Dear Western World, Africa Does Not Need Your “Band Aid” Help – A Short Open Letter


An Open LetterDear Western World,

If you want to really help Africa, then stop sending us money. The money and “band aid” help only temporarily stops the bleeding. Get your hands off our Diamonds, Gold, Timber, Oil and our natural resources. If you are not fighting for fundamental structural changes to help alleviate the the real issues permanently, then we do not need your thousands nor millions of dollars. This “aid” is only to further exploit us for your own benefit.

You want to help Africa, well, fight the WTO and IMF to change their biased policies towards Africa. We have the natural resources to sustain ourselves. Your money won’t help because it is going to the pockets of our corrupt leader; but your power in influencing policies will actually help. You know what to do, but you might not do it because because of greed.

We understand that we do not have some of the best leaders. We understand that corruption has magnificently prevailed in our system but to be honest, you enjoy this. Where one loses, one gains! A corrupt Africa benefits the Western World. How? You can easily influence government officials for “favors” which benefits the West. A corrupt Africa is a weak Africa – this means, any superpower can easily “buy” power and influence. A corrupt African eventually leads to “brain drain” – our best students will not want to come back to African to help after studying abroad – they would rather stay and pay taxes. Where the system is broken, only the strong survives. Only the West and the corrupt leaders in Africa will benefit.

Africa understands what she needs to do, so do not add fuel to the fire. Get your hands off our natural resources and empower Africans to rise up against corruption starting with policies against global organisations looking out for their friends in the West. Use your power and influence to change policies if you truly care.

You claim you care, then take on this challenge and show us.

Thanks!
Joe Darko.

Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Just Stop The Facebook “Bible Verse Challenge” !


Challenge Accepted

Challenge Accepted

It’s quite obvious that majority of us are partakers of some sort of challenge on social media. As humans, we love challenges and “social challenges” do an amazing job of helping spread causes, beliefs, and messages.

Recently, I received invites to partake in the “Bible Verse Challenge” where an individual is challenged to post three different Bible verses on Facebook for three consecutive days; and to be honest, I have declined to partake (I will explain in the next paragraph). The purpose, I believe is to get a wave of people spreading the Word of God on a very popular social media platform: Facebook. This is a brilliant strategy and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

My reason for refusing to partake in this particular challenge is because I’m focused on other challenges. I’m focused on the Giving Challenge. I’m focused on the Forgiving Challenge. I’m focused on Loving My Enemy Challenge. I’m focused on Loving God With All of My Heart Challenge. I’m simply focused on practical challenges which will yield greater fruits and draw others closer to God while I get sanctified in the process.

Anyone can post a scripture on Facebook but not everyone can truly love, fully forgive, completely serve, and totally sacrifice – this is Christianity. I can simply search on bible.com and just copy and paste a verse on my Facebook wall without even reading a word. How was I edified in the process? Sure, the word might impact someone else’s life, but just like in basketball, it will not be considered as a “high percentage shot”.

I’m not saying we should stop reading the Word of God and I’m definitely not saying that we should stop sharing the Word on various platforms, but are we going to live out the Word? Are we going to go out and feed the poor as Jesus did? Are we going to go out and give graciously as He commands us? Are we going to go out and love radically as He did? Or we’re just going to be complacent and just post to complete a challenge?

“High risk, high reward” – the greatest challenges are the ones the devil can’t partake in. The devil knows the Word but he simply can’t live the word. He can’t give, he can’t forgive and he ultimately can’t love. We have the capacity to take on the challenge of carrying our Cross and living out the World on a daily basis. Yes, we might stumble and fall, we might not get it right, we might breakdown, but once the challenge of Forgiving, Loving, and Giving is accepted, His strength will help us accomplish the task and His Grace will forever be sufficient enough.

Challenge Accepted.

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Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Christians, If Jesus were Here Today, We Would Have Crucified Him


Crucifixtion Of Jesus

Crucifixtion Of Jesus

Think about it, as Christians, our lives were changed the moment we opened ourselves up to the radical love, teachings and story of Jesus. In the days of Jesus, He was seen as a radical. His teaching were out of this world. His ideas sounded crazy and His methods were strange. He constantly went against the grain, challenged the status quo, provided “weird” answers and asked thought provoking questions – through all of this, He revolutionized the world in the process and no where in the History of mankind has a Man been this influential and powerful.

