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CrystalQuest Adventures

…towards equipping the total man!

Life lessons from The English Premier League!

Football is arguably the most loved sport on the planet and my close to twenty five years journey as a soccer fan has been quite insightful especially when you consider the abundance of major leagues and championships throughout the world. The big business involved, the availability of technology and abundance of skills and expertise had over the years made football in Europe the most competitive in the world. You have the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League which are major competitions among the top football clubs in Europe. You also have the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, the Spanish La Liga and other major national football leagues across Europe. Aside major competitions like the FA Cup and the Charity Shield, the English Premier League (EPL) itself has consistently been one outstanding league. From the days of the Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole’s Manchester United lethal combination to the Thierry Henry days when Arsenal became invincible and even till the present Manchester City superlative form, the EPL has not been without its own share of drama and historic moments. Anyway, the crux of this piece is to highlight some of life’s lessons I have over time been able to draw from my observation of this beautiful game. They mirror some of life’s profound insights and the wisdom therein.

1. It is never over till you win. Every team goes into the match planning to win and every moves, tactics and strategy become crucial to this victory. The coach stays on the sidelines watching these every move, spotting strengths and assessing weaknesses. It does not matter who is leading even at half time. The other team could catch up and might even go ahead to clinch the victory, so consistency is key. Victory could be lost at the last minute and change of key players or strategies at anytime could be the game changer. The power to focus and stay consistently hard working is key to a victorious life. You cannot afford to put your hand to the plough and look back. You must stay strong, stay focused, keep improving and adapting to life’s changing situations per time.

2. There is no all time champion. It is not uncommon for a club to win the premiership in a season and struggle to make the top four in the next. It is actually possible for an average premier league club to clinch the league title if they really put their mind to it like Leicester City Football Club did in the 2015/2016 season. No condition is permanent as far as the premier league is concerned. You can be down today and be on top tomorrow, The same way you can be the best today and just a single factor like the injury of a key player can send you reeling to the bottom. Infact, winning the premiership back to back has been such a tremendously difficult task that just very few clubs have been able to achieve this feat. It takes consistent hardwork to sustain success and a great deal of resilience to survive when things are going south. Life is never a bed of roses. Only the strong and resilient thrive.

3. Even the smallest of all can defeat the biggest of all. It is always funny when you see a team struggling at the bottom of the table defeat a team at the top. It is often a case of ‘he that is down need fear no fall’ or the team just playing their hearts out to avoid being relegated to a lower league. The Goliath overconfidence of the better team too does not always help matters as it always ended up becoming their Achilles heel. Life’s defeat is most times about the little foxes that spoil the vines. They are usually the tiny details of life that get taken for granted. Those little things that initially do not seem to matter only for them to eventually be the harbinger of the greatest havoc. Take care of the little things. Do not underestimate the seemingly trivial challenges because you never can tell when your nipping it in the bud would be what would save the day!

4. Even the best spend more to sustain being on top. While it cannot be concluded that financial strength is the only factor responsible for a club’s success, it is definitely a major one. A rich club will have the financial muscle to procure the services and abilities of the best of players. They will have the resources to hire top notch coaches and provide them and the team with the best of materials and facilities. The richer the club, the easier for it to position itself for the top. Little wonder, the richest clubs in the world are the ones getting the best of players and garnering all the major trophies. When you have the means and your spending power is high, you can make a lot things happen and even in life, being wealthy gives you an advantage and places you on a pedestal where it is easier to make things happen.

5. Referee’s decision is final. The referee is human and so prone to mistakes and bad judgment calls, yet whatever he decides become binding on all parties. Right or wrong, fair or not, he wields the power to make or mar and like life, he can be a big factor in determining how well you will emerge. A victorious life will always be prepared to thrive inspite of adversities and succeed against all odds. Things always turn out best for those who make the best use of the ways things turn out so even when life is unfair as it can oftentimes be, you will weather the storm and come out blazing. Life’s stumbling blocks will become your stepping stones.

