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Dear <<First Name>>!

While I (Steve) am on sabbatical through September, let me introduce this month’s guest author, Pastor Perry Sakai, one of our Kingdom Rice facilitators, and a pastor to SE Asian leaders. He writes:

Keys are small metal objects that can lock or unlock large and impenetrable doors.  Depending on the direction that you turn the key, you will lock or unlock the door. 

Questions are like keys that can lock or unlock the doors of our hearts.  And like keys, the motive behind the question can lock or unlock the door to our hearts.

In the Gospels, we see questions used to lock the doors of hearts.  The Pharisees asked the disciples, why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? (Mark 2:16)   And they asked Jesus, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? (Mark 2:24) These questions were veiled accusations that locked the doors to the listeners’ hearts.  

But Jesus asked similar questions of what and why, but he asked them to unlock the doors of hearts.  Who do you say that I am? (Mark 8:29) Why are you so afraid? (Mark 4:40) These questions opened the doors to the listeners’ hearts.  Relationships were deepened.  On the road to Damascus, Jesus asked Paul, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4) This question unlocked Paul’s heart and opened up a change of heart.     

For 6 weeks in the Spring, I had the privilege and honor to participate in the “Reframing our Lenses” Cohort facilitated by Steve Hong.  Ten of us from various locations and backgrounds gathered on Wednesdays at 3:00 to explore together how our own family and cultural story fit into God’s Story.  Individually and together, we experienced a “reframing” of how we love our neighbors as ourself.  

Like Jesus, Steve used questions like keys to unlock the doors of my heart.  And like the Apostle Paul, I had an “Oh My!” moment when God began to change my heart.  The keys were these simple and yet dynamic questions:    

  1. How were you taught to see others who were not like your family when you were growing up?
  2. When you were growing up, how did you learn to love and how did you learn to deal with trials? 
  3. Have you experienced being vulnerable?  Did Jesus meet you in that place of vulnerability? How did he meet you there?  

Like keys, these questions unlocked my heart.  

On one Wednesday, Steve asked, how did you learn to love, and how did you learn to deal with trials?  Growing up as a 3rd generation Japanese American, I always attached a single narrative of how love was expressed in my family.  Duty, honor, obligation, and not giving up were key values in my family.  But in the context of sharing and listening, I “saw” an alternative narrative to my childhood.  The door to my heart opened and allowed the unconscious perception of myself and others not like me to be exposed.  And in a safe and supportive environment, I was able to bring my old narrative to Jesus and allow a new narrative to take root. 

Thank you, Steve and our Wednesday@3:00 cohort.  God used all of you and questions to unlock the closed places to my heart.

Blessings,    Perry Sakai

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