Friday, 18 May 2018

Men Without Chests

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This title is borrowed from C.S Lewis book, The Abolition of Man. 1. He argued that there must be a connect between our emotions and the intellect; a connect between what we teach people and what we expect from them. Our emotions need to be so trained and prepared that they become the foundation upon which healthy reason and logic grow. You cannot feel differently and think differently. “Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism” (p.9). The physical manifestation of ethical behavior in a man for example does not come because of knowledge of ethics, but because appropriate responses have been trained in the man. That is why we are different from animals. Emotions are trained with objective truth which guides the man in the knowing of right and wrong, hence he is expected to produce virtue. But when this training is lacking or deemed unimportant, we will not be surprised with the kind of people we produce with warped knowledge of right and wrong. In fact, Lewis said “I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat', than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.” (p.9). I agree. This is because, a man whose emotions have not been trained with objective values can be duping you and still be speaking in tongues.

When we look at issues, what do we think? What do we perceive? How do we feel? To think correctly about an issue, we must feel correctly about it.2. We will respond based on how our emotions have been trained. We have to teach our children that it is ok to cry when we hurt and are in pains. It is ok to rejoice when good things happen to those around us. It is ok to stretch a hand of help to those who are in trouble. It is ok to look at nature and see the handiwork of God and with a heart of worship appreciate Him. It is ok to look at sin and revolt against it. It is ok to hold to virtue no matter what we may lose or gain. It is ok to behave or live differently based on our convictions without being afraid of any intimidation or persecutions. 

At the end, our perception, our responses, and what we become depends on how our emotions have been trained. But we must ensure that the instrument used for this training is objective value and truth and not any other thing outside of it. If it is human philosophy, tradition and rudiments of this world, the emotion so produced is bound to fail the test. We have been seduced with a lot of strange gospels and human philosophies. We have used these to build the lives of men, hence we see the perversions, pursuit of vanity and hero-worship rampant among us. Strange doctrines will produce strange thinking and feelings. 

We cannot define pride and greed anymore because it depends on how you are seeing it. We do not understand who a thief is anymore because nobody cares to ask anybody the source of his income. Everybody shirks from accountability. A leader presents financial report for example, and does not expect or want anybody to ask probing questions. If you do, you will be marked and punished. Many people are not able to make a distinction between the holy and the profane. Sin does not produce a revolt in our spirit because we are at home with it. We raise money in the name of missions and our leaders will use it to travel while the missionaries on ground are owed their allowances. The world around complains about our behavior but we do not find anything wrong with our behavior as long as our earthly happiness is guaranteed. We hear that churches are burnt down, people are in pains and innocent Christian girls are kidnapped, we only follow the motions the next Sunday without a mention or serious prayer. It does not touch us and we seem not to know what to do. Everything is ok and we seem to be in a new normal. We can go on and on to illustrate what will look like the status report of our situation because of our false assumptions.

How did we come to this point where nothing moves us? We see things and are not stirred up to action? We share pictures of violence in the social media carelessly without regard to sanctity of life. Every death is part of the statistics as long as it does not affect us. Is our current feeling or emotion not a product of our strange hedonistic gospels? Have we not become, as it were, men without chests?
C.S Lewis concludes his discuss this way: “we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” (p. 9). Again, has our earth-bound and self-satisfying gospel not produced men without chests?

May God deliver us from the seductions of this world. Amen.


References
1.      Lewis C.S, The Abolition of Man, The Augustine Club at Columbia University. March 2002. Online: http://www.basicincome.com/bp/files/The_Abolition_of_Man-C_S_Lewis.pdf. Accessed 18/05/18.
Lewis C.S, STUDY GUIDE to The Abolition of Man. C.S. Lewis Foundation, 2001 Online: http://www.cslewis.org/resources/studyguides/Study%20Guide%20-%20The%20Abolition%20of%20Man.pdf. Accessed 18/05/18.
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Please pray for Leah Sherubu, one of the abducted girls who is still in captivity because she is a Christian

Sphere: Related Content I read this report and feel pain in my heart that many people will just gloss over the story without taking note of Leah Sherubu.

Dapchi kidnap saga was a national disaster as the President put it sometime ago when it happened.  Today, the news is everywhere of the release of the girls. We thank God for this. However, we have to start praying for Leah. She is separated and held only because of her faith. Muslims see non Muslims as infidels who deserve no respect and mercy. Look at the report from Vanguard:

“One of the insurgents said they thought majority of the girls are infidels, hence the attack, but regretted their actions, and have no option than to return them back to their destinations without collecting a dime from any government. “Only one of the girls who refused to be converted to Islam, will not be freed as they will go back with her,” Ali quoted one of the insurgents who addressed some of the residents.
Also from The Nation:
"Khadija went on: “Five girls died while we were on the way to the bush; most of them died because they were trampled upon inside the vehicles. They freed all of us, except one girl who they said was a Christian and they held onto her.”
Khadija’s story on the Christian girl, Leah Sherubu,  was collaborated by  some residents who said she was brought to Dapchi along with the girls but was taken back because she refused to renounce Christianity as instructed by her abductors.
That story was, however, disputed by some of the girls who claimed that Leah was left behind for the journey because of her strong stand not to renounce her faith."


