The Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International has encouraged the thousands of customers of the various financial companies that have been collapsed by their regulators not to despair because God is working to make them "a financial sign amidst the economic chaos" and also "setting them up" for "greatness and restoration".
During his second sermon on Sunday, 10 November 2019, Bishop Charles Agyinasare said "we have economic storms" in Ghana.
On Friday, 8 November 2019, Bishop Agyinasare noted, "53 fund management firms had their licences revoked and this is coming closely after the closure of 10 banks about a year and a few months ago, and three months ago 347 microfinance companies and 28 savings and loans and finance houses also closed down".
"The [Securities and Exchange Commission] said in their report on Friday that some of the companies are owing people and they are not able to pay and some of them have even stopped operations", he noted.
He said: "Since that time, I've had different people talk to me about different things". "Somebody said to me: 'Bishop, all my savings and investments are gone'. Another said: 'In your book, 'Money in Your Pocket', you encourage us to save for our future and, so, I’ve been investing but here I am; it's gone'. A young man who had asked his employers to be investing 20 per cent of his salary in provident funds said: 'Bishop, I should have been eating well with my wife than to be squeezing to live and losing all my investment'.
"Yet another said", he continued: 'We should have been informed that these institutions had a problem so we could have salvaged our investments when the banks were being closed'. Another one said: 'The provident fund of 530 workers in my company are all in the balance'. In the same light, someone who has worked till 65 years and is going on retirement this year, said: 'I'm saddened and don't know what to do because the fund management firm my company invested our provident fund with just had its licence revoked'.
"Somebody also lamented", he further noted: 'Bishop, the worst of all is that the receiver the government gave is paying just GHS10,000 out of my over GHS1 million of my investment which was not a pyramid scheme but was a Bank of Ghana-approved institution'. Somebody also said: 'I'd rather put my money in a bottle and dig the ground in my backyard like my grandfather used to do and put it there because it is safer there than to put it in the bank or invest it'".
"When they said those things to me, I said: 'Wow, money is failing'", just as it did in biblical Egypt.
"So, this is not the first time money is failing or there is an economic meltdown or people losing their money; in Egypt, money failed. There was an economic meltdown also in Genesis Chapter 26: 1. The Bible says: 'There was a famine in the land beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar'. There was famine in the land. Nothing was working. There was an economic challenge in the land of the Philistines but the Bible says in verse 12 that: 'Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him'; 13: 'The man began to prosper and continued prospering until he became very prosperous'".
Exhorting the customers who have lost their deposits and investments in the financial crisis, Bishop Agyinasare used the example of Isaac in the Bible to demonstrate to the congregation how God can still bless people abundantly in the midst of crises.
"That means that in the darkness that you're faced with, in the economic challenges that you are encountering in this season, God will bless you. … I came to encourage you and let you know if in the midst of an economic crisis, in the same year God could bless Isaac, the Lord will bless you. The Bible says the man [Isaac] waxed great, he went forward, he grew until he became very great; that'll be your portion, and that will be your testimony.
"The Bible says he had possession of flock and possession of herds, a great store of servants and the Philistines envied him. You will be envied. God is setting you up to be envied. … Whatever is being cut off in your life, I came to tell you God will give you a Rehoboth. The Bible says: 'Isaac dug those wells again until after the point there was no more struggle with him and he called that well Rehoboth'; he said: 'God has made space for me'. God will make space for you. … People will look at you and they will see the blessing of the Lord", the Bishop preached.
Bishop Agyinasare said he received news of the "meltdown" of the 53 fund managers while in Tafo and "my sleep was bad" that night.
"Throughout the night, I was praying because here were all those things people were telling me", and on Saturday morning, "I was still struggling in my spirit and suddenly, at 6: 40 a.m., the Lord said to me: 'Tell my people; 'I have made you a financial sign in the midst of the economic chaos'. I'm speaking to you like a prophet of God".
He noted: "The key to your becoming a financial sign is faith", adding: "Whatever is happening in your life will not take you down. You can't sink, you can only float. The storms of life cannot sink you, you can only float. Whatever was dead in your life, finances, business and investment, as you hear this word, may life come to you. If there was any time that you needed to believe, this is the time".
He said: "In the midst of economic challenge is even the best time to pay your tithe. If there was a time you should test the Lord, it should be this time, it is now. Stop all those arguments that tithing is of the Old Testament. If you're a member of this church [Perez Chapel International], there's no argument about tithing. If you won't tithe, just leave us alone, we believe in the word of the Lord, we are committed to the word of the Lord and because we are committed to the word of the Lord, we'll see the manifestation of the Lord in our lives".
Using the biblical story of how God protected three Hebrew teenagers (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) from being consumed by a furnace into which they had been thrown by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon for refusing to bow to his image, as well as how God protected Daniel, a prophet, from being eaten by hungry lions in a den into which he had been condemned by King Darius for praying to the God of Israel instead of the king as stipulated in a new law instigated by his enemies, Bishop Agyinasare said: "… By the time you go through this fire [economic crisis], people will not even remember that you went through it. In a few months and a few years from now, you'll have a restoration. God is making you a financial sign and He's setting you up to be the envy of your generation".
Bishop Agyinasare, thus, urged Christians to cling to God rather than their limited abilities in dealing with investment decisions, asserting: "With what is happening, I can tell you on authority that you can't apply the secular principles of finance anymore if you are going to succeed because a lot of the owners and the founders of the banks have economic degrees, they are doctors [PhDs], some of them have master's degrees and what have you but what it simply means is that the human principles and motivational speaking principles cannot stand the test of time. Man's principles fail at certain times. The only principle that does not fail is the principle of the word of God. I came to announce to somebody that everything will pass away but God’s word is time-tested and God's word will never fail".