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
Reading through the epistles, one discovers that oftentimes Paul prayed to be able to declare openly the mysteries of Christ that had been hidden in times past but now is made known to us through revelation. One important thing I will like us to note is that although it was the appointed time that this mysteries were to be made known, Men like Paul also had to seek to know this mystery, and as the sought it, it was revealed to them and today we all are enjoying the fruits of this revealed knowledge.
Today, I will like to say that every Christian is to be a Seeker. We are called to seek to know the truths of the scriptures. No matter what you know today, there is still more to know. We won’t be able to come to the full and perfect knowledge of Christ if we relax from studying and searching out the truths of the bible. We won’t be able to liberate our generation from the darkness of the world, if we Christians don’t seek to get better in our calling. We are the Seeker Generation.
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to Him be the glory and the power and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:6)
Two points we should note in the above scripture is that “he made kings and priests”. Now let’s check the function of kings and priest. As a king we are to seek:
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2)
Brethren, we are kings, we are seekers. It is our honour. God is always concealing mysteries, ours is to seek to know. Jesus speaking he said “it is given for us to know the mysteries of the kingdom” (Luke 8:10) but we won’t know until we seek. We know if we seek, we shall find:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matt. 7:7)
“For every one that asks receives, and he that seeks finds and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:8)
We are to seek first. We are to spend time with the word of God and every Christian material that helps us to grow in faith. We are the seeker Generation. It is our duty to seek.
Again he called us Priest. One thing the priest is known for “is to always go into the presence”. They are never tired of doing that. In-fact they are priest because of that. They are always going into the holy-place and the high-priest into the most holy-place once a year to make atonement on behalf of the people. The day the priest declares he tired of going into the holy-place, he his stripped of his position. His relevance is attached to his seeking. So likewise are we. We are the seekers for our generation. Every Christian must always strive to know. Desire to know the bible. Study, Meditate, so that out of our fullness we can be a blessing to our generation.
We would not be able to fully understand the reason for the relevance of David’s, Daniel, Paul’s relevance to their generation if we don’t understand their quest towards seeking for knowledge.
David said this:
“O God, you are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirst for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Ps. 63:1)
As if that was not enough, David said “My Soul follows hard after you… (Ps. 63:8)”. Paul and Daniel also had such minds. No wonder they were full of knowledge from above that they were very relevant to their Generation. Today, the baton is in our hands, our relevance is in our seeking. We must seek. We are the seeker Generation.
Finally, as I round-off this article, I will like to add that we should grow in the profession of our faith. What do I mean by this? As a testimony, I like to appreciate God that I haven’t been sick nor used a drug (not even a paracetamol or vitamin-c) since over 5 years or more now (I have actually lost count of the number of years) . During my undergraduate studies, I saw in the scriptures that Jesus took my sicknesses away and I have no reason to be sick again, I simply believed it and till today it’s been evident in my life. As beautiful as that sounds, it would be much more beautiful if I am able to teach and explain this revelation as simple as possible to more Christians, so that they too can walk and enjoy my “divine health” revelation. That is what I call growing in the profession of our faith. It is simply being able to explain biblical truths as simple as possible. And this can only be possible if we understand this truths well enough. Everyone who knows the truth should have a sense of responsibility to share it with others. Luke gave this as is reason for writing the book of Luke. Same goes for the books of the bible written by Paul. You are not to hoard your revelations, share them and learn and understand them more to get better in sharing them.
We should seek to get to know more of the scriptures, thereby increasing in understanding so as to be able to explain more simply our faith to others. I believe the beauty of knowledge is not just in you knowing but in being able to share this knowledge with others so that they can be blessed through it.
“I pray that the Sharing of your Faith may become effective and Powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ” (Philemon 1:6 NLT)
I call you blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Our journey toward Christ-likeness involves an absolute surrender to Jesus Christ. Surrendering absolutely happens when a person is willing to follow Christ no matter the cost. It is more than commitment, it is more than involvement. It may cost you some discomfort, your personal desires and aspirations in life.
Someone once said, “A man may be outwardly committed to the work of Christ but may not have been inwardly consecrated and surrendered to the will of Christ.”
We can be committed but not surrendered. Jesus is looking for a heart that is completely broken and surrendered to Him. Absolute surrender to Christ focuses not on our doing but centers on our being, not in our competence but in our character.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.
To be completely surrendered to Christ one must deny himself. To deny yourself is you have to die to your earthly passion. Christ must be the center and supreme purpose of your life.
Paul the great apostle understood what it means to live a life of an absolute surrender to Christ. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. He considered himself dead but alive for Christ. His life is not his own to manage. His life purpose and goal was for Christ and His glory.
