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inspirational

I learnt some lessons from an incident that happened to me recently. Life is full of lessons anyway, never judge by sight, get receipts for your transactions, you never can tell, and finally, American police are very efficient.

My family and I just moved to a major city after spending about 11 years in a smaller city. When this incident happened we were still significantly in a transition period: trying to adjust both to the people and the new environment we found ourselves. My family and I are devoted Christians, hence you can be sure that when we move to a new environment, a homely church will always be top on our list of priorities! As a matter of fact, our last house was purchased because of its proximity to a church we were committed to. Ok, so we found a church that we loved, and we were able to recommend it to another family that relocated about the same time we did to the same city. She later told me…”we have been shopping around for a church too and this is it!”

To my story, on this faithful Sunday, my family and I hurriedly dashed out of the house, we were gonna pick our friend who is also still trying to adjust to the new environment, husband had travelled and we offered to drive her and the kids to church. At about 5/6 miles to church I noticed the car gas light came on and I quickly drove to a gas station closest to the church. At the back of my mind, I was thinking we can still get gas and make it to church before the praise/worship starts. My usual practice is to pay at the pump. I slide my card, at first I almost kicked the pump, the usual notices you see at gas pumps is “slide your card and quickly remove” my card got sucked at first try and I couldn’t retrieve quickly. I thought of fraudsters from nasty stories we have heard in times past who have a way of getting your numbers trying to play with these machines. Anyway, the transaction got cancelled automatically and I had to slide my card again. As my usual practice. I got a full tank. Against my usual practice of clicking the option of not printing receipts I was curious because of the initial hiccup, I thought to myself, I’d better get my receipt. Surprisingly, the message on the screen says…”pay inside”…so I gave up pursuing for my receipt thinking the stupid machine is ready for another transaction. By now, I was in a hurry to get to the church, “forget the receipt and run to church before praise/worship starts”, I told myself. Hurriedly I jumped into the car with my family and our guest dashing for the church as quickly as we could.

I found a tight corner to pack our car, the church is unusually crowded today, so many cars, people gorgeously dressed, there is something in the air, the lobby was lined up with assorted cuisine, yes the church is celebrating the dedication of a miracle baby girl. One of the associate pastor is celebrating the birth of his first child after 32 years of marriage! The auditorium was equally splashed with assorted colors. Oh yes we made it! The worship was about to start.  Bukola excused herself to quickly go see Tobi in the children’s class.

“Here I am to worship Lord…with my holy hand lifted…Suddenly, someone touched me by the shoulder! It was like someone saying, “please come down from your lofty height sir, we know you’re closer to heaven right now…ehm…are you Mr Alaba? This was the chief Usher…yes, I am Mr Alaba. He was in the company of another friendly associate pastor…’yes brother Kunle’, he gently said…some policemen are waiting to see you outside oo’. The first thing that hit me was…what kind of joke will a pastor be playing with a member that is deep in the act of worship? True to their words, 3 mean looking policemen with 2 police car patrol packed in the church compound were waiting to see me. “Are you Adekunle alaba?” Asked one of them. Ah, yes. ‘May I have your drivers license?’ I handed it over to him. By this time, all sorts of thoughts were flashing through my brain while the crowded church members were minding their businesses(remember, we are still  very new in this church even though I have had opportunity to hold the microphone twice during my short stint). I cannot remember any traffic light on our way to church. I thought, could it be from work? I don’t do drugs. I don’t club. I thought to myself, this must be a mistaken identity. I know that we drove all the way from Oklahoma to this new city two months ago, but it was more like a pleasure ride than a tedious one. A day’s journey took us an intentional 3 days, jumping from one city and hotel to another. Then I started thinking of stories that I have heard of innocent people going to jails for years and later to be declared innocent. I have spent 11 years in this country and the closest encounter I have had with the police was 2 tickets aside seeing them on TV during news…At this time, I could only reminiscence on the song of the blind Hausa man with his chaperon chanting “akoba adaba olorun ma je ka ri”(please don’t ask me to interpret that) as he was making his way through our street in Bariga several years back!

