Amid the excruciating pain occasioned by the petrol scarcity that stole into the Nigerian society during the Yuletide, thousands of worshippers made it to the Deeper Life Conference Centre (DLCC) on Km42 Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for the Church’s 2017 National December Retreat themed ‘The Dawn of a New Beginning’.
On the day the retreat kicked off, Friday, 22 December, a litre of petrol sold for between N500 and N600. That would have ordinarily discouraged many, especially in an economy that is in recession, leaving many citizens with little or no purchasing power, but it turned out that the worshippers were undaunted. They were sure that the blessings that lay ahead were far more than the pain of getting there. And it was so.
The programme began on a very good note. Participants were urged to be in their best spiritual form so as to get the best from God. Being taken through the “Life in the camp”, they were advised to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.”
In his messages, Pastor William Kumuyi, general Superintendent of the Church, spoke on ‘The deliverance and dominion of a conquering Christian’; ‘The wonder of the tongue’; ‘The Bride’s covenant with the heavenly Bridegroom’; ‘His sacrifice, our sufficiency’; and ‘No curse for new creatures.’
Other topics he preached on were ‘Reaching every home for Christ’; ‘The purpose of Pentecost’, and ‘Emmanuel’.
In the course of his preaching, Pastor Kumuyi emphasized that the essence of Christ’s birth was to save mankind from sin. He noted that there has never been any other individual with such power to save and that never again would someone arise with Christ’s unique attributes. He urged participants to always put their total trust in Him.
In his last message, ‘Emmanuel’, Kumuyi traced the genesis of Christ’s birth and the wonders of the incident to every believer.
Addressing the message from three sub-titles- God: ‘The personality of the eternal Christ’; With: ‘His presence with every emancipated Christian’, and Us: ‘Our portion through His everlasting companionship,’ he noted that ‘Emmanuel’ is being interpreted to mean “God with us”. He urged believers to always look up to Emmanuel in every situation as He never fails.
Supporting his assertions with many scriptural passages, he said: “You will never come to a crossroads that you will not find a way. You will never be stranded in life.”
The retreat also featured messages handled by other leaders in the church. They are ‘Repentance, redemption and restitution’; ‘Honesty and faithfulness in the workplace’; ‘Holiness and transparency among brethren’; ‘The believer’s security and victory over temptation’; ‘Christian marriage and godly family’, and ‘God’s financial plan and Christian giving.’
There were also intercessory prayer sessions for the country, the church, individuals and political and religious leadership. The retreat also featured seminar sessions, choir ministrations and special prayer ministrations by Pastor Kumuyi.
In his description of the spiritual atmosphere at the retreat, Pastor Rufus Bamgbayan, the retreat camp commandant, said: “I was satisfied. In fact, I went round. What challenged me was especially the youths’ section. One would have thought that these youths would be rowdy when messages were on, but I was impressed with the listening attitude of those youths. Again, in the adult halls, it was same attitude of rapt attention. In fact, it encourages one’s heart.”
A participant, who spoke with BDSUNDAY on condition of anonymity, attributed the petrol scarcity this time around to the work of the devil.
“I think, the fuel scarcity at times like this points to one thing- the devil is still at work. People may not see it that way but those who have spiritual eyes see it. I knew that whenever it happens like this, devil is plotting to deprive some people of their blessings. I am glad I went. I am well-equipped to face 2018. That is my joy,” the retreat participant said.