Passing the submission test

pray

What if you aren’t going to have that mega church you so dream of having?

  • What if God does not heal you when you want and how you want it?
  • What if you’re asked to serve in an environment you really don’t like?
  • What if you are required to work with people you don’t like?
  • What if the finances you’re expecting don’t come in?
  • What if that kid you’re praying for dies anyway?
  • Will you like Job’s wife desire to Curse God and die?
  • Will you succumb to pressure from your followers and do it your way like King Saul?
  • Will you like David say “your will be done?”
  • Will you go consult “the witch of Endor” like Saul
  • Will you try to prove to God He’s unfair like Job?

Sometimes the trials we go through are a test for us to express what lies dormant in our hearts.

I pray you won’t fail your test as a leader in God’s school of ministry.

 

 

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HOW I DISCOVERED MY CALLING AND PURPOSE (My Testimony)

This post is in response to a request from a fellow blogger and reader based on the last post I published titled “Why I got out of bed this morning”. In this post I said my life took a completely new turn (a positive turn) when God showed me my purpose.

My fellow blogger wanted me to share my experience; how I came to discover my purpose. I will just give a run down of how it all started up till this moment.

The early part of my life was littered with verbal, sexual and physical abuse. I’ve known rejection, disease and acute poverty. This to me was the normal since I didn’t have access to another kind of life.

Due to these conditions I became an adolescent and young woman who suffered immensely from low self-esteem, inferiority complex and insecurities. I hated myself, and the kind of choices I made later in life simply confirmed my state of mind. I became frustrated by my choices and the inability of others to understand what I was going through.

I gave my life to Christ while studying to become a professional teacher. I came to Christ with a heavy load of troubles. My life was meaningless and dirty in my own very eyes.

Although I was envied by many for my academic success, I hated myself so much.

Once in the church, things did not get right immediately. There was a battle for my soul. God had rescued me but the devil wanted me so badly. This opened up the avenue for constant spiritual warfare. Very early on in my Christian journey I learned how to fast, pray and rebuke evil spirits (They were all over me).

I had to seek solutions, and I sought them wherever I thought possible. I attended crusades, bought books and tapes, asked to be prayed for and then fasted and prayed on my own. But this didn’t prove to be the magic wand I expected.

Little did I know that God had destined me to be His servant and that all what I was going through was part of the training for ministry. Sometimes I thought God didn’t care about me. I then wanted to die. I really wanted to end the stress and trauma because that is all my life comprised of.

During the early stages of my conversion I began to have these “strange” dreams and visions wherein I found myself ministering prayer, healing and deliverance to people. I later understood through the teachings I was exposed to that God was showing me my calling. At that stage I didn’t understand much of it.

Also, I once heard a sermon that really shook the foundation of my Christianity and pushed me to seek God deeper. The preacher challenged Christians to stop being those who “sit and watch” while others serve in the church.

I must admit that I didn’t like the way he described those of us who were not in active service in God’s house. I felt a holy anger in me that sent me on my knees asking God what He wanted me to do in His house.

I attended foundation classes for new converts. There, I learned the difference between general service and specialized service. The former is for those who do not yet know their particular area of calling and the latter is for those who already know exactly what God has called them to do.

I was challenged and I began to serve in the church. I have served with the cleaners, the hospitality team; I’ve been a Sunday school teacher, an intercessor, the intercessors’ leader, a member of the women’s ministry among others. Then one day when Pastor was transferred I was asked to assume the interim until a new Pastor was sent to the church.

I learned a lot in these various capacities. This general service established my foundation as a Christian and gave me a base for ministry.

As I continued serving in the church and spending time in intimacy with God He began to show me my area of specialization. This was facilitated by the books I read, tapes I listened to, sermons I heard, other men and women of God I observed, prophecy, and then seminars and workshops I attended.

I never missed any opportunity to attend conferences and seminars even if I had to forgo other needs just to afford the transportation I needed. I was hungry for more of God and He honored my hunger with deeper knowledge about Himself and His call on my life. I always came back from the events enriched and refreshed.

But I still had issues. Only gradually did God take them away one at a time.

I’ll like to cite a few of the resources which among others really helped me during my search.

  1. Your season is getting ready to change by Pastor Paula White (tape).
  2. The Assignment, the Dream and the Destiny by Dr. Mike Murdock (book).
  3. Maximize Your Potential by Dr. Myles Monroe (book).
  4. Tough Times Never Last, but tough people do by Dr. Robert Schuller (book).
  5. The confident woman by Joyce Meyer (book).

I accessed other numerous resources by servants of God like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa, just to name these few. (I’ve read a mountain of books and I’ve bought a great number of tapes. I’ve been to so many conferences and I’ve sat down to talk to not a few servants of God).

