The Mirage of this Life

Given a choice between heaven and this world many choose what they can see. They’d rather have the bird in the hand that 9 in the bush. This world and it’s promises seem tangible. And nothing is more appealing and trustworthy than what we can see and touch. We want to live life to the fullest here and now because tomorrow is unknown. Why deny yourself for life on some cloud when you can enjoy things here and now? We are realists and we go with what makes sense to us.

But let us unpack this realism. How much of this world really is in our hands? COVID has shown us more clearly than ever that we are just one pandemic away from want and disaster. One job loss from poverty. That all you need to bring you down to your knees is a disease. Add economic breakdown and our realism changes. You are one serious illness away to hating the offer of this world. And the reality of this world is that you can’t have this world. You can only lease its temporarily joys before nature rudely interrupts you.

YOLO philosophy forgets that you can barely live down here. That what the world offers it quickly takes away. That in truth what’s before us is a mirage and as soon we get near it goes further. The world dangles life before us but it can barely breath. We spend all our lives seeking a life that is taken away in a second. We try mitigate risk, build stamina and eat well. Then one day out of nowhere the pandemic of death comes without knocking. Everything you held dear is taken away with no apology or notice.

It’s then that we revisit the earlier offer and realize we only have one true choice. That this world can’t be offered because it can’t be given. It’s already on the expiry date. Here we only get a land lease for a short while. It’s heaven and hell that is truly on offer. And the mirage of this life says we should reconsider this. That what looks far off is actually very near to us. That before the next breath the after life could be our reality. And however long it takes we will be confronted by that choice sooner or later.

When we get our reality right the offer of heaven makes a lot of sense. It becomes the reasonable choice. The one land we can get permanently to establish our roots. And because the marker of the world is trustworthy we can depend on him however unlikely it seems to the naked eye. It’s actually outrageous to stand on the ground we stand, to breathe the air we breath and delight in the blessings of this life yet term heaven too good to be true. It would seem we doubt the carpenter while in his workshop.

But where nature provides only suggestions about the reality of heaven, the Bible affirms and confirms that we can call it our home. In the eye of scripture nothing is more real and material than the future ahead of us. The call of faith isn’t at all blind for we get more than enough reason to trust in God. It says we can be sure of his faithfulness more than the rising of the sun. What he has said he will do and those who believe are already the citizens of heaven. This world is passing away and with it all it’s promises. But our future is with God and in his eternal city.

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21. NIV

Sunday Morning Junkies

Many times when we criticize preaching and call out false teaching we have the preachers in mind. We think if we rid the country of false teachers our churches will be sound and our theology right. But there’s a great contibutor to false doctrine that we let go easy. We forget the supply is only available because the market demands it. Our minds don’t pause to imagine that the people on the pews are shaping the man infront as much as he purports to. We think the direction of flow is God to his servant and from pulpit to the congregation. In truth it works both ways and sometimes it’s what the preacher thinks the congregation wants that dictates the Sunday sermon. It’s the congregation to the pulpit and back without God in the picture. Paul warns of this in 2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

2 Timothy 4 NIV

People will come to the preaching hour with a craving not to hear from God necessarily but to hear what their minds desperately crave. They come with an urge not always for false hope but whatever makes their hearts skip a bit. Some want to hear mind blowing mysteries and conspiracy theories. A great service for them takes them around fantasy kingdom where they wrestle with demons and leave with secrets only they know. Others want to be blown away by the genius of the man of God. These might fool you with a love of the Word but they are mere intellectuals in a lecture hall. For some it’s another Churchill show and they want to laugh their lungs out. They want a sense of emotion, someone who gives them the feelings. The man of God is easily deceived by these as they seem to flow with him. In truth they are all junkies thirsty for one more jab.

