Hope for Tomorrow

Join us at 10 am Sunday morning, June 13, 2021, for a community-led worship service. Pastor Paul Shew will be bringing us the message, “Hope for Tomorrow” and he has invited the Aoyama Gakuin Gospel Choir to share a song for worship. This will be a very special service as several members of the choir will also be joining us to participate in our Sunday celebration of hope. The hymn that the choir will be singing is a Gospel song called, “After This.”

The “Call to Worship” is inspired by Jeremiah 29 where we are challenged to “Keep God in the center of all that is.” Jeremiah reassures us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”

Scripture Readings:

Ezekiel 17:22-24. — Psalm 92:1-4, 12-152 — Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17

Hymns:

Great Is Thy Faithfulness — Amazing Grace — Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring

We look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. After the service, you are welcome to stay and chat with each other for a while. We look forward to the time when we can all meet together again in person.

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One Bread, One Body

Carol Sack will be giving the message this second Sunday after Pentecost, June 6, 2021, on the theme of accepting people of all colors. Her message, “One Bread, One Body” will reference scripture from the Psalms and from First Corinthians. You are welcome to join the West Toyko Union Church community as we gather at 10:00 am on Sunday via Zoom to worship together.

Sunday Scriptures:

Psalm 139:13-1813 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

1 Corinthians 6:19-2019 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

We hope to see you in the worship service. Please let us know if you have any prayer concerns.

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My Times Are in Your Hands

Join the WTUC community worship service this Sunday, May 30, at 10 am Japan time, on this first Sunday after Pentecost. Malcolm Foster will be giving the message on God, time and patience. His message, “My Times Are in Your Hands” draws on his personal experiences of God’s timing in his life.  

Although it can be difficult, we need to be patient and trust God. Often, God takes time to achieve intended purposes, and maybe that’s a good thing because it leads to longer-lasting change. Malcom will be sharing some stories from the Bible and from his own life. Impatience is often our response, but in the end God is always been faithful and his timing is good. We can learn to trust God more and not to worry, following the lessons in Psalms and in the Sermon on the Mount.

You, O Lord, are my Rock and my Fortress

Bible Readings:

Psalm 31: 1-5; 9-16

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
11 I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

Matt. 6: 25-34 

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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The Spirit of Pentecost

Happy Pentecost Sunday! Join us as we celebrate the birthday of the church. Our preacher this Sunday is Jim Sack and the sermon title is: “The Spirit of Pentecost.” We will be joining together via Zoom for an online worship service at 10:00 am Japan time. Please join us and wear red in celebration of this important day in the church calendar.

WTUC members have sent in sound files for this special service, so we will have a virtual choir to enjoy during the Pentecost worship service. The previous post on this WTUC website contains the sheet music and the sound files which were referenced in an earlier mailing. Here are the results, featuring the voices of Gene Witt, Jim Sack, Zelda Edmunds, Malcolm Foster, Mio Foster, Joel Ingulsrud and Ruth Ingulsrud:

603 Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire – WTUC Virtual Choir 2021-05-23
500 Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart – WTUC Virtual Choir 2021-05-23
420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God – WTUC Virtual Choir 2021-05-23

If you are not on our mailing list and would like to be added, please send us a message. The email address is: pastor@wtuc.net or admin@wtuc.net

Here is a link to the children’s message in case you missed it. Click on the title to go to Kidsermons.com to view the video with Baabara the Lamb.

The Bible verses for Sunday’s service are as follows:

Romans 8:22~27 and John 15:26~16:15.

Romans 8:22~2722 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

John 15:26~16:1526 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin,because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

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Pentecost 2021 Virtual Choir

Hymn #603 Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire verses 1~3


#500 Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart verses 1, 2 and 5

#420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God verses 1~4

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The Great Realization… Leads to a New Song

Join the WTUC Community Worship this Sunday, May 16, 2021, from 10 am to 11 am, as our lay-preacher, Betsy Terada, brings us the message beginning with a video of the spoken-word poem, “The Great Realisation.” (The reader, Tomos Roberts is the author and producer of this video.)

