A Report on Africa Arise Conference & AU's Prayer Breakfast for African Heads of State (January 24-30, 2017). By Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD Just in case you miss the thrust of my report, this is what I want to say: “Success without a successor is failure. True leaders train others to succeed the...
|Pipim's New Year Message & Announcement||| Print ||
“Makoma Ahye Ma” in one of our native Ghanaian languages means “My Heart is Full.” I find this to be my experience as I look back on last year and look forward to this new year.
Looking back on the past year, I feel anew the assurance of our Lord that, indeed, He gives His peace to us—peace that is not as the world gives. The world has never had any form of lasting peace to give, and it is increasingly evident that the little it started with is fast getting depleted. Through it all again, the Lord has brought us to a place where we can look back and say “Makoma Ahye Ma!” (“My Heart Is Full!”).
Last year was a painful year for me personally. I suffered a deep pain far worse than death, as a result of sin. The year started for me with renewed commitment to God and His work on secular universities around the world. I made that commitment at the end of the 2010 GYC meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. The theme at that event was “No Turning Back,” and I presented a series of messages on “Radical Commitment.”
From this spiritually uplifting 2010 GYC event, I proceeded on a mission assignment on a secular university campus overseas. Sad to say, at the end of a very fruitful spiritual endeavor, on the very last day of my ministry assignment, I experienced a moral fall. I had taught integrity while on the mountaintop of faithfulness. What would I now do, now that I lay in the valley of unfaithfulness?
The Holy Spirit reminded and convicted me of the messages at the 2010 GYC. Radical commitment means going all the way in doing right. Or as an African proverb says, “If you’re going to be bald on your head, your baldness must as well extend to your neck.” Thus, I made a choice to take full responsibility for my sin, however costly it might be. And costly it was.
As a consequence of my spiritual failure, I resigned from my employment with the Michigan Conference, and from my role as Director of CAMPUS, the umbrella organization for our ministry to public university students in Michigan (CAMPUS is the birth place, headquarters, and sponsor of GYC). As a further consequence, I also surrendered my ministerial credential, resigned from the GYC Board, and submitted myself to discipline by my local church.
The outlook was bleak at many different levels. However, in divine love, the Lord helped me up, brushed the dirt off me, and has been leading me on an upward journey previously not traversed in my relationship with Him.
While I regret the circumstances of my spiritual failure, I am overwhelmed at the goodness of the Lord in using my fall to teach me new truths, reaffirm not-fully grasped promises, use me as a channel to reach out to many wounded eagles who, like me, on account of their own self-inflicted wounds, felt burdened by the load of guilt. It was a productive and rewarding year, in spite of the pain, shame, and pause in my public ministry. Looking back, I enthusiastically say “Makoma Ahye Ma!” (my heart is full)!
The previous year was a year of lessons, learnt painfully and quietly in the dark. In my resignation letter last year, I wrote, that I was taking time off from center stage to recharge my spiritual batteries. That part of the letter reads:
“As for my future plans, I intend to spend some time with my family, do some prayerful reflection and study, and help in the orderly and smooth transition of the new CAMPUS leadership to be appointed by the Michigan Conference. Consequently, all speaking appointments are being canceled. Although my passion for youth training and empowerment has not waned, the rest of my life is in God’s hands.”
I have learnt so many songs in the dark that I could not have learnt while in the full glare of the sun. (In the form of weekly “thought nuggets,” I have shared with my Facebook friends and others a few of these “songs in the dark.”**) I have experienced the love of God, that had always been there for me but which I never took fully, in ways that I couldn’t have experienced otherwise.
On one hand, I have suffered reproach of friends and foes, misunderstanding, slander, intrigue, derision, ostracism, betrayals, and the wish by some that I would forever be banished away by God and man. On the other hand, I have gained new friendships, learned new truths, and been called to minister in my personal capacity in ways that were not possible before.
