Volume Up or Volume Down?

I think noise is one of the biggest inventions of the 21st century. Not because there was no noise before, but we have amplified every voice in an effort to have everyone heard that we have become really good at making noise. Everywhere you look, you will find news of some tragedy somewhere, a new fashion coming out, and a scandal by a celebrity or a politician somewhere, or a new album release. There is always something happening somewhere in the world that the rest of us are being notified through the internet or through the television.
I grew up in a small farm on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Growing up, the only noise I heard was the voices in my head and an almost clockwork loud mow by Nyota our oldest cow. This was when I was so engrossed with what was going on in my head that I forgot to give the cows their afternoon serving of fodder. Nyota is a Swahili word for stars, we called her that because she was black in colour and had huge white patches. She would mow just around 1:35 pm to remind me that since I had eaten my lunch, it was now her and her offspring’s turn to eat. That statement sounds somewhat like what some politicians tell their followers. Once fed, Nyota would allow me to go back to wonderland until my parents would come home from work. She would let out a loud mow when my dad would arrive as if to report my mistakes to him, but I never got to know what exactly she would say. I don’t speak cow. Life was blissful then, I would do my homework and play all afternoon long.
I digress.  Growing up, I heard our pastor speak of how God spoke to him about a thing or two which he was going to make the main message of the day. I always wondered how God speaks. How does he sound like? I would pray for direction on a number of things and pray that God would speak into my situation and give me some wisdom on how to go forward but I would not hear anything. Then I would ask for advice and someone would ask me, “What is God saying?” I tell you up to date, I have never had a good answer for that question. It sometimes intimidates me.
With all the noise around us how do we differentiate the voice of God from all the voices speaking to us all at the same time? Work pressures, peer pressure, movies, series, news, church, where is the voice of God in all of this?
A story is told of a church in Nazi Germany during the period of the Second World War that had met for their weekly services. The church was situated next to a rail road. As the church members were singing songs of worship and praise to their redeemer a train was passing nearby on the rail road. This train had Jews who had been put in the cattle cars on their way to execution. As the train passed near the church, the Jews started to shout for help as loud as they could waving their hands through the openings of the cattle cars. In their mind, they hoped that if there was anyone who would understand their plight or do something to help, it would be the Christians.
The church heard the Jews, on their way to their death, shouting for help. The choir master of the church responded by raising the volume of the pipe organ to drown out the voices of the Jews shouting for help. The volume was kept up until the last train car had passed and the pleas for help had died out.418046561_1f6b23061d_b
That would be a bizarre response to such a situation right? But I tend to wonder if that is not the same way we respond to the voice of God in our lives. We drown him out with other things because it may cost too much, it may be painful or we will look funny. How many times have I put my hand on that pipe organ volume? How many times has my heart been pricked by something I saw or experienced and I drown it out by other things? How many times have I heard a voice warning me not to do something that I know is not honouring to God and drowned it out? How many times have I sat to watch a movie or stayed up chatting when I was feeling an urge to pray over something? How many times have you had your hand at the organ volume?
I believe God speaks to us often but we don’t hear him with the volume of our organs playing so loud. James says that faith without works is dead, and I think working out our faith is merely obeying God in those small nudges that he makes. Obeying him in this way is giving him more room and authority in your life to lead. In essence the more you let him lead the more you become attentive to his voice.
In John 10:1 -18 Jesus explains that he is the good shepherd and his sheep hear his voice, and follow him. In chapter 14:15 he says “if you love me, obey my commands. God is in his word, and we can clearly see we experience more of him when we obey him more.
One of the reason we have so little experience of God in our lives is because we drown out his voice instead of listening and obeying. In what ways are you drowning out God’s voice in your life? What nudge or prick in my heart have I experienced recently that may have been God leading me?
There is some sort of train going through our lives today, it may be someone in need, a habit that we need to break, someone we need to apologize to, a prayer we should make, it could be anything. The question is not which train to listen to but what will we do to the volume of our organ?
Will we crank it up until the voice is drowned out and move on with life or will we reduce the volume and listen to what our Lord is saying

