Christianity is not all about Do’s and Dont’s

Last Sunday I was privileged to teach Sunday school. However, one thing struck me as I taught this class. I posed to them this question, “What are the things saved people do?” and no one had an answer. The church became dead silence for few minutes; all were deep in thought. I decided to pose to them a second question, “What things saved people do not do?” and to my surprise, there were tens of hands up, others literally standing up to catch my attention to answer the question.

I was astonished. I cannot not help stop thinking about this experience. How comes these kids knows much of what saved people (or Christians) must not do but have little to say about what saved people do?

donts..“Is Christianity a bunch of rules?” am still wondering. It is sad that most of us has only subscribed to adhering a list of “do’s and don’ts.” Our religions have majored in showing us what we should not do, but rarely are we told what to do.

The writers of Gospels shows us different instances where Jesus was against Pharisees and the teachers of the law because of their concentration on do’s and don’ts that made it hard for them even to recognize him as the messiah.

In my interactions with letters of Paul, I rarely see the apostle concentrating on what his audience should or should not do. His focus was the gospel. Mainly urged his audience to have and nurture their relationship with Jesus Christ. Gospel of Jesus Christ was the foundation of his faith.

Think of this, every time you join a game to play, the first thing we all get interested to know is the rules. Not only the rules but also the penalties. It is sad that most of us concentrate in knowing the rules of Christian living, which acts as a veil covering many from experiencing the messiah.

It is important for all of us to realize that Jesus paid it all on the cross. By keeping on viewing Christian behavior as a series of ‘do’s’ or ‘don’ts’, we will become imprisoned by them rather than getting liberated.

dos and not.jpgIn the Old Testament, the first five books of Torah (Books of the Law), Moses gave out 613 commandments commonly known as “Mitzvot” to be followed by the Israelite. God knew that it would be so hard to follow the laws fully and thus provided a way out for those who violated them, an annual sacrifice of a lamb without blemish.

To solve this once and for all, God brought forth His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world. He came as the remedy for sin! Through Jesus, we are freed from the list of dos and don’ts that handcuffed humanity for many years.

As a result, we are able to please God by believing in Him and the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ, for our sins. The goal of every Christian thus should be to cultivate a close walk with God. Having a set of do’s and don’ts serves no purpose.

 There is no greater joy on Earth than knowing God, Supremacy of His son Jesus Christ and His love.

doss rules

By Kenneth Irungu

iServe Africa Apprentice 2015/16

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Exposed: Why we don’t read our Bible

Why do many of us read not our Bibles? In the last few years, Bible reading is on the decline. You would think by having Bibles translated into various vernacular languages and translations, many would be encouraged to read God’s Word, but this is not the case.

Am sure that most of us reading this, if not all, have a soft copy Bible (Bible app) either in their phone, iPad, iPhone, laptop or computer at home or at the office. I remember sometimes back, preaching to a drunkard man who proved to me that he was religious since he owned three different Bibles in his phone! Amusingly, he even had a vernacular Bible.

bible reading 3You visit my room today; you will find more than three copies of Bibles, not only that but also a Bible commentary. In my bag, I always carry with me one copy. In my phone, I have three different versions of Bibles! Am I not a real Christian? Is this not enough proof that I am spiritual? But do I read them…

I was shocked by a report released by Uncover Magazine (Summer, 2012) in America that showed that Eighty-five percent of households have at least two Bibles. This is gratifying statistics, isn’t it? Many people own Bibles! What makes me sad is how many people in the households read those Bibles?

May God help us identify what’s holding us back from reading His Word. “The devil” am thinking, acknowledging his role doesn’t really solve the problem! What we need is to rise up, pray up, and gang up on the reasons that makes us read not our Bibles.

Below are top four reasons people do not read their Bibles according to Barna Research. The exciting thing about the reasons is that they are solvable problems!

1. Lack of time
Men and women, me included, regularly feel crazy busy. Gordon MacDonald in his book, Ordering your Private World, put it this way, We think the most publicly active person is the most privately spiritual…Beware of barrenness of a busy life! Rarely do we get time to sit down read, meditate and reflect on God’s Word. What we need is to deliberate set time to read the Bible.

2. The language is difficult
Many argue the language of the Bible is hard to understand. However, introduction of various easier versions puts the message in an easy-to-digest way hence solving the problem. Choose the best one for you!

  3. We don’t get excited to read it
The Bible has the most exciting stories, especially the old narratives revealing character of God and telling story of our redemption. I have purposed to share them out, and infect others in loving reading them. I am thinking, Infection is the best way to spread any disease! I must spread Bible reading disease especially to those who do not find reading it exciting.

