Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Please pray for Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani! What a faith!

Any time from now, this brother will be executed, except a miracle happens. Bro Youcef Nardarkhani was arrested in October 12th 2009 and charged for apostasy, evangelism and working against the state. Of course, we know that working against the state means that he became a Christian and is evangelizing.

What encouraged me is his response to the judge on Tuesday who gave him the opportunity to recant his faith and be released. "When asked to “repent” by the judges, Youcef stated, “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” The judges replied , “To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.” To which he replied, “I cannot.”"

What a challenge to us to live for God. Serving God is serious business. People are dying for this faith right now in some parts of the world. You can read his letter from prison to Christian friends last year, 2010 here.

The point is that our Brother needs prayers. "Pray that Youcef will not be declared an apostate. Pray that he will remain firm in his faith and know the presence and peace of Jesus each day. Pray that his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon. Pray that all officials involved will act justly in this case." Pray the he will remain faithful till the end no matter what.Equally pray for yourself that you may stay faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ to the end.

You can read more on this story
Washington Post

Voice of Martyrs

Present Truth

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stop this sacrilege!

The Author sent me this write up and I think you will enjoy it. It is a warning to His Church. May God indeed send us revival as we await the coming in glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Ex 20:7-8

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

It is alarming how our generation has so degenerated in her lack of fear of God. For those who plead the ground of season of grace, the bible states that Jesus Christ brought grace and truth. He did not bring grace only.

What am I talking about? I watched in shock as a senior pastor in Port Harcourt hosted some popular comedians in his church. These humor-mongers used his pulpit and the altar. They cracked jokes with the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and every other thing the Church holds sacred. To make matters worse this was repeatedly shown on popular TV stations in Port Harcourt. To add to the mockery \they showed my fellow pastor laughing deliriously as they made mockery of everything he stands for- that is if he stands for anything.

One would wonder how I knew all these. My children were watching this program and were also borrowing jokes from it. I had to sit them down to try to explain to them why what they were seeing was bad and dangerous and when I came to the point of, “Even if I or another pastor does this, it must not be accepted as a standard. It is wrong.” It was at this point that my children told me that what I was seeing was actually taking place in a church. I turned to the screen, and saw that they were right. I tried to stomach this as I have tried to avoid unnecessary conflicts as I did my job as a minister of the gospel. But now things are getting out of hand.

Gordon, a popular comedian in Port Harcourt rolled out an audio release of his comedy, and I was shocked as I heard this blaring out of the loudspeakers of a music shop. Every holy word and title of Jehovah, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit was used to crack jokes. As one would expect people were implicated in this sin as they listened and laughed. I saw a poster of a church program. You can guess what I saw. A comedian was posted alongside the speakers. Some of these comedians are notorious characters and drunkards whom these churches are only giving landing pads for the excesses of their reprobate minds.

I stand to say that this is ungodliness. Let everyone who cares hear me; this is sacrilege, it is an insult in the face of God. Whoever does this is drawing the anger of God to himself. We must not add to our many sins this evil also. Is it not enough the many gambling and manipulations with which we tend to make our churches grow? Are we not contented with our romance with murderers, prostitutes and fraudsters in the name of ministering grace? Is our display of shame in the name of fashion not enough? Why stir this hornet in the face of an ignorant and unsuspecting people?

This must STOP! God’s word does not change. Whoever does this is not innocent before God. Those who encourage this, also share in the sin.

I advise the comedians and those who do this to look for something else to entertain themselves. The pastors who are desperate for a large church should try voodoo. To be frank the consequence of involvement in voodoo is far less than the result of the retaliation of an angry God.

In my capacity as a minister of the gospel, a father of children in this generation and the President of Prayer Network for Universal Revival {PNUR}, I wash my hands off this evil. When I heard it I did not rejoice in it, it was not funny to me. Hence I or my family or members of my ministry who obey my teachings will not share the consequence of this abomination. I also ask everyone who does not share in this evil to openly make a public denunciation of this evil.

From the office of the President
Prayer Network for Universal Revival (PNUR)
9b Iriebe Street, D/line, Port Harcourt. Nigeria.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The privileged ones

“Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father';…” Matt 3:8-9 RSV

In our previous post here, we shared that in Christianity, a professing Christian must be a practicing Christian. If we say we are born again, what fruit are we bearing to prove it? This is a serious matter because we will be judged by the fruits we bear.

Today, we are dealing with the second part of John the Baptist’s charge, “…do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham as our father’”. Matt.3:9

I want to say emphatically that as far as the New Covenant is concerned, God has no favorites. There are no privileged ones among God’s people. He is not a God that shows partiality or twists His standards because of anybody. It is a deception for anyone to think that he is a privileged one and therefore has license to live anyhow he wants. Never allow anybody to make you think that you are so special to God that He will not bring you to account on the last day when we stand before the Judgment of Seat of Christ. Salvation itself is a privilege and it is a privilege to be saved but there is nothing in Scripture that makes you more privileged than the other child of God that He has equally saved. Among God’s children, He has no favorites.

