Latest Posts

The poor blind guy

6 min read

Mark and Luke wrote this fascinating narrative about three men who came to Jesus and the different responses Jesus gave to each one of them. These writers, through these real-life stories, share with us who gets to experience God’s grace—God’s unconditional love.  

In two previous posts, here and here, I wrote about the good guy and the Christian guy. Jesus had contrasting responses to these two. 

This post is about the third guy in the narrative—the poor blind guy. Who was he? What did he do that made heaven ground to a halt? And what do we need to do as good moral people or as Christian people to get heaven to act on our behalf, especially when we are in need?

Let’s find out.

Who is this guy?

Mark, names him. His name, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.

As Jesus and his entourage near Jericho, fresh from meeting the good moral guy, they meet Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus sat by the road. He was blind and poor. As Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus heard a loud commotion from the crowd. Thinking it was his lucky day, he asked a person in the crowd what the commotion was all about. The person told him Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Instinctively, and without hesitation he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”, Luke records.

Read More

The Christian​ guy

5 minutes read

My last post titled the good guy, the Christian guy, and the poor guy was about the good guy who came to Jesus and fronted his CV. laden with moralistic achievements, and how Jesus added some more to-do things on his list. The added weight crushed him and brought him to the end of himself. I explained this is what Jesus sets out to do to good moral people. He makes us come to the end of ourselves and encounter grace.

Now let’s focus on the Christian guy.

Immediately after the conversation with Jesus and the good moral guy had ended, Peter, one with the loudest mouth in the group spoke up and said this, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” Jesus replied with one word, “Yes,” Here I can imagine Jesus looking at Peter with his eyebrows raised and giving him the “like soooo? Really, Peter? Really? Not you as well.”

Read More

Joshua Harris and the sexual prosperity gospel

8 min read

In April 2018, I wrote a post titled, On Dating and being a Virgin. Check out the post here. Basically, the premise of the post was this—most, if not all teaching in the church on chastity is reduced to this idea—if you are chaste and pure, preferably a virgin, God will bless you with a Christian spouse, mind-blowing sex, and marital bliss forever. This is what Christian singles constantly hear from the pulpits and from well-meaning couples married for many years.

I received comments for and against my post that made me realize this was a hot button issue among Christian singles.

I argued in that post that 1) It is unscriptural to teach or preach that, 2) It is unlivable and unrealistic because we live in a fallen world, 3) Chastity is no guarantee that you will succeed or fail in marriage, and 4) Even if you were a failure sexually, God can still bless your marriage. That God works with failures for his glory.

I came across this post, recently, from Katelyn Beaty who succinctly captured the arguments I had put forward on my post and in a good way exposed the flip side of the “prosperity gospel.” This flip side she called “the sexual prosperity gospel.”

It is a short post and it’ll free you from the clutches of religion—religion in the sense of if I am a good Christian, God will bless me, and free you into the gospel—the gospel in the sense of God is good to me because of the work of Jesus on the cross on my behalf despite my sexual failings. It is not about my performance or lack of it, however, it is all about Jesus and his performance on my behalf.

That’s what grace looks like

Enjoy Katelyn Beaty’s post. 

Read More

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? 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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 a TED Talk in 2019. Video screenshot

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 

e2f1e3bfb0c21532957958-Carey-Nieuwhof-Headshot-SMALL-landscape

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

On this Father’s Day, we celebrate our men for what Jesus has done for them

5 min read

I have done this before, I’ll do it again. Here we go. Grab a mic or open your voice memos app, walk up to both men and women on the street and ask them this question, what do you think manhood is? Define who a man besides his physical form. The answers will be varied and based on the cultural context.

If the person responding has adopted the individualistic belief system (mostly lived out in the Western hemisphere and North America) they will convey something to this effect. A man is someone who takes good care of themselves. They work and play hard. They are modern and educated. They love the good things in life. They are gentlemanly, romantic and are not afraid to show their emotions. They frequent massage parlours and do facials, pedicure and manicures. They have a vision and a plan. They know what they want in this life. They are religious or spiritual. They also love to have a good time—a drink here and there, and some good music. He has a six-pack, preferably.

If the person responding has adopted the more traditional view (mostly lived out in Africa, Asia, and Latin America) they will say something to this effect. A man is someone who works hard and takes good care of his family. He is a protector and defender. He is a leader. He is religious or spiritual. He is very much involved in the religious or local community. He has integrity. He is loyal. He has worked for the same company for the past twenty-odd years. He has been married to the same woman for God knows how long. His children have turned out great because he raised them well. He is always at home. He is a good man. 

Read More