Categories
Preke

Toeskouers vs Daders

Die gevaar om die waarheid te ken en dit nie toe te pas nie!

Hoofteks: (James 2:14-26) 

Wat help dit, my broers, as iemand beweer dat hy glo, maar sy dade bevestig dit nie? Kan so ‘n geloof ‘n mens red? Sê nou daar is ‘n broer of ‘n suster wat nie klere het nie en dag vir dag honger ly, en sê nou een van julle sou vir hulle sê: “Mag dit met julle goed gaan; gaan trek julle warm aan en eet genoeg,” maar julle gee nie vir hulle wat hulle nodig het om van te lewe nie, wat help dit dan? So gaan dit ook met die geloof: as dit nie tot dade oorgaan nie, is dit sonder meer dood.

Maar iemand kan miskien sê: “Die een het die geloof en die ander het die dade.” Goed, wys dan vir my jou geloof wat sonder dade is, en ek sal jou my geloof wys uit my dade. Glo jy dat daar net een God is? Dit is reg. Die bose geeste glo dit ook – en hulle sidder van angs. Jou dwaas, wil jy ‘n bewys hê dat geloof sonder dade nutteloos is? Ons voorvader Abraham het sy seun Isak op die altaar gelê. Is dit nie op grond van wat hy gedoen het dat God hom vrygespreek het nie? Jy sien dus dat sy geloof met dade gepaardgegaan het en dat dit eers deur dade volkome geword het. So is die Skrif vervul wat sê: “Abraham het in God geglo, en God het hom vrygespreek,” en hy is ‘n vriend van God genoem. Julle sien dus dat ‘n mens vrygespreek word op grond van sy dade en nie net op grond van sy geloof nie. Is Ragab die prostituut nie ook vrygespreek op grond van wat sy gedoen het toe sy die verkenners weggesteek en hulle met ‘n ander pad laat ontkom het nie? ‘n Liggaam wat nie asemhaal nie, is dood. So is die geloof wat nie tot dade kom nie, ook dood.

Die Bybel is nie ‘n versameling akademiese teoretiese kennis nie. Die Bybel is ‘n versameling geloofstories van mense wat hulle kennis van die waarheid toegepas het.  Daar is ‘n wesenlike verskil tussen “beliefs” geloofsoortuigings en “faith” geloof. Die duiwels glo ook, hulle het dadelik erken dat Jesus Here is. Een van die grootste misleidings van die inligting revolusie is dat ons onmoontlik al die kennis wat ons weet en lees, kan toepas in ‘n leeftyd.  

 Knowledge without experience is useless.                                                              Experience without Knowledge is ignorance. 

“Die slaaf wat geweet het wat sy eienaar wil hê maar wat nie gereed gemaak of volgens die wil van sy eienaar gehandel het nie, sal ‘n swaar straf kry. Maar hy wat nie geweet het nie en dinge gedoen het wat straf verdien, sal ‘n ligte straf kry. Van elkeen aan wie baie gegee is, sal baie geëis word; en van hom aan wie baie toevertrou is, sal meer gevra word.” (Luk 12:47-48) 

Wat help die kennis van gebed, as jy nooit bid nie? 

Wat help aanbiddingsmusiek as jy self nooit die Here aanbid nie? 

Wat help dit dat jy geestelik ontvang maar nooit iemand dissipel of na die Here toe lei nie? 

Wat help Bybelskool as jy nie dit wat jy geleer het toepas en weer ander leer nie? 

Wat help dit dat jy deel is van ‘n gemeente maar nooit ‘n bydrae maak nie? 

Wat help dit dat jy gered en nuutgemaak is, maar nie jou bediening uitleef nie? 

Wat help dit ons bid vir Vrede in SA maar leef nie reg nie? 

Wat help dit dat ons sê ons is Christene maar ons dink, leef en doen nie soos Jesus nie? 

Jesus se vleeswording is net so belangrik as sy kruisdood en opstanding. Deurdat Hy tussen mense geleef en gewerk het vir 30 jaar, wys Hy ons hoe om te leef. Jesus is nie ‘n filosoof wat net mooi idees verkondig het nie. Hy het hierdie idees geleef. Byvoorbeeld: Moenie jou teen ‘n kwaadwillige mens verset nie… julle moet julle vyande liefhê… bid vir die wat julle vervolg…(Mat 5:38-46) is letterlik deur Jesus vervul. 

Geestelike gewig en outoriteit kom nie deur die waarheid te weet nie, dit kom deur die waarheid te doen! Daar is ‘n wesenlike gevaar en misleiding, om die waarheid te ken en dit nie toe te pas nie.  Kennis van die waarheid sonder toepassing, maak ons slim sondaars. 

Nie elkeen wat vir My sê: ‘Here, Here,’ sal in die koninkryk van die hemel ingaan nie, maar net hy wat die wil doen van my Vader wat in die hemel is.” (Mat 7:21) Hierdie tema van DOEN, was Jesus hoog op Jesus se preek tema lys: 

Die Gelykenis van die Saaier: En wat in die goeie grond val — dit is die wat, nadat hulle gehoor het, die woord in ’n edele en goeie hart hou en met volharding vrug dra. (Luk 8:15) Die gelykenis verduidelik hoe die sorge van die lewe, versoekings, vervolging ons meebring dat ons nie daders is van die Woord nie> 

Bou jou huis op die rots: Elkeen dan wat na hierdie woorde van My luister en dit doen, hom sal Ek vergelyk met ’n verstandige man wat sy huis op die rots gebou het. (Mat 7:24) 

Die profetiese Rede, ewige lewe en ewige straf, die skape en die bokke. (Mat 25:31-46) 

Categories
Sermons

One Word Tells a Story

page1image54129216

A sermon by Dr Ruben Richards

Delivered 18 October 2020, Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal-Clanwilliam) Western Cape

ONE WORD TELLS A STORY

John Chapter 1 vv.43-50.

Nazareth. What good can come from there!

Dr Ruben Richards (PhD, University of Cape Town) Harvester Reformational Church, Olifants River Valley, Citrusdal-Clanwilliam, Western Cape

Sunday, 18 October 2020 at 10h00 and 18h00.

EXEGETICAL SUMMARY OF SERMON

  • The text
  • When good news is no news
  • Profile of Nazareth
  • Take home lesson from the story 

CONTEXTUAL SUMMARY Socialised into the negative

  • Paul and Galatians use one-word
  • Nazareth. Socio-political profile
  • Virgin birth 
  • Cause of genocide
  • Wise men (Magi) commit treason Resettling in Nazareth
  • Come and See

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

  • Nathanael encounters the messiah
  • The shift
  • The catch – the challenge

 Annexure 1 – Scriptural context – Gospel of John Chapter 1 (NIV translation) .

A sermon by Dr Ruben Richards

Delivered 18 October 2020, Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal-Clanwilliam) Western Cape

NOTE TO THE READER

Dear Reader of this sermon.

First of all, thank you for your interest in reading this sermon manuscript. I hope this manuscript does justice to the live delivery of the message. For ease of reference I have amended (and consequently extended) this version of the manuscript by adding END notes and maps for more detailed references for further study. I have also added some personal information (see below Annexure 2 – CV and Profile – Ruben Richards).

I hope you find this sermon useful.

God bless you.
Ruben
www.rubenrichards.co.za andwww.rrf.org.za

THE SERMON

SALUTATION

It is my honour to greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Thank you to Pastor Jan for the kind invitation to share this worship service with you. My prayer is that God may open our hearts and minds to receive a message from God’s holy word this morning.

CULUTRAL ORIENTATION

I was born, raised and educated on the Cape Flats of the Western Cape, with a few years of postgraduate study in the USA, Switzerland and Germany. I was raised to speak and think in English although my parents spoke mostly Afrikaans to each other. My English language preference is strange given that the first language for the majority of people classified Coloured in Afrikaans. These days, living and working in the farmlands of the Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal- Clanwilliam), I am learning to engage in the dominant language here, namely Afrikaans.

MY TESTIMONY

Thank you, Tobias for the kind words of introduction. All I wish to add is: To God be the glory, for the great things God has done in my life. By God’s amazing grace I continue to overcome the restrictions, impediments and the hurdles which life and society has placed upon me from the day I was born and classified as a Cape Coloured. No doubt, in later life, I could not have achieved all that I have, without the help, support and trust of my wife, Carol. We have been married now for 35 years. And we have two grown children, Mpilo (29yrs) and Nomsa (24yrs). I give God thanks for a wife who believed that I could be more than society expected from a boytjie (kaal voet klonkie) from the Cape Flats. I wish to honour Carol this morning as I give God thanks for my achievements.

You would have noticed from my CV introduction that I have many different identities – academic, farmer, author. I wear many different hats. Today I address you wearing the preacher hat, although I prefer the role of a teacher. So, bear with me. And if you begin to feel like you are attending a lecture at bible school rather than a Sunday morning worship service, then it is the teacher in me that has taken over. Teaching is after all my default drive.

INTRODUCTION

The title of my sermon today is “One word tells a story”. Sometimes, you only have to say one word and that singular word which is equivalent to a 100-Gigabyte or a Terrabyte of information. That one word can miraculously tell you everything you need to know about a place or a persons entire history and identity. For example, the word “Coloured”. Or the word, “Citrusdal”. “WuppertalPiketberg. Or the word that is on our lips these days, especially us in the farming community – the word “Senekal.

Importance of John’s gospel

My sermon today is taken from the New Testament, the Gospel of John. For some this gospel is important because a favourite old school chorus/song comes from this gospel. I am tempted to sing it to you but then I am going to reveal my bad voice and my age. (John 13:34) – A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another. Ek gee julle ‘n nuwe gebod: julle moet mekaar lief hê.

No doubt, for others the gospel of John is important because of the nature of the first miracle of Jesus as recorded in John chapter 2. Jesus and his mother are attending a wedding feast at Cana of Galilee, where the party runs out of wine. As a result of the prompting of his mother, Jesus turns the water into wine – and not just one bottle but 866 bottles of wine (using the 750ml standard wine bottle of today – about a total of 650 litres of water into wine – 6 stone jars each holding about 115 liters (30 gallons)John 2 verse 6ff).

For now, the only tongue-in-cheek point I want to make is this: When you go to a wedding feast you must take with you someone like Jesus and especially someone like his mother – she knows what a party needs … met Eish ja.

