Grow to Maturity

Grow to Maturity

I was in the library a day to my birthday, studying, when I met my brother, friend and colleague, ***** (name with-held), from Ethiopia. We greeted each other in love and I asked him to join me later for lunch at the departmental Mensa. Over lunch, we had a nice discussion, laughing and smiling as we shared our lives together. One of the things we laughed about was how our parents had recently been demanding we show them who it was we wanted to get married to.  ***** said, “My Mum’s friend told me, I would love you to get married to someone from our tribe here in Ethiopia, so I could speak with her heart to heart in our native language.” He also added “My mum told my younger brother, she would love to be a grandmother”.

 Well, I must say I can relate very well with such statements and expressions. My mum is just similar. She keeps telling me “I am not asking you to get married right now, but just show who it is you are dating”. She hardly believes when I tell her I don’t have a girlfriend. She keeps calling me whenever she hears of any of my friends get married telling me am the only one left. I tried hard to make her understand that she is mounting pressure on me, but she wouldn’t stop. I spoke with her husband, (my father, who doesn’t care about the issue) to speak with her, but it was one of those things my dad couldn’t stop her from her doing. I did find the perfect response whenever she asks me. I would just say, “I’m working on it”. That response always makes her happy, although I know the way she thinks of the response is not the way I mean it. But I don’t care as long as it works. I’m sure many who have African mothers can relate.

One statement struck me out of my conversation with *****, it made me consider writing this article. He said “While we were young, we dare not talk about women with my mum. She never wanted us to have a girlfriend while growing.”

For me, it’s almost same. So it is a surprise to see our mothers suddenly come out of the blue and start talking to us about marriage. You know the difference? We had grown. We had matured. We had come of age. We were not thinking like babies or kids anymore but as men. And so our parents think also it is right for “men” to have someone to date. Same it is in our Spiritual Walk. There are truths and lights we would only be exposed to when we grow up. When we mature. See what Paul said here:

“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1)

Paul wanted to teach the Corinthian church a lot of truths, but he couldn’t because they were babes. They were children. They were divided. Just as in the natural world where there are R-rated discussions so also are there deep truths for those who over time have matured themselves in the world. The Holy Spirit through Peter said:

“As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

Notice the charge was to GROW! Not to remain a baby. You should feed on God’s word to grow. So you are not tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine. It is annoying when a Christian of many years is still a babe. It’s just same as seeing your 25-year-old son wet the bed. It is disgraceful.

Paul said this “I have fed you with milk and not meat because you can’t bear it and even now you still can’t bear meat” (1 Cor. 3:2 Revised by me). How painful would it be for God, if He would like to introduce new and deeper truths to me to save my generation but I can’t bear it because I am still a baby. Understand me, it’s not wrong to be a baby once but it is bad to remain a baby. See here to:

“Of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” vs 11

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (vs 12)

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (vs 13)

“But solid food belongs to those who are not of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (vs 14) Heb. 5: 11 – 14.

The people addressed here were dull of hearing. They were babes. More about Jesus was supposed to be shared with them, but they were not matured enough to receive it. See these scriptures here also:

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all” Gal. 4:1

Notice he is the heir, the owner of the property but he can’t be in charge if he doesn’t step up to grow. He is only a slave. Thanks to God that through believing in Jesus we are now sons and not slaves. Peter said this in 2 Pet. 3:18

“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”

How do I grow in grace? And what does it mean to grow in grace? Please read the article “GROW IN GRACE”.

There is a lot we stand to lose if we choose to remain as babies. Deeper truths and revelations are to be given to us to liberate our generation and establish his reign here on earth. Finally, let me say, “GROW IN GRACE”.

I call you blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi

Called To Fellowship

Called To Fellowship

Imagine being qualified to attend the inner circus meeting of your state governor and the members of his cabinet? Or imagine being called to enjoy the same privileges the children of your president enjoys? Sounds good right? Yes.

Imagine the amount of privy information that will be at your fingertips, the blessings of being able to get into the office or private chambers of the governor at any time. Personally, I would like to enjoy that.

But do you know we have been given the same privilege with the Kings of Kings, the Almighty through his Son Jesus Christ? See what 1 Cor. 1:9 says:

“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Notice the word FELLOWSHIP. To fellowship is to be in partnership, it is companionship. There is a heartthrob. The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition gives “a friendly relationship among people, a relationship of people who share interests or feelings”. Synonyms such as fraternization, mutual liking and mutual support were also given.

“Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.    (John 20:17)”

This access to fellowship was granted at new birth. We were called to enjoy the same fellowship that Jesus enjoys with God. We were invited into the inner chambers of the Kings of Kings. But you know what, not just for a while or for some few days but FOREVER. We too can go into the chambers of the Father, speak with him and get to know of the mysteries that govern the earth. But the question, how much are we making use of this grace?

