Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Biblical Manhood - A Sermon Outline

ACK St. Mark’s Church, Kidfarmco.                                                                Sunday 27th April 2014.

Text: Genesis 1: 26 – 2 1- end,  Ephesians 5.22 -32

Introduction.  What is manhood today?

Simon – 36, is married with 3 children. He Loves football to bits – supports Arsenal. Comes along to church and encourages his family as well. An executive at his workplace. Does not mind serving but finds active church participation more of a woman’s ‘thing’. His wife, Patricia, leads the family devotions from time to time though she secretely desires for him to take the lead role in family worship. Simon is however adamant as he is not so secure in his knowledge of scriptures or songs or making the children attentive. He however supports her morally. Patricia is worried that he takes on too much resposibility for his relatives in the village. He is concerned that he does not own his own home in a good neighbourhood and is hence not living the Kenyan dream – 1 wife, 2 children, 3 Bedroom House, 4 wheeldrive, 5-Star holidays, 6 figure salary. 

Bernard is 44 married to Roslyn and they have 4 children all beyond primary school. He is struggling with his teenage children who seem to be drifting from church and one has openly abandoned the faith. He is a career civil servant and has risen through the ranks through discipline and hard work. Rosylyn, a career teacher has recently been promoted to head a local girls school. They both come along to church. Bernard however, has recently began to notice younger girls in his office, whose skirts appear to be getting shorter and shorter. He is not too happy with his achievements so far.His high school and college contemporaries have all had succesful businesses and even sent their children overseas for further studies. He loves Bible study and communion but longs for a different church experience. His commitment to Investment groups, Chamas, worries his wife.

John is 26 and recently finished his degree in IT. He is now working hard to develop apps for the android market and wants to fund his masters through selling mobile applications. He dreams to grow an IT empire and has a poster James Mwangi [Equity Bank] in his room. Although he is dating Angeline from the Church youth group, he is addicted to porn and cant get his eyes off the x rated sites. He confessed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in high school during a challenge weekend but now he is not too sure about it. He comes along to church, not least to meet Angeline, but also to obey his devoted parents. His mind however easily wanders off the sermon and into the girls around him. He longs for true obedience to Jesus and even confesses every time there is communion. At one point in college, he sought delieverance in a charistmatic revival meeting but his addiction still persists. 

Peter is a fatherly figure in church that everybody loves. He is in his late 60’s and inspires many in the church family, not only for his seemingly well managed family but also for his profesional and business career that he recently retired from. He is a leader of the men’s Bible study in his area and commands respect from everybody in the community. Sadly, he recently lost his wife, Hannah to breast cancer and this greatly shook his faith in God. After all those years of service, how could God be so unjust to take away Hannah from him? He cant stop asking himself what wrong he did to deserve the loss of his beloved wife. He is now wondering whether to re-marry or remain single for his remaining years. He worries about his eldest son, who is an alcoholic but many people do not know. He fears more about his own image than the welfare of his son. He is also worried about a corrupt land deal that saw him earn millions in commission that might come to the public soon. He justifies his actions in the sense  that he gave a good portion of the money to the church.

Which of the 4 gentlemen do you most identify with? None of them? 

Peter, John, Bernard and Simon is all of us.

1. The Creation Call
a. Imago Dei – Representation, Relationship and Responsibility Genesis 1: 26 ff
b. Created Equal but Different V 27. [A Helper – 2:18, 23]
c. ‘Blessed’ to multiply, increase, have dominion V 28.
d. Provided for V. 29 – 31, but also called to Work – Responsibility Chap 2 Verse 15.
e. Perfect Relationship – Naked but not ashamed. The beauty of the marriage covenant.

2. A Broken Relationship – The fall [Gen 3]
Result – Death in Relationship with God, each other and creation.
A Begining of blame game. Naked but now ashamed.
Curse – Pain, Suffering & Death in the world.
-        Strife in gender relationships > Your desire will be for your husband, he will rule over you. [Manipulation Vs Domination]. Who wins in the battle of sexes? Which man can resist the attraction of a woman? Which of us does not melt at the sight of curves, hemlines and wily smiles? Which woman can resist the attraction of power, wealth and influence?
-        Marriage became an exercise of power and control. This extended to culture and behaviour.
-        Perverted relationships – Polygamy, Homosexuality, Beastiality, fornication, Adulterly etc.
-        The Rise of Feminist Movement – 18th & 19th Century.
-        Men & Boys – An endangered species?

