Christ the King: Who?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:15-16)

 Calendars: Just like the Calendar Year begins on 01st January and the Financial Year begins on 01st July, the Church Year begins on Advent Sunday. We are coming to the end of the year which began on Advent Sunday of 27th November 2016; we started by ‘waiting for the promise’ during Advent, then celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ during Christmas, and then rejoiced at His revelation to the Gentiles during Epiphany; this was followed be Lent that culminated in the commemoration of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection during Easter; we then celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day, and this ushered in the long Trinity Season in which all aspects of Church life are discussed with a view of pointing the world to God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Having come full circle, as we end the year, we are celebrating Jesus Christ the King!

The question of ‘Who is Jesus?’ was asked before, during and after Jesus’ life on earth. In the gospels we often read people asking, ‘Could this be the Messiah?’ The words Messiah, Christ, and the Anointed One mean one and the same thing (just from different languages) – they mean the long awaited great King that would perform better than King David, and return Israel to its superpower position or even greater. Indeed, Israel was the world’s superpower in the times of King David, but had now degenerated to being ruled by various gentile empires, from Babylonians to Persians, Medes, Greeks and then Romans during whose reign Jesus lived. Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles took turns to ask the question of Jesus identity, with some acknowledging without a shadow of doubt that He indeed was the long awaited Anointed One. When Simon Peter made the great confession ‘You are the Messiah’, Jesus did not deny but instead affirmed this and promised to establish a Church that would live through the times – as is alive today.

John the Apostle in the Revelation writes of having heard ‘loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”’ (Rev. 11:15-19) To celebrate Christ the King at the end of the year is symbolic of the ultimate end that John describes when indeed the Messiah will reign over the entire world forever and ever without competition and without limitation. The enemy and all opposing forces will be judged, condemned and destroyed while God’s servants the prophets and His people who revere the Lord’s Name, both great and small will be rewarded. We may not know when this end will come, but it surely will. Your answer to Jesus’ question will determine your destiny: “But what about you, who do you say I am?” There is overwhelming evidence that Jesus our Redeemer and Friend was so prophesied, lived on earth and lives forever, and is ultimately Christ the King.

 

 

When the bridegroom comes: Are you ready?

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Matt 25:13, Amos 5:24

Learning never ends. As we ask today’s question – ‘Are you ready?’ – we continue to reflect on the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ; but there are many illustrations around us that make the point clearly to anyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see. Climate change offer one illustration – that dinosaurs failed to adapt to a fundamentally new climate, and they became extinct; and technological trends affecting business offer us another such an illustration. Kodak will suffice to illustrate the effects of these technological disruptions:

When Steven Sasson at Kodak introduced the very first digital camera in 1975 with 0.01 megapixels, everyone laughed at him. Kodak had all the patents for the digital camera, yet they went out of business because of it. How could this happen? Simple, short term thinking instead of long term planning. It would have taken long term vision on behalf of the executives at Kodak, to beat the future and be a top player in the digital world. Their only focus during this time was selling more chemicals and paper to fulfill the current film demand at the time. The short term thinking strategy failed them. The digital age overtook them and left them behind, lonely, broke and bankrupt!

The customer of tomorrow is being raised today; this is a new type of customer that will not settle for a photo image but wants a quick downloadable image to share in a millisecond with over 10 thousand social media fans. ‘Welcome to the New Kodak Moment- the moment when an exponential force puts a linear company out of business.’ – says Peter Diamandis. The big question is, ARE YOUR READY? Is your company ready?

The business lessons about are greatly applicable to even longer term planning – into eternity; indeed it only serves as an illustration. The warnings Kodak received and ignored are similar to what God’s prophets have spoken again and again to God’s people. Jesus himself called on us to wait for the Kingdom of God as wise virgins waiting to receive a bridegroom. In John’s Revelation, Christ is described as a Bridegroom that is coming for a Bride (the Church) without spot or wrinkle.

When the bridegroom comes:

Will your lamps be burning bright, will your robes be shining white?

Will the sorrows of the past all be changed to joy at last?

Will you join the ransomed host or be found among the lost?

When the Lord shall call his own, can you stand before the throne?

Will your wearied heart rejoice at the sound of Jesus voice?

Oh be ready for that day, with your sins all washed away.

 

 

I once was lost – among Children

 “I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners” – Isa 57:18

Learning never ends. As a young person, as a growing person, as a living being, always keep your mind open to learn. I am currently meditating on reaching out with the gospel message to people whose language I don’t understand! I need to learn their language first; then I’ll be able to share a message. What do you need to learn? Are you growing in learning? This is what will keep you alive. Today’s Scripture passage from Isaiah 57:14-19 climaxes in hope from our God for a people who walked in sin for a long time and were punished by God; their hope unfolds in verse 18 where God speaks confidently: ‘I will heal them’. I turn this hope to those who are repenting of ‘ignorance’ or repenting of ‘stopping to learn’. The disciples kept inquisitive, seeking to learn. Think about the disciples who were researching on who will be ‘the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven’.

