Monday, September 28, 2015

Working efficiently

By Odon Bulamba

It’s a pleasure to be here and a privilege to be alive.  Every minute of our lives counts, so we should ask ourselves from time to time, “What do I do with all the minutes I have with my life, all the seconds of the day”.  Maybe 20% of my time for watching tv, maybe 30% of my time is for swimming, maybe 10% for nightclubbing and at the end of the day, the day is gone. 


Yesterday I had a challenge, a lady asked me to show her my nose without pointing.  I said, “look at my face and it’s below my eyes”.  She said, “I can’t see it, show it to me”.  Sometimes we can’t express what is in our mind.  Sometimes God gives to us the word which is in front of us but we can’t clearly explain it to ourselves. 


In Mathew 7:24-27, there is a story of Jesus who was telling us that for those who hear the Word of God and do it, are wise and are like those that build a house on a rock.  In opposite, for those who her the Word of God and don’t do it, they are like the foolish who build their house on the sand. 


My message today is to try to unlock the padlock to understand the secret of those verses Jesus gave to us.  There are two different types of people: God has given both of them ears and understanding but the one who listens to God and then decides to do it, is automatically called wise while the one who decides not to do it, is called stupid.  Who would like to be called stupid?  Who is happy to be called wise?  I’m the first one – I’d much rather be called wise than stupid.  But to be wise (according to Jesus) is to do something which Jesus can’t do for you - you have to push yourself to do what the Word of God tells you.


Many read books from philosophers and wise people etc to become wise but to read without practice – your wisdom is empty. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.  People tell you that on Sunday they will go to church to listen to the Word of God to make their faith grow big.  I need faith but you can have faith and you are still called stupid.  You can have a very big amount of faith and God can consider you stupid even if you do miracles, speak in tongues etc. 


Wisdom is very important in life.  Many people consider faith as the first thing they need because from it they believe they will get healing, money and all the material things they want.  I have faith in you God, help me.  God looks at you and says, “Thank you for having faith but I want you to become a doer, not just someone with faith. I want you to do things”.


Today, we don’t want to do things, we prefer to do things the easy way.  We prefer to go to Burger King instead of making a burger for myself.  We buy artificial flowers instead of working on a garden.  We need to see things happening quickly because today no one wants to work, we just want results quickly.


Not that long ago, we had dial up internet and had to wait 20 minutes before getting connected. Today the speed is so fast and yet we still complain when it takes two seconds,  “arggh, telecom my internet is slow” and the internet provider tries to fix the problem without reminding you that it’s better today than yesterday.  We complain and tell the internet provider we will leave their company and go elsewhere if they don’t fix the problem causing it to be slow.


When all we had was dial up, we could only download one photo a day and yet today we can download books but we are not satisfied.  We can go fast in our cars forgetting we can kill someone.  I’ve seen men go to the car yard and ask which engine is so powerful even though there is a speed limit on the road.  They will break the rules but that is what they want.  Today, you will have those who will judge you positively but others will judge you negatively.


The Word of God is in front of you and God is telling you, “you are my disciple, I love you and you have faith but you forget to use that Word”.  In the Bible, God used the example of building.  He used to talk about plants and trees but the disciples didn’t understand.  This time, He changed the strategy and talked about construction.  When you look at construction, there is no life in wood but in a tree there is life.  God wants to teach you with material that has no life.  When you build a house, the first thing you need is land.  Everyone today is fighting to buy land and those who have it believe they are rich but those who don’t have land have to rent and ask others to borrow their land.


I can have a car but if I have no land to park my car, I have to pay Hamilton City Council (HCC) for a car park. You can see how important is the land and the house.


Land contains something underneath it.  When you have your land and you have to build a house, you need a foundation.  Our body is the land because it came from the soil.  Do I need foundation or not?  My choice will make me appear clever/wise (someone who pleases God) or dumb (someone who doesn’t please God).  God looks at us and wants to see what our decision will be, putting aside faith – what will our actions be?  God has given us all the tools: We have the HOLY SPIRIT and we have eyes to see (physically and spiritually) and hands to kneel down and pray.


