All posts by Emmanuel Mwesigwa a

Elijah’s Prayers of Faith

“Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” (1Kings 17:10-11)

Elijah jumped on stage without warning anybody, and he went straight to State House to give King Ahab a stunning bitter prophecy that unfortunately came to pass: a horrible three-year long drought. This persisted no matter how much the Israelites called on the small gods and idols to which they had strayed. The Baals of the First Lady were for that season disabled and could do nothing, even when her father was their priest in Midian. Jezebel therefore suffered with her royal husband, and will all the people of Palestine of their day – they suffered the punishment God pronounced through Prophet Elijah the Tishbite. James later tells the story to encourage his readers in the matter of prayers of faith: “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5:17).

Elijah sent many more prayers: during that drought, he prayed for food, and God sent the ravens with meat and bread at Elijah’s temporary residence where there was a brook with clean drinking water. Thank God, He answers prayers of faith. But when the brook dried up, Elijah still got hungry, and he prayed again; this time God sent him to a suffering and needy widow in Zarephath who was just one meal away from starvation. Things were bad
everywhere anyway; but this widow would be an instrument to show God’s power,
answering prayers of faith. It turned out that her cooperation with the Man of God became their insurance dividend; they ate and drank from that ‘one meal’ until the prophesied time of the drought ended, when Elijah prayed again.

When the widow was satisfied and her life revitalized, she must have praised the God of Elijah – Jehovah Jireh! But He gives more than just temporary satisfaction from a meal; and how would she know this? Her only son fell sick and died! This would require one more prayer of faith from the prophet: Elijah interviewed God first, “have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with…?” As if tragedy on others is alright;
indeed when tragedy serves to reveal to them the power of God, let them suffer for that
moment, as Ahab did. But Elijah’s prayer of faith removed tragedy from the widow and served the same purpose – revealing the power of Almighty God.

Be encouraged in the matters of prayer and faith. When you seek the glory of God, when the power of God should draw men and women, children and adults to their Maker and Redeemer, He will go an extra mile to answer you, to satisfy you, to reveal mysteries to you, to clothe you with perfect health – to answer your prayers of faith. As he did for Elijah, He will do it for you – be encouraged.

God bless you.

In the steps of the Martyrs

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, … “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56)

This again is the season to remember and draw inspiration from those who were faithful to the end – the Uganda Martyrs who are remembered year after year; there are other
annual feasts celebrated in honour of different saints, known and unknown, including
apostles, evangelists and martyrs – whose life of faithful devotion and witness remains a great encouragement for today’s believers. William’s old hymn captures well the important theme:

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold. Alleluia, Alleluia!

These saints were faithful to the end and now form the Church triumphant where ‘There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’, while believers on earth are the Church militant where as Paul the Apostle encourages Timothy, they ought to ‘Fight the good fight of the faith.’ Faithful means manifesting a true spirit to a person to whom one is bound by a promise, a pledge, honor, or love. Walking in their steps demands a continual encouragement of one another until we behold the Lord as Stephen did in the hour of his death. Indeed it was the hour of his entrance into a new glorious life – and this seems to have been the same experience for many martyrs.

Our meditation today is from a very important prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians – and this should top any other matter on your list; make the need expressed in this prayer the most desired and the opening prayer item at every opportunity – ‘to be strengthened with power … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’, and, above all other things, this is my prayer for you beloved of the Lord.

They came from different backgrounds but were bound by their faith in Jesus Christ. God respects faithfulness in following Him, no matter where you are coming from. In our
following the Lord, we have many examples of faithful endurance – the martyrs of Uganda occupying a clear place in the list. Like the saints we commemorate, if you remain faithful to the end, God in His faithfulness has accepted you. Let us walk in their steps and support one another to tell generations to come of the exemplary witness and faithfulness to spur more people on to the same path. God bless you.

