TEXT: Matt.26: 30, Eph.5: 19
Hymn means a song of praise, a song or ode in honour of God (a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms). Hymns could also include any Psalm in the Bible and others that were commonly composed by people. Hymnology therefore is the art or doctrine of hymns. God loves praises and He wants His people to always praise Him through hymns (Ps.100: 4). God is our praise and our God (Deut.10: 21). Collections of hymns are written by various people through inspiration from God. Hymns cut across every aspect of life and through singing of hymns lives are being transformed. Hymns were sung both in the Old and New Testament period of the Bible.
1.COMPOSITION OF HYMNS: Eccl.9: 10
Hymns are composed according to the experience of real Christians (Exd.15: 1-2). In composition of hymns the composer must be under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The hymns must therefore be meaningful, full of grace for comfort, exhortation, soul inspiring and encouragement. Hymns must talk common sense both in prose and verse. It must express and decorate purity, strength and elegance of God’s Word. It must be simple; plain suited to every capacity and should minister to people at every occasion and in every situation.
2.COMPOSERS OF HYMNS:
A number of persons were and are used by God to pen down the hymns in our hymn books and currently compositions of hymns are still on going. Moses, Miriam, Hannah, David were Biblical samples of composer of spiritual songs. In the early period of Christianity, believers like John & Charles Wesley, John Newton (Amazing grace), Robert Grant, Fanny Morris, the blind Fanny Crosby composer of several hymns (Blessed Assurance), Henry Francis Lyte (Abide with me), Robert Bridget, etc. were instruments of God in hymnology. FANNY CROSBY wrote more than eight thousand hymns and used more than two hundred pen names. Under contract to a music publisher, she wrote three new hymns each week during much of her adult life. The fact that she was blind didn’t diminish her productivity. She would formulate an entire song in her mind and then dictate it to a friend or a Secretary.
3.ARRANGEMENT OF HYMNS:
In the Methodist hymn book like in other hymn books, hymns are carefully arranged for easy access. Some are grouped under Adoration & Worship, e.g. Hymn 1-‘O for a thousand tongues to sing’ by Charles Wesley. Under the Holy Spirit- Hymn 36-‘Holy, holy holy Lord God Almighty’ by Rerginald Hebber is readily for worship and for Trinity Sunday. The hymn,’ I need Thee every hour’ is another divine message to those undergoing test. During marriage, there are divine melodies penned down for us. There are countless hymns on faith & regeneration, Christian Worship, holiness, etc.
DISCUSSION: Read the following references and infer on Spiritual songs.
1. Num. ……………………………………… 2. Judg.5;12..…………………………………………...
3. Isa.5: 1………………………………………….. 4. Isa.42; 10…………………………………………….
Hymns are for all times and for all seasons. Supernatural anointing and blessings are attached to them if sung from the heart. God can use you and me to compose inspirational hymns as well.
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Rom 12:5, 1Cor.
The Greek word translated Church signifies generally an assembly, either common or religious; and it is sometimes so translated, as in Acts 19:32, 39. In the New Testament it usually means a congregation of religious worshippers, either Jewish, as Acts , or Christians, as Mt ; 1Co 6:4. The latter sense is the more common one; and it is thus used in a twofold manner, denoting, the universal Christian church: either the invisible church, consisting of those whose names are written in heaven, whom God knows, but whom we cannot infallibly know, Heb 12:23; or the visible church, made up of the professed followers of Christ on earth, Col 1:24; 1Ti 3:5,15 and a particular church or body of professing believers, who meet and worship together in one place; as the churches of Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, etc., to which Paul addressed epistles. The membership of the
1. BECOMING A MEMBER OF
The Methodist movement landed in the
2. DUTIES OF MEMBERS: Sections 16-18, 131
Section 23 states that’ it shall be the aspiration of every member of
All full members must belong to a class (a group of between 12 & 21 persons) who shall hold their meeting regularly for fellowship, sharing of experience, mutual edification and spiritual nurture. (Section 401-403, pg 142) Members may join or form societies whose name and constitution shall be approved by the Church Council (the highest ruling organ of the
Jesus the head of the Church requires commitment to the Church from us. We are to be up and doing in soul winning and in being able ambassadors of Christ.
TEXT: 2 Cor.2: 11
Believers in Christ are to be aware of the various challenges confronting us. We should know about the faith of our friends for the sake of witnessing to them and winning them to the Lord. One major challenge we have is Islam. A cursory look into this religion is necessary as eye-opener to how some of them could be assisted to know Jesus.
1. TERMINOLOGIES IN ISLAM:
It is important to first familiarize ourselves with some words common in Islam for proper study of the religion.
Allah: The Supreme Being. The name of God. Hadith The sacred sayings of Muhammad, handed down by oral tradition and finally written down. Hajj Pilgrimage to
2. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
The word Islam means "submission to God". The Quran describes Islam as an Arabic word Deen (way of life). The followers of Islam are called Muslims. The literal meaning of Muslim is "one who surrenders" or "submits" to the will of God. In order to understand Islam, the basic portrayal of belief in Quran must be considered. According to Quran, those who submit to one God are Muslims. "Quran also declares that all the prophets who came before Mohammad and their followers were all Muslims. The origin of Islam dates back to the creation of the world. All the prophets who came to this world preached the same message of believing in one God and to accept them as His messenger. The prophets were also blessed with a manifestation of divine will or truth. Likewise, Prophet Mohammad was also a messenger of God. He revealed the truth and the way of life through the Quran.
DISCUSSION: What can you deduce on righteousness?
a. Gen. 15:6……………………………………………..b. De …………………………………………. .
c. Job 29:14……………………………….. …………….d. Rom 4:3,5…………………………………………
Christianity is a faith based on what Jesus did and not on our personal effort. Believers must equip ourselves with the Word of God so that we could face the challenges of the devil through religion.
TEXT: Heb. 2 : 1-5
There are a number of basics that Christians must know so that we are not drifted by the oceans of falsehood and deceit. There is no comparison that anyone on earth can make with our Lord and Master-Jesus. We should recollect that He died for us and emphatically told us that He is the only Way to God. (John 14: 6, Act. 4; 12). Today’s study is on the vanguard of Islam-Mohammed.
1. THE CRADLE OF MOHAMMED
Muhammad was born in
2. THE BEGINNING OF ISLAM
At age 40, during a retreat in the hills outside
3. ZEALOUSNESS: HEGIRA
In the year 622, Muhammad immigrated to Yathrib, and the name of the city was changed to
It is pertinent to note that zeal alone is not enough to win the favour of God. Cornelius was a moralist but he had to give his life to Jesus before he could move forward spiritual. (Isa. 64:6, Act 10: 1-5). Believers in Christ must be prayerful for our Moslem friends and colleaques to know the Lord (Rom.10: 1-3).
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TEXT: 1 Tim.4: 1-7
FOCUS: FOUNDAMENTALS OF ISLAM
The Bible warns us about the events of the last days when many seducers, false teachers, antichrist and other religious persons would storm the world. This prophecy is coming to pass on a daily basis. Many teachings that negate the Bible are springing up. Christians seek not yet repose. This study on Islam is an eye-opener on what the Moslems teach. We are to show compassion on them, pray for them and believe the Lord to convict them and bring them to the knowledge of the truth.
A. PILLARS OF ISLAM: The Moslems have five pillars upon which their religion rest. The pillars are duties each Muslim performs to demonstrate his or her faith. The Five Pillars of Islam are:
1. Testimony of Faith (Kalima): One must state, "There is no god, but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah." It consists of three parts,-a)to reject all the false gods., b) to accept Allah as the only sole creator of everything. c) to Mohammad as the last messenger of Allah. This is the basic creed or tenet of Islam & is a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam.
2. Prayer (Salat): It is compulsory for every Muslim to pray five times a day at respective timings facing towards the direction of
3. Almsgiving (Zakat): The word Zakat means "to grow" or "to purify". It literally means to gain Allah's blessings and purify the wealth by helping the needy. It is mandatory on every Muslim to give 2.5% of their yearly savings (or excess money) for charity.
4. Fasting (Sawm): Every Muslim is required to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. During this period, Muslims are forbidden to eat, drink, smoke or have an intercourse. It’s not only physical discipline in one's life, but it is also a way to feel the afflictions of the poor.
5. Pilgrimage (Hajj): Hajj literally means to "set out for place". For Muslim, it is a pilgrimage to Kaaba (House of Allah) in Makkah. It is the responsibility of every physically and financially able Muslim to perform this offering at least once in a lifetime.
B. ISLAMIC ARTICLES OF FAITH: All Muslims share beliefs in six aspects called articles of faith:
1. God: Islam preaches that there is only one Supreme, Eternal, Infinite and Unparallel entity, Allah (God).
2. Angels: Muslims believe in angels. Angels are comprised of light, and each has different purposes.
3. Scriptures: It refers to believing in all the four books; the Torah (Moses), the Psalms (David), the Gospel (Jesus) and the Quran. They believe that all other 3 books earlier mentioned have been distorted except their Quran.
4. Prophets: It is obligatory on every Muslim to believe in all the messengers from Adam to Mohammad without any discrimination. Quran treats all the prophets equally, "Say (O Muslims), we believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered." (2:136)
5. Resurrection: Muslims have faith that after the end of the world, every human will be resurrected from the grave. They will be held accountable for whatever they have done in their lives. The day is known as the Day of Judgment.
6. Divine Creed: It is one of the main aspects of Islam. Believing in divine creed refers to predestination. Muslims believe that unlike living beings, God is not limited to anything; even with time. Everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen is evident to Him. Living beings are being given a free choice to do whatever they want to do, but God knows what choice they will make.
CONCLUSION: This study has attempted to state the beliefs of Moslems. The missing link is for all men, Moslems inclusive to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who fails in this onerous act would regret his/her action on the last day.
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TEXT: Heb.3: 1-6
FOCUS: COMPARING ISLAM & CHRISTIANITY
There are a number of similarities and numerous divergent views between Islam and our Christian faith. It should however be observed that, Christianity came first and that Mohammed had some encounter as a trader with some Jews which gave him some distorted knowledge about Christianity. This study is an attempt to view these with the aim of assisting our Moslem friends, neighbours and relatives to know the Lord. Believers in Christ should be conscious that argument with the Moslems would only harden their hearts further. Prayer is the basic tool available for us to utilize as we invite the Holy Spirit to convert them to Himself.
1. SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM:
Christianity and Islam both have major opening prayer; the Fateha is that of the Moslems (The Quran 1:1-7) while the Lord’s Prayer is for Christians (Matt.6:9-13). There is in both prayers (a) Adoration (b) Submission and (c) Supplication. Both agree that God is the creator of the earth- According to Islam-‘He merges Night into Day, and he merges Day into Night, and he has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law): each one runs its course for a term appointed. Such is Allah your Lord: to Him belongs all Dominion. And those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power’- Quran 35:13. Quran 50:38 ’We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us’. Genesis chapter 1 is the creation story. With respect to the Ten Commandments, the Quran has similar verses to confirm its authenticity (2:163; 2:255; 3:2; 3:6; ; 3:62; 4:87; 5:73; 6:102; 6:106; ; 7:65). Both agree that Faith without works is useless (it is not enough to simply say "I believe). In addition, both ascertain that humans have rights (hence the prohibitions on murder, theft, lying, violence). Also, both agree that Homosexuality is forbidden. Other areas of agreement include, fasting and similar ascetic practices for religious purposes carries spiritual rewards, Suicide is forbidden. Charity and relieving the suffering of others carries spiritual rewards. God severely punishes the worship of any deity other than God Himself as well as disrespect toward Him. Parents have special rights (to be honoured), as do spouses (hence adultery is forbidden).etc.
2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM:
Christians believe in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), Islam denies it. Islam affirms that Jesus is a Prophet and a servant of God same with Muhammad who they believe was the last Prophet sent by God to guide and teach mankind. With respect to Christ’ crucification, the Quranic teachings in this regard may be summed up as follows: (1) Christ was neither crucified nor killed by the Jews, notwithstanding certain apparent circumstances which produced that illusion in the minds of some of the enemies; and (2) Jesus was taken up to God (i.e.. God raised him up to Himself.) [Quran 4:157, 158 & & 4:157]. Polygamy is allowed to Muslims. Moslems are permitted to kill in the term described as Jihad. Jihad means "to strive or struggle" (in the way of God). It is exerting one's utmost power, efforts, endeavors, or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation especially to non Muslims.
CONCLUSION: Christianity portrays the picture of righteousness through Christ. It leads to God through Jesus the only Way, Truth and Life. The other faiths believe in self righteousness and personal struggle with sin to make heaven. You and me should become better students of the Bible daily and live our lives in such manners that men can see God through us (Matt.5: 16, 2Cor. 3:2). If you are in the Lord; you are on the right path. Do all that is humanly possible to win souls to God’s kingdom. Begin now!
18th APRIL, 2012
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE
THEME: THE SECRET OF SUCCESS
TEXT: Joshua 1: 8
Success is the achievement of something that you have been trying to do. Success is very interesting, fascinating but not easy to achieve. Everybody in life wants to succeed but unfortunately success is not made for the masses but rather for that select few who are willing to pay the price. It has an evasive nature that does not permit its easy acquisition by the majority of those who aspires it due to the fact that many are wishful thinkers. Success can be likened to gold, you cannot find gold anyhow because it is special, expensive and uncommon. The following ingredients are critical for success.
1. Purpose: Your purpose is your conviction and direction. Once you miss the specific purpose for which you are living, it would be wrong for you to be alive. For you to achieve success you have to discover the purpose of God for your life. If you know what you want, you are apt to recognise. A man without a purpose lacks power. You have to sit down and ask yourself these questions: What are you running for, where are you running to and why are you running. If you are able to answer these questions within yourself, success is yours.
2. Good Imagination: (Phil 4:8, prov.23: 7) your thoughts and imagination are very important if you want to achieve success. You are the product of your thought and imaginations. Use your imagination positively, think positives things. Always imaging goods things to yourself, you will see that you will become someone big tomorrow.
