Secrets To A Happy Marriage

IMG_0384Today (May 10th) we celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary. God has been good to us and my wife is an angel. But it hasn’t always felt this way.

Eleven years ago about this time, our marriage was in serious trouble, and I never thought we were going to make it. I never thought I’d look across the room and truthfully feel that I loved my wife deeply. But here we are now, walking in victory. It’s not that there are no challenges anymore. It’s just a sense of being on much firmer ground and much much happier where we are than way back then.

In a sense, I feel like I’ve found the secrets to a happy marriage. They all are rooted in one, but let me not bore you, so here goes:

1. The Gospel (Grace).

So, you’re wondering, how did we make it out of the woods? Well, a one John Katto joined and took us through Andrew Wommack’s Discipleship Evangelism Course at our then young church, helping us discover how deeply God loved each one of us, even when we were jerks. Without even knowing it, we started being gracious to one another and our marriage got healed. This was and remains the foundation. Grace.

Tim Keller defines the Gospel thus; “you are more sinful than you’ll ever admit and yet you are more loved than you’ll ever fathom!” Paul teaches that husbands should love their wives the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). But how on earth is that supposed to work for people who have never experienced the love and grace of God, or those who even oppose this perspective? How does this work for someone who has an angry and vengeful perspective of God? If you think Christ punishes the Church (His Bride) to teach her a lesson, what do you think you’re going to do to your bride? I’ve learnt that you can’t give what you don’t have.

We love better, out of the overflow of God’s love for us, that we allow to receive.

2. Fellowship

Around the time of our troubles, we made things much worse by starting a church! Never do that. However, it was within this same space that we found our healing. We did the Discipleship Evangelism course at church and I’m quite sure we’ll never have found it at our previous church. About a year later, friends of ours, the Nsubugas joined Worship Harvest and started Fireplace, the couples’ ministry. It was (and still is) so much fun. There wasn’t much of an agenda. We’d just gather, eat, share and laugh at our issues.

When you listen to people share their stuff and the great attitude they have towards each other and laughing at it all, you have no choice but to repent for making mountains out of the mole hills of your own marriage. I stress this to every young couple; marriage was not designed to work in isolation. Find other married people and just talk. Be vulnerable and laugh at each other. Don’t be too serious. You’re not as holy as you think! James teaches us to confess our faults one to another, pray for one another that we may be healed (James 5:16). It’s that simple!

We love better with the support and accountability of those God has placed in our lives.

3. Knowledge

The other day, some guy wrote a book titled; The Things Men Know About Women. All the pages are blank! We spend several years in school learning about subjects that we rarely apply in real life. West African History or Organic Chemistry may have felt like a nemesis in school and yet you stuck it out and got some respectable grades – hopefully. And what do we do when it comes to this important life aspect of marriage? We jump right in, with both feet and blissful ignorance. Both the bliss and the ignorance don’t last long. We soon realize with incredible clarity the mess we are in and its capacity to create displeasure!

I have learnt that the same way you can’t just jump into a plane and fly it is the same way we should never jump into a marriage without learning how stuff works. Trust me, there is nothing new under the sun. People have been marrying since time immemorial and the joy and stability of it has depended on knowledge and wise counsel. Peter urges the husbands to dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel (1Peter 3:7). Not weaker in strength but more precious. You can’t guess your way through this stuff. You must know your spouse’s needs and their love language. There is lots of resources out there to help.

We love better when we do exactly what makes our spouse feel loved, not what we think.

4. Habits

John Maxwell teaches that you don’t choose your success. Instead, you choose your habits and your habits choose your success. Why do we all (mostly) struggle with weight issues? Because we have made eating a habit. We eat in the morning, at noon time and in the evening. We don’t eat because we are hungry. We simply eat because it’s time to eat! Mike Murdock states that habit is stronger than desire. If we know that habit is that powerful, then we’d better plan some habits into our marriages.

