Category Archives: humanity

My Dear Val

Can you remember that wonderful film ‘Love Actually’?

You already know I’m a hopeless romantic so why be surprised about my deep fondness for ‘Love Actually”?????

The scene at the airport – where it shows loved ones, be they couples, parents and their children, family members, friends – greeting one another in feverish excitement – a range of emotions – tears of joy – tears of sadness – a seemingly endless display of love in all its various forms – I JUST LOVE IT!!!

Ok…before going any further I have to confess that I’ve been struggling as to how to explain this next bit. Whether to tell you exactly the way it is, or whether to mix it a little so as not to sound weird.

I’ve decided to tell you exactly the way it is.

If you think I’m weird then so be it! I’ll still love ya!

The reason I love that scene so much is because it is something I’ve always enjoyed observing at international airports.

Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that Segs has always enjoyed going to the airport to meet family members or friends (maybe not so much in Nigeria, as it really isn’t much fun having to wait outside!!).

Why?

Because there are few things more facinating than observing the wonderful reactions of loved ones greeting each other at airports. I’ve always found it so moving.

For years I would jump at every opportunity to go and meet a family member at Heathrow or Gatwick airport.

I always got to the airport at least two / three hours before the flight arrived so that I could observe passengers of other flights meeting their loved ones at arrival.

Each greeting told its own story – love, excitement, sadness, dread, fear, you name it – all there – plain to see.

Why on earth am I wittering on about Love Actually and airports????

Ah yes…LOVE – and its countless depictions.

Our generation seems to have allowed the media to decieve us about the true meaning of love.

Love is painted as a somewhat magical feeling of romance, excitement, physical beauty, and all manner of extravagance.

Add to the mix expensive jewelry, watches, holidays, cars, apartments and so forth, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that love seems to have given way to ‘material gratification’.

I’m certainly not against excitement or expensive gifts. Indeed such things can be very pleasant.

But this media conjured ‘love’ that we all seem to subscribe to is simply NOT sustainable.

For many of us it certainly isn’t financially sustainable.

But more importantly, for all of us, that magical feeling of romance, excitement and passion is most definitely NOT sustainable.

Once again, I am absolutely NOT against romance and excitement.

In-fact the more the better.

I did a little research with regards to the origins of Valentine’s day.

Emperor Claudius II banned marriages because he believed that his soldiers would fight more effectively if they were single. In other words he didn’t want to have young married men who were missing their wives leading the front line. Can’t say I blame him to be honest.

However there was a priest called Valentine who believed in the importance of marriage. As such he proceeded to marry young couples in secret.

When the emperor found out he was incensed.

Valentine was imprisoned, tortured and executed.

One of the people who was supposed to judge him was a man called Asterius.
Asterius’ daughter was blind.

It is believed that during his incarceration Valentine prayed with and healed Asterius’ daughter.

This led to Asterius giving his life to Christ.

In a letter Valentine wrote to Asterius’ daughter just before he was executed, he signed it ‘from your Valentine’.

The meaning of all this?

Valentine was willing to sacrifice his life for what he believed in.

Despite his incarceration and torture he continued to love others unconditionally.

We can all learn from this.

I love this quote from a priest called Father O’Gara.

“Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. Before you enter into a Christian marriage you want some sense of God in your life — some great need of God in your life. And we know, particularly in the modern world, many people are meeting God through his Son, Jesus Christ.”

“If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time when you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?”

“So on the day of the marriage they have to take that into context. Love — human love and sexuality is wonderful, and blessed by God — but also the shadow of the cross. That’s what Valentine means to me.”

So, what exactly is ‘love’?

– Love is patient

– Love is kind

– Love does not envy

– Love does not boast

– Love is not proud

– Love is not rude

– Love is not self seeking

– Love is not easily angered

– Love keeps no record of wrongs

– Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

-Love always protects

-Love always trusts

-Love always hopes

-Love always perseveres

1st Corinthians 13

In summary, love is everything Christ is.