We were called to enjoy the same fellowship Jesus (God’s only son) enjoys. Jesus said

“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). In fact he said, I do nothing except my father tells me to. They are in synergy.

It is the same for us. Our spirits are continually in this fellowship. We only need to tune our minds to this continually. I must say, speaking in tongues will help us do this well. We are seated far above, in fellowship with our saviour. Jesus said;

“He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13:11)

The Holy Spirit through Paul also said;

“Now we have received, not the spirit which is of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Cor. 2:12)

Notice, 1 Cor. 2:12 says our spirit has received this fellowship. Our spirits are always in this fellowship whether we are conscious of this or not, it is there.

Our spirits are one with God, when we are sleeping, eating, attending classes, in a meeting, walking on the street or whatever we might be doing, our spirits are constantly in this fellowship with the Father. And that is why God can speak to our spirits at any time. He does this either by giving us a message or in bringing counsel to us about a matter. You see that is why it is of great importance for us to be conscious of this fellowship at all times.

Be aware that you are connected with the King of Kings, and that His number is on your speed dial. Know that you can know all things and that God is always in connection with you.

Lastly, I will like to say that the unity of the church is rooted in us understanding this mystery. As Christians we are all connected and in fellowship because we are in fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Let me use this to explain, you are reading this article right now connected to me because we are both connected to the Internet. So in some sense, being connected to the Internet has connected us both. If we understand that every Christian is one with the Father, we would understand that we are one body. We created to function together to bring His reign on earth.

I call you blessed
Samson Afolabi

Why Am I Here?

Why Am I Here?

Unveiling the Reason for a Christians Existence

The topic of this article is a question I think that quite a number of people must have asked themselves at one point or another. Why am I here? What exactly is the reason why God created me? Am I just an accident? If one has very good answers to this question it gives one a reason to live. A reason to want to get out of bed every day, it gives focus, and helps one navigate through life. I pray that as you read, may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, and may the Holy Spirit stir up our hearts, to give us understanding in Jesus name. (Amen)

First, I like to establish that everyone has a purpose. Just like everyone has a unique identity so also everyone has a unique purpose. God didn’t create you to be lost in the crowd; He gave you different fingerprints, unique facial and body features, and different blood groups in such a way that everyone is uniquely different from every other person on earth.

Given our individual uniqueness it is easy to deduce that God gave us all a unique purpose. Yes! I mean varying reasons to be here. You were created to fill a void. The world would be incomplete without you. God saw a need, a problem on earth and created you to be a solution to that problem. Scriptures affirm my statement above. We saw a lot of men, who when they were born, the bible clearly states the reason for their birth. Yours is not an exemption, these are some examples:

Let’s start from the Old Testament;

Joseph: was born to be a leader to preserve a lot of people from dying of famine. God had been showing this to him through dreams right from childhood.

Moses was born to be a deliverer of the nation of Israel from Egypt. He also wrote the first five books of the Bible. He was the one gave the account of creation. (Ex. 3:10)Samson: Before He was born an angel appeared to his parents and told them this, “For Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son: No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). He was also born a deliverer; no wonder God gave him an unusual physical strength.

Many more examples can be found in the Old Testament, David, Solomon, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and many more who lived during the times of the Old Testament.

In the New Testament;
John: This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct)!” (Matt. 3:3). He was sent to herald the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ.

Jesus: “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21)

Peter, Paul (who wrote a large part of the Bible and was very instrumental in founding many churches across our Europe of today), are a few more examples of men with their purpose from God stated in the Bible.

Having established that every man has a purpose, next, is how to know your purpose. God created man, so primarily He knows why He created each one of us. How then can we know? The first approach is to ASK. Yes ASK. At Paul’s conversion experience, he said

“And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6)

Paul asked, “What would you have me do?” and God answered him and made preparations for him to be led adequately. For some people however, the case may be different, in that God might even reveal it to them without them asking. Just like in the case of Joseph, who started having dreams from childhood, which shows one important thing that God was more than willing to reveal to anyone who asks. I believe Luke 11:9 also applies here,

“And I say unto you; Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9)

One other way to know one’s purpose is to be careful to identify the special grace and gifts God has given to each one of us. Let me be quick to add that every man has a gift. You have a special gift that makes you different from another man next to you. If you can find out what this gift is, then you might just be laying your hands on God’s assignment for your life.

Purpose, when discovered should drive your life. Every decision you make should be based on it. The books you read, the friends you make, who you to listen to, what you study, where you go, the job you take and even other minute issues in your life should be directed by it.

In Proverbs 31, Lemuel’s mother was advising him about how to live. She was giving directions about life and even the kind of woman he should marry, why? Lemuel was to be a king. That was Lemuel’s purpose. And his mother was preparing him for that. He had to be prepared; his every day decision was based on the fact that he was to be a king. He couldn’t just live like that every other person. He was to be a King. Here, are some of the counsel his mum gave him:

“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroys kings”

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for Princes strong drink” (Prov. 31: 3 – 4 KJV)

I recommend that everyone reads the book “Purpose driven Life by Rick Warren.”

