The issue of tithe, which stipulates that one tenth of ones income should be paid to God remains an unsettled the church remains as most Christians, particularly those who are not of the Pentecostal fold do not pay their tithes. The Holy Bible clearly states in the book of Malachi 3:8-10 that anyone who is not paying his title and offering is robbing God. What was not clear to many believers is how, when and whether tithes will be paid only to the church.
However, in this Personality of the Week interview granted Ika Weekly by Rev. Emmanuel Okoro Cimseniwe Mgbejume, the General Overseer, Ministry of Reconciliation Evangelism and Explosion (MOREE), he disclosed that anyone who is not paying his or her tithe is not a child of God, stressing that every believer of the word of God must pay tithe.
Rev. Mgbejume who was the immediate past chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Ika North East local government area, also spoke of his beginning, how he founded MOREE, challenges and the need for Nigerians to embrace God.
Its nice to meet you sir, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Rev, Dr. Emmanuel Okoro Cimseniwe Mgbejume. I am from Ileme quarters, Owa-Alizomor, in Ika North East local government area, Delta State. I was born to the family of late Mr. Jonathan Dikenhi Mgbejume.
How was your growing up days and the schools you attended?
I attended Local Authority Primary School, now Owa Alizomor Primary School, Owa-Alizomor. After my primary school education, I tapped rubber because my mother who was to train me in secondary school died and my father had no money to take the challenge. I also did vulcanizing job before I answered God’s call in 1971. Thereafter, I proceeded to a pastoral school at Eku, where I spent four years. Upon my graduation, I came back home and was appointed a resident pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church, Owa-Alizomor. I pastored the church for eighteen years before God called me to establish my own church where I formed Ministry of Reconciliation Evangelism and Explosion (MOREE). I stayed for one year without a convert, until January, 1994 when God opened door for the ministry and people started attending.
Can you share more experience on your days as a village pastor?
Oh, it was great and interesting. Then, my salary in a month was 20 kobo and sometimes I have to wait for six months before I could be paid. My family and I were able to survive during the period, because we went into farming.
How did you encounter Jesus Christ?
Before I answered God’s call, I was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church, Owa-Alizomor but I was not a born again Christian. I was a church goer, until 1971 when one day when one of our church members who meet me on the road one day said I should give my life to Jesus Christ. At first I was very angry with him, asking why he should be preaching to me when he knew we were both members of the same church. From that day, I started amending my ways until I finally gave my life fully to Christ.
You said the first year your church was founded, there was no convert even in the midst of serious prayers and fasting. During this period why did you not seek for powers somewhere?
No, God forbids. What I did was to intensify my fasting and prayer. Some of my friends who became sympathetic to my course on few occasions gave me money to eat. In that year, I did eighteen days dry fasting for God to direct me on what to do.
You said the name of your church is Ministry of Reconciliation Evangelism and Explosion (MOREE). Was it God that gave you that name?
Yes, the name MOREE was given to me by God. Let me say this here, the decision to establish MOREE was not from me but from God who spoke to me through nine of his servants one of which is late Baba Moses.
How has it been since 1993 when MOREE was founded?
It has not been easy but we thank God for everything. At the moment, we have fifteen branches including the one in Port-Harcourt.
How do we differentiate between the true men of God and the fake ones?
Good pastors are easy to know because they have good foundation. When a pastor has a good foundation he can never be fake. For example, I have a good foundation, so, I can never be a fake pastor. I have never prophesied to anybody with the power of the devil. Any pastor who is using satanic power to operate is not called by God. Any pastor called by God will follow God’s instruction. Fake pastors, bishops and prophets of today are satanic agents out to deceive the church of God.
Is it true that modern day churches preach prosperity?
Yes, many churches of today preach prosperity, all for their own selfish gain. Prosperity is good but we have to obey God first before going ahead to ask for anything from Him. Any church which preaches only prosperity messages to its members without admonishing them to repent from their evil ways is not a church of God.
What is your take on the issue of tithing?
I believe in both the old and new testaments and have come to understand that any Christian who is not paying tithe is robbing God, and he or she is not a child of God.
Working in God’s vineyard, is it bread and butter?
Ministry work is not a lazy man’s work because you will suffer many things. Look at my own case, I suffered at the beginning, to the extent that some persons who knew me started asking if I have gone mad. Thank God, the man they were calling a mad man is still forging ahead today. It is never easy doing the work of God but when you put your trust in Him, you must surely succeed.
You did not go to secondary school because your mother who was to sponsor your education died. Now that you have the time, have you considered going back to school?.
Yes, I have done that. The zeal to really go back to school started after a fellow preacher insulted me calling me an illiterate pastor. The statement touched me to my heart and I promised myself that I was going to go to school until I get satisfied. Thereafter, I enrolled for GCE examination and started reading at home. With God on my side, I passed the examination and made straight to College of Education, Agbor where I obtained an NCE certificate in English/Nigeria Languages. From there I proceeded to Delta State University, Abraka where I earned a degree in English Education. By the grace of God, today I am a Master Degree holder. In 1986, Billy Graham gave me a scholarship to study abroad but unfortunately, I was stopped through a petition written against me by a clergy who was a beneficiary of the scholarship. He told lies against me, all because he was jealous and did not want me to enjoy the same scholarship with him.
What do you think should be done in order for Nigeria to move forward?
Nigerians should embrace God with the whole of their hearts and stop running from one place to the other seeking for power where there are no powers. God will not lower His standard because of the attitude of Nigerians. What He says He will do that is what He will do.
Are you sure civilization is not affecting the growth of Christianity?
