THE CENTERPIECE 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
(1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Preamble

Yes, Easter Sunday has come and gone. But the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection remains. I hope you know that Easter is never really over and its benefits transcend a few designated days in a year. The crucifixion of Christ is the singular defining event that forever changed human history.  We are saved by the cross; we are being saved by the cross; and we will be spared from Gods’ wrath only by the cross.

Apostle Paul had a very comprehensive understanding of the crucifixion of Christ. He gave Jesus and His crucifixion the most prominent place in this life and ministry. He exalted Jesus’ crucifixion far above all other issues.

For an average person, Jesus’ death on the cross is a very narrow story. But on a closer look, it’s very broad, high, and deep. I have the leading to share some truths with you about the crucifixion of Jesus from Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.

 

Jesus Christ and Him Crucified

Apostle Paul testified that he stepped on the shores of the city of Corinth with a personal resolution. He met with the citizens of that city not with polished speeches and latest philosophy. Rather, though well educated, Paul presented the Gospel to the Corinthians as raw as possible. He didn’t garnish the message with any form of rhetoric.

The focal point of Paul’s message among the Corinthians was Jesus and Him crucified. He presented the crucified Christ to them as the ultimate solution to man’s ultimate problem (sin). He preached Christ on the Cross, hung up between heaven and earth, rejected by the Jews, despised by the Greeks and crucified by the Romans. Paul kept the cross at the forefront. He made the cross the centerpiece of his preaching. He was persuaded that Christ is everything that needs to be known by every man.  He believed that the knowledge of Christ’s crucifixion is the liberating force for any man.

 

Still the Centerpiece

Though there are many embellishments to the preaching of the Gospel in our days, the crucifixion of Christ remains irreplaceable. Everybody needs the Cross of Christ. The Cross is still the cure for man’s greatest problem, sin. It was on the Cross, through the Cross, and by the Cross that Jesus Christ perfected our redemption, and made us fit for eternity with God.

Beloved, the crucifixion of Christ is the starting point of an eternal relationship with God. When Jesus was hung on the cross, He waved to God with one hand and used the second hand to wave to you. God responded immediately. The meeting point for you to be reconciled to God is the cross. Have you responded to Jesus’ beckoning?  The forgiveness of your sins is only in the Cross. Your glory and greatness can only be achieved in the Cross. Your victory over Satan, sin, and death is in the Cross.

 
Shalom!
 
Rev Dr Victor O. Oyelowo
Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church, Oke’lerin
Nigeria.
(c) 2020

BEYOND CALCULATIONS Luke 24:1-7

EASTER SUNDAY MESSAGE

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

(Luke 24:1-7)

Preamble

Permit me to congratulate you on the occasion of 2020 Easter Sunday. Easter is a very significant and special season. Its rich relevance to humanity is inexhaustible. It is the most encouraging story ever since the world began. Easter confirms that the cross is never the final. I see the Easter story as the ultimate encouragement to the troubled world. If there’s any story you need to here now, it’s the message of Easter. It’s got a lot to offer you at whatever stage of your life. Are you depressed, discourage, disappointed or down-casted?  The Easter Story is all you need.

 

The Easter Story

The events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus and thereafter are the unbeatable antidote for any kind of difficulty in life. Jesus came to the world with the best of intentions. He was arrested, tried, condemned, and crucified. Despite all that befell Him, Jesus triumphed over all situations. God raised Him from the dead. He overcame darkness, death, and devil. He ascended to heaven and thus, has been untouchable.

This is the pattern of victory God has in store for you.

 

Beyond Calculations

In the text read, the Chief Priest and Pharisees had secured the tomb where Jesus was buried. Then the women led by Mary Magdalene came to the tomb to anoint Jesus. But He wasn’t found there. Then the angel on assignment from heaven that morning told the women ‘He is not here; for He is risen as He said!’ Jesus had eclipsed everyone’s expectations. I see this as a word for you today. I see God enlisting you among those who will triumph beyond people’s widest imaginations. Your life is destined to beat every limits. You will go beyond every bar. The story of your life shall henceforth be: ‘He is not here; He has gone farther; He is ahead and above’.

 

Shalom!

 Rev Dr Victor O. Oyelowo
Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church, Oke’lerin,
Nigeria.
(c) 2020

BECOMING UNBEATABLE-2 John 16:33

Preamble

The Word of our Lord Jesus Christ is coming expressly to you again. One of the greatest gifts God gives His beloved to keep them on top of situations and challenges of life is peace. The word peace in Hebrew is shalom but in Greek, it’s eirene. Peace means a supernatural calmness and composure that only God can release. This kind of peace can never fail. It’s beyond human explanation. It’s only available to those who are in Christ and daily lives in Him.

 

You Can Be Unbeatable

This kind of peace is not an illusion. One of those who enjoyed this peace is David in 1 Samuel 17.  For 40 days Goliath’s words troubled King Saul and the Army of Israel. But when David got to the battle as a visitor, he heard the same words of Goliath. But he was never jittery or afraid. He responded by declaring an end to the era of Goliath. He courageously confronted Goliath and killed him and brought great victory to the nation of Israel.

When you have this peace, you will not only be unshakable but you will generate outstanding solutions to problems around you. This peace makes you a blessing to your world. It makes you more creative.

Jesus asked His disciples to ‘be of good cheer’ because He has overcome the world. The Greek word translated ‘to be of good cheer’ is tharseo. It refers to ‘God bolstering the believer, empowering them with a bold inner-attitude’.  It also means: Be of good courage. Brace up. Cheer up. Manifest God’s strength in You. Live out a Holy Spirit-produced inner confidence, in-birthed conviction, and infused courage.

This is how God wants you to live amidst all challenges of life. You should cheer up because Jesus has overcome the world. That’s the right mentality you need. Stop paying undue attention to your challenges. You see, when you make your challenge important, you make yourself impotent to handle them.

Rise up. Cheer up. Man up. Victory is yours. Birds do fly despite the law of gravity. Despite water waves, fish will swim. I see you emerge better, bigger, and brighter amidst the socio-economic disorders in the world.

 

Shalom!
 
Rev Dr Victor O. Oyelowo
Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church, Oke’lerin,
Ogbomoso, Nigeria.
(c) 2020

BECOMING UNBEATABLE-1 John 16:33 The Message

‘I’ve told you all this, so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world’ (John 16:33, The Message)

 

Preamble

According to John, this is Jesus’ last statement to His disciples before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. I strongly believe that this profound truth is more needed now by the contemporary Christians than when Jesus first made it. This statement contains the antidote to becoming unbeatable.

 

You Can Be Unshakable

This world is filled with challenges, difficulties, hardships, hostilities, persecutions and tribulations. Christians, I must say, are the main targets of these unpleasant experiences. Jesus made this clearly to His disciples shortly before His arrest.

Our Lord Jesus Himself had to endure the Cross and the shame associated with it. He was even called a man of sorrows according to Isaiah 53. Paul and his companions experienced all kinds of hardships, insults, calamities and persecutions (2 Corinthians 12:10). For Peter, these persecutions are not strange (I Peter 4:12).

To the best of my knowledge, Jesus never promised that all will be rosy the moment a person believes in Him as Saviour and Lord. For Jesus, the early disciples and Apostles to have experienced those ugly situations, it means that God’s counsel is never to prevent tough circumstances from happening to His people. Rather, God’s profound promise is to make us unshakable. The prefix ‘un’ in any word always means the exact opposite. The word ‘shake’ means to move; to cause to quake, quiver, or tremble; to weaken; to dislodge; to upset.  Thus, the Lord’s chief intention during tough times is to make you stable, steady, and strong such that no situation will be able to overpower you. God wants to make you solid like Mount Zion (Psalm 125:1).

 

Conclusion

Beloved, Jesus is the strength you need in increasing measure to become unshakable amidst the challenges and crisis of life.  With Him as the captain of your life, no wind can conquer you.  The peace He gives is what you need to overcome the pressure of the world.

Come to Jesus today, He is willing to receive you.  He will cleanse you from all your sins.  He will give you a brand new life.

TOP TRUTHS FOR TRUE LIVING-3 Isaiah 49:14-16, Jeremiah 29:11

“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49:14-16)

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future, and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Preamble

Thus far, the Lord has exposed us to three top truths.  God posted those truths to:

  • Liberate us from all forms of mediocrity, pessimism, and shallow living; and
  • Launch us into the realm of genuine, impeccable, and authentic living.

In other words, God’s ultimate intention is that our lives conform to the original.

Let’s rehearse the first 3 truths:

  • I am God’s masterpiece
  • I am first, a spirit
  • I am God’s beloved

Today, I have God’s leading to share two more of such top truths.

  1. I am in God’s permanent memory

Within the brain are different places where different kinds of information are stored. During the time of Prophet Isaiah, many people in Zion had concluded that God has forsaken and forgotten them. So, God had to send Isaiah to them with a top truth.

I see God sending the same massage to everyone on this platform. God has not forgotten you. He has you in His permanent memory. Friends, associates, neighbors, and siblings can forget you. Not God. You are so special to Him such that He engraved you on the palms of His hands.

It’s going to be your wisdom to always recall this amazing truth: I am in God’s permanent memory. I will not forget you implies a high degree of commitment.

 

  1. I am in God’s masterplan

The background to this passage shows that God’s people were in captivity in Babylon. God sent Jeremiah to tell them saying: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for’ (The Message).

You are in God’s thought out plans. You are in His masterplan. He thinks about your welfare, well-being, success, progress, promotion, fruitfulness, breakthroughs, etc.

You are in the centre of God’s agenda. You are not an afterthought. God thinks about you every moment. He’s masterminding everything in your ultimate favor.

 

Shalom!

Rev Dr Victor O. Oyelowo

Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church, Oke’lerin

(c) 2020

TOP TRUTHS FOR TRUE LIVING-2 John 3:16-17, Jeremiah 31:3

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

(John 3:16-17)

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying; ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Preamble

Thank God for the first two top truths He shared with us the last time. There were various comments and responses on various platforms. I have the Lord’s permission to go further in sharing the third one.

  1. I am God’s beloved

You are dear to God’s heart. Quite often than not, many who attend Church are blind to this truth. In that famous text, John 3:16, 17, Jesus stated emphatically that God loves the world (people living in it) to the extent that He gave up His beloved Son. There’s no creation that God has ever so loved like that. When some angels sinned, God never sent His Son for their salvation. The sole essence of the advent of God’s beloved Son, is for you to be saved from eternal damnation.

