PurposePursuit

CRITICISM

Criticism

Last month, popular Gospel Artist, Nathaniel Bassey organized what was called the Hallelujah Challenge – a one hour worship broadcast on Facebook and Instagram. The programme was widely viewed by thousands of people all over the world. But the Challenge was also widely criticized. I read quite a number of pieces on the social media questioning both the relevance of the Challenge to the demands for societal transformation and the scriptural accuracy of OLOWOGBOGBORO, a name attributed to God and that was made popular in the course of the Challenge.

This post is not about either the transformational relevance of the Challenge or the scriptural accuracy of OLOWOGBOGBORO. Instead, I hope you can see that even the most beautiful and innocuous visions attract criticisms and opposition. The only way to avoid criticism is to disarm innovation and abandon creativity. EVERY VISION ATTRACTS OPPOSITION JUST LIKE SUGAR ATTRACTS ANTS.

So, I want to share very briefly three things you must do in response to criticism. I’ll love to hear your thoughts too. So, as you read, please do well to note and share your thoughts in the Comment Section.

  1. LISTEN

Contrary to what motivational speakers may tell you, it is actually good to listen to your critics. Sometimes, the voice of the critic is the voice of wisdom. This is not to say that every criticism is worth your time. The point is to not just wave aside your critics as dogs barking only to deride your vision. You should listen.

  1. ANALYZE

After listening to your critic, you must now analyze the issues raised vis-a-vis your vision and the tenets of your convictions. You have to be willing to deal with the issues raised in the place of prayer and in fellowship with the God who gave you the vision. Consider the merits and demerits of your critics’ points. Consider the accuracy of their estimation of your preoccupation. You don’t have to spend too much time at this stage. But it is important that you are open to the possibility that your critic may be right.

  1. DECIDE

Listening and analyzing what your critics say is not enough if you don’t make decisions after reviewing your analysis of their criticisms. No matter what, you must not abandon your God-given vision. It may be necessary to re-strategize. It may become apparent that you are on the right track. You may decide to go ahead with your plans and ignore anything else. Whatever be the case, you must consciously deal with your critics.

I know we have been taught to distinguish between destructive and constructive criticism. I think the difference between the two is only important when we are the ones doing the criticism. When we are being criticized however, we should learn not to first interpret the criticism as either destructive or constructive. If growth and success are our supreme objectives, then we must embrace the idea that criticisms are tools for clarity and proofs of progressive action. When we are criticized, it is our duty to seek what is true and act on it. There is greater wisdom in profiting from criticism than in wishing it away.

Blessed?

Don’t forget. I’ll love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.

As always, I call you blessed!

JustPurpose

Purpose and the Power of Persistence

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Photo by Igor Karče via flickr

George Muller was a Christian Evangelist who spent most of his life in Bristol, England and pastored the same church there for over sixty-six years. One day, George Muller began praying for five of his friends to be saved. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Muller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Muller’s funeral, the last was saved.

In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells the parable about a certain widow and a judge. The rights of the widow were being infringed and she sought justice and remedy for the infringement. But the judge was unwilling to assist her, so she troubled him repeatedly and persistently. Finally, he acceded to her requests.

In the two cases, we see one of the most powerful principles that must guide our pursuits and that holds the key to our finishing strong and impactful. This is the principle of persistence.

It is said that with patience, the hardest rock can be softened in the heat of water at boiling point. No one can fulfill purpose without a persistent commitment to his vision. Life does not always give us what we deserve, but with patience, perseverance and persistence, we can get what we demand for.

Success is always the result of a persistent commitment to a purpose despite the setbacks we encounter in our pursuit. Winston Churchill captures the essence of it when he said “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Persistence is the key to maintaining our enthusiasm. Persistence fueled by a vision is unstoppable. Like the case of the widow, persistence always gets its desired result.

Do you still seek the discovery of your purpose and it seems your maker is not interested in telling you why he put you here? I want to encourage you to be persistent in your commitment to finding your purpose. Trust in God and do good. Don’t sit idle. Get busy obeying God and following His daily promptings.

Do you already have an understanding of why you are here? Then keep at it. Don’t throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded.

I will close with words from the letter of John Wesley, written shortly before his death to William Wilberforce as the later faced disappointments in the struggle to abolish slave trade.

“Unless the divine power has raised you up… I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.”

PurposePursuit

Another Joseph

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Image Credit: Paula
Morphicx via flickr

One of the most remarkable attributes of children is their ability to dream. Ask a child what he wants to become and you’ll be amazed at how great his dreams are. What happens to these great dreams as many of us grow up is perhaps, product of our matriculation into the University of life.

Bruce Wilkinson says in his book, The Dream Giver, “No matter where I travel in the world- whether among hard changing Manhattan urbanites or villagers in South Africa- I have yet to find a person who didn’t have a dream. They may not be able to describe it. They may have forgotten it. They may no longer believe in it. But it’s there.”

Every great accomplishments and movements starts with one person who had a dream, vision or goal. Paul says God is able to do exceedingly above what we can ask or dream about. This means that God wants us to dream big with the assurance that he will do greater than we dream. So how do we get to be able to dream big? Here are some thoughts. Your additions are welcome. Please leave a comment!

1. Know your God.
Scripture says, those who know their God shall be strong and will do exploits. Exploits are first dreamed before they are done. When you know God and make him your partner, you begin to dream big because He is limitless and you can trust his pool of resources to bring your dreams to pass. It is as you know God that faith is built in you.

2. Read biographies, be inspired!
Paul was blind yet, in his dream, he saw that he could see. Your dream is only limited by the quality of your sight. When you read books, you are elevated to the shoulder of others and thereby enabled to see farther. When you read, your heart is connected to the impossible feats men of like passion and circumstances have accomplished and you are inspired to dream beyond yourself.

3. Let God dream for you.
This is not push away your responsibility to dream big dreams of a better future. I believe it is your duty to capture the picture of a better future but the truth is, no matter how big you dream, God’s plans will always be bigger. David probably dreamed to become the world’s best Shepherd. God made a king out of him. Mary probably just wanted to be the virtuous wife of a diligent carpenter but God made the blessed mother of Jesus out of her. The list goes on. In all your dreams, let God’s purpose and plans be your desire, nothing will be greater!

Joseph had a dream at the age of seventeen. His mind was soon full of it that could not stop talking about it, even at the dining table. He had the first dream, his brothers turned him down and said very harsh things to him. But Joseph dreamt again. The fulfilment took a while, but it came pass that he became a leader who made great impact for God, serving His purposes in his generation. At his death, Joseph dreamt yet again. He saw a people plenty without count. He saw them in occupation of a land flowing with milk and honey. He saw the prosperity of God’s people and wanted to be part of it. He asked that his bones be taken to Canaan on the people’s departure from Egypt. Can our generation find another Joseph in you?

No matter what your story has been, you can dream again.

On the whole, dreaming big is not about the quantity but the quality of your dream. Dreaming big is not actually about the size but the significance of your dream.

So, I want to challenge you to let go of anything that may be holding you back. See with your eyes of faith. Give yourself the permission to dream big. Let the impossible become Himpossible and with all your dreaming, pray, work, meet people and let your goal remain always to make God famous!