10 Things To Do In 2018

Let me just start off saying,

Happy New Year!

With that, let me help you with the whole "New year, New me" mentality you got going on.

Here are 10 things to do in 2018


1.  Start Saving

The word savings was foreign to me until my hairdresser sat me down and started to ask about my financial well-being. God, is that you? After that conversation, I left empowered to start taking care of my financial health. I cut back on impulsively eating out, with Chick-fil-A as the exception; that’s sowing into the Kingdom. I eventually saved 2K, which came in handy when I became unemployed later this past year. I possibly could have saved more if I had created a stricter budget plan.

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
— Proverbs 21:20

2. Self-healing

You are probably wondering why this is even on the list. I mean, “we are saved and purified by the Lord.” But if your 2017 was anything like mine, you need to be healed and restored in many aspects of your life. You cannot carry 2017 baggage into the 2018 destination. It would help you to receive all God has spoken to you for 2018 if your heart and mind were renewed to be open to what He is doing.

3. Redo Your Room

This was on “17 things to embrace in 2017” blog post, and I have yet to redo my room. If anything,  all I did was add more clothes to my room. With that being said, let's move onto #4.

4. Declutter Your Closet

I didn’t go shopping that much because of tip #1, but that didn’t stop me from buying another black and white top, nor did it stop me from buying another pair of dark denim jeans. If I’m going to be buying more clothes, I think it is time I give away something that I will never wear again. Like my clothes from high school. I’m not saying I am going to be a minimalist (I just dress like one), but I can definitely minimize the amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories I have acquired.

5. Value Your Time

Imma say it for the folks in the back. “Value your time” Say it with me. “Value YOUR time.” Treat your time like it’s YOURS. Don’t use it anyhow. The culture of “busyness” has to end. It gives the illusion that you are doing something, but if one was to examine closely, you would see that nothing is being produced according to the excellence God calls us to walk in. This year, put your time to effective use.

  6. Invest In Your Friend’s Business & Ministry

Read your friend’s blog post
Comment on your friend’s YouTube
Buy from your friend’s clothing line
Promote your friend’s album
Attend your friend’s ministry launch event

 Whether it is your money, time, or just simple encouragement, support those you call your friends. It’s already hard to follow your dream because of fear of failure and uncertainties. It would be nice to have your friends cheering you on in your corner.

7. Do What You Love After Your 9-5

Not only will we invest in our friend's lives, we are also going to invest in ourselves. That’s right. We spend “40” hours a week adding to the vision of our CEO’s company but spend none on our passion. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we are all called to be an entrepreneur, but we are called to follow our passion and hobbies. When you start investing in yourself, you will see your joy in other aspects of your life increase.

8. Find Free Things To Do In Your Area

Millennials will drop bread like it’s Exodus 16 for an experience, whereas our parents will only go out for their birthday and anniversary, just to say they did. While it's not wrong to take a road trip to see Social Club, it would be financially wise to go to the local church’s worship night. You can reverence the Lord in both, one just happens to be free.

9. Learn A New Dish.

My go-to dish is pasta. Like everyone. After a while, the pasta doesn’t appeal to your taste buds like it did before. It’s time to open Pinterest and learn a new dish. Combine this with #8. A couple of my friends were interested in knowing how to make jollof rice, so we linked up and I taught them how to make it. We added plantain and bbq chicken to the mix to make it a meal, as we watched Nigerian youtube shows.

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 10. Share Urban Disciple with others

Urban Disciples is turning 6 years old. We came a long way from our first blog post, but we have many uncharted lands to cover. With your help, we can reach more people.

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3 Things I learned in Singleness

This blog post has been in the works for over a year. Regardless of my lack of consistency, it does not disqualify or devalue the tips that have brought contentment to my season of singleness. Here are some lessons that have made my stay in the Friendzone more pleasant.

NEVER force anyone to love you

I am pretty sure you are evaluating your current friendzone situation and debating if you are in any way, shape or form forcing anyone to love you. It’s okay. I will help you figure it out. If you are behaving in a manner that is not like your usual self, then you are in fact trying to draw attention to yourself to be noticed. You don't have to manipulate your ways, in order to be noticed. If you got “it,” “it” doesn't beg for attention. If they can’t see and recognize your worth, then you are not for them. When Adam saw Eve, he knew who she was. Eve did not have to personify a false perception, nor alter who God made her be, in order to attract the attention of Adam. In fact, because she remained true to herself, he saw her for who she was-- his wife. 


Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.  And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”


In fact, the moment Eve changed who she was by eating the apple, is the moment Adam didn’t recognize her as his wife, but a stranger.


Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”


 Learn to keep boundaries between you and your close opposite sex friends

I don’t need to dive in further, do I? I think the subtitle suffices, but nonetheless, I will expound more, possibly exposing myself in the process. In our Christian community, we have various types of relationship, a fraction of them being platonic relationships with the members of the opposite sex. No harm done. However, harm can be done if the lines of friendship and an uncommunicated relationship becomes blurred. That’s where boundaries come into place.

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
— Proverbs 29:18 NIV

Boundaries keep the opposite sex in the friendzone before they assume they are being promoted to a significant other. No, baby, what is you doing? That spot is reserved for Kofi.

Singleness is the prerequisite for a relationship

It would be amazing if we didn’t have to endure singleness as long as we do right now. To not have to endure years of singleness. To be married and young. However, that’s not the case for many of us. We, men and women, have to go through the waiting process. Remember that waiting is synonymous with maturing. In this season of waiting, learn to grow and mature as an individual and to experience life as a single person. Sometimes, we have that impression that we have evolved to our fullest potential, but there is always room to improve mentally, spiritually, and financially. Invest in yourself. Love yourself. Treat yourself. Don’t wait for a significant other to start enjoying the beauty of life.

***

In this season of singleness, what is God teaching you? What is He saying to you? As you are waiting, hearken to His voice. Remember He can love you more than any man or woman ever could.

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Courtship, It's Like...

Well, it all started when I was born...

Honestly, it did. God knew even before I was born who I would marry. He knows every one of my future children's names. He knows where my future family will live. He even knows about my future kitchen that will be painted golden yellow with floral accents, and not to mention my genuine Kitchen Aid brand stand mixer that my husband will approve of…in JESUS NAME (SAY AMEN!).

A sister got dreams.


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end
— Jeremiah 29:11

For some reason, I believed that I would never enter a relationship until it actually happened. Some would probably agree with me because if you know my community of believing friends, one cannot "spot" one serious "marry-able" brother whose mind was on marriage. Many of the sisters around me are between the ages of 23-30 and marriage is definitely a topic of concern. So many of us have yet to see our Adams awakened from slumber, and we are sometimes even tempted to awaken someone for the sake of satisfaction.  

I remember a time I was in a prayer meeting to pray for a family, and the leader raised a prayer point, "now let's pray for your future husband." Talk about random. I laughed. I was like Sarai when God said she would have a baby despite her dried-up womb.

Of course, like every girl, I desired a relationship. I desired to be a partner to a diligent worker in the house of God. Shoot. I wanted someone who complimented me too. I desired to be the object of a guy's affection. I desired to have someone to dream with, and so much more.  

By God's grace at the appointed time, He brought him to me, and when he came with his proposal of courtship, and I had to pray and make my decision.

Now can I tell you that this was the hardest and toughest decision I have ever had to make so far in life, for a few reasons. Like, I actually felt like I was being processed through a cheese grater to come to a decision. Y'all…He wasn't my "type." Like seriously. He's shorter than me, older than I preferred, didn't know me well, of a different tribe. You name it, I didn't want it. Having to pray about this took me to a place in my walk with the Lord where I had to seriously die to my flesh. This chapter of my life was called: "Girl, DIE"


For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish
— Galatians 5:17

The battle was real. To face the possibility that this brother was God's plan for my life was scary. But as Jesus said in the garden of Gethsemane, "not my will but yours be done." So for me to clearly hear what the Lord was saying, I had to remove my biases and make room for the Lord to have His way and speak to me. And guess what, the Lord made it crystal clear to go ahead with accepting his proposal. Like crystal-poppin-shiny-DUH clear. But if I kept my biases, I wouldn't have heard the Lord. Think of Jesus as described in Isaiah 53:2

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,

And as a root out of dry ground.

He has no form or comeliness;

And when we see Him,

There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

When you look at Jesus with a carnal eye, there

When you look at Jesus with a carnal eye, there is nothing about Him that would ever draw us to Him. But guess what, He was (and still is) the plan of God for our lives. God's plan for us doesn't always look attractive or like what we expect. And so was future hubby to me.

Now, of course, it is different for everyone, but in EVERY Godly relationship, this is KEY: God has to be the originator of it. Psalm 127 says that "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." And guess what? It starts at your "yes." When the Lord makes His word and will clear, you will be able to stand strong in your relationship even in the difficult times. You may feel like giving up because he is plucking your nerves, or told you the jollof you made was soggy and needed more salt, but because the Lord spoke, you stand strong and suffer long. Build your house on the rock, so that when rain and wind comes, it won't all come crashing down.

