Monday, May 26, 2014

"Lord, update my file"

By Odon Bulamba

1 Cor 1:18, the words of the cross are foolishness for those who are not saved, but for us believers it is a different story.


Today we are going to talk about an awkward topic called “Lord, update my file” but before we do we will read together Revelations 1:18 out loud.  “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades”.   Jesus himself said it.  Yesterday I was dead, I was crucified and killed but I am alive forever more. To die was one step, to be alive is another step but also remember the next step: “I hold the keys to hades and death”.


Imagine they could tell you these are the keys of death, it is up to you do decide if a person lives or not.  How many people would run after you and beg you for life?  This is a powerful message of Jesus that was addressed in Revelations.  He didn’t talk about it while he was alive but spoke about it later when he spoke to John to let him know the future because many people were saying He left and doesn’t talk to us anymore.


Today many people are talking about Easter.  Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, they all accept it but don’t want to believe that Jesus holds the keys of hades and death.  They don’t want to believe that life comes through Jesus and if you want to be far from hell and be judged on last day, you need Christ.  They don’t want to believe that.  Jesus is different from other leaders because of the resurrection.  All religions have leaders and they died but never came back to life. 


Mathew 27:52&53: “And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”


The day that Jesus came back from the grave, He didn’t come back by Himself.  He brought a group of people with Him, those who were believers and trusted in God and believed that God was their savior.  People like you and me saw them walking around the holy city with their own eyes.  Those people walking in the city – what does that mean for us today, what does that teach me? 


We have heard a lot of teachings of Jesus – buried and rise again.  Easter is the biggest party that Christians should have in life, the biggest celebration we should organize because it is the day of salvation, the day Jesus brought us back into the Kingdom.  When Jesus died He said it is finished, but what happened, people continued their normal life.


Before He died, He promised, “you’ll bury me but three days later I’ll come back to life”.  They took strong soldiers to look after the tomb day and night and when resurrection arrived, the people were like dead people and they couldn’t look at Him because of the power of resurrection.

If you see someone who passed away 20 years ago and they come back again, how will you look at their face?  What will be your reaction if you see them?  Will you hug them?  Some will scream, some will cry on the name of Jesus believing it is a ghost or run away because they will think they are demons.  There is power in resurrection and your body shakes.  When Jesus came back, those in the garden collapsed because of fear.


The lady who came to visit the tomb panicked but the angel told her not to fear.  She must have wondered, how can you tell me to not be afraid.  Why does God tell us to not be afraid?  He knows fear is there.  How often are we afraid to tell others about God, or to kneel down in front of others to pray, or to talk to colleagues and show them I am not a part of them. 


Miraculously Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit and gave birth and we also were miraculously given a new birth by the Holy Spirit and were born again.  We started to grow up like Jesus who loved so much to be in church and discuss with elders about the Word of God.  We also loved church and to read the Word of God.  There are similarities between Jesus and Christians but one thing we didn’t do was die on cross but we can pray and heal the sick just like Jesus. 


Now is the time of resurrection.  I believe all of us here are saved and something crucified you.  Maybe you have a problem with reading the Bible, maybe you feel tired every time you go to read it, or maybe people visit you just as you are about to open it or maybe you don’t have the strength to read it.  Maybe you are crucified because your body is weak so you are prevented from doing what is good, like Paul who said he wants to do good but his body doesn’t allow him.  Maybe you feel crucified because your body doesn’t do what you want and those are looking around you and expecting you to do something.  Sometimes your children have to remind you to say grace.  Sometimes we know what to do but we don’t’ because our bodies don’t allow us and because we don’t’ push our bodies to listen.


Jesus knew He would be crucified but He pushed his body.  Your time on this earth is very short and God didn’t hide this from you.  For God, He is telling us to get ready every second because you don’t know when he’ll call you back.  Although salvation is there, resurrection is the most important part.  When someone is dead in our cultures we decide to get rid of the person, we don’t want to keep the body, and we bury them.


