Thinking about leadership in Uganda

Today in devotion we read through Ezekiel 34:1-16 and later on discussed the new Ugandan government (that is if you can all it new). If you have not read this chapter of the Bible, it starts by God criticising the Israelite leaders (shepherds) at the time for their selfishness and irresponsibility in fulfilling their roles as leaders – taking care of the people under their care.

As we prepared to discuss this amazing chapter, the leader for the day gave us the Ugandan setting in which to discuss this text. We all found this to be very relevant for our country because this year more than ever, Ugandans have shown their dissatisfaction with their leaders and the government. This has been seen in the voting trends where formerly well known political giants have been voted out of the parliament, and citizens have gone on to fearlessly join the now illegal defiance campaign. In multiple ways, people have shown that they are disappointed.

Disappointed with the poor service delivery; disappointed with selfish and self-preserving leadership; disappointed with misappropriated and misused public funds; disappointed with misuse of public offices; disappointed with the worsening poverty levels; disappointed with the political lies; the list is endless, but the bottom line is that Ugandans are disappointed about several things.

One would wish that the words of this chapter would come true in our country. That God would step down, condemn our leaders for their misdoings, and promise to take care of his people (flock), in a new government where righteousness and justice are upheld and leaders actually care for the welfare of the people. Our hope for such a kingdom is in heaven.

During our discussion, a number of people suggested that we take time and pray for the leaders we have. A key thing to do, as even the Bible challenges us to make petitions, prayers intercession and thanksgivig for all people – kings and all those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Someone else suggested that we speak the truth to our leaders and let them know that justice and care for the needy should be at the top of their agenda. Of which the Bible challenges us to learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case for the widow (Isaiah 1:17).

But the submission that caught my eye, was the one calling on Christians to practise this justice that they preach and call on the government to uphold. If the church is found to be hypocritical, then it has no moral ground to condemn the hypocrisy and injustice of others. If Christians today are to have a voice in restoring hope in the citizens of Uganda and justice on our beloved pearl, then they will have to live that way first.

Their homes, families and work places ought to be examples of what the church preaches. they may not be pitch perfect, but at least there should be the general environment they live in. One should be able to recognize that they are talking about something that they have experienced and are indeed experiecning in their lives. As the saying insinuates, the kettle cannot call the pot black (unless it is an electric kettle I always add).

As G Campbell Morgan has said, “The reason men do not look to the Church today is that she has destroyed her own influence by compromise”. Let us rise up and set examples for our leaders in our spheres of influence. Then people will take the Church seriously.

 

I love money but…

 

I love money and the clothes that it can buy me;

they are shiny, fancy and in fashion.

But I cannot choose that over my dignity and body for them;

Because my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

 

I love money and the friends it can get me;

They will always be around as long as I can share with them.

But I cannot choose that over my true friends;

Those that stood by me when life was hard and I had nothing to share.

 

I love money and all the material things I can get with it;

They make me look cool and keep me connected to the world.

But I cannot choose that over my Bible and my time of fellowship;

This keeps me connected to the creator of the world.

 

I love money and all the good things that people will say about me;

They will flatter my heart to a seventh heaven.

But I cannot choose that over the honest words from a friend;

His words even when tough are unselfish and have my best interests at heart.

 

I love money and all the places it can take me to;

I can enter any show, eat at any five star and travel in any car with it.

But I cannot choose that over the presence of the Lord;

That is my home, the only place where my heart is fully at rest.

 

I love money and the house that it can build me;

A mansion by the seaside with more bedrooms than my family can sleep in.

But I cannot choose that over the small cottage house my family lives in;

Because a house is not a home without family and love.

 

I love money and all the promises that come with it;

All I have to do is declare her my soul purpose for living and working.

But I cannot choose that over the worship of the one true God;

Because even everyone and everything will bow down before Him.

