|Sunday, May 10, 2020|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1.How are you coping with the pandemic?
Answer: I must say by the grace of God very well. My sleeping pattern is disorganized. Sometimes I sleep in the afternoon and I am wide awake in the night! On a very positive note it has afforded me great opportunity to do many things I longed for and did not get the time to do. One of the biggest things to happen for me was to do an online course in Harvard School of Divinity. It was supposed to take me 8 weeks and I did it in 4 weeks. So, I have added Harvard to my resume or better still, I am alumnus of Harvard School of Divinity.
I am also writing my new book- "Discipling Nations" So it's been a very wonderful, resourceful and blessed time for me.
2. What do you do to stay calm and relaxed?
Answer: Pray, read my bible, listen to Christian songs and watch movies. Occasionally, I take a walk around our neighbourhood with my wife. I also play scrabble with my wife and children. When not fasting, my wife cooks my best delicacy and I sit down and enjoy it!
3. How do you cope with not being able to work at the church or lead your congregation?
Answer:I guess I am coping well by his grace. I wake up most of mornings and go to church, pray and study the word of God for minimum of three hours on weekdays. It is members that cannot come to church I go to church almost everyday. On Sunday's I still preach to an empty church building, but I am reaching more homes through social media Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram. If you go to YouTube/ CACBethelTo you will see many of my messages. It has been challenging because I now have to preach every Sunday which was not the case before and preparing my messages writing them up, developing them into PowerPoint format takes a chunk of my time. Sometimes I write long articles, I really don't set out to, but there is so much in me that I need to give out. I do not want them to go with me to the grave. My philosophy is that 'whatever is written will be read.' Somewhere, sometime across the globe it will provide information for someone particularly with world digitalization and electronic documentation. Apart from Sunday workload I have many blogs. Every Monday I write on the Caption- Command The Mornings, on Wednesday- Growing Ways and on Saturday - What The Holy Spirit Taught Me This Morning and in the beginning of every month - I write on the theme of the Month for instance this month , I wrote on - My Month of Mercy. In March I wrote on My Month of Service. So, it's been busy weeks for me. I am also leading the church in the other regular church programs, Wednesday's bible study, Monday's - church on the phone. Meetings may have stopped in the physical church, one place, but now we meet in many houses through Zoom. I saw a cartoon where Satan was boasting of closing the church through COVID-19 and God replied on the contrary, I took the church to many homes, it is so true!
4. How does your faith help you during this period?
Answer: It has helped me greatly. By His grace I don't give in to fear. When I have cause to choose between fear and faith, I naturally gyrate towards faith pavilion. I have never taken the flu shot in Canada or medication in my over six decades sojourn on earth, I trust God for divine health, and it has worked. When I am sick, I face the wall like Hezekiah in Isaiah 38 and ask God to heal me and he has never failed me. Even though I have never advocated against anyone getting the flu shot, every month we take our spiritual flu shot in CAC Bethel. When we are rounding off our overcomer' monthly meeting on the first Wednesday of every month, we read Psalm 91 and pray into water reading Psalm 29 into it and anoint ourselves. That is our flu shot! To the glory of God, we operate under what I call Covenant of life and we have not recorded any death in almost two decades of the church in Canada and four decades since thy Lord called me to ministry. So to the glory of God, praying, fasting studying the world of God works. I am living proof!
5. What kind of music do you listen to?
Answer: Christian music. My favourite artist is Dr Evang Bola Are, who happened to be my junior in Christ Apostolic Church Grammar School Efon Alaye. I have invited her twice to minister in our annual International Gathering of Eagles conference in Canada. Her music just blesses my soul.
6. Any movies?
Answer: Yes. I love Mount Zion movies. I have watched their new movie "Abejoye" during this period. I generally don't understand the Caucasian movies. If I have to watch any my wife has to be with me to explain them. That is her natural default. I enjoy Nollywood movies, particularly the Yoruba ones. With that I cannot go wrong nor do I need role interpreters for me!
7. Have you cultivated new habits since the pandemic?
Answer: I have added a bit more physical exercise, outside of that I have just maintained my old habits which by the grace of God are healthy.
8. What are the lessons to be drawn from the Pandemic?
Answer: I think the three main ones are that the world needs God. It takes God to give revelations to scientists and technologists before we can advance. We need God to open our eyes to be able to produce vaccines to end Coronavirus. Secondly, except the Lord watch over the city the watchman wakes up in vain. It is only God that can protect us from death, the medical personnel care but God cures. The third one is that all the things we are pursuing are really immaterial- everything was shutdown, all humans care about is health.
9. There are permutations that the pandemic will change people's orientation towards churches since churches were shut because of the pandemic. (That is, some will no longer see the need to go to church). What do you have to say to this?
Answer :Sure. A few people who have no deep knowledge of God that are just floating in faith may backslide and fall into that category. However, the vast majority of Christians still strongly crave that personal connection and can't wait for church services to resume.
I tell new commers to Canada that there are two "territorial demons" in Canada. Firstly, no matter how strong you are in faith if you come to Canada if you don't hold fast to your faith you will lose it. You will find many excuses not to go to church. Canada will not tell you not to go to church but will saddled you with so much bills to pay and most times you will work on Sunday to keep ends meet so you stop going to church and you are gradually losing it. Secondly, some people lose their marriages. Because they are not going to church, hearing the word of God their relationship with their spouse become terrible. The bible says: faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. "Rom 10:17. Unknown to many it is those little sermons that encourages them that binds them together and builds their homes but now they don't have time for it. So, every little thing becomes a big issue. They are easily irritated. Little matter they could easily have resolved in prayer becomes a major issue. Before you know it, they, quarrel and fight and police get involved.
Some people may want to stop going to church because they do not want to give offerings. Again, it is foolishness because the church of God will never lack. It's the individual that will be denying themselves blessings Psalm 20: 1-3 says "The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; 2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; 3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice" If you don't commit yourself to the things of God how do you want him to defend you in trouble times? Your offering is your insurance with God against adversity.
Some will say they will watch messages on YouTube, Facebook or TV. Nice idea. When they have troubles, need to do their wedding, when they are sick, when they need naming for their newly born children, when that child becomes unruly will they be able to call those ministers on social media to help out? No. You see the church is a family. During this Pandemic, we divided the church membership list among the church leaders to call every member every week. We rotate the names among them every week. I don't want to preach but I strongly advise people to return to their church families and not forsake the fellowship of the brethren.
10. What's your advice to your members and the community?
Answer: Draw near to God. If you are not born again give your life to Jesus now. Death can come anytime, where will you spend eternity? The world lost over 250,000 people to emergency, unprepared, unplanned death in two months. If any of those people don't know God, they will roast in hell forever. Secondly, obey the laws of the land, particularly the health officials' guidelines to keep yourself saved and safe and not to spread the Coronavirus. Thirdly, take your Christian life seriously. Pray. Read the word of God. Join your church on online for virtual services, stay connected. Fourthly, reach out to the less privileged especially in Africa where the poverty rate is higher. Fifthly, pray that God will protect the frontline workers, and help nations find a vaccine to put and end to the pandemic. Sixthly, pray for wisdom for the government at all levels in every nation to be able to manage their countries .Seven, pray that you will be among those that will share testimonies at the end of COVID-19 pandemic era.
Thank you for the opportunity!