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Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Church Puts Nigeria On the World Map

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How this Nigerian pastor has been evangelizing the world.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is the founder of Christ Embassy Church, or Believers’ Loveworld Incorporated, he is also the author Rhapsody of Realities, a daily devotional and bible study-guide that is available in 1000 languages, making it the most translated book in the world after the bible. The pastor, known to his millions of devotees, as ‘the man of God’, announced in his annual International Pastors’ and Partners’ Conference, (IPPC# , that 1 billion official copies of his Rhapsody of Realities book, were distributed in the year 2018, alone.

The announcement was made in the midst of the International Pastors’ and Partners’ Conference (IPPC) on Thursday night. The IPPC is an annual convention of over 15 000 Believers Loveworld emissaries. Throughout the week-long conference, the many delegates showcase the church’s numerous exploits of the year, discuss future missions and celebrate their significant humanitarian and cultural efforts of the past year.

It has been quite a journey for Oyakhilome to get to this point. Originally a student in architecture at the Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, he began ministering to a small prayer group in his early university days. The group grew over time to become the Believers Loveworld Fellowship and eventually, to what is now known as, the Believers Loveworld Inc. Now in its 30thyear, the church is a global network of subsidiaries with congregations all over the world, and approximately 13 million members all over the world.

Throughout the years, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome has also partnered with the world-renowned televangelist, Benny Hinn. The two have ministered together on a number of occasions in front of live audiences, as well on the Christ Embassy owned television network, Inside Loveworld USA. Hinn also ministered at the wedding of Oyakhilome’s daughter, Sharon Oyakhilome, in October 2018.

All of this has contributed to the Oyakhilome led church becoming one of the largest faith-based organizations in Africa, with a strong and devoted following of people of all ages. Christ Embassy’s diverse group of followers is largely due to its many digital platforms. These online social hubs, such as Kingschat, Yookos and Ceflix, have all been instrumental in pulling millions of devoted young Christians around the world into Christ Embassy. This is in fact, is a notable feature in this year’s IPPC.

The annual super-event includes several smaller conferences, each one dedicated to a certain aspect of the church. The most notable one so far, the International Media Connector Conference, or IMCC. The IMCC is the digital component of the IPPC and has been gaining an increasing amount of attention in recent years.

The conference was created to guide the many delegates from the BLW network, in the best and most efficient ways of communicating with their growing online following. The conference includes lectures and workshops that all deal with “media strategy, digital communication, and social media networking.” It has since been lauded for pushing Christ Embassy into the digital age and transforming evangelical Christianity into a young and tech savvy spiritual movement for young people.

The youth make up a significant part of the church, resulting in the creation of the BLW Youth Ministry, a youth wing that operates under the auspices of the main church. The IPPC, in turn, has created an exclusive conference for the youth, named the International Teen Pastors’ Conference, or ITPLC. Every year the ITPLC brings thousands of young pastors from around the globe to gather on a spiritual journey under the tutelage of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and his team of dignitaries.

This year’s conference featured a series of workshops, sermons and lectures by many Christ Embassy partners, most notably Pastor Deola Phillips, who spoke on ‘effective discipleship’ and ‘raising the next generation of leaders.’

The International Pastors’ and Partners’ Conference of 2018 of course has a lot more in store. The mega-event is packed with conferences that “showcases Christ Embassy’s many exploits of the past year. Additional conferences include, the International Pastors’ Conference, International Partners’ Conference, the Translators’ Network International Conference (TNIC), Loveworld Exhibition, Loveworld Archives, Loveworld Awards and the Loveworld International Music, all of which “celebrate the many humanitarian, religious and cultural accomplishments of the Believers LoveWorld network.”

The IPPC closes with the LIMA Awards. The LIMA awards “celebrate the many musicians of the Christ Embassy ministry.” These members have been “instrumental to the success and landmarks of the evangelical work during the course of the year.” The Loveworld Music Ministry is huge contributor to the cultural aspect of the church and is therefore honored with an award ceremony. The IPPC closes the event with the best Gospel musicians of the year.

