Yellow Pages of Tomorrow

Hi there! Emmanuel here!

Thank you all for the likes, shares, comments and words of encouragement on my last post: GANGSTUH WEDDING. I was SOOO thrilled to see that you all enjoyed it. I love you guys! Really, God bless you all. It’s amazing what He does with stuff like this.

But today’s feature is not about me. It’s about my friends, you see. Many of them have got a lot of cool stuff going on, and I’d like to let you all in on it. The creative gifts God has given these guys is finding expression in amazing ways, and you really need to check out what they’re up to.

So here we go, as we take a look at the Yellow Pages of Tomorrow. The “Who’s Who of the Future” to which we are headed.

TreasureHouse Media, HeirWalk and the Donut Project

donut teaser
The DONUT Project Teaser

Tolu Joshua Babarinde (Writer and Creator of TreasureHouse Media) blogs at www.heirwalk.wordpress.com, where he encourages young people to connect, to learn, to grow, and to shine as he shares amazing and timely updates from his walk with God. His ‘HeirWalk’ print bulletin recently reached its 11th issue (available for free download at this link). He recently embarked on the journey toward his first published book, with the title ‘DONUT’. I’ve read it and it is really awesome. While this is neither the place nor time for a review (that’ll come soon) I can tell you that this book’s conversational tone kept me turning pages (or tapping the ‘DOWN’ key, as I was reading it on my computer) as he explained important pointers of the life God wants for us. You can follow his journey as this project comes to life on his book blog: The Donut Project 2014, www.eatyourdonut.wordpress.com. Go check it out; it’s pretty cool.

Hip Hope Republic

Hip Hope Republic (from the HHR Facebook Page)
Hip Hope Republic (from the HHR Facebook Page)

Since they hit our Facebook feeds with their amazing stunts and photographs, Hip Hope Republic has left an indelible imprint, and keeps dishing out more surprises with each new offering. They’ve got people going, “This is SO COOL! Who are these HHR guys, anyway?!” Hip Hope Republic is a community of creative minds, actively redefining Dance, Music, Photography, and Art. These art lovers are excellent at what they do, and the core is made up of some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. A lot of them will be mentioned in this article, no surprise. If you love crazy cool stuff that stretches the bounds of your creative zing, check out their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/HipHopeRepublic.

Dimiyei (Blog)

Dimiyei Sammy and I met at our N.Y.S.C. Orientation Camp, and we were both surprised to find that we shared similar interests. To this day we constantly challenge ourselves with puns and humorous comments that get other people wondering what planet we come from (Krypton has declined affiliation with us, so explanation is quite challenging) Anyhoo, Dimiyei is excellent in his writing and all media-ish. This guy’s amazing. He shares his stories, poems, articles and videos on his blog at www.dimiyei.wordpress.com. So go there sometime, will ya?

 

Temissan001 (Blog)

Temi Hassan, a talented dancer, model, artisan, God-lover, Art-lover and writer among other things, blogs at www.temissan001.wordpress.com, where she shares her spell-binding poetry. Her writing has such a way of getting to the core of the reader, you’d either be amazed or even cry … or both. Either will surely come first. So if you’re looking for the best of poetry that comes from and reaches the heart, go see her blog.

(Did I mention that she’s with Hip Hope Republic?)

Custard ‘n Cake (Blog)

Tomi Oyegoke is such an amazing person, and an interesting writer too. On her blog, she shares truth to build up phenomenal youth; all about and from a life sprinkled with the sugar of S.W.A.G. (Saved With Amazing Grace). Her tone makes her work relatable to young people who can identify with much of the issues she discusses. If you haven’t already, go see her blog at www.custardncake.wordpress.com.

 

SMISH

SMISH
Publicity promo for SMISH’s single, ‘Issokay’

Samuel ‘SMISH’ Ishola (SMISH) is a rising hip hop artist, with an interesting style. The friendly guy that he is, he characteristically relates life issues in his songs. His background and enthusiasm for hip hop influence his work with purely amazing lyrics and beats, and a heart to go with it. To date he’s released up to three singles (which I keep telling him, need to get married! … [beat] … OK, I know that one was lame): “Movin’ On” (feat. Sammie jay), ‘Come and Go’, ‘Get High’ and ‘Issokay’ (available for free download at their respective links). Go check out what he’s been up to on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Smish001.

(Oh yeah, he’s with Hip Hope Republic as well.)

Oludidit® Studios

oludidit diy
OludidIt frames (from the Oludidit Studios Facebook page)

oludidit wall

Banke Fasominu is the CEO of Oludidit® Studios, a professional make-up studio which also makes picture frames and other amazing wall décor using wood and fabric. The creative excellence oozing from her work is inspiring and dazzling, begging the question: “What can’t Oludidit® do?!” She chronicles her work and the journey involved on the Oludidit® Facebook page. The courage and enthusiasm she puts into her work singles her out as one of the best that I’ve seen at what she does.

You can check out Oludidit® Studios on their blog on www.oludiditstudios.blogspot.com, see (and like) the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OludiditStudios, and follow them on Twitter: @Oludidit.

