23 March 2011

Why We Exist

There is a friend of mine who I met providentially who is not a Christian. There are times when he seems to be deeply troubled about the things of God and salvation and other times when he seems to drift so far away from the truth.

On several occasions he has asked me heart warming questions, such as, "What does it really mean to surrender your life to God?". After explaining it to him in as simple a manner as I can, he'll ask further and after we've chatted a while we'll part company. When we meet the next time he'll be talking about how we have 'potential' and God has not created us to be followers but rather to be leaders. Etc. It is clear that he is under the influence of pentecostal/charismatic preaching and literature.

The major problem I find with Pentecostal folk is that the emphasis is always on... me. It's all about me. Enter "prosperity gospel".

The question which, for me, settles it is, why am I here? Why did God create me or anyone or anything else on this planet? And this is the question that I asked my dear friend when I last saw him. He went on and on about how we are successes and how God wants us to prosper etc. I thought I could best explain it to him by explaining why we exist. So then, why do we exist?

Well, we must agree that we exist because we were created. The bible says, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." ~John 1:3.

Who created us? God.

Why did God create us?

This question is best explained by answering the question, why does anybody create anything? Why do we buy/lend/create/fix etc, certain things?

What was the last thing you purchased, for instance? Was it a watch? Maybe a bag? Maybe a gift for someone.

Notice that for every item you have ever bought, there is a reason and that reason pertains to the pleasure of yourself. It could have been a gift for someone but the point is, that item you bought was meant to give pleasure to the person you bought it for. You derive pleasure (and sometimes relief) from the pleasure of the other person. There is nothing you can point at that you purchased or created for itself. Nothing. Nothing that you purchased for no particular reason. No one can sincerely say, "I just purchased it." If you sit down and think thoroughly, you'll find there was a reason why you purchased that item and it was all about your pleasure/relief.

Well, why should it be any different with God? Why should God go through the 'trouble' or perhaps, more appropriately, bother of creating man and the world in which he lives?

Did God just create man? I don't think so. I think there must be a reason and just as we as human beings never create or purchase anything unless it will either directly or indirectly bring us pleasure or relief, God has, likewise, created man and everything else to bring him some kind of pleasure.

He did not do it because he needed his creation. If he needed anything, he would cease to be God. Neither did he do it for relief, otherwise he would be doing it out of need and would cease to be God. He did it for his own pleasure. The question that every being on this planet should ask himself/herself is, am I bringing God the pleasure he created me to bring him? I'm I meeting the purpose for which I was created? Or is life about me? Have I ever asked myself  how I aught to bring him pleasure?

Surely God did not create us to merely get rich, have lots of houses, and just have fun. That would be all about us. Our existence is all about Him. And that is where I challenge my Pentecostal friends to begin. To have a view of life from 'the lens of God's eye'.

To think of our sufferings as Christians from God's perspective. To think of our prosperity from the God's perspective. To think of joy, pain, the past, the present, the future, money, love etc, interms of how these issues in my life can be used to bring God pleasure.

You may be thinking "that's insane", how can my entire life revolve around God? What about me? Well, imagine if every appliance in your house took that 'world view' one morning. The kettle figured it didn't want to boil you water anymore, it wants a life of its own too. The taps refuse to let water out, they're tired of serving you. The stove and fridge refused to work anymore, they figure, all those years of serving you, its time they enjoyed themselves too. And all the rest of the things in your house finally decided to have some 'me' time. What would you do? I know what I would do. Get rid of them all and buy appliances that know what they are in my house to do, i.e. serve me. Live for me. The principle is pretty much the same when it comes to our being creatures of God. And that is why evolution is a serious affront against God.

Thankfully, the bible is there to guide us. We do not need a prophet to help us determine how our present circumstances or future endeavours can be maneuvered in such a way as brings God pleasure. He has left us his word.

The puritans put it this way: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

So there you have it. You exist for the pleasure (or to glorify) your Creator -God.

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. ~ Colossians 1:16.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. ~Romans 11:36.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. ~Ecclesiastes 12:13.

18 March 2011

Reformed Baptist Preachers in Zambia

*There's alot more where these came from!

  • Kennedy Sunkutu

Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu
    Ps Sunkutu is one of my most favourite preachers. This is true of my friends as well. Many times we have altered our plans, when we've heard that he is in town, just to hear him preach.

He has a unique style of preaching. I feel like he speaks in an almost... rhythmic manner. You can almost dance to his sermon. He has a way of emphasizing certain syllables in his pronouncement of words causing the words to stand out and remain ringing between your ears. For instance, he may say 'essss-taaaa-blished' for established or 'rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrepent' for repent. Also he tends to add the sound “eeee” before words throughout his sermon, something which I particularly love! For instance, 'eeee-that', or 'eeee-Jesus'.

