“Set Free To Serve”

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Gal 5:13
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Eph 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

“We are His workmanship created for good works in Christ. He called us to offer up ourselves as a living sacrifice ….”
        ~~~ Keith Green.  (1953 – 1982)

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http://www.akinlade.net

On the value of Being Prepared for the Unexpected: Do you have a Plan B,?

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After four days of being out of town, it was already getting late as dusk has since given way to palpable darkness. And as if to add to my misery, I got to the car park to discover that one of the tyres was seriously under inflated. Driving it from the garage to the nearest vulcanizer’s shop was out of considerations. The vulcanizer has long since closed for the day. Case closed.

What saved the day was the portable tyre inflator in the booth. Even with it, I could hardly make out the position of the valve on the underinflated tyre. Again, the small 2 years old rechargeable pocket flaslight I left in the car came to my rescue. Both tools have long since worked for their money’s worth, having saved me from several instances of unexpected inconveniences in the past.
I noticed the tyre was going down last Wednesday morning as I was going to the office from where I was to proceed offshore for four days. It may possibly have gone completely flat by the time I return back from my foray offshore. Hope. Unfortunately, there was no time for me to fix it before travelling. Luckily enough, I did not forget to drop the tyre  inflator inside the car. Even though the spare tyre was still OK, having to remove a flat tyre under near zero lighting conditions is not something you will like to contemplate after returning from a wearisome long journey. Happily enough, the tyre did not go all the way down by the time of my return. I quickly pressure it up and was soon behind the steering wheel, heading home. Hope. Yes, hope met with prepa tee dness.
I have since fixed the bad tyre. No thanks to the off-the-road nails strewn last kilometre of my drive home, The tubeless tyre was gradually being undone by a sharp nail that has pierced and remained stuck on to it.

Life is full of uncertainties, setbacks, the unexpected and unpredictables. My friend, do you have a Plan B?

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http://www.akinlade.net

Before the coup d’etat: My story

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It’s just yesterday

While we were having small-talk in the office this morning, my senior coleague had this to say. “When your boy is 12 years old, tell him, Son, hurry and grow up to 15 so that I can teach you how to drive. If you challenge him this way, he is not likely to sneak the car-key away from you. More likely, he will not attempt driving the car without your permission or supervision. He will likely not go and make a reprogrammed replica of your car-key and make away with the car for unwholesome escapades when your are not watching.” “When your child, the small boy of yesterday begins to admire your T-shirt and say, “Daddy, I like this your T-shirt o o. Know exactly that the time has come for you to start dialouging with him. If you hesitate or delay, know assuredly that a coup d’etat is in the making. That guy, your small boy of yesterday will certainly dethrone you.”
The overthrowing may either be for good or for ill. My God, let this guy dethrone me. And O, let it be for good.

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And now, today

This apt and timely admonition reminded me of the experience, I had with my son last Sunday. On our way back from the “combined” service, after descending the sharp descent of the “off the road track” opposite Elelenwo FM Radio Station (Port Harcourt), my 15 years old boy said, “Daddy, let me drive the car home from here.” Without any hesitation, I immediately obliged him (and that to the relief of my wearied feet). He drove the car through the gullied cobbled tracks home without any hitch. It was an opportunity for me to give him more driving safety tips. His elder sister is the more cautionary type. She has already started moving the car (under my supervision) as well. However, she has not completed her driving lessons as she had to go for her ALs at EAC Ibadan having successfully completed her OLs.

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Yesterday

When I was a teenager, my father had many cocerns. One of his fears was that, “I hope this boy will not grow up to be very mean to his younger sibblings?” God bless his memory, today, his fears have been more than allayed as I give ample attentive care to all my younger sibblings who look up to me as their dad. My dad knowing how much I like books called me one day and said, ” When you start working and begin to come by some money, I hope that you will not spend all you earn on  just buying books ?” If I could spend but just a moment with  him now, he will gladly accent to the fact that his fears of my spending all my earned money on books has been assayed and proved positively. otherwise.

