Nigerians must ensure a peaceful election with an eye on the future

Chall Emmanuel is our TEN3 correspondent in Jos, Nigeria. He submitted this piece recently on the upcoming national elections in Nigeria. The presidential and National Assembly elections are Feb. 14 The Governorship and state’s House of Assembly elections are Feb. 28.

The Encarta Dictionary defines politicizing as to make somebody politically aware, or active, or to introduce a political element to something. The topic of politicizing the pulpits is a picture of how political issues are wrongly articulated on the pulpit. If the pulpit is a raised platform in the church — the household of God that is supposed to be treated with all sense of decorum and responsibility and purity in our act and speech — so do our hearts deserve the same treatment.

Albert Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” Hence, the need for rationality in making speeches and articulating our opinions. In other words, the concept of pulpit does not only picture the physical pulpit, but our hearts are symbolically what God delights in as a raised platform where He can always stand and speak to our consciences. Our minds should be kept holy.

One predominant aspect anywhere democracy is peddled as a system of government is that individuals freely enjoy rights to speech and other fundamental human rights. Another trend is that clerics politicize the pulpit, relying on sentiments to give flavor to their reasoning, stifling the Holy Spirit and relying on their intellect in making their congregation aware of issues. It’s like twisting facts to suit theories and imposing their opinions, which affects the decision-making of the general masses within their jurisdiction. Like Karl Max would say, “Religion is the opium of the masses.”

Consequently, in some Churches, Pastors instead of shepherding the flock of God under their care are rather scattering and destroying them through diabolic soft tunes, instead of being committed to their charge.

Religious leaders ought to consider their people as the flock of God’s heritage and treat them accordingly, advising them on a positive path of righteousness. They are not theirs, to be lorded over at pleasure, but they are God’s people and should be treated with love and tenderness for the sake of Him to whom they belong.

In contrast, members of the church must learn to submit to religious leaders, to give due respect to their persons, and yield to their admonitions and reproof.

A street scene in Jos, Nigeria. Terrorists detonated bombs not far from this street in December, killing 30 people and injuring dozens.

A street scene in Jos, Nigeria. Terrorists detonated bombs not far from this street in December, killing 30 people and injuring dozens.

I was listening to the radio some weeks back and a chaplain commented that, “One thing Nigerians must know is Nigeria does not need a religious leader, but a God-fearing leader.” In other words, Nigerians must work hard in ensuring they consolidate more on this hard-earned democracy we are currently enjoying, ensuring a peaceful election and predicting better days to come. This includes ensuring stability even after the elections and charting a new course for our dear nation.

More so, as Nigerians prepare for the February general elections in a couple of weeks, Nigerians must be discerning on how to consolidate on the gains of democracy, while the incumbents are faced with a fierce oppositions at every level of aspiration.

In summary, our hearts — the pulpit — must be kept Holy. Our hearts should be guided by the spirit of God to enable us see beyond the next general election and for generations to come. The Church must also survive as we decide through the ballot boxes, ensuring massive participation by members through leaders who head the churches. Let peaceful and good brotherliness be our watchword during and after the February polls.

Finally, Thomas Campbell said, “Wisdom resides more in the heart and soul than the intellect.” So teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

On The Outside Looking In

Boys at an African school.

The two little boys were outside the classroom peering in. Surely intrigued by the white guys in the classroom, the boys were trying to get a look at what was going on. To me, though, the photo is symbolic of the things we’re trying to accomplish in the Transformational Education Network.

The photo is dark, the boys essentially silhouettes. You can’t see their eyes, or even get a glimpse of the expressions on their faces. The details in the classroom are featureless and you can’t see any students.

Here’s another photo of that classroom.

Kubacha classroom

What a difference some illumination makes, eh? Our work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa and the Caribbean brings the light of the gospel to dark places. In Nigeria, in particular, where we are working the darkness of Islam pervades the country. I met many dedicated, faithful Christians intent on sharing the love and hope of Jesus and we pray for these people fervently.

In addition to teaching a world view centered on Jesus Christ, we are equipping students with computer knowledge. This knowledge is a means to not only obtain employment skills for jobs, but also to use that technological ability to further the gospel message. These young students pictured here in the Nigerian city of Kubacha, we pray, as they advance in school will someday become the students in post-secondary classrooms receiving the Christ-centered knowledge from our Transformational Education Network curriculum.

I was blown away when I visited this class of 44 young students at Christian school operated by the Evangelical Church Winning All denomination. The kids were unfailingly polite, knowledgeable, inquisitive and eager. There’s a tremendous amount of potential for the kingdom among these students and our prayer in TEN3 is that we will be able to be a part of equipping them for further Kingdom work personally and corporately.

If you’d like to see some videos of the work we are doing around the world, go here: https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos

For more on TEN3, visit our website at http://www.ten3.org.

God bless you.

–Matt Sabo, TEN3 Communications Manager

The Nehemiah Method To Transform Culture

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The Old Testament book of Nehemiah relates an interesting account of Israelite history when the survivors of the Babylonian captivity were allowed to return to their homeland. This remnant encountered the lingering devastation of war and poverty.

Nehemiah heard of the plight of his people and did something about it. He was a man of prayer and action (Nehemiah 4:9). It was miraculous how the people worked together and rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem stone by stone.

Each group repaired a designated section. Some moved the stones, some found timber for the gates. Others installed the gates while others fed the people. Many worked on the wall while guarding the city. They all worked until the wall was complete.

During the last century, the Lord has put it on the hearts of African governments to ask the churches to rebuild the educational system, very much like He put it on the heart of King Artaxerxes to allow Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.

As described in the “TEN3 Explained” video, TEN3’s desire is to take an approach like Nehemiah as we work together to help the African Christians build a transformational education system.

We are using Nehemiah’s Method to break our work into many small pieces — pieces that fit the talents and time people have available; pieces that involve people from different walks of life; pieces as varied as reading weekly email prayer items to praying to writing a scholarly piece for curriculum material.

TEN3 believes while each piece does its part, African churches will become prepared to continue developing the system and provide a Christian education for their children, sharing with society the freedom that only Jesus brings…one piece at a time.

Here’s the link to our Nehemiah Method video: http://vimeo.com/20626728