Family Conference Dec. 2011

Family Conference Dec. 2011

Saturday, 12 July 2014



Grace Baptist Church - Eldoret spent one month (whole of June) fencing, clearing and putting up temporary structure on their newly acquire land. It is the intention of the church to put up permanent building suitable to worship and other ministries of the church. 
However, on 2nd July 2014, the authorities moved in very early in the morning and with a bulldozer, crushed in few minutes what had taken a whole month and a lot of money to put up! Officially at least one week's noticed is given for explanation to be provided or demolition to commence. But in this case, not even a 24 hour notice was given! 
6th July was the first Lord’s Day after our structures were destroyed.

Pastor Paul led the Adult Bible study from 1 Pet.3:13-16 emphasizing that Christians should not live in fear.

Pastor Naphtally preached during the worship service. Bellow is an outline of the sermon. 


The question lingering in many minds has been WHY? I seek to answer that question in three ways.

1. Because of sin in the human heart.
- Though '...God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes' (Ecclesiastes 7:29) - SIN
- 1) there was sinful love of money portrayed; corruption; bribe (cf. 2 Tim.3:3; Prov.17:23). But because we were not willing to go that root then we were bound to suffer.
- 2) Hence, there was a love of destruction demonstrated in arrogance, heartlessness, lack of self-control, brutality, and recklessness (2 Tim.3:2-4)
- But, Bible concludes that not only the destructive team but 'ALL have sinned and fall short of God's glory' (Rom.3:23).

2. Because of Sovereign Control of God in affairs of men.
- 1) Sovereignty of God = 'The exercise of God's supremacy' (Psalm 115:3; 135:6). C.H.Spurgeon said 'this must be the most encouraging character of God for the believers...' Because God holds ALL that happens to His children in perfect balance.
We saw this at least in two ways:
i) God kept the evil plan from us for a whole month of hard labour at the church site!
ii) God ordered that the destruction take place before we arrive at the site!
If members were at the site the moment of destruction, you can only imagine what would have transpired! God is surely sovereign for the good of His children.
-> I then gently but urgently pressed the sovereignty of God in the consciences of the congregation.

3. Because the Gospel MUST Advance.
- Persecution never hinders but advances the course of the gospel! (Phil.1:12-18)
- Paul was in trouble because of the gospel (v.16)
- Yet the gospel advanced! (v.12)
- the gospel went to places previously shut (v.13);
-> in our case, this incident has made Helida and I to go to Offices and begin to witness to high ranking officials hitherto unreached by us!
- during troubled times true believers grow bold (v.14)

But what is this gospel?
- it is not plots, permanent structures or even powerful PA systems!
- it is that which Christ is at the center. As the one who died, rose again and now from heaven sends His Holy Spirit that sinners be made right with God again.
- this is worth suffering for (v.13)
- must be preached without envy, rivalry or selfish ambition (vv.15-17).
-> I then brought a number of areas of application.
i) that the destruction must lead us to boldness for the sake of the gospel
ii) that God's sovereignty must be our source of comfort now and assurance for tomorrow
iii) that we must be convinced that the gospel remains the only hope for our sinful town and beyond.

Later during our Lord's Supper, various brethren shared their experiences and reflections. Some said that they were so affected and were observing keenly how Helida and I were reacting. And that our reaction or behavior through the whole episode helped them tremendously to know how to cope and behave through the same! We felt so humbled by these words. We were not conscious that we were actually being observed. We just give glory to God and pray for more grace.

In Christ by grace alone,
Naphtally Ogallo.