But even when we value God’s Word and want the preacher to point us to the text and context we can also have unrealistic views about preaching. If we expect every sermon will be top notch however we define it, we are no different from these guys. We are still driven by the itch of our ears not what and how God wants us to leave church that day. Yes we should celebrate great preaching that points us to Jesus and keeps our nose on the text of God’s Word. But if we expect it every Sunday we demand a standard the man of God can’t meet and it says much about us not him. In truth, it’s not the best sermon every Sunday that is the mark of a faithful ministry. It’s not the best meal in a great restaurant that keeps us growing and healthy. Sometimes we need some ugali, some omena and once in a while some veggies. It’s a people committed to God and his Word even when the church next door sounds like the Spirit has come in person. It’s when we choose to wrestle with the word and sometimes get it wrong and don’t deliver the best talks that we show we are truly committed to it.

I don’t want to say we should excuse boring preaching. I don’t say we put up with mediocre preachers as long as they quote the Bible. And we shouldn’t think a church can’t be faithful if it’s lively and growing rapidly. But we need to be careful we don’t set a standard for preachers that makes them aim at pleasing us more than God. If we do that we risk the man of God answering to our itching ears and that is neither right nor healthy. Preachers on the other hand shouldn’t be removed from the congregation or merely sing by their tune. Paul advice to Timothy is to both preach the Word all the times whether people like it or not, even when it leads to persecution but also to be invoved in the life of his congregants. To know when they need encouragement or rebuke.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4 NIV

The mandate comes from above but it has in mind a people easily tempted, easily discouraged, oftenly forgetful and who mostly prefer the world around them. The preacher needs to remember the medicine of the Word is what they need but careful also to make the right diagnosis. But the congregation needs to be careful lest they make the Lord’s servant doubt his tools of trade. We need to ask ourselves, if the sermon was not what we expected, is it possible we had the wrong expectations? Is it possible we have a wrong view of preaching and we expect it to be a daily meal outside? But when a preacher does his job well it won’t kill us to appreciate him as much as it is his job. That man is a man like any other and there is a lot that would easily discourage and deceive him to follow in the world’s steps like everybody else. Believe you me he’s no different from you. And if you are the kind that easily falls for one criticism imagine how he’d crumble with a thousand. For faithful preaching to work the congregation needs to be on board in the good and the not so good Sundays.

Life and Death

Death has a way of reminding and awaking us to the reality of this life. That any of us and every one of us whether big or small, rich or poor, famous or infamous has a date with the small box. Death meets us all and most of the times it’s not well mannered to book an appointment. The man of God, the good statesman, the witchdoctor and the rebel all have one sure destiny under the sun. They will die. Sure their deeds will make that a day of mourning or celebration depending on who you ask but in the end they’ll be dead. It’s the thing that reminds you that men however powerful and influential are mere mortals. Death sets apart the creator from creation; the clock of life unravels man’s weakness.

We can all agree death is brutal, a ferocious enemy that attacks without warning. It leaves rampage, distress and broken lives behind. But it also tells us that how we live matters because we are not here for as long as we imagine. We need back that Gospel message that said tonight could be it for you because many have been caught unaware without it. As much as we don’t like negative vibes I think we might do with a dose of reality in our modern day. As we motivate people to live their fullest, exploit hidden potential, walk like the boss let’s remember we are here only for a while. Actually the Gospel tells us our best life, our longest life is in the future beyond the grave.

Order your house today by ordering your heart. The Bible says only those who die in the Lord are blessed that is happy and safe. For them it’s more like retirement as they finally rest from their labours. Those who lived in rebellion on the other hand, those driven by human sin, the grave is the beginning of their troubles. I know this is uncomfortable, old fashioned and you’d rather we do a better and more appealing Gospel message. Meet people where they are, pick what they love and entice them in to buy the Gospel message. But if talk of death is not relevant to us perhaps it’s because we’ve slept in for too long. In this country you can’t go past a news bulletin without it. So we may as well look into the Gospel’s verdict on the matter and do so more oftenly.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Revelation 14 NIV.

