I dedicate this book to my mentor, father and Spiritual cover; Bro Emma Okorie.
To Almighty God for the inspiration.
MY MENTOR, THE MINISTRY & I did not come about through my efforts alone, but from others who gave their time, talents, ideas, instructions and resources.
It resulted from experiences, teachings from my mentor: Bro Emma Okorie an Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ whom for THREE decades I have sat at his feet firstly as a child (curious and eager to know God), as a youth (so zealous, passionate and needed to be properly harnessed) and now as a father. I acknowledge him foremost for being obedient to the heavenly vision; his obedience to God brought about the birth of Living Word Ministries, Living Word Training Center and its life transforming courses.
My heart felt thanks also goes to Sis Chi Emma Okorie, for helping me to understand the place of consistency and in collection of the various chapters of my life/ministry
I cannot forget Bro Tony & Sister Irene Offiah, for keeping faith with me, grooming and mentoring me in business, Prof. Agness Njoku and Prof. BEB Nwoke, for the indelible mark you left in my life while I was at Imo State University and Prof (Rev.Fr.) Ogbonna, for working with us as we waged the war against cultism and other vices on campus he provided platform for countless lives to be changed and transformed.
My Wife A note of appreciation and gratitude to you. During the course of writing this book, you went to bed alone several times. It is not easy for a spouse when one is so absorbed in writing. Thanks for your patience and understanding
Emma Okorie, President Living Word Ministries and Chancellor Rhema University has changed the lives of several youths. Anyone who comes in contact with him must experience a significant turn-around or what I call Turning point.
Before you go on, lets understand the word turning point
According to Websters New World College Dictionary turning point is
a point at which something changes direction
a point in time when a decisive change occurs
Looking another definition of turning points:
A decisive point at which a significant change or historical event occurs, or at which a decision must be made.
(calculus) A maximum or minimum on a graph.
Turning point is a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results.
Coming in contact with this great man of God who later adopted me as his son became a turning point in my life.
We are blessed with a great leader in him. A leader who can help you young or old to realize your life potentials.
I have found out that one living a mediocre life is a very terrible thing. But the truth is that a lot of people end up not maximizing and fulfilling their potentials. People created in Gods image and likeness sinking below level of honor and dignity. Become far from what God has destined and programmed for their lives. The Armed Robbers, Drug barons, prostitutes, 419ners we have today in our society were do they come from? They actually had fathers, mothers, uncles, auntie and other relationships, yet no one to be accountable to.
Actually my coming in contact with most of my mentors was a decisive point in my life, that is why I will like to narrate the changes and events that occurred in my life. This is to ensure that people who dont have the privilege of having a mentor, thereby suffering and living in mediocrity will come out of such a way of life. A lot of people end up not maximizing and fulfilling their potentials. People created in Gods image and likeness sinking below level of honour and dignity.
Several lives have been destroyed as a result of lack of spiritual sense of direction and guidance. Many young people today are denied the benefit of having someone who will guide them as they journey through life. Without proper guidance they become quite restive and constitute a nuisance to the society. What we have today are mostly tormentors and not really mentors. For me, I was quite lucky to have met my mentor at a very tender age.
If God can be so merciful in touching my life at a tender age and working wih me to this point were I am right now , he can make something beautiful out of your life if only you let go and let GOD. There is certainly going to be a turning point, through this book God has provided a way out. May God through this book bring you to a point of spiritual maturity as you flip through the journey with my mentor.
The book MY MENTOR, THE MINISTRY & I is a servant journey under his Spiritual father. A profile on the life of Bro Emma Okorie as he walked in obedience to the commands of Christ. You will come to discover who a mentor really is as we journey through this book. Starting from my born again experience, my encounter with Bo Emma, healings through impartation, my response to the call and beginning of Living Word Campus Church, watching the ministry grow, walking in obedience, examining the commands of Christ. Restoration of man through obedience and finally importance of obedience
As you read on, you have a date with destiny. But first make up your mind to be completely surrendered and yielded to God as to obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
God requires an absolute surrendering to Him. And when you do, there is bound to be a change, a turn-around in your life, career and ministry. This is exactly what happened to me, from a nobody to somebody, from living an ordinary life to extraordinary. Somebodys story is being rewritten as you make up your mind to submit yourself to the principles outlined in this book and the discipline of a mentor. By a mentor, I mean a voluntary counselor or teacher who guides you in work, school, or other areas of your life.
Who is Your Mentor?
A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee. He is a wise and trusted teacher or counselor.
The act of mentoring is a series of ongoing and little successes. You will be able to make a real impact through consistent and ongoing relationship building. Show me who your mentor is and I would show you who you are patterning your life after.
In some cases, a mentor is someone who enriches our lives spiritually, professionally, teaching skills from the benefit of years of experiences. In other cases can be someone who takes us through a critical right of passage time or just helps us through a transition or loss in our lives. Most people who value the mentoring relationship will have many mentors during their lives, and at varying times in our lives.
My most memorable mentor is Bro Emma Okorie, a great man of God. My pastor, Ben Akanolu is also there to provide a spiritual sense of direction for me. Other mentors worthy of note includes; my sister Chet Amaechi, Prof BEB Nwoke, Prof Fr Philip Ogobonna and Prof Agnes Njoku, my lecturer and other professors who helped me reach my academic goals. In my career, Arch Jarlath Onuegbu and Sis Irene Offiah, Nnenna Ikpa, Aunty Kumud Nwaimo, mentored me. They all brought value and depth to my life.
What makes a good mentoring relationship?
The mentor -protégé relationship should not be forced, but rather formed naturally. The mentor should have competence, character and patience. The protégé should be enthusiastic and willing to learn. Common interests and humor should also be present in the relationship to make it natural and easily deepened.
Through life the mentoring relationship can be seen in four stages; apprentice, individual contributor, mentor, and finally organization influencer. In the first stage we are an apprentice, learning from a mentor, then we take what is learned and apply it to a field of expertise. We are then able to mentor others and increase their knowledge and deepen their understanding of a subject or profession. Finally, our knowledge can actually serve to increase the depth of wisdom of our entire profession. This is truly using the mentor -protégé relationship to the fullest advantage.
We have been wonderfully designed to, not only interact with, but to actually enrich the lives of others. Our unique place in the universe is given to us to know, explore, influence and enlighten those around us. Life would indeed be a lonely, desolate place if we had no purpose in it but to eat, sleep and work. Helping and being helped gives us the unequaled pleasure of taking part in someone elses life. Being involved in the lives of others adds dimension to our humanness. But for the addition of the collective knowledge, wisdom, humor, love, encouragement and respect of my mentors, I would be closed-minded, petty, foolish, angry and sad. Who we are is the sum of those we allow to influence us. After going through this book, and sharing my experiences with my mentor, your life will never be the same again. Youll discover the real essence of living.
Role of a mentor
A good mentor will help you learn to do things, but not do them for you. A mentor leads by example. For example, an academic mentor offers efficiency tricks, advice, and examples to show you smart alternatives for success, but not help you copy and edit your work in the waning moments before it is due. This is the difference between a tutor and a mentor. A good mentor will:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses
Help you understand the structure and organization of the topic
Introduce new perspectives and correct any wrong thinking
Boost your ability to make decisions
Familiarize you with the tricks of the trade
Introduce you to important resources and useful references
Types of Mentor
Academic mentors. This type of mentoring usually consists of face-to-face sessions with someone who excels in the subject matter you\’re studying, has the time to offer you a mentorship, and an interest in your academic achievement. Consider:
Professors, instructors, and other faculty
Older or more experienced students
Siblings or other family members
Sports and recreational mentoring. Think about mentors who excel at the sport you\’re interested in developing. While athletic ability is an important part of a sporting mentor, also consider the human side of the relationship when considering an athletic mentor. A good soccer mentor will be a good sportsman, an intelligent athlete, and an all-around person as well as being a phenomenal soccer player. Consider:
Coaches and assistants
Experienced players on your team or other teams
Professional athletes or retired athletes
Business mentor. Business and other professional mentors are usually successful workers in the field you hope to crack into, who will be able to offer you some tricks of the trade. This could be anything from stock trading to blues guitar. Think about who does what you want to do better than you do it. Consider:
Colleagues and business acquaintances
An old boss, though not a current supervisor
Workers with a great reputation
Personal mentor. Develop a relationship with someone you admire personally, not because of what they do, but who they are and how they do what they do. Think of people who you\’d like to be like, for no particularly reason. A personal mentor might be:
Your favorite bar tender
Your personal style icon
Someone you go to church with
Discovering your Mentor
Decide what specific role you\’d like your mentor to provide. Write down any problems or specific requirements you might have regarding the field and subject matter. It would be helpful to answer the following questions:
What would you like to learn?
What are you looking for from your mentor?
How will the mentorship \”look\”?
How often would you like to meet? Where?
Make a list of possibilities. Create a list of potential mentors according to your personal criteria and desires for the relationship. Order the list, starting with your top choices.
Look for the \”total package.\” If you really admire someone\’s business acumen but can\’t stand them as a person, they won\’t make a good mentor.
Aim high. The rich and famous have personal assistants who learn from them and make connections based on that relationship. Why not you? If Donald Trump would be your ideal business mentor, put him at the top of the list. Write his office a letter, try and schedule a meeting, or apply to be on The Apprentice.
Check if your company or school has a formal mentoring program that would line up a mentor for you. If so, see if it fulfills your goals and enroll in the program.
Think about what you\’ll say. Going up to a professor after class and asking, \”I\’ve been thinking: Will you be my mentor?\” might scare them off if you don\’t explain what you mean. It\’s a big role and a big commitment to ask of someone, if all you\’re really looking for is, \”Can we meet for coffee and talk about physics sometimes?\” Be specific and explain what you\’re looking for.
Use \”mentor\” as a verb more than a noun. Saying \”I could use some mentoring in figuring out how to get my sales up next quarter. You seem to really have it together, Chi. You mind getting some drinks about talking about it every now and then?\” is more attractive for your potential mentor than, \”I need you as a mentor. I have to improve my sales. Help.\”
Make sure you don\’t give someone the wrong impression. If the salesperson you really admire is of the opposite sex, this could sound a lot like asking for a date. Keep it at the office or on campus if you\’re concerned about making it sound that way.
Start approaching your potential mentors. Work your way down the list until someone agrees to fulfill the relationship as you\’ve outlined it.
If you don\’t get anyone the first go-around, don\’t worry. It may have nothing to do with you personally and more to do with the person\’s schedule or other issues. Start again and consider possible mentors who\’ve got more time on their hands, or who may be more willing to work with you.
Make plans to meet. Don\’t leave the relationship hanging once you\’ve gotten someone to agree. Make concrete plans to get together and hit a bucket of golf balls to improve your swing or go over your calculus homework on a specific day at a specific time.
If the first meeting goes well, plan subsequent meetings. You might consider asking at that point, \”Mind if we make this a regular thing?\”
BUILDING HEALTHY MENTORING RELATIONSHIP
It starts by Keeping a schedule and sticking to it. Even if the mentorship exists largely over email or online, don\’t start bombarding your mentor with questions for advice at the last minute if it doesn\’t fit into the pre-outlined relationship you\’d established.
If the relationship reaches a natural conclusion, it\’s ok to end it. If you feel confident that you\’ve improved enough in whatever skill you were hoping to learn from your mentor that you feel confident to go forth without weekly coffee meetings, say so.
Make the relationship mutually beneficial. Think about what you might be able to offer your mentor in return.
As you improve in your career, remember who and what got you there. As opportunities arise, don\’t forget about your mentors that helped you along the way.
Show your appreciation. Write to your mentor to keep them updated on your progress and remember to thank them for their specific contributions. This will give the mentor a feeling of being useful, needed, and also skillful at their craft.
Be specific. Just saying, \”Thanks, you\’re being so helpful!\” isn\’t as reassuring as, \”I totally nailed that last sale thanks to your opening line tips. Thanks!\”
Gratitude could include a small gift as a \”thank you\” token. Small things like a book, a bottle of wine, or the occasional meal may be appropriate.
Keep a strictly professional relationship between you and your mentor. Emotional involvement with your mentor will usually not be in the best interest of the mentoring process, especially if it\’s someone you work with.
LESSONS ON MENTOR & MENTEE FROM MYLES MUNRUO
As a Mentor
It is better to leave your leadership position too early than to stay too late.
You might have overstayed your assignment already if that job you once loved is killing you now.
If you have overstayed, you will feel pressure from the bottom. Your followers will complain more. They will no longer see you as a mentor but as a menace.
When leaders refuse to make room for others and mentor them, they restrict and retard the capability of others
As a leader, you should counsel yourself while you are counseling your successor.
You should not be attached to one skill, career or trade.
You should always find a new purpose.
If you dont mentor to produce a successor, you will never expand beyond what you are doing.
True leaders do not retire, they go to the new phase.
The person who succeeds you in business does not have to be your child or any member of your family.
The person does not have to be your first child; he could be your last child.
Good mentor rejoice in the success of their mentees
Just like the lion, the mentor or leader should not leave leadership training to experimentation. Do not let your mentee learn by trail and error. Train intentionally.
As a mentee:
You must be willing to pursue your mentor.