 

BeLifted.Me (Blog)

Lola Odeniyi daily blogs at belifteddotme.wordpress.com where she shares God’s Word in an amazing and exciting way. I don’t know how she does it! There’s always something new to share every single day, and it’s uplifting. I’ve been blessed by the work of this blogger with a difference. Sometimes I just see the latest blogpost in my mail, read it, and am encouraged or learning something new. You really should consider following her blog. You don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t. Go check it out, and as she would say, “Be lifted!”

 

Iam_papyrus and Written Percussion (Blogs)

Two blogs; but one amazing man behind them all. Israel Adejobi is a prolific writer and an amazing guy as well. Israel is one of those precious few I know that know the intricate structure of a good written piece, and his amazing work proves this as well. You can read his poetry at www.iampapyrus.blogspot.com, and also check out his work in other genres at www.writtenpercussion.wordpress.com.

Stephen Ladoye’s Blog

Stephen Ladoye's Blog
Stephen Ladoye’s Blog … which goes beyond the blog.

Stephen Ladoye is quite enterprising. He runs the eponymous news network on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and on his blog (hence the name). If there were any other social media platform, I’m certain he’d be on it. Be it politics, entertainment, geeky stuff, whatever! This guy knows his thing. Do check him out sometime, and even follow him on Twitter at @LadoyeX, or even on his blog at www.stephenladoye02.blogspot.com. You’d be glad you did.

ShopyGFX

shopygfx

Even back when we were undergrads, this guy was at the cutting edge of multimedia, graphics, 3D, video, visual effects – you name it! The unstoppable Sope Adebowale runs ShopyGFX. Words don’t express how amazing his work is. You gotta see it for yourself. I was privileged to work with him in VHFMedia for a while, and I can tell you that he’s an amazing guy. You can see his work on his Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/ShopyGFX.

The Illusion Group

The Blades of Ennui (coming soon from The Illusion Company)
The Blades of Ennui (coming soon from The Illusion Group)

The Illusion Group is a team of people with creative talent and the desire to use it to influence entertainment positively. They are students in the University of Ibadan, but their first movie, ‘The Blades of Ennui’, is currently in post-production. ‘Blades’ is a psychological thriller of amazing proportions (how many times have I used the word ‘amazing’ now?). It’s something to look forward to. You can look up their page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBladesofEnnui, or follow them on twitter @D_IllusionGroup.

You can see the ‘Blades’ movie trailer here.

‘Lhaeide Media Inc. (LMI)

 lhaeide media inc

Ope Okunbor, excellent photographer that he is, runs ‘Lhaeide Media Inc. (LMI), an excellent photography outfit. The quality of his photos shouts the fame of the talent behind the lens. You know, when it comes to pictures, words don’t do justice. Let the pictures do the talking. You can look up some of his work at the following links: www.lhaiede.blogspot.com, or see his work on Twitter @OpeOkunbor.

Did I mention that he’s also a core member of Hip Hope Republic as well? (OK, you really have to check out the HHR page, if you haven’t)

House of Dabira

House of Dabira
House of Dabira
Folu Ajayi (Creative Director, House of Dabira)
Folu Ajayi (Creative Director, House of Dabira)

Folu Ajayi is the Creative Director of House of Dabira. Created in December 2011 but launched in April 2013, this fashion designer has come a long way and is gradually taking over. The style of their work displays creativity, attention to colour and luxury, be it in Women’s wear or Men’s wear – you name it!! With numerous awards, nominations, presentations and accolades to their name, House of Dabira is sure to be at the cutting edge of fashion design for a very long time. You can follow her work on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OfficialHouseofDabira, or on Twitter @House_Of_DABIRA

 

This last one deserves special mention

The Vessels of Honour Foundation

Vessels of Honour Foundation
Vessels of Honour Foundation

What can I say here?

In the University of Ibadan, this cradle and breeding ground of champions is growing – unstoppable. Its impact and influence go beyond all borders. There is so much God has done, and is doing here. I am a product of VHF, and so are many of the folks I’ve mentioned above. And there are many more; much more than this article could contain. God used my time in VHF to immensely perfect my gift, and for this I am eternally grateful.

Even if I wrote an entire article, it would not adequately qualify the Vessels of Honour Foundation (though I will, someday). For now, I’ll just give you the link to the website: www.vhfui.org.

The Vision of VHF is ‘“To raise a generation of believers who are in Full Identification with the Purposes and Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, using such identification to influence People, Nations, Systems and Institutions.” And it is doing just that.

—————————————

You know, when I first embarked on this article I didn’t really have a long list. But as I kept going, more and more people came to mind. There are many more amazing people I could tell you about, amazing blogs I could share, amazing musicians, and amazing corporations and businesses on the rise that I’ve had the privilege to know. But time and space would fail me to share them all here. I hope to do this again sometime, and who knows, maybe YOU will be featured in the next ‘Yellow Pages of Tomorrow’ feature. I look forward to doing that.

Let these folks and their work encourage and inspire you to do great things. There is so much God has placed in you. In the midst of the good times and the not-so-good times, He’s been shaping a bigger and better product out of you. He’s given you all you need to use to make the world and the lives of the people in it better and brighter. The world needs a hero, someone to stand up and fill a specific role, and only you can do that because God gave you the gift needed. So use it for His glory, and do it excellently.

To every one of my friends featured on here: I’m totally proud of you guys! Really, I’m one of your biggest fans (if this were a movie, I’d probably be that kid that camps outside your office window holding an ‘I [HEART] YOU’ sign)! Keep it Up, y’all. That’s where it belongs.

