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

Unequal Christianity [Part Two]

Unequal

This is the second post in the series Unequal Christianity. To read the first post, click here.

Ade frowned as his mum shared the slices of bread for breakfast between him and his older brother, Kunle. Ade was used to this breakfast every weekday – warm tea and a few slices of bread. His mum worked in a bank and had to resume work before 8am everyday. This prevented her from waking up early to cook. The properly made tea and the delicious Prom Bread wasn’t what made Ade frown. What made him frown was the fact that his mum had given Kunle two extra slices of bread.
“Ade, you should be used to this by now,” his mum said quietly. “The older among siblings will always have special privileges. They will receive bigger meats, eat larger meals and collect larger sums of money. There is no way that all siblings will have the same privileges.”
But Ade wasn’t one to believe in special privileges for older folks.
“We are equal, mum,” he had often told his mum, “we should enjoy the same privileges.”
His mum would often reply, “No, son, you’re not. But you’ll understand someday, Ade. You will.”
Adele hated the preferential treatment. If they loved me as much they loved Kunle, then we should be treated the exact same way, he would often tell himself. Sadly, Ade is a Nigerian and, in most cultures in the West African country, older siblings enjoy special privileges. In some families, the younger children end up having an inferior mindset. Many of them believe that they will always be at best “the alternative” and never the first choice among their older siblings.
But a different culture is seen in God’s Kingdom.

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”
Rom. 8:17. NIV

In my own opinion, our siblinghood is unafrican. Why? Because nobody has greater privileges. Age doesn’t give anyone preferential treatment, neither does money or fame. No ones access is greater than that of another.

And make a veil of blue, purple, and scarlet [stuff] and fine twined linen, skillfully worked with cherubim on it.
And you shall hang the veil from the clasps and bring the ark of the Testimony into place within the veil; and the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.”
Exo. 26:31,33. AMP

The High Priest (not just any priest) was the only one permitted to get into the Holy of Holies and it was only for once in a year. Imagine offending someone you love so much and not being able to meet that person face-to-face to apologize and hear that special person say, “I’ve forgiven you.” That’s exactly how was! The ordinary man never came to meet and know God personally. The High Priest would enter on behalf of the entire nation of Israel and make an atonement for all of their sins.
The concept of an intimate relationship with God was scarcely understood by the Israelites those days. The veil then stood as a divide between the outside world and the tangible presence of the Father. In my own words, “No man could come into the presence of the Father except through the veil.” And, boy, the veil had been a pretty sight – a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet and fine twined linen of cunning work.
But that pretty veil had prevented them from knowing God intimately. In fact, I believe that the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 by the Romans signified an end to the old system. In a sense, that temple signified the continuation of the old covenant. Now we know that “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, doe not live in temples made by man.” (Acts 17:24)
We all know that He is the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Him. No more veil! But so many believers still have their own custom made veil. For some, their spiritual heads are their veils. For others, denominational doctrines and dogma exist as veils. Ignorance also stands as a veil for some.
I believe that we have the best gift from God since Adam fell – A.C.C.E.S.S. You can know God. No one has more access than you do. We all have the same “amount” of access. Just come boldly unto the throne of grace. You will not meet any gatekeeper. Let nothing and nobody stop you. Destroy whatever veil that still exists.

You are dearly loved and your lover longs for fellowship. Learn to enjoy His presence. Nothing else can really satisfy you but him.
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017

Unequal Christianity [Part One]

Unequal

​The concept of equality amongst all members of many religious group is highly underrated. I remember reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm  many years ago. According to this political satire, animals on Manor Farm rebelled against the farm owner, Mr. Jones, under the leadership of two young pigs – Snowball and Napoleon. The pigs in the farm were the most literate. They even knew how to read. The farm was renamed “Animal Farm” after the ousting of Mr. Jones.

