It's so good to have you follow my exciting and thought provoking 'bloggages' (combination of blogs and messages). Much of the things i write about are linked to personal experiences and personal perspectives. It is my way of sharing life's lessons that will hopefully strengthen your resolve to be and to do that which you have always dreamed of. Journey with me and perhaps i'll hear from you too concerning what you read here. You can even link to my Facebook page to chat there. My sole aim is to get you everyday to STAND YOUR GROUND!
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Thursday, 17 September 2009
One of the things I remember from growing up in Africa was the coming of the rain season. It was always an exciting time because it signified the impending time of beautiful greenery in almost every direction. It was even more exciting because it meant we were in the last quarter of the year and the much-anticipated Christmas holidays would soon be upon us. Whether you lived in the rural area or urban suburbs, you could smell the first rains before they came in. It’s the most amazing smell that makes you aware of the presence of nature itself. If you lived in farmlands it was an earthy kind of a scent that made you just want to dig into the soil and eat it (I know you know what I mean). On the urban tarmac the steam from months of summer heat slowly rose filling the air with a distant burning charcoal-like smell. Wherever you where, once that first light shower touched the earth, you knew that the rains where here and the season had changed.
As they say change is the only constant. As sure at the seasons of the earth change, the seasons of your life will most definitely change. Ecclesiastes 3v1 records the much-quoted scripture, “There’s a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” Every season we have on earth shows up to accomplishs a specific purpose. One causes plants to blossom and produce fruit; another causes animals to migrate; yet still another will cause trees to shed leaves. Each of these seasons does something for nature that the oncoming season will build upon. So for example, if we decided we liked summer over winter and went on to remove winter altogether from the schedule of seasons, the summer would turn out to be disastrous. This is because the benefit of summer is derived from the successful completion of the winter duration. During winter and the preceding seasons, most plants shed leaves to cut down on the expulsion of the much-needed moisture and to preserve nutrients. The leaves fall to the ground and form mulch. Mulch is like a cover on the ground that preserves the moisture in the soil. The mulch then decomposes into the soil and becomes nutrients that the plant will absorb once the rains come in.
Every season you face in your life is there to accomplish something that the following season will need to progress your life further. Whilst we are powerless to change the seasons, we are most certainly not at the mercy of the seasons. Just like the trees and the animals, they change themselves either in form or location in order to get the best benefit from the current season and the impending one. Some animals will migrate yet others will hibernate. Some plants will shrivel up, and others will shed leaves. The key to deriving the best benefit from your current season is to know which season you are in. Notice it does not say there’s an activity for every season (even though that is true). It says there’s a season for every activity. The lack of knowledge as to which season you are in does not only mean that you loose significant benefit of the very season but in many ways you also put your life in danger both in the present and in the future. Returning to the example of the animals and plants, we see that if ants fail to hibernate during winter, they will die of the cold or starvation, if plants shed leaves during summer, they’ll block water from seeping into the soil and also fail to make food using the sun through the chlorophyll in their leaves. Not knowing what season you are in will cause you to do the wrong thing. You’ll get hooked up with people you shouldn’t, work for companies you’re not supposed to, start a business when you are supposed to be employed or spend money you should be saving. Order precedes progress and order means being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
Personally I can sense a change of seasons in my life. I’ve been watching the skies and I gotta tell you I can smell the rain. In the next few weeks my first book entitled ‘DREAM BIG AND MAKE IT HAPPEN – 40 REASONS WHY’ goes to print. It’s an exciting time for me but more than that it’s a changing of the season. Like the animals and the plants, I’m changing form and focus of activity so that I get the best out of the new season and the impending one. I want to encourage you to study your seasons, both the current one and the coming one because your very life could depend on it. When you know the season, you’ll know what to do. Remember, although you cannot change or stop the season, you are most certainly not at the mercy of the season. It may be winter, autumn, spring or indeed summer but whatever it is, STAND YOUR GROUND and get the best out of it.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Over the last few weeks I’ve been taking stock of how I have viewed myself as an individual. I heard a speaker at a church conference I attended recently say, “A life not examined is not worth living.” There’s great truth in that because if you cannot determine your self worth to yourself, there’s little chance of being much use in this life. The one thing most important to me above what everyone thinks of me is what I think of me. You get into trouble when some other person or situation determines what you think of yourself. I’ve found that whoever defines you can confine you and whoever explains you can contain you. It has helped me tonnes to know that no human being knows me completely. I’m 32 years old this year and that is what most folk know of me. To let someone define me or my future based on just 32 years of evidence, is like trying to predict a soccer match based on the first few minutes of the game. Let me explain this with a quick and simple biology lesson that I have shared with thousands of people over the years. Just before you were conceived you started life as a sperm/seed produced from your biological father. You were not alone, for millions came with you and the greatest race you have ever run to fertilise the egg from your biological mother ensued. It was the race of your life. The fact that you were born means that you out swam millions of other sperm that had hoped to fertilise the egg that fateful day. How amazing is it then, that some smart individual today. decides to label you a failure or a looser or even an average achiever, when the first thing you ever did in your entire life was win the most important race. You’re a natural winner from when no one even knew you existed. You were stronger than them all, you were faster than them all and you are the only one who survived to tell the story. You’re the one that beat them all.
