Alex Zanardi: An Extraordinary Man

With less than a liter of blood left in his body, Alex Zanardi’s heart stopped seven times and he was read his last rites by a priest on the helicopter ride from the Eurospeedway to the hospital.

Fifteen years on from the day his car and body were severed/cut in two, the former F1 and IndyCar driver enters the history books as a three-time Paracycling gold medalist..

The Italian could have turned away from elite sport forever, but his injuries have been life-threatening as well as life-changing; today, Zanardi considers his appalling accident one of the greatest opportunities of his life.

“Normally I don’t thank God for these type of things as I believe God has more important stuff to worry about, but today is too much, I had to raise my eyes and thank him,” Zanardi told reporters after the race (2016 Paralympics).

“I feel my life is a never-ending privilege.”

Now at 49, the Italian overcame men half his age to take the title, despite originally taking up the sport to keep fit.

A few things to learn from him

Read more of this post

Advertisements

The Three Keys to Extraordinary Living

In a past article, The Three Pillars of an Extraordinary Gentleman, we discussed three qualities: Truth, Humility and righteousness that serve as the pillars that hold the extraordinary gentleman’s personality firm in its position and in connection with its foundation. Today, being our first discussion in 2014 and one after a long while, I will like us to discuss 3 other important characteristics of an extraordinary gentleman: versatility, balance and moderation, we shall call them the keys to extraordinary living. Unlike the three pillars which must season every thought, deed and action of a man who desires to be an Extraordinary Gentleman, the three keys of extraordinary living must govern the lifestyle of the man. To be more explicit, truth, humility and righteousness which are the pillars of extraordinary living give an Extraordinary Gentleman man stability of character, while versatility, balance and moderation, the keys to extraordinary living, give the extraordinary gentleman expression of character. Truth, humility and righteousness come together to determine what an extraordinary gentleman should do, but versatility, balance and moderation determine how a man should do it. Given that we have had an already extensive discussion on the three pillars of the extraordinary lifestyle, I will like us to focus on the keys to Extraordinary living.

Versatility
That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2Tim 3:17, NKJV)

As has been paramount to our discussions over the past months, a man’s life is made up of the three functional fields of Marriage, Ministry and Money. Within these fields of a man’s life, he will need to interact with people, institutions and supernatural forces in his bid to achieve his life’s objectives. However, there are various skills that a man must muster if he must function effectively and efficiently in these three fields which may all be operational at the same time in a man’s life. Additionally, the technology, people and the institutions that facilitate a man’s interactions and activities within the fields of his life are constantly changing and even increasing, as such, there is a need for a man to be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Tim 3:17, NKJV)that is demanded in the any of the three fields of his life or even combinations of them. In short, there is a need for him to be versatile.

Image souce: web.mit.edu

Image souce: web.mit.edu


Versatility, for an extraordinary gentleman, refers to being skillful at different things as well as adapting to different functional requirements while remaining excellent at each of them. You do not have to be a jack of all trades and yet you cannot afford to be a master of only one. Versatility makes you more useful to the people around you and keeps you relevant in the face of changing situations because in many such situation you are of useful or mostly important help. It is like being many men in one, for a man of many excellences equals many men and variety in excellences is the delight of life(Balthazar Gracian). A versatile man is like a man with nine lives. Indeed in this fast changing world, Versatility may well be a perfect substitute for the multiplicity needed to function effectively. But how do we achieve this versatility.

In simple terms, to become and remain versatile, it is important that a man equips himself continuously with necessary knowledge, skills and training from scripture, experience, formal education and wise counsel that will enable him to adapt to the fast changing and complex systems of the world. But firstly know thy self. Know your limits and abilities, then expand the boundaries of your limitations and intensify the quality of your abilities through learning and practice. Learn new stuff, especially technology and basic mathematics. Learn to think, conscious thinking, you will need it in speed and quality and yet for a truly extraordinary life, know the Word, for it is able to equip you with all things that you need for life and for godliness. Be active in your learnings and adaptations but do it within the perfect will of God; for anything that tilts your value system against the perfect will of God is not worthy of pursuit.

