Kingdom Talk!

Kingdom Talk! with Bungo Kubota

January 24, 2022 Mark Banyard Season 2 Episode 4
Kingdom Talk!
Kingdom Talk! with Bungo Kubota
Show Notes Transcript

Our guest on the show today is Bungo Kubota. Bungo is the founder and senior leader of Kingdom Seekers Church in Tokyo, Japan. 

https://www.kingdomseekers.jp/

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Mark Banyard:

Welcome to Kingdom talk, the podcast where we talk all about things kingdom. I'm your host, Mark Banyard, and I'll be interviewing a variety of people who through their lives and ministries have been committed to advancing the kingdom of God, church planters, church leaders, pioneers of missions and ministries both at home as well as abroad. So let's go straight to today's episode of Kingdom talk. My guest today on the show is Bungo Kubota. Bungo is the founder and senior leader of Kingdom Seekers church in Tokyo, Japan. Well, good morning, Bungo. Nice to have you on our show.

Bungo Kubota:

Hi, Mark. It's my honor to be here. Thank you very much for having me.

Mark Banyard:

Oh, you're so very welcome. And it's it's really our delight to have you as our guest today.

Bungo Kubota:

Thank you, for your ministry for our church, and especially for the younger generation. They are now rising up and are filled with the Holy Spirit by your ministry and prayers. Thank you so much.

Mark Banyard:

Oh, my It's been my privilege. I'm looking forward to when we can get back to Japan. As soon as the borders open, we will be on that plane.

Bungo Kubota:

We really need your help. Thank you.

Mark Banyard:

Bungo, I'd like to begin by just asking about your own conversion experience. How did you become a Christian in Japan?

Bungo Kubota:

Okay, I was born in Tokyo, Japan, and I was born again in Tokyo, Japan also. So I'm very made in Japan, Christian. It's very rare. And I have a unique background as a follower of Jesus in Japan, I think Can I have a little short testimony about how I came to the Lord? Yeah, I was born in very ordinary Japanese family, and I went to church by myself when I was in the fifth grade of elementary school. This is quite unique. And it was very beginning of the small house church. And there was no any fancy, attractive program for kids or youth, this as just a five or six other people sitting on the Japanese tatami mat, you will remember that?

Mark Banyard:

Yes, sure. Do. I remember the smell too.

Bungo Kubota:

So nothing that's direct to me except the Word of God. And at that time I did not understand any doctrine about the cross, but I realized that Jesus is true God. And then sometime later, I found myself praying in tongues during worship on Sunday. And I didn't know anything about the Holy Spirit. But I do remember that the other people surrounding me, they are so excited about it.

Mark Banyard:

Wow, they must have been.

Bungo Kubota:

Yeah. So far..., well, this sounds like very story of the spiritual elite. But after that, I didn't go to church so much during my junior high or high school days. So after I graduated my university, so after the long backsliding season, I'll skip the story, but after I graduated from my university, my life became very hard. And I lost the meaning of life. And suddenly thought, well, oh, let's go back to church - my home. Jesus is True God so let's go back to him. So it's a very, the return of the prodigal Son, I think. So, I went back to church where I had been saved and started to work and doing some administration in the church and taking care of the youth group. And during those years, I got married and had children. So, while I was serving, while I was serving in my local church, I feel that God gave me the anointing of teaching the Bible, biblical understanding, revelation, etc., these kinds of things. So this is my early days of my believing the faith life.

Mark Banyard:

Now, how old were you when you were married?

Bungo Kubota:

26

Mark Banyard:

Was your wife. your wife was a believer at that time to?

Bungo Kubota:

No, I evangelized to her.

Mark Banyard:

Wonderful! She's a strong Christian woman, too.

Bungo Kubota:

She is very prophetic and revelational, and she's full of wisdom and she is a wonderful wife. And it's very unique because me and my wife also, both of us, are first generation Christians. This is very rare, I think, in Japan.

Mark Banyard:

Very rare. Yes. Yeah, very rare. Well praise the Lord. When did you first have a sense of calling? You talked about having a teaching gift, a revelation of Scripture, so on and so forth, but when did you or how did you come to understand there was a calling on your life?

Bungo Kubota:

So after a few years of my early days of the Christian life, I got the opportunity to work on the Christian media company in Japan, back to 2005. So I became a reporter of the newspaper, Japan's Christian newspaper, called the Revival Times Japan

Mark Banyard:

Revival Times Japan,

Bungo Kubota:

It's a newspaper for Pentecostal church leaders.

