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Pastor James Owolabi
CHICAGO
Pastor.Speaker.Evangelist.
Interests: Church Planting, Leadership Development, Customer Service, Leadership Articles, Indian food, Amazon.com. Podcasts BOOKS!! Preaching in Alaska every year! Lemon Pepper, Good Books!!! Good Bible Teaching, Great Music,Preaching, Chinese Buffet, Shepherds Conference, Learning from great Leaders, Hanging out with my Father Solomon Owolabi, The Bible, Learning, Starbucks Soy Chai Tea, Preaching to Middle School Students, Middle School Ministry, Indianapolis, Walking, Chicago, Leadership Development, Youth Ministry, Good Books, Podcasts, Planet Fitness, Traveling and Family.
Recent Activity
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My heart is broken and my heart is sad....... Two weeks ago I got the tragic news that one of my team members suffered a major health setback. Andy has been my executive assistant and one of my virtual editors/content creators for the over five years. Andy has edited all my sermons, all my articles and has been a major contributor to my ministry while choosing to be behind the scenes. For the past fives years Andy has been a faithful friend, patient mentor, personal coach, intelligent friend and passionate supporter of my ministry. I love him so much. Please pray for my friend Andy and for God to heal him. Our God is a healer. Andy is just irreplaceable .......but God is a good God and a wise God! I am really sad ..... PRAY FOR ANDY..... On a positive note this past two weeks has been a wonderful week filled with God’s blessings and goodness. 20 students praying to receive Christ in Chicago and preaching seven times in two different states to seven different audiences has been a real joy to my soul. God was SUPER kind to me this October and November and the people of God... Continue reading
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My heart is broken and my heart is sad....... Two weeks ago I got the tragic news that one of my team members suffered a major health setback ( a severe stroke... he is my age ...). Andy has been my executive assistant and one of my virtual editors/content creators for the over five years. Andy has edited all my sermons, all my articles and has been a major contributor to my ministry while choosing to be behind the scenes. For the past fives years Andy has been a faithful friend, patient mentor, personal coach, intelligent friend and passionate supporter of my ministry. I love him so much. Please pray for my friend Andy and for God to heal him. Our God is a healer. Andy is just irreplaceable .......but God is a good God and a wise God! I am really sad ..... PRAY FOR ANDY..... On a positive note this past two weeks has been a wonderful week filled with God’s blessings and goodness. 20 students praying to receive Christ in Chicago and preaching seven times in two different states to seven different audiences has been a real joy to my soul. God was SUPER kind to me... Continue reading
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Teaching the word of God to teenagers is vital to their development. Only the word of God can change the hearts and minds of teenagers. Let’s connect teenagers to the heart of God by intentionally teaching them the word of God. Continue reading
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While we love providing students with a place where they can play basketball, hang out with their friends, play board games, among many other things, our main goal is to introduce them to our Savior. Our biggest desire is for students to enter into a lifelong relationship with Jesus. We take about 5-10 minutes each day to sit down and do a devotional with all of our students. We recently spent a couple of days talking about giving God authority over our lives. That following weekend, we have a student who reached out saying that he wanted to give God authority. This is why we do what we do. Respectfully Pastor James Owolabi #yfcusa #yfcchicago #yfccitylife Continue reading
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God is not mad at you!!! Do not make any permanent decisions based on temporary emotions. Life is hard!!God is not angry with you and punishing you because you did not pay your tithe and offering last week. God is not mad at you!!! God is capable of using these hard days to develop character in your life. God is not mad at you!!! Our faith in Christ does not except us from difficult days. You must trust God with the bad days and enjoy the good days. God is not mad at you!!! He has a plan! You are his child. Life is hard. God is good! Trust his plan. This difficult days should draw you closer to your father. He is good and kind father. God is working in your life to make you more like Jesus Christ. You are exactly where God wants you. Trust God with your future. He is large and in charge. God is not mad at you!!! Continue reading
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August 28th, 2020. Dear Prayer Partners It’s a new day in America and around the world. It’s a time when Covid 19 is giving us a run for our money and a time when parents are afraid to send their students to our youth center. But even though attendance has dropped, along with some of our support, you must understand that more than ever Covid will not stop us from doing what God has called us to do. In fact, I’m convinced Covid should be a catalyst for us to continue the work we have been given. The Apostle Paul experienced numerous disasters in his life, including being shipwrecked, being jailed, being betrayed by fellow pastors, and even having disagreements with other ministers. However, he did not allow these threats or accusations or arrests to hinder him from God’s calling. I believe Covid 19 could also be a distraction from the enemy to hold us back from doing God’s work. But I also believe true Christian leaders to not allow events in the world to hold them back from serving as they have been called. I’m reminded of the passage in Matthew 14 where Jesus sent His disciples out in... Continue reading
