A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Integrity

(My 12th Radio Christian Voice Commentary for 2015)


I have been thinking much about the subject of integrity these days. I have been driven to these thoughts by the sheer absence of truth and honesty especially in the public square. Hypocrisy and lying seem to have become the norm and no one blushes about it.

We are quick to point to politicians as liars—and it is probably true with most of them. This is seen from the false promises they make when campaigning. On the campaign trail they promise us heaven. After the elections, they deliver hell to us with a straight face.

However, it is not only the politicians who are guilty of this. Lack of integrity is seen all around us. Journalists twist stories to suit the message they want to convey to the people. Accountants cook figures to deceive people and steal money. The disease is everywhere!

It is also in the church. Church members lie when you ask them why they did not come to church. Sexual immorality continues in secret until a pregnancy takes place. Pastors claim the Holy Spirit has told them things he has not. I say this disease is everywhere!

Sometimes, the lying sounds very innocent. The other day, I was listening to the radio and the announcer kept referring to his radio station as “your favourite station”. I kept asking myself, “How does he know it is our favourite station?”

Many years ago, I used the statement “your favourite programme” while recording a programme for radio. My producer, Mrs Anne Chimbuvu Chiluba, stopped the recording and said, “Only say what you know is the truth.” That was a lesson I learned very early!

The problem with a society that lacks integrity is that it lacks trust and trust is not an optional extra to life. If I cannot trust you then immediately I cannot have dealing with you. I would rather protect myself from you. That is not how God intended life to be.

We need to train children from the earliest age that truth matters. This must begin with our example. Statements like, “How can you be cheating an adult like me?” are wrong. Kids should not cheat adults, yes. But they should not cheat anybody no matter the age!

God is the God of truth. His word can be trusted. He never deceives. He also demands truth from us. Enshrined in the Ten Commandments is a commandment that says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” It forbids dishonesty in all forms.

Are you living a hypocritical life? On the judgment day, God will reveal the truth about you to the entire sea of humanity—much to your shame. Repent of such a life now and ask Jesus Christ to wash away all such sins in your life. Resolve to live a life of truth. Amen!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Our Director of Public Prosecution is being prosecuted

(My Radio Christian Voice Commentary for this week)


The Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Mutembo Nchito, is being prosecuted! This reminds me of the time when our late president, Michael Sata, suspended some high court judges and called a tribunal to put them on trial. We all said, “Our judges are finally also being judged!”

The judges put up one injunction upon another until our national excitement turned into yawning. The Malawian judge who was to chair the tribunal crossed the Zambian border a few times and decided to go back home, and President Michael Sata has since died.

It proved impossible to judge the judges. One wonders if it will prove impossible to prosecute the prosecutor. We are watching with the same excitement that we had when the judges were about to be judged. We will not be surprised if we end up yawning again!

Let me declare my interest in this matter. Mr Mutembo Nchito is a personal friend. Indeed he is a very close friend of mine. So, I am praying that when this tribunal is over he will be vindicated. But that is me. You may have a different opinion. Let us wait and see.

But listen! The Bible speaks about a judgement that we will all undergo. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 it says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Whereas on earth there are categories of people that are almost impossible to bring before a judge, the Bible speaks of a day when God will judge all of us. There will be no exceptions or injunctions to stop this judgement. It will be the final day of judgement.

Earthly judges often go wrong. This is because they do not know everything and also because they can be biased. They are fallen creatures like the rest of us. There are individuals rotting in prison right now who are there due to the miscarriage of justice. That is a fact!

The good news is that this final day of judgement will be before a God who is holy and who knows all things. Those who have suffered injustice in human courts can look forward to this day because God will vindicate them before the eyes of the whole world.

Are you ready for this judgement? It does not matter who you are—president, minister, Member of Parliament, judge, or prosecutor—you will be judged by an all-seeing and just God. He will either welcome you into his heaven or send you to an eternal fire.

The truth is that on our own we cannot be ready for this final judgement because we are all sinners. There is only one way to be ready. It is by coming to the Lord Jesus Christ in genuine repentance and faith, calling on him to save us from sin. Have you done that yet?
1

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our President Is Sick

(This is the 10th commentary I have given this year on Radio Christian Voice. It was aired last Thursday)


This week, the health of President Edgar Lungu is on everyone’s mind and tongue. The event that occasioned all the speculations have to do with his failure to complete his assignment during the International Women’s Day celebrations. Since then tongues have been wagging.

Thankfully, the President has not disappeared from public view so that we are simply being assured that he is busy in State House actively running the nation. Nor are we being told afterwards that he left the country for medical check-ups the previous night.

President Lungu has been forthright about his health and lack of health. Whether we believe what we are being told is up to us as individuals. However, the fact that he is talking about it has reduced on the speculations, which tortured us last year with his predecessor.

The fact that President Lungu has told us about his health problems does not mean he is going to die—and neither does it mean he will live. Only God holds our lives in his hands. A very healthy person can be involved in a traffic accident and die today. That is a fact.

Everyday, babies die, toddlers die, children die, teenagers die, young adults die, those with young families die, those in mid-life die, and even old people die. In other words, it does not matter who you are—president or not—you could die tomorrow…or even today.

What should concern all of us is what comes next after you die. What is the next big item on the agenda of our lives? This is the all-important question.

The book of Hebrews in the Bible gives us the answer. It says in chapter 9 and verse 27, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Nothing can be clearer than that. The next big agenda for all of us when we die is to meet God our Maker.