You are God’s darling. God loves you dearly. He’s fond of you. You are precious to Him. You are highly esteemed in God’s sight. He treasures you. He prefers you to anything in heaven and on earth. You are fully captured in God’s ultimate love. God loves you with eternal love.

I charge you to always remind yourself of this top truth. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t like you. Nothing on earth can undo God’s love for you. I believe whenever God speaks to you, the first thing He will say is: I love you. He truly means it.

God’s love for you made Him gave up His son for your sake. Because you are dear to His heart, God mandated His Son to face His wrath on your behalf. That shows that there’s nothing He can’t do for you to be safe, sound, and supported.

Shalom!

Rev Dr Victor O. Oyelowo
Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church Oke’lerin

(c) 2020

TOP TRUTHS FOR TRUE LIVING Genesis 1:26-27

‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’ (Genesis 1:26-27)

 

Preamble

My heart’s desire and burning passion is for all of you in this congregation to live a true life. The Lord has repeatedly told me: Son, keep dishing out truths in its purest form. I am convinced that truths are powerful tools for transformation of lives and destinies. Where truth is wanting, true living is impossible. Many lives are castrated and caged because they rest on mere opinions of people and pressures of the world.

From this moment, I see the Lord begin the re-engineering of our subconscious, our minds, and innermost beings. I plead with you to pay close attention to the following top truths:

 

Top Truths for True Living

  1. I am God’s Masterpiece

This is a top truth that will power you to live a true life. In Genesis 1:27, God created you in His own image. No gain saying about it. Nothing can undo that. Your creation in God’s image is an irreversible reaction. No matter what, you remain God’s best, biggest, and brightest product. You came directly from God. He intentionally made you in His likeness. You are His masterpiece.

  1. I am first a spirit

It’s a great error to define a human being by his physique. We’ve been cajoled by physical beauty. Every product now has advertisements with pictures of men and women with serious make-up.

The truth is that man is first and foremost a spirit. There are two accounts of man’s creation in the Bible: Genesis 1 and 2. In Genesis 1 account, God made man in His likeness.  We all know that God has no physical body. So, we can safely conclude that God made man as a spirit like Himself. In Genesis 2 account, God gave man a physical body. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” (Genesis 2:7a)

You are first a spirit, your physical body is an addendum, a bonus. It’s not your real essence. Don’t be carried away by the massive emphasis on the physical body to the detriment of the spirit of a man. I learnt that the beauty business across the globe is worth $532 billion as at July 2019. In Nigeria alone, it’s worth about N500 million as at March 2019. Such overemphasis has brought so much deception to humanity. So many mis-judge their worth or value by their physical appearance.

You are first and foremost a spirit. Grow your spirit and you will live an authentic or genuine life as God designs for your destiny.

 

 

Shalom!

LIFT UP YOUR EYES John 4:35, Proverbs 10:5

‘Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’

(John 4:35)

 

‘He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame’ (Proverbs 10:5)

 

Preamble

Thank God for the privilege of this Missions Mobilization Sunday. Permit me to re-echo the two-fold purpose of this kind of Service:

  • To receive God’s mind on soul winning
  • To take practical steps in meeting God’s needs through personal decisions, personal donations, and personal prayers.

 

X-Ray of John 4:35

In this text, there are two statements:

The first statement is from the followers of Jesus: There are still four months and then comes the harvest. I see Jesus read their minds, even those who left all to follow Jesus. In the mind of their minds, they thought harvest was still far off.

I see the Lord read the mind of everyone here. There are several persons here who are complacent about soulwinning. Many are yet to catch the vision for Missions. I sense majority here have not seen the urgency of rescuing the perishing. Missions is yet to be our topmost priority. Are several of us not saying that harvest is still far?

The second statement is from Jesus: Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! I see Jesus giving us divine perspectives today as He gave His disciples on that day. ‘Lift up your eyes’ is a clarion call to all of us now.

Beloved, now is harvest time! Jesus told His disciples that the fields of the world are ripe for harvest. He knows much better than all of us. I see God calling ALL of us into massive harvesting.  I see God addressing you this morning: You are My ordained harvester.

Beloved, lift up your eyes. See what God is seeing. This is the time to roll our sleeves, bend down, and gather souls into God’s Kingdom. This is not the time to sleep off, argue, postulate, find fault, or be complacent. This is the time to invest your time, talents and treasures in harvesting souls into God’s Kingdom.

 

 

Available Opportunities in 2020

  • Neighborhood Evangelism
  • Synergy with Churches / Mission Agencies
  • Adoption of an Unreached People Group
  • Mission Trip

 

Prayer Focus

  1. Lord, awaken my spirit towards harvest
  2. Lord, help me to see souls that are perishing
  3. Lord, anoint me for soul harvest
  4. Lord, make me mission-hearted, mission-minded and mission-footed
  5. Lord, lead FBC, Oke’lerin to great harvest in 2020
  6. Lord, raise hundreds of harvesters in this Assembly in 2020
  7. Lord, grant us massive fruitfulness
  8. Thank the Lord for answers

 Shalom!

Shalom!

HOW TO HEAR AND FOLLOW GODíS VOICE Genesis 26:1-6; 12-14, NKJV

‘There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.”

(Genesis 26:1-6; 12-14, NKJV)

Preamble

Congrats to the Men’s Missionary Union of FBC, Oke’lerin on the occasion of 2020 Emphasis Sunday. Permit me to quickly remind you that Men’s Missionary Union (MMU) comprises of two units: Royal Ambassadors (RA) & Baptist Men’s Fellowship (BMF). Our sincere appreciation goes to the entire MMU for your great contributions to the development of FBC, Oke’lerin.

This topic is very crucial. It underscores the importance of an effective relationship with the Lord. The place of hearing God’s voice on individual basis can’t be overemphasized. We can’t do without hearing directly and consistently from God. According to A. W. Tozer, ‘It is the nature of God to speak.’ The entire Bible is God speaking to man. He speaks to us all the time. We stand to gain tremendously when we hear God’s voice and follow His leading.

Case Study: Isaac

From the text before us:

- God spoke to Isaac and gave him a set of instructions and promises.

- Isaac did exactly as God instructed

- There are several other persons who heard and followed God’s voice. These include Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Peter and Paul. They all succeeded greatly as a result of hearing and following God’s voice.

 

Application Truths

  1. Be acquainted with the ways in which God speaks to man. These include Bible, revelation (dream, vision, trance), impression on a man’s heart, spontaneous and persistent thoughts, prophecy (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, etc.), circumstances.
  2. Confirm how God speaks to you personally through the history of your relationship with Him.
  3. Deepen your spiritual sensitivity by deepening your personal relationship with the Lord.

 

Benefits of Hearing and following God’s Voice

  1. You can’t be stranded in life
  2. You can’t be misled in life
  3. You will always record massive successes
  4. Your descendants will reap favors
  5. You will enjoy peace/rest
  6. You will experience super progress

 

Prayer Points

  1. Lord, take away anything that’s blocking my ears from hearing Your voice
  2. Lord, I submit my heart to perpetually connect to You
  3. Lord, help me to grow in hearing and following You.

Shalom!

MOVING FORWARD: BECOMING A MORE DISCIPLINED CHURCH Hebrews 12:5,6

Preamble

Congratulations to the Women Missionary Union on this occasion. I seized this medium to appreciate you for all your efforts and contributions to the development of FBC, Oke’lerin in 2019.

The topic before us is the Nigerian Baptist Convention Theme for 2020. I bet you we’ve got a lot to learn from this theme this year. This text is originally found in Proverbs 3:11,12. It’s part of the wisdom King Solomon shared with the young people in his days.

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights."

 

An Overview of Hebrew 12:5,6

I have the leading to share three basic truths with you from this text. These are:

  1. Discipline (instructive and corrective training) is meant for bonafide children.

God doesn’t discipline anyone outside His purview. Divine discipline is part of God’s responsibility to you as His child. God faithfully fulfills this role.

 

  1. Discipline is a sign of God’s love.

God’s love for you compels Him to check, correct, instruct, rebuke and warn you. His corrections would be coming to you this year through various instruments. The more God corrects you, the more His love for you. He rebuked David through Prophet Nathan so that he would end up becoming a disaster. David became better for it.

 

  1. It’s going to be your wisdom to fully cooperate with God’s discipline. Don’t despise the chastening of the Lord. Don’t get discouraged whenever the Lord rebukes you. He has your best interest at heart. If He confronts you with His Word, accept that He is right and you are wrong. David accepted the Lord’s rebuke through Nathan and he was restored.

 

Conclusion

Let’s pray like David in Psalm 139:23,4. Here, David was proactive about divine discipline. He invited God to his life. Please ask the Lord to do same in your life.

  • Lord, search my heart
  • Lord, purify my motives
  • Lord, delete every evil in me
  • Lord, plant Your will in me

TRANSFORMATION: PATHWAY TO GODíS BEST-3 Romans 12:2

Preamble

For transformation to take place, everyone has roles to place. Transformation is a process that involves huge responsibilities. The phrase ‘but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ points to what’s expected of us in God’s plan of transformation. It also means that we should cooperate with the process that leads to transformation.

Without any controversy, the source of rejuvenation of the mind is the Word of God.  Hebrews 4:12 attests to this when it says ‘For the Word of God is living and powerful’. When the Word of God touches your mind, it gives it life (zoe) and power (dunamis). In other words, the Word of God energizes, empowers, and equips the mind of a man to perform optionally, and thus, sets it up for transformation. When the Word of God sets a man’s mind ablaze, the result is wholesale transformation. Nothing on earth can do what God’s Word is capable of doing to your mind. God’s Word has the creative power to recreate, regenerate, and replenish the human mind. Remember that it was the Word that created the mind at the very beginning (John 1:1-3)

 

Third Phrase of Romans 12:2

‘…that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.’

This is the output of transformation. This phrase spells out the resultant effect. Same way, a productive butterfly is the end result of complete metamorphosis in butterfly

When your mind is renewed, over all issues in life and destiny, you will be able to:

  • Discover God’s best

Your entire life will be opened to that which is most pleasing to God. The perfect counsel of God over all matters will be made bare before you (Psalm 25:14). At that level, God will begin to confide in you. The Lord will have no other choice than to always reveal His intimate counsels to you. Thus, you can’t be stranded.

