Sunday, September 10, 2023
[email protected]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

t is with great delight that I welcome you to the month of September: Our month of making my youthful days count.

Since the Bible sees all believers as Children; no grandchildren, I can postulate that in God's eyes we are all youth in Christ Jesus, irrespective of our ages.

This month according to Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" This means, this month as a youth, your days shall be renewed and you shall soar, you shall make your days count. Joseph, Daniel, David, Timothy, Paul made their youthful days count.

Napoleon was just 27 when he conquered Italy. Columbus had mapped out trip his on how to discover India at the age of 28. William Booth was 20 years old when he resolved to be useful in the Salvation Army. Isaac Newton was 24 when he formulated the law of gravity. Alexander the Great conquered the whole world at 23. Our saviour, Jesus Christ died on the cross at Golgotha and saved the world from sin at the age of 331/2. At 26 Joseph Ayo Babalola raised the dead. At 24 Benson Idahosa raised the dead. At 32 General Yakubu Gowon was the Head of State in Nigeria. This month you shall develop the faith, audacity, to make your youthful days count!

September is the month that Christ Apostolic Church Bethel Toronto, and Canada Zone as a whole host the International Gathering of Eagles Conference. The time the whole world gathers as youth to learn how to renew their strength as Eagles. To learn how to live a holy life, a life of purity righteousness and integrity. This year, by God's grace, when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this conference, from September 14-17, 2023 at the Jewel Event Center, I personally invite you to come with your family and friends and learn the secrets of making your life count.

September is also the beginning of the four months called EMBER months, sometimes associated with evil, bloodbath, blood bank refill and death. The equivalent of "BER" in Yoruba language lexicon pronunciation is "BA" meaning alight, enter, arrive. So this new month joy, peace, progress, open doors, favour, money, (mention more ) will alight, enter and arrive in your house, marriage, career, and situation in Jesus name . I am not a chicken, I am an eagle, I shall soar! Happy New Month.

Youth and usefulness

In our discourse this month of making your youthful days count we are looking at being a youth and being useful. The generation we're in emphasizes youthfulness, yet not in function and relevance of the youth. The tendency to indulge in "youthful exuberance" is based on the lack of understanding about making your youthful days count, that is why young people indulge in crime, alcoholism, substance or drug abuse and partying, instead of being in a laboratory where they could be using their God given talent, energy and anointing to be creative and innovative.

Who is a youth?

Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity), "the appearance of freshness, vigor, spirit. The above definition showcases the characteristic of one who is young". In the Bible, God often used young people to do great things. Examples include David, Joshua, Daniel, Joseph and many others as recorded in the Old Testament.

In Christianity youth, typically ages 12-18, are involved in faith-based activities and spiritual awakening. The youth church groups may also include individuals up to 30 years old who serve as leaders of such groups. In the New Testaments, God used a youth name Timothy to pastor and lead the Ephesian church when he was a teenager. According to (1Timothy 4:12 says), "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." Useful youth lead positively, influence the society and remodel their generation through their industry, politics, governance and all spheres of life.

The Challenge

Let us look at the challenges of the youth from three windows.

1. The Home. The youth often lack role models, in marriage, parenting, politics, governance, service, and ministry. The age group 60 plus had role models that helped them to value virtues hard work and more. My parents did not go to school, but growing up we woke up for morning devotion in the house, proceeded to the community church, we returned to sweep the vast frontage of the house where goats, sheep, roaming chicken have put their faeces and pees over the night. There was no pipe borne water, we went to the nearby stream or well to fetch water for the family. Then we went to school. Thereafter we were sent to the farm to weed our cocoa, kolanut, coffee and plantain plantations till evening. Sometimes we went and cut palm products to make baskets, brooms for sale. We also joined our parents to harvest farm produce to sell at the markets or local schools. We still found time to do school assignments, have our meals, go to the community church for evening service and attend night prayer at home before bed. The local ministers gather us over the weekend for choir practice, bible study, prayer and evangelism. The school curriculum had Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) that teaches us the bible. Seniority was recognized in high schools, it was helpful, they taught the junior ones, especially those in the boarding house, time management, discipline, and other values without loosing focus on academic training. Part of the training I had was evening siesta, which helps me to manage my daytime till today! All those are gone today, especially in the western and modern world. Even with dish washers, children these days find it difficult to offload and refill the dish washers, many parents do it for them. To make tea, where all you need is fill the kettle with water and press a button is difficult. A peep at the unkept room of teenagers in our age is an eyesore. We have under this culture indulge our children and youth in laziness. In our days there is no television to watch but today you don't need television, the social media has overtaking that with provision of all sorts of tablets loaded with fruitful and unfruitful products.

2. The Church. The major challenge in today's church is how to examine the role of our youth and church growth. Another problem is how best to ascertain their repentance in the light of all the evil occurrences in the world today. A variety of indicators for attendance and occasional offices are available, but all are affected to some degree by measurement error and random fluctuations. Such variability is problematic for small churches, where the addition or subtraction of just a few people produces large proportional changes in the totals. Today, a great percentage of our Christian youth are living a life of disobedience to the Word of God, they are copying the patterns of this world with dexterity. Today, the lifestyle of the youth is such that it is very difficult to distinguish between Christian youth and of those who are not Christians. How can we change the perspective of our youth who are easily lured and enticed by worldly lifestyle? Parents prefer to take their children to extra curriculum activities rather than Sunday School, forgetting that there is time for everything. The time to teach children about Christ is now that their minds are still teachable. Recently I watched a video posted by one of our church members on WhatsApp. It was comparing how much of bible our Christian children know compared to that of Muslims, it wasn't encouraging! Simple biblical injunction is relegated to the background "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." Pro 22:6 (NLT). We as pastors are to blame sometimes. Rather than focusing on the youth growing in Christ, encouraging them to learn and be mighty in scriptures we celebrate more their ability to play musical instruments, to service our services. Some pastors have also led the youth astray by prosperity and hyper grace messages. Whereas it is biblical to be prosperous, it is not through "sowing seeds, giving offering," buying aprons and mantles but by gainful engagement in gainful venture. Those ministers who teach the youth that they can indulge in sinful practices because they have made confessions on the altar at a time and so their sins past, present and future are forgiven and can do whatever they like without consequences are putting wrong stuff in their heads. The ministers who teach that you can divorce and re-marry are promoting broken homes, absentee fathers and the pressure of single parenting which make the youth lose their balance.

