FROM THE WATERBROOK CHURCH
YOU READY TOGET MARRIED? Refresh - March Edition | 1
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First Things First BEYOND THE SURFACE
ebruary flew by in a rush of pinks and reds, reminding us to spread the love with gifts of chocolates, flowers, cakes and perfumes. But love goes deeper than that. True! God loved the world that He gave; He gave sacrificially to demonstrate his love and unite us with Him. Many friends asked one another over these past few weeks, ‘So, do you like her?’, ‘How about that guy, do you love him?’ If anyone answered ‘Yes’, the next question was ‘So what are you giving him/her for Vals Day?’ Outside the Valentines Saga, we know our love requires some action to be identified. Why the need for identification? We want this, because love is not just for loves sake. Because deep down inside, we hope the one we love will know it and choose to respond back in love. Don’t we?
This issue of Refresh gives us a general view of our own love for self: better health, more wealth and achieved goals. But we can’t stop at the surface. God is calling us all to look further, respond to His love and meet his needs. What is your relationship with God like? How can you get to know him more? Do you love him? Do you love people like he wants you to? How can you make him and his needs your priority? Here is a simple statement that we must not forget: ‘God loves us and sacrificed His son, so that we would believe and have a transforming love relationship with him forever.” You are loved. Stay refreshed.
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content March, 2013
you ready to get married?
38 WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE SEX?
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28 RUNWAY MEETS CHURCH
8 EDITORIAL TEAM
PUBLISHER Dr. Tony Rapu EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Moses Ida-Michaels EDITORS Mandy Sowobi Bem Iordaah Tafa Osisiye Chiamaka Ifediora Ona Ofunne CONTRIBUTORS
6 8 18 22
WALKING THE TALK
Temi George-Taylor Ifeoma Akobi Olawunmi Adeeko Abimbola Ojenike Michael Idah Bukola Balogun Lily Okpapi Modele Akintokun Rita Okoroafor
THE BAMISILES THE ART OF GIVING HOW TO CREATE A SAVINGS PLAN
26 the lagos to love 27 god help...iâ€™m in LOVE! 42 COOKING FOR TWO
LAYOUT/DESIGN Witts & Stratts PHOTOGRAPHY Bash Photos Imago Dei Lumi Morgan PhotosbyDemi
To reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org @_twb the waterbrook the waterbrook Call: +234(0) 802 749 1754
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Walking the talk Abimbola Ojenike
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ake a glance back at those points in time when you were just opening up new personal, social or business relationships. You will be stunned by the incredible contrast between the person we hold ourselves out to be and who we truly are. So much of conversation in the early phase of knowing people, focuses on making others see us the way we want to be seen. In the self-image management process, we unconsciously mirror a superlative impression that is inconsistent with the true content of our character. When people discover that we are not who we claim to be, their perception of our personal integrity diminishes and the relationship may be at risk. On the receiving end, most of us have also been hurt by unpleasant relationships with people who easily go back on their words, people who do not hold through on their commitments and promises. In public life, many leaders who flaunt the badge of integrity have been caught up in suspicious circumstances that make us doubt if anyone can be trusted. There is now a major slit in the society’s moral fabric that makes it appear as if integrity is impossible or that integrity is a lack of opportunity to be dishonest. No matter how challenging we find it in our daily experience, there is no alternative to integrity. Integrity represents the core values of basic honesty, the consistency between what we say and what we do, between our beliefs and our deeds, our values and conduct. It is not so much in the false identity we keep in public, but in the secret things we do when no one is watching us. The truth is: those guarded secrets, locked up in the innermost recesses of our mind, sap our mental strength and erode the sense of who we are in our relationship with God and fellow humans. With the intricacy of business and social life, we will always encounter situations where our integrity is tested-where compromise is convenient and beneficial; where you can falsify your age to get a “fancy” job and ask God for forgiveness later; where you can bribe to win a major business bid; and where adherence to integrity means loss of opportunity. It is in this very moment that God wants us to speak His truth from our heart and to show the consistency of the Christ-like character. David talks about the man “who keeps his oath even when it hurts” and “does not change his mind”. He is the man who “will never be shaken”. If the fear and love of God is not enough restraint, you might also help yourself by think-
ing of the consequences of being dishonest in the event that you are exposed-the criminal scrutiny, the negative publicity, the irreparable reputational damage, how the most cursory business due diligence will show potential partners that you are dishonest, the lifetime struggle to cover-up the mess and how that breaks you from within. If you bring all these to mind, you might consider that we gain more in the long run when we stand by our personal values. Building integrity is a conscious effort that begins with keeping our words, and following through on our promises to man and God. Every word has great consequences, because it could modify the action of others or encourage them to act in ways they would not have acted, if we had not given those assurances. We must form a personal perception of integrity that conforms to God’s unchanging standard and practice it consciously in everything, including avoiding small “harmless” lies on the phone about where we actually are, when we are running behind schedule for an appointment. You can’t also go into convenient amnesia when your debt is due for repayment; or miss workplace or business timelines with no sense of responsibility. If it is practically impossible to follow through on a prior commitment due to any intervening circumstances, discuss, ahead of time, the challenges and your sincere plan and effort to meet up at a later time. You cannot be explaining why you failed to do what after actually failing to do it. It sounds like an afterthought and may well be the other person’s standard of assessing that your words mean nothing to you. We also have to insist on integrity in all aspects our relationship. We cannot maintain integrity in part of our lives or deal with various people at varying standards. Integrity is the character of God and God is integrity. God honours His word. His word is forever settled and all His ways are just and consistent. He expects the same from us in our personal dealings with others, in business, family life, government and His worship. He wants to build us to the level of righteousness, integrity and boldness when we can pray as David prayed in Psalm 7:8: “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.” Can you boldly pray the same prayer? If not, you must make a fresh start immediately by walking your talk, delivering on your promises and living in the truth of the Christ nature. It is the way to develop more long lasting, beneficial and healthy personal and business relationships.
No matter how challenging we find it in our daily experience, there is no alternative to integrity. Integrity represents the core values of basic honesty, the consistency between what we say and what we do, between our beliefs and our deeds, our values and conduct. Refresh - March Edition | 7
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by Ona, Osisiye, Bem and Olawunmi
ayode Bamisile is an architect married to Esosa, a qualified accountant and businesswoman who runs Vantage Sport shop. They have been married for 12 years and have 2 children. The Refresh team interviewed them to find out the intricacies of their marriage.
Q | At what age did you get married and how did you meet? Kayode: I was 29 years old. Esosa: I was 31, and we met officially at a send forth for a friend at This Present House (TPH).
both workers in church). I had always determined that that will be my priority in the man I married. I also saw humility and a gentle spirit as well as the physical attributes, which I admired, and still do.
Q | 2. Please tell us what courtship was like for you?
Q | Opposites attract, at least that’s what we hear and see happen a lot of times. How opposite are you guys, and what conflict or harmony arises from that?
Kayode: It was an amazing, interesting, fun and a demanding period where we both grew to know each other a bit.
Kayode: We are quite an opposite couple, but over the years, we have grown to admire and respect each other’s views.
Esosa: We were both very focused from the beginning. We planned to get married and that influenced our courtship. What I mean is that we weren’t just “dating,” because we planned for marriage from the beginning. We spent a lot of time together talking and becoming each other’s friend.
Esosa: Pastor Kaybam is more of an extrovert than I am. I’m more reflective. I love my space and quiet time to think and put things in perspective, whilst he loves a lot of activity and generally having people around him. This has sometimes led to conflicts in our marriage, but God has given us the grace to respect each other’s individuality, so we sometimes deny ourselves to please each other.
We also seized every opportunity to pray together, for instance, we would be on our way to a wedding and use the opportunity to pray together in the car. Q | 3. What things did you see in each other that made you want to get married?
Q | When were you certain that you had achieved the financial security necessary for marriage?
Kayode: Well, there was the attraction, her Love for God and her commitment.
Kayode: I never did, and I don’t think if we had waited we would ever have. So, we just took each step by faith.