The weekly date is one of the most underrated marriage savers. We need to set aside a time where we are not distracted by anything to talk to our spouses. Whatever aspect of your marriage is important, schedule it if it’s not happening naturally until it starts happening naturally (including… you know what). Whatever we do repeatedly, we become good at. We must guard the time when we can talk to each other and see into each other’s souls. There are things that can be done daily, like texting. Others are weekly, like dating. You could even plan some annual stuff away from the usual, to connect and be together.

We love better when we schedule the things that are important to us and guard our time together.

5. Mission

Every family needs to be on mission. Every family needs to be about something bigger than themselves. Adam and Eve were made for companionship, but beyond that they had a mission. The Bible declares that God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Just gazing at each other can’t be the overall mission of your lives. If you have nothing you are pursuing together, you’ll soon be bored and then think that the problem is the other person.

People who approach life this way know that their marriage is not about themselves. Your marriage is a stewardship. God has entrusted both of you with this relationship for a purpose that is bigger than that relationship. Until you find that purpose, you’ll fight about petty unimportant things. Spouses, stop for a moment, take a retreat and ask Him who created you and brought you together the big question; why!

We love better when we understand that it is not about us!

Remember, the default settings for marriage are wonderful. We wish you one full of wonders!

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I am Not Forgotten

And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” (1 Sam 16:11)

Imagine this: that on the most significant day in the history of your family, when the prophet has come all the way from Ramallah to anoint the next leader of your nation from your family, no one even cared to call you back from your fellowship with sheep in the wilderness!

Why do you think David’s father forgot to invite him? Ok, it’s common knowledge that fathers sometimes forget important things. How about the mother? We’ve seen mothers stand up for their disadvantaged sons throughout the Bible, but this time, not even David’s mother remembers!

Have you ever felt totally disadvantaged? Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever felt like something that could change the course of history in your family, business or organization was going on and you didn’t even get a text message? It’s even harder to take when it’s you that this event was all about, but those closest to you decide that in the larger scheme of things, you’re not that important and things should proceed without you. It’s like someone attempting to do your wedding without inviting you!

Being the last born child in my family, I can relate to some of this. I was the errand boy. Everyone that needed someone to send to do whatever needed to be done could rely on my obedience. Anyone else could discipline me as and when they felt it necessary. I was lucky enough to follow a girl, and that saved me from inheriting her clothes, but I know some of you weren’t. You hardly had anything new. Whatever stopped fitting those ahead of you became yours. Of course, it wasn’t because the parents were mean or anything. In fact they were exercising economic prudence.

But still, those things can over time have an effect on our thinking and our esteem. We start imagining that something can only be ours when it ceases to be useful to someone else. We embrace the idea that we can never be first choice. It’s when everyone else has shunned the job offer or the position that they finally say, “Alright, I guess we’ll have to let him do it”!

One of the clearer images of this is when you’d go to play football at school. The whole crew would gather at the center of the field, and then two of the more experienced players would assume the captaincy of the two teams. One team would retain their shirts; in their different hues of brown, while the other team would skin (remove shirts). Then the captains would select one person at a time until each had their team of eleven. Do you know the embarrassment of being left in the center after they’ve chosen the teams! You couldn’t make the twenty two! Of course there were promises of substitution at some point (they usually didn’t materialize), but remember you walked off not belonging to any of the teams. So, you were a substitute for any of the teams if they ever got to need you. That can create doubts in life, not just football.

But God plays by different rules and arrangements. He has prepared each one of us to play significant roles on different teams that are dealing with different aspects of life. He says that “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He ordained beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). He has already ordained us for greatness. He has significant things in mind for us to accomplish. He reminds us that we are not forgotten. We are not only good for filling in for those who consider the role beneath them. He says “We will not sit down till he comes here!” Can you imagine, when everyone has conveniently forgotten you, God decides to pause the party until you’re brought in to take center stage?

