Life’s Essence

Sunday services for us at Citizens Family Worship Ministries Nigeria, is actually a coming together of our various Home churches; and, what a gathering! It is better experienced than imagined. Most times I lack words when I invite people to service; I usually end up exclaiming ‘just come and see for yourself’.

This reminds me of the story of the encounter at a well between Jesus and the woman from Samaria, who afterwards was so overwhelmed she ran home exclaiming to her people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’(John 4:29).

The Excellence home church had a unique experience at the last Sunday service: our song presentation was a summary of Pastor WD Favour’s sermon, and we didn’t even know what he was going to preach before hand! I was so thrilled when he said it was a sign of deep spirituality, because for me essentially, ‘it’s all about God’. The more aligned we are to His plans and purposes for our lives, the more fulfilled we become.

A song writer once wrote,

Earthly things have left me dry,
Only you can satisfy,
My heart is longing for more of you.

Material things could never satisfy our hearts; only God can!

At our home church meeting this week, we had a tremendous air of excitement and sense of purpose as we continued our planning for the Festival Of Home Churches 2010. We realized in this meeting that part of our goals for the Festival, which is attracting great minds to execute great ideas and projects, was already being achieved as we had new attendees who participated in our planning. For me it was beautiful to see us churning out ideas and suggestions. It reminded  me of an adage in our native tongue ‘jihova nwere mmadu’ – (God has great people working out His plans and purposes).

Remember Ephesians 2:10 that says we are his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

Have a lovely weekend!

He Craves Your Company

God’s loneliness

We meditated on the subject of ‘God’s loneliness’ in our Home Church meeting this week. We saw that the primary purpose of our salvation is to have constant, deep, solid, and intimate communion with God.

Angels cannot satisfy God’s need for our company: they’re only created for service (Hebrews 1:13-14).

Our primary calling, as sons of God, is to commune with God in fellowship. Each moment, in the midst of myriads of angels bowing before Him, God still longs for your company. He sits on His majestic throne, longingly waiting for you to come and commune with Him.

God longs for you to share His plans and His pains; He longs for you to ask Him “Father, how are you doing?”

I pray the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to this spiritual truth.

First Things First

I chose this topic now that we are in the excitement of preparing for the Festival of Home Churches 2010 because I want to raise a crop of Christians who put first things first – who don’t allow their service for God distract them from their fellowship with Him.

From Luke 10: 38-42, we realize that Christians, who should have been with God in loving fellowship, mostly keep running around in mindless service, thereby forfeiting the true blessings of sonship.

This is not to say that our services to God are not important to Him. I simply want emphasize that to God, our fellowship with Him is superior to our services for Him. I could sense God complain “You run about working for Me. But why don’t you sit with Me and learn of Me?”

Is it not tragic that we do more and more for a Lord whom we know less and less?  That, in spite of all our services for Him, few Christians really know Him?

What Do We Do?

In the end, I recommended that each of us in our home church should, everyday, spend at least 30 minutes alone with God. Also, each month, each of us ought to separate one day (6am – 6pm) that we’ll be with God in solitude.

Remember this, your fellowship with God is more preferable to God, than your services for Him.

The Power of Supernatural Thinking

The Power of Supernatural Thinking Faith without assignments is dead

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26).

If I replace ‘works’ with some of its other synonyms – assignments, exercises, challenges, difficulties, and problems, the above verse will then read, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without (assignments, exercises, challenges, difficulties, and problems) is dead also."

Think about that for a moment:

Faith without assignments, without exercises, without challenges, without difficulties, without problems, is practically dead (that is, useless, in-operative, dormant, and powerless).

So, the difficulties that you encounter every now and then can actually be perceived as GIFTS to you to force you to exercise your FAITH, and participate in the divine nature.

You need to exercise your faith, to develop it, to grow it, to build it up.

"But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." (Jude 1:20).

In other words, exercise your faith, stretch it.

Why?

Your victory is hidden in your faith

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4).

Your victory is hidden in your faith.

And because faith without assignments, without exercises, without challenges, without difficulties, without problems, is dead, God allows challenges as gifts to develop the faith you already possess within you.

This is why it is said that ‘no tests, no testimonies.’

The tests – or difficulties – come so that you can exercise your faith, and by so doing manifest supernatural testimonies on earth that will bring glory to God.

Continue reading “The Power of Supernatural Thinking”

Ignite Your Passion for God

This is it!

This home church report is actually my response to some intense, deep-seated hunger and passionate pull toward intimacy with God that’s been on a steady increase within me.

Most days, I feel this urge and near-irresistible need to be alone with God – just as you feel when your urinary bladder is full to the brim. When such mind-electrifying feelings come, everything else, however important, lose their significance and flavor; that is until you respond to this emergency in your spirit, and like a loving and understanding spouse, repose to a lonely, or at least quiet place, and pour out your heart to the Holy Spirit – telling Him how much you love Him, and how desperately you need more of Him.