Jesus Christ is the greatest source of learning, and thank God He was available to answer the disciples’ question. He amazed them with his answer the question on greatness. “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3). I am sure the disciples did not imagine this kind of answer could pass for that important question. Yet Jesus Christ made this important revelation for our educations – that in that little Child is the example of lowliness that is required to be great in the Kingdom. He used the opportunity to further draw us to love and care for children.

There is great need for us to pay close attention to children, not just for the sake of learning how to become great in the Kingdom of heaven, but to also carry out our responsibilities of caring for one another and caring for them. In this generation, it is real hard work; there are many enemies to fight – the cartoons that need to be put in right context, the misleading examples in the media that need to be explained so that children do not imitate… much work is needed to care for children today. When John Newton quit slave trade and turned to Christ, one of his deepest expressions of repentance and reformation was his hymn ‘Amazing grace’. He literally was lost in all those voyages, but when he was found by Jesus Christ he regretted and received the hope and renewal.

Are you lost when it comes to dealing with children? Do you not see in them the lesson and example of greatness as expressed by our Lord Jesus Christ? There is hope, and this is an opportunity for you to revisit your position and value these little children of God who are a gift to us for responsible stewardship. God bless you.

 

 

Welcome Home! Give thanks and celebrate.

 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce… and say to the priest in office, “I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.” (Deut 26:2-3)

Today is the Kakumba Home Coming Sunday, and we welcome in a special way those who are ‘coming home’. It is a great think to look back at a journey that has brought us this far, reminisce, and celebrate. True, the journey may not have been smooth all the way, but every experience and every patch and every corner was a learning opportunity. Now we have the space to put the lessons together and make them a thrust for the life ahead as we seek to advance in life and fulfill our callings. The indicators of arrival – whether it is a stop-over or a final arrival – include rest, refreshment and revival. Today’s key Scripture above calls the Jews to go and make offerings before they enjoy these three gifts.

The children of Israel were finally gathered into the Promised Land, after going through many challenging years of hard life in the wilderness wanderings. Many didn’t make it there, but those who arrived were full of testimonies and memories of all that the Lord had done for this chosen race. It was too much to tell in one event, and that’s why by law they had to celebrate the arrival into the Promised Land (the In-gathering) every year with a one-week long Feast; this was also called the Feast of Tabernacles, which reminded them that as they went through it all in the wilderness, they dwelt in temporary shelters. At such a feast, Jesus taught many things and multitudes put their faith in Him. But some sinners were also there! One woman caught in the act of adultery towards the end of the feast was brought to Jesus and to her and to those who brought her Jesus preached covertly and overtly, ‘go and sin no more’. Many lives were thus transformed.

The fulfillment of the Feast of In-gathering in Jesus Christ will be when the children of God will finally be gathered into the final Promised Land in heaven. Imagine saying these words before Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest, saying them with the knowledge that you have arrived into eternity for good: ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.’ I reckon this will be such a great moment, and those who arrive will be the real harvest – the wheat and not the tares, those who did not defile themselves, purchased from among mankind, no lie was found in their mouths, they are blameless (Rev. 14:4).

The promise is sure and the hope is living. There will be great celebration and it will last endless ages. The Lord himself will receive us and say, “Welcome Home!” and nourish us with perfect rest, refreshment and revival. The joyful feast today is a foretaste –

 

The way to give, the way to worship

“You are to offer a male without defect… Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.” (Lev 1:3, Mal 1:14)

I have encouraged the congregation about the Musiime Hall Project. The completed project will truly stand as a gospel witness, reminding us of the gospel witness of faithful men and women of God who laid the foundations for development work in this place. Indeed, it is time to build! Kakumba Chapel 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. How can we support this project? What kind of offering shall we bring?

The book of Leviticus outlines different kinds of offerings for different purposes and occasions: burnt offerings as free will offerings, fellowship offerings, sin offering to atone for accidental wrong doing, guilt offerings to atone for deliberate sin, and a few other variations. For all these, it is repetitively mentioned that an offering from the flock or herd must be without defect flock or herd. This phrase is repeated at least 35 times in Leviticus and Numbers alone. In fact, there is a curse from the Lord as recorded in Prophet Malachi for one who goes against this rule: “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty. ‘Without defect’ means complete, sufficient and the best from what the Lord has given you. May the Lord give us the grace to bring exactly this to His service.

At least Ugx 86 million has already been spent (in the first five weeks of the construction work), and the foundation and gallery structures are up. Thank you for your giving! Unfortunately, work has temporarily stalled as we raise more money for next tasks. The next activities include pushing the columns higher and casting the Second Floor slab (the Musiime Hall). I call upon you to support the physical prosperity and peace through your generous contribution to the building project at hand – the Musiime Hall Project, to cost us Ugx 300 million (this phase). The successfully completed project will stand as a gospel witness – a statement that God is able, He provides and His worship must continue through generations.