Reference

Band of rescuers Video

http://www.hftf.org

Advertisements

What are you in for

img-20160405-wa0007.jpgWhat are you in for?
I guess that is the most commonly used question in the prison system. I see it in almost every movie that has a scene involving a prison. Usually, there is this huge, towering, well-built black man who is seated. He lifts up his face and nods at the new guy in jail, “What are you in for son?” A tirade of emotions is poured by the new prisoner. Almost all movies I’ve seen have this black prisoner or slave. Perhaps I need to watch more movies. When you listen to the news we hear of incidents that imply that humanity is in a prison of some kind.
So what are you in for?
This week the world was rocked by the news of a huge financial scandal after the leak of the Panama papers. Some European politicians and businessmen used Panama which is a tax haven to stash money from dubious deals and evade tax due to the tax shelter status.
This is a sad story for an African in Africa to read especially after Africans have been branded as corrupt, uncouth, illiterate, under developed, diseased, power hungry war mongers. This has been the image that has been shown in different shades to the world at large. Most sons and daughters of Africa have grown resentful of the west due to this imagery. This imagery may be true of Africa in some instances, but this is not the case for majority of the continent.
The west has enjoyed economic, military and political power. They have had influence over their former colonies and have made their presence/policies and desires felt by majority of African countries. Most Africans would say that this is what has kept them in bondage decades after attaining independence from their colonizers. And the western countries would probably say that it is our greed, corruption and hunger for power that has kept us in bondage for so long.
Then the Panama papers saga ran through the media – yes we have media here in Africa. Moving on…. I have mixed emotions about this saga. I do not know what sentiments among the many that have been aroused by this story I should support or pledge allegiance to, to make it my general opinion. They all seem to be fighting for my attention.

Should I be sad for the millions of euros that have been denied from a struggling European economy? Should I be happy that these guys who pretended to be all holy while condemning African governments had been caught pants down? Should I be angry at the self-righteous governments that still try to rule Africa are as greedy as they call us? Should I be sad because that these are development partners that have been robbed by their own? Should I be angry that they seem to be ignoring the bigger scandal of greed and corruption as these governments and foreign companies plunder, and rob our continent of its resources? It is difficult for a man to process all this emotions.
After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that Africa is fallen. After reading about western issues I also conclude that these countries are also fallen. All our anguish and anger and actions are all as a result of one fallen head teaching another fallen head. This is why lasting solutions to the problems that face us as a global society have never been found.
We are all prisoners.
We are prisoners of greed, corruption, poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, religion, communism, capitalism, Marxism, socialism, racism, tribalism etc.
This world we live in is swimming in hurt. Social systems are crumbling, economies are collapsing, and racism is rife…….
So, what are you in for son?
Yes we are prisoners of this world order, we are prisoners of society. So then what is the solution to all this? The world is hurting in need of a savior, in need of change, of a solution.
Where is this solution? When will we have it?
Here is a statement that I came across that sort of knew of this situation over 2000 years ago.

We know that creation has been groaning as in the pains of child birth right up to the present time
– Romans 8:22
This is quite true with the state of the world as we see it.Let’s read a few verses just above this statement.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
– Romans 8:19
Who are these children of God?

Yet all who received him, (Jesus) he gave them the right to become children of God.
– John 1 :12
Huh creation is waiting for Jesus freaks? Really?
Is there any hope? What can these people do that will change the world? The world is hurting how can these band of Jesus freaks heal the world? What can they do that can give the world the healing it needs.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:14
I strongly believe that the church is the hope of the world. Not the institution of church but the body of Christ, those who have accepted him and believe in Jesus. God first reconciled us to him by salvation and invited us to the ministry of reconciliation. To reconcile a fallen world back to its maker. This is the time for every Christian in every crook and cranny, in every country, city, town or village to call upon the Lord for their country for their continent.
It is time that we repented and asked God to heal our land. He made it only he can fix it.
The bible is clear that the people who can influence his hand on earth are his people (his children), who are called by his name (Christians).
The call is for appreciating that our leaders and systems are fallen heads leading other fallen heads.
The call is for Christians to humble themselves and pray on behalf the wickedness in our nations. It does not end in prayer, it continues to turning our systems, our ideologies and addressing issues facing our societies.
It means that it is the role of Christians to engage the powers that be, to deal with root causes of social, economic, political, environmental injustice.
So regardless of what you are in for, what will you do about it?
That is all

Is it worth dying for?

imagesHe stood on the stage with large huge screens behind him and huge lights overhead. His clear voice shot out of the speakers, “ is what you are living for worth dying for?“. The whole auditorium went silent. These words cut through everyone listening to Pastor Oscar. He continued, seemingly oblivious of the bombshell he had just dropped on the people.

