Kishapu!

I have been AWOL! That means I left this blog without saying so much as a goodbye. Again! And that was almost two weeks ago. For this reason I feel extremely indebted to ask my faithful readers’ forgiveness. You have been extremely kind to me. These days, though, much of the time I travel without my laptop, which ends any writing plans I might have – until I get back home.

But, that aside, I have been to the most awesome place ever. For one, it is the hottest spot on earth; or, to be fair, certainly the hottest place I have ever been to. Here, the sun comes up earlier than normal and, by 8 a.m. the walls are already hot to the touch. By mid-day, when the sun is supposedly hottest, you are already toast. Everything is white and you cannot see clearly. If someone is coming towards you, say, a hundred meters or so away, they seem to be floating on air. Much like the preacher whose video has been circulating on the net, if you’ve had the misfortune of seeing it.

You would think things couldn’t get worse. But late afternoon, evening and the entire night brings even hotter tidings, and you go to sleep simply out of fatigue.

The town is called Kishapu. It is a small place in the municipality of Shinyanga. It is dirt poor. And it is far from any form of civilization.

But there are God’s people here and this was the reason we chose to host our regional ZGACT ladies’ conference here. Our regional churches comprise those in Shinyanga and Singida. We had ladies from both these regions attending.

We also had an outdoor crusade, which was held late in the evenings. The preachers were Majura and Boni Mkami, both renowned evangelists within our church. Pastor Eli Mpule was the key speaker at the ladies’ meetings, together with the women leaders.

At night, Evangelist Mwakitalu showed Christian films to large crowds.

The conference and crusade ran for a whole week. Far from what you might be thinking, what made Kishapu interesting was not the heat; rather, it was the presence of God. God’s presence was incredibly powerful in these meetings. God was at work, saving and healing people’s bodies and hearts. I, for one, was so blessed I did not want the meetings to end in spite of the unbearable heat.

Every day, during the crusades, people gave their lives to Christ and many souls were added to the Kingdom of God. And the ladies’ meetings were so full of the presence and anointing of God. The teachings were solid teachings meant to bring God’s people to maturity in the Spirit. The key to spiritual maturity? Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Christ. It was a message meant, not just for women, but for every man and every young person also.

The resident pastor, Pamfile, had also invited the local pastors, many of whom attended the outdoor meetings for every one of the seven days that the meetings ran. On the last day, we had a get-together dinner with these wonderful men of God and their wives, where Pastor Mpule had the opportunity to introduce the gospel of the cross to these great men of God. It was poignant to see such men declaring they had never heard such words in their lives!

Kishapu was the place we ALL ought to have been!!

Below, in pictures.

  1. The ladies’ conference was powerful and edifying. Pastor Eli and Mrs. Boni ministering the gospel of the cross

2. The outdoor meetings were packed to capacityImage21184

3. And the praise and worship team was simply awesome

4. Many pastors from neighboring churches came to share in the blessingsImage21199

5. The incredibly gifted man of God, Boni, prepares to go to ministerImage21070

6. Every day, souls came forward to receive JesusImage21044

7. All the pastors who attended were at hand to minister to the sick and needyImage21119

8. Sometimes the meetings went way deep into the nightImage21154

9. Only God knows what could have been going in the heart of this little boyImage21113

10. “Let the little children come to me.” Appropriately enough, the children heard the gospel while seated on Jesus’s donkey cartImage20992

11. In the evenings, it was time to watch Evangelist Mwakitalu’s awe-inspiring filmsImage21061

12. The only way to escape Kishapu’s sizzling heat was to stay buried inside the church building… or six feet under

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The Greatest Gift Of All

The greatest gift that God can give you is a humble and contrite heart. A heart that repents easily, with no questions asked. That is the greatest gift that any man can have from the Lord. Notice, of all people, the person that God is willing to dwell with in His heavenly abode.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Is. 57:15)

In the world, the high and mighty consort with the equally well-heeled. But with God it is different. His dearest friend and closest companion is the man who can preserve a humble and repentant heart. God’s singular friend is the man who is lowly in heart.

