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From Pastor Sam’s Desk
Wednesday February 14 was Ash Wednesday in the church calendar. It marked the beginning of the Lenten season. It was also the beginning of the six weeks that will take the church to Easter Sunday. What does that means for you? First, it makes you a part of the Christian
heritage. Our Christian faith was not born the day you were born. It began 2000 years ago when Jesus came to die for you. Second, it gives you the opportunity to identify with the sufferings of Christ during his ministry on earth. These are the expectations from you throughout the season of lent. Spend each and every day repenting and reflecting on the sacrifice of Calvary. Calvary was the place where your sins were paid for in full. Lent demands therefore, some level of sacrifice on your part. What can you sacrifice as a response for what Jesus did for you? In case you are wondering, there will at least, be one corporate opportunity for you to respond in kind. Throughout the Holy Week namely, March 26 - 31, we shall observe our annual “Week of Sacrifice” as a week of sober reflection and abstinence from much indulgences. In practical terms, you will be expected to save from food and drinks abstinence and be ready to offer your savings as a special offering to Jesus during our Easter Sunday celebration. Get excited about this opportunity!
As you are already aware, March 10 is our Church’s Annual Meeting. As has been the practice in the past, issues relating to church economy will be lifted and positions filled at various levels of our church life including our own Executive Committee. You must all pray for this process so that both the returning and new leaders will be chosen into the work with great enthusiasm and dedication. But in addition to your prayers, you are expected attend this important meeting so that our congregation will be well represented.
Our new preaching schedule just kicked off with the theme “Experiencing the Power of God”. Under this theme, we shall examine the demonstration of the power of God in the lives of a number of people in the Scriptures. This theme will lead us through Easter when this power raised Jesus from the dead. I urge you not to miss any of these topics.
Two important programs are coming up during the season. March 24 will be an Easter musical outreach in Hallunda Centrum at the usual
time of 12-2.30 pm. We thank the Lord for the continuing opportunity to take the gospel out to the shopping mall. Also, our usual Good Friday “To Golgotha with Jesus” will be replaced with a Good Friday evening Gospel music experience tagged “Sound of Majesty”. We may have one or two guest artists join us on this day. Get excited about these and other events coming up in the coming weeks and months.
The final program alert worth noting is that we shall be marking our 10th anniversary this year in grand style during the period 1st-7th October. Some of you will be called upon to take up some responsibilities towards this. We hope you will gladly answer that call.
Soon this darkness of winter will begin to give way to brightness of Spring and Summer. Until that happens, may the Lord remain your light and the Rock of your salvation, always keeping in mind our theme for the year, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
With lots of love from my wife and I.
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
Yet again, another year is fast racing past us. If like me, you are yet to come to terms with the fact that effectively, by the time you read this, there will be less than a month for 2017 to be consigned to the annals of history just like those before it.
Each day you slept and woke up, you helped the numbers to reduce while the number of your days on earth increased. One day after another we all advanced towards something; something not quite well known to us, leaving behind many yesterdays’ totally impossible to return to. This reminds me of something King David said in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We have had over eleven months since January to learn this great lesson of doing like David enjoined us to do. My question for you then is, “What have you learnt?” Have you numbered your days? Have you “gained a heart of wisdom”, as the NIV would put it? As we watch the year come to and, perhaps this is my challenge to you to keep pondering over, especially as everything indicates that the end of the age is near. In other words, the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, is knocking on the door. He will come again just like he said he would, (John 14:1-3).
The Advent season reminds us that Christmas smells in the air. Nearly everything all around us bears witness to that-the roadways, the shopping malls, the garage sales and the grocery stores. The frenzy has indeed begun effectively. But, just like I have always challenged you in the past during seasons such as this, do not allow the message, the real reason for the season to be drowned out by the sights and sounds of commerce. We must not be silent this time! Satan wants the message behind Christmas to fade away. We must never allow it! Therefore, tell everyone around you that Jesus Christ was given to the world as the Saviour. He is the reason we celebrate. Again refuse to be drawn into an attitude of political correctness. You offend no one when you wish them “Happy Christmas” rather than “Happy holiday”. Christmas is about Jesus Christ, pure and simple! It is not just a holiday. Its purpose is to remind the world, your friends and associates that his presence will never go away. He is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. Be a bearer of that Good News this Christmas! When you do, you would have fulfilled the real purpose for this wonderful season.
