I will like to thank Rev. Victor Adeyemi for the honour accorded me this morning to mount the Carpenter’s pulpit. I am not a pastor as you well know but I do have certain graces and gifts. I have a specialized understanding of scriptures. I make sense of times and seasons, and I progress dreams.
I will also like to thank Rev. Victor’s co-labourer in God’s vineyard, the lovely Pastor Jumoke Adeyemi. Trust me when I say that this work cannot be done without her support and active cooperation. Or else Pastor Victor will pay a terrible price. I appreciate you Mrs. Adeyemi.
This morning we’re going to make sense of present realities. We will create a window of understanding in the unscalable heights of human perplexity. We shall render light on eschatological dimensions.
I shall therefore begin on a note of perplexity.
I have often wondered why the Church of Jesus Christ has problems with science; and this has been going on through the ages.
As I meditated on this puzzle, seeking to understand the root cause, I came to realize that Christians in general have a 2-dimensional view of their God.
This 2-dimensional understanding is the result of the teachings we have received over the years and it skews our evangelical work and our sense of responsibility to our community.
Essentially we know God on two levels:
God the Benevolent and God the Judge.
God the benevolent is how we relate to God. God the judge is how we imagine that God relates to the world.
A benevolent God feeds us, clothes us, protects us, favours us, makes way for us, promotes us, provides for us, takes care of our needs, our families and even our dogs. He provides house rent and accommodation, blesses the work of our hands, gives us wisdom, shows us kindness and comforts us in trouble.
We are well familiarized with this God as you can imagine.
The second dimension of our understanding of God is that of God the Judge. This God will essentially throw sinners into the hottest and deepest parts of hell. Now I know hell is real but I’ve never studied its topography or geography so I can’t confirm if there are hotter or deeper parts.
I do know however that the mercy of God is in operation right now. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world that the world through him might be saved! God is reconciling the world unto himself through Jesus Christ. He’s not imputing their sins to them. Quit condemning others.
A condemnatory worldview jaundices our relationship with the world. How can you comfort people you despise? How will you lead them to Christ?
Such a disposition is that of the fallen man. The moral relativism of Pharisees is at play. We think we are better than “those sinners.” We forget that we’re sinners saved by grace but sinners all the same.
A judgmental disposition is not a manifestation of the Spirit of grace. Jesus loves sinners. He died for them. The only people Jesus had a problem with were the oppressive religious hypocrites called Pharisees, and he still died for them!
We can’t keep holding on to just two dimensions of God. There are other dimensions.
There’s God the Sovereign and Commander-in-Chief for example. He controls the political agenda of the nations of the world as well as that of the Multiverse. We need to discern and teach God’s political ideology. We need schools of government in our nation.
Then there’s God the Businessman. We met him in the Parable of the Talents, and similar parables and passages in scripture.
And of course there’s God the Scientist. We met him in Genesis. If he created the universe, he must be a scientist! Creation was not magic. It was extreme original science!
Science tells us that when God began to create the universe the first things he created, according to the Big Bang cosmological model, are the four forces that regulate the universe. (Please indulge me, I’m going somewhere).
The forces are gravity, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism.
Gravity as you know is why we are not experiencing premature rapture. It keeps us tethered to the ground.
The strong nuclear force is what binds atomic nuclei. Without it Adam would have had no body and neither will we. This force had to be operative for God to create matter.
The weak nuclear force regulates radioactivity.
The fourth fundamental force, electromagnetism, is what we’ve struggled with the most as the Church of Jesus of Christ.
In man-years this force is at least 14 billion years old. We’ve only just begun to tap into its potential in the last sixty years.
Electromagnetism regulates all the conveniences of the 21st century. Without it we won’t be talking about quality of life. It regulates TV, radio, light bulb, your microwave oven, your telephone, this public address system…all our modern conveniences.
The mobile phone is an electromagnetic device. It is now the most powerful technological platform in the world. It’s your TV, radio, heart monitor, diagnostic equipment, publishing platform, still camera, video camera, editing suite, data storage device, transmitter,
Wi-Fi hotspot, diary, planner, internet hub, Bible, newspaper, photo gallery, calculator, games console, pathfinder, weather station, online store, social hub and so much more!
The strength of the mobile phone is its mobility. This creates great opportunities for the Church but the Church is struggling with the phone, just as we struggled with television. Barely three decades ago we called the television the Devil’s box!
The reason we struggle is because we mistake the technology platform for content and usage. Instead of us to embrace technology, adopt it for the sake of the gospel and create massive content for it, we stand aside and let the world create content for our children, and then we go banning and moralizing. Banning the Blackberry is never going to be a long-term solution! It’s just a palliative.
