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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

According to the full gospel

Using the case of the missionary founder of Full Gospel Church, Dennis D. Muhumuza illustrates how Christians can devote their lives to living by Christ’s example.

In 1960, Pr Hugh Layzell and his wife Audrey left the comfort of their home in Vancouver, Canada, to bring the gospel to Uganda. They held their first crusade under a mango tree in Nakawa, and the open-air meetings spread to other Kampala suburbs and many people got saved. One of those who got born-again was Princess Muggale, the sister to Kabaka Muteesa I. In 1962, she represented the Kabaka at the official opening of the first Pentecostal Church in Uganda—Makerere Full Gospel Church which the Layzell’s planted on Makerere Hill.
A moment of prayer at Makerere Full Gospel Chruch
Over 50 years later, not only has the church immensely grown, its founder is one of the Christians running their race to win. Pr Layzell, now in his 80s, is still strong and preaching the gospel fervently. Following Layzell’s example, Pr Fred Wantaate says believers must continuously examine their lives and be careful how they live because the times are evil, and the temptations to stray are many. Those who fall during the race should pick themselves up and resume the race instead of giving up.

“When things don’t go according to your expectation as they are bound to sometimes because of the different terrains we run over, stay in the race; run with the patience of a farmer who stays in the field working even when the rain is pouring down because he has work to finish. The rain should not stop you either. Know that you are in this for a long haul and determine to complete the race.”

Wantaate adds that some Christians miss the mark when they start comparing themselves to those who are seemingly doing well. “No need to get discouraged because someone is succeeding ahead of you. God has gifted us differently and the grace He has granted you to run your race is enough to bring you victory if you stay focused and don’t get disqualified for straying into another’s lane hoping it’s easier there.”

The overall secret to winning the Christian race is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Paul the apostle compares the Christian life to a race that we should run and never quit (Hebrews 12:1). Those who know the rigours of training for a race later alone running it understand that Paul is not talking about a walk in the park. Only those who finish the race will win what the Bible calls the “unfading crown”.

So what can I do to complete the race? Lay aside the barriers to progress. Remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall,” says Paul.

Most of these obstacles may seem harmless yet they choke the fire in our lives from blazing. It could be a job that keeps you too busy to pray or read the Bible, it could be the weekend movie that keeps replaying images of carnality in your mind, it could be a relationship that makes you compromise your standards of chastity or fidelity is a weight designed by the devil to slacken your progress on the race.

“The devil is very smart,” says Pr Wantaate. “He may not stop you from being a Christian but he may make you miss the best God has for you. If the devil weighs you down enough to finish last or second last instead of first, he has won at least a partial victory.”

When we turn to God repeatedly in prayer, and for wisdom, the tempting things of this world lose their appeal as he helps us to run and finish this race for God’s glory and honour.

--Sunday Monitor, December 7, 2014