You may have been left out because of your background, your gender, your age, your skin color, your qualifications (or the lack thereof), your beliefs, your nationality or whatever it is. But God is about to pause that party till you take center stage. God is about to bring you from out in the shadows into the lime light. God is about to raise His game concerning you. God is in pursuit of His purpose in your life. Things are about to happen. Like TD Jakes says, “Get ready get ready get ready get ready get ready get get get ge ge…”

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(Excerpt from Called To Greatness by Moses Mukisa)

The Call in Every Crisis

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” (1 Sam 16:1)

It’s interesting how the call to greatness seems to always begin with a crisis. Behind every crisis is a call. Every crisis presents an opportunity for us to step out from the mundane and embrace our deeply seated, untapped, God-ordained greatness.

If Saul had walked in obedience to God, leading the nation the way he was instructed, perhaps we’d never have heard about David. But it was in the midst of the mess Saul had sank the kingdom into that God told the prophet to go and look for the next king. David was about to be catapulted from his boring life of fellowshipping with sheep to leading a nation.

We often lament about the way things are: spiritual emptiness, bad leadership, poverty, debilitating disease, illiteracy, violence and corruption. But we should also recognize that God is looking for men and women who are ready to look at these crises as opportunities for service, and therefore greatness. Jesus put it this way: if you want to be great, you’ve got to be a servant of all. Every crisis presents an opportunity to love and serve those affected, and those who dedicate their lives to serve others are walking the path of greatness.

Throughout history, crises have been the release mechanism for the greatness that lay quietly in many men and women. It was in the midst of a spiritual crisis in the Church that Martin Luther nailed those Ninety Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, unleashing the reformation and charting a new course for the church globally. His name is etched in history.

It was in the midst of the crisis of injustice and segregation that Martin Luther King Jr stepped up to lead the Civil Rights Movement. Though he never saw the fulfillment of his dream fully, he had beaten the path that would lead to the USA having the first black president only forty years later. His birthday is now a national holiday.

It was in the midst of a national leadership and political crisis in the seventies and early eighties that a young political activist called Yoweri Museveni started organizing and mobilizing people for change, leading a guerilla war that ousted the chaotic regimes of the time and ushering in a season of stability and development. Although things may have gradually changed over time, there is no denying that he and others changed the course of our nation. Uganda’s history will never be told without these people.

It was in the midst of incredible oppression by the British colonialists that a quiet man, Mahatma Gandhi, mobilized the masses for nonviolent resistance. India got its independence and he’s now venerated to almost god status.

Crises have always proved to be opportunities for some people. Technological challenges have spawned new inventions that have changed the way we live. The scarcity of certain goods and services in specific places or communities has been the catalyst for many businesses that have gone on to change their world, while making the owners very rich. After all, entrepreneurs are people who solve problems for a profit.

So, what crises or challenges exist in your family, workplace, community, city or nation? Could those be the green lights calling out to you to get moving into your destiny? Could it be that every single day you walk or drive past the very challenge that if responded to, is going to change many people’s lives, but especially yours? Could it be a long standing extended family feud that’s calling for you to be an agent of reconciliation? Could it be a person that was wrongly convicted and jailed that’s calling for you to seek justice? Could it be someone stranded because of tuition that’s calling for you to push them on in their studies? Is it a lousy education system that needs you to lead in setting up alternatives? Could it be the many unemployed young people that are pushing you to quit your job and set up businesses that create employment? Could it be the women who are delivering babies using torches and candles that’s calling for you to build proper, well-equipped health facilities? Could it be a financing gap in many businesses that needs provision of tailored credit for a specific clientele? We could go on and on, but I am sure you get the drift. Whatever it is, it’s your turn now.

Never let a crisis go to waste, for in it lies your call to greatness.

Excerpt from the book Called To Greatness by Moses Mukisa

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Essentials of a Missional Community

With Mike BreenThis morning, seven of us are driving from Charlotte NC down to Greenville SC to have lunch with one of the most influential leaders in the church today; Mike Breen. Mike Breen’s ministry has had a profound effect on our ministry and Worship Harvest, specifically in the area of building a discipling and missional culture through Huddles and Missional Communities.

With over seventy Missional Communities, which translates to over seventy spaces where pastoring and discipleship is happening, and seventy frontiers where Kingdom breakthrough is ongoing at different stages, I can say that we’ve had relatively good success with this model. In fact this is our church model at WH. The MC is the church. Our locations (campuses) are equipping and sending centers for MCs.

