Great Men Die Empty

And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet. [2Ki 13:21]

When great men die without passing all they had to God, man and society they then they die with ‘power in their bones’. If no rare accident like the one in the above passage happens, then their gifts will join the great pool of potentials that fertilize the grave yards.

True lives of Extraordinary Gentlemen are made of three stages, learning, living and leaving.

Learning- a man must know and understand all that is around him, through formal and informal education and acquire information in all available formats. He must consciously cultivate learning through conversation with family, friends, mentors and society and God. However, what you learn from these agents is most important. Among all that can be learnt wisdom, morality and Christianity are paramount. A man must also through this learning identify and nurture his field of interest, his talent but most importantly his purpose.

Living- a man at this stage must live by what he has learnt, practicing and experiencing the totality of life. Failing, passing, and excelling and repeating these in different endeavours. He must distil his learning into industry and profession and become more responsible to family, friends, mentors and society and God. The pursuit of his purpose must be paramount.

Leaving- this is composed of depositing and departing. A Man owes it to God, man and society to lead other men to excellence in their chosen fields, identified talents and their purpose. He must not mold them into himself only better, and into Christ as the Ultimate Gentleman. He must pour out himself on earth within the limits permitted by God and then take off into eternity with the majesty of an eagle. But he must leave emptied of all things that can only on earth be done so as to be filled with the fullness of the glory of God himself prepared for him.

Dedicated To the Late President John Fiifi Evans Atta Mills; a man of unequaled integrity.

The Quest for Purpose: Your Strengths

Memory Verse: “….who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4: 13, 14)

Your strength is your quality or ability that you have that gives you an advantage (Advanced Learner’s Oxford Dictionary). It can be your physical strength, physical beauty, wisdom, position, skills (such as good leadership skills and good communication skills), good character, good health, spiritual gifts, natural talents, etc. These inborn or God-given qualities or abilities help you get certain things done better than other people. I should say, God has been very good to give some (if not all) of these qualities or abilities to everybody. And you should be thankful to God for these endowments in your life. They can guide you to know the will of God for your life (Marriage, Ministry, business and career (Money)).

If you realize that it becomes fun when you are doing a particular thing,  perhaps that is your calling. Unlike others, you may find that you have the wits and guts to study your books and excel at your academics. It may be that God wants you to be in the academia. Or, you may find that you are very good at leading people, organizing programs, influencing people, etc. You may be having a leadership mantle upon your life. Or, you may find that you have the grace to share God’s word, pray, and do the things of God in

such a way that people admire. It may be that God is calling you into His vineyard to do His work.

It is said that coming events cast their shadows.  Watch the names and titles by which people call you today. God may be revealing your purposes to you by this means. Perhaps they call you pastor, or seer, or prophet, or professor, or doctor, etc. It may be your calling. Don’t be surprised that in future you will find yourself in those fields where God has given you the strength. The little things you are capable of doing well today should give you an idea of what God wants you to do, of the areas where He wants you serve, and of those people He wants you to become partners with in marriage and in ministry. God did not put those strengths in you to be wasted. If you really want to make it, you should exploit those strengths and link yourself up with the right people.

God blessed Esther with a wonderfully beautiful physical appearance. This gave her favor in the sight of king Ahasuerus. When Haman plotted against the whole race of Israel and she seemed not to be aware her purpose, Mordecai alerted her: ‘…and who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ (Esther 4: 13, 14)

God is expecting that whatever qualities or abilities you have should be useful for His kingdom (remember, God’s general purpose for creating us all is that we save lives and expand His kingdom). If you are nice-looking in your appearance, talented, skillful, or spiritually gifted in any ways, God is also expecting you to freely use it to expand His kingdom. Don’t be proud and pompous, or greedily make money out of it. Jesus gave gifts to the apostles to ‘heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils’, and He told them, ‘… freely ye have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). Otherwise you will attract God’s wrath on your life.

However, your strengths are not the only indicators of your purpose. That is why we should also allow God to lead us into His purposes for our lives, since our strengths can be misleading without God’s leading.

By Samuel Tetteh-Baah

The Quest for Purpose: Your Desires

                           Today, i feature the 1st in our series on purpose written by a trusted friend. Enjoy the insight

Your desire could be God’s design for your life.

            One way you can know the purposes of God for your life, career, business, marriage and ministry, is through your desires. God can drop those desires (i.e., your wishes, hopes, aspirations, or even a holy burden) into your heart to communicate His purposes to you. You will find that you sincerely want to pursue a particular course of action. It may be what God wants you to do. You will find that you strongly wish to become a minister of God.

It may be what God has called you to do. You will find that you enjoy teaching people. It may be that God wants you to become a lecturer / teacher. I think you should know by now what the desires of your heart are, your desired future, what makes you feel alive and active, what gives you joy and fulfillment. It could be that that is the will of God for your life.

