A walk in the park

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When was the last time you did something for the first time? Over the weekend I recorded another ‘first event’; I joined a team from my local Church to invite people for our Special Easter service. Our target area was the City centre, it was pretty interesting. First of all I was intruding on people enjoying the beautiful weather; some were having lunch while others were just spending quality time with their families. I had to remember to smile, to be polite, answer a few questions and to say thank you to those who wouldn’t take the flyer. But thankfully a few indicated interests in coming and a particular couple I met asked if there was going to be food, I think I said hopefully (I wasn’t sure) all the same I took down their numbers and told them the Church bus was going to pick them up on Sunday.
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On Sunday they were ready before 10 am; and someone else picked them up. But somehow I sensed there was something about them, on my way to Church with a few friends I brought up my concern of them been homeless and asking for food too. One of my friends asked why everyone always expects to eat in Church every time they are invited. This led to different people expressing their view on the issue. Well I got to Church, met them and at the end of the service I found out they were really homeless cos’ they came with their entire bags and the man told me too. They finally asked me for food, although we didn’t have cooked food in Church that day but we had 2 separate bags packed with canned food, pasta and some other dry food. Thankfully the Pastor asked me to give it to them.

I had to paint this story to point out something about the Church. She was born to cater to the needs of people, the early Church shared all they had and gave to anyone in need. Looking back now to the episode on the bus I remembered a few things, my coordinator in my Church in Nigeria said something profound, she’s one of the youngest in her family yet when anything happens and there is a monetary contribution they expect her to give more but you know what, she prefers to be on this side where she is giving than the one asking for money. A pastor I respect always says ‘don’t tell me you love me, show me – don’t say it is well, God bless you when you have the means of helping the person’. I read a book some years ago ‘Church Shift’ by Sunday Adelaja ; it’s an amazing book and he was saying the Church needs to be active and meeting the needs in the society. The Church he pastors feeds 2000 people daily through the Stephania Soup Kitchen that caters to needy street and abandoned children.

I think instead of us complaining that people are only coming to Church to be physically fed, let us ask God to bless our hands so we can be sources of blessings to such people. Even Jesus Christ fed the hungry, he didn’t send them away hungry rather He met their needs. Jesus Christ is in heaven, He won’t throw food from heaven rather we are representatives of Him here on earth. As we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us remember love brought Him to the world, love led Him to the cross and that same love nailed Him to the cross. May this truth resonate within us as we carry out the message He entrusted into our care. Loyiso sums it up with this song ‘Jesus to the world’.

We are Your hands and feet

You are the Words we speak

Jesus to the world

Jesus to the streets

Jesus in my hands, meeting others needs

Loads of Love

JMAD

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Easter, a message of Love

Cross[1]

It’s another time of the year; many of us look forward to, not necessarily for its significance rather the short holiday it brings; a time for visits, weddings and some good food munching, I’m not exempted; while you are reading this I’m on the road for a relative’s wedding.  In the midst of all these activities we can get carried away and before we know it we are back to our regular lives on Tuesday without taking a moment to reflect on the reason for the season. This blog is all about reflections, so here’s an opportunity to celebrate Easter differently. What does Easter mean to you, I’m not referring to your Church rather on a personal level? What is the significance of the Cross to you?  I asked a few people and I’ll be sharing their thoughts as well as mine, here we go.

Isioma : Easter reminds me of Christ’s love, His story is amazing… He had the power to stop His sufferings, power to destroy mere mortals, yet He was humble. For me it’s a lesson, He carried His cross without complain… I grumble a lot actually; maybe I should always remember Jesus, be humble and carry my cross. The cross symbolises love, NO man can love me more than Jesus, with all my sins, and He’s willing to accept me any day and anytime… to start anew, for my own good. Then He rose from the dead! With Him everything is possible.

Oforbuike : The cross symbolises a place of redemption, the oracle where my strength is drawn, a pointer and an eye opener to the reality of grace.

Eka : How much work have I put in to get Christ’s love? Can I love someone the way God loves me? The way I’m undeserving but He is constant, the way He doesn’t expect me to acknowledge or reciprocate His goodness, the way He respects my position and seeks my opinion over everything, the way I disappoint Him and He forgives without thought and still showers His love, the way He hung there knowing I wouldn’t spare Him a glance but hoping that I would have a change of heart later. Even if I didn’t, he was still willing to give Himself for the slightest opportunity that I would bulge. Easter is not just a show of love, God’s love, it’s an example of love, one that I am expected to follow. I have always thought of Easter in the light of what Christ did for me, today I had a different view being what Christ expects me to learn from Him to do for others.

Easter symbolises the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without Easter there’s really no Christianity, the world waited to know if Jesus would resurrect as earlier prophesied. The cross gives me the ability to live above sin through the help of the Holy Spirit, I have direct access to the Father through the Blood shed on the cross, I understand forgiveness and I’m getting better at forgiving people.  How can you explain, a Man restoring the ear of a soldier who came to arrest Him, or praying for forgiveness over those who had crucified Him. I have understood, if I’m offended it’s my responsibility to seek out peace and even apologise when it’s not convenient. The whole message of love rises and falls on Jesus Christ, He loved me even before I was born, He forgives me when I sin even when He knows I may repeat it again. I don’t have to be clean to come to Him, He loves me anyway and His arms are forever stretched out to welcome me back when I fall out of line. Such great LOVE!!!

What’s your story? You can share it with your family, friends or drop a few lines in the comment section. Remember all these people are not perfect but they know a perfect God who loves them in spite of their shortcomings. May the joy and liberty Jesus brought, rest and overshadow you this season and always.

