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‘We need love, sacrifice, integrity, accountability to lift Nigeria’

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Rev Felix Omobude

The National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and General Superintendent of the Gospel Light International Ministries a.k.a. New Covenant Gospel Church (NCGC), Rev. (Dr.) Felix Ilaweagbon Omobude, spoke with AYOYINKA JEGEDE at the international headquarters of the church in Benin City, Edo State capital on the significance of the Yuletide and how 2018 will be.

Can we really inculcate the spirit of sacrifice especially in this country where self-interest supersedes general or collective interest?
GOD sacrifice is son or Jesus laid down his life for us so that we can be children of God. We also ought to reach out to others. We ought to show that light, love and care and extend it to others both during this Yuletide season and throughout the year. The Christian life is not patented to two or four days in a year.

It is a life we live on daily basis. Christian life is a life we live on daily basis. It is not a life of the Christ that was born only on December 25 and dies in April that is not Christian life, we don’t celebrate infant Jesus, and He is not four-month-old baby. He was born, he grew up, he learnt carpentry, he carried out his ministry on earth here, and he heals the sick, delivers the bound, gave food to the hungry, did good things before he went to the cross and paid the price of sin with his life for us. If we have benefited from such a grace, while God is not saying we should die for somebody else but we must share that grace and love, and let the river flow out through us continuously.

Can we say our inability to make sacrifices is one of our problems in this country?
We all know that if we want our nation to be great we must be willing to pay some prices. We must be willing to make our own sacrifices, sacrifices towards greatness. People who steal public funds, they want to get rich very quick and probably opportunity beckons on them to do so if the fear of God was in them they are going to look at the overall interest rather than do things that will earn their souls and put others at poverty. I believed this nation needs men and women who will pay the price for integrity, stand out and not allow temptation to make them soil their hands.
Advise?

On this auspicious occasion every Christian must get closer to God. We must understand the underlining factor of the celebration and use it to make our world better. We must shun vices, honour God in our value system and ensure that people around us share from the joy of the season by helping to provide them as well as others.

Advise to politicians?
To all in the political class we must all understand that I am doing what am doing as a pastor because God gave me the grace and I have the responsibility and am accountable to God how I use this office.

Politicians at all levels, whatever you are a local government official, state governors, president or lawmakers political position that you are holding is giving to you in trust, you are accountable to God. We must understand that all of us in leadership at whatever point in the church, in tradition, or government we are all accountable to God the way we use our position. When life here is over we should understand that we will account for our deeds and mistakes.

Those in political arena must ensure to keep their words. They should keep their campaign promises, if their campaign promises were not accomplished it will mean deception. Politicians should do all they can to meet the promises made to the electorate.

2018 is a pre-electioneering year, how will it be?
Every believer must look up to God for today and for tomorrow. I believed that Jesus Christ of 2017 is gone ahead of us into 2018. People prophecy, I appreciate the gift of prophecy but I believe that 2018 we will also conquer it better than 2017. It is my believe and that is what I pray and hope for. 2018 is pre electioneering year in Nigeria.

A lot of campaign and activities will be on but I want Nigerians to conduct their political campaigns and aspiration in a Godly manner. The federal government of recent has been campaigning against hate speeches. We would love to see this campaign against hate speeches actualized during political campaigns. We should be civil in our approaches and if we have gained anything politically, democratically 2018 will be a year of proven to prove whether we have learnt anything or not in democracy. I wish all Nigerian a very peaceful celebration of both Christmas and the New Year and that Nigeria will be a better nation in 2018. I will like to see a Nigeria where you can put on your switch and there will be electricity. We want to see a Nigeria where you can turn your water pincers and it will be running. We want to see a Nigeria with better roads and better communications and above all we want to see a Nigeria where people are free to live where ever they wanted to lives, do their businesses, practice their faiths without let or hindrance. I wish government at all levels God’s guidance and peace to lead Nigeria well. I wish all Christians a year of closer relationship with the Lord and greater unity among the Christian folds.