3rd Reformed Family Conference

3rd Reformed Family Conference
9th to 13th Dec. 2013 (ReCFoK – Kenya)
Dear Friends,
December Friday 13th was a day of mixed feelings. It was literally a climax. On the one hand there were those who deeply wanted to return home and be with their dear ones for perfect reasons! On the other hand many felt it was such a blessing being under such gracious Biblical teachings and warm fellowship. They would have loved an extension regardless of the evenings when it rained heavily and meant that the usually hot and humid Lakeside City turned cold. The 3rd Reformed Family Conference held at Grace Baptist Church in Kisumu came to a wonderful end.
There were two key speakers dealing with the theme of ‘Christianity – a Faith to Profess.’ Pastor Al Rommal of Northwest Baptist Church, Phoenix AZ taught eight times. He began with 1 Corinthians 12 from where he laid clear demarcation: ‘The church of Christ has many members but one body. It is God who has set each member in His church; so each believer is of value to God. Therefore it is an honour to share the gospel with those who lack it.’
In his subsequent session, Al used Acts 17:30 to show that God’s ministry in the Word is manifold but focuses on bringing the elect to salvation and obedience. Reflect upon this: “The Word of God plus the power of God equals obedience to God.”
From Mark 2:23ff and Genesis 2:1ff, Pastor Al showed the rich blessings that the Sabbath holds for God’s people. The subject of the Sabbath was very dear to Pastor Al’s and so he next used Isaiah 58:13 and 14 to persuade God’s people to ‘fall in love’ with the Lord’s Day. He proved convincingly from the Scriptures that those who obey God in this matter and ‘turn their foot from the Sabbath’ have everything to gain and nothing of worth to loose. God’s people will be faithful witnesses by honouring the Sabbath Biblically than by seeking to explain it away as some evangelicals are trying to do!
In his fifth session, Pastor Al, laboured from Psalm 86:1ff to excite God’s people to desire to be present in His house; when His people meet to worship. This is exciting because Christ is there and ‘He is altogether lovely’, His Words are spoken and ‘They are sweeter than honey.’ Believer can do no other than to delight in the one who paid so high a price for them.
The sixth, seventh and final sessions were geared towards preparing God’s people for heaven – their eternal home. These sessions covered 2 Corinthians 5:1ff; Revelation 19:6ff and 21:1-5 respectively.
Throughout Pastor Al’s teachings and conversions, one thing stood out; and that is love. He hammered home the urgent need of love. As a people who have been loved by God in Christ, love, he emphasised, is the antidote to the ills that frustrate the desired unity in Reformation in Kenya. Love, Pastor Al insisted, must be the driving principle reaching out to our charismatic brothers and sisters. He pointed out that ‘Reformation comes when God takes His people and moulds them into the image of Christ.’
Pastor Chipita Sibale from Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia was the other guest speaker. He gave the keynote address on the opening night. He rightly set the stage from Romans 11:33-36 by showing that true religion must start and end at the glory of God. Paul’s response to the inexhaustible fountain of the knowledge of God was never to be ashamed of the Gospel. Believers, Pastor Chipita pointed out, must imitate Paul.
The rest of his sessions were all in the mornings. Pastor Chipita began by challenging the conference attendees from the ‘best known verse in
the Bible’ of the unavoidable response of professing ones faith. From John 3:16, he showed 1) the divine person called God, 2) God’s amazing love and gift to the world and 3) the amazing ending of God’s plan for salvation. Thus, because of who God is and for what He has done, believers must be bold and humble as they witness of God to the world.
From John 8:34-36 Pastor Chipita argued that the evidence of slavery to sin is all around expressed in drunkenness, corruption, immorality, broken homes etc. He then showed that it is only the Son who truly sets sinners free. So believers must not be ashamed of their profession.
Kenya was celebrating its 50th birthday on December 12th and even though the Conference had adopted as its anthem Charles Homer Gabriel’s hymn “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene…”, Pastor Chipita led the Conference in singing the Kenyan National Anthem! It first stanza reads:
“O God of all creation,
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.”
Chipita then used 1 Peter 2:9-12 to show that while Christians live in this world they must show that they belong to another nation; heaven itself. As such, believers must walk in humility, and holiness. This is a powerful way to profess ones faith.
While he began with the well known passage, Pastor Chipita ended his sessions with a less known passage of 2 Chronicles 29:26-30. From David’s final days, Chipita challenged believers to live their lives responsibly passing on their faith to the youth. Believers must learn to depend on God and they with David will experience lasting joy. With such prospects, one can and must process his faith.
Four local speakers led workshops every afternoon. Pastor Michael of Bethesda Baptist Church, Nairobi took the youth in a two day discussion on ‘Getting along with others.’ Brother Lawrence Muiruri of Injili Bible Church Nairobi then spent the last two days with the youth exploring the effects of Internet Technology and how they can handle the challenge it poses. Pastor Sam of Grace Baptist Church Kisumu led a workshop on Missions. Key issues like ‘what is mission?’, ‘what it involves’, ‘its importance’, and ‘who is to go?’ were tackled. ‘Hindrances and manoeuvring mission obstacles’ were then discussed. The concluding note was that ‘local church, self-sustaining and self-regulating are what we find in the Holy Book.’ Pastor Naphtally of Grace Baptist Church, Eldoret led a discussion on “Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa?” This was based on Dr. Conrad Mbewe’s article published in Reformation Today #255. It was closely followed with a discussion of a chapter from John MacArthur’s book Charismatic Chaos.’ The discussion was not just lively but sobering.
The success of this year’s conference is squarely the Lord’s. But He used among others the churches that form ReCFoK, a number of other friendly churches and individuals who only the Lord will reward.
The host church GBC, Kisumu worked tirelessly and coordinated everything so well. Meals and accommodation for all the 120 registered attendees were first class. Many other local residents opted to attend on daily basis from their homes. Along with representatives from USA and Zambia, Uganda was represented by Pastor Bill Issa who also gave a very moving testimony of God’s gracious work in his life and ministry.
All were convinced that Christianity is a faith which must be professed and many left with their hearts burning within them to be urgent in doing just that. To God be the glory.
The 4th Annual Reformed Family Conference is set for 8th to 12th December 2014. Please, pray with us as we begin to prepare for it.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Written by Naphtally Ogallo on behalf of ReCFoK.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

