Archive for January, 2011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011
Jars of Clay
part of the lyics for a song entitled “Work

Just in case, I will leave my things packed
So I can run away···

I cannot trust these voices
I don’t have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It’s the breathing that’s taking all this work

These words have been true for me, for awhile.  It’s nothing new to me, but they’ve strengthened over these past 2 years.  Somedays they are so strong, I can’t seem to stand it.  And right now, with Kenyan’s going nuts, it’s as strong as ever.  I have no fear of drowning.  I’m not frightened for my life.  But it is the breathing that take work, it is how I live my life that worries me.  I feel like I am not breathing properly, or breathing enough, or breathing in the right rhythm.  I’m not confused as to what I’m supposed to do.  But I have so much interests, so many things I want to do, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  So instead, I sit here where it’s safe.  Granted, it’s where I would have been had Kenya not erupted in violence, but I feel that because of the violence, I should help. 

I don’t have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release

That is true as well.  I try to minimize things I can cling to.  Yet I don’t normally cling to God either.  Usually just myself.  It’s been amazing how stressed out I’ve been of late too.  I didn’t even know it until Wolfgang put on some Simon and Garfunkel a couple days ago and I just sat and listened and felt myself become relaxed.  Like I said, I had no clue how much pent up stuff I had inside of me.  Not a good thing. 

If I back up to the line I said “but I feel that because of the violence, I should help”, let me clarify one of my thoughts on that matter.  I want to help.  But help do what?  I’ve been here months now and Kenyan’s are fully capable of helping themselves.  Maybe it’s the mindset westerners have of Africans or some inherent racism, I dunno.  Whatever it is, I think all Westerners think of Africans as poor and unable to fend for themselves, no opportunities, no one cares for them, blah blah.  and I quote from the Seattle Stranger “This one girl I knew cam back from Africa and then told us that we just couldn’t understand, maaaan, about the suffering, because we haven’t lived it, you know?”.  Even westerner’s who go to Africa seem to have this mindset.  But I don’t.  I came down here and what I see are a people who live for the moment, with no thought to the future.  Africa is rich in natural resources, but usually it’s outsiders, Asians, Indians, Westerners, who take advantage of it.  Rarely actual Africans. 

So back to my point of what do I do to help?  Africans are capable, have the resources, they understand the culture and the language.  What do I have that they don’t that I can actually be helpful?  All I’m usually seen as is someone with Money, because I’m white.  Maybe that’s all I’m good for here, but I know I’m good for so much more.  The difference between me and them, is I look to the future.  And I should clarify, not every African is like this.  There are some who think ahead, and they are distinctly different from the others.

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Sermon – Value

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

So I gave my 2nd Sermon this past Sunday.  I didn’t do as well as I did on my first I think.  Well, subject matter at least.  Last sermon was on ‘Feeding the Right Lion’ and this time I chose to do it on Value.  Value is a complicated subject to say the least.  I chose Value because amidst all this violence in Kenya people don’t seem to value people.  The reason I don’t think this sermon went as well as my last one is because I sort of figured ‘Value’ out while I wrote it.  Value is a such a large topic that I should have prepared notes better then expanded on that.  Unfortunately, that isn’t my style unless I’m writting a paper for school, so it hurt me a bit here. 

Due to some afterthoughts on the subject, I reserve the right to modify the sermon as I type, thus, you won’t be reading what I spoke, but it should be close.  🙂

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To start off, I have a little display, activity, or question if you will. 

((Gave someone a piece of paper what had ‘John Jolly’ in black marker on it.  Gave Wycliffe a 100 shilling note (about 1 and a half US Dollars.  But as 100 shillings is half a days wage for a poor person, more like a 40 Dollar note) 

“Heidi/Wolfgang, what value is that piece of paper to you?” 
“none”
“Wycliffe, what value is that peice of paper to you?”
“100 shillings.” 
“Would you trade it for a 50 shilling note?  99 shillings?  101 shillinDgs?  So it’s worth 100 shillings to you”

“Wycliffe, would you trade that 100 shilling note for Heidi’s piece of paper?”  “No.”