3. Goal: Goal is a target you set for yourself and which you are working towards. As someone that wants to achieve success you must have a target that you will be working towards. Your goal is where you are going to, where you are working towards. If you don’t have a goal, you will run in vain. If you want to succeed in life, you must set a goal for yourself. Your goals must have a deadline. If you have a goal, you will mind what people are saying about you, you will not be moved by what you are passing through now just because you have a target. Our Lord Jesus Christ was not moved by the cross, the cross meant nothing to Him but e He set His eyes on the joy, eternal crown and glory set before Him (Heb. 12:2). You must have a target. Keep Knocking at the door of your goal and encourage yourself in the Lord, Nobody will encourage you if you fail to encourage yourself.
4. Persistence: Luke 18:1-8: Persistence is holding to a course without wavering. You must not give up until you get to the top. Do not give up; it is not over even when you fail. Try that thing again and again. If you give up it means it is over for you. Try again and again you will surely get that thing you have been praying for.
5. Plan: In everything you do in life you must plan for it. Anybody that fails to plan is planning to fail. You must plan for your life. Plan for your marriage, career, Ministry, profession, vocation etc. Without plan failure is imminent. If you plan for your life you will know how to achieve it.
Conclusion: Success is good but not cheap. You can become the next success story the world is about to hear.
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE 25th APRIL, 2012
THEME: BORN A CHAMPION
TEXT: Gen.1; 26-28
A champion is a victor, a winner or someone who comes first in a show/competition/career/venture. He/she is a remarkable person of excellent performance. Man is born a champion. The process by which the male sperms and female ovum fuse together called fertilization is the first stage that describes how every man is born a champion. It was the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden that created a big gorge between our continuous championship and failure. Sin blindfolds man and rubs him of his highly exalted position. Man is in honour but he is ignorant of it-what a pity! (Ps.49: 20). However; God sent His only begotten Son to redeem man and bring him back to stardom (Gal.3;13, Col.1: 14).
1. FACTS ABOUT MAN: 1 Cor.15; 47
It is important to know that all men are equal irrespective of education, history, exposure, etc (Prov.22: 2, Matt.23; 8, Rom.10: 12). Man was created in the likeness of God as to the perfection of his nature, in knowledge (Col 3:10), righteousness, and holiness (Eph 4:24), and as having dominion over all the inferior creatures (Gen 1:27-28). He was to be a small god (Gen.5:1, I Cor.11: 7, Jam.3: 9). He had in his original state God's law written on his heart, and had power to obey it, and yet was capable of disobeying, being left to the freedom of his own will. He was created with holy dispositions, prompting him to holy actions; but he was fallible, and did fall from his integrity (Gen.3:1-6). Man was intended to be mightily powerful (Gen.1; 26, 9: 2, Ps.8: 6); of great inestimable value (1 Cor.6: 20, 1 Pt.1: 18-19) and earthly honourable (Num.22: 17, Job 29; 8, Ps.49: 12). This is who you should be. This is what God intends you to be. You were created a Champion!
2. BECOMING & REMAINING A CHAMPION
How do you see yourself (Num.13; 32-33)? What are your thoughts (Prov.23; 7)? What do you read? Where is your faith? Who are your friends (Prov.27: 17, I Cor.15: 33)? Who is your mentor (Prov.11: 14, 15:22)? Where are you heading to? Where do you intend to be five, ten years from now (Prov.29: 18)? Sincere answers to these questions would lead us back to been champions. Further to these, consider the following points:
a. Be willing to learn-champions possess childlike hearts. Children come into this world with an innate desire to learn, to understand the world around them. We must be teachable. To become a champion, you must be willing to educate yourself or be educated, to read about, learn and absorb all the things you need to know, even if they are completely new to you.
b. Willingness to act-Have you notice how children completely geared towards action? As soon as they learn a new skill, they want to put it into action. Champions are the same. They put their newly learned skills to use, taking concrete steps to improve their performance.
c. Champions are Not Afraid to Fail- Just as a child picks itself up again and again, every time he falls while taking its first steps, champions are not afraid to fall down or fail (Prov.37: 23-24, Eccl.4:10). They know that failure is the best teacher. They learn from their mistakes and keep fine-tuning their methods till they succeed. Champions have the courage to fall down and not be discouraged. They pick themselves up and keep trying.
d. Willingness to Adapt-Children tend to adapt to long-term change relatively easily and are more willing to accept situations and adapt accordingly. Champions must remember that survival does not happen to the fittest, but to the Most Adaptable.
e. Willingness to Innovate- Children are extremely inventive and innovative. They come into this world with no preconceived notions of doing things. In their minds there are no limits to what they can do or how they can do it. Champions apply these very principles to take them to the top.
CONCLUSION-Break all barriers. Examine the limitations of Mephiboseth, Jabez, Boy David in the wilderness, the widow / barren Ruth, the slave girl Esther etc. These persons soar above their contemporaries due to their faith in God, righteousness, vision, determination and discipline. You can do the same!
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE 2nd May, 2012
THEME: YOUR THOUGHT
TEXT: Phil.4: 8
Thought is an idea or opinion produced by thinking; it is power or process of thinking. It is also consideration, care, or mental attention given to something or somebody. Every man has been given the ability to think or form opinion concerning something or somebody. Thought generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination. Thoughts are so powerful that they determine the height someone can attain in life. The greatest bondage is mental slavery.
Thought can be positive or negative; however God enjoins us to think positively. Prov. 23:7a makes us to understand that as a man thinks so he is. Also we must keep our hearts (the centre of our thought) with all diligence, we must set a strict guard upon our souls, keep our hearts from doing hurt and getting hurt because out of it are the issues of life (Prov. 4 : 23-24). As Christians, we must allow Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts. A heart full of evil thought is controlled by devil.
Positive Thought: Men full of positive thoughts always see good things coming his way. He believes God for good things; confesses them and receives them sooner or later. A person with positive thoughts is free from fear because his mind is with God always (Isa. 26:3). Consider the following verses for meditation (Jer.17; 9, Matt.15; 18-19, Col.3; 1-2).
Negative Thought: Negative thought go with lack of faith in God. A man with negative thoughts doesn’t see anything good. He sees others as enemies. When he is facing challenges of the world he doesn’t see way to solutions toward them. He doesn’t remember that God has the ability to save and deliver from any problem. Most often, sorrow ends negative thought.
What can you deduce on thought according to the following?
a. Gen.6;5…………………………………b.Isa.59: 7……………………………………
What insights on thoughts can we obtain from the following scriptures?
i. Ps. 139 : 23…………………….………. (ii) Prov. 16 : 3 …………………………
iii. 2 Cor. 10:5……………………….….. (iv) Heb. 4: 12 ………………………………
Believers have roles to play in the management of our thoughts. Our hearts must be cautiously kept (Prov.4: 23), be careful of what enters our mind (Matt.15: 18-19), renew our minds (Rom.12:2) and set our minds on heavenly things (Col.3:2).Endeavour not to be boxed by any bad circumstance. Your thoughts are as powerful as your words. Create the environment you want in your mind.
You are either trapped by your thoughts or freed by how you think.
Conclusion: Let us allow Holy Spirit to take over our hearts for the will of God to be fulfilled.
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE 9th May, 2012
THEME: AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT
TEXT: Dan.5: 12, 6: 4
One of the distinguishing factors of success driven life is possession of an excellent spirit. To be excellent is to be superior, very good of its kind, eminently good, exceedingly, pre-eminent, surpassing, etc. To excel is to go beyond a limit or standard; to perform at a level higher than of another. We need an excellent spirit in all spheres of life-Career, Marriage, Ministry, Business, etc. (Heb.8; 6). Daniel with his three colleagues in Babylon was epitome of excellence. These four persons distinguished themselves in all matters that pertain unto the kingdom and thereafter were judged the best and even declared ten times better than the other students.
1. The Spirit of Excellence: Col.3; 23-24
a. Excellence is the image of God; God is NOT mediocre. God is the very top, the very definition of excellence. Any area of our lives, in anything that we do, whether it is our career/academics/Ministry/family dealing, etc. excellence must be displayed.
b. Excellence is a Spirit (a characteristic, or an attitude, not another spirit like the Holy Spirit)
c. It is not taught but caught through determination.
d. Excellence always stands out in a crowd, because people are not accustomed to seeing it. It is a rarity in today’s world.
e. It is a destination and a direction, not a state of being. It is where we are heading.
f. Nobody, short of God, has arrived at excellence. We are to continually strive for more excellence in what we do.
g. Excellence does not work from the outside-in, but from the inside-out. It starts at the core, at the heart, and works out.
h. Excellence is a habit. We have to strive for excellence. It is not the achieving of excellence that becomes a habit, but the continual act of striving for it. Until we habitually strive for excellence, we will not be able to catch the Spirit of Excellence.
i. Excellence is a reputation just like mediocrity.
2. Obtaining the spirit of excellence:
i. Determination to stand talk among equals (Heb.1; 9)
ii. Doggedness in all given assignments to achieve success-saying no to impossibilities (Phil.4; 13)
iii. Walking in wisdom, knowing how to deal rightly with people, and maintain a relationship with God
iv. Cultivation the habit of prayer (supplication and intercession), Word meditation, fellowshipping with fellow brethren and with the Holy Spirit (Dan.9: 2)
Discussion: What can we deduce on the subject matter from the following references?
a. Dan.6: 3………………………………………………………………….
b. Phil.1; 10…………………………………………………………………..
c. Prov 31:29 …………………………………………………………………………
Conclusion: Be determined to stand above reproach. Speak to yourself that you can do all things in Christ excellently. Let men tap from you the spirit of excellence.
16th May, 2012
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE
TEXT: Prov. 29: 18
Vision is the flash of divine light put to the mind of the human spirit by the Holy Spirit. Vision takes hold of a man and tilts him in its direction, eclipses every other thing and forces the person to become one with it. Vision carries with it the power to take a person and in a kind of way, imprisons him. Vision is living. It grows when fed. It is fed by gazing at the object that gave the vision. When properly fed, it grows until it takes hold of the man and monopolizes him until he and the vision are inseparable. As vision grows; the desire to have it accomplished grows. Vision shows what God wants and where the need is. Without vision, the people will perish.
1. INGREDIENTS THAT AIDS VISION:
a. Creative seeing-this is the kind of seeing that we all need to develop. We need to learn how to look at our world with fresh eyes seeing the opportunities that lie all about but simultaneously looking into the future for the chances that are there. Seeing is a learnable skill that must be exercised and as spiritual beings we must be able to look into the supernatural. Being able to see into the future is one of the most spectacular accomplishments of the human brain.
b. Your acquaintances: Who are your friends, mentors and admirers? 1 Cor.15:33
c. Scriptural meditation: Josh.1:8 The Bible is the greatest atlas to success
d. The power of jotting down ideas: vision is having the eyes of the heart enlightened. We therefore must write the vision shown unto us because true vision will lead to burden and burden will propel one to action. Writing materials must always be present with us so that we can scribble ideas down as they come in. As vision becomes clearer, so does the burden becomes heavier.
e. Inspirational books: get accustomed to good inspirational materials. Leaders are readers, readers are leaders.
2. VISION KILLERS
a. Near Sightedness- Seeing is a learned process. Some of us go through life seeing very little of the power and the glory around us. We do not properly filter the information that our eyes give us through the mental processes of the brain. As a result, we often behold things without really seeing them all. We receive physical impressions without grasping their meaning to us. The person who is mentally near sighted is apt to overlook objects and possibilities that are distant. He pays attention only to the problems immediately at hand and is blind to the opportunities that could be his by thinking and planning in terms of the future. You are near sighted if you not make plans, form objectives and lay the foundation for the future.
b. Far sightedness-the mentally farsighted person is apt to overlook possibilities that are right before him. He does not see the opportunities at hand. He sees only a dream world of the future, unrelated to the present. He wants to start at the top rather than move up step by step and he does not recognise that the only job where you can start at the top is the job of digging a hole. The man with this problem sees only what is under his nose while more distant possibilities go unclaimed. He is the man who does not understand the power of a plan.
Discussion: what can you say about vision from the following passage?
1. Gen.15: 1……………………………………..2.Num.24:4,16………………….................
3. 1 Sam.3; 15…………………………………….4.Act.9:12………………………………………
Conclusion-We need spiritual enlightenment to move to our Canaan.
23rd May 2012
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE
TEXT: PROV. 22:29, John 9:4
Diligence is one of the important tools needed for a success driven life; because out of it are issues of life. A carefree and slothful person cannot make any distinguishing impact in his or her generation. The word diligence means careful and thorough work or effort. It is the quality put in a venture to achieve one's goal; this achievement is generally done with conviction, persistence and dedication. It is working hard with enthusiasm and care in all your actions. It also refers to taking utmost care or determination in paying proper due to a particular task or any kind of goal that needs to be
accomplished. Diligence is to be industrious, meticulous, thorough, careful persistent, attentive, etc. It means to be steadfast at what you are doing (1Timothy 4:15-16). It is persevering both in our worldly duties and in our spiritual lives. It is to persist in an undertaking in spite of discouragement or opposition (Gal.6:9). Diligence is the opposite of laziness and negligence which ruin their victim. (Prov.13:4). Diligent people are the key to an excellent world.
1. Diligence: God’s Requirement: Rom.12:11
As Christians, diligence is required by God in seeking, serving, obeying Him and guarding against defilement (Heb.12:15) and to also strive after perfection and further develop our Christian virtues. (John 9:4). The Bible is replete with several men and women who were diligent in their calling, e.g. Jacob (Gen.31:38-41), Ruth (Ruth 2:17), Nehemiah (Neh.4:6), Daniel, Paul (1Thess.2:9) and Jesus who was always busy teaching, healing and casting out demons from people (John 9:4); yet He regularly sought strength in communion and fellowship from God (Mark 1:35; Luke 2:49). No lazy man can serve God.