6. Possession does not always translate to victory. You can be the team playing well and by strategy (especially as regards knowing when and where to strike) or sheer luck the other team scoring the goals. Life happens. Sometimes you do all the work and someone else reap the rewards and at other times what you get might not be commensurate with your applied efforts. The upside is that it is also possible for you to reap the rewards for someone else’s labour and even get so much more than your efforts actually deserves. Speaking of when grace and favour works for you, you stress less and achieve more. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. When you trust God to build your house. When you trust Him to guide and direct your hustle, you will never labour in vain.

7. Sometimes you loose the battle to win the war. This is a military tactic often used on the field of play. There are times the team with the superior talent, skills and experience deliberately slow down the game or allow the other team to do all the running around and even score a goal or two, eventually wearing themselves out before they unleash all their firepower, overtake and thrash them black and blue. This is usually when the other team is known to lack staying power. Life turns out best for those with the foresight to see into the future. They are able to effectively map out strategies and take advantage of the present and in nearly all cases, they have a sound mastery of the times and understand what it takes to overcome. For them, life is a series of twists and turns and wisdom is key to the victorious life.

8. To whom much is given, much more is expected. Football clubs hire coaches and pay them according to their expertise and ratings. The desires of the club management and how much they are willing to spend then determine the coach’s mandates. He is expected to surpass these mandates or at worst deliver the exact results demanded. The accumulation of these results over time determine the coach’s ratings. Failure to perform could lead to dismissal or at best a second chance but there is usually never a third chance except there is an unwavering faith in him by the club’s management team or it is all part of the club’s long term plan. In life they say ”the bigger your head, the bigger your headache.” The higher you go and better you become, the more responsibilities you take on and the more the demand placed on your abilities and resources. It is expected that your impact be commensurate with how well off you are in life. That is what makes your life effective.

9. The law of diminishing returns will always set in. There is a point at which every ability plateau in life after which is starts to diminish. Productivity increases as one gets older and become better till it peaked at some point, the so called ‘glorious days’ after which it starts to diminish even as productivity reduces significantly with time especially because of ageing as the physical body start to deteriorate. Make hay while the sun shines aptly captures the essence of maximizing one’s potential and impacting lives to the fullest while one is young, fresh and vibrant. Life is times and seasons. It is wisdom to understand the times, make meaningful mark and leave the stage when the ovation is loudest. That is how you finish strong.

10. There are the players who make things happen, the spectators that watch things happen, and the referee/match commissioner who decides what happens. These are the three broad categories of people in life. There are those who never make any mark in life. They are either busy criticizing others and are usually bystanders with much talk and no action or are just too lazy and laidback to make any meaningful impact. There are also those who make history. They are the ‘doers’ who sowed the actual toil and sweat to make things happen. They are inspired and strive to leave their footprints in the sands of time. The referee signifies the God factor. He gives bread to the eater and seed to the sower. The Almighty God whose judgment cannot be questioned. Disobey or ignore Him at your own peril. Following His will and abiding by His instructions is fundamental to living the victorious life.

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The power of gratitude!

I once saw a movie about a man who at the twilight of his life became depressed because of how much he is yet to accomplish and just could not stop regretting not having taken a different turn. An angel appeared to him and in his dream took him on a tour of how his life would have ended if he had actually taken the desired different turn in life. Inspite of the great wealth he would have acquired in the process, going down that seemingly better route would have made him a monster and he would have died a sad and lonely rich man. I am sure you would not be surprised he woke up feeling very grateful and elated, thanking God for who he had become.

I believe that if God could constantly open our eyes to all the unseen battles He had fought on our behalf and all the unseen evil He had overcame for our sakes, we would remain perpetually grateful but our obedience to the 1Thessalonians 5:18’s ”give thanks in all things” instruction is often swayed by our insatiable fleshly desires and never ending life’s anxieties. 1Peter 5:7 and Matthew 11:28-30 are two of several promises assuring us of God’s ever present help and comfort but yet the human chase for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow gets fiercer by the day and gradually draws him away from his maker. Man is so consumed by the next big thing that he perpetually fails to acknowledge and appreciate God for the present. I tell you what ”a busy heart can never be grateful”.

