How Church is Church Now?

In the wake of Corona Virus, everything has changed across the globe, including Church services, doctrines and the likes. These few random thoughts have been crossing my own mind lately.

They used to castigate those who worship from home via TV and online platforms as not being Christians after all. Christians are only those planted in a Church and never miss Church, blah, blah, blah. Hope we are asking ourselves how Christian we all are now being at home and doing Church online?

They used to take pride in preaching in or to huge congregations. See how awkward it is now to be preaching to empty chairs and nobody standing up to clap for you or give you needless fans? Hope those your many body guards who don’t want anybody nearing their revered men of God are still at post protecting you in an empty Church? Hope some men of God have started learning again how to carry their own Bibles to the pulpit? Hope some wives of men of God can now have some true happiness and not have to fake in Church pretending to be happy with their husbands never sitting at home in the name of doing God’s work?

Oh how they used to take for granted church members who leave everything they have to come sit and listen to the word of God preached. Then, there are those haughty ushers who think they are the best of human beings God has created just because they are privileged to direct people to their sit. Will you now go and direct empty seats or you will direct people online? Hope we’re all learning now that everybody matters.

And oh, now that it is communion service, I hope it is okay now and acceptable to use shortbread, pie, fruit juices, just anything we find in our fridges to represent the communion bread or wafer and communion wine? Should it matter now, or should we still argue about which Church is doing it the right way or not?

Hope a lot of our ‘stupid’ doctrines, practices and attitudes in Church are giving way in these few days and we can enjoy some sanity from the confines of our rooms, as we all pray, read the Bible ourselves and build our personal relationship with God?

May God help us all come out of this global storm and be better people and believers.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Your righteousness can be sinful…

Your righteousness can be sinful and your salvation questionable…if it blinds you to the gospel of grace, when it makes you feel exalted above all, when it gives you no patience for the sinner, when it makes you feel it is for you that Christ came and not the worst of sinners, when it makes you forget that it is God himself who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure and that of our own we can do no good thing.

The posture of some Christians on social media is sometimes worrisome as a lot of people’s activities or contents are loaded with unnecessary arguments, labelling and putting people down. I do feel mostly that nobody gets saved by what seems like insults, judgments and castigations on social media, especially when people express opposing views to our Christian posts or messages. In many cases, it perhaps makes us no different from the people throwing stones at the biblical woman caught in adultery.

It is not here (social media) that we are coming to differentiate between what is morally wrong and morally right…it is mostly common knowledge. Nonetheless, if that has to be done, it must be done with a lot of tactfulness. To the best of my knowledge, people don’t become good when all you do is constantly hammer their wrongs in their face; they become worse. If you like, try that approach on your child and see how they turn out.

It doesn’t mean a Christian should never point out people’s wrongs, but there’s always a good way to do that; the approach matters sometimes more than the message. It is always important to remember that it is by grace that some of us even turned out good. We must always acknowledge the grace of God in our lives because sitting on social media, loading our timelines with Bible verses and acting all clean and righteous is not what is at stake. Fact is, when someone’s sin or actions bothers you more than your own and instead of working on you, you will rather judge and castigate them, you have a problem! It’s like today’s Christians are more interested in pointing out sinners than even praying for them so God does His own work in them. We just like to let people see they are the bad nuts and we are the good ones, I guess.

I may be right or wrong but I never maintain that I speak truth; I speak my mind on issues. It’s the recipients of what I say, write, publish, etc. that are the judge of whether it is truth (makes sense) for them or not. That’s why I don’t go about forcing my opinion on others for them to accept it as the truth, and if they don’t, they become the enemy. No, God alone is true and I’m not a Pastor so I don’t lay claim to “speaking the mind of God” and forcing His will on people. I’m focusing on living my Christian life the way I know best.

Social media is a great place to evangelize and spread the message of the gospel but we must never lose sight of our approach and conduct in achieving that aim so we don’t look self-righteous. We surely can build each other up, but we can’t force our truth on people and make enemies out of the very people we are sending the gospel to. And we can’t be hypocritical either, keeping our timelines flooded with scriptures just to look good outside while our real lives are questionable.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Never argue with your Pastor

It is very easy these days to find a lot of Bible verses and passages being misrepresented or taken out of context by modern day Charismatic Preachers who attach a lot of gimmicks and “gymnastics” to their preaching just to excite the crowd. And a lot of unsuspecting members just follow everything that comes out of a Preacher’s mouth as the undiluted truth from God without any effort of exercising personal discernment.