I leave you all with these words from God’s Word, something I’m learning as the days go by.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

:D

GANGSTUH WEDDING

NOTE: Hi there! I’ve always wondered how a wedding with a different theme (Rock or Rap, for example) would turn out. So with the idea, I got to work on this, and this amazing story resulted. Hope you like it!

Gangstuh Wedding_final

PASTOR:

Ladies ‘n gentlemen, brothers and sisters

We’re gathered here today to celebrate a new vista

In the life of our homey and his soon-to-be wife

In holy matrimony, they gon’ be together for life

The GROOM stands up front, his face spread out in a smile

As He watches his BRIDE walking up the aisle.

It’s all he can do to keep his joy on the down low

He can’t help it no more; so away he goes:

 

GROOM:

From the day I first saw you, girl, my heart went pom-pom.

I just gotta tell you, baby, that you’re the bomb!

They got the models ‘n divas

They got the stars on TV,

But none of them come close

To your amazing beauty.

You are a precious jewel,

You’re the one I love.

You’re a gorgeous gift sent down from up above

It just blows my mind that you said “Yes” to me

Now I can hold you close to me for all eternity.

BRIDE:            

I used to think that love was something I knew

But that all changed from the very day that you came through

You show me what it means to live

You make me feel so free

That’s why I give myself to you for all…

For all eternity.

“Aw,” the congregation coos

In amazement at the PDA between these two.

The Pastor smiles, taking the time to don his specs

As he studies the programme for what comes up next.

 

PASTOR:

Now we get to the part, according to custom

Where anyone against this marriage gets the chance to bust ‘em

So if you got a good reason, it’s time to holler

Speak now on this matter, or just forget it forever.

 

Heads turn, and all over, there are nervous chuckles

Of course no one’s that silly to take on the debacle

Of ruining this wedding. So, with a sigh of relief

The Pastor shrugs, since there clearly is no beef.

PASTOR:

 Well then—

 

Suddenly the door slams open with a BANG!

In the doorway stands a big man with his gang.

Everyone knows this guy; he’s the kingpin

Of the ghetto’s underworld; he’s got the run on things.

Drug market, pimp hustles, they run on his list.

Gang boss, like a Mafioso … you get the gist.

So with a sinister grin, and a confident strut

He walks up the aisle slowly, and begins to taunt.

 

MAN:

Anymore lovey-dovey, you guys’ll make me puke!

Getting married to this junkie? Man, this wedding’s a fluke!

Get a reality check, Mister! Have you got no clue

‘Bout the whore –yeah, I said it— gettin’ married to you?

 

GROOM:

 What gives you the audacity to call my woman a whore?

In my presence? What’s your deal, man? Who do you think you are?

 

MAN(tips hat):

Donnie de V to the I to the L-L-E

That’s my name. Don’t wear it out. I’m that kind of G.

I’ve had a lot of time to get to know this piece o’ garbage

GROOM:

If you knew what’s good for you, you’d be watchin’ your language.

DE VILLE:

She’s a hack, a sick junkie. Was a part of my ring

Till she lost it, got busted, ended up in cling-cling.

And when she got out, I took her up. Made her clean.

Made her beautiful, I tell you. Made her up like a queen.

All the guys in the hood thought she was a looker.

So we cashed in on it. She became a hooker.

But she pulled a fast one

Held me up with a gun

Took my money, slipped town. She’s been on the run.

I reported to the cops, put out an APB

She’s been wanted by the po-po in every major city.

Got no idea where you found her, but you don’t know her like me.

Ask her if I’ve said the truth, and she just has to agree.

So you see, Mr. Goody, this girl ain’t your type.

She’s a fraud. She doesn’t deserve all this mushy hype.

Go get a proper college chic; from Harvard or Andover

‘Cause with this ghetto-trash, you’re history. Your reputation’s over!

Everyone stares at the BRIDE, and they see it’s true.

From her veiled head to the tips of her Gucci shoes

She’s trembling all over, eyes streaming with tears

Donnie de Ville has pulled the cork on all of her fears.

Did she really think that she would get away with this?

But the GROOM takes the floor. He’s not done with his.

GROOM:

 I know ‘bout all this stuff. It’s not news to me.

But there’s something more I want y’all to come and see.

And before the congregation, he removes his wristbands

To show –(GASP!) We can see ‘em! He’s got holes in his hands!

GROOM:

This was the price that I had to pay.

To get my girl a clean slate. To take her crimes away.

Your thugs did a number on me. Left me for dead.

But that wasn’t the end. Through God, I resurrected.

Every price that she ever owed has been paid for

You’ve got no argument now, Mister. Not anymore.

If you wanna get to her, you’d have to go through me.

‘Cause you got nothin’ on her. Now she’s truly free.

For a moment, it appears De Ville is shocked.

But he shakes his head, clearly refusing to be knocked.

DE VILLE:

She may be out of my hands, but you’ve still got more.

‘Cause your girl knows that she’s still runnin’ from the law.

There’s nothing you can do to end this case.

So the deal with the nails was just a total waste.

GROOM:

 But I’ve already done it all.

For every fine she’s gotta pay, I went and took the fall.

DE VILLE:

But … but, that’s not fair!