In the end God made me to understand that He let me go through hell so that I would help others come out of hell. I’m a survivor called to reach out to others and help them survive.

But in all these, God’s grace has been superabundant in my life. I owe it all to His mercy and favor.

If not for His grace, there’s no other reason why I should be alive today.

What I can say is that it takes patience, intimacy with God, the willingness to learn, to sacrifice and endurance, when things seem to go directly opposite to what God had promised you through dreams, visions, prophecy and especially His own Word, the Bible.

I’m still searching and I’m still learning. I agree with the Apostle Paul:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

I hope and pray someone is inspired by this resume of my testimony to seek God more and to get to know Him in a deeper dimension.

You are blessed in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

How focused are you? Take the test.

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Certainty is born out of conflict

You’ll never know whether you’re focused until something tries to pull you out of your chosen path.

Temptations and distractions can help you establish priorities if they are well managed.

  • Should I marry or pursue a career?
  • Do I choose adventure or my studies?
  • Should I cook supper for him or take a cup tea and go to bed?
  • Should I go to church or to the party?

When you face attractive alternatives and choose to remain faithful to your chosen course, then you know you are a focused and purpose-driven person.

PROCESSED IN THE PROCESS

 

I still remember the time I was chosen to pastor a church for a few months in the absence of our senior pastor. He had a sudden transfer to work in another city and there was need for someone to take care of the flock. At That time I was the intercessors’ leader. I was still trying to get a foot hold on service, especially in God’s vineyard. When I look back on those days I tell God, “Lord, your ways are really beyond my understanding. How could you have chosen to use a young woman suffering from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence …? How could you ever choose such a person to carry out such great a task? You are really awesome.”

But this experience let me to know that God does not work with those who are fully qualified. What He requires first and foremost is a willing heart and an open mind, then He will perfect us along the journey.

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As a preacher, writer, speaker, no matter what you are called to do, it should not come to you as a surprise if some of your messages hit you on the head or slap you back in the face. God is not using you because you are perfect. NO!

You are doing that thing you are doing right now first and foremost because you are available to do it. You are just the ordained instrument in God’s hand. You need that message just like your audience because you face the same challenges they face on a daily basis. You might be more mature in your way of handling them, but you do face them too.

This awareness will keep us humble and submissive to God. You will realize that it is only by His grace that you are where you are. This will help us to receive correction and suggestions knowing that it is not extra-qualification that got us there. We are not there because there is none to do a better job.

When I was chosen to pastor that church, there were people I sincerely considered more qualified than me; people I met already serving in that ministry; people who prayed for me when I needed healing and deliverance. But one day I was chosen to be “their” pastor. Wow! I was intimidated …It took God’s grace for me to stand behind that pulpit week after week, month after month with a microphone in hand.

…And God was faithful. He gave me such inspired messages that got people on their knees weeping, repenting and surrendering to God. But you know what? Those messages hit me more; I was just as broken, wounded and sore as they. I wasn’t any better than they. God surely has a sense of humor.

This experience has helped me to receive criticism and correction more easily because I know I am not doing what I’m doing because I’m the most qualified for the job. I’m simply a benefactor of God’s sovereign Grace. I am where I am because I carry God’s sovereign seal of spiritual authority.

When I come across a challenging situation in the process of fulfilling my assignment, I just look up to God and remind my self that I am in need of more of His Grace. I also remind myself that I have to keep learning…studying. I have not yet arrived.

Perhaps my God talk is a bit of a bore to you. Perhaps you do not believe so much in God given assignments and abilities etc. Let me put it this way.

Those who accomplish great things in life are not those who qualify from the start; it is those who allow themselves to be qualified in the process. Take that first step, that very small step, and then you will see yourself soaring on eagles’ wings some day.

My writing career started with me keeping a journal. Then it got to a level where I found myself scribbling things all over and everywhere. Then I started putting my scribbled lines into articles. Then one day I found myself writing books. That was my process to become a writer. How I laughed at myself the day I received a prophecy pointing to my writing career. I wondered to myself who will ever want to read a book written my “me.” I didn’t look like a Joyce Meyer or a John Maxwell… you get my point.

Don’t wait to be perfect before you start that thing God has laid in your heart to do. Just start something and then He will surprise you.

When people tell you that you aren’t qualified, remind them that God qualifies His own servants in the process.

For a start, you do not need a PhD and five years of experience for it. You will get the degrees in the process, and then people will heap some honorary ones on top when they see the fruit and the impact.

I have learnt not to question people’s qualification in relation to their job or assignment. I am tolerant to people who make mistakes in the course of their assignment (I made many myself). The only problem is when we refuse to be qualified in the process.

  • When we are resistant to change.
  • When we are too lazy to study and fill up the gaps in our knowledge.
  • When we are content with garbage in, garbage out standards.

