THE CHOSEN REVIEW: THE WEDDING GIFT


What exactly is so special about weddings?

Is it the attendant dining and wining coupled with the merriment characteristic of such events? Or the joyous ambience accompanied with noise or perhaps the likelihood of seeing new faces who are gorgeously dressed for the occasion makes the whole idea of this celebration so fascinating?

No matter our opinion about weddings, you would agree with me that it is one of the happiest moments in the couple’s life.

No doubt Mary the mother of Jesus, played by Vanessa Benavente, was definitely excited about the wedding she had been invited to by her best friend. We see the glow in her face as she arrives at the wedding venue.


Another guest who had been invited was Jesus, Mary’s son and you can be sure he took his friends along for the event. Is that not typical of some of us? At the feast, there was something different about this ordinary guest who had been invited as time would later tell.


Just at the time the wedding was getting interesting, a mishap occurred. This was something that would bring shame and humiliation for the couple and their families, more daunting was the fact that it was going to leave an indelible imprint upon a supposed glorious day.

In such a situation you would do anything to avert such a heavy cloud of disgrace on yourself, and of course, the solution for averting such catastrophe would be the best wedding gift anyone could ever give to you! And indeed it was for this couple. You would want to see their reaction.


In this same episode, Peter receives a call. This ordinarily should be fine for a bachelor who only had to look after himself but how do you explain this when you are a family man with mouths to feed? How do you tell your wife that you are leaving your source of income to follow a man you just met to a destination shrouded in mystery? What reaction should we expect from every wife? Is this call a gift or a burden?


Episode 5 of The Chosen’s Season 1 tells us how we can share in other peoples joy as well as their pains through the simple act of giving.

Watch Season 1 of The Chosen from their app here.

Please read our review of The Chosen’s S1 Ep4: The Rock On Which It is Built.

THE CHOSEN REVIEW: THE ROCK ON WHICH IT IS BUILT

Desperate times calls for desperate measures and this is the situation Peter finds himself; owing taxes and defaulting on the deal he made with Quintus, the Roman Praetor. However, the toughest challenge is telling his wife, Eden, about his present situation. “Maybe God will get your attention now!” These are the words Eden tells Peter as tears run down her cheeks.

But how did he get here? How did he put himself in a mess only God can pull him out from? Will he be able to save his house and family, how will he pay his taxes? Don’t ask me; watch this 48-minute packed episode!

The series of events in this episode builds up to the beginning of Jesus’s ministry; the miracle of the fish and selection of Jesus’ core disciples. Andrew is shown running with a burst of excitement to tell Peter that he has seen the Messiah; the man they have been praying for but he (Peter) is unbothered and has lost his faith in God. The only thing on his mind is settling their debts.

Peter sets out to the sea, troubled, and with no hope, he needs a miracle and he is desperately counting on it. With no fish caught, Peter and his friends head to the shore where they meet Jesus. The moment he tells Peter to cast his net, Peter explains the ordeal he faced all through the night but Jesus did not flinch, so he cast his net and he couldn’t believe his eyes! (Yes, no spoilers).

Peter, a man who needed a miracle to save himself, got one of the most referenced and talked about miracles when all hope was lost.

Do you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t fret, God is still in the business of doing miracles!

PS: The miracle of the miracle of the fish is one behind-the-scenes video you should watch. You can find it on The Chosen App here.

Please read our review of The Chosen’s Ep 3: Jesus Loves The Little Children.

THE CHOSEN REVIEW: JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN

The third episode of The Chosen starts slow and quiet. We meet a curious little girl and her wary friend who stumble on a wood craftsman all by himself in a sparse, middle-eastern forest.


This episode gives a graphic background to the passages of the gospels; describing a time when Jesus spoke to the little children. Jesus’ human side was well depicted as the children increased in number with every visit, helping him work as they asked him numerous questions.

In their big, sincere eyes, there is a childlike wonder that seems familiar, they draw the viewer in to their conversation with Jesus and it leaves us asking for more. The episode felt rather solemn; the quiet way he spoke, it was almost sorrowful to watch as some of us could see ourselves in those children and yet remembered all we had read and thus, what was to come.


