Reading Room with John Njoroge

@Interested_In_Cover_to_Cover, The Reading Room is here! @Shawn_Hart and I are so excited to share the first of these Cover to Cover specials with you! We have been waiting eagerly for everyone else to hear this conversation with @John_Njoroge, who directs (and is) RZIM Kenya and also runs Valley Light Orphanage alongside his wife. John joined us to discuss books, research tips, Scripture memory, and more. He also shares the powerful story of God’s work in his life from Kenya to the US and back:

As you reflect on this conversation, we would love to hear your own thoughts and questions here in the Connect community! Here are some things to think about:

  • Did you hear something that challenged or convicted you?
  • Did you hear something that encouraged or blessed you?
  • Did you hear a reading/research tip or practice that you want to try?
  • What is your “one thing” take-away from this conversation?
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J Good to see your name in an email again. Here’s hoping you are staying safe and
enjoying life. Blessings. Kel.

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I really enjoyed this whole podcast. I especially love your idea of interviewing various RZIM speakers to learn their stories of where they came from and how they came to Christ. Wow, John’s story is SUCH a testimony to God rescuing from what seemed like a hopeless situation. I love hearing his story and I also loved hearing about what he is reading, how he studies, memorizes, etc.
I had just been commenting to a friend about how much I enjoyed the April 2020 Global Report on Vimeo that RZIM sent out because I got to see short videos of several of your apologists from all over the world. It was a real treat, of course, to hear what is happening, but also a real treat to get to see and hear your gifted apologists talk “face to face”. And now you have added this longer version of hearing from your speakers in the Reading Room. Love it!

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@Keldon_Scott, thanks so much for saying hello! I miss being in those first Academy elective groups with you and the rest of that faithful cohort. It sounds like Christian Ethics is off to a strong start for you guys. I’ll be praying for you all throughout!

All is well for me here, though of course the stay at home life comes with plenty of its own unexpected challenges and struggles. God has used this season to teach me a lot about myself and my relationship with Him. I suspect most of us would say the same.

How are you and the family, my friend?

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Definitely is a different world. I have actually worked a lot. It seems that lawyers are now prolific with emails and zoom requests. I was supposed to be out
west mid March and mid April for our grand-son’s 3rd birthday. COVID19 disabled that! Now I feel like I am getting the COVID20 – when you add that to the COLLEGE20 you have too much weight.
J JK, but getting on the treadmill only is hard for a gregarious, active guy. Just sayin. Sam is
working in our living room – now COVID office, and I have the COVID dungeon. This is six weeks now straight. I have been to the office about 6-7 times and Sam has been to hers about 3-4 times, but that is it. However :*) I have been a rebel – on nice days
I have snuck out to play pickleball – my position: sue me. We are safe and stay more than six feet away. But, I have loved the start of the Ethics elective – great people and discussions again. So, hopefully we will get Week 2 pretty soon, and I will be
off. Listened to some John MacArthur presentations on Isaiah – liking that a lot! Good chatting with you – glad all is well.

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Really enjoyed the discussion! I have heard Dr. John Njoroge speak before but knew nothing of his early challenging years and its amazing to learn of God’s miracle in his life. Truly, as promised in 2 Chr 6:9 God’s eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are devoted to Him.

My take-away from it are the researching and reading tips when starting with a new topic: Read the best and most cited book on the topic, search scripture on the topic, make notes on books read especially if they were impactful, quality not quantity!

Thank you!

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I’m no good at naming “one thing,” so I’ll name two and tie them together.

I appreciated Cameron McAllister’s memory of when Dr. Njoroge told him he was trying to do too much. I do that all the time. I over prepare for the classes and studies I lead. People will learn more and I’ll suffer less burnout if I seek God’s heart about the one thing He wants us to learn each week. Hm…I see a theme of “one thing” emerging.

