Bishop Darrell Gooden
The promise for the week, 2 Corinthians 13:14, at the first service on Sunday, April 10, was taken by Pastor Atinuke Olasore. She said we weren’t saved by our works or ability, and it had nothing to do with us, but by the grace of our Lord Jesus, which the Father showed us by His love and has kept us in fellowship by His Spirit. She further said the brethren shouldn’t just recite it out of an act of benediction but out of the conviction of what we have come to enjoy in Christ Jesus, and we should embrace this reality and see it produce results in our lives.
Giving the message for the day was Bishop Darrell Gooden, President of the International Ministers Fellowship, Atlanta, USA and lead pastor of Rehoboth Christian Centre in Georgia, USA. Reading from 1 Peter 5:8, and making reference to how the devil acts like a lion but not a lion, Bishop Gooden said the devil has to ask for permission to get to the Christian, and without that, he cannot harm the Christian. The devil only strikes if given permission. Going further, he said the devil uses the strategy of the hunting skills of the lion to strike by identifying the weaklings amongst the herd, isolating and attacking them. For some reason, some Christians have stopped coming to church, and it is at that point that they are the most vulnerable to the devil.
Bishop Gooden went on to say that Christians are the ones attracting the devil more than the devil is trying to get our attention. The prey gives the lion the telltale signs of its weakness and that is what gets its attention and it strikes. In the same way as the devil, he senses the signals from the weak Christian and he moves into harm and destroys. He went on to say the devil is really doing all he can to wear out the church at this moment, but believers should not weary of their well-doing as admonished in the scriptures, because in due season we shall have our rewards.
Citing the words of Jeremiah in chapter 1, the Bishop noted that God has chosen us, especially at this time, and just as the goldsmith works on gold to make it finer and purer, God is working on us. He said, “We have been handpicked and ordained for success.”
He continued, “Out of millions of sperm cells released, only one got the egg fertilized. This shows victory even from that stage of life; you are a winner from the start. This shows that the path of the one chosen by God is destined for the top, with victory all the way. No devil can take you out. You are chosen to be ordained for victory. ”
He, therefore, urged his listeners and believers, in general, to praise God for the little things so they can fit into the bigger plan, noting that brethren should not see the measure of the devil in any situation but the measure of God. He then raised prayers for those seeking new jobs, prayed for marriages and homes, and also prayed for family members hooked up on addictions.
GOD IS ALWAYS THERE EVEN IN TROUBLES
Bishop Darrell Gooden
Sunday second service
Still ministering at the second service of the April 10 Sunday service, Bishop Darrell Gooden reminded believers not to be discouraged in the face of trouble, saying God is always with them.
According to the cleric who heads the Rehoboth Christian Centre in Georgia, USA, Christians should always keep in mind that God is with them. He explained that even before trouble comes, God is with His children, adding that believers should live with the mindset that they have a helper in life. “I don’t think God causes us trouble, but He is there in trouble,” the preacher, who took part of his scripture reference from Psalm 84:6, said.
“Before you ever get into trouble, God was already there,” he explained.
While everyone goes through troubles, he added that the assurance of strength from God to overcome makes the journey easy.
“A lot of times, we become very depressed because it seems like all hope is gone and this is the final sail. But that is not true! God never takes us to a place and leaves us.
Bishop Darrell added that: “You’ve got to realise that your valley is a product of your growth”.
Instead of lamenting about their situations, he told believers to make the most of their challenges by laying structures so others could draw inspiration from them. He said that encouraging yourself is also one way to triumph over life’s battles.
The preacher equally asked the congregation to imbibe the attitude of growth, saying a Christian ought to become better by the day.
“If you are the same person you were six weeks ago, you are not growing. Your everyday walk with Christ should be revealed in you,” he told the worshippers.
Before his sermon, the congregation was treated to high praise and worship by the Grace Levities, the church’s choir. There were also prayers and declarations of blessing, led by Pastor Ibukun Awosika, over Nigeria.
Those who had birthdays and wedding anniversaries in the past week were also celebrated during the service.
MAKING PROGRESS: WALKING AND WORKING BY FAITH
Making progress is the ability to create something from nothing and advance toward a higher and more developed state. We have been created to make progress, and if we fail to make progress in life, there will be a sense of dissatisfaction. These were the words of Mr Bolaji Akinyemi to both the online and onsite congregation at the April 7 Thursday Showers service.
Taking his scripture from the Book of James 2:14-26, Mr Akinyemi told his listeners that regardless of how they may want to make progress in life, it will require action (works). He highlighted some reasons why it seems some people make progress and others seem not to.
According to Akinyemi, substituting prayer for action is one reason for the above. Reading from verse 16 of James Chapter 2, he noted that our prayers are useless to a person who is in need of clothes and food. There are times, according to Mr Akinyemi, when prayer is not enough. “Sometimes, our prayers are as a result of our lack of understanding, and at other times, our prayers are nothing but a canopy under which we hide our irresponsibility and lack of faith,” he said.
Akinyemi illustrated this with an example of a farmer who fails to plant during the planting season, and when harvest comes, he begins to pray to God for harvest. That farmer’s prayer, he said, is nothing but a cloak covering his irresponsibility. He may pray all he wants, but he will get nothing because he failed to fulfil the natural law of planting before getting a harvest. Believers need to follow instructions and take action before they can see the fulfilment of any promise made.
Another reason why it seems others make progress while some don’t is a lack of faith. Mr Bolaji Akinyemi explained that if God instructs you to move from point A to point H but you choose to remain at point A, praying and asking Him what way to turn when you get to point C, God is under no obligation to answer you. However, as you step out in faith and begin to walk in the direction He has instructed you to, He will reveal to you which way to turn or take. “Because of our lack of faith or fear of the unknown, we remain stuck in the same spot,” he said.
According to him, when the Bible says faith without works is dead, the works are actually stepping out in obedience to do the instruction as given by God. According to him: “With every promise of God, there is always an instruction attached to it. Most of the time, we are more focused on the promise and we ignore the instructions. This is why there isn’t much progress.”
Mr Akinyemi urged his listeners to let their attention be more focused on fulfilling God’s instructions. “When God gives instruction and you do your part to obey, the harvest is sure. The blessings are released, progress is made, and prayer will never be a substitute for it.”