3. Society. The society in general, including governments, the judiciary, industries, etc. make life difficult for the youth with respect to materialism. When leaders of governments and industries get to power with forged certificates or no certificates, we show the youth that the end justifies the means, which is wrong. Children learn more by observation than what we tell them to do. The society shows wealth is what matters, not how you make it. They give 120 million naira ($150,000) to winners of "BBNaija" and the best overall graduating student in university gets next to nothing except plaques! One time they did Sunday School Rally in our CAC Mission on National level -they gave the best student one hundred thousand naira less than two hundred dollars! Our royal fathers give chieftaincy titles to well-known fraudsters and those who stole government wealth! A civil servant has children in schools that his take home can hardly sustain, rides expensive cars, have houses in choicest and expensive places in Nigeria and abroad- with money stored away in western and UAE banks. some people in the judiciary take bribes and pervert justice. Government in cooperation with legislative and judiciary arms make laws that encourage dangerous and precarious living, same sex marriage, and others that put pressure on the morality of the youth. The internet and technology introduce them to promiscuity, pornography and other harmful habits. Peer pressure introduces them to the get rich quick syndrome and different kinds of scams. The list is endless of what society puts in the lives of the youth which renders them useless and unproductive to the community and their generation.

The way out.

The question is how can we make youthful days count? Should we take them back to the village? Can we change society pattern or prevent civil servants from stealing, turn around corrupt officials by one article?

Once upon a time, There was a man who had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his writing. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see. Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can't return to the sea by themselves," the youth went on, "When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water."

The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference." The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

We all have the opportunity to help create positive change, but if you're like me, you sometimes think, "I'm already really busy, and how much of a difference can I really make?" I think this is especially true when we talk about addressing massive social problems like those enumerated above. So, when I catch myself thinking that way, it helps to remember this story. You might not be able to change the entire world, but at least you can change a small part of it, for someone.

They say that one of the most common reasons we procrastinate is because we see the challenge before us as overwhelming, and that a good way to counter that is to break the big challenge down into smaller pieces and take those pieces one at a time, like one starfish at a time. To that one starfish, it can make a world of difference.

To address the question, there are two groups: Victims of these challenges and perpetrators of the challenges. If you find that you are one of the perpetrators of the challenges as a parent, minister, community leader or civil servant; then change. Stop being a bad leader and bad role model. Paul said it better: "But that isn't what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And don't sin by letting anger control you[d] Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them" Eph 4:20-28.

If you are the youth, and really want to make your youthful days count. Here is Jesse Owens' example. In 1936 he was the first American to win four Olympic gold medals as the United States sets a world record in the 4x100 relay at the Berlin Game. As a youth he approached his coach and asked, "how can I become a star"? The coach answered, "follow these four stems": determination, discipline, dedication and sacrifice. He did exactly that and became a star. Are you struggling with addictions, go to rehab conventional or spiritual (church). Stop putting dangerous substance into your body. Have you dropped out of school? Go back to school or find your purpose, a trade or skill and follow your portion. You are a baby mama; it is not over for you. If you are in a negative circle, change your "evil" company- 1 Cor 15:33. There are many online businesses these days. The Instagram you are using to waste away is what some people are using to make a way! Develop a better mindset that it is not over for you, even if you are in prison now!

On the spiritual front, find Jesus Christ. Develop a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is not only looking for you he is inviting you, knocking on the door of your heart and waiting for you-2 Pet 3;9, John 3:3. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. Are you already born again, then live like a born-again child of God. There will always be wrong people in the church both on the pulpit and the pews, don't follow them, follow the right ones. Don't believe everything preached, check it out like the Berean Christians Acts 17:11

Now that you are a youth with all the energy, contrary to the counsel "take it easy," No. Don't take it easy now, burn the midnight oil. If you don't have a job, create a job. Start your own business.

Conclusion: Develop your potential in these five ways. 1. Stop comparing yourself with anybody. A roll-Royce is made for comfort a Ferrari is made for speed. 2. Discard low self worth. You are created for a wonder. I have seen people born without eyes or legs not without brain. Use your brain. 3. Change your mind set, be a problem solver not problem creator. Tell your self you will do something to add value to the society. 4. Don't blame anybody for your problems, your parents, spouse, pastor, boss or even government, rather see the challenge they have created as opportunity to make your life better. Bill Cliton's father died before he was born. Barrack Obama was born by an absentee father, yet they both rose to become Presidents of America at different times. You may read Barrack Obama's book titled "Audacity of Hope" and develop your own life of audacity. 5. Finally, meditate daily on the word of God, be vibrant in prayer and do not forsake the assembly of the brethren. I guarantee you; your youthful Life will count!

Special Message- International Gathering of Eagles Conference is this month- September 14-17,2023 at The Jewel Event Centre- 55 Sovereign Ct, Woodbridge, ON L4L 8M1- Be there. Be Blessed.