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VOL 9 NO 1 FEBRUARY  MARCH 2009

Ghana makes History again! p14

ISSN 1 5 9 5 - 5 4 0 0

N500 GHC5.00 £3.00 US $5.00

THE CHRISTIAN VOICE

BUSINESSLIFE

Seven Habits of Successful People. It is not what you think! p18 MATTERS ARISING

Who is a Christian? p48 MINISTERS' MANNA

The Case for Deliverance Ministry p54

THE PLOT AGAINST

SUNDAY ADELAJA

Why some politicians and church leaders are after him p42


THE SPIRITFILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE

in this issue... VOL 9 NO 1 JANUARY 

VOICE THE CHRISTIAN

Ghana makes History again! p14 BUSI NESS LIFE

Seven Habits of Successful People. It is not what you think! p18 ING MATT ERS ARIS

Who is a Christian? p44

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L E A D S T O R Y

MINI STER S' MAN NA

The Case for Deliverance Ministry p50

ST THE PLOT AGAIN

A ADELAJ SUNDAY ns and Why some politicia r him

C O L U M N S

4 First Word By Jackson Ekwugum

12 The Revival

With Sam Adeyemi

10 Classic Christianity With Dag Heward-Mills

11 Apples of Gold With Jane Pela With Anselm Madubuko

18 Business Life Seven Pillars of Success By Bayless Conley

21 Special Pull Out On Churches in Communities – A Platform for National Transformation

48 Matters Arising

afte church leaders are p38

Views/Opinions by our columnists and contributors do not necessarily those of the magazine. Advertising in LifeWay does not necessarily imply editorial endorsement.

The Mission: LifeWay is founded under the Divine inspiration and mandate to provide through the medium of mass communication, quality spiritual food that will empower Christians in their daily walk and service, reflect God at work in our lives and society and reach out to the non believer through evangelical articles presented in a context familiar to the reader.

F E A T U R E S

High riding Nigerian born Ukraine pastor, Sunday Adelaja, faces persecution from the government and religious establishment.

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The Vision: LifeWay is a general consumer magazine set up to proclaim the knowledge of Jesus Christ through the power of the printed word in a professional, uncomplicated and readerfriendly format that will appeal to both the believer and unbeliever.

US $5.00

ISSN 1595-5400

LifeWay Media International Limited Corporate Office 21, Ladipo Oluwole Street, off Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja. P. O. Box 5541, Surulere, Lagos Website: www.lifewaymag.com E-mail: mail@lifewaymage.com. Phone: +234 1 8523729, 0802 3265116 Ghana: +233 248 824431, 249 175629 LifeWay is a publication of of LifeWay Media International Limited.

How to Reach Us: Letters to LifeWay should be typed doublespaced and kept short and precise. They should be addressed to: Mail Matters, LifeWay P. O. Box 5541 Surulere or mail@lifewaymag.com Letters may be edited to fit into available space or conform to our editorial style. Publication of readers’ letters does not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or its staff.

FEBRUARY 2009 N500 GHC5.00 £3.00

Publisher and Editor Jackson Ekwugum Associate Publisher Yinka Jackson (Mrs) Correspondent Leonard Ackon (Ghana) Columnists Sam Adeyemi, Anselm Madubuko, Dag Heward-Mills, Sam Amaga, Deola Ojo, John Paul Okwok, Omokorede Fashoro, Jane Pela, Imo-Abasi Jacob Art Direction Ogbenyi Egbe Advisory Board Elder Segun Olusanya (Chair), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Chiadi Ndu, James Okwara, Ebele Nduka-Irabor, Violet Onyemenam, Austen Ukachi, Richard Olubameru Editorial Committee Rev. David Ahove (Chair), Rev. Yinka Ojo, Evang. Elishamma Ideh, Pastor Imo-Abasi Jacob, Pastor Godman Akinlabi, Chido Nwakanma

Who is a Christian? By Yomi Kasali

13 Singles Platform With Deola Ojo

‘Ask Jesus into your Heart’? By Andrew Strom

47 Faith @ Work

54 Minsters’ Manna

With Imo Abasi-Jacob

The Case for Deliverance Ministry By Chuzzy Udenwa

58 Last Word By Yinka Jackson P E O P L E & E V E N T S 14 Ghana’s new president seeks divine help 16 Another black eye for the church 17 Pastor Adeboye makes history

OUR CONTRIBUTORS t PASTOR BAYLESS CONLEY, our special guest writer, writes on what it takes to succeed in the current difficult economic climate. Pastor Conley is a Bible teacher and Senior Pastor of Cottonwood Christian Centre in Los Alamitos, California, USA. You can watch his weekly television programme, Answers With Bayless Conley, on TBN every Sunday at 10.00a.m, or visit him on www. answersbc.org. t REV. YOMI KASALI asks a thought provoking question: Who is a Christian?

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Please don’t jump to any conclusions yet until you read the article. Rev. Kasali is the host of Impact Today that airs on Silverbird Television on Sunday at 2.30p.m. You can reach him on yomi_ kasali@yahoo.com t ANDREW STROM is a revivalist and prophetic minister based in New Zealand. He takes off from where Rev. Kasali stopped and wonders if the church is not missing it in the way we are supposedly

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getting people born again today. You can reach him on astrom@revivalschool.com t CHUZZY UDENWA, a former journalist, makes a case for the deliverance ministry in our Ministers’ Manna section. Pastor Udenwa is the Senior Pastor of Glory House World Church, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. On April 19, 2008, he launched seven of his books in Abuja, Nigeria. He can be contacted through: www.glorytoglorychurch.org, Tel: 1-770-909-5000 (U.S.), 0803-3752428 (Nigeria)

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Please, who is a Christian?

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f all the prophecies of good things to come this year, it is very surprising that most pastors have missed out on the most obvious one - that is, 2009 The Year of the Christian. With Christianity becoming the latest fad in town I wonder how we can miss out on such a great prophecy. I mean, think about it; T.B Joshua is now a Christian! After all, he mentions the name of Jesus and he is on TB -N. And to cap it all, he now has a national award - a perfect tribute to how Christianity has advanced in our country. I don’t know why Pastor Kris Okotie thinks he knows better than every one of us by still shooting his mouth off to tell us Joshua is a shaman. He should please mind his business and be reminded that the man in the synagogue has been a Christian from his mother’s womb when Kris was still very busy dancing disco. I don’t know whether you are as excited as I am by the number of CEOs and bank managers that are flying the flag of Christ in the marketplace as pastors and deacons. They certainly made the difference in the wake of the stock market crash. That is why I consider it very uncharitable when I hear some people say that they do not understand the rationale for their ordination when they are equally guilty of insider abuse, share price manipulation and sharp practices. I think their ordination is well deserved. You see, we need to have some of our own who call the name of Jesus among the captains of industry. After all, the name of the Lord is lifted up in their office fellowships, prayer meetings and thanksgiving services. And we need the money for the work of the kingdom! We shouldn’t really add to their pressure because they are victims of a hostile marketplace. The Lord obviously did not foresee that the world would be this corrupt when he instructed the church in Acts 6:3 to “seek out from among you… men of good reputation…” (Some translations say “honest report”). Let’s try to be reasonable; honesty is a tall order, an ideal, in today’s business environment. And oh, to God be the glory for our brethren in the entertainment industry! They

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are such a wonderful and grateful bunch, they never fail to acknowledge God for His inspiration to write and produce films that glorify the occult. And whenever I read the interviews of some of these actors, actresses and musicians in the national dailies, I am always amazed at their boldness to profess their faith in Christ. Unlike many of us, they are not shy to credit God for their success, and to testify of His blessings with their boob tubes, hot pants and moral indiscretions. If they sometimes forget who they are, don’t blame them. Inspiration can be a very strong force! What about the media superwoman Oprah Winfrey? She is an epitome of what every Christian woman should be! I have not heard her say she is a Christian though, but she makes generous references to Jesus Christ and the Bible. And I do hear many of her admirers swear she is born again even though she is still

2009: The Year of the Christian

first word BY JACK SON EK W UGUM

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living with a man she is not married to. Oprah must be one of the most generous people alive. She gives, and gives and gives, and recently she opened an ultra modern high school for poor students in South Africa. Only a born again person can do the things that this woman does. Certainly, Brother Peter was being overzealous when he asked that Cornelius a “God fearing man” be born again. The Bible even said that Cornelius was a prayer warrior and a cheerful giver too. The man was born again, only Peter didn’t know it. Or perhaps he wanted another convert, a powerful one at that, added to his resume. An apology from Peter would be in order. Then there is Barack Obama. The black man in the white house. Like they did with ex-president OBJ, many people have made it their duty to let me know Obama is a Christian. As if I was ever in doubt of that! Goodness me, the man has been attending church for the last 20 years, and he has assured us he is down to smoking just three sticks of cigarette a day. I also know enough to know that Obama believes strongly in God’s gift of FREE WILL to man. He hopes to uphold that freedom by giving legal teeth to the freedom of the people to exercise their choice to kill unwanted children or marry people of the same sex. The only thing I am trying to figure out is this: When men marry men, it is called a civil union. What do we call it when men marry women? Uncivil? I know Obama is too civil to use a term like that but it would be interesting to hear what he has to say. “Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name’? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) Please, who is a Christian? I would like to hear from you. You can reach me on jackson@lifewaymag.com or + 234 (0) 802 949 0605, + 233 248 824 431


This Sunday & every other Sunday


FLASHBACK

Bishop Wale Oke, LifeWay and the ‘Oil Prophecy’

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“There shall be a significant seven years of unprecedented abundance and harvest and the land shall blossom like never before. This shall be followed by another seven years of unprecedented famine and dryness, which shall hit the continent like a terrible plague. Therefore have I given you a Joseph at this time that a whole generation shall be preserved.”

n our August/September 2005 issue, LifeWay published an interview with Bishop Wale Oke where he predicted that the windfall from rising oil prices would last for only seven years (i.e till 2007) going by a prophecy he gave on January 20, 2000 at Aso Rock, the seat of Nigeria’s government, part of which reads thus:

Recent events in the world have proved this prophecy to be true. At the time of the prophecy, oil was selling for 15 dollars a barrel. By the time we interviewed Bishop Oke in 2005 the oil price was 60 dollars per barrel, rising to 147 dollars a barrel in 2008 before tumbling to as low as below 40 dollars a barrel precipitating a global economic downturn. In the interview the Bishop sounded this alarm: “There has been no time in our recent history that we have had more money from oil than we currently have….And God said it will last for seven years after which will come real hard times that will grip the entire continent for another seven years. Let the churches prepare. Let the church build up reserves. Let the key and leading churches and ministers come together to prepare for the rainy day because I know that the prophecy will come to pass…. “It looks like all our politicians want to do is spend all the excess money that is accruing; they just want to spend it all… As a developing nation, we need a whole lot more development. Only a fool spends all that he makes. In addition, if we build up these resources they will be developed. Therefore the church should be aware, the nation should be aware that a prophetic word has gone out and it is in the custody of the people who are in power. We notified them; they heard it.”

Need we say more? Stay with LifeWay if you want to keep abreast with what God is doing and saying in these last days.

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Confidence attracts the right kind of people into our lives.

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onfidence is defined as faith absolute trust. It is also defined as belief in one’s own or another’s abilities. We rise or fall to the level of our confidence. Confidence is a critical requirement for success. We cannot afford to see ourselves as victims of people or circumstances. We are victors .We must take charge and take control. Heb. 10:35 says; “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence which has great rewards.” This topic brings to mind the remarkable story of David and Goliath. Israel was in a war situation with the Philistines. And out of the Philistines camp arose this giant, Goliath. He was so full of confidence in his size and ability, he threw out a challenge. There was something different about David. Whereas all of Israel’s soldiers were afraid, David was full of confidence. Eventually, he killed Goliath. David’s confidence in God was the secret of his victory. What we believe is what we become. Confidence attracts miracles. It attracts the right kind of people into our lives. It enables us to attempt great things. And when we attempt great things we achieve great things. On the other hand, fear, worry and doubt are ingredients of failure. They attract negative people and negative circumstances into our lives. They guarantee defeat. To build confidence, we must get rid of fear, worry and doubt. Mark 11:23 says; “Whosever shall say unto this mountain, be removed and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his mind but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass, he shall have whatever he says.” You see, it is those who talk with confidence that get meaningful results. For prayers to be effective, it has to done in faith or confidence. Dear friend, settle this once and for all, God cannot fail you. The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. The giants that have intimidated you in your finances, your marriage or your health are coming down. Just believe and take a giant step forward today. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that

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believes.” When Christ was on the earth, He went about with absolute confidence that God would heal, save and deliver the people He prayed for. He addressed situations with authority. He spoke to a storm and the sea became calm. When He cursed a fig tree, it did not cross His mind that the tree would not die. Confidence was a major secret of Christ’s successful ministry. The enemy of confidence is inferiority complex. Once we perceive ourselves as being inferior to others or to situations and circumstances, we become victims. To build confidence, the first thing to do is to live right before God. Proverbs 28:1 says; “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” If your lifestyle is right with God, the devil has no business harassing you. Stand up to him. Tell

How Confident are You?

success power W ITH SA M ADEY EMI

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him to get out of your home, your business or your body. You are not at his mercy. He is at your mercy. Romans 8:1 says; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…..” Don’t walk around with a load of guilt and shame. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. Ask for forgiveness from God and forget those past mistakes. God has forgiven you. You are now qualified for God’s blessings. Another key to confidence is “The presence of God.” Knowing that God is with us boosts our confidence just like what happens when a child knows that his father is standing right behind him. God’s presence makes it impossible for us to be scared. God’s presence makes us to dare things we would not dare under normal circumstances. David said in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Dear friend, let the presence of God become more real to you today than the presence of your spouse, or children, or friends. Talk to God, praise and worship Him. He is your very present help in the time of trouble. The knowledge of God also helps us to confront life’s issues with confidence. Daniel 11.32 says, “The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” The more you discover about God, the stronger your confidence grows. You will realise that He is very faithful. When He makes a promise, it is inevitable that the promise will come to pass. Also, God is very powerful. What looks like an impossible situation to you is a very cheap case for God. He makes a way where there seems to be no way. He raises the dead. He opens barren wombs. He is much more powerful than the devil or witches that are attempting to intimidate you. He can feed thousands of people from five loaves of bread and two fishes. He can turn your lack into abundance. Rev. Sam Adeyemi, the Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre in Lagos, is also the President, Success Power International. He can be reached at successpowerng@ hotmail.com


God does not need to give you a dramatic experience before you start obeying Him.

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he voice of the Holy Spirit is the most important voice that we need to hear in these times. The Holy Spirit speaks the mind of God.

…for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

One of the cardinal duties of the Holy Spirit is to transmit God’s mind to you. Whatever He hears God say, He will relay it to you. It is our duty therefore to learn about His voice and how to distinguish it from other voices. The Bible teaches that He speaks directly to your spirit, soul or body. He speaks to us in these three different ways and it is important for us to receive from the Holy Spirit in whichever way He chooses to speak to us.

THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO YOUR SOUL MIND The Holy Spirit speaks to our minds and directs us by giving us distinctive, special and unique thoughts. God speaks to your mind when He has to.

reveals it to you supernaturally. I have found that the Spirit of God does these unusual things when there is no way for me to know certain things naturally! It is not the principal way that God speaks to you, but it is certainly an important method. It is learnt through experience and operated by faith.

THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO YOUR BODY And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 9:4

You must also learn the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to your physical being. In this case, you will hear an audible voice speaking to you. The Bible is full of such examples; however,

Important Truths about the Voice of the Holy Spirit

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance [mind], whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

This verse states clearly that the Holy Spirit will bring things to your mind (remembrance). You must learn to distinguish between thoughts that come from your natural thought processes and thoughts that come from the Holy Spirit. There are also thoughts and suggestions that come from Satan. One day, while on a trip to Europe, the Holy Spirit spoke to my mind. Suddenly and in rapid succession, the Holy Spirit gave me five clear instances when a rebellious pastor in my church had lied to me. Then the Holy Spirit said: “Because of these, know that he is lying to you about this current problem.” I suddenly knew that I was dealing with a prevaricator who by evasive and misleading answers had been able to live a lie. If you are a pastor, you will need the Spirit of God to lead you especially in relation to those who work with you. Sometimes you will never know of the deadly poison around you unless God

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do not make the mistake of thinking that it was an everyday occurrence with the Apostles. There is no need to seek these spectacular experiences. The devil knows when you have an appetite for sensational things and will fill you with deception when he knows that you are vulnerable. Once, I believe I heard the audible voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me. But that is not the principal way by which the Holy Spirit leads me. God does not need to give you a dramatic experience before you start obeying Him. At each stage of my life, the Holy Spirit has spoken to me in whatever way He found appropriate.

THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO YOUR SPIRIT When the Holy Spirit speaks to your spirit, you do not hear an audible voice. This is what is called “the inner witness.” The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is in our hearts (spirit) crying “Abba Father,” which is the cry of a child to his father. The voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart creates a quiet assurance or a relaxed knowing about your salvation. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth THE SPIRIT of his Son into your hearts, CRYING, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:6

Apostle Paul declared to the centurion and other sailors that he perceived that there were going to be serious problems during the journey (Acts 27:1-10). It was definitely a spiritual perception because in the natural there was no sign of danger. Paul had what many Christians have when the Holy Spirit speaks to their spirit – a perception and a knowing. Another Scripture which says the same thing is Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”. The Spirit speaks or witnesses to your heart that you are a child of God. This is the commonest way that you will detect the voice of the Spirit. When you want to take a decision, watch out for that quiet assurance in your heart! How do you know the voice of the Holy Spirit? By experience! When you become conversant with the voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit, soul or body, you will know when He speaks.

classic christianity W I T H DAG H E WA R D - M I L L S

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Bishop Dag Heward-Mills is a healing evangelist, best selling author and international conference speaker. He founded Lighthouse Chapel International in Accra, Ghana, a fast growing denomination with over 800 churches in five continents. You can reach him at evangelist@daghewardmills.org.

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It takes courage to stand up, rise up, and face tomorrow.

