Book Review: Power Through Prayer

“This man must be a Christian Philosopher or a poet,” those were my first thoughts after going through the initial pages of Power through Prayer by E.M Bounds. It’s not surprising to know he was an attorney (they have some background in philosophy) and a member of the Methodist Church. The man played with words in this 75-page book, which also carried a strong message and is very relevant for the period that we find ourselves in.

Power through Prayer admonishes readers/preachers/Christians to adopt a lifestyle of prayer. E.M Bounds, in the book, established the importance of spending quality in prayer, particularly, for preachers who have the mandate to propagate the gospel and win souls for Christ. He provided the likely effects of relegating prayer into the background and bemoaned the current practice which has been adopted by preachers – spend more time to research and less time in prayer when preparing to preach. The 20-short-chapters’ book challenges ministers of the gospel to spend long and quality time with God and see how that translates to the congregation. Bounds provided examples of past preachers who spent quality time with God and how that affected their ministries.

This is one of the most pertinent messages that the church needs currently. The book’s content reminds me of a Christian broadcast I listened to where the preacher also challenged Christians, especially, Charismatics to stop hiding behind tongues-speaking and ‘pray properly.’ In the broadcast, the preacher defined prayer as talking to God and knowing you are talking to Him. In other words, our mind should be fixed on the activity that we are indulging in. He made emphasis on the duration, which shouldn’t be as important as the quality and when Christians genuinely pray to God, we become conduits for the manifestation of miracles and the power of God. I could detect hints of E.M Bounds’ Power through Prayer in that broadcast.

The book was undoubtedly exquisitely written and if you a lover of poetry then this book is just for you. In my opinion, it could have easily been simplified into fewer pages but the flowery nature of the content did not permit that but it is still a great book and the message, very strong. The book is highly recommended for preachers or anyone playing a role in the Christ-ministry and for which, Christian bloggers are not an exemption. We can’t do away with quality prayer and expect to flourish in our various callings.

There were several amazing quotes in Power through Prayer and below are three of them:

  • “The preacher is the golden pipe through which the divine oil flows. The pipe must not only be golden, but open and flawless, that the oil may have a full, unhindered, unwashed flow.”
  • “Prayer is not to the modern pulpit the mighty force it was in Paul’s life or Paul’s ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause in this world.”
  • “A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon.”

Have you read this book? What are your opinions about it? Do share!

© picasion.com_9CWp

 

 

 

7 Christian Broadcasts & the Likely Influences of Listening to the Preachers

A way that causes an increase in the faith of every Christian, as stated in the Bible (Romans 10:17), is to constantly listen to /hear the word of God. If you are curious about the message style of preachers or you simply want to keep your mind fixated on God throughout the day and week (not only on Sundays during church services) then these Christian broadcasts are what you need.

Over the past weeks, the works of some preachers have been deeply appreciated through their radio or television broadcasts. This post, therefore, seeks to provide a broad overview of the sermon style of seven of these preachers and how you are likely to be influenced when you listen to them constantly.

  • Reverend Andy Yawson – Winning Ways Express on Sunny 88.7 FM
Christian Blog Ghana
Rev. Yawson 

Rev. Andy Yawson is the senior pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) and his broadcast is on Sunny 88.7 FM on weekdays between 11:00 -11:30AM. His style of presenting God’s word on his broadcast equips the listener to lead the victorious life. He provides the message of hope and motivates the listener to keep pursuing the purpose for which they’ve been created. After listening to him, you are likely to feel encouraged to pick yourself up and forge on. In the past weeks, he has been providing the listener with reasons a Christian shouldn’t settle for less because there are people we need to impact.

  • Reverend Eastwood Anaba – Wind of Love on Sunny 88.7 FM
Rev. Eastwood Anaba 

With a touch of humour, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, Pastor at Fountain Gate Chapel, brings Wind of Love on Sunny 88.7FM from Mondays to Saturdays at 11:30AM. This preacher can be described as the radical evangelist who pushes the Christian to adopt the right attitude to worship and prayer. He causes the listeners to re-think some of the attitudes which have been accepted as the ‘norm’ in our churches. His style of presentation is likely to make you chuckle at certain points of the broadcast but also cause you to reflect. In the past few weeks, he has been preaching on some lessons a Christian must avoid by using Gehazi and Absalom as examples. 

