Youth Class: Guard your mind

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Key Scripture; 1 Corinthians 15:33

During this time where there is so much good to do amidst everything going on, it is important that we check what is occupying us internally. It is easy to get caught up in things and forget that following God is what we are meant to be doing and why we do what we are doing. Our minds and our hearts are often in communication, and what we believe leads to how we act.

Proverbs 4:26

Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Perhaps you are concerned about a few things in this season. Have you given your heart to God and asked Him how you can change it towards His words and purpose for you.

Psalm 119:36

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

We must actively work on how we feel and think, not to please ourselves, or others, but to please the only One who saved us. When we start from contentment in God, we will know what is a distraction to our minds that wants to turn our hearts away from Him. 

Here is the full scripture of Proverbs 4:20 – 27:

20. My son, attend to my words; incline your ear unto my sayings.

21. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.

22. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

23. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

24. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and perverse lips put far from you.

25. Let your eyes look directly forward, and let your eyelids look straight before you.

26. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.

27. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove your foot from evil.

Focus and pursue God and all these things you are concerned about may just change with a different heart and a different perspective. Some issues with a different heart may actually cease to be issues. Also God may point you to different issues that He has given you power to solve.

Whatever is happening, whether life is getting stressful, or seems boring, whether you are avoiding things or being challenged, remember the scripture below that talks about where our thoughts in life should be coming from.

Psalm 1:2

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

His word should frame our world. There is a cost to following God, however He alone truly rewards and your concern may become delight when your motive becomes seeking and doing His will – He is the only one who gives complete peace of mind and of heart. If you are unsure, God looks at the heart and He is primarily concerned with how you incline it to His word. 

Make sure the helmet of salvation covers you and that your thoughts align to God’s word. Obeying God is life and health to all your flesh, as you give Him your heart and your mind by seeking him diligently with honest humility.

Written by Deaconess Shalom Ononuju

Sunday Sermon: The Scriptures and the power of God

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Key Scripture:  Mattew 22:29 – 33, Romans 1:16

You will be full of errors, when you don’t know the scriptures and the power of God.

The power of God is the trademark of the kingdom of God, when Jesus resurrected he demonstrated this attribute of God. Let us make a strong decision concerning the things of Christ, that you and your household will serve the Lord. You cannot be in the kingdom of God without understanding the power of God, when we say we are Christians but deny his scriptures, even perhaps believing there is no  hell, heaven, the Holy Spirit as the Sadducees who held key positions did, we are in darkness. The Saducees who persecuted Jesus believed in errors, while the Pharisees were living in hypocrisy. In this day and age, the whole world is full of darkness because the power of God unto freedom – is denied (Romans 1:16). Any nation that fights against and denies the things of God, allows the enemy in, but the reason Jesus came to earth is to deliver people from the works of the devil. 

  • There is the power of God unto deliverance. 
  • There is the power of God unto wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:24)
  • The power of God unto healing (Matthew 4:24)

Concerning  the government, especially in this time,  the power of the scriptures should not be ignored. In Matthew 22:29 the Sadducees lead the Jews without understanding the scriptures, whilst teaching. In our society there are still spiritual influences in government and in the parliament, who are removing things from the scripture in their representation ; the Anglican church has removed Satan from christenings for fear of offence, but the devil is doing damage because leaders don’t believe he exists or teaches it.

We must, as christians, seek the God of the living in darkness and play our role. Light exists because there is a need for it in the darkness. If you say God exists, it means Satan exists. If you say there is the power of God you say there are demonic forces. We can do this by playing the part that Joseph of Arimithea played, whilst the leaders of the day were arguing and persecuting and denying the power of God, he begged for, wrapped and prepared the body of Jesus in such a way that it allowed the resurrection to happen. His role was to demonstrate God’s power and we should also aim for this in this time. The power of God is made manifest when Jesus died, when all hope was lost, and so, let us focus on salvation, trusting that God will make the impact, save the souls and deliver, as we do what we are asked. God will send you, and when he sees you are there for his glory and not your own. He will manifest his power unto salvation, healing, deliverance. 

Let God show his power, by doing your part.

Pray Without Ceasing

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1 Thessalonians 5: 17

It is a good thing to belong to God in a time like this, and a blessing to know we have a Father that cares for us.

Ephesians 6:18

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Imagine a world without God. How can one survive where there is so much fear? But the children of God are told persevere, to pray, to supplicate in the spirit for fellow children of God, so that we can all be strong together. The dictionary says to persevere is to “continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty”. 

