I want to thank Pastor Ayo Adesola and I must say Papa Adeboye for inviting me to speak to this gathering of eagles, the sons of Issachar I call you.
I refer to you as the sons of Issachar because you are supposed to understand the signs of the times and what Israel must do.
That popular phraseology came from 1Chronicles12. The passage is an account of the statistics of battle-seasoned warriors who came from the North to join up with David to make him king at Hebron. Quite an assortment of characters with an assortment of capacities I must say!
From Issachar came 200 chiefs, coincidentally about the number of people gathered in this auditorium this morning. All their kinsmen were under their command, the Bible says. In other words, the real contribution of the tribe of Issachar was leadership. Again, this is coincidentally aligned with our gathering this morning. This is a gathering of leaders.
If it is written of the Sons of Issachar that they understood the signs of the times and what Israel should do, it means they possessed critical and analytical capabilities; that they were aware of problems and understood challenges; and they had solutions. You can’t be a Son of Issachar otherwise. The Sons of Issachar understand trends.
If you want to be a leader, you must be aware of the problems around you, you must be able to analyse the issues, and you must have capacity to originate solutions. You must not only be current, you must be concurrent.
If you want to succeed as a leader you must have an appreciation of challenges. The critical question is, what are the challenges around us?
By prophetic proclamation the problems of your generation are dual in nature. You have double work. But these challenges cannot overwhelm you because you’re up to the task. You’re dual in nature too!
And lest you begin to wonder what this Uncle is talking about, I’ll like to refer you to Genesis 49. In that passage, we’re told that the patriarch of Israel, the man sometime known as Jacob gathered his twelve sons around him on his death bed. He was going to make what lawyers refer to as dying declaration. Such declarations are considered legally potent.
The patriarch gathered his sons around him for the sole purpose of telling them what they should expect in the days to come – the last days. We are in the last days as you know.
Issachar was the 9th son of Jacob. This is what his father pronounced upon him (I’m reading the Message Translation):
“Issachar is one tough donkey crouching between the corals; When he saw how good the place was, how pleasant the country, he gave up his freedom and went to work as a slave.”
Now this translation says Issachar crouched between corals but I actually like the King James translation. It states and I quote: “Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens.”
It is for this reason that I say through the spirit of prophecy that the problems confronting your generation are dual in nature. You are the generation of leaders with two burdens. There is the burden of the Church and the burden of the nation – two burdens!
Nigeria is desperately seeking solutions to her problems. It’s why the President wants a National Dialogue. And the Church has unique challenges too. The church is grappling with the radicalization of social technology. Everyone is a broadcaster now. What is done in church is instantly transmitted all over the world via the mobile phone. Nothing is sacrosanct any more. The older generation don’t understand the dispensation of social media.
There’s also the fact that your generation is shameless. Your generation doesn’t understand shame. You pour everything out on social media. You should see the mails I get. Shamelessly graphic!
Social media is redefining church and church service. Just a few years ago, it was considered disrespectful of God to bring your phone into the church. Now we’re all broadcasters of the good news, tweeting and instagramming. If I were to design a church today, the walls will be interactive screens. Each chair will have a digital console with a screen attached, just like on airplanes. You’ll watch the pastor preaching on your screen instead of straining your neck to see the stage. I’ll call the consoles Halleluyah Tablets. Moses had his own tablets remember! The consoles will automatically sync with your phone. I’ll tell you why in a minute. The church premises will be a free Wi-Fi zone. Nuggets of the sermon will be sent to your screen as the pastor is preaching. You may like the nuggets like on Facebook. The number of likes are instantly beamed to all the screens in the church including the interactive walls. This gives the pastor instant feedback. The sermon nuggets can also be shared via Twitter and Facebook. Your screen pages will have sharing options. At the end of the service, the sermon notes will be automatically downloaded unto your phone. That’s why the system syncs with your phone. You can make comments on your way home, share pictures and personal experiences, post questions and receive answers. The answers are thus crowd-sourced though a moderating pastor will join the conversation. This is the church of the future. Service continues after church and the church community is interconnected! Of course you know you’ll be giving offering using digital wallets, don’t you? You’ll give by phone, buy music and sermon materials using digital coins. The phone is going to be very important in the future Church. We are already on the way. The Bible is now on the phone.
