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HIM not you

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.”

John 17 vs 22- 23

In John 17 Christ prays for himself – for completing the task at hand, and for God to Glorify Himself through Him.

He then prays for the protection of His disciples, and finally from verses 20 to 23, for unity and love amongst all believers.

From verses 25 to 26 He prays for God’s love to reign in our hearts so that we may love one another like He loves us.

‘Unity’ and ‘Love’

So what happened???

The answer lies in verse 24.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me ….”

Rather than be where Jesus is we spend most of our time where WE want to be – where our hearts and desires are.

For most of the time we are more interested in seeking our own personal glory than we are in allowing God’s glory to be magnified through us – in humilty, love, unity, and selflessness.

Before going any further I need to make it very clear that I’m talking about myself as much as anyone else.

Satan’s aim is to take attention away from Jesus. He despises Jesus. Therefore the last thing he wants is for Jesus to be glorified. So what better way to get at Him than to trick men and women into constantly seeking self glorification and adulation?!

Hence, rather than being where Jesus is we spend most of our time being where we want to be.

What happens as soon as we make it about ‘me’ and ‘you’?

We become self focussed.

– self importance

– self adulation

– fragmentation

– discord

But what happens when we make it all about Jesus?

Our focus turns to helping and encouraging others.

– love

– selflessness

– unity

– peace

Christianity is not about which church you go to or how many hours you fast or pray for.

Christ spent most of His time praying for love and unity amongst His believers.

Christianity is about one thing alone – Jesus Christ.

It is about what He did for us and who we are through Him.

Let us fix our gaze on Jesus and put our energy into encouraging one another in unity, peace, and love.

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Life Beyond Mere Existence

Each and every single one of us is completely different from the next person.

Different DNAs

Different Characters

Different Strengths

Different talents

And Different Purposes

Nobody’s purpose is more important than another’s.

Identifying and walking in your purpose can often be the difference between living a fulfilled life, and merely existing.

Society tells us that we should go to school, then university, get a good job, get married, and have kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Indeed for some, their purpose is to raise great families, thereby adding value to our environment.

Where does your purpose lie?

Are you aware of why you’re here?

Would you like to find out?

-Identify Your Purpose

-Define Your Personal Vision

-Define Your Personal Missions

-Harness The Importance Of Values And Roles

-Set Mission Oriented Goals

The surest way to ensure a fulfilled life in which you are constantly achieving set goals with ease is for those goals to be ‘mission oriented goals’ founded on a purpose and a vision.

Saturday 3rd August

1. A Study of Some of The World’s Greatest Achievers

2. Approaches to Setting and Achieving Goals

3. Self Discovery – Who Are You?

4. Identifying Your Purpose

Saturday 10th August

1. Identifying Your Vision and Mission

2. What is Success?

3. What is Wealth?

4. Identifying Your Values

5. Roles and Values

Saturday 17th August

1. Applying Purpose, Mission, and Goals To Your Current Situation

2. Setting and Achieving Goals

Venue :
B Center, Micheal’s Building, 1411 Adetokunbo Ademola street, Victoria Island,
Lagos

Cost : Free

Coach : SEGUN AKANDE

Testimonials

‘helped me to realise how I see myself and how I can use my skills to make a change’

‘clear, easy to understand and very objective’

‘the practical exercises made delivery and understanding easy’

‘this course is serious, fun, and keeps you constantly interested’

‘this course enabled me to connect my values to my vision’

Please call 014637417 / 07052156101 / 07036695005 or email
segun@olusegunakande.com
toyin@olusegunakande.com or kemi@olusegunakande.com to make your booking

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They Are Your Values For A Reason

Whilst on our way to a meeting a few years ago, a friend and I had the most ferocious argument. Ours was a disagreement so acute that we both decided we no longer wanted to continue with the project at hand.

But somehow we both managed to calm down, and decided to proceed with our venture.

Just so you know, I was completely at fault. Lol

Why?

My friend is very particular about being on time for all appointments, be they a visit to the cinema, coffee with a friend, or a meeting of any sort.

Whilst I recognised the importance of being on time for appointments, it seems that the ‘Africa Time’ syndrome had somewhat eroded its’ significance.

Rather than recognise the blatant reality of the fact that being on time is an extremely important value to my friend, I more or less ridiculed him for it.

I don’t think I need to tell you his reaction to my not respecting a value that is obviously so important to him!

Let’s just say that it signalled the launch of the first of many fireworks.

It wasn’t until a third party intervened that I fully understood.

“Being on time for appointments is obviously an important value to your friend Segun. You need to recognise that, and respect it.”

Quote from third party (who? None of your business!)

The world will often tell you that your peculiarities are over the top, or that you are intolerant.

Maybe you are intolerant ; and maybe you’re not.