Christians, let’s be honest: If Jesus were to be here with us today, we would have probably crucified Him. We are no different than the Pharisees of His time. The Pharisees were not evil, they simply did not understand how big God was. They did not understand His love and His compassion. They went by the books and anytime their ideas, thoughts and way of life were challenged, they flipped and certainly not happy. Often at times, Jesus would ask them thought provoking questions and they would be quick to stone him – eventually, they got what they wanted by helping help crucify Him. Ask yourselves this question: As Christians, how many people have challenged our thought process with their doubts, questions or suggestions and what is our response to their inquiries? Often at times, it is not well received and I will be honest, sometimes, we would love to give them a slap.

Jesus told them to love their enemies just as much as He admonishes us to love ours today. He told them to help the poor and needy just as much as he tells us to do the same. He continues to challenge us to live fully for God and not be bound by legalism. We were set free for a reason, but we continue to bind ourselves for no apparent reason. If Jesus were not radical in words and in deeds, He wouldn’t have impacted the world the way He did.

Just as much as Jesus was going against the grain, we are challenged to do the same in today’s society. Think about it, the Pharisees and the people of His time were told to retaliate – “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”; but what did Jesus say in Matthew 5:38-39, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” With everything in context and perspective, let’s not forget how crazy this might have sounded. This was extremely radical! It was insane at that time to hear something like this; no wonder they wanted to crucify Him. For years, they were stoning to death people who will indulge themselves in sexually immorality, especially women – but Jesus once again disarmed them when they were ready to stone the woman. We often read this chapter and think of the Pharisees as hateful people, but they were only a product of their culture. They were doing what they knew and what they had been exposed to. So the teachings of Jesus were foreign to them. As Christians, culturally, we have also been exposed to certain things and a way of life. But we forget that Christ continues to change us through the Holy Spirit. Christ continues to work in us and through us. In Romans 12:2, we are told to renew our minds and not be conformed to things of this world: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will We forget that culture can be deemed as “things of this world” and the passage above clearly states that we should not be conformed to things of the world. Culture is needed and it is a beautiful thing and we are all part of different cultures, but when it comes to your personal culture affecting the Christ Culture, we often conform tot he latter. We refuse to love unconditionally, we refuse to forgive, we refuse to support, we refuse to accept and we refuse to help, we refuse to be questioned and refuse to be challenged, etc. Christ Culture calls us into a whole new family with different beautiful people from different ethnic backgrounds, different thoughts, different mindsets, different suggestions and different lifestyles. Christ Culture pushes us out of our comfort zone and propels us to exhibit the traits of Christ in and outside the circle of the Church and Christ culture should definitely supersede our culture. We are being moved away from our comfort zone to be make an impact.

As a Pastor friend of mine (John Pavlovitz) said: “I always hold on to the bigness of God; that He is not threatened by questions, or doubts, or the examination of everything, our history, tradition, doctrines, creeds. He is not afraid of them, and what is true, will always hold up under scrutiny.” When we are challenged and questioned, we often get angry. When suggestions are made, which may go against the grain, we begin to feel insecure, we push back and the opportunity to have a great and open dialogue about Jesus turns into a war. We are admonished to study and show ourselves approved but do we actually do so? I’m not asking for us to argue, but we refuse to dialogue with those who might differ from us. We shun those who don’t believe in exactly what we believe in. When our actions are questioned by believers and non-believers alike, instead of using this as an opportunity to educate, we fire back angrily and sometimes respond in hate and fear. With myself included, sometimes we feel as though we are better than those who have not yet “seen the light”, so we automatically void of nullify their suggestions or questions and call them “faithless”. We hate those who speak up boldly forgetting that they also have the same passion and desire for the Church just as much as we do. Just because they do not do things the way we have been conformed to do them, we disregard them and push them to the side.

With all that mentioned above, I am not saying we should all run around the world just accepting any and everything – but through the love of Christ, we should allow the questions, the doubts, the suggestions and even the denial. We should in all things, allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to bring about the salvation that is needed. We should allow our thoughts to be challenged, we should allow people to question us, because the God who hung on the cross 2,000 years ago is bigger than any question or push back. A the end of the day, He is the truth and He alone will stand firm amidst the doubt and scrutiny.

For a spiritual revolution to take place in our world today, we need to renew our minds, be open and led by the Spirit, be receptive to spiritual change and thoughts and be willing to sacrifice our pride and ego to better the Kingdom and Work of God.

As Christians today, I am convinced that if Jesus were here today, we would have crucified Him because his ideas, suggestions, thoughts would have also been radical as they were 2,000 year ago. Jesus revolutionized the world through radical teachings of love. He did not conform but went against the grain and that is what saved you and I. My question is, are we going to continue the Good Work He started with us or we are going to cling to legalism and conformation just like the Pharisees?