We follow blindly especially in these days of social media craze that most men of God are now more concerned with amassing a large following than preaching the right messages. Sadly, if you’re in a Church that you don’t follow your Pastor / Preacher on social media or share their posts, you’re seen and treated more as not a friend of the Church or man of God. Our attachment and focus is more now towards the men of God and promoting them than Christ Himself or living lives that reflect Christ. They are gradually leading and defining our lives more than God (Christ); we now so easily do things to please them rather than Christ…thinking by pleasing them we are by extension pleasing God in all cases.

And the disposition of some of the men of God is so amazing that you wonder exactly enters people when they have been “called by God”. Because you have the opportunity of a congregation to preach to as a servant of God, you think everybody else in the congregation doesn’t know anything. You think you’re the only one endowed with the right kind of heavenly knowledge and should always be right. The church setting sometimes surprises me because one person shares a message and everybody is expected to agree with it…no questions asked. Take the message, swallow it hook, line and sinker and if you have a problem with it, go argue with your Bible…and not the one disseminating it. Express too much opposing views and you’ll be tagged not matured in Christ or asked where your “Doctor of Theology Degree” is. 😂

Back in the days when question and answer times were allowed during teaching services, you still are not allowed to make arguments that puts the “All-knowing Preacher” in a position of not having all the facts after all. When all else fails, they will ask you “do you argue with your Boss at your work place”? Well, then you can’t argue with a “man of God” or object to anything he does because they hear direct from God and you don’t. Just like the secular Bosses…they are always right. Spiritual Bosses…so cool 😎.

I hope they hold our hands and take us to Heaven instead of we working out our own salvation. 😊

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

The church has lost it

We have said it a billion times!
Our churches have lost it!
Both the “sane” and “insane” churches
Our people both literate and illiterate have lost it too!
In the name of spirituality…we have all lost it!
We have argued many times
How far church discipline should go
We have argued a billion times
Where the Churches assumed role of “parenting” ends
We have raised it a million times
How church “membership” ought to be defined
And where the church’s “authority” over its “members” ends
We have voiced out a thousand times
How non-ethical our church leaders are operating
How manipulative and cunning they have become
How the main purpose of the Church has shifted
How “secular” our churches have become
How we can no longer differentiate
Church from a Business or Secular Organization, etc
But for fear of being labelled “carnal”
And put in some particular stereotypes
And for how wrongly we have been brainwashed
In interpreting the “touch not my anointed…” scriptures
The “it is God speaking through me” gimmicks
That makes us take every message/direction from the pulpit
Hook, line and sinker!
We ourselves have become unwise and “stupid” followers
How brainwashed we have become
How undiscerning we have become
How dead in our spirits we have become
Because we do not know the Bible for ourselves
Because we fail to realize
Our lives are not sold out to churches to do as they please
Our lives are to be led by Christ and not the Church
Church leading you and Christ leading you…
There’s a whole lot of difference!
The day you know…you will be liberated!

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

​ON ANGER MANAGEMENT

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – Proverbs 14:29.
I know we all need this.

Life is never devoid of problems, hurts, misunderstandings and conflict with people…

We’ve all had our own share of those…sometimes you are the cause, other times it is someone else (could be a very dear one).

But when we encounter such moments, how many of us remember the scripture above and the fact that we are unique children of God and need to exercise restraint/ patience…and by doing such be an example unto others????? 

Think well about it…and remember that the next time such moments show up their ugly heads. 

Don’t let your temper get the best of you. 

Be kind, be understanding and do what God would want you to do!

Abuse of the marriage covenant

Here’s a great marriage vow:

“I will be with you, no matter what happens to us and between us.  If you should become blind tomorrow, I will be there.  If you achieve no success and attain no status in our society, I will be there.  When we argue and are angry, as we inevitably will, I will work to bring us together.  When we seem totally at odds and neither of us is having needs fulfilled, I will persist in trying to understand and in trying to restore our relationship.  When our marriage seems utterly sterile and going nowhere at all, I will believe that it can work and I will want it to work and I will do my part to make it work.  And when all is wonderful and we are happy, I will rejoice over our life together, and continue to strive to keep our relationship growing and strong.” ~~ Elizabeth Achtemeier

I don’t know how different it is from the usual “for better for worse, till death do us part” Church vow. But when we say the marriage vow in Church, we are literally saying our spouses are supposed to love us “no matter what” and always find us beautiful or handsome, no questions asked. Of course, that’s the essence of the marriage vow.

