November, 2014

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The death of Myles Munroe sent shock waves through the charismatic world

Dr.-Myles-MunroeSince the news of Dr. Myles Munroe’s death surfaced late afternoon on November 09 2014, the charismatic Christian world has been baffled, stunned, and confused.

The accident led to many unanswered questions, and created doubt
Since that fateful day, followers of the movement keep asking questions like: Why a man who represented the movement died in such violent way? How such a tragic accident was allowed to happen against such an extraordinary man of God? Where was God whom he has been serving wholeheartedly for years?

The reason for this disorientation and shock is simple. Teachers like Munroe have been preaching about the limitless benefits that come when one enters into the Kingdom of God. Since the inception of this movement, followers of the charismatic movement have been taught the success, provision, health, protection, wealth, grace, favor, guidance, wisdom, joy, and contentment one may enjoy when s/he enters into the Kingdom of God. For the record, I strongly believe in these provisions of the everlasting KINGDOM!

All of a sudden, however, a man who embodies the center of this teaching died in a very violent plane crash leaving the faithful with endless questions. The grand question many who believed in this movement ask is: If God protects those who believe in Him, then, why He watched while one of His faithful servants died in such unceremonious way?

These and many similar questions are genuine. Nonetheless, if people don’t get appropriate answers and put this tragedy into the right perspective, their faith continues to shake, and most frighteningly, they may wonder whether the charismatic movement still worth following.

One of the charismatic movement voices suddenly silenced
Myles poured out himself in the service of others. He began his journey from that little island but travelled the world to preach the Good News- the arrival of the Kingdom of God and its availability right NOW. He wasn’t just preaching theoretically. Myles represented what it means to enter into the Kingdom of God. His humble story and his extraordinary impacts not only in the charismatic Christian world but also his influence in governments and corporate world are undeniable.

Now, that voice suddenly, prematurely, and violently silenced leaving many in the charismatic world staggered, taken aback, bewildered, and even doubtful. Many from this circle continued to wonder and ask: How on earth a man who had contributed so much to his country and the charismatic Christian world ended up dying in a violent and bloody plane crash just one day before he opened his popular and annual Global Leadership Forum? While there are many who commit atrocity against humanity, corrupt, and sinful continue to enjoy life, why such an innocent and ‘blameless’ person dies untimely? The question continues…

By now, you could be able to appreciate why the death of this faithful soldier who passed away while on duty sent shock waves through the charismatic Christian circle. But should this incidence create doubt in our heart about the faithfulness of God or the countless great truths Myles taught in the past more than three decades?

Skeptics say that God Judged Myles for his wrong teachings. Really?!
Sadly, though millions of followers whose lives have been impacted by this great man are mourning their mentor, some who oppose the charismatic movement used this unfortunate opportunity to pass judgment on the very integrity of the man. They claim that this is God’s judgment because of his wrong teachings.

This accusation is a cheap shot. Making this kind of unwarranted claim against a man who cannot defend himself is outrageous, to say the least. If God is in the business of actively judging those who wrongly represent Him, there are many out there who are charlatans, corrupt, and manipulative who deserve death.

God is in control and sovereign, doesn’t need to explain Himself
That being said, however, it is completely understandable why the charismatic circle stunned and keeps asking serious questions. Unfortunately, this article doesn’t attempt to offer any answer.

This article doesn’t have silver bullet answers that may convince all of my readers. Nonetheless, one thing must be clear. The death of one of the soldiers of our faith shouldn’t lead us to doubt the King this soldier faithfully served till his last breath.

I’m saddened to learn the premature death of a man who transformed the lives of millions including myself. But, one thing we shouldn’t do is questioning the integrity of God. No matter what, we shouldn’t doubt God’s sovereignty. He’s our King, and we should completely submit ourselves to His rulings though we may not like or understand some of His verdicts. We should deny ourselves and uplift Him as the only righteous judge. Let’s make the devil mad by renewing our commitment toward our Father, the righteous King who is ALL-KNOWING. He never was wrong, and He will never be. We His children must trust Him even if He may sometimes let bad things happen against good people! Watch carefully, I didn’t say ‘…even if He may sometimes cause bad things happen against good people!’ God isn’t evil and never been the source of evil things…

Long time ago, I made a commitment, and decided that no matter what happens in my own life or the people I love, I won’t doubt Him or question His sovereignty!! Now is a trying time because the man I love and respect died prematurely. And it feels like unfair and tempt me to bombard God with so many questions that raise question against His integrity and sovereignty but I won’t do that, and that is what I encourage you to do if your heart is broken like mine because of the passing of Myles prematurely.