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ow many times have we faced challenges that we felt were peculiar to us? You hear that voice, ‘you know nobody knows what you are going through. Nobody understands, just give up’. Many have stopped, expired, others are bent over, broken and disheartened; it even gets worse when we see people who are more “knowledgeable” than us faltering and staggering. What are you going to do? Buckle under the seeming weight of discouragement or draw courage from the recesses of God in your spirit? Sometimes we are consumed with our challenges and lose sight of the goodness and mercies of God to us. A young woman is in her thirties; she has a good job, has a good family background, she is growing spiritually, mentally and otherwise, but one thing keeps eating her up. She loses appetite, gets depressed, why? She tells you ‘oh I wish I were married’. To her, marriage becomes the only reason to wake up, work, and to survive. It becomes the end of life. She misses it! A man loses a job and feels the world is ended. He spends the next five or more years bemoaning his fate and reliving memories of the ‘good old days’. Courage is not a feeling, courage is the choice to remain strong, remain relevant, remain successful, remain beautiful, remain hopeful and hope filled. By the time David, the Psalmist wrote Psalm 23, he was on the run, running away from a man he called “father,” King Saul. He was hiding away in the cave of Addulam when he wrote this beautiful testimony of God’s protection. He declared, “The Lord restores my soul.” Your understanding of whom God is, His stand and Position concerning you will give you the strength and courage to hold on and stay on. This is not “managing” the situation, barely keeping your head above the water. This is an overwhelming, all encompassing victory over the arrows of darkness. Courage is not outside of you. Courage is not unreachable, courage is not beyond you, and courage is not unattainable. Courage is within

you. Courage is not passive. It is an aggressive awareness of who you are in God and who He is in you. It is the awareness that God never runs dry of people to support you. He never runs dry of ideas to enhance and promote you. He never runs dry of bringing your way new and better opportunities. God has a plan for every one of us but it’s your choice to walk and live out His plan for your life. I love it when God restores. He does not just restore to the original position; He restores you to a place where memories of past failures don’t hurt anymore. Only God can heal in such a way. How do you encourage yourself? It’s simple. Can you take your mind back to yesterday? What He did and what you accomplished with His help and guidance? Has He changed? … Of course not! He never changes, His word

Courage: A Choice

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never changes. We change, we grow, we learn, but God’s word is still as valid as eternity. If you are drawing courage from your human spirit, that’s one thing, but when you draw courage from what God has told you that’s a different matter entirely. Abraham had no reason to be hopeful. His body had denied him, his emotions had denied him, but there was one thing he held on to like a life-jacket. A word from God: “you are the father of many nations,” God had told him. That same word is in our hands, and in our hearts as a revelation. We have read it, we have spoken it and we have believed it. It has transversed centuries, kingdoms, governments, seasons and times, yet it remains triumphant. Store this word deep in your heart. Let it speak for you in the time of need. Don’t say what you see. What you see is transitory; what you do not see is eternal. It is a reality that you and God know about. Courage is a choice. Choose to be courageous. The righteous are as bold as a lion. A lion roars and colours its environment. When you need support, when you need some help, don’t be too proud to ask. The people that God has brought your way are your doors of opportunity. Don’t shut those doors. Prize your relationships and add value to people around you. It takes courage to take responsibility for the things done and make changes when necessary. It takes courage to say “I am sorry.” Some people do not know how to do this. They are always in the right. They never see another person’s perspective. If it is not their idea, then it can’t work. This is an attitude that God is against. It takes courage to stand up, rise up, and face tomorrow. Yesterday is past and tomorrow is in the womb of your spirit. Can you release it? Can you see it? Will you partner with God to bring about a definite and positive change? If you will, start now by making a choice to be courageous. Stay strong, Stay hope filled. Love ya! Pastor Jane, a renowned worship leader, is co-pastor of House of Grace Church by Navy Town Gate, Satellite Town, Lagos. You can reach her on pj.applesofgold@gmail.com

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God must be feared and honoured in our lives.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap. – Galatians 6:7

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any times we preachers preach only about the love of God. It is true that God is love; His love is beyond measure; it is from everlasting to everlasting. As a result of our focus on God’s loving kindness and mercy we often take Him for granted and mock Him with our lifestyles forgetting that He is also God of wrath and judgment. But God cannot be mocked and people who have one way or the other mocked God find out sooner or later that beyond the love of God is the wrath of a jealous God. In the book of Daniel we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the world at the time. In Daniel chapter three, the king spoke so well of the God of Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego after the three Hebrew boys had been delivered from the fiery furnace that he commanded all his subjects to worship Jehovah. But along the line pride crept in; and in chapter 4 verse 30 he began to boast, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Verse 31 says that while he was still boasting God pronounced judgment on him and “The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” There was a man called John Lennon. Lennon was a famous musician with the Beatles. In those days the Beatles were the most popular and the richest music group in the world. John Lennon was interviewed in an American magazine where he boasted that “we (the Beatles) are more famous than Jesus.” Not long after, he was shot dead. That was the end of the Beatles. You cannot mock God. Consider the story of a young girl in Brazil who despised God. A bunch of young people who had been drinking

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came to take her out. The girl’s mother led her daughter downstairs and when she saw the state of the people in the car she said, “My daughter, may God go with you.” As she entered the car she replied her mother: “Mummy there is no space for your God in here.” And she added mockingly, “Unless He can stay in the boot.” Not long after, the car somersaulted many times and crashed killing all the occupants. The car was a complete wreck but amazingly the police found out that the boot of the car was untouched, and when they opened it they saw a crate of eggs intact where the girl said God should stay. It did not matter how many times the car somersaulted; it did not matter how mangled it was; but the little space in the boot where the girl asked for God to be was protected

Fear God, My Brethren, Fear God

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even for a fragile crate of eggs. The measure of honour you give to God is the measure you receive. Many years ago a powerful politician, Tan Craddle Nervis was running for president in Brazil. During the campaign, he boasted publicly that if he can get 500,000 votes from his party, not even God could remove him from being president. God allowed him to win but a day to his inauguration he died. No one can fight what is of God and live to have honour. There was a certain man in a West African country. He was popular and people loved him. Once, a ship load of Bibles was coming into his country and he was told about it. This man organised to blow up the ship and sank it. Some years later he contested for president and won in an election that was adjudged the freest and fairest in that country. But you can’t fight God and win. His election was nullified. God is the one that makes kings and presidents; He is the one that must be feared; He is the one that must be honored; He is the one that must be worshipped; He is the possessor of the heavens and the earth, the one who knows the beginning from the end. He says you must not mock Me because what you sow is what you reap. Do not purposely tempt God. Do not take His love for granted. Do not take His grace as license to live recklessly because when His anger comes against you, you will not be able to stand. Who can stand before an angry God? Friends, we must realise that it is the Hand of God and the mercy of God that has been delivering and keeping, promoting and increasing us. If not for God we would not be alive. God must be feared and honoured in our lives. We must humble and make ourselves as nothing before Him. We must come down from the high place that pride has deceptively kept us. God says it is not by our power, but by His Spirit. When the Spirit of the living God is not on our side there is nothing we can do. Apostle Madubuko is the General Overseer of Revival Assembly Church in Ogba, Lagos. You can reach him on anselm_madubuko@yahoo.com


God makes all things beautiful in His time.

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t was another single’s conference and I was tired of going for all the Singles Conferences organised year after year. I had gone for one day conferences, half-week long conferences and even weekend retreats for singles, where we were asked to meet people, smile at them and hope that they will ask for our phone numbers. I told my pastor that I was not going for any more programmes. It was increasingly frustrating to go for programme after programme and still not have anyone propose. I let my pastor know that the same people we were seeing in church on Sunday were the same ones who came for these weekend retreats. What was the point of meeting them at a weekend retreat if they see us in church Sunday after Sunday and they do not seem interested in us? “I had been looking for a spouse for ten years and I had reached a point where I was fed up. I had given up completely, after fasting and fasting until my intestines almost burst. I had also met some guys who seemed to be saved and really nice but the only thing on their minds was the one thing I was not willing to offer anyone until I was married. My pastor persuaded me to go for the next weekend retreat and to not be discouraged. I reluctantly went after much persuasion and so as not to appear disobedient. It was just as I had said; the same regular guys that I see in church week after week seemed to be the ones who were there. By the second day, I was becoming depressed. Here I was, attending a conference that I did not really want to attend, and it was looking like it was going to end the same way it all ended. I was even wondering if perhaps I should leave first thing in the morning. “My friend, with whom I attended the conference, persuaded me not to leave until the programme was over in the afternoon. During the morning session of the final day, the speaker asked us to move around and look for someone we had never spoken with for

any length of time and I looked around to see whom I could talk to and then this young man walked up to me and said “Hi, I think I know you.” It sounded like the line that a lot of men used when they wanted to find an easy way to build rapport with a lady. He mentioned that we lived in the same neighbourhood when we were growing up and when he mentioned his name I realised that I knew the family but I had never met him. Then he asked for my phone number and I gave it to him but decided not to get my hopes up. I waited for a week for him to give me a call and when he did not, I sighed and felt that maybe I was one of the ladies who was not supposed to get married. A month later the church organised a Christmas party and we met again and this time there seemed to be a little spark because

Don’t Get Tired of Searching

singles platform W ITH DEOL A OJO

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he called me the day after and we began to call each other quite often. Six months later he proposed to me. Oh the joy that filled my heart when he popped the question. Here I was at thirty two and finally I would be getting married. The interesting thing was that he had actually been attending my church for six months but we just had not crossed paths until we went for that single’s retreat.” What if Opeyemi had decided not to go for that Single’s retreat? She would have missed her date with destiny. It can be quite disheartening to go for programme after programme without making a ‘catch’ and it is natural to feel like quitting but winners never quit. It is important for singles not to lose hope. It is easier to avoid programmes and events especially weddings because of people who ask silly questions. It is normal to feel discouraged when our hopes are not realised. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (Prov 13:12) God makes all things beautiful in His time. He is a faithful God. If you have been waiting for a spouse, one day your hope will be realised. And that one day will be so glorious that it will wipe off all the pain you had when you were waiting. If you get hurt by all the questions that people ask, just shrug it off and make up your mind that it is one of those things. Some people mean well; they just do not realise that when they ask such questions they hurt you. Other people ask such questions so that they can watch your face crumble. But in everything give thanks to God; at least they are only asking you the question because you are alive. You are alive, you are well, be happy. Happiness is a choice, choose to be happy! Refuse to be a recluse or a loner, go out, make friends, and attend conferences. You just may meet the person at the next Single’s Conference. Pastor Deola Ojo is co-pastor of Grace Family Church in Oregun, Lagos. She is the author of several books including the popular “Give Me a Spouse or I Die.” She can be reached at pastordeegfc@yahoo.com

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PEO PL E AN D E VEN TS

Ghana’s New President Prays for God’s Wisdom & Gudiance t As churches celebrate ‘historic’ election

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hana’s new President, His Excellency, Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills says he is relying on God for wisdom to build a “better Ghana” even as Christians in the country trooped to Churches to rejoice over the peaceful election and smooth handover of power. “I pray to God for wisdom and guidance to be able to steer the affairs of the state and am very optimistic that the good Lord will shower His blessings on me to be able to succeed,” President Mills of the National Democratic Congress, said soon after he was declared winner in a tight race between him and Nana Akufo Addo, the candidate of the New Patriotic Party. He attributed his victory at the polls on December 2008 and a run-off in January 2009 to God, affirming that it is God who raises kings and saw his elevation to the office of the president as God ordained. Prof. Mills was sworn into office as President on January 7 by ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor in a colourful hand over ceremony in Accra. The ceremony which some described as the occasion for the ‘Johns’ saw a remarkable trend of Ghana’s Presidency which has been occupied by only those with the name John. It started with Jerry John Rawlings in 1992, John Agyekum Kuffuor in 2000 and now John Evans Atta Mills. The coincidence implies that by the end of 2012, straddling a period of 16 years of the nation’s political history, only Presidents by name John would have governed the country. Interestingly, the name Mahama is also becoming synonymous with the office of the Vice presidency as the out-gone vice president is Alhaji Mahama and the current one is also John Mahama. Meanwhile, Christians in the country spent the Christmas and New Year holidays to praise and worship God for the election in which no blood was shed despite a few pockets of violence. There were jubilations in most churches across the country for the remarkably peaceful conduct of the election that has been attributed mainly to nationwide intercession in churches across denominational lines. On Saturday December 13 2008, after the first election was held on Sunday December 7 and entered into a run-off, the

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Women Aglow Fellowship and other inter denominational groups organised a mass thanksgiving service at the Independence Square which was attended by the then President Kufuor and officials of the various political parties. The well attended thanksgiving service was filled with true worship and praise which was led by seasoned Ghanaian gospel artistes. Participants who were clad C t Atta Mills of the ND in Ghanaian colours did not allow anything to take away the place of giving thanks to God as some of them lay prostrate on the floor and shouted in praise and worship to almighty God. The thanksgiving service was also used to pray for God’s intervention in the run-off which was held on December 28, 2008. Prayer was made for God to raise a leader after His own heart and ensure that the peaceful environment was maintained. Christians, irrespective of their denomination and doctrines all joined in the prayer movement. Various churches set aside some days to fast and pray for the elections. Some prominent pastors in the country organised prayer rallies just for the country’s elections. For instance, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams in November started a weekly prayer meeting to intercede for the nation. The prayer meeting which was attended by Christians from all walks of life was broadcast on Ghana Television every Saturday evening to the whole country to enable those who could not be at the venue to join in the prayer. The Archbishop also brought together other seasoned men of God from different denominations in the country to lead prayer sessions. The clergy did not just limit their intercession to the pulpit as they also engaged the various political L

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parties on the need to influence their followers to be calm and peaceful. Series of press statements were issued to that effect which, analysts say, contributed immensely to Ghana’s historic peaceful elections. The Christian community also sent representatives to observe the elections nationwide and made their observations known at the end of voting. Ms. Charis Uduak Bassey, a national service personnel at the Christian Council of Ghana told LifeWay that Ghanaians have every reason to thank God for the outcome of the election. She marvelled at the very calm atmosphere that prevailed during the election despite the tightness of the race between the two leading contenders of NPP and NDC. “I believe strongly that the hand of God is really upon the country and the Christian community made things to happen through prayer. The outcome of the elections is the will of God because the new president has expressed an admirable level of his faith in God,” she noted. President Mills won the elections with a difference of a little over 43,000 votes over his NPP rival Addo. The election, which was unprecedented in the history of Ghana, and Africa for that matter, went into a second run-off before a


winner was eventually determined. The election was held on December 7 with 8 candidates, but entered into a run-off as no candidate won the constitutional requirement of 50% plus 1. A run-off was then conducted between Mills (47%) and Addo (49%) on December 28, 2008. In the run-off, Prof. Mills overtook Nana Akufo Addo with 23,000 votes. A clear winner could not, however, emerge since one of the constituencies, Tain, which had over 30,000 eligible voters, did not vote in the run-off. The election at Tain Constituency took place on January 2, 2009, with Prof. Mills finally clinching victory. The new President, a tax expert, was the Vice President under the Rawlings led-administration in 1992. Popularly referred to as the Abraham Lincoln of Ghana, this was Prof. Mills’s fifth attempt to become the President of Ghana. Born at Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana on July 21, 1944, Prof. Mills hails from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region. He attended the University of Ghana, Legon, where he received a first degree and a professional certificate in Law in 1967. While studying for his PhD in law from the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Mills was selected as a Fullbright Scholar at the equally prestigious Stanford Law School in the US. At 27, he was awarded his PhD, after successfully defending his thesis in the area of Taxation and Economic Development. He served as a lecturer at the University of Ghana at the Faculty of Law where he spent close to 25 years imparting knowledge, rising from the position of lecturer to senior and associate professor. During his almost 30 years of teaching and researching, Prof. Mills served as a visiting lecturer in a number of educational institutions world-wide and presented papers at symposiums and conferences throughout the world. t Duncan Williams

By Leonard Ackon in Accra

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PEO PL E AN D E VEN TS

Nigerians Make History with ‘The Experience’ t Defy heavy downpour for the world’s biggest gospel music concert

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he Experience, a concert of prayer, praise and worship drew another record attendance of over 200,000 people in December 2008, unofficially becoming the biggest gospel music concert in the world. But that was not the only milestone that was attained in the third edition of this world class event. The multiplied thousands who thronged the Tafawa Balewa Square on Friday December 05, 2008, stunned organisers and performing artistes alike when they refused to leave the arena even as it was covered in a deluge of rain. The rain started shortly after the duo of Mary Mary had finished ministration at about 1.30a.m. Expectations that the rain would soon subside quickly evaporated as the downpour intensified even with some of the invited pastors taking the podium to ask for God’s intervention. But they should not have bothered as virtually not one soul moved from their positions preferring to worship God in the rain. In fact, LifeWay watched some participants kneel on the waterlogged floor thanking God for giving them the privilege to be a part of “this blessing.” It was an incredible sight to behold. While some held up their chairs as umbrellas, most of the jubilant, music-loving fans danced and praised God as they were dripping with water. Buoyed on by the enthusiasm of the crowd, ace worship leader and the pioneer of cross-cultural gospel music, Israel Houghton took over the stage. He led the audience in worship with his global signature tune, “You’re the Alpha and Omega.” Gospel music icon, Don Moen joined him and, assisted by Donnie McClurkin, conducted another thrilling worship session. But when the rain finally took its toll on the hi-tech sound system, the all-night concert was eventually called off shortly after 4a.m. As early as 12 noon, people from all walks of life had begun to gather at TBS for the highly publicised event, which was scheduled to start by 7pm. By 8pm the huge traffic of people and cars headed to TBS had taken over not only the venue and its environs, but most parts of Lagos. There was no space left at the venue as every available space was bursting at the seams with people. The concert began with a praise and worship session led by UK-based Nigerian-born worship leader, broadcaster and leader of Riversongz, London,

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Muyiwa Olarenwaju. The worship session charged and prepared the atmosphere for the rest of the night. Nigeria’s music rave of the moment, Midnight Crew followed next and impressed the audience with their quintessential Igwe hit song. They instantly won over the crowd who danced, shouted and sang along with them. Debuting Chevelle Franklin was by far the biggest revelation of The Experience 2008. The former Jamaican Queen of Reggae and dancehall music, who had rocked the reggae world with celebrated pals such as Papa Sam and Shaba Ranks before she got born again, took the crowd on a memorable musical trip with her Jamaican gospel music flavour and tunes. The robust songstress crowned her stellar performance with her creative, ‘Jamaicanised’ Nigerian brewed gospel songs such as I have a father who will never fail me (written by Chinyere Udoma of ‘Agu na eche-mba’ fame), I have a very big God, Jehovah, the most high God. Chevelle, not a relation of superstar Kirk Franklin, expressed her joy to have visited Nigeria, a country she said she had heard so much about, before bowing out to a huge applause from the appreciative audience. Tye Tribbet, the new wonder boy of urban gospel music who was backed by his band, The Greater Love, had another glorious outing as he did in 2007. Just like his new chart topping album is christened Standout, the multiL i f e W a y

talented music minister and songwriter thrilled fans with his rendition and energy-sapping dance steps. After Tribbet, the next two big attractions for the concert, Fred Hammond and Mary Mary who were also debuting came on stage and were inspiring in their performances. The abrupt closure of the concert meant Kirk and Kurt Carr did not have the opportunity to minister. Carr, it would be recalled, virtually stole the show in the 2007 edition of The Experience with a performance that left the audience asking for more. The Experience is the brainchild of Pastor Paul Adefarasin, the founding pastor of House on the Rock church, and endorsed by many churches, corporate organisations and Christian bodies including LifeWay magazine. The 2008 edition was graced by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Victoria Gowon, Nigeria’s former First Lady, Mrs. Judith Amaechi, the First Lady of Rivers State, and Prof. Pat Utomi, a former presidential candidate. Others included Ambassador and Mrs. Moses Ihonde, Mrs. Obioma Liyel-Imoke, the First Lady of Cross River State, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, the Lagos State Chairman of PFN, and Mr. Aigboje Imoukhuede, the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. By Isaac Daniel in Lagos.


