By Kingsley Nwachukwu
It was very early in my ministerial journey ( around 1994). So many of us, young gospel artistes ( music and drama) had to submit to one of the leading figures, gospel artistes in the North. Of course by then, most of my likes did not have access to Evang Mike Bamiloye of Mount Zion Film Production, Ibadan Nigeria.
Our mentor then, had an INVITATION to minister in Benin. He went with his band. On their way, the vehicle had an ACCIDENT, somersaulted twice and FOUR out of his seven co-ministers DIED on the spot. Other ministers sustained minor injuries while our mentor was thrown away from the car into the bush. According to eye witness, he was screaming ” Am sorry, Lord! Am sorry, Lord” in an unconscious state. Some good samaritans rushed all of them to a nearby hospital.
That day, in the evening, we were in the church. I over- heard one of the elders telling another that it is better he goes home. That his body has been seriously battered. I could not understand whom they were discussing ; after all, nobody was sick in the church. The pastor, after a while, picked the microphone, made some prophetic utterances that have no bearing with our evening service. He then, in a low tone, announced the unfortunate incident. He went further to reassure us that God is still on the throne and will preserve the lives of our mentor and co-ministers. He called for prayers and we all prayed our hearts out.
I was very confident that my mentor will make it; after hearing how he was vibrating and speaking in TONGUES when the accident threw him out of the car into the bush.
The next day, there was no official service but majority of us have gathered in the church to pray as well as to hear the latest on the health of the ministers. This time, the ATMOSPHERE was unusual and deadly. The pastor and the elders were just communicating in gestures. I tried to look eye ball to eye ball with one of the elders, he quickly removed his eyes. I nodded my head. The pastor after a while requested that everybody should come together. He started admonishing us with us various scriptures. He emphasised that God is ever-faithful and that in all situations, we must give THANKS. That in summary, GOD has called our MAN of God home. He has gone to be with the LORD! I could not understand. I was confused. I shouted “JESUS!” The women, by this time, have started CRYING and SCREAMING. As I made my way towards the back of the church auditorium, I heard one of the elders telling another to monitor and hold me. The elder rushed to me and advised me to calm down. I told him that God has failed. He has scored F9. He rebuked me calmly, lovely but firmly. He advised me to keep my mouth shut. He told me that there are so many things we will not understand until we get to heaven.
Few days after, as the incidence was difficult to be erased from my heart and memory, I had a DREAM.
In the dream, I was in a field meditating. I heard the VOICE of God telling me that he has released me to go, since I do not trust Him anymore. I started weeping; reminding him of my COVENANT with him….to serve him all the days of my life and His promise to fight anyone that fights me. He said that the BALL is on my court. I started crying and woke up, physically, in tears. While in bed, I kept wondering the interpretation. My mind went back to how committed and DISCIPLINED our mentor was to the things of God. He had no secret life. He shun every acts of sinful attitude. He was simply a leader by example. My mind kept wondering what must have gone wrong.
Two weeks after, an ALL NITE , SERVICE of SONG/ Celebration of Life was organised for our mentor and the fallen heroes. The programme was scheduled for 7pm till dawn. It attracted all the WHO is WHO in gospel music world in the Northern Nigeria. As if dramatically planned ( I think they must have assembled in a particular hotel in town), the gospel music artistes began to STORM the venue in grand style. Amidst music interlude manned by professional Master of Ceremony (MC) and instrumentalists of all sorts in an open field, the artistes began to arrive in CONVOY to pay their last respect to the fallen heroes. As most of them arrived, we knew some of them by their music albums, live ministrations, etc. As each artiste arrived, the MC announced it and we began to celebrate GRACE. Some of them could enter nicodemously while others with boldness and artistic charisma waved graciously at us. They were numerous; ranging from Pst Aaron Dako, Chris Delvan, Brother Solo, Eb Omeg, Christie Bature, Son 316, Jehovah One Way and many others. Finally, the father of them all, Dr Panem Percy Paul, arrived in a black tinted jeep. The atmosphere changed! It was simply awesome!! We knew we were about to have a nice time in the presence of the Lord.