The Policeman brought me back to life…”Sir, did you buy gas this morning? Ah, yeah, less than an hour ago down the street. I stammered.  Ah, well, did you pay? He asked. Yes I slide my card, not just once but twice. I answered. Can I see your receipt? He asked. I, I don’t have it(I stuttered…my usual practice of not picking up receipts at gas stations is about to backfire. I thought). At this time, I was so upset with myself, with the police and with the Gas station! How in the world could this people have found me in less than an hour? How did they pick my car out from these lot? How did they trace me here so quickly? How did I get myself into this with all these church crowd watching? Questions, question, questions. The policemen, I guess for some reason knew it was a misunderstanding, they told me apologetically to escort them to the store to take care of the problem. I was so confuse, I told them I couldn’t find my car keys and that it is probably in the church auditorium. I walked back in, my lovely wife was busy worshipping. I dare not tell her what was going on, else she will faint right there(kidding). She later told me after service that on her way to the children’s class she saw policemen and was wondering if the church had requested for their services for crowd control, not knowing that they had come for her husband.

Ok so I walked in and later discovered the key was in my pocket all the time. I drove to the gas station with a police escort and took care of the situation. I overheard the policeman warning the gas station manager to take care of their gas machine. I couldn’t imagine a stupid Indian man call 3 cops with 2 patrol cars to get a church member out from his business of worship because of $33 on a Sunday morning! It makes no sense! A sister later told me that it was in the news the previous day that some folks were going round gas station to get gas using other people’s pin. Later when I gathered myself together it occurred to me that the gas station machine must be truly faulty, there was no way gas will expend if your card transaction did not go through, and I am an Okie man, where I come from, if you want to pay inside, you will have to pay inside first before you can access gas.

 

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My most profound testimony today of which I am so grateful to the Lord for is that I did not die in my ignorance, I did not die in my sin. It would have been a straight path to hell for me if I had died in those years without knowing Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Remember that it is appointed unto a man to die once, and after death it is judgment. My people perish for lack of knowledge. Ignorance is not an excuse, as a matter of fact, it is the fastest killer.

In the summer of 1999 in Kaduna, I had my first encounter with this set of people that I first referred to as “weirdo”. Who are these guys I always muttered under my breathe every time I walked by this church close to our house at Angwar Rimi in Kaduna, Northern part of Nigeria? There they go again, speaking some strange languages through the blarring speaker every time I walk by. I was a teacher at a nearby secondary school.

One day, out of curiousity, I decided to walk into this church. Oh yeah, I have gone to “churches” all my life; from Cherubim and seraphim to catholic masses, Anglican to Methodist, I have seen it all, as a matter of fact, I had visited mosques with my intimate friends(the Smiths) a few times while I was in the college of education (Lagos, Nigeria). This looks different, the settings, the man with the microphone, the looks on the faces of the people, their dressings, just, just weird! I thought of turning back, but before you could shout jack Robinson! I was ushered to a seat.

My comfort zone was further rattled when this preacher with the microphone and with an intensity that I have never before witnessed keeps looking at me , talking, sweating profusely like a Christmas goat, jumping and shouting at the same time, finally calmed down and said “if you believe JESUS is the Lord, can you please lift up your hand”? In all sincerity, I expected everyone in that church that day to agree with that statement, or how else would anyone be seating in that church and have a contrary opinion. My K&S church wouldn’t agree less, even some of my Muslim friends can do better!

To say I was disappointed in that congregation that day will be an understatement, even though this is my first time in this weird place, even though I am very uncomfortable with these folk’s appearances and probing eyes, I am going to make a statement and show them that I know better than them all, I am going to join forces with this poor preacher, I am going to raise is confidence, I will boost his ego, it will be unfair to him for the effort put in this charismatic jingoism if not at least one person will agree with him, I will, and I will publicly do it by not just raising my hands in agreement, I will stand and I will even say it. and that was exactly what I did folks!

