Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WHAT THE TEENAGE SEX PARTY SAYS ABOUT OUR SOCIETY

NOTE: My dear friend Vincent Zgambo features on the blog today. The write up was initially posted on his facebook page and he was kind enough to let me post it on the blog and I simply added a biblical solution to the problem he addresses. Vincent, thank you very much man!

Those 70 kids didn't go to the party that night. We did (meaning the society). Children don't do sex parties. They are children! Right? Right?! That sex party is not even the problem, it is the belated result of a moral decay that has been growing with time. It's not sex they were after. It's meaning, it's identity, it's a sense of belonging; they were searching for themselves. The party is just a tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is us. It is an indictment of the 21st century parent. The parent who won't allow their child to 'suffer' because they themselves suffered (by suffering meaning learning the principals of hard work and that life does not come on a silver platter).

Children are a product of their society. They mirror their environment. They become what they see. Those kids are a product of broken homes and absent fathers. Parents who gave them everything they wanted, but nothing they needed. Parents who were chasing a dream while unwittingly breeding a generational nightmare. Busy parents. Parents who are busy building houses while neglecting their homes; who have time to chat and debate on social media but not to talk to their children. Parents who can no longer take their children to Sunday school because they either have golf with 'the boys' or are nursing a hangover. Parents who're chasing after contracts and promotions while losing touch of their homes. Parents who'll soon realise they didn't raise children, they raised strangers. While we take our children to expensive schools and pay for tuition, we're churning out intellectuals without morals.

We gave our children their names now we want to call them lost? We are looking for values in our children that they were never taught, we're expecting them to live by morals they don't see. We have no idea what they read, what they watch and who their friends are. Their heroes are celebrities who glorify sex and to whom Jesus Christ is merely an exclamation.

We have sacrificed our own children on the altar of modernity. We have fanned the flame with vanity, with logs of narcissism. And now we stand by watching with hollow hearts and exaggerated grief at the embers of our handiwork. Next time we look in the mirror, we should hang our heads in collective shame. Shame.

More specifically the state of the family is a huge indictment on men- husbands and fathers. The men who are meant to be leaders and spiritual guides are generally spoilt, greedy for money, entertainment driven, gadget acquiring over grown children. Gone are the days when the men where the spiritual fortresses of the homes, churches and nations. The women on the other hand are generally known for either their slanderous, malicious speech, their immoral behavior, dressing (or lack of), or simply their career advancement (nothing wrong with it) rather than their godly character and faithfulness to whatever God has called them to. The effect are children who are a product of the television and social media and families in disarray. Whenever Christians let the world tell them how they should do what God instituted the results are disastrous.  

What is the solution?
The Lord through Moses instructed the children before entering the Promised Land on how they should live and he gives them principals for families.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy  6:4-9

Remember there is only one true God
Knowing that they are entering a land where the people had gods for everything, the Lord reminds them that He is God who is everything, he is God all by himself. Therefore God should be number one and main priority. The worship of other gods is ongoing and we equally have plenty of gods usurping the almighty God’s place in our lives. You have the entertainment god (movies, sports, music, and games), the education god, the relationship god, the material things god etc. Hear O people the Lord our God, the Lord is one!

Love the one true God like no other
We are naturally a self-centered people that life easily becomes about us. This is so evident in our relationships. We have believed the lie that other people exist for us and our happiness. And we have falsely believed that we are the center and focus of the world, taking the place of God. People who get in a relationship convince themselves that life would be better if they just ran away to some far place just the two of them and live happily ever after. Just as husband and wife convince themselves that if their spouse simply loved or cared for them they would be happy. The Lord says we should have one focus and priority in life to passionately and whole heartedly love the Lord. Any time I am more committed, focused and dedicated to something else other than God then I have an idol.

