Conrad Mbewe: The Righteous Branch #TGC11

Conrad Mbewe is the pastor of Kabwata Reformed Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa. He is widely regarded as the African Spurgeon. KBC is presently overseeing the establishment of ten new Reformed churches in Zambia and Botswana. Conrad is the editor of Reformation Zambia magazine and writes three columns in two weekly national newspapers. His most recent contribution to a book is found in Dear Timothy—Letters on Pastoral Ministry, published by Founders Press. He is also the principal of the Reformed Baptist Preachers College in Zambia.

Mbewe expounded on Jeremiah 23:1-8.

The audio is available for download here. Video footage can be viewed below:

 

My notes are below:


As I meditated on this passage, the subject of leadership was burned afresh in my own heart. Clearly this is the issue that arises in this passage that we have just read. And again and again in the Bible we find, as the leaders go, so go the people of Israel. You see the people hardening their hearts and going their own way.

Often you find phrases like “the king led the people into great sin”… And in Malachi, we find God chastising the priests, saying “It is you who have led my people to desecrate my temple…” And the converse is also true, where repentance first comes to the king and then the people.

What Jeremiah deals with here is the need for consistent, godly and fruitful leadership that ultimately brings glory to God… Oh that God may help us see how we should deal with our lives, so that we might be the means by which God blesses His people. [Read more...]

The Persevering Prophet: Fruit

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I’ve had one question stuck in my mind since completing my reading of Jeremiah:

How do you determine a fruitful ministry?

What makes it successful? Is it the number of converts? The number of professions of faith?

At Compassion, one of the ways we measure our fruitfulness is the number of children we see sponsored. For our ministry, this is an incredibly important metric, because if we don’t see children sponsored, we’re failing in our jobs.

But are these kinds of metrics—the number of professions of faith, the number of people attending a church, the number of people serving in a particular ministry—the thing we should measure?

If you look at converts, Jeremiah’s ministry was a spectacular failure. He had two people listen to his calls of repentance: Baruch, his scribe (see Jer. 32:12) and Ebed-melech, an Ethiopian eunuch who served King Zedekiah (see Jer. 38:7-13).

Years of ministry. Countless sermons. Powerful & provocative words.

Two converts.

Everyone else tried to kill him.

Jeremiah’s ministry has taught me something incredibly important:

Fruitfulness is not determined by metrics—It is determined by obedience to God’s Word.

[Read more...]

The Persevering Prophet: I Know the Plans I Have for You

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In the middle of the book of Jeremiah, there’s this verse that I suspect most Christians consider their “life verse.” It’s everywhere. It’s on t-shirts, coffee cups, posters (maybe with a beautiful landscape or cute fuzzy animals), greeting cards… you name it, there’s probably a product with this verse on it:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope — Jeremiah 29:11

It’s a great verse, no doubt. It’s incredibly inspiring. Many read it and, in application to themselves say, “Wow, God has a plan for me. A plan for my welfare and for my future!” And while that’s true (see Romans 8:28-29), there’s something else going on. When God said this to the Israelites, in a letter from Jeremiah, they had just been taken into exile in Babylon. And during that time, many “prophets” were giving the people false hope, telling them that they would be back in Jerusalem on top of the world in a couple years, tops. But this is not God’s plan for them; just the opposite, in fact. [Read more...]

The Persevering Prophet: My Heart is Sick!

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The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)

Jeremiah defines the depravity of man in a way that is surpassed by few other passes in it’s uncompromising honesty:

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick!

There is nothing more deceitful than the human heart—the center of our will and desires. We want, what we want, when we want it, consequences be damned!

Me, I have a horrible sweet tooth. I love sweet things, and when I eat something sweet, it’s like something in my mind says, “You should have more of this; it’s awesome!”

I try to restrain, and often fail. I try to avoid, but doesn’t help me in the least that my mother owns a bakery, dang it. Sweets aren’t good for me; they cause me to gain weight rapidly; they can lead to diabetes… all this stuff is serious. But, dang it, I want them, and I would not restrain myself were I left to my own devices.

This is the deceitfulness of the heart. It tells me that bad things are good for me. It makes morally neutral things gods. And we consume, we indulge, we capitulate to whatever the desire we have is, and we worship our false god. [Read more...]

Sunday Shorts (05/31)

Just Do Something: A short interview with Kevin DeYoung

Over at Buzzard Blog, they’re featuring a brief interview with Kevin DeYoung, author of Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Look for a review of this book here in the next few weeks.

And: Words and Deeds

Hunter Beaumont at The Resurgence offers wise counsel on the relationship between our words and our actions.

Strangely, many emerging pastors say that if a church effectively embodies the gospel, then preaching becomes less important. Others fear that if we welcome unbelievers, we have to water down the message. In reality, just the opposite is true!

Read the rest at The Resurgence.

Should We Use Twitter During Church?

John Piper and Josh Harris both agree: No, probably not. Read both of their reasons why at their respective blogs.

Did you know…

Blogging Theologically is now available for your Kindle. If you’re so inclined, you can subscribe at Amazon.com

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: Harsh Language A look at the harsh language that the Bible uses to describe sin.

Made in the Image of God: Relationship and Responsibility Looking at how humanity images God through our relationships and different responsibilities.

Week Five: Am I an Adrenaline Junkie? What I’m learning during my fast from podcasts and theology books.

The Persevering Prophet: Opposition

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Imagine God revealing to you that there was a plot against your life, solely because you preached repentance to those around you. Imagine that those plotting against you were your childhood friends.

And not only your friends, but your family. For the prophet Jeremiah, this was a very real experience.

The Lord made it known to me and I knew;
then you showed me their deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
I did not know it was against me
they devised schemes
, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more.”
But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously,
who tests the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you have I committed my cause.

Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand”—therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: “Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, and none of them shall be left. For I will bring disaster upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.”

Jer. 11:18-23

[Read more...]

The Persevering Prophet: Harsh Language

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Reading through the first several chapters of Jeremiah, I am struck by the harshness of Jeremiah’s preaching. Throughout the book, there is a palpable hatred of sin, that is expressed with incredibly strong language.

Before I continue, if you are offended by such language, you may not want to read this post (perhaps this light-hearted one instead?), as I’ve pulled together some of the more intense examples from the early chapters of the book of Jeremiah.

Within the book’s first five chapters, we see the following extremely intense words preached by Jeremiah: [Read more...]

In case you missed it (05/24)

In case you missed them, here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: The Call: Beginning a study of the Book of Jeremiah and the practical implications of his calling into ministry.

Made in the Image of God: Spirit: The first part of a series on humanity as God’s image-bearers.

The War on Blogs:A call to Christ-like behavior in interacting with blogs.

Telling the Back Story: An interview with Pastor AJ Thomas on planting a church in post-Christian Halifax, Nova Scotia (originally published in Compassion Today, January 2009).

The Persevering Prophet: The Call

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The prophet Jeremiah is one of the most interesting of the Old Testament prophets. Sometimes referred to as “the weeping prophet,” his minstry was particularly hard, as he would bear witness to Judah’s stubborn disobedience and the wrath that would befall them because of it.

His written testimony records the following as part of his “call” to ministry:

“But you, dress yourself for work [gird up your loins]; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you” (Jer. 1:17-19).

In essence, Jeremiah is told to put on his cup and get ready for a beating. “You will say everything I command you, and all the people will war against you because of it,” are God’s marching orders.

[Read more...]