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But sometimes we take advantage of that binding agreement and just let ourselves go intentionally in so many ways. We go like, oh how great it feels that we’ve just signed a contract that binds the other person to us for their whole life and nothing, except sexual infidelity, can save their skin! Sweet! Now I can relax, for every bad action or inaction of mine as long as it is not infidelity, should technically be coped with, endured and at best forgiven. Per the vow or covenant we’ve just entered into, everything is allowed as long as it does not border on infidelity…Hurray!

I vowed to love you “no matter what” so now you are at liberty to take your looks for granted! You can now just let yourself eat all the junk foods ever made, grow fat and out of shape. Oh, he should just understand that I’m now a mother and childbirth, raising children, taking care of him and all that just makes many a woman get out of shape. She should just understand that the ever-increasing responsibilities, stressful nature of my job, late night eating and all that just makes many a man develop a pot belly. Just understand and accept it as it is…so I wouldn’t have to put in any effort.

The deed is done, you have now taken the “no matter what” vow, so you can now stop giving much attention to your physique and every other thing as you used to and just corner your partner with the “no matter what” attitude whenever he/she raises a concern. Just remind him/her of the “no matter what” vow they took so they can stop whining about things you feel you cannot change. You think that’s a really safe zone? How sweet!

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Well, these and many others are the sentiments/frustrations shared by many. Problem is too many people treat marriage as a place of arrival, acceptance and comfort; a kind of destination that they arrive at and then everything else in terms of effort stops. People don’t put as much effort into bettering themselves in marriage like they did in the dating phase. After all, if it’s Christian, it never should be broken on any other grounds, right? And then upon that, if you are a man, you are allowed to force your wife into subjection no matter all the ills you do, right? How sad. That’s how God wants it?

“It is so easy to take a spouse for granted, and to take intimacy for license. We can subconsciously think since we’re married, I don’t have to be careful to be polite. We have to love each other regardless, so I can just speak without thinking about how it is perceived” ~~ Shaunti Feldhahn

Right after marriage, many people begin to take so many things for granted. The problem is not the reality that the “no matter what” covenant marriage puts us in. The problem is to be a Christian yet hide consciously or unconsciously behind that and not put in any effort to better anything. I think that is a way of dishonoring your partner and your marriage and making God look stupid for instituting marriage and giving ground rules. Nothing must be taken for granted in marriage. Marriage (and all that comes with it) should not put an end to personal development. We must not pick up a habit of putting our spouses through the “no matter what” test, especially when it is something we can make the effort to change for the betterment of the union.

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The caution is that sometimes it becomes too late to salvage anything and we must not let ourselves get to that point. And I hope it is the Bible that said:

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
~~ James 4:17

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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Image source: www.federalna.ba

God, Sex and Marriage

I subscribe to marriage devotionals always. That’s because I always do not like a day to end without reading something on marriage…just anything, as long as it’s related to marriage. I find Christian devotionals on marriage the best choice. 

This is what I’m currently subscribed to; and today’s reading was quite interesting that I felt I should share. 

So here it goes:

Title: God Has An Opinion About Sex

Everyone has an opinion about sex. But did you know that God also has an opinion… a definite, distinct perspective? Unfortunately, many Christians have confused the voice of Christian leaders for the opinion of God. When it comes to sex, Christian leaders throughout the ages have had differing opinions on the topic. Here’s a brief sample…

Nothing is so much to be shunned as sexual relations. ~~St. Augustine.

The Holy Spirit leaves the room when a married couple has sex, even if they do it without passion. ~~Peter Lombard, respected 12th century theologian.

Intercourse is never without sin. ~~Martin Luther.

If anyone says that sex itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. ~~C.S. Lewis.

A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. ~~John Piper.

No wonder Christians are confused. Who speaks for God? 

Ultimately, God speaks for Himself through His inspired Word. If you want to know God’s opinion, look no further than the Bible. It may surprise you that the Bible has quite a bit to say on the topic. Some of it you’ll love and some of it is difficult to accept. 

When a person like you or me has an opinion, it’s just that – an opinion. When God has an opinion, we call it something else – the truth. Truth is the one opinion against which every other opinion is measured. 

We all have thoughts and beliefs about sex that are not based on truth. Perhaps your misinformation about sex even came from Christian sources. However, if you truly want to see the gift of sexuality as it was created to be experienced, you must be willing to expose the lies you’ve believed as measured by the truth of God’s Word. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the primary sources that formed your opinion on sex? Can you identify any lies you believe about sex?

The End

(PS: Hope you found it interesting too? Let me know what you think. Share your thoughts with us)  
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Unmarried sex and pregnancy

Just “misguidedly” get pregnant without being married and you will know whether the church that claims it loves you or everybody (sinners included) really do. If they don’t call you names, shame you, roll eyes at you like angels…come back and tell me. The church has a history and statistics in that area.