But anyways, after I said yes, we started courtship officially. It's funny after I agreed, I went to my car like "WHAT DID I JUST DO?!" Now, the honest truth you don't hear every day, but I had no feelings for him. *GASP!* Yes, not a typo. No feelings. But because of God's word and confirmations to me, I trusted that the Lord would grow my love and affection for him. That was how I was comforted every day. God really made sure that my flesh was dead, He took full control. He wanted the glory, and He got it. I can proudly say I played no manipulating hand in my testimony. By God's grace, I grew more and more in love, in all purity, guided and strengthened by God's hand. Today I testify that I am in love with him, and even when it doesn't make sense to love him, I still love him.

Praise God for lovey-dovey mushy gushy. That is a major part of it, but the best and hardest part of godly courtship is going through the pruning process. BRUH. Like OUCH. It's like when we started courting, the Lord started to reveal everything wrong about me. I thought I was perfect. Everything that I CANNOT bring into marriage God started revealing and uprooting. Godly courtship changes you and plays a part of God's overall plan for your life. Here's a freebie: the proof that something in your life is godly is if it assists in transforming you into God's image. Does it edify you spiritually? Or does it cause you to sin and backslide? The blessing of God makes one rich and adds no sorrow (Prov 10:22). And that's what this courtship did and is doing. I didn't know I was rude, irritable, deceitful, a man-pleaser…oh did I mention rude? I‘m discovering that there is still work for the Lord to do, and God sent us into each other's lives to sharpen one another (though it feels like stabbing). Once you enter courtship, you'll see that it is not how you imagined it would be. But you'll love every second of it.

A word to my sisters: your "dream guy" that you think is your husband could be the opposite of God's plan for your life. He could be the cause of you stumbling and missing your salvation. I could have married a 7 footer, and that 7 footer could cause me to sin against the Lord. That 7 footer could marry me and then physically abuse me the next day. All in the name of satisfying my flesh. Or I could have married one guy from my village in Nigeria just to please my family and guarantee peaceful relations. Remember, God's will doesn't always look like how we want, but in the end is exactly what is best for you.  I beseech you, be praying about your husband seriously, and completely surrender to the Lord about it.


Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
— Psalm 37:4

Please don't misinterpret this scripture to mean that God will give me the man I desire. No! He is saying that as you delight yourself in Him, and you enjoy Him and His presence, as you abide in Him, He will create desires that don't come from your own flesh.

And Lord I pray, as you have done it for me, so do it for all of my sisters soon in Jesus name.

Love,

Lovergirl122616

Think Before You Drink

There are many topics that can cause a shift between believers. Though the Spirit is one, the personal convictions vary and differ among the Brethren. One of them is drinking.

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Before encountering Christ, I drank like a fish. Alcohol was definitely one of my vices as I indulged in underage drinking. From four Locos--to dry gin--to Everclear, baby girl swam like Nemo.

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10 days after turning 21, I got saved.

I got saved.

*ques harp*

My friends claimed that I was officially legal to drink, but my thirst for alcohol was severed and thrown into the pit of hell.

I wish this was the case for others. Some people drank before being saved and continue to do so after. Some drank liquor before being saved, but after Christ, stick with wine and/or a drink once in awhile. Some don’t make their convictions known to others but drink in the privacy of their homes. All in all, God sees the heart of all believers in regards to alcohol.

Recently, I began to accept that the body would remain in disagreement on this topic and that it was okay if the body differs on this, that each Believer was entitled to their own personal revelation and conviction from the Lord. Either way, I would not advocate for anyone who is a believer to not indulge in drinking. I can not expect you to take my personal convictions as your own, but do you mind hearing me out?

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Here are reasons why I would not advise one who is saved to drink


Out of season

When I say out of season, I do not mean it is out of season to still drink malt liquor just for a cheap buzz post-college. When I say out of season, I am referencing to Paul’s instruction to Timothy.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
— 2nd Timothy 4:2

As believers and witnesses of Christ, we are called to do the will of the Father at all times. That means being a vessel when you are in and out the church. That means being an ambassador of Christ when you're around your community and when you are surrounded by unbelievers. That means being a light when all eyes are on you and when you are alone in the privacy of your own room.

However, being ready in and out of season can be hard to achieve if you are under the influence of alcohol. If your judgment and natural senses have deteriorated, how much more will your spiritual sense be impaired? This makes you ineffective to be used unless God wants to minister to other individuals with your decision to drink.
 


