Life after death

Last week I shared a story about Daniel Ekechukwu who died after being involved in an accident and subsequently came back to life.

He re-entered the land of the living at a crusade where Reinhard Boonke was preaching. That evangelist was invited here to speak and this sparked some heated exchanges.

Before I go any further I want to share a piece of scripture with you this week from 1 Corinthians 12:

“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed’, and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

With that as our backdrop, I feel very compelled to mention a ministry that is exercised by most if not all Christian – complaining. This is clearly the largest organisation in the church and if not its mandate, the end result is destruction.

The complaining I heard in some quarters is understandable because Barbados is not exempt from hirelings who come dressed in sheep’s clothing. So if persons were weary of this international evangelist I can understand that. It should be noted that the collection went to two local charities.

However, much of what I heard speaks to a lack of faith. Christians talk a good faith game but many prefer to play from the pavilion.

There was obviously some misinformation about evangelist Bonkee raising the dead. Clearly that seems to be the exuberance of those who invited him seeking to promote the event. Every year before Lent begins the Anglican Church brings a bishop, dean or some charismatic or inspirational cleric to speak at a Diocesan service and to have a retreat with the local clergy.

What I didn’t like about the service was the political undertone that had me so turned off that as curious as I was about how Bonkee would deliver the Gospel, I opted to do other things and did not even hear him.

Nonetheless I found it almost disturbing to hear Christians refuting the fact that a man was raised from the dead.

Surely we seem to have forgotten that what we profess as Christians is steeped in a man being raised from the dead. In fact, if we were to subtract the resurrection of Jesus we are left with nothing because it would mean that he was crucified and the grave was the end. There was not angel stating he is risen, he did not encounter the women in the garden, the disciples did not see his undisturbed clothes in the tomb, there was no Emaus encounter and there is no hope beyond the grave.

If we were to go further – we exist at our own whims and fancies because Jesus would not have had an opportunity to say He will not leave or forsake us, and there is no Advocate and Guide in our midst.

As Christians we live – or should I say die – to have life after death.

We need to either let out God or destroy the box we have Him in. The box that dictates what, where, why, when and how He can do something.

Christians talk about this great, big, wonderful God, but He is only as big as our little minds allow Him to be. God is captive to our minds and if we are to truly see Him as God we need to release Him and realise He is the creator and not ourselves.

Raising the dead is not outside the purview of God. We have a problem with that because we have limits and in thinking about God those limits define Him.

Brothers and sisters let us not be uninformed, raising the dead is a gift of the Spirit.

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