I have met and heard of people who at the tail end of their lives became embittered and lived regret laden depressed lives and I have observed they could placed into two broad categories. The first are those who in the process of ‘getting there’ failed to enjoy the process. They eventually arrived only to realize they have lost so much more on the way and the sudden realization of this irreversible damage fills them with disdain for their accomplishments and steals their joy and peace of mind. They have been so much blinded by their pursuits that they have failed to relish the experience and enjoy the relationships along the way. They can only wish and long for the good old days. The second category are those I always referred to as ‘chronic worriers’. It does not matter how highly placed or blessed they are, they still get unnecessarily bogged down by ‘greener grass’ on the other side. They cannot help but factor the ‘what could have been?’ into every of their equation of life and whatever God has blessed them with often gets overshadowed by one common attribute of theirs which is their penchant for comparison. It does not matter what they have or have achieved, their focus is always on what they do not have or cannot achieve. They are chronic covetous people and covetousness is a sin of the ungrateful.

‘Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what The Lord has done’ are the lyrics of a popular song. The grateful heart is a blessed heart. It is content, takes the focus off man and place it on God. It is humble, God dependent and worry free. A grateful heart is an obedient one and its obedience is an open door for continuous blessings, so be mindful of even the little gifts of life and be grateful. Give thanks to God always and you will be richly blessed.

The realities of staying married!

I recently asked a group of ladies how they can tell if a man is genuinely in love. They came up with all sorts of seemingly plausible answers but for every answer they gave, we all actually agreed that someone with otherwise intentions could do same, act same or even go the extra mile. A man whose only goal is to get into your skirt can ‘form’ God fearing and treat you nicer than you can imagine, the same way a jezebel can actually mask her real motives and earn your trust. The million dollar question then becomes ”how do I know this love is real?” ”How do I determine if he or she is the right man or woman for me?”

This piece is not really about the telltale signs you watch out for in Mr or Mrs Right but rather about the need to prayerfully bank on God to order one’s steps and also realize the real key to marrying right is being right. First within, they say, then without. You cannot give what you do not have. Being right entails understanding the nitty-gritty of what makes us human. Man’s basic survival instinct and inherent self centeredness lies at the root of his imperfections. The best of us are those with sound mastery of self. They also understand that to err is human and are always quick to forgive and let go of negative baggages, so it is easier for them to maximize relationships and make the best use of whatever life throws at them. These understanding guide their outlook on life and also steer them into the marriage union with the proper attitude and expectations.

Marriage is a union between two entirely and uniquely different individuals. Two people with different backgrounds, norms and experiences. I always tell people that if you as an individual sometimes (or occasionally) does things that leaves you personally disappointed in yourself, how is someone that was never and will never be in your shoes understand you one hundred percent. I tell you what, love generally starts as a feeling but genuine love is a decision and that is why it takes a great deal of commitments and dedicated work to reap its bliss. You will bicker, fight and even be hurt but you will for the most part experience heaven on earth if you stay true to your choice and stick together through thick and thin. The worst of times could be ‘wisdom school’ in disguise and the lessons learnt could serve you well and yield wonderful memories in the future.

Being right comes with the wisdom to choose and with God on your side, acknowledging your own imperfections helps you to accommodate your partner’s imperfections too. Your expectations will be more realistic and you will both strive for a win win in all situations. Amos 3:3 [NLT] says ”Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” In the marriage walk, agreeing requires careful deliberations, reaching the necessary compromises and SELFLESS dedication to the well being of each other. Both parties decide to accept each other warts and all. They try to put up with and make up for each other’s shortcomings. They strive towards bringing out the best in each other: maximizing strengths, tolerating weaknesses and changing for the better, every step of the way.