Does anyone value that paper at all?  For whom does that paper have value?  For whom is it worth something?  Me.  This was the piece of paper used to pick me up at the Airport in Nairobi.  The first personal thing I saw in the entire Africa.  So it’s a good memory piece, sentimental and all that.   

So Value is what I want to talk about today.  The previous display started us off by telling us a bit about Value.

the Value of something is given to it by someone.  The piece of paper only has value if someone like me values it.  So value comes from relationship.  My relationship with that piece of paper is purely because it’s a good memory piece.  As Kenyan’s, you have a relationship with your government, and as such, you have a relationship with the governments money.  You value that piece of paper at 100 shillings.  If the government broke that relationship and disappeared, or stopped backing it, do you think you would still hold value for that piece of paper?  No.  The relationship between you and the government was destroyed.  If the value of that paper is given to it by you, if the value of this piece of paper is given to it by me, what does that say about value?  it’s given, and it’s different between people.  I GIVE this piece of paper MORE value than you GIVE this piece of paper. 

((use someones nice shirt as example))  Lets take this so and so’s Shirt for example.  If I offered you this 50 cent coin for your shirt, would you accept?  No?  why not?  Because you want it and you give it more Value than 50 cents.  Because you know that if you wanted to sell it, someone else would pay you MORE than 50 cents.  You could find someone else who would pay more than me, so the shirt has a higher value.  But if Value is given, and I give that shirt a 50 cent value, why will you not give it to me?  Because someone else will place more value in it.  You should be able to sell it for more than 50 cents.  So that shirt’s value does not come from me, but from the person that is willing to pay the most.  It’s value is the highest value someone is willing to pay for it.

So far we have what qualities about Value?
It’s a given quantity
It stems from relationship
The amount of value something is worth is what the highest price someone will pay for it. 

Right?  Let’s go over these 3 things again, just to double check.

1)  It’s a given quantity
I place value in that “john jolly” piece of paper, but no one else does.  I give that paper its value.

2)  Its given quantity depends on the relationship between it and the person who gives it value.  My relationship with that piece of paper is sentimental.  And I, and probably no one else here, would rather have that piece of paper over that 100 shilling note.  My relationship with a Mango is physical ((rubs tummy)), and as most people, I would willingly part with 20 shillings (what’s the price!?!?!?) for a mango.

3)  The amount of value something is worth is what the highest bidder will pay for it.
If you have that shirt, and you know I would pay you 1000 shillings for it, and someone else comes to you and offers 20 bob, would you take the 20 bob?  or would you come to me and get 1000 shillings?  Thus that shirt is worth 1000 shillings, not 20, because thats the highest price someone is willing to payr.

4)  Actually, I’d like to add a fourth one here.  The Value of the item, depends on it’s condition.  New has more value than old right?  Old has more value than destroyed.  A basic concept.  You’d pay more for a new shirt  then an old shirt.  and you’d pay more for an old shirt then a very ripped shirt that won’t stay on yoru body.  Actually, you probably wouldn’t pay anything for a shirt that you can’t wear.  A destroyed shirt is almost useless.  No value.

Okay, we checked them.
1))  It’s a given quantity.
2)) It stems from relationship
3)) the amount of value something is worth is what the highest bidder will pay for it.
4)) Value depends on condtion of the item

So what does this say about the value of us?  what does this tell you about Value and Humans?  So far it was just for paper, pens and money.  But what about humans? 

Are we not valuable?  Do we have to have someone value us in order for us to have value?  Wycliffe, if no one values you, do you have value?  ((yes))   Why?  If value comes from relationship, and is only given, do you have a choice in the matter?  Couldn’t you say from the highest hill, from Nandi Rock, or even from Mt. Kenya, ‘I HAVE VALUE!!!” and if no one values you, they’d just laugh and ignore, and say your valueless. 

