Praise & Prayer, February 2018

EMS OF ECWA
PRAISE & PRAYER, FEBRUARY 2018

Prayer/Counseling hotline: 08033673654, 08051614880
E-mail: prayerpromotion@emsofecwa.org
Website: www.emsofecwa.org
Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess. 5:25)
WEEK ONE – FOCUS IS ON PRAISE/THANKSGIVING
FROM HOME AND CROSS-BOARDER MISSION FIELDS
“…Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deut 32:3b-4 (NIV)
THURSDAY 1ST
Praise God for the safe arrival of EMS missionaries from Nigeria to the Gambia and other cross borders mission fields. Ask the Lord to increase upon them grace as they settle down and strategies on how to begin work in their new mission fields.
FRIDAY 2ND
Praise God for SIL (Scripture International League) Mali for their willingness to partner with ECWA Mali in the area of providing translated videos and ministry materials available with them for the purpose of evangelism and discipleship in EMS Mali mission fields.
SATURDAY 3RD
Thank God for success of the weddings of our missionaries and those who gave their daughters in marriage, they include Pas. & Mrs. Udah Bagudu in Kano, Rev. Bature Nomau and Rev. Lawai I. Yaro gave their daughters in marriage. Ask the Lord to sustain these homes by His grace.
WEEK TWO – FOCUS IS ON EMS HOME MISSION FIELDS
I will proclaim the name of the Lord… Deut 32:3a
SUNDAY 4TH : EMS MANAGEMENT
Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to EMS Management Team as they lead and give instructions at the Head Office, Regional, DCC, and various levels in the Ministry through the month of February.

NIV NOTE: WE ARE FASTING TOMORROW

First (1st) Monday of every month is to be observed nationally and internationally as EMS prayer and fasting day. Therefore, all EMS arms, missionaries, office staff, prayer partners and supporters should please endeavor to join the EMS international head office in prayers. We join faith and trust God in one accord with brethren around the world for a steady and fruitful growth of the work of missions, peace and the salvation of nations, for revival and spiritual growth of the Church. Prayer time at the Head Office is 8-9am, 12-1pm, and 3-4 pm. You can join us in prayers wherever you may be at those times or make out time of your own convenience as you are led by God. Please, just be sure to pray along as you fast.

MONDAY 5TH: EMS BOARD MEMBERS

Praise God for His grace on EMS Board members; Ask that He grant them wisdom as they give council on EMS mission activities and programs this year.

TUESDAY 6TH; EMS SUPPORTERS

Praise God for EMS Supporters both in praying and giving; Ask that the Lord grant them (you inclusive) and their families divine protections. Also pray that their works/business be blessed in increased measure.

WEDNESDAY 7TH ECWA EXECUTIVES

Ask the Lord to grant ECWA EE wisdom and increase upon their heart burden for missions as they strategies, engage and encourage ECWA members to be passionate about mission/evangelism.

THURSDAY 8TH: NEW MISSIONARIES/COORDINATORS

Praise God for the new missionaries and coordinator that has reported to their stations already ; ask that those who will be reporting within this month will be granted safety and that all of them will should be granted grace to be steadfast and committed to their mandate.

FRIDAY 9TH MID EAST REGION-LAFIA DCC

  • Pray for the newly weaned prayer house to a Local Church Board in this region for more strength to sustain the growth momentum. Pray for success of the ongoing plans to wean other mission stations that are fully grown, and are due to be weaned this year.
  • Pray for God’s blessings on one of our supporter who is single handedly building a church auditorium at ECWA MISSION STATION GIDAN KURA.

SATURDAY 10TH: FAR NORTH WEST REGION

Pray for God’s visitation and healing on Pas. Yusuf Usman who is currently not been able to use his sight as a result of a spiritual attack. Also pray for Pas. Mamuda Muda and Musa M. Gagare who are also struggling with their health.

WEEK THREE – FOCUS IS ON EMS HOME MISSION FIELDS
As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Matt 10:7.NIV

SUNDAY 11TH. SOUTH EAST-ABA DCC

  • Ask the Lord grant opening to meet the urgent need of motor bikes for some missionaries working in the interior parts of this region.
  • Let’s not relent in asking the Lord to raise more indigenous mission supporters for EMS in this region this year.
  • Ask the Lord to grant us financial open doors for the development of the worship place in Lokpanta mission station.

MONDAY 12TH NORTH EAST REGION- GOMBE DCC

Praise God for the 17 supporters that are added to the numbers of supporters in this region last year (2017) ending through last month (January 2018). Ask the Lord to grant them grace to be committed to their pledge and that He bless the works of their hands.

TUESDAY 13TH CENTRAL REGION GARK DCC

Pray for the success of the undoing plans for Central Region mission conference in March 2018.

WEDNESDAY 14th SOUTH NORTH EAST-TARABA DCC

  • Pray for the successes and fruitfulness of the mission conferences and awareness that are scheduled to hold in this region this year.
  • Let’s keep praying for Gods intervention and perfect healing on the son of our missionary, Pastor Feson Joshua who has been psychologically unstable.

THURSDAY 15TH FAR NORTH REGION-KATSINA DCC

Ask the Lord to grant spiritual awakening to missionaries in this region to enable them stay focused, committed and diligent to the glory of God.

FRIDAY 16TH NORTH WEST REGION – KADUNA DCC

  • Praise God for the safe release of Rev. Mathew Musa whom we’ve been praying for since his kidnap. Let’s not relent in praying for the safety of our missionaries/pastors and their families from kidnapers.
  • Let’s keep praying for EMS supporters in Kaduna who are affected by the state government policy of workers retrenchment, ask the Lord to arise and to intervene on their behalf.

SATURDAY 17TH. SOUTH WEST REGION-ILORIN DCC

  • Ask the Lord Grant financial opening to enable this region fix the regional coordinator’s official Hilux truck.
  • Ask the Lord to raise more indigenous mission supporters for EMS in this region this year.

WEEK FOUR: FOCUS ON CROSS BORDERS MISSION FIELDS
As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near. Matt 10:7. NIV

SUNDAY 18TH

Let’s not relent in praying for the about N300M needed to cater for various EMS cross borders mission projects.
NIGER REP. Praise God for the successful taken over of Rev. & Mrs. Abdu Garba Kanawa from Rev. & Mrs. Tanimu Ishaya Umaru from EMS of ECWA Maradi, Niger Republic field; pray for the Kanawas to acclimatize well as they assume ministry in Maradi, Niger Republic.

  • Pray for God to touch and convict many Nigerien to accept Jesus Christ who is the only way to heaven in Jesus Mighty name.
  • Pray for God to open door ways for the purchase of church land for 1st ECWA Maradi, Niger Republic.

MONDAY 19th ECWA ZAMBIA CHURCH

  • Praise God for the total number of 12 people who were baptized in Kitwe, the Zambian Church in the year 2017.
  • Thank God for the ministry of Mrs. Kuzasuwat among the girls in Zambia. Pray for God’s blessings upon their farm this rainy season and their center for learning tailoring.
  • Pray for the Lord’s direction as the Kuzasuwats take the step to start two prayer houses in Chingola and Luansha both of these towns are in Copperbelt Province of Zambia. Two families have been contacted, pray as they finalize on their decision to open their houses to be used.
  • Pray for open doors for the education of the Kuzasuwat’s children; they are being slowed down for lack of funds.

TUESDAY 20TH MALAWI

  • Praise God for God’s protection over Rev. Sukukum and family, together with the other 14 pastors in Malawi. 2017 was full of activities and trainings with facilitators from USA and Nigeria which all recorded successes.
  • Pray for the inauguration of the Malawi ECWA Church. Pray for the ECWA President and his entourage for safe flight to and from Blantyre in Malawi and for a successful event.
  • Pray for God’s provision for structural development of the Church plot in Blantyre, Malawi. Pray for the 14 Malawi indigenous pastors as we trust God for their upkeep trusting that they will be adopted as EMS missionaries as God raises supporters.

WEDNESDAY 21ST: ECWA MALI CHURCH

  • Praise God for the prison ministry of Rev. & Mrs. Amah in Mali, appreciate Him for the favor He granted them to formerly carry out discipleship programme with the women inmates.
  • Pray for more access to Bambara Christian films for the ministry of Rev. & Mrs. Amah in Mali as many people speaks and understands Bambara better than French.
  • Pray for more soul winning strategies for Rev. & Mrs. Amah in Mali in the year 2018 in Jesus name.

THURSDAY 22ND ECWA BURKINA-FASO CHURCH

  • Pray for the growth of Women Fellowship, Men Fellowship and Youth Fellowship which has started in ECWA Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
  • Pray for Amon Christophe, Pastor Dauda lliya first convert in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso who is at ECWA Theological College Zalanga, Bauchi State, Nigeria for success in his academic pursuit.

FRIDAY 23RD: CHAD REPUBLIC

  • Continue to pray for the ongoing plans for urban church planting work in N’djamena the capital city of Chad Republic; Pray that God will raise a missionary who can meet up with the task of urban church planting in N’djamena and also provide the needed resources.
  • Pray for the various needs of mission the stations in Chad Republic such as: land, clean water, church buildings and pastoriums.

SATURDAY 24TH ECWA TOGO CHURCH

  • Pray for the ongoing translation work of ECWA documents into French and God’s provision for the work.
  • Pray for God’s providence for the building of the mission Church in Kaboli amounting to N2, 000.000.00.
  • Pray for God to provide EMS of ECWA Togo with a vehicle for the purpose of mission work, for the challenges is obvious as well as large portion of land for ECWA Togo headquarters. Two heckthers of land ECWA HEADQUARTERS OF TOGO OFFICE will cost us about five million naira only (N 5,000,000.00).

WEEK FIVE: FOCUS ON OTHER EMS MISSION ARMS
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV

SUNDAY 25TH GFG EMS CHILDREN/MISSION FIELD’S SCHOOLS

  • Praise God for the safe resumption of both students and teachers in all EMS mission field and EMS Children schools across our mission fields.
  • Ask the Lord to grant financial opening to parents struggling to pay their children’s school fees.
  • Pray for increase wisdom and grace for effective teaching on all teachers in EMS children and mission field schools in this 2nd academic term.

MONDAY 26TH EMS MEDICAL UNIT

Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and patience to the 11 medical staff working in the EMS clinics; pray that they stay steadfast and committed to their work in 2018.

TUESDAY 27TH: EMS HOUSE OF HOPE

EMS HOUSE OF HOPE main campus in Jos is in dire need of major renovation; ask the Lord to grant financial open doors to enable EMS carry out these repairs that are needed to be done on the buildings.

WEDNESDAY 28TH EMS DRIVING UNIT

Ask God for divine protection on all EMS vehicles and drivers through the month of February especially as they convey new and old missionaries on transfer to their new mission stations.

THURSDAY 29TH EMS SPORTS UNIT

Ask the Lord to grant Rev. Emmanuel Ali the Sport ministry coordinator safety and favor in all his travels to various mission stations for follow up visit to missionaries who uses sports in their mission field as a medium for reaching out to youths.

FRIDAY 30TH EMS TRAININIG UNIT

Ask the Lord to grant financial opening for tuition fees for EMS missionaries who are on training in theological schools and bible colleges at home and abroad.

SATURDAY 31TH

Praise God for His sustaining grace on EMS in all its mission programs and travels throughout the month of February.