What happened next blew me away! Not only did I raised my hands, I stood up by request and even voluntarilly repeated that Jesus is Lord in agreement with the preacher, but to my chagrin, the weird and unbelieving congregration were clapping for me and encouraging me to go on to the front, perhaps a lady rushed to my side and held me by the hand to the preacher. Now this is completely out of control and insane! Virtually, everyone came to me after the service before I could escape through the window. Brother! brother! they say…congratulations!(like I had won some lotteries). They wanted to know our house address and also wanted to know when to come. What? Come to our house? Are you guys serious? I muttered. Not in your wildest dreams, don’t even think about it, I told them emphatically! To my surprise again, they just laughed it off.

To cut the long salvation story short, I was more like forced to attend this church close to my house because I had no other choice, the path beside the church is the only good path to our house and these guys are like always setting traps for me whenever I am walking by…’bro kunle, we can see you oo! are you not coming to church, bla bla? Please cut this crap people! I am not your brother, I always muttered under my breathe. I was eventually coerced into the praise team. “You have a beautiful voice” they said. ‘But I don’t even know any of these songs you guys sings, I said. ‘Never mind bro kunle, you’ll be ok’. I led worship several times not knowing exactly what I was doing. I led special songs that had been well rehearsed previously and then completely forget the lyrics on sunday and just make up my own words trying not to say foul things and also trying hard not to mistakenly embed some Michael Jacksons lines within.

The point I am really trying to narrate and drive home with my personal salvation story is that we all must have that genuine encounter with Christ. If your salvation is as a result of peer pressure or you just trying to fit in, or perhaps you are in church for other cynical reasons, or maybe you’re trying to make your parents happy, then your journey is yet to begin and my prayer for you is that you will find your level before it is too late. God is never interested in the neither cold nor hot believers, you are either in or out(the choice is yours)

In my early christian days, it was total ignorance! The prayers of the saints must have sustained me to date. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to SALVATION… while the sorrow of the wolrd worketh DEATH.2cor7:10. Something that was really constant during my ignorance days was my desire to now be like those weird people. I kept on thinking that they are kinda different, even though I couldn’t put my fingers on it. I felt they look and speak special! Now I started having the desire to be like them. Maybe, it is the strange language they were speaking, they told me with it, you are empowered, You can also confuse the enemy they said. My favorite! cos I gat a lot of enemy, and most of all, how come they rarely forget the lyrics, but I always do? Another tormenting constant is the general overseer of the church(Rev Moses Aransinola, I hope I am right), he comes to this branch once in a while…his words…”there is a brother here that is fornicating”, always pointing to my direction. At first, I did not take him seriously. After several meetings and encounter, I asked one of the choir members…what is fornication anyway? He/she explained to me. Whao! I thought to myself, why is this guy so worked up about another person having sex before marriage anyway, afterall, I am not sleeping with his daughter or people in the church? And that broke the last straw, I cannot forsake my girlfriend in Lagos. From then on, I started avoiding the church.

When I got admission to the university in 92 for further study, I was relieved to finally rid myself of these weird folk! Whao, good riddance! God had another plan for me, my destiny had just commenced. These people are everywhere, I had imagined all along that their territory is not beyond Kaduna. OMG! they are in FUTA(My campus), they are in Lagos. Now I am begining to see them everywhere I go! I guessed they have been there all along, I probably did not noticed.

I got the baptism of the holy Ghost in 93 after I was led to re-dedicate my life, and there folk, is the begining of my journey!