It is obvious that the behaviour of the abductors would have been different if a greater number of the students were Christians.

The father of the girl is happy that his daughter did not recant her faith, but that does not reduce the heartbreak and pain of a father.

Please let us spread this information about Leah Sherubu and keep it on the front burner until she is released.

Pray for strength for the parents. Pray that she will not be molested and will be returned to her family soon. Finally pray that the Lord Jesus Christ may encounter her abductors.
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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Prepare the way for the Lord

Sphere: Related Content Prepare the way for the Lord

"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'" Luke 3:4-6 NIV.

As the year 2018 starts this January, everybody is full of expectations. We all wish that good things happen in and around our lives and circumstances. This heart of expectation makes our eyes not to focus on what happened in the previous year, but to look ahead concentrating our attention on what lies ahead in the new year. Nobody wants bad things to happen. Everybody wants something good to happen. But also, this atmosphere of expectations equally makes us vulnerable to deceptions and lies. The temptations of many of God's servants increase as they are tempted to follow the trend in declaring "thus says the Lord" for the year. In the course, many will say both what God has told them and what He has not told them. It takes a lot of courage as a servant of God to stay faithful to Scriptures in the month of January of every year. Most people in our congregations have itching ears. They just want you to declare and prophesy good things to them, whether it is the mind of God for the hour or not is not their concern. They will not want you to pay any attention to their sins, instead they want to get what they want to get out of God  because they worship Him on their own terms. Indeed, the temptation can be very huge but every man has his choice to make.

What should be our attitude? Our attitude should be to look up to God to know what He wants to do in our lives, seeking Him and making efforts to live in ways that please Him. As we expect God to move in our lives, our responsibility should be like that of John the Baptist when he was sent as the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He prepared the way for the Lord. Through his preaching and activities, the hearts of the people were prepared to receive the Messiah. Expectations were very high. Many "were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem". As it were, John "watered the ground" for the introduction of Jesus. The manifestation of the Son of God has a direct link to the ministry of John the Baptist.

As the beginning of the year comes with great expectations, I will urge you to make a personal commitment to prepare the way for the Lord as concerns what He wants to do in your life, family, ministry, career etc. What God wants to do in your life is more important than what any man or woman may "prophesy" into your life. Do not be deceived by those who will want you to give money in the name of entering into any covenant with God. We dealt with this issue some years ago here. If you have committed your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been brought into covenant with God through His blood and that covenant speaks for you every day of your life till your work is done. That is why you can pray and relate to God. Kindly note that the God that led you from January to December 2017 is still the same God that will lead you in this new year 2018. If you have been walking with Him all this while, the plans He has for you in this new year is a continuation of what He has been working in your life all these years. A life of disobedience and sin can hinder what God may want to do in your life this year. If you are doing fasting and prayer, let it be part of your preparation for what He may want to do in your life and ministry and not as a bargaining chip.

Do not just flow with the "prophecies" and declarations. Seek God and ask Him, "Lord what do you want to do in my life this 2018? What do you want me to do concerning what you want to do in my life?" He will lead and help you. What God wants to do is what really matters. In conclusion, I charge you with the same words from the Prophet Isaiah to prepare the way for the Lord to move in your life. Make straight paths for Him. Free yourself from every sin that entangles you. Set your mind on Him as every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be made low; crooked roads shall be made straight and rough ways shall be made smooth and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it. Hallelujah! God bless you.

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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017)

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“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.”

The lines above are part of the verses of the famous hymn “Abide with me…” written by Henry F. Lyte, in 1847. As I think about the life of Nabeel Qureshi who went to be with the Lord on the 16th of September 2017 after fighting stomach cancer for a year plus, I cannot help but remember the words of that hymn writer “Change and decay in all around I see”.

He served the Lord only for eleven years and died at the age of thirty four. But those years were full of dedication and commitment to the Lord Jesus. As Dr. Ravi Zacharias wrote in Christianity Today, a day after his death, “Nabeel came like a streak of lightning, brightened the night sky, and has returned to the One who gave the power to do what he did.” He commented during his funeral service that Nabeel "… was like a racehorse. You couldn't stop him. Even in the thickness of his illness,".

As a lover of the works of Dr. Ravi, I got to know about Nabeel Qureshi through RZIM, since he worked with RZIM. I began to watch his programs and debates including his famous debate with the Islamic Scholar Dr. Shabir Ally on "Who Is The Real God? Allah or the Trinity?". I could not help but thanked God who I felt had given us one of the people to help in the work Dr. Ravi Zacharias is doing. How wrong I was. Apologetics is a side of the ministry that needs men in our time.
We cannot query God on why He has to take His child home but we indeed mourn.