2. Diligence and Slothfulness: Prov.6:6-10; 13:4
A diligence man is a wise, watchful and careful person who pays very close attention to every detail of life in order to make sure everything stays on track. The diligent are faced with the challenge of more work as a result of hard work from superior officers who knows that they are equal to the task and when reward comes they become envied by slothful co-workers. They take difficult tasks, not slothful in any thing or lazy but avoid all sorts of procrastination, doing it now; taking time but as quick as possible to bring out good result. (Rom.12:11). The diligence rules their world. The reward of diligence includes amongst others favour (Prov.11:27), honour (Prov.22; 29), prosperity (Prov.10:4, 13:4, 12:24). The slothful on the other hand misses opportunities (Prov.10:5), waits for a convenient time before embarking on anything hence serve the diligent because they are not ready to do anything but specialises in giving excuses of various kinds (Prov.26:13).
What insights can be get on diligence according to the following references
1. 2 Chron.24; 13……………………………………………2. Prov.4; 23…………………………………………
3. Prov.12: 24……….………………………………………4. Prov.22: 29………………………………………… 5.Lk.12: 58………….….…………………………………..6.2 Pt.1: 5……………………………………………..
Conclusion: There is no record of success without diligence. You and I must be determined to be industrious, dedicated to duty, be thorough, develop passion for our jobs and keep our hearts with all diligence (Prov.4:23; Heb.11:6b).
30th May 2012
Focus: ‘Success Driven Life’
Text: Deut. 31:6
Motivation is that which induces action or determine choice. It is that which provides a motive. A motive is the inner urge only within the individual which incites him to action, such as an idea, emotion, desire or impulse. It is the hope or other force which starts an action in an attempt to produce specific results. Motivation is the process that initiates, guides and maintain goal-oriented behaviour.
Motivation comes in intrinsic and extrinsic. We can be motivated for what we tend to achieve; or being motivated with the things people propose to give to us (Gen. 25:29-34, Lk. 22:1-6, Judg. 11:8-10). However, the Bible is one of the best books for motivation that one can turn to anytime (Josh. 1:8), be it in harrowing times or in times of happiness (Ps. 23). When you read any verse of His Word, you will feel the peace of God from the depth of your heart. The Bible is replete with motivational verses and from time in memorial, people have gained wisdom and reasons to get motivated and also to motivate others by reading these verses (2Tim. 3: 14-16).
Many persons are waiting for people to motivate them. They may be lucky to find such people but to move to stardom, you must motivate yourself. Every thought you think, every act in which you voluntarily engage can be traced back to some definite motive or combination of motives. Whenever you are facing a big problem, just smile and say ‘I have a very Big God’ and you will see your worries disappearing into thin air. One true fact is that, only few Christians motivate themselves with the word of God.
REASONS FOR MOTIVATION:
Everyone wants to be successful; but to be successful, there is an important thing we must have, and that is motivation. In every aspiration, or wanting to achieve one’s goal, e.g. academic pursuit, marital pursuit, business success, life dedication to Christ; all these would be achieved as a result of motivation. Many people have lost opportunities, some still not progressing, all, as a result of being not motivated or having not found something that stirs them or spurs them to action.
1. MOTIVATION HELPS YOU GET STARTED – Phi. 4:13
Have you noticed the difference between working on something you like and working on something you don’t like? When you are motivated about something, you can work on it effortlessly.
2. MOTIVATION HELPS YOU KEEP MOVING – John 16:33
Getting started is one thing, but keeping going is another thing. Whatever we do, there are always obstacles along the way that hinder us from achieving success. Winners are those who can go through challenges and difficulties, great are their motivation. Losers, on the other hand, are those who can’t go through challenges and difficulties; since they lack the necessary motivation.
3. MOTIVATION MAKES YOU DO MORE THAN NECESSARY – Isaiah 40:31
If you are motivated about something, you will voluntarily do more about it than what is required from you. You will naturally go further and dig deeper than other people since you love to do it. While other people will only do what is necessary, you do more than that. In such situation, there is a higher probability of you becoming more successful than others.
4. MOTIVATION MAKES THE JOURNEY FUN – Phi. 2:13
People who don’t have motivation will think that the journey to success is long and difficult. Those who are motivated look at it differently. The journey though long, they see it enjoyable. Not only can they endure it, there is fun along the way. Although, there are always times when things aren’t good, but motivation enables us to endure such difficult times.
Deduce what motivation can do from the following scriptures:
I. Mt 6:33Phi. 4:13 ....................................................... ii. Gal. 6:9....................................................................................
Iii. Phi. 4:13 .................................................................... iv James. 1:2-3............................................................................
Conclusion: Success do not come suddenly. Every success story of today has a motivational starting point. Activities around us are enough to motivate us to the next level. Joseph, Jabez, Jephthah, David, to mention but a few were all successful in their time, through motivation. Let something provokes you today!
6th June, 2012
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE
TEXT: 1 Cor.15: 58
One of the fundamental pillars of success is persistence. It is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting. It is commonly called ‘press on’. No matter the number of times that you fail; persistence is not deterred by the negative results but keeps pursuing until he/she reaches the goal/target. No one succeeds who gives in to failures, suggestions of impossibility and impassibility of hurdles. For a man to excel in his calling, career or any undertaking; he must imbibe this virtue. Other words that could be used to describe persistence are continuity, doggedness, perseverance, pertinacity. The value of persistence comes not just by tenaciously clinging to the past but by forward looking into what the future holds. As the Lord did not give up on us, we must likewise not loose hope or give up on our aspirations. Persistence is the act of building continuity. It’s the deliberate action of doing something, doing it again, doing it again, until you get it right, and maybe doing it over and over after that, too. Ahead of everyone may be disappointments, adversities and dangers. These are rocks and hidden shoals past which must be sailed. Doggedness and persistence of purpose will make us overcome.
1. AIDS TO PERSISTENCE:
Vision is an important factor that aids persistence. When a man sees something great/captivating; he/she is moved to wait patiently for the manifestation of the vision irrespective of oppositions. Adequate knowledge about the plans of God for us is another motivating factor. When we are aware of our positions and the design of God for us, it would not be a challenge to persistently get there (Ps.49: 12, 16-20). The Bible is the greatest motivation and guide to persistence since it is an atlas that gives blueprint of our life and how to achieve overall success. Constant and consistent meditation on it and applying its principles would assist a man to get to stardom faster. No man is an island. We become what the people we associate with are (1 Cor.15: 33).
2. CHALLENGES FROM MEN OF SCRIPTURE TIME: Dan.11: 32, Lk.19: 1-6
Success is not a product of fate or luck but of determination, discipline and persistence. People like Ruth (1: 16-17), Hannah (1 Sam.1:10-12), Elisha (2 Kg.2: 4-12), Esther (4: 16), Bartimeus (Matt.10: 46-52), the woman with the issue of blood (Mk.5: 25-29), Zacheus, amongst others, paid the price of persistent effort. They never gave up, never wavered and did not swerve from their purpose-no wonder they emerged as stars.
Discuss how the following verses relate to persistence
1. Rom 15:4-5…………………………………..…..2.1 Cor 15:58…………………………..…………….
3. Gal 6:9-10………………………………..………4.2 Tim 4:7-8………………………………..……….
Conclusion: Pray like Harold Sherman-‘I will never give up so long as I know I am right. I will believe that all things will work out for me if a hang on to the end. I will be courageous and undismayed in the face of odds. I will not permit anyone to intimidate me or deter me from my goal. I will fight to overcome all physical handicaps and setbacks. I will try again & again & yet again to accomplish what I desire. I will take new faith from the knowledge that all successful men have had to fight defeat & adversity. I will never surrender to discouragement or despair no matter what seeming obstacles may confront me’.
FOCUS: SUCCESS DRIVEN LIFE
TOPIC: TIME MANAGEMENT
Time is said to be a system of distinguishing events: a dimension that enables two identical events occurring at the same point in space to be distinguished. It can be measured by interval between events. It is also a limited period during which an action, process or condition exists or takes place. Most of the time we find ourselves overwhelmed by large numbers and complexity of projects we have that must be completed each day. We often feel the day flies by without devoting the necessary attention to each assignment because other tasks keep landing on our desk, co-workers interrupt us with questions or we find ourselves becoming unorganized. Whereas time is important to success as it is to life and God had created it and made it available to all irrespective of class, education and pedigree. It is God’s gift to man that should not be handled carelessly.
1. Time Management-
This is an act of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities in order to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. It includes a wide scope of activities like planning, allocating, setting goals, delegation, analysis of time spent, monitoring, organizing, scheduling and prioritizing. Another important aspect of it is task list (also called to-do list or things-to-do) which is a list of tasks to be completed-this should be drawn every morning before work commences.
2. Getting the best of your time-
Plan each day and prioritize your tasks (this will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you). Say no to nonessential tasks. (Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work).Delegate (take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else). Take the time you need to do a quality job. Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Practice the 10-minute rule (work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it). Evaluate how you're spending your time weekly. Limit distrk
actions. Get plenty of sleep, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Take a break when needed (Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk, take a day of vacation to rest and re-energize).
What insights can we derive on the subject matter according to the following references?
1. Eccl.8: 6……………………2.Hos.10: 12…………………3.Mk.1: 15…………………..
3. Tips to being a good Manager of Time-Eph.5: 16
There is time for everything under heaven – Eccle.3:17b. Time does not wait for anybody. Time is never enough for everyone – Rev.10:6d. Take advantage of the time at your disposal. Your life is at the mercy of time; so move into action. Note, you have no control over time, it tickles on and on. So run to make best use of the time available. Eccle.2:14
Conclusion: The ability to manage time effectively tells how far your success would be. A man that is not prudent in the use of his time might not go far in his Ministry/calling, career, finances, family front etc because time wasted might not be regained. If God can finish the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, it shows that He’s a Master Time Manager, we His creature must also be wise (Gen.1-2).
20th June 2012
Focus: ‘Success Driven Life’
Jesus' private time with His disciples -away from the crowds (the pulpit and public times) was the critical mentoring foundation for all that Christ did publicly. Pastors and leaders also need to get out of the pulpit to do mentoring. They must network into the life and fabric of the ones they mentor. A mentor is a talent scout (identifier), an example (imitation), an instructor (teacher) and a coach (involvement). Attraction (the protégé is drawn to the mentor), responsiveness (readiness of the protégé to learn from the mentor) and accountability (a mutual responsibility between the two parties) are key elements in mentoring. Believers in Christ are to take mentoring seriously and be intentional. Move in beside someone and build your life into theirs. Commit yourself into a leader who produces other group leaders.
1. BIBLICAL SAMPLES: 1 Tim.4; 12
The Bible is loaded with excellent examples of mentoring relationships. Moses learnt from his father-in-law, Jethro (Exod. 18). Moses mentored Joshua (Deut.3:28). It's amazing to see spiritually hungry Elisha run past the other prophets to get to Elijah's side passionate about being mentored (2 Kgs 2:1-16). David's growth as his mentor-peer, Jonathan, introduces him to political leadership is also of note. Other kings were mentored by their religious teachers. In the New Testament our supreme model, Jesus Christ, mentored the Twelve and the Three. One of the three, Peter, in turn had some type of mentoring relationship with Barnabas (Gal. 2:11-13). Barnabas then imitated the method that he had benefited from, by mentoring Mark and Paul. Through Paul, God erected a chain of Spirit-filled, world-changing mentors and Church planters.
2. MENTORING FOR RESULT:1 Cor.4: 15-16, 11:1
Leaders must conduct scouting for potential prospective leaders regularly. It could be a deliberate process which may include extended period of prayer as when Jesus chose his disciples (Lk.6: 12) or it may be a more spontaneous insight as when Barnabas spoke up for the newly ex-murdered Saul (Act.9:26-27, 11: 25-26).Mentoring is not a program but a relationship, imitative living (1 Cor.11:1). Mentors must befriend the protégé, come alongside at strategic moments, dispense wisdom, be firm and instil a love for live-long learning. Lead by examples since examples are better than precepts. Through Scripture memory, inductive Bible study, and meditation, anyone may jump from pew-sitting to big position in God. We must inspect our protégé-People do what we inspect, rather than what we expect. All of us need to be accountable. There is no biblical “lone wolf” Christianity! However, patience is needed from the mentor to achieve effective result in mentoring.
Conclusion-Is there anyone who can refer to you as mentor? Have you spotted anyone who has a potential to be great in Christ or a person who has that something extra that no one has seen? Spend extra time about the person on your knees. Invite the person. Speak life into the person and begin to mentor him/her from now!
11th July, 2012
FOCUS- EXPLORING THE ICT WORLD
TEXT- Eccl.9: 10
Information and Communications Technology or Information and Communication Technology, usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an extended synonym for information technology (IT), but is usually a more general term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers, middleware as well as necessary software, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to create, access, store, transmit, and manipulate information. ICT has, within a very short span of time, turned out to be one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now consider understanding ICT and mastering its basic skills and concepts as part of their core education policy. Believers in Christ must seek out how to log on to the ICT and make good use of it. Several benefits which could be obtained from ICT could assist our proficiencies scripturally and enhance our business lives.
1. COMPONENTS OF ICT-
Computer information technology is often used to describe: computer hardware, computer servers, computer networks and networking equipment, computer monitors, software and operating systems, printers, copy machine, fax machines, office phone systems, internet systems, cell phones, many additional types of technology and data management equipment. Internet connectivity makes ICT unique.
2. IMPORTANCE OF ICT-
ICT is relevant in all sectors (health, politics, business, education, spiritual, material, etc.). It covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots. For believers, there are several Bible resources (concordances, dictionaries, atlas, Bible versions, commentaries, etc.) that are available online. Can any of us imagine the transformation that we have obtained through GSM? The bulk SMS, Facebook, Emails, etc? Interviews and placements for jobs, online trading, examinations, etc are part of the benefits obtained from ICT. The "internet" is a gigantic library, as well as a world-wide message board, telephone network, and publishing medium. It is open 24 hours a day, and you can find anything you want there, and say anything you want. It is very importance in expanding our knowledge of any subject we desire. Business wise, ICT enhances communication with other organisations, members of staff, supporters and donors. This could be done through letters, phone calls, faxes, meetings, email, messenger/webcam, web pages, etc. Benefits could also be obtained in the area of publishing (books, journals, brochures, press releases, workshops, conferences, lectures, etc.). However, care must be taken to avoid the negative contamination and evil vices from it.
