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So pastor steps up to the podium and I run his usual lines ahead of him, “Let’s open our Bibles to…” He says that, but pauses on a second thought, “Let’s just open our Bibles.” Everybody giggles, some laugh out loud. He then explains that we will not be starting with the scriptures today. I should have known by now that he is up to something. Then, he fires the salvo: “Let us welcome all Arsenal fans into the healing presence of…” That is it! It is no news that Pastor is a Liverpool fan.

The day before (last Saturday), the depleted Arsenal team lost at home at the Emirates stadium to Liverpool. It was 2-0. I have been pro-Arsenal for half-a-decade, but I’m likely to finally join Barca alongside Cesc Fabregas this season because I’m all for results, and not just some needless experimentation, unbridled frugality, and ‘teenage player exploitation’. Not to even think I almost bought an Arsenal jersey after we won Barca in the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals. A broken relationship is better than a failed marriage. Time will tell.

So, Pastor did not preach all football. There’s some stuff I’d like to share from the sermon. In what he titled, “If You Want to Fail, Kindly Keep These Commandments”, he outlined four rules for guaranteed failure. First off, he defined success as “improving your own situation, and by so doing, becoming a more valuable and useful person to those around you. Here goes:

FOUR RULES FOR GUARANTEED FAILURE

  1. Make sure you don’t learn from your mistakes: If you want guaranteed failure, never accept that you have made any mistake(s), not to even talk of learn from such. Failures are those who have made the same mistake(s) more than three times. The modern society is based on the principle of ‘See something, say something.’ This way, evil and wrong doing are not aided and abetted. Proverbs 28:13 instructs us to confess our wrongdoings so that we may be forgiven and thus, prosper. If you want to make progress, respect your establishment – the rules that govern your society. This was evident in the case of Abdul-Mutallab, whose dad had reported to the U.S. authorities as soon as he observed questionable moves in the life of his son. He put the respect for the establishment over his relationship with his son. This way, the case has been handled with less severity compared to if the authorities had not been forewarned and reported to beforehand.

  2. Disregard intelligence and courage: Intelligence in this regard is beyond intelligence quotient (IQ). It is linked to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is measured by empathy – putting oneself in the shoes of others. With empathy comes intercession.

  3. Be hasty in spirit: If you want to succeed, research thoroughly. Catching up is easier/better cleaning up. Read. Gather the data and find out facts.

  4. Be inflexible: It is suicidal when everything around you changes, but you remain the same. Don’t worship the past. Change is often gradual. Hold to your core values, but recognize that the method of implementation will always change. At a point, J.J. Okocha learnt and perfected his free-kick skills and that that added value to him and made him more relevant on a constantly evolving and competitive national football team. There was a time when if you had a Walkman, you were the man. Today, you’ll probably be ‘walked out’ of an electronics shop, if you go there looking to buy a Walkman, when others are buying iPods, iPads, and what have you.

Photo credit: motd2u.blogspot.com; watchprem.com

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