The Heart of True Leaders

When you listen keenly to political analysts debate each other you can hear their master speaking behind them. They’ll use facts and quote the Constitution all while construing and obliquing it in ways that favour the hand that feeds them. Activists are no different though they’d like us to believe they are the neutral custodians of the rule of law and the good of the people. And you know what? We are no different either, as we listen we hear what we want to hear. We are all biased and none of us comes to these issues neutral.

Those who support the ruling class do so because they feed from that table. Those who oppose it because they are denied a share. And we are but the grass upon which the bulls fight. We receive what drops when the masters and their servants have had their share. We are bribed with tokens to shut up as they follow higher agendas. But we are no different. If anything we do the same with our jobs and resources. The natural man is driven by his stomach and when it’s full of food by his hunger for wealth and power.

We admire it though when we hear someone came to the table neutral. That he was driven by the interest of the common mwananchi though we get very suspicious of that. It’s beyond human to lay down ones interests for the benefit of others. It’s abnormal, suspicious and only love; true love, care and concern can lead a man to scale that mountain. It says greater good cannot be achieved unless one pours their heart for another and our leaders for the masses. It’s laying down ones interest, their lives, denying the religion of normal man for the sake of others. It’s godly, the thing you see with real friends and families. Only the man who loves truly serves fully.

We must then ask is that a quality our leaders possess? Do they love Wanjiku? It’s getting too emotional you say. That’s not a quality of leadership, it’s something you look for in a spouse not a governor. I think we would actually get very uncomfortable if the next MP sells a love manifesto. Choose me because I love you. Maybe it’s too much to ask? You’ll not find it in our politicians CVs. That this man has proved a love for the people and that’s his greatest achievement. But it’s the greatest quality for the best of leaders. It’s what we find in God through the Bible, it’s the CV of Jesus. Only he comes without a devious agenda, he comes with a love manifesto and that’s why he could stoop low to save us.

He came to serve and only he was driven by that agenda, see Mark 10:45. And in service he became the greatest leader that we should all emulate. But his service and humility is not the only attribute we should copy and seek in our leaders. He was first driven by love, love for the lost, compassion to a sheep without a shepherd. Only the one who truly loves can pursue our interests. If we want to emulate his strategy we need to be informed by his conviction.

Our hands must be strengthened by his heart. A heart to seek the good of the downtrodden not merely giving them the leftovers of our selfish pursuit. And unfortunately you’ll not find that regularly under the sun. You’ll only see droplets of it where the finger of God has touched the hearts of men. But that’s our eternal reality for those who believe in Jesus. May the Lord help us and anyone who pursues leadership at home and in our society to emulate him.

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

John 15 NIV.

Madarakadayreflections #TVshows #Kenya’spoliticalscene

Watching the News with a Bible

I think as you get older you start paying attention to the News and you even get excited wanting to know what’s happening around you. I’m one of those who easily gets glued to a political talk show. I don’t know if I should apologize for that. But I’ve always loved debates and I really enjoy the heated engagement. I want a taste of true genius in responding to questions and a bit of that sneaky avoidance of difficult questions. But I also want to hear of leaders that know the plight of my fellow citizens and seem to have care and concern for our future.  

In general though I want to watch news lest I keep looking like the only alien in the country. I want to be in that class that is in the know of how things are going down here before the Lord calls me up there. My only problem is the more I read the paper and tune in to the latest, the more I feel angry, disappointed and disgusted by what’s happening in this country and the world at large. It’s not once that I have decided to stop watching news altogether, stop paying the license to watch TV only to find myself searching the news channel on YouTube or going for the free options.

Thing is even if I succeeded in turning off that TV and Radio, Social Media won’t let me off the hook that easily. And most importantly I do want to be in the know. I don’t want to be one of those Christians we used to say in Campus that they live in heaven and only appear to attend Class in the morning. I want to think about my world and apply my faith in this sphere. I want to be someone who speaks to the culture and my friends while knowing what goes around them. But neither do I want to keep wounding my soul with endless stories of the latest murder, the latest scandal and the greed of politicians. You can see my dilemma!

