Steve Nichols:
We are visiting with our friend, Reverend Kenneth Mbugua, from Nairobi, Kenya. It’s nice to have you with us.

Kenneth Mbugua:
Thank you for having me.

SN:
You’re here at our national conference. And when you’re back in Nairobi, you are pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, and you’re also the director of Ekklesia Afrika, providing biblical resources for the church in Africa. We’re glad that you’re with us, and I think we’re going to do you a favor, Ken. We’re going to send you to a deserted island.

KM:
Okay.

SN:
We’re going to free you of all your responsibilities, and you can just sit and read for a while. What five books would you take with you to your deserted island?

KM:
Good. So, these would be the five. One is a book called The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes.

SN:
Good Puritan book.

KM:
I feel like that book is just the cross being applied to the soul in a potent way. I think it’s Spurgeon who, at the very beginning, says that Sibbes, in this book, “Scatters precious powers with both hands,” which I think is such a picture of what the book is, page by page.

SN:
Beautiful image.

KM:
Not hypergrace, but the true grace, very potently and powerfully applied to the soul. Next would be The Christian Ministry: And Causes of Its Inefficacy by Charles Bridges. As a student training for the ministry, I kept asking the questions, “What is the ministry? What’s my job?” I feel like there are a billion different versions of what my job actually is. And of everything that I’ve read out there, nothing describes the nature of the ministry of a pastor better than he does. And he does it in a beautiful way, because it’s not just the external stuff. He’s digging into your soul.

Another one would be A Loving Life by Paul Miller. I started this book in my first year of marriage and put it down after a couple of pages, because it was too much. I felt like page after page, it was just saying, “Die to yourself, die to yourself.” And I was still in my honeymoon stage. So I was like, “It’s too rough.”

SN:
So now you’re ready.

KM:
Now I’m ready for it. It’s a powerful exposition of the book of Ruth, helping us see that the only way to really be able to love the way God has called us to love is by dying to ourselves, and pointing to Ruth. Oftentimes we focus on Boaz. But this book points to Ruth as really the primary imaging or type of Christ. It points us to someone who gave up and abandoned her own life and her own good for the good of Naomi. And that’s how Naomi flourished.

SN:
I always picture Ruth, just sort of clinging to Naomi, no matter what. Just such commitment, selflessness.

KM:
So, given I’m going to an island, I would carry a book I have not yet finished. It’s the kind of thing you do when you’re going to an island.

SN:
Sure.

KM:
So, The Things of Earth, by Joe Rigney. I’m loving it, especially being an African, because I feel like there’s an application to the truths about who God is that have not yet extended to all things. How do I worship God when playing with Zion, my two-year-old boy, and tickling him, and hearing that beautiful laughter? What does that have to do with God? What does that have to do with my enjoying the triune God, who is a Father who loves his Son, and articulates that? So I feel like it’s filling in a lot of gaps for me in my own Christianity, and something that I desire to communicate to our people a whole lot more. Application goes far beyond just the fighting against sin, which is obviously going to be the fight that we will fight until we die. Application is how to take all of life and use it as a means to express our love for God.

Next is The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever. I think that island needs a local church. And if it just so happens to not be deserted, we are most probably planting a church with a guy, and this is the book that I want you to read with him. It’s not a complex book. I think he’s condensed everything about a local church in that particular book. So if one wants to go through something, cover to cover, that touches on baptism, Communion, church leadership, lead pastors—all those things, I think, are threaded inside there in a very basic and clean way.

SN:
You’re a good churchman. You’re going to build a church on this island. Well, we’ll let you be to your reading and starting up your new church on the island.

KM:
Thank you, thank you.

SN:
Thanks for being with us.