MUSIC MAESTRO EMMYKOKZ UNVEILS OFFICIAL ART COVER FOR NEW SINGLE ‘SOMETHING’ AND DROPS A HINT ON THE SINGLE

 

As we anticipate the official release of the single ‘something’, Music Maestro, popularly known as Emmykokz officially unveils the cover art. This is in a bid to keep his fans in close contact to the update of his works.

 

The single, SOMETHING takes an easy blend of worship with an easy going lyrically that one might sing along to. The title alone throws in a lot of surprises, suspense and expectations. The song is about thanksgiving, praise and appreciation to God. It explains how incomprehensibly mighty Gods love is for us bringing one to a point of realizing we owe God thanks.

 

In his words, ‘The music to me takes a self-reflexive angle one that makes one sit back and think about how wonderful God has been. Most times we fail to reflect on this and I believe with this song, it might draw one into such act since the year is almost coming to an end. We definitely need to see reasons to be grateful to God. For me, the simplicity of the song was so much important as would love to have everyone sing along to the song as they reflect and see reasons to give gratitude to God. For me, I am so much grateful to God and taking a reflexive stand to see how much he has been faithful to me, my family, friends and loved ones gave birth to this song. What are you grateful for? I am grateful for a whole lot of things… I pray this song triggers your need to be grateful.’

 

The single is set to drop this month. Wait for it.

DEAR NIGERIAN GOSPEL ARTISTES, HELP THE GOSPEL BLOGGERS/MEDIA HOUSES


Google Adsense is one of the major ways the blogger/Media house is able to generate revenue and keep the platform in operation but due to the changing policies of Google, the terms and conditions of Google Adsense keeps changing.

Recently a number of Bloggers/Media houses have been flagged by Google due to contents uploaded on their sites that Google considers as infringement on copyright.

These Contents were sent to the Blogger for Free Download but were also uploaded on sales portals such as Amazon, iTunes, etc for sale.

As a result, these contents were flagged on the blogger’s platform whereas the blogger observed due protocol in uploading the content.

If the Blogger keeps getting flagged for such content, Google will disqualify the blogger from its Adsense program, thereby resulting in loss of major revenue and money accrued overtime.

We are appealing on the Gospel artiste to

1. Leave Free content as FREE everywhere so as not to be in contrast with the bloggers terms and condition as opposed to the sales portals and Google’s regulation.

2. If the content is for sale, share the same portal for every platform

3. If it is for sale and for free download, Kindly make the copyright level less stringent so it does not affect the blogger/media houses

4. Help make the copyright level of previously released content which are for sale and free download less stringent.

GMA constantly advises members to always only put up for free download songs that are deemed so by the artist and to desist from putting for free download songs that the artist has deemed premium and for sale.
Thank You for your constant cooperation. 
God bless you.

HELP THE BLOGGERS/MEDIA HOUSES SERVE YOU BETTER


Self-Harm on the Rise Among Teen Girls – Jim Liebelt

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.

 

Teen girls are much more likely to self-harm than boys, and the dangerous practice is on the rise.

That’s the conclusion of a new British study that also found a strong link between self-harm — practices such as cutting or burning oneself — and a higher risk of suicide.

Researchers reviewed information from nearly 650 general practices in the United Kingdom. The records had data on almost 9,000 patients aged 10 to 19 who self-harmed between 2001 and 2014. The investigators compared those children to more than 170,000 kids who didn’t self-harm, matched for age and gender.

The rate of self-harm was about three times higher among girls than boys. The rate rose 68 percent among girls ages 13 to 16 from 2011 to 2014.

Referrals to mental health services within 12 months of self-harming were 23 percent less likely for children in the poorest areas, even though the rates of self-harm were higher in these areas.

The researchers also found that children and teens who self-harmed had a nine times increased risk of death from non-natural causes. The risk from suicide and alcohol/drug poisoning was especially pronounced.

The high self-harm rate among teen girls may be due to common mental health problems in females at this age. Biological factors such as puberty and onset of sexual activity may also play a role in self-harm, according to lead researcher Cathy Morgan, from the University of Manchester, and colleagues.