My father was my best friend and when he died I was told to come and see him for the last time.  I freaked out because I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have the right to see him again and I was only 10 years old.  I started to think about bad people and old people and asking myself, why can’t they die.  When the time is there for someone to go forever, you will be invited to say good bye forever and they will take the body and dig a hole and cover it with dirt.


When they tell you, come let us dig here, this is your place…how will you feel?  I was once given a coffin for a present.  In my heart, I wondered what the person wanted, does he want me to die and all my thoughts were negative.  Opening the coffin, it said, to die is gain and I hope one day I will see you in eternity.  If you receive a coffin, how will you feel?  Most of us forget that we are going to die and any second death can take us.  Death doesn’t knock on the door and say are you ready or accept money instead.

The man with the keys of death is warning us that at any time I can unlock the door so why don’t you put your trust in me and hook yourself in me so you can be alive in my kingdom.  Maybe my key for life is my bank account, my job, or my will.  Do you have a will for where you are going?  Have you written that?  God, when I leave this is what I am planning?  God is expecting from you to come back to life as a saint.  Will you be a saint at the resurrection? 


In the passage we just read, Jesus came back to life and those who came back to life with Him were saints.  They had given their lives to Jesus and were committed to Him.  One day He is going to come back again and take us and only those that are clean and alive in Jesus will come back to life and reign with Him forever.


Look at your computer, you can have Microsoft word and your computer will tell you that you need to update your program.  Why do we need to update them? Because they need to be on the same system as the operating system of the computer.  Microsoft will update itself and in order to keep your files running properly, you need to update.  If you don’t, you could lose your file.  Your files become old. 


We have many Christians with old salvation, with old faith, with old gifts of the Holy Spirit, taking the mask of old people and with their old belief they walk.  God is the same yesterday and forever, He doesn’t get old and we should also be fresh every time.


One time someone was praying to God and he asked God to respond to a lady who was sick and after praying for a couple of years, the Holy Spirit spoke and said, you have to pray for that lady and he said, I’ve been praying and what I have prayed is enough, I have other topics. 


Many Christians continue to stick on yesterday and continue to believe that because Jesus died for me, I am saved.  If I don’t give my offering today, it is ok.  They start to try to find a place where they should fit but as Christians, we don’t fit there.  You have to know your place with God and fit in His puzzle.  Why are we on the earth?  Just to eat, to wear nice clothes, to have a degree, to have a family, to look at Gods creation…no…for one purpose…to come to earth to serve your God.  We are not here to get glory, or be seen by others as someone important but to serve God.


The day you go back, God will ask you what did you do?  During your 90years on earth what did you do?  You will never tell God about your glasses or suit.  Are you a servant?  Where do you keep what God gave you? What are they doing here on earth?


Jesus said you have to update your file. A computer will take a short time to update and once it has everything runs fast and smooth.  When was the last time you updated yourself?  When you die, they will bury you.  Jesus is coming back for the church. Those who die in Him will come back to life and meet the Lord in the air.  Are you ready to meet with Him?  Will it be a shame if your daughter, brother or sister say, “hey you used to pray, I’m in heaven and you are not” how will you feel.  Tell God that you want also to see your resurrection


If laziness is killing you, tell God.  Some are lazy to go to church.  You wish to sleep instead but don’t worry about sleeping because one day you will be in the grave for years and you will have the chance to sleep for many years until the day that Jesus comes back to wake you up. 


Some Christian’s behavior doesn’t reflect Jesus’ behavior.  If you die with the Holy Spirit in you then resurrection will be easy for you.  In all situations it will be easy for you.  In your work, your colleagues can try to kill you but remember when the time God arrives, he will rise you up no matter what.  Every year I tell God I want to come back with you and also be alive and look fresh.


