Monthly Archives: November 2014

New Life in Christ – part 1

“I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” (Is 65:19)

New life in Christ is a life of hope. It is a life in which believers know a wider span of God’s plan than just the short life we are living here on earth. Academic studies of history and
geography are helpful in studying trends of events and estimating what the future will be like – in terms of physical climate, public governance ideologies and practices, and trade and development at national and international levels for example; but Christ is greater than the best research: in Him we live a life of hope that no other being or philosophy can assure.

In the Church Calendar – both Anglican and Roman Catholic – the year is arranged in major seasons, which are as follows (in their order)
Advent – Waiting for the Coming of our Lord and Saviour
Christmas – Celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ
Epiphany – Revelation of the Saviour Jesus Christ to Gentiles
Lent – Devotion to God in Fasting and Prayer
Easter – The resurrection of Jesus Christ – hope for life eternal
Pentecost – The Coming of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit
Trinity Season – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at work

Seasons and times teach us many lessons, and God speaks for our encouragement in this language. Isaiah announces promises of a new heaven and a new earth where ‘no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and cry of distress’. This is clearly a peek into the seasons of life that we must embrace in a wider context. Times of Suffering bring weeping, crying and distress some time before the new Jerusalem arrives. This suffering time was brought about by people’s sin and rebellion, which continues even today – in broken
relationships between children and parents, husband and wife, and in deplorable
disrespect for people and God.

New life in Christ comes in Times of Salvation. God has put a bridge to connect us back to Him; the season of suffering will therefore not last forever. The Psalmist also declares that ‘Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning’ (Ps 30:5). A life without seasons is a life without hope. A life without hope is painful, regrettable and undesirable. To know times and seasons and what we must do when, is important wisdom. As we
celebrate the beginning of the new Church Year on Advent Sunday, let this be a reminder to you that as surely as physical seasons come and go, as surely as morning follows night, so the Times of Salvation that have been announced by numerous prophets will surely come. New life in Christ is a life of hope.

God bless you.

Finishing Well

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1Cor 9:27)

Marathons. I already had my share at the recent Kyambogo Marathon where I was among many who finished 5km well; others finished 10km, and together with those who join in the annual MTN Kampala Marathons, there is a sense of achievement when you get to the finish line. It is a rear kind of competition where finishing well in itself is
great achievement, let alone being in a good position. You must follow the designated track, discipline your body, overcome rough patches and curves and hills to make it to the finish line; then celebrate. There are many lessons to learn from this experience:

Many Races: There are many races in life, or rather the episodes we go through can be viewed as races. Is it you academic degree, or your job contract, or educating a child through primary school, or investing in a business till break-even point, or building a house; these are races in which a multitude of people are involved and each finish is worth celebrating. Students are finishing different levels of national exams, and soon we will see the celebrations – but for only those who finish well. The Apostle Paul deemed his
Christian journey and preaching career as a race, and so must we. At whatever point in the race, be encouraged to continue to the finish line, and joy truly awaits you.

Encouraging Others: I saw some holding hands as they overcame the hills in the marathon, others were running in groups, and at corner points there were guides to cheer runners and show them directions – all these are necessary for a successful race. Do not only enjoy the encouragement of others, but offer something as well. Your persistence motivates someone; a word of encouragement or a listening ear will lift the one who was considering giving up. Remember you are not alone in that race, and it will be a bigger and better party when many of you achieve. Those who put down their fellows in the race will never enjoy any celebration!

The Ultimate Finish: I love attending those parties – graduation, wedding anniversary, business success… name it. I cheer many to these interim finish points. And in this writing I am encouraging you to put on the discipline and renew it day by day. But the ultimate party is the Funeral. Our Creator has assured us that even that is only an interim finish, though it is ultimate here on earth. Only a firm and disciplined faith will carry you across that bridge rejoicing. As Paul call upon us to discipline in the race, let it strongly apply in your short-term life races on earth, but it should not end here. Celebrate your
achievements with a party; but most importantly, run the race of faith with discipline to get to the biggest and longest party for those who finish well.