DISCUSSION-Read the following verses and comment on wisdom
1. Prov.3; 5-7…………………………………….…2.Prov.4;7-8…………………………………………..
2. 1 Cor. 1:20; 3:19 ………………………..…..4.1 Cor 2:5………………………………….………
Conclusion-Age is not a barrier. Take a decision to benefit from ICT more than you are doing right now!
18th July, 2012
FOCUS- EXPLORING THE ICT WORLD
THEME- MAKING MONEY THROUGH ICT
TEXTS- Psalm 35:27b; Prov.10:22; Isaiah 48:17
Analyzing the texts above, it is clear that God wishes that His children enjoy financial success (3 Jn 2). Ignorance and gross insensitivity to the numerous opportunities hovering around us daily are bane to achieving financial prosperity and independence. However, we can boost our current jobs, businesses and undertakings if we explore the ICT world (Information and Communications Technology). Apart from sales & services of telephones, computers and its accessories which might require office space; online jobs do not need office space/shop. Money could be made at any time of the day with no attraction to thieves and/or smugglers. May God open our eyes to the myriad of financial opportunities around us in Jesus name!
1. WHO NEEDS ICT SKILL?- Prov. 22: 7,Eccl.7: 12
The question of who needs ICT skill might be reframed as, who needs money? You will agree with me that it’s only the dead that no longer need money. All retirees who are out of job, civil servants in active service, business owners who have vision for global recognition and explosion, petty traders, school leavers awaiting admission for higher studies, undergraduates, graduates etc. need money and by implication should embrace ICT which has the tendency of giving them cool cash.
Discussion 1: What could be an excuse for not making money? Are the excuses tenable?
2. STEPS TO MAKING MONEY THROUGH ICT-
a. Identify your skill-Take a look at yourself. What can you do best & easily without having any problems? In what areas do you have lots of experiences? Normally it doesn’t matter what field this skill of yours is, just ensure you understand it and do your best to perfect it. All great businesses in the world are based on having something to offer.
b. Understand the market-Who is your market? What is/are the needs of your market? Who are those who can pay for your services? Begin to compile a list of those who would benefit from your services and who can pay.
c. Acquire basic ICT training- Ask questions about the handset you carry. It might surprise you that your phone might perform the magic. Learn about the use of the internet.
d. Identify ICT personnel who can assist & advice you on how your skill could be integrated into ICT for financial explosion.
e. Acquire a computer system (desktop/laptop/notebook). This could be achieved depending on your fund.
Discussion 2: Is it advisable to ignore the benefits of ICT due to several vices associated with it?
3. EXPLORING THE ICT FOR MONEY MAKING-Isa.43: 18-19
a. Existing business-Making more money using ICT as a tool- Business owners can increase their income by creating more awareness about their product and services through; advertisement (via social networking sites). This has been made so easy with our smart phones, Customized/bulk SMS, BB (Blackberry) messenger, personalized website, Email signatures, etc.
b. New ideals-Breaking new grounds using ICT as a tool-
Electronic commerce(e-Commerce/e-Banking), procurement of POS machines(POS=point of sale), FOREX trading*(buying & selling of foreign currencies-training is needed), web & graphic design, online advertisement through yahoo, Facebook, twitter, etc, sales & services of phones, computer and their accessories, downloading of useful materials, songs, etc. for prospects, online marketing for other firms, recruitment for firms, Estate business, online summer coaching, translation of foreign languages, online ticketing, middle men for others, etc.
CONCLUSION: There is neither excuse nor barrier to by any means remain poor or live a life of average again considering the seamless blessings of ICT available to us today. Rise to the challenge now!
1st Aug. 2012
FOCUS- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
THEME- HABITS OF SAVINGS
TEXT- Gen.41: 25-36
Saving money is one of those tasks that's so much easier said than done. There's more to it than spending less money (although that part alone can be challenging). How much money will you save, where will you put it, and how can you make sure it stays there? Savings is defined as “income that is not consumed immediately by buying goods and services.”The Bible is against extravagant spending and counsels that man must provide for the future (Gen.30; 30, Prov.21: 20)
The first law of gold as stated by the richest man in Babylon is: ’Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family’. The implication of that is further explained by the 70/30 rule (70 percent for you; 10 percent for God as tithes, 10 percent as savings & the remaining 10 percent for benevolence). Humans have natural biases against saving. Saving money requires sacrifice, discipline and long-term thinking.
Practical hints on saving habits;
i. Leverage peer pressure –emulate friends who save regularly.
ii. Involve in automatic savings mechanisms-these are part of great ways to overcome our natural bias toward inertia e.g. office cooperative, Bank direct debt.
iii. Live within your means and avoid spending more when you make more.
iv. Did you get a bonus or raise at work recently. Commit the money into savings (bonus) or increase savings percentages (raise).
v. Dine-In (at Home) Only-Eating outside the home front is expensive. Make a commitment to eat at home for one full week and see how much money you suddenly have for savings. If you must dine outside, ensure you spend less.
vi. Sell Your Crap- Dispose off for money many DVDs, CDs, Books, and other stuff you’re not using just laying around the house.
vii. Pay Cash-Reducing your dependency on credit is a good thing. If you can't pay cash, ask yourself if it's a purchase you really must make.
viii. Master the thirty day rule. Whenever you’re considering making an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want that item.
ix. Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it. One should never go into a store without a strong idea of what one will be buying while in there
x. Instead of throwing out some damaged clothing/furniture, repair it instead
xi. Drink more water- Apart from health benefits, drinking plenty of water has financial benefits, too. Drink a big glass of water before each meal, and not only will you digest it better, you won’t eat as much, saving on the food bill.
xii. Cut back on the convenience foods – reduce your intake and purchase of fast foods, microwave meals, packaged food, etc.
xiii. Buy appliances based on reliability, not what’s cheapest at the store.
xiv. Hide your ATM (credit) cards in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet where it’s easy to spend them.
xv. Go for reliability and fuel efficiency when buying a car.
xvi. Take your lunch to the office/work place
xvii. Dress minimally (this may require some training). Buy clothes that mix and match well and you’ll not need nearly as many clothes.
xviii. Invest in a deep freezer though which you can store all sorts of bulk foods, which enables you to pay less per naira of it at the market.
xix. Cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch.
xx. Always keep looking ahead. Don’t let the mistakes of your past drag you down into more mistakes. Look ahead to the future.
Conclusion-Can we begin the 70/30 rule now? We can! Let us start now!
8th Aug. 2012
FOCUS- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
THEME- ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Part 1)
TEXT- Rom.12: 11
Entrepreneurship is the act by someone to undertake innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform such innovations into economic goods. This action most of the time result in the establishment of new organizations or new businesses. In a simple language, it means becoming your own boss. Given the new economic reality of our time, more people than ever before have come to realise that the so-called job they thought was waiting for them does not exist. To this end, several persons have come to the conclusion that they would rather create work instead of waiting endless for the job that is not available. The focus of this study is to create an awareness and enlightenment on entrepreneurship, highlight characteristics, merits/demerits of entrepreneurship, how to become your own boss, etc.
1. TRAITS OF ENTERPRENEURS: Prov.22: 29
Becoming a business owner is a serious issue which is meant for everyone except those who have brainstorming capacity, ingeniousness (usefulness, cleverness,), resourcefulness and opportunistic traits, creative and unsentimental qualities. Other traits include: toughness, being pragmatic (more concerned with practical results than with theories and principles), independent spirit, quest for achievement, strength to take risks and launch into the unknown nomadic spirit (itinerant, travelling, roaming, wandering, etc.) and ability and interest to learn new ideas endlessly. Some of these traits are similar to what successful leaders possess.
2. MERITS & DEMERITS OF BECOMING YOUR OWN BOSS-
When you are your own boss, you enjoy the following benefits: Enjoyment of the profits from your efforts by yourself, sense of pride in your business, flexibility in your work schedule, assisting the nation to engage some unemployed citizens, opportunity to display your gifts and passion, etc. There are also a few disadvantages which include: putting in long hours, inadequate start-up capital to keep up with government rules and regulations, inability to overcome initial teething problems, etc.
3. BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS- Lk.14: 28
Beginning a business enterprise requires the following steps:
a. Determine whether you possess entrepreneurship skill or you would be better as an employee
b. Willingness to take risks-to become an entrepreneur, you must be ready to step out of your comfort zone
c. Identify the right business you can start- Explore different facets of yourself (your personality, social styles, age) and listen to your intuition (inner spirit). Ask yourself "What gives me energy even when I'm tired?"
d. Prepare a business plan: This requires proffering answers to a few questions like what value am I going to create? What is the size of your target market? Who are your customers? Is your product or service relevant to their everyday life? Why do they need it? What are my objectives, strategies and action plans (steps) to achieve my goals? What type of business you are building-a lifestyle business (smaller amount of start-up funds), a franchise (moderate investment depending on the franchise), or a high-tech business (will require significant capital investment). Depending on where you fall on the continuum, you will need a different amount of money to launch and grow your business, and it does matter what kind of money you accept.
e. Understand your personal finances and choose the right kind of money you need for your business-You are likely going to be the first and sole investor. Adequate preparation for source of fund must be done.
Discussion-What insights can we get on business & physical work from the following references?
1. Prov 6:6-11………………………………….………… 2. Prov. 21:25…………………..………………….
3. 1 Cor. 4:12…………………………………………… 4. 2. Thess 3:10.…………………………………
Conclusion-Prayer is needed for divine guidance.
15th Aug. 2012
FOCUS- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
THEME- ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Part 2)
TEXT- Rom.12: 11
Entrepreneurship is not about experience or special training but about your brain, motivating yourself and building relationship with the right people. It could be becoming self employed, set up a partnership, invest in a franchise, buy a business, build an empire, invest in a new gadget, and launch a new service. You could work from home or lease an office, set up a website or showroom, work on your own or in a team of twenty. Entrepreneurs venture into something new, different or better. It could be something innovating, groundbreaking and entirely different or merely tweaking what already exists or offer other versions of it. It could as well be providing better customer service, quality or speed or taking a product to a different customer group that is as yet under appreciated by other.
Entrepreneurship consists of two steps-exploration (using intuition and observation to identify some means of competitive advantage) and exploitation (turning an idea into a plan and a business that can be sold for money). Important keys to success in business include: passion, determination, relationship building skills, hardwork, total commitment, personal excitement, enthusiasm, etc.
1. THE FIRST QUESTIONS: Lk.14: 28
All intending entrepreneurs must be sincere in answering a few questions like: What do I love doing? What are my three biggest talents? What idea have I seen somewhere else that I wish to introduce to my community? What irritates me as a consumer? What complaints do my friends and acquaintances have as consumers on certain goods and services? How could I make someone feel safer and happier? What makes my product/service distinctive, technically superior, exciting and unique? What experience have I got that could be turned to goldmine?
2. VARIETIES OF BUSINESS- Prov.6:6-9
Intending entrepreneurs can prayerfully consider where they have strength and experience before venturing into any job. Some areas that could be considered include: Smith/ metal-work (Gen 4:22,1 Sam 13:19), Carpentry (Gen 6:14; Ex 37:1; Isa 44:13), masons(stone works 1 Kgs 5:18; Ezek 27:9). Ship-building (Matt 8:23; 9:1; Jh 21:3,8), perfume makers (Ex 30:25,35; 2 Chr. 16:14; Neh. 3:8), printing, computer sales & accessories, welding, party management, consultancy, Estate management, agro allied (agric) fish business, rentals, catering, trading, import & export, etc. Mention other ventures (Deut.33: 19, Isa.41:7, Act. 9: 43, 18: 3, 19: 24)……………………………………………………………………..
3. BEGINNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS:
a. Write a business plan. You do not need a professional to do this but yourself. A business plan is merely a set of steps outlining what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. It includes information on how much money is needed to get the business off the ground, the type/size of customers, when will money start rolling in, etc.
b. Seek a mentor to share their knowledge and insights (Mentor=someone who have already achieved some success in same or similar venture).
c. Learn the names of the business people who have made it in your industry
d. Surround yourself with people who are strong in areas in which you are weak
e. Desire-How bad do you want it? How serious and desperate are you?
f. Lean on God-Prov.3: 5-7. Prayer and faith in God work. Trust in God.
g. Establishing Your Image-You may have a great idea, product or superior service, but have you thought about what image your start-up will take on? Often the difference between success and failure is creating a brand that consumers will recognize.
h. Get customers-Understand why customers buy. Remember that the customer is king and that the king is often an irrational being. Create quality marketing tools which may include complimentary cards, brochures, presentation tools, etc. Greet clients with style and be courteous. Focus as narrowly as possible. Target highly qualified prospects. Call them, mail your marketing materials, and then ask to meet. It'll save you money and time. Network. Join your local chamber, lead groups, your industry association, etc. Cross-promote with other businesses. Whom do you share customers with? Find them and figure out how you can promote one another. If you're a PR person, hook up with a copywriter or graphic designer for client referrals.
i. Begin even if it’s in a small way-launch out after observing the steps above. Receive divine guidance. You may begin in a small way and monitor the business as it grows up (Zech.4:10)
CONCLUSION- Strive to ensure that these studies are not only rhetoric. Begin to act now!
22nd Aug. 2012
FOCUS- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
THEME- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES (Part 1)
TEXT- Prov.2: 1-8, Matt. 25: 15, 18
Investment can be said to be systematic planning on how one’s resources could be put to work in a particular venture for future profit. This can be achieved through depositing of money in a bank/financial institution, buying of stocks (shares) in companies, trading, involvement in real Estate, etc. Opportunities are not always available and when available, they disguise except those who are gifted in identifying such that can grab opportunities to profit from them. To make good use of precious investment opportunities, adequate preparations are also necessary before it comes. Possessing right information is one basic requirement before opportunities could be maximized. Several people give excuses of their inability to benefit from a myriad of investment opportunities around them for the reasons of inadequate funds, lack of capable links, death/poverty of parents, lack of requisite education, etc. You and I must depart from excuses’ zone and begin to optimize investment opportunities around us to the glory of God.
