7 measures of our confidence in the Word as preachers

I found this very helpful to me…

Watumishi wa Neno

Many of us would want to say, as preachers, that our confidence is completely in the Spirit-breathed Word to do a genuine, lasting work in people’s hearts. It is the seed of the Word which brings the great harvest. It is the Word of God that is living active. It is the Word which is sharper than a two-edged sword. That’s why we spend hours and hours labouring to get our understanding right (knees on the floor, nose in the text) before we work on how to get it across. But how can we tell if we are putting our confidence in the Word when it comes to Sunday morning? A few suggested measures:

  1. Ratio of amount of Bible read to length of sermon. Paul calls Timothy first to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture. In the 1662 BCP service of Morning Prayer as originally conceived, there…

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We did it, hanging Christ on the Cross

Most of us Christians condemn Judas for betraying our Lord and Savior.  We criticize what the Priests did, handing Jesus over to Pilate. We also do not like what Pilate did, handing him over to the soldiers to be crucified!

John Stott in his book, The Cross of Christ notes,

“If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. In deed we have done it for whenever we turn away from Christ, we ‘are crucifying the son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace (Heb 6:6)’ ”

Jesus cross1Stott continues to argue that when we are asked by the old negro spiritual “Were there when they crucified my Lord?” we need to shamefully and remorsefully answer, “We were there, not as spectators only but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified.

In his book, Watchers by the Cross, Canon Peter Green says,

“Only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of cross may claim his share in its grace.”

Judas handed Jesus over to the priests out of Greed for money (Matt 26:14-16), the Priests on the other hand handed him over to Pilate out of envy (Matt 27:18) while Pilate handed him over to the soldiers to crucify him out of cowardice and ambition (Matt 27:26).

The above people, including the crowd who 5 days earlier on Palm Sunday had celebrated Jesus as their King but demanded to be crucified represent fallen and fallible human beings swayed by the dark passions which rule us all.

From the above, we learn that our sins must be extremely horrible! John Stott notes that what sent Christ at the cross was neither the greed of Judas, nor the envy of the priest, nor the cowardice of Pilate, but our own greed, envy, cowardice and other sins, and Christ’s resolve in love and mercy to bear their judgment.

We also learn that God’s love must be wonderful beyond comprehension. God could have left us to perish from our wrongdoing. He could have justly given us what we deserved: death and condemnation. However, because he loved us, God came after us in Christ.

Us and CrossIn conclusion, we need to always know that Christ’s salvation must be a free gift. Nothing is there for us to pay, he claimed ‘it is now Finished’(John 19:30). Nothing for us to contribute! What we need to do is to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross of Christ, confess that we deserve nothing at his hand but judgment, thank him that he loved us and died for us, and receive from him a full and free forgiveness.

 



Ken GOOD Pic

Father, May Your Will be Done!

Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane prays; “Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”(Mark 14:36)

Jon Bloom in his chapter ‘Not My will done’ in the Meditations of the Holy Week (can download the book here) notes the Nine Unfathomable words said by Jesus as he prayed on Maundy Thursday; Yet not what I will, but what you will.

He goes on to explain,

God the son, having longed and pled, to be delivered from God’s will, expressed in these nine simple words a humble faith in and submission to God’s will that was more beautiful than all the glory in the created heavens and earth combined.

What beautiful words they are! Jesus praying, Yet not what I will, but what you will 131316636_640meant that He had given himself to letting God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He was ready for anything, even dying a shameful and painful death on a Roman Cross.

I like the way the apostles have all covered this in their gospels. Through these words of Jesus, we note that no one understands better than God the son how difficult it can be for a human to embrace the will of God. He was in that situation, as fully human, at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Bloom also notes that never has another human felt such an intense desire to be spared the will of God. Moreover, never has any human exercised such humble, obedient faith in the Father’s will. He concludes by saying

When Jesus calls us to follow him, whatever the cost, he is not calling us to do something he is either unwilling to do or has never done himself.

thywillbedone Jesus in the only ‘How to’ he taught, urged his believers to pray to God, “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Jesus knew that God’s will for us, however painful now, will result in joy inexpressible and full of glory, and the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:8–9).

In learning to do God’s will, we have a perfect example in Jesus, who didn’t die as a martyr but went to the Cross voluntarily and even deliberately. God’s will was to have Jesus die on the cross so that our pride could be broken, our guilt expunged, our love kindled, our hope restored and our character transformed as John Stott notes on his book, ‘The Cross of Christ.’

Not our will, but God’s will!