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Family! God has been so kind to me lately!!!! He has been teaching me so much lessons about preaching with excellence. Church was awesome this past Sunday! The response to my preaching was very heartwarming from the people of God. It is so good to be given the chance to preach every Sunday this month at my home church (www.thebridge.church). Preaching great sermons demand that the preacher be a student of the word of God and a student of human beings in his geographical location. Anybody can give a talk but it takes a man of God to be the mouth piece of God. Good preaching takes work but great preaching takes great work. The preacher must be studious standing on the shoulders of church scholars and theologians across church history begging God for the anointing and wisdom to precisely communicate the heart of God to the people of God. When I first started serving there, my preaching responsibilities were only twice a month at one of three locations. Preaching is hard work. But now I am scheduled to preach at one of our three locations every Sunday this month!!!! This happened in July 2020 when God challenged me to... Continue reading
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Youth for Christ Chicago is so grateful for The Bridge Community Church who allows us to use their facility each week. Things definitely look different with Covid-19; we now do regular temperature checks, wear masks, and more frequently wash/sanitize our hands. Regardless of these changes, students still love getting to connect with their friends in this fun and safe environment! #yfcusa #yfcchicago #yfccitylife Continue reading
Satan hates the American Church. The American church is the most resourced church in the world for the past 20 years. The American church has been the engine behind many movements of God around the world. The devil loves to see the church divided by evil events in the world. The murder of George Floyd is a demonic act of Satan to divide the American Church. George Floyd was killed by a murderer who happened to be wearing a police uniform! He was killed not just because that police officer was racist; he was a cold-hearted, godless sinner. It had the DNA of the devil on the murder scene. We must not subject ourselves to watching this satanic act of violence over and over. It was pure evil, dark and satanic. The officer was a demonic agent who did not grasp that He was made in God’s image with a duty to protect and serve and more significantly that George Floyd also was made in God’s image. Let me be honest! This type of injustice is not unique to America. In my native country of Nigeria and all over Africa, police brutality is rampant and hardly anything is done without... Continue reading
Here are my ten quick observations about racism: Sin is the greatest virus and racism is one of the many symptoms of that virus. Racism is like an unseen symptom that is very real. Racism is not the biggest problem facing America today. Racism is merely a symptom of the greatest problem—that problem being sin. The worst part of experiencing racism is that it can ironically make you a sick racist. Racism is not the cure to Racism. Love will always win. Hate will always lose. Bitterness is not the cure. Christ is the cure to racism. Continue reading
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There is a worldwide pandemic caused by an extremely virulent virus that is racing around the globe affecting every country, every people group and every age group. The bad news is there is no vaccination for this affliction. The good news is that there is a cure—a cure that works 100% of the time when the dose is properly administered. I know, because though I succumbed to this virus and suffered the symptoms, I ultimately recovered. Here’s my story. The events that led up to my infection began years ago when I was called to be the interim pastor at a church in Elma, Washington. This was an incredible culmination for a young man from Nigeria who had moved to the state of Washington to earn a seminary degree in order to work in full-time Christian ministry. Before moving into this role in Elma I had been a youth pastor at a church in Belfair, Washington for nine years where I enjoyed amazing love and support. They helped pay for my seminary training and financially supported my journey in my immigration issues in regards to gaining my permanent status. The love I felt from both of these churches was beyond... Continue reading
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Racism is not the solution to racism! I tried that and it doesn’t work. This kneejerk response may feel good in the moment and even seems to be right and justified, but in the long term it eats away like a poison. Because of this the biggest disaster of racism is not racism itself; it’s the way it can turn you into a racist. Hate and bitterness will always lose. When a person begins to hate because he or she has been hated on, the result, every time, is a heart of bitterness. Bitterness makes you ugly. Bitterness will destroy your children. Bitterness makes unattractive and nurtures a life of ungratefulness towards God. This hardening of the heart is also a poison that will wreck a person. The danger of racism-driven hate is that a person can become like the people they are angry about in the first place. This leads to an insidious downward hate spiral where everyone loses. Hate always loses. Love will always win. Continue reading
