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Dedication: The Grace @ Bishop Iwo’s Grace Covenant Ministries

Whenever the word “grace” is used in a religious context, the thought of “God’s unmerited favor” comes to mind. The way that this is interpreted varies according to different religious philosophies. The doctrine of Grace is usually understood as the way one obtains salvation: salvation free from works. The central text used to support this view is Eph. 2:4-9. The word for Grace in the Greek is “charis.” Thayer, and other Lexicographers usually will present four primary meanings for the word “charis.” Depending upon the context, we can learn the meaning the writer had in mind for the word “charis.” The word means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness” (Thayer, p. 665). A good example of the proper meaning comes from a comment made about the way Jesus spoke. “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). Jesus’ words had a sweet, refreshing quality about them. This was unusual for someone who was just a carpenter’s son. People delighted in the way Jesus spoke, and the words that He used. The next way that “charis” is used in scripture is to convey the idea of “goodwill, loving-kindness, favor.”
Following in line with the previous meaning, we now can say that grace is “the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace” (Thayer, p. 666, cf. Rom. 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12). Whenever we accept the goodness and favor of God, we can begin to receive the benefits of God’s grace. It is also the “token or proof of grace.” “And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit” (2 Cor. 1:15, the word “benefit” is charis). The last meaning for “charis” is “thanks (for benefits, services, favors),” Thayer, p. 666. Paul uses this idea when writing to Timothy: “I thank (charis) God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day” (2 Tim. 1:3). However l am using the word grace in context and light of Acts 11: 22-30, “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Grace here speaks not only of God’s unmerited favour, goodwill or mercy but divine favour, resources, enablement and workings that impacted the lives of Christian believers in supernatural ways inspite of persecution of their faith that bring out Christ-like qualities hence the believers were called Christians.
Apostle Prince David Zilly Aggrey in his recent expository teaching declaring the month of May as a month of “Abunmdant Grace” said “grace” avert judgment as in the case of Noah, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”(Gen. 6:8). Said he, he liken grace as passport, passage to success and achievements without personal qualifications rather the favour, grace of God doing it all without you. Testifying to the many grace works in his life and many of those who has worked with him, Apostle Zilly cited John 1:14, 16 to buttress this, thus: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”(Jn.1:14) and “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (Jn. 1:16). Jesus Christ is the embodiment of grace. Grace is poured out like a pen of a ready writer as Psalm 45:1-2, put it: “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.”
Like sun and shield God gives grace and glory hence He never withholds any good things from those who walked upright before Him (Psalm 84:11). Apostle Zilly Aggrey liken the five letter words of grace to be, G-grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:16), R Restoration of health, wealth and a glorious future and all that were lost (Jer. 30:16-20), A attraction of good people and good things to one’s life (Ps. 34:10), C Control rulership and ordering your step into greatness (Ps. 37:23) and E exchange that God in Christ made for believers to change evil situation for good (Gen. 50:19-20). So is it and was it that on Thursday 26th through Sunday 29th April 2012 this special grace of God enveloped and impacted Christian believers gathered from all work of life to rejoice, celebrate and manifest in the power of the Holy Spirit the awesome presence of God during the Conference that featured the generalissimo of preachers and God’s great miracle worker Pastor David Ibiyeomie of Salvation Ministries Port Harcourt. Speaking the first night on the message entitled: Possibility Mentality, among others said, your background is not barrier rather your mentality. He urged under strong unction of the Holy Spirit that Christians should not allow their environment to influence them or be intimidated by negative circumstances. For perspective dtermines how far you go. Citing several Scriptures to butress this, (Lk.17:21 cp. Rom.4:17-21, Gen.12:1-4, Mt. 11:11-12, Prov. 23:7, Mk 11:24, Gen. 11:1-5, Numb. 13, Philemon 1:14, 2Cor. 10:3-5, Gen. 13 and Eph. 3:20) He exhort that you don’t get out poverty by prayer but by quality thinking. On how to develop positive mentality, he said first, it comes by increase in knowledge (Prov. 24:5, Rm. 12:2), two, faith in God and His word (Mt. 10:27, 9:23, Num. 23:19), third Associate with possibility thinkers, Prov. 27:17. To this he said stop walking with people who talk problems. Four, develop a self image better proper image of who you are in Christ, special unique, royal and treasured people of God (Jn.4:4, 1 Peyer 2:9-10, Mt. 5:13-16). Stop having negative image of yourself. Finally, walk in righteousness (Prov. 28:1, 2 Cor.3:14).
