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Entries from July 2006

Living In Bible Times

Hello there! Kate here. I hope you don’t mind me giving you family updates from time to time. Andrew, Makena, and Butterfly are home-schooled and are wrapping up their 3rd quarter. We are on the Kenyan schedule and start our school year in January. We school for three months and then are off a month so we’ll be off for the month of August! Yeah! Even I enjoy the summer break! I love being on this schedule. It really breaks things up.

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This morning as I was fetching milk, bread, and eggs, I started thinking about how much living in Africa feels like ‘Bible times’. I saw a lady with a basket of fish which sparked the thought. The roads are very dusty or muddy here. There are goats, sheep, roosters, donkeys, and other ‘Bible creatures’ everywhere! So many people carry things in baskets and people do a great deal of walking. Some people dress in long robes and scarves (just like we used to for Christmas plays!) It’s strange walking around imagining how Jesus lived feeling so far back in time when someone passes you by with their cell phone up to their ear, or you see an internet café packed with people. Some things have really advanced on this side of the world and some things have not changed at all!


Spaces fixed, I think

I think I found a solution to the spaces between paragraphs. So you so be able to better read the posts from now on. I am adding a character between the paragraphs and changing the font color to white so you cannot see it. If you do see a number 1 between paragraphs just ignore it.


Kariobangi Church

This past Sunday I was in a slum of Nairobi known as Kariobangi speaking at a church there. Here is a photo of the congregation. I made them smile. Most of the time folks in Kenya do not smile for pictures so I waited till they smiled and then took the photo.

Kariobangi_0706_10


News

We are excited to announce that we are going to have a baby!!

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Ok, well I’m saying that as if we just found out, but actually, we found out a couple of months ago but haven’t told people yet. We are 15 weeks along, and the baby is due January 10th.

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Our first 3 children were each born in our home with our dear friend Judy Stewart helping and encouraging us through the labor and deliveries. So please pray for us. It is our desire to have Judy come help us introduce this baby into the world with her wonderful gifts of discernment, wisdom, and experience! She is currently in the USA, and we live in East Africa, so we hope to see the hand of God bring her to this side of the world near the time of the baby’s arrival—amen?

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For those of you wondering if we will find out the gender of this baby—we did not find out with any of our other children, but since we have absolutely NO baby clothes or baby anything here with us in Kenya, we haven’t decided whether or not to have the scan.

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Ok, well we just thought we should share the news with everyone before you started questioning how fat the photos of Kate appear! Ha!


He Won't Yell

Matthew 12:18-21

            Look well at my handpicked servant;Yelling_man

              I love him so much, take such delight in him.

            I’ve placed my Spirit on him;

              he’ll decree justice to the nations.

            But he won’t yell, won’t raise his voice;

              there’ll be no commotion in the streets.

            He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings,

              won’t push you into a corner.

            Before you know it, his justice will triumph;

              the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even

                among far-off unbelievers.

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“He won’t yell, won’t raise his voice;” I like the sound of that verse from this passage found in Matthew chapter twelve. It sounds like peace and quiet to me. Jesus has just had a confrontation with the Pharisees, and walked away. Matthew quotes Isaiah (chapter 42 verses 1 to 4) indicating that these verses described Jesus and his methods.

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Cyrus_portrait These words were originally penned about Cyrus, the king of Persia, who ended the exile of the Jews. It seems clear to me that they also refer to Jesus and his mission here on Earth. However, Biblical prophecy is not what I want to talk about. Instead, let us focus on those words “He won’t yell.”

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The King James puts it this way, “He shall not strive, nor cry.” What a far cry from what we have today! Jesus was mindful of his hearers and did not try and force anyone to see his point of view. He was polite. Politeness is not a virtue they teach you in Bible school. When we attend evangelism class, we are not taught to be mindful of our targets feelings. Jesus did not push people into a corner, but we are educated to not let the prospect get away without making a decision.

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What is wrong with us? Can we not see that Jesus was and is radically different than what we typically call a Christian today? He is not like the preachers we know today.

I speak to our community every Sunday. I present what I believe to be a message that God has inspired. There have been times in the past year and a half that I have wondered am I doing this right? Other preachers that I know end up yelling, jumping, running, and sweating by the end of their speech, but I just talk to my friends. Excitement I can understand. There are times when I get excited about what I am talking about and get to going fast, but still I find myself so different. I no longer feel bad about that; in fact I am glad to be different than the majority of preachers of our day.

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Are you saying that you are the only good preacher out there? No. I am not saying I am the only one. I know of many good preachers. The problem is that we are not yelling, pushing ourselves, and otherwise causing commotion in the street. So therefore the masses are not hearing our messages. I am not the only one. The only reason I write about myself is because I am the preacher that I know best.

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In today’s world of mass media, how are we to tell the good from the bad? How is it possible to Sanat2 know who is a false prophet or teacher? I used to think of a false prophet or teacher as someone who would come and say something crazy like, “The moon is really made of cheese.” I have found out though that these guys sometimes, in fact a good amount of the time, preach and teach things that are true. They are good at creating and delivering sermons. What makes the difference is motivation. Why do evangelists find it necessary to instill a fear of hell and even a fear of the God who can send you to hell into us? The answer is simple, numbers. It is all about the number of responses to the message. We all feel better when people actually hear and respond to what we feel. My ego always gets a boost when a friend comes to me to let me know they were really touched by what I had to say. Money is also a strong motivation for preachers. I cannot tell you how many times I have been tempted to preach sermons that would result in bigger offerings for our project. Thank God that he has kept me from falling for that temptation.

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When you boil it down, the motivation of a false prophet or teacher is not to mislead you, but rather their motivation is themselves. Greed and ego are very powerful human traits.

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Who cares? Why do we need to bother with testing preachers? Why not just stop listening all together? God uses preachers to deliver his message, and we need to know the message he sends. It is possible to follow Christ without ever hearing a sermon, but that does not mean we should not listen. I have heard thousands of sermons in my life, and I honestly think I am better for it. I learn, I am entertained, and I get to see how someone else lives in the Kingdom of God.

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He did not yell, so maybe we need to stop yelling at the world.


African Bible Commentary

I am not good at reviewing books, so this is not a book review. Instead this is just a thought about 0310264731 a new book I picked up recently. The Africa Bible Commentary is a one volume commentary written by 70 African scholars. It is for that reason I purchased a copy of the book. I am an American living in Kenya as a pastor so being able to turn to an African commentary sounds like a good idea.

This is a big book, close to 2,000 pages, so I am not saying I have read the whole thing. I have randomly read passages and looked a few up purposefully. There are also articles included, for example I just opened the book up and found an article about The Role of the Ancestors in the section dealing with 1 Chronicles. I have only read a few of the articles and therefore cannot really offer much opinion about them.

I do have a couple of complaints though: 1) all the contributors seem to have the exact same views. They could have saved money by paying just one guy to write the commentary. 2) The book is very conservative in nature. I talk to Kenyans everyday as a pastor and I find that not all of them are conservative in theological, moral, or other aspects of their lives. And finally 3) they claim the book is affordable. I went to several places and found the same price 1,900 Kenyan shillings. Most pastors I know live on less then 70 Kenyan shillings a day. That would be…what…about 2,700 a month. How can a book that cost 1,900 be affordable? I realize that they cannot give it away, but at least be reasonable in advertising it. This just goes to show how separate these theologians are from the people. Anyway that is another story for another day.

Despite these and I am sure I will find more, flaws overall the book is a useful tool. I have added it to our small library here and I am sure that it will be useful to me and other thinkers in our community.