Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
I know you are going to ask: Who is Pastor Tafawabalewa Danjuma? He is my pastor, the pastor who calls me pastor, all because I pastor a virtual, newspaper church. All because I preach, evangelise and pray for my readers who form the Press Clips Pentecostal Church (PCPC).
Pastor Danjuma, a fan of my column had been goading me to come to the real pulpit and preach because he has discovered a hidden talent in me as a preacher. Some people take my newspaper preaching as a joke, but in God’s matter, there is no joking. I believe everyone must use his God-given talent to serve God, to win souls. That is what I try to do in my own unique style. I know a lot of people who believe in my church, who take my sermons seriously and who cut out my prayers and paste them on their walls to be recited morning after morning.
But then, one of my fans was so pissed off with my “journalism of evangelism” that he declared me dead and even wrote my obituary. If you Google An Unofficial Autopsy of Mike Awoyinfa by Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo you will read the so-called obituary which starts with: “Mike Awoyinfa is dead. I do not know when he died. I have no idea what killed him. In any case, it saddens me.”
My late friend Pastor Dimgba Igwe was so bothered by my drifting too deep into pastoral matters that he advised me to “forget your awada and return into real journalism.” I found that ironic! That explains why I haven’t preached for some time now. Today being the first column of the New Year, I feel like preaching and praying for my readers but I will leave that for Pastor Danjuma, a great man of God who is a builder, transformer and a humorist who mingles his sermons with self-deprecating jokes about his wife, family and his life as a man who quit the Navy in response to a higher calling in the ministry. Everywhere Danjuma goes, he transforms. Today, he is changing the architectural profile of RCCG Cornerstone Parish (My Father’s House) Okota, Lagos, transforming it into a modern, stylishly designed church which is a story for another day since it is still a work in progress.
On the first Sunday of the New Year, I was in church, listening to the New Year message of Pastor Danjuma and taking notes furiously. From the sermon, I picked 7 Lessons which I bring to you my dear reader and which I will use to face and conquer the challenges of Year 2017. Here is a distillation of the sermon as scribbled in my reporter’s notebook:
Lesson 1. Whatever you are going to do this year, do it as if today is your last day on earth. (My dear reader, the last time I heard something similar to what Pastor Danjuma is saying here was when Steve Jobs was giving his Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005. He told the students of that famous university: “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something”).
Lesson 2. This is the year of action. A lot of people have dreams but it dies with them. If you have a revelation, if you don’t act on it quickly, by the time you start doing it, you will discover that someone else had done it.
Lesson 3. Develop a direct relationship with God. Try and know God for yourself and not through an intermediary, otherwise someone will give you poison. Don’t follow God through any “Man of God.” God doesn’t need such intermediary. He wants you to serve him directly. There was a man called Jim Jones. A very wonderful man of God. A very charismatic preacher. His people didn’t know he was on cocaine. That is why you must know God yourself. One day he ordered all his followers to drink acid. His armed guards were ready to shoot if you try to disobey and escape. A total of 998 people, including 304 children died that day after drinking poison suspected to be cyanide. He told his followers: “Don’t be afraid to die. Death is just stepping over into another plane that is friendly.” They obeyed and perished with him.
Respect is good. Yoruba people show a lot of respect. But too much respect for a human being is not good. It is dangerous. God is a jealous God. He would not share His glory with any man. If I, Pastor Danjuma, tell you to do something and you think it is not biblical, refuse to do it! Everybody must know God for himself or for herself. Don’t live your life for any pastor or any G.O. because nobody dies for you. You will give an account of your life alone to your God.
Lesson 4. Everything in life has a beginning. Even God begins from the beginning. God Himself begins with God. The book of Genesis opens with: “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.” We as men must make sure we have a beginning. We must go back to our beginning. Why your business fails is that you don’t have a beginning.
Lesson 5. We must go back to the Word of God. Because the Bible tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. We must constantly read the word of God. Nothing can beat the word. When you know the word of God, when you speak the word of God, everything will obey to the letter.
Lesson 6. For every business to succeed, you must involve God. There is God factor in everything. All things were made by God. You will never achieve anything without partnering with God. Anything you do this year, you must involve God.
Lesson 7. Be prayerful always. Whatever we do, let’s consult God. I don’t go to any prophet to ask for what will happen to my life. My future is in the hands of God, not in the prophecies of a prophet. When you pray, ask for grace. When you have the grace of God, nothing can stop you.
As you go out today, you will go as a different man. Your business will prosper. Your family life will prosper. Recession will not hit you. The God who created light will chase away from Nigeria the darkness of poverty, recession, famine and the hard times blanketing our nation. Nigeria will bounce back. Our nation will recover. May God bless our President and all our leaders with the wisdom to make the right decisions that will prosper us.
In the beginning was the light. May the light of God continue to shine on Nigeria this year and forever more. May the spirit of God move upon the face of Nigeria and change our situation for good. May the light of God separate every stupid darkness that has come to your home and to your business. Go out there and prosper this year in Jesus name! Amen!