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Psalms 91-1:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. God is our refuge, not the building where we gather every Sunday. God is my fortress not my Pastor. Hey Family! This is a great verse to read aloud every day. Everything needed for this present crisis is written in this scripture’s plan layout; where to go for refuge, who provides it and most importantly, how we get to it.. It’s all there! If there’s anytime followers of Christ need to trust God, it is now! God is our refuge, not the building where we gather every Sunday. God is my fortress not my Pastor. Yes, we are going through a crisis but we have been singing songs for decades about the character of God that are still true. This crisis might be a gift to establish our claims of faith in the good and wise Father. God is our refuge, not the building where we gather every Sunday. God is my fortress not my Pastor. We should be reminded that before and even during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Christ followers all around the world that have and are... Continue reading
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Empower our kids to become financially independent. Teach them how to manage money, time and negative emotions! Stop playing games with them all the time!!! Our kids are not your toys!!The trend of focusing on sports and games more than anything else is getting kids through the door… but it is not helping them long term. Long term skills like vocational training, cross cultural education, public speaking, customers service skills and financial literacy. My concern is that in an effort to deliver kids from the dangers of poverty, the violence of living in the city and the uncertainty created from coming from single parent homes many well meaning mentors do not prepare kids for escaping the curse of second generational poverty. Continue reading
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Merry Christmas Family, The holiday season is upon us and this is probably one of the busiest time of the year for most people. It has been a year of amazing transitions and “mind blowing doors” for ministry. God has been opening great opportunities, orchestrating events and allowing these things to happen in order to increase my leadership capacity for ministry. The ministry Slingshots a teen after school drop in center (Slingshotschicago.com) that I formerly worked with is now going to be under the umbrella of Youth for Christ USA. Starting next year, I will be leading this teen center on the Northside of Chicago, while continuing to host mentoring events on the southside of this beautiful city. My home church on the north side of the city became part of a vibrant growing neighborhood church movement (the bridge.church) which retained me twice a month as one of their teaching pastors. This will increase my ministry footprint and expand my influence in the Chicago land area. I also launched a website (www.jamesowolabi.com) under a new ministry “Grace for Life” that will allow me to continue to travel and preach around the world. I consider it a privilege to be promoted... Continue reading
Your feelings are great servants but horrible masters. Don’t believe everything you feel about God!!!! God is on your side! Do not trust your feelings. Trust facts from God’s word. Don’t believe everything you feel about God!!!!God is bigger than your mistakes. God is greater than your fears and your feelings. Don’t believe everything you feel about God!!!! God is not done with you yet!!! Trust everything you KNOW about God. Trust everything you have EXPERIENCED with God! God has not forgotten you! He loves you! He cares about you. Read his word, trust his promises . Trust him with you cares and pain. I love you and am praying for you- Pastor James Owolabi Continue reading
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“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:24-26‬ ‭ We are just servants. We are not chefs! We are not cooks! We are just servants. We must never fail to preach the Word of God with clarity and simplicity. When we stop feeding the flock of God with the unadulterated word of God we have failed the people of God. His pure and inerrant word is their only hope in this wicked violent world. His word is vital to the spiritual development of the people of God. His word must be taught with depth and passion. His word is what changes the lives of people. We must present it with firmness, gentleness and kindness. We must believe that God’s word will never fail. We must not fail in our calling to proclaim His Word to this world. We must not get distracted by the... Continue reading
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July & August, 2019 Ministry Report from Evangelist James Owolabi Dear Friends and Family, Hallelujah! Praise God! Praise the wonderful name of Jesus! I am so excited to let you in on something exciting that God has been doing in me, and through me. It is awesome! Over the last 90 days, I have spoken to over 2000 people in five different states all across the United States. Over the past twenty years, God has given me unique, amazing, and great opportunities to serve churches, camps, schools, and Christian organizations as a guest speaker. I have been blessed to serve the Body of Christ in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, the Island of Dominica, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington. These opportunities have also complimented my responsibilities with Youth for Christ to teenagers on the southside of Chicago. Many of you have supported me prayerfully and financially in this endeavor. You have also encouraged me to pursue more opportunities to serve the Body of Christ as a traveling Bible teacher. As God continues to bless my ministry efforts in Chicago, He is also leading me to start a nonprofit, which will expand my... Continue reading