Nigerian Preachers Hail Newsweek’s Honour on Adeboye

t It’s ‘prophetic’, say some

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igerian preachers from various denominations have described the recent declaration of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) by Newsweek magazine as one of the 50 most influential people on earth as a good omen for the country. Pastors who spoke to LifeWay said Adeboye’s recognition was deserved considering his accomplishments with the RCCG believed to be the fastest growing in the world. It was their consensus that Adeboye was a worthy winner in view of his exemplary lifestyle and leadership qualities. Bishop John Praise, the South-South National Vice-President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) described Adeboye as a “dogged and committed Christian leader worthy of emulation,” adding that Adeboye’s impact transcends his church, as his ministry continues to touch lives worldwide. ‘’He is more than a Redeemed leader because leaders in Nigeria and across the world consult with him and he keeps touching lives at an incredible level,’’ Praise declared. On the significance of the honour, he said, ‘’it shows that Nigeria is coming of age and that this country can still produce credible and honest men who can hold their own anywhere in the world. ‘’You know the world has always believed that Nigerians are crooked and perverted. This honour coming from a credible international magazine like Newsweek has shown that it is not totally true. It is a refreshing statement that the last has not been heard of Nigeria and that there are credible people around here that will get recognised for their exploits one way or the other.’’ Bishop Praise, who oversees Dominion Chapel International in Abuja offered that Adeboye’s recognition was an encouragement to the younger generation “to keep doing whatever good they find doing and that in due course, honour will come their way.’’ He advised his colleagues in the ministry to understand that the world is watching and depending on their conduct would either be recognised or castigated. Dr Austin Ukachi of He’s Alive Chapel in Lagos said the recognition was a “testimony to Adeboye’s faith, humility and commitment to God,” pointing out that Adeboye has been able to lead a movement within the church that

has survived for over two decades. “If you look at the history of church growth in Nigeria, you find that no denomination has been able to be on top for this long. Just when you least expect, they fizzle out and relinquish leadership but Adeboye has kept Redeemed on top for over two decades and that says a lot about his capacity as a leader. “The honour is both deserved and prophetic because I have been privileged to be at the church’s campground in Texas, which used to be the base of the dreaded KKK. That a black man has taken over the t Adeboye land shows that it’s the turn of the black race to shine.’’ Ukachi disclosed that the honour has taught him more lessons about life and ministry. “These lessons are that every leader must be humble. Two, grace is not a product of efforts but God’s hands upon one’s life. Three, it has confirmed that people are watching and will come up with their assessment one day.” Chairman of Lagos PFN, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, also saw the honour as a “plus to Nigeria and Nigerian preachers,” adding it confirms his long-held view that there are still genuine men of God in the land. According to Adefarasin, Adeboye’s exploits with RCCG is “just a fraction’’ of why the honour was bestowed on him. “I think more importantly, his honesty and transparency over the decades have earned him this. It is an eloquent statement to the fact that beyond one’s achievements, one must remain as accountable as possible and know that virtues are much more important than accomplishments.’’ The Minister-in-charge of Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro Lagos, Rev. Israel Kristilere, submitted that nobody could deny the L i f e W a y

massive influence of the RCCG General Overseer, adding: “Adeboye has demonstrated that men of God can be influential like the prophets of old and that if people stay where God has called them, they will certainly touch lives and change the world.’’ The sectional leader of Assemblies of God Church, Sango, Ogun state, Rev. (Dr) John Amah said the massive crowd he pulls and the millions of lives he has touched made him a worthy choice. “He is humble, dedicated, meek and peace-loving despite his wide influence over people and that is a rare thing to find in our days,’’ he asserted. The General overseer of Ever-Winning Faith Ministries, Ikeja Lagos, Rev. Solomon Ojigiri described the honour as ‘’a refreshing reminder of the faithfulness of God.’’ “When you look at how he has been consistent and upright, you receive inspiration to keep going in the face of the many temptations around. So to that extent, he is a father and a worthy winner. I think he deserves something bigger and better,’’ the lawyer-turned-preacher submitted. By Sunday Oguntola in Lagos.

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BUSINESS LIFE

The Seven Pillars of

BY BAYLESS CONLEY

Notwithstanding what the experts say, step into 2009 with the assurance of God’s word in your heart that success is your birthright

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here are seven distinctives of successful people. And I am going to use the word, S-U-CC-E-S-S as an acronym. The first S stands for “see.” Successful leaders SEE into the future. They are not just managers. They are visionaries. There is a difference between a manager and a visionary. You have to take time to dream and imagine what might be. In fact, I think it is important that you have regular scheduled time to dream. Some people have ceased to dream. They get bogged down with the details, and they don’t take time out to dream. And whether you take one day out of the week or a certain time every month or a certain portion of a day, you ought to have time where you unplug the phone, turn off your cell phone, lock the door, and just get quiet and dream about what might be. 18

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BUSINESS LIFE

And as believers, we should take the brush of prayer, dip it into the ink of God’s word, and paint a picture on the canvas of our imagination. God gave you us imagination for a purpose, my friend, and it is important that we dream about what could be… not just trying to maintain where we are now, but thinking about where we need to be in the days ahead. It’s very important. I think the future is whispering to us all the time, but many people are too busy to listen. As a leader, as a business owner or as a professional person, if you stay so busy solving problems and man-

aging people and maintaining what you have so that you don’t have time to dream, whatever success you may have achieved would probably be short-lived. Every one of us has a future. You may be right now at this point unemployed. Your job is to get a job. And you should spend time getting out and beating the streets and doing whatever you need to do to get a job. But even in that situation, you still ought to dream. You ought to think about what could be. Don’t get so bogged down job hunting that you are unable to see into the future. Joshua came to the city of Jericho, this huge fortified city, and what does God say to him? “Joshua, see, I’ve given you the city and its mighty men of valour.” He told Joshua to see it already as conquered, to see the people already as defeated. In other words, ‘Joshua, if you are going to get it, you have to see it first’. Friend, if you are going to see it, you have got to dream. And this applies whether you are a manager, a company owner, a CEO, or a housewife. If you are going to be a successful leader, if you are going to lead other people, you have to see into the future if you will be successful. The second letter in the word “success” is U: Successful leaders UNLOAD unnecessary baggage. With businesses as competitive as they are today, those carrying unnecessary expenses or unnecessary personnel won’t make it. Sometimes the extra baggage can be a programme or a new arm of the company that has been added, and it can be hard to cut, especially if it is a pet project or something you had a hand in setting up. If it was your idea, if it was your baby, if you invested time and prayer or whatever into it and it’s not working even though you realise it is excess baggage and needs to be snipped, it can be very hard to do it. When unloading excess baggage, you may have to make what some people call a ruthless call. You do it in love, but sometimes you just have to do it. See if this sounds ruthless to you. John 15:1, 1

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” “Every branch in Me that does not bear

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fruits He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

A successful leader will unload unnecessary baggage; will cut away unnecessary things. And sometimes that can be a programme or a person that’s in a wrong position. And that can be a very hard thing to do. But do it you must. The next letter in the word “success” is C. Successful leaders CREATE an environment of trust. Now if you are an employer, you do that with both your customers and your employees. If you are a leader on a team in a church, you do that with your team members and the people that serve underneath you, the people that you give guidance to. You create an atmosphere of trust. Much is not accomplished without an atmosphere of trust, and the only way to do that is to have some good old-fashioned character. Be a person of integrity. That will create the atmosphere around you. What you are on the inside will create the atmosphere that surrounds you. People will pick up on it right away. Keep your word to the people you work with; keep your word to your customers. Don’t break your word. If you have given your word, even if it costs you, keep it. Even if you end up with ‘the short end of the stick’, it will eventually pay off if you do create an atmosphere of trust. There is no such thing as a successful leader without integrity and without character. You know, sometimes when you are a boss, manager, or leader, people are going to come and confide things in you that you know are private in nature. And if that comes back to them from some other employee or some other person, you are finished! You have shattered the possibility of that person ever trusting you again unless you go to them with hat in hand and a bouquet of flowers and say, ‘Look, I’m a fool. I never should have done that. I broke a trust. Will you forgive me’? If you can’t keep private things private, you are going to break trust. You will never have an atmosphere of trust if you break the confidence of somebody that shares their heart, that opens themselves up, and that becomes vulnerable with you. You know, maybe an employee shares about, ‘Hey, I’ve been having a struggle in my marriage. I’ve been flirting with this person or that’ and that gets back to them, bad news. The next “C” stands for CLEAR COMMUNICATION. Successful leaders have clear communication. Proverbs 13:17 says,

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PILLARS OF SUCCESS

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“An unreliable messenger can cause a lot of trouble. Reliable communication permits progress.”

John 21:20, 20

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Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

Isn’t that an interesting thing to find at the end of a gospel? Jesus made a certain statement, and somebody got it wrong and spread the false information that John was not going to die. And John, writing his gospel later, says, ‘Man, I’m going to kill this stinking rumor because if people think that Jesus said I’m not going to die, and now I’m old… I’m writing as John, the aged … and when I die, maybe they are going to think that some of the other things that Jesus said aren’t true’ either’. And John said, ‘Look that is not what He said. This is what He said’. Clear communication. Realise that you have to communicate some things over and over, and do it little by little at a time. In fact, it is always good to remember the process that you went through to reach your conclusions. Generally, we go through a process before we arrive at something, maybe it even took us a six-month process to reach our conclusion. There are some people, if you are in an organisation who will just say, ‘Look, this is what we are going to do’, and that’s it. You don’t need to explain to them. However, there are other people you have to endeavor to lead through the same process that you’ve been through if you want them to see the same thing and understand the same thing you are trying to understand. In fact, if you have got something on the screen of your heart, sometimes it takes awhile to download that onto the screen of someone else’s heart. Now both oral and written communication

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must be clear. Habakkuk 2:2. Says: “Write the vision, and make it plain, that he may run who reads it.” Write the vision. Make it plain. So he that reads it can run. Now they will either run from it, or they will run with it. But at least they will be clear on what you are communicating. Write the vision; make it plain.

The “E” stands for evaluate. Successful leaders EVALUATE progress. They don’t live with their heads in the sand. 2 Kings 12:4: And Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the dedicated gifts that are brought into the house of the LORD –each man’s census money, each man’s assessment money—and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the LORD, 5 “let the priest take it themselves, each from his constituency; and let them repair the damages of the temple, wherever any dilapidation is found.” 6 Now it was so, by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, that the priests had not repaired the damages of the temple. 7 So King Jehoash called Jehoiada the priest and the other priests, and said to them, “Why have you not repaired the damages of the temple? Now therefore, do not take more money from your constituency, but deliver it for repairing the damages of the temple.” 8 And the priests agreed that they would neither receive more money from the people, nor repair the damages of the temple. 9 Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored

In other words, the job got done. But here it is: Jehoiada says, ‘All right, this is the way we are going to do it. You guys collect the money; make sure that everything gets done.” They got a lot of money and nothing happened. So what does the king do? He evaluates it. He says, ‘Guys, this isn’t working’. And he adjusted. When your employees or team members have worked hard, and they have made measurable progress, you should try and reward them. Go out of your way to praise their efforts or their accomplishments. Sometimes one encouraging word is worth a week’s worth of work for somebody. You give them one encouraging word, and that’s worth a week to them. One card, they say, is worth a month. You write a little note to somebody, say, ‘Man, you are the bomb’! They will be on fire for another month just because you took 30 seconds to write a little card out to them. And money doesn’t hurt, either. People like money. If goals haven’t been reached or sufficient progress has not been made, you should ask why. Here are four common reasons why: Maybe there has been unclear communication. People didn’t know what was expected. Sometimes that’s why there has not been measurable progress. The second reason why sometimes goals haven’t been met is because there have been unrealistic expectations placed upon people. It is never a good thing. If they are working under unrealistic expectations, then you are going to be mad when the goals aren’t reached, and they will feel terrible because the goals weren’t reached. Another reason why sometimes goals aren’t achieved is when wrong people are in key posi-

If you are going to be a successful leader, if you are going to lead other people, you have to see into the future if you will be successful.

a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the rights side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who kept the door put there all the money brought into the house of the LORD. 10 So it was, whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and put it in bags, and counted the money that was found in the house of the LORD. 11 Then they gave the money, which had been apportioned, into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they paid it out to the carpenters and builders, who worked on the house of the LORD, L i f e W a y

tions. Not bad people, but just perhaps not gifted for the job or maybe too busy with other things, and they can’t concentrate on the job that you have given them or they have a maintenance mentality rather than a growth mentality. And sometimes you won’t know until you put a person in a position. You think they have got every potential in the world. You like them, they’re pleasant, they are great to get along with; but you put them in there, and you realise that they don’t have the stuff. And sometimes if you keep a certain person in place, they are just never going to achieve what you need to get achieved. continues on page 41


SPECIAL FOCUS ON

Churches in

Communities - A Platform for National Transformation

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he following pages tell the remarkable stories of some of the churches/ministries that are running with this kingdom agenda.They narrate to us their attempts to significantly improve the welfare of the people in the communities they are located, and thereby promote national transformation. During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ outlined a five-point kingdom agenda for the church (Lk 4:18,19).They are: 1. To preach the Good News to the poor: Good news to the poor means He has given the church the mandate to empower the poor economically. Jesus was being practical; He didn’t say, ‘the Spirit of the Lord has come upon me to give Me the grace to pray and fast’. Hence He fed the hungry. 2. To release the captives: What does that mean? Captivity means disability.The church is to provide succour for the socially disadvantaged - for example, women that have 10 children because of ignorance and cannot take care of them, widows, homeless and abused children, old citizens, pensioners, prostitutes etc. 3. To open the eyes of the blind: The third in the kingdom manifesto of Jesus is opening the eyes of the blind.That is talking about the physically disadvantaged, like people who are sick.You can only help less than 2% of the people through supernatural deliverances but we can do a lot more through the provision of health care delivery services to take care of the sick. 4. To bring freedom to the downtrodden and strength to the bruised. What is that talking about? It is talking about ministering to mentally and morally and spiritually disadvantaged people.There are mentally disadvantaged people in our society, there are morally disadvantaged people in our society and there are spiritually disadvantaged people in our society.That is why we have to minister to the soul of the people. 5. To preach or declare the year of jubilee. What does that mean? ThIS is talking about political transformation which is based upon principles of Christ and His kingdom.They include but are not limited to sacrifice, honesty, hard work, loyalty, integrity and compassion.The underlying principle for politics should be equality for all because there is really no poverty anywhere.The underlying reason for poverty and suffering is mainly because of unequal distribution of resources so that is why we must raise up politicians in the church who will become agents of change and national transformation. - Adapted from a message, “The Kingdom Manifesto of Jesus” by Pastor Sunday Adelaja. It was preached at the January 2006 edition of Apostles In The Marketplace in Lagos. L

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Partnership for a New Nigeria -Enthroning a New Social Order By Elishama Ideh There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a New Order of things. NICOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527).

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n the course of my work as an Evangelist with Christ The Ever Present Ministry (CTEM), I have come to experience, first hand, the debilitating and heart-rendering living conditions of Nigerians, and I believe, with all humility, that God is raising me, not only to touch lives practically and spiritually, but to speak concerning these suffering masses. The people are suffering, not because this country is poor, but because of the quality of leadership we have, unfortunately, been saddled with since independence. We are unarguably one of the mostendowed nations on earth, both in terms of human, natural and material resources, yet we continue to grapple with unproductive struggles, endemic corruption, underdevelopment and debilitating poverty. In a nutshell, although our leaders (past and present), may have had good intentions and tried their possible best, the truth, however, is that they have failed, and abysmally so… because the people are suffering. Nigeria, our beloved Country! The Giant in the Sun! The Pride and Hope of the black Race! A Land of stupendous wealth! A Place of Limitless Possibilities! Today’s Eden. Yet, Nigeria, in spite of all these, is sadly, a paradox of sorts. Or how come the inhabitants of such an extravagantly endowed land still live in abject poverty? How come a land that should rank among the ten richest nations, is today ranked among the Twenty Poorest Nations on earth? How come a country that should be a paradise now appear to be a parched, difficult and unyielding desert, so much so that the citizens now groan under excruciating pains of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, indiscipline, dashed hopes, underdevelopment and unbridled corruption? And the people wonder: How is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers… LAMENTATIONS 4:1-2

Our renowned brightness is now dim; a people, once revered as

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giants, are now regarded as nothing better than dwarfs; our star no longer sits in the firmament for all to see; our light is gone out and all that is left, is darkness, despair, sorrow, tears… gnashing of teeth! Nonetheless, for how long will things continue this way? How long shall we sit, resigned to the impending doom? How long shall we continue to leave our fate in the hands of leaders who have shown, time and time again, that they are incapable of leading us to the Promised Land? Leaders who have done nothing but pillage our commonwealth and betray our every trust? Beloved, it is time to arise, if our light must shine, again! Consequently, the fact that our dear nation needs redemptive leadership; a leadership that can steer the ship out of the murky depths of unfullfilment, dashed hopes and dreams can no longer be contested. And as a strong believer in the LORD Jesus Christ, the ultimate redeemer of creation, it is also obvious that such leadership can only come from within the Body of Christ, as He alone has the wisdom and power to redeem our nation. If the truth must be told, I strongly believe that it is anomalous for church leaders to concern themselves primarily with what affects their local assemblies, while foreclosing or paying scant regard to the things that happen in the larger society, forgetting that the church is an integral and inalienable part of the larger society, because what affects the society invariably affects the church. Our case should not be like the ostrich that, whenever it senses danger, runs and hides its head, while leaving the entire body exposed. Without any doubt whatsoever, it behooves our church leaders to W a y


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champion and be in the fore-front of the agitation for that ethical revolution that will put this country on the path to true greatness, because until and unless we have credible and enduring leadership and the concomitant betterment of the lot of the average Nigerian, it goes without saying that the Church would have failed in her responsibility as the light of the world. And it is perhaps instructive to note that we are the light of the world, and not the light of the local church or congregation. Based on this understanding therefore, there is indeed the urgent need for the Body of Christ to come together, speak with one voice and exert the power inherent in us, with a view to enthroning this New Social Order where righteousness, peace, integrity, prosperity for all, purposeful living and fast track development would become the order of the day. To this end, PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW NIGERIA (PFANN) is consequently championing this call for ethical revolution and the reawakening of every Nigerian’s consciousness, whether at home or in Diaspora, on the urgent need to salvage this nation. A socio-advocacy group, PFANN cuts across religious, social, ethnic, cultural or political divides, and seeks to enthrone this new order through: r Evangelical/Outreach Programmes

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Seminars/Conferences/Symposia Interviews/Press Releases Feature Films/Documentaries Paid Advertisements/Inserts Bill Boards, Posters, handbills Brochures So far, work has commenced in earnest as we have, in the last two years, gone round churches with the message on the need to enthrone a new Nigeria, and what the church can do to effect this. Equally, we have put together a quarterly conference tagged Kingdom Dimensions Series where church leaders and members of the fourth estate of the realm come together to rub minds on the way forward. So far, three editions of the KDS have taken place in Lagos, while plans are afoot to take this forum to other parts of this great country. Of course the task is herculean and the challenge very great; nonetheless, we are undaunted because by the grace of God, we shall achieve that which He has commissioned into our hands. Beloved, there is no iota of doubt whatsoever that the future of this country is in our hands. If we sit down and do nothing, we would only be mortgaging and by extension, jeopardising the well-being of not only this generation, but generations yet unborn. Join us therefore, as we seek to awaken the consciousness of every Nigerian to rise up and break this unending cycle of hopelessness and defeat over this nation, so that A New Nigeria … that Nigeria of our dream will come forth. The power to midwife this New Nigeria is in our hands; and the time to act is NOW! And like the PFANN theme song says: Every Nation Needs a Man A leader who understands Someone to help them reach their goals And dreams in life. You have the power to make this happen… Let’s stop this suffering Drive away poverty from our land So the people of Nigeria Can smile again We are so blessed Yet we live so less ‘cos our leader extort from us There is need to change this Order And move Nigeria to greater heights. There is a Clarion Call And we all must heed this call: To take Nigeria Back to her place of glory…

thes to the poor ing out food and clo t Evangelist Ideh giv

Kindly Head this Clarion Call Today! Evangelist Elishama Ideh is the Founding President, CHRIST THE EVE-PRESENT MINISTRIES (CTEM) and Initiator, PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW NIGERIA (PFANN) CTEM OFFICE SUITE 1-8, JEHO-SHAMMAH PLAZA, ABIODUN JAGUN STREET, BY CMS GARAGE, OGBA LAGOS NIGERIA 01 791 9562; 0802 956 1015; 0803 409 8130; 0803 714 8665 Web: www.ctemngr.org; Email: elishammaideh@yahoo.com

t I love my country

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Daystar Christian Centre: Case Study of a Church in Action