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Today

We do not know beforehand for sure how our parenting efforts are going to end up. All the same, we must start early, Start the dialogue early before those your little kids begin to forment coups against you. Continuing further, the doctor said, “these young people already have their minds made up. You cannot force them or change them, all you can do is mould them and direct their minds in the right way while they are still malleable.”
If we dutifully and prayerfully perform our assigned parental roles well, we are assured of God`s rewards and blessings. This preacher is preaching to himself first and foremost.

Pro 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Pro 29:17 (KJV)
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest;  yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

http://www.akinlade.net

Character or Reputation: The Choice is yours.

A life that succeeds on mere talent alone will ultimately arrive at a destination where character cannot sustain that success. Perhaps that would explain why Haman was hanged on his own gallows not long after being promoted. Perhaps that would explain why Saul “took a sword and fell upon it” after his elevation to a throne. The great danger we all face is choosing reputation over character. Building a life of character is not always easy, but it is always worth it.
By: Alan Stewart
The Evangelist

http://www.akinlade.net

Becoming Best of Friends

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Friendship is what keeps your marriage relationship
going longer than anything else does. Once a while when passion grows cold, as they are bound to, the understanding that comes with being best of friends is what will keep your relationship with your spouse fresh and up-to-date. Recently, a woman wrote, “Do all marriages go stale after 25 years? Ours has. We used to talk about our kids; but now they’re grown, and we’re out of conversations. I have no major complaints, but the old excitement is gone. We watch a lot of television and we read a lot. And we do have friends that we get together with. But when we’re all alone together it’s pretty dull. Is there some way to recapture that old magic?” Actually, the problem with this woman’s marriage is lack of friendship. Best friends talk about everything, not just children or family finances, ministry or merchandise. They talk about everything, not just for the fun of it, but because they are so blended together that their conversations are not forced. They flow so naturally. Imagine the way it was with you and your childhood friend; how the two of you would be together for hours unending, and wouldn’t even recollect what you spent those hours discussing, because you said a lot to each other that you’d lost track of. That’s the way you and your spouse should be-—real intimate friends.

From:  Christian Women Mirror – October 2013
http://www.akinlade.net

Aborted … A chopper and an aborted flight.

Aborted … A chopper and an aborted flight.

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The chopper was unable to make the return flight from the rig back to town yestetday. So here we are, all cocooned on the rig while awaiting the technicians (for the helicopter company) to come from town and fix their chopper. (Bell 412). The technicians will be flown to the nearby FPSO from where they will sail by boat to our own rig to do their jobs – fixing the chopper up.