You must submit to your mentor.
You must invest your resources in pursuing your mentor.
You should not take your mentors advise and criticism personally
You must be honest in your relationship with your mentor.
Do not hide what you do from your mentor
You must be willing to sacrifice.
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Who Is a Mentee? Responsibilities & Benefits
Mentees have the advantage of having someone who makes their personal and professional growth a priority. A mentee\’s responsibilities are to show respect, be open and honest, and make time to meet up with his/her mentor.
Benefits of Being Mentored
In addition to getting personal guidance in ones development, mentees also enjoy several related benefits. For example, mentees generally get tailor-made growth opportunities, which can include \’stretch tasks\’ that require the mentee to develop new skills or hone existing ones. Also they can have opportunities to present work before key stakeholders in the company who can further the mentee\’s career. When a mentor is in the same company, a mentor is also an advocate and helps the mentee through difficult situations and also facilitates opportunities for promotion. Moreover, mentors protect their protégés from harmful political forces within the company and from gunners who might want the mentee to fail.
Responsibilities of a Mentee
While many of the primary responsibilities of a mentee seem obvious, the challenge is in the execution. The first and foremost responsibility is respect – while one generally respects a more senior member of an organization, familiarity can erode the esteem in which a mentor is held. It is crucial that, despite the friendly and informal environment that often comes with a good and organic mentoring relationship, the protégés maintains and exhibits a deep respect for the mentor.
MY BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE
The greatest thing that can happen to anyone on earth is to have the New birth experience. Accepting Jesus as ones Lord and personal saviour and being baptized into the Body of Christ as a member of Gods family.
The above happened to me through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, using a man whom this book is dedicated to and who as a result to his Obedience to God, the platform of which I gave my life to Christ was created, Platform for ministry and all that I am today can be traced to my MENTOR.
I received Jesus as my Lord and personal savior as a young boy in Living Word Ministries. We started out in Church of God Mission Intl Inc , with my Late dad being one of the pioneers and a Reverend in the Church of God Mission and my mum, an ordained Deaconess. I was one of the few young men that enjoyed a rich and strong Christian background. Our house played host to great men like Late Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa and TL Osborn. I practically lived in the church.
How I found myself in the place where I am today is something of a divine making. I remember having the best experience of my life when I came to receive Christ as my Lord and personal savior. And this happened at Aba, Abia State.
We were quite used to going to church, bible school, daily devotions, early morning prayers and family quiet time was a sort of ritual in my home back then. But then, I came of age and certainly knew my right from wrong. So at the appointed time, when I needed to take the decision, it dawned on me that religion wont save me. Neither would my father who was a pastor in one of the churches of Church of God Mission located very close to us then. My mother who was a friend of the ministry had introduced me and my brother to Living Word Ministries. One striking thing we observed was that there was certainly something unique about the people of Living Word Ministries. My mum soon struck a deal with us that whenever we returned from church, we could tell her what we had learnt, memory verse and all. Being a trained Children Evangelistic Ministry teacher, she was actually doing her very best to see that the word of God dwelt in us richly.
The interesting thing about Living Word was the special attention paid to children, once in a while, we had whites visiting. Their were fun filled activities for all, bible stories, television, scriptural materials to colour and the last but not the least we were actually given something to eat. It was total zozo, ministering to our spirit, soul and body. There and then I and onyinyechukwu my elder brother, decided that this is the place for us.
Hey mumsie, I was given bread and wine and I was told its the body and blood of Jesus. I know the taste.
I cared not, as long as there was something for us, all the assignment that were given, were quickly done with excitement because something was coming at the end of the day. Call it akpiri ngo ngo. It was a divine strategy, our special burning bush experience meant to captivate us, get our attention and finally arrest us for God.
One faithful day, our children pastor Ebere Uzoechi was preaching, I felt somebody had told this man all about me. He was preaching me mum. All that I ever did with my mummys pot of soup, when everyone has gone to bed. How did he know that I was doing this kind of bad stuff.
It got to the point when he made the altar call, I came out to surrender my life to Christ. And I have not for one day of my life, regretted that decision.
There were lots of Church of God Mission Intl Churches, but still we were allowed to continue because my people saw a great change in our lives as we came in contact with Living Word Ministries.
My mum, soon gave me assignment to read the bible from Gen to Revelations , which I soon finished. And wrote my first book SEARCH YE THE SCRIPTURES
I had found a new way of living; I had found a new life in Christ. I had the gift of the spirit!
No amount of money can repay Bro. Ebere Uzoechi for his impact on my live and that of so many kids back then in LWM Aba. I loved him silly because he had a special way of reaching my very soul and arresting any traces of sin done or intended as a kid with the simplicity of God\’s word in his mouth. I loved going home with those coloring books and having to read about Jesus in ways that captivated my little mind. What of the Kingdom Kids\’ drama and choir presentations that helped me discover my gift of music, formed a bedrock and gave me my first platform as a worshipper. A lot of people are blessed today each time I lead worship. This started right from the children church. And can be attributed to this man. He had a heart of gold, and his sincere and genuine concern for each of the kids entrusted to him made you want to do right by God. He was a picture of the Jesus he preached and of course giving my life to Jesus was made easy as there were no doubts as to whether Jesus really existed. The proof was a profound day to day encounter with a man that carried and exuded the love of Jesus. I\’m still serving God after 26 years now because someone like him led me in the path of truth early and made me know that living for Jesus was and still is the cool way to live.
I bobbled with so much life and energy. The joy of the Lord is my strength
Looking back and remembering the fellowships then and how I would dance from one pillar to another with my eyes fully closed.
Soon, I got the name Dancing David
MY ENCOUNTER WITH BRO EMMA
I had my first encounter with Bro Emma Okorie during a Tuesday fellowship, while he was preaching on Holy Ghost baptism at #158 Aba Owerri Road Aba.
That very day, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for over an hour. It shocked me on how the utterance kept coming.
But whosoever drinketh the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give be IN him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost IS come upon you and ye shall be my witness unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Those were the passages that Bro Emma shared which ignited the fire in me.
From then till now, I have never ignored the work of Holy Spirit in my life.
How glad I am that God has baptized me in the Holy Spirit. What a great difference it made in my life henceforth. I was always bobbling with joy, full of strength because I was now filled with the Holy Spirit.
What made it most interesting was that after his preaching and laying hands on us to receive the baptism, he called upon Pastor Sunny Onwuka who spoke in heavenly tongues with us. The young boy Iyke being the smallest in the group of people that got baptized that day. God is certainly no respecter of persons. He gives liberally! What a wonderful experience it was for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It was something so remarkable, so divine coming in contact with this great man of God. It was an energizer to my Christian life and what would turn out to be my journey through life.
The Holy Spirit still longs to bring all Children of God to the point of being full of the Divine nature and this can only come to a believer who has received the baptism of the Holy ghost.
The first step is becoming born again. Then the baptism of the Holy Spirit. AS we journey through this book, you will come to understand how this changed the course of my life. The Lord from that day I came in contact with bro Emma, took possession of my entire life, I became infused with the power of God, His Divine abilities through the laying hands of the Apostle.
After the Holy Ghost came upon me, I had power to do exploit for God. God began to move mightily in my life, it overshadowed me, inwardly moving me until I became cautious and aware of the divine plan of God in my life.
HEALING THROUGH THE GRACE RECIVED BY IMPARTATION
My friend Kalu Ikpa will always accompany me to preach in our neighborhood.
We were quite passionate about the word. We spent time together. Reading the word of God, preaching and praying for the sick in the hospitals and everywhere we went.
As a result of the outpouring of the spirit, we were quite outstanding and seriously believed God for lots of miracles. I dont know any other thing that actuated us other than the Holy Spirit. We really didnt know much then. Together with Kalu Ikpa, we were led to minister to an old woman who was blind. Praying for her healing at Nkoros compound right behind were the Living Word Mission Hospital Umuocham is located.
Soon we got the report that the woman has received her sight ! Because we believed God for her healing, she was healed by the power of God that very day and this fired us up to prove God the more in our later days in ministry. With my friend pioneering a missionary work at ABSU and myself from Ngwa High School until when I got to IMSU, the gospel took me to RUST,UNIPORT,UNICAL, UNIUYO, UNN Nsukka, UNEC, Fed Poly Uwanna, Fed Poly Nekede, FUTO
My friend told me later, it just seemed like something happened that day hands were laid on us. Since then I have not been the same.
I smiled because I know that there was impartation of grace upon my life and wasnt really surprised at the awesome things that happened, miracle of salvation, blind saw, barren women healed, broken homes restored etc
This book is not written with a view of making you believe that I have arrived. Nor is it a chronicle on healings far from it, I have learned some of the things I know now in life by making mistakes. The kind of mistakes that could have marred my life, if not for the intervention of my God given mentor, In the person of Bro Emma Okorie.
Whiles many admired me; more than a few wanted to be like me, but then the truth of the matter was that secretly, I was struggling when it came to relationship. I was seriously hurting .
My deliverance in this area came through the same vessel.
For every one called, appointed and anointed to preach the gospel, the enemy certainly wants to cause you to have a detour to destiny and has released a continuous onslaught against every true child of God so as to pull them down through these major areas:
Lust of the flesh
Lust of the eye
Pride of life
The enemy fought toothlessly to see that I didnt continue in to fight the good fight of faith.
Believers, hear me there is not anything like once saved, always saved
We have a conscious role to play by working out our salvation with fear and trembling every day of lives.
God on his own part, has given us His spirit to make us live a good Christian life.
He has put within us his spirit by which we cry Abba father. He is our father. Having Jesus as my Lord and personal savior was the first step I took in redeeming my life from destruction.
Then for my wellbeing, peace and health, GOD sent his Spirit so I can have ACCESS.
Over years, I have come to learn from Bro Emma Okorie that “this access will give you the assets. I started by receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior, had the Holy ghost baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues and started abiding in him. I let Jesus abide in me too, through prayer, fellowship, communion with him, walking in His commands and keeping his statutes. This is the sum total of our Christian life and what really made us to succeed. Following diligently the vision, coupled with the outpouring of Gods grace, faith, discipline and sacrifice. We suffer a great deal as a result of spiritual ignorance and this is the bane of ones fulfillment in life. For lack of information leads to deformation and for one to really go far in life, one will require the input of a mentor who will help one to be groomed.
I saw in my mentor, Bro Emma – a man that has groomed and nurtured me so as to abide in Him and I quickly made up my mind to follow after him. As Joshua followed Moses, Elisha followed Elijah, The apostles followed Christ. I said nothing will deter me from getting close to this man as to continue to tap from him. This was from the early days of the ministry, I would always ensure that I sit in the front pew each time I went to Tuesday fellowship.
As a result of my size, I would go very early before the ushers would come. Because of the fear that one of them might direct me upstairs to go to the children section and also I wanted to be very close to Bro Emma as he ministered. I wanted to be as close to him as possible.
Responding to Gods Call : The STORY Of LWCC
The motivation to do exploit for the Lord on campus led me to establish Living Word Campus Church at Imo State University Owerri during an era when it was not popular to preach the gospel on campus.
The journey began shortly after Bro Emma Okorie has sparked up an inward fire in us in a meeting captioned SUCIDE some years back. He charged us to die empty. We should ensure that we empty ourselves before we live this world. Back then, I was the President of Scripture Union Ngwa High School Aba and member of Living Word Ministries serving at Church On the Rock. We were so passionate about the gospel. No wonder that most of us that pioneered the Campus church at ABU Zarie, Imo State University, ABSU, FUTO and Uniport were all from this particular region and were quite close.
In the previous chapters, I shared how in company with my friends, we moved from street to street to preach the gospel and then from secondary school to secondary school, where lots of people gave their lives to Christ. This revolution continued when we saw ourselves in the four walls of the university. A wonderful opportunity it was for us to serve God according to His purpose in our generation.
In order for most of our new converts to have a proper foundation, we deem it fit to plant fellowship and groom them. We didnt get to start the fellowship because others were doing same.
Precisely on 2nd Sunday February, 1997 the vision was firstly shared at Ahmadu Bello University Zarie, a year later in 1998, Living Word Campus Church was started at Imo State University. Today it has strong presence in many higher institutions in Nigeria and gaining more grounds with the vision of equipping the believers for the work of ministry, which anchors on the Apostolic ministry of Bro Emma Okorie.
Living Word campus church began with a three fold mandate of Gathering lost souls to Christ: this we set out to accomplish with a passion because the kings work requires haste. Modeling Christ before the world and equipping believers to discover and fulfill Gods purpose for their lives.
We started this work out of our conviction that todays youths especially those from the campuses are the hope of tomorrows church. If they are neglected, unprotected, undeveloped, un-encouraged, unmotivated and unequipped, you can imagine how dim the hope of tomorrows church will be.
We wanted our youths to be well grounded and rooted in love, sanctified, pure and holy, visionary and Christ-minded. See them filled with the Holy Spirit; focused towards doing nothing but Gods will in marriage, career and ministry.
The focus of our Vision was to model Jesus on campus. During our days, lots of people had made up their mind to join one cult group or one gbarakpo or another. But for us our commission was to raise people that will be DOERS OF THE WORD. Youths that will be completely obedient to the voice and the word of God. A people who are submitted to the LORDSHIP of Jesus and under the GUIDANCE of the Holy Spirit.
