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Church in Slum Models True Faith

One Sunday I was visiting one of Africa's largest slums, the massive Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. The conditions were simply inhumane. People lived in shacks constructed out of cardboard boxes. Foul smells gushed out of open ditches carrying human and animal excrement …. I thought to myself, This place is completely God-forsaken.

Then to my amazement, right there among the dung, I heard the sound of a familiar hymn …. Every Sunday, thirty slum dwellers crammed into this ten-by-twenty foot "sanctuary" to worship [God]. The church was made out of cardboard boxes that had been opened up and stapled to studs. It wasn't pretty, but it was a church made up of some of the poorest people on earth.

I was immediately asked to preach the sermon. I quickly jotted down some notes and was looking forward to teaching this congregation [about the sovereignty of God]. But before the sermon began, I listened as some of the poorest people on the planet cried out to God: "Jehovah Jireh, please heal my son, as he is going blind." "Merciful Lord, please protect me when I go home today, for my husband always beats me." "Sovereign King, please provide my children with enough food today, as they are hungry."

As I listened to their heartfelt prayers, I thought about my ample salary, my life insurance policy, my health insurance policy, my two cars, my house, etc. I realized that I do not really trust in God's sovereignty on a daily basis. I have buffers in place to shield me from most economic shocks. I realized that when these folks pray "Give us this day our daily bread" their minds don't wander as mine so often does. I realized that these slum dwellers were trusting in God's sovereignty just to get them through the day, and they had a far deeper intimacy with God than I probably will ever have in my entire life.

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