  • Pastor Mensah Otabil – Living Word on Joy 99.7 FM

    M.O
    Pastor Mensah Otabil 

As the teacher that he is popularly known to be, Pastor Mensah Otabil, the head pastor of the International Central Gospel Church, is featured on Joy 99.7FM every weekday after the mid-day news. His sermon, delivered in points (the listener needs a notebook) stirs up hope in the Christian. The sermons cause you to have faith in God, yourself, Ghana and the continent at large. To make his teaching more practical, he provides examples which sometimes add a touch of humour to the sermon. In the past few weeks, he has been linking having a sound mind to how that diminishes fear in every Christian.

  • Pastor Chris Oyakhilome on Green 88.5 FM 

1779875_826485047367511_1501763186_n

The head pastor of Christ Embassy is featured on Green 88.5FM on weekdays between 2:00 -2:30 PM. If his sermons were a course, they would probably be the advanced level which requires the undivided attention of the listener. The sermons of Pastor Chris in the broadcasts are likely to cause the listener to rush for a Bible (wherever it’s hidden) and dig deeper to understand some of his revelations. He recently made an analogy on casting out and binding the devil and the interpretation he gave to them backed by scriptures, you simply need to listen to him.

  • Bishop Dag Heward-Mills on Sweet Melodies 94.3 FM
Dag M
Bishop Dag Heward-Mills

The sermons of Bishop Dag which are presented in a simple, concise and very instructive manner causing the listener to understand that nothing else matters in this world except for soul-winning. He pushes the listener to focus mainly on the Great Commission. He has a good sense of humour and starts his practical examples by using the words, “One Day.” His congregation know that too well and laugh in anticipation for what he is about to say next. He is on Sweet Melodies on weekdays from 6-7AM and there is a repeat broadcast at 4pm.

  • Lady Reverend Adelaide Heward-Mills  on Sweet Melodies 94.3 FM
adel
Lady Adelaide

Lady Rev. Adelaide, the wife of Bishop Dag, comes on air every Saturday from 9-10AM with Honey on My Lips. Her sermons explain some of the concepts in the Bible. She doesn’t pamper her listeners in her delivery. She tells you what is in the Bible and how you are to act. Some of her sermons are directed to women but most of them are for both gender. She gives practical examples which make her sermon less complicated to understand. You are likely to feel refreshed, appreciate the role played by the church which will stir up loyalty in you. Last week, she provided insight into reasons God chastens the people she loves.

  • Pastor Joel Osteen on Praise TV
joel osteen
Joel Osteen

The Lakewood Church pastor is an encourager who always starts his sermon with something to laugh about. He motivates the viewer to keep pursuing what God has laid on their hearts even though they may be facing barriers and challenges. His broadcast is aired on the digital channel, Praise TV at 9PM on weekdays. If you are facing any challenges and feel like giving up, his sermons are likely to wash off the depression and make you pick up from where you left off.

Which radio or television broadcasts do you listen to or watch? Please share the details with us and how it has blessed your life. We’d love to listen/watch and feature them in the second part of this post.

Image Credit: All photos were downloaded from the pastors’ or their churches’ Facebook pages

© picasion.com_9CWp

 

Book Review: Strategies for Prayer

Strategies for Prayer by Dag Heward-Mills is a 40-page book, very succinct, straight-to-the-point, yet, makes some powerful revelations on the need for Christians to pray and do it effectively. It can easily be read at a sitting, but, it is important to go through this book slowly, so, to digest its content and apply it to one’s prayer life.

The book, divided into four chapters, introduces the reader to the Daniel’s Principles of Prayer and also, The Timothy, Ephesians and Lord’s prayer formula. What the first chapter does is to admonish Christians, among other things, that they are never too big, blessed or busy to pray.  It primarily establishes the importance of prayer to the life of the believer.

