CAN THESE FLAMES TRULY BURN? A review of GOODHEART OBI EKWEME’S CATCH THE FIRE BY BENJAMIN UBIRI (THE PENPUSHER)
BOOK TITLE: The Wave of Revival, CATCH THE FIRE
AUTHOR: GOODHEART OBI EKWEME
PUBLISHER: Horn of Revival publishing
We live at the strangest of times and are faced with the toughest of paradoxes: Hearts without love, prayers without faith, handshakes without friendship and bookshelves without readers. We kneel in anticipation of answers that appear to have come and gone and pray like we want them back, yet we have no intention of waiting for rain. We buy books that have answered our supplications but we have not read them. The prophesies about what will be and who we will become are already happening; the woes and the antidote are on our shelves, the world awaits our manifestation: if only we can CATCH THE FIRE.
CATCH THE FIRE is the title of a 140-paged explosive book by Goodheart Obi Ekweme, a chartered Accountant, author and pastor. His writing skill and narration style stand him out and the book speaks from a personal original point, seeking to address an important and timeous reality, namely the existentiality of human needs, the reality of human nature, the superiority of divine influence and the trajectory of supplication.
The author deals with these issues as though they are in the present and close-by while making them seem as if they are in a distant future in so many ways. The summation will be that the things he spoke about are timeless. He teaches about things directed at a particular time of history treating it as a warning of a future that is already here.
As I write this review, the voice of Bill and Gloria Gaither ring at the background, singing to the healer about Lazarus (the sick brother of Mary and Martha), who had died because the healer was ‘four days late’. Like the healer, this book: CATCH THE FIRE, written a few years ago could be confused as coming late following the tragedies that its readers would have suffered and the dampness their faith could have experienced.
A news report earlier in the year had also revealed how some Nigerians were slaughtered and how leaders had cried out; some in despair and others in a hope for spiritual vengeance like Mary and Martha. The book however resonates with a deeper light that replicates the happiness and outburst that follows only a miracle of life returning from the dead. It takes the reader to a conclusion of submission, of prayer and of power.
The book is a well-crafted non-fiction and follows a pattern etched by the author to explore all literary and story-telling tools. He tries to balance a well told account of scripture with a carefully packaged hard bound book as an irresistible bouquet. This book is both sleek, handy and eye catching. Printed in choice colours that depict the title in the most subtle of ways: who would have thought that a local match stick will look so attractive and inspiring to be the seed of a life changing story. The finishing makes it a perfect visitor to any shelf. The cover has a great grip on the palm from an embossed lettering but the contents have a greater grip on the mind.
From the first chapter, which opens like a vacancy announcement with the tale of the world ending, each of the thirteen chapters tell a different portion of one original admonition and charge. Very complex issues are broken down into practical steps, previously preached passages reinterpreted to help open newer windows of knowledge.
In chapter one the call is not only for the reader to make adjustments based on scriptural standards, he relates with the reader in his situation and time. While in novels one looks for accurate explanation and measurement of time between events, here the author is accurate with a spiritual juxtaposition of ancient history with current realities. He also extends such timelessness to the interpretation of things to come.
‘Many things happening around us today point to a most delicate time in the history of mankind. We would be fooling ourselves to assume that things are normal…’
This quotation and the supporting scripture paint a fearful image but just closely after this, he offers a soothing in these words…
‘The ability to discern times and to know what to do is the prerequisites for the dominion of saints…
While he consolidates his call for God-seekers, he lists the criteria for being chosen. He tells his story clearly and correctly and it is not trapped in its original setting, it is not out rightly prophetic but seeks to address, a universal experience with a definitive time and people in mind. Every reader will put this book down at some point and say: it relates my story.
In chapter two, he continues by looking at the heart both as a biological pump and a spiritual nerve center. He argues that ‘you cannot effectively change your life by just trying to change your actions and things in your environment. You change your life by changing your mind and your thought process’.
In chapter three and four, he explores the location, condition and quality of the heart. He believes that one’s heart will always lie where his treasures are laid.
In chapter five he returns as an adviser. He sets out the cushion and protection that can help to guard the heart. He however warns against deadly spiritual and social heart conditions and offers deep thoughts as solutions.
In chapter six his questions re-appear: how far do you want to go with God? His answers explain the place of grace. This trend leads to chapter seven where the building blocks have become steps that the reader can follow when he chooses to go all the way with God. In chapter eight, the map is spread-out, he admonishes the reader on finishing the building in accordance with the creators’ master plan.
In chapter nine and ten, he takes the reader along a path of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. He makes it easy to understand his personality and the fragrance of his presence. In chapter eleven, he exposes the reader to the flames of his power. In chapter twelve, the reader experiences honour. The author describes it as ‘a greater dimension of spirituality’. He wants the reader to become closer to his creator and seek always to be like him. He assures the reader of an honour that cannot be reduced by human effort because it is divine.
Chapter thirteen is a prayer guide. He honestly anticipates the many questions in the mind of the reader and consciously but cautiously answers in advance. He assures of a satisfaction that would have followed the experience of reading the book. I agree with him to the point that after reading the book, you are forced to kneel down and pray like you never did before.
‘one cannot catch the fire of revival and not be provoked and inspired to pray and seek intimate fellowship with our God.’ This author makes his difficult subject easy and his student, inherently teachable. He takes a familiar path but delays the revelation. it appears simple but not simplistic, he looks at scriptures and explanations already familiar to the reader and stored up in the readers subconscious but effortlessly explains them better.
This book will appeal to anyone, believer and unbeliever alike. It will help parents teach their wards and help young readers know their God. It is a total syllabus of salvation and a simplified edition of ancient scripture, the fine prints are friendly to the eyes as such I recommend it to everyone.
The author has a unique style of story-telling that provokes excellent discussion and introspection. His language is beautiful, his sentences short and powerful, one leading into the other like short quick strides of a lover heading home, each stride laced with ideas and images that resonate with previous fearful experiences and newer hopes. He takes the reader hand in hand and leads him through his fearful reality into a place of choice.