 

 

 

When Jesus died…

He died for the self-righteous Pharisee and for the self-condemning tax collector

He died for the promiscuous Mary Magdalene and for the Virgin Mary

He died for the persecuting Paul and for protective Peter

He died for worrying and busy Martha and for lowly Mary

 

He died for the preacher that stands before thousands of believers every week and for the blasphemous man who denies him every day

He died for the saint who lines up every week to share in the Lord’s Table and for the addict that lines up every day to share at the drug dealer’s table

He died for the young man that books the first seat of the gospel show as well as for the young man that books the front row seats of every secular show

He died for everyone that faithfully goes to church on Sunday and for everyone that faithfully goes to the bar

 

He died for every man that sleeps around even when married, and for every faithful housewife that stays up late waiting for her husband to come home

He died for the every hard criminal that walks the face of the earth and for everyone that walks this earth with integrity

He died for every prostitute that offers her body to the highest bidder every night and for every young lady that is offering her body as a holy and living sacrifice to the Lord

He died for every porn loving man that surfs the internet, and for every young man that loves older women as mothers and younger women as sisters

 

He died for everyone that openly embraces people that are different, as well as for every prejudicial individual

He died for every compassionate mother as well as for every unforgiving father

He died for every democratic leader as well as for every dictatorial tyrant

He died for every humble servant as well as for every proud master

 

He died for the loyal friend that has your back as and for the back biting hypocrite

He died for the Good Samaritan as well as the arrogant Levite and Priest

He died for the trusting man of faith as well as the doubting Thomas

He died for the bravest soldier as well as for the cowardly citizen

 

He died for the rich merchant as well as for the homeless beggar

He died for every superhero and for every hated villain

He died for every lazy slob and for every diligent worker

He died for every God hating atheist and for every God loving seminary student

 

He died to show God’s unconditional love to us as well as to endure God’s wrath on our behalf

He died for the worst of sinners and for the best of saints

He died for the whole world and for you and me

When Jesus died, he died for everyone

God’s eye

On several occasions, I have not been impressed with the references that Hollywood makes to God and the rest of the Godhead. At most they are blasphemous. However, this year I have observed some good thought provoking references. Whether they are intentional or not, only God and the script writers know.

The first reference to God’s eye comes in movie that rotates around the acquisition of a software that can locate anyone in the world through facial recognition, using any electronic device that has a camera and audio. It is this software that is called God’s eye.

This God’s eye reminds me of two of God’s attributes: first, the facial recognition ability to recognize anyone, isn’t it true that only God knows and recognizes us? The Almighty God knows each of us by name and face. And he cares about even the little aspects of our lives. Secondly, the software’s ability to locate anyone (near technology), reminds me of God’s omnipresence. God who is everywhere sees everyone. None of us can hide from Him, not in the thickest forest and not in the darkest cave where technology is limited. In Uganda, we have a name for God which when literally translated, means “Big eye” (Lisso dene), in reference to His all seeing attribute.

The second has actually been from a series. In one of the episodes, there is a place referred to as God’s eye view. At this place, there is a painting by an artist. His inspiration was to paint the earth from how he imagines God sees it. Interestingly, the artists does not just give an aerial view of our planet, but one of our galaxy. The artist takes us behind the scenes. This reminds me of the greatness of our God who has created the vast universe that amazes even the brightest of minds. Am also remind that as much as God is present in this world, He is also far above all creation, making sure all the small pieces fit together and the universe (not just the world) doesn’t fall apart.

In the third movie,after showing us the positive results of a life lived in suffering, the narrator points out that this is how God could be viewing our lives. He already knows the positive result and purpose of all that we go through. I am reminded that God holds our lives and our future in our hands. He does not stand unaware of what is happening, and neither does he just get a sneak peek into tomorrow. Rather he has designed tomorrow. This is the more reason that we are to trust him, because he knows what lies ahead and is able to safely guide us through.

we are shown a series of unfortunate events that happen to an individual. And in the end, we are shown that these unfortunate events happened for a purpose – the good of that person (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose: Romans 8:28). The narrator goes on to mention that most times we do not get to view the full picture but God does. He does not just get a sneak peak into tommorrow, but he designs the future.

Why you need more than a Sunday morning service?

It is accepted that every good and committed Christian ought to belong to a church family and attend Sunday service regularly – at least once every week. Of recent it has become acceptable for the Church service can happen on other days than Sunday. This is why several churches are starting up Saturday evening services that those who work Sunday mornings can be able to attend.

