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Author Archives: Charles Chipere

About Charles Chipere

Pastor Charles Chipere serves the Lord with the Apostolic Faith Mission International Ministries (UK).He is married to Agnes who is also his ministry partner best known as the Tug Team. They have three children namely; Shalom, Shekinah and Shammah. Pastor Charles is a Preacher and Teacher of the Bible, a Life Education Consultant and Academic. His passion is equipping the Saints for the work of ministry.

YOUR STORYLINE IS NOT OVER (Psalm 118:13, Psalm 34:19)

The prophetic word I have for you is that YOUR STORYLINE IS NOT OVER. Whatever you are going through right now is not signalling the end of your story. This word of encouragement resonates with David’s confession after surviving fourteen assassination attempts by King Saul. This caused David to be a run away fugitive hiding in caves by the Dead Sea. Amazingly David had opportune times to kill King Saul but he could not touch the Lord’s anointed who also happened to be his father-in-law. This incident is a clear indication that we should not mourn when some people get out of our lives. Thats the end of their part in your story but YOUR STORYLINE IS NOT OVER. He declares later in life, I WAS PUSHED BACK AND ABOUT TO FALL, BUT THE LORD HELPED ME. Whatever painful experience you are going through, be of good cheer. That situation is not permanent. It shall come to pass because the Lord is your helper. Even what you think has become your lot in life, this too shall come to pass. You shall remain the protagonist, the main character and hero of your storyline. Remember that many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all. No weapon that is formed or fashioned against you shall prosper. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.

In this journey of life, we will have our own share of life threatening blows in the SCHOOL OF HARD PUSHES. The pushing was DELIBERATE to make David fall. The pushing was STRATEGIC to make David fall. The pushing was CALCULATED to make David fall. The pushing was TAILOR-MADE to make David fall. The pushing was TARGETED to make David fall. The pushing was REPEATED to make David fall. You could be going through a chain of endless struggles but your storyline is not over. You could be going through a chain of endless sorrows but your storyline is not over. You could be going through a chain of endless discouragements but your storyline is not over. You could be going through a chain of endless pain but your storyline is not over. You could be going through a chain of endless pressure but your storyline is not over. David’s storyline was not complete until he became the King of Israel. When God helped David out of his trying times, he was able to say, BUT THE LORD HELPED ME.

Check out the following Bible characters who suffered setbacks but remained resolute because their storylines were not over:

# Samson’s storyline was marred with loss but it was not over until he dealt the Philistines the last blow

# Joseph’s storyline could not end in prison because what was meant for evil needed to be turned for good

# Mephibosheth’s storyline could not end in Lo-Debar because the High Table had an empty chair

# Job’s storyline was not over until the Lord blessed the latter part of his life more than the first

# Ruth’s storyline was not over until her name was written in the genealogy of Jesus Christ

# Jabez’s storyline was not over until the Lord blessed his life on every side

# Jonah’s storyline in the belly of the fish was not over until he fulfilled his mission in Nineveh

# King Hezekiah’s storyline was not over until fifteen more years were added to his lifespan

Its time to hashtag #OnlyGod, YOUR STORYLINE IS NOT OVER.

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Posted by on August 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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IS INTELLECTUAL SUSPENSION ESSENTIAL TO PENTECOSTAL SPIRITUALITY? (1Thessalonians 5:21-22, Acts 17:11)

The Pentecostal Movement is beginning to command respectability within academic and theological scholarship because of its acceptance of theological education for its practitioners. However there remains a cluster of die-hard classical pentecostals and new independent ministries who are still anti-intellectual, anti-theology, anti-academic world in general and anti-hospital or conventional medicine. The underlying belief is that Pentecostal Spirituality is hindered by rationality hence the need for intellectual suspension in search of ecstatic experiences. Furthermore they argue that Pentecostal Spirituality is the working of the Holy Spirit which does not need theological training or analytical thinking. These views are always hammered through sermons that intellectual suspension is essential to Pentecostal Spirituality.