And so like we are asked to do with everything I applied the Golden rule of Christian living and asked myself what the Gospel tells me in this situation? How am I to approach my News Channel biblically? As it turns out at our Church (Gracepoint Church Kikuyu) we are just turning to a new Exposition series through the dreadful Judges after the Glorious book of Joshua. Honestly, every time I contemplate reading the book of Judges I get scared a bit because I still can’t believe it’s in the Bible and the people in it are actually the chosen race of God’s priests. But Judges and the Bible in whole resolves this dilemma.

The Bible doesn’t try to hide or water down the true nature of humanity even when it’s speaking about God’s people. It tells me that what I watch in the News is a just a tip of the iceberg. Man is desperately corrupt and without God’s grace of godly leadership he is capable of the most heinous of acts. It tells me that when things work out like you see in Joshua it’s because God is in charge and when man gets his way, well, then you have Judges. So I shouldn’t be surprised about what happens around me. That’s just the true color of man. But I do need to look elsewhere as I watch all this and that’s where the Gospel lands.

If I keep watching the news I’m either going to get so disgusted that I have to stop which is hard to run away in this social Media world. Alternatively, I might just get so used and so numb to what happens that it no longer scares me or makes me at least uncomfortable. And I don’t want to get there as I don’t think that’s biblically healthy. But I think there’s a last and far better option and that’s to read my Newspaper with my Bible. To watch the News and scroll down that Timeline with one eye but have the Bible informing me on the other.

Christians cannot afford to keep feeding on these News without God’s Word refreshing and detoxing our system. We need the News Channel to remind us where we live and the desperate need of the Gospel. But we also need the Bible, the teaching and encouragement of the Gospel to have true hope beyond this world. Jesus had an option to pick us up as soon as we received the Gospel and take us with him. But he left us here knowing so well the world we live in and what happens down here. Why? Well, as he says in John 16:33, because he has overcome the world.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16

Through the message and the hope of the Gospel we are able to overcome the negative tide of this world. Where the world paints it’s ugliness on our walls and recommends useless escape plans. God in the Gospel gives us real hope and power to face the ranging storm. I think the News should send us running to the message of the Gospel as taught by the Bible. When I hear the latest murder, the rottenness exposed by investigative media and the latest Corruption scandal, I should see this from the Gospel eye.

I shouldn’t be surprised although I can’t help it sometimes. I shouldn’t seek to run away though I may need to apply some measures to safeguard my soul and those with children may need to think more seriously about this. But in the face of all this the Bible tells me it’s not completely hopeless for us who believe.  Though the natural man is rotten there’s hope for the new man, created in the image of the best of men, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus lived in this world and he conquered it living in holiness and obedience to our Father. And through the Gospel and his ever present help so will we make it.

In the next Chapter of John in Ch. 17 the Lord Jesus prays for his disciples throughout all generations:

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17

John 17

He calls on the Father to sanctify and set apart his children by the message of the True Gospel. The evil one would want us to see the hopelessness in our world and fall for rage, insults or escapism. But the Gospel faces our world head on exposing its ugly belly and pointing us to our only hope which is found only in Christ. We need to apply the Gospel in every sphere of life to be healthy Christians. And I believe that applies to my News consumption and engagement, to what I read and write on my Social Media walls.  

#ReadtheNewspaperwithyourBible # GospelandCulture # ChristianWorldview

When Calling Fails, the Gospel prevails


People get into their line of work for all kinds of reasons. For some it’s their talent, passion and gifting, others saw a need they wanted met while for others, well, that was all that was on offer. The dream is when they love their job and find fulfilment in it. They have a reason to wake up everyday and take risks because they believe in what they do. That’s what anyone wants for their pastor. That they love the Lord and his people which makes them ready and happy to go the extra mile.