In the subsequent chapters, the reader is introduced to the other prayer strategies/formula. The book also raises important subjects like the need to pray for our leaders, praying always and for long hours which also summarises the Timothian Prayer in Chapter 2 of the book. The other two chapters introduce Ephesians 1 and Matthew 6 as prayer guides/strategies for the Christian.

Bishop Dag, as an author, puts his points in plain language probably for easy memorisation. If you have ever listened to any of his sermons, you’d realise he writes just like the way he speaks – concise, straightforward and instructive. He also makes emphases on some of his points by relating them to his personal life experiences. As a reader, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the scenarios he provided in the book. One of such was when he recalled his days as a medical student with a tight schedule but still made time to pray. On one of those occasions, he nearly walked into a wall because he was tired. Although this was easy to picture, it drives home the point that he consciously made time to pray and gave himself no excuse and looking at where he is now, that serves as a source of motivation for the reader.

The aim of the book was to ginger the reader to adopt praying strategies which will enable him/her to pray for long hours and that was successfully achieved. As Christians, we may have several reasons for not praying and even reading, the author recognises that, therefore, he provides several motivations in a few pages to help us adopt a healthy prayer life. This book is highly recommended for anyone having a hard time praying and for long hours. It is also great for Christians of all ages and for people who do not want to read huge volumes of books.

There were some powerful quotes in the book but below are three of them:

  • “My friend, if you cannot find something to thank God for, for at least ten minutes, then you have an ungrateful heart.”
  • “If you want to have peace and confidence in this life, spend time praying that the will of God comes to pass in your life.”dag

 

© picasion.com_9CWp

“Understand the Seasons & Embrace Technology,” Gospel Artiste Advises

Contemporary Gospel Musician, Samuel Osei Kwarteng, popularly known as Kwame Kwarteng is calling on musicians, particularly, those doing the gospel genre to understand the ‘times’ and adopt its accompanying technology in the production and distribution of their music. The writer and singer of the hit single, Signs and Wonders, says this music industry is currently receiving its fair share of educational influences on both producers and consumers, therefore, a twist in the way the music is being made. He, however, refuted claims that the gospel industry in Ghana is collapsing, but, rather sees the genre as entering into a new ‘season.’

“Music is a tool for evangelism and our music will change. We should, however, update the way we think and accept whatever that comes with it. If you don’t update yourself when the season comes, you will perish,” he said. “Now, some songs become hit on social media so our ability to use this tool very well is what will take us there,” Mr Kwarteng added. 

The 2016 graduate of the University of Development Studies, who has been singing since IMG-20180709-WA0012childhood, believes prophecies in the Bible concerning  the pouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh in the last days, is being manifested in the increase in the number of gospel ministers who are also skilful in the art and performing miracles through their music.   

Mr Kwarteng, who is yet to go into this Ministry fulltime, admits there are challenges in the gospel terrain compared to other genres of music, therefore, his decision to combine singing with a regular job. In addition to the hit single, Signs and Wonders, the artist has Onim Wo Din, two songs which were inspired through scriptures. 

Signs and Wonders is a prophetic song and I see this season as a prophetic one. I got the inspiration for this song from Mark 16:17, where Jesus said signs and wonders will follow them who believe. For that reason, if you become a believer, you should not struggle for certain things in life,” he said.

“His death brought victory and blessings. First, we used to live in bondage and curses and were in deep sin but he came to die for us. If I lift up my hands and pray, the sick should be healed because that is the umbrella I operate under, so, we are made for signs and wonders as Jesus Christ said,” Mr Kwarteng said.  

The contemporary-style gospel musician traces his influences to Ron Kenoly, Alvin Slaughter, Don Moen, Tye Tribbett, Travis Greene, Lawrence Flowers, Mali Music, Donnie McClurkin and William McDowell. In Africa and Ghana, Nathaniel Bassey, Uche Agu, Joe Mettle, Jeshurun Otchere and Pastor Emmit are musicians Mr Kwarteng looks up to. 

The Righteous Cry.

