When I got to Heaven

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door
Not by the beauty of it all
By the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp
The thieves, the liars, the sinners
The alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Uncle Bill, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must have made a mistake.”

“And why is everyone so quiet
So somber? Please give me a clue.”
“Hush, child,” said He. “They’re all in shock
No one thought they’d see you!”

Never judge another person – leave that up to God!

Chaos in God’s House

We have become a bunch of pretentious liars in the house of God.

How sad that the same people mounting holy pulpits and preaching salvation to unbelievers out there are using cunning ways to scam, dupe and abuse believers within their fold.

It’s like drawing people to God and turning around to draw them away from God.

#ShortNotes

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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

Dating is easy…Marriage is hard work

​Marriage preparations do not end at the altar

You are allowed a temporary sigh of relief and accomplishment at the altar…but almost immediately begins real work; a new reality. Dating is easy…Marriage is hard work. 

When in doubt, remember all the billion people who couldn’t keep it together even at the easy dating stage. If dating could not last…marriage could not too. You may not like that reality but it’s just the simple truth. 

God meant marriage to be forever, of course your Pastor told you that; but it’s not always forever if you don’t put in the works. And who says your Pastor’s marriage is all rosy and a heavenly Jerusalem 24/7; don’t believe that lie, they just want you to see it that way. They go through every thing every normal marriage goes through; are they Jesus? How will you feel if your Pastor comes to say on the pulpit “things are not going too well with my marriage but we’re still working things out”. You think it’s not a possibility? The Pastor’s marriage has good times and bad times just like every other marriage. 

There are no perfect marriages; yours wouldn’t be either. So, chin up and let go of all the fantasies! 

Pressures of young married couples

Young married couples need money to run their life. Once you marry in our part of the world, your responsibilities skyrocket because it’s never about just you and your partner. There’s so much to do and there’s so much external pressures…especially from our families. You don’t have to complain in our part of the world…you just have to cope; it’s called being “responsible“.

We’ve seen many young couples unable to survive because many fail to sit down and plan their monthly expenditure early in their marriage. When you do, you’ll actually realize you have very little to save for your future after trying so hard to satisfy “everybody”.

Everybody is trying to get money out of you in our part of the world and funny enough, they see it as their “right” to have a part in your small money. Family, friends, church, strangers, etc. Some take it as a loan and do not pay back, perhaps thinking your situation is better than theirs. Others think it is their “human right” to demand money from you just because they are your family. The Churches especially, if they have their own way, they will take all your monthly salary and tell you to go depend on God’s supply.

Many churches these days don’t care the source of your money or how their members make a living. It doesn’t matter to them how young folks make their money (genuinely or not), as long as they bring it to Church. The more you give in church, the more you’re liked and the closer you get to (or the better attention you get from) the “man of God”. The more affluent you seem, the more the Church tries to get closer to you or act as if they care about you. Minus the money, you’re on your own. Some Pastors live on Church funds (which of course keeps growing) so it doesn’t matter to them to even think about the kind of financial responsibilities their members carry outside the Church.

Out of over spirituality too, many struggling young couples themselves too don’t mind throwing money at Church even if they can’t feed their family. If their family member is in real need even, they will rather send the money to church than help the family member with it and not have anything (e.g. tithe) to give at Church.

Some churches have no clue at all what work their young members do. In fact, they know close to nothing about the people they call “members”. They care rather more about “members” bringing in money to give tithe, offertory, covenant offering and all the many others they have devised in our part of the world.

We are living in a time where many people are doing very dubious things just to make money and some feel encouraged or rather pushed by our churches and their constant demand for money and so will do just anything to “save face” in church or feel they also belong. Imagine how close you are to the “man of God” or the position you hold in Church and most times that he asks for members to sow “a seed befitting your status” you are unable to give. Some Pastors will even force you to give by calling out your name or putting you on the spot with all manner of tricks.

But the sad truth is that, most times when young married couples or “members” are even in need, family and friends offer help faster than the Churches we give all our lives to with 100% religious devotion. In fact, you even feel more comfortable going to family and friends for help than the Church. The Church mostly becomes the last resort when all avenues have been exhausted. How many churches even help their poor members? Most times, they even take longer to help. It is mostly when “members” need the Church to come through for them that the Church starts acting funny with their “are you a member in good standing” antics, but surprisingly, one’s membership never comes into question when the Church needs your money (tithes,offerings,fund raisings for projects, etc).