On the second day of the Conference, Pastor David Ibiyeomie spoke on Growing from glory to glory citing 2 Cor. 3:18 challenge the glorious excited crowd of Christian believers and unbelievers that had taken over every seat in the auditorium because of the demonstration of the power of God in signs, wonders and miracles through Pastor David Ibiyeomie. He emphasized in keeping with the theme of the Conference Possessing the Nations that life is about service not status, and there is no entitlements for titles. That mission should be purpose driven. How far you see determine how far you go. Life is about contribution. Possessing the nations he enjoined to feed on the word, love God i.e put God first, create a platform for greater tomorrow. It is time to impact your world he conclude. On the third day, the dedication of the Grace Cathedral witnessed cream of servants of God from Lagos, Delta State, Taraba State, Plateau State, Abuja and from different parts of Nigeria. With the temple filled with the glory of God, Former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rufus Ada George, Rear Admiral Fingesi, representative of Rivers State Government among others, the Guest Speaker Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude citing 1 Chron. 22:5-12 and 2 Chron. 6:18 cp Isa. 66:1 asked the question how big is God? To emphasized that we cannot qualify God’s greatness nor build for God rather Jesus Christ is building the Church that the gates of hell cannot prevail (Mt. 16:19). He lead the solemn assebly to dedicate the cathedral with the support of other servants of God. This was followed on the final day Sunday 2th April 2012 the thanksgiving service that Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude the Guest Speaker spoke from Gen. 35:1-3 cp. Isa. 1:1 on being prosperous. The climax of this thanksgiving that witness the presence of Alabo Graham Douglas, Senator George Sekibo, Rear Admiral Fingesi, Her Excellency, wife of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs Ikuru, Apostle G. D. Numbere, a father of the faith and pentecostal movement in Niger Delta and many other dignitaries.
The Chief Host and President/Founder of Grace Covenant Ministries, Bishop Winston Iwo in joyous mood accompanied with the Wife, Pastor Mrs. Iwo welcomed the august visitors in each of the services as well express profound gratitude to God and to all that contributed to build the cathedral as well attend the programme. Bishop Iwo went memory lane to talk about the vision/mandate, history and what the Grace Covenant Ministries has been doing with the support of the faithful members of the Church and other friends of the Ministry over the years. On this, we reproduce an excerpt: “Grace Covenant Ministries, Inc. a.k.a Grace Covenant Church is a vision given by God to His servant, His lordship Rt. Rev. W. T. Iwo, in October, 1997 while still in the service of Church of God Mission Int’l Inc. as the Presiding Bishop in charge of Rivers and Bayelsa Province under the leadership of late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, where he served for twenty years 1979 1999. When the need to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit to start the new work became stronger in 1999, he voluntarily resigned and withdrew his services and consequently was released, prayed for and sent forth by the authorities of Church of God Mission Int’l Inc.” “The vision and mandate: The commission was born out of deep concern to establish believers in faith through a balanced teaching of God’s word, so that the saints might fulfill their Ministries through a dynamic team work. The mandate was to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the unsaved and unreached people groups within and outside the shores of Nigertia. Commissioning of the Ministry: Grace Covenant Ministries was officially commissioned on Saturday the 1st of May, 1999 by Rev.Dr. Tunde Jordan of Christ Chapel Int’l Churches in a hired hall at 130 Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and the first service held the following day being Sunday, the 2nd of May 1999 at same venue. The Lord blessed the first worship service with four persons, who gave their lives to Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Saviour for the first time. The Church base and Mission support arms of the Ministry have since then grown and is still growing.”