Whilst an overly deductive view of life is insufficient, but to see rationalism as an obstacle to spirituality is failure to appreciate the linkage of the God-given mental capacity to experiential spirituality. I am of the opinion that our spiritual adventures and experiences need to be articulated by the intellect for the benefit of the Christian community. Even the beloved Apostle Paul had to take pen and paper to articulate his third heaven spiritual encounters which he calls visions and revelations (2Corinthians 12:1-10). Needless to mention that it is spiritual suicide to suspend one’s intellect in search of spirituality because you become the target of manipulation by religious predators who specialise in brainwashing people. Surrender of rationality gives more room to the devil because it reduces your logical capacity to see through the lies of false teachers and false prophets who masquerade as children of light yet they are dangerous wolves in sheep’s clothing. Intellectual suspension is a recipe for spiritual disintegration and spiritual chaos in the Church.

The greatest need in the Christian community from time immemorial has always been discipleship. This is about grounding believers in the Faith thus develop a strong intellectual foundation of what they believe and what they experience. This begins by dispelling the myth that the critical thinking agenda is about being judgemental and fault finding rather than evaluating ideas to establish their truthfulness or falsity. The Apostle Paul instructs the young Timothy, ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2Timothy 2:15). This is a call for balance between academic rigour and spiritual profundity, critical thinking and spiritual sensitivity. The Church needs to be more vigilant in order to counter the multiplicity of false teachings and false practices which are worming their way into Pentecostal Spirituality. The Apostle Paul also tells the Thessalonians to TEST ALL THINGS. Truth be told, critical thinking is about testing all things. Today’s believers need to take a leaf out of the Berean Jews who examined scriptures to see if what Paul said was in line with the word of God. We should always compare what we hear or experience in light of the biblical standard. Every idea including prophecy should be subjected to critical analysis thus discern what is good. Similarly we need to continually practise self-evaluation of our spirituality just as Socrates says, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’. Pentecostal Spirituality cannot afford to be allergic to critical thinking which is our tool for discerning things. Thou shalt not suspend thy intellect in search of spirituality. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

THE LEADERSHIP VACUUM: ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES (Judges 21:25)

The success of any family, community, organisation or a Church is dependent upon its leadership. For this reason a leadership vacuum is detrimental to the future of any organisation. In Science a VACUUM is a space entirely devoid of matter but for our purpose leadership vacuum simply means lack of leadership or a community devoid of leadership. The Writer of Judges summarises the leadership vacuum which existed in Israel after the death of two major charismatic personalities namely Joshua and Caleb. The closing verse in the entire book of Judges says it all, ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit’. This was the most chaotic situation in Israel. When there is no king/leader there is no standard of authority. When there is no king/leader people have no one to restrain them, correct them or punish them hence lawlessness. When there is a leadership vacuum people think it is right to steal, cheat, commit adultery, indulge in corrupt activities etc. Leadership vacuum is the most dangerous vacuum because it has long term effects and damaging consequences for the follower-ship.

 

The causes of leadership vacuum in the Christian Community are many and varied but those who have the Church at heart should seriously take heed of some of the causes I would like to share. The most fatal cause of leadership vacuum in the Church is when Church leaders fail to point parishioners to Christ’s Lordship over their lives. When Jesus Christ is not the Lord and King of the Church, parishioners do what they see fit in their eyes. Leadership vacuum occurs when Church leaders are locked in power battles and conflicts due to personal agendas rather than the Kingdom Agenda. Leadership vacuum also occurs where the organisational culture disempowers its leaders or simply lacks respect for its own leaders. Lack of leadership skills can also effectively lead to a vacuum of guidance, vision and direction. Poor support systems which include lack of leadership development and training strategies as well as lack of rewards for good performance is yet another serious cause of leadership vacuum. Insecurity of the incumbent leader characterised by lack of grooming of the next generation of leaders contributes to leadership vacuum. Failure to abide by the biblical and constitutional standard of leadership appointments e.g. failure to retire those who have reached their retirement age can also contribute to leadership vacuum. The worst scenario case is when the incumbent leader (Usually Politicians and God forbid that a Church stoops so low to this level of mediocrity) manipulates the democratic system in place so as to rule in perpetuity. Such will create a perpetual leadership vacuum.

