In January of this year, I met a brother in the Lord through my blog. His name is Sammy, and he and his family live in Nairobi, Kenya. This dear brother reminds me of what the Lord says in the letter of James:
...has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? James 2:5 ESV
Sammy is truly rich in faith! I have come to love this brother in the Lord and his sweet wife and children. And I think you will too as you read of his heart for God and his testimony of faith and growth in Christ.
So no matter what "Christian tradition" you are a part of, please open your heart as you read his story in his own words. You will be blessed.
I received Christ as a young boy at my teen age. Both my parents have been Christians since i knew them and had been strict with our upbringing in God fearing ways. I was born from a major slums in Nairobi where life is very harsh and as a 2nd born in a family of 9 kids . 6 boys and 3 girls. It was mandatory for us all to attend church. We attended a nearby Baptist church. So in my childhood years, i followed God because of my parents' imposed discipline not from my own will. Hence i stayed in the church doing the "good works". As a teen of about 15 years old, I would volunteer coming to church early than anyone else, arranging and dusting the wooden pews and placing the hymnals at the intended places. I would do this again after the church service and go home. All this while i never really wanted to receive Christ because i knew i was just alright with God. I sure did act as a saved person and many knew that i was. i in fact accompanied other believers in the to door witnessing but deep inside me i knew though i was doing all these things, there was a vacuum in my heart. A soft spoken voice would always say in me: "Sammy though you are doing good things, you need to receive him in your heart and confess with your tongue then you will be free. You need your name in the book of Life"
One Sunday morning, as i attended to my normal duties of wiping the pews, pastor entered the church and finding me alone, gazed at what i was doing. He stood there for some couple of minutes not saying a word but just looking. He then called me to him and lovingly, placing his hand on my shoulders said this words which i remember very vividly as if it were said yesterday: "Sammy, you do well every Sunday to do God's work, but it will be good for you, to give your life to Jesus" . He said nothing else.This words were hot into my heart. I felt great sorrow in my heart and was grieved inside me. i had lost most of the valuable time trying to please God by works. I never knew that pastor had known that i wasn't saved all this while so i felt betrayed inside me. On that day, a visiting pastor who came later confirmed what the Spirit was saying to me since morning. He preached from the book of Ephesians 2: 8-10: Grace through faith not works. I was norvous at the Alter call for i feared what people would say and think about me especially them that knew i was a brother in the Lord with them all this while.Non the less the Spirit of God gave me boldness to responding to the call of Jesus. For the first time, in honesty and truth through faith, i received the Lord through the power of that word: Grace not works!!
Now i was down to it with the ministry without any fear. I volunteered teaching the Sunday school class and taught the teens class for many years. Later I was elevated to being the Sunday school supritendant. I joined the church choir on the bass line.The church youth also chose me to be their chairperson and so i arranged for rallies, seminar meetings, prayer sessions, youth camps and vigil nights of prayer. In short, ministry was building up. God's favor was upon me.I had an urge within me that told me I need Him more in my life. I desired to be filled by His mighty power of the Holy Spirit. I desired what the pentecostal brethren had in them whenever they would visit our church there was something different. We rarely met for prayer as Baptists save for Sunday service. Growth was slow and retarded among the brethren here. Non the less i pursued on .
One Friday,while holding a vigil night at an invited Church, and while deep in prayer, pouring myself to the Lord, i felt the power of God come to me like a mighty wind. For the first time i uttered words that i knew them not in any language glorifying God. I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 became real to me that night and I prayed with much groanings in my inner man. My Christian life took another turn. This had not been taught in church for it is not even part of the doctrine of the Baptist church. We had been taught that you don't have to be filled by any power of God since you came to Him by his power. Which is correct but denies the fact of daily inward filling of God's presence. In short, after this experience, many youth members whom i led were filled too of the power of the Holy Spirit and submitted themselves more in prayer and loving God than before. There was a dramatic change in the way we worshipped God In Church. People in church who thirsted for rightiousness started to experience new life in the kingdom. There was joy and much grace despite the poverty situation of the people. However, this did not go well with the elders and pastor.I never had favor with them no more. So on one side we wanted to love the elders and respect them in a Godly way but on the other hand we worshiped in fear of what they would say if God moved mightly. People would be desperate for God at this time. Hungry and thirsty for His word. Worship was intesified in the power of the Holy Spirit and the love for the Lord was so great amongst brethren.. Several of us went out to evangelise in open air meetings in villages and streets and God moved mightly confirming His word in salvation and healing.God moved with us wherever we went or were invited to share the gospel of Jesus.On one occasion we were banned from visiting baptist churches for we had turned things the pentecostal way they said.It was not welcome to pastor for one to be excited for the gospel and surely we never understood him. Many brethren were scattered to other churches. I had personally to move later .
I have since learnt the secret of seeking the Lord with the whole of my heart, mind and strength and knowing Him intimately on a very personal level.He has revealed to me many things in the Spirit through his word.Always telling me that i don't belong to this world but to the kingdom. There is cry in my heart for many are getting lost in worldly ways.Many are forgotten by the church today and are unreached through the message of repentance unto God.It is a pity that religion instead of Christ who sets us free in all things takes center stage in the body of Christ today.While it is a good thing to be prospered and healed, it serves nothing if souls are not changing into the likeness of Christ.God is speaking to me about reaching out to families because many are without Christ and the family unity is the start of sincere love for God. I know one day God will enable me build a prayer center home. A place where members of the family will have prayer retreats seeking answers to God instead of running to fun fares. I know God is faithful in all things. He Has been taking me through a process of growth in the inner man that i may be of use to Him as a living sacrifice in the call. There has been a lot of prunning going through this process. Sometimes it has been hard and painful going through it in this life and my family is affected too. But God knows all things.