You will always experience some inner peace and joy about your life choices if God wants you to know He is speaking to you through your desires. Moses wanted to know whom God had given him as partner in ministry. God said Aaron would be glad in his heart upon seeing Moses, even when Moses had not told him anything yet. Let’s take another case: When Mary, the mother of Jesus, paid a visit to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, the six-month-old fetus (John the Baptist) leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb upon Mary greeting her. It showed how Jesus was connected to John the Baptist in ministry. Sometimes it is just like that, if you want to know your God-given partner in ministry and marriage, or your God-given career or business path. You cannot explain it, but you will experience that inner peace and joy over your choice. You would love the idea in an unusual way. Nothing else will gladden your heart more than that desire. But if you are not experiencing that inner peace and joy, and you are afraid that you are on the wrong path, you should be careful. It is may not be the will of God for your life.

However, I must say it is not sufficient to follow your desires to know God’s purposes for your life. Why do I say so? David wanted to build a temple for God to dwell in. But God said, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son shall build the house unto my name’ (1 Kings 8: 18, 19). Then again, when all the people of Israel desired Saul to become their king, it was not in the will of God. God spoke of how Saul would bring evil upon them later in the years, which came to pass (1 Samuel 8: 10 – 18; 12: 9 – 13). So be very careful you are not carried away by excessive desire to make a wrong choice for your life, whether for marriage, ministry, business or career. Let’s learn to end our prayers like Jesus, ‘…..nevertheless not what I will, but what you will’ (Mark 14: 36). And let God lead you always. We will learn about this later in the series.

Finally, it can also happen that God’s will for your life (for your marriage, ministry, career and business) is not the desire on your heart. For instance, God called Jonah to go and preach to the people of Nineveh, but it was not in Jonah’s heart to do that. And he suffered for his disobedience in a whale’s stomach for three days without food and water (Jonah 1). So we should always allow God to lead us, as our desires can be misleading.

By Samuel Tetteh-Baah

You Have God’s Chisel !

It is interesting , but i believe you will agree with me, that most of the time we are tempted to have our own perceptions and classifications of the man God is likely to use in achieving any purpose on earth.  Additionally, each of the categories that result from our classifications usually has a compelling reason why  we think we should not be the ones to be used. But if you are then of no use, you might as well be occupying important space that can be used by someone “more useful”! Why won’t God just kick you out of the way?

The answer is simple; every single one of creation has a compelling reason to exist. It is like saying everybody has a value that is derived from his or her existence and this is many times called your purpose. We will call it your ministry. Why?, well this is because your purpose offers value or satisfaction directly or indirectly to someone and ultimately to God. In essence, you are God’s solution to someone’s challenge or problem.

Picture this; a man who is excited about coming to church decides to wear his all-white brand new suit. In his excitement he forgets to pick one of his ten handkerchiefs. He is shy to ask for help but on arrival at the church, he notices that the chairs are spotlessly clean. He lifts up his eyes to heaven and whispers “thank you Father”. The exciting part is that, you cleaned that particular chair (as  periodic volunteer  to the church). You were God’s solution to his challenge or problem. Some ministries can be that simple, even as simple as starting a blog with just an idea for a single post!

Being in ministry I believe is just a shorter form of saying you are a channel through which God supplies any of the various graces that other people. These people also include other Christians who need your service to function more properly in society and in the church. This is the more reason why no excuse is enough to deny your neighbor the love of supplying the grace he or she needs through you. You must identify and pursue your ministry!

A ministry is therefore any selfless undertaking that is evidently inspired by the Spirit of God and that leads to glorious results in the life of people and society at large. The total concept of ministry is encapsulated in Isaiah 61: 1-4. A ministry is the purpose for life that must be inspired by the Spirit of God and as such, one must be chosen and equipped for it (Isa 61:1). Don’t forget, every man has a purpose and thus a ministry.

The Holy Spirit communicates a man’s ministry to him in different forms. There are those who receive it through dramatically inspiring experiences such as visions and dreams like Gideon (Judges 6:11-22, Gen 37: 5-10, 45 :7,), others receive by authority through the laying on of hands (1Ti 4:14), others just see it in the word of God (Dan 9:2-27) and are moved to get it done. Yet still, others just have it as a passion for which they feel gifted to pursue (1 Sam 17: 23-54) l.

A ministry must however, offer one or a combination of spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical or even fiscal liberation, inspiration or healing (Isa 61:1), reconciling people to the favor of their God so as to arouse their joy and praise of God. The ministry may also be of the form that reminds the people (both Christians and non-Christians) of their judgment and that of their enemies, bringing the Christians to the knowledge of their state of righteousness (Isa 61:2-3) and the need to continue in it and bringing non-Christians to the knowledge of the saving power of Christ Jesus. A ministry can also equip others to undertake exploits that bring glory to the name of God (Isa 61:4, Eph 4:11-12). The key word is this, it must bring glory to God. Therefore , I believe that any ministry that does not bring glory to God is either a selfish endeavor or is just evil.

Therefore

Ministries are the chisels with which God carves his glory out of the lives of humans.

And you have God’s chisel!