Mark Banyard:

Okay. And you were called to be a journalist?

Bungo Kubota:

Yes, yes. And I had originally written some articles for secular magazine. So my writing skill was already developed before I got into this company. So I was able to do research and editing and writing etc. And going along to many churches. So I enjoyed this job. And soon I was promoted to Editor in Chief. So I traveled not only inside Japan, but also other countries and to interview many pastors and also many apostolic leaders. And as I continued to do my research, I noticed that many apostolic and prophetic leaders and, all over the world, they start to talk something new. This was season of the midst of the new revelation. I think.

Mark Banyard:

So you began, you began to hear them saying the same kind of thing?

Bungo Kubota:

The apostolic leaders, up until then, usually, they had been talking about the churches. But they were now speaking more about the Kingdom. So but you know, at the time, the difference between the Church and the Kingdom was still generally bad. Not so clear.

Mark Banyard:

Not too clear at all. No,

Bungo Kubota:

No. And very only few people could explain exactly how are they different between Church and Kingdom? You understand that? So, and also the concept, new concept, of the transformation - the word "transformation" is rising up as well as "revival".

Mark Banyard:

And so that really got your attention

Bungo Kubota:

Yeah, yes. Yes. So I feel, what is what's going on now? And what is the Holy Spirit doing? And among these anointed leaders, what is this kind of revelation? So I was very interested in that.

Mark Banyard:

Now, this was back in 2000...?

Bungo Kubota:

It was from 2005 to2008, I think.

Mark Banyard:

Okay. So, here you are, you're working as a journalist for a Pentecostal Christian newspaper. And you're getting this great opportunity to travel to interview apostolic figures, prophetic people, ...you start to hear the voice of God, you start to hear about the Kingdom. Not just about the Church. So what took you from being a journalist to actually being a church planter?

Bungo Kubota:

Yes. One day the Lord told me to make the list of the disciples, churches and Kingdom with a division of the visions and missions and goals.

Mark Banyard:

Okay, all right. So that say that again, he he got you to write a list of with three things

Bungo Kubota:

...individual disciples, ...individual local churches, ...and the Kingdom, ...with each vision, mission, goals.

Mark Banyard:

Okay, like a blueprint. That's interesting.

Bungo Kubota:

It is like unpacking from the Bible, a blueprint, as you said, Yes. So, for next few years, I continue to make that list. So, and when I finish it, I realized that we need a church that can unleash, release, the kingdom, not just for the pastoring of individual people. So this kind of concept came to me, it's because I have a gift of journalistic analysis. I think.

Mark Banyard:

Right, so, ...God was speaking to you but that ability to analyze was helping you to actually process all of this.

Bungo Kubota:

Yes. So I think the Holy Spirit very uniquely guided me, led me to make this kind of blueprint of the what is Kingdom?

Mark Banyard:

So when did you take the blueprint and begin to feel a release to move upon it?

Bungo Kubota:

Yeah, it has before I think 2008 Because in the year 2008, I started my new church planting. Yeah. Because unfortunately, I couldn't find such a church, which I have in my heart. So, in 2008, I started to small church planting. So it was a church planting, but I think it was a Kingdom planting.

Mark Banyard:

Did you find at that time that you had a lot of support from other people or...,

Bungo Kubota:

Never, never. I had no leadership team, no budget, no strategy, just only have the revelation of the Word of God. So it as very tough work for me.

Mark Banyard:

Wow! So give us a picture of what that looked like, in terms of, were you just meeting in your house? Or how many people and how did you do it? What was your strategy?

Bungo Kubota:

My strategy? First, I feel, I think, I thought I could do more effective church planting with a house net, house church style. But because, you know, it is very difficult to do church planting in Japan. Yes.

Mark Banyard:

And it is anywhere in the world, particularly in Japan!

Bungo Kubota:

Japanese culture, mentality and system and customs, everything resisted church planting in Japan, you understand that?

Mark Banyard:

Yes, I certainly do.

Bungo Kubota:

And you know, in addition, the vision, which I was given was very, how to say, spectacular, it is so huge vision. So, I need not only lead people to salvation, but also help them to understand the meaning of this vision.

