Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let Me Hear You Shout....Kaizen!!


2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

改善 is the Japanese word "Kaizen". It is a "Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life." (www.wikipedia.org). My father-in-law Buck first told me about this practice which they have implemented at his office furniture manufacturing company where he works. This philosophy started in Japanese businesses, including Toyota, which has made them so competitive in the world. Now many American manufactures are adopting the same philosophy in order to compete. The philosophy teaches that you can always make work processes easier, eliminate waste, and improve production. Simply put, there's always room for improvement.

In an earlier blog, I talked about change. We all can change if we want to. But equally important for us to understand, is that change is not a one shot deal, a once in a lifetime occurrence. Some Christians think that once you give your life to Christ and get saved, you clean up the big things, and then that's it. We think as long as we change the really big, obvious things and clean ourselves up enough to go to church, then all we have to do is hold on until the Lord comes. But really and truly God wants us to practice continuous improvement in our lives.

Paul wrote that we are being transformed, the word "being" implying that we are in the process of change. Not, we have changed, but we are being changed. The $5 seminary term is "regeneration". If we truly believe in Jesus, and confess that He is real and we really need Him (Romans 10:9) we are saved in that very moment. That is, the road we will take when we die changes from south-bound to north-bound, if you get my drift. That happens immediately, but our transformation or regeneration is only getting started, and it will continue until we part this life or the Lord returns. So...there is always room for improvement.

Its like cleaning up your house. You first clean up the obvious, the things visitors will see when they come over. You wash the dishes, make the beds, and sweep the floors. We do that as Christians; we stop stealing, cheating, lying, and cursing (at least while others are watching :) But the Lord does not want us to stop there. There is room for Kaizen. What about the cobwebs in the corner, the dirt under the couch...the gossiping, the jealousy that hides in your heart, the anger, hurt and unforgiveness that you hold on to.

Brothers and sisters, let's move forward. Let's allow God to continue to improve us. As Christians, its like we're swimming up river. Its hard, but with God's power it can be done. But you have to keep on striving, pushing, praying, and obeying. You have to keep swimming. The moment that you stop trying, that river will carry you back. Let me hear you shout KAIZEN!!!

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Try Jesus!

2 comments:

  1. This is very true...and are good words for anyone who reads, to reflect upon in relation to themselves.

    We are all related. My spirit...which is the life-force for this very heavy blob of flesh and bone, is the same spirit within people all over the world (Barack Obama, Yao Meng, Michael Phelps, etc.). That spirit is a part of the Spirit of God.

    When I read the above scripture and thoughts on it, I immediately began to think about the ill thoughts and feelings people have towards their "enemy". This word, enemy, often bothers me...especially as a Child of God. That person we disagree with possess a fraction of the Spirit of God just as I do...therefore, we are related. To have hatred towards them would mean that I have hatred towards myself and ultimately in personal conflict.

    When it is mentioned above that God does not want us to stop when others aren't looking...people don't realize that God is watching and that those actions aren't pleasing. For example, while I consider myself a Native American Christian I struggle to be vocal in my prayers with/for other people. Its not that I choose to be disrespectful to God, but as a young person, I always saw my grandparents (thus my elders) doing this and I was taught to never mock people. I guess it hasn't been until recently that I have felt a stronger connection within my inner spirit and I know it is God nurturing me to do more of the things He wants me to do. But, in doing so, this requires me to "grow up" and become the adult (and elder) for others like I had when I was a younger.

    As I come into this calling, I seek strength to overcome the fear of being persecuted for doing what I am lead to do. To a certain degree, I try to tell myself this is what God wants us to do...be Christ-like and willing to "go-all-out" for Him. In my young eyes, this is the ultimate sacrifice to/for God in our quest to be "Chris-like".

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  2. When we choose to play Holy Spirit, we take away from the saving power of at work in our hearts. Kaizen is a bandage for symptoms only. Only Jesus can change our hearts and minds. If we rely on a program—if it be a ministry or business technique, we take away from the supernatural power that God can and will do in our lives. In the words of Watchman Nee, "there are many "ways" but there is only one way. "I am the way the truth and life" (John 14:6). The more we strive to be better without the Holy Spirit, we will be left to our own devices, which will lead us away from the truth. Kaizen works, "but any other way ... you are a thief and robber" (john 10:1). Amen

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