You may be able to see very familiar faces. 🙂
It is such an unpredictable time, but the CC preparation team will continue our discussion with anticipation, excitement, and hope in the Lord!
Here are some announcements about CC20 that have been decided at this point.
１．CC20 participation is FREE!（with an option to give）
We are taking advantage of the fact that this year’s CC will be online, and decided to offer the conference for no charge. We hope to see God’s Word being delivered to wider recipients through the speaker Rev. Mao Shimizu, and for the Lord’s heart to be revealed to each participant. We’d appreciate it if you could remember in your prayer that CC will be blessed and utilized ever more for the fellowship of Japanese Christians beyond the bound the Midwest.
We are accepting optional donations online for the operation of CC next year on.
Offering and T-shirt payment link (Please select Central Conference Donation for your offering, and Central Conference T-shirts for T-shirt payment)
２．If you wish to participate, please register!（Dead line 5/16）
Once you are registered, you will have an option to join a small group via Zoom after the main session, and also to participate in workshops. We strongly encourage registering so that you can be assigned to a small group. Main session will be broadcasted on JCFN’s Facebook Live page. Main session can be viewed without registration, but in order to enjoy the full benefit of the conference, please register! We will announce the URL for the broadcasting as soon as it is ready.
３．T-shirts are on sale！
Anyone can purchase the T-shirts, even without CC registration!
It’s a super cute design with the bear embodying the hope to bear the “fruit of the Spirit”, which is given in our walk with the Holy Spirit. It’s a must-have! There are limited numbers available in each size, so please don’t wait to order! Part of the proceeds will be used for CC support fund. ($20/shirt, including shipping to the U.S). *If you are buying more than 2 shirts, we may be able to apply some discounts. We will let you know the detail later. CC20 T-shirts ordering form
We have a full program on offer for CC, even with the online version! Such as a total of 3 main sessions, small groups afterwards, workshop, and prayer meeting are scheduled. It will be via Zoom, and it is our heartfelt hope that each program will provide the participants blessings, encouragement, and aid for growth to be a fruit bearing believer. You can view the overall timeline for the conference from the URL below. (It is in CST) (Schedule may change). CC20 schedule (Japanese Only)
Previous CC Announcements can be viewed from the link below
Dr. Sachi Nakamura（JCFN Board Member, Christian Book Translator, Spiritual Director)
This month, I would like to introduce a spiritual discipline called “Breath Prayer.”
Breath prayers are simple and short prayers that are repeatedly recited in your heart as you breathe in and out. It is a simple yet powerful prayer that can be prayed anytime and from anywhere. Breath prayers help us to turn our thoughts and focus back to God and restore our souls when we are feeling confused, anxious, and weary. It can be done anywhere, such as during our commute, while doing household chores, or in our walks. Practicing breath prayer can remind us that the Lord is with us throughout our day. Paul may have had this kind of prayer in mind when he said, “pray without ceasing.”
The history of breath prayer is said to go back to the fifth or sixth century. At that time, there were people known as the “desert fathers” and “desert mothers,” who lived secluded lives in the Egyptian desert. The prayers that those desert fathers used to pray were passed on to the Eastern church, and became known as the “Jesus Prayer”. Jesus Prayer is a short prayer consisting of saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It is said that they used to pray this as they breathed for tens and hundreds of times each day.
Breath prayer consists of two phrases. As you breathe in, you pray the first phrase. Then, as you breathe out, you pray the second phrase. Since it is hard to do this prayer out loud, we pray in our hearts. For example, if we are using the Jesus Prayer, it will look like this: (while breathing in) Lord Jesus, (while breathing out) have mercy….”
When you are actually praying, you do not pray out loud. In Greek, the word for “breath” is pneuma. Pneuma can also mean “spirit.” The Holy Spirit is also called Pneuma. As we slowly breath( pneuma) and prayer, we can become aware of the Pneuma, who lives within us. We are reminded of the presence of the Holy Spirit that lives within us to comfort, encourage, empower and instruct us.
There are no rules for what kind of phrases can be used in breath prayer.
Let’s look back to Jesus’ interaction with the blind Bartimaeus in Jericho. Bartimaeus shouted to Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Imagine Jesus gently asking you, “What do you want me to do for you?” What will you ask Jesus for?
“Lord, have mercy on me.”
“Lord, help me.”
“Lord, be with me.”
Another good way is to choose a short Bible passage and use it for meditation in your prayer.
For example, you can pray and meditate on the phrase “The Lord is my Shepherd,” as you breathe.
Take a big breath as you say in your heart, “The Lord is…” Then, slowly breath out saying, “my Shepherd.”
Or, you may also pray the name of the Lord, Yahweh as you breathe. “Yah,” “weh.” Again, “Yah,” “weh”.
As you breathe out, try to let out the worries, fears, or frustrations in you, or anything that may be pulling you away from God. As you breathe in, try to take in God’s love, grace, mercy, and the life of God that sustains you as much as you can.
I really hope that you will try this breath prayer for yourself.