The Year 2017
Join me to acknowledge the overwhelming faithfulness of God to me and to each one of you who made Equmeniakyrkan Hallunda (Int’l) your spiritual home during the period. We entered the year together and we are getting to the end of it together. To me, that’s nothing short of God’s faithfulness. Rather than death, the Lord added many lives to our church. Rather than funerals, we celebrated thanksgivings, dedications and birthdays possibly more than every single church within our community. God has been our healer, our deliverer in times of trials, our supplier in times of need, and our strength in times of weakness. Indeed, the Lord was our everything during the year 2017! We can all therefore bow in adoration and repeat the words of this one song that nearly became our anthem throughout the year, “Everything written about you is great!”
My final word is to appreciate each one who served the Lord faithfully through our Ministry this year. From all the Babafemi-led Executive Committee members to the leaders and members of every ministry group I say a big God bless you! You will not lose your reward in Jesus’ name!
Reflecting back, aside from our scheduled weekly programs, the Lord provided us with opportunities to let the Gospel out to members of our community. As you would recall, we played host to a couple of guest speakers including one from outside the shores of Sweden. In addition, we undertook evangelistic outreaches at both Hallunda Centrum and outside our church. Our summer picnic and the just-concluded International Cultural Week were also highlights of a year that helped us fulfil part of our cardinal objectives as the International congregation of our parish. I pray that the Lord will bless and cause all the seeds sown in peoples’ lives to germinate into mature faith in Christ in the name of Jesus Christ.
As we look to 2018, let’s all be determined to enthrone Him in our lives, family and church more than ever before. Brace up, for it is not yet time for rest. Fights remain to be fought, and victories remain to be won. But the Lord is on our side!
My wife and I wish you all a most blessed and happiest Christmas you’ve ever known!
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
My Beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, I most warmly welcome you back from whatever part of the world you’ve been to for your summer vacation. Isn’t it wonderful that God in his infinite wisdom gave us the idea of rest? He didn’t simply advice us to rest. He demonstrated it. God is the teacher who teaches through lived examples. We read that much in Genesis 2 verse 2, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” With no iota of doubt, rest is good, and good rest is most desirable. And so welcome back to work, to family but also to the huge work of the kingdom in our hands. Rest has to be a blessing by re-invigorating and reenergizing you for greater exploits. That the reason for it. I will also acknowledge those of you who held the saddle while the rest were away on vacation. God bless you real good, and I sincerely hope that you too will take the time to get yourselves some rest before the intense end of year activities set in.
As you may have observed, the summer lights are gradually giving way to autumn darkness. That will soon come with it the chills of Swedish winter that signal that 2017 is gradually winding down. But the darkness of winter, or the northern colds of Scandinavia are not enough to quench the fervency of spirit with which we must all approach all the many outreach and personal and congregational enrichment programs that lie before us. We will continue to bear witness to the gospel in all kinds of ways. To do this, we must all embrace the many exciting activities detailed in our worship program schedule recently released. There are troves of blessings for you in there. But also, there are outreach opportunities waiting for you to be part of so that we will be able to sustain our three cardinal objects namely, Preaching the Gospel, Building Community, and Touching Lives with the Love of Jesus. To these and other objectives we must remain faithful.
Please, note that we have a major program coming up in October namely, our annual International Cultural Week (ICW). The details are in the worship bulletin. I implore all our member nations to prepare adequately for this important event. God willing, some eminent personalities including some African Ambassador in Sweden will be in attendance. Also, we are working hard to be covered by the news media including channel 10 Christian TV. The Lord will help us in Jesus name!
Lastly, I want to thank the Lord for the various upgrading currently going on in our church building which I am sure many of you may have noticed. I implore you to support these efforts through increasing your giving but also, through answering the call for helping hands each time the need arises. I thank the church board and everyone in leadership for your faithfulness to the calling you have. God bless you, and God bless Equmeniakyrkan Hallunda in Jesus glorious name!
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
Friends in Christ, I bring you greetings once again in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I thank the Lord for the great outpouring of his love and for the sustained growth that we are experiencing. You are a significant part of that growth and I do hope that you will see it as God’s immeasurable grace poured out to you.
