It was the 14th of September, a Sunday. I woke up late and within minutes rushed out of my temporary abode, which for all means and purposes is my home for now. Off to Church I drove. This Sunday, Church was to be the Church on the Rock and I was to visit the Cathedral, the current address of the church in Lekki. Truth be told, the cathedral is prestigious and dwarfs everything in its vicinity in terms of size. No wonder, thousands of worshippers flock into this building every Sunday. It is an address that everyone would like to be associated with.
I didn’t just wake up and went to the church. It was a result of a decision that I had made the previous night. In deciding where I was to worship the next day, I had visited the church’s website. I read through many things and thought it will be good to know more. My attention was unusually drawn to the page on the pastors at http://houseontherockng.com/our-pastors.html. Paul Adefarasin was stated as the founder, prelate and senior pastor and then his wife, Ifeanyi, was written about. There was no mention of any other one as being of significance in the House on the Rock churches. I think the opportunity exists to make the webpage better – focussing on the souls out there and reducing the focus on self. It is not disputable that the pastor was all that was stated on the webpage, and probably much more. However, the details as currently expressed on the webpage will make the casual visitor leave with the impression that the web page is self-serving. I don’t think this was the intent of Pastor Adefarasin. It is time to add the profiles of the other pastors in the church and focus on the great works the church is doing in the area of bringing lost souls to Christ.
I had never been inside the Rock Cathedral, the name the massive edifice in Lekki is called. Little wonder that on entering I got lost wandering within its maze of corridors. Lucky me, I ran into an acquaintance that I just met the previous week and he offered to usher me into the church where the worship was ongoing. It was a blessing, my acquaintance happened to be a high ranking member of Pastor Paul Adefarasin’s team and he was able to secure a front row seat for me.
There I marvelled at the beauty and the simplicity in design of the massive auditorium. I was taken away with the splendour of this work of men until I remembered, as noted by Paul in Acts 7:48, that the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands. Soon, I got caught up with the praise and worship, excellently delivered and with the whole auditorium filled with sonorous human voices praising the most high. The sound quality and the aesthetics were great.
It was then that the great Power Holding Company (PHC), the public electricity supplier, decided to show its might. The lights went off and immediately the emergency lights came on. This break in power supply would not have mattered if not that the whole public address system depended on it and as such the communication was disrupted. While efforts were made to get the backup power supply working, this became a challenge. As we were to learn later, there had been a short circuit of the electrical system and somehow the backup plans were not working. Looking at the Pastor from the vantage point where I stood, I could see the looks of concern on his face, he was obviously unhappy. First he called his assistants to go and get the problem resolved. They did as they were told but it soon became obvious that this will not resolve the problem. One can say that the Pastor is an ardent believer in the idea that if you want something done, you go do it yourself. He soon left, with a trail of his personal staff to oversee the resolution of the power issue.
In all these, I felt concerned that the Pastor might have sent a wrong message to the flocks that he was shepherding. Yes, the power cut was disruptive but we ought not to take our attention off the worship of the Almighty, in whose presence we stood. In the Pastor’s desire to get the ugly situation under control, he got on his cell phone and was reeling out some requests. This was in the middle of the worship to the Almighty. A situation that reminded me of the Mary & Martha in Luke 10:41-42 where the Lord said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary…..”
Mike Aremu came on stage and it was a great performance. Watching Mike on the trumpet playing the notes and the sounds of worshippers providing the complementary wordings of the songs was celestial. As always with me, I looked around and asked myself is God here? I had my answer immediately. As I looked, I also asked are people faking it or are they truly this joyous? Have I finally found a people that are true worshippers? I did not get an immediate answer but did get my answer later. The answer to my question came when the nice looking, confident and radiant lady officiating minister took to the pulpit to wrap off the praise and worship. She rounded up with prayers and after rounding up with prayers requested people to shout to the Lord. As if she had heard my question, she asked people to fake it even if they don’t mean it! Whao! That hit me like a bomb shell. I got my answer.
Of all things, one has to admire the pastor. His dressing was immaculate and his appearance and introductory words were well chosen and well crafted. He acknowledged the birthdays of members of the church, recognised a couple of people and the birth of babies. His recognition of his wife’s birthday on the 16th of September was one that I recommend to all men. He was sincere in his expression of love towards his wife and acknowledgement of the steadfastness of the wife in going through life with him, even when all things were not that rosy. I consciously noted this and promised myself that when I get home, I would call my wife and express my love to her openly as well Thank you pastor!