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING WITH US.

MORE GRACE AND GOD’S BLESSINGS AS YOU RELENTLESSLY PRAY WITH US THROUGH 2018. SHALOM!!!



How Does a Church Survive When Big Givers Leave?

Dr. Roger Barrier | “Home Base” is the central core you cannot afford to lose. This includes the pastor’s salary, worship team, small group coordinator (if you have one) and any paid nursery staff. Everything is on the “chopping block”. If you lose “home base” you will lose the church (images: Church of England, YouTube).

Dear Roger,

I am the pastor of a 100 member adult church and I was informed today that my largest giving family will no longer be with us. This family represented 15% of the total giving and their departure comes after the church has approved a 2014 budget. (In hindsight, we should have probably set our budget absent their giving in case such a reality occurred). Still, faced with such a financial challenge, where would you begin to make adjustments? In other words, what are the essential functions and obligations any church must meet to retain integrity through the difficult process of financial re-alignment? Thanks always for your wisdom and consideration.

-Kent

Dear Kent,

Big hit! Really hurts! Crisis moment! I am so sorry for you and for the church. I have experienced this. It is traumatic, isn’t it?

When our church was small, we were debt free except for a $54,000 loan extended to the church by one of the “rich” members for a building project. The “deal” was brokered by my predecessor in conjunction with the church leaders.

I learned that several times over the years my pastoral predecessor (and others) suggested to the “rich” person that he go ahead and forgive the loan since he intended never to call for the loan to be paid. He refused; but each time, he renewed his promise.

No one bothered to tell me about the loan when I accepted the call to be their pastor.

Several years later the chairman of deacons said to me, “I have good news and bad news.”

“Give me the good news first.”

The good news is that Mr. Rich Christian promised that he would never recall the loan.”

“The bad news is that he just asked us to send him the $54,000. His daughter’s entering college and he needs the money.”

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money.

Here are some thoughts on what to do and principles to follow as shared from my experience.

1. Take care of “home base” first. “Home Base” is the central core you cannot afford to lose. This includes the pastor’s salary, worship team, small group coordinator (if you have one) and any paid nursery staff. Everything is on the “chopping block”. If you lose “home base” you will lose the church. In other words, cut whatever is not absolutely necessary.

2. Call together the church leaders and share the problem with them and with the entire church. This is not the time to get squeamish about raising money. Make it clear what has happened and that the church is worth saving (or making up the difference needed in the budget).

3. Rearrange the budget as necessary.

4. Arrange for comprehensive prayer meetings. The church needs prayer. Get as many people to attend as possible. People who come to pray will tend to be encouraged and/or give more money to help to solve the problem.

5. I made a decision to preach regularly on giving. The average church member gives less than 2% of their income to the Lord. Talk about sin–and waste. I built my sermons around six Biblical foundation stones that I call “Biblical Economics”:

(1) Pay God His tithe right “off the top.”

(2) Pay Taxes to the government.

(3) Keep a positive cash flow. Pay off your credit card bill in full each month. The first month you cannot do that–or don’t want to–you are heading toward financial crisis.

(4) Be out of debt for depreciating items.

(5) Save 10 to 15 percent for emergencies and long-term needs–like retirement.

(6) Following good Biblical Economic will result in a surplus so we can give generously to others in need.

Over the years, Kent, our giving increased dramatically. But, unfortunately, most American Christians look at these principles and immediately refute them as impossible “pie in the sky” demands. This is because the average family overspends their income by 4% every year and the debts keep mounting.

6. Every crisis time is reevaluation time. Take time with you church leaders to decide carefully the unique mission of your church. Perhaps it is time to change the question most pastors ask. Instead of asking “how are we going to get people back to our church”… ask… “How are we going to get our church back to the people?” Figure out how to get there.

Our $54,000 debt problem led to a debt free church and enhanced economic freedom for our entire congregation.

Kent, I am sorry for the difficulties you are experiencing. I will pray for God to lead you as you lead your people through solving this financial problem.

Love, Roger

Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

 



Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches

By Laura Schwecherl | By the time noon rolls around, it may seem too easy to head to nearest pizza joint. But hold up: Here are some healthy lunches that are 400 calories or less and can be made in no time! And for those who need a little more fuel to keep on going, each meal also includes an optional side snack to keep anyone’s belly full (up to 500 calories). So say sayonara to take-out or hours slaving at the kitchen—with these options, nobody will go hungry (or unhealthy) again.

1. Turkey Wrap: 365 Calories
Why it rules: Turkey is a tasty and lean source of protein. Bonus points for choosing the low-sodium kind!
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 130 calories, 3 slices deli turkey: 90 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus: 60 calories, 1 tablespoon goat cheese: 60 calories, 1 handful baby spinach: 5 calories
Side snack: 9 Parmesan Garlic and Herb Pita Chips (140 calories)

2. Mediterranean Burger: 400 Calories
Why it rules: Subbing turkey for the traditional beef saves some calories without sacrificing flavor.
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat bun: 90 calories, 1 turkey burger patty: 140 calories, 2 tablespoons feta cheese: 50 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 round slice red onion: 5 calories, 1 handful spinach: 5 calories
Side snack: 5 Kashi 7-grain crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese (100 calories)

3. Spiced Chickpea Pita: 350 Calories
Why it rules: Try this spin on a traditional falafel sandwich without fried chickpeas.
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, ½ a chicken breast: 100 calories, ¼ cup chickpeas: 70 calories, ¼ cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1 sprinkle parsley: <1 calorie, 1 sprinkle oregano: <1 calorie
Side snack: 1 large peach (70 calories)

4. Grilled Cheese With Tomato and Turkey: 345 Calories
Why it rules: This healthier version of a grilled cheese has no butter and adds in turkey for extra protein!
Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 3 slices deli turkey: 90 calories, 1 slice provolone: 70 calories, 1 small spritz olive-oil spray (to grease pan panini press!): 5 calories
Side snack: 1 small apple (60 calories)

5. Grilled Chicken and Cheese Sandwich: 395 Calories
Why it rules: Low-fat mayo is a great swap for the full-fat version!
Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, 1 slice Swiss cheese: 70 calories, 2 teaspoons low-fat mayo: 35 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 leaf butter lettuce: 5 calories
Side snack: ¼ cucumber sliced with 2 tablespoons of hummus (75 calories)

6. Pizza Burger: 360 Calories
Why it rules: Say so long cravings for greasy pizza thanks to this burger that’s also filled with protein.
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat bun: 90 calories, 1 veggie burger patty: 100 calories, 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese: 140 calories, 2 tablespoons marinara sauce: 40 calories
Side snack: 1 orange (85 calories)

7. Veggie Sub: 380 Calories
Why it rules: Get your daily serving of veggies and them some with this flavorful sandwich.
Calorie breakdown: 1 6-inch whole-wheat sub roll: 220 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus: 60 calories, ¼ cucumber, sliced: 15 calories, 1 small tomato, sliced: 10 calories, 5 black olives, halved: 40 calories, ½ carrot, shredded: 30 calories, 1 handful alfalfa sprouts: 5 calories
Side snack: 1 large handful of sweet potato chips (80 calories)

8. Curried Chicken Pita With Cranberries and Pear: 375 Calories
Why it rules: No mayo needed for this tasty chicken salad.
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, 1/2 a chicken breast, diced: 100 calories, ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries: 45 calories, 1/2 pear, diced: 45 calories, 1 teaspoon honey mustard: 5 calories, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder: <1 calorie, 1 squeeze lemon juice: <1 calorie
Side snack: The other half of the pear used in the salad! (45 calories)

9. Caesar Salmon Wrap: 364 Calories
Why it rules: Light dressing and heart-healthy salmon make this a winning wrap.
Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, 5-ounce can of salmon: 120 calories, 2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing: 60 calories, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese: 25 calories, 1 handful spinach: 5 calories
Side snack: ¼ cucumber sliced with 2 tablespoons of hummus (75 calories)

10. Egg, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich: 385 Calories
Why it rules: This sandwich is leaner and greener than a traditional bacon, egg, and cheese. And delicious any time of day.
Calorie breakdown: 1 English muffin: 120 calories, 1 large egg, fried: 75 calories, 1 teaspoon olive oil: 40 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories
Side snack: 1 medium-sized apple (80 calories)

 



Civilization and Its Enemies

by Paul Krause | Meanwhile, Christians remain shackled and muzzled by the liberal Leviathan and told to keep their concerns “private.” Which is to say that good Christians cannot be good public citizens since the good public citizen is only ever a private Christian who never brings his Christianity into the public square. (image: For God’s Glory Alone Ministries)

What is civilization and why is it important? Civilization is many things, but at its heart, it is both the inheritance of societal ideas, customs, and traditions which inform the body, and it is how that body is structurally organized based on that inheritance coupled with the ongoing changes of socio-political development. Western civilization, for all of its imperfections, is, nevertheless, Christian in its inheritance and still Christian in its current state of composition (needing to be awakened to be sure).

Political theology, as an academic sub-discipline of political philosophy, is the study of how religious and theological ideas and systems have influenced the concept of the political. It is not “faith-based” politics as many people might think or otherwise claim. In fact, it is a discipline that is otherwise fairly secular; but one that recognizes the profound and tremendous importance of the theologico-political question as foundational for civilization itself.

One of the most important developments of the late “Enlightenment,” one that Christians of all people need to understand, is the sudden and venomous attack on civilization launched by everyone from Rousseau to the German romantics—albeit for very different reasons. Rousseau, who has been described as the “Moses of the Romantics” by historian Tim Blanning and is the spiritual godfather to the postmodern movement whose greatest representative is Michel Foucault, was the first to assail civilization as oppressive, corrupt, and based on dominance hierarchy. His solution, which might sound familiar to us today, was to tear down the edifice of civilization whereby—in civilization’s destruction—greater equality and freedom for all would be achieved for individuals.

The German romantics, on the other hand, were much more complex in this game of civilizational struggle. The German anti-nihilist tradition of philosophy, from Hegel to Nietzsche, and Spengler to Heidegger, shared with Rousseau the concern that civilization was oppressive, sterilizing, and ultimately nihilistic (and therefore needing to be fought against). However, unlike Rousseau, they got very specific as to what the disease infecting genuine civilization was: the materialistic, hedonistic, utilitarianism of Anglo-French liberalism.

The German romantics augmented Rousseau’s ideas to include that oppressive, corrupt, and domineering civilization was also nihilistic and would bring about the death of true civilization; this is the totalizing death which emerges from the end of the struggle that is life, the consummation of Hegel’s “Victim” or Nietzsche’s “Last Man” who lives for nothing but materialistic gain and bodily pleasure while Mars is sounding forth the trumpet of struggle. For the romantics the new dichotomy was one between authentic civilization (pure, free, and fertile) and nihilistic civilization (corrupt, decadent, and oppressive). For the Germans, unlike with Rousseau, they still wanted to defend their version of authentic civilization while Rousseau saw all civilization is bad. One might find familiar overtures in this basic dialectical dichotomy as well in the destruction of the oppressive civilization and the hopeful birth of that pure civilization in its stead.

