No…You’ve Got to Be Kidding!!!

That’s it.

I can’t figure HIM out. He is somethin’ else. Our heavenly dad’s ways can be frustrating at times, won’t you agree Making us wait when “It don’t make no sense.” I mean who does that? Doesn’t it bother you how sometimes He seems to be talking with you about something trivial like He didn’t see the elephant in the room?

Like “Duh” Jesus, hello…challenges here. What’s up with that?

But, He will be who He will be. The meaning of I AM THAT I AM (Not hating Jesus, just saying). Anywho!

So, something happened last week. But first,

For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city – Acts 18:10

(Listen while you read the rest of the post).

 

God surprised me.

Remember Eli?

Eli asked me to consider meeting Nick, a young Brit, who was briefly visiting the U.S. Nick seemed humble. Honestly, he looked unassuming. He was dressed in jeans, a white shirt, a jacket with a snapback hat to top it off.

We connected over coffee. We swap stories and…gosh…was I surprised. Our stories drew interesting parallels. I went to the same places he had gone to as the Spirit had individually led us. Our personal stories, adventures with Jesus, and challenges were echoes.

Nick was born in Ghana. He had an unfortunate upbringing. Its safe to say he raised himself. Nick was talented and was given a full scholarship to study in the U.S. But, God! Nuff’ said. Nick ended up studying with a missionary organization in South Africa. He interned in England where he was invited to serve again. Cool right? Well, there is more.

I found out later that Nick was actually hired by the Church of England. He is considered an Evangelist/Anglican Priest and loves developing Youth Programs and working with youth. But, here’s the twister.

You may have heard of The House of Lords and The House of Commons which are branches of parliament. But, there is a covert third which is The Synod Church of England which deals with matters of law regarding moral issues.

Well, shocker! Young Nick is the Synod Presentative in Parliament. A few years back, his coworkers nominated him. He didn’t like it. But, God did! And when have we ever won an argument with the divine? Though voting was involved, Nick was essentially drafted in. Haaa…!

Yes, the man has met the Queen of England and works with members in all three branches wherever he (pardon me – God) wants him to influence a positive change with wisdom from heaven.

God is amazing!!!

So, where do I REALLY come in?

I’ll tell you. As Nick and I were wrapped up in conversation, Nick threw his hands up, leaned back with eyes open and exclaimed,

It all makes sense now.”

Well, he lost me. What made sense, I wondered. Nick then explained.

He had a dream before he came to the U.S. In this dream, he was going to meet a close friend he had known who was from Bamenda, Cameroon. According to the dream, he walked right into it. In prayer, he asked God several times what it meant and how it is that he would be meeting an old friend from Bamenda, Cameroon.

And…there I was.

He walked right into me at Starbucks and we immediately connected over coffee as Sons of God and as Sons of the motherland, Africa.

What blows my mind is that I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this.

It was ALL God. 

I don’t know what God is planning, but I am grateful for the friendship of a humble and faithful man who has been battle-tested by hardships, trials, and temptations.

Did I mention that this was only one of many such divine connections I had last week? Yep, God is up to something.

So, wherever you are on this journey with Jesus, whether in need of divine connection, in need of a significant other, or some miracle, hold onto your horses. As you do everything you can, don’t forget to wait on the Lord for your strength to be renewed. Don’t forget to recenter tell Him all your troubles and recenter your straying mind on I AM.

He knows what and who you need. He’ll bring you people. He’ll bring you a tribe.

Just keep developing the destiny He’s called you to, one baby step at a time.

As you take each baby step, divine provision will be unlocked and downloaded to you from the heavenly icloud for the assignment you were born for.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

Diplomatic Inspiration 2.0

Do I have a cool story for you!

But first,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)

Yesterday, I was at a Diplomatic Peace Summit.

The speakers consisted of Sikhs, Monks, Hindu Priests, Bishops, the Former President of Ecuador, Heads of various Parishes from The Americas, and one of my friends, Angel Roman, who was representing a fledgling Peace Initiative.

In attendance were thousands of young people, the general public, and honored guests. Thundered applause electrified the room from start to finish as each speaker gave their 3-5 mins speech in native lingo. Angel’s mother shed tears of joy seeing her 20-year-old boy made his entrance on the International Stage. Quite moving.

Then, came the SHOCK wave that pulsated the room and left me breathless!

This is how it happened.

First, religious leaders offered their thoughts for peace. Infused in their opinions were their respective beliefs and values. Then, they revealed what they each read from the Bible, the prophecies for peace, how their religion was linked in. Weird right?