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD

The One

Love cloud

Love is in the air, for a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to a woman and the two shall become ONE, I have always loved math; as a kid I was taught 1 + 1 = 2 but growing up I read One man + One woman = One. It became more of a mystery than mere calculation and then I read again “there’s more joy in Heaven over One sinner who repents than 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance”. There’s really something about the number One.

We are in the month of April, few days away from Easter, many of us are looking forward to the break, some weddings, parties, and visits are all lined up. In the midst of all these activities we often forget the reason for Easter. “For just as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” Rom 5:19 AMP. February is celebrated as the month of Love but I beg to differ, April should be the month of love. Everything about Easter rises and falls on love, for God loved the world so dearly that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. The price has already been paid, the baton has been passed onto us to carry the good news of salvation to the world, and we are all ministers in the ministry of reconciliation.

Cross

We shouldn’t wait to mount a pulpit to speak of the good news of Salvation to thousands; heaven takes notice of one person. Many years ago in FUTO, a fellowship decided to present a drama with the sole aim of getting the unsaved in campus, lots of sleepless night as a result of all night rehearsals, prayers and finances were put in, the day finally came, drama was presented, an altar call was made and only one person came out, you don’t want to know how disappointed they felt, after all the hard work. Fast forward 10 years later, that one person who got saved is now pastoring a church with many people getting saved.

We are often moved by numbers, you have a blog, one look at your stats leaves you feeling down, you are leading a class in church, at the end of your class only one person responds to the altar call, discouragement sets in, just in case I didn’t mention your own peculiar case you can fill it in… Isn’t it the same thing with helping someone financially, we want to make the billions to help the whole world forgetting we can start with a few thousand or less to help just one person. It’s a spiral effect, look at it this way a man needs N10,000.00 to send his daughter to school, he can’t afford it, he sends her out to hawk, she gets molested, a seed is sown in her, she hates men, she grows up and chooses the life of prostitution cos’ she can earn a living from it meanwhile you had the N10,000.00 but you were waiting for the remaining N990,000.00 to open up a foundation.

Can we celebrate this Easter differently? Can we spread the gospel of good news to someone? Can we put a smile on someone’s face? Can we make someone’s dream come through? Can we look around our neighbourhood or office for those who need some care? Can we visit an aged person and just spend time with them? The truth is, the message of Jesus Christ is all about love, we don’t have to quote the entire Bible to get someone saved, in fact you may end up not quoting a single scripture but your act of kindness or care could do the work.

Salvation

You may have been reading this and asking yourself how can I talk about Jesus when I don’t have a relationship with Him, it’s pretty easy “If you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe that God raised Him from the dead you’ll be saved” Rom 10:9 AMP.

We can say this short prayer “Dear Lord I thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ to the world, I admit I haven’t been living right and I’m grateful Jesus paid for my sins by giving up His life on the cross, I receive forgiveness and I pray You become Lord over my life, I lay down my past life at the cross and I receive a new life in Christ Jesus”. Welcome to the family, look for a Bible based church and fellowship with them. It’s a continuous work; get a Bible with a translation you can understand and study regularly.

LOADS OF LOVE.

JMAD.

Have we gotten used to God?

Worship

I haven’t learnt how to play any musical instrument yet, don’t know if I’m too old to start now. Maybe my kids will start early (hoping they have a flare for it). Although I’m not an instrumentalist or a professional singer, I’ve been blessed with a few as friends. You know it’s easy for someone to rub off on you, when you have close contact. The rubbing off, these friends had on me was an ear to pick out good sound when I heard one (not as though I’m perfect).

On different occasions, one will point out how a wrong key was played on the piano, a wrong pitch by a singer or some good beats on the drums. Most of these criticisms happened in church and gradually I started doing that. I’ll go to church and my ears are tuned to pick out irregularities in the sound production coming from the choir.

Can you relate to my story? Ever been in church and somehow you didn’t feel the vibes coming from the choir, they weren’t living up to your high expectations. I’m sure you’re nodding your head now and saying “finally I get to find someone who reasons like me”.

Hold on a little, my dear “Mozart“. When did the church become a place of entertainment? What’s our aim of going to the house of God? We go to church, and hear songs like this “We lift up holy hands with one accord” and our hands are folded, for the simple reason of poor quality of sound. Yet all of us were quick to do the “Oga at the top” sign when it went viral.

Who do we think we are??? We are not all that. Are we saying without instruments and a “Whitney” led choir we can’t worship God. “He said to them, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers” Matt 21 vs 18 AMP. His house is for prayers and worship is a form of prayer and you come in, and rob God of worship all in the name of wrong musical notes. Does it mean we can’t worship God in our closest without listening to some “good” music or our worship ends once the choir stops singing *smh.

Have we gotten so used to God that we take His things for granted? “Now is the time, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth and the Father is seeking such people” John 4 vs 23 AMP. Will God find you?

Life style

For as much as we live in the dispensation of Grace, let’s not forget the God who has our lives in His hands. Can this be related to our relationships? You’ve suddenly gotten used to your spouse or partner and there’s really nothing else. The spark that once existed has turned to a smoke coming out from burnt out wood. There’s no excitement because we’ve gotten used to them and gradually we start to lose that person.

God is new every morning. You can’t search out His totality. At one point He’s a Way maker, Protector, Provider, Healer, Judge, Father, Shield, High Priest and so much more; and He still listens to all of us when we come to Him lost and confused, never mixes up our prayer request. How can you think you can only worship this Great God conditionally, when the music is played well? If you need to be entertained, go to a concert.

As we celebrate this Easter, may it bring us back to the place of true worship as we remember the price Jesus had to pay on the cross that we may have liberty, and be free from the strongholds of sin and live victorious lives. Get lost in His presence regardless of the quality of music

Loads of Love

JMAD