Of course, the children of Rousseau and the romantic tradition—the postmodernists first and foremost and synthesized Rousseau and elements of broader Romanticism—understand that Western civilization is intertwined with that Christian inheritance from the past. But because Western civilization is oppressive, corrupt, and domineering, its destruction—which the postmodernists think will be a good thing—also necessitates the destruction of Christianity in the process so that the new civilization to replace it does not retain any of the residue of its original sin so to speak. Part of the problem with Western civilization’s societal organization, postmodernists think, is from its Christian wellspring. The true alliance between the radical left and Islamists is that both are fighting a mutual civilizational enemy moreover than the hollow proclamation of being in favor of feminism, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights, which are really only meant for those living in this future utopian civilization built on the ravaged carcass of Western civilization and the now deceased Christianity that were the veins of Western civilization.

Islamists, from the pen of Sayyid Qutb—author of the magisterial and terrifying commentary of the Qur’an In the Shade of the Qur’an—were also influenced by the European Romantic tradition. Qutb asserted that Western civilization was nihilistic and materialistic and represented a clear and present threat to genuine Islamic civilization (and that Christianity was the principal agent of the nihilism and materialism now permeating Western civilization and threatening Islamic civilization). Muslims could not tend the garden, as it were, and expect to be left alone. The acidic rain of Western civilization would eventually come unless it was confronted first—which necessarily meant a confrontation with Christianity since Christianity was the corrupting agent that allowed for secularism, materialism, and nihilism to take root (in Qutb’s reading).

Today, there is a wholesale assault against civilization from all directions: from the benign and “permissive nihilism” of political hedonists, libertines, and individualists who are completely blind to this struggle based on their faulty anthropology of consumeristic individualism and economic agency (homo economicus), to the revolutionary postmodernists who have embraced Rousseau’s critique of civilization, and the Islamists petrified of the encroachment—rightly or wrongly imagined—of Behemoth unto their spatial geography. Meanwhile, Christians remain shackled and muzzled by the liberal Leviathan and told to keep their concerns “private.” Which is to say that good Christians cannot be good public citizens since the good public citizen is only ever a private Christian who never brings his Christianity into the public square.

Christian support for Donald Trump has recently been excoriated from clerical leadership of all stripes (Protestant and Catholic). And while one can easily be uneased by President Trump’s supposed lack of stern morals to many other things, what these critics who charge Christians supporting Trump to be supposedly forsaking the gospel message miss—because of the logs in their own eyes—is that we live in a complex, unsettling, and angst-filled world marred by the residue of Original Sin from the Fall. This is the great Augustinian insight: we do not live in a perfect world even in the aftermath of the death and resurrection of Christ. We still live in the plane of uneasy ambiguity, conflict, and shifting movements of peoples who may very well intend to do us harm. For all of his criticism against the violence and domineering of the Roman Empire, when the Barbarians came flooding across the border, Augustine thought it was right and proper for the Romans—Christian and pagan alike—to man the defenses and preserve that imperfect modicum of peace, justice, and order that the Roman Empire did, in fact, provide (however imperfect it was). Augustine did not see the Vandals and Goths as the face of a refugee Holy Family fleeing persecution.

President Trump may not know what he is doing in all things. But that is not altogether important. On the critical issues, he is, knowingly or unknowingly, acting as a katechon against those who seek to tear down the edifice of what remains of Western Civilization and its Christian inheritance. Perhaps we should listen to Jeremiah who says that many fools, however well-intentioned they are, are filled with destructive folly as they proclaim “peace” when there is no peace.

Christians, in this civilizational struggle, need to be awakened from their slumber, moral malaise, and decades of being driven into oblivion by political elites who are destroying the spatial revolution from which 2,000 years of Christian fertility has nurtured and guided Western man. Like Frederick Barbarossa entombed at Kyffhäuser waiting to be awakened, so too is the body of Christ waiting to be awakened from its long slumber and retreat. Politics is about how to organize a body, and religion—but especially Christianity—is also about how to organize a body. Christianity is political because man, as Aristotle knew, is a political animal. The abdication of political responsibility by Christians is the great tragedy of our age.

This returns us to the tragedy of the German anti-nihilist tradition which suffered from this Christian abdication of responsibility. The German anti-nihilist brushed aside Christianity as a possible answer to the crisis they saw and concerned themselves with. Nietzsche, in saying yes to life, ultimately said no to life. For Nietzsche the only thing about life is the struggle for life. But one can never gain more life on his own. One cannot gain more being either. One, then, must ultimately destroy everything he loves and makes because in failing to do so he becomes attached to such things and ceases the struggle of self-overcoming. Nietzsche’s anti-nihilism ultimately exhausts itself into nihilism.

Heidegger, who understood the problem with Nietzsche’s humanistic anti-nihilism, attempted to resolve the problem by creating the metaphysics necessary to avoid the fall into nihilism as one is simply moved chaotically by the zeitgeist. The problem with Heidegger’s metaphysics of being in Being and Time is that the deep roots he claims we can attach ourselves to do not exist. Heidegger knew we needed rootedness, but the rootedness he claims to be available ends up leading us down the path of radical relativism—not to mention that there is no substance to his Bodenständigkeit as it is just abstract re-mythologizing from the dead corpse of Norse-Teutonic mythology.

The one body that has those deep roots, the one body that you can attach yourself to, and the one body that has an inheritance stretching back to the formation of man, and will continue existing into the future until the death of Death, is the Body of Christ. The eternal community that humans seek is the community of the saints we are all called to be part of. The happiness we seek is found in the wellspring of life itself; not devotion to some temporal utopian cause or the prevailing spirit of the zeitgeist. And where the Body of Christ flourishes civilization also flourishes.

The attack against Western civilization is, in some way, an attack against the Body of Christ. And Christians need to understand that. The postmodernists certainly understand that the end of “oppressive” Western civilization includes the end of Christianity. The abdication of Christian responsibility in these crucial times will only lead to a self-exhausting nihilism from those claiming to be fighting against nihilism; it will lead to a passing over of the Church because people see the Church laying down and subjecting itself to misery, abuse, and, quite literally, destruction. It is also a missed opportunity for evangelization too. This is a time for Christians to defend civilization, however imperfect—like Augustine did in the fifth century—not join the destructive crusade against it, which would include tearing down what the Body of Christ has bequeathed to Western civilization.

Paul Krause is an M.A. student in theology at Yale University’s Divinity School. He holds a B.A. in economics, history, and philosophy from Baldwin Wallace University.



Ways to Banish Winter Gloom

by Rick Hamlin | In the middle of all the snow and slush and mud, there are signs of hope. Here’s how to see them.

January. I don’t know what it is–the short days and long nights, the drooping temperatures, the joys of Christmas receding in the rear-view mirror while the promise of spring feels far off–but the gloom sets in.

You know how it is. You try to savor the beauty of the winter snowfall, but suddenly your mind wraps around all the work that comes with it: digging the car out, shoveling the side-walk, washing all that muck and salt that collects on your boots. And do you have another pair of thick wool socks?

Need some help dispersing any January gloom? Try this:

1)  Take a picture
Sometimes I don’t see the beauty of winter until I get out my iPhone (okay, I don’t mean to sound hopelessly 2017). The other day on my morning run I was noticing the ice on the river. I paused from my usual huffing and puffing around the park and snapped a shot.

It was only later, when I posted that picture to Instagram that I could see it: the bands of white and gray across the water and then mirroring in the cliffs, with a hint of pink where the rising sun was hitting it. It was beautiful.

2)  Sing a song
You knew I’d say this. You don’t have to sing it out loud. Sing it to yourself. Can’t sing? Sure you can. My dad had a tin ear but he always sung lustily from the front pew (where he wouldn’t bother too many folks). I used to joke with him and tell him that he had about three notes–and sometimes they were the right ones.

The psalm says “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” Nothing there about it having to be pretty.

3)  Look up
Now that I got you thinking about your cell phone…look up from it. Look around you. Turn it off for a moment. The other day on my morning commute on a crowded subway train, I looked up from my phone and noticed that the man standing in front of me had a cane.

“Would you like to sit down?” I said. “That would be nice.” I got up, cursing myself for my self-involvement. At least I had finally noticed. I had looked up.

4)  Know the temperatures WILL change
One winter our car was buried in snow, almost three feet of it. We spent days shoveling the snow and clearing it all off. It took almost a week. But guess what? Just as we finished, a warm spell hit and the rain came. The dirty snow all melted in a matter of days.

Trust God, trust nature. Things will change. That’s the way of the creation.

5)  See the signs
The crocuses do come, the days slowly get longer, hope isn’t lost. I was walking by our neighbor’s place and noticed the sign “Hope” in the planter in front. A remnant from their Christmas decorations. It was still there. Bravely reminding me: “Hope is right here.”

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.



Get Involved During ECWA USA DCC International Conference in Chicago IL from July 19 – 22, 2018

by Mrs. Elizabeth A. Garba | Press towards perfection and unity of faith in Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1: 16 & Eph. 4: 12-14). Be a Part of the Movement at ECWA USA DCC International Conference in Chicago IL from July 19 – 22, 2018. Connect with me via 240-547-8118 to get Involved.

Praise God we have passed from death to life through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3: 16 & 10: 10). Perhaps, one of our biggest challenges as Christians here in the United States is how to set our affection on things above as we struggle to separate ourselves from the pleasures of this world (Col. 3: 2 & 2 Tim. 3: 4). Therefore, we have to come together from time to time with like minded brothers and sisters to encourage one another as we press towards perfection and unity of faith in Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1: 16 & Eph. 4: 12-14) as well as remain Jesus true witnesses while still here on earth (Acts 1: 8 & 2 Corinth. 5: 18).

Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) here in the United States remains committed to this Foundation Truth of the Gospel. You are receiving this passionate appeal to be involved because there are several opportunities for you to network and profit with God-given talents during our Conferences in ECWA USA DCC. Besides, your presence and those you invite will bring added value to the Conference. Please prepare not just to join us at the Conference but INVITE OTHERS!!!

Here are some things you can do to be involved:

  • First and foremost, register for the conference (see link here and above)
  • Encourage others to register today for the conference!!!
  • Pair-up with friends to earnestly pray for the move of the Holy Spirit during this Conference
  • Sign up to participate in our prayer Group during the Conference
  • Tell, call, text, and use other means of sending messages to invite your friends to the Conference
  • Find time to remind your friends about the Conference
  • Help to distribute the Conference Brochure to be forwarded to Local Churches and Cell-groups
  • Send the Conference Brochure to friends on face-book, YouTube, emails, and websites!!!
  • Sign-up for ECWA USA Newsletter and check for latest information on our website. https://www.ecwausa.org/
  • Assist financially to sponsor interested Conference attendees

Mrs. Elizabeth A. Garba is the Secretary of ECWA USA DCC Conference National Planning Committee.



Week after he begged God to take his life, Nigerian stage 4 cancer patient dies

by Oga | May his soul rest in peace.

A Young Nigerian man – Edu Val, who had been battling stage 4 cancer for over a year, passed away in the early hours of this morning in Lagos. Edu was in so much pain a week ago that he begged God to take his life. His twitter timeline is proof of how much he was suffering and how heartbreaking it was to see his mother cry over his condition.

For the past few days,  well meaning Nigerians had been donating blood to him at the Holy Family Hospital, Festac, where he was receiving treatment.

May his soul rest in peace.

See his posts on Twitter prior to his death.

