blog-banners-001(Snippets from Carol Mkize’s message at the Every Nation World Conference 2016 Day 3)

Ukunqoba is a word that means overcomer.
You are an overcomer because God abides in you.
Intimacy with God will drive you to continue when you are no longer with other people.
You will overcome because God’s word abides in you.
Chaos is fertile ground for Christians.
Everything we learned we can now apply in the campus.
1 Samuel 17:38-40: Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
To (Spiritual) Fathers:  
What God used for you to overcome, it might be time to put it down.
The armor you used may not be the armor the next generation will use.
To the Next Generation.
Try it on first.
Don’t deny it right away.
Obedience and submission are not out of the question.
Don’t assume first that it will not work.
We have to walk with this God our fathers walked with.

blog-banners-001Drones are very popular these days, especially in taking photos and videos during weddings. They’re cool, fun and take amazing shots.

But when it comes to parenting, it can become uncool, not fun and unamazing when done in the wrong way.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-15-39-pmDrone parenting is hovering around your kids and staying with them as much as you can so that you know their every move and hear their every conversation.

Just to let you know, when your kids are infants, toddlers and grade school, you have to hover over them. They need you to guide, lead and point them to the right direction.

However, when they get older, it won’t be as feasible and practical.

Drone parenting is when…

– You go to every high school party they attend.
– You listen to every conversation they have with their friends.
– You try to read every tweet, sms, Instagram comment, telegraph app message and the like.
– You watch every viral video that they watch on Facebook or You Tube.
– You filter every reading material they come across with.

To be clear, I am not saying to detach yourself from being involved in your children’s life and leave them to figure things out for themselves. But at the same breath, we have to know that we can’t hover over them 24/7.

From 0-6 years old, our kids are in the telling stage.
We tell them what they should do most of the time.
“Brush your teeth.”
“Time to sleep.”
“Eat your vegetables.”

From 7-12 years old, our kids are in the teaching stage.
We teach them to start making small decisions on their own.
“Blue shirt or red shirt?”
“Batman or Superman?”
“Cheese fries or Barbecue fries?”
But obviously in major things, we still have huge inputs.

From 13-18 years old, they are now in the training stage.
We train them to become more and more independent.
“Just take Uber going to your friends house.”
“Study for your exams on your own.”
“Determine how much you’ll save and how much you’ll spend.”

From 19-adulthood, they are in the coaching stage.
Our role as parents is to just coach them when the have a question.
But since they’re adults, they have to be empowered to make their own decisions.

The older our kids get, the less dependent they will be on us.
However, our goal is for them to be more dependent on God.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-00-23-pmAllow me to pray for all the parents reading this.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the honor of raising, training and discipling the next generation right in our home. We don’t always get it right and we end up doing dumb things. But, Lord, in our hearts, we desire the best for our children. Teach us to be sensitive to Your leading, obedient to Your Word and teachable in our moments of inexperience. By Your grace, we will be the best parents for our kids and by faith, we will see a generation rise up that will please You with their lives.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Our third child, Ryan, recently turned 13. And for some reason, he had the crazy idea of cycling from Tokyo to the foot of Mount Fuji and then hike up to the summit. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was his passage into becoming a man and my passage of officially realizing that I’m old.

Biking 110 kilometers through several hills and a couple of mountains was not fun. I had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?”

This question came up again as we were hiking up to the summit of Mt. Fuji (3,776 m). We would stop and rest. And when we would, I would end up literally asleep for a few moments. When I would wake up, I would literally think I was in a bad dream… a nightmare, actually.

Because we had a lot of time to think and talk, we came up with a few life lessons along the way. Allow me to share them with you.

1. When you fall, just pick yourself up and move on.

At the summit, the winds were strong. They were as strong as 50 kph. Everyone had to stay low and duck many times as the strong winds would come by.

Walking was even a challenge. So there were times we would be swept by the wind and fall. We can choose to stay on the ground or just pick ourselves up and continue. We continued.

Life’s like that. We get hit and fall. The choice is ours. Will we stay knocked out or pick ourselves up and keep moving forward?

2. Don’t miss on what is happening now because you’re in a hurry to see what will happen next.

As we were climbing down from the summit, we were just so excited to go Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.45.22 PM
back to base camp and rest. But because we were in such a hurry, we were missing a lot of the stunning view.

Life offers too many beautiful events and experiences. When we are in such a hurry, we miss out on the lessons, messages and the simple joys life has to offer.

3. Preparing is hard work but being ill-prepared is harder.

We trained. We prepared. We got ready.
I read up on a lot of those that did what we did.
But somehow, we weren’t as prepared for what we were going to go through. And boy it was tough.

Preparation is hard work. But it’s harder if we are ill-prepared.

4. Keep your eye on the goal.

While biking, as long as we could see Mt. Fuji from afar, we were encouraged to
Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 7.54.24 AM
keep going.

We will be discouraged, exhausted and tempted to quit. But as we keep our eyes on the goal, we will eventually get there – one step at a time.
Keeping your eyes on the goal will keep you from quitting.

5. Trust the GPS.

As we cycled from Tokyo to Fuji, I had my Google maps on. I would tell Ryan to turn left when we needed to or turn right as necessary. But there were times he had his earphones on and we would miss a turn because he couldn’t hear me say “turn left.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 7.51.15 AMGod knows which way is the best. He knows the GPS well because He planned it. But because we have too many voices in our ears, we get distracted. Thus, we miss our turn and end up in a place where we didn’t want to be in.

But thank God that, by His grace, He is able to cause all things to work together for our good. As we listen to His voice, He reroutes and gets us back on track.