What is important is that you recognise what your values are, and take them seriously.

Even if others don’t

Even if you’re ridiculed for it

Even if some dislike you for it

Why is this so important?

Because before you were born God had already intended for you to have specific values – for a specific reason.

Your values are intrinsically linked to your purpose in life.

Nobody else has your particular character, energy, or otherwise, to achieve your God designed mission.

Nobody else has the specific combination of values that make you the perfect and ideal person to achieve your purpose.

Recognise your values

Respect your values

Respect the values of others; for they were also made in that particular way for a specific purpose.

Do not allow the world to dilute your values

Do not allow the world to dictate your values

Your values are who you are

The greatest mistake you can make is to allow the world to dilute or dictate who you are.

You are indeed special, and were created by God for a specific purpose.

Embrace who you are.

Segun Akande

What Really Matters

Whilst consoling me after my mother passed on to heaven a few years ago, a good friend mine said to me;

“So sorry about your loss Segs. Unfortunately as we get older more and more people who are close to us are going to start dying.”

My reply

“Cheers mate. That’s really inspiring!”

My dear friend obviously meant well but he’s always been one to tell you exactly the way it is.

Can’t argue with him.

He spoke the truth.

The older we get the more the likelyhood of losing people close to us.

But our loss is God’s gain. For surely those who died in Christ are now with the Almighty.

My family recently lost someone very very special.

A pillar of strength

A tower of love

A man who personified selflessness

A Truly Great Man

I am forever grateful to God for you Dad.

Thank you

We always knew he was special. But we had no idea how special until after he was gone.

The one common denominator that resonates through the avalanche of tributes that have flooded in since his departure is that of ‘selflessness’.

He was a man who was always willing to sacrifice anything and all for those around him.

For anyone that needed help, he was a very special ‘friend in deed’.

Whilst listening to tributes from the numerous people that this colossus of love helped was both moving and inspiring, one couldn’t help feeling a sense of….well….a sense of ‘surely this is what it’s all about. Surely this is what is really important – impacting the lives of others.’

As Christians we spend a great amount of time professing our belief in Christ’s resurection, and thereby our inheritence of eternal joy and bliss as God’s children.

However we still struggle to deal with the concept of death. We continue to shy away from the fact that our time on earth is but a tiny milisecond when compared to the eternity we will spend in our real home – Heaven.

Maybe our churches should focus a lot more on what Christ did for us, leading to the certainty and reality of heaven for those who believe in Him.

And maybe it would help if we stop using the word ‘death’.

After-all Christ himself says;

“Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

John 7 vs 38

“I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

John 8 vs 5

For those that believe and have given their lives to Christ there is NO DEATH.

The more we subconsciously believe (and it really is so subtle that we don’t realise) that earth is our final destination the more likely it is that we will continue to focus on those things that in the end don’t really matter.

So what’s my message today?

Simple

– God gave you eyes
Use them to acknowledge the reality of those in need

– God gave you ears
Listen to the cries of those that need your help

– God gave you special talents
Use them to serve those around you

– God gave you a mouth to speak
Use it to tell as many people as possible about what Christ did for us

– God gave you a heart
Let go of how you feel and what the world says, and allow His love to flow freely within you, thereby enabling you to love as He designed you to love – unconditionally and selflessly.

Through Christ Jesus, you ARE, and always will be a LIVING child of the LIVING God.

Segun Akande

More Necessities For Your Purpose Journey

Right, I want you to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now.

Stooooop!!!

Sit back.

Now I want you to picture your ideal home.

Pay attention to every detail – the way it looks from the outside; the surrounding environment; inside your house – the look and feel of all the rooms; the colours; the furniture.

Be very very detailed.

Close your eyes and walk around your house for three minutes then open them again and continue reading.

A few weeks ago I asked some course delegates to do this particular exercise.
Then I asked them to outline how they would get to the point where they would be able to afford to purchase or build their ideal home.

One of the delegates asked me the following question;

“What if it has nothing to do with size or material beauty?”

“It’s whatever your ideal is”, I replied.

“Cool, because my ideal home is not big or special to look at. But it’s full of joy and love. There’s only one step I need to take, and that’s to stop working and become a full time house wife so that I can take care of my family.”

I must confess that I was shocked by this response, not because of its substance, but because of its honesty and simplicity.

She recognises that her purpose / mission in life is to raise a great family and she has embraced it, without fear of what society or anybody else might think or say.

The fact is, raising a great family will most likely do wonders for the environment she lives in.

Not everyone is destined to be the next Aliko Dangote or Nelson Mandela.

Indeed not everyone wants to be the next Aliko Dangote or Nelson Mandela.

We are all different and each one of us has his or her own particular purpose.

Nobody’s purpose is more important than another’s.

