Back

homeI’m back! After an intense but good week. And a long flight! Had I known when the lady gave me the upgrade that the trip from Dubai to San Francisco was going to take 16 hours, I would have gone on my knees and thanked her for saving my life! Of course the whole week I was there I was wondering how I’d survive the return trip (Air Force One was committed elsewhere so I couldn’t hitch a ride :-)). God worked it out though so I got on a pretty empty plane back, with a little sleeping pill that knocked me out for 10 hours! (Okay the empty plane was God and the pill may’ve been me). So except for a little jet-lag, I’m not doing too badly.

My main agenda was to speak at Mariners Church, a church that we’re beginning to develop a relationship with. Part of the reason is because Christ’s greatest prayer for His church is that we will be one. I believe God is calling us to work in mutual partnership with others both at home and across the world. That’s not always been the true in the past. Many times the relationship with Christians in the West has mirrored that of our governments’ ~ the West aiding the rest. Click here and here if you’d like to read a couple of older articles on this. In addition to the great pastors at Mariners, I also enjoyed learning from pastors from Peru, Egypt and Sri Lanka who are doing some innovative thinking and work in their own contexts.

dollarBeing in the US was sobering. Everywhere I went were signs of the economic crisis. News headlines every day were dark and ominous. I noticed that customer service was almost non-existent in many familiar establishments because so many people have been laid off. On a side note, someone needs to explain the US economy to me. The solution to their bad debt seems to be borrow some more (a lot more in this case – in the trillions!) To put public money in the hands of individuals so they can spend more and kick-start the borrowing machine again. Almost like killing a hangover with another drink! It felt to me like a giant pyramid scheme. Or maybe I’m just ignorant. I did notice though that several TV stations had daily stories targeted to the ordinary person with tips on how to survive in the economic crisis. And it was also great to see the seriousness the national leadership was giving it; there was hardly a day when President Obama wasn’t on the news rallying the nation to take on the challenges.

I was glad last night to see our own finance minister finally begin to address major policy shifts that need to take place in government. I fear it may be too little too late. And of course our parliamentarians lost their moral authority to lead a long time ago when they refused to pay their taxes. Robert Nagila’s list on NTV of ten things the government should do to save money was hilarious! Sad but funny all the same.

I’m not sure we in Kenya are really prepared for or even aware of what’s coming. Our banks did not indulge in the excesses seen elsewhere so we were spared from the first wave of the crisis. But with the big downturns in the global economy, our export-agriculture and tourism dependent economy is bound to take a big hit this year. Add in delayed effects of Jan 07 and the drought and we’re looking at tough times ahead. Multinational jobs will be on the line and local businesses will be hit by reduced demand. Nobody can predict how bad things will get or how long it will last.

The solution is not to panic but to scale back. To start or continue to do what we need to have been doing all along. Which is to avoid debt like the plague and live below our means. This will of course look different for different people. It may range from selling that fuel guzzler, moving the kids to an affordable school, javing to work or carrying packed lunch. It definitely means putting on hold large expenses, especially for items you can afford to wait for. As an aside, we did a great series at Mavuno on money last October. You might want to revisit it and ensure you’re in compliance.

Of course the worst hit in any crisis are the poorest in society. What began with the drought will probably get worse. Our temptation in such times is to scale back on our giving and focus on survival. But the good book teaches that ‘those who give to the poor lend to the Lord’. This is the year when we need to organize more than ever before to set some aside money and time regularly for fellow citizens who are in need. In uncertain times, there is no surer investment.

Pastor Simon preached a great sermon as we began January from Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd, and I will be fine. I want to listen to that again. Because I know that with God on our side, ‘yes we can’.

It’s good to be back home.

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14 responses to “Back

  1. Pastor M i agree with you on this one. i sat with a certain MD of a parastatal who just prophesied doom and gloom and how we have not seen nothing yet and at the end of that conversation i was just so depressed i felt i wanted to move countries. He actually compared Kenya as taking the same script Zimbabwe started.