John Newton From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken

Summary and Review of the first 84 pages of John Newton
 From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken

       It is remarkable that Jonathan Aitken’s biography of John Newton begins, in part with a note about the spiritual teachings that the latter’s mother Elizabeth laboured to instill into her son at an early age. She ensured that by the time young Newton was four years old, he could at least read. A pious woman, she introduced the word of God to her son ensuring he stored in his mind many “valuable pieces, chapters and portions of scripture, catechisms, hymns and poems.” Indeed and even though she died while Newton was only a little child, Elizabeth’s early teachings of the word of God to her son were to later have a great influence on the outcome of his life when it is considered that his father, Captain John Newton was an absentee father, a sea farer whose “frequent absences at sea” is much talked about in the book. It is noted, for example that when Elizabeth Newton died in 1732, her husband was away at sea and only returned home “in early 1733”, yet the scripture lessons young Newton learned at his mother’s knee were not  completely forgotten and these would become the foundation for his eventual conversion and subsequent Christian commitment.
       Captain Newton introduced his son to seafaring in the latter’s teenage, but the captain being of the view that his son was not suitable for a career at sea, found him employment with a family friend, one Joseph Manesty in one of the latter’s plantations in Jamaica but Newton never took up the job, he having gone for a visit at his mother’s cousin Elizabeth Catlett’s house where he met his cousin Polly Catlett with whom he fell deeply in love and decided to overstay the visit. It was during a second visit to the Catlett’s in Chatham that he was press-ganged (forcefully recruited) into the Royal Navy and placed abound HMS Harwich. He soon lost his captain’s favour after prolonging a day’s leave he had been granted to over ten days on account of Polly Catlett but things came to a head when he attempted to desert the navy, was caught flogged and degraded. Eventually he was discharged from the Navy through an exchange programme then allowable and onto a merchant ship, the Pegasus, a slave trading ship that would take him to Africa and into the slave trade, with its appalling brutality. By this time Newton was an ardent blasphemer and even though he survived several near death mishaps which he would later attribute to divine providence, he became increasingly steeped into sin.
       Starting his life in Africa as a land-based slave trader, Newton soon disagreed with his employer, Amos Clow and he soon found himself under severe punishment first after disagreeing with Mr. Clow’s African mistress, one PI and even more so after it was falsely alleged by one of Mr. Clow’s friends that Newton had stolen his employer’s property. When he contracted some tropical diseases in the absence of his employer who had then travelled inland from their base at the West coast of Africa, Newton was extensively mistreated by the his employer’s mistress who not only denied him medication and food, but also taunted him with unending abuses and insults. When his employer came back he believed PI’s side of the story against Newton’s and so the punishments were increased, for Newton, in this state of severe illness, was put in chains on the upper deck of a slave ship where he stayed through the cold of rain and the heat of the African sun, was starved, beaten, mocked some more and denied proper medication such that even his fellow African slaves pitied him. It is at this point that he wrote and smuggled out letters to his father, describing the horror of his plight in Africa. Newton felt hopeless, helpless and humiliated, with no end of his captivity in sight. By this time, Newton was about twenty one years of age.
       By God’s providence, Newton was subsequently offered employment by another slave trader who even gave him a share in the said trader’s “factory” so that he, Newton, also now owned and sold some slaves for personal profit besides his pay for the work he did for this new employer. Living as he pleased, with increased income and an unbridled lust for African slave women who he often raped, Newton began dabbling in witchcraft and blasphemed God even the more. Back home, however, his father had received the letters his son had written and managed to smuggle out while in captivity and so Captain Newton organized for a rescue mission of his son to be carried out by a captain of one of Joseph Manesty’s trading ships, the Greyhound. By the time the rescuers reached the younger Newton, he was so comfortable in this sinful lifestyle that it took persuasion and indeed a litany of concocted tales and lies to get him on board. Once on the ship, he took to heavy drinking and unending blasphemy and even later when he read a Christian classic that he found aboard the ship “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis, he was largely indifferent to it. Soon enough however, the Greyhound was hit by a huge and devastating storm that smashed a large section of its upper bow to smithereens and the crew laboured hard to keep her afloat with increasing desperation even as it was all too apparent that the all the ship’s food stores and supplies had been lost, not to mention that some of the crewmen got swept overboard to their deaths in the cold Atlantic. It was then and only then and after all hope seemed lost that Newton remarked “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us”
       This appears to have been the beginning of Newton’s conversion to faith for even his fellow crew members, convinced that his God-mocking profanities had brought down divine wrath upon the Greyhound increasingly started toying with the idea of throwing him overboard in a manner akin to the story of Jonah of the Bible. This beginning part of the book sets the stage, so that through the diverse and severe sufferings that Newton encountered, for his eventual conversion, we are taught that in our stubbornness, God may allow us to suffer that we may then look to Him for salvation. Indeed at the end of chapter ten of Jonathan Aitken’s book, and as the Greyhound to their amazement, eventually landed in Ireland, with a limp and quite miraculously, it was difficult for John Newton not to see the providences of God in his life. Yet in all this, I have seen that the grace of God which is mightier than human thought can comprehend or fathom never left Newton and this has encouraged me greatly and to the extent that I would recommend this book to all serious Christians who would want to look again at the grace of God in its exemplary work in the life of John Newton. I have, as well, learnt anew from this book the truism in Proverbs 22:6 that if we “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This God that his mother had long taught him about, and whose teachings had somehow remained at the back of Newton’s mind, is the one who rescued the Greyhound and her crew when all else appeared unhelpful.  It is at this point that John Newton stated “About this time I began to know that there is a God who hears and answers prayer”. It was the time of John Newton’s conversion. And his song ‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound ‘ testifies to his conversion.

