Extra Oil

The blog is celebrating its 2-year anniversary. We really want to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. God bless you.

On May 21st 2020, we celebrated the ascension day. To most people in Norway, it was a holiday to rest from our busy schedules and to some others have the opportunity to been paid a higher rate per hour if they are chosen to work. However, I began to ponder on what happened when Jesus was being taken up to heaven some 2000 years ago.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)

Jesus’ ascension was messaged by His second coming. Remembering His ascension should be accompanied by the preparation towards the second coming of the savior.

The parable of the 10 bridesmaids

Jesus in speaking about His second coming gave this parable. The parable is about ten virgins who had so many things in common, except that five of them carried extra oil and they were dubbed as wise.

In the Jewish culture, the wedding was a very solemn occasion. It was a custom sometimes used among the Jews on that occasion, the bridegroom came, attended with his friends, late in the night, to the house of the bride, where she expected him, attended with her bride-maids; who, upon notice given of the bridegrooms’ approach, were to go out with lamps in their hands, to light him into the house with ceremony and formality.

In the next few days, we will study in details what Jesus was communicating to the people. Jesus is coming again. His coming is so so near that we have to be ready for His arrival. Are you ready for His coming?

I pray that this series will create in us the desire to yearn for Him and live steadfastly for the Lord. May we never miss out on our opportunity to be with the Lord.

StandOut Ministry International.

Pick up your broken pieces.

God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!

Jeremiah 17:14 (MSG)

Introduction

I had a chat with a friend over the weekend about how we can pick up ourselves from whatever mess we were in. Indeed it was a refreshing moment. After the meeting, I had some time to think about the discussion and I have written this blog with the help of my friend, Elsie.

Missed Opportunities

Life always presents unto us varied opportunities. Most opportunities look promising in the entire scope we can envision them. Recounting our journey till date, we realise the opportunities we missed: opportunities that were meant to have lifted us to the next level. Nothing cripples your move to the next level that the thought of a blown opportunity.

Opportunities are not the only thing life gives to us. We are presented with challenges of every kind. The combination of the opportunities and the challenges produces a picture of confusion and mess which usually demands more than what what we call “just easy” to seperate the two of them.

In other instances, flashes of thought about the resounding comments and advice you have received keeps coming into recollection over and over again. That notwithstanding, you receive comments such as “i told you so”, which intensifies the grievance.

Your mess may not be a bad incident per say. Possibly, your story may be like Joseph who was imprisoned for missing out on an opportunity to lay with Potiphar’s wife or Job who went through series of misfortunes for failing to deny and curse God.

You are not alone

We all have messes we have been through or are going through. Some messes may be similar but we all go through it because of different reasons. Possibly we got to the same mess through several means, but the point is that we all got to the same destination.

Look around you. Everyone has got his or her bit they are addressing. In the moments of our mess, we tend to succumb to our solitudes and think we are the only ones with a cross to carry. The cliche of the “holier than thou” colleagues tend to keep us in the notion that we are the worst, even making it difficult to open up for help. It indeed becomes a lonely journey.

The chief potter

The extent of our pain and mess may vary from person to person. However, the most important lesson of the mess is not to cripple you into a stand still, but to equip you with enough lessons to get you even further than you imagined. God is always here to help you through.

This scripture is the message I intend to leave you with today.

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NLT)

Just as the message was sent to Jeremiah, so I send forth God’s word to you through this blog. God is always at his work as the potter. Isaiah 29:16 asserts that God is the potter and we are the lay. He undeniably is greater than we are. His ways will therefore be higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than ours. That is the relationship between the potter and the clay.

Understand that the clay is molded to fit the potters visioned art. However, depending on the texture of the clay, the potter will have difficulties in getting his artefact out. God has a purpose for us, but sometimes due to our stubborness and unwillingness to yield to His leadership, He cannot work out what He had predestined for us to manifest.

Howbeit, He does not give up on us. He keeps crushing us and making us all over again. He picks the broken pieces and then starts everything over again until He gets His desired piece. His love for us endures forever and He is committed to seeing His work accomplished.

Are you a failure? Can you make it out of this mess? Is there way for you to get back on your feet and do what God expects of me? Well, I have good news for you. God is every ready to help you out. This is what He has promised us:

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me.[a] I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.

Matthew 11:28 (TPT)

You do not have to go through this alone. Seek help from a friend or someone you can trust. For we are admonished to share in each others burdens as a way to fulfil Christ’s law (Galatians 6:2).

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

My Lockdown message.

