Permit me to begin in technological terms this morning. The traditional image of a gathering of prophets somehow evokes ancient dread; but since prophets deal in the future, I will begin my address in futuristic terms.
It would seem that the mind of God has a virtual security system. No one can access it except the Spirit. He has the master code. And God’s thoughts are scrambled. As the scriptures declare, no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. His thoughts must be decoded.
To help us decode the thoughts of God, sometimes the Spirit gives us clues. The clues are meant to generate questions in our hearts and as we meditate on these questions we gain unique insight.
There is a clue on what God wants the Church in Nigeria to focus on at this time in the account of the conversion of the household of an improbable believer named Cornelius. That conversion was epochal because it signified the intent of God to take Christianity international and make it global. It’s why we’re gathered today.
At the said event, Peter spoke about the passion of Christ – how he was slain, hanged on a tree and raised from the dead, on the third day, by God.
Now, here’s the clue:
According to Peter, God showed him (Jesus) openly, “not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God…who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10: 40, 41)
Code Question: If God wanted to convince the world of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, why didn’t he just show him to the world? Why to just a few people? Such a showing would have dispelled the controversy generated about the realism of the resurrection.
Because Jesus was hanged openly his death was never in contention. But his resurrection became a controversial subject, deliberately made so by the Jewish authorities.
As I puzzled on the question raised, the light of revelation poured into my heart. I had realisations on the prophetic direction for the Church in Nigeria.
There are two chapters to the life of Jesus. There is pre-resurrection account of Jesus. And there is the post-resurrection account of Jesus. The world knows the pre-resurrection account of Jesus. The Church knows the post-resurrection account of Jesus. That’s what Peter affirmed to us. There are thus two historical parts to the revelation of Jesus: pre-resurrection, post resurrection.
The reason God did not reveal Jesus to the world after resurrection is because he transmuted in revelation into a state called Word. It is this Word we preach. Before resurrection there was nothing to preach about him. No one preached him.
As the Word he is in a creative mode. It is a neo-Genesis state, only this time his focus is the re-creation of humanity not the universe. He is re-creating humanity in his image. We were recreated in Christ Jesus the Bible declares.
The post-resurrection account of Jesus is an account of the devolution of power to these recreated beings. When we focus on power and manifestations of the Spirit in church we are dealing with a post-resurrection revelation of Jesus Christ. It is a revelation of a mystical, esoteric, intangible Jesus. And this revelation is wholly private to the Church.
There is only one problem. This post-resurrection account of Jesus is an incomplete revelation. It is not and cannot be complete without the pre-resurrection account. This pre-resurrection account is what the world knows and understands – it’s all they’ll ever know until they come unto saving grace.
The pre-resurrection revelation of Jesus is that of a crusader for what is now technically known as “social justice”. He fed the poor, healed the sick, taught the people, gave them knowledge; he spoke truth to power, had nationalists in his management team, inducted professionals, converted entrepreneurs. He was influential, related well to sinners, and some notorious women; he had a knack for spotting talent and understood high culture (the Alabaster box perfume comes to mind in this regard). This is the Jesus the world knows.
Unless the Church in Nigeria feeds the poor, takes care of the sick and ministers to them, use everyday case studies as tutorial materials, speak truth to power, engage nationalists, co-opt professionals and entrepreneurs, spot talent, and plug the gospel culturally, the world will never understand our carryings-on and goings-on! Our neglect of this revelation is why the Church has come under severe attack in the last one year.
There is a clash of knowledge civilisations.
The Church is concentrating on programs and agenda that validate individual ministries, whereas God through the donkeys and asses of this world is speaking to us to concentrate on the pre-resurrection agenda begun by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just like the people didn’t care about the workability of the gift of miracles when Jesus fed the 5000, the world doesn’t care about the validation of our callings. The world wants the Jesus who cares! That’s what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
To quote a messianic psalm, “the mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness. He will bring justice to the poor of the people; he will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.” (Ps.72)
Oh, how we’ve missed our way! We’re out of touch with our calling, our agenda, our people, our nation and our youths. And the scriptures are fulfilled: Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? Seeing many things but thou observest not; opening ears, but he heareth not. (Is. 42:19, 20)
One of the greatest inventions of God is the hyphen – the very noble “dash”. The bone of contention in the battle for the souls of the youths in our county today is the hyphen. God is interested in inserting a hyphen between two words: priest and king. He wants to create priest-hyphen-kings, priest-kings. Satan has the exact opposite intention. He wants to remove the hyphen to separate the priests from the kings. Once the hyphen is removed, secular humanism will be enthroned as religion. And the first step in that direction is the removing of the Bible as a frame of reference.
