Financial freedom is like walking around a volcano. It in can erupt any time decimating you or worse still, you can slide and find yourself going towards the deep heat of the molten rocks.” These were the words of Rev. Dennis Tongoi while teaching at Shalom Anglican Church, Githurai.
Rev. Tongoi who has authored a Christian book entitled “Mixing God with Money” reminded the Christian faithful that a debts is to financial management what a high fever is to a body. It is an indication of an underlying problem that needs to be rooted out and Christians are no exception to financial difficulties.
CMS-Africa under its thematic focus of Stewardship equips Christians on how to manage yourself when things are not as good in your financial life. This is done through a self-study programme dubbed Financial Freedom for Families.
Stewardship as one of the key aspects of Christian Service is fast taking shape in the churches in Kenya and CMS-Africa is Championing this cause.
ACK Shalom Parish at Githurai 45 is one such a flock that has embraced F4 and on September 20th, a team from CMS-Africa and CMS UK was there to extol the virtues of stewardship.
CMS UK Chief Executive Philip Mounstephen reminded the congregation that CMS was the first Missionary agency to send missionaries across Africa and they have a duty to take forward this work of God. “When the missionaries brought the good news to AFRICA we only were bringing back the gospel to where it belongs. In Act 8, Philip the Evangelist met the Ethiopian Eunuch and shared the gospel with Him. In Acts 14, Apostle Paul crosses from Macedonia to TROAS,” said Canon Mounstephen. This is proof from the scriptures that the Good News was first shared in Africa before it went to Europe.
This church; with total service attendance of 400-500 Members per service was held in two services of English and Kikuyu, all filled to capacity.
Paul Thaxter on his part assured believers that God who gave us Jesus, who became Emanuel and tells us that He will be with us always is faithful. “He came as Emanuel to be with us and will be with us through to the end of ages’ said Paul.
While at the service, Canon Philip and the rest of the church works got a chance to pray for newborn babies. The book by Dennis, Mixing God with Money was under sale plus the F4 Manual.
When Dennis and wife went to be missionaries in Eldoret, they trusted God to set up their home and in one year, and continue with their life.
But they found themselves in severe dead. The shilling dropped against the dollar from Ksh. 18 to 80 within a year. Over the next ten years, Dennis has tried to learn how to come out of dead, a result of which is the book Mixing God with Money.
Walking through Financial Freedom
“Being a Christian is no guarantee that you won’t go into a financial crisis. The only guarantee that we have is that the Lord God has promised to be with you to the end of the ages,” said Rev. Tongoi.
In the gospel according to Mark Jesus talks to the rich Young ruler about the attitude one should have about finances. He comes to Jesus and kneels before him and says, good teacher, what I must do to gain eternal life.
Jesus refers him to the 10 commandments but leaves out the 10th commandment which was a challenge to the young ruler: thou shalt not covet. Thus is the most difficult sin to measure, It is something that takes place in our hearts. The Young ruler sys I have observed all the rules. But Jesus tells the young man to go sell everything he has and give the proceeds to the poor.
This young man was imprisoned by his wealth.
When you are in debt, you are imprisoned by someone else.
When we come to church, we say Jesus is our Lord and savior, but when in need, we make decisions based on how much we have. We live borrowing and making use of money all the time. We have actually enslaved ourselves. Debt places us in a situation of temptation. It is very easy for us to accept bribe. Kenya is one of the most corrupt country in spite of the challenges that we have. Being in debt leads us to robbing our primary debtor who is God. We don’t give our tithes and offering and thus robbing God. Being in debt breaks fellowship in churches because people have borrowed and refused to pay back.
In the F4 seminars, there are 19 different reasons how and why people go into debt.
1. Spending money you have not received. Spending what you are expending and not what you have is one of the biggest challenges that lead people into debts.
2. Taking on responsibilities that only belongs to God. When you respond to people’s needs, are you doing that in response to Christ or are you doing for your own glory and honor? Learn to direct people to Christ/ God when they are in need. Pray with the person in need. Think of way of empowering people instead of putting people in debts
3. Addictions and lifestyles that put you in debts
How to get out of debt: PACT
i. Pray: James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives generously. Pray to God and he will grant you wisdom. When you realise that the temperatures are high”
ii. Acknowledge your sin
iii. Confess it to God. 1st John 1:9
iv. Take action. Write down all the people you owe many and determine to start repaying your debts within a year. For those who owe you forgive them. Do not allow that debt be a wall in your relationship with others. Break the walls erected by greed and covetousness and release people from your bondages.
Once you have gone through the PACT, learn to forgive others just like you have been forgiven by God our Father. Forgive as that is the biggest only debt that we owe God.