The evidences of a totally surrendered life to Christ is spiritual transformation, a powerful living testimony that would lead to effective ministry for the glory of God.
Are you surrendered to Christ?
Are you absolutely surrendered to Him?
“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
Written by Pastor Maurice Rivera
Over-time I have discovered as a writer that my readers relate most when I explain scripture as I have applied them to my personal experiences. This approach brings more light to the bible, those stories tend to stick more to the mind, and they are always enticing to read.
People enjoy reading stories. As such, I have always trusted the Holy Spirit to remind me of specific experiences which I can use to understand the scriptures. Once the Holy-Spirit told me, “I am always speaking to you, sometimes directly to your spirit and sometimes through the experiences around you. If you would learn to open your minds and take careful note of your experiences, you would discover my wisdom expressly shared and demonstrated to you’’
So I decided to add this to my prayers: “Dear Holy Spirit, I know you are not an illusion or a mirage, neither are you a mere belief or a thing. You are a Person, the third person of the Trinity. You are the power of the Godhead and you have been given to me to be a comforter and a partner. Help me to stay conscious of your presence and help me STAY CONNECTED to you”
Let me give you an illustration. I have noticed that when two people are in love, they have an overwhelming desire to share moments together but if they are not talking for quite some hours or – even worse a full day- , there must be a problem.
The same relationship can be seen between a Christian and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has emotions, He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) and He loves. Many of us often forget that the Holy-spirit always wants our company, he doesn’t like to be ignored, he has been given to always be with you when you sleep, when you walk the streets, when you eat, when you drink.Every-time, every second, he wants us to talk with him, he wants our attention. He wants us to tell him our challenges, and he wants to also talk with us, he wants to give us wisdom on how to make decisions, he wants to tell us more about God’s kingdom. He wants our fellowship. He wants us to STAY CONNECTED. He doesn’t just want 10 minutes out of the 24 hours of our day. He is not an errand boy. He is our love.
If we will be diligent enough to stay connected and be careful we will learn a lot from our day to day experiences.Let me share two lessons which I learned in the past weeks. I hope it encourages our heart.
After my exams, my plan was to immediately take a vacation. I wanted to visit some nearby countries to give my brain a good break . I was so tired from studying. I planned the trip with two of my friends.
They planned the flights, the buses and the accommodations, and we shared the bill. The trip was really beautiful -peaceful flights, nice discussions, sweet meals, interesting places.It was fun! In Amsterdam, my friends had planned that all night we would keep walking around and to see places , so they didn’t bother to book a room that night. Since I didn’t plan with them, I didn’t know this,. Unfortunately, our planned night tour in city was far below expectations. We had already seen all the interesting places that day and by night-time we were all really tired.
We couldn’t leave the city because our bus was booked for the next morning according to the plan. The night wasn’t comfortable at all. We were visitors with no place to sleep. The only place available was the concrete seats at the Central Train Station. And even though we were tired and weak, the security men allowed us to only sit and not sleep. And we were like that all night! In the midst of this, the Holy Spirit said to me that this is an illustration of Christians on earth.
Christians are sojourners, we are travellers.We shouldn’t expect luxurious comfort here on earth. Our comfort comes when we remember our home, the place where we can finally be with God in body. Many Christians get distracted by seeking comfort here on earth.
“And if you call on Father, who without respect of persons judge according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Pet. 1:17)
Paul speaking, said when we are pressed on all sides, we must keep moving. Our encouragement is that one day we will be home. Every traveller is encouraged at the thought of the word HOME. It’s always an encouragement. It always gives strength and hope. Likewise we are supposed to be encouraged as Christians. Our consolation shouldn’t be from the things here.
To continue the story, we survived the night, travelled to Belgium where we had booked a room. We were all tired resulting from a sleepless night. We just wanted to check into the room and rest before going around to see that city. Then we encountered another problem. We couldn’t check into our room. We felt like dying. Just then I remembered that a day before I travelled, I was sharing with a friend about my trip. Then he said “hey, my parents live in Belgium have their contact in-case you need a place to stay”. I never asked for their contact, in-fact I was merely sharing it with him, so we could pray together about it. I never saw the need to have their contact, because I believed all had been settled by my friends. I reluctantly collected their contact. It was when we were denied entry into the room that I remembered my friend’s parent. They were very kind and hospitable to us. We had a nice dinner together with them, with very soft and cosy beds and they even drove us again to the airport the next morning, to catch our flight.. We lost a room and got a house. We wished we had planned to stay longer with them.
Out of this experience, Psalms 46:1 made more meaning to me.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1)
God had seen that we were going to be in need of a place to be, and he made adequate preparation for us. The help was suited and crafted to perfectly suit the trouble we had. It was timely. This once again made me learn to trust God. Now, I know even better “He’s got my back”. Many of us are worried about the future not knowing that God has made adequate preparation for it without Him informing us, He only wants us to cast our cares upon him.
