June Sermon 2012 “Why is Making Resoutions So Important”

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the June Monthly Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!

Next Sunday is Father’s Day so if I don’t see you next Sunday, I would like to wish all the fathers a happy father’s day. Thank you for your love and nurturing.

Why is Making Resolutions So Important?

In our daily life we meet all kinds of people. Some who are successful and devoting time to community service, some who look successful but are really not, some who are middle class, some are just getting by, and some are homeless. Sometimes I wonder how people end up where they are.

In one of my missionary visits, a man in his forties has a difficult time dealing with normal things in life, getting a job, talking to people and getting motivated to do things. I shall call him Mr. “C.” Mr. C said that things are so difficult and that he can’t get a handle on why.

I suspect that Mr. C is probably suffering from depression which he didn’t confirm but he did say that he is receiving profession help. But it’s a long and continuous process. He’s used to be so active, especially in fixing things, like electronics, computers and other things. Now he stays home most of the time. I don’t know what he does all day, but he says that he wants to talk to me and find out more about “eastern spirituality.”

One day he said that he wants to visit my church on the next day at evening service time. But he never showed up due to a leg ailment. I texted him, saying that I want to visit him, but he replied, “Please I will call you when I am ready. I need some time to sort things out. I will call you when I’m ready.” It’s been a couple weeks now but no call.

People often tell me, “I’ll call you when I’m ready,” or “I’m not ready yet.” I want to ask them what they are doing to get themselves ready or “do you want to get ready?” I guess it’s something I should reflect on in my missionary work as a minister and yoboku. Actually I should be the person to help them get ready.

On the other hand I meet people who are successful and happy such as the Jarrett Foundation President. I shall call him Mr. “B.” You might think, “Well he’s the Jarrett Foundation president, he must be successful and happy. But Mr. B, who grew up in the Palolo Housing Project and attended Palolo Elementary School. He now owns a successful realty business and devotes time for his family, to church and to Jarrett Foundation. He donates a lot to the Foundation as well.

But he’s such a dedicated and humble man. During a recent Mahalo Spaghetti dinner gathering, he worked behind the scenes picking up the food trays from the restaurant and helped set things up. At the gathering there were many speeches given by different people, but he never went up to talk in front of everyone, he just quietly worked in the background.

There’s such a big difference between Mr. B and Mr. C. I’d like to think of life as a map getting from point A to point B. I think most of us want to get to point B like Mr. B and avoid point C like Mr. C. I’m not saying that Mr. C is bad. There are probably many good reasons why Mr. C is the way he is. And perhaps his situation was required for him to learn a particular lesson and come to a self-realization. Also, I don’t mean to say that you have to be rich or have a high position in society to be successful. But basically Mr. “B” or destination “B” represents the kind of person we want to be and “C” is a place or situation we want to avoid or learn from.

The question is how does a person get to point B or point C? What is happening between points A and B and between point A and C? The answer is faith and resolve or the lack of it. When we don’t have faith and resolve, we are basically at the mercy of the wind, if the wind blows this way we go this way, if it blows that way we go that way and we get lost and lose track of what we want out of life. And we wonder why or how we have come to our present situation.

When we have a goal and a resolve to attain that goal, we have set forth a path for ourselves. If the wind blows us off the path or something happens in our life that takes us off the path, we can always come back to the path and continue on our journey. The main thing is to be resolved.

Jerry Seinfeld is a successful comedian and when someone asked him what’s his secret to success…

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a special technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it. He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. He called it “Don’t Break the Chain.”

Here’s how it works: Each January, Jerry hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall. Then, for every day he writes new material, he has the exquisite pleasure of drawing a big red “X” over that day. Drawing those Xs gets to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he keeps doing it. Eventually, he has a chain of red Xs. The idea is to never break that chain. This approach works for virtually anything that you want to do daily: prayer, blogging, reading, prospecting, exercise, etc.

In Tenrikyo we have a similar system. We call it making and keeping resolutions to God. When we can keep our resolutions, we have a goal. Even if we get side tracked, we can come back to our resolutions and stay on track to reach our goal.

What kind of resolutions can we make that will help us reach our goal? You can start by making a simple resolution like Jerry Seinfeld. If you want to be a comedian, write a joke a day. If you want to lose weight, walk around the block once a day. If want to learn Japanese, learn a new Japanese word every day. Resolve to do it every day. As Jerry calls his system, “Don’t break the chain.”

As Tenrikyo followers we are taught that the fundamental and basic way to salvation is the service. It says right here in the Mikagura-uta Song 6, verse 4.

Fourth,   I am pleased that you have followed to join the Service.
This Service is the fundamental way for salvation.

For followers of this faith, the most obvious resolution would be to perform the Service every morning and evening. This is the basic and fundamental way to salvation. Salvation in Tenrikyo is to live the Joyous Life. This will help you to attain the faith and resolve you need to overcome your suffering and overcome problems in life.

Don’t let your life be blown about by the wind. Set your eyes on your goal and be resolved. Build your faith one day at a time. Your faith will become solid as a rock and become the foundation for you to attain the goals in your life and live the joyous life.

Here at Pearl Church we perform the 12 Songs of Teodori prayer service every morning after reciting the names of persons who we know that have illness and problems.

I would like to share a story about a woman name “Yumi.” It was about two or three years that Yumi was living in Honolulu with her pet dog which she loved very much. Because of a job offer she moved to Maui. After settling in her apartment, she started to go to work. But she has to leave her dog at home by himself.

During her absence, she asked her neighbor to let her dog out to pee twice a day. Once day, this neighbor called her at work to say that when she opened the door to let the dog out, the dog ran away and could not be found. Yumi said to the neighbor, that her dog probably got anxious and went to look for her.

As soon as she got off the phone, she excused herself from work and went to look for her dog with her car and also walked here and there until her legs got stiff. She finally went home and called my wife, Mrs. Taeko to ask for help. She begged Mrs. Taeko to please ask God for help. Soon right after, Mrs. Taeko made an offering and did the prayer service.

Yumi wondered how she can find her dog on such a large island as Maui. The only way was to ask God for help. Yumi and her dog lived on Maui a few years ago, so she decided to look for her dog near her previous residence. There she found her dog, walking slowly and unsteadily, looking very weak and tired. It was a day and half after she lost her dog. Yumi was really appreciative to God and said that she will never ever forget about this blessing from God.

In the Ofudesaki we read:

Ponder and come follow Me with firm resolve.
There is a path of hope in the future. V: 24

If you truly resolve your mind and pray to Me,
I shall grant you My free and unlimited workings at once. VII: 43

Thank you for your attention.

Announcements

  1. The annual YMA-WA-YWC Joint General Meeting was held on May 19 attended by over 120 participants including eight from Pearl Church. I would like to thank all of you for your support and participation. Thank you very much!
  2. The annual Hawaii One-month Spiritual Development Course will start next Sunday, June 17 at Mission HQ. If you or anyone you know could benefit from attending this course and wants to attend, please let myself, or Taeko know by today.
  3. The MHQ service will be held this coming Sunday on June 19.

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