By Samuel O. Doku (Washington, DC). Teens and young adults of Amazing Love Church Ministry Int’l have dubbed themselves the Covenant Keepers. The Church has given them the permission to devote this week (April 17-23) to the celebration of their ministry and their talents as well as the promise of God in their lives. From Monday to this morning (Saturday), they took turns to moderate and teach on the prayer line.
On Friday evening, they unleashed their creativity in the performing arts when they staged a short play depicting life in the Church and debated on the topic “Does Unconditional Love really Exist in the Church?”
In a brilliant display of youthful effervescence, the lads and lasses performed admirably in the drama and the debate; however, it was not before Ms. Michelle Tchatat kicked off proceedings with a biblical teaching whose theme was “Outward Appearance Can Be Deceptive.” She read 1 Samuel 16: 1-13.
A synopsis of the verses is that God asked Samuel to go to Jerusalem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to succeed Saul. When he got there on a heifer God had ordered him to take to Jerusalem to make it seem as if he was there to sacrifice it to the Lord, he summoned the sons of Jesse to a sacrificial sanctuary.
Elijah, Abinadab, and Shammah all appeared before Samuel, but he rejected them all. The Lord tells him in verse seven, “Do not look at his appearance or his heart, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” after rejecting Elijah, Jesse’s first born.
Eventually, David was summoned from his shepherding duties to be anointed by Prophet Samuel. “Jesse looked at appearance and selected the toughest and roughest among his sons, but God rejected them because God looks at the heart, not at appearance. David’s was predestined to be king of Israel. The nature of God is love. We the youth are covenant keepers and as children of God, we must walk in the purpose the Lord has for us. Anything less than that is a waste of time,” said Ms. Tchatat.
She called on the youth to eschew evil, a call that echoes the Lord’s advice to Cain in Genesis when He told him that evil was lurking at his door with a desire to devour him, so Cain must master it. Sister Michelle told the youth that as young people, they would be confronted with trials, tribulations, and difficulties on a daily basis, but they must remember to always avoid evil.
She mentioned judging others as a result of jealousy, gossiping, bad-mouthing, and discrimination based on appearance as some of the despicable behavior they must endeavor to avoid by displaying love for all and resentment toward none, as Jesus Christ taught us. She quoted 1 John 2: 13.
After Sister Michelle’s teaching, the youth performed a skit in which a section of the Church were portrayed as notorious gossipers, whose decisions were informed by outward appearance. The gossipers treated visitors to the Church with disrespect and total lack of decorum and civility.
However, it was not all bad news for visitors. There was one whose heart was full of love and kindness. Her warmth, affection, and conviviality convinced some of the visitors that the Church was the right place for them, so they promised to change from their previous behavior of drinking, smoking, and uncertainty to become regular worshipers.
The topic, “Is there really Unconditional Love in the Body of Christ” generated a lot of interest. The group that argued in favor of the topic noted that Christ is the ultimate definition of love, so unconditional love exists in the Church.
“Out of the love the Lord has for us, Christ died for us to atone for our sins. You must know that Christ’s love for you is automatic. If any Church member judges you based on outward appearance, remember that Christ’s love for you is not based on outward appearance; it is unconditional, but few people understand that.”
The group that argued against the topic wondered if some Christians get judgmental and are woeful gossipers because they are at the wrong place? They noted that for far too long, some Christians who should know better, drive people away from the Church with their negative attitude that they exhibit through gossiping, even slandering, and unwarranted judgment of others.
The audience reacted favorably to both sides, but in the end, it was generally agreed that a heart full of love is a forgiving heart because love is the first and the last. It is the greatest commandment of all. Christ taught us that the true essence of love is loving our enemies, and that we must be patient enough to forgive seventy-seven times seven times. With that, the love we experience in the Church will always be unconditional.
After the debate, Sister Sandy gave a rendition of her original poem, “Fix your GPS,” a poem that details travails and temptations of Christians in spite of accepting Christ as their savior. She began by noting, “Salvation was given to me free of charge with no tax to pay.”
She cited Ecclesiastes 12: 1, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.’”
She ended her poem with the declaration, “Change your mind from being carnal-minded to spiritual and kingdom-minded. Fix your GPS to Heaven.”
Mr. Elton Kamwa gave a motivational speech titled “Discovering Your Potential” to end the night’s proceedings. He observed that the graveyard is the wealthiest place on earth because it is filled with many people, who did not realize their potentials on earth before they died.
“The wealthiest place on earth is not the diamond minds in South Africa or the United States or China. It is the `graveyard because it is filled with treasure. The young, poets, entrepreneurs, students all die without realizing their full potentials.”
Mr. Kamwa stated that because we have been created in the image of God, we have the power to unleash our potentials and realize our dreams. “The Lord says ‘He that worships Him must worship Him in truth and in spirit. It means we have the spiritual fervor to realize our potentials in the same way as God spoke into man after creating him and he started breathing.”
Brother Elton seemingly alluded to James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man simultaneously with W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of Double Consciousness noting that the days when he saw himself as a black man, he was easily disturbed when he was judged and denied because of the color of his skin.
“When you see yourself in that light, people will have dominion over you because they know they can easily get under your skin,” he said. Quoting from Gen. 11, he noted, “When God created you, he put a seal on you. He took the future and put it in the present. If you want to know who you are, go to the source who is Jesus Christ.”
Brother Elton also observed that because God is a jealous God, He doesn’t like idol worshipers, so He calls idol worshippers, prostitutes. “God allowed Moses, a murderer, to write the first five books of the Bible. He blessed Rahab, a prostitute; he blessed Paul, who once persecuted Christians. Don’t judge people based on facts. Judge them on the truth. I might be poor right now, but the truth is I am a millionaire spiritually.
Brother Elton ended his speech with Ephesians 3: 20-21, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
Pastor Jean Paul Ntap, commenting on Brother Elton’s delivery, asked members of the audience with the gift and ambition of becoming medical doctors, entrepreneurs, and successful in life to pray for God to move them from one level of glory to another so that they would realize their full potentials.
He cited Romans 8: 37, “. . . [In] all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” With abundant faith, you can speak to the mountain, and it will move. You can part the Red Sea. Speak blessings and favor into your life, and the Lord will open the floodgates for you,” noted Pastor Jean Paul.
The good news to those who missed yesterday’s exciting evening is that they will have another opportunity to witness a more powerful rendition today from 7-9 p.m.