What is the significance of Christmas?
The Bible records that once upon a time God sent his son into the world. He was born of a virgin and his mission was to save the world from their sins in the little town of Bethlehem this happened. The bible evidences are there. For us Christians Christmas is a celebration of the grace of God, the peace of God that God brought to mankind through the birth by his son. We celebrate it and in fact it ought to be something that every born again believer must celebrate every day. But whatever the world has agreed that yes this event happened and they set a day aside for it, we celebrate it. It is a celebration of the birth of the son of God, our saviour Lord Jesus Christ and we celebrate it. Christmas is the celebration of God’s grace and it is the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ which gave us redemption.

What are the messages to Learn at Christmas?
There are so many lessons to learn. When men failed God one would have thought that man has lost it completely forever but we serve a loving God, he still had man in mind. He went all out for man in other words if two people have quarrel we should not allow it to last forever that is one of the lessons of Christmas. If God can bye pass our errors and accept us back, we should in a nation like Nigeria with diverse ethnic groups and diverse religious beliefs, pursue peace because it is in an atmosphere of peace that we can progress, in an atmosphere of tension, chaos, and suspicion there cannot be development. Christmas has taught us to work for peace and extend goodwill to other because our God believes in peace.

Christmas is also a challenge to human pride that the son of God was born in a manger where sheep and goats are kept. That the highest came from the lowest is a challenge to our human ego. We must be humble, Jesus said offenses will come if two people are living together, the propensity for offenses is there, when offenses arise what do we do? We must learn to forgive those who have offended us and move forward then the world will become a better place. From between husband and wife, between parents, between two friends, between church members and pastor, between government and the governed, there is need for us to forgive, relate properly and worked for what make for peace.

What is the importance of Christmas?
It is a great feast and great celebration. Even non believers, something tells you at about this season that some herald of celebration is on, generally even those who don’t belief; some bring their festival very close to Christmas so that they can share from the shine. Ideally believers don’t esteem one day more than the other but we celebrate what we know, the fact exist that God overlooks our own weaknesses and reach out to us.

Are there erroneous beliefs about Christmas?
Christmas should not be that people get into bad habits. It is strange that people use Christmas to perpetuate all kinds of evils, go into crimes because they want to celebrate Christmas. It is an error. Those who have not smoked before start smoking on a Christmas day because they feel they are happy, young girls loses their virginity on a Christmas night because they feel it is social life and people do all kinds of evil. Those who don’t have money some go and rob so that they can fit into society those are wrong ways of celebrating, whatever you have give thanks to God and celebrate it in your own way.

Some section of PFN believes that Christmas celebration is associated with idol worship, what is your view on this?
One of the values of PFN is that in things that are major, we unite and in things that are not major we allow liberty. All the members of PFN believe that once upon a time a virgin gave birth to the saviour and there is no doubt about that. Where there are doubt is the date or time and for us they have a right to think whatever they want to think.

What we celebrate is not the god or goddess of the moon, or of the sea. We celebrate the goodness of God to us; you remembered that in the Garden of Eden man fell. The birth of Jesus Christ brought hope back to human kind and that it is worth celebrating. We celebrate it amazingly.

People believe Christmas is all about spending your year’s savings on merriment, partying and wearing new cloths, what is your view on this?
You cannot take away joy from the birth of a baby naturally, and if you read the Biblical records, there were some movement, people went home, the Bible says to be tasked; some says it was a censor, something happened and there was some moment at that time. Holiday is welcomed. We are not saying people shouldn’t eat or celebrate, but it goes beyond that.

People should not just see the ceremony as merely a festival for eating, drinking and winning because it is beyond that. People must look at the message the angels brought, they said on earth, peace and good will towards men and that is important. It is important that we must stand for what brings peace and goodwill to our neighbours.

Above all we must at this time celebrate honouring Jesus Christ who was born, came and walk in the street of this earth and who died after 33 years and paid the price for our sins. He made sacrifice for us that today we can say we are the children of God. Our celebration should not make us go against Christ’s words. People celebrate and get drunk, some do very stupid things that should not be because that is not the way God intends it to be.

Christmas is about the birth of redemption our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ who came, died and rose up again, paying a supreme price for our sins.


In this article:
NigeriaREV Felix Omobude
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