Each leader then turned that to support their views and worldviews. None of them mention The Name but worked their way around it! By now, it was unsettling.

Then, one of the leaders stood up and repeatedly pointed to the Chairman as the answer and the one who had the solution to world peace. “He has the answer to world peace,” the speaker boldly stated. And away went the applause. Again, unsettling. Who did they think they are, I thought.

The NERVE!

Finally, came the chairman’s turn. He stood up to a standing ovation and delivered his speech. Then came the shocking twist.

God is concerned about peace,” he said.

And yes, peace is a person,” he added.

By now, I was like, say what now?

Then, the chairman punched the air with eyes closed and declared, “His name is Jesus and he is the Prince of Peace.”

I about fell out my chair.

He went on to quote and directly from Luke’s gospel and then proceeded to unwind some wisdom from Revelation.

After admonishing his followers, he explained further, “Jesus is not just for me. He is for everyone. He is for you. Everyone should want him. He has the solution. Let’s prefer peace together.”

Then, sharing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, he encouraged the youth to be like Abraham who on behalf of Sodom intervened for Sodom when he asked if God would destroy the city if he found only 10 righteous people.

Wooo! What a man!

Then it occurred to me!

Where were the Christians? Why were they severely under-represented on the panel and in the room? 

Sometimes, we hide in buildings and associate only with our own. We leave the world to find a way to resolve issues and then complain when their endeavors make things worse.

The church is not the building, it is the people who come together in the building. God does not live in a building. He lives and operates among the people who make the building a gathering place.

We often claim to be people of love and truth. But, the only way to find out just how loving and patient we to engage and be tested by different problems and people with contrasting beliefs, behaviors, and emotions.

So I have been thinking –

If you were given the chance today to speak at international meetings or the courts of kings and high rollers, would you know what to do, what to say, how to speak?

Would you know how to act in such a way that folks in these circles felt respected and allowed them to actively listen and request that you return to share more?

Would you know how to act in a way to didn’t make you come across as arrogant?

And I have also been wondering –

Have you thought of finding a problem that plagues your community or nation with the intention to bring light into? Pre-believers see these things and they make efforts to help. If they don’t find us at the panels and tables wouldn’t they assume we are only about ourselves? Better yet,

Why would they respect us if they enter the fire trying to help people in it and find us doing nothing about it when we have and talk about our heroes of faith who were thrown into and ended up walking about and out of a fire, heated 7 times, unburned? If we have that “superpower in Jesus” why aren’t they finding us in the fire? 

Yes! We are citizens of heaven. Yes, when he appears, we will appear with him.

So what?

Until then, we are still here, on earth.

Who do we think is supposed to brighten the world, wipe tears away, heal the brokenhearted, revive broken dreams, and set captives free? Who do we think is primarily empowered with light and life to make the earth a little bit like heaven? Doesn’t it say,

All creation of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children? – (Romans 8:19)

Well, aren’t we HIS, the empowered ones?

If we are Ambassadors of the Light –

Wouldn’t you agree that its time for us to learn how to be diplomatic in our response to community and national problems just as we are concerned about lost souls? Wouldn’t you agree that this will mean entering areas of conflict and darkness to represent and bring light and peace?

People will not often believe what you believe until what you believe produces results that no one else produces

Yes! We set our minds and hearts on things above where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Colossians 3). But that’s precisely it. We fix our minds on things in heaven, not our bodies. Think of what heaven is like and commune with the savior regarding things there as well as things here on earth.

But wouldn’t you agree that the outcome of our ongoing conversations should be heavenly minded resolutions for both for souls and situations in different spheres of influence we have been inspired to engage here on earth?

Wouldn’t you agree that it should involve God being able to entrust us with financial formulas for creating wealth for kingdom purposes, wisdom for helping the broken, creative ideas for transforming culture and demonstrating the King of Kings, frameworks for national transformation, and peacebuilding?

And doesn’t it say,

“Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Mt 6:9-13)

I wonder –

What does heaven look like and what is God’s will in heaven like? Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty in heaven? Are they oppressed people heaven? Are they people crying for help in heaven?

Don’t get me wrong. Until he comes back, Earth won’t be like heaven. But, don’t get it twisted either. It’s our responsibility to infuse the “earth” around us a little like heaven. It could be a lot of work and sacrifice. But then again, it’s not a hobby. It’s a job description.

If God’s light and presence makes heaven a paradise, wouldn’t you agree that as diplomats of The Light we ought to demonstrate the power, love, light, hope, wisdom, revelation, creativity…of our kingdom in the Sphere of Influence our King has sent us to?

