ALTERNATIVE With Reno Omokri
I am a minister of God’s Word and when I minister, I discourage people from getting excited when I preach. I am not impressed when people clap for me or say ‘preach preacher’ when I minister. To me, that is an indication that I am telling people what they like. Jesus was not like that. He offended people with the truth and He made them ponder deeply after they heard Him.
Instead of applause, I pray that we will see changed lives because every information that does not lead to transformation is entertainment, and I am not an entertainer. I am a minister of God’s word who also happens to be a politician.
The problem with traditional Christianity is that we have made God into Someone who is not attractive. We have made God into a boring being who is more concerned with commandments and rules than Someone who is attractive and whose Presence invokes fullness of joy.
To inspire people, leaders and those in authority do not need to impress them. Connect with them. Jesus had all the powers to impress people but His disciples followed Him because He connected with them.
When Peter’s mother-in-law was sick, He healed her. When He went to a party and the wine was finished, He turned water into wine. When He was preaching to a crowd, they probably might not have remembered all He taught them, but they certainly were touched that He cared enough to ensure that they did not leave with physical hunger. He fed them all.
When the crowd wanted to stone the adulteress, he was able to connect with them via something they all had in common – sin, and that saved the adulteress’ life.
No matter how competent you are and how developed your character is, if you can’t connect with your people you can not lead them!
In fact, there is no such thing as a Christian. Jesus DID NOT call us to be Christians. The word ‘Christian’ is actually a name that unbelievers gave to those who believe in God through Christ Yehoshua (Jesus’s real name). Jesus actually called us to be Christ followers (Matthew 4:19), and Paul corroborated this in 1 Corinthians 11:1.
Jesus is a leader. From Him, anyone can learn how to lead.
Do not allow anybody sell you the idea that a Christ Follower is meant to be boring, dour and colourless. Jesus was not like that. On earth, He was a fun person to be around, a sociable person who attended get togethers, parties and visited people (Matthew 9:10, Luke 14:1, Luke 19:5).
He was also very affectionate (John 13:23-25), yet He had authority and commanded respect (Matthew 7:29).
Jesus dressed well ( John 19:23), wore perfumes (Mark 14:3-6) and used to sing hymns with His disciples (Matthew 26:30).
Now if Hebrews 12:2 admonishes us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” how then can you follow Jesus and be a dull, colourless and modest person? How can you follow Him without exhibiting some of His qualities?
Many people erroneously think God wants them to be modest. God wants you to dress modestly. But He does not want you to be modest. He does not want you to have modest ambitions. What is the use of that? God wants you to have life and have it “MORE ABUNDANTLY”!
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus commanded us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heave.”
How can you be modest if your light is to shine?
In John 14:15 Jesus said “If you love me, keep my COMMANDMENT”. The tendency we have after reading this is to attempt to keep Jesus’ commandments to show that we love Him. But in reality rules and commands have never been able to inspire love. What Jesus is saying is if we can FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM the love will help us keep His commandments.
The reason why an independent adult obeys his father is because he loves his father. He does not love his father because he obeys his father. He obeys his father because he loves him.
The love comes first and then the obedience is easy. But if the obedience comes first then the love would be forced, and a forced love is no love. That’s why Jesus said “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest COMMANDMENT.”-Matthew 22:37-38.
If God were looking for words, He wouldn’t have answered the prayer of the woman with the issue of blood because she did not even utter a word.
The fastest prayer ever answered by God was the prayer of the woman with the issue of blood. She did not shout. Matthew 9:21 says “she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
Emulate this unnamed woman. God is not moved by shouting. He is moved by faith. Don’t be fooled by those who tell you you must shout to be heard or who say a closed mouth is a closed destiny. Men listen to what comes from your mouth, But God listens to what comes from your heart
What God is looking for is faith without which you cannot please Him. And when you have faith, even your “thought” would be answered-”Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”-Ephesians 3:20. My recipe for effective prayer-talk less and believe more!
Principle 1 for answers prayers: God’s Greatest Pleasure is to be believed.
Have you ever been so happy that you were too excited to eat? In Hebrews 11:6, we learn that God’s greatest pleasure is to be believed “without faith it is impossible to please God”. Now consider the Son of God in John chapter 4. His disciples had gone to buy food for Him because He had not eaten. When they left He had an encounter with a Samaritan woman. After preaching to her she believed Him and ran to her town to tell everyone about Him. Then His disciples came back and in verse 31 urged Him to eat to which He responded that He had eaten! The pleasure Jesus felt when that woman believed Him made Him full. Likewise, when we believe God and His Son Jesus, we ignite so much pleasure in them and at that stage ‘all things shall be added unto you”-Matthew 6:33.