The signature way the character who plays Jesus, (Jonathan Roumie) introduced himself by quoting Isaiah 60 takes one’s mind back to the time Jesus stood in the temple and did the same thing.

This episode showed that children are much better followers of Jesus than we adults; they asked questions and were open to corrections and learning new things. We loved the serenity of the episode and it ended with a simple gift to Abigail that showed God’s premeditated love for us through Christ.

Have you seen The Chosen yet?

All episodes are available on their app which you can download here and watch for free.

Please read our review of The Chosen’s S1 Ep 2.

The Chosen Review: Shabbat

How would you feel if the President of a country, whom you hold in high esteem pays you a visit uninvited? Especially when he passes by other houses and decides on your unspectacular house?

Sounds unbelievable?

That is exactly how Mary must have felt in Episode 2 of The Chosen when the doctor who healed her of her infirmity without collecting a dime showed up at her doorsteps for Sabbath. More important was the fact that she did not invite him, yet, He found her.

I want such an August visitor, who wouldn’t?


But just before Sabbath, we witness the events of the day in the lives of Mary, Nicodemus, Simeon Peter and Matthew. We observe as Matthew display a matchless level of courage before the Praetor of Judea, Quintus, from whom he went to confirm if Simon Peter and his brother’s taxes had indeed been waived by the Roman Officer as alleged by Peter in exchange for a job for the officer.

Read The Chosen’s S1 Ep1 Review

Matthew learnt that their taxes had been waived for a job which required Peter to spy on his brethren and bring names of those who worked on Sabbath and were tax evaders. An act considered as betrayal and greatly disapproved by his brother, Andrew.

In the same episode, Nicodemus to his uttermost dismay got information that Mary Magdalene upon whom he had earlier performed religious rites to deliver her from demonic possession, though unsuccessful, had been miraculously healed, a task which he had earlier deemed humanly impossible. He embarks on a quest to find out how this came to be.

They all seemed to have had a busy day but what was much more interesting about these characters was how they celebrated Sabbath.

One had so much friends all around for the events. Isn’t that what we all want? Another chose money above his family, the one who wanted to spend time with his family was not wanted by them while Mary had an august visitor! From all these, what can we learn?


So what makes Sabbath so different from every other day and how did these people prepare towards it?

How should we celebrate what we consider to be the “day of rest” in our society? Episode 2 offers us the requisite answers to these.

Download The Chosen App here to watch the series for free.

Watch Season One’s trailer here.

I Am Enough

This feeling of inadequacy is clogging up fears In my throat I’m struggling to breathe in ENOUGH air for a day
I’m struggling to see the light my ART shines in dark tunnels
I’m struggling to see the FREEDOM bursting like light in many hearts

I stare at the stage and wish I were behind the pulpit
Spewing sleek words that must have been dry-cleaned for years
I yearn for the cameras to click on my face as I sashay even though I know my art isn’t a hundred percent

I forget I’m enough at where I am because I take my lessons
That I don’t have to prove a point, I only have to study and write my tests so every day, I can look at the score sheet, at the improving grades
And thump my chest, knowing, believing in the goodness of this PROCESS.

Everyday, I’m enough
I’m enough as who I am and who I’m evolving into

Ifiokabasi Okop
© 2020

BOOK REVIEW: REVERSED

Author: The Christ A Poet Team
Publisher: Christ A Poet Concepts
Reviewer: Olufunke Ajegbomogun

When I began the review of this book, I made a decision to use a few days to go through the poems but as I started reading, I was gripped and couldn’t let go of this anthology. That is exactly the experience you are likely to get when you open Reversed to read!


Reversed is a collection of poems that takes us on a journey reminiscent of the times of Jesus and other biblical characters. The messages are woven around biblical stories which help us relate to scriptures in the most simplified way we could ever imagine. We see the experiences of ordinary men like us play out right before us as if we were there. Even animals and inanimate objects echo their stories, leaving them entrenched in our minds.


