To The Consecrated Ones

simplify-your-lifeDuring our month-long fasting exercise in February this year, a few weeks before our Spring 2015 US Mission Tour, Jesus Christ Himself appeared to me and told me to declutter and simplify my life; starting from my closet!

Since then, I’ve already given out most of my clothes; restricting myself to just about three pairs of clothing; and aiming at fitting all of my earthly belongings into a normal-sized carryon bag. I have also given away all the books in my library, except four that still hold significant relevance to my journey.

The Lord told me that every material thing in my possession —clothing, jewelry, electronic device, automobile, and so on—has a weight, and occupies space; not just in my physical environment, but also in my emotional and heart space. And in the later space each of those items could constitute a poison and spiritual weight that could hinder my spiritual growth and ascent.

And I can see that now; because, ever since I began to give away my personal belongings, I have felt so refreshingly light; an amazing floating lightness of inner relief and relaxation. And even as I write, I’m still reeling under the blissful euphoria of emotional weightlessness.

I can also see that many today that groan under the torment of sadness, depression and stress, may not know how much of those are due to the emotional weights they are lugging around in their daily lives as a result of all the material possessions they’re hoarding in their rooms, closets, garages, and shelves. If they could only lay aside every weight and simplify their lives, they would find the peace and lightness of possessing nothing.


a-life-of-simple-focusEmptying my closet and library is just a beginning; because I understand that the counsel to simplify my life extends into every aspect of my life: finances, ministry, relationships, and so on. So I wasn’t really surprised when the Lord just recently showed me His own life of simple focus and instructed me to concentrate my ministry efforts on those He has sent me to.

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon- possession.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
~
Matthew 15:21-28

Did you notice that Jesus paid zero attention to the woman? He did not answer a word. He ignored her and responded strictly to His disciples, telling them that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Finally, He referred to her as a dog! Now, how mean and ‘heartless’ can one get? In reality, however, Jesus wasn’t being mean or heartless here; He was simply being focused. That woman was outside the people group to whom His Father sent Him.

Eventually, Jesus attended to her. Yet, notice that He didn’t go looking for her; He never tried to get her to believe; He never tried to convince her—as a matter of fact, He basically ignored her and called her a dog. It was entirely up to that woman to press through Jesus’ snub, and apparently insulting remarks, to get what she wanted; and she got it only because she persisted and gave Jesus a valid reason to attend to her.

For me, the lesson here is crystal clear: To strictly focus my ministry efforts only on the people group to whom I’m sent; to pay zero attention to those outside this group.

This does not mean that those outside my area of assignment cannot receive from me; just that it’s up to them to break through the barrier; to overcome whatever obstacles on their way in order to get whatever they need from me.

Like Jesus, the Apostles were also focused..

“James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.”
~Galatians 2:9

Each person knew who they were sent to: James, Peter and John to the Jews; Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles. They didn’t spread themselves thin trying to reach ‘the whole world’. Instead, they sharply defined their respective people groups and focused their ministry efforts accordingly. Of course, as history has shown, the ministries of those apostles, in spite of their respective focus on specific people groups, ultimately touched the whole world and changed the course of human history.

The highly focused nature of the ministry of Jesus Christ and His apostles inspires me to sharply define the people group to whom I’m sent, and focus my ministry efforts on them. And I believe that the Lord is dealing with me in this area in order for me to be very effective and productive.


concentrate-on-those

It’s been a long road; winding down through nearly two decades of ministering to all kinds of people: in churches; in university campuses; via multimedia channels. And from my very first steps in this journey, there’s never really been any vagueness in my mind regarding the essence of the wildfire message that God gave me to deliver to mankind. But as far as the exact people group that this message is meant for, I’ve always struggled; because, somewhere down that rigorous stretch, I had become aware of something: I’m not sent to everyone.

Since then I’ve borne the burden of that awareness; I just didn’t know exactly what to do with it.

Thankfully, that struggle has now come to an end. Through His own example of simplicity and focus in ministry, a direct command spoken to me by His Holy Spirit, and a revelation that leapt to me from the scriptures, the Lord has given me a very clear picture of the people group I’m sent to.

5 “Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice…14 Sacrifice thank-offerings to God, fulfil your vows to the Most High,”
~ Psalm 50:5,14

“Wildfire,” He said to me, “The message I’ve given to you is for the consecrated ones; people who have entered into a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

Consequently, today I understand that I am sent to the Consecrated Ones; to challenge, inspire, and support them to fulfill their vows to the Most High God; to walk in their consecration; to walk in their distinction; to be exclusively devoted to Him. And He has commanded me to concentrate my ministry efforts on them. Such a clear picture of the people group I’m sent to is a very powerful and liberating awareness.

As my first name reveals, I’ve always known that God sent me primarily to His church to be a messenger of fire; but this complete realization that I’m not sent to the entire church just happened. In retrospect, though, —considering the overall thrust of my teachings, what I’ve consistently emphasized, things I’ve said in meetings, in our services, in our events, in discipleship classes and training programs—I can perceive that my spirit has always known what my conscious mind is just now coming to terms with: that I’m sent to the called ones; to the priests; to the consecrated ones. Reflecting on some of the most dominant themes in my teaching—such as, ‘we are citizens of God’s Kingdom’, ‘walking in the realities of the New Creation’, ‘the Single-Eyed Way Of Life’, ‘intimacy with God’, and ‘Can God be Lonely?’—it becomes easy to see that my spirit had always known whom I was sent to. That knowledge has always been down there in my spirit. But because my conscious mind had not clearly grasped it in full, I inadvertently tried to rope every Dick and Harry into it.


the-consecrated-ones

So, who are these concentrated ones?

The consecrated ones are distinguished from everyone else by their scale of preference; by their absolute and unwavering devotion to God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.

So, the consecrated ones are those members of the Body of Christ whose hearts have been inflamed by an all-consuming love for God. Their loyalty to Jesus Christ is unalloyed and undivided. They are wholly submitted to God. And they demonstrate these fruits down to the minutest choices and decisions of every moment of their lives.

Fortunately, identifying a consecrated one is pretty easy for me. Trust me when I say that I can always tell; because, I believe I’ve been gifted with the instinctive spiritual discernment to smell a consecrated one from a million miles away. But also because it’s easy to tell from their values, priorities, unconscious choices, and default preferences; I can tell just by observing their lifestyle. It’s a heart thing, but it’s demonstrated in the choices they make. The consecrated ones consistently sacrifice things that are highly valued among men in order to be devoted and pleasing to God. God is always first and only in their daily pursuits. This isn’t something that can be faked on a consistent basis. So it’s pretty easy for me to pick out the consecrated ones in any crowd.

Unfortunately, while it may be true that the consecrated ones are not yet extinct on earth, they are a seriously endangered species; a dying breed on the surface of the earth. This makes it imperative that I hunt them down and help them thrive in a world that is completely hostile to their way of life.