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Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

I Have Bad News: Racism Is Not Dead & It Won’t Die


Racism Is Not Dead

Racism Is Not Dead

I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but sometimes the truth is not always good. Yes, the effects of truth telling is always positive in a matter of time, but truth in itself is not always good news to the hearer and sometimes, the bearer. The truth is: racism is not dead and racism will never die. Ideological racism will not die. We tend to believe the current generation will totally do away with racism and help wipe it off the face of earth – but that is far from the truth. I doubt that we will be as intolerant as the previous generations but there will definitely be racists of all different shapes and colors in this generation and beyond, who will be racists simply based on ideology. Ideological racism is a simply a belief system asserting that a particular group is inferior to another. Even though various individuals may subscribe to racist beliefs, the ideology of racism itself is incorporated into the culture of a society and passed on from generation to generation.

The video below shows a group of college students joyfully cheering racial slurs in a song – and these are young adults in this generation. These are probably the same students who will cheer on their Oklahoma football team full of African Americans, cheer for their NBA teams and home football teams who are racially diverse.These are not students from the days of Selma. These are students in an era where by we have an African American president in the White House. These are students in the era where by we have a diverse group of athletes in the MLB and not the lone ranger Jackie Robinson.

At the end of the day, while I am disgusted by the video, I’m not surprised because I have come to terms with the fact that some people will choose to hate white people, others will choose to hate blacks, gays, Muslims, Christians and etc. Some people will not be able to accept that we all can’t be the same irrespective of our core beliefs. We are all different; from the strands of our DNA to the soles of our feet. A lot of things separate and divide us – but instead of bridging the gap of differences with love, we extend the division with hate. We are a sad race of species, because at the end of the day, we fail to understand what is important: we are all human and the grave of the Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, black, white and etc. is no different. We all face the same fate in life (death) so why not go through it all with love to make it all worth it?

Until the heart of individuals change, racism will not end. Someway, somehow, whether you are black or white, someone is simply going to dislike you. Not that ‘they fear what they do not understand’, but they have made themselves believe that they are far better than you because of the color of your skin. They do understand that you are different, but the deep rooted ideological racism will not give way for them to accept you and respect you for who you are as a unique individual.

As humans, we do not have to agree with other individuals but we have to love. We have to force ourselves to love even when it is not popular to do so. We have to commission ourselves to appreciate our differences and bridge the gap with love instead of hate.

Yes, the bad news is that racism is not dead and it won’t die; but the good new is that, love is not dead either.

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Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Ghana, A Failed State


Ghana, A Failed State

Ghana, A Failed State

Let’s not sugarcoat the truth: Ghana is a failed state. Ghana is going to be 58 years old in about a week, but has nothing to show for it – do not say the Black Stars. At 58 years old, illiteracy rate is still hovering around 50%, only a good amount of its citizens have constant access to clean water and the whole country continues to live in an era of darkness – or “Dumsor” as Ghanaians will call it.

Yes, Ghana is young compared to other nations like the United States or other developed countries but that should not be an excuse for lack of constant success or growth. “A child who will buy a plane in the future begins by asking the price of a bicycle tire” – A Ghanaian Proverb. This simply means that our actions today can help predict who or what we are going to be in the future. Our decisions today is a good indicator of the future. If drastic changes don’t occur, Ghana will continue to fail because by the look of things, as the world around us continue to progress, we regress.

Malaysia is on the verge of being a developed nation and the interesting thing is, Malaysia gained independence the very same year Ghana gained hers. While Ghana turns 58 on March 6th in darkness, in August of this year, Malaysia will also be turning 58 years in light. The people of Ghana can sit and blame the influence of some Western powers, but that does not solve the issue of corruption in Ghana by Ghanaians. I do not expect Ghana to be a developed overnight – it is simply not going to happen that fast – but I would like for Ghana to trend towards a success. It is not the destination, but the journey. The people deserve to have competent leaders who should be committed to the success of the nation instead of the growth of their bank accounts. The people need access to clean water and they do need to operate with constant electricity.

On the basis on illiteracy, lack of electricity and clean water, I can simply conclude that Ghana has failed. We are in the 21st century for Christ’s sake. Without robust education, there is no future. Without electricity there is no productivity and without clean water to every part of Ghana, the health of the people are in serious jeopardy.

If Ghana does not break the cycle of failure and incompetence, it will continue to fail for generations to come which will be detrimental to the development of West Africa as a whole.