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Dear Young and Gifted Leader, Watch your words. If you don’t, you will hurt people who are close to you, and you will ruin your testimony. Watch your words; it will keep you from making promises you cannot keep. I have done that so many times and lost credibility with great people. Watch your tone when you are hungry, hurting, angry, tired, or embarrassed by your mistakes. If you don’t, you will hurt people who are close to you, and you will ruin your testimony. Think with discipline, speak with discernment, and you will not make promises you cannot keep. Watch your words! A ”true” word spoken or texted/tweeted at the “wrong time” is a “bad” word. Stop, think, and pray. Then speak. You will never regret thinking and praying before you speak. Your job is not the place to give people “a piece of your mind”, but to reflect a life driven by the mind of Christ. Ask God for wisdom and discernment in handling conflict with both your “cheerleaders” and “critics”. I love you, and I am praying for you! Respectfully Pastor James Owolabi. Continue reading
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My life is a walking catalog of testimonies of how God molds, protects, prunes, primes, promotes, preserves, pivots, picks at, prepares, and uses an imperfect weak vessel for His glory. My mentor Paul reminded me last month as I was preaching through Phillipians that this is what life's all about: “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” The biggest lesson learned in 25 years of preaching the Gospel, it’s that ministry is most enjoyable when we the people of God obey His prompting through the Holy Spirit and let Him deal with the consequences of our obedience to His leadership. A month ago, I decided to pursue my passion as a “traveling preacher” with a greater level of intensity and commitment by walking away from two amazing opportunities, so that I may continue serving the body of Christ in Chicago and around the world. It has not been easy, I am not homeless, and God has been taking good care of me. Preaching in Alaska was awesome and serving my church family in Belfair this past month was electrifying.It all came at a cost. Yes! It was incredibly difficult to forfeit two out of three monthly... Continue reading
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A week ago I had the honor and privilege of preaching at North Mason Bible Church. Every time I get invited to preach it is always a special experience, however this particular trip really made me reflective and thankful to God as I transition this year into a new ministry as a “traveling preacher”. By the end of 2019 alone I will have been in over 25 different venues and spoken to over 5,000 people. North Mason Bible Church of Belfair Washington (NMBC) has been sowing seeds into my life since I started Seminary in 2002. When I became a part of the ministry I was young, prideful, immature, and totally clueless about God’s calling on my life. Full time ministry was something I knew I wanted to do, but I felt so unsure of how, when AND IF that desire would ever become something in real life. Pastor Jim, the church family and his wife Carrie were put in my life by God to disciple me, mold me and teach me what I needed to know. For TEN years they mentored me, loved me and cared deeply for me and I would not be the man I am without... Continue reading
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Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of God has given you. Continue reading
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May 2019 Youth for Christ update from Chicago Southside City Life Director James Owolabi Dear Ministry Partners and YFC Supporters, I would like to thank you all for your prayers and the unwavering support that you have shown this school year. We have all played an important role in making an impact across the city of Chicago! Over 150 students in 4 different ministry environments have been touched with the word of God through our efforts! To God be the glory for each child that heard the Gospel and felt the love of Christ during the different programs we have in place. The past 7 months alone have truly blown me away and I’m grateful for our partnership with New Beginnings Church which made our impact even larger. I’m thrilled to share with you the following praise reports: Seeing our partnerships with teachers, school administration, and parents becoming stronger! We have already gotten requests to start more clubs at additional campuses this Fall! Students both during school and after school are now looking forward to learning about God. This year alone we have seen 30 students surrender their life to Christ. We have expanded our efforts serve schools outside the... Continue reading
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Dear Young and Gifted Leader! In the past 20 years of being in ministry, I have experienced a lot of pain and joy from serving Christ. My life has been a joy ride filled with unexpected opportunities and obstacles but God has been faithful even when I have been faithless! I’ve made plenty of my own mistakes, as well as observed others that have fallen victim to ministry malpractice. As you grow in your leadership skills and continue your journey guiding the young people of this generation to God, I urge you to heed the advice I am about to give. Below is a list of seven bullets with which the devil keeps loaded in his gun. The bullets are busyness, bitterness, blurred vision, boredom, bad budgeting, bad buddies, and blind spots all have the potential to be lethal. Since I want you to thrive, and I want your ministry to be prosperous, I am using this moment to give you some knowledge that will hopefully allow you to make a bulletproof vest for yourself. I have watched way too many young leaders start well and end poorly. Leading a ministry is the most wonderful life calling if handled correctly.... Continue reading