Chaplain Ishihara emphasizes need to listen, share God’s love

In ministry and in life, listening to the voice of God can sometimes be a life-shaking thing, especially when one follows through on it.

It is not always comforting to try and act on what we feel God is telling us to do.
But that’s exactly what Seattle Pacific University Chaplain Rev. Lisa Ishihara did.

“I was a business major in undergrad and worked at Target right out of college.
I wanted to learn how to work for a larger corporation,” Ishihara said in an interview with the Falcon.

After a few years in retail, Ishihara thought about becoming a teacher, something she had always been interested in.

However, after going to a young adult retreat, she felt led to enroll in seminary.

“I applied that summer, got in that summer and went, which was a miracle in and of itself,” Ishihara said.

She remembers her seminary friends already having plans for jobs afterward, but she was still unsure of what to do in ministry once she finished.

As she was looked for jobs in ministry, she saw an opening for a job at Biola University, and she encouraged her friends to apply.

Again and again, she pushed them to apply for the job until one of them asked why she didn’t apply, since she was the one that kept going back to look at the job.

“If God is inviting me to apply, I’ll apply,” Ishihara remembers telling one of her friends.
After four months and six interviews, she was accepted into Biola University as the director of chapel programs.

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Chaplain Lisa Ishihara gives a sermon to the church attendees. Adriana Rendon | The Falcon

“The great part about that was when I stepped into the job and learned what it was it took every single experience and internship that I had before from accounting internships to event management internships.

“I used all of them for this job. I felt like God made this job for me,” Ishihara said.
As head of chapels, Ishihara served at Biola for 10 years.

However, it seemed that God had a different plan in mind for Ishihara.

“I feel like I was ushered into it, and the same thing happened to me with this job. … I wasn’t looking for it, and God just kind of opened the doors, and here I am,” Ishihara remembered, after a suggestion from a friend prompted her to transition to SPU.

This marks Ishihara’s first year serving as head chaplain at SPU.

Each quarter’s chapels revolve around a theme, this quarter’s being “Disruptive Rhythms: Breaking the Mold.”

By this, Ishihara, along with guest speakers, teach and encourage students to engage in spiritual disciplines in order to be more able to listen to the voice of God.

“There is this dance of how we are grown and fed and develop as people, then also respond.

“Another way to put it is how we can receive the love of God and share the love of God,” she explained as she outlined the intentions of the guest speakers this quarter, each teaching in their own way the opening oneself up to hear the voice of God.

As a framework for the idea of “Disruptive Rhythms,” Ishihara used the first two verses from Romans 12.

“We receive the love of God and we get to respond, that’s the transition from Romans 11 to 12,” Ishihara said, explaining that responding can mean different things to different people.

From environmental care to social volunteering, works both large and small, all are ways to share the deep love of God.

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