The Church And Social Services

I was reliably informed that 80% of all health workers in Germany are employed by two Christian charities. One of them, Caritas, is run by the Roman Catholic Church. I also learnt that 60% of all hospital beds in Germany are in Roman Catholic Church-run hospitals.

Some of the biggest hospitals in the United States are faith-based hospitals run by Baptist, Roman Catholic and Methodist churches.

The Roman Catholic Church has more health facilities than any nation in the world.

The evangelicals in Germany are also doing well.

I’m so glad I met a young man Rev. Ugo Akwarandu, senior pastor of the Freedom Word Assembly, Aba, doing something great in this direction.

He runs the Freedom Word Mission hospital, a very beautiful world-class hospital, and he has a beautiful ultra-modern diagnostic centre in the same street in the Umungasi/Abayi neighbourhood as the church and hospital. In addition, he runs the Freedom Word International Academy a very beautiful school also on the same street. These are beautiful edifices.

I was so impressed.

Less than one kilometre before him at Umungasi, we have the Living word Ministries where I got born again in 1986, run by Rev Emma Okorie. They have churches and several schools; that’s where my children started school. They have the Living Word hospital and Rhema University. Their services are not free, just like in other countries, but the availability of these services is worth celebrating.

Their contribution to the community and national development is noteworthy.

I was most impressed by the humility of Rev Ugo Akwarandu.

I look forward to building a great private specialist hospital at Otokutu one day as my contribution to community development.

The church is marching on; it’s a trend worth replicating around Nigeria.

God Bless You.

Decompress and Decongest Your Life

Life and living can place a lot of demands on your physical, mental, and social well-being. Don’t let so-called “motivational speakers” like Dr. Apoki Charles put you under unnecessary pressure. Inasmuch as I talk about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and Daily Performance Indicators, we must be very careful not to congest our lives with very debilitating activities.

I had to change my hotel accommodation from the city centre in Port Harcourt to one closer to where I was preaching, because of the stress of driving for 45 minutes each, to and from the city centre to the church. The risk of driving through the busy highway was not good for my age. I was more relaxed in the new hotel and it took me less time to get to the church.

I receive a lot of calls from different people who want to have face to face discussions with me. I have found out that I could easily discuss such matters over the phone and free more time for myself for more productive activities.

I also use the Vilfredo Pareto Principle, when applied means that 80% of your efforts will bring 20% of your returns, and 20% of your efforts will bring 80% of your results.

As much as daily performance indicators (DPIs) are important, you must not crowd your days and life with non-productive activities. Long-term Performance Indicators are much better indicators in the long run.

There are things that gave me revenues in the time past that I no longer do because I need to decongest my life and concentrate on newer and more productive activities. This is very important at 63 years of age because time becomes more valuable as you get older. You can’t afford to waste your time now.

God Bless You.

The Kingdom Life is a Life of Responsibility and Replication

When I got born again at the Living Word Training Centre, towards the end of my service year in 1986, our primary focus was service in His Kingdom. 

The vision then was equipping believers for the work of the ministry. I served in the 1985/1986 year. I later became a member of the CGMI, 102 St. Micheal’s Road. The song in the choir was “… down in the streets, the people were dying; down on the beach, the people are dying. We must go . . . to set the captives free”. Evangelism was really our supreme task.

With Bishop DoctorJohnnie Abraham Abrampah and others, we went to prisons, schools, leper colonies, orphanages, and remand homes to preach the good news. 

We were so excited about our Sunday School preparatory classes with sister Ebonye (now Mrs Victor Uchegbulam), Tony Nze, Emeka Livingstone, Onwuka Kalu, and David Nwachukwu, and many others I can’t because my memory is fading. We taught Sunday school with so much zeal. Our Christianity was beyond what God will do for us but more of what we would do in His kingdom.

We did not need guest speakers and great men of God to perform miracles for us; miracles followed us. We were miracle workers as ordinary Christians. We saw miracles in our shops, workplaces, and my hospital on regular basis.

It was when the era of flamboyant guest speakers and their grandiose unverified testimonies, usually having happened in other cities and never happening in the present situation came, that our attention was shifted to only expecting miracles instead of being responsible in His Kingdom. Suddenly, young men and women started acting like these men of God. 

Silver and gold, we did not have then; what we had was the power of the Holy Spirit. Our clothing was simple, but we were clothed with power. Our messages were simple, “Only Jesus can save”, but they had spiritual handcuffs.

Our churches were not attractive but saved souls flocked in. Sophisticated and rich people humbly sat on long benches. Industrialists then, at Aba, sat on long benches in the Assemblies of God Church. Those churches produced great preachers of today in the city of Aba and in the East.