Review by Kennedy Owiti of Grace Baptist Church-Kisumu

Unveiling the ‘powers’ of Satan.

 Article by Pastor Sam Oluoch -  Grace Baptist Church-Kisumu, Kenya.

The Bible has a lot to say about the unseen world, so much so that we cannot afford to sit back and wish it away by a sweep of the hand. The following passages could not have their meaning if the unseen world was just a mere myth and scare craw to errant men: John 8:44, Revelation 12:4, Job 1:7,2:2, Romans 8:38,1Cor. 15:24-25, Eph. 1:21, 3:10, 6:12 and many more. Writing from African context, I do not have to labour much to prove the existence of the unseen world. Africa is not the only professor of the knowledge of this world; it has been proved that the world at large, in their beliefs and practices, in one way or another, approves the existence of the unseen world, especially the spirit world. The major player being the head of these demons, identified as the Devil (diabolos).Sometimes referred to as the adversary in the Bible.
Having pointed to the fact that the Devil and his agents the demons exists, we must ask ourselves what their duty in the spheres is. Chaos is their duty. Lies is their work (John 8:44) and causing fear and terror in people. In Africa, this is very much real as it can be seen from African worldview and the resulting epistemology and axiology. No doubt, the devil and his agents are powerful beings. But where do they get their power over humanity from? Under good scrutiny, one can argue convincingly that Satan has no power of his own; his power can be seen in two lights. One, is the ‘permitted power’, and secondly, the ‘opportunistic power’.
Permitted power:
From the book of Job cited above (1:6-12, 2:2-7), we see who actually wielded the power over Job’s life. It is God who permitted Satan to visit Job with his troubles (for good reason). Also, when we believe the story of creation in Genesis; we will see that this world actually does not belong to Satan, not even an inch of it. The entire world belongs to God and He controls all that goes on in it. No stranger enters in to God’s affairs in His Kingdom earth without Him knowing. God therefore places limits on the activities of this fallen angel, whom he created like any other creation, but rebelled (Revelation 12:4). Satan has no power of his own in this world of God, except that which is permitted him by God.
Opportunistic power:
In this I will spend more time because it is the core of this article. When I talk of ‘opportunistic power’ I put the blame squarely on you, man, and not Satan. Why? It is man that gives Satan food to feed on so as to continue with his disturbing activities on earth. Think of it. What was life like in the Garden of Eden before the fall? Yes, you are right. It was good! No family squabbles and no fear of ever so besetting evil we see on earth. Because of rebellion of man from God, man has become the work shop of Satan. Man gives him the medium of sin to thrive on and Satan seizing the opportunity sin affords in our lives maximizes his destructive activities.
Allow me to illustrate this. For a period of eleven years, I worked for the government of Kenya as an Agricultural officer and was deployed in Kano plains of Kenya to reclaim swamps for rice growing. Before you reclaim a swamp you have to do a reconnaissance survey, i.e. physically walk around the intended field (it does not matter how big it is or how deep the swamps are) and plan your work accordingly. This I dreaded. One, not only because of the deep swamps which we often slipped and plunged in to neck deep, but the huge water snakes that was a common sight and cases of them biting was ever so present. Now, if these farmers wanted to keep themselves off the snake bites the swamps had to be cleared, the reeds and water weeds done away with. The reverse had its deadly consequence because the fields remained not only breeding ground for the snakes but also feeding ground-hence giving the snakes the opportunity to harass the local people. The environment provided a good welcoming ground for these reptiles.
Secondly, let us bring in the dreaded HIV/AIDS in the picture. Medics will tell you that it is actually the opportunistic infections that end up killing HIV patients. They take the advantage of the opportunity afforded by the weakened immune system to bring down the sick person. If the immune system remained strong and healthy, there would be no room for opportunistic diseases.