  • Decide for God’s best

A renewed mind also bestows on a man the ability to go for God’s highest. At that level, you wouldn’t need anyone to force you to do God’s bidding. Thus, God’s will becomes a walk over for a man whose mind is renewed from time to time. He or she will easily venture into whatever that has the highest values and greatest advantages.

  • Devour God’s best

A man whose mind is renewed will automatically enjoy God’s best in all facets of life. A renewed mind places God’s best at the disposal of a man.

Conclusion

Having gone through this theme exposition, I believe God wants His very best for you. He wants you to be the best version of yourself in. He wants you to access His best in all areas of life.  He wants you to enjoy the best He’s got to offer.

Please don’t miss out of God’s best. Journey through this new year with Romans 12:2 in mind. See you become the best!

TRANSFORMATION: PATHWAY TO GODíS BEST-2 Romans 12:2

Second Phrase of Romans 12:2

‘But be transformed by the renewing of your mind’

The tone and tense of this phrase put a huge responsibility on each of us. That is, for transformation to take place, we all have roles to play. Moreover, transformation is an ongoing issue. This kind of transformation is a process, not a single event. The Greek word translates ‘transform’ in this verse is ‘metamorphro’.  That’s where the word metamorphosis comes from. In English Language, the word metamorphosis means a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something. In Biology, it refers to ‘a major change in the form or structure of some animals or insects that happens as the animal or insect becomes an adult.’ For instance, a butterfly has complete metamorphosis. It goes through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

  • Egg: small and round in shape. It’s usually laid on the leaves of plants.
  • Larva: Egg is hatch on the leaves where it is laid. It eats the leaves on which it is hatched. Since it eats much, it grows very fast.
  • Pupa: At this stage, a lot of changes go on in the inside of caterpillar.
  • Adult: Here, the butterfly emerges with its wings and beauty. One feature here is that the adult butterfly constantly looks out to reproduce and the cycle will start all over.

Transformation is in stages. The first stage is to be born again. That is, transforming from an unbeliever to a believer in Christ Jesus. After this, are other stages till we become completely like Christ. You can’t exhaust the experience of transformation God’s got to offer here on earth. Your best bet is to have an insatiable thirst for the utmost.

The second phrase of our theme text reveals another important truth. ‘But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ That is, a man’s mind is the channel through which a man can be transformed.  Yeah! Your mind. Mind is the ‘part of a person that thinks, reasons, feels, and remembers’. The Mind, according to Wikipedia is ‘the set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgment, language and memory, which is housed in the brain’.

A man’s mind is key to whatever he becomes and how he behaves in life. As a result of this importance, God through Paul, connects the human mind to transformation. A reset or renewal of the mind is key to transformation. When your mind is revitalized, made fresh, refreshed, or rejuvenated, you are bound to experience transformation. Thus, nothing external can birth this kind of transformation.

The question then is: What can bring renewal to a man’s mind that will result in transformation?

TRANSFORMATION: PATHWAY TO GODíS BEST-1 Romans 12:2

Preamble

The above text is God’s template for every one of us that has graciously crossed into this New Year. By God’s grace, this text will be interpreted and applied all through the month of January. I plead with you to be very attentive as the Lord pours His mind on us from the text. We will allow God to lay a solid foundation of His mind for us this month. This will further lead us to x-ray the lives of certain characters who had the experience of transformation and what became of them at long run.

 

First Phase of Romans 12:2

Today, I would dwell on the first phase of our golden text for 2020: ‘And do not be conformed to this world’.

This is a tall order from the Lord to you this year. It’s a big ask. I see God asking you not to condense your life and destiny to the world’s ways. The word translated ‘conform’ in the Greek language means ‘to twist together’ or ‘to fashion alike.’ It’s a very direct warning. The end of conformity to the world is disaster. Anyone who does will eventually become a loser.

The Lord who ushered you to this New Year is clearly demanding that you should not swim together with the worldly patterns and standards. The world in this context does not refers to the physical entity we all see. Rather, it refers to the assemblage, bunch, and cluster of all forms of evils. In other words, the world here means anything and everything that does not have its root in God. It could be an attitude, an action, or an idea. Incidentally, the world is being packaged and repackaged. Only God knows how it will look like in 2020.

Beloved, if indeed you will enjoy God to the fullest and access all He has ordained for you this new year, you must dissociate yourself from all forms of worldly patterns and standards. You must not twist together in those fashions. They are capable of robbing you of God’s packages for you in 2020. Make up your mind now that you will not associate with anything unchristian, ungodly, unrighteous, immoral, and sinful this new year.

THE CARDINAL COMMISSION OF THE CHURCH Matthew 28:18-20

‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded to you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

 

Preamble
I stand here today to respectfully acknowledge the Missions thrust of this Church since 1855.  I celebrate our forefathers and mothers who championed such a noble cause that gave birth to hundreds of Churches and hundreds of thousands of souls. I have promised myself that when we get to heaven, I will further celebrate them all starting from Rev Thomas Jefferson Bowen.

I equally acknowledge all of you, current members, who have made notable contributions to soul winning in several ways. I have a clear leading to call our collective audience to the need to take the Missions thrust of this Church to the higher heights. No doubt, there are more lands to be possessed for the Lord Jesus as there are things our forefathers and mothers couldn’t do before they returned to their Maker.

 

Introduction
The Cardinal Commission of the Church of God is Missions. Missions is everything that is undertaken to reach people with the Gospel, win them for God’s Kingdom, and make them correct disciples of Christ. Everything a Church engages in should equip her to achieve maximum results in this direction.  In other words, our prayer meetings, Bible studies, Worship services, House Fellowships, Organizational meetings, and etc. should have missions as their ultimate goal. Anything short of that is an aberration and abuse of divine privileges.  Whatever we engage in as individual believers and as a Church that does not have the expansion of God’s Kingdom as its end goal is disgusting to God who sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

The Lord has great expectations from FBC, Oke’lerin. He has blessed this Church with all resources to undertake great soul winning to the ends of the nations. We must not disappoint God.  He has endowed us with more than enough to do Missions and usher millions into His Kingdom.  All hands must be on desk to achieve this.  Mind you, the kind of Missions the Lord is calling us into is not to please any man or for the sake of award or recognition.  It’s one that’s undertaken for the Lord’s Kingdom.

The Concrete Claim
From the text commonly called the Great Commission, ‘Go Ye’ was not the first statement Jesus made. Most times, we unconsciously neglect the first thing Jesus said to His disciples. In verse 18, Jesus made a concrete claim that paves way for the Great Commission. He came to His disciples and informed them that He is in possession of all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus clearly told them that He is in charge everywhere, every day, and in every way. He is in full control and the final charge over every matter. He is superior and supreme in everything.

This crack claim is the greatest motivation for any believer or any church to engage in Missions.  With this, you can go anywhere on earth and do missions. This claim is tantamount to divine backing for winning souls for the Lord. In other words, we already have the needed impetus to undertake for Jesus in all the continents and nations of the world. With Christ as our backbone, our going out for the Lord is a done deal.  Every power and provision are available. From that context, there’s no lack of anything significant.  We have God’s fullest backing.

 

The Cardinal Commission
After that audacious statement, the Lord Jesus handed over the cardinal commission of His church to His disciples: GO THEREFORE! It means, ‘Go’ is an offshoot of the great claim. Nobody can go anywhere to do anything for the Lord without a recourse to the earlier claim. In other words, no Cardinal Commission except through the Concrete Claim. We can go anywhere only because the authority of everywhere is invested in Jesus. The vision of Jesus’ claim gives birth to the Mission of the disciples.

‘… and make disciples of all nations.’ This clearly spells out the ultimate goal of missions. That is, the end goal of missions is to produce disciples of Jesus in all the nations of the world. The word translated ‘nations’ here refers to tribes and clans. It’s more of people groups than of countries. We must have this at the back of our minds that the Cardinal Commission of the Church is incomplete until ardent and committed disciples of Jesus emerge. Having churches and congregations among different tribes are not the ultimate.

Other constituents of the Cardinal Commission of the Church of God are baptizing and teaching those that have been won for the Lord. Jesus went further to promise His presence with anyone /any congregation that undertakes for Him.

Practical Application
In line with that mandate, a number of things are to be put in place:
* Dedicated Sunday
From January 2020, the 3rd Sunday of the month would be designated Missions Service
* Dedicated Partnership
By God’s grace, beginning from January 2020, we will go into partnership with Churches, Missions Agencies, and Missionaries in our quest to fulfill the Cardinal Commission of the Church of God.
* Dedicated Funds
Starting from the year 2020, we will raise millions annually to undertake the Cardinal Commission of the Church.

 

Conclusion

Each of us needs to make personal and pertinent commitment in this direction. There are three major ways each of us can get involved:

* Going
* Giving
* Interceding

Don’t be left out… Be generously involved

FIRST AND FAT Genesis 4:1-5

‘Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.  And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.’ (Genesis 4:1-5)

 

Preamble
Permit me to congratulate everyone here on the occasion of 2019 Adult Harvest Thanksgiving. Across the globe, this is an occasion that Baptists have set aside to acknowledge and appreciate the God of harvest who blesses us with appropriate increase in our various endeavors. While farmers traditionally do give their farm produce to God, non-farmers are known to monetize their harvest. Thus, Adult Harvest Thanksgiving is more of a personal matter than collective.

X-Ray of Genesis 4:1-5

The first Harvest Thanksgiving recorded in the Bible is found in this text. We stand to gain correct perspective about how to go about correct harvest thanksgiving from this text. Adam and Eve were blessed with two sons: Cain and Abel. Cain was a plant farmer while Abel was an animal farmer. After a while, both of them decided to do harvest thanksgiving to the Lord who prospers them.

In the text, we can see Cain present ‘an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD’ (v 3b).  Abel on the other hand, brought ‘of the first born of his flock and of their fat’ (v 4a). The difference between the two harvest offerings is very clear. Cain presented to God an ordinary offering while Abel offered from among the first and the fat. The difference is clear.  So, God responded differently as well.  It’s not really the figure that matters but the fraction and the family of what is offered to God.

For presenting from the first and the fat, God respected Abel and his offering. That is, God began to admire Abel. The young man became special among men before Him. God began to esteem him. Abel became a reference point, a delight, and a wonder of God. So, also his offerings. Abel had an excellent rating before God. Abel offered the best of his best to God. No wonder, even after his brother killed him, God defended Abel.

If we really want to do correct Harvest Thanksgiving; we must have to give from among the best God has given us. All of us should set aside a certain percentage of our regular income. Harvest Thanksgiving is a time we can raise millions as harvest offering. Remember that your 2019 harvest offering is the seed for 2020 harvest.