Our churches are now air-conditioned with padded seats, half-naked “yahoo yahoo” boys and half naked girls with uncultured breasts popping out. Sexual immorality is now like in the Corinthian church, but we pretend that all is well with, “Somebody make some noise!” Noise? It’s now like a “… tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Our pastors with Gucci suits and shoes no longer command respect and Holy Spirit power despite their big cars. Even with numerous convoys and police escorts, they are still vulnerable to the ‘bermuda triangles’ of ‘slay queens’ in our churches.

Governors knelt down before Archbishop Benson Idahosa, including military governors. Now, our Archbishops with their Louis Vuitton clothes and canvas shoes kneel down before civilian governors. Archbishop Benson Idahosa spoke fear into the hearts of military leaders. Today, we change our messages to glorify local government chairmen because we have pursued gold instead of glory.

I am all for beautiful churches and well-dressed pastors and their wives. My archbishop was a powerful dresser, but he matched it with responsibility and power. You don’t mistake him for a Nollywood star.

Please don’t come here to comment and argue if you did not experience the glory we saw.

God Bless You.

Sustaining Godly Virtues In A Godless Generation [2]

These are the things that have personally helped me in the pursuit of sustaining godly virtues and values as a continuation from the first post:

  1. You will definitely need the grace of God to remain disciplined in a dysfunctional and prismatic society like Nigeria.
  2. Take a personal decision to dare to be different and follow the godly pathway.
    Jesus remains the way.
  3. Don’t clamour to be popular.
  4. Be prepared to be criticised by small minds who benefit from the rottenness of Nigeria.
  5. Be ready to be cursed, hated, and abused by godless religious people whose ‘god’ is their belly.
  6. Dare to walk alone.
  7. Cultivate a simple and modest life with contentment.
  8. Stick to what is godly, sustainable, and enduring.
  9. The fear of man will turn out to be a snare. Respectfully stand your ground.
  10. Have a support group of people with godly virtues.
  11. Be financially independent.
    Don’t base your relevance and survival on someone’s budget, body, brains, and blessings.
  12. Have multiple streams of income, to be able to walk away from anything that tends to make you falter.
  13. Never be desperate.
  14. Christian lawyers must stand for social justice, speak for the voiceless, fight for the weak, and fight injustice anywhere and everywhere.

There is palpable docility amongst Christian lawyers, particularly in the South-South geopolitical zone in the fight against social injustice. This rattled the table a little bit and the chairman asked me to expatiate on that issue which I eloquently did.

Pictures courtesy of Barr. Igho Okeya, my lawyer. You can’t go to a meeting of lawyers without legal representation. It’s a great risk.

We had a great time.

I have never been among so many lawyers before.

God Bless You.

The Warri We Grew Up To Meet and The Nigeria We Hoped For

My childhood friends from Urhobo road, Warri, came visiting, sometime in August, at the permanent site of Petra Institute, Effurun Otor.

Pastor Henry Ikomi is of Urhobo and Itsekiri extraction while Collins Emesiboi is of Ijaw and Urhobo extraction. I am Urhobo, but I have an Itsekiri cousin and Ijaw uncles. We ate at any house where we met food and slept at any house where we felt tired. Tribe was of no consequences; we were Warri boys. We helped each other, and our parents took us as their children.

The girls amongst us were our sisters and relationships were respected. There were unwritten codes of conduct.

Very few of our parents then knew my first name. They all called me Apoki.

The Kola and Emmanuel Awode family were quite unique; their mother was Ibo and their father was Yoruba. I suspect the father voted for UPN then and the mother for NPP.

Later, Kola and I were in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan together.

We used to go eat bitter leaf egusi (melon) soup in one Ibo woman’s ‘mama-put’ joint opposite the UI gate. Rats used to run in the ceiling then. It was later in life when our parents were passing on to glory that we knew which towns they came from.

We were Warri boys and girls. And they were papa and mama this or that person.

My radio broadcast is sponsored by my childhood friend and fellow Mariner from Warri house at Government College, Ughelli.

Where and how did we miss that line in our old national anthem, “… Though tribes and tongue may differ, In brotherhood we stand”?

Life Has Always Been Fun For Me

Even in the midst of all the challenges, find time to have fun.

Nowadays, I work more from home. I determine my schedule. I don’t rush out, but I hardly go late to events.

My lawyer and my contractor are usually my first callers.

I do some mentoring, share ginger and honey tea or zobo with them, and have a big laugh.

The laughter is bigger when you pay promptly and give a little bonus.

The farm is the most relaxing part of my business. I recieve vistors and potential investors, and do some fellowship and have a lot of fun.

I select the programs I accept nowadays; I don’t congest my life nowadays.