The mobile phone is an amoral technological platform. You can do whatever you like with it, edifying and unedifying. There are hundreds of thousands of enabling apps. And this is the age of social media.
Tell me, why hasn’t the Church in Nigeria embraced social media on a massive scale? Why don’t we have dedicated ministerial structures for social media? Where are the Twitter Pastors? I mean Twitter pastors not tweeting pastors. It’s a new job description.
The Twitter Pastor will preach and counsel like classic pastors do, only via Twitter. He’ll upload a sermon a day and take questions. He can even conduct healing ministrations using the phone as point of contact.
Today’s youths are very expressive and transparent. They bare it all on Facebook and Twitter. The young man who wants to commit suicide will most likely post it on Twitter first. What’s our social intervention strategy?
A church will reach more people on Twitter than it can ever reach in its physical location.
Let me illustrate Twitter potential. I gave myself a creative challenge that I will write an entire novel on my phone and upload a chapter a day on Twitter. I called the novel #NOVUS. It means something new in Latin. (I completed Season 1 at the end of February. 20 chapters).
Last month we did the analytics. Data analysis shows that over 1million people came in contact with my tweets in February. And I had only 7000 followers then.
And just last week, my Sunday Business School #JesusMBA trended on Twitter in Lagos. Business lessons from the sayings of Jesus trended in Lagos?! Goes to show that the world is ready for the other dimensions of God we don’t preach.
The Church is struggling with the implications of today’s technology. If the church is struggling with today’s technology, what will we do when broadband debuts! We are not ready for the consequences of broadband. The implications are massive! We will need to change the curriculum of Children’s Church.
Broadband is the real Pandora box. With broadband everything is accessible. Everything! How are the children going to handle notorious content? It’s not just prurient sexual content we should be worried about. There’s a lot of funky philosophy on social media. Those are even more dangerous.
And that takes us to the problems in Genesis. There were three major consequences of the fall of man:
The first consequence is of course death. Now we know that Adam didn’t fall down and die when the problem occurred but looking at available data there’s a profoundly troubling revelation.
Data on the age of man from ancient times to now shows a downward trend. As the years have progressed human lifespan has become shorter and shorter.
The oldest man in the Bible, Methuselah lived for 969 years. That age dropped drastically to 175 years for Abraham. Today, man dies at about 70 years of age when averaged out, even though the oldest man alive today is 115 years old. (He’s Jiroemon Kimura, a Japanese).
If we apply the rate of depreciation from the Methuselah period to us now, the human race would have been wiped out in the next 412 years.
It is believed that Abraham lived between the Intermediate Bronze Age and the Middle Bronze Age i.e. between 2000BC and 1500BC.
Now, from Abraham to this moment, the rate of depreciation is 0.03 per year or loss of 10 days every year. You can see that the rate of depreciation slowed down from the Methuselah period. Nonetheless with the current rate of depreciation between Abraham and us the human race will be wiped out 2669 years from now. Unless God slows down the clock, again. Without intervention from God, the timetable for extinction of Adam’s genealogy is clear.
The human biological clock is winding back. The death sentence on Adam was programmed to wipe out of his genealogy! And that’s how Adam died biologically. Humanity became extinct in him.
You now understand why the second Adam had to come. We were recreated in Christ Jesus the Bible says. Humanity is being recreated in Christ. It’s the only way to reverse the trend. In other words God is saving the human race, literally!
The second consequence of the fall is very germane to our discussion. Satan gained governmental control of the world’s system domiciled in Adam. He took over Adam’s thought system with the philosophy of rebellion. (Rebellion has always been a governmental issue, even rebellion at home. Adam’s sin was willfulness and rebellion. He was not deceived the Bible says. He knew what he was doing). Satan literally entered Adam’s head and took control of his thought processes. The head of Adam became enslaved to him. To whom you yield your members you become a slave thereof.
Based on the spiritual principle of genetic franchise, he also took over the descendants of Adam still in his loins. The only reason Satan could offer Jesus the kingdoms of this world, and their glory and resources is because he runs the thought system controlling the people who control the political and economic resources of those kingdoms. That’s what makes him the god of this world. In a manner of speaking Adam was the original god of this world.
Everything in the world is God’s but as long as Satan controls the thought processes of the people who control the resources, he owns them. Satan controls Earth’s resources by controlling the thoughts of human resources.