The Bible gives a brief account of Jeremiah whom God spoke to about his origins. This is what God said to him in Jeremiah 1v5;
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
I’ve known that scripture for a long time but each time I think of it I’m amazed at the fact that there’s more to me than has met the eye in the last 32 years.
Firstly God says to Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the womb I knew you.” This is proof positive that life did not begin from conception, but that there was an existence you had prior to that. It must also mean that you are related to your parents biologically and not by destiny. Your mother’s womb is not your manufacture room but a transit room. When He says I knew you he means I approved of you and I was not surprised at your existence. For you to determine my destiny you must also know my beginnings. Without that knowledge of my pre-conception life your predictions of my post-conception life are flawed.
Then He says, “Before you were born I set you apart.” That means he was pleased with me and made me specifically for a certain time and place. There is no such thing as an accidental birth or unplanned baby. Even if you were born out of wedlock it does not nullify the specificity of your birth. Even if your conception was through a one-night stand, it was only a means to an end. The sexual intercourse that GOT you here is not as important as the specific mission that BROUGHT you here. In other words it’s not about HOW you came but more about WHY you came.
Then he says, “I appointed you a prophet unto the nations” That means I was pre-packed with purpose and destiny before I was conceived. You cannot give me a life purpose above the original one given me before I came through the womb. So understand this, you are not a result of sexual intercourse but of predetermined purpose. When you take delivery of your new BMW from the dealer you can go home and call it a Mercedes Benz all you want, but that is not going to change what it was when it was made. Today I urge you to not let the evidence of your recent years determine your future. Even if you have failed to succeed in many things since you were born, STAND YOUR GROUND with the knowledge that within you is the DNA of a winner.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Saturday, 8 August 2009
The Australian outback is probably one of the most notoriously safe looking, yet dangerous places trudged by adventurers and survivalist. I remember seeing a road sign when i travelled there that was thought provoking. It was at a point where the road forked. It said this; “Choose your rut wisely, you will be in it for a long time.” A rut is a gravel road that has been grooved by the wheels of vehicles with a high clearance. This means the road has a high ridge in the middle making it impossible to turn left or right should one decide to go back. Sometimes we get caught up in the ruts of life which are just so difficult to get out of. It could be an attitude rut, a feeling of constant depression because of the unfortunate turn of events or plans. For some it’s a job/career rut, a feeling of being stuck in a dead end job that has no other options. Then there’s the marriage rut, that sense of just being in a marriage because you have to be there. It’s a horrible feeling no mater what the rut is, and all you want is just to get out.
I read a story of a man who was on his way home from a night out with friends. Being stone drunk, he decided he would take a short cut through the cemetery even though it was in the dead of the night. As he stumbled along muttering to himself, he unknowingly tripped over a mound of dirt and fell into an empty freshly dug grave. I'm sure you'll agree that being drunk and stuck in a 7 foot hole in the middle of the night in the cemetery is not a good situation. The man began to shout for help but no one could hear him because it was the middle of the night and even then people did not usually pass that way at that hour. The man decided his fate for the night was sealed, so he huddled into a corner and fell asleep. A few moments later another man decided he’d take a short cut through the graveyard. Just like his drunk predecessor, he too fell into the same grave. The second man began to dust himself off and in pitch darkness tried to get himself out but with no success. All the while the first drunk sat in the corner unnoticed. Eventually the second man decided he’d shout for help and just as he let out his first call, the drunk in the corner thought to let his fellow companion know that it was in vain to call for help. So he said, “No one can hear you and no one is coming, you’ll have to lie in here with me.” I couldn’t describe what followed, but that second man leapt out of that grave so quick and ran faster than you can imagine.