My second “one thing” comes from the question Dr. Njoroge’s son asked him: “How can I know God?” Connecting with God in a relational way is challenging for me. I know God is telling me to slow down and enjoy Him and let Him enjoy me. I’m not His slave who needs to rush around in a vain attempt to accomplish His to-do list. I’m His daughter.

I suspect applying my first “one thing” (not doing so much) will help with the second. I’m curious, though, whether some of you also struggle with setting aside academic thinking in order to connect emotionally with God. What has helped you grow in your relationship with Him?

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Thank you so much @Ivy_Tyson and @Shawn_Hart for launching this great idea for community on Cover to Cover! And it is a great way for us to get to know the amazing world team at RZIM.

I have enjoyed John Njoroge in the Academy, and it was a treat to hear him in a casual exchange (and I love his sense of humor!)

I was encouraged to hear his beautiful testimony and how the Lord brought John and his family to Himself through suffering. Not that I’m endorsing suffering, but God shows Himself in unexpected and powerful ways through adversity and difficulty. Then the Lord further enabled him and his wife to reach out to others in compassion and wisdom not only from personal experience, but through the Lord’s preparation and provision.

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one struggling with memorization. I was on a roll before COVID-19 with the Sermon on the Mount, but got so busy serving in ways I didn’t expect that I’m very behind now…
So now I’m heading out to buy some extremely powerful glue… :rofl:

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Hello Ivy and Shawn and thank you for the great talk you had with John Njorge. Having first come to know about him through the Academy courses it is always a privledge to listen to this humble man of God.

I loved him talking about when he was just a boy reading the Bible and praying and trusting God for the needs of his family. As we become more affluent I think we can lose some of the faith we orginally started with. Stories like John’s helps to remind me that the faithfulness of God doesn’t change. Through the Covid-19 pandemic many families are worrying because of pressure placed on livelihoods. John’s story is a reminder that our God is able regardless of our circumstance.

I learnt a lot when he was talking about preparing for a talk on a particular topic as well as in describing the importance of remembering the pivotal themes of books. I found that really useful and something I will try to practice. I know if I read a book on maybe a theological or philosphical theme, if somebody asked me what it was about I often can not explain it to them! I think that learning by even writing the odd note and to be able to relfect on the book and then pratice explaining the main points to myself, is a way to practice understanding the idea posited. So I found that really helpful.

There were so many good take-away points and just a really good interview Ivy and Shawn. Well done to you both and thank you for making it available for us to listen to. Looking forward to your next one already :smiley:!

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Hello Jennifer and thanks for your reflections on the talk and your question :slightly_smiling_face:. I know that I can get involved into thinking about an academic or philosphical theme which distracts from my emotional connection with God. I can remember spending time praying not that long ago and had the Holy Spirit speak to me and remind me not to forget that Christianity, and all of life, is about a Person! What He was confirming to me is that many times we can talk and teach about so many different things, but never actually lead to Christ. I love it when God reminds me not to forget Who it is all about.

So for me, it is important that whatever I am reading, that the purpose is to know God and strengthen my relationship with Him. That means even in an acedemic pursuit there remains the emotional connection. If I feel emotionally distant, then I know my focus has possibly been taken off of desiring to know more of God.

But how about you, what has helped you grow in your relationship with God?

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Brian, I appreciate your comment about writing an “odd note.” I need to remember that phrase. When I take notes, I write too much, and it becomes counterproductive. I own a reading journal. You’ve inspired me to open it up and write down a tiny bit about each book–much better than the all-or-nothing approach I usually have in taking notes.

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Brian, thanks for throwing my question back at me. I don’t feel like I have great answers, and I don’t like admitting that because I know my relationship with God is more important than anything else. However, I’m very comfortable in theological debates, but connecting with God as my Father is entirely different.

I know it helps me to ask God to help me connect with Him before I start my devotions. That sounds like a simplistic answer, and I wonder why I don’t remember to do that all the time.