Every relationship is meant to be a mirror of Christ’s love for His bride (the church – the body of Christ).

I’ve said it before, and at the continued risk of sounding like a broken record, I shall not stop saying this until things start to change.

If our churches focus more on ‘Love’ and less on the ‘me me me’ nature of how God can bless us and help us to be successful then we all stand a better chance of leading our lives in the loving and selfless manner that Christ commanded.

Isn’t it rather odd that there are so many better examples of loving and selfless people OUTSIDE of our churches?????

Indeed, contrary to the nature and design of Christianity’s message of love and forgiveness, us ‘Christians’ are actually the most unforgiving of people – world-wide!

Something isn’t quite right there!!???

Who is to blame?

We are ALL to blame.

Let’s focus less on how we can be blessed and focus more on how we can love and serve one another.

For those that went out with loved ones on Valentine’s, I hope you enjoyed every second of your night out.

For those who plan to make a whole weekend of it, please do your utmost to enjoy and cherish every blessed moment.

Romance is bliss!

Fun is awesome!

You deserve a good time!!

God is NOT boring.

He wants us to have fun.

But spend a little time reading and digesting 1st Corinthians 13.

Yep – today.

And do the same for the next one week.

Apply the love described in 1st Corinthians 13 to your relationship.

To those that were on their own I say this;

“Do not despair. Remember – ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’ ”

Be thankful for the most unconditional and secure love that any man or woman could wish for – the love of Christ.

And remain steadfast in hope.

God will give you exactly what you need.

©Segun Akande

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Loadsa Money 2

Thanks to all those that sent me their views regarding ‘Loadsa Money’.

Indeed your views and comments made me feel a little ….well….cowardly, to say the least.

It seems that once again I was a little too light on the grim reality that’s been staring us in the face for the past decade or so.

In my defense (hey! gotta defend a little bit …pleeaaase???!!);

I know where I am coming from in terms of the many mistakes and errors I’ve made in my past, and the faults and defects I continue to do battle with today. Therefore I am always very conscious of not wanting to sound too harsh or ‘holier than thou’ – in any shape or form.

But – on the prompting of many readers I feel obliged to delve a little deeper into the heart of the matter.

The question is this-

How far and how deeply has the lust for wealth seeped into every facet of society – relationships – work – church.

Here are two quotes from two readers – in response to ‘Loadsa Money’;

Quote from Tolu

“Why do you often not go to the heart of the matter? In Nigeria of today: our entire value system, personal scorecard, the respect you command in society… associations… among your peers… and in your extended family, the way you’re treated by those who don’t know you, whether you receive good service in a public place, the manner in which you’re welcomed and treated at social events, the manner in which your children are treated at school etc etc, are ALL strongly influenced by the actual (or perceived) wealth that you have! We were sold to mammon a long time ago and there’s growing inflation!!”

I must confess that I love the bluntness, and the pure but controlled rage that underlies the above quote.

Nigeria seems to be a complete contradiction of the term ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.

In Nigeria we not only judge the book by its cover, but proceed to judge the next four generations of the book – by that same cover.

The manner in which one is treated in the market place (working environment) largely depends on the fabric of one’s suit, shirt, and tie; and for the ladies – clothes, shoes, and handbags.

Whether or not the security guard allows you to park inside largely depends on the make, model and year of your car.

A man enters a restaurant with his wife / girlfriend / mistress ( yep, no pretence here – let’s keep it real), or business partner – the door man greets the man with a respect that implies that the president himself has just arrived, and then completely ignores the woman.

Why?

Because he or she naturally assumes that the man will be paying, and hence immediately pays homage to the person he believes holds all the aces – all the wealth.

The woman in search of a boyfriend /partner / husband – introduced to a handsome, polite, and very loveable man, but loses interest as soon as she sees his 1997 two door Honda.

The man in search of a girlfriend /partner / wife – befriends a gorgeous and amiable lady but loses interest because she isn’t of the same social standing.

Yep – works both ways.

