I have heard people say things like, ‘I don’t care what other people say about me, as long as God says I am ok’ and I used to say that too. It is however only partly correct. What people have to say is usually a reflection of who you could actually be or have unknowingly become and every wise person will do well to find out what others are saying.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to personally ask Dr. Ukafia, one of the friends of our ministry, what I could do to become a better pastor and he said I should actively court criticism by using questionnaires for example.
That is not to say what people have to say is always correct, but what they have to say is very important if you must impact their lives.
It is recorded in Matthew 16: 13, that “Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?” It was clear that even Jesus was interested in knowing what the world had to say about him. “John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets”, they replied and then He asked again, in verse 15, “…But whom say ye that I am?” Jesus obviously wanted to reconcile what the world had to say with what His own disciples had to say and it was unfortunate that only one person, Peter spoke up in verse 16, “…Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
They all knew what the world was saying but they knew not for themselves who He was. If you must be a true believer, you must know who Jesus is to you. You cannot say you are a Christian and yet think that Jesus and Mohammed are one. You cannot be a Christian and think or even believe that Christianity and Islam both teach the same thing. It is a lie from the pit of hell to make you loose your passion for the souls of friends and relatives who claim that they too believe in one God. You must know that anyone or any religious way that disagrees with the fact that Jesus is the son of God, who came to die for the salvation of man and rose as Lord of all, is already leading the people that follow it to eternal separation from God in hell. Who is Jesus to you? He wants to know for what a person means to you determines how you treat him.
Now comes part two of what I have to say,
Who is our father in the Lord to you?
For me, he is a man in whom I have discovered a deep seated passion for the things of God.
In the days of disagreements, it is not strange to hear him say, “at the end of all our quarrel, who will win? God or the devil?” He has taught us to do all things so that God will always win.
Apostle Paul speaking in 1Corinthians 11:1 says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” I am doing my best to follow Him as closely as I see Him follow Jesus. Do not get me wrong; I have never been tempted to think that he is perfect. He has never said that of himself but I see in him a man that yearns by the Spirit of God to get better by the day. He reads more, learns more, loves and cares more and getting closer to him, I discover that even when he scolds, it is because he must, to move us to the next level and even when he does that, we see that it is not out of hatred but with a loving heart (even though his face may not look it).
He knows when to act as a father and of course he is ever willing to be a friend. Give him a little opportunity and he wants to let you benefit from all he knows. He is always in a hurry to build men and if he could, he would not hesitate to turn a child into a man in a day.
He may not be the best of men as some may reckon but he is one of the very best I have met and we are proud to have him as spiritual father over us. But I’m not the only one who has something to say. Here are some comments I culled from Facebook and WhatsApp…
Dr. John Ibenu, a father and friend figure rare to find, sold out to the course of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m glad to be identified with this humble servant of God. We celebrate you sir.-
Pastor Sam Isezuo
This humble servant of Lord is a great man indeed. Dr. John Ibenu is a father, mentor, preacher, helper and indeed a great teacher of the word of God. His messages edify the soul, nourishes the bone and empowers people (like me). I’m proud of him anywhere I go and I’m also happy to have him as my father. Lord God I thank you for giving us a father like this in our generation. – Ogah Monday Samuel
A father to all (small or big rich or poor). A man with great passion for the things of God. I am grateful for being one of your sons-
Bishop John Ibenu is a rare man of God who does ministry as it should. Nobody meets him for the first time and will not be convinced that he is God-sent. I am where I am today because god connected me to him. I celebrate the anointing, wisdom and the grace of God upon his life.-
Pastor Paul Idoko
While most people will wait for their loved ones to pass away before they tell the world how good they were, we wish to start our own now, by saying it and doing it on this beautiful Bishop’s day, 2015. God bless you.