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Saturday, 16 September 2017

THE STORY OF MY LIFE - BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO

Brother David and Sister Faith (Oyedepo) during their courting years before their glorious moment as shared by Faith Abiola Oyedepo
Bishop David Oyedepo, founding Bishop of Living Faith Worldwide, popularly known as Winners' Chapel, reflects on his life, achievements and the Winners Chapel. "Everything great is a result of grace. I think I'm primarily a beneficiary of the grace of God. God's grace makes the journey of any man great. It's the rapid grace of God." According to him, "I met Jesus Christ in February 19, 1969. That day, to me, was the most important. I was a victim 
International Hotel, now Lakson Hotel, where the Mandate was delivered
of tuberculosis early in life. We came from a fairly average family. I was given birth to in a church, so I thought I was 'born again' from birth, but that February 19, 1969, was when grace found me." 

There are other days: "Having met the Lord, I had an insatiable appetite for the gospel. I had the first privilege to share the gospel in March, 1970 and from that day till now, I've never missed the opportu­nity to share the gospel."


In 1970, he said he prayed: "Lord, whatever weight that I would bear when I'm old, let me bear it now that I'm young, so that when I'm old, I would be relaxed and enjoy my life. I read that from 
The beginning- the Ministry's first office (a 2-room space) marked in red
Lamentation 3.27." In Septem­ber, 1976, he said after reading a book, titled, The Man God Uses, he entered into a covenant with his Creator to live the remaining days of his life for God.
The Living Faith Church, Ilorin started in the white 2-storey building on the right, marked in red

"I was in courtship with my wife then, she was my fiancee. I documented my vow and I invited her, we entered into a church and I showed her the vow. Would you still be willing to follow me? I asked her and she said yes. I asked her to sign and she did. I dedicated myself to Christ with one secret burning in my soul: except a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone but if it dies, it brings forth more fruit. I was willing to die, indeed, so that I can be alive, indeed. People may hear our principles and read all the books I've written, but until you know my heartbeat for God, you don't know my secret. I'm just in love. I want the remaining days of my life to be sold out to Him. That is the greatest of the secret behind my simple life.

As he spoke, he punctuated most of his statements with scriptural references. He also would string events with either one book he read or how God spoke to him concerning events. "In 1976, I read a book by T.L Osborne, The Purpose of Pentecost. What the book did to me was to paint a very unique picture of the Holy Spirit as a person. I was baptized in the Holy Ghost in 1975. I wanted to share what I'd read with my friends and I went to them. When I got there, they had packed from the house and I asked the Holy Spirit to direct me to where they were. And the Holy Spirit, for the first time in my life, said to me: 'Go forward'. That was August 12, 1976. I kept going and He
There were more benches in those days days than people in church (February 1984)
directed me to where they were.

", And I heard a voice say: "But from the beginning, it was not so. The hour has come to liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith and I'm sending you to undertake this task. That was May 1 and 2, 1981. The voice I was privileged to catch in 1976 became the live-wire of this ministry today, "
Image result for David and Sister Faith Oyedepo during their courting years
Winners Chapel


The church, Winners Chapel, Oyedepo revealed was a mandate given by God. "I went to see a friend. This friend was not in and I was very disappointed. There was the Modakeke crisis in Ife. The place was llesa. I had friends in llesa, but the Lord said: 'Seek a 
Ministering in February 1984
quiet place, I want to talk to you.' I got a hotel in the outskirts and as I knelt down to say, 'Father I thank you,' that was all knew. It took me 18 hours in a vision of heaven. I saw the afflicted masses on the earth. I was crying, I was sobbing. I was not sleeping. I saw an array of afflicted people before me. Groaning and agonizing for rescue. I asked: 'What is it Lord?' And I heard a voice say: "But from the beginning, it was not so. The hour has come to liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith and I'm sending you to undertake this task. That was May 1 and 2, 1981. The voice I was privileged to catch in 1976 became the live-wire of this ministry today.'