One major change in Animal Farm was the adoption of the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which had been, “All animals are equal.” Things moved quite smoothly on the farm until Mr. Jones, along with several of his men and other farm owners terrified of animal revolts, tried and failed to recapture Animal Farm. This failure definitely boosted the morale of those animals.

However, things began to get awry between Napoleon and Snowball. Napoleon orders his dogs to chase Snowball away and has himself declared leader. Napoleon also began to purge the farm with his dogs, killing animals he accused of working with Snowball. The pigs, under Napoleon, started to resemble humans – they wore clothes, carried whips and walked upright. A major adjustment came later as the Seven Commandments was abridged to a single phrase: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

Bottom line, Napoleon became the new leader. The animals realized that tyranny wasn’t peculiar to humans and that the rebellion didn’t bring exactly what they had imagined it would bring.

Are all believers equal? Imagine having an abridged version of the Seven Commandments of Animalism being upheld in Christendom: “All Christians are equal but some Christians are more equal than others.” While no such commandment exists in Christendom, some believers actually have something similar to this in their heads as part of their Theology.

“Surely all believers can’t be equal,” they might argue. “The apostles were definitely higher than the other believers after Jesus’ death and resurrection,” some would say. “Isn’t the five-fold ministry supposed to separate us all into strata? Ministry and spiritual gifts make us unequal.”

A brief look at Christendom today might actually strengthen these arguments. We have a Christianity where many lay people are taught to bow and cower before certain few. But the original picture of Christianity is a religion of equality. All Christians are equal. But if we are to say that two things, ideas, people, etc are equal, then we must have a measuring standard. Equality can’t be said to exist except a standard exists that is accepted by all the parties involved.

So, what is our measuring gauge? Simple! A.C.C.E.S.S. While I won’t be doing much exposition in this post, I’ll do so much in the next. I have often heard preachers emphasize on so many things in the Church – from faith to prosperity to spiritual gifts to love to holiness to grace. What I haven’t heard so much, however, is what I like to call The Doctrine of Equality. It’s Easter, the season we celebrate Christ’s death and His resurrection. And one thing that that resurrection brought was equality.

Access brought equality. The fact that we all have exactly the same degree of access means that we’re all equal. If some people had greater access, they could called “greater”. But we all have exactly the same access. Access determines ranking. I’ll do more exposition in the next post.

Until then, feel free to drop your comments and questions. What exactly does equality mean to you? Do you think it’s a big deal?
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017

The Beast I Call Love

Love-Tree

Love is a raging beast. Like a lion, it seeks that which will satisfy it. Love lies in wait and preys upon the other creatures as they feed. But even they all can’t satisfy Love. Infatuation and Obsession stand afar off, reminiscing about the past and fondly sharing stories of great conquests. Their very presence repel Love. And most nights, Love goes to bed hungry.

Love is a hungry creature. Love growls as the hunger pangs hit it over and over again. How will it survive this evening? It has been so hungry for long now. If only it could find something satisfying. But one so pure can’t feed off impure creatures. They can never bring satisfaction.

Love is like a noble Prince who leaves his homeland in search of a Princess worthy to be called his Queen. He battles unfavorable conditions – the cold nights, the afternoons when the sun smiles brightest and the thieves that always lie in wait for unsuspecting travellers. But the Prince is resolute. He’ll never stop until he finds her.

Love would cross a thousand seas and weather a million storms until it finds true satisfaction. But what would ever satisfy Love? What could possibly put an everlasting smile on Love’s face?

The truth remains that the only thing that can ever satisfy Love is Love. Love was never meant to go unrequited. The best response to Love is Love. Yes, Love will be patient, kind, true, selfless and noble even when it is not returned. But imagine what will happen when Love finally gets Love.

That’s what Easter is all about. Love gave all to get Love. Nothing will ever satisfy that Love except our response of Love. Don’t ever forget: God created us to give Love. But we must first respond to Calvary’s Love. Only then can we love as He wants us to. Easter is all about Love.

Happy Easter!

Adìos!