The church car park – glittering with shiny new cars – range rovers, mercs, all manner of SUVs – a true sign that God Himself visits that particular church every Sunday!

Material wealth IS the new God’s love!!!!

The prestigious front row of churches – reserved for people of affluence – people of influence – people with LOADSA MONEY.

The second quote is from my good friend Nana.

Quote

“Just read your article, and the truth is that people go to church mainly to be blessed with “wealth” – in this case solely “loadsa money” and its all in the frame of mind,homes and state of country plus the portrayal of the finer things of life right in church as the “sign” that you are a true christian…cliques in churches of the who’s who and who wants to be “who” starting from the heads of churches…..people dedicate cars and material stuff in church and no one questions how they were able to afford them…our society and generations before now put in place the loadsa money = respect trend and now people of my generation have no integrity. I am afraid I will have kids who will be governed by thieves and live in a society morally stripped …I can go on but what good will it do?? The world is deaf!”

During a chat with some young (much younger) female colleagues at work earlier today I asked them what they think of our churches.

I was shocked when they all told me that they are Anglican (one naturally assumes that most of the younger generation go to pentecostal churches).

I asked them why.

Their reason – the Anglican church isn’t all about money, sowing seeds, and prosperity preaching.

They may be a little extreme in their view point but I can see where they’re coming from.

Quote

“At our church they don’t force you or put pressure on you to give offerings.”

Having said that I must point out that I have attended a few Anglican services, and they most certainly did not dissappoint with their prowess for collecting ‘big bucks’.

Let’s be honest – no church is perfect – just as no human being is perfect.

But my concern is that our imperfections regarding the love / lust for money passed the tipping point a long time ago.

The interesting thing is that our saviour, Jesus Christ, was a carpenter whilst on earth; and led a very simple life.

Final quote of the day in relation to Loads Money goes to Lanre.

“Awesome piece…. ” You CANNOT Serve two Masters. It’s Either You Serve one or Despise the other, or use one to Serve the other” This scripture is the ONLY Evidence we have in the bible where God compares our servanthood to Him with our servanthood to something else. For God to state this categorically, it means that it is a very CRITICAL PROBLEM. Many use God to serve mammon, whilst others use mammon to attempt to serve God.
SERVE Him because of who he is, and for His Mercies, Love, Faithfulness, Grace etc Not Because of What He Will do For You…So Next Time you’re Praising, Worshipping, Praying and Even Giving in church, Ask Yourself “What is my Motive” ? Love of God or Love of Self and Money?”

People – I most certainly am NOT perfect.

So very far from perfect in-fact.

But I do recognise, as do so many others, that something is not quite right.

A body that is supposed to epitomise love, selflessness, and humility, is strangely reflecting something entirely different – greed, selfishness, lust for money, and the all too familiar judgemental attitude that tags along with them.

To coin a phrase from Shakespear’s Hamlet, ‘Something is rotting in the state of our churches’.

Jesus said;

“Come to me, all you who are heavily burdened. My yoke is light”

Going to church – fellowshipping with one another should be a time / day we look forward to – to get away from the stresses and burdens of everyday life – to immerse ourselves in an environment of love, truth and humility.

But we seem to have made church another market place

– a place to talk about business, success, and Loadsa Money

– a place to flaunt success and wealth

-a place to seek opportunities to climb the wealth ladder.

Surely this is NOT the way it was supposed to be!!

Rather than finding a truth that set us free, we seem to have found another type of truth – one that has further ensconsed us in more bondage.

Can any of us really claim to regularly find peace in church?

Or do we often leave church feeling even more troubled – wondering why we haven’t received our breakthrough.

Christ’s message is one of unconditional love, peace, and humility – NOT WEALTH.

The population of Nigeria is in the region of 150 million people.

There are over 60 million Christians in Nigeria.

If just half the Christians in Nigeria can actually attain the ‘light yoke’ of Jesus then our environment will change over night.