Through the pages of Reversed, we see Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Most of the poems are short and freestyled although some use traditional rhyme schemes and poetic sound effects. Each poem’s unique style plays a role in relaying its message. Some poems also contain graphic images that paint a picture in the reader’s mind. “Cock Coo Roo Coo” reminds us of how God can use an animal to remind us that none of His words that come forth from His mouth dies without fulfilling its purpose. The poet alludes to the experience of Peter to remind us of the importance of having a voice even if it’s that of an animal to caution us when we derail from the path of life.


We also see beyond the agony and pain that took place on the cross when Christ died as we read “I Saw Evil”. This poem helps us to see that there is more to the death of a sinless man by revealing to us what took place on the cross that had otherwise been invisible to the eyes of an ordinary man. “Evil died when Jesus was crucified! That line is explosive. Time and space will not permit me to talk about the other poems’ deep and inspiring messages that words alone may not be able to capture.


If you are the kind of person who reads scriptures with a sense of detachment, get hold of Reversed and see how you’ll get a new perspective from reading scriptures.


So, let me leave you with this: Reversed is an anthology you got to read yourself, let no man tell you the stories, go get a copy and be part of the journey.

You can download a free copy of Reversed here.

RACIAL RECONCILIATION: OUSTING RACISM WITH LOVE

” God created the human race, humans created racism.” -Jane Elliot

Racism. We all are somewhat scared of and responsible for this word. An upsurge in protests snowballing across many countries in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is shaming racism and racists. Topics that were once sacrosanct are now public discussions. The world is waking up to the damaging effects of institutionalized and systemic racism that has plagued “minority races” for decades. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, activists and protesters are stamping their feet down, pumping their fists in the air demanding equality for all races. These measures are certainly drawing attention to the issue but unless conscious steps are taken by every individual, it “may” be a waste of time. We may not be responsible for racism but we sure do have our work cut out in achieving its deconstruction.

Living in imperfect societies as Christians compels us to do the one thing we’ve been called to do – Love. The famous one-liner, “if you can’t beat them, join them” isn’t a Christian mantra, but rather debunking it is what we are called to do. We can’t stand up to racism by inciting hatred or shrinking into our holes but by loving people of all ethnicity and language like Christ did, unconditionally. Mike Todd in his sermon on racial reconciliation expatiates on a commandment God gave us; “love your neighbour – not your black neighbour, or white neighbour, or affluent neighbour”. The knowledge that in Christ, there are no divisions based on race or ethnicity would be more effective if it were truly practiced rather than stated.

Prejudice, discrimination, structural and institutionalized injustice can be demolished with racial reconciliation which upholds love, tolerance, inclusion and respect as its tenets. Recognizing the problem and actually believing it is a problem is a good place to starting the journey of racial reconciliation. We ought to have a level of self awareness rather than feign ignorance on the issue, only then will we see it as a social problem that needs to be tackled.

Racial reconciliation is not just the sermons but the conscious and consistent love for people, not because of the colour of their skin but because they are human. Love encompasses everything we need to fight racism. There is beauty in diversity, I mean the world will be so bland if everything existed in one shade. Accepting and embracing this draws us closer to the fulfilment of the revelation John had when he saw people of all race, language, nation and tribe worshipping God in harmony.

Reconciling races is possible when we’ve been reconciled to ourselves. No race is inferior to the other, therefore you are not inferior, the spirit in you is not the spirit of fear but of love and that eliminates all fear. We are all worthy of respect and equality and because this decades-long monster has eaten deep into our societies and institutions does not imply we have to settle for and expect less. We are to celebrate our ethnic identity and uniqueness, whether we be African, European, Asian, American, Australian, Biracial, Multiracial, we are God’s ingenious handiwork. We love God and by transforming into His image, we become love and in turn, we love others.

Self-examination reveals who we inherently are. There are social, religious and institutionalized constructs and biases inculcated in us from our childhood which may be discriminatory, this can unconsciously lead us to perpetrate the myths and stereotypes we grew up feeling were normal. Racial reconciliation means evaluating our beliefs and theories about people different from us and ultimately deconstructing the prejudiced, bigoted ones.

The one way racism can be ousted is through love, the God kind – agape. Sure activism raises awareness but treating everyone equally starts from an individual making the choice to love. And how best can we love except we have love in us? There is one who loved us all so much He gave His life for us and if we let Him in, then we too can love effortlessly, regardless of who it is, White, black, brown, red.