Mark Banyard:

So you not only wanted to see people come to the Lord, to put their faith in Jesus' work on the cross. But you had a heart to disciple them in the things of the Kingdom as

Bungo Kubota:

Yes, yes, yes, exactly. And it is very hard to well. explain something that hasn't been realized or seen yet. And simply say, we don't aim to be the church just to wait for people to finish their life on the earth. And just to go to heaven, no. But we need the church to unleash heaven to earth.

Mark Banyard:

...to be activated by the Holy Spirit, trained and prepared and released, activated, in their calling in their destiny and purpose.

Bungo Kubota:

So I want to produce more, raise up more Overcomers who can change and transform the world.

Mark Banyard:

And that's, and that's what you're doing? Yes.

Bungo Kubota:

And, uh, you know, it's very funny, even now, some church members, who have been in my church for 10 years, sometimes say to me, "PastorBungo. Now, I finally understand what you say!"

Mark Banyard:

Yep, I know what that's like. But it's important that you keep on, you keep focused and moving forward. And, and eventually, people come into it. There's a revelation of the Spirit that comes.

Bungo Kubota:

Of course, for church, the ordinary pastoral function is very absolutely necessary, I think. But that alone is not enough to manifest the fullness of Jesus' glory, I think. So the church should unleash, release the destiny of not only people's lives but also cities and nations.

Mark Banyard:

Yes, yes, I agree.

Bungo Kubota:

This kind of passion arose in me, and intense passion to prove that true potential of the church, ...as a Kingdom channel, I say I could not allow the Lord's church to be underestimated. So, I want these so I want to spend my whole life to prove this.

Mark Banyard:

Well, that is a noble cause. And, also one that I believe is on God's heart. So he wants to help us in that. Yeah.

Bungo Kubota:

So you know, this even I had this passion, I have no power or no ability or no wisdom in myself. So always by grace, step by step, the Lord leads me to the fulfill of my destiny, I think.

Mark Banyard:

Yes. So you started back in 2008? Yes. Have I got the date? Right? Okay. And just with a few people, and now you've grown and God has really blessed you and not without challenge. But you've really grown in what the Lord's called you to do? And why don't you tell us a little bit about that?

Bungo Kubota:

I think I was never called to be a pastor, as a title. You know, this is a very funny expression. But because sometimes people asked me, "Pastor Bongo, how do you do your church planting?" But yeah, it's by much helping with other leaders and other apostolic covering, prophetic covering, so many people always helped me. And we are originally only two families, we started in the small house meeting. And step by step God, gave me more workers, more people who have a passion, heart desire. And, yeah, it is very amazing. I feel day by day, I mean, the very miracle of God. This was where I think it was very, totally crazy, and crazy to do church planting in Japan without any any budget or any strategy. But even after the Corona Virus, you know, however, God blessed this small flock, for many, many years. So God is faithful, I think, I really say God is so faithful. And even after the corona pandemic, our church did not cancel in person Sunday service, not even only once.

Mark Banyard:

Wow, so you continued meet.

Bungo Kubota:

...and the more than two years have passed without a single person being infected.

Mark Banyard:

Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!

Bungo Kubota:

And so we feel the powerful protection of the Lord's blood. And also, as I said, now, our church has become well established as a local community. We are recognized as a religious corporation satisfied by the agency for the cultural affairs of Japanese Government. Sounds so good?!

Mark Banyard:

That's very official.

Bungo Kubota:

And now we are working with a Shibuya local government office as a satisfied NPO food bank project.

Mark Banyard:

And you have you have been recognized for the great work you're doing I understand.

Bungo Kubota:

So this is God's divine favor. I really, I feel I really appreciate Jesus for using us as his vessel. And this is a, yes, this is a part of our vision to be a blessing to the local people, to be a blessing to the local cities and nations.

Mark Banyard:

Just for our listeners, Bungo, I know Shibuya when we lived in Nakameguro, we were probably there, I don't know, five times a week for different meetings and things like that. But Shibuya is part of Tokyo. But it's its own city. Is that correct?

Bungo Kubota:

I think Tokyo is a very huge city and Shibuya is a one of the center districts, I think.

Mark Banyard:

And how many, what would be the population of Shibuya?

Bungo Kubota:

Okay, Shibuya's population is 400,000 people, ...400,000 people.

Mark Banyard:

That's a lot of people in just one area.