He told of a story of some Moravian missionaries who had gone to a city. There was an outbreak of leprosy in the area, a cure for the disease had not been discovered by then. To control the spread of the disease, the city erected a huge wall round a large area of land and quarantined those affected by the disease. The missionaries heard about these people being locked away to stop the spread of the pandemic and they were interested in seeing it for themselves.

A written account of this incident records that the missionaries went to a hill overlooking the quarantine area and what they saw moved them to tears. A man with legs but no arms carrying a man with no legs but with arms as they planted corn on the fields in the quarantine zone.

Just then two of these missionaries volunteered to go stay in the quarantine zone with the lepers. The thought that not only were these lepers suffering but that they would die without coming to the knowledge of Christ was not acceptable to them. As the city officials tried to talk them out of it, a small queue started developing at the gate. More missionaries were piling up to be let in, knowing full well that they would never be let out once in. they were walking into an almost certain slow agonizing death. Only so that the lepers would not die without receiving Christ.

You could hear a pin drop as he narrated this story, conviction was welling up inside me. This was the reason why I had attended this conference. My attention was up, my emotions were charged, I could feel a deep conviction. This conference was amazing. I could quote this guy in a number of my sermons and conversations. I quickly and proudly if I may add noted down a few other points that he shared. I had learnt a lot and had been challenged greatly. Great!!

What happened next floored me, and changed the way I saw things in life. After narrating the story, our good pastor thought it best to drop a nuke. “Is what you are living for worth Christ dying for?” he asked. That got me thinking about my life, about what I do? I had just narrowly survived a near death experience while on mission to Burundi a month or so before this conference ( read being the wrong place at the wrong time otherwise called election violence). So yeah, I guess after all I work in church.

Working in church probably says that whatever your job description is, Jesus probably died for that. But is it really about the job or the person?

What about accountants and the engineers and janitors, did Jesus die for these professions?

We see charismatic people, friends who seem to have it all figured out. They know what they want to give their lives to while some of us don’t. We are just living life and handling what we are handed. This question of destiny or purpose seems to always come up.

Jesus did not die for professions, Jesus died for you and I. The question is not how the rest of your life will look like so that you can give yourself 100% to what your life is about. The question is, with where you are or what you have, will you live a life worth Christ dying for? Will you see the brokenness in society and flip on the TV or will you do something about it? Will you work in a corrupt system and go with the flow or will you stand up to what your faith demands? Will you let society decay or will you let your faith have an impact on society? I reckon Jesus did die for that.

So again I ask is what you are living for worth Christ dying for?

As I remember that sermon on by Pastor Oscar on the Fearless Summit 2015, I find that I had a conference/ seminar auto pilot. I go to get challenged, to have my emotions charged up, to get material, to get knowledge. This also happens when I go through articles in magazines and articles.

I hope as you read this blog post you won’t be like me. The question after this I think should not be have you been challenged? I hope it will be, have you been changed?

Whatever It Takes

jonah-in-the-whale“A wicked and adulterous asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the fish so shall the son of man be for three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” Mathew 12:39-40

What?
How would the savior of mankind equate his story to Jonah? It doesn’t make sense?
Who was Jonah anyway?
Why was he so important that Jesus had to equate the salvation of mankind in his death and victorious resurrection to Jonah running away from God and God dragging him kicking and screaming to his assignment. This guy was a rebellious guy, sorry prophet so why?

