BELIZE JOURNAL Pt. 1: A new national evangelical leadership is taking shape in Belize. It needs new direction. On June 14 we received a highly relevant word of God in a message by a visiting speaker from Nigeria. Johnelle McKenzie has transcribed it in six pages for wider distribution. This word of God, delivered by Dr. Gbile Akanni, is condensed—and in some parts expanded on—here. Dr. Akanni, as head of a leadership institute, Bible schools, discipleship programs, and orphanages in Nigeria, has broad experience in leadership. So much so, that 35,000 attended his leadership conference last December. We were glad to have him here in Belize in mid-June.
His overall message provided not only direction, but healthy correction. That’s a good sign that it was truly a word of God. Because “the Lord disciplines those He loves” (Heb. 12:6). Are we loving Him back? When Peter went back to fishing after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus challenged him to reaffirm his love for Him. Three times. And each time that Peter did, Jesus reminded him to feed, or take care of, His sheep.
Otherwise the sheep will stray into lawlessness. Love grows cold when lawlessness increases. And no one can deny lawlessness is increasing in Belize. “When Jesus saw men recklessly living their lives,” Dr. Akanni says, “what Jesus saw were sheep without shepherds.” So, “the flock is not the problem.” Revival begins with the shepherds. God is looking for shepherds who will “bear the weight of leadership”—not just the title. He seeks shepherds who will live out the message they carry—not just speak out the word of God.
He who speaks words without doing them “is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:23-24). Stay at the mirror instead. Ask yourself, how much like Christ do I look? How much like Him am I becoming? Your sheep will take after you. “The destiny of so many sheep is dependent,” says Dr. Akanni, “on who you are and who you are becoming.”
Too often we quickly look away from the mirror. We blame others for so little happening in the Church. Stay at the mirror. Look yourself in the eye. “First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42). Otherwise we will tend to take that plank and hit someone over the head with it. We will become beaters, not leaders.
The bigger the planks in our eyes, the blinder we are. If we try to lead others, we will be the blind leading the blind. Blind people who want to be drivers are suicidal. “God will never take that suicidal risk to put men whose eyes are not clear to lead His move,” says Dr. Akanni. We need time in the mirror with God, before we get too blind to see ourselves.
Ask, how much am I growing in God? The people under your care won’t grow far beyond your growth. “Every church is only a reflection of its leader,” says Dr. Akanni. “Your pastor’s prayer life is what regulates the prayer life of your members…Like pastor, like flock. Like father, like son. Like mother, like daughter.” An angry pastor, he says, will produce an angry congregation.
Whoever you are on the inside is “pushing out for people to collect” on the outside. Ask yourself, what have I been collecting in my heart? “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Dr. Akanni says, “Treasures in the heart have been developed over the years. Heart touches heart. If I am speaking to you from my heart, your heart will be touched.” We must guard the wellsprings of our hearts. They overflow into other’s lives. We can either fill our hearts with the word of God, or with the counsel of the enemy.
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Living Seed Peace House, Nigeria
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