A Few Words
How It All Started
My Journey into Pastoral Ministry
Faith is not trying to make God move or do anything for you; faith is resting fully in the finished work of Christ and fully trusting in what He has done for you.
While I was an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria my main priority wasn’t my studies but how to get into the social limelight and parties. I never took my lectures seriously and my GPA was constantly below 1. I was involved in all manner of vices like girls, taking at least 5 bottles of beer, thirty sticks of Benson & Hedges, and some marijuana daily. I was so care free and had lost the total fear of God in so much that I never lit a cigarette without first saying bless this food O Lord for Christ sake. I saw born again Christians as low lives who had lost out of the good things of life and saw serving God as their only consolation.
There were so many times that God intervened and saved my life then even as bad as I was. I remember clearly the night we were going for a party at 1am and at the least minute I got down from the car where I was and moved into another car that was part of the convoy. The car I had just left got involved in a ghastly accident and two lives were lost. One of the people who died was seated where I was just five minutes earlier. I also recall the day the brakes of the car failed and I was driving with my younger brother on a very narrow road with a lorry facing us but God miraculously saved us.
I mockingly referred to every Church I saw as a bank because I believed that churches had no relevance but were only there to make money but I never knew that my life would change forever one day and that the God whom I had so mocked would be the One I would eventually run to. On this fateful day in July 6th 1996, a friend of mine came to see me at home about 7pm and I decided to see him off after he had stayed with me for a while. You know the way boys are, we walked and chatted and shortly got to his house where we saw six young men outside the house.
The young men told us they were asking for his dad and the next thing I knew was them bringing out guns as they roughly forced us inside the house; they were armed robbers. When we got inside the house, they shot into the air severally, told us all to lie down and started searching us. I was asked if I had money but I lied that I did not have any money on me. I actually had Eight Hundred Naira on me which was for drinking heavily that night so that while church was on the next day I would be recovering from my hang over. No one was going to spoil my fun that night, including the armed robbers and that’s why I lied. As far as I was concerned, my drinking that night was much more important to me than my life.
One of the armed robbers called Django suddenly came over and searched me from top to bottom. He eventually discovered the money on me and the first thing he did was that he gave me a kick in the ribs and said you will die tonight for daring to lie to me. He cocked his gun and said you better pray to God to accept your miserable soul before I shoot you. I answered back albeit in a very hushed tone and said you talk too much, shoot if you want to shoot but he didn’t hear me.
Suddenly I heard a voice and the voice said, your father and mother even if they were here can’t save you but all those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I was the only one who could hear the voice and I became scared. In a flash, I saw a screen before me as I lay down there and a replay of my life right from the day I was born all through nursery, primary up until that moment; no detail was missing. In the past when people came to minister to me to give my life to Christ, one of my statements to them was always the fact that where would God find all the time to judge over Ten Billion Human beings but it was on this fateful night I got my answer that God’s judgement would be swift. I became scared and terrified and knew I was going to hell.
In a jiffy I saw myself on top of the ceiling and saw another me lying down on the floor. The me who was on the ceiling went through into the sky and I kept going until I came to a lonely field where there was no one and it stretched for miles and was pitch black. A force suddenly came from nowhere, pushed me and I started moving. As I moved, the field sloped, started getting hotter and as it got hotter, I moved faster. I started hearing screams that can’t be described and some audible words like “Jesus have mercy; this fire is too much.” I knew I was on my way to hell.
As I travelled on I suddenly found a very great door in front of me. Shortly before I got to the door, I cried out, “Jesus, if you save me, I will serve you forever more.” My Lord heard me that day and in an instant, I was turned back and suddenly found myself back lying down. All these things didn’t take more than ten seconds considering that there is no time in the spirit realm and as soon as I got back into my body, a force knocked the gun out of the armed robbers’ hands and he looked at me and said, “you are so lucky and he left me alone.”
Later that night after the whole ordeal, I got back home, locked myself in my room, looked at my life and wept. I kept asking, Lord why? Why would you save a worthless person like me? I knelt down there and then and accepted HIM as my Lord and Saviour. The next day I went to church and also came out for the altar call. That’s how I got saved.
The first thing I did after that was to cut off from all my old friends till I would have grown enough in the faith; I knew I could not afford to and did not want to backslide again. People thought I was pretending initially. Someone even jokingly said that now that you are saved, who will be in hell considering God made and ordained people like you for hell?
One day in 2005 while I was working for First Bank of Nigeria Plc, I went to Bauchi on an official assignment for two weeks. Because Bauchi wasn’t like Lagos, I always closed from work as early as 5pm and the hotel was just next door; this gave me a lot of time to kill and I decided to spend that time with God and it was on the third day that I had a clear confirmation of what God had called me to do. As I was praying in the Spirit that day I heard God’s unmistakable tell me, “Go and empower my people for successful lifestyles with great emphasis on the Holy Ghost.” I didn’t really understand what this meant but I kept on praying and about 6 months after that encounter, God broke the mandate down to me.
My Instruction From God:
Go and teach my people how to succeed
Teach them how to discover their purpose because they cannot meet my requirements of what success is without having first discovered their purpose
Place great emphasis on the Holy Ghost as you teach them radically the Gospel of Grace because this is what will empower them
This encounter actually got me more confused because as at that time I didn’t really have an inkling of what Grace is. Along the line I also discovered I had the gift of intercession and joined the Intercessory Team in my church and within a short time I rose to become the leader. I had over 10,000 members in the Intercessory team alone. Gradually it started becoming obvious to people that God had called me to be a Pastor. Many could not correlate the new me with the person they used to know and continually mocked me in the process but I stuck to my task.
In 2011, God told me it was time to preach the Gospel of Grace. I told God that I wasn’t going to preach grace and God asked me why? I answered that Grace was a license to sin and God said it was not. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to preach Grace for anything whatsoever and after a while when God saw that I was still being stubborn, He said you know what, “It’s no longer your decision; you must preach the Gospel of Grace. Go and study what Grace is.” When it became obvious that I had no choice but to preach Grace, I went and studied Grace for a year and my eyes opened. Understanding Grace is a total change of life. Grace makes you see God in an entirely different way. Grace makes you to see God as Father instead of seeing Him as a Creator.
My life is a full example of how gracious God truly is and also a proof that He loves us all and His only desire is to see everyone saved. This is the main reason I am not surprised that God called me to preach the Gospel of Grace. Who can relate with grace better if not me? I will close with what Jesus told that woman when she washed His feet and people were complaining in my own words, “She that is forgiven much loves much.” Grace is not a license to sin; it is the empowerment not to sin. When we understand how much God loves us and how much He has forgiven us, we will not sin but love will well up in our hearts for Him and we will learn to appreciate more what He has done for us.