When Jesus came back to earth his body changed.  He could appear and disappear and had an eternal body, a heavenly body.  How is your body? Do you continue to keep it as a temple of the Holy Spirit, does it reflect the heaven or does it reflect something else?  Through your actions people will know you; through your fruit.  What fruit are you bearing?  I questioned a church last week, what is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?  They couldn’t tell me because they don’t read the Word of God.  I asked them, how many gifts of the Spirit are there and one person said, there are too many to fill a basket.  So I asked them to tell me just 20 (although I knew there wasn’t) and then they started to tell me love is kind, patient, instead of giving me the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


Maybe we have forgotten here too because if we don’t hold onto it and remind ourselves, we will forget.  Some people can hold onto a pen and ask where is my pen which means instead of searching around, look at yourself first.  People don’t want to look.  Sometimes we see another person who is not ready to come to the meeting, and then we make a decision not to go also.  Salvation is personal so tell yourself you have to do it no matter what.  The day of salvation was given to you. 


I have been to Middle East and I have seen people praying at the wall and hitting their head on the wall for hours and they believe the more they hurt, the more God will hear them.  People hurt themselves with whips and blood comes so God can see how much they are sacrificing for Him but here, us Christians we are relaxing with a glass of wine with our dinner and we are dying.


Jesus said on the day of resurrection He came back with others from the dead.  How many people are you going to bring with you on the day of resurrection? Not only our actions will follow us so that we will be given a crown according to the work we did but also those around us will follow us into the kingdom.  For many years you have been saved, what have you done with that salvation?  How many people have you told to join you in salvation?  How many people are ready but you don’t give them the chance?  How many people envy you?  People will appreciate you for telling them the truth.


Years ago there were times when I had to borrow a pair of trousers and a shirt so I could preach and afterwards I had to give those clothes back and have nothing.  How many people outside are waiting for you to bring them into the Kingdom of God.  No one wants to perish, everybody wants to be saved.  We who know the master with the key of death we don’t want to lead them and we prefer them to be where they are.


Jesus is asking us to bring many people because the day of resurrection is coming.  You might say you don’t know where to go.  Talk to people, you lose nothing by telling them to change their lives.  If you are not careful on the day of resurrection, instead of enjoying the party you might be offended when you are asked, “why didn’t you do that, I told you to bring people but you didn’t”.  Will you eat when you have been growled?  Don’t allow your city and country to stay among the dead.  This is the time for our country, this is the time for the church to wake up. 


It was women who discovered Jesus was gone and told others.  We as women (the church) what story are you telling others.  Are you just going to eat with others but forget to tell them about Jesus?  God didn’t give you a mouth for eating only but also to make statement.  Jesus was only given three years to work.  How many years have you had?  In three years what did He accomplish?  What have you done with all these years?  What have you done? 


“Go everywhere to spread the gospel and make them my disciples”.  That is all, He didn’t ask you to perform miracles first but simply to make disciples.  They are waiting for you, your friends, neighbours, every person.  How do you know you are ready? Don’t you know your gift?  If you don’t know, update and ask God to remind you.  If you have file from 1997, your computer won’t accept it.  So start again, it’s not too late.  Jesus is coming back soon. 


Your clothing, food, job and people will stay behind and the only thing that will follow you is your actions.  What good is it for you to gain the entire world but lose the Kingdom of God.  You can think that salvation is enough but for God it is not enough.  Jesus died and said it is finished but His resurrection was another step and if He hadn’t come back to life, we couldn’t be saved.  He died for our sin but His resurrection is a sign that one day he is coming back for us and as a saint I shouldn’t stay as a dead person, I should be alive.  Breath is the only thing that makes you different from the dead.  Are you breathing? Is what God gave you operating?


Many people on the day of resurrection will run after you and say you never told me about the Word of God and we were always together and accuse you  because you didn’t tell them.  How happy will you be that day?  How will you feel when the world points the finger at you for not telling them the truth.  Shame on you because you are letting God down.  Make a decision today and that decision will change the lives.


We will pray, if you need God to help you to be alive to do God’s work then pray for that.  If you need to update your file, please stand up and I will pray for you.  If you believe you are fine, praise God and continue with the work and God will use you. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spiritual Gifts: Gift of Healing

By Hayley Boud
How many spiritual gifts are there?

I Corinthians 12:7-11
1. wisdom
2. knowledge
3. faith
4. miracles
5. prophecy
6. healing
7. discerning spirits
8. tongues
9. interpretation of tongues

There are nine spiritual gifts and all the gifts that you might know you have come under these headings. 