A Statement from the Archbishop, on Syncretism

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Like many Ugandans, Christians in the Church of Uganda prayed for Hon. Rebecca
Kadaga in her re-election campaign for MP and also for her election as Speaker of
Parliament. We rejoiced when the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ opened
both doors for her to serve the people of Uganda again. Like many, we were, therefore, confused by the reports of her visiting her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her
re-election.

We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we
have. But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the
spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6. The Church of Uganda condemns
syncretism and urges her Bishops and clergy to use this opportunity to proclaim the
sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.

As we approach the commemoration of the Ugandan Martyrs on 3rd June, we are
challenged by the faithfulness, commitment, and witness of these youth. Their
willingness to renounce the “world, the flesh, and the devil” and to joyfully embrace
the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, even unto death, is a model for how we
should all understand living a life with a single-minded focus on Jesus as the only
Saviour and only Lord. There is a cost to discipleship and a great reward in following Christ.

We appeal to all Christians in the Church of Uganda, especially those serving in
prominent positions in government and business, to uphold Paul’s exhortation to ‘live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ (Ephesians 4:1), to live ‘above
reproach’ (1 Timothy 3:2), and to not cause others to ‘stumble’ (1 Corinthians
10:32).

Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.

Syncretism is the amalgamation or attempted combination of different religions,
cultures or belief systems. The above statement from our leader speaks widely to all,
especially those that are involved in idol or ancestral worship when at the same time they call themselves Christians. Isaiah peeped a little into heaven and saw the glorious majesty of the King of kings – God himself on His throne. His allegiance was immediately turned and concentrated to the Lord, and he was able to answer in the affirmative when the call was heard. Does the Lord have your total allegiance?

God bless you.

Getting to Give

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Freely you have received; freely give. (John 3:16, Matt 10:8)

You are warmly welcome to Kakumba Chapel.

We had three action-packed days last week with two hundred children gathering each day for a wonderful Children’s Conference that ended successfully, under the theme ‘Getting to Give’. Hannah asked the Lord for a son, she received this blessing of baby Samuel, and she gave him back to the Lord and he became a great prophet and judge. Peter and John
received the power of the Holy Spirit when they were commissioned by Jesus Christ, they met a lame beggar at the Temple’s Beautiful Gate when they didn’t have money, but they gave him what they had – healing! Similarly, Jesus taught and empowered many disciples and sent them out to give what they had gained through reaching out and sharing this good news. These and many more such stories were shared with the children, with
accompanying fun and food.

In the recent season of Lent, we chose to spend time on Spiritual Disciplines as our subject of study and practice. The discipline of giving and generosity is one of those that are a must if one is to please God. Giving is part of worship to God and service to fellow people. There are many types of givers: some have donated land or furniture to the Church, while others bring huge sums of liquid cash. All these are welcome. Some give secretly while
others would enjoy some recognition; still this is acceptable. Let us focus on the particular
giving that God demonstrates in the above key Scriptures quoted:

God gave out of love; we are called to give out of love for people around us; and there are very many longing for love. God gave His precious Son; we are called to give the best and most valuable things that we have. For Hannah, baby Samuel was most valuable, having arrived after a very long and distressful waiting, but she literally given him up to God’s
service at Shiloh (1Sam 1:27-28) – what an example! You can no longer excuse yourself for holding onto that most valuable item; give your best. Peter and John in Acts 3:6-8 gave in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We are called to give in His Name – to pray for
healing, to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God – to be His witnesses. More
explicitly, Jesus commissioned his disciples, and we are so commissioned, to preach and make disciples of all nations as a ministry act of giving. May the Lord strengthen us
continually to grow in this grace all the days of our lives. Freely you have received, freely give.

God bless you.

The Comfortor Has Come

But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he
shall teach you all things, … Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: Let
not your heart be troubled. (John 14:26-27)

It is now seven weeks since we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
on Easter Sunday; today is Pentecost Sunday. In conversations with the disciples in
his last days, Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit as the Comforter
(Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby). This promise
was the basis of assuring the disciples to receive the peace of the Lord, and not
to be afraid. He particularly instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit before spreading
out as witnesses (Luke 24:49). This was fulfilled just ten days after his Ascension,
and today we can continue to celebrate that the Comforter has come.