Esosa: I saw a deep love and commitment to God and the things of God, (we were
Esosa: To be honest we just trusted God oh, yes we both had jobs and all, but we
got our first apartment together. Q | The procedure of choosing a partner is problematic to most. What came first, friendship and chemistry, or did you hear an “express word”? Kayode: Saw her, liked her, told God about her and went for her. Esosa: Like I mentioned earlier, I had determined from the onset that I would marry someone who loved God and was committed to him, so I was only looking at people who I thought were “Christians.” Then of course the physical also mattered to me, and that went hand in hand with personality. Q | You have been married for a while now. How have you managed to keep the romance and intimacy alive over the years? Kayode: We both try, but Esosa has worked harder at ensuring that the romance and love is kept fresh. As much as possible we try to do things together, travel, work, and occasionally give gifts even when it is not tied to an event. Esosa: First of all we are friends, so we try to always be abreast of what’s important to each other. We don’t make a lot of effort in the area of romance, wish we did, but we try to take holidays together, etc. Refresh - March Edition | 9
Most times we have “meetings” during which we lay down issues and discuss them as honestly as we can while maintaining a mutual respect for each other’s views and feelings. Q | Pastor Kaybam, there’s a growing wave of infidelity among married couples. What’s your secret to staying faithful to your wife and family? Kayode: The fear of God, fear of disappointing my wife and the kids. Q | How would you define love now? How does it compare with what you thought love was when you married? Kayode: Love in every circumstance. Esosa: Love is a deep commitment to each other and to your vows, even in adverse circumstances. Q | Divergence of opinions and conflict is inevitable among couples. What is your unique conflict resolution method? Describe how you and your husband arrive at decisions Kayode: We usually don’t agree on views, but one person takes the leap based on his or her conviction and the other respectfully supports, even when not in agreement. Or, we commit it to prayer when we are both not sure. Esosa: Most times we have “meetings” during which we lay down issues and discuss them as honestly as we can while maintaining a mutual respect for each other’s views and feelings. Q | Are there couples you look up to? What do you respect about their marriages? Kayode: Yes, Pastor Tony and Mrs R for their patience and love for one another. Esosa: Pastor Tony and Aunty Nkoyo, for longevity and their journey so far. Pastor Jibola and Sister Fola Bolumole, for the “bubble and twinkle” in their eyes when they refer to each other, after all these years, even though they’ve been through tough times and have different interests etc. Q | In what ways do you think God is honoured by your marriage? Kayode: Being faithful to one another, honouring and respecting each other. Esosa: The fact that we both still love him Refresh - March Edition | 10
and are very committed to him in spite of marriage, kids, work, career and the challenges of life. Q | Married couples most times have different opinions on how to raise their kids and it sometimes becomes an issue in the home. How do you handle this? Kayode: Respect for each other’s views and the understanding that we both have roles to play in the development of the kids.
family like my immediate family. Esosa: I always dreamed I’d marry my best friend and I think that that has been achieved. I also longed for a loving father for our children and that has also been achieved. I pray for continued love and friendship and greater harmony in our relationship. Q | When you are hurt or angry with your spouse, what do you do? How do you communicate dissatisfaction to your spouse?
Esosa: This is sometimes very challenging, as the children take advantage of this when they become aware of differences of opinion. But ultimately, because we respect each other’s views, we try to always reach an agreement by sitting down together to deliberate upon and think things through. We also try not to make unilateral decisions regarding the children by bouncing ideas off each other before implementation. This is still work in progress though.
Kayode: We keep quiet and allow each other some breathing space.
Q | Esosa, a lot has been said about mothers-in-law and some ladies even dread having one. What’s the relationship like between you and your in-laws.
Esosa: Friendship, mutual respect, and deep commitment to God, vows and spouse. Also be very detailed when discussing your future lives together, no detail is too small or insignificant.
Esosa: Hmm this has been a highpoint in our marriage because we come from homes with very different cultures. For instance I came from a background of academia where everyone respects each other’s opinions and space and would rarely intrude. We also spoke our minds to each other even when hurtful if we felt it was for the ultimate good. Pastor Kaybam comes from a very close knit family where intrusion is seen as love and sacrifice and therefore there are fewer barriers, you know, “what is mine is yours.” I have and am still battling to understand, accept, and set my own boundaries. Otherwise there’s love amongst us all. Q | You have both achieved success in your respective careers. In the course of marriage, how have you managed to achieve a balance between the work life and the family – the amount of time you spend separately and with the family? Kayode: We are still on the journey of striking a balance; it’s still work in progress. However, we ensure that every aspect of our lives gets the required attention, either by joint or shared effort. Esosa: Luckily we both have the same values in this respect and have always respected each other’s goals and dreams. We make a conscious effort to balance both. Q | What dreams or expectations did you have about married life? Which have been fulfilled and which have not? Kayode: To have a loving wife, kids and
Esosa: We usually try to wait until we’ve simmered down and discuss rationally what we feel hurt or angry about. Q | What is your advice to a couple now getting married? What are your secrets to a successful marriage? Kayode: Live life, be honest and sincere with one another and enjoy the moments as much as possible.
Q | What are some of your favourite things to do together? Any family bonding traditions or activities you would like to share? Kayode: Travel, dining out, praying together, and family vacations. Esosa: We like to relax together, go on vacations, Sunday lunches, etc. Q | What would you do differently in any stage of your marriage if you could do it again? Kayode: Learnt more about marriage before going in Esosa: Very little. I wish though that we had discussed a lot of things in detail before marriage, such as boundaries, for example, how long do family stay when they have to come visit or live with us, how many family members can visit at the same time, etc.
We are still on the journey of striking a balance; it’s still work in progress. However, we ensure that every aspect of our lives gets the required attention, either by joint or shared effort.
SHOW SOME LOVE
owards the end of the year and especially during the Christmas season, there is a lot said about giving and sharing with others. The tendency is to wait 12months for that season to come along and share again, but like Avalon sang “don’t save it all for Christmas day, find a way to give a little love everyday.” This year consider carefully and plan how you are going to make a difference and show some love. Below we’ve listed some things that non-profits and groups of friends have organized, but you could also look at smaller projects in your community, if you’d like. Mentor a young cousin or start a reading club with house helps or even kids, see what else needs to be done and lend a hand. So far the One Child, One Book project has gotten 435 books and book distribution is ongoing for the next five weeks. Feel free to participate by buying books, sending donations or being part of the distribution team. You can also get more information on current needs and ways to help by contacting Tosin Jegede Foundation 08082993595, 08061151960, info@1Child1Book.org, www.1Child1Book.org Contact person: Tosin Jegede (Programme Director) If nutrition is your preference, you can decide to feed a child in a neighbourhood or partner with friends to donate food items to children’s shelter or orphanage within your community. Now some of us just love sales and bargains and one way we can shop for our favourite stuff while impacting lives is by supporting the Bliss group. These vibrant young ladies organize garage sales and support various organizations with the proceeds. So far there have been three of these events and the most recent was in September 2012 with Bethesda Child Support Agency as the recipient. We encourage you to support these ladies by donating clothes, shoes, crockery, and different
items to them for the next sale. Or you can come around to buy some stuff when the next sale holds. Get more information on how you can support shopping without buyer’s remorse by contacting theblissgroupng@gmail. com. In addition you can support Destiny Trust in their efforts to get homeless and vulnerable children off the streets and reunited with their parents or guardians where possible. So far they have helped 11 children aged 12 and below with food, health care, education and shelter. 5 of these children used to live under an umbrella with their mum on a beachfront and today they have a proper home and are enrolled in school. Two others were reunited with their grand mum and enrolled in school while some others are directly cared for by the Destiny Trust due to unstable home situations. Get in touch with Abimbola on 08034651702 to know more about how you can help these children. We hope that as 2013 unfolds that you will continue to make it more and more beautiful through acts of giving that impact present and future generations and have rewards in eternity.
