Sometimes the wind will pull up its sleeves
To labor with bees
Pieces of pollen through foreign
To help flowers kiss.
And this…maybe an unusual courtship.
A perfectly simple, satisfying kind of bliss.
Because this intimacy?
Has nothing to do with artificial boundaries;
This is divinely orchestrated
Organized and mandated
By the One who conducts natures symphonies,
in the first place.
Sometimes… Continue reading “Sometimes, WIND”
You’ve probably come across those passages in the Bible where God changes His mind after a prophet intercedes for the Israelites. Maybe you’ve even been part of discussions about how to reconcile such passages with those other passages that explicitly say God does not repent, or change His mind. Two common solutions have been proposed. Most liberals and open theists have settled for a smaller God, a God whose will conforms to ours. They have settled for a God who reacts to new information. A God whose actions are determined by our “free will”. An Arminian God, if you like. But others have sought to preserve God’s sovereignty in the face of this apparent contradiction. And the most common solution to the puzzle can be summarized in these words by R. C. Sproul:
“I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.”
While I do believe that this is the right way to handle the mystery, I was thinking about this issue last night and I noticed something that I’d never noticed before. Continue reading “How To Change God’s Mind”
‘[Jesus] called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.’ (John 21:5)
Christ the cook. Hardly would one throw this descriptor into a bag full of the popular titles of Jesus: Son of God, Messiah, Healer, Teacher, Redeemer, Savior. We can revere Healers, we do admire Teachers, we long for a Redeemer and we worship Saviors. But a cook? Why would anyone want to worship a cook? Why would I want to write songs and sing praises about a cook? (Unless, of course, that cook is my mother) Well, John did (John 21:7). He shouted over the crackling fire and the sizzling oil and praised a cook.
It was a slow morning. The cross was a fading memory and the disciples were moving on. Some chose to go back to their former professions. Peter went to do what he did best, fishing. Continue reading “For the Discouraged Fisherman”
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” [Psalm 19:1]
God always glorifies Himself. His glory is not limited to our deliberate and conscious acts of glorifying Him. Even when we do not do anything for His glory, God is still glorified. There’s nothing we can do to diminish God’s intrinsic glory. There’s nothing we can do do increase that glory. This is simply because God is self-existent, perfect and complete in Himself. God’s might and power doesn’t increase when we “lift” Him up or praise Him. neither does His power and might decrease when we fail to praise and worship Him. I will even go to the extent of claiming that God is glorified even in our sin. Remember the famous words of Joseph to his wayward brothers?
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” [Genesis 50:20]
Yes, God is glorified and His eternal purposes come to pass even in our disobedience. God’s glory is constant, just like His being, His power and His presence is constant. However, our experience, apprehension and acknowledgement of God’s glory is not constant. And this makes all the difference in the world. Continue reading “Never Criticize What God is Blessing?”
Three reads to enrich your week. The first one is lengthy but timely. The second is brief and to the point. And the third one is, well, just read and find out:
- THE IDOL OF ‘OPEN’ OPTIONS: “We worship the god of open options. And he is killing us. He kills our relationships, because he tells us it’s better not to become too involved. He kills our service to others because he tells us it might be better to keep our weekends to ourselves. He kills our giving because he tells us these are uncertain financial times and you never know when you might need that money.”
- In I CHOOSE PEACE, Serah Njambi reminds Kenyans (with the General Elections a week away) that peace is not just a prayer that we make or a dream that we have, it is also a practical choice that we make. “We are a generation that knows our country’s history just as well as we are aware of the LadyBird Series fairy-tales. We often forget the price that was paid for liberty and so we trash it at any opportunity without thinking of the implications.”
- Finally, in LEAVING (CHRIST)IANITY, Michael Patton takes us through the stages that many people go through on their way to apostasy, losing their faith or simply leaving Christianity. “Ignorance. Pity. Shame. These are all word descriptions she associated with Christianity. However, through these superficial word descriptions, it was evident that the best root word to describe her feelings was “betrayal”. She had been betrayed by the Church, because they duped her into a belief not unlike that of the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.”