The financial pressures are just so much on young married couples…but many times too, we are our own enemies because we try to do too much to please everybody. We must learn to live within our means, always watch our finances and have good financial plans for our life. We must live with the mind that help is never coming from anywhere. It’s sad because I often see young married couples depend on alms just to get by, yet still give all they have without thought to church, family and friends…just to save face and thereafter wallow back into poverty. I don’t know what kind of mentality that is though. 🤔

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Image source: El Carna Studios

Church Bully & Pastor Protection Program

There is a particular stereotype whenever any scandal or issue involving a Pastor and a member of a Church creeps up in many of our churches throughout the world. That stereotype is that the pastor is always right and the member’s only motive is to destroy.

The entire Christendom switches into a “Pastor Protection” default: the Pastor is the saint who’s above reproach and the member an agent of the devil who’s allowing himself or herself to be used to destroy or cause division within the body of Christ.

Well, it appears God has favorites who are always the “men of God” and He cares nothing about His sheep, who must always be put down, shamed and suffer Church abuses in silence. Perhaps, that’s surely no intention of God and He actually sanctions no such unfair treatments within the body of Christ.

It’s sad that we see scandals being committed by the people we hold out and place confidence in as “men of God” everyday and we continue to rather protect them and not call them out. Many times, we the victims are rather forced into a culture of silence or take “let God fight my battle for me” stances and bottle up our pains at the expense of protecting the reputations of these abusive men of God and never realizing that the only thing that achieves is the liberty and emboldenment it gives them to abuse or prey on other innocent and unsuspecting lives.

If you have ever come close to being sexually abused or violated as a woman by a man of God who you see as a father figure or hold in high esteem, you would never love the experience or the psychological damage it leaves with you for the rest of your life, yet alone wish a fellow woman or sister to shelve her torment and not call out a sex offender who doubles as a man of God.

Me as a man can never even forget the traumatizing experience of someone very close to me who came near to being raped or violated by a “Pastor friend of the family” who she looks up to as a brother or father figure, such that I boil inside anytime I hear his name come up, let alone imagine the mental state of the person who actually survived the ordeal. Too many times it keeps coming into my mind and I keep telling myself, I don’t know how long I can keep this Pastor person’s identity protected, even though he actually didn’t succeed in the act (or so I have been told) and would surely one day blow his cover if I should actually hear of any similar act by him. Only God knows how many people his so called “moment of weakness” actually prevailed against or whether it actually was a one-time unsuccessful stunt; nobody knows, but the mind never forgets these things.

So, yes, I can never trust any human being, even a man of God as a “Saint”; and I resent it when people just jump to the defence of men of God caught in scandals and outrightly label their accusers as agents of division. You think God doesn’t love the victim as much as the alleged offender? Why must anybody’s word against a man of God be shot down even before it even leaves their mouth as if these leaders of our Churches can never perpetrate any evil?

Perhaps Busola Dakolo’s claims against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, may be untrue; but I sure agree with her words that God has no favorites. We are all God’s Children and stand equal before His saving grace. He loves us all the same and must give us all equal hearing. The Church must not teach us otherwise! These are surely dangerous times when you expect Church leadership to show good morals and not play cover ups that makes God look unfair and unjust.

We preach equality before the laws of the land but never before Christ. Unless the Church wants to tell us it is an Animal Farm where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. The fact that we would even want Pastors’ images or reputation protected in the church irrespective of the wrongs they actually perpetrate or are accused of is even sickening.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

The right attire for Church (God’s presence)

On Sundays, we put a lot of effort into dressing to look our best for God and sometimes it appears the way we dress is what actually makes us accepted by God in His presence. Many have equated not dressing one’s best when going into God’s presence to having total disrespect for God because one wouldn’t dress just anyhow to meet a renowned worldly personality, how much more God. Most churches even put more emphasis on our looks before God on Sunday mornings than how receptive our hearts should be for God’s word coming into Church. Perhaps a clean look equals a clean heart for God.

There are rules for dressing in some churches

Here’s a little story I once read years ago (can’t remember the source) and that changed my perspective on what exactly the right attire (or attitude) should be for Church:

One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out Bible. The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories.

As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it. As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. “Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship.” The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.

The next Sunday, he showed back up for the service wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again, he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the man and said, “I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church.” “I did,” replied the old cowboy. “If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?” asked the preacher.

“Well, sir, God told me that He didn’t have a clue what I should wear. He said He’d never been in here before.”

Well, I don’t know what you make of this story but it sure “touched my life” and perspective forever. Hope it does same for you. Do share your thoughts with us.

(PS: This may be a very sensitive topic for some. I do hope readers don’t take things out of context. The goal is not to condemn or approve of church rules on dressing).

©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