About a month after Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), blessed handkerchiefs for the congregation at the church’s 2017 Holy Ghost Congress, “amazing testimonies” have started pouring in.
But the revered pastor, unhappy to see some people exhibiting signs of weakness, set the church on fire yesterday by teaching and praying for all members to be overcomers themselves. Rather than run away from demons, he wants demons to flee on sighting RCCG members.
During the Congress last month, he had asked members of the congregation to bring three handkerchiefs each for blessings. Reminding them of the various instances in the church when God had ordered him to do things that looked stupid to people, which turned out to evoke miracles, he urged the congregation to wave their handkerchiefs as he waved his, one after another, and prayed. It was an intensely solemn moment as he prayed fervently.
“We will hear your testimonies,” he said in the end.
Yesterday, some of the testimonies came. Amazing ones! A pregnant lady from Lagos was tested HIV positive and had one of the handkerchiefs placed on her. She delivered safely, and later tested HIV negative to the amazement of the doctors.
A couple in Lagos waited endlessly for their son to return from school. When by 2am, the boy had not returned, they started waving the wife’s set of handkerchiefs blessed by Pastor Adeboye until the boy called and informed his parents that he had boarded a wrong bus but his abductors had released him at Obalande, Lagos.
They continued to pray and wave the handkerchiefs until the owner of an SUV brought him home. As they made to thank the man, he zoomed off.
There were other testimonies where the handkerchiefs had been used to restore the sight of a lady who had suddenly gone blind, cure severe chest pains and reduced swellings.
The testimony that wowed the congregation was that of a pastor, who was called by one of the members of her church from Delta State to pray for her sick baby. The church member called moments after to say the baby had given up.
The pastor then urged her to wait and not to do anything to the corpse. She then rushed to her room, got her three handkerchiefs and told the lady that although she was not in Delta State and could not see her, prayers had commenced. The pastor said on waving the first handkerchief, the woman responded, “Amen.”Encouraged, she waved the second handkerchief and heard the child’s voice – he had come back to life.
As the testimonies and others unrelated to handkerchiefs poured in, Pastor Adeboye sat quietly, first in a position of prayer, his head resting on both fists raised from the knee.
He started his ministration, after an interlude of songs from the Mass Choir, with the usual opening thanksgiving prayers. But this time, instead of kneeling at the pulpit, he lay down flat.
The first part of the ministration took off with a call to those who was yet to be saved, making it clear that God is always needed to fight the enemy, but He would only do so after one had submitted himself.
After the call to the altar, he went straight into his sermon, titled, “Stronger than your enemy.” Reading from Luke 11: 21-23, he explained the need for one to be a “stronger man” to overpower a strong man.
Reminding the congregation that God’s desire is for everyone to be strong in all spheres of life, and be free from all forms of sicknesses; he cited the example of the Israelites among whom none among them were feeble when there were leaving captivity in Egypt.
He explained that spiritually God does not want His children to be only strong but also be able to heal others. He challenged the congregation to be strong enough to perform miracles, the like of which testifiers shared, and shouldn’t expect only the General Overseer to perform miracles.
“Try it! ” He charged the congregation. “Lay hands on people for miracles.”
Interspacing the sermon with prayers for God to strengthen members of the congregation, he shared many testimonies of people God had strengthened to perform signs and wonders.
He commended a man who wrote him a letter recently for prayers because he didn’t want to be an ordinary Christian, but one with supernatural powers. He cited his own experience on a similar prayer at the Redemption Camp, which caused an earth tremor. He said: “In those days, nobody lived at the Redemption Camp. I am sure some of the elders of the church would remember when one day an antelope bumped into our Ministers’ Conference. Poor animal, it ended up in the stomach of some people.
“Early in the morning every Tuesday, I would leave our house in Mushin for the Camp and be there until Thursday morning when I went to the Headquarters for Faith Clinic. The only other people in the Camp then were the carpenters who were working, and they would stop as soon as it is dark and retire for the day.