4. We don’t understand the background or history.
The easiest problem to handle. If people don’t understand the background and history of God’s Word, Pastors should give it to them! It is possible that preachers can get so caught up in teaching the Bible that they forget to introduce the basics of the Bible: who wrote it, where it came from, what it’s about, etc. We all need to read and understand the background. I suggest we can use the internet since it has much stuff on this.

In conclusion, I tempted to repeat this again; We need to set time deliberately to read the Bible! I wish we read the Bible more. Can you and I desire to read it more than we do?

I am feeling that what we need in our churches is a Bible Reading Revolution.

‘If I gonna open a church now, I would open a Bible reading church! :)’

Reading Bible

By: Kenneth Irungu
iServe Africa Apprentice 2015/16

Supremacy of Christ Jesus: The need to see and savor His Supremacy

As I was thinking what to share this week, I came across the book of John Piper, Sex and Supremacy of Christ. As I read it through, I was amazed by how Jesus, whom I believe in, is SUPREME!

Supremacy2I share this verbatim from the book, Enjoy as you read through;

“We need to behold and embrace the supremacy of Christ as the blazing sun at the center of our life and to see and savor

~the supremacy of his deity, equal with God the Father in all his attributes—the radiance of his glory and the exact imprint of his nature, infinite, boundless in all his excellencies;

~the supremacy of his eternality that makes the mind of man explode with the unsearchable thought that Christ never had a beginning, but simply always was; sheer, absolute reality while all the universe is fragile, contingent, like a shadow by comparison to his all-defining, ever-existing substance;

~the supremacy of his never-changing constancy in all his virtues and all his character and all his commitments—the same yesterday, today, and forever;

~the supremacy of his knowledge that makes the Library of Congress look like a matchbox, and all the information on the Internet look like a little 1940s farmers’ almanac, and quantum physics—and everything Stephen Hawking ever dreamed—seem like a first-grade reader;

~the supremacy of his wisdom that has never been perplexed by any complication and can never be counseled by the wisest of men;

~the supremacy of his authority over heaven and earth and hell—without whose permission no man and no demon can move one inch; who changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings; who does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (see Dan. 4:35);

~the supremacy of his providence without which not a single bird falls to the ground in the furthest reaches of the Amazon forest, or a single hair of any head turns black or white;

~the supremacy of his word that moment by moment upholds the universe and holds in being all the molecules and atoms and subatomic world we have never yet dreamed of;

~the supremacy of his power to walk on water, cleanse lepers and heal the lame, open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear and storms to cease and the dead to rise, with a single word, or even a thought;

~the supremacy of his purity never to sin or to have one millisecond of a bad attitude or an evil, lustful thought;

~the supremacy of his trustworthiness never to break his word or let one promise fall to the ground;

~the supremacy of his justice to render in due time all moral accounts in the universe settled either on the cross or in hell;

~the supremacy of his patience to endure our dullness for decade after decade and to hold back his final judgment on this land and on the world, that many might repent;

~the supremacy of his sovereign, servant obedience to keep his Father’s commandments perfectly and then embrace the excruciating pain of the cross willingly;

~the supremacy of his meekness and lowliness and tenderness that will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick;

~the supremacy of his wrath that will one day explode against this world with such fierceness that people will call out for the rocks and the mountains to crush them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb;

~the supremacy of his grace that gives life to spiritually dead rebels and wakens faith in hell-bound haters of God, and justifies the ungodly with his own righteousness;

~the supremacy of his love that willingly dies for us even while we were sinners and frees us for the ever-increasing joy in making much of him forever;

~the supremacy of his own inexhaustible gladness in the fellowship of the Trinity, the infinite power and energy that gave rise to all the universe and will one day be the inheritance of every struggling saint.

Time would fail to speak of the supremacy of his severity, and invincibility, and dignity, and simplicity, and complexity, and resoluteness, and calmness, and depth, and courage. If there is anything admirable, if there is anything worthy of praise anywhere in the universe, it is summed up supremely in Jesus Christ.

He is supreme in every admirable way over everything:

⇒over galaxies and endless reaches of space;

⇒over the earth from the top of Mount Everest 29,000 feet up, to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean 36,000 feet down into the Mariana Trench.

⇒He is supreme over all plants and animals, from the peaceful Blue Whale to the microscopic killer viruses;

⇒over all weather and movements of the earth: hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, earthquakes, avalanches, floods, snow, rain;

⇒over all chemical processes that heal and destroy: cancer, AIDS, malaria, flu, and all the workings of antibiotics and a thousand healing medicines.