Teach and obey the word of God

The third principle of a biblical family is that they will be teaching and obeying the word of God. Every Christian home should be bible school in the sense that they study the bible and live it out. The Christians home should be an embassy of God’s kingdom as it were. Everything done in that home is guided by the principles of the word of God.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Portrait of an Outreach Minded Church


Every Christian will tell you, it is important to evangelize. And a church worth the name will tell you at least on paper that their mission is to reach the lost to the glory of God. However, saying is one thing and doing a completely different matter. There is a reason the scriptures urge us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:19-22), we are a people whose lips and lives often do not match. So the last few weeks i have been doing some soul searching and asking myself whether we are really an outreach minded church. This reflection lead me to ask the question, what does an outreach minded church look like. I jotted down a few practical signs of a church that is outward looking.
Knowledge of the gospel
Such a church will know the gospel. They will know the facts and person of the gospel. They will know the true gospel. They will believe in the gospel as God’s only means to salvation to all who believe. One of the reasons people do not share the gospel is because they do not know the gospel and do not truly believe in its saving power. A church that is grounded in the truth of the gospel and its power will proclaim it to others.
Pursue Holiness
One result of knowing and believing the gospel is that you become a new creation. You were once dead in your sins and your very nature was sinful but by the grace of God you are radically changed and transformed. If Christians are to have an effective outreach ministry in their communities, the transforming power of the gospel must be clearly evident. You really cannot call people to repent and forsake their sins when you have not done so yourself. That is pure hypocrisy. An outreach minded people pursue holiness.
Interest in the lost
We love our holy huddles and clicks in our church. And it is absolutely imperative that we meeting with other believers and building each other up. However we need to have meaningful and intentional gospel relationships with non-believers. Notice that it is “intentional gospel relationships” meaning the purpose of relating with them is to share the gospel. That also means we do not wait for them to come to us, we actually go out to them. To be outreach minded is to love the lost.
Follow up of visitors
One result of having interest in the lost is that we will be diligent in welcoming, hosting and following up visitors. How often do we have visitors and they simply fall through the cracks? How often do we have to crank ourselves to welcome and host visitors? And when get round to hosting them it is rather mechanical. Brethren we have a glorious opportunity to show Christian love when we have visitors. We should show genuine interest in them, cheerfully greet them and even give them information they might find helpful. We can show hospitality by inviting them to our homes for meals and follow them up afterward. It is one thing to offer juice to someone when they have visited it is a different level of commitment to follow someone wherever they stay.  An outreach minded church diligently follows up its members.

Giving and using of resources for the furtherance of the gospel
As you engage in outreach, you will soon discover that it will demand of your time, your energies, your possession and your money. While the first two are often obvious and easy to part with the last two quite hard to part with. But outreach will at one point or the other require that you use your home and your food as you host people, it might require that you give up or use your car and fuel to pick people or visit them. Outreach will also require that you give money to support the various outreach activities that the various ministries of the church might have. A church that is outward looking gives generously.
Ministry involvement & use of gifts
The best platform we have to reach out is through the ministries of the church. Church ministries give every member an opportunity to use their gifts to build believers and reach out to non-believers. Those who are zealous about reaching out will do so in the context of the ministries of the church. There is a reason the church is called a body of Christ. A solo Christian is like a part of the body lying in the street on its own. It is a rather disturbing site! An outreach minded church will have full ministry participation from its members. Members who are not using their gifts in the ministries of the church are missing out on an opportunity to reach out to the lost.

I pray God may grant us the heart and perspective of our savior the Lord Jesus Christ who when seeing the lost, he was burdened for them and indeed laid His own life for their sake. 

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Church's biggest need today


Today’s church is crying out for men and women who are burdened for God. We are in desperate need of people who have a single passion and will be dedicated to pursue their God with all of their being. The eyes of the Lord are roaming the earth; they are searching for those who are resolved to stand in the gap behalf of the nations. In other words the Lord is searching for burdened souls.  The world needs men and women who are burdened for God, His word and His glory. People who are burdened about the gospel and lost souls. People who will with a sense of urgency proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the perishing world.

Is the church of Jesus Christ full of burdened people? Are we as Christians passionately pursuing our God and His glory with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength? Are we moved with compassion by the millions who do not know and therefore worship our God that we are desperately pleading with them to turn to Christ in repentance? These are the questions that have been disturbing my soul lately because I fear we have become double minded as Christians. I sense a Luke warmness in the church today towards God, His word and His glory. I sense a casualness with the gospel and the plight of sinners. Indeed I fear that one will have more success finding an oasis in the desert than finding people with a real burden for God. I fear that Bible Colleges and Seminaries are more concerned about producing students who have conformed to a system of theology than are passionately burdened about God’s work, lost people and God’s glory. I fear that the church is more burdened about investing in more, bigger and fun programs than we are investing in knowing God and proclaiming the gospel to lost people. I fear we are more burdened about our entertainment and social media such that we are more concerned about the next football match, next series and updating Facebook and our twitter feeds than we are about pleasing God with our lives so that He may be glorified in all things. Oh that God would raise up an army of burdened Christians who will passionately be zealous for Him among us.