 

Wherever there is a leadership vacuum, anybody can jump into the driver’s seat hence the existence of multiple quasi-leaders in some communities. This situation is unhealthy for the Church because it disenfranchises innocent parishioners. Furthermore such a situation is a fertile ground for opportunists and power hungry people. Thou shalt not leave a leadership vacuum even in your retirement or death. True leaders grow leaders. Success comes by succession.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

MYSTICAL CAUSALITY: A DIE HARD PHENOMENON IN AFRICA

The continent of Africa is well-known for its rich religious and cultural heritage which from time immemorial has been passed on from one generation to another through oral tradition. Due to Western influence this heritage is now being perpetuated via print media and the like. On the other hand the imprint of Western epistemology on Africa is an undeniable reality to the point that the contemporary African we have is no longer the original indigenous African of the pre-colonial period. The African we have is a product of Western civilising tools hence the byproduct is a HYBRID AFRICAN.However despite immersing the African into Euro-American thought systems, unfortunately it has not been possible to totally uproot the African world view. The African concept of MYSTICAL CAUSALITY is a die hard phenomenon among Africans whether they are in Africa or in diaspora. This world view affects their understanding of the world, relationships, spirits, pain, sickness, suffering, poverty, death etc.Western thought views causality as a tangible, material and physical order of reality which is perceivable and can be explained rationally. For example any sickness including mental health can be diagnosed and treated medically. On the other hand, the African view says that causality is the other-worldly; it is religious, supernatural, spiritual, mystical and mythical hence mystical causality. It deliberately ignores physical questions of causality because in African metaphysics, causality cannot be rationally and empirically perceived but can only be spiritually intuited through consulting the supernatural or spirit world. Africans do not focus on what happened because no event happens by chance. Their focus is why it happened i.e. they interrogate what may have necessitated something. For example, someone may be driving a car and an accident occurs due to a burst tyre and the driver dies on the spot. What may have necessitated the accident and loss of life is not related to the condition of the car, road quality let alone the experience or sobriety of the driver.This view of mystical causality led to the rise of the N’anga as the kingpin of African society. This African practitioner is well-known for his supernatural powers to deal with African realities of evil spirits, witchcraft, barrenness, miscarriages, sickness, evil spells, poverty, unemployment and all other misfortunes. Church history tells us that Missionaries struggled to wean their converts from consulting N’angas. The rise of Prophets among African Initiated Churches in the yesteryears served as a competitor to the terrain where the N’angas ruled and thrived. However the current situation has been taken over by a new crop of Urban Prophets. Are these a revised version of N’angas or the Prophets who operate under trees or not? Is their modus operandi replicating the N’ANGA TEMPLATE? But one thing that is distinctive about the Urban Elite Prophets is that they are wiser, shrewd and richer. Since the Urban Elite Prophets originate mainly from Pentecostal Churches, it would be unfair to outrightly equate them with N’angas. But the common denominator is that they are dealing with people who subscribe to mystical causality to address African realities. This writer subscribes to Pentecostal Christianity which uses alternative rituals for dealing with evil spirits, witchcraft and other African challenges. Pentecostal Practitioners must address African realities with caution because there is a thin line between mystical causality and pneumatic forms of Pentecostal Christianity. Unfortunately lack of caution has tempted well-meaning preachers to cross this thin line. While it is a noble idea to understand the context or Sitz Im Leben in which we are preaching the gospel, however we should not be tempted to indulge in syncretism whereby we mix Christianity and African religion. This will only create a new religion which is neither Christianity nor African Traditional Religion. Indeed MYSTICAL CAUSALITY is only there to shed light for us to understand the African world view thus empower us to address African realities the biblical way. Truth be told, the Bible standard is higher than any gimmicks, gambles and other shenanigans flooding the African religious market. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