Are you one of the consecrated ones? That is, do you by default prefer God and His ways to everyone and everything else’s—wholeheartedly and absolutely submitted to Him in all of the daily choices and decisions of your life? Then this message is for you.

I am sent to you.


it-cannot-be-taught

For twenty four years now, I’ve planted and pastored multiple churches, taught thousands of discipleship classes, and held hundreds of live worship events; I’ve challenged church folks to put the Lord first, to submit to Him, to sacrifice their lives for Him. And through these twenty four years of ministry, this has become clear to me: not everyone―and I’m referring to church folks―is willing to absolutely consecrate and dedicate themselves to the Lord; and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Consecration is like falling in love; it cannot be taught.

What I’ve seen among church folks is something Jesus pointed out among the religious folks of His day:

“…These people honor me with their lips, but their heart are far from me.”
~Mark 7:5

Most people that come before the Lord have their own personal agenda, and selfish ambitions; they really don’t want to put the Lord first and submit to His ways; they just want to use Him as a means to their own ends. So they come before Him, but not really to seek Him as the only treasure of their lives; they’re rather there because they can sense His power and they hope it’s something that can help them achieve their own personal goals; in other words, they want to be in His good graces, but just so He can help them get whatever it is that they want. And it’s so easy to mistake all this for devotion to God. In reality, they’re there merely to capitalize on God’s presence and power to get at their own ends.

Over these twenty four years I’ve seen people come before the Lord, try to con Him with lip worship in order to get whatever they can from the Lord, and then move on after getting what they came for—or because they failed to get it.

They are just like the rich young ruler that came to Jesus seeking to receive eternal life. Jesus said to him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21. The guy, however, wasn’t ready to let go of his riches at all; so he went away sad.

Most church folks today are just like that. They deceive themselves into thinking that they really love the Lord, whereas all they actually want is to use Him to serve their selfish ends. How many church folks today are willing to give up everything in order to become absolutely consecrated to the Lord?

But note this: Jesus never tried to persuade that guy to abandon his preference for worldly wealth.

I wish I’d followed His example years ago; because most of the pain I’ve had in my discipleship efforts has come from trying to persuade the rich young rulers of this age to abandon their preference for this world; to seek the Lord as the only treasure of their lives. And how did that work out for me? In my misguided and foolish zeal to get everyone to seek God as the only treasure of their lives, I only succeeded in plaguing my life with unnecessary misery and frustration.

Actually, the problem really wasn’t in the lifestyle I’ve been advocating―a life that seeks God as the only treasure; it was in the fact that I tried to rope everyone into that lifestyle; instead of, like Jesus, focusing my efforts only on those I’m sent to.

Having finally learnt my lesson the hard way, I think I’m now ready and resolved to take the Wildfire Message of the Single Eyed Way of Life only to the consecrated ones.


to-the-consecrated-ones

I see two things in the Lord’s recent command to concentrate my ministry efforts on those He has sent me to:

The first is a sharp definition. To clarify and sharpen the definition of the people group that I’m sent to; in my heart, and in my mind. But also, to become deliberately conscious of the fact that I’m sent to a specific group of people. For Jesus it was the lost sheep of Israel― a sharply defined people group; distinct from any other people group; and He was acutely aware of that specification. That’s the first of the two things that stand out clearly to me from what the Lord is telling me.

The second is to become more focused. To make a conscious and continuous effort to pay zero ministerial attention to anyone outside the specific people group that I’ve have been sent to. This calls for the severest form of discipline to not get distracted by any other group seeking my attention; but rather to be disciplined enough like Jesus to focus all of my ministry to the people group that I’m sent to.

Consequently, I’ve resolved to focus exclusively on the people group I’m sent to. In my ministry efforts― writing, teaching, retreats, tours, and other ministry services that I render―I’m fully committed to focus, without wavering, on the people group I’m sent to. And in doing this, Jesus Christ remains my perfect model. He wouldn’t respond to anybody that He wasn’t sent to, no matter how much they cried out to get His attention. They literally had to push through to even get at him! Now, that’s focus. And I want to be as focused as that on the people that I’m sent to.

And who am I sent to?

The consecrated ones.

Are you one of the consecrated ones? That is, do you by default prefer God and His ways to everyone and everything else’s—wholeheartedly and absolutely submitted to Him in all of the daily choices and decisions of your life? Then know this: I am sent to you.

In practical terms, for instance, it means that henceforth, I’ll focus my posts on this blog towards reaching and helping only the consecrated ones scattered around the world. I don’t think this necessarily implies that the content and theme of my posts here will change. I think they’ll remain essentially the same. But how I present the content and who I specifically address my message to will definitely change. I also think that this shift will allow me to connect even more personally with my audience than I’ve done previously.

I’ll also apply this focus to the audience of my weekly Wildfire Lectures here in Nigeria and in the UK; whittling it down to strictly a gathering of the consecrated ones. This means that our weekly Wildfire Lectures ―hitherto a day of fasting, praying, and deep scriptural meditations―will now be restricted to the consecrated ones; those that in their daily lives consistently demonstrate a preference for God, devoid of pretense or compulsion; people who out of their own volition and passion for God prefer Him and go out of their way to make sacrifices to please Him.

The seasonal Wildfire Retreats and Tours that hold predominantly in the United States, but which I hope to introduce soon to Nigeria, will also be affected by Jesus’ ‘simplify your life’ command to me. And so will our global Home and Congregational Church support outreaches.

One thing is clear: I’ve resolved to invest the rest of my life in reaching out only to those I’m sent to; focusing on them; not wasting my efforts on those I’m not sent to.

Of course, this is not going to be easy at all. Just look at the case of Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman. She was crying out to Jesus, and it was well within His power to help her; but His focus was intense and absolute; so much that He did not answer even a word to her! He kept His focus fixed; He kept His priorities right; He knew who He was sent to. And His is the model I intend to follow. As I move on in my journey and a lot of folks outside my sphere of assignment begin to clamor for my ministerial attention, will I have the discipline to not be drawn into territories the Lord has not assigned me? Will I have the discipline to keep focused on the people group I’m sent to?

The fact, my friend, is that you don’t have forever; your time is limited; your energy is limited. Neither you nor I have been given unlimited time or energy. Everything we have received in this earthly life ― time, money, energy, and so on―is given to us in limited measures. So, we just have to optimize and maximize them. And so instead of trying to get at everybody, I’d rather find out exactly who I’m assigned to and then focus all of my efforts in taking the message and ministry to these particular people.

I believe that God sent me into this world to deliver the Wildfire Message to the consecrated ones: people who, like me have been called and chosen, and have also chosen to devote themselves and their lives exclusively to the Lord. And I believe that when I’m able to focus my efforts on them, those I’m not even sent to will also receive from my work and eventually be blessed.

