's also leading to me working in the manga industry.

Ashley, are you just doing still drawings, or are you actually doing comics? I'm recruiting talent for a manga magazine right now, and I'd like to see some of your work.

Anyway, another great book about following your passions is "Let Your Life Speak" by Parker Palmer. He also went through a deep depression, and talked about how that helped him to find his true purpose in life. I highly recommend it.

Ashley said...

Paul and Scot,

Thank you both for replying to my comment.

As for drawing, I think right now I'm leaning toward illustration rather than creating manga. But I've had an idea for a long time - that I hope to one day achieve - of drawing a full-color, shojo-style version of the Book of Esther.

Here is a link of some of my drawings:
http://gallery.prismacolor.com/users/showprofile/749383

Thanks again and blessings.

Scot Eaton said...

I too have that vision for the book of Esther. I think it could be done very well, given the right artist.

Mike Lee said...

For the sake of discussion, allow me to raise a potential counterpoint to the argument made in this post: what are the guidelines and criteria that would influence such a decision?

Let's say you were to present this idea to someone, say a conservative Christian minister. I can pretty much guess what the response will be:

"Wouldn't that be a little reckless and selfish?"

Passion seems to have become a taboo word in conservative Christian circles, so much that the upcoming generation of younger Christians mostly reject traditional logically outlined and ordered services in favor of youth service atmospheres where they would really feel welcome--which, in turn, is rejected by the conservative groups as "pandering to the base desire for entertainment by turning a service into a rock concert", hence generating what we now call "worship wars".

However, this is not without reason: unrestrained human passion, embittered by a fallen human nature, has the power to produce ghastly and unimaginable acts of abomination. Passion can just as much direct a person to betray the promises made during a wedding ceremony or brutally mutilate his loved ones in a moment of unbridled rage, as it can inspire the humblest artisan to create timeless masterpieces in a moment of exultation. This is usually where that argument comes from.

So as a rejoinder I must ask, if you were to follow your passions, what can one do to ensure that such an act remains within the absolute standards of Biblical truth? Would you be betraying other responsibilities by leaving your job or resigning from an existing ministry position in order to pursue a different avenue of ministry? How can one avoid this?

By the way, while we are on this topic I want to recommend the book "The Seven Longings of the Human Heart" by Mike Bickle of IHOP. Several of the chapters, including one entitled "The Longing for Greatness" addresses this issue at length.

Mike Lee said...

For the sake of discussion, allow me to raise a potential counterpoint to the argument made in this post: what are the guidelines and criteria that would influence such a decision?

Let's say you were to present this idea to someone, say a conservative Christian minister. I can pretty much guess what the response will be:

"Wouldn't that be a little reckless and selfish?"

Passion seems to have become a taboo word in conservative Christian circles, so much that the upcoming generation of younger Christians mostly reject traditional logically outlined and ordered services in favor of youth service atmospheres where they would really feel welcome--which, in turn, is rejected by the conservative groups as "pandering to the base desire for entertainment by turning a service into a rock concert", hence generating what we now call "worship wars".

However, this is not without reason: unrestrained human passion, embittered by a fallen human nature, has the power to produce ghastly and unimaginable acts of abomination. Passion can just as much direct a person to betray the promises made during a wedding ceremony or brutally mutilate his loved ones in a moment of unbridled rage, as it can inspire the humblest artisan to create timeless masterpieces in a moment of exultation. This is usually where that argument comes from.

So as a rejoinder I must ask, if you were to follow your passions, what can one do to ensure that such an act remains within the absolute standards of Biblical truth? Would you be betraying other responsibilities by leaving your job or resigning from an existing ministry position in order to pursue a different avenue of ministry? How can one avoid this?

By the way, while we are on this topic I want to recommend the book "The Seven Longings of the Human Heart" by Mike Bickle of IHOP. Several of the chapters, including one entitled "The Longing for Greatness" addresses this issue at length.

Caspian's Friend said...

Paul:
wow! I went through the same thing; for 11 years I held a job that was mostly about security and pay. Today, as you know, I'm at Judson. I love the fact that I feel called to serve there.

PS: hope your trip home went well. Talk with you soon about the project this spring.

--Brent

MWYNNSC said...

Do you know of any organized missions work in Sasebo?

Paul Nethercott said...

MWYNNSC:

I think I can help you, please write to me at the following address:

pnethercott (at mark) mac.com

Rebecca said...

Way to go! This is good. For years I served at church the way I thought I was "supposed to" but I dreaded every second of it. I allowed resentment and bitterness to settle in my heart. I stepped down, and repented from "serving" God with a bitter heart. The Lord brought me into a season of rest and restoration. I am a changed person. I'm discovering gifts I never knew (mercy, giving, helps, exhortation, hospitality, administration, discernment) were in me as well as fruit of the Spirit (longsuffering, ridiculous joy, substantial peace, and all the rest) that I never dreamed of seeing in my life. I never knew this life was for me! God is good and gives us desires in our hearts. I can now say, in all confidence, that God is a good God.

Nancy said...

Hi Paul,

The Lord led me to your site today. It happens to be just after mine. I post on several blogs. My Web site is on the URL I filled out. I have a heart for sharing the Gospel with the Goth Subculture of Japan and elsewhere.

Jim said...

Cool video thank you for sharing. If you guys could check my blog out, I'm new.