God bless you.

Home Coming: Fellowship Forever

“Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev 7:12).

The ‘Kakumba Home Coming’ tradition started last year and this week on 09th Nov 2014, we take a special moment to welcome old girls and old boys as well as the present
members of this growing Chapel. The whole idea of Home Coming has been held in other circles for various meanings, but it also reminds a Christian of the pilgrimage status here on earth that should culminate in a grand Home Coming when we get to heaven. John’s revelation contains glimpses of what it will be like – all the saints and elders and angels gathered together, praising joyfully and with the Lord Jesus Christ in a fellowship forever. How blessed are those that have this living hope!

I shared about ‘Example’ last week, and following the right example is a pre-condition to the ultimate glorious Home Coming. We reflected on some particular strength aspects that were exemplary in Paul – he called on his listeners to imitate his conduct, his hard work … and today we continue with the list:

3. Endurance and Patience: Paul had all moral authority to encourage believer to endure and be patient, after all his share of suffering for Christ’s sake was so much that even his disciples tried many times to convince him not to go the ‘trouble zones’ to no avail. For the sake of the gospel and for the imminent glorious fellowship after this pilgrimage on earth, many believers across all time have endured very tough situations. We are warned by
Jesus himself of troublesome times that may come about us, But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matt 10:22).

4. Thanksgiving: His discourses started and ended with thanksgiving; in all circumstances he found reason to give thanks, and later he would write, ‘give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ (1Thess 5:18). In giving thanks we turn our eyes to God’s benevolent grace and blessings to us even on this pilgrimage in a fallen world.

5. Faith: Paul does not claim to be the end; he rather points further to Christ: ‘Be ye
followers of me, even as I also am of Christ’ (1Cor 11:1). Faith is the vehicle that will carry you over the deceitful pleasures and tough and rough patches of this life to the ultimate Home Coming. The challenge is not just to follow the good example, but also to BE an
example for others to imitate. Ask the Lord to sharpen in you those strengths that others need to imitate, and come with many to be part of the great multitude before the throne of Heaven and enjoy sweet fellowship forever.

God bless you.

“Follow my Example”

“My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the
example we set for you.” (Php 3:17).

You are warmly welcome!

Example is a powerful teacher. Many of us are today what we saw and imitated yesterday; and be you sure someone is imitating you, at least partially. What qualities in you would you recommend them to imitate? And are there qualities you wish they ended with you and went no further? You think about your conduct or the length of your temper and some of you do NOT want anyone to imitate you. It is a challenge to say like Paul, “You are
witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you…” (1Thess 2:10). The words used here are very high standards, and anyone
possessing them will gladly say “imitate me”. Yet this is the place to which we are called as
believers and mentors of others. If you are a parent or godparent, this is a vow you have made before at a baptism service.

The Apostle Paul recommends himself as a good example to the believers in Churches at Philippi, Corinth, Thessalonica, and to all who he mentored like his son Timothy. Let us
reflect on some particular strength aspects that were exemplary in Paul, and aspire to
attain them to a level which we would gladly recommend others to imitate:

1. Conduct: He was not shy to describe his conduct as holy, righteous and blameless. Prophet Samuel was no less confident when he stood before a congregation and said, “Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I
oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you” (1Sam 12:3). And no one accused the Prophet. This may be a standard very high, but we must aim at it that we will be good examples.

2. Hard Work: Paul was a man acquainted with hard work, even when he was a full time minister. He had full moral authority to encourage believer to work… “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate” (2Thess 3:7-9). There is no acceptable excuse – everyone is called to be a good steward, to work hard and be
productive.

This list will be continued next Sunday; meanwhile, ask the Lord to sharpen in you those strengths that others need to imitate. God bless you.

God bless you.