That meeting is meant to bring us to judgment. In that judgment, our lives—however brief or long—will be reviewed and God will either welcome us into his heaven or send us to an eternal lake of fire, depending on what he will find there. That is where we will be forever.

Since all of us are sinners—whether we are presidents or not—it begs the question, “Then what should we do to escape being condemned to hell?” Burying our heads in the sand and concentrating on President Lungu’s health will not take away this solemn reality.

Thankfully, after saying, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” the Bible says, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

In other words, our only hope of escaping the lake of fire is in the death of Jesus on our behalf. He bore our punishment on the cross. Have you trusted in him yet? Do so today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A historic letter unearthed

[The Zambian Reformed (Baptist) movement has attracted the attention of many friends around the globe in the recent past. What many do not know is that its initial stimulus came from a few university students who had come to strong and settled Reformed convictions. The rallying point that first kept the Reformation fires burning in Zambia was the annual Elbycites Convention, from 1984 to 1990. Then it gave way to the current Zambian Reformed Conferences. It was from this group that the first Zambian Reformed Baptist pastors were called in the late 1980s. Since then the floodgates have been opened! 

While in Kitwe last weekend, Dr Henry Mugala gave me this letter, which I wrote 31 years ago this month. When I saw it I told him it was worth the price of the whole trip! I was only about 22 years old when I wrote this letter to my friends who were all medical students and in the same age range. I was on holiday during my last year of mining engineering studies at the University of Zambia. This historic letter captures the time of the birth of the Elbycites. It is wonderful to reflect on what the Lord has done since those days of small beginnings!]


C/o Mr Max Mwila
3 Oppenheimer Avenue,
Chingola

March 1, 1984

Dear Roland(1),

Greetings in the blessed name of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope and prayer is that in spirit and in flesh you are fine. As for me, words cannot express God’s goodness to a worm such as I. I pray that I may enlarge my tents to accommodate more of His blessings. Indeed, God is good (Luke 18:19).

I write to enlarge upon that work that we have begun for our blessed Lord, namely, that of the Conventions. Beloved, let us not belittle this work. Many, once zealous for the cause of our great Master, have been cooled while in the field. O that God may give us grace to maintain our banners high and lifted up! Let us never forget the words of the Incarnate One when He said, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.” How much more plentiful must be the harvest now, 2000 years later!


Meet with Henry(2), Dereck(3) and Charles(4) to think through this vision that we have conceived. I was thinking of an original name that could also give a hint that the Convention has its roots in LBC(5). The name “THE ELBYCITES CONVENTION” came to mind (Elbycites is from the word LBC-ites like Israel-ites). Discuss it among yourselves and see if you can improve on it.

The other matter is to do with the theme. I have made it clear to most of you yoke-fellows that I am not content with our last decision on this vital matter. If anything, let us be characterised by clearness of objective and so let us start from there. Why do we feel a need for such a Convention? I think of the following reasons:


(a) The need to meet with other like-minded saints to hear and pray over what God is doing in our lives and by our lives.
(b) The need to remind ourselves of the absolute necessity of the doctrinal preaching of the gospel of our blessed Lord.
(c) The need to meet with others and discuss the Scriptural balance of the system of theology most popularly known as Calvinistic.
(d) The need to rededicate ourselves to our calling, which is clearly enshrined in the Person of our Lord and in his teachings.

You may add more but these seem to me to be vital. It is because they cannot be dealt with in an appreciable depth in an inter-denominational meeting (where some are strangers even to the doctrines of grace) that I feel we need to meet. Please, pray over these until you have seen the Master’s clear will so that by the time we open (in April) you R/way(6) brethren will have come up with a good enough theme for our first meeting. I wish you God’s presence and guidance.


Also, tell the others that I have found one who is like-minded unto us. Lazarus Phiri(7). He is in his last year at ZIT(8) and the present chairman of SNEC(9). He has only recently appreciated the doctrines of grace and he groans, yea, thirsts for more. His zeal for the Lord leaves me desiring that I may emulate him. He is not without a clearly defined stand over the issue of members of the opposite sex. Discuss him too.

Keep my address away from the eyes of sisters. I want to rest a little while from them. When you enter the closet and shut the door, please remember this feeble servant of the Lord here. I am looking also for an evangelist to come and speak at our MISSION ’84 possibly between 16 and 20 April. Salute the saints at R/way and read to them Phil. 1:27-28.

Yours because His, Conrad.
________


(1) Dr Roland Msiska is now Secretary to the Cabinet of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and a regular preacher in his church in Lusaka.
(2) Dr Henry Mugala is now a consultant orthopedic surgeon and an elder at Kitwe Chapel.
(3) Dr Dereck Maseka is now a family medicine specialist and a regular preacher in his church in Canada.
(4) Dr Charles Ngoma is now a consultant radiologist and a regular preacher in his church in the United Kingdom.
(5) LBC stands for Lusaka Baptist Church.
(6) R/way stands for the Ridgway Campus of the University of Zambia where that university's medical doctors are trained.
(7) Dr Lazarus Phiri is the current principal of the Theological College of Central Africa.
(8) ZIT stands for the Zambia Institute of Technology, which later became assimilated into what is now the Copperbelt University.
(9) SNEC stands for the Students National Executive Committee of the Zambia Fellowship of Evangelical Students (ZAFES), which is an affiliate of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).