Focus and setting of my sermon today – Bethsaida

For my sermon today I want to focus on the first chapter of the Gospel of John and I want to specifically zoom into the end of that chapter – verses 43 to 50 – which describe the calling of the

The context and setting of our story are a fishing village along the shores of the Sea of Galilee – a village called Bethsaida in the northern part of Israel or Palestine. To give us orientation I thought I would share a slide with you to show you the map of Palestine in the time of Jesus [Show slide].

Key verse

The key verse for my sermon will be verse 46: Let me read it to you: It says in the NIV translation:

Nazareth: What good can come from there.

Let me summarise the story.

page3image54131520

fourth disciple by the name of Nathanael.

 

 

The text

The story goes as follows: John chapter 1 and vv.35 to 42, tells us that Jesus had just recruited three disciples, Andrew, Peter and Phillip – all three of them residents of Bethsaida. Phillip is so excited about being appointed as a disciple, that runs home to tell his friend, Nathanael. He tells his friend that he had just met the messiah – the one which Moses and the Prophets wrote about (v.45). That messiah, says Philip, comes from Nazareth (just down the road)he is the son of Joseph the carpenter – just in case you don’t know who I am talking about, Nathanael.

When good news is no news

I am sure you have experienced what I am about to describe to you. You receive fantastic and good news and you can’t wait to share it with friends and family. You rush home and you tell them your good news and their response is sometimes one word or sound: UUMM.. Ja. Ne. PhewNiceAnd if you have real friends then they use two words in their response to you. Is it? Nogal ne. Often the response of your friends is negative. And you are left with the feeling of: Why did I even bother to tell them.

Philip must have felt the same. Finally, the fulfillment of a prophecy in my life time – a prophecy of more than 1000 years ago is fulfilled in my lifetime – a prophecy recorded by the highest authority on scripture namely Moses and the prophets. The messiah is here and he has recruited me to be part of his team. Can you believe it. In fact, can you believe it that he comes from the next town – so close – Nazareth. Wow, what a thrill to be part of making history with a person from Nazareth.

And Nathanael says: Nazareth … What good can come from there (v.46). Profile of Nazareth

Now Nazareth was about 50 kilometers from Bethsaida (Citrusdal-Clanwillaim distance). And Nathanael’s response is: Nazareth!. Are you telling me this messiah comes from down the road – the next town? Then Nathanael gives the knockout punch – What good can come from there!! Nazareth.

Now, brothers and sisters, where does Nathanael’s prejudiceskepticism and negative energy come from? What did Nazareth do to Nathanael. Why does he have such a negative view of Nazareth? What was going on there that Nathanael did not like – that did not impress him. What is the history of that town and its people that causes Nathanael to have such a low view of that place? The story does not tell us why. We need to conjecture.

Take home lesson from the story

May I propose that one of the take home lessons for my sermon today is not Nathanael’s response but Philips response to the negative feedback. Philip is facing a skeptical and negative friend, Nathanael. Phillip does not argue with his friend, Nathanael. He does not swear or curse or insult his friend. His simply says to Nathanael: Come and See (v.47). In other words, he is saying: Come and see for yourself if I am lying or making up stories. Come and see (an invitation to experience something first hand) that this is in fact the messiah.

We know how the story ends: Nathanael comes and sees and is overwhelmed by Jesus and says to Jesus (v.49): Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel. In others words, Im going to follow you. Phillip was right. This is the person that Moses and the prophets spoke about.

CONTEXTUAL SUMMARY

Socialised into the negative

page5image54002240

Allow me to contextualise the story even further. You see, we are socialized – we are raised up – educated and sometimes indoctrinated to believe things about people and places. We tend to nurture negative stereotypes of people and places, often reducing them to a one-word description. So, when someone says that specific word like – Nazareth – … just one word … we are able to tell a whole story … often, a negative story. In fact, Nathanael is more explicit and honest and says

what we think but dare not say: Can anything good come from Nazareth. Nathanael was not a politically correct person.

Strange how we remember the negative stories – the bad – the ugly stories about people. South Africa is a good example of the one-word story: Whites. Coloureds. Indians. Africans. Khoisan.

Paul and Galatians use one-word

The Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians summarises what it means to be a Christian using the one-word technique. He plays with the one-word approach to explain what it means to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.

He says in Galatians 3 v 23 in Christ Jesus there is neither Male nor Female. Neither Jew nor Greek. Neither Slave or Free; For we are One is Christ Jesus, says the Apostle Paul. You see the dichotomies which Paul contrasts says that in Christ there is no gender prejudice (male or female); there is not cultural prejudice (Jews or Greeks); there no economic hierarchy (no slave no free). In Christ we are one; we are all equal in Christ.

But, Nathanael did not read the book of Galatians. So we are still stuck with a negative and skeptical Nathanael. Like Nathanael, we don’t always first remember the positive.

Nazareth. Socio-political profile

VIRGIN BIRTH

CAUSE OF GENOCIDE

What makes the story all the more dramatic is that Nathanael lived on Bethsaida barely 50 km kilometers from the hometown of Jesus – the next town Nazareth. Let’s look at our map again. Nathanael, I am guessing, could have known the gossip of the town. I am almost sure that

everybody in the surrounding villages would have known that a woman by the name of Mary, whose boyfriend / later husband was Joseph the carpenter had a baby called Jesus. In fact, Jesus was the scandalous baby because Mary conceived Jesus out of wedlock. So that’s the negative narrative / story that everybody would have known. A virgin birth? Unbelieveable!

In fact, more seriously, everybody would have known that this baby called Jesus, made history as he was the cause of the genocide of the first born of Jews at the hands of Herod at time that Jesus was born. You will remember the birth story of Jesus – The Christmas story as told in the gospel of Matthew chapter 2. In short, news had reached King Herod via the Wise Men (Magi) who were following the stars and they ended up in Jerusalem. They were looking for the “new king” – “new liberator”.

Can you imagine going to President Ramaphosa or President Trump of the USA and saying to him: I have come in search of the new President – I have come to worship that new President – King of The Jews.

Matthew Chapter 2

V.1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem V.2 and asked, Where is the one who has been born king of the

Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

After all, Herod was the colonial King of the Jews.

WISE MEN (MAGI) COMMIT TREASON

The stars were their GPS (their guiding system – the coordinates guiding the Wise Men). But unfortunately, they were about 9 kilometres off the destination target/route. We know that the baby was born in Bethlehem, nine kilometres south of Jerusalem – under the nose of Herod.

We read in Matthews gospel that Herod tried to recruit the Wise men (Magi) as spies to confirm

that such a baby “king” was born (Matt 2 v7).  Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

When the wise men did not return, Herod become so paranoid that he ordered the killing of all male babies under two years old hoping to kill off Jesus (Mtt 2 v 16). When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

page6image54007808

Joseph and Mary were warned by an angel and then fled to Egypt where they lived in exile with their baby Jesus, until the genocide was over and returned to Palestine after Herod died. We read

all this in the Gospel of Mathew chapter 2.

RESETTLING IN NAZARETH

COME AND SEE

In fact, when Mary and Joseph returned, they settled (not in Bethlehem) but in Nazareth, and this is where Jesus grows up as a child, in Nazareth.

I can hear Phillip saying to Nathanael: Im talking about a guy from Nazareth … you must have heard of him. The prophets wrote about him. Moses wrote about him. King Herod wanted to kill him. And he survived the genocide by being in exile in Egypt.

Phillip must have felt so deflated by his friend. Nevertheless, he held his composure and simply said: You know what Nathanael, I’m not going to argue with you. Just COME AND SEE for yourself. And then you can decide if I am crazy or real; if I am telling the truth or a lie. Come and See.

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

Nathaniel encounters the Messiah

Surprisingly, the story ends on a very good note. The negative Nathaniel is given a positive appraisal by Jesus. We read this in Verse 47 – When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, he said of him;

“Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit / a person of integrity / an honest person.”7

Just imagine – you had doubts about this messiah and said negative things about his town. And then the first thing the messiah says to you is something positive about you. Of course, that is a topic for another sermon.

The shift

The catch – the challenge

page7image54147328

So, Phillip the disciple tells Nathaniel his friend: It is that Jesus of Nazareth who is the messiah… the son of Joseph the carpenter … the one who caused the genocide perpetrated by King Herod. That’s the Jesus.

No wonder Nathaniel said: What good can come from Nazareth.

The point of emphasis for this sermon is that Nathaniel experienced a shift – he went from a skeptic to a believer. From a negative person to a positive person because he was invited to experience the messiah, first hand.

And that is my sermon. Come and see for yourself that Jesus of Nazareth is the messiah.

But there is a challenge – a sting in the tail for Believers. Jesus is no longer physically here on earth. In fact, Jesus says that those of us who believe in him will be his representatives on earth. So, when people meet us, they are meeting the next best thing to meeting Jesus in person. My question is: Are we worthy representatives of Jesus of Nazareth. If we say to people, Come and See, what is it that they will experience from us. Will they conclude that indeed Jesus is the messiah, the son of God, just like Nathaniel did? Will our lives and testimony cause unbelievers and skeptics

to make a shift, like Nathanael made the shift?

FINAL BLESSING

I pray God’s blessing on us all, as we together strive to be worthy representatives of the messiah Jesus, the one Moses and the Prophets wrote about – the son of Joseph – the one from Nazareth.

Annexure 1 – Scriptural context – Gospel of John Chapter 1 (NIV translation)

The Word Became Flesh

page8image54189184

2

3
HewaswithGodinthebeginning. Throughhimallthingsweremade;withouthimnothing

45 wasmadethathasbeenmade. Inhimwaslife,andthatlifewasthelightofallmankind.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[ait. 67

TherewasamansentfromGodwhosenamewasJohn. Hecameasawitnesstotestify

concerningthatlight,sothatthroughhimallmightbelieve. Hehimselfwasnotthelight;

he came only as a witness to the light.

9 10
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world,

13

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his

17

and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

12

He came

to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

For the law was given No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[bis in closest relationship with the Father,

has made him known.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah

fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[cin Jerusalem sent priests and 20

Levitestoaskhimwhohewas. Hedidnotfailtoconfess,butconfessedfreely,“Iamnot the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

27

26 [e“I baptize with

water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

He 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

8

11
Yet to all who did receive

A sermon by Dr Ruben Richards

Delivered 18 October 2020, Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal-Clanwilliam) Western Cape

John Testifies About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and

page9image54007616

33
water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who

37

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.

Turning around, Jesus

And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with

remain on him.
will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[f]

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35
by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

36

38

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.

When he saw Jesus passing

saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about

four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and

41
whohadfollowedJesus. ThefirstthingAndrewdidwastofindhisbrotherSimonandtell

42
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas”

(which, when translated, is Peter[g]). Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow

me.”