The message, To The Consecrated Ones, clearly describes the true audience of this blog. Please study it carefully, again and again, to determine whether or not the message and mission of this website is for you. We really do not encourage anyone to subscribe to this blog, or even contact us, unless they are truly  convinced and have persuasive evidence that they are Consecrated Ones.

If you sincerely believe that the article ‘To The Consecrated Ones’ describes you, and are willing to be contacted and followed up by a Wildfire Missionary, you may contact us here.

Obey the Gospel

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
~ Mark 16:15,16

Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel to all of creation. He promised that everyone that believes it and is baptized will be saved—forgiven, given a righteous life, and filled with the Holy Spirit. But He also warned that those that refuse to believe will be damned.

And, what is the gospel?

Here it is:

The spotless Son of God, Jesus Christ, came into this world and lived a perfect life towards God and on behalf of mankind. He was crucified for the sins of mankind so that there will be forgiveness and reconciliation with God for all men. He was raised from the dead on the third day so that all of mankind may receive the very life of God.

This is essence of the gospel. It is very clear and straightforward. Jesus commanded us to preach it to all of creation. He promised that everyone that believes it and is baptized will be saved—forgiven, given a righteous life, and filled with the Holy Spirit. But He also warned that those that refuse to believe will be damned.

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
~2 Thessalonians 1:8

So, it is one thing to hear the gospel; it is another thing to obey it.

Unfortunately, according to Jesus Christ Himself, the greater majority of people in this world will hear the gospel, scoff at it, and reject it unto eternal damnation. Equally disheartening is the fact that many will hear it and honor it with their mouth but will not really obey it. But the few that hear it, and truly obey it, will be saved.

You may have heard the gospel, but have you obeyed it fully?

Total obedience to the gospel means that: You have received and believed it with all of your heart; you have been baptized by immersion in water into the name of Jesus Christ; you no longer live for yourself, but solely for Jesus Christ who died for you and was raised again.

Have you received the message and believed it with your heart? Are you baptized by immersion in water into the name of Jesus Christ? Are you living your life now solely for Jesus Christ?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, then you have not fully obeyed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ—and that’s a pretty dangerous situation.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
~ 1 Peter 4:17

In the light of this message, I urge you by the Spirit of God not to continue in disobedience to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, humble yourself before the Lord and fully obey the gospel.

Receive the message and believe it with all of your heart. Be baptized by immersion in water into the name of Jesus Christ. Stop living for yourself and start living your life solely for Jesus Christ.

The message, To The Consecrated Ones, clearly describes the true audience of this blog. Please study it carefully, again and again, to determine whether or not the message and mission of this website is for you. We really do not encourage anyone to subscribe to this blog, or even contact us, unless they are truly  convinced and have persuasive evidence that they are Consecrated Ones.

If you sincerely believe that the article ‘To The Consecrated Ones’ describes you, and are willing to be contacted and followed up by a Wildfire Missionary, you may contact us here.

Blissfully You!

The most common reason people do all that they do in this life this: bliss. Thus it’s the ultimate experience of the human soul. The deepest craving of all human souls is to attain a permanent state of bliss. In this post, using very simple illustrations, as well as more intricate concepts, I have attempted a fairly comprehensive description of bliss. I also tried to highlight some very simple guidelines for attaining this extremely elusive state. My goal here is quite straightforward: To help make your earthly journey a blissful experience.

This is a very long post. 3000 words. It is dense and intense stuff. But I have broken it into multiple sections for easier perusal and assimilation. Nevertheless, you may want to first browse through it. Read as far as you can. Then bookmark it for later reading. Eventually, you may also want to share it with your family and friends, as well as leave your comments at the end. You are welcome to do so.


Here’s a physical taste of bliss

FREE_IMAGE_Woman-Drinking-Water-from-BottleYou have been trekking now for three hot days; along a long winding dirt road; through waterless, sun-scorched terrain. The sun has been merciless and unrelenting in the daytime; no trees or mountain shades anywhere. In the night, the heat has been unbearable. The last time your parched tongue tasted water was three distant days ago. Your entire body is shivering, withering and weakening due to the intense thirst.

Suddenly, you think you heard a rumbling sound behind you. Turning, you see dust clouds floating up far behind: a truck is speeding towards you. Hope flares up within; and summoning every ounce of strength left in you, you start to wave hard at the fast approaching truck. You are lucky. The truck slows down and stops, about the same time you finally slump to the ground.

The two men in the car ask you where you are going.

“Water, water, water,” you croak.

The passenger quickly comes down with a glistening bottle of cold crystal clear water. You grab at it with both hands and gulp greedily down. As the silvery liquid courses down your throat, time stands still, nothing else matters, and waves of indescribable pleasure rush through your body: Bliss.

As the silvery liquid courses down your throat, time stands still, nothing else matters, and waves of indescribable pleasure rush through your body: Bliss.

To a sun-scorched, travel-weary, parched and thirsty tongue, the taste of fresh cold crystal clear water is pure pleasure; refreshing; invigorating—a physical taste of bliss. But this taste is merely an illustration of something that happens at higher planes of being. For the true reality of bliss occurs at the spiritual and emotional realms: an all-consuming surge of ecstasy that suspends time, dispelling every sense of anxiety and fear in one sweet sensation of pure pleasure.


Blissful is successful

I have already asserted that the deepest craving of all human souls is to attain a permanent state of bliss; but this is also true with regards to success―everyone wants to be successful. Does this then infer a connection between bliss and success? Absolutely. There is a very strong connection between bliss, and personal success. Genuine personal success and bliss are inextricably linked; you can’t have the one without the other.

In fact, blissful is successful. Bliss and personal success mean the same thing; they are synonymous terms. Both are feelings; both are inward; and both are intensely personal. Genuine personal success, apart from bliss, is an illusion.

When how you feel about yourself, other people, and the world around you can be described by the word, bliss, you have attained genuine personal success.

Just like bliss, true personal success cannot be quantified in measurable terms; simply because it is a very spiritual and emotional experience. Yes, success is both spiritual and emotional. It is also an intensely personal and inward feeling.

Today we all tend to evaluate success mainly on the basis of stocks, shares, bonds, and the balance sheet; on the basis of cars, yachts, mansions, and private jets; on the basis of fame, political power, and academic attainments. This is so wrong, because success is not a matter of material possessions.

FREE_IMAGE_Happy_girlSuccess is a subjective reality. Yes, it’s an emotional experience. It refers to how you feel about yourself, how you feel towards other people, and how you feel about the world around you. When how you feel about yourself, other people, and the world around you can be described by the word, bliss, you have attained genuine personal success.

