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...
|Home At Last--Dr. Pipim's Baptism||| Print ||
[NOTE: Below is (i) a statement released by Dr. Pipim on the occasion of his baptism (ii) a brief report, highlighting his home-coming celebration on June 20 & 21 2014, and (iii) his “thank you” letter to the Ann Arbor church.]
Thank You, Columbus Church
The journey has been long and painful, But the Lord has been faithful! Today’s baptism announces publicly that, through God’s grace and mercy, this prodigal son has been received back home by his Father—never more to roam. I thank you all for your prayers and encouragement in making this day a reality
As you rejoice with me on my baptism, I use this occasion to once again tender an unreserved apology to all who have been adversely affected by my sin.
Undeserving though I am, I have experienced God's pardon and forgiveness. As a result of this, I cannot withhold from others that which I was given freely. I therefore also, this day, offer my forgiveness freely to those who, on account of my sin, have hurt me and my family—deliberately or unwittingly.
If there is any here who feels too sinful to be forgiven, I urge you to take God up on His offer of grace that is greater than all our sin. God is good and His marvelous and infinite grace is sufficient for us all, only if we believe. Do not let any contrary voice lead you to believe otherwise. From my own experience, I can assure you that our God forgives, transforms, and restores sinners.
If there’s anyone suffering from the reproach of friends and foes, misunderstanding, slander, intrigue, derision, ostracism, betrayals, and the wish by some that they would forever be banished away by God and man, I urge you to forgive and be kind and courteous to your critics (whether they be friends, enemies, or frenemies). This is what I have sought to do in the face of relentless campaigns by certain individuals and organizations. I drew strength from the following counsel by E. G. White:
“We should not allow our feelings to be easily wounded. We are to live, not to guard our feelings or our reputation, but to save souls. … If impatient words are spoken to you, never reply in the same spirit. Remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” Proverbs 15:1. And there is wonderful power in silence. … Under a storm of stinging, faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5, 6. [Also quoted Luke 12:2; Psalm 66:12]….Christianity will make a man a gentleman. Christ was courteous, even to His persecutors; and His true followers will manifest the same spirit.”—E.G. White (Ministry of Healing, pp. 485-489).
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. Thank you for all your prayers and support. Today, by God’s marvelous grace, this prodigal is home at last—never more to roam. Thank you for welcoming me into the family of God.
June 20, 2014
Below is a brief report I shared on June 24, 2014 with close friends and family about what transpired on the special occasion of my baptism. Be blessed.
HOME AT LAST
Highlights of the Baptismal Weekend Celebration
Two of the most beautiful worship services took place this past weekend of June 20 & 21, 2014. There was a solemn, but joyful, baptismal service on Friday evening to usher me into the Lord’s Sabbath rest. This was followed by a special "Welcome Home" worship celebration the next day, officially restoring me into fellowship with the church family—the body of Christ.
The weekend was planned to be a very low-profile event to be celebrated with very close family members and friends. However, within hours, pictures of the baptism were on the internet and well-wishes started pouring in from all over the world. I’m truly grateful—and humbled!
Here are some highlights of the weekend.
1. I was baptized by a former pastor of Ann Arbor church, who currently pastors two churches in Georgia. Pastor Dan Hall is a godly Christian minister well-known for his passion for soul-winning and for his commitment to racial integration and Christian education. He mentored me in Michigan when I began my ministry to public university students. Alongside other ministers and professionals, he has worked closely with me during the past three years to maintain spiritual oversight.
2. The baptism took place in the Columbus Ghanaian Church in Ohio. Though separated by physical distance, members of this particular church and their pastor (Dr. I. B. Boateng) are among those that demonstrated great interest in my spiritual renewal, well-being, and restoration. It is a joy to be united with this Bible-believing, mission-driven, and vibrant church, and to have such a loving congregation as my new local church family.
