5 min read
There are no Bible verses that have suffered more at the hands of charismatic preachers than these I’m about to share with you. There are many of them but these rank as the worst. These Bible verses are a staple among charismatic Christians—a movement I belong to and cherish.
The misinterpretation and misapplication of these Bible verses have produced three kinds of charismatic Christians.
- Those who have seen their prayers answered because they did what these verses told them to do. They have tremendous stories of things that have happened in their lives. They applied the principles taught in these verses and voila, everything changed for them.
- And then there are those who prayed and prayed some more, and nothing happened. The ones who eventually left the charismatic movement, disillusioned by having no results in their lives.
- And there are those who still pray, pray and pray some more, hoping their persistence will pay off. They are desperate. They will hang in there until God blesses them. Like Jacob, they will not let go until God blesses them. They are still at it, even to this day.
The misery and carnage left behind by these verses are of untold proportions.
Let’s follow the story. Shall we?
6 min read
Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” Matthew 20:20-23 (NLT)
Oh, mothers and their sons. They will do anything for their sons. James and John’s mother is one suburbanite lady who is always looking out for their best. She gets her sons into the best schools, social clubs, and even restaurants. She is a pusher. She knows the mayor’s wife and had good social connections. She is a career woman. She frequents beauty spa’s twice a week. Her exercise regimen, bar none. Her marriage is not that great, but hey, her two sons are her pride and joy, her significance and worth. Of course, they are. Most important of all, she is a spiritual woman. Oh, she goes to Church. She leads the lady’s ministry. She sings with the worship team. She is a super mum.
She approaches Jesus, kneels down and asks Jesus a favor. “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left. Is that workable, Jesus? Could you make that happen? These are good boys. I have raised them well. Look, they even follow you. I mean, I raised them as instructed by King Solomon, If a child is trained up in the right way, even when he is old he will not be turned away from it. See I have done my part, now do yours.”
5 min listen This song “Great Jehovah” is from the yet to be released album titled Broken Record by Travis Greene. The album is set to be released on October 11, 2019. You can buy the song on Apple Music. Go get it. This is a grace-full song. Travis Greene makes much of grace. Yes. Before there was life You were seated on high From there You … Continue reading Great Jehovah by Travis Greene
6 min read
Last year, as Jenny and I celebrated our 7th year anniversary, I wrote on the 8 lessons we’d learned in our marriage. These are tough humbling lessons we’ve learned by observation and experience. You can read last year’s post here. In keeping with this tradition, this is what we’ve learned in our 8th year of marriage.
YOU CAN BE BOTH RIGHT AT THE SAME TIME.
Time and time again in our 8 short years of marriage, Jenny and I have had to make decisions, be they simple or complex ones, and both of us were right, at the same time. Let me share two examples.
5 min read. 20 min video.
One of my earliest blog posts was on sleep. The heading was/is, Grace and the beauty of sleep. You can read it here. I had stumbled on this truth about sleep—that within the Christian scriptures, God spoke to people in their sleep. God, very few times spoke to people who were wide awake. The message of the post was to encourage us to relax a bit. Take it easy. Go to sleep and let God do the night shift.
Sleep is a fundamental gospel truth, and this truth is a thread that runs throughout the Christian scriptures. In my earlier post, I highlighted instances of sleep and the results. For example, in the garden, when God wanted to give Adam a wife, he put him to sleep. When God wanted to give his son, Jesus, a new wife, he put him to sleep. Jesus’ last act was sleep—death—and in his sleep, the new creation (bride) was born and fully became operational when the Holy Spirit descended on the bride in Acts 2.
This sleeping is a metaphor for rest. The Christian gospel offers rest to weary souls. Jesus offers rest to people tired from trying to earn their acceptance and approval from God and others. And even when they become Christians, they continue resting on—believing in him and not their performance or good works. And this continues on to day to day living—when it comes to receiving good things from God, be they finances, influence, creative ideas, relationships, jobs, healing, etc. we receive them when we are at rest.
No other faith worldview offers this rest as the Christian gospel does. Every other faith worldview says to its adherents—work your way to God. Only the Christian gospel says this—God has worked his way to you and for you, rest.
This TED talk by Matt Walker, an English scientist, and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, is fascinating and more so points to a greater spiritual truth, the gospel of grace. I heard echoes of the gospel of grace and I thought I should share.
You get to, hopefully, hear those echoes too.
Watch the talk here.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?