Since the Bible is now on the phone it means the Word has transmuted into binary algorithm – code. The Word of God is now in its true essence. I hope you’re flowing with me. The word of God is actually a code. It’s why it’s called Logos. The etymology or root of the Greek word is speech, oration, discourse, quote, story, word, study, reason, ratio, calculation, lay down intelligence, expression of intelligence. The word logic is a derivative of Logos. We’ve of course seen the Word as speech, oration, discourse, quote, word, study. Those are literary dimensions of the Word. But the Word of God also has computational dimensions: ratio, calculation, logic, lay down intelligence, expression of intelligence. Doesn’t this sound like laying down computer code? In other words, the Word of God has programme qualities. As a programme it generates 3-Dimensional and higher dimensional realities. Your computer code generates 2-Dimensional realities. God created everything with the Word. Everything you see was generated by Code. And because Jesus is the Logos, it means everything was generated by Him! He is the Master Code – the Alpha Code, the Omega Code.
To appreciate the challenge of the older generation let me tell you about my father-in-law. My wonderful father-in-law, who came of age at the time of the gramophone, has through the grace of his daughter, my wife, recently acquired a Blackberry. We couldn’t buy him touch screen because it would be a cultural challenge. He grew up with phones you poke your hand into. You poke your fingers into the eyes of the phone and wring its neck.
To understand how to use the basic functions of Blackberry, and please I’m not talking about email, we had to organize tutorials for him! We think he has finally got a hang of it since he now boasts about BBing my daughter in England! We have quietly given up on putting him through email, Twitter or Facebook. No one wants to volunteer for the task among his six daughters. How’s such a man going to preach to your generation? He can’t even understand your generation.
This is the broadcast generation. You run 24-hour commentary on Twitter, even in your sleep! I’ve just woken up: Good Morning everyone!… I’ve just done the big one in the toilet!… I’ve just taken my bath… Now I’m eating cornflakes (Take photo. Share) Yummy!… I’m listening to Kirk Franklin right now… I’m about to dress… I’ve just dressed (Take photo. No, another pose. No, a much better pose. Post.)… Don’t you like my shoes! (Take photo. Share)… I’m about to go to class… This lecture is boring… Emeka is crazy!… Justina is laughing at me… Thank God lecture is over… I’m now walking to the cafeteria… OMG!
The older generation of Christians was resistant to technology. That resistance invariably cost us mileage. They called TV the “Devil’s Box”. They couldn’t distinguish content from technological platform.
As Christians we should be the first to adopt new technologies. In fact we should anticipate them, afterall these technologies are proceeding from our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the fount of ALL knowledge and wisdom the Bible says. Colossians 2:3 says, “In Him are hid ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. Therefore all technological knowledge is resident in Him. He is the Logos!
The reason we must pay attention to technological paradigm shifts is because they signal the dispensational moves of God. He reveals technological knowledge to mankind to begin a new chapter in his unfolding programme for Planet Earth.
Instead of resisting technology we must radically embrace it, and race ahead of the curve to adopt it. Content is key. Technology is amoral. TV doesn’t care what you put on it. Neither does the internet. Content!
The point I’m trying to make is that since my father’s generation and my generation are hardly conversant with these new technological platforms, we need your leadership in this arena. We can give you broad guidance but you need to tell us what to do. “And a little child shall lead them” Isaiah 11:6 says. The burden falls on you to create content for your generation, to disciple their thoughts. Your content need not be original. You can do a remix. You can curate existing data.
If you don’t create content for Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms, you are making the same mistake as the older generation. Thought leadership is a critical function of leadership. The Bible is a compilation of God’s thoughts.
When we abdicate our responsibilities in the technological space Satan crowds it with his values and ideas, creating a dominant culture that chokes us out. Then our testimony becomes minority report.
Have you ever wondered why people are so rude on Twitter in Nigeria? Why is there so much hatred, so much anger, so much disrespect? A young man tweeted me the other day that he believes that on Twitter there should be “No rules, No class, No respect of persons, just Minds!” That is a call to anarchy and I’m sure you know who’s behind that philosophy. Because we vacated the technological space for a long time and failed to respond to the opportunities, brigands took over the space, turned themselves into warlords and Twitter became the American West – no man’s land! But we’re going to claim it back.