The researchers said there is some evidence that common mental health disorders are on the rise among teens. This may be because they “are living in more stressful times,” Morgan’s team said.

The study was published in BMJ.

 

Written by Jim Liebelt

Find out more on: Health Day

Kids Who Read the Bible More Likely to Practice Faith as Adults – Veronica Neffinger

 

recent study has revealed that kids who read the Bible growing up are more likely to continue in the faith as adults.

The study, called “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith,” was conducted by LifeWay Research. It found that the biggest factor in predicting whether or not a child would continue in the faith as an adult after being raised in a Christian home was based on whether or not the child read the Bible regularly growing up.

Other factors which influenced whether or not a child grew up to be a practicing Christian were whether or not they spent time in prayer, whether or not they served in church, whether or not they listened to Christian music, and whether or not they participated in mission trips or projects.

Researchers surveyed 2,000 Protestant and nondenominational churchgoers for the study. The goal of the study was to learn what parents can do to encourage their children in the faith so that they will remain faithful as adults.

“Churchgoing parents want to pass on their faith to their kids—and to see their children make that faith their own,” said Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research. “But they don’t always know how best to make that happen.”

CAN Demands the release of the new educational curriculum 



The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council to publish the full details of the controversial new Curriculum of Education if they have no hidden agenda.

The perceived dangers packaged in the new Curriculum of Education has brought the document to the fore since the leadership of the CAN raised the issue in a meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and asked the government to ensure there is no discrimination against any student because of religious beliefs in our public schools. ‎

Speaking through its President, Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country said it foresaw the danger ahead if the curriculum that merged the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with Civic Education is made to stay.

It also disclosed some perceived discrimination against Christian students in the curriculum.

According to Ayokunle: “…In this curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in a civic education. This undermines the sound moral values that these two subjects had imparted in the past to our children which had made us to religiously and ethnically co-exist without any tension.

“…Islamic Religious Knowledge was equally made available as a subject in another section without any corresponding availability of Christian Religious Knowledge. Is this not a divisive curriculum that can set the nation on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this nation?”

To buttress his point, the CAN President cited a case in Kwara State where a student was punished for refusing to register for Islamic Religious Knowledge.

He said: “A Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with cane by the Arabic Teacher because the pupil refused to do Islamic Religious Knowledge when French Teacher was not available and Christian Religious Knowledge, Hebrew or Greek were not part of the options at all.”

But in a swift reaction, the Federal Ministry of Education debunked the claims that Christian Religious Knowledge had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.

According to the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Chinenye Ihuoma, the ministry has only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.

According to Ihuoma: “The alternation is not from the minister, this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said that History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.

“Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics.

“I have not seen the details but in a case where you have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.

“Arabic and Islamic Studies are not standing alone. Islamic Religious Study and Christian Religious Study as well as national values will be taught under a new subject.”

In his own reaction, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, who also faulted CAN’s position, contradicted the position of the Ministry.

According to Junaidu: “NERDC hereby states that: CRK is still taught in schools; as a separate distinct subject with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide.

“CRK is not a theme in Civic Education. Civic Education is a distinct subject on its own which teaches the rudiments of good citizenship.”

Junaidu said a directive given by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on the merger.

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September, 2014. In both instances, neither the Christian Religious Knowledge nor Islamic Studies was removed from the curriculum.

“In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Hon. Minister of Education sought and obtained the approval of the National Council on Education to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts.

“Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“In this Curriculum, no child should be coerced or compelled to learn or be taught in school any religious studies subject but only one (out of the two) that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his/her parents.”

However, CAN in a statement on Thursday by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said: “If the two religions were different subjects in the new curriculum, why did the Minister has to seek the approval of the agency “to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts”?

“Again, if the two religious studies are being taught separately, why is the agency stating that “Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“These statements underscore our position that the subjects were merged before! Do we need to run away from underscoring the importance of these two subjects which focus on teaching the fear of God, love for others and so on at a time like when our nation is facing the challenge of violence and breakup?

