Friday, April 16, 2010


Human beings by nature have the desire to feel among and be accepted. Nobody wants to be odd and nobody likes to be rejected. Also, we are normally not comfortable with people who are different; we prefer that everybody should be like us. The implication of these is that most people adjust their lives continuously in order to conform to the demands of their society. In effect, instead of living their own lives, they act scripts written by the majority. The majority decides and dictates the values, beliefs, dressing, conduct, disposition, attitude and lifestyle they adopt. They do this to be accepted and to remain relevant. But you don’t have to be accepted by all; and relevance is not found in conforming to the dictates of a world that desires so, but in discovering who you are, your uniqueness and peculiarity and your purpose and standing by them. In conforming you loose your identity and relevance but in realization and discovery you become outstanding. Realizing that conformity is bondage and that your full potentials can only be unleashed when you are yourself and when you live in liberty. This is the way to relevance. Free yourself today.


Communication is the art of conveying a message (thought, idea, conviction, passion etc) with the use of a language (verbal or non-verbal) to an audience with the intent that it should be understood and produce a certain response or effect. In essence, in my opinion, communication is effective, if the message is understood and if it produces the desired response or effect.
When a pastor (preacher) stands on the pulpit to preach/teach he expects some form of response from his congregation. This ranges from the signs of understanding and appreciation he expects to see on their faces to the positive action he expects them to take once he finishes preaching. To achieve this, he must learn to communicate effectively.
The following are suggestions to help improve your communication.
1. Understanding of the Subject: every sound presentation is preceeded by adequate preparation. Before attempting to deliver a message one should have studied and researched extensively the subject. He is better equipped if he has some experience. There is also a need for continuous cogitation (meditation) on the subject. Preoccupy yourself and be filled with the message until you stand to deliver it. It is an illusion to mount the podium without adequate preparation expecting the Holy Spirit to give you utterance. It is a boring experience to have to endure a preacher who does not have a good grasp of what he talks about.
2. Propriety of Language: here, I mean the use of the proper language and the proper use of the language. This is because Language (verbal or non-verbal) is the only tool at your disposal. Know your audience and what language is best suited to them and the degree of their grasp of the language. This will help you know what degree of the language to command in communicating with them. Secondly, your own grasp of the language has to be sound. If you speak to an enlightened audience, they may not pardon your errors and this can be a great hindrance to communication. Some flaws are just not pardonable. This calls for constant self improvement and language study.
3. Clarity & Distinctiveness of Thoughts: for effective communication, your thoughts have to be clear and distinct. They must not be shrouded in lengthy explanations and abstract applications. Let them be easily understood and clearly demarcated. Your audience should be able to separate and differentiate without much effort the different points you make. Don’t muddle your ideas up. These aid understanding greatly.
4. Good Logic: generally, communicators seek to pass across a central idea in a session. To achieve this, good logic is required. This means your points must be related and there must be a natural flow from one point of discussion to the next. Flow here means one has to develop from the other; discrete but not disjoint. Remember also to always bring your points to a logical conclusion. They must all point to the central idea.
5. Relevant Applications: theories make more sense when applied to real life situations. This means you have to do a lot of thinking for your audience. If you show your audience how your discussion relates to them and how they may apply the points to their lives, you stand a chance of communicating effectively. This means you have to be vast in the daily experiences and practices of different categories of people. It means you have to read wide and study wide beyond the Bible, listen to/read news, learn about science, medicine, law, computers etc. It also means you have to be conversant with the daily lives of ordinary and extraordinary people. Theological education is not sufficient for communicating effectively with a congregation that deals most of the time with the secular.
6. A Good Sense of Humour: this is a veritable tool for keeping your audience and facilitating understanding. However, it must be moderate and relevant. Examples, stories, proverbs and parables that are amusing can be used when necessary to arouse and keep attention and to drive points home. Without a good sense of humour, talk sessions can be dry and boring.
7. Audience Maintenance/Observation: it is important to always carry your audience along. Ensure you do not exude pride and that you are not full of yourself. This puts people off easily. Learn to keep to time; also, don’t babble to fill up time, once you have said all you have, leave. Give your audience the maximum attention. If ever you loose your audience and you are unable to get them back, you have no reason continuing the talk. This means all through you must observe your audience to determine how much attention/concentration you have. When heads are bowed, legs are dragged, noises are made, people start dozing or they go in and out or notes are been given to you, you know you have lost your audience. A good sense of humour and the use of relevant applications/illustrations can help you regain your audience. But if they are irrecoverable, stop. Few preachers have the ability to keep an audience for long and few people have the ability to concentrate for long. It is incompetence, communication wise to insist that you must exhaust the prepared sermon when apparently the congregation is no more with you and the people are merely enduring the talk.
8. Good Character & Reputation: if you deal with an audience that is familiar with you, they will accept what you have to say based on what they already know of you. A life that is light and worthy of emulation is a requirement for effective communication. Don’t be a righteous man only when you have to preach, always be.
9. Appearance, Pitch and Pace: your audience will see you before they hear your message. This will make the first impression and may affect their disposition to you and whatever you have to say. Ensure your face is not scary and that you are neatly and moderately well dressed. Preaching is simply a talk. It does not need to be shouted and it does not need to be hurriedly delivered. A regulation of both the pitch and pace of your speech is necessary for effective communication.
10. Prayer: for every spiritual ministry prayer is the key. It is the best way to make a lasting impression on men and to elicit proper response from them. In prayer, you can drive home your message and get the people to respond even before you meet and speak to them. With prayer God can override your shortcomings and cause your communication to be effective. In the words of Charles Finney “Be full of prayer when you attempt to preach, and go from your closet to your pulpit with the inward groaning of the Spirit pressing for utterance at your lips.”

