I grew up in the Anglican Church (Church of England/Episcopal Church) and like most Anglicans loved singing beautiful hymns and reciting the Nicene creed, the high point of the service was receiving communion at the Altar at Our Saviour’s Church, TBS Lagos. However, as I got into my teen years I longed for a service with more fervor and excitement and most of all one where I would experience a deeper connection. To be honest all I have mentioned is present in many Anglican churches and indeed many denominations (indeed I still love to worship in the Anglican church) but at that time I wanted something different and House on the Rock (HOTR) was the easy choice. Pastor Paul was a young debonair who was passionate about the Gospel and he taught the Word of God in a way that made it easy for us to understand. HOTR held services at Muson Centre, Onikan which was just a few minutes away from Our Saviours and this made it easy for many teens to attend first service at Our Saviours Church and then stroll to HOTR for second service, some parted ways from the car park and went straight to HOTR with or without their parents knowledge. As expected many parents didn’t find the whole “Pentecostal” thing funny! However with time they began to notice and appreciate that their once rebellious teens were becoming calmer… surely God was at work!
Years later when I came to Abuja going to HOTR was again an easy choice, my husband (then my fiance) had just given his life to Christ and was being followed up by Pastor Obi (as most of us love to call him). I connected to Pastor Goodheart on so many levels, I was friendly with some of his siblings and I knew he was the kind of Pastor I would want to serve under. I was also privileged to work with his lovely wife Pastor Bimbo and from both of them I learnt humility, service and devotion amongst other virtues. They were there for me at different times in my life and showed me they cared. In HOTR, The Refuge I grew and began to enjoy a closer walk with Jehovah, I was therefore shocked and a bit bewildered like many when I heard Pastor Goodheart was leaving HOTR, ” leaving to where?” I wondered . However after the shock settled I remembered that my pastor was a man of purpose, one who did not make a move without hearing from his Heavenly Father. I was happy that he was resigning from HOTR in obedience to God’s call and in a short speech he gave last week and put up on his twitter account @PastorGoodheart he let us know as much. In the letter he shared quite a bit and some excerpts are shared below;
“The Great One who directs the lives of all who have truly surrendered to His Sovereign rule came knocking on the door of my heart again. I began to pick up a most ‘unusual’ prompting from the Spirit of God,that my task and assignment under the umbrella of House on the Rock was coming to an end! Naturally – and again, my first reaction was a rejection of such thoughts, and a refusal to contemplate such’direction’. With my natural mind and logical thinking at the time, I assumed that such prompting could not be from God! But the nudging and prompting was persistent and impossible to deny -if I’ve learned anything in my walk with Him, it is in His voice and the LEADINGS and DEALINGS of the Holy Spirit. And so after 2 years of consistent prayer and waiting upon the Lord,as difficult as it was to finally embrace and accept that it was time for yet another“exit”. It is against this backdrop that my wife and I chose to courageously take the step of faith in obedience to God. I have prayerfully sought the understanding and permission of my spiritual father to be released from the responsibility of pastoring the wonderful local assembly and church family of The Refuge,House on the Rock and my other responsibilities within the Rock Foundation. Arriving at this ‘decision’ for many reasons has evidently been one of the most difficult choices of my entire lifetime,but I have done so with the greatest of peace and assurance in my heart knowing that whilst’ obedience maybe costly,more costly is the consequence of disobedience”
I was especially happy that there was no problem between him and his spiritual father Pastor Paul as he expressed his gratitude to him ” for his sacrificial support and deep love” towards his life and personal ministry. His exit had nothing to do with Pastor Paul and everything to do with simply obeying God.
Pastor Paul on his own part displayed uncommon maturity and understanding, yes he may have felt sadness at the news that one of his esteemed sons was leaving but knowing it was God led he accepted it. On Sunday he spoke from his heart and asked the congregation to celebrate a reformer in the person of Pastor Goodheart. Like Jenny Chisom succinctly put it in her post on Pastor Goodheart’s exit many left Sunday service challenged to live a life fully yielded to God!
In all of this I learnt a few simple lessons;
- It is important to hear God for yourself and obey His voice.
- that no matter how we feel about a situation God’s purpose and plans are much more important and we must yield fully to His will.
- That sometimes you will need to step out of your comfort zone to fulfill destiny.
I pray as we all go through life we learn to hear from our Maker and do what He has called us to do. Remember your purpose is bigger than you and will usually touch other lives. You may be content in your comfort zone like Queen Esther in the Bible was, she was content being the Queen but she had to step out in obedience to God and as a result a whole generation was saved. I wish Pastor Goodheart all the very best in the new assignment God has given him and I pray that we all receive God’s direction as we journey through life.