“If the new curriculum is treating the two religious subjects separately as being claimed, why do we have a satanic topic in the Civic Education like ‘IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD’? Or is the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who disclosed to CAN leadership that this was in the curriculum he earlier saw lying too?

“The agency claims no student will be forced to register for a religion against his/her wish.

“That is not true. In Kwara State, for example, the discriminatory curriculum has begun and Christian students who refused to register for it already had their bodies lacerated with cane! We have the names of the victims and their schools with us, including the text message from the parents of such students who were beaten.

“Not only that, in the forth coming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) 2017 TIME TABLE, which runs from Tuesday, 4th July, 2017 to Thursday, 13 Julyin Kwara State, there is no CRK as subject to be sat for. Any reason for this? Instead, on the 13th July, 2017, it has the following; KW/BECE/ 203 Arabic CAIS, KW/BECE/204 IRK JIS; KW/BECE/407 ARABIC JIS and KW/BECE/205 Islamic History. Source:www.kwaraeducation.com.

“The chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Delta State has also called to complain that students are calling him to say that their teachers are saying that they will no longer be doing CRK as a subject again. Who is deceiving whom?

“As far as CAN is concerned, the curriculum is a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly and its implementation must be stopped until all the grey areas are addressed. Like we told the Acting President, it’s introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons.

“If we are going to do pilgrimage together as a nation, there must be fair play, mutual respect for one another and justice which can be brought about by different arms of government. We demand for justice from the government on this matter very quickly.

“We request for a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or a wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the students that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings that are happening now and then.

“Those of us who passed through the former system where we all did devotion in the morning and in the afternoon at closing in our schools lived together peacefully irrespective of our religions. The government must stop the operation of this new curriculum. It did not come out of a forward looking research but a backward one. A stitch in time saves nine.

“We caution the Federal Government against the use of propaganda in addressing this sensitive issue because the unity of the country is at stake. We are not crying wolves where none exists.

“We are disappointed hearing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu claiming that CAN was believing a piece of misinformation received from the social media.

“To say the least, that is a misleading statement from a Minister who is not only trying to Islamise the ministry with all the appointments he has made but denying the reality of discrimination policy under his watch.

“We counsel Adamu to reconcile his position with the spokesperson of his ministry who agreed that both CRK, IRK and Civic Education had been merged to become one subject before denying the reality.”

CAN then went on to make it demands known to the Federal Government.

It said: “The implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organized where all the stakeholders must be well represented.

“The Presidency should direct the Federal Ministry of Education to publish the full details of the curriculum on its website to enable everyone know what it contains.

“There was nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies. What people are yearning for is a return to Civic Education and History for obvious reasons as distinct subjects.

“That the heads of the parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Education should be overhauled with a view to balancing the religious dichotomy. A situation where 13 of their heads are Muslims while the remaining four are Christians is an ill-wind that would blow no one any good.

“We urge the Presidency to call for a meeting of all stake holders to look at this curriculum line by line and for all of us to own it together before implementation.

“If our call is taken as for granted and nothing is done quickly about this curriculum, we may be tempted to take further action on this curriculum.”

SOURCE 

Olowogbogboro: How the apostles broke through into the mind of the Gentiles – Poju Oyemade 

Olowogbogboro: How the apostles broke through into the mind of the Gentiles by Poju Oyemade 
As the apostles went out into the Gentile world to preach the gospel, they obviously came across a certain challenge. It was easy to tell the Jew about the coming Messiah and to use types and shadows in the old covenant and tabernacles with other historical events in Scripture to show that Jesus Christ who came in flesh was the Messiah and the true Saviour.
You could teach on why the law was given, Mount Sinai, the High Priest etc but not to the Gentiles who had no such concepts in their background. They knew nothing about Sinai nor Zion. They had no Scriptural background.
How then were they to preach Jesus? There must be a way around this they must have thought. Then they saw it. God is omnipresent and if so, His presence must be recognizable in the cultures of the people.
Paul said it this way in Acts 17:26-28 (KJV)