3. The entire Sabbath worship, beginning from Friday evening to Sabbath evening was one joyous celebration of restoration and renewal. The music especially reflected this. Spiritually uplifting songs were rendered by different groups in the Columbus Church—Sojourners, Christ the King, New Era, Junior Acappela, Youth Choir, Singing Band, and the Church Choir. It was a festival of songs!
In addition to all these groups, the classical choral piece “M'akoma Ahye Ma” (by Newlove Annan) was played because of its role in my spiritual renewal. The title literally means “My Heart Is Full!” and captures the mood of inexpressible joy, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind. “M’akoma Ahye Ma” is an original musical composition that was dedicated to me by a leading Ghanaian composer when he heard of my experience of failure. It continues to minister to many. (You can listen to or download the music at: http://eaglesonline.org/resource/makoma-ahye-ma/).
4. The sermon during the Sabbath divine service was preached by an elder statesman within the Ghanaian community in the Diaspora. Dr. Paul Yeboah, a retired Anesthetist in Texas, is highly respected for his visionary leadership, boldness, selflessness, and sacrificial commitment to the cause of God. He was one of the key pioneers behind the establishment of Ghanaian churches in North America and Europe. It was my privilege to be mentored by him in this pioneering work.
In his divine sermon, titled “Safe and Sound,” Dr. Yeboah drew attention to the different parties in Christ’s parable of the prodigal son—namely, the two Brothers, and their Father (Luke 15: 11-32). He explained insightfully that the parable was Christ’s answer to the religious leaders who, on seeing that “sinners and publicans” were drawn to Christ, complained that “This Man receives sinners” (v. 2). Dr. Yeboah emphasized the yearning of God to save both those who are lost because they strayed outside (i.e., the “sinners and tax-collectors,” represented by the prodigal son), and those who are lost though they stayed inside (i.e., the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes, represented by the elder brother). His message inspired the content of my thought nugget for this week:
SAFE AND SOUND
In Christ’s parable, the prodigal son returned home and his father gladly “received him safe and sound” (Luke 15:27). God knows how to lift us up out of our predicaments. He knows how to fix our broken worlds. He brings beauty out of ugly situations. New growth out of dead ashes. Sweet-smelling life out of foul-smelling rottenness. Prodigals, are you discouraged by the crushing weight of failure and the unredemptive attitudes or actions of your elder brothers and sisters? Don't give up! Don’t stay down! Keep getting up! If there’s anyone that can help you handle your failure well, God can. He’s done it for me. He can do the same for you as well. Restoration? You also will return, “safe and sound”!—Samuel Koranteng-Pipim
5. During the Sabbath afternoon session, I had the opportunity to testify of the Lord's goodness over the last three years and share some valuable lessons from my failure. I also used the occasion to share what I sense the Lord calling me to do as the Director of two centers of leadership development known as EAGLES (Empowerment & Advisory Group for Leadership, Excellence, & Service) and ANANSE (African Network & Advisory for Needed Services of Excellence). For more information, visit www.EAGLESonline.org.
6. Just as I did during the weekend celebration, I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers and support over the last three years. It has been a painful but necessary experience, for the Lord used it to deepen my spiritual walk with Him. Why should I complain about the means God permitted to lead me to brokenness? Thank you for walking with me in this journey and for sharing the joy of my restoration into the full fellowship of God’s family. Believing still that “the Bible is the inspired Word of God,” and that it is the only Book that reveals God’s forgiving, transforming, and restorative grace, I look forward to a future marked by a life of meekness and total dependence upon God, even as I recommit to His service. To this end, I solicit your continued prayers.
7. I am truly grateful for all your expressions of goodwill. Among the most memorable part of the “Home-Coming” weekend were the several well-wishes that were presented in person and via letters and email. Besides those from the Columbus congregation, messages were sent from other individuals out of State, including my former church in Ann Arbor. In the pages below, I’ll share only four. They are from:
--Dr. Raoul Dederen—a former dean of the Seminary at Andrews University, and an honorary elder in the Ann Arbor Church.
--Tomi Daniel—a representative of young professionals in Africa and other places.