It will be wrong for you to be content to render mediocre services to your audience, church or students year after year with the excuse that “when God called me I wasn’t qualified.” Whatever you are called to do, your education is your responsibility.

This not withstanding, every employer, God included, expects a basic level of qualification from the start. This will serve as a foundation on which future knowledge will be built. You might be called to preach, teach or in any other area where literacy is a real necessity. But you are stark illiterate. You could be destined to be a business executive but you never had a degree in business administration. But if you possess the following qualities, you could end up beating the top professionals.

  • A deep desire to know more
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Never giving up spirit
  • Good self-esteem

The greatest qualification for a start is the assurance that you are really called to do that thing; that you have the basic talent for it and are willing to get processed in the process.

 

THE DREAM AND THE DREAM-GIVER

The pursuit of your dream should not take you away from the dream-giver. It is not about you becoming famous, rich and celebrated. It is about establishing the kingdom of God on the earth. It is all about letting God do His will on earth through you.

How then can God do His will through you if you are disconnected from your of source of power, anointing and inspiration? Jesus gives us a stern warning in John 15:5 about trying to serve God without God. Sometimes we could become so purpose oriented that we rush ahead with our won plans leaving God behind. It is when we hit a wall that we look back and realize we left the ‘driver’ somewhere behind and raced ahead on our own.

Sometimes it is when we start drying up that we realize we are no longer connected to the vine. If we must bear fruit then we must receive nourishment from the vine every minute of every day. God has a word for you today. Do not be contented with what He told you last week.

Remember we are created for God’s pleasure and glory. He gives us the dream but He equally determines the timing and the funding. When we bring back the dream to Him in humility, He will give us the blueprint we require for its accomplishment.

If you run away from a dream God gave you, it could be that you stopped receiving the daily nourishment for its fulfillment.

Dream big; work with the Dream-Giver.

Is it right for leaders to interfere in the choice of marriage partners for those they lead?

A leader here refers to anyone with authority over another, for instance in the church, family or any other established structure.

Let’s examine a few facts and then reach a compromise.

Let’s go back to the story of creation and the first man Adam. When God entered the garden and asked Adam,

Have you eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you not to eat (Genesis 3:11)?

The man’s response was very interesting.

The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12).

Adam literarily blamed God for giving him that woman to be with him. It was like saying, had you not given me this woman, I’ll not be in such a mess like this.

Eve was no longer the “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. She was no longer the darling and sweetie and baby…

He was like saying, ‘if I had had my say in this matter, it won’t be this one’.

If you were in God’s position, will you ever think of bringing someone home to your son even if just to see if he liked them?

Don’t get me wrong here. There is someone out there God will very much want you to marry. But he will never violate your will by forcing them on you.

He doesn’t want to get blamed when the boat hits a tide.

Does it mean God has left us to our own devices when it comes to marriage? I don’t think so.

  • He will create an opportunity for both of you to meet.
  • He’ll use various ways to suggest the person to you as a possible partner.
  • He will put that loving desire for that person in your heart; He’ll convict you about them.
  • If you say ‘no’ to that, He’ll not force you into it.

If you come crying years later that you missed the right person, He’ll still wipe the tears and bind the wounds. But that’s about all he can do at such a time.

  • So, dear leaders, I think we shouldn’t strongly interfere in such a sensitive domain in the life of individuals. Don’t go where angels fear to tread.
  • Give your opinion, suggest to them, and create an avenue where they can meet; but don’t push them into it.
  • Pray for it to work if you are absolutely sure they are meant for each other, but stay clear and let them work it out by themselves.

 

 

FIRE FIGHTERS

 

You will never see them in action unless something is wrong somewhere. They are called up only when the fire is already on the mountain, otherwise they will be jobless. They are valued only when things get out of hand; when things are under control, they are not needed.

Do you feel like a fire fighter at your job site, home, family or community? Are you the kind of person who is ignored and minimized until things get out of hand and there is need for a spare tire? Or are you normally given an opportunity to put your gifts and talents to action? Who are you in that company, office, family? Mr. CEO, do you value your subordinates at all times?

As leaders, we should learn to trust our subordinates enough to assign them some of the tasked we ourselves would love to do. Do not be the kind of boss who is always in control over everything and at all times. You think you can handle it all alone, but when things start going out of hand, you start looking for fire fighters to save the situation.

When you make it a habit to cultivate the gifts and talents in your subordinates, disciples, children and co-pastors, it will create an atmosphere of confidence and mutual respect. The day you are unavailable for a particular task, another person will simple take the relay baton and continue where you ended, and this will be done with competence and joy.

If you turn them into fire fighters, remember that you can never save all your goods when the company is already on fire.

As a Senior Pastor, learn to sit down at times and listen to your co-Pastor preach, it should not only be when you are on a mission trip abroad. No one wants to be a spare tire all their lives.