CLOSE TO THE PULPIT BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

Image result for FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVENThe Journey to eternity start from the day we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and failure to make heaven will be a total disaster
One can work for God
Preach on the alter
Lead praise and worship, go for evangelism
Give tithe, arms,offering, care for widows, orphans
AND STILL NOT MAKE IT TO HEAVEN……REVELATION 21:27. Hebrew 12:14

FACT………
you are a deacon in the church, but you are still working in a tobacco company…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the head usher but you indulge in masturbation, adultery……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the leader of a group in your church but you are married with a second wife while the first wife is still alive……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You get to work on time but you are always coming late to church…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a worker in your church but you rented your shop for someone who want to operate a bar  to sell alcohol…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a chorister yet you have worldly song on your phone……..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are very diligent in your group in the church, yet you don’t respect your husband……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You can quote many bible scripture, but you are having sex with your wife from the back like dog…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You can pray like prophet Elijah yet , you do not forgive others…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the best keyboardist in your church yet you do not respect your parents…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You help to assist the needy , yet you indulge in sex before marriage.….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You see visions like Elijah,but envy and jealousy is in your heart ……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You give your tithe promptly and correctly but you like artificial hair , artificial, nails……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the Priest but the love for money is ruling your life……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You preached powerfully as a pastor Yet your heart is filled with lust for opposite sex…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a deaconess, but in your office a terror and corrupt……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

Beloveth…let the church be a channel to make heaven, and not your destination , if man does not see you……ANGELS OF GOD ARE RECORDING ALL YOUR DEEDS…REMEMBER NO UNCLEAN PERSON WILL ENTER HEAVEN.

credit: Michael Bamgboluwaga

RIGHT WAYS TO RESPOND TO GOSSIP

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“You will be gossiped about. If it has not happened yet, get ready, because someday you will find yourself in the cross-hairs of gossip,” writes Matt Mitchell, pastor of Lanse Evangelical Free Church. “Sadly,” he continues, “most of the time you will not know that you are a target of someone’s harmful words. Perniciously, gossip is done behind our backs, when we are not looking, when we are not listening and when we are not present.” Responding to gossip in a godly manner is hard enough when you know who the gossips are and what they are saying. 

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However, the difficulty is intensified exponentially when you don’t have hard facts to confront, or the people you do confront deny it, pretend they know nothing, or continue to give you the kisses of Judas. Still, you must respond. You will respond. But how?

Respond in Faith 
In Psalm 140:1-2, we see David taking his situation to the Lord first. Sadly, when we are gossiped about, we (myself included!) typically “take things into our own hands. We complain about those who are complaining about us. And we run around attempting to set the record straight.” This only makes matters worse.

In contrast, we can take it to the Lord in prayer. When we take our pain to the Lord, we can tell it like it is, not minimizing the intensity of the hurt. But we also remember who we are talking to when we pray. We know that God is the ultimate judge, and nothing – in the end – will ever escape his righteous judgment. Therefore, we can ask God for justice and believe that He will eventually answer.

Respond in Love 
Of all the commands given to us by Jesus, perhaps loving our enemies is the most difficult to carry out, to know how to obey. This difficulty is intensified a million times over when the person who has become your functional enemy was once a friend. “When someone gossips about you, he or she is acting as your enemy. That person may not be your enemy in any official way. He or she may, in fact, be your closest friend. But at the moment when bad news is being spread behind your back out of a bad heart, the person doing the spreading is acting as your enemy.” To love our enemy is to act like God who loved us while we were yet His enemies (Romans 5:8). But how? How do you love your enemy, especially if he or she refuses to talk to you?

Pray. First, pray for them. “Pray for justice. Pray that your gossiping enemy’s evil plans will backfire. But also pray for conviction and repentance and eventual blessing for your enemy.”
Overlook. Second, overlook sin when you can. “Overlooking is a kind of one-sided forgiving. It means we just go on relating to the person in the same way we always did.”
Confront. Third, true love always seeks reconciliation—always. “Love goes to the person who is acting as an enemy and shows that person his or her fault so that relationship can be restored.”
Repay evil with good. Fourth, bless them. “If people have gossiped about you, make sure that your basic stance is for them….Returning blessings for beatings seems crazy to the world, but that’s what we do as Christians” (1 Cor. 4:10, 12-13).