Most of the cult groups on campus were using their influence to secure admissions for their younger ones for proliferation of these cult groups, thereby continuing in their footsteps. The secondary schools was so rugged at that period that military cadets were posted to Ngwa High School to help curb these nefarious activities.
After hearing Bro Emma share with us on SUICIDE, I made a vow to God as a young boy in secondary that upon entering the University, that I will enlist people into the kingdom for Jesus.
Many people found themselves into the higher institution because their peers were all getting into the school at that time.
Ka mu soro ibem
But for me, it was a matter long decided. I had a vision of why I was going to Imo State University when I got admission to read Sociology/Anthropology. The call of the gospel absorbed my whole life that all other dreams faded away.
There was no issue of pressure from my peers to change me from my course of action. We know how the university environment can be. Most of the believers, that I knew back then upon getting into school were lost. They can not openly declare their identity as Christians.
Pioneering this great work on campus didnt just happen. Determination, Diligence, Dedication, drive, conscious efforts and of course Gods grace were all part of what made it work then.
It actually took some us a lot of time and sacrifices to ensure we had a proper foundation before getting into ministry. The foundation was laid back then at Living Word ministry under the leadership of Bro Emma Okorie.
So when I got admission into IMSU, the mandate fell on me to pioneer this great work. Where do I start from? I gathered some people under the tree at Love garden and started sharing vision of LWCC with them. To most people, it seemed unthinkable but as time went on, they saw the seriousness with which people were buying into our vision and joined. Soon, I wrote application for registration of LWCC to Dean Student Affairs and got all the necessary approval needed from the school authorities to begin this great work. We now moved from under the tree to an allocated a space in the C block. Several letters were also written by us as to raise funds for equipments. We werent discouraged by the response we got but began to sow sacrificially until we purchased our first ever equipments. After a long period of worshiping with our ten stringed instruments (hands) we finally got the musical equipments and microphone.
There is no order foundation laid, except that which is laid in Christ Jesus
Except the Lord build the house, They labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain
Ps 11:3 If the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do?
The Lord himself was the one that laid the foundation and built the church but used us as human instrument to do his biddings.
When we are trying to examine the foundation of the campus ministry. We are looking at the plumb line, a cornerstone from where a survey or measurement is taken. I understood from my mentor before setting my foot on campus that before one embarks upon any successful thing in life, the person must ensure to prepare adequately.
The revolution at Imo State University was started by me together with Udoka and Jutice David. Most of the time, one person will lead worship and also end up preaching the message for the day. We were faced with a challenge based on the song choice, if we should continue with the unique Living Word songs inspite of the fact that most people did not know it or do we flow with the arriaria that was in vogue then. It was a very serious and delicate matter, though we stock to the original vision as we had received it from our father and mentor. Believe me it worked!
Like Bro Emma will always say Whatever is done without Gods vision for your life is vain and void of blessing. People are bound or blessed by the power of vision. Vision gets into a dry land and makes it fertile. Vision can be measured by how much you are a blessing to others
People started trooping in to join us. Our worship which was unique was an attraction and a lot of people just wanted to know our songs, so they joined the fellowship.
Evangelism was radical, there was no lecture hall, that we did not enter to preach just before lectures. Soon I had a team of evangelist, who preached daily at the school audit, LLH, C & D Blocks, Law Block, Café, Business College and Up school. Before we knew what was happening, we have taken over the school.
Another factor that contributed to the growth of the fellowship was CHARACTER
When we talk about character, we are looking at our behaviors especially, when no one is watching! Our members were known as being different from others. Character is the totality of a persons behaviour revealed in habits, thoughts, expressions, attitudes, actions and interests.
This distinguished us. It is important to note that this character was not acquired in a day. It was accumulated and built over years from the teachings received at the apostles feet, from what we were seeing and doing on daily basis. It became a way of life.
You may have picked up this book by chance and wondering how to change those bad and negative traits? I have good news.
Character is gotten when the word of God dwells in you. It would influence every of your action.
By emulating godly examples and interacting with people of positive and godly character.
No matter the habits youve got, it can be changed. So many people were restored through this vision.
The problems of beginning a fellowship in a predominantly catholic school environment was multifaceted. But one scripture that gave us hope was
And they departed from the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name
We passed several tests during the course of our following after the Vision of the visionary. But we were not deterred as the sufferings brought about a higher level of maturity as we forged ahead.
At a point, we had tribulations from the school authorities. We were banned from worshiping in the class rooms and had to resort to holding our church services and fellowships right under the trees in the hot sun, with people passing by, while the Catholic Church was given a piece of land to erect their own structure. In fact there was a time a circular was passed on proliferations of fellowships on campus and most of us were asked to pay huge sum for registration exercise and will produce notable lecturers to sign for us. That was when our faith was tasted, sometime we do listen to preaching on living by faith and do not really understand the full import.
But then as the battle became fiercest, a scripture that constantly came to my mind and greatly encouraged me was
These things have I spoken to you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world, you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer: I have overcome the word.
Despite all the obstacles we met on our way, we were not deterred.
When one of my leaders, a sister who did exploits resorted to living a life that was not what we were called out for, It was a big blow on us. We kept preaching until we won her over to the Lord.
On the other hand, the problems surrounding us and the biggest trials I ever had was the result of pioneering this church on campus. Soon the leaders of various fellowship came together to nominate me as coordinator in the JCCF, I handled this position as well as being the President of Thunderbolt an anti cult group on campus. Soon preaching engagements took a toll on me. I was off to other schools, my academics suffered, the church I was pastoring was not given adequate attention. This is where my mentor intervened and called me to order. Without his input, I would not have understood the power of focus.
OUR PASSION FOR SOULS KEPT US GOING
The work of God is an exchange of baton. Its a sort of relay race. Instruction came for me to hand over after some years of sacrifice and pioneering the work. It was a thing of joy for me to heed to the instruction of the apostle. Because I understand that every apostle is unique. As an apostle you are given an assignment which no one has ever done. God gave the word through the Apostle Bro Emma and we were among the company that published it.
I had to hand over after pioneering a great work on campus, I went back to enroll at the LWTC class so as to be further equipped for the work. Taking my courses very seriously and graduating after a very long period of being a student of the Training Center because I was not just in a hurry.
Every ministry has its foundation and what really makes it thick. And for Living Word Ministries, one must belong to LWTC for you to have an understanding of what the ministry really stood for.
When we started out with the courses, I for one was so glad because I really didnt have to pack my bags or resign from my secular jobs so as to do the work of ministry.
Understand the reason why you are called to be where you are. No member of a church is supposed to be a visitor. As we started, God opened our eyes to understand our various areas of grace, gifting and began to function in them all with ease. For us ministry was not a struggle. If God has called you the following is quite important:
Have a passion for souls
Have a large heart
My mentor has a large heart and is so much passionate about the work of God. So we decided to model our lives after him.
Paul said Imitate me as I imitate Christ
Our heart was sold out to God just as our mentor and father.
Beloved as long as your heart is committed to God, the passion for souls will always be in your heart.
It is important we love God more than the work of God. The love of God is a propeller that would cause you to do the work of God.
Secondly, we must love Ministry and whatever it would take you to succeed, to make impact or leave a memorial for God gladly do so for the Lord as a result of your love for God.
The foundation and motivating factor that helped us to succeed was the LOVE for God, the Vision and the Ministry itself. We accepted in totality all that God has packaged in Living Word Ministries with our whole heart and sought a way to replicate the same on campus.
A son can do nothing by himself but whatever you see the father do..
You can not do anything unless you are connected to God.
Are you called into ministry? Wondering how to make it work. If your heart, your spirit, your soul and will is not connected to the almighty. Forget all about ministry. Because in God everything consists and holds together. For you to do ministry, it must be through
If you asked me what made you people so peculiar then.
We so much packaged LWCC in our time that everybody became interested. The leadership of the ministry bought into what we were doing. Many of us are doing exploits for the Lord wherever they are.
You are the one to go to God and say oh Lord, what do I do to make the ministry more attractive.
If you are called to serve God, get connected to Him. He will reveal to you divine strategies and how to go about it. Everything we did then was done by revelation. The various schools had something unique about them.
We always tried our best to stay focused on the vision and motivated each other.
2 p 1:10
Therefore brethren, make your call and election sure.
Its important to note here, that every child of God has a call. You are the one that will make an effort to discover your area of call and fulfill the call.
Your election is your covenant with God. Your relationship which establishes you.
Every believer has a call. Some are called into the Five fold ministry while some are called into HELPS ministry. Helps ministry is given so as to ensure that the work of God does not become burdensome to the leaders.
God expects us to transfer the graces in our lives.
Are youths included in Gods program?
Are they in the vision of the ministry?
The answer can be seen in the book of John 21: 1 5 17
simeon son of Jonah, loveth thou me more than these?… Feed my lamb.
Simeon son of jonah, loveth thou me more than these?.. Feed my sheep
If young people are important in the agenda of God, then we should take care of them. Its important to note that in the first verse, he was talking about the young sheep lamb.
the first people Jesus told Simeon peter to take care of his children. Feed my lamb
This I saw as a command from God. A divine commission. Mandate from God. An opportunity from God to serve on campus was a response to divine command.
If we love God, we will show it, in the way we serve God.
In the campus church we raised many champions of tomorrow through the word of God.
It is only the word of God that can change man. Creating a platform via the Living Word Campus Church was all about disciplining people for their lives to be changed.
Martin Luther said \”A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing\”
One day a young woman was walking home from work when she saw a sight: a little girl standing on the street corner, begging. The little girls clothes were paper thin and dirty, her hair matted and unclean, her cheeks red from the cold. The young woman dropped a few coins in the begging bowl, gave the girl a smile and walked on. As she walked she started to feel guilty. How could she go home to her warm house with its full pantry and well supplied wardrobe while this little girl shivered on the street. The young woman also began to feel angry, angry with God. She let her feeling be known in a prayer of protest. \”God, how can you let these sort of things happen? Why dont you do something to help this girl?\” And then, to her surprise God answered. He said, \”I did do something. I created you.\”
Discipleship, is not a suggestion. Neither is it an advice or recommendation, it is a commandment. We are called to BE WITNESS. After which DISCIPLESHIP follows.
It is important to note at this point that it is not about populating the church, but about raising a trained workforce for propagation of gospel and the advancement of the kingdom.
Back then, we placed no emphasis on quantity, but the quality of the life of the believer.
Our numerical strength was not that wonderful. But we had quality people who made impacts in all the nooks and crannies of the school.
Beloved, it is important to note that while every disciple is a believer, not every believer is necessarily a disciple.
It is noteworthy that the commission to make disciples was given, not just to believers but disciples. By implication, only a disciple can make disciples – a man cannot give what he doesnt have. The point however is that, if I must be successful in obeying the commandment and effective in carrying out the commission of making disciples, I must be a disciple myself. Could this be the ultimate reason why there is a chronic scarcity of disciples in the mammoth crowd that make up the body of Christ today? For we can all agree that the discipleship capacity of every pastor, is reflected in the amount and the quality of disciples he able to make of his followers. If it is so, then we can safely assert that there are church leaders who aren\’t disciples themselves irrespective of their position.
Are you a disciple?
\”A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing\”
PROMOTING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP ON CAMPUS
You might be out there wondering how do i make it work in my relationship?
You\’ll find my experiences and testimony quite revealing and helpful.
After giving my life to Christ at a very tender age, I s was involved in the things of God. I was a leader in my youth group back then at Church on the Rock. By the time I gained admission into the university, I was already a role model to lots of youths, pioneering the campus church, speaking in different schools, campus fellowships, crusades from one tertiary institution to another.
Despite the fact I was a leader. I had problems when it comes to interpersonal relationship. I was quite shy. Everyone seemed to admire me and wanted to be like me. And more than a few were envious of me.
But while friends looked on admiringly, I was secretly struggling. I struggled in several areas. It\’s not something most folks would be bold to say but then, it\’s a testimony looking back then to appreciate what God delivered me from.
You want to know how to make it work in your relationship? How then do I relate within same limits?
Its very important to follow biblical standards when it comes to relationship.
One thing is very sure – the impact of sexual sin is far reaching. Therefore, you can\’t afford to make mistake with your life. Extending from a marred personal relationship with God to a tear in the very fabrics of a fellowship.
Admist the beautiful voices and the lifting up of holy hands, people fall into premarital intercourse and other sexual sins in many ways, and there is no single solution.
But there are several things that can help us to avoid the pain of sexual sin. God helped me deal with issues in my life and I bet you\’ll find the following quite helpful;
1. Follow God\’s Standards Too often in the arena of sex, we ignore any discussion of God\’s perspective on our sexuality. An awesome and fearsome hush seems to surround any talk concerning God\’s expectations of us as regards our relationship with the opposite sex. Whatever the reasons for shelving the discussion, people remain ill-equipped to handle the struggles and temptations in which they find themselves. God designed us as sexual beings and our sexuality is not something we can or should merely turn off until marriage. But how do we understand the implications of our sexuality and the parameters God has given for its expression outside of marriage?
