Bear the Stretcher: Five Compelling Reasons Why You Should Help a Fallen Christian.

Early on the morning of the 2012 Armed Forces Day, I took a virtual tour of the National Arboretum – a 150-acre wooded parkland in Staffordshire, England. It is artistically and beautifully designed with memorials that remember UK servicemen, past and present. Few days before then, I had basked in the euphoria of witnessing the Olympic Torch pass through our city. London had been agog with unbridled excitement. All of the UK was wrapped in frenzy – buzzing and getting ready to host perhaps the greatest sporting activity on earth. But the electric ecstasy of those days decelerated into humdrum sombre on that Armed Forces Day. As I pondered, my mind raced down memory lane. Then I came by something even more sobering. It was Prince Harry’s speech three months earlier while receiving the award for distinguished humanitarian leadership:

“So many of our Servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice; so many lives have been lost and so many changed forever by the wounds that they have suffered in the course of their duties. For these selfless people, it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of battle quietened, that the real fight begins – a fight that may last for the rest of their lives.”

Life is a fight; a long, unending fight.

We enlist for that fight at birth. We only lay down our weapons at death. Every breadth we take is a call to arms. Every move we make is an invasion of the enemy’s camp. We are susceptible to attacks. We are bound to be wounded. We are prone to become a casualty. Prince Harry’s words struck me real hard: In life’s battles, wounds are inevitable.

Esprit de corps!

That’s a core philosophy in the military which describes such values as honour and commitment in the service. It epitomizes pride for, and devotion and loyalty to, other members of the service with which the soldiers fight and serve. That’s why it’s a grave offence in the military to attack, or to pass up a wounded colleague.

I find the absence of espirit de corps in ‘The Army of the Lord’ appalling. Only in this army, it seems, is it commonplace to see soldiers fighting one another.  Only in this army is it commonplace to see soldiers who don’t care for their bleeding and dying colleagues. Many times we see battle-weary Christians stagger. And fall. Courage almost gone. Or actually gone. Some of their wounds are direct onslaught from the enemy. Some are self-inflicted.

But whatever the cause, it’s your sacred duty as a fellow soldier to bear the stretcher. 

Bear The Stretcher

It’s your sacred duty to bandage their wounds. To nurse them back to health and recovery. It is against esprit de corps to break a bruised reed, or to put out a flickering candle. The demand on you is to tend it, trim it, give it fresh oil, and cause it to burn more brightly again. When you do so, you practice the service philosophy of esprit de corps.

Here are five compelling reasons why you should help a wounded Christian:

(1) You show your value for their lives.

Irrespective of tribe, race, nationality, socio-economic status, or accomplishment, all humans intrinsically dance to a kind of music. There’s a cord that binds us together – the cord of a shared humanity. All humans have built-in cravings for love, care, respect, dignity, connectedness, and belonging. When you help a wounded Christian, you demonstrate your belief in our shared humanity and your high value for human life. I think the humanity of those who deliberately wound people who are already wounded, or who pass-up people who are wounded, should be re-examined; they may not be humans. They may be outright robots, or robots in human casing!

(2) You believe their wounds shall heal.

When you help a wounded Christian, your act of love makes a loud, epochal statement. The gesture says: “You shall battle back, bounce back, and get back to form.” Your magnanimity screams, “We all fall, but we get back up. A winner is a failure who got up.” That’s the greatest pain killer that soothes their pain. That’s the most effective antiseptic that prevents their wound from getting worse. That’s the most potent medicine that speedily clots the blood. And that’s the most protective bandage that covers their wounds. I have read about athletes who came back from severe injuries to win medals because their coaches, teammates, or families defiantly believed their wounds shall heal and went further to help them recuperate. What a comfort! What a blessed assurance!

(3) You store up healing for your wounds.

None of us is omniscience. We don’t know what will befall us in the future. I don’t pray it rains on your parade. But doesn’t the Bible speak about ‘the evil day’ and warns those who think they stand to be careful lest they fall?

When you help a wounded Christian, you store up healing for wounds you’ve not yet sustained, which could come either from the enemy’s gunfire, or from the cruel weapons of life. You pre-secure balm for yourself at a time in the future when you would need it the most. You accrue good deeds into an invisible trust fund. You make tangible deposits of goodwill into a tangible but unseen account. None of those good deeds is put in a row marked ‘Wasted.’ The Trustee – the shrewdest businessman – guards and secures these investments, and posts every act of kindness to an invisible account you’d draw from at a needy time in the future. I pray you understand.