What does the bible say about the need for burdened people? There is no better place to begin than the amazing account in Ezekiel 9 where the Lord is abhorred with the idolatry of the people and priest alike and in the midst of all that he looks for those who “sigh and groan” over the wickedness of the nation. This chapter and the preceding one say at least two things; God wants his people to be burdened about his glory and he takes the absence of a burden among his them seriously. It was this same burden that made Nehemiah do great exploits for God (Nehemiah 1:4).  The oracles of the prophets are referred to as burdens (Isaiah 13:1, 14:28, 15:1, etc., Nahum 1:1, Habakkuk 1:1, Malachi 1:1).  It is the same burden that lead Paul be passionate about lost souls to the extent that he was willing to tread his own salvation (Rom 9:1-3). We also see Jesus’ example in Matthew 9:36 were His burden for the people moved him with compassion.

If a burden for God is essential why is it that some people lack the burden and others have lost it? The first reason people are not burdened is a lack of an eternal view. They are only consumed by the affairs of the world and all their energies are directed at amassing wealth, being entertained and getting more educated that they soon lose sight of the majesty of God and forget the reason for their existence. In other words they are living as though the things of this world are all that matter in life. They do not store treasure in Heaven. The second is a sinful life. When you are living in sin you lack the desire to know God and do His work nor do you have the enablement to carry it out. And all you do is go through the motions like a lifeless corpse. The third is when people are detached from the work of the ministry. Whenever someone is not exposed to the needs, frustrations and blessings of the ministry, they lack the burden. When all you have are theories in your head of what should be done, and lack the exposure of what actually on the ground, you will lack the burden that comes with such exposure.

What does the church desperately need today? Conrad Mbewe summed it up perfectly in a lecture he gave on ministry.  

“Men of the time, who discern the signs of the time, the possibilities of the time, the potentials of the time, as well as the seasons, movements, and dangers of the time become God’s prophets to His people and the world. Instead of being cast into the mould of history they make history. Instead of being frustrated by the storms of the times they ride the crest of the waves triumphantly for God and His cause. Thus the question is whether we are tradition bound or anchored fearlessly in such a time as this. Men of the time are urgently needed. While others may survive, these will triumph and lead the cause of Christ in the triumphs of our Lord”[1].



[1]               Mbewe, Conrad. Church based ministries and missions. Seminar address. 2012

