Sunday, September 11, 2016


By Odon Bulamba

This morning I will share with you a simple message called choice or selection.  One thing that God has given to all human beings is the ability to choose.  Choosing is not an easy task.  You may choose something because it is attractive to you but after showing it to others, they may say it is a wrong choice.  Therefore the world will say, your choice is not my choice or what you like may not be what I like.  When God created human beings, He said for us to take care of everything but at the last day of your life, I will come back to you and you will give me a feedback of all you have done.  Imagine if someone asks you take care of everything here in this room and on the last day, you will write a report. 


Acts 1:23-26, “So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles”.



I will see Jesus leaving the earth and He is supposed to go (ascension) and He said I will never leave you alone, I will leave you the Holy Spirit who will teach you and lead you and show you how things are to be done.  Then Jesus left.


Imagine, He was the only teacher the disciples had and He was with them for a number of years, the only one who performed miracles and could feed them physically and spiritually with powerful ideas and suddenly He says, I will leave you?  If I were one of the disciples, I would get lost because the master is not there anymore. 


Jesus told the disciples to not leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes.  The disciples had no idea how long it would take.  They waited.  When you are waiting in a group, ideas will come, “why can’t we go out?” and from other’s ideas, you may change your mind.  This is the place where Mary the mother of Jesus appeared in His life for the last time as she was present. 


When Jesus was alive, He blew on the disciples, have the Holy Spirit.  Now as He was leaving, they were left behind like orphans.  Suddenly Peter said, look we lost one of ours, Judas, we need to replace him because in Psalms one who loses office, another will replace him.  There is nothing wrong with that idea but the challenge is the root of my message, why were they replacing Judas?  Because he is dead.  He killed himself because he chose to sell the Lord, to get some money believing that the Lord will defend himself. 


Although Jesus told them all that one of you will betray me, Judas made the choice for the Word of God to be fulfilled, for the Christ to be crucified.  He could decide not to, he was free and he had the time to think about the decision and all the power to not go to meet with those people and to cancel the deal and he had the ability to not to meet with them to collect the money but he decided to do it because that was his choice.


Peter collected the disciples together and told them his idea (around 100 or 200) in a room of prayer where the miracles would be done for the first time.  They decided to replace Judas.  The Bible doesn’t say he was inspired by God.  They put the criteria, like a job interview, you have to have these: (1) must be someone who has seen the baptism of John (2) one of those that have been following us with Jesus (3) must be someone who has seen the resurrection of Jesus and testify that he was resurrected.  Those three criteria brought them to a short list of two:

a.       Joseph

b.      Matthius (Mathew)


Then they bring the two to God and ask Him to choose from them.  We have done our selection, now God between the two, pick up one for us to replace Judas.  How hard it is to dictate God, this is my choice, I want to limit You, pick up one from the two. 


Normally our choices influence our lives.  eg. What I will study at uni, those papers will have an affect on my life.  A mother can choose for her daughter to become a singer or dancer and the child may grow up to be a dancer.  Even this morning you chose what clothes to wear and someone else might suggest something else.  Choices are decisions which are very powerful which may lead us to face God, we may present situations to God which may not be God’s ways or His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).


Very often our choices are wrong and our choices make us forget the existence of God and we choose what we want, not what God wants.  E.g. I want to be rich and to have a lot of money.  To be rich is to make you become a slave and have more problems.  Sometimes I sit down and ask myself how crazy am I, I have a few pairs of shoes but on Sunday I will decide which one to put on and try different ones on and waste 5 or 10 minutes on shoes but if I only had one or two pairs, it would be easier.


Some people think that the more abundance you have, the happier you will be.  Sometimes you have money and you don’t know what to do with it.  You might use it for drinking or eating.  One of my friends won lotto and he asked those around him, what should I do with it?  He bought a house but he asked others, “was that choice right, advise me”.  When you ask others for advice they will tell you what they think and it may not be what you want to hear.  That is the problem with Christianity today.


 God has told them to stay and wait in Jerusalem but they came up with an idea.  Before you give ideas to others, do you ask God first before sharing the ideas because your words can influence others around you and your own life.  When you are influenced by your words, make sure you are ready to accept the consequences.


After praying, God didn’t answer.  “Lord you know your people, you know their heart”.  Then Peter said, let us cast lots.  This is similar to tossing a coin to see which was chosen by God.  In the old time God used to manifest himself through that way but God had told them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come down to lead them.  They decided not to wait and chose Matthius and said, God has chosen him.