The above have been my on–and–off experiences since I came in contact with Pastor WD Favour. When I newly joined his ministry, the primary thing that got me stuck was his strange and almost weird passion and hunger for God – which was innocently obvious and evident in everything he said from the pulpit. He made me see Christianity as a marital love affair and intimacy with the Holy Spirit. And then, I sensed my spirit exclaim with a sigh of relief, “This is it!”

He insidiously but firmly induced in us an unyielding desire for intimate sessions of prayer, as he taught us that genuine passion for God comes from desiring it and expressing that desire in prayers.

‘Time out with God’

I could remember those days in 2006 that I would, after his sermons, go and ask the catechist of a chapel in my school to allow me spend the night in the church hall. I did spend some nights alone in that chapel asking God to give me the passion for Him and to reveal Himself to me.

Inspired by Pastor WD Favour’s example, each of us set apart a date per month, which we called ‘Time out with God.’ On such days, you would switch off your phone, shut yourself up in a room or go to a chapel, and spend the whole day without food, but voraciously eating the bible, asking God to deposit in your heart this strange passionate intimacy that WD Favour shares with Him.

This remains, till date, one of our most vital monthly activities.

The greatest of all pursuits

I decided to share this in our home church this week because, lately, I’ve been experiencing a subtle ripple–like increase in my passion and hunger for intimacy with God. My goal is to reproduce this life–transforming passion for God in all the Ideal Home Church members, because it is the bedrock of a resounding walk with God.

We started the interactive bible study by meditating on Psalm 42:1–2:

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

We also meditated on Psalm 63:1–8, where we saw the heart–cry of a man who has become consumed with an intense, irresistible passion for God.

At this point, one of us said that, “The pursuit of God is the greatest of all pursuits; yet even a hot pursuit of God without passion for Him is a mere religious activity that will definitely end in frustration.”

Using the above saying as a foundation, I stressed that since passion for God is the only element that makes for a genuine walk with Him, we should exert ourselves in prayer, asking God to inspire in us a genuine desire for Him.

At this point, I recommended Pastor WD Favour’s book “Can God be lonely?” to each of our Home Church members.

I urge you too, dear friend, to download the free e-book. It will surely ignite in you an unquenchable passion for God.

God will respond to you as you passionately seek Him.

Planning for the Best

And the Lord answered me, and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it” ~ Habakkuk 2:2.

Festival of Home Churches 2010 is coming soon.

During this week’s Home Church meeting, we engaged in strategic thinking, planning and organization, in order to ensure that the event is everything we want it to be and more.

As a result of being part of the organizational process of the Festival of Home Churches 2010, we hope to gain:

  • Personal development and capacity building in events management.
  • Increased leadership participation from members.
  • Development of resource management techniques.

In the course of our meeting, a dilemma arose as to the choice of presentations for the Festival of Home Churches. Some members suggested that we refine and repeat previous performances. In the end however, we decided to go for three entirely new presentations.

We are working round the clock, and believe me, all hands are on deck to ensure that the Festival of Home Churches 2010 is the ultimate best it can be.

Remain focused and God bless you.

Being God’s Best for Us

Because we are created in God’s image and and likeness, we possess unique abilities, skills, and talents. These gifts definitely need to be developed to the point that they glow undeniably to remarkable intensities.

Most importantly, these gifts, as intended by God, are instruments to be harnessed for the good for the edification of mankind, and ultimately for the glory of God.

We fully intend to acknowledge and demonstrate God’s gifts and talents at our forthcoming Festival of Home Churches 2010 . No lone tree can make a forest; hence everyone needs someone to attain to efficiency and optimum functionality. In order to utilize our God-given talents, it is necessary to interact with one another.

Furthermore, we foster inspiration in others as our talents rob off on them.

During this week’s meeting of the Royalty Home Church, we defined the objectives of our performance in the coming Festival as not just to entertain, but also to educate, encourage, as well as inspire every one that attends.

Festival Of Home Churches 2010…a glimpse

Last Sunday’s service was a wow experience as we celebrated our day of colours. Honestly I can’t imagine church service without the presentations of the various Home Churches; they are fast becoming my greatest moments in church. Assessment feedback was shared in church, and Excellence Home Church was associated with ‘worship of God’. I was so excited when I heard the pronouncement because it resonated with my core belief that God is our essence and should be acknowledged as such.

The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose. ~ Richard R Grant.

The above quote characterized our home church meeting this week as we made preliminary plans for the Festival of Home churches 2010 coming up in September. We opened the meeting with worship songs to the Lord which by the way was quite melodious as we now have great singers in our midst. We unanimously postponed the discussion on multiplying our resources to next week and moved into planning.

The excitement  on the faces of members was quite intense as we plunged into expressing our different notions of what the festival experience should be for us. Here are excerpts from our discussion:

  • Another stated that it will be an awesome time of bonding amongst members as working towards a project has  a way of producing that effect.
  • We also agreed that it is an opportunity to invite people of substance to work with us as great minds are drawn towards great ideas and projects.
  • I personally added that it will sharpen our commitment to excellence as we can’t afford to answer that only in name.