In short, the Almighty doesn’t need to explain the why of this tragic accident so that we may continue to trust Him. He has already demonstrated in million of ways how trustworthy He has been. Even if the whole world leaves you and break your trust, He is the only unchangeable factor and constant who is always faithful, not only in our brief existence in this world strapped with time and space but also in eternity.

In the face of this adversity, let’s renew our commitment to the King. Let’s make it clear to the world that we’ll always love, trust, worship, and adore Him even if we may find ourselves in the position Myles Munroe found himself on that fateful day- forsaken and abandoned. Yes, we lost a great man of God, and we feel like it is unfair the way Myles died but this should never create any doubt in our heart about God’s faithfulness to His servants.

We should learn unconditional obedience from our ultimate teacher and mentor- Jesus who found Himself forsaken and must die a shameful and violent death on a cross. Jesus, our Lord, prayed so that He might not drink the bitter cup of death but finally He submitted to the will of His Father who made a decision to sacrifice His only Son to save the whole world. Jesus said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew26: 39).

What I’m saying is that God is in control, and knows everything that is going on in this physical world, and in the spiritual realm. He is the majestic King who doesn’t need to explain Himself. He is all knowing and He did let this tragic death happen for a reason we, who love and adore Myles, may not understand and comprehend at this moment while grieving the loss of our teacher and mentor.

God will reveal Himself in the future
Of course, it’s very hard to comprehend the purpose of such a loss and in this violent way. We all may murmur in our heart saying that if God had decided to take away His servant in His own time, why not He did take him while he was asleep. Why not taking him in a calm and quite manner? Why did He let His committed servant die this way?

That is to say, it’s okay even if the premature death of our beloved teacher doesn’t give any sense right now as we all mourn Myles Munroe. It is okay that we seek explanations from the one who is in control. However, one thing we shouldn’t let this tragic death cause us is to doubt our God because of this incidence.

At this point, I concur with Myles Munroe Jr.’s comment: “God may not explain Himself but He reveals Himself at some point” Yes, in the future, these all may give sense.

To be continued…
In the coming few weeks, in tribute to Myles Munroe, I’ll continue to write, not about his death and how much we are going to miss him and his extraordinary insights, stories and wisdom. But, the lessons we should learn from his life and legacy.

I’ll also show you how the incomplete teachings of some charismatic teachers led their followers to find themselves stunned, shocked, and doubtful when they heard the violent death of Myles Munroe. I’ll take you to scriptures and show you how many of the soldiers, including the Founder of our Faith Jesus Christ, dead violently, and how the latter doesn’t necessarily proofs that someone has done something wrong that made God mad. Remain tuned!

I know that I’ve written this article while filled with so many emotions. But I promise you that I will soon get my acts together and write better articles. Thus, don’t miss the coming articles. If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, go at the bottom of this page and subscribe for free. Visit also our blog once in awhile when you get a chance so that you won’t miss new postings.

Thanksgivimg message: Gratefull to God who raised Myles Munroe

Dr.-Myles-MunroeToday is Thanksgiving. One day out of more than three hundred days to express our gratitude to our Creator, and other fellow humankind who prayed, supported, helped, and encouraged us this year. We are grateful to all of our partners. Thanks for your continual support and partnership! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

We would also like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to God who raised Dr. Myles Munroe.

The shocking news
If you haven’t heard the premature death of Dr. Myles Munroe, let me quickly share with you how I heard the news and what I felt when I heard it.

On November 10- Monday morning, as usual, I clicked my Internet Explorer to check my email. And I saw a familiar face and curious to read the title of the news. It was the photo of one of the individuals who transformed my life. It was Dr. Myles Munroe’s.

I never thought for a second that the title would stun me. It read, “The well-known motivational speaker and religious leader Dr. Myles Munroe killed in a plane crash”. For a while, I thought it was a dream. Then, I opened more major news outlets, and it was a true story. It happened on Sunday around 5 PM in Grand Bahama. Nine people including Dr. Munroe killed in a tragic accident.

This news was one of the worst that I have ever received. A man who had contributed so much to his country and the world ended up dying in a plane crash just one day before he opens his popular and annual Global Leadership Forum.

Myles- The embodiment of dying empty
I was saddened, and no words could be able to express what I felt within me. This is a man who taught me about many possibilities. I remembered reading his book ‘Becoming a leader’ in late 90’s while I was in my final year at Addis Ababa University. Since I came to the US in 2005, I have been watching his speeches, and read many of his books on leadership, vision, purpose, potential, succession plan, and more.

