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Inspired Twice…

by Chukwudi Adepoju…

“Enough? Yes, You Are!” – by Chukwudi Adepoju

ENOUGH? YES, YOU ARE.

There is almost no bigger lesson to be learnt than this one.

And this is not just some “new-age” bs about self-love and your ability to attract the universe to yourself.

You see, I am now a little over forty years old, with some newly acquired grey hair. In this my old age, I regularly catch myself looking at my three talented children, and longing so very earnestly to tell them everything I know. About life. About the way the world works. About everything.

I imagine that this is the heart of every father. The same way Jesus looked at the disciples at some point and said “There are many things I really want to tell you, but you can’t take them in at this time”.

This lesson, right here, is close to the very top of my “To Teach” list.

And the lesson is simply this: “YOU ARE ENOUGH”.

The exact same way an orange seed is enough to become an orange tree and to bring out orange fruits with many more orange seeds in them, season after season.

The same way an orange seed is enough to need nourishment, sunlight, and water, and good soil to be planted in. The same way an orange seed is enough to know that the problem is not in itself or its nature to not produce the right things.

This truth is getting clearer to me by the day, but I first got a hint of it that day at Daystar Christian Centre when Revd. Sam mentioned in his sermon that the devil’s strategy from day one has always been to try to make you doubt what God has told you. To make you doubt who you are. He asked Eve “You are not a god yet, you know! Try the fruit of that tree, you’ll see what I’m talking about!” We all know the consequences of that one.

By the time Jesus came on the scene, the first thing we’re told Satan tries on him is to get Jesus to question His own identity- “If truly you’re the son of God, you know you’ll be flipping stone burgers right about now”. When that didn’t work, he tried asking Jesus to prove something else. Prove that God won’t let you die throway. Come’on, jump!

And nothing has changed in the devil’s playbook.

It is the devil that makes some people wake up in the morning, and start to imagine that “By now, my mates are driving Land Rovers. What natural order of things must I change, to make Land Rovers out of stones?”

It is the devil, and none other, that suggests to a lady of African descent to buy a bleaching cream in order to become light-skinned. For why?

It is the devil’s suggestion that your African nose needs to become straight and narrow. I won’t even be politically correct with this one.

“I ain’t proving nothing”

Just simply say NO. You don’t even need plenty scriptures for this one. NO. God has made me enough. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “I am complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power” That is written in Colossians 2:10, by the way.

Complete. Enough. More than enough.

You are enough.

You only need to be planted, and watered; and very soon, you’ll manifest the good things in you.

Psalm 92:13 says those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. And I especially love that passage in the book of Job, chapter 14 that tells us about the destiny of a tree, especially the one that has gone through really tough times:

“…there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again” (verse 7), and the verse 9 tells us why- “…at the scent of water, it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant”.

Why then should the tree try its best to prove to be a tree?

If you were a tree, wouldn’t you just get yourself planted in God’s house, and drink from the water of His word? And produce fruits the way you know to?

While some may mistake this to mean an endorsement of laziness and an ambitionless cruise down the streams of life, it is just the opposite. It is a call to be you, emphatically, enthusiastically, without trying to prove anything to anyone, YOU. You’re simply being the best YOU there is, without comparing notes with anyone, or listening to any sermon from the deceiver. You only need to grow, and produce your own fruits, in your own season.

You have nothing to prove to anyone. You are just being you.

FRUITFUL.COMPLETE. ENOUGH

Phew, I can cross that one off my “To Teach” list now. Seriously. Enough.

 

“Mummy, what were you searching for?” by Chukwudi Adepoju.

I do not remember clearly what we did as a family on the night of Wednesday 24th July 1985, but it being a week-day in the middle of the long holidays in July 1985, I can very well imagine what we must have done. Ate, watched the Network News, and prayed – in that order. However, it is what happened in the early hours of Thursday, 25th July 1985 that I now know quite well. Because that was the day our family was robbed by armed robbers.