I promise to fill you in as we work out our modus operandi for the festival of home churches 2010….stay tuned, and also pray for us because we intend to worship God with it.

From Loneliness to Happiness

A counseling session with Pastor WD FavourThis page is devoted to discussions on the subject of loneliness.

Loneliness is one of the most pervasive and chronic soul diseases of our time. In my many years ministry, of praying and counseling with hundreds of people, I am yet to meet a person that hasn’t experienced some sort of loneliness at one period or the other.

Studies after studies have continued to show that a greater percentage of the human family experience loneliness in one form or the other.

Besides it’s pervasiveness, loneliness is a painful experience; it’s torturous.

Wikipedia describes loneliness as “a feeling in which people experience a strong sense of emptiness and solitude,” and compared it to “feeling empty, unwanted, and unimportant.”

I have received several emails from readers of this blog requesting that I write on the subject of loneliness, particularly how one can move from loneliness to happiness.

In one of my recent facebook status updates, I posted the following:

“Loneliness is the absence of a true friend. Do you have personal experiences related to how a true friend helped you overcome loneliness and depression? I would welcome individual experiences on this to share on my blog”

In response, someone sent me a facebook mail with the following comments:

“I have been pondering the subject of loneliness recently. I have come to realize you can have many friends that are close and that you are able to confide in but still be lonely.
I believe that there are a select few people who come into our lives that we connect with on a deep spiritual level. At times we long to talk with or spend time with these people. They understand us in a way and on a level that most people do not. When these people are not available we can experience intense loneliness.”

I think her insight is a profound one that goes to the heart of the matter.

Please, I invite you to share your personal perspectives, and experiences, on loneliness. In your opinion, what does loneliness mean? What do you think is the cause of this painful state of mind? And how can one move from loneliness to happiness?

Keep Your Expectations Fixed on God

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3).

In these troubled times, peace of mind is an invaluable asset; more so because it also guarantees victory. This peace and the victory it brings belongs only to those whose minds are stayed on God. In other words, if you keep your expectations fixed on God.

What have you built your expectations on?

Many expect to get a good job because they have a university degree.

Many expect to be rich because they are smart, talented, and hardworking.

Many expect to marry a great spouse because they look great and have a good sense of humour.

Many expect to be healthy and strong because they eat the right food, exercise, and rest.

In short, many have built their expectations on the shifting sands of human abilities, and this is why many are frustrated and disappointed today.

What is the basis for the expectations that you have?

Great men of faith in history, like Abraham, obtained victory from God because their expectations were fixed upon God.

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be". Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old- and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." (Romans 4:20-21).

Abraham’s expectations rested upon the integrity and power of God’s word, and that was why he had the victory.

Keep your expectations fixed on God

In spite of the odds stacked against him – he was an old man, and his wife too was old and past the age of child bearing – Abraham kept his expectations firmly fixed on God. In the end, his victory was stunning.

If you will keep your expectations firmly fixed on God, in spite of the odds stacked against you, you will eventually sing the song of victory.

God can do in a moment what man can never accomplish in a millennium

Sometimes we are tempted to ask for how long we will wait.

In reality, that is a very foolish question – a question that reflects gross ignorance of the capabilities and ways of God.

God can do in a second what men can’t do in a thousand years. He can do in a moment what man can’t do in a millennium.

But you must not get distracted

"His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies." (Psalm 112:8).

Keeping our expectations fixed on God actually means that we should not allow ourselves become distracted by the contradictions of our lives.

Yes, the contradictions and confusions of our lives. You know, those things that don’t seem to add up. Like, "If God is with me, why this and why that?"

Well, stop looking at the winds and waves of your life; rather keep your mind focused on Jesus Christ.

keep your thoughts stayed and focused on God’s word, on what He has said concerning you, on His promises to you.

Of course, you’ve got to know what’s in there first.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:16).

Establish your heart in His eternal Word. This is the key to peace of mind, victory, and prosperity.

When you establish your heart in God’s word, you experience inner joy and peace; joy unspeakable and full of glory; peace within that passes understanding.

This peace is a powerful magnet for prosperity and victory.

Don’t listen to the voice of doubt that rises within every now and then, because that’s satan trying to distract and lure you away from the prosperity and victory God has in store for you.

Instead, ask God for the inner strength and stamina to persevere in your faith against all odds.

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay." (Hebrews 10:35-37).

"But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him". But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (Hebrews 10:38-39).

A powerful prayer for these times

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being," (Ephesians 3:14-16).

Ask God for the inner strength and stamina to keep your expectations fixed on Him.

Tips on Multiplying Your Resources 2

 ‘Though we are many, we are one body in Christ’

The above, part of the lyrics of a popular Christian song, readily came to my mind during home church this week as we all gathered to have fellowship with God and with one other. Coordinating the Excellence Home Church fills me with such a great sense of purpose that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything.