Ps Sunkutu has, arguably, the deepest voice among Zambian Reformed Baptist preachers as far as I know although when he begins preaching, he changes it. He only uses his usual voice when saying a few words before the sermon, when praying and when giving illustrations. He is an extremely passionate preacher. And when he is approaching terminal velocity in his sermon, he waves his finger a lot and throws one leg forward. He also also has a tendency of putting his hand on his hip.

As for his content, Ps Sunkutu has a great mind and his sermons are always insightful. He also has an applicatory preaching style. He will always ask questions in his sermons to his audience such as, “Is that you my friend?” Throughout his sermons he usually addresses his crowd by the phrase/name “dear friends”.

There are at least two quotes that I’ll never forget by Ps Sunkutu, namely:

“For him it was business as usual.”
He said this with his closed eyes and waving his finger while pulling arm outward. This was said in reference to the Inn Keeper in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“Here I am, send me.” “We see two things from the onset [in our text], availability and willingness.”
Introduction to his sermon on the call of Jeremiah.

  • Choolwe Mwetwa

Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa
   If you want to prove that preaching is an art, use one of Ps Choolwe Mwetwa's sermons. When he is in town, plans get cancelled and it is non-negotiable. My friends and I rarely get to hear him because he is based on the Copperbelt. One of my friends particularly cannot get enough of him and is always mimicking him and quoting him much to our amusement. Pastor Mwetwa arguably has the richest voice among Reformed Baptist preachers in Zambia. He sounds like two people are talking at the same time when he speaks.

He is very funny and rarely laughs at the jokes he himself cracks from the pulpit, maintaining a serious disposition only making the things he says more funny. He is perhaps, also, the most hard working Reformed Baptist preacher in Zambia as he literally dances in the pulpit when he is on fire. His sermons are well thought through and are thus captivating and interesting. Hearing him preach is an education for me because I always learn atleast one new word. In his last sermon I must have written down over four. Apart from his very charismatic mannerisms, he never shouts in the pulpit but actually uses some kind of monotone.

  • Isaac Makashinyi

Pastor Isaac Makashinyi
   Pastor Makashinyi is definitely one of my favourite preachers. I just love his preaching. Also, he puts 'cool' on the word Pastor. One friend of mine said of him that he is a man who has proved that the ministry is not merely a place for men who couldn't do anything or failed everywhere else in life (as the perception tends to be), but ought to be a place for brilliant men. Pastor Makashinyi is a great preacher, his insight into God's word and his delivery are very good. The last time I heard him preach it was a classic.

Ask anyone what comes to mind when they hear Isaiah 40. "Comfort". "For the oppressed", most will probably say. He took that text of scripture and when he asked us to turn there I immediately thought it would be around the theme of comfort but to my amazement it was about 'preaching'. Who would think even remotely that Isaiah 40 could be used to explain what sound preaching is all about? Or am I just expressing my ignorance? Well, I sat there knowing full well that I would have never seen that in the text.

I haven't heard Ps Makashinyi a whole lot but hope to hear alot more of him. From the little I have observed about his style I think he uses his arms alot especially when stressing points. He has a constant smile on his face and is very eloquent.

  • Grave Singogo

Pastor Grave Singogo
   Among all the preachers in this piece of writing, I have heard Ps Singogo the least and yet his sermons stick. I have attended many meetings where people are selecting preachers to speak at an event scheduled to come up and his name is almost always the first suggested. He is obviously very difficult to 'book' but people don't stop suggesting him. Some of the most outstanding things about Ps Singogo is the texts from which he preaches. I've heard him preach from Proverbs and before that from 2 Samuel (I think) and both were evangelistic sermons from texts that would not particularly strike you as evangelistic.

  • Conrad Mbewe

Pastor Conrad Mbewe
 Last but by no means least, is my very own father. Growing up listening to my father, I didn't think much of his preaching but that was probably because I was unregenerate and was thus dead to what I was hearing. I noticed from an early age that my father travelled alot to preach. For some reason I thought every other preacher I knew travelled just as much. When I realised that my father travelled alot more frequently and extensively than the other preachers I knew, my view of his preaching shot to unrealistic heights. Infact, I would get so surprised to hear that some church members would leave the church due to transfers to other towns by their employers. I thought they'd sooner quit their jobs than be moved to another town and thus be separated from the great preaching of my father! I soon grew out of that obviously.

Well, what made me realise (for myself) that my dad was actually good at what he did were my friends. They would praise his sermons so much that I finally decided to listen carefully and sure enough, I soon began to marvel at his preaching.

Many things stand out about my fathers preaching. The most outstanding thing as pointed out, again by my friends, is how he tries his best to stick to and be true to the text he is preaching from.

07 March 2011

The Book: Maintaining Sexual Purity

This book handles a relevant issue in our world today. One of the toughest things to do is go East when everybody seems to be going West. That is the lot of any man, woman, boy or girl who desires to be sexually pure in this world. Maintaining Sexual Purity equips the reader to go against the tide by giving practical guidelines on how to do so. 5 Reasons Why You Must Get & Read This Book:

1) It is based on scripture. Over and over scriptural references, examples and quotations are made thus making this book stand on the word of God. The counsel offered in this book is firmly based on the bible.

