Monday, February 28, 2011

Attending a Lighthouse chapel in America (Oakland) #Ghana

This Sunday, I attended yet another Ghanaian church in the Bay Area. Yeap, you guessed right, it's in Oakland too. I had already been to the Church of Pentecost here, twice. A friend invited me to the new Lighthouse Chapel International branch that they had started in September. Her persistence paid off as I attended this weekend. Like I learnt in Ghana last Christmas, there is a Lighthouse chapel in every corner. Seriously. I hope this blog entry helps us all figure out why.

There are 1200 Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) branches worldwide in 52 nations. Talk about spreading far and wide. It started in Ghana 21 yrs through a medical student called Dag Heward Mills who is now the presiding bishop. Sorry, but I can't help but think of churches as businesses/enterprises/start-ups these days. Dag Heward Mills is every bit an entrepreneur churning out new entrepreneurs every year. There has been the question of should churches pay taxes? I think so, if they don't, they should be made to contribute appropriately in nation building; in education, health, etc. Looking at the senior secondary school system in Ghana, I think religious bodies investing in education is the most appropriate. Just look at Presec, Opoku Ware, St.Louis, Central University, etc.

The new Oakland branch is one of the 59 Lighthouse chapel branches in the USA. There are 6 LCIs in the New York City area alone. There are 9 in Maryland (of course). Others are in Worcester, Virginia, Atlanta, Houston, Sacramento, etc. Pastor Joel Obuobisa didn't mention one in "Columbus Ohio" but I'll be surprised if there weren't any there. Pastor Joel has been in the US for a long while and has helped build the LCI branches in New York, Worcester, Maryland and Chicago. If you called him an entrepreneur just now, I heard it. He moved to California with his family recently and is heading the new Oakland branch with a Kenyan pastor. Yea, the Ghanaian church has some Kenyan pastors. Africa Unite!

Unlike the Church of Pentecost, we didn't sing any Twi or Ghanaian language gospel songs. I wasn't complaining because I was really loving it. I knew most of the songs though which is interesting to me. It's good to know certain songs cut across denominations. Yup, unity in the house of God. Like all new churches (erm, except a few), it was small but it was not a disadvantage at all. Like I discussed with someone in the congregation later, it allowed for a communal feeling, a classroom setting, attention to detail teaching and personal development in a church. It was lovely. Even the kids in the church were actively involved.

I met a friend from Boston I hadn't seen since she moved to the Bay Area. She was shockprised to see me. I also saw another friend I know from Oakland who I didn't know attended the church. He was like the only guy in the church. "Hmmm, mmarima, ɛyɛ a, monko asɔre wae. Daabi, menkaasɛ monko pɛ mmaa o, mese, monko asɔre wae!" I'm speaking to my Ghanaian peoples, ask a Ghanaian who speaks Twi to translate for you. When I went to the Church of Pentecost, I had thought the ladies who went to parties were not the same who went to church. Well, that theory has been debunked since but the best women are really those who are going to church. Best believe. :-)

I loved the sermon too. Pastor Joel shared from Matthew 4:1-4 before the sermon, talking about fighting temptations. "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'." The sermon was about Daniel's Principles of Prayer. The pastor started us off with Daniel 6:10. During the sermon, I could not help but think about well-versed and awesome of a public speaker Pastor Joel was. There was no 'ermming' or 'like liking' in his delivery. It helps to be doing this for years, but I really admired how he delivered with his well-thought out message. I will leave you with these principles of prayer.

Prayer is very important. No one is ever too busy, too blessed, or too successful to pray. Prayer is the power of our source and protection. Prayer is important in acquiring and sustaining the blessings of God. For prayer to be effective, it must be habitual. Prayer must continue both in troubled times and in times of peace. Every nation needs lots of prayer and prayerful leaders. It is important to pray for long periods of time. It is important to enter your closet for effective prayer. Everyone must develop the ability and the formulae for praying four times a day.


I definitely hope to attend again. But it's close to an hour's drive for me from home and I attend other church services nearer to me. But if you are near Oakland and you are looking for a good church, I highly recommend the Lighthouse Chapel International branch.


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