All this convenience for fellowship time is wonderful and I thank God that the Church is doing its best to address this contemporary need. In a generation where we are pressured to be relevant and adapt to thein pb changing world, this is at least an area where we can respond to current demands without compromising the gospel truth.

However, we still need to go beyond Sunday morning or Saturday evening service and sermons. We need to spend more time with our Lord, Master and Friend in fellowship.

It is a joy to see that many churches have daily programs going on for the well-wishers and passersby. Our programs range from morning glory to lunch hour fellowships; from miracle and healing services on Monday to Cell groups on Wednesdays; from evening prayer meetings on Tuesday, to overnight prayers on Friday night; and from a counselling session on Thursday to choir practice on Saturday.

Now let me make this clear, I love group fellowship and believe it is mandatory for every believer to get involved in it. But we should never take it as a substitute for personal fellowship and devotion. Instead, we should find a way of balancing the two despite our super busy schedules.

Here are four key reasons I believe so:

  1. Jesus’ example. In the gospels, you see how he spent time in fellowship with others, but would also take time to pray to the Father on his own – from the synagogue fellowship to the mountain top prayer and from the crowds and disciple’s company to the lonely prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Some have even suggested that these individual sessions were the power behind his ministry.
  2. We pick a small part of the sermon. Even when one is writing notes during the sermon, you find that there are distractions that keep you from getting all the points down. These distractions can extend from a child crying to a beautiful girl walking out in loud heels, and your neighbour asking about the previous point. There are also the distractions of the sports car driving by your church, the messages from social media, the temptation to continue playing your favourite mobile phone game, hunger and planning for lunch, dozing off for whichever reason, loss of concentration because you have a short attention span and the colour of the preacher’s tie. Some have even suggested that on average, one gets 15 minutes of a 40 minute sermon.
  1. We have a personal relationship with Jesus. Many of us love to claim we have a personal Saviour, but that stops in confession. We never get to spend time with him, talk to him or even listen to him. We keep riding on other people’s grace and their personal relationship with God when we are in community fellowship. But as Mark Hall (of Casting Crowns) points out, none of these people goes home with us. They are not there when we are fighting temptations; they are at their homes, fighting their own temptations and spiritual battles. We each need mercies and grace daily from our personal fellowship with Jesus if our candles are to shine bright as the light of the world.
  2. Examples of the heroes of our faith. I am always challenged when I read quotes and stories from the lives of those Christians that went before us. They didn’t joke with personal fellowship; it was a priority for every day. It is as if everything they did depend on how they spent their personal devotion time, from Daniel praying when the law of the land forbade it, to the likes of Martin Luther that sought to have a closer personal walk with God against the will of church leaders.

Let us considerread bible a familiar scenario: If Tom is your friend, let us even call him your best friend. How would we see your friendship and accept it? Would it be by your words or your actions? We will watch how and when you communicate with each other, how much time you spend together and how you behave in their absence. You cannot claim to be good friends with someone and not interact with them. If you hear about your good friend from other people, then that friendship is not as genuine as you say it is. Friends take the time together and regularly check on each other. And yet we are so content to continue just hearing about Jesus Christ from others.

A few years ago, Chris and I came to be called “twins” at Church. We also embraced this definition of our friendship. However, because we are not biologically related and so do not look alike in any way (physical appearance), people would so easily doubt we are twins.

Once a mutual friend introduced us to one of her friends and told her we are “twins”. She did not believe it. However, after spending one hour with us, she concluded we were “twins”. I wonder; if someone spent an hour with you, would they conclude you have a personal (loving and growing) relationship with Jesus Christ without you reminding them of it every five seconds?

Chris and I didn’t have to keep reminding people about our friendship; they had to observe the two of us together and away from each other. This visible bond was built by investing time in listening and tprayertalking to each other.

The strength of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ depends on our time investment in that relationship.Not just in the crowd where we can be driven by the bandwagon effect, but even that time when we are on our own, and personal devotion is a deliberate choice.

