Monthly Archives: February 2015

Hurt by a friend; Changed to glory!

”Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy
are deceitful.” (Prov 27:6)

You are warmly welcome!

Lent is approaching. As that solemn season comes when we remember Jesus’ fasting and later suffering, we shall see no weddings, we shall hear no banns of marriage, hymns in
minor keys will be sang, reflections on suffering will dominate, parties and feasting will
reduce for many, and many of us will be fasting. Lent is a few days away; Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is on 18th February 2015. As a Christian and a member of the body of Christ, it is important that you plan to be part of the Lenten experience. Today is
particularly opportune to reflect on self denial for the sake of the Kingdom of God as we
remember former Archbishop Janani Luwum who was martyred in 1977; a statue to this modern martyr stands today at Westminster Abbey in London.

Pain is not good, it is not pleasant; but understanding the importance of everything we go through makes it all beneficial. Another version of Prov 27:6 says, “A friend means well even when he hurts …” Jesus’ experience went to the extreme: God is such a friend! He hurt his Son when he led him to the wilderness to fast for forty days; He hurt him even more when He sent him to the cross to die! Jesus endured all this, not because it was sweet and nice, but because even when there was so much pain, Jesus was sure that a
loving Father meant well in all this. Paul also took his share of pain: in Ephesus he suffered
rejection by the synagogue Jews, and later he suffered a deadly opposition riot that threw him out of the city in which he had preached for about two years.

Janani Luwum, in Uganda’s atrocious days of Idi Amin, warned that the Church should not conform to “the powers of darkness”, even if it meant enduring painful wounds. A
territorial Church is one that influences society positively in significant spheres such as
governance and economy; and this is what Luwum desired to see. He confessed he was
“prepared to die in the army of Jesus”; there he would be in the arms of Jesus – changed to glory.

So, experiencing pain in the presence of a true friend is something we should not despair about. It may be for discipline, correction, or preparation for a future challenge; it may be the ‘shedding of blood’ that strengthens the Church or delivers God’s people from
oppression. Instead, rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1Thess 5:16-17) – as long as you know it is in God’s will and that true friend is close by.

God bless you

Called to Shine

He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
(Luke 8:25)

Special Congratulations to S4’s that have got results and are now celebrating and looking forward to A’ level; and special congratulations to those that have joined S1 after a 7 year primary race. It is a good opportunity to reflect on Education – what does it mean and what should it be like? Let me use one of the common school mottos: ‘Education is Light’. Today’s Gospel reading is a display of the power of God over creation and the light of God over darkness. Just like in the Capernaum synagogue people ‘were all amazed’ (Mk 1:27), even here ‘they marveled’ (Lk 8:28) – to show that the Power and Light that are from God are astoundingly greater and far more effective than that which is with us.

Education’s purpose is to increase knowledge and understanding, to enlighten, to bring revelation, and to bring wisdom. It is important for us to evaluate whether our education institutions today are achieving this purpose, which if expounded must include
moral uprightness, self control, innovation, integrity and spiritual fervour. Apart from the challenges of inadequate school infrastructure and facilities (classrooms, laboratories,
libraries, teaching materials, teaching space), as well as shortage of teachers and
inadequate and late disbursement of funds from government, we should go further and check if the moral and spiritual upbringing of the students whose grades we celebrate. Has the greater light – the Light of Jesus Christ – shone on them? The Lord alone can inspire to a life of integrity and true wisdom. Only the light of Christ will dispel darkness of evil that so easily entangles.

We as Christians have been called to shine: ‘You are the light of the world’ (Matt 5:14).
Education can charge us with something with which we can shine, but that is not enough light for this world today with its degeneration both moral and spiritual. Those who began
education institutions in Africa and in other parts of the world in the recent centuries were missionaries who put God first and acknowledged Him as the source of wisdom. Without Him, we end up with knowledge that only ‘puffs up’ without building up the kingdom of God. As we pass Epiphany and head into a more contemplative Lent season, may the Lord challenge parents, church leaders and educators to aspire to shine with the true Light and Wisdom from the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you.