Hearing God? The Garden of Faith , Kaduna , came to be by this 
same voice. "We got into Kaduna , God gave us grace, the church was growing. We held the first crusade at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna , March 1986, a no-go place for the gospel but God gave us grace."

The story changed in 1989. "I was to attend a meeting in Kessington Temple, London. There was another meeting with Frederick K C Price in Los Angeles. It was too much of an honour to miss. Then we had flight disappointment. On getting to Kaduna, I lost my box. In the midst of that devastation, the voice came strong: 'Arise, go to Lagos and raise me a people!' If I didn't hear from God, I would not have done that because we had 3,000 people in Kaduna and I was coming to Lagos to start afresh. That was July 19. Our first service in Lagos was 224 people. That was September 1989. We got our facilities in Iyana Ipaja.” He said. “Again, the voice came. That was December 12, 1995, before we dedicated the old church. The Lord said to me, I will yet re-locate my church. On December 30, we dedi­cated the church”

From Lagos, the journey to Ota began. "I thought the voice was for the future,” he explained of the voice. When I was brought to Ota, I was furious. Who would come here for the church? We got here and as I prayed to thank God, He said 'This is the place.' I suggested that it could be used for a farm and we would build later, but the Lord said: 'It is now!' So, May 8, 1998, we got the C of O for the land, 530 hectares. On August 29, 1998, we did the ground-breaking for the church and September 18, they started marking out the place where the church building would be. I also announced in the other church that the same September 18, the following year, we would dedicate the church that we had not started. That was what the Lord said to me. We don't do anything that is not commanded."

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'If you ask me my challenge in the ministry, I will say: It is People, People, and People. With hearts too deep to uncover, thoughts too obscure to discern, words too sweet to doubt, I've suffered in the hands of men. Sometimes, it pains too deep to bear. Words too piercing to ignore. Actions too destructive to overlook. What is the matter with people?

You would agree that a ministry of a size like his should have problems. He agreed, but explained them as chal­lenges. His countenance changed and he said: 'If you ask me my challenge in the ministry, I will say: It is People, People and People. With hearts too deep to uncover, thoughts too obscure to discern, words too sweet to doubt, I've suffered in the hands of men. Sometimes, it pains too deep to bear. Words too piercing to ignore. Actions too destructive to overlook. What is the matter with people? Deception, hypocrisy, double-dealing. The list is unending because of the evolving nature of man." Sounds poetic, but ironically, the father of four, who is fondly called Papa by his congregation, said again: "This may sound as a paradox. If asked what is my greatest asset? The same answer: People. People and people. In the pursuit of destiny, people are the greatest asset. Even the Messiah came and needed people to run His vision.

Where do we strike a balance? Love. It is the covenant way of striking a balance in relationship with all men. No ministry without people. Ministry is about touching people, reaching people, building people, raising people, reconstructing destiny. Ministry is set up to meet the needs of people. If you are not meeting the needs of people, you are not in ministry.
Image result for bishop david oyedepo family picture
A man spoke a wisdom to me in March, 1990. He said: "It is true that you are sent to people to deliver them, but you also need to be delivered from the people to whom you are sent. He read from Acts 26 :16 - 18. One day, I was laying hands on people and someone carried a dagger and was coming to the front! We go through this deliverance over and again because of the wicked nature of man.

The first shock I got in ministry was from a friend of mine. We went for a meeting. I thought I was to minister, but he did. All the things I told him about this commission, he took it up in the atmosphere. He battered the faith topic. He said faith was one way the devil wanted to rupture the move of God in Nigeria . Even prosperity too, using my old car as an example. The only thing he didn't do was mention my name!

"This was somebody to whom I was so close that he took my wife to the hospital when we were having our first baby, because I was not in. How I drove home that night, I can't tell! I could not tell my wife! We have been flattered, battered but God will not allow our burial.