So, I have spent quite sometime thinking about the basics that would help a Missional Leader succeed in leading an MC and creating a culture of discipleship and mission.

1. START a Missional Community.

What is the common denominator between Microsoft, Facebook, Buganda, Watoto Church, IHK, Nakawa Market and YOLO MC? Someone started it! This sounds silly and obvious but you know what, there will be no Missional Communities if people don’t start them. Someday is not a good day on your calendar. The truth is, you’ll never get better at anything you’re not doing yet! John Maxwell talks about the law of diminishing intent. The longer you take to act on a decision, the higher the chances you won’t. Some of you reading this have been sitting in your MCs for a long time now. It’s time to test your own leadership mettle. Start a Missional Community!

2. SHEPHERD the People.

Yes you read that right! Once you start an MC, you have pastoral responsibilities. You’re building an army to take love to the community but some of them haven’t received that much love themselves. Since you can’t give what you don’t have, an MC should be a space where people are loved and counseled through the issues of life. Past and present brokenness issues that have been buried, that continue to undermine their progress should be dealt with through prayer and counseling. Dr Ramesh Richard taught us that a good shepherd; Leads the flock, Feeds the flock, Guards the flock and Heals the flock. So, go on and shepherd the people God is sending your way.

3. SERVE a Frontier.

Mike Breen defines a Missional Community is a midsize group of people seeking to bring Kingdom breakthrough to a specific neighborhood or network of relationships. So, a Missional Community is first of all Missional and then a Community. The Frontier is that space where the MC is bringing Kingdom Breakthrough – The Mission. It’s where the MC intersects with the world. Since the big idea is not simply to have an MC but to catalyze a movement of discipleship and mission, you as a leader must be very intentional about taking your people on mission. Many MCs have struggled in this area even though they desire to do well. I think part of the problem is wanting to start off where Mother Teresa left it! Whatever you do and however small and seemingly insignificant, launch and serve a frontier. In fact, the most successful MCs are those that have launched with a frontier already defined. Remember, the point is not the frontier or the activity, it’s the culture of mission being developed. The earlier the better.

4. SELECT and Huddle Leaders.

I have not come across a healthy successful MC where the leader is not intentional about Identifying, Equipping & Deploying (IED) other high-capacity leaders in the MC. The best way this works is by the leader(s) huddling their most influential leaders and letting them lead the MC in many aspects while simply providing guidance and vision. You have to create time outside of your regular MC meetings to connect with your leaders. If you don’t know how to choose them, consider Bill Hybels’ criterion of Character, Competence and Chemistry in that order. All three should be present. Don’t choose your leaders hastily. Appointing is easy, disappointing is hell. Pray and observe your leaders especially under pressure before choosing them. After all, the cream only rises to the top when heat is applied! Find, select and huddle your high-capacity leaders.

5. SEND Leaders to START Other MCs.

What would have happened if the disciples had refused to leave the sweet fellowship in Jerusalem (which they almost did until persecution changed the story)? We wouldn’t be here. The Church of Jesus Christ is a Movement that must be changing, adapting, growing and moving the whole time. Anytime settlement kicks in and prevents us from reproducing and multiplying, we are probably being disobedient! The only reason you came to faith is because someone reached out. MCs are much more organic and can reproduce at a much higher rate than traditional church plants. I think that every MC should reproduce at least once a year. This can happen three ways. The first is the MC splits into two and the leaders send off another capable leader with half of the MC as was the case of YOLO and Dunamis. The other is where the leaders disciple a number of leaders and multiply at once where the different huddles led by the different leaders evolve into MCs. This is what we did with the elders and their G12s becoming MCs. The last one is where the leaders raise another leader and leave the MC under their leadership and go on to start another MC as was the case with BLA and Eagles. So don’t settle or stagnate, send out leaders to multiply your reach.