I think getting out of a rut sometimes requires intentional shocks to our system. Like that first drunk, we can either decide to huddle in the corner and sleep it out, or like the second man we can allow ourselves to be jolted out. Being stuck in a rut is something that can be resolved by doing something you’ve never done before concerning that situation. Don’t be afraid to do stuff that scares you. Sometimes the things that frighten us may actually be the key to the desired change in our lives. When God told Gideon that he would lead an army, Gideon was stuck in a rut. His life consisted of hiding from those who sought his life. Yet God instructed Gideon to get up and face what he feared. Moses went through the same paces. He was stuck in a rut in the desert working for his father in law and running away from Pharoah. He had to face that which frightened him the most. How amazing is that. The things that scare you the most could very well be the things that hold the key to your life purpose…but only if you face it. Face it even when you’re full of fear, just face it. I’m sure you’ve heard this statement, “Bravery/boldness/courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the decision to face danger despite the presence of fear.” Don’t miss out on who you could become because you feel you’re stuck. No matter the situation and no matter the fears, face it and STAND YOUR GROUND.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
I’ve always told the humorous story of the man who decided he was going to kill himself. Well he decided he would end it by lying on the railway track and getting run over by the 12pm train. The one thing he knew is that, the train was always on time, so this was a sure way to die. At about 11:50am he got to the tracks and lay across the tracks facing upwards. The midday sun was unforgiving but it was no deterrent. At 12pm the train did not show up. By 12:10pm there was still no sight of the would be ‘killer train.’ Our suicidal fellow decided a few more minutes would be in order coz he really was set on checking out. However by 12:30pm there still was no train. In a huff the man got up and oblivious to his own words said “I could die of hunger waiting for this train.” With that he headed home to get some lunch. I’m sure you can see the irony.
Most of what we do in life is a circumnavigation of death. We would rather not face it although we know fully well that we will have to. We are consumed with preserving our lives and indeed we should, but the one truth is that we cannot escape it. Let me give you a different example. When you get into a job, the one thing you must deal with as you start is that one of two things will happen. Either you will be fired or you will resign. Few retire. In most cultures it is taboo to even speak of your own death or that of another. In Africa they say you don't talk about it because it might just happen. The fact is whether we talk about it or not, it's going to happen. In the first part of this bloggage (combination of blog and message), I told you my story of the coffin I used. It was kept in a basement storeroom and you can imagine the drama conjured up when we asked people to help us carry it to the stage for rehearsals. On many occasions the storeroom workers refused to touch it and walkways cleared in an instant when folk saw us coming up the pavement with it. The one man begged me earnestly not to get into the coffin as we rehearsed (excuse the pun), because he was afraid I was hastening my own death. “look at it this way,” I replied, “how often do you get to practice getting into a coffin, i ‘d better do it now when I can still get out myself coz a day is coming when I won’t be able to get out.” Of-course we laughed about it, but I bet it made him think why I was so blasé about death. I'm not just being morbid for the sake of it. Think with me for a bit, could it be that most of us are scared to live life to the fullest because we are scared of death?
Monday, 6 July 2009
I've just been checking out the footage of Michel Jackson in rehearsal 36 hours before he died, and i must say it's heart rending (MJ is a childhood hero of mine, I even did a rendition of ‘Bad’ at my grade 6 end of year awards night, yup it was quite a sight, enough said). You can see how energetic and focused he is yet unbeknown to him the end was so near. What strikes me as chilling though, is that the title of his planned final tour 'This Is It," would turn out to be a sort of 'boomerang prophecy' concerning his own life. However, death is the inevitable event we must all learn to deal with early in life if we are going to make the most of this life.
What do i mean 'deal with the death issue?' I remember when i was a youth pastor, we came up with a powerful evangelism skit that portrayed the death of a young man. The end of the skit was a funeral scene that had all the props including a coffin that we bought from a local funeral palour (that's right we bought one). Inside the coffin was me, (yes i was in the coffin and no i was not scared). The skit ended with the agonising mother screaming over the coffin for her son to come back, and then in the middle of her emotional wail i would bust open the coffin and sit up like a zombie with a straight face and in absolute silence. My first comment after the whole auditorium had calmed down was, "The problem with death is....., you don't get to come back." Needless to say those where the easiest sermons i've ever preached. Folk poured to the altar without much persuasion (No i was not fired after that). Death is the one thing that scares most people. What are we so scared of? The strange thing is that we spend our lives in fear of death, yet it is the one certain thing in life. The Bible tells us this in Hebrews 9v27 (NIV) "Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face judgement..." Don’t let the fear of death push you out of your life, it’s like living all your life whilst on standby, like a DVD player or laptop on hibernate. Sometimes we put off the bungee jump, the swim in the ocean, sky jumping or a trip to the doctor because we are so scared that we might just die. It's as if death kills us before we die. Refuse to give up your life and STAND YOUR GROUND. I’m not done yet on this one, there’s a part 2