IMG-20180709-WA0013

This Saturday, July 21, Kwame Kwarteng in collaboration with Kharis Life Foundation will be hosting a worship and prayer service dubbed Righteous Cry. The programme is taking place at the African Regent Hotel at exactly 3pm. Other ministers who will be ministering include Jeshrun Okyere, Pastor Emmit, A.B Kwarteng, Min. Mary and Rev. Nana Perbi.

The theme for this event, according to the musician, was inspired by Psalm 34:17 and it is an attempt “to get believers away from the ‘noise’ to a time with God when His words will be quoted back to Him.”  

“It will be ourselves and God and if we do that he is going to hear our cry.  It’s worship, prayer and the word and it’s free,” Mr Kwarteng concluded. 

 

© picasion.com_9CWp

Book Review: In Pursuit of Purpose

What is your purpose in life? This is one question which we have all encountered at certain points in our lives. For instance, in a job interview, you may be asked where you see yourself in five years and before one gets married, couples are asked if they know each others’ purposes, hence, making this subject a very important one to both Christians and non-Christians.

Myles Munroe’ In Pursuit of Purpose, did a remarkable job to unpack this popular question, particularly, in making his readers understand why it is very important to know one’s purpose and pursue it. This 149 page-book was easy to read and had some of the most amazing quotes that made the reader pause, think through and meditate upon. It was also written in the simplest language and made use of relateable scenarios to emphasise on some of the basic points. If you have ever listened to any of Myles Munroe’s lectures or sermons, this book actually felt like you were listening to him while he spoke – in the same style to ginger you to get up and find your purpose. He also used biblical references to situate his point in scriptures.

cover photo

Since this subject is a very important one, as a reader, I wished Myles Munroe had delved deeper in revealing the ‘how’ to finding ones’ purpose. What the book did, generally, was to let readers know the importance of finding their purposes and pursuing them. The author did drop hints on how to identify your purpose and like most books on this subjects, he directs the reader to go back to the ‘manufacturer’ who has the ‘manual.’ Subtly, he mentioned that assessing one’s uniqueness, special abilities, talents and potentials would eventually lead us to finding our purpose but what I really yearned for, while going through those pages, was a more comprehensible insight into how to identify all which makes a person unique. This was very important to me, as a reader, because there are people who are more than four decades old, and are still clueless on what makes them unique, not to talk of having knowledge of their purpose.

Nevertheless, In Pursuit of Purpose made a great read, particularly, in motivating the reader to search for what their purposes were and not to follow what the world described as ‘success.’ The world’s definition of a successful person is measured by the amount of wealth they have accumulated or their fame or accomplishments. If you mistakenly follow these and gradually get to the top, you are likely to face some penalties which have been listed in the book.

As stated earlier, there were so many beautiful quotes in this book but my favorite three include:

  • pp1
  • Be what you are. Capitalize on the natural skills and talents with which you were born, and don’t lose them. When others belittle your special gifts and try to remake you according to their plans and purposes, refuse to yield to domination.

  • pp2

This book is a great tool for individuals who have identified their purposes or unique talents and are looking for that push to pursue them. In Pursuit of Purpose is also useful to readers who want to understand the importance of pursuing their call.

PS: For those still searching for their purposes, here are five tips on how to go about that:

  1. Read books on this subject – Myles Munroe’s In Pursuit of Purpose will ginger you to find those special abilities of yours.
  2. Pray about this subjectIn Pursuit of Purpose has that prayer which can help you identify that which is your purpose. God ‘manufactured’ you and has your ‘manual’ and He has the ability to reveal those special potentials of yours to you.
  3. Volunteer your services – One way to identify what you are good at is to volunteer your services and the church offers those grounds for you to experiment. You can join the prayer team and if you do not enjoy that, you can go and teach, if you still do not find your place in that team, perhaps, your calling is with children – join the children’s department. Through that you can find that which you do that gives you joy and fulfillment.
  4. Keep praying – Some people are fortunate to have prophets declaring their purposes to them. Others have had people, through visions, confirming their purposes. You may be in that category.
  5. Be Introspective – Look for that thing within you that you enjoy doing and when you are not paid, you still do it anyway. That thing that you do which other people have commended you on could be your special ability – and in there, lies God’s purpose for your life.