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aystar Christian centre, a church with a mandate to raise role models in our society, has been going about its mandate with high resolve in reaching out to the communities around us. Tremendous impact of out church has been felt in areas like Education, Health and Social to mention just a few. It is the belief of our church that the responsibility of developing our society should involve the church and other private individuals and organizations; by doing this, we complement the efforts of government. Some of the Community Development Projects that has been initiated or completed by us include but not limited to the following: r Construction of multi-purpose hall in Oregun High School, Ikeja Lagos. r Re-construction of five Schools at the Ikeja Military Cantonment, Ikeja Lagos.

r Construction and equipping of Science and Home-economics laboratories in Oregun High School, Ikeja, Lagos. r Construction of Six classrooms for Wasimi Primary School, Maryland, Lagos. r Distribution of 90,000 note books to 17 Secondary & Primary Schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State. r Construction of water bore hole at Gbagada Junior High School. r Construction of water bore hole for Alhaji Amoo Community at Ojota. r Donation of hospital equipment to 3 Public Hospital on Lagos Island. Namely Lagos Island Maternity Home, Massey Children Hospital & Onikan Health centre. r Construction of Street Light on Ikosi Road, Oregun Lagos.

t The accidental bomb blast of January 2002 destroyed five schools in the Ikeja Cantonment. This led to the merging of five schools into one school; the students were combined in a proportion of three classes of students to one classroom. For more than six years, the destroyed schools remained that way – that is until Daystar stepped in. Today, the five schools are nearing completion as the pictures in this story tell. The schools are expected to be completed and delivered to the authorities in the next one month. t Abandoned building destroyed by bomb blast in The Military Cantonment, set for renovation

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t Administrative & laboratory block donated to Oregun High School

t Block of toilets @ Oregun High School

Contact: 43c Ikosi Road, Oregun, Lagos. Tel: +23417937413, +2348034338822.Email: contact@daystarng.org. Web: www.daystarng.org

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Christ Church: Committed to Nation Building

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hrist Church is a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God under Area 004, Lagos Province 15.The church started in October 1994 as an outreach mission of the then Apapa Parish of the R.C.C.G. known as Freedom Hall. Initially known as Courage Centre, the name change to Christ Church occurred in 1997 when the church moved to its present site. In July 2003, the church building was dedicated by the General Overseer, Pastor E.A. Adeboye. Christ Church aims to be a relevant church. It intends playing an active role in transforming its communities and the lives of those it comes across, serving the underprivileged and needy, affecting lives socially, emotionally, spiritually and financially, making a difference in people’s lives, and having an impact on the environment and community. According to Ayodeji Jeremiah, the Media Relations Officer of the Church, the underlying philosophy of its social engagements is that ‘wherever Christ went, He was doing good.’ Some of the community development and social responsibility initiatives of the church are carried out through the following organisations/units: 1. Courage Education Foundation 2. Edens Field 3. Heritage Homes 4. Trinity Leadership School 5. TIMELESS Courage Publishing Limited 6. Prison Ministry 7. Lydia Grace Foundation

the Bible in Psalm 127 verse 3 which says ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’.This simply means that all children belong to God and we are responsible for them all.The first home is a bungalow of 120 square meters, with capacity to house 30 children. With the assistance of kind individuals, the church was able to furnish and equip the home with standard amenities to ensure the comfort and well being of the children. The idea of The Heritage Home was birthed in 2002 when the church was led by God’s instruction to set up a model orphanage for orphaned and abandoned children. A group of about 12 pioneer members got together shortly after to pray, plan and strategise. In 2004, the organisation was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Following weeks of successful fundraising in March 2006, the home was able to purchase, renovate, furnish and equip its first home. By September 2006, staffs were in place and eventually on the 20th of November in the same year, the home welcomed its first baby, Joshua, a three month old boy to the home.The second child Chinedu Joseph (approximately 4 years old) came two days after on the 22nd of November. As at March 2008, the home has successfully saved 22 lives and placed three children in responsible families through adoption.

TRINITY LEADERSHIP SCHOOL t Opening of Heritage Homes by Mrs. Abimbola Fashola

t James Onyejekwe, Anthony Village Police Station Area Commander, cutting the tape to declare open the office building donated by Christ Church through its Police Community Relations Committee.

TIMELESS COURAGE PUBLISHING LIMITED

THE COURAGE EDUCATION FOUNDATION The Courage Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the empowerment of the Nigerian child through the provision of quality education. It awards scholarships to intelligent but indigent children.

EDEN FIELDS HEALTH INITIATIVE Eden Fields was established to provide professional and value added health care services to all, irrespective of race, creed or religion. This healing centre is intended to help reduce lapses in the health care delivery system in Nigeria and is to be situated in a serene location in Lagos. It will provide health care to cancer patients and support or medication to people living with HIV/ AIDS. In the long term it will cater for people with kidney disorders. Eden Fields provides services in two principal areas: 1. Medical Healing Services 2. Medical Research, Support and Information Dissemination

t Lagos Deputy Governor Princess Sarah Sosan hosts members of the Courage Education Foundation

t Opening of new Edens Field Office

TIMELESS NEWSPAPER is published by TIMELESS COURAGE PUBLISHING LIMITED, (a private limited liability company incorporated in 2002), owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Christ Church Parish.The company, which is also involved in the publishing of Christian, motivational, management, business, political and issuesoriented books is also the publisher of the newly introduced Christian newsmagazine, THE CHRISTIAN NEWS and the business and leadership quarterly journal, TIMELESS BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP QUARTERLY. Every year the newspaper celebrates its existence through The TIMELESS Nigeria Lecture Series. The series of annual lectures/national discourse also serves as its way of contributing to national issues and as our own service to the nation. Last year, it held its fifth anniversary lecture with the theme, “Transforming the Nigerian Economy.” The speaker at the occasion was Mr. Donald Duke, immediate past Executive Governor of Cross River State.

LYDIA GRACE FOUNDATION

HERITAGE HOMES The Heritage Homes is registered as a non-profit, non-governmental, Christian organisation set up with the primary purpose of saving the lives of orphaned and abandoned children in our society.The name,THE HERITAGE HOMES is derived from

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The Trinity Leadership School graduated her pioneering students in October 2000. Eight years after, the school has widened her scope and curriculum to include applied leadership principles for life-changing experiences.TLS is poised to imbibe in her student leadership principles as laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ.The vision of the school is to nurture, equip and embolden individuals by inculcating the spirit of integrity whilst developing Godly entrepreneurs and managers with leadership skills and values.The objectives of the school are to make better leaders and managers through the transformation of the mind, bring about the leadership and management qualities of participants through an understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses, inculcate the spirit of integrity in all leaders and managers, empower entrepreneurs and leaders mentally and financially and make godly principles the hub of all training to be given.

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The Lydia Grace Foundation works with women and girls facing the challenges of poverty, destitution, homelessness and prostitution.The Foundation presently has a home in which it temporarily houses the women who are trained in several vocational skills and mentored by professional women who are volunteers.

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The Shepherd’s Flock: Ministering to the Total Man

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eyond the physical structure, a church can be described as the spiritual consciousness of people to involve the presence of God in their lives through prayers in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Although the major responsibility of a church can be said to be religious, its social relevance can not be overlooked. Infact, the church daily assumes more relevance in this context in our society since the church also reinforces the values of goodness, togetherness, unity and tolerance among the people. The Shepherd’s Flock International Church has been a worthy experience of this dual role of the church. The anointing of God Almighty on the set man of the mission, Rev. Tony Akinyemi and his experience in life gave birth to the church on January 28, 2005. Rev. Akinyemi, a Professional Computer Engineer had his pastoral indoctrination, training and tutelage in Foursquare Gospel Church. The Shepherd’s Flock International Church was commissioned to raise a Holy, Healthy and Highly Successful People.The essence of the church is to grow a people of Power, Purity and Prosperity. Through obedience to the word of God, members enjoy God’s power as did the apostles of old. The divine directions from the Holy Spirit help worshippers push sins far away from their abode; thus, creating room in their lives for the ultimate reward of obedience – all around prosperity. (Job 22:23) TSF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ROLES: The Shepherd’s Flock International Church enjoys the uniqueness of being that place of worship where tips on healthy living and adherence to healthy dietary routines are revered next only to the word of God. Under the able tutelage of Rev.Tony and Pastor Tutu Akinyemi, the church’s contributions to the upliftment of life in its environment are as follow: r Quarterly Health Seminars aimed at creating enlightenment on physical, mental and emotional health.The essence of these seminars is to educate the people to know that through healthy living habits and appropriate choice of food, disease conditions can be reversed and potential risks averted. r Free monthly aerobics exercise both to church members and interested members of the public.The church engages services of professional instructors who help participants achieve weight control goals and generally stay fit and healthy. Young professionals, busy executives, businessmen and busy housewives

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who, ordinarily, would not have time for keep fit exercises have benefitted from this programme every month.The programme holds on the First Saturday of every month after the Morning Dew Prayers at 8.00am. Collaboration with neighbourhood residents associations to improve the drainage systems at Abule-Onigbagbo, Ikeja and environs, thus showing commitment to the community concerns on flooding. Free Health Seminars and Counselling Clinics at neighbouring barracks and military settlements around Ikeja. Free Summer Coaching Classes to students during and off session holidays. Key subjects taught include English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Economics. This programme especially parades the dual benefits of getting the youths positively engaged while also drawing their parents closer to the church community. Quite a number of these parents have come to spiritual salvation in the process. The Tony Akinyemi Children Education Foundation. This was established to cater for academic needs of children from indigent backgrounds. At regular intervals, scholarships are awarded to brilliant children of the less privileged in the community. The fund also caters for school fees of children in situations where the parents suddenly encounter financial challenges.

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Changing Our World Foundation: Raising the Standard of Living in Obalende r r r r

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he Changing Our World Foundation is an outreach of the Guiding Light Assembly Church Ikoyi, Lagos. It aims to better the lives of the underprivileged in our society. In order to do this and obtain lasting results, it was decided that the Foundation adopt a community, rather than just give hand outs.This informed the adoption of Obalende by the Foundation in 2006. BACKGROUND The Obalende area is one of the most densely populated areas of Lagos Island, Lagos. Historically, it was a settlement for the returnees from the civil war who could not afford housing in Victoria Island or Ikoyi. It gradually became home to urban dwellers that provided labour services for the organised workplace. The composition of its residents represents the diverse ethnic tribes of Nigeria, such as Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo etc and other African nationals from the neighbouring countries such as Benin Republic, Ghana andTogo. Religious groups, namely- Christian and Moslems are represented in the community. The community thrives on the operation of small-scale businesses such as the presence of numerous eateries (popularly known as bukas), tailors, electricians, mechanics, and hairdressers, chemists, who invariably serve the wider populace of Lagos Island. The presence of a busy bus terminal, motor, taxi and motorcycle (Okada) parks has turned Obalende into a nerve centre for commuters.The diverse activities going on contribute to the rowdy nature of the environment.Traffic congestion occurs daily and almost all the roads are taken over by street traders and the various mediums of public transportation. Obalende can be characterized as a community engulfed with the practice of indiscriminate dumping of refuse, blocked drains, illegal trading structures, indiscriminate defecation on streets; unsafe drinking water, bad roads and poor housing. The general impression of the environment is one of chaos, abuse of town planning regulation, overpopulation and a poor practice of waste collection and management. If strategies are not put in place to arrest this alarming situation, Obalende will be faced with an urban sanitary crisis culminating in numerous public health related problems, with a possible outbreak of an epidemic.This could have cause to affect the wider population. The continued presence of degradation will give rise to depreciation in the value of properties and as such, demand would be mainly from the miscreants of society. Presently, Obalende is faced with a steady rise in criminal activities such as drug abuse, prostitution and robberies.

HEALTH From July 2006 the Health team was able to conduct twice a month outings, using the Obalende health centres and targeting 250-400 persons per outing. It also concentrated on health education, using these outreach opportunities to pass on simple health tips to Obalende residents. Of the people seen at the inaugural visit, 15% were diagnosed with high blood pressure and given immediate treatment. Main Activities r Health education. r Medical Examinations and dispensing of routine drugs- multivite, vitamin B complex, Iron tablets, paracetamol, glucose etc. r Treatment of specific illnesses- commonly malaria, pneumonia and other cough, hypertension, diarrhoeal, asthma, fungal infections. r Referrals: Diabetes, tuberculosis, suspected HIV/AIDS cases and other sexually transmitted diseases, surgical cases like hernia and appendicitis, incision and drainage for boils. Also gynaecological cases. r Partaking in disease prevention strategies. r Psychological counselling and advice on smoking, weight loss and healthful living. Achievements So Far r 3,615 people were attended to from June-December 2006 r Males: 1,313, r Females: 3615 r Mean age: 33 years r Age range: 1-76 years

CHURCH INTERVENTION Christened the “Obalende Project,� Changing Our World Foundation has been working assiduously ever since was formed in 2006 to improve the lives of the people in the community. In order to achieve this goal, the Foundation was divided into seven teams namely: r Health r Feeding r Education

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Economic empowerment Governance Environment Media

in t Pastor Wale Adefaras

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system and facilities are in a deplorable and decrepit state.The schooling system is associated with poor attendance, probably due to poor understanding of the value of education and the need for indigent children to supplement the family income through street trading. Delivery of basic education is further hampered by the lack of trained and qualified staff. Most Staff are underpaid and often paid in arrears. Making matters worse, often times the parents of these children are themselves illiterate or none committed to the quality of their wards education. Two schools were identified for our intervention. These are: Dodan Barracks Primary School and the Army Children’s School. The foundation undertook to renovate the school building and its facilities including classrooms and toilets. The t Bird’s eye view of Obalende School roof had been completed and provision of portable water. We have received donations for r Donation of water guards (purifiers) fans and more school equipment but the major work of r Donation of various drugs to the health renovation has yet to commence. We have equally purcentre chased school books, toys and other educational materials r One unit of borehole sank at the for the school children to the tune of over N1m at our health centre to serve the centre and book drive in 2006.The children have also been treated to the market. carnivals during Christmas and on Children’s Day. Indeed Future Goal with such gestures, the children can look forward to a Immediate, renovation and furnishing Feed the poor t nd brighter future. of the health centre by 2 quarter of 2007. One of the key elements in the Education Team’s strategy is improvement of the quality of FEEDING education provided. This means that the focus Food is one of the most basic requirements of is on learning, rather than merely schooling. An man and the purpose of the Changing Our World education curriculum must allow learners to Foundation is to positively affect the lives of everyday acquire knowledge; develop skills and appropripeople in Obalende and particularly the poor and ate attitudes that are useful for life and that can needy. It is difficult to discuss issues such as the benefits be adapted as life’s circumstances change. An of education, sanitation and economic activities with important tool toward achieving this is the use someone who has an empty stomach. The Feeding of high quality materials for teaching and learning. Team provides on a weekly basis food for the chilThe supply of new textbooks with appropriate t Dodan Barracks Prima dren, the unemployed, widows and the elderly. At ry School adopted by the content and up-to-date methodology, while being Foundation least 500 people are feed every week. While every a worthwhile achievement, cannot stand alone fortnight cooked food is served to the children and without attention to the teachers’ ability to handle the unemployed, raw food is distributed to widows and the elderly. the content and the new methodology. For this reason textbook inducThe vision is to go in with what we have (five loaves and two fishes), and let God bless our efforts by providing the increase. Ultimately, we hope to have a regular soup tion will be provided to teachers through in-service training as well as supporting kitchen where the underprivileged in the community will be feeding on a daily basis. teacher guides and regular school supplies. Regular in-school mentoring and support will need to be prioritized in order Achievements to Date to ensure that the calibre of teaching is to reach a standardized, acceptable level. We feed 500 to 800 people every time we distribute cooked food that has We do this through: occurred at least once a month from July 2006.We try to distribute 80 packs of raw r Provision of in-service training for teachers currently teaching in the schools. food to widows, single mothers, and the elderly at least once a month. r Developing a mentoring system with trained mentors in support of the quality The food committee has been able to ensure that the food items are purchased of teaching and learning in the schools. and cooked and packed for distribution. The Logistics committee has been able to provide necessary transportation, r Supporting the recruitment and deployment of well-qualified teachers to the school. chairs, tables & canopies and venue management. r Initiating the provision of grants from donors in support of teacher remuneration. The Finance committee kept record of contributions received from members r Promoting the increase of the budget allocation for the school by local authorities and non-members and ensured that enough funds were generated for each feeding. r Supporting the introduction of income generation schemes to promote school The relationship and fact finding committee has met with several community income and teacher incentives leaders to get information for the overall planning of the team’s activities and these are ongoing relationships which facilitate the Foundation’s efforts. ENVIRONMENT EDUCATION The environment group have come up with a water project to construct 6 Given the social and economic context of this neighbourhood, the educational

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water points in strategic locations in Obalende Community, in conjunction with carrying out a public enlightenment campaign to promote safe hygiene and sanitation practices. It is believed that this intervention will provide clean and easy access to water, which will enable the Community to lead a cleaner and more hygienic life t Waiting to be served by the end of the project period.We have created a workable arrangement whereby we charge a nominal fee for the upkeep of the system, paying the attendants wages, upkeep of the generator and for possible repairs to the equipment. The Environment Team also participates in the monthly environmental sanitation exercises in Obalende distributing waste disposal bags and educating the community of the health implications of poor sanitation habits as well as encouraging residents to bag their waste properly before disposing. Working in concert with the Community Development Authority (CDA), members of the Obalende Residents Association and the local government; the Team is actively addressing the sanitary needs in the community. In partnership with Skye bank, the Environment team has placed fifty bins at strategic locations around Obalende and on the last Saturday of every month, it educates residents on cleanliness and hygiene. With each step, the face of Obalende is changing.

in the voters registration. Flyers explaining the voters’ registration process and its importance were distributed Obalende during the registration period. Once the election process begins in earnest, further promotions will be added such as car stickers and seminars. MEDIA GROUP The media team provides communications support to the overall projects of the Changing Our World Foundation. For the Obalende project in particular, the Group has the specific objectives of: Promoting the project widely to gain awareness, financial & practical support and perhaps encourage the replication of such a rehabilitation project amongst other communities. In conjunction with the other project groups, devise communications plans and public education activities which will facilitate the rehabilitation process by encouraging changes in mindset and behaviour. To maintain an archive of the project recording its progress as well as the improvement of the Obalende community as a result of the project activities so that lessons may be learnt and a community rehabilitation model developed for the future. The Group provides support in the following areas:

t Free primary healthcare

GOVERNANCE r Newsletter Transforming Obalende is about bringing about t GLA member cleaning the environment r Public education leaflets change in the lives of a community. In order to make r Media relations a positive and permanent change in this community r Audio-visual support involves equipping it with the necessary tools. We must inform its residents and empower them to start and sustain the process of attaining a better r Events r General communications advice life for themselves. Join us as we uplift the lives of the Obalende community. The objective of the Governance Team is very much in keeping with this as it is about encouraging the Obalende community to take control of their own lives. One of the most important ways of doing this is to get involved with the political ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT The Economic Empowerment team of the Obalende Project kicked off their system, ensure that they contribute towards putting in power those who will have their interests at heart, who are committed to improving the nation and prioritizing activities by raising a small fund to create a capital base from which a revolving micro credit scheme was established for the benefit of the Obalende community. the basic needs of humans worldwide – education, health, and infrastructure etc. Focus is placed on public enlightenment and leadership development. Before, The group has been able to identify a need among the widows in Obalende to get during and after elections, the team works by conducting drives to get the locals of funding for their small business activities. On September 23, 2006 the Economic Empowerment team in collaboration Obalende to partake in the voter registration exercises. To cut through the lethargy and disillusionment that pervades the community regarding politics, members of with the Susu Micro-Finance Bank, organized a seminar for the widows in Obalende the team walked through Obalende, going from door to door talking to people to explain how the proposed revolving micro-credit scheme works and how the about using the power they have to effect change in their lives. The same is done widows could benefit from it. The collaboration with SuSu Micro-Finance will enable the economic empowerwith small groups such as the local widows, Road Transport Workers Association ment team monitor and ensure repayments of loans. and market women. The scheme presently gives out micro financing ranging from N 15, 000.00 Initially the reaction was not encouraging. The people of Obalende did not believe that they could affect politics – could their individual votes really effect (fifteen thousand Naira only) to N 35, 000.00 (thirty-five thousand Naira only) to change in their lives? Also they were rather skeptical about the intentions of the people who already have businesses and require additional funds or for start-ups, members of the Changing Our World Foundation. Were we trying to influence their however all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. Inquiries votes to serve our own purposes? However as they began to see a consistency Tel: +23412701839, +23412701841. Email: secretary@guidinglightin message, a commitment to the effort and a sincerity of purpose, they began to be more open to the message that their vote counts and so they should partake assembly.og