 

The same people that will treat you in church like dirt when your sins or “shortcomings” come to the open, are the same people who indulge in secret sins…some more grave than yours. It’s simple…the church’s attitude screams “do it but don’t get caught”; hide it as much as you can, otherwise you are in for trouble.

 

That is why the ones who get pregnant and immediately marry as “damage control” are more “accepted” by the church than the ones who unfortunately don’t. Trust me, when a church leader gets somebody pregnant, you can bet that the church will encourage and support him to immediately marry her. In that situation, the Church is OK with applying the Exodus 22:16 scripture to support the action [Read old post on that scripture here: Fornication…]. They will do everything possible to clean the mess of a church leader from getting into the public domain. We’ve seen, heard, and read of it countless times. But let the tables turn and a mere church member get tangled in same situation. You will see a different scripture and modus operandi being applied or enforced. Let a church elder or Pastor’s child get in the same mess as a mere member and just watch how both situations will be handled. The church cares more about protecting the image of its leaders and their household than the image of its members.

 

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When we say there is no fairness or equality in the church and can never be, people say we are just “fault finders”. Well, whatever it is, some of us choose to live with the simple principle that when you raise your expectations of church, just like anything else, you risk getting hurt. So, just do Christ; don’t do Church.

 

The church as a human setting is full of judgmental people. Period! If you don’t want to be judged and discriminated against, don’t go to church; otherwise, keep an open eye and open mind and expect the worse to sometimes happen. It’s simple…the church preaches forgiveness and repentance but judges and shames “saved” people who fall back into certain sins! Just accept it because it’s the truth everywhere. Some sins are pardonable, others are not…and by now you should know where the sin of unmarried pregnancy falls. The church treats it as an abomination, a detestable thing that is deserving of hate…and not love. If you can deal with it, stay. If you can’t, leave and find solace where your soul will get the peace it needs. Your destiny is not tied to a church, it’s tied to Christ.

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But truth for me is, no child should be treated as an abomination whether conceived in wedlock or out of wedlock. Sadly, the church will rather be happier you secretly kill or abort a child and come back to the front roll next Sunday and shout “glory hallelujah” as if nothing happened. But a church that makes you see a “child from a forgivable act” as an abomination should not be a good environment for you and your child. You may not like it but whether you do or not, nobody goes to or stays at a place where they are disliked. Well, I wouldn’t.

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Nobody says churches should encourage promiscuity, sin or wrongdoing. Whether they think shaming people deters others from same acts; or accepting, loving and supporting them encourages others into same acts…whichever way they look at it, the ultimate should be doing what Jesus would have done. No good parent teaches or encourages his/her children to be promiscuous, but when they go wayward (because one can never rule out that possibility, even God or Jesus wouldn’t), what do good parents do?

 

Nonetheless, whatever the failings of the church, may God grant grace that we flee fornication so we would not have to deal with all the negatives of unmarried pregnancies.

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© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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A holistic Christianity…please?

“When you have this very vanilla-type faith presentation, of everybody smiling like they just got their teeth cleaned? That’s not where real people live! Real people live with being Christians with cancer, Christians with AIDS, Christians coming back home with limbs missing from war, Christians being evicted and Christians losing their homes. If you don’t paint that picture too, then I think that you are misrepresenting what the faith really can look like. The faith is not always sunny days. If we don’t do that, then I think that we are selling the wrong message”
~~Kirk Franklin

Unethical Prophets and “Men of God”

There’s so much ethical crisis in the Church (leadership) today, from mishandling and dishonesty with church finances to living extravagant lifestyles at expense of poor church members’ offerings, proud, arrogant and immoral lifestyles, showing no concern for views and trials of church members, increasing interest in cheap fame/popularity and misusing God’s anointing, among others.

When it comes to spiritual things or callings, some people believe they are a law unto themselves and don’t need being regulated. They decide what they want to do as long as they can hide behind the idea that it is a spiritual direction from God…or wherever they get their direction from. They give no regards to normal ethics even in its simplest forms. It appears lately there are no ethics to spiritual callings and the “office of Prophets” especially appears the most unethical. We see too many unethical Prophets and “men of God” these days that an increasing number of people no longer appreciate prophecy or believe in it. And many times one will wonder if they ever learn or are taught anything like ministerial ethics.