(4) You service the covenant of Brotherhood.

The phrase “one another” or “each other” is used over fifty times in the New Testament. In Christian brotherhood, you are bound by a covenant that is sealed with the blood of Jesus. By this covenant, you vow – before God, before the hosts of heaven, and before the Saints on earth – to love, to hold, to cherish, to nourish, and to care for your brother and sister, even at your own loss, at your own inconvenience, and to your own detriment. By this covenant, you pledge your total allegiance – not only to the King – but also to the King’s subjects: The Brotherhood. The covenant of ‘Brotherhood’ compels you to help a brother or a sister who is wounded in battle. Duty demands it. You can’t do otherwise. If you do otherwise, you trample the treaty you signed under your feet. That’s a grave offence. And our Defence Headquarters will respond appropriately.

(5) You work ‘Relational Accountability.’

I call ‘bearing the stretcher’ ‘relational accountability.’ Your disposition to reviving a wounded or a fallen Christian is an expression of your Christian maturity. Pampers-wearing Christians just watch when they see people fall. They do nothing. But bone-cracking, mature Christians go for the rescue.

It is ‘relational accountability’ that prevents you from forming a gossip clique and making a fallen Christian a big item on your agenda in your cliques. It is ‘relational accountability’ that disallows you from blurting out in brazen callousness in your ‘prayer’ meeting, ‘‘I knew s/he would fall.’’

‘Relational accountability’ will cause your heart to break at the immediate effect of fellow Christians’ fall here and now, as well as the ultimate, remote cost of their eternal rewards should they die without being restored. I’m trembling as I write this because I’m guilty. I bow my head in shame. Oh God, break my callous heart! Oh God, break our callous hearts!

Healing ‘The Wounded Healer.’

Can the healer be wounded? Does the wounded healer need healing?

I met Mark Fitter in January on Social Media. Mark is the founder of Pastors In Transition – a ministry to Pastors and their families who are wounded and abandoned by the church. I found these stunning statistics on his website, www.pastorsintransition.net:

  • Being a Pastor is one of the most difficult jobs;
  • 80% of adult children of Pastors have to seek help from depression;
  • 57% of Pastors said they would leave if they find something better, even secular work;
  • 78% of Pastors have been forced to resign from a Church;
  • 80% of seminarians who enter the ministry leave within the first 5 years;
  • 9 out of 10 Pastors will leave the ministry.

Mark hopes that through the ministry of Pastors In Transition, God would bring healing and restoration to these hurting, disillusioned, burned-out Pastors and their families; offer a safe and viable way out to those who want to leave; and provide openings and opportunities in churches for those who want to stay – thereby resulting ultimately in healthier churches and healthier Pastors.

I shared with Mark my growing desire to reach out to these Pastors, especially Pastors from Asia, from the Afro-Caribbean block, and Pastors in Africa. If any person, group of persons, Church, or Para-Church organisation, feels a strong pull towards partnering with Mark and I, please contact me immediately. Together, we will bear the stretcher. Together, we will heal ‘The Wounded Healer.’

Act Now…

Reading this article will not do any good if you do not act on all you have read. Here’s what you should do right now:

(1) Write down at least 3 practical things you’ll do weekly to restore wounded or fallen Christians that you know;

(2) Start doing them right away.

Postscript:

I wrote this article recently for a christian lifestyle magazine published by a leading non-profit in Europe, with print runs up to 30,000 copies, and reaching about 250,000 in the UK alone. I’ve been a Contributing Writer for the magazine for the past two years. This article was published two weeks ago.

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It’s Your Day!

You are…

Lovely. A piece of beauty.

You are…

Oval head. You redefine attractiveness.

You are…

Virtuous. A budding virtuoso.

Your branches spread across walls.

You are…

Unlimited.

Dream. Dream on. Dream again. Dream big.

You always do.

Don’t stop dreaming. For these are the things that make you tick.

And happy.

And fulfilled.

They are the core of your being. They give your life a meaning.

Your dreams. The ideals you hold dear. God’s writings on your heart.

In this your new year, you’ll start ticking many, many more fulfilled dreams off your dream list.

Yes, you will.