But quite often people lose the passion that got them through the door. It happens to everyone for all kinds of reasons and it applies even to ministers of the Word. These streets are full of people who rise up early and come home late because they have to. What else would they do? They have bills to pay, children to school and families that depend on them. But we don’t stop to imagine our pastor maybe on the same category. I mean he works for God, he changes people’s lives, he offers hope and has a whole community cheering him on. Surely he must love his job and can’t wait for Sunday.

In truth, and contrary to what a lot of people think, your pastor is a normal human being. He has the same struggle sometimes to get out of bed and preach that powerful sermon. Home visits might not be what he looks forward to. But more to our topic of interest he may not be finding as much fulfilment from the job as you may think.
Now we want to start with the assumption that he first got in for the right reasons, that he saw a Gospel need and realised God had given him the gifts and training fit for it. That he couldn’t wait to reach the lost and disciple others for the rest of his life.

But then a few years in things haven’t gone exactly how he thought, there’s the burden he carries for the flock, his own family in addition to the struggle with his own sin. On the other hand, perhaps things are great, the church is growing and his life is stable but he has lost that first fire to wake up everyday, take every opportunity to do his share of Kingdom business.

Worst case scenario he’s been in this rut for quite some time now and he can’t see a way out. Now some of you out there would think well maybe he should quit. But it’s more complicated than that, first what else would he do? What about his bills, family and his own reputation? You see his predicament? Now add that like the many people who don’t like their jobs he has to keep doing it for the foreseeable future. Then you’d have a lot to worry about if you are part of his congregation for his sake and the church.

Now, I know I’m painting a rather extreme picture and one that negates God’s ever present grace, encouragement from the Word, fellow ministers and the congregation. But I’m doing this because when it comes to ministry I find sometimes people don’t see things realistically. They never imagine what happens to so many people in our midst might happen or is happening to their minister as well. We think because God called him he’ll always be firely for the Gospel and passionate about pastoral work. Yet we know even the most fulfilling of jobs have bad weeks and passion can fade with time.

Supposing I’ve convinced you of the possibility of this happening then we ask what should be done. What kind of measures and strategies should we lay down in place to spring the man of God back to the horse. Perhaps a better ministry language is how can we pray, help and encourage our minister to fan the flame, see 2 Tim 1:6? We are in the right territory here and my answer is one the Gospel, second Gospel love and third prayer not in any order. You could easily say the Gospel is the answer.

When calling fails, and I don’t want to debate how extreme that sounds, what will keep one going is a constant reminder why they got in the first place. They got in because God drew them in by his Gospel, he transformed them by the power of the Gospel and gave them his passion for the lost by the calling of the Gospel. The beauty of Gospel ministry is what gets us through the door is what will keep us on the family business. The fire might dwindle and the enemy might get us doubting and despairing but when we come back to the Gospel in the scriptures the power, the strength, the energy, and the motivation is always there.

Paul writes something that I think every minister needs to keep going back to. In Romans he argues out his passion and mission statement and I think the reason he writes this powerful letter:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1.

In the Gospel we find God’s saving power and that’s what everyone including your minister needs every day. This is also the motivation he needs, to know that through his mundane work of preaching and teaching, God is working to save and sustain his people for eternity. He needs to preach to himself this Gospel everyday and we need to do the same for his sake and ours too. When is the last time you encouraged your minister by something you are reading from the Bible? He needs it and the encouragement is twofold, one for his soul and second for his ongoing ministry.

In addition, the Gospel is founded on God’s love for his people, see the popular John 3:16. The son of God invites us to love instead of judgement and the minister’s work extends that love to others. But the minister needs to know and cherish that Gospel love. To swim and bathe daily in the amazing love of God that brought an enemy to his dinner table. To remember that one died that many may live and he needs to die daily following his master’s footsteps. That’s the job, that’s the calling.