In Isaiah 66:1-2 God we read also:

“1 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Lest we misunderstand God when He says “poor” He is not talking about financial or material lack. He is not talking about that kind of poverty. God has never headed that way. You could be poor as a church mouse all your life, and it wouldn’t bother God in the least. You wouldn’t be the first one. In fact, we read of people in the Bible who were rich, but who joyfully allowed themselves to be robbed of their material riches on account of the gospel (Heb. 10:34).

What troubles God is when our hearts are not right. As long as you are okay in your spirit, God is satisfied with that.

On the contrary, when God says “poor” He is talking about a heart condition. He is talking about the person who does not count himself righteous before Him. He is talking about the person who can say from the bottom of his heart,

“God be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13)

Such a man/woman makes God exceedingly glad.

I have heard it said that man’s best friend is the dog. Well, coming from Africa, I don’t know much about that. That idea comes from the white man, but we Africans might have closer friends than dogs.

But it sure is nice to know who God’s best friend is. God’s best friend is the man who can humble himself. It is the man who can say simply, “Forgive me. I have sinned.” He can say that to God, and to his fellow man.

Man’s (and God’s) worst enemy is prideful self. From these scriptures we can see clearly that God hates pride. God cannot sit with a proud man. And by proud I mean someone who cannot humble themselves. Someone who does not carry a repentant heart.

What is a repentant heart?

Probably the best illustration in this regard are the two famous kings of Israel, King Saul and King David. They both sinned before God. David took Uriah’s wife and then had the man killed so he could keep her.

Saul disobeyed God by not killing all the Amalekites as God through Samuel had commanded him to (You can read the entire account in 1 Samuel chapter 15). In retrospect, Saul’s was a far greater sin than the one David committed! It is called the sin of rebellion.

But, anyways, both sinned. Whether big or small sin, both sinned.

The truly interesting thing was that God gave them both a chance to repent. I mean, He could have chosen to kill them both instantly the minute they sinned without even sending someone to confront them. It being the Old Covenant times, such a thing was not unthinkable with God. Anyways, God gave them both a chance to repent.

But Saul would not repent. Instead, he dived straight into self-justification. And He wanted more. He wanted to come out of the whole saga with his pride intact. And so, therefore, after unloading a ton of excuses, he told the Prophet Samuel:

“I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.” (1 Sam. 15:30)

Can you imagine that? How can the two go together:

“I have sinned: yet honour me now”?

There was absolutely no repentance there. This was what killed Saul. The man would not bend.

These are the kinds of attitudes that God absolutely cannot stand. God cannot stand a prideful and rebellious heart.

Saul was irredeemable, and this was how things ended for him:

“34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.” (1 Sam. 15:34-35)

As we see with King Saul here, if you are a man or woman with an extremely hard heart, God can reach a point of no return with you and leave you. The condition of our heart is something to constantly watch over. God left Saul and the outcome was very bad for Saul. He reached to the point that he went to consult with the very witches that he had ordered killed when he had a zeal for God!

In contrast to King Saul, let us see King David, who also sinned. After David was informed of his sin by the Prophet Nathan, notice how short the interaction was:

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”

It is not that we cannot sin. But it is the repentant heart that God is looking for. God will perfect the man with a repentant heart.

[The meek shall inherit the earth – Mat. 5:5]

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Your Heart! – Part 3

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mk. 7:17-23

The freedom that we have in the Spirit can only be accessed through the cross. The cross working in our lives, that is. Any freedom outside of the cross of Jesus Christ is of the flesh. True faith, whereby this freedom is found, states with the Apostle Paul:

“19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:19-20)

Notice the things that Paul says about himself. He is

  1. “dead”;
  2. crucified with Christ”;
  3. “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”;
  4. “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Son of God”.

Paul’s life was crucified! Paul no longer lived! On the contrary, Christ lived in him.