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CHURCHES IN COMMUNITIES

Fountain in the Community

A

t The Fountain of Life Church we believe our impact should be felt in our communities and beyond in a positive and tangible way. Developing countries such as ours are rising from a history of leadership difficulties, and this has challenged us to make a difference and manifest what Christ came to change: the lives of the people in their totality for the better. We consider it a privilege to be able to touch lives in the way the Lord has enabled us to do and we continually seek to increase our scope of activities so we can affect more lives. REFORMATION AND REHABILITATION MINISTRIES MISSIONS City Missions Outreaches: we cater for young boys who have run away from home, older men deemed social miscreants and young girls and adult females.The strategy includes permanent fellowship centres in each location, introduction to formal and vocational education and medical support. The Grace Springs Home: young boys who have run away from home and now live on the streets are brought into a home living with a house father and mother. They are also formally educated in private schools by the church. Mission Fields: we support mission fields both within and in Francophone West Africa. PRISONS OUTREACH We minister to prisoners’ spiritual needs and also recognise that they need practical help in various areas either to be able to have a more purposeful life while in prison or to be better prepared for life after incarceration.We currently provide assistance to five prison facilities, ranging from maximum to minimum prisons. EDUCATION SUPPORT PROJECT Our desire is to enrich the quality of the educational experience which children in state owned schools receive, and contribute to ensuring that each child in schools adopted by the project is equipped with the skills required for successful participation in the L

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21st century marketplace. GRACE SPRINGS MEDICAL CENTRE This is a registered facility providing 24-hour medical services. These are essentially primary health care and some secondary level care. Plans are on hand to increase the scope of medical care we provide.The outreach is also actively involved in combating AIDS by creating HIV/AIDS awareness through FOLCHAP (Fountain of Life Church HIV/AIDS Programme). FOOD The Lord’s Kitchen is a feeding programme that provides meals for the poor and those unable to permanently or temporarily provide food for themselves. The kitchen currently serves almost 150 meals a day (Monday to Friday). They also provide dry food items to various homes and orphanages in Lagos once a month. WATER The Borehole Project helps to alleviate the suffering our people face in searching for clean and safe water and it has been able to improve their quality of life through the provision of potable water. We are also involved in drainage construction and clearing of the neighbourhood. THE FARM PROJECT This project will serve as the vehicle for making our own contribution to the food security of this nation.We aim to achieve a training ground in agribusiness from where people can be released into the marketplace to both make a living in agribusiness and also make a positive impact on improving the food security of our country. DORCAS DEPARTMENT This is one of the oldest departments in the church where we are able to support many within the church materially and financially.The department focuses largely on alleviating the financial and material challenges faced by our members. W

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CHURCHES IN COMMUNITIES

FOTA: Committed to a Better Life for Nigerians

tive measures to reduce vulnerability through feeding, clothing and strengthening productive capacity through medical care.

O U R C O M M I T M E N T TO C O R P O R AT E N I G E R I A ne of the pillars of Jesus’ teachings is on giving especially to the poor. Everywhere you turn in Nigeria you will be inundated with vivid pictures of people needing interventions for food, clothing, health and education. We believe the body of Christ must play a positive role in alleviating these. For these two reasons, 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes Humanitarian Organisation was registered by Rev. Yomi Kasali, the Founding Pastor of Foundation of Truth Assembly in Lagos. The beauty of this organization is that it does not discriminate based on religion, colour or tribe.

O

F OTA P RO J E C T F I V E L O AV E S A N D T WO F I S H E S 5Loaves 2Fishes is a faith based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 2005. Burdened by plights, threats and vulnerability to poverty, we are committed towards humanitarian palliatives to alleviate poverty via: r Feeding the poor r Clothing the naked r Medical care, predicated on the mobile clinic The project is named after the lad that fed the men with 5 loaves and 2 fishes in John’s gospel (Jn 6), coupled with the encounter that Rev Kasali had in Dec 2005, while preparing his Christmas programme for the local church. He heard Jesus ask him, ‘where and how’ He would have spent Christmas if He were to be alive.That conversation sparked the fire that birthed the vision of Project 5 loaves 2 fishes. The mandate as expressed above is to capture 3 of the 5 poor human social conditions mentioned in the Gospel of Matt 25 vs 31 – 46 about the last day Judgment of the righteous and sinners. Hence, 5 loaves 2 fishes is focussing on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and providing ‘free’ medical services to the sick (primary health care only) Foundation of Truth Assembly’s (FOTA) belief and advocacy for sustainable livelihood envisioned 5 loaves 2 fishes as pallia-

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D I D YO U K N OW ? r One third of deaths - some 18 million people a year or 50,000 per day are due to poverty-related causes.That’s 270 million people since 1990, the majority women and children, roughly equal to the population of the US. (Reality of Aid 2004) r Every year more than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases - that’s over 30,000 per day and one every 3 seconds. (80 Million Lives, 2003 / Bread for the World / UNICEF / World Health Organization) r Over 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day with nearly half the world’s population (2.8 billion) living on less than $2 a day. (UN HDR, 2003) r600 million children live in absolute poverty. (SCF, Beat Poverty 2003). r The three richest people in the world control more wealth than all 600 million people living in the world’s poorest countries. (Source:ChristianAid) r Income per person in the poorest countries in Africa has fallen by a quarter in the last 20 years. (Source:ChristianAid) r 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. (Source:FAO) r Ever y year nearly 11mill i o n c h i l d r e n d i e b e fo r e t h e i r fi f t h b i r t h d ay. (Source:UNICEF) r Every 30 seconds 1 child die of malaria in the world. r Upwards of 1 million Nigerian children die before their fifth birthday every year r Healthy Life Expectancy at Birth is 41-42 in 100 r On health, people spend 74.5% from private pockets in contrast to government expenditure of 25.5% r Access to medical doctors is 0.28 per 1000 Nigerians r Out of 100 children and adult that die (of all causes not only medical) in Nigeria 28 deaths are caused by Malaria, respiratory tract infections and diarrhea. r Only 20% of children with diarrhoea are treated. r Only 32.8% of children with infections receive treatment. r Only 33.8% of people with malaria receive antimalarials. r Death rate associated with malaria is 209 per 100,000 persons r 110 million Nigerians are active malaria patients who spend more than 800 million for its treatment every year. r 82 out of 100,000 cases of Tb die r Percentage of TB cases using the recommended treatment is 18 per 100,000

t Clothes for distribu tion

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PROJECTS Biannual Programs Our bi-annual programs (Easter and Christmas) provide free medical treatment, free food and free clothing to communities. Several communities benefited from these programs. They include: Makoko, Sari Iganmu, Olaleye village etc Medical Outreach We also do in-between medical outreach with volunteers that cut across Medical Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and individuals from


CHURCHES IN COMMUNITIES

t Rice for distribution in Makoko

t Medical personnel dispensing primary health care services

t The need is huge. Residents of Makoko queing up for the goodies

t Glad to be of service

all works of life. Communities such as Sari-Iganmu, Makoko, Olaleye have benefited immensely from this community service. In 2009, we plan to provide free medical services on a monthly basis and weekly basis on procurement of our mobile clinic. Mobile Clinic Initiative To effectively reach the less privileged in their communities, preparations is on ground to procure a Mobile Clinic which would go out to give free medical attention regularly.This vision can be achieved through philanthropic individuals and corporate bodies. We estimate that it will cost us about 14million Naira to fully execute this plan. With your help and by the grace of God, we intend to touch the lives of people. Sponsorship and donations are needed to make this a reality. ACHIEVEMENTS AND PLANS r Since inception, we have provided free food, clothing and treatment to about 8,000 people. r In 2009 our plan is to provide intervention on a monthly basis initially and weekly on acquisition of the mobile clinic. r We will be providing free diagnosis, medical treatment to at about 30,000 patients especially children and women. L

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r We will also conduct mass de-worming exercises in some communities to ensure that the growth and mental development of children are not hindered. r To contain the malaria scourge, 16,000 insecticide treated bed-nets will be distributed free to families especially for mothers and children. r In addition, will conduct free mass screening for hypertension, diabetics and cholesterol. r We will also conduct free HIV/AIDS counselling and testing, ophthalmology screening. r Our advocacy program will work with the Lagos State Government and the respective local government in providing drinkable water to identified communities. For further information, please contact The Program Manager, FOTA 5 Loaves 2 Fishes Humanitarian Organization 40/42 Imam Dauda Street, off Eric Moore Rd. by Jimoh Odutola Street, Surulere, Lagos. Tel: +234-1-8966545, +234-1-7404141-2, +234-8033528244, +2348060455577 E-mail: info@5loaves2fishes.org www.5loaves2fishes.org W

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PILLARS OF SUCCESS

continued from page 20

The fourth reason is we live in a pretty crazy world. Sometimes the economy just goes down and everything is not working as they should. “S”: Successful leaders SEEK wise counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says: “In the multitude of counselors, there is safety.” Successful leaders seek wise counsel from other successful people. I think you should also seek counsel from within the ranks of your own organisation. And if you are a housewife, maybe seek counsel sometimes from your children. Ask them some questions and find out what they think. See, your employees, your co-workers, and your children, they are in the trenches every day. Your employees deal with the customers, suppliers, and they see the good, bad, and the ugly and many of them have good ideas that can help you. It wouldn’t hu.,rt for all of you even to have an idea box, and have something like IDEA OF THE MONTH. You say, ‘whoever has the best idea this month, we are going to treat him/her to dinner’. And please, not Burger King! Do something better than that. The final “S”: SAVOUR your victories, but don’t live there. The Apostle Paul said, ‘Forgetting those things that are behind, I

press on’. In other words, celebrate milestones, enjoy success and victories along the way, but keep growing. Most successful restaurants will occasionally change some items on the menu because they realise they need to do that if they are going to keep customers coming in. Now principles like personal service or proper communication don’t change, but methods can change. Methods are not sacred. Almost everything, including ideas, has a shelf life.

that you can keep growing. You don’t have to stay the same. And let me encourage you, it is great to be successful, but you need to move from success to significance. Just because you make a lot of money doesn’t make you successful. Be significant. Why prosper? Is it just so you can get your dream house and build a nice deck there and retire at 50 or whatever? I means, is that success? That might be nice, but God

What worked and what was trendy ten years ago may not work today. It may have worked ten years ago because nobody was doing it, but now everybody is doing it, and you are just another one in the pack.

What worked and what was trendy ten years ago may not work today. It may have worked ten years ago because nobody was doing it, but now everybody is doing it, and you are just another one in the pack. It is time for a fresh idea. Some people become obsolete because they are not thinking ahead. They are savoring the victories, but they are living in them as well. Celebrate your milestones, but keep growing. Your greatest asset is the fact

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wants to bring success into your life so you can be significant, so that you can help people. Life is a vapour. We are here for a little time, and then it vanishes away, and we are going to be standing before God. And we need to use the resources He brings our way for a higher purpose. Enjoy the blessings and enjoy the goodness God brings into your life but realise God brings it to you because He wants to bring it through you.

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LEAD STORY

THE TR AVAILS OF

Sunday Adelaja Observers cite politics and envy in attempts to implicate Pastor Sunday Adelaja in a troubled investment scheme. BY JACKSON EKWUGUM

“I

am not aware for what purpose this information was placed on the internet, although I think that the wrong impressions that they might make, should be corrected.” That was how Pastor Sunday Adelaja of Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Kyiv, Ukraine responded to recent reports circulating on the internet that was involved in an investment scheme that allegedly bilked investors of 100 million dollars (aboutN1.5b). Pastor Adelaja, whose profile has been on the rise in recent times, was accused in November by the government and a group of bishops in Ukraine for being involved in King’s Capital, an investment company that has been unable to meet payment obligations to its customers since the global economic meltdown hit Europe in the second half of last year. The company drew many of its investors from the church allegedly promising as much as 60 percent returns on investments, and it was alleged that Adelaja used his position as Senior Pastor to influence members of the congregation to invest in the company. In December, some church members reportedly went to authorities saying they were unable to recover the money they invested, which left many of them bankrupt. Police later arrested one of King’s Capital leaders, Aleksandr Bandurchenko, on suspicion of fraud. 42

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LEAD STORY

Despite the absence of hard evidence directly linking Adelaja with the company, the government seemed desperate to nail him. In the wee hours of Friday January 2, “Berkut” special units of the police force simultaneously stormed the office of God Embassy and the home of Adelaja. They broke into both places and carted away computers belonging to the church and the pastor. Pastor Adelaja later the same day submitted himself for interrogation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs where he was questioned for six hours about his alleged involvement in King’s Capital. As at press time, Pastor Adelaja’s international passport had been seized by the authorities meaning that he would not be able to honour his international speaking engagements until it is released to him. Regarding his interrogation, Pastor Adelaja remained upbeat:”I am glad that the police have decided to accomplish their direct duties. The case should be investigated instead of making statements for one’s personal or political gains. Regarding the search, we are trying to give all freedom to the police. We have nothing to hide. Results of the search will prove our innocence and deny arguments of skeptics. I believe that the investigation and court trials will help prove me as an honored and respectful man, and to defend my name.” Pastor Pavel Fedorov of God’s Embassy who witnessed the search narrated that representatives of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MIA) wanted to interrogate pastor Sunday as a witness. However, he said, “searches are held in the premises of people suspected in a crime. But here we see that the same procedure can be made in premises of a witness. It might happen that Ukrainian militia will soon search witnesses of road accidents!!! According to him, “One of the negative consequences of the search is that officers of the MIA confiscated the office computers that prevent us from connecting effectively with churches, brothers and sisters all over the world. The things that really upset are the rough breaking into Pastor Sunday’s flat, broken locks, and wasted house. All these actions show the MIA at a disadvantage, but at the same time they must encourage us to pray for all law enforcement bodies so that God could help them to raise their cultural and professional level.” Observers of the recent developments in

Ukraine are convinced that Pastor Adelaja’s latest travail may not be unconnected with politics. There have been speculations in some quarters that the government inquisition is being fuelled by a desire to cut the Nigerianborn preacher “down to size.” It is believed that some highly placed officials in government have become very uncomfortable with the massive influence of the pastor and want to use every available opportunity to raise doubts about his integrity, especially using negative media reports. A secondary target of the attack, sources told LifeWay, is the Mayor of Kyiv, Mr. Chernovetsky, a member of God’s Embassy Church, whose rising popularity puts him in pole position to contest the next presidential elections in two years time. Given his closeness to the influential charismatic preacher, the sources said, Chernovetsky would be finished politically if Adelaja was indicted in any way. The government seems to have found a willing ally in the religious establishment. As soon as news of the police investigation broke, various church leaders in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union quickly denounced Adelaja for his alleged involvement in the company even before they considered the facts of the case, or heard his side of the story. There were even insinuations that he was planning to flee the country after allegedly taking funds from King’s Capital to establish a microfinance bank in Lagos, Nigeria. Despite Adelaja’s denial that he was not a part of King’s Capital, Bishop M.S. Panochko, leader of the All-Ukrainian Union of Pentecostal Churches of Evangelical Faith, which comprises 1,500 churches across the nation told Charisma recently: “He was not a president of this company, but he was the No. 1 spiritual leader, and he told them what they have to do. He can do everything to tell them [he is] not involved, but all [the] leaders have a lot of facts, and we have a lot of video of when he was pushing people, and he encouraged people to invest in this business.” Pastor Rick Renner, founder of the Good News Association of Churches and Ministries for Russia, Latvia and Ukraine, reportedly told his congregation that the members of God’s Embassy should leave the church if Adelaja doesn’t repent. “They are not obligated by God to sit up under deception,” Renner said. “ … It’s not the position of a pastor to say to his people, ‘Sell L

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everything you have and put all your money in this particular company,’ especially if that pastor has an interest in that company. That is a very impure recommendation.’” Pastor Renner also criticised Adelaja’s political stance. He said media reports about God’s Embassy’s involvement in the Orange Revolution have caused some governments in the Eastern bloc to introduce new laws that have made it difficult for churches to operate. “Pastors and Christian leaders are now trying to maneuver through new restrictive laws that have been passed because of Sunday’s claim that he and his church organised the Orange Revolution,” Renner said. “He owes the body of Christ an apology, first for lying about the fact that he organised it and carried it out, and second, for creating this very difficult environment for which others are now paying a very high price.” According to Adelaja, “regarding the situation with King’s Capital Company I want to remark that even though A. Safonov is a minister of the Embassy of God Church there is no connection between this company and the church, except that some members invested their money there. “I don’t understand the position of some Christians who are making so much noise around us just because the founders of this company are from our church. I am declaring with responsibility that I don’t have any relation to the foundation; managing of activity of this company. “Also note that the founder of this company A. Bandurchenko is a member of the Word of Life Church in Feodosia, and is a graduate of the Word of Life Bible School in Moscow which was founded by Ulf Ekman. It is impossible to claim that all these pastors and leaders are guilty in the activity of this company. We, as pastors, are teaching people to love God and to fulfill His Word. Every person makes his own choice and has his own responsibility before God, their conscience and the law.” Adelaja’s claims were corroborated by the founders and directors of the company, A. Bandurchenko and A. Safonov who, in an open letter to the President, Prime Minister, the General Procurator, and Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine said that “rumors about any relation of “Kings Capital,” Pastor Sunday Adelaja and Kiev Mayor, Leonid Chernovetsky,