44 45 Philip,likeAndrewandPeter,wasfromthetownofBethsaida. PhilipfoundNathanael

and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wroteJesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe[hbecause I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see

him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

And he brought him to Jesus.

51
open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[kthe Son of Man.”

greater things than that.”

He then added, “Very truly I tell you,

[i] [j]
you will see ‘heaven

9

A sermon by Dr Ruben Richards

Delivered 18 October 2020, Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal-Clanwilliam) Western Cape

Annexure 2 – Maps of Palestine

page10image54163904page10image47652512

SOURCE: https://godlyseed.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/easy_bible_map_jesus.gif

 

 

page11image54136192page11image64956992

SOURCE: https://www.bible-history.com/biblemaps/nazareth-and-the-sea-of-galilee/

Annexure 3 – CV and Profile of Dr Ruben Richards

Profile – RUBEN R. RICHARDS (PhD, University of Cape Town) Nation Builder, Peace Negotiator and Author

www.rrf.org.za www.rubenrichards.co.za

Cape Town-born Ruben Richards is a multi-skilled South African deeply involved in nation building and reconciliation.

Rubens work life started as a worker in a clothing factory; then as a fitter and turner
artisan followed by academic studies. Ruben is an ordained Christian clergyperson
and served congregations in Soweto and Cape Town and holds a doctorate in Old
Testament. Ruben
s professional career spans many disciplines including
engineering, academia and civil society. Professionally, Ruben has served, among
others, as the Executive Secretary of South Africa
s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (Human Rights Committee), Deputy-Director-General of the Scorpions
(an investigative unit in the National Prosecuting Authority), and is founder of the
Ruben Richards Foundation, a South African non-profit organisation dedicated to
facilitating healing in traumatised communities. In 2015 the Foundation received the
prestigious National Reconciliation Award conferred by the Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation. The award was for the Foundations work in healing, restoration and confronting those things which exclude marginalised people from main stream society.

Ruben has consulted to various African countries on matters relative to transitional justice with particular reference to the setting up of a Truth Commission. These assignments have included being appointed by the Tunisia Truth Commission as an international observer of the first public hearings of that country and technical advisor to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission of Zimbabwe. Ruben has also delivered a keynote addresses in Kigali, Rwanda on lessons learned from Truth Commissions and also to the Law Society of Swaziland University on fighting corruption based on lessons from South Africas Scorpions.

 page11image64635920

 

Ruben has facilitated intimate sessions with senior and executive staff within the justice sector in African countries.

Ruben holds degrees from Switzerland, USA and South Africa and is a published author. His most recent publication Bastaards or Humans (Volume 1 & 2) [ www.bastaardsorhumans.co.za ] has been endorsed by the Western Cape Education Department as an alternative history of South Africa to be integrated into the history curriculum of high school learners.

Ruben resides in Cape Town, married for 35 years and has two adult children (Mpilo 29 yrs and Nomsa 24 yrs).

Summary

  • Born: 28 June 1960, Cape Town

  • Current residence: Twee Riviere Farm, Clanwilliam, Cape Town

  • Current activity: Citrus farming; consulting to the UNDP on Transitional Justice; facilitating the work of the

    Ruben Richards Foundation

  • International: Lived and studied in Germany, Switzerland, USA, South Africa.

  • Qualifications: Ph.D. (1995)-University of Cape Town; M.Th. (1999)-Michigan, USA; B.D. (2001)-Zurich,

    Switzerland; B.Soc.Sc. (1998)-University of Cape Town; NTC5 (1983) [Mechanical Engineering]-Athlone

    Technical College, Cape Town).

  • Academic assignments: Adjunct Professor, Security Studies (Wits P&DM); Visiting Professor, Texas Christian

    University; Visiting Professor, Albion College, Michigan-USA.

    Career highlights

  • Citrus farmer (Current)

  • CEO – Globe Engineering (largest Marine and Heavy Engineering company in Southern Africa)

  • CEO- Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Deputy Director-General, National Prosecuting Authority (Scorpions Investigating Unit)

  • Executive Secretary- Truth Commission of South Africa

  • Visiting Professor – (P&DM School of Governance) Wits University

    Some Accolades

  • Negotiated the largest donation of citrus fruit (i.e. 7 million oranges-Project Orange) for the poor and vulnerable. This is the largest such donation in the history of the citrus industry, locally and internationally. www.rrf.org.za/projectorange.

  • Author: The recent two-volume history of South Africa has been accepted as an alternative history to be integrated into the high school curriculum of the Western Cape.

  • Creator of a unique and world first; A 3-day Global Leadership Program based on Indigenous Khoisan wisdom, and taught on Robben Island. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vack4EMkIqg&t=20s

  • Recipient of the National Reconciliation Award, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (2015)

  • Peace negotiator between rival gangs on Cape Flats resulting in longest cease fire in history of gang violence

    in South Africa. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-20608890

page12image54037312 page12image54034816 page12image54046720page12image54038464 page12image54037696

12

page13image54158528

Books by Ruben

A sermon by Dr Ruben Richards

Delivered 18 October 2020, Olifants River Valley (Citrusdal-Clanwilliam) Western Cape

BULLETS or BALLOTS:

The ultimate solution to crime and unemployment in South Africa (Mutloatsi Heritage Arts Trust, Johannesburg, 2010). ISBN 9-780986983320 www.rubenrichards.co.za

2 BILLION STRONG:

A regenerative solution to building sustainable African cities.

Editors: Gita Govan, Ruben Richards, Alistair Rendall (Reygan Publishers, Cape Town, 2012). http://2billion-strong.com

GANGSTERISM and ECONOMIC RECONCILIATION:

A case study in peace building through industrial consciousness.

page13image64637168 page13image64635712 page13image64636336

READING THE BIBLE IN CONTEXT:

Reconstructing South Africa.

Edited by Louise Kretzschmar and Ruben Richards

(Baptist Convention of South Africa, Johannesburg, 1996). ISBN 0-620-20735-3

BASTAARDS or HUMANS (Vol.1):

The unspoken heritage of coloured people [Origins, Identity, Culture and Challenges] (Indaba Publishing, California, USA, 2017). ISBN 9-781947599017

BASTAARDS or HUMANS (Vol.2):

500 years of intimacy between South Africa and Europe

(Indaba Publishing, California, USA, 2018). ISBN 9-781947599086

www.bastaardsorhumans.co.za

Contact: Cell: +27 82 498 0608; email:rubenrichards@mweb.co.za fax: +27 86 684 684 7

www.rrf.org.za

(IFN Media, November 2015) ISBN 9-780620689052 www.rrf.org.za

page13image64636752 page13image64636544 page13image64637584 page13image54025344page13image54029376

END NOTES

page14image54057344 page14image54051200page14image54053696

Interestingly this miracle is not mentioned in the other gospels. John Chapter 2 – Wedding feast at Cana

v5. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial

washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

9

They did so, into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned

Could possibly be the fifth disciple, if we take into consideration that two of John the Baptist disciples broke away to follow Jesus – Andrew and one other (possibly the one writing the narrative – John).

[Anna] began giving thanks to God and speaking about the child to all who were waiting for Jerusalem’s deliverance.” (Luke 2:36-38; Ex. 13:12).

MESSIANIC EXPECTATION IN ROMAN DOMINATED PALESTINE

Centuries of colonial domination

Let’s pause for a moment. Why was this news wonderful and exciting and indeed revolutionary? Who and what was this messiah that Moses wrote about in the law over a thousand years earlier? Why would Phillip describe Jesus as the long-awaited messiah?

Well, for centuries, the Jews had been subjected to the colonial rule of foreigners such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and now, at the time of Jesus, it was the Romans who ruled Palestine. And life was tough under the Roman (Italian) colonial government which was led by King Herod.

page14image54141952

Messianic Expectations: When Jesus was dedicated in the temple in Jerusalem as a baby, there was an 84-year old prophetess by the name of Anna, who prophesied that this baby, Jesus, is the messiah – the one everybody was waiting for who would liberate Jerusalem.

page14image54146176 page14image54140416

Messianic expectations were extremely high among the first century Jews as they were suffering under the yoke of Roman colonial oppression. The Romans raised taxes, appointed the high priest and later erected statues of the Roman emperor in the temple itself – the ultimate sacrilege.

Roman rule at the time of Jesus

Let me remind you that Roman colonial rule was tough if not abominable. When the Romans occupied Palestine/Israel in 63 B.C.E. life for the Jews became increasingly difficult for three major reasons: taxes, Roman control over the High Priest and the general treatment of Jews by the Romans. Remember, it was the Romans who later fed the Christians the lions as a sport.

Taxes: No one likes being taxed, but under Roman rule, taxation became an even heavier burden. Roman governors were responsible for collecting tax revenue in Israel, but they corrupt and greedy. They over taxed the people and took the surplus for themselves. Now you can imagine what people thought of Jesus who appointed a tax collector as one of his disciples. A very problematic appointment, on the face of it.

Sacrilege/idolatry: Then one of the Roman Emperors (i.e. Caligula who came to power and in the year 39 C.E. ) declared himself a god and ordered that statues in his image be placed in every house of worship within his realmincluding the Temple.

The Jews were waiting for liberator to free them from this kind of colonial rule and abomination. They were waiting for a messiah. We notice this even at the dedication of Jesus. When Mary brought her firstborn son (Jesus) to Jerusalem in order to present him to God as the Mosaic Law required, the prophetess Anna “began giving thanks to God and speaking about the child to all who were waiting for Jerusalem’s deliverance.” (Luke 2:36-38; Ex. 13:12).

Matt 2 v 7: Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the

8

6Mark6:1-6 NewInternationalVersion

A Prophet Without Honour

page15image54032832page15image54019200

Religious interference: Another upsetting aspect of the Roman occupation was the way it

affected the High Priest, who served in the Temple. Under Roman rule the Romans decided who would be the high priests. In other words, the state/government appointed the high priest/pastor.

page15image54026112 page15image54033216

And so, finally, the messiah was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth – just 50 kilometers from Nathanael’s home.

star had appeared.
child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

page15image54024768

Mat2v16:

He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

2

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. Word Study – Deceit

He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Strong’s Concordance https://biblehub.com/greek/1388.htm

dolos: a bait, fig. craft, deceit

Original Word: δόλος, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: dolos

Phonetic Spelling: (dol’-os)

Definition: a bait, craft, deceit

Usage: deceit, guile, treachery.