And what on earth are we waiting for even though we already have The Green Light?

You tell me.

Anywho, just thinking!

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Brotherhood

Last night, I was going through some archives and came across this description of the Kingdom of God that moved me and has since shaped the way I approach life. I heard it from John Paul Jackson of righteous memory on his show, Dreams and Mysteries on the episode – The Kingdom of God. It was worth sharing today.

On that episode, the scene begins with John Paul sitting down with a woman. He begins talking about the inner life. Then shifts to the subject of the Kingdom. He talked about the woman’s inner issues which he noted were mostly spiritual. Then, he said –

Because it is spiritual, they require some change. One that begins inside of you more than anywhere else.

We all live in a kingdom and there are many kingdoms.

There have been many kingdoms of men throughout history.

They come. They go. They rise. They fall.

But, there is a kingdom. A kingdom above every kingdom that spans far beyond the limited kingdoms of men. One cannot see the castles on earth of this kingdom because this kingdom begins in the heart. It begins inside of us.

This isn’t a kingdom of politics or economics but of brotherhood.

It has an aristocracy not based on dominance but on service.

It has a house of Lords but it is not filled with eldest sons but of selfless brothers.

It’s not a kingdom of pride but of humility.

It knows no greed but fosters selfless giving.

It’s a kingdom that does not banish the weak but offers to make the weak strong.

This kingdom is the kingdom of heaven.

And in the final analysis, how we’ve lived our life in this kingdom is all that will matter.

There are some things that God wants to do that begins inside of you that’s going to change everything in your life. But it is going to require you accepting His only begotten son.

That kingdom begins with Jesus and with you accepting him and his sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and payment to help you draw near freely and boldly to God your creator who longs to be a good father to you.

Thank you, John Paul. Until we meet again

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One Love, One Spirit


 

It’s the Final Test. Don’t Get it Wrong!

Reflecting on my adventure –

As I near – The Promised Land – I can see it. I see the difference and I can see why its hard. I see why it’s counterintuitive. Don’t get it wrong.

First, let’s see what you think.

In the Books of Exodus and Numbers, we read about journeys. They are strikingly similar and hard to tear apart. In both books, the people of Israel are on the journey which ends in sin and then, destruction. In Exodus, its the golden calf and in Numbers, the story of the spies. In both, God threatens to destroy them and restart the journey with Moses. And in both, Moses pleads for Israel.

Now, the difference. According to Rabbi Sacks, in Exodus, the people are departing while in Numbers, they are arriving. They have left Egypt far behind. Unlike in Exodus, in Numbers, the people are not looking back or thinking of the danger they are fleeing from (Egyptians chasing them at the Red Sea, Amorites etc.). Instead, they are thinking of the destination they are traveling towards, The Promised Land they are about to enter.

One would have thought that as they approached the promised land after escaping many dangers, they would be more relaxed, happy, fruitful, and less demanding. On the contrary., they become more rebellious. Moses becomes more tired, telling God to end his misery (Numbers 11:6) and is now easily prone to anger and despair. He becomes less likely to listen to God, acting on his emotions instead of swiftly obeying the Lord’s command to “Speak to the rock,” INSTEAD OF striking it.

And reading through it now seems like God is calling me out on it (ouch).

Contrasting both stories reveal that –

There are two journeys – The Journey from and the Journey to. The journey to is much harder than the journey from

Often, knowing where you are traveling from is not helpful but still doesn’t hinder your progress. At least, during the emotional moments of the adventure with God, its something you hold onto. It becomes the benchmark for what you are going through. The reason for your anger at God.

It becomes our “In Egypt, we had cucumbers, meat and much to eat. Why did you bring us out here to starve” type of complaint. In the final stretch, the uncertainty of your journey into the destination becomes hard to ignore. The mere thought of it may leave you overwhelmed and unfocused.

In Israel’s case, they made mistakes, had “Too much fear and too little faith.” They focused on the Journey From instead of the Journey To. The forgot to remember the destination. This honest, simple, emotional, and momentary error single-handedly cost them their chance to enter the destination the walked 40 years for. That error costs them the intuition they needed to pass the final test to enter the blessing.

And that test was the ability –

To distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.

On the Journey From, there are often not a lot of opportunities to turn to. One has to depend solely on the Lord. But, in the final stretch, on the Journey To, far many options and opportunities appear.

In fact, the opportunities are so obvious, so clear, and line up so well that if you are still wondering about your Journey From and wishing your present reality felt a little like it, you may miss the subtleties that distinguish opportunity from temptation.