This illustrates what I am saying about Satan and sin in man. He will continue to thrive in his activities in and around us so long as we provide the conducive ground, which is sin itself. So long as sin remains in one’s life, Satan will attach himself on to it and continue his activities in man.
This brings me to the important question. How can one be delivered from influence of Satan? Dear reader, this question cannot be answered by advising one to start attending exorcism meetings that goes on in the church next door. Neither can it be well addressed by flocking the so called deliverance meetings every Wednesday. No.
Like Apostle Paul, please allow me to digress a bit here. I have heard of reports praising the rate of church growth in Africa. If church growth is reported in terms of people walking into the church buildings then I half agree with the statistics. Kenya is said to be 80% or so Christians. Do not believe such statistics which do not have any biblical basis. Read about revival times in the USA and UK (I mean TRUE revival) and tell me what you see in people’s changed life. As I have said, church growth today is measured by the number of people walking into churches on Sunday and not those who have experienced true conversion. In Africa, I attribute the church influx to two things: First, is the confused unbiblical way of presenting the gospel of Christ and attached to it the claim for wealth and health. What does one expect of a poor continent when you tell them, do this and you will be rich and enjoy good health. The positive response will not be due to the ‘blood of the lamb that takes away the sin of the world’ reconciling sinners to God but the pursuit of the promised health and wealth. This is no gospel at all. Secondly, and closely linked to our topic of Satan and his powers, is the promises of deliverance and protection from the evil spirits that harass Africans. This sells in an animistic society like ours. People then ‘come to Christ’ not as sin bearer but as charm keeper who is able to protect them from ancestral curses and other things. We better be careful here, throngs of people walk in to these churches every Sunday  with no knowledge of Christ Jesus as the saviour hence have a comfortable ride to hell.
We must now address that dogging question. ‘How can one be kept safe from the powers of Satan?’ I draw your attention to Colossians 2:13-15 among many other passages. The fact of the matter is that before we are saved, we live in the Kingdom of Satan and serve him as our master. He rules unrepentant sinner. At the moment one gets saved, I mean, realises that he is a sinner before a holy God and he puts his trust on the righteousness of Christ alone to be saved from the anger of God, that person is transferred from the Kingdom of Satan to that of God (Colossians 1: 13-14, 21-22, Romans 6:15ff). He is no longer within the reach of Satan’s activities. The undisputed result of what Paul describes in Colossian 2:13-15 above is that victory over powers and authorities of darkness is found only in the death of Christ (Genesis 3:15). His death on the Cross and forgiveness of sinners who believe in Christ is the real defeat of Satan and his trickeries. The strong man is and can only be bound, and rendered useless through gospel preaching (Luke 11: 21-22) and acceptance of Christ as the Saviour. The human sinful living that gave Satan a medium to thrive on is shattered by salvation which is able to deal with the problem of sin in us. It is folly then to claim deliverance where there is no salvation. It is also folly to run around with Satan in the art of exorcism where the Gospel is not preached and accepted. Once sin is dealt with, the power of Satan to cling on it is removed.
Think of it, why Christ boldly claimed that ‘the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold of me’ (John 14:30). Well, he cannot feed on Christ who had no sin. But when he bore our sin to the Cross, surely the enemy tried hard to feed on him and even to the point of discouraging Christ not to face the Cross against the Father’s will. It is our sins that gave Satan medium to feed on Christ but not sin of Christ, He was sinless. To defeat Satan is to live a life free of sinful.
1.      So long as Africa (and other nations) continues to thrive in sin and reject the Saviour Jesus Christ, they will be a very easy target of the Devil and sin/evil will continue to multiply.
2.      We must reject health and wealth kind of Gospel; it is the devil’s trick to lull people to sin and to chase after the perishable of the world other than true eternal happiness while he still rules them.