As I look back at that painful period when the future seemed bleak and unsure and compare with now, I am awed by the Lord’s goodness in taking repentant ones back to the full joy of sonship with Him. Every fiber of my being pulsates with the emboldening knowledge that I am not a cast away. And my heart bursts out in full praise “Makoma Ahye Ma!”
To all those who reached out to me and my family during that difficult time, we offer our sincere and deep appreciation for your spiritual, social, financial, and every other form of support. Some were kind, some were cruel. The Lord found fit use for all forms of response and taught us valuable lessons from everyone who felt the need to connect with us, so none need feel bad. For the comments and gestures from friends and foes, we can honestly say that “Makoma Ahye Ma!”
Strange as it may seem, among the most profitable blessings have been the pain resulting from the consequences of my sin. Though it was painful and shameful to have owned up to my sin publicly, by the grace of God, I am learning that pain is not merely the price of sin, but investment in righteousness. For it is in facing the painful results of sin that God prepares us for the rich blessings of His righteousness.
The new year is here. I cheerfully look forward to seeing what the Lord will fill this year with for me. Going by the way He’s come through in the past, I know I have no need to fear, for God has given me a brand new yesterday. He has given me a secure foundation to build my house of faith today: As I explained in one of my weekly “Song in the Dark” thought nuggets,
A BRAND NEW YESTERDAY: “Yesterday is the foundation upon which we build houses of today and tomorrow. Though we’re able to reside in the homes of today’s challenges and in those of tomorrow’s unknowns, often we’re unable to live with yesterday’s regrets. Yesterday represents spilled-milk experiences—lost opportunities, costly mistakes, shipwrecked relationships, lost innocence, and ineffaceable records. But Someone can literally step out of time, journey to our bygone years, and fix yesterday’s broken hopes. Jesus Christ is the same YESTERDAY, today and forever. He alone can give us a brand new yesterday to enable us build our mansions.”
—SKP’s “Song in the Dark”
A Meditation on Hebrews 13:8; 2 Corinthians 5:1
“Makoma Ahye Ma” (my heart is full) that God has given me a brand new yesterday! As a tribute to Him for bestowing upon me His forgiving, transforming, and restorative grace, I want to offer a small gift to the world.
My New Year Gift to the World
(Success In the Midst of Failure)
Let me first explain how the gift came about. As part of my sitting in the dark, I decided not to attend the 2011 GYC meeting in Houston, Texas, whose theme was “Fill Me: Our Earnest Plea.” (This was the first time I would miss a GYC even in the decade-old history of the grassroots youth movement I had grandfathered). Watching plenary sessions of GYC from afar (via livestream) was like Moses on Mt. Horeb viewing the Promised Land at a distance. So near, and yet so far.
The discouragement and pain of being unable to attend GYC 2011 was similar to the pain Moses might have experienced as a result of his disobedience. But as I explained in a letter I sent in October to the GYC leadership:
“My absence at this 2011 GYC meeting will not only avoid any distraction from the sacrificial and splendid work the young people themselves are doing, but will also send the loudest message that GYC is bigger than any single individual. … Though painful that I will miss this year’s GYC, I believe my decision to not attend is in the best interest of God’s work among the youth.”
While watching GYC from afar, I chose to make discouragement my encouragement. I decided not to be idle during the 5-day event. While attendees where attending seminars and private prayer sessions, I also determined to employ those moments to develop into a brand new book a graduation message I had delivered at a private graduation event at the University of Michigan. My goal was that by the last day of GYC the complete draft of the book would be ready.
Today, the first day of the new year, “makoma ahye ma” (my heart is full), because the mission has been accomplished. The book takes its title from the topic assigned me at that graduation event: Success In the Midst of Failure. The book will compellingly show that failure doesn't have to be a dead-end; it can be a valuable detour to aid us in –life’s journey. Setbacks need not set us back; they can be stepping stones on which we can step upward and forward.
Success In the Midst of Failure is my gift to young people and the world. It is a answer to the an email sent to me by a student attending the 2011 GYC event: “Failure is what a man sees. God sees our failure as a stepping stone and uses it as a foundation for a greater success. 2011 may have been filled with what we call as ‘failures.’ However, I know that God will continue to do great things, if not greater, through you and your ministry.”