Ken GOOD Pic

 

 

God didn’t spare His son, to spare us Eternal Death

It is Easter again, time for those common sermons by our Pastors on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing new for us this Sunday in church. I bet they will preach it again, explaining why and how he died, and how he rose again!

Jesus_Christ_Cross_IPhone_WallpaperI love to hear this again and again. How I love this story, a story of our salvation. Easter means a lot to us as Christians. Without Easter, then we would not be Christians! It is therefore important to understand why He came, and why He died…I mean Jesus!

The common Old Testament narrative of Abraham wanting to sacrifice his son will help us understand this better. In Genesis 22, we encounter the father of faith who heeds to God’s instructions of wanting to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom he loved and waited for long.

Without hesitation, we see Abraham embark on a journey to the place where he would make the burnt sacrifice for God. The author clearly tells us that it even puzzled Isaac when he saw that they had the fire and the wood but they had no sheep for the burnt offering. His father confidently answered that God will provide himself a lamb.

On reaching up the mountain, Abraham prepares the altar for the offering, ties Isaac and lays him down on a wood, ready to kill him as a burnt offering. It is at this point that we see an angel of the Lord call Abraham and tells him not to kill his son. Instead, there in the thicket he sees a ram caught by its horns, which he sacrifices in place of Isaac.

From the narrative, we see God spared Isaac from becoming the sacrificial lamb.cross 6

Note the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac, and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us! We deserved to be there, at the cross. We deserved death for our sins, but he went there for our sake. God did not spare his own son, Jesus Christ, from dying on the cross for our sins. He had power to do so, but He didn’t. Why? That in his death, we may live!

If Jesus had lived, the rest of human kind would not have lived. God sent his only son to die for us on the cross so as to spare us from the eternal death we deserved and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16)

The death of Jesus on a cross means a lot to us. John Stott, a Bible teacher says, “The real heart of the gospel is not ‘Why did God become a man?’ but “Why did Christ die?’”

Apostle Peter summarizes it this way, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…1 Peter 2:24

In conclusion just think of these words of the hymn, Before the throne of God above:

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of guilt within

Upward I look and see him there

Who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me!

 

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAbout Kenneth Irungu
Ken is an Apprentice with iServe Africa serving at DOVE Christian Fellowship Kawangware, Nairobi.
He is Passionate of Gospel service and Faithful Bible Teaching.

 

 

Worshipping God in our Daily ordinary activities

How does the gospel shape our attitude and approach to everyday life?

In a society where we compartmentalize our lives, it can sometimes be difficult to see the link between our Sunday worship and the Monday morning grind or Friday evening out. We tend to classify what we do as sacred or secular. We make distinction between holy space and secular space. We tend to view some daily activities as sacred, holy, and godly while others as impure, worst, and corrupt activities.daily gospel 2

Our relationship with Jesus should impact how we live and serve in our daily lives. Our love for God should make us relate the Holy to the everyday. As Christians, we need to do everything, including the inconsequential daily ordinary tasks in a way that they point us to Jesus.

Paul in his letter to Corinthians urges them to weave God into every part of their lives, even into eating and drinking (1 Cor 10:31). Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In his small book, The Everyday Gospel: A theology of washing the dishes, Tim Chester notes that sanctification does not involve changing what we do, but in doing our normal activities for God’s sake. It is good for us if we learn that God is worshipped in everything we do, regardless of the day we do it or the place. daily GospelIn our offices, we worship God as we carry out our day to day schedules and responsibilities. In travelling even when in traffic jam, we worship God. In the kitchen, cooking and washing the dishes at the sink, we worship God.

We should not be eagerly waiting for Sunday to worship God in church. We need to cultivate worship in all we do all day long in the daily ordinary activities. Tim Chester challenges his readers to ensure they worship God even in their washing of dishes, an activity that all of us face 2 or 3 times a day. Washing dishes represents many countless ordinary activities we do each day and we need to worship God in them.

Tim Chester quotes from Brother Lawrence’s Chronicle The Practice of the Presence of God who says, “I am more united to God in my everyday activities than in my formal devotions. There is no special technique for going to God, just a heart determined to apply itself to nothing but God. ”

Brother Lawrence concludes by advising that it will be hard at first doing everything for God, but it can become a habit. He says, “The more we do everything for God, the more we will find delight in doing everything for him.”

May God help us to do everything for Him.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAbout Kenneth Irungu
Ken is an Apprentice with iServe Africa serving at DOVE Christian Fellowship Kawangware, Nairobi.
He is Passionate of Gospel service and Faithful Bible Teaching.