Before building a house, we have to design it.  We obtain an architect who will design a plan for the house.  For example, it might have five bedrooms and two bathrooms and we the house owner will be the boss and decide what we want and the builder has to follow the plan because that is our house and that is what we want.  After telling an architect what we want, he will draw it on the piece of paper. 


My grandfather punished his wife by building a house without a toilet.  God is so good, the day they moved in, my grandfather had diarrhoea.  The wife said, “you were so wise what you did” because he was punishing himself.  Once you choose your plan, God will tell you to go ahead now.  The plan is in front of you, you have all the tools and you can employ people to do the job for you but remember not all contractors are serious and you will lose money, time and peace.


Many years ago you had to dig the ground with a shovel to get a foundation strong enough to hold a building.  When you dig the ground, you put the soil aside and you have to use your physical strength (not spiritual).  It can be hot or cold weather but you have to do the job.  Some will dig 30 cm but the builder says, you better go deeper otherwise when the wind blows or storm comes, your house will collapse.  The more you go deeper, you find yourself sinking in the hole you are digging.  Your body is now inside the earth.


After digging, you call people to see what you have done and you point out where things will go such as the plumbing and electrical wires which are all under the ground.  The foundation will again be covered with soil.  This analogy reminds us that we were given a body with the strength, capacity and ability to see and do things and God is asking us now to go deep inside of ourselves and make the foundation and structure of how we should live our lives. 


Does the world see you flashing light or like a small torch?  Everything you do should reflect the Lord God.  We tell God, “God I’m weak, I need the HOLY SPIRIT” but God is telling us, “No, the HOLY SPIRIT can’t do your job for you.  He can teach you but you have to dig and find out your actions and know if they are a good foundation for your faith.  The Holy Spirit can give understanding but you have to search My Word”.


Jesus would tell people, “Your faith has healed you but you also have to walk to this place and wash in this water”.  Imagine, you come close to God and say, “I want to see” and He spits on your face and tells you to walk to the water and wash it off.  We might think, “God are you fair? Can you see what you are doing to me?”  How often we complain to God when things don’t go the way we want. 


Dig and discover how deep your foundation is.  You can know all the verses by heart but that means nothing if you are not putting these verses into action.


Once our ground is ready (the foundation is made) we have to build on the foundation a strong building.  This analogy reminds us to build our faith, to make a decision to pray every morning: “God really, is that what you choose, good we will start with that”.  The problem is that first day we start to dig and we feel tired, on the second day the phone rings, on the third day we decide to do it tomorrow and on the fourth day, we no longer care.  For example, we might say, “Even if I don’t go to church, who cares, it’s between me and God”.  Very often when we try to encourage others to work for God, they respond by telling us not to judge them and that it is between them and God.


When we start doing things our way and forgetting to build on the foundation, God starts to

Wonder if we are really the ones that He chose.  He starts to ask Himself why He gave such a privilege to this person to be His child while He didn’t give the chance to everybody.  Many people don’t even get to hear the Word of God.  You and I are chosen as disciples of Jesus and He gave us everything we want – now is the time to use it but we have excuses and excuses to not work for God. 


When we see the structure, we say what I beautiful house and ask who built it? Do we stop and think about the foundation?  We never do.  For some reason you can be in your 6 million dollar house and your house can collapse in 2 seconds in a sink hole.  Very often we don’t look at the foundation.  We can say we are fervent in prayer, we love you God but God says yes, you appear flourishing but how is your foundation?


One day I cut a rose at my place and sniffed it and it smelt good.  So I decided I should smell the roots because it created the flower.  It smelt bad.  This is the root which gave this flower beauty and smell but the root smells bad. The tree can look attractive and green but the colour of roots are dirty and muddy and ugly but they hold something precious.  Your body can look ugly and uncomfortable and you don’t like the way your body looks but let it bear the good fruits by making the right decisions. Before making any decision, we should ask ourselves, what does the bible say I should do?  If the bible says this is what I should do, and I promise God to do it, then do it and then you will look wise.


Wisdom doesn’t mean everyone will agree with you. Those who are foolish will believe you are a show off person because your ideas will be opposite to theirs.  The other day I was working at the warehouse and a man wanted a bike but I was too short to get it down so I called Richard to help who was taller but the man said, “I don’t like people of colour while he was Maori and Richard was white”.  Why not?  Sometimes people will hate you just because of who you are.  When that happens, it’s like digging the soil and you hit the rock and it hurts but you have to continue without a word. Sometimes you hit an electric cable and you realise you shouldn’t have dug there and now you have to start again. We have to keep trying and trying without giving up.