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The chopper was left strapped to the helideck overnight while awaiting the arrival of the aircraft repair technicians to salvage the situation. The two pilots stayed on board along with the other rig personnel. The co-pilot, a tall, young and handsome confident-looking Nigerian has two stripes on his superbly fitting work coveralls. He responded warmly with thanks when I complimented him about his fitting coveralls. He reminds me of my son who dreams of becoming a pilot some-day. The pilot, equally smart looking and in similar uniforms has 4 stripes on his shoulder. My guess is that the white pilot is old enough to be the father of his Nigerian co-pilot. Yesterday, while trying to lift-off the helipad, the duo quickly discovered that the chopper will not be able to make the flight. They quickly aborted the flight before straying far from the safe perimeter of the helipad into the air and wide deep blue sea of the Atlantic (Bight of Bonny). Talking of experience. If any 2 pilots will fly and land a chopper safely, these are the men. So, I assumed. By God Almighty, so let it be. Amen. Experience and confidence. I was not on the flight myself. I was still expecting the arrival of a spare part needed for my job (via chopper flight).
Commenting on the experience while we were in the galley yesterday evening, one of the rig personnel who was inside the aborted flight said something along this line “… we want to go home, we want to go home. The way some people’s bodies use to shake when it is time for them to go for their days-off on crew-change self. Thank God for answering the prayers we make here. At the rig’s Christian fellowship meetings, we always pray steadfastly for safe flights especially on our crew-change days…” To which I replied, “the pilots are really experienced, that is why they were able to quickly detect that the chopper will not be able to make the flight back to town and immediately aborted the flight. You can imagine what would have happened if the chopper has flown far from the rig before they discovered the fault? It would have just plunged into the sea. And you know what that means. It could as well have been any one of us here who would have been on that flight” To which the other guy saying further, “… this company (by which he meant the oilfield operator) with their old choppers. Why can’t they just change this chopper to a newer and more air-worthy model? They and the government will wait until people lost their lives before they start doing something.” Another guy replied, “… it is not really their fault, it is the fault of the people at the top and at government levels who are to be blamed. They “force” or turn blind-eyes to these people even when they know that the choppers and planes are of doubtful air-worthiness.”
In the mean time, I keep working on my next project. I scanned (I actually took pictures of the individual pages) a frequently used book with my Android optical character recognition program (OCR) back at home. I started it some 3 weeks ago and I am more than 60% complete now. The job is a painstaking labour of love. The OCR program on my Galaxy S3 did a fairly good job (of recognizing texts in the pictures taken with the phone camera), but I still needed to do a lot of Word corrections and rearrangements to make the work as decent looking in e-formart as it was in the hardcopy format. You are asking me, “Chris, are you not violating copyrights of the author ?” No. I am certainly sure I am not. Even the printed book itself is not copy righted. Moreover all or most of its contents are freely available in the public domain. At any rate, I will still cross-check to ease your doubts. I will share with you when I am done with my e-book project.
Along the passage, I overheard this brief exchange. “Are you going today?” “No, I am not. I have to wait till on Monday.” “OK, the chopper has not made the flight back yet.”
“The helicopter mechanics have arrived now but they are still in the boat. The crane ( that was repaired last night) could not pick them off the boat. Hmm, this rig has many issues o.” “The men is (sic) here.” So the chopper mechanics are onboard at last.” “And the weather is really getting unpredictable already.” “At best, we can only make one flight, if at all there is any today.” In fact, even if the flight is ready, I don’t want to go again today myself. I will go on Monday.”

The time is 3.43pm. The chopper is still strapped to the helideck. I (we) are still cocooned on the semisub.
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3. 55pm
The co-pilot came in a short-while ago. Reassuringly, he told us that the chopper was being fixed. “It was a minor problem. It will be fixed shortly after which we will test it before proceeding to PHC.”
When the co-pilot reentered the briefing room, I approached him and requested if he will oblige my taking his picture. I told him that my son dreams of becoming a pilot some day. I want to show him the picture of what a pilot looks like. The co-pilot with a smile graciously permitted me. I was even fiddling for the flash setting of my Galaxy Note 3. Again, he came to my rescue and helped me to spot out the setting. I hope the shot did justice to his confident friendly demeanour.

4. 40pm
We have weighed in and have watched the flight safety video.

Still waiting …

5. 20pm
Finally, we were marshalled into the chopper. Yes, the same chopper. The pilot gave us a brief review of the safety procedures to be followed in any emergency. “Make sure you are strapped to your seats with your seat belts all the time. Only removed when we touch down at NAF Base.” And as if to allay the fears and the concerns of his passengers he said, “This chopper has been tested thoroughly and it is perfectly safe to fly it. I will not accept to fly it if I have any reservations about its being safe. I want to go back to my family too.” His reassuring and warm infectious smile brought the smile to my face too. Not long afterwards, the machine was airbone. Flying directly into the setting sun, the chopper was deftly manouvred by the pilot in a nothern direction as we head towards Port Harcourt.
The flight was like many previous ones safe and hitch free. Over the Atlantic and then over Niger delta swamp, approximately 35 minutes later, we were back to terra firma. The terrain below welcomed us with incandescent bulbs shimmering and flickering like gloworms lighting. Below us, the landscape was dotted with mostly brown rusty color of old corrugated roofs of mostly old buildings.
Finally, we disembarked from the chopper, with smiles of appreciation, we all shook hands with the co-pilot one by one. Approaching the co-pilot, I shook hands with him. Back on the rig when I took his picture, I forgot to ask for his name. “My name is Akinlade Christopher. May I know your name please…?”
Thank you Jesus. All is well that ends well.
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My girlfriend and I (on WhatsApp).

