N4__20160303_112707 (Large).jpegToday I rode an office motorbike to another small town to meet with someone. The bike had a few sputters along the way, and died when I got there. Battery problem.

Anyway, I met with the guy, and near the end he asked me if I had any ‘travel allowance’ to pay for morning tea. I said I didn’t, but I’d be happy to pay for morning tea personally. So we went to look for something to eat, but the shops were closed or out of food. In the end he just said to me, “Well, it looks like it won’t happen. Could you just give me the money for morning tea and I’ll buy something for myself later?”

Being a seasoned expat in Tanzania, I knew it wasn’t worth making a deal out of this and I pulled 5,000 shillings ($2.50) out of my pocket and handed it over.

Basically, it would have been rude and shameful for me to point out that this was personal money and I didn’t want to give it to him – I’d already told him I had the money, so why would I refuse him a little morning tea?? It’s a different world… Continue Reading »


This week I traveled by motorbike to Zinza land with my friend Mitchell. The main purpose was for me to advertise a job position for a new Zinza translator, but as Mitchell works in Vernacular Media, we took the opportunity to sell the books of Luke and Genesis in Zinza, as well as Genesis on audio, and the JESUS Film on DVD.

We left on Monday morning and spent three nights away, getting home on Thursday afternoon. All up we traveled about 800kms.map (Large).jpg

We set out on nice roads.DSC00791-ed (Large) Continue Reading »

IMG_20160120_1517264_rewind (Medium)Yesterday Mitch and I (and our friend Alex) rode our motorbikes out through the Mara Region countryside and visited a few small villages along the way. We’re looking for a new Kabwa translator, and I thought the best way would be to spread the news through word-of-mouth.

We took a circuitous route, about 125kms, and stopped in villages along the way that you couldn’t find listed on Google Earth. Continue Reading »

chroNICHOLLS November 2015 is now available for download (5.3 MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A lower quality PDF file is also available here (3.4 MB).

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Be perfect?

Does Jesus call us to be perfect people?

Not exactly. This idea comes from a misunderstanding of the context in which Jesus famously says, “Therefore, be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt 5:48).

Remember the old “What’s the therefore there for?” rule? In this passage, it’s the key!

Jesus has just explained to his disciples how to love and treat people, basically saying, “Don’t just love your neighbour; love your enemies too. Pray for those who persecute you. This is how you show yourselves to be children of God, because God’s character is such that he gives rain and sunshine to everyone, not just to ‘good’ people. God’s goodness toward people is holistic and comprehensive, not partial and divided. Selective love is contaminated love.”

Side note: we sometimes think that “God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous” means “Good and bad things happen to everyone, not just to good or bad people,” but that’s not at all what this means. Rain and sunshine, especially in pre-modern cultures where they grow their own food, are wonderful things – they are the stuff of life, a beautiful gift from heaven. Jesus says that God sends good things to everyone!

He then reminds his disciples that even the hated tax-collectors (read: politicians and parking inspectors) and heathens (the people the Jews looked down on as being ‘not God’s people’) love their friends, and do good to their neighbours.

But that’s not how God is, and that’s not how you should be either.

Therefore, since God is this way and you are his children, be holistic, comprehensive, genuine, consistent, and universal in how you love people, just as your father in heaven is holistic, comprehensive, genuine, consistent and universal in how he loves people.

chroNICHOLLS August 2015 is now available for download (5 MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A lower quality PDF file is also available here (3 MB).

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I am

John 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

I’ve always thought that when Jesus said, “I am” (Greek: EGO EIMI), he was alluding to Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (NASB).

But I was reading Exodus 3:14 in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT in use in Jesus’ day) and the Greek says something like, “I am the one who is” (Greek: EGO EIMI HO ON). And then God tells Moses, “Thus you will say to the sons of Israel, ‘The one who is has sent me to you’ ” (Greek: HO ON has sent me to you).

This means that the normal Greek translation of God’s name given to Moses is actually The one who is (HO ON). If we were speaking Greek, and wanting to use the name that God gave to Moses, we would call him HO ON, not EGO EIMI (I am). This should have been well known in the first century, and is probably why John uses HO ON and its other forms for referring to God in Revelation – “who was and is and is to come,” (Greek: HO EN KAI HO ON KAI HO ERCHOMENOS) etc.

Jesus probably spoke Aramaic, but when John translated his words into Greek for his gospel, he would have used the term HO ON if he had been alluding to Exodus 3:14. Something to think about.

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