When we choose to love our enemies, and always seek reconciliation, the Bible promises us a great reward (1 Pet. 3:9). May the Lord grant us the faith and love we need in order to learn how to respond to gossip!

credit: Olufamous

Effective Ways to Make Others Feel Important

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  • Use their name
  • Express  gratitude
  • Do more listening than talking: Look at them when they talk, Pay attention to the things they like and give compliments, maybe in their appearances, job and other accomplishments.
  • Be sincere in your praise.
  • See Potentials: Encourage them more than criticizing, tell them you believe in them. Comfort them even after a failure, Ask them to teach you something and offer help within your means and capability.
  • Talk more about them than about you.
  • Give Generously: this can simply be your time and if you are blessed to give more, do so. Never limit yourself
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  • Be Affectionate: This can be literally giving them a pat in their back, or a hug
  • Do things together by inviting them to church, game, shopping, giving them a ride and even an invite for dinner
  • Be authentically interested.
  • Share yourselves: This can be your honest opinion about things, or challenge you overcame that might be beneficial to them.
  • Show you care.
  • Be the person that make others feel special. Be known for your kindness, sympathy and grace.

 

 

 

THE SIGNS OF A DYING CHURCH

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Church is boring for most because the power of God has vanished from many congregations … there is a lack of desire to pursue Him in the pulpit as well as in the pew. Like Samson, they “know not that the Spirit of the Lord has departed” (cf. Judge 16:20).

High attendance is not the gauge of success, faithfulness is. Granted, a healthy church should experience seasons of growth, but even cults generate large numbers of followers.

Here are 5 simple ways to gauge the health of a church as well as a believer:

1. Is prayer an after-thought or a priority? Nights of prayer and worship are often replaced with Bingo and fundraisers.Many are in a hurry to burn through a sermon, scurry through worship, and head to the nearest restaurant. This is a sure sign of a dying church. If churches are too busy to pray—we’re too busy. “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live” (E.M. Bounds). We should never allow our relationship with God to suffer because we’re too busy. “We must spend much time on our knees before God if we are to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit” (R.A. Torrey). Spiritual life and prayer go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.

2. Is the church known for either emotionalism or dead formalism? Unfortunately, Christians often embrace one of two extremes when it comes to the topic of the Holy Spirit. At one extreme are those who embrace pure emotionalism and hysteria—”if it’s odd it’s God” is often their motto. All weird behavior is excused. The other extreme resembles a cemetery. There’s no living, vibrant spiritual life taking place. The church is dead, cold, and lifeless; talk of revival is either dismissed or ridiculed. Both extremes are wrong and offer a false impression of genuine Christianity … both are characteristics of a dying church.

3. Is sin excused and holiness minimized? In short, has the fear of the Lord vanished? Some time ago, a pastor of a large church in my area made an unforgettable statement, “We should avoid mentioning the fear of the Lord. It makes people feel uncomfortable.” Just writing that sentence makes me feel uncomfortable. The fear of the Lord is mentioned frequently throughout the Bible as the beginning of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him…” (Psalm 147:11).

Fear can also motivate a person to repent. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Jesus spoke more on the fear of hell than on the glory of heaven. “That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Savior, and I fear Him because He is my Judge” (A.W. Tozer).

The present condition of the church (and America) leads one to wonder if this lack of fearing the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth…” (Revelation 3:15-17).

4. Is love a concept or a reality? True love is a “choice” and a commitment that we make to do good to others; it is not a “feeling.”If love is the greatest commandment, it should be our first priority. Love hopes for and believes the best in others. It is demonstrated through our actions and our words. The Bible is clear: If you have not love, it profits you nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:3). You can be well read in all sixty-six books of the Bible, preach as well as Whitefield, Moody, and Spurgeon, and have a Ph.D. in theology, but if you don’t have love, you have nothing.

