Sunday 12 December 2010

What a wondersful Sunday we recently had, as we witnessed the joining together in marriage Ashley & Sarah. The groom was smooth, and the the bride beautiful. It was a packed house with many visitors who thoroughly enjoyed the day. Please keep Ashley and Sarah in your prayers.

Wow!! I just got sent a picture of my grandmother, I estimate this picture is 40-50yrs old??

Oh my dayzz, I actually remember this picture! Guess which one is me? Obviously I'm the cute one in my dads arms ;-) along with my two older brothers Peter, John and my beautiful and stylish mum.

This picture was taken circa 1974-5 (I'm 2-3 yrs old)and i remember the car, it was a peugot 504, seven seater, back then this was the lick!

Myself, alonside Jad and Nana from 'Nightwatch' a local homeless charity that we support.

Monday 26 July 2010

Best Sunday of the year so far?

Wow, what a Sunday (25th July 2010) we have just had!! Just coming off the back of an outstanding Sunday-Friday revival with Evangelist Marty (mighty) Carnegie, followed by saturday outreach. I wasn't sure how tired the Church would be on Sunday? but once against the Croydon saints showed a tremendous energy for the things of God. In the morning I preached a sermon 'those who wont hear must feel' about the calamities that befalll those who reject Godly advice, using Rehoboam's harsh answer towards Jeroboam (1st Kings 12:1-13). In the evening I started a new 3 week preaching series entitled the 3I's of discipleship, preaching on the need for christians to be Involved in their Local Church and beyond. Already I have had many people say they were very convicted and want to get more involved in the church. We also baptised 12 people, including 1 brother from our Harlesden Church and another brother from our Merton Church. It was also Tinashe & Femi's last service as they leave to pioneer a work for God in Kilburn, NW London. To cap it all off we started a 3 day (water only) fast.

Phew..... I feel tired just writing it ;-)

Big thank you to everyone for their faithfull attendance.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Evolution theory or fact?

In my time witnessing and evangelism I often meet people who claim to believe in 'Darwinian' evolution. Now there is much that I can say regard the lack of missing links in the fossil records and so on, but the point I want to make is the difference between micro evolution and macro evolution. Whenever I ask an evolutionist to explain the difference 98% of the time they are baffled ;-)

Micro evolution is adaptation within a particular species, we have all seen different breeds of dogs for example pit bulls and great Danes. These are mutations within a species but macro evolution is the idea of one species transitioning to another species or spontaneous combustion of a particular species.

Food for thought ;-)

Wednesday 7 July 2010

C of E may appoint a Homosexual Bishop who is in a civil partnership!

Please see below a letter sent to the PM, Mr David Cameron.

Click on link to listen to interview.

Dear Prime Minister,

Firstly let me congratulate you on your appointment as PM. Though traditionally a Labour supporter, I felt you to be a more conservative voice to the increasing liberal shouting of our day.

Which leads me to my reason for writing to you regarding the apparent selection of C of E bishop Dr John Jeffrey.

As I am sure you appreciate Britain is a historically Christian country and the majority of British (& global) citizens believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, as defined in law.

Choosing a homosexual bishop who is in a civil partnership, I believe will be hugely damaging and add to the moral confusion of a 'broken Britain' you pledged to repair. Surely repairing Britain, requires returning to Christian morals and teachings?

Forcing the equalities agenda onto a church whose members overwhelmingly subscribe to orthodox Christian morality is placing political agenda above religious conscience?

I urge you to decline this appointment

Monday 5 July 2010

Reflections on South Africa and Namibia 29th June – 3rd July 2010.

I just recently returned from a whirlwind eleven days of travelling to South Africa and Namibia. I flew to Johannesburg (Jo’burg), then on to Port Elisabeth (PE) to see England secure their first (and only) win of the 2010 World cup and totally outplay Slovenia. The flight to PE had the potential to turn into a riot because the plane we were meant to fly on developed ‘an engine fault’ and we had to wait for two hours for a replacement plane! Fortunately we had a very laid back Mr Patrick Vieira (Arsenal and French football legend, now at Man City) on board with us to keep us distracted ;-) we made the match we 45 mins to spare!!

Along with a group of family friends (Yussufs and Kennedys) we enjoyed good food, fellowship and spent the night in PE. The next day we had a pleasant 3hr drive to Queenstown, via a very nice bakery (Abdul where’s my cakes??!!). I preached for the Queenstown Church that night a message entitled ‘don’t worry be happy’ from Matt 6. The message seemed to be well received and there was a great turnout for a midweek service (about 80+).

The next morning (4.30am) we drove to East London airport, where I flew to Cape Town (CT) and met up with some old and dear friends that use to be a part of the Croydon Church, Mr & Mrs Kakoma (Beryl & her husband) and Preston Plaatjes. It was very encouraging to see Beryl & Preston after so many years (4 or 5). After good food and fellowship I had to rush off to catch my next flight to Windhoek (vin – took) Namibia, where I preached a revival for Pastor Setson and sister Mary.

