The Perfect Sunday Service 

Sunday Worship

When someone says “church”, what immediately comes to mind would be a traditional Sunday Worship Service. I believe that`s why most folks (about 50 percent of the entire population in many local churches) find it easier to miss weekly services. Services like the Prayer Meeting and the Bible Study Meeting record such low turnout from members. Members don`t feel so bad when they don`t come to church on those days, but will have guilt overshadowing them when they try to miss a Sunday Service.

The atmosphere is different on Sundays. Everyone somehow looks tushed up on a Sunday. Even the members who attend weekly services will dress better on a Sunday. In other words, no meeting that occurs weekly in any local church equals the Sunday Service in importance to the average church-goer.

The controversial topic of service structure is one that I really try to avoid, but is also one that I have been unable to. What should be part of a service? How should a service be ordered? What should come before what? I`m sure you must have asked some of these questions before, except if you have not been attending church services. Now, I have friends who speak against services with such rigid structures that there actually is no space for spontaneity. They Holy Spirit, they argue, can be restricted in such services. Everyone will have their unique views on this. But what really makes a service complete? Continue reading

A Tale of Two Elephants

Fighting Elephants

I’m sure you must have heard the old African adage, “When two elephants fight, it is the ground that suffers.” I personally believe that this quote would be better understood if we could try to imagine how big elephant s actually are. The average adult African elephant would weigh between 4,000-7,500kg while an average Asian male would weigh between 3,000-6,000kg. One interesting fact about elephants is that they never stop growing – they continue to grow for the entirety of their lifetime. In very simple terms, elephants aren`t just big creatures – they are huge animals.

Now, can you picture two of those large mammals engaged in a fight? That`s one fight that I would definitely prefer to watch from the other end of a TV screen. A very large radius around them would literally shake. The dust raised would be enough to reduce any man`s visibility to a bare minimum.

Continue reading

On Critics..

​It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Excerpt from Courageous Living by Michael Catt, Senior Pastor, Sherwood Church, Georgia.

The 21st Century Minister: The Spoken Gospel [Pt. Two]

Pastor

Man preaching

Note: This is the second post on a series in The 21st Century Minister section. To read the first post, click here.

I was excited. I was very excited. I was going to finally see the man that I respected so much. I tried so hard to get my roommates excited. They hadn’t heard of him before, so their expressions had been indifferent each time I chattered endlessly about the teaching ability of this man. I had stumbled upon his teachings the year before and simply fell in love with the way he taught God’s word. He spoke with such calmness that the authority could be detected in his voice. I respected him. My fellowship was finally inviting him, this great icon in my head, to one of our major programs. I was enthusiastic. I was finally going to see him and listen to him live. My heart was open from the very first day of the Conference. I sang and worshipped God with joy in my heart. I was ready to be blessed. I was ready to receive from God’s servant. Even the devil’s most experienced minions weren’t going to take away my blessings. But what I experienced wasn’t what I had been expecting for long. I experienced what my Dad had indirectly told me to expect years before.

Continue reading

I Slept With Tamar

Crying Man

I remember the first day she smiled at me
She had tied my heart with strong reins
And I became a willful captive, bound by
The simple thought of my mistress

Her voice became my very bread, I
Would wake up everyday hoping to hear
The voice that made me come alive inside,
The words that could set me on fire

Continue reading

He’s Not God

I love History. There are not so many things that I love to study. However, History is one of the subjects that make me smile. Funny, I’ve never been in a History class. Church History, in particular, can wake me up at any time of the night. I remember chatting with a friend not so long ago and she asked how I could remember all of the names and the dates. Well, you don’t struggle in anything that you love.

One thing that History will fail to give us is a perfect representation of the lives that we study. No historian can re-present events exactly as they occurred and say that everything happened that way. That’s why historians disagree a lot. Regardless of this “lack of accuracy”, we can still learn an awful lot about people, events and nations. So, History isn’t a waste of our time.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been studying the lives of the Wesley Brothers. John and Charles Wesley were born in a time that a revival was very much needed. After the Reformers died, things went stale for a while. The trio of John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitfield introduced open field preaching in England and preached to thousands. Benjamin Franklin calculated that Whitefield’s voice could be heard by more than thirty thousand listeners.

John Wesley outlived the other two, despite being older than them, and shook the world for Christ. He preached more than forty thousand sermons and published more than five thousand sermons, pamphlets, and books of all kinds. Today, the Methodist Church (founded by John, Charles and George) boasts of over 70 million members.

The name John Wesley may sound familiar to you. You may have even sang some of Charles Wesley’s hymns in church. I simply knew them as brothers who founded Methodism before now. What shocked me about my little study was the fact that their lives weren’t perfect. They had flaws, made mistakes and messed up in many ways. It’s really easy to point out faults from this side of time. What we seem to forget is that we’re not perfect either.

A sleek suit during every ministration. Polished English. A nice smile. A well-mannered and hospitable wife. Respectable kids. Sincerity. Honesty. Every good virtue that exists. All that we expect from ministers today. We forget that they are not God.

I remember struggling not so long ago with a habit and wondering how God felt. Will He still use me? With all my silliness, weakness and doubts? I just mess up so many times. I don’t pray enough, study enough, witness enough, fast enough.. I just fall short in every area. Will He still use me?

John Wesley had a troubled marriage. He was an itinerant preacher with a jealous wife. He made mistakes. She made mistakes. His marriage is not one that any living Methodist will want to look to as a model. Despite the respect and reverence that I have for John Wesley as a minister who took the gospel to the poor and needy, I won’t want to ever have a marriage like his. One time when Wesley left for a ministry tour in Ireland in 1758, Molly (his wife) reported that her husband’s parting words to her were: “I hope I shall see your wicked face no more.”

I stumbled upon a website during my little study and I was surprised at how John and the authenticity of his ministry was lambasted and ridiculed because of the terrible marriage that he had. What they forget is that he’s not God. I don’t celebrate his failed marriage. I, however, do not judge him because of it.

When I long for perfection, I don’t look to man. I look to Jesus. What amazes me is how God continually uses the weak, unworthy and imperfect vessels to show forth His glory. And He’ll continually use the weak vessels until the day Christ returns.

He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,

nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

As high as heaven is over the earth,

so strong is his love to those who fear him.

Ps. 103:10-11 [MSG]

So, don’t expect that man to be God. He’ll fail and make mistakes. Your job is to continually pray for him. Truth be told, if the church will criticize her ministers less and pray more for them, they’ll be involved in lesser scandals. If you want a better report about that pastor, bishop, deacon, etc. then you must pray more and criticize less. They’re not God. Don’t expect them to be God.

For God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame.

And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.

1 Cor. 1:27-29

Adìos!

© Eleazar Maduka, 2017