P SQUARED AND TYLER PERRY

So I saw a tweet yesterday; one of the Okoyes (P Squared) tweeted something about welcoming someone/something on bored (board). Someone else tweeted in response, “Rich but lack education” following which he was promptly blocked. But this is my thrust, and I’ve wondered this many times. Why do people consistently seem to look for ways to knock celebs down a peg or two? It baffles me.

I remember when Karen just won BBA; it seemed like some people got on twitter to identify, highlight and then mercilessly mock her grammatical errors. Which was amusing because basically, this woman just won a couple of hundred thousand dollars using a formidable combination of skills and displaying some very impressive PR strategies…and we’re mocking her because her English isn’t great? I see…

I thought the same with the PSquare tweet. Those guys may not be the most eloquent, but they have created a multimillion dollar business empire with sweat, complicated dance moves and songs so simple that the average 2 year old can sing them with ease. We mock them, and then when we are done, we hear Personally and attempt to twist our bodies into painful contortions in a bid to dance along…reinforcing the success of their business strategies and helping to make them even richer; again, I see…

Now I’m not talking about good natured yabs…those are perfectly normal and should even be expected. If as a public figure no one is yabbing you, you are not yet visible, but the relentless aggression, mockery and so on…well in my opinion it is more reflective of the speaker than the one spoken of. Just putting that out there.

Next…TD Jakes, Tyler Perry, the million dollars and the anointing…

So I popped over to Bella this afternoon and there was a piece on the topics listed above. If you haven’t read it, just click here.

Anyway in the comments section, some people were arguing about whether it was proper or not and so on and so forth and some people made comments to the effect that “Well, I’m a regular person, would TD Jakes let me lay hands on him? I bet he wouldn’t; Tyler Perry donated 1 million dollars and so TD Jakes let him; it was purely mercenary”

I’d like to share my opinion on this

Tyler Perry might have gotten that access because of his position, but that doesn’t make TD Jakes mercenary…it’s just the reaffirmation of a basic fact of life. The first part of Proverbs 18:16 says that a man’s gift makes room for him. Now I have always interpreted that verse 2 ways – first that a man’s ability or talent will create opportunities for him, but also very literally, that a gift in your hands will create opportunities for you. It is common practice – if you’re meeting someone that you admire or seek access to, you put together a gift (not a bribe please), an expression of their value in your eyes, it helps to make the right impression…also, when companies are trying to gain a new client, they will often put together gift baskets filled with selections from a carefully researched list of said potential client’s personal preferences and send them “With their sincere regards”…anyway I digress.

My point is, any way you choose to look at it, it is life – access is created based on what you carry – inside and outside. Alhaji Dangote can make a request of any government in Africa and see it granted, simply because of the immense weight he carries, and the possibilities that open based on acquaintance with him.

Even as we are, there are certain people who have more access in our lives than others, simply because of their position on our personal scale.

Was TD Jakes so overwhelmed by the $1 million cheque that he was willing to let Tyler Perry do anything he felt like? I think not. But did Tyler Perry’s gift create an opportunity or an environment for him to do something out of the ordinary? I believe so.

There’s a difference.

It’s a bit…maybe naïve..maybe unkind, to simply reduce Tyler Perry’s leeway to the money that he gave…it goes beyond that. He has leveraged his every gift to the fullest and continues to do so, and it has granted him access.

I do not wish to get close enough to TD Jakes to lay hands on him, but I do intend to hone my gifts and skills to the extent that when I need to walk into certain circles or have to get something or the other done, I will be assured that those doors of access will be opened to me.

Simple.

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#PornAgainChristian by Reverend Olamide Craig

Menoword’s note: I follow an incredible minister called Rev Craig and he posted some tweets yesterday night that impacted me very deeply. I got his kind permission to put all his tweets together and create a blog post. The only editing I have done is to remove the words “young men” from the second sentence in the post. Please read this post with an open heart, I hope that it will bless you. And don’t think that this only relates to porn – I learned many of these lessons while struggling with financial responsibility – it applies across the board to anything that anyone might be struggling with and also contains wonderful lessons on generally living a victorious Christian life. You can find Rev Craig on Twitter @RevDrCraig or check out his blog at  http://olamidecraig.wordpress.com 

Enjoy: 

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of mine on a thorny issue. Pornography.  A vast number of Christians are struggling with various forms of online porn. A friend talked to me about his struggle, and as I listened to him share his story, I smiled. I smiled because it reminded me of my own struggle.