It is common knowledge that the mere ownership of much material possessions does not automatically make a person happier. As a matter of fact, a lot of times, the path to acquiring material possessions is littered with betrayed trust, broken relationships, and compromises that warp the soul into a miserable wretch.

Of course, this is not always obvious. The powerful but miserable cash kings usually wear facial smiles for public consumption. Outward expressions can easily be faked. Misery and wretchedness can be colorfully cloaked with gorgeous smiles and throaty laughter. But when you look beyond the masks, they are merely rotten masses of putrefaction. Apparently, they have gained the whole world. In reality, they are lost souls.

Apart from inner bliss, of what value is the possession of much material wealth?


Bliss in relief

Bliss is a spiritual, mental, emotional, and even physical experience. It’s power is within and cannot be faked.

Bliss is contentment. It is daily gratitude.

Bliss is the complete absence of anxiety regarding tomorrow.

Bliss is a feeling of affection and kindness towards all men. It is the dominance of compassion within the heart.

Bliss is a state of not being threatened by the weaknesses and strengths of others.

Bliss is an inner assurance that all is well, regardless of outward circumstances.

This is bliss. And this is what it means to be truly successful.


At the root of bliss

Of course, it’s not easy to attain inner bliss in your earthly journey. It’s so hard, in fact, that it’s attained by just a few. But it is possible; it is within your reach; and you can attain it here—provided you properly nurture the two vital relationships that lie at the root of bliss:

  • Your personal relationship with yourself, and
  • Your personal relationship with your Source.
How you relate with yourself, plus how you relate with your Source, decide your own personal attainment of bliss.

These two relationships determine whether your journey will be blissful, or miserable. And at the intersection of these two relationships is one person: You.

So, essentially, bliss is really not just a matter of action, but of position; position as defined by two vital coordinates: Self, and Source.

How you relate with yourself, plus how you relate with your Source, decide your own personal attainment of bliss:

  • With yourself, you must cultivate acceptance; unconditional self-acceptance.
  • With your source you must practice alignment; that is, unqualified submission.

Accept yourself

Unconditional self-acceptance should be easy, right? Unfortunately, no. Everywhere I look I see people living in disappointments, pain, and frustration, because they loathe and reject themselves.

“The finest gift you can give to yourself is the gift of unconditional self-acceptance. It is also the best gift you can give to anyone.”

Souls that are unable to accept themselves unconditionally, become miserable and ultimately wither away; a condition that, sadly, describes the journey of most people.

Rejection can be a very terrible ordeal; and self-rejection is the very worst form of it.

The proper way to relate with yourself is to accept yourself unconditionally. Accept your strengths and your weaknesses. Accept your virtues and your vices. Do it with humility. Do it with gratitude.

And stubbornly refuse to compare yourself with any other person.

When you can practice unconditional self-acceptance, with humility and gratitude, you will be rewarded with bliss.

The most blissful hearts on earth are those souls whose relationships with themselves are described by unconditional self-acceptance.

To enjoy bliss, learn to stop lying to yourself. Learn to accept yourself with complete openness; in a non-judgmental, non-condemning manner. Let unconditional self-acceptance define your personal relationship with yourself.

The finest gift you can give to yourself is the gift of unconditional self-acceptance. It is also the best gift you can give to anyone. But, make no mistake about it, it’s not an easy gift to give. And you will never be able to give it to others until you first give it to yourself.


Two simple self-acceptance exercises

Here are two simple actions you can take right away to practice unconditional self-acceptance:

#1. Spend more quality time with yourself

When was the last time you got alone with yourself, and had a heart to heart conversation with you?

Personally, I spend a huge amount of time with myself, compared to what I spend with others. A lot of that time is heavily invested in gaining more self-awareness: Who am I? What do I really want? Why do I do what I do? What are my deepest values? What are my enduring preferences? What do I really believe? And on and on and on. It may be tedious; and boring; but I think it’s a profitable activity.

“When was the last time you got alone with yourself, and had a heart to heart conversation with you?”

The investment of time towards a better understanding of you, is a helpful baby step along the path of unconditional self-acceptance. A better awareness and understanding of self eliminates conflicts with self, and paves the way for a harmonious relationship with self. This in turn leads to bliss.

As a result of the large volume of high quality time I regularly spend with myself, I understand myself very well. And so today I am a very happy man. I am doing the things I love to do. I am living my life strictly by design. And I am enjoying it. I have no regrets. Most excitingly, I’m much happier today than I have ever been at any previous phase of my life; the older I get , the happier I am―so I’m actually looking forward to getting older. This sense of bliss is rooted in the harmonious relationship I enjoy with myself; a relationship that is aided by the large volume of high quality time I spend regularly with myself.

I’m certain that if you can start today to spend more quality time with yourself, you will definitely gain greater self-awareness, your relationship with yourself will become more harmonious, and you will start to enjoy more bliss in your earthly journey.

#2. Value your own personal views and opinions

Another simple but very powerful step you can take immediately towards greater self-acceptance, is to value your own personal views and opinions. They are not inferior to those of any other person.

The interesting thing about this is that you experience pure bliss to the extent that you can accept, value, and dare to express what you really think, and how you really feel. They don’t have to be accurate or lofty thoughts; in fact, they maybe outrightly’ silly’; but if they are yours, and you can dare to accept, value, and even express them, you gain tremendous capacity for bliss.

Unfortunately, in a world that is ruled by fear and hate, that strives daily to squeeze you into its mould, this simple step may turn out to be just so hard.

So you should be ready to fight even harder. Your desire to be accepted and to fit in, coupled with your fear of rejection and pain, can intimidate you into ceding your God-given power, freedom, and happiness to others. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t be a miserable slave! Don’t succumb to the fear tactics of your external world. Drill deep into the very core of your being; establish a vital connection with your God Himself—and draw the courage to be blissfully you. 


Align with your Source

The other relationship that determines whether your journey will be blissful, or miserable, is the one you have with your Source.

“For the parched tongue bliss comes from fresh water. For the restless heart, it comes from a perfect alignment with the Source?”

The term Source is really huge for me. It is my personally preferred way of referring to God; my own God. I am absolutely convinced about the reality of God. This is one of the very few core beliefs and convictions that I have. The reason I refer to God as my Source is that I experience Him that way. I believe that I came from Him. I feel Him within me. I hear His voice within me, guiding me. I feel His presence and power deep within me, undergirding and strengthening me.

There are those who pretend not to believe in the existence of a personal God. That is their privilege, and I don’t think their pretensions pose any threat to God. Contrary to the position of ignorant religious bigots, the God I know and express is not an insecure deity that is threatened by the very freedom He gave to freethinking souls. The way I perceive Him, I think He’s really cool about Himself. I do not think He’d lose a moment’s sleep just because some speck of dust, on a speck of rock, somewhere in an infinite universe, opines that He doesn’t exist.

