Nowadays, I no longer find it a joy to travel to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. In recent years, this once-great city, which was known as “The City in the Sun”, is no longer the beautiful city it was in the 70s and 80s when I lived and studied here. Time has taken its toll on this former jewel of Africa’s modernity.
The eastern part of this city is the worst-hit; and yet, this was where we would be holding this year’s annual East African CTMI conference. With much trepidation, I packed my carry-all case and started on the long journey to Nairobi.
Once at the conference, however, I forgot all about Nairobi’s troubles as I got caught up with God’s Word. This was a journey to remember because Brother Jocelyn Sery from the island of Reunion brought a completely new chapter to this conference. The teaching ministry was unmistakably evident in the man of God as he literally “dug up” extremely rare gems from the Word of God. And he spoke it with the authority of Christ.
The one that I will not be forgetting any time soon is Mat. 7:24-27:
“24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
I had read these verses all my life, but I had never seen them in the light that Brother Jocelyn brought them.
The man of God said, “To arrive at the rock, we must dig. We must dig and shovel out the flesh in our lives, to arrive at the rock, Jesus Christ. Then shall our spiritual lives stand.”
He added, “Otherwise, we shall be building on the sand and when the floods of this world come (as described in 2 Tim. 3:1-8), our spiritual house will not withstand them and it shall fall, and great shall be the fall of it.”
Oh, the beauty of the gospel of the cross of Jesus! And yet, again, the revelation of the severity of God, if we fail to crucify the flesh! This was what I travelled hundreds of kilometres to receive! This was what I would have risked even much more to go hear.
May the Lord help us. God has given His church the most powerful tool to dig out the flesh with in our lives. That tool is the cross of Jesus Christ. Without it we shall never know the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Spirit.
(On the Tanzania side, hurtling towards the border)
(Our bus developed engine trouble)
(Our bus’s crew)
(A tourist van leaving the Arusha Airstrip)
(This ought to be iconic: yours truly with the two peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background)
(The morning sun brings out all the glory of the Mawenzi peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro)
(At the border crossing: teams from Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Singida and Kilimanjaro)
(The fabulous Kenyan ‘matatus’)
(The fabled Mombasa Road, where drivers take the most terrifying risks)
(At the conference: Brother Stephen welcoming Jocelyn)
(Brother Jocelyn ministering)
(The Umoja church, where the conference was held)
(One of the visiting pastors from Singida)
(The fellowship was incredible)
(A section of the delegates)
(A special: The team from Singida with Jocelyn)
(Warming up at a friends’ house)
(Nairobi by night)