And when hardship comes whether from the congregation, his own life, his sin or from the world, that’s not a barrier it’s the price. But as those who share and benefit from this love we need to extend it to him as well. We need to bear a part of this burden ourselves. We can’t be all receiving and never giving. We need to think seriously about the welfare of our ministers both spiritually and physically.

But none of these works unless God works. The greatest motivation comes from God himself. It’s God working through his Spirit by his Word that keeps his man on the job. So above everything else we need to pray and pray some more for ministers of the Gospel. Pray that the same word they preach bears fruit in their hearts. Pray for protection from sin and scandal. Pray for his contentment and joy in the Gospel. Pray for his family that they’ll be full partners in this work. Pray for his children to believe and be proud of their dad’s work. When Calling fails, the Gospel and our prayers will keep the man of God in office.

Raised in a me-world


You can be whatever you want in life
Work hard and you’ll be rich and successful
Find within what makes you great and special
Go for that person who makes you happy
It’s all about you in this me world
It’s a shame the world doesn’t belong to you


What makes you happy is all that matters
If they won’t join team A cut them out
They should be glad to join the winning team
She should be happy she’s dating you
They should be glad they know you
But what happens when team A fails?


You turn to blame game, it’s never your fault
Something or someone is to blame not you
It can never be you, you are so special
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Where is God when I need him most?
You get bitter and wallow in self pity


In truth the world is first God-shaped before you
Everything revolves around him and not you
And he calls you to be outward looking
True happiness is not me shaped he taught us
It’s giving and dying for others that’s our foundation
And in his footsteps we find true happiness


In a me world life very quickly crumbles
We are stressed when things don’t go our way
But in a God world that’s to be expected
Because this world is not our home
But he makes worth our failures and weaknesses
Before bringing us to our real eternal home


A proper perspective is to see all in God’s eye
It’s his world and all happen for his glory
And what’s good for God is good for us
His glory should be our greatest pursuit
His will and mission on earth our life goal
To live for him now before living with him forever


Feb Newsletter; Back to Normal?

4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train for war anymore.

Isaiah 2.

Bearing COVID in mind, it seemed like the world only had one problem to deal with and once resolved everything else would fall into place. In truth seeing what is happening now in the world and here in Kenya this cannot be any further from the truth. To some political stability, good health care system, end of lockdown is the dream and to us jobs, economic recovery and political goodwill seems even more urgent as we gear towards general elections next year. In truth our best hope lies not in fixing the next crisis but in the hope we find in the Gospel of Jesus. And from Isaiah we are learning we need a complete makeover. A New Exodus for God’s people, a whole new creation under a better ruler in a land where unemployment, diseases, poverty and injustice is unheard-of.

We thank God that here in Kenya things seem to be going back to normal. And we rejoice now in the simple things we used to take for granted like being able to work onsite and to gather physically in church. But as we rejoice in this we now realize going back to “normal” is only a return to the many other challenges that face us as a race and this world. With this in mind, we are convinced that the hope of the Gospel is even more urgent today. And this gives us great courage and motivation to keep preaching and training others for this noble and urgent task.

For this reason, we thank God that he has entrusted to us 22 apprentices: 15 first years and 7 second years, to train for faithful Gospel ministry and walk with this year. In addition, our online Ministry Training Courses, that is MTC and Utumishi Course has attracted 35 more local Gospel workers drawn from all over the country serving in different capacities. We praise God for these 57 individuals that God has led our way to be equipped and enriched with the Gospel through in-depth study of the Word of God.

I was just thinking of the difference it would make if all these men and women were captivated fully by the true message of the Gospel and were established in the Word of God. What if they in turn went out to teach it boldly and passionately? What an impact that would have now and in the future!

But in all this we realize that our work only works when God works. So our big prayer is that as we train these men and women, God will work in them and in us to conform all of us to the nature of Christ and draw more people to the hope of the Gospel through this ministry. Click here to subscribe

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter>>> and reach out to me to hear more how you can pray and support our work.