As the great anthropologist Margaret Mead put it, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Changing the world starts with changing our own community. That happens person by person, business by business, family by family.

1. Your Role In Creating Your Ideal Environment

The first of today’s ‘necessities’ is having a vision of the kind of environment you want to raise your children in, and your role in making it happen.

When I say environment I’m not only talking about your house or compound, but also your community, town, city, country, society.

2. Recognise and Understand Your Values

If there’s one thing I always find infuriating, it is when people don’t have the basic courtesy to reply text messages.

Many months ago a friend of mine introduced me to a very pretty young lady (yep – he’s desperately trying to get me out of the singles market as soon as possible).

I telephoned the pretty dame in the evening and we had a reasonably interesting chat. After speaking with her, I sent her a text message saying “Nice chatting with you. Have a good night.”

She didn’t reply.

I was a little irritated but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt – in case she didn’t have credit on her phone or something.

The whole of the next day – still no reply.

That was it. As far as I was concerned she could be the most adorable girl in the world and I would still run a mile from her.

A few days later, my friend asked me how it went.

I was a little shy in my response, conscious of the fact that I might seem a little over the top in my reaction.

“Well, it was ok. But…..em…she did something that I’m a little uncomfortable with; something that, though I’m trying to, I simply can’t tolerate.”

“Really? What’s that?” enquired my friend.

“Well…I sent her a text saying nice chatting with you and have a good night, but she never replied. Sorry, but that’s just rude. It’s a matter of basic courtesy. Not sure I want to be with such a person.”

Much to my surprise, my friend replied, “I know exactly what you mean. I can’t stand people that lack manners or basic courtesy. I used to think I was weird or too strict or something, but then I realised that courtesy is simply something that is very important to me.”

In other words courtesy is a very important VALUE to him, as it obviously also is with me.

Very often, when something happens that makes you uncomfortable, upset, or incongruent in any way, an important value is screaming out at you – in this case courtesy and respect.

I have no doubt that the lady in question is a lovely person. Indeed, bearing in mind Nigeria’s more than erratic mobile phone networks, it’s all too likely that she didn’t even receive the text message.

The second of today’s three ‘necessities’ is recognising and understanding your most important values.

Your Values are powerfully intertwined with your purpose.

3. Belief

The third ‘necessity’ today is Belief.

Believe in yourself and most importantly, believe that God is more than capable of making it happen.

I’ve tried to avoid using this example as I don’t want to come across as been a bible basher – not today anyway.

But there’s simply no better example than that of the young David.

Going face to face with Goliath was not only an unenviable task but surely dumber than dumb!!

However, David recognised that the power lay not in the sword, the shield, or even in Goliath’s forearms, but in the Almighty God.

He believed that God would do it and he believed that God would use him to do it.

Remember – your purpose was given to you by God.

He has already given you everything you need  to achieve it.

Tata

Necessities For Your ‘Purpose’ Journey

Let’s get one thing absolutely straight.

Your purpose was given to you by God Himself.

Those amazing skills and talents that you possess are for the sake of serving God and people, i.e. your purpose.

Waaait!!

Please fear not when I say serving God and people. This doesn’t mean that the country should be full of Mother Theresas’ and Ghandis’. Although that really could be a pleasant blessing.

That fact that God wants you to use your talents to serve Him and people doesn’t mean that you are to do it free of charge.

Certainly not!

What I’m talking about is using your gifts and activating your vision to provide a service of real value. People will always pay for a value added service or product.

VISION

I asked a group of delegates at a Communication Skills and Sales course I was facilitating many months ago, what they wanted to be in the future.

I was horrified by their answers.

90% of them said they wanted to be wealthy.

That was all.

No career.

No desire for some sort of fulfilment.

Just loads of money!!

I asked them why.

The general answer was that it would make them happy.

Again, I asked them why loadsa money would make them happy.

Answer – because it would enable them to buy the best cars and build the biggest and best houses.

The fact that they want to buy the best cars and build the biggest houses is not my concern.

What concerns me is that they genuinely believe money leads to joy and fulfillment.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that money is bad.

Certainly NOT!!!

I could certainly do with a lot more of it!! Lol

My point is that having loadsa money is zero guarantee of fulfillment and happiness.

Many of the wealthiest people this planet has ever seen, didn’t set out to become stinkingly wealthy. Their number one aim in life was to add value to mankind.

Ford’s vision was to design and develop a car that every man on the street could buy, thereby Adding Value and Impacting Lives.
The money naturally followed.

Bill Gates’ vision was to have a computer in every home. He sensed the direction in which the world was moving, and recognised that a computer at home would not so much be a luxury but a necessity, thereby  Adding Value and Impacting Lives.
The money naturally followed.

Vision is key.

If you haven’t done this yet, then let me help you.