1. Precautions before investing – Before investing in any venture, caution must be taken by prospective investors. Let us learn from Archad (the Richest man in the then Babylon) on this subject of taking precaution: THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD as stated by him are as follows:
i. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earngs to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
ii. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
iii. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
iv. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
v. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.
In addition to the counsel from Archad, invest only in business that you have enough information on. Nerve spend all your life savings on any business. Be involved in the business you want to invest in- do not just leave it entirely for others to run on your behalf. Write a business plan and conduct a sincere feasibility study of the business before commencing. Never be in a hurry to invest. Think about it thoroughly. Ask God for counsel (Prov.3: 5-6).
2. Categories of Investments: There are various categories of investments opportunities that surround us: Small scale, Medium scale and Large scale investments.
SMALL SCALE INVESTMENTS- These are investments that do not need huge sum of money to start. The ventures in this category could be funded through ones savings and benefits/dividends from it would add to ones income. Ventures here could grow to become very great depending on the vision and industry of the investor. Ventures that fall under this category include rentals (cooking utensils, party items like chairs, canopies, drums, etc.),production of fruit juice (packaging/canning), bakery business, soap & tooth pick manufacturing, consultancy in ones field, sales of tailoring materials, designers clothes, security outfit, sales of computers with its accessories, recharge card ventures, publishing, marketing of goods & services, fish/piggery/rabbitry and poultry business, etc.
The challenge here is that many people do not want to start at this level because of the low return and lack of fame they desire , thereby despising the days of small beginnings (Zech.4: 10).
Conclusion: Open your eyes wide. Opportunities for greatness are all around you. Grab them now! Start in a small way and you will be surprised to see the way your venture would grow when diligence, trust in God, industry and consistency are added.
9th Aug. 2012
FOCUS- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
THEME- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES (Part 2)
TEXT- Prov.2: 1-8, Matt. 25: 15, 18
Studies have shown that ninety percent of salary/wage earners are never rich except those who embezzle, steal or are involved in investments. Involvement in wise and profitable investments is a sure way to prosperity. Investment opportunities involve ability to recognize when it is favorable to commit money into a venture for maximum profit and when to withdraw. Every believer should ensure that he generates income in at least two of the major four sources of income-salary/wage (monthly pension, regular salary-Lk.10: 7), investment/dividends (stocks, bonds), rents (unused lands can be on rentage for farming, your extra vehicles, house rents, etc.) and interest (operate a savings account/fixed deposit and earn interest though might be small). In the first part of this study, a few explanations were made on small scale investments. This final part will shed light on medium and large scale investment.
1. MEDIUM SCALE INVESTMENTS- Investments in this category may involve partnering with others who possess similar passion, mind, goal and vision. Large sum of money is involved here which might be difficult to be sourced individually except by collective efforts. An agreement should be reached to know the mode of operation and how to share the profit thereafter. Caution should be taken when going into partnership. Seek divine guidance. Individuals with good financial standing could launch into this investment.
2. LARGE SCALE INVESTMENTS: This is bigger than what a single individual can undertake. It may involve starting an industry or a big consortium of professionals. It may involve seeking financial aid from financial institutions, foreign investors, capital market, etc. It also requires greater collaboration and technical expertise because it comes with great risk.
3. CURE FOR LEAN PURSE: Eccl.11: 6. Archad of the Richest Man in Babylon gave the following advise to everyone who desires a financial face-lift: Start thy purse to fattening (save 10% of your monthly earnings), Control thy expenditures (strive to ensure that your income exceeds your expenditure), Make thy gold multiply (invest wisely through divine and technical counsellors), Guard thy treasures from loss (avoid dubious deals).
Discussion: What does the Bible say on money, wealth and investments as stated in the references below?
a. Gen.26: 12-13………………………….……..b. 1.Sam.2: 7…………..………………….c.Ps.112:3………………..………….….
d. Prov.10: 22…………………………….……….e. Prov.12: 24…………………..…………f.Eccl.10: 19……………………………
4. BEST & BAD INVESTMENTS: Best investments include real estate (buying and selling of landed properties), making plan to own your house, rentals (cooking utensils, party materials, etc), government backed security-bonds. Worst investments include Commodities speculation (the buying and selling of materials for future delivery), Stocks (although the knowledgeable, professional investors can and do make money regularly on common stock), Partnerships (because of recaptured deferred taxes, seldom do investors recoup their initial investments in the length of time originally proposed, if ever). Transportation business (except you operate it yourself).
Conclusion: Act by divine instruction (2 Kgs 13:19), never be lazy (Matt 25:26). Investments does not bring huge profit overnight, it’s a gradual process of return. Relate with experts in the field of interest. Be careful of those you would involve in your investment quest. Start now!
5th Sept. 2012
THEME- THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD
TEXT- Ezek.22: 23-30
When the passage of our focus was penned down, spiritual things then have not degenerated to what it is today. Men still had passion to share of the love of God to their neighbours but the story has changed totally. The situation of today is that of selfishness, worldliness, lack of vision and passion for things of eternal value. May God deliver our generation in Jesus name! It is obvious that believers in Christ are pre-occupied with things of this transient world to the detriment of heavenly things. Preachers of righteousness are scarce, morning cry is on decline and bus evangelism has been overthrown by marketers of drugs and beggars. This study is intended to awaken our lukewarm hearts and stir us up into desperate and determined efforts to rescue sinners before doom fall upon them. God is still calling all His children and compelling us to this soul-saving task. May we obey His clarion call, Amen! (Isa.6: 8, Mk.16: 15).
1. STAGGERING REALITIES: Rom.1: 21- 32, 2 Tim.3: 1-5
All who have not received salvation in Christ are in crises. There is a longing/desire in their hearts to be free from oppression. The reality of hell is so staggering including the excruciating agony and torments that its inhabitants would suffer (Ps.9: 17, Lk.16: 23-31). The certainty of hell for all sinners goes beyond every doubting and speculating theories of man. It is also a fact that this present world is a failure. The disappointments and unhappiness of this world is visible with the sad, stark tragedy that stares out of the faces of people. True happiness is scarce nowadays. The torture that Jesus went through in the hands of Roman soldiers, the angry mob and by wicked Jewish leaders attests to the fact that the message of the cross must be given urgent attention. The glories of heaven and the enjoyments that repentant sinners would benefit from are too good to be ignored. Increase in the growth of night clubs, beer parlours, occult societies, homosexuals, gay preachers, lesbians, free thinkers, nominal Christians, smokers, wide spread of racketeering, immoralities, frauds and all forms of perversion are visible in our society. The Church is not an exemption. Something positive must be done as soon as possible!
2. THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD: Ezek; 22; 30
God knows the value of a soul no wonder the trouble and sacrifice He embarked because of the lost. God also demonstrated compassion for the sinful, lonely and the lost in so much that He expects us to do the same (Matt. 9: 36). God has concern for our unbelieving colleagues, neighbours, friends, business allies, relatives, etc. He is not willing that any should perish (2 Pt.3: 9). God through His Son gave the Church a Great Commission-Proclamation of the Good news (Matt.28: 18-20). If anyone has seen the light of God, such a fellow must awake, arise and preach the message to the dying sinner. God is still bleeding for you and me on the subject of soul winning.
1. Why is the world encumbered with materialism as against their eternal state?.......................................
2. Why do you think God’s heart is beating? …………………………………………………………………………………………………….
3. In the light of this study, how can we make God happy? …………………………………………………………………………
Conclusion-One of the greatest events that can bring back passion for lost souls is old time religion as prayed by believers of old (Ps.85: 6, Habk.3; 1-2). Let us pray that the revival will start with me now!
12th Sept. 2012
THEME- JESUS-OUR MODEL FOR EVANGELISM
TEXT- Phil.2: 5
The best evangelical strategies available for believers today are those presented by our Lord, Saviour and Master-Jesus Christ. One of the outstanding facts about the ministry of our Lord was impressive turn outs during His evangelistic campaigns. Every where the Lord went, multitudes followed Him (Matt.4: 25, 15: 30, 17: 14). Not only that, Jesus conducted person to person evangelism. He also conducted events equalled to today’s camping or retreat (Sermon on the Mount: Matt.5:1ff, 14:15-16). His public ministry modelled the ways of God in evangelism. In the three years of public ministry, the disciples of Jesus watched Jesus model the evangelistic ministry for them and a number of lessons are inherent from His life and model. Those of us who believe in Jesus are not to take these lessons in vain but are supposed to do the same works He did (John 14:12; Mark 16:15-20).
1. JESUS, THE GREATEST EVANGELIST: Matt.9: 35
Our Lord lived all His life to preach the Gospel. He knew who He was to the Lord, He was obedient, He never changed the rules to fit His own purpose, His daily walk was a sacrifice to all, His faith was unwavering, He was not boastful, He was direct, He treated everyone the same, He did not make excuses, and He is the greatest example of what God see's in us, in spite of ourselves, LOVE. He met with Nicodemus (Jn.3: 1-21), the Samaritan woman (John 4: 7-26), The Rich Young Ruler (Matt.19:16-22). What motivated the Lord majorly was the inestimable worth of a soul. He like God was not willing that any should perish (2 Pt.3; 9). No wonder He wept for Jerusalem (lk.19; 41-42).
2. THE THREE FOLD MINISTRY OF JESUS: Matt.4: 17, 23-25
Preaching, teaching and healing are the three fold ministry of our Lord (Matt.9: 35, 11; 1, 13: 53). The effectiveness of our Lord in this regard made His Ministry outstanding, effectual and successful. Jesus loved the people (Matt.9: 36), taught them the Word of God in interesting and practical ways (Matt.13: 34, Mk.10; 1, 12; 37) and met their needs (Matt.15; 30, Lk.6: 17-18, Jn.6: 2)
3. THE EVANGELICAL STRATEGIES OF JESUS: Act.10; 38
Our Lord knew why he was on earth no wonder He did all that was in His capacity to fulfil His divine mandate (Lk.4: 17-21). He went every where to search for sinners (Matt. 4: 17, 23-25,9: 35, 11; 1, 13: 53). He had uncommon compassion for the lost (Matt.14: 14, 15: 32, 20: 34). To take the Gospel farther; he appointed twelve witnesses whom he trained and commissioned during His life time (Matt.10: 1-5, Lk.6: 12-16). He appointed another seventy and received the report of their evangelical trip (Lk.10: 1, 17-20). He was very passionate about His assignment and was sold out to it that He almost denied His biological family (Matt.12: 46-50).
Discussion: In view of the foregoing, what are Christians expected to do?
1. Ps. 126; 5-6…………………………………………………...2.Rom.9: 1-3……………………………………………………………
3. Phil.2; 5……………………………………………………………4.1 Cor.9; 16…………………………………………………………..
Conclusion-All that our Saviour did was for the purpose of reconciling God and people. We are not called to die on the cross for the salvation of others as Jesus did. However, we should be as compelled by the love of God to effectively bring the full gospel to others as Jesus Himself was in providing a gospel for us.
19th Sept. 2012
THEME- MY LIFE: A WITNESS
TEXT- Acts.11: 25-26
One outstanding way of witnessing to lost souls is the conduct and manner of our lives. The early believers were first called Christians in Antioch because of their way of life which was like that of Christ their Master and Leader (Act.11; 26, 26:28; 1 Pt. 4:16). Many people around us are not willing to follow our preaching because our lives are inconsistent with our profession and way of life. We should note that, it is not the badge we wear, the label we put on or the big Bible we carry that show that we are Christians and that preaches the gospel but the way we live our lives in the neighbourhood, business/office premises, school, etc. Many so-called Christians separate their secular work from their spiritual worship (they behave as part-time Christians). Many have a different lifestyle on Sundays, in fellowship and among brethren but live like Satan at other days and in other places. Mere profession of the grace of God and preaching of the gospel without corresponding character makes a caricature of our faith. Our witnessing is not potent because our lives are preaching and pointing to something else. A change of character and mode of life is a necessity from this moment! (Tit.2: 11-15).
1. PATHWAY OF THIS GENERATION:Deut.25: 13-16, Prov.18: 9, 26: 14, Amos 5: 12, 1 Thes.4: 5-6
It is no longer news that workers of all categories who are not born again are involved in different shady deals. Greed, covetousness, dishonesty, injustice, deceits, fraud, lying, oppression, immorality, wickedness, cheating, bribery, larceny, idleness, habitual lateness to work, been paid for a job not done, etc. are common conduct of sinners. Unfortunately believers in Christ who are to preach the gospel still struggle with some of these ills. If we are not living above these reproaches, how can we witness to those in the same condition?
2. PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY PREACHES BETTER MESSAGE: Rom.6: 1-2, Tit.2: 12-13, 1 Thes.5: 6, 9, 1 Pt.1: 13-16-Preaching the gospel is easier if others see practical evidences of it in our lives (Lk.6: 39). The grace of God must be permitted to assist us yield our mouth, eyes, legs, hands, etc. as instruments of God. The fruit we bear must be that of truth, sincerity and love. The world would hear the message of our mouth when our lifestyles are such of honesty, industry, diligence, obedience, promptness, transparency, faithfulness, commitment and contentment. It is also evident in the way we abide to rules and regulations; keep deadlines and promises, respect and honour our superiors even when they are not Christians, etc.
Discussion: What lessons can we deduce from the lives of the following on the subject matter?
1. The Centurion (Lk.7: 4-5)………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
2. Peter & John (Act.4: 13)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
3. The Early Christians (Act.11: 25-26)…………………………………………………………………………………………………
4. The Thessalonians (1 Thes.1; 6-9)…………………………………………………………………………………………………….
3. PRACTICAL HOLINESS: MORE CONSITENT THAN PREACHING- Matt.5: 13-16
Jesus used two symbols to buttress His point on this subject in focus: salt & light.
a. Salt: Salt is white (purity). People first notice the colour of salt before they taste it. Our lives must be transparent, clean, pure and white before God and men (Act.24; 16). Salt is sweet to all irrespective of tribe, age or gender. We must be good to all and attractive in character so that our lives would attract men to the Lord. Salt preserves food from decay. Our lives must assist people away from corruption and pollution. Salt becomes useful and profitable when it comes into contact with the substance it is designed to season.
b. Light: the light our Lord referred to is like lamp or candle. The light must get strength from an external source. God is our source through Jesus. Life that is not connected to Jesus is in darkness. This type of light needs constant supply of oil to continue to burn and radiate. We must continue to depend on the Holy Spirit to shine, continually burn and become good witness and ambassadors of Christ. This type of light needs to be shaded and protected from storm/wind. We must be shielded from the wind of false teachings, temptations, discouragement, etc.
