Monthly Archives: February 2016

Spiritual Discipline: The Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Tim 3:16-17)

If you want to be excellent at something, don’t just try, train instead. The need for training discipline cannot be overemphasized. Discipline is something we can do that enables us to do what we haven’t yet been able to do by our own direct effort. The wonders of great
athletes, musicians, plumbers, accountants and artists – their stunning performance are largely a result of discipline. As Christians, effective growth and productivity cannot be achieved without embracing the disciplines of abstinence (Solitude, Silence, Fasting,
Sabbath) and the disciplines of engagement (Bible Study, Worship, Prayer, and Service).

The need for the discipline of the Word has been well articulated by the Hand Illustration, encouraging us to Hear, Read, Study, Memorize and Meditate in order to grasp the Word of God firmly. With each finger on the hand representing one aspect, it is easy to notice that a person who only hears or only hear and reads is like one trying to hold something with one or two fingers – there is no grip, and soon the object fall off. For a full grasp, all the four
fingers and thumb are required – and you can run and jump and turn around, and the grip will still be sufficient. That is what the world does to us; there are many things to shake you and if you are to remain firm in the Scriptures, then do all the five regularly: Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, and Meditate.

Bearing fruit continually is the ultimate result of one who has grasped the Word: Paul tells Timothy as quoted above that with Scripture, a servant of God is thoroughly equipped for every good work. Paul’s own experience was a result of this very discipline and the
evidence in his letters is overwhelming – contending with philosophers, breaking and reaching new lands with the gospel, enduring hardships and witnessing for Christ even there, writing powerful exhortations that have blessed generations – all his fruitfulness can be traced in His love and practice of the discipline of the Word. Jesus himself condemns
unfruitfulness in the parable of the vine (Luke 13), but quickly showed his fruitfulness as he endured hardships and opposition, delivered powerful teachings to his listeners, and brought healing of body and soul to many.

The Word of God imparts holistic knowledge, understanding and wisdom, necessary for life here on earth and life eternal. Embrace this important discipline of engagement and your life will be thoroughly nourished and regularly revitalized for every good work.

God bless you as you all.

Spiritual Discipline: Prayer and Fasting

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thess 5:16-18)

A discipline is something we can do that enables us to do what we haven’t yet been able to do by our own direct effort. To excel in anything, discipline is required: athletes, musicians, plumbers, accountants and artists are only as good as their constant prolonged disciplined practice. Some have even asserted that it takes 7,000 hours of practice to be an expert at something – this would result in about 4 years of fulltime engagement! If you want to be good at something, don’t just try, train instead. Paul encourages Timothy to train in
godliness (1Tim 4:7), and we see many examples of Biblical characters that exercised
disciplines, even Jesus Christ himself.

Two kinds of disciplines are worth considering: first, disciplines of abstinence, which
include Solitude, Silence, Fasting, Sabbath, Secrecy, and Submission; and second,
disciplines of engagement, which include Bible Reading, Worship (praising God’s greatness, goodness and beauty, in words, music, art, or ritual), Prayer, Personal Reflection, and
Service. Both categories of disciplines have great importance in a believer’s life. Many people use these disciplines for other purposes other than true worship, and have testimonies of good results; but to exercise these disciplines in the fear of and according to the purposes of God Almighty is of highest benefit. Check if you have regularly practiced any of these disciplines… and determine to grow in each of them.

The key verses above include ‘pray continually’, and as we encourage one another in the discipline of prayer and fasting, it is enough to just recall some Scriptures on Jesus’ discipline: In Luke 4 he is found fasting, in regular public worship, studying the Word, in the ministry of healing, and in solitude and prayer (vv. 1-2, 16-19, 40-41, 42). The disciplines gave him wisdom to overcome temptation, inspiration to preach the Word of the season to a hostile congregation, compassion for the people that needed healing and deliverance, and the power to heal them. It was clear from what is recorded that these were not things he only did as an adult minister but rather his regular custom as he grew up. He probably had amassed more that the required 7000 hours in prayer and the Word, that he so easily quoted from the Scriptures and dispensed good news and healing by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We still live in a world of temptations; the sick, bound or possessed around us are yearning for healing; and some situations will not change without prayer and fasting. We need this important discipline on our pilgrimage, that we may overcome the traps of the enemy. Embrace and keep the discipline today and always.

God bless you as you all.

Discipline: In Love Unconditional

“This is my commandment, that you love one another
as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).

You are warmly welcome!

In this Lent Season that began on 10th Feb, we will be taking time to study about Spiritual
Disciplines. Before we begin the list, let us visit one of those places where discipline is
required if there is to be life – and that place is love. The things people do for love – it’s
amazing: regular visitations – whether it shines or rains, regular communication –
no matter how much distance separates them, regular giving and receiving of things and gifts, regular fellowship – quality time together, defending each other – including going with him to court when he is being charged, the list goes on; and some of these are
involuntary. In fact if you do these for a person you do not love, love will surely sprout and grow. Is this what Jesus meant when He said, ‘love one
another’?