The Solution:
This does not start from leadership but the people. Yes, some leaders are going to be corrupt for the next few years, but if the people of Ghana can rise up and fight corruption and hold the government accountable, they will have leaders who will be willing to serve them instead of exploit them; they will have leaders who will look out for the interest of the citizens instead of serving their own interests. The people should force the government to put in place checks and balances to help curb corruption and the people should hold them accountable to the office of leadership.

Ghanaians often blame their leaders but they forget about themselves. Positive lasting changes starts from the “bottom up” and not “top down”. Bottom up approach comes from the citizens while the top down approach stems from the leaders at the top. In Ghana, the top down approach will not work, because it is evident that majority of the leaders only care about what they care about and not what will better serve the people of Ghana. But Ghanaian citizens can force the bottom up approach – they should not always wait to vote people out of office but rather be proactive about keeping the leaders “in line” and holding them accountable. The citizens of Ghana often talk more than act. They complain and do nothing about the real issues and the leaders have come to accept this – so they are not afraid to be publicly corrupt while insulting the citizens in the process. In Ghana, the leaders are bold to be corrupt because they know the people will not act but just talk. Talk is indeed cheap. Actions might cost you, but they promote value.

Ghana has so much potential to continue to fail. It has so much potential to be stagnant. The people of Ghana should rise up and demand the change they deserve. They should rise up and fight for themselves because they simply deserve so much better.

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Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
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‘Christianity’ Can Make You Lazy


"Christianity" Can Make You Lazy

“Christianity” Can Make You Lazy

Where do I start with such a thought provoking title?

Christianity, for the most part, is deemed as “a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior.” Christianity starts with an individual first believing and accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior – believing in His core teachings of love.

This is where things start to get a little tricky – Christians are usually encouraged to fellowship with other individuals to share the experiences of life through Christ. During the fellowship process, Christians first find a “home church” to fellowship with. Based on the vision and strategy of the leaders, the Church serves different purposes for its members. For the most part, Christians are usually in Church on Sundays. A regular Sunday service comprises of Praises, Worship and the Word or Teaching/Preaching. The teachings also differ based on the denomination and core values of the Church and it is critical to the growth of the Church. Christianity as a whole should promote hand work, diligence, perseverance and love. But different facets of the diluted truth masked in “Christianity” can cause many problems including laziness.

“Say It, Claim It and Receive It” teachings as well as the “Prosperity Gospel” can reek havoc if not taught properly along with the whole truth of Christ. I strongly believe that the tongue is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans – the Bible clearly supports this fact by stating that “Life and Death lies on the tongue”. We use our tongue to praise, give compliments, encourage and uplift people – with the same token, we use our tongue to condemn, rebuke and sometime destroy others. In the Biblical and spiritual concept, I believe in speaking good things into your life and the lives of others but most importantly, I believe in working towards whatever you say in your life with prayer, faith, but more importantly, hard work and perseverance. The “Say it, claim it and receive it” gospel with no regards to the whole truth of the Gospel can make an individual believe that all they have to do is say something and magically, whatever they say will manifest in their lives. An individual trying to lose 20 pounds for health reasons can’t sit in the Church and say “I claim it.. I receive losing weight” and expect to lose weight without adhering to some form of exercise consistently. Jesus is not in the miracle business for your comfort – but for the kingdom.

The Prosperity Gospel follows the same trend. Listen, I strongly believe that God can prosper and give you riches in abundance; but Prosperity Gospel alone without the sound principles of the whole truth of the Gospel in Christ can leave people disappointed in the Church, in God and in themselves. We can’t choose to damage the same people we are meant to help. Christ is enough. The Gospel based on Christ and love is what turns the heart of men and women. The Prosperity Gospel allows us to focus on ourselves alone instead on God and our neighbors – in my next post (Selfless Faith), I will expand on how we have become a selfish generation of Christians and how we can become selfless just like the Man we follow.

If you pay close attention to the teachings of Jesus Christ, you will realize that Jesus was all about love and faith. He was about moving in faith through the vehicle of love. He did not only teach loving our neighbors, but extended it to loving our enemies. He extended our responsibilities as believers to a whole different level and He commissioned us to follow Him in faith. Faith requires hard work and requires a level of diligence and perseverance. It does not solely rely on “Say It, Claim It and Receive It” Gospel nor the Prosperity Gospel; but calls for “working out our faith with fear and trembling”. You might be motivated and encouraged by a Prosperity Message, you might say all the good things about yourself, claim all the great things wrapped in a particular message, but to be honest, without working out your faith in Christ, you might not receive whatever you are looking for.