Immediately Twitter came out the Church should have responded to the opportunity presented. The character limit of Twitter is about the size of an average verse of scripture. In essence the Bible is a compendium of tweets.
In response to Twitter, we should have had a new designation of pastors called Twitter Pastors. Their job is to minister on Twitter, counsel on Twitter, use tweets as points of contact for healing and deliverance. God can channel his power through any medium. I’m saying we need creative ideas from you on how to take over the cultural space. Youths live on Twitter and Facebook, and of late 2Go. You can’t reach this generation without social media. And my generation can’t fully understand the challenges of this generation. Those like me who do have a special grace. The onus therefore falls on the people in this auditorium this morning, to solve those generational challenges. Leaders solve problems.
Twitter is a fulfillment of prophecy. In Psalm 68:11 the Bible says, The Lord gave the word and great was the company of those that published it.
Let me share with you my social media experience so you can appreciate the opportunities you have as leaders of your generation. I know some of you follow me on Twitter.
In response to mentoring requests from several young people, I decided to start writing to my mentees via Twitter. Following the structure of the Bible I break my letters into verses of no more than 140 characters. Every Saturday at 9am and 6pm I post my tweets. I write to two fictional characters named Jack and Jil. The Lord magnified those letters and they became a storm.
(I hashtag the letters #Letr2Jack and #Letr2Jil).
In less than six months, my followership on Twitter rose to almost 28,000. And it’s growing at the rate of 500 – 700 new followers every week. Sometimes 1000. But that’s not the big deal.
The big deal is the fulfillment of Twitter prophecy that the Lord gave the word, and great was the company of them that published it. Imagine thousands of people retweeting a letter. That is amplification! To visualize what I’m saying, note that if you take a tennis ball and you double it in size just a hundred times over, it will become the size of our planet!
We ran analytics of my tweets and were shocked at the data. Through retweets these letters were reaching 1.5 million people every month! And the number of impressions was over 10million every month! But that’s not the full story.
Those letters are being broadcast in 282 cities around the world in 85 countries notably Nigeria, UK, US, South Africa, France, Germany, United Arabs Emirates, Ghana. There are some unbelievable locations. A Nigerian tweeted me from Moscow. And I have followers in Iran, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Vatican City, Seychelles, Trinidad & Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Maldives, Thailand, Rwanda, Chile… Isaiah 55:5 says “You shall call nations that you know not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God”.
What are these letters about? They’re just a cool uncle’s advice to a young man and young woman on real issues of life, issues we don’t want to deal with as Church; things young men and young women can’t discuss with their families, issues they’re afraid of approaching their pastor with because they are afraid he’ll look at them funny. Mainly matters of the heart – boyfriend/girlfriend issues, relationship problems, heartbreaks… It’s like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon in modern idiom. I once posted an entire chapter of Proverbs and no one knew the better because I used Message Translation. Once a while, I write about politics. I posted politics this morning.
My letters espouse Bible principles. I’m essentially applying Bible philosophy to real world scenarios, proffering solutions to problems. Christians, Muslims, liberals, conservatives, traditionalists, gays, feminists, professionals, traders, beauticians, fashionistas, pastors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, grandmothers, singles, married, lesbians, atheists, satanists… all of them flock to my timeline every Saturday.
So powerful are these letters that by midnight Friday, people start tweeting about preparing to receive the tweets. They start praying for daybreak to come.
From these letters I learnt some vital lessons:
The world is hungry for what is true and authentic. The world is hungry for truth, for wisdom. They don’t care about the source! They want a proven philosophy of life. They need to talk to someone. They want answers. They need thought leadership. They want to connect, with God, with those who know God. They want to share their pain. They want to be part of something, to be part of the move of God. The world is waiting for your leadership.
The problem is not our message. The problem has always been our presentation of the message, especially our attitude. We are judgmental. You can’t be judgmental and exhibit compassion at the same time. The two don’t go together.
