Personal Trainer


Want to join the rest of Mavuno Church in reading the Bible in May? Click here.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make? Today we are faced with numerous choices. Some are regular everyday choices like what to eat for lunch or what shirt to wear to the office. But there are also bigger decisions that can be called life-determining decisions. The biggest problem with decisions is that our decisions don’t take us to the same destination. You are the product of your choices! The choices you are making today will determine where you end up in the future!

How do I decide which road to take today? How do I make consistently great decisions that will eliminate regret and guarantee success in the future?

This month we want to learn from God’s word how to make good decisions: Decisions that will eliminate regret and guarantee our success! We’re going to be looking at 4 DECISION MAKING AIDS that will help us make the best possible decisions in all areas of our lives… For the first one, please turn with me in your bibles to Joshua 1:6-9… we find there a story of a young man who was overwhelmed by the tough decisions he was about to make.

All his working career, Joshua had served under a gifted leader. Moses had always known which direction to go, which decisions to make, where the resources would come from. But now Moses was dead, and Joshua was overwhelmed! His impossible assignment was to do what even his great mentor had failed to do; lead a very opinionated people into a military invasion against heavily armed enemies far stronger, more numerous and more advanced than themselves and to take over their land. He had never led at this level before! The stakes were high, and every wrong turn could cost him not just his job but his life and the future of the entire nation. If there was ever a leader who felt unprepared for the big decisions facing him, it was Joshua!

In that overwhelming situation, God points Joshua to the one thing that would guarantee his success. God’s word to Joshua, and I believe it is His word to us today, was ‘you want guaranteed success? Then read and obey My word!’

Huh? That’s it? I don’t know about you but when things are difficult, that doesn’t sound like the most natural advice to follow!

Why is it so unnatural for us to turn to the bible as our first resource when things are tough? Many reasons! #1 Life is busy! #2 The bible isn’t always easy to read. It can be confusing, complicated and dry to read! #3 There are experts out there who can do it for me. It’s far easier to ‘outsource’ bible reading to a pastor or someone else who can read and package it for me!

So why would God instead of giving Joshua some practical solutions give him such roundabout advice? In the absence of Moses, God wanted Joshua to develop his own decision-making ability. He needed to know in every situation what to do but also what not to do. These are the two sides of every good decision! God’s word would be Joshua’s personal trainer to help him learn these things. Let’s see how that works…

(1) WHAT TO DO – How does God’s word train us so we know what to do? In a gym, the role of a trainer is #1 to teach you the basic principles so that you know how to use the equipment well, but also #2 to train you by helping you repeat all the important techniques over and over until you are able to do them well. Now the bible doesn’t always have specific answers to all the questions we ask. Unlike the internet, it doesn’t tell us whether to study accounts or marketing! Or to live in South B or Kilimani! That’s not how it shows us what to do! But as we read the bible, we learn godly values and principles which become our framework for making decisions. In other words, we develop a godly worldview… what the bible refers to as ‘the mind of Christ’. And as we do so, we become increasingly able to make better and better decisions.

The interesting thing is that there are no awards for training. What wins you medals is the result of that training. What am I saying?

To Win Publicly, Train Secretly!

The same is true for us! As we read and meditate on God’s word daily and consistently, we are being trained to make the right decisions. And with time, the results begin to show. Determine to be a student of God’s word.

(2) WHAT NOT TO DO – One of the things you’ll notice if you walk into many gyms is that the walls are covered with mirrors. Mirrors shows you the brutal truth – they don’t know how to be a diplomat. It doesn’t know how to flatter and has no hidden agenda. The mirror is your friend!

James 1:23 tells us that God’s word is like a mirror. It tells us the truth about ourselves. As we read it, it exposes our inner thoughts and attitudes; but this is for our own good! It’s that true friend that tells us when we are messing up. But unlike a regular mirror, it doesn’t just point out the mess and leave us there. It also shows us how good we could look. This is great comfort for us because along the way, we will make some bad decisions. Either because we didn’t know how to listen to God’s word, but more likely because at the time, we preferred to ignore it and do our own thing. But the good news is that it doesn’t matter how badly you’ve messed your life; God’s word is able to tell you you’re lost but also show you where you should be!