 

GROOM:

It’s not your call.

DE VILLE:

She deserves to rot in jail!

GROOM:

Her crime slate is null.

DE VILLE (flustered):

Well, I … I … you can’t do that

She’s mine! She’s a goner! She’s just a…

…a … a… You just can’t do that!

(Audience boos in the background)

GROOM:

You know that didn’t even flow.

You’ve overstayed your welcome here.

Looks like it’s time to go.

Now if you know what’s good for you

You’d be hittin’ the door.

Or I’d just call Security

To sweep you off the floor.

De Ville stares long and hard in hatred at the BRIDE

Who keeps her head down in shame; she won’t dare meet his eyes.

And with a final glance at the GROOM

He snaps his fingers at his gang, and bounces out the room

The congregation cheers in joy, now that De Ville is gone

Looks like the worst part of this wedding is finally done.

But the BRIDE is still shaking, whimpering, and crying

‘Cause they all know about her past now. She wishes she was dying.

 

GROOM:

Don’t cry, my dear. Don’t let ‘im get to you.

BRIDE:

I can’t do this—

GROOM:

Why?

BRIDE:

All that he said was true.

I can’t get married to you.

I’m just not good for you.

My past is filled with crime and scandal and more bad stuff, too.

If you got married to me, my past would ruin you.

And I don’t even know what De Ville’s gonna do to you.

 

GROOM:

I love you, my queen.

I died to make you free.

I live to give you a new life

I’ve paid your every fee.

Your past is over now

As if it never happened.

Don’t let it hold you back from me

My love can never be dampened.

Don’t worry ‘bout the Accuser

De Ville knows he’s a loser.

His day of judgment’s on the way

He’s got Hell’s primo visa.

He wants to keep you from believin’

That my love is real.

But all he’s good at is decievin’

Till he’s had his fill.

But Babe, I truly choose to love you,

No matter what I see.

Your past can’t keep me away from you

It’s just history.

You’re the one for me.

You’re the one I see.

Come, marry me and be with me for all eternity.

The BRIDE’s eyes are filled with tears, but now she can smile

And she just stares into his eyes for … well, a great big while.

There’s not a single dry eye in the building this day.

The Pastor clears his throat. It’s time to get this out of the way.

 

PASTOR:

Do you mind if we continue?

 

GROOM (to BRIDE):

I love you.

BRIDE (to GROOM):

Me too.

PASTOR:

Uh … ‘scuse me. Can we … um … move on.

GROOM:

Please do.

BRIDE (same time):

Please do.

They blush.

PASTOR:

Do you, my brother, choose to marry this woman?

And do you, my sister, choose to marry this man?

To have and to hold, to love and to cherish

Forever and ever … you know the rest of the gist.

GROOM:                                 I do.

BRIDE:                                     I do.

PASTOR:                                 Wotcha say?

GROOM AND BRIDE:              I DO!

PASTOR:                                 You do?

GROOM AND BRIDE:              We do?

PASTOR:                                 What they say?

CONGREGATION:                   THEY DO!

PASTOR:                                 They do?

GROOM:

Sir, please … this has been a long day.

PASTOR:

Oh, I’m sorry. I got a little carried away … excuse me.

(Clears his throat)

By the power that is vested in me

I declare you Man and Wife in holy matrimony.

So you may now, kiss your bride, yada yada yada.

You know the rest. That’s the end. See you at the after-dinner.

 

‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners. Christ died for us.

ROMANS 5:8 (NKJV)

The Love Revolution … TODAY

A year ago, on this day, I posted the first of what would become a trilogy up on my blog: The Love Revolution: http://www.emmanuelpresents.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/the-love-revolution/ It was one of my most intense stories, and I still cringe anytime I read it. Imagine living in a time and place where using the word ‘love’ was forbidden. Weird premise, eh? Check it out, it’s pretty cool. And dangerous.
Love is one of my favourite themes in stories (hey, I said ‘love’ not ‘romance’) and I enjoy portraying it in my characters’ stories. I believe our lives are one big love story, about God’s pursuit of us and our response or rejection. He woos us, embraces us, saves us, forgives us — He loves us. He leaves tiny Love notes around for us to brighten our days, like a beautiful sunset, a satisfying meal, a timely kind word, or even a contagious smile from a stranger passing by.
And in the most overt way, He showed it by dying in our place for our crimes. He rose to life, and gave us a new life, with a clean slate, to live with Him for all eternity.
In the year since the Love Revolution, I’ve learnt that everyone of us desires to be loved. Go ahead, deny it; say it’s too mushy. But really, we do! We want to be listened to, to be appreciated, to be understood, and even to be cut some slack even when we don’t deserve it. We really want to be cared for, deep down.
And then there’s God, Who burns with Love for us, and we don’t even realise it sometimes because we don’t see Him. So here’s what He does: He makes love packages out of the willing.
Imagine that: being God’s love note to someone. Imagine being a living retweet of God’s Message to the world: I LOVE YOU. Imagine being willing to listen to someone who doesn’t know when to stop, but who needs someone to listen. Imagine being a blessing to someone in need. Imagine being the reason someone smiles.
Truth is, it’s not going to be easy. We have needs to, don’t we? How can we keep on giving without expecting anything in return? Can we?
When we recieve God’s love to us, it fills us to overflowing. We can love with abandon because we have been loved by Love Himself. We would be able to love anyone, anytime, whatever the circumstance.
That’s what it means to be a Light in the Darkness.
It may not always be easy, I know. But with God in you, you can be the embodiment of His Love. Ask God to love others through you, and watch Him do just that.