Continue reading ““Mummy, what were you searching for?” by Chukwudi Adepoju.”

“America, Donald Trump and I”, by chukwudi adepoju

As I write this, the world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that the new President of the United States of America is Donald J. Trump, ‘self-professed’ billionaire and political-outsider sworn in to office less than a week ago. How do I perceive the ascendency of Trump and the future of America under this most unpopular President in America, their America? This is my take. It is not going to be short.

First things first, I should state where I am coming from; the values that have shaped my thinking about what I am going to write about. You know what they say, “…we do not see the world as it is, but as we are!”

I am a middle-aged black man, a Christian of the fervent Pentecostal, Evangelical flavour. I believe in God, in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. I grew up the son of a church elder, who later became a Pastor. My mum is a Deaconess. But do not think that makes me ignorant about things outside the Bible and the stories of Abraham, David, and Goliath. By age 10, I could reel off the list of all American Presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Even now, I can tell you (with no effort at all) the names of all America’s Presidents in the last 120 years, and in the correct order of course. With an advanced degree in International Politics and a keen interest in international affairs spanning more than three decades, I am well grounded in the arguments in that field, especially in International Political Economy.

Continue reading ““America, Donald Trump and I”, by chukwudi adepoju”

“Knock, Knock. Who’s there?”

“Knock, knock, who’s there?”

I had come back home from my boarding school only a few days before this. The habits I had developed in school were still very much with me.

In boarding school, I loved to identify people not only with their names but also with their surnames… Olumide was not simply Olumide. He was Olumide Lawson. Bosun was Bosun Peters. Tolu was Tolu Makinde. Not only did it make it clear to whom I was referring, it made things much easier for me in a way that is quite hard to explain. It’s like a filing system actually. Names were not complete without their surnames. To this day, I love to know everyone’s surnames.

And because I had two unusual first names, I liked to introduce myself with my surname. Throughout Primary School, every other person told me that Aanu was a girl’s name. And Chukwudi? Let’s not even go there. In my part of Nigeria, absolutely nobody bore that name. It always led to long questions. Is your mother Igbo? How come Shuku…?

So, on this fateful day when I was about fifteen years old, and still very fresh with my surname habit, I had reason to knock on my Dad’s door. He liked to have siesta at about four in the evening. For some reason, I needed to break that rest period. So I did the right thing. Knock.

Knock, Knock..

Continue reading ““Knock, Knock. Who’s there?””

“What Fear?”

“Eru o b’omo Oloun”.

Indoctrination perhaps, but whatever it was, it must have been done subconsciously.

I want to believe that Buraimoh and his wife did not try to brainwash us all and make us drink it all in, to only believe everything our parents believed in, especially in matters of faith.

But here I was, a precocious toddler; I had soaked up everything I heard around me about God, the devil, fear, the Christian’s privileged access to a fear-free life, and I simply came to that faith-based conclusion that “A child of God need not fear”, or better still, “A child of God is impervious to dark and terribly frightful things” Eru o b’omo Oloun!

I was about three years old when I made that statement.

At this time in our family life, we lived in a fairly big household in Iwo, an ancient Yoruba town in Western Nigeria. They say that Iwo is about 40 kilometers (as the crow flies) to Ibadan, where I was born, but I am pretty convinced crows don’t fly in straight lines – but then, you get the idea.

In the household were my parents and my two older siblings; my dad’s 12-year old half-sister whom he had somewhat adopted since their father died when she was barely three; then a couple of uncles who had a revolving door policy through our (and their) home; and finally my mum’s sister and her three teenage children. My older siblings were aged five and six, so here I was, the youngest in this fairly large household, and I got teased a lot, especially by the youngsters between ages 10 and 20. They were the largest demography anyway, and they were at that time in every teenager’s life when they really have a need to pick on someone much younger and have some fun at the little one’s expense.

But they didn’t always bargain for the responses I gave them.