1. Who would like to have the gift of healing?
2. Why?  To be seen by others or to help others?
3. What is the gift of healing?

Healing isn’t only about physical healing but it is also spiritual and emotional and bringing healing comes in many forms.  To have the gift of healing you need to be compassionate, merciful and encouraging.  A verse can bring healing, a hug, saying the right thing at the right time, listening without judging, singing, music (suggest to the person to play some worship music), making the person’s dinner or lunch, bringing them medicine, taking them to the doctor.

Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

To have the gift of healing doesn’t mean you will see the person healed instantly from cancer.  It means you genuinely care for those who are sick and you put yourself in their shoes and you pray with sincerity and you won’t forget about them, they will stay in your mind all day for months until they are healed.  You’ll be genuinely concerned to the point that you ‘ll ring them to find out how they are going, you’ll visit them, send a card or give them support like taking them to the doctor or buying them medicine.

4. Do you need faith to heal someone or to be healed?

Yes, as Jesus Himself said, “your faith has made you well’ but you only need a small amount of faith, you don’t need to have a big faith because Jesus said the faith needed is only as small as a mustard seed.  We must all have that amount of faith, even more, because we all accepted to serve Jesus whom we have never seen.  That takes a lot of faith so we all must have at least a mustard seed amount of faith. 
Therefore, if someone isn’t healed immediately, it is not because of a lack of faith on our behalf, it is simply God’s will for the healing to take time.  It is a very bad philosophy to blame someone for not being healed and tell that person it is because they lacked faith.  It doesn’t depend on a big faith, it only depends on God and He knows the right time to be healed and how to be healed.  Healing is a process of slowly being changed.  We don’t know what is happening on the inside, we might be seriously ill on the inside without even knowing it and God is healing that first.  You might have a headache and you think that you have had that for several days, when is God going to heal you but maybe you have a tumour and God is healing you from the inside out.
Proverbs 3:7-8, “Don’t be wise in your own eyes but fear the Lord and turn from evil.  It will be healing to your body.”
To understand this verse we will look at the story in Mark 8:22-26 where a blind man was brought to Jesus and entreated Jesus to touch him.  Jesus took the man out of the village, spat on his eyes, laid his hands on him and said, “Do you see anything?”   The man could only see men walking around like trees, he couldn’t see clearly but he didn’t say it like a complaint, he said it like this is an improvement.
People forget to give praises to God when things improve.  They only want to get whole healing so they don’t thank God for getting better.  We have to acknowledge the improvement in the same way the blind man did and we have to praise God for that.  First we have to feel better than what it was before and the more you feel better, the more things in general get better and this is the way with God’s healing.
The blind man told Jesus what he saw, he told him about the improvement and then Jesus touched him again and that time he had a clear picture.  After feeling better tell God, “things are better, please touch me a second time”. 
When the man was brought to Jesus, he was completely blind and Jesus led him outside of Bethsaida instead of healing him straight away.  Jesus said nothing, he was quiet and we don’t know for how long they walked, it might have been days walking without saying anything and Jesus giving the appearance of ignoring the problem.  Sometimes we pray and tell God our problems and He sees but he says nothing and He leads us in a different direction.  You can have a headache and someone rings you with all their problems.  It’s leading you somewhere else while you have a headache.  You might be praying for years and years but God is leading you without responding to your needs.  He leads you outside and touches you but you only see a small change and it’s not complete and God will ask you, how do you feel now?
Sometimes God gives a taste of healing, a taste of the solution but it’s not complete and it doesn’t respond 100% to the problem.  The power bill is $100 but you only get $20 and it feels disappointing because you expected it all at once but only a small portion is given which isn’t helpful.  You might have a headache and you find codeine works but only 10%. 
The blind man respected God because he followed Him and accepted to be lead outside of the village where he was familiar.  Because he accepted to follow Christ, he discovered healing in a different place and way than what he expected.  He was now in an unfamiliar place.  God removed him from his village where he knew the roads and shops and houses well and he knew as a blind man how to walk by taking two steps forward and turn the left and take three steps forward etc.  This new area was unfamiliar and as a blind man he could not have walked around this new place as he didn’t know it.  God is taking us to a new place.  For example, Hayley used to sleep until 11am but now she will wake up at 7am and everyone will be surprised because she has changed to something else.
