The Cup – Part 1

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:13

This scripture harks back to the Lord’s Supper and its implications for the church. Notice in particular that last line. We have all been made to drink into one Spirit. Drinking into one Spirit is a command.

This was exactly how the Lord Jesus administered the last Passover.

“27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mat. 26:27-28)

Mark 14:23 says the same thing.

“… And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.”

Notice the disciples drank from one cup. Jesus made them to drink from one cup.

I happen to know for a fact that many churches do not administer the Lord’s Supper – and especially the cup – the way the Lord did it. In most churches, cups are used instead of the single cup that the Lord used at the Last Supper. Each member uses their own cup. For this reason, in Africa, churches even import whole sets of cups from the West.

This deviation from scripture seems petty, but it is deeply telling – and it has far-reaching consequences for the church.

The reasons for this deviation, of course, are plain carnal. People believe they are so much more refined, cultured, and wiser than Jesus was! And some reasons are even darker. People wouldn’t want to associate with certain classes of people. They wouldn’t want to put their mouths to the same vessel that an old hag, or a dirty or uncouth brother or sister has drank from. In any case, today there are so many infections, who knows? One might pick up something from a sick person! People are worried. They are worried for their health.

Ha! What a bitter joke. All this signifies our deep ignorance of spiritual things. It reveals, not only our lack of revelation, but also our profound deficiency of spiritual truths.

Allow me to speak on behalf of God here. God wouldn’t care if half the church were suffering from tuberculosis, pneumonia or whatever. He is the God that healeth us. Where is faith? But, even more importantly, where is the revelation of the things of the Spirit? Where is the revelation of the cross in our lives?

And, above all, where is the love of God?

If there is one area where the devil has effected a total coup against the church, it is in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We divide the cup in church, and Satan is very happy because he knows we do not have the vaguest idea of what that cup means. We do not understand its importance.

But the cup is not supposed to be divided. It is not to be divided because it signifies an important spiritual truth; probably the most important truth of all. The cup that Jesus commanded His disciples to drink (of which they drank all from the same cup) signifies our identification with Christ in His sufferings and death. Partaking of the cup at the Lord’s Supper means we drink from the same cup that Jesus drank.

Remember when James and John went to Jesus and asked that one of them sit on His right side and the other on the left in His glory (Mk. 10:37)? What did Jesus answer them? Jesus asked them,

“can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?” (v.38)

He was talking of partaking of His sufferings. To have a shot at sitting anywhere near where Jesus would be seated in His glory, these guys would have to drink from the same cup that Jesus drank from.

In 1 Cor. 11:26 we read:

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

The Lord’s Supper is a powerful declaration by the church that we are willing to daily die to self.

Notice in our key scripture above that we have all been made to drink into one Spirit. And the Bible qualifies the “all” by stating,

“whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free”.

There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no gentleman and a commoner. If we have all been made to drink into one Spirit, how so much easier ought it to be for us to drink from one cup in church? How can we claim to be able to partake of the sufferings of Christ while in church we cannot even partake of one cup?

We all who have been called by God have all been called to partake of the sufferings of Christ. And the single cup that we all drink from during the partaking of the Lord’s Supper signifies our understanding of this deep spiritual truth.

In the second part of this deposition, we will look at yet another important aspect of the Lord’s Supper: the one-ness of the Body of Christ.

The Church – Or Nothing

O1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”. 1 Cor 1:1-2

Notice how carefully the Apostle Paul sets out his words in the above scripture. There is a reason for that, as we shall see.

The title above might appear a bit confusing. But I have written it deliberately so in light of what I need to say here.

Have you ever noticed, in the epistles, that the apostles did not write to a particular person when writing to the churches? In other words, they did not address their letters to a man. On the contrary, they wrote to the church. In their letters, they addressed the church as a unit. In doing so, they were proclaiming a cardinal truth of the Spirit: that WITH GOD, IT IS THE CHURCH – OR NOTHING.

Just in case you missed it, let me reiterate it right here, at the very outset, in the clearest terms possible: NO MAN IS ABOVE THE CHURCH. No minister, no ‘spiritual’ leader, no one in the five-fold ministry, no elder, NO ONE is above the church. The church as a unit is above any man or any group of people.

Actually, the forerunner to this state of affairs is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus did not put Himself above the church. He put Himself in the midst of the church!

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Heb. 2:12)

The church is a Body, a singular unit, and God has no favorites. Oh, but I have to correct myself there. I needed to say that God does have favorites; but God’s favorites are not what we have been programmed to accept. On the contrary, God gives greater consideration to the weak, the less honorable, and the less beautiful. We read that in 1 Cor. 12:22-23.

“Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.”

The Early Apostles had an understanding of God that we do not have today. No wonder even their lifestyle, their modus operandi, and the miracles, wonders and mighty deeds that happened in the Early Church are incomparable to anything that we see today.

These men of God knew the heart of God for the church. And they knew exactly how God equally gives honor to every part of His Body, which is the church, and that there is favoritism with Him. That is why they addressed letters to the churches, and not to men!

But even then, all along, since the time of Moses, this aspect of God with regard to the church had been lying there in plain sight for everyone who had eyes to see. In the Old Testament, when we read about when the children of Israel went out to gather the manna that God had brought down to them, the account states:

“17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack…” (Ex. 16:17-18).

Long before, in the Old Testament, God had declared His standard: none is of more value to Him than another. In fact, God is particularly detestful of any one of His children who aspires to appear more important than his brethren. God has equal regard for all His children.

Praise God for whoever we are. But the minute we begin shelling out our position, our qualifications and our accomplishments we become nothing with God. In effect, we cut ourselves from the Body of Christ.

In the days we live we hear things that literally make your ears to tingle. I heard one preacher say, on live TV, “I have spent 3 billion shillings building my reputation!”

Yeah, you heard that right. Someone had tried to soil this man’s name on social media, and he was not taking it lying down.

Of course, the man is a big minister, and he has a large following. But, alas! he is a classic example of a man who is living on his own. The man has effectively cut Himself from the Body of Christ. God cannot allow a person with such an attitude into His church.

But the standard for being a part of the Body of Christ is,

“Who maketh thee to differ from another?” (1 Cor. 4:3)

In other words, Who are you?

The Apostle Paul said repeatedly, “I am nothing.”

That is the standard for one becoming a member of the Body of Christ.

Have a lovely Sunday morning all.

[God loves His church!]

The Apostle And Unity In The Church – Part 1

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God… Rom. 1:1

I often joke with my family. I tell them, “I am the most important person in this family. In fact, I am so important I don’t need to do anything else apart from just being about. My presence alone here is work enough!”

That might be me joking; but the position of fatherhood within the family is more important than we think. A household without a father is like a body without a head. It is uncontrollable. The father is the authority figure in the house. A household that has no father has very little authority – and, hence, little order or discipline – in it. This is by no means a love-less attack on single families, no. But we must uphold God’s truth despite the odds we encounter in this life, for God is in heaven.

The scenario I have just described above concerning the family is the same with the church. In the same way that the father is of paramount importance in the house, the ministry of the apostle is the most important ministry in the church. For this reason, the Apostle Paul writes:

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles…” (1 Cor. 12:28)

Why is this ministry paramount in the church? It is because this ministry is it that establishes the fatherhood of God in the church. The church is a household; and as we just saw there is no household without a father. The Bible talks of

“14 … the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:14-15).

In this scripture, the Swahili Bible substitutes the word “family” with “fatherhood”.

There are therefore fathers, and we cannot all be fathers. We thank God that we have a Father, God Himself. But God, through His manifold wisdom, has in Jesus Christ placed in the church men to represent Him in the office of fatherhood. These men are called apostles. Notice it is men, not women. There are no women in the 5-fold ministry. Women can work in other offices in the church, but not in the 5-fold ministry. Jesus set the precedent to this during His earthly ministry. There were no women among the 12 apostles that He chose.

The reason for this separation is because the 5 ministries encapsulated in the 5-fold ministry are ministries of authority; they represent the authority of God. Now, the Bible forbids a woman from exercising authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12). God could not therefore break his own rule by allowing women into the positions of authority that the 5 ministries of the apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist and teacher carry.

This representation of God’s authority by men working on behalf of God, is evident in Ephesians 4:11-13, where Paul writes:

“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.

When these ministries are in the church, the church can therefore become a true spiritual household. There is no longer any carnal independence because the church is now a family and each person is subject to one another in the fear of God. And the authority of God can be felt by God’s people because the father – the apostle – is there. This authority disciplines us to become true spiritual children, walking in the righteousness of God. This, in turn, creates the bond of unity that makes the church to become a body, the Body of Christ.

Today, the church is there all right; but it is a different church than the one God intended. There is little discipline in the church, and it is deeply fragmented because there is no authority. Today, any man can arise and do whatever seems right in their own eyes, all in the name of the Lord. There is no one to point the way; or to put a “STOP” sign where one is needed.

So, who is the apostle? Is it any man who declares himself to be one?