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YOU READY TOGET MARRIED? Moses Ida-Michaels
et us be honest about those to look to for inspiration in marriage; Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. We dream about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Seal, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, and look to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. For dating, we have a list of eligible bachelors and spinters; drop-dead gorgeous Gabrielle Union. We secretly admire Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, as well as Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez-though we think they are juvenile, we still admire them. These are not bad people per se. We have seen how some of these relationships hit the rocks or are far from stable. We have a perfect utopia of relationships-awash with cash, made in heaven, glorious sex, wonderful kids and perfect homes. Marriage is defined in the lives of these fallible persons. We romanticize the idea of butterflies in our tummy, which soon disappears after the reality of living with someone so different from you sets in. Our Nollywood stars have helped to further what Hollywood has built. The limelight remains on Stephanie Okereke and Linus Idahosa, Funke Akindele and Kehinde Oloyode, Omotola and Matthew Ekeinde, 2Face and Annie Macauley. They seem more stable, but a host of other
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So you are ready to get married, settle down, raise kids and become a family man or a kept woman? What are you to look out for? What are the pitfalls that have drowned the best of men over the years as we look through the litany of broken homes? Even Christian homes may end in divorce in our generation. What is that elixir to create a caboose of never ending joy in marriage? How do we get it right?
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Do you see things with the same kind of eyes-a sense of stepping back for the others’ perspective- is there admiration and a sense of taxing together on fundamental things? Nigerian stars pick and dump spouses at will. Love and marriage is now something postured in prime-time TV as a fragmented, fearful and purposeless journey, and understandably so, as the many failures of this process extrapolate it. This is absolutely untrue. If we get into the original mind that created marriage, we will see how He made it and what His plan is. Marriage was not an invention of the State, or the stars; it is how God made men and women from the beginning. So you are ready to get married, settle down, raise kids and become a family man or a kept woman? What are you to look out for? What are the pitfalls that have drowned the best of men over the years as we look through the litany of broken homes? Even Christian homes may end in divorce in our generation. What is that elixir to create a caboose of never ending joy in marriage? How do we get it right?
Once you realize that love is not something mushy and flowery alone, that it must be built on hard facts, you are in a better place where cunning and wiles will not subvert you. Refresh - March Edition | 14
The Strongest Foundations From experience, there are some important areas to focus on when developing a long lasting marriage. These are not laws; they are strong pivots that help clarify things if you pay attention or ensnare your life totally if you ignore them. 1. What is your Purpose? When God made Adam, He was placed in a garden God planted east of Eden, with a clear mandate to multiply, replenish and subdue the earth. God saw that He was alone in his assignment. God in His benevolence thought to make a help mate (adequate, compatible, and complimentary) to his mandate, that was the role of Eve. Today, without a clear mandate, what are our marriages about? What are we coming together to do? How can we improve and help each other achieve what God has purposed for the wife or the husband? 2. Is there relationship alignment? Do you see things with the same kind of eyes-a sense of stepping back for the others’ perspective- is there admiration and a sense of taxing together on fundamental things? Many couples are aligned as there are many others misaligned in values, education, social up-bringing, compatibility of temperament, world view and ideas. Even when both members of a union are Christians, the marriage may still fail when the parties are misaligned. 3. Is God at the centre? Since the concept of marriage was designed by God, He should be the focus in every
home and conversation. What He wants should be the starting point. Everyone who builds their life on the Word as the final authority has a critical success element for the marriage to work. This is the law that breaks all those who plan to be unequally yoked. We cannot subvert this without peril to our future happiness. Will Jesus approve of that man? Is God going to be pleased with your choice in that woman? If you do not accept God’s authority, His justice cannot defend you. Can the husband be the priest and leader of the home? Can he bring his wife and children before God? Can he lead his wife and love her enough to die for her? Is he the purveyor of spiritual virtues to his children? Can the wife be a mother, prayer warrior and submissive to her husband under God? Anyone who can do these, and can find these qualities in their spouse is ready for a good home. 4. Is there authentic love? Love has been defined in 3 ways: A. Eros (Sexual love) B. Filial (Friendship, soul mate and love ties) C. Agape (The God kind of love). When people say they love these days, we see they only mean sexual love. It is hardly about the love that provides responsibility; that wants to cover, defend and protect. It is the kind that tolerates everything and waits for sexual rewards only. When that “feeling” of physical attraction and butterflies leave, there is emptiness and that is when divorce becomes the option.
Step Forward, Give it a Run! Once these non-negotiables are in place, what you will need is courage, the right words, dealing with human issues, niceness, roses and flowers. Your skill to paint a picture, tell a story, write a poem and deliver lyrics should not be the things you send ahead. Once you realize that love is not something mushy and flowery alone, that it must be built on hard facts, you are in a better place where cunning and wiles will not subvert you.
Being a Part Osisiye Tafa
So God said, “What’s that in your hand?”Exodus 4:2a
The Lord wants what is in our hand, no matter how important/unimportant it seems to us.
love services at my church. When you get to the front door you meet the cheery ushers, always smiling. Then there’s the choir, Deep Waters. They lift your soul…whether it’s Ukenn taking a solo or Tosin doing his Reggae thing. And don’t we all look forward to the theatrical productions by The Expressions. It’s all good here.
I’ve thought that it would be nice to play a part, you know, do something. Sometimes I’ve thought that I do not have the graces. Be an usher and smile EVERY Sunday? The day I’m not happy nko? Other times, I’ve thought I needed definite direction, you know, that express word on how I can “serve in the vineyard.” For a long time I waited, for the word or for some unction from the Spirit to direct me to a unit. It never came. At least not in the way I expected. Recently, I read the book of Exodus and something struck me. Moses’ call. There’s the story about the time when God called him from the midst of the burning bush. You know something quirky about that story? God did not vest him with new super powers per se. God asked for his present capabilities, and used them. The conversation in that story goes like this. God says, “Yeah Moses, Go rescue these people.” Moses complains about the people’s doubt. God says, “Okay, what do you have?” Moses replies, “a staff.” And God uses Moses’ staff to serve his purpose. Bingo! The staff was his tool that enabled him to do his job of sheep herding. The staff was essential to his making a living as a shepherd. Shepherds used the crooked end to pull sheep back into the herd when they strayed. They also used it to stave off attacks. With God’s backing, the staff was all he needed to fulfil the task. Eureka moment for me! I am to use whatever is in my hand at the moment to serve. And it’s such a wonderful cycle, because using your gifts for his purpose improves them. In Exodus 3:20, Moses’ rod was referred to as ‘the staff of God’. No longer an ordinary piece of wood. Using his staff for God’s purpose transformed it into something powerful and authoritative. With that staff, Moses defeated the magicians of Egypt, stripped Pharaoh of his power, humiliated Egypt’s gods and brought Israel out from slavery to freedom on the edge of the Promised Land. It’s a season of service folks, and this is a call to work in the vineyard. It’s a time to look at what is in your hand and throw it at his feet, for his purpose. It is a call to search deep and serve him with our best part(s). It’s the best start to the new season; being in service. The Lord wants what is in our hand, no matter how important/unimportant it seems to you.
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THE BIGGER MIRACLE Rita Okoroafor
is daughter’s illness had persisted and it seemed there was no cure. The physicians said there was no hope, and that in a few hours, she will be gone. But he was not ready to give up on his only beloved daughter. If there was anything else that could save her life, he was ready to try it.
Then he remembered the Man of God, the man who did miraculous things, including healing the sick. Perhaps he could ask the Man of God to heal his daughter. Putting aside any ego, he set off to find the Man of God. As he left his home, all he hoped for was to meet the Man of God on time. He finally found the man of God, in the midst of an almost suffocating crowd. He reached to the man of God, fell at his feet and begged Him to come to his house. To this the Man of God agreed. Yet, His journey was delayed because He had to address a woman who declared that she was instantly cured the moment she touched Him. His heart was full of joy that indeed this Man of God was powerful. He thought that if a woman could be healed by simply touching Him, how much more will his Refresh - March Edition | 16
daughter be healed when the Man of God touches her? He was still in his train of thoughts when a man from his house came and said to him, “Your daughter is dead; do not worry the man of God!” Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you were almost sure you had the solution? Your GPA was at its all-time high. You were almost sure you had met ‘the one’. You were called to the final stage of the interview. The treatment has yielded the right quality of eggs and sperm for the first time. And then, you face the greatest disappointment. An ‘F’ follows the all-time high GPA. ‘The One’ leaves you for someone else. The recruiter tells you they could only make space for one person, and that was not you. The right quality of eggs and sperm did not result in the babies. Then you wonder, “Is there still need to trust God?”. He asked himself, “Is it not over? Is there still need to trust this Man of God? Let me go home and mourn with my wife!” But the Man of God answered him, “do not be seized with alarm or struck with fear; simply believe in Me as able to do
this, and she shall be made well…” And as the story goes, the girl was raised from the dead. What a miracle! No, he was not expecting this. I do not know where you are in the miracle you have been waiting for, but this story I have shared is to resound the words of Jesus, “Simply believe in Me as able to do this!” The situation may have got to the point where it seems there is no more hope. You may have tried all you felt you could, and thought this time around the challenge will be over, only to be faced with a more daunting challenge. I just want to assure you that God is about to do a bigger miracle. He is about to do a miracle that exceeds your imagination and expectation. It is not over. God is not done with you. If there is any shred of faith left in you, trust Him. I know it is not easy to overcome the disappointment or the overwhelming uncertainties. But you are just a step away from ‘the bigger miracle’. May God give you the grace and strength to trust and wait on Him.