Civilization is good, it becomes bad when it make Christians to turn away from God.
The high level of immorality today in the society has been attributed to the failure of the church to live up to expectations. Do you subscribe to that?
The church has failed to checkmate immorality. I will categorically tell you many churches of today are very worldly. If the church can return to the old pattern of worship, we will do more, for many churches no longer conduct Sunday School because they see it as not important and they spend only one to two hours in the church. I remember in those days when we spent hours in the church, praising and worshiping God, and when you came back home from church, you will feel that you went to church. We need to rededicate ourselves to God. Our young girls who dress indecently with earnings like the wheel of a car should repent. The church is failing God by allowing the things of the world to overtake it. I believe in the Holy Ghost anointing but the idea of falling on the ground during prayers is not the solution. Many of the church programmes I watch on the television show same people who fall everyday during prayers. It is not so. Healing is supposed to be permanent and not people falling everyday each time they are prayed for.
What do you think the church should do to checkmate immorality?
Anything that has a beginning always has an end. We should amend our ways in any area we have not measured up and return to God. Let us teach our children the undiluted word of God. It is what you have that you give out. Most of the young ones do not know the bible, that is why they are behaving badly. The church will be better if we return to the old pattern of worship, and teaching, of the true word of God and stop boasting with the number of country we have travelled to or the number of five star hotels that we have slept in.
You and Rev. Eboh are the chaplains of Owa Royal Palace Chapel, how are both of you helping Owa kingdom to grow spiritually?
We are trying our best. His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II, OON has been very supportive and he always worship with us. Today, the king prays in the name of Jesus. If that is the only thing we have been able to achieve, I think it is enough for us. We have also organized a crusade in the palace where many persons gave their lives to Jesus Christ. For the past three years, we have not stopped holding services every Sunday at 3pm at the Palace. It is our prayer that the whole people of Ika nation will give their lives to Christ. The word of God is light which darkness cannot comprehend. That is why people no longer make sacrifices during the day time, they go at night when they will not be seen by anybody. That is a sign of the development of the gospel in Ika land.
Are you a member of CAN and PFN?
I am a member of both Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria. (CAN). I was the vice chairman of PFN in Ika North East for four years and also served as chairman of the association for eight years before I handed over to the incumbent chairman. I am also a member of the Scripture Union (S.U).
Are these Christian associations sacrificing enough time to pray for Nigeria and its leaders?
Yes they are, but we are not happy that Christians who have the opportunity to be in government are not showing good examples. We expect Christians in government to show the light to their colleagues in government. However, we will continue to pray until the devil is put to shame.
Do you have spiritual fathers?
Baba Moses is one of my spiritual fathers but he left for heaven last year. Others are Prof N.C. Osakwe and my colleagues in the ministry.
What are year messages to Nigerian?
I want to tell Nigerians to return to God, because that is the only way we can move forward. We should pursue peace with all men for righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach Proverbs 13:4.
What advice do you have for the youths?
Our youths should stop seeking for quick money. Any youth who feels he cannot go to school for one reason or the other should go and acquire skills. And those who have acquired skills should not go and start riding okada. Our youths should learn how to respect their elders and should stop lying with their handsets. And lastly, our youths should stop running to oversea countries. We have more opportunities here in Nigeria which can be tapped. Let us join hands to repair Nigeria for we have no other country.
Our next personality of the week is Dr. Akinagu Fidelis Esenjo, an environmental consultant based in South African. Dr. Esenjo, before he travelled abroad was a politician and local education secretary, Ika South Local Government Area. In the exclusive interview he granted Ika Weekly at Agbor before he travelled back to South Africa speaks on the politics of Ika nation, challenges and way forward it is a must read.
PRESENT YOUR SCORES CARDS BEFORE YOU TALK OF 2013, OKUNWA TELLS IKA POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS
A known politician in Ika land and the National Conscience Party (NCP), House of Representatives candidate in the 2011 general elections, Chief Samuel Okunwa has during the week blasts Ika public office holders who are aspiring for higher offices in 2015, calling on them to list what they have achieved for the people of Ika nation before asking for another opportunity.
The outspoken Owa born politician said most Ika political leaders are looters and failures, hence, they have not been able to attract meaningful developmental projects to Ika land.
In his words, �Ika people are suffering, we have no functional infrastructures in our land. Our roads are the worst in Delta State, we have no pipe borne water, our schools and hospitals are in shambles, our graduates and youths are roaming about in the streets yet, we have politicians who at one time or the other were Acting Governor, Secretary to the State Government. Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Commissioners, among others. Our politicians should explain to us what is happening to Old Lagos/ Asaba Road which for the past six years of Governor Uduaghan’s administration is begging for completion. We are aware that many of these Ika politicians want to contest for the governorship and other political offices in 2015. They should tell us the things they have done for Ika nation that will qualify them for another opportunity.
Speaking further, Chief Okunwa said �Ika politicians are only good in using and dumping people but this time around, they are going to fail. I am begging the good people of Ika land to join efforts with the progressives and remove the cabals who have been enslaving us�.
Chief Okunwa therefore called on the people of Ika nation to wake up from their slumber and say no to their enemies, maintaining that any politician who is robbing the people of what belong to them is an enemy of the people.
�The peoples mandate is paramount and we will not allow over ambitious politicians to abuse it. I am a PDP member and bonafide citizen of Nigeria, so, I will continue to say my mind until the desired change comes to Ika land. I am appealing to all well meaning Ika men, women, and youths to say no to political looters and failures in 2015 and slumber efforts to build a better Ika nation by supporting those we know will take us to the promise land in 2015 election,� Chief Okunwa stated.