By no means, no. The apostle does not just declare himself to be an apostle. On the contrary, he is declared to be an apostle both by the ministry he carries of revealing the cross of Jesus Christ. This means he reveals the crucified Christ. And, pray, how does he do that? He does so by allowing the cross to work in his own life. This fact is of primary importance. The apostle is a man whose life has been crucified with Christ; he no longer has a life of his own. Rather, he is a bond-slave of Christ in the Spirit.

Secondly, he preaches no other gospel other than the gospel of the cross.

That was how Paul and the other apostles were declared to be apostles. Firstly, Paul states in 1 Cor. 1:22-23,

“22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified…”

Today, the most important preacher is the miracle-worker. Not so in Paul’s day, as is so clear in his words above.

Secondly, Paul show us something else that is of even greater importance. In 1 Cor 2:2 he declares:

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

When he says “I determined not to know” he is talking, not just about his preaching, but his lifestyle also. Paul lived a crucified life among the Corinthians and through his life that was crucified with Christ he revealed the power of the cross to the church. He revealed the power of the cross in his life first!

There are many apostles today; but there were many apostles also during the Apostle Paul’s ministry. But there was a basic difference between Paul and these other men. In 2 Cor. 11:13 he writes:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”

Many of today’s apostles are exactly as Paul describes those of his time. They are false apostles. Why? Because they do not live the crucified life. They cannot reveal Christ because they have no revelation of Christ in them. Rather, they have a ‘revelation’ of the flesh. They live for and serve the flesh. Chief among these are the prosperity preachers.

But Paul had a revelation of Christ in his life. His life is a testimony to that. Let us take time to read Paul’s defense of his apostleship.

“23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” (2 Cor. 11:23-30)

That is the testimony of a man who has seen the crucified Christ in his spirit. Any other ‘revelation’ will produce something else.

For a lack of a father, therefore, the church today is fragmented. There is little discipline, order, love or unity within the church. In fact, we have gone to the extent that we glory in the non-existence of these things. We rejoice in our divisions, feeling proud of our denominations or groupings somehow thinking we had a monopoly with God.

So what’s the answer to this problem?

The answer is simple. The church must recognize and allow the true ministry of the apostle within its ranks. It must relinquish the position of the father to the true church fathers – men who have a revelation of the crucified Christ in their hearts and who manifest this revelation through living a life that is crucified with Christ, just as we have seen the Apostle Paul had. These men may be few, and few indeed they must be. But they are there even now, lurking somewhere in the background, just as John the Baptist told the Jews:

“26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” (Jn. 1:26-27)

They are unknown, yes. Yet, when our spiritual eyes are open and we see what we as the church need (and what we do not need), we will turn and we will see them. And when these ministries have been given their rightful place in the church, then true spiritual healing and growth will come into the church, and the church will be a true abode of God, bringing joy to His heart as He beholds her order and righteousness.

[The Great Rift Valley]


Unity – The Ultimate Goal

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:13

Every process in life seeks to work out something, which is called the end product. The end product could also be referred to as the goal.

Just as it is in the natural, so it is with the gospel. And what, pray, is the end product of our calling as believers? Many would answer, “To be holy”. That is true, all right. But still that is not the real heart of God’s goal in calling us. You would be surprised to learn that the ultimate goal is… unity. God’s ultimate aim in calling us is to have a holy, spiritual, unified Body.

In all it does, the gospel of Jesus Christ aims at one ultimate goal, which is the unity of all believers in one Body, the Body of Jesus Christ. There is no greater goal with God than the unity in the Spirit of the individual members that comprise the Body of Christ.

In the same breathe, therefore, the greatest person in the Kingdom of God is the person who through the Spirit works towards the singular goal of UNITING himself/herself with the Body of Christ in the Spirit.

The singular work that the gospel has is to put to death the things that prevent us from becoming ONE, UNITED as a body.

Once we understand that, I believe we can now all see the incredible price that each one of us is called upon to pay individually in order to arrive at that goal. This is because we are all selfish by nature, and that selfishness simply has to go. Through the love of Christ that has been shed in our hearts, we are called upon to live for others.

In the natural, they say birds of a feather flock together. In other words, people with the same interests easily accommodate each other. But it is not so in the Spirit. In the Spirit, we ALL are to accommodate each other. The gospel does not put a difference between particular kinds of people.

There is no difference, therefore, between a white man and a black man, a rich man and a poor man, nor the cultured and the uncultured.

The white man has to die to his whiteness. The black man has to die to his blackness as well. I am not an expert in sociology, but as a black man, I know there are many inbuilt complexities that make me African. These attitudes also control my relationships with men of different color, especially the white man. I was raised up to believe that if I see a white man I am to snap to attention. And probably the white man was born with an inbuilt mechanism that allows him to only look down upon the African.