--Elder Jim Merrell—the First Elder of Ann Arbor SDA Church.
--Newlove Annan—the composer of the classical choral piece“M’akoma Ahye Ma” (“My heart is full”).
Below are the messages…..
1. Dr. Raoul Dederen’s Message
[NOTE: Dr. Raoul Dederen sent a special message to Dr. I.B. Boateng, the Pastor of Columbus Church to be passed on to me during my baptism and welcome-home service. Dr. Dederen was a dean of the Seminary at Andrews University and has served both as my professional and spiritual mentor. In retirement, he lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he also serves as the honorary Elder of the Ann Arbor Church). Dr. Dederen’s message was acknowledged during the divine service celebration, and read out during the afternoon testimony service. Reproduced below is a transcript of his letter, which he wrote in his own handwriting and mailed to the Columbus Pastor to be shared with me. –SKP]
Ann Arbor, June 15, 2014
Pastor I. B. Boateng, D.Min., Ph.D.
3191 Thornapple Dr
Columbus, OH 43231
Assuming that a few messages of encouragement will be shared with Samuel this coming weekend, I would appreciate seeing mine included, if you see fitting.
At this crossroad of your life, whatever your course, remember that God, our Father, desires all humans to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
May He grant you His Spirit and strengthen your heart that you may look unto Christ, endure His cross, labor in hope and never despair.
May He make you zealous in the study of His Word, remove far from you the spirit of worldliness, and keep you pure both in body and in spirit.
May He give you grace to proclaim the truth fully, wisely and charitably, and so present our Lord and the Three Angels’ message, in word and deed, that the love of Christ and His Word may grow and increase among all; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. Tomi Daniel’s Message
[NOTE: Tomi Daniel read out a moving message of goodwill during the home-coming service at the Columbus Church. Having been closely impacted by our ministry to students and graduates for more than a decade, she felt the need to be physically present at the weekend event. Her message was on behalf of the many students and young professionals in Africa and elsewhere who have kept me in their prayers during the past three years. It was a heartfelt message that moved many to tears of joy.–SKP]
Welcome Back & Get to Work!
1,120 days ago, I was invited to a meeting. The timing was wrong. It had been a long day, after a grueling week, but there was no way to wriggle out of it.
At that meeting, I was assigned the unpleasant task of reading a letter to the hearing of the 9 other people present. Dr. Pipim said he was resigning from denominational employment of the ministry, and he wanted to alert those of us who had invited him for the program before he would make it public the following day on his way out of Nigeria.
As I read, tears dropped freely on the page. To say that we were stunned is an understatement. I looked around at the faces of those present—my husband, the conference President, the hospital chaplain, and ALIVE leaders. Somehow, I knew that things would not remain the same again.
As we say in Africa, so much water has passed under the bridge since that time. The media circus has been ugly, and the persecution great. But here we are gathered together this weekend to reflect on the past, rejoice in the present, and renew for the future. What could be more beneficial for our spiritual health than this?
In reflecting on the past,
We stand amazed at the goodness of an awesome God. The one who will stop at nothing to restore His children back to Him. He doesn’t care if we reunite with Him blind in our right eye, or without our right hand, or with our ragged and stinky cloths like the Prodigal son. He meets us a long way off and embraces us, exchanging our filthy robes with His clean ones of righteousness.
As young people, there were a lot of things connected with the events of the past three years that confused us, that annoyed us, and that shook the foundation of our faith in the redemptive power of God and the role of the church in these end times. We wanted to talk, we longed to blame, we sought to shame, and to react in one way or the other that would be fitting for the aggressive onslaught that sought to keep the door shut in the face of a repentant sinner.
Thank you, Dr. & Mrs. Pipim, for refusing to give us permission to gossip, and judge, and blame. Thank you for reminding us that when God permits that we fail, it is so that we can grow. And that we will not advance in our Christian walk until we have fully learnt those painful lessons critical to our growth.