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S U N D AY A D E L A J A

are not true.” According to them, “neither Pastor Sunday nor Mr. Chernovetsky, nor anyone else, (except for the founders and directors of the business), have had direct or indirect participation in the managing or activity of the business. They have never received any income of material, or non-material values from the business, Kings Capital.” The directors explained “that starting from November 2008, due to the financial crisis, we find it impossible to fulfill all of our business projects in such a short time, and we decided to stop making payments temporarily. This is our own responsibility before our clients. At the moment we focus all our efforts on leading the company out of the current financial crisis.” LifeWay learnt that the situation at King’s Capital was not peculiar to it because at least 25 banks in Ukraine have had to be bailed out by the government as a result of the global economic crisis. However, Kings Capital, being a private company, did not qualify for government bailout. LifeWay found baseless allegations that Adelaja funneled funds from King’s Capital to start GS Microfinance Bank Limited in Nigeria as part of his plan to leave the country (Ukraine). GS Microfinance Bank is a duly licensed bank in Lagos that was promoted by two professionals in the persons of Gabriel Owope, a director and Segun Adaju, the Managing Director and CEO. It was only recently that Pastor Adelaja was invited to join the Board of Directors. According to Adaju, “I recommended him to

t Rick Renner: I’m sorry

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the Board of Directors for appointment at our last Board meeting and it was approved by the bank,” adding that Adelaja’s involvement has been “totally misrepresented.” Describing the allegations against him as “unfounded,” the managing director told LifeWay that Adelaja’s accusers were “looking for something that is not there.” According to him, it took a lot of convincing for the Ukraine-based pastor to accept the invitation to the board. Adelaja, he explained, wanted to be sure that it was not primarily a profit making venture. Affirming that the concept of microfinance bank is the “most promising solution to the problem of poverty in Africa,” Adaju said Adelaja whom he described as a “role model and mentor” has a passion for “the eradication of poverty having read his book, ‘Declaring War on Poverty. “Our expectation is that Pastor Sunday will bring his goodwill, wealth of experience and contact internationally to bear on the network of the bank through such organisations as United Nations, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grameen Bank and Professor Muhammad Yunus. The Board of Directors of the Bank thereby passed a resolution during its board meeting of September 20, 2008 to appoint Pastor Sunday Adelaja as a director of the bank, subject to the notification and approval of Central Bank of Nigeria.” The Managing Director confirmed that, although the ownership structure of the bank which was originally wholly owned by Mr. Owope and himself, has been diluted, Adelaja’s shareholding “is insignificant.” “The promoters of the bank have invited other well placed Nigerians to invest in the bank and currently, the bank has about 20 other investors including groups and cooperative societies such as National Automobile Technicians Association, Scrap Dealers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Association of Barbers, Cosmetologists and Hairdressers Association, Video Rentals Operators of Nigeria etc.” Mr. Adaju explained that Pastor Adelaja’s presence at the official commissioning of the Bank’s Head Office in Lagos in November may have been misunderstood and, consequently, “blown out of proportion.” The commissioning, he said, coincided with Adelaja’s visit to Nigeria in November 2008. “He was invited L

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by me to the commissioning of the Head Office building of the bank. There were others

t Adaju: People are looking for something that is not there.

from the United States, Europe, including the United Kingdom and Ukraine. Pastor Sunday is not involved in the management of the bank as he has just been appointed to be a director of the bank by the Board of Directors.” Regarding allegations that he planned to flee Ukraine, LifeWay can authoritatively report that Adelaja had repeatedly stated in public that he had no plan to start a church in Nigeria as there were already “too many churches” in the country. He has always expressed his view that he would rather work with existing pastors and churches to affect lives. His involvement with the microfinance bank, he said last November in Lagos, was one such strategic partnership to alleviate poverty in the country and Africa. The bank has a vision to lift 40 million people out of poverty in Africa within the next five years, he said. On allegations that he “exaggerated” the figures of his church membership and the facts of the Orange Revolution by claiming that he made it happen, Adelaja had this to say: “We don’t have exaggerations in our statistics. For all the years of the Embassy of God’s existence more than 2 million people have repented. We can prove this with the applications that people personally filled out upon coming forward for the altar call. These are pure statistics. We never declared that we have 2 million people attending the church. Although we do declare


S U N D AY A D E L A J A

that 2 million people have prayed the prayer of repentance in the Embassy of God Church. “Today the Embassy of God Church has 25,000 in Kiev. These are the people who are gathering in auditoriums of the capital of Ukraine, and have over 30 services every Sunday. Also we have 700 churches throughout the whole world and the total amount of people attending these services amounts to 100,000 people. These numbers are dry statistics which you can’t argue against. “Regarding the Orange Revolution, I never declared anything like this. Please don’t think that I made such statements - this is not the truth and is an absolute lie. I’m making an official statement that I didn’t say such a thing, and I couldn’t make the Orange Revolution. However, the believers from our church, as other citizens of Ukraine, took a very active part in this revolution. I can’t deny that.” Although the role of members of God’s Embassy Church has, at various times, been highlighted in the Orange Revolution, Adelaja has maintained that he never claimed to have been responsible for the movement. He defended his stance to encourage his members to be politically active. “We don’t push anyone from the Embassy of God Church into political positions,” he explained. “Although we have a teaching that every person should fulfill their God-given calling in the social sphere of the country: either in the social sphere, or political sphere or sphere of business. Also, it is known that members of other churches, protestant and Orthodox, are also participating in the political life of the country. Therefore from my side we support and encourage everyone who decides to fulfill their God-given commission and thereby establish the Kingdom of God and His principles in the sphere where the Lord has called them to.” Nevertheless, Pastor Adelaja, however, asked for forgiveness from the bishops of Ukraine if any of his activities or that of the Embassy of God Church has caused harm to the image of the protestant churches of Ukraine. With the facts beginning to surface, some of Adelaja’s accusers have begun to do a volte face. One of them, Pastor Renner, has already apologised to the Embassy of God. “I am very sorry if my words offended members of the Embassy of God Church,” he said in

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a statement posted on the internet. “Believe me: I did not have such intentions and purposes. We like the Embassy of God Church and its investments in the establishing of the Kingdom of God in Kiev deserve respect. The role of this church in the city life is very valuable and we pray for its confident future.” Renner continued: “I have known Pastor Sunday more than one year and love him and respect him. I would like him and the members of his church to know that we pray for them. We also pray that the church would go through the difficult times as soon as possible. I ask God to cover us with His mercy and always hope that God will reveal His mercy and extend His cover upon over lives. There is none perfect among us; we all make mistakes. I want to close with these words; that God’s mercy may overcome any difficulties, recover and heal us. The blood of Jesus is covering everything which I am really thankful to God for.” This is not the first time that Adelaja would be colliding with the political establishment in Ukraine. He has survived several lawsuits and two deportation attempts for spreading “religious propaganda” without licence since he founded God’s Embassy Church in 1994. He is still held in suspicion by many Ukranians, including religious leaders, who accuse him of “brainwashing” their people (The congregation of God’s Embassy is over 99% white). Pastor Adelaja first gained public attention when, after graduating in Journalism from Belarus State University, he pioneered a Christian television programme known as In the Beginning was the Word. He later answered God’s call to preach the gospel and founded the church. The headquarter church in Kyiv has in its fold the elite business class, members of parliament and some leading political figures. But it was not always that way. After a shaky six-month start in 1994, in which the church stagnated at seven members, Adelaja said God told him to reach out to the down and under if he was to make impact in the ministry. “In the beginning,” he told LifeWay in 2003, “our church was known as a church for the alcoholics, outcasts and the downtrodden. When I started going for the drug addicts to take them off the streets, they didn’t mind my colour because they were already down and L

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out. But soon the power of God came upon them and they were set free. They got cleaned up, restored and began to wear suits.” Three months after he began the rehabilitation programme, the church grew to 1,000 members. “You see,” he said, “their families had given up on them. Naturally, when they got restored, their parents, friends and peers wanted to know how it happened.” The fast growth of God’s Embassy Church, he told LifeWay in 2003, was part of God’s end time plan to build mega churches in once cold Europe, not just in Russia. “Secondly, just like Russians used to export weapons of warfare and mass destruction to other nations of the world, they will begin to bring good news to the countries of the world especially to China and the Arab world.” The success of the ministry has been attributed in part to the collegiate leadership style of Adelaja. Even though he is the founder and senior pastor of the Embassy of God, the church has a bishop, A. Belonozhko, who sees to the daily running of the church. Responding to recent questions about the management of the church Belonozhko said there is no cult-like followership in the church. “We have a system of managing the church which is one of accountability to one another,” he explained. “The highest point of management is the Apostolic Council (12 people), the Spiritual Council (24 people), and the extended Spiritual Council (100 people). Apart from Pastor Sunday, there is the Bishop of the Embassy of God Church and the Chairman of the Spiritual Council – neither of whom is Pastor Sunday. So there is no idolatry of a personality.” Meanwhile, the church is currently building a 12,000-seater Spiritual Center in Kyiv which it says “will be unique and become a symbol of revival of spirituality in Ukraine.” Pastor Adelaja was a participant at the Bill Clinton Global Initiative in New York where participants discussed global problems of the society and its solutions. He is a member of International Committee of Human’s Rights Protection; Honored Member of the Academy of Spiritual Unity of Nations of the World in the UN; Laureate of International Reward “Golden Fortune,” and author of more than 85 books.


When does giving a helping hand to someone known to you become partiality or favouritism?

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he word “nepotism” has taken a new meaning in my heart lately. The Advanced English Dictionary [AED] defines nepotism as “favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power [as by giving them jobs].” If we accept this definition, then we are all guilty of one form of nepotism or another. I must confess that I had held the view that favouritism was not synonymous to nepotism. I had believed that nepotism belonged to the realm of discrimination and tribalism. While this view is not wrong, what the AED shows is that we cannot exclude favouritism and partiality from the definition of nepotism. Nepotism is at the very root of Nigeria’s socio-economic ills and must be critically examined in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ. It was St. James who said: “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality… but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” – James 2:1,9. Nepotism, favouritism or partiality is a sin. Yet many Christians would see nothing wrong in showing partiality or favouritism in their workplaces in relation to their Christian or ethnic or biological brethren. It is too easy to ignore the subtle damage that nepotism does to the exercise of good judgment and soundness of corporate decision taking. We gloss over this in favour of the expedient benefits and self-satisfaction of being of help to someone known to us. The question, therefore, is when does giving a helping hand to someone known to you become partiality or favouritism? The acid test is that if by giving favour to my brethren I sacrifice merit or good judgment, then such a help falls squarely in the realm of nepotism. When the level playing field is removed so that someone may gain advantage over others, then we really stand in danger of being nepotistic. The question is how should the believers deal with nepotism in the nation and at the workplace? I recently came across a case study on two companies, Abbott Laboratories and Upjohn, and how their handling of nepotism set their corporate performance apart. Jim Collins in his # 1 Bestseller book, Good to Great, captured how two leaders in these companies handled the issue

of nepotism: “When George Cain became CEO of Abbott Laboratories, it sat in the bottom quartile of the pharmaceutical industry, a drowsy enterprise that had lived for years off its cash cow, erythromycin. Cain didn’t have an inspiring personality to galvanise the company, but he had something much more powerful: inspired standards. He could not stand mediocrity in any form and was utterly intolerant of anyone who would accept the idea that good is good enough. Cain then set out to destroy one of the key causes of Abbott’s mediocrity: nepotism. Systematically rebuilding both the board and the executive team with the best people he could find, Cain made it clear that neither family ties nor length of tenure would have anything to do with whether you held a key position in the company. If you didn’t

Nepotism in the Workplace: Are you Guilty?

faith @ work W ITH IMO A BA SI-JACOB

have the capacity to become the best executive in the industry in your span of responsibility, then you would lose your pay cheque…In the end, though,…Cain set in motion a profitable growth machine that, from its transition date in 1974 to 2000, created shareholders returns that beat the market 4.5 to 1, handily outperforming industry superstars Merck and Pfizer. Upjohn, the direct comparison company to Abbott, also had family leadership during the same era as George Cain. Unlike George Cain, Upjohn’s CEO never showed the same resolve to break the mediocrity of nepotism. By the time Abbott had filled all key seats with the best people, regardless of family background, Upjohn still had B level family members holding key positions. Virtually identical companies with identical stock charts up to the point of transition, Upjohn then fell 89% behind Abbott over the next twenty-one years before capitulating in a merger to Pharmacia 1995.” What this case story reveals is that we cannot get excellence in the workplace, even if we practice ‘Christian’ nepotism. How do we then prevent nepotism at the workplace? A few suggestions may suffice, and these may include: t Enthronement of a culture of meritocracy – this involves using the scale of merit to determine who gets what and sticking to it no matter whose ox is gored. t Setting high standards of excellence in all operational areas of the business and a monitoring and enforcement system. All that George Cain did at Abbott was to set standards and stand by them. t Whistle blowing if anyone is caught practising nepotism in the organisation. George Cain in our case study had zero tolerance for anyone that pampers nepotism, even though Abbott was partly owned by his family. Family ties did not get into the way. t Accountability to the Lord in prayer when we are confronted with the decision involving our tribesmen or brethren in Christ. “…The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.” [Deuteronomy 1:17] .Imo Abasi-Jacob is President of Haggai Business School in Surulere, Lagos. He also serves as a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God. You can reach him on imoabasi@yahoo.com


M AT T E R S A R I S I N G

WHO IS A

Christian? Are you a Christian because you go to church or you ‘asked Jesus into your heart’? There is a compelling need today to define who a Christian is in the wake of widespread deception and the multiciplicity of Christian and pseudo Christian churches. BY YOMI KASALI

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here are many definitions of who a Christian is in today’s world. THE ENCARTA DICTIONARY defines a Christian as a believer in Jesus as Saviour. Quite tempting, it sounds like the popular Pentecostal definitions today but a closer study of that definition may just make everybody in every denomination “Christians” including some practicing Muslims. THE ISLAMIC RELIGION defines a Christian as a follower of the teachings and ways of Prophet Isa, a.k.a. Jesus, in contrast to them being followers of the teachings of Prophet Muhammed. This of course equates Jesus with Muhammed as a Prophet and nothing more or special. To Muslims, Jesus is just like other prophets that have come before him and after, e.g. Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Obadiah etc. This is definitely not so, and is in fact, misleading because it belittles the redemptive work of the cross. THE CATHOLIC DEFINITION is slightly different from other denominations of Christianity, because Catholicism believes that the Christian church is headed by the Pope and a Christian must co-worship Mary the mother of Jesus with Jesus the Saviour. THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH defines a Christian as someone who has accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour, perhaps through an altar call. That of course does not really emphasise the place of living right on a daily basis for the Lord. The other denominations,

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Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Anglicans etc. in Christianity have slightly different definitions of who a Christian is. BIBLICAL TEACHING AND DEFINITION “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuaded me to be a Christian…” Acts 26 v 28

The confession of Agrippa above to Paul is about how he was ALMOST persuaded to be a Christian. What did he mean? Who was a Christian then? Who are Christians now? How does one become a Christian? How does the dictionary define Christianity and Christians? How does the Bible define Christians? How do other religions define Christians? These are the pertinent questions we will be looking at in this article. WHERE IT ALL STARTED “…and it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” Acts 11 v 26

We may need to treat the subject from the first place the word ‘Christian’ was used to pick up wisdom gems. The above clearly reveals that the believers were called Christians first in a church at Antioch, hence I will love us to take a closer look at some words that will let us into who a Christian is. The above verse could be paraphrased like this: CHRISTIANS ARE BELIEVERS THAT HAVE BEEN TAUGHT WELL IN THE CHURCH, therefore, one cannot be a Christian outside going to church. So for us to know who L

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a Christian is we must know who a believer is. WHO IS A BELIEVER? This is the most important part of this article, because it is on the proper understanding of who a believer is that I would build my premise for who a Christian is. Once we get the definition of a believer wrong then we may just get that of a Christian wrong as well. This is because the book of Acts tells us that believers were called Christians, meaning that the first step is to be a believer. So who is a Believer? John explains certain things to us. “As He spake these words, many believed on Him, and Jesus said to those which BELIEVED on Him, ‘if you continue in my words, then are you my DISCIPLES indeed’…” JN. 8 V 30- 31.

I am sure you are beginning to get into the mind of the Master concerning our subject. The steps to being a Christian have just increased by one more, i.e. BELIEVER to DISCIPLE to CHRISTIAN. I strongly believe that the book of Acts tells us a lot about who a Christian is. The first sets of Believers were called “Believers,” then “Disciples” before they were finally called “Christians”. In Acts 11 v 26, the Antioch experience was about 12 years after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and the birth of the church. Most importantly, it was as a result of the strong teaching ministry of Apostle Paul and not the miracle ministry of Apostle Peter (Acts 3,4,5,10), or even the supernatural manifestations in the life of Evangelist Philip (Acts 8). The making of a Christian was the fruit of


M AT T E R S A R I S I N G

teaching ministry in the Church; therefore I will take a closer look at some of the words in Acts 11 v 26 and explain with other scriptures. t ‘He assembled with the church’, t ‘Taught many great people’, t ‘And the Disciples were first called Christians’. He Assembled With the Church The church is the assembly where Christians are made from. Just like the Tertiary Institutions churn out graduates, so also the church is the production factory where Christians are manufactured. That is why I am not surprised at the apparent dearth of Christians in our city and our modern day world, because many only stroll in towards end of service to Church on Sundays while they give lame excuses for missing Bible Study during the week. Schools make Graduates, Bakeries make Bread, National Assembly makes Lawmakers, Auto factories make Cars, and so also the Church should produce Christians. He Taught Many Great People The apostle Paul taught these people for a WHOLE year, not for a week or two. Christians are products of consistent teaching of the ways of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. So many people ignore the midweek teachings in churches; even many Pastors only plan for the crowded gatherings of Sunday and do not pay pain taking attention to teaching services. Paul said: ‘my speech and preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom’, which infers that speech is different from preaching. When we preach sometimes, a lot of people are aroused and excited, but when we teach the reaction should be different. The motivational teachings inspire a lot of people to believe in THEMSELVES that they can make it through the storms and travails of life and also live their lives maximally, but you see it is still about THEM and not about JESUS. Christians are products of teaching ministries of teachers not preaching ministries of preachers, who come out and bark out orders at the people, who sometimes out of fear and intimidation make public commitments without inner convictions, only to go back when the dust settles in their different places of abode. The Disciples Were First Called Christians The disciples were called Christians, so how do we define a disciple? For us to know who a disciple is, I will have to take us back to John and hear what our Lord Himself said about being a disciple: “As He spoke these WORDS, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed

Him, if you CONTINUE in my WORDS, then are you my DISCIPLES indeed” Jn 8 v 30-31

Emphasis mine) It is very clear from the above verses of scripture that the first step to being a disciple is to be a believer, and you cannot be a believer without the word. So the story goes thus: Jesus was preaching and certain Jews became believers in His Word because the word reveals character. Afterwards Jesus told those Jews which believed that they should not stop there, but to take the most important step by becoming disciples (followers of His ways), and to be a disciple one must CONTINUE (i.e. it is not enough to commence but to continue) in His Word. A disciple therefore is a CONSISTENT believer in Jesus through obedience to His word. These Disciples at Antioch were the first to be called Christians after a strong teaching ministry of Apostle Paul in the same place. WHO THEN IS A CHRISTIAN? Jesus said “…by their fruits, you shall know them.” My answer to this question is that of my Master - by their fruits. However, the Lord also told us about the fruits to look for in a Christian. The above verses of the scripture reveals a lot to us about the steps to becoming a Christian, and it all starts with someone hearing the Word, ( faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, Rom 10 v 17), and believing in the word and the Author (Source of that word). Then that person becomes a believer, but then that person is encouraged to continue in that same word, the consistent exposure to the word of God will produce a transformation internally, and his/her

TREMBLES AT MY WORD”. My definition of a Christian therefore will be taken from this verse coupled with the ones above. For me it is all about His Word, hence, A CHRISTIAN IS SOMEONE WHO TREMBLES AT THE WORD OF GOD THROUGH THE COVENANT OF CHRIST UNTO OBEDIENCE IN ALL MATTERS OF LIFE. The aforementioned is a summary of the life of Jesus unto His Father. He came from Heaven to earth and died the death of a robber for us all in Obedience to the will of His Father. Search yourself…why do you think you are a Christian? Is it because you were born into a Christian home with a generation of pastors and apostles? Perhaps, it is because you were christened John, Peter, Rebecca or Ruth? Maybe you think you are a Christian because you never miss church on Sundays. Or do you believe you are a Christian because some pastor once preached a moving message and you cried to the altar and repeated words of accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour after the Man of God? Alright, yours is different…you must think you are a Christian because you are close to pastors and you eat in the same plate with Bishops. I congratulate you on your many achievements. Yet I must not fail to tell you that all these are good but not enough. The life of a Christian is the life of continuing in the ways of Jesus Christ…a life of adding more…always. That is why the Bible says: “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge selfcontrol, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance

Schools make Graduates, Bakeries make Bread, National Assembly makes Lawmakers, Auto factories make Cars, and so also the Church should produce Christians.

values will be changed, then the person becomes a DISCIPLE indeed. Afterwards this believer turned disciple must then begin to attend church more and get taught by Apostles, so that his profiting may appear to all (1 Tim 4 v 15-16). It is at this point that the people will call him/ her a CHRISTIAN. Note that the people called them Christians, not the other way around like it happens nowadays. The best that I am allowed to call myself is a disciple; the world should see Christ in me and call me by that name. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 66 v 2 “….but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and L i f e W a y

godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” II Peter 1 v 5

There is no such thing as once a Christian forever a Christian! You can only maintain your Christian status by constantly checking your life against God’s word and making adjustments where necessary. The beginning of a new year is a good time to make a resolution that you will not miss Bible Study this year and that you will be a Berean Christian and always go back to search the scriptures and meditate further on things learned in church. I pray God helps us all to be Christians indeed. Shalom!