But so long as churches continue to focus on the number of ‘bums on seats’ and the building of wealthy congregations, mammon will continue to influence every sphere of society – ‘with rapidly growing inflation’.

©Segun Akande

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Loadsa Money!

What I’m about to say is not directed at any group or person in particular.

But rather, consider it a wake-up call for ALL of us.

And remember – I did warn you a few weeks ago that as well as encourage and uplift you this year, I will always tell you as it is.

I begin

During a chat with my dear friend Lanre this morning, it became all too apparent that mankind has more often than not being his own worst enemy.

Waaaaaiiiiit!!!!!

It really is about time I did this.

Before going any further I want to sincerely thank those very close and so dear buddies of mine; yes you guys – Tolu O, Gbogie B, Toyo O, Lanre O, Temi P, Tosin O, David A, and that tall chap that never likes being mentioned.

Thanks guys!!!

Time and time again our chats, arguments, and even at times the odd agreement, have been important and indeed necessary ingredients to most, if not all of my articles.

Right – back to the matter at hand.

A few weeks ago I woke up at about 4am (whenever that happened last year I got upset. Now I’ve accepted that it’s part and parcel of getting old). lol 

As soon as I awoke my thoughts went straight to that little town in the US where 20 kids were shot dead a few months ago.

What an absolute tragedy!!

Now – I follow Piers Morgan on twitter.

If you don’t then I suggest you do. He’s superb – brutally honest, and at times absolutely hilarious.

And as a fellow passionate Arsenal fan, it’s strangely comforting to read his angry tweets on Saturday afternoons – as that hallowed (yes hallowed!!) team from north London – yea the one that is forever in transition – continues to push the boundaries of pain and torture to new and unbearable heights.

Why am I talking about Mr. Morgan???

Oh yes – ever since the tragic incident in that little town in Conneticut, Piers Morgan has been agressively campaigning for a review of America’s gun policy.

He believes, as I do, that guns should be banned.

Ban ’em!!!! (yes yes, I did purposely omit the ‘th’)

Simple!

Full Stop!

No flipping excuses!!

Just ban the damn things!!!!!

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

Why?

Because the US government and its’ backers are making way too much money from the arms business.

I could write about this all day, but I’m going to give you just a couple of examples.

In which sectors do the biggest financial donors of US governments do business?

Yep. That’s right – Oil and Arms

What did Iraq have?

Who led the war in Iraq?

Who got the contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq?

The commercial arms sales, reviewed by the State Department in 2011, was in the region of US$44 billion.

The figure for 2012 was expected to be at least 60% higher.

Now here’s the rub.

Quite a few of the countries that the US sells arms to are routinely acused of human rights abuses by the US Government.

That seems to me a rather odd contradiction.

I’m going to stop there.

This is not a tirade, or even a complaint against the US government.

My point is this –

As a result of incessant greed, mankind seems to have pressed the self destruct button – steadily destroying millions of lives across the globe for the sake of financial gain.

Back home – we all know the damage and destruction that oil has inflicted on Nigeria; not least to our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta region.

Whether previous governments are to blame for allowing foreign oil companies to literally rape and pillage our land, or whether we should lay the blame firmly at the door of the foreign oil companies, one fact remains –

It Should Never Have Got This Bad In The First Place!!!

Why did it get so bad?

The answer is simple

Lust for money

To be perfectly frank my concern lies not in who’s to blame, but in the state of human nature – our mindsets – what we’re all willing to do for the sake of a few million dollars.

Now let’s bring this home.

Yep. That’s right – bringing this to your front door – and mine.

My dear friend Lanre explained something to me this morning.

“When you allow your mood and emotions to be determined by the amount you have in your bank account you are allowing mammon to be your God. But when you remain faithful, grateful, and trusting in God no matter what, then you are walking in the spirit and not the flesh; thereby allowing the Almighty and living God to be your God.”

Pause for thought anyone????

Deep breath

So what to do?

I’m not saying we should all just sit at home and not face up to our financial commitments.