In any case, regardless of your preferred position on the matter, the nature of the relationship You have with your Source—referring now to the uniqueness of your design, plus the universal laws governing all human interactions—decide your own personal attainment of bliss. With your Source you must practice alignment; unqualified submission.

inner-peaceThe most blissful hearts on earth are those souls whose relationships with their Source are described by unqualified submission.

For the parched tongue bliss comes from fresh water. For the restless heart, it comes from a perfect alignment with the Source.

An ancient prophetic verse phrases it so beautifully:

You have made known to me the path of life;

You will fill me with joy in your presence,

With eternal pleasures at your right hand.

~Psalms 16:11

Using the very beautiful terms, ‘in your presence’, and ‘at your right hand’, he paints a fine picture of perfect alignment with the Source of your uniqueness; with the Source of all universal laws. And he describes the result of this alignment in equally beautiful terms: joy and eternal pleasures.

To align means to fall in line.

First there is a reference object or point. Then there is another object that you are trying to line up with the reference object. The reference object could be static or dynamic; but it’s shape, position, or motion serves as the standard for the other object.

To line up the second object with the reference object, you continuously adjust the second object until it falls in line with the reference object; that is, until you achieve congruence. When this happens, the second object is said to be in alignment with the reference object.

In your personal passage through this region of time and space, your Source is the only valid reference for you. To attain the state of bliss here, you must constantly adjust your positions to achieve congruence with your Source. Your degree of bliss at any time is directly proportional to the congruence of your alignment with your Source.


Two simple alignment exercises

Here are two simple actions you can take right away to practice alignment with your Source:

#1. Carefully observe the natural world around you

The simplest and most basic step towards practicing alignment, is to carefully observe the natural world around you; for nature expresses the paradigm of her Source. The rising and setting of the sun each day; the sprouting of a plant from a seed in the ground; the variety of colors, species, and shapes in the visible world —all say something about how the Source thinks and feels.

Your aim here should be to understand how nature works. Then listen to the message she tells. An understanding of the way nature works is fundamental to natural and spiritual alignment.

Then, in each moment of your journey, strive to adjust your thinking, preferences, and conscious decisions to line up with the paradigm of your Source.

#2. Carefully observe and learn from yourself
“An understanding of the way nature works is fundamental to natural and spiritual alignment.”

Another simple but very powerful step you can take immediately towards better alignment with your source, is to tune in to your own uniqueness. Observe yourself. Look back at your journey so far. Examine your present.

What are the things that have worked for you? What do other people enjoy the most about you? What brings the most people to you? What do you love the most about yourself? In what have you achieved maximum success with the least effort? What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing? What makes you cry? What pisses you off?

Take time to ponder these thoughts and listen deeply in order to gain a more accurate understanding of how you were designed. Then, in all that you do, never violate yourself. Instead, think, speak, and act in line with your own unique design.

You experience pure bliss whenever you can think, speak, and act in line with your own unique design.


Bliss is the ultimate experience.

It feels like fresh cold crystal clear water to a sun-scorched, travel-weary, parched and thirsty tongue: an experience of pure pleasure that suspends time, and dispels every sense of anxiety .

Unfortunately, though all souls crave this experience, it eludes most; it is attained by just a few —because as a result of ignorance, indolence, and timidity, most people have compromised their uniqueness.

Yet, the path to this ultimate spiritual experience is available to all that dare to unconditionally accept themselves, and congruently align with their Source in unqualified submission.

Enjoy a blissful month!

The Bespectacled Eagle

As a world traveller and spiritual teacher, I would be the first to acknowledge that teaching is definitely a powerful means of trans-forming people. However —and this is one of the key points of this post — teaching’s potency can be rather exaggerated. For instance, can the eagle teach the horse to mount up on wings and soar high over the mountain peaks? Flip that around:  Can the horse teach the eagle to charge into the fray with tremendous strength and stamina across open country, eating up the ground in frenzied excitement?

One reason teaching is limited is this: nature matters. Nature confers possibilities, and potentials; but also limitations. There are clear limits to what any nature can do: A shark cannot walk on dry ground; a tiger will never be able to give birth to a crocodile; a tree will never be able to invent a smartphone—because nature matters. And because nature confers limits, some things cannot be taught by one nature to another. Thus, as potent as teaching is in transforming persons, it must be held within pragmatic bounds.

The Bespectacled EagleSeveral years ago, as I was getting set to give a lecture at our Success Academy, this picture popped up in my mind: On the stage, in a large lecture hall filled with horses, lions, deer, raccoons, alligators and anacondas, stood a bespectacled eagle. The title of its lecture was displayed on a huge screen behind it: How To Fly Like An Eagle.

Instantly, I intuited that the picture had everything to do with my efforts then at the academy. Like the eagle, I was wasting my time trying to do the stupid: giving lectures to horses on how to fly like eagles.

The horses might take note; they may nod their heads in agreement; they may even regurgitate the bullet points successfully in a oral and written examinations—but when push comes to shove, and they are pushed off the edge of a mountain cliff, nature will have the last scoff at their presumptions.

You don’t have much time to spend in this region of time and space we call existence. Don’t be stupid. Don’t waste your life in the folly of trying to learn to do what you were never built to do; to be what you were never designed to be. For the same reasons, don’t waste the precious moments of others by trying to force them into moulds they were never designed to fit.

I shared my story of the bespectacled eagle late last year with my seat neighbour on a flight from New Orleans to Houston; a bubbly lady from Vancouver that had just finished participating in a global conference of therapists, and was on her way back home. Leaning forward, her eyes gleaming with excitement, she marvelled, “Wow! That was exactly what our conference was all about.”

Of course, I probed her for more.

“We were taught at our conference,” she continued, “that the patient, not the therapist, is the real expert. You are the expert on you.”

“The first and most important duty of the therapist,” she went on, ” is to understand the patient.”

Referring to the bespectacled eagle, she concluded: “Rather than try to teach the horse to mount up on wings, the eagle should learn from the horse what it means to be a horse. Then try to show it the best way to do what the horse was built to do.”

Smiling at her, I replied, “That’s really cool.”

She helped me clarify the lesson in my vision of the bespectacled eagle: The best ‘teaching’ I can give to my world is to understand and accept their uniqueness;  then help them excel at being themselves.

Observe how nature works. Note her flow of life. Feel the energy of your Source —the One you came from; that Inner Power that designed, built, and is still building you. Accept and celebrate your uniqueness. But you must also do the same for the world around you: accept and celebrate other people’s uniqueness, especially in those ways that they differ from you. This is vital to your inner peace, happiness and fulfilment in this brief journey of yours. This is also how to attract abundance into your personal journey.

So, here’s the deal: I’ll accept you just the way you are and not try to ‘fix’ you; as long as you accept me just the way I am and not try to ‘fix’ me. Be you and let me be me; there’s enough room to accommodate our differences.

