Tokyo Keswick at Yodobashi Church 2018

The series of Keswick Conventions in Japan is one of the most remarkable ministries I have experienced. The 2018 conventions was my fifth time to minister in Japan Keswick Conventions since 2008 and my ninth trip to Japan.  This year it was my honor and privilege to deliver the closing message of the 2018 Tokyo Convention.  The closing message of the convention is always followed by an altar call, a time of decision and response.  The Keswick messages aims primarily at the Christian, but it always speaks to many non-Christians and brings them to faith in Christ.  The Japan Keswick Convention also asks the speakers to emphasize God’s call to missions and ministry.  Hence, the altar call is a very important time of drawing the net of the cumulative impact of the series of sermons by the Japanese and foreign speakers.  God blessed with a bountiful response of His people to the Word of God.

Dr. A. Pierson, an American Presbyterian from another era, was a frequent speaker at the Keswick Convention in England, the first and original Keswick Christian Life Convention.  Dr. Pierson called Keswick a “Spiritual Clinique” He compared Keswick to a medical-clinic where a patient is evaluated and remedy is prescribed.  The Keswick Convention provides a spiritual evaluation to determine the spiritual condition of the Believer’s heart.  It then provides steps by which the Believer can enter into spiritual health.  The leadership of the Japan Keswick conventions (a series of ten conventions) holds to this aim of assisting all participants in their journey  toward a life of holiness and spiritual health.

I give thanks to God for the Japan Keswick Convention leadership and for their vision of how Keswick can impact their country and beyond. I observe the diligent planning, the faithful praying, the expenditure of time and energy, and the heart felt passion of leaders, workers, and volunteers alike.  All of this is done that the Word might be preached and that Jesus might be glorified.

Roger Willmore

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Japan Keswick Conventions 2018

 

I had the privilege of speaking in seven of the ten 2018 Japan Keswick Christian Life  Conventions, January 21- February 25. My travels took me to conventions in Okinawa, Kyushu, Tohoku (Sendai), Osaka, Kobe, Forest Park (near Tokyo) and Tokyo (the Yodobashi Church.) I preached twenty-five times and held numerous personal meetings. Rev. Dr. Tatshuhiro Mineno is chairman of the Central Keswick Committee and gives oversight and leadership to all ten of the Keswick Conventions in Japan.  Each location has a local committee and chairman that oversees the local convention.  The Japan Keswick Committee system works like a “well oiled machine.”  In addition to fine leadership there is an army of workers who carry out every detail of a convention.

Japan Celebrates fifty-seven years of Keswick Convention ministry.  Japan Keswick leadership has built a relationship and fraternity with the original Keswick Convention in Keswick, England.  Many of the guest speakers in the Japan conventions come from England and many of them have been speakers on the English Keswick Platform.  Dr. George Duncan, known as “Mr. Keswick” during his years of ministry at St. George’s Tron in Glasgow, Scotland was a frequent speaker in Keswick Conventions around the world, especially in England and Japan.  My mentor, Dr. Stephen F.Olford (British) was a well known Keswick speaker and much loved in Japan.  Many spiritual giants have occupied the pulpit of the Japan Keswick Conventions.  Each time I speak there I am aware that I am standing in the shadow of Holy Men of God and genuine Bible Expositors who have gone before me.

This was my ninth trip to Japan in ten years.  I spoke in the Japan Keswick Conventions for the first time in 2008.  Stephen Olford was instrumental in opening the door for me.  Since that time I have made many meaningful and lasting friendships with pastors, laypeople, translators, committee members and Keswick leadership.  I have made five trips to Japan to speak in the Keswick Conventions since 2008.  Dr. Ken Horiuchi of Grace Mission Ministries in Osaka has invited me numerous times to speak in South Korea, Hiroshima and Sapporo.  Dr. Horiuchi’s Bible Conventions are designed to be an extension of and a support of the Keswick Ministry.

