THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Routes and Roadmaps


Life across the world has been quite different this year. There have been many instances when the loss of life has been beyond understanding. We’ve had airline crashes and disappearances, ferry accidents, bombings, terrorist attacks, abductions, wars and insurgencies. We have watched fathers, mothers, spouses, brothers, sisters and whole cities grieve very deeply. In all this I have been asking God many questions because it seems inexplicable that there would be so much more loss and hurt in the first six months of this year than at the same time last year.

Recently understanding came as I listened to a brother share about death in a way that I had never really seen or connected to. It gave me perspective and challenged my thought process and I’d like to share the insights I received.

  1. What would you do if you knew the day you would die?

In Deut 37, God told Moses that he was going to die. Moses was told to go up the mountain and look at the land that God would give to the children of Israel. God then told him that he, Moses, wouldn’t be going across. Can you imagine that? God shows you the good of the future but tells you that you have no part in it and you will die. We all know the rest of the story; Moses never came back from his trip up the mountain because he died up there and God buried him (Deut 35:5-6). He didn’t even come back to say goodbye to the family…he went to meet God and didn’t come back.

The question I asked myself was what would I do if I knew I was about to die? Would I panic, prepare myself and my family?

Image courtesy of Umani Springs

umani springs1

  1. The sadness of death

The reality for man in the face of death is harsh, sad, lonely, lost. Those of us left behind grieve for the loss of person because of the finality of death. In truth, we cannot hold back death or dying because we will all die and neither can we avoid the pain that it brings when we are left behind. Yet I need to ask something, have you noticed that every time Christ talks about the dead He is steadfast to remind people that God allowed the death for the His own honour and glory.

Think of Lazarus in John 11, in verse 14 & 15 Jesus said “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” He said the same about Jairus daughter and the widow’s son. In John 11:41-42 we find it again, “Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

It seems that death provides an opportunity for God to minister to his people and reach deep into their lives. The sadness of death indeed has a purpose.

  1. Death is the gateway to life

Life beings with death! I know that sounds strange but it is true. Think about it like this, a baby must die to the life of the womb to be alive to the life of the earth. A seed must fall to the ground and die to reproduce itself. Self must die in me for Christ to be fully alive in me. We all must die to this earth to transition to heaven and the final accomplishment of the will and purposes of God.

We believe in eternal life so death stands before us as a gateway that we must all pass through.

  1. Death is the appointment for all

This thought was the most profound because I realised that for life to be real we must live with certainty that one day our life here as we know it will come to an end and we will leave here. Heb 9:27 says that it is appointed for man to die once, and after that to face judgment… So we must all pass through that door. There is a strange verse I am mulling over, Psalms 116:15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Is He happy because we are no longer struggling or because we have now reached perfection and achieved His plan and purpose for us?

Image courtesy of http://www.strangenotions.com

In closing I will share the story of ‘Einstein’s Lost Train Ticket’einstein strangenotions

Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

#QuestionOfTheDay: Do you know where you are going?

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Purpose Worked Out


Have you ever listened to a speaker and been blown away by their understanding of scriptures that you have always know? Did you wonder where they get their depth and insight? Oh it happened to me this week. I was listening to my Daddy and the revelation and understanding he has seemed totally out of left field. Then I begun to really listen to more than the words he spoke. To listen to the sound of his heart and spirit and then…I heard it. I heard the one thing that connected him to deep insight, understanding and revelation. That thing that resonated deep in him was in the frequency of his communication with God. It was evident in his deep love and affection for God alongside a deep reverence for God. His love for God is obvious and profound.

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This got me thinking. Each of us is created with a #Purpose that we are meant to accomplish here on earth. To put it another way, I am created as a certain person, connected to a certain place, in a certain way to a certain people. This means that I must be connected in the right place, in the right way without any borders, to the right people for the right reason. So let’s say that I am called to be a minister of the word…I must be aware of my call, connected to the right congregation, at the right time and with the right team. Within this setting I will have no borders because my purpose is so clearly defined and I am operating as God intended. It doesn’t mean that there will be no challenges but it means that in the midst of the challenges I have peace in the knowledge that God is in control and I am in the right place and therefore it shall be well.

I must understand the patterns that go with my ordination. #Patterns are the things that when put into practice bring forth fruit and enable me to I reach the level of impact I am intended to have. Using the above example or a minister, I must not give stale fruit. This means that everything I give to the congregation needs to be of value. It needs to be the best I can give anyone. To be able to do this, I must receive a fresh word every day that will first nourish me and then them. It’s like fresh bread. I must partake daily to be able to give life to those around me. My bread must have the right flour, leavening, flavour and cooking time. I must connect to the requirement for the moment and the day.

How often do we go out to work, spend time with people without thought of the impact of our personal relationship and communication with God? Do we prepare before we share your heart with others? Do we pray through our opinions before we share them with others? Do we prepare? Do we take time to listen to what God would have us say? Do you take time to compose our thoughts or do we just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind?

