stories @ jesus house Toyosi Ogedengbe is a generalist management consultant (oil and gas, automotives and retail banking). He has been a member of Jesus House since September 2005. He shares his views on... ...being a Christian I’ve always gone to church but my journey to faith started in 2003, a year after I started at University in Bristol. The catalyst for a real walk was attending Mandate [Men’s Conference] in 2005, but even then things were uncertain. In 2008, I rededicated my life and ever since it has been a progressive walk. At the time I was out of work and at a [church] service, Pastor Bajo [Akisanya] prophesied that those who had been [unemployed] for over a year would get a job within a specific timeframe. I believed God and [rededicated my life]. Funnily enough, I did get a job four months after that.
[It’s] everything. Pastor Agu, not the pastor, but the man; the way he articulates the struggles he goes through reveals the reality that he is [facing] the same challenges [as the rest of us]. Then there was the hospitality of the people; the marshals, front of house...everyone. To top it all, the worship and the word were wonderful. I live in south London but travel up North every week because I feel a call to this church. ...what pursuing God means to him It is doing the will of God and the will of God alone.It means getting married next year and not this year, or taking a job that pays £15,000 less than another, not because you want to, but because God has said so. It’s understanding that pursuing God is God first and God only, period! Prayer and the word have really helped. I’m thankful to God for the new burden for prayer he has placed on the church. I’ve always known that prayer is communication with God but when the series on prayer began, I learnt that conversational prayer is simply talking to God like I’m talking to you now. I can talk to God anytime, not just at the ‘close your eyes’ times of the day. In addition, I try and engage in group bible studies so I can ask questions and learn from others. ReCconnect (the young adults ministry) have a Tuesday Skype bible study group and on Wednesdays I listen online to the mid-week service. I’m blessed with good friends, most of whom are Christian. We have conversations that bring God to life.
in pursuit of god
...rededicating his life I recognised that life was not what I thought it was [and] got a conviction to do whatever it takes to be serious about God, to make a full-blown commitment. You know how you meet people that have done it all? I hadn’t done a lot (laughs) but I’d done enough. It was a big deal for me and my friends at that time. Even now, I still have friends who can’t get over the fact that I’m a Christian because they knew the old me. ...changes after Christianity A lot. Some big, some little. The other day someone accidentally hit me on the train. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to let it go but I didn’t want to. l leaned back to say my piece and ended up bumping by head on a bar. As soon as that happened I said, “Ok, you win Lord” (laughs). Another example is fleeing temptation. I’ve been invited to quite a few risqué bachelor parties by nonChristian friends and I wriggle myself out of them to avoid putting myself in awkward situations. The flesh is weak! ...Jesus House membership I was invited to Mandate by my girlfriend (now my fiancé) and decided to attend the Sunday service following the conference. Having an Anglican background, I had some preconceptions about pentecostals and Redeemed [Christian Church of God parishes]. I didn’t realise that the church I was attracted to was part of the RCCG so I had a good laugh when I came out of the service and saw the RCCG logo on the shuttle buses. I had just moved from Bristol when I came to Jesus House. In Bristol I attended a church called Woodlands, which did a lot to grow my faith, but in London I found I wasn’t growing spiritually and was looking for a church when I came to Mandate. ...the appeal of Jesus House
...the part Jesus House has played in aiding his walk with God G2R was an excellent initiative and it encouraged me to read the bible more. Reading the whole bible will give us so much ammunition to fight the things that contend with us in this world. The Church also takes Christianity out of the box and makes it real. There is an actionable side to our faith, and that for me is key. Our social responsibility initiatives, fuelled by the love of Christ, inspire me. ...advice to someone starting on this journey I would say develop a total reliance on God. Understand that being a Christian isn’t something you can do yourself; you need God. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow spiritually. There are various groups in the church but let your motivation be growth and not just building friendships. You will need to start life all over again. You’ll need to [carry out] an analysis of the things you used to do versus what you need to be doing as a Christian. Peer pressure can be a big thing. If you have friends that aren’t good for your growth, you may need to stay away from them. Once you recognise you can’t do things the way you used to, the motivation to cut certain things and people out of your life will come. 17