WHAT DO YOU SEE: The Power of a Name

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“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:1, 19

When my husband and I were preparing for the birth of our children, we went through great lengths to find names for both these precious people. We went on the internet to find names that described what we were feeling in our hearts about them. For the firstborn, we were based our decision on the fact that firstborns in the old testament bible times were dedicated to God. Hence, Lemuel– Hebrew name meaning ‘Dedicated to God’. Then came the second child. As we pondered on what she would be called, friends of ours visited us and jokingly mentioned that since both parents are worship leaders, this child should be named Worship. And boom!!! The idea settled in our hearts and she got to be named Sinza – Luganda word meaning ‘Worship’. In the years that have followed, I see a continuous fulfillment of their names daily. At the age of 11, Lemuel is serving as an instrumentalist on the church worship team, he is mindful of people, justice is important, volunteers once in a while with children’s church, is innovative, has never broken a bone (even when they say boys will be boys, they will break bones)and many other things.  At 8, Sinza is singing soprano on the music team, writing songs, does vocal and lyrical practice independently, and is leading people older than herself.

God invites us to co-create with Him. He did not need Adam to do the naming because after all, the work of creation had been completed. But then, He goes ahead and brings each living creature to Adam ‘to see what he would call them’! It almost feels like a test of sorts to me. It seems as if God is checking what Adam’s perspective and thinking is concerning the creature. The last part of verse 19, confirms that He (God) is posing a question to Adam, ‘What do you see?’;

‘And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.’

A name is a powerful thing; a declaration of what someone, something or situation will be. When we receive children at birth, adoption or otherwise, God gives us a clean slate. Everything is else is set for the child – limbs, eyes, ears, nose, internal organs, etc. Only the name is missing! He is waiting to see what we shall name them; what we shall choose to declare over this child for the rest of their lives. Whatever we choose to name them is what they will be!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

God has given us the privilege of co-creating with Him in naming. Whether it is a child, an event, a health condition, or a situation; whatever you call it, it shall be.

 

A Call to Die

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“Right at the center of the word obedience is the word die: OBE-DIE-NCE.
Doris Mayoli
#FearlessSummit2017

God is calling us to radical obedience. This is a call to die. Dead people have no will, no thoughts, no preferences, no rights, no opinions to offer in an argument, no nothing! To say yes to this Call to die is To give up my own life that He will live His through me.

What does this look like in real life? This looks like giving up my own preconceived ideas of what my life ought to look like and embracing His plan for my life. After all, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The beauty with saying yes to this call to die is a simple yet rather powerful factor called multiplication. Every seed knows that left alone in a beautiful center piece basket is not to maximize it’s already inherent potential. A farmer knows it is insanity to celebrate the kilograms or tonnes of seed he owns years in, years out! He must plant to get double, triple, times 30, 60 and sometimes 100 fold!!!

Is the call to die a risk? Oh yes it is!!! What if the rains do not come? What if the sun shines too hard? What if the pests come and wipe out my garden? What if the thieves come and harvest my yield in the middle of the night? What if the markets are not giving me the appropriate price for my harvest? What if? What if? What if?

But what if it the opposite? What if you succeed? What if the rains are just enough? What if the sun shines only when it should? What if you have the best season ever? What if He rebukes the devourer from your gardens? What if you get a bumper harvest? What if your seed yields 100 fold? What if the market gives you a ridiculous price for your yield? What if? What if? What if? You see, you will never know until your plant that seed!

This is a call to radical obedience, a call to die! To say yes to this call is to yield to the possibility of Multiplying yourself 10 fold, 20 fold, 30, 60 or even 100 fold. What would it look like to have a million people just like you? On this discipleship journey, we are called first to Come and see, then we graduate to Come and follow. Friends, we are no longer babes. The time has come. It is now time to COME AND DIE.

Let Go and Let God! Take a risk. Take a step of faith. Take that leap. Take that jump. It will be worth it. Yours will be one of those referred to as A life well lived.

Birthing the Dream

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I had been told that when the time came, I needed to be walking to and fro as much as possible. Being quite literal, that’s exactly what I did. On that morning, my husband Chris and I went for the routine morning walk in preparation for delivery. A pain kept presenting after every ten minutes but I ignored it. After all, it felt like the usual crumps accompanying the monthly cycle every woman goes through. This was not new at all! Of course Chris wanted us to go to the hospital immediately but I reminded him rather firmly that the experts said first pregnancy labor took hours, sometimes up to 48 hours. I was not willing to go spend my precious time in a hospital for all that time.

