When men fall short

Today, I will like to share with you this message (link below) by TD Jakes and some key quotes from the message that I found interesting. Some of these quotes touch on the dilemma of being a man, especially in the 21st century and some possibly providing “answers” to some dilemmas. Enjoy

When Men Fall Short

“Has society set us up to fail?”

“How can I be a good man to a woman who enjoys being a good man?”

“When you pride yourself on doing what I used to do, have you not worked me out of a job?”

“You have moved into the positions we used to have and we don’t have a role to play and yet we are commanded to be on the set?”

Why do you need us?

cybercletch-do-you-need-our-services

“It’s hard to be a good man to a woman who never had a man in her life at all, because you have to live up to what she   imagined”

“There is not a good man in this room who is not trying to who you love, “there”…”

“…the dilemma of the man is;

if I manage to have progress, I do it by not being present, and if i am present with you, then I have to leave the horses and give up on progress…”

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

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

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.

How to fight with your wife: like a Christian

One thing that has always “scared” me has been the fact that someday, as a man, I might have to experience a not so beautiful part of the one I love as a wife and will be faced with the inevitable choice of speaking or acting, what do I do?

I must confess that I tried to write this article once but I got stuck on the way, however, ideas form Dan Benson’s book “The Total Man” has helped, so I modified and adapted the title of that chapter of his book since I had not decided the title of the article by then.

Going back to the point I was making in the first paragraph, I don’t know if you share the dilemma or have experienced it already? But what do you do in such a situation. As an Extraordinary Gentleman, the only way you are permitted to do anything is by employing the most excellent way. Even when it has to do with fighting (arguing, no blows allowed!) with your wife, you have to fight excellently. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could believe in a marriage without disagreements and without anything that will cause me to wonder “why under the heavens did I marry this woman!”, but I hear it is inevitable. Like a friend of mine who got married 9 months ago told me,(and I am paraphrasing) it is not easy to live together with a woman when the two of you grew up under totally different conditions, sometimes even the way she eats can be irritating.

I believe that the following guides might help in pursuing and excellent path towards conflict resolutions. But first,

Prepare for the fights,

image source: diefoto.com

I don’t mean the boxing gloves or a sharp cutlass, not even looking forward for a fight but know that it will come and therefore weaken its effect by:
1. Recognizing that some days she will forget her “Makeup”: all of us have a “weight” or “sin” that easily beset us and though we might work every day to reduce or eliminate it, patience and time are investments that must be made. You are not perfect either and that is one reason why you must expect to be offended especially by the one you are likely to spend the most of your private time with.
2. Talking everything out: don’t try to tolerate or wait to see if she will change on her own, maybe she does not even know she is hurting you. Tell her everything as plain as possible but say it in love (speaking the truth in love Eph. 4:15) and gentleness, the aim is not to tell her how wrong she is but how better the marriage will be when the fault is minimized or eliminated. As much as possible don’t store up any issue otherwise, it will blow up nastily one day. However, be sensitive to the time and manner in which you raise the issue for discussion, at least, never discuss it in public even in form of a joke. When the fight becomes inevitable, make the fight safe by
3. Making rules for the fights: not the type of rules that determines who wins the fight, but rather the kind of rules that make sure that no one wins the fight. The only one ever permitted to win a fight between a married couple is the two of them, after all the two shall become one. Examples of rules could include, attacking the problem, not the person, no calling of names (especially in public or before the kids), No accusations (you always…, you never…) and of course no blows!.
4. Discussing the results of the fight: find a short period to cool off after every fight, then issues raised during the fight must be discussed most preferably the same day, for do not let the sun go down while you are still angry ( Eph 4:26). Do not assume you already understand what each other said while you were arguing, clarify what each other meant and make resolutions on how to avoid a fight on the same issue.
5. Forgiving each other: forgiveness is a true healer, and the man should be the first to ask for forgiveness, even if the fight was only 1% your fault. After all, you are the head and the leader of the family team and so you must take the initiative. You must also share all that the other said that hurt you so that she can freely ask for forgiveness. And don’t for forget to forget. Don’t raise what you have forgiven as an issue in another fight. Forgive each other just as in Christ God has also forgave you (Eph 4:32)
6. Celebrating your victory over divorce: celebrate each amicable resolution, even if it is with a hug, for the lack of a resolution is the source of dissolution (divorce). Conflict resolution after a fight is an important part of life especially if it has to do with the one you are going to spend the rest of your life with, celebrate the resolution and renew you love towards each other.

image source: queenoffree.net

May God grant us the strength to make our marriages a wonderful representation of the love of Christ to the world.