So here’s a summary of what we’ve said:

  1. Start a Missional Community
  2. Shepherd the People God sends you
  3. Serve a Missional Frontier
  4. Select and Huddle Leaders
  5. Send out Leaders to Start other MCs

For more information on all this, please read Building a Discipling Culture and Leading Missional Communities, both by Mike Breen. You can get a copy from any of the eight Worship Harvest locations.

Question: On a scale of 1-10 where would you place yourself on each of those five parameters? You could actually share in the comments if you don’t mind. Otherwise just let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Value of Continuous Learning

In mid March of this year, I travelled to Orlando to attend the John Maxwell Team’s International Maxwell Certification event. This means that I’m now a certified JMT Speaker, Trainer and Coach. While there, I had to present a five minute speech on a topic of my choice. I chose to address the value of continuous learning, which catalyzes growth and multiplies opportunities. I thought I’d share that here for all our encouragement.

Here goes…

Good morning friends

My name is Moses Mukisa from Uganda, and I’m the last of six children.

On the morning of December 12th 1984, my dad was shot dead. That event changed everything about our family and could potentially have destroyed us. Mum was a primary school teacher in a rural government school. In our country, that is one of the lowest rungs of government employment. This meant that she was not going to be able to take care of us. We were going to need miracles to succeed in life.

Both my parents had a teaching background, meaning that education was very highly rated in our family. I can say that apart from the gift of faith, education was the greatest gift they gave us. Even with the setback of losing our father, our mother did everything within her power, including soliciting a lot of help from our relatives and friends to take all of us to school.

When I was ten, I was sent to boarding school in grade four. I had to give up the comforts and familiarity of my village home to go to learn. I went on to high school and through a series of miracles, became the 4th best student in our country in the national university entry exams.

I went on to university and studied architecture for five years. Not only did I graduate as an architect, which ensured that I started work immediately after leaving university, I also got a vision for serving others in ministry while there. We came together with friends from the university and started a worship group which evolved into a church plant eleven years ago.

To date, Worship Harvest is a multisite church of more than 2500 people who gather for worship in eight locations.

Where would I be if my mother had not made a concerted effort to take me to school? Probably still in that village living a purposeless life, or possibly dead.

Studying and learning has made ALL the difference in my life.

It was learning that took me out of my little village to go study in the different boarding schools I went to.

It was learning that took me to the university in the big city and opened up working opportunities there.

It was while I was there learning, that I met the incredible people who believed in the vision of transforming our communities and we together started Worship Harvest.

Having started off as an architect, I had to learn how to lead a ministry team and eventually a church and now many churches.

It was my desire to excel at what I’m doing that I started learning about leadership. Through this pursuit of knowledge, I was introduced to the John Maxwell Team by my good friend Julius Lukwago, himself a JMT member, and that journey has led me to this table of learning.

Tragically though, most people stop learning when they get some sort of qualification; a degree, a diploma, a certificate name it. Some even stop learning when they get a position. I call it arrivism! This happened to me as well. I was an architect who knew very little about the rest of life; finances, marriage, leadership, name it.

The breakthrough that led to this awareness came though finances. I realized how little I knew about finances when I listened to a billionaire speaking at our church camp on the subject.

This unpleasant discovery got me on the quest for learning and growing. I learnt so much about finances, I even wrote my own book; The Wealth Files. I started learning and growing in other areas as well. Mike Breen has written a great book; The Five Capitals. He explains that there is spiritual, relational, physical, intellectual and financial capitals, and that we should be growing in all of them.

I travelled 9000 miles through three airports, with a goal to share with you a simple truth…

I am learning that growth stops when I stop learning, and that continuous learning will always lead to greater opportunities and a bigger and better life.

Thank you very much.