©picasion.com_9CWp

The 5 Most ‘SHOWN’ Christian Movies on Ghanaian TV

These Christian movies are so repeated that when you see them lined up or about to be shown, you almost groan in pain and say, “not again.” But no matter how many times you’ve seen them on both analogue and digital TV channels, you are always tempted to watch when they are repeated. Here is a list of the five most shown Christian movies on free-to-air TV in Ghana:

War room

warroom
Photo Credit: warroomthemovie.com

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you are either not a fan of Christian movies or you simply do not care.  Even if you haven’t seen this movie on TV, you should have watched it in church on Valentines’ Day or during a Couple’s Nite out. This movie, which was produced by the Kendrick Brothers, features Tony (T.C. Stallings) and Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer). The couple were having issues in their marriage till Elizabeth met Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) who admonished her to pray about her marriage instead of nagging. Elizabeth heeded to the advice, converted her closet to a ‘war room’ and prayed. Eventually, she had the response she was seeking and her marriage improved tremendously, although, the couple faced a number of trials prior to that. The daughter of the couple, Danielle (Alena Pitts) and her friend, Jeniffer (Jadin Alexis Harris) provided some subtle humour whenever they appeared in the movie.

Joyful Noise

This is a movie which portrays leadership in a church choir when they were threatened by a budget cut while entering a contest. It featured Vi (Queen Latifah) and G.G (Dolly Parton) who were always on each other’s neck and never seemed to get along. Meanwhile, Vi‘s daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer) meets G.G’s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordon) and they fall in love. Vi, of course, who was strict did not approve of the two’s blooming romance but as the leader of the choir, she agreed to convert their songs to more contemporary ones which won them the trophy in the contest. This movie is infused with some good gospel tunes and has a hint of comedy but there are some scenes which confuse a strict Christian. For instance, there were members of the choir who practised pre-marital sex. Randy also took Olivia to the club and inquired if she was going to be a ‘church girl’ all her life (scratching my head).

Undershepherd

undershepherd
Image credit: Rottentomatoes.com

A personal favourite which has been shown several times, particularly, on Praise TV, Undershepherd depicts the behind-the-scenes of some churches. LC (Isaiah Washington) and his friend, Roland (Lammon Rucker) attended the same church till the latter went to plant his own which did not quite flourish. LC remained in the First Baptist Church and was made the leader. His ministry became one full of dirty politics, adultery and several other negative practices. The repercussions were quite obvious and he ended up in jail. One begins to wonder what really goes on behind the scenes in our various churches.

Miracles from Heaven

This is a true story with a little girl, Anna (Kylie Rogers) with a dysfunction in her digestive system who miraculously got healed after the family had spent so many resources on her. She had to travel with her mum to several hospitals trying to find a cure for this rare disorder and in the process, Anna got stressed and unhappy. She was miraculously healed when she accidentally fell into the hollow middle of a tree in her home while playing with her siblings. While her parents and the rescue team trembled with fear trying to get her out, Anna found the healing she was seeking. Have you seen this movie yet?

Temptations: Confessions of a Marriage Counsellor

temptation
Image Credit: http://www.temptationthemovie.com

Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) got married to her high school sweetheart Brice (Lance Gross) and everything seemed to be going on smoothly till she met rich,  adventurous Harley (Robbie Jones). It was then that she realised her marriage to her Christian husband was nothing but drab and lacked the excitement Harley tempted her with. Judith was negatively influenced to dress to kill (pressure from Ava played by Kim Kardashian), take drugs and have unprotected sex with Harley. The consequences of that included the loss of her marriage. Don’t say you haven’t seen this movie too many times.

Have you watched all of these five movies? Are there any others which are repeated on our screens but haven’t been listed above? Share the titles with us 🙂

© picasion.com_9CWp

Oh! I Don’t Want to be a Pastor!!

Most prophecies are received with jubilation, particularly, if it’s in line with the recipient acquiring some wealth or travelling outside of Ghana and making an impact in other areas on the globe. It’s been your dream, perhaps, you’re working on it and most of your friends have begun calling you Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But all you needed was that powerful prophet who was visiting the church to confirm what you already knew and that was why you left for the service earlier.