Conclusion: The Great Commission assignment given to us by Jesus would be preached effectively in our Jerusalem if we live consistent Christian lives. Our lives in the public and private must preach Christ-action they see speak louder than voice. May God help us all!
26th Sept. 2012
THEME- THE TASK IS NOW!
TEXT- Lk.24: 44-49
Several years after the light of salvation came; billions of people are still plunged in darkness, hopelessness and in spiritual captivity. ‘Saved to serve, saved for a witness, won to win’ should be the slogan of every believer in Christ. The task of preaching the gospel is the task of all who has experienced light in God and salvation in Christ. The field is ripe ready to harvest and every believer must be involved in reaping the great harvest of the earth. We are therefore implored to use our talents, resources, time and asset to preach the gospel. No excuse would be tolerated. We must start the preaching now!
1. THE SOUL WINNERS’ FIRE: Jer. 20;8-9
Little or no result can be obtained in witnessing when our lives are cold, lukewarm and docile. The Church is supposed to be on fire for God for her to be able to accomplish His agenda. Isaiah had a touch of spiritual fire (6: 5). Of John the Baptist, Jesus said, ’He was a burning and a shinning light’ (Jn.5; 35). Moses was called by God through a burning bush. The fire of God fell on Mount Carmel in answer to the prayer of Elijah and this heavenly fire was a sign to the people that Elijah was the prophet of God (1kg.18; 39). The 120 disciples of our Lord who were filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost had outward, visible tongues of fire sitting upon them. All preachers must seek for heavenly fire (the Holy Ghost) if our preaching must be effective (Act.2: 39).
2. MOTIVATION FOR WITNESSING: Jn.14; 15, 23
One major motivation for preaching the Good News is the awareness of the overwhelming experience of the love of God. It has to do with all that Jesus did for us. Another factor is a sense of responsibility (Jn.8: 29, Col. 1; 10). We are also motivated by the shortness and certainty of eternity (Jn.4; 35). The nearness of death and certainty of judgment are sterling realities for all believers in the Lord (Heb.9: 27)
3. THE TASK IS NOW: Act.1: 8
Everyone who has been liberated from condemnation to commendation should act fast. Time waits for nobody. Let us begin the witnessing from our homes (Jerusalem). We should not wait for the Church, fellowship or elders before we commence well planned, continuous and target-oriented outreaches. Personal/friendship evangelism, mass and mini-evangelism, literature methods, information and communication technology based process, mass media preaching, etc are proven systematic soul winning approaches that are available for us to us. Education, age, color are no barriers. There are countless promises for the obedient (Dan.12; 3). Start now!
Practical: person-to-person witnessing before summary
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 3rd Sept. 2012
FOCUS: THE RIGHT FOUNDATION
TEXT: Psalm 127:1; Luke 6:48
Laying the right foundation is very important in every facet of life - academic, business, marriage etc; that of a home (marriage) cannot be an exemption. When any foundation is faulty; we must be ready to face the consequences thereof. To build a strong and healthy marriage; words might achieve little success but certain right actions. Every stage of foundation is important, and so requires attention and great efforts. Like a solid foundation; no good marriage happens by chance or accident. Marriage is sweet and lovely when you make the right choice and build your home on the solid foundation – Jesus Christ. A home without Christ is full of crises. Every foundation is intended to sustain and carry a worthwhile building. To build an enduring home, good and solid foundations must be laid but in case anyone has a faulty beginning; prayers and certain efforts must be applied to right the wrong.
1. Faulty Foundation: Ps.11: 3, Matt.7: 24-27
There are cracks in several homes because of shady, weak and faulty foundations. A home built on the following foundations are faulty:- unequal yoke (having marriage relationship with unbelievers- 1 Cor.15:33), dating a married person, deceit/lies, engaging during pre-marital days what marriage people do like kissing, sleeping & living together, washing clothes and cooking for each other before marriage, pre-marital sex, acting as in-law, etc.), having children before contracting marriage, etc.
2. Preparing to build on good foundation:
Certain amount of work has to be done in preparing the land for cultivation; so is marriage. When two people come together in marriage, they convey with their past sins, family dysfunctions, with hurts, hopes and beautiful dreams of what marriage is supposed to be like. Many come together having already been sexually active, which on the long run lead to a variety of issues. Some had been emotionally or physically abused and disturbed. Dailies and magazines are filled with all kinds of marital advice which are carnal, sensual and worldly. We dare not look at friends as our yardstick in marriage but the Bible as our only standard for successful marriages.
3. Laying the right foundation: All believers in Christ must ensure that we work assiduously on our future with respect to marriage union, children, career, spiritual fulfilment, finances and all good ventures. The hints below could be of help:
a. Prayer-Build your home on prayer. Show and teach your seeds the process.
b. Trust– This is crucial in home management. When trust is broken, suspicion sets in.
c. Openness and honesty – Do not be secretive especially when you are married. Open your heart to each other.
d. Ask Questions – Be free to ask questions of what you are not clear about each other.
e. Attend Programmes together – Marriage/couples’ seminars, revivals and soul lifting retreats.
f. Govern your tongue– Be careful of what you say to each other because words are like broken eggs that cannot be retrieved. Respect each other.
g. Unity-Walk and work together. After marriage, be fond of each other.
Singles in relationship should avoid being in solitary and dark locations to avoid temptation.
Conclusion: In case your foundation is wrong; seek the face of God for help in rectifying the past (Isa.43: 19, 2 Cor.5: 17). Clear the way for a stronger and healthier marriage. Love each other unconditionally. Be firm in your decisions but learn to bend when facts are presented to you. Depend only and always on the Master Builder – Jesus Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 10th Oct. 2012
THEME- FRIENDSHIP (exclusively for singles)
A home is made up of a family which is the basic unit of any human society. This is also true for the Christian home, only that more moral sanity and good virtues are expected. People at different ages in the home relate with people outside the immediate family. As singles, we have a lot to gainfully derive from friendship as God ordained it (1Sam.18:4; Prov. 18:24). However, the devil subtly plants destiny destroyers in people’s lives today in the guise of friendship and in such a relationship, the journey is always downward unless a divinely orchestrated preemptive measure is taken. Friendship for us is so crucial and deterministic because it has the power to shape our thinking, values, reasoning, orientation, sometimes even our faith and subsequently our lives. It is therefore imperative that we take a more deliberate and conscious effort in choosing whom we keep as core friends and whom to keep at arm’s-length.
1. FRIENDSHIP IN ITS REAL SENSE: 2Cor.6:14
Genuine friendship means caring and concern for each other. The term "friendship" is found only once in the New Testament (Jams. 4:4). It comes from the Greek word philia which is akin to philos which is translated "love." Friends are people that are travelling in the same direction, have similar aspirations and goals and encourage each other in attaining those goals. Friendship in its real sense assist each other to build up team members and do all that is humanly possible to handle talents and gifts with thoughtful advice and direction.
2. CHOOSING OUR FRIENDS: THE KINGDOM APPROACH: 2Tim.2:22; 2Cor.6:14
God is interested in the choice of friends we make and so is the devil. In order to choose friends wisely, there are certain principles we must employ. We must begin by applying the principle stated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33 -- "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" We must then realize it is better to have a few friends, even just one, who will be the right kind of friends than a multitude of the kind who could cause us to lose our souls (Matt. 16:26). We must choose friends who will be good examples to us and others. In that light, choose friends who are:
i. God fearing: This is the most fundamental factor to consider in choosing friends (1Kgs12:10-11).
ii. Possession of good morals and virtues (1 Cor. 15:33)
iii. Wise, Responsible & Diligent: The Bible says ‘He that walks with wise men shall be wise…. We must surround ourselves with serious minded people and not mediocre and indolent (2Thess.3:10).
iv. Prayerful: Dan2:17-19. At critical moments in our lives, we will need friends to assist us on pressing issues that require urgent divine intervention.
v. Modest in all things (1 Tim. 2:9)
vi. Ability to bridle tongues (Jas. 1:26)
vii. Honesty (Luke 8:15)
viii. Law-abiding (Rom. 13:1-7)
Discussion: Deduce what these passages teach us about friendship.
1. Prov.18:24………………………………………………………...… (2) 1Sam.18:1&4………………………………………………………………
3. 2Sam.13:3………………………………………………….………... (4) Mark2:4……………………………………..……………………………….
3. IMPACT OF GODLY FRIENDSHIP; Prov.18: 24
The Bible contains examples of godly friendships. Its most classic example is that of the friendship of David and Jonathan. Their love for and confidence in one another is a lesson to us all. The Apostle Paul and Timothy developed a liking for and a confidence. Some of the positive impacts of goodly friendship include: 1. Growth: Spiritually, Academically, Financially, etc. 2. Exposure to other better ways of reasoning, better orientation, better way of living, broadened horizon, etc.
3. Career prospects 4. Profitable ventures
CONCLUSION: Since man was created a social being (Gen. 2:18), he needs the close association of others. To choose those friends need carefulness, seriousness and spiritual sense if not; we may get into trouble.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 10th Oct. 2012
THEME- FAMILY ALTAR (exclusively for the married)
TEXT- Deut. 6:4-7, Josh. 24: 15
Family altar is a very important aspect of every Bible believing home. It is family Bible study and worship time where every home goes before the Lord in worship and prayer daily. It is however a pity that only few families take this seriously and practice this routinely probably for economic reasons. It is an opportunity to have a family that has a witness for Christ in the community, to have a family that takes the church seriously and enjoys going to all the services. It also makes us to obey the commandments of God as stated in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. The family altar may not guarantee a problem free-existence, but it will guarantee a place of refuge and a place for sharing of family problems. Children will hear their names mentioned with the concern laid at the feet of the heavenly Father, and parents will hear their children pray for them. The family that prays together sticks together.
A. Purpose of the Family Altar
1. To meet with God as a family (Josh.24: 15).
2. To set example for others (2 Cor. 3:2).
3. It is one of the means to teach and lead children to the Lord and be taught their duty to God. (Prov. 24: 21, Eccl. 12:1, Deut. 31: 12, Eph. 2:8).
4. By it, the bond of love among family members is strengthened
5. Family Altar will make children to learn their duty to their parents (Exd. 20:12, Eph 6:1-2).
6. By it Christians grow in grace (2 Pt. 3:18).
7. Through the family altar, the family will be able to pray about the problems and matters they would not pray about in the presence of outsiders.
B. How to conduct family altar
Every member of the family should be present. Choose a convenient time when all participants would be alert and alive. As we come to the holy hour of family worship; our attitude must be quiet, worshipful, and reverent (I Thes.4:11, Habk. 2:20). You may begin with songs or prayer, then the reading of God’s Word systematically. This may be followed by prayer for the family, missions, neighbour, community, school, lost souls, the sick, the needy, rulers, nations, Church, and any other intercession.
C. Useful tips in building family altar
1. Start small- You can't run a marathon without training and neither can you engage in long prayers without training yourself in the short ones.
2. Be sensitive to your children's attention spans. It is good to stretch your family members but don't break them! Do not make prayer to be something your children dread.
3. Employ participatory fellowship instead of a dominating one man game.
4. Encourage personal quiet time for all members.
5. Ask questions about their Christian experiences and about what they read.
Conclusion: A family on its knees, agreeing as touching anything, has power to claim anything within the will of GOD for nations, or individuals, or for the Church. If we would get the families of believers back to the family altar, we would soon see the powers of darkness bound everywhere! We would see the HOLY SPIRIT loosed to bring the showers of revival blessings to the Church and spiritual awakening to the world!
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 17th Oct. 2012
THEME- Money Management in the family (exclusively for the married)
TEXTS- Gen.2:24-25, Isaiah 48:17
Money among other things plays a significant role in strengthening or breaking the cord of unity in the family. There is no place where money is more relevant than at home. In fact, the Bible says, money answers all things (Eccl.10: 19). Money is needed in the family to do almost everything. There is no doubt that it is the desire of God that the Christian family should be blessed financially as the couples commit themselves faithfully to their legitimate source(s) of livelihood (Isa.48:17). To properly address money management in the home, couples should have mutual scriptural principles guiding their finances.
1. Causes of financial crises: When money is lacking or in abundance, troubles are inevitable. The following are some identified causes of financial strait-jacket: secrecy (Gen.2; 25), lies/deceit, solo spirit (walking independently of each other), stinginess, infidelity, irresponsibility, lack of effective communication, lack of proper planning, spirit of debt, unfaithfulness in tithing, extravagancy, indiscipline, etc.
2. Financial Planning: Couples must thoughtfully arrive at a series of steps that will guide the way money will be spent. Most people naturally respond to impulse when it comes to spending the limited cash at hand. Forgetting that human wants are insatiable. Without a good plan on ground, chances are that the few incomes may be wasted on items which later may be discovered useless! However, planning in the home should not be a unilateral decision (i.e. husband or wife alone), the couple must come together and “disagree to agree” on how what they have or are expecting must be used.
3. Tips on financial planning:
i. Be transparent-let the other partner understand your financial status (Gen.2:24-25).
ii. Analyze your sources of income and expenditures-write them out!(Luk.14:28-30)
iii. Have a budget-write out how you will spend the money based on your need, not your wants.
iv. Save-remember the 70-30 rule. Endeavor to save no matter how little.
v. Pursue a project all the time-get busy always if not, you may not achieve any tangible result.
vi. Live below your means-if you are capable of using 3 cars use 2 and save the balance.
vii. Develop an investment mental attitude-this is essential for the rainy season
viii. Do not spend to impress, never compete with anybody.
ix. Fight against living apart-couples who live separately spend more money on accommodation, transportation, etc
4. Financial Discipline: It’s not just enough to follow the tips on financial planning; it is advisable that families put in place strict measures to guard against whatever may make them fail to follow the tips.
i. Tithe your income-It’s your covenant with God. Don’t spend it!
ii. Know policies that work for you and stick with it (do not be too rigid all the time)
iii. Know your limits-No sentiments! Know who you are financially responsible for and be sure they can fit into your budget without strain.
iv. Prioritize your purchase-Couples must be able to distinguish between: (a) What is urgent and important (b) What is important but not urgent (e.g. eating together outside/holiday, etc.) (c) What is not important and not urgent?