Christians especially, are to take this more seriously, why? Because the life we live is not ours. We died in Christ. He gave us His life. Paul says this;

“I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)

If the life you live now is not yours, have you asked the owner of the life, how He wants His life lived? Ask Him, why did He give the life to you? Paul asked, and God told him. God shows no favour. He would also tell you. Sure, I know it is to the praise of His glory, but what specifically? For me, part of it, is writing these articles, what is yours?

Lastly, let me say that as believers, I believe we have a personal purpose (as individuals) and a corporate purpose (as the church). As for the Personal purpose, we have been talking about that, and I hope I have been able to bring you to the awareness of that. Let’s look a little into the corporate purpose. By this, I mean why is the church here? (Quick note: Read my article on who is the Church? 1 & 2)

We first must note that in the eternal purpose of God, the church (which is me and you) was part of the plan. We have something to do. We are to herald his second coming. He is to come to us, come through us, come in us, come for us and then come with us.

“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:9)

“And he said unto them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15 – 16)

In a later place, He even says the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15)”. We are called to live like the truth (Jesus). We are to live as truths and teach the truth to our world. There is a lot of work on the body (the church) and more importantly on every part of the body. If you don’t do your part, it affects others. Today, I admonish you to find your place and relevance in the body and do whatever He has assigned and created you to do.

I call you blessed

Again, if you like to read more about this topic, you can read the book “Purpose driven life by Rick Warren”.

Written by Samson Afolabi

Step Up

Step Up

I got hooked on a dance movie called “Step Up”. These young people – in spite of their differences – united themselves to express their passion through dance. They recruited, practiced, and competed not only to win the prize, but also to be heard in their community. They challenged people to make a difference. These young people stepped up!

In a church community, we also need to step up and be united to speak out our mission. God has gifted us with spiritual gifts and we need to utilize them to build up the church and advance the Kingdom of God. We need to get out from our comfort zone and serve together in God’s vineyard. God has saved us and called us to serve. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Here are some responses that people give when asked to serve in the ministry:

I’m not ready yet. I wouldn’t know what to do.
I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough to serve God.
I’m not that gifted. There are others who can be more effective.
I’m too busy. I have a lot of things to fix first in my life.

Though some people may have the desire to serve, they often lack the confidence. And this is because they feel that they are not yet equipped. But here’s the good news! Jesus is not expecting us to perform. He is not expecting us to make a first class impression on him. Jesus simply wants our obedience to answer His call to follow Him. And when we make that first step, He will open doors of opportunity for us to grow, to be trained, and to serve in the ministry according to our gifts.

There is a saying that goes, “When God calls, God equips.”  Equipping and learning from Jesus is a lifetime journey. A heart of obedience, humility, and being teachable are the only requirements to do His ministry work.

When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He gave them the assurance of His presence wherever they would go. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus will never leave your side. He will be your guide, your mentor, and your teacher.

It’s about time to step up, my friend. Pray and discern where God is leading you to serve in the ministry. Be equipped for the work of service. Step up and make a difference in the Kingdom of God!

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the call

Written by Pastor Maurice Rivera

The Baton

The Baton

“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NKJV)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

The plan of God is one whole plan, and that was settled before the foundation of the earth (Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven), but He has chosen to make them in dispensations, and at every dispensation he uses men to carry out the assignment in that dispensation. Each dispensation is a part of the whole and the players are men. Not all men, but men who align to His purpose. Criterion for alignment has always been faith, so Hebrews 11 gave us the litany of men who aligned to God’s will, they are men of faith. This men had faith in Christ though they didn’t see his days in the flesh, yet there was a signal in them that prophesied ahead of his days and that made them live the kind of life they lived.

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV)”

Although the beautiful stories of the acts and dealings of God in the past recorded in this very chapter are trilling, anytime I read through their exploits as presented in Heb. 11 I wonder, something confronts me immediately, the fact that “without us, they cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40)”. It dawned on me that God’s whole plan is not accomplished yet, there is still so much to do and experience.

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)”

I Conclude that. It is our time to take the baton, to engage the Holy Spirit to know our place in God’s agenda, to enthrone our Lord Jesus. Just as we see that Heb. 11:40 didn’t end without the introduction of Heb. 12:1. This is a wake-up call to us and there is no better time to rise than now. You are also part of the plan. There is a role you have to play. If you don’t, then it’s going to be left undone. You are here for such a time as this.

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

I pray that God will quicken us to live a life that will cause generations behind us to find courage to walk in the path of faith in Jesus name.

You are blessed.
Written by Idowu Olasupo