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Dad : “You want to pay me for my Galaxy Note 3 ? (Lol). You should be careful of the image you are conveying to people. You don’t want to be like the guy (as depicted in a cartoon) who was kidnapped for ransom because he was wearing a T-shirt that reads “MY MONEY GROWS LIKE GRASS.””

Oonere: “Everyone wears it.”

Dad: “NO. Not everyone. DO you wear it?”

Oonere: “No.”

Dad: “I just finished reading the novel – THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK.”

Oonere: “I don’t understand that book.”

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Dad: “In my opinion, THE THING…… and AMERICANAH are the best of Chimamanda’s four novels. I learnt that HALF A YELLOW SUN has been acted into a film. I have not watched the film though. For me, I prefer more of reading to watching films. Good films can among other things, be entertaining informative and educating but, I think films are kind of fleeting and transitory in whatever they impart by virtue of their very medium of conveyance. Reading forces one to think and concentrates ones focus on what the author is trying to share. I actually “see” more through reading than watching films – even films adapted from books I have read before. Funniest thing, my venerable professor looked at us in the class the other time and said (partly in rebuke and partly to correct us), “You people don’t read these days !” And I completely agreed with him.
Well, back to Chimamanda’s novels, I think I understand most of the things she wrote about in her boks. They look so real and practically true. I can relate to many of them. I don’t know the criteria they use for awarding Nobel Prizes but I won’t be surprised if she wins a Nobel Prize in Literature in the future. She has already bagged several illustrious prizes and laurels. I learnt that she is a professor – lecturing at one of those prestigious American universities. See it? Such lofty achievements at such a youthful age? You may wish to re-read AMERICANAH and THE THING … again – when you are on vacation. THE THING …. is a collection of short stories. Sometimes, I re-read my favorite novels two or three times over. For instance, when I read Chinua Achebe’s THINGS FALL APART back in my OL days, I did not quite understand or fully appreciate its depth, wealth and worth then. Now, as an adult, I’ve re-read it some couple of times over. Now I fairly understand why it is considered one of the best 100 novels ever written. I will advise that you dust up that your novel, edit and re-write it as I am sure you will need to.”

Oonere: “Yes i will, but I dont have time.”

Dad: “Of course you won’t have time. But you will make out time for it one way or the other. That is why you need to set your priorities right and focus.”

Oonere: “I will see to that.”

Dad: “Yes. Make sure you do it.”

Mercy: “All right.”

Dad: “Visit my blog and share the link with your friends
https://ubrave.wordpress.com

Oonere: “It’s not working.”

Dad: “Just click on the link. It’s working fine.”

Dad: “One of the things that will really help you when writing is to always cross-check and “proof-read” your work and refer to your dictionary as often as necessary. Luckily enough, you have Meriam Webster in your galaxy. No one is perfect, but if we keep on learning and practising, we will always certainly keep on getting better. In our last conversation for instance, I used the word “price” when I meant to use “prize”. Careful proof-reading will help you to minimize or even completely eliminate these types of mistakes.”

Dad: “I went for a quick dinner in the galley a short while ago. I must get back to work now. Bye. Love U.”

Oonere: “Love you too Daddy.”

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You’ve got a problem? Sleep over it.

Life is full of challenges. At home you may have issues with your spouse. Or it could be that your once cherubic innocent kid suddenly “grew horns”, and metamorphosed into a  recalcitrant and intractably truculent  teenager. At other times, you have issues with colleagues who suddenly became noncooperative. You may be at the receiving end of bad office-politics or some demigod of a boss.  How do you confront and surmount these challenges? 
First, you need to understand that there are some things you don’t have control over. So your worry warts are not going to change anything. For instance, you can not change the situation of politics and “budget-cliff” situation in USA. So, why should you worry about it? Yes, it is true that in the global village we live in, what happens in America (or any other part of the world) can have very significant impacts on us here. Agreed. But then, what immediate power do you have to change things in USA for instance? If none, why must you destroy yourself through worry and anxiety?
Secondly, there are some things you can really control – most especially our attitudes and the way we respond to issues. As, we work on these, the concerns we don’t have control over begin to fall into their proper perspectives and places. Simultaneously, we are better prepared to deal with them in a more congenial non life and peace-threatening way.
Finally, – and this is the main thrust of this article – at times, the best first-iteration-solution to any problem is to just sleep over it. Of course I do not mean the ostritch head in the sand kind of attitude. Yes, this idea is not original to me. In fact, some of you might have been practicing this even without knowing it.
A lot of things happen, when we have, or, give ourselves the chance to sleep over some problems, both petty and and not so petty ones, that are bogging us down.
One, by the time you wake up the following morning, those circumstances and issues that were keeping you restless yesterday might have become less aggravating . Even if they haven’t, your perspective on those issues might have changed over the night. This changed perspective of yours more often than not sharpen your wits and judgement thereby equipping you with the ability to grapple with your concerns and problems in a less enervating way.