I must say I found Namibia to be an amazing county, very pleasant, peaceful and modern. Our church there is a thriving work of God with over 500 in attendance Sun (am) and 300 out every night. I felt a real connection with the Church and felt that the folks were really ministered to by God’s word. Pastor Setson and sister Mary took very good care of me and I look forward to my next trip to that wonderful nation.

I caught a plane back to Jo’burg and spent 3hrs trawling through book stores whilst waiting for my flight, only to realise that I had not adjusted my watch by the 1 hr time difference and ended up missing my flight by 15mins ;-( so after finding my suitcase and finding a place to stay, a very frustrated traveller who was so looking forward to seeing his wife and daughters spent an extra night in SA! Ah well worse thing happen at sea! As I was moaning to brother Abdul, I was reminded of my sermon ‘don’t worry be happy’……… now where are those vuvuzela’s ;-)

God bless.
Me in Cape Town, with Table top mountain in background.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Fathers Day - Book review 'where are you really from?'

Just finished reading an amazing book by Tim Brannigan ‘where are you really from?'. The book is about his life growing up in Belfast during the ‘troubles’ fighting between republicans (IRA) and loyalists.

In his book, Tim Brannigan tells of his difficulties growing up,trying to fit in and always being aware he was different to everyone else. Growing up he was influenced by the IRA Sinn Fein and actually went to prison for a few years for allowing IRA activists to hide weapons in his mother’s car.

What makes this story all the more amazing and the reason why it is called ‘where are you really from’? is because Tim Brannigan is black! which in Belfast 40yrs ago was unheard of!

His mother whilst married met a Ghanaian doctor and had an affair with him in Belfast in the 60’s and as a result fell pregnant and the book speaks about the cover up and how his mum cleverly adopted her own son.

However the last few chapters speak about Tim Brannigan, who now in his 40’s seeks to find out who his dad is. This is fraught with complication’s and he ask’s himself why is he looking for his father? ‘I was shocked that a situation I thought I had under control could get me so angry. Who needs a father anyway? I was a 40 year old man now – what was in it for me? What does it mean to have a Father? A role model? I had my mum for that.

He does some research, finds out he has 5 Ghanaian half brothers and sisters. He makes contact with them and even travels to Ghana to meet his biological father, Dr Micheal Ekue.

What this book (for me) shows is the influence fathers can have wether they are present or absent. Wether we realise it or not fathers provide an immense sense of identity for their children.

As we celebrate Fathers day we are acutely aware that just as Tim Brannigan was looking for his Father, Society is also looking for Fathers, Men, Good men of character, integrity and morality to have impact in their Families lives.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Church host's political hustings.

On Sunday the 18th of April 2010, The Potters House Christian Church Croydon hosted a Hustings with Croydon North local candidates.Now I must admit up until a few weeks ago I had no idea what a 'Hustings' was! One definition says a 'Hustings' is a platform where candidates in an election campaign give speeches. To that end we had candidates from the three main parties Jason Hadden(Conservatives) Gerry Jerome (Liberal Democrats) and Malcolm Wicks (Labour).

We had a good turnout from our congregation with 150+ members of the church present. The candidates answered (eventually) tough questions on DNA records, crime levels and what their vision for Croydon is. The event lasted just over an hour and the candidates had one to one conversations with individual congregation members afterwards.

As a Pastor I believe Christians should get engaged in the political process. Churches are a tremendous force for good and social action in our communities. Often we are the bedrock of communities. Also because of the high concentration of people in Churches (especially afro carribean) churches can (potentially) have a loud voice, and what better way to use that voice that in the General election?

All in all the event was a thought provoking experience, with some people making a decision at the end of who they would vote for.

Recently we know that MP's have taken a 'bashing' over the expenses scandal and a lot of trust has been lost. Its hard to follow leaders if you dont trust them? As a Church we need to pray for all of our leaders, wether political, educational or religous (Rom 13), and as leaders we must lives with integrity and character.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Reflections on Russia March 28th – April 3rd 2010

I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Russia to preach at our conference there. We have 25 churches in Russia and several overseas in Mongolia and Cuba to name a few.

Getting to Russia proved very problematic in the sense that I had to apply for my visa 3 times?! Having visited 20% of the nations of the world and never having had a problem obtaining a visa, I thought this very strange and sensed some demonic opposition to my visit. Added to that problem, BA was on strike and all short haul prices shot up I was reminded of Ephesians 6:12 say’s that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. When on the 3rd attempt I was granted my visited I felt an overwhelming sense of ‘spiritual relief’.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my trip but as always to expect the unexpected. I was amazed at how different Russia is from the UK, considering it’s only 3hrs 50mins away by plane, it seemed years away in many senses. Russia was very similar to a lot of Eastern European nations I have visited like Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic. It has many contrasts, poverty and wealth intermingled, dilapidated buildings alongside modern construction.