So tonight, I want to share with you my story, not his. Its easy for preachers to tell other peoples stories. But how about ours?

I picked up my first Playboy™magazine when I was in primary school. I flipped through the pages with a combination of curiosity and disinterest. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But a seed had been sown, and its roots would take hold of the soil of my soul to bud much later in my adolescence. By the time I was a teenager, I was familiar with all the American, British and French porn magazines. It was much harder then. There were no phones, there was no internet. You had to sneak around with glossy magazines and hope that no one knew that under the Good Housekeeping or Ebony magazine was Penthouse or Oui or Nuts. All this while I was a committed believer, I did all I could to please the Lord, but I still had this one issue.

And then one day, I got called to leadership in my secondary school fellowship and went from Usher to President. I was sure God had made a mistake. Surely there were others better than me.  I tried to stop, I wanted to fulfill my role as President with a clear conscience. The harder I tried, the deeper I fell. Ministry was great. Souls were being saved. The fellowship was growing. Lives were being transformed, still I was stuck. Mind you, it wasn’t all consuming at the time. I’d probably steal a glance once or twice a month but the guilt that followed was like a crushing stone that stayed on my shoulder and stuck wt me for months and months; it didn’t matter if I hadn’t touched a magazine in months. I always carried around a sense of guilt and shame.In between I would be fine. All would seem perfect in my life again. Then one glance would bring it all crashing down. I won a temporary battle while I was in SS3. Hadn’t slipped for months. I realize now that I was too busy with WAEC  

Then we passed out of high school. I had handed over the ministry. There was no more need to be accountable…and the passions came back like a vengeance.  Before University, I did JAMB 5 times and in that period of depression and hopelessness, pornography became my escape; what had once been a once a month slip became a daily obsession.  Just before my 5th JAMB, I remember going to the roof of Anglican Church on 21 road in Festac and crying out to God. My life was in a mess and I desperately needed him to show up and sort me out. And I remember God telling me how much he loved me and how he had great plans for me. How will I ever make it I asked. All my mates were in school, I was still at home. My faith was a mess. I was a mess. And I heard words that I would NEVER forget. “Stop trying to fix it on your own, my grace is sufficient for you”  

Within that year, I joined FECA where I got my faith on track, passed JAMB, and got into the University of Ibadan. The things I learnt that year became the basis of the ministry I founded when I was just a 21 year old 100L student. Dianoia Foundation and Club Chayil over the past 11 years have since preached the message of sexual purity to thousands  

How did I break free from pornography? All I needed to do was let the Holy Spirit help me.  

The biggest mistake Christians make is trying to use discipline or strong will to keep away from sin. It NEVER works. Sin will always have the upper hand if combated in the flesh. Only GRACE through the Holy Spirit can win over sin  

Second I had to refuse to elevate that one sin above any others. The devil tries to make us feel one sin is worse… and so for as long as I hadn’t viewed porn, I could lie and be unchristian in so many other ways but wouldn’t feel it simply because I had hinged my acceptance in Gods eyes on whether I had viewed porn or not. The Holy Spirit taught me that in his sight, all Sin was as bad as the next. Murder. Lust. Lies. Same thing!  Once I learnt godly sorry for ALL my sins whether they were lustful or not, I realised how truly sinful I was and it was here that righteousness made sense to me. Jesus told me he had forgiven ALL my sins, and given me a new robe. I was righteous not because of what I had done, or didn’t do, but because of what he had done.  

Finally, SIN THRIVES IN SECRECY! If you want to be free you have to open up and let the light in. Tell someone!  Find a mature Christian and tell them your struggle. It’s one of the most important steps on your road to recovery. If you keep it hidden, it will grow. If you bring it out of the darkness, it will die. I promise you. Trust me!  Same goes for fornication and adultery. Expose the sin and it will wither conceal it and it will grow  

I’ve shared this so that you can know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is help for you in God and he has not abandoned you  God bless you tweet fam!  

Thank you to all those who DM’d to share their struggle or to ask for prayer or to just say thanks… The feedback has been phenomenal.