Shinning stars: A tribute to the 2015 graduating class

The first time we walked into the gates of Africa International University, we did not know what to expect. We came with a lot of anxiety – probably because it was one of the lesser known Universities. One thing am sure of is that we all kept wondering how the next four years were going to look like. Will they go fast? Or will they go slow? Will we enjoy our time there? Or will we find it boring? These are questions that I cannot answer for the class, because in a way, we each had our own unique experience through this distinguished institute of higher learning.

However, looking back on this journey, I can find a few things that apply to our year that do not apply to other years:

In diverse fields, we were pioneers – the first to do certain things and the first to make certain demands. We were not comfortable with the conventional. We wanted to get the best out of our university years. And so we explored on our own and where that was not possible, we asked the administration to step up their game.

Some may even say that we gave the administration headache when we made demands. But how else were we to guarantee that we got value for money and that we put our youthful vigour to the best use. One thing that we can say proudly is that at least we made a contribution to the growth of AIU. Those who come after us will be glad we asked for what we did; similar to how all new generations enjoy the fruits of the hard labour of those that preceded them.

Consequently, we have been the most active lot – in sports, music, dance, drama and religious activities. In our aspiration to be on the national stage, we opened up doors to new forms of social life unknown in AIU before. We did not just seek to shine as individuals, but sought to make the university shine. We understood that if AIU looked good, then we also looked good.

We might have been the most untried group, to walk the streets of the beautiful university grounds; but we made up for that with creativity and gusto. In fact, the four year stay gave us the opportunity to gain all the knowledge and experience that was on offer. In addition to which, we got the opportunity to bond and forge noble relationships that we will carry with us to the work field.

As we sat in the classrooms, we found that the academics were much too intense for our liking. We grumbled and complained at the start, but later learnt to work hard. You did not spoon feed us, but taught us to seek knowledge the proper way, as you silently emblazoned diligence in our DNA. We were not by nature book worms, but we learnt to live a balanced life. We will surely be envied by other graduates, and yet coveted by employers.

We didn’t all start out as the most devoted Christians, and sometimes we found chapel and other fellowships as intrusions to our normal schedule – especially when we had a test coming up or a paper to finish. And yet over the years we have learnt to practise the spiritual disciplines you introduced us to. Today we can assertively stand in the Church and the market places as the Christ-centered leaders that you sought to produce.

We had the privilege of sharing both the joyful and sad moments with each other. Often we have not known the right words to say or the most soothing way to treat you, but at least we were there with you. Our presence and prayers were the most valuable things we had to offer.

We didn’t all start together, and neither did we finish together. We have lost friends along the way, but also gained new ones. Some we hope to meet again on earth, but others we may only meet in heaven. This has taught us to trust God more because it is by his grace that we have made it this far. And together we say “Ebenezer”.

As we go out, we go to shine bright like stars in the sky; sculpted by our experience at AIU. The good and the bad experience. We realize now that they have been for our growth. Our experience at AIU has made us into the distinguished ladies and gentlemen that you see. Surely this has been an experience and a learning journey that we would not have found anywhere else.

We are thankful for the people we have met along the way, and the wise words we have heard while walking the streets of AIU. We are forever indebted to all those that invested, believed, empowered and supported us along this academic journey. We will definitely miss you, but we will never forget you. We wish we could stay longer, but every child that grows up, leaves home and starts to fend for themselves. Not trusting in our own strength and wisdom, but trusting in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17)

Why many Christians are easy prey for false teachings and teachers

“and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matt. 24:11)

In the 24th Chapter of Matthew,we come across a prophetical sermon from Jesus that was given towards the close of his earthly ministry. He spoke about signs that would characterize the period between His resurrection and His coming in judgment. These signs include wars, earthquakes, persecutions, and false prophets. My key concern at this moment is the sign of false prophets that is mentioned three times in this discourse.