Deal?

Have a blissful week!

Image by: worth1000.com

Break New Grounds and Experience More Bliss!

It’s 2015 and I’m excited to get on with my journey! I hope you are as well. And I hope we will be able to share them together.

Last year was good; really good. I pushed the limits in my personal journey, especially with regards to exploring myself. I journeyed deep within me to discover, capture, experience, and enjoy my own bliss. So— though I also took baby steps in the aspect of not judging others, and letting them be themselves—the orientation of last year’s journey was primarily inward; self-exploratory, revolving around the concepts of personal acceptance, personal freedom, and personal happiness. I discovered a lot; I learned a lot; and I was tremendously satiated with exhilarating bliss.

This year, while I fully intend to continue my inward drilling, my journey will assume a more outward thrust. I will push myself more in the direction of enlarging the place of my tent, and stretching my tent curtains wide to accommodate more people—especially those that speak a different ‘language’ from me. I know that this will demand that I lengthen my cords, and strengthen my stakes; but I’m open to the challenge, and I’m excited to confront it.

My journey this year will proceed along the core themes of accepting others unconditionally, sharing my life with courage, expressing my thoughts with authenticity, and supporting other people’s quest for happiness. In other words: acceptance, sharing, authenticity, and love. By sharing all I’ve learned so far, I intend to help as many people as I can to explore their own selves, discover their unique paths, and walk it with courage. I plan to help more people discover themselves, experience greater personal freedom and happiness.

And as a result of this I expect to experience greater abundance in my life this year than ever before. Seriously; I feel very strongly about this. I really believe that this year will be one of overflowing abundance for me, and for you as well if you can believe and work towards it.

Yes. Work. Because, though I’m very sure that my God has willed tremendous abundance for me this year, I perceive that my personal capacity for selfless love will decide how much bliss and abundance I get to experience this year. So, compelled by that awareness, I urge you to challenge yourself this year to push your own limits and boundaries. Move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways. Resolve and strive to reach new heights and create new experiences you’ve never had before.

And along that path, I’d like you to know that I plan to support you as much as I can. I already have several exciting programs lined up to that effect.

Wildfire Tours, Retreats, and Lectures

2014-10-10 10.58.04Last year I did a few personal tours; and I was deeply moved by them. For one, I realized that every one of earth’s natural wonders, and each of mankind’s historical monuments, tell a unique story, teach vital lessons, and impart extraordinary passion to open minds. So this year, I will be expanding and extending my tours. In other words, whereas so far I’ve only toured within the US, and strictly with key missions team members, this year the Wildfire Tours will be open to more people, and will visit destinations in other countries like Nigeria and the UK.

Similarly, whereas the two Wildfire Retreats we held in the US last year were restricted to our missions team and their close family members, this year they will be open to the public as spiritual getaways for all that desire to experience the bliss of self-discovery and personal freedom.

I also plan to deliver public and private lectures, as well as hold multiple discussions in several venues around the US, Nigeria, and the UK.

All of my tours, retreats, lectures, and conversations this year will be aimed at helping as many people as I can to break new grounds and experience more happiness in their lives. If you are interested in traveling with me and participating in these tours, discussions, lectures, and retreats, you may want to visit here for more details.

Methinks this will be an exciting year. Do you agree?

Have a blissful new year!

Think Your Own Thoughts, and Reach Your Own Conclusions

During a recent conversation with a reader of this blog, I referred to myself as a very simple minded person.

She vehemently objected to my describing myself as such. “I don’t like it when people refer to themselves as simple,” she responded, “because I think that means they are dumb.”

I didn’t think so; simplicity is one of the qualities I admire the most in life. So, to counter her statement and express my personal view of simplicity, I quoted Leonardo Da Vinci:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Her response surprised me initially. Then it amused me. And finally, it inspired me.

She said, “Who is that? And why should I care about what he said? As far as I’m concerned, simple means dumb.”

She stood her ground, refusing to be cowed by my reference to Leonardo da Vinci. She refused to acknowledge his intellectual superiority and ideological authority over her mind. She withstood my subconscious attempt to intimidate her and impose my personal views on her.

That was neat.

“You should have just told me what you thought about it,” she later told me as we joked about it, “you didn’t need someone else’s statement to do that.”

There and then, I got a hard lesson on self-discovery and personal freedom. She basically preached my own sermon back to me: Think your own thoughts, and reach your own conclusions.

And I listened.

Why Can’t We Just Be Ourselves?

My background is a very religious one: I was born into an evangelical and conservative Christian denomination. I was raised by devout Christian parents in a bible-thumping family environment. My 6 years of high school were in a junior seminary of a very orthodox Christian denomination. In my late teens and early twenties, I became a fire and brimstone evangelical crusader, started my own gospel crusade team, then traveled far and wide, preaching to thousands of people and converting them to my own brand of evangelicalism. At the young age of 23 I planted my first church, and grew it into a denomination with several branches in several cities. Over the ensuing 15 years, I was the organizational and spiritual head of this denomination in one form or the other. Along the way, I preached literally thousands of sermons, wrote several religious texts, and hosted hundreds of religious events.

As I look back at my religious background, and in spite of what was a very illustrious run in religious extremism, I must admit that I was anything but truly happy. In fact, for the most part, I was depressed, sad, and frustrated; because I always felt trapped. I felt trapped because I never really agreed with a lot of the things I was teaching and preaching. My heart and mind constantly rebelled against most of the stuff I felt forced to say regularly from the pulpit. I could see the contradictions, the lies and the sham, the gimmicks and tricks. I even became an expert in them —often loathing myself for not expressing what I really believed, and for not being true to my own inner awareness.

Why couldn’t I be myself? Why couldn’t I say what I really thought? Why couldn’t I admit what I truly wanted for myself? The simple reason was: I was afraid. I was afraid that if I dared to be myself, I would be rejected by others; by family, friends, supporters, and sponsors. I could not say what I really believed, because I was scared I would no longer be accepted by my religious kit and kin. Though I held very radical personal opinions that were diametrically opposed to the mainstream religious beliefs of the people around me, I could not dare to really express those views; because I was afraid of being rejected; that people would no longer accept me or give me their support. So I felt trapped, sad, depressed, and unfulfilled.

Of course, I’m no longer that way. Today, as you can sense from my writings, I think my own thoughts and reach my own conclusions. Nowadays I don’t care about what anyone thinks about me; other people’s opinions about me don’t matter to me anymore. And if there’s one word I’ll use to describe how I feel today as a result of the personal freedom I enjoy, it would be blissful. Which leads me to think that a major reason many people are not happy is because they are not free to be themselves. They are terrified of other peoples opinion, and scared of being rejected. So they live in bondage and unhappiness.