Get a pen and paper and write down your talents, gifts, and strengths.

Then call those closest to you and ask them what your greatest gifts are. This will most likely confirm what you’ve written down, or in some instances open your eyes to some wonderful things you never realised about yourself.

Next, think of the best and most effective manner in which you can use your skills to add value to people’s lives.

Then write it on the piece of paper.

Once you’ve done this I want you to sit back, relax, and picture yourself using those gifts / skills to serve people, to serve society, to transform society.

Be very very very very detailed.

You now have your vision.

PERSEVERANCE

We all have a beginning and an end, on this planet that is.

You start on one line (your beginning) and hopefully end on another line (fulfillment of your destiny).

What do you think lies in the middle, between the two lines?

Yep! Stress, mishaps, challenges, problems, and all manner of turbulence.

It’s your vision of who you are and where you’re going that will enable you to keep going, no matter what.

You must persevere.

The greats of today didn’t just arrive at greatness by hopping on the 182 bus from Battersea to Chelsea. And if they did, I’m pretty sure that the bus had some tyre and engine problems along the way.

In other words, yes, God has given you a vision and a purpose. But that doesn’t mean it will be plain sailing. There will be many challenges along the way, both at the work place and at home.

During the tough periods, some of those closest to you may even tell you to give up and do something else.

A few days ago, whilst watching the champions league final at a friend’s house, I told him I was really worried that the book agent might not like my book (yep, I recently finished my first book. How exciting!!!!). 

His reply

“Segs, if the agent doesn’t like it then you continue looking for one that does. You don’t just give up after your first few attempts.
The first record producer that the Beatles took their first album to told them that the world wouldn’t like their music.

Can you imagine Segs???!!! He told them that the world wasn’t ready for their type of music.
That guy must have been kicking himself every day for the past four decades!!!!”

My friend is spot on.

Those four lads from Liverpool didn’t give up. They persevered, and eventually found someone that believed in them.

In those desperate moments of anxiety and despair, keep focusing on your vision, keep going, and never give up.

THE RIGHT PARTNER

Can you remember the article I wrote a few months ago titled, ‘What Women Want”?

One very important point I made in that article, is that it is important to ensure that your partner is fully aware of your vision, your purpose, and your determination to fulfill it.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is not the type of conversation you have a few days before, or after your wedding. It is a conversation you should have in the early days of your courtship.

Yes, yes, yes, some of you may be thinking ‘the early days??? What’s he talking about? How can one have such a conversation so soon after meeting someone?’

Don’t worry, I’m not saying on day two or three. But you should definitely give a few hints about where you’re going during the first couple of months.

Why?

Because you both need to know whether you’re right for each other; whether you believe in each other’s purpose; whether or not you can withstand the challenges that may pop up along the way; and whether or not you even want to be around to face such challenges.

It will become very clear whether or not you’re right for each other. And if you’re not, then be objective and move on. What’s the point of hanging around?

Time waits for no man, or woman for that matter. Lol

On a lighter note, what is it with these flipping mind games?????

They’re such a waste of time!!

If you ask most men in their late 30s and early 40s (sorry, I can only speak for this particular age group on this one) what they want most, the majority will say ‘peace of mind’.

In what way can the mind games that people play when dating give anybody ‘peace of mind’????

Ladies, if you believe in the direction your man is going and want to help him to get there, then go easy on the mind games. So that his mind can be at peace, in order for him to channel his mental energy into achieving his purpose.

Life is complicated enough.

Let’s try as best we can to leave the mind games out of it.

I really could harp on and on about this particular point. But maybe I’m just getting old. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?!?!

That’s all for today.

Step By Step

We've all experienced it - God, in His grace and mercy reveals something really extraordinary and exciting that He wants you to do. 

Your immediate excitement and passion know no bounds. 

For the next few weeks it's all you can think and talk about.

But therein lies the problem. 

It seems the more you think about it and the more you discuss it with friends and family, the more likely it is that logic and reasoning will take over.

Within a few weeks you're overwhelmed by the vision and begin to believe that the doubters are right. 

Yep, ranging from 'too huge a task' / 'too time consuming' / 'way too capital intensive' / 'surely only the big boys with the big pockets can do it' / so on and so forth. 

Sound familiar anyone?????

Sometimes, you just need to start small. 

Work hard, give it all your heart, mind, and strength. 

Take it day by day. 

Trust that the God who blessed you with the vision will help you develop and grow your project.

For the past eighteen months it's been very clear to me what my purpose in life is; to help people like you find your purpose and achieve it. 

At the start of this year we held a seminar titled - Quest: Discovering Purpose.

The seminar was well attended and the testimonies very powerful. 

But then I got a little ahead of myself and started thinking too big, way too early. 

