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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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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. 

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Healthy competition in marriage? Is this​ possible?

5 min read

A friend of mine read my blog on how grace helps us deal with competition in our marriage. He and his wife are good friends of ours and they had a nagging issue they wanted me to help address. In a nutshell, their issue was this, is there healthy competition in marriage? Can a married couple healthily compete to build each other, to make each other better, and build a great life?

Our ensuing conversation went something like this. I asked him to define the term healthy competition. I had to probe his definition so I could understand what he means. He said something akin to this. He said, “It is bringing your talents, gifts and experience together to win in life, to build a great life. When we compete we make each other better.”

Then I said to him, “Your definition has to assume that a rival, a competitor exists, right? You are not just competing in a vacuum. There is an opponent and a prize, right?”  Yes, he said. Then I asked, “Who is the competitor? Your spouse? Is it your wife?” He mumbled and sounded lost. I then gave him a hint, “Or, is your rival, your competitor, an outside force? Something besides the both of you that may try to defeat you or establish superiority over your marriage and family.”

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On grace and friendships. How the offer of friendship Jesus gives is way much better.

4 min read

Open your voice memo app and ask a 21st-century man or woman to define who a friend is or what friendship is all about, and you will be inundated with many definitions. Make it personal and ask your friends what they think your friendship means to them, and the answers will be varied.

Some answers might sound like these
You are my friend because you make me feel special.
You challenge me.
You make me a better person.
You inspire me.
You’ve seen the worst in me and still stayed with me.
You make me laugh.
You are my normal when I go crazy.
You are the person I can trust with my life.

Notice the common refrain? Me! It’s all about the benefits that your friends get from you. It’s your friend basking in the sunlight and you are the sun.

I’ve listened to countless sermons, talks, and read books that push this idea that you should only be in relationships that benefit you—cut off these bloodsuckers and ticks that suck from you, and hang on to those who make you feel special—who push you towards your destiny.  When we, therefore, set out to make friends, we make friends with ME in view. We enter relationships, partnerships, and even marriage because of how that other person makes me feel. It’s all about you.

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The shout of the King is among us

5 min read

Numbers 22:12, 23:8-10, 20-24 (NLT) is a fascinating account in the history of the Jews as they travelled from Egypt to the Promised land of Canaan. At this stage in their course, they were at the plains of Moab, whose monarch was Balak. Balak and his subjects were so scared of the Jews that he solicited a witch or a sangoma (South Africa) or mchawi or mganga (Kenya) to curse the Jews. Apparently, he was so excellent at it that whoever he blessed got blessed and whoever he cursed got cursed. (22:6) 

This story is fascinating in so many levels.

First, God appears to this witch and briefs him on what to do. This is mind-boggling to religious people. How can a holy God talk to a sinner? And a sinner of this magnitude? This is the truth—God only has sinners to talk to. God talks with sinners. He did it with Cain soon after he had murdered his brother, Abel. (Genesis 4:9) God talks with sinners, even today. Christian, how do you think you got saved if you didn’t hear God’s voice through the preacher? Romans 10:14 (NLT) Hey, God talks with sinners.

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Mummy, we see Jesus in you and we hear the gospel from you. Happy Mother’s Day

4 min read

On, this Mother’s Day, I would like to pay special homage to mothers who have played a significant role in my life. At different stages of my life, I was nourished, disciplined, blessed and supported by mothers. 

After the death of my father, my mother, Catherine and my sister, Evelyn, picked up the baton and raised 4 boys. It was tough. They made sacrifices, but they did so with grace. They prayed, guided, counselled, fed, educated, clothed, financed and fought with us and for us. Thank you for all you do, mummy and sis. 

In the early days of ministry at Nakuru Christian Center, mothers, too many to mention, always prayed for and supported me. Special mention to Mama Dorah (Mrs. Lihanda). She loved my brothers and I like her own kids.

When we were in primary school, Mrs. Kiveu, opened her home to us for after-school tuition.

Mrs. Gicheru and her husband fed us. They owned a restaurant, and would often shop and drop goodies at our home. They were a blessing to our family.

Mrs. Kimeu accompanied my brother Dennis and I to a boys boarding school. It was the first time. I will never forget how she took time off work to rush us to school. She defended me when I lied about a teacher in high school. She did. 

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Why the gospel is the missing piece in the fake miracles debacle in Africa

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If you are a casual observer Africa’s spiritual landscape you won’t help but notice there is clamor for either religious governing bodies or local goverments to act and curb the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies. Such is the ongoing case here in South Africa with the CRL Commission, and in other parts of Africa.

There is heated debate on both sides of the argument (proponents and opponents of legislation), with each side making justified points. Yes, church leaders are concerned about the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies, and are concerned about infringement of religious freedom. It’s both/and, and not either/or.

I worry, however, the church’s response to fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies is anti-gospel.

Here’s my point.

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Are you a good Christian? Why you might need to rethink that term

5 min read

Ever heard of this term ‘good Christian’? A term used to define good, intelligent and morally upright people. Sometimes used to mock Christians or even identity one Christian from another Christian—especially when non-Christians encounter Christians of dodgy character.

It’s a term pervasively used that some believe it originated from the Christian scriptures. It’s one of those words like ‘Trinity’ used to explain the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no such word in the Bible, however, we use the word to describe a relationship in words that fit the human experience. The same with the term good Christian. 

If you read this post and are a Christian, I bet you think you are a good Christian—someone who is morally upright, good, honest, you faithfully obey the teachings of Jesus, you go to Church regularly, you tithe, you pay your taxes; you are faithful to your wife and kids; you obey the laws of your country; you are generous to the poor, the widow, orphan and immigrant, you pay your employees above the minimum wage; you read your Bible and pray every day, pray every day, pray every day (remember that Sunday school song?), you are good to your difficult mother-in-law and in-laws; you attend night vigils; you fast often; you watch clean movies, you exercise, you are loyal, reliable, you meditate, you are a well-adjusted person, etc. You are a good Christian, and your family and friends can attest to this. 

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100% Black or White owned?

2 min read

This week, a new 24-hour news channel went live on DSTV channel 405 here in South Africa. The company is being described as a 100% Black-owned channel. This description “100% Black-owned” caught my attention. It always does but not for the reasons you might think. 

100% Black-owned? What does this mean? 

Does it mean that it is only Black people who own and run this business? If so, will they attribute the success or failure of this business to the fact it is 100% Black-owned? If Black-owned, does this mean they won’t be able to consult other races for input in running the business? Can a qualified White, Indian or Colored presenter work for the business? When the business needs a capital injection (which it will need), can a White, Indian or Colored person make this investment? If this business accepts this capital injection, will that be construed as diverging from the core identity of the business? Can White people claim their business is 100% White-owned? Do White-owned businesses succeed or fail because they are 100% White-owned?

Notice where this line of thinking leads to…

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