Heaven-Focused in Japan - Brian Hommel

“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.” —Philippians 1:12 NLT


Mickey Weston and I have had the privilege of traveling to Japan each summer for several years to encourage the baseball players over there as well as to share Jesus with the Japanese people. Few understand that Japan is one of the least evangelized places on the planet. For most baseball players who go to play ball in Japan, this is an opportunity to make some good money, experience a very different culture, and keep their careers alive, but based on what Paul stated in his letter to the church in Philippi we need to understand that we are not accidentally placed.  


When our minds are focused on building our own earthly kingdoms, we lose sight of our purpose and we will end up wandering directionless. One of my favorite books is The Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. In this little book Edwards breaks down the lives of kings David, Saul, and Absalom, showing how they each dwelt with adversity. If my soul’s desire is earth-based, I will do whatever it takes to make my kingdom successful, but what I will soon learn is that no matter how great my résumé turns out, it will never satisfy the deeper longings of my soul. But on the flip side, if my soul’s desire is heaven-focused, I will have hope, purpose, and direction. Then I will realize that where I am currently residing is only a temporary placement; that must mean I’m strategically placed here for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.


A few weeks ago I visited Jake Brigham, Jason Standridge, and Dennis Sarfate (all who play on different teams) in Japan. While I was there I not only had the privilege of encouraging these men and their families, but along with Dennis, I had the chance to share Jesus with 40 young Japanese players, coaches, and their families. I asked them if anyone had ever heard of Jesus before and no one raised their hand. So I then posed two more questions to them: “Who is Jesus and why did He die?” Once I began sharing about Jesus it was really cool to see the kids’ expressions of awe and wonder! Dennis and I left really encouraged, feeling the great privilege of being ambassadors of Jesus to these people.  


“The Almighty, living God turned to Gabriel and gave a command. ‘Go, take these two portions of My being. There are two destinies waiting. To each unborn destiny give one portion of Myself.’  Carrying two glowing, pulsating lights of Life, Gabriel opened the door into the realm between two universes and disappeared. He had stepped into the Mall of Unborn Destinies… ‘And who shall these destinies become after they go through the door to the visible universe?’ asked the Recorder. Gabriel replied softly, ‘Each, in his time, shall be king.’  —Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards


—Brian Hommel, Arizona Diamondbacks Chaplain

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