Before long the other temptations of life - such as that insatiable desire for big projects started to take a firm grip of my thought process. I kept telling myself that getting the big projects would enable me to do the seminars in a much bigger and more effective manner. 

But all the while something kept niggling away at me. That little voice inside me (you know the one - the quiet one that tells you firmly but ever so gently every time you feel frustrated that 'you're not focusing on the purpose I gave you'.

Unfortunately, one gets pretty savvy at ignoring that voice - until you reach a moment of crisis and have no other alternative but to surrender. Lol

What am I saying?

We're all basically looking for three things in life.

1. Fulfillment and happiness

2. Love

3. Financial security

Not necessarily in that order; it may differ depending on your personality and purpose.

The key to fulfillment and happiness is to constantly walk and live your life in line with the purpose God has given you.

Pause!

Ok, I've often tended to shy away from bringing God into it too much when I talk about purpose - for fear of alienating people of different beliefs. 

Not anymore!

I make no apology for my devout belief in the fact that the person who gave you your purpose in life is none other than God Himself.

'With this is mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.'

2 Thessalonians vs 11

You're not here by accident. 

You're not alive by chance. 

God has a purpose for your life. 

Until you start walking in that purpose, you will continue to feel frustrated and vulnerable.

I know because I've been there. 

Love 
We're all looking for love in some shape or form. No matter how many mistakes someone may have made during a relationship or whilst trying to find that perfect relationship, the bottom line is that we are all looking for love.

This is not a message about love and relationships (be rest assured that such articles are very much on their way) so we'll we'll move on swiftly.

Financial Security
We all want financial security. Having little or no money can be one of the most depressing and debilitating scars on one's mind. It can literally make one feel worthless, especially in a country like Nigeria where money is the god we worship on a daily basis! Yes, even (and at times especially) on Sundays!!!

Money is probably the greatest cause of broken relationships. Either not enough of it, leading to anxiety, frustration, worry, and resentment; or too much of it, leading to shallow and material relationships, with little or no meaning and zero substance.

Interestingly, if you ask most young girls these days which they prefer - a man walking in line with his purpose but not yet financially secure, or a man who is already wealthy and is likely to treat them shabbily and rather like a piece of property, the majority will take the latter option. Then wonder why they're so depresssed and beaten (sometimes literally), a few years later.

But alas, that particular subject matter is also for another day.

My point is this - 

God has given you a purpose in life. 

Surrender to Him and chase it with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. No matter how things may look around you or how deep or otherwise your pockets may be.

There will be moments when you feel so insecure and worried about your financial stability that you almost start to resent yourself and God.

But you have to keep going - plugging away little by little, step by step, day by day. 

Remember, God says His plans are to prosper you, to give you hope and a future.

I'm not just trying to motivate you here people. 

I'm speaking from personal experience.

Right now my bank balance is nothing to write home about. 

But for the first time in a long while, I feel an inner peace inside me.

Why?

Because I've finally surrendered to God and told him "OK Lord, I'm gonna do this thing you've asked me to do. No more half measures from me. No more stops and starts. But that means that you have to provide for my needs. So I'm counting on ya."

God gave you a purpose so that you can have a positive impact on people's lives, on your environment, on society. 

He gave you those skills in order for you to use them to serve people.

He will provide for all your needs along the way.

Finally, for those of you who God has given a purpose and a vision that looks so large and incredible that you dare not think about it, let alone talk about it, I want to tell you a mini story.

A man was walking his dog along a beach that was littered with thousands of star fish. He saw a boy picking up the star fish one by one and throwing them back into the sea.

Startled by the boy's seemingly pointless exercise, the man yelled out,
"Young man, what are you doing?"

"I'm throwing the star fish back into the water," replied the boy.

"But there are thousands of them. What difference will it make???"

The boy picks up another star fish, throws it back into the sea, turns around and says,

"It will make a difference to that one."

No matter how seemingly insurmountable your purpose may look, do not fear.

Just get started.

And take it one step at a time.

Get Up And Walk

As another Premier League season (all-be-it a rather tedious one) draws to an end, with Arsenal once again fighting for that glorious ‘trophy’ of ‘fourth place’, many can’t help but feel that the days of those triumphant North London victory parades are not only gone, but never to return again.

But as I pointed out to my brothers yesterday, in football, everything goes in cycles.

Who could have imagined in the 1980s’ that Liverpool would go twenty years without winning the league title??!!

Just as the thought of Manchester United not winning the league title these days seems quite absurd, a time will surely come when they don’t win it for a very, very long time.

I say that out of the reality of the ‘cycle’ and not out of bitterness or gall.

Honest!

In the same vein there are indeed times in life when one is so steeped in pain and anguish that it seems as though it will never end; as though all the world’s misery has been stored up solely for the purpose of causing you, and only you, neverending days of torture and turmoil.