Japan holds a special place in my heart.  Less than 2% of the people are Christian.  The door is open to preach the gospel and to minister to the attentive and respectful heart of the Japanese people.  Each year in the Keswick Conventions thousands of Japanese Christians are encouraged to live a fully surrendered life to Christ and to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  Each year many young people and some older ones surrender to the call of God to Christian ministry.  Each year many receive Jesus Christ as their own Lord and Savior.

Each sermon in each Keswick Convention is audio recorded.  Many of the sermons are video recorded.  Many of the sermons, selected, are transcribed and published in an annual book of sermons from the Keswick Convention. CD’s are purchased and distributed.  Books of sermons go into circulation.  Many of the video recorded sermons are aired on Japan Christian television in Japan, South Korea and other parts of the world.  The multiplied, ripple effect of the Japan Keswick Conventions will not be fully known until we get to glory.

It is my prayer that the Keswick Conventions in Japan will be instrumental in bringing a Great Spiritual Awakening to Japan and that many, many people will be swept into the Kingdom of God.  Will you join me in that prayer?

Pictures are worth a thousand words.  I am posting a few to depict the fellowship and ministry.

Roger D. Willmore, 2018

A SEVENFOLD EXHORTATION

 

Based on Hebrews 12 -By: Dr. F.E.Marsh

 

1. Stripped Bodies.  Lay aside every weight.  v. 1

2. Looking Eyes.  Looking unto Jesus. v.2

3. Lifting Hands.  Lift up the hands. v.12

4. Straight Paths.   Make straight paths. v.13

5. Pursuing Feet.  Follow peace.  v.14

6. Alert Attention.  Looking diligently. v.15

7. Good Service.  Serve God acceptably. v25

-F.E. Marsh

The Secret to Praying

 

G. Campbell Morgan

G.Campbell Morgan

No man will pray always who neglects the formation of the habit of regular prayer.  The disciple who regularly observes a place and time and method will gradually find the habit learned in the secret place is binding through all the public life.  A confirmed habit of regular prayer will create regularity and constancy amidst all irregularities of time and place and method. Prayer in the secret place will create a spirit which will obtain in all public places. Fellowship with God as an activity will issue in Fellowship with God as an attitude. -G. Campbell Morgan

 

The Word of God and Prayer

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E.M. Bounds

The Word of God is the fulcrum upon which the lever of prayer is placed, and by which things are mightily moved.  God has committed Himself, His purpose, and His promise to prayer.  His Word became the basis, the inspiration of our praying, and there are circumstances under which, by importunate prayer, we may obtain an addition, or an enlargement of His promises.

Prayer is the kind of  theme and content of the Bible’s message to mankind.  It is the basis, the directory of the prayer of faith. –  E.M. Bounds

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Keswick, England 2016

I have just returned from a visit to Week Three of the annual meeting of the Keswick Christian Life Convention in Keswick, England.  In addition to the breath taking beauty of the Lake District there were many other blessings to be experienced.  Keswick and the Keswick Convention are a part of the very fabric of my Christian Life.  If I am asked to describe the primary influences on my spiritual formation I would, without hesitation, describe the ministry of the Keswick Christian Live movement and its teachings.  I became a Christian in 1966 and I was introduced to Keswick in 1969.  The “Keswick Message” impacted my life significantly.

Week Three of the 2016 Keswick Convention had an added feature that made it extra special to me.  At the invitation of Jonathan Lamb, CEO of Keswick, invited representatives from Keswick Conventions in different countries to attend week three and to participate in a forum of discussion about the role and future of Keswick in the future.  A dozen countries were represented.  I was honored to represent the USA.  There were representatives from England, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Cayman, Finland, Japan, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.  Our meetings were held in the mornings and afternoons and the discussions, led by Jonathan Lamb, were most productive.  It was an overwhelming blessing to hear reports of God’s work through Keswick from so many countries.

It has been my happy privilege to have preached in several of the Keswick’s represented:  USA, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, and Japan.