The Love Revolution continues today, through you and I.
Would you dare?

P.S.:
Thank you for reading this to the end. Here’s a special teaser for you: I’ll be posting another ‘love’-themed story this season. Will it be like the Love Revolution? Maybe not. But I can tell you that it’s creative, and ”It’s gon’ be GANGSTUH!”
:D

God LOVES you SOOOO MUCH!

A Christmas Chicken … as told by Dude

A Christmas Chicken_astoldbyDude

 

As told by Dude…

It was the night before Christmas, when I spotted the weirdest sight. I was totally minding my own business, you know; just enjoying the moonlight during my occasional evening stroll. Suddenly the silent night was broken by this weird cackle. As I walked on, the cackles like … grew louder. It was just … weird, you know.

I was curious, so I followed the sound. I came upon an abandoned alley and what I saw there just totally blew my mind. Not literally, of course, ‘cause if it did I would not be writing this… Anyway, before me were these chickens – possibly hundreds. Everywhere! I paused when I realized that I hadn’t been noticed, thankfully. What struck me then was their intelligence, ‘cause they were all like facing this stage (but it was really an upside-down bucket). They kept on cackling as if they were waiting for something. And as I listened, it was almost as if I could hear what they were saying. It totally felt like something out of a Disney/Pixar flick.

I gave them names based on how they looked. So, here goes.

Poulson walked over to the makeshift stage. He was a big brown broiler, tall and stocky, who carried himself with authority. Clanging his foot on the stage he yelled over the noise, “Attention, everyone! Attention!” He couldn’t get them to settle down. “KOW-KA-DOODLE-DOO!

The noise reduced, punctuated by some yells. “Hey, keep it down Mister! You’re gonna wake up the humans.”

“Thank you,” Poulson said. “Thank you, one and all. Now, I would first like to thank you all for coming to this special Poultry Convention. It truly is grand to see all of you. Truly birds of a feather … well, multiple feathers. The point being, we are all chickens, and we regard our kin with honour and dignity.”

From the front, Madam Henson squawked, “Get on with it!”

Poulson nodded. “Of course, we all know that tomorrow is Christmas Day –“

“Christmas Day?” Someone screeched.

“Christmas Day?!” As one the crowd became restless, with screams and cries.  Apparently, they dreaded that holiday.

Poulson was frustrated. “Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you didn’t know this was coming!”

“I thought Christmas was last year?!” someone yelled.

“Well, that’s the funny thing about Christmas: it’s kind of an ‘annual’ sort of thing? Why do you think they fed us so much all year?”

“We thought they loved us so much,” Miss Featherly said, gasping like she would faint.

“What do we do?”

Poulson tried to quiet the crowd. “Fellas, fellas! Hold your gizzards! We need to prepare!”

McCluckster leaped forward. “I know what we gotta do, lads!” He bellowed in his Scottish accent. “I says we attack those humans first, before they can attack us, ya!”

“Yeah!” the cry rang out. “Finish them off!”

“Who gave them the right to eat us chickens, anyway?”

“What, they think they’re better than us?!”

Poulson was losing his crowd. “Fellas! We can’t do that! It’s too risky!

“What are ya? Chicken?” McCluckster retorted.

Poulson arched a brow. “As a matter of fact, I am … chicken. But hear me out, this was why I brought us here, to listen to—“

“What?” yelled Otis, a young cockerel that sounded like a black American, as he leaped to the front. “Our last sermon before we are busted into the fryin’ pan? Look, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I can’t afford to die.”

“And you most likely won’t!” Poulson said. “You lack the meat the humans want. You’re still young.”

“Oh,” Otis said introspectively. “Lucky for me, then. I get to live! Sorry ol’ chaps … uh … ahem … ‘scuse me.” The others just stared at him.

McCluckster shook his head and stamped his feet, his feathers on end. “Well I’ve go’ a family. My young’uns are still just hatchlings, and I can’t afford to lose their mother … or meself either.”

Poulson waved his feathers. “Elder Hancock wanted to share a few words with us.”

“Oldman Hancock?”

From the way the crowd responded, I knew that whoever Hancock was he must’ve been highly respected. It was then that I noticed him. He was this white cock with saggy eyes and a faded red crest. He was not as big as McCluckster, no, but he looked like he could have been a superhero in his younger days. The chickens moved out of the way as he stepped up to the bucket and faced the crowd.

His voice was deep and gave evidence to his age. “One of our own, Marty Clucker Cling, told of his dream. He dreamt that, one day white chickens and black chickens would cross the road together, and no humans would ask why.”

The chickens all nodded in agreement. “True that.”

Hancock continued, “But nothing brings chickens together like the dread of the looming human holiday – Christmas. For years, I’ve watched many of our own fall at the hand of the human blade at Christmas. I also used to dread Christmas, until I met my friend, Hamster. Hamster was a pig—“

“Hamster?” someone called out.

Hancock paused, clearly not expecting the interruption. “Yes, Hamster.”

“Thought you said he was a pig!”