HELPS Word-studies

1388 dólos – properly, bait; (figuratively) deceit (trickery) using bait to alure (“hook”) people, especially those already festering in excessiveemotional pain (brought on by themselves).

1388 /dólos (“deceit motivated by guile“) uses decoys to snare (deceive) people which implies treachery to exploit the naive (undiscerning) – baiting them through (with) their own greed.

[1388 (dólos) is the root of: 1386 (dólios), 1387 (dolióō) and 1389 (dolóō).]

John 1:47 N-NMS

GRK: ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν

NAS: there is no deceit!

KJV: is no guile!

INT: in whom deceit not is

Categories
Stateman's Address

DIT IS GENOEG! Dis tyd vir ‘n draaipunt!

‘n Goddelike Omkeer Strategie!

Terwyl politieke groeperinge meeding vir die siel van die nasie… en almal asem ophou … selfs biddend … roep die bloed van die onskuldiges vir regspraak! Rooi bloed! Die bloed van onskuldiges … kinders, vroue, bejaardes, armes en boere, regoor ons land! Genoeg is nou regtig genoeg! Dis tyd vir ‘n draaipunt! ‘n Omkeer strategie! In plaas van vingers wys, van rassehaat, van arm teen ryk, oud teenoor jonk. Kom ons vat hande as gelowiges, as omgee-vir-mekaar-mense, burgers van ‘n nuwe vredevolle Suid-Afrika! Kom ons raak betrokke in ons eie gemeenskappe om vir almal se veiligheid te veg! Saam vorm ons ‘n net wat alle onwettige bedrywighede aan die lig bring. Ons hou die staat verantwoordbaar om regverdig remidiërend restitusie en straf toe te pas.

Dis tyd vir VREDE, ware vrede, waar mense reg leef, eerstens teenoor God en dan teenoor mekaar.

Plan van aksie:

Jesus bring herlewing in harte wat na Hom toe draai!!! Net dit wat Hy begin is volhoubaar.

1) Raak betrokke by formele lokale gemeenskap strukture: GPF – Gemeenskap Polisie Forum, Wykskomitee, BADISA, Sakekamer, Skoolrade ens. Hou op om ‘n kritiese toeskouer te wees en neem deel.

2) Doen ‘n waarde bepaling gemeenskap Profiel. (Asset Based Community Development)

3) Vorm ‘n neutrale waarde gedrewe sleutel rolspeler samewerkende forum: Gesondheid, Opvoedkunde, Sakelui, Wetstoepassing en Regering/leiers met kerke wat morele etiese waardes handhaaf.

4) Bereik konsensus oor werkbare meetbare aksieplan waarvoor ALMAL verandwoordelikheid neem. (Bou mure) volgens die prioriteite wat die gemeenskap bepaal het.

5) Hou aan werk en bou aan insluitende deursigtige verhoudinge wat genees!! Dit is tyd vir Biddende Aksie!

Categories
Preke

‘n Bybelse definisie van die kerk as geestelike ekosisteem

Ons hoor so baie wat verkeerd met die kerk is, maar wat is die onwankelbare realiteit van kerk wat nie geskud kan word nie? (Heb 12:21-29) Die mense verwesenlik organisasies, maar die Here belowe: “op hierdie rots sal ek my kerk bou en die hekke van die hel sal nie daarteen kan stuit nie” (Mat 16:18)  Hierdie rots was nie Petrus nie, maar wel die openbaring wat hy gehad het dat Jesus waarlik die messias is. Sedertdien het miljoene mense al tot die openbaring gekom dat Jesus regtig is wie Hy sê Hy is.  

Die gedeelte in Hebreers is die klimaks van die boek. Die hele boek verduidelik dat ons ‘n beter hoop het waardeur ons nader (Heb 7:19) deur ‘n beter verbond (Heb 7:22) deur ‘n beter hoëpriester en middelaar (Heb 8:1) van meer uitnemender beloftes (Heb 8:6) deur beter offers (Heb 9:23) deur ‘n nuwe en lewende weg (Heb 10:19) en dan die absolute hoogtepunt: Maar julle het gekom!!! Julle het dus nie meer nodig om enige offers te bring nie!!! Julle begin nie buite nie, julle begin binne in Christus! 

Sion, die stad, nuwe Jerusalem, die bruid, engele, feestelike vergadering, geeste van volmaakte regverdiges is alles metafore vir julle is in EDEN! Julle is verenig met die geestelike realiteit van die hemel. Jesus het verklaar; “Die koninkryk “God se realiteit” het nou naby gekom! Julle is dus in Christus, op grond van Sy geregtigheid en genade wat julle nie kon verdien nie, naby gebring, binne-in gebring, in die heerlikheid van die Godheid! 

Hier is ook ‘n finale vyfde waarskuwing: 25Pas op dat julle Hom wat met julle praat, nie ignoreer nie. (Heb 21:25) 

  1. Vandag wanneer julle sy stem hoor, 8moet julle nie julle harte verhard nie (Heb 3:7) 
  2. Sorg daarvoor, broeders, dat daar nie miskien in een van julle ’n bose en ongelowige hart is deurdat hy van die lewende God afvallig word nie. (Heb 3:12)
  3. omdat julle traag geword het om te hoor. (Heb 5:11) 
  4. hoeveel swaarder straf, dink julle, sal hy verdien wat die Seun van God vertrap het en die bloed van die testament waardeur hy geheilig is, onrein geag en die Gees van genade gesmaad het? (Heb 10:29) 

God is ‘n Vader, en enige Vader wil sy kinders onderrig en voorberei om die lewe in oorwinning te leef. Dit impliseer dat Hy ons toets. Uiteindelik is alles wat ons daagliks beleef ‘n toets om te sien of die “container” die gewig van Sy heerlikheid kan dra.  (2 Cor 4:7) Hy wil sonder beperking Sy Gees en volheid deur ons laat werk, soos met Sy dissipels, honger skares, storms op die see, muntstukke in vis se bek, was ‘n toets om hierdie lewe vanuit die HEMELSE REALITEIT IN ONS hart te hanteer! 

In Hom is daar ewige onveranderlike liefde, vrede, heilsaamheid, voorsiening, verbondenheid. In hierdie wêreld is daar tekort, verlies, agteruitgang, verwoesting, teenstand, probleme, verdeeldheid, beperkinge! IN CHRISTUS is ons tot alles in staat! (Phil 4:13) Meer as oorwinnaars, (Rom 8:36) ver bo alles wat ons bid of dink (Eph 3:20) Groter is Hy wat in my is as Hy wat in die wêreld is (1 Joh 4:4) Die vyand kom met die realiteite van hierdie wêreld… het God regtig gesê?? Kinders van God het egter alreeds tot ‘n hemelse realiteit GEKOM!!! 

In hierdie realiteit hou ons alreeds fees! Is ons verenig met alle gelowiges wat geleef het, en nog gaan kom. Ons is vrygemaak van die skaamte, veroordeling en houvas van sonde! Ons kruip nie meer vir God weg nie!! Ons is in Christus Jesus, met God en met die familie van God versoen, saam met die Heilige Engele!! 

God kan nie die volheid van Sy heerlikheid op een slag in ons losmaak nie, ons sou dit nie kon hanteer nie. In ons geloofsreis met die Here, bou Hy ons kapasiteit om vanuit Sy heerlikheid te dink, te praat en te leef!!! MOET NET NIE JOU HART VERHARD NIE, Moenie rebels raak nie! Moenie ongehoorsaam bly nie! Elke keer in elke krisis gaan Hy vir ons ‘n hemelse realiteit uitweg en uitkoms bewerk. Ons moet fyn luister en presies doen wat Hy vra. Hy, al was Hy die Seun, het gehoorsaamheid geleer uit wat Hy gely het; en nadat Hy volmaak is, het Hy vir almal wat Hom gehoorsaam is, ’n bewerker van ewige saligheid geword.  (Heb 5:8) Jesus het net soos ons aardse beperking getrotseer! Tog het Hy gehoorsaamheid geleer uit wat Hy gely het Die hemelse realiteit is onderstebo en anders as die wêreld. Jy leer om te gee as Jy wil hê, om jouself te verloën om te lewe, om te rus as jy voel om te baklei, om te dien as jy voel om te lei, om laaste te gaan staan as jy voel om voor te loop, om te vergewe eerder as om te vergeld! Elke keer wanneer ons hierdie toetse slaag deur Sy genade wat Hy in ons werk, bou ons kapasiteit om meer gewig te dra.  

Behou jou vrede! Moenie reageer in die vlees nie! Uiteindelik bou hy in ons onsigbare hemelse realiteite wat nie geskud kan word deur dié wêreld se verganklikheid en wanorde nie.  Kain het Abel se lewe geneem, omdat Hy nie Sy broer se beskermer wou wees nie. Jesus word die beskermheer van die mensdom om almal se sonde op Homself te neem, en ons te versoen met die Vader en met mekaar.  

Die kerk, bruid, liggaam, heilige priesterdom is dus baie meer as net ‘n denominasie, kerkgenootskap of gebou! Dis baie meer as ‘n samekoms, of die te kort aan saamwees. Ons is in Christus Jesus verenig, verbind, saamgevoeg, ingeënt, gegrondves as lewende stene in Sy gebou! Ons is deel van mekaar, die bekendes en die onbekendes! Die wat ons gereeld mee kuier, en die wat ons een keer per jaar sien, die wat ons vooruitgegaan het, en die wat nog gebore gaan word. Ons is die ewige heilige uitverkorenes van God wat Christus Jesus ontvang het, en elke dag soos drankoffers uitgegiet word tot Sy eer!   

Categories
Stateman's Address

Herbesin die gesondheidswaarde van fisiese samekomste v gelowiges

Is die dae van groot groepe mense wat fisies byeenkom finaal getel? Daar word gewaarsku dat COVID 19, maar die 1ste van nog baie virusse is wat die bestaan van die mensdom bedreig. Daarbenewens is daar nog die werklike gerief van dienste aanlyn kyk, sonder die geskarrel en worstelings om die hele gesin reg en bymekaar te kry vir kerk. Mense kan kies en keur watter boodskap vir hulle die meeste relevant is.  Die meeste mense getuig dat hulle geestelike lewe verdiep het tydens die sosiale distansie grendel tyd. Families wat saam aanlyn dienste gekyk het, getuig van groter eenheid en interaksie rondom geestelike aspekte. 