· You cautioned us to refrain from staining our hearts and consciences with memories of emotional outbursts, rash judgments, and stooping to the level of false accusers and malicious interests.
· You forced us to search the Scriptures and take courage in the assurance of pardon for the vilest offender who truly believes.
· You loved us through our own foolishness and pride, challenging us to not lower the standard of salvation for you, for ourselves, or any other person.
· And when knowledge of our own rottenness kept us awake at night, you reminded us to anchor our hope in God’s unfailing promises.
Thank you for suspending your own pain and confusion to visit us in prisons, and hospitals, and remember our birthdays and weddings, and graduations, and other special occasions.
One of the best decisions we made was to not throw you away, as urged by many that we used to look up to for guidance. And what a joy that the door that had so long been unbiblically shut in your face has now been opened legitimately. How glorious to reflect on the journey so far and repeat Mrs. Pipim’s words over and over again: “Oh, I can’t complain, the Lord has been so good!”
In rejoicing in the present,
Wow! What a joy to be here in this place, at this time! What can beat this reunion weekend! What is better than the love of family and the warmth of fellowship! We are gathered here from different parts of North America and many are following via live stream from different parts of Europe and Africa. It’s a time of celebration, and a time of appreciation.
Thank God for not having outsourced the salvation of man to even the angels in their unspotted purity. And thank Him for the privilege He extends to His children to partner with Him in seeking the lost and rejoicing with Him when they return.
Thank you, Pastor Hall, for daring to stand by the Bible and not uphold ideological opinions and sentimental decrees. In flying in to Ohio from Atlanta to conduct this baptism, you have demonstrated what EGW describes in Desire of Ages, p.462 that:
"Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice, are often in their own lives more guilty than they. Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein."
Thank you, Columbus SDA church, for restoring our hope in the spiritual mission of a worldwide movement that is often fragmented by divisive interests and sidetracked by personal preferences. You represent one of the doors to the global house that is our worldwide church. You are an entrance through which people may walk in to that house and unite with their brothers and sisters, members in the great body of faith. Thank you for making the courts of heaven swell with joy by your action to throw your doors wide open and organize the celebration of the reunion of a brother with his other family members. What a blessing you are! And what hope you represent for many!
Thank you, to all the familiar faces that have made it here from different places to be a part of this celebration. What a joy for us all to be here to worship together in unity of membership. You were drawn here this weekend by the love for a brother, and impelled by the command of the Savior of all mankind. You have demonstrated the essence of true family. That blood—the blood of Christ—is thicker than water. And that families stick together no matter what.
Our family ties will confuse the best DNA testing. It only makes sense when traced to Calvary. It is the blood of Christ that binds us together. And it is that which constrains us. It is blood that knows not East or West or North or South. It trumps boundaries of black and white, male or female, old or young and any other spiritually-artificial lines.
Thank you also to as many people as have prayed for our brother and will continue praying. We all stand in great need of that constantly and consistently.
In renewing for the future,
We have much to learn from the past if we will not stumble. Fortunately for us, the Bible is very clear on how to approach the vast spectrum of time that the future represents.
- If there is anyone here still nursing an insult or hurt from any action or inaction against our brother here, for the sake of your salvation, let it go.
Be like Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers in how they related to Jesus’ disciples after His ascension. She must have fed His disciples several times during their numerous travels, but they deserted her son during his trial and crucifixion, when He needed them most. We however read in Acts 1:14 that afterwards, she and Jesus’ siblings lived together with the disciples, having forgiven and forgotten the past: “All of these with one mind continued earnest in prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” Their state of mind ushered in the blessing of the Holy Ghost during the Pentecost.
Let no one harbor, or retain any ill feelings towards anyone. God has granted victory. Let Him melt away all bitterness and anger in connection with the events of the last three years.
- Dr. Pipim, since you sent us to consult the Bible whenever we asked you questions about life after forgiveness, here’s one of our discoveries.