1. Read Acts 5:1&2. What lessons can you deduce from here with respect to our lesson of today?
2.“Reciprocal aid” (e.g. “she bought my aso-ebi and so I must buy hers”) is one common phenomenon in our society. How can the family handle such when the family budget at the moment does not cover it?
Truthfulness, faithfulness, prudency, sacrificial attitude, etc. are part of the benefits of proper money management. God is a master manager and he dislikes wastage (Jn.6:12). Since the wisdom for planning and management comes from God, couples are advised to prayerfully seek God’s face (above all other things), before arriving at the decision that could best work for their family.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 17th Oct. 2012
THEME- BEFORE YOU SAY YES (exclusively for singles)
TEXT- Gen.24: 58, Amos 3:3
Yes is an acceptance to an offer. There are certain factors that every single must consider before accepting to go with anyone in marriage since marriage is a life-long union. Even when courtship starts; individual parties must still consider whether they can live the rest of their lives with each other or call it quit. All concerned must count the cost before embarking on the marriage journey.
I. Consider these Factors:
a. Salvation experience-Is the person a child of God? 2 Cor.6: 14-17
b. God’s leading-am I led by God, lust or infatuation? 1 Corin. 2: 12, 14, 16
c. Value-am I presenting myself as cheap commodity? What does he/she value?
d. A Christian cannot overpower a non-Christian’s free will and force him or her to accept Christ.
e. An unbeliever might fake a conversion simply to gain your acceptance.
f. New Christians do not automatically have character or spiritual maturity.
g. A non-Christian cannot meet your need for love or security.
II. Questions requiring urgent answers-
a. Are you both married to Jesus Christ? If you or your date does not know Jesus as the primary Source of love, then you will try to manipulate love from one another (1 Cor.10:23).
b. Can you coattail this person? Assuming your eyes is open; can you live permanently with this person? Can you coattail his/her excesses, physique, character, disposition?
c. Can you resolve conflict together? Some couples pleasantly coast through dating, get married, and then receive a shock when their first round of conflict hits. Conflict is an unavoidable part of life, and it can destroy a couple who hasn’t learned how to properly resolve it.
d. Do you have the consent of your spiritual leaders and family? It is important to listen to the counsel of your spiritual leaders for guidance and moreso; they are not as emotionally blinded as you are and may identify problem areas that you have overlooked.
e. Have you sought pre-engagement counselling? Pre-engagement counselling is so helpful when you are interested in marrying someone. It is impossible to uncover by yourself every potential problem area of your relationship. Even wise friends and family can overlook negative warning signs; therefore, seek a trained Christian counsellor to discuss the details of your relationship before you get engaged.
III. Hierarchy needs to consider before saying yes
a. God is the Head of Christ. b. Jesus is the Head of every man and woman. c. A husband is the head of his wife. D. woman is subject to her husband. .e. A husband is to love his wife sacrificially, just as Christ loves the church. f. Are you willing to obey all the above?
Conclusion: The good news is that as a Christian, you are not alone in your decision-making process. Since you have Jesus Christ dwelling within you; He offers His divine wisdom in every situation so that you don’t have to rely upon your emotions or finite wisdom. Depend on Him and obey His Word.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 24th Oct. 2012
THEME- MARRIAGE KEYS (Part 1exclusively for the married)
TEXT- Gen 2: 26 -29
Marriage is the earliest divine institution meant for procreation, peaceful co-existence, completeness, companionship, fruitfulness, etc. It was established primarily to involve a man and a woman (monogamy). The devil understands that a successful marriage depends on two things: finding the right person and being the right person but do all that is humanly possible to bring disaffection and trouble into it. Marriage is a strong covenant which God holds with high esteem but has certain keys for it to be effective, enduring, lovely and interesting (Amos 3:3). Anger, unforgiveness, ignorance, vengeance, stinginess, laziness, unfaithfulness, sexual denial, hatred, poor spiritual life, self, wrong foundation, nagging, malice, criticism, competitive spirit, distance, rigidity, etc are killers of marriage that every home must seriously engage in daily battle. The workability of marriage depends on its foundation (Ps.11; 3). When the foundation is laid on Christ, it will receive the backing of the Almighty but if otherwise God will be a spectator in such home.
1. Successful tips for marriage; Song. 2: 4-6, 8: 6-7
Remove from your life all that your partner hates. Work on the strength that your spouse enjoys. Recognize your faults, own them up, ask for pardon instead of justifying them. Be willing to be the loser in every argument. Be the first to initiate reconciliation regardless of who is wrong. Praise what is good in your spouse. Confess love in word and deed. When disagreement arises, stop and pray. Never raise your voice when argument or issue ensue. Ensure that discussions are concluded on a good note- do not allow crying, anger, excuse of sleep, etc. to halt discussion with your partner.
2. Survival of marriage:
Marriage is supposed to be blissful and can be blissful, if all parties involved put up necessary machineries. For marriage to survive, the following facts would be of help:
a. Compatibility: The two must be ready to work together and be united in all things.
b. Brokenness: In home where flesh is on the throne, there will always be strife, disagreement, contention, open fight etc. Couples should pray to be broken and to grow in grace.
c. Respect for In-laws: The couples must respect their in-laws irrespective of their age & educational status.
d. Avoid nagging (Prov. 21:9): Nagging turns the home into hell on earth. If you keep nagging at your partner, he or she will not enjoy staying at home.
e. Sexual satisfaction (1 Cor. 7:4-5): When a partner is sexually satisfied at home; he or she will not look outside the home.
From the following; deduce what can help the homes when faced with challenges:
a. Luk 18:1…………………………….……………….……b. Eph 5:25……………………………………………..,
c. Col. 3:16…………………………………………………….d. Col. 3:18……………………………………………..
Make your spouse your priority. Talk together, gist regularly. Do daily pillow talk before you sleep. Create time for joint shopping. Create time to pray together. Respect each other’s views, etc.
Conclusion: Christian marriage involves more than the blending of two people. The Lord Jesus Christ is the third personality. He gives meaning and direction to the relationship if permitted and invited.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 24th Oct. 2012
THEME- LOVE OR LUST (exclusively for singles)
TEXT- 1 Cor.13: 4
Love is a verb and an action word. It is one of the most common experiences of man and one of the most difficult to define. Love is giving, sharing, sacrificing and persevering. Webster defines love as ‘a feeling of strong personal attachment induced by sympathetic understanding or by ties of kinship, ardent affection’. It is the fuel that keeps the engine of two lovers working.
Lust on the other hand is any intense or strong physical desire to have sex with some body and is usually without associated feeling of love or affection. It is of the flesh, sensual, carnal and devilish. It is natural for anyone who is not a child of God to be a victim of lust since he/she is not under the control of the Holy Spirit. The Bible admonished us to flee youthful lust and to embrace love instead of lust. Love is about keeping someone around for the future; lust is about enjoying yourself right now.
1. SIGNALS OF LUST: Tit.1: 16, 2 Pt.2;20-22
Lust is a strong desire to gratify sexual urge. It is in a similar camp with infatuation (Matth.5:27-28). Some of the signals for lust include:
a. Watching phonographic films or reading sexually motivated materials
b. Continuous thought of sexuality
c. Applauding physical chemistry alone- Lust is physical attraction and focuses only on the way someone looks and feeling on his/her physical chemistry and body.
d. Alleging to be in love but not been a friend
e. Meeting/seeing/holding of hands/pecking/kissing of opposite sex
2. KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD: Eccl.3; 1-8
Real love is not a mere natural attraction neither is it affection that is self produced through friendly visitation, familiarity and exchange of gifts. Christian singles are to understand God’s will by praying. God reveals Himself through revelation, dream, inner conviction, giving of signs, etc. This will only be applicable when you are matured spiritually, materially, emotionally and otherwise. Your trust in the Lord with all your heart will lead you to the right path (Prov. 3: 5). Consider the following tips:
a. Don’t be enticed by beauty-Prov.31: 30
b. Education is good but it should not be the sole criteria
c. Family background is essential but many so called good families are Satan’s dwelling places
d. Beware of sweet talkers-they are smooth operators
e. God cannot give you an unbeliever as partner however nice, gentle and generous (Amos 3: 3, 2 Cor.6: 14-18)
f. God cannot give you two people at a time or one after the other. Our God can never vary His choice (Rom.11: 29).
g. When God speaks, He confirms through signs, people and yourself (Gen.24: 48).
h. God will equally confirm to the other person
i. Familiarity breeds contempt they say. When you are too close to someone, you may be wrong and think that he/she is the will of God for you. Your Mr. or Miss. Right may be far away (1 Sam.3: 4-5).
j. A sister may be the one that is led; it is not compulsory that it has to be the man all the time.
It is lust to love a person who is prosperous but not born again; good looking but not Christ-like, well-behaved, religious, dutiful, conscientious Church-goer who has not truly repented. It is lust not love to aspire to have a so-called believer who is not a new creature or a convert who is not free from sin or the Pentecostal who speaks in tongue but lacks divine love or a backslider who though a member of the choir but no longer in Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 31st Oct. 2012
THEME- MARRIAGE KEYS Part 2 (exclusively for the married)
TEXT- Gen 2: 26 -29
As marriage is a God-given divinely appointed relationship; it is surprising that it is filled with friction, disappointments, misunderstanding and pain. Some of the factors in this regard include lack of wisdom, communication gap, family issues, in-laws, physical and emotional abuse, lack of good value, infidelity, infertility, etc. Believers are to fight for their homes because the devil is determined that no marriage should succeed. This study is the concluding part of the keys to make marriage to work.
a. Admiration: both men and women appreciate admiration. Compliment your spouse always especially when he/she gets promoted, passes an exams, marks birthday, etc. Everyone opens up to compliments but all run away from those who criticize them.
b. Prayer: Spiritual exercises like family altar, fasting, witnessing for Christ, etc. should be done together.
c. Intimacy: Develop a very close relationship with your spouse. This is possible when commitment, tenderness and attachment to each other are practised regularly.
d. Go the extra mile: What extra thing can you do for your spouse? Drive her/him even if she/he does not appreciate it.
e. Dressing: Men look at the physical appearance. Dress well. Most men do not want to be corrected the way they dress.
f. Giving a helping hand: Women become old due to fatigue and tiredness. Men are to assist in domestic affairs. Forget about culture that inhibits you from helping out.
g. Communication: this is a very key factor in marriage. Communication breaks down because one talks so much that the other person stops listening. One believes his/her opinions are better. The other says I know my partner would prove me wrong or I am afraid you will correct me. Keep talking to each other. Women naturally tend to talk more than men. Anything that will cause you to stop talking to your spouse will destroy your relationship.
h. In-laws-Marriages in Africa is not me and my partner alone. However when two people marry, they do not marry each other alone but their families as well. Understanding and love should be displayed to in-laws.
i. Fight against abuse: Couples should learn to speak kind words to each other including romantic words. Respect is fundamental to a good marriage.
j. Infidelity: Strive against the spirit of infidelity. Anyone involved in extra marital affair is playing with fire
k. Birth control: When wives are afraid of love moves of their husbands for fear of pregnancy. Couples must prayerfully and tactically plan and control the number of children they have considering spiritual (1Tim.5: 8), health and economic factors. Preeminent among these factors is the freedom to enjoy sex union as a couple without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy.
l. Family first before job: Many families collapsed while some are still on the verge of collapse because of certain businesses and jobs that spouses undertake especially men which destroy intimacy. Some of such jobs that we should attempt to avoid include those that involve constant transfer, those that involve regular shift or permanent night sift and those that affects your sexual life.
m. Sleeping together: modernization has destroyed many homes by making spouses live in separate rooms. What God has joined together, let no room put asunder.
n. Forgiveness: This remains a very strong pillar of marriage. Couples must develop the habit of forgiving one another irrespective of the offence as Jesus forgave us.
Conclusion: As humans we must key into God’s design for our marriages and fight that it succeeds by all means. We tend to forget easily the good deeds that our spouses did for us as well as our unfaithfulness to them and the good things we failed to do. Let us turn on new leaf and become the best partner ever through our determination and dependence on God.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME 31st Oct. 2012
THEME- AFTER SAYING YES (exclusively for singles)
TEXT- 1 Cor.13: 4
Marriage is a covenant relationship between two people and each of them must have definite, separate conviction about the relationship before is starts. Before each of the parties say yes; nothing must be assumed since your consent is to commence a life-long irreversible journey. One must not compel or cajole the other person into it. You must not allow anyone to intimidate you into it. None should enter into it with fear of been a left over if you miss this opportunity. External prophecies and counsels from brethren and men of God are important but must be received with caution. These could at best act as confirmation and never the basis for your decision and what God has told you. Be patient enough to allow Him to personally convince you before you enter into any marriage relationship. If you have been cajoled into a relationship, you are on your own. It is better you disengage from such and allow God to lead you. After you are sure of His leading; there are other things you must put in place before the two of you begin to live as spouses-this is the focus of this study.
1. Christian Courtship: Jer. I7:7,10, Rom 12:1-2
Courtship goes far beyond the pleasure of dates, gifts and sweet words. It is serious business because decisions are to be taken during it and such decisions form the basis and foundation of marriage. This is the period between when the day of agreement by the parties concerned to begin a marriage relationship and the day of wedding. It is also a mutual commitment made between a man and a woman, only as a result of knowing God's will for each other, for the purpose of getting to know each other & their background better as well as preparing themselves for marriage. The period of courtship is not supposed to be for redundancy and idleness but an opportunity to learn more about each other in communication, career/business/academics, ministry and family background. During this period, the parties must be willing to relate and fellowship with others in group setting; bearing in mind that they are to set good and positive example as a Christian courting couple, for other singles as a model. They must use the period to understand and accept each other's personal differences and also freely interact with godly married couples and observe their Christian marriage lifestyle and family life. Questions that need clarifications should also be asked from each other, from their spiritual leaders and parents if need be, all aimed at preparing themselves.