Edu Val Posts

Edu Val Posts
Edu Val Posts


The Essential Elements of Christian

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”—Matt, v. 6 (Bible Study Tools)

INHERE are a great many things in the experience of Christians, which, traced out in their natural history, are exceedingly interesting. I have been struck to notice how very commonly what is peculiar to Christian experience drops out of the mind; while that which is merely incidental remains, and constitutes the mind’s entire conception of what religion is. Their way of talking of their experience leaves you quite in the dark as to its genuineness, even when they propose to give you especially the reasons of their hope.

My design is first to state some of the facts which belong to the life of God in the soul.

i. Hunger and thirst are states of mind, and do not belong to the body. They are of two kinds, natural and spiritual. The objects on which the natural terminates are food and drink. By our very constitution these are necessary to our well-being in the present world. These appetites are natural and terminate on their appropriate objects.

There are also spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst, which are as truly natural as the former. It is no more a figure of speech to use these terms in this case than in the other.

The appetites that demand food and drink are facts and experiences. Everybody knows what it is to have them, and everybody knows in general what those things are which are so related to the human constitution as to meet those demands.

So also the spiritual appetites are not. less things of fact and experience, and stand in like manner related to the objects which are adapted to the demand.

2. Sin is a fact in the natural history of our race. That it is so, must be attributed to the fall of our first parents. Yet whatever explanation be given of the introduction of sin into the human family, it now exists as an undeniable fact.

Some attention to the manner in which sin is first developed, may serve to show its relations to what I have called the natural history of the race.

We all know it to be a fact that the natural appetites commence their development immediately after the natural birth. The first awakening to a conscious existence in this world seems to be, if not Occasioned by, yet closely connected with, a constitutional demand for food. The alternations of’ demand and supply commence and go on while health continues—all the time developing the strength of this class of appetites. Commonly the natural make their development far in advance of the spiritual.

Not much is said in the Bible as to the mode in which sin entered our world and acquired such relations to the human soul, but it is distinctly referred to Adam’s first sin, and is asserted to be in some way connected with that event. Facts show that sin has become in a most significant sense natural to the race, so that they all spontaneously, not of necessity, yet spontaneously, if no special grace interpose, begin to sin as soon as they begin to act morally, or in other words, as soon as they become capable of moral action. Not that men are born sinners, not that they sin before they are born, not that sin is born in them, nor that they are be* yond their control born into sin; but yet the constitution of the man—body and mind—is such, and the law of development is such, that men sin naturally (none the less voluntarily, responsibly, and guiltily), but they all sin of free choice; the temptations to sin being developed in advance of those intellectual and moral powers which should counteract the excessive demands of the sensibility. Mark the developments of the new-born child. Some pain or some appetite awakens its consciousness of existence, and thus is created a demand for the things it •perceives itself to need. Then the little infant begins to struggle for good—for that particular good which its new-developed sensibility demands. Want, the struggling demand for supply, and the gratification, form a process of development which gives such power to the sensibility as generates ere long an intense selfishness; and before the conscience and the reason are perceptibly developed, have laid the foundation for spiritual death. If the Spirit of God does not excite spiritual wants and arouse the mind to efforts in obtaining them, the mind becomes so engrossed and its sensibilities acquire such habits of control over the will, that when the idea of right and wrong is first developed the mind remains dead to its demands. The appetites have already secured the ascendancy. The mind seems to act as if scarcely aware that it has a soul or any spiritual wants. The spiritual consciousness is at first not developed at all. The mind seems not to know its spiritual relations. When this knowledge first forces itself upon the mind, it finds the ground pre-occupied, the habits fixed, the soul too much engaged for earthly good to be called off. The tendency of this law of development is altogether downward; the appetites become more and more despotic and imperious; the mind has less and less regard for God. The mind comes into a state in which spiritual truth frets and chafes it, and of course it thoroughly inclines to spiritual apathy—choosing apathy, though not unaware of its danger

before the perpetual annoyance of unwelcome truths. This tends toward a state of dead insensibility to spiritual want.

The first symptom of change is the soul’s awaking to spiritual consciousness. Sometimes this is feeble at first, or sometimes it may be more strongly aroused to its spiritual relations, position, and wants. This brings on anxiety, desire, a deep sense of what the soul truly needs. From this arises an influence which begins to counteract the power of appetite. It begins to operate as a balance and check to those long unrestrained demands.

Here you may notice that just in proportion as the spiritual consciousness is developed, the mind becomes wretched, for in this proportion the struggle becomes intense and violent. Before, the man was dead. He was like an animal as to the unchecked indulgence of appetite—above the mere animal in some things, but below in others. He goes on without that counteracting influence which arises from the spiritual consciousness. You see some who live a giddy, aimless life. They seem not at all aware that they have a spiritual nature or any spiritual wants. When they awake to spiritual consciousness and reflection, conviction produces remorse and agony. This spiritual struggle, at whatever age it may occur, is in its general character the same as occurs in the infant when its spiritual consciousness is first awakened.

It is but natural that when the spiritual faculties are aroused, men will begin to pray and struggle under a deep sense of being wrong and guilty. At first this may be entirely selfish. But before conversion takes place, there will be a point in which the counter influences of the selfish against the spiritual will balance each other, and then the spiritual will gain the ascendancy. The animal and the selfish must relatively decline and the spiritual gain strength, till victory turns on the side of the spiritual powers. How commonly do you observe that when the mind becomes convicted of sin, the attractions of the world fade away; all it can give looks small; sinners can no longer take the pleasure in worldly things they once had. Indeed, this is a most curious and singular struggle. How rapid and great are the changes through which the sinner passes! To-day, he quenches the light of God in his soul, and gropes on in darkness; to-morrow the light may return and reveal yet greater sin; one day he relapses back to worldliness, and gives up his soul to his own thoughts and pleasures; but ere another has passed, there is bitterness in this cup and he loathes it, and from his soul cries out: This can never satisfy an immortal mind! Now he begins to practice upon external reformation; but anon he finds that this utterly fails to bring peace to his soul. He is full of trouble and anxiety for salvation, yet all his struggles thus far have been entirely selfish, and ere he is converted he must see this to be the case. He is in a horrible pit of miry clay. The more he struggles the deeper he sinks and the more desperate his case becomes. Selfish efforts for spiritual relief are just like a quagmire of thick clay. Each struggle plunges the sinking man the deeper in the pit. The convicted man is ready to put himself to hard labor and mighty effort. At first he works with great hope of success, for he does not readily understand why selfish efforts will not be successful. He prays, but all in a selfish spirit. By this I mean that he thinks only of himself. He has no thought of honoring or pleasing God—no thought of any benefit to his fellow-beings. He does not inquire whether his course of life and state of heart are such that God can bless him without detriment to the rest of His great family. In fact, he does not think of caring for the rest ot that family nor for the honor of its great Father. Of course, such selfish praying brings no answer; and when he finds this to be the case, he frets and struggles rnore than ever. Now he goes on to add to his works and efforts. He attends more meetings, and reads his Bible more, and tries new forms of prayer. All is in vain. His heart is selfish still. What can I do? he cries out in agony; if I pray I am selfish, and if I desist from prayer, this too is selfish; if I read my Bible or neglect to read it, each alike is selfish, and what can I do? How can I help being selfish?

Alas, he has no idea of acting from any other or higher motive than his own interests. It is his darkness on this very point that makes the sinner’s struggle so long and so unprofitable. This is the reason why he can not be converted at once, and why he must needs sink and flounder so much longer in the quagmire of unavailing and despairing works. It is only when he comes at last to see that all this avails nothing, that he begins to take some right views of his case and of his relations. When he learns that indeed he can not work out his own salvation by working at it on this wise he bethinks himself to inquire whether he be not all wrong at bottom—whether his motives of heart are not radically corrupt. Looking round and abroad, he begins to ask whether God may not have some interests and some rights as well as himself. Who is God and where is He? Who is Jesus Christ and what has He done? What did He die for? Is God a great King over all the earth, and should He not have due honor and homage? Was it this great God who so loved the world as to give His Son to die for it? O, I see I have quite neglected to think of God’s interests and honor! Now I see how infinitely mean and wicked*I have been! Plainly enough, I can not live so. No wonder God did not hear my selfish prayers. There was no hope in that sort of effort, for I had, as I plainly see, no regard to God in anything I was doing then. How reasonable it is that God should ask me to desist from all my selfish endeavors and to put away this selfishness itself, and yield myself entirely and forever to do or suffer all His blessed will!

// is done; and now this long-troubled soul sinks into deep repose. It settles itself down at Jesus’ feet, content if only Christ be honored and God’s throne made glorious. The final result—whether saved or lost—seems to give him no longer that agonizing solicitude; the case is submitted to the Great Disposer in trustful humility. God will do all things well. If He takes due care of His own interests and glory, there will be no complaining—nothing but deep and peaceful satisfaction.

In the case of most young converts, this state of peaceful trust in God is subject to interruptions. The natural appetites have been denied—their dominion over the will disowned; but they are not dead. By and by they rise to assert their sway. They clamor for indulgence, and sometimes they get it. Alas, the young convert has fallen into sin! His soul is again in bondage and sorrow. O, how deeply is he mortified to think that he has again given away to temptation, and pierced the bosom on which he loved to recline! He had promised himself he should never sin, but he has sinned, and well for him if he finds no heart to evade or deny the fact. Better admit it all, and most freely, although it wounds his heart more than all his former sins. Mark his agony of spirit! His tears of repentance were never before so bitter! He feels disappointed, and it almost seems to him that this failure must blast all his plans and hopes of leading a Christian life. It does not work as he thought it would. He feels shy of God; for he says, How can God ever trust me again after such developments of unfaithfulness. He can hardly get himself to say a word to God or to Christ. He is almost sure that he has been deceived. But finally he bethinks himself of the Cross of Calvary, and catches a faint ray of light—a beam of the light of love. He says, There may be mercy for me yet! I will at least go to Jesus and see. Again he goes, and again he falls into those arms of love and is made consciously welcome. The light of God shines on his soul again, and he find himself once more an accepted son in his. Father’s presence.

But here a new form of desire is awakened. He has learned something of his own weakness and has tasted the bitterness of sin. With an agony of interest never known before, he asks, Can I ever become established in holiness? Can I have righteousness enough to make me stand in the evil day? This is a new form of spiritual desire, such as our text expresses in the words “hunger and thirst after righteousness/’

These extended remarks are only an introduction to my general subject, designed to get before your mind the true idea of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This state of mind is not merely conviction; it is not remorse, nor sorrow, nor a struggle to obtain a hope or to get out of danger. All these feelings may have preceded, but the hungering after righteousness is none of these. It is a longing desire to realize the idea of spiritual and moral purity. He has in some measure appreciated the purity of heaven, and the necessity of being himself as pure as the holy there, in order to enjoy their bliss and breathe freely in their atmosphere.

This state of mind is not often developed by writers, and it seems rarely to have engaged the attention of the Church as its importance demands.

When the mind gets a right view of the atmosphere of. heaven, it sees plainly it can not breathe there, but must be suffocated, unless its own spirit is congenial to the purity of that world. I remember the case of a man who, after living a Christian life for a season, relapsed into sin. At length God reclaimed His wandering child. When I next saw him, and heard him speak of his state of relapse, he turned suddenly away and burst into tears, saying, ” I have been living in sin, almost choked to death in its atmosphere; it seemed as if I could not breathe in it. It almost choked the breath of spiritual life from my system.”