In short, Myles is the embodiment of dying empty. He poured out his life like an offering. He left a legacy we will continue to press on.

That is why in this Thanksgiving day, we would like to express our gratitude to God who raised such a man of God, who impacted the lives of millions! It takes God to raise a man from that little Island to become an iconic world class transformational leader.

Shock waves through the charismatic Christian circle
That being said, unfortunately, the death of this faithful soldier who passed away while on duty sent shock waves through the charismatic Christian circle. Many questioned why such a violent death against such an extraordinary man of God. This incident shocked, stunned, and created doubt in many believers.

Sadly, some who oppose the charismatic movement used this sad opportunity to judge the very integrity of the man. They claimed that this is God’s Judgment against his wrong teachings. If God is in the business of actively Judging His servants who represent Him, there are many preachers out there who are charlatans, corrupt, and manipulative who deserve death. Any ways, in my next article, I will address this issue in detail. Don’t miss it…

AHM will dedicate the following few months to celebrate the life and legacy of Myles Munroe
Not only that, in the coming few months, the Ministry celebrates the live and legacy of Myles Munroe. There is no better way than celebrating the extraordinary life of this great man of God than talking about his legacy, and the lessons we should learn from his life. That is why we will publish subsequent articles, which we will share with you.

The first article entitled “The death of Myles Munroe sent shock waves through the charismatic world” will soon be distributed to the subscribers of our newsletter. If you haven’t subscribed to our monthly newsletter, go at the bottom of this page and subscribe for free.

Some more articles will also soon be posted in the near future. These articles will focus on the lessons we should learn from the life and legacy of Myles Munroe. Stay tuned!

Why a change of heart of a well-known Pastor couldn’t earn him trust immediately?

A couple of weeks ago, I got some calls from some of my friends who broke a news about a well-known Pastor’s change of heart toward local churches. They shared the story as if it was a miracle. You may ask why is that? The answer is simple. It takes God to bring such a turn around in the life of someone who had been known for his adamant refusal to work with other churches.

 

Let me give you a little bit background. As all well-known people, mentioning his name among the Ethiopian community invokes controversy. For his followers, he is known for his commitment to serve God for years. They consider him very humble, caring, visionary, and resilient. For many others, nonetheless, he is known for his animosity toward local churches, and as a strong force against unity of purpose among churches in the metro area and beyond.

 

Here is what I want you to pay closer attention. Though my friends thanked God and admired the courage it took for this Pastor to make a change in his approach toward local churches, they doubted whether he meant it- whether there were other reasons than he mentioned that forced him to make a turn around or even whether he has some ulterior motives for making this U-turn.  They further wondered whether there are some hidden calculations that may in turn, at the end of the day, serve him and benefit his church.

 

Who blame them? For years, his church is accused of alienating local churches in the metro area. It has been alleged that his inner circles and ministers of the church were sternly warned not to serve in other churches and even never attend the services of other churches. When some of them were found trespassing his warnings, simply disowned- kicked out of his team. When the latter went ahead and opened their own churches, they were ‘persecuted’.

 

But, let’s be fair and give credit where it is due. Many who have known this Pastor for years admire his hard work and commitment to serve others for decades. They point out some of his charitable works as a caring and good servant. They consider him a man who listens people attentively. The list continues…

 

You may ask, why then such a gifted Pastor committed his life and time to serve slipped away from the very teaching of Christianity, and started to estrange local churches? The underlining reason he has been publicly using to justify his unbiblical approach is that some people he had helped in the past took advantage of him and did hurt him. The question is: Can this be a strong excuse to ride on this unholy road?

 

Unfortunately, though humanly understandable to have resentment against people who hurt us, taking offense and going after them is unacceptable in the Eyes of God. We know that the very tenet of Christianity is forgiving others even those who hate and hurt us (Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:13). We all have frustrations when some people bite the hands that fed them. However, should we stay in this feeling of hurt for long? What is more, should we go ahead and pay them back? Should we conspire to hurt them and their endeavors? The answer is a resounding NO! We shouldn’t be bitter (Ephesians 4:31-32). Forgive and move on. This is the minimum standard we should all uphold high, let alone leaders who are at the front, who should set examples.

 

What was bothering about this man of God? He had ignored constant calls to forgive those who did hurt him. He undermined creating unity among God’s people in the metro area for a very long period of time. It is beyond my comprehension, any ways. Please note, I’m not demanding perfection. No one is perfect! (Romans 3:23) It may not be un-forgiveness but there are some areas of character we all are working on and fine-tuning as we grow in our leadership.

