GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED
Pastor Taiwo Odukoya @ Sunday Service
I have rest. I have the peace of God. Am I upset by certain events? Of course! But I have peace.
These were the words of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya at the unusual Sunday service held at The Fountain of Life Church on November 14, 2021. It was an atmosphere of mixed emotions just days after the passing to glory of his beloved wife, Pastor Nomthi Odukoya. Given, that there were many questions on the hearts and minds of the congregation (both on-site and online), the Senior Pastor of the church himself, assured them that regardless of what may have happened or is happening, God is still being glorified. “I am here for two reasons- You deserve an explanation; which is secondary, and (singing) I have come to glorify His name.”
The cleric went on to inform the church of the incident that led to the passing of his wife, explaining that she had been ill from January 2020 and had been receiving a series of best of treatments. He also noted that some people were informed thereof her health status and they never stopped praying all through the battle. He commented on the supports he received from the fathers of faith, like Pastor Adeboye and his wife, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and others. “It started like flu and we did all we could. In terms of treatment, she received the best. But I am telling you this so you know that she fulfilled her time.”
Narrating how she received quality treatments from the best hands both abroad and in Nigeria, Pastor Taiwo noted that there was nothing that stopped their faith of her coming out healed and strong; noting that she (Pastor Nomthi) showed incredible strength through it all. But in spite of it all, she left because it was her time. “So, that’s the story. She left and she left very well.”
He went on to explain that there were times she was in so much pain, yet would minister without anyone noticing those pains. “She would minister and would not be able to lift her arm but nobody would know. The illness was trying to paralyse her but that never happened by the grace of God; we got through that through surgery.”
In what seemed like a tribute for his late wife, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya noted how Pastor Nomthi was an incredibly awesome woman, always looking to see the good in everyone even when it was obvious that some people were doing terrible and hurtful things. She believed that somehow, they would come around. “She also touched lives positively too. That was the kind of person Nomthi was. She connected unusually and incredibly. The amazing thing is she was quiet about it,” he noted.
Admonishing the congregation not to be sad or mourn like those who don’t have hope, Pastor Taiwo read 2 Samuel 12:19-20 to show that eternity awaits everyone when they die; more so believers in Christ whom, he said are the light. Making reference to Stephen’s persecution and martyrdom as recorded in the Book of Acts 7:54-60, he also stated that Stephen’s death still led to more souls winning into the kingdom. “If you are a Christian you are light. Nothing is more important in life than the glory of God. So, every time the devil moves for an evil cause, God will always take the glory; it will always result in an unusual blessing in the kingdom. I am expecting an unusual blessing in the kingdom,” he said.
The cleric went ahead to encourage the church that even when in the midst of chaos or trouble, Jesus sees and is always there to help. He backed this up with the scriptures from Matthew 14:22-30 when the disciples were faced by a storm in the middle of the sea all by themselves. Jesus saw their predicament from where he was on land and walked on water toward them to help them. In his words: “In the middle of the sea you are left with two options- you either end up at the other side or you sink. The only way you can make it to the other side is to keep your focus on Jesus and not the storm. Jesus sees you and what you are going through. He is walking toward you to help you. He is our ever-present help. You are either walking with Him or reaching out for His help. The storm and the darkness will be there but you are never alone.”
He then called on every believer to be more kingdom conscious; advising that more effort be put into soul winning. “If you have never evangelized before, this is the time to start. If you have ever brought souls to the kingdom, this is a new level. God must be glorified. God’s glory is at stake as long as your life is concerned and our attitude, no matter what should be to glorify God. No incident or occurrence can stop God from being glorified,” he said.
In conclusion, he urged his listeners to decide how they’d want to spend their eternity after they die. He compared the totality of man’s life on earth, no matter how long he lives, to a drop of water in the ocean- the ocean being eternity. “While we still have our breadth, while we still walk the face of the earth, we still have the best opportunity to define our tomorrow. Don’t be deceived by lies, envy, jealousy. Stay focused and run your race, so that when you leave, Heaven will be glad to receive you, the earth will never forget. Whether in life or death, you are preaching, you are teaching, you are encouraging, you are sanctifying, you are helping people for the great beyond.”
GOD IS STILL GOOD AND FAITHFUL
The demise of a loved one usually heralds a solemn atmosphere and service. So, one would have thought that the November 11 Thursday showers would be cancelled after the breaking news of the demise of the Associate Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, Pastor Nomthi Odukoya on Tuesday, November 9. But the showers service did not only hold, it turned out to be a service of unusual praises and worship to God.
The service also witnessed words of exhortation from different pastors who encouraged worshippers not to grieve like hopeless people. Pastor Dapo Williams, while exhorting the worshippers from Romans 15:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Genesis 16:1-13 said that God deals with us in different ways; noting that the salvation walk is personal. He urged them to always call God by the way He deals with them. “As a believer, you need to know God by a personal name, by the way, He deals with you. If you have encountered this God, you will have a name for Him. He is an awesome God,” he noted.
Pastor Femi Megbope began his words of encouragement to the worshippers by saying that God is good irrespective of the situation. He acknowledged that there are times believers face some situations that may want them to question the goodness of God but it is at such times they proclaim His goodness and give thanks as advised in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
He said, “There are times we experience unpleasant situations and we are expected, as mandated by God, to give thanks. Even when we have questions that we don’t seem to get answers to, we are still expected to trust God. It is true that at times, it can be tough but you need to respond as a believer. This is the test of your faith. So in all things, we give thanks and in all situations, God is still good.”
Reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-3; he noted that the world is governed by seasons; noting that seasons are both seemingly good and bad and no man can question it irrespective of their emotions or attitudes towards a particular season that befalls a man. “Man didn’t create seasons and so he cannot control it. No man can determine a day a child would be born and no man has control over an exit from the world. Our hearts are heavy because a season ended a few days ago. To us, it raised a lot of questions but to God, the Creator of seasons, it’s the right time. That’s why you need to conclude in your heart that God is always good.”
In her own words of encouragement, Pastor Yemisi Akindolie said that God sent us believers the Comforter for such times as this moment. According to her, if we could comfort ourselves, we wouldn’t have needed the great Comforter. She acknowledged that God knows the end from the beginning and therefore knew this moment would come. Using Jesus’ mother, Mary, who grieved at her son’s crucifixion and death without knowing that Jesus was fulfilling purpose which would turn out to be a sweet story for all believers afterwards, as an example, the clergy said that the demise of Pastor Nomthi, though painful, will turn out to be a great testimony as God’s name would be glorified afterwards.
She, therefore, urged believers not to mourn or grieve as though they do not have hope, noting that nothing takes God by surprise.
Pastor Fred Ohiani, while concluding the sessions, noted that God’s ways are mysterious, not understandable to men until we get to heaven. “We cannot comprehend God by our earthly sense but we know that He loves us and would continue to love us,” he said.
He encouraged the worshippers to know that God is still faithful despite their emotions. He urged them to rather resort to thanksgiving and praise to God when they don’t understand the situations around them instead of complaining. He, therefore, led the church in a final round of worship to God.