Bungo Kubota:

Yes. Yes. Because

Mark Banyard:

...and is it? Is it cheap to to rent a building there?

Bungo Kubota:

No, no, no, Tokyo is the highest cost. Many missionaries they want to come to do their mission in Tokyo. But when they come to Tokyo, what they face is what a high price they have to cost.

Mark Banyard:

Yeah, yeah. Very, very expensive. You recently moved to a new building. But when you first had a building in Shibuya it was, oh, I don't know, how many tatami mats was that, it was not very big. But you were there for several years praying and, and, and seeking the Lord and also interceding into the city and taking authority over some of the strongholds that you needed to deal with before you can move forward. I know, I know that that was not necessarily an easy process, but tell us where you are now.

Bungo Kubota:

Now we are moving to new building and but also because of this current pandemic, we're a little bit modifying our strategy, and still we pray, we are worshipers and we are prayer warriors. So I believe we don't, I believe we should not stop the gathering. Now, so now, God gave us the new strategy. So alternatively, bi-weekly, we gather in one place and we gather in house meetings. One of the reasons why we do the separate house meeting style is because now gradually we are getting more bigger as a church as a local church, then we cannot find enough place in Shibuya city. Because in Shibuya city there are many buildings but every place is very small, and if we want to find a much huge place, it costs too much. And you know, this is not effective for us to have much better, much bigger place inside Shibuya. And, also, this is a very City Church. So people come from many places. Actually, no one is living in Shibuya city, you understand, people from other prefectures or other wards or other district. So, the more people gather in our church, the more we need a location where people can gather as a local gathering.

Mark Banyard:

Right? That makes a lot of sense. Has anybody suggested to you that perhaps you should move way outside of Tokyo where the land is cheap? And?

Bungo Kubota:

Well? Well, as a human being, I myself think about it. But Holy Spirit still reminds us inside Tokyo. So...,

Mark Banyard:

You have such a focus and calling to Tokyo

Bungo Kubota:

This is a kind of dilemma, you understand that because if we go to the suburb side or outside Tokyo, we can rent much bigger buildings, we can buy some good place, some good house, but somehow Holy Spirit asked me to stay inside Tokyo and that's okay. What I can do is only be submissive. You know, because always God's strategy or God's wisdom is much better than my wisdom.

Mark Banyard:

Yeah, amen. I'm reminded of the words of Jesus, when He said, apart from me, you can do nothing. And so when we, when we go off with our own ideas of what we want to do, we start to draw away from that place of submission. Don't we? But when we stay there, and we're willing, God blesses it. And that's certainly part of your testimony. Bungo, I want to ask you, if we can talk a little bit more about the Kingdom of God and the Church of Jesus Christ. Your church happens to be called Kingdom Seekers, which I think is a wonderful name, but a very unusual name. But I'm wondering if we could take a few minutes if we let's just talk about what the difference in your mind is, or the similarities between the Kingdom of God and the Church. I know in my own personal experience, and you've already said it already, today, is that for a long time, people didn't talk about anything but the church or if they talked about the kingdom, it was something that was it wasn't well explained, there was a lot of confusion about it. So why don't you just just tell us a little bit about your understanding now.

Bungo Kubota:

Of course, I don't deny any or any definition about the local churches, as many people shared. Of course, I love local churches, I really understand how important it is. But also when we connect this concept of the Kingdom, it's going to be more effective, I think. And the kingdom of God is like a realm of God's glorious reign. The realm where the truths of the world and the power of the Holy Spirit are manifested, they are realized, Just like, like a wifi connection, wifi signal or now this is inside a wifi realm, so, we can download, we can access, we can operate the iPhone, a smartphone, like that. So,

Mark Banyard:

Right? ...run different software programs...

Bungo Kubota:

So, when we say Kingdom of God, that is the place where God's glory manifests`, and God's Word is applied, and the principle or any..., the promises of the Word of God will be fulfilled. Of course, until the last second coming, that will not be fulfilled, fully possible I think. Now we are in the season overlapping of that. The Kingdom has already come, and kingdom is not yet come. The first coming to second coming. So this is this decision.

Ephesians 1:

10 says as a plan for the fulness of time, (He will) unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. So the goal of Kingdom of God is a complete connection of heaven and earth. So the church must be this connection point, I think. It's like a dam in the mountain. Like, like, dam, the river, the water?

Mark Banyard:

Oh, yes, a dam, yes.