I love your comments and don’t forget to leave the one on your mind, questions are most welcome.

Reference

Benson D. (1977) “The Total Man”. Tyndale house publishers INC, Wheaton, Illinois.

Self-Reflection, the Pivot of Transformation

No man is born perfect and no circumstance remains the same. These are paramount reasons why change is constant. However, no change is necessary unless its effects are important in transforming existing situations. To become and Extraordinary Gentlemen, personal transformation is necessary and self-reflection is the pivot of personal transformation. Today I love to share with you a few thoughts of self-reflection.

Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until
you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence
by Balthazar Gracian

Image source: tristanlewis.com

There exist various periods in the life of a man that he comes to a realization of his current inadequacy in dealing with particular situations. Such a situation usually arises from changes in relation to people around him, institutions or even changes in the man himself. However, as we have many times discussed, no matter the particular situation the man is facing, his circumstance falls into one or more of the three fields of manhood; Ministry (purpose), Marriage and Money (career and finances).

The various inadequacies that a man identifies in his life influence the way he deals people (men, women and children), institutions (society) and invisible forces (divine and devilish) that exists in the three fields of his life. For example a man can discover that his anger problem has become a limitation to his ability to interact with his family, co-workers or even disciples over long period of time without a heated confrontation or two. This problem with anger becomes an inadequacy that affects his effectiveness and efficiency in life and therefore calls for personal transformation. A man who therefore desires to be an Extraordinary Gentleman must be ready to undergo continuous sessions of change or transformation that can be exciting, challenging, boring or painful, but rewarding. As the bible says… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us…(Hebrews 12:1).

An important process in effecting a personal transformation is self-reflection. We will consider Self-reflection to involve a calm, usually lengthy, conscious consideration of one’s personality or issues that relate directly or indirectly with to him as a person. As Proverbs 14 vrs 8 puts it, the wisdom of the wise is to give thought to his ways. A man must therefore give thought to his ways, considering what has happened, what is happening, what will happen, what should have been happening and what should happen (what he has to do). This process involves identifying, analyzing and making decisions or resolutions on issues in our personal life. A successful pursuit of our resolution is what is important in transforming us into Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I will like to share with you some characteristics and a simple way to do a self-reflection. I hope it helps you in your own process of self- reflection and most importantly, I hope and pray that you pursue without delay every single resolution or decision you make

image source: salesprogress.com

CHARACTERISTICS
Self-reflection must be:
Conscious – it must be a choice and a controlled process, not a time for your mind to wonder around
Truthful- be blatantly honest with yourself, don’t make excuses for yourself (after all, no one is listening
Biblical – all conclusions must have scriptural or spiritual basis
Written – major self-reflection sessions must end up with a written resolution
Implementable – simple, understandable, measurable resolutions.
Prayerful- pray in the beginning (I am usually guilty of this), confess sins and pray for strength to overcome during the process and be thankful in the end.

THE PROCESS

1. Consider your vision for life: (create one if you do not have, and make sure it carries elements of what you want to be in relation to your Marriage, Ministry and Money)
E.g. I want to be a great dad, wonderful husband, outstanding salesman, incredibly spirit-led usher and a loving philanthropist by 2020 onwards. (And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it” Habakkuk 2:2)

2. Consider your actions in the day or period under review if they align or contradict your vision

3. Tell yourself the truth; humbly congratulate yourself and celebrate victories, but regret and repent from failures, (remember to confess failures that are also sin and ask for strength and will to overcome)

4. Write out failures and corresponding resolutions, especially during major self-reflection moments (remember Habakkuk 2:2 above)

5. Pray for the strength and the will to accomplish your resolution (I usually write my prayer under the resolutions).

6. Go out and bring forth fruits that befitting of your repentance (Matt. 3:8, Luke 3:8)

I hope the Lord Almighty blesses your life through this and give you deeper and relevant understanding. God bless you and remember I cherish your comments and contributions.