After Jesus touched the blind man for the second time, He told him not to go back to the village.  Don’t go back to what you were familiar with, don’t go back to your problems.  E.g. Hayley don’t go back to sleeping until 11am.  I used to have reactive hypoglycaemia which meant I couldn’t eat sugar without passing out or going temporarily blind.  After I was healed I was too scared to eat sugar even though I was healed and I knew I was healed.  I wanted to go back to my old village where things were safe.  I had to take courage to eat the first biscuit but once I did I never went back to the old village.
So getting back to the verse in proverbs, many people believe they are wise, they believe they have the right strategy and know how to bring healing but we have to remember that everything comes from God.  The blind man entreated Jesus to touch him.  I imagine that was with shouting and begging because he knew this might be his only opportunity to be healed.  Maybe people around him were telling him to be quiet but he needed what others had.  Those that had sight were telling him to be quiet and all he wanted was to have what they have.
Those that have will think us stupid when we complain.  Those that are healthy will say to the sick, “it’s too much now, we are sick of your stories, it’s always about you” because they have what they need.  The wisdom of man is to think others don’t have what they have because they are stupid or because they don’t know how to get it or look after themselves and what they are facing is the consequence of their stupid actions.  The wisdom of God is like this story of the blind man where Jesus heard the man crying for help and Jesus came close and gave him sight.
Those that already had sight didn’t admire what they had, they took it for granted but when the blind man received it, he was extremely grateful and now he is written in the Bible for the whole world to receive a big message. 
The wisdom of man doesn’t consider what God has given them, they think it is normal.  For example, I type up the message on Sundays and for me it is easy and normal and I don’t really understand why others think I’m so good for being able to do it.  It just seems normal to me.  There are things that you do and I can’t and when I say, ‘wow, you are amazing,’ you think to yourself, ‘no, not really’.  But we forget that there are many who can’t do what we can, many without hands or without intelligence.  We can’t mock others for not being as clever as we are.  Others deserve what we have but they don’t get it and we judge saying it is their fault and sometimes we even tell them, ‘shut up, it’s too much now’.  It’s like Work and Income who tell those on a benefit to get a job while there are many with qualifications who can’t get work but Work and Income treats the jobless as though they are zero and it’s their fault for not having any work. 
For God it is different, those that have zero will glorify God when they get it.  For example, those in hospital can’t even sit down and we can sit down without thinking about it and we think with that annoyed tone, ‘oh, just sit down’.  God gives you something and it’s very important but we don’t recognise how important it is and others don’t have it and suffer for years and they glorify God when they get it be we who have it, don’t even care that we have it.
Like the blind man who cried for help, people around us are asking for help but we just think they are complainers.  How would you feel to be that person?  People ask us to pray and we think, “again” and we are sick of that same prayer and we complain in our heart so that our prayer is dead. 
Maybe with our human wisdom we think we deserve it but God doesn’t give according to our sin or our greatness.  He gives however He wants.  With our human wisdom we think we know how to get healing but we need God’s wisdom and when he moves us out of a situation we can’t go back…that is wisdom that brings healing.  E.g. if you are healed from smoking, don’t go back to cigarettes because He has already pulled you out, why go back in?  You have been shown the direction but you want to go back and then tell God, “forgive me”.  The blind man had all his friends and family back at Bethsaida but was told to not go back.  You can have all the things you like in the past life but don’t go back to them.  Unfortunately, many people make two or three steps forward and go back again believing they can ask for forgiveness. 
If we are wise we will fear God which means we will live like a restricted person.  To fear God is to accept all His instructions and don’t go back to old life.  Restrictions for God is different to the restricted licence.  The restricted licence allows a person to drive but not after 10pm so you are restricted only in some areas.  For God, when there is a restriction it is a complete restriction.  If He says to not go back to alcohol it doesn’t mean you can have one glass with your meal at dinner, it means no alcohol full-stop. 
This is to have the wisdom from God that brings healing.  Healing from God is gradual and we have to be grateful for the changes.  We are very forgetful but I think we can all look back and see changes.  I used to be so sick that I could only walk to the end of the street but now I can walk for hours if I want to.  I used to get four sinus infections per year, last year I didn’t have one.  Mum couldn’t wear shoes two years ago and had to suffer through winter with jandles but now she can wear sneakers for short periods.  We can all say that we are better than what we were. 
Let’s praise God now  because we are better than what we were.  Tell God the areas of improvement like the blind man did.  Then if you need healing pray for God’s wisdom, pray you will fear God and obey His instructions and not go back to your old life.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Communion message