One essentially key ingredient to marital bliss is communication. If your marriage must be heaven on earth, your spouse must be your best friend. Someone you are not scared to show your highest of highs and lowest of lows. Someone that sees and accepts you for whatever you are. Your number one fan and no holds bared critic. When communication is effective, issues are raised, sorted, discussed, resolved and the necessary concessions made as soon as possible. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 [NIV] bares it all. ”Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”

Marriage is when two adults decide to stay committed to each other. Marriage is when they both decide to reflect Christ’s selfless, agape love. When this committed love birthed in proper attitude and expectations meets with enduring understanding and effective communication, they will sure have a good reward for their labour and with the Holy Spirit as their third strand, their cord will not just be solid, their marriage will flourish exceedingly!

The man God uses!

History abounds with broken men used by God to do great exploits. From Moses the deliverer, who went from forty years as a prince of Egypt to forty years as a shepherd and fugitive in the Midian desert to Joseph that was sold into slavery and even became a prisoner before becoming the prime minister of the same Egypt and preserver of generations. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and every hero of faith have all had their individual share of the wilderness experience at different times. Men like Nick Vujicic and Jessica Cox might not be as widely known as the Wigglesworths, the Billy Grahams and the Adeboyes of this world but God is using them mightily to further His kingdom as He is still in the business of using the worst of men to fulfill His best of intentions.

When you consider Nick’s impact even in the face of physical infirmities, Apostle Paul’s exploits inspite of his thorn in the flesh (2Corinthians 12:9) and the signs and wonders God accomplished through Moses regardless of his stuttering, you too can testify that God has a unique way of manifesting in the weaknesses of men and showing Himself mighty and strong. Even the finest of training and skills that would have equipped some of these men to be the finest of leaders and befitting God’s vessels were trashed when God deliberately took them through the wilderness of brokenness and humbled their so-called shinning credentials. These experiences became constant reminders of their frailties and also justify God’s all sufficiency and Him deserving all the glory.

The man God uses has a broken and contrite heart. He has been crucified in Christ and humbled to the point of relying solely on the sufficiency of God. God then perfects His strength in the weaknesses of these humbled ordinary men to accomplish His greater purpose. The Bible declares in Isaiah 40:31 that ”But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” The waiting is usually the hardest part. It is the period where God ‘cooks’ the man. He strips him of his human strengths and skills and teaches him to lean entirely on Him. As vessels in the hands of the Potter, God can then mould the man to fulfill specific intents and purposes on earth.

As I listened to the testimony of Benny Prasad who from being a sickly & depressed child, to attempting suicide at the age of 16, went on to become a world record holder and the world’s most travelled musicianary. I was amazed about how God is in the habit of making music out of broken chords. God uses the lowliest of men; those who had been written off as nobodies, those who had even written off themselves to show forth His power and glory and confound the wisdom of men. But if there is just one thing I have observed that is common to them all, it is usually their willingness of heart. They are always men who are ready to live and die for Christ. They are willing to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to further God’s kingdom. Everyone, anyone can be used of God. Christ can be glorified in all you think, speak or do if your thoughts, speeches and actions reflect His will on earth and draw men to His kingdom. If God can use the lowliest of men, if He can use Benny, He can sure use me and you. All it takes to be His salt and light of the world is a broken and willing heart and an obedient spirit.

Thoughts are things!

Current trends in neuroscience offers evidence that we can consciously improve our health and well-being by simply changing our thoughts. Discoveries in the 20th century neuroplasticity have demonstrated that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts a day and that the physical reality of our brain has been formed from our past experiences that can be changed based on new inputs. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. An uncontrolled thought life can create the conditions for all sorts of negative stuff to thrive and the consequence is usually the unproductive kind of, or at best mediocre life. If you get angry on a daily basis. If you get frustrated on a daily basis. If you suffer on a daily basis. If you continue to give reasons for the victimization in your life and harbour all sort of terrible things in your thought life, you are simply re-wiring and re-integrating your brain to accept it as your all time reality: your personal identity.