It is fair to say that so far, the IPPC has met its expectations. In the weeks leading up to the event, the anticipation was very high. Pastor Chris Oyahkhilome gave an address regarding the event, during his October Global Communion saying that “this year’s IPPC will be like never before.” Get ready for a time of the Spirit.” This statement stirred up a great deal of excitement in the nation, prompting organizers to even “create additional space in order to fully facilitate everyone”.

The Christian organization is made up of a network of several subsidiaries, namely Rhapsody of Realities, The Healing School and the Loveworld television stations, as well as its affiliated publishing house- LoveWorld Publications. has been leading his organization The Christian organization is based in Lago, Nigeria but consists of several branches around the world. also known as Christ Embassy, based in Lagos, Christ Embassy.

 

Broadway

Julie Benko, Adam Pascal, Tovah Feldshuh, Shoshana Bean, Debra Messing and More The Shabbat Service That was Full Top Capacity

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This past Saturday, January 27th, at the St. James Theater, at 9am, a Shabbat service was held inside a Broadway theater. Underneath a giant, golden Star of David, the songs and prayers were sung by Julie Benko, who sang “Tomorrow” from Annie, Adam Pascal, Tovah Feldshuh sang “Mi Sheberach”, Shoshana Bean sang “Etz Chaim”, Seth Rudetsky, Talia Suskauer, who played Elphaba in Wicked, sang the “Shema”, Jackie Hoffman read the Amidah, the core prayer of every Jewish worship service and Debra Messing read a prayer for the community. Both the songs and the  prayers were arranged by Cantor Azi Schwartz from Park Avenue Synagogue, who is known for setting Shabbat prayers to modern tunes. Adam Kantor (Rent, Fiddler on the Roof, The Band’s Visit), sang a mashup of “Oseh Shalom” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which he said he arranged in the days following October 7th.  Amanda Lipitz, directed and the show was produced by Henry Tisch

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove from Park Avenue Synagogue, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl from Central Synagogue and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum from Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, had their own Shabbat services to lead, but appeared in pre-recorded video segments throughout the service.

The 90-minute service was led by cantors Jenna Pearsall from Central Synagogue and Mo Glazman from Temple Emanu-El, two of the city’s most prominent Reform synagogues. It also included a sermon by Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR Synagogue in Los Angeles, from her new book “The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World,” which was read by actress Camryn Manheim.

As peace and prayer are needed Broadway showed the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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Events

A New Year – Bury the Bucket List – Just Do It

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I was walking down the street the other day behind two young women in their early twenties who were chatting. I was not eavesdropping, but my ears pricked up when I heard one of them say, “Yeah, That’s on my bucket list.” It just hit me with the question “Why is someone who is just starting life using the term ‘bucket list’ and why has this become such a widespread saying for people these days”. It’s the start of a new year and I say dump out the bucket list and Just Do It.

The term bucket list is supposed to be for people who are facing their imminent demise so they have things that they want to do before they “kick the bucket.” I had to go on the internet to see when this saying became so widely used. Surprisingly, it arose from the 2007 film that starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson called, duh!, The Bucket List. The film about two ailing old men deciding to have adventures before they died only received a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes scorecard. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Not even the earnest performances of the two leads can rescue The Bucket List from its schmaltzy script”. It didn’t break the top 25 box office films of the year that year but somehow this term created by screenwriter Justin Zackham resonated with people and now its part of the English lexicon.  Ironically, the screenwriter invented this term when he was writing his own goal list on which the number one goal was to “get a film made by a major network”. Well, that goal was achieved but was he aiming to burden the world with this annoying misnomer?