Alas, after the OPENING PRAYERS, the music ministers were being introduced, ONE by ONE, to the stage to minister in music in honour of the late music ministers. Dr Percy Paul had to interrupt a music minister, despites his popularity , for trying to render a ” mourning-like song”. While still with him on stage, he made it clear that we have not come to mourn but to CELEBRATE God for the LIFE of the deceased. He advised every minister to stick to blessing souls tonight or simply come to the stage, shout HALLELUYAH and leave ( if you have no message). I saw discipline. I saw respect as they all nodded in agreement. Dr Panam went back to his seat as the minister changed to another of his popular tracks and blessed every soul.
The ministration continued with each of the ministers coming on stage with two or three tracks of his albums/ songs to bless the audience.
At around 4am, it was time for the doyen of african gospel music, Dr Panem Percy Paul, to bless the audience. His band and back-up singers urshered him to the stage with his track.
” I Will Follow Him”.
Immediately, Dr Panem mounted the stage, like our mentor, he requested for permission to say one or two things before ministering in music. He started recounting many THINGS God have done for him. He started boasting in the Lord. He talked of how God have shielded him from many dangers. How God delivered him from so many accidents, air crash within and outside Nigeria. He narrated God’s intervention in his ministry, deliverance from attacks by religious fanatics. He narrated, in details, how God miraculously granted him one of the biggest music studios in Africa. In summary, he encouraged us ( the upcoming gospel artistes) to HOLD STRONGLY our faith in God for He is ever- faithful and cannot fail. He started his music ministration. It was something else! He concluded with altar calls and prayers.
Immediately Dr Panem stepped down from the stage , the wife of our mentor was invited for a VOTE of THANKS. I heard, deep in my spirit “Listen attentively, Kingsley”. The wife appreciated all and sundry for the glorious honour done to her husband and late team members. She narrated how RESTLESS her husband had been towards the invitation that took his life. According to her, the husband could not resist the invitation because it was coming from one of his close friends. He had been previously there for bigger men of God and did not want his friend to feel that he is rejecting his invitation because of money or honourarium. He wanted to prove his love for him. Few days to the event, he began to have a second thought to the journey. He thought of sending some of his co-ministers to cover the event. The arrangement was not acceptable to the intending host. The latter reminded him of all the commitments he had made for the programme. He reminded him of the massive PUBLICITY he had done and still doing. The banners, posters, flyers, radio and television advertisements. He reminded our mentor of how his absence will affect the programme and make him the host never to be trusted again by the masses. They will assume he falsely used our mentor’s picture to attract the audience. Perhaps, to make him feel and cut the story short , our mentor promised to storm the programme…live!
Then came the D-day of traveling. Our mentor and his co-workers had succeeded in packing their musical instruments into the bus when he suddenly began to experience stomach upset. He excused himself to the rest room, eased himself and asked for two tablets of flagil. He did not tell any of his team members of the upset.He came to the bus and they all prayed and took off. But according to one of the survivors of the accident, he was not as EXCITED as he used to be throughout their journey. He was very calm and they must have thought he was meditating. He was like a man being DRAGGED against his will. He was like a man being FORCED TO DO WHAT HE does not want to do. I perceive he must have trying to prove to his intending host that money is not everything in ministry. He can be hosted with or without money. He might have also been trying to prove that he is a man of INTEGRITY who ought to do whatever he promises despites all odds. But the truth is that IT WAS NOT NECESSARY. There was nothing to prove. However, the beauty of it all is that MOST of us who drew inspiration from him, are not doing bad presently in our respective callings and ministries. We have been giving devil sleepless nights.
We have all been fighting like ONE MAN STANDING. It was at this juncture of testimony that I surrounded ALL to our master, the KING of KINGS and JEHOVAH Over-know. I reasoned He is EVER JUST and worthy of the TRUST. I then asked for TOTAL FORGIVENESS in the NAME of JESUS and I believed it was alright by Him. Since then, we have been having GOOD TIME.