What am I talking about specifically?

I’m talking about divorce.

Lol…I hear your groans.

“Oh no – he’s on about divorce again. When will he stop????”

The fact is there are so many people going through that pain right now.

People that feel as though they are failures; as though they are paraiahs; that society has not only judged them but also consigned them to endless years of guilt and loneliness.

The basis of Christianity is that of forgiveness.

Jesus told us to ‘go and do likewise’.

In other words He wants us to love and forgive – just as He loves and forgives us continuously.

Yet we christians seem to be the most unforgiving of all.

Rather, we like nothing better than to judge and slander one another.

I recall shopping for groceries in Shopright towards the end of November 2011, a few weeks into the process of my divorce. I bumped into an old friend of mine – a few years older than me and someone I genuinely look up to.

He asked me how I was doing.

I replied, “Actually, not too good. I’m going through a rather rough patch – going through a divorce.”

After his initial shock and sadness he proceeded to tell me what he had been going through in his personal life.

Let’s just say that I was a tad alarmed to hear that he was going through a very similar experience.

He was relieved to be able to speak freely with someone about it without feeling as though he would be judged or deemed to be some kind of failure.

The unforgiving nature of our society encourages many of us to suffer in silence.

Whilst this may seem stoic to some, for many others the anguish of going through such pain alone makes the experience not only much worse, but at times unbearable.

Last year I facilitated a free divorce seminar.

The seminar was a great success, in that it enabled delegates to speak openly about their experience in a non-judgmental environment.

I don’t encourage divorce in any shape or form, and I never will.

If there is any chance that you can mend your relationship then I urge you to do so with all your might.

For those of whom it is too late I say this.

“Get Up And Walk”.

Divorce is NOT your end.

God has not given up on you.

He never will.

And don’t you dare misinterpret what God says about divorce!

Yes – He does indeed hate divorce.

He hates the pain it causes to husbands and wives; and most importantly he hates the pain it causes children.

But He Does Not Hate YOU.

Our God is a God of love, mercy, and compassion.

He still loves you with all His heart.

He has already forgiven you.

That is why His son died – so that your father in heaven can forgive you.

Does God want you to sit at home moping around and feeling sorry for yourself?

Does He want you to hide yourself in shame – forever afraid and ashamed to move an inch?

Does He want you to remain frozen in the memories of your past wrongs?

The answer to all the above????

NO. NO. And NO again.

When Jesus told the paralysed man to ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’ the man, in faith did exactly as Jesus instructed him to.

If he hadn’t done so he would have remained in exactly the same state – paralysed – not able to make any progress.

In the same way, those of you who are going through a tough time right now need to remember and hold on to these words from God.

“My plans are to prosper you, to give you hope and a future”

In other words, whilst everything may seem pointless and horrible right now, you must hold on to the truth that God wants the best for you.

It is NOT the end.

Over the next few months I will be facilitating a series of free seminars, titled ‘Get Up And Walk’.

The first of these seminars is specifically for those who are going through divorce.

Those that need help with;

– accepting their mistakes,

– accepting God’s forgiveness

– forgiving themselves

– moving on with their lives.

In short, those that need to Get Up And Walk.

Date : Saturday, 1st, June 2013

Time : 9am to 4pm

Venue : B Centre, Michaels Building, 1411 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

Fee : Absolutely Free

The King’s Mother

A heavy silence – a potent concoction of the depths of evil and the
inevitability of what is about to take place – the reality of what needs to
be done to save mankind.

Hope will be restored, sickness cured, love given life, and the sting of
death removed forever.

But at what cost?

“There’s no escaping this mother.

It must be done.”

“But why you?

Why my son???

Haven’t you done enough?!!”

“Mother..”

” Is this some kind of sick joke???

What did I do to deserve this?

To watch my son be put to death?!!”

He smiles at her.

His is a gentle smile of affection, understanding, and such compassion.

But there is more to this particular smile; more meaning – as though there
is far more to His impending ordeal than just being put to death.

The undercurrents of the smile do not go unnoticed.

“What….what is it? There’s more isn’t there?!! There’s more to this than
you’re telling me.

What….what exactly are they about to do to you?”

“Mother….I…I’m not sure you want to hear this.”

“Tell me…tell me now,” she says, as a well of emotion seizes her entire
body – floods of tears streaming out of her tender eyes.

Jesus looks at his mother – intently this time.

He now sees something in her that he hasn’t noticed before – a strength of
mind and purpose.

When the time comes she will be a source of strength.

Better to tell her everything now, so as to strengthen her resolve for what
is to come.

“Mother, you are most blessed among all women. For you are the mother of the
Son of the living God.

But you are about to see things that will push you to the very depths of
despair.

“See what my son? See what?”