    I have been thinking about this a lot and even though the money series was great a lot of us out there do not know what to do in an economic downturn it would be great if you would get someone to speak about surviving it, what we should expect, how we should invest, and how our companies and businesses can survive. That to me would be the best arming information Pasi. But thank you for what you have already talked about here, but am telling you this doom and gloom all over the media is just depressing

  2. Good to have you back safe and sound.
    I feel you on the economic crisis.My prayer is that God
    will raise some Obama’s in our country who will stand in the gap to do the right thing to save this nation.
    Still waiting to hear the story..Did you really meet with Obama?

  3. Welcome back Pastor M!

    Church just aint the same without you 😉

    I hear you on the economic crisis. Was it so bad that you could only access the net after your return?

    Seriously, I am glad that we are under God’s economy and that will never have a crisis. But with the challenges, we have an excellent opportunity to really test if we trust Him enough by giving even when it does not “make sense”.

  4. karibu pasi

    i so hear you on the financial crisis.being an optimist, the only positive thought i can think of is creativity usually increases during recession.

    from my little after campus experience, am noticing the DAYS i have cash am fairly easy.just thinking of what exotic food to eat, what to buy , where to travel, who to take out….

    however the WEEKS(you get the drill) i don’t have money i tend to think more of how innovative i can be to get cash.

    i especially liked your getting rich slowly sermon.can’t wait to see how life will be 25years from today when I’ll be 50.

    the PS gave a speech last week on Friday to residents of Runda about the global financial crisis and Kenya’s (government) response.i’ll drop a copy to your office.

  5. Welcome back pastor! Funny funny funny….”killing a hangover with another drink”. Love the analogy, never quite thought of it that way.

    On a serious note though, this is my very limited understanding of the American economy: Borrow now, pay later. So in essence, no need for self control or even moderation. The economy is kept going by people who get cars on loan for $20k, and by the time they have paid it halfway down 5 years later, it’s time for an upgrade. So trade the car in and get another one for 25k and start over. I read some stats a couple of years ago that by the time a college student completes undergrad at an average age of 22-24 years, they owe $10k on average, in unsecured debt i.e. credit cards. Not to mention student loans or car loans. People buy most things on a card including clothes, shoes, groceries and the constant eating out…just swipe and wait for the bill at month end, and only pay the minimum due.

    I came home end of 2008 after a decade+ and although I was thrilled at the developments in Kenya, I’m a bit concerned with how we are now also adopting the “credit” culture. Visa cards, car loans. Seriously, growing up in Kenya, folks paid for everything in CASH. Infact, even checks were few and far between, mainly for business deals. The main credit was with the mama mboga for the days mum was running late from work and we had to cook!

    As a foreignor, one of the first pieces of mail I got when I studied there was an offer for a credit card. I mean, as soon as you have an address, they start hunting you down, junk mail, everyday with very attractive deals..”no payment for 6 months, 0% interest until 2010.” For those who don’t know better, it’s an easy way to get spending money before you ‘sort yourself out’ but what they don’t tell you is by the time you do sort yourself out…they own you! I would hate to be paying for a dress now that doesn’t even fit me anymore!

    Finally, I learnt a concept referred to as “Paying Yourself First”. Basically, put a percentage of your income every month(after your tithes and taxes), into an account, be it savings,etc, that you don’t have frequent access to. Let it sit there and forget about it and 1,2,3, years later, you’ll be surprised. I would highly recommend the book by David Back, “The Automatic Millionaire”.

    See y’all at church tomorrow.

  6. Correction: The author’s name is David Bach. Also remember per Prov 22:7, the borrower is termed as slave to the lender. Borrow, but wisely if you must, and be sure to pay back so you don’t have anyone constantly hanging a debt over your head.

  7. The Lord is my Sheperd, I will be fine. Quite prophetic! We are living in some tough times, and so that message 1st service this year was quite telling. We need it to sink deep in our spirits….

    I am doing Mizizi now, and there’s a whole weeks topic, i think chapter 8 on Money. It was a good follow up from the October series, and I thoroughly enjoyed the morning devotion (reminders).

    The Lord is our shepherd, and we will be fine. Welcome back Pst M.