We worshiped God with soul-stirring music and reviewed last Sunday’s presentation, before continuing our leadership series tagged tips on multiplying your resources part 2.

We revisited the subject of astute leadership and concurred that it is all about optimization and strategic thinking. It’s being able to align your activities and resources seamlessly with your objectives. It is mentally tasking, that is, unless you want forfeit the multiplication of your results, and consequently also forfeit getting to your El Dorado faster. In essence, as one of us said, “No sweat no sweet.”

Optimization, as we realized,  is not necessarily about changing what you are doing; it’s rather more about upgrading, evolving, taking your most effective efforts to ever increasing levels of productivity and impact. Its about making the most out of the smallest. We see God in creation exemplifying this and we are enjoined to imitate Him as his dear children in the book of Ephesians.

Another invaluable tip in multiplying your resources is to measure your activities on the basis of your intended results. When we got to this point, a member echoed one of Pastor WD Favour’s favourite comments, “…activity does not always equal productivity.” The value of any action or activity is measured in terms of the strategic results it yields. Taken from this standpoint, some actions are valuable while others are useless. But you have to be brutally honest and unemotional in your assessment of your strategies.

At this juncture we decided to continue our discussion next week; we will feature more of our personal stories on this journey of optimization for greater success in our endeavours.

See you next week.

Focusing More Energy on What is Working

A home Church gatheringFine-tuning what’s already working…

Home church this week was a beehive of mental activities. We continued with optimizing and fine-tuning the structure of our home church – the Ideal Home Church.

As pointed out last week, each of us voiced their opinions concerning our results so far, and made recommendations as to the direction and objects of our optimization.

Areas mapped out for optimization include:

  • The interactive session.
  • Our presentations in church
  • Enlargement of our leadership base

First, our interactive study sessions…

Most of us made it clear that this has been their most relevant and imparting aspect of our meetings. A member said “The bible studies and interactive sessions always open my eyes to the depths of things I normally regarded as being insignificant. The session enlivens my awareness to profound spiritual and universal truths.”

Worthy of note, though, was that a lot us believed the time allocated to this session needed to be reduced so the other activities would enjoy ample attention.

Consequently, we decided to focus more energy on selecting the most relevant topics for the bible study session – since it is already yielding the most palpable result in our respective personal development and in our individual walk with God. After all, this is the hallmark of optimization – focusing more energy on what is working.

Nevertheless, as had been recommended, we effected a reduction in the duration of this session.

Secondly, our Sunday presentations…

I and many others were of the opinion that our weekly presentations in church have consistently been characterized by in-depth, insightful, meaningful and relevant spiritual, and contemporary messages which quite evidently never fail to bless the church. However, I disclosed my dissatisfaction concerning the fact that most of our presentations lacked some sort of abstract but uniquely soul-tantalizing flair that has constantly been the hallmark of the Infinity Home Church’s presentations.

To this effect, one of us – Chioma – who naturally oozes flair and flamboyant creativity was put in charge of presentations. Amaka, who reasonably shares the above instincts was appointed her assistant. They’ve already commenced work with this week’s presentation – a pantomimic display of rugged tenacity in following Jesus Christ despite the Devil’s attractive distractions. It’s better seen than described!

Thirdly, enlarging our leadership base…

Here, we, largely reshuffled and restructured the various offices and put capable members in charge of the offices where they naturally have strength and flair.

Last came the introduction of our new stringent code of conduct. Our home church, now, reminds one of a military training institute. This is to bring out the best in each of us, since an unyielding personal and corporate discipline is most essential to spiritual and intellectual growth.

This, however, stirred a loudly silent aura of rather disturbing sobriety in the meeting; but this was dispelled by an encouragement from one of us “let us not cringe at discipline, but let’s willingly embrace it – shunning all seemingly cogent excuses; for in sooner than no time, we, like gold that’s been through the fiery furnace, will emerge highly efficient individuals and IDEAL Christians.”

I then closed the meeting after prayerfully commissioning the officials into their various offices. On Saturday, we all would observe an all-day fast, asking God to give us an irresistible passion for Him.

Why not join us?

The Power of Strategic Thinking

During our home church meeting this past week, our interactive study focused on the optimization and maximization of our potentials and core as individuals.

In a bid to arouse our mental acuity, I asked the question, “What exact results to you want to see in your life?”

"I want to see expertise in all I do and monetization of my talents," was the reply from one of our members.

We opined that it is the height of folly for one to discover that something one is doing is not working, and yet continue to carry out that same activity.

In our Home Church – the Infinity Home Church – we resolved to adopt a systems approach to our efforts. This entails being able to understand the direct implications of strategic actions, in order to achieve our ultimate goals.

And when I posed the question, "What is working for you so far, and what creates that inner sense of fulfillment, ‘specialness’, and relevance?" a member said, "I thrive on solving problems. Once I perceive a need and I’m the solution, I feel fulfilled, special and relevant".

Another member added that, “being a shareholder in successful ventures makes me feel fulfilled, special and relevant.”