We thank God for Nabeel’s testimony and believe that God will use it to touch more people, especially Muslims, to commit their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. May the scales that fell off Nabeel’s eyes continue to fall off the eyes of the spiritually blind in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Please pray for the family he left behind, Michelle and their daughter.


You can watch the whole eulogy here
God bless you all.

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Following Hard After God - Book Review by George A. Lane

Sphere: Related Content Many thanks to Andy Lane for this review of my book - Following Hard After God - Discover how to make the pursuit of God your life time affair. Have a nice read.

Having a close personal and ever increasing relationship with God is the most essential need for believers.  All other aspects of our faith walk as Christians depend on the spiritual growth and grooming that results from this relationship with our Heavenly Father.  In Following Hard After God, Chris Ekwedam provides a view of how we must adjust our desires and actions in order to become Seekers of God.  This is a view that will not be found in the rituals and dogmas of religion.  While it is ever so important to repent “from” sin, an even more important aspect of repentance that is often not adequately emphasized is “Turning Toward” God to truly seek His will for our lives.  Here in this book, Ekwedam takes the other approach to illustrate the importance of turning toward and following after God, and so the necessity of turning away from our selves, worldly influences, and sin becomes obvious in comparison.

In each chapter, the reader is challenged to consider the many distractions, both from worldly influences as well as our own human natures, which draw our attention away from this relationship that we most desire and need.  Perhaps the most important challenge is to put away the many various inadequate images of who God is that we are trained to imagine by religion and social conventions: images that limit our faith and access to God as the source and supply for all our needs.  Realizing that this is a process, a lifelong journey, to learn who God truly is and who we truly are to God, Ekwedam admits, “My aim is not to give you the A, B, C, on how to quench the thirst of your soul and satisfy this great desire that you have; my intention is to help you kick start the journey.”



Following Hard After God is certainly among the most clear-cut and direct discussions of this topic that I have ever read.  It makes an excellent text for the introduction to any curriculum of Biblical / ministry studies.  I refer to this as an introductory text because it is much better to begin the Journey with this understanding in hand than to correct bad study, worship, and Seeking habits once they have been formed.  And likewise, it is a great book to give as a gift or to recommend to those we are inevitably in a position to assist and encourage on their journey with God.

George A. Lane

Chairman, Advisory Board - Vision Bible College Support Society
Project Manager, Vision Bible College Campus Development Project

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Going beyond the Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes as a Panacea for abandoned Children

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There are Orphanages that are doing a great job in giving care to abandoned children especially children born under uncertain circumstances. There are other 'orphanages' run as an enterprise where the owners are there, not because they have any burden for abandoned children, but just to enrich themselves. Most of them are not registered and operate without authorized license. They are the ones that engage in the so-called baby industry racket. Individuals and groups visit them and donate money, food and sanitary items only for the items to be diverted for their personal use.

Now, is anybody asking where the children that grow up in some Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes around us end up? Where do they end up when they turn ten-eleven years old? Most of them end up in the streets while the Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes continue to bring in more babies and continue their activities. I read a piece by Sarah Zylstra on Why Christians Are Abandoning the Orphanage, and I found it interesting how a ministry was able to evaluate their activities and change their approach. The purpose of this discourse is to make a case for Adoption; it should be the end goal for Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes especially as it concerns the little children below the teenage age who do not have any real families to call their own.

The best environment for a child to grow and develop is in a family home. One of the greatest gifts the family gives to a child is IDENTITY. The Orphanage and Motherless Babies Homes cannot give this gift to a child. A child that has no identity enters into crisis early in his/her teens. Only very few come out of this crisis without developing hatred, anger, and resentment against the society and established authorities.

Another gift the family gives to the child is the opportunity to receive TRAINING both as per education, values and morals. Most of the parents seeking to adopt babies belong to the middle class. They can give the child minimum education. Cultural ethics and morals are taught the child in the family which prepares him for the life ahead.

The next gift the family gives is that of LOVE AND SUPPORT. The chances of a child who did not receive parental love to become aggressive and violent later in life are very high. These are the fabrics that hold the society together to ensure the continued survival and existence of our specie. 

We live in a country where scarce data is kept. Most research works are bogus and not addressing real problems. We are not able to plan and forecast. We are just reacting to life’s immediate situations; hence we are not able to appreciate these societal problems and their consequences both mid-term and long-term.

The point is that as the light of the world, Christians have to do things that work; things that bring real transformation to both lives and the society.  It is good to run Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes, but it has to be only a holding point. Efforts should be made to put every child from an Orphanage or Motherless Babies Home into a family home. We may not be able to put every child into a family home, especially grown up ones, but we can reduce this number and pray that those that remain in Orphanage Homes receive God's touch.

Why should many Orphanages and Motherless Babies Homes be filled with little children when many couples are looking for children to adopt? Why should a couple seeking to adopt a child pay through their nose when actually they are not just adopting to meet a need in their lives but also helping to build the society by giving the child a future? Many questions, right? But it is only in answering them sincerely can we have a paradigm shift that we need. God bless you.
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