All rights reserved 2017
www.ChristianDelRosario.com

THE BEAUTY OF SALVATION

“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭149:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

1. We are PLEASURABLE to God. As in, tumunyumira! He enjoys us. You probably may have bought into the lie that God is angry at you and just endures you. He’d rather not be talking to you! This badly affects your relationship with Him and your ability to walk in your identity as a daughter or son of God. I’m sorry that you have been fed that stuff. Daddy loves you unconditionally! Please understand that whenever you connect with Him, it brings Him much pleasure. So go ahead and praise Him, worship Him, pray to Him; be with Him. He loves it.
2. Salvation, when received with humility (not our own works) is BEAUTIFUL! I remember the days when being saved was a dour affair! In fact, it somewhat looked as though the non saved guys  were enjoying life. What was the problem? Wrong belief systems. When you’ve been told that God is angry, wielding a baseball bat and ready to knock you off for your indiscretions; plus He will send you to hell if you chuck Him, then that relationship becomes one of enduring. Since the day I understood that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works, I have enjoyed this relationship. Salvation is indeed beautiful.
3. As for us singing aloud on our beds, that’s quite uncontainable JOY! Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice”. All believers have bottomless wells of joy. Rejoicing is the action of drawing on that joy for consumption! He says we can do this always… all the time. This is only possible “in the Lord”. This is a joy that’s independent of happenings and can be used anytime, anywhere regardless. Rejoicing is an action that comes from the realization of how good God has been to us. It can take on the form of singing aloud on our beds… ke ke ke!!!Beyonce singing in bed

Blood In Your Tea

On Tuesday 7th March a couple of friends and I drove to Soroti for the funerals of the father and brother of our dear friend Rosemary Mutyabule. It all went well and we embarked on our return journey. In fact, we left a bit early to avoid too much night time driving.

Our last leg was Jinja-Kampala, a road I’m so familiar with because, not only do I hail from Jinja, there is also a Worship Harvest there. So, I kind of know every curve, climbing lane, where to overtake and where not to because I drive on that road frequently. So, for me this was going to be the most comfortable section to drive even though we left Jinja about 7:30pm, which was after nightfall.

We were doing fair speeds and going well until we encountered what could have been a life altering incident in the tea/sugarcane section after Kitigoma and just before Mabira forest. Now, I’m a fairly considerate driver on the road and always keep my lights dimmed when there is oncoming traffic. In fact, I believe there should be a special place in ___ for people who drive with full lights the whole time – including in their compound! That just puts everyone on the road in danger.

I had just come through the climbing lane in that section with my lights dimmed due to oncoming traffic and suddenly a thought hit me; put on full lights now!

Behold… there it was just meters ahead of us; an extremely slow, almost stationary, fully loaded, sugarcane carrying tractor with no rear lights or even reflectors that belongs to Sugar Corporation Of Uganda Limited (SCOUL)! Remember the guys who wanted a part of the forest to plant sugarcanes, that led to riots led by Betty Anywar – aka Maama Mabira? Yes, those ones.

I had to suddenly break (screeching) and take evasive action simultaneously to avoid ramming into it. It all lasted about a second or so, and we were gone. There was one heavy collective PHEWX in that car.  God was in that moment with us. I can’t really explain how I avoided hitting that tractor.

But here is the issue: why does SCOUL continue to claim lives with impunity on the Kampala Jinja highway by refusing to do the simplest thing: keep the tractors off the road at night and fix reflectors on them if they must be out after nightfall? I’m sure that for many of you reading this, you know a family that lost a loved one or someone with lifelong injuries because of those tractors. This isn’t new. People have written, appealed, complained etc, and it seems to me that all SCOUL cares about is profits. Because, to a multi-billion corporation like that one, what is the cost of reflectors?

lugazi sugar

What must Ugandans do to have a sense of dignity and respect for human life? Why does SCOUL continue producing sugar that is tainted with the blood of all those whose cars have rammed into their tractors? Why should you and I continue purchasing this bloody sugar?

As for me and mine, we have stopped buying Lugazi Sugar from SCOUL. It’s covered with the blood of all those whose bodies have been mutilated, mangled and broken in the wreckage of cars that crash into those tractors.  It is bloody sugar. 

I’ll not decide for you what you must do. But if you continue to buy that sugar, just remember, there is blood in your tea; and if God hadn’t protected us, that would now include Jeremy’s, Chris’, Olga’s and mine.

Drink on?