Although the Bible clearly warns us (here and in other portions of scripture) about the coming of false teachers (false prophets and false Christs), many Christians have still fallen victim to these deceivers. Most of them have not taken heed to the Biblical call to test the spirits and keep watch with constant prayer. As one observes the kind of lies people believe, it becomes obvious that the problem goes much deeper than we usually admit. It goes to the very core of one’s faith: their relationship with Jesus Christ and what they do with God’s word. This can be seen in the following ways:

  1. Not reading the Bible. There are several believers that do not have a quiet time of devotion during the course of their day. They never get or create time to study, meditate on and memorize the Scriptures. What is more scary is the fact that we no longer even carry Bibles to church and for Bible Studies. Many will claim that they have e-Bibles, but then they usually do not use them; and when they do, they are interrupted by the messages that keep streaming in from the data they forgot to switch off. If we are not familiar with the truth, then we can not recognize the lie.
  2.  Poor Bible study techniques. Many believers today do not know how to study scripture; all they can do is read and walk away without either interpreting or applying it and if they apply it, it is usually out of context. We need to learn how to properly interpret a scripture for ourselves. Other than depend on devotionals where all the work is done for the believer, we need to teach believers how to properly interpret the Bible for themselves. I am not against using devotionals, but we need to balance this use with personal study. If we do not know how to interpret the Bible on our own, then we can ask someone to coach us in this.
  3. Depending on other people’s interpretations. It is not bad to listen or read other people’s interpretations of scripture, it is only best to do that after we have done our own study. We need to mature to a point where we take initiative in our personal relationship with God to listen from him direct and not to continue to live as if we were in the Old Testament days where we needed an earthly priest to represent us every time we needed to go before God.
  4. Not viewing the Bible as a measure of truth. To some believers, there is truth out there that is superior to Biblical truth; and there are experiences out there that are superior to Biblical truth. This is a great deception that the devil is using to draw believers away from the Lord. The Bible is God’s word, and God’s word is true. All extra-biblical teaching is inferior to the Bible and if it contradicts Biblical teaching, then it is false, no matter who says it. And any spiritual experience that contradicts rather than complements the Biblical teaching, is not from God.
  5. Disregarding parts of the Bible. Some believers have been convinced that some portions of the Bible are irrelevant for the 21st Century believer. This is another great lie of the devil. Jesus clearly tells us that the OT testifies about him, so we ought to read it in a Christocentric way and not discard of it. Paul shows us that all scripture is necessary for the edification of a believer, not just parts of it. The Apostles and early Church Fathers viewed the word of God as a whole and not as books that have been joined together such that we can take the one that pleases us and leave out the other. A wise man has said, “The Bible is a solid rock, not a collection of pebbles.”

I believe that if the church is to fight false teachings in their midst, then Christians need to be well grounded in the plain truths and duties outlined in Scripture. And this can only come by careful Bible study.

Sir Francis Bacon is quoted has having said/written, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”  I am fully convinced that the Bible falls in the latter category. 

The danger of false teaching to the church

One of the simplest definitions of false teaching is, “distortion of the Word/message of God.” The beginning of this distortion can be traced back to the devil in Genesis 3. In the story of the fall of man, the devil comes disguised as a serpent and causes Eve to question God’s command. One of the things I have come to learn over the years is that God is a straight forward and clear communicator, but the devil tries to make it seem like God’s communication was unclear. Hence the question, “Did God really say…?” This kind of questioning leads people to doubt God’s message – that is the first danger with false teaching. It leads you to think that God’s word is not true or final; and yet His word is ever true and reliable. As soon as you begin to doubt it, you are headed down a slippery slope.

As soon as the devil had Eve doubting God’s commands, the ground was set for the first temptation. Now that she is questioning her understanding of God’s commands, the devil tried to lure her into disobeying God, by making it seem like God didn’t have humanity’s best interests at heart and that disobedience was the best choice for her, characteristics of all temptation. The result was the first sin – disobedience and rebellion against God. This is the second danger with false teaching. It leads to sin, and yet God has called us to righteousness and purity (Heb. 12:14). Any teaching that advocates for, encourages and accommodates sin, is of the devil and not of the Lord.

It is because of these dangers that God in the Old Testament strongly condemned false prophets (Jer. 23:32; 50:36), and Jesus picked up from there and warned us about false prophets, whom he described as wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing that come to deceive, while also performing great signs (Matt. 24:11; 24:24; 2 Co. 11:13). And this is a third danger, the false teachers come disguised and they also manifest great power. It is just like the devil coming in form of a serpent. Therefore many unsuspecting and sleeping believers are easily deceived.