Finally, my bretheren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places. Wherefore take unto thee whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore…Eph6:10-24

Again, Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil4:8

I know that in the age and society we live in, the tendency is there for us to assume that Christianity has evolved, but I must assure you that the word of God has never changed, his standards and demands from us are constant. Remember, the word of God has not evolved, we are the ones that are evolving, he is the same God today, yesterday and tomorrow. He is the unchanging changer. We are the variables in the equation of life, he is the  constant “k”

Thanks for taking the time to read my salvation story

 

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Kunle Alaba
Kunle Alaba

Some Christians are concerned about the trend in Christendom lately(iPod, iPhone Bible and all the various biblical applications that are fast taking the place of our hard copy Bibles). They postulated that this is not same for our muslim counterpart. Their concerns are with genuine intentions, but little can anyone do to uphold the church of God or deter it.  Come what may, “My church shall be built and the gates of hell…(you know the rest)

I pray that this write-up will not be a wake up call for my Muslim friends, for the simple reason that I love them dearly and I am hoping that one day, they will be quoting the Bible with me via its easy access. My prayer is that we will never see Quran in Ipad, Iphone OR Iwhatever(sorry, Wasiu, you know I love you) in Jesus name.

I am not ruling out the fact that the devil and his cohorts are always strategising everyday, but on this one they have blown it! I am sure they are regreting their actions already. This is called acessibility,reading enhancement and easy retrieval, kai! the devil is in trouble!

My fellow Christian friends, it is not so much about the medium of propagation, rather the content of and our personal dispositions to these media of propagation. I have a feeling that people with this school of thought are probably concerned about the potency of the word of God which in reality is not in the hardcopy of the wooden made paper bible that our parents so much believes in and invariably put under their pillows at night when sleeping in other to ward off evil spirit (lol).

Mark ZUCKER whatever(God bless his heart. i meant the Facebookguy) today might not be too happy with the way people like us have invaded this medium with our faith, because from what I heard; he is a confessing atheist. I have a pastor friend whose ministry alone is internet based and he is reaching out to people all over the world from his office and these people are daily testifying about the power of God even on the internet, on facebook, on twitter, on skype, some are falling under the anointing in the corner of their bedroom in Croatia, in Singapore, receiving the holy Ghost baptism and most of all being redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus while listening to my pastor friend from his network set up in his offices and relayed services from churches here in the United States.

  • My mindset therefore is that according to the word of God in the book of Joel, knowledge will abound like waters of the seas in these last days and no one, I repeat, “no one will have an excuse” I do tell people that, “there is a place of worship for every children of God whichever way you want it. If you want takasufe church, go to (house on the rock, household of God etc), if you want kasko church, go to (Deeperlife and a few others,oh yeah, not too many of such, of course there are few KASKOS in general), hey! How about Apostolic faith(ijo elekun) if you want in the middle church,  (winners and redeem are waiting with opened arms).If you want things done orderly and with all piety, go to Anglican, Methodist(oops, my friend Bishop Davies is not finding this funny, sorry, my dear friend) If your passion is prayer? go to mountain of fire.
  •    Please, how will you like to worship God and I will recommend a church for you? That reminds me of that old song from Marymary’s first album” whatever you want? God gat it???(afro, juju,apala, fuji, r&b, soul, jazz,reggae, latin, pop, melow, noisy, midtone. Name it!, I say name your price right now! Jesus has paid it all for you, there will be no excuse for you on that day my brothers and sisters.  Paul said he had to be flexible just to win some. There is a flexible gathering that will meet your taste out there, go for it, don’t endure the gathering of the saints, we have a lot of individual differences, but one thing only in common(JESUS as capsulated in his words, just be sure there is no deviation from the word of God). FIND YOUR PLACE RIGHT NOW AND FIT IN, THEY ARE WAITING FOR YOU!
  • Don’t be entangled in controversies, the word of God is life and spirit, it is hovering around, bring it alive from whatever medium you gat right now in Jesus name!
  • Can you imagine how frustrated the devil and his agents are lately? Every inventions they created for their covert plans, we are there using it to the glory of God, little wonder, they started posting evil comments and pictures on our behalf lately!

 

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