He went on to educate the congregation on what they need to do to prevent Ebola and then dwelt on the importance of everyone exercising their civic responsibilities – register to vote in the upcoming elections. In his word, no matter how long it takes you to vote, vote. Vote your value system, what preserves and protect your interest. He acknowledged the new attendees and recommended a couple of churches available in Lagos to them, encouraging them to find the place that God has designed for them. If God leads them to the House on the Rock, he really wanted to be their pastor. Will God find faith in Nigeria when he comes?
That Pastor Paul Adefarasin is an orator is not in doubt, he is a very good speaker. In his sermon for the day that he titled “Higher Dimension”, he mesmerized the crowd, including me. He took us through the scriptures. Starting with Eccl 9:11 he moved to 1King 19:19 – 20, he taught on how to embrace the future, going into space, time and season for which we’ve had no experience but will have to rely on humility. The bullet points from his message are:
1. You will endure a fight that doesn’t befit where you are. That doesn’t mean that God has cast you out but the opposite might really be the truth. The enemy is not fighting you over your now or your past but over your future. Don’t quake when you see this but know there is more to you than where you are but where you are going. He told the story of how he endured a similar fight 15yrs ago over the site for the Rock Cathedral. The enemy, according to him, wants to rob you of your destiny and not your present. When this happens, you need to ask, is the enemy bringing out all the arsenal for the little chicken that you are or the eagle you will become. When BIG boys start fighting you, it is because you are a BIG boy in their perception!
2. If GOD allows you to fight a fight that deep, it’s because he sees you BIGGER than whom you think you are and he allows you to go through it because HE believes you are ready for the task or can take it.
3. There are levels and there are dimensions. The numeric numbers 1 to 10 on a level is the same on another dimension. Levels are on the horizontal while dimensions are on the vertical. There are levels of Peace. There are also levels of Joy. There are however dimensions of these as well. God is getting ready not to change your level but to change your dimension. At a new dimension, you start from the very beginning of the level for that dimension and you will need God as well.
4. Elijah was ready to raise leaders in the secular space. Passing the baton from the Elijah generation to the Elisha generation. Elijah knew what was to happen but Elisha had no inkling of what was to happen. He was to experience a total change, a transformation in his life. This happened with the mantle, which was significant. It was a message to the angels that as you work with me, so should you work with Elisha. Elisha was not one of the sons of the prophet, he was not enrolled in the school of prophets but he was a man already producing and ploughing. He was successful in the family business but he wasn’t fulfilled.
5. Elisha knew by instinct that this he had a higher calling. Every design component in his constitution needed to find their highest usefulness. Same principles BUT on a different dimension. By instinct, there are components in you that are designed for higher usefulness. You can use an ipad as a tray and it will do a good job but that is not a great use for its design features. Intellectual process will not help. The instinct is your horse but the intellect is your cart. Do not put the cart before the horse. Also consider, the sea turtle and how they use their instinct to head towards the ocean, once the’ve consumed the resource structure present in the egg shell. They know that despite having lived all their lives on land, they are sea creatures and instinctively move towards the sea. Don’t be trapped in a cage as a Parrot born in captivity which had never flown before. The cage initially feel like paradise but sooner than later you need to break it. Turtles have flaps and can move restrictedly on land but they are not made for land but for the ocean.
6. You live and eat at the level of your vision – the tortoise and the giraffe both eat at the level of their visions. The giraffe position cannot be explained to a tortoise person. They will be right, when they criticize you but they are right at their tortoise level of vision. A giraffe will die, from the rush of blood to its head, if it starts eating at the tortoise level.
7. Instinct cannot be taught. It is an inborn trait. Mother Eagles lay their eggs on mountain top and make comfortable nests for the eggs. However, when it is time, she overturns the nest and the little birds become free falling. The same God who made you comfortable on one dimension will make you uncomfortable at the same dimension so that you can move to the next dimension. Fear is not evil BUT it is the spirit of fear that is evil. Fear will make you pray and is an inborn trait that makes you aware when danger is near. It is dangerous to remain comfortable on the same dimension. Don’t use the wrong timing like Moses. The instinct was right but the timing was wrong. Moses an orator became a stammerer and was put down for 40years. Have you exhausted the current dimension,
8. Everything in David’s life was by instinct. It was instinct that made him know that he was bigger than the bear that came to snatch the goat. It was instinct, and not intellect (like his brothers) that made him know that when Israel had the national problem of Goliath that he can defeat him. The thing God wants to do with you, do not make any sense. Elijah’s generation was a powerful but a crude one. Elisha’s generation will do twice what Elijah did. The real test of instinct is when opportunity presents itself like in the case of the woman with the issue of blood knowing that if she missed that moment, she may not be healed.
9. Love righteousness and seek justice.
10. Insecurity and low esteem are indicators that you are now on a new dimension.