 

Conclusion
It’s not enough to just give. We must give in line with biblical principles. There are laid down principles for everything in Christendom. No shortcuts.

CONFRONTING THREATS WITH THANKSGIVING Daniel 6:10

‘Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home.  And in his upper room with his windows open toward Jerusalem he knelt down on his knees three times that day and prayed and GAVE THANKS before this God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10, emphasis added)

 

Preamble

Daniel belongs to the upper echelon of the all-time super stars.  His excellent lifestyle and exploits still echo till date.  He rose to limelight in a foreign land though he started out as a slave.  He weathered various storms and became truly great amidst persecutions. 

 

Such a life is worth studying and emulating.  I have the singular honor to share with you a key truth from Daniel’s life. As we celebrate the Lord’s goodness and love to us over the 3rd Quarter of 2019, the Lord wants to equip our lives with a top truth: when there is a threat, confront it with thanksgiving. When you do, your testimony is sure.

 

Daniel as a Case Study

There was a plot against Daniel by the entire 120 Satraps and 2 Governors especially when Daniel was about to be placed above all the king’s officials (vv 1-3). They made a royal statute and decreed that no one should pray to any god except that statute within 30 days. Whoever goes against the decree is to be cast into the lion’s den. Then, they made King Darius sign the written decree.

 

When Daniel heard about it, he went home and stuck to his convictions. He prayed and GAVE THANKS. What did he thank God for:

  1. The event itself
  2. The grand agenda God has for the event
  3. The privilege to be part of the event
  4. The end shall bring glory to God
  5. The event will lead to a new testimony

This is a huge step of faith.  You know the end of the story.  Huge victory!

 

Application Truths

  1. When we give thanks, God takes charge. In verse 22, Daniel said ‘My God…’ when you thank God, He gets mobilized on your matter. With praise, God cannot be passive.
  2. When we give thanks, we get connected to the supernatural. In verse 22, angelic beings were dispatched to stop the mouth of the lions. Every act of thanksgiving attracts the supernatural. Thanksgiving provokes the supernatural.
  3. When we give thanks, we become unbeatable. Daniel gave thanks in his room, when he got to the lion’s den, he became untouchable. No matter the threats, thanksgiving will always make you a winner.

 

Beloved, keep thanking God and keep triumphing despite of all threats.

GATEWAY TO YOUR GREATNESS-3 Genesis 41:9-15

‘Then the chief butter spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day.  When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker,” We each had a dream in one night, he and I, each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream.  Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard.  And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream.  And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened.  He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”  Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it.  But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it” (Genesis 41:9-15).

Biblical Example of the Reality of Proverbs 18:16

I am sure that almost everyone here is familiar with the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob.  He was sold to Egypt by the Midianites who bought him directly from his brothers.  Despite his diligence and outstanding results at the house of Potiphar, he was sent to prison.  While in prison, he helped the prison inmates, and especially, in the interpretation of their dreams.  He even interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s officials who were in prison at some points in time.

Then, Pharaoh had a twin dream.  No one in the entire nation could interprete the dreams.  After a while, the chief butter remembered Joseph by his ability to interprete dreams.  Pharaoh sent for Joseph and he appeared at the palace.  He interpreted the king’s dreams and went on to become the Prime Minister in the land of Egypt.

Can you guess what actually got him out of prison?  His gift of interpretation of dreams, that he had discovered, and was deploying and developing. Not his diligence per say. Not his innocence.  Not his nationality.  Not even his own dreams of greatness while in his father’s house.

When you discover your gifts and put them to use, especially, in helping others, a lot of things will work in your favour.  When other considerations fail, your gift can be a saving grace.  Charges against Joseph became a non-issue when his gift came on board.  He was automatically discharged and till he died at age 110, nobody remembered that he was once accused of rape.  Automatic state pardon! His accusers became jittery at the promotion Joseph got courtesy of his gift.

Your gift is capable of bringing you to limelight.  Joseph was lifted from the dungeon.  He got to the palace courtesy of his God-given gift.  Your gift can announce you at the global stage.  The world can bow before you when you discover and deploy your God-given abilities. I plead with you to look more inward.  Discover your innate potentials.  Dig them out.  Come to terms with those skills and abilities.  They are your selling point.  The world is looking for those who can proffer solutions to myriads of problems, courtesy their natural and supernatural enablement.

GATEWAY TO YOUR GREATNESS-2 Proverbs 18:16

‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men’ (Proverbs 18:16)

Fundamental Truths

  1. Your fulfillment in life is centered around your gifting.

If you are determined to be fulfilled as God’s best creature, you should endeavor to discover, deploy, and develop your God-given gifts. The earlier you set out to doing that, the better.

Your life has a purpose. Your gift mix is an important tool to fulfill such a purpose. It’s an illusion to think of fulfilling one’s purpose without a recourse to one’s natural and supernatural gifting.

Analysis of Proverbs 18:16

Gifts are powerful. A gift is capable of opening doors of opportunity and privilege that were otherwise off limits. A man’s gifts create access for him. Your gift is the creator of opportunities you will ever need in life. Your gift, when fully discovered and operational, is your edge in life and destiny. No one can beat you at being you. Your gift is the secret of your standout. Your gift is your power. Your gift will help you find real fulfillments, purpose, and contentment in all areas of life. Your gift is your pathfinder in life and destiny. According to Dr Myles Munroe, your gift is your area of domain. Your gifts will help you fulfill your dominion mandate.

In the world of sports, gifts play a major role in the attainment of greatness of sportsmen and women. Consider these names in the world of football: Pele, Maradona, Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu, Kanu Nwankwo, Austin Okocha, Stephen Keshi, Lionel Messi and Christano Ronaldo. One thing is common to them, skill.  They can hold the ball, dribble, and score decisive goals. They discovered their skill, developed it, and deployed it. They became renowned courtesy their natural gift.

The same is applicable in the entertainment world. There are countless artists, comedians, and musicians whose natural gifts have made rooms for them. Millions of people pay heavily to watch their performances. In other words, their gifts pay their bills.

GATEWAY TO YOUR GREATNESS-1 Proverbs 18:16

‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men’ (Proverbs 18:16)

Preamble

All through the month of August, the Lord showed us who He created us to be.  In other words, He convinced us by His Word in Genesis 1:26-28 that He made each one of us in His image and likeness. Simply put, you are God’s duplicate, higher than every creature, and only next to God Himself.

The next thing after a man has discovered who God created him to be is to discover what God has deposited in him to fulfill his ordained purpose. This new series will help you to discover the rich endowments of God in your life.  Many a times, people live without taking cognizance of the rich deposits of God in their lives.

As God’s best creature, you have the gene of greatness in you. You can’t but manifest God’s greatness in and through your life. One key thing God did to prepare you for greatness is that He packaged you with diverse gifts. The manifestation of your greatness in life is directly proportional to the maximum utilization of your God-given gifts. This is what Dr Myles Munroe seems to say when he said ‘What you were designed to be known for is your gift.’

Fundamental Truths about Gifting

Before we examine the text before us, I like to condense some basic truths to whet your appetite.  These are:

  1. You are gifted

When God created you in His image, He bestowed natural gifts on you. Some called these talents or natural endowments. Examples of these natural gifts include writing, drawing, speaking, singing, networking, critical thinking, self-management, art, humor, money managements, intuition, ability to make friends, sales/marketing, visualization, athleticism, playing instruments, making connections, empathy, and people judgment. Every human being is gifted in at least one of the natural gifts.

When you get born again, you are endowed with supernatural gifts. These are generally refer to as gifts of the Spirit. The entire Bible has several examples of the various supernatural gifts God endowed people to function beyond the natural realm.  Texts such as Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11 have specific gifts of the Spirit. Every believer in Christ has at least one of them (cf. Ephesians 4:8)

  1. Your greatness is tied to your gifts

What you will be known for centers around your gifts (both natural and supernatural).  No one becomes great outside of his or her gifting. Stop envisaging greatness outside your God-given gifts. A man’s greatness is showcased by his gifts. Your gift is your gateway to greatness. People like Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison leveraged on their gifts and became great scientists and inventors. Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiongo, excelled in the literary world.

Remain blessed!

REDISCOVERING THE REAL YOU-4 Judges 6:34

“But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him” (Judges 6:34)

Preamble

I like to conclude this series by calling your attention to what God did for Gideon while he was rediscovering himself. I should let you know right away that God does the same even till tomorrow. Few days ago, the Lord specifically assured me that He will do what He did for Gideon in your life.

 

Between the time the Angel of God visited Gideon and the turning point recorded in Judges 6:34, God thoroughly convinced Gideon that he is a mighty man of valor and that he’s ordained for greatness. On divine instruction, Gideon tore down the altar of Baal at night with ten (10) men. Though there was an uproar the next morning, nobody could touch Gideon. Around the same time, the Midianites and Amalekites gathered together against Israel.

The Turning Point

The Spirit of God came upon Gideon. That is, the Spirit of God poured on him the power of fortitude and courage. God’s Spirit clothed him with zeal, strength and might. The Spirit of God moved and animated Gideon to engage in a great task. The Spirit of God empowered Gideon for super victory over the Midianites and the Amalekites. With the least number of armies ever, Gideon conquered Midian. Israel had rest for forty (40) years in the days of Gideon (Judges 8:28).

No doubt, the Spirit of God is the main factor for turning people to their real persons. The Bible has a long list of names of those who stepped into the reality of their creation or creative purpose courtesy of the advent of the Spirit of God. For those of you who have been part of this Series and have key into God’s express statement in Genesis 1:26-28, today is your moment.

Classic examples of those who enjoyed glorious turning point courtesy of the Spirit of God are:

  • David in 1 Samuel 16:13 cf. 17: 49-51
  • Elisha in 2 Kings 2
  • Jesus in Matthew 3:16, 17 cf. Isaiah 61:1-3
  • The 120 disciples in Acts 2

REDISCOVERING THE REAL YOU-3 Judges 6:11-16

‘And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.’ (Judges 6:11-16)

Preamble

The story of Gideon, though well-known and fascinating, is a classic example of a life that was initially lost but was later rediscovered, and it went on to achieve spectacular results. I’m inspired to share his life story and go ahead to draw practical lessons for our consumption in our quest for rediscovering of our real selves.

