Written Sunday, 9/29/13 – So this morning I was speaking in a familiar church from my last visit – Bugembe Christian Worship Centre of Peace (mentioned in last entry). I was talking about the potential present in each Christian through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Lord gave me a great illustration during the week as we were driving to and fro. When I got to that point in my message, I walked over to my day-pack, fished around inside and came out with two bottles of coke which I had planted earlier. I held the first one up in front of the congregation and then began to shake it violently, causing the first three rows to lean way back. The bottle was capped, of course, so it just fizzed inside the bottle and couldn’t get out into the air to do its thing.  I suggested that we are all full of potential just like that…but sometimes because of fear or unwillingness to follow our lives are capped off and the purpose of God in us can’t get out to affect the world around us.

I turned then to Isaiah 55:11 – “So is My word that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper the thing for which I sent it.” Then I uncapped the other coke, drank it slowly as if it were the best thing I had ever tasted. They loved it and fell out laughing (what will this crazy musungu do next?).  Then I explained that this coke lived up to its full fizzy potential and fulfilled the purpose its maker had given it – to accomplish the thing for which it was sent, i.e., to satisfy my taste buds.  Of course, then I suggested to them that they each lived like one or the other of these cokes and that their faith needed to uncap the bottle to allow God to bring them to their potential.  I closed by encouraging them to release their faith with full confidence in the indwelling Power of the Lord, that He has sent His Word forth in their lives to accomplish what pleases Him, and it will not return to Him empty or pointless. In the context of church planting, this is a very helpful concept, so that as they go the villages to plant churches, they can have confidence in His work in them.

It was a useful illustration, and one I might use again as the Lord leads. Unfortunately, I had not warned Samuel, my translator, about what I was going to do. I have trained him to try to mimic my expressions and gestures when he’s translating so that his interpretation comes across in the same way I am sending it out. And he’s getting very good at that; so much so, in fact, that in order to follow my illustration, when I shook the first bottle, he reached over and grabbed the second bottle and began to shake it in the same way.  I’m glad I was paying attention and was able to rescue the second coke before it was shaken up too much – might have messed up the whole illustration, or at least the first three rows…

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