Contrary to wicked myths that find root in many Christian gatherings, the life of idle contemplation or quiet gratitude has never been a mark of genuine repentance. Neither is the false theology that only those who are perceived as whole can find acceptance with God. Nor the notion that repentant sinners must stay away quietly and not share their faith—either by voice or pen. Rather, forgiven sinners understand that nature abhors apathy. And that just as sin is evidenced by misdeeds, so repentance is proved by deeds.
This can be very hard to accept, but every forgiven sinner is called to do deeds of repentance. Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees who showed up to be baptized by John: Therefore let your lives prove your change of heart; (Mt 3:8). Paul repeated the same caution in Acts 26. So, Dr. Pipim, you DO have a lot of work to do after this weekend.
No emotion, whether of pride or fear, shame or derision, has ever succeeded in preventing God from appointing witnesses of His Redeeming love. Their past may be bloodied by crime or sullied by grime, but down through the ages, the sinless and holy God has never turned away a repentant soul longing to reunite with Him. When He sees them returning, He meets them a long way off with outstretched arms. He embraces with genuine love and exchanges soiled garments with His own robe of righteousness. It is scandalous, but real. It is unexplainable, but real. It is unimaginable, but real. That a God who hates sin with unrepentant passion, embraces repentant sinners with passionate love.
- And to whoever might in any way question the authenticity of this weekend, Luke 15 gives us a peep into the heart of God as regards a long-overdue event:
At no point in history has the jealous tantrum of the elder brother succeeded in stopping the homecoming party of the prodigal. Never also has the recollection of Peter’s three-fold denial of his Master resulted in his rejection of a sanctified future. The transformation of any Saul to Paul has never been arrested by records of the number of widows and orphans that live to testify of his atrocious, terrorist, and murderous past. Throughout the ages, God has taken derelicts and misfits, ex-murderers and ex-adulterers and rewritten their futures. He has re-commissioned fearful, disloyal Peters to become under-shepherds to testify boldly before rulers and peasants.
When tempted to lose hope, think about Peter and Paul, David, Mary Magdalene and many others who could not be stopped after their encounter with their Lord. Soldiers and guards could not stop them, ecclesiastical and pontifical rulers could not ban them, being face to face with victims of their past misdeeds, and colleagues whose biddings they obeyed, whose approval they enjoyed, whose trust they betrayed, and whose personalities they disgraced—these were all realities that marked their lives after receiving pardon from God, but none of these was able to hold them bound.
He who has been forgiven much loves much. Though actuated by the same Spirit as those who have never fallen into grave sins, he is impelled by a different level of experience. The gospel of God is like fire in his bones. He cannot be still. He cannot be silent. He must testify of what the Lord has done in his life, and what He wants to do in the lives of those who open up the doors of their hearts to Him. His marching orders are clear: “Go and tell.” “Do deeds of repentance,” and none can keep him down.
As a result, the church has never succeeded in keeping them out for fear that their past sins can destroy its reputation. Civil rulers make attempts to dissuade them, but forgiven sinners explain their zeal: “it is better for us to obey God rather than men.” Church leaders ask them to wait to share their testimonies, but they can’t sit on the incontrovertible proof that Jesus waits to save others as He has saved them.
In closing, thank you again to all who are here. There are more sinners that the Lord has forgiven, and over which heaven has rejoiced that are still shut outside church doors. This weekend would’ve been a waste if you know of such people and you leave them out in the cold. Our church is emphatic about “Revival and Reformation.” Somewhere in that equation is “Renewal and Reconciliation.” We all have a role to play in it, and Columbus Ghanaian SDA church and Pastor Hall have set the tone for us. Let’s do what the Bible spells out will make the courts of heaven ring.
And finally to you, Dr. Pipim, you have a world to witness to that Jesus saves. The past three years must not be in vain. This weekend has been long in coming. It will be over in a few hours. It’s time to trumpet all those songs you’ve learnt in the dark. Welcome back home, and please get to work.
Thank you all!