 The Story Line

Gideon lived at a time the Midianites were masters over the Israelites. As a result of the Israelites’ sins, God used Midian to discipline Israel. The Midianites oppressed the Israelites by allowing their livestock to graze the entire farm land of the Israelites during harvesting. It was so devastating for the nation of Israel. The Israelites cried bitterly to the LORD, but God refused to rescue them.

 Later on, God sent a top angel to a small town called Ophrah and to the house of Mr Joash. The Angel went straight to meet a young man called Gideon. Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in a corner so as to hide his harvest from the Midianites. The harvest was a small quantity because he wasn’t using the customary treading of wheat.

 

 The Angel said to Gideon: “The LORD is with you; you mighty man of valor!’ The way God addressed Gideon is quite instructive.  This is who Gideon truly was. That’s who God sees him to be. In verse 13, Gideon responded by gushing out some rubbish which revealed his very low self-esteem and sheer ignorance of his real self. In verse 14, the LORD went on to reveal to Gideon his life mission: Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent you? Here, God showed him that the might in him is to be used to save Israel from her current oppressors. God seems to say to Gideon: I have got your back as you fulfill your destiny. How God created a man is a pointer to what he should accomplish in life. Who you are points to what you are ordained to do.

 Application of the Truths in Judge 6:11-16

  1. Lay hold on who God says you are; not what situations say.

Though Israel was in abject poverty and greatly impoverished, God still saw Gideon as a mighty man. The prevailing situation of our nation can’t make God to see you other than the way He created you. The economy may be unfriendly, but you are still a blessed person.  That economy can’t stop you from being a blessing. See yourself the way God sees you even in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. Always address yourself in line with God’s original intent.

  1. You are the solution to the prevailing situation(s) around you.

Always see yourself as a solution. Everywhere God has placed you, you have a huge role to play there. Rise to the occasion. There’s a deposit of God in you to proffer solution to the difficulties around you. Don’t join the naysayers. Don’t be part of the grumbling and murmuring around you. God has got your back. Go in this your might!

Conclusion

I see you as a Gideon. You are the ordained being to salvage the mess in our nation, state, city, institution, organization, or church. That’s your calling. Forget about the crowd around. God’s beaming light is on you. He’s come around for you. I plead with you to rise to the occasion even if what God is driving at is strange to you. God is got your back!

REDISCOVERING THE REAL YOU-2 Genesis 1:26-28

ĎThe God said, ďLet Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.Ē So God created man in His own image in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ĎBe fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over everything that moves on the earth.í (Genesis 1:26-28)

This is a follow up to the insight the Lord sent to us in the first part of the series.
X-Ray of Genesis 1:27-28
A major difference between verse 26 and verses 27-28 is that while the former is Godís intention, the latter is Godís action. Not only did God proposed to create man in His image, He DID!

*First Step: Genesis 1:27
ĎSo God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created themí. This verse contains some repetitions and emphases Ďin His own image / in the image of Godí ĎGod created man / He created him/He created themí
Every man is created in the image of God Himself. The synonyms of the word image include picture, idea, representation, semblance, exact likeness, concept, replica, duplicate, carbon copy. Thus, man is the closest thing to God. This verse is the perfect conclusion for the creation of man.

*Second step: Genesis 1:28
ĎThen God blessed them, and God said to them, ďBe fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over everything that moves on the earth.í
This is a step God took that He never made mention of in verse 26. At creation, God infused in man an extraordinary capacity to produce and prosper; to become many; and to rule over all things. Man has inherent capacity to accomplish all things in line with the dominion mandate. What we call inventions, discoveries, miracles and mighty things today are part of the creation capacity of every man.

Application of the Truths in Genesis 1:27-28
1. You are Godís duplicate
This, we must always remind ourselves of. As Godís handiwork, you are Godís best and biggest. God intentional made you like Himself. You are His replica. Whoever sees you, sees most of God. Thus, you are to carry yourself in the light of that understanding.
2. You are a blessing
God Himself blessed you and in the process, made you a blessing; the greatest blessing in the entire creation. He fortified you to function at the highest level. That pronouncement: ĎBe fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion overÖí canít be surpassed. You are already equipped to stand out and stand tall. Whatever you are gifted (cash, office, position, etc.) is an addendum. This is the highest declaration over you at creation.

REDISCOVERING THE REAL YOU Genesis 1:26-28

The God said, ďLet Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.Ē So God created man in His own image in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ĎBe fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over everything that moves on the earth.í (Genesis 1:26-28)


Preamble
In this series, God would be showing us some very fundamental things. When we understand those foundational issues, there will be a paradigm shift in the way we reason, think, and even live. I plead with you to give this series maximum attention. Listen attentively to what I would be sharing; Think through them at your spare times; Read the main text as many times as possible; Seek the help of the Holy Spirit to have a full grasp of Godís mind from the text; and Seek clarifications from me.

Itís God expectation that you live out the real you. When God created you, He has something in mind that He wants you to be. He didnít create you for just anything. Whenever He sees you, He sees His original intent. Itís going to be your wisdom to rediscover your true self. A lot of times, several persons allow circumstances, challenges, and situations of life to determine their personality. Thatís not the best way to live your original life.

The Lord has inspired me to enlighten everyone here about the need to rediscover our true selves. Please follow me as I share Godís mind on this theme.

X-RAY OF GENESIS 1:26
This is the starting point of man and this verse contains Godís original purpose for creating man.
*There was an intentional and open collaboration for the creation of man. Though the entire Godhead was involved in the creation of the whole creation, this verse reveals a deeper involvement of the Trinity. I believe the importance of the being to be created, man, necessitated this public declaration.
*Man was clearly created as an offshoot of the Trinity. He was made in Godís image and Godís likeness. He resembles nothing else in creation but God who has been in existence before creation. In other words, man was created like a pre-existence being.
*Man was ordained to exercise dominion in a five-fold way. The use of the word Ďoverí five times in relation to the proposed creation of man suggests the top level he was to be.
APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE TRUTHS
1. You are a being of divine purpose.
Even if your parents never planned to have you, God made you with a clear cut agenda and aim. You carry a divine agenda from your conception. You are not a product of human calculations.
2. You were made in Godís image and likeness.
Like God, like you. You donít resemble anyone in the entire creation. Rather, you resemble the One who has been in existence before creation. Your breed is pre-creation. You are simply in Godís class.
3. You are a dominion being.
God made you a leader. You are to create new pathways and give direction to the entire creation. By divine design, you are wired to champion new levels and administers everything God had made

CONCLUSION
You are more than you think you are. You are more than what anyone has ever described you. How do I know? God, from whom you came, is more than we can ever think or imagine. You were made from the One who was not made. Your make is supernatural.

SECURING THE FUTURE Psalm 127:3-5

ĎBehold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of the warrior, so are the children of oneís youth. ĎHappy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gateí (Psalm 127:3-5).

Preamble
Thank God for what FBC, Okeílerin has done in time past for children and teens. The Children Section is a vivid example of the investment made decades ago. I appreciate all of you who had labored and /or are laboring over children and teens in a number of capacities. These areas include teaching and serving as counselors of Girls Auxillary, Royal Ambassadors, and Sunbeam; serving in the Children Section; and teaching in both primary and secondary schools; and higher institutions of learning. You are all co-laborers with God in molding the lives of the young ones.

Please Note These
At FBC, Okeílerin, the current population of those within the age bracket 1-19 years (children and teens) stands at 35%. Thatís huge. We canít afford to neglect such a population. You will agree with me that that population is the future of the church, the community, and the nation as a whole. If there is an age group that Satan has focused on, itís 19 and below. Itís his main target because he believes that such age group will take over everything in the next 20-30 years. The Devilís attention is on our children and teens. Heís after the future. Perhaps he has better understanding than most believers. Thatís the reason many strange things are happening to and through children and teens in our generation.

Decades ago, secondary schools and universities were the main focus of Christian organizations. God raised giants in those days. Suddenly, the Devil ventured into those schools and things changed drastically. As we speak, primary school kids are being corrupted. Can you imagine an 8 years old boy in Port Harcourt who confessed that he had raped 3 girls?

Letís Arise to Secure the Future
Itís time to arise and rescue the situation. All hands must be on deck to secure the future by securing the glorious destines of all our kids and teens from contamination and corruption. God has great plans for all our children. We must arise to partner with Him. We must take pragmatic and urgent steps to actualize their life purposes. We must employ and deploy our best hands to mold our children and teens.
*The Tweens and Teens Section takes off August 4, 2019 by Godís grace.
*At 30-hour training in Teens Ministry holds this weekend.
*Part of our budget will go to Tweens and Teens Ministry.
*When the Tweens and Teens Section takes off, the Children Section will be reorganized for better delivery.

You may want to ask: How can I come in?
*Pray for the actualization of the vision to secure the future.
*You can be a volunteer
*You can make a financial commitment.

Conclusion
Our goal is to raise children and teens who are purpose-driven arrows that will silence all kinds of enemies in the future. It is achievable under God. Letís arise and secure the future.

THE GLORY OF THE PRESENT HOUSE Haggai 2:9

ĎThe glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the LORD of hosts.í (Haggai 2:9)

Preamble
Congratulations to all the Royal Ambassadors of Nigeria on the occasion of 2019 RA Week. Special greetings to the Adediran and Okesiji Chapters at First Baptist Church, Okeílerin, Ogbomoso. Kudos to all the counselors and mentors of these boys, especially the Men Missionary Union, for the overall supports for this guys.

The Advent of Prophet Haggai
After the kick off of the rebuilding of the Temple, some of the people of Judah got discouraged about the work. Others settled down to building their houses. So the Temple had lain untouched for 16 years. It was at that time God sent Prophet Haggai and later Zechariah to call the people back to their priorities. Haggai, through his messages, called Godís people back to their vision and their values.

Haggaiís Key Message
Through Haggai, God made it emphatically clear that inspite of anyoneís thoughts or discouragement, the glory of the present is going to be greater than that of the past. God showed the people that Heís personally involved in the rebuilding of the Temple. He assured them that the job is His; He is their source; and that He will fill everywhere with His glory.

In verse 9 alone, God made two promises and signed on each of them:
* ĎThe glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,í says the Lord of hosts.
* ĎAnd in this place I will give peaceí says the Lord of hosts.