What profound facts! What a profound place to be! What an entirely different lifestyle from the humdrum and tepid Christian lifestyle that most believers live. We are so carnal, so selfish and so self-centered, and therefore we are deprived of the beauty and the power of the Kingdom of God.

Notice Paul says that because he was crucified with Christ, therefore Christ lived in him.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”.

The two cannot exist together. You cannot be alive and at the same time have Christ live in you. If Christ is to live in you, you must go. That was the revelation that Paul received from Christ.

And yet, as we see here, the truly wonderful thing about Paul was that, as he says in Acts 26:19,

“I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision”.

It is all about obedience. Paul could have received the revelation and sit there and begin wringing his hands and mulling over how he would one day crucify his life. He could have said, “What a wonderful revelation! I am now going to lay me down and sleep and I can come back next year and look at this revelation in a different angle. After which I will work out how to approach the cross. Oh, what a wonderful revelation!”

But no. Not this man, Paul. When Paul received the revelation of the cross, he crucified his life. He crucified his life with Christ, to the end that the life of Christ might be found in his mortal body.

This reminds us of Abraham who, when God told him to circumcise himself and all the men in his house, the Bible says:

“23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him… 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.” (Gen. 17:23-26)

On the very day that God told Abraham to circumcise himself, Abraham obeyed God and did so.

God is pleased when we obey Him instantly, as Abraham did.

The need for obedience is the reason why, in our key scripture, Jesus swoops in on the heart. It is such a waste of time, energy and resources to approach the things of God through form and the other natural avenues that we attempt to. The reason for all this preoccupation with these things is because we are nursing our disobedience. For this reason we will never arrive where God wants us to arrive at: His throne room of power, grace and wisdom.

But Jesus wants to help us to go directly to God and to receive from Him. We do this through obedience.

In speaking to His disciples about the heart, Jesus was in effect saying, “Circumcise your hearts; that is enough with God”.

When we fail to circumcise our hearts, we are just going round and round in the wilderness like the children of Israel. They did so for 40 years and in the end they all died there!

What a tragedy. But yet, again, what a lesson for us.

We are to look at our hearts. Forget about form. God’s attention is fully centered on our hearts.

If you take a toothpaste tube written “Colgate”, although the tube is beautifully and ‘loudly’ adorned with all kinds of writings and drawings, yet you know full well that the “Colgate” (the toothpaste) is inside. You have to squeeze the tube to bring out the real stuff – the “Colgate” toothpaste.

In the same manner, God allows many circumstances into our lives to squeeze whatever is inside us out. Whatever we have inside of us is the life that we have in us, and that is what comes out when God brings people and situations to squeeze us. And so it is that when we have not the cross working in us, whenever we are squeezed we give out the “evil things” that Jesus stated here. These are the things that you will find in an un-crucified heart.

evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride foolishness”. (Mk. 7:21-22)

Jesus said,

“All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (v.23)

What troubles God, therefore, is not the food we eat but, rather, on the contrary, it is when we have these “evil things” in us. These things are the result of a disobedient heart, a heart that does not want to be circumcised. A Christian who does not want to crucify his/her life.

But when we are crucified with Christ, whenever a situation squeezes us, we give out the aroma of Christ.

God be praised for the Apostle Paul who could write,

“I am crucified with Christ”.

These are the most beautiful words ever! Whenever the Apostle Paul went through a situation, he left behind the aroma (the knowledge, the grace) of Christ. He did not leave behind the putrid stench of the flesh.

Like fighting for his rights, etc.

We are to crucify the flesh. We are to crucify the rights of the flesh. We are not just to understand the revelation of the cross as Paul and the other saints understood it; we are to get ahold of our flesh and actually crucify it. We will never really get anywhere in the Spirit until we do that. The Apostle Paul said,

“I am crucified with Christ”.

Paul was a man on the move.

[The Apostle Paul: a man on the move]

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Your Heart! – Part 2

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mk. 7:17-23

The Bible emphatically establishes that we are truly free in Christ Jesus. Why all this freedom?

