The Cross

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those who God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Knowing the Truth

I was travelling in a taxi in Tunisia last year and the driver and I got into conversation about the recent changes occurring in Tunisia and beyond and then the discussion naturally moved to asking about what I did for work. As I explained my job, we discussed development and transformation and the driver mentioned his surprise at the number of Christians who had responded to the emergency on the border with Libya as refugees began to pour over. This led us to talk about faith and Christianity and we slowly moved into the differences between Christianity and Islam. As is often the case this quickly zoned in whether God could really be human and why that was important. We talked about the Cross – whether Jesus really died and was raised. It was interesting to discuss this and to respond to the questions this man had. At the end of our conversation he said how amazed he was to hear this as he had never realised this background and rationale. It made him think deeply and he wished more conversations could be held.

I could share many such stories of such encounters and it confirms to me that people are hungry for the truth and an opportunity to hear and talk about Jesus. What is important to note is that I truly believe that the gospel is the light and truth and that it has the ability to open hearts and minds to God.

The Power of the Gospel

It is the crucified man that can preach the cross. Said Thomas ‘except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails….I will not believe.’ Dr Parker of London said that what Thomas said of Christ, the world is saying about the church. And the world is also saying to every preacher: Unless I see in your hands the print of the nails, I will not believe. It is true. It is the man… who has died with Christ, … that can preach the cross of Christ.” (G. Campbell Morgan, Evangelism, p. 59-60)

What had struck the taxi driver had been the quick response of Christians to help those suffering on the border with Libya. This obvious demonstration of love enriched our discussion. It is hard to share the good news if there is no evidence of it. It is hard to share the good news if we don’t believe in its power to touch and change lives. It is hard to share the good news without loving and caring for the people around us.

I was standing in a queue at the airport check-in in Nairobi and got talking to a young Japanese couple in front of me who were heading back to Tokyo after their holiday. It sounded like they had had a fun time. They asked me what I was doing in Kenya and I explained that I had been attending a theological consultation. This drew their interest and they wanted to know what this was about. So I explained and the young man became very excited. He quickly opened his large suitcase and rooted around until he pulled out a children’s bible. He said, since being in Kenya they had been in contact with many Kenyans who has shared about their faith and this had intrigued them to know more about Christianity and about Jesus, so they thought they had better start with the basics and had thus bought a children’s bible. We started sharing further. Two days later the tsunami had hit Japan and I often wonder what has happened with these two young people.

As we spend time this week reflecting on the Cross over Easter, may I challenge us all to let the powerful truth of what the Cross means sink deeply into our hearts and minds so that the truth and message it inspires would bubble up and through all we do and say. The authenticity of this Good News needs to be in evidence. The way we respond to those in need around us, the way we seek justice and act with compassion, the way we walk humbly with God. People are hungry to know the Love and Truth of Jesus.


1. If people were to look at your life would they see the evidence of a life that has been crucified with Christ and now living for Jesus?

2. Share with one another about this and what you see as evidence in your community that the church is present and real for this community?

Mail - continue to pray..

Reports coming from the north have indicated that there has been much looting, raping of women and the imposition of Sharia Law. Sadly looting also took place by the soldiers who engineered the coup.

Eli Goe (YWAM) thanks us for praying for his safe return to Mali. Here is his news and continued prayer requests:

There is still relatively good access to food and water in the south of the country though some rationing has been put in place. Many of the expatriates have left the country in response to coup and evolving crisis in the North. Rebels have now taken Gao and Timbuktu and appear to have stopped there. They appear to have some internal quarrels as to who takes what. The leaders of the coup have agreed to restore constitutional order and will hold presidential elections as soon as possible. ECOWAS has agreed to be supportive if this is done quickly.

Please pray for this situation and that God’s people would be attentive to his guidance how we should respond. Pray that we may have the courage and conviction to obey his voice.

Peter Akanimoh (Global Relief, Nigeria): responding to the evolving crisis in Mali, Peter has asked us to pray for:

Pray for the Church in Goa and for a friend who is leading a key group there.

Pray for some open opportunity for them to be able to evacuate to Niamey or Bamako where needed

Pray for good temporary place of them in Niamey or Bamako during this transition.

Pray for the replacement of this four wheel drive taken today from this friend

Pray for the international community to be moved to help those affected by this war

Ask God to speak to you about how He may wish you to be of assistance

Please pray for those living in Goa at this time. For basic supply of needs.

Pray for wisdom to coordinate assistance.

Nigeria: Healing Wounds of Ethic Conflict

From Ben Akpera

Ben and Lydia Akpera attended the Le Rucher Mercy Ministry International School of Reconciliation in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this year. Their desire is to work together with others who are seeking ways to bring healing and reconciliation in and around Jos, Nigeria as the crisis their persists. Their plans are to:

Facilitate an orientation and training session on the Healing Wounds of Ethnic Conflict (HWEC) with Christian leaders: 19th to 21st April 2012

To plan and facilitate HWEC workshops spanning out from Jos into Northern Nigeria

Please pray that:

God would enable healing in the hearts of Christian leaders and inspire them to engage in a broader process of healing and reconciliation in the community. Pray that they would have the grace and humility to lead by example in submission to Christ.

God would pour out his Spirit to enable the healing and reconciliation to take place

God would continue to grant those that lost loved ones, properties and peace, the heart to still trust in Him as a God of love and not be drawn into physical conflict even when emotions and realities want to suggest otherwise.

God’s provisions and safety would be adequate for implementing the plans He permits us to embark upon throughout the year.

Prayer Points in Brief

Ethiopia Rain: Kurkura Wafo asks us to continue to pray for rain in Ethiopia to help the recovery the food insecurity.

Partnering for Change Conference: 23rd to 27th April 2012: please pray for registrations to increase and for the administration team as they finalise preparations. Pray that this will be time of challenge, change and deeper cooperation.