Well, since He said, ‘as I have loved you’, we must check what Jesus did for love, in order to
follow the example. Yes, there is sexual love between people the opposite sex, and there is love for family (fileo love), but what is indispensable in all relationships is what Jesus calls us to. The two types above remain inadequate – none can stand alone –until they breathe in the type of love Jesus calls us to. The two are not the ways Jesus called us to love,
although he did not forbid them; rather he explicitly called us higher to love as he loved. Even in the absence of the two types above, the love Jesus called us to will stand and
enrich those who possess it. It is unconditional love.

Indeed the shortfalls of our loves are not few: there is a hurting mother whose husband does not know details of what goes on with his children, and therefore cannot support them enough; there is a hurting man whose lover left without reason and moved in with another man; a picture of lovebirds is published when one has killed the other for some petty reason – and such stories go on and on. The five love languages are several times
forgotten. The failures are given propping reasons, but the consequences are dire and
damaging. We need Jesus’ love, no matter what kind of relationship.

For our Lord, love was his discipline, it was his lifestyle. He stooped low and left all his
glories and called them friends (who were really his servants); he loved them patiently and drew them close without looking at their inadequacies. He did not throw them out when they fought or when they failed some in tasks. He laid down his life and gave the ultimate sacrifice. And yet he would not get back anything significant – material or otherwise! As a believer, determine to follow the example of our Lord to build a bond of love that will stand the test of time. Make love your discipline and you will be blessed indeed.

God bless you as you all.

Lent: The 40-day bridge

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

You are warmly welcome!

We beginning a season of Lent on Ash Wednesday 10th Feb 2016, and lasts forty days and culminates in the Passion Week and then the celebration of Easter. We will be learning about spiritual disciplinees during our Wednesday and Sunday services. It is now time to seek the Lord; it is time to return to the Lord with all your heart, with
fasting and weeping and mourning (Est 4:3, Joel 2:12). In this season of Lent we earnestly seek to be reconciled to God, to possess our promised inheritance, and to be prepared for faithful ministry. Seven Biblical instances involving 40 days and 40 nights are helpful in these matters:

Pardon – Reconciliation with God:
1) The 40-day ultimatum for Nineveh’s destruction was cancelled when they turned to God with prayer, fasting and repentance (Jonah 3:4-10). You too can similarly attain this reconciliation with God.

Promise – Promised Inheritance:
Before you reach your promised breakthrough, there is a valley to cross; the ‘valley’ of 40 days before you arrive at that victory, the place of freedom and abundance, the promised inheritance.
2) The 40-day rainfall that caused a great flood was escaped by Noah and his people through faithful obedience to God and His providence (Gen 7:17-18).
3) The 40-day tormenting confrontation of Israel by the Philistine Goliath was cut short by David in the name of the Lord God Almighty (1Sam 17:16, 45-50).
4) It took Moses’ spies 40 days to survey the Promised Land and report. Joshua and Caleb’s encouraging account after the survey was the nation’s ticket into the land (Num 13:25, 30).

Passion – Preparing for Greater Ministry:
5) Moses received the Ten Commandments after 40 days of fasting and devotion – alone with God – at Mount Horeb (also called Sinai) (Ex 34:28). This was the
foundation of the rest of his ministry.
6) Elijah received instructions at Mount Horeb about his final phase of ministry and his successor after 40 days of fasting and seeking God (1Kings 19:7-8). This would
establish his legacy.
7) Jesus launched his ministry after 40 days of prayer and fasting and defeating the devil in the Judean wilderness (Matt 4:1-2, 17).

Yes, even Jesus Christ had his moments of self-denial and suffering. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by
self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

God bless you as you all.

Children – Our Tomorrow

Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”
So they went down to Bethel. (2Kings 2:2)

You are warmly welcome to Kakumba Chapel, Kyambogo.
Today is Children’s Sunday here. A church without children is like a house without foundations or a tree without roots. We thank God for a vibrant children’s church; and every fifth Sunday of the month, we have opportunity to worship together, with children leading many parts of the service. Someone has once said that ‘without my children my house would be clean and my wallet would be full but my heart would be empty’. The children fill our hearts with warmth and Jesus has taught us to welcome embrace them in His Name always. It is also a day to remember that there is no
success without a successor – and these children will certainly take our mantles one day, thank God. They are our tomorrow.

We also celebrate with the youth who will be confirmed today; Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by the Bishop. It is required of those to be confirmed that they have been baptized, are sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith, are penitent for their sins, and are ready to affirm their confes- sion of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We have duly prepared the candidates, and trust that they will go out there to live as committed Christians growing in and serv- ing the Lord Jesus Christ wherever they go.

There was a little drama when Elisha was to succeed Elijah; the master seemed to push away his junior but Elisha would not let go, and three times he refused to
remain behind as Elijah went ahead to the places where God had sent him. Elisha
persisted in following his master, until he was asked to make his last prayer before
Elijah’s departure. In answer to that prayer, Elisha was blessed and anointed, and he received the mantle to carry on the prophetic ministry. Do you hear that child who persistently follows you, watching and longing for mentorship? Do you see the hunger and thirst in that child who draws inspiration from you? We have the duty to our children – to inspire, to teach, to train, to give example, to mentor them as they grow.

On the other hand, Paul simply gave Timothy the instructions, even when the younger does not directly demand them as the case of Elisha. Whether they demand it or not, we the elders have the duty to raise them in following and serving God and His
people. May the Lord give you the grace to impact the younger generation for His glory.
God bless you all.