Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Col 2:6-7)
School and University going youth are the target of many philosophies, ideologies, false prophets and cults. Jesus warns in Matt 7:15 – ‘watch out for false prophets’. Paul on the other hand calls upon you to ‘think of yourself with sober judgment’ (Rom 12:3) and to exercise the disciple’s discipline. Whether you have committed yourself to follow a great manifesto or a great master, this always requires discipline. Many dictionaries will define discipline as ‘the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.’ Discipline is more positive than that: in the Bible it refers to moral discipline – the strenuous cultivation of the righteous life, or simply “sobering”. It is therefore of great benefit to be in deliberate control of your direction with purpose and a clear goal. Without discipline, one staggers and sluggishly and stagnantly rotates around the same place, to staleness, or even to false teachings!
The word ‘disciple’ means a learner, or in the widest sense refers to those who accept the teachings of anyone, not only in belief but in life; the person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but that he is also in practice an adherent. The disciple needs discipline to successfully learn and live, to follow and reach the goal. The apostle Paul gives believers encouragement to exercise the disciples’ discipline when he speaks to Colossians that had received Christ Jesus as Lord:
- a) Walk in Him: Call upon Him in the morning and in the evening, meditate on Him constantly to make your practices conformable to His principles; think about and consult Him while in that valley of decision; when your conscience convicts you of straying or sin or indecency or money dealings, yield to the will of Christ your Lord – walk in Him.
- b) Rooted and built up in Him – He is your anchor without whom you will wander and get lost in the sea of the world; he is your foundation without whom your faith will collapse at the slightest wind of deception; he is your fertile soil, your source of water, minerals and nutrients without whom you will dry up and starve spiritually and die; he is your reference point from whom all your values spring.
- c) Abounding in thanksgiving – first and most importantly for the saving revelation of Christ as Lord and Savior, in whom you have put your faith; and then many other reasons for thanksgiving – numerous gifts if you care to count. Whether as a new or continuing student, or in political leadership, strategic management or just in our daily lives, the need for discipline cannot be overemphasized. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can give you the power to keep the focus.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. (Col 4:5, Eph 5:15-16)
Wisdom is only manifested through how one responds to opportunity. Why would Paul write this twice? In choosing ‘Maximizing Opportunity’ as the theme for the Freshers’
Outreach Mission 2017, we recognize that the new Academic Year is an opportunity, joining University in First Year is an opportunity, look around and you will see another opportunity, and more so, life is an opportunity! We are therefore called upon to live wisely, and there are seven actions that Ephesians 5 brings out to elaborate this way of life – how to live wisely:
- Find out what Pleases the Lord; understand what the Lord’s will is (v.10, 17). Learn and list many things which are the Lord’s will for you and keep them in your mind and heart; revise them, re-read them, hear them again and again from good peers and church elders Fill your mind with this knowledge that it may enlighten your path.
- Put off – have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness (v.11, 18). The list of things you must put off must also be clear; because temptations come from within, you are conscious of what needs to be put off in your heart and mind. Do not end at mere knowledge – act! And the action is simple: Put off!
- exPose evil (v.11). When evil is exposed, us is further shunned. When it is not exposed, one may turn back to it under the cover of public ignorance [they do not and will not know…]. Therefore, speak about what you have put off, and what you need to put off – so you will be supported and assisted by brothers and sisters on the same journey of living wisely.
- Make the most of every opPortunity (v.16). Do your best today with the opportunity at hand, and you will not regret tomorrow wishing and wishing, when the season is already gone!
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18). On your own the actions above may be difficult; in fact, Jesus says, ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’. Therefore, do not trust yourself – you need the Holy Spirit. Having made up your mind to live wisely, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you in that decision and journey.
- Praise the Lord and Give thanks (v.19-20). There is a lot to complain about, but there is so much more to thank God for. Choose where to focus. As for Paul, his encouragement is that we focus on the later – praise the Lord with friends and give thanks to God always. You will have less stress, and you will be a happy person.
- Grow relationships out of reverence for Christ (v.21). Relationships of all types are important. Relate wisely, relate carefully, honor your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, grow your circle of friends without prejudice – all these out of reverence for Jesus Christ.