THE THROWAWAY CULTURE IN AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH (Ezra 3:12-13)

The recent G7 Summit in Quebec, Canada, over and above dealing with social, political and economic issues affecting the world, the summit leaders also discussed marine pollution due to the discarding of plastic products in the seas and oceans. The THROWAWAY CULTURE is responsible for the destruction of sea life. The hardest hit are the whales which consume these plastics on a large scale hence their untimely death. The throwaway culture is sentencing sea creatures to slow and painful deaths.

Ezra narrates the story of the rebuilding of the temple foundation after the Babylonian captivity. It was the young Jewish architects, quantity surveyors and civil engineers who had acquired their building skills in Babylon who rebuilt the temple foundation. Unfortunately they did not bother to consult the older generation who had seen the previous structure of the temple. They were viewed as people with archaic ideas hence at the dedication of the new foundation these old people wept whilst the younger generation made shouts of joy to a point that you could not tell whether it was the sound of weeping or the sound of rejoicing. A Church worth its salt must always pause for a moment when it sees its veterans weeping because they do so for a reason.

Could it be that the throwaway culture is no longer just discarding material items like plastics, it is also discarding items of sentimental value like our cultural values, moral values, spiritual values and heritage. Furthermore the throwaway culture is now indiscriminately discarding human beings as disposable entities right from unborn babies, children, young people and old people. The Christian community is equally guilty of discarding its own cadres young and old, laity and clergy. Parishioners and Pastors are treated as commodities which can lose value and then be discarded as trash. The spirit of the throwaway culture is indeed with us. At some point one prominent African theologian proposed the rewriting of the bible in the spirit of throwaway culture. The same throwaway spirit is manifesting itself through the discarding of the authority of the bible, Church law, constitution and regulations as irrelevant and outdated. The throwaway culture is trading our spiritual heritage in exchange of secular theories hence the secularisation of the sacred. The throwaway culture devalues relationships, lacks appreciation of the wisdom of elders and abandons the honour code whereby we are required to honour our parents and our spiritual shepherds. A Church that discards its pastors, elders and parishioners runs the risk of marring its future because a special future is informed by its past. Christians who discard or abandon their parents whether those parents are believers or not run the risk of discarding a blessing which only a parent can dispense. Similarly Christians who discard their spiritual shepherds also run the risk of depriving themselves of the blessing which only a spiritual shepherd can dispense. Forewarned is forearmed. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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FATIGUE, TOXIC THOUGHTS AND BURNOUT (1Kings 19:1-8)

Fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout are a common feature in human existence and they are a reminder of our finitude. This is a condition which comes as a result of social, moral, political and religious contaminations. A lot has been said about air pollution in the atmosphere and plastic pollution in seas and oceans but little has been said about the damage being caused by social, moral, political and religious pollution to society. As long as we live in a polluted society, our lives are in danger of unsuspectingly consuming poison which is hazardous to our souls. As said earlier on, the results of these contaminations are people suffering from fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout.

Prophet Elijah is a classic example of how fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout can take a toll on our social, moral and spiritual lives. Burnout is like we are trying to make a car move on an empty tank. Elijah had just been in his HIGH SEASON with the demonstration of God’s power at Mount Carmel leading to the return of Israel back to God and the slaughtering of 450 baal prophets. This triggered the end of a three and half year drought and the beginning of a great economic and religious revival. However the dream of a new Israel was thwarted by a message from King Ahab’s wife Jezebel. Prophet Elijah was given a death threat with a twenty four hour notice. This toxic message swung the pendulum ushering in a LOW SEASON under a Juniper tree in the wilderness. All of a sudden, a brave prophet succumbed to the unsavoury speech of Jezebel. Consequently he entered into the PANIC MODE and its manifestations of toxic attitudes and behaviours. What caused this great man of God to have such mood swings from a high season to a low season? Listed below are eight common strategies the devil uses to inject toxic thoughts, fatigue and burnout into our souls;

1. The devil uses intimidations, bullying and threats to plant toxic thoughts of fear and defeat. When the devil (JEZEBEL) speaks intimidating, bullying and threatening words to you, speak back using scriptural authority.

