I can’t help but think that the people in the Old Testament had it easy when it came to hearing from God. At least then, God would speak directly and audibly through the prophets. Hebrews 1:1 confirms it;
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,”
But today, at least for me, it seems not so easy to know God’s will on the non-moral choices in life. It is not so straightforward. Of course there are those who claim to have heard God speak to them audibly. I don’t mean through someone else’s words or a message on radio or television, I mean an actual voice from nowhere. I have never had such an experience. When [most] Christians today speak about hearing from God, apart from the Bible, they are mainly referring to “impressions” on their hearts and minds, “thoughts and ideas”, hindsight and maybe the words of another human being.
The next time someone tells you “God told me…” or “God led me to…”, do not always assume God spoke to them audibly as He did to Elijah. Prod that statement. Seek clarification before condemning it with Bible passages suggesting cessationism. More often than not, you will realize that God speaking is not the same as Mike speaking. But God does indeed speak to us today, apart from His word. While most of the messages we get from God cannot be ascertained perfectly at the moment of our hearing, we do acknowledge that they were from God in hindsight.
At least Benjamin Wambugu does. He recalls how he thought God was leading Him into pastoral ministry by providing for Him through His undergraduate theological education. Everyone thought he was going to be a pastor. “Through His servants, [God] spoke to me clearly, that He needed me to go to Bible school,” says Benjamin. Continue reading Where Is the Lord Leading You? (Sunday@MHC)
Joseph (the old testament one) spent most of his youth in slavery and prison. What do you think is the one item that featured in all of his prayers while in prison? Did he pray for freedom? Did he pray for an easier time? Did he pray for justice? If we only consider a single item that may have featured in each of Joseph’s prayers, we suddenly realize that we don’t have many options. He probably didn’t always pray for freedom from captivity. Now and then, maybe, but not every time. He probably didn’t always pray for justice. What is the one prayer he might have made every time he prayed?
This morning, our senior pastor, Charles Ng’ang’a, preached a message from Deuteronomy chapter 8. The sermon title was “PILLARS OF PROSPERITY” and in order to guard against the dangers of presuming that this might turn out to be another ‘prosperity gospel’ message, he quickly added a disclaiming sub-title: “THE PITFALLS OF PRIDE”. Touche Pastor C. 🙂
“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:1-2)
Pastor C reminded us that the act of remembering is pro-active. That we often forget to remember: “Remembering means not forgetting. Forgetting is not just a lapse of memory, it is a failure to give the lessons of our past a significant place in our present. A failure to guide our choices in the present by the truths learnt in the past.”
The Israelites were urged to remember their wilderness journey because that journey was meant to teach them great lessons, not about the promised land, but lessons about the promise-maker. Using an anecdote from Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon, Continue reading Pillars of Prosperity (Sunday@MHC)
“I fell out with my wife on 31st December 2012, after a crazy night out with friends,” the man choked out the words into the microphone, as an ominous hush fell over the crowded sanctuary. “We stayed together for a few months, but it was more a room-mate situation than a marriage.” He continued.
He related how him and his wife eventually separated and she moved out of the house.
Today was testimony Sunday at my church, Mamlaka Hill Chapel, and members of the congregation were standing up to share the different ways God had revealed and glorified Himself through their lives and experiences. The service leader for the day, Pastor Isaac Murage, began by laying down the ground-rules concerning the testimonies. This was a prudent measure to protect the privacy of some members and to discourage any tendency to claim any glory in our testimonies rather than ascribing it to God.
I found the inclusion of ground-rules a necessary measure — one that was a teaching moment in itself. For example, we often fail to testify about God, not because we do not have a testimony, but because we think of them as our own achievements. We claim the glory to ourselves.
The man who stood to tell the story of his failed marriage did not paint himself as the victim in his story. But neither did he paint himself as the hero. Continue reading This Is My Testimony (Sunday@MHC)