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M AT T E R S A R I S I N G 2

Jesus

‘Ask

into Your Heart’?

We are forever talking about being “born again” in the church today. But are we truly getting people ‘born again’ like they did in Acts? BY ANDREW STROM

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ne of the most basic things that has amazed me for many years is the preaching of “Giving your heart to the Lord” or “Asking Jesus into your life” to become a Christian. Do we not realise that such a practice is found NOWHERE in the entire Bible? Is there ANY example of someone “asking Jesus into their heart” (or similar) to become a Christian in the book of Acts? NO - NOT EVEN ONE. The book of Acts is full of literally thousands of people becoming born-again Christians. And we are often told exactly what these people did. But there is no record of any of them doing anything like “asking Jesus into their heart” to be saved. Now SURELY, if the church has even remotely got its act together, it would have this one thing right. Surely this has got to be one of the most crucial and basic points in the whole New Testament:- How exactly are people supposed to become Christians? What were they told to do in the New Testament? A very simple and straight-forward question, you would think. But incredibly, it seems that very few of us have even bothered to ask this question or to take on board the glaringly obvious answer. Here we have one of the most vital, fundamental points that is possible to have in Christianity:- “What shall we DO TO BE SAVED?” And generally speaking, our answer today is utterly different from that of the apostles. It’s right there in

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black-and-white, time after time! But TRADITION has blinded our eyes to the Truth. And I’m sure that even many of you reading this will be shocked at how obvious the truth of this matter is. Let’s start with the day of Pentecost (-a great place to begin!) As we all know, the Holy Spirit fell on the 120, and they all began to speak in tongues. This is officially known by theologians as the birth of the Church - the beginning of Christianity as we know it. And after Peter preached his convicting sermon to the gathered crowd that day, another 3000 people were added to the church. And we are told exactly what occurred:- “... They were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO?’ And Peter said to them, ‘REPENT, and be Baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS; and you shall receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT’” (Acts 2:37-38 RSV). Notice how different Peter’s reply is to what we tell people today. We might have said something like, “Just say this little prayer after me” but Peter said nothing like that at all. There were three elements to what Peter told them:- REPENTANCE, WATER-BAPTISM and receiving the HOLY SPIRIT. We see this pattern repeated again and again, right through the book of Acts (-in fact, throughout the New Testament writings) in the most glaringly obvious way. And yet still we hear, “Just ask Jesus into your L i f e W a y

heart” preached throughout Christendom today. The next significant people-group to be reached by the early Christians were the Samaritans. In Acts chapter 8 we read how Philip the evangelist saw massive Revival in Samaria:“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were BAPTISED, both men and women... Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Acts 8:12-17)

Note the identical pattern to the salvations on the day of Pentecost. I hope you realise that we have been talking about THOUSANDS of conversions here. And NOT ONE of them involved “Giving their heart to the Lord” or “Inviting Jesus to be their personal savior”. If you look up these Scriptures in Acts, you will see that every time it was “Repentance, Baptism and Receiving the Holy Spirit”. -Over and over again. The next significant people-group to be reached by the early church was the ‘Godly’ gentiles (-Acts chapters 10 and 11). Peter was led to preach to Cornelius and his household. And God suddenly moved even while he was still preaching!:- “While Peter was still saying this, the HOLY SPIRIT FELL on all who heard the word... they heard them SPEAKING IN TONGUES and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone forbid water for BAPTISING these people who have RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT just as we have?’


M AT T E R S A R I S I N G 2

And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:44-48). Peter later described the scene again: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit FELL ON THEM just as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). He also referred to it as them being “Baptised in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:16). I hope you can see from these passages that the Holy Spirit ‘FALLING’ upon people is the same experience as people ‘RECEIVING’ or being ‘BAPTISED’ in the Holy Spirit. Thus we see the same pattern as before, in the salvation experience of Cornelius’ household t Repentant hearts t Receiving the Holy Spirit t and Baptism Another good example involves some disciples of John the Baptist whom Paul met at Ephesus:- “And Paul said, ‘John baptised with the baptism of REPENTANCE, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were BAPTISED in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the HOLY SPIRIT came on them; and they SPOKE WITH TONGUES and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6). I guess I hardly need to point out the pattern by now? Notice too that there were no “instructional classes” to prepare people for baptism. All the way through the book of Acts, people were baptised STRAIGHT AWAY, as soon as they were believing and repentant. With the Phillipian jailer, he and his entire household were baptised immediately - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (-Acts 16:32-33). With the Ethiopian eunuch, he was baptised by Philip straight away, in some water that they saw while travelling in his chariot (Acts 8:35-38). And the apostle Paul himself was baptised immediately by the disciple Ananias, who said something very interesting to Paul beforehand:- “Rise and be BAPTISED, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). This verse would be treated almost like “heresy” by many in today’s church. How shocking to imply that baptism might have something to do with forgiveness and cleansing from our past sins! However, there are many verses like it scattered throughout the New Testament. Also note that Paul was told this DAYS AFTER he had had his blinding ‘Damascus Road’ experience. Today’s Christians might assume that Paul was “born again” during this blinding encounter with God. Not so. Not

until Paul was to be BAPTISED was he to have his sins “washed away”. This is clearly what the Scriptures say. Arguments, anyone? Many Christians are taught today that Baptism is basically a ‘symbolic’ act. In my youth I was raised mainly in Baptist churches, and they always taught that baptism is an “outward SYMBOL of an inner change”. Thus baptism is stripped of much of its significance and power in Christian thinking. For a “symbol” is never as important as the real thing, is it? I have studied baptism extensively in the New Testament. It is NEVER spoken of as a mere ‘SYMBOL’. Rather, it is spoken of as being a ‘circumcision of the heart’, a “cutting off”, a “burial” into the DEATH of Christ. And it is also spoken of as being “for the forgiveness of sins” and to “wash one’s sins away.” I am convinced that in the spirit realm (from God’s point of view), baptism is seen as a LITERAL “burial into death” (-see Romans 6) which has a profound effect on our hearts and lives. But still we preach, “Ask Jesus into your heart,” and deny many people one of the most vital keys to living a Christian life. I am also convinced that baptism MUST be by ‘FULL IMMERSION’. Sprinkling little infants is not enough. This must be baptism for BELIEVERS. And the original Greek word ‘baptizo’ actually means “TO DIP OR IMMERSE”. So people must be ‘buried’ under the water in baptism, not just sprinkled. (-I’m sure most of you already agree with this).

saved at all? We are forever talking about being “born again” in the church today. But are we truly getting people ‘born again’ like they did in Acts? Bearing in mind the pattern that we have seen in the New Testament, what exactly do you think Jesus was talking about when He declared that, “Unless a man is born of WATER and of THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”? (Jn 3:5). Born of WATER, born of the SPIRIT. Hmmmmmm. That’s a tough one! Baptism in water and the Spirit are never regarded as mere ‘options’ in the Scriptures. In fact they are clearly ESSENTIAL experiences to begin to walk in Christ’s kingdom. There are many Scriptures on this that are often bypassed today or regarded as “inexplicable” because they do not fit in with current tradition. Please take the time to look up the following:- Mark 16:1618, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5-6, 1 Cor 10:1-2, Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 12:13, Heb 6:1-2, Rom 6:2-11, Rom 8:9, Mt 28:19, etc. I really mean it. Please do take the time to look at the above Scriptures if you have any interest in this issue at all. Many people write to me with their opinions, saying, “I cannot believe you are teaching this.” -And yet they have never bothered to actually look up the Scriptures on the subject! PLEASE read Acts and look up the above Scriptures before sending me your views. It is my belief that there are a number of important teachings and practices from the early

Baptism in water and the Spirit are never regarded as mere ‘options’ in the Scriptures. In fact they are clearly ESSENTIAL experiences to begin to walk in Christ’s kingdom.

Likewise I am convinced that Baptism in the Holy Spirit (accompanied by ‘speaking in tongues’) is ESSENTIAL. It is NOT just an option. As we have seen in the book of Acts, the way that people became Christians in the New Testament was to (1) Repent, (2) Be baptised in water and (3) Be baptised in the Holy Spirit (accompanied by ‘tongues’ as far as we can tell). What right do we have to change the fundamental teachings and practices of the Bible, just so we can make things more “convenient” for new converts? Unless we are getting people saved the Bible way, how can we claim to be getting them L i f e W a y

church that will be restored during the coming Revival. (-God often does this in Revivals). I am convinced that the above teaching will be one of them. (-I have believed this for many years). I realise that I have probably shocked and provoked a number of you with this article. Please believe me; I myself was very shocked when I first came face-to-face with these truths some years ago. They really are very apparent when you study them, but I was blind to them for many years. I was amongst those who gave out tracts like ‘The Four Spiritual Laws’ and led people in the “sinner’s prayer.” Like many, I would back this

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JESUS

up by mis-applying Rev 3:20 - “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me.” It was only later that I realised that, as Leonard Ravenhill points out, this Scripture is clearly aimed at the CHURCH, not at unconverted sinners. It is Jesus standing outside the ‘Laodicean’ church, trying to get in! Please go and read the whole passage - Rev 3:14-21. You will see what I mean. It is very clear. I am not ashamed that I used to preach these things. It was all I knew at the time. But I was certainly shocked to discover how much of the basic gospel I was leaving out. Like me, there are a number of you who will have to “search the Scriptures to see if these things be so” just as the Bereans did. Believe me, I fought these truths for months before I simply ran out of corners to back into. I knew the implications of this were huge and I just did not want to face it. But there they are in black and white. And this is not a trivial matter. These are key gospel truths that we are talking about here. Many people point out that the THIEF ON THE CROSS was not baptised or Spirit-filled, yet he was clearly saved. Please believe me, I had all these same objections when I first came across this teaching. But God annihilated all my excuses one by one. So let me deal with this “THIEF ON THE CROSS” thing right here. The most obvious question is:- When did this event occur - was it under the OLD Covenant or the NEW Covenant? When Jesus proffered salvation to the thief, was the Old Covenant still in place, or had the New begun? For clearly, it only became possible to become an actual CHRISTIAN (-born again - a member of Christ’s body) AFTER the New Covenant had started. And for the New Covenant to begin, Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb had to die and also be RAISED FROM THE DEAD. The New Covenant could not begin until this occurred. Surely we all know this? Jesus had to die and be raised from the dead, and then ascend into heaven, sending His Holy Spirit, before the Church could truly begin or people could start becoming born-again Christians. That is why people in the Old Testament, or even in Jesus’ own day were not “born again” the way we are today. They simply couldn’t be. Remember, Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest born among men, but even the least in the kingdom was greater than he. John the Baptist couldn’t become a “born-again Christian”

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because the New Covenant had not yet begun. I bet he would have loved the opportunity! Jesus died in agony and was raised again, to purchase for us this wonderful new life in Him. Surely we all know this? GLORY TO GOD!! Now back to the thief. Did he have his conversation with Jesus and die under the New Covenant or the Old? The answer, obviously, is: - The OLD Covenant. He was presumably a Jew - one of God’s chosen people (though a sinner), who received a wonderful pardon from Jesus when he repented and turned to Him. But those were very different conditions to those that we live under today. We now have a NEW Covenant - a NEW “agreement” with God, very different from the Old. We have a new and living way in which to walk. How do we enter into it? By being born again - of water and the Spirit. And this has only been possible since Pentecost - the day the church began. I am not saying that “death-bed repentance” is not possible today. I’m sure that God has reached down in His mercy many times to people who have turned to Him when they were close to death. But these are special cases. They are not the “norm” for New Testament Christianity. Repentance, Baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are ESSENTIAL to enter into the New Covenant, I believe. As I said, many people offer me their own views and opinions on all this without truly studying the basic Scriptures on the matter. It is important to remember that fundamental doctrines are not about mere opinion. They are

I am well aware that ‘doctrine’ tends to be divisive by its very nature. And I know that I am taking a big risk talking so openly about such a controversial teaching. I try and keep right away from doctrinal debates in general. It is only the most fundamental and important issues that I bother making a fuss about. Just imagine for a moment that I am right, and baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are a lot more important than we have been led to believe. Just think how many thousands of believers around the world today have received the Holy Spirit (including ‘tongues’) but have simply not bothered getting baptised. After all, it’s only “symbolic”, right? Or perhaps they say, “I got sprinkled as a baby.” I myself know many people in this exact position. I think it is terrible, and I believe God does too. Not to mention all the believers who still have not been baptised in the Holy Spirit. Don’t you think God’s heart aches over all this? Why do people ignore His commands? Our church traditions and habitual patterns have a lot to answer for in this area. This has got to change, my friends. And I believe it will only change when the underlying doctrines are challenged. But if I am right, the devil will fight this all the way. He likes anything that leaves believers impoverished or still chained up in any way. This really is crucial doctrine; otherwise I simply would not bother with it. I have really stuck my neck on the line and risked my reputation over this. And I do not do so lightly. I have been accused of being “legalistic” and

The real question is: - Is baptism a truly spiritual act, or is it merely a symbolic ritual? That is the real question.

about what the SCRIPTURES SAY. I tell you, I have put MONTHS of study and prayer into this whole subject. I could tell that it really was THAT important. I honestly considered EVERYTHING - every angle I could find. Please treat this with the seriousness that it is due. This is a very crucial area. I believe these are SALVATION issues that are being discussed here. And the case is enormously strong. Just read the Scriptures. (-It should take less than an hour to read through the Scriptures highlighted above). I urge any of you who are the least bit interested in this to PLEASE read those Scriptures. L i f e W a y

‘majoring on minor points’. I really cannot see this. As I have said, some doctrine is “straining at gnats” and some is really crucial. I believe this issue falls into the second category. Others accused me of being “too literal”! (I had to laugh over this). Now this is basic Bible doctrine we are talking about here, isn’t it? Too literal? What on earth else should we be? Other people accused me of believing in “baptismal regeneration.” This is not the case. I believe that (1) Repentance, (2) Water-Baptism and (3) Receiving the Holy Spirit, are ALL ESSENTIAL. I do not believe in “baptismal” regeneration. These elements are all


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equally important and we need to have all three to be able to call ourselves ‘New Testament Christians’, as far as I can see. Others have brought up the verse in Romans that says “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Actually, a number of theologians believe that this statement was used as a kind of “baptismal confession” in the early church. I remember a fellowship I was involved with years ago that used it in exactly this way. To me, this verse “proves” little doctrinally, either way. It needs to be put into context with the WHOLE New Testament to gain the proper perspective on it. I certainly don’t see it as proof for ‘asking Jesus into our heart’. One of the most serious allegations I have faced is that I am preaching a kind of “justification by works” by saying that baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are so essential. And that I am “adding to the gospel” and taking away people’s freedom like the Galatians!! Serious charges, indeed. But let’s look at this carefully. Is baptism a “work” that I can do to myself? Is receiving the Holy Spirit a “work”? I don’t think so! These are initial experiences that are ‘DONE TO US’ or given to us - they’re not things that we can “DO” ourselves, as such. Can I baptise myself? No! And isn’t it a brief one-off act of simple faith and obedience anyway? To me, baptism is no more a “work” than, say, the act of “praying a sinner’s prayer.” The act of opening one’s mouth, moving one’s jaws and praying is not seen as a work. And neither should baptism be. They only take an instant, after all. The real question is: - Is baptism a truly spiritual act, or is it merely a symbolic ritual? That is the real question. This also brings up the whole issue of ‘convenience’. For we love neat little packages that are comfortable and easy in this age, don’t we? (-”Just asking Jesus in”). And baptism is so wet and messy, we think. But at the end of the day, what it boils down to is this: - We have to make a decision between doing things the Bible way and doing things the modern ‘convenient’ way. It is that simple. Now, onto something else that numerous people raised: - Where does FAITH come into all this? Aren’t we supposed to be saved by FAITH? Absolutely! And faith is at a premium right through this whole thing. What happens when someone hears the gospel and BELIEVES it? Are they automatically a ‘Christian’ now?

Just through believing what they have heard? Or do they have to act on that belief in some way to become a Christian? Were the Jews who were ‘cut to the heart’ when Peter preached at Pentecost automatically Christians right then at that moment, or did they have to DO something in FAITH to become Christians? Clearly, they needed to DO something, because Peter told them, “Repent and be baptised, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And it is clear that each one of these elements involves the exercise of faith in Jesus. However, I believe that when the Bible speaks of the “faith that saves us,” and being “JUSTIFIED BY FAITH,” it is speaking of the LIFE OF FAITH that we undertake after we have become a Christian. It is ‘WALKING IN FAITH’ day by day, moment by moment, after having become a Christian that justifies us before God. It is the covering of the blood of Jesus that hides our sin and makes us clean in God’s sight. If we are walking in faith, covered by the blood, we are saved, and we must continue to walk in it. And it is clear in the Scriptures that it is only by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that we can walk in this kind of saving faith. This faith is a gift from God -”Not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast...” Like the love of God, this faith is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us. So how can we obtain it without RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT? (-Which brings us back to Repentance, Baptism and

for this, but personally these days I baptise people “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST”. (-To make sure all the bases are covered). To sum up, it is my belief that God has been slowly restoring truth to the church over the centuries since the Dark Ages when so much had been lost. Luther’s Reformation saw the restoration of ‘Justification by Faith’, the Anabaptists re-introduced baptism by immersion, Wesley re-introduced the importance of the ‘new birth’, and this century the Pentecostals re-discovered the infilling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. (There have been many other things over time also, but this is just a simple overview). It is my belief that we are now at the stage where God wishes to restore the church to her true original glory, with all the basic doctrines and practices, “church life” and the full original gospel, the ‘five-fold’ ministries, etc. -Everything. That is what is about to occur in the coming Revival, I believe. And that is another reason why I believe basic New Testament doctrines are so important. In past centuries, as now, the believers of that time walked in the light that they had, and God will judge them according to the light that was available to them. But now it is time to see the church truly restored to fullness in many areas. And it is going to be UNCOMFORTABLE, and it will surely leave much “SHAKEN” in its wake. A new Reformation is coming, and

A new Reformation is coming, and it is important that it leaves nothing undone that needs doing.