Overall, may God inspire, comfort and admonish you through the reading of HIS WORD this week, friends.
When we look at other African countries plagued by wars similar to those in Kenya (such as tribal conflicts), those who have attained peace (albeit an imperfect peace) had to pay a great price for that peace. Come to think of it, the fight for peace is really a fight for freedom, and it is only when freedom is attained that peace is consequently realized. All men desire peace, but very few of us ever bother to think about the cost of peace. The price that Kenyans had to pay for freedom is that same price that we have to pay for peace today. Peace walks, placards, graffiti, concerts and conferences are all welcome approaches, but they are often insufficient. In the world we are living in, the reality and effects of sin cannot be denied.
PEACE ISN’T FAIR
The human heart is bent on chaos, and all the places that claim any semblance of peace, only claim so because violence is suppressed, not because people have willingly conceded to be peaceful. We may currently admire Rwanda for its peaceful streets, but we cannot ignore the heightened security, and the high number of security officers at every street corner in the country.
In this world, as long as sin remains, the most effective solution to the peace problem is not dialogue, but the law. Of course, peace that is attained through suppression of violence is not true peace. But it is a visible, external peace, a preliminary peace if you like. Peace does not mean that people have nothing to fight about, peace means that people choose (or are made) not to fight. Peace, like forgiveness, means giving up the right to hurt others for hurting you. It means not repaying evil for evil. It means withholding justice. Yes, peace on this fallen earth isn’t fair. Continue reading “The Violence of Peace”
Here are three interesting reads to wrap up your week:
- In WHY THE AFTERLIFE BORES US, Russell Moore exhorts us to be a little more hopeful and enthusiastic about how life in heaven is going to be like. “We talk about all the questions we’ll ask about why this or that happened. We never think about whether we’ll be too busy to care about that, just like we’re too busy in the prime of our careers to ask our kindergarten teacher why she had snack time after recess rather than before.”
- THE LAST LAUGH, Are you a scoffer? Know of one? Then this is for you: “Scoffing isn’t new, or Solomon would not have had so much to say about it. But the internet age provides so much more opportunity: Every time a political or religious or entertainment figure does or says something a little out of the ordinary (such as take a sip of water during an important speech), the snarks have a field day.”
- Finally, in PERMISSION TO ACHE, Chelsea Kolz reminds us why it is important for us to never minimize the hurts of others in our attempts to comfort them. “Because my mother refused to diminish my pain, I grew through it. I started to recognize the longings of my heart as longings for God.”
Have a blessed reading time, friends.
I’ll be singing at my church’s Easter Musical next month! For those who know me, that first sentence sounded like hyperbole. But it isn’t. It’s true, guys. I actually just finished practicing my narrative lines (I’ll be singing and narrating) for the day. “Cornell? Singing in a musical? Get out!” I know. It sounds unbelievable. But not as unbelievable as some of the lessons I have been learning in the few days of practice that we’ve had so far. You see, most of the songs that we’ll be singing will contain 3-part harmonies. That’s right, I know about harmonies! (this is exciting). Anyway, this means that we’ll be having three different voices (sopranos, altos and tenors) singing the same lines but in different styles(?). Continue reading “Every Church Needs a Choir”
I am convinced that we are getting dumber every day. I am persuaded that those people that we call “archaic” and “primitive” are really the geniuses of history, not the 20th century Einsteins. If there’s anything like evolution, it is a backward evolution. Yes, ours is the age of marvelous inventions and innovations. Space exploration, computers, the iPhone… All these “look” like marks of increased intelligence and brilliance. But I am not so sure that this is the case. I feel that there are questions that we no longer bother to ask today, which need to be asked if notions such as “progress” and “development” are to remain coherent. Questions that are pivotal to our understanding of how real progress or true intelligence look like.