I paced the whole day up until about 5pm when I thought it a good idea to go to our good friends’ house and play piano as a way of distracting myself from the discomfort. (Laughable in retrospect!) Just before we left the house, my waters broke! Just like that. No words can appropriately describe the 4 hours that followed.  The baby was coming out, hook or crook. My husband drove like a madman through the traffic and I still wanted him to speed up. On arrival at the hospital, the nurse announced that I was going through what is called precipitated labor, the kind that progresses real fast from 0 to 10 cm dilation. With every birth pang, the strength that was going through my body is the kind Chris says could move a stuck truck! I remember during the delivery of our second child, I carried Chris and the doctor with both my hands off the floor!

On both occasions, after much sweat, screams, broken toilet seats, no more covering for privacy, midwife pressing my upper tummy to aid the child’s delivery, doctor’s orders, lots of blood, stitches, name it, the ordeal ended. Thankfully, it ended with a child in arms, joy indescribable from relief that it was finally over and looking forward to the fact that now I could sleep comfortably through the night. Well, details of what happens after in the next episode.

Every one of us has a dream, never mind that our gestation periods are quite varied. Irrespective of how long you have nursed this idea, when it is time for the dream to be delivered, that’s it. A couple of things in my experience giving birth to children seem to be a direct parallel to the process of birthing dreams. Let’s draw some comparisons.

  1. A sense of agitation. When it is time to deliver, a woman will pace, sit, stand, bend, lie down, wash dishes, scrub the floor; name it. Some even rearrange the house, cook, pack and repack the hospital bag that had already been packed for weeks! There is just a sense of agitation. Nothing seems to settle or satisfy.

Do you feel agitated? Do you feel dissatisfied? Do you feel like it is time to jump? Maybe it is time to birth that dream. You have brooded over the matter, prayed, perhaps even fasted and now, it is time to push it out!

  1. Accelerated progress: With some exceptions, usually when it is time for a child to be born, the body system is designed to go through the delivery in a certain time period. In fact, beyond a couple of hours, the doctors will recommend a caesarean. The waters break, contractions kick into play and the usually composed woman suddenly becomes something else! She is bold, courageous and ready for the event. She is ready to push!

Your system is ready. You can feel a surge of energy flowing through you. It feels like there is no mountain insurmountable. All the blocks in the path appear conquerable! Suddenly, there is an inner courage that you have not experienced before. Everything around you fades. Both eyes are on the prize: The birth of the dream!

  1. Ready helping hands: The waters have broken and the contractions have kicked into play. Everyone around is suddenly in emergency mode. The baby is coming. Even the most unfriendly neighbor will get up from their closed curtains and get the woman to hospital. A taxi man will re-route and the passengers will be okay with it if a woman gets into sudden labor.

When it is time for your dream to be birthed, there are people who suddenly come to your service. They will stop their own programs, short and long term, to attend to you personally in whichever way they are able to at the moment. Some of them will do things they have never done before but they will do it anyway. Some people you will know personally and others not! Whichever way, the helping hands will be available.

  1. Professional helping hands: She arrives at the hospital. The receptionist quickly queues her in, the midwife and doctor on duty are informed. She is wheeled to the labor room which was ready for an incoming mother. When it came to the delivery moment, both my doctors said to me, “Lynnet, now the midwife is going to do her job!”. When it was all done, the doctors returned to do the stitching.

God has put in place professional people in to assist the delivery process of your dream. These are the people who know the ins and outs of what it is you have been dreaming of. They know what you are about to go through and they walk you through the process. On both occasions, I had a midwife literally push over my upper tummy as I gave my final push to have the baby out! They are there to push that dream out with you and clean up whichever messes may come along with it!

  1. Happily Thereafter: The baby is out. Everyone is celebrating. Messages are going around announcing the arrival of the bouncing baby. Flowers pour in. Guests are coming in and out. However, the mother now needs to learn how to feed (first time mothers) and a sense of being overwhelmed sometimes sets in. Yes, there is the relief of carrying this huge bump around but again, it is not as rosy as she had imagined. Colic effects, immunization appointments to keep up with, waking up in the night to feed, and sore breast tips are just a sneak peek into what the mother is experiencing! And this is just the beginning!

The dream has been born. You are excited! What you visualized has finally become reality. You have registered the company. The office is open. Word is out there. You wrote the music, went to studio, and now the album is out. You started that business, church, school, farming project, etc. You posted on face book and friends congratulated you. You are confident this is going to work out! Then suddenly, you are faced with the reality of nurturing this baby crying for everything ranging from hunger, heat, cold, and soiled diapers. It cries for everything! And you are thinking, how did I get myself here? You have mixed feelings because on one hand you are happy and on the other, you are so overwhelmed with the responsibility!