[Bible story culled from Luke 8: 40-56, AMP].
THE SEED Isn’t it interesting…how many of life’s big questions are answered by life itself…in time and How Life’s big mysteries are mostly demystified in time…by time… So…there’s no real big mystery anymore…as long as we are not in a hurry. It is amazing how a whole 6 footer fits snugly into the tiny 50cm-long body of a newly born infant…from where he will eventually transform to what he had always been…all in due season, according to the time of man. Equally miraculous is the presence of a full blown tree…trunk, leaves and all…in a single pea-size seed…available to be tossed about from hand to hand until the time and conditions are right for growth, and the tossing ceases for good. Even more astounding however, is the fact that we can go through life believing that the seeds we plant will always be just that and no more… Perhaps because they are either more fun or more discouraging at the initial stage, we blank out any possibility that the initial stage will give room to other stages which may look nothing like their seeds…
How does it grow…. From a single sentence to a best-selling book From a silly hobby to a fabulous career From a perky idea to a big time ‘ching’ maker From a solo note to a timeless song How does it wilt… From a mild twist of the figures to large scale credit card fraud From a trivial cuddle to a full blow affair From a simple disagreement to a bitter divorce From a hard punch to 1st degree murder The truth as I have come to learn, is that, we are birthing and planting… consciously or not, with each passing day… whether we like it or not… O for grace to treat each seed with the deserving regard and caution ... Treading carefully…applying pesticide mercilessly or nurturing painstakingly as situation requires at every turn…so as to rest easy on Harvest Day!!! For as all things in life…’’it will surely come,” in time
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THE ART OF GIVING Olawunmi Adeeko
ften times, we sing Ron Kenoly’s “Give and it Will come back to you” without considering the message of the song; the song ends up becoming just a song to be sang and enjoyed at all times. Giving is an art, which we ought to learn as God’s Children because it is our Fathers’ command and also, our commission. Some of us love to receive, but usually restrict giving to special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the likes. We forget the scripture says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. Here are some gift ideas you may want to consider when giving to your friends and family this year, just to show them how much you care:
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This is one gift that will always rock irrespective of who you are giving it to, because fruits are always welcome in any home. When next you are visiting that family friend or you feel an urge to give to your landlord; think of this delicious package and be assured they would love it and appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Yes, Books! You know you can actually encourage friends to add value to their lives by reading? This year, I encourage you to pick a friend who you know doesn’t read and make him/her your personal project. Buy them books and ensure that they read the books; they will be better for it. At the end of the year, they may just appreciate your gesture so much, that they cultivate a habit of reading without any prompting from you.
ART WORK Remember that Uncle who loves works of Art or your boss who loves planting flowers, or even your cousin who has just moved into a new house? Why not buy them a piece of art? A lovely painting or a beautiful flower vase may be all you need to buy to put a smile on their faces, whenever they think of you all through the year.
You don’t have to get a “Monalisa portrait” or one of Van Gogh’s expensive paintings, any beautiful piece of artwork will do.
UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES… You are probably wondering what kind of gift this is. Doing some basic things for the people in your life which they ordinarily would not have done for themselves may be an experience they will always remember. For example taking your workaholic friend out for bowling or even out for a movie, might be so much fun that they will not forget in a jiffy. Being there for your friends when they need you, giving a candy bar or even a cone of ice cream to a colleague who has had a bad day, is not a bad idea at all and may count as an unforgettable experience, especially when such attention isn’t expected.
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ELECTRONIC DEVICES This is the technological age. People will always need one gadget or the other. If you can afford it, why not buy something that makes life easier a computer tablet, smart camera or even a microwave for someone who you really know needs one. Don’t wait until your friend is getting married before you buy her that microwave oven, if you know she really needs it, she will appreciate it now.
Make out time to spend with your family members and the friends and of course when visiting, try not to go emptyhanded
VISITS This is one gift you have to really invest in this year to nurture relationships. As much as you ought to break any relationship, which is not adding value to your life, you also have to nurture the relationships that really matter to you. Make out time to spend with your family members and the friends and of course when visiting, try not to go empty-handed. You can cook them lunch or go with a bottle of wine, you can pack a picnic and just hang out with them. An occasional hang out with the people that matter will not make you poor, rather, if they are the right people, it will add value to your life. Don’t wait till Christmas to visit your family and friends do it as often as possible!
A Beauty/ Relaxation Session When last did you pamper your mum or do something special for your wife or lady? Come on, don’t wait for an anniversary before you pamper her. Book a relaxation session for your mum or your lady at a nice Spa just because you want to pamper them and you can be sure your gesture will not go unnoticed.
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Lets cultivate the habit of giving to our friends, family, colleagues, church members, pastors and even mere acquaintances. Don’t wait for special occasions to give, give to all, both those in need and to those who give.
BY OLAWUNMI ADEEKO
ave you ever wondered where the spark in your relationship has suddenly gone? Are you tired of trying to figure out what has changed in your partner? Are those kids driving you crazy with their incessant rebellion? I suggest you read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.
The Five Love Languages is a series of books written by Dr. Chapman to help maintain relationships. According to New York Times review, this book has helped millions of couples to learn the simple way to express their feelings and bring some spark and joy back into their relationships and marriages. The Series include, the Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate; The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts; The Five Love Languages of Children; The Five Love Languages of Teenagers; The Five Love Languages: Menâ€™s Edition, and The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition. The author highlighted five languages and related the five languages in a different way to the subject matter of each book in the series. The Languages in all the series are; Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. What struck me about this book the first time I read it was the way the author simplified human relations through the use of the love languages and up till the end of the book, I found myself nodding in agreement to almost everything the Author wrote. The book has taught me how to relate better with people and also understand why some people react the way they do sometimes.
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES By DR. Gary Chapman
The five love languages is a must read for men and women in relationships as it gives a different perspective on how to deal with your partner and how to make him/her feel loved at all times. The Children edition is also a very good guide to parenting as it teaches how to strengthen the bond between Parents and their children.
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How to create a savings plan Michael Idah
In order to keep track of your progress and ensure you donâ€™t spend your savings, it is important you setup a dedicated account, preferably an account without an ATM card.
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hope this year brings with it all that our heart’s desire according to God’s purpose for our lives and I definitely pray for more notes than coins!!!
I am sure a lot of us entered into the New Year with grand plans of things we’ll like to do or accomplish before the year runs out. Some of those goals are shortterm, while some are long-term, but both require we make a start this year. So how do you go about saving towards a goal? A goal could be as simple as buying that shoe or bag, to making a large purchase like buying a car, a house, starting a business or saving for retirement (you are never too young to save for retirement). In the next few lines, I will provide a simple way to go about it, though I must warn, what will determine whether you succeed or not, is discipline. Here is a simple way to create a savings plan.
A. Make a list Make a list of all your goals and assign an amount to each goal. Also determine in order of priority and time, where each goal falls (i.e. short-term or long-term). Ideally this is best done on a spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel (that way you are able to keep track to see how well or how badly you are doing).
B. Determine your monthly savings target Some people advise you save 10% of your take home pay every month, but Nigeria is a peculiar country with a number of challenges, so my advice is that you save at least 30% of your income. I realize some will say it is hard to do and would require making a huge sacrifice and my response typically is, if you want to live tomorrow, better than today, then that is a sacrifice worth making. Once you have determined how much you would like to save each month, you may then proceed to the next step.
C. Dedicated Savings Account: In order to keep track of your progress and ensure you don’t spend your savings, it is important you setup a dedicated account, preferably an account without an ATM card. Once you have set up this account, let your banker know you will like to setup a standing order. The standing order is an instruction to the bank to carry out a certain transaction/action on a certain date.