And you’ll cry for joy.

Yes, you will.

Your God will help you.

Yes, He will.

I know He will. Verily.

May your day be merry.

And bright.

Happy birthday to my lovely wife!

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DANI ALVES: What To Do When ‘Life’ Throws Banana At You.

Barcelona defender Dani Alves responded to a racist taunt yesterday in his side’s 3-2 win at Villarreal by picking up a banana that landed at his feet, peeling and then eating it before proceeding to take a corner kick.

Alves had already played a key part in the match sparking his team’s comeback from 2-0 down when his off-target shot was turned in by Villarreal’s Gabriel Armando in the 65th minute.

Shortly after the banana incident, Alves launched a cross that Mateo Musacchio headed past his own keeper before Lionel Messi scored Barcelona’s winner.

Spain has for long struggled with racism and the incident last night was just the latest in a long line involving the Brazilian.

Dani-Alves-of-Barcelona-006

Alves said after the match that humour is the best way to combat racism in sports:

‘‘We have suffered this in Spain for some time,’’ Alves said. ‘‘You have to take it with a dose of humour… If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.’’

Here are some comments on Alves’ reaction:

“The Brazilian took the racist gesture on the chin, nonchalantly picking up the fruit, peeling it and taking a bite. Alves had the last laugh as Barca roared back from 2-0 down to win.”

(www. marca.com).

Former Barca striker Gary Lineker praised Alves:

Gary

‘‘Picked it up, peeled it, ate it and proceeded to take the corner. Top response,’’ he tweeted.

The ex-England striker then went on to make a deep and profound statement:

”Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves. Treat the racist berk with complete disdain!’’

Here’s a timeless principle we can all live by, a quote from Vincent van Gogh:

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” 

Alves claimed the banana gave him the energy to deliver two assists, and ‘thanked’ the Villarreal supporter who threw a banana at him:

“I don’t know who it was, but thanks to whoever threw the banana; the potassium gave me the energy for the two crosses which led to a goal,” he said after the match.

So when Life or people throw banana at you, don’t get mad at them. Instead, let the potassium in the banana energize you to ‘score’ your life’s goals.

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“Leadership 101”: David Moyes Shares Lessons Learnt At Manchester United.

Former Manchester United manager, David Moyes, made a pretty classy statement yesterday on his exit from Manchester United to the League Managers’ Association.

I find his statement below dotted with leadership lessons he seems to have learnt while at Old Trafford. Read his lips:

David Moyes

“To have been appointed as manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was and remains something of which I will always be incredibly proud.

“Taking charge after such a long period of continuous stability and success at the club was inevitably going to be a significant challenge, but it was one which I relished and never had a second thought about taking it on.

“The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season.

“We were fully focused and committed to the process of the fundamental rebuilding that is required for the senior squad.

“This had to be achieved whilst delivering positive results in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League.

“However, during this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration.

“In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.

“I have always believed that a manager never stops learning during his career and I know I will take invaluable experience from my time as United’s manager. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter finals of this year’s Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manchester United.” (www.joe.ie)

Classy. Quite classy.

Quite gentlemanly.

Even in “failure” he remains classy.

And gentlemanly.

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Life Lessons From The Sack Of David Moyes. 

“David Moyes: Bad Case In Organisational Transition.”

That perhaps could have been a better headline.

Perhaps.

Welcome to iClassRoom. Welcome to The University of Life.

Life is a hard-nosed schoolmaster. It packs our plates with scenarios and paradoxes. Its ultimate aim is to refine the dross, remove the weed, clean the dirt, bleed the engine, and make us who we should be.

When we, at birth, matriculate into this continuing, Open University called Life; when we painstakingly take its innumerable courses; and when we don’t drop-out but follow its regimented curriculum – in time we ‘metamorphose’ into that person we need to be. Progressively, this never-graduating University of Life brings the best into, and out of, us all.

The recent sack of David Moyes as Manager of Manchester United Football Club presents us with many learning opportunities.

David Moyes

It’s not what has happened that really matter; it’s the things we learn from what has happened.  And as we ‘layer-up’ these invaluable lessons on our journey, we gain new perspective. We rake-in new insight. Predicated on hindsight. We glean knowledge. We garner experience. These positively and significantly colours our worldview, and dictates our future reactions and decisions.