Betsy will talk about how the words of the poem spoke to her as a Christian, and the rich lessons of faith, hope and renewal she believes the pandemic can offer to us followers of Christ. 

We will worship together via our weekly Zoom link. You are welcome to stay for a while after the service to talk and pray together with other community church members. Click on the link below to join us a 10 am, Japan time.

Old Testament – Psalm 96: 1 – 4 
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.

New Testament – Romans 8: 20 – 29

20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

We hope that you will join us along with our global WTUC community as we continue to worship together during the pandemic.

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Sing to the Lord a New Song – May 9, 2021

We invite you to join the West Tokyo Union Church family on Sunday at 10:00 am as we share together the ways in which God has taught us to “Sing a New Song” during this past many months of dealing with a pandemic reality. Our message will be an “open mic” time where we can share our thoughts, joys and struggles with each other as a community. Hamlet and some of Ruth’s puppet friends will start off the sharing time. Sounds like they might have a new song to sing.

Open Mic Points to Ponder:

  1. How has God helped you find a “new song” even in the midst of the pandemic? Examples from your life that show a new awareness or joy?

2. “Love one another,” says Jesus. How has this become easier or harder during this past year? What have you learned about loving others?

The Bible readings for this sixth Sunday of Easter are as follows:

Psalm 98 —

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

John 15: 9 – 17 — “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

We hope to see you online on Sunday morning!

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Forsaking Power and Privilege

Join the WTUC Community Worship this Sunday, May 2, 2021, from 10 am to 11 am, as our lay-preacher, Mio Foster shares a reflection on racism and social justice from a Biblical perspective. The theme, “Forsaking Power and Privilege,” will deal with giving up our own power and privilege, just as Jesus did, in order to be at peace and have true reconciliation with our less privileged neighbors.

530 AD – Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano, Roma. Il mosaico dell’abside, risalente al 530.

We will worship together via our weekly Zoom link. You are welcome to stay for a while after the service to talk and pray together with other community church members. Click on the link below to join us a 10 am, Japan time.

Scripture Readings:

Old Testament – Amos 5: 21 – 24

21 The Lord says, “I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! 22 When you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. 23 Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. 24 Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry. (GNT)

New Testament – Philippians 2: 4 – 11

not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)

Hymns:

What Wondrous Love Is This

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

The Church’s One Foundation

Prayers:

Please contact us if you have any prayer concerns or would like to be added to the prayer chain. Use the “Contacts” link on the WTUC website. Blessings on your week.

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Second Sunday after Easter

We welcome you to worship with our West Tokyo Union Church community! Each Sunday, at 10am Japan time, from now until we take a break for the summer holidays, one of our members (ordained or layperson) will be sharing a message for the Sunday service. Our worship is being conducted online via Zoom. In this way, we can see each other and interact as we celebrate the Lord’s Day every week.

This coming Sunday, April 18, 2021, Pastor Paul Shew will be preaching. The title of his sermon is simply, “Love.” The scripture passages for this Sunday are listed below.

Click on the Zoom link at 10 am on Sunday to join us!

The Psalms — Psalm 4

New Testament Reading — Acts 3:12 – 19

Epistle — 1 John 3:1 – 7

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First Sunday after Easter

Please join the WTUC community for a 10am worship this Sunday, April 11, 2021. Carol Sack will be sharing a message entitled, “Starting from the End.” The Bible passages to be referenced are listed below. We invite you to click on the Zoom link below to join the worship service at 10am. The link is the same for every Sunday, so you can copy and paste it into your calendar for convenient access.

The Epistle Reading:

Philippians 1: 19-21. — Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The Psalm:

Psalm 39: 4-7 — O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.

We look forward to seeing all of you online! Don’t hesitate to contact us for prayer requests. Blessings on your week.

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