Times like this can be hard. But, I have been thinking. Perhaps the one thought that can help us catch those subtleties and discern the best choice is to ask –

Which option does NOT require any faith?

For without faith, it is impossible to please God… (Hebrew 11:6 – paraphase)

Nuff’ said.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it 10 or 11?

Once, at the end of a conference, we were told –

Fill out these one-page surveys and bring them to us when you are done. Be honest. We will like to know how we are doing and how you enjoyed the conference.”

To be honest, the conference was a blast. I had so much fun. I learned so much. I made friends. And I had a breakthrough sharing the most vulnerable part of my life with a complete stranger who also took time to reciprocate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this leadership conference. The people, the dancing, and two-stepping to folk music was a refreshing experience. So, how could I accurately convey how I really felt? On this survey, words were not permitted. Only checks in boxes. And as usual, the survey read –

“From 1-10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, rate your experience. How did you enjoy this conference and was it helpful?”

How then could I convey everything I was feeling? Selecting 10 would reflect the outcome but, not what the conference and the people did for me. I need to check this box in a way that filled the page with the level of joy and gratitude I wished to express.

But, wait….! I had an idea.

Write down 11 and 12, drew boxes beside both of them and checked box 12 as if to say you score 12 out of 10. You have two extra points. You went the extra mile.

Then it hit him.

Sometimes, we have only a few choices. Sometimes, we have to choose between a bad and a worse choice. But other times, if we are keen, we can invent space for possibilities. All it takes is negotiation the space between us.

Creativity simply means asking

“Why not? and Why can’t I do this?”

Creativity is simply adding one or two more boxes in the context of what you need to do. Why does creativity start with the question why? Because

Unlike how and where, why gives the new box a reason to be, a reason to exist.

But why pose a question?

Questions lift your soul out of its body box, allowing it to leave its current desert experience to encounter what is possible so that when it returns it can be a source of inspiration and empowerment to the body box, helping it expand with time and with pace.

That’s how we begin inventing space for possibility. That’s why –

Never stop looking for what’s not there. Opportunity is also what’s not there. It is creativity that is not apparently there but is. And questions like “why not” help us get there.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

Miracles on Skid Row

If you didn’t know…

Skid Row is a popular block close to Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. It is home to the homeless. Tents pegged everywhere, smells, garbage…and then men, women, and families.

It is home to some good people who made mistakes, good people with unfortunate storiespeople with good stories who made poor choices, and others.

Yesterday, I saw miracles on Skid Row. I saw miracles in the streets. But first,

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… (Mt 25:35-42)

For about two weeks, the Holy Spirit seemed to pull strings inside of me, pointing me toward that end. So, instead of the regular dose of Sunday Service and Sunday Netflix, I decided to follow Him. And the entire day turned out to be one big divine appointment.

Its the miracles on Skid Row I wish to highlight today.

I got together with some folks who visit Skid Row each Sunday. We went out, set up a tent, and just worshiped God with guitars and all. I was told that the homeless don’t show until they start giving care packages. But, as we just sang, they started coming out. Some to worship, sing, talk, and pray with and be prayed for.

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Then, we stared giving out care packages – sandwiches, soda, apples, and water. Then this one homeless woman (in the photo) showed up. She was anything but ordinary. She prayed up a storm and blessed people and us too. Then, I met Mary. And this is where it all started.

See, Mary was standing by her cart on the other side of the street. I went to invite her and she wouldn’t burge. She kept saying, “Next Sunday.” Translation – never. It turns out Mary was broken inside. Lost all hope. Felt worthless. So, I brought stuff to her and just talked. Then Mary said, “I want pants. Do you have pants? Its cold and I ain’t got none.”

I told her I was going to ask but doubted there was any. So, I went back and asked and well, there wasn’t any. Right when I picked up some more stuff for her and walked over to Mary and her cart, a brand new pair of jeans all glittered up was in her cart. I was shocked and asked how that happened. She said, some random person came by and gave it to her and left.

???? Random person ???

As I walked back, a car pulled up and said I got stuff for you guys, pulled out some bread, a guitar, and pointed us to a backseat of Hand Sanitizers. And people, let me tell you. These good people with unfortunate stories love their Hand Sanitizers. They would kill for one.

Not long after that, car after car came by with more food, groceries and drinks. And I was like, is this the feeding of the five thousand again? The big one was roasted chicken. Wooo! It got through in a flash. But here’s the mysterious thing.