The rest is history!
HOW THEN DOES GOD LEAD?
1) BY OPENING OUR EARS: The VOICE of God, though still and small, is very POWERFUL. It carries a CONVINCING power that cannot be easily denied.
” The VOICE of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. It BREAKS the cedar…” Psalm 29:1
God’s voice is accompanied by a WITNESS that keeps speaking even when the Spirit of God has departed. This is why JESUS made it clear that:
” My Sheep hears my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…No one can SNATCH them from my hands” John 10: 27-29. God usually lead by SPEAKING to his followers in a LANGUAGE they can understand.
2) BY OPENING OUR EYES: Until God opens your eyes, fears, stagnation and short-sighted decisions are inevitable.
” Then Elisha prayed, O Lord, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw ..” Gen 21: 19. It was after God had tested Abraham that He OPENED his eyes to already existing SOLUTION to his predicament. Obviously, everything we need and will ever need in life, are always AROUND us. It takes divine eye-opening to access them.
” And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold BEHIND him a RAM caught in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham went and took the ram” Gen 22:13. God usually hides things from people by keeping it beside them.
” It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” Prov. 25: 2.
3) BY OPENING OUR MINDS: The routes to personal, family and corporate developments are in IDEAS. The solution to most life-threatening challenges are in IDEAS. These ideas come INSTANTENOUSLY in FLASHES of THOUGHTS and God is ever ready to give them to any willing soul.
” But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding” Job 32:8. In my various leadership experiences over the years, I have witnessed the instrumentality of the mind in action. I hardly worried over issues but engaged in prayer and fasting when presiding over discussion. As I ponder while people talk, SOLUTION comes in flashes of thoughts that usually beat my imagination.
” But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that HOUR you will be GIVEN what to say” Mathew 10:19.
Certainly, the walls have ears and there is nothing that is hidden that will not be revealed.
” This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt MEDITATE therein day and night; that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have GOOD SUCCESS” Joshua 1:8.
4) BY CREATING and DIRECTING CIRCUMSTANCES: Like professional film-maker, God is good in creating and directing EVERY SITUATION to the favour of His follower. “And we know that ALL things work together for GOOD to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are called according to his purpose” Rom 8: 28.
It is true some problems are created by devil and human agents, God is equally good in turning those actions and inactions to the benefits of His follower.
” As for you, you MEANT EVIL against me, but God meant it for GOOD, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to SAVE many people alive” Gen 50: 20.
God allows PROBLEMS that will bring you to LIMELIGHT. He creates problems you can SOLVE and inspire PEOPLE to seek for you for the SOLUTION.
” Then the Chief Butler spoke to pharaoh, saying: I remember my FAULTS this day” Gen41:9
I see you being invited to tackle that problem that will announce you in Jesus name!
5) BY THE SERVICE of PROPHETS: God has always appointed human agents ( prophets) in all sphere of life. He uses them to provide DIRECTION to his followers.
“The Sovereign Lord never does anything without REVEALING his plan to his servants, the prophets” Amos 3: 7.
These prophets are gifts; not by human calculation and intelligence. God specialises in giving them the needed boldness and immunity to communicate His WILL against all odds.
” For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men SPOKE from GOD as they were CARRIED ALONG by the HOLY SPIRIT” 2 Peter1:21
Some prophets are poor, yet making many rich. This shows they are equally human and not exempted from the challenges of life. They only enjoy the support of God in ANY REVEALED AREAS of their lives and no one ever fight them and remain the same.
” Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be ESTABLISHED; believe also His prophets, so shall ye PROSPER” Chro 20: 20.
WHAT, THEN, HAPPENS WHEN GOD LEADS?
According to psalm 23, when God leads, His FOLLOWER experiences: peace, protection, restoration, fruitfulness, direction, total abundance and eternal security.
May all of us begin to experience these gifts in our lives, families, careers, businesses and ministries in JESUS precious name!
Pst KC Nwachukwu,
Zenith Bank Acct No: 2005498633