Have not some of you known what this means? You could not bear the infernal atmosphere of sin—so like the very smoke of the pit! After you get out of it, you say, Let me never be there again! Your soul agonizes and struggles to find some refuge against this awful relapsing into sin. O, you long for a pure atmosphere and a pure heart, that will never hold fellowship with darkness or its works again.

The young convert, like the infant child, may not at first distinctly apprehend its own condition and wants; but such experience as I have been detailing develops the idea of perfect purity, and then the soul longs for it with longings irrepressible. I must, says the now enlightened convert, I must be drawn into living union with God as revealed in Jesus Christ. I can not rest till I find God, and have Him revealed to me as my everlasting refuge and strength.

Some years since, I preached a sermon for the purpose of developing the idea of the spiritual life. The minister for whom I preached said to me, I want to show you a letter written many years ago by a lady now in advanced age, and detailing her remarkable experience on this subject. After her conversion she found herself exceedingly weak, and often wondered if this was all the stability and strength she could hope for from Christ in His Gospel. Is this, she said, all that God can do for me? Long time and with much prayer she examined her Bible. At last she found, that below what she had ever read and examined before, there lay a class of passages which revealed the real Gospel—salvation from sinning. She saw the provisions of the Gospel in full relief. Then she shut herself up, determined to seek this blessing till she should find. Her soul went forth after God, seeking communion with Him, and the great blessing which she so deeply felt that she needed. She had found the needed promises in God’s Word, and now she held on upon them as if she could not let them go until they had all been fulfilled in her own joyful experience. She cried mightily to God. She said, ” If Thou dost not give me this blessing, I can never believe Thee again.”* In the issue the Lord showed her that the provisions were already made, and were just as full and as glorious as they needed to be or could be, and that she might receive them by faith if she would. In fact, it was plain that the Spirit of the Lord was pressing upon her acceptance, so that she had only to believe—to open wide her mouth that it might be filled. She saw and obeyed: then she became firm and strong. Christ had made her free. She was no longer in bondage; her Lord had absolutely enlarged her soul in faith and love, and triumphantly she could exclaim: Glory be to God! Christ hath made me free.

The state of mind expressed by hungering and thirsting is a real hunger and thirst, and terminates for its object upon the bread and water of life. These figures (if indeed they are to be regarded as figures at all) are kept up fully throughout the Bible, and all true Christians can testify to the fitness of the language to express the idea.

I have said that this state of mind implies conversion; for although the awakened sinner may have agonies and convictions, yet he has no clear conceptions of what this union with Christ is, nor does he clearly apprehend the need of a perfectly cleansed heart. He needs some experience of what holiness is, and often he seems also to need to have tasted some of the exceeding bitterness of sin as felt by one who has been near the Lord, before he shall fully apprehend this great spiritual want of being made a partaker indeed of Christ’s own perfect righteousness. By righteousness here, we are not to understand something imputed, but something real. It is imparted^ not imputed. Christ draw,s the souls of His people into such union with Himself, that they become “partakers of the divine nature,” or as elsewhere expressed, “partakers of His holiness.” For this the tried Christian pants. Having had a little taste of it, and then having tasted the bitterness of a relapse into sin, his soul is roused to most intense struggles to realize this blessed union with Christ.

A few words should now be said on what is implied in being filled with this righteousness.

Worldly men incessantly hunger and thirst after worldly good. But attainment never outstrips desire. Hence, they are never filled. There is always a conscious want which no acquisition of this sort of good can satisfy. It ij most remarkable that worldly men can never be filled with the things they seek. Well do the Scriptures say—This desire enlarges itself as hell, and is never satisfied. They really hunger and thirst the more by how much the more they obtain.

Let it be especially remarked that this being filled with righteousness is not perfection in the highest sense of this term. Men often use the term perfection, of that which is absolutely complete—a state which precludes improvement and beyond which there can be no progress. There can be no such perfection among Christians in any world—earth or heaven. It can pertain to no being but God. He, and He alone, is perfect beyond possibility of progress. All else but God are making progress—the wicked from bad to worse, the righteous from good to better. Instead of making no more progress in heaven, as some suppose, probably the law of progress is in a geometrical ratio; the more they have, the farther they will advance. I have often queried whether this law which seems to prevail here will operate there, viz., of what I may call impulsive progression. Here we notice that the mind from time to time gives itself to most intense exertion to make attainments in holiness. The attainment having been made, the mind for a season reposes, as if it had taken its meal and awaited the natural return of appetite before it should put forth its next great effort. May it not be that the same law of progress obtains even in heaven?

Here we see the operations of this law in the usual Christian progress. Intense longing and desire beget great struggling and earnest prayer; at lerjgth the special blessing sought is found, and for the time the soul seems to be filled to overflowing. It seems to be fully satisfied and to have received all it supposed possible and perhaps even more than was ever asked or thought. The soul cries out before the Lord, I did not know there was such fullness in store for Thy people. How wonderful that God should grant it to such an one as myself! The soul finds itself swallowed up and lost in the great depths and riches of such a blessing. Oh, how the heart pours itself out in the one most expressive petition: “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven!” All prayer is swallowed up in this. And then the praise^ the Fullness Of Praise! All struggle and agony are suspended: the soul seems to demand a rest from prayer that it may pour itself out in one mighty tide of praise. Some suppose that persons in this state will never again experience those longings after a new baptism; but in this they mistake. The meal they have had may last them a considerable time— longer, perhaps, than Elijah’s meal, on the strength of which he went forty days; but the time of comparative hunger will come round again, and they will gird themselves for a new struggle.

This is what is sometimes expressed as a baptism, an anointing, an unction, an ensealing of the Spirit, an earnest of the Spirit. All these terms are pertinent and beautiful to denote this special work of the Divine Spirit in the heart. They who experience it, know how well and aptly it is described as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Lord Jesus, so really does the soul seem to live on Christ. It is also the bread and the water of life which are promised freely to him that is athirst. These terms may seem very mystical and unmeaning to those who have had no experience, but they are all plain to him who has known in his own soul what they mean. If you ask why figures of speech are used at all to denote spiritual things, you have the answer in the exigencies of the h^man mind in regard to apprehending spiritual things. Christ’s language must have seemed very mystical to His hearers, yet was it the best He could employ for His purpose. If any man will do His will, he shall know of His doctrine; but how can a selfish, debased, besotted, and withal disobedient mind expect to enter into the spiritual meaning of this language? How strangely must Christ’s words have sounded on the ears of Jewish priests: “God in us;” “The Holy Ghost dwelling in you;” “Ye shall abide in Me.” How could they understand these things? “The bread that came down from heaven,” what could this mean to them? They thought they understood about the manna from heaven, and they idolized Moses; but how to understand what this Nazarene said about giving them the true bread from heaven which should be for the life of the world, they could not see. No wonder they were confounded, having only legal ideas of religion, and having not even ^he most remote approximation to the idea of a living union with the Messiah for the purposes of spiritual life.

What are the conditions of receiving this fullness?

That the soul hunger and thirst for it, is the only condition specified in this passage. But we know it is very common to have promises made in the Bible, and yet not have all the conditions of the promise” stated in the same connection. If we find them elsewhere, we are to regard them as fixed conditions, and they are to be understood as implied where they are not expressed.

Elsewhere we are told that faith is a fundamental condition. Men must believe for it and receive it by faith. This is as naturally necessary as receiving and eating wheat bread is for the sustenance of the body. Ordinary food * must be taken into the system by our own voluntary act. We take and eat; then the system appropriates. So faith receives and appropriates the bread of life.

In general it is found true that before Christians will sufficiently apprehend the relations of this supply to their wants and to the means of supplying them, this hunger and thirst becomes very intense, so as to overpower and cast into insignificance all their other appetites and desires. As by a general law one master passion throws all minor ones into the shade, and may sometimes suspend them for a season entirely, so we find in this case a soul intensely hungering and thirsting after righteousness almost forgets to hunger and thirst even after its common food and drinks. Place before him his study-books, he can not bring his mind to relish them now. Invite him to a singing-concert, he has no taste that way at present. Ask him into company, his mind is pressing in another direction. He longs to find God, and can take but little interest in any other friend at present. Offer him worldly society, and you will find he takes the least possible interest in it. He knows such companions will not understand what his soul so intensely craves, and of course it were vain to look for sympathy in that quarter.

It is an important condition that the mind should have somewhat clear apprehensions of the thing needed and of the means of obtaining it. Effort can not be well directed unless the subject be in some good measure understood. What is that ensealing of the Spirit? What is this baptism? I must by all means see what this is before I can intelligently seek it and hope to gain it. True, no man can know before experience as he can and will know afterwards; but he can learn something before and often much more after the light of experience shines in upon his soul. There is no more mystification than there is in hungering for a good dinner, and being refreshed by it after you have eaten it.

Again, if we would have this fullness, we must be sure to believe this promise and all this class of promises. We must regard them as truly promises of God—dXX yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and as good for our souls to rely upon as the promise of pardon to the penitent and believing.

Yet again we must ask and insist upon their fulfillment to our souls. We are authorized to expect it in answer to our faith. We should be first certain that we ask in sincerity, and then should expect the blessing just as we always expect God to be faithful to His word. Why not? Has He said and shall He not do it? Has He promised and shall He not perform?

We must believe that the promise implies a full supply. Our faith must not limit the power or the grace of Christ. The Christian is not straitened in God. Let him take care, therefore, that he do not straiten himself by his narrow conceptions of what God can do and loves to do for His hungering and thirsting children. Often there is need of great perseverance in the search for this blessing. Because of the darkness of the mind and the smallness of its faith the way may not for a long time be prepared for the full bestowment of this great blessing.

Remarks.

I. The Antinomian Perfectionists mistook the meaning of this and of similar passages. They supposed that whoever believes gets so filled as never to thirst any more. But the fact is, the mind may rise higher and higher, making still richer attainments in holiness at each rising grade of progress. It may indeed find many resting-places, as Bunyan gives to his pilgrim—here at the top of the hill Difficulty, there on the Delectable Mountains, where he passes through scenes of great triumph, great faith and great joy in God. Subsequently to these scenes will occur other periods of intense desire for new baptisms of the Spirit and for a new ascent upon the heights of the divine life. This is to be the course of things so Jong at least as we remain in the flesh, and perhaps forever. Perhaps the blest spirits in heaven will never reach a point beyond which there shall not be the same experience—new developments of God made to the mind, and by this means new stages of progress and growth in holiness. With what amazement shall we then study these stages of progress, and admire to look abroa4 over the jiew fields of knowledge successively opened, and the corresponding developments of mental power and of a holy character, all which stand related to these manifestations of God as effects to their cause! What new and glorious views have been bursting upon us, fast as we could bear them, for myriads of ages! Looking back over the past, we shall say— Oh, this everlasting progress—this is indeed the blessedness of heaven! How far does this transcend our highest thought when we looked forward to heaven from the dim distance of our earthly pilgrimage! Here there is no end to the disclosures to be made, nor to the truths to be learned.

If there was to be no more food, how could there be any more spiritual thirst and spiritual hunger? How, indeed, could there be more spiritual joy? Suppose that somewhere in the lapse of heaven’s eternal ages, we should reach a point where nothing more remains to be learned—not another thing to be inquired after—not another fact to be investigated, or truth to be known. Alas, what a blow to the bliss ot heaven!