 

 

 

 

‘Filled with Knowledge’

“he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— He has filled them with skill to do all kinds…” (Exodus 35:31-35)

African Evangelistic Enterprise together with the Churches in Kampala have been running a mission under the theme, “Kampala Return to God”. We welcome the messenger of God today to bring us the reviving Word of God under the auspices of this mission.

Today is also a Special Sunday for Uganda Christian University. Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, the Vice Chancellor sent this message below to explain and rally us to support and action:

Earlier this year, the House of Bishops was pleased to establish and designate the UCU Sunday to mobilize the entire church toward prayer and support for the Church of Uganda Provincial University, UCU (including all its Campuses). Henceforth, the UCU Sunday will be on every last Sunday of the month of September each year.

It was in the mind of Provincial Assembly at the time of establishment in 1996 that all Dioceses would contribute and thus have a stake in the University. The UCU Sunday comes to operationalize that original resolution.

We seek to achieve three cardinal objectives: (1) Prayer for the University, (2) Sensitization of Christians about their Provincial University, and finally, (3) Raise financial support for Uganda Christian University projects. The last of these will help greatly with various projects; this year all of financial support on this Sunday will go toward funding the UCU Medical School Project. In addition, 10% of the proceeds from the UCU Sunday will be used to fund Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology (BTSDT) scholarships and for sponsorship of Clergy children at the University. While UCU has for several years supported the training of ministers for the Church, this has not been underwritten with actual funding.

The theme this year is Filled with Knowledge’, Exodus 35:31-35. We invite you to pray that:

1) The Vision, Mission and Values  of UCU will be upheld: We seek to be “A Centre of Excellence in the Heart of Africa”  to be achieved through dedicated teaching, scholarship, service, spiritual formation, student development and social involvement, and  preparing students for thoughtful, productive lives of Christian faith and service in their respective professions and places.” We need to uphold these in our relationships with Students and their families, UCU national and international partners. The integrity of our staff is pivotal in nurturing students and achieving our mission.

2) The Medical School Project to be run with Mengo Hospital will start.

I thank you for your partnership, ministry and service to our Church.

 

 

‘What does the LORD require?’

“With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?” … And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)

The Uganda Keswick Convention chose a theme from Micah for this year. The question of ‘What does the Lord require?’ is prominent in this book and elsewhere in the Scriptures. One prophecy about our Lord Jesus Christ goes: ‘and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign … with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.’ Looking back at the governments in the days of Isaiah and Micah leaves us convinced that the promise of a better reign – one of justice and righteousness – must have been received with great enthusiasm and eagerness. There was great need for just governance internally as well as liberation and protection from external threats. Our times are not very different; we need the Messiah.

The question that Micah brings to us in his sixth chapter is worth giving attention. It is a question that matters, lest we waste time misfiring and going astray. Before you start the marathon, you need to clearly know the track map, know the way and the rules of the race. You may have drawn many plans, but to stop and ask Micah’s question could help refocus your plans to achieve much more and for longer lasting benefit. The question is: What does the Lord require? What does the Lord require of you?

The importance of this question today is augmented by the nature of our times – dynamic and fast changing. For example, at school then, it the teacher was required to dispense knowledge to her students, test them and give them feedback; a successful student was one that followed through that discipline and finally graduated. This graduate found a ready job waiting for him, and the future would be bright ever after. Gone are those days; today’s information is no longer in the custody of the teacher, but rather it is easily accessible in vast quantities through electronic media on TV, computer and mobile phones. Today’s teacher must break loose from the shackles of the old mould and herself, ‘What is required of me today?’ And the same process is required for all other marketplace participants, in business and in governance.

Many people love God and desire to honor Him. A deep reflection on what the LORD requires today is vital if we are to please Him in the year ahead and beyond. In your work and at home, among friends and in your technical sphere of influence the LORD requires you ‘to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’.

 

The Peace and Prosperity of the City

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, we held a special Prophetic Prayer Walk on Friday 28th July to ransack the enemy that always looms around that gate. The theme was ‘Peace’ – 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. We did it again on Monday 28th August 2017, and this time a powerful prayer meeting in front of the Senate Building; we were joined by the University Bursar and the Chief Internal Auditor among other officials. The Vice Chancellor recognizes the contribution of these prayers to the peace and development of this University. 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 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.

At least Ugx 86 million has already been spent (in the first five weeks of the construction work), and the foundation and gallery structures are up. Thank you for your giving! Unfortunately, work has temporarily stalled as we raise more money for next tasks. The next activities include pushing the columns higher and casting the Second Floor slab (the Musiime Hall). Meanwhile the University Top Management commended and blessed the project in their last seating, and are looking forward to its successful completion; The Chapel Council is organizing a Fundraising Tea Party on Saturday 09th Sept, and a Home Coming / Harvest Sunday next month will also be a fundraising event for the same. I call upon you to support the physical prosperity and peace through your generous contribution to the building project at hand – the Musiime Hall Project, to cost us Ugx 300 million (this phase).

 

 

 

+Sober in the Faith: Disciples’ Discipline

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

 

Maximizing Opportunity

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.