In fact, you may discover to your greatest surprise, what seemed so important last night may be much less so by the time you wake up the following morning.

So, next time those recusant problems, challenges and concerns come your way, just make time to sleep over them. You will be amazed at the solutions you might come up with in the morning.

You’ve got any problem? Go and sleep over it first.

FALLIN’ & FLYIN’

FALLIN’ & FLYIN’
I was going where I shouldn’t go
Seein’ who I shouldn’t see
Doin’ what I shouldn’t do
And bein’ what I shouldn’t be
A little voice told me it’s all wrong
Another voice told me it’s all right
I used to think that I was strong
But lately I just lost the fight

Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
For a little while
Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
For a little while

I got tired of bein’ good
Started missin’ that ol’ feelin’ free
Stop actin’ like I thought I should
And went on back to bein’ me
I never meant to hurt no one
I just had to have my way
If there’s such thing as too much fun
This must be the price you pay.

From the 2009 movie: Crazy Heart by Jeff Bridges who won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of an alcoholic country singer trying to make a comeback.

Source: That Used to Be Us by Michael Friedmann & Michael Mandelbaum

And so the machine locked me out.

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Crashed but unburnt.j
Locked out by my own computer. Read the story of how I get back on.

The previous night I used my colleague’s USB drive to transfer two files from my laptop for his use. Afterwards, I worked on my laptop long into the night. Now back to terra firma, the following morning, I proceeded to bootup my laptop as usual. Ordinarily, this is a daily ritual with no ground shaking consequences. Alas, this time around, my computer failed to log me on. I tried the same password that I have used thousands of times in the past, the machine just locked me out.
This is how I got back in, after several futile attempts with the message repeatedly that my profile cannot logged on with the password details provided.
(1)I boot up my PC in safe mode.
(2)With the limited access so gained to my PC, I started the Backup/Restore program
(3)Navigate to and click on – Restore to last known working profile
(4)And that was what finally did it.

I searched online for a possible solution. Sure, others have had similar problems. It was not a smooth one time attempt, but, piecing the information I got here and there, I finally got my laptop back on with the same old password.
The morale of this story is this; you must have a backup program for your essential files. And that is exactly what I did. Using, the file sync program – Goodsync, I backed up my most essential files to my USB drives. I bought Goodsync online four years ago. Rumaging through my old files (on the same laptop), I was able to get the license key. I quickly downloaded the program again for my Windows 7 Samsung ultrabook. The program worked fine just like it did on my long retired XP and Vista laptops.  I also setup a bi-weekly backup scheme for my system.
Another cautionary step is to be wary of the flash drives you use on your systems so as not to get them infested with viruses and other maleficient sinister intent programs. About 10 years ago, I bought a 100MB memory stick for N20000. Today, a 500GB USB hard disk drive can be got for less than that same amount. So, you really do not have any excuse. Don’t say, “It cannot happen to me.” If you don’t have a regular backup program, sooner than later, it will happen. These days, it goes without saying that “data is life”, “data is money” and data cost many years in terms of time invested. So, save yourself the heartache/heart attack of a crashed and burnt computer. Or like in my own case against the day your machine “decide” to lock you out in the cold, dark, unforgiving, irredeemable though entirely avoidable atmosphere of data-loss. Backup today!

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