Yes, I am persuaded that questions about what constitutes “reality” and “truth” have become obsolete today. Continue reading “The Myth of Modern Progress”
On 28 January, 2009, a fire razed down Nakumatt Supermarket in downtown Nairobi, Kenya. Security guards locked exit doors in an effort to prevent looting. Angel Wainaina, an actress who played the role of Sergeant Maria on the Cobra Squad TV series, died in that fire. So did Peter Serry, then CEO of Tusker FC. About 50 lives are believed to have been lost in the fire. Three days later, on 31 January 2009, An oil spill ignition occurred in Molo, Kenya, and resulted in the deaths of at least 113 people and critical injuries to over 200 more. The incident occurred when an oil spill from an overturned truck burst into flames as onlookers attempted to obtain remnants of the spilled fuel for personal use. This is the prayer I wrote in the wake of these fiery tragedies: Continue reading “Hearts on Fire (A Prayer)”
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” [Matthew 10:34-36]
It is exactly 2 weeks to the Kenyan General Elections. Next month, Kenyans will March 4th to a new government and leaders. One of the greatest immediate fears, as the day approaches, is whether the elections (the post-election days) will be peaceful or not. The memory of 2007/08 post-election violence is still fresh on our minds. For many, these memories are only disturbing news items that they witnessed on television from the safety of their peaceful neighborhoods. For some of us, the memories are much more real. Personally, I can no longer call Eldoret home, even though that is where I was raised and schooled. But for all Kenyans, the sincere plea on our lips is a plea for peace. We may be divided on who we want to be the next president, but we are united in echoing this prayer from our National Anthem:
“May we dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty”
Continue reading “The Truth About Peace in Kenya”
Here are three links to spruce up your weekend reading:
- In THE COMING ELECTIONS, Pastor Murungi of Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi, appeals to Kenyan Christians (and Kenyans in general) to acknowledge the sovereignty of God in government, to assume responsibility for that government and to vote wisely. “Our great hope must not be in a new Government, as important as it is. The hope of Kenyans must be in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which can alone change the wicked heart.”
- WHEN MY LOVE GROWS COLD by Tim Challies, “I love Aileen and for that reason I love to spend time with her. What’s amazing is that the more time I spend with her, the more I love her. And the more I love her, the more time I want to spend with her. And the more time I spend with her, the more my love grows. And the more my love grows, well, you get the idea.”
- Finally, WHEN CHRISTIANS GET US DOWN AND LET US DOWN, David Murray exhorts us to find our solace in Jesus Christ, who was also let down, disappointed and abandoned by hypocrites. “The key to rebuilding our faith and our feelings is to think less about Christians and more about Christ.”
Have a blessed reading time.
I deeply appreciate Peter Oduor’s effort towards bringing to light the various problems plaguing the Kenyan church and 21st Century evangelicalism in general. On 13th February, he wrote an article on Daily Nation’s DN2 magazine, addressing the premise: “The Kenyan Church is on a roll, but what’s the inspiration behind its colossal growth over the past decade?” I do find his choice of title rather misleading though: “The Kenyan Church and the Gospel of Prosperity” Such a title gives one the impression that the article is going to zoom in on Prosperity Gospel, which wasn’t quite the case:
A TROUBLING TREND IN LOCAL CHURCHES
Peter Oduor provides a well researched, overall (albeit surface), diagnosis of the changes that have taken place in the Kenyan church in the past decade. Continue reading “The Kenyan Church and Prosperity Gospel”
Ray Ortlund on the juicy grapes from the vine called gossip:
Gossip is our dark moral fervor eagerly seeking gratification.
Gossip makes us feel important and needed as we declare our judgments.
It makes us feel included to know the inside scoop.
It makes us feel powerful to cut someone else down to size, especially someone we are jealous of.
It makes us feel righteous, even responsible, to pronounce someone else guilty.
Gossip can feel good in multiple ways. But it is of the flesh, not of the Spirit.
Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.
Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube.
It erodes trust and destroys morale.
It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere.