3.      True Gospel of Jesus Christ and receiving him is the true exorcism (Luke 11:21-24).


SIN PAINS!                                                                              Article by Pastor Sam Oluoch GBC-K
May I draw your attention to Psalm 38? This is one of the penitential Psalms (others being 32, 51, 102, 130 and 143). It deals with sin, in fact, with the weight of sin on a believer’s shoulder and gives us tips on how Christians should respond to sin when they happen to fall.
The Psalmist here (David) has fallen in to sin, it is not clear what it is but he becomes conscious of this and groans under the weight of it. He ‘suffocates’ under the umbrella of sin and this causes him not only physical pain but also psychological (vs. 1-4). This is aggravated by the fact that he awakes to the reality that it is against God that he has sinned and possible chastisement awaits him from the hand of the Holy God (vs. 1). This is striking when compared to Psalm 51:4 when he also says: ‘against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.’ Any sin committed is done against the laws of God. Men suffer from our sinfulness because we have disobeyed God. So, in as much as we directly sometimes sin against fellow men, eventually, we sin not against man but against God.
It is also enlightening to see that David takes full responsibility of his sin in verse 5 and 18. He is categorical that ‘my wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.’ Aha my. This sounds better than Adam’s ‘the woman you gave me.’ What I see here is that a regenerate person, born again through the second Adam (Christ Jesus), in as far as accepting responsibility of sin is concerned, is far much better than the first Adam. When you sin, it is you who has sinned. Yet many a times we hear excuses like: ‘oh it was my wife’s behaviour that led me to sin’, ‘oh it was the weather that made me…’ or even, ‘had it not been for my poverty, I would not have stolen the money.’ Sin properly repented of is sin acknowledged and faced without passing blames to external forces (See James 1: 13-15). Notice the phrase ‘by his own evil desires.’ This is emphatic that sin comes from inside you and you are responsible for it. How about Jesus saying that what goes in is not sin but what comes out of man. Sin cannot be shared, inside you is inside you. You cannot share a ‘stomach.’ of sin. Hence David here owns up to his own sin by saying ‘I’, ‘I am’, and ‘my’. Not ‘we’, ‘we are’, ‘our’. Once we start passing blames to others when we sin, it is impossible to deal with that sin properly. It is this owning up that pains one and makes him/her groan for forgiveness from God (Psalm 32:3-5). Pride will not allow one to do this.
David however brings another aspect of suffering in to the equation of sin’s torment. Possibility of friends and relatives deserting you (vs. 11) with some even taking advantage of the shame sin brings on you. Jesus experienced this when he carried our sins to the Cross and closer friends deserted Him and even denied any knowledge of Him. Socially he was rejected and abandoned by many due to our sin. Christ suffered this desertion. In Psalm 38:11 David suffered the same (He is known as a type of Christ in many ways). May I explain this rejection by friends and where the pain comes from?
Human beings are created to socialise. We are social beings and living around people derives some kind of completeness in man. When this is denied us, depression can occur and pain of neglect is felt. This is the essence of prison facilities where normally prisoners enjoy all that they need but not social life. Even Christians need this kind of socialization, not only with fellow Christians but general community. This is why apostle Peter counts it as persecution when the world looks at us as strange fellows because of our faith and cuts us off from their social life (1 Pet. 4:1-4). When brothers turn against brother, father against son because of the gospel, Christ says, do not worry for He will raise up greater brothers/sisters for you to socialise with as Christians and enjoy their company lest you be lonely, feel the pain and drop faith.
A good look at 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 9-13 also confirms the need for closer walk with others. Here, Apostle Paul commands that we should never associate with excommunicated sinners in a manner to give them warmth of fellowship as if they still have the right to enjoy the social life of community of believers. When this is denied a repentant sinner, the pain of being away from true brethren is expected to turn him to Christ in repentance. If the people of the world feel the pain of being locked away from social life with the rest, how much more a true Christian locked away from the community of believers. Surely, this should bring repentance.
In Psalm 38: 11 we therefore see the pain sin has brought David when his friends and companions are running away from him and even plans for his down fall. This surprises David greatly and leaves him with no words in his mouth (vs. 13-14).
A welcome friend.
Jesus was several times referred to as friend of sinners and tax collectors. Oh yes He was a friend of sinners and tax collectors, for such he came. David therefore runs to him. As the Psalm begun with merciful God in sight, it ends with the same hope. It is only Christ who can forgive the worst of sins (1 Tim 1:15-16) even when men have run away. He will in no way drive from him a man who is seriously repentant of his sin and appreciates that his own sin grieves God and must be let go. I am not talking here of superficial confession of sin but that which is expressed here by David. A true Christian understands the weight of sin and flees from it. When he repents, his heart’s desire is that he will never go back to it. He will not be like a dog that goes back to lick its own vomit or a swine who is washed clean and goes back to the dirty waters. One of the ways we can tell who a Christian is; is by the way they feel the weight of sin on them and the way they repent of it. ‘Have mercy on me a sinner’.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