As you all well know, we are going through a period of transition within the rank and file of our leadership. Time has gone so very fast since March of last year when The Executive Committee under the leadership of brother Babafemi Martins began its one year leadership tenure of our congregation. During the months between then and now, our congregation experienced lots of progress which are well known and appreciated by each one us. I personally thank every member of his team for the good work and for being very supportive of me in this work. We welcome with open arms those of them that may be returned to their offices, while wishing the rest all of God’s blessings as they move to other aspects of the work. Let us trust the Lord with much prayers to move the work of our congregation to the next level as we prepare to enter into another year of ministry in the mighty name of Jesus.
From Grass to Grace
Our just-concluded winter outreach revival conference was a huge success to the glory of God. I hope we were all able to understand and appreciate the power of testimony which was what that program was about. Rev. Nyangu’s story was doubtless, an example of that. We heard how the Lord can pick a person out of the place of obscurity and announce the person with the megaphone of heaven. You heard that your humblest beginnings are no barriers to God’s promotion, and you heard that nothing is impossible to anyone who dares to seek God with desperation and faith. This reminds me about God’s word in Jeremiah 28:13 where God says thus; “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” If you can seek him with the kind of desperation of a young Muslim cattle rearer from a remote Nothern Nigeria village, then you are candidate of divine translation; translation from nothingness to something, from ordinary to extraordinary and from irrelevance to indispensability.
Over the next five weeks or so, we will be exploring mostly what our responsibilities as agents of transformation through our own testimonies are in our Sunday sermons. Salvation comes with some responsibilities on our part. If you are a child of God then you have a story to tell. Your testimony is powerful enough to challenge your hearers to also put their trust in God. As one of my teachers once said, when you witness to someone, you are like a beggar who is telling another beggar where you got bread. That’s powerful isn’t it? That’s all you are required to do. Tell your godless neighbour, your unbelieving friend, your depressed work colleague etc, about the man who gave you salvation, joy, peace and wholeness. People can doubt your preaching but they cannot doubt your lived experiences. Your story is the most potent evangelism tool you have. Use it! When mixed with prayer, you will see great rewards by way of the souls you will gain to the kingdom.
Finally, as I have always urged you, continue to bear one another up in prayer, especially as we see the enemy bring on all forms of attacks on God’s people. Let us bear one another’s burdens as the Scripture urges us to, (Galatians 6:2). Look out for new people finding our church and find out what their needs are. That is the only way we can win people for the Lord.
Blessings and peace!
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
AN END OF YEAR MESSAGE FROM PASTOR SAM’S DESK
Another year is nearing its end and it’s time once more to look back with gratitude to the Lord for the journey so far. I call to mind the words of King David in Psalm 124 vs. 1 which says, “If the Lord had not been on our side—let Israel say—”. Well, we can all complete that statement with all that could have gone awfully wrong for us. Put the other way however, I can say that because God was on aside this year, things have turned out unimaginably well for the vast majority of us in our congregation. That’s in keeping with his word to us at the beginning of the year that despite the tough global challenges, he would lead all who would stay in touch with him in a good place, all who would walk hand-in-hand in blessed fellowship.
Evidently, not a single iota of his promise has fallen to the ground this far. Spiritual growth has been experienced by many who were surrendered, material blessings have been attained by many with some setting up or consolidating in their own businesses, some have witnessed divine interventions on immigration matters, healings have taken place, and there has been an explosion in the number of births leading to several child dedications. A number of adults were baptized, we witnessed some numerical growth and our church became an incredible channel of blessings to very many refugees and needy people in our neighbourhood through food and accessories distribution that took place during each day of the week and still does.
As a matter of fact, no church that I know of has experienced the level of activity that I have seen under our roof this year. Isn’t our God wonderful? Of course he is! Let his glorious name be praised! Not to say the least, help me to thank our God for the great open doors he has given lately to be able to take the gospel beyong the four walls of Sweden with a promise of even more doors ahead.
As the year 2016 comes to an end, permit me once more to appreciate all of you women and men who have worked tirelessly, as heirs and not as hirelings, to ensure that we accomplished the goals that we set for ourselves(or God set for us) this year. I will resist the temptation to name you person by person, but the one you have served knows you by name and will reward you “bigly” in due time. However, as your chief servant I say a big well done to you in Jesus name!