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]”

Philippians 4:8 (the amplified version quoted above) is a guide to consciously control your thought life and detox your brain. When you break your negative thinking pattern, your thought process get disrupted and the more you keep at it, the faster your brain adapts these new positive inputs into creating a new you. As a man thinketh, so is he. You are what you repeatedly do and what you do is a result of your thought life which is in turn determined by what your brain accepts, processes and delivers to your mind. Your mind is the seat of your thoughts and it must be constantly filled and renewed with life transforming, forward looking, Christ-like positive thoughts and imageries. These will make you better each passing day. The brand new you will exceed expectations and you will succeed greatly!

Becoming like Christ!

Romans 12:9-18 is one passage of the scriptures that poses one of the biggest dilemma of all time. There are over 19 commands in this seemingly perplexing passage. And truth be told, many of them are nearly impossible. It is hard enough to try to love others, work very hard, serve and be prepared to help people, but how do you handle blessing those that persecute you? How do you honourably repay good for evil and be at peace with all men? How do you fulfill Christ’s Matthew 5:38-48 commands with your sanity still intact?

Well, a thorough understanding of the entire chapter 8 of the book of Romans especially 1-8 reveals the keys to becoming more like God who causes it to rain over both good and evil. When you genuinely dedicate yourself to God, He transforms you to a new person and with the mind of Christ, you walk in the newness of spirit and fully take advantage of God’s gifts in you to live in peace with everyone. When you walk in the light of Philippians 4:13 you operate in His strength and His strength is in turn made perfect in your weakness [2Corinthians 12:9]. As you strive (He never promised it will be easy… John 16:33) daily to be like Christ, you will walk in His humility and do things beyond your human frailties. People around you and even your enemies will marvel at the grace of God upon your life.

The boss that makes you feel terribly at work, the back stabbing, jealous colleague, the subordinate that undermines you, the neighbours that does all kinds of evil and even your unfaithful folks. When Christ dwell richly in you, He empowers you to serve God enthusiastically and walk in genuine love with and for all of them. I see you succeeding in Jesus name!

A call to serve!

It is against the recent backlash on a governor of a state in my country that referred to himself as the ”constituted authority” that I was able to fully convince a friend that most African leaders do not really see leadership as a call to serve but more like a pathway to fame and fortune. They either have a twisted understanding of what leadership entails or simply lack the moral fortitude for genuine service especially those with seemingly credible credentials. They seek for power, just for the vainglory and use it as a tool to oppress those they promised to serve.

Mark 10:4… ”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The above is one verse of the scripture that truly captures the essence of leadership. Leadership is service. Service is giving one’s life. Giving one’s life is inspiring and inspiration is influence. When your followers realize your willingness to go the extra mile, they know you care and are inspired to do what it takes to follow your lead and accomplish the stated vision and objectives. When a leader is humble, sincere and has a great deal of empathy, serving comes natural even as these basic ingredients will not just determine how great the leader will be but the three Hs will also be factors that will endear the followers to such a leader.


Humility: leadership is about service. Even the Bible declares in Matthew 23:11 that the one who serves is actually the greatest, but the common low self esteem, troubled childhood and shallow mindedness of most of these leaders fuels their unquenchable thirst for self aggrandizement. What they lack in self esteem and humility, they tend to make up for by stupendous wealth acquisitions and self glorification. A leader will always be a true servant at heart and it takes humility to really lower oneself and sincerely serve.


Honesty: It is a fact that people do not care how much you know till they realize how much you care. Probity and transparency should always be key in every leader’s philosophy. When a leader is truly humble and sincere, accountability will never be an issue. Even when true leaders make mistakes, they are quick to admit and apologize if need be. Because their followers sees their hearts, they are inspired by their ways and many try to live right too, their leaders being worthy role models.