2nd Family Conference

2nd Annual ReCFoK
Reformed Family Conference Report (Dec. 2012)

Dear Friends,
We are glad to report of the Lord’s blessings among us. 10th to 14th December will be remembered for a long time to come by those who attended this year’s Reformed Family Conference held at the Grace Baptist Church Kisumu.
This year’s theme was ‘The cross of Christ: A life changer’ with Pastor Victor Kanyense from Lusaka, Zambia as our speaker for a second year running. We were shown very ably and clearly through twelve sessions how the cross of Christ is not only central to the Biblical religion and, indeed to the Scripture as a whole, but specifically is central to the gospel of salvation. Christ’s death is not an example of how far love can take someone. The cross was a transaction between the Father and the Son. Wonderful as it is, election without the cross offers no salvation.
The results of the cross include propitiation, redemption, justification, and reconciliation with substitution being the foundation upon which the above four are built. The common thought that the cross demonstrates weakness and that we have to turn to the resurrection to find victory is false teaching. The cross of Christ is one big conquest from beginning to end; from Genesis to Revelation. Consider this: Conquest predicted (Gen.3:15); Conquest began in the ministry of Christ; Conquest achieved at the cross (Heb.2:14ff); conquest confirmed and announced at resurrection (Acts 2:24) and conquest consummated at the return of Christ (Rev.5). The demands of the cross include self-sacrifice, submission and conformity. The cross never leaves anyone the same; because for the perishing, it is foolishness while for those who are being saved, the cross is the power of God.
Conference Group Photo

The cross is indeed a life changer as the risen Lord by His grace trains us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:12). In the final session, we were shown how the solution to the church’s challenges is the cross of Christ (1 Cor.1:1-31). The speaker is endowed with the ability to communicate heavy truths in a way that even the young among us were able to follow; thus carrying everyone along. We truly thank God for Pastor Kanyense.
Workshops were held in the afternoons in three different groups. Pastor M. Maura led the youth in discussions on the life of Joseph in Genesis; bringing out the gospel and its relevance today. Pastor S. Oluoch handled one adult discussion group. He reports “it was basically the study of Genesis 1: 24-31 famously known as ‘cultural mandate.’ I laboured to help our people see the need for living for the glory of God in our daily activities and upholding Christian ethics in line with the mandate above.” Sam also gave the key-note address from Job chapter one alerting us of the tricks of Satan with his ‘all will be well theology’ which is meant to cloud the meaning of the cross. Due to the forthcoming General Elections, Pastor N. Ogallo led the second adult group on discussing ‘Christians and Politics.’ Various issues were discussed: Should Christians be involved in politics? If so, what kind of involvement? Can a believer contest a political post? Should I vote? Why? How? And what is the role of the church in politics? Finally, there was a special workshop which brought all the attendees together. Professor Owino Ong’or who is himself a believer and a medical Doctor led a very informative and challenging discussion on HIV & AIDS; facts about its origin, spread, consequences and the way forward particularly for believers.
Pastors and their wives

Over ninety people were in attendance with some coming part-time. These came from different parts of the country. All pastors in attendance were given time to give reports of their labours and were prayed for. We had expected a higher number but various reasons were fronted as hindering some from attending. The organizing committee did a brilliant job both in planning and execution. Everyone was well fed with ‘first class’ and balanced food. The teaching sessions were all recorded and soon the Mp3 CDs will be ready for purchase. Last year’s recordings are also available for purchase.
We extend our sincere thanks to those churches and particular brethren who knowing our need, identified with us and graciously and generously partnered with us to make the conference a success. To all of you, we are grateful for your prayers for us and for your continued interest in the growth of the reformed faith in Kenya. While these continue to be “days of little things”, we however remain focused and proclaim: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seal, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev.5:9).