Ministry is very very stressful. Remember, Jesus was so tired that even when the boat was tossed by a tempest, He was fast asleep. They even needed to go to a secluded place to rest.

There are lots of younger people that should be taking over some duties from us.

It’s not pride; it’s commonsense.

God Bless You.

Ingredients of Honour

Things don’t just happen; there is the law of cause and effect.

Listed below are ingredients to prepare the meal of honour.

I will not explain them in detail but those who are close to me will understand. Others should meditate on each ingredient and apply them over time.

  • PRAYERS
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • PREPARATION
  • PERSEVERANCE EVEN WITH PAIN AND INSULTS
  • PLANNING
  • PERSISTENCE OF VISION
  • PRACTICE
  • PRODUCTIVITY
  • PEOPLE
  • PROVIDENCE
  • PLATFORM
  • PERFORMANCE
  • PROMOTION

Twenty years back, I came to speak to men in a denomination and they booked a brothel where harlots service their customers: “ashawo quarters”; I fled for my life.

One other time, my car refused to start; I had to suck fuel to put in the carburettor. The car still did not start. It’s a long story for another day.

Be patient with God.

Your season of honour is coming.

God Bless You.

Honour is a Fruit Borne By The Giver

Reception protocols at Men of Honour Conference @ Power World Ministries, Int., Umuahia.

Honour is a fruit borne by the giver; it first germinates in the giver. People who don’t have value for themselves can’t honour others.

I have related with all kinds of pastors, and I have found that dishonourable people, no matter how rich they are, see others as tools to be utilised and disposed of.

Honour is also earned and it’s a reward for integrity, consistency, and productivity.

After the church service, I got to the hotel and was informed that the owner of the hotel wanted to see me in my suite. A slim young man who turned out to be in his mid-30s was the owner of this fine hotel. I had walked past him without knowing he was the owner of the hotel. He brought a bottle of wine to honour me because he heard a man of God was in his hotel. I was shocked. He knelt down and I prayed from my belly. He is married to an Asian.

By about 6:30 p.m., my host came visiting. He was just closing from church. He had a church meeting to do a review of the conference.
Rev. Dr. Uche Ume is not joking. Ministry has gone beyond gathering people in a warehouse; it is a serious responsibility. It is done with intentionality.

You won’t like to miss church service if you worship in this kind of environment. They make you have a taste of heaven here on earth. He had to watch a video of my accommodation before approval for me to stay there.

I have met the ones who don’t care.

Excellence is an addiction.

Great human relations is a cultivated skill.

God Bless You.

Consistency: A Recipe for Recommendation and Recognition

And the beat goes on.

When I started the youth ministry, it was as if I was wasting my time with young people.

Consistency in whatever you do will eventually lead to recommendation and recognition.

Ignore side comments from those even close to you.

Focus on what God has instructed you to do. It does not need to be comfortable and rewarding in the beginning.

Ministry is one area where you don’t reap when you sow or where you sow.

Youth ministry requires patience and tolerance.

In the long run, it’s very rewarding.

You never can tell who is listening to you; one statement can change the destination of a youth.

I have fixed my age at 35 years, and it helps me keep up with them.

God Bless You.

Stress: The Major Killer of Gospel Ministers and Their Wives

This is a long post, but please finish reading it before you like it or comment.

Please don’t comment on what you have not experienced or understand. I have been in very intensive and hectic ministry for close to 25 years, and I have been a doctor for 37 years. I have been a personal physician to pastors for many years. I am passing through the same stress too.

I have read a lot about preachers from, A. A. Allen, Jack Coe, Smith Wigglesworth, Peter Marshall, Kathryn Khulman, Robert Murray McCheyne, and several other ministers.

I have worked closely with many Pentecostal pastors within and outside Nigeria. I have also done a critical review of my personal life and I have come to realize that stress is the major killer of preachers and their wives.

You must have noticed that Pentecostal pastors lose their wives comparatively more than wives of Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian clergymen. The wives of Pentecostal pastors are under too much stress. They will breastfeed babies, do night vigils, go to work, run women’s fellowship meetings, take children to school, satisfy the sexual needs of their husbands, preach, stay like frozen statues in the altars with hundreds of eyes staring at them, and so on.

Pastors wives bear the burden of the financial pressures of their husbands. Forget those cars and the fine shoes and clothes most pastors wives are wearing; many of them are gifts, including the ones I wear. The one I wore in the pictures in this post is a gift from Mudiaga Onajomo, CEO of Mudi Africa, and the shoes are gifts from Chibueze Sj. God bless them.