How are we to relate in a godly manner to our brothers and sisters in Christ? We, as individuals and as a fellowship, need to spend time searching the Scriptures, studying what God\’s word has to tell us about God\’s design for our sexuality as well as our relationships. Optimally, we should develop our principles and convictions before entering into any form of relationship. It is much more difficult to develop and implement convictions while in the midst of a relationship than it is to begin a relationship with your convictions firmly established.
2. Be Accountable Relationships of accountability in the Christian community are very important if we are to maintain the standards of purity and integrity which Christ demands of us. Many godly people have become entangled in sexual sin because they had no one holding them accountable for their physical relationship. We may be quick to ask someone to check on us in regard to our quiet times or our time management, but how often do we set up accountability groups for our dating situations? If we need help maintaining some of the basic disciplines of the Christian life, how much more will we need the help of our brothers and sisters as we seek to channel the tumultuous currents of our sexual appetites? Admitting our need for help in this area is definitely humbling and sometimes embarrassing. But it is also essential as we seek to honor God in our relationships.
Accountability relationships are best formed between partners of the same sex. This one-to-one relationship functions like a prayer partnership, and often includes a prayer focus, but it also requires a strong commitment to ask and to answer hard questions honestly. Think through and pray about whom God would have you be in partnership with. (It\’s pointless to be involved with someone to whom you will lie. This defeats the whole purpose of accountability.) Whom do you trust enough to be genuine and honest? Who knows you well enough to ask the hard questions? Take the initiative in asking someone whom you trust to hold you accountable.
3. Caring and Forgiving It\’s also important for us to care and forgive. Followers of Jesus must extend the same compassion and forgiveness which characterized Jesus\’ ministry. Consider his compassion for the people of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-42), for the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12), and for the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).
Jesus declared that he had come not for the healthy, but for the sick. Unfortunately, we often expect perfection and \”health\” from ourselves and the people with whom we fellowship. We often fail to acknowledge our own desperate need for God\’s compassion and forgiveness and therefore refuse to show compassion to others. People found the love of Jesus irresistible and sought out his forgiveness and healing. In the same way, as we are able to extend compassion and forgiveness, the people we are seeking to love will find it easier to admit their need for Jesus and for encouragement from fellow believers. Conversely, if students feel that they will be judged for their failures and frailties, they will choose not to reveal them to others, even if that means continued failure.
Our job, as members of the Body of Christ, is to spur one another on as we seek to follow Jesus (Hebrews 10:24-25). If we make it difficult for our brothers and sisters to acknowledge their need for help, we fail to encourage them in their pursuit of Jesus. A compassionate, forgiving fellowship provides the security and safety needed for students to honestly confess their struggles and to seek help and encouragement. Such a community also provides the tough love necessary for those who are in denial or whose hearts have been hardened toward God and their sin.
4. Open and Inclusive
Finally, we must strive to cultivate an ethos which encourages inclusiveness in relationships. Few things are as damaging to the health of a fellowship as the growing sense that one must be \”attached\” to a member of the opposite sex in order to belong. The only attachment which we must encourage is an attachment to Jesus Christ. Any other requirements exclude or discourage your brothers and sisters in Christ.
5. Relating with Integrity Jesus calls us to be counter-cultural and to develop relationships of integrity with both men and women. Our desire should be to help one another grow in our ability to relate to a variety of people and to learn from as many different people as possible. When relationships become exclusive, we cut off the possibility of learning from others or giving to them.
PROFILING MY MENTOR & WATCHING THE MINISTRY GROW
Bro Emma rose from a very humble background and started out in life without the privilege most people have but today he has silently caused a revolution through the Apostolic ministry.
Coming in contact with him 26 years ago, watching and following the ministry closely these years has given me an insight into the life of one of the greatest achiever of our time.
Growing up from a poor background, he did not fall into the temptation of letting wealth and international exposure get the better part of him. He had a strong foundational commitment to fulfill the call of God upon his life at an early age of 17.
He gave his life to Christ in 1967 at Scripture Union, Mission Hill Umuahia. Was mentored and served under the tutelage of Bill Roberts, a British missionary who found himself worthless to save the lost. Bill Roberts went through hazardous life to raise missionaries for post civil war.
Grooming and mentoring Bro Emma from a boxer to a preacher. He taught him and proved him during the war by putting him in charge of a warehouse of relief materials sent by donor nations to save ibos from starvation.
Bro Emma Okorie became a Joseph in charge of distributing food to people as they lined up everyday to collect their ration.
The last of nine children, but became messiah to his entire family, community, Nigeria and the world at large.
He stepped out into itinerant evangelist ministry in an age when even the church of that day thought he was foolhardy. Leading a band of young men who all depended on him for direction through the length and breath of Nigeria.
The deaf heared, the dumb spoke, the blind saw and the dead were raised back to life besides other incurable diseases that were destroyed. Carrying generating sets on their heads, climbing mountains to get to people that had not heared the gospel.
Later in life, he met the amiable Chinyere Mba who later became his heart robe, Proposing to her in an usual manner. The two sacrificed their comfort to preach the gospel. Marriage could not stop his itinerant ministry. With her support, he became more and more daring in faith.
From Oral Roberts University, he moved to Rhema Bible Training Center on the advice of the Dean. Where God gave him a design of a bible school of practical application and what we know today as LWTC which has revolutionized the Christianity in this part of the world and beyond. A school am proud to be one of its graduating student.
The revolution is the practical application of the five fold ministry otherwise called the Apostolic Ministry in the church as enshrined in the scriptures and that is really what makes Living Word Ministry quite different from others.
He established the Living Word training center with the vision of equipping the believers for the work of ministry. The school is not for a collared few. Here everybody is somebody and only Jesus is Lord. Soon the students of the school began to hunger to practice what they had been taught. To solve that problem, Bro Emma planted a church, then another and another. Today he has planted outpost churches In Nigeria, USA, UK, Poland, Germany, South Africa, Togo etc
Out of a burden to get children trained in the way of the Lord, so that when they grow, they would not depart from it, bro Emma started the LWA in his house.
What bro Emma started as a mustard seed as a mustard seed stands today as a towering oak tree. The educational arm is one of the mission thrust of this great and humble servant of God.
The Academic arm of the Living Word Ministry, is an interpretation of a dream and a desire put together to catch them early. It is a solution to the lack of focus and satisfaction found in our youths of today.
Most times, we see misguided children / relations run from pillar to post looking for how to make a mark or build a memorial in their generation. Magnet school is a sure way to guide a child to discover his real seal and become who God originally purposed that he should be.
Living Word has well over Twenty eight schools, providing quality education to over 13000 pupils from Kindergarten through Primary and Secondary schools spread through: Aba, Imo, Rivers, Anambra, Lagos States and Lome in Togo. Living Word also in recent times established a Private University, which is called Rhema University.
History Of RHEMA University
The history of the RHEMA UNIVERSITY can be traced back to 1987 when the President of the Living Word Ministries Bro Emma Okorie, concerned by the falling standard of education in terms of academic content and Christian values decided to address these problems with the setting up of nursery, primary and secondary schools. This was part of the evangelistic outreach of the ministry. This led to the establishment of nursery , primary school and threee Secondary schools in some states of Nigeria and Lome, Togo. All these schools built and run along the Christian principles have produced students who have excelled academically and in moral values. Given the outstanding performance of the product from the Living Word Primary and Secondary Schools, the great demand for admission into the schools by parents, it became clear that Living Word Ministries would provide much service to the nation by venturing into the area of tertiary education. This was seen as a way of producing God-fearing leaders and also providing access to University education in Nigeria. Given the statistics which show that the few places available for University admission are greatly oversubscribed in Nigeria, our successes in both the primary and secondary schools and the performances of our products, Living Word Ministries shared the vision of its President and decided to start a university Rhema University.
Apart from the acquisition of over 100 hectares of land for the university, the Living Word Ministries in preparation for the eventual setting up of the university set up a Hospital complex which is well equipped and which is also one of the very few hospitals in the Eastern states of Nigeria with a functional dialysis unit.
In 2004 the Living Word Ministries constituted a planning and Implementation Committee towards the realization of the project.
Vision The vision of the Rhema University is to operate a university of excellence where the theory in class and textbooks will be complemented with practical skills through entrepreneurship studies, respect for human dignity will be vigorously pursued and where probity in character will be the hallmark.
Mission The mission of Rhema University is to produce for Nigerian leaders to help meet the challenges of development in this age of globalization and to cultivate in the students profound professional expertise and high moral character.
Philosophy The philosophy of the university is hinged on a philosophical dictum that Knowledge is Power and that giving man knowledge through education, he can thrive and prosper in a globalising world. With this philosophy, the university will strive to make the students first and foremost thinkers, people with broad horizons and enriched knowledge of discipline area.
To achieve the above philosophy, the university will pursue the highest standards of teaching, research and community service while at the same time provide a balanced education for the acquisition of knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and moral principles. In other words, the Rhema University will help its students become thinkers and doers; people who are more interested in solving problems than idling away; and people willing to take a risk to make a difference. Put another way, Rhema University will give its students what is known as liberal education.
To produce graduates who are well trained intellectually, highly skilled and of high moral values to provide leadership in the country.
To advance higher learning through its thrust of intellectual, moral and cultural excellence, animated by the virtue of diligence, love and service;
To develop academic partnership and collaboration in teaching and research with universities worldwide so that the products of the university will be relevant in a globalized world;
To encourage the advancement of all branches of learning
and to hold out to all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex or political conviction, an opportunity of acquiring higher education;
To develop a top quality core faculty (academic staff) that is committed to true scholarship and is of world standard;
To attract and retain well-qualified undergraduate and graduate students and prepare them for successful living and career in programmes· of distinction that combine academic excellence with Christian values and spiritual ethos;
To undertake any other activities appropriate for a university of the highest standard.
Top of Form
Bro Emma started the LWMH for called missionary doctors and nurses to truly combine medicine and spirituality in the healing of man. Hence the vision AND HE HEALED THEM ALL
Back then it was an impossible task, but Dr Jude a missionary had said yes, we will go with the vision and together with the wife Esther a nurse, they were midwives to the delivery of the vision of LWMH
LIWOCARE began in 1989 as a compassion and prison ministry of Living Word Ministries Inc, a Christian denomination based in Nigeria, USA, and United Kingdom. Over time, She grew to become an all inclusive charitable organization undertaking the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners, social mothers, drug addicts, HIV\\AIDS victims as well as providing medicare for the sick, food for the poor, clothing for the destitute and provision for widows. As all these were evolving, the organization was known as WE-CARE.
WE-CARE metamorphosed into LIWOCARE when it went public in 2002, becoming a non-governmental and non-profit making organization registered with the Federal Government of Nigeria. (Registration Number 14373)
With this development, LIWOCARE ceased to be an internal organization of Living Word Ministries Inc. The legal framework setting up LIWOCARE thus made it open to the general public. She took this decision when she saw the continuing disintegration of societal structures and values in Nigeria, daily increasing the number of the down trodden, with no hope of provision or Medicare. By going public, LIWOCARE was positioned to reach a greater number of destitute people, given increased funding as individuals, government and philanthropic organization were expected to share in the vision.
As a non-governmental organization (NGO), LIWOCARE is propelled and guided by the following objectives: 1. To minister, provide care, nurture and rehabilitate all those who are in physical, material, mental and spiritual needs; the poor, the depraved, the abandoned, prisoners, the oppressed, the distressed, the homeless and the dejected. 2. To protect and defend the right of the child, the helpless, the oppressed, and all those whose rights have been denied or are being denied. 3. To establish and build maternity homes, orphanage, and homes for the mentally, physically and spiritually retarded. 4. To rehabilitate undirected women and single mothers. 5. To bring peace and succor to broken homes and families. 6. To provide gainful employment for the unemployed. 7. To provide a good atmosphere for love, peace and good neighbourliness where these are lacking. 8. To provide counseling services, organize workshops and seminars aimed at uplifting the condition and environment of the average child, men and women in the society. 9. To liaise with prison authorities, legal departments, hospitals, remand homes and orphanage with a view to assisting the inmates.
ACTIVITIES In pursuit of these objectives, LIWOCARE has been engaged in the following activities: free medical outreaches, care for widows, payment of school fees of indigent students, contribution to orphanages, feeding of street beggars, skill acquisition\\rehabilitation programmes, payment of hospital bills for indigent people, support of the deaf, dumb and blind, counseling and so on.
In the year 2003 alone LIWOCARE had seven free medical outreaches in Imo and Abia States of Nigeria attending to well over three thousand patients at a modest cost of one million naira. Some widows were sponsored to start a small-scale business at the cost of thirty thousand naira.
In the month of December 2003, several food items, clothings, shoes, and many other gift items were shared among one hundred and fifty widows. Food programmes, medical treatments, bi weekly prison outreach, feeding of the poor and homeless are ongoing activities of LIWOCARE.