Bungo Kubota:

So from upstream, the water comes, and they keep it, and then they unleash it to the downstream. So churches are like this. We open heaven and accept the power of the Holy Spirit, Presence from the Lord or the glory of the Lord, then we keep it and then we release it to the earth. So the church must be the channel of the kingdom. This is my basic understanding. So our strategy is open heaven and open earth. In some churches, they are very good to open heaven, they are very good to worship, prayer. So they can host, they can welcome the Presence of the Lord. But sometimes they are not good to release it on this earth.

Mark Banyard:

Well said.

Bungo Kubota:

But some churches, they are very good to really open earth. They do many works activities, and they have a people and they have a good hospitality. And they like to..., they are good to connect with the local governments. But sometimes they are not good to open heaven. So they lose the more spiritual aspect. They lose the Holy Spirit, power of the Holy Spirit. And then they become just one of, like a volunteer organization. So I think both are important, open heaven-open earth, and we can we continue to release the life flow of the water (Word) of life.

Mark Banyard:

Very good. I remember years ago, when I first went into ministry, I was very focused on the church, local church, being a pastor. And one day I was reading just in the in the Bible where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. And, of course, the beginning of the Lord's Prayer is our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. At that point, I had a revelation of heaven and earth coming together. And of the church being the conduit. Yes. And that's what that's the picture you have, of heaven upon the earth. That's why we're here..., that's our call calling, that's the church's destiny and purpose. It's not that the Kingdom was made for the Church, but the Church was made for the Kingdom because, Jesus is the King. Speak to me about, let's talk about the importance of the Holy Spirit in the church.

Bungo Kubota:

You know, as you said, the Lord's prayer, Matthew

6:

10, "Your kingdom come, your will your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." I want to add one word: By the Church, through Church!

Mark Banyard:

Amen.

Bungo Kubota:

So the church is called not only to pray this prayer, but also, to be the answer of this prayer. In that way, we really need the Holy Spirit. And I think the Japanese church is, mostly in the Japanese church, we're still struggling, we are still in the difficult, have some difficulty to understand how to be, how to have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. But, I think the last 10 years or 20 years, things have gradually been changing. People open their hearts more, and people start to listen to Holy Spirit more and, I feel a kind of spiritual barrier is now coming to break, little by little. No, I say not only inside Japanese church. This is what I feel amongst the ordinary Japanese people in Japan's culture. And I also want to say that emphasize this: Holy Spirit has a very unique strategy for Japanese churches, in many ways.

Mark Banyard:

Oh! ...tell us about that.

Bungo Kubota:

Like, evangelism or like worship, or like even the Bible study, I believe God wants to redeem the gift of Japan. We're still, Japan's churches, we are following the Western Church style. Maybe, maybe you understand that one.

Mark Banyard:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely.

Bungo Kubota:

You know, I have heard many discussions about the revival in Japan. I don't know the answer yet. But, what I understand is that the methods and programs that have worked in other countries will not work in Japan. So Japan's churches, we leaders, we need to have more confidence that we can listen from Holy Spirit, we can hear the voice of Holy Spirit, and we can have our own identity as Japanese churches. But you know, when we want to restore our identity definitely, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Mark Banyard:

And it's interesting that when you told us about your testimony, as a child, that you just started speaking in tongues, that you were, you had been filled with the Holy Spirit. And all these years later, you know, you're, I think one of the key leaders in Japan today, with regard to a revelation of the Church as the answer to Jesus' Prayer.

Bungo Kubota:

Yes, yes. So I think God gave me a very unique gift and a unique calling. And still, you know, I'm not sure what am I for?

Mark Banyard:

Maybe that's a good thing.

Bungo Kubota:

Well, what I understand is that God gave me the eyes to observe deeper, with a deeper journalistic sense about what's going on in Japan, especially, what does Holy Spirit want to do in Japan? I think, also, what I feel now is that Japan's churches, we need more spiritual fathers and mothers. Paul said that there are many instructors, but not many fathers, he said. So I totally agree that that's right. We need role models, who are anointed, who have a more apostolic sense and who want to edify and who want to release the destiny of the next generation. But you know, when we want to be a father or mother, first we have to learn sonship or daughter-ship, right? But without Holy Spirit, we cannot find it.

Mark Banyard:

So true. So true.