Unfortunately, these differences are inescapable in the world. But that is because the world does not have the ability to defeat that condition. But the gospel is the POWER of God. The gospel has the power to put to death my African-ness and for the white man to put aside his white-ness. In the process, the gospel ultimately brings a right relationship between me and my white brother. The right relationship is UNITY, where there is absolutely no difference between the two apparently different people.

Nor, with the gospel, is there a difference between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, today we see everyone in church striving to become rich. The gospels that propagate this kind of lifestyle are simply promoting selfishness and these are the very attitudes that snuff out the power of the gospel in bringing unity to the Body of Christ.

These attitudes should die within the church. And praise God, there is power to bring down all our un-Godly attitudes. That power is the power of the cross.

What exactly do we mean by the power of the cross? It is the ability, through the Spirit, to deny ourselves and to take up our cross and follow Christ. The cross brings death to the flesh. That is the meaning of the power of the cross. The Apostle Paul writes:

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

The cross… is the power of God. When we deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ, we prove the power of God. In every situation that arises, as we deny ourselves and take up our cross, we are transformed more and more into the image of Christ. The character of Christ is humility in love and as each one takes up this character in them we end up morphing into the desired end product that God is looking and working for – UNITY of the Body of Christ in the Spirit.

“Perfectly Joined Together”

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1 Cor. 1:10-11

[“Perfect” means complete, 100%.]

I know this will sound very un-Christian, and it is, but I can tell you right here that I don’t know of many people, brethren, with whom I am “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” I leave you, the reader, to judge me as you see fit, but that’s a fact I cannot deny. The problem here is with that word “perfect”. If that word were not there in that scripture I would not have needed to make that admission. Had it said “just make sure, somehow”, that would have been just perfect for me. I have hundreds, probably thousands, with whom I am at various levels of agreement with. But the scripture says “perfect”, and that throws a spanner into the whole works for me.

On the other hand, my heart beats with excitement when I consider the implications of this scripture. It is possible for brethren to be perfectly united and be in one accord in everything. Everything! Our mind, our purpose, our will, our speech, and our manner of life. And that is the Godly life, for we are one Body.

As children of God, let us first agree that human nature is way too rebellious for that to happen. I know someone will say that we need to be born again, and we are. But the Corinthians were born again, and they even had the gifts of the Holy Spirit flowing liberally in their midst and yet, as we see, they had “contentions” among themselves!

Clearly, they needed something more. Paul had exactly what they needed: a revelation of the cross. That was what Paul had preached to them at the first instance. In chapter 2, verse 2, he reminds them of the gospel which he first brought them: “Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. In other words, he brought them an understanding of what the cross needed to do in their lives.

But apparently, they had quickly forgotten.

In order for us to understand the gospel that Paul preached, we must first understand that he had received this gospel through a revelation of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 1:12). The Lord Jesus Himself met Paul, then known as Saul, on the way to Damascus and revealed Himself to him in a way we cannot comprehend fully – yet. But the revelation was so clear and powerful in the Spirit that Saul died, and Paul was born! He says in Galatians 2:20, “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.”

Paul became an embodiment of the character and nature of the Lord Jesus. That was how powerful the revelation of Jesus to Paul was.

We cannot contemplate walking in perfect unity without a heart understanding – a revelation – of this gospel. Indeed, we cannot contemplate being perfect as God is perfect in anything apart from this revelation. When we read the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians we see that by implication, there was another gospel (or gospels) that Paul could have preached to the Corinthians. With his over-sized brain, Paul could have preached them a gospel of the intellect. But he chose not to, because he loved the church. He chose to die – to crucify his life – with Christ through the revelation that he had received, that he might bring life to the church.

We must humble ourselves and pray for a revelation of Christ in our hearts. This revelation is the only thing that can crucify the flesh in our lives and bring about true unity within the Body of Christ.

The Wickedness of Man’s Heart – Part 2

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer 17:9

Through the new birth, Christ has given us a new nature, and a new heart. We have been born of the Spirit of God and our hearts have been cleansed by the blood of Christ.

But we know that this newness of life is a work in progress. The flesh – our humanness, that old human heart – is there still, an indefatigable enemy of our souls. The Apostle Paul cried out in Romans 7:24, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

This cry of anguish was a result of the wickedness that he saw in his heart.

I sometimes smile ruefully when I ponder the many times that I seek after men’s approval. I want people to think of me as a good person. But it is not true. I am not good, and I know it.