I much prefer the tagline for Nike that was coined in 1988 – Just Do It. To me the bucket list is an exercise in procrastination, and it can actually be kind of depressing. As we get older the list gets longer and our time gets shorter. Long lists are overwhelming because you don’t know what to do first and stagnation can result. I’ve heard many people come back from a holiday or doing an activity say,” I’ve checked that off my bucket list” in a very unemotional way. Well did you enjoy it? Was it what you expected? Are you happy you did it? Likewise, I have been in conversations when someone is relaying an experience and a listener responds with –“ Oh! That’s on my bucket list” or “I have to put that on my bucket list”. Really? You just heard someone’s story about something and it’s something you have to do before you die?

Twenty years ago I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. It had been something I had wanted to do since 1988, coincidentally the year Just Do It came out and decades before the bucket list term came into the public domain. I have relayed my not so wonderful experience of climbing the volcano, getting a form of altitude sickness which caused me to temporarily lose my sight and then blindly walk down the mountain, sometimes just sliding down steep arts on my butt. When I tell this tale to people someone invariably responds with, “That’s on my bucket list.” Why? I just told you it was not worth the pain, time or expense. Go on a safari. And as a side note – none of those people who over the decades have said it was on their b-list has actually climbed Kilimanjaro.

This is why I only have annual goals and as I write down those goals I make sure that they are doable and I will have the time to do them. To be honest I look back at prior year goals and I don’t do them all and in fact I ask myself “what were you thinking?”; but I have to forgive myself for not doing them all. Some contradict each other like this past year – I want to lose 20 pounds and gain muscle mass – hey Craig muscle weighs more than fat – Duh! You can’t do both! Other goals may have been something I wanted to do on January 1st but by June they did not seem so exciting.

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Spiritual

Kindness an Act That Can Change the World

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“Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is the new wealth. Kindness is the new cool.”—Syed Balkhi

Kindness (noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; a kind act.
— English Oxford Living Dictionaries

In a world where we are searching for who and what we are, there is an urgent call for kindness. If we treated others with the kindness we so desperately need, then we could rise above unkindness to be our best selves.

Kindness starts with being kind to yourself. When you treat others with kindness you are taking care of yourself. Be kind to yourself no matter the anger, frustration or disappointment that you really feel deep inside. We are all damaged human beings and when we accept that, we can move forward in love.

We all have challenges, pasts, and problems that we do not let the world know. We hide our pain. When we cut ourselves and others slack, we allow a healing to happen. Compassion can lead us to acts of kindness.

A friend and I every morning rode our bikes to work. We made sure to say hi to everyone we saw. We had been doing this for months and one day we missed our daily routine. The next day, we found everyone saying hi to us first. Our random acts of love had been noticed.  

We may not have control over other people, but we do have control over ourselves. Being kind is a choice that has lasting consequences.

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Spiritual

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions Let’s Be Grateful

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Every year we make New Year’s Resolutions and we fail within a month or two. With everything that has happened we have been given a renewed perspective, and a better appreciation for the simpler things in life. A friend of mine posted this and I am sharing it.

Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?

Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?

I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived.

And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.

And if we are to promise more, let’s pledge to rest, before our bodies force us.

Let’s pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens.

Let’s pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we truly are inside.

Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already over-strained humanity.

When we could be learning to accept, that we were always supposed to be imperfect.

And that is where the beauty lives, actually.

And if we can only find that beauty, we would also find peace.

I wish you peace in 2024.

Everything else is all just a part of it.

Let it be so.

Donna Ashworth

 Every year we make New Year’s Resolutions and we fail within a month or two. With everything that has happened we have been given a renewed perspective, and a better appreciation for the simpler things in life. A friend of mine posted this and I am sharing it.

Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?

Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?

I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived.

And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.

And if we are to promise more, let’s pledge to rest, before our bodies force us.

Let’s pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens.

Let’s pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we truly are inside.

Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already over-strained humanity.

When we could be learning to accept, that we were always supposed to be imperfect.

And that is where the beauty lives, actually.

And if we can only find that beauty, we would also find peace.

I wish you peace in 2024.

Everything else is all just a part of it.

Let it be so.

Donna Ashworth

Here are what I feel grateful for.

1: I am thankful for my friends who have loved me unconditionally, despite my flaws and have helped me get this far in life.