6. We will face uphill challenges along the way, but in the end, it’s all worth it.

This was what we were trying to convince ourselves about the whole time we were trekking for a total of 8 hours to the summit.

“This will be worth it.”
And it was
The view of the sun rising from the summit was more than amazing.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 8.14.43 AMLife will throw us a few curveballs and get us through uphill climbs. But if we are convinced that this is where God has placed us this season, then when we get to our destination, we will realize that it was all worth it.

7. Don’t just look forward to the destination; enjoy the journey as well.

We so badly wanted to reach the summit that we didn’t even talk to each IMG_0934other. Our legs were hurting and our eyes were shutting due to lack of sleep.

But managing to chat, interact, reminisce, and reflect on these lessons also became a highlight in the end.

 

To watch snippets of our adventure, I’ve posted 2 videos below of our bike trip and our hike up to the summit of Mt. Fuji.

VIDEO 1: CYCLING FROM TOKYO TO MT. FUJI

 

VIDEO 2: HIKING TO MT. FUJI SUMMIT

Blog Banners.001When values are clear, decisions are simpler.

Now, simpler doesn’t mean easier for many decisions we need to make are difficult. But when priorities are clear cut, choices are simpler.

I read a recent article by Sports Illustrated on Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time NBA All-Star, Most Improved Player in 2002. He helped Indiana Pacers reach the NBA Playoffs 6 times but never got a championship ring.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.34.42 AM

In 2013, he signed with the Golden State Warriors to play through 2014. But after a year with the Warriors, he decided to call it a career. The year after that, the Warriors went on to win their first championship after a 40-year drought.

When his former team won the championship, he was watching the game back at his house in Southlake, Texas. His 15-year-old daughter, Asjia watched her dad watch the game and asked, “Are you OK?”

O’Neal didn’t say a word.

She knew he was pondering on what might have been if he stayed another year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.34.17 AMBut for years, he told his family that they were his priority. His daughter just recovered from an open heart surgery. And while contemplating on signing with the Warriors for another year (the year they won the championship), his son told him, “Hey dad, I need you.”

“Physically, I could have done it. Mentally, no. My son and my family asked me not to, and that was the trump card. That did something to me. I was seeing changes in my son, he became more angry. And for a guy who didn’t meet his dad until seven years ago myself, I understood what it meant not to have a dad there,” O’Neal mentions in his interview with Sports Illustrated.

After she asked her dad if he was ok, Asjia walks up to her room.

A few minutes later, she sends him a text telling him about how happy she was that he was home. After recovering from her open heart surgery, she made it to volleyball team in her school and is now a rising star.

Asjia tells her dad how she appreciates him not only being home but also being able to travel with her to watch her play her volleyball games.

“Dad, you being home is like you being a champion.”

This text made what he gave up all worth it.

“It made me so emotional. When she wrote the text, how much it meant to her, to get that, it cleared up everything. All the emotions I had, missing out on the championship. That did it and I knew right away that my time was over,” O’Neal said.

“Sometimes you can’t be a champion. That doesn’t determine who you are,” he says. “But you can be a champion father, and that means everything. That means everything.”

When values are clear, decisions are simpler.

To read the full article from Sports Illustrated, click here.

 

Blog Banners.001Wisdom is seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.

Our children today are very smart. My eldest son actually has an IQ of 160. My second son can solve a Rubix cube in 30 plus seconds. My daughter’s musical ability is stellar. And my youngest son who is 6 years old is genius at being funny.

Kids these days can know a lot more from their parents because of Google and You Tube. The information they can gather over the internet is just limitless. (Read a recent blog I wrote about it.)

But as parents who have been entrusted with these amazing brains, how can we even help them if they know more about us? Well, they don’t (know more about us). Smart doesn’t necessarily mean wise. Wisdom comes from experience. Wisdom is applied knowledge.

Here are a few things we can do:

Teach them God’s standards from an early age.

Proverbs is a great way to impart wisdom. Since there are mostly 31 days in a month and 31 chapters in Proverbs, going through one chapter per day with them may be a good start. You may not need to read the whole chapter but simply choose a proverb or two that may apply to something they’re going through at the moment.

Remember that the goal is to train them to become fully functioning adults.

Our desire is to wean them off from us and get them connected to God. The trajectory is that as they become less dependent on us, they will become more dependent on God.

Dependence DIagram

Teach them to seek God through His Word, through prayer and through the counsel of godly mentors.

Remind them about the ‘best question ever.’

Andy Stanley proposes that once we’ve met Christ, the major question is no longer “is this sin?” or “is this legal or illegal?” or “is this moral or immoral?” Many times, we know the answer to these questions. But it’s the little decisions that lead up to that one big fall is what gets us.

He proposes that the best question ever is no longer “is it moral or immoral?” but “What’s the wise thing to do?” It may sound very simple but when we teach our kids this question, it will be incredibly helpful in making the right decisions.

Is it wrong to be in the car parked in a dark area of the village past midnight with your boyfriend? It’s not sin but it’s not necessarily wise.
Is it wrong to watch You Tube seven hours a day? It’s not wrong but it’s not necessarily wise.
Is it wrong to surf the internet all by yourself locked in your room past midnight without internet porn filters? It’s not sin but it’s also not wise.
Is it sin to eat ice cream every meal, every day? Not necessarily but it’s also not wise.

It’s the small decisions that lead up to that one big fall that gets to us.
This question is a good one to teach our kids.

May God give us discernment and lead us as we parent the next generation who rises up before us. I know we are all busy but I pray that we would be able to invest time in imparting wisdom to these precious ones that we’ve been entrusted with.

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PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thearkev/