Paulus het ook van tegnologie gebruik om die gemeentes te bereik met die waarheid toe hy nie hulle kon besoek nie. Die NT is opgeteken en geskryf vir geslagte wat sou kom, as ‘n oplossing van beperkte reistoegang. Ons is dus dankbaar vir die menige vorme van kommunikasie waarby ons die boodskap van die Evangelie van die koninkryk aan die mensdom kan uitdra.  

Watter rol speel die fisiese samekoms egter dan tot ons volgehoue gesondheid, geestelike welstand en weerstandbiedende immuniteit? 

In Afrika en Asia waar fisiese distansie met mense baie nader en korter is, het die gevreesde pandemie toe nie so ‘n groot effek gehad soos voorspel is nie. In informele nedersettings waar daar feitlik geen sosiale distansiëring plaasgevind het nie, was COVID 19 getalle merkwaardig laag!

Die skrywe vra nie dat ons alle rede en veilige maatreëls oorboord gooi nie. Ons het egter nodig om denkend die voordele van die fisiese samekoms te herbesin.  Paulus het nieteenstaande die feit dat mense sy briewe sou kan lees, verkies en verlang om fisies by die gemeentes besoek te kon aflê.  (Rom 15:22-25; 1 Cor 16:5-7; 2 Cor 1:15-16) 

Wat is dus die geestelike, psigiese en liggaamlike gesondheidsvoordele van die fisiese samekoms van gelowiges? 

IMPARTATION: 


Want ek verlang om julle te sien, om julle een of ander geestelike genadegawe mee te deel, sodat julle versterk kan word; dit is, dat ek saam bemoedig kan word onder julle deur die gemeenskaplike geloof, van julle sowel as van my (Rom 1:11). Hier is duidelik ‘n geestelike genadegawe ter sprake, wat net deur fisiese aanraking en kontak oorgedra kan word. God het nie in die hemel gebly en met ons uit die hemele gekommunikeer nie. Hy het vlees geword en onder ons kom woon. Jesus se vleeswording impliseer die sintuiglike ontmoeting en aanraking tussen God en mens.  Dit is die nommer een manier om ‘n belangrike boodskap oor te dra.  Selfs aanlyn bemarkers verstaan dat ketting eposse nie regtig werk sonder die fisiese kontak tussen agente en mense nie, juis te meer as die konneksie deur ‘n vriend plaasgevind het.  Paulus verwys hier egter na ‘n geestelike geskenk, versterking en aanmoediging wat in die geestesrealm gebeur wanneer ons fisies byeenkom as gelowiges. Die wederkerige opbouing en aanmoediging is ook kenmerkend hier, dat beide die spreker en ontvanger seën uit die ontmoeting geput het.  Natuurlik impliseer die fisiese ontmoeting ook ware omgee. Mense gee spontaan tot ‘n nood wat hulle kan sien. Wanneer ons nie meer mekaar sien nie, is dit moeiliker om deernis te hê.  Die fisiese besoeke van Paulus was dan ook om gewoonlik offerandes wat bymekaar gemaak is op te tel, geskenke en pakkies uit te ruil.  

GROEPSDINAMIKA 

Wetenskaplikes is dit eens dat daar verskeie groep transformasies plaasvind in ‘n skare wat vir dieselfde doel byeen gekom het, soos ‘n kerkbyeenkoms teenoor ‘n skare mense by ‘n lughawe. Mense hou op om hulle te gedra in terme van hul idiosinkratiese oortuigings en gee voorkeur aan die hand van gedeelde norme, waardes en begrip. Mense prioritiseer wat gesien word as waardevol vanuit die groepsperspektief.  Verder sien mense ander in die skare as deel van die uitgebreide ‘self’ eerder as ‘n “ander”. Dit lei tot groter intimiteit en baie navorsing toon hoe gedeelde identiteit groter vertroue, respek, samewerking, wedersydse invloed, hulp en verwagtinge van ander se hulp tot gevolg het.  

Mense geniet die hegte en ondersteunende verhoudings van ‘n groep waarmee hulle identifiseer as gevolg van gedeelde identiteit. Meer nog, sulke hegte verhoudings in ‘n groep stel mense in staat om saam te werk en meer doeltreffend te wees om hul gedeelde doelwitte te bereik. [1]

GERIEF BRING NIE NOODWENDIG GROEI NIE

Dawid verklaar na die sonde oor die sensus: “Ek bring nie aan die Here my God offerandes wat my niks kos nie.” (2 Sam 24:16-25) Felix wys die boodskap van Paulus van die hand, omdat dit nie nou gerieflik is nie, en mis die ewigheid. (Acts 24:24-25) Ons almal hou van gerief, niemand wil meer wasgoed was met ‘n skrobplank nie! Daar is egter ook ‘n gevaar dat gerief ‘n afgod kan raak. Fisiese oefening, regte kos keuses, leer om nee te sê, is onombeerlik tot liggaamlike gesondheid en gewigsverlies. Jy kan nie video’s van ander mense se fiksheid kyk en dink jy gaan gewig verloor en fiks word nie.  Mens ontdek die waarde van lofprysing, wanneer jy opstaan en met jou hele hart, siel en liggaam die Here begin loof!  Lofprysing is nie vir toeskouers nie.  Netso al die ander geestelike pligte: Gebed en intersessie, Bybelstudie, Dissipelskap, besoek die wees en die weduwee, lê jou hande op die siekes, en funksioneer in die gawes van die gees moet fisies uitgevoer word.  Hierdie take is natuurlik ook baie makliker wanneer ons dit saam verrig.  Die geestelike reis van die gelowige is gekenmerk deur self verloëning en gehoorsaamheid. (Mat 16:24) Daarom kan ons nie net bestaan rondom dit wat gerieflik is nie, gehoorsaamheid vra by implikasie iets van jou.  Alles wat ons saam deurgaan is beter, makliker en meer behoudend – gedeelde smart – gedeelde lag.  

ONS KOM NIE BYMEKAAR OM NET TE ONTVANG NIE MAAR OM TE GEE

Julle het verniet ontvang, gee dit ook verniet. (Mat 10:8) Niemand kan stry hoe lekker dit is om te kan gee nie! Geestelike groei is ‘n wederkerige wisselwerking van ontvang en gee, soos asemhaal.  Hoe moet dit dan wees, broers? Elke keer as julle bymekaarkom, het elkeen gewoonlik ‘n bydrae om te lewer: ‘n psalm, ‘n onderwysing, ‘n openbaring, ‘n ongewone taal of klank, ‘n uitleg daarvan. Sorg dan dat alles tot opbou van die gemeente verloop. (1 Cor 14:26) Hierdie vers verduidelik NT liturgie. Elkeen bring iets om te gee! Dis die grootste onderskeid tussen aanlyn byeenkomste en fisiese samekomste. D.m.v. die aanlyn materiaal ontvang ons, maar by die fisiese samekoms kom ons om te gee.  Die grote van die samekoms speel natuurlik ook ‘n rol, hoe meer mense, hoe minder kan almal deel. Daar is waarde in die huiskerk en ook die groter samekoms. Elke gelowige moet deel wees van ‘n geestelike gesin! Hier bedoel ek ‘n huiskerk.  Want ‘n huiskerk is jou geestelike gesin, waar jy verantwoordbaar gebou word, en waar verhoudinge en omgee vir mekaar kan verdiep. Die Jesus beweging was in die eerste 200 jaar uitsluitlik ‘n huis-gesentreerde beweging. (Acts 2:2, 46; 5:42) Die gesamentlike liefdesmaaltyd was wesenlik tot die eerste gelowiges se oorlewing. Saameet en vir mekaar sorg was hoe hulle vervolging kon weerstaan.  Geen mens weet hoe nodig hulle ‘n geestelike gesin het, totdat hulle en nodig het nie. TV en aanlyn bedieninge is waardevol maar die predikers kan jou nie in die hospitaal besoek, vir jou kos bring, of hulle motor vir jou leen nie.  Ons het mekaar nodig. Lojaliteit aan ‘n klein groep van mense raak die opvoedingsplek tot gebalanseerde geestelike volwassenheid.  

ONDERSTEUNENDE TOEWYDING 

Hulle het almal elke dag getrou by die tempel bymekaargekom, van huis tot huis die gemeenskaplike maaltyd gehou, hulle kos met blydskap en in alle eenvoud geëet, en God geprys. Die hele volk was hulle goedgesind. En die Here het elke dag mense wat gered word, by die gemeente gevoeg. (Acts 2:46-47) Almal weet hoe moeilik dit is om te gereeld te oefen. Daarom is saam oefen net soveel meer doeltreffend! Gelowiges wat gereeld saamkom, vorm ‘n band van omgee, aanspreeklikheid, verantwoordbaarheid, liefde en heiligmaking wat nie moontlik is op jou eie nie.    

GEESTELIKE AUTORITEIT EN GESAG 

Maar nou het God die ryke verskeidenheid van sy wysheid deur die kerk bekend laat word aan elke mag en gesag in die hemelruim, soos Hy Hom van ewigheid af al voorgeneem het om dit deur Christus Jesus, ons Here, tot uitvoering te bring.(Eph 3:10) en op hierdie rots sal Ek my kerk bou, en die magte van die doderyk sal dit nie oorweldig nie. (Mat 16:18) Ons elkeen het geestelike gesag ontvang om ons persoonlike demone te verslaan. (2 Joh 2:14) Daar is egter sekere geestelike magte in die geesteswêreld wat net gesamentlik deur ‘n groep gelowiges wat gehoorsaam is in ‘n lokaliteit verslaan kan word.  Dit impliseer die gemeentes wat saamwerk in ‘n gemeenskap onder die hoofskap van Christus. (Eph 1:22-23) Die kerk verstaan nog nie die heerlikheid en krag van God wat deur ‘n groepering in ‘n lokaliteit kan werk nie. Die solidariteit, wisselwerking, diversiteit wat net moontlik is deur die Heilige Gees verander gemeenskappe. Dink net aan die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees op die 120 in die bo-vertrek: het ‘n massiewe sosio-ekonomiese impak gemaak. Jubeljaar het in die hart begin! 

ONS ONTHOU ERVARINGS BETER AS INLIGTING

Die Bybel is ‘n versameling van mense se ervarings met die Godheid. Niemand het soos ‘n joernalis hierdie ervarings gedokumenteer nie.  ‘n Mens vergeet nie sommer wat jy self beleef het nie. Aanlyn inligting is nie genoegsaam om hierdie tipe impak te maak nie. Ons moet dit wat ons gehoor het, gaan toepas en uitleef.  Die samekoms van gelowiges is die lanseer platvorm van groot dade van geloof en sending. Dink maar aan die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees, by 2 geleenthede. Die uitstuur van Paulus en Barnabas. Die gelowiges wat saam gebid het vir Petrus in aanhouding.  Die samekoms is ‘n sensoriese gebeurtenis, en het daarom meer ‘n blywende impak om ons menswees.  