It’s like when parents are expecting a baby, they make ready everything for the baby, the baby doesn’t have to worry about what to eat, what to wear, or how to live. It’s made ready, the baby just comes to enjoy it. We are also “God’s Baby”. Let’s learn to trust in the provisions already made by our father.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
“God is not dead, He’s alive” we say boldly today. “But where’s the proof?” The Unbeliever’s reply. As Christians, we don’t just go about showing off knowledge. But REPRESENTING the God that is alive – with INFALLIBLE proofs. This stirs up the unbelieving.
Paul said “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit and OF POWER” 1 Corinthians 2:4
He wasn’t just preaching – he was manifesting the God he preached. There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
To whom also He shewed himself alive after his passion BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
Jesus (God) proved himself alive.
And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
And they went forth, and preached every-where, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING. (Mark 16:20)
There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
As Christians we should be HUNGRY for the Supernatural. It reveals God to some people. Healing the sick, opening blind eyes, working miracles and raising the dead is supposed to be normal with us. These signs “Back up” the GOSPEL.
The scriptures say,
Also…Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)
Many have said this, to explain how holiness will take you to Heaven. No, that’s a misinterpretation of the verse.
As it says, Be a representative of God on earth by Following peace with ALL MEN (Not God), Loving all men because if you don’t, nobody can encounter God through you. They won’t “See the Lord”in your life
You’re a Christ Ambassador. Re-presenting Christ to the world. In words and Deeds.
Do it well.
Written by Richard Robinson Abdalla
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
Just as the story of the prodigal child, who was welcomed home not as a servant but as a son (Luke 15:11 – 32). When a man believes the gospel (about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) i.e. become saved, His spirit is given life, because his spirit was actually dead in Adam (Gen. 2:17) and he becomes born into the family of God (Eph. 3:15). God legally becomes his father just as the devil was his father before he was born again. On this account he is linked up and rooted and joined to Christ. God becomes the vine and he the branch, he becomes one with the father, a level of spiritual oneness with God (John 15:5). He carries God’s nature, he has Jesus’s own righteousness, he is not condemned anymore, because Jesus carried all his guilt, shame and condemnation, all this happened when he accepted Jesus as lord (1 cor. 15:33). So he now deserves, all that Jesus deserves because Jesus took his place at the cross. He is accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus.
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… (1 John 5:1)”
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… (1 John 3:1)”
Every Christian is accepted as a son, he has a legal right to the things of God, wherever he goes he can boast of God as his father, he represents God wherever he goes (2 Cor. 5:20). He can legally demand things to be done in the name of his senior brother, Jesus Christ. He is accepted. God accepts him as much as he accepts Jesus. God loves him as much as he loves Jesus. And God can only stop accepting or loving him the day he stops accepting or loving Jesus (Matt 3:17, Rom 8:29). Every believer has a legal sit at God’s right hand (the place of all authority), he is accepted and welcomed always in the church in heaven, so he can command things to happen in the name of Jesus, and make requests because he is righteous in Christ (1 John 4:6 , Eph. 2:6 , Is. 54:17). We must learn not to walk according to our feelings but according to the fact that we are accepted.
Children normally grow bold in making requests or even accessing their parents (no matter who their parents are) because they know they are loved by their parents, they know they are accepted, so it doesn’t matter the offence they committed yesterday, they know today and always they are loved by their parents. This is because they didn’t earn their parent’s acceptance by what they did, so it can’t be lost by what they do or didn’t do, rather they earned it simply because they were born into the family. Any other stranger may not have this acceptance even if he/she continues to do right, this is because he is not born into the family. So Likewise are we before our father in Heaven.
Christians who know they are loved, accepted, chosen before the foundation of the world (i.e. before they were born physically) are always candidates for exploits in faith (Dan. 11:32). A very good example is the apostle Paul. They grow bold in coming into God’s presence (Heb. 4: 16) to make demands, so as such it is important for every Christian to know that they are “accepted in the beloved” as Paul puts it in Eph. 1:6, and also to know “why”. We are accepted in Jesus as Paul states, not in ourselves.
Brethren, let us rejoice because we are accepted before God in Jesus Christ, not because of what we did (Titus 3:5), but because of what Jesus did. Let us also rejoice because he is continuously supplying us grace that we may keep standing in the salvation which he has granted us that we may not fall from this exalted position. The knowledge of the fact that we are accepted is what we need to continuously overcome sin, live a life of dominion and do exploits in faith (works greater than what Jesus did). 1 John 5:4, Heb. 10:39.
Grow in Grace!
Written by Samson Afolabi