Surprisingly, a member said that embarking on a spiritual fast works for her.

"When I embark on a spiritual fast and stay consecrated to God,” she said, “I experience phenomenal results and that simply takes my breath away.”

“But more so,” she continued, “when my spiritual fast delivers results – via answered prayers, or related means – to another person’s troubling circumstances , I feel fulfilled, special and relevant.”

The more we studied, the more we realized that the strategic actions needed to achieve the ultimate goals, require high levels of discipline and focus.

After the interaction, we asked the Father for the grace to embrace His vision for our lives. We asked Him to ignite in our hearts a passion for the necessary actions we need to embark on as individuals in order to achieve our strategic goals and objectives.

We honored the Lord with our substance, and then had spaghetti, seasoned grilled fish, in hot red tomato sauce, garnished with spinach, for dinner.

It was a lovely evening.

Have a cool weekend and God bless you.

Do not be afraid

Things are not always as bad as they seem.

So, you must learn to view every situation with eyes of hope.

Maybe you were pursuing a dream or goal and things didn’t turn out the way you planned. You just got shocking news and it seems like your world has fallen apart. It might seem right now that your expectations have been dashed to the rocks because of news that you heard, or something that has happened in your life.  Right now you might be feeling like the world has come to an end.

Listen to me, just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “Things are not as bad as they appear.”

Now, Download this free mp3 audio sermon – Do Not Be Afraid! It is a message I believe the LORD moved me to preach just for you.

What if this situation you consider bad is a blessing in disguise?
What if it’s a sign that you’ve been marked by God for special blessings?
Just think about it.

Are you feeling overwhelmed or even afraid of what God has called you to do?
Are you scared because of the way things have turned out, that you might be on the wrong path, that you might be making a mistake?

This audio message – Do Not Be Afraid! – is exactly what you need right now to fire you up and restore your enthusiasm, faith, and hope.

Remember that things are not always as bad as they seem.
Remember that you must learn to view every situation with eyes of hope. 

I want to reassure you today, God knows right where you are, and He knows how to get you where you need to be. Don’t panic.  Trust in his love and faithfulness.
Listen to me, even when things don’t go the way you planned, God still has His hand on you. Trust that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf.

Do not be afraid.

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Tips on multiplying your resources

Excellence home church is a setting where we are trained and equipped with tools to enable us win conquests in the arena of life. Life as we are told is an occasion and we must rise to it.

After a beautiful rendition of  praise to God, we moved into our discussion for the day titled Tips on multiplying  your resources. Everyone keenly listened and chipped in their contributions. The heightened attentiveness to the interaction wasn’t a surprise to me, considering the fact that living things are intrinsically programmed to increase and multiply; if you don’t agree with me, go to Genesis 1:28 and check out God’s first commandment to mankind.. be fruitful and multiply.

Back in my college days, I was taught that Economics involved the use of scarce resources to achieve the numerous wants of man, and over the years I have found this to be true.

How do we use what we have to get to where we want to be?
The more adept an individual becomes in answering this question of life, the greater the level of success he achieves.

We looked at the book of Ecclesiastes where it says that  “the labour of a foolish man wearies him because he does not know the way to the city,” and agreed that this is the unfortunate description of  the state of a large number of  people.

Personally I have been there and I can tell that it’s very frustrating. I remember Pastor WD Favour’s comment that “life is an exact science, and once you apply the right keys, success becomes inevitable.”

Herein comes the concept of astute leadership—using very scarce resources  under very difficult circumstances to achieve phenomenal results within record time. It is no use shying away from the word ‘leadership’ because everyone is a leader even if it is only yourself you are leading. The fact remains that making the transition from where you are to where you want to be requires some form of self-leadership.

Next week, we’ll look at how to create the initial result that will give the result that will fetch you an even greater result.

Have a splendid weekend!

God-Centered Sacrifices

This week, in our home church, Pastor WD Favour’s teaching on ASTUTE LEADERSHIP steered the string of events.

We started, as always, by getting our souls drenched in serene worship. Still in the air of solemnity, I stimulated our spirits with a brief teaching. It was about making sure God becomes the primary reason for our sacrifices and self-denials. I said “Whatever you GIVE UP FOR GOD comes back to you multiplied. But you’re really got to be sure God is the reason you gave it all up.” “Never seek glory by self-sacrifice.” (I corinthians13:1-3).

I said this because most times, you see Christians giving up things and making painful sacrifices  with selfish instead of godly motives . “You engage in idolatory each time you give up things purportedly  God, but with some other selfish agenda as your primary motive.” God rewards you only when He, on probing your heart, finds you gave it all up for Him.

Almost paradoxically, I stressed that it’s also idolatory setting your heart on the rewards that your sacrifices for God bring. God wants you to set your heart on Him, and not on anything else – not even on His blessings. This teaching stemmed from Pastor WD Favour’s saying last week during the Leadership Forum that, “there is a world of differences between giving things to God and giving things up for God.”