We are told that the angels are desiring to look into the things of salvation. Oh, yes; when they saw our Messiah born they were allowed to come sc near us with their joyous outbursts of praise that even mortals could hear. Do you not suppose those angels too are growing in, grace, and advancing in knowledge? No doubt they are, most wonderfully, and have been ever since they came into being.

How much more they must know of God now than they did before our world was created! And how much more they have yet to learn from God’s government over our race! Think you they have no more desires after the knowledge of God? And have they no more desire to rise to yet higher conformity of heart and character to the great Model of Heaven?

If so with angels, surely not less so with their younger brethren—the holy who are redeemed from among men.

You might suppose, that by studying in this school for a few days, you would learn all human science. This were a great mistake. You might master many sciences and still have other heights to ascend—other vast fields of knowledge to explore. You might have the best of human teachers and the best possible opportunities for learning, yet still it would be enough to occupy you the length of many lives to master all there is in even human science. The mind is not made to be so filled to satiety that it craves no more—can receive no more. Like the trees planted on the rivers of the waters of life, which bring forth twelve manner of fruits and whose roots go deep and drink largely of those blessed waters—so is the mind which God has endowed with the functions oi immortal progress.

As our ideal becomes elevated, and we see higher points to which we may arise, we shall have more enkindlings of desire, and more intense struggles to advance. What Christian does not find, as he reads the Bible over, new and deeper strata of meaning never seen before—new truths revealed and new beauties displayed. Old father O. used to say—” I am reading the Word of God. It is deep and rich, like the great heart of its Author. I have read now two hours and have not got over but two verses. It will take me to all eternity to read it through.” So it was. He really found more in the Bible than other men did. He went deeper, and the deeper he went, the richer did he find its precious ores of gold and silver.

So the Psalmist says—” Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Have you not been so ravished with love to this blessed book that you wanted to clasp it to your bosom and become purified with its spirit? As you go down into its depths and find in each successive stratum of its deep thoughts new beauties and new fields of truth to explore, have you not been filled with intense desire to live long enough and have time and strength enough to see, to learn, and to enjoy it all? Like the successive landscapes as you ascend the lofty mountain’s side, at each stage you see them spreading out in grander beauty and broader range—so, as you really study into the great and rich things of God’s spiritual kingdom, there is no limit to this sweep of the knowledge of God; for the fields only become the broader and the more enchanting as you ascend. Do you not think that his soul must be truly blessed who eats and drinks and fills his soul with divine righteousness?

2. I am strongly impressed with the conviction that some of you need a new development of the spiritual life. You need to go deeper into the knowledge of God as revealed in the soul; you need to hunger and thirst more intensely, and be by this means filled as you have not often been as yet. Even though you may have tasted that the Lord is gracious, you yet need to eat and drink largely at His table. It will not avail you to live on those old dinners, long past and long since digested. You want a fresh meal. It is time for you to say—” I must know more about this being filled with righteousness. My soul languishes for this heavenly food. I must come again into this banqueting house to be feasted again with His love.”

3. The full soul can not be satisfied to enjoy its rich spiritual provisions alone. If well fed himself, he will be only more exercised to see others also fed and blessed. The Spirit of Christ in his heart is a spirit of love, and this can never rest except as it sees others reaching the same standard of attainment and enjoyment which is so delightful to itself.

4. Real Christians should be, and in the main they will be, growing better and holier as they come nearer heaven. On the other hand, how great and fearful is the contrast between an aged growing Christian and an aged sinner growing in depravity and guilt! The one is ripening for heaven, the other for hell. The one goes on praising and loving, laboring and suffering for God and for his generation according to the will of God; but the other goes on his downward course, scolding and cursing as he goes, abhorred of men and disowned of his Maker. You have seen the awful contrast. You could hardly believe that two men so unlike were both raised in the same township, taught in the same school, instructed in the same religious assembly, and presented with the same Gospel; and yet see how manifestly the one is saved and the other damned. Each bears the sign beforehand—the palpable, unmistakable evidence of the destiny that awaits him.

5. Is it not full time that each one of you who has any spiritual life should stand out before the world and put on your beautiful garments? Let all the world see that there is a power and a glory in the Gospel, such as human philosophy never has even approached. Show that the Gospel begets purity and peace. Show that it enlarges the heart and opens the hand for the good of all human kind. Show that it conquers selfishness and transforms the soul from hate to love.

Sinners, ye who have earthly hunger and thirst enough, let your ears be opened to hear the glad tidings of real salvation. Ye whose hearts have never known solid peace—ye who are forever desiring, yet never satisfied—ye who cry in your inmost souls: O for office! O for honor ! O for wealth! See, here is that which is better far than all you seek. Here are durable riches and righteousness. Here are the first installments of pleasures that flow forever at God’s right hand. Here is heaven proffered and even pressed upon your regard and your choice. Choose life before, death, as you would be wise for your eternal well-being.

 



Standing for Christ

by Hanne Herland | Jesus showed a remarkable empathy and kindness for the weak, the poor and the sick. We should follow his example in our everyday lives. (image, YouTube)

We live in an age where many question Christianity. It somehow has become fashionable to be an atheist. The mainstream media constantly focus on negative news about Christians. Believers in God are told that they are old-fashioned, outdated and simply out of touch with reality. And many young people struggle, as they don’t quite know how to approach this fervent disdain.

This is why it is more important than ever to educate yourself on how to defend the faith, how to rationally and spiritually explain the Christian belief to those who, out of ignorance, think that belief in God belongs to the past. Read The Culture War: How the West Lost its Greatness and get the tools. Remember that atheism is a faith like any other, the belief in “nothing” and the assortment that “the universe is empty.” None of them ever went out there to check, so how do they know there is no God, angels or devils out there? They assume based on faith. Atheism is a religion, they strongly believe that “God is dead” and mankind is the only source of light, which is impossible to prove empirically.

The question becomes who really is out of touch with reality, as several of the most important values in our culture come from Christianity and its ethics. Professor at Yale and Harvard, historian Robert R. Palmer has pointed out that it is simply impossible to exaggerate the importance of Christianity’s influence on the development of Western values. The whole foundation of our Western civilization lay precisely on the very values that stem from Christianity. Let me name a couple.

It was the profoundly Christian thought that introduced the principle of equality in the West, the revolutionary idea that each man, regardless of class, gender and race, has a unique value. The leading French atheist, Michel Houellebecq proclaims that he is convinced we would never have human rights without the originally Jewish-Christian hypothesis, the incredibly bold idea that man is created, formed in the likeness of God and therefore also sanctified. The ideal of equality would later in history be seen as a secular idea, and one of the cornerstones of secular society, yet there is no doubt about its religious origins.

As believers, the example of Jesus stands high above any other. As we examine his life, we see, for example, how he completely revolutionized the view on women. He freely engaged with them in a way that broke with the traditions at the time. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well serves as an example. Remember, as a Samaritan, she was a complete outsider to the Jewish community. Jews did not mingle much with them, and they were considered a disrespected sect due to the way they worshipped, which differed somehow from the Jewish traditions.

On many occasions, the revolutionary Jesus broke off from the socially acceptable and freely engaged in apologetic debates with all kinds of “outsiders.” His disciples were quite shocked to see him speak to the Samaritan woman, engaging in discussion, showing her profound love that made her a believer. She felt honored to have met a prophet and went and told everyone. Jesus was arguably “the first feminist”; he deeply respected women. He was often criticized by the religious communities for allowing a “bad woman” to wash his feet, stopped the throwing of stones and told the woman at the well to “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11b). He had the habit of saving people’s lives. By his example, he opened up profound freedoms that to this day permeate the Western culture.

Jesus showed a remarkable empathy and kindness for the weak, the poor and the sick. We should follow his example in our everyday lives. This was also a highly unusual approach, not distinguishing between rich and poor. He was born in a stable in opposition to the arrogant and selfishly rich and affluent, again a dramatic statement of the value of human life—regardless of class, social standing or ethnicity. The early Christians worked to relieve suffering, help the poor and so on. They taught humility and that all men were brothers. As we see, the Christian contribution brought revolutionary elements to Western values and taught that in the eyes of God all men are equal. What a wonderful Christian ideal this is in our culture.

Hanne Nabintu Herland, historian of religions and author of The Culture War. How the West Lost Its Greatness. Visit theherlandreport.com for more information.



From Pain to Praise

by Dena Yohe | This Bible verse has become special to John and his family: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower ad bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void” (Isa. 55:8-11).

If you’re a parent in pain due to the behaviors and choices of your son or daughter, New Year’s might not be a good time for you, so I have something special for you. It’s the true story of God’s faithfulness in His pursuit of a wayward son. A former prodigal and his mom got together wrote it (I’ve made only a few grammar edits). They gave me permission to share with others to encourage them. This is for parents far and wide; a vision of what God could do in your child’s life—a gift of hope.

Let me tell you about John. You may see similarities here to your own child. John is the son of Christian missionaries. He made a decision for Christ when he was 5 years old. He rededicated his life at age 12 and was baptized at 17. However, when he was 18, he decided to live life his way. He chose to deny God to justify his choices. These choices led him out of his parent’s home, first to live with friends, then on the streets.

He never blamed his parents for his choices or their consequences, “You guys have done nothing wrong. These are my decisions. I feel like I need to do this.”

Eventually, John joined the Army. A few years later, he got married. His parents found out on Facebook. Over time, he made many bad choices that led to several addictions. After a few years, his marriage ended. This was a huge life-change that led to him on a search to find self and what he was missing.

God brought about him reconnecting with an old friend with whom he desired to have a relationship, but she shared that if he wasn’t walking with the Lord, it was a deal-breaker. A month later, John called his mom and told her, “I’m having a crisis of ego. It is my ego that is keeping me from God.”

This godly mom questioned his motives, but of course, she wanted him to pursue God. She gave him some advice a wise woman had given her many years earlier: “If you don’t make a decision because you think your motivation could be wrong, then you’ll never make any decisions because your motivation could always be wrong! Connect with God and pursue whatever He is calling you to do. And if you think your motivation may be wrong, ask Him to change it. You can’t steer a parked car; you have to start in a direction and then let God steer you.”

Soon after that, John chose to come back to God, and a transformation began.

The change has been amazing. He has connected with a good church, joined a men’s small group, and is being mentored by an older gentleman. He’s also reconnected with a former middle-school friend who is now a strong believer. This friend directed John to some excellent resources that answered many of his troubling questions regarding Christianity being rational and the Bible being valid. He now sees where “science and God really do go together.”

God has met John in a profoundly personal way showing him:

He was God—true and powerful. He has ” unbridled joy in His presence.” That His Word is unfailing, steadfast and living, teaching him different things each time he reads it.

John chose total surrender, in his own words, “…not just supplementing my life with God.”

He has a passion for the Bible. He’s choosing forgiveness, for himself and for others. He’s facing challenges but facing them with faith and trust in God. He’s connecting with God; listening and obeying have become a way of life.

His mom shares, “What a joy for us to watch this transformation in our son’s life! We couldn’t be more proud! He has taken a hard road to Jesus, but we’re confident the Lord wastes nothing and will use all his experiences for his glory. God truly is doing a mighty work in John’s life and in all of our lives!”

This Bible verse has become special to John and his family: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower ad bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void” (Isa. 55:8-11).

