The New Nigeria – Part 2 – Entering In.

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” Mark 1:15

Around the year 2000, our church in the UK received a strong prophetic word that we were to become a major discipling Centre in the UK and Europe. It meant we would have to shift our emphasis from a program driven church into an intentionally disciple-making church. As we prayed in the leadership, we felt distinctly led by God to go and understudy a church in Bogota, Columbia, who had transitioned into a full disciple-making church and were running what was called the G12 vision. At the time our Snr Pastor invited all the leaders of the church to come with him for two weeks to experience and study this revival and its distinctive discipleship model. The day we arrived in Bogota; we all went to a very big meeting of about 50,000 people. Now that was a lot of people in a church, coming from London. The presence of God was so thick. The worship was so intense, and we noticed that there was something quite authentic and genuine about this move. Most of us just wept and cried out to God for His grace. We were so desperate for God to replicate this in our City and Nation. Whilst on my face weeping and sobbing before God in that hall, I heard the Lord say to me, that there is only one way into this vision, and it is through the route of repentance. Repentance. It was crystal clear.

Over the next 10 days, we immersed ourselves in the mechanics, modalities, terms etc of the vision. We asked many questions, and the leaders of the Colombian church were ever so gracious. They painstakingly explained things to us. They gave us notes, tapes, etc. They invited us to all kinds of meetings. We experienced the vision in full flow. It culminated in a mega-rally at the stadium, with clearly over 100,000 people present. All disciples of Jesus. It was simply sublime. We went back to London and immediately dismantled our program based structure and began to replace it with the modalities of the G12 vision. We were extremely professional. We created all manner of materials to promote this new vision. I remember at one of our leadership meetings, the Lord spoke to me again, this time with a bit more detail. He said, this vision is a heart matter. It is not so much about your head. It can only truly work if the heart has been touched by The Lord. He then said, repentance is the only way to enter this vision. At this stage, I really started repenting of all my preconceptions of church and how it should be. I repented that I had never really seen the great commission of Matt 28:18-20, as the Lord gave it to us. I asked the Lord to forgive me for trying to build the church with my own ideas. I also told our leadership what I had received and how God says we should not spend too much time trying to master the dynamics, mechanics and modalities, but we should cry out for an impartation of the heart of the vision.

We eventually went to Bogota again after about three months, now with a much larger team, our disciples etc. I kept on telling people, that the mechanics is not as important as the heart or the Spirit of the vision. I was sitting down one late morning on my own outside one of the halls, when I began to sense God’s intense presence coming upon me. I simply asked the Lord to come even more as I was hungry for Him. Next, I saw a vision of a flaming torch coming towards me. The torch came and went straight into my heart and stayed there. The Lord then said I have made you a leader in this vision and I have given you the torch of discipleship, you will now be able to walk in the fullness of this vision. What happened next was that my wife also got a major impartation at one of the meetings and we went back to London. From that moment on our cell groups began to multiply, we began to have many disciples and our group became the group everyone wanted to belong to. People asked us what we did differently, and I just kept on repeating that this only came through an impartation arising out of deep repentance. By the way, repentance is also a gift from God, and it is his goodness that leads us to repentance. So, no credit to the person repenting, but to the Lord who grants a heart of true repentance.

I recounted this long story, to simply say, the New Nigeria can only be accessed through a genuine repentance. What is REPENTANCE? The Greek word is metanoia, which simply means change your mind or the way you think. Whilst I understand this meaning, I am afraid I don’t fully subscribe to this definition, because it is premised on the Greek mindset, which is all about logic and thinking. It is important to think and be a thinker, but the seat of real transformation is the heart first, then the mind. The next word is Hebrew. The word for repentance is Teshuvah. It simply means to return. It goes beyond a mere confession of sins. It goes further than feeling pain, remorse, or angst for error of missing the mark. It includes all this, plus a metanoa or change of mind or thinking, and it also means to move away from something or change direction from one way to the other. So, In Israel every year during the High Holydays, Rosh Hashannah to Yom Kippur, the entire nation goes into active Teshuvah in what is often referred to as the ’10 days of awe’. This is why I subscribe more to true repentance as teshuvah. Now, since Teshuvah means to return, what are we then returning to? Primarily, it is returning to God. Just like the young man in the parable of the prodigal son, returned to his father, so we are all called to return to God first as a Person and then to His plan and His ways.

We have all been immersed in the Old Nigeria and the New Nigeria cannot rest on the template of the Old. It must have its own pure foundations. All of us, have imbibed the Old Nigeria. We were born into it, raised in it, and have become fully immersed in it. It will take God’s mercy to cleanse us from the Old and grant us access to the new. It can only come to the truly repentant. Some of us are so accustomed to the Old Nigeria ways, that we do not even see them as a sins. We have become so expedient in our actions that, the conviction for sin is almost non-existent. We think it is the right way to be or the right thing to do. The Old Nigeria is diametrically opposed to the New. They have nothing in common. By the time, the New Nigeria is fully manifested, some will not even remember the Old Nigeria. It is so different.

The door to the New Nigeria is wide open. Can you find it? Will you enter in?

Think Repentance. Think Teshuvah

Grow New Nigeria, Grow!

Let Us Pray: Father God, I cannot force my way into the Kingdom, without following the protocol. So, also I now understand that to be in the New Nigeria, the way in is through repentance. Father grant me the grace and mercy of repentance. Starting now, begin to convict my heart by your Holy Spirit of the vestiges of the Old  Nigeria that is still within me. I surrender my heart to Your dealings and I thank you for helping me, make it into the New Nigeria. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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