Even when the whole world is on lock down at this moment without hope, we know our hope is in the Lord who created heaven and earth. Praise God for His words of encouragement at a time like this.

Written by Pastor Alice Adeyemi

Youth Class: What should I do with bad friends?

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Key Scripture; 1 Corihthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Examples of bad friends in the bible

1.) Judas: he was a bad friend because he was self centred and put his interests over his friendship with Jesus. He was a fake friend, Jesus said Judas would betray him and Judas refuted. On the betrayal day, his fake kiss led to Jesus’ capture. Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:48-48

2.) Ahithophel: Another example of a fake friend. He was David’s “trusted” counsellor and friend (Psalm 41:9) who not only fed the king with bad advice and ultimately wanted to overthrow the kingdom (2 Samuel 15:10-17).

3.) Pharaoh’s Chief Butler: Joseph met him in jail. The two became friends and Joseph then interpreted his dream. He made a promise to Joseph that he would remember him when he got out of jail but he forgot Joseph (Genesis 40:1-23).

Attributes of a bad friend

Liars

Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.

Emotionally Unstable

Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

Foolish Behaviour

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Un-loving and Selfish

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Questions to reflect on?

How many of us have or have had a bad friend?

What did that friend do to make us realise they were a bad friend?

Is that person still a friend? If so what will we do to put them away?

Have WE ever been bad to our friends?

Spiritual MOT

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What is MOT?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport. When your car goes in for its MOT test it is graded against the qualifying structure laid out by the Ministry of Transport. The test checks a whole host of elements with a primary focus on a car’s safety features.   The test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards

Every year in the UK, drivers are obliged to present their cars to a registered garage for its MOT test.  If all is well, you receive the appropriate certificate – if not, you must attend to the fault(s) which the qualified mechanic has discovered. You must retest after all the repair works has been completed. The driver can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT or points deducted from their license.

Even though this is not legally necessary, some drivers also take their vehicles to the garage yearly, for a service.  Different parts of the car are checked. The electrics, brakes, wipers, engine etc…. and whatever requires attention is attended to.

The same way as Christians, it is important that we check our spiritual life from time to time. Especially as such a time as this where the world calls it ‘locked down’ because we are restricted as to where we can go, what we can do at the same time observing social distancing. My senior pastor referred to this period as ‘waiting upon God’. Whiles waiting upon the Lord at this time, use the period to do a spiritual MOT.

You can do a spiritual examination. Ask yourself the following questions: –  

  • am I studying the word of God and making time to pray? – do I guard that time?  (Ephesians 5:15-17)
  • are my thoughts and deeds clean? (Romans 12:2)
  • Is Christ the head of my home? is he the ‘unseen guest’ at every meal and the ‘silent listener’ to every conversation?
  • do they know that I am a Christian at my workplace or neighbourhood?
  • do I join in to all my church’s meetings (or attend church)- Sunday service, Bible teaching, prayer and make time to take communion as instructed?
  • do my colleagues find it easy or difficult to work with me as a Christian?
  • am I generous in all areas of my giving according to my ability? (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • am I growing in Christ?
  • how do I receive instructions? Can I be corrected
  • will I go for counselling if I need help?

Jeremiah 17: 8-10 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

Perhaps most of us need to attend to that matter of self-examination – spiritual check-up at this time of waiting on the Lord!  I believe as you do so, you quickly will realise that there are areas in your life that need fixing by the ‘Mechanic’. The Lord knows what is in your heart. As you pause to ask the Holy Spirit to examine you, He will reveal.  Until that area is identified, it cannot be fixed. That is when grace comes in.  It is only when you become aware of, and confess, your unworthiness, that you are made worthy.

A spiritual MOT test!  You do not have to make it just a yearly affair!  Be regular in your self-examination, and quick to deal with those matters that such an examination will reveal – knowing that you have God the Holy Spirit to check you. In fact, it is part of the process of sanctification.

Written by Pastor Lydia Riley-Poku

For The Singles

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Extract taken from “The Master The Wise & The Lazy” by Pastor Bayo Adeyemi

Chapter 4 Process & Progress

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘process’ as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end

The process of Godly living starts from the moment you give your life to Him. He has a purpose for every believer living on earth. God keeps a watch over us to ensure that His will is fulfilled in our lives. Why is it that many are not fulfilling the plan of God and stagnation seems to be acceptable to today’s young people? Many youths prefer to have things their way and not God’s way.

