+ ‘My relationship with Yoruba actresses’
ON Tuesday, March 10, 2015, shepherd in charge of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Genesis International Parish, Alagbado, Lagos, Prophet Israel Oladele, a.k.a Genesis, clocked 40. He spoke on this and much more, including his relationship with top Yoruba actresses, at a surprise birthday party organized for him by his church members and friends at GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, March 13, 2015.
On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, you clocked 40. How does it feel clocking the landmark age?
Everything we do is just by the grace of God. And I must appreciate God for giving me this grace to see the day. I am very happy about everything concerning my life. I must be happy because I can’t do anything without Him. I came from Him, I am growing in Him and I know when I grow old I will still go back to Him. So, I give Him the glory.
What’s the significance of the celebration in your life?
It’s just for me to realize that I should come to the level of actualization from the level of realization and as I am growing older, I should affect my generation, not to disappoint my generation, not to disappoint myself, my family and my God because disappointment starts from oneself. Then when you disappoint yourself, you will disappoint your family and then disappoint God. I know I was created to fulfill my destiny. Just as the Bible says in the book of Genesis 1 vs. 38, that be fruitful and multiply and subdue the world. This is why I know I have to appreciate the mantle of leadership upon my shoulder and add value to my generation.
Do you also subscribe to the general saying that life begins at 40?
No, life begins from when you discover your purpose. What is worse is to come to this world and not discover the purpose of what you’re created for. When you know what you’re created for, you will know what you stand for. And when you know what you stand for, you won’t fall for anything. So, when you know what you’re created for, you know you first came as a child, and you know you must not disappoint your parents. You must do the will of God and obey your parents, fulfill your responsibilities to them. And as a parent, you’re taking care of your children, the time is still coming when those children will also be taking good care of you. So, the most dangerous thing as parents or as anything is when we realize that those we’re taking care of are still coming around to take care of us. Like what they are doing for me today, I have really been building my members, training them and all that. Left to me, I think that’s part of what they are giving back to me. So, what you give life is exactly what it’s going to give back to you. So, life starts from when you discover what you’re created for.
Now that you have clocked 40, is there anything you can no longer do?
There hasn’t been any bad thing I have been doing before clocking 40. But I just want the grace of God to increase in me because the grace of God is inside of me and without it, I can’t do anything. I just want God to empower me the more. I have not been doing anything on my own, I have always been led by God. What I pray for every day are wisdom, knowledge and the grace to realize who I am. So, I want more of God’s presence in me.
When you clocked 38, you celebrated elaborately but this time around, you’re expected to throw a lavish bash. Why is it low key?
Yes, but I believe you will agree with me that the big size of a stone can’t be compared with the small quantity of diamond. It could be big and elaborate but it couldn’t have been this classy. So, it’s about quality, not quantity. Now, I have peace, joy and all that. Now, I have realized that everything is not about noise, it’s about making a statement. And besides, this is not me organizing this for myself. I didn’t know anything about it. So, it’s a lot better when people are organizing things for you. It involves stress when you do it yourself. This one, I am not part of it and I must tell you the truth, it’s quite long I came back from the UK. I went to Oxford and Harvard universities for a course. They celebrated my birthday for me there. As I speak with you now, some people are already planning to celebrate it for me in Florida, United States of America while some are also planning to do it for me in Texas, also in the US, before this month runs out. So, I am not the one doing it for myself, people are doing it for me. Just last Sunday, three people just walked in and told me they came to dash me a car each. I said, “Waoh! For me alone?” I believe they’re just encouraging me to do more. And I must also appreciate the fact that I must not disappoint them.
We believe you might have faced a lot of challenges before coming this far. What are the lessons you have learnt from all your turbulent moments?
Yes, of course. I have learnt a lesson from my past but I don’t like discussing my past because I see it as an opportunity to discover where God was taking me to. Like I always say, every attack of the devil brings a new level. And the Bible says in Romans 8 vs. 28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. If God wants to give you a big blessing, He will wrap it with a problem. And it’s in the problem that you will discover who you are and what you’re created for. I have gone through a lot, and that has given me the opportunity to discover who I am.
You floated a unique brand of Celestial Church of Christ that’s totally different from the regular one. Are you facing specific challenges about that?
What’s constant is change and it can’t be easily appreciated. But when you know what you’re doing and you know what you’re carrying, you will not give attention to the devil because when you give the devil attention, he will give you a direction. Yes, there are challenges, people are not ready to break out of the multitude, they just want the barbaric and outdated mentality. Not that I am boasting about what I have introduced because it’s not contrary to the doctrine, it’s just a little far from the dogma. It’s a revelation, not religion. We have bankers, lawyers, medical doctors and all that. We talk about marriage, a lot of other things including how to develop yourself and all that. My last book was Be Unstoppable. The new one is called Hakuna matata. And it’s all about what you need to do to be happy. It’s not about witches and wizards. If you believe witches will capture you, they will surely capture you. But if you don’t believe they can capture you, they won’t capture you. And you will live happily. And inside the book, I have a lot of steps for you to be happy. Number one is for you to be happy for yourself and by yourself. Two, you need to surround yourself with happy people and number three is to be around what will make you happy. Then, don’t believe you can’t do it because when you believe you can do it you will be happy. We don’t go to the bush or stream. We don’t do anything relating to that at all, and God has been faithful to us. So, it has been from one level to another.
When was your happiest moment?
That was when I gave my life to Christ in 1995. I believe it’s in Him I have my joy. Without Jesus, I will be nothing. I was once a Muslim, Wasiu by name. My parents were also Muslims before they converted to Christianity. They are in Christ Gospel Apostolic Church but later I started going to Celestial Church where I found love. And there was a man that gave me love, that’s Professor Evangelist Femi Soyoye, Alagbado.
How do you feel standing alone among other Celestial Churches, preaching something unique?
Anytime I preach, I am not alone because I can’t do it alone. I am always with God. Anytime I want to preach, I always ask God, “What do you want me to tell your people?” I am always happy when I see the lives of people who listen to my sermon transforming. When correct information is not applied in one’s life, wrong application of the information will lead the person to frustration. When information is appreciated, celebrated and accepted, there will be acceleration in one’s life and that’s what I am seeing in bankers, lawyers and others sharing their testimonies after listening to my sermon. A lot of people came to the church ordinary and they are now blessed. I give God the glory. And that’s why our church grows daily. Right now, there are over 3,000 worshippers in our church.
What’s your next plan?
Everything is in the Hands of God. All I am trying to do is to be a plus to my generation. I really want God to make me a blessing to the country and add value to people’s lives.
What’s your prediction about 2015 general elections, especially at the presidential level?
Goodluck Jonathan is going to be our president. Though, if I should follow the normal trend or reality, I mean what it’s supposed to be, Buhari will win but Jonathan is going to rule.
Let’s digress a little, a lot of people have misconception about your relationship with actresses, especially those in the Yoruba sector. Can you tell us why you’re always invited for their movie premieres and all that?
Everybody knows I love good things. Even you as a journalist, if you’re doing something good, I will always love to be part of it. I don’t want to know whether you’re a Christian or Muslim. I am a transparent person. I don’t care who you are, the church you attend and what have you. All I know you’re from God. So, anytime all these actresses or anybody in the entertainment industry is doing something, I just want to be a part of it. I love artistes a lot because I was once an artiste. And all these actresses you’re talking about are wonderful because they are really doing well in their career.
But some people say you’re their spiritual father…
(Cuts in) I am just their friend.
Tell us a little about your marital status.
I am married and blessed with wonderful children. One of them is a footballer. They are all doing well. I thank God for that.
– TADE ASIFAT