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

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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

Faithfulness in Trials

Welcome to the New Year from us here at the Conference of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It is my greatest pleasure this day to start our year with this topic, faithfulness. I am sure the word faithfulness conveys more than one related meaning to you and given the fact that this is a blog dedicated to men, I am sure one of the first meanings must be fidelity to a wife. Yes, we will discuss fidelity in the face of trials, but as to whether it has to do with a wife, let’s see.

According to Hebrews 11: 32-40, Men of faith conquer systems and situations and move them (systems or situation) in line with the will of God to fulfill God’s purposes as is declared or promised through his word, written or revealed. This means that through the faith of these men, God access the earth through them and works through them to fulfill his will and overall purpose at each time.

The verse goes on to say that, these men were transformed by their faith in God. Their weaknesses and undesirable conditions were turned around into strengths. God increased their power in the battle he has chosen for them and he works wonders and exploits at their hands. However, in spite of the greatness that God gave to these men of faith, they adopt a humble heart that is ready to sacrifice anything, even their life and fame, for the name and glory of God; they remain faithful. It is no wonder, the world was not worthy of these men (verse 38).

For many of us, our hindsight and foresight might be blinded by pride or love of the world and cause us to forget our transformation in Christ, from weakness to strength and then to greatness and to forgo the exceeding greatness of reigning with Christ. This might be a result of current success or pain. We might then turn our attention to this present world and abandon our love for God and man and the sacrifices that Christ is worthy of. We lose our persistence with and in the will of God (faithfulness).

If it has to do with success, remember that,
Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth, honour and life (Proverbs 22: 4, NIV),
if it has to do with pain, then
…do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you…let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:12-19, RSV).

image source: global.christianpost.com

image source: global.christianpost.com

Trials bring out the Glory of God in us. In trials, continue to do what is right (remain faithful) and entrust your soul (thoughts and emotions) to God in faith, knowing and trusting in his faithfulness (2Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 10:23)

Faithfulness is the evidence of our faith

The Quest for Purpose: The Will of God (with a twist of marriage)

A few days ago, I had a discussion with a friend and spiritual brother, “Shakes”… oh sorry, he is officially known as Daniel Asumadu, yet others call him “Ega” but he prefers to be called Korku Ndo. Whichever you decide on to call him, one thing was certain; part of our discussion bordered on the will of God.

image source: branfordgirl.wordpress.com

The will of God is quite an interesting topic especially if it is in relation to the woman you are to marry as a man. And though today’s discussion will not go in-depth on the subject of marriage, I think marriage will be the point of reference for our discussion. I had to learn much of this the hard way (through experience) but my discussion with “Shakes” was instrumental in my categorization.

I believe that the purpose of God for our life is made up of the building blocks of his will for various aspects of our life. That is, for an Extraordinary gentleman (and with appreciation to all the wonderful ladies who read our posts) the general purpose of God for your life is made up of the building blocks of his will, including the will of God in your Marriage, his will in your Ministry and his will in your Money. Your purpose, I believe, is also just one building block of his general purpose of creation, which I belief is the Glory and Pleasure of God (Eph 1:5-11, Re 4:11). His purpose for your life is as little as just one building block so that you might not boast, but rest assured that the block was so important it was worth the death of his son, who himself is the chief Corner block or stone.

There is a lot to be discussed about purpose and will, I pray the Lord gives us the permission to continue next week, however going back to the marriage for example, I will like to tell you the crux of today’s discussion in a few words.
The will of God in every situation consists mainly of three parts, the declared will (what), the action plan (how, who, where) and the timing (when).

For example, if you ask God about the woman he would love you to marry,
He might reveal to you in one of the many ways he speaks to you; vision, dream, discernment, prophecy etc., and then you might have a confirmation from other sources or rely totally on the witness in your spirit.
However, many of us then begin building the appropriate strategy to implement God’s will. Usually we might start reading some posts or books like “how to make a woman fall in love with you” or may be, “33 strategies of war”. Then talk to a few people with “vast” experience and when we feel ready launch the much awaited attack, we do so after two “long days” of careful planning (forgive my exaggeration but I hope that wasn’t true in your case).
Now the major point, the next time we seek the will of God; remember his action plan and his timing are as equally important as the declared will of God.

Image source: lifeasaluce.blogspot.com

Pardon me to say this, but I think when it comes to action plans God’s most famous action plan is “Wait” a.k.a “just follow my steps” and His most famous timing is this, “my own time” a.k.a “not now”. So why “under the heavens” did He tell me her name, especially knowing it will take three years to come to pass and the fact that she is that beautiful. Well, I think it is because you asked, maybe we should ask first whether it is his will for us to know her NOW.
However, there are times when God Almighty tells you what to do and when it will all be accomplished and if you have that, do not hesitate, prayerfully follow the plan of action and timing of God. If the answer is wait or not now, be sure to be PATIENT, and watch Gods eternal plan unfold before your very eyes. Remember that no matter how things begin to turn out concerning the declared will of God, all things are working for your good (Rom. 8:28)(even if another seems to have her now).

image source: lifeasaluce.blogspot.com

Blessed day, and be sure we would love you to share your experience on this issue or any of our discussions on this blog. Your comments are most welcomed.

Related articles
The Quest for Purpose: Your Desires
The Quest for Purpose: Your Strengths
overview of christian marriage

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