Prosperity = Toward Hope

Prosperity...The issue of prosperity and wealth is one that draws fire from all doctrinal positions among believers, and has in many cases polarized sections of the church. That happens when we choose to make it a doctrinal issue. However, as a church leader, I deal with people who spend most of their waking time either looking for money or worrying about it; either working for money or trying to get money to work for them.

So, anyone who says we shouldn’t be thinking of how to create wealth or even talk about it needs to broaden their thinking on the matter. In fact, I find that purveyors of this way of thinking are people who have never experienced the effects of poverty; usually friends from countries where governments have a safety net for those who have hit hard times, and their blind followers.

Poverty dehumanizes people and gets them to lose their dignity and sense of worth. We must break the poverty mentality in Africa, and we can’t do it by continuing to beg or with erroneous, pious religion. We need a wholesome understanding of prosperity and wealth creation. We Africans are blessed to inhabit the richest continent as far as natural resources are concerned, but housing the poorest people. What has created this gap? It is unacceptable that we continue living in the shackles of poverty with so much resource around and in us.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and significant quantities of the world’s diamonds, gold and copper. This makes the DRC potentially the richest country in the world. But this central African country has been ranked among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries on this planet and this is because of poor governance, public debt, budget deficits and corruption. Civilians, including large numbers of children, have been regularly forced into labour. Rebel and militia groups commit widespread human rights abuses, including rape, enslavement, torture, disappearances and killing of civilians. All this paramilitary activity is supported by external forces from the so-called rich countries, as they jostle to access these minerals at very low prices. Is the DRC really poor?

Nature abhors a vacuum. When there was no wholesome Biblical teaching on prosperity and wealth, the counterfeits took over. People have suffered untold damage under the counterfeit prosperity message which essentially is designed to benefit those that teach it at the expense of their listeners and followers. People have lost houses, cars, marriages, health, and their very livelihoods in pursuit of “the blessing.” Apparently, no one told them we are already blessed, and we operate from a blessed position; we don’t seek to be. As Andrew Wommack says, other people have interpreted this message to mean, “Get all you can, can all you get and sit on the can!”

There is now a wealth of great teachers and practitioners of prosperity, which is not a message but a lifestyle, a way of living. Some well-meaning Christians and teachers are against the “prosperity gospel” even to blindness. Obviously, they are talking about the counterfeit version, otherwise the Gospel of our Lord itself would be incomplete without true prosperity.

Trevor Waldock said that the root word for prosperity actually means “toward hope.” Now think about that! Toward hope! Since the shackles of poverty have not led us toward hope, maybe prosperity isn’t such a bad word after all.

In the scriptures and elsewhere, every time God moved in, there was flourishing and order, and every time the devil moved in, there was scarcity and chaos. Think about the Garden of Eden; that was pure prosperity until the serpent came. Everything was good, they had all that they needed, and there was no lack. That was until someone suggested they could have that which didn’t belong to them! The same happened to Abraham and his children and their children.

Genesis 26:12-13
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

Abraham was just an ordinary guy from Ur of the Chaldeans until God moved in. He blessed him and he became very prosperous. This prosperity was so effective it affected his children and grandchildren. Of Isaac his son, it is written that he sowed seed in a time of famine and reaped a hundred fold. Even Jacob, who was seemingly outwitted by his uncle Laban, prospered under adverse circumstances.

Think about the children of Israel leaving Egypt. After four hundred years in slavery, they had nothing. No dignity, no alliances, no property, no money, no food, no rights, nothing! Then God moved. Overnight, they had silver and gold, clothing and shoes, and enough supplies to last them many years as they journeyed in the wilderness.

Then we see it with the Kingdom of Israel. When they walked in right relationship with God, letting Him move in their midst, they prospered. When they turned to idols and ignored God, they got into trouble. When they neglected community, and abandoned the command to take care of the weak among them and resorted to “every man for himself and God for us all,” things didn’t go so well. During David and especially Solomon’s reign, the nation was so prosperous that Solomon made silver and gold to be as common in Jerusalem as stones.