I will like to end our discussion on the first key to the extraordinary living here with the hope of meeting you next week for possible discussions on the other keys to extraordinary living if the Lord permits. Enjoy the rest of the week and do not forget to be Extraordinary.

References
The Extraordinary Gentleman: A Handbook for Christian Men

The Sin of The World and Their Only Hope

1 Why do the nations conspire[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 92, NIV)

Footnotes:
a. Psalm 2:1 Hebrew; Septuagint rage
b. Psalm 2:9 Or will rule them with an iron scepter (see Septuagint and Syriac)

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/

MAKING IMPACT IN MINISTRY III (Clarifying the mode of your ministry)

Today, I am glad to be back to the topic of making impact in ministry. Given the extended time lapse between this post and making impact in ministry I and II, it is important for us to be refreshed about issues discussed the earlier posts.

In the post “making impact in ministry I” we briefly discussed ministry as being the second field of the life of a man and as essentially being made up of a man’s purpose. We added that being successful in ministry requires knowledge of the purpose of God for your life, that is, the declared purpose (what), the action plan (how, who, where) and the timing (when). We finally discussed briefly ways of knowing what purpose God has for us. In “making impact in ministry II” we discussed how to prepare for the accomplishment of the purpose of God for our lives ie how to prepare for ministry.

Image source :www.livingfaithchurchwi.org

Image source :www.livingfaithchurchwi.org


I this post I will like us to discuss the “how” of ministry. However given the diversity of ministries and the many ways in which a particular ministry (eg. Usher) can be implemented; we will essentially be discussing the principles of fulfilling ministry rather than a step by step instruction on building a ministry. The purpose of this discussion will be to provide you with the insight into knowing the various aspects of fulfilling ministry in which we will need to collaborate with God so as to make impact in the ministry which we are called.

Clarify the mode of ministry: one important piece of knowledge needed especially in the preparation stage of ministry is the knowledge of the mode of ministry to which God is calling us. Usually, ministries are classified as either “part time” or “full time”. However, my most preferred form of classification is based on the relationship between your ministry and your career and these are of three kinds. The first mode of ministry includes the ministry of individuals whose purpose lies in their career (e.g. a teacher who raises God fearing scientists), others seem to have their career alongside their purpose (e.g. a banker who writes and sings spiritual songs) and others have their career embedded in their purpose (e.g. a full time pastor who is paid by the church). Knowing the mode of ministry helps you to know the scale of operation and the skills required for the operation.

I believe however, that the scale of operation is not an indication of the importance of the ministry. Each ministry is as important as the impact it makes and the impact it makes must be measured by the objectives set by God for the particular ministry. To give you a somewhat extreme example, what impact will a ministry have made in the eyes of God if it builds a vibrant church with 1000 members and never wins the soul of the one man that God had established the ministry for.

Image source: andysavage.com

Image source: andysavage.com


What if the man whose soul was to be won was a Billy Graham, a Dag Heward-Mills or a Benny Hinn? Though the ministry might have saved 1000 souls, it missed the millions it would have eventually churned out if it had focused on the one soul the ministry was meant to serve. Therefore knowing the scale of ministry is not for the purpose of deciding the level of faithfulness required, but to have an idea of the personal and other resources needed in accomplishing the ministry.

Knowing the mode of ministry will also give you an idea as to the skills needed to fulfill the ministry. a teacher who raises God fearing students must be able to effectively and efficiently combine quality academic teaching with evangelism, discipleship and mentorship. This will require excellent academic teaching skills, carefully planned and “non-intrusive” evangelism, discipleship and mentorship of the students without losing the focus on academic teaching. A great deal of planning, time management and self discipline might be required especially in a world that is becoming continuously resistant to the gospel of Christ.

