“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.

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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.

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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:

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  • 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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“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.

3 Life Lessons to Take from Anas’ Number #12 Documentary

Whether you are a Ghanaian football fanatic or not, in the past weeks, there have been two names in the trends of both mainstream and social media – Anas and Kwesi Nyantekyi. The former is an investigative journalist while the latter tripled as the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Council Member of FIFA. For the purposes of those who do not know these two, Anas conducted an investigation into football administration in Ghana and came out with evidence that indeed there are corrupt officials who were ‘spoiling’ the beautiful game including the latter. After the documentary was aired, one of the questions people kept asking was why the former GFA President, in particular, allowed himself to be caught in such a compromising situation. Before you try and pass any judgements, please read three key lessons we have compiled from the above expose:

Lesson #1 If You do not stand for something, you will fall for anything

During an Ethics class back in school, our lecturer kept hammering on the importance of culling personal statements. In short sentences, these statements should include everything we stood for as individuals and should have the ability to govern every area of our lives, especially, when we are caught up in difficult situations. If you are Christian in any institution, perhaps, what should guide your personal statements are some of the prescriptions in the Bible. For instance, the Bible says we should obey those in authority so you can go with that. The Bible also says we should love our neighbours as ourselves, therefore, the last thing you’d ever do is to consciously hurt anyone. Practically, even when you are caught up in a queue at the bank, you wouldn’t cross the line while ignoring all those who have been in the hall. Before you take a bribe to influence a football match decision, as an official, you’d probably think of all the people seated in the stadium who are passionately supporting their teams. There are several biblical principles which we can adapt to guide our lives. Even if you not a fan of the Bible, adopt some good life philosophies (normative ethics) and let them shape your decisions. Yes, some institutions have Code of Ethics designed to define what constitutes right and wrong, but as an individual, allow some personal principles to guide the decisions you take.

Lesson #2 Whoever loves money never has enough – Ecclesiastes 4:10

We are living in a society where people are abandoning their purpose/passions and chasing after money and power because that is the new definition of success. We say ‘people are making it big’ when they are driving the latest cars and living in big houses. We give people respect when they are able to give fat tips or are dressed in the most fashionable clothes. No wonder we hardly get satisfied with what God provides for us and will go to all levels to enrich ourselves. After the documentary was aired, most people were shocked at the former GFA President in his pursuit to become rich despite all his credentials. Perhaps, if society shifts its focus off money and physical possessions as being the measure of success, individuals will be more patient, more content with the little they have and spend more time seeking and proudly running with their purpose, and that will ultimately eschew corruption in all its forms.

Lesson #3 Do not judge, or you too will be judged – Matthew 7:1

Put yourself to the test, before you cast a stone at Kwesi Nyantekyi or any of the officials who were caught on tape in compromising situations, ask yourself if you are an angel. Conceivably, you are seeing yourself as ‘holy’ because you haven’t been tested at that level. Personally, when I cast my mind back, there were positions I have held where I had to compromise a little bit to make the people around me ‘comfortable.’ It was a difficult decision and my conscience was severely pricked but I did that. Probably, you have not been presented with a huge ‘deal’ that when you pocket a small amount, nobody would notice. That pending contract which has the potential of changing your fortunes forever has not presented to you so we are unsure if you’d pass the test. Thus, let us be more circumspect in the words we use on the people who have been caught on camera while we pray we aren’t presented with such a test.

Have you seen the documentary? Are there any lessons you picked? What are your general views on corruption? You’d definitely love to hear from you. 

© picasion.com_9CWp

Book Review: How to Raise Children for Christ

As the title of the book implies, Andrew Murray submerges readers into the biblical perspective of raising children. The book, which is divided into 52 short chapters, is designed in a devotional-format with each chapter ending with a prayer.

The basic theme which runs through the book is the important role of parenting, what the Bible says about it and how that can be practised.  This covenant, according to the author, was established during creation (Genesis 1:27) and each chapter in the book introduces a new bible verse to emphasise that.

How to Raise Children for Christ is heavily centred on scriptures and it’s quite difficult to digest immediately, particularly, if you love the novel-style of writing. Reading this book requires a lot of concentration to decipher the author’s revelation on parenting. Even though the book is divided into 52 short chapters and each chapter having an average of five pages, it requires more time to fully digest the content.

Nonetheless, How to raise Children for Christ qualifies as the manual or guide that every Christian parent needs. It is not the kind of book, you can borrow, read and return; it is one you require on your shelf for reference purposes. It is almost impossible to raise children for Christ when you hardly know what the scriptures highlight on the subject, hence, the need to own and read this book.

Some of the powerful quotes in this book include:

Parents are more than friends and advisers; they have been clothed by God with a
holy authority to be exercised in leading their children in the way of the Lord.

Let the impression our receive when they hear us speak of others – friends or enemies, the low, the vulgar, the wicked – be the love of we seek to show.

Let parents be what they want their to be.

Important notes to take away from Andrew Murray’s How to Raise Children for Christ include:

  • Parenting is an important role bestowed unto man by GOD – whether you planned to be one or it was handed to you by default, you need to be deliberate about training your children, particularly, if you want to raise Godly ones.
  • A parent needs to practise what they preach because children imitate them. You have more influence on your child with your actions than with your words.
  • You need to love your children just like God loves us, therefore, if you do not know how the love of God manifests, how would you show that to your children? This is the reason a parent must be in Christ first in order to raise children for Him.

How to Raise Children for Christ can be downloaded for free here.

Christians Laugh it Off with Parrot Mouth

It was an evening of good music and laughter at the fourth edition of Laugh it Off with Parrot Mouth. The event, which took place at the International Central Gospel Church, Prayer Temple at North Legon, saw dozens of comedians from Nigeria and Ghana mounting the pulpit and cracking a selection of jokes to a jam-packed auditorium. Comedians who performed at this year’s edition included Funny Mouth, Onumsky, MC Linkage, T-Kay, Jacinta, Forster Romanus, MJ, Comedian Waris, Parrot Mouth himself among others.

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The subject of the jokes varied and included those that made fun of the popular pastor, Bishop Obinim, relationships issues, the behaviour of girls/ladies and the differences between Ghanaians and Nigerians. A few of the comedians broke the jinx and told ‘trotro’ jokes and one on popular local nursery rhymes which got a massive reaction from the audience.

Personally, the comedian who ‘killed’ it for the night was Uncle Kobby who doubled as the MC in the initial stages. He shared jokes about his looks and how using Obinim’s sticker had improved that. He made fun of other performers and almost everyone who walked into the show. His taunts knew no bounds and even when the Host Pastor, Reverend Ofori Awuku walked in, Uncle Kobby asked the audience to assess the extent of God’s glory on the man of God. This was a preamble to an earlier joke he had made about the glory of God (good looks) rubbing off on either a man of God or his wife.

The host of the show, Parrot Mouth, also did his thing. He shared jokes on the Ghanaian-Nigerian differences, made fun of the people who contributed to his productions as well as other comedians who were present at the event. Parrot Mouth also shared his testimony on some of the challenges he faced in producing the annual event in the past four years. He did not fail to acknowledge the influence of Rev. Awuku on his life and the course he has taken. The Bishop of Comedy, as he likes to be known, emphasised on how his relationship with Rev. Awuku had aided in shaping his vision and helping him surmount his production challenges.

There were some musical interludes from Max Praise who shook up the venue with his rendition of some popular gospel tunes. Urban Gospel Musician, Kingzkid also performed I got my Jesus on and his latest track which is yet to be released, God Forbid.