Note from Dena: Never stop praying and bringing your requests to God. John’s parents never knew if or when their prayers would be answered, but they never gave up. Persevere! 2018 could be the year of transformation for your child (and for you)!

See hopeforhurtingparents.com for the original article.



Why Choose ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja (ETSI)?

For more than seventy years, ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja (ETSI) has been making a difference in students’ lives and ministerial career pathways. For those considering getting into ministry, for people who want to be better equipped for the ministry, for people seeking theological studies that will take them to new and exciting places, studying at ETSI is a gateway to new possibilities. Visit ECWA Theological Seminary Igbaja website
From its beginning in 1941, ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja (ETSI) has been centered on building generations of Pastors, Christian Educators, Missionaries and Christian leaders. Adhering to this vision enables the students of ETSI to tackle real world challenges within a Christian framework while making innovative contributions to the communities in which they live and serve. ETSI prepares its graduates with the necessary qualities, knowledge and problem- solving skills that ensure they stand tall among peers in the ministry.

Our campus location, size (landmass to student’s population) and smaller student body makes getting to know other students and staff so much easier – ensuring you don’t feel alone for very long! Attending ETSI is not just about attending lectures as we do have students from various part of Nigeria and some other African countries; we also provide enabling environment to enhance your experience and help you to achieve your study goals. It is a big family affair.

History

The ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja (ETSI) was established in 1941 by Rev. Dr. William G. Crouch, an American Missionary from California, who came to Nigeria on the platform of the Sudan Interior Mission (now Serving In Mission, [SIM]). The Institution is wholly owned and operated by Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). It is located in Igbaja, Kwara State, Nigeria.

ETSI began to offer Bachelor of Theology (B.Th) degree in 1972. Today, there are five different Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree programs, one of which is affiliated to the University of Ibadan (B.A. Christian Religious Studies). All our programs from Diploma to Doctor of Ministry are accredited by Association of Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA).

In 1987, the Seminary introduced programs of Biblical and Pastoral Studies at the Master’s Degree level, thus becoming the first Evangelical Seminary in English – speaking West Africa to do so. The Seminary graduated her first set of Doctor of Ministry (D. Min) in 2003.

 Aims and Objectives of the Seminary

  1.  To provide sound and Bible-based theological education for men and women and to make them theologically adequate for the challenges of the 21st century.
  2. To train Christian men and women who are called into full-time or part-time Christian Ministry as Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries, and Teachers of God’s Word in Primary and Secondary Schools, tertiary institutions, Military Chaplaincy in Nigeria and other Christian organizations.
  3. To give sound theological training that is relevant to the needs and aspirations of the church and societies in Africa.
  4. To train men and women to become committed to their calling, devoted to Jesus Christ and are, in turn, able to train others for the ministry of the Gospel (II Tim. 2:2).For more than seventy years, ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja (ETSI) has been making a difference in students’ lives and ministerial career pathways.
For those considering getting into ministry, for people who want to be better equipped for the ministry, for people seeking theological studies that will take them to new and exciting places, studying at ETSI is a gateway to new possibilities.In the midst of the many study opportunities available in theological education today, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, ETSI stands out.
ETSI’s programs in Bible and Theology, Mission and Evangelism, Christian Education, Pastoral Studies and Management & Organization Leadership offer a unique combination of academic and ministerial studies with a distinctively Evangelical perspective. Study at ETSI is not just about gaining a recognized ministerial ‘paper’ qualification; it’s also about preparing to make a difference to the world around you. Along the way, you’ll make life-long friendships with others on a similar journey, and encounter expert faculty and staff members who integrate genuine care for their students with wide-ranging professional skills and experience.
All together, ETSI offers something extra in your ministerial education experience. Good choices require good information, and at ETSI we want to make sure that you get the information you need. After reading through this prospectus or exploring the website, please don’t hesitate to contact ETSI if you have further inquiries. Of course, we welcome inquiries from all and sundries as well.

From its beginning in 1941, ETSI has been centred on building generations of Pastors, Christian Educators, Missionaries and Christian leaders. Adhering to this vision enables the students of ETSI to tackle real world challenges within a Christian framework while making innovative contributions to the communities in which they live and serve. ETSI prepares its graduates with the necessary qualities, knowledge and problem- solving skills that ensure they stand tall among peers in the ministry.

ETSI combines a commitment to academic excellence with a commitment to the truth of God’s word. We offer:

Certificate Programs
Theology
Pastoral Studies

Diploma Programs
Theology
Pastoral Studies
Christian Religious Studies (Affiliated to University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Bachelor of Arts Degree Programs
Theology
Christian Education
Mission and Evangelism
Pastoral Studies
Christian Religious Studies (Affiliated to University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Graduate School Programs
Post Graduate Diploma (Theology)
M.A Christian Education
M.A Mission and Evangelism
M.A Pastoral Studies
M.A Old Testament
M.A New Testament
M. A Systematic Theology
Master of Divinity
M.A Leadership and Organizational Management (in Affiliation with DAI, USA)

Doctor of Ministry
*Pastoral Care and Counseling
*Pulpit Ministry
*Church Administration

Personal
ETSI has created a unique environment and culture – a distinction that distinguishes it from other Theological Seminaries. Studying at ETSI is a personal and friendly experience, where the focus is on individual support, spiritual growth and encouraging community life. We are passionate about bringing back straying sheep into the fold through disciplinary actions with the love of Christ.

Accreditation
ETSI occupies an integral niche within the theological education in Africa with rich background of aggregate experience of the faculty and staff.
• ETSI is approved by ACTEA
• ETSI is accredited by National Universities Commission
We are proud that our graduates consistently rate their course experience as part of the Africa continent’s best. Our size ensures that we can deliver academic excellence at undergraduate and postgraduate levels – with professional, real-world relevance being our highest priority.

Affordable
Pay as you study! At ETSI, fees are charged by credit hours offered, this plan makes studying at ETSI absolutely affordable and accessible for all eligible students. There is also, work scholarship plan for students.

Hands-on experience
Classroom learning is always enhanced in real world, real time experiences. ETSI has developed strong relationship with erudite scholars across the world that regularly come to deliver papers, lead seminars and workshops so that students are exposed to the major issues and ideas currently impacting their area of study within global space situation. Networking with these theological scholars also assists students to develop opportunities for their future.
ETSI offers practicum placements, internships and various other practical experiences in order for students to learn from real world experience in the ministry.

Flexible
Our courses have been developed to allow our students flexible study options. We recognise that study is just one aspect of a student’s life – there is employment to maintain, businesses to run, families to consider and personal commitments to juggle. We offered full-time, part-time (summer) and contact academic sessions; all of which help students to integrate their work, study and life in a personalized way that provides a balance suitable to them.

Committed faculty
Most of the faculty members have extensive proficient experience in their chosen field of study. They have a common vision to deliver more than just teaching excellence. Combine this with smaller classes, one-on- one mentoring and individualized study.

ETSI Campus Life
Our campus sits in a peaceful serene and scenic setting of Savannah grassland of Kwara, North Central Nigeria– easily accessible from the state capital. Hostels are provided for both single and married students.

Spiritual Life
We are determined to uphold the core Christian values and lead students by such values and standards. The Seminary Chapel programs range from daily worship, Sunday service and bible study meetings. Students are scheduled to minister and share their field experience for better and in-house practice of the ministry. Our Children and Teenager Churches are well supervised just in case you have children and wards. Women Bible School is also available for married students’ spouses who wish to stay with their husband in the course of study in ETSI.

Student Life
Our campus location, size (landmass to student’s population) and smaller student body makes getting to know other students and staff so much easier – ensuring you don’t feel alone for very long! Attending ETSI is not just about attending lectures as we do have students from various part of Nigeria and some other African countries; we also provide enabling environment to enhance your experience and help you to achieve your study goals. It is a big family affair.

Facilities
The school has well equipped library, top notched hostel facilities and WI-FI internet facilities around the campus for easy learning. In addition, the school main power generating set provides energy during public power outage. Portable water is provided in all hostels and lecture rooms areas. There is also adequate security system in place to safeguard life and properties.

Peer group support
Starting school can be a bit daunting; the good news is ETSI has a peer support program through its Student body just for you. It is run by students for students aimed at helping you settle into life at ETSI

Recreation and Sport
We encourage sporting activities as a way of keeping fit such as football, basketball, volleyball, badminton and table tennis

How do I apply?

We consider each applicant to Smart University as a whole person, and put enormous care into evaluating every application. Applying to ETSI is simple! Persons desiring to enter ETSI for any of our programs from certificate to doctoral degree must apply by obtaining form, fill and submit on or before the 28th day of February and or the 30th of September to the Admission & Students Records Unit of the Registry. The entrance exam and oral interview is conducted in the months of March and October respectively. You will be notified of the dates of exam and interview



Cooking Comfort Food

by

Former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn has always loved food. It’s what brought her often dysfunctional family together, what propelled her to pursue a writing career as a journalist and food critic, and what helped her heal from one of the most traumatic experiences in her life.

Nunn’s new book, The Comfort Food Diaries, follows the author as she travels the country, visiting old friends and relatives, cooking with them and sharing memories. The journey began as a way for Nunn to reclaim her life after the loss of her brother to suicide, the dissolution of her relationship with her fiancé, and her relapse, when she used alcohol to numb the pain.

“When you’re an alcoholic, turning to alcohol is the equivalent of giving up,” Nunn tells Guideposts.org. “You use it not to ease the pain but to block it entirely, so that you do not have to process it. Or that’s the way it has always seemed to me.”

The death of her brother, the loss of her job, and the end of her relationship left Nunn homeless with no money and a huge amount of grief she didn’t know how to process.

“I had been in rehab once before and sober for many years, but I had slowly begun to dabble in drinking,” Nunn explains. “When my brother died, I went straight back to my worst habits. I gave up and because of that, I also lost my self-respect.”

Nunn checked herself into a Betty Ford clinic with the aim of getting sober again, and along with that, she rediscovered her love for food and her need for familial connection. She began to truly mourn her brother and her old way of life. Then, she made a decision to visit the people most important to her.

“When I finally embarked upon my many trips to visit friends and family and a few cooking professionals I admired, I honestly didn’t have a clear goal in mind, beyond connecting through cooking,” Nunn says. “I was pretty broken, and had no idea how to put myself back together again.”

Some of Nunn’s fondest childhood memories involved cooking. The act of cooking for someone else was a way to show how much you cared for them – something she felt she needed to do for the people in her life she had been neglecting.

“The more I reached out and allowed people to cook for me and the more I cooked for them, the more I began to believe that I deserved love. Because for me, that’s what cooking is: showing people how much you care for them.”

Nunn traveled constantly, cooking salty Virginia ham biscuits, baking her grandmother’s tangy lemon cake, crafting the perfect morning custard, all while communing with people who loved her, people who were able to restore her sense of self-worth through friendship and food.

“It wasn’t really about the dishes as much as it was about the fact that so many people—many of whom I had not seen in decades—opened up their kitchens to me and made me a dish that was special to them, which is the same as opening up your heart in my opinion,” Nunn explains.

The experience left her with a handful of delicious recipes, ones she shares in her new book, but it also taught her a valuable lesson about relationships and turning to those you love in your darkest moments.

“Sometimes the only way to get back up when you fall down into a deep dark hole is to ask for hand up,” Nunn says. “You have the power to create your own recipe going forward. It’s your responsibility.”