Someone asked me how my journey’s been. “Has it been plain sailing since you started preaching sexual purity?”  It would be so easy to say that I’ve never touched the stuff again and strut around in a toga of self righteousness. Let me tell you as it is! This is a lifelong battle. There is no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. Once lust has occupied a room in your heart in the past, he will ALWAYS come back to see if there’s a spare room and when he comes back, you bet he’s come with family and friends and he’s gonna ask for the penthouse suite  

I thought it was a war that I had won once and for all. That I had defeated that enemy and he was finished. Your freedom has to be fought for daily. What you won was one battle. There is still a long war.  

I’m still fighting and wining my battle against porn. Its a tough one and sometimes I am valiant, sometimes I am not.  And you best believe that its so much easier to access porn now than it was when I won my first battle. I remember burning all my Playboy™mags with great fanfare ☺ No one buys Playboy magazines anymore. Porn is now online; no need to hide in a corner with a bulky magazine, or hide stacks of old issues under your mattress. One click and boom

But there is GOOD NEWS! The power that rescued me then is still potent enough to rescue me now. Hallelujah! And if you let Him, he can rescue you too.  

Lust is not gender specific folks. He destroys as many men as he does women. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you’re the only one! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

Same goes for masturbation, fornication, adultery. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sin thrives in secrecy. Break the yoke. Be free!  Jesus died for all your sins including this one. His blood has cleansed you. Take your stand daily. This war can be won  

God bless you twit fam! Have a blessed day.

olamidecraig.wordpress.com

 

DAY 23 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Guys I couldn’t type yesterday. I went on a communication log out. Abandoned my phone, BBM, Twitter, email….everything. I just couldn’t. I think I’ve just spent too many days studying and researching. I needed a break.

Ok, I’m going to do something different today…

I had a dream some time ago…now I never remember my dreams, so when I do, I treat them as significant. So anyway I had this dream yeah…I was in a market, hadn’t bought anything yet. Then someone came up to me and handed me a bag…she was very excited and assured me that it was a gift and she was giving it to me absolutely free! So I opened it, and it was a bag of bones…you know like when the butcher has scraped all the meat off and there is nothing left. I was puzzled, didn’t understand why she felt it was a big deal. She kept on insisting that she was giving them to me free. Finally, I thanked her and she left.

I was puzzled and quite insulted, was wondering why she was trying to make me feel that these bones were a big deal. I finally concluded that I would use them to make stock. However, when I opened the bag again, the bones had turned to a bag of maize or millet seeds (they looked like maize, but in my dream I called them millet) and I realized that this was much better, because I could plant them and get a huge harvest.

Now this is the thought I woke up with – sometimes, people will bring things into your life and try to make you think that they are a big deal. even though these things bring no value to you. However, God is able to take whatever rubbish comes into your life, and can turn it into something awesome, something of value or of infinitely greater promise.

I am grateful for the promise that everything has for me. That no matter what bad I encounter, no matter what mess happens, no matter what bad I have to deal with, God is able to take that, and transform it into something that will produce a great payoff for me. And that gives me rest and great peace.

Ok, I’m off now. I’m at the Heinrich Boell workshop on resource governance (I intend to tell you guys all about this shortly) awesome experience; I’m learning so much and meeting so many accomplished people. Yesterday we talked about Oil and Gas, today we’re discussing something new… I’ll post my gratitude thoughts for today later in the evening. Have an awesome day people. God bless you!

 

DAY 9 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

I didn’t feel grateful this morning; I felt angry and disoriented and unhappy and…well, you get my drift.

Today was one of those days where you just want to stay in bed and sleep…

After some hours in the office, I needed to pop out to run some errands, and there was some seriously crazy traffic on the road. But instead of spoiling my mood, the combination of blaring horns and suffocating heat and (probably petrol fumes), got me to a very Zen place. Somewhere on the road to Wuse Market, I realised that I was at peace again, happy and centred again. By the time I got back to the office, I was a little light headed from dehydration, but I was good. So today, I am grateful for maddening, infuriating traffic.

Despite that sha, I have never been so grateful to have a day end as I was today. I was sleepy, tired and just needed to be somewhere else. So, I am grateful for the work day that ended just as I needed it to.