“Yes. Like I said, Hamster was a pig—”

“Make up your mind, old bird! Was he a pig or a hamster?”

By now the others were raising their voices to silence the critic. I was almost sure I saw Oldman Hancock roll his eyes.

“Anyway,” he continued. “Hamster was a pig, and we both lived on a farm up in Abeokuta. One day, he came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. ‘Hey,’ he said, ‘that orphanage down the road needs food for their Christmas party. Why don’t we contribute some eggs and ham?’

“I loved his idea, and I told him that. He added, ‘For you, it’s just a contribution. But for me, it’s going to be sacrifice.’

“I didn’t get it until Christmas Day. We got some of the hens in our barn to donate their eggs, and they gladly gave them to the orphanage. They also got ham, so everyone was glad. I didn’t realize it until I noticed Hamster was missing. You see, he had given himself so that they could have ham.”

Hancock bowed his head to hide a tear. “That’s what Christmas is all about.”

For a moment the place was silent. Then McCluckster broke the silence. “That just proves it, then! Those humans killed your friend!” The crowd was riled up. “They’re evil, all of them!”

Poulson tried to calm the crowd, but it didn’t work. Hancock raised a wing, and everyone fell silent. “You missed the point. You see, Christmas is about the Maker giving Himself.”

Someone in the front asked. “Are you talking about … the Maker maker? As in the Maker?”

Hancock exhaled and nodded. “Yes, the Maker. The One that made us all. He saw that the humans were held captive by evil itself, and they had become its evil minions. It made them become evil, and doomed. He wanted to pay for all their wrongs and give them a new life. The only way for Him to do that was for Him to become human, so that He could pay for their wrongs by dying. Just like Hamster did for those orphans. He sacrificed himself. Though our Maker rose again.”

McCluckster cocked his head. “I still don’t get it.”

This time Hancock did roll his eyes. “Humans celebrate the day He came, as a little baby, on Christmas.”

Poulson raised a wing. “So it’s not all about killing chickens, is it?”

“Well, we all have different paths. Humans, chickens. The Maker gave the humans the license to eat any animal they’re given as food, with thanksgiving. Including us.”

For a moment, the alley was all silent. I guess you could have heard a pin drop in that moment.

“Oh, that’s just fantastic!” McCluckster broke the silence. ”So the Maker wants a bunch of two-legged meat-eaters to gulp us down their throats, and thank Him?”

“You’re missing the point…”

And the crowd was riled up again. McCluckster were definite about his plot to deal with the humans, and he was not shutting up about it. Poulson was trying to calm the crowd down, and Hancock was simply shaking his head. It was a madhouse out there.

Until one of the chickens turned and yelled. “HUMAN!!!”

As one, the entire convention turned to me, a gasp visible on their faces. Dun-dun-DUUUUNNN! Bummer.

Words fail me to describe the jitters I felt. I grinned sheepishly and waved a little. “Hi?”

McCluckster was the first to scream … in fear. “A human!!! Run for ya lives! It’s everrry chicken ferrr ‘imself! AAAAAHHHH!!!”  He jumped on the spot, shrieking as he ran in circles. He was totally freaking out, you know, and the whole crowd was riled up again. You know, with feathers flying everywhere, and stuff.

The last thing I saw before I ran off was Poulson staring at McCluckster, a smirk on his face. “Chicken,” he said.

 

To this day, I haven’t seen another chicken talking. But, when I’m not there, I’m almost certain they are. It’s totally freakish, you know.

 

Oh, and Merry Christmas in advance to you guys. And, remember, it’s not about the stuff you eat. It’s all about the Son of God, and how He came to earth in the form of a human. I think that was totally cool, you know? Like an undercover mission? God as a man?

Anyway, He snuck behind enemy lines so He could rescue us from sin and death. That’s what we’re celebrating at Christmas.

Thank you for reading, y’all. God bless ya!

One more thing: I must not forget this part. A big shout-out to Emmanuel Presents (weird, right? I mean, who has a last name like ‘Presents’?!) for putting this up on his blog. Thanks, mate.

The Lion ROARS!!!