3. A Redeemed Relationship: Christ on the Cross.
Jesus came to redeem and restore all that sin has damaged and marred, including marriage.  Where we could not live out God’s plan for marriage, Jesus perfectly fulfilled God’s standards.  Jesus loved the Church enough to die for her. He perfectly submitted to the plan of God the Father. Jesus is the complete and perfect fulfilment of God’s design.
-        Jesus’ counter-cultural view of women.
-        Early church’s inclusion of women in ‘ministry’.
-        Equality of status; difference of roles.

Marriage is designed  to be a visual representation of Christ’s relationship with his bride, the church (Ephesians 5).  God created men to lead and women to help.  From the moment our first parents chose to follow their own desires rather than obey God, sin entered the world and we’ve been seeking after our own way ever since. Sin destroyed God’s plan for marriage. Instead of seeking the good of one another, we demand our own way, seek after our own desires, and expect our spouse to give to us without us having to give anything in return.

Application: Christ the Redeemer of Godly, Biblical manhood and womanhood.
-        What shapes our manhood ideals – Mens Health, Business Daily, The Enterpreneur or The Bible?
-        Who are our heroes – Barrack Obama, [Chivalry] Wrestling Champions, Uhuru Kenyatta,  David Moyes, Arsene Wenger, Naushad Meralli, Chris Kirubi?

Christ Calls us to lead by loving - Sacrificial love. Ephesians 5
-        Love and Submission are to be understood as mutually exclusive/not dependent on @other.
-        Women thrive when men take on leadership.
-        An ongoing conversation.
1. Family leadership is a call to Love – love your wife, love your children.
2. Leadership is about Vision and Direction, not necessarily speed.
3. Leadership is not a call to exercise power but responsibility.
4. Roles are not superior or inferior – they are different. Perspectives. 
5. Christ restores broken human relationships. 

The ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is summarised in his 3 offices:
Offices of Christ
Application to the godly husband
Priest: Speaks to God on behalf of the people, offers sacrifices [His own perfect, once and for all sacrifice], is people’s mouth-piece before God.
Godly men will want to mirror a priestly role in the family. Leading the family in worship and intercession.
Prophet: God’s mouth-piece bears the word of God and delivers it to the people. He is indeed the word of God [John 1:1]
Husbands can mirror the prophetic function of leading their families in devotions, teaching the children in godliness [Eph. 6].
King/Prince – Christ was a ruler in the biblical sense of a leader, an arbiter [judge], a protector and provider for his people.
Men are called to head their families through sacrificial love as Christ loved the church. To provide, protect and lead as servants.

Closing Remarks: A call for faithful search and obedience to scripture.

The promise of a new heaven, a new paradise of God. Rev 22 when human relationships will be fully restored.

-        Harrison Mungai Macharia.

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

From the Archives - May 2010

Monday Updates – 11th May 2010

Dear folk,

I am sure its about a fortnight since you heard from me. I have been caught up in a wave of ‘activity’ that sometime make me rethink ‘ministry’. I have been sprucing up our publicity efforts ahead of the planned partners do on 5th June. We had to get the newsletter out in good time and also work on the website a little. I have also been following up an intended trip to the UK next month to raise support for the work as well as reconnect with mission partners/churches. I have also been following up a number of potential placements in readiness for September. I have been making contact with potential apprentices from Kenya and the region as the recruitment goes on. I have been working on a number of proposals to raise funds both locally and overseas for certain segments of the work – like cushion fund, staff provident fund etc. I have been developing the conceptual framework of iSA in readiness for demutualization (transisition) in September. I have been developing a framework for the  strategic plan for the next 5 years. I have been putting together a board of directors for the work and working to make it functional. I have been pursuing different forms of registration for iSA and with Duncan having travelled I have been doing quite a bit of admin in the office. I could go on and on. (sounds like I am moaning or something? Sorry it if sounds like so, I do not mean to complain, just to bring you a little into my world)