Subsequently, we commenced talks on how to optimize our home church and improve our results. Questions were dished out, and each of us barred their minds on what they considered our strengths, weak points; what has been working, what is not working, how to amplify and upgrade our pluses and get more leadership-oriented people involved. We made a list of all our opinions, dwelt on a few, and kept the rest for next week.

Next, we gave our offerings, brainstormed for our presentation in church on Sunday, and closed amid exclamations of joy as one of us – a virtuous lady – who had traveled, came walking in.

Praise the Lord!

Becoming A Great Leader

Royalty picBecoming a great leader is no easy matter. It requires the desire to affect your world positively.

If your reaction to this statement is, “I can make a good manager in my work place but am not out to change the world,” then you’ll most likely remain an average leader.

Great leaders cause things to happen through people.

How much you cause the world to change is up to you. It happens by choice, and it defines your success as a leader.

In order to become astute leaders we must personally answer several challenging questions, such as, “How do we take our scarce resources, and transform them into phenomenal results?”

While optimizing our activities in the home church, we realized the need to enhance the participations of members in the goal setting process, because feedbacks and alternative perspectives are essential for the progress of the home church.

Finally, being an astute leader entails a lot of characteristics that aren’t always easy to live up to, and live with. But they will make us strong. By mastering and utilizing effective leadership skills we can be great leaders, by being great leaders we will leave our ‘footprints’ in the ‘sands’ of time.

Join us on this pathway to royalty and nobility…

God bless you.

Excellent Presentations with a Global Flair

Accurate evaluation can only be made with pre-determined goals and objectives.

We assessed our performance so far with a goal we set at the start of the year, which was to build independent thinkers who can express themselves through their unique gifts and talents to the glory and admiration of God.

The creativity, innovativeness, and other results thus far in the Infinity Home Church, is a pointer to the fact that we’ve been quite successful.

However, since the reward for hard work is more work, we decided to embrace more strategic goals and challenges that will enhance our personal development and productivity.

Questions like, “what are our strategic objectives as a Home Church, and what results are we aiming for?” were thrown to the leaders of the Infinity Home Church.

These are tantamount questions, as the answers are fundamental results which when achieved will automatically enable the achievement of further strategic results.

“We want excellent presentations with a global flair and the effective harnessing of individual skills and talents for profit maximization,” a member reaffirmed. “We must build a system that enables the harnessing and monetization of talents.”

We reviewed our presentations, which so far, was working and yielding desired results like increasing the number of committed leaders in the Infinity Home Church. We developed better strategies to optimize its result-producing capacity.

…our soap series

By the way, with regards to our presentations, we’ve been running a soap series titled ‘The Issues of Life.’ Its about a father who was so carried away by his career that he neglected his two daughters. Consequently, they grew up resenting him as his actions had had a negative impact on their self-esteem and self-confidence.

He is advanced in age now, and wants to be a father. Is there still any opportunity for reconciliation and a new chapter in their relationship? His daughters, Nina and Micky had dreams to be world class music artist. Will their dreams be gone with the wind due to utter neglect – the absence of nurture?

The saga continues because as the Infinity Home Church slogan says, “…It Never Ends”.

After we had reached our conclusions and drawn the curtain on our deliberations, a member said, “I’m grateful to God. I know there is something in here for all of us, and for sure, its big”.

Have an exciting weekend and God bless you.

Optimizing Your Leadership Performance

This article is from my weekly lectures [on the subjects of leadership development, optimization, and productivity] delivered at the Leadership Forum of our church. It is of particular relevance to home church pastors, group leaders, and Christian business leaders. The present post is a continuation of last week’s Become an Astute Leader.

My primary emphasis in this lecture series on strategic thinking, optimization, productivity, and leadership development, is that you can accomplish so much more simply by applying your efforts at certain key areas.  As I wrote in Become an Astute Leader, optimizing your leadership performance is not necessarily about changing what you are doing; it’s rather more about upgrading, evolving, taking your most effective efforts to ever increasing levels of productivity and impact. Its about making the most out of the smallest.

Optimization is the process by which you get more and better result from WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE by making little and incremental adjustments at critical points of your overall operations.

For more about how little things, consistently done over time, gradually accumulate into large things that can then be leveraged over and over and over again to create even bigger and more significant accomplishments, read How To Boost Your Productivity and Become A Happier Person.

Discern the results that will give you the results that will give you the results you need!

Fundamental to optimizing your leadership performance, of course, is vision clarity – a sharp, clear, definite, and unambiguous picture of your end result. In other words, you need to know the exact results you NEED to have.

In 4 Steps To Boost Your Productivity, I referred to this as your Personal Success Indices, and pointed out some helpful guides towards determining the objectives that resonate with your personality – what creates that inner sense of fulfillment, ‘specialness’, and relevance.  It will be very helpful to read that post in order to aid your discovery, in very specific terms, of the tangible and intangible results that you desire to see in your life from your various efforts.

However, beyond a clear picture of your end result, you must be astute enough to recognize the primary results that will give you the secondary results that will give you the  tertiary results, on and on to your ultimate results. 