What I personally don’t fathom sometimes is how we often see in our churches many unethical Prophets and “men of God” who put people’s personal issues out to the congregation during “deliverance services” claiming they have received one revelation or the other from God about the person. I’ve got no problems with deliverance services or revelations, but I do feel sometimes that the fact that God reveals something to you during your ministration about somebody’s situation shouldn’t give you the right or permission to put it out there just like that without even weighing in on the impact that could yield later. If the revelation is about the person, I believe there is a good way to tell the person without screaming in the microphone about it to the entire congregation!

There are a lot of very sensitive issues that come out mostly in churches and in the aftermath of the “revelations”, peoples’ lives are left worse off…mostly because of the victimization and ill attitude they encounter later from church folks.

I’m tempted to believe in Bible days when God gives his Prophets a revelation about or a message for somebody, the message is for the person’s hearing alone, whether it is a good or bad message? The fact that it is a congregational service doesn’t mean when you call someone forward and a message comes to you about the person you blurt it out there in the microphone, whether it be a good or bad message?

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People are told “I see you getting married before the year ends” to resounding cheers and then the year ends and nothing happens and church folks begin to jeer, gossip and do all sort of things. And many times the Prophets are “always right” to many Christians so when the things they declare on people don’t see the light of day, then they blame is on the person who apparently must have gone to commit some sin or not prayed on the prophecy or not acted in ways to bring the prophecy into being so they suffer for it in the sight of other members.

People are told “I see God calling you to be this and that” and some people just forcefully align their destinies with what the Prophet has said and of course the expectations of Church folks to function as such and so end up struggling to function in callings that as it may God himself has not destined for them. Then there are others who after fasting and praying themselves on the Prophet’s “authentic declaration” and being convinced the calling is not for them and so make no effort to “become what the Prophet said” are looked at some way by Church folks; the courageous ones questioning them why they have “refused” to become what Prophet said they will become.

I remember a true story a friend of mine shared with me. She narrated how her church once hosted a Prophet who during his ministration called forward a lady chorister and told the whole congregation “what God has revealed to him” about the lady. And his revelation was that the said lady is a fornicator and has an unholy relationship with her boyfriend who promised marrying her but has been abusing her yet for the love she has for him she is still with him. According to her the whole church was thrown into a state of murmurings, including her fellow choristers; and the lady couldn’t bear the public shame that God apparently was putting her through and broke down crying. According to my friend she herself felt so embarrassed and couldn’t imagine being in the lady’s shoes and all that might be going through her mind. Apparently in her words, the lady is one of the choristers who sing as if heaven has engulfed the church so it was a good day for the church folks who were screaming “eeii” “eeii” to the revelation. She wondered whether the Prophet couldn’t have handled the revelation meant for the lady in a much better way or he was too much under the “anointing” that ethics didn’t matter. Weeks later she told me she hasn’t been seeing the lady singing with her fellow choristers again and she suspects she might have stopped coming to church.

Then there was another lady called forward of whom the prophet said her mother is a witch and the reason for all her many misfortunes and she wondered what use is that sensitive information that can wreck a family to her my friend as a congregant to know. She asked me rhetorically, couldn’t they the congregation have still prayed for the said lady without that information being blurted out? Then she said if it were the lady she would just have stopped the church because she can’t imagine all the eyes that will be looking at her every Sunday and perhaps screaming in their heads “here comes the daughter of a witch”. “Even if my own mother is a witch and I even know it myself, there’s no way I am going to announce it to a whole church so why should God be interested in doing that?”, she expressed in worry.

And the examples go on and on and all over in almost every “spiritual” church. Not everybody is comfortable with every detail about them, whether good or bad, thrown out to public domain all in the name of prophesy? What code of ethics do ministers of God work with anyways?

Many men of God are doing so many unethical and humiliating things to people in the Church all in the name of the practice of spiritual callings. I’m not a Prophet to understand why and maybe I’m not “spiritual” so cannot discern spiritual things with my carnal mind but I sure do not think God’s intention for the prophetic and pastoral calling is how we see it being practiced.

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As for some of the Prophets and “men of God” who apparently God reveals football match and election results to so that we know and do what about, and whose only motive is to pride themselves with public declarations or “prophecies” about the death of people and not to save them, the least said about them the better. For now all I can say is, if of all the things happening in the world the only ones God cares about to inform us to just know for knowing sake are football and election results, then “I can’t think far” as Ghanaians have coined. And who knows, maybe mere prediction and soothsaying (perhaps under the influence of having eaten too much) is the same thing as prophesying under the unction of the Holy Spirit; or maybe we as Christians are just too gullible.

Well, the thing with opinions…maybe I’m getting it all wrong but whatever it is, God help his people!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

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