I’m not a United fan, but I try to learn real life lessons that football throws at us. I try to process information and facts, and apply them to my life. Moyes’ sack is one of those.

This is a valuable leadership lesson. As leaders at whatever level, we should not make the Moyes’ mistake when we take up leadership roles at new places.

Welcome to iClassRoom. Welcome to The University of Life.

Read the story below which I culled from Yahoo! Sports.

I look forward to your comments. And to the personal lessons you’ve learnt from his sack.  

Of all the advice Ferguson offered him, he did tell Moyes to keep the incumbent backroom employees on. It’s a tried and tested practice in a period of transition – you keep hold of people who understand your new surroundings, and then move them on once you’ve completely adjusted to the climate.


That’s not the opinion of one person, either. That is a fact of corporate practice. You see it used successfully absolutely everywhere, because it is how these things work. Ferguson was in charge for almost three decades, so it was particularly crucial here.

But not only did Moyes opt against that transition, he brought in Everton guys and Everton types.

Steve Round replacing Mike Phelan and the sudden promotion of retired player Phil Neville were huge mistakes. In fact, the only staff member I think was a wise move to have around was Chris Woods, the goalkeeping coach – David De Gea’s excellent season in a sea of mediocrity validates this…

-Yahoo Sports.

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HEARTY CELEBRATIONS.

Two hearts. That meet as one. That beat as one.
 
Inextricably bound.
 
Fused. Into a steady stream. 
 
Day is night. Without us.
 
Night seems long. Without us.
 
Image
 
We remember today. We’ll always do. 
 
We hide away. To catch the view.
 
We fan the broth. We await the brew.
 
Two hearts. That meet as one. That beat as one.
 
We remember today. We’ll always do.
 
Happy wedding anniversary to us!
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THE GOOD PLACE

Our feet have fabricated paces, fallen in a million places

And taken us over miles and milestones.

But our poetry lacked the right rhythm and metre:

Our feet never fell in time with the notes of the skylark.

In a dry land haunted by the wayfarer’s weary songs,

We had little melody to pierce the delirious dark.

But we forged on, long after strength had left our bones,

Long after our heels had started to shed red tears.

We trudged on, singing through tears and fears,

Braving mockingbirds, demoting our screams to groans.

We ate dinner under the cold gaze of the stars;

We drank our spit, rendered our regrets in songs.

And now here we are; here we are!

The spigots have spurted and then spewed their last:

Tears trickle to a drop . . . and then a stop.

This is a good place.

February’s sweet sun rises slowly and softly in the east,

Dances on a river and fetes us with its shimmering feast.

Laughter lands on a hilltop, cadenced and ecstatic;

And a smile swims upstream, blue and beatific.

Somewhere close by, a nightingale strums her guitar.

Of course, this is not paradise.

This is not the roomy palace of solace

That, with racing hearts, we raced out to embrace.

This is not the subject of the promise I essayed

That most intense of nights when I held your eyes

And poured my soul into your ears- and into your soul.

But we are in a good place.

jesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the living room, a tot sings along with Barney and Friends,

Hugging herself in a dislocated “I love you, you love me.”

She has shaped our world these past twenty-four months!

In the marketplace, we peel naira notes with extra care;

We definitely do not count money in millions.

And yet naira always meets naira in our pockets.

In the house of sickness, we know not the doctor’s name.

Our barricades are sometimes breached by disease;

And yet we can still postpone our dates with drugs!

Yes, we are in a good place.

In a city where sorry souls can’t command a dollar a day,

In a city where many decent heads are drenched in sunny rain,

We produce a rent that more than matches a year’s wages.

We may walk into boutiques and quarrel with price tags

Or look in through windows and shop only in fantasyland.

And yet a king might just try on our clothes.

Besides, the century-old hearth that is my heart

Still sizzles with the elixir of your love.

We surely are in a good place.

Let us rest awhile and thank God that we still can smile

When an entire nation is in need of the peerless commodity.

Sweet Jesus, You have been our sole testimony!

Of course, there is still much ground to cover,

Kingdoms to topple, empires to knock over:

We must match our parents’ exploits or better them!

But . . . we are in a very good place.

Now turn over, sweet lover, and hold me.

It is time to kiss your frown into extinction!

 

 

(c) February 13, 2014, JESSE UNOH, for Faith Unoh.

Posted on Facebook on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014, at 12:37 pm.

 

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