Ladies are obsessed with consistency!

If there is one cry common to ladies, then it is this one, “he has changed”… and a few sobs. And if there is any common response then it might be “I don’t even know what she is talking about, that I have changed”. I am no expert at love or its associate studies, but a few decades of experience in the art of life I believe has given me the opportunity to make a comment on the subject under discussion.

Firstly a complete gathering of men has the tendency of being equal to a collection of boys especially when money or God is not the topic under discussion. Ladies introduce a difference and when one lady becomes dominant in our lives especially under the condition of love, then we are or feel the pressure to be the Man.
To win the heart of the woman of our dreams we go to many lengths to win them and exhibitionism is not out of the range, yet when the woman is won the next tendency is to “concentrate or more important things now”. Like a promotion, money for the wedding or for the married, food on the table, education for the kids and lots of money to spare. Sometimes it is all to make the woman know we care. So the less important things like the frequent calls, the “I love you”, the chocolate bars, the weekend outs and the opening of doors begin to vanish, then all too soon our beloved begins the dreaded “we have talk”.

I cannot exhaust the possibilities of what happens before or after the “he has changed” syndrome neither do I want to bore you with much talk , but there is one thing I believe is certain; the sweet lady agreed to your proposal because she believed the sweet little things you do will never end!


It is usual and ordinary to forget the little sweet things when she is yours now, by it is Extraordinary to maintain and upgrade your “sweetness”.

It is said that “a word to the wise is enough” so I will sum what I am trying to say in a few words.
“Ladies are obsessed with consistency that is why the cry out ‘he is changing’. When you want to start out with a lady, start at the level you can maintain not the level you can obtain, then when you occasionally operate at the level you can obtain you will never run out of the sweet little things that add sparkles to the life of the one you love”. Stay blessed fellow gentlemen.

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.

Money and Christianity

If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Lu 16:11, NIV)

Wealth in Christianity is a matter of continuous debate with different perspectives being dominant at times and denominations of Christianity. However, the fact is that how you deal with earthly wealth is cardinal in determining if you will be entrusted with heavenly riches. For “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Lu 16:11KJV) or in other words, “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Lu 16:11, NIV).

I do not believe that God or Jesus Christ will be willing to give you the true riches of their heavenly kingdom if you do not prove your faithfulness in earthly finances.  It is therefore important that in our quest to become Extraordinary Gentlemen, we understand how to prove our faithfulness with earthly riches. After all, the Extraordinary Gentleman must excel in his Marriage, Ministry (purpose) and Money ( career and finances).

When I talk about money in the context of an Extraordinary Gentleman, I refer to all legitimate efforts to generate, manage, multiply and distribute wealth of any acceptable form. It is not sinful to be rich, for money answers all things pertaining earthly needs (Eccl 10:19) and the blessing of God makes one rich (Pr 10:22). However, the love of money is the root of all evil and inevitably leads to wandering away from  salvation (1 Ti 6:10, Eccl 5:10), for you cannot serve two masters, God and money (Lu 16:13, NIV).

It works this way, money is a force in the ruling system of the earth called the world, as such, love of it means love to the world and enmity to God (Jas 4:4). Love of money occurs when you value  the demands of money above the demands of God and righteousness. You begin to yield to the lusts of the world that are readily lying prostrate at the command of wealth. These lusts include gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, adultery and greed in all things, even in things pertaining to the church. Thus you begin to take decisions chiefly against the perfect will of God, trusting your riches and new power in the world rather than the unfailing love of God. The end of such a man is sudden destruction (Ps 49:6-14, 49:20, 33:16-19, 147:10-11).

 Therefore, the key virtue for a wealthy Christian should be integrity, for the law of heaven concerning wealth on earth is this, “Do not trust in extortion and take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase do not set your heart on them”(Ps 62:10,NIV). The source and the result of a man’s wealth must be pure in the eyes of God.

God bless you, and remember, I will love to hear your thoughts on money and on this article.