Their husbands are also under tough financial pressures. In fact, the bigger the church, the more the financial challenges. If you know how much goes in to pay bills and maintenance of church buildings, generators, and workers salaries, you will pity many pastors and their wives, especially the very sincere ones.

There are times many of the big programs with big guest preachers leave big debts behind, and the General Overseer will be under great pressure. That’s why all gimmicks come into ministry from sales of handkerchiefs, anointing oil, stickers, almanacks, healing water, mantles, healing swimming pool fees, and different forms of fundraising.

We, as preachers or pastors, take on too many big projects at the same time. We are under too much comparative and competitive pressure. Not all have committed partners even when they have projects that are too gigantic, especially in Nigeria. You might not understand what I’m saying because pastors are amongst the most jealous and comparative people on earth. We, sometimes, are more interested in sizes, statistics, and status than even worldly people.

Even as branch pastors, your relevance in the headquarters is based on statistics and remittances, instead of service and sincerity to humanity and God. The struggle for relevance and recognition by other pastors, Government, and other people is mostly responsible for the stress.

Pastors like to copy each other as if it’s a business community. If one pastor buys a private jet, others will want to copy. They don’t know the cost of running a private jet, the cost of paying pilots, and the cabin crew. Parking fees and maintenance fees alone can kill a man with a weak heart unless you lease them out to make money. If one pastor starts doing 5 services, the neighbour or friend will also start five services. From my personal observation, a lot of the attendees would be the same; choristers, ushers, and same members, and only one pastor will preach in all the services. To evaluate the stress, check the amount of sweat that comes out of their bodies. If one pastor builds a thirty-thousand-capacity auditorium, his friends want to build forty-thousand- and sixty-thousand-capacity halls. All these put on pressure on them.

I do a radio broadcast on Quest F.M.; if not for my sponsor, I know how much stress it would have put me under, and then imagine what others go through running TV broadcasts on several stations. The cost of running a satellite station runs into millions of Naira.

Pastors hardly take vacations; they do too many long night vigils and fasting programs. How can you do 40-night vigils, and after that, you do another 30-days fast? A lot of these programs are to retain the members and, sometimes, to generate revenue.

Dry fasting without water destroys the kidneys. Another thing that destroys the kidneys is the retention of urine by the senior pastor. He is not expected to leave his seat to go to the restroom. The backward flow of urine up the ureters to the kidneys is harmful.

Sleep deprivation for people above 40 years increases the chances of hypertension, and then, the various back-to-back invitations, for people like me, build up stress hormones that affect all organs of the body.
Every time you stand up to speak, especially if you are known for miracles, there is an enormous release of stress hormones that wear out the body.

I know many young ministers who have drips fixed on them because of exhaustion. I have seen the ones who still went to do church stuff from hospital beds. I am telling you about what I have seen.

Most of these sudden deaths are from cardiac arrests and the consequences of executive fatigue syndrome and burnout syndromes.

Tragically, pastors don’t seek medical attention early because it would be seen as a lack of faith because of our over-exaggeration of our anointing.

When I took the COVID vaccine, religious echoes of their pastors were questioning my anointing and faith in Jesus for taking vaccines. Most of them are so ignorant of medical history, especially the half-educated fanatics. They don’t know that from the time of the smallpox vaccine, those who resisted vaccines suffered dire consequences.

The stress of our over-packaging and the associated pressure of trying to prove that we have arrived makes the hollow in us cave in.

There was a day I was not feeling well, but I still went to preach because I did not want to disappoint the fellows. I became dizzy, and I had to hold the pulpit rail. They taught it was part of my style, but they did not know I was dying.

There was a time I travelled for missionary work in Cross River State, close to the border with Cameroon. I fell sick, but my guests did not know; I had to sit down to talk to them, and they were still ready to listen. Until you collapse, they will be ready to hear from you.

Because of our pride, we don’t share our weaknesses with others until we collapse and die. That’s why deaths during or after preaching are common. The body is a slave to the anointing; unless you use your brain to stop and rest, the joy of ministry can kill you. We need people who can help us to restrain ourselves. I told my lawyer I need one urgently.

Diabetes and other metabolic illnesses are common among pastors because if you are not careful, your members and your hosts would overfeed you with red meat, which is not healthy, and stuff you with a lot of fruit juices with additives and other high-energy food. To make matters worse, you might take energy drinks with caffeine and lots of calories to pep you up.

The Seventh Day Adventist church members live longer than other Christians in Canada and America because of their diet and the Sabbath rest.

Ministry can become a cage.

I am writing from personal experience and deep observation of pastors and their wives. I am reminding myself of the dangers we face as preachers.

*** For further reading look for the book titled ” A man called Peter Marshall”

Please remember to pray for our pastors and their wives.