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring”- even their poetry spoke to this.
There must be a way through which the people who felt His presence tried to reach Him. They knew if they looked into their cultures they will find God’s presence and they could preach from there.
Paul clearly saw it. In Acts 17:22-24 (KJV) it says

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you”
satan had clearly exploited the ignorance of the people to turned the people into idolatry.
Paul further explained to the Romans that even though the Law wasn’t given to the Gentiles, if you went into their midst you would find the presence of God witnessing in their consciences the same things the Law said.
Romans 2:14-15 (KJV)

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”
Prof William Barclay, a man of Scottish origin and one of the finest theologians who has a version of new testament in print due to his vast knowledge in Greek had this to say about how John came to use the word Logos to define Jesus to the Gentile world. 

I quote
“By the end of the first century the Christian Church was faced with an acute problem in communication. The Church had been cradled in Judaism, but now she had to present her message to a Greek world, to which the categories of Judaism were quite alien. As Goodspeed puts it: ‘A Greek who felt like becoming a Christian was called upon to accept Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.
He would naturally ask what this meant, and would have to be given a short course in Jewish apocalyptic thought. Was there no way in which he might be introduced directly to the values of Christian civilization without being for ever routed, we might even say detoured, through Judaism? Must Christianity always speak in a Jewish vocabulary?’
Round about A.D 70 there was a man in Ephesus called John who saw this problem. He was perhaps the greatest mind in the Christian Church; and suddenly he saw the solution. Both Jew and Greek possessed the conception of the logos of God. Could the two ideas not be brought together?

Let us see the Greek background with which John had to work. 
(i) Away back in 560 B.C there was a Greek philosopher called Heracleitus, who also lived in Ephesus. He conceived of the world as what he called a flux. Everything is in a state of change; there is nothing static in the world. But if everything is changing all the time, why is the world not an absolute and complete chaos? His answer was that ‘all things happen according to the logos’.
In the world there is a reason and a mind at work; that mind is the mind of God, God’s logos; and it is that logos which makes the world an ordered cosmos and not a disordered chaos. (ii) This idea of a mind, a reason, a logos ruling the world fascinated the Greeks. Anaxagoras spoke of the mind (nous) which ‘rules over all things’.
Plato declared that it was God’s logos which kept the planets in their courses, and brought back the seasons and the years in their appointed times.
But it was the Stoics, who were at their strongest when the NT was being written, who passionately loved this conception. To them this logos of God, as Cleanthes said, ‘roamed through all things’. The times, the seasons, the tides, the stars in their courses were ordered by the logos; it was the logos which put sense into the world.
Further, the mind of man himself was a little portion of this logos. ‘Reason is nothing else than a part of the divine spirit immersed in the human body,’ said Seneca. It was the logos which put sense into the universe and sense into man; and this logos was nothing other than the mind of God.
(iii) This conception was brought to its highest peak by Philo, who was an Alexandrian Jew, and who had the aim of joining together in one synthesis the highest thought of Jew and Greek. To him the logos of God was ‘inscribed and engraved upon the constitution of all things’. The logos is ‘the tiller by which the pilot of the universe steers all things’. ‘Every man is akin in understanding to the divine logos.’ ‘The logos is the high priest which sets the soul before God.’ The logos is the bridge between man and God.
Now we can see what John was doing when he uttered his tremendous statement, ‘The Word was made flesh.’ (i) He was clothing Christianity in a dress that a Greek could understand.
Here is a challenge to us. He refused to go on expressing Christianity in outworn and Judaistic categories. He used categories that his age knew and understood.
Again and again the Church has failed in that task through mental laziness, through shrinking from possible heresy; but the man who would discover a new continent must accept the hazard of sailing upon an uncharted sea.”- end of quote
Next time people ask you who is this Olowogbogboro you worship? simply reply thus He said
“Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me”

FOR LOVERS ONLY THE EP BY KOLI 

I’m plagued with a rare music condition; and because of this condition, I write and sing- not because I can, but because I must. I need to make music almost as much as I need to breathe.