On this particular day, there was no electricity, and in my mind’s eye I see that it was early evening. I picture the whole household seated in the living room, or out by the verandah, swapping stories of the different activities of the day. My aunt had a small kiosk right outside the house where she sold every-day items, and made a tidy profit. I spent most of my waking hours with her at that age. I spent my non-waking hours sleeping in her room as well. I severely fought anyone who suggested that my cousins (or anyone else for that matter) were my Aunt’s children. As far as I was concerned, she was mine alone to call Mummy Agba.

Anyway, on this fateful evening, on those quiet nights before power generators made their noisy way to every household, candles held a special place in our daily lives. Candles, kerosene-lanterns and the rare gas lantern. Unfortunately, I was too young to hold any of those.

My cousins needed to get something from inside the house, the pitch dark house, and they simply just told me- the three-year-old –  to go get it for them. I must have stood there a while to contemplate the situation and decide a sensible approach to this request from an older relation, a request that every child in Africa knows is not really negotiable. It is more of a command actually. But knowing my cousins and their propensity for mischief, it must have been not only a simple errand, but a setup to see what “Aayun” would come up with this time. Not long before then, I had run around the house announcing to everyone that I now knew how to pronounce my name. Aanu had previously been pronounced as Aayun by my toddler tongue, and they had their fun with that.

So I knew I would not let them laugh at me this time. I knew what I was going to have to do.

I knew I had to either go into that pitch darkness, or be unable to live it down. From somewhere deep inside me; from a conviction I wasn’t aware was there, I knew I was capable of going in and coming out fine, so I simply said to everyone’s hearing “Eru o b’omo Oloun”. They were surprised, of course. Surprised that I could draw that conclusion by myself…

I embarked on my all-important mission, with my heart in my mouth all through that trip, I retrieved whatever it was I needed to get for my now very-impressed cousins, and made my way back to sit on the laps of their mum, my favorite Aunt.

Many years have come and gone. And the passage of time has not diminished that truth. But sometimes, experiences make us think there’s something to be afraid of in life. But thank God for my three-year-old self that keeps reminding me… Eru o b’omo Oloun.

Even if you have your heart in your mouth all through the mission. Even if you start hearing voices from the dark, telling you you’re going down, and you won’t make it back to base, you can stay focused on the mission.

Sometimes you have to close your eyes, and feel your way through the dark.

Sometimes you have to trust that your heart knows what your head can’t handle.

Sometimes you have to let faith lead the way.

I love this saying I heard from Charles Capps a few years ago.

“Fear knocked on the door, faith opened it, and there was no-one there” Ha!

Fear knocked at the door, Faith answered and there was nobody there.

An excerpt from my upcoming book “Before my life begins”

Coups by day and coups by night!

Coups by day and coups by night! by Chukwudi Adepoju

In a few days, Nigerians all over the world will mark (or completely ignore) the anniversary of the very first military coup that took place on the shores of their beloved Nigeria. That coup on 15 January 1966 was a rude introduction to forceful government takeovers, and the country experienced quite a number of them after this initial one.

I won’t go into details about every one of these coups but suffice it to say that for four decades (1960 till the year 2000) there were numerous military coups all over Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. As can be expected in the polarised world of “the Cold War”, ‘the Western bloc’ and ‘the Eastern bloc’ supported and actually sponsored some of these coups in the developing world, but that is not my focus today.

As a lifelong student of history growing up in my father’s library, I noticed a rather interesting trend with practically all the coups and revolutions happening all through those decades. For some really weird reason, the radio stations were extremely important to all the stakeholders. In fact, one of the first targets of any group of adventurous coup plotters was the radio station with the widest coverage. And as can be expected, if the troops loyal to the sitting government are able to regain control of the main radio station, the coup was as good as foiled.

-
Burundian riot police drive past the offices of Burundi’s main independent radio station African Public Radio (RPA) in Bujumbura on April 29, 2015, after it was shut down by the authorities on April 27.  AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

To prove that important point, you will always find fully armed soldiers stationed outside Nigeria’s radio stations, especially after that practical prank was played out in 1965 by a “mystery gunman” who took over the region’s radio station in Ibadan and spent some prime time lambasting the government of the day. (NB: I did not mention Wole Soyinka o, but you can Google it).