In summary, the Bible is our personal coach shows us what to do by teaching and training us and shows us what not to do by warning and correcting us. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 summarizes this beautifully, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’

To Win Publicly, Train Secretly!

For Joshua, as a result of being a student of God’s word, he was able to lead his nation in spectacular victories over their enemies. He was extremely successful and in less than 20 years, his ragged army had conquered almost all the nations that so intimidated them in the past. When he made mistakes, and he made several, he knew what he had to do to recover. We never actually see him reading the bible. But we see the results! After a fantastic and satisfying career at the end of his life, Joshua shared the secret of his amazing success to the next generation. In 23:6 he tells them these words; ‘be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning to the right or to the left’. Sound familiar? In other words, if you want to succeed and live life without regrets like I have, know and understand God’s word! To Win Publicly, Train Secretly!

Some of you have already built a habit of reading God’s word regularly. Perhaps like me, you’re reading through the ‘One Year Bible’ or some other plan. I pray that it will never become drudgery or a habit, but it will be an exciting part of your day and you will make increasingly better decisions because of it! Others of us have found it easier to read Christian books or listen to preachers on TV, radio or CD. But that’s like eating someone else’s regurgitated food! It’s the main reason why people hop from church to church saying ‘I’m not being fed here! Let me go to a church where they give me some deep theology’. It’s not your pastor’s job to feed you! Their job is to point the food out to you so you can go home and feed yourself. It’s time for you to start feeding yourself. If you have never embarked on this journey, it’s never too late to start! Get a copy of the ‘One Year Bible’. Or go to Youversion.com and sign up for a reading plan. Remember, To Win Publicly, Train Secretly!

What if this month, each of us was to commit a few minutes of our best time each day reading God’s word? What if we committed to read until something stood out for us and then to look for opportunities to obey it the rest of the day? What if before any conversation or decision, we asked God for wisdom to apply that briefing to our situation? What if as a result, we become a unique community that is admired by all around us because everything we do is guaranteed of success?

Want to join the rest of Mavuno Church in reading the Bible in May? Click here.

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16 Responses to “Personal Trainer”

  1. Reblogged this on shebanjagi and commented:
    Amazing word and insight…Right timing. I thank God.

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  2. kniphofia Says:

    Great sermon! Read it online! Truly the Bible is the best Personal Trainer. Let’s encourage each other to feed on it…. It’s a great diet!

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  3. The vow Says:

    The main reason I come to Mavuno is that ‘u get me’ the word always speaks to me. Thez no one time since I joined in 2009 that this hasn’t happened….yesterday was one of those days. About a week ago I made a vow to myself and to God to stop having sex. I am a very good woman,beautiful inside n out and I have never experienced the art of being single. After breaking out from an abusive marriage 6yr marriage I have dated 2 guys….but am not fulfilled its just sex and more sex nothing meaningful. Right now I am dating a lovely man,takes care of me loves me cooks for me,prays with me ….BUT…..(Drum rolls….) Isn’t ready to settle down just yet. I have taken the vow to stop having sex until I do it with my hubby from God,wat if this guy isn’t the one….is what am doing to my body fair….what will ‘The man’ enjoy when I finally find him? Ths r the qns that lingered on my mind for a while till I took the bold step. I know this will affect my present perfect rshp of 1 year terribly and he will never understand for even a minute but I am taking the risk. May the Lord guide me.

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  4. Interestesting sermon. I have made a vow to read the Bible and learn from it to ensure that I start living a life bila regrets. May God give me courage and guide me as I embark on this journey.

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  5. passionita Says:

    Reblogged this on Passiona Njeri.