Then we have Jesus. He and those around Him never had a need that could not be met; be it tangible or intangible. There is no instance in the Bible where, when Jesus arrived on the scene, there was scarcity of anything. He seemed to carry abundance around with Him: abundance of joy, abundance of peace, abundance of power, abundance of healing and yes, abundance of resources. When the Church was born in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit’s move resulted into an interesting scenario. No one among them lacked anything! They fully understood what it means to prosper, to have none among them in need. It was about community.

Wealth is not a figure in a bank account, neither is poverty; it’s all a state of mind. You are not rich because you have money; you have money because you are rich.

Excerpt from Straight Forward Financial Growth by Moses Mukisa

Get your copy of the #SFFG book from all major bookstores in Kampala or delivered to you by getting in touch with us.

Watch out for the #SFFGNext event coming soon, to help you financially prepare for and get the greatest benefit out of 2019. It will be your best year yet, financially!

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JARS OF CLAY

pots

2 Corinthians 4:7 
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. NKJV

I have found out that great leaders achieve great things, not because of who they are, but rather in spite of it. Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Jacob was a thief, Moses was stammerer, Gideon was a coward, Samson was impatient, David was a murderer, Solomon was a womanizer, Jeremiah was too young, Esther was an exiled orphan, Mary was a teenager, Peter was uneducated and Paul was unimpressive!

Now, I’m not suggesting that you go ahead and do some of those things. Otherwise you will bring more pain into your life and lineage than you can fathom! But the point is that way too many people are achieving way too little because they feel that their lives are a mess. If you read the Bible, you’ll find that God used these messy people to do great things. In fact, I feel like if the Bible were to be written today, many of us wouldn’t feature because our lives are too organized and small. People who seek to expand and have impact often make mistakes because they are breaking boundaries and taking new territory.

If I were God, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen me. But God, being God, chooses as he wills, and when great things happen, people can’t say, “that guy is good!” Rather, they look at all that’s happening, take one look at you and I, take another look at what’s happening and exclaim, “God is awesome. Can you imagine what He’s doing through these underdogs!”

Another lie I’ve encountered many times is fear. People think that leaders achieve great things because they are bold and fearless. What they don’t know is that people achieve those things in spite of fear. They do it fearful! Stop waiting to get rid of your imperfections before doing great things, because you’ll never.

It’s time for you to start achieving great things, even with your imperfections.

Have a great life… earthen you!!!

GRIT – the differentiator

IMG_2801On Sunday March 18th, I went to bed promising myself that I’d walk to work the next day, from Kitukutwe (Kitty Town) to Naalya – about 12 kilometers. I had come to the realization that I wasn’t investing sufficient physical capital and therefore compromising the health of my body. I thought I’d give it some shock by subjecting it to a 12km walk!

I woke up the next day and it was raining!!! It wasn’t torrential. It was that ka quiet-ish rain that makes you lose every negotiation with your blanket. “Am I going to walk in this rain?” I asked myself. I was steadily losing the initiative when I jumped out of bed, got ready and decided to take the walk. I knew that I had to keep my promises to myself if I was going to keep growing as a leader. This was no longer just about physical capital, this was a matter of character.

You see, not even my wife knew that I’d made this promise to myself. It was an internal matter. But to grow in character, we must learn to keep our promises to ourselves. Reputation is what others think we are, but character is who we really are. One of the top requirements in character growth is GRIT. Because situations and conditions are always changing, the only tool a leader has in their arsenal for leading self is GRIT!

I am an observer of life, and I have realized that it’s not the most talented who achieve greatness, it’s the most tenacious. In every area of life, be it sports, music, business, leadership, marriage, name it; the people with great success have had something in common, and that’s GRIT. Others may have had great talent or gifting, or even great opportunities, but those don’t last. It’s the tenacious who keep building and going in the same direction for years, and when they succeed, people assume they only began yesterday!

We used to go swimming with my friend Timothy Sebalamu. We’d set out to do a certain number of laps across the pool, usually 20 to 40 laps both ways, meaning 40 – 80 one way. We’d start swimming the breast stroke at a moderate pace. Guys would come around and do wonders – diving, butterfly stroke, racing across the pool etc. They then go out, order drinks and hang around. Sometimes they’d even leave, while we were still in the pool, going from end to end with a moderate paced breast stroke. That experience taught me a lot about grit and staying power.