Monday, September 4, 2017

PASTORAL LESSONS FROM THE MINISTRY OF CONRAD MBEWE


Pastor Conrad Mbewe clocked 30 years of faithful ministry at Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka. And as you would expect many are giving praise and thanks to God for using this servant to His glory. 30 years of ministry in one church is indeed a remarkable achievement in light of the high ministerial turnover at the present time. Rather than simply add my small voice of appreciation to the considerable many that have flowed, I instead, asked myself, what can a young pastor like me learn from a seasoned Pastor like Conrad Mbewe?
Consistency
Having had the opportunity to interview a number of people who have known him for decades, one thing became rather apparent—this man’s life screams consistency. He has been consistent in his beliefs, consistent in his principles and philosophy, consistent in his passions, consistent in his manner of preaching and consistent in his love and passion for Christ and making Him known. The only changes that have taken place in these areas have been as a result of growth and maturity.
Centrality of preaching in the local church
Pastor Mbewe has been many things and worn many hats, but he is first and foremost a preacher. This is because he is convinced that people can only be changed by the Spirit through the Word. Three things particularly stand out about his preaching: 1) It is simple and uncomplicated. You do not go away wondering “what on earth was he saying?” You do not go away with your head spinning from theological jargon, and yet it is richly doctrinal. 2) It is clear. You know what he is saying and what he is saying about what he is saying! It has a clear logical flow. 3) It is Christ centered. He has taken the Apostle Paul’s plea, to preach nothing but Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). You hear the man preach, and you go away exalting Jesus Christ. 4) It is applicational. He doesn’t just give you the facts like a lecturer, he applies the truth to your life. This I believe is his biggest strength in his preaching, the ability to bring the truth to everyday life (scratching where it is itching as it were).
Organization
Many people have big visions and great intentions, but few people have the discipline and organization required to carry them out. Pastor Mbewe is one of the most organized and orderly people I have ever worked with. He plans ahead and puts clear action steps to fulfilling the plans. And most importantly, he gets things done. As a result of his orderliness, he can be quite a hard task master!
Writing
Though writing is not necessarily our primary calling as pastors, there is no doubt that one way a pastor can serve his congregation is through writing. It provides an opportunity to clearly, and in some sense permanently, put thoughts and teachings into people’s hands. Pastor Mbewe’s love for writing developed in his secondary school days, and he has taken advantage of that ability to teach his church and beyond through his writing. I think this is an area we can really develop in as African Christians; let’s put thoughts and concepts onto paper!
Christlikeness
This is where the rubber meets the road! If anyone is to be used of the Lord, Christlikeness is an absolute essential. Pastor Mbewe is a godly man who loves God. It is easy to look at the successes, hear the appreciations and admire the reputation, and yet miss the fact that all we see is born in private, it comes as a result of daily fighting sin in his life and applying himself to spiritual disciplines.
John Piper’s warning when he gave a lecture about the life and ministry of C.H Spurgeon is equally instructive for us even as we celebrate Pastor Mbewe’s life and ministry.
“What shall we make of such a man? Neither a god nor a goal. He should not be worshiped or envied. He is too small for the one and too big for the other. If we worship such men, we are idolaters. If we envy them, we are fools. Mountains are not meant to be envied. They are meant to be marveled at for the sake of their maker. They are mountains of God… we are to benefit from them without craving to be like them. When we learn this, we can relax and enjoy them… let us be, by the grace of God, all that we can be for the glory of God. In our smallness, let’s not become smaller by envy, but rather larger by humble admiration and gratitude for the gifts of others.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Is God really in charge?

Some years ago, I came across a prayer posted on Facebook by some prophet praying for the President, and since then I have seen several prayers of such a nature. The prayer said in part:

“Let every COFFIN they have prepared for the President catch fire right now and burn to ashes in Jesus mighty name. Let every shrine and every evil altar bearing the President’s image catch fire in the mighty name of Jesus. May the place they are monitoring him from catch fire and collapse in Jesus name. Every coven assigned to monitor his life with whatever gadgets they are using be stricken with blindness in the name of Jesus. May every spell, sickness or disease manufactured from the underworld that will seemingly appear as a genuine medical problem expire by fire in Jesus name.”

Prayers like this one have an underlying theology, and they force us to ask the all-important question: who is in charge? Is it God? Is it the devil and his evil spirits? Is it man? Who exactly is in charge of the happenings of life? Who determines what happens, when it happens, how it happens and to whom it happens? People who see the need to declare and decree even death clearly believe the devil is in charge and in control of what is happening on this earth. They are convinced that the devil can frustrate the purposes of God, and therefore, they have to help God by unlocking his power!

Thankfully God has not left us in the dark on this matter, for the Bible is very clear on who is in charge and in control on the earth. The following texts show us that God is indeed sovereign:
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35).

“Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6).

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

God is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords…to him be honor and eternal dominion” (1 Timothy 6:15, 16).

Our God has both the authority and power to do as he pleases, and no one can stop him. Furthermore, nothing happens on this earth that is outside of God’s purposes because whatever happens in this world has been decreed by God. God’s decrees include:

TIME OF DEATH: “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5).

GOVERNING OF NATIONS: “The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).

APPARENTLY ACCIDENTAL SMALL DETAILS: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33). “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29, 30).

NATURAL DISASTERS: “Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6).
ELECTION UNTO SALVATION: “Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call” (Romans 9:11).

ULTIMATE DESTINY OF THE WICKED: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

The fact that God is in total control of the all the affairs and happenings of the world is both a comforting and humbling truth. It is comforting because I know that all that happens in my life is in His hands and nothing can or will happen that God has not allowed. It is also comforting to know that the devil and his minions are not on the rampage doing as they please. At the same time it is humbling to think that such a great and mighty God should love sinners such as us and shower us with His amazing grace.