The good guy, the Christian guy, and the poor guy

8 min read

This will be a three-part post. In these posts, I examine three guys and Jesus’ response to them. All three encountered Jesus, all three had questions, and all three received different responses to their questions. 

So here we go. 

First, the good guy.

The good guy

A young impressionable bourgeois and a good guy came to Jesus with a smirk on his face said this, “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus slightly irritated tersely replied, “Why do you call me good?” “Only God is truly good.” But to your question, Jesus continued, “You know the commandments: You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.” The good guy replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” (Matthew 19:16–30, Mark 10:17–31, Luke 18:18–30)

This unnamed good guy (unnamed so you can insert your name) represents all good moral people, who mostly are in the middle and upper-class stratum of society. These are good ethical people. They pay their taxes. They obey the law. They have credentials and qualifications. Their skills and experiences can land them good jobs internationally. They have a profile on LinkedIn. They approve and sign major deals. They work hard for their money and prestige. It doesn’t come easy nor cheap. You will not find them sitting idly even when they are on holiday. They are on their devices responding to emails or idling away trying to look busy. They exercise often and eat healthy meals. They are global citizens. They travel the world on holiday or business. They live in suburbia (the Northern suburbs here in Johannesburg South Africa, in Runda, Kileleshwa, Karen, Muthaiga, Garden Estate, Gigiri, Lavington, Loresho, etc. in Nairobi Kenya or equivalent). They drive modestly good cars. Their kids go to good “public” schools but mostly to private schools. They have strong social and business networks. They have multiple streams of active and passive income. These are movers and shakers of society. They treat their house helps and employees well, at least sometimes. They give to charity—help the poor, widows, orphans, etc. These are good moral people.

And it is their representative that meets with Jesus. Notice he asks, what shall I do? 

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Stop Pastoral Self-Appointments by Conrad Mbewe – My response

8 min read

The esteemed Rev. Conrad Mbewe pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church and a council member of The Gospel Coalition Africa penned a blog post in which he called for regulating the ministers of the Church. You can read the blog here

There is a huge ongoing debate and wrangling in some parts of Africa namely Kenya, Zambia and South Africa about regulating religion but to a greater degree the regulating the Christian faith. This is because of ongoing abuses within the church. This is very rampant and apparent, especially within the charismatic movement. It is then obvious that such measures regarding regulation and screening should happen. Or so we think.

On a casual reading of his piece, you will agree wholeheartedly with his positions. I would. They make sense. They are practical and would safeguard the Church from abuse. Again, on surface reading that would be so. On a deeper reading, however, it may not be as easy as he advocates. 

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Who is your Center?

1 min read

Whoever or whatever is your CENTER will master and enslave you. And when you fail they will crush you, and when you succeed, it will never be enough.

In all worldviews except the Christian Gospel, there is one center. Human beings or the general term “Man” is the center.

Consider these ideas

Fundamentalism, Man is the center.

Cultural Christianity, Man is the center.

Spirituality, Man is the center.

Psychology, Man is the center.

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The lies our culture tells us about what matters…​ and a better way to live by David Brooks

15 min watch This is a talk David Brooks, the New York Times Columnist and television pundit gave at TED. I watched the video and heard faint echoes of the gospel. The gospel? Yes, the gospel. And especially how the gospel critiques and offers alternatives to our modern culture. I hope you hear those echoes, too. That’s what grace looks like.    Image: David Brooks delivers … Continue reading The lies our culture tells us about what matters…​ and a better way to live by David Brooks

Young Leaders: Who Will Replace Eugene Peterson and Other Giants We’ve Lost? By Carey Nieuwhof

6 min read

This is a blog post by Carey Nieuwhof founding pastor of Connexus Church, author, blogger and leadership expert. 

In this post, Carey shares insightful leadership that young leaders need to consider.

I hope you will find this post insightful.

By Carey Nieuwhof 

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Eugene Peterson died in 2018. Like you and so many others, I felt the loss quite deeply.

In the last few years, not only have we lost Eugene Peterson, but also Billy Graham and Dallas Willard among others.

When a giant voice in ministry disappears from us, the question that’s really on my mind these days is who will replace them? Do we have a younger generation of voices being forged who are able to offer the depth of wisdom, insight, grace and perspective that we’re losing when we lose a giant?

To be sure, age and wisdom are frequent companions. To expect a 30-year-old to say what 65-year-old Dallas Willard or Eugene Peterson would say is unfair.

Fast forward a few decades and imagine a world in which perhaps thinkers like Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller, Barbara Brown Taylor,  N.T. Wright and others are no longer with us…and then what?

Of course, no one can truly replace the unique voices lost. But isn’t it our hope that every generation will have its voices?

Deeper, though, is this question: are the conditions even favorable today for producing men and women who can step into the void?

I fear the answer is no, or at least I’m not really sure.

Why? Well, for a voice to endure—to have real significance—it needs depth, not just breadth.

We live in mostly in the age of breadth. And that makes me worry just a little bit for our collective future.

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Just do it—Why this advice is the source of your frustrations

6 min read

A fascinating narrative in the life of Jesus ensues just when he is about to embark on his three-year ministry tour. (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, Mark 1:12-13) Three Bible writers, Matthew, Luke and Mark captured this moment. Each of them wrote this narrative from their own vantage point to their audiences. This is typical when writing narratives. You write for and to your intended audience. 

So, Jesus is in the wilderness and the devil tests him. Peirazo the Greek word used for test means to scrutinize, assay, examine, go about, to prove. Contrary to traditional teaching on this narrative, the devil wasn’t tempting Jesus to cause him to sin, but he was testing the authenticity of who Jesus was. He was like a lawyer examining a witness in a court of law to ascertain whether their testimony is true. You remember that in the preceding chapter, Jesus had just been baptized at the Jordan River by his predecessor John the Baptist, and his father had affirmed his identity by these words, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) After this, at his most vulnerable point, his foe comes to test him. 

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