Actually, an understanding of this fact is central to our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The freedom we have in Christ Jesus is the equivalent of entering into the Holy of Holies under the Old Covenant. Through the New Covenant, God has let us in on to His deepest secrets. He has allowed us to see things that under the Old Covenant could not be seen. Then, if one saw them, he would surely have died, for they were hidden in the Holy of Holies where only one person could enter that place: the high priest. Moreover, the high priest had to rigorously cleanse himself before entering the Holy of Holies, otherwise he died the minute he entered that most hallowed place.

But now, through the New Covenant of the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and through unimaginable mercies, God has ushered us into His most sacred inner court. It is as simple as that! It is through the Blood. It is unbelievable, but true. Through faith in the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ, we are now beholding God face to face and understanding everything He would have us understand about Him and His Kingdom.

So what is it about the freedom to eat all foods?

The fact is, food has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. In Romans 14:17, the Apostle Paul states that

“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The Kingdom of God is NOT meat and drink. It has nothing to do with food, so we are free to go ahead and eat anything we want. God is not in that region anymore. God was once there (though grudgingly, under the ‘holding’ Old Covenant). But He moved out a long time ago. He moved out the day His Son Jesus died on the cross. The Bible states that at the exact moment that Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross,

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Mat. 27:51)

God had moved out of the earthly temple.

But it is not just about food. Indeed, the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with anything in the natural. Actually, many of the things that we emphasize in the natural we do to cover up our nakedness in the Spirit. Derived of anything spiritual, we put out the things that can be seen in the natural: form in worship, shouting in church; clothing; outward giving; prayer (some do it on loudspeakers); good deeds; magnificent buildings; order; the list is endless. These things are not wrong in themselves. But it is not these things that God looks upon. Whether we do them or not is irrelevant to the extent that it is the heart that God looks upon.

This is the reason that when it comes to the things that pertain to this earthly body, God is not bothered in the least.

But in the words of Jesus we are afforded the grace to know where God is at. God is concerned about our hearts. We have another world inside us that is far removed from the one we see in the natural. That world is in our hearts, and this is the world that God resides in. In the strictly spiritual sense, God dwells in the unseen world of our hearts.

God therefore looks upon the heart. And it is here that the things that please or disturb Him lie.

[“Faith to walk on oceans deep!”]

In The Interim… Cultural Failings

Today I read an article in Yahoo! News that was headlined: “Aretha Franklin funeral eulogy slammed; pastor stands firm”.

The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. is the pastor who read the sermon at Aretha Franklin’s funeral yesterday.

I would want to take note of three issues mentioned in this article.

One: On Black Lives Matter. “I think Stevie Wonder did not understand what I said,” Williams said. “I said blacks do not matter, because black lives cannot matter, will not matter, should not matter, must not matter until black people begin to respect their own lives. Then and only then will black lives matter. That’s what I said, and again, and again, and again. We need to have respect for each other. Once we start doing that, then we can begin to change.”

Stevie Wonder yelled out “Black Lives Matter” after the pastor said “No, black lives do not matter” during his sermon, according to the article.

Me: It is no secret we Africans are masters at evading responsibility; but here African Americans are taking this burying of our heads in the sand too far. What about what is happening in Chicago? We hear about it all the way from Africa.

It doesn’t matter who Stevie Wonder is. He is wrong. I think it ought to be clear as day that one has to respect themselves first before demanding respect from others.

Two: Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. “described as “abortion after birth” the idea of children being raised without a “provider” father and a mother as the “nurturer.” “Here’s the root of what I’ve been talking about: In order to change America, we must change black America’s culture,” he said. “We must do it through parenting. In order for the parenting to go forth, it has to be done in the home. The home.”

Me: President Trump effectively called the African-American the master gallivanter, which he is. There are so many fatherless African-American families. African-American men, shut up and get back to raising your families.

Three: With regard to the African-American community changing for the better, Rev. Williams said, “It is ludicrous for the church not to be involved. The church is the only viable institution we have in the African-American community. We must step up and turn our race around.”

