The Recipe for Building a Reliable Team

In the year is 1982, I had joined High School and attempted to play hockey. This, as a guy coming from a village primary school, was the wrong game. Basketball and hockey were, in those days, games of the urbanites.

Having never touched a hockey stick until I was in Form 1 (1st year of high school) proofed to be quite a tall order. The “wajuaji” (street wise) urbanites made me know I was on the wrong frontier. The hockey ball would often find its way through my legs accompanied by laughter as they dribbled past me.

My journey in leadership is marked by various individuals that played critical roles at various stages in my life. One such person is Mr. Sigh, who as the name denotes, was of Asian descent. He was the hockey team’s coach and somehow, he noticed me and encouraged me on. Under his keen eye he coached the knowledgeable and beginners like me.

Having an eye to recognize raw talent is a mark of leadership and of a good mentor. Mr. Sigh spotted talent that, though raw, matched the game. He encouraged me from ground zero in the midst of those that sought to stop me from advancing from that ground. If not for him, the bullies so to say would have run me off the field.

The year that followed, I was among our school’s team that made it all the way to the nationals having run over many schools enroute. I was among the youngest! Not only that, Mr. Sigh said to this armature, “You will be my team captain in a few years.” Those words still ring in my head! That sounded a joke.

Had I mentioned that to the other players, they would have really laughed me off as a day dreamer. His words equally came to pass as a few years ahead, I captained my school for over 2 years. He spotted raw talent, nurtured it and spoke affirmation into it. All this meant I worked hard.

I wasn’t going to let my Moses down! His words worked me up! I cheerfully took on his added exercises assignments. At that stage of life I was one fearful and shy boy. Mr. Sigh in many ways became part of the good forces that worked on me to bring forth leadership traits.

As a leader today, I am always keen to look out for those possible leaders who may otherwise not be noticed. Once I spot them, I deliberately seek them out and in addition speak courage and boldness into their lives. I seek to help remove barriers that need to be removed out of their way as was in my case; expose backgrounds that could be limiting their skill or sparkle.

It can be an accent that puts them some steps behind. Or a dented self-esteem or being scholarly, some steps behind their peers. As leaders, we should not be too busy for these greenhorns. Among them is Joshua, Moses’ successor and Timothy, Paul’s successor. Let us take time to notice them, affirm them, remove their barricades and call them out.

The Devotional Life of a Woman

We are living in very odd times and the pandemic devastating the world has affected home life, even worsened the women’s situation around the globe. In cities, towns, and villages we are to minister, everywhere we encounter sufferings, women being violated and abused. Young women abused and other left to raise children as single mothers.

Like Laeticia, on our Community Transformation Group witnessed being abused while living at her relatives in the absence of her parents. She ended up being abused, got pregnant and had to struggle alone to raise the baby.

Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child. Paul encourages us herein saying:” And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in
Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV) 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting the whole of your care on Him, for He cares for you affectively and cares about you watchfully.”

We need to pray to open the floodgates of God’s intimate grace and power to flow towards our families in need. We know that God can act without prayer but invites us and allows us to participate in His work on earth through prayer. The Lord is our hope, the answer to our troubles. We need to humble ourselves and seek His face in odd times as this.

The Praying Woman and Her Nation

As we look back in the Scriptures, we see that women at different points in our joint history have played significant roles in the nation of Israel and beyond. Women that come immediately to mind are:

  • Deborah who was a prophet and a judge. She told the people what the Lord wanted them to do and ensured that they
    followed his commandments. Deborah led the way!
  • Esther who stood up for her own people and risked her own life as she went in to the King without his invitation. She
    not only prayed but called for a fast as well before she went into face the King. She recognized that strength can come from
    the prayers of others.
  • Anna prayed for many years in the temple and was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

There are of course others and the same is even true today and as we look around us, we will see different women’s prayer networks with women interceding for their own nation and beyond their borders. One of such group is the Lydia Fellowship who ask, “Will you hear the call, and be an Esther? “You have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this”” Esther 4 v 14

It would be an error on our part to overlook the role that women have played as they have stood in the gap on behalf of leaders and nations. I have had the privilege of knowing at close hand some of the ladies that have stood in the gap for Belgium and for Europe. In the building where I had the AE Europe office for many years one such group of women would meet at the top of the building each week to intercede for Europe and for those in authority praying that they would act justly and would vote through just laws.