In the Bible, According to the beginning portion of Acts chapter 3, a lame man walked. The story goes as follows:

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

Yes, Peter had no money but gave a word under the authority of Christ, but look at the bolded portion of the message: the man acted on faith.. He did not just sit and mope. He did not just sit to beg for more. He did not just sit to be lazy, but he acted on his faith. With faith, he got a helping hand from Peter and INSTANTLY, his feet and ankles became strong and he jumped and began to walk. Some of us are like the lame man. 2,000 years ago, we were helped to be on our feet by the man who died a horrible death on the cross of Calvary but we are still SAYING that we are crippled only to RECEIVE the coins and change from the lofty words of PROSPERITY messages. All you and I have to do is get up and jump and run in faith in Christ Jesus.

Christianity is not meant to make you lazy but rather, full of life for Christ in faith through love. Christ is indeed the Cornerstone. He is not enough, but rather, more than enough.

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Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Science, Life & Religion


Science, Life and Religion

Science, Life and Religion

Recently, I’ve been talking a great deal about my faith to a variety of people. The debates seem to be endless but I’m enjoying every bit of it. I enjoy hearing the opinion of others and I definitely enjoy sharing mine.

This morning, as I read through the comments of a Huffington Post article, concerning a Pastor who no longer believes in the existence of a God, I caught myself very intrigued with the thoughts and ideas of atheists and Christians alike. I mean, it was like a war zone – but nonetheless, I was still intrigued. After reading it all, I came to a conclusion concerning Science, Life & Religion – the main themes during the debates on above mentioned post.

My Conclusion:

What is life all about? What is our purpose on earth? When it comes to these questions, science does not explain it all and neither does religion. God is bigger than science because within Him science came about (at least that is my opinion). Critical Thinking is definitely not the kryptonite of faith or belief, because no amount of human thoughts, ideas, or “critical thoughts” can comprehend the fullness of God. Faith or belief gives us the unlimited opportunity to first of all, view God as a supreme being bigger than life itself. It also gives you the opportunity to hope and believe in things which eventually defies logic – because where logic says “this and that is impossible”, faith says “ALL THINGS are possible. This is why the Apostle Paul in the Bible defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Science is defined as: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. So while science mainly deals with the natural and physical, which is what we can see, feel, smell and touch, it does not deal with what we can’t see. It does not deal with the spiritual. For example: when someone dies, science explains it as the person simply has no life in them but science does not explain what happened to spirit of the individual which was housed in the body of the individual as life. Science does not explain where their spirit or “life” went. Did it just escape from the body into space? Science can’t answer that. Faith and belief on the other hand is not only restricted to the spiritual, but the physical. History records show the existence of Jesus and also the existence of the empty tomb. There is evidence that He existed, there is evidence that He was crucified and the empty tomb signifies that His body is no where to be found but He has risen.

When it comes to Science and Religion, incorporated with critical thinking, I do not only result to FAITH, but God, who is the author and finisher of my faith. For example, I have seen miracles happen in the lives of people where by critical thoughts and the greatest educated minds could not explain what happened, neither did science. The dictionary defines miracle as: an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws; an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment. Miracles happen everyday and they in fact defy reasoning or logic.

As a man of faith, I’m astonished by what God does in my life and in the lives of others – my faith tells me that there has to be a Supreme Being who is in charge of the Universe – but my faith can’t fully explain it all, but rather, fully accept it; because as human as I am, I’m limited but God is not. Who said there is no evidence to miracles? Evidence is simply defined as: something which shows that something else exists or is true. So if you are blind and someone prays for you and you miraculously see, the evidence is that “you were blind, but now see”. If doctors give a cancer patient 2 weeks to survive based on the behavior of the cancer cells, extensive research and evidence of their studies, and that particular patient happens to survive weeks, months or years past the given time, then that is a miracle. Even doctors will not deny the evidence of that miracle. They simply won’t be able to explain it. There is evidence in miracles – just that the evidence we see/hear as a result of miracles often leaves us speechless because it does defy logic.

The day the human mind can fully explain life as a whole is the day I will believe there is no God. The day the human mind can explain miracles is the day I will stop believing in God – this will never happen because there are certain things concerning life which we can’t simply explain. This is to tell us that we are not bigger than life, but rather, life is bigger than us. Anything we have created as humans, we seem to have some level of control and power over it – we seem to bigger than our own creations and understand the complexities of our own creations, but when it comes to life, God is the creator hence, we can only understand certain aspects of it but we can never fully understand it all! This is why some continue to look for answers to life and choose not believe, and others like myself choose to seek for answers from the creator Himself through building a relationship with Him not through his handy works, but through Him – Jesus Christ.

God is simply bigger than Science, Life, & Religion. He is the essence of the LIFE. You may ask, “what about death”. Death does not negate the existence of God, because we know of only one man in History who conquered death. Upon Him conquering death, death became part of life, that dying on earth had no power over eternal life. The sting of death was removed through Christ. He is the essence of life and the conqueror of death, hence, He is giver of everlasting life. This is why there is absolutely nothing you can do to gain eternal life, but to simply place your life in Him through belief. You don’t just believe in Christ, you live your life through Him.

I’m not completely debunking Science. Science actually helps us understand some aspects of life, but it does not tell the whole story. In my opinion, science allows me to admire the beauty of God.

My post is not to spark an argument, but debates are more than welcome. It’s also not to force anyone to believe in the God I believe in, but just to let everyone know that life does not revolve around us, but around something or someone much bigger than us. At times, we simply do not comprehend why people act a certain way or do certain things, how much more are we supposed to comprehend the fullness of God, who in my opinion is the Alpha and the Omega, the I AM that I AM, the God who created the world, the God who can heal the disease a doctor can’t, the God who can raise the dead, and finally the God who can come down from His throne to die a shameful death on the cross just for the eternal salvation of His people. Just because certain things don’t make sense to us simply doesn’t negate the existence of God.

Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Plants Grow Through Dirt; So Should You!


Plant Growing Through Dirt

Plant Growing Through Dirt

Have you ever seen a heartfelt video on YouTube with thousands of “likes” and no “dislikes”? Me neither -yet to see one. I have watched countless of great inspirational and music videos which cut across ethnicity, race and religion but there is always someone, somewhere who takes their time to dislike them – I always wondered “who could ever dislike such a video?”. This is to tell you three things: People will always have an opinion (good or bad), people will always express their opinion, and you have the power to allow their opinion to hurt you or help you.

People are always going to form opinions concerning you. Yes, you will be criticized for doing good. You will be criticized for not being “normal”. You will be criticized for your own beliefs and your faith, and in some parts of the world, you might be killed for what you believe in or stand for. You will be judged by what you look like, how you act, how you think, how you talk and how you choose to exist. It is life. Often at times, it is not what other’s think or say about us, but rather, how we live our lives and who we are willing to please. Pleasing others is definitely not the best route, because you will end up hurting yourself.

The most beautiful flowers, plants or trees we see do not grow on carpets, they grow IN and THROUGH dirt! Some even grow through thorns. The flowers, plant or trees (seed) soak up the nutrients from the dirt, take what it needs and while IN the ground/dirt grows to bear fruits or turn into beautiful flowers. The plants or seed which stays in the dirt for too long, without growing in time will eventually die. For the plant to survive fully and healthy, after it soaks up the necessary nutrient the dirt, it must make its way THROUGH it and allow the opportunity for the sun to shine on it and blossom and/or bear fruits.

Just like a plant/tree, the dirt we receive are the criticisms, lies, gossips and insults of others. People constantly throw dirt on us, our dreams, our visions and even our mere existence. The dirt they throw is not supposed to help us initially – it is supposed to destroy us. It is supposed to bring us down and stop our progress; but like a plant/tree, to grow successfully, we will have to soak in all the nutrients we can, use what is meant to hurt us to help catapult us to greatness. Just like a tree growing THROUGH the dirt, we have no choice but to grow THROUGH all the negativity surrounding us or else we stand the chance of allowing our dreams and visions to die in the same soil we will be buried in when it’s all said and done.

Whatever you are doing, so long as it’s pleasing to God first, yourself and it’s adding value to society, do not stop. Keep pushing and keep growing. Millions of others are depending on your goals. Millions are depending on your visions and dreams. Millions are relying on you. You matter. What you do matter. How you develop matters. The legacy you leave behind matters. You are far more important and relevant than you think. You have influence. You have a purpose. You were not a mistake. You were not an accident. You will be opposed, you will be talked about, you will be criticized, you will be mistaken, you will judged, you will be hated, but “the gates of hades will not prevail against you..”

Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Love Is Scary: Scared To Love And Be Loved!


Love Is Scary!

Love Is Scary!

Honesty
Allow me to be honest: I’m scared to love and be loved. I have broken some hearts and I have had my heart broken as well. I have made some bad decisions at the expense of the heart of others. I have disappointed a few girls and I have also been disappointed – hence I’m afraid to love again.

What Is Love?
What is love you ask? It is a decision. The crazy excitement you feel especially at the beginning stages of a relationship or “talking” is normal. It is called the “honey-moon” phase. It is bliss. It is beautiful. But unfortunately, it does not last forever – sorry to burst your beautiful bubble, but it fades away with time. Usually, they show up as love, bottled up in infatuation. Love and infatuation are like fever and typhoid – they present the same symptoms, but only the test of time differentiates whether you really have a fever or typhoid. The same applies to love and infatuations – time reveals what is real – remember they can both be initially be wrapped up with emotions, but infatuations are 90% of the time emotions and will remain that way forever. See, the thing is, emotions are unstable. You can be happy today and sad tomorrow. You can be crying at this very moment and all of a sudden, start to laugh with the next few minutes. But true love stands the test of time. Love incorporates some emotions, but true love can stand without the overflow of emotions on a consistent basis. When you say you love someone, it is more of a decision (or at least it should be). It is a decision to love the ins and outs of this individual. It is a decision to love this man or woman irrespective of how much weight they will gain in the future, how much money they will have or not have in their bank accounts, what career they will have and etc.

The Battlefield
Someone said “love is a battlefield” – yes, I agree! And just like any battle, the fainthearted do not survive. Deciding to love someone every day is not an easy task. Deciding to love them for their flaws, failures, “nastiness”, etc. takes patience, kindness, perseverance, commitment and consistency. The fear here is that, since love is a decision, the person who claims to love you can one day decide to go the other route and there is nothing you can do about it. They can literally wake up one day and say, “I want to break up, I want a divorce, I do not love you anymore, it is not the same, it is not you but me, and etc.” These words can totally shutter your whole life, dreams, goals and vision. They can easily destroy a human being and the end result is usually insecurities, fear, emptiness and feeling worthless. Whether the grass is greener or not, people change, mindsets change and we change decisions on a consistent.

Forever?
Should the decision to love be forever? I certainly agree. But do we see “forever love” consistently in our generation or society today? Certainly not.

Scary
The scariest thing is giving someone your whole heart to love “forever” when actions and decisions of tomorrow can’t be predicted. It is scary. It is more like giving someone a shotgun and telling them to shoot you whenever they feel like it.

Conclusion
Will you decide to love? Will you commit to love? Yes, love is scary without a doubt, but before you decide to love, pray and make sure you are going to honor yourself, God and your partner. You can either make love ugly or beautiful. Just like it is a decision, it is all up to make that decision and honor that decision on a daily basis. Do you love me? :)

Joe Darko
Instagram: @joe_darko
Twitter: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko

Let’s Face It, It Is Tough To Love God In Difficult Times


Tough Times Ahead

Tough Times Ahead

Have you ever found yourself straying away from God because of life’s challenges? Or better yet, have you ever caught yourself talking to God in anger due to the troubles of life? Best believe I have! One thing we all face in life is challenges. Life is not perfect and life can’t be perfect. I can marginally describe life with fancy adjectives but at the end of the day, it is what it really is: life. I can get creative and transform the word “life” into an acronym just to project my thoughts and views during different seasons of this journey: L.I.F.E – Living In Faith/Fear Every time. At the end of the day, your spectacle of life might not be vaguely different from mine: we come into this world as innocent babies, we grow, we learn, we go through challenges, we go through difficulties, we overcome, and then we die. Some do not even get to overcome the challenges and difficulties of life, they simply die. No man can boast of living without facing the afflictions of life. It is just life.

While I was thinking of our world yesterday, my faith was challenged and I began to doubt. I started asking myself these questions: “God, are you real?”, “If you are real and all love then why can’t you show love to kids suffering from slavery?”, “Why do you allow hundreds of people to die in the name of a virus?”, “If you are all powerful, why can’t you turn our afflictions around?”, “If you are indeed a just God, then why don’t you end the injustice of this world?”. To be honest, I went on a rant with these questions and I felt my spirit drown in sadness. Growing up in the Christian community, asking these questions and doubting God is frowned upon, but if we will throw away the politics of religion and allow ourselves to be human as Jesus was when he shed tears or better yet, when He said, “…Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done…”, then we will all admit to sometimes wanting to give up; we will all admit to the tendency of sometimes questioning the existence of God. We will all admit to what we truly and really are: humans.

Let’s face it, it is tough to love God in difficult times. Yes, I can easily preach to you and encourage you that “everything is going to be alright”. I can quote scriptures and do a Joel Osteen impersonation and motivate you every single day of your life. I can passionately motivate you like a football coach would motivate his players to overcome every single obstacle just to win the Championship game – all these are good and needed, but I will not be doing you any favor if I do not, first and foremost, humbly accept what is true and what is real: it is tough to love God in difficult times. I will also not be helping you if I do not lead you to Christ. My stories may motivate you, but trust me, you are unique you also have testimonies on your lips to be shared with the rest of the world. These stories are testimonies resulting from my level of faith and grace pertaining to my relationship with God, the cornerstone of my faith. Before I go any further, allow me to share with you what God spoke to my heart.

I was a little heartbroken when I left the office yesterday, mainly because I was so focused on the injustice of this world. The system is created for a few to benefit and a lot to fail. The system supports racism and other facets of injustice. The system neglects the poor and needy, shuns people with morals while praising those who will be willing make a fool of themselves on TV for better rating, which turns into advertising and which ultimately leads to more revenue for the “select” few. To be honest, I was more frustrated, hurt and broken. As I was driving to Chick-fil-A, I started to talk to God: “Are you even there?”, “Are you enjoying this?”, “Are you not just?”, “Are you going to ignore me just like you have ignored the cries of people suffering?”. At this point, I stopped under a red light, and proceeded to mull over my decision to accept an invite to preach to a congregation around Christmas. I had lost hope. Yes, I knew God existed and knew that the existence of evil does not negate the existence of God, but as human as I am, the struggle and injustice of this world overshadowed my faith – which can be a tricky and a dangerous situation for a Christian to be in – I needed God more than ever! As I grabbed my phone to decline the invite to preach, I decided to ask God a final question: “why do you make it so difficult to love you…especially in times like this?”. Immediately after I said this, I felt a response in my heart: “No one said it was going to be easy. My son suffered and died for you when it was not popular to do so. He made a decision to love you and as a sign of his love, He suffered and ultimately sacrificed Himself on the cross. Do not forget that it was not easy for Him, because He asked that if I were willing, then I should take the cup of suffering from Him, but He ultimately left it to my will. The true act of love is not always evident when things are rosey, but when things hit rock bottom, when we feel defeated, when we are weak, when we feel disappointed and when we are down and out. My son showed love on the cross to you when it was tough to do so, but it is your choice to love Him in difficult times, especially when you are down and out and nothing compels you to do so. I never stopped loving you and won’t just like I won’t stop loving the same world my son came to die for”. This statement in my heart left me speechless for a moment and I quickly accepted the invite to preach irrespective of everything going on around me.

Our faith is often nurtured when we love “in spite of” instead of always looking to love “because of”. Let me elaborate: we tend to love others based on what they do for us and especially when things are perfect, but our love is tested when things are not going as planned. Does this automatically negate the fact that it is tough to love God in difficult times? Definitely not, but as people of faith, we should always choose to love God during the darkest times of our lives. We should not be fair weather lovers of God, but ALL weather lovers. It was not easy for Abraham to obey God out of love in an attempt to sacrifice his son, neither was it easy for Job to restrain his lips from cursing God when he lost all he had. It times of trouble, let us continue to exemplify our love with actions and as usual, we will always overcome.

The interesting thing is that, God knows. He knows what you are going through. Is it His will that we suffer? Definitely not, but is it His will that we endure through Faith, Grace and Love. God’s purpose of free will is to make unique humans who will choose to love Him unconditionally, but we sometimes forget that free will also comes with the opportunity to make mistakes and bad decisions. These decisions/mistakes have consequences and through the Mercies of God, we are forgiven while His Grace gives us the strength to get through any repercussions which will result from our horrible decisions. Some people are going to be wicked instead loving, some are going to be unjust instead of just, and some will ultimately choose to destroy instead of build – this is life and it is their choice.

In 2013, I got in a terrible car accident. A certain individual chose to drink and drive and his decision ultimately led to his death and my car being totaled. Did God kill him? I doubt it – he exercised his free will by choosing to drink and drive. Did his choice affect another individual? You bet – his choice forced me to miss some time from work, affected me emotionally and physically but through the Grace of God, I am alive and well. This testimony is to show that, you and I are going to be affected by the horrible decisions we make and the horrible decisions make, but we should understand that God can turn situations around through His love and He can grant us the Grace to get through it.

Should I think God does not exist because I got in a car accident? Should I think His love is not real because of the countless of challenges I have faced over the past few years? No, but rather, I should continue to love Him in spite of the horrible world we live in and also avail myself to be an extension of this love towards the world we live in. Yes, it will be difficult, but we Grace and Faith in Christ.

You will go through many trials and tribulations, but do not forget to look at the cross. The cross should remind you of a certain man who in the midst of difficult times, chose to love. That love saved us all and when we exemplify that kind of love in the midst of our difficulties, we shall be saved. It won’t be easy, but is it worth it? You bet!

Joe Darko
Twitter/Instagram: @joe_darko
Facebook: Joe ForChrist Darko