  • Do you make promises to yourself?
  • Do you keep your promises to yourself?
  • Do you keep your word to others?
  • Do you keep time regardless of circumstances?
  • Do you turn in your assignments in time?
  • Do you write through writer’s block?
  • Do you sing through the tears?
  • Do you preach through the doubts?
  • Do you play through the pain?
  • Do you walk through the rain?
  • DO YOU HAVE GRIT???

Make a promise to yourself this week, AND KEEP IT! Have a gritty one!

Honoring Your Parents

Old coupleAll of humanity intuitively knows that we are supposed to honor our parents. Whether you are religious or not, we all somehow know that honoring our parents is the right thing to do. For those of us who believe in the God of the Bible, the commandment to honor our parents is explicitly clear.

What is not clear though is what constitutes honor. Is it respect? Is it obeying their instructions? Is it going back home for the big events? Is it spending time with them? For all I know, it could be all this and more. It also matters what your age is and at what stage of life they are, I think. In this article, I want us to look at a very specific way the Bible seems to suggest we should honor our parents, and that’s with our finances and material blessings. There’s an interesting scripture where Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. Here goes…

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God ”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:3-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This conversation seems to reveal that the Jewish understanding of honoring your father and mother involved material or financial blessing. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees for dishonoring their parents through some religious caveat of saying the money was already committed as a gift to God. This is important because the context in which this commandment is given is Jewish and therefore the interpretation must be based on that culture’s interpretation.

Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
Proverbs‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If the God of Heaven who does not need anything material has stipulated how He is to be honored (with your possessions and your increase, which is material or financial), how much more your parents who live on earth and have needs? In fact, their need has less to do with money and more to do with you giving a part of yourself back to them. The money you give your parents represents your life. Making money takes up your time, intellect, effort, connections, creativity, thought, name it. You’re giving back to those who gave you life, a bit of your life, literally!

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:2-3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The apostle Paul writing to the Ephesians (New Testament) reminds them of this same principle, including the benefits that come with honoring your parents; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. 

What is Jesus Saying To You?
What are you going to do about it?

The College Fund

screen-shot-2018-04-01-at-10-31-51-pm.pngThursday 29th March 2018 was my forty second birthday. My work colleagues surprised me with a cake and birthday celebrations as early as Monday 26th. The same happened on Tuesday with the Mastermind that I lead as I help people grow in their leadership. My friends had taken to these “birthday guerilla tactics” because they all knew what I had planned for Thursday, the big day.

Beginning last year when I turned forty one, I decided I’d had enough Birthday celebrations that were about me. I needed my life to continue counting for some things, even as I celebrated the passing of every year. I decided to have a dinner and asked all my friends to give a cash gift to the College Fund instead of buying me a Birthday gift.

The College Fund is an initiative to change our communities one college degree at a time. We help college students who are struggling financially to finish their degrees by helping pay their tuition. We started last year and are already currently funding five students through College (University). All it’s taken to change the destinies of these wonderful people are gifts from people that would have otherwise bought me more stuff.

We have worked it out in a way that these students can pay back the money after they graduate and start earning, so that the Fund grows and becomes self sustaining eventually. It’s such a blessing to hear the stories of life change that this small effort is starting to catalyze. Ruth Mirembe, one of the beneficiaries shares her story here below:

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Around the beginning of 2014 my father lost his job after a very bad accident. At around the same time he lost his property to con men; at some point we thought he would lose his mind! My mother is a trained primary school teacher who left teaching practice for personal businesses some years back. The money she made was just enough to cover our basic needs since our father always covered tuition fees. After my father’s accident she stepped into his shoes and become the sole provider; starting from father’s medical bills to basic needs for both us and her mother and finally tuition for 6 children.

We thought about quitting school for some good time but my brave mum held on and she got loans so we could stay in school. I surely don’t know anyone close to us that didn’t give us a loan! Loans became like a constant deep thorn in the flesh as we had failed to clear most of the bills here and there. Being the first born I had to look for plans that could help mum but it all didn’t quite work. In 2016 my tuition fees rose from Ugx 2,800,000 to Ugx 3,200,000. That addition was another mountain we couldn’t see ourselves conquering with all the unpaid loans we already had. We had lost most of our relationships due to delayed loans payments.