The heart of the Keswick Message is the Christ-like life.  Whatever else Jesus did in His atoning work on the cross and in His resurrection, the restoration of the image of God upon our lives is certainly a key part.  The Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Spirit-filled life, the Victorious Life…these statements and more describe the Christian life.  However, I prefer to use Dr. Stephen Olford’s statement:  The Normal Christian Life!  This is the life Christ desires to produce in His followers.

Roger D. Willmore 8/16

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The Blessings and Benefits of Hard Times

From time to time I come across great truths and great quotes in my devotional reading that I feel should be shared with others.  One of my favorite devotional resources is “Streams in the Desert”, volume one, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. The following quotation from A.B. Simpson is in the May 18 devotional.

“The pressure of hard places makes us value life.  Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much  it is worth, and make more of it for God and man.  The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.

There is the shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is tender and gentle, and knows what suffering  really means.  This is what Paul meant when he said, “Death worketh in you.”

Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine, and propels that great vessel across the sea in the face of the winds and waves.”  A.B. Simpson

 

My New Ministry Assignment: Director of Missions

On May 12, 2016 Sandra and I drove to Anniston, Alabama to have dinner with the members of the Director of Missions search team and some members of staff.  Following dinner we went to a meeting of the Calhoun County Baptist Association Executive Committee. I was presented to the Executive Committee by Dr. Garry Ragsdale, chairman of the search committee, as the committee’s recommendation for Director of Missions.  This would be the culmination of the interview process with the search committee.

Sandra and I both were warmly received. The atmosphere was welcoming and gracious. I was given the opportunity to share a word with the Executive Committee members. I spoke briefly from Philippians 3:10-14. My desire in those moments was to share my heart and my passion. My emphasis was on knowing Christ personally and intimately. I stated that I hold the belief that ministry should come from the overflow of our personal walk with the Lord.

Along the way in the interview process the Lord gave me three words that I believe are to be the stack poles for my ministry…at least in the early stages. I shared with those present that these three words express my desire and my aim as the new Director of Missions.

I spoke of: HOLINESS, I Peter 1:16, “…because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.'” This word speaks to the character of the servant of God and is the starting place in all true biblical ministry. Ministry flows out of our relationship with Christ.

The next word is: HEALTHY, Hebrews 5:12, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” This text presents a description of an unhealthy Christian. Our aim as spiritual leaders should be to present mature, healthy saints to the Lord, Colossians 1:28-29.

My third word is HAPPINESS, Nehemiah 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” You have to read this verse in its context. Nehemiah, a great spiritual leader spoke to these words to encourage those who were busy serving the Lord.

HOLY…HEALTHY…HAPPY…These three words touch on critical areas of the life of the servant of God.

Sandra and I left the room while the committee members submitted their votes.  In a few minutes we were called back to the meeting room and Dr. Ragsdale announced to us that the body had cast a unanimous vote to call me as Director of Missions.  It was a significant moment in my life.  Sandra and I both sense God’s leadership in this matter.  Our hearts are filled with peace.  I am genuinely excited about this new chapter in my life.  I thank God for the opportunity to take what I have learned in 42 years of pastoral ministry and use it to benefit pastors, church staff and congregations.

I look forward to serving the Lord and God’s people in Calhoun County. I look forward to teaming up with a good, seasoned and hard working staff. It is my prayer that we can build a team that will greatly assist pastors and churches in Calhoun county advance the Kingdom of God…For the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerely,
Roger Willmore

 

 

 

 

 

Olford Ministries Christian Life Convention

Olford Ministries International hosted an annual Christian Life Convention (Keswick) on April 7-9.  Dr. David Oford, President of OMI, gave leadership to the event and also gave three messages from God’s word.  Dr. Ted Rendall, who is Resident Minister and Professor at OMI also gave three messages.  And, it was my privilege to give three messages.  The convention followed the traditonal Keswick emphasis:  Sin in the life the Believer.  Forgiveness and Cleansing of all known sin. Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The fullness of the Holy Spirit. And, commitment to Spirit anointed service.  The entire event was richly blessed by the Holy Spirit.  Sweet fellowship was enjoyed by all in attendance.  To God be the Glory!