It’s why media is so important to Satan. It’s a tool of mind control. From the Soviet Union era under Stalin, to Germany under Hitler, to MTV, to the social media age Satan has always sought control of media. He plays big in that arena. And that’s why God tells you to renew your mind constantly.
The third major consequence of the unfortunate event in Genesis is that mankind became psychologically damaged through sin. And we soon began to see the manifestation of that psychological damage when Cain slew his brother, Abel. We see evidence of that psychological damage all around us daily: you read it in the newspapers, you watch it on TV, there’s even crime channel on cable: rape, incest, murder, violent robbery, corruption, demon worship, denial of the existence of God, denial of the existence of Satan, self love, witchcraft, hatred of women, forbidden sexual orientations, deification of money, wars, pogroms, ethnic cleansing, bestiality, theory of evolution, invention of religions, invention of new sexual categories, holocaust… Pray, how does a man go into the forest, cut down firewood, cook with half of it and then carve the other half into a god and start bowing down to it? You think such a person is ok?! Isn’t that what Isaiah kept wondering about?!
What the Bible calls the flesh is actually the outflow of demented psychology. (The “flesh” is human thinking, it’s not a body. The flesh is not meat). We are dealing with genealogical demented psychology.
In other words, those contents on the net that the Church finds objectionable were created by a people under the psychological control of a psychopath who visited death on the human race. Pray, tell me, what do you expect from such a system?
And because there is no counter-culture, those web content come to define the values of the human race. And the unimaginably evil becomes normative.
New technology creates new sociology. For example, the advent of social media created a phenomenon called dissociation. It means we speak and relate more and more to machines and less and less to humans. When you talk on your phone for example you’re relating to a machine even if a human is at the other end. That’s dissociation. It has spawned new sexual practices – web sex. You don’t want to know the details.
An app called Grindr enables gay, bisexual and bi-curious men locate other men within close proximity. New sociology.
The technology is not the problem. A church can for example, adopt such a technology to enable its members locate each other. The problem is and has always been content and usage.
Social media has redefined the concept of neighbourliness. My neighbour is no longer the man next to me in my fixed address – the man next door so to speak. My neighbor is now the man in my dynamic vicinity. Neighbourliness is now determined by the crossings of paths – digital and physical.
Amazingly, this definition of a neighbor is in total sync with the sentiments of Jesus. He defined a neighbor with a parable in Luke 10: 29 – 37 – the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan.
A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho he taught. The man was attacked by robbers who left him for dead. The religious folk walked by and avoided him like the plague. But a man from Samaria attended to the victim, fixing him up in a hospital and paying for his treatment. This Samaritan is the neighbor to the robbery victim Jesus taught. In essence therefore, a neighbor is anyone you minister to.
Jesus admonished us to go and do as the Samaritan did. “Go and DO likewise,” he said. Neighbourliness entails DOING. And you can’t claim to serve God without serving humanity – especially those the Lord brings across your path, even if seemingly randomly.
The real gospel is the gospel of mercy. And churches are now being judged on their relevance to human condition.
We must then ask ourselves two inevitable questions:
- Who are the neighbours of Global Harvest Church?
- What doing of mercy is Global Harvest involved in?
These are very crucial questions, and since Global Harvest Church is a collective, the question devolves down to the individual member of the church. And so we must ask, “What is your role in the Samaritan initiative called Shop4Free?”
I want to close by hacking your theology.
There are two types of fasting recognised in scriptures. And it’s not dry fast and wet fast!
The first is dietary fast. We are well familiar with it. When we suppress our hunger and do without food in order to create super sensitivity to the Spirit of God – that is dietary fasting.
The second type of fast is found in Isaiah 58 and it was stipulated by God himself.
In the passage of scripture the Israelites were complaining that God wasn’t paying attention to them despite their fast:
“Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?” they asked.
In response, God made a list of the litany of his complaints against them. They were unfair to their staff; they displayed false piety and were more interested in appearances than heartfelt relationship with God.
“This is the kind of fast I’m after,” he said: “Break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the work place, free the oppressed, cancel debts.”
Then he went further:
“What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.”
In other words, the Global Harvest outreach to the poor called Shop4Free is a fasting program – equitable fasting!
But God wasn’t done. He listed the blessings of equitable fasting, or shall we say the blessings of Shop4Free:
“Do this (Shop4Free) and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then you will pray and God will answer. You’ll call for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
If you’re generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down and out, your lives will begin to glow in darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again!
What more can I say?
Thank you and God bless!
Delivered at Global Harvest Church, Ikeja, Lagos
Sunday, March 24, 2013
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org