It is because of this that I conclude that false teaching is the work of the devil. It was part of his very first work and it is still being carried on up to today. Therefore every Christian needs to be concerned about doctrine and the content of preachers’ messages. This is because they ought to be communicating God’s word (message) to us, and if they do anything else, they have become agents of the devil.

With view of all this, it is no doubt that the Bible continuously calls on us to be alert, and keep watch (2 Pe. 2:1), test the Spirits (1 Jn 4:1); and keep growing in our knowledge of the word of God (Ps. 119:11).

A few thoughts on 2012: A year of walking in Faith

Towards the end of 2011,I had left a job I had been at for seven months, had handed over all my leadership positions at church and was bidding my family and friends farewell because the greater part of the next year (2012) was going to be spent away from home – a long way from home.

I had finally gained the courage to make a decision that had been pending for about two years. I was not just taking on an opportunity of a life time, but I was taking on an opportunity of eternity (more than just a life time). Leaving a life of working hard to be a boss or superior to others, and taking on one that would require me to be the servant of all. I was giving my self to a life of ministry and before that, I had chosen to spend time at the feet of others (in the class room), learning from more experienced people in ministry, with some opportunities (few as they are) to practice what I was learning. Of course I would have more practical ministry when I returned from Bible School.

It did not all look glamorous at the start, especially after leaving my job and realizing that I was spending money but with no hope of receiving a salary at the end of the month. This was the first of many worries and uncertainties that lay ahead in this new journey that I was undertaking. Ahead of me was a life of dependence on God and the people that he had brought in my life for my basic needs as is with all full time students.

Truth is, whereas I was excited about living and studying in Nairobi, the change of career, and an opportunity to learn Swahili and meet new people, there was a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness (read worry) that came along. I was starting 2012 unsure of so many things, but just trusting that the Lord will take care of me, because just as I have so often told others, “He takes care of his own”. But deep down, especially for someone like me that likes to plan every thing out and ensure that the basic details are taken care of, this was something that I have had to struggle with throughout this year (2012).

Very often I have wanted to take things in my hands and plan my next steps without consulting with the Lord. But somehow he has found a way of bringing me to a point of asking for his will in different situations. I have learnt to consult with him in making my plans such that I do not deviate from the awesome plans that he has for me, otherwise I would be going in circles like the children of Israel in the wilderness. (Proverbs 16:9)

In a way, God has patiently taught me about faith and trusting in him through 2012. We so often want to believe in what we can see and are only certain of things that we can touch. We are not willing to take on the thrill of uncertainty and the peace and security of trusting God completely. Yet he keeps on reassuring us that he has wonderful plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and that nothing is impossible for him (Luke 1:37). This reassurance comes; through the Bible, through the still small voice in our conscience, through the preacher (in church on Sunday, on radio, TV or even the street corner), through the Church member that keeps checking on us, through our family and friends, and through life’s situations. But some how we are not paying attention and end up glorifying the uncertainties of life, more than the certainty of the love of God for us and for all creation.

When I look back at the past years, especially 2012, am grateful to God for the times that I trusted in him completely, even when everything in me suggested otherwise. Those are the times that am so proud of and the memories that I hold so dearly. Not just because I had fun or was victorious, but because God was a big part of those moments as he taught me to trust and obey him.

It is amazing to be here today and look back and recognize that God has been faithful in the past year, just as he has always promised to be if I surrendered to him all my troubles, my cares and all that I am. Under the shadow of his wings, all my uncertainties ceased to be and all my worries and anxiety were brought to rest in his peace. He has taken care of me and provided for me countless times.

I am very grateful for the new things that I have learnt, how I have grown in the past year and how I have been a vessel of God’s love to others. But more so, am very grateful for the people that God has brought into my life and have had an impact on me in 2012. To my old and new friends, thank you so much for being good friends. You have made this year better than many years before it, with wonderful memories to carry along into the future. And to the Most High God, thank you for every thing. I am here today just because you kept me. As I look forward to 2013, I pray that your Spirit helps me to trust in you more and to surrender all of me to you continually.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  

 

Spiritual eyes

Short-sightedness – to not think of eternity
Long-sightedness – to only think of eternity
Balanced life – to think of life now and in eternity
* So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:9, NLT)