Periodically, LIWOCARE makes meals packages them and travels to nooks and crannies of neighbouring towns and beyond, seeing out extended hands of increasing beggars on the streets. Every now and then, LIWOCARE reaches out to orphans with food items. LIWOCARE picks up ex-convicts and social mothers and equips them at considerable expense to become computer operators, hairdressers and seamstresses, wood workers and so on. This is the skill acquisition and rehabilitation programme of LIWOCARE LIWOCARE has paid hospital bills for indigent people who had tuberculosis, stroke, diabetes, mental disorder, and so on. Over three thousand persons receive counselling on marital, economic, emotional, spiritual and medical related issues and positive results abound.
Besides schools and hospitals, he established Living Word Electronic Media & Press.
Added to all these are various ministries which are flourishing under the apostolic ministry.
Living youth Aflame, Living Word Campus Churches, Invaders, Tabernacle Restorers, Unique Women, Christian Mens Forum , Living Word Evangelistic Team to mention but a few.
He is indeed a man noted for humility despite all his exploits in the frontiers of Gods kingdom. Having received the mandate from God to teach the undiluted word of God and began that at the age of 17.
For those who know him, no doubt, he is obviously a very busy man, juggling and coordinating so many things at the same time; moving across the world to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A lot of generations has been impacted by him and have learnt a lot of things from him. I am proud to introduce him to all those seeking for a good mentor. He exposed me to highly profitable lessons such as character, hard work, focus and integrity.
While we were growing up, I had an unforgettable experience that taught us need for character, integrity and clearly made showed him as a loving and caring father. On one occasion when we wanted to hold a tarry night. It was announced in the church and on that faithful day, we left our house late at night and set out to come to church only to find the whole place seriously under key. With the gateman keeping a stern face to us. We are members of the church and had come for youths tarry night. We tried finding out why we were not being allowed in and treated in this way and discovered that as a result of stories going round that most youths are in one form of unwholesome relationships. Therefore, our youth pastor instructed the security not to open the gate for the youths.
Not knowing that there are still remnants who kept themselves for the Lord.
We had risked our lives and the young sisters with me were greatly endangered if they were to go home that night. And for some whose parents were not believers they wont believe it was church they were coming back from and certainly be the end. Well for me, I can always find my way home. so I decided to take everyone to LWMH at umuocham.
First thing in the morning, I was knocking at the gate of Bro Emma Okorie with all the youths that came for that tarry night to report the incidence and to let him know my mind on such treatment. I believe the bad eggs and those not really living the life should be exposed
Have nothing to do with unfruitful works of darkness, rather expose it
We have to expose them and not be in the habit of making a general statement affecting people who were innocent.
He to my surprise received us well and for him a matter is either black or white. He treated everyone equal despite your background, age or social status.
For me and my peers then to have an audience with a personality like him who not only gave us a listening ear but solved our problems.
Bro Emma Okorie and Sister Chi Emma Okorie taught me how to hear from God, how to walk in obedience to the commands of Christ, the blessing that comes from obedience without which, perhaps, I will not have been in ministry today. They taught me how to access divine supplies both for my life and the work of the ministry. He changed my perspective about Christians in Politics.
For my mentor the Church is to impact on the world positively, including in politics. Joseph, a man that feared God, was in politics and so was Daniel too.
They were embodiment of signs and wonders, So, he believes that the church has the scriptural right to be involved in how the affairs of their nation, local governments and their communities are being run.
We have to be practically involved. Were not the salt of the church, but the salt of the earth. Were not the light of the church, were the light of the world. So, believers have scriptural right to be involved in politics and any other endeavour that has positive influence on human life
WALKING IN OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDS OF CHRIST?
The heaven, earth and all that is therein came into existence as a result of obedience of the elements to the commands of God.
In the beginning the earth was without form and void and the spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God said Let there be light and there was light
Mans existence also came about as a result of obedience
And God said.. let us make man in our image and likeness Gen 1:26a
Then one may wonder, what then is Obedience
What does Obeying the commands of Christ imply?
The above question and lots more is what we will attempt to answer through this book, X-raying the teachings I received from Bro Emma Okorie my Mentor and Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ whos life is an epitome of obedience, in that he is not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
For close to three decades he has impacted the world with his God given vision.
He is a man called by God to carry out a revolution by expanding the frontiers of Gods kingdom. A task he has not relented on fulfilling from early days as an iterant evangelist until God led him to start LWTC- a bible school of practical application. Equipping thousands of believers for the work of ministry.
He has also been involved in lots of Apostolic work, planting hundreds of churche, building hospitals and many schools (nursery, primary and secondary) He pioneered Rhema University and is the President of Living Word Ministries with outpost churches in Nigeria, USA, UK, Poland, Germany, South Africa Togo etc.
He is an International Conference speaker on faith and related doctrines, author of several books and publisher of a weekly Nuggets Newspaper.
All the achievements of this great man of God was as a result of the Obedience to God.
Lets take a closer look at the word OBEDIENCE
The word obedience as I was taught in one of the Life transforming course of LWTC is the very best way to show that we believe by doing exactly what the Lord commands and doing it happily and immediately.
According to Chambers Dictionary, Obedience is the act of obeying an order or command. It can be defined as a prompt personal response to God and his word.
The word Obey simply means to do what one is told to do.
The Hebrew word for Obey is SHAMA which means, to listen, to give ear, to hear intelligently, to discern, to perceive, to consider and to obey.
While the Greek word is HUPAKOE
Which means to hear under, to listen attentively, by implication to heed or conform to a command.
From the above definitions, one can say that Obeying the commands of Christ is harkening or giving heed or submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ in all things.
It is important to note, that when we surrender our lives to Jesus and give our lives to Him. It is the first step to Obeying His commands.
Salvation or born again experience is submitting to the authority and Lord Jesus,
Yielding of ones life to the authority of God is one of the ways to show that we love God.
More so, It is the will of God to bring all things under His Lordship.
When man failed and moved from Gods will by his disobedience. IT became quite imperative to restore man back to Gods original will. God said Let us make man in our image and in our likeness Gen 1:26
Mans whole duty is to keep the commands of God as we see in Ecclesiastes 12:13
The word Keep: simply means to obey. We are created to Obey God and not to pursue our own desires. The only way we can give Him pleasure is by obeying.
We must recognize that God is Lord and submit to him by Obeying His commands.
Gods purpose for creating man was for man to tend and keep his garden by obeying his word- And man failed because he disobeyed the commands of God- Gen 3:7-8.
God does not take pleasure in mans disobedience which brought about the question he asked when he came down to have fellowship with man in the garden in the cool of the day and man was no where to be found- Gen 3:1
“Hast thou eaten of the tree, wherefore I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
This made the relationship between God and man to go sour.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commands (HIS MUST DO) For this is the whole duty of man
Nothing gives God greater pleasure than that and of course the Father created us for His pleasure. Revelation 4:1
“Thou art worthy oh Lord to receive glory and honour and power for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
One thing my mentor always hammered on each time we talked is that life is defined by vision.
Why were we created?
To pursue our whims and stick religiously to our pet dreams?
He clearly made me understand that the only way man can give God pleasure is by giving heed or obeying the commands of Christ.
What is that thing God has asked you to do?
Mans duty to obey God implies that he recognized God as his Lord first and for him to succeed and accomplish the will of God, he has to submit to him by obeying.
It is important to note that none of us believers saw Jesus Christ crucified on the cross. But when we accept him as our Lord and personal saviour, we are obeying the call to salvation by accepting or submitting to the truth that Jesus died on the cross for our sake.
True Obedience according to The School of Obedience by Andrew Murray is a clear and close relationship to God.
Obedience for us believer is in its totality like Jesus became Obedient even unto death. Obedience must cost us something.
For Jesus, at a point the cup became difficult for him to take but he kept on so as to give pleasure to the father by shedding his blood to cleanse us once and for all from our sins. So for us believers to call Jesus Christ out master, we have to obey all that he has asked us to obey and do.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples John 13:35
WHAT ARE COMMANDS?
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines it as an order that should be obeyed.
It can also be defined as instructions or guidelines given to a subordinate by his superiors.
Oxford Advanced learners Dictionary defines command as an order (usually with the right to be obeyed, to have authority over, be in control of. It is also defined as authority, power (to control)
It is important to note that we cant deal with the topic OBEDIENCE without relating it with the concept of commands. Because obedience is a response to a given command.
In Gen 181;19 For I know him that he will command His children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord
The Word tsavayh which means to constitute, enjoin: (appoint), (for) bid, (give) charge etc.
The word paragello which means to transmit a message to enjoin (give in), Charge (give), dictate. There are 3 levels of commands
This deals with the words that proceed directly from the mouth of God (the father, son and Holy Spirit)
They are not optional. It is compulsory. A must-be-obeyed instruction.
We will examine seven commands from the scriptures. They include the following:
Repent and believe
The Lords Supper
They are practices of the early church Apostles. Examples are as follows:
Sharing of their possession
Washing of feet
Baptizing immediately one is converted
These are practices and not necessary commands. This helped the early church to carry out the vision of God.
These are man made rules. The commands were established in the early church to ensure discipline in the church.
As time went on, there were lots of decline to Gods word. People followed their own ways. Doctrines had to come in as a way of guiding people. Doctrines and traditions are good when placed in the right perspective. It can become dangerous when we place more value on them. Example of human tradition includes:
Worshiping on Sunday
Covering of hair
Sacrament and penance
According to Geoffery Hanks in his book Story of Christian Church, Christians were faced with problem of heresy and several of the New testament letters was to combat the issue of false doctrine.
By 2nd Century, the church was seriously threatened by heretical groups such as Gnostics and Docetistis.
It was during this period that a number of men were converted to Christ whom through the use of their gifts were able to confront the heresies by establishing some practices which Christians still observe till today.
It is very easy to clearly differentiate between human traditions and commands of Christ.
It is important to note that the divine command is the highest level of commands. We as a matter of urgency should give priority to it. During the course of this going through this book, we shall carefully examine each of these commands.
However we look at Obeying the commands of Christ, it is important we take cognizance of the following:
There must be someone in a position of authority who is able to issue a command
The person in authority must be above the subordinate as to be able to give the command.
The subordinate or subject must be willing to carry out instructions or order to the later.
Therefore, every act of obedience that is not complete either by the person in authority being satisfied or the subordinate obeying every bit of the instruction is regarded as partial obedience.
A very clear example is Saul in the book of 1 Sam 15:22b Behold to obey is better than sacrifice and to harken than fats of rams Saul did not comply fully to the instruction.
Another example is Moses in the book of Numbers 20:1-13
We have to obey all. God demands full obedience to His word. As far as God was concerned, Saul did not obey Him and paid the price for disobedience. Partial obedience is no obedience neither can it be regarded as such.
It is either one is obeying God or is not. There is no demilitarized zone according to the song writer Ron Kenoly.
No sitting on the fence, It is either I am on the Lords side doing his bidings as my master, Lord and personal savior, or not.
Who is your master? Who is your Lord?
RESTORATION OF MAN THROUGH OBEDIENCE
Man through disobedience and sin lost out in the will of God (Gen 2:16, 3:11).
God restored man by sending His only begotten son John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever that believes should not perish but have everlasting life
Man through obedience by Repenting and believing the gospel is restored back to the original state he was.
The blessings, the exercise of faith which yields the dividend of righteousness inputted and imparted. The receiving of healing grace and call which leads to promotion and answer to the divine cry of prayer and the discipline of study life which leads to transformed life.
A carnal man now takes on the nature of God. And he is changed from one level of glory to another. This is brought about by simple obedience.
Obedience is the totality of our Christian calling according to Eccl 12:13 This is the last word. All has been said, have fear of God and obey his laws because this is right for everyman
The fear of God is wisdom. And keeping the commands of God shows that we are wise. For the disobedience and those who scorn the word of God. It is foolishness. But unto us, it is the power of God unto salvation. We are great in Gods eyes when we keep his commands .
Obedience is a voluntary submission to the will of God and this comes as a result of our love. John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commands
Obedience gives us access to the blessing of God.
Rom 5:19b says So by obedience of one shall many become righteous
Phil 2:8b And became obedient to death. Even death on the cross
The whole plan of redemption is embedded in restoring obedience.
According to Andrew Murrays book, The Blessing of Obedience It is the man who does what God commands, to such a person God can entrust his work and can be used as Gods vessel of honour to achieve his will for mankind.
Another good illustration is Abraham in Gen 22:16-17
Bro Emma Okorie author of the book Pathway of the Glorious Church was able to know the heartbeat of God because he walked in obedience.
As a result of the above, God entrusted to his care a great vision, today a lot of memorials have been built for God according to the pattern received from God.
I remember vividly, several times I was faced with great challenges, which I brought to the apostles feet. With his counsel and intervention, I received breakthrough in those areas of my life. Even cases that defiled solutions, but as he prayed for me, I received my healings, breakthroughs and open doors in my life, marriage, career and ministry.
God sent his son Jesus to restore us to obedience because he delights in obedience
The purpose of man is reveled in Eccl 22:13 and Rev 4:11.
Our love and commitment for and to God is not measured only by how much we profess God but how much we keep, do, walk, abide to and obey his commands.
This explains Matt 7:21 Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven
Those were the particular words of Jesus Christ to his disciples. Obedience to the commands of God has it benefits and conditionality.
It is not in the multitude of words but in a life that is completely yielded to the call of the master to come up hither to a place of obedience to Gods ultimate demands on and from our lives. The glory of Matt 7:21 is not in the declaration of man, rather it is on willful resolve on mans part to forge ahead and take consistent WALK with God.