Introduction

I have been writing some thoughts about the current situation. I have written about my views of the impact of the COVID-19 on the church (attach link) and have written on having a different perspective during the lockdown (attach link). In today’s blog I would like to share a lockdown package I have received, which I believe will be a blessing to you.

Return Home

Yesterday’s service was a blessing. Not in any way forgetting about the charisma of the praises that was played during the offering, the powerful worship and opening prayer and the musical interlude before the sermon began, the sermon was well delivered by the Holy Spirit through His servant. You may hear many sermons, but there seems to be a part where you know that it was actually packaged for you. Well, if you will not admit that, I would still admit that the message was a blessing to me.

What is the content of this message I keep fussing about. Well, it was about the prodigal son. Yes, the same parable of the prodigal son we know from Luke 15:11-32. What made the sermon breathtaking was God’s beckoning call to return home from whatever far country we have gone to. I must be quick to add that I have paraphrased the title of the sermon and have only shared what message I want to deliver to my audience. This is the link to the full sermon by Apostle Emmanuel A. Quaye and you can watch it too (sermon).

The far Country

He journeyed to a far-off land where he soon wasted all he was given in a binge of extravagant and reckless living.

Luke 15:13 (TPT)

In our Christian journey, we may have drifted gradually from our faith. Surrounded by people from the world who profess their hypocrite love to their own benefit, we are lured by the dictate of our flesh to the things of this world. Notwithstanding the varied efforts of the Holy Spirit to convict us of what is happening, the influence from the world engulfs us till we are succumbed to it fully.

The far country may signify anything you did for God but you have stopped doing them because you have tuned your ear to the sayings of the world. This is where I felt the punch of the word right through my heart. For quite a long time I have been slow at writing the spirit booster. Having been discouraged by comments I have received from previous posts and the excuse I kept giving myself of having busy schedules, I completely neglected an assignment that God entrusted unto me. My question for you today is “what have you negleted?“. How far have you gone away from the grace of God and your faith in Christ Jesus?. Do you still pray, study the Bible, go on evangelism like you used to?. How far have you gone? Well, ponder on these questions.

Come back to your senses.

Repentance does not end with realising your mistakes, but with taking actions to correct your mistakes. It is not enough knowing that you have drifted far away from the grace of God, but it important that you make the necessary efforts to approach the throne room of Grace for help in this times of need (Hebrews 4:16).

“Humiliated, the son finally realized what he was doing and he thought, ‘There are many workers at my father’s house who have all the food they want with plenty to spare. They lack nothing. Why am I here dying of hunger, feeding these pigs and eating their slop? 18 I want to go back home to my father’s house, and I’ll say to him, “Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you.  I’ll never be worthy to be called your son. Please, Father, just treat me like one of your employees.”’

Luke 5:17-18 (TPT)

The resolution you make to get back to where you stood with God begins with first realising what you are doing. Understand that whatever thing that you used to do was not just for yourself. There was an impact for which you lost focus and people have been left in dismay for. You need to have a retrospective look at what you have missed as you laid back. These are lessons that will help you stand the future challenges as they come up.

After realising what you have done, get up and come home. God is ever ready to receive you back home and restitute you. It doesn’t matter that you have wasted whatever opportunity, gift and talent that He gave you. He is able to welcome you home and share in the fellowship with His. His love is beyond the mistakes that we will ever commit.

God is calling us all to come irrestive of how far we have drifted away. Come home and He is already expecting you. Remember this scripture…

For again, the Scriptures say, If only today you would listen to his voice. Don’t make him angry by hardening your hearts, as you did in the wilderness rebellion.

Hebrews 3:15 (TPT)

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

A different perspective.

So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (TPT)

It has been five weeks since the lockdown started in Norway. There has been some inconsistencies with my effectiveness from working from home. During many discussions I have with my friends, they have the same sentiments. Well, we have found excuses to ignore certain responsibilities and as such have not been effective.

I must admit that some of these excuses are legitimate. With taking care of kids, homeschooling them, extra work we find for ourselves amongst many others, the 24 hours are quite shorter than expected.

As I woke up this afternoon after taking long hours of excused sleep, a question dawned on me which I want to share with us. What is your excuse? It got me thinking for a while and I decided to share a few things with us.

Thinking critically about what I have made out of myself in the past weeks, I realised that what I have made out of the lockdown was a result of my perspective I had for the lockdown. I’m not trying to prove that I am better than anyone. However, I realised that I saw the lockdown as an escape from a busy life rather than seeing it as an opportunity to develop myself and get better at some other things in my life.

