When There is No Way, Faith Makes A Way

Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred–year–old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God,” Romans 4:19-20

To receive from God, you need to gave faith like a child. Many times we make educated calculations, informed analysis and intellectual deductions and completely miss the simplicity of receiving from God. Make no mistake – faith is not stupid or foolish. Nay, it is wise – it only operates in a different paradigm…

INSIGHT:

1. Faith does not ignore the facts – it prioritises the truth in the face of facts
2. Faith does not worry about the PROCESS …it focuses on the PRODUCT. Abraham had no ‘fire’ and Mama Sarah’s baby factory had been decommissioned!
3. Faith does not look at WHAT IS, it looks at WHAT COULD BE
4. Faith does not ask silly questions, it provides wise answers

2014 HALFWAY MARK: LESSONS FROM THE HALFWAY HOUSE

One of my favourite spots when travelling to the Eastern Highlands is the Halfway House. It is halfway through the journey and is a place where we would normally stop for a number of reasons. I enjoy the macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, biltong and some dried fruit from the farm store at this place. I stop to rest a bit, take a comfort break, stretch our legs or body break, grab a bite, check tyre pressure, top up goodies for our folks among other things. At the Halfway House those travelling by bus will also stop for the same reasons, while some motorists will stop to change tyres, refuel or ask the petrol attendants for directions. This is the experience at the Halfway House and there are some lessons I would like to unpack.

This day marks the last day of June, and end of the 2014 first half. How time flies! At the beginning of the year, you set goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the year. You are at the ‘Halfway House’ of your journey, and let’s have a conversation around this place.

Time for A Break

Just as a drive on a long journey takes toll on your body, the pursuit of your goals also puts pressure on you physically. You might be getting grumpy, tension headaches, muscle aches and general body stress. It’s a sign that you need to park yourself at the ‘halfway house’ and get a body break. A body break allows your body to regain energy while clearing your mind of clutter and giving you an opportunity to focus. Take the day, afternoon or week off. Go on a weekend breakaway to just get your body and mind back into gear. It doesn’t have to cost you money…go to the local city park, go to the village or spend the day at home just resting for a change. From time to time the body needs a comfort break to release mounting tension and negative energy build up. As the negative energy is displaced it is replaced by positive energy which starts to fill up your tank…

Top Up Your Tank

The motorists and buses would normally refuel at the Halfway House. This refill would make them last the whole journey. They would also top up tyre pressure, oil and radiator water to cool down the engines. As the year progresses, your energy and passion tank might be half full by now. This is a time for refilling to make you last the whole journey. The wheels of your goals might be low on pressure and turning slowly, putting pressure on your energy tank. It’s time to add some more pressure to help with a better bounce. Purpose is the fuel that fires the vehicle of your dreams. Goals are the pressure that helps you stay focused on your purpose. Passion is the oil that helps the wheels of purpose to turn. Discipline is the water that helps prevent you from burn out. Once you have enough fuel, oil and pressure in you, you will be ready to finish, and finish strong!

Are You Going in The Right Direction

Along the journey, there was no better place to ask for directions than at the Highway House. I remember I would see a lot of motorists asking the petrol attendants for directions or the remaining distance. It’s so easy to continue one’s journey without asking for directions, but the chances and cost of ending up in the wrong place are very high. Just a quick check of your bearings or directions is a small price to pay than to go through the whole year chasing the wrong goals. Are your goals still in line with your purpose? How much more effort do you need to put in order to achieve your goals. You need to have the reassurance that you are on the right track and that your goal is within reach.

Change Your Goals

If you are on a journey, you cannot change your vehicle, but you certainly can change your tyres. Your vehicle is like your purpose. Your purpose is what and how you are wired. The tyres are the goals on the vehicle of purpose. If the goals are worn out, it means the vehicle of purpose won’t move. Tyres without treads will soon cause a car to crash or slide on slippery roads. If your goals are lacking traction because they are not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) then your purpose is headed for the skids. The only thing to do is to change the goals and put goals which fit in with the purpose.

I would like to encourage you to strengthen the feeble knees, prop up the drooping hands and square up the sagging shoulders. Take some time to reflect while you are at the ‘halfway house’ of your goals. Confirm your directions, fill up your tank, top up and make the rest of the journey fired up and ready to last the distance.

 

An Ugly Problem At The Gate Beautiful: Lessons in Problem Solving

“A man … born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in” – Acts 3:2

I am a corporate troubleshooter. I make a living by solving organisational problems. I am trained to identify, analyze and solve problems. Without knowing what the real problem is, you can never get the solution right.

Reading the story of this lame man in Acts, I could tell that the man didn’t know what his real problem was. It is ironic that a man with an ‘ugly’ situation was always stationed by the Beautiful Gate. He begged for money when he should have sought healing. His problem was not hunger but being crippled. It took trouble shooter like Peter and John to solve this lingering problem.