Application of the Text I see this passage as very relevant to our situation as individuals and as a congregation.
I believe:
*The Lord is set of unleash His best, biggest, and brightest to your life, marriage, family, business, and career. Iím convinced that you are in the best season of your life. Donít believe in the Ďgood old days.í Believe your today shall be greater and more glorious than your yesterday.
*The best era of this church has just began. God said it and we must believe it. The Owner and Builder of this Church is very much around. He is set to fill this Church with His glory. Through Him, this Church will surpass all expectations. Itís not going to be at our speed. First Baptist Church, Okeílerin will run at supernatural speed and strength. Amen.

TRUE THANKSGIVING 1 Thessalonians 5:18

TRUE THANKSGIVING ĎIn everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.í
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Preamble
Permit me to congratulate all of you, Godís precious people, on the occasion of the end of the 1st half of 2019. You will agree with me that: It has been GOD! I want you to appreciate the fact that God treated us better than we deserved. He answered us far more than our prayers and petitions. He ministered to us beyond our greatest needs. We are what we are now because HE Is GOD!

There are some of us who began this year with fears and doubts. There are others who had very nasty experiences the first few days or weeks of January. It was as if we will never get pass the first quarter of the year. Here you are!

As I sought Godís face for the template of this Mid-Year Thanksgiving Service, the Lord directed me to a text considered be too familiar. I believe God has fresh revelation for you from this passage.

True Thanksgiving
The first thing I like you to note about this text is that it is most direct scriptural command for thanksgiving. Thatís very clear and straightforward. True thanksgiving is a command, not an advice. Itís equally our common assignment. Satan is the only person who has never and would never give thanks. I have come to understand that those who donít give thanks resemble Satan more than God. Jesus was fond of giving thanks to God when He was on earth. One key way to resemble Jesus is to master the act of thanksgiving.

Two Issues About True Thanksgiving
Please note these two things about true thanksgiving from this text:
ē True Thanksgiving takes place inspite of and despite anything.
Take note: ĎÖ in everything give thanks.í True thanksgiving has nothing to do with circumstances. It doesnít depend on mood, situations or weather condition. Beloved, donít let anything either pleasant or unpleasant, dictates your thanksgiving pace. Jesus gave thanks at the graveside of Lazarus.
ē True Thanksgiving is Godís will for all His people.
This is explicitly stated in the text: Ďfor this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.í Besides the salvation of our souls, the next perfect will of God for us is thanksgiving. Whenever you give thanks, be rest assured that you are doing the will of God.

On this note, I invite all of you to a life of true thanksgiving. Keep giving thanks to God. Let true thanksgiving flows from your heart in everything.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS-5 Matthew 6:14, 15

ĎFor if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespassesí (Matthew 6:14, 15)
Preamble
Please permit me to specially acknowledge and appreciate everyone who has paid rapt attention to the mind of God on this subject in the last two months, and has practically taken positive steps in this direction. You are my heroes!
I felt the need to pause on this subject matter. As we draw the curtain on this series, I felt the need to clarify a few issues on the concerns some have actually raised on this matter.

A Few Concerns for Clarification
1. How often can I forgive a particular person who offends me?
This was the question Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18:21-22. Jesus responded by asking Peter to forgive 70 x 7 times. Such answer symbolizes boundless forgiveness. In other not to become a laughing stock, we can devise a means that will make it difficult for a single person to keep offending us time and again. For instance, do your best to avoid staying in a place where someone will continuously abuse you and expects you to keep forgiving him or her. Please, walk away after the 1st offense. Same is applicable to situations where someone steals your funds, bashes your car, damages your property, etc.

2. Do you mean that my offender will go scot free for all the evils heís done?
Yes: he will not receive any punishment from you when you forgive him from your heart.
No: he will still fact the consequences of his actions from Godís end.
Forgiveness does not free people from the consequences of their evil. When God forgives us, He removes the eternal consequences of our sin but not necessarily the temporal consequences of our actions. Though we shouldnít take vengeance, each person shall receive the consequences of their actions. For those of us who have at one time or the other offended others, please donít intentionally trespass anymore. Donít take the grace of forgiveness extended to you for granted. There are consequences. As much as it lies with you, stop doing evil.

3. Must I always reconcile with everyone that I have forgiven?
Please note that forgiveness depends 100% on you as an individual but reconciliation depends on you and the other individual. Do your best to forgive which lies completely on you. Though reconciliation between Christians is always PREFERABLE itís not always POSSIBLE. Jesus forgave all His 12 disciples who disappointed Him big time but He and the 11 got reconciled.

Thanks for your audience. Remain blessed in the Lord. Amen.

THE ABSENT FATHER (Proverbs 22:6)

ĎTrain up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from ití (Proverbs 22:6)

Preamble
Congratulations to all men on the occasion of 2019 Fatherís Day. We celebrate and love you all. Thank you for all you have been doing for ages. Permit me to also acknowledge and appreciate all women and children who have in one way or the other celebrated their men and fathers (or would still do after now). Thanks so much.

Being There as a Father
If you can still remember, the theme for 2019 Motherís Day is like the opposite of the theme for 2019 Fatherís Day. Both are two sides of same coin. The theme assigned for this occasion appears negative but the text is clearly positive. If you permit me, I would prefer to slightly adjust the topic thus, The Available Father.
This famous text, Proverbs 22:6, is loaded. It gives us a metaphor that points to a very important responsibly of an available father. Every man by default is a trainer. Ditto for every woman. Training involves impacting of disciplines, principles, skills, values, and virtues. As a trainer (coach, handler, instructor, or a tutor), every man is expected to transmit godly and great cardinal virtues of their wards. To effectively achieve this, a father must be present in the life of his children. As a father, your availability is a lifetime investment because you will not always be physically around for your children.
As a trainer, a father is expected to prepare his children for the future. You are to do something for your children such that long afterwards, they will never be able to recover from it. Keep sowing cardinal principles that will last for generations.
This is the crux of 2019 Fatherís Day. Itís the heart of the matter. Letís see beyond the fun fare of the day. Fatherís Day is a clarion call to all men to brace up, to be more focused, to renew our commitment to fatherhood, and to double our efforts towards raising a better future generation.
To every father reading this piece, keep up with the training of every one under your fatherhood. Your labour will be rewarded.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS-4 Matthew 18:35, Ephesians 4:32

ĎSo My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespassesí (Matthew 18:35).
ĎAnd be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave youí (Ephesians 4:32).
Preamble
In our quest for a correct understanding to the concept of forgiveness, we have been able to ask and provide answer to these questions:
o What is forgiveness?
o What should I forgive?
o Why should I forgive?
The next question will be: How should I forgive?
The noun Ďhowí is a question about manner, method, methodology, strategy, or way of doing something. So, this morning, we would be trusting the Lord Jesus to show us the way God wants us to go about forgiveness.

X-Ray of Matthew 18:35
After sharing the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Jesus made a commentary. In His analysis, Jesus points to the manner in which God wants us to forgive: from his heart.
From that phrase, correct forgiveness is a matter of the heart. God expects all of us to release people who offend us from the heart. In other words, our offenders must not occupy any space in our hearts. More than 90% of the various Bible translations consulted used the word from. The Greek verb used is aphete which means Ďto send forth, in various applicationsí. Thus, for our forgiveness to be correct, we must keep sending our offenders forth from occupying any space in our hearts. This is Godís demand. Nothing less! Nothing else!! Nothing more!!!

X-Ray of Ephesians 4:32
Apostle Paul further buttressed Jesusí saying when he told the brethren in Ephesus to keep ĎÖ forgiving one another, EVEN AS God in Christ forgave youí. Paul alluded to the pattern God Himself had set. How did God set the pattern?
In the greatest human agony, Jesus, on the cross, prayed for our forgiveness (Luke 23:34). God forgave us unconditionally.
In Romans 5:8, the Bible says ĎBut God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for usí. Ever before we were born, Jesus died for our sins. He shed His blood for the remission of our sin before our conception. In other words, God unconditionally forgave all your sins in advance. Godís forgiveness is so generous.
Apostle Paul challenged the Ephesian believers to forgive the trespasses of their offenders in like manner. By extension, God is demanding such from us. From now, each of us should forgive our offenders generously, and unconditionally from our hearts. As God had forgiven us hundreds of years in advance, so each of us should forgive our trespassers in advance.
As you go about forgiving others, the Lord will keep paving way for you.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS-3 (Matthew 18:23-35)

ĎTherefore the Kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts; one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ďMaster, have patience with me, and I will pay you allĒ. Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. ďBut that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ĎPay me what you owe!í so his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ĎHave patience with me, and I will pay you all.í And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ĎYou wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?í And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. ďSo My heavenly father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.Ē (Matthew 18:23-35)

Preamble
Last time, the Lord emphatically showed us that He expects us to forgive the trespasses of others. In other words, God wants us to choose to take care of the obligations created whenever anyone trespasses against us, and willingly release such from the offense. This is our responsibility as Godís children.

Why Should I Forgive?
In an attempt to fully understand this subject, I will be sharing four strong reasons we should always forgive from the above story given by the Lord Jesus Christ. These are:
1. Forgiveness is often the only way to settle a debt (Matthew 18:23-27).
In the above story, it was established that a certain servant of a certain king owed him 10,000 talents. It was a huge debt. Initially, the king commanded that the servant and all he had be sold towards the repayment of the debt. Later, the king smartly realized that he was holding a debt that wasnít collectible! So moved with compassion, the king released his servant from the obligation and forgave him.
Often, thereís nothing that your offender can give that will compensate for the loss created. Just imagine what satisfactory payment could someone give you to compensate for a child killed by a drunk driver or a reputation slandered by a false rumor? Mahatma Gandhi once observed, ĎAn eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth cannot sustain itself forever; ultimately both parties end up blind and toothless.í
2. Forgiveness frees us to move on with our life
That same king was again smart to realize that he had too many responsibilities to allow himself to be distracted by one servantís obligation. Sometimes the only sensible option is to cut our losses rather than risk needless preoccupation with a hopeless situation. Why should the king spend his precious time checking with the palace bookkeeper and neglecting the rest of his kingdom duties? Listen: The more you care about someoneís obligation to you, the more you become an emotional hostage to him or her. One of the greatest reasons for forgiving someone is not what it does for him, but what it does for you! In other words, you are the greatest beneficiary whenever you forgive.
3. Forgiveness is an antidote to needless suffering (Matthew 18:28-35)
Refusal to forgive the trespasses of others is synonymous to sentencing oneself to a lifetime of needless pain. The Greek word translated as unforgiveness is bitterness. Donít risk poisoning your life by holding on to a grievance! With every offense comes a choice! We can hold on to it and become bitter, or we can release it and become better.
The story is told of a former President of the US, James Garfield, who was shot in the back on July 02, 1881. His personal physician probed the wound with his little fingers but couldnít detect the bullet. Over the course of the summer, a team of doctors tried to locate the bullet but were equally unsuccessful. In September, the President finally died. It was established that he died not from the gunshot wound but from infection.
Listen: Continually reliving the bad ways weíve been treated infects not only our life, but the lives of those around us. One of the strongest arguments for forgiveness is the consequences of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is deadly and dangerous! Avoid it at all costs.
4. Forgiveness is the obligation of the forgiven.
Thereís an inseparable link between receiving and granting forgiveness. Since we do receive forgiveness from God, it behooves us to grant it to those who offend us. Having received so much, we should not hesitate to give that little.
While the pain that someone inflicts on you is REAL, it is also NEGLIGIBLE compared to the wrong you have committed against God. That is the ultimate reason you should always forgive!