Communion message
By Odon Bulamba
Mathew 26: 2; 24:26,

Who should we believe?  Jesus before he left, he picked up the bread and blessed it and then broke it and said, “Remember this, this is my body.  Do this in remembrance of me.  This is my cup, do this to remember me”. 
Because we forget sometimes, Jesus tells us to come to communion to remember.  Because people sometimes invite us to the wrong place and say Jesus is here, we get mixed up and that is why Jesus tells us to come to communion to remember.  Sometimes we read the bible and we don’t understand it and it’s because we forget to remember the signs God gave us.  That is why Jesus tells us to come to communion to remember.
Luke 24: 2.  The disciples of Jesus were walking and suddenly Jesus was walking among them and they could not recognize Him because their eyes were covered. When the men with Jesus reached their home, it was time now to have dinner.  He took the bread and blessed it and after blessing it he broke it.  After breaking it, small pieces fell off from the bread and at that moment their eyes were opened.  They recognized Jesus and remembered their lord. 
You have to remember how Jesus blessed the bread and how he broke it.  The way Jesus broke the bread was unique and that is why those two disciples remembered Him.  They remembered the way He broke bread.  What do you remember? Do you only remember Jesus sitting at the table?  That is not enough because sitting with Jesus was not enough to recognize Him.  It wasn’t until the bread was broken.
1 Cor 12:27.  We are the body of Jesus.  “Lord I want to be broken, break me as you broke that bread, break my arrogance, my attitude”.  When you break the bread, you can see the inside which looks different and soft compared to the outside.  It also smells good and tastes yummy compared to outside.  Many only eat the inside and not the outside because flies can land on the outside.  When Jesus breaks you and me, this is what should be seen.  Ask your lord now to break you if you are a part of the body of Jesus.  It might hurt because some types of bread are really tough and hard to break but tell Jesus you want to be broken.
Then Jesus disappeared, and the bread was broken only in front of two not thousands.  Jesus may only choose to reveal the true meaning of bread to some.
Then the disciples said He was alive but many thought the body was stolen from the tomb.  Thomas testified the Jesus that we broke the bread with today is a different Jesus to the one we saw before the cross.  He is an “alive” Jesus and not a dead Jesus.  If I am a part of this body, I am alive with him.  Because Jesus is not a part of the dead, I should also not be a part of the dead.  I should be alive with Him. 
This is the body given to you in order to be broken.  The body that you have, has to be broken.  That is why Paul says in Corinthians, if you are a sinner do not eat the bread because if you do, you might become sick or die.  Let’s pray for God to make us ready first.
Then Jesus said the wine represents His blood, take it in order to remember.  The blood of Jesus is to remove our sins.  The blood of Jesus.  Imagine if I said brother Peter, we have to eat your flesh and drink your blood.  The police will come and call us cannibals.

Can you eat flesh of brother Peter?  No I will run away.  But for Jesus, He approaches us to say this is just a symbol and you have to understand the meaning of eating my body and drinking my blood.  The world may misunderstand/misinterpret it and think it is crazy but there is power behind it to bring healing from sin.
Before Jesus broke the bread, He blessed it first.  Even if you are going through hardship with problems, God has made you sick, or poor or rejected, remember He blessed you first.  Although I am going through this, I am blessed, although I am suffering I am blessed.
Ask God to break you.  Galations 5: tell god which fruit of the flesh you have and ask God to break those from you.