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

It is impossible to have it both ways. Jesus himself said nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). The process of God occurs in us, changes us and eventually makes us want to do what Jesus would do. God then builds us up and continues the process by ordering our steps daily. 

Psalm 37:23-24

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Abraham’s tests and progress

Genesis 12:1-3

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The life of Abraham was a life of prompt obedience to the things of God. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran in Genesis 12:4. As you read the word of God, you will discover His commandments and instructions. Our level of obedience determines our progress.  Abraham was prompt in obeying God’s instructions. An example of God’s instruction to us today is in the area of relationships.

We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. This is a direct commandment asking us as children of God to come out of the company of friends that are disobedient. I believe your relationship with an unbeliever should be limited so that you do not damage your witness by becoming like them. You cannot be raving or agreeing with their choice of music. We are told to come out from among them, to be separate and to be clean. Abraham became prosperous and had a fulfilled destiny as a result of his obedience. 

Genesis 24:1

And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.


Where do you find rest?

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Pre-lockdown, I was one of those people that was convinced that if only I had more time, more sleep, more ‘downtime’ at home, I wouldn’t feel so tired or burnt out. The mantra of work-life balance had crept into my subconscious and I began to long for more balance. Now that I’ve been home for a number of weeks with no punishing commute, no mandatory late nights and more scheduling flexibility than I can shake a stick at, I have realised that productivity, balance and rest are more matters of the mind than external circumstances. Even at home, it is so easy to fill up your day with various activities and leave yourself so spent in the evenings that you end up ‘vegging’ out in front of the TV until super late in the name of resting and then start the cycle all over again in the morning.

Lately God has been challenging me to reconsider my idea of what rest is. I’ve always seen rest as sleeping when I’m exhausted, watching TV to switch off or doing something I like to unwind. Essentially, rest to me has always been about disengaging my mind. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this per se, this is not the biblical definition of rest. Rest should refresh you; it should make you better and recharge you for the work ahead. Rest should bring clarity of thought and perspective. Rest should recharge your batteries and download power. Even your rest should be productive. 

Biblical rest is not about distraction or entertainment; it is about focus. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ There is a time and place for entertainment. There is nothing wrong with watching a movie or indulging in your favourite hobby. However, when you finish work and you feel burnt out; or when there is a situation in the family and you feel depleted; when you feel lost or confused; or you walk through the door with the weight of the world on your shoulders; or you’re just so busy that your feet haven’t touched the ground and you want to exhale; what is your ‘go-to’? What is your natural inclination? Do you call a friend to ‘vent’? Or binge-watch a series on Netflix? Do you crawl under the covers? Do you get a pedicure? The world has coined the phrase ‘self-care’ to highlight the necessity of taking care of ourselves, but as Christians we have to realise that the best self-care routine must include time spent with Jesus. 

God has been telling me that until I get to the place where my first instinct in the face of tiredness, discouragement and even the desire to have fun and ‘exhale’ is to enter His presence, I will always be operating at 50% battery life. It is in His presence that I will receive revelations that will make my heart glad. He is the one who will pour out the Spirit of Might on me to go on. I can leave the presence of God feeling like I’ve had a week-long spa trip. I can leave the presence of God feeling like I’ve had 10 hours sleep. It’s a beautiful thing to see rest as synonymous with the presence of God; obligation and religious routine is replaced with eager anticipation and genuine fellowship.

Yes I am getting more sleep; Yes I have the time to eat better and exercise more and in a weird way, lock-down has given me the time to invest in my relationships, but the biggest gift of this season has been more time with God and I have found that the natural by product of this has been an enduring sense of rest.

Written by Pastor Dupe Ononuju

God Speaks Through Dreams And Visions

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Key scriptures: Numbers 12 v 5-6, Joel 2 v 27-29, Habakkuk 2 v 2-3  

God speaks to His children at times through dreams and visions, and in the times we face now God is definitely speaking in this way to many all around the world. There are some characteristics commonly associated with the two, for example, visions tend to happen when we are in our conscious state during the day and dreams when we are in an unconscious state (sleeping) at night. But this is not always the case. The Bible talks about a number of instances where visions were revealed at night. In Genesis 26 v 24 God speaks to Abraham at night in a vision. In Genesis 46 v 2-3, God appears to Jacob in a vision by night. In Daniel 2 v 19 God speaks to Daniel in a vision by night. 