The Real Deal

The devil always tries to emulate the Kingdom. From love to happiness, the devil offers us cheap imitations of the real deal. And we often fail to take a closer look at the imitation and buy the illusion. Imitating the Holy Spirit is one of the devil’s tactic. His version of the Holy Spirit is drunkenness.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit
— Ephesians 5:18 NJKV

The word is clearly advising us to choose being filled with the Holy Spirit over being drunk with wine.

“But the word said “ ‘drunk’ with wine”

Yes. It does. Because that is the purpose of consuming alcohol. People think that you can drink alcohol without being lit, which I believe is partially false. You may not be “one olive away from a margarita,” but regardless you are impaired to some degree when you consume a substantial amount of alcohol. You are either under the influence or not. Just because you have built a tolerance to it, does not negate the fact that you under the influence of alcohol. You are not immune to intoxication.

Let’s be real. Do you “sort of’ have sex or do you actually have sex”? Imagine telling this to a significant other. No one will buy that you “sort of” had sex with another person. Either you did or you didn’t.


Can’t coexist

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
— Luke 1:15 KJV

John, the Baptist, was destined to lead the way for the coming of the Lord. Before he was in his mother’s womb, his life had key guidelines to follow in order to ensure he accomplished his destiny and he became the man God desired him to be.  

John couldn’t partake in the manner of other men, for he carried destiny.

But let's see what the word had to say about this John.

Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
— Matthew 11:11 NJKV

If we have the same potential to be greater than John, the forerunner of Jesus, would alcohol enable us to do so or hinder us?

***

Now that I’ve presented my case and provided valid scriptures as evidence, you have to make the final verdict? What would it be?

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Always A Hostess

For a woman, your status at a wedding is surprisingly similar to the temple of God. I know I said it was similar to your current relationship with your crush, but bear with me. #INeedNewMaterial

You can be either one of many levels: the hostess, the bridesmaid or the bride. I’ve been granted access to 2 out of 3 of the levels. I’m still trying to present myself without a “spot or wrinkle or any other blemish” and to “be holy and without fault.” But no worries, the time will come. As of now, I can only enjoy the levels I have been able to master.


Hostess

A time of service


Growing up I never considered ever wanting to be a hostess in someone’s wedding. I only imagined myself as a bride or a bridesmaid. One or the other. Or just be a guest member, crying my eyes out during the exchange of vows. When I got saved, I noticed a lot of couples had younger people serve at their weddings and they used this cute phrase “hostess” to make it seem official. The only place I heard the word was when I went to TGI Friday's or when I stuff my face with a Hostess donuts. Apparently, a hostess is basically someone who works for free at your wedding. Being young, it was so much fun. Free food and I can attend your wedding. But now, things done changed, Hunny. The word is a thorn in my flesh. As a “late mid” twenty-year-old, a hostess is like Cinderella serving her step-sisters as they got to go to the Ball. You work and sweat, while they dance and laugh.

A few months ago, a dear sister of mine asked me to be her hostess. Because of love, I agreed. Because of the body pain and sore feet the day after, I promised that was my last wedding being a hostess for. All my big sisters and brother in the Lord were married at this point. However, that didn't take my resume off the “Hostess with the most-est” job portal.

A friend asked me to be a “wedding coordinator” at her wedding. The title sounded so sweet to my ears, I immediately agreed.

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I should have asked for the job description because I soon learned that it was basically a hostess that studied abroad.

We all know where this is going. I was plotting how I could break the news to her that I couldn't be able to do it.

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“Why not?” you ask.

Essentially, I was just being prideful. She was a younger bride asking me, who is one breath away from thirty, to work and slave at her wedding, as she dances the night away with her the love of her life. Other “reasons” came to my mind to say no. Many of which I am too ashamed to admit to.

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I couldn't think of a gracious way to decline to be a hostess at her wedding.

One Sunday, while service was going on, sitting next to her, I extended my right hand over her thigh to hold her last two right fingers. We were barely holding hands when I felt this subtle, but overwhelming sensation run through my body. It was as if embracing her reset my mind. I felt this peace take over and it was then that I knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking. In that moment, I was reminded of my particular love for her, thus compelling me to desire to assist her on her big day. Looking back, I realized that she has a servant’s heart. She loves to serve others and lay down her life for others. But the irony is that as much she sacrifices for others, she tends to not receive the same honor when it's her turn. But that's the scandal of it all, she serves with no anticipation of a favor returned. And this led me to my ultimate decision to take my hostess assignment with honor.

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So catch your girl in the corner at the wedding, stuffing my face as I cry over the couple’s first dance.

*end of part 1/3*


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