Can you imagine this is just the beginning? We are only at the point of birthing the dream and yet there are still years ahead of us to nurture the dream to maturity!

One Life. One Shot. Part 4/4

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# Embrace your WHO

To live a life that counts is to live a life of significance. A significant life is one that focuses on investing in others rather than in oneself. Houses, financial wealth, degrees, PHDs, accolades, awards, investments, and all sorts of achievements are for us all to attain. That said, it is important to note that we carry none of the above to our graves. What remains after we are long after we are gone are the lives we touch while we live.

I believe that we have all been given the grace to reach a specific group of people. Who are you assigned to?

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Ephesians 3:8

“(For He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles.) Galatians 2:8

Paul was over qualified for the Gentiles. He was circumcised on the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, concerning the law a Pharisee and blameless concerning the law. Yet all these things did not carry weight to the Gentiles to whom he was sent. On the other hand, Peter was under qualified for the Jews. He was an uneducated, unschooled, uncouth former fisherman whose mouth went off way before his mind processed his words and God sent him to people who highly valued being learned. Inspite of Paul’s over qualification and Peter’s under qualification, God worked EFFECTIVELY in both of them to reach the people they were assigned to. They each received grace for the assignment.

Do you know your WHO? WHO have you been given grace for? Not so long ago I realized that I have been given extra ordinary grace for children. Interestingly, many adults found me unapproachable (I have have come a long way in changing this story) yet children literally flock to me and it doesn’t matter the age. I know that I can reach all people- men and women in all sorts of fora but I know that in this period of my life, I am most effective as far as children are concerned. It is no wonder Harvest Academy is growing at breakneck speed from 22 students in our first year to 110 students in our third year! I carry a special grace for the assignment. Embrace your WHO. Whether you are under qualified or over qualified, God will work effectively in you for your assignment among your WHO.

The 4-process path to embracing your WHO: Know your WHO.  Love your WHO. Invest in your WHO. Celebrate your WHO.

Know your WHO. WHO have you been assigned to? Check the trends of your life. There are some cues.

Love your WHO. Paul would have preferred to be sent to the Jews because he was qualified for them bulungi but he was sent elsewhere. And he had to make that adjustment by coming down to their intellectual level, which was way lower than his in order to effectively reach them. Love your WHO.

Invest in your WHO. Invest time, money and resources in your WHO. It is the most rewarding feeling ever. It will take you miles.

Celebrate your WHO. What you celebrate grows. They will flock to you in droves if you celebrate them.

Remember: # You have one life to live. Make it count!

One Life. One Shot. Part 3/4

# Embrace your WHY

Whether by God or by man, every created thing has a purpose. If trees, birds, flowers, fish, herbs, land animals, beasts, cars,  houses, chairs, basins, cups, plates, forks, and saucepans have a purpose for which they were made, how much more YOU? The second step in making our lives count is embracing your WHY. Every inventor or creator goes about his job with a purpose of the creation and therefore begins with the end in mind.

Psalm 139:16

“My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth”

Isaiah 43:7, 21

“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory;

I have formed him, yes, I have made him.

 This people I have formed for myself; They shall declare My praise.”

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

We have each been custom designed and equipped for a specific achievement and purpose. There are good works that were prepared beforehand for us to walk in. He knows and calls you by name, He formed you for His own glory. Now we need to understand that the praise we bring to His name manifests differently in all of us because we have been created for varied purposes. I have three very good friends who come to mind as examples of purpose. When Angela Okullo begins to sing, all the listeners will agree there is a God in heaven. When Bee3 opens her mouth to teach, we all go, Oh mmmaaaeeennn!!! How can such a small woman be such a power house? She is designed for the job. If you don’t want to spill the beans of your life I advise that you never sit down to speak with Sarah Mukisa one-on-one. She has this uncanny way of listening with her whole being and all she is saying is “Mmmmhhh! Mmmmhhh!Mmmmhhhh!” and before you know it, you are healed of all emotional pain and you will definitely walk away praising the LORD!

Embrace your WHY. What is your purpose? Why do you exist? Why were you made? What is that one, two or three things you live for?

The 4-process path to embracing your WHY:

Know your WHY.  Love your WHY. Invest in your WHY. Celebrate your WHY.