Third, hmmm…what do I pick? Is it the staff members who thoughtfully and kindly brought me snacks and drinks from a birthday party in their class, or the way the Holy Spirit came to my aid to ensure that I still got an incredible amount of work done? I could talk about today’s service in church, my Pastor was on fire today, she spoke, preached, prayed and declared…I literally felt things shift. Or maybe I should talk about the joy I felt when I was standing with my siblings at the door to my room, chatting and laughing, no quarrels or squabbles, no power play, just love and enjoyment of one another’s’ company. I’m grateful for all of them…can’t choose.

I could say this 5 million times and it wouldn’t be enough…God has been good to me, my loving Father has been good to me.

Goodnight guys

DAY 8 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

English: Orange juice. Italiano: Succo d'aranc...

My orange juice doesn’t look so ajeboish, but it is still awesome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So I’m sitting here, drinking a bottle of fresh orange juice, with the scent from my scented candle wafting ever so gently in the room and I am in a very good place. I should be in a good place after using about 15 minutes and 5 matchsticks to light the candle…I avoid matches biko. So my room smells of Wild Pansies and I’m contemplating bringing my Chocomilo over to make my joy full.

 

First off, I’m grateful for the fresh juice I got; 2 bottles of freshly squeezed juice, a gift from a very thoughtful vendor at the end of the term. I’m always so excited when people give me stuff…it means they thought of me and that gives me the warm fuzzies. So I’m grateful for fresh juice (I feel so healthy) and I’m grateful for the thoughtful person who gave it to me.

 

Second, I looked at my boss today; she drives us pretty hard and sometimes, I get tired and angry, but today I reflected on how wonderful it was that I have a job that challenges me…I find myself viewing my work through her eyes to get insight into what needs to be fixed, changed, modified…simply put, I can only get better…I like the fact that there is something more that I can do or learn…it’s pushing me even further into excellence.

 

Finally, I had a need that was met, very quietly, no fuss and beyond my expectations. I had worried a bit about how I would sort it out, but God whispered peace to my heart and later on I got my answer…and I’m grateful.

 

Jara one – I’m grateful for unknowns. Not knowing things used to make me nervous, but then life threw a lot of unknowns my way, and I learnt that life isn’t always a carefully planned trip, sometimes you have no idea what’s around the next corner and you cannot refuse to move forward because you don’t know what’s ahead. The things I don’t know are building my faith..I’m getting better at going to God with a situation or a thought and turning it over to Him, trusting that the answers will be what is best for me.

 

I have a good life guys…I will say this 5 million times. Today someone reminded me of words I said to her 5 years ago, words I had forgotten, but she held on to them, never forgot..I don’t know sha…why God covers me with so much regard, but I am grateful for the honour He bestows on me, for the peace in my heart and the smile on my face.

 

DAY 5 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

So I’m sitting here, chewing on some kidneys and gizzards, and totally trying to ignore the fact that I should not be eating after 7pm on this my healthy eating plan for July. I really wanted a salad but all I got was suya so *shrug* I’ll eat 2 mangoes tomorrow to make up for it

Today overwhelmed me guys…really, I was just wowed by all the beautiful things that came my way:

First, one of my kids sent me a really sweet message, and it totally set the tone for my day. It said “Ms Arit, thank you for helping to make my dreams possible”. I was just bowled over by this 7 year old who thought I was such a big deal. It humbles me, and I was (and still am) very humbled by the message

Second, I’m grateful that today is Friday. Biko, this week has been a long one and I’m excited about the fact that I can stay in bed for an extra couple of hours tomorrow. I’m grateful for Fridays and even more grateful for Saturday mornings!

Third, I got another card with a message that said “Thank you so much for listening, talking and being a shoulder to cry on. You are a blessing” Now this is a big deal because sometimes, I  get tired of being the go-to guy. People come over, they need help, want me to talk to someone, want to talk to someone…sometimes it isn’t very convenient. But today’s message reminded me of why I do it, why I should continue, why I should be grateful, because it is an opportunity to be a blessing, not a burden.

In addition to these things, I am grateful for these:

* Messages on Twitter this morning that reminded me of God’s grace and its availability to me. God’s enabling and abundant grace that doesn’t judge or diminish me. Grace that accepts me because it knows me and loves me regardless.