In Rev 22:24 we find the following: Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may enter in through the gates into the city.
From Gen to Revelation, from paradise lost to paradise regained the law of God remains the same It is only obedience that gives access to the tree of life and of God.
According to Andrew Murrays School of Obedience, disobedience at the beginning ; that is when Adam failed at the garden of Eden, closed the way to the tree of life, while obedience through Christ at the end opened or gave believers the entrance. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the father except by me John 14
He and he alone is the way as we earlier on noted.
Like John 8:13b If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed
What marked a disciple is the persons continuous adherence to the word of Jesus.
This calls for a consistent exercising of our spiritual will power and muscle to do the logos(written word) we know.
We shall look at several commands of Christ not just as cast in stone but a way of life.
The only lifestyle that gladdens the heart of God the father is the life of obedience.
7 COMMANDS OF CHRIST
1. REPENT & BELIEVE
And saying, the (appointed period of) time is (completed) fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe trust in, rely on and adhere to the good news gospel Matt 1:15
What is Repentance?
Repentance is the act of reviewing ones actions and feeling sorry, regret for past wrongs. It involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a new life in Christ.
Repentance comes as a result of one believing that Jesus Christ gave his life and accepting him as Lord and personal savior. One can repent only after conviction by the Holy Spirit which causes a change of heart
BELIEVE: This means to have faith in, to entrust ones well being, to trust, rely on. Repent and Believe we observe from the scriptures, work together in redemption. This is the core of the message of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 4:17 Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand Adherence to the above passage is an act of obedience which brings about freedom. Freedom is the end product of a life that believes. Repentance comes by believing.
EXAMPLES OF MEN THAT REPENTED & BELIEVED
It is important to note that the life of Saul and his conversion illustrates the fact that every act of obedience carries a reward. After he repented, he baptized, walked in obedience and rose to become an apostle.
He repented after denying his master and later became a martyr for the same Christ.
According to the history of the early church, this same man who was shy before a servant girl, later became quite outspoken. Defending the faith and later crucified for the sake of the gospel
Other Biblical examples of Repentance include the following:
Josephs brethren in Gen 50:17
Isreal Num 21:7 -9, Judges 2:4, Ezra 4:14, Neh 1:6-7
David 2 Sam 24:10-17, Ps 51
Ahab 1 Kings 21:11-20
Manasseh 2 Choronicles 33:1-13
Josaiah – 2 kings 22:11-20
The word Baptizo is a greek word word which means to dip immerse or submerge.
Water Baptism is the act of obedience to the gospel. Sprinkling is not a scriptural method of baptism. Jesus and his followers went into water and then came OUT OF water, giving us a clear picture to follow.
Matt 3: 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized went up straightway OUT of water and lo the heavens opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of god descending like a dove and light upon him
Matt 16:16 he that believeth and is baptized shall be save. When one gets baptized, he is immersed into water, signifying the person is dead and buried in Christ and resurrects with him.
Rom 6:4-6 Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life
Water Baptism is a physical show of that which has taken place inwardly. Water baptism is commanded by God. It is not optional
Holy Ghost Baptism
It is the endowment of the power of God in the life of every believer for life and service
According Acts 1:18 But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you and you shall be my witnesses..
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is important because it empowers the child of God unto service. It comes with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Blessing from raw Baptism in the Holy Ghost includes
Overflowing fullness of the spirit (Jn 7:37 -39, Acts 2:42)
A deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43, Heb 12:28)
An intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42)
A more active love for Christ, for his word and for the Lost (Mk 16:20
It is important to note that before one can receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, the person must;
Come to Jesus
It is only to the ardent, eager, famished, keen and all consuming craver that the Lord releases the Baptism of the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-8, Isaiah 41:17, 44:3)
Love is one of the commands of Christ and this is manifested through our obedience to God. John 14:15 If you love me keep my commands
What is Love?
Love is an attribute of God. It is also clearly stated in the scripture as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:22 If a man say I love God and hate his brother, he is a liar
1 Cor 13:3 If I give up my body to the flames but have no love, I am nothing.
The Hebrew word for love is Chasq which means to join or fasten together Gods love joins us with Him and fastens us together with Him.
Typologies of Love
EROS an erotic love or physical attraction
PHILEO Friendship or reciprocal love
AGAPE the love that give expecting nothing in return.
Our interest is clearly stated in John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
There is no change or amendment of the Lords commands. What else do we need to prove except to walk in obedience to the commands of Christ.
In summary Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit Gal 5:22
The problem of our generation is lack of love. If we realize how much we fight one another in the name of Christianity and turn around and allow this fruit of the His called love to be made manifest in our lives, the churche will be the sweetest place to be! The body of Christ will be made perfect when we walk in Love.
The Lord commanded us to celebrate the Lords supper.
In the book of Corinthians we are reminded
“On the night he was betrayed, he took the bread, after giving thanks to God, He said this is my body broken for you and as you eat it remember me. In the same manner he took the cup and said this is my blood poured out for you and as you drink it remember me
First Corinthians 11:17-34
This ordinance is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. What is the will of God on celebrating the Lords supper because sometimes we struggle to know exactly what God\’s will is on a certain issue, but this command is a vital part of Christian experience.
The Historical Context
1. The deliverance from slavery
On the night before our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, He gathered with His disciples in the upper room to eat the Passover meal. Every year the Jewish people met together to celebrate the Passover, which was a special meal designed by God to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. After Israel had been in bondage in Egypt for over 400 years, God delivered them from Egypt and brought them to the land of Canaan, as he had promised their forefathers. He brought upon Egypt series of plagues designed to free the nation from Pharaoh\’s clutches. It was only after the last plague–the death of the firstborn throughout the entire land of Egypt–that Pharaoh finally agreed to let the Israelites leave. The children of Israel protected themselves from the angel of death who took the lives of the firstborn by taking the blood of a slain lamb and applying it to the doorposts and lintels of their houses. Then they were to eat the roasted lamb along with some unleavened bread and bitter herbs as the Passover meal.
Whenever an Israelite participated in the annual Passover feast, he would remember that God delivered his nation out of bondage in Egypt. The Passover celebrated today still remembers that great historic deliverance, but tragically misses the greater deliverance that it foreshadowed–the cross of Christ.
2. The deliverance from sin
Jesus took that ancient feast and transformed it into a meal with new meaning when He instructed His disciples to drink of the cup and eat of the bread in remembrance of His death on their behalf. Therefore, Calvary has superseded the exodus from Egypt as the greatest redemptive event in history. Christians don\’t recall the blood on the doorpost and the lintel, but the blood shed at the cross. The Lord\’s Supper is a memorial that Christ Himself instituted. He became the ultimate fulfillment of deliverance from sin and death when He died on the cross and shed His blood.
Mark 14:22-25 records the account of the Passover meal known as Last Supper of our Lord: \”As they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them; and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament [or, covenant], which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until the day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. \” That incident is also recorded in Matthew 26:26-29 and Luke 22:17-20, alluded to in John 13:12-30, and commented on by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.
b) Observed by the church
(1) The fellowship described
The Lord\’s Supper became the normal celebration of the early church. Upon hearing Peter\’s message on the Day of Pentecost, many of the people in Jerusalem \”were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them [who had already believed in Christ] about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles\’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers\” (Acts 2:41-42). The early church was involved in four basic activities: teaching the revelation the apostles had received from God, ministering to believers, observing the Lord\’s Supper, and praying.
During the Jewish celebrations of Passover and Pentecost, many pilgrims would come to Jerusalem and live with other Jewish families. Many of those pilgrims were saved through Peter\’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost and chose to remain in the city. The Christian residents of the city therefore had to take care of the converted pilgrims who had no livelihood. For that reason it was necessary for the early church to share and sell their possessions for the benefit of those pilgrims (Acts 2:44-45). In the same way the needs of slaves who had been saved were also met. The sharing of possessions and meals became a unique expression of community in the early church.
The breaking of bread became synonymous with a fellowship meal. The early church incorporated the Communion established by Jesus onto the end of their fellowship meals. Eventually that combination of a fellowship meal and Communion became known as a \”love feast\” (Gk. ,agap[ma]e; Jude 12).
The early church attached Communion to a common meal not only because the Lord Jesus had done so, but because the Jewish people had always associated the Passover with a meal. The Gentiles likewise included a potluck meal (Gk. , eranos) with their religious festivals. So the early church followed that Jewish and Gentile cultural patterns in combining a meal with the Lord\’s Supper.
The early church celebrated the Lord\’s Table on a daily basis (cf. Acts 2:46). In fact, it is not unlikely that they may have had Communion with every meal they ate. It was common in those days for fellowship to revolve around a table as people ate together. The host simply sat down, took a piece of bread, broke it, and that act initiated the meal.
Later in the life of the church the frequency of sharing a meal with Communion had been reduced to a weekly pattern (Acts 20:7). When the church met together on the first day of the week, they would have a fellowship meal and Communion, followed by a sermon. The love feast, however, gradually faded away since it was a practice of the culture and not something instituted by our Lord or the apostles.
Since the Bible doesn\’t specify the frequency of observing the Lord\’s Supper or other particulars, it would be acceptable to observe it after any meal whether in the home or the church. The important point is that you obey what the Lord says and exercise the wonderful privilege of commemorating the death and anticipating the return of Christ.
B. The Literary Context
One of the abuses that had arisen in the church at Corinth involved the Lord\’s Supper. The Corinthians in fact contributed to the death of the love feast. They had obliterated its meaning. In fact, they had selfishly turned it into a drunken and gluttonous exercise that resembled the idolatrous feasts they once participated in. Their practice was so offensive to God that He disciplined some of the Corinthians with illness and death (1 Cor. 11:29-30).
Christianity had broken down socio-economic barriers, yet within twenty years of Jesus\’ ascension, the Corinthians were starting to put them up again. The well-to-do were supposed to bring the food to the love feast and share it with the poor. But the rich would arrive early and eat all their food in their exclusive groups before the poor showed up, who ended up going home hungry. In 1 Corinthians 11:33-34 Paul admonishes the Corinthians who were guilty of that: \”My brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home, that ye come not together unto judgment. \” They had missed the purpose of the love feast, which was to share with others. Such an abuse of Christian love and unity made participation in the Lord\’s Table that followed a mockery. Their selfish and divisive actions were irreconcilable with the grace and unity made available through the cross (Eph. 2:4-16) and the impartiality of God\’s love (Acts 10:34).
In chapter 11 Paul seeks to correct the Corinthians\’ abuses of the love feast and the Lord\’s Table. Although he had just praised them in verse 2, Paul begins the section on the Lord\’s Table with a rebuke in verse 17: \”Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together, not for the better but for the worse. \” The Greek word translated \”declare\” is parangell[ma]o, which means \”to command authoritatively. \” Paul was telling them they would have been better off if they had stayed home instead of meeting up. Their worship, instead of being helpful and edifying, was in fact destructive.
It is sad to say, but that condemnation is probably as applicable to many churches today because either the people don\’t hear or apply the truth, or because they wrangle over personal preferences or trivial theological issues. When a church gets to the place where its meetings are for the worse, it\’s in real trouble.
In the Corinthian assembly, the worst thing they could do for their spiritual growth was to get together. That\’s incredible in light of Hebrews 10:24-25: \”Let us consider one other to provoke unto love and to good words, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. \” The only provoking the Corinthians did was to anger and selfishness. They had degraded the love feast and irreverently slapped the Lord\’s Supper on the end of it.
Dear friend even as you pay heed to the injunction to pray, witness, give, we ought in the same manner to celebrate the Lords supper as often as possible.
BE A WITNESS
We are saved to save other. Witnessing simply means to testify to others about Christ (John 15:26 -27)
wit·ness can be further defined as
1. One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced: a witness to the accident.
a. One who is called on to testify before a court.
b. One who is called on to be present at a transaction in order to attest to what takes place.
c. One who signs one\’s name to a document for the purpose of attesting to its authenticity.
a. Attestation to a fact, statement, or event; testimony: She bears witness to these events in her letters.
b. Something that serves as evidence; a sign: The parody of the poem is a witness to the poem\’s popularity.
When we talk about witnessing, we remember that Christ has given this very clear command to every Christian. Jesus Christ\’s last command to the Christian community was to make disciples. This command, which the church calls the Great Commission, was not intended merely for the eleven remaining disciples, or just for the apostles, or for those in present times who may have the gift of evangelism. This command is the responsibility of every man and woman who professes faith in Christ as Lord.
Men and women are lost without Jesus Christ. Jesus said, \”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me\” (John 14:6). God\’s Word also reminds us, \”There is salvation in no one else! Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them\” (Acts 4:12, TLB).
Men and women are truly lost without Jesus Christ. He is the only way to bridge the gap between man and God. Without Him, people cannot know God and have no hope of eternal life.
Rather than being \”not interested,\” the people of the world are truly hungry for the gospel. One of the greatest misconceptions held by Christians today is that men and women do not want to know God. But the opposite is true. The Holy Spirit has created a hunger for God in the hearts of millions.