Yet, this degree of personal freedom—the freedom to think for myself, and be myself—has not come easy. Breaking out of the prison of my religious background, and staying free, has been the toughest battle of my life; but it’s been worth it. My experience agrees with one of my favorite lines:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
~ E.E. Cummings

Furthermore, I agree with E.E. Cummings that society is partly responsible for this fear: From the very moment you stepped into this world, you were taught not to be yourself. Every time you attempted it —at home, in school, in church, in your workplace, and everywhere— you were severely chastised. And so with time, you began to associate being yourself with pain. It became an unpleasant experience. And so you learnt to pretend, to conform, to fit in. Along the way, you realized that whenever you conformed you were rewarded. So it became easier to do just that. Until you lost yourself. However, I still believe that it’s up to you to discover yourself and break out of this prison.

If you are afraid of being rejected by others, especially family, friends, supporters, and sponsors; if you are terrified by the prospects of not being accepted by a particular group, institution, or ethnicity— I sincerely hope that the thoughts I share here from my own personal journey will help you come to a place where you don’t care about what anyone thinks of you. I’ve come to the personal realization that human opinion is absolutely worthless; that this is my life and it’s up to me whether or not I will be happy. I came here alone and will leave alone. So my strengths, weaknesses, good, bad, ugly, mistakes, and successes are mine alone; they are none of your business. Think as you please and believe as you choose. But do not try to impose your personal views on me because that will never fly. If you choose to be a slave to human opinions and man made doctrines, that’s your privilege. But don’t expect me to have any fun with that. If I have to adjust my thinking, alter my style, change my behavior, deny myself, or pretend to be what I’m not, just to be accepted by others, then that’s not cool. I would never change who I am just to fit into someone’s mould. I am a free spirit; a free thinker. I’m free to live, and be happy, following the design of my Source from within.

I’ve rejected the dogmas of my religious background, ended my marriage with organized religion, and completely abandoned any shares and stakes I ever had there. Organized religion is a scam; and those profiting from it inadvertently end up as prophet-killers, and enemies of enlightenment and personal freedom. Today, I’m a mere messenger, sharing my journey of self discovery and personal freedom with anyone that cares enough to listen. Today, my personal beliefs are neither determined nor regulated by some manmade creed that was knocked into shape at some human conference or convention. Other people’s canons and interpretations of scriptures are no longer binding on me. Today, if I ever need to, I will consider all facts, observations, opinions, and so on from as many diverse sources as I choose to reference—with an open mind, of course. But I will never accept their spiritual or moral authority as binding on me. The God I worship, my own personal God, lives within me; His words are written in my heart; and I don’t need any manmade religious systems to experience Him.

Think your own thoughts, reach your own conclusions, and do have a blissful week!

Why I Write

I’m constantly exploring my heart to discover and understand myself. There’s really no particular reason why I do this; I just think it’s the way I’m wired.

Recently I’ve been probing my heart to discover and understand why I write. So far, I’ve discovered quite a few of them. See if you find them interesting..

I write to entertain.

Ever since my childhood, I’ve always enjoyed reading: novels, biographies, news, documentaries and so on. Information —books, magazines, the Internet, movies — is my primary and preferred source of entertainment. Could this be the reason I do not primarily write to inform?

No doubts people learn a lot from my writings; but it seems to me that I write primarily not to inspire knowledge, but to inspire bliss.

I write to explore myself.

My writings help me sort through the craziness, contradictions, and non-conformist streams of my multi-dimensional perspectives. I can see several angles to any single issue, and so think in contradictions. This is why I will never be the go-to-guy for fixed and rigid doctrines on any aspect of life. That will never happen; simply because I’m constantly seeing new and different views on any subject.

So, I write to explore these multiple perspectives. In other words, it could well be that, contrary to what I’ve always thought, I write primarily to explore, rather than to express myself. Though it could also be for both reasons.

But I also write to protect my own personal freedom.

I think my own thoughts, and I reach my own conclusions. I don’t care who you are, but your doctrines and teachings are simply your own perspectives and I will never let you impose them on me. As far as I’m concerned —especially with regards to scriptural themes—whatever views, beliefs, or teachings you and I hold and propose, are merely our own individual spins. Period. They are and will never be equal to the scriptures themselves; to absolute truth.

So, for me, writing is a tool of personal liberation, a means of spiritual transportation, and a medium of entertainment.

Have a blissful week.

Illusions of Change

I don’t want to change or influence anybody. Seriously. And I know this makes a lot of people, including the few friends I have, scratch their heads in perplexity. After all, I imagine they’d be wondering, why am I travelling the world preaching, teaching, and lecturing?

VBC-FALL201418

And if I really don’t care about changing anybody, why in the world do I even bother to write this blog?

The answer is very simple: I preach, teach, lecture, and write for the same reason that I breathe and exhale daily. I do these things, not to influence or change anybody, but simply to express my own personal perspectives on the various issues of life. And this is why I continue to tell visitors, readers, and regular subscribers of this blog not to equate anything I write here with absolute truth; and not to relay them as doctrines to others.

Do people get helped by what I write? Oh, sure! Do some resonate so strongly with my opinions that they get fired up to pursue a certain path? Definitely? Are some inspired to make lifestyle adjustments after reading my personal perspectives of certain issues? Of course! I know because they write to tell me. I get hundreds of these mails weekly. I respond only to very few of them, and have made new friends and built very deep relationships as a result. However, the fact that people are helped or inspired by my expressions is merely an unintended outcome of my daily resolve not to try to influence anybody.

My daily resolve is to express myself with courage and authenticity; to not care about what anyone may think of my personal views, and how they may may judge and relate with me as a result. And whenever I achieve this, whenever I am able to express my deepest thoughts— my most intimate and personal perspectives— I feel free and blissful.

The reason I’ve quit trying to change people is this: I don’t think that anybody can change another person. This is a strictly personal opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it at all. But as I see it, I am who I am, and you are who you are, simply because the One that made us made us so; and there’s little—very little—any of us can do about it.

For instance, think of your gender—something as fundamental to your design as anything can ever be. Can you or anyone change it? Can you or any other person change your gender from say male to female? We all like to think that we have choices, and so we get into all sorts of pride, claiming that we did this or that. Yet, when you really think about it, you begin to realize that the One who designed and built life left us with very little room, if any, to maneuver. Did you get to choose your genes and chromosomes? Did you get to choose who your biological parents would be? Did you get to choose the circumstances and ethnicity of your birth? Did you get to choose who will have the most influence on your most formative years? And if you never got to choose these things, how can you even begin to imagine that any of your so-called choices were actually made by you?