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS-2 Matthew 6:14, 15

ĎFor if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.í (Matthew 6:14, 15)

Preamble
This is a follow up to the preliminary insights the Lord sent to us the last time. I appreciate all of you who have taken decisive step(s) over this salient issue since then. On a personal note, the more I study this text, the more the revelation God gives me. I have the leading to further share more truths that I have received from the Lord with you today.

What Should I Forgive?
This is the first critical question I will attempt to provide answer to in our quest for a correct understanding of this subject matter. Jesus clearly stated that we have the obligation to forgive peopleís trespasses. The word translated trespass in Greek is paraptoma. This word literarily refers to a false step, a falling away, a lapse, ship, deviation from the truth, an error. The word trespass is a technical term in legal matters. It means a crime of going on someoneís land without permission. It also refers to an unwarranted or uninvited incursion into a facility. The synonyms of trespass include breach, crime, debt, error, misdeed, misdoing, offense, violation, and wrongdoing. In law, trespasses would be prosecuted. From all the shades of meaning of the word trespass, we can deduce that the word trespass is any action or inaction that inflicts damage, injury, or loss to the person or property of another man, and without due authorization. In other words, a trespass is a serious matter. While the law prescribes prosecution, God demands forgiveness.

What is Forgiveness?
Perhaps the greatest reason many donít forgive is sheer ignorance of what forgiveness is or a lopsided idea about it. Forgiveness is not denying the reality of the pain. Forgiveness is not to say that the offender didnít do the evil. Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook too easily. Forgiveness is not blaming the victim. The Greek word translated Ďforgiveí is aphiemi (a combination of two words apo- from and hiemi Ė to send). It literarily means Ďto send forth, send awayí. It carries the idea of a release from some type of obligation. Whenever thereís an offense, an obligation is created. In accounting, thereís a rule that says that the books had to be balanced. Forgiveness is not an attempt to overlook someone elseís transgression. Forgiveness is a decision to take over the obligation created and cover the loss yourself, and thus, release the offender.

THE AVAILABLE MOTHER Proverbs 31:15

ĎShe also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household.í
(Proverbs 31:15)
Preamble
Congratulations to all married women on the occasion of 2019 Motherís Day. The Lord shall continually preserve you all to fulfill your days and destinies. A fresh look at Proverbs 31 shows:
The wealth of wisdom the kingís mother lent her son, King Lemuel (vv. 1-9). This shows that a true mother can be available even for her grown up children. A true mother is one of the greatest blessings in life.
The world of a virtuous woman is filled with consistent proactivity (vv. 10-31). At least 20 active verbs were used to describe the virtuous womanís proactivity in verses 12-27. This speaks volume for every woman!

The Available Mother
Decades ago, an average married women is largely available in the home. Now, modernization and post-modernism have made many married women to be largely unavailable for their husbands, children, and families at large. This is a big minus for the current generation. I see the theme of this yearís Motherís Day as a clarion call to all married women cum mothers to return to the ideal state.
We live at a time when parents provide everything for their children except themselves. I make bold to say that no provisions can substitute for the parentsí presence in the life of their children. I have come to believe that the greatest ability is availability.
Availability is the greatest solution to several problems confronting several homes in our time. Even God acknowledges this fact when He sent His beloved Son, Jesus, to the world. He had previously sent His prophets and laws but without the desire result. Then, He came down Himself. He made Himself available, and finally, redeem mankind.
To every married woman here this morning, I charge you to renew your commitment to be available for your husbands, children, and families. Out of your busy schedule, consciously create time for your immediate family. Depending on your vocation, you may need to engrave your presence in the mindset of your husband and children very early in the morning. Then do something valuable for them in the night before they go to bed. At every stage of the life of your family members, be available for them.

Remain blessed in the Lord!

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS Matthew 6:14,15

ďFor if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespassesĒ (Matthew 6:14, 15).

Preamble
The concept of forgiveness is very broad and comprehensive, and it has very serious implications on the offended, not the offender. This is the truth that armed Jesus such that at the height of the greatest injustice ever, He prayed, ĎFather, forgive them, for they do not know what they doí (Luke 23:34).
Among several other benefits, I want you to know that forgiveness is the way forward. It has so much to do with our future. Whoever that desires a future that is glorious and joyful must take cognizance of the issue of forgiveness. Let me add this, forgiveness is for your own good. Itís a favor to yourself. When you forgive those who offend you, you simply credit your future account with unspeakable joy.
The Context of This Text
I like you to appreciate the following about the text before us:
1. Matthew 6:14, 15 is in the center of Jesusí most famous teaching commonly referred to as Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). In that sermon, Jesus raised the bar. He shows the high standard God demands from everyone in the New Covenant. Thus, the issue of forgiveness is central to Godís masterplan.
2. Matthew 6:14, 15 directly follows the famous Lordís Prayer. Itís like the footnote to the Lordís Prayer. It could have been elsewhere, but Jesus felt thatís the best place it should be.
3. The issue in Matthew 6:14,15 (forgiveness) becomes more serious because it is the only matter Jesus singled out for more explanation in the Lordís Prayer.
I plead with you to consider wholehearted and wholesale forgiveness for everyone who has ever offended you. Forgive them all for your sake. You stand to gain more when you forgive than when you donít. your welfare and wellbeing are tied to forgiveness. Let go and let God!

IT IS SETTLED Mark 16:1-4

ďNow when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ďwho will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?Ē But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away Ė for it was very largeĒ (Mark 16:1-4).
After the burial of Jesus, there was a dead silence. The core persons who were privy to His interment returned home hopeless. Somehow, two women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses got wind of where Jesus was laid to rest (Mark 15:47). Together with Salome, the trio bought spices to anoint Jesusí body after the Passover Feast, and left for the tomb very early the third day.

The Big Question
On their way to the tomb, the trio envisaged a difficulty and asked, Ďwho will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?í The stone was indeed a very big one. Besides, the chief priests and the Pharisees had sealed the very large stone. They must have used certain other materials to ensure that nothing removes the remains of Jesus from the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). So, the big question stares the three women in the face.

It Is Settled
On getting to the tomb, they discovered that the very large stone that had been sealed had been rolled away. God had taken care of their concerns and challenge. The resurrection of Jesus points to the supremacy and sovereignty of God over all situations. It equally points to the supernatural way and manner God handles the seeming impossible situations. The God who settled the stone challenge on the Resurrection morning is very much around and active.
Please note that every envisaged challenge with respect to your future is already captured in Godís plan. I like you to be rest assured that your future is in safe hands. For those of you nursing fears with respect to your current and/ or future concerns (marriage partners, education pursuits, course of study, business expansion, investments, health status at old age, life after retirement), I make bold to say that God has gone ahead of you. He has taken care of ALL your concerns. Your future is safe and secured. Breeze into your outstanding future.

CAPACITY FOR SUPERNATURAL LIVING-3 John 3:8

ĎThe wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirití (John 3:8).

Recap
Last time, the Lord Jesus shared with us that it is only the spiritual that can produce the supernatural. Whoever that is interested in the supernatural must be born of Godís Spirit. To be born again is the prerequisite for supernatural living. No short cut. Itís the only gateway to the world of the supernatural.

The Supernatural Life
The above Scripture is our focus today. The revelation in this verse is very instructive. Jesus used one of Godís mysterious creatures, wind, to explain the supernatural life of a person thatís born again.
Naturally, the wind is a force to reckon with. Itís irresistible and unstoppable. It enjoys a commanding respect among Godís creatures. Jesus compares the life of anyone who is born again to that of the wind. When you are born of Godís Spirit, your life begins to operate like the wind. Your operations will be beyond the physical. You become a force, an enigma, a movement, a mystery, a puzzle, and a trend. Your source is God Himself. Your life and destiny cannot be manipulated henceforth. Your life and destiny become fully fortified. You then become indomitable, impregnable, and invincible. Even when challenges come, you will remain unperturbed, solid, stable, and strong like Mount Zion. You stand to gain so much when you become born again!

CAPACITY FOR SUPERNATURAL LIVING-2 John 3:4-8

ĎNicodemus said to Him, ďHow can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his motherís womb and be born?Ē Jesus answered, ďMost assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which in born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ĎYou must be born again.í The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirití (John 3:4-8).

Recap
Last time, we saw how the Lord Jesus revealed the all-time secret of supernatural living to Nicodemus. Itís a clear departure from the natural. The enablement to live and operate in the supernatural is released at the point of being born again. In fact, everything beings at birth. Natural living begins at physical birth while supernatural living starts at spiritual birth.
The second truth we gleaned from that encounter is that the signs Nicodemus pointed to in the life of Jesus are not exclusive to Him. Thatís the reason Jesus pointed the attention of Nicodemus to the entry point to such super feats: be born again.