Jonah was a prophet in Israel. He existed after the 10 northern tribes of tribes of Israel had been taken into captivity by Assyria.
The Assyrians were terrible captors. They are the inventors of torture. They were so bad that they would skin the kings of kingdoms they conquered on the wall of their capital city NINEVEH! They did not believe in the God of Israel. They carried off the 10 Jewish tribes after a 20 year assault pillaging them and killing many. Then they sent their people to live on the land left over (Samaria). The new inhabitants of Samaria took up the Jewish religion and mixed it with their religion.
The Jews hated the Samaritans because;
– The new Samaritan religion was offensive to them
– They took their brothers captive.
– They were horrible captors
Any Israelite would most definitely be praying for their destruction. The thought of Assyria would probably bring a mixture of pain, dread, and anguish to any Israelite.
Let’s now come back to Jonah. Jonah is sent by God to talk to go Nineveh, the capital City of Assyria, Israel’s sworn enemy and aid in their salvation. God wanted to save Nineveh and wanted to use Jonah to do it. Jonah did what any Israelite would do, he ran!
If ii was Jonah, and God asked me to do such a thing, I would definitely want to run.
These people did not deserve forgiveness, they did not deserve to be saved. I bet Jonah told himself
“if God is angry with the Assyrians, then I guess it’s about time. Far be it from me to stand in the way of their destruction for all the evil they have done to our brothers”.
God intervened, coz he wanted to save the Assyrians by all means. He gave Jonah a ride to Nineveh, against his will of cause.
Jonah preached the shortest sermon ever
“in forty days Nineveh will be smashed” Jonah 3:4 MSG version
This guy just said that, not everywhere just once and the whole city including the King put on sack cloth, fasted and cried out to God for forgiveness.
Jonah was pissed. Angry beyond words

Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God. “God I knew it – when I was back home. I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! ” Jonah 4:1-2

Jonah ran coz he knew God would do anything to save the lost Assyrians in Nineveh.

Years later Jesus reminds the Israelites this same statement

“A wicked and adulterous asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the fish so shall the son of man be for three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” Mathew 12:39-40

Basically what Jesus was saying was that he was willing to do anything, he was ready at the drop of a hat to change anything so that the lost could come to him.
That was his whole ministry put in a sentence, he is willing to do ANYTHING for the lost to come to him.
As Christians the call to make disciples in all nations is this same call, to do everything to bring the lost to God. This is the sole existence of the church, to spread the gospel to bring the lost to God.
Christ did not die so that we would grow in our faith, he died so that the lost, the wicked, the evil, the scum of the earth would come to salvation.
Ladies and gentlemen you are God’s plan A for the salvation of your family. There is no plan B, Christ left us this charge and he did not give a rescue plan in case this failed.
I am in this boat as well. Now I ask myself, what will it take for my unsaved friends to receive Christ?
Do I even have unsaved friends?
What about those completely unchurched ones?
Who do they have to show them, to tell them about Christ?
Where do I get unsaved friends?
Jesus is ready to do anything to save these people, Am I?

The Journey Begins

terenteren

The Road to Mavuno Burundi


One Wednesday evening, two young sturdy men approach a bus station. You could see the excitement on their faces as they board the Kampala bound bus. These two young men have a vision, a vision bigger than themselves, a vision to change generation and  transform a country. Mordecai and Kelvin were on a mission to Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi. Their mission was to spy the land and ascertain the possibility of starting a Mavuno church in the city. Their trip involved them passing through two east African countries Uganda and Rwanda, visiting Mavuno churches in the countries and meeting people with interests in and from Burundi. Then they would spend a month in Burundi praying and meeting with the people of the country.

All we knew was that Burundi was a country that needed God and we availed ourselves to be used by God to reach out to…

View original post 162 more words

Welcome to Buja

this is faith in action

The Road to Mavuno Burundi

Last week we started telling the story of two fearless pastors from Mavuno church in Nairobi who took a daring trip to Burundi with the aim of finding out the possibility of starting a Mavuno church in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital city.
Mavuno is a church whose mission is Turning ordinary people to fearless influencers of society. The church is led by a fearless band of pastors who strongly believe that the church is the hope of the world. This being so, Mavuno’s vision is to plant culture defining churches in every capital city of Africa and the gateway cities of the world by 2035.
We had our first stop in Kampala, Uganda , met various musicians and missionaries who had worked in Burundi to get a better understanding of the culture and the people of Burundi.IMG-20141109-WA0008
Our next stop over was Kigali, Rwanda where after celebrating Mavuno Kigali’s one year…

View original post 137 more words

Mavuno is needed

Great stuff

The Road to Mavuno Burundi

The church is the hope of the world, we strongly believe that the evils of society can be solved if Christians chose to engage society in a manner that inspires others to move their faith from complacency to action. What does that mean?
It means, going against the grain, it is redefining culture from what it is to a culture that is breeds transformation . That’s what Mavuno church is about, planting culture defining churches in every capital city of Africa and the gateway cities of the world.
After meeting many Burundians in Bujumbura, we met these young people who affirmed our call to reach out to our generation. Listen to their stories…..
follow the link below https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B43zy_h2wMduYnZnTGhxUzNUWm8&usp=sharing

View original post