Music also helps me connect with God. Playing worship songs on the piano is especially good for me, but I don’t take time for it often enough.

I’ll keep thinking about this, though. Trying to answer my own question is probably the best thing for me.

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Hi @Jennifer_Wilkinson,

I can understand the tug of emotional distance from God in our hearts despite spending hours on something related to God, whether its hands on activities for God or academic thinking about God. If I feel that way, to me it’s a sign that I need to go spend some time in prayer. Recently in one of my devotions as I read what Jesus says at the temple, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”, I was quite struck by it. As believers are the temples of God in the new testament, I see it as a call for prayer. Also, what would be the “tables” that Jesus would turn over in our hearts? It seems easier to read and learn and be efficient with my time than waiting on God, and that sometimes keeps me from a good time of prayer. What helps me in prayer is just to bring every troubling thought before God and lay it before him and find a truth in the Bible to meditate on, to cleanse me from whatever is troubling me. If I am feeling dry, I might ask Him to fill me with His living water. I often reach out to my close friends to pray for me and with me when I feel emotionally distant from God. Sometimes, I have also found a release in my spirit by praying against possible strongholds in the spiritual realm that could be causing the feeling of emptiness. So, frequent times of prayer focused on realigning my heart to God has helped me in growing in my relationship with God.

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Hi @Lakshmismehta

I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts, and it is a reminder to me about the importance of being proactive in maintaining what should always be fundamental to building on my relationship with God. So many times if we are not doing stuff or studying something new then we feel unproductive. And I don’t know about you and @Jennifer_Wilkinson, but for me it can sometimes be a real effort to just go to a quiet place to spend time in prayer. However, once I am in that place praying and reading the word and just communinig with God, it is always such a special time and makes me realize that distraction from communing with God is a common tactic of the Enemy. It is also why community is so important in building each other up through fellowship.

Thanks Lakshmi and I also love your last line about praying to realign ones heart to God- I found that very helpful and something that I will also bring into my prayer life :slightly_smiling_face:.

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Hi @Brian_Upsher,

So glad to hear your thoughts as well! I share the same struggle to just get started in prayer. When I struggle with getting the mood for prayer, just picking up the Bible, reading something and then responding in prayer to it has been a helpful. God bless your time in prayer!

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@Lakshmismehta, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days because I often find prayer to be an intimacy killer. I had to ask myself, “Why?” I appreciate the push you gave me to face this question. I posted my thoughts at How to Grow in Intimacy with God. Since Carson started a discussion about prayer and intimacy, it seemed best to bounce this discussion over there.

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Thank you all for the rich discussion. I just read through it and am so grateful for what is being shared. I can relate to what you mentioned @Brian_Upsher, about it being difficult to get to a quiet place to be with the Lord. I too have had to work hard at this and the really hard times for me is then when the entire time feels like a massive effort and I get distracted. I just have to not let those times deter me from continuing on because some very rich times have come a long the way.

Also, here is the picture that I showed Ivy and John where I mentioned my bedside table being a safety hazard:

I had to share this and update you on this because in the middle of the night last week I slammed my head into the “bedside table” and the tower of books tipped over and crashed down! Lucky for me it fell away from me and not on my head. Also, don’t ask why I slammed my head that hard while sleeping…I was probably wrestling a bear or something. :smile:

Shawn

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Hi Shawn

You were certainly very fortunate that that avalanche of books did not fall the other way, otherwise we would have probably never seen or heard from you again! We must always be thankful for God’s small mercies :smiley:.

Glad you are all good and thanks to you and Ivy for the podcast and discussion thread.

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This really resonated with me! That’s a great motivator to pursue prayer, something to keep in mind. The episode with the books was sure fun to read about! :smile:

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I remember @John_Njoroge’s lecture from the Core Module class! :astonished: I had to listen to it no less than 3 times to really be able to understand what he was saying. A godly and brilliant man, indeed.

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