This forthcoming book is not only my new year gift to young people and to the world, but also an announcement that “Yesterday” is behind me. It’s a new day “Today.”
TODAY: “Today is the last day of yesterday and the first day of tomorrow. It’s the conclusion to yesterday’s chapter and the introduction to your new book. Why dwell on a written past, when you can write the future today?”
—SKP’s "Song In the Dark”
A Meditation on Isaiah 43:18
Success In the Midst of Failure is the loudest message I can give that although after the Baltimore 2010 GYC (Theme: “No Turning Back”) I did turn back momentarily because of my spiritual failure, I have now returned. On this day of the conclusion of the Houston 2011 GYC (Theme: “Fill Me: Our Earnest Plea”), I feel an urgent need for the Lord to use me as an earthen vessel in any line of His own choosing, to continue sharing His saving grace and leading others to the Lord Jesus Christ.
By the grace of God I’m more resolved to pick up again the biblical non-conformity that I taught at that 2010 GYC. The urgency of our times compels me to rise up again and proclaim the Word with clarity and boldness when other voices are muted, shrilled, or confused. By His grace I will start anew on the path of radical commitment, which I defined at the 2010 thus:
RADICAL COMMITMENT: "People who change the world are radicals. They refuse to go along in order to get along. They would rather die than be slaves of public opinion. The status quo labels them as controversial, extremists, and trouble-makers. And because they turn their worlds up-side-down, their names and views are often greeted with fear and dread. The time has come for our Christian commitment to be “radical”—a word whose Latin derivation means going to the root, origin, or essence of a thing. If the Bible is true, if our message is the Truth, if the “signs of the times” mean anything, and if “revival and reformation” are possible, then we must be radical for the Lord. The time has come for us to be ashamed of our superficial religious experience, mediocre performance, waffling positions, and the cheap vanilla faith that costs us nothing. Unless we’re radically committed to the Lord and His Word, our profession is empty sloganeering. “Radical commitment” is a call to Christian nonconformity. It’s a plea to stand out and be counter-cultural. It is a challenge to be real—to practice what we profess. Anything less would be unbiblical, irrational, and irrelevant—if not a betrayal.
On this first day of a new year, and by means of the book Success In the Midst of Failure (scheduled for release in February 2012), I am announcing to the world that my “Yesterday” is behind me. My mind is made up “Today.” And as far as the future is concerned, “Makoma Ahye Ma” (My Heart Is Full”) because with Jesus, tomorrow is as certain as the past:
TOMORROW IS PAST: “It’s said: ‘Yesterday is history, today is reality, and tomorrow a mystery.’ Despite the mystery and unpredictability about the future, with God tomorrow is as certain as yesterday. Six months before Jesus’ birth, His future mission was stated in the past tense (Luke 1:68, 69). He was in the womb, and His earthly ministry, death, and resurrection lay in the future. Yet, Christ’s mission is written in the past tense! With God, the future is already history. He’s already set things in motion to accomplish our hopes for tomorrow. We can confidently face the future because Jesus Christ has visited our tomorrow and made it irreversibly yesterday."
---SKP's "Song in the Dark"
Meditation on Isaiah 44:6-8; 46:9, 10; Hebrews 13:8.
Happy New Year to all of you!
From your fellow wounded eagle
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD
January 1, 2012
*“Makoma Ahye Ma!”: The title “Makoma Ahye Ma” (“My Heart Is Full”) is also the title of a splendid musical composition that was written for me by a leading composer, when he heard of my resignation. This spiritually uplifting classical choral music, more than any other, has been a tremendous blessing to me. In the near future, I hope to make this musical masterpiece available to all who wish to join me in singing my “Songs in the Dark.”
** "Song in the Dark" Thought Nuggets: To access my weekly “Thought Nuggets,” click on this link: http://drpipim.org/thought-nuggets.html.