“Mission work and support programmes: The Commission is mission oriented with a Church base to support the Mission’s work in taking the gospel to African nations and beyond. In fulfillment of this mandate, the Grace Covenant Ministries is in partnership with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), a mission agency solely committed to missions in and outside Nigeria. Through this partnership, we adopted five mission fields among the Mumuye tribe in Taraba State, Northern part of Nigeria, namely: Shavon, Jauroko, Pampetal, Sabongari and Ladana. We have made several visits to these mission fields and have by God’s grace touched the lives of the people with the Gospel, food item supplies, clothing, medical outreaches, provision of boreholes (wells) in four of five villages. We support the missionaries in payment of their monthly allowances for the past ten years. Our immediate host community and environs have been blessed with medical outreaches, gifts items with gospel crusades. It is worthy of note that our mission support programmes extended our outreaches to IPO community near international airport, Omagwa, Rivers State and blessed them with a Water Borehole. The Ministry is grateful to Dr. William T. Bolan, Mrs. Dane Archibald and David Boyd all living in Colorado, USA whose financial contributions enabled us provide the four boreholes (wells) in our Mumuye fields in Taraba State.”
“Future/Proposed Mission Outreach: The Commission has recently extended its Mission’s work to Kenya and South Africa and has a plan to do same in Liberia with the view to taking the Gospel to the unreached people groups of these nations, establish Mission out-posts and possibly plant Churches. Church Planting: Grace Covenant Ministries has been involved in carrying out Evangelistic Outreaches, Disciplining of new converts and Church planting within and outside Nigeria. Since inception, Grace Covenant Ministries has given birth to the Headquarters Church and three branches which have witnessed steady growth. The Headquarters Church where we are today is situated in the heart of Port Harcourt, on ten plots of land. The Cathedral is designed to seat three thousand worshipers. It is important to mention here that the funding of the Cathedral project has been primarily done by mmembers of the Ministry and we are grateful to God who has brought us this far as we proudly declare to the glory of God “so far so good” The branches are: (1) Egbeke, Etche, Rivers State with Pastor Jerry Chiozoadighi as the Pioneer Pastor and has as its present pastor, Pastor Austin Egbeke. (2) Oyigbo, Rivers State with Rev. Samuel Elijah as the Pioneer pastor. (3) Yenagoa in Bayelsa State with Pastor (Barr.) Bright Abasi as the pioneer Pastor and has as its present pastor, Pastor Levon Ezera.”
“Discipleship/Leadership Training: The need to rightly equip the saints via discipleship and leadership training cannot be over emphasized, hence a discipleship school was established. The programme is designed to train and desiciple believers and new converts on basic fundamentals of the Christian faith. There are also periodic leadership training seminars and workshops for Church workers and ministers for effective growth and propagation of the gospel. Care Ministry: This arm of the Church organizes special programmes in fulfillment of the biblical injunction on pure religion, where the needy, the less privileged, orphans and widows are helped from time to time. As part of this arm, the commision visits the orphanages, old people’s homes and prisons with gift items and cash. In addition to these, medical outreaches are periodically organized where medical examination and drugs are freely dispensed to the sick in various communities. In order to encourage effective participation in the work interaction and development of members, Grace Covenant Ministries has over 14 Home Care cell groups across the city, this also serves as a means of evanbgelization of their immediate environs. Realizing that we still have much work to do, we depend on our God who is more than able to enable us accomplish the vision and mandate of this commission.” What a grace? As was the grace of God upon the Church at Antioch in biblical time in Acts 11:22-30 that through the operation of the Holy Spirit through God’s servants the Church witnessed increase, developed Christ-like character through discipleship and were involved in missions and care for the needy so was and is the Grace Covenant Ministries of Bishop Winston Iwo that brought God’s great servants and Christians from different part of Nigeria to dedicate the grace Cathedral to the glory of God and betterment of humanity. Congratulations Bishop Iwo and Grace Covenant Ministries.

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