By Samuel O. Doku
The founder of Amazing Love Church Ministry Int’l, Senior Pastor Georges W. Ntemi’s sermon on Sunday was a homily swathed in a cautionary tale in which he warned Christians about obsessing themselves with acquisition of wealth at the expense of worshipping the Maker of the Universe, the Almighty God.
Pastor Ntemi began his homily with an anadiplosis, “God gives grace to the humble and humbles the proud.” He then read Ephesians 5: 4-17 in which Saint Paul paints an almost apocalyptic picture of dark and gloomy days ahead, therefore, the importance of worshipping the Lord now and not defer it to some future date.
In figurative discourse, Saint Paul writes in verse 4, “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead; and Christ will shine on you.” Pastor Ntemi noted that in the passage, Paul is speaking about the deeds of Christians and what prevents us from receiving God’s blessings and promises. In a powerful tone, he stated, “Get out of the bad zone of misdeeds to the good zone of blessings. Obeying God and doing his will would allow his light to shine upon you.”
He once again reiterated the message in his crossover sermon that 2017 would be a year of great blessings and admonished that it would take seven years for one to realize one’s goals and dreams if one is recalcitrant and refuses to obey the will of God this year. How does one know God’s plan in one’s life? he asked.
He explained that if Christians spend time on the Bible, they would become familiar with God’s culture and do his will. In a husband and wife analogy, the apostle of God reasoned that a couple familiar with each other knows the likes and dislikes of each other. In the same way, reading the word of God helps you to know the likes and taboos of God.
“Be careful how you live your life. Live like someone who possesses wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If you don’t fear the Lord, you are in trouble. Seize the opportunity. Repent for your sins; serve the Lord; explore the opportunities that will come your way and take advantage of them because the times ahead are evil,” said the apostle of God. He continued: “You don’t know what tomorrow is made up of. There is rise of violence, crying, mourning, and fighting for freedom in many places in the world. Evil days lie ahead.”
Reading Ephesians 5: 15, Pastor Ntemi noted that Christians need to look back on their lives and learn from past mistakes and use it as a bridge for new demands. “Wake up from what you were doing and destroying your life. Verse 15 gives guidelines to change our lives. Live wisely, for life is short,” said the apostle of God.
The temporarity of life compelled him to support his assertion with Psalm 39: 4 in which David pleads with the Lord to let him know how long he had to live, for he was aware of the fleeting nature of life. In the subsequent verses, David assures the Lord that his hope is in him and asks him for salvation from his transgressions.
Pastor Ntemi lamented that people are fighting for what they don’t want and for what they don’t need. They acquire them and later it all becomes junk materials to be trashed. “Remember your purpose on earth as you enjoy your wealth. Redeem the time because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. The past is gone; there is nothing you can do about it. Tomorrow is in God’s hands. We are here because of someone who cares for us. His name is Jehovah God. Jesus Christ can take us from one level of glory to another. We are not here by our might or by our power,” affirmed the apostle of God.
Moses also shows concerns in Psalm 90 about the fact that although life is short, it is replete with problems and heartaches, hence, the importance of God showering his love upon us so that our hearts would be filled with joy every day. The apostle of God read verses 1o and 12. Verse 10 reads, “Our days may come to seventy or eighty if our strength endures, yet the best of them are with trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away.”
Most importantly, the apostle of God strongly appealed to the congregation neither to worry about the past nor the future, for they are out of our hands. He implored the congregation to focus on living in the “now,” as Jesus Christ taught us because living in the present is devoid of too much worries.
Pastor Ntemi narrated two anecdotes to support his homily. The first one was about a moribund wealthy man who in his life time, spent the bulk of it chasing wealth at the expense of spending time with his family. On his death bed, he said his greatest regret was not spending more time with his wife and family. That was a man trying to live in the past. He had all the time to spend with his family but wealth was more important to him than God and his family; now, he will die without knowing who would spend the riches he spent time to accumulate.
The second homiletic anecdote was about a woman who tried vainly to live in the future instead of in the present. When she was in college, all she wished for was to finish and get married to raise her family. When she graduated from college and got married, she only thought of having children and raising them to go to college. When she had the children, she kept worrying about when they would turn 18 and leave home for college so that she would be free to have some fun.
However, when the children reached college age, they realized the husband was not earning enough money to pay the tuition for all of them, so the woman who was a home-maker, had to get a job to help with the expenses. In short, a job that she was initially told would be a temporary one turned into a permanent job. But, still the money was not enough, so they had to sell their big and beautiful house. In the end, the joy she kept deferring to some future date since her college days, never materialized.
“Plan for today for tomorrow is another day. How do you do it? Listen to God’s will for your life. Forgiveness, love, and blessings should be part of your identity. Everything that comes out of your mouth should be speaking blessings unto others. Pray for those in need. Seek ye first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. Don’t seek riches first; otherwise, you would be poor,” said the apostle of God.
The senior pastor observed that poverty is a curse, but that doesn’t mean Christians should be chasing money to such an extent that they become too busy to worship God. “Live life in the present and leave the future to God. The future is now; don’t delay. Don’t care about money; care about serving God because of the joy, peace, love, and fulfillment it brings,” said the apostle of God, among many things in one of his longest sermons.