In a world where hatred and strife is growing, may we choose to be symbols of love.

IfiokAbasi Okop and Steven Kator Iorfa. ©2020

THE TRAIN: THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

PRODUCER: DAMILOLA MIKE-BAMILOYE
DIRECTORS: YEMI ADEPOJU & ISAAC FEMI-AKINTUNDE
CAST: SEUN ADEJUMOBI, OMOLARA AYOOLA, TOLULOPE MIKE-BAMILOYE
YEAR: 2020

REVIEWER: IFIOKABASI OKOP

The Mount Zion Film Productions (MZFP) has, in recent years, undergone a great transformation in the production of her films, with fresh, relatable stories, terrific acting and fantastic cinematography. Damilola Mike-Bamiloye took the Christian film industry in Nigeria beyond what his father started, thereby sparking the interest of many to watch their films and have their lives changed.

“The Train”, a biopic on the life of the founder of The Mount Zion Film Productions, Mike Bamiloye, was highly anticipated since the beginning of the year when Damilola made the announcement on his social media pages. It was released May 3, 2020 on Damilola’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGyPHwlkRV_Ai7aLRXpXJow) and has since generated testimonies, raves, reviews and trends all around the country.

The film chronicles the life of Mike Bamiloye from his childhood to the early years of his ministry. It is divided into different chapters depicting various stages of his life; his childhood, education, friendships, marriage, ministry and his absolute trust in God’s will for his life and calling. “The Train” is an enthralling story that holds your interest for its almost three-hour duration, soaking in every step of Mike’s journey, leaving you spell-bound.

The cast of the film is well put together and the acting effortlessly delivered. I would imagine the work put into that, given the fact that they portrayed real people, some of whom are still alive. Seun Adejumobi, who plays the older Mike-Bamiloye, was perfect for the role as his delivery of a wide range of emotions were realistic. You’ll root for him, cry with him, laugh at him and pause the movie to pray the times he takes those proverbial leaps of faith. The “Agbara Nla” herbalist scene is excellently recreated and it shows the level of dedication this actor put into his work. The child actor, Oluwasola Peter, who plays the younger Mike-Bamiloye, is a delight to watch; his mischievousness cracked me up and his childish innocence endeared many viewers to him. Omolara Ayoola is brilliant in her role as Mike’s older sister, living and breathing her character in each scene, bringing her A-game to make her performance memorable. Tolulope Mike-Bamiloye perfectly embodies the character of Gloria Bamiloye with apt genteelness and grace that made me fall in love with her character.

Other elements in the film have great attention paid to them. Set in the 1960s to 1990s, the film’s set designers, costumiers, makeup artists, location managers put in a lot of hard work and creativity into making sure it felt like a period film. The sets, costumes, hairstyles, props- TV, radio, currency, telephone, lanterns, cameras, kitchen plates- were all from the 90s. The Ilesa dialect of the Yoruba language Mike Bamiloye grew up speaking is used for a greater part of the film, showing the attention the filmmakers gave to the little details.

The cinematography is well-thought out. It does not just tell a person’s story, it uses the environment as a character, depicting its aesthetic in relation to a scene’s emotion or action. Music and sound is the heart of this film. Joshua Mike-Bamiloye channels his awesome creativity in highlighting the emotions in each scene through his choice of sound and, of course, there were scenes that moved me to tears. The music was largely responsible for that. The reworked version of “Oruko Jesu O Tobi” is superb and the theme song, “The Train”, done in collaboration with Lawrence Oyor is timely, provocative and contemplative.

“The Train” scores a high point by not being preachy but ends up passing across a great deal of messages through its casts’authentic, passionate performances. This film relentlessly opens you up to the truth that God’s will and way is the perfect path and that the bigger-than-life calling we have can be successful if we trust Him, foolishly. Mike’s ministry was an uncharted territory but he believed God for the strength needed for his journey.

“The Train” (WATCH HERE) is a classic that has set a new standard for the Christian film industry whose future productions certainly have big shoes to fill.

IfiokAbasi Okop
©2020