Bungo Kubota:

So, even though I was born in a very ordinary Japanese family so I don't have enough sense about what is father what is mother, but after many, many years, the Holy Spirit gradually teach me what is father-ship or what is sonship, these kind of things. So, I believe the Japanese church, we are, of course, we need the signs and wonders and miracles, of course, but also we have to understand more identity about ourselves or identity what what is father, what is son, this kind of relationship, what is family. This revelation must be in such different churches.

Mark Banyard:

We know, too, that the beginning of cultural transformation in any nation requires an individual personal transformation. And so identity is foundational. Wouldn't you agree?

Bungo Kubota:

Yes, yes, yes. First we need to find our identity then we can change our culture, not opposite way. So, many churches they tried to emphasize and praise the culture, but before culture, we have to find identity. So, I think there are three steps. This is also our mission statement in the church that, first, raising up the children of God. Second, building up the house of God

Mark Banyard:

...building up the house of God,

Bungo Kubota:

Then, third, expanding the Kingdom of God.

Mark Banyard:

Wonderful.

Bungo Kubota:

So, in other words, there are three stages: identity, culture and destiny.

Mark Banyard:

Very good, very good.

Bungo Kubota:

This is a step I think, first we need to have individual identity as sons and daughters of God. Then, next, we can gather and make a family and making, produce, a new Kingdom, heavenly culture. Then we can understand what is our destiny? Because when we find our family, we can find our destiny, right?

Mark Banyard:

Yes. So true. And so what does revival in Japan look like to you?

Bungo Kubota:

Oh, that is a huge, huge thing, and it's difficult to explain in only one word. Basically revival is a, ...revival as serving, ...Lordship, not what we do, but what Jesus does. So it will not come according to our convenience or our agenda. But however, God is looking for a place where He can dwell, you know, yes, a dwelling place. And I think the Japanese gift is, one of the Japanese gifts, is a priestly gift. It's very, it's very fine that even non Christians, non believers, but in Japanese culture, we have something like very, open heaven concept. And Japanese temples or Japanese shrines, some Buddhist Shintoism people. When we talk about, when we talk with them, they have something like this concept you understand? So once they are redeemed, and once they really understand the true God, I think they are more hungry to welcome or to host the true God. And I believe that Japan's church leaders, we have a gift to be worshipers, really worshipers - genuine, authentic worshipers. Because you know, we are the descendants of Samurai, Samurai Warriors. And the word "samurai" was..., Samurai, orignally the meaning is of a servant, did you know that? And we are very, ...we have passion to sacrifice ourselves, to the Lord, to the Master. So this kind of our gift, as a worshiper, should be redeemed and then we can welcome a lot more and more. And also, now I'm concentrating on evangelism to Generation Z. Yes. Because always revival is from the, I think, the new generation. And now, I'm no more new generation I think. I must find a new generation. I must raise up a new generation. And the Japanese history, in Japan's Christian history we never take over one generation yet.

Mark Banyard:

Interesting.

Bungo Kubota:

Japan's society is now getting more old, old aged society. No more a younger generation not like other continents, other nations, now Japan's average age is getting older and older and more we have to concentrate on taking care of the next generation, and we have to find a kind of remnant of the next generation. And I believe they will have more anointing than us. And I believe, to raise up this generation, we need apostolic fathers and mothers. And what if I say more, we need to fivefold ministry, to raise up the new generation.

Mark Banyard:

But I do think that, the revival in Japan will be something that, as you said, is unique to Japan as well.

Bungo Kubota:

I think in Japan's revival, God wants to use very ordinary leaders, not like one superstar. I hope that God anoints his ordinary people, ordinary pastors and leaders, as fathers and mothers. Because now we are in the very, in the very, ...we can access by smart phone, we can access any kind of intelligence and any kind of information. So, only to this information, only to knowledge, people can not be attracted anymore. But when they find the fathers and mothers, this is

Mark Banyard:

Right. not something in the internet. More human relational and more heart to heart relationship, and always the power of the Holy Spirit comes through the vessel, not by the Internet ...you Yes. understand that?

Bungo Kubota:

I believe that God wants to establish more leaders who have a heart of fathers and mothers who can sacrifice themselves for the next generation. And who can raise up, not for for themselves, but to just to bless, and love and serve the next generation. If we find these kinds of images, that is a very big transformation.

