This month we asked our friend Michael Akotia to write an article for our newsletter. Michael oversees the work of Christcentral Churches in West Africa. He lives in Ho, Ghana with his wife Mabel and their three children, John, Keziah and Grace.
“Bishop Dag Heward - Mills1 said that if you live in Africa, you will find yourself surrounded by many unsolvable problems. There are many hopeless situations in this great continent. He suggests that the master key to your blessing in situations like this is not found in the hands of governments or politicians but in the hands of Jesus. I believe his observation and suggestion is true the world over.
Let us look at the account of Jesus and his disciples feeding a crowd of 5,000 and learn from the Lord about how to handle all of life’s situations as we live to advance the kingdom of God2.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five — and two fish."
Mark 6: 35 - 37
Jesus and his disciples encountered the following problems in this story;
The disciples’ solution was for Jesus to dismiss the crowd! But the command from Jesus to the disciples was feed them. To that command the disciples responded that it was impossible! “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish”. Jesus however responded differently from his disciples. He did the following;
What was the result of Jesus’ response? A miracle happened! All had enough to eat. What is a miracle? A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God that transcends all human reasoning. What was Jesus teaching the disciples, the crowd and us reading this story today?
How do we put things in the hands of Jesus? By engaging with Jesus, through his word, through prayer and through worship. Let’s look at each one of these.
Look into God’s word, the Bible, for a word or promise concerning your situation, hold on to it, meditate on it (turn it over in your mind to understand it and to keep it in your mind and heart) and continue to act on it. We learn this from the scriptures like 2 Peter 1:4 ‘Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’. Here are some promises for you to take hold of: John 6:63-64, Luke 8:15 , Romans 8:11, Psalm 118:17, Psalm 23:6, Philippians 4:19-20, Matthew 16:18, Isaiah 54:17, Numbers 6:22-27.
In your praying against difficult situations, exercise authority in the name of Jesus and bind Satan and his demons. - Daniel 9:20-23, Daniel 10:10 -14.
Pray in tongues to engage with the Spirit of God and God will speak to you. Act on anything God says to you. Scriptures such as Romans 8:26-27, 1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-15, Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20 help us to understand this.
Prayer is very vital for all Christians. The church leader and reformer Martin Luther said, ´As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray’. I am very grateful for men like ´Terry Virgo, the father of Newfrontiers, who has led us in this. Terry once said ‘Prayer is our calling. That is what we are meant to be doing.´
Paul tells us the following in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 'Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' There is a similar encouragement in Hebrews 13:15-16.
In leading churches in Ghana and other African countries, I have become aware of this principle of putting things in the hands of Jesus, the owner of the church, who has called me into his service to advance his Kingdom. So once a year I call the churches together so that we can spend time together with Jesus and we called this gathering our ´Devoted to Jesus conference.´ It give us a corporate opportunity to express our devotion to Jesus, hear from him, be empowered by him and be sent out by him to do his work. As Jeremy Simpkins appointed me to be an apostolic delegate overseeing Christcentral Churches in three West African countries (Ghana, Togo and Benin), 17 churches and church plants, Jesus has provided for me and the churches the things we needed to do his work. He has used churches and individuals within ChristCentral and other Newfrontiers spheres to meet both my personal needs and that of the churches. Jubilee Church Teesside, Hope Church Shrewsbury and individuals like Martin Charlesworth and his School of Leadership team, Luke and Faye Holliday, Peter and Margaret Gill and Jeremy and Ann Simpkins to mention but few.
I encourage you to put your life, your nation and yout church in the hands of Jesus!
To care for the ChristCentral Churches in west Africa, we have the following projects that we have put in the hands of Jesus which you can pray for, give to financially or come to serve with your talents:
Let us put things in the hands of Jesus and expect a miracle!’
To be a part of ChristCentral Churches work in West Africa or if you’d just like to be kept up to date with all that is happening there, please contact Jubilee Church Teesside or City of Grace, HO, Ghana.
- A Ghanaian, a medical doctor by training and the founder of a denomination of over one thousand churches called The Light House Chapel International
- Mark 6: 30-44
I couldn’t possibly write an Elders’ letter this month without at least making reference to that amazing night in Madrid on June 1st and Liverpool FC’s historic sixth Champions League trophy. Non-football fans…please don’t switch off!