After-all we’ve got to eat; and so do the kids.

But who are you going to allow to be your God?

Who will determine your moods?

Who or what will you place your faith in?

On whom or what will you place your worth?

Once again, I have to ask this question.

Is It All About Earth?????

Is the reason you fast, pray, and go to church because you want God to bless you with “loadsa money”?

I’m exaggerating???

Ok..next time you go to church, listen out for the reason behind the loudest Amen.

I’m referring to ALL of us now.

It seems to me that we all need to be very honest with ourselves in order to make a decision.

Are we in this for ourselves?

Or

Are we in this for God?

Do we prefer ‘loadsa money’ on earth – at any cost?

Or

Do we do things properly – with love, and humility, in the knowledge that our real home – our real life – is in heaven.

Before I ask the next two questions I want to emphasise once more that I am talking about ALL of us – myself included.

When we spring to our feet during church services as the pastor makes a powerful prayer / declaration about money and success;

Are we praying to God?

Or

As a result of our desperation for wealth, possibly paying homage to mammon?????

©Segun Akande

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Merry Christmas

Although the actual date of Christ’s birth is closer to October than it is to December, never-the-less on this day we formerly remember the birth of our saviour.

He came in order to give you an everlasting life of love, joy, peace, and prosperity.

He came to enable you to walk in the truth of who you are – a child of the most high, and only living God.

He came to show you the way – to life, to love, to peace, and to your heavenly father.

2012 has been a challenging year for many.

Yes – you may not have reached the heights you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

But you are alive

You are well

His spirit dwells within you

By His grace you can get up and try again

Be thankfull for His love

Be thankfull for His mercy

Be thankfull for His Grace

Be thankfull for your family and friends

There is no greater love

Make a decision today to love others as He loves you – unconditionally.

Merry Christmas to you

Love, love, and love some more

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Now Picture This

“What kind of a God is this? Isn’t that His Son that they’re battering down there???
How can he just sit there and watch as the very people He created beat His Son to a pulp?”

Gabriel looked on in disbelief as these questions terrorised his mind; his heart in turmoil.

Part of him wanted to scream in anger at his Master. The other part remained resolute in the knowledge that His master was just that – His master.

He reminded himself that the Master always knows best; that He’s omniscient – knowing yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

But had He made a mistake?

Had His plan gone horribly wrong?

Surely this was not supposed to happen?!! Continue reading

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Keeping God Happy

As my brother came out of the room I assessed his demeanour, searching for clues that might reveal the mood of the revered and much loved man in that study.

“How did it go? Is he in a bad mood?” I asked.

“He’s not in the best of moods Segs. And you know your report is even worse than mine! Sorry mate. Good luck.”

Not exactly the reply I had been hoping for.

Although why I thought I might somehow get away scott free with a bad end of term school report is beyond me. Especially one in which my house master stated ” If Segun spent half the time he spends in the girls common room on his studies he would do extremely well.”

What happened?

Let’s just say that as well as receiving one of the fiercest tongue lashings of my life (quote- “did I send you to school in the UK to chase girls?!!!”), the first two weeks of that holiday were not at all pleasant. Continue reading

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In Times Like These

According to my friend Katie, “We are not alone.”

Her statement conveys the importance of helping one another through challenging times.

Thank you for enabling me to recognise such a significant aspect of life’s journey.

The bible chronicles’ a compassionate God’s love for His people.

Christianity regards God’s sacrifice for His children.

Christ’s message is to love God with all our hearts and to love one another likewise.

Christianity encourages us to love unconditionally – like Christ loves us.

Islam encourages every one of us to love each other unconditionally.

I won’t attempt to talk about other religions because, quite frankly, I don’t know too much about them. Continue reading

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An Opportunity

Just a brief one today.

Don’t be so jubilant!!

Besides, you never know, it may turn out to be a long one.

After-all there have been many occasions when I intended to write short articles but ended up writing long ones.

So be warned! But you should be safe – I think – just. Continue reading

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