With a normal life without lockdown, the schedules are always booked. It becomes difficult to turn down appointment and have enough spare time for yourself. However, with the lockdown came a lot of free time on my hands. Your guess is as right as mine with what I did with all that time. Movies after movies and series after series.

Like most students, we have had to adapt to the new teaching methods. For those of us who love virtual teaching and learn a lot from youtube videos and other e-learning platforms, this period has been a great benefit to us. With this teaching method now saves us some few minutes from transmutting to the campus and back. What a great relief that is when you do not have to rush for a bus. However, there still remains some of us who would also love the physical classroom experience. Some courses that have laboratory work that would require certain apparatus and other logistics to carry them out. We can’t take that experience away from them.

In whatever category you may be in, you can still produce reasons for your inefficiency. However, ask yourself if things could have been better than they are now if you would have done some things differently.

I have written this piece not to show in anyway that I am perfect. I have also faced these issues that I share with you presently. However, I have come to admit that I cannot blame my inefficiencies to the current situations. What I have made of my time can only be linked to my perspective of the the lockdown.

I want to end today’s blog with this quote from John Maxwell. It reads:

If your perception of and response to failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?

Maxwell, John C. Failing forward. Harper Collins, 2007.

God bless you and remain a blessing. May you enjoy the favor of the Lord in this season.

StandOut Ministry International.

The impact of the COVID-19 on the church.

Introduction

In recent months, the spread of COVID-19 has led to a lockdown in many countries. In these countries and some others that are yet to go on lockdown, ban has been placed on social gatherings. People are encouraged to work from homes, schools have been closed and lectures are done online, church services (including weddings and funerals) have been called off.

These measures are suppose to keep the entire citizenry safe in this season. As a precautionary measure, isolation from people, regular washing of hands have been meted out to be observed by all. This is a step in the right direction and I strongly support the government and its institutions in their directives.

In this article, I want to discuss some impact of the COVID-19 on the church and its entire membership. Most of my discussions follow from my faith in the word of God and the promises of His covenant, as well as logical reasoning of the situation at hand.

The negative side

No one actually loves a messenger of bad news. Our ears have been tuned to appreciate good news and that’s to be expected. However, I want to present the downside of the COVID-19 on the members in the church and the church as an organisation.

As a Christian and a leader in the church, I must admit that the aura of the congregational worship is a great experience: the lifting up of hands during worship, the dance during praises, the bible discussion sessions and fellowship after church service is one of a kind. Many people look forward to this experience as the church service approaches. However, this experience will be missed for a while. This heightens panic and fear and in some instances depression.

The close-down of the church and its services will have a negative influence on the finances of the church. Although the church is a non-profit organisation, it thrives on the contribution of its members through tithes and offerings. With expenses that are incurred as the services are run, ranging from utility bills to salaries and mortgages, the church leadership has an extra challenge to handle this issue. Although some have quickly developed online payment methods for the tithes and offerings, there still remain a substantial amount of churches that have and may not be able to do so at such a time. The global economic instability will obviously affect the income of the members, which in turn will also affect the income of the church.

The positive side

Source: Pexels.com

Let me also use this opportunity to share some of the positive impact of the COVID-19 on the church. I believe that this COVID-19 season has in one way or the other worked out for the good of the church.

Global shake-ups

This COVID-19 season has brought a great revival in the nations of this world. On the global level, attention has been on God as the only help. Some countries like Ghana (https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-51993919) and the U.S.A. have declared a national day of fasting and prayers. President Trump in his address proclaimed:

Our nation has never more needed earnest, prevailing prayer for a reversal of evil and for a revival of faith, for wise and godly leaders, and for peace and goodwill in the world.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/trump-national-day-of-prayer-robert-morgan

This season has served as a platform for countries to have a retrospective look at the source of their wisdom and strength, an opportunity to unite as a nation to call on the name of the Lord. Never in my life has this scripture been quoted than in this crisis season:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Online services

The closing down of churches has led to a quick shift of the church to dominate the social media platforms. Gone were the days where church service was only confined to the four walls of a building, but most churches are now challenged to reach their members through the social media platforms and as such reach a greater audience.

This reminds me of a scripture where the persecution of the church moved Philip to Samaria to preach the gospel there. As a matter of opinion, the COVID-19 may have come in a time like this to shift the church from its four walls and get people to fellowship with God.