If the Bible is no longer a frame of reference, what is wrong with being gay? Once Lucifer overthrows the values of the Church within society, he can introduce new sociologies: straight, gay, bisexual, bi-curious, transsexual, transgender, pan sexuality, poly sexuality, cisgender, cissexual, bigender, androgyne, genderqueer, transman, transwoman, trigender, agender… These are exotic sociologies. Some are direct attacks on the very foundation of Christianity and our children are buying into them, accommodating them.
The youths, including Christian youths don’t understand the relevance of the Church in their lives. How many kids will come to church if their parents weren’t Christian? The lesson of history is that an irrelevant Church soon dies. An insular Church eventually turns church buildings into disco halls.
The kids don’t consider Pastors as role models anymore. The music and film stars, and stars of reality shows are the new role models; even though the stars are lost themselves. They are searching for meaning and grappling with fame. The blind is leading the blind.
The irony is that many of the music stars were created in church choirs across the land. We create them, nurture them, they become famous, Satan moves in, destroys their lives, kills them and sends them back to us for burial!
Where is the Church in popular culture? Satan is very well invested in that direction. He turns stars into apostles and evangelists. Lady Gaga is bisexual. She has 38.3m followers on Twitter. Justin Bieber is a confused kid. He has 40.5m followers. Rihanna is sexually provocative. Check the lyrics of her “Sexuality” song. She has 30m followers. You can’t understand the exponential power being wielded by these people until you realise that with just 16,000 followers and powerful retweeters you can reach over a million people. (I was able to reach 1.06m people with just that number in April).
Most kids don’t come to church on Sunday. They have their own hangouts on Twitter. And there’s stuff on Twitter I assure you! We must go to these hangouts. We must engage them.
But if you want to engage them you must recognize that the cultural paradigm has changed. Pastors are used to unquestioned authority, but these kids question everything and everyone with irreverence. You can’t legislate no pre-marital sex on Twitter. You have to engage and explain. If the Church must be relevant we must focus on the questions and issues that bother our kids. Romance is unsurprisingly one of them. And I’m not talking about “singles fellowship”. Most are not “singles”. We hardly have credible ministries tending to their relationship challenges. After the mistakes have been chosen, we then tell them to come for one month pre-marital counseling!
And their role models don’t even want to marry. Kim Kardashian just delivered a baby for Kanye West and they’re not married! He in turn just released an album called “Yeezus”. According to him, “Yeezus” is his god name. And Kim’s sister, Kourtney now has two kids out of wedlock. Boyfriend is the new term for husband. This is what our kids are exposed to. And there on the screen you have the artistic impressionsr of the album title by fans!
A pastor will reach more youths on Twitter and Facebook than he will ever reach in a church building on Sunday. The work is outside the church. It’s on Twitter, it’s on Facebook, it is on 2go, it’s on Eskimi, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn.
But we keep doing our thing. We don’t communicate and when we do, we use incomprehensible vocab. (We don’t speak in English anymore!): anointing, deliverance, breakthrough, by fire by thunder, crusade… Has it ever occurred to us that nobody understands these technical lingo except us?!
The reason revelation is stunted in the Church is because we won’t focus on the next generation. Let’s be honest, the volume of revelation has not changed much since the days of Kenneth Haggin. Is God not speaking new things? God told Abraham he would not hide anything from him because he knows he would convey the oracles of God to his children. The key to revelation is communication with the next generation.
In conclusion, God is telling us to concentrate on the unfinished agenda of the pre-resurrection Jesus but with post-resurrection enablement of the Spirit. Every church must re-examine its programme and agenda. Every church must question its relevance to its community. We must question our relevance to our demographics. Or else the Church will soon be filled with old men and women singing hymns, too feeble to lift up holy hands and wondering what the world has become!
Delivered at Prophets’ Seminar,This Present House (The Dome), Lekki Phase 1, Lagos
Thursday, June 20, 2013
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org