It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation.
It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial.
It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against.
It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers.
It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness.
It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves.
It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”
This is the last installment in a four-part poetry cypher. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before continuing…
A moment of hesitation,
A heart full of affection,
Crossed thoughts… Confusion,
A need for a conclusion,
I need to say something, yet no words come to mind…
He just spoke his heart, I just stand there blank…
It’s simple really, he puts me… on a pedestal… I don’t deserve to be up so tall.
With him I wear a halo, from the moment he says ‘hallo’
I want to be his imperfect,
Perfectly perfecting our perfect…
So, let’s do this together… Don’t make it about how to ‘get-her’
What do you say?
Or even better, let’s face the ONE who’s perfect,
What does HE have to say?
Continue reading “A Valentine’s Day Cypher – The Conclusion”
Continued from Part 2…
He stands there, staring
He has that look in his eye…
The one that melts the words in my mouth
Yes that one… That has my heart beating to his rhythm,
The kind that strengthens my will, yet weakens my knees…
The type that strings a cold sweat down my back…
The look that starts thought journeys in my head…
I watch as he spaces-out, as his mind takes him away…
I wonder what goes on in there… Wonder if he’s wondering the wonder that is us…
I feel strangely at ease, comfort in my soul…
His speaks to mine… His taking mine.
He has my mind… and now my heart.
This he knows not.
Because I don’t say a word…
I just stand there.. exemplifying the word speechless.
Continue reading “A Valentine’s Day Cypher – Part 3”
Enrich your mind and spur your heart with these three great reads today:
- In THE ABUNDANCE OF GIVING, John MacArthur argues that, while there are many reasons to look forward to going to church every Sunday, the offering is usually not at the top of our lists. Yet, it is the one thing that should be at the top. “If we really understand Scripture—particularly some specific promises from Jesus—the thing you should look forward to the most is the offering. God’s Word clearly teaches that our giving is actually a direct pipeline to His blessings.”
- Do you find your work monotonous and boring? GRACE FOR MONOTONOUS WORK is an insightful read, which explores the fact that much of what God does every day is monotonous. Inspired by G.K Chesterton and others, Andre Yee exhorts us to glorify God in repetitive work. “We desperately need new eyes and hearts for the monotonous aspects of our daily work. We need new eyes to see our work in light of God’s mandate to Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it””
- Lastly, in BLACKBOARD PRIESTHOOD, R. C. Sproul Jr. exposes the folly of idolizing education as the ultimate solution to humanity’s problems. “Our problem is not that we are stupid, but that we are seekers of pleasure. Our problem is that we are foolish, and thus foolish enough to believe we can educate ourselves better.”
Have a blessed Tuesday, friends. 🙂
About four years ago, I got together with an online friend (Edna Thama) and randomly decided to write a poem cypher on a typical exchange between a boy and a girl. It started out as a comment thread, we were not sure where it would lead. But the end product was just as unanticipated as the whole writing process. As Valentine’s Day approaches, the pressure for Christians to conform to the patterns of “love” and “romance” charted by the world is high. It is my prayer that this 4-part series will both evoke your appreciation for romance while still prompting you to maintain a God-glorifying attitude towards romantic love.
I watched as the sun kissed the horizon, coloring the sky…
Mixing the screaming’ yellow and shy red with just a dash of orange.
I watched as it dissolved to a lazy red…
As the shadows blended with the world and night crept in,
I watched as a lone cloud journeyed on to the unknown…
As a single star twinkled in the distance, and one by one her siblings joined her.
I watched as light faded into dark.
All this silently from my porch…
As I looked longingly at the gate,
Willing for it to open and bring me you…
And you would fold me in your arms,
Bless me with your kisses…
Tease my eyes with you.
Sadly it is not to be so…
As I listen to the soulful song of the crickets, I know. Not tonight.
I will wait until the next sunset.
Continue reading “The Heart Duel (Duet): A Valentine’s Day Cypher – Part 1”