Principle 2: God’s Deepest Pain Comes from Being Doubted.
When Jesus was told that Lazarus had died, he went to Bethany and assured Mary that she would see her brother again. Mary and the Jews standing about doubted. Jesus told Mary “Did I not tell you that if you BELIEVED you will see the glory of God”. But in John 11:33 we read “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” The reason why He was moved is because of their doubt. So moved was Jesus that in John 11:35 we have the shortest verse in the bible “Jesus wept”. Disbelief or doubt hurts God and His Son Jesus.
Religious people always like a multiplicity of rules. They tell you that if your prayers must be answered you must take it by force. Go and read all the prayers that Jesus, who is our only standard, made while He was on earth. Jesus spoke with authority but he never prayed long prayers for God to act and He never shouted His prayers.
The only times Jesus prayed long prayers was not when He wanted God to act but when He needed strength from God. God is our power source and we need to go to Him in prayer to recharge our spiritual energies because it gets depleted just like a phone or a laptop and God is the power source from which we all source our power.
The only time it was recorded that Jesus shouted a prayer was when He was calling a dead Lazarus back to life.
And Jesus did that for a particular reason. It was it a habit with Him. At that particular point in time He was trying to prove a point and the bible records it.
In John 11:42 He gave the first reason why He did it. “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” The Jews had been asking for a sign and He knew that many if them would genuinely believe if they saw a sign because they had heard of false Messiahs in the past and did not want to put their hopes in one.
The second reason He shouted is in chapter 45. “Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.”
There were many Jews there and it was necessary for Him to shout to be heard because He wanted them to have proof of His divinity!
Normally when He preached by the Jordan or by the other seasides He would stand in a boat so that the sea breeze could project His voice so He had no need to shout, but at that point He was in Bethany, not by the sea.
Look at the powerful prayers in the bible. Short and concise. John 11:43 we read the prayer “Lazarus Come Out”. Peter’s prayer in Matthew 14:30 “ “Lord, save me!”. The thief at Jesus’s side during the Crucifixion in Luke 23:42 “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” All these are short prayers that were answered instantly!
Potent prayers are declarations of faith based on confidence in God’s abilities.
What did Jesus say? He taught us to pray in Mark 11:23. We are told to say onto mountains. No long speeches, no shouting, no cajoling or negotiation, what Jesus told us to do is to say to the mountain. Our faith in God does the rest.
So instead of saying to the mountain, we want to discuss, cajole.
God is our Father and we don’t have to doubt that He will answer our prayers therefore we don’t need to convince Him. All we need to do is declare into the mountain be thou removed. Why? Because the bible says to us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
In fact 1 John 5:14 calls it a “confidence” “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
We need to understand that the promises of God are promissory notes that are more credible than physical cash! When we say to our mountains we are cashing in on God’s promise and what is the ultimate promise He made with regards to this?
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”-Numbers 23:19.
I have said it before in the local assembly that I pastored for three years-Faith is the money of the spiritual realm. In Nigeria, we don’t know what money really is because our currency is not convertible. Naira really only has intrinsic value in Nigeria. If you take it to Europe, Asia or America, you can’t convert it. That is why when you want to travel to England, you first have to buy British pounds in Nigeria with Naira because you can’t exchange Naira for pounds in Britain. But an English man can go to any country inn the world and exchange his pounds for the local currency because the pound is fully convertible.
The reason why it is convertible is because the money is a promissory note. On convertible currencies, there is a promise by the government to pay you the value of that money.
In the spiritual realm, your faith is like money. Whenever you want something, you look for a promise in the bible that justifies what you want them you apply your faith to claim that promise
My money is not the Naira, Dollars, Pounds or Euro. All these currencies can fail. The Pound is currently in trouble In the 1930s the dollar was also in trouble during the Great Depression when over 9000 U.S. banks collapsed. Rather than place your faith in world currencies consider placing your faith on the promises of God. The Naira, Dollar, Pound, or Euro may fail one day as other currencies have failed in the past, but read what Psalm 37:25 says “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread”.
Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, and other books. Avid traveller.