“I shall be whipped in public – over 600 lashes. I will be ridiculed,
abused, laughed at, spat at, and beaten, even as I carry the weight of the
world on my shoulders.”

“Wh…what do you mean the weight of the world?”

“Remember mother…I came so that you will have life.

I must die for all the sins of the world, so that mankind is reconciled to
my father – He who sent me.

I must do His will.

They will torture me – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

They will make me carry a heavy plank of wood for many miles – beating and
abusing me along the way.

Then they will crucify me on a wooden cross and leave me there until my last
breath.”

“No son..,no..you don’t have to do this.

Why not flee now?

Flee so that you can escape this evil!!

I will find you.

Go!

Go my son!”

“I can’t mother.

I must do my father’s will.

It is why I am here.

It is the only way.”

His reply does not surprise her.

She knows her son.

A man of dignity and honour.

A man that always does exactly as He says he will.

A man who has always known His destiny and purpose, and never for one second
shied away from it.

Silence reigns, as Mary allows all that is to come to fully sink in.

The tears begin to subside – gradually replaced by a renewed strength and
vigour.

She knows her son will not run from His mission.

She also knows that when the time comes she will have to be strong – for His
sake.

She will be with Him every step of the way.

Thank you Mother.

“For what?”

“For being you.”

His mother has finally accepted His fate, and will be a source of strength
in His time of need.

“Get up! Get up King of kings!

Or do you want me to bow to you first???” mocks the soldier.

He had fallen to the ground again – His strength waning.

Skin parched by the scorching heat of the sun – a vicious thirst obstructing
his breathing.

As he lay on the floor, the plank still weighing heavily on His shoulders,
sand in His eyes and mouth, ridicule and abuse all around Him, He sees His
mother.

Despite being in the midst of chaos, as those around her hurl insult after
insult at her son, she is a vision of calm and surety.

No more tears

She finally understands what her son is doing for the sake of mankind – even
those that are presently leading Him to His death.

His eyes remain fixed on hers – as though drawing strength from them.

Though the final stage of His journey to Golgotha will be no less painful,
He is strengthened in the knowledge of His mother’s presence.

Yes, of course His real strength comes from His father in heaven. But His
mother is also playing her part – by His side in this momentous hour.

As the sun goes down only a few remain – Mother, son, and a lone soldier.

Despite the fact his comrades have long gone, this soldier remains.

He relents in his inquisitive gaze at the man on the cross – eventually
kneeling down before Him as it dawns on him that this is no ordinary man.

As he kneels down he observes the woman on his left. The one he now knows to
be the mother of the Son of God – his eyes pleading for her forgiveness.

“What have we done?!! What have we done?!!” he mutters to himself.

Mary looks at him and smiles – a smile of love and forgiveness.

Although he has played his own devilish role in the brutal murder of her
son, she is not angry.

She is thankful that he and his comrades have played their part in what must
surely have been ordained a long long time ago.

©Segun Akande

The Two Princes

Attending public events had its’ pluses and minuses. On the one hand they presented an opportunity to convey how well he was doing – the money, the power, the adulation, and the glory.

In a 3rd world country such as the Republic of Granaria, where money rules, it’s fairly easy to dazzle the public.

Granaria’s citizens – both rich and poor – are easily impressed with displays of power and wealth.

On the other hand there were times when Ethan would rather be doing something else – especially on weekends.

Still, no point dwelling on things.

Another moment of public adulation had presented itself.

He may as well enjoy it.

“Has the event actually begun?” he asked his assistant as they approached the venue.

“Yes sir, it started a few minutes ago.”

“Good stuff.”

His assistant smiled.

She knew what he meant by those words.

Although he had never spelt it out she knew the man she worked for well enough to understand that he enjoyed grand entries – arriving late – for all to see – being announced on his arrival as he takes his seat.

Not that she feels the same.

But she understands why her boss enjoys it.

He had risen from humble beginnings; risen to the very top – now the Group Managing Director of the nation’s second largest bank – Soveriegn Bank.

The press had been informed of his imminent arrival and had positioned themselves at the main entrance of the Exhibition Centre.

As his motorcade arrives, escorts and all, a mini stampede begins as press photographers jostle for the best position – the best angle – the best picture.

He alights from his car to proceed towards the main hall, enjoying another red carpet moment – the ‘sirs’, the courtsies, the bows, the pictures.

Not that he allows himself to be seen to enjoy it.

Not at all.

As usual he assumes an air of indifference.

“Hey look, that’s Ethan Mogambi, Group Managing Director of Soveriegn Bank,” says one of the guests in the hall, as Ethan makes his grand entrance.

“Wow! All the big boys and girls really are here today,” replies his friend.

“Is Gibson here?”

“Who?”