You were not shocked when he pointed to you because you sat on the chair closer to the aisle. That Prophet with the loud voice, who sweated profusely and always had a wet towel hanging on his shoulder – the very popular one in the charismatic circles – he signalled again and you made your way towards him. He looked straight into your eyes and you could almost feel his eyes piercing through your soul. He asked you to raise your hands and without hesitation, you did as you were told. He breathed some hot air onto your face and paused, you were anxious to know what he had to say.

giphy.gif

“You. You are are going to be an evangelist,” he said rather flatly. That was when the smile vanished from your face. That was not what you expected.

“Oh, Prophet! But why? Didn’t you see anything different? What about all those business conglomerates that I have had visions of owning?” you asked, your voice almost trembling.giphy (2).gif“I said you are going to be an evangelist. One of the greatest pastors in your generation. You are going to be an apostle, a prophet and everything that has got to do with the work of God,” he said. “In fact, you are going to walk on the sea and raise the dead,” the prophet added, this time even louder for the old woman to wake up and stare.

As you looked on, Mr Prophet dipped his fingers into the anointing oil and smeared a generous amount onto your forehead as if the oil will make his words less difficult to accept.

“Oh! I can’t be a pastor,” you say to yourself.

You can recount the number of times you’ve visited your pastor’s office to see a long queue of members of the congregation who were waiting to have a word or two with him. This implied that a pastor should know at least something about each member of the church in order to make meaningful conversations. Isn’t that what they call fellowship or is it consultation? When members with marital issues, school fees problems, accommodation challenges, erectile dysfunctions and all that come to see the pastor to get it solved. Just imagine if you have a large congregation with about 2000 members, multiply that by one problem each. Meanwhile, You fall into the category of people who can’t even remember your own birthday without Facebook’s notification, how are you going to keep up 2000 issues of your church members?

“Oh! I don’t want to be a Pastor,” you say to yourself.

Anyone can drive the latest model of cars at any point in their lives but as soon as the Pastor releases his V8 or Porsche or the sleekest Benz or when he buys a house in one of the estates, he becomes a subject of gossip. Imagine seeing the pastor with his beautiful wife and children at Kempinski or Movenpick or Golden Tulip Hotel having dinner. Even when the pastor wears a ‘non-pointed’ shoe or designer suit or perfume for once to church, the rumours start. We are not interested in how he acquired them – whether he bought them with his money at a discount or they were gifts from his church members, we do not care – in our opinion, a pastor should be ‘modest’ because we give him our tithes.

“Oh! I don’t want to be a Pastor,” you say to yourself.

You have been a witness to news of Pastors losing close members of their families through tragic accidents and have heard rumours of pastors divorcing his wives? They did not have it easy.

“Ehn, he says he is a pastor yet he can’t even manage one wife.” OR

“His wife died in that tragic accident. Why couldn’t he save her if he was that powerful? Or has he gone to use her for ‘juju?” they will ask.

“Oh! Why should I be a pastor?” you ask yourself.

Do pastors even have personal lives? How are they able to manage their family times when they keep moving from one place to the other all in the name of spreading the gospel? That slay queen you’ve been dating. Yes, the popular one in the squad who is the daughter of a preacher. She has promised not get involved with anyone who has pastoral ambitions because she knows the experiences of her mum. How are you going to break this prophecy to her?

Just observe how pastors are trolled on social media when they wade into politics? Even when pastors become quiet in a particular political era, the people simply make fun of that. Now, there seem to be journalists, bloggers or spies in every church. Just wait till a pastor says something which does not sink too well with the people and he will either be quoted or misquoted. Let a pastor, under God’s direction, ask for a certain seed from members of the congregation. ‘That pastor die be that.’ He is going to be in the trends for days and weeks. Woe betide you if you decide to defend a pastor who is being trolled on social media.

Do you see why I don’t want to be Pastor?

© picasion.com_9CWp

Glossary

Juju: Black magic

Chilling: Enjoyment

That Pastor die be that: The pastor is in trouble.