2. The devil wants you to always be in flight rather than in fight hence Elijah ran for dear life. Never give your back to your enemy in flight, fight the good fight of faith.

3. The devil wants to ISOLATE you from other people just like Elijah who made a ninety mile journey into the wilderness and hid in a cave. Buffaloes are a force to reckon with against the lions as long as they stay in the group. One minute of isolation can be fatal to a buffalo and to you.

4. The devil controls you by making you to be under circumstances rather than over circumstances just as he made Elijah to go under a Juniper tree. Change your language from negative statements like UNDER WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE to OVER WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE.

5. The devil uses burnout to depreciate your value and your worth. Elijah confessed, I AM NO BETTER than my ancestors. No matter how much you squash a fifty pound note, it will never change its value. Your value is unchangeable; come wind, come storm, come rain, come haywire.

6. In the same vein as above, the devil makes you to become the WORST CRITIC of yourself. Do yourself a favour babe, speak better of yourself. Verbalise who you are: I am one of a kind, fearfully and wonderfully made. My level is a little lower than angels, set on high by the Most High. I am genetically designed to breakthrough etc.

7. The devil makes you to EXAGGERATE and MAGNIFY your problems. Elijah said, I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT yet there were seven thousand people who had not bowed to the altar of baal. All your trials and tribulations are common to humanity and God has a way out of your burnout.

8. The devil’s ultimate aim is to make you SURRENDER your dream and vision. Elijah said, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, you better kill me Lord. You shall not die, but live to proclaim the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Do not die before your time.

I REST MY CASE.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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SWAMPS, MARSHES AND THORNS (Ezekiel 47:11, 2Cor.4:7, 12:1-9)

Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration, revival and refreshment of Israel as a nation is depicted in form of a river which originated from the temple precincts, specifically from the ALTAR. Wherever the river went, it brought refreshment to everything. Trees were refreshed to produce fruits for food and leaves for pharmaceutical purposes. Sea creatures including fish were refreshed leading to the thriving of the fishing business. Even the salty waters of the dead sea became sweet again.

However verse 11 claims, ‘But the marshes and swamps will not become fresh….’ But why did God choose to leave these marshy and swampy places as is? Why would a good God refresh most parts of your life but deliberately ignore the marshy and swampy places of your life? Why would a good God allow the scorching sun to continually hover over marshy and swampy places of your life? The Bible says that they were left like that so that they could produce a very important and necessary ingredient in every home i.e. SALT.

Could it be that your ability to become the salt of the earth comes as a result that God strategically leaves some sections of your life in a marshy and swampy condition? Could it be that God in his reserve policy allows some areas of your life not to experience refreshment? Could it be that a good God can deliberately leave a thorn in your flesh as He did to the Apostle Paul for a purpose? Could it be that to those God has given great revelations, he gives them a thorn in the flesh so that they do not get puffed up with pride? A thorn in the flesh as well as having marshy and swampy places in your life is there to demonstrate that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Paul further consolidates this point when he says elsewhere that we have this treasure in earthen vessels or jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. May God help us to distinguish between pain for purpose and pain that destroys our faith in God. May we rely on God’s sufficient grace when some areas of our lives remain marshy and swampy for a reason. May we remain standing when God permits some thorns to remain stuck in our mortal bodies for his glory. In everything we do for God, may we be reminded that we are fragile mortals with human flaws and limitations.

It’s time to turn your swamps and marshes into salt. It’s time to let roses come out of your thorns. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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