Fast forward to just ten years into the new millennium, and instead of only seeing armed military men, you also see multi-million dollar internet surveillance equipment policing social media in the Middle East, in Asia as well as in North Africa. Of course the big NSA in “God’s own country” could as well be reading this as I am typing it. Good for them. The undeniable fact is that “the radio station” is sometimes social media platforms in each country.

The point, my sister, is that the defence of a country (or indeed that of a city) is in the control of its communication channels. Was it not radio that set Rwanda aflame in 1994?

Who is in control of your radio station? That person is your ruler. Simple!

And if you think I’m not talking to you, my brother, think again. The Bible actually compares a man’s spirit to a city. Proverbs 25:28 states that “He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls”.

If the spirit of a man is like a city, in practical terms therefore, the defence must be like that of the most fortified city, especially in this age of #hashtags.

As small as a radio station is, in brick and mortar terms, many governments went to great lengths to protect them. As small as a #hashtag is, it has rallied revolutionaries and toppled governments in different parts of the world.

Christians with my Pentecostal inclination are nodding their heads right now, remembering how they have been advised to be careful what they listen to.

But I’m really not talking about watching what you hear, as important as that is.

What looks to me to be more important in securing the city that you are, is that you watch what transmits out of your radio station. It’s not your ear now that matters, but your mouth. Proverbs says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21). James went further to say that even when the tongue is not determining death and life, it is the steering of the vehicle that is my life. It determines the path I follow. If I turn my tongue left, my life goes left; if I turn my tongue right, my life goes right.

We sometimes forget that Jesus did not just say we should watch what (or how) we hear, but he actually said “What comes out of a man is what either justifies him or condemns him” (Matthew 12:37). By your (own) words, from your (own) transmitting station, you set the forces of heaven in motion to secure your city or to pull it down.

Public relations professionals (and army generals) will gladly tell you about the importance of “owning the message”, or in crude terms, controlling the ‘propaganda’. Both Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill made impressive use of their radio coverage.

I’m determined that I won’t let the radio station of my life be hijacked by any small “coup plotter”.

I’m determined that whether it’s by day, or by night, I will only broadcast the words that will lift me and secure my life.

I’m determined that I won’t leave my radio unguarded.

I will watch my tongue, and make it produce only life for me and mine.

Whether by day or by night, no coup shall succeed in my life.

Chukwudi Adepoju is @adechuks on twitter.

Kętęnfę! [keh-ten-feh] Yoruba verb, depicting attitude, swag attitude!

Kętęnfę! [keh-ten-feh] Yoruba verb, depicting attitude, swag attitude!

I am willing to bet that you won’t find this word in your everyday dictionary.

To tell you the truth, the one and only time I have heard this word was about twenty nine years ago. I haven’t heard it since then… but every time I remember the word, and the circumstances surrounding my hearing of it, I smile.

It was March 1987, and the site was Fakunle Comprehensive High School, in my native Osogbo, that sprawling center of cultural arts and entertainment in Yoruba land. I had gone on this fateful Saturday to sit for the compulsory Common Entrance Examination to secondary schools in the then Oyo State. Hundreds of other candidates were there, and as usual, they were in varying degrees of confusion when I arrived. Confusion as to which classroom they were to seat in, in spite of the classes being labelled properly, and some confusion still even after you have located the classroom allocated to you. It still took some searching to find your chair and desk. Confusion was still inevitable, in spite of the fact that the desks (and chairs) had been labelled for the thousands of 10-12 year olds coming to sit for the exams.