It is important to know why God uses dreams and visions as well as when they tend to occur. God can use them to pass across important instructions, like if you are planning to take a certain path to achieve something and God want you to take a different direction. He also uses them at times to warn us of impending danger and how to hide ourselves from it. Dreams in particular tend to be used by God to speak to the individual about their lives and perhaps the lives of others around them. God gives dreams that will determine at times the destiny of the dreamer. Visions on the other hand are often used by God to speak His purpose concerning the body of Christ in general. Pointing to His plans for a town, city or nation as reflected in Ezekiel 12 v 21-25. 

As wonderful as it is to receive a dream, vision or both from the Lord, it is important to make sure that it is indeed from God. Dreams and visions must be vetted and examined to make sure their source is not from the devil, because he can also conjure up dreams and visions, which can send believers astray. Moreover Jeremiah 23 v 31-32 says that God is against those who tell false dreams and cause God’s people to fall. Once we have established that a dream or vision is from the Lord, which can be done by making sure it aligns with the Word of God, praying and counsel from your Pastor. Ensure that you write down your dreams and visions, it may be for an appointed time and we have the tendency to forget things. Habakkuk 2 v 2-3 says we should write the vision and make it plain !

Prayer, Persistence and Expectation

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Luke 18:1-4 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

A level of lawlessness

During this period of the lockdown there are a number of things that are going on, which I call – a level of lawlessness and also a form of distraction that we need to fight against.

I want to talk about 2 of them.

Work conditions

During this period of lockdown there are two groups of people that are working – key workers and those that work from home.

Both groups report an increase in workload, with some at breaking point. Workers are getting more tired than before lockdown on the same job.

Question: whatever happened to laws governing work conditions – health & rest.

There are those who are reporting of their landlords threatening to evict them if they don’t pay their rent, knowing very well what the government has said about eviction (that for 6 months landlords can’t evict those who cannot afford rent).

I have a friend who this happened to. His landlord evicted him knowing full well that the Government does not allow this. This friend later found out that the landlord had received money from the Government to cover rent for the period of lockdown. 

In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus paints a picture of a town where justice doesn’t  usually work.

There is a judge in this town who is described as wicked/unjust. In other words, this judge is corrupt.

The bible tells us that the judge did not fear God or man; in other words has no compassion.

In that town –

There is a widow who had a straight forward case to get justice – but had to fight and fight and fight to get what was due her.

It is not a very encouraging environment to be in – who wants to be in an environment like this?

BUT Jesus said it is in such harsh environment that the impossible happens – if we will learn from this widow.

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

Pray but be persistent don’t give up.

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.

Be expectant – because God will answer and very quickly.

Numbers 23: 19

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

I encourage you that whatever the circumstance – Pray and be Persistent and don’t give up.

Be expectant of victory and you shall overcome. 

Be expectant all this will pass and 

Be expectant that all this will work for benefit.

Written by Pastor Daniel Riley-Poku

Are You Ready?

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With all this talk of the apocalypse going around, I think it is a great time to ask ourselves the question ‘if the trumpet sounded today, would I be taken up?’

I think we have all satisfied ourselves that the world is not coming to an end right this moment, but even with that Jesus speaking in Matthew 24:36 – 37 said :

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

What was interesting about the days of Noah? Everyone was literally going about his or her own business not paying attention to the fact that a flood was coming or that God even existed. Is that not the same today? Even with a world pandemic where world leaders have absolutely no answers, very few are giving God the attention He deserves and many are so focused on the pandemic that they are not thinking about their eternal destination.

So I challenge you to stop today and ask yourself the question, if Jesus were to appear in the skies now, would I even recognise the occasion, hear the trumpet and be raptured?

The answer to this will either give you immense peace and joy or arouse fear in your heart. If fear, then now is the time to repent. Ask Jesus to forgive you and become Lord over your life. This is not just about a one time prayer, it is about a heart’s posture and a lifetime change: 

  1. Dedicate time to read your Bible daily and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the word of God – John 14:26. 
  2. The word of God is a mirror and the more your read it, it will convict your heart of the things that need to change in your life – James 1:23
  3. Pray daily. Don’t worry about praying in an eloquent way. Prayer is simply speaking to God and hearing what He has to say, so keep it simple. If you are unsure, again, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray. Romans 8:26
  4. Share with another Christian, preferably a church leader that you have given your life to Christ. This is part of your testimony and it keeps you accountable.

To be ready for rapture is not just a one-time thing. The fact that we do not know the moment of Christ’s return means that we must consistently walk with the Holy Spirit; remaining obedient to God’s directions. Noah escaped the flood because he was constantly listening to God – this is what God requires of us.

Written by Pastor Ruth Conteh