Pentecost was one of the three prominent feasts observed by Jews according to
instructions given by the great prophet Moses (Deut 16). This particular feast
climaxed in a day of high celebration To commemorate the giving of the Ten
Commandments to Moses at Sinai 49 days after the Exodus, according to Jewish tradition. There is also another Jewish tradition that King David was born and died at Pentecost. The feast was also to celebrate the barley harvest which would havebegan on the morrow after the Sabbath in the Passover week. Jews traditionally read the Book of Ruth at this feast, as the story links with the grain harvest theme of thefestival.

The Jews certainly derived comfort not only from the barley harvest every year, but
also from the recollection of the order Moses ushered in when he received the Law;
they also remembered how David was the great King that ushered in a dispensation
of a greatly expanded and peaceful kingdom of Israel. However, all these remained
in history as they now remained on tension with hardly any peace and with difficult
in observing the Law due to gentile powers over them – the Romans particularly, in
the time of and just after Jesus Christ. The coming of the Holy Spirit as Comforter
was therefore timely, necessary and relevant.

In the same way, we have many things to celebrate, yet we recognize the need for a
Comforter. Uganda remains on tension even after the swearing in President Museveni
to add five to his thirty years in State House; checking our villages, families and
personal lives, there is so much need that any good news of a comforter would land
on eager ears; and today is a good day to remember: the Comforter has come.

God bless you all.

Stand Firm in Your Faith

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that
they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. (Col 2:2)

Paul writes confidently to the Colossians about his goal: he desires and works hard
towards their gaining the full riches of complete understanding; standing on this firm
knowledge foundation, they can glorify God and live fulfilled lives. In encouraging people to stand firm in faith, there is often a worry that faith is disconnected from our living
reality, and it is tempting for many people to pursue technology and business concepts that ‘work’ without due regard to principles from the Word of God. It is very interesting when hard work in academic studies and world changing research proves that our faith
principles are excellent and spot on. Take for example, Paul quoted Jesus to have said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). Is this true? Is it better to get and amass more and more things, or to give it away – what would you rather do? I have been a critic of large donor organizations who come into Africa and take away our blessings by
donating to us while we are not likewise donating substantially.

There is a whole study on today’s techno-philanthropists who are a different breed – Peter Diamandis writes; while the industrial revolution focused philanthropy locally, the high-tech revolution inverted the equation, in recognition that the world is more
globally connected. In the past, things that happened in Africa or China were not known in New York. Today, everyone knows about everything instantly. Our problems are much more interrelated as well, and everything from climate change to pandemics has roots in different parts of the world, but they affect everybody. In this way, global has become the new local. One key difference is that the older givers gave late in their years, while the new givers start giving early and for much bigger impacts in society. One truth holds, though, in all this philanthropy – old and new – that giving and the blessings that come with it are a reality just as Jesus said. Those givers just keep growing richer and richer! It is true, it is more blessed to give than to receive.

I have used only one principle to illustrate that our faith principles hold a lot of water. Stand firm in your faith. You will experiences insults and questions that may be higher than your capacity; you may even be scorned and turned away by close friends and business
associates, but when you stand firm long enough, they will only turn around to realize those faith principles are the only ones that will stand the test of time.

God bless you all

Game Changers


During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my
people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. …
And also bless me.” (Exodus 12:32-33)

In the recent Spring Harvest conference in Butlins UK, the theme was ‘Game
Changers’. Spring Harvest is an annual teaching and worship event – a unique
holiday, festival, conference, and an encounter with God. That theme reminds me of the last World Cup tournament which heavily dented Brazil’s long-standing glory in the world of soccer. On home soil, the five-time World Cup Champion received on
behalf of their country a national humiliation by losing 1-7 to long time rivals
Germany who went ahead later to lift the Cup, thus winning their fourth World Cup
title, 24 years after their last win. Toni Kroos, who scored twice for Germany in less
than two minutes, was elected Man of the Match – call him the Game Changer, as he waned all hopes for Brazil’s come back.