All those folks who brought stuff? We didn’t know them! I inquired and I was told they were not friends (but for one or two). Most of these kindhearted folks were just lovers of our Lord Jesus who saw what was happening and decided to unite in the pursuit of applied compassion.

And, I haven’t ever seen a homeless man serve God with gladness like one homeless brother who showed up to serve alongside instead of being served. It was humbling. He was diligent, making sure nothing was wasted. He would tell you point blank if something was good, if chicken bones was still enough chicken for someone and all that good stuff.

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He knew who needed extra and who had a wife or kids to take food to. I really enjoyed how others who came thought of asking for extra for loved ones and neighbors who they felt would never approach the tent for personal reasons.

When I reflect on the privileged service and conversations, I can’t shake the thought that some of these men and women in unfortunate positions who have had to make compromising decisions to protect or provide for loved ones –

may just turn out to be better human beings than me and some of us

This humbles me.

I chose to share this to give glory to God for inviting me to be a part of this and also to share this as a piece of the bigger story we the redeemed have a part to play in.

Lessons Learned or Reinforced:

  • Think baby steps. Take baby steps.
  • If you think its the Spirit. Test it. Go and do it and you’ll find out real quick if its Him or not. Sometimes, that’s the only way.
  • Swift and complete obedience with no reservations.

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~ One Love, One Spirit


 

 

Motown Sister: Musical Analysis of her Leadership Style

Sometimes, you meet people who just light you up. Following mother’s day, I thought I’d share about a woman whom I met and listened to last week. She reminded me so much of my mom.

Speaking of Mrs. Mom, I called and read Thank You Mrs. Mom as a gift for Mother’s Day since she is so far away. Well – she sobbed. Scary stuff. But, it made her happy. Oh…and the defense? I think I did alright. Presentation was good. But, I could have done better on one or two questions.

Back to our Motown Sister.

I shared a leadership framework which I use to analyze different leadership styles called Sharp Leadership which you can use to carry a vision, your people, and their conversation. Speaking of the Sharp Leadership rubric, it includes five core principles which are:

(i)- Tell the truth, (ii) Be accountable, (iii) take care of your people, (iv) give/receive feedback, and (v) be fair

Based on that rubric I want now to talk about a Soul Sister.

Say hello to an achievement model and a conflict resolution legend. This role model embraces her roots and culture and colorfully champions BET’s “Black is Gold” and “Black Girls Rock” theme in her person like a hashtag representing ethnic pride on different social media frequencies. Quite simply, she is – A Rockstar – whose passion keeps her forever young.

Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas is that Rockstar. In my observations from dealing with people, I find that the type of music one listens to says a lot about them and about what moves them. Like a Celt, I was curiously searching for the reason for Ms. Avis glow throughout her lecture in order to musically explain her inclined leadership style.

Though she listens to all kinds of music which explains her love for diversity, I may have been sidetracked in my attempt by her preferred love for Motown which compelled me to express a hint of pleasure during her lecture class. I wonder if my reaction was childish. But, I can explain my engagement as delightfully professional.

So, why does she listen to all types of music?

In the words of the Rockstar herself, she said, “It is because I can hear all the talents that people have.” This was music to my ears. Though her statement may sound like “Old Skool” slang, as a fellow Motown lover, also nicknamed Motown for the love the genre, I am certified to translate her wisdom as –

she can understand what drives people, their talents, their strengths, their weakness, and use it to understand the wavelengths of people’s emotions andRaison de Vivre.”

For instance, Motown beats and rhythms resonate with the soul and the feet, emoting a certain degree of pleasure for life and work. Ms. Avis embodied these. Her disposition was unusually calm, engaging, charismatic, pleasurable, colorful, conversational, and often centered on health, wholeness, and focused on beauty.

Add her second preferred music genre, classical, and one can accurately assume this to be the backbone of another trait she effortlessly displayed which was – a sense of royalty and class. To appreciate the power of her charisma and presence, one only needed to hear the reason for her inspiration.

While working for the police, she worked with victims of crime and noticed after reading police reports that the pattern in assault in minority communities was the result of people in difficult neighborhoods escalating conflicts in order to be heard. She tamed this inspiration into a mission and crafted an organizational vehicle to establish a few successful non-for profits to drive this mission. These organizations include:

·        The future of Policing

·        Days of Dialogue, and

·        Institute of Non-Violence for Los Angeles

Becoming obsessed with serving the needs of people is the distinct mark of one who harbors a spirit of enterprise. This makes our visiting Rockstar a Social Entrepreneur. She is a true servant leader with a mission to fulfill and a legacy to leave behind. One could tell because she kept speaking, thinking, and focusing conversations around ideas and generations, which is the mark of a legend.