In the previous step, we determined a savings target. So calculate what 30% of your income is and have the bank automatically transfer this sum into your dedicated savings account. The idea here is that since you don’t have a cheque book or ATM card on this account, it will be hard to get to the funds and psychologically, the fact you don’t get to see this money when your account is credited would reduce the chance of you using it (well I hope!) For those who get paid via cheques, the same process applies though you will have to instruct your bank to debit your salary account and credit your dedicated savings account. The key to successfully saving for a goal I stated earlier is discipline. This strategy is only as efficient when the saver is disciplined. I know some will say well I don’t earn that much to save 30% of my salary, but there are ways you can increase your savings. Find a couple of ways below:
1. Hobby = Cash Turn your hobby into income. A number of people have favourite pastimes that are highly commercial. A few years ago, the craze for photography started and now a ton of people are making money away from their day jobs, as photographers. A banker I know who is good at disc jockeying turned it into a side hustle, but recently found he earns more disc jockeying than he earns as a banker. This side hustle has taken him to different countries. So there are a number of lucrative side hustles. Your hobby could be one. Explore it and if it isn’t, find a way to make it one that you can earn money from.
2. Nothing like loose change Someone pays you or hands you some money they either owe you or you make some money from work you have done. Most times we are tempted to spend that money because we feel it won’t have an effect on our bank balance but over time you will find that “loose change” does add up after a while. So keep a piggy bank or box, once a week, make a trip to the bank to deposit what you have saved. So there you have it a simplistic, but effective way of creating a Savings Plan. I hope this year as we set our goals, we also set out plans to achieve them. A goal without adequate preparation is like a car with no tyres.
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THE LAGOS TO LOVE Lily Okpapi
Besides home and the monotony of work life, you can find joy in the oddest places. Lagos creeps on you like that. It can be on the back seat of a Lagos yellow taxi, making small talk with the driver (they have the best olofofo stories), a walk along Marina’s Broad street flung full of fairly used literature, the Lagos lagoon at sunset, vertical crowd surfing in the searing heat of Balogun market (which whether or not you agree, remains a shopper’s paradise) and the never ending gigs, beside Elegushi beach’s calm waves. It’s a spirited city.
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(c) Seun Idowu | Imago Dei
Now despite the famous assertion that Lagos is one of the world’s most expensive cities, there is a place for every budget, that won’t necessarily have you compromising expectations. If you’re weary of the cinemas, the Go-cart arena, abundant shopping malls and every weekend Owambe parties, there is a Lagos I love and recommend to you. Treat your friends, family and good self to something different this month (especially without breaking the bank).
Terra Kulture Savage Street, VI. Especially on weekends, the Nigerian cultural center has an enriching programme to offer. Most Sundays, after church, you can catch a good stage play, on Thursdays you can enjoy the local talent at Freedom Hall’s Open Mic Night and on Friday/Saturday evenings, an engaging book reading might be taking place. Besides housing the new reference point in theater revival in
Nigeria, its rich library provides solitude and their indigenous history and art collection is very nostalgic. If you’re on the Lagos mainland, try the Debonairs bookstore, Yaba and Glendora, Alausa. These places embrace and encourage the new global buzz for local literary content. #buyabook.
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Bogobiri House Maitama Sule, Ikoyi. Bogobiri welcomes you with a rich artistic feel in sight and sound. The usual caucus is a mix of artsy, quirky souls with a desire for expression. Open mic night features poetry, prose reading, spoken word, and music. I do a tune or two with the live band before I leave on some nights. The gallery upstairs and shop downstairs are breathtaking. Not very far off on Awolowo is Jazzhole; a music store (more like archive). It’s very unlikely that you won’t find what you’re looking for when you’re searching for music through the ages.
Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
Located behind one of the busiest streets of Lagos Island, on the nicely tucked away Sapara Williams street, you’ll find barely enough air to breath where Latino tunes keep salsa devotees gyrating three hours every Wednesday night. Definitely not a bank breaker, for proper salsa classes though, join the Fuego Latino dance class on Saturday nights at the Lagoon Restaurant, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island; a place also renowned for its menu. Another beautiful view of the Ikoyi waterway meets you here.
Sapara Williams, Victoria Island
This enchanted Ikoyi diamond, one of many, straddling the Five Cowrie Creek, will woo you over and over again. Be it a quiet birthday dinner with family and friends, or a jazz concert. A great hangout spot, simple and hidden from the maddening crowd, great food too.
Glover Court Ikoyi
Ruxton road, Ikoyi The French cultural center houses an enriching library replete with movies, literature, and music for French speakers, learners and lovers, also encouraging you in knowledge of the language and peoples. However, getting a membership card gives you access to enjoy its full benefits. The restaurant has good food and events run month-long to ensure there’s something for everyone here. Refresh - March Edition | 26
Fasten your mind on nothing but the taste of the finest suya in Lagos, while you make your way to Glover Court and you won’t be disappointed. The serenity of Ikoyi doesn’t touch the premises of this suya haven. There’s always an impatient waiting line for Glover court Suya. The skill and artistry of the mullahs though is remarkable enough to watch. Deftly cutting through vegetable and meat, thrusting naked fingers into pepper, salt and flames with staccato technique...that’s all the show you need!
GOD, HELP… I’M IN LOVE! Oguche Agudah
ather, there’s this girl that has literally set my heart on fire. But I don’t even know how to tell her or the exact words to say. I have them bottled up inside of me, but the how is the problem. The more I keep these thoughts inside, the more they seem to multiply and I feel she’s slipping away. The scariest part though, is that there are some other guys on the scene, who have made their intentions known to her. This is quite complicated on my part, and I don’t think you’d fully understand what I’m saying knowing that you are a Spirit- Holy for that matter, and are probably not interested in these sorts of issues. You’d probably be more concerned about more important things; saving lives, preventing accidents, feeding the poor, and the rest… God’s answer Don’t think that way my son. I care so much about you, and everything that
goes on in your life. I mean EVERYTHING. I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all – name it. Nothing is too trivial when it comes to you. Just bare your heart to me, I’ve been in this business since the beginning of time, and you’d be shocked at what I see and hear on a daily basis, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. If it’s important to you, then it’s important to me. Just acknowledge me in all your ways, and I will direct your paths. There is really nothing new under the sun. What you’re going through, others have gone through it before, and you know what, I helped them through it. So contrary to what you think, I’m very experienced in these ‘trivial’ issues as you put it. As a matter of fact, I know exactly how you feel, remember, I created you. I want the best for you and for her. Just be totally satisfied with me as your savior, knowing that all things will ultimately work for yours and her good. Trust me on this, just trust me! Now, the above was a conversation I had with God. I desperately wanted more than anything on this earth, for this particular girl to be mine. There
was nothing else that mattered at that time…But it never happened. You see, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where it seems that things have to go our way or our lives will loose its balance. It is comforting to know that God is in charge of our lives no matter what. Sometimes the outcome of situations are not what we thought they would be, sometimes they are. You would have thought that God’s answer to this love struck guy would be for the girl to respond positively to his advances, but that was not it. But guess what? The incident taught me that, the plans that God has for us are far better than whatever we can ever dream of imagine. There’s a bigger picture and God has seen the end already so He knows what to do. He’s written the script already, we are just acting it out. He is in charge. The writer of this article eventually got over his crush, and is now married… to another lady - the love of his life. The girl in question also married one of “those guys.” God indeed is faithful, He can be trusted. Cast your burdens on Him. I mean all your burdens.
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CHURCH MEETS RUNWAY
Everday, we are all on lifeâ€™s runway showcasing Godâ€™s work in us. One Sunday morning at Oriental Hotel, The Waterbrook hosted some of the most renowned designers and labels from Unania, Ituen Basi, Tiffany Amber, Jewels by Lisa to Mai Atafo and Enthyst Designs; a mix of colour and class.
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Steely Eyed Men You hate the Nigerian system and the “bondage” it has placed you in. Then you hate the system because you cannot crack it yet. No, you cannot defeat it because it won’t let you. Nigeria is not a difficult country to live in; it’s one of the most. See her streets littered with torn dreams. Dead men walk on these streets. Not dead flesh, no. Dead spirits… dead hearts of men who once had dreams but whose dreams never lived. Yet I know men who dare the system still, levelling steely eyes against cold ruthless “reality.” It is this one word for them: Courage. They do not just fight the system; they master it. They find God. They surrender everything.
