I believe Christians in every field of endeavour are anointed so far as they remain children of God wherever they are. It may not look like it but God is pleased by our occupations even if we don’t work directly in ministry. Let’s begin to accept the fact that sportsmen, actors, engineers, doctors etc. who profess to be followers of Christ are anointed; maybe as anointed as the greatest evangelist, prophet or pastor we know. We are all not called to be behind the pulpit. The pulpit has enough space for one person at a time. We need to go into the world and make disciples for God in every field.

The duty of a Christian is not to come to church every Sunday but to be the church from Monday through to Saturday. We should all learn this: go to church, tie a rope around the pulpit and strap it on your back and leave the auditorium with your life preaching an audible sermon all week long. The world would be an awesome place if Christians did this.

Today I am not my apologetic self. I have been disrobed of all traces of Ravi Zacharias and C.S Lewis. Today I just want to celebrate some anointed sportsmen who don’t mind taking the pulpit to the pitch, field or ring. I want to put the spotlight on men who are already in the spotlight. The crème de la crème of the sporting world. Though these icons have made it to the highest echelon in sports yet they don’t hide their faith in Jesus Christ. I am so proud of them and I guess God is too. So have a seat in the stands, as I present to you these spirit-filled ministers of God:

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Tim Tebow: If you are an ardent reader of my blog you would know that I wrote about Tebow somewhere in July last year. His testimony is amazing. He is known to kneel on one knee and say a prayer at the touchline before he comes onto the pitch. He has popularized the stance so it is called the ‘Tebow stance’. Tebow is also fond of writing a bible verse on his eye-black. Once he wrote John 3:16 on his eye-black and went into a game. It was reported that within 24 hours of this event, google received 91 million hits for John 3:16. It is fair to say that this guy preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to over 90 million people in less than 2 days. Without standing on a dais at a crusade, this American Football player has preached the gospel. Awesome! As a Christian, it pays to be exceptional at what you do.

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  • Stephen Curry: He is the current Most Value Player in the NBA. Steph had a wonderful season last year; he led the Golden State warriors to win the 2014/2015 season. It was he who said that ‘…the Holy Spirit is moving through our locker rooms in a way I have never experienced before’. The established throne of God is gaining prominence in locker rooms. Steph Curry said that 10 players of his team attend their pregame chapels to pray before every game. That is so cool. I would love to be in a room full of well-built  6 and 7 footers, praying their hearts out to God before they step on the hardwood to ball like crazy. Curry signed a sneaker deal with Under Armour and guess the inscription he put on the sneakers: I can do all things. A verse from Romans 8, which is one of my favourite chapters in the bible. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. God bless Steph Curry. He is an awesome player and an incredible shooter. Last season he beat the buzzer by throwing the ball from the 3 pointer line on his side of the court into his opponents’ net. Awesome! You can’t hate the brother. The only thing I might hate about him is the fact that he has two daughters with a very pretty wife. Meanwhile I am here… not married… but God is still good, isn’t he?

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  • Bubba Watson: Not many of us in Ghana would know him, because golf is not a big sport in Ghana. Don’t even think it, I also didn’t know him till a few months ago. Bubba Watson is an incredible golfer. He is a multiple major champion. He won the 2012 and 2014 Masters Tournament. In February 2015, he reached a career-high 2nd place in the Official World Golf Ranking (Wikipedia). And this is how I heard of him. I am a huge Christian Hip Hop fan and one of my favourite rappers, KB, featured Bubba Watson on one of his songs entitled ‘Imma Just do it’. His verse spills a million goose bumps all over my skin. For a golfer to rap that well… I was impressed. Let me share a bit of his verse with you:

Bubba Watts on the mic now, Can a golfer spit a rhyme? /

I’m not a gangster rapper, but my caddie got a nine/

…. I got 2 masters, no double majors/

But I got 1 MASTER I praise and thank HIM.

We all know the ‘1 MASTER’ he is talking about right? Another intriguing thing about Bubba Watson is, he is married to Angela Watson. She was a basketball player. On their first date, she told Bubba that she couldn’t have babies – no problemo. They are married now and have adopted two kids. *hats off for the loving Christian gentleman*

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  • David Luiz: O I love David Luiz. Obviously because I am a Chelsea fan. He was amazing throughout his time at Chelsea. I personally admire his bravery. He would go into tackles fearlessly as if his bones were carved out of igneous rock. Chelsea sold him to PSG in France for £50 million which makes him the most expensive defender in the world. Speaking of the most expensive players in the world, Chelsea signed Fernando Torres for £50 million pounds. And… honestly… he did not put up a 50million-pound performance at Chelsea at all. We were all worried. We caught a glimpse of the old Torres every now and then but he couldn’t sustain that level of performance at Chelsea. We were worried. I am sure the management was worried too. Guess what David Luiz did… he laid hands on Torres and prayed for him before matches. That warmed my heart the day I saw it. And I found out David Luiz is a member of the Hillsong Church and he also got the new hillsong album (Empires) when it came out. *sighs* When you see Luiz, tell him I owe him a hug, would you?