So what does our value come from?  Tobias, you could say your wife values you so you get your value from her.  Or Steve has some value from Wolfgang as Wolfgang values his work and friendship.  I have parents back home who value me, so I can get value from that.  In fact, I, and most of us, have dozens of relationships with people that we could get value from. 

but none of this sounds right.  Why is my value dependent upon what someone else thinks of me?  That sounds like a horrible, horrible thing.  I guess what i’m trying to get at is this.  What is the base of our Value?  What is the foundation?  No one likes the idea of trusting someone else with his/her value.  We say to ourselves, it doesn’t matter what other people think.  I have value.  I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you a hint on where our value comes from and why it doesn’t matter what people think.  Earlier I mentioned two qualities about value.

One:  It’s given, someone has to place value in us.
Two:  It comes from relationship.

What’ the third one?  Anyone remember? 

Third:  The Amount of Value something is worth is what the HIGHEST bidder will pay for it.

The highest bidder?  So for me, who would that be?  My parents value me a lot, but I have some friends too that really like me.  And my niece, I know she really enjoys me as her uncle.  But how much would they pay for me?  My niece is almost 3 years old.  She has no money, she can’t pay anything.  In fact, it’s a ridiculous question!  It sounds so, ugly, sounds so, materialistic.  How much would they pay for me?  1000 shillings?

I know I sound ridiculous right now.  1000 Shillings for a human?  Sounds like slavery.  But actually, don’t write that off as ridiculous just yet!

John 8:34

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”
(in response to Jews that questioned how they would be free since they were already ‘free)

Slavery is sometimes not a comfortable subject in America, but most Christian’s acknowledge that people are slaves to something.

Matt: 6:24

“You cannot serve God and Mammon”
Mammon being wealth, money, things… 

Paul also mentioned slavery in his first letter to the Corinthian church; in 7:22:

“For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.”

So slavery, not such a ridiculous notion then I guess.  But I’m getting a little side tracked, but just keep in mind, Slavery means a price for us as Humans.  A saying back home is “Every man has his price”.  Every man has some value then, something that they feel they are worth.  but again, given by whom?  Friends, Parents, Wife/Husband, Kids.  who?

Still though, that doesn’t sound right.  Our value coming from people.  Why do we feel that we, as Humans, have value?  No matter what?  The typical rally cry is “Because God loves us”.  Which is true, God does love us.  Does that mean he’s given us value?  Let’s check it against the 3 things we determined earlier.

1))  It’s a given quantity
  —  Sure, most of us probably don’t have a problem that God values us.  but how much?  dunno
2)) It stems from relationship
  —  Well, to be a Christian means to have a relationship with God
3)) Value is from the Highest bidder.
  —  highest bidder?  Did God pay for us?  He created us, but did he pay anything?  Is he the highest bidder?   Lets turn back to 1 Corinthians 7:22, but this time read verse 23 as well.

1 Corinthians 7:22-23

For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freeman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

Let me repeat that:  You were bought with a price.

What was that price?  Jesus was and is God.  The Bible says that from Him all good things come.  All authority comes.  You could assume that all Value comes from Him as well.  So what was the price Jesus paid?  A hint is in the fourth condition of value.  The quality of the item.  What is our quality?  Our condition?  What is Christ’s quality?  Jesus paid with Blood, Rejection, and Death.  The blood of his body was shed.  Rejected by the Jews, His people, the Chosen people.  And ultimately His Death. Paying for us cost everything Jesus had.  Jesus gave up his Value as a human to pay for us.

That is where our Value comes from. 
1))  It is given to us by Christ
2))  Entering into a relationship with Christ allows us to recieve it
3))  He paid the price of His life, 
4))  Through His Death we recieved His value.

That’s the price He paid for us.  We don’t have our own value anymore.  We don’t need it.  We have His Value.   

In closing I’d like to read Romans 8:38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Prayer of thankfulness and remembrance.

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