“Gibson Clarke, Group Managing Director of ALL Africa Bank.”

“Oh, ok…yea I think he’s here somehwere. But what’s the big deal about Clarke? He’s not one of the big boys, and certainly isn’t interesting.”

“Are you being serious???? All Africa Bank is the country’s largest bank! Besides the president himself Clarke is probably the most powerful man in the Republic.

His bank has five times as many customers as any other bank in the whole of West Africa.”

“Why do people like his bank so much?”

“You don’t have an account with All Africa Bank????”

“Nope. Why should I?”

“Mate, you haven’t lived. All Africa has the best customer service you can possibly imagine. Being attended to by them is as though one is being served caviar in a five star hotel.

The attention to detail, the display of love and care, the courtesy, the constant smiling. They never behave as though they are doing you a favour.

No airs and graces.

Just a complete focus on meeting your needs.

It’s like they understand us – like they know exactly what we want – what we need – getting things done as quickly and as smoothly as possible, and being treated well whilst doing it.”

“Sounds like I should open an account with them.”

“I can’t believe you don’t have an All Africa account. Who do you bank with?”

“Oh, me?! Soveriegn Bank ofcourse,” he replied with great pride – pride in the fact that he banked with Ethan Mogambi’s bank.”

“What’s their service like?”

“The service is really….em….it’s really….come to think of it the service is quite awful.”

“How do you mean?”

“The queues in the banking hall are slow and often chaotic, and the staff are seriously arrogant. In-fact they actually DO behave as though they’re doing you a favour.

They hardly even look at you when talking to you, let alone pay any kind of attention to detail. To be honest, now I think about it, they are blatantly arrogant.”

“Wow! That doesn’t sound too good. So why do you stay with them?”

“I…I really don’t know. Never thought about it until now. I …I ….think I basically fell for all the hype – the razmataz – Ethan Mogambi and all.

You know what?!! I’ve just realised that the attitude of Soveriegn’s staff may actually stem from being trapped inside their own hype.
 
Their service is so poor. They just don’t seem to care about us. It’s like we’re lucky to have an account with them or something!”

On the far side of the hall is a table of men and women in blue and yellow T shirts. They are in deep discussion as they assess something on an Ipad.

“Nope, can’t say I fully like this Charles.”

“Why’s that Gibson?”

“The car park is too small, and way too far away from the banking hall. We can’t have our customers being inconvenienced in such a way. We’ve got to do everything we can to ensure that we make life easy for our customers. They are what matters most.”

Gibson surveys the faces around the table, looking for signs of their understanding of the point he has just made.

The expressions on his colleagues’ faces do not convince him.

They haven’t got it.

He proceeds to emphasise his point.

“Six years ago, just a few weeks before I was formally asked to join All Africa Bank, I went to the head office of MVB (the cable tv provider).

Not out of curiousity, and certainly not by choice, but out of necessity. I needed to renew my subscription.  There was nobody else at home so I had to go and do it myself.

I was horrified by the state of their customer service centre.

The payment centre was dark, smelly, and to make matters worse totally chaotic.

I remember feeling disgusted.

Disgusted that this foreign firm that had been given free reign to monopolise our country’s television satellite provision, was displaying such blatant contempt for its’ customers – the nation’s citizens – you and I.

The state of that place conveyed scant respect or care for any of us.

I decided there and then that my number one focus during my tenure as Group Managing Director of All Africa Bank will be the customer – making life convenient for our customers.”

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, before proceeding any further with this evening’s proceedings, we want to recognise the presence of two princes of the world’s financial markets – Ethan Mogambi, Group Managing Director of Soveriegn Bank, and Gibson Clarke – Group Managing Director of All Africa Bank.”

The audiance cheers – Ethan revels in the attention – Gibson appreciates.

The evening’s proceedings move along swiftly.

The event ends early enough for Gibson to ask his team to take a quick trip to the bank’s new site – the new head quarters.

He still isn’t satisfied that they fully appreciate his concern about the size of the customer car park, and its’ distance from the banking hall.

As they exit through the long corridor, along with the rest of the guests, they pass a big screen showing a CNN interview with Gibson Clarke.

Charles stops to watch for a few seconds.

“I have one more question for you Mr. Clarke.”

“Just one???” laughs Gibson Clarke.

The interviewer laughs along with him, before asking,

“What drives you?”

“Hmmm…you know, every single one of us – human beings – has an inate desire for power and adulation. Nobody can claim not to have this desire embedded in them somewhere.

But the biggest gift, and indeed the greatest power of all is one’s ability to serve others – one’s ability to make life better for those around him.

That’s what drives me.

Making life better for others.”

Charles nods his head in agreement, smiles, and continues walking.

He now appreciates his boss’s concern about the size and location of the bank’s customer car park.

©Segun Akande