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  • Neymar: As I have stated already, I am a huge Chelsea fan so I might say blue is orange if blue being orange favours Chelsea in one way or the other. Soccer fans have been arguing over who would succeed the incredible duo who have reigned as kings in world football for some time now: Messi and Ronaldo. Many have tipped Neymar; some have tipped Eden Hazard. Hazard is a Chelsea player – you realize where I am going with this, right? But nahh, Neymar is an awesome player. He is very skilful and scores a lot of goals too. He is way too skinny for some of the things he does. The guy plays soccer with thighs the size of my arm. How he manages to speed past world-class defenders is a mystery. But he is good. He is a huge hillsong fan too. On the 2nd most important night of world football this year – the UEFA Champions League finals – Neymar was part of the Barcelona team that won the cup. After the game he had a head band on the said ‘100% Jesus’. Wouldn’t you blush if you were Jesus? The Champions League is viewed by millions all over the world and for Neymar to boldly declare his faith in Christ, really deserves commendation.

There are many others: Many Pacquiao, Jeremy Lin, Kaka etc. So many others. Space won’t allow me to profile all of them. My point here is, if these men could be exceptional in their fields and still give God the glory, what are you waiting for? You don’t need to stand behind a pulpit to make Christ known. You just need to be exceptional in your field of work and give God all the glory for your achievements. Go out there and be an anointed *insert your career choice here*.

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CHRISTIANS: AN ENDANGERED PEOPLE

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Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine who works with a Christian NGO about martyrdom. He told me that he wasn’t afraid to lose his life for the sake of the gospel and that many of his colleagues held this same view too. I must say, I wasn’t too comfortable with what he said. Could it be because I am a Christian too and haven’t ever thought that I could be martyred? Some way somehow his words didn’t sit comfortably in my ears; they were as uneasy as I was. Then he went on to say he believes God gives special grace to such people – and I thought to myself, ‘of course he does! In fact He has to’.

When I think about it, this should be every Christian’s attitude towards the gospel. But that isn’t the case. In Christianity today, we are radical Christian until we stare death in the face. We are devil-casting, tongue-speaking believers until somebody puts a gun to our heads and demands that we renounce our faith. It is very easy to renounce your faith as you shiver while staring deep into the barrel of a terrorist’s gun. It is very easy. Nevertheless, the issue of trust comes up here. If you renounce your faith because a terrorist promised you your life, it only means you trust him more. In the first place, who owns your life? – The one who created it or the one who wants to end it? It means you trust a killer more than your God. In the face of adversity, it is expedient that we hold fast to the confession of our faith and not waver. If you trust God enough, you would know that death is only one way to get to him and everything He has promised. But if you trust the terrorist, you would want to renounce God now and ask for forgiveness later. But what if he kills you afterwards? You lose! Remember that anybody who is prepared to kill you is under no moral obligation to keep a promise. Renouncing our faith in the face of adversity is really a matter of trust and not a desire for safety. God indeed gives special grace to those who go to war-thorn areas and nations that kill believers.

Christianity has been like this since it started. People have died for the gospel. This isn’t new to Christianity at all; Christians have been an endangered people since the day of Pentecost. Malcom Muggeridge said ‘all news is old news happening to new people’. I couldn’t agree more. As a matter of fact, the center pillar of our faith is the death and resurrection of our Savior. Meaning, the gospel has traveled this far and to the ends of the earth on the shoulders of many martyrs. Is it not amazing that so many dead men have brought the message of life to millions in the world? In Christianity, death is not fatal. It is the second death (hell) that is fatal. Sometimes I really stand in awe of the deeds of the many saints that have gone before us. One who was so radical and ferocious; shouting from the wilderness with every word reeking of passion for the work of God: John the Baptist. Then I picture one who had betrayed Jesus by denying him three times, but when the Holy Ghost came upon him he stood before the High Priest and the Sadducees, answered questions and defended the faith like his life depended on it. Better yet, he defended the faith because his life depended on it. I picture this same Peter, face to face with death. One of the disciples, by name of Dorcas had just passed away and Peter was informed about it. Peter, the timid one; Peter, the betrayer of the giver of life drove everybody out of the room and prayed for Dorcas and she came back to life. Peter had conquered death. But not too long before that, Jesus himself had appeared to Peter and prophesied how Peter would die. Is this not confusing? How one who has power over death must eventually die? Well, Jesus’s story wasn’t any different. Death is not fatal. The worst deception of terrorism is that death is the worst thing to happen to a person. Terrorists assume there is nothing good behind the veil for martyrs. While God has torn the veil and revealed that He waits with arms opened wide behind the veil. Many are here who cannot see beyond the veil; hence they can’t see the existence of the one true God.

