By Austine Oduor

After a festive holiday season of travel and merry making, the Nairobi Christian Church congregated for the 2015 homecoming service at the Umoja Church hall on the 18th January.

The songs electrified the hall and it was great to see the awesomeness of God reflected in the praise, worship, prayers and the fellowship break.

The singing was great

The singing was great

Great moment of praise and worship

Great moment of praise and worship

 

The ushers also enjoyed the service from outside

The ushers also enjoyed the service from outside

The song leaders during praise and worship

The song leaders during praise and worship

Deacon Anthony Mwanza and his family delivered the communion message. His son Marley Mwanza pointed out from 1st Corinthians 3:10-15, that Christ should be the foundation of our life. He urged the congregation to always focus on the cross no matter what they are going through. It’s not easy! Our lives will be tested through the trials of this life. Jesus dying on the cross was a sign of how he was willing to give his life for us. What are we giving? Have we thought about it? It’s something very worth pondering. Harrison Wabuko aka Stom kept the audience entertained with the spoken word.

Anthony Mwanza and his family before the communion message

Anthony Mwanza and his family before the communion message

Jeremy Lefler, a Kingdom teacher based at the Chicago Church of Christ gave the main sermon titled, “The Good confession”. He helped the congregation to understand the nature of the persecution endured by the church in the early days and how the church responded to this persecution–Matthew 5:11-12; 10:22-23, and John 15:18-21.

 

 

Harrison Wabuko sharing a spoken word

Harrison Wabuko sharing a spoken word

Jesus was clear from the beginning that persecution was going to be an inescapable reality for the early church. He also looked at how the Romans wrestled with what to do with Christians from two letters between Emperor Trajan and Pliny around 100AD. Rulers were generally tolerant but were not ready to let Christians enjoy their freedom and at times ruthlessly dealt with them.

The Christians were persecuted because they took a stand against immorality and refused to live a lifestyle that participated in pagan worship and practices. They actively shared their faith so that other people could know the God of the Bible. However, they were misunderstood to be cannibals and sexual deviants because of the communion they took that represented the body and blood of Christ, and how they showed affection for each other.They were a threat both politically and socially as they refused to worship the Emperor. When negative things happened the Christians were blamed, such as when Rome was burned. The burning was most likely done by Nero but the Christians were the scapegoat.

The Namei's sharing the Good News from Kigali Church, Rwanda.They shared how God faithfully added to their number and it was really inspiring

The Hohnson & Norah Namei sharing the Good News from Kigali Church, Rwanda.They shared how God faithfully added to their number and it was really inspiring

Jeremy looked at Persecution under Decius who issued a decree demanding universal pagan worship which made it mandatory for every member of the society to worship pagan gods through sacrifice and the burning of incense. Each person was required to have a certificate proving they had worshipped the pagan gods. The dissenters were maimed instead of being killed so that no one would be identified as a martyr and thus influence other Christians to stand their ground. Many did stand firm but because of the brutal torture and mutilation, some Christians gave in quickly, while others purchased falsified certificates on the black market or fled to other cities.

This led to the emergence of the confessors – those who stood up to the torture and mutilation. They endured great persecution and torture but stood their ground and confessed, “Jesus is Lord,” and bore in their bodies the scars of that faithfulness. They had a great impact in the church because of their stand to refuse to denounce their faith. Jeremy urged the congregation to continue with ‘Jesus as Lord even when things are not easy’.

The church was full to capacity

The church was full to capacity

In 1st Timothy 6:11-12, the good confession is the foundation of everything. There are those dark moments we go through but Jesus is still Lord. Do we take our good confession as seriously as we should? Is Jesus really Lord over our lives? We share the same confession as the early Christians and it means as much now as it did then. As times goes by, the confession diminishes in signicance and we forget the seriousness of our good confession at baptism. Most of us have times where we want to be Lord of our own lives. Jeremy shared how he was baptized at 15 years old and confessed ‘Jesus is Lord’, but like most of us he has gone through some trials and endured a few persecutions, but none of us (at least in Nairobi) has endured any persecution like that of these early confessors.

The picture of the early church should inspire us. Does your confession mean the same to you as it meant when you made your first confession? The confession is meant to change our lives. We should not seek a life free from discomfort but seek a life of making Jesus Lord of our lives. Nothing can be amazingly built without some effort. No one can lay the foundation other than the one that had been laid.

Jeremy Lefler presented with a portrait of him and his family in a framed photo.

Jeremy Lefler presented with a portrait of him and his family in a framed photo.

Evangelist John Maleya, Lead Evangelist for the East Africa Churches of Christ, added that Jesus is Lord when we love one another and do all that we are supposed to do as disciples. We cannot do anything without prayer, support and encouragement. He thanked all the deacons who have been very supportive and announced that the church has several teachers in training and encouraged us to pray for them.

These teachers in training are Deacon Jarrett Odwallo, Deacon Julius Nguku, Ev. Richard Ahenda and Ev. William Auki.

The Chairman of the Church Board, Deacon Julius Nguku outlined the Church Strategic Plan, and Evangelist William Auki presented the Church Calendar for 2015.

The church also unveiled its vision- We exist to Love God and to spread His Love with a tagline – Its all about God. The theme for this year is “Build”.IMG-20150127-WA0033

Beatrice Achieng being baptised

Beatrice Achieng being baptised

Evangelist William Auki also shared about the upcoming 25th anniversary and the target that the church has of raising Ksh. 4 million. It will take the church membership working together to meet this goal. The church also witnessed the baptism of Beatrice Achieng and the restorations of Annette Mmboga and Fridah Mwikali.

Indeed the homecoming service was a great time of praise, worship and learning from God’s word.

The writer can be reached at austine@ostinmoriz.com

CategoryKenya, Nairobi
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