One day the judge will come (JESUS) and he will separate the sheep from the goats.  They look almost the same with the same body shape and colour and horns.  They both make nice meat.  Saved and non-saved can both have faith and believe in Jesus but when He comes to separate us, He will look at our deeds.  What did you do when you went you through trials?  Did your house shake or not and if it shook – then look at your foundation.  How much control do you have over your body?  When you say you are not eating, your stomach won’t punish you.  You can close your eyes.  You can decide to walk rather than use the car.  You can decide today to not go swimming regardless of the heat and you won’t. 


In Australia, this man said that the day that we allowed children to eat too much ice-cream, they will die in water.  Buying ice cream won’t stop you from swimming any more.  Children die when they swim in water but we blame the ice cream.  We start to blame: when I read the bible or pray, that is when problems arise in my life so I start to change the reality of my faith to something else.  If I drink one glass of wine it’s ok as long as I don’t get drunk but tomorrow it will be two glasses and then it turns into a tank.


Yes Jesus paid the price so you can be free but don’t you have any price to pay?  He said, love your neighbour as you love yourself.  It’s the hardest thing to do.  Do I really love my neighbours?  Mostly not.  We can be so happy to know what is happening in the lives of others and gossip but we don’t love them because when it is time to talk to them about the gospel my body starts to shake and heart beats fast.  I can talk about other things like rugby but fear to talk about God.


We tell God, I’ve done my part, it’s up to you now God and when we do that, our foundation is shaking just to talk to a human being just like you and me.  All we have to say is simply, “Jesus loves you, do you love him back? Why not?”  Do you believe God can forgive, it would be better for that person to run from you than for you to run from God.  We love the easiest ways.  We only want to talk about Jesus and bible when we are with other Christians.


Last week I found a guy (let’s call him Caleb) who works at the Warehouse and I knew he was a Christian.  During a meeting I said, “praise the Lord, Caleb” and he was embarrassed and he didn’t want people from the warehouse to know he was a believer.  This reminded me that when the storm comes, you will be exposed.  This beautiful shape of your house will be turned up and people will see all that was inside it.  They will see the bed and all that was under it, all your documents etc.  It’s better to make your foundation solid.


In New Zealand we use concrete to build the foundation which is sand, water etc to make a solid. Sand is soft and flows through our fingers and can’t hold a house up on its own.  This reminds us not to minimise yourself and believe you are weak because once you put your actions with the Word of God (water) you will be solid and nothing will shake you.  You can be poor now and tomorrow you will be rich or vice versa.  You can be lonely today and tomorrow have a child or vice versa. 


We often say, God why only me but if we loved our neighbour as ourselves, we will say, “God look at them, why are they are crossing this?”  When death is next door, you don’t care but when it knocks on your door, you cry and suffer but you don’t cry for others.  When we put our lives into the lives of others, then you are making the solid foundation and God will call you a wise person.  To be wise is to put yourself in the shoes of others.  Once you know that, you will please God and the Kingdom of God will be there for you.


When Jesus left, He said, “I am going to prepare a house for you but in the meantime start also to prepare a place – shape yourself”.  We think that it is just Jesus’ job to build the house.  My job is to pray and His job is to work.  No! Your job is to pray and do (Eph 6:11)  and Jesus will decide if it will work or not.  We have to put on the armour of God, we have to use our hands, eyes and brains to put it on.  90% of Christians today are waiting for God to put the armour on them.  We tell God, “I have a lot of problems” and most of the time it is money or wanting a handsome husband or travelling which is our foundation but God says, your foundation in Christ first.


The lawyer of the offender said to the jury, “now I know you are going to decide but in one minute the person who was dead will walk through the door” and they looked at the door.  They found him guilty but the lawyer said, “how can you find him guilty? You looked at the door and therefore you had doubt”.  But the jury said, “the offender didn’t look at the door because he killed him”.  God knows everything and you can try to hide things from God and find strategies to get passed God but your conscience will find you guilty.