5. Are difficult truths neglected, watered-down, or avoided in the hope of “not offending”? Ironically, churches that are “all about love” forget the other side of the coin: judgment is never mentioned; repentance is never sought; and sin is often excused. They want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a cross-less Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance. Christianity only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin. The good news about Christ can only be appreciated with the bad news as the backdrop. There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned (C.H. Spurgeon).

Pastors (including me) must find the balance—preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God “is love,” but don’t forget that God is just. Ironically, it’s the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth, including those things that are hard to hear.

Although disheartening, this trend away from God’s Word (absolute truth) is not surprising. The apostle Paul warned centuries ago: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine [God’s Word], but according to their own desires … they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

credit: Shane Idleman

A Man is Never Ugly

Cordelia notices that Nnu Ego hasn’t been seen that morning. On her frequent trips to and from the kitchen, she notices that Nnu Ego’s door is open so she goes to take a look. That’s when she sees the dead baby, and no Nnu Ego. She crosses herself like a good Catholic and screams for Nnu Ego.

  • She thinks she should run and tell Nnaife, and perhaps her husband, but where is Nnu Ego?
  • She goes to find her husband first. She sees Nnaife, and just tells him that she needs her husband. She feels sorry for Nnaife – his wife doesn’t care for him and now his only son is dead. She sounds forced and odd as she asks for her husband (Ubani) and Nnaife wonders what’s wrong, but he goes to get her husband.
  • Ubani frowns when he sees her. He shouldn’t be interrupted at work. But, like Cordelia, he’s upset when he hears her news and he wonders what they should do. Cordelia wonders if Nnu Ego is trying to harm herself.
  • Ubani agrees that he will tell Nnaife, but when he sees Nnaife so engrossed in his work, he doesn’t have the heart. But he must tell him, and they must find Nnu Ego. He hurries to finish his washing and tells his nephew, Dilibe, to do the drying. Then he finds Nnaife, and watches as Nnaife concentrates on his work.
  • Nnaife finally speaks and says it’s a beautiful morning and beautiful mornings don’t make for bad days. He knows something is wrong – he had seen Cordelia go to Ubani, and now Ubani stood here – but he wouldn’t hurry his friend.
  • Ubani asks Nnaife to take a break. Nnaife looks at him and realizes that his friend is trying to hide something from him. He tells him that he needs to hang the washing first.
  • Ubani damns the washing.
  • Nnaife thinks of his own family for the first time. Is something wrong? He asks if there was a quarrel between the wives and Ubani shakes his head.
  • Nnaife looks around. He sees Ubani’s children. But where is Nnu Ego? He asks the question out loud.
  • Ubani tells him to come to their room. Nnu Ego isn’t at home.
  • Cordelia is there, sitting on their bed, which is curtained off. She looks like she’s in emotional distress.
  • Nnaife asks if Ubani has already been beating Cordelia, so early in the morning. Cordelia begins to whimper.
  • Ubani tells Nnaife that his son is dead and lying inside the room.
  • Nnaife can’t believe what he’s hearing. Cordelia brings him something hot to drink and Nnaife’s hands shake as he holds the glass.
  • Ubani asks him to think about his wife, and how upset she must be.
  • Nnaife wants to know where his wife is and where his son, Ngozi is. Ubani tells him that Ngozi, is lying in the room but they don’t know where Nnu Ego is. Nnaife wonders if Nnu Ego knows about it. But then he says she must know and that is why she ran away.
  • Ubani says they must search for her before she does something terrible to herself in her sorrow.
  • Nnaife begins to moan, feeling sorry for his wife. He feels bad for himself and starts to think that he is ugly and that Nnu Ego only put up with him because of the child.
  • Ubani tells him not to be ridiculous, that no man is ugly. He should stop talking like a woman. Ubani tells Nnaife that he has to make Nnu Ego pregnant again very soon, he says, so that she can forget the death of her first child.                                                   credit: Buchi Emecheta