2: I am thankful for my health and cherish that I can still walk.

3: I am thankful for the theater and music. When it is great it can transport me and lift me to higher places.

4: I am grateful for my support system.

5: I am grateful for my home, a place I am always welcome.

6: I am grateful for my strong spiritual thirst that helps guide me.

7: I am grateful for my cat Hamlet, who makes me laugh, shows me love unconditionally and makes me work for his acceptance.

8: I am grateful for my readers, for without you I am nothing.

9: I am grateful that my needs are taken care of. I somehow manage to always have an abundance.

10: I am grateful for the freedoms we still have and pray that they continue.

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Book Reviews

The Mayor of Times Square Interviews Neale Donald Walsch the author of Conversations with God

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Imagine having the bestselling book about God and being synonymous with the very word itself. Buckle on up as you are about to read a partial interview from The Motivation Show podcast with this famous author who burst onto the scene in the 1990s and is back with yet another bestseller.

Neale Donald Walsch is the author of Conversations with God, published in 1995, which became a global publishing phenomenon, staying on the New York Times bestseller list for 137 weeks. Many books later, he is now the author of God Talk: Experiences of Humanities Connections with a Higher Power.

Walsch – How may I serve the moment?

Eli Marcus: 24 years ago you did serve the moment and you actually worked with my company, The Seminar Center, and you talked about your incredible book Conversations with God at the height of that book being on the bestseller list. So today we’re going to talk about this new book, and I think the first question that begs is, what’s the difference between this book and Conversations with God and all the other books in between?

Walsch: Well, I think this is the first book that I was actually asked to write. Most authors get an idea for a book and then they look for a publisher. And if they’re lucky, they find one. But it’s very rare, extremely rare in my experience, for a publisher to call an author and say, would you write a book on the following topic? But that’s what happened here. A publisher…my phone rang about a year ago and a publisher said, would you be willing to write a book telling people how they might be able to have their own experience of conversations with God, how you approached it in your life and how they could approach it in their life? And I said, you know what? That sounds like a very interesting book. Let me take a crack at it. So I did, and I sent it to them and they felt that it had some value, so they put the book out. So that’s what makes it different is that it’s not a book of my own thoughts around conversation with God, nor is it a book of dialogue with God. It’s a book that tells people how they could have their own experience of connection with the divine. And it also contains, by the way, interestingly enough, stories, six or seven stories from other people. I didn’t select those. The publisher actually put a call out on the internet inviting people. If you’ve ever felt that God was intervening in your life in a direct way, what you call divine intervention, send us your story. And people sent in by the hundreds, by the way, and they had editors looking at those stories for a couple of weeks and they picked out the seven most interesting ones and included those in the book. I think they were put in the book to show people that it’s not just this guy Neale Donald Walsch, but really all of us having conversations with God all the time. And here are some stories from other people who’ve had the exact same kind of encounter. So, I think that makes the book fascinating and allows people to move forward if they have their own desire to have a direct connection with the divine.

Eli Marcus:  Some people look at God as having a leap of faith, and often it does take a very strong faith to believe in God. And then there are those atheists who no matter how much proof you bring to them, are still going to deny the existence of God. Why do you feel 100% sure there’s a God?

Walsch:  Because I’ve experienced God in my life. I’ve had a direct experience of communication from and with the divine. And when I have followed those messages, that is, I was almost going to be tempted to say, follow those instructions, but they’re not really instructions because God doesn’t instruct us, but she does invite us and make suggestions. And every time I have followed those suggestions that I was given in my conversations with God, things have worked out beautifully and wonderfully for me. So proof’s in the pudding. That’s why I have become very, very clear that there is an experience in the universe called God. Now here’s what’s interesting, Eli. The sociologists have taken surveys around the world asking people a single question. It’s a one question survey, and they’ve taken it in countries across the globe. The question they’ve asked people on the street is, do you believe in a higher power?   8.5 out of every 10 people statistically have said yes. So there’s massive agreement among human beings that there’s more going on here than meets the eye. There’s some kind of higher power, but there’s disagreement on what that higher power is or how it works or what it wants. If anything, what it does, if it doesn’t get what it wants, and is there any way that we can use that higher power in our own life? That’s why there are 4,223 religions on the face of the earth right now because we can’t come to an agreement about God. But most people agree that there is something more going on here that meets the eye.