On this Saturday, I had gone there with my Dad and I was glad that my best friend in Primary six – Tee A- had also been allocated the same class as I. I marched into my class (with my Dad in tow – even though I was sure I could manage to locate my chair by myself) and within a few minutes I located my assigned desk and chair, with my exam number written clearly on them. My friend Tee-A was assigned the one two places behind me, but to his horror, he found that another candidate had already sat there. As expected, an argument ensued over who was the right owner of that particular desk…and of course, this drew everyone’s attention to them. Keep in mind, my Dad followed me in to be sure I found my seat and was properly settled in, but Tee A had come alone. As the argument went on, it dawned on us that Tee A had the right seat assignment but the young chap that had gotten there earlier must have decided that the whole seat assignment thingy did not matter. He had found a seat he liked, and he was not going to get up. Eventually, the supervisors came over to sort this out, but the fellow in front of him had looked back and come to his own conclusions.

I had noticed that he had been looking back at me and smiling approvingly. Before I could venture to ask what was amusing, [Okay, I wasn’t really going to ask, seeing he actually looked like someone from “the other side of the tracks” and I couldn’t trust myself to match him with words or with punches should they be needed], he said the word I had never heard.

He looked at me with some envy in his eyes, and in the slickest Osogbo accent I had ever heard – and with an approval in his voice, said “Iwọ Kętęnfę ntie, Baba rę ti ba ọ gbaaye!” loosely translated “You, seat there majestically, your Dad has gotten a space for you!” I didn’t quite understand the word “Kętęnfę!” until I related the story later to my Dad, who himself was from “the other side of the tracks”.

He roared with laughter, and explained what it meant.

‘Sit Majestically’ doesn’t quite do justice to

majesticthe word “Kętęnfę!”,

but it comes close.

And what does all this mean for Christians? For me, or for you?

It was Paul that first started to tell Christians what it means to belong to Christ. It was him that related it to sitting in a majestic place. He started to tell them in Ephesus that “Look, being Christians means that spiritually, we are seated with Christ, in God, far above principalities and powers” (Ephesians 2:6). We are seated majestically, in majesty. Not only seated, we are also blessed seated (Ephesians 1:3).

What is also true is that even though you and I are seated in Christ, we do get tempted to get up and away from our seat. If truth be told, that is all that the devil wants to accomplish. Lure you away from the height he could not reach – that seat with God. Lure you away with worry, the subtlest of all the sins.

Even when we do not stand up, we find ourselves fretting on the chair, wondering if it will hold; wondering if we’ll make it through the test. We find ourselves looking around, trying our very best to ensure that our efforts are enough to keep us seated. We get really worked up as if we raised ourselves up. Paul made it so clear “He hath raised us up…and made us sit...” (Ephesians 2 vs 6).

Sometimes, all we need do is to remain seated.

David the King had said this some centuries earlier “The Lord said unto my Lord, seat at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool” (Psalms 110:1). Simply put, He is the one that raised us up; He is the one that made us sit. And He is the one that puts the enemies under our feet. Of course we are active participants in that act of “putting the enemy under our feet” but from what vantage point? Still in the seated position, my friend – you realise that judges don’t need to stand up to pronounce a sentence. They don’t even need to raise their voices.

So, that’s my reminder for us all today – “Kętęnfę!”

The closest I can come to translating that word is:

“Look, forget about anyone or anything threatening your position. Seat assured of your place in this place. Someone bigger than all of us got you where you are now.”

Don’t get worried about your seat being taken.

Kętęnfę!

 

written by chukwudi adepoju.

He is @adechuks on twitter.

“Baa! He’s in EVERY verse”

If, like me, you grew up in a Christian home….ok let me rephrase.

If, like me, you actually like the fact that you grew up in a Christian home,

then you must be familiar with Psalms 23.

Familiar with it for decades, as I have been.

I can recite Psalms 23 in my sleep, in two languages.

But as I heard someone read this song today,

It suddenly dawned on me

That the Shepherd is in every verse

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-me

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

I’ve been a really slow sheep

To not notice He does not sleep

But ‘cos in wahala, he’s in my verse

That beats being a stray, though in First Class.

Chukwudi Adepoju is @adechuks on twitter.

FEAR NOT! PT 1

FEAR NOT! PT 1.

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