To effectively qualify her leadership style, I use Sharperson’s leadership principles to explain her style as follows.

Be accountable: Ms. Avis shared the following foundational principle – “Mediator, know thyself.” She spoke of The Mood Meter App which tracks and analyzes a person’s emotions. Using this App, she checks herself to assess and help her understand how she is doing emotionally.

Knowing how she feels helps her keep her wits about herself and her emotions under surveillance. It helps her remain aware and conscious of how to mediate as well as communicate with her team. What’s even more interesting is how she uses this App and the knowledge she acquires from it to lead her people.

Tell the truth/Give and receive feedback: Because she is often aware of what is going on in her and around her, she is able to tell the truth and use that to anticipate possible actions and reactions. Once, when she was dealing with a dying family member, her emotions were heavily swayed.

Knowing that it would negatively impact her team if not addressed, she told them the truth, discussing in detail what she felt they would see and what to expect in her delivery of feedback, and invited them to proactively request help and feedback while she was still in better shape. Otherwise, she often has a pleasant disposition and is open to receiving feedback from anyone.

Take care of your people: Because she told the truth and explained what was happening and what could happen because of her pained emotions, her team thanked her for being honest. In many ways, they felt invested in her process and proactively prepared and protected from any unusual displays of emotions. She noted that she works with a diverse team of wellness experts.

And she ensures that she verbally appreciates their work, connects with them, shares the full experience of their work on her, and follows up on any pending requests that might inspire and empower them. She told us of a therapist she returned to days after an appointment to meet up and answer two questions on a survey she had forgotten to complete. That put a smile on the therapist’s expression.

Be fair: In her presentation, she talked about the Kolbe Index which categorizes people’s approach to conflict in Modes and Zones. Based on that I deduced that what each person considered fair could be different, posing a problem. But, she confidently explained that giving everyone in mediation an equal access to a process ensured that they perceived the outcomes of any negotiation or mediation as fair. ITUNA is the acronym she shared for her process which was short for

(i)                 introduction

(ii)                talking about the issues

(iii)              understanding the issues,

(iv)              negotiating the issues, and

(v)                agreement. She did admit that when it comes to family, throw process out the door because family is a completely different animal.

When asked to describe her leadership style, she concluded by saying –

“Uniquely mine.”

What a Soul Sister.

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I wish you all a week full of good health and prosperity.


 

Thank You Mrs. Mom

I am currently working on my Master’s defense. But, I just had to squeeze out time to brag about the person who has made it physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally possible for me to be able to do it.

I’m talking about an African Queen, Mrs. Mom.

She is one tough cookie. She is sharp too! In fact, she is so sharp you could get cut standing right next to her.

If I told you about her, you’d feel like you just got served a slice of heaven. She is dubbed the Iron Lady, has one “hell” of a right jab, and knows how to groove to the beat people. If Michael Jackson was alive, she’d beat him hands down on his moonwalk.

Her presence is a triple threat.

But she didn’t start off like that. Mom grew up poor. I mean…really poor. She used to carry me on her back like African women do, frying and selling “Gateaux” on the side of the road. See, I grew up watching this.

I heard and felt her pain, tears, sorrows, betrayals…you name it. Figuratively speaking, she’s been left at the altar several times. But she did what she could to survive and with the help of God, she pulled through.

Both her and grandma would send me out to the streets and markets to sell peanuts and other stuff. That’s how I made my lunch and transport money.  Mom eventually got into typewriting school and got a job working as a typewriter. She went on to work for the Department of Finance. Being a woman didn’t help. But, she took her talents into business while working at the department.

That’s how she eventually emerged successful, beating men at the business, rewriting the rules, and inspiring a community of young and old women. That’s where the name – The Iron Lady – comes from. If kids were stubborn, their parents would say, “We are taking you to Ma Ceci’s” house.” That alone made literally “ALL” the kids and even parents in our community readjust.

No kidding.

She now takes care of orphans and widows and mentors young women and single mothers.What’s cute though is that kids still loved to come visit her and talk about life. My goodness, how does she do it though?

How does she make both – love and terror – seem so casual and fun?

She is a trip! Kids with love and laugh and play with mom. But, when a kid knew they’d done wrong, they ran away before mom got back. Mrs. Mom is a real firestorm, but you’d never know it because she seems so sweet and cuddly.

Listen! Ms. Mom is so loving and terrorizing that a stubborn cousin who was forced to live with her because of her behavior studied hard and passed an exam that took two years to prepare for, in a year.