Life is full of problems that challenge us for solutions. Some of these are small and relatively easy to solve. Others can take on life-dominating proportions. During a difficult time it can be very helpful to have someone to talk to and get advice, no matter who you are or what you are going through, our team of experienced Christian counselors* can provide the support you need.
Why don’t you let it out today? Email us at email@example.com *counselors, are guided by the confidentiality clause, which is usually conveyed at the start of any communication.
The ones who succeed are the ones who do not give up. But even that sounds cheesy, and just as plain as good old common sense. - Bem Iordaah -
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Move around: Take a walk, run, dance, swim or bike. Physical activity increases your energy and lowers stress.
Catch up: Keep in touch with family and friends by sending an email, text, calling or visiting. Such positive interactions are beneficial socially and emotionally.
3 MANAGE 4 STRESS IN SEVEN 5 STEPS 6 Ifeoma Akobi (Iddiva)
Listening to inspiring music, messages or the Bible fills your heart and mind with uplifting messages and reduces stress.
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Clean up: Getting rid
of clutter and accumulated stuff in your home or office has a cleansing effect on your mind as well.
Listen: Listening to inspiring music, messages or the Bible fills your heart and mind with uplifting messages and reduces stress. Read: A motivational book, the Bible or inspirational quotes or wallpapers can do wonders for your stress levels.
Count: Come up with a list of ten things you have achieved within the week and celebrate life, yourself and God. An attitude of gratitude depletes stress.
Take on: Sometimes the best cure for stress is to address whatever is stressing you. It helps to break big assignments into manageable tasks and move your mountains one shovel load at a time.
OF NEW WINE, CRACKED BOTTLES & MORE Ifeoma Akobi (Iddiva)
n Matthew 9:17 Jesus talked about the futility of storing new wine in old wine skins or cracked bottles. He said that new wine had to be put into new containers to ensure that both are preserved.
As we take on 2013 and all its risks, rewards and responsibilities, we need to be conscious of our physical content and containers. Many prayers and thanksgiving have been sent out over this year to ensure that our spiritual slates are wiped clean and ready for the new things God is doing in 2013. Having prepared our spirits for 2013, we need to also prepare our bodies and minds for 2013.
A great way to do this is by doing a detoxification or detox for short. A detox helps cleanse the body of accumulated toxins, renews our cells and reduces unhealthy stress levels. There are different kinds of detox and it helps to seek professional advice on the type best suited to your needs and lifestyle. However a general rule is to drink lots of water and eat more fruits and vegetables. It also helps to reduce pastries and fizzy drinks. And rest well too. This is also a good time to add some exercise to your daily routine even if itâ€™s movement as simple as walking and running.
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Everyday People Ona Ofunne
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We all know your name is Bash, but so many people do not know your full name. My name is Akinbami Bashiru Omotayo How old are you? 25yrs. What do you do for a living? I am a Photographer How long have you been into photography? Three Years Can you tell us a bit about how you started out as a photographer? When I graduated from college. I was looking for a job. A friend of mine told me about some foreigners that came to run a training on sound, also at that time, Mrs Rapu told me to join Sound engineering so I could be one of the people handling sound in church; but that didn’t work out. On the other hand, the training with the foreign men worked out. Out of 69 people that were interviewed, twelve 12 people were selected and I was one of them. After two weeks of training 8 people were selected as their “fellows.” I was also privileged to be one of the 8. The art of photography was introduced to me at the training. In fact that was my first time of holding a camera and there was nothing much to it. All other trainings I learnt on the job. That is where I found the passion for photography and how I started photography. Who are the people that have made an impact in your life? Hmmm Pastor Del, Dipo, Mr. Korede, Mr Abe (who is my father), Mrs Pamela Sodipo, Mr Tosin Odusanya and Mr Tunde Okoya. How will I mention all these people and not mention my love, my dear, my Grand-mama, the best woman in the world. How did they inspire/influence you? All these people have one thing in common, they believed in my dream. Grandma always prayed for me and told me ancient stories to inspire me. She also told me to respect people and also stay focused in life no matter the challenges I face. Everything I am today is because of my grandma, she brought me up. Pastor Del is my adviser and my pastor. Mrs Pamela is my mother; she talks to me like her son and always encourages me to be the best I can be, she was the second person to support my business. Mr Tosin was the first person out of the three people mentioned to support my business. Mr Tunde was the third person to support my business and he introduced me to the loan facility that I used it to buy my first system. Mr Abe (Gini) is my father; he has done so much for me. He was the first person to show me
fatherly love even though I don’t have one. Always keeping it real. Mr Korede (photonimi) is a photographer too. He updates me on how to use my gear and tells me to press forward. Hmmm, this next guy is one in a million, Dipo. Dipo brought the company that trained me to Nigeria. He gave me the first lens I started out with and connected me with Genevieve magazine. Dipo will never tell you the bad parts of you, but the good parts. He was there for me when there was no one. God used him. He also gave me the first studio light that I currently own. He is a real man of God. I wept when he was moving to America. Even as he has relocated to America, he still buys my equipment. God bless all these guys for me. What keeps you focused? First I will say God. Second my past keeps me focused and lastly the passion.
Bash, what do you do for fun, when you are not carrying a camera? I listen to music What are your hobbies?
Have you had any struggles in work or life? How did you manage to get through?
Taking pictures, Sports, music and dancing
A lot of challenges my dear. I have suffered. I have done all kinds of jobs to survive; hawking, construction job, cleaning the gutter, carrying concrete, selling pure water, going to the high sea to fish, bus conductor, sharing fliers in traffic etc. I got through these challenges by asking God for direction and I also believed in my self.
I want to travel around the world. I want to travel to places like London, Dubai and America.
Tell us about one of your most memorable moments during your job. Its was my first event for Genevieve at the GET ARENA (the program was called Sex and the City) before the event I went to the magazine office and collected my pass, I also brought out my spare camera battery to charge. Unfortunately I forgot it at the office and when the event started, my battery went flat, it had gone off totally. I was looking everywhere for the battery, it was so annoying.
Although I take pictures in church, people don’t know I am a professional photographer. When they see me at an event they say “I didn’t know you are a professional photographer, I thought you did this just in church.”
Name 3 places that you like to go?