They are ready to hear a clear and simple presentation of the Good News of God\’s love and forgiveness. Can we afford to be selfish with the gospel when such overwhelming evidence shows that so many people are hungry for God? By sharing our faith in Christ with others, we can help change our world for our Lord.
We Christians have in our possession the greatest gift available to mankind: God\’s gift of eternal life, which we received with Jesus Christ at our spiritual birth (John 3:16). Christ is risen! We serve a living Savior! He not only lives within us in all His resurrection power, but He also has assured us of eternal life. He died on the cross in our place for our sin, then rose from the dead. We have direct fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, and this fellowship, this peace, this gift of eternal life, is available to all who receive Him.
The love of Jesus Christ for us, and our love for Him, compels us to share Him with others. Jesus said, \”The one who obeys me is the one who loves me…\” (John 14:21, TLB). In other words, He measures our love for Him by the extent and genuineness of our obedience to Him. As we obey, He promises to reveal Himself to us.
Because he loves me, my Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him (John 14:21, TLB). What are we to obey? When it comes to witnessing, we have the specific commandment from Jesus Christ to go into all the world with the Good News.
Helping to fulfill the Great Commission is both a duty and a privilege. We witness because we love Christ, we witness because He loves us. we witness because we want to honor and obey Him. We witness because He gives us a special love for others.
God wants you to witness because of the benefits He offers to those who receive Christ:
They become children of God.
Their bodies become temples of God.
All of their sins are forgiven.
They begin to experience the peace and love of God.
They receive God\’s direction and purpose for their lives.
They experience the power of God to change their lives.
They have assurance of eternal life.
God also wants you to witness because of the benefits you will receive.
Witnessing will stimulate your spiritual growth, lead you to pray and study God\’s Word, and encourage you to depend on Christ. You will experience the tremendous privilege and honor of representing Jesus to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20).
The Holy Spirit came to provide the power for you to do so (Acts 1:8). Wouldn\’t you like to share with someone else the most valuable thing you have?
All over the world, Christians, young and old, rich and poor, new Christians and people who have been believers for more than half a century. when asked these questions, the answers are always the same.
What is the most important experience of your life? \”Knowing Christ as my Savior.\”
What is the most important thing you can do for another person? \”Help him or her to know Christ.\”
Beloved, think of at least two people with whom God led you to share Christ during the past week? If you cant think of any then you are not bearing fruit.
What does the bible teach on principles for Christian giving? As we seek God\’s answer to that question and as we contemplate our own giving to the Lord\’s church in response to the clear teaching of His Word, perhaps it would be wise and helpful to review those principles here.
Beware of practicing self righteousness in order to be noticed by people otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
2 Corinthians 8:9-15
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, \”HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK.\”
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The way we give is an indication of our love for God. All things belong to God. God says in Psalms 50:10, \”For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.\” Everything we have received has come from God. God has only loaned them to us. John 3:27 says, \”A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from above.\” We can never out-give God. In Luke 6:38 we read, \”Give and it shall be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.\” We give so the Lord\’s church can better carry out its mission here on earth. The world must be evangelized, and the church must be edified, and the needy must be helped.
Giving is one of the commands of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 we read, \”Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper that there be no collections when I come.\” We see the giving here was to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. Notice also they were to make a regular collection every first day of the week.
Because of everything God has given us, including His Son to die for us, we should be anxious to give back to Him. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 we read, \”For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.\” God expects us to give what we are able to give. How can our love for God be real unless it is expressed in our obedience and our giving? Our giving is an expression of love, and act of praise, and sacrifice to God.
How we give is an indication of where our priorities are. Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, \”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth and rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.\” Where is your heart?
Since we can\’t out-give God, we should at least be liberal in our giving. As we read in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, \”He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.\” Our giving is to be planned. We should not give because we feel we have to give. Nor should we resent that we need to give to please God. We should be glad that we can give to the Lord.
We should never try to impress other people with our giving. If we do we already have our reward. Giving needs to be a private matter. We should not seek recognition for the things we do. Jesus says in Matthew 6:1-4, \”Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen of them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.\” We should seek the approval of God and not the glory of men.
Our giving should not only include material possessions but we must first give ourselves to God. We are told in Romans 12:1, \”I beseech you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.\” If we will first give ourselves to the Lord, we will have no problem in being liberal in our giving. Our liberal giving is part of worshipping God \”in spirit and in truth.\”
10 principles for Christian giving.
1. The Lord Jesus expects and requires us to give. Jesus said to His disciples, \”when you give\” not \”if you give\” (Matthew 6:2)! Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. We often hear folks say: \”in the Old Testament they had to give, but not in the New – now we only give if we want to.\” This is clearly not Jesus\’ teaching. He expected all His followers to be givers. Christians will give.
2. The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons. Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. \”Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,\” He said (Matthew 6:1). When we give, we must be careful to examine our motives. We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people. Are you giving for God\’s praise or man\’s?
3. The Lord Jesus wants us to practice benevolent or charitable giving. Jesus said \”When you give to the poor . . . .\” (Matthew 6:2-3). Jesus is specifically teaching about \”alms\” in this passage: aid, charity, or benevolent offerings for the needy. Do you give amply enough to the Church that she can be generous in benevolent giving?
4. The Lord Jesus reminds us that our giving is ultimately to the all-seeing heavenly Father. Jesus said \”When you give . . . ; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you\” (Matthew 6:3-4). When we give, we are not simply adding to the Church budget, we are giving up a thank offering to the Father Himself. Thus, we must all give \”as unto the Lord.\” Our ultimate goal in giving is to please Him. Are you conscious of the fact that your giving is to the Lord and seen by the Lord?
5. The Bible teaches that Christian giving is an act of worship. In connection with the previous point, we see this truth stressed in another way in Paul\’s word\’s \”On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save\” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Paul here teaches the Corinthians that their taking up of the collection is an act of worship which is to be a part of their regular Lord\’s Day worship. When we put our money in the plate, we are worshiping Almighty God in accordance with His Word. Note well, Paul is speaking here of a \”collection for the saints\” – this is giving by the Church to the Church for the Church. Did you realize that giving is a part of worship? Is your worship in this area abundant or inhibited? Is giving to the Church a priority with you?
6. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in light of the incarnation. Many Christians argue about whether the tithe (10% of our income) is still the standard for our giving to the Church (disputants usually want to show that less than 10% is fine). Paul says: \”For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich\” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Christ\’s self-giving is now the standard for our giving! Our giving is to be inspired and instructed by Christ\’s inexpressible gift
7. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in accordance with our means. Paul is quite clear on this: \”For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have\” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Put another way Paul is saying that you should give in proportion to what God has given you. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 16:2, \”each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper.\” This means at least two things: (1) since we are all supposed to give proportionately, those who have more money are expected to give more [we who are particularly blessed materially must remember this], and (2) the Lord never asks us to give what we do not have, or contribute beyond our means. Are you really giving in proportion to the material blessings that the Lord has given you?
8. The Bible teaches that the liberality of God\’s blessings to us is connected to the liberality of our Christian giving. Though it may seem strange, both Jesus and Paul emphasize that there is a relation between our giving to the Lord and the Lord\’s giving to us. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:6 \”Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.\”
The desire to be generous and the means to be generous both come from God.\” Do you realize that the Lord has given you much, so that you can give much?
9. The Bible teaches that Christian giving must be willing giving, free giving. We learn this in 2 Corinthians 9:7 \”Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion.\” But doesn\’t this contradict what we learned under the first principle, that Christian giving is not optional? The answer is, of course, no. True Christian giving is both mandatory and voluntary. It is required by God, but always willingly given by the believer. Is your giving to the Church something you do wholeheartedly, or indifferently, or grudgingly?
10. The Bible teaches that Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving. As Paul says \”God loves a cheerful giver.\” This is a truly amazing assertion. Paul assures us here that the Lord takes a special delight in those who are joyful, energetic, merry givers. Is there joy in your heart as you give? Can you truly be characterized as a \”cheerful giver\”?
We have not come close to reaching our potential for giving. Won\’t you pray that we will give as we ought? That we will give for the right motives? That we will give joyously? And that we will give extravagantly.
We have learned these great principle from my mentor regarding money and possessions:
1. God owns all things. 2. All things come from God. 3. We and all that we have belong to God.
The Bible says that we are God\’s \”stewards.\” A steward is one who manages the money or property belonging to another person. As God\’s stewards, we are accountable to Him for the way we manage what He entrusts to us. We will learn how we can be good stewards, especially in the matter of giving. We will learn how we can use our money to make eternal friendships.
Giving In The Old Testament
When God brought His people out of slavery in Egypt and into Canaan, He gave them a rich and fertile land. Of all that they produced on this good land, God required that they give the first tenth to Him. This was called \”the tithe.\” The word \”tithe\” means \”the tenth.\”
The purpose of the tithe was to remind the people of God\’s ownership of all things and to teach them to put God first in their lives. God is exceedingly generous. He allowed them to keep nine-tenths of all that they produced, but the tithe, or first tenth, belonged to Him. The Bible says,
\”All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord\’s; it is holy unto the Lord.\” Leviticus 27:30
In addition to their tithes, God\’s people gave free-will offerings. The tithes and offerings were given to the priests of God. This was the means by which they lived since they had no land of their own. God\’s people were told to bring their tithes and offerings when they came to worship God. God said,
\”…they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.\” Deuteronomy 16:16-17 (NKJ)
God was teaching His people to give. When they gave freely to God, God gave them abundant crops. The Bible says,
\”Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty….\” Proverbs 3:9-10
Were God\’s people in the Old Testament always faithful in giving their tithes and offerings to Him? No, they were not. God said,
\”Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, \’In what way have we robbed You?\’ In tithes and offerings.\” Malachi 3:8
What happened when they robbed God? They came under God\’s chastening hand. God said,
\”You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.\” Malachi 3:9
When God\’s people repented of their disobedience and began once again to obey Him in the matter of tithes and offerings, God poured out His blessing upon them. God said,
\”\’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And try Me now in this,\’ says the Lord of hosts, \’if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.\” Malachi 3:10 (NKJ)
Teaching on Giving in the New Testament
The great principle in the Bible regarding giving is this: When we give to God, God gives to us. The Lord Jesus said,
\”Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.\” Luke 6:38 (NKJ)
It all starts as a seed, then the rain comes and the sum shines. The seed that is planted experiences growth, yielding fruit and then we experience a bountiful harvest. What you give as a seed, comes back in a bountiful harvest. That is why it is more blessed to give than to receive
When God gives, He gives bountifully. He is very generous. In Jesus\’ time, people bought their grain in bulk. Many sellers would pour the grain into a measure without allowing the buyer to shake it down. Not so with the Lord. He gives \’\’good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.\”
Giving enables God to give to us. The more we give, the more God gives to us; the less we give, the less God gives to us. Jesus said,
\”For with the same measure that you use it will be measured back to you.\” Luke 6:38b (NKJ)
Both the Old and the New Testaments lay down the same teaching: When we give to God, God gives to us. God is not poor; neither is He stingy. He loves to give to His children, but we must fulfill His condition \”Give, and it will be given to you.\”
God does not ask us to give to Him because He is in need of anything we have. He says,
\”If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness.\” Psalm 50:12 (NKJ)
God tells us to give because He wants His children to be like Him. God is generous, and He wants us to be generous. Another reason why God asks us to give is that we might \”lay up treasure in heaven.\” We cannot send our money to Heaven, but we can give it to win others to Christ. This is laying up treasure in Heaven.
Principle of Giving
God\’s Word gives us a number of principles regarding giving:
First, give yourself to God.
The first gift God wants from us is ourselves. The order is: First, give yourself to God, and then give a portion of that which God has given to you. The Christians in Macedonia did just this, and the Apostle Paul commended them for it. Paul wrote,
\”…they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.\” 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NKJ)
Give as God has prospered you.
In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to give the first tenth of all they earned to Him. In the New Testament, God has not laid down a law as to how much we are to give. Instead, God\’s Word says,
\”each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income [as God has prospered him]…\” I Cor. 16:2 (NIV)
What percentage of our income should we give? We can take the tithe (ten percent) as a guide to the minimum we should give, but our giving could be much more than this. It depends on how thankful we are for the way God has blessed us and how strongly we desire to \”lay up treasure in heaven.\”
The Christian businessman, R.G. LeTourneau, made a practice of giving ninety percent of his earnings to God. One day someone asked him, \”Mr. LeTourneau, is it true that you give ninety percent of your income to the Lord?\”
He replied, \”No, I don\’t give God anything. It all belongs to Him. I just keep back ten percent.\”
3. Give systematically.
Giving is an act of worship, and our giving must not be a \”hit or miss\” proposition. We are to give regularly and systematically \”on the first day of the week\” when we come to worship God. The Bible says,
\”On the first day of every week each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income….\” l Corinthians 16:2 (NIV)
No one is excluded. Old and young, rich and poorall must be involved in giving. The Bible says, \”EACH ONE OF YOU should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.\”
4. Give cheerfully and liberally.
Whatever we give to the Lord, He wants us to give it out of a willing heart. God does not want us to give grudgingly. The Bible says,
\”Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.\” 2 Corinthians 9:7
5. Give wisely.
The Lord Jesus said that we were to be \”good and wise stewards.\” Some Christians give liberally, but they are not wise in their giving. To give to a church or organization that is not faithfully preaching God\’s Word is not wise giving. We should be as careful in investing our Lord\’s money as we would be in investing in a business. We should invest it where it will bring the greatest spiritual returns.