In Matthew24:7-8. Jesus said ‘For nations shall rise against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms… and earthquakes. 8 All these are but the beginning of the BIRTH PAINS’. I haven’t witnessed in my entire life, the occurrence of tragic events in such a quick succession like I have these past 4 weeks. Xenophobic attacks in South Africa; Isis killing Ethiopian Christians; The Garissa hostel attacks by Al Shabab; The migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea; Executions in Indonesia; Earthquake in Nepal; Riots over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore etc. The list is almost unending. When you look at the verse quoted above you can identify some of the tragedies in it. But skeptics will say, ‘well, these things have been with us since time immemorial’. Therefore it appears there is nothing new or peculiar about them for us to allude their occurrence to signs of the second coming of Christ. Well, that is why Jesus made mention of ‘birth pains’. When a woman is in labor, she experiences painful contractions at intervals – these intervals reduce as she gets close to being delivered of the child. So the contractions occur at shorter intervals or in quick succession as the time of delivery approaches. This is the same with the second coming of Jesus. He says the signs will be like the birth pains of a woman in labor. Therefore, when we notice them occurring at shorter intervals, we must take heed and know that the time is almost here. That is all I have for all my readers today: TAKE HEED, THE END TIMES ARE NO LONGER NEAR THEY ARE HERE. IT IS THE END THAT IS NEAR.

BLACK DEATHS MATTER

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I have never been racially abused in my life; certainly because I live in Ghana. Hence I completely agree with Chimamanda Adichie when she says through Ifemelu, a character in her novel ‘Americanah’ that ‘I became black in America’. Of course Ifemelu wasn’t suggesting that her skin color darkened when she moved to America but rather, she came face-to-face with racial disparity there. Just like I keep telling people, I forget I am this tall till they mention it. Sometimes you are unaware of who you are until someone else points it out to you. The reality is more indelible when it is pointed out to you in the most demeaning way.

Do white people also come to terms with their whiteness when they come to Africa? I can’t tell. But even if they do, I guess the reality of who they are isn’t shoved down their throats in the most callous way. White people are adored by Africans. Black people are not respected as much as white people are on this continent. Black lives don’t matter here. You can tell that black lives don’t matter here by the way black deaths don’t matter.

People pretend at funerals. There are people who could barely stand the presence of another person even if he/she was 3 borders away and yet show up at their funerals crying Boti falls. I am just saying that people can even feign concern when the dead person was an arch-enemy. So I wonder what it takes to actually show no concern for the living and none at all after they die. 147 students were killed at Garissa in kenya and it isn’t given much attention by the media and African leaders. I don’t even want to put myself in the shoes of the parents of the dead, yet I can still feel the pain here. I was a university student not too long ago, so I can really relate to the plot. We must show concern. We are not too busy to show concern. Especially when our leaders flew all the way to France to join in a march against terrorism after the Charlie Hebdo attack. 11 African leaders went all the way to join world leaders of white nations to march against global terrorism. But when terrorism hits hard on the continent, they appear numb and indifferent to the plight of their very own. Black lives must matter on this continent.

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In America, it appears the easiest crime one can get away with is shooting a black man and claiming he was armed – even if he wasn’t. I watched the video of the white police man who shot  an older black man whose back was turned against him. It didn’t even seem real – that was how unbelievable the plot was. I watched the life literally squeezed out of Eric Garner by a white police man. Do you know what it means to see a man take his last breath? –More so when he wasn’t prepared? Black lives really don’t matter. Black lives have never mattered since the slave trade. They always make it seem the worst tragedy ever recorded was the killing of 6million Jews by Hitler in the holocaust. It turns out the death toll of the slave trade makes the holocaust look like an under-patronized slaughter house. Black lives have been under attack before we could even spell ‘attack’. I find it rather comforting to see a few white people join in the protests against ‘police brutalities against black people in America’. It only goes a long way to show that it isn’t an “us vs them” fight. But rather humanity versus injustice, humanity versus institutional racism. That is one sure way we can win the fight – when we realize the enemies of black people are of different colors (even black), religion and social standing.

I really feel sorry for my brothers and sisters in Kenya. These are hard times for them. Nevertheless, it will all be over soon – no situation is permanent. There is nothing more painful than to live in a world where nobody else thinks you matter and then your own brother kills you just to justify that fact. Those Aalshabab militants were black people. Black lives don’t matter to them. Boko Haram is made up of black people too. Black girls’ lives don’t matter to them. The members of ISIS in Egypt killed 21 of their kind. Black Christian lives don’t matter to them. Black lives matter, everybody else is probably blind to this fact. Till eyes are opened, those of us who see must rise up and show concern for black lives and about black deaths. Let love rain and reign in Africa.