Know your WHY: John C. Maxwell suggests that a good place to start in discovering your WHY is asking the following questions. What do you cry about? What do you sing about? What do you dream about? Rick Warren proposes that in finding your purpose, exploring one’s SHAPE would be helpful. SHAPE is an acrinySpiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences. It will not necessarily be a one off exercise but as you dig deeper you will eventually get to the bottom of it.

 

When you have found your WHY, love it. There is no point in competing with the rest of the world while you have your own race to run, your own lane to mind! Imagine the drama if you tried to sing like Angela, or speak like Bee3 or worse still, listen like Ary!!! It would be so sad.  Fall in love with your own WHY.

 

Then Invest in WHY you exist. Grow in your WHY every day. Invest in your purpose. Intentionally live out your days growing in and fulfilling your WHY and finally,

 

Celebrate your WHY. The fulfillment of your purpose not only brings glory to God but also puts a smile on His face. Have fun while at it.

 

Remember: # You have one life to live. Choose to make it count!

 

One Life. One Shot. Part 2/4

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Each one of us has been assigned a set number of days by God which days were already written in His book. I would like to propose that because of this you and I cannot afford to live fwaa! That just really means living aimlessly, without purpose, without goals, just eat, sleep, use the toilet, and then repeat the above type of life! Your life and mine must count! On March 5, 2017 I turned 38 and as expected, I had moments of reflection about my life particularly about the fact that if I am to live up to age 70, then I only have 32 years to go! Can you imagine? And by the way anything beyond that will be a bonus. Extra time, for the football lovers. A whole 38 years have expired. There is no turning back. There are no U-turns in life. That’s it. Done. 38 years stamped and sealed. File closed. The challenge to me now is how am I going to live for the rest of my life? The clock is ticking. I have only one life to live and I had better make it count.

So, how do we make this one life count? Yes, the numbers of days are set. Yes, the clock is ticking. Yes, there’s no turning back. Now what?

# Embrace your YOU

The journey of making our lives count begins with you intentionally embracing you. This applies to your whole self – your physical make up, your background, where you were born, the schools you went to, your parents, siblings, extended family, your history, your story, your tendencies whether as a result of circumstances you went through or otherwise. It all begins with you embracing you!

Psalm 139:13-14

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”

God formed our inward parts. Every detail about you was deliberately designed by the creator Himself. Then the scripture goes on to say He covered us in our mothers’ wombs. The picture in my mind is a mother hen sitting over the eggs she has laid. She literally covers them for 21 days, hardly moving for anything until she brings them to the point of hatching. Likewise, God covers us in our mothers’ wombs, hovering over us that we will be brought of the point of birth. The guy watches over His investments! He has had His eye on you for a long long time!

God was intentional about you. Everything about you is for a specific reason and the sooner you embrace YOU the better. For a while I desired to be two things I was not; one, I desired to have a lot more flesh on me. I wanted to be fat! That was because I grew up being scolded for being too small, my collar bones protruded painfully and it was said they would pass for a soap dish. In other words, you could place soap there and it wouldn’t fall. Therefore I really wanted to be fat so I stop going through all that shame from cutting comments. The second thing I wanted to be was talkative. Again, I was scolded for being too quiet, never speaking up, being fearful, and branded anti-social. I wished I could be like one of those bubbly chatty personalities who arrive in style into a room full of people and cause them to burst out into laughter with just one comment. No wonder I got married to Chris who on any gien day is not short of words! I probably was looking to compensate for what I did not have yet desired to have! But then, God made me fearfully and wonderfully! And His works, including you and I are MARVELOUS! There is no mistake about you.

The 4-process path in Embracing You:

Know YOU. Love YOU. Invest in YOU. Celebrate YOU.

Know YOU. I like to refer to myself as Kyomu, which is my maiden name because something about that name gets me directly in touch with deepest parts of me. So I would tell myself, “Know Kyomu!” What do you love? What is your story? What are your roots? How uniquely has God designed you?

Love YOU. When you have discovered YOU, go ahead and love YOU. Yekunde! Weyagale! Love YOU! Walk with your head high because you are special, uniquely designed, and there is only one YOU in the whole wide world. YOU are custom made!

Invest in YOU. Spend on YOU. Take time to enhance YOU spiritually, relationally, physically, intellectually, and intellectually. You need to view yourself as worth it.

Celebrate YOU. Take time to celebrate YOU. This looks differently for all if us but whatever you do, celebrate YOU.

Remember: # You have one life to live. Make it count!

Quit trying or wanting to be like someone else. You are unique, carefully designed, fearfully and wonderfully made. Embrace your YOU!

