Sunday, December 26, 2021

THREE LESSONS FOR ADVENT : #3 - IN DEFENCE OF TRADITION

When we speak of examining. or if we even begin to question the subject of traditions that surround the Christmas holiday, we put ourselves in a very precarious situation.

Traditions at Christmas time are like a mighty river, running strong and deep. If one attempts to change any one of these Christmas traditions in any way, it is like trying to alter the course of the great force of its current. Any barrier that is placed in front of that unstoppable flow will only cause the pressure to increase to a point where all will burst loose.

We must ask the question if there is there any meaningful benefit in tradition. What actually is the value of the tree and all the lights? Is the holiday simply an excuse for excessive consumerism? If so, and if these traditions have no true and lasting value, how are we to change them? How are we to alter their flow or even stop the current completely? Should we even attempt to do this?

But coming at this from another perspective, if there is some benefit to our traditions, how are we to gain from them? How are we to cut through the distractions of the non-essentials to get to the core value of what the traditions can teach us?

Having said what I did in the previous two sermons concerning some misplaced emphases on certain perspectives of Christmas, I would now like to allay some fears that some may have, perhaps thinking that I am suggesting that we throw off all previous vestiges of our Christmas celebrations. “Cast out the traditions!—no trees, no lights, no presents!”

I do not say that, and in this sermon, I would like to offer a small defense of the traditions of Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2021

THREE LESSONS FOR ADVENT : #2 - WORSHIPING THE BABY

Redemption came to us wrapped in swaddling clothes. The Eternal King was born to us in a filthy sheep cave. We could not have been more surprised by the manner in which God sent his Son to us.

But as we consider this astonishing event, we must be careful of how we interpret this message of redemption. It is actually the totally surprising manner in which Christ came that may even contribute to our confusion about who he is. The story of his birth is so marvelous that we make the telling of it the focus, instead of the deeper significance of the story.

The event of the birth of Jesus is so extraordinary that once we hear it, it is one that will always stay with us. In many ways this is good, of course, but it can also be dangerous. It can be dangerous, because if it is only the story that is the focus of our worship, Jesus merely becomes one of the characters of the story, and as a mere character, he is not allowed to change. We may worship him in a sense, but our worship may be misplaced.

The Story of Jesus in Two Parts Only

Christmas, along with Easter, are the big Christian religious holidays of the year. Whether or not the two dates are historically accurate, and despite the ways in which the church arrived at these dates, both have long been the times of the year in which we celebrate both the birth of Jesus, and His resurrection from the dead.

It is true that in our churches, we celebrate Christ often throughout the year. As churches, we gather to celebrate Jesus at least once a week. In many of our homes, we celebrate him every day.

However, for very many people of the world who live in a Christian culture, these two dates are important only because they are the only times of the year when they think about Jesus. For these people, the only times in their lives that Jesus is actually celebrated is twice a year—at Christmas and at Easter. For most of the year, these individuals are so busy with their lives they have very little time to think about Jesus.

It is good, therefore, to have the celebrations of Christmas and Easter to remind us of the Messiah. However, and as I have said, there is some danger in this as well. Because of the focus on only these two events, these people have come to have a distorted view of who Jesus is.

The Dangers of Christmas

If you think about it, you can see why.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

THREE LESSONS FOR ADVENT : #1- SURPRISED BY CHRISTMAS

Sometimes our spiritual journeys take on the manner of basically just plodding along in our lives, step after step, almost forgetting what our real purpose in the journey is. We become so accustomed to dealing with a chaotic and sometimes combative existence that we must face almost every day in this world, that we lose sight of our ultimate goals.

Then suddenly, when we expect it the least, we are surprised by the possibility of redemption. We are reminded that our ultimate destiny is not tied to the things of this world. We catch a glimpse of the Redeemer.

When the Redeemer came in the first millennium, some of the more observant people, as well as those who had been carefully listening to the message of God, may have been looking for Him, but very few had had the patience to wait. Most of the people of the day were too involved with their day-to-day activities and their attempts to secure their own positions in this world to be concerned with the coming of a little baby born to a poor young woman and her husband.

The Surprised that Appeared out of Swirling Dust

Many years ago, as I was driving through an arid and desolate region of Venezuela, I came upon a little village in the midst of that swelteringly hot and dusty area of the country. The houses were mostly of adobe, and the people of the village were poor goat-herders whose daily task was to wring out a living from the dry and nearly barren soil of the desert plain. Everything around me spoke of struggle.

Even the basic necessity of water had an alkali smell, and could only be obtained with much effort by walking to a village well, dropping a bucket into the deep round shaft dug into the ground, and pulling it up using a pulley system and a rope.

And the air, which especially should be equally abundant and vitalizing to all, refused to be too charitable with its refreshment. Every breath only brought into my lungs air that felt too dry and too hot. The dust that it contained mixed with the sweat rolling down my face and made dirt form around my nostrils. My nose was working doubly hard to strain out the dust before allowing the air to enter my lungs. It seemed that I could not get enough oxygen breathing in this way only, but because the air was so dirty, I was very hesitant to part my lips even just a bit in order to draw in a deeper breath. I envisioned all of that dust entering into my lungs.

Then, as I neared the plaza in the middle of the town, I saw something that seemed entirely out of place in that God forsaken corner of the world.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

LETTER FROM PASTOR JOEL - DECEMBER 15

Praise God! Dad, Mum, Church and Friends,

Greetings from Kenya family. We are humbled to thank God for us that through you, He has blessed us spiritually and physically through support that we have ever received from you. We praise God for the love and prayers. We feel the power of your prayers, because the church has reached more souls this year than before.