“Alright, kids,” I announced dramatically as we took another turn along the winding path. “Fasten your safety belts, ’cause now we’re in for the Big One.”
Dan, one of the kids with me, raised a hand, “But Uncle, we’re not in a car. We don’t have safety belts.”
I blinked. “It’s, uh…just a, uh… a figure of speech,” I muttered, hoping none of the kids noticed my failed trial at a dramatic intro. But Tolu, the older brother at fourteen, looked up from his iPhone and smirked. Nothing gets past that kid. Hopefully he’d get something out of today’s fieldtrip. Getting him to talk was always quite a chore.
The day at the zoo had been my idea of a fun time with my sister’s kids during the holidays. It would be another opportunity to show them some of the amazing creatures God had made, answer questions, and provide good conversation starters.
“Are we gonna see the Lion now?” Grace, Dan’s twin, asked.
“Uh-huh,” I nodded.
They cheered. Well, all except Tolu. Hmm…
But I was not moved. We were in for the main attraction, the piéce de resistance — the Lion! Which kid would not like to see a lion?
We were now just beside its cage. With the excitement built up in me, I turned to them. “Who’s the King of the Jungle?”
“The Lion!”
“Yes, though they actually don’t live in ‘jungles’, you know.”
“Yeah,” Dan added. “They live in the Savanna!”
I was impressed. “Where’d you learn that?”
He shrugged. “Lion King.”
Grace put in. “I love how lions have those cool manes around their heads.”
I winced. “Those would be male lions.”
“Like Mufasa?” Dan asked.
I exhaled. How many movies did these kids watch? “Yes, like Mufasa. And Simba too, as a grown-up.”
“Simba!”
“And Sc–” I stopped. Scar wasn’t exactly fan-friendly material for these kids.
So I continued my exposition, to the delight of the twins. I noticed that Tolu was now paying attention. “Lions live in groups called prides. When they go hunting –well, only the females hunt (“The ones without manes?” Grace asked, and I nodded)–, all the antelope and wildebeest have to SCRAM! for their lives, or the lions would eat them up.”
I launched into an account of a shot I’d seen on Animal Planet of a stand-off between lions and a team of rhinos over a waterhole. Perhaps I was a little carried away, but the wide-eyed wonder-filled gazes of the twins kept me going. It took Tolu’s deliberately loud sigh to get my attention.
“Is there something you want, Tolu?” I asked, annoyed at his interruption.
“When do we actually get to SEE the lion, Uncle?”
In spite of myself, I knew the boy was right. Man, I HATE it when he does that! But I needed it, too. I patted his shoulder and smiled. “You’re right, Benny. Let’s go see the Lion.”
Dan and Grace gripped my hands as we approached the cage in silence.
And then we saw it. Through the mesh of the netting, in the darkness beyond, we saw the huge mound of beige flesh reclining. Perhaps it heard our footsteps approaching, for we were suddenly jolted by two tiny glistening orbs that suddenly appeared. It’s eyes. They shone with the reflection of daylight from outside as it stared at us.
A sense of awe and wonder gripped me, making me recall scenes from Narnia when the Pevensies stood before Aslan.
And then it sat up with a grunt echoing in its concrete cell, and took two pounding steps toward the netting.
I could hear Dan whining beside me, “Mummy…mummy…mummy…”
Grace’s grip on my hand tightened.
“It can’t come near us, don’t worry,” I said reassuringly.
I stole a glance at Tolu and he turned to me. I gave him a ‘how-cool-is-this’ look, arching a brow.
He simply shrugged. The ‘I’ve-seen-better’ shrug.
Now I was frustrated. “Oh, COME ON! You–” What would get this kids attention? A spitting contest down the Grand Canyon?!
But I was suddenly cut off by the most ear-splitting sound I had ever heard. It ran down my spine, taking over my being. The kids screamed in its wake.
The Lion was roaring.
We hurried away from the cage, but Tolu remained, frozen at the spot. That KID! I was torn between calming the twins and pulling Tolu away from the cage.
Other visitors to the zoo hurried over to see what was going on.
The roar subsided as the crowd gathered. I grabbed Tolu and yelled in his face, “Are you OK?!”
He had a blank stare for a moment, still shaken. And then he said, “That…was…AWESOME!”
And he meant it too.
That made my day.

Sometimes, we get carried away with how much we know about God. But what we need, what our friends and family need, what this world needs, is to know the Savior Himself, for themselves. It will change them.

There is nothing like standing in the Lion’s roar.
To feel His breath
As it shakes you to the core.
To bask in His Love and His awesome touch
As He soothingly tells you, “I love you very much.”

There’s nothing like knowing God for yourself.
Let them know Him.
He’s the One they need.
:DThe Lion and the Lamb

A Child’s Heart

‘…some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.’
– C.S. Lewis to Lucy Barfield, at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I recently asked my friends on Facebook to share some of the amazing, and ‘crazy’ ideas we innocently held as children. Hilarity ensued. I’ll share some of them here. I set the ball rolling with these:
‘I used to think that the money we gave in church as offering would be placed in a bowl, taken to a forest, and a beam of Light would flash down from heaven and take it all back to God.
I used to think that if you flew by plane into another country, you would see a ‘Welcome’ banner suspened in the clouds. Like a ‘Welcome to Kenya’ banner suspended over the Kenyan border.
One of my sisters used to think that filmmakers would ask, “Who wants to die?” Whoever volunteered would die in the movie.
I was almost certain that if I ate too many orange seeds, a tree would grow out of my head!’

But then my friends followed it up with these hilarious comments:

‘Yeah, about that dying in movies thing, I used to think exactly the same! And my niece, when she was told recently that an adult was going to school, … was
amazed at first, then asked, “Will she be wearing uniform???”
– Roselyn Enezeeyi Balogun

‘…I used to think a Bank was a place u could go withdraw money as much as u wished whether u saved it there or not…’
– Dare Ilesanmi

‘I used to think that I could take the chicken out of TV screen & eat it, only for my hand not to enter the TV screen.’
– Ajoke Adebisi

‘I used to think that by just turning to face the rear wind screen of a car, it automatically reverses!’
– Chika Amogu

‘Amazing! Now I know I had a normal childhood. Then, I always thought that by leaving the Coke bottle I just took for long enough, the bottle would fill up again.’
– Kayode Okikiolu

‘@everyone: Totally hiLARious!!! I still see the Man in the Moon! And I’m certain he’s got long hair too! 0_0′
– Me, trying to keep ‘em coming ( :D )

‘Yupp! Man in the moon….still trying to decide if he’s really a woman carrying a baby on her back and pounding yam (as I thought back then) or just “the Man in the Moon…but that woman’s got my heart BIGTIME… :S’
– Roselyn Enezeeyi Balogun

Before I go on, I sincerely appreciate you guys for volunteering your amazing ideas! You made it interesting. It was really cool to know that there were other children like me out there with amazing ideas for those unanswered or erstwhile unasked questions.