Humanity: Being human is also being able to acknowledge one’s imperfections. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and every good leader tries as much as they can to maximize their strengths and surround themselves with credible leaders that will compensate for their weaknesses. This would also prompt them to show empathy with the individual’s situation and enable them make room for their followers’ weaknesses. They will not be quick to assume, judge or condemn but offer the much needed listening ear and always be sympathetic to the plight of their followers.

Leadership skills can be innate or acquired and cultivated. Whenever, wherever, however a leader emerges. Qualified or lacking the requisite leadership skills, deserving or not deserving, any leader that possesses these three attributes would sure have a clearer shot at greatness.

Happy Democracy day!

Better late than never!

As a child who grew up attending Sunday School classes, the mention of the name Samson, even without reading the Bible would instantly remind you of that story you must have heard countless times about that great man who lost it all on the laps of a Delilah. A man that failed to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. But I once stumbled on a portion of Hebrews 11 that made me revisit the story and re-examine his life with a much more open mind and a broader perspective of the overall picture of Samson.

Judges 13, 14, 15 and 16 tells the overall summary of Samson’s life. His chequered story is a classic tale of exuberance, moral weakness, reckless pride and last minute redemption. He was born as a result of God’s plan to rescue Israel from the Philistines. He was given enormous physical strength and had tremendous potential but inspite of his brilliant credentials, he wasted his strength on practical jokes, getting in and out of fights and eventually gave it all up to satisfy a woman. Yes! Samson wasted his life but how did this so called waster of destiny ended up in the Hebrews 11 faith’s hall of fame?

I realized that inspite of his many mistakes, pride (Judges 15:16) and willful disobedience, Samson’s heart turned to the Lord while imprisoned by the same Philistines he was meant to deliver Israel from. He was humbled. He prayed to God—a first—and God answered. Samson finally recognized his dependence on God in the end and when he died, God turned his failures and defeats into victory even though he had to pay with his life.

One vital lesson is that, however badly we may have failed God in the past, it is never too late to start over. God’s mercy never fails. Ever faithful, ever sure. Samson returned to God at the very end of his life and was counted victory for him. He was listed in Hebrews 11:32-40 among those who “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice (evidenced by Judges 15:20), and gained what was promised… whose weakness was turned to strength.” For a man who seems to have missed it, that for sure is a resounding eulogy!

The power of habits!

Our habits have been generally described as being the product of two shaping forces. One is the narratives that people are nurtured on and how those narratives feed their imaginations one way or another. The other is the context in which people grow up, which has a huge impact on how they see the world and others.

The context (culture) is the sum total of the physical and human environment of nurture. It has a great deal to do with the geography, the moral, cultural values and norms of a people. The narratives (nurture) are the emotional and social factors that shapes how we see ourselves, think, react and relate to situations and how we generally view and treat others. This is often influenced by reactive and proactive reactions to conversations, events, relationships and the overall attitude of a people towards everything in life.

Man is always a product of his habits. Who we are and what we accomplish depends largely on a vast network of routines and behaviours that we carry out with little or no thought whatsoever. Habits are the brain’s own internal productivity drivers. Constantly striving for more efficiency, the brain quickly transforms as many tasks and behaviours as possible into habits so that we can do them without thinking, thus freeing up more brainpower to tackle new challenges.

A man’s habits therefore determines his productivity and effectiveness to a very large extent. Whatever advances a man’s habits will seriously enhance his overall self and so make him a better person. Not much can be done about the culture factor since we really do not have a say over who gave birth to us and where, but for the nurture, it is pertinent to diligently seek and adopt the right kind of influence even when our nurture projects otherwise.

A flawed nurture can be balanced by the sagacity to critically analyse situations and draw the right lessons. All it takes to reinvent oneself is the right kind of knowledge and the sheer will and determination to be different. We can decide to either live reactively and let our nurture determine our lot in life or live proactively, turning the stumbling blocks in our nurture to stepping stones and ultimately becoming success stories. The choice is ours!

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