Friday, April 9, 2010


Jesus Christ while on his earthly ministry made it repeatedly clear to all who cared to listen that accepting and following him had grave implications of costs. These bordered on the personal life of the person accepting him and his relationship with others. He spoke of death using different metaphors at different occasions. A death that severs one from every of his comfort, will relationships, ambitions etc. that is at variance with God’s purpose. Consider these scriptures for example:
Luke 9:23-24, 57-62, 14:25-33.

I have chosen in this text, to make a few comments, not about Jesus’ statements but about simplified summaries of his apostles.

(2 Corinthians 5:15 KJV)
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

He went to the cross to secure our lives so that we will no longer live for ourselves but for him. He wants to detect the purpose for our lives, our visions and ambitions. He wants us to live for his pleasure; whatever it pleases him to do with our lives, even if it is at our discomfort, that shall be our most holy occupation; we will no longer have the freedom and independence of thought and aspirations that other humans have. Such is the demand of Christ on our lives.

(2 Timothy 2:19 KJV)
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

He went to the cross to separate us from our sins. He detests sins no matter who commits them. He requires that everyone who accepts him departs from all forms of sin. Sin is not to be toyed with. It matters even if it looks insignificant; even if one can escape without being noticed. It is grave before him. He requires absolute purity of thought, motive and action. Such is the demand of Christ on our lives.

(Acts 15:19-20 KJV)
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

He went to the cross to secure our absolute devotion. He requires that we abstain from the pollution of idols. Accepting him means we will no longer share our heart – its affection, its worship, its trust, its allegiance and its association – with any idol whether it be a god, a demon, a man or a thing (material or spiritual). He requires a love that is unrivalled and has no rival. Such is the demand of Christ on our lives.

This generation, however, does not seem to have appreciated the import of Jesus’ words. Somehow we seem to feel it is possible to accept Christ and ignore the costs. How be it?

Are you willing to give your all to him who loved you and gave his all for you?



Jesus came into the world to fulfill a purpose. He realized that there was a statement about his life even before he was born – “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Heb 10:7. There is a stated purpose of God for each life. Your life is not just an incident neither is it an accident. God told Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jer. 1:5). In Ephesians 2:10 Paul tells us that we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God had prepared in advance for us to do. You were created for something.
Your fulfillment in life is tied to your fulfillment of purpose. Your destiny is what you become as a result of the pursuit of the purpose for your life. Consequently, it becomes necessary for each of us to seek and to find, to pursue and to achieve the purpose for our lives. Below are some tips that may be useful for discovering purpose:
1. Align yourself to the General Purpose of God for Man: The Bible Says the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecc. 12:13) and that all things (including man) were created for his pleasure (Rev. 4:11). Seek to fear God, to keep his commandments and to make your life a pleasure to him. This implies turning away from sin and a readiness to obey him in all matters. A readiness to do his will.
2. Pay Attention What you Have: this includes:
a. Your Endowments – your talents, gifts, burdens, passions etc
b. Your Spiritual gifts, burdens, passions, visions etc
c. Your Possessions – relationships, education, finances, opportunities.
All these may be pointers to what you were crafted for. Check your inner drives, the problems that preoccupy your mind for which you seek solution.
3. Respond to the needs around you: instead of sitting and waiting passively, employ your capacities in response to needs around you. You may in doing so, discover that your life has a flow in a certain direction.
4. Consult other Matured Christians: fellowship with brethren, share your burdens and desires, wishes and intents. Let others who know you tell you what grace is evident in your life.
5. Sometimes the persons to whom you are drawn because of their own purpose may also be pointers to your own call.
6. Listen to God: above all pay attention to what God says to you. Like Paul, ask him “what wilt thou have me to do?”

The discovery and pursuit of purpose will give you:
1. Meaning and Direction: purpose will explain life to you. It will tell you what to concentrate your energies on and what not to concentrate on, who to company with (in friendship, fellowship & marriage etc.) and who not to company with, where to go and where not to go etc. Purpose is the light of life, if you don’t find it, your abilities and opportunities will be misdirected.
2. Rest: if you don’t find your purpose, you will roam and wander in life. You will spend your life copying others and their methods. But if you do, it will save you sweat and struggle. It will make life easy and fun. It will give you pleasure and fulfillment. It will make you achieve much because you were created for it and your faculties, capacities and energies were all made for it.
3. Divine Commitment and Protection: it is the purpose of God in a man’s life that he blesses and protects and it is the blessing of God that makes rich and add no sorrow. To every person that found his purpose in the Bible, from the patriarchs to the apostles God promised “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
4. Relevance on Earth: everyman’s relevance is tied to the problem he solves for others. If you pursue the purpose for your life, naturally, you will become a solution provider. Men will recognize you and flock to you. Then you will have opportunity to affect them positively.
5. Eternal Reward: our reward after our lives on earth will be based on how much we are able to do of the sum of what we were created for. Rewards will not be based on how much we achieved but how much of what we were created to achieve.

In his days on earth Jesus said “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Life is short, opportunities are passing, time is being lost, you cannot afford to wait, you cannot afford to waste. In the words of a songwriter “when to the Lord we restore our talents, will he answer thee well done?”