You see, it is very easy to become so focused on the end result that we become blind to those little things that NEED to be accomplished in the moment before the ultimate dream can be achieved. This is a common cause of failure among dreamers.

In reality, though, the path from the foundational result, to the ultimate result is not always linear and logical.

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Illustrations from my pastoral experiences

How in the world, for instance, as a young and inexperienced pastor, would I have known that overcoming my need to socialize was going to be critical to growing the numerical and spiritual strength of the church?

I wanted our church membership to increase in numbers as well as grow spiritually, and I theorized that I would accomplish this by frequently visiting each member in their various homes. By so doing, I imagined, they would know I cared for them and loved them, which in turn would inspire them to become more devoted to God, church attendance, and evangelism.

This idea was inspired in part by what I had read in a church growth manual. I called it my home visitation strategy. It made sense, appeared smart, and I felt it was going to work.

Well, it didn’t.

I quickly observed that the church grew more when I wasn’t visiting than after I implemented my home visitation strategy.

As a matter of fact, I noticed that the numerical strength and spiritual development of the church was rapidly diminishing, not in spite of, but actually as a result of my home visitations! 🙂

Of course I was bewildered!

But then I also got the point, and thankfully soon enough; they didn’t want me visiting them. They would rather I stayed back at home and did whatever it was I did that made them experience God every time they assembled in church.

It had seemed to me that visiting them would have gotten them to come and commit. In practice, however, it didn’t; it rather had the opposite effect.

In the end, I could have stubbornly stuck with an unproductive fantasy of mine just because it appeared ‘pastoral’ and ‘caring’ and then watched the church die as a result. Instead, thanks to God, I learnt. I got the point.

I learnt that the fundamental result I needed to have, towards a secondary result of growing the church numerically and spiritually, wasn’t the goal of visiting 50 members per week as a pastor. That wasn’t a basic result to gun for.

A more fundamental result was to overcome my own need to socialize, become more disciplined in prayers, meditations, personal spiritual growth, and intimacy with God.

This understanding, of course, reshaped my priorities and redefined the focus of my time and resources.

Yet in the beginning I saw a logical but illusory path from (achieving the visitation result of) 50 members per week, to growing the church numerically and spiritually. In retrospect, considering my personality and several other factors, I now know that that path never existed for me.

The Paradox

So identifying the primary results that will give you the secondary results that will give you the tertiary and ultimate results you need – and hence define what you need to focus on in the moment – does not necessarily happen by backtracking from the ultimate results. Such backtracking might yield a logical sequence of steps that ultimately lead to failure!

The wise man identified this paradox when he wrote that:

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12).

Nevertheless, you can become adept at discerning the results that will give you the results that will give you the results you need.

As you can imagine, this discernment – a core aspect of the distinction of astute leaders – comes from a combination of instinct, intuition, observation, experience, and even more.

Accurate discernment that THIS, (a present ‘insignificant’ occupation), will inevitably lead to THAT, (an ultimate phenomenal result), is an invaluable asset.

At the onset, astute leaders usually don’t make sense because they appear to be so focused on very ‘insignificant’ objectives (like, in my case, spiritual contemplation as opposed to house call). In the end, however, the world is wowed by their ultimate results.

The Key

The key to this discernment is to not become emotionally attached to your ideas and opinions (or those of others for that matter) as to what will or will not work; and neither to the means and methods adopted by you, or anyone else for that matter.

Yes, you might have to begin with a hunch, an intuition, an intelligent guess, your best bet, whatever you may chose to call it, plus lessons from others’ experiences, as to what will work. But then you must quickly begin to pass them through the hot crucible of actual performance.

You would notice the principle at work in my case. The initial idea as to what should work came from a book I had read, in combination with my own religious instincts. However, when it was subjected to the heat of actual practice, it proved counterproductive. So I abandoned the idea, but in the process stumbled upon what I should have been doing in the first instance.

Bear in mind, however, that I was able to abandon that idea as a pastor because I was not sentimentally attached to it. Otherwise, I would have been stubbornly stuck to it to my detriment and that of the people I was trying to pastor.

Develop the brutal objectivity that judges methods and performances strictly on the basis of fruitfulness; in other words, on the basis of how well they enhance, enable, accelerate, or actually produce desirable and strategic results.

In learning from your own efforts and those of others ahead of you, be brutally honest and objective in separating what is working from those that aren’t working.

This is critical to optimizing your leadership performance.

Your story ends in victory!

Take a few minutes and meditate on the following verse:

“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed”
~ Psalm 139:16

Pastor WD Favour preaching at the Victory Bible Institue, Tulsa Did you know that God has already recorded every part of your life from the beginning to the end?
He knows every disappointment, every loss, every challenge.
And the good news is that your story ends in victory!

God has written out a plan to bless and prosper you, and regardless of what anyone is saying about you or doing to you, your final chapter concludes with you fulfilling your God-given destiny!