  8. hi Pastor M
    I’d like to say knw each day U are a source of inspiration.Early last yr I came to ur service and I have grown spiritually since.I returned to Kenya a while back thinking I wanted to come build my country instead of building someone else’s country.Sadly since myy return in 07 armed with a law degree ready to roll up my sleeves in the fight for human rights in the NGO sector I have not been fortunate to put an end to my year long tarmack that’s nw stretched into another yr.As we speak am nw praying and fasting hoping God will show me the way.I daily rely on the january sermon too that the Lord is my shepherd I shall be fine.I am trying my best to grow in spiritual maturity and I decided to adopt a thnkful attitude towards prayer where I always include mavuno in my prayers.I knw God is always on time so this yr long wait for jobs to come my way will soon end.But in the meantime I continue to do volunteerwork at AIDS orphans childrens homes…to see a baby smile at me no strings attached has confirmed for me I want to be a fearless influencer and make a difference as a human rights lawyer.what became of the jobs website u guys had started pls remind the congregation that folks have posted thier cvs their incase there’s opportuities out there for sum of us.Mavuno u hv made me proudly kenyan and daily when I get on my knees to pray I always include u in my prayer!I will be a fearless influencer as u equip me with the spiritual nourishment I need.PS:I have realised the power of tithing,tho at times I have very little to give,I’ve noticed giving with a thnkful heart has made a difference in my life.b blessed pastor M,when I BECOME THAT FEARLESS HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER,count urself as having led me to that,especially after the sermon last yr the where u asked us what makes us angry/have a desire to get up in the mrning coz that made me realise what career path i want to follow.thnx for sharing ur wisdom in such a practical easy to relate unconventional way pastor m!

  9. Hey all, thanks for the great comments!

    @ Jaded, I feel you. I disagree with the MD because things are thick in other countries as well. Getting critical is the easy thing to do, but the courageous thing is to play your part and choose to be part of the change! Don’t know if you were around in October but we had a couple of great talks during the Harvest Night Series by Anthony Wahome and Kibbie Kariithi (latter talked about how to survive in difficult times). You can order both from the Mavuno Info Desk on Sundays.

    Agree with you @knc that there’s a silver lining even in this crisis. Pls do send the speech.

    @ Rose & just a kairetu, welcome back home! You’re in the right place. @ jak, it definitely takes determination to settle back home and I commend you for yours. Praying for God’s wisdom and provision. @ Rose, I haven’t read that title. Will look out for it.

    @ Wendy, I’m praying God will raise us (you and me both) to be the Obamas for Kenya. And tut, tut.. what a question. Clearly you don’t trust the evidence!

    @ Ciks, great talking to you on Sunday. Look forward to seeing you many more early mornings!

  10. Pst M.. I give up. ha! ha!
    You’re off the hook for now,but one day I will corner you and your going to have to tell the story..
    btw, am not a jouranlist.

  11. Finally… I’ve been so looking forward to find some time and read this blog… Confessions, one of the things that made me make Mavuno my home Church was the blog… It has been such a blessing!

    Passie and the entire Mavuno team, walalala, when I grow up, I want to be like you… that very passion that I first saw in the Mavuno decor, my Mizizi facilitators, Mavuno congregants, and Mavuno pastors – I just want to be that kind of person…

  12. Pastor M,
    Thanks for who u have been (true servant leader) I hv bn blessed and I cant quantify what ur sermons and ur team have done for me. (am sure am speaking for many others.

    There are sermons that I missed and you have posted them on the website, however they are not complete for instance in money, sex and power – addicted_to_love and players of the bible – if_you_play. Pleas help.
    Thanks and God bless you and ur family

  13. Hi Pastor M,

    Just a quick question since I don’t know where else to ask this- Is it possible to put up the different ministries Mavuno has on the website? I’ve been meaning to plug into service but I’m not quite sure where to start. Thank you.

  14. @ Kisa, thanks. It’s great to hear from you. Welcome to the family!
    @ DNM, I’ve asked our tech guy to get on it. Hopefully he can fix them. If not, you can order the CD’s at Mavuno’s info table after the service

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