The Europe-Africa Reconciliation Process which saw us go back to Berlin to re-enact the original Treaty of 1884-1885 – although led predominantly by men had a number of key women intercessors who were undergirding everything in prayer. So let us encourage women in our nations to stand in the gap and pray for our nations and for the ministry that we are involved in as we seek to see transformation in our own countries and across the African continent

Travailing in Prayer

What is travailing prayer and why is it important?

Travailing prayer is one of the most powerful form of prayer that God works through to intervene in circumstances and accomplish his purposes. This is praying that is an outcome of God himself putting a burden deep in the hearts of men and women, and so they begin to cry and call on him often in agony under great conviction, over a troubling situation. Examples are many both in the Bible and even today, of travailing prayer and its outcome. Let us look at some examples.

Nehemiah was a man who travailed in prayer. After hearing of the disgraceful state of affairs in Jerusalem and the broken wall, this is what he says Neh. 1:4 “When I heard of this, I sat down and wept. In fact for days, I mourned, fasted and prayed to the God of heaven”. The burden of the wall was so heavy on Nehemiah’s heart that he would not rest until it was addressed. After praying, Nehemiah acted, got a go ahead from the king and eventually went and built the wall.

In the 1970s a church called the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, under the leadership of Pastor Jim Cymbala, experienced a great move of the Spirit. In his book ‘Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire’ explains how he started ministry at this church and how troubled and burdened he became by the deadness of the church, that one night instead of preaching, he simply stood before the small congregation and wept. The people also joined him in weeping and so began the move of God which transformed this church into a vibrant Spirit led church, which has grown and lead to the transformation of many lives.

At the beginning of the East African Revival two men Joe Church and Simeon Nsibambi were so burdened by the obvious dryness and luke-warmness of the church of Uganda, that they met and started praying and crying in earnest to the Lord to revive the church. The outcome was the well-known East African Revival.

Today, the Lord is looking for:

  • Souls that will avail themselves like Nehemiah, like Jim Cymbala like Nsibambi and Joe Church to mention but a few, to travail in prayer, crying for the lost souls, for our ungodly and sinful nations, for the lukewarm church, for the broken families, for the wayward young generation that does not know God and so on.
  • Souls that will be ready to persevere in prayer until the outcome that God desires is evident, because travailing prayer produces a very evident fruit. Is 62:6-7 “Take no rest all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work”
  • Souls that will be courageous to act on what God is revealing, being lead of the Holy Spirit. God is looking for people to stand in the gap (Ez. 22:30). He is looking at us his people and not anyone else. 2 Chr 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Persisting in Prayer

One insect that has constantly baffled me has been the mosquito. As it flies through the air, the rotation speed of its wings as they flap, produces a high pitched, and highly irritating sound! Now, those from tropical Africa, or those who love outdoor camping, could relate to this sound. Based on the pitch of the sound, you could gauge the distance between you and the insect, even before you see it. However, despite its nuisance, one key lesson we can glean from this tiny insect can be summed up by the word: Persistence. As long as a mosquito is still alive, and as long as it can sense warm blood near it, it is sure to be attracted to the body, come what may! One could try wad it off, or swap a hand to shoo it away; but all the mosquito does is to regroup and look for a new route to get back to you!

Now, this reminds me of the parable of the persistent widow, as Jesus narrated it to his disciples. “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Luke 18:2-5 NIV)

The widow kept coming with a singular plea. One can imagine what it took for her to sustain a process that was not yielding fruit. She kept coming; she did not give up; she was committed to her course – no matter the cost! Can this be said of us? Do we have singular focus in our pursuit of the Master? And her plea was one – that she may have justice against her adversary. The widow must have faced an injustice that aggrieved her to the extent that she felt the judge was her only hope. The judge would give her an audience, weigh this matter, and grant her justice. Are there circumstances that we are facing that we can only bring before our Heavenly Judge? Are we facing adversaries that overwhelm us, circumstances that we need to present as cases before the Lord?

The judge, on the other hand, refused her plea for some time; however, he reached his breaking point because of her persistence. He said the widow was bothering him; or as a few other versions put it, she was “driving him crazy” (NLT), “pestering him” (Berean), “troubling him” (NKJV), “wearing him out” (GNT), and “plaguing him” (YLT). It was her incessant pursuit that made him remark, “I will see that she gets justice”! The weight and burden of this adversary had shifted from the widow to the judge. It was now the sole focus of the judge to ensure that this matter is settled, so that he too may get peace!

It is to this, that Jesus gave a wonderful conclusion: “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8 NIV)