Mark Banyard:

Oh, I believe it, I believe it was a common problem in Japan, in the church has been church planters that are now very old, yes. Maybe 80 or 90, or something like this. And they haven't been able to raise up anybody. And so basically, they're about to go. And there's nobody, basically to hand the church over to. And that speaks to what you were sharing with us a few minutes ago, is that God's work is from generation to generation. And there needs to be a generation, something passed on to the next generation that hasn't happened in the past. And I think that that's when you are standing in the gap. And that you are, I believe, you and others like you are our game changers. You know, you've got to, you carry a revelation of God, a cross generational God who moves from generation to generation until Jesus returns. That what's key for what's going to happen in Japan, it's about leaders getting revelation of raising up the next generation that raises up the next generation. And we keep doing that faithfully until the Lord returns.

Bungo Kubota:

So I think that every church must be generational. And what we have established in our generation must be the foundation of the next generation.

Mark Banyard:

Yes, I agree.

Bungo Kubota:

So sometimes people say the Japanese church is not so big. We don't have any mega church in Japan. But it's okay. Small church is okay. But every church must have their spiritual successor, spiritual son and spiritual daughter. You know, in many churches it's easy to find the staff, the employees, ...servants, but it's very few who find the spiritual sons and the daughters. We need more spiritual sons and daughters who can carry, not the ministry, but who can carry the heart of fathers and mothers. Because the way of the method of the ministry, it always changes. You know, every generation, every season, the way of talking, the way of preaching, this kind of things will be not eternal, always must be changed, change, changes, you know. But the heart to take care of the next generation, the heart of the shepherd, which will never end. So we can find some new generation who can carry this heart and the heart which is really keeping the hunger before the Lord. This kind of heart we have to, we have to impart. Like, it's like Moses, and Joshua, just like Moses and Joshua. When Moses came to the meeting tabernacle, after that, after Moses left, still Joshua was in the meeting Tabernacle. The Presence of the Lord was still there. So Joshua, he studied a lot from Moses, not by teaching, but by his lifestyle.

Mark Banyard:

Observing,

Bungo Kubota:

...observing the lifestyle, yes, yes.

Mark Banyard:

Yeah, I think and that's a really key thing, I think what you're emphasizing is that it's not just teaching people, but it's modeling something. And that's actually got to come from people like you. And I think one of the changes is, and again, there are other people out there, who who are walking in this, but there's got to be a strength in leadership, yet a humility in how you live in front of your people, I think sonship and daughterhood are, it's something that they have to understand what it is that you've said so well, that they feel that they've been loved and affirmed and lifted up. But then they've actually watched you do it consistently.

Bungo Kubota:

And I think this, this kind of things, is not our, how to say...., in Japan's culture, we don't have this kind of family style. So we have to learn from the beginning about what is fathership, what is sonship. And, also, we have adapted in our Japan's mentality. So it's not like just And what a good purpose, what a very good purpose a three days program. This is not just five days youth camp, but we have to spend years and years and years. So, that is family, that is the purpose of the local church, I believe. Jesus never ordered us to build up the church. But the Bible often asked us, to be the family, to unite, to love each other, to have a responsibility to take care of each other. What God says is we, we're, what God wants us to be is, we will be the family. Then if we can connect each other well, if we can love each other well, God can anoint this team, God anointed this family, God can give us the authority, ...that is His church. We don't have a responsibility to build up the church, but we have a responsibility to build up the relationship. Then God will make it as a church.

Mark Banyard:

Jesus said, "A new command I give to you to love one another. As I have loved you." In so that's, that's what I hear you talking? Yes.

Bungo Kubota:

Yes, yes, yes.

Mark Banyard:

Yeah, very good. One last question. This has been so good. And but one last question. I'd like to ask you as a leader in Japan, and not an old one, but not a young one. What what do you consider to be your greatest challenge right now?

Bungo Kubota:

My greatest challenge, I have many greatest challenges. But the one thing is because of this current pandemic, we have to find a new way of how, a new way of the..., say, a new wineskin as a local church, as a Kingdom successor. This is a very big challenge, especially in the very Tokyo side. As you said, as we said, this is a very high cost place. And if we cannot get together constantly, how can we connect each other, only by internet and zoom? Or should we have a more house meeting style, etc. This kind of new wineskin is a very urgently needed thing for us. And also the biggest spiritual challenge is how can we keep concentrating on the Lord Jesus, because we have much information in this era and we have many social changing situations. But even in among this stream, how we can find the will of God? You know, when we read the Bible, we automatically interpret these things for our life, You know? But the way of interpretation must be changed more and more.