How then can we dare to go before the people God would have us minister to with little or no preparation? How do we go to work without spending time with God? How do we prepare for the day before hear from God how to deal with the upcoming challenges? How do we prepare to speak to people before we get clarity about the situation and clear words to speak? I admit that there have been many instances when I did not stop to listen to God or follow through on the path He had laid out. Does He speak to me? Yes. Does He speak daily? Yes. Do I always hear Him? No. Does that mean He isn’t speaking? No. He continues to speak even if He has to turn to speak to another to get the message across. I must admit that it seems simple enough yet, very few of us actually wait until we have clear directions before we move a step or lift an eyelid? We use common sense and culture to decide rather than the voice of God.

There is a verse that has come up repeatedly this year and I believe it will remain with me for the rest of my days.

           John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but

                                    Him who sent me.

Is this true of our lives? What drives us; our personal standards, culture, common sense, life, expectations, the Word of God? What? I was asked that question a few months ago and I have realised that the things I thought guided my life indeed were not the true.

I pray that John 5:30 becomes true about my everyday life. Join me in this walk and let’s encourage each other.

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Whose Hands….


I came across a message this week and I shared it with a few people but then it begun to develop in my mind and I know that I need to share it.

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open-hands from ugmsalem.org

Image courtesy of http://www.ugmsalem.org

WHOSE HANDS?

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.

A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.

A baseball in Mark McGwire’s hands is worth about $19 million.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

hand from wiki-how

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.

A tennis racket in Venus Williams’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.

A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

image courtesy of http://www.wikihow.com

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.

A sling shot in David’s hands is a mighty weapon.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands will feed thousands.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.

Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce salvation for the entire world.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in. So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God’s hands because…

It depends whose hands it’s in.

— Author unknown.

Image courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk 

hands from the telegraph.co.uk

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Those words are running through my mind as my heart connects to the truth of the same…It depends on whose hands it’s in… My heart stops for a moment as I turn that phrase over and over and over and over and over. The phrase hits home each time I read it or think about it… It depends on whose hands it’s in.

  • Have I turned my life over to Saviour so it is safe and able to grow and multiply?
  • Have I freely given every part of my life and held nothing back?
  • Are all my hopes, dreams, plans, desires etc. placed in His hands?

It depends on whose hands it’s in

It depends on whose hands it’s in

It depends on whose hands it’s in

Enough Said!

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Valuable Stories


sunset

In my last post I wrote about my maternal grandparents and great grandparents and the legacy they left for the family. It was a lovely post because it generated responses that have triggered this post and I trust will trigger many more. I was chatting with a good friend about the same an interesting and indeed pertinent question came up. It is simple enough that we both come from a line of pioneer evangelists with a great legacy. However, how well are we doing for this world?

The question we were grappling with was, “What is my story?”

When you really think about it, there are so many things that are tied to this question. I dare say that when I consider it, this question presents itself with angles for interrogation. Some of the angles are:

  • What am I doing now that will be worth talking about in the days to come?
  • How do I deal with my disappointments and struggles? Can someone learn anything from my life?
  • Will the struggle ever end? Will I make it out at the other end?
  • What will I leave behind me when I leave this earth? What lessons will I leave behind from my walk?
  • Have I achieved anything worth talking about once I am gone?
  • Will my walk be of any value to the world or will my story be of little or no value?

As always the list is endless….

When I hear the stories of those gone before me, the focus is usually on the great things they did, the people they met and the impact they had. This created a picture in my mind as a child that they were infallible and invincible. This picture has changed as I have grown up and the nice classy veneer has cracked and broken. I had this perfect picture of my grandparents until I sat and had candid conversations with my mum, uncles and aunts. They were as human and fallible as I am. They made mistakes, bad choices, were generous to the benefit of some and loss of others. Yet, they lived their lives as best as they knew how to live. This is what made them stand out and almost infallible. I know that the truth of this life is that we want to paint those gone ahead of us as saints but they are not saints…not even by a long shot.

As I have come face to face with their failings or strange decisions my opinion of myself changed too. I have always seen myself as invincible and infallible lol…sounds laughable now but I have always believed that I did the best I could and therefore was on the right track. I took hard lines against things and lost friends in the process. As I became more and more aware of my humanity I realised I was the one in the wrong and had to eat humble pie and ask for forgiveness.  I realise that the only infallible person who has ever walked this earth is Christ. They made bad decisions that have affected their generations just as they made good decisions that have left us in awe of them. This is part of being human and honest about life.

So #WhatIsMyStory? My story is the sum total of my experiences and the lessons I have learnt. 20131202-014051.jpg

Common practise says “Tell the successes more than the failings and paint a good picture of life.” My truth of life is that it is not smooth sailing even when we walk closely with God so I must be honest about other sides. Experience has also taught me that there was so much hardship and struggle even in the Bible so I must not shy away from it.