Receive the thanks giving from me as a pastor, and also from the Church Leadership, church members and children from orphanage. We all appreciate the work you have done. We have seen it good to send our Thanksgiving for the help sent to us. Surely through God moving in your heart, your help has worked for the church and orphanage too. We trust that you will accept our thanks.

Please let the church and friends who support the work in Kenya know we appreciate their help. We know that words will not be able to express our deepest gratitude we have for you, but we are honored that you all are blessing us in a way that God has designed it. May our God bless you all for the help we receive from you.

Kindly, we are sorry if there are anything we did wrong in our irregular and late replying and reporting of the children. We apologize for the same. Kindly we request that do not terminate the support because your support reach to the church for evangelism, food orphans and school fees and building the school. Thanks for being there for us and may good God restore whatever you have lost as church, ministry and church.

We are joining all as church in our prayer and fasting list and we trust God will provide for you and all with you. Keep praying for the Christmas season God to provide for something that Church will have something to celebrate this time of Christmas as we have families from poor families which cannot afford anything. Kindly join us in prayer God to provide. Thanks.

Lastly, we welcome you to Kenya for the ministry work and we will be humbled to receive you and see the work God is doing here through your prayers and support in every way. Welcome, we call you blessed, may God continue to bless you and your family as we look forward to finish 2021. Tell your team and Church we appreciate all their efforts to support us.

We are here to thank all who have been donating towards school building its our prayers you keep praying for it to continue, we trust God will provide. Thanks.

May God reward you all. Humbled to serve with you to advance the Kingdom. We finally we finished well the conference we thank God for using us to continue with it. May God bless you all Abundantly.

Best regards to all.

Yours Pastor Son Joel and Church Leadership

Below is the budget of what we received.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

WHY WE DID NOT GO TO KENYA - THE LOG CHURCH SERMON, DECEMBER 12

Admittedly, the trip was rather hastily planned. I had originally hoped to visit the churches and the orphanage in Kenya last year in early 2020. But then the covid virus struck the world, and life became crazy. We went from “fifteen days of quarantine to flatten the curve,” to lessons on how we should wash our hands, to shutdown mandates and mask mandates, to social distancing X’s on the floors of every store, to promises that the vaccines would solve everything and that everything would soon get back to normal.

But as we continue to learn, “normal” is a moving target. Instead of life settling down to any type of regularity, it seemed to be always constantly changing, and even in some ways becoming more difficult. Travel restrictions, for instance, were becoming not only more demanding, but also more unpredictable. Rules for where you can fly and from where you can return were always shifting depending on the latest covid numbers.

I could take it no longer. The craziness seemed to not be ending, so I decided it was time to go to renew our friendship with the people of the churches and orphanage of Kenya before it became impossible. I felt a strong pull to return and see with my eyes how the orphanage was faring, and how the churches were progressing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

FAILED TRIP TO KENYA

This week Vivian and I were to be in Kenya at a conference organized by Pastor Joel and the church leadership. The trip was unsuccessful. We were stuck in Chicago with visa problems.

On Sunday, I will be telling the entire story in my sermon at the Log Church, and will be posting it later in the day on this blog.

Our failure was a big disappointment, but we cannot stay there. We press ahead with what we see God giving us to do.

The following is a report that I received from Pastor Joel today:

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Dear beloved Dad, Mum, Church and Friends,

Praise to God for the love and prayers you offer for the Kenya church. We are humbled for the provision and protection that God had for overseer Donald and Mum Vivian for their time in Chicago Airport. We know that God kept them safe during that time. We are sorry to those who expected the trip will happen but did not happen. We are sorry for this but we have to accept and submit to the will of God.

Dad and Mum, sorry it didn't happen but we trust God will send you to Kenya soon. Sorry to those gave their gift for the children and sorry to Mum for returning home with the gift that you were bringing for children, such as sanitary towels more to touch the life children.

We are sorry to all donors who were waiting to hear progress of the work in Kenya kindly keep extending your hand of help to Kenya orphanage and school project, we sorry for the period of two weeks we have not updated on the blog we waited for Dad to come and give you the reality of the work but we hope it will happen.


Yes were praying and fasting as Mum was on the airport but we can not say God did not answered our prayers. No. We thank God for answering our prayers that Dad and Mum are safe looking to God for the trip. Kindly adjust and accept with us that Covid-19 has changed protocol of travel industry.

Beloved Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’

We as Kenya church family we did not stop services which Overseer Don was going to minister. We agreed as leaders to continue with programs as a way for keeping the churches here grounded on truth of the word of God. Even Apostle Paul was prevented not go to Thessalonica church so for Pastor Don and Vivian, it is not new.


“For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan obstructed us”. (1Thessalonians 2:18)

In the end, God will clear the way for them. We continue to pray God for this trip happen in Jesus.

Thanks church treasurer for sending help for food. We will update on next email as we wait for the recovery money we had paid for hotel and fuel station in the preparation for the arrival of Mum and Dad. We will give out clear financial report together with what was sent. May God bless you. The Bible say Romans 8:28 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Thanks for those who are helping the work in Kenya, we trust God will provide for you and all with you, kindly accept our thanks giving from church leaders, members and children. We have no words to say but may God reward you and supply what you need in any are of your lives.

We are humbled to attach you pictures of the main church members who were waiting for Pastor Donald and Vivian. They are 550 members main and branch is 230 members and we are all in unity for praying for you all. Welcome Kenya all of you in the spirit and in person. Thanks for your prayers and support. God bless you all and keep you safe. Thank you.

Yours Son Joel and Church Leadership