My Dear Son, Gov Udom Emmanuel

 

My Son,
Or is it your excellency now? Hehe, how time flies. How is my daughter, your wife,(labels can be tricky), Martha and your beautiful children? Just kidding, I know they are great.(What else can they be? First family of an oil producing state?) still kidding.

Now to the meat of the matter, I have seen (with joy) the edifice you intend to erect in my honour. It is just a picture but I marvelled at its sheer size and sophistication, I nearly mistook it for a spaceship!

It is beautiful my son, and I am honoured that you thought to set up such a magnificent monument in my name. I am glad that you remember where I brought you from and all I have done for you. I am happy you don’t take my blessings for granted, but I don’t want the building.

I did like them once, temples, tabernacles and altars; grand, imposing things that kissed the skies and made the eyes of men to water, but not anymore. Now, all I want is to live in your heart, and the hearts of all who believe in me.

This is no longer the time when people shall worship buildings but a time when people should worship in spirit and truth. I desire more to see truth justice and mercy than a zillion gargantuan skyscraper churches built in my name.

So, my son, I would like to propose something else: use that money and make a difference in the lives of the millions of Akwa Ibom people in your state.

Pay your counterpart funding and access the grants for education that are available for educating children in your state.

Equip your ‘specialist’ hospital and make it a centre of hope for the sick and the hurting. Also equip all the other hospitals, health centres, and clinics in the state.

Address the street kid problem.

Fix the roof of the butchery shop in the Uyo main market and while you are there, equip it with standard amenities: water, toilets, waste disposal.

Repair the roads that need attention, especially the little known ones without politicians residing on them.

Pay pensioners and teachers that are being owed salaries, pensions and gratuities.

Create skill acquisition training and employment opportunities for the unemployed.

Provide adequate local and state security in both urban and rural areas.

Make the Ibaka seaport work.

Support agriculture and work to update methods.

Equip all the schools and institute proper supervision for them.

Sign the bills sitting on your desk.

But how will I be remembered? You ask, Akpabio has his stadium and hotel, Attah has Le Meridien, even Idongesit Nkanga has the secretariat.

To be remembered, you don’t need another empty hall, all you need to be remembered is to build a school. Build the best secondary school south of the Sahara and give scholarships to the brightest brains in the state to attend, then hire the best teachers in the world to coach them.

Do this and you will be remembered by the children that go there, the ones who benefit from their expertise and by history, as a man who focused on excellence. The best place to live is in one’s heart my son, that is what I know and now tell you.

Forget this church, or ‘interdenominational mega Christian Worship Centre’. Focus on the demands of your people and the needs of your state. And I will be honoured and you will be remembered, and Akwa Ibom State will continue to prosper.

Love,
Dad

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21+ Reasons To Join Your Church Workforce.

I have been meaning to write this for months now. Ever since a blogpost mentioned how someone was advised to attend a church but not to join the church force. Ever since I saw the same sentiment expressed and re-affirmed by members of Naija Twitterverse. Ever since I shook my head, amazed at how easy it was to vilify such a excellent privilege as serving in the church.

So, to give a bit of balance, share my personal testimony and contend for the faith, I present 21+ Reasons To Join Your Church’s Work Force.

1. It is scripture-based.

The bible says “you shall serve the Lord your God” Ex 23:25 and “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Joining your local church workforce is a guaranteed way to serve God. It is also obedience. And remember, Isaiah 1:30 says ” the willing and obedient will eat the good of the land.”

2. It is your family business.

If you are saved, you are a child of God, a member of God’s household. As a responsible child, your desire should be to see God’s Kingdom flourish. One of the ways to that is give your time and talents by serving in a department of your local church.

3. It pleases God.

God is pleased when we love, share and give. He is delighted when more people get to know and experience His goodness. Your service in the choir, protocol, ushering etc when done cheerfully and whole-heartedly gives God pleasure.

4. It gets the great commission fulfilled.

Jesus asked us to share the gospel of the Kingdom to every living creature. Sharing the gospel takes time, talent, skill, planning and lots of money. Giving your services at your local church facilitates the spread of the gospel.

5. It develops your gifts and talents.

Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg (Lion?) and Kirk Franklin are just a few well known examples of people whose musical talent was spotted and honed in church.

What ever your gifts are, they could always do with some kaizen. And a church is one of the best places to get a platform to serve and improve.

6. It is a great way to meet people and make friends.

In Eddie Murphy’s Classic Film ‘Coming To America’ the young prince is given some wife spotting advice. ” Look for a good girl in church or a library.”

The advice is still true. Like beckons to like. So if you are wondering where to meet people that can add value to your life, one of your best bets is in church. ( Caveat: Beware of Judas and Jezebel )

7. If you ever need people, you can count on your department.

Emergencies happen. Life happens. Suddenly you need people, maybe for a blood transfusion, or a loan or a party. Don’t try to reap where you didn’t sow. If you were committed in a department, the department ll be committed to you too.

8. If you ever need help, you’ll get it through your department too.

Same as above but includes people to help with cooking, moving, etc

9. It builds your Social Capital.

One of the new twenty first century wealth indicators is Social Capital. Star Power. Follower Count. Platforms. Different names for the same thing. Joining your church workforce boosts your Social Capital. Go figure. 🙂

10. It may be a requirement for certain employment, housing or even wedding procedures.

Some Landlords, Awards, Marriage Committees and Employers have a column for Church Commitment in their Introduction forms. Hmmm.

11. It provides a safe space to grow and learn.

Sometimes our families can be too cuddly and the world can be to harsh. The church offers a safe space for growth, personal development and improvement.