The amazing thing about a child’s imagination is that it is largely untampered by that fella we call ‘Reality’. So we actually believed we could put cars in reverse by just staring at the rear windscreen (hehee) or take a piece of chicken from the TV screen, or withdraw unlimited amounts of money from a bank, or even get our Coke bottles refilled after leaving them for a while!!! Reading this now, you probably think they are ridiculous or downright comical. But, think about it, aren’t these thoughts the preludes to motion detection technology, or touchscreen technology, or … um … ahem, sorry, I still haven’t come up with something for the rest. But they all had something in common: Faith.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” (Luke 18:16, emphasis mine). The mindset and lifestyle of God’s kingdom–where everything is perfect, good has won, evil has lost, and nothing is impossible–is so fantastic, the rational logic of mortal intellect cannot accept it. The smarter we become in the things of this world, the more disconnected we are from the ideal. We begin to think and say things like, “no one is perfect,” “Everyone is corrupt”. When we see a miracle, we try to explain it away as mundane. This kind of mindset cannot live the kind of life God wants. But children, unaffected by these things, can appreciate what adults can’t … or simply won’t. They can believe in the ‘impossible’ simply because it has not been unproven to them. They believe what you tell them, because they trust you. They can believe that there is a time or place …or Person… that is much better than the present.
And who says they are wrong? This is the kind of trust God expects of us.
To trust that He’s got everything under control.
To see the best in people, not bashing them with their faults.
To believe in what mortals call ‘impossible’.
This is the kind of mind God can give mind-blowing ideas, because they will not reject them. People like Abraham, David, Samuel…
…and you.
As one of my favourites, Petra, once sang,
‘Don’t let your heart be hardened
Don’t let your love grow cold
May it always stay so childlike
May it never grow too old.
Don’t let your heart be hardened
May you always know the cure
Keep it broken before Jesus
Keep it always meek and pure’.

May God keep your heart, dear friend.

FREE INDEED: The Story Behind the Cartoon

Most of you have seen the cartoon on which this is based before, but I never told the story behind it. Well, here goes…
It’s amazing how God places the right people for the right purposes in our lives, at the right times. The friends and family He has given to me are a testament to that.
Earlier this year, I’d just had a wonderful evening discussing and sharing ideas with one of such friends, Seun Akappo, when he gave me the album, The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North (thanks, man!). Later that evening, while I was working on some stuff I played the title track, The Struggle.
The chorus of the song goes:
Halleluyah! We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children drop your chains and sing!

The images, goaded on by some things God was laying on my heart in those times, started forming. Many believe that the Struggle is inevitable. You know, when people say we all ‘try’ to be good. That we’re all trying to break free from the limitations imposed on us, sin and temptation being a part of them. So it seems the struggle is inevitable.
But Jesus came to set us free from that struggle (to that struggle, we are free). He has made us free to be all God intended for us to be! The struggle is no longer a factor because, now, God wants to live through us. So it would not be us ‘struggling’ to do what’s right, but God wanting and actually doing what’s right through us. (Philippians 2:13)
We are free and truly free indeed!

So in the ‘toon, this guy’s chains have been undone for a long time already. But he’s still been sitting in the prison. Jesus, Who broke the chains, comes by (and I love how His shadow is actually Light, in the shape of a cross) and asks “Hey, didn’t I set you free?” The guy suddenly lights up in realization and goes, “Jesus, You’re SO right!” And, next thing you know, He’s running out of the prison.
When we suddenly realise the Truth, we wonder why we have not realised it sooner. Jesus is the Truth, and when He reveals His Truth to us, His Spirit in us agrees with Him. Remember where Jesus said, “And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” in John 8:32? He was talking about Himself.
So, think about it: what would you do if you suddenly realised that there was really no limitation ever again? Eh?
That’s what Christ has brought to us. Total Freedom, to live abundantly.
So, dear friends, the chains have been undone. If you are a child of God, you are free completely. The pain and shadows and limitations do not apply to you anymore. Christ, the Truth Himself, defines your identity.
You are no longer a slave to sin.
You are now a son of God.
You are not bound.
You are Free!
Do you get it?
Nice to meet you; can I call you ‘Free’? For now, with Christ in you, you are the definition of Freedom.

I am Free!
Are you?

‘Halleluyah, death is overcome
and we are breathing.
Halleluyah, our stone hearts become
flesh that’s beating
Halleluyah, chains have been undone
and we are singing.
Halleluyah, the fire has begun
Can you feel it?’
(from THE STRUGGLE by Tenth Avenue North)

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
by Jesus in John 8:36

(My friend, Seun Akappo, is also an amazing brother with a heart for God. It would be months before I realised what an amazing writer he is as well. You can check out his blog at http://www.wedontderserveitbutgotitanyway.wordpress.com.
God bless you, bro! :D )Free Indeed_veritoons

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