Monthly Archives: May 2016

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.