Friday, 21 August 2009

An antidote to discouragement

I wonder if I've ever really taken to heart the parable of the mustard seed - what a slow lesson it is to learn!

In Christian ministry, we'd love to see heaven ripped open, the Holy Spirit descending with power, and spiritual blessing being poured out in great floods. We'd love to see "a nation born in a day", or at least homes and neighbourhoods transformed preferably before we have to buy another calendar.

Such things, though, whilst something very right to pray for, are seen and experienced only by a very few privileged servants.

God's normal way is the parable of the growing seed, and of the mustard seed (Mark 4:26-32). The beginnings are small; it seems unlikely to come to much. But it will; it is the nature of God's word, when preached in God's way, to bring forth God's harvest, even though we don't really know how it works. If planted in good soil, the fruit will and must come - and at last, the birds of the air will be able to come and shelter under the shade of the resulting tree.

So, preach the word, in season and out of season. Whatever you see, whatever you don't see - God knows what he's doing. If we live in the year 2009 this actually requires far less faith than the disciples hearing it for the first time a couple of millennia ago. The flow of history over the last 2000 years shows that Jesus' words were not empty. The tree has grown and given shade all round the world, and whole continents have enjoyed benefits from it for centuries. Sow the word, and water it - and God will give the increase, even though we it doesn't seem to grow as we watch it, and we don't know how it works. We must just get to work, and trust the results to the sovereign God!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


I'm currently marking lots of exams and essays. Almost all of the students could draw accurate diagrams of the Tabernacle. But the one I'm presently looking at is very interesting. I'd never known about the "Table of the golden calf" before.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A new experience

There'll be a new life experience for us next week... rolling power blackouts. These are two days a week country-wide, and our turn is Monday and Tuesday each week. (Residents of Nairobi get an extra bonus day at least to begin with). Much of Kenya's power is hydro-electric. Unfortunately, it hasn't rained enough, so the dams are emptying and several of the stations have had to be switched off. Now we're hoping that the autumn rains will allow 7-days power again when they come.

Can't think of much else to say about it really. God is very good and we enjoy many of the blessings of modern technology. Phones and laptops have batteries, and if those run out before we can recharge them there are various things we can do if I can find the right leads for hooking up to a portable power pack I bought last year when we thought we'd be living somewhere else. Beyond that there are generators, solar panels, battery storage systems for during outages... this isn't any form of hardship yet.