After arriving at Moscow airport I was through immigration and had collected my bags within 30mins (Heathrow take note!). I was met by one of our Russian pastors who took me by Metro (underground trains) to ‘Red Square’, which has been for centuries, the heart, and soul of Russia. There I saw the Kazan Cathedral, GUM and the Lenin Mausoleum. I must say I was greatly impressed with some of the ‘architecture’ in Red square and also in the Metro, though some of its trains were quite dated. We also witnessed the ‘changing of the guard’ nearby. It was only as we re entered the Metro, as thousands of people were squashed trying to exit did we become aware of a suicide bomb attack just a few minutes earlier, wow what a start to my trip!!

We made our way to Vologda and along with Evangelist Steve Bowman had a great week of ministry. I ministered five times (Growth through preaching, 5 qualities of a disciple, The Christian’s Kryptonite, Pigs or People and Going the extra mile). It was good to connect with and fellowship with our Russian friends. I think I was a bit of a novelty as one of only two black people I saw the whole time I was in Russia. I think I had my picture taken about fifty times I found the Russian people to be very friendly and despite their struggles happy (Westerners take note!) and doing their best to survive. Russia I believe is a ‘sleeping giant’ and should it awake spiritually could change the world.

Lets keep the fellowship and its leaders in prayers, and to those who prayed for me ‘Spacebo’ (thank you in Russian).

Clement Okusi.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Book review Bruce Mawhinney ‘Preaching With Freshness’

Book review Bruce Mawhinney ‘Preaching With Freshness’
Recently I have been thinking about the pressure and challenges many of our Pastors face on a weekly basis in preparing and presenting three sermons per week (many of who also work a full time job) to the same congregation, year in and year out. One hundred and fifty sermons of forty minutes each, is it itself a full time job!

Preaching God’s word is certainly one of thee (if not thee) highest callings for a Christian and there is so much that must happen in a sermon. It must be Engaging, Educational, Edifying and full of Exhortations to name but a few alliterative objectives. The problem is many sermons fail to ‘hit the target’ and achieve what God’s word set out to do (Isa 55:11). So to this end it is critical that those of us who involved in this highest of callings give ourselves to this task more than any other (Acts 6:1-7). This is why I recommend ‘Preaching with Freshness’. Whilst it is a book written by an academic, it is not written in an academic way but in the form of a novel. The book has a very engaging story line and contains many ‘nuggets’ of applicable truth.

Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down and finished the book in less than two weeks, which for me, given my other reading is very good. We often say when recommending books ‘chew the meat and spit out the bones’, well this book has a lot of ‘chewable’ meat. This book requires not just one reading, but to be re read every couple of years. This is a book that has been on my bookshelf for a while and after finally reading it wish I had read it sooner. This book is certainly not the only book you should read on preaching, but certainly one of the books you should read, pray it helps.

Clement Okusi

Thursday 11 March 2010

Preaching in Walthamstow

Just finished a weekend of preaching in the Walthamstow congregation. Went with the whole family and it was good to catch up with some of the 'older' folks as well as meeting lots of new folks. Some of the saints have faithfully attended the Church for over 20 years and truly are pillars and good examples.

There was a tangible touch of the Holy Spirit in the services and several people prayed to receive Jesus (amen). I preached in the AM 'don't worry be happy' (Matt 6:25-34) and in the PM I preached on 'the Love of the father' (Rom 8:15-17). I used a short video clip in each sermon and really felt people were helped during both services.

Then on Monday we had a 'powerful' Men's Discipleship class, where I preached on having 'Holy Ambitions' (Luke 22:24-27). In essence I was challenging the men to not only be ambitious but to be kingdom minded in their ambitions. The Q&A session at the end was very good with lots of interesting questions and comments. It was a good turn out of men (about 150) which is always a blessing to see.

Lets keep Walthamstow in our prayers.

Friday 26 February 2010

Church Planting

Very excited about this Sunday 28th February as we get ready to 'launch out' Trevor & Joanna to the borough of Brent NW10 to start a Church there as we seek to do our part in fulfilling the 'Great Commission' of going into all the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ...Matt 28:18-20

As a someone who has 'pioneered' a Church of over 400 people & planted 5 Churches (so far) evangelism is close to my heart and theres few things that excite as people getting 'saved' Luke 19:10 and whilst its very true that we can 'save' anyone ourselves, we can lead people to the one who does, John 1:41-46. Our 3 R's vision statement is to Reach people, Raise disciples and Release ministry.

Starting a Church in the 21st Century in the UK is not an easy task and requires much though, prayer, support and favour.

I read somewhere that the amount of people calling themselves 'Christian' in this country has decreased from 70% + to 50%+ which in a way does not suprise me, in fact I'm pretty suprised that over half the Country see themselves as 'Christian' which in itself is a term that has many different meanings to many different people.

It seems that evangelism and missions is not something that should 'only' take place 'over there' ie in another Country (though that is still critical), but actually it is something that is also needed 'right here' and 'right now'.

I believe that every Christian / Church should be 'an agent' of this Great Commision.