3. Elder Jim Merrell’s Message
[NOTE: Elder Jim Merrell is currently the First Elder of the Ann Arbor Church. He was one of the “responsible officers” assigned to hold me spiritually accountable. Since he assumed that role, he has personally invested in me and my family, maintaining vigilant spiritual oversight, and providing genuine Christian fellowship. He read out his goodwill message during the welcome-home service at the Columbus, Church. –SKP]
I want you to know the prayers of many have waited for your re-baptism and that day has come and gone with you again taking a stand for Jesus by your being immersed in the water of baptism last night. Praise be to the Lord.
Dr. Pipim, you and Becky have shown me what it is to be a Christian. In these last three years I have learned that we serve a forgiving God and He wants to restore anyone who has fallen. I know this from reading and studying the Holy Scripture. Also, I appreciate the Spirit of Prophecy and its sound advice.
I have personally spent time with you talking and praying, for the last year as first elder. This has been a learning experience for me. You two have embraced this young elder and have made me feel like family.
We have discussed many times how long must you wait. That wait is over.
That is why I truly appreciate the words in Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We do not know why some things play out as they do but Gods timing is always the right timing.
I appreciate your commitment to serving God with the gifts he has given you. I know you have spent many hours with God praying for direction about how you should spend the rest of your days here on earth serving the needs of others.
I look forward to working together with you, winning souls for God’s Kingdom and we will give Him the honor, the glory, and the praise. Amen.
God’s Blessings to you and the rest of the family.
4. Newlove Annan’s Message
[NOTE: Newlove Annan is the composer of the classical choral music “M’akoma Ahye Ma” (“My heart is full”). Currently pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), he comes from three generations of Methodist Ministers in Ghana and has composed about 1,000 pieces of sacred music. He is also the first Black African with compositions in a United Methodist hymnal, and the composer of the theme song for the 2004 U.S. World Council of Churches meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia. Newlove was not physically present at the Homecoming weekend, but was among the first to send his well-wishes when he heard about my baptism on Facebook. And then he followed it up with the message of encouragement below. (For the background and lyrics to Newlove’s “M'akoma Ahye Ma” classical piece, visit http://thewoundedeaglebooks.com/?page_id=66) —SKP]
His Truth is Marching On!
Congratulatory Message on your baptism and restoration!
I was in the “lowest valley” of my own life when the Lord led me to listen to you in 2010 when I visited the First Ghana SDA Church in the Bronx, NY. At that time, I was a Methodist minister. The Word that the Lord led you to share that day--“The Son of David”--was so powerful and specifically meant for me that its impact (together with other events) subsequently resulted in my own baptism into the Seventh-day Adventist faith.
On hearing of your spiritual failure in 2011, the enemy tried to flood my mind with doubts and confusion once more. But the Lord revealed to me that “It was for a bigger reason”. The song “M’akoma Ahye Ma” (“My heart is full”) was dedicated to you, Sir, for this reason. Haven’t we experienced at firsthand the power and ability of our God to rescue us from the storm and to bring us back home “safe and sound”?
On the occasion of your baptism, I wish you all the best in what the Lord is about to do in your life hereafter. Indeed, your heart should be full! Even so, Come Lord Jesus! Amen and Amen.
[Thank you, Dr. Dederen, Tomi Daniel, Eld. Jim Merrell, and Newlove Annan for your kind words. And thank you all others who have in different ways sent words of encouragement. I can truly say today that “M’akoma Ahye Ma” (“My heart is full”). Join me in singing that song (http://eaglesonline.org/resource/makoma-ahye-ma/) and reflecting on these thought-nuggets.