Think about how the slave nation in Egypt turned into a super power in the Middle
East! It all started with Moses’ encounter with God. The long-lasting impact he made for the kingdom of heaven started when Moses met with God at the burning bush. From that encounter he was emboldened to speak up and stand up for the freedom of his people. He was part of a team that made history together. They had to learn to tune in to the right voice, hear the Spirit over the crowd, and fight for the Promised Land. And, of course, they empowered the next generation because beyond their lifetime there were far greater things to come.

At the time Pharaoh gave in, he was fully defeated when he and all the Egyptian families lost their first borns; he sent the Israelites away to worship the LORD as Moses had
requested; and he also asked to be prayed for, because He realized the Most High God that Moses proclaimed was much greater than the Egyptian idols. The Egyptian magicians and priests who contended with Moses were defeated and could not rise against the power of Jehovah. God is the ultimate Game Changer.

Through an encounter with God, we are equipped to engage in our world and
empower others to join in. We become a team of game changers in our society,
transforming communities in the name of Jesus. When he rose from the dead, he won
ultimate victory and now releases that transforming power to us. He is at work, constantly doing new things by the power of his Spirit. The exciting question is: do we want to join him? In every circle of our influence, his presence makes us game changers. Together, we can change the world.

God bless you all.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

… all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
(Acts 19:10-11)

Paul’s mission in Ephesus was transformational. It touched the city’s life religiously,
socially and economically. Ephesus was “the guardian of the temple of the great [goddess] Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven” – so they believed, and her worship was widespread; the business of idols was booming, with natives and visitors buying these idols and relics to worship this goddess. Even after Apollos’ mission and the formation of the 12-man Christian fellowship, there seems to have been no significant effect on the life of this city. They had believed, were baptized, they probably met regularly, but in terms of effects on city life, there was nothing to write home about.

That city’s foundations were spiritual, and only the Holy Spirit could move them. It is not uncommon that we try to do in our own human might and wisdom things that are beyond that realm; truly there is a breakthrough that requires the power of the Holy Spirit – in your career, or your relationships, or in your finances, or your business; but more significantly in the extension of the Kingdom of God among different peoples and places, the power of the Holy Spirit is indispensable. Don’t try to convert hard hearted people by your clever and articulate preaching or rivers of baptism; do not try drive out evil spirits using chloroquine injections or radiotherapy machines! Only the power of the Holy Spirit can shake such foundations, and we need Him even today.

In Ephesus, when the work of the Holy Spirit was manifested, when the believers were filled, the power released lifted a blockade and the Word of God was preached and
received by all. To teach and preach the powerful gospel, we need the Holy Spirit. People came to repent and confessed their sins and gave them up; they were unashamed and bold to accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour in public. For that boldness to give up sin and
receive salvation, we need the Holy Spirit. Healings and deliverances were witnessed as the Name of Jesus was invoked in prayers; there were extraordinary miracles as well; for
convincing signs and total healing of body and soul, we need the Holy Spirit. The city’s economy changed; the business of idols started a sharp decline as many people turned to and worshipped the Almighty God. For cleansing and positive transformation of our cities and villages, we need the Holy Spirit. He has work in your life as an individual, as a family, and as a community.

God bless you all.

Rooted 7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col 2:6-7)

It has been the theme for the University Mission week: Rooted 7 – calling upon believers to be rooted in Jesus Christ completely and every day. Over 50 missioners, majority of them students, devoted their time to reaching out especially in Lecture rooms and around the University campus; we appreciate the many Lecturers who were cooperative in giving
opportunity for Mission publicity and a message to be shared with the students. Some
Lecturers joined in the mobilization by arranging for more rooms to be reached – and this was encouraging. The mission was successful despite the many interrupting challenges: many key missioners lost relatives and had to go for burials, some staff members had ill relatives, and there was a little strike among students on Wednesday; nevertheless, the Lord’s move has been unstoppable.

The message is simple: if you are not rooted in Jesus Christ, you cannot stand the storms of life. Our Lord used both agricultural and engineering language to call people to himself: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches’ was his charge; branches that remain connected to the vine bear much fruit and enjoy good care. Those who do not remain in Jesus Christ are likened to branches that thrown away to wither and later be burned. He also likened those who listen and take His word to a person who built his house well on a rock, while the one who does not put His word into practice is like the person who built his house on sand and it was washed away by the storms when it rained.

Now Paul also uses agricultural and engineering terms to call believers to growth and
establishment: be rooted and built up in Jesus Christ. We have seen many huge trees fall down because something has gone wrong with the roots – either they were eaten by ants, or they were cut, or they dried up due to old age; without roots, a tree cannot stand. A house cannot stand without a foundation and a firm structure; the recent tragedy of a
collapsed building near Makerere University tells the story in painful style. To be rooted and built up in Christ means to receive His Word and continually put it into practice. It means resisting and refusing counterfeits and half-truths that are sold by so many enticing ‘christs’. It means to radically and publicly identify as a disciple of Jesus Christ, serving His purposes at all times. It means to hope in Jesus Christ alone as the true and only vine in whom you will derive all the nutrients for life here today and tomorrow in eternity; to hope in Him as the rock upon which your life will be safe and secure from all alarms. He readily receives all, even today, all who will choose to be rooted and built up in Him, and you are welcome.

God bless you all.

Return to God. No Hostilities.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

And can it be that with no chain, a wolf will live well with the lamb; leopard and
goat – causing no pain, the calf and lion play with a child? A conference on poverty
reduction and ecological justice has just happened last week, and some of the
propositions were quite controversial. One poem I listened to changed earth into a living being, and the poet discourages mining, especially of oil, because this is earth’s blood. The poem’s chorus, “the oil only flows when the earth bleeds” kept repeating and moving
listeners’ emotions. But thinking about the vast wealth that many Middle East countries have obtained from oil, what would happen to them if they stopped mining? And Uganda is excitedly looking forward to when the oil starts to flow!

The Bible talks about a future when there will be no hostility among animals and between animals and people; there will be no hostility in the entire ecological realm. Maybe there will be no mining of oil, and this will comfort Nnimmo Bassey, the writer of the poem. But Isaiah 11:6-9 clearly talks about a sweet fellowship of wolf and lamb, leopard and goat, calf and lion, child and cobra and viper! One professor wondered if this is ever possible – if the carnivorous animals will not starve to death! Before concluding quickly, let’s join the
inquiry and ask the question, how can this happen? How will all hostility die down? Will the hatred between rival people ever go away? What about the hostility between sinners and their Maker – how can it end?

In a short line Isaiah (11:9) offers the answer. “for the earth will be filled with the
knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”. The bringer of this knowledge in its fullness is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He is prophesied in the same chapter as the Shoot from the stump of Jesse, a Branch that will bear fruit. The purpose of His coming was to
reveal the Father, and all who receive him enter a sweet fellowship with the Father. The
hostility Isaiah began with in chapter 1 will be no more when the Jesus Christ restores peace. His blood alone can wash sins and bridge the gap between the sinner and his Maker.

In our community, there are many people who are battling biting financial blunders,
regrettable drug abuse, academic re-takes and failures, disappointments in relationships; some people are suffering prolonged trauma, low self-esteem because their tribe has been perennially despised, while others deeply regret having mistreated another group for such long! All these hostilities will be no more when we return to the Lord; when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord – as revealed by Christ Jesus. Away from the Lord, there is no peace; and it only gets worse after this life on earth! Return to God for peace
today and in eternity.

God bless you all.