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life… because of his own purpose and grace. (2Tim 1:6-9)
It is interesting how the world keeps progressing steadily and sometimes at increasing rates even in the face of localized seasons of turbulence. Ancient Egypt the superpower that held Israelites in slavery for close to 400 years went on her knees and collapsed under the weight of ten lethal plagues. Pharaoh and his entire army that had followed the Israelites into the Red Sea perished. Flavius Josephus thus remarks about them: “but the Egyptians were not aware that they went into a road made for the Hebrews, and not for others; that this road was made for the deliverance of those in danger, but not for those that were earnest to make use of it for the others’ destruction.” Nonetheless, Egypt rose up again and had her fair share of power, comparable to Assyria and Medo-Persia.
More lately, it has been observed that the twentieth century witnessed both incredible advancement and unspeakable tragedy. The 1918 influenza epidemic killed fifty million people, World War II killed another sixty million. There were tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, even plagues of locust; yet this period also saw infant mortality decrease by 90 percent, maternal mortality decrease by 99 percent, and, overall, human lifespan increase by more than 100 percent. These are progressive advancements in God’s world that override the localized seasons of calamitous turbulence. People should therefore never lose hope, but know that God is at work and has made everything and every season for a purpose.
The purpose of the Pharaoh in Moses’ ministry season was to reveal to the world the great power of the Almighty God – high above the might of super powers of any era. His hardness of heart attracted demonstrations of this power in full force, until the Israelites were delivered. The purpose of Timothy’s call was pastoral leadership using his God-given gifts and learning. You too – regardless of which office or assignment you hold – have been created and equipped for a purpose, and God is watching and waiting for a good accountability. He desires to use you for a noble cause; the important task for each one of us is to humble oneself before God and learn His purpose for your life, and then pursue the same. Remember, “The plans of the mind belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” (Prov 16:1
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city… Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” (Jeremiah 29:7, Psalm 122:6-7)
In preparation for the beginning of a new Academic Year of the University, continued prayers have been made to ransack the enemy that always looms around this gate; the special Prophetic Prayer Walk last Friday 28th July and the Overnight Prayer meeting on Friday 04th Aug were special opportunities for this. The theme of ‘Peace’ still rages – and we enthroned the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace; we prayed for the peace of Kyambogo hill as our Jerusalem, and we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Church is called upon to take her position and continue in prayer as we receive over 10,000 fresh students joining first year, as well as more continuing students reporting soon. Many forces of darkness are lurking and competing for these souls, hence the necessity of our fervent prayers and readiness for mentorship and discipleship. Prophet Jeremiah and King David give us inspiration and encouragement to pray for our city – the opening Scriptures above are actively calling us to action today.
Meanwhile, it is time to build! Kakumba Chapel has embarked on the vertical extension of the Chapel Hall to create more working space and the Musiime Hall – a multi-purpose Hall which will majorly be used as a Teens’ Chapel, and also for fellowships, meetings, parties, short courses and University lectures and exams. The motivation of these physical development actions is the Gospel; we want the good news of Jesus Christ to reach more and deeper, and to equip more people to go and proclaim the same. The gospel liberates and gives life and light. Our teens need deliberate focus; they are in transition from being children to becoming adults, and are many times lost in between; yet they face potentially confusing circumstances both from internal changes happening in their bodies and from external influence by peers real and virtual. Listen to the progress update and seize your opportunity to participate in this noble cause of building – this phase of the Musiime Hall Project is expected to cost us Ugx 300 million.
Along the ‘Reconciliation’ series, today’s sermon is on ‘National Reconciliation’. This is relevant for Uganda and many other nations near and far – where civil strife and conflicts have displaced many. According to State House officials, the subject of reconciliation as the main answer to the emerging humanitarian crisis in South Sudan was discussed during a recent meeting between President Museveni and Archbishop Welby of Canterbury in Entebbe. “The long-term political challenges in neighboring South Sudan could be addressed through reconciliation,” said Welby. Pray for the staff and community of Kyambogo, especially the leaders and Gospel ministers; and pray for the students starting and continuing their studies here that they will find wisdom, which starts with the fear of the Lord.