Daar is navorsing gedoen oor die effek van oogkontak. Ons verhoudinge verdiep, en ons verbintenis met mekaar deur mekaar in die oë te kyk. Kommunikasie is ook baie meer effektief a.g.v. oogkontak, gesigsuitdrukkings en stemtoon. [2]Aanlyn kommunikasie is kragtig, maar beperkend. 

Aanraking is seker die mees onder ontwikkelende aspek van ons geloof. Aanraking word as die diepste sintuig beskryf.  Ons vel is ook die grootste sintuiglike orgaan. Natuurlik is aanraking nou bemoeilik met die vrees vir virusinfeksie oordraging.  Aanraking het ook ‘n baie lang geskiedenis in verskeie kulture.[3] Ons gaan nie gesond bly sonder aanraking nie, ons moet net nuwe gesonde manier vind om wel aan mekaar te raak. Soos om jou hand op iemand se skouer of rug te hou.  Die vyand het aanraking verdraai deur seksuele ondertone, en nou ook die gevaar vir infeksie. Tog is aanraking deel van die evangelie van Jesus, wat melaatses, dooies en siekes gesond gemaak het deur aanraking. 

DIE BALANS TUSSEN INDIVIDU EN LIGGAAM.

Die boodskap en demonstrasie van die koninkryk van God bestaan om die realiteit van God se wêreld sigbaar te maak in hierdie wêreld. Hierdie demonstrasie van goddelike heerlikheid gebeur gelyktydig tussen die wisselwerking van die inspraak in die individu as tempel van die Heilige Gees, en dit wat hierdie tempels saam verwesenlik.  Die een kan nie sonder die ander nie. Mens raak nie deel van die liggaam deur aan ‘n gemeente te behoort nie, maar deur wedergeboorte en die aanneming en lewe vanuit Christus se geregtigheid.  Ons kan derhalwe ook nie as eilande funksioneer nie.  Die individuele ontmoeting met God, raak uiteindelik ‘n kollektiewe ontmoeting.  Soos selle in ‘n liggaam die liggaam laat leef, is die twee realiteite van sel en liggaam albei dié Liggaam. Selle wat hulleself van die liggaam afskei, is ‘n vorm van kanker, wat teen die liggaam begin veg.  Maar die liggaam kan nie sonder die selle nie.  

Sien en ontwaak tot die belangrikheid van die kollektiewe bymekaarkoms, plek van ontmoeting! Die samekoms van gelowiges is meer as net een persoon wat ‘n preek. Dit is meer as net ‘n paar liedjies saamsing as toeskouers! Dit is God se mense wat met hul God ontmoet!! Dit is ‘n geestelike ontmoeting, want God is GEES wat ‘n behae het daarin om tussen Sy kinders te wees. Dit is Christus in en onder ons die hoop op heerlikheid. Dit is ‘n genesende, herstellende, regeneratiewe, versoenende ruimte van bevryding en vryheid! Dit is ‘n plek waar die HEILIGHEID van God die oorhand kry en alles in almal vul! Dit is ‘n plek van LIG! Dit is ‘n plek van samesyn, verbondenheid en eenheid! Dit is die hemel op aarde!


[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2210600615000635

[2] Manusov, Valerie. “Effects of Gaze on Hiring, Credibility, Attraction and Relational Message Interpretation.” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (1985): n. pag. Print.

[3] Classen, C., 2012. Back In Touch The Deepest Sense. A Cultural History Of Touch. Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Categories
Sermons

Collective Spiritual Connectedness

When God said: “let there be light” (Gen 1:3) He connected the spectrum for all created things to connect. Light is formed by the connection between frequencies, the relationship between particles. The links give us the light that transforms our world. Darkness is in essence not to feel or be conscious of any connection.  Healthy connections, relationships, links is essential to social, economic, mental and spiritual well-being.  Jesus is the great connector! He reconnected us to God, our true selves, and the right people.  

When Jesus uses you in ‘You are the light of the world,’ (Mat 5:14-16) it is actually a plural form of the word, meaning ‘you all’ or ‘you, yourselves’ (or if you’re from the American South, ‘y’all’). The word light in the Greek is strikingly singular.” One Bible commentator goes on to say that “we are not a thousand points of light; we are a corporate city on a hill.”[1]

Made in the image of a communal God, we are most fulfilled when we find a community that makes us not only feel we belong but propels us to become more Christ-like in altruistic thought, habit, values, purpose, work and existence.  

Oneness, peace, shalom, wholeness, flourishing life; this is what the gospel has always been about; this is God’s dream for creation. In Cornelius Plantinga Jr.’s “breviary of sin,” shalom is described as: The webbing together of God, humans, and all of creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. . . . We call it peace, but it means far more than the mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts are fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.[2]

This is beautiful imagery of what the NT ecclesia, the body of Christ, church, a holy priesthood, the bride is all about. It is interesting to note, how healthy new connection networks grow, because of the introduction or referral of a friend.  This is called the small world theory. [3] So by connecting with a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, you can connect with anyone, anywhere.  Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. [4]

The Kingdom is also compared with yeast: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Mat 13:33) The living network of yeast is well researched to understand how fungi, who in essence desires to grow and multiply, transform the dough into bread. The following image shows the invisible process in circles (Proteins) and the network of links and connections.  

In the Pre-modern era, people lived in an enchanted world, where they have little control. The powers to be ruled over the masses without their political consent, leading to fatalism. People saw human agency controlled by either the spiritual forces or stronger tribal adversary’s will.  In the Modern era, people became more educated, realising their own will and desire.  Self is seen as a person, with rights, independence and self-rule.  At no time in history, one has more regular heard of people describing their husbands, or employers as narcissistic.[5] The post-modern person begins to question this self-ness obsession and seeks deeper meaningful relationships and pursuits of lasting purpose and meaning.  

The NT Church and God’s purpose for its divine glorious existence answer these desires. EDEN is about the meeting, connecting, engaging, interdependence, growing collectively into the fulness of Christ! There are many counterfeit communities who either limits or controls the potential of the one, at the cost of the whole. These communities are also one- dimensional based on conformity. The true church holds the key to a unity of diversity, where the individual’s potential is unlocked and celebrated for the sake of the whole. Where unity is achieved as a gift in Christ Jesus, not by compromise. We are all followers of Christ in the Jesus Movement, having the mind of Christ to love what He values, abandoning self-interest to obey his instructions, with His attitude and emotions (fruit).  

During COVID 19, we experience a great RESET: God restored the family altar. God restored individual commitment and solitude. God showed us what is truly essential. We felt common solidarity with the global village. NOW it is time for God to draw this NET of living NODES together into a web of influence, where His glory can cover (fermenting) the earth. We are SALT and we are LIGHT! 

THE CORPORATE MEETING is more than just one person preaching a sermon! It is more than just singing a few songs as spectators! It is God’s people meeting with their God!! It is a spiritual meeting, for God is a living SPIRIT who wish to dwell amongst His people! It is Christ in and among us the hope of Glory! It is a healing, restorative, regenerative, reconciliatory space of deliverance and freedom! It is a place where the HOLINESS of God prevails and fills all in all! It is a place of LIGHT! It is a place of togetherness, oneness and union! It is heaven on earth! 

Households of faith MEETINGS 

The English word, church, comes from the Latin word, meaning circle. Our word, circus, is a derivative of the word, circle. You know, “three-ring,” as in a “three-ring circus.” Perhaps, very early-on when meetings, or assemblies, convened, they sat in a circle like a “round table;” from that, the word, church was coined. This makes sense as the first church had no formal church buildings or temples, they met in houses. Acts 2:46 The bigger the meeting, it becomes impossible for everyone to speak and participate, but in house meetings, one person should not take over the discussion, only lead and facilitate it, in order that everyone gets an opportunity to participate. 

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  (1 Cor 14:26) 

ψαλμός psalmós: A song: the song sung with musical accompaniment. This latest stage of its meaning was adopted in the Sept. In all probability the psalms of Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.

διδαχή didachḗ: to teach. In an act. sense it means the act of teaching, instructing, tutoring (Mark 4:2; 1 Cor. 14:6, 26; 2 Tim. 4:2). Heb 5:11-6:2 Search and seek “sound doctrine” sound doctrine: 1 Ti 4:6; 2 Ti 4:3; Tit 1:9; 2:1 (cf. Pr 4:2; 1 Ti 6:3; 2 Ti 1:13) 

γλῶσσα glṓssa: qualitatively new, to speak languages not known to them before, means to speak in or with tongues other than their own native tongue (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:30; 14:2, 4-6, 13, 18, 23, 27, 39). It is significant than speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues be listed as main ingredients to the NT gathering of believers. As to emphasize its importance.  If you thus want to participate, get filled in the Holy Spirit by speaking in Tongues. 1 Cor 14 

ἀποκάλυψις apokálupsis: to reveal. Revelation, uncovering, unveiling, disclosure. The revelation of the mysteries refers to divine purposes and doctrines which before were unknown and concealed (Rom. 16:25 [TR]; 1 Cor. 14:6, 26). Of revelations from God the Father or Christ (2 Cor. 12:1, 7; Gal. 1:12; 2:2; Eph. 3:3). In Eph. 1:17 “a spirit of . . . revelation” means a spirit which can fathom and unfold the deep things of God

ἑρμηνεία hermēneía: to interpret. Interpretation, explanation (1 Cor. 14:26), metonym for the ability to interpret, as a charisma (1 Cor. 12:10), gift.  Although the word interpretation in this reference refer specifically to the interpretation of tongues, I do propose that most of the activities is a form of interpretation. The word hermeneutic is used by theologians of the science of bible interpretation.  Having visions and dreams, and spiritual experiences has to be interpreted and judged. 1 Cor 14:29

All things are actually spiritual by definition, prayer to a God who is an invisible Spirit John 4:26, our unity and bond as believers 1 Cor 12:26, spiritual warfare Eph 6:12.  This is why a person operating from a point of religion, sets of rules and liturgy, cannot function in a NT Church meeting of spirit-filled believers.  It is two completely different operating systems.  