When one laden with such a condition writes a song, it is first and foremost for oneself. So, when I wrote the songs you’re about to listen to, I never had an audience in mind. Rather, pain, struggle, suffering, heartache, sin, hunger, depression and desperation brought these songs forth from within me. These songs were God reaching out to me in a manner He knows I can easily process.


For me, they have been a source of strength and encouragement; now, I get to share same with u to help u get through. These are not merely a fusion of inspirational words and sound- each carries a message that is very much alive and now by reason of my releasing this, they are also mobile. 


And most of all, they possess the spirit of Christ. This live recording is the product of the joint talent and sweat of my amazing team- Iwuchukwu Chijioke, Daniel Amboson, Ifeanyi George, Oyedeji Kuponyi, Victor okoro and Lemmy Ebito.


DOWNLOAD WORDS OF LOVE

DOWNLOAD SONGS OF LOVE

DOWNLOAD TAKEN 

DOWNLOAD CANT SIT STILL

DOWNLOAD S. O. S

DOWNLOAD OGO

The World’s Richest Black Women Of 2015

Some are self-made millionaires or billionaires who leveraged their businesses into empires. Others took inheritances and flipped the money into even bigger ventures.

A brief overview of the richest black women in the world as of 2015, according to Forbes.

3. Folorunsho Alakija (Nigeria) – Net Worth: $2.5 Billion

In Naira: 497 billion

Source of wealth: Fashion and Oil

The first female billionaire from Nigeria, Folorunsho Alakija made her billions from oil and fashion. She started her business in the 70s after she left her day job as a secretary to focused on her studies in fashion in England. Upon her return to Nigeria she founded Supreme Stiches, that catered fashion for women of high society. She is also the founder of Famfa oil, a company that owns substantial participating interest in OML 127, a lucrative oil block on the Agbami deep water oilfield.

2. Oprah Winfrey (United States) – Net Worth: $3 Billion

Source of wealth: Media

Oprah Winfrey is the richest African Americans. The majority of her net worth was generated from her 25 year profitable daytime TV show and earnings from her Harpo production company, which she helped celebrities like Dr Phil, Dr Oz as well as Rachel Ray. She continues to support educational courses and has spent a whopping $100 million to build the Oprah Winfrey Learning Academy for girls in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1. Isabel dos Santos – Net Worth: $3.7 Billion (Angola)

Source of wealth: Investments

The daughter of Angola’s president and the current richest woman in Africa. Isabel is a very successful investor; her investments include 25% stake in the Angolian mobile phone company Unitel and 25% stake in Angolian bank Banco Bic SA. She also has a few other investments which make her net worth to more than $3 billion. She is currently the richest black woman and richest woman in Africa.

5 Uncomfortable Issues The Church Needs to Talk About

It has been said that the Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. Yet, most of us would much rather pretend to be a saint on display than call for an ambulance.

Week after week, many of us walk into a church, sit by people we have known for years and yet would never dream of sharing our innermost struggles with. While a large part of this is our pride, another factor is a Church that seems unwilling to talk about certain uncomfortable issues, choosing rather to ignore them, try to cover them up or simply reject people who bring them up.

There are many issues the Church as a whole needs to address, such as creationism, activism, environmental stewardship and many others. But there are many more issues that individuals in the Church are dealing with—issues that the Church Body should be talking about. In Galatians 6:2, Paul urged the Church to “Bear each other’s burdens,” so maybe with more grace and love we can turn on the light in the darkened rooms of each other’s hearts and let our churches become safe havens for the uncomfortable things we have to deal with.

Many of these issues need to be dealt with professionally first. But that should not be the end of it. Research shows just listening to someone and showing them you genuinely care for their situation can be a huge part of that person’s healing process.

This is far from a comprehensive list—these are a few of the issues many people in churches around the world are dealing with, whether they admit it or not. And as people increasingly leave the Church, often over issues such as these, it is becoming more urgent that the Church talk about how to care for every one of its members.