This will help us to humble ourselves, serve God and one another. It will help us to thread carefully, giving heed to Paul’s exhortation, “ Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor 10:12 RSV.

I have heard some church leaders talk as if they are special and privileged ones in the church. I have seen some pastors talk and relate to others in the church as if they are the privileged ones. In denominations where pastors have some special designations and titles like priests, reverends, bishops, you see them carry on as if these titles, positions, and class make them the privileged ones before God. Some of them do everything to strengthen the unbiblical separation between the clergy and laity. Their body language is as if they drink coffee with God everyday and there is a difference between their class and other of God’s children. For some of them, it is even very difficult to call you a brother and relate to you as members of the same family.

My problem is that I cannot see this kind of separation emphasized in the New Covenant. Once there is this presumption that “'We have Abraham as our father';…” – something that grants us special favour before God more than others , many things go wrong. It went wrong for the Pharisees and the Sadducees during the time of John the Baptist. It is still causing many things to go wrong for those who think they are the privileged ones today.

I have learnt over the years that gifting and leadership positions among God’s people grant us special privilege only among men but increases our weight of responsibility before God. Our position will not make God to judge us with a different scale. Our position will not give us express ticket to heaven. Given, it opens more doors of opportunities to serve God, but definitely does not make us more a child of God than others in the household of God.

God has no grand children!

A professing Christian must be a practicing Christian.

“Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father';…” Matt 3:8-9 RSV

Talk is cheap. Anybody can say anything, claim anything and profess anything. All without charge!

When it comes to real Christianity, a professing Christian should be a practicing Christian. What you claim matters. What you profess matters. However, what you practice matters most. That is what actually confirms what you claim and profess whether you are authentic or a liar and a hypocrite.

John the Baptist, in rebuking the Pharisees and the Sadducees, challenged them to prove that they have turned from sin by doing worthy deeds. It’s not enough to come to baptism to show the world that you have repented. It’s not enough to profess to be a Christian. You must bear fruits that show it. You must prove it.

A car sticker once came out with these words, “whether you like it or not, I am born again”. I want to say that this is not in keeping with what we see in the Scriptures. The attitude of I-do-not-care-what-they-say-or-think must be checked to make sure we are not being blinded by arrogance and self conceit.

We must always do self examination. What-they-say, especially if they are saying the truth about us, must give us concern. It must bother us when people around us are pointing to the fact that what we practice is different from what we profess.

If we say we are born again, we must bear fruits that show it. It is not enough to belong to the ‘lineage of Abraham’ or whatever that may mean to anybody. It is not enough to look religious or belong to a popular church or a holier-than-thou group. What we do shows what we believe regardless of what we say. In a world of crashing values and system, those that profess to belong to Christ must live above board and show that they are different. This is the challenge that the Bible poses to us. The world begs to see the difference!

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Negotiators and Consultants in the Church.

According to the Webster Dictionary, a negotiator is one who confers with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter. He is someone who specializes in mediating agreements between two or more parties.

From the definition above, the negotiator is partly a peacemaker and a conciliator. He reaches an agreement that is mutually agreeable and satisfactory to both parties involved in the feud. For a good negotiator, his purpose is peace in the long term.

However, in the church, we have seen another set of negotiators. They pose as the intermediary between God and church members. They act as lords who are the link between God and the people. They cannot be offended because offending them means that God will no longer be happy with you or hear your prayers. They negotiate favor, prosperity, promotions and blessings for the church members and those who pay them homage and believe in them as God's mouth-piece. They expect members to consult them before they travel, marry, engage on business trips etc. They sit in their offices as consultants and expect members to come and tell them their problems so that they can connect to God and bring answers back to them. Oftentimes when they are done with the negotiation, they make the person feel obliged to share the benefits they obtained as a way to appreciate them for the services rendered.

The different between the dictionary definition of a negotiator and this kind of negotiation is the fact that the interest of God, who is supposedly the other party in these negotiations are not considered. The goal is not making peace or reconciling man back to God. The whole focus is on how to get what we want out of God and make the Christian happy and comfortable with all the good things of life. Whatever God is saying in His Word is immaterial.

These consultants do not visit church members because that will be bringing themselves down. They do not jeopardize their honor, respect and pride for anything. They cannot bring themselves down by relating to the poor church members with honor and dignity. Their class is a special one and those who are not 'consulting' with them are labelled as rebels and fought against. They do not have interest in developing the spiritual life of members nor do they encourage members to have personal relationship with God because this may affect their position as the 'negotiators and consultants'. Everything goes well when every member is a zombie and does not ask questions.

I do not think that this is the kind of ministry the Lord Jesus calls us into. As God's ministers and bond-slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to humble ourselves, lead the sheep under our care towards Him with sacrifice and commitment. When the Lord will appear,He will reward us as His faithful servants. May God bless you!