Christians courting must be careful not to be exclusive in relating only with each other all the time. (Heb 10:24-26, Eph 5:3, Gal 5:16, 19-21). Do not plan to isolate yourselves (during your date) in dark or solitary places where you can be easily tempted neither should you give in to your passions and abuse your bodies for sexual sins; e.g. petting, pre-marital sex. (Gal 5:6, 19-21). Do not plan to have a long courtship (more than 2-3 years) and be influenced by the worldly system in striving to "save-up" for a lavish wedding celebration and well furnished house, if you cannot afford it. (I Tim 6:6-10). Discussion on Ministry, number of children, finances, extended families, in-laws, etc should be trashed and God’s direction sought on these matters.
2. Christian Wedding:
When the parties have scaled through the period of courtship, feasting and celebration are the next. Traditional marriage is important to receive blessings of parents and family consent. Bride price must be paid. Church solemnization is key for every Christian as a public testimony to the Church; to receive prayers from the Lord and brethren (Ps.133; 1-3, Matt.18: 18-20) and to reach out to the unsaved (Eccl.11; 5-6, Eph.5: 15-16). Christians must avoid borrowing for wedding (Prov.22; 7, Heb.13; 5-6). Alcohols, worldly music and all things that would bring reproach to the name of the Lord must be avoided in all our occasions (Isa.5: 11-12, Jam.4: 4, 1 Jn.2; 15-17). Modesty should be our watchword (Heb.13; 5-6). Prayers must be consciously taken along before, during and after the wedding.
Conclusion: The day of the Lord is at hand. We must always be at alert for the Lord’s coming. To this end, our lives must be seen glorifying Him in our singlehood and marriage!
PROSPERITY 7th Nov.2012
FOCUS: BENEVOLENT SPIRIT
TEXT: Acts 20: 35, Luke 6:38
Benevolence is an act of showing kindness or goodwill to others. To be benevolent is to be involved in performing good or charitable acts and not seeking to make a profit out of it. Benevolent spirit describes enjoying helping others or someone whose primary characteristics is being warm or friendly. A benevolent person is the one who is generous, and who give freely to others without expecting in return. The body of Christ is under obligation to provide material assistance to people in need. Such benevolent work is certainly authorized by the scriptures as a definite part of the mission of the Church. The law of Christ gives explicit instruction to Christians regarding the need to practice benevolence. James described ‘pure and undefiled religion’ as being comprised of two elements: benevolence (‘to visit orphans and widows in their trouble’) and personal purity (‘to keep oneself unspotted from the world’ 1:27). Also, Apostle Paul exhorts believers to take advantage of opportunities to do good (Gal. 6:10). The early disciples left us examples of their determination to show love and mercy toward one another. Those members of the Jerusalem church who were needy were provided for by other members who had abundance (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). We are to pray that we possess compassionate mind like our Lord.
1. DISRIBUTING TO THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE 1 Tim. 6: 17-19
As Believers in Christ, putting regular smile on the faces of the needy should be our ultimate priority as we are expected to emulate our Master who provided for the needy and by so doing we are to reach out to them (Mark 6: 36-44, Acts 20: 35,). We should not be like those who prefer to waste divine resources instead of sharing with others. Some researchers alleged that most influential people waste resources on animals and that the amount expended by these rich people to feed their domestic pets is enough to liberate several persons from poverty. Food stuffs, clothing, money, shelter, etc. will save the needy and dying soul in our society and the Church of God (Gen. 18: 1-8, Acts 9: 36-39). The Lord has provided that the need of His people be met by us (1 Tim. 6: 17-19), we therefore need to extend benevolence toward others. Hospitality is required from ministers (1Tim_3:2; Tit_1:8) and is a test of Christian character (1Tim_5:10).
What exhortations do the Bible give to believers on this subject matter as stated in the verses below?
2. BIBLICAL SAMPLES OF BENEVOLENCE- 2 Cor. 9: 7-8
Abraham accommodated and entertained ‘three men’ (Gen. 18: 1-8). Lot was hospitable to ‘two men’ (Gen. 19: 1-3). Jethro rebuked his daughters for neglecting Moses (Exd. 2: 20). Manoah (Judg_13:15) and the Shunammite (2 Ki_4:8) were hospitable. Job did not leave strangers to wallow in the street (Job 31:17, 32). People of the New Testament times were also benevolent (Matt. 10: 42, 25: 35, 3 John 5-8).
3. BECOMING BENEVOLENT:
We must open our spiritual and physical eyes to see those who are actually in need. Genuine strangers (Heb_13:2), the poor (Isa_58:7; Luk_14:13), our enemies (2 Kg_6:22-23; Rom_12:20) are those who through our benevolence might be won to the side of the Lord. New life in Christ and holy living make us possess the heart of giving. We are to always look around on how to help as much as we can do.
Conclusion: As we seek to prove what is good and acceptable, we must not neglect to provide for the needs of individual, and even strangers (Lk. 6: 32-36). When we are baptized into the realm of giving; higher groud is our next point of call.
PROSPERITY 14th Nov.2012
TEXT: 2 Chron. 31: 4-6, Mal. 3: 8-12
Worshipping God requires sacrifice and one of the sacrifices we render to God is in the payment of our tithes. Tithing is the practice of setting aside ten percent (one- tenth of one’s income -Lev 27: 30). It serves as a reminder to believers and is a pointer on the premium we give to God and the position He is in our lives. Believers must seek knowledge about tithing and any other thing that makes our worship of God acceptable.
1. FACTS ABOUT TITHING: Gen 14:18-20
Tithing is the payment of 10% of our gross income to God through the place where we are blessed by God r through a man of God. It is also a guide to minimum giving. According to Deut.12:5-18: All the produce of the soil were to be tithed; and these tithes, with the firstlings of the flock and herd, were to be eaten in the metropolis. But in case of distance, permission is given to convert the produce into money, which is to be taken to the appointed place, and there laid out in the purchase of food for a festal celebration, in which the Levite is, by special command, to be included (Deut.14:22-27). Then follows the direction that, at the end of three years, all the tithe of that year, is to be gathered and laid up, "within the gates," and that a festival is to be held of which the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, together with the Levite, are to partake (Deut.5:28-29). It is ordered that after taking the tithe in each third year, "which is the year of tithing," an exculpatory declaration is to be made by every Israelite that he has done his best to fulfill the divine command (Deut.26:12-14).
2. PAYMENT OF TITHES: Lev 27: 30
In the Old Testament; the purpose of the giving of a tenth was to meet the material need of the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless (the orphan), and the widow (Deut 26:12-13). The tithe was an expression of gratitude to God by His people. Basic to tithing was the acknowledgment of God's ownership of everything in the earth. In the New Testament the words tithe and tithing appear only eight times (Matt 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Heb 7:5-6, 8-9). All of these passages refer to Old Testament usage and to current Jewish practice. Nowhere does the New Testament expressly command Christians to tithe. However, as believers we are to be generous in sharing our material possessions with the poor and for the support of Christian ministry and since the Christ has not come to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it. Christ Himself is our model in giving. Giving is to done by faith, diligently, promptly, voluntarily, willingly, cheerfully, and given in the light of our accountability to God. Giving should be systematic and by no means limited to a tithe of our incomes. We recognize that all we have is from God. We are called to be faithful stewards of all our possessions (Rom 14:12; 1 Cor 9:3-14; 16:1-3; 2 Cor 8:1-9:15). Tithing serves as other way God is worshipped (Gen.4:4).True worship cost something (Job 1: 5). Abraham, Jacob, Job and other believers paid tithes as a means of spiritual obedience and love for God.
Discussion: State the promise of God for tithing believers according to Malachi 3: 11-12 ……………………………………..…………………………..…………………………………………………………………..
Tithing is God’s commandment to all Christians. It is a continual reminder that God is our source. When a Christian fails to tithe; frustration sets in as well as failures, sickness and lack of achievement. Christians sometime ignore tithing due to unbelief, fear of the future, greed, selfishness and lack of right teaching. As Christians, payment of one- tenth should be our starting point and not our maximum limit. We can and should give more than ten percent. Who do you trust more, Jesus or money?
PROSPERITY 21st Nov.2012
TEXT: Lk.6: 38
One of the principles to enter into God’s riches and to enjoy prosperous life is through our offerings to God. Offering is that which is presented in divine service; an animal or a portion of bread or corn, or of gold and silver, or other valuable articles, presented to God as atonement for sin, or as a return of thanks for his favors, or for other religious purpose. It is a sacrifice or an oblation. In the Mosaic economy, there were burnt-offerings (Lev_1:3-17; Psa_66:15), sin-offerings (Lev. 4:3-35; 6:25, 10:17;), peace-offerings (Lev. 3:1-17; 7:11), trespass-offerings (Lev_5:16-19; Lev_6:6; Lev_7:1), thank-offerings (Lev_7:12; 22:29; Psa_50:14), wave-offerings (Exo_29:26; Lev_7:30; ), and wood-offerings . Pagan nations also present offerings to their deities. Christ by the offering of Himself has superseded the use of all other offerings, having made atonement for all men. The focus of our study is the monies or gifts presented to God during church or fellowship services.
1. INGREDIENTS OF ACCEPTABLE OFFERINGS: Deut.15:21, Mal.1:7-11
“A son honoureth his father and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? And if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you ……………” (Mal. 1:6). God wants His people to give him honour. For our offerings to be accepted; the following ingredients should be added:
(a). A life pleasant to God : God is much more interested in our lives than our offering. He accepted the offerings of Abel because his life pleased Him (Gen.4:4).
(b). Honourable offering: How do you value God? Just like Noah presented an honourable offering; the value we place on God determines the gift we offer unto Him (Gen.22:1-3, 10-18). What about the sacrifice of Solomon? (1 Kg.3: 3-4).
(c). Obedience to God: God does not need our gift to grow or prosper but requires complete trust and obedience from us. Abraham’s story is a good case study when he offered his only son (Gen.22:1-3, 10-18).
(d). Offerings according to specifications: God could give you specifications (Specific amount and location) about offerings. God told Abraham to offer Isaac at Moriah (Gen.22:2, 9). Other ingredients include: Offerings based on love to God (1 kg.3: 3, 2Cor.8:8); willing heart (2Cor.8:2); giving generously (2Cor.8:2); adding thanksgiving to your offerings (2Cor.9:11); giving according to one’s ability; offering as purposed (2Cor.9:7).
2. OFFERINGS: GOD’S WAY TO PROSPERITY - 2Cor. 9:6
The way of God is not the way of man (Isa.55:7). His way is “Give and it will be given to you (Lk.6; 38).” The Bible way is to give, the unbeliever’s way is to hoard (Prov.11; 24-25). Holding on to what you supposed to give God as offerings will reduce you to poverty. Measure your income by your offerings. The unbeliever measures offerings by its income, but we Christians measure income by offerings. The measure we offer to God will be that which we receive. Therefore, if you want to be rich in God, you must be rich in your offerings. Nothing should be too much to give to your God. If you receive a financial breakthrough today; what proportion of it would you give God?
Conclusion: How you value God and spiritual things reflects the quality of your offerings. Can you give ‘a widow’s mite?’ Prosperity is for everyone who cannot hold back anything from God and who would not offer any gift that does not pain him/her.
PROSPERITY 28th Nov.2012
FOCUS: THE LAW OF SOWING & REAPING
TEXT: Gen.8: 21-22
Everyone desires to be financially prosperous but not many are making enquiries about how to become prosperous through Bible guidelines. Sowing is one key issue that attention must be given to. Sowing can be likened to an investment (Gal.6: 7-10). Sowing is the beginning of the process, while reaping is the culmination of it. When the farmer sows his field, he must do so in faith, trusting that all of his efforts will eventually be worthwhile. Nearly everything which the farmer does, he does in the light of what he hopes to be the outcome. So it is when we are expected to pay our offerings, tithes and special donations. Anyone who refuses to sow will have nothing to reap in the time of harvest. If you eat your seed there will be no harvest. This shows that sowing is imperative and the law of sowing and reaping is very important for prosperity sake.
FACTS ABOUT SOWING AND REAPING- 2 Cor. 9: 6-8
a. The law of sowing and reaping is called a law for a reason. It is a Godly principle and part of a covenant He made with Adam and all of Creation in Genesis 8:22
b. What is reaped is the result of what is sown- Luke 8:18
c. Paul teaches that sharing “all good things with those who teach the Word” is actually sowing on the part of those who are taught (Gal.6: 7-10).
d. The image of sowing and reaping also shows the direct correlation between what is done in this life and what we reap in eternity (spiritual sowing & reaping).
e. You always reap more than you sow- Mark 4:25
f. The time of sowing is not always a pleasant period.
g. If you increase the size of your seed, you are increasing the size of your harvest
h. The ground where you put your seed is important. Some grounds are not fertile.
i. The seed you are sowing is your escape route from poverty to abundance.
j. Sowing during hardship is a good investment for uncommon result
k. If you sow much you will reap much, if you sow little, you will reap little
l. Sowing is how you show that you love God more than money
m. Sowing your seed in terms of money or other resources is an avenue to enter into plenty.
n. God is more interested in our hearts than our monies.
o. If you sow a seed you will have glorious harvest.
p. Christians with insufficient funds hold tight to what they have when it would be wise for them to let some of it go -- to plant and invest it in God for future benefit. Releasing it is Biblical. Hoarding and holding is not.
q. Everyone sows daily, either consciously or otherwise
r. We must sow to the spirit by been righteous and by keeping the commandments of God if we must reap righteousness (Eccl.12; 13).
Highlight Biblical examples of those who sowed to God and/or to people’s lives
CONCLUSION: Opportunity for sowing does not come all the time, especially sowing on good ground. Once you have sown, expect to receive a harvest. The premium you put on your God is a function of your seed. Begin to sow now! Back to top