It didn’t require a leap of intuition for me to start sermonizing on Sundays and giving people an opportunity to give their lives to Christ. I have an audience of 28,000! Not many churches are that big. And the people started getting born again. My message is not diluted to gain followership. Last Sunday I explained why God doesn’t want premarital sex. Not an easy message to preach to this generation as you can imagine. But that weekend almost 400 new followers signed on!
Then I noticed something curious on my timeline. Every Saturday people weep as they read the letters. This I couldn’t and can’t understand. The letters must be touching people in deep places. And then the mails began to flood in. Real stories, real problems, terrible pain… Broken relationships, death of loved ones, rape, abuse, neglect… Every week I get a mail from a young man or woman who wants to commit suicide, or has attempted suicide, sometimes twice. Every week! Every week I receive mails from young men and women with various heartaches. And I answer them all, except the frivolous.
Then the Lord moved my heart to hold a special program called “Moving On!” for those who have experienced relationship trauma. I limited the age range to thirty and above but a lot of twenty somethings wrote in. I planned for twenty people. To my shock, 150 people signified intention to attend! At the end of the day I accepted to host 75 people privately in a hotel venue. Among them was a 21 year old lady with two children from two men and she was already divorced. There was so much weeping and crying in that hall that Saturday we had to go and buy boxes of tissue. We were in that hotel from 10 in the morning till 8 in the night, no food! But the Lord healed the people and delivered them from their troubles. And I saw another paradigm shift. This wasn’t the kind of deliverance I was accustomed to. God was doing something different and radical. I just had to flow with God. If you want to see the radical move of God, ignore convention. God doesn’t use a formula.
But we didn’t stop there. As I speak to you there’s a young lady, a final year student in one of the universities undergoing total hip replacement surgery in India. Our foundation, the Leke Alder Foundation donated a lot of money towards the surgery, but we couldn’t cover the entire cost. So we put out an announcement on Twitter for people to donate towards the surgery. We were able to raise N689,000 towards the surgery. This young lady had been in excruciating pain all her life. She couldn’t lie down. She was always in a wheel chair, slept in wheel chair.
We even tweeted at the airlines for two tickets. None of them gave us tickets even though they responded to our tweets, but at least we got their attention. Next time! She called from India on Wednesday that the first surgery was successful. She’s recuperating for the second surgery. Let me read her letter to you:
LETTER OF APPRECIATION
I can’t begin to express my profound appreciation for your sponsorship of my surgical procedure. Your donation and the success of the fundraising campaign you launched on my behalf is the sole reason I’m making this trip. As the soft rays of dawn penetrates the blanket of night, so did your decision to sponsor my surgery suffuse my heart with hope, after numerous failed attempts to get sponsorship.
As an orphan without a family support, it is very difficult for me to cope with life and my medical condition. It would have been impossible to garner the funds for my medical bills. Your assistance really enabled me to continue my battle of survival as a sickler. You’ve saved my life. You’ve saved my dreams and put an end to my suffering which had lingered for so long.
I really appreciate your organization and all that you do to help others. I pray I should be able to return the favor someday and somehow by helping another person overcome.
As I prayerfully prepare for this trip, I know heaven will send help to complete the funds that you’ve raised so far and also provide for my travel expenses. I’d not have come thus far if not for your benevolence spirit and generous heart.
I want to use this medium also to express my gratitude to all the human angels who had contributed in the form of thought, prayer and cash donations towards my medical request. May God himself richly bless you mightily in Jesus Name. Amen.
Social media was made for Christianity. Through it we can preach, we can share our values, we can crowd-source humanitarian aid, we can promote our culture, we can help the weak, minister to the unfortunate, comfort the bereaved, bind up the broken-hearted, reach out to a dying world, lead our generation. God is doing a new thing in your generation!
Now, imagine that if I could reach 1.5million people every month with just 28,000 followers, how many followers is Lady Gaga reaching? She has 40,352,082 followers.
Can you imagine how many people Rihanna is reaching with 32,432,696 followers; or Jay Z with 2,966,980 followers; or Justin Bieber with 46,333,210 followers; or Kanye West with 10,062,589 followers?!