12. Service provides an avenue for you to give back.

Life is a cycle of in and out, giving and receiving, your giving is the prompt for more receiving. Serving in a local church creates and opportunity for your to pass on the things you have learnt and to give back to society.

13. We are better together.

You might have great plans to touch lives or build a hospital but you might be handicapped by finances and lack of expertise. Joining a the workforce allows us to synergise and leverage on the contributions and strengths of your group to do more, be more.

14. It builds Inter-personal skill, communication skills and Personal management skills.

Time, money, equipment and people, four things you’ll need to manage well to excel. Serving in church can give you invaluable hands on experience on how to handle all four.

I have seen people come to our church office clueless but leave after 4-5 years to build successful businesses or take up jobs in multinational companies.

15. You have a portion of the blessing your church receives for the crusades, missions, souls won etc.

16. You have easier access to the Church Leaders in case you need their endorsement.

17. You enjoy extra prayer cover.

18. You have more opportunities to be a blessing.

19. You have more opportunities to receive blessing.

20. You key into the 1 Sam 2:30 Promise: Them that honour me, I will honour.

21. You have a useful bargaining chip.

Like Hezekiah, you can remind God of faithfulness, and like him, you can pray for things to change in your favour.

Time and space constrains me to speak of all the rewards of service. They include

22. Prosperity Job 36:11

23. Good health Ex 23:25

24. Long Life 2Kings 20

25. Honour John12:26

26. Protection Ps 91:14-15

And in the life to come:

27. Crowns and A Throne Rev 3 and 4

28. Glory Mal 3:17-18

29. Immortality 1 Cor 15:52-58

30. A Prepared Inheritance Matt 25:34

31. Shinning as a star forever. Dan 12:3

Note that in experiencing the benefits, rewards and blessings of service, terms and conditions apply.

For the Terms And Conditions of Acceptable Service, keep a date next week.

How has serving in a local assembly been a blessing you? Please share with us! 🙂

Don’t Be Bioduned

These are perilous times. The Twitter toppling story of Ese Walters is a raw reminder. She claims she was manipulated by her then pastor into a torrid affair. In London.

The response to the allegations was torrential. Amidst the ensuing hullabaloo, certain questions arose.

What is a christian girl or guy to do? Should you stay away from church altogether? Should you treat all pastors like conmen? Should you join the Pastor-phobia and pull down men of God?

I think not.

I think Pastors are part of God’s plan for the church.

Here I aim to share steps that have helped me, over the past 22 years in the faith, to have a good witness about pastors. Feel free to share your own tips. 🙂 We learn everyday.

1. Realise that Jesus is your Saviour.

Pastors will come and go but if you have accepted Jesus, He is Forever.
Don’t trade that Lordship for anything.
Compare any pastor to the standard of Jesus. Of course, as humans, we err, but the Pastor should be pressing towards that mark.

Not pulling away from it. And claiming immunity.

The Apostle Paul said : Imitate me as I imitate Christ.

Any Pastor that says he is exempt, is a fraud.

Believe in the Lord, then his prophets.

The Lord first, Author and Finisher.

2. Read your Bible.

Some people feel that the name-all-blame-all style Ese Walter adopted was necessary to ‘ warn other girls’.

I disagree.

The Word of God has been given for–showing us truth,exposing our rebellion,correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.

If you don’t want to be the next victim of abuse, you have to know what the Bible says.

You have to know that there are people that preach the gospel for their belly.

You have to know that hundreds of years ago, Hophni and Phineas, Eli’ sons, abused their religious office. And slept with a lot of women in the process. Some ‘Pastors’ are wolves dressed like sheep.

You have to realise that there are some that call Him ” Lord, Lord” but have no part in Christ.

And you must not allow any of that to bother you.

Be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.

3. Ask God For A Good Pastor.

The surge of fake pastors just tells me there are real ones. And that the real pastors are very special . Have you ever seen a fake N3000 bill? Of course not. There aren’t any, because there aren’t any real N3000 bills.

The fake tell you the real exists.

Ask God to give you a pastor. He promised to give you ‘Pastors from His heart that will lead you into knowledge and truth.’

Believe that and ask for it in faith.

4. Test All Things.

You have seen the man or woman that will teach you and help you grow.

Congratulations.

Now, you have to test the person and only submit if you are sure. Testing and trusting are gradual processes.
You have to give yourself time and only act on what the Word of God shows you.

Don’t rush into personal contact.

Don’t get familiar.

Don’t commit any sin. Remember you are only to obey parents(or any leader) in the Lord. If it is wrong don’t play along.

Watch the way they treat people. Off-pulpit; especially their spouse and children. Watch how they treat people that aren’t very rich and important.

Listen to the promises they make and watch to see if they keep them.

Check if he practices what he preaches

He that is faithful with little will be faithful with much. And vice versa.

Test before you trust.

5. Get Referrals.

Of you are in a strange town and you need a church home, ask. It is better to ask about a pastor/church BEFORE you get hurt.

A good pastor will have a good witness.

Ask on Twitter/Other social media.
Listen. Learn where you are safe and where you might soon be sorry.

6. Love Your Pastor.

Agape love, don’t do unto them as you would want done unto you.

Pray for them. If anything about them bothers you (everyone is growing), pray.

Pray against sexual temptation.

Pray for provision,prosperity and protection.

Don’t tempt your pastor, or let them tempt you.

Don’t wear them out with inconsiderate requests.

Give to your pastor. The Bible says, pay those who teach you the word.

You may not have a private jet, but a N200 and a thank you note go a long way.

I know, because I used to pastor.

But that’s a story for another day.

Shalom.

New Words

Bioduned: Abused/ manipulated by an authority figure under the guise of Religion.

Esewaltered: Exposed for committing adultery abroad.