A few insights:

1. You only solve a problem you know
2. A problem is not solved by osmosis – this man was by a Beautiful Gate yet he remained in an ‘ugly’ situation
3. For every problem there is a “Peter and John”. You need to identify your Peter and John
4. You don’t cure a headache with a bandage. Each problem has a specific solution

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GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN: NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS

“Now therefore give me this mountain…for thou heardest…that the cities were great and fenced:if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out…” Joshua 14:12

Significance is seldom small. Influence is infrequently narrow. Greatness is hardly inconspicuous. David did not play wrestling with Goliath – it was blood sport. Jesus did not tap dance with the devil – he disarmed him and publicly annihilated him. This noon as I read about Caleb, I can’t help but feel like saying “Give me this mountain” Caleb did not ask for a valley. He wanted a whole mountain. Let’s be clear this was not a game of marbles but a mountain mover league challenge.

A few insights:

1. Don’t act your AGE, act your WAGE. Caleb did not behave like a 75 year old man…he knew his true value – there was more life ahead of him, than behind him.
2. Easy roads lead nowhere. Caleb asked for a mountain. Don’t settle for less when you can have more
3. The best opportunities are protected. Caleb went for the “great and fenced” cities.

Don’t play small. Dream big. Aim for the stars. Like cream, dream and rise to the top. Go ahead …say “give me this mountain”

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Don’t Settle, Keep Moving

“Back at Horeb, God, our God, spoke to us: You’ve stayed long enough at this MOUNTAIN. On your way now. Get moving. Head for the Amorite hills…” – Deuteronomy 1:6-7 (MSG)

The scripture above struck me. It’s instructive that the children of Israel where not in the valley but they were in the mountain. In other words they were at the peak. Everything was going right for them. Yet God instructs them to get moving. Interesting huh?

In 2007 I left a very good job to pursue different career opportunities. I had everything going right for me. Big salary, nice car and exciting organization. I went and started new opportunities – learnt amazing things which set me up for the next phase of my career.

This taught me never to be too comfortable in the present and miss opportunities in the future. I judge my loyalty to an organization not by staying but by my ability to achieve impactful results with all my heart, head and hands. Everywhere I have worked I never burn bridges – I build bridges and enduring networks.

I also do not judge my success by what I am called – titles don’t mean anything without achievement. I judge my success by what I answer to, the types of problems I solve and the kind of impact I make.

Let me share a few lessons to ponder:

1. Don’t leave when you are down (in the valley), leave when you are at the top (mountain)
2. Don’t leave when you must, leave when you want to
3. Don’t leave because there is a problem, leave because there is an opportunity – more lands to conquer, new skills to learn, new people to meet, new challenges to solve, new stuff to create
4. Never let a zone of comfort become a zone of lack of progress

Don’t settle …keep looking!

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Breaking The Patterns

A few days ago reading the story of the 5 ‘daughters of Zelophehad’, I picked a few interesting things. Their father had died in the wilderness as the Israelites journeyed to Canaan. They were girls so they were not eligible for land allotment in terms of patriarchal Jewish inheritance customs. These girls would have none of that.

They demanded:

“Our father died in the wilderness…but he had no sons. Why should the name of our father disappear just because he had no son…” Moses brought their case before the Lord.And the Lord replied to Moses, “The daughters of Zelophehad are correct. Give them land…; give them the property that would have been given to their father…” Numbers 27:3-6

What they did was without precedence. It was very bold. This is what faith does. It doesn’t focus on policies, laws, rules, processes, customs and precedence. It focuses on it’s goal. Rules were changed. They set a precedence!

1. Good things don’t come to those who wait
2. Faith operates above laws, customs, precedence, processes and policies
3. Rules are for those who can’t make their own

Let nobody tell you it can’t be done or has never be done. There is always a first!

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Every Opportunity Needs a Strategy (Part Two)

“…the people living there are powerful, their cities are fortified and very large…we saw Anakim giants there!….But Caleb reassured the people….” Let us go up at once and possess it…for we are well able to conquer it! ” Numbers 13:28-30

The Israeli spies went into Canaan. They tasted the milk and honey. They munched the olives. They squeezed the juicy grapes. But they were still afraid. The land was beautiful! Yet this was marred by the ugliness of their fear.

Let’s rewind – this fear was completely misplaced because God had just done some mighty things in their midst:

God is the master of disruptive innovation. He had created a whole new nation out of another nation. He had engineered new water control technologies such as parting of the Red Sea, changed migratory patterns of birds, created a ‘just in time’ delicacy called manna, pioneered green house technologies through cloud of fire by day and pillar of fire by night.

Yet the people didn’t think about all these things ….except…one Caleb who said, “let’s go up at once and possess it” Therein lies some key lessons in strategy:

1. Execution is the cure for fear
2. Fear amplifies threats and diminishes opportunities
3. An opportunity of a lifetime exists in the lifetime of that opportunity
4. There is a special grace for every special challenge or opportunity
5. Challenges and opportunities gravitate towards solutions
6. If God brings you TO it, he will take you THROUGH it

In the new economy risky is the new safe and weird is the new normal. Fear not. Be disruptive. Be a game changer. In this coming month of April …execute, don’t delay!

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