* I got an opportunity to put a smile on some people’s faces today, and it was humbling, especially because both times, I actually took the time to pray for direction before I acted. So I knew that I was doing God’s heart as I did.

* I’m grateful for the beautiful bottle of perfume someone gave me today – totally unexpected. It was a lovely surprise.

* Today at work, I had the opportunity to run around with a water gun, get people drenched and get drenched in turn. I let my hair down…and then I got it very wet, but I had a totally fun and relaxing Friday. How many people can say that they get to do that at work huh?

Today was an incredible day, my heart is full and I am happy and very grateful. I am a very blessed woman.

 

A LITTLE BIT OF A RANT

I’m truly sorry that I’ve been away for so long. I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks. Hope you and yours have been well

I’m deeply unhappy as I write; I’m almost heartsick. Nigeria is trying to break my heart. Over the last month or two, people on Twitter have been asked to raise almost 20 million Naira for 4 different people with different ailments. First it was #SaveOke, then #SaveFunmi, now we’re trying to #Save both Meka and Debbie; and all I can think is, where does this end?

For every Funmi or Debbie or Meka or Oke with enough media savvy friends to work to raise money to save their lives, there are millions of other Nigerians, suffering agony from one ailment or the other, waiting for death, with no one to start a #Save campaign for them. Where does it stop?

Why is it so hard for us to develop basic healthcare in Nigeria? Going to the hospital is no guarantee of a diagnosis, much less correct treatment. We have people in charge of this nation’s health, people whose jobs it is to craft policies that will make good quality healthcare available for all. Where are these people? How many Nigerians will die before our health sector gains the transformation it needs? How many more will we lose?

I was chatting with a friend about Debbie and she told me something that shocked me. She carries out a specific medical test routinely when she travels to the US for check-ups –I don’t remember the name, but it is a routine test for her age. She couldn’t travel for her check-up at some point and so went to a “good” hospital here in Nigeria to do her tests. Upon scanning her list of required tests, she noticed that this routine test was not on the list. When she asked her doctor why, he said to her “but you don’t need it, you’re ok aren’t you?”

I avoid hospitals like the plague. On one trip, I was admitted with a very bad migraine. The doctor did a blood test and prescribed malaria medication. This wouldn’t have been a big deal if the nurse on duty had not come in 5 minutes before to tell me that there had been no malaria parasites in my blood. On another occasion, I went to a hospital suffering an allergic reaction. I was prescribed malaria medication “just in case”, despite my assurances that I knew I didn’t have malaria. I endured 3 days of itching like a nutcase and liberally coating myself in calamine lotion till I looked like a Nollywood ghost. I count myself lucky. People have gone in for routine issues and did not come out.

I’m not here to claim that all hospitals in Nigeria are bad. There are several gifted and dedicated medical professionals and institutions that pride themselves on a job well done. But I must be honest; it seems to me that they are in the minority.

I’m tired of hearing that so-and-so equipment is not available in Nigerian hospitals. I’m sick of hearing that people are admitted for malaria and don’t come out of the hospital alive. I’m tired of hearing about misdiagnoses and various forms and variants of medical malpractice. It breaks my heart.

Our healthcare is one aspect of our inadequacies as a nation. We have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. People still die of cholera. Ghana has started to ask for yellow fever cards. Where does it stop?

Everywhere I look, I see disillusionment and cynicism from my compatriots and disregard from foreigners. I don’t know how to fix our healthcare system; I don’t know what it will cost, or what it will require. What I do know is that there are people who do know; where are they? There are people who can afford to set up world-class hospitals in Nigeria; where are they? Where are our NGOs and health advocates? Where are the people who know what is wrong and how it can be repaired?

President Obama believes we are the world’s next economic success story, and so I look around me – at bad roads, at epileptic power, and hospitals with neither doctors nor medication, at the waste of our natural resources and policies that no one bothers to explain to the average person.

I look around and fight the urge to weep. It’s hard to keep believing in the possibilities of Nigeria. It’s so hard.

How long will we #Save people? Until we become jaded and stop caring? Until someone decides that it would make a good scam and spoils it for everyone else?

How long will we continue to patch what is very obviously a very broken state of affairs?

When will we start the process to #SaveNigeria’s healthcare?