Certainly my dear apprentices suffer the most as I go on and on thinking at the strategic level. I get caught up in all manner of activity which one might question whether it is productive. Sadly, pastoral contact is lost and apprentices may be justified to feel negelected. This could not come at a worse time when already attention is slowly shifting towards the next team and on your part, gears are significantly shifting towards your next step. I think one way of dealing with all this is to take good old advice given to Moses by his wise uncle – choose some people and share the burden with them. Clearly that is what apprenticeships are all about – developing leaders and I think it is time we expanded the staff team so that future apprentices do not suffer or the strategic edge of the ministry gets blunt.

So what is ministry? I have been reflecting on this for a while and it is one thing I usually hope apprentices will nail down by the end of their year. We are all in ministry and perhaps that is why I am usually inclined to be more specific and use the term gospel ministry. Certainly this carries the idea of service and good news of the kingdom. Oftentimes we are accused, mainly by those in the corporate world, of being lax, without tight controls of our time, with no deadlines to beat, no one breathing heavily on our shoulder to check our performance etc. They think that we have it too easy and that ministry does not involve accountability. I wonder if we have sometimes reinforced this perception of laid-back, hakuna matata attitude that does not get concerned about excellence, time, results etc. On the contrary, I think we operate on a higher standard since the one we seek to please sees both inside and outside. Way beyond what a supervisor seeks, our ultimate Supervisor looks into our motives, attitudes and is interested in both the big picture and the minute details of our service of Him.

May I encourage you to relook at your definition of ministry. It captures just about anything we do to the glory of God – active and passive since by word, deed and lifestyle we are to be the sweet smelling aroma that draws people to God -  Working on that report is ministry. Manning that reception. Delivering that letter. Writing that receipt. Arranging those chairs. Keeping those kids in control. Directing that parking. Typing those mails. Teaching those kids math. Ordering that queue. Washing those shirts. Doing that Bible Study. Witnessing to that soul. Making contact with that partner. Writing that article. Finishing that research.

Dear ones, I now need to close. I will not even have time to incubate this (they say if you write something, please leave it for 24 hours and then re read it, you will see a lot of changes that you need to make) I hope to hear from you on your progress.Let me close with a couple of points.

1.      Plans for the partners day are on. I hope you are doing your bit in publicity (should we put some pressure and require that each one of us hakikishas a certain number of their partners come?)
2.      We hope to release a bumper copy of the newsletter before that day. Please send your articles, reflections, poems, stories and stuff to Nyambura on  – It will largely be a print copy for free distribution during the partners day.
3.      As intimated above, we are working on a strategic plan for the next 5 years. This is usually a long consultative process and we hope to have a document ready in time for the convocation when we hope to launch it. Please participate by giving us raw ideas on how you would like to see iSA in 5 years time. What would you like  to have differently? What must we not lose over time? Later on, I will send you a structured questionnaire for more engagement, for now just send me those raw (unrefined) thoughts.
4.      I have been hoping to do one good round of placement visits before the UK trip. Good people, I am overwhelmed- my plate is just too full and I doubt I will make it before August let alone mid June. Please bear with me.
5.      I hope you got yor stipends last week. There was a 2 day delay as we waited for last minute trickles from your mission partners (which significantly affected your stipend). Its not particularly easy to keep Kenyans within deadlines and I wonder if we are going contextual or just relaxing standards? We felt gracious (sufficiently...) this time round and allowed the 2 days. Sorry if that incovinienced you, especially since we did not comminicate to that effect.
6.      Thank you to those who made it to First Priority on 2nd May. It was really good of you to gather and pray. Never mind your (evil?) plot did not work. [note: they had planned a birthday shower for me.]
7.      Please pray for more staff. We need at least another 2 full time staff from September. Ask the Lord to give us the right people. Please pray for my upcoming trip. There have been a few setbacks already and we need the Lord’s favour to make this trip. I will divulge more details soon. Pray for Duncan who is currently in the UK. Pray for each other, especially the next step.

You remain in my thoughts and  prayers.