Do you get the picture yet?

And…Lawd….we had our moments.

Oh yea – an uppercut worthy moment. Like a Mike Tyson type of moment. Mom and I got into it after I graduated high school. Let’s just say emotions were high and I wasn’t exactly a peacemaker then. Mom got so furious, she wrapped that cloth around her waist and well…my face was almost history.

Awkward…

But, she is wise too. She often tells us –

  • God has a broken clock. Stop trying to hurry. His ways are not your ways
  • A closed mouth is a closed destiny
  • Always think beyond yourself
  • Speak forward and learn to enjoy life even in the midst of a mess
  • Don’t be afraid. My life is a testament of what God can do. Keep looking up and forward
  • In life, only 5% of people fulfill their calling. How come only 5%? Because they chose to pay the price. Stick it out and it will be better for you too
  • Ahhh…don’t worry about what people say. Let them talk. They talked about me too. Where are they now? Be strong and courageous
  • When you are in a place where you are not in control, be humble and respectful. Take whatever “shit” is given to you. You have your own time and your “own” is on the way.

There is more to tell. But, let me finish preparing this defense. Let me do “us” both one and make her proud. After all, I’m her son.

And to you Almighty God –

Cause the works of my hands to prosper so that I can honor her even as I live to glorify you, in Jesus name. Amen!

 

I love you mom.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 


Miraculously Lost in Music

Phew! Last week was rough.

So, I forgot to write something in time today. My bad! I was writing a defense for my Masters and briefly stopped to write about what God is doing.

First off, thank you all for reading my posts. A special thanks to Maurice for sending encouraging words and prayers. God bless you. I just figured if I am ever given a chance to tell my story, I would need to be deeply vulnerable. So, “Why not start here?” Isn’t that what a blog is for anyway?

Anywho!

Last weekend, I found solace keeping it real with big brother J.C (Jesus). As it says in Hebrews 10:22, “Draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings.” I did and this past weekend, I found comfort and peace. But, that’s not the surprise I want to tell you about.

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I feel like Groot right now

See, while I was vacationing on the wild side of Catalina Islands, I discerned the Holy Spirit leading me to write a short book for diplomats, leaders, visionaries…in Africa. Of course, I questioned my ability to do that. But, I wrote down the idea.

Since, I returned, in the midst of the pressures and trials, somehow, I finished it in three weeks. I realized that even though I didn’t know much, the more I wrote down or typed what came to me, the more the words came forth. It was beautiful.

Then, I started drawing and came up with illustrations for theories that just blew my mind. I was in awe of what God can do when you just let go and let God. When you just swiftly and completely obey.

But, this is not the surprise.

During the weekend, I was just thanking God in the midst of the tasty challenges comprising of disappointments, loss, betrayal, and criticism…when I got a phone call. It was from Mike, a former Hollywood actor, entrepreneur, cyber security buff..whom a friend had recommended me to months ago.

Apparently, Mike had been working on a project and while praying discerned the Spirit leading him to call me and discuss ideas, find out what I was doing etc. When he first reached out, I was at a loss. I didn’t know who in the world he was. He had to remind me.

Anyway – we talked and he told me about things he was doing in Africa and how he was working with this CEO from Africa and how they agreed they need ideas, a framework etc. to help diplomats engage communities, entrepreneurs etc.

Well! How about that?

I just cracked up and explained that all the questions he just asked was what I just wrote about. I told him of the sense of urgency from the Holy Spirit to do it. I’m glad I obeyed. Then I told him of some other stuff and it just blew his mind.

He’d just been reading the scripture which I used to create these frameworks for gold medal peak performance for business and leadership. Halo! And what did I have to do with it? Absolutely, “rien du tout” (nothing at all). God is good, ain’t he?

Wait! There is more. 

People of stature – Marine Captain, Innovation Strategist, Ambassador, City Inspector… – are accepting my request to review it. How is this happening? Man, God is good. Oh…and there is this Pastor whom I met who is reading it to. He was so kind to me. Our meeting was a kind of divine appointment. Unplanned people, unplanned!

Wow! This is bigger than I expected. God is good. Consider keeping me in your prayers.

I write to encourage you and me to keep being faithful, pressing on, and never –

“Become weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9

That said, you need to hear this Old school jam remixed by Dmitri from Paris. Listen! Its got your boy #Motown here sliding to the goodness of God and looking up, trusting His process, and looking ahead with faith.

God throwing this surprise at me as well as me finding this jam is no coincidence. I  think its God inspiring me to become miraculously lost in the music of His unconventional ways and in the music that is life.

Enjoy folks! Y’all have a marvelous week.

 

The Best Compliment EVER!

Let me keep it real with you all.

Following Jesus is hard. Saying yes to an adventure he calls you to: saying yes to leadership can be painful. Leadership is hard! It involves a commitment of your emotions, feelings, as well as your mental prowess..

On Monday, I wrote about a crisis I am going through, titled – God is good, my confessions. It was nerve raking. Matter of fact, I am still trembling. I think it is the after effect of being so vulnerable with strangers. After I shared the post, I removed it. Then, I posted it again and then hours later, I removed it. I did this about 5 times.

I was conflicted. Below was and perhaps still is the battle in my soul –

I kept asking myself – Have I shared too much? This is too personal to be sharing with people I don’t know. What the “hell” am I doing?

But then I thought – Ish, you need to preserve yourself and the dignities of those included or connected to these struggles. But, is this a cop out? But it will help someone. But who reads this anyway…? Does it matter…?

Too many thoughts.

I am still shaken because I know its too late. It is said that, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It is true for the internet. What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Difference is not everyone goes to Vegas but everyone is on the internet. And since what I shared stays on the internet stays, even if I delete it., people will find it anyway.

Saying yes to a call from heaven is hard. Leadership is hard.

When you lead or are called to lead, you deal with so many secret pressures and pains. Your hands and body often tremble under stress, fear, and anxiety, while you struggle to keep your composure and think clearly. You don’t have answers or know which way to go. You hold onto faith, but wonder just how much you can take and how much more you can give. There is lonely decision making.

Even though people are all round you, you could be suffering, dying, sweating and silently as well as secretly crying for help and those around you wouldn’t even hear it. Sometimes, you wander what to say. What do you tell people, your people? How do you say it? How do you even explain it when it is so spiritual? Where do you begin? Will “they” understand it?

It is hard to be a leader. Harder still, is fighting the good fight of faith on this ultimate adventure with the Almighty. You’ll do things for its own sake and people will never know. You pray and hope for others even when you yourself are barely holding on and people will never know. You’ll fully engage in celebrating the victories of others and wander – but, what about me? Did I do something wrong? Or is it something right? You pay such a hefty price and then wonder, is this all that I get or is this just life?

While driving this morning, my body was vibrating under all the trials. I was struggling to focus on the words of his promise. But, it was hard. I wondered if I could keep going. I thought to myself – this is hard and when I finish this part of my adventure with the Almighty, I am tempted to say to him – I don’t know if going on with this is still worth the price…! (Its – the pain speaking).

The problem with life is not that it is rationale or irrational. It is that it is almost rationale – J.K Chesterton

Meaning, just when everything seems to fall into place and you seem to be getting a hang of things, and moving along in life, suddenly something happens that throws everything off balance, setting you like a chess piece in a box called – paradox and contradiction.

Suffering brings courage ~ President SirLeaf of Liberia

That said –

It is during our lives lowest and most challenging periods that a patient and listening ear as well as mere words spoken out of love and understanding echo divine messages and become our greatest gifts. Such a message came from my mother.

She is a true African Queen. She is wild at heart and her passion keeps her youthful. She is my biggest supporter, sides with God on everything concerning Ish even when she knows it will be long and painful, and never allows me to say the word depressed. She can feel it when I am losing strength and courage. She just knows. She knows things man.

Anyone have a mom, friend, or a person in their life like that?

Recently, Ms. Mom was talking with a friend. Knowing my trials, her friend expressed concern because she was worried about her own children and couldn’t imagine her children standing under a similar cross if they carried it. Without skipping a beat, Ms. Mom said of me,

I know my boy. I am not worried about him. If any of my other children were in his shoes, I would be worried, crying, and shrieking. But, its him – I’m not worried about him.”

Then, she added this gem –

If you take him and throw him into a sea, he will come out dry. He will come out with a smile. No matter how long it takes. He’ll be fine.”

This gave me much courage. The fact that she believed in me gave me courage. Not many people may understand your life and your life’s call from heaven. You may be lonely on your journey to meet God on page 898 in your book of destiny from page 123. But, the words of that one person – family, friend or stranger – may be all you need to keep going.

Ms. Mom’s words empowered me to keep looking at the Master amidst these divinely engineered storms. Thanks Mom! This is by far the best compliment I have ever received.

Enough with my musing.

What about you? How are you doing and how are you holding up, friends?

What is the best compliment you have ever received in your life?

Why did it matter to you so much?

 

I would love to read your thoughts too. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite.

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One love, One Spirit.