BY NECESSARY MEANS
God knows how to arrest our attention in order to save us. Sometimes He employs confrontation (Nathan vrs. David) or shame and humiliation (e.g, on Samson, Prodigal Son, Peter). He allows afflictions (Miriam & Hezekiah), judgments (on Manasseh & Nebuchanezzar), betrayal by close friends & confidants (e.g., Ahithophel), and the curses & hurts by critics/enemies (e.g., Shimei). He may even use the voice of Balaam’s donkey or knock us off our high horses (Paul on Damascus Road). He also whispers in still small voices (as to Elijah). By such necessary means and many more, the Holy Spirit quickens our consciences, convicts us of sins, and leads us to repentance (John 14-16). Unless we’ve totally grieved away the Spirit, none can escape the reach of God’s saving grace.—Samuel Koranteng-Pipim
SETBACKS & HINDRANCES
God has a plan or purpose for your life. This plan is as sure and detailed as His plan of salvation. His plan for you knows neither delay nor accident. It leaves nothing to chance, hence nothing can really hurt you. Yes, your feelings can be hurt, you can be shocked by the hatred of others, and can even experience terrible grief and loss. But these things that occur in your life come through the hands of God and they’ll work together for your good. Believe and apply these facts to every circumstance of your life, surrender your plan to His plan, and you’ll develop an indomitable faith that can handle sudden setbacks and seemingly persistent hindrances. Psalm 62:8.—Samuel Koranteng-Pipim
Thank You Letter to Ann Arbor Church
[NOTE: Contrary to claims in certain quarters and by some agenda-driven individuals and organizations, at no time did the Ann Arbor elders, church board, or members refuse to baptize me. It was a personal choice to surrender my right to be baptized in Ann Arbor church. When necessary, and at the appropriate time and forum, I will share the reasons for my decision. Meanwhile, given the public interest in my relationship with the Ann Arbor Church, I’m releasing the “thank you” letter I sent to the Ann Arbor Church after my baptism.
TO: Church Board Members, Ann Arbor SDA Church
FROM: Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD
DATE: June 26, 2014
RE: Thank You!
Dear Ann Arbor Church Board Members,
1. On January 30, 2014, I shared with you my decision to surrender my deeply cherished desire to be joyfully united with my local Ann Arbor church through baptism. After explaining why, my letter expressed the hope that, as advised, “God Himself will in His own time reveal the right place and right person and the right minister who will officiate at my baptism.”
2. About three months after taking that step, I believe the Lord answered our prayers (and those of many others) by guiding me as to where I should be baptized. Accordingly, the Pastor of the Church where I planned to be baptized officially notified the Ann Arbor Church (See his letters, dated April 26, May 6, and May 19, 2014; see also my own response letter of June 10, 2014, through the First Elder of the Ann Arbor Church).
3. I wish to let you know that, this past weekend (June 20 & 21, 2014), I was baptized by Pastor Dan Hall, a former Pastor of the Ann Arbor Church, and was joyfully received into the full fellowship of the Columbus Ghanaian Church in Ohio. (The attached report, which I have shared with close family and friends, gives highlights of this special occasion).
4. As a consequence of my new church home in Columbus, my wife Becky will join me by formally transferring her membership from Ann Arbor to Columbus. However, since we still live in the Ann Arbor area, we will visit as time allows.
5. I will be most grateful if you would kindly convey the following message to the members of the Ann Church congregation:
Dear Members of the Ann Arbor Church Family,
With my baptism this past weekend into the Columbus Ghanaian Church in Ohio, and the soon transfer of my wife’s membership from Ann Arbor to Columbus, Becky and I want to express our deepest appreciation to the Ann Arbor Church family for your love and support during the past decade and half that this local congregation had been our spiritual home.
You have been with our family on the mountain tops and in the deepest valleys. You have laughed with us in our times of joy, and cried with us in moments of sorrow. And through each of you, the Lord has not only granted us rewarding spiritual experiences, but has also taught us many valuable lessons to aid us in our spiritual walk. For these, and many other blessings, we are eternally grateful to the Ann Arbor Church family.
We rejoice with you in the privilege of being part of the body of Christ, and hence members of God’s worldwide family of believers. May our gracious Lord grant to us at all times the true experience of His forgiving, transforming, and restorative grace. And may He help us to be ready, hastening and “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We shall do likewise for you. Maranatha!
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD