Accountability Partners – They Are Important

the quality or state of being accountable especially: an obligation or willingness to accept or to account for one’s actions.”

That’s one description of accountability. There are many others, but this one really speaks volumes. To have accountability, you really have to have a willingness to explain your actions and decisions to others. Having this willingness, makes you responsible and thus accountable.

Accountability Partners and Why They Are Important

As a child (some of us are still children at heart) we’re accountable to our parents for our actions. For those of us who remember, you knew very well that if they found out about any negative actions you’d be going out to pick your own switch. When we come of age, we become accountable and responsible for so much more.

With responsibility comes accountability. Somewhere along the way, you will miss the mark. By that I mean, inevitably you will fail to achieve what you set out to accomplish at least once. I think often a major factor  is the lack of an accountability partner. Or maybe you have one but they don’t hold you accountable as they ought to. Here’s a story about my accountability partner: Five years ago I met a girl. I thought she had a pretty name so I asked if I could put it in my phone. To my surprise she said yes. Long story short, we are now married with a beautiful 4 month old baby girl. Boy does she hold me accountable – my wife I mean. And yes, that is the greatest pickup line in the history of pickup lines.

My wife is my accountability partner in everything that I do. When there are things that I express interest in doing or projects that I need to finish – or planning for NSBE Jr. (yes that’s a shameless plug for NSBE!). I share with her and we talk about what steps I need to take to reach my end goal. Beyond the moment I share my plans with her, I’m responsible for executing those plans and she checks on me to make sure I’m not veering off course.

CBS News anchor Dan Rather admits he was always fascinated by the sport of boxing, even though he was never good at it. “In boxing you’re on your own; there’s no place to hide,” he says. “At the end of the match only one boxer has his hand up. That’s it. He has no one to credit or to blame except himself.” Dan Rather, who boxed in high school, says his coach’s greatest goal was to teach his boxers that they absolutely, positively, without question, had to be “get up” fighters. “If you’re in a ring just once in your life—completely on your own—and you get knocked down but you get back up again, it’s a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Your sense of achievement is distinct and unique. And sometimes the only thing making you get up is someone in your corner yelling.”

Sometimes you just need someone in your corner yelling for you. Cheering you on. I have friends like that. Friends who reach out to see how I’m doing and to cheer me on when things aren’t going well at work, or with my health. But first and foremost, I share with my wife.

Accountability partners are important – they help us get things done – but, the only way this relationship can flourish is if each person is committed and wholehearted  in their efforts. To state it simply, don’t be lazy about your responsibilities.

I think that most things in our lives that we plan don’t come to fruition because there is  no one to hold us accountable. Often we don’t even share our plans with anyone who could keep us on our toes to get things done.

I understand that life happens and sometimes it’s a start-stop cycle and we lose interest and things get a little tougher. Well, I want to tell you that I know it’s not easy. Nothing is easy, but with someone in your corner, cheering you on, things can get A LOT easier.

And hey, if you don’t have anyone you can ask to be an accountability partner, I am available.

A Special Kind Of Blindness

It’s been a little over a month since my last post. It wasn’t my intention to go this long without writing – this topic has been in the works for quite sometime now – but I’ve finally completed it. Well, I think I have anyway. There’s so much that could be said about having a special kind of blindness but I don’t think all of it can be said in a single post. Maybe in a series of posts.

For sometime now, I have felt that I wasn’t as zealous for God as I have been before. I say that because there was a time where I was always prayerful, speaking in tongues, and reading the bible regularly. It’s just not been the case anymore. So I made a decision to renew a covenant of prayer with God. You see, I needed a personal revival. My pastor has been preaching on revival the last couple of services, and what I took away from it was that instead of waiting for revival to come, I needed to have my own personal revival. It requires a special kind of dedication and blindness to consecrate ourselves to ways of God.

On this journey, I have been sure to spend time in prayer and read the word. It’s been tough – I’ve had hiccups here and there; and I’ve felt like I’ve backslid a bit. But you know what, the God that I serve is a gracious and kind God. He is always there to encourage and nudge you along the way. And that’s what He’s done. When I felt like I wasn’t worthy of Him, He’d use my wife, close friends and family, to encourage me to get back on the right path. And I’m grateful for that. This is just the beginning and the journey ahead is going to be long and hard. No doubt. When I say this journey require a special kind of blindness, what I’m saying is that  – You need reconcile your sins with God and get on your knees and pray. ALL. THE. TIME. Get in the word. Read a bible chapter or two everyday. Start a devotional. Join a bible study group. Be focused and dedicated to giving yourself wholly to God. I am certain that if you’re consistently pressing in and letting God direct your steps, you’re life and those around you, will change for the better – Because God is in control.

But of course – there are traps that the evil one sets on your ascent. I don’t want to credit the evil one but I don’t want to be ignorant of his devices. We are all human beings and we know the things that tempt us. Don’t give way to those things, but rather be focused on God. Be confident in God’s authority over all disciplines of your life. Understand your calling in God. And prepare yourself for God to direct you on His path. 

I pray that you have your own personal revival by seeking God first, and allow Him to direct your life. If you’re reading this and you’ve never accepted Jesus as Lord over your life, I pray that you recognize that you need Him and ultimately give your life to Him. I also invite you to come join me and my church at East Gate Christian Fellowship in Salem, MA for our Friday night services at 7 PM as well as Sunday morning services at 10 AM.

Keep the blinders on. Stay in prayer. Be Well and Be Blessed.

Cultivating a Sense of Responsibility.

Here’s a story:

One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had copped substantially more wood than he had. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.” “But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest.”  

In this story, we see 2 men who are tasked with chopping wood. Both men have a different way of completing their tasks. In their own right, they both thought that their process would have them chop more wood than the other. Too many times, we are concerned with what other people are doing instead of focusing on our tasks. This lack of focus robs us of energy and attention that our tasks warrant. Having an intense focus on our goals allows us to be truly engrossed in them thus accomplishing them. However, I have found that in order to accomplish these goals, we need to cultivate a sense of responsibility. This requires maturity – without maturity, it is difficult to cultivate a sense of responsibility.

A person with a sense of responsibility is one who feels responsible. I have had many responsibilities in my life – as well as most of you. After I married my wife, I had a much more greater sense of responsibility. I was now responsible for leading, providing, and protecting her. Walter Rowe Courtenay expressed: “I personally feel that I owe a double duty to life: a solemn duty to my ancestors, and a pressing duty to my descendants.” This rings so true for me, personally. For the past year and half that I have been married, I have matured a lot. It is evident to me that my attention has shifted outward to my family, church ministry, etc. It has been a very trying process, but God has always provided me with the strength to fulfill my responsibilities. To gauge whether I did indeed mature and cultivated a sense of responsibility, I asked myself some of these questions below – there are many more but this is just to give you an example of how to access your maturity level.

  • Are you faithful to keep appointments?
  • Can you be depended on?
  • Cay you lend a helping hand or do you easily slip away quietly?
  • Are you careful about your financial obligations?

I meditated on these questions (and many others) to get a deeper understanding of what kind of man I really wanted to be for my family. I implore you all to get an inventory done on what is really important to you and what kind of responsibilities you’re focusing on.

When my daughter was born, my sense of responsibility was heightened. In addition to leading, providing, and protecting my wife – now I have had to ensure that our daughter is cared for, nurtured and ultimately grows into an excellent woman of God. Parenthood is new to me; but along with my wife, we are learning and it gets easier as we follow God’s direction for our lives. I don’t take lightly the responsibilities that I have – I ask God daily to give me strength to fulfill my responsibilities.

Like the story with the 2 men chopping wood, we all have tasks that require our attention and intense focus. How we choose to accomplish those tasks is up to our process. Let us all be true to our own process. There is always someone looking for our guidance. And there are those looking to critique your process. Don’t be swayed – stay on the path.

And now, a hymn by Howard Arnold Walter:

I would be true, for there are those who trust me. 

I would be pure, for there are those who care. 

I would be strong, for there is much to suffer. 

I would be brave, for there is much to dare. 

 

#CallToAction – What are your responsibilities? How are fulfilling your goals? Are you being true to your process? Ask yourself these questions if you want to cultivate a sense of responsibility for those pressing matters in your life and that of others around you.

Be well and blessed.

-Nathan R.E. Kituuma

Richard Shelley Taylor – On Priorities

I am currently reading Richard Shelley Taylor’s book, “The Disciplined Life – Studies in the fine art of Christian Discipleship” and I have to say this is one of the best books I have read in a while. He talks about the plight of modern man being summed up as, “striving for the road of self-indulgence. The way of least resistance.”

While reading his book I realize how many facets of my life I need to improve. One of those things, which is a surprise to me really because I thought I was very good at it, is getting my priorities right. Making the right decisions and selections  for my life. Being a husband and father to a 5 week old baby girl is challenging. But I am managing okay – my wife is great with the baby and we are learning a lot together as we embark on this journey. In everything, however, I have realized that I need to prioritize better. It makes life that much simpler.

Below is an excerpt from “The Disciplined Life”. As I was reading this portion of the book, I knew that I needed to share with my friends and family. I hope this stirs you up as much as it stirred me.

“Selection – Selection – Selection! This is the law of life.” “……Our stature as men and women, certainly our stature as Christians, will be determined exactly and entirely by our skill in selecting. If we give top priority to those pursuits which should have low priority, if we”major in minors,” if we show a “first-rate dedication to second-rate causes,” if we allow friends and impulse and the convenience of the moment to dictate our priorities, while we weakly drift with the tide of daily circumstances, we will shabby, mediocre, and ineffective persons. If we affirm certain priorities but fail to give them first place day by day; if we allow them to remain in the ‘never-never-land’ of good intentions, without rigid adherence right now – the end result of character-zero will be just as sure. Now we must put first things first. And we must do it no matter how much more pleasant and appealing other things maybe be at the moment.”

I will rigidly adhere to putting first things first. Will you?

Recognizing the potential God has placed on us

Do you know the promises of God over your life?

A story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte. As he was busy conquering Europe in the 1800’s during one of his military campaigns, Napoleon accidentally let the bridle of his horse slip while he was looking through some papers. The horse reared itself and the Emperor lost his balance. One corporal quickly stepped forward and caught the bridle just in the right time, bringing the horse under control and saving Napoleon from what might have been serious injury or even death. Napoleon saluted the corporal and said, “Thank you, Captain!” “Of what company, Sir?” asked the corporal. “Of my guards,” replied Napoleon.

 The young corporal took his musket and threw it aside, and walked across the field toward the Emperor’s staff, tearing off his corporal’s stripes as he went. When he took his place among the officers, they asked him what he was doing. I am the captain of the Emperor’s Guards, he replied. “By whose order?” they asked. “By the order of the Emperor himself” he replied.

A man of less faith might have been happy returning back to his ranks as a corporal and boasting for the rest of his life about how the Emperor once called him Captain. But no, He took the Emperor at his word. And He knew his potential and what the Emperor had said.

  In the same way, some of us have been happy just hearing about the promises of God without ever laying claim to them. Some of us have never realized the strengths with which God has gifted us. May it not be! We who know the Lord must become aware of our status as sons and daughters of the King! We must believe that God has promised great things to those who love and serve him and we must also recognize the potential God has placed upon us from the beginning of time! Let’s start practicing some faith today! It begins with the mind!

Romans 4:20-21 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”

Finding My Purpose by Tiye N. Cort

I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be a pediatrician when I grew up. Obviously that didn’t happen, but one thing that I will always remember is my parents’ constant encouragement to remain faithful to God, and to let Him guide my life in whatever direction I was meant to take. This was a harder concept to grasp when I was younger because my choices were made for me. My parents chose what schools I attended because they were the ones who paid my tuition, drove me to and from school every day, and knew how much I needed to be challenged academically. As I got older and started to make more decisions independently, I began to realize the importance of my higher purpose than attending a good school and achieving a great career.

As a Christian, it is easy to spout off that I am meant to be an example to those around me. I am supposed to possess a certain “je ne sais quois” that is actually the God in me. What does this actually mean, though? It means that when I go to job interviews, people always tell me that I have a “calming personality”. It means that my students and coworkers tell me that I “never seem to yell or get angry.” It means that I do what I do with the intention of being the light in someone else’s life. Cheesiness aside, it means that whatever I do it should bring glory to God, first and foremost.

This is how I discovered my purpose in life. After teaching in Boston, I found a job as a high school English teacher in Dublin, New Hampshire. If you knew anything about Dublin I would be deeply surprised, but it is an extremely small town filled with trees, beautiful vistas, and little more than a couple of schools, a general store, and a town center contained in a small rotary. How did I end up here? I am still trying to figure that out, but I know that there is no other place where I am meant to be right now. Being here has shown me my purpose in life. I am meant to be in education helping students who need to be understood. Long story short, this led me to applying to Ph.D. programs for special education. I was accepted into a program at UT Austin, and I will be beginning there in the fall.

Moving to Dublin, I never imagined that I would be moving to Texas a year later. I definitely never imagined that I would be moving for a Ph.D. program, and certainly not in Special Education. I now realize that it was God working in my life all along. I came to this small town and knew almost immediately that it was not what I ultimately wanted, but I knew that God would provide a way for me to make use of the experience. I learned so much about myself – my teaching, my wants and needs for happiness – and it has all improved me for the better. I learned that being in a place where I was the minority for miles around strengthened my reliance upon God to be comfortable, own my differences, and continue to trust Him. I learned that teaching such a specialized population of students meant finding meaning in what I do – connecting with my students, and improving as a teacher who was more relatable, more concerned, and more committed to positively influencing their lives. I learned that I could be totally ok by myself: I could conduct my own bible studies, go to church on my own, grocery shop, pay bills, and save money. Overall, it has been the best learning experience of my life because I was taken out of my comfort zone and forced to see the silver lining of it all – even when I didn’t want to.

I was reading from the book of Job the other day, and although Job was seen as an upright man and a committed follower of God, he was tested to the ultimate brink and he STILL did not curse God. I looked at how I was feeling disappointed because my job did not allow me to travel the way I wanted, see my family as often as I wanted, or have as much fun as I wanted. My experience pales in comparison to that of Job, but it made me realize that I was being such a brat thinking of all the little things that I know will no longer be problems in a few months, and how much I was blessed to have these first world problems be my biggest worries. Job was put through real hardships, and he didn’t know when they would end. Reading about him and remembering that this man had serious issues – to the point of people turning against him and being alone – with only options of choosing or cursing God, this encouraged me to thank God even more. He knows my struggles and what I can handle. He knows my limits, why he placed me in my own version of the wilderness, and what it has done for me. I admire Job’s realization that no matter what, God is in control. No matter what was happening to him, he relied on God to deliver him. I thought of situations at work where I knew I was being tested. No matter what, God was in control. He allowed me to experience things that strengthened my convictions, my faith, and increased my focus on God instead of negativity. Like Job, I persevered through each test until God provided deliverance with more blessings than I ever expected.

Looking forward, I am amazed at how much God is continuing to bless me. He is taking care of all the finer details involved in my move, and showing me that it is all for His glory. I did not plan for this, and once again God has exceeded my expectations. All I wanted was something more desirable, and instead He gave me something that I have dreamed about and worked toward for years. I do not plan on becoming a millionaire working in special education. I plan on shining my light through my work with students and families to make educational access and opportunity a real possibility for more people. I also plan on continuing to rely on God to put all the pieces in place as I spend the next few years in the Lone Star State. God knows all of my goals in education, my career, a future marriage, and family. He knows the timeline according to which everything will happen. The past few months have been a much-needed reminder to rely on Him. I have my wishes, desires, and prayers, but my utmost desire is to fulfil the purpose for which He has created me. It took years of trying things out, thinking I could find success with God on the backburner, and coming to my senses through times of uncertainty for me to realize that God will bring everything to fruition as He sees fit. All I have to do is continue to trust in Him, live according to His word, and thank Him for all of His past blessings and those soon to come!

On Being Faithful And Available When God Calls

“I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper.”

It was a stormy night in Birmingham, England, and Hudson Taylor was to speak at a meeting at the Severn Street schoolroom. His hostess assured him that nobody would attend on such a stormy night, but Taylor insisted on going. “I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper.” Less than a dozen people showed up, but the meeting was marked with unusual spiritual power. Half of those present either became missionaries or gave their children as missionaries; and the rest were faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission for years to come. Hudson Taylor was going to be faithful to speak even if it was to only one person. Today, God may be calling you to speak to that one person.

D.L. Moody once said: “God has called us to shine, just as much as Daniel was sent into Babylon to shine. Let no one say that he cannot shine because he has not so much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is to use the influence you have. Daniel probably did not have much influence down in Babylon at first, but God soon gave him more because he was faithful and used what he had.”

Do you ever find yourself ignoring God’s leading to witness? We are all guilty of not obeying God’s every impulse. Rather than thinking of what others will think of you, think of what Christ will think if you fail to witness to them. Commit right now to being sensitive to God’s leading in the area of witnessing and let Him use you to tell others of His love.

Have you been faithful to God’s calling? God is looking for those who are willing to be faithful! He wants to use us in ways we could never or would never have imagined – but in order for that to transpire we need to be faithful in the little things and we need to be available when He calls! It begins with the mind!

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”