“But I wanted to seek Him; I wanted to be alone; with no noise and nothing to distract me. One night – I remember that night like yesterday – I prayed: ‘Father, I surrender all; it is only you now; that is all I want. I don’t want to be an ordinary pastor. Please, I am not seeking anything else. Not seeking for gold, not seeking for clothes, not seeking for fame. I want you to empower me so that I can do this work. And if you are not going to do it, take me away.’
“That day, He answered, and there was a tremor in the Camp. The tremor went as far as Ijebu Ode where pictures that hung on the wall began to drop.
“When you seek God with all your heart; when you seek Him in desperation, you will find Him.”
He also illustrated with another testimony what being more than an ordinary Christian could mean by his experience in Osogbo, Osun State: “At a Congress in Osogbo Grammar School, some years ago, people were divided into small groups to study the Bible with me going round to ensure that everything was in order. As I was approaching one of the groups, I saw some brethren gathered round a young boy. When they saw me coming, they said, ‘Thank God, Bro (for Brother) is coming.’
“I went to them and asked what the problem was. They said, ‘This boy has a peculiar problem: since he was born, the demons in him have been asking him to go into a burning fire. Any time he sees fire, he tries to go into it. So the parents have had a running battle keeping him far away from the kitchen and any naked fire. He needs deliverance.’
‘Fine,’ I said.
“They said, ‘Could you please join us?’
“I said, ‘I will, provided you let me pray first.’
“From the way they were rolling up their sleeves, I noticed they were getting ready for a real battle.
“I prayed a simple prayer. I pleaded the Blood of the Lamb and I bound the demons. I commanded them to free the boy and also commanded every seed not planted by God to be rooted out. ‘Thank you Jesus, ‘I said, and turned to go.
“They asked, ‘Is that all?’
“I said, ‘What else? Do you want me to wait for the devil to pack his load? I have already commanded him to depart.’
“Long after the Congress, I was travelling through Ife and decided to see one of my children (a member of the church). Lo and behold, this fire boy was there. We rejoiced over his healing and then he said, ‘To show you that I am free, I will go and prepare your food.’
“He went into the kitchen and prepared food for me, working over an open fire without the slightest danger to him.”
To further equip the congregation to be spiritually strong – stronger then the enemy- he explained what they need to do:
· To be stronger, you must be supported by the one who is the strongest of all, and that is the Almighty God.
· Connect to the one who is ever ready to rescue captives all the time.
· Be inhabited by the greatest (God) with the power to do the impossible, such that when you command the devil, it is God’s voice they hear and obey.
Pastor Adeboye expressed displeasure about people who are supposed to be children of God complaining about weakness and common diseases. He charged the congregation to exhibit physical and spiritual strength and be able to help others.
For members of the congregation to grow that strong, he recommended aggressive praise; aggressive prayers, aggressive giving, and above all aggressive and robust faith.
He dismissed the claims of people who say they don’t have faith because as he explained it requires faith in the furniture maker to sit on a chair believing it will not break, just as it takes faith in a pilot to travel on a plane.
Pastor Adeboye’s expectation from all the teachings and prayers for the congregation was that they will be strong and be able to perform miracles.
“Arise and shine!” he charged them in the end and read out some prayer points for them to pray with for empowerment; as he set out to pray for over 100 people with infirmities, which required special attention.
He had earlier requested pastors to send in names of such people to his office for arrangements to be made for their presence at the Holy Ghost Service. He was seen laying hands on them one after the other.
With that done, he blessed the congregation to draw the curtains on the service. Among the earlier prayer sessions was the usual prayer by Pastor Adeboye’s wife, Folu, whose is also a powerful pastor in the church.
She led the congregation in thanking God for President Buhari’s divine healing, and prayed for an era of prosperity for Nigeria and other countries.
Pastor Brown Iyiso, who had preached earlier, described 2018 as a year of dominion for all who have a good relationship with God.