This is the Kanye who made a mockery of the crucifixion of our Lord with his latest album, Yeezus – the clip I showed you at the beginning is from his latest concert. Do you see the exponential scale of what I’m talking about? Do you see why you need to occupy the cultural space?
The harvest is plentiful. Do we have enough labourers in your generation?
Now let’s quickly move on to the other half of the challenge before your generation.
Nigeria has so many challenges but the biggest challenge is the challenge of leadership. I do not define leaders as political office holders. Many of these tend to be hirelings. I’m talking about those with a capacity to be touched by the feelings of the infirmities of the people.
Clearly our national investment framework is lopsided. The biggest investment any nation can make is investment in youths. We build nations by building people.
There is a difference between running a government and building a nation. A nation is not a geographical space. It is people. And the prosperity of a nation cannot be measured in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The prosperity of a nation ought to be measured in Gross Human Development (GHD). It’s all about people. Jesus died for people. If the GDP and external reserves of a nation are rising but the lot of the people is unimproved, then we are doing something wrong.
If the youths don’t have opportunities, or feel they’re buried in concrete tombs we have a problem. Young men shall see visions the Bible says. Old men shall dream dreams. God gives young people a unique capacity to imagine tomorrow. Old men dream dreams of what could have been.
Young men innovate. Creativity belongs to young people. Technological visions belong to young people. They’re the ones who dreamt of the mobile phone and put it in Star Wars. What is your dream for Nigeria?
Jesus is interested in nations. He delineated the boundary of each nation. In Job 12:23, we are told that God makes nations rise and then fall, builds up some and abandons others. God is very much interested in governance and politics. It is written that he conceptualized and propagated nations. Acts 17:26 – “And he made from one common origin, one source, one blood, all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined their allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation.”
In other words, God allotted 1960 to the creation of Nigeria and fixed the boundary space. He parted the space between Cameroun, Chad, Niger Republic, Republic of Benin, and plunked Nigeria there.
Nigeria’s problems are myriad but not intractable. The issues are well known – insecurity, corruption, youth unemployment, power, mono-economic dependence, derelict infrastructure, under-investment in education, etcetera.
Clearly the politicians don’t have the answer. Neither did the soldiers. Since all wisdom is resident in our Lord Jesus Christ, just where do you think the solutions should come from?
When I began this lecture I spoke about your dualism. I posited that, that dualism is what gives you the capacity to solve the double challenges before your generation. You are priest-kings, the Bible says. That is a very powerful equation. You are of the Order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was a priest of God who functioned in a political capacity over an earthly kingdom. Your anointing is exact.
The bone of contention in the battle for the control of our nation is the hyphen between priest and king in the word priest-king. Satan wants to remove the hyphen. That way he can separate the priests from the kings. The kings can govern without reference to God. The priests will have no say in political affairs. Then he can offer you God or power. And that’s what he’s been offering politicians. It’s why they go to Okija shrine and other notorious enclaves of demons. He’s saying political power and God are mutually exclusive, but you know that’s not true. Melchizedek was a priest-king.
Satan is also particular about removing the Bible as a frame of cultural and social reference. Once Lucifer overthrows the values of Christianity within society, he can introduce exotic new sociologies: bisexual, bi-curious, transsexual transgender, pan sexual, poly sexual, cis-sexual, cisgender, bigender, trigender, a-gender androgynous, genderqueer, transman, transwoman… These exotic sociologies are direct attacks on the very foundation of Christianity.
Nigeria is a land flowing with milk and honey. It is abundantly blessed. It has 34 mineral resources. Canada has only five yet is regarded as the mining destination of the world.
The prophecy in Genesis 49 is that Issachar crouched between two burdens and he saw that the land was pleasant. Our land is a pleasant land, the climate is good, the land is rich. But the prophetic potential of Nigeria cannot be realized until the Issachar generation gives up its freedom and bows its shoulders to bear the burden of nationhood.
Will your generation rise up to this challenge? That is the question before you this morning.
May the Lord give you wisdom and enablement.
Thank you and God bless!
Delivered at Redeemed Christian Fellowship Annual Leadership Training Programme
Youth Centre, Redemption Camp
Saturday, November 2, 2013
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org