Mark Banyard:

How so?

Bungo Kubota:

Yes. You know, the, because the human relationships or government situation, financial situation, etc, these things are changing, changing. So, we have to follow up, we have no, we have to follow what is the newest way of the will of God? Maybe this is a little bit difficult to explain in English.

Mark Banyard:

Okay. So what I understand you saying is that, in light of the times that we're in, we need to continue to read the Scripture, seek God the Holy Spirit and let him bring a freshness to our understanding of what he's saying in the moment that we're living,

Bungo Kubota:

Yes. For our daily life, the application how, how can we apply the Word of God, and especially for the next generation, like Generation Z. For them, our old interpretation style or our old preaching style or our old message doesn't work. So we have to rethink about what Jesus wants to say to this next generation, this kind of thing. Of course, the truth will never change. But application must be changed more.

Mark Banyard:

Right? Right. Yeah, very good. Well, I would like to ask you, just before we say goodbye, if you would pray. For those who are listening today, there are some people who might have a heart for Japan. And they'll tune in and thinking, "Oh, I'd like to go and serve in Japan." But more especially for those who are in Japan, and who are wondering if there's anything more? Is it just going to church to a service? And is it just me being like a servant? Is there anything more from my life? Is there a calling on my life? Is there a destiny and purpose on my life?

Bungo Kubota:

Father in heaven, thank you for this wonderful opportunity to talk with our beloved brother, Mark Banyard, and thank you, because God, among this conversation, you give us some wisdom, and you give us a new revelation, and you encourage the listeners to fulfill their destiny in the Lord. Lord, thank you now, especially we pray for the people who want to come, who have concerns for Japan. Lord, please send more people, please send more anointed leaders. And please send the people who have a burden for the salvation of the people of Japan. Well, thank you, because you are the faithful one, and you are faithful, you are a faithful leader and you will lead everybody, every servant, to fulfill your destiny and Lord, please release the Kingdom culture upon this nation. And also please help and encourage the people who are attending a Sunday service and, Lord, please reveal their destiny. Please open their eyes and please open their hearts because they are not called just to sitting down on the chair. But you want to use them for your glory because they are part of the Body of the Christ. Lord, please let them feel that honor. Let them feel their special privilege which they have (been) given. Thank you, because you pour out the Holy Spirit to each one of them. So they can be Christ-like character and they can be the ministry as you have done on this earth. Lord, please release your Kingdom through us, through churches, through individual disciples and, Lord, we really need your help under you. You give us much grace, more and more, so that we can fulfill our purpose and our destiny. And, Lord, please, let the Japanese church rise up, please, let the Japanese church rise up. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I also appreciate all the missionaries who have come to Japan and faithfully served Japan churches and Japanese people. Lord, please bless them. Lord, you know how much they have been sacrificing their life to Japan. So, Lord, please reward them. Please bless them, please give them more grace. And please give them more anointing so that they can be more effective to the Japan society. Lord thank you so much, so much.

Mark Banyard:

Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Amen. Well, thank you, Bungo, I so much appreciate your time and your insights and just sharing a bit of your life story with us today.

Bungo Kubota:

Thank you very much for having me.

Mark Banyard:

You are more than welcome. And we just send our love to your family, wife, kids and to the body of Christ there. Please let them know that we think of them often and are praying for them. At the end of the show, in the notes, there will be links to Kingdom Seekers Japan and perhaps Bungo will be kind enough to give us some sort of link where people who want more information, how they can get that about what he's doing in Japan. And so once again, thank you, we so much, ...we bless you and thank you for for all that you're doing. And we're glad to be partners with you in what God's doing in Japan.

Bungo Kubota:

Thank you so much. It's my pleasure to join with you. Thank you for always helping and encouraging us as an apostolic father. Thank you, because you are one of our spiritual fathers.

Mark Banyard:

Bless you. Bless you. Okay, well, bye for now.

Bungo Kubota:

Okay, see you. Bye bye.

Mark Banyard:

And that's our show for today. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Kingdom talk. You can find all the notes and links for today's show at our website, www.kingdomadvanceministries.com/podcast. And once again, if you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe so that you won't miss any of our upcoming episodes. Bye for now, and may God bless!