In Christ,
Peter Muturi Kimotho
Ministry Training Facilitator,
iServe Africa.

The Tragedy of Good Preaching

It’s that moment, you’ve just finished preaching. Normally you dread this moment because you aren’t sure if that sermon was any good. You struggled to show the big idea of the passage. You are not sure if the connection from the Old Testament to the Cross made any sense.  You had a few jokes that didn’t necessarily get the congregation moving but you did your best. And finally you made something of the application.

But today wasn’t like that. No, you were flowing with the passage and the Spirit was speaking. You prepared well and actually enjoyed the whole process. You could feel Paul speaking through your material. You nailed the talk, you got the message and emotion of the text right. The congregation was feeding from your sermon jubilantly and you could hear it cut through their hearts. A job well done.

But the service ends, you go home and you wonder what difference did it make? Yes it did seem to stir people’s heart and demand a response. And for a moment you saw a small spark of what some call a revival coming. But days go by and you don’t necessarily see any change. Actually people very quickly forget and your effort and good work go to waste. You wonder was it worth it? Is this job worth all the headache and sleep deprivation it causes you. After all, it will all be forgotten and barely appreciated. Such is the tragedy of good sermons. Good work gone down the drain.

But maybe the reason it feels that way sometimes is because sermons are not meant to work the way we want. Because we are not meant to work the way we think. You see like those sermons we are instruments in the hands of another. It’s not how well prepared and specific we are for the job that matters. Although that is very important. But it’s what he’s doing in us and through his Word that day that matters. Who knows what his aim for the day is? Who is he after today? Perhaps our humility is what he’s after. To help us understand it’s him who works and that without him we can do nothing, see John 15:

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5.

But better still this understanding helps to remove the weight of transforming wicked sinners from our hands. To remind us we are but undershepherds in the service of the great shepherd and master of our souls. And what a tragedy would it be if those souls were at your mercies and the work you do? Can you even imagine the responsibility that would demand of you? The heartache and the restlessness? Thank God he’s in charge not me. Praise God he’s at work even when we don’t see!

The thing that blows my mind away is that he chooses to use those sermons. Not only the well polished but even the ones you doubt would make a difference. And sometimes long after your sermons you see a fruit here and another there. What a joy that he chooses to use you and the gift he gave you to conform his people to the likeness of his Son. That he draws men from the world to himself through your work of preaching his Gospel. How amazing and humbling that is!

I know it’s disappointing to labour hard and not see results. God knows how much I crave visible results. But perhaps our heartache results from focusing on the wrong fruit. When we misunderstand what we are called to do and what he says he’ll do.

Ours then is to honour him with everything we have. Labour hard not just for visible results but in honour of him and the gift and opportunities he’s given us. What he does with our labor is upto him because the flock belongs to him not us. And so we must continue doing our very best as preachers to honour our great Lord and Saviour but also learn to say with Luke:

10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty. ‘

Luke 17:10

Cast off the Blindfold

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I want to climb the mountains and behold the wonder
To travel and see the beauty of nature
See the wildlife, the birds and the dolphins
I want to take it all in and be care free
To enjoy the world without obligation to a higher power


I want to learn the secrets of mother nature
Study the vast world under a microscope
Understand the intelligence of humans
Know the complexity of their genders
All without asking the big why questions


You see, I live for the moment, here and now
I want it all without any questions asked
I don’t care why I’m here and now
Not bothered with deep religious questions
I wear a blindfold for that to live and be free


So I ignore the difficult questions
I’m not one to indulge in philosophy
Just a man seeking pleasure and fulfilment
In any case anything can be explained away
And I’m only interested in the here and now


But behind that blindfold is the inevitable
Behind the wonder of creation a creator
You’ll see his signature everywhere
When the blindfold is removed
And one day we will all see him as he is


Then there will be nowhere to hide
No blindfold to block his overwhelming light
And you won’t be able to close your eyes
When required to answer for his breath in you
So cast off that blindfold before it’s too late

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