“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all?”
~ Luke 12:25

If you had no choice in the things— such as your genetic composition, circumstances of birth, ethnicity, and most formative influences— that determine how you will choose for the rest of your life, what other choices do you really have? This is how I see it at the moment. But I can imagine that your perspectives might be different from mine on this, as you might be seeing something I’m not seeing right now. After all, you and I know only in part, right?

In any case, on the issue of change, I have already stated my personal view: I don’t think that anybody can change another person. I don’t even think that anybody can change themselves. However, I think that each person can grow into a more mature version of who they were designed to be —in the same way that an egg becomes a butterfly, and a cub becomes a lion. Nevertheless, I do strongly believe that the One who made each individual reserves the power to re-make them, has done so multiple times in history, and continues to do so today ― albeit under circumstances that are beyond the conscious control of any human being.

I love to learn, and I love to express my thoughts and personal opinions. But one thing I no longer do is to make the slightest attempts to try to change anybody. I don’t even try to change myself. Seriously! I accept myself just the way I am; the way I believe my Maker made and continues to remake me. Then, daily, I give Him thanks for my blessings and my messes. And then I strive to do that with respect to other people.

While I think it’s a waste of time to try to change other people, I see people all around me laboring to alter other people’s behavior. I see this especially in interpersonal relationships: spouses trying to change their significant others; parents trying to manipulate their adult children; grown-ups striving to influence their aging parents. And the more I reflect on this, the more I think that the reason for this pathetic and frustrating situation is that it’s more convenient to try to get the other person to change, rather than make the change in our own selves.

It’s easier—not that it’s possible, mind you— to try to change others than to put the pressure on our own selves. So, we prefer to distract ourselves from our own failures under the illusion of trying to change others. And I think Jesus calls us out on this one:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
~ Luke 6:41-42

In my own experience, I’ve discovered that when I shift from trying to remove the speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye, to trying to take the plank out of my own eye, two things happen:

  1. I become too busy working on my own personal growth and metamorphosis to notice the tiny speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye.
  2. If and whenever I succeed in taking the plank out of my eye, and start to see clearly, I am no longer able to see that speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye! Because what I thought was in his eye was actually projected from my own eye.

Crazy, right?

I know.

So, for instance, instead of trying to get you to change what you think about me, I’ll rather work on getting myself to not care about what you think of me. In other words, I transfer the pressure and challenge of change from you to me. And yet, when I achieve this, I have not really changed at all; I have simply realized my in-built potential to disregard your opinion. This, in my view, is metamorphosis, not change.

Rather than throw tantrums at how you treat me, in the hope of manipulating you to change, I prefer to move myself—in thought and body—beyond the reach of your behaviour. In other words, I either develop my inherent capacity to ignore you, or exercise my freedom to disconnect from you. By doing so, I’m merely acknowledging your freedom to be who you are, as well as enjoying my own freedom to be me. And so far, I’ve found this approach to lead to tremendous peace and bliss.

Have a blissful week!

Regarding Women Preachers

Should women preside over Christian congregations? Should they be set as pastors over churches? Should they even preach at all? As you can imagine, I get these questions all the time. But I usually ignore them; because, frankly, I think it’s a silly question—a no brainer.

Recently, however, the frequency of this question in my mailbox and conversations has increased, such that I’m starting to wonder if some bug has invaded the church!

So, here are my personal views on the matter. Remember, I don’t teach doctrines, and I do not equate my understanding of scriptures with the scriptures themselves. What is contained in this post is simply Rev. Wildfire’s personal opinion regarding women preachers.

For starts, I personally think that this issue is really a no brainer. I mean, religious folks have made a mountain out of a molehill. However, I’m also of the opinion that when it comes to ancient landmarks —and, quite clearly, this issue falls squarely into that category—one must tread cautiously. I’m not one to move ancient landmarks. I might be radical in my views, but I’m definitely not careless in my thinking. I respect constraints and boundaries as they help protect us from falling off the deep end.

Now to the matter in question:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:12

The verse above contains 3 distinct constraints for women.
1. Don’t teach.
2. Don’t have authority over a man.
3. Don’t talk!

Quite a list.

So far I haven’t encountered much hang ups with regards to no 1 and 3. I mean only an idiot would imagine that Paul meant that women should remain practically dumb in the gathering of the saints. You never can tell, though; there are some crazy nuts out there among religious folks. However, my experience so far is that even among extremely conservative positions, there isn’t much hiccups with nos 1 and 3.

But when it comes to no 2, the gloves come off, the swords and arrows are unsheathed, and the guns start blazing! You know, It’s sort of ok for a woman to teach; it’s ok for her to talk—but as far as wielding authority over a man is concerned, that’s a no no for many. While power gimmicks and insecurities are at play here, there’s also lots of ignorance. So, let me share my personal thoughts here and hopefully clear up some things for the sincere but ignorant seeker.

Take another look at the verse in question, and carefully note my emphasis:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:12

Now, here’s the same verse in the King James Version:

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:12 KJV

Now, zero in on the phrase “to usurp authority over the man”. What does that mean?

Here’s what the dictionary has to say concerning the word ‘usurp’:

1. to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne.
2. to use without authority or right; employ wrongfully: The magazine usurped copyrighted material.

To usurp authority means to operate in a role you are neither qualified, nor authorized to function in.

For instance, an accomplished military general who has neither a medical school training, nor a medical license, has no business in the operating theatre!

A father has no business sticking the mouth of a new baby over his flat muscular nipples! He has neither the anatomical design nor content of breast, to carry out that function. So, to attempt to breast feed the baby from his own natural breast would amount to usurping the breast-feeding role of the child’s mother.

In the later instance, however, his wife could —due to a wide range of reasons —equip and ‘license’ him for that role. She could say something like, “Honey, I really need to get some rest. Could you please ‘breast feed’ the baby for me? Here’s the feeding bottle; I’ve pressed sufficient breast milk into it to last till I wake up.”

In this case, that man would not be considered to be usurping the authority of his wife in the life of that baby. This is due to the fact that one with sufficient authority —the child’s mother in this case— has not only given him the authority to feed the child (“Could you please ‘breast feed’ the baby for me?”) but has also given him the equipment to do so (“Here’s the feeding bottle; I’ve pressed sufficient breast milk into it to last till I wake up.”)

Essentially, to usurp authority means to operate in a role you are neither qualified, nor authorized to function in.

In the original text of the verse in question, the phrase ‘to usurp authority’ literally means ‘to act of oneself’. That is, to act without proper equipment and authorization. When Paul wrote that he did not permit a woman to usurp authority over a man, he meant that (in spiritual matters) a woman should not function in a role divinely designed for a man, without the necessary equipment and authorization.

Thus, as long as she has the proper spiritual equipment and authorization from God Almighty —in strict accordance with the divine order, the Word, and the Spirit —a woman can and should teach, exercise authority over men, and speak in the congregation of saints; and yes, even preside over the church of the living God.