I appreciate the fact that it is by staying hard by the side of Jesus that I can expect to get and maintain a different heart. There is no other way. Any other way is a big lie or a denial.

The Apostle Paul summarizes it very well when he says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Cor. 15:10). Paul realized how rotten he was. He placed all his hope to be anything different on the grace of God alone.

When we are not walking in the revelation of the cross, we could even be saved and active in church, but our hearts are filled with every kind of evil. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “I cannot address you as spiritual people. For you have in your hearts envyings, strife, war, and every kind of evil.” These guys had even someone in their midst who was sleeping with his father’s wife!

If you find people in a church bound by a certain sin, do not be deceived. You will find every other sin running deep beneath the floor boards of that church. If we are not watching over our hearts, we will carry every kind of wickedness in us.

The Apostle Paul would not find any other way to keep his heart pure apart from a true, spiritual knowledge of and relationship with our Lord Jesus. In Romans Rom 7:24, as we have seen, he writes, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

In the very next verse he provides us with the answer: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…”

In effect he is saying, “Only Jesus can deliver me from the rot that I am!” Paul’s heart was desperately wicked, and he knew it. The greatest challenge that he had was in maintaining a pure and holy heart. More than 50 years after his conversion he writes the Philippians, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended…” (Phil. 3:13-14)

He is not referring to his ministry here. He is talking about his personal walk of faith with the Lord, his life as a Christian. He struggled daily to keep a strong faith and to maintain a pure heart.

A pure heart is needed within the Body of Christ. It is what will keep us holy. It is what will keep us in sincere fellowship. It is what will build us up as a Body.

Father Is In The House!

Many times in church we hear the phrase: “Jesus is in the house tonight!” I am sure many of us would be surprised to hear a pastor say: “Father is in the house!” We most likely would think, ‘That is cult language!’

And yet it is truly the spirit of fatherhood that we need in Church. The Apostle Paul, talking about God’s family, puts it this way: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…” Eph 3:14-15. The Bible says clearly that Jesus came to earth to reveal the Father to us. It is the voice of the father that we need to hear in Church. It is the presence of the father that we need. Fatherhood is the most important institution on earth and in heaven!

One of the biggest curses that today’s generation is burdened with is the fatherless family unit. Many factors lead to this – fathers who abdicate their responsibilities, early pregnancies, divorce. Sometimes, the father dies early; but here the Bible gives the option for the widow to get married (1 Tim. 5:14).

Another contributing factor is that today’s generation is simply a rebellious generation and for some, single motherhood is actually a fashion statement! It is their way of saying ‘No’ to God’s order for humankind.

And yet it is a fact that a family without a father is simply a broken family. The father is the voice of authority in the family. The father brings stability, direction and security in the family. My wife is a strong woman by any standards, but once in a while, when I have been away from home for a long time she will call me and say: “Please talk to your daughter, she’s become too much for me to handle!” And I will speak a few words into the phone – probably of warning, or beseeching – and there will be order in that house until I return home.

There is no meaning to the word ‘family’ without a father. That is the way God made things to be. We cannot substitute God’s ways with our vain human wisdoms.

During the just-ended CTMI Leaders’ Conference in Nairobi we heard the voice of the father. Personally, I was challenged, warned, rebuked and given direction. Brother Miki talked to us about the importance of relationship within the Body of Christ. He clearly showed us that there cannot be true relationships when we are not each taking our proper place in the Body of Christ, something which can only happen through a revelation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Most important of all, however, was that Brother Miki confronted us in the many areas that we had begun slipping back since we received the gospel of the Cross, some 10 or 20 years ago. He reminded us how our lives had been when the gospel first found us – we had many things on the outside, but little life on the inside. The revelation of the Cross and what it came to do brought light and life into our hearts and lives. Initially, when we heard the message of the Cross, we surrendered our lives and allowed that work in our hearts. But, Miki said, many of us had drawn back from that surrendered life and had begun walking as if we were our own masters, without a father. Our lives had reverted back to being our own.

Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians was clearly ours today: “Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you”! (1Co 4:8)

The result? Our former manner of life, the old man of the flesh, had crept back into our lives. Slowly but surely, there were now murmurings, dissensions and warrings amongst us. Not far down along the road, every kind of sin will soon find its way into our midst.

Brother Miki reminded us that we have to go back to the Cross, where Jesus will reveal the spirit of the Father to us.

The conference message was a bittersweet experience for me – tough on the flesh, but music to my spirit. I needed to hear that!

I went back home refreshed, chastised and humbled. I had seen, once again, God’s plan for my life and I had been given reason again to lay down my life and allow Christ to reign fully in me.