Addiction

At AA meetings and therapy sessions, talking about addiction makes sense, but for some reason, it’s not a topic most church people want to hear about. Certain addictions are definitely more socially acceptable to talk about than others. For example, it’s OK to bug Frank about his smoking, but John’s alcoholism is more hush-hush.

And yes, in many churches, a person’s addictions can become fodder for gossip. However, if the Church were to first approach one another as family, then addicts in the Church might feel safer to be vulnerable about their struggles. Often, they just need to be loved and feel safe enough to know they can expose this part of themselves in a community where the addiction isn’t crushing them every second.

Sexuality

Sex and sexuality tends to be a loaded topic in the Church. Certain corners of the Church have been very vocal in their broad condemnation of premarital sex, but that’s where the conversation (for lack of a better word) tends to stop. We rarely engage the topic of sex on a personal, individual level. There’s a generally accepted idea floating around that, once two people are married, they enter into a carefree, blissful lifetime of sexual fulfillment that needs never be discussed in any meaningful way.

There are strong believers struggling with their sexual identity, brokenness and frustration in churches across the world, and among their Christian friends and families, they don’t dare say a word about it.

 

I know of a few people in my life who love Christ and want to abstain from sin, but they are struggling with sexual sin or sinful desires. There are married couples for whom waiting to have sex turned out to be the easy part, as both parties brought into their marriage a series of expectations that turned out to be flawed. There are very few people they can share this with, but that also means they carry this burden alone. If many churches stopped treating sexual issues as a personal choice, where it could be turned on or off like a light-switch, then maybe we could start to create more safe places where people can share their burdens with each other and find out they’re not alone.

Sincere Doubt

In many churches today, there are Christians, even pastors, who are struggling with doubt. They have absorbed all the recommended apologetics. They havecried out in prayer. They are struggling to believe that God is good or that He’s there at all, yet they continue with the motions. They put on the smile while setting up the coffee table. They mouth along to the words in the worship songs, but it all feels hollow to them. I know this because I’ve been one of these people.

One of the most vital ways the Church can handle doubt is to stop acting like everything about faith is obvious. The Church can recognize that we all have doubts from time to time, but we cling to a hope that’s beyond rational explanation. Churches can also stop trying to hide the hard parts of the Bible under the rug or downplay the significance these ethically questionable parts play in a person’s doubt.

Mental Illness

Those in our midst who deal with mental illness, either personally or second-hand, are typically silent about the struggles they experience. In our society, there still exist a lot of stereotypes about mental illness, and because people either don’t want to deal with it or they’ve been hurt, they will choose to avoid opening up about it. The problem is, if these issues go untalked about, then they often will go unresolved.

In some churches, people who do reveal their illness will go without professional help in lieu of prayer. When prayer doesn’t work, the person dealing with mental illness feels like a failure or like they don’t have enough faith. The Church needs to create an encouraging environment where people can be directed to right help and then receive spiritual healing alongside their physical healing.

Loneliness

There are droves of lonely people in the church, and that includes senior pastors and priests. The isolation comes from a lack of identification and identification comes through open communication. When we can be vulnerable and honest with one another, we understand each other in a profound way.

A lonely person may walk in to a church alone and leave alone each Sunday. Although they appreciate the free coffee and donuts the fellowship hall offers, what they really want is fellowship. Taking time to get to know the people around you and then reaching out to them outside of the church will allow for a greater, more stable community.

Of course, every church is different and while one church may be stronger in one area, it may be weaker in others. These are just a few issues that we as the Church Body need to be willing to address. And as we talk about them, we must remember to address them with humility, understanding and grace, keeping in mind our role as fellow hospital patients, not museum curators.

SOURCE

5 Ways the Prosperity Gospel Is Hurting Africa – J Lee Grady

sad-African-child

 

I’m not an African, but in 2008 some Nigerian friends gave me a Yoruba name (“Akinwale”) because I have been to that country so often. My visits there, along with trips to Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Egypt, planted a deep love for Africa in my heart. My first grandson’s arrival this year from Ethiopia made the connection even stronger.