 

He had the authenticity (left his successful career to serve others, stayed in the fight for years, etc.), decades of experience, ample resources, and capability to take leadership, unite the Church, and serve the world well beyond his church. Unfortunately, he allowed his hurt to take charge. This action not only affected him and the union, but also stumbled others who looked up to him as a leader and mentor. Many believers in his church tripped because of his bitterness and unwavering stance not to work with other local churches.

 

Remember, I am not trying to be judgmental here. The argument is that because of a few setbacks, he shouldn’t have broken the very important value of Christianity.  Besides, he dwelled in bitterness and even went too far in revenge in some cases. What is more, he stayed in this state for too long.

 

Because of a few who he claimed betrayed and hurt him, he determined to punish everyone else who look alike them. It included innocent and genuine people who came to serve under his leadership. He was suspicious of any one who has a calling even if they were loyal and committed to serve God under his mentorship. Because of that many left his church and opened their own ministries and churches. He could have become their spiritual father and mentor. He could have blessed and sent many to the mission field. He could have…Think about his reputation and boundless influence he would have gained by now if he just did that. But he didn’t…

 

Anyways, I gave you enough background why these friends didn’t trust the dramatic change of heart of the Pastor. The fact of the matter is that for a person known to his antagonism against working together, his change of heart, which was attributed to God’s recent rebukes, couldn’t be able to generate trust among many immediately.

 

By the way, I am not surprised with my friends’ skepticism and attitude of ‘let’s wait and see’. Remember how Ananias and the early church believers reacted against the newly converted Saul (later Paul) who used to persecute them (Acts 9: 13 – 14). Time and Paul’s persistence and genuine commitment to serve the faith bought back the people who initially doubted his change of heart. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised people who have known this Pastor and his personality doubted and needed time.

 

You may wonder and ask my reaction. Personally, I am thankful to God for him because the first person who benefits from this change of heart is he himself. Bitterness and un-forgiveness separates us from God and the Holy Spirit, eats our flesh, caps our potential, hurts our health, and relationships.  Our Ministry (AHM) strongly believe in restoration, and we are excited and glad that a man who paid so many prices to serve others got restored back to his mind and embraced forgiveness, unity, and love. We will continue to pray for him to complete the restoration process by staying in this course till the end. But, I don’t want to stop here.

 

As a leadership expert, first, I would like to learn some lessons myself, and also share these lessons to others including my mentees. The question that I asked when I saw hesitation from my friends whom I highly admire and appreciate was “Why they doubted this change of heart and this HUGE news?” I said to myself, they have been praying for change- for unity, love, and forgiveness, and they got it now, and even saw some signs but why not jump to ship? I also wondered what other Ministers (Pastors, Evangelists, etc.) who know about this story think so I called for some of them and sought their reactions.

 

I got mixed feelings from my conversations with four Ministers. All of them doubted this dramatic change though they are happy that he confessed his wrong doings, and pledged to change. Let me share with you some of the important points they told me:

 

Minister I told me that he watched the video clip where the Pastor posted on his website. In that clip, he said, the Pastor admitted his mistakes.  This Minister considered that dramatic and bold but he said he has some reservations. Let me just share one of them with you. He said that he was bothered by the decision of those he called to reconcile electing him (and his acceptance) to lead the rest of the process. He continued, “This leader admitted he was wrong. If that was a genuine admittance, why didn’t he take time to reflect, pray, and bear some fruits first to generate trust before taking leadership on something he has been wrong all along? He doesn’t have experience and he shouldn’t be trusted to lead this new alliance. This by itself created doubt in my heart. He should have taken time to regroup and prepare well so that he may remain effective in this long journey of reconciliation and unity. This would have created trust among all parties involved.

 

Minister II began his comment by saying that repentance means change of course. He continued, “I trust the Pastor’s word. At this stage, I am neither with people who speak against it nor with those who are for this change of heart. God sees people’s heart but we see their faces. If the change was deep in his heart and genuine, God has already seen it even if we couldn’t. The same is true if the change was fake, we couldn’t see it but God does. Our responsibility as humans is to wait and see the fruits of this repentance. Until then, I won’t take side.

 

Minister III went to the extreme and pointed out that the whole story is flawed and because of that he doubts whether this is a game or true confession from which we should expect great things. He further pointed out:

 

“First of all, the way you heard the story lacks some details. Prior to his confession of God confronting him through two men of God, some members of his church had confronted him with 20 something pages document filled with serious questions about his leadership including why he doesn’t work with other churches in the metro area. He first ignored their call and even got mad as if they betrayed him. However, when he heard that they were planning to take the issue to the media, that was then, he took the challenge seriously. I believe that he deliberately took out this part of the story. He wanted people to believe that he responded to God’s correction through two ministers he recently spoke with than a threat within his own church, which he has never experienced before. No one from within confronted his wrongdoing and now people started to question, and even challenge his ungodly practices. Therefore, rather than considering it a change of heart, it is a change of strategy.