The purpose is sometimes reserved for latter parts of one’s life. In a mean time, necessary and diligent preparation towards your purpose is essential.

Related article
You have Gods chisel!
The quest for purpose: your desires
The quest for purpose: your strengths
The Will of God: A Portrait of David
The Quest for Purpose: The Will of God (with a twist of marriage)

The Extraordinary Mindset

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw that he was no ordinary child…(Heb 11: 23, NIV)

There was something uncommon or extraordinary about Moses at birth and that was his beauty. It is believed by bible commentators that this uncommon beauty seemed to be an indicator of the great destiny Moses had and as such his parents were ready to risk hiding their child against the command of the Egyptian king.

But there was something else about Moses that distinguished him from many men, his mindset.


Moses had a mindset that was embedded with the right value system and this made him a candidate for the extraordinary manifestations of God to and through him. Moses had accurate knowledge of the value of God’s rewards.

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Heb 11: 26, NIV)

With this mindset, Moses undertook the right actions which made him the right person that God could use in implementing His will, the redemption of His nation.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible(Heb 11:24-25).

Moses had a mindset that gave him the desire to live beyond the desire to sin and to enjoy pleasures that were outside the will of God. Beyond denying himself these pleasures he was ready to take risks because of his trust in God and His promises. Moses was living his life for God.

How did he achieve this, simple: he understood the value or rewards in following the will of God rather than available alternatives. Knowing the superiority in value of God’s will over available alternatives made his choices much simpler though seemingly “difficult”.

Our choices will be much simpler, wiser and more rewarding if we understood the value of God’s reward vis-à-vis the available alternatives, and if we really knew and appreciated the value that God offers now and for eternity. How much of God’s promises do you know? How accurate are your valuation of God’s rewards?

What am I driving at?

Our faith in God should be nurtured through the study of the word and prayer to provide us with the right mindset and value system. And whenever you want to make any decision, don’t forget to compare values.

Related article: Prioritizing: The Value System Approach

Two sorts of people will never have enough…

…of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body (Ecl 12:12) …

Image source: childbehaviorsolution.blogspot.com

Image source: childbehaviorsolution.blogspot.com


some people eager for money , have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim 6:10).

Image source: mightymag.org

Image source: mightymag.org

Two sorts of of people will never have enough. Those who thirst for knowledge and those who lust after riches. – an Arab saying

So what do we do. Maintain the “Golden mean”- Sidney Bremmer- aquire, multiply, and distribute knowledge and money in the will of God guided by “Godly contentment” and not to satisfy the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

Never forget to be Extraordinary.

References
Bremmer S.(1967). How to get what you want. Rhema Publishing Mininisty Inc.

Prioritizing: A Value System Approach


In the past weeks I have been so concentrated on one side of my life that it became so difficult for me to write a single blog post! I have always thought I will make enough progress in that side of my life that I will have the peace of mind needed to write a truly inspired post. Sadly, no progress seems enough and if things continue that way I might never get to write a post!

So I decided to check what really mattered most to me and in effect what I have preached mostly, a balanced and fulfilled life. Though I have had spurs of fulfillment by some achievements during the times of imbalance, I have always been haunted by the clear lack of balance in my life. I was doing great in the career side of my life but my ministry was suffering, no blog posts, not Facebook messages and little impact in the life of those around me, I nearly sacrificed my service to my church as well but thank God I am back on track. I trust Him to keep me on track for good for as He has said

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

How am I hoping to get back for good? By getting my priorities right, using the value system approach.

The value system principle says this, What you value determines your value

As the bible says
Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless (Jeremiah 2:5, RSV).