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  6. Missy E Says:

    hey missy…thang God you made that vow…best thing u ever did though hard…

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  7. Thank you pastor for such a good sermon, God bless you. The thing is for a while now i have been trying my best to read the bible regularly and have enjoyed every moment.
    I was believing God for something and was positive, had faith did all the bible advised me to, but was disappointed at the end. me being who i am, i was so mad said things i shouldn’t have said and now i feel like i just walked out of God’s love and house and i cant find my way back.
    At that time i felt like i couldn’t count on God i believed In Him and he just left me hanging. i also believed that i was like Judas, created or rather destined to fail, like all those people you read about in the bible who have been used so that god can be glorified…..
    I have thought of asking for forgiveness, but something just doesn’t feel right in my heart. I don’t know what to do, should i pray, should i go on reading the bible. It just doesn’t feel the same and i miss reading, i miss praying i feel doomed. I don’t know how the atheist do it. I know God is good, i know he is faithful, but still…. please help me with some sound advise, before its too late. thank you all in advance.

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    • @ Essy,
      God’s Promises for You: I Will Never Leave You nor Forsake You
      Hebrews 13:5-6. no matter how many times we walk out on God, He never gets tired of us, He’s ever ready to embrace us. Don’t reject God’s love.
      Keep on reading the WORD of God, train secretly even when you don’t feel like it,

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  8. Niedwin Says:

    I have to admit Pastor M. It’s like you read guys’ minds,well mine I know. I went like soooo what is this about Joshua with God telling him to keep the Word close to him, I had to reread the verses again and again (as you were still preaching) and again.
    Truly reading the Bible is a hustle, but yet I am the same guy who wants PAP solutions to my issues.
    I will try,and no promise,to understand God’s word 5 to six tyms weekly with questions.

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  9. Awesome piece.

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  10. Thanks for the word Pastor M. The word come at the right time. A week earlier we had discussed with LG the need for the word as Christians, and then you spoke on Sunday. Yenyewe without the word we will make decisions that we will regret later. My fellow Mavunites let’s embrace the word – read, study, memorize, meditate. Barikiwa Pastor M.

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  11. Muthoni Says:

    Hi. okay, so I think this sermon series is that last straw to a drowning man kind of thing for me.. okay, maybe not, but I think you’ll get the drift..

    I recently quit my job because it wasn’t making much financial sense. when I quit, I had gotten another job and was awaiting confirmation that I STILL AM.. I thought I had it all figured out.. lakini LO!!! its not what i though it would be… I have questioned God, my decision to leave, my capabilities and purpose, you know all those things you question when the plans you had fall to the ground.

    I know, deep down God has a plan, I mean, don’t we all know Jeremiah 29:11? But for me, it was different, I love to be in control of my life, I claim to trust God and wait on Him but most times, I have a plan B just incase He doesn’t show up. IRONY huh?

    Well, this time round I don’t really have a plan B. actually I have purposed not to have a plan B. my mum recently called me and said, ‘I hope you are looking into other options just incase this job doesn’t go through’ and I replied and said, actually, not really, I HOPE God has a plan.

    I really don’t have any answers to any of the questions I have, but one thing I have purposed this month ni kuwacha mpango wa plan B and to take God at His word. I have purposed to seek for answers in His word, by spending time reading and studying His word. you brought out the sermon in such a simple way, I felt so silly for panicking yet this super strong guy has it all under control. Every time my mind starts thinking of what next, I take hold of every though and line it up with His word.

    We must be very careful to choose the right backdrop against which we live our lives. Our backdrop is eternity – not the tyranny of urgent demands made by a relentless world. Our backdrop is an old rugged cross and an empty tomb – not the temporary trials or painful circumstances we face in this very fleeting life.
    I WILL HAVE A TESTIMONY BY THE END OF THIS MONTH 🙂

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  12. I’ll have to admit…never do i blog, but for this one time, i have to somehow try and share what this sermon did for me.

    Clearly, God set me up, to be seated there and listen through and getting convicted with every passing minute…was really tough for me. But God had a plan and a confirmation in the plan. For about a month, a close family member had been urging me to join a consistent bible reading program by the bible explorers club, but i kept coming up with reasons and excuses.

    Just the night before the service, i sent a final sms, confirming that i would NOT be able to begin the program because i was too busy. After sitting through the service, i was so convicted about the excuses (“the barriers”) i was creating for myself and the lies the enemy was putting in my head. Following the service, i had just enough time to go for the opening class and i praise God that i began the program having understood and learnt the fundamentals of reading God’s word and being consistent about it.