 

Minister IV said that he doubts the source of this change of heart. “For instance,” he pointed out, “There are many Ministers whom he knew he did hurt in the past but they weren’t included in his campaign to reconcile.” This Minister named some Ministers who used to serve under this Pastor’s leadership. He continued, “When he knew (or when they told him) that they had a calling not only he pushed them out, he made sure they fail. Some of them had close friends within his inner circles who told them the conspiracies he was doing to stop them from launching and running their ministries. Because of that, I am not sure whether it was a stunt or genuine.  If God rebuked him, he would have told him to ask forgiveness from those whom he pushed out from his church and then did everything he could for them to fail in their efforts to serve others. The second reason that I don’t trust the word of this Pastor is because he left out important details. He was not just mad at these Ministers and avoiding them when he saw them in shopping malls, he did so many crazy deeds that he shouldn’t. He should have confessed those deeds too. Rather, he decided not to talk about what he had done to revenge those who ‘competed’ with his church, he just staged a hotel conference to forget everything and move on. True reconciliation and genuine change of heart demands to boldly discuss those unchristian deeds he committed deliberately, and making sure they won’t happen again. Covering up his unholy acts and just moving on doesn’t heal wounds, and definitely doesn’t create a strong union based on trust. He should take accountability and even recompense for his bad deeds if he experienced a true change of heart. I think, that maybe why some of the invitees declined to participate in that conference.

 

I am sure that there are out there many who heard about this great story of change but because of the past history of the Pastor and the way he had handled the transformation created doubt and whether the change is from God and whether it stays here for a very long period of time or whether it evaporates once the pressure from his long standing members subsides.

 

There is nothing wrong with people who don’t immediately embrace someone’s change of hurt. The lesson we, as individuals and leaders, should learn from this story is that people want to see real changes first before they jump and join the wagon and consider our change agendas (changes that may not be forgiveness) authentic. That is why first my friends and then these four Ministers stressed that if this change of heart is genuine and the Pastor truly believes in unity, forgiveness, and love, let’s see the fruits. Bearing the fruits that they demand, obviously, take time and consistency.

 

Let me confess one thing. I don’t have any pleasure to talk about other people’s affairs but, as a leadership expert, I am interested to empower leaders, especially those leaders I am working with, using stories. Stories have power to influence all of us. If I talk about the importance of trust in leadership just theoretically, it may impress our brain but never gets down to influence our heart. Without our heart, no true and lasting change. That is why I brought this story even if I personally prefer to stay away from these kinds of ‘battles’…

 

Whether you are a spiritual leader or not; whether you’re a Christian or Muslim; whether you are an Orthodox or Catholic or Evangelical Christian or not; you need the lesson from this story. The key lesson is building trust takes time and these Ministers’ dilemma not to trust a change of heart of a leader right away is understandable. They need time. It is fair that they demanded to wait and see until fruits that generate trust will back this change of heart. While I was reflecting on this story, and drafting this article, I shared the following two statements on my social media accounts:

 

  • PROMISING, VOWING…cannot earn us trust. Trust can’t be generated overnight. No SHORT CUT! It takes DOING over a very long period of time.
  • It takes a fraction of the time it took us to generate and build to tear down the trust that we have developed over the years.

 

Finally, I would like to emphasize that this story is not about this Pastor and my good friends and the Ministers alone. It is also about you and me.

 

Of course, we may not cause such a widespread conversations when we turn a page in our life and organization. But, wherever we are in life, the people we influence- even if they may not be thousands, they need time to trust us.  This is especially true if we have a bad reputation in the past on that particular issue we are claiming we have changed.

 

We cannot earn trust automatically because we earnestly ask our people to trust us. We should earn it. Even if people would love to take us at our words, it takes time, consistent efforts, and making genuine changes before we reclaim and/or earn the trust of others. Trust comes when people know, really know, that you have their best interest in your heart. In this story, some people doubted the change of heart of the Pastor because they are not yet sure whether he has their (all parties involving) best interest in his heart as he take this road of forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Let’s go out and deliberately earn trust by doing, not by vowing, promising, and talking; by demonstrating that we have the best interest of others in our deepest heart. Let’s just do it!