Written by Naphtally Ogallo on behalf of ReCFoK.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Semon by Pastor Sam Olouch

 Hunger not and thirst not for bread and water but for the word of God Amos 8.
Amos, a prophet of God, previously a farmer from Judah, was sent to minister to the hostile Northern Kingdom of Israel which was seriously deteriorating in their godliness and obedience to ‘Yahweh’.
In this passage, God takes note of the many ways in which the Israelites had rebelled against Him clearly demonstrating the fact that God only promises to forget sins of repentant person, but for the unrepentant, he keeps record of their sins. Some of the sins He counts against the Northern Kingdom are:
1)      Oppressing the needy. In the book of James 2:1-7 and 5:1-6, God through the Apostle clearly condemns the attitude of the affluent in amassing wealth at the expense of the disadvantaged in the society. Man is the same. In Amos’ time, they would not only use scrupulous means of doing business to take advantage of the poor and make more money, they in fact sold the poor for much more money (Verses5-6). In Deuteronomy 15:7-11, God had clearly commanded the Israelites to be mindful of the poor amongst them. This was long forgotten through the Israelites’ mentality of every one for himself. A poor man would borrow quite a paltry sum whose security value would be as cheap as a pair of sandals. When he could not pay due to poverty, the lender took the advantage of his inability and sold him in to slavery! God was not happy with this and condemned it here.
2)      They hated God and His laws.  Their hatred for the people of God, the poor, goes to prove that when our relationship with God is not right, there is no way we can have our relationship with one another right. Hate God and you will hate His people. Command number four in the Ten Commandments clearly stated that the people of God were to cease work and dedicate that day to the Lord. In the Israelites, we meet business men who found a day in the house of the Lord equivalent to a fish finding itself on the dry land. Verse 5 portrays complaining people; instead of ‘calling Sabbath a delight’ it is a burden to them because their mind is consumed with crafty business opportunities. They ask ‘when will the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?’ In fact, market wheat not only from a skimped measure but with its sweepings!
Such carelessness led God to declare “I will never forget anything they have done” (Verse 7). Yes, God keeps records of un-repented wrong. Judgment is therefore declared in the remaining part of Amos 8. May I focus on verses 11-12 in which judgment of famine of hearing the word of God is declared?
Casual look at this kind of punishment may lead one to say that this is easy and a judgment not commensurate with the heinous sins committed not only against God but also against the poor in the land. To appreciate this verdict from God, one has to see it in the light of Jesus’ words in Matt. 4:4. “Man does not live on the bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’. The church is the salt of the earth and light to the world. Wherever the church does not exist expect serious moral break down. It is the same case when a church exists yes, but has compromised faithful preaching of the word of God.  Remove the word of God in a community and get set for worse scenario.
I therefore ask, as much as they mean well. What is the role of NGO’s in a society without Christ? What is the role of UN and AU with many of their programmes in the world without Christ? Poverty that UN wants to eradicate and the many evil that go on in the world, like wars, famine, HIV Aids name them, their solution can only be found in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ-declaring the word of God to the world that is hungering for it. The cure is in the word of God when declared and obeyed. The greatest curse to a community is the withdrawal of God’s word from them.
The entire world today needs Jesus Christ not only to sort out the evil in the land but to make them right with God. Christ declares that he has come to give us life and give it in abundance (John 10:10). He also declared to the Samaritan woman that He is the real water that the world thirsts for without knowing, he who drinks from him will never thirst again (John 4:13-14). And to His disciples “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry again.” (John 6:35). So, when God threatens the Israelites with punishment of famine of his word they better begin to listen to Him while He can still be found. Unrestrained chaos is knocking at their door. That is what one expects when God has been thrown out.
This rings a warning bell to the present world.
1)      We need to seek God through Christ while He still offers the Gospel message to us. There will come a time when men will long for it but it will be too late. Some will in fact be bending their knees to declare that Christ is Lord on their way to hell when all preacher men’s voices will be shut. This is demonstrated in the story of the rich man and Lazarus which Jesus told in (Luke 16:19-31). Do not forget the lull of four hundred years Israelites went through between the testaments. Its effect has not been recovered in Israel until today. Real judgment it was!
2)      We need to preserve and keep faithful ministers of God who genuinely declare the whole oracle of God. Lack of them in a land is a true curse and judgment. Our hope is in hearing the voice of God through these men.
Ye men of the world, look to God, hear Him and obey Him and be saved.