What are the 3 things you can’t do without and why? Taking pictures, editing the pictures and music. I love taking pictures, it is part of my life, I love to edit my pictures too. The music keeps me alive and focused while I edit. Do you have any major plans for this year? If so, please share with us. 2013 is my lucky number. This year we are taking Bash Photos to the next level. Share one thing most people don’t know about you. Many people don’t know I am a simple man and that I am the founder of Bash Photos. Although I take pictures in church, people don’t know I am a professional photographer. When they see me at an event they say “I didn’t know you are a professional photographer, I thought you did this just in church.” If you could speak to a group of people and tell them anything you want what would you share? People should always believe in themselves, put God first in all they do The young ones should try to learn something while waiting to get admission into school. People should not give up, they should keep trying. What you go through today prepares you for where you want to be tomorrow. Stay focused. Yes, you can do it. Bash Photos we speak your mind in pictures. Refresh - March Edition | 37
Would you like to have sex? Y
es! Yes!! Yes!!! And one more Yes!!! For the road… Who are we kidding?…unless like some, you were born “saved” from your mother’s womb, I am certain all things being equal, your answer to the question would be similar to mine. Who doesn’t want to experience the relief that it brings or lay guiltlessly cuddling someone you “love”. Though the pleasures keep pulling at me like a puppet on strings, the calling I have upon my life means that as much as my body/flesh would love to be satisfied through an intimate encounter with the opposite sex, I cannot give in. These days, practically everything around us has some sexual undertone… almost every commercial on television features scantily dressed ladies. Musical Refresh - March Edition | 38
videos, if we are being real are soft porn, even dance steps have evolved from, break dance, wooden legs, typewriter to gyrations that leave almost nothing to the imagination! Everything around us screams sex!!!!!!!!!!!!! To make matters worse, abstinence and chastity which were once discussed with an air of pride now attract looks of disdain. It has gotten so bad; that you tell some ladies you don’t believe in sex before marriage and automatically they assume you are gay, impotent or an “under-performer”. Some of my Christian ladies have actually said as much as they love God and know the word, the idea of marrying a guy without “test-driving” to see if they are sexually compatible is a no-no. Their reason and I quote is that “there have just been TOO many stories of sexually unfulfilled
marriages ending with PREMATURE divorces.” Sounds familiar to you too right? Another reason “I can’t have my husband cheating on me because we are not compatible in bed, practice is key!!!” Another interesting comment! But can you really blame them? Well, as much as I understand where they are coming from about testing the waters, I have to say recent studies on divorces and their causes show that most of the marriages that have ended in early divorce as a result of sexual unfulfillment were actually marriages where pre-marital sex was present! Interesting right? I will take it a step further by saying that majority of marriages that fail as a result of infidelity are marriages where the partners also had pre-marital sex. You want proof? Get a sample of recent divorcees and ask these
If our intention for taking an interest in a person is to see if we could potentially travel together through this maze called life, then sex will only blur our judgment yes we spent a lot of time together, but I tell you it was 40% getting to know her and 60% physical intimacy. We ended up dating for much longer than we should have, despite the fact we weren’t getting along, but our sexual compatibility led us to believe we could pull through. Forgive me but sex isn’t rocket science or brain surgery! We are all sexual beings and all it requires is patience and communication between the partners! That my friend is a lot easier to handle than to be married to a person who lacks the qualities required to raise a happy family. Let us ask ourselves, of what use is having a guy or lady who rocks your world in the bedroom but sets your world outside of the bed room on the rocks? I say you focus on getting to know the person, what makes the person, is this someone who can be your helpmate? Help you on your road to discovering and fulfilling your purpose without any sexual influences? I know some of you are yelling “ol’boy body no be firewood” I completely agree so if you must, then do it within the right context. Shorter courting and marriage! Not only do you glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) by keeping your body pure and holy, you also show the one who you have affection for that you truly cherish them and can wait till the appointed time. So for those interested in keeping themselves for marriage, whether you are single and searching or in a relationship, here are some tips that can help you… questions. Hmmm…where does this leave us? Seems like a catch 22 doesn’t it! Let me share my take with you; if our intention for taking an interest in a person is to see if we could potentially travel together through this maze called life, then sex will only blur our judgment. I say this because I have been in relationships where I had no sex and relationships where I had sex and the difference is like night and day. In my relationships where there was no sex, most of our time together was spent on learning about each other. My views remained unbiased about the type of woman she was and what I could expect of her as a wife or a mother to my children (Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! It doesn’t always hold true as people change, but the probability is higher). On the other side, in my relationship where there was sex,
1. Be honest with yourself So I have learnt over time how to classify the women I come across, the boxes are friends and lust. There are some ladies I meet that interest me intrinsically on different levels- friends check! But there are women I see and from the onset I know I have to flee from or else I find myself in major trouble- lust check! Being able to sincerely assess what you feel for someone is really key. For the guys, let’s be fair, most times we meet ladies, we tend to know what the end mission is. So if everything within your brain and body is focused on sleeping with her, it is probably best you keep a safe distance because regardless of how hard you try to stay away, as long as you’ve viewed her as a sex object, the end is inevitable. You will agree there is a difference being physically attracted to the lady you want to marry
and full blown lust.
2. Public is good/Three is NO crowd I agree couples need “alone” time to grow but it doesn’t always have to be in the confines of her house or your house. You could go out to a quiet place or if you are going to spend time together in the house ensure you’ve got other people present. The false sense of intimacy brought about by being in a room together alone, is simply that FALSE SENSE. Try hanging out in small groups, if you want to spend time at home, invite other friends over. Do not encourage sleepovers or late nights. The whole “you can stay in the spare room” is so played out, don’t even try it.
3. Conversations Mind the type of conversations you have. Once conversations with sexual innuendos begin, the door to pre-marital sex opens. Keep your conversations clean and encourage the other party to do the same. Now don’t get me wrong, I realize how tough it can be to meet someone you “like” and keep your hands off them but you can do it!! Think long-term and as cliché as it might sound…when you get into situations that are highly tempting! Think “what would Jesus do”! At the end of the day…it is all up to you so let your heart and desires be judged by your conscience and consciousness of who you truly are before God.
I agree couples need “alone” time to grow but it doesn’t always have to be in the confines of her house or your house. You could go out to a quiet place or if you are going to spend time together in the house ensure you’ve got other people present. Refresh - March Edition | 39
HEALTHY EATING The thought of being healthy is usually a scary feeling. It seems to go with a lot of stress. Guess what? It is actually not as stressful as you may think. Here are a few easy tips to go by to help you stay fit and healthy.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Cut down on Saturated Fat
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Research has shown that people that eat breakfast tend to have more control of their weight.
We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Try to cut down on saturated fats that can be found in Palm kernel and Coconut Oil, cheese and fatty meats. Instead choose foods that contain unsaturated fats, such as olive and vegetable oils, nuts and avocados. For a healthier choice, use just small amounts of unsaturated fats where necessary.
Eat a Balanced Diet and Stay Active Eating a balanced diet plays an important role in staying fit and healthy. People that are overweight are usually prone to heart diseases and people that are underweight are not healthy either. We should try to also stay active; take the stairs instead of an elevator, you would be surprised at how much difference it actually makes.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables Did you know that it is recommended that you eat at least 5 different types of fruits and vegetables everyday? A glass of unsweetened juice or a smoothie also counts. Vegetables incorporated into meals are also equivalent. You can chop a banana or slice strawberries into your bowl of cereal or even better exchange your mid-night snack for a carrot. When ur going out to the movies, buy a smoothie instead of a soda for a healthy change.
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Eat Less Salt About ¾ of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, breads and tomato pastes. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. So let us be careful with how much salt we eat.
Don’t Get Thirsty We need to drink about 1.2 litres of water everyday to prevent dehydration. This is addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. Non-alcoholic drinks also count but water, milk and fresh fruit juices are the healthiest.
BITTER, SWEET & STRANGE
elationships are blessings, relationships are basic, relationships are worked out and relationships are worth it. But not all relationships fall into these categories. Some relationships become cesspools of bitterness instead of fountains of sweetness. Such toxic relationships are perpetuated by abusive individuals who destroy the time, energy, resources, emotions, health and even life of their partners.
While we are called to love and be loved, we are also enjoined to be bold as lions, wise as serpents and gentle as doves. How does one recognize a toxic relationship? Here are some pointers:
1 2 3 4
Ifeoma Akobi (Iddiva)
A toxic relationship does not encourage growth or development of the individuals involved. One person lords his or her ideas over the other. The mistreated partner often does all he or she can do to meet up, while the other individual assumes a position of false perfection and always feels right. A toxic relationship gives no room for personal expression or personality differences. No two individuals are exactly the same; not even identical twins. Healthy relationships allow for a blend of personalities and character traits in the relationship. Toxic relationships are often characterized by poor means of conflict resolution. Conflicts are bound to happen in any relationship, but the way in which a conflict is handled can make the relationship better or bitter. Conflicts in healthy relationships are resolved through understanding, dialogue and negotiation while unhealthy or toxic relationships resolve conflict through threats, violence and emotional blackmail. Toxic relationships attack the self-esteem of the abused partner and make them dependent on the abuser for validation or a sense of worth. Are you being abused in a toxic relationship? Or are you the abusive one in a relationship? In this season of love, ensure that you are healthy and in a healthy relationship. Also seek help and counselling as this builds accountability which is necessary for healthy relationships.
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Cooking For Two Ona Ofunne
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Grilled Peppered Catfish
This is one of my favourite recipes. It is very popular in Abuja and a few local hangouts here in Lagos. It is simply catfish grilled in foil paper. Trust me the yumminess of this meal is way more advanced than the method to make it.
hese days the anticipation of a special date with a loved one does not only come with lovey-dovey thoughts but for some, it is an awfully dreaded moment. Thoughts about the perfect gestures and places to go constantly keep coming to mind and eventually the outcome of the day ends with mixed feelings of doubt and disappointment. Why not plan to take out the stress and have fun together. Have you ever thought about cooking a hearty meal for your loved one? Why not make a meal together that the two of you could enjoy and call it a date!
