First day

Left Nairobi at 8:00am and was in Juaibor by 1.00pm. The difference between the two places is more than I have time to type out, let it suffice to say that in many ways it’s like stepping back in time, way back.

Got to fly with Stephan Haganier, great pilot but an even better man. I’m reminded of the price he and his family are gladly paying to serve their Lord every time I hit Sudan.
It was 41 degrees according to the thermometer in the staff mess. They briefed me on the fact that it had been too hot to sleep in their tukuls during the nite so they stay out past midnight talking as they wait for it to cool down some. God must have had mercy on me because the rain poured cats and dogs late this afternoon, and as I type this post up I’m lying on my bed in a room that might as well be air conditioned, I could not have asked for better weather!
I met with James Koang and explained to him the course that we shall be pursuing for this module. He gave me some encouraging news. It sounds like the men have been applying the Storying method that they learned last time. James was particularly impressed by Yohaness, one of the sharper students I have. He said they have been preaching salvation by grace alone with some clarity. This is great news for me, I know they still have some way to go but I’m trusting that it will please God to use the next three modules to hasten them along on that path that the Gospel might find a believing home in the hearts of many in this region.
I also had a meeting with the CMA construction crew to secure their help in coming up with a plan to construct a new church building for the local church that we attend. Their old one collapsed in the rain and they have been meeting out in the elements or in the remaining half that was precariously left standing. EBC in conjunction with CMA and other well wishers are coming together to help them build a brick building for the church to meet in that can withstand the heavy rains that are about to pour. Half of their old building collapsed and the other half is very unstable. We hope to see the new building erected using cement blocks that are being made by CMA staff on the ground.

If you are interested in helping them out get in touch with myself or Pastor Weaver and we will point you to CMA who are running the building project. kenwyne@gmail.com, joel@gbmke.org

A passion for the glory of God and the passion for pleasure all wrapped up in one.

Please read through the two quotes slowly and think about their implications when it comes to 1. Your daily pursuit for pleasure (what things will you do today to enjoy yourself?), 2. God’s desire for His own glory (what things will you do today to bring God glory?) Do you view these two questions as having little or nothing at all to do with each other?
These two quotes from Jonathan Edwards are the two most clear statements I have ever heard on this most critical issue…how can I live my life for the glory of God (the one thing that I am most fearful of failing at…to fail at this is to waste my life) when my heart has such a passion for pleasure…a passion often wrongly directed to things that have nothing to do with God or things that are contrary to the character of God. The path most chosen is “one or the other”…”either or”…Edwards thinks not and argues that the Bible calls for something different.
“Because God infinitely values His own glory consisting of knowledge of Himself, love to himself, joy in Himself He therefore valued the image communication or participation of these in the creature and it is because he values himself that he delights in the knowledge and joy and love of the creature as being Himself the object of this knowledge, love and complacence. Thus God’s respect to the creatures good and His respect for Himself is not a divided respect but both are united in one as the happiness in the creature aimed at is happiness in union with Himself” Jonathan Edwards

“God is glorified within Himself in these two ways, by appearing to Himself in His own perfect idea of Himself or in His Son who is the brightness of His glory. Two, by enjoying or delighting in Himself by flowing forth in infinite delight in Himself or in His Holy Spirit. So God glorifies Himself towards the creatures also in two ways; by appearing to their understanding and communicating Himself to their heart in their rejoicing and delighting in and enjoying the manifestations that He makes of Himself. God is glorified not only by His glories being seen but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul both by the understanding and by the heart. God made the world that He may communicate and that the creature receive His glory, that it might be received by the mind and the heart. He that testifies his idea of Gods glory doesn’t glorify God so much as he that testifies his approbation of it and his delight in it.” Jonathan Edwards
These two paragraphs are quoted in Piper’s sermon;
A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: Why We Need Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later (10-10-03) 56:49 John Piper A God Entranced Vision of All Things Conference Message 1

The passion for pleasure in our hearts is God given and He intends that we satisfy that passion in the One object that is infinitely satisfying, the One thing whose nature is pleasant, lovely, beautiful, (all of these in a holy/Godlike/unique way) enough so as to satisfy God Himself…the One object is God. To delight in anything else above, in the place of or alongside of God is to reduce the all satisfying glory of God and equate it/count it unworthy to be compared to that of infinitely lesser beings or things…this is the heart of all sin Jer 2:13; Rom 1:21. When our passion for pleasure finds its satisfaction in the knowledge of and delight in God…we attain the end for which we were created…the glory of God. Thus our pursuit for holiness is our fight for joy in Christ…the battle to turn our hearts from lesser pleasures that we might delight ourselves in the Fountain of delight. Although I had listened to his argument “God is most glorified in man when man is most satisfied in Him” these two quotes from Edwards have served to crystalized the point and impress the urgency to “violently vehemently pursue my joy in Christ” for that is the only way my God will be glorified in me.