⇒He is supreme over all countries and all governments and all armies;

⇒over Al Qaeda and all terrorists and kidnappings and suicide bombings and beheadings;

⇒over bin Laden and al-Zarqawi;

⇒over all nuclear threats from Iran or Russia or North Korea.

⇒He is supreme over all politics and elections;

⇒over all media and news and entertainment and sports and leisure;

⇒over all education and universities and scholarship and science and research;

⇒over all business and finance and industry and manufacturing and transportation;

⇒and over all the Internet and information systems.

As Abraham Kuyper used to say, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry,Mine!’”

Give yourself to this. Study this. Cultivate this passion. Eat and drink and sleep this quest to know the supremacy of Christ. Pray for God to show you these things in his Word. Swim in the Bible every day.”

Supremacyimages

Shared by:

Kenneth Irungu

iServe Africa Apprentice 2015/16

(To watch John Piper preach on Supremacy Christ, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeKgfUGtcI0)
(
The book is Piper, J., Taylor, J., Mahaney, C., Dever, M., Patterson, B., Powlison, D., Mohler, R. A., … McCulley, C. (2005). Sex and the supremacy of Christ. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books).

How to grow in our Relationship with Christ

What would you do if you get a child who remains a kid for too long? A young parent told me few days ago that nurses at children clinic do not entertain mothers whose kids record a slow growth rate.

In the Bible, the writer of Hebrews wanted to see his immediate audience mature up …leave your elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity… (Heb 5: 11-14, 6:1-2). grow2The writer challenged them to yearn to take solid food and do away with milk.

Growth in Christian life is unavoidable. A desire I am having is to know Christ more and that I will grow in relationship with him every day, taking solid food!

Among things that will help us grow our relationship with Christ includes but not limited to;

  1. Reading our Bible daily

Our tight daily schedules make it hard for us to be consistent in reading our Bible. We wake up early to go to work, get busy all day long at our workplace only to arrive in our houses exhausted. After taking supper, we doze off immediately!

Many things demand our attention daily. These include friends, family members, work duties at the office or school, the media, social sites, etc.

Reading the Bible becomes too hard with such tight schedules. I am struggling with this too. Am first writing this to myself, then to you!

We need to make a deliberate choice to create time to read God’s word every day. We all need quiet time to hear God’s Word! Even if it means planning to use a daily Bible reading guide, having a Bible reading accountability partner, reading every chapter daily among other ways.

Just as physical food is essential for our growth, so is spiritual food.

Paul tells Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

2. Pray every day

‘Relationships are developed by constant communication,’ says Michael Reeves in his book, Enjoy your Prayer life. He continues to say, “Being a Christian is primarily all about receiving, asking and depending. When we don’t feel needy (and so we don’t pray much), we lose our grip on reality and think or act in an unchristian manner.”

Praying is the chief expression of our faith in God, a show of our insufficiency and need for God. We should pray about everything (John 14:14), specifically (Phil 4: 6-7), continually and without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).

How faithful are you in praying?

3. Fellowship with other Christians

A literal definition of fellowship I heard from a speaker on our campus C.U was, ‘fellows in the same ship.’ It is sad that in Christian life, we have lone rangers who do not value fellowship!

Though going to church does not guarantee us eternal life, believing in Jesus Christ does, we need to be members of a certain assembly of believers. It is vital for our growth in God, a chance for us to realize our talents and in what manner to use them to serve God.

Hebrews 10:25 urges believers not to give up the habit of meeting together.

4. Be witnesses of Christ

If knowing Christ is the greatest thing that happened to me, then I should not hesitate to share this out with others! No believer can disintegrate self from witnessing. We should be ready to share Christ with all people, the unreached and people of other faiths.

An evangelist once said, “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

We should be ready to witness Christ to all even with our lifestyle. Saint Francis of Assisi, an Italian Catholic preacher once said, “Preach at all times and when necessary use words.”

5. We must obey God

Obedience, simply defined as submitting our own will to will of someone else, always comes with a cost.

Knowing principles of growth, or even the Ten Commandments, is of no value unless we are ready to obey God.

It is sad that we equate knowledge of many scriptures and theological history to being closer to God but unless we obey what those scriptures say, it is vanity of vanities.

The preacher concludes his writing with these words, “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” (Ecc 12:13 NLT).

…I think five is a good number to end with. 🙂

Let’s all desire to grow in our relationship with Christ by being the above.

grow

By Kenneth Irungu

iServe Africa Apprentice 2015/16