The most important point however one needs to remember is: “let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all” For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Mat 18:20 Paul actually says that he is spiritual present although absent in the flesh. 1 Cor 5:3-4 This reveals an unspoken thread, bond, connectedness, seamless robe, with the Spirit of Christ as revealed in His body, Him being the head, Eph 1:22 The simple way is, pick up the thread of the meeting, connect to the flow, listen to each other and resonate, harmonize. If the message you have prepared does not fit, discard it, it is not for now.  

Tune in to the Spirit of the meeting, from the first song the worship leader scans the spirit, the dance leaders resonate in body what is sung, then while we are corporately tuning in, we experience an open heaven of revelation, and spiritual insight. Then as we begin to declare and share what we have seen and experience the visions become clearer and it grows, so that we can fulfill God’s original plan to be among His people. Heb 12:18-23


[1] Duncan Watts, Small World: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

[2] “Thy Kingdom Connected (ēmersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith): What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks” by Dwight J. Friesen. https://www.scribd.com/book/234999681

[3] Duncan Watts, Small World: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

Categories
Stateman's Address

Towards Biblical solutions for restoring a God honouring Heaven-Kingdom Economy.

The ultimate test of any religion, ideology or worldview is the benefits it ultimately brings to the poor, the marginalized and oppressed.  If we say we are Christians, we have to take poverty seriously.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? [1]

Although poverty in its many forms has been with us for ages, over-population and ensuing unemployment is becoming the prevalent crisis of the decade. The underlying question to more and more people, even those having a job is: How does one earn a living? Or bluntly said: “How does one make enough money?” Enough? What is enough? According to the bible enough are food, shelter and clothing? (Mat 6:25; 1 Tim 6:8) In a consumer-based driven economy, enough is never enough.  Tech companies have found a way to make cell-phones, tv’s and computers consumables. With a rapidly growing and consistently younger population, the employment question is central to the enquiring mind. How will I ever make it, if my parents or no one I know isn’t even making it? Crime, theft, extortion, corruption, prostitution, sex-trafficking, gangsterism is for many the only sensible path to earn a living.  The achievement of a superior qualification does not guarantee employment or better earnings anymore. 

Dr. Ruben Richards, relates a moving story of while mediating peace talks in Lavender Hill notorious gang-war stricken area, he took a short break and saw a 9-year-old youngster patiently waiting for someone who was in the negotiating room. Making small talk Ruben asked the boy: “So, what do you want to be when you grow up one day,” Without blinking and with a sense of pride and confidence the 9-year-old said, “I want to be just like my daddy, a gangster!” That daddy happened to be one of the most notorious gang leaders in the room.[2] There are many people particularly children and women trapped in a destructive way of earning a living! Similarly, some businesses are keeping people poor, to ensure a constant workforce.  

How NOT to earn a LIVING. 

The bible is implicit regarding its warnings about how to not earn a living!  

Purposeless Toil (Prov. 23:4); lies (Prov. 21:6); interest to family members (Exo 22:25; Deut. 23:19); dishonest gain (Eze 22:13); ponzi & pyramid marketing schemes[3]; fraud, over-promise-under-deliver; slavery & oppression of the poor (Prov. 22:16); unjust scales (Prov. 11:1); quick-profit (Prov. 13:11); default on payments (Ps 37:21; Rom 13:7); passive income (2 Thes. 3:10); extortion & bribes (Luk. 3:14); violence (Prov. 1:19). 

Why do we have to pay taxes?

Generally: How do governments make money? Taxes, natural resources, tourism and investments? Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” This phrase is engraved on the IRS headquarters building in the US. But like man, governments have also found unjust ways to abstract more money from its citizens, without delivering on it’s civil, safety, security, infrastructure promises. 

When God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5) He sends the flood as a punishment.  Only one family was saved: Noah and his 3 sons. Thereafter God added another divine instruction to man: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” God was saying that He will never judge the earth again like this. Per definition, God gives this role now to human government. This is rearticulated again in the NT: Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. (1 Pet 2:13-14) Even Jesus acknowledged the role of government: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mat 22:21) That be it, an evil, godless, secular, government that later murdered Jesus, innocently, and persecuted Christians.  But the Government’s role is clear: They are God’s agent on earth to punish, evildoers. People who selfishly has no regard for the safety, well-being and progress of the community. 

Many governments are wedged into a destructive, systemic misappropriation of funds, and fail to fulfil their primary divine mandate. In the South African context Dr Nthabiseng Moleko summarises her experience in the Public Sector: 

In my short life, I served in the public sector and I saw many things, but perhaps the most disheartening was the conduct of many of our leaders. I focus on the public sector, which does not hold the monopoly on corruption, deception, nepotism and the like, despite what our papers seem to want us to believe. I focus on them as they hold the key to changing the lives of the poorest of the poor, the oppressed, the most vulnerable in our society as they are mandated to. The private sector has a significant role to play in this regard, but it rapidly diminishes when one starts coining words such as “shareholder value” and “profit”. As I worked in the public sector, I began to see in different instances why the poor were not receiving the support they needed. It was because of people who either refused to do their work, those who wanted to block others from doing their work, or simply because those tasked with doing the work simply did not know how to do their work. Then of course there are those who make it their work to take and loot the money intended to actually do work targeted at the poor.[4]

Our president has been courageously fighting to keep our Country unified to over-come the COVID 19 pandemic, but if he is not going to punish corruption of funds intended for COVID 19 relief immediately, harshly, and decisively people are finally losing all trust in Government tipping the Country into self-regulated anarchy! Inefficiency, laziness, entitlement as a result of nepotism, carder-deployment and political social-tax robs from taxpayer’s money to feed their own greed has to be punished harshly because it is treason against humanity.  

During the Mediation Foundation for Peace and Justice[5] conference at the Cape Castle for the restoration of land and the dignity of the people under the leadership of Alan Nelson the 18/8/2018 keynote speaker Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng reminded participants that corruption is not only a government practise, the private sector has also been inundated by corruption scandals.[6] Corporate corruption, including deliberate bankruptcy, thin capitalization, illicit financial flows, transfer (mis)pricing, trade mispricing, jurisdiction shopping, and tax evasion.[7]

How do the righteous earn money? 

Is what every believer should ask and fulfil in the fear of the Lord in their lifetime.  According to Rabbi Daniel Lapin: 

The business professional also must value his employees as well, for they are his most valuable asset. He must attend to their welfare. Recognizing them as spiritual beings with their own divine aspirations, he must not only endeavour to compensate them fairly but also help them find transcendent meaning in their work. Ancient Jewish wisdom prohibits an employer from instructing his worker to perform meaningless work. For example, he may not hire the worker to dig a hole one day, fill it the next, and thereafter repeatedly dig and refill it. This prohibition applies no matter how generous the pay maybe, because it leaves the worker with no sense of accomplishment, and therefore, no sense of the value of his contribution. [8]

Mankind had to work before work was cursed as punishment for their sin; subduing, tending, keeping and naming creation. (Gen 1:28; 2:15, 19) Work is thus supposed to be a blessing. Also, one is exhorted to find satisfaction in their own toil (Eccl 2:24; 3:13) raising up someone to steward it for the next generation to not see it going to waste. (Eccl 2:17-26) God is elated to see us prosper! “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Psalms 35:27) Righteous Work is the greatest remedy available for both mental and physical afflictions.” [9]

The role of agriculture. 

God’s provision to man is on the earth. Food, clothing, housing is found in nature. Gardening, and agriculture is the first profession of mankind.  (Gen 4) 

From the Agricultural Thinktank perspective: How do farmers make money? They plant something of value, mitigate the VUKA[10] risks factors: climate change, soil degradation; droughts, diseases, labour, the threat of EWC and land invasions, making debt to produce enough healthy, desirable, nutritious food and sell it to the highest bidder. It is a huge accomplishment to get the product to the gate: but then the financially successful farmer has to battle sufficient off-take: On average, a farmer gets only 15% of the retail price from white bread, bulk wine farmer 7%, a citrus farmer 9%.[11] For the farmer to compete in the narrow shelf-space available in the retail-driven single-channel market system, he has to comply with strict food-safety, traceability, consistency, and scale requirements. Most do not comply hence the decline in single-owned farm units, and the rise of industrial farms.  

Since 1996 the number of commercial farming units dropped from 60 900 to 39 900 in 2007. Of the current total, only 1.5 per cent (673) of commercial farms account for a third of total gross commercial farm income. In the food retail sector, the market share of the major retail chains has risen from below 10% in the late 1980s to around 68% in 2012. [12]

The Census of Commercial Agriculture report indicates that the total number of farms/ farming units in 2017 was 40 122. The total income for the commercial agriculture industry in 2017 was R332,8 billion, which was significantly higher than the R85,9 billion recorded for 2007. [13]

The conclusion is that bigger industrial commercial farms produced significantly more than small-scale and commercial farms with fewer people employed but generally paying better wages, and providing social-support infrastructure. According to Scott Drimie, director of the Southern Africa Food Lab and associate professor of Health Sciences at Stellenbosch, 100 commercial farmers produce about 90% of all of South Africa’s food.[14] The rest of the farming community are struggling and hence does not have enough funds left to do much social development. Agriculture is also the only sector that is required to provide housing, and social care to its workers, understandable the low wages paid. On the other hand, the employment offer is for the lowest expertise. The Developmental Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) reveals that as little as 673 farms had a turnover of more than R10 million or an average of R17 850 283.[15]

The RICH and POOR Gap. 

South Africa is burdened with a huge wealth-poverty gap. (Gini coefficient 2014-63.0)[16] The biggest portion of our population does not have access to the most basic services, water, sanitation, electricity, quality education and frightening complete social degradation. According to Stats SA, 2,193,96 South African households live in informal settlements – 13% of the country’s population. 

Furthermore, the deepest disparity is the question of unequal wages and salaries. What are the Biblical justice and the ethically right way to think and act? Some suggest a national bench-marking salary standard, measured on several output measures. 

But does higher wages necessary lead to bigger sharing and giving? In the African context, many workers annually deposit money into homeland accounts.  The total volume of domestic remittances is estimated to be between $11 billion and $13 billion, equivalent to 4% of GDP. [17]

The white minority capital argument led to a juxtaposed form of racism criminalizing wealth and white-owned business enterprise.  Pinning a collective sin to a singular culture-ethnic group is dangerous, as evidenced when the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of kulaks (prosperous peasants) and their families in the 1929–1932 period.[18] Or the Hutu genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda 1994. [19] How does one peacefully get the better earners to voluntary share their wealth?