The critical “why” of the where, what and how of missions

               What is our “why” in missions? Why do we seek to do all that we do in the name of missions? Knowing that we posses hearts that are desperately wicked and deceitful we should not sweep over this question lightly. Rather we should spend prayerful time trying to give an honest answer before the Lord.

              I recently shared a short devotion with a group of brothers and sisters who have banded together to do a church plant. The question we sought to answer is the one asked above. Although this is a different audience the different questions that I address in the devotion below might be of use to you. It reads…

              “On what basis are we moving forward as a core group in trying to reach the lost in Nairobi? On what basis are we going to pay the price that attaching ourselves to a group like this demands us to expect? e.g. time, comfort, money, death…its what Christ meant by “no one can come after me unless he takes up His cross and follow me…” It cannot be a sense that “I want to give something back to the community”, or a vague “it’s the right thing to do” not even if you say “coz the Bible says we do it” I say this now and will argue later that the Bible does not only tell you what to do but how and why you should do what you do…and all these must be in place for our mission to be God’s mission. The wrong “why” will only take you so far and will in no way please the One whose work we are seeking to engage in.

              In writing to the Corinthians Paul speaks of the carefulness with which he approached that church planting venture “according to the grace of God as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation…” 1 Corinthians 3:10. In line with that he warns all who continue with the work to be very cautious of how they engage in God’s work of building His Church 3:10b, because all that we do shall be one day judged; 3:12-17. The context here no doubt refers to the content of their proclamation, Paul argued for Christ centered/Cross centered preaching from 1:18-31, 2:1-5 and in the text we are considering argued that the foundation that was laid was “Christ”. But that is not all that will be judged on that great day. In the next chapter Paul again refers to this day and points out to us something else that God will look at, I Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. Why we are doing what we are doing is of cardinal importance.

            But before we answer that question (why are we a part of this core group that is seeking to see a church started in Nairobi) let’s deal with the question that the paragraph above has raised. “If that’s the case (a strict judgment awaits all who engage in this task), I’m not sure I want to get myself involved with this “spread the Gospel build the Church of Christ business?” To answer in brief I will say, well you don’t have a choice 🙂 …you are already in the business; the task comes with the salvation package, you can’t have a swim and not get wet. We dealt with this at the meeting so allow me to state it in brief here. The great commission wasn’t addressed merely to the disciples, Matt 28:20, all who the disciples taught were to be taught all the commands of Christ, which would include the command to go and make disciples. We see this happening with the those that they taught in Jerusalem Acts 11:19-21 note the Apostles up to this point remained in Jerusalem 15:2. Paul expresses his confidence in the believers at the church at Rome regarding their ability to “admonish” each other Rom 15:14. The word used here means to “instruct”. In 1 Corinthians 12 we learn that we are all part of the body. In Ephesians 4:15-16 we learn that through the things we “speak” to one another we are to build up the body. Many other references could be given to prove the point but I trust that these suffice. The task has been squarely laid on our shoulders to do it badly will cost us, to not do it will cost us still Matt 25:27 (the dude with only one talent).