God has always been on the business of getting the message of the good news to the ends of the earth. This was His command to the church:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV)

The gospel has to be preached to those outside the church and He intends to get that accomplished. Through the social media platforms, the knowledge of the glory of God is expanded to a larger mass. It is quite unfortunate that it had to take death and illness to shift us in this direction, howbeit He pushed the church in Acts through persecution and imprisonment of the believers (Reference: Acts 8), and He may be doing same in our era.

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

Acts 11:19 (NIV)

Shine as lights

Whenever darkness comes, it gives the light the opportunity to become brighter. Light is not afraid of darkness and is always pleased that there is darkness to shine forth. In the midst of other light, a match stick will not be brighter than a fluorescent bulb. However, in darkness, the match stick with produce a brighter light.

In the midst of other believers, we may have deemed ourselves as “useless”. Looking at the contribution and attitude of people with regards to the work of God, you sometimes fall short with nothing to actually talk about. There is no department in the church you have found yourself to be a part of .

However, this season presents us all the opportunity to use what we have to be a blessing to others. Ranging from the care we show to our friends to the messages of hope we share on our various social media platforms, we can contribute our quota to dealing with the darkness of panic and death that plaques the entire populace.

Most importantly, we can also support the less priviledged in this period of lockdown by providing food, healthcare kits to hospitals amongst many others. I should be quick to commend some churches like Church of Pentecost (https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Church-Pentecost-donates-logistics-to-Ministry-of-Health-to-combat-coronavirus-904171) , Maker’s House Chapel (https://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/news/202003/404001.php), etc that have already embarked on such projects. We can also contribute the little we have to support such great projects.

Conclusion

I would like to end this article with an instagram post from Bishop T.D. Jakes.

To those of you, that live in areas that have restricted our ability to mingle, and you’ve been wise enough to comply. This is a great time to pray, plan, and prepare. Whatever is on the other side of this required complete global disruption! Many people are just waiting for normal to return, but disruptions come to liberate you from what was, and to prepare you for what’s next! There will be bankruptcies and billionaires born out of the same experience. There will be bitter divorces and couples who fell back in love resulting in stronger marriages that date back to these days. There will be churches that close down and circus to the hardships this brings and others that initiate massive revival with innovative ideas because covid19 came to town. There will be leaders who win the hearts of their people by fighting for their best interests. There will be others who’s cowardice or narcissism will destroy the equilibrium of your organization. A warm hand will reach out to the family, or a bitter tongue will destroy it. Both will attribute the virus.Which one will you be? Give that some thought as you look out the fence at a world-shaking in unprecedented ways!

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-R2DfvnMld/

God bless you and Remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

Building the future – Expect oppositions

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Proverbs 24:16

The journey will not always be smooth. There will be hurdles along the way which will require your attention. Life is not a bed of roses, it comes with its own challenges.

May I say that what lies ahead of us is what determines how we react to circumstances happening around us.  If you know what price is set before you, you prepare and work hard to obtain that. Every challenge comes to reveal what we are made up of.

Athletes undergo strict training for crowns that do not last (1 Corinthians 9:25). Irrespective of the hurdles they face in their training, they try to overcome it and psyche themselves for the best.

No one actually prepares for a loss.  But when it does happen, you need to rise up and move on. The righteous will fall seven times, but they will rise up (Proverbs 24:16). The shortfalls do not matter as much as your response to them.

A winner is not one who has never failed, but one who has learnt to overcome the “pressures” of failure and has used it as a catalyst to win again and again.

When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic.

Maxwell, John C. Failing forward. Harper Collins, 2007 pp. 28

Some thoughts you should consider:

  • Am I facing any challenges in my quest to achieve my goals?
  • Are these challenges due to my ignorance or mistakes?
  • How can I solve these issues?
  • What have I learnt from these shortfalls?

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

SELFLESS DEVOTION

“”I would like to gain something from our relationship”, Akua told me.  She added, “After so many years of our friendship, I do not want to walk out of this relationship having been cheated. Set out the terms and conditions and clearly define the benefits before I can commit to this lasting relationship””. A friend actually confessed to me a few days ago. I had a conversation with another friend who said that she is okay to marry any man when the terms of the marriage are beneficial.

“You do me, I do you”, a new cliche to popularise the concept of revenge has become the common mishap in society. Everyone is waiting to return evil with even more evil. As wise as a serpent we may want to become, we have become over-cautious to the extent of putting ourselves and our needs above anyone else. To be hurt and made to look like a fool is a sad thing, and as much as possible we may want to protect ourselves.

However, I sat and imagined a world where everyone was thinking about himself and his needs. Looking for terms and conditions that favour him/her without considering what effects it may have on the other party, the world would have been in a chaos. The clash of wants would have led to many prevented wars and the loss of many resources.