One Life. One Shot. Part 1/4

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Just before my 16th birthday, I had what has been the most profound spiritual experience so far. It was during the Senior Four vacation when my parents sent me to join my cousins in taking care of a paternal aunt who was bedridden. At the time, my family had been living in Mbarara town for seven years and I had been studying at a boarding school in Bushenyi district for the same number of years. So you can imagine what kind of excitement filled my heart when I learnt that I would be spending part of my vacation in KAMPALA!!! I guess those who were raised in a city are thinking, “What is the big deal?” My friend! Every time we took a trip to Kampala for anything we hardly slept the night before. We would pack our clothes, bathe thoroughly and generally be at the best of our behavior lest the trip was cancelled. Those who never liked vaseline would definitely use it on those epic occasions!

Anyway, the home I was sent to was in Mbuya Barracks, a housing estate with lots of little houses back to back. Because our host was a little high in the army ranks, we were lucky to be staying in the more “up class” residences in comparison to the surrounding uni-ports that housed even bigger families. We were a full family of at least four adults and seven children living in there. With a bedridden patient fully occupying the little second bedroom and the heads of the home in the other, the rest of us spent the nights in the already packed sitting room. That was life but I was happy to be in Kampala! Even with the accelerated practicals in nursing and adjusting to the new environment, it was still an exciting adventure.

It probably was a combination of fatigue, mosquitoes and I do not know what else but at some point, the person who had been sent to be a nurse fell sick too! I remember lying down on a mat at the back of the house next to a sigiri (charcoal stove) in the hot sun having bled so much through the nose into a basin of water. I was aware of the activity around me but it all felt so far away!

Then; something began to happen. The world around me began to spin – at first slowly, then faster and faster and faster! And as it did my head grew lighter and lighter and lighter. I imagined this is what fainting felt like. If I had been standing, I probably would have fallen down like a sack of potatoes! Before I knew it, I felt myself begin to lift off the ground at first slowly then real quick into a space far above the earth, which became smaller and smaller and smaller in my eyes. What is happening to me? I wondered.  I absolutely had no control of what was going on. I was aware that my body was lying on the back verandah floor but then a part of me had left to go somewhere I was yet to find out. Is this what it feels like when people are dying?

Then from far above the earth I saw what the spinning was doing. With tornado-like power, the earth was being rolled like a mat! Wwhhhaa! Wwhhhaa! Wwhhaaa! Everything on the earth – trees, cars, and houses; everything was being rolled away with the “mat”. On the underside of the “mat” I could see humongous volumes of soil.

Okay!!! Is this the end of the world? I continued to wonder. I then found myself walking in a quite mature forest with many other people. There were two lines of people – one to my left and another to my right. It was intensely quiet. The only sound one could hear was the crackling of the dry leaves under the feet of the people as they marched on.”Kwaa, Kwaa, Kwaa!” Jesus! What is happening? I turned to the people to my right and to my left asking; “Where are we? What’s going on? Where are we going?” No one answered. All their eyes were fixed ahead of them marching to wherever it is we were going. As I turned my own eyes to look ahead like everyone else, I could see far ahead something that made very clear what was happening; We were going to stand before the throne of Christ, each to give an account for their own lives. And then just as suddenly as it had all began the out of body experience ended.

22 years have passed since that happened but it left a permanent mark on my life, an imprint that will stay with me as long as I shall live. I had only read about it in the bible and now I had just lived it out for a few seconds. Every one of us will stand before Christ to give an account for the life we have been given here on earth. What will it be like when that time comes? Now of course at the time I had not encountered the amazing grace of God so I spent the next 13 years striving to make sure that when that day comes I would be found worthy! That is another long story to be told on another day!!! Today, I know that God loves me with no strings attached and that my works do not validate me before Him. However, I still live with an intense awareness that at the end my life – whether it be 70 years, 80 or more, I will give an account for how I lived. It had better count!

Every one of us goes through a definitive moment in life that gets us to wonder what our lives are about. You survive a car accident, almost lose your life on an operation table, or go through burglaries. Some of us have had their bodies violated, lost one or both parents, or diagnosed with a serious medical condition. The moment when we inherit lots of wealth and the pursuit of money ceases to be the main point of life, or miraculously pass key exams. We experience unexplained rapid career growth, great success in business or recurring dreams and significant prophetic words. All these distinctive moments, also referred to as kairos moments bring us to a place of questioning and searching whether there is more to life as we know it and what we do with these moments greatly matters.

Psalm 90:12

“So teach us to number our days,  That we may gain a heart of wisdom”

Psalm 139:16

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”

# YOU HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE. MAKE IT COUNT!