2) This book has been made easy to read. It is written in large font. Furthermore, it has been divided into 30 pieces so that it can be read over 30 days and thus allow the reader to take bites that they can thoroughly chew. It can therefore be read prayerfully and meditatively. It is worth mentioning also that it has been divided into three general sections; What often leads to sexual sin, Why one should avoid sexual sin & How to avoid sexual sin.

3) It is written by a Pastor. Sexual sins are sins that are fairly common, unfortunately and most people at their wits end run to Pastors. This gives them experience in handling such cases and makes them better suited to advise on how sexual sin can be avoided. Pastor Mbewe, who is my father, has been a Pastor for just under 25 years and has therefore dealt invariably with an assortment of cases involving sexual sin.

4) It has a chapter right at the end entitled "No, It Is Not Too Late", for those who have already made mistakes. This chapter itself makes the book worth it as it gives hope to those who are hopeless as far as being sexually pure is concerned.

5) Finally, it is a book that every young person, particularly, must read. It is clear in the book that the most critical years are teen to young adult years. It is at that period in life when things tend to go wrong. And since everyone is either young or knows someone who is young, everyone must get a copy of this book!

02 March 2011


I have been fascinated by the life of David's son, Absalom as found in 2 Samuel and thought I'd share it here. So many things have struck me about this man.

The thing that amazes me most is just how much David, his father, King of Israel, loved him. David loved his son so much. This son who did nothing but wrong against his father. Absalom murdered his brother and plotted to and even briefly succeeded in overthrowing his father. Yet in spite of all this David loved him!

Absalom was a very handsome man. That is something that I never knew. He was very well built and lovely to behold. In fact, no one compared to him in the whole of Israel. The bible says that from the top of his head to the sole of his feet, no blemish could be found on him. He had long hair which appears to have been an admirable thing in a man at that time. These days all young men ever hear is 'cut your hair'.

I have been struck by Absalom's love. It was love that drove him to kill his own half brother. Absalom's sister was Tamar. She was raped by Amnon, her half brother. Absalom found his sister (with whom he shared a mother) weeping and she explained to him what had happened. In those days, her life was pretty much over. No man would ever want to marry her. She had been disgraced. Absalom, spoke to her tenderly and invited her to live with him in his house. I was quite surprised at that account because I have always known this man in negative light. Absalom carried a grudge against his half brother Amnon for two entire years until finally an opportunity arose to take the life of his brother. He did not hesitate. After that incident, Absalom fled for fear of the punishment of this terrible crime.

Inorder to assassinate Amnon, Absalom with the permission of David, invited all his father's sons to a feast in the town where he lived. When Amnon was drunk, Absalom had his men kill him. All the princes were afraid and immediately fled back to their father's palace. They entered into it weeping. Imagine David, watching all his sons rush into his palace weeping, like scared children bringing back news that Amnon, his first born son, was dead. Yet inspite of this David loved Absalom and wished that he would return from exile. Even those who surrounded him in his palace could tell that David was not himself. He longed for his son.

Finally it was arranged, Absalom was assured that the King would not punish him. Absalom returned home. After two years he was allowed an audience with the King, his father David, who kissed him. The two year delay probably served to chastise Absalom or simply to show some form of disapproval for his actions and would have been longer had it not been for Absalom's efforts.

Absalom was an ambitious man. His ambition led to his death. He was obviously a brilliant man as well. Not long after his return, he conspired rather brilliantly to overthrow his father. His father David, ruled over a nation consisting of twelve tribes. Everytime men came from a particular tribe to seek an audience with the King, Absalom made sure that he met them first. Here is what the bible says:

In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”

Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

A brilliant man he was indeed! Absalom did this for four entire years. His plan was now ready for execution. He sent out his men to all the tribes of Israel telling them that when they heard the sound of trumpets they were to shout out that Absalom was King.

David his father had to run for his life. What sort of a man would do this to his own father? Well, in the end, David came up with an idea of his own were he sent his advisers to Absalom to pretend that they too had forsaken him. Absalom accepted them and even asked them, "Is this the love you show your friend?" Ironic isn't it? I'm sure in their hearts they responded, "Our sentiments exactly!"

Well eventually, this plan succeeded and Absalom was now the one on the run. David instructed those who were pursuing him not to harm him. But his more objective army commander who was leading the hunt for Absalom killed him as soon as he caught him. Absalom was on horse back and as he passed beneath some trees his long hair got caught up in the branches and he was left suspended in the air. When David's army commander reached him, he killed Absalom. And thus the hair that made him once famous was now the reason for his undoing.

As soon as his men returned, David asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" When he learnt the bad news, these were his words:

"O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!"

Yes. The most remarkable thing about Absalom's life was his father's love for him. I am convinced that the most remarkable thing about my life, is God's love for me. Like Absalom I have rebelled so many times but I am yet to be forsaken.