I have chosen to be more consistent with what the LORD considers as worthy of my attention and as much as possible not sacrifice it for other things of less or equal worth. For if you value what God values then you are of great value to God. I have chosen to give deserved attention to each facet of my life. If you find yourself in a similar situation of living an unbalanced life, do what I did, repent of it through self-reflection, choose to value what God values and walk in your resolutions , Prayerfully. Do not, however, out of zeal act out your own will but the will of God, for

…in repentance and rest is your salvation in quietness and trust is your strength…
Isaiah 30: 15

Start by knowing what God will like you to do and continue in his will, trusting him to bring to a successful end what he has started.

God bless you and I hope to hear from you through your comments. Have an Extraordinary week.

For more on the value system please check out my book, The Extraordinary Gentleman: A Handbook for Christian Men

MAKING IMPACT IN MINISTRY II

In our last post, we began a series on how to make impact in ministry. Our focus for this series is to provide important guidelines that can be followed in ensuring that we remain fruitful in ministry and that our fruits remain.
As the bible says,
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pe 1:8).

Beyond the qualities directly pointed to in the scripture above, we will discuss other important qualities as outlined in the bible for effective ministry. We will therefore now move to the second point in our discussion;

2. Be Prepared (Make Your Calling Sure)
As Jesus narrated in his parable; Then he (the king) said to his servants…Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage… But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; … Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth’. For many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22: 9 -14).
As is revealed in the passage above, it is important to “suit up” for the occasion to which we are called.

Barnabas, an apostle of God, is one man that was evidently “suited up” for the occasion of his call. The bible described him as “… a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” and by his ministry at Antioch, “a great number of people were brought to the Lord…” and “… the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”(Acts 11: 22-26).
One key ingredient for Barnabas’ success in ministry was his personal disposition or character; he was a good man. The bible in 1 Pe 1:5 – 7 prescribes certain personal traits that are important for a Christian to fruitful and to make his calling and election sure (1 Pe 1:8 – 10).

In addition to our faith in Jesus, the bible prescribes that …make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love (1 Pe 1:5 – 7, NET bible). Being spirit men, these personal characteristics are essentially spiritual reactions to situations and circumstances around us. It is therefore clear how these personal characteristics are evidently like to the fruits of the spirit which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It is therefore clear that;

The fruits of the spirit are the primary indicators of spiritual sustainability

Another very important factor is the gift of the Holy Spirit sent by the father. He is the primary source of equipment and skills in ministry. In addition to being recreated spirits at birth (when born again) and thus must live by the spirit and bear the fruits of the spirit, it is important to be guided by the Holy Spirit throughout our lives as Christians. The Holy Spirit is the instructor of the spirit life and the seal of our salvation. Additionally, the Holy Spirit when he comes upon you for ministry endues you with the power necessary for living your authority in Christ Jesus. The power supplied by the Holy Spirit is manifested in the form of gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit include, message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith , gifts of healing, performance of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking of different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12: 8). The gifts serve as tools through which we make our calling or ministry functional and thus accessible for the building up of ourselves and those around us (1 Cor 14:4).


Being prepared for ministry therefore essentially refers to nurturing the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can move from one glory of manifestation onto another for the perfection of ourselves and the Saints. Nurturing the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit involves primarily employing effective and efficient study of the word, prayer and fasting. In our next post, if the Lord permits, we will move to a third guideline in our series Making Impact in Ministry. God bless you and do not forget to leave your comments and contributions.

MAKING IMPACT IN MINISTRY I

Hello, fellow gentlemen, I am sure you have followed us for some time in our quest to become. I am also confident that you are well grounded in the fact that the life of a man is made up of three functional fields; his Marriage, his Ministry (purpose) and his Money (career and finances). In our first discussion within the context of ministry entitled “You have God’s chisel!” we discussed ministry as 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. We also stressed the fact that all men have a purpose and thus a ministry and that starting the fulfillment of your ministry could begin with as simply as starting a blog with the idea for only one post. We also added that it is important that a man identifies and pursues his ministry. Finally, we concluded that,

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

In this article, I will like us to discuss how to make impact in ministry. In other words, how to make sure that your work for God is fruitful and that the fruits of your ministry remain. I will therefore like to share with you some truths I encountered in the word of God for making impact in ministry.