How God Measures our Giving
You do not have to possess large sums of money to be a large giver in God\’s sight. God does not measure our giving by the size of our gifts. He measures our giving by how much we give out of what we have. God looks at how much sacrifice is involved in our giving. By God\’s way of measuring our giving, a poor person can give as much or more than a wealthy person.
Our giving should cost us something. On one occasion, the Lord Jesus stood at the temple watching as the people brought their gifts. Some were rich and gave much. Then a poor widow came by and put in two small copper coins. These coins were of little monetary value; yet in God\’s sight, this woman had given more than all who gave that day. Why? Because she had given all that she had, even her \”living.\” Jesus said,
\”I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.\” Mark 12:43-44 (NET Bible)
To Whom should we Give?
In His Word, God tells us to whom we should give:
We should give to our local church.
Most of our gifts normally should go to our local church provided that church is one where the Bible is faithfully taught and Christ is exalted. God has ordained that His church and His ministers be supported by the gifts of His people. The Bible says,
\”In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel.\” 1 Corinthians 9:14 (NET Bible)
We should give to those who have helped us spiritually.
We are instructed in God\’s Word to share our money with those who have taught us the Word of God and helped us spiritually. The Bible says,
\”Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.\” Galatians 6:6 (NKJ)
We should give to those in need.
We are to give to those in needespecially needy Christians. This is one way by which we can show that we have the love of God in our heart. The Bible says,
\”Whoever has this world\’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God dwell in him?\” 1 John 3:17 (NKJ)
As a general rule, our giving to the needy should be done through the local church. All our giving should be done simply and without drawing any attention to ourselves. The Bible says,
\”He who gives, let him do it with simplicity.\” Romans 12:8
We should give to those who are taking the gospel to the lost.
Every Christian has a responsibility to get the gospel to the lost. God\’s command to us is, \”Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.\” (Mark 16:15) If we cannot go ourselves, we should count it a privilege to help support missionaries who are taking the gospel to those who have never heard of Christ.
Giving is Sowing
I discovered that giving is not throwing money away; it is sowing. When we sow seed, we are not throwing it away; we are planting it so that we may reap a harvest later. The size of our harvest will depend on how much we planted. This is true of our giving also. Writing to the church at Corinth concerning giving, Paul said,
\”He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.\” 2 Corinthians 9:6
God wants to provide money for the support of His churches and money to send His servants to the unreached people of the world. How does He do this? He gives money to us that we may give to His work. He wants us to be able to give generously. The Bible says,
\”And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.\” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NET Bible)
The Lord Jesus Himself is our great example in the matter of giving. The Bible says,
\”For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.\” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJ)
In summary, giving is also another important command given to us by Christ according to Luke 6: 38. Give and it shall be given unto you. When we talk of giving, It includes
Giving of alms to the poor and needy.
Giving shows how much of a good steward we are. If we faithfully handle this aspect, God will entrust us with more
Prayer is spiritual communication or talking with God. We may not be able to call God on the telephone or send Him a letter, but prayer is just as calling on the phone or sending God a letter.
Why should I pray?
Because it makes our relationship with God stronger. Could you imagine trying to have a best friend without communicating with the person?
Prayer is seeking God and His direction for our lives. Praying also helps keep us out of trouble.
Jesus told us to pray, \”Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.\” (Matthew 26:41) No wonder, it is one of the divine commands of God
God is so good and will help us when we are happy, sad, sick or even when we\’re in trouble. God will give us wisdom, strength and understanding if we only ask Him. In fact God is willing to give us many good things as long as we ask for them in accordance to His Will. God answers our prayers with signs, the Holy Spirit and His Word, the Bible. When we pray our relationship with God grows.
How Should We Pray?
When we pray, God wants us to pray with all of our heart (Jeremiah 29:13) We should pray earnestly and not half heartily. We should not pray just so other people will think we are godly.
God does not want our prayers to be mechanical. Full of repetitions. like robots. He wants us to pray heart-felt prayers. He wants us to tell Him our desires, our fears, our hopes, and He wants us to sing songs of joy to Him when we are happy. Praying before meals and bedtime is good, but He wants to hear from us more often than that. He wants to be involved in our lives, to comfort us when we are sad, strengthen us when we are scared and laugh with us when we are happy. God will give true meaning and direction to our lives. We need to make Him part of our lives throughout the day by reading His Word, the Bible and seeking Him through prayer.
The Purpose of Prayer
Purpose of prayer or in other words what do I pray for? The word ACTS will help you remember what to pray for.
A = Adoration Adore God, love Him and praise Him for who He is. \”Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.\” 1 Chronicles 29:11
C = Confession Admit your sins to God, ask for His forgiveness through faith that Jesus died for our sins. \”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.\” 1 John 1:9
T = Thanksgiving Thank God for answered prayers, for the good things He has done in your life. For growth. \”Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.\” Ephesians 5:20
S = Supplication Pray for your family and friends, for those who are sick or sad. Pray for those who are not Christians yet. Pray for your own spiritual growth and any other needs that you may have. \”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.\” Matthew 7:7
Prayer is another command of Christ that we must incline our heart to hearken unto. It is communication with God. According to Jn 16:24 -26. Prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus Christ.
Hindrances to Prayer
Hypocrisy (Job 27 :8-9)
Neglect of Gods law (Proverbs 28:9)
Living in sin (Isaiah 59:2)
Forsaking God (Jeremiah 14:10)
Idolatry (Ezk 8:15 -18)
Self Righteousness (Luke 18:11)
Wavering in faith (James 1:5)
Asking amiss (James 4:3)
IMPORTANCE OF OBEDIENCE
For us to have a fruitful Christian life, we have to obey . Its importance can be seen from the life of people who dared to obey Gods commands. Men like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Samuel.
There are several benefits and rewards of obedience Ex 15:26 If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in his sight. And will give ear to his commands and keep all his status. I will put none of these diseases upon you
The children of Israelites murmured against God after experiencing his miraculous power when He divided the red sea. And they faced the severe consequences. Apart from Joshua and Caleb, the rest of the people did not enter the promise land because of their disobedience to God. Even the great leader Moses who had the privilege of seeing God face to face was denied entering the promised land.
JESUS OUR EXAMPLE
Jesus walked in the consciousness that he came to do the will of God when it was not comfortable for him.
Matt 4:35 ..and he said Abba father all things are possible unto thee, take away this cup from me. Nevertheless not what I will but what thou will
Jesus need not live in pretence; he passed through all he did in the flesh. He was 100% human. Jesus lived to show us that it is possible as a human being to live in obedience. Through his obedience we are SAVED.
Phil 2:7-11 But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man
Jesus is our perfect example. He toed the part of obedience to show us that obedience goes with humility and every act of obedience will not go unrewarded.
For Jesus the reward was that God exalted him and gave him a name that is above every other names.
In Dec 1999, shortly after pioneering Living Word Campus Church at Imo State University, Owerri. I had an outreach program. At the event, two young men came into the meeting to disrupt the crusade. They had explosives dynamites. After trying several times to insert the pin, it could not explode. Suddenly, these hefty men were lifted up and they fell thunderously at the back of the congregation. I continued my preaching.
It was later that we discovered that they were cult boys. Who felt greatly disturbed by what we were doing. Several cult boys were renouncing and surrendering their dangerous weapons to us. Then I had great boldness and courage counting myself worthless to save the lost . I never gave it a thought what could happen to me while ministering to these cultist on campus. We went as far as going to the initiation ground to sound final warning to them.
Unknowingly to me, we had terrorized them to the point that I was marked
They never knew they were contending with a great power. The two cult boys were convicted that day as they renounced cultism, accepting Jesus as their Lord and personal savior. They were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear son by virtue of repenting and believing the gospel.
Your life can never be the same if you genuinely had the new birth or born again experience.
According to Jesus, unless a man is born again, he can never see the kingdom of God. Repent and Believe is the gateway, the entrance into Gods kingdom.
When we talk of giving, ones mind quickly goes to money. But another important aspect is giving of ones life to God.
I remember making a VOW with my life. That I will go into campus as a missionary and establish a memorial for Him.
I kept my vow, establishing LWCC, after about 15 years later, I was invited as a guest speaker and behold what we started during my short period on campus, is still there speaking for me after many year. Tears rolled up my eyes. My life as a believer can not be fulfilling if I do not obey the commands of Christ.
Obedience is an ongoing thing in a life of a believer.
In as much as obedience attracts a reward, disobedience also attracts its own reward in the negative.
King Saul lost his life and throne as a result of disobedience.
Hophni and Phinehas the two sons of Eli is another case in question. 1 Sam 2:12-36, 4:1 And the Ark of the Lord was taken and the two sons of Eli Hophi and Phinehas were slain
We must continually ask God to purge us of every inflated idea of our own importance. Nothing is as important as living an obedient life.
What more can we say?
Obedience is the finished product of a humble heart. Jesus knew the expectations of the father. He volunteered to do Hiss pleasure and made up his mind to follow the life to its conclusive end. Even when it meant the experience of death on a tree. He willingly gave his life because he saw the whole thing as a duty he has to perform and what kept him going was the joy that was set before Him, the joy of doing His fathers will and giving him pleasure. IT only took meekness and lowliness for Jesus to accomplish the will of the father.
Isaiah 1 :19-20 If you be willing & obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. But if you refuse (Unwilling) and rebel (disobey), ye shall be devoured with the word. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Willingness is the heart attitude that is required of us. Willingness is all about submission, humility on its own while rebellion is lack of submission.
Submission or obeying is difficult without the word of God. And the only way we can get the word of God into our being is through the following:
Hearing of the Word of God..Faith comes by hearing the word Rom 10:17
Reading the word of God.Knowledge is gotten Prov 4
Studying the word of God..To be approved 2 Tim 2:15
Memorizing the word of God.Write it in your heart
Meditate on the word of God.So you can do all that is written on it Joshua 1:8
Most times, we discover that the love we have for God makes us want to do his word but we just cant on our own. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
The inner man has to be strengthened with the word. We need the word to grow. The word of God is the spiritual food that makes us strong and able to do Gods word.
The secret to full obedience is a close and personnel relationship with God. When we have an intimate relationship, we abide in Him; the Holy Spirit who dwells inside us will help us in our infirmities and make Obeying God not to be a burden.
Obedience becomes difficult when we do not know the God we are serving, when we know God, we will be able to keep His commands.
Knowledge comes through the instruction from Gods word and as we apply the word, we become wise. God has made known what He wants and expects us to do. It is up to us to keep His commands. Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ because we are created by Him.
Obeying the commands of Christ is simply submitting to the ruler ship or Lordship of Jesus Christ indeed.
In Conclusion, It is important to look at what happened when Paul had encounter with God.
And he said who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutes. It is hard for these to kick against the pricks
Pauls life changed after this encounter. It is important to know Him because without Him, we can do nothing. No real and lasting success without God.
Revelation of God in ones life brings about revolution in that life. The first step to know Him is a strong desire to know Him and a prayer to know him.
Paul in Phil 3:10
“That I may know him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. Being made conformable unto his death.
If you stay with Him, you will naturally reflect His life in words and in deeds. We therefore know Him through study and meditation on his word.
I strongly advice every believer to seek to know God. Make out time to study the word of God with materials like textbook, pen and paper to jot down things the Lord lays in your heart.
Revelation and faith comes as we study the Word. You will develop your spiritual backbone.
Meditation involves asking questions, It means to inquire into, investigate, to give careful thought, to contemplate, to think deeply.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your heart but you shall meditate on it day & night
Obedience becomes easy because your mind is filled with what God has told you to do.
Blessing flows unhindered and one experiences prosperity and good success.
Obeying the commands ushers you into another level were you can receive Gods bailout package during this global crisis.
ABOUTH THE AUTHOR
Anyanwu Ikechukwu was born 1979 at Queen Elizabeth hospital Umuahia. He was brought up in a large, supportive family as the last of seven children. He was educated at Ihitte Uboma Primary School Etiti before the mum a civil servant was transferred to Aba, were he continued with Aba-Owerri Road Primary School Ngwa High School, Progressive Institute of Commerce, Living Word Training Center and Imo State University.
He is a member of Living Word Ministries. From 1994-1996 He was the president Scripture Union, Ngwa High School as well as the Chapel Prefect of the school. He was pioneer Pastor Living Word Campus Church Imo State University. While in school, he also had oversight responsibility of coordinating the Joint Christian Campus fellowship and Thunderbolt Sermon Preachers Int.
He headed the anti-cult CRUSADE during his sojourn on campus and this took him to several universities across Nigeria were so many students surrendered their lives to Christ, bringing their weapons and charms . He chaired the Constitution Drafting Committee of JCCF IMSU and SUG ,
In the early 1990s he started writing with his friend C. Iwuoha. His previous works were centered on waging war against cultisim and other social vices, developing the youths, actualizing their potentials. His publications includes: KNOW WHAT YOU DONT KNOW on Campus Cult, youths, sex & sexuality. So you want to have a friend? Fatherhood Experience,