Me: I stand up for this man. He spoke the absolute truth on these points. I would never defend the African’s failings just because I am an African. We Africans need to be sincere and admit we have deep-seated cultural failings and we need to humble ourselves and return to our God, who alone can help us overcome them.

[A bold man. The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.]

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(Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Your Heart! – Part 1

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mk. 7:17-23

In the Swahili Bible, something is added at the end of verse 19, an addition which is not there in the King James Version of the Bible. This addition reads,

“In saying this, He purified all foods.”

A modern version of this sentence would read,

“In saying this, He permitted all foods.”

Yes, that scripture is in the Bible. Firmly so. It is there, from the Lord Himself.

Many years ago , a small child caught a live cockroach in our church yard and, before anyone could get to him, he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. There were shrieks and screams of horror from all around and by the time people got to him, the bug had been safely tucked away inside the little guy’s stomach and there was little anyone could do.

Everyone was horrified; and his mother went into a sort of spasm. But, although these were church people, apparently they didn’t know the Bible much. They were unaware that inside the Bible they read every day, it is written that the little guy had every right to eat pretty much anything he wanted. The guy could eat a rat if he wanted to. He had every kind of permission and certification that he needed to do this, and he had it from the highest Authority possible – Jesus Himself. Jesus has permitted us to eat all foods.

Actually, the little guy ate this ‘forbidden’ (forbidden by we humans, of course) in the most proper place possible – on the church grounds. It is right and proper to do in the church compound something that Jesus has allowed. Like singing praises to the Lord and eating live cockroaches at the same time.

Today, that small guy is a twenty-something young man, and he is serving God beautifully in the church. Apparently, eating a cockroach did not harm him in his spirit. And nutritionists will tell you that the cockroach is rich in fat, which this growing child badly needed.

There are ‘Christian’ denominations today which are built on the belief that you cannot eat some foods. But here (in the Swahili Bible) we read that Jesus allowed all foods. All.

You can eat virtually anything that your guts can allow. In fact, this freedom to eat anything is so boundless that the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 14:1-3,

“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

The Apostle Paul calls the one who eats only herbs “weak in faith”. What does that tell you. That single sentence is telling us a profound spiritual truth. It is telling us what our faith can do. It is telling us about the incredible freedom that we have in Christ under the New Covenant. We are no longer under law! Actually – and here I am getting ahead of myself, but it does not matter anymore – anyone who is bound by any law is “weak in faith”. God’s deepest desire for every child of His is to walk in freedom. Not the freedom of the flesh, but the freedom of the Spirit. As far as anything is not sin, you are free to do it.

You are free to do pretty much what you like as long as it is not sin. But we ought to note that to stumble, offend or grieve your brother is sin also (Rom. 15-21). If you do something which you think is part of the freedom that you have in Christ but you are doing any of the above things against your brother or sister-in-Christ, you have moved from the freedom of the Spirit to the freedom of the flesh.

But as long as we are not doing any of these things, we ought to celebrate the freedom we have in Christ. When it comes to foods, for one, the bold in the Spirit eat anything their teeth can crack. The truly interesting thing is that, in this matter of foods, the meats that are prohibited under the Old Testament are especially appetizing. In the region where I live, donkey meat is a rare delicacy. And yet in the Bible eating donkey meat was forbidden under the Old Testament because the donkey’s hoof is not cleaved (Deut. 14:7). Swine meat (pork) is one of the most delicious meat in the world. But under the Old Covenant, in Deuteronomy 14:8, it was expressly forbidden.

Many years ago, some young people in our school went on an official tour in the country of France and when they came back they told us they had eaten some things which I won’t write down here. The whole school had been assembled together in the school assembly hall to hear these guys speak, and when they broke this news, pandemonium broke out as the entire hall went gurgling with revulsion. None of us could not take it.

But the good news is… People all over the world are allowed to eat anything they can get their hands on, and this does not make them sinners in the eyes of God. Who has allowed them to eat everything?