1. Be appointed
As mentioned earlier, ministry refers to your purpose and your purpose is determined by God. The first step in making in making true impact is in ensuring that you are into what God has appointed you for. This specifically begins with identifying your purpose, the reason for your creation, the need you have been created to satisfy or in better words the need that God has chosen to satisfy through you. This identification of purpose reveals the appointment that God made of you before you were born, like the appointment of Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 1:5). The purpose of God for your life, like his will, has three main components; the declared purpose (what), the action plan (how, who, where) and the timing (when) [click here to go to detailed article on the will of God]. Being appointed is about identifying the declared purpose or the “what” of your ministry. It refers to for example asking God, what did you create me for? It is therefore important to be in constant and patient communion with God to understand the perfect will of God for your ministry.

There are however different ways by which you can identify the purpose of God for your life. As discussed in my book “The Extraordinary Gentleman: A Handbook for Christian Men”, there are men who receive knowledge of their purpose through dramatically inspiring experiences such as visions and dreams (Gen 37: 5-10; 45:7; Jg 6:11-22), others receive their it by authority received through the laying on of hands (1Ti 4:14), others just see it in the word of God (Da 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). No matter the way you identify God’s appointment upon your life, it is important to know the perfect will (the declared purpose, the action plan and the timing) of God concerning you purpose. It is the seed for a successful and fruitful ministry i.e a ministry that makes impact. In the next article as God permits, we will move into further discussion as to how to make impact in ministry.

Related articles
You Have God’s Chisel !
The Will of God: A Portrait of David
The Quest for Purpose: Your Desires
The Quest for Purpose: Your Strengths

The Words, the Ways and the Works of God

In our last article, Becoming a Gardner of the Word, we delved into understanding a step by step process by which we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the word of God in our lives. However, in grooming our relationship with God as men who want to continually metamorphose into the Extraordinary Gentleman, we need to understand the operations of the Words, the Ways and the Works of God. These three poles of the knowledge of God improve our effectiveness and efficiency in having a fruitful relationship with God.


The Words – the words of God are the authority for his accomplishments; the embodiment of both His promise and His ability to accomplish. His words are His thoughts, statutes, commands and will concerning any particular situation. With a God who is omnipotent (Mr. 10:27), knowledge of His omnipotent word (Ps 119:96, whether written or revealed) concerning any situation is the potent license to request or command (depending on the situation) the existence of the appropriate circumstance.


The Ways – the ways of God are the patterns or methods for his accomplishments. Knowledge of his ways is what distinguishes leaders in a time and followers of that time. And that is why God made known his Ways unto Moses but his Works unto the children of Israel (Ps 103:7). When a man has knowledge of the ways of God he does not hesitate to take action in the will of God or haste to take action without knowing the will of God. He is confident for example, that all things work for his good even if they now do not look right at the moment. Apart from knowing the general ways of God with his children, it is also important that a man has adequate knowledge of God’s specific ways of dealing with him. Knowledge of the general ways of God with his children makes a man effective in his relationship with God but it is the knowledge of the unique way God deals with you that makes you efficient.


The Works – the works of God are the evidence of his accomplishments. They are the signals that indicate that the words of God have completed their journey through his Ways to produce glory to His name. God’s works appear in various forms; creation, miracles, signs and wonders. Matured Christians at their peak are satisfied by the Words of God but the immature and unbelieving are only sufficed by the sight of his Works. When Jesus operated in authority by driving the traders out of the temple, his disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me” and were satisfied but the Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” (John 2:17 – 18, RSV)

In summary, a fruitful relationship with God demands knowledge of Him. Knowledge of God seasons our response to his love. Knowledge of God however exists within the sphere of three major poles, the knowledge of His Words, His Ways and His Works. These we shall call the three poles of the knowledge of God. The Words of God work through his Ways to produce his Works. The end of all these is to bring glory to God.