The Good Catholic

Daniel is an idealistic and dedicated priest who loves his work more than anything else, until a chance meeting with a woman at confession stirs up emotions that make him question his true calling

Daniel (Zachary Spicer) is a young, idealistic priest who loves his work more than anything. While he struggles to find balance between the dueling philosophies of his mentors, Father Victor (Danny Glover), an old school, no nonsense traditionalist, and Father Ollie (John C. McGinley), a chainsmoking, carb addicted Franciscan, Daniel’s passion for his calling never waivers. And then he meets Jane. After a chance encounter during a late night confession, the complicated and mysterious Jane (Wrenn Schmidt), starts to open up Daniel’s world to an entirely different set of possibilities. And problems. As new bonds form and old ones are tested, Daniel must decide what his true calling really is — and whether or not he has the courage to answer it.

Runtime: 96 min
Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference.
Production: Pigasus Pictures
Genres: Drama, Comedy
Countries: USA, US
Language: English
Home Release Date: Oct 24, 2017
Director Credit
Paul Shoulberg Director
Writer Credit
Paul Shoulberg Writer
Principal Cast Credit
Alex Miro Jazz Hands Carl
Callie Rekas Featured Extra
Chandra Lee Mann Donna
Danny Glover Victor
John C. McGinley Ollie
Wrenn Schmidt Jane
Zachary Spicer Daniel
Zane Naylor Coffee Shop Patron
Cast Credit
Alex Miro Jazz Hands Carl
Callie Rekas Featured Extra
Chandra Lee Mann Donna
Danny Glover Victor
John C. McGinley Ollie
Wrenn Schmidt Jane
Zachary Spicer Daniel
Zane Naylor Coffee Shop Patron
Producer Credit
David Anspaugh Executive Producer
Graham Sheldon Producer
John Robert Armstrong Producer
Jonathan Mann Associate Producer
Jordan Gershowitz Executive Producer
Michael Borgmann Associate Producer
Ryan Mieczyslaw Juszkiewicz Line Producer
Stephen Ruminski Line Producer
Zachary Spicer Producer

 



The Age of the Android: More Machine Than Man

by Sean Fitzpatrick | A large cause of the android age is that there has really not been much argument or assessment about the shift to automation and robot-like support. Technology always seems to get a free pass (image, Alternative Blog).

I am not a techy-type and I never thought I would do it, but I did—I took the infernal trouble of customizing my cellular telephone’s ringtone. With tongue in cheek, but not without symbolic intent, I programmed my phone to emit the sound of Darth Vader’s ominous breathing for every incoming call. Though people start and smirk when it goes off in my pocket publicly, a blushing circumstance I did not entirely anticipate, it is not entirely a joke. It is the sound of a technological terror, to use Vader’s words for the Death Star, in the age of the android.

Though I am unwilling to take things like Star Wars—or cell phones, for that matter—any more seriously than they deserve, I am not unwilling to categorize with some seriousness the relationship between things like cell-phone culture and the cosmic war for the stars. Insofar as they both promise human fulfillment, they are diametrically related. But man will only win the war of existence and ascend to the love that moves the stars as a man, and not as a machine. The mechanical respiration of Vader is a warning (albeit a light one) to remain vigilant, to remain unfettered by the machine, a circumstance rare to find nowadays, for ours is the age of the android, where people are more machine now than man, as Obi Wan Kenobi said of Vader.

Though the present times—unlike those a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—do not boast light-speed cruisers or laser blasters, never has the android come so strangely and pervasively into actuality. An “android” is a mobile automaton or synthetic organism with humanoid appearance and behavior. So, though “android” is applied technically to machines with human characteristics, it is of cultural interest to apply the term to humans with robot characteristics. (In the application should also arise cultural concern as well.) Is it inaccurate to call an “android” any being who is entirely reliant on mechanics? Is it incorrect to consider an “android” anyone so integrated with technology that the latter is a means of functionality? There is a tethering to machine technology in present day humans that is absolutely akin to an android reliance on systems. The android is come, and come with a vengeance.

Wallet, keys, phone. We have all heard it, even experienced it ourselves. To be without your cell phone is, for some, to be lost, to be naked, to be powerless. Prevalent dependence upon wireless devices is almost akin to a type of life-support—and certainly a lifestyle-support. Many people, if not most people, have developed such a reliance on their smart phones, both physical and psychological, that they have become an indispensable appendage for daily operations. I referenced Darth Vader before in jest, but is not a far-fetched thought that it is only a matter of time before machines are actually integrated into the human body, like Vader’s, bringing about an even newer age of androids: beings whose existence and behavior is absolutely inseparable from technology. Even today, the way people rely on and resort to Google, satellite signals, and other interface devices, it is only too clear that the process of becoming more machine than man is well underway.

Granted, all of these gadgets are tools—they have their proper uses and are not intrinsically perverse. But it is in the abuse, including overuse, that perversion arises. Though overuse is abundantly manifest on any street corner, what is curious is that there is a type of complacency or satisfaction in handing more and more of the reins of everyday life and living over to the machines. As it stands, human life is intensely automated and programmed. Convenience and connectivity have been upheld to the point where basic human functions—such as original thought, witnessing a striking moment, memory itself, and silent contemplation—have been compromised and all but delegated to the tools that pose as comparable if not higher substitutes to God-given faculties. Man has willingly become an android, and his behavior under submission is in itself something mechanical.

A large cause of the android age is that there has really not been much argument or assessment about the shift to automation and robot-like support. Technology always seems to get a free pass. Has anyone posed the question, “Are we sure that we as a society want to effectively abolish things like books, handwriting, memory skills, directional sense, sound planning, interpersonal communication, and everything else that will be lost with the proliferation of artificial-intelligence devices?” In the circles that count, there are no such questions and no such debates. Instead, society takes it for granted that if some new-fangled technology is new-fangled it must be better, and should be inserted into the lives of consumers immediately.

As Luke Skywalker said in the latest Star Wars installment, “This is not going to go the way you think.” Very true; but the problem is, no one seems to have had much of a thought about how this is going to go to begin with. Even though androidism has actually become something to be wary of (as my phone warns), its rise does not change the principles that can confront it and combat it. American psychologist B. F. Skinner wrote, “Physics does not change the nature of the world it studies, and no science of behavior can change the essential nature of man, even though both sciences yield technologies with a vast power to manipulate their subject matters.” Very true, again; but the truth of nature, both the terrestrial and human, can still claim their place in the work of salvation. But they must be chosen and given the chance to resist the age of the android.

Many Catholics recognize and readily admit that the electronic tools and toys that crowd for a place in their lives interfere with their relationship with God with that pernicious ever-readiness to fill up a quiet moment. We are, after all, children of God and not cyborgs. As distractions and interlopers, lifestyle technology renders prayer and spirituality more difficult or less frequented. What is even worse, these devices are usurpers of the identity and capacity of prayer and spirituality—they are literally making us into machines rather than men. We are a plugged-in people; obsessed with technology in some form or another—while God is in the silence. Distraction is the device of the devil—distracting us from our God and ourselves with our devices, and making our very lives depend upon it.

People have been manipulated by machinery only to become slaves, even sons, to their own creation, making it harder to establish a link with their own Creator. Man has allowed his life to be formed and defined by his tools instead of using his tools to form and define the world in accordance with the good life. The result is that we are more machine now than man. But the war is one for the stars and must be fought with a new hope, as American mathematician Norbert Wiener reminds us:

The future offers very little hope for those who expect that our new mechanical slaves will offer us a world in which we may rest from thinking. Help us they may, but at the cost of supreme demands upon our honesty and our intelligence. The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.

 Oscar Wilde once wrote, “On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.” Witnessing the people of the future enslaved as they are to their machines, I cannot help but wonder where the world will fall next. We are the age of the android. Like Vader’s ventilator, the machines are all but breathing for man. But it is not too late to look on the world, for once, with our own eyes.

Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

 

 

 



African Christianity: Its Public Role

by Paul Gifford 1998. African Christianity: Its Public Role. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. A sophisticated political and social analysis of the various Christian groups is allied to a most original, consistent exploration of their different theological positions and thinking…. An interesting, important critical assessment of the extent to which the churches are playing a major role in the emergence of a civil society…. Gifford’s overall analysis and his four case studies are so fresh and so important that… they cry out for immediate publication.” —Richard Gray

In the 1970s and the 1990s, British Africanist scholars produced two groups of outstanding studies on Christianity in Africa funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Two works by Adrian Hastings (1979a, 1979b) and one by Edward Fashole-Luke et al. (1978) were in the first series. This volume as well as another by Gifford (1995) comprises the second set. Although they are the result of intellectual collaboration, each volume stands on its own. The 1970s, works situated Christianity in newly-independent sub-Saharan Africa. For many Africanists, they were the first introduction to the transition [End Page 228] of Christian churches moving from mission status to local leadership and autonomy, and above all, to the vibrant New Religious Movements (NRMs) or Independent Churches.

Gifford (1995) looked at the role of Christian churches in the democratization of sub-Saharan Africa. The present study has two goals: to analyze the interrelation of Christian church bodies in Africa, using the methodology of political economy, and to explore the public role of Christianity in Africa. After two chapters that describe changes in the African context from the 1970s to the present, the bulk of this book is devoted to four case histories: Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Cameroon. Each in its own way is fascinating.

The introductory chapter deftly sketches social and political pat-terns that have developed since independence. In each of the case studies this is repeated in detail, covering the present situations of Protestants, Catholics, and NRMs. Showing the network of elites, including clergy, who benefit from and contribute to patrimonial systems, Gifford outlines the ambiguity of the Christian churches. On one hand they are participants in clientism and are similar to the other institutions of the elite rul-ing system. This is illustrated by the examples that pepper the case studies: the anointing ceremony in Lusaka’s Anglican cathedral when Frederick Chiluba became president of Zambia in 1991 (p. 197); the episcopal praise of Idi Amin as “our redeemer and the light of God.” (p. 118); the close relations between Christian churches and President Paul Biya of Came-roon that opened the north to Christian evangelization.

On the other hand, religious values urge Christian leaders to take stances on justice, corruption, and the plight of the poor. The churches’ activist role often has tragic consequences, such as the murders of Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum at Idi Amin’s behest, of the Jesuit intellectual Engelbert Mveng of Cameroon, and of Catholic Archbishop Elias Mutale of Zambia—all after strong protests against government misuse of power.

Where Gifford’s book is at its strongest is in the analysis of the internal politics of the individual churches—their decision-making processes, organization, finances, and relationships. Ethnic tensions and strains between expatriate missionaries and local clergy are particularly well outlined, with an objectivity that is refreshing in comparison with much of the religious literature emanating from Africa today. One can only admire Gifford’s thorough and systematic analysis, based on both his familiarity with existing scholarship and his careful field work. His treatment of corruption, tribalism, and financial irresponsibility within the Christian churches is balanced and frank, but never demeaning.

Table of Contents
Preface
Abbreviations
1. The Context: Africa Now
2. African Churches: Their Global Context
3. Ghana
4. Uganda
5. Zambia
6. Cameroon
7. Conclusion
Select Bibliography
Index

Paul Gifford is Lecturer in African Christianity at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His previous books include Christianity and Politics in Doe’s Liberia and The Christian Churches and the Democratisation of Africa.