How will you feel if you are Josephus?  Is this really God’s selection?  Why him and not me?  Why didn’t we just pray for God’s will?  That might even push you to quit your faith because these people didn’t like me and they elected who they wanted.  Have you have been left beside at a job interview while you are the better candidate and they choose someone useless.


One time I went to the interview and the interviewer said, I will prefer a black person rather than a Maori.  The business partner who said that was shocked.  I thought, if this person prefers a black person today, maybe he will prefer a yellow one tomorrow or a green one another day, so I decided not to take the job, my place is not here.  Our choices are not always good.  What did you pay to God to be born your colour, rich or poor?  Our role is just to make a good choice.


They started their journey with Matthius but we don’t hear anything in the Bible about him.  The Holy Spirit came down in Acts 2 and they could speak in tongues and perform miracles regardless of the mistake they made.  God still blessed them but God wanted to teach them that the choice of Matthius was not His choice.  God chose Saul instead who was killing people and doing all evil things, maybe like a ISIS killing Christians today. 


Suddenly the choice of God fell on that man Saul, go and be one of the apostles.  How can we have 12 already and God chooses someone else.  When Paul came to churches, people would run away because he was an evil guy.  God’s choice is different to ours.  Our choice relies on the appearance and behaviour before choosing them.


In New Zealand before election time, I don’t know John Key or Winston Peters but I have to vote.  How do I make the decision to choose the leader?  Some might love the political party NZ First so vote for their leader or some might choose because they are the same colour as the leader or choose because they take care of farmers.  Our criteria are not good.  We take zero time to ask God who is the right leader for our country.  I choose this one because he is thin or him because she is a good speaker. 


With those wrong choices, we will say tomorrow we made the wrong decision.  How often have you regretted the choices you have made.  We all make mistakes because of our choices.  We choose something today and believe it is the best one and you enjoy it and after 10 years, oh why did I do that?  Most of the time there is no chance to go back or reverse the situation but we can start again.


Someone might study art and after three years they have the degree and they don’t know what to do with the degree and realise they made a wrong choice and start again.  Unfortunately the church doesn’t like to start again but try to add to where we are up to.  Starting again doesn’t mean losing time but it’s about getting stronger.


The 17 year olds at Uni you don’t care about uni but the mature students are more focused and work hard because they know they only have a short time to complete it and must do it but young ones are very distracted and their choices are poor every time.  I’ve seen someone rejoice in getting a C.  Passing is good but what knowledge do you have?  You can have a degree without knowledge.  Adult students know that they need to learn.  Similarly with Christianity today, our choices are just about getting something and we forget about our knowledge.


God chose Paul who was a bad guy but now he is a pillar of the New Testament.  What was the last choice you made.  Maybe as you are sitting here, your choice is to think about your mum or food while you are in the church but God is there with you and you send your mind somewhere else.  God’s choice is for you to be here to hear the Word of God to gain from it.


When you make a choice, do you ask yourself why are you choosing this because at the end of the day you have to report back to your creator.  For example, God will ask you, I gave you five children, why didn’t you choose to take them to church, read the Word of God to them or lead them on the path to salvation.  When you have your husband and your role is to control your husband, God this is what I want to happen in my family and I want you to choose this.  We want to manipulate things and for God to respond to our needs. 


You will see God who is full of mercy will give us children like my sister here today who has two children.  She will have a choice, “I love one more than the other”.  God may ask you,” why didn’t you teach your child the right way, you were defending their sins”.  You have been given a  mission to make disciples and it’s not a matter of choosing who will fit among us.  To make disciples is to ask who God has chosen and to ask God to show me how to take to care of them. 


We might say, this is my children but they belong to God and he can choose to take them and we can’t stop it.  God might choose to bless them and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  We need to ask God what His choice is.  God’s ways are not our ways and they seem crazy and we believe our way is the best way.  If Paul was persecuting the church and then walk into the church, everyone would say, no this is not a good choice because God couldn’t choose an evil person like this.  We are quick to judge because of someone’s behaviour yesterday.


We think those that walk like nuns or priests are chosen by God but our appearance has nothing to do with it, God looks at the inside.  Everything you have has been your choice – clothes, furniture etc.  The number of choices you have made in you life is countless.  Why not allow God to make the choices for you.  When we are tired we shout for help, why can’t we shout for help to ask God to help us?  God’s choice is not our choice.  God is right and I’m wrong so why do I waste my time trying to fix things that I can’t fix.


Let’s pray and ask God how to choose in all our decisions we make.

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