The Devil’s Confession

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” (Mark 1:24)

The season of Epiphany is about to close: Epiphany is the feast and season in which we commemorate the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Gentiles; in particular, the three wise men that came from the East guided by a star received this revelation and worshipped the new born King. In an era where each tribe or people group had their own god, and the God of the Jews was Jehovah, the revelation of Jehovah’s only Son – the Messiah and the Savior – to gentile people could as well have been called trespassing! But He is the only Savior, and Jehovah is the only and Almighty God; all others are false and a deception. The Lord calls upon all people to turn to Him – the only God, whose Son Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost both among the Jews and elsewhere in the world.

Now who is Jesus Christ to you? No people group or individual may put any excuse
whatsoever; the Lord Jesus came to point us all to God the Father who is the Supreme and the Creator of the universe. All who come to Jesus are brought into fellowship with God and there are born again. Last Sunday the preacher shared about a gentile city that
repented – Nineveh – and that was long before Jesus came. What about us who live in this epoch of grace? Who is Jesus Christ to you? It is not enough to know his history and his
divine nature; it is not enough to just research and get head knowledge about his parents and how he died. To know the Lord Jesus Christ involves embracing Him in our lives and walking in Him all the time. Are you walking with and in the Lord?

What a title! Sure I could have found a better heading for this little piece, but I was
fascinated by the fact that it is a demon that broke the news to the synagogue fellowship about who this Jesus was. His common name was Jesus of Nazareth; but as people are getting really amazed at his powerful and authoritative teaching, a devil is feeling the fire and it cries out not just the common name, but the identity that is the source of authority – ‘the Holy one of God’. If Jesus walked into this Church today, maybe many of us
would indeed say ‘I know who you are’ – but what then would make you different from that devil that confessed the same thing? Who is Jesus to you?

To know the Lord Jesus Christ involves embracing Him in our lives and walking in Him all the time. No more barriers – thank God for the Epiphany – all are welcome to this intimate relationship with God through our Saviour Jesus Christ.

God bless you.

Salvation for All

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
(John 3:17)

No segregation, no sectarianism – Jesus came to save all. No matter who you are and what your background is, salvation is available. There are people in society who are easy targets of condemnation; many fingers point at them as irredeemable either because of their
occupations (talk about some politicians or soldiers), or their past mistakes (murder or rape convicts)… but what about stubborn youth all over the village or town? Those too have had their share of condemnation. Thank God for parents who have been graciously patient and received back youth that have run away for days or weeks, brought home a child unexpectedly, or squandered hard-earned resources.

Whoever desires to minister the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ must always remember that while we still have the breath of life, there is hope for salvation. Jesus did not come as a judge then; he came as a Saviour. He tolerated sinners of all shades that he might save them; he preached to the old and the young, and invited whoever cared to listen. The sharp contrast of that time was the divide between Jews and Gentiles – and Jesus reached out to all without discrimination. He indeed came to the world – the whole world.

He did not come to condemn the Gentiles, as the Jews thought he would; for though God had overlooked the times of their ignorance, and had sent no prophet to them, nor made any revelation of his will, or any discovery of his special grace to them; yet he sent his Son now, not to destroy them for their idolatry, and wickedness, but to be their Saviour.

He did not come to condemn the Jews; for as impenitent and unbelieving, and as wicked as they were, he did not accuse them to the Father, nor judge and condemn them; he was to come again in power and great glory, when he would take vengeance on them, and cause wrath to come upon them to the uttermost, for their disbelief and rejection of him; but this was not his business now.

The youth among us, and indeed all of us do not benefit anything out of being condemned today. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). While our Lord Jesus does not tolerate sin and quickly says to those who are saved ‘go and sin no more’, his love for us today draws us all to behold and come to this Salvation which is available to all. Let us follow His example.

God bless you.