Eli Marcus: One of the fascinating things in reading the book God Talk, is you talk about the fact that there are things that happened to you throughout your life that really are miraculous if you’re really looking back at it as a 2020 armchair quarterback. But at the time, you didn’t credit it necessarily to God’s intervention. You may have just thought it was, oh, just a coincidence. But maybe those aren’t such coincidences after all, maybe God did intervene when that truck was about to hit you and something just came and interrupted that pattern where you missed that truck… that I would say is a miracle and maybe that is a higher power. So talk about that a little bit.

Walsch: I want to make it clear that my understanding is that God does not have a preference, in the matter of how our lives move forward. God does not want us to get the job or find the perfect partner or move to the right city or for that matter, miss being hit by the truck. God does not have, this is hard for people to believe, but I was told in my conversations, I don’t have a preference in the matter. What I do desire as opposed to prefer, what I desire, God said to me, is for you to have the ability to have your own preferences matched. That is for you to step into the creations that you wish to produce in your life. So if you don’t want to produce an untimely death by being hit by a truck, moving through an intersection, then my desire is to give you the ability to avoid such an outcome by expanding the horizons of your perception. So that’s what happened there. It wasn’t in that particular instance, it wasn’t that God said, oop, we don’t want Neale to die right now. Let’s send him a message. But it was that God wants me to have, and all human beings, to have expanded perceptions such that we can avoid outcomes that we did not desire.

Marcus:  And how has God, in what form, has he actually talked to you and does he talk to everybody in the same form?

Walsch: No, the answer is of course, no.  She doesn’t talk to me in only one way. God speaks to all of us really in a hundred different ways, across a million moments in our lives. It’s not just in writing or words that we hear in our mind. Often it’s a vision. Often it can be something as simple as a fragrance. I’m walking through a department store and I smelled gardenia, and I don’t know why, because I was not in the perfume section and I’m thinking, why am I smelling gardenia? But I didn’t question it. I thought I got to pay attention to this because Eli, Gardenia was my mother’s favorite, her signature fragrance. So that was her favorite perfume. So I got home and I picked up the phone and I said, I got to call my mom because there’s some reason why I’m smelling gardenia here in the department store. Sure enough, it was a very, very important phone call that I made to her. It turned out to be personally very, very important to me. So, God communicates with us. That is the expanded awareness that we are gifted with by God, allows us to receive information in a hundred different ways, across a million lifetimes.  Fragrances, visions, ideas, feelings that come over us for no apparent reason or the chance utterance of a friend that we just happened to by coincidence, run into on the street or an overheard conversation in a coffee shop or the lyrics of the next song you hear on the radio or the words on a billboard as you’re driving around the corner and the freeway. And then you see seven words on the billboard that directly answer what you’ve been looking at for the past six weeks. So there’s no one way that God communicates with me, nor is there any one way that God communicates with everyone. Be aware that God is communicating with us all the time. That is the universe is showing us what we need to know. By the way, one of those ways is this program that people are listening to right now. Consider the possibility that people are getting that communication right now in this instant.

Eli Marcus is the host of The Motivation Show podcast.  Listen to his full interview with Neale Donald Walsch on any podcast platform like Apple Podcasts, Amazon Radio, Google Podcasts, IHeart or use this Spotify link:  https://open.spotify.com/episode/2J4qx5dq8x5FrudRV9vGbr?si=07da9f251be44e16.   Contact Eli at motivatea2z@gmail.com.   Follow Eli on Facebook at TheMotivationShow, Instagram at EliMarcusPodcast and Twitter at TheEliMarcus.

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