I now call on each one of you to join and let’s all finish the remaining weeks as strongly as we can. Isaiah 40:31 says that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”(NIV). There yet remains a couple of exciting activities to keep us near the Lord and one another until the curtain is drawn on 2016. Our spirit-filled prayer meetings and Sunday services continue uninterrupted. Our Christmas party/gift exchange on Christmas Eve; our annual cross-over night “Rejoice 2017” are both major events that you can all look forward to. Be sure to notify all your friends and family about these events. May the Lord shower you with his inexhaustible blessings as we edge towards the end in Jesus name!
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
Dearly beloved friends in Christ, it’s so good to see most of you back after the opportunity for rest and travels that the summer holidays provided for many of you. I want to believe the Lord that each person got the well-deserved time-out from the usual daily routines. For those of you who have not taken some time out from work to refresh I urge you to endeavour to do so. Rest is a God-ordained practice to keep body and soul functioning in full capacity.
The summer period for us as a congregation experienced little or no slowdown whatsoever in our activities. Instead, we experienced a couple of exciting events that provided many the opportunity to grow in our walk with the Lord. Among other remarkable programs were the wonderful Children’s Service in June which enabled us to experience the tremendous growth happening among our children through the dedicated and sacrificial service of our Sunday School teachers. We very deeply appreciate their good work. Other notable events include the annual clean-up of our church, our annual picnic, Centrum evangelical outreach and leadership Seminar, not to forget the Women’s Fellowship retreat and thanksgiving which took place only at this August’s ending. Worthy of mention as well is the first-ever summer music classes organized to impart musical skills on our children during the summer months. We thank all parents who responded promptly to the call to purchase personal digital pianos for their children. These lessons will continue once the Happiness Club resumes on September 15. Lastly, divine arrangement opened up the door to daily food delivery from LIDL Sweden to our church. Since the month of June, our church has become a hub of help for refugees as well as for many of us as assorted food items are delivered right to the door steps of our church. We thank the Lord for making us a blessing to our community, and I personally thank my beloved wife who seized the moment of her meeting with the head of the Deacon Ministry in Santa Clara Cathedral in Stockholm centre to secure this wonderful favour from the Lord. The Lord bless you real good!
We played host to some guest Ministers during the summer period. Evangelist Neil Sundblad of “Go forth” Ministries, California USA was with us in May while Pastor Prosper Kanayo of Living Waters Unlimited Church, Lagos Nigeria ministered at our All Night vigil in July as well as at two different Sunday Services in July and August respectively. We thank the Lord for the success of both visits. Yet a couple of other exciting events still lie ahead of us before the year runs out. As most of you are already aware, come October 7-9, we will showcase the many colours of our church in what I have tagged “International Culture Week.” During that week, Rev. Augustine Iwendi of Divine Glory in Christ Pentecostal Ministries Abuja, Nigeria will be among us. More details of this great week will be made available through our Worship Bulletins.
Our weekly activities all continue as scheduled. All our programs are getting more and more exciting as the Lord’s countenance continues to shine on us as a congregation. Presently, our Bible Study is on the theme “The attributes of God.” I believe that if you know HIM better you will serve him greater and love him deeper. Psalm 9:10a says that “And they that know your name will put their trust in you.” We invite each one of you to be part of these exciting studies and miracle meetings. If you are in the habit of staying away from fellowship meeting designed to make you grow, you must understand that you are being cheated out of the many visitations that are taking place in other people’s lives. If you are in that category, then it’s time to have a change of attitude. God is blessing his people and you must make yourself a beneficiary of these blessings. Hebrews 10:25 urges us not to forsake the assembling of one another as is the manner of some. Consequently, you ought to now reject anything hindrance to the fellowship where friends meet friends and all meet the Lord and get blessed. I will close with Brother Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Do not let the impending darkness of winter to diminish your resolve to to continue to serve the Lord with strength and vigour. Maranatha!
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
Follow Pastor Sam's programs at Gateway International Church Port Harcourt, Nigeria by logging in to "gicfamily.org". Go to "connect" for the livestream.
Dates and times are:
- Friday 11th-Saturday 12th Dec, 5pm each day.
- Sunday 13th dec. 6.30am, 8am, 9.30am, 11am respectively.
- The grand finale is on Sunday evening at 5pm.
Check the website for details.
Pastor Sam. will be ministering on Saturday evening with his band in Nigeria. Tune in and you will be blessed.
- Kategori: Pastor Samuel
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