[powerpress]

In this audio message, you will learn the keys to make sure you get to that particular glorious end of your God-given destiny.

It’s time to let it go of the disappointments of yesterdays  and turn the page to the new chapter God has in store for you!

Your happiest, brightest, and greatest days are still ahead of you!

If I Perish, I Perish

That’s the mantra of legends.

My sermon yesterday was an inspiration to God’s people to trust God’s words and move on in faith, in spite of our fears. Read Esther’s final response to Mordecai regarding the threat of annihilation that her people faced under evil Haman.

"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16).

Champions defy their fears

I’m certain Esther was really scared. Mordecai was asking her to do something that could mean death. So, Esther had cause to be afraid. But she made the decision to damn her fears and move on. The rest is history.

Everybody gets scared. Champions, however, damn their fears and go ahead anyway. They do the very things they are scared of doing in spite of their fears.

When Esther defied her fears, she activated powerful and unexpected forces that released freedom and prosperity for her people.

Every time you defy your fears in order to pursue God’s plans and thoughts for your life, you activate powerful, supernatural, and mysterious forces in your favour.

The blessings and abundance that God has prepared for you even in this life are infinitely beyond your imaginations.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11).

But you must defy your fears to enjoy them.

Designed to fly

You are a supernatural being.

""They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. "I said, ‘You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler"." (Psalms 82:5-7).

You are a peculiar person. You are supposed to live a supernatural life.

What kills others should never kill you. When thousands and tens of thousands are being knocked down on the left and on the right, it should never come near you.

In other words, you are meant to operate above natural forces. You are designed to overcome. You are designed to fly in spite of all the negative forces in your physical and spiritual environment.

Think of an eagle in flight. For that eagle to fly, it has to overcome gravity and maintain its height and motion in flight. To do this, the eagle generates an opposing force called lift – an aerodynamic air force.

As the eagle moves through the air there is another aerodynamic force present referred to as drag. It opposes the motion of the eagle. To overcome drag, the eagle must generate another force called thrust.

The flight of the eagle depends on its capacity to overcome gravity and drag.

So, when that eagle is flying, it’s not because the forces of gravity and drag have lost their potency. Far from it. In fact, those forces are greater on the eagle while in flight than when its grounded.

That eagle is able to take off into the air and maintain its flight because its designed to do so, its generating more powerful counter forces of lift and thrust, and the eagle is balancing those forces to advantage. That eagle or airplane can land whenever it wants. But it can always smile at gravity and say, "You, know, I can always rise up there in spite of your best efforts. Because I’m designed and equipped to fly"

Like the eagle, like the airplane, you are designed to soar to the heavens in spite of any resistance earth has to offer!

Jesus Christ is the perfect demonstration and manifestation of the capabilities that God has already built into us. Death could not hold Him captive. "Destroy this temple," He said, "and I’ll raise it up in three days." And though His enemies rolled a massive stone against the entrance of His tomb, and surrounded it with armed soldiers, Jesus Christ rose on schedule!

And as He is, so are we in this world.

Fear makes chickens out of eagles!

The eagle is also capable of walking on the ground like the chicken. Just like the plane is capable of crawling on the runway like a car.

So, the eagle can chose to move around like every other chicken, and the plane like other cars. Or they can chose to mount up on their wings and employ their full capabilities.

There’s no reason to live below God’s supernatural plan of abundance for you. You can make all the excuses in this world – age, environment, other people, and so on – but in the end its entirely up to you to chose to fly or to crawl.

Fear pulls you down to the reach, and control of natural forces. It could have stopped Esther from fulfilling her destiny. It could have stopped Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. It can stop you too.

Fear is so dangerous to progress that God repeats the commandment ‘fear not’ more than 300 times in the bible.

Fear is the spiritual equivalent of the force gravity! If you don’t overcome it, you will never be able to fly.

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15).

So, it is your fears that make you a slave to anything. And,until you defy your fears, you can never fly.

Freedom and victory belongs to those who, when the occasion demands, are able to say "If I perish I perish."

"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (Revelation 12:11).

The attitude of ‘if I perish I perish’ is the lift and thrust that conquers fear and creates supernatural experiences for you.

If I perish I perish

Lift – the force that overcomes gravity – is generated in the wings of the eagle and airplane. The eagle goes to the top of the mountains, spreads its wings and lets the force of the wind take to new heights. Its designed, just like the plane, to harness the power of the wind to advantage. It is this design and power that distinguishes the eagles from the chickens, and distinguishes the airplane from the cars.

You can generate the attitude of ‘if I perish I perish’ by doing the same thing as the eagle.

How?

Esther shows us:

"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16).

Fasting and prayers – the presence of the Lord and meditation – have no substitute for generating spiritual lift and thrust.

It’s time to get away from your busy schedule for a personal retreat of fasting, prayers, and meditation on God’s words. These are troubling times and only those who are able to generate enough spiritual lift and thrust will be able to soar high.

And in the end, you must actively go against your fears. That was what Esther did. That’s what champions do.

“If I perish, I perish.”