Think of Elijah; he’s one of the greatest men of God in the Bible yet he had moments of total terror when he thought he was the only prophet of God left in Israel. He whined and complained until God told him that there were more people dedicated to God than he knew. Think of Job; he was in pain and never cursed God yet his heart cried from pain and he wondered what had caused all this to happen. Then there is Abraham; I could bet that he wondered what was wrong with God when He gave him a son and then asked him to sacrifice his son. I always imagine Abraham raising the knife to slay Isaac on the altar closing his eyes. I can see tears running down his face as he did this yet he help onto hope that God was in control. Think of Joseph; loved by his father, hated by his brothers, dreamt of his rise to power; beaten and sold into slavery by his brothers; falsely accused by his masters wife; sent to the dungeon; forgotten by the cupbearer. Even Christ had a hard time on earth. Yet all of those mentioned rose to a place of honour. In the scheme of things their struggles have inspired me more than their victories.

The hard times we go through must therefore become the greatest classrooms and stepping-stones we will ever have. I now know that people learn more from me when I share my struggles, losses, low days and trials than when I simply share my joys. We are taught to hide the struggle and share the good under the guise that it will put us in bad light. This weekend I realised that when I share my struggles or the walk through the dark times, someone else knows I am as human as they are. They can connect to me as a fellow traveller who is just a few steps ahead of them. That said, it is important to understand that your story affects others both negatively and positively and you need to ensure that they are open to the sharing of the same. This is key because we don’t live on an island and everything we do has a direct or indirect impact on others and it could put them in a positive or negative light. Think about that.

#MyStory will be real, authentic, a clear depiction of my journey and the struggles therewith. I have found off late that when I face the struggle and failings I am better able to connect to lessons that will help me avoid making the same mistakes or worse one. This real view of my life will also allow others to gain strength. By telling #MyStory as it is I will hold the hands of many others and we will reach greater heights and bring even greater glory to God.

Dare to share #YourStory and see the difference it makes.

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Unbelievable #Impact


I wonder if I am the only one but as I get older I become more reflective and introspective. Over the last few months I have thought a lot about those who went ahead of me. I have particularly looked back at my maternal grandparents and great grandparents. There is a great legacy left by them, we have no excuses.

My maternal great-grand father Munyaka inspires me. I don’t have real memories of him as he died a few years after I was born but I have been told many stories about him. He was born in Kitui and survived the greatest famine in Ukambani that wiped out their village in the 1930’s. As a young child he wandered through the plains living by foraging until he was found by missionaries who settled with him in Kangundo in Machakos. He grew up and became the African Inland Mission’s first African Pastor and thereafter Pastor of Pastor’s in the area. He remained a simple man, faithful to God and committed to excellence to the very end.

I have great memories of my maternal grandfather and grandmother. They loved God and were raised in the church all their lives. I remember Grandpa’s hulking figure and Grandma’s little stature. I remember going ‘shags’ as we fondly call our upcountry homes, and having the time of my life. Grandma embodied love and generosity. She would send for sugarcane and arrowroots from the riverside farm as soon as we arrived. She also sent for meat that was slow cooked on the side of a three stone fire with little other than tomatoes and potatoes. Saltless food had never tasted better. She prepared simple but amazing meals and taught me to love 20140602_174317traditional food. She made a basket for me when I was 14. She banned me from going to her house in trousers. She pinched me if she found me doing something she didn’t like. Grandpa was my biggest play mate. We would want to pinch me or beat me with his stick just for kicks. He would tickle me senseless. He also sought excellence in me and asked about my grades every end of term. It was not acceptable to do be below the top 5 in school. You see, he had been a teacher earlier in life. He was concerned and watchful; I often saw him watching us from the veranda of his house as we played. A smile always played on his lips as he watched his grandchildren having a great time.

They grew macadamia nuts, local apples, avocados, mangoes, oranges, lemons, maize, beans, coffee, arrowroots, sugarcane and kept two bulls. It was such a treat to drive the 45mins to their home every month. We climbed the trees, picked fruit or walked around the farm harvesting whatever was ready. Yet there was so much more to them. They both loved God deeply and set the standards for the family. We all knew that we were expected to do and be the best we could in life…there were #NoExcuses. There was never a reason good enough for doing something badly. It was give your best or nothing at all.

As I think back to those days I am thinking that this could be how the Bible was written. The Bible is full of stories or people or families living life until one incident happens and changes the way they interact with life. Think of Noah in Genesis 11. Think of Abraham in Genesis 17. The Bible tells us of how life was going on and what the people did and how God responded to the situation. In each story, there was something that needed to change and God selected one guy or a group of people to showcase this change and therefore change the face of history through his obedience. There are so many stories of other Bible characters whose lives changed the course of history. Joseph, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mary, the Disciples, Paul…the list is endless. They met God and life changed.

I sit here thinking about my generation:

  • Can the same be said about our generation?
  • Will the stories of the goodness of God be told about us in ways that will inspire the next generation to walk closely with God?
  • Will our children and grandchildren be glad we lived?
  • Will they miss us and our impact on them?

This thought has to be turned to me to make it more personal. It inspires questions and thoughts of how I live my life.

  • Am I authentic?
  • Am I believable?
  • Am I honest about my life or do I hide behind masks and facades?
  • Who am I and how do I live?

Indeed the list of questions in my head is endless but I purpose to work through one question at a time and find a way to honour God with the life I live here.

Join me as we walk this walk of faith.