Serves 2 people
Then blend the pepper with the other half of the onions, garlic, salt, 1 bouillon cube
On your kitchen countertop, layout enough foil paper that would be able to cover the full length of the fish. Remember that you have 2 fish so layout 2 separate sheets.
At this point, preheat your oven to about 350F or put flame to your grill.
Then bring out your fish from the refrigerator and lay it on the foil sheets.
Slowly cover the fish with the pepper mix leaving enough for your second fish.
Cut out another sheet of foil and lay it on top of the fish leaving an extra length to enable you to twist the ends of the foil like a candy wrapper.
Gently carry each fish and lay it on the grill or in the oven and allow to- cook for about 40 minutes on the grill or 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven.
Ingredients »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»
2 Catfish (Fresh) 1 Onion 4 Pepper ata rodo (Hot pepper) 3 Bouillon cubes 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Teaspoon Curry 1 Teaspoon Sage/Thyme 4 Cloves of garlic 3 Teaspoons of fish seasoning Foil paper Oven or outside grill
Clean the fish and make sure it is properly washed.
Season the fish with half an onion, 2 bouillon cubes, fish seasoning, salt, thyme/sage, and curry powder and store it in your refrigerator for at least an hour (for best results leave it overnight)
NOTE: This meal can be served with fries, fried plantain, or even a side serving of any rice of your choice. Refresh - March Edition | 43
Vegetarian Fried Rice
believe that this is one of the easiest meals to make. If you want to add some meat to it, cut up left over roasted chicken or add some scrambled eggs, after mixing in the last batch of rice. You wont regret it.
Ingredients »» 4 cups of rice »» 1 cup of mixed vegetables »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»
(carrot, green beans, peas, and sweet corn) 1 ½ sliced onions 2 diced cloves of garlic 3 sliced hot peppers 1 red bell peppers 2 small green peppers 1 ½ teaspoon curry ½ teaspoon thyme/ sage 2 bouillon cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 ½ teaspoons of all-purpose seasoning
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Parboil the rice until it is a little soft.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or a large pot.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and the garlic and saute until cooked (for about 2 minutes).
Add in the mixed vegetables, peppers and spices, and cook (for another 3 minutes).
Then slowly start adding the rice in batches until it is exhausted.
Turn and mix the rice with all the ingredients before adding the next batch of rice.
Once this process is done, taste the rice and add more pepper or salt as needed.
Let the rice cook for a few minutes before letting it sit and cool down.
Yummy Meatballs This is an easy and extremely fun recipe to make. You and your partner can joyfully work on this recipe together.
Yield: 2 servings Cook time: 45 minutes
Ingredients »» 1.5 Pound of minced meat (a »» »» »» »» »» »» »»
mixture of pork and minced meat) 1 Large egg (slightly beaten) 2 Teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce 1 Teaspoon black pepper ½ Cup mozzarella cheese ½ Cup fresh parsley 1 Teaspoon salt 1 Teaspoon minced garlic (or a teaspoon of powder garlic)
In a big bowl mix the minced meat with Worcestershire sauce, garlic, parsley, black pepper, egg, and salt leaving out the cheese. Roll the meat into small balls (or to your desired size for your meatballs).
Put the minced meat balls in the refrigerator for 24 hours on a baking tray.
In an already heated oven of about 350F put the meatballs on the tray and bake for about 30 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese on it and add it to an already simmering pasta sauce and cook for about 10 minutes. NOTE: Best eaten over plain spaghetti. Here are a few tips on how to boil spaghetti:
Boil half a pot of water
Once the water comes to a boil, throw in the spaghetti and add a tablespoon vegetable oil and a bit of salt.
Let it boil for about 10 minutes or until it reaches your preferred softness. Do not forget to drain out the water before serving.
Non Alcoholic Mojito
ou cannot have all these yummy meals without a cool drink. Everyone loves a nice cocktail. Enjoy one without alcohol and actually have fun without worries of drinking too much.
Ingredients »» »» »» »»
1 oz Lime Juice 4 oz Club soda/ Sprite 6 Mint Leaves 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
Put the limejuice, brown sugar and mint leaves in a Highball glass
Bruise the mint leaves using a spoon so that their juice can get out.
Let this mix rest for a few hours for best results.
Fill the glass with ice and stir.
Top with Club Soda (or Sprite).
Add a mint leaf on top for decoration.
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The Chronicles of CaIa |ˈkär -yä |
This place called HEAVEN Dear Diary, I don’t know about you, but many times I stop to ask myself why I really want to go to heaven. At first, it was because that was where all the good guys went, it was that happy place. Then I watched one of those rapture movies and boy was I scared outta my head about those flames? I just knew, that if heaven was the place to go to avoid that kind of pain, surely I needed to be on fast track. Then as I became aware of the intense heat and sun that characterize my living in the tropics, I knew for sure that when this world was over, I didn’t want no more heat, not to mention fire? Tufiakwa! Nevertheless, practicing religion dutifully encouraged me to believe that God was quite temperamental and expected us all to make heaven especially after the death of His son; If we dared to fail? Oh mehn, we were koboko-ed (flogged), doomed and banished to an even hotter hell! Fortunately, something good came out of those years of trepidation, I found out that I’d spent valuable time being a Christian who experienced an emptiness and lack of fulfillment from the Christian walk, besides I was way too afraid of going to hell. In my pursuit of inner peace I found God again, I quit vacillating between being religious and spiritual,perhaps both sometimes.
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I was convinced that there had to be more to life in God than a constant sense of foreboding and proceeded to make the switch in response to a bidding from the Holy Spirit. Thus began my spiritual journey and love affair, I was intent on developing a strong spiritual bond with God, whether He liked it or not. Surprisingly, He loved it totally! Now back to my story....After this byforce-love-affair began, I now wanted to go to heaven just to see, my lover... imagine spending hours on end, chatting, Bbing, Skype-ing, talking to a guy/ girl you’ve not met... All you want is just to eventually meet up especially if he/ she is everything you’ve ever wanted in a man/ woman... only that mine was on a much larger scale. I just wanted to meet my one true Love! You can then imagine how startled I was to find this mind boggling question by Francis Chan in his book “Crazy Love” “The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?” OK.this is very deep, I shifted in my seat
uncomfortably as I read the paragraph over, I closed the book and began to cry, I didn’t have to lie to God, He knew what my honest answer was, that was the reason I was crumpled on the floor crying... the reality was I hadn’t loved him enough to be affected by the absence of his Son, who was the reason I was going to get to heaven in the first place! I knew for a fact that my priorities were disorganized, my talk and walk were misaligned. I needed help, the kind that can only come via the supernatural. I needed a revelation; a clear one to keep me focused but more than anything. I needed that yearning; the single-minded kind for Jesus and for what would please God. Over the days,I spoke to God candidly about these things, about the place called Heaven,guess what I also had the audacity to mention? I said I knew we were all to worship him, but I didn’t want to get bored flapping my wings and singing the same hymn daily, could there be some fun stuff? Like bungee jumping? Some dance, drama... you know? See, if you are like me and you’ve ever given it a thought then God’s heard you already, you might as well come out of the closet. It’ll interest you to know, that He responded by asking me in return if I thought Adam was bored? He asked me who made the world and gave wisdom to those who had created all the technology that the modern day world boasts of? I smiled with glee and cautioned my small mind. In the months that followed I opened my mind and my heart, I urge you to try it this New year, don’t follow this God because you only desire to make a heaven that you’ve created where He needn’t be in! Tell him how you feel about anything and everything, ask Him questions, trust him and do exactly as He commands. Obey him instantly and completely, find out what He wants you to do at every season. Ask him to sharpen your spiritual sensors so you can be accurate. Ask him to put true love in your heart for his creation. Ask for the fruits of the spirit described in Galatians5:22. Don’t do this Christianity for show, it’s not an action movie or a drama series and even if it were, you play to an audience of One, so you better hope that One is applauding you. We can DIRECTLY access God... do you know what that even means? Today, I’m humbled that I’ve found a sense of peace knowing that “it don’t matter, where I end up as long as Jesus is there”. His very presence is heaven itself. Why do you want to go to heaven?
Church just aa touch touchaway away Church is is only www.thewaterbrookchurch.org