A LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY SCREW UPS


By Akin Ojumu

Glitz have come to characterize much of present-day Christian Church. In these perilous times, the body of Christ is better known for its glamor than the saving grace of the Almighty God. The fervent passion for lost souls is no longer in vogue. Instead, the household of faith has turned into an open market of carnal urges, a cornucopia of lustful pleasures.

Gone are days when the tabernacles of worship were temporary tents pitched for easy dismantling on the day God says, “You have stayed long enough on this mountain.” Contemporary centers of worship are shining crystal cathedrals and magnificent gold-plated edifices that glitter under the rays of the shining sun. Leading down to the wide gates of these catacombs of reprobate souls are broad roads, and the multiple lane express highways are full of men and women attired in costly apparels worn to compete with fellow travelers on the road to perdition.  

As you step inside the monument erected to vainglory, you find an interior that rivals the palace of pagan kings. Up in front, set upon the hill of pride, is a golden throne on which the man-god alone and no one else seats. Seating right next to him, in her mini-throne of haughtiness, is the woman-goddess, with outstretched neck, wanton eyes, and strutting along as she goes, with ornaments jingling on her ankles. Lesser gods - the priesthood of the shrine - take the front row seats. The back-row pews are reserved for everyone else, the birds of the air who have come to perch on the branches of the mustard seed tree. Separating the 3 enclaves are impenetrable curtains of steely hearts.

Homilies in this setting are like Hollywood produced movie scenes. The music is tight, trendy and Grammy quality, pumped out through huge loudspeakers suspended from the cathedral ceiling. The sound level, hundreds of decibels strong, is so loud it could melt the wax stuck in anyone's ears. And the beat is up tempo, it excites the flesh causing it to want to stand and dance, but on the soul, it has no effect, leaving it pretty much the same and totally unscathed.

As the music continues to play a dirge for deadened souls, it is time for the man-god himself to rise and offer oblations to whatever sensual spirit is in charge on that day. Resplendent in his ten thousand dollar suit and snake skin shoes, the demigod looks like a life-sized cutout straight out of the front page of GQ magazine. In his rich baritone voice, he offered the well-rehearsed and oft-repeated platitudes to the listening itchy ears.

A chorus of, “Amen, Pastor. Preach, Pastor,” punctuates every syllable of falsehood that flows from man-god’s poisonous lips. By the time he’s done, the insensate souls have emptied their wallets to the last farthing onto the offering bowls passed from pew to pew. And the spellbound souls return home same way they came, having not experienced the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit.

That, in a nutshell, is the sorry state of most of the modern-day Church. And it breaks God's heart what the Church has become. For this is not the Church the Lamb of God laid down His life to save.

Born in a manger of humble beginnings, the Body of Christ emerged in simplicity on the dusty sand of God’s Holy land. Out of the things the world considered foolish came the stones with which the foundation of the House of God was laid. Its holding pillars and corner stones were made of bricks forged in the crucible which, judged by the standard of what the world considered strong, seemed pretty weak.

Time and time again, God has shown that He does not think like the world thinks, neither does He walk in the ways of this world. In thought and deeds, God and man couldn’t be further apart, and the degree of separation is light years apart.

God specializes in hiring to His divine service the broken vessels of this world. Men and women, who on the outside don’t amount to much, God takes and pours into them His heavenly treasures. While the world focuses on the outward appearance, God peers into the depth of people’s souls, and He sees the worth in them that they themselves don’t see in themselves.

To save the world, God gathered to himself a team of extraordinary screwups. For the wonderful work of salvation, He raised up a cast of characters, men and women of ill or no repute. God did not choose the wise, or the nobles, or the wealthy, not even the religious. Instead, He picked from the outcasts, the unlearned, and from among those that have been left to rot upon the dunghill of irrelevance.  

Assembled to reconcile the world back to Himself, God’s A-team comprised of a stuttering son of foreign slaves who was also a prince of Egypt. Among the number was a gentile whore, to whom the lineage of the Savior would be traced. There was a shepherd boy who killed a giant with a sling and a stone, was made king, and then ended up an adulterer and a murderer. In the lineup of God’s squad, chosen to set the world free from sin, were unenlightened and uninformed fishermen, a scarlet woman who came with an alabaster box of sweet perfume, a diminutive cutthroat tax cheat who climbed up the sycamore tree, and a crusading zealot who once went on a rampage of persecution against those who preached the message. The captain of the team, and head of the body, was Himself born among bleating sheep to a teenage virgin and an ordinary carpenter of lowly estate.

Filled with the power of the Most High God, this ragtag team of insignificant souls would go on to turn the world upside down. Emboldened by the Holy Spirit, they stood up to kings and defied powerful men. Owning no horses or chariots, they traveled far across the world on foot and with only the clothes on their backs. Going from nation to nation and town to town they spread the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever they went the hopeless folks heard the good news and the broken-hearted received healing. They brought deliverance to those who were held captive, opened the eyes of the blind, and broke the chain of oppression to release those that are bound.

Like foxes without holes and birds without nests, the people whom God used went about their calling with no roof over their heads. They took no offerings and collected no tithes, they preached the gospel free of charge. Night and day they toiled to earn a living so they would not be a burden on anyone even as they preached God's good news.

Boasting of no wealth or influence, wearing no purple robe of royalty, and seeking no favors from kings or princes, their very words thundered across empires and stroked fear in the heart of sinners. Without eloquence of speech or the wisdom of men, they laid waste to the camp of Satan and built a strong army for the kingdom of God.

In contrast to the monstrosity of gross idolatry of the present-day church, God is more interested in simple men with humble hearts, who use simple words inspired by the Holy Spirit, to turn the hearts of the children of men back unto Himself. This is the Church for whom Jesus laid down His life on the cross of Calvary.

Upon His return, it is a Church without blemish that the Lion of the tribe of Judah will present to Himself. In His wrath, the King of kings will cleanse it to get rid of the spots of corruption, purify it to eliminate the wrinkles of ungodliness, and purge it to uproot every single tare sown among the wheats.

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