I really thank God that a section of people know this and as such don’t mind sacrificing some of their wants to make sure the other party also benefits from their service. Avoiding any hypocritic love show, they really do not mind what they get, but are really concerned about what all of them would benefit. They are committed to the success of everyone, rather than individual success. Guess you may be wondering which class of people are these. Christ was the perfect example for His church.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Selfless devotion starts when we love each other affectionately. When you want the other party to treat you the same way you are treating him now , then you are really demonstrating that you are committed to a greater cause than yourself.

Look beyond what you can gain in this season. Even though people may not be able to offer you anything in exchange for what you have done for them, it still is necessary that you still demonstrate the love of God for all to see. Let love lead.

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

It is well.

There are various ways we respond to situations. This stems from the way we process the information we have and the knowledge we have gained from various sources. We may experience the same challenges, but we will all respond differently.

The greatest asset of westernisation is education. Science and arts have been the bargaining commodity in the western world. It comes to assert the fact that receiving information, processing the information and responding appropriately becomes very necessary.

In this COVID-19 pandemic season, we have been hearing a lot of information and many of us have processed it differently. I do not want to add up to the information out there in the media, but I would want to encourage and instill hope in us to face the crisis season.

The Mockery of world knowledge.

Change is inevitable in our world. People respond to change differently. Some actually need time to process the information they have received, see some initial results before they believe and others would still not accept the change.

People do not naturally resist change; they resist being changed.

Maxwell, John C. Developing the leader within you. Harper Collins, 1993.

We would appreciate things if they are always like what we have learnt they should be. However, we learn from new challenges. We gain new experiences when we process new challenges with an open mind and respond appropriately.

The sophisticated systems of this world have been developed by the researches of people. I do accept that fact. What we see physically can be attributed to human efforts, of which have trademarks, copyrights and others to secure their ownership. World knowledge presents facts as truth, but they keep investigating the results they have published and keep changing them.

However, whatever happens physically has its spiritual roots and agenda. Sometimes, in the complexities of situations, we need to accept the fact that our human wisdom is limited. We can take it as a challenge to learn something new, but the greatest lesson of it all is that we need to understand the spiritual agenda and deal with it as Christians.

When God speaks

Science and medicine have been up to task on whatever crisis the world has been facing. The media have taken this up and have done a great deal of work educating the masses. Amidst all these, some of us have responded to the information we have received with fear and panic.

However, I want to use this platform to encourage someone to keep hope alive. This is what He has said in His word:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Ecclesiates 3:1

The world is sustained by the powerful word of His mouth. Our efforts are nothing compared to what His word does. Its a season for us to all rely on the promises of God and His covenant promises. Let us not doubt His word that He is with us. He will surely see us through this season.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Conclusion

Let us all live wisely. Study the word of God to keep your faith alive in this moment of crisis. Prayer will be a backbone to rely on as a believer. Moreover, let us follow the directives from the government agencies and the health workers.

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut MInistry International.

Declare a thing!

Credit: Adobe Stock

Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

Job 22:28

What you say is what you create for yourself. Saying what you believe is the bedrock to receiving your request.

“Don’t use your words to describe the situation. Use your words to change the situation.”

Joel Osteen, I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your life
https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/19088904

In the moments of trials, our judgements are mostly clouded with what is rather than should be. In many instances, we are tempted to believe that the story end with our complaining of situations to other people. But if we are going to make a difference in this world by breaking forth from any pit we have been hidden in, then we need to check what we declare.

StandOut Ministry International theme for 2020
Credit: Creab designs

What life has to offer us is what we have created with our declarations. Its your season to breakforth, declare it and the light will shine upon your ways and lead you to the destination.

StandOut Ministry International

Breaking Forth

Text

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)

MESSAGE

Our decisions of the past may be the hindrance to the extent of our impact today. Repentance is, therefore, the key to breaking forth.

Everyone has a light that should shine. If you are a Christian, then the Bible explicitly states that we are the light of the world. However, the preceding verses of the opening scripture reveal some actions of the people of Israel that inhibited them from living out their full potential. Irrespective of their acclaimed spirituality through fasting, they still could not see the glory of God. If they could, therefore, deal with their actions, then their light will break forth like the dawn.

In this year, we want to look at some of the actions we need to put away and others we need to pick up to break forth. The world is out for our possession; the earlier we come out of our shelves and cause changes, the better it would be for the world at large.

StandOut Ministry International.