I’m often asked to describe how God is moving in Africa today. Since I’m an optimist, I usually tell of the large churches, the passionate praise and the intense spiritual hunger that characterizes African Christianity. But there is also a dark side, and I think it’s time we addressed one of the most serious threats to faith on the continent.

I’m talking about the prosperity gospel. Of course, I know a slick version of this message is preached in the United States—and I know we are the ones who exported it overseas. I am not minimizing the damage that prosperity preaching has done in my own country. But I have witnessed how some African Christians are taking this money-focused message to new and even more dangerous extremes.

Here are five reasons the prosperity message is damaging the continent of Africa today:

1. It is mixed with occultism. Before Christianity came to Nigeria, people visited witch doctors and sacrificed goats or cows to get prosperity. They poured libations on the ground so the gods would hear their prayers. Today similar practices continue, only the juju priest has been replaced by a pastor who drives a Mercedes-Benz. I am aware of a pastor who buried a live animal under the floor of his church to win God’s favor. Another pastor asked his congregants to bring bottles of sand to church so he could anoint them; he then told the people to sprinkle the sand in their houses to bring blessings. The people who follow these charlatans are reminded that their promised windfall won’t materialize unless they give large donations.

2. It fuels greed. Any person who knows Christ will learn the joy of giving to others. But the prosperity gospel teaches people to focus on getting, not giving. At its core it is a selfish and materialistic faith with a thin Christian veneer. Church members are continually urged to sow financial seeds to reap bigger and bigger rewards. In Africa, entire conferences are dedicated to collecting offerings in order to achieve wealth. Preachers boast about how much they paid for suits, shoes, necklaces and watches. They tell their followers that spirituality is measured by whether they have a big house or a first-class ticket. When greed is preached from the pulpit, it spreads like a cancer in God’s house.

3. It feeds pride. This greedy atmosphere in prosperity churches has produced a warped style of leadership. My Kenyan friend Gideon Thuranira, editor of Christian Professional magazine, calls these men “churchpreneurs.” They plant churches not because they have a burden to reach lost souls but because they see dollar signs when they fill an auditorium with chairs. A selfish message produces bigheadedopportunists who need position, applause and plenty of perks to keep them happy. The most successful prosperity preacher is the most dangerous because he can convince a crowd that Jesus died to give you and me a Lexus.

4. It works against the formation of Christian character. The prosperity message is a poor imitation of the gospel because it leaves no room for brokenness, suffering, humility or delay. It offers an illegal shortcut. Prosperity preachers promise instant results and overnight success; if you don’t get your breakthrough, it’s because you didn’t give enough money in the offering. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him; prosperity preaching calls us to deny Jesus and follow our materialistic lusts. There is a leadership crisis in the African church because many pastors are so set on getting rich, they can’t go through the process of discipleship that requires self-denial.

5. It actually keeps people in poverty. The government of Malawi is currently under international scrutiny because of fraud carried out by top leaders. The saddest thing about the so-called “Cashgate” scandal is that professing Christians in the administration of President Joyce Banda have been implicated. One of these people stole millions of kwacha from the government and hid the cash in a teddy bear! Most people today in Malawi live on less than $1 a day, yet their leaders have been known to buy fleets of cars and huge plots of land with money that was not theirs. Sadly, the prosperity gospel preached in Malawi has encouraged pastors and leaders to follow the same corrupt pattern. As a result, God’s people have been financially exploited.

When Jesus described false prophets as wolves in sheep’s clothing, He warned us to examine their fruit. Matthew 7:17 says, “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit” (NASB). What is the fruit of prosperity preaching?

Churches have been growing rapidly in many parts of Africa today, yet sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where poverty has increased in the past 25 years. So according to the statistics, the prosperity gospel is not bringing prosperity! It is a flawed message, but I believe God will use selfless, broken African leaders to correct it.

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