An X-Ray of John 3:4-8
The text is divided naturally into two:
(i) Verse 4
Jesusí statement in John 3:3 threw the prominent Pharisee off balance. Nicodemus was completely confused and he asked two questions in quick succession: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his motherís womb and be born? These questions points to Nicodemusí sheer ignorance, misconception, and myopic thinking. Nicodemus, though a religious leader, can only think of the physical womb and natural birth. Thatís the highest he could conceive. This points to the shallowness of a natural man or a religious person.
(ii) Verses 5-8
In response to Nicodemusí questions, Jesus restated His earlier statement but with additional details. In verse 5, Jesus introduced the spiritual dimension that qualifies a man to access the realm of Godís reign.
In verse 6, Jesus explained that the highest the natural can produce is natural stuff while itís only the spirit that can produce the supernatural. Itís a joke taken too far to expect the physical being to produce supernatural doings. That is, the flesh gives birth to flesh, and the Spirit gives birth to spiritual.
In verse 7, Jesus asked Nicodemus not to be amazed that He said to him ĎYou must be born again.í I see Jesus tell everyone here: Donít be surprised that I ask you to be born again. Donít ever think you can rationalize it. Never you think the issue of being born again is negotiable. Itís not and it will never be. Donít be upset that I have asked you to be born again. Itís the gateway to supernatural living.
Beloved, donít be taken aback that Jesus used the word must. I believe the Lord Jesus desires that all of us should enjoy the God-ordained capacity for supernatural living. In a nutshell, God wants all of us, without exception, to live above this physical world, to tower above the natural realm, and to exercise dominion in all facets of life. Nothing less! I see God saying to you right here: son/daughter, I created you for the supernatural. I gave My Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your restoration into the supernatural. You only need to be born again.í You must be born again in the version of John 3 so as to receive the capacity for supernatural living.

CAPACITY FOR SUPERNATURAL LIVING-1 John 3:1-3

ĎThere was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ďRabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with himĒí (John 3:1-3).

Preamble
Iím really excited to inform you that you can live far and above the natural. In fact, God created the first man with the capacity to operate supernaturally. It was sin that incapacitated Adam and Eve and reduced them to natural beings.
The advent of Jesus is designed to restore man to his original status. At this level, thereís nothing that God would expect from us that we wonít be able to do. Operating at our installed capacity is Godís pleasure for us all. The reason many fail to live up to Godís expectations is fundamental. The Lord is directing us to the first issue that must be settled.

An X-Ray of John 3:1-3
There is a top Pharisee in this text, who took time to observe Jesus, and decided to meet with Him. Then, he visited Jesus at night and made this famous statement: ĎRabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with himí (John 3:2). This statement is an acknowledgement that Jesus was operating beyond the physical realm. Nicodemus seems to confess that Jesus is a breed like God. In other words, the prominent Pharisee simply proclaimed that the actions of Jesus point to God Himself. In summary, Nicodemus was fully convinced that Jesusí operations were superhuman.
Jesus responded by saying, ĎMost assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Godí (John 3:3). At first, this response appears unrelated to Nicodemusí earlier statement. But it is interestingly related. I see Jesus tackle this issue from the source. While Nicodemus emphasized the doing aspect, Jesus referred to what must precede that. In other words, Jesus emphasized that the secret of doing the extraordinary is to being extraordinary. That is, whoever would do only what God alone can do must be what God alone is. Your being determines your doing. If your being is natural, your doing can only be natural.
Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus that anyone who aspires to do the supernatural must be born again. That is, he or she must come into this world supernaturally. To be born again is more than what many people think. Itís more than to be baptized, to be a church regular attendee, to be a faithful tither, or to be a church worker. To be born again is to be born in the nature of God. That is, to have Godís own nature, which is far superior to manís own nature. To be born again is to be born into Godís class.

WHY DID OUR PATHS CROSS?-4 1Samuel 17:29-30

Preamble
The story of David in the Valley of Elah remains an amazing one. Though a teen, David was in tune with Godís agenda for both Israel and himself. His perspective differed from others. When others perhaps saw the end of Israel, David saw a new beginning for Godís covenant people. Those who fulfill great destinies always see what others donít see.
Iím sure David must have stated in clear terms the purpose of God for his visit to the battlefield. In other words, David must have told the Israelite soldiers that God sent him to rescue Israel from the clutches of the Philistines. The young lad must have expressed his convictions without ambiguity. I can imagine David say to the soldiers: I am here to face GoliathÖ I am destined to put an end to this shame and molestationÖ I have been raised to raise Israel from this dungeon. Itís equally true that his courage must have influenced all the Israelite soldiers such that they rehearsed his words and ensured that it got to the commander in chief of the Army, King Saul. No doubt, King Saul was thoroughly convinced, and he entrusted the destiny of the nation of Israel on the 17-year old boy.

Why Am I Here?
In the course of my meditations, the Lord gave me a pictorial idea of the purpose for which He called me to fulfill here. He called me to be a bridge. An online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, defines a bridge as Ďa structure built on span physical obstacles without closing the way underneath such as a body of water, valley, or road for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, usually something that can be detrimental to cross otherwise.í
From this definition, a bridge is an edifice constructed to help overcome obvious disadvantages or setbacks. A bridge is a structure that deals with distractions, delays, and obstructions. A bridge is an aid, a boost, a lift, a relief, a remedy or a support. A bridge is a structure that makes movement easier. A bridge offers both help and hope.
From the above analysis, I want you to have this picture engraved on the tablet of your heart. The Lord sent Pastor Oyelowo here to be a bridge for you to become your best YOU. Pastor Oyelowo is here as a help and a hope for you to advance and attain great heights despite obvious obstacles. This is your season of advancing in spite of age long challenges and difficulties.
This is a great revelation. Itís going to be your wisdom to believe it and appropriate it. Itís entirely for your benefits. As road users make use of flyovers and thus benefit immensely, so the Lord has sent you a bridge for unhindered access to your full redemptive rights as a child of God. Please make the best use of this season.

WHY DID OUR PATHS CROSS?-3 1 Samuel 17:29; John 18:37

This is a follow up to last weekís message in the series. Itís a rare privilege to have the One greater than David before us today.
2. Jesus Jesus is the undisputed greatest human being who ever lived. He achieved the greatest result ever. His super success remains a reference point. One outstanding feature of His life is that He was fully armed with Godís purpose for His life. This is what powered Him to attain the greatest heights in human history even at age 33.

All through the four Gospel writings, Jesus made reference to the purpose of His advent. See the following: Matthew 5:17; 10:34, 35; 20:28, Mark 1:38; 2:17, Luke 19:10, John 3:16-18; 6:38; 9:39; 10:10; 12:27; 12:46; 18:37. This is quite interesting and instructive. Jesus consistently relayed Godís intent for His advent. No wonder He succeeded greatly.

From Jesusí life story, we can deduce the underlisted benefits of the discovery of Godís purpose for oneís life:
1. Purpose helps to manage all inconveniences
Jesus pleasantly cope with several inconveniences and insults that were meted out to Him because He knew the reason He came to the world. Thatís what purpose discovery can do. When you are in the know of your ordained destiny, you become engraced to bear with whatever comes your way without losing steam. Purpose discovery will make you stronger than both perceived and real inconveniences. Purpose will keep you on top of all situations.
2. Purpose helps to fight the good fight
For instance, Jesus never fought with Judas Iscariot. Though He was fully aware that he would betray Him, Jesus still accommodated Judas. The Lord also knew that Peter would deny Him during His trial and would later decamp with six other disciples to return to the fishing business even after His resurrection (John 21:1-3). Yet He never castigated Peter.

When you know Godís purpose for your life season by season, and day by day, you will be able to relate well with even your strongest critic. Purpose discovery will equip you with divine assurance. It will make you unstoppable.

I present to you today our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of the key factors that made Him thick and unbreakable is knowledge of Godís purpose per time. I challenge you to follow suit. Insist on knowing Godís purpose for you at this new season. Donít settle for anything less. Purpose will keep you perpetually on track.

WHY DID OUR PATHS CROSS?-2 1 Samuel 17:17-32

Preamble
I believe what God has in store for you today is for bigger than what He unleashed on you last Sunday. Last week, the Lord laid a foundation for our relationship by asking us to ruminate over the question, Why did our paths cross? I guess a good number of us have begun to give it due attention. I ruminated over this question all through this last week and God bombarded my heart with wonderful insights to help me come to terms with the current realities. I have the privilege to share some of those insights with you this morning.

Classical Examples of Those Who Understood Their Purposes in Life
1. David
David was a teenager when Goliath led the Philistines to battle against Israel. His three eldest brothers were officers in the Israelitesí army. At the battle field, Valley of Elah, Goliath molested the army of Israel for 40 days. Around that time, Davidís father, Jesse, sent David to check on his brothers and gifted them some provisions. David got to the battle field and delivered the provisions (bread, cheeses, and grains).

Somehow, David got inspired that he had a mission to accomplish before returning home. While still on the field, he heard Goliath lambast Israel for failing to send someone to fight with him. All the soldiers fled and were dreadfully afraid. They informed David that despite the royal incentives, nobody had volunteered to confront Goliath. By that time, David had sensed that his presence at the battlefield has a greater cause than the carriage of bread, cheeses, and grains (vv. 23-26). David despised the Philistine, and dismissed his threats. When some of the soldiers heard that, they believed Davidís got something to deliver, and reported his confidence and convictions to the king. When David got to Saul, he said: ĎLet no manís heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistineí (v 32). Not only was Saul convinced that David is destined to deliver, he released the young boy to face Goliath. Armed with that sense of purpose, David went ahead to kill Goliath, and the Philistines became slaves to Israel. What a mighty victory!

Thereís the need to see deeper than the periphery. Iím convinced that what God has in mind is bigger than what many of us have conceived. I plead with you to see beyond the good job of the Pastor Search Committee and the entire process that led to the resumption of the new pastor.

From the story of Davidís adventure to fulfilling a divine agenda, we can see the following benefits of laying hold of Godís purposes:
1. Purpose will help you to fulfill your divine destiny in a grand way.
Davidís discovery of Godís purpose for his presence in the Valley of Elah helped him to fulfill part of his destiny in a big way. I encourage you today to seek to know Godís intent for this season of your life. This is what will propel you to all round fulfillment.
2. Purpose instills extraordinary courage in a manís heart.
When all the trained soldiers of Israel were afraid at the sight and sound of Goliath, David was super courageous. It was because the young boy was armed with what God had destined him for. One sure way to be courageous is to discover Godís agenda. Nothing can intimidate you henceforth.
3. Purpose gives divine direction to you and to everyone around you.
Davidís full knowledge of the divine agenda at the Valley of Elah paved way for him and Israel to achieve a famous victory over the Philistines. Thatís what you stand to enjoy when you are on board with Godís plan. You canít be stranded whenever you know Godís intent.
4. Purpose is capable of saving nations and generations.
David saved the entire nation of Israel when he killed Goliath. He delivered generations unborn from slavery to the Philistines. Knowledge of Godís plan has benefits far beyond the immediate. As you discover the divine intent for this era, nations and generations will the benefits of your consecration and obedience. You will definitely be called the blessed.

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