One Sunday afternoon after Garage (church service), I walked up to Pastor Mosze and inquired about the Harvest Finance loan and its requirements. I didn’t have 50% of the requirements but he did all he could and I was able to get the loan that covered that semester. In 2017, in my last year of clinical medicine, tired of the accumulating loans and the condition in which my mum was (Mum faced many arrest threats, she literally left home at dawn and returned late at night so she could avoid being arrested) I started to lose hope again.

On one of those days when I was feeling really low and beaten Pastor Mosze reached out to me and told me about the College Fund and how he thought I would benefit from it. The College Fund cleared my tuition and I was able to successfully do all my papers. I graduated on  2nd December 2017 with CGPA of 3.5 in Clinical Medicine and Community Health. My Medical license will be out in April and I am hopeful that I will find a job as soon as I receive it so I can start making my payments back to The College Fund and help someone else to also complete school. I also have plans to go back to school; I will study during day time and work night shift. Thank you so much The College Fund for your support towards my education; I am truly grateful!

The College Fund BannerSo teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

This is one small action I’ve taken to make my Birthdays, indeed my days count. If we started celebrating our Birthdays in reverse (knowing our departure dates), I believe we’d live much more wisely than we do. My prayer is that you too will figure out how to make your life count for the well being of others. For until we do that, we haven’t started to really live!

EXCEPTIONAL!

Mosze Slaying

Last Saturday, I had the privilege and honor of speaking at the LEAD Conference at Gaba Community Church. This was at the invitation of my good friend Apollo Kaggwa and the team that put the event together. Before I go too far, I’d like to celebrate Pastor Peter Kasirivu of Gaba Church and Africa Renewal Ministries. These guys have taken the Church Begins On Monday (CBOM) concept to another level! They have planted more than 400 churches, run several schools plus a university, operate medical facilities and take care of close to 10,000 vulnerable children! Whoa!

Back to my speaking at Gaba, my topic was, Exceptional – why average won’t change your world. Average has become a disease that’s sweeping across our nation, and if you’re not careful, you might catch it! Average people accept their world as it is and that’s why they are average. Exceptional people refuse to accept their circumstances and work hard and smart to turn them around to their advantage and the common good.

Ronaldo

When we hear Ronaldo, we think football. When we hear Usian Bolt, we think athletics. When we hear Bill Gates, we think computers (and money, and fighting disease, and…). When we hear John Maxwell, we think leadership. When we hear TD Jakes, we think preaching. When we hear Adele, we think music. When we hear Oprah, we think media. And the list goes on and on. The question is, what should we think when we hear your name? What is the value and values behind your name? Does your life have a Five Star rating?

Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”  (1 Sam 16:18)

Just look at the credentials David had:

  • Skillful in playing – SKILLED
  • Mighty man of valor – CHARACTER
  • Man of war – PROFESSIONAL
  • Prudent in speech – LEARNED
  • Handsome – WELL GROOMED
  • The Lord is with Him – GODLY

Hopefully by now, you are reflecting on your own life and thinking, “what is Jesus saying to me, and what am I going to do about it?” You may not be where you want to be, but thankfully, you can do something about it. I warn you though; a name is not built overnight. Becoming an exceptional person requires a long obedience in the same direction. When you hear, “overnight success”, just know it was a loooong night!

bishop-t-d-jakesHere are seven things you can do over time to become exceptional:

  • Excel at something – Practice, practice, practice and practice, until you become a maestro at something; anything good. one of the challenges of our generation is that we want instant stuff, and do not invest the time it takes to become great. Become one of the greats; whether that’s music, accounting, communication, cooking, whatever – just pick a passion and excel at it. Doors will open for you!
  • Become a lifelong learner – Study, study, study. Most people stop learning when they graduate! Unfortunately, that’s when most of the learning must actually begin! Learn from books, courses, people, experiences. I read about 25 books last year (including some audio books). Leaders are learners. You stop growing when you stop learning.
  • Get into a growth environment – In the Law of Environment, John Maxwell states that growth thrives in conducive environments. Very good seed won’t bear fruit in harsh environments. Average players excel in great environments, while great players struggle in non conducive environments. Have you heard of Harvest Institute?
  • Travel and seek exposure – Get that passport and get on the move. Any direction you take away from home is going to result into growth. There’s a Luganda saying that those who’ve never traveled/visited think their mum is the best cook! It’s a small world now. Go conquer it. The description of an experience will never be as good as the experience!
  • Take up the toughest tasks – The road to greatness is full of roadblocks manned by opposing giants. It’s those fearless fellows who are willing to take up the tough tasks that get promoted. Everyone will usually be looking for the easy task. Be exceptional. When David showed up on the battlefield, there were commanders there who had served in Saul’s army for years, but they all feared Goliath. He took him on and in 24 hours, he went from taking care of his father’s sheep to being the commander of Israel! That’s called rapid promotion! Don’t just pray for promotion, earn it.
  • Invest yourself in others – “One is too small a number to achieve greatness”- John Maxwell. What distinguished David later on is that he took all the losers in life – those who were discontented, distressed and in debt and turned them into Giant Killers. He invested himself in them. The most important thing a leader will ever do is invest himself or herself in others.
  • Spend time with God – “Without me you can do nothing”, said JESUS! Need I say more?

Peter Kasirivu

Go and be exceptional, for average won’t change your world!

The Value of Learning

Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. NKJV 2 Timothy 4:13 (Emphasis mine)

Dr MutagubyaRecently, a friend of mine, Dr Alex Mutagubya graduated with a doctorate from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon USA. Because of our friendship, I get to receive free theological and doctrinal consultation from Alex, and so I was the more excited about his achievements. I was now being advised and taught by a Doctor! But that’s besides the point.

At the party, many speeches were made, but during the commissioning, Apostle John Bunjo spoke from the verse above, and so what I’m sharing is a revelation I received from him. He stressed the value of education and learning in his address.

Now, realize that Paul was a most eminent apostle.  He was not behind the others in revelation, power or influence. Paul had seen Christ on the road to Damascus and was sure of His power. He experienced Christ in ways not many people ever will. He said that his Gospel was not in word, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He healed the sick, cast out demons and even raised the dead! Paul spent fourteen years being prepared for the ministry, in which he communed with and experienced God in amazing ways. Paul went to the third heaven; to paradise itself and says that he saw things that a man is not allowed to utter! Paul saw God!

But look, a man with that degree of spirituality and experiences of the Spirit is still studying. He is asking for his books and parchments; presumably parchments or scrolls of scripture. At that time, the printing press had not been invented, and so every written thing was hand written, including the scriptures. That made those scrolls and books very expensive. One had to be a devoted learner to spend lots of money to have their own handwritten copies of scripture or other books.

Remember Paul had studied at the feet of Gamaliel before he became a believer. He was a theologian and philosopher. When he encountered Christ, he didn’t do what many of us do; throw away the books. He held both the experience and the head knowledge together to lead the most powerful ministry on earth on record apart from that of Christ. The other apostles also had experiences with Christ, both in the natural before he was crucified and raised and after His resurrection. Why did Paul’s influence surpass them all? Well, he says it was the grace of God working through him. But could it also be because he was well studied and well learned? Because of his education, Paul was able to articulate the Gospel for the culture in ways that Peter and others couldn’t.

In the church today, there seems to be two schools of thought, with a chasm between them. There are those who believe in studying and learning. Going back to seminary and getting an education is what qualifies you to minister – according to them. But often, these studied leaders undermine the power of the Holy Spirit. Then there are those who on being called by God gave up, or give up everything and jump into the work. They insist on only being led by the Spirit and look with suspicion on those who want to go back to school to study.

But in Paul, we have an example of a leader who is both led by the Spirit and at the same time values continuous learning and study. Remember, by this time Paul is an old man. He has been around the block a few times. He could say, “I already know that” – the most dangerous phrase for a learner or leader. But he is still learning and studying even in his old age. He writes to Timothy his protege and instructs him the same way:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV 2 Timothy 2:15

booksI thank God that my friend Alex is this kind of man. Even with his doctorate, he is still on fire for God. In fact the first thing he did once he had settled down after his return from the graduation was go for a prayer retreat! CONGRATULATIONS DR ALEX MUTAGUBYA!

Now, where is my transcript!?