    I also immediately resumed and picked up on where “the one year bible” readings are at – and consistently doing this. I now know that discipline and character are not “fruits of the spirit” ..and that they can be divinely imparted…. NO. They have to be acquired through training….and to “win publicly requires us to train secretly” . I now follow an organized, structural, consistent Bible reading program that even allows me to monitor growth in reading, record barriers for waking up early to read, having a personal encourager among many other ways.

    My Key take out was Training and this requires Consistency, Character and Discipline. Thank you Pastor M. Cant wait for the other parts.

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  13. Pastor M. You were talking about my life.

    My name is J unshackledlifebilaregretsthriver! This week I had a few decisions to make that would influnce the rest of my life. I had tried talking to friends but I realized it was not helpful because I only got to hear what I wanted to hear. On Monday I had lost peace and I knew all was not well. I picked my Bible only to read 1 Sam. 13 where King Saul was rejected by God for:
    1. Failing to wait for Samuel
    2. He feared men more than God
    3. He had people’s pleasiosis (pleasing people not God)

    At that point I knew there is a relationship I was in where we didn’t wait for God’s approval and as a man I had failed to offer leadership. I had also taken God’s position in this person’s life. I just remember telling one of my friends its amazing how we take God’s position in peoples life and when we get frustrated we never understand.

    Psalm 68:1-2 says “May God arise and may His enemies be scattered” and so those who’ve made themselves idols they are scattered… The best thing was take full responsibility go back to the cross roads and find the right path.

    I have great friends who affirmed the relationship but I realized even if the whole nation affirms you and God has rejected you??????? its a great tragedy. We agreed to honor God based on 1 Samuel 13 and face life according to God’s order. A great decision and consequences to face but better be accepted by God than man.

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  14. I was glad when 2011 came to an end, it was one of the worst years for me. I crossed over to 2012 with a bang! Unlike 2011, I purposed to go through the one year Bible with discipline; I bought the Bible in Jan and began the journey. The month of Feb was fantastic, the Bible with prayer and fasting! It was the best experience of my life. My relationship with God has been fine until recently. I got health attacks one after another and have been in a season of lack.

    Were it in Jan or Feb, I would have no doubt that God will come through for me but not now. I bet I am just complacent with the circumstances and slowly my faith is dwindling. I ask God for strength to face each new day but the truth is I am tired of where I am. I realize that the THRIVE sermon was easier to listen to than to practice. God has given me promises but I am at a point where I say, enough of promises, let me see some action. He has shown me signs yet I doubt (I feel like the rebellious lot of Israelites). With all honesty I feel like its a test I can’t handle because I am losing my faith.

    I have heard so many times that God will provide the resources I need in his own time (What about my time is a question I ask?). I want my health back, I need the basic needs and other resources. God has expectations of me, what about my expectations of him? I hate where I am spiritually, I don’t want to be where I am. When I read a Psalm this week, God rebuked me for not believing yet he showed a sign.

    I really want to go back to where I was at the beginning of year, believing irrespective of my circumstances at the same time I want change in my life. What has happened to me? I want this to fade away. I want to enjoy the one year Bible like before because it is turning out to be just info. PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!

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  15. Maggie K Says:

    Phenomenal!! I’m a single mom to a handsome boy, he will be turning 4 in July. Baby-daddy and I fell out, and he ain’t involved in my son’s life…actually, he has never seen the boy yet he is alive and lives in this town (read: Nairobi).

    I did forgive him for what he did and I know that by the Grace of God, I have let go. I ain’t mad at men and I know I will meet up some great guy to be my hubby and daddy to my son. Truth be told, I do feel bad that the guy walked away from my son….he is an innocent boy and did nothing.

    Pastor M, your sermon has really helped me out. I know that even when I neither understand nor have all the answers, I can put all my trust in our Daddy cause He has something greater and better for my son and I.

    Thank you so much Pasi 🙂

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