That gives you an idea of what I mean by people. You are to touch them, but you have to be delivered from them, so that you don't speak unadvisedly. This happened in 1983, but it never came out of my mouth to any man until it was mature for a testimony after things had changed. Those are the pains you bear. You say it to somebody and they over-say it. That is why when things happen, and they ask me, I say -that I have no comments.
Image result for bishop david oyedepo family picture
 Another throwback picture with Archbishop Benson Idahosa below

"This may sound as a paradox. If asked what is my greatest asset? The same answer: People. People and people. In the pursuit of destiny, people are the greatest asset. Even the Messiah came and needed people to run His vision.

My comments could be misinterpreted and miscarried; However, I have every cause to give glory to God now. I've looked back, I'm not perfect. No. I don't claim perfection. But I want to submit with all humility that to the level that He (God) has exposed Himself to me, I have been faithful in doing this job. I have followed him to this point''

There was no air around him. He spoke seriously. He cracked jokes and as he continued in his reflections, he was asked the question on his home. How does his wife cope with his schedules? The kids? The family's pure among other things? In his charismatic manner, Omu Aran born Oyedepo said of his wife, Faith and his two sons and daughters, “I must say that the home front has been absolutely supportive of my dedicated stance. They are even stretching me on it. We have a Zimbabwean student about whom my two sons would not allow me rest until we got his school fees paid in America . His sister's husband, who was paying his fees, had divorced her and refused to pay for the boy. It has intoxicated everyone. No stress at all. When we got married on Saturday. I had things to do on Sunday night and Monday night.
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“There were so many things to do; I was invited here and there, so we agreed on December. December came and the honeymoon could not hold! So I said to her on December 31, that year. “Is it not better to have a lifetime honeymoon than a one-week honeymoon? When I stay in this office, I might be here till 3.00am, my wife would call me 2.00am that it is getting late and I would tell her, don't worry, until its 3.00am, don't bother asking me to come. We have aligned so much in the things of the spirit that there has not been any traceable tension, either on the children, on herself or anyone in the family. The giving spirit is resting on everyone. We give God all the glory”

Asked how he feels whenever he sees his photographs or stories on the covers of magazine, oftentimes, negative. “What do you expect me to do? “ he asked smiling. “My body is immune to such. I've had vendors come to me while in the car, but I said no. But the man showed me the one that had my picture full blown. I don't buy, the reason is, take heed what you hear. If you are not careful in hearing junk, you would find it impossible to walk in love. If there is anything you owe yourself, it's walking in love.”
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Like the one they said I took N300million in a Navigator car to llesa. Some of our relations at home read it and the whole place was in disarray. They didn't sleep! They called me and I wondered what was happening. That I bought gold? That would be ridiculous because I've never seen gold in my life. I don't even know how it looks like, I've never seen N300 million packed in one place. I can't get annoyed over that. You should not get angry with that. You should avoid anger in ministry. We don't play perfection, but we don't want to be corrupted. My principle is, no attack no defense.''
Known to be one of the crusaders of the prosperity message, he revealed that the ministry, which was officially commissioned by Pastor E.A Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, preaches more than prosperity. “There is no genuine coin without counterfeit,” he began. “There is nobody who loves poverty. Nobody wishes anyone long life and poverty. Everybody loves long life and prosperity, but not everybody knows the way to it. Only God has the way to it and the way is in His word. But abuse has been so pronounced that people who react have their basis for reaction.

“I have said that Covenant University , among other things, has validated the relevance of the prosperity message. Prosperity is all about having a culture of liberality, servicing the needs of humanity. It begins with God and then it spreads out to the men and women around you. Prosperity covenant practitioner is the joy of seeing people who otherwise would never have laughter on their faces having laughter. The journey started long ago with me.”


-Bishop David Oyedepo granted this interview during his 50th birthday celebration in 2004
Image result for David and Sister Faith (Oyedepo) during their courting years

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