Tag Archives: Jesus

The church in Africa deserves to be heard


Africa Study Bible contributor Bishop Raphael Okeyo from Tanzania

I believe that the voice of the church in Africa deserves to be heard.

We don’t need imported sermon illustrations about “Prayer is not like a vending machine” – what’s a vending machine anyway?

We need stories from African pastors and teachers that give us a new perspective on familiar Bible passages. We need the story about trapping monkeys in the Kalahari desert. Monkeys know where water is found, but they want to keep the secret to themselves. So people catch a monkey and feed it salt until it becomes thirsty. Then they follow it to the water source. When we hear that Christians are called “the salt of the earth,” it can also mean that we lead people to the source of living water (Matthew 5:13).


Photo by Craig Shaw from ForestRescue

Pastors and teachers from 50 countries have written 2200 notes like the one I mentioned as part of the Africa Study Bible. On the page next to the Bible text, notes and essays connect Scripture to African contexts to help people live out their faith without rejecting their whole culture.

This is not your typical study Bible, written by about 50 American scholars. 345 people wrote notes, edited pieces and reviewed the theology and relevance of each piece.

These writers were dedicated. Some authors were dealing with civil war, persecution as Christians, malaria, or family funerals. All of them wrote alongside their normal work in churches, theological schools or businesses. Nearly all wrote in their second language – either English, French, Portuguese, Arabic or Swahili.

But as I managed the first half of the editorial process, I saw their commitment firsthand. They believed this was crucial work for God’s kingdom. As contributor Dr. Issiakia Coulibaly from West Africa Alliance Theological Seminary (FATEAC) said, “Like Philip explaining the Scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:31), so will the Africa Study Bible be to thousands and thousands of African Christians today.”

The writing is done, and the editing is nearly complete. The church in Africa is ready to speak – we just need to give them a platform.

If you want the voice of the church in Africa to be heard, this week is your chance! Invest here through Kickstarter. Your giving enables the writers to give everyone their “rich resource for the church in Africa and the world” (in the words of contributor Bishop Dr. Isaiah Majok Dau from South Sudan).

Then be salt and lead people to the water. The Africa Study Bible is published by Oasis International Ltd to satisfy Africa’s thirst for God’s Word. Would you join me in spreading the word about the Bible for the last 7 days of our fundraising campaign? Share this overview video on social media, email or in-person.

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Instead of me telling you any more about the Africa Study Bible, listen to a Kenyan World Christianity scholar. Dr. Wanjiru Maggie Gitau shares how the Africa Study Bible reflects the exciting things God is doing in Africa today. Or, check out this sneak peek of the book of Genesis, where the authors’ notes speak for themselves!

Let’s hear what the church in Africa has to say to us.

Farewell, Imaginary Friend

Big hand flicking small person

Farewell, imaginary friend
for years you’ve kept me company:
I taught you in our school pretend
and mapped your house and family,
by candlelight a letter wrote when both of us were 93,
“I miss her every night” – I quote
my poem when you were lost at sea.

Strange that my memories of us
are searches – like you wouldn’t stay.
Like all my other friends you must
have always been going away.

One day I’ll find you incarnate
as I described in listing song.
I’m sure I’ll know when we have met
because it’s forty-four lines long.

Gray days, you, rainbow, promised love.
You had no substance, shadow, scent –
the real I felt unworthy of.
Our game began as innocent.

‘Til wanting me possessively
you clouded sight aggressively.

I polished you to gaze upon
my image in your idol’s gleam.
With your ideals you blinded, conned –
my other friends less perfect seemed.

I tried to recreate them in
our image, squish them to our mold.
Ignored how people are within –
they hurt from hammers, unlike gold.

So from flawed people I withdrew –
you said it proved only you cared.
I tried to leave, came back to you
‘cause being alone made me scared.

Dear – wait, I never knew your name!
So please, still at a distance stay.
Today I leave you and our game,
declare my independence day.

Imaginary friend, goodbye.
Our friendship was as fake as you.
Bye, mobile home in castled sky –
so lonely ‘cause it had a view.

I’ve found a friend who’s down to earth.
He’s heaven-sent – Emmanuel.
He’s known me since before my birth
but never left. None loved so well.

He laughs, “Oh honey!” at mistakes,
chats over tea around the hearth.
He shards into stained glass remakes.
He died of love and gave me worth.

I’ll sing for him who gave me voice,
whose image I reflect adore,
in rainbow promises rejoice,
and over all his letters pore.

But all affection I give free,
this love was unearned from the start.
The Son makes all my shadows flee,
dwells in the flesh of muscled heart.

This is his home now, see his crest?
So leave us be, unwanted guest.