         So we go back to our question, what is our “why” as we seek to engage in this work? Answer, because we delight in seeing God glorified through the salvation of sinners (note here that this salvation that begins with our election Eph 1:4, manifested in our justification Rom 3:26, is ongoing in our sanctification 1 Corinthians 3:18 and will be consummated in our glorification 1 Peter 1:7-9; Rom 8:28-30). This is the only life that is not wasted. To grasp how we end up with that we need to take a look at the big picture of our lives. We were created for His glory Rev 4:11; Col 1:16; Isaiah 43:7. But we all rebelled against our Creator and glorified the creature Rom 1:21, Jer 2:13. This act naturally attracted the wrath of the one and only glorious God who will not share His glory with another, whose glory demands that all such inconsistencies be set right. God who in eternity past foreknew all these chose to bring himself glory by choosing out of these rebels a bride for His Son. This He would do by pouring the wrath that they deserved on the Son, Eph 5:25-26. Thus they would be free from the penalty, power and eventually presence of their sin (that which glorifies anything else in the place of God Rom 1:21; 3:23; Jer 2:13) and thus be set free to delight in the glory of God, Jn 17:3; Is 55:1-2; Jn 4:14, 23; Heb 9:14; Ps 16:11; 34:8; Phil 1:20-21, 3:8. Thus we who are in Him have finally tasted that for which we were created, true eternal satisfying pleasure in God, not fame, nor earthly wealth, nor sensual sin. Thus the pursuit for the glory of God becomes for us our singular purpose Phil 1:20-21. God has chosen to glorify Himself by saving sinners Eph 1:6, 14, 17, 2:4-7. This He is accomplishing through the Church Eph 3:10. So when we seek to see a local assembly born in Nairobi what we are seeking is to see God glorify Himself by bringing salvation to His elect a salvation which He begun in eternity past and will bring it to a glorious end when He returns for His Bride. “Through whom we have recieved grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…” Rom 1:5.  This glorious task is to us our single passion. We say to all who would ask us why we would dare live such a  life “ 13 for if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. ” AMEN.

The genesis of ministry in Nairobi…the roses and the thorns

Three months into post masomo(training) ministry…I’ve learnt two things…school taught me a lot…there is a lot that school did not teach me. I have the amazing opportunity to serve with the believers at Emmanuel Baptist and at Camp Lukenya. Both ministries have presented challenges that I was not expecting, e.g. handling a group of teens who did not seem to care at all about “expository preaching”…had to dig deep and teach myself how to warm up those dull un-interested teens get them loosed up and present the word in a manner that is appealing to them yet without compromising the message. At camp, its been mainly admin work, dealing with staff, doing job interviews for new employees, dealing with discipline cases etc…not the kinda stuff I came from college eager to do…but God has me learning all this from most probably the best guys I could.

Yet I have also gotten to do stuff that I really enjoy, teaching Bible study on Wednesday nights…we are going thru 1st Corinthians…beautiful stuff, loving it all the way, got to teach a workshop during the Leadership Conference and interact with the pastors as well. One thing I’m thankful to God for is that His mercy and grace are helping me along in the stuff I don’t enjoy doing so much (chiefly coz I’m largely un-experienced and feel as incompetent as I could) and in the things that I enjoy doing as well, He who called me indeed has been faithful thus far, I do not deserve Him, He has been good to me.

update

God has granted to me an awsome time this holiday. it has been fun getting to see my family again especially my nephew jesse…its so refreshing hanging around that little bundle of innocent joy. the time that i have spent ministering to tens and young adults this holiday season has implanted in me a great derisre to focus my future ministry tothis particular age group. It has hit me anew that this age group has a great potential to have an impact in on its society for God’s Name. It has been exciting working with a ministry that actually focuses on that age group (camp lukenya ministries) and i am definately looking foward to working with them in the future.
on the short term I get to travel to Uganda next week to work with teens there before i come back and start planning my trip back to school…my last year.
I owe my God loads of thanks for the mercies that He has shown me…for granting to me through His grace an oportunity to serve Him.

focusing on the harvest field

Nairobi my beautiful hometown is a city thats as diverse as any could be. it’s graced with a magnificent skyline in the city which is surrounded by slums crummed with the poor, highclass surbubs where the money bags of the nation sleep and a middle class that is slowly growing.

the issues that face it’s population which soars above 3 million people have been defined by many well meaning organizations in different terms ranging from poverty to corruption…but all these are mere fruits of a bigger problem…..Sin. the Gospel of Christ alone has the power to change lives..to give hope to the poor and the rich to give life to both groups for both are dead in their trespasses and sins. this must be done by all followers of Christ, the work mus’nt only be left for the Leaders of God’s people Eph 4:11-12 “ And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” the work of the ministry in Nairobi will only get done when we all take up the burden to win over the city one soul at a time. Nairobi counts on you