Receiving the Holy Spirit as our ESSENTIAL starting point in the faith). Actually, some people mentioned something quite interesting about baptism in the book of Acts. For it is noticeable in Acts that everyone was baptised “IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS” or in the ‘NAME OF JESUS CHRIST’. Now most churches today baptise in the name of the ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’, and I guess this is a small point, but I believe that if they felt it was important in Acts to speak the name of Jesus Christ over people as they were baptised, then I should do it too. I am not legalistic about the need L i f e W a y

it is important that it leaves nothing undone that needs doing. Otherwise our children are going to have to have a further Reformation to correct all that we left undone. Let’s make it as complete as possible this time, shall we? For Christ cannot return until a glorious Bride is made ready for Him, without “spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” Surely we live in the days of the ‘restoration of all things’ about which the Scriptures speak. Andrew Strom is a prophetic minister based in New Zealand. You can reach him on astrom@rivivalschool.com

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The Case For

Deliverance Ministry When the word ‘deliverance’ is mentioned, some people immediately think of some strange manifestations of weird jerking, falling and rolling on the floor and some screaming voices accompanied with church chairs flying across the room. But it is time to get real about the ministry of deliverance. BY CHUZZY UDENWA

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he deliverance ministry of Jesus Christ has been misunderstood or little understood. It is a dimension of Jesus’ ministry as a Warrior. It is not greater or lesser than the other dimensions of His ministry as Saviour, Healer, Lord, Teacher, Friend, Master, King, Lamb, Servant, Son of God, Son of Man and such. It is amazing that little true knowledge of Jesus as a Warrior is known or communicated. Even the healing ministry of Jesus is now under serious repudiation, rejection and suspicion. It is easy to reject Jesus in His fullness until you need Him! There is too much of myths and cobwebs of woes and fears that becloud a clear study of this vital aspect of New Testament reality. As a result, people resist, suspect, reject and despise this useful, helpful dimension of spiritual warfare. Deliverance is no less than warfare prayers and intercessions. This is exactly the atmosphere under which the enemy thrives and flourishes in his wicked agenda of killing, stealing and destroying (John 10:10).

Let us demystify this subject. What is deliverance? Deliverance is not new. Any effort to expand the territory of Jesus Christ unto and into the lives of people is a form of deliverance. Deliverance is the expelling of demonic forces out of people, places and things. Therefore,

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there are different types of deliverance: personal, family, city, national, financial, marital, spiritual and so on. Most people have a foggy image of personal deliverance, which seems the most widely controversial and contested today in Christian circles. When the word is L

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mentioned, some people think of some strange manifestations of weird jerking, falling and rolling on the floor and some screaming voices accompanied with church chairs flying across the room. I was ignorant about the deliverance ministry earlier in my walk with Jesus Christ. Most of what I knew was what I was told. I was told that deliverance was a high-risk, dangerous, high voltage task that put people at such risk that even their homes and churches could be destroyed. I was told that people were never really free and that the devil always came back to attack the delivered and the deliverer. I was also told to stay far away from any church or gospel minister who taught on or ministered deliverance to people. Finally, I was clearly assured that if I was a new creature in Jesus Christ, having surrendered to Him, that all was well and old things were passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). It was so good to hear that, but something in my heart reminded me of some of the demonic things I had participated in as an unbeliever. With my little knowledge of how we operated in the world system, I knew that the devil was legalistic, and possessed and deposited certain tangible things in my life and destiny, before I was born again. Now I was told that I was free…until I began to read the New Testament! I discovered that Jesus addressed devils; con-


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fronted them; expelled them; vanquished them constantly in His travels in the four gospels. I also discovered that He gave a lot of information and formalised the method on the ways and means of deliverance. I was thrilled to see His use of His power to disgrace sin, sickness and affliction in the lives of people. Jesus Christ became real to me. He healed people; and I needed healing. He set people free, and goodness, did I need to be free! I decided to stick with what I read rather than with the fears and baseless falsehoods that I was told. Before the advent of Jesus Christ on earth, the subject of deliverance was not really known. All kinds of attempts were made by people to set people free and get free. Little information was available on spiritual warfare, the spirit realm, devils and demons and such. There was a lot of angelic activity in the Old Testament but there was little information about how to resist and overcome satanic activity. I wonder how many victims would have been free if they had lived in the New Testament era. There were plenty of healings, cures and remedies for sickness, but not the actual expelling of demons, in the Old Testament. So what is deliverance? It is the cleansing of the body, soul and spirit using the power of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is the preaching of the Word of God (Romans 1:16). It is the planting of churches (Acts 2:41). It is the expansion of the Kingdom of God in all areas of human activity. It is the shining of the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who despise, reject and repudiate deliverance often change their story when they need and receive it. Deliverance should not be the only ministry emphasised anywhere. There is always the danger in building on one single doctrine. Is deliverance relevant today? Should it be taught using Biblical guidelines? Should every preacher endorse and encourage it? Does the Body of Christ need it? Do some Christians need the expelling of demons out of their lives? Should deliverance be one of the major subjects taught in the Church? The answer is yes to all these questions. No one should be called a “deliverance minister”. Jesus did not specialise

in the casting out of devils. He preached. He taught. He healed. He raised the dead. He fed the people supernaturally. He died. He rose again. He did it all. Jesus solved whatever problem was placed before Him effectively and with results. Anyone who sees and hears devils everywhere, every time, and in everyone, is not a believer but a native doctor claiming to be a “deliverance minister”! That person is a sure candidate for deliverance. Ministers must learn and teach on other aspects of deliverance: financial prosperity for poverty; healing and health for sickness; prayer; holiness; heaven; hell; marriage; sex; Calvary and so on. The full gospel must be taught! Our present-day realities demand that. It is a necessity and a command (Mark 16:15). We are called to solve problems using the finished work of Calvary! Deliverance or any aspect of ministry should not be left to just a few “specialists.” One says that he is a healing minister, another calls himself a motivational speaker. Where do we read about that in the ministry of Jesus Christ? When did God become a specialist in one area? Our God is a specialist in all areas! We must have balance in all things. People must not become devil-hunters. We must learn about “this same Jesus” (Acts 1:11), and be prepared from having studied Him, to deal with any

these, may I answer a huge yes! Why should believers be exempt from the constant demonic bombardments, pollutions and harassments that go on in the world? The earth was compromised extensively after sin came into humanity as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Ever since, and until Jesus came, the enemy had been loosed and on the prowl. Jesus Christ accomplished the defeat of Satan and demons but He did not expel them from the earth. That will be done later according to the book of Revelation. The devil has been defeated but he still has agents and people who serve and worship him. Devil worship empowers and releases them from the finished victory of Calvary. Let me focus on the believer. After people become born again, do they get sick, broke, divorced, drunk and backslidden? If you agree that the answer is yes, then what prevents or immunes believers from attacks from the enemy? Sin gives the enemy the doorway to attack people. There are different types of demonic attacks on believers. The enemy would rather attack than possess people emphatically. We read of such words as “vex”, “oppress”, “afflict” or “bound”, as well as “possess” in the Bible. The devil cannot “possess” a Spirit-filled born-again believer in Jesus Christ. How can he possess the one that has

No one should be called a “deliverance minister”. Jesus did not specialise in the casting out of devils.

demonic activity that may arise in our Christian lives and ministries. It is the awareness and knowledge of how Jesus defeated the devil and his agents in His earthly ministry that should be taught (Acts 10:38; Colossians 2:15). The devil hates exposure and the knowledge of his defeat. The most popular question asked in relation to this subject is this: Can a Christian have a devil in him? Can a Christian be under the influence of a demon? Can a Christian be influenced by a demon? Can a Christian be attacked by a demon? Can a believer serve the devil? Can a born-again, Holy Spirit filled individual be controlled or affected by the devil? To all of L

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been possessed by Jesus Christ? Only those who serve the devil are possessed by him. The devil cannot fill anyone with his evil presence after that person has been filled by the Holy Spirit of God! It is either one or the other! Some people, however, are devilish in the Church of Jesus Christ. They cast aspersion to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I know of some people like that. I sense that you do too! Being “devilish” is not being the devil. Being devil-influenced and controlled does not mean being the devil incarnate. To whom you yield yourself, to that you are the servant (Romans 6:16). If you

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DELIVERANCE

know of some born-again believers who act like the devil himself, why do they still attend church? They even give their money and serve in the church and nobody has thrown them out. In addition, they do not seem to be in a hurry to change. It is because deliverance is not just the falling down of people or the sudden shrieking of strangers in the church service; or the distraction of the ongoing service; but it is sometimes a process that goes on as the people get a deeper and higher knowledge of Jesus Christ. Some deliverances are dramatic and instant; some are quiet and prolonged. Others may even be staggered from one level to another. Other factors that affect deliverance are the level of anointing on the minister conducting the deliverance as well as the level of willingness of the deliverance candidate. I prefer deliverance formalised in the sense of having an appointment and adequate prayer preparations made. I prefer to explain the process to a willing candidate and have them participate in the process under supervision. I advise pastors to establish healing and deliverance departments under the prayer ministry in their churches. I suggest having special days for such ministrations. However, my introduction into this area of ministry and my periodic forays into it are not formalised, but suddenly and openly during services under the anointing of God. The first time it occurred, I did not know what to do, and people were watching to see my response. I ignored the noisy distractions but they persisted. I used my pastor’s method and it worked! I suspended the service, expelled the demon, and continued with the service. It happened to Jesus too (Mark 1:21-28). Glory to God! As I grew, I would respond directly with less effort and minimum distraction. At other times, I would give the persons an appointment or just ignore the devils. It depends on what the Holy Spirit tells me. Most of the screaming, jumping, singing, clapping and spirituality in churches are not often inspired or activated by the Holy Spirit of God! Do not be fooled. I enjoy a noisy service because the winning side is noisy. Some of the strongest devils I have encountered in born-again

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believers manifested in well educated, often well dressed individuals. In others, it has been in the illiterate, poorly clad, down-the-ladder people. Do not go by appearances. God’s people need help. BASIC STEPS TO DELIVERANCE Before you accept to conduct or minister deliverance or expel demons out of people, ask questions; investigate the history of the candidate, and identify prayerfully the areas that need deliverance. t Confess and repent of sin. t Renounce and reject the devil. t Break all links with the devil. t Command any and all devils to leave. t Invite the Holy Spirit. Declare the supremacy of Jesus Christ. t Release the Blessing that produces the blessings. t Celebrate God’s finished work joyfully in praise to Him. t Seal the deliverance with a prayer. t Arrange for a follow up. Can people tarnish or lose their deliverance? Yes. Can deliverance be conducted across several days? Yes. Can people resist deliverance? Yes. It is better they are left alone until another occasion. Do people deny the existence of devils? Yes.

having become born again. Jesus Christ has and is willing to set people free. Deliverance is enforcing what Jesus did during His earthly ministry. Being born again does not negate all the “documentation” the enemy has against people; rather it creates the platform from which declarations of liberty can be made. Deliverance must be Word of God based and Holy Spirit led and controlled. Deliverance is a spiritual exercise, and does not require the physical beatings, scourging and thrashing of people. Deliverance must not be punishment or torture. The chief weapon for deliverance is the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18-21; Isaiah 10:27). That you may not need or appreciate the usefulness of deliverance does not deny its reality and the desperation of some people. Demonic activity these days have grown and will continue to grow. Therefore, deliverance education and application should be a major part of the end-time move of God. Bible Schools and seminaries should educate future ministers of the gospel. Demonic attack does not mean that people have lost their salvation. It just shows that the

Deliverance is a spiritual exercise, and does not require the physical beatings, scourging and thrashing of people.

Even some pastors do. THE BASIS FOR DELIVERANCE There is sin that opened the doorway for demonic activity of any or all forms. Yes, the individual is born again, old things are passed away, but there are doorways that they opened to the devil in their past existence that need to be shut. The enemy is very legalistic and holds onto agreements, covenants and liaisons made with him in the past. These need to be destroyed, L

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enemy is afraid of their future. Jesus’ Deliverance Tools Jesus used: t His Word (Matthew 8:16) t His commands (Matthew 17:18; Luke 9:42) t His anointing (Luke 4:18) t His preaching and teaching (Matthew 8:16; Mark 1:39) t His authority (Mark 1:34) t His presence (Matthew 9:32-33) t His glory (Luke 4:41)


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t His healing (Matthew 12:22) t His Spirit (Matthew 12:28; Acts 10:38) He did not use the following, as is the practice in some circles: t Whips t Pepper t Brooms t Beatings and scourging t Locking up of the oppressed t Special soaps and creams t Any special chants or other tools Words that Referred to Deliverance t Cast out (Matthew 12:26; Revelation 12:9; Mark 16:9, 17) t Rise up against (Mark 3:26) t Rebuked (Mark 8:33) t Loosed from this bond (Luke 13:16) t Open their eyes,…turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (Acts 26:18) t Bruise Satan (Romans 16:20) t Gone out (Mark 7:30) t Went out (Luke 8:2) t Commanded (Luke 8:24) t Departed (Luke 8:38) t Healing (Acts 10:38) t Resist (James 4:15) t Contending (Jude 9) t Lay hold (Revelation 20:2) How Devils Get a Hold of People t Whom Satan hath bound (Luke 13:16) t Tempted of Satan (Mark 1:13; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Timothy 3:6) t Stealing the Word of God (Mark 4:15) t By resisting God’s worship (Luke 4:8) t Entered Satan into Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:27) t Filling the heart to lie (Acts 5:3) t Using demonic powers (Acts 26:18) t Getting advantage through people’s ignorance (2 Corinthians 11:14) t Transforming into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) t Messenger of Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7) t Hindrance (1 Thessalonians 2:18) t Working of false signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Jesus on Deliverance t Matthew 8:16 – “…he cast out the spirits.”

t Matthew 9:32-33 – “…they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake.” t Matthew 12:22 – “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.” t Matthew 17:18 – “And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him.” t Mark 1:34 – “And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” t Mark 5:2-3, 8-15 – “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid (v.15). t Mark 7:29 – “And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.” t Mark 16:9 – “…he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” t Luke 4:13 – “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” t Luke 4:35 – “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of

“Gone out” (v. 43). Demons are mobile. “He walketh” (v. 43). Demons can travel. “Seeking rest” (v. 43). They get tired. “Findeth none” (v. 43). They can get disappointed. They have feelings. “Then he saith” (v. 44). They can talk or speak any or many languages. “I will return” (v. 44). They have a will. “My house” (v. 44). They need abodes, dwelling places or territories. They highly prefer human beings. “Findeth” (v. 44). They can conduct searches. “He” (v. 44). They can switch gender identities because they are spirits. “Taketh” (v. 45). They can organise attacks and counterattacks. “More wicked” (v. 45). They have ranks of power and authority. “They enter in and dwell there” (v. 45). They can build a stronghold. On the Word, “Possess” Matthew 8:16 – “many that were possessed with devils” Matthew 9:32 – “they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil” Matthew 12:22 – “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb” Mark 1:32 – “and them that were possessed

That you may not need or appreciate the usefulness of deliverance does not deny its reality and the desperation of some people.

him.” t Luke 4:41 – “And devils also came out of many.” t Luke 8:29 – “For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.” t Luke 9:42 – “And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child.” t Luke 11:14 – “And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb.” t Acts 10:38 – “…and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” How Demons Operate (Matthew 12:43-45) L i f e W a y

with devils” Mark 5:15 – “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil” Those Who Can Conduct Deliverance t Born-again believers (Mark 16:17) t Disciples (Mark 3:15; Luke 10:17) Chuzzy Udenwa, a former journalist, is the Senior Pastor of Glory House World Church, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. On April 19, 2008, he launched seven of his books in Abuja, Nigeria. He can be contacted through: www. glorytoglorychurch.org, Telephone: 1-770-909-5000 (U.S.), 0803-375-2428 (Nigeria)

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The Bible says the righteous will prosper in the time of famine.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest … shall not cease. Gen.8:22

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ike many people, l used to misquote this scripture above to read ‘seedtime and harvest time’. May be because it rhymes. While seedtime is time bound, it is not always so with harvest. That is the idea God was trying to communicate to us. Some seeds, such as rice wheat and maize, must be planted according to season for us to harvest them. Others like mangoes, almonds and guava only need to be planted once and they continue to fruit seasonally – forever. In Gen 1:29, God talked about these two types of seed. “And God said, ‘see, l have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth and every tree whose fruit yields seed…” When l was an undergraduate, there was this member of my extended family whom l truly loved and admired. I naturally gravitated more towards this family member and often took time out in their home. However, my love and admiration was reciprocated with indifference and some ugly behaviour. It was difficult to convince anyone about my situation so l decided to deliver myself. I came up with an equally nasty ‘l will get you’ idea which l executed successfully. Years later, after I had graduated and got married, of course l had put that incident behind me. Family members from the extended family also took time out in my home like l did in those days. And my clever nasty plan of old began to play out before me in the exact way l did mine. It was harvest time! Only this was not a one off harvest, and it had nothing to do with me. Over a sustained period, l helplessly experienced a harvest of my youthful misadventure until l cried out for mercy. This brings me to the real issue here. Pause and take stock of your life right now. What kinds of harvests are you surrounded with? Are they the harvest of your desire? If not, then it’s time to change the seeds you are planting!

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The truth is our life in totality is a seed of both types. And every action or inaction is a seed that grows in the soil of our lives. There are some things we do which we only reap as often as we do them. For example, a simple gift of smile to a stranger. And there are others which we only need to do once and we continue to harvest for a lifetime. How often do we promise people we will pray for them and we don’t? It is a seed. How about knowing the right thing to do and not doing it because it is not the popular opinion? It is a seed. Consider a mango tree or an almond tree. It takes years before it begins to fruit but once that process begins, every year in the season of mangoes and almonds, the trees yield their fruits in many fold. How about reaping a harvest of righteous-

The Isaac Principle

last word BY Y INK A JACK SON

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ness like the Bible says; “the uncompromisingly righteous man is like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season… ”Ps 1:3. What are these fruits of righteousness? They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Every fruit has seed bearing capacity. So, if you desire to reap the fruit of love then you must plant the seed of love. You must always plant the corresponding seed of what you want! “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that he will reap” (Gal .6:7). Tabitha is a good example of someone who reaped a harvest of her good deeds (Acts 9:36-41). How about Ruth? She chose to be her mother- in –law’s companion through the bad times. She also reaped a harvest of faithfulness and companionship; a good husband and a son plus being grafted into the lineage of Christ. I perceive that as we turn our lives loose as seeds for God and as we plant ourselves at every given opportunity, many of us will be grafted into unprecedented things in God’s agenda this year. The Bible says the righteous will prosper in the time of famine. Why? Because the righteous, like Father Abraham, is one whose entire life has been turned loose as seeds for God, and because God’s word can never fail, the spiritual principle controlling seedtime and harvest supercedes any famine. Plant a seed today. Someone needs love, take the seed of love and plant in his/her life. Someone needs financial help, just go ahead and be the solution to that person’s need. Be generous with your life. Do not become stingy with your life because of the prophecies of doom emanating from the media. Self preservation directly opposes Jesus’s instruction. He declared in the gospels; keep your life and you will lose it. Lose your life and you will find it. God is able to command for us a great harvest in times of famine. He did it before. Ask Isaac (Gen. 26:1, 12,-14). Mrs. Jackson is associate publisher and marketing director of LifeWay. You can reach her on yinka@lifewaymag.com


Lifeway Magazine (January - February)  

Christian news magazine set up to proclaim the knowledge of Jesus Christ through the power of the printed word in a professional, uncomplica...