God has. The people under the old covenant paid a heavy price. On judgment day we Christian believers will be judged twice as severely on account of the freedom that we have been given under the New Covenant.

[Church: the most exciting place to be]

Women In Ministry – Part 4

1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5 A sower went out to sow his seed… Lk. 8:1-5

This is the final part of this series.

It is clear from our key scripture above that women had an important role to play in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ just as the men. But this scripture also sets the standard by which God apportions ministry to both women and men in the church. Today, especially, there is so much confusion concerning the ministry of women. But scripture here sets a precedent by which, if we humble ourselves, we cannot go wrong.

I believe Genesis 2:18 lays the basis of how our Lord Jesus Christ went about conducting His earthly ministry. There we read:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

The first man, Adam, was a priest. He ministered to God. And God saw it was not possible for His servant to minister alone. So He made Adam

an help meet for him.”

When we talk of ministry, therefore, we are talking of two ministries: firstly, the five-fold ministry, which is given directly by Jesus for the building of the church; and this, as we saw, He gives to the man for two reasons: first, for He is the head of the man; and, secondly, because the man exercises the authority of God in the church.

But there is another ministry: the ministry of helps. God brought along Eve to help Adam in ministry.

By and large, as we see here and elsewhere, God has put women in the ministry of helping the man. This fits in with God’s original plan for the woman, for the Lord said,
“I will make him an help meet for him.”

That is what we see the women who accompanied Jesus doing. They supported His ministry with their substance. That means they fed even the apostles of Jesus!

In Romans 16:1-4, we read an interesting account.

“1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.”

Contrary to popular belief, Phebe was not a pastor. The word “servant” indicates she most likely was a deaconess at the church in Cenchrea. But Phebe was no ordinary “servant”. She was a woman of incredible energy and heart who had helped many, including Paul himself. The word “succourer” means “helper”. We do not know exactly how she helped; but she refreshed the brethren.

Verse 3 tells us the interesting case of the husband/wife couple, Priscilla and Aquila. Paul says directly they were his helpers in Christ Jesus. How did they help Paul? For one, they were willing, for the gospel’s sake, to lay down their necks on his behalf.

There are many ways that Godly men and women people can be helpers of the men that God has appointed to carry the gospel.

The interesting thing is that the women (and men)who ministered to the men of God in the early church did not feel inferior. Thus they fulfilled scripture:

“whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (1 Pet.3:6)

They were not fearful of their “servant” position. The women who ministered to Jesus with their substance knew Jesus had chosen only men to be apostles, yet they did not fear or feel demeaned. On the contrary, they gladly served Jesus… and His men.

They saw far in the Spirit and knew they were co-workers with Christ and the apostles. These were great women in the Spirit. They were greater than if they had tried to promote themselves by strutting across the stage calling themselves apostles, pastors, etc. Had they told Jesus, “We will not support you” (for some were rich) “unless you also acknowledge us in ministry”, they would have lost out in the Spirit.

Oh, how I love these women: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, “and many more”. I would never tire mentioning those names.

In the same spirit, this post would amount to nothing if I did not pay tribute to the many modern-day women (and men) who support genuine servants of God with their substance, and in many other different ways. My own ministry, and this blog, are kept ‘alive’ by the financial, material and moral support of Godly women (and some men; but mostly it is the women) including my dear wife, Flo.

This laptop which I have been using to write this blog for the last what, 5 years? – it was given me by my mother, Carol Lanthier. She brought it all the way from Toronto, Canada to Mwanza, Tanzania, where she lovingly handed it to me.

My heart melts within me when I think of these wonderful people. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I fall down and worship God on their behalf. They never ask anything in return. By serving me they know they are serving God. I pray an overflow of God’s blessings upon their lives.

I want to end by thanking everyone. I thank my fellow bloggers and all who read this blog. I thank EVERYONE. Thank you all. I love you all. But, above all, once again, I salute in the Spirit all who support Godly men in ministry. May the Lord bless you all mightily.

[And now, enjoy this beautiful song. And thank God. Make sure to put on stereo!]