Wages in the agricultural context is complex due to the huge number of low-qualified human hands needed in the fruit-picking sector. Currently, labour represents about 7.65% of total production cost on an average grain producing farm, compared to a 34% average on an apple and pear farm[20] The narrow profit margin of these industrial enterprises does not give much space to truly give a more equal wage, given the amount of skill and responsibility disparity between a general fruit picker and the CEO of a multi-national company? The inconsistency, unreliability, and problems associated with human labour has led to an overall automatization in the sector.[21] The question of labour in the agricultural sector is at the core of the negative sentiment against it. Agriculturalists are seen by many as the enslavers and abusers of the poor.  Agriculturists may however become the national hero’s as several analysts have noted the potential of agriculture to generate one million job opportunities focusing on winning industries, and available arable land.[22]

Sharing willingly or taken by force? 

Until this happens, the labour question deepens in a totally unequal society with dual economies: Why do those who have not share with the have nots? According to the Department of Social Development, there are currently 220000 NGO’s and community-based organisations registered.  These NGO’s rely on government but also private corporate CSI funding to survive.  There is hence a lot of sharing already going on! 

Sharing is also a highly personal activity, located towards one’s own family, or church.  It is most likely that sharing has not been reaching the right people.  At Pentecost sharing, and consequent fulfilment of Jubilee happened willingly, from the heart! Voluntary sharing is one of the first fruits of revival and participants of the Jesus movement. (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32)

But not all giving has helped the poor. Dambisa Moyo argues convincingly that foreign aid feeds corruption, debasing social and human capital.  “Aid has been, and continues to be, an unmitigated political, economic, and humanitarian disaster for most parts of the developing world.” [23]

Sharing resources without someone taking responsibility, utilising the given resources to improve their income and earnings is water down the drain.  The biblical way of eradicating poverty – is a matter of personal responsibility. The farmer leaves portions of his harvest, the poor pick it up themselves. Everyone must share, and everyone must work! (Lev 19:10; 23:22) 

Economy of mutuality and inclusion

Over and above the economic reality of the cost of wages Henry Hazlitt reveals that economics and ethics are, in fact, intimately related. Both are concerned with human action, human conduct, human decision, human choice. There is hardly an ethical problem, in fact, without its economic aspect. Our daily ethical decisions are in the main economic decisions, and nearly all our daily economic decisions have, in turn, an ethical aspect.[24] Thus there is a need for a Biblical Consensus on the tenets of redemptive entrepreneurship. This is what “ethical trade[25]” and the “International Christian Chamber of commerce” institutions try to achieve, Christians who do ethical business. Moreover, Christians that see their occupations as a redemptive purpose! 

Dale Partridge shows in his book, People Over Profit, that short-term profit gain, at the cost of the people, eventually lead to long-term decline. History has proven that all lasting commerce is born from a dedication to high character, high quality and high customer loyalty. [26] Roche & Mayer started a collaborative research program between Oxford University and Mars to study the current capitalist system of increasing worldwide inequality, presenting a new model of ‘economics of mutuality’. 

Our view is that we may soon need a new, more mutually beneficial and more complete form of capitalism that holistically optimizes value for all three inputs—the people, the planet, the financial capital—to reform the current system of financial capitalism that may one day collapse.[27]

Helmut Gollwitzer a concerned pastor, theologian and thinker known as a democratic socialist debated that regardless of our Christian political biases; we need to strive toward a social togetherness – “perfect togetherness without any conflict.” [28] This local community togetherness and economic justice cannot be achieved politically, culturally, economically or legislatively! This task lays at the Church community’s feet. To disciple the “ethos” where we reside and beyond. (Mat 28:19)

Those who are in Christ Jesus already have the solution! 

Building Bridges, Repairers of the breach! 

God has already moved and provided a Kingdom-based Non-Babylonian Economic Re-Generative Strategy. 

A bridge-building movement is emerging in SA, as a counter-measure against increasingly populist, racist, and dividing rhetoric from some political leaders and groups. The bridge builder initiatives were sparked informally and spontaneously on many fronts throughout the country. Like the Bela-Bela solution-based farmers conference held in Limpopo, 23-24 August 2018.   48 Speakers from various backgrounds, positions, and sectors came to showcase solutions and existing stories of hope in Agriculture. Since the Bela-Bela Land summit others were held at Komga Farmers Union, 29 October 2018, East London.   A Christ-centred Land summit was held in Sandton, Gauteng, February 28-1 March 2019, with a follow up in Middelburg EC, 20-21 May 2019, and 24 October 2019 in Paarl. All these LandSummits were intended as Bridge-building initiatives to develop and restore trust by showcasing stories of hope!

The Christ-centred focus is not geared to enforce religious exclusivity, or proselytism. The values that Jesus Christ portrayed, and so many South Africans from all backgrounds and race worship and adhere to, is seen as ‘n unifier.  Hence people abandoning their religious denominations and divisive doctrinal differences, to unify and rebuild the social fibre so critically needed for strong social cohesion is based on the person and example of Jesus Christ. 

It was forthcoming, that many of the stories and models showcased at the Landbou Weekblad Bela Bela event, had a strong personal faith in the person of Jesus Christ as their source and motivation.  The organizers of the two Christian Land Summits, thus viewed the shared Christ-centred values as a method to fast-track bridge-building of new cross-cultural relationships vital to the transformation of agriculture.[29]  It should also be noted, that although these values were the backbone of all the dialogue during these summits, the focus was healthy ‘Christ-centred’ relationships and not formalized religion.  The Jesus-narrative provides sufficient foundations and commonality to foster healthy relationships, and eventually sustainable projects. This is an important point to consider as many good projects failed due to corruption: the lack of intrinsic moral practically out-lived values.  

The issue of “the right heart” is elucidated when people truly surrender their heart to Jesus. As Analize Crosby AGRISA policy analyst explains: “The personal cost of sharing is too high to enforce it by law or war, it has to come from the heart.”[30]

This question of trust and equality is disentangled within the Christ-centred narrative.  Various autonomous role-players naturally gravitated towards one-another, without any traces of the obstacles and hindrances of prideful superiority.  Former Zimbabwean Farmer Boet Pretorius , who was one of the first farmers to lose his farm in Zimbabwe; puts it succinctly: “until you love God first, then your people, you will not rule or keep your land”. This was also the conclusion of the first Land Summit: 

Aid amplifies ‘god’ complexes and strengthens inferiority complexes. The question was asked: “Who are the poor?” The Christ-centred perspective is: 

•          Poor relationship with God – Poverty of Intimacy

•          Poor relationship with myself – Poverty of Being

•          Poor relationship with family – Poverty of Trust

•          Poor relationship with community – Poverty of Security

•          Poor relationship with Creation- Poverty of Stewardship 

Thus, all mankind is considered poor, and in need of healthy relationships. From this point of view, a more natural and equal base is established to build relationships of trust.

TENET 1: CHRIST-CENTRED REVIVAL 

Christocentric, spirit-filled believers already have a sense of ‘togetherness’ not achieved through any human effort. Currently, there is a movement growing all across the country as streams of biblical, kingdom-purposed-faith-based individuals, churches and NGO’s are seeking the lowest point of departure. True humble, meek, and ego-less spiritual fathers (Isa 33:21) are calling the church into action: to again become the most attractive religion that toppled the mighty roman empire to convert to the ideals and values of a revolutionary Jewish artisan from Galilea. Even the World Economic Forum calls for a new social covenant where trusted local father figures re-align local societies to an equitable, mutual-responsibility, human-dignity focused common good. [31]

  1. The Christian Church grew most rapidly in the 300 years. (Stark 1997:161–162; Hirsch, 2006:18-22; Viola & Barna 2008:246–250) 
  2. The Christian Church became the State Religion because of its exemplary demonstration of intrinsic critical values: great acts of mercy and kindness • mutual support and love • self-control • respect for life • To do good to each other. • Avoid evil such as theft, deceit and jealousy. • Show hospitality to strangers. • Take care of each other and share their food with each other. • Prove mercy toward all people. • Conduct care and nursing of the sick. • Households testify to dignity, personal responsibility, honesty and obedience. • Ethnic variety is accepted. • Women, children and slaves are treated with respect. • Respect for life prevents abortion and childhood murder. • Martyrdom and the willingness to ‘ take up your cross ‘ (see Mark. 8) [32]
  3. Apostolic travelling teams mentored, taught, and held churches accountable to these values resulting in the writing of the NT. 
  4. The member’s active involvement of doing the work of the ministry, filled with the Holy Spirit, modelled on the example of Jesus and the apostles created a missional culture of mature believers living the gospel.  Their redemptive works were proof of their accuracy, not doctrinal documents. 

TENET 2 Asset Based Community Development.

Various Christian entities have already been strategically moved into place to change the Social-profile source document. We cannot achieve solutions, and togetherness if we are not working from the same source documents. There is currently no consensus regarding the Government’s land audit, and the suggestion is to rather profile the community than the country. Prof. de Wet Schutte with the Unisearch Program uses diversified Focus group prioritizing of needs analyses.[33]Johan Olivier (Ranyaka) follows a more town-planning, architectural-infrastructure-mapping approach.[34] Asset-Based Community Development’s premise is that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilizing existing, but often unrecognised assets.[35] Currently, Prof. Deon Pretorius has created an Online application to do a statsSA community Profile so that the correct figures can be given to all the Government Departments: Human Settlement, Education, health, rural development, Social Development, and Agriculture. 

TENET 3 Morpho-genetic Social Developmental Approach.

The more we explore the significant challenges of our time, the more we are coming to realize that they cannot be understood as being isolated from each other. There is no single solution to the complexity of the challenges we face. [36]

From a Biblical Community Developmental perspective of how God made a nation of a bunch of slaves, it is understood that God’s way of restoration begins with a father, in a specific location, who through his obedience creates a new family, extended family, culture and nation.  This approach provides an explanation and strategy for development based on the complex interplay between contexts and people acting in contexts. Each community basically takes ownership of their own challenges through a Christ-centered-value-driven, non-partisan, pluralistic, multisector, pragmatic approach that begins to build local capacity, to achieve the common good of everyone in the community. In most instances a dramatic negative like the SundayRiverValley[37], Harrismith[38], and uprisings, gives way to a radical peaceful collaborative when the right people take lead.  

TENET 4 Funding of God-inspired initiatives. 

An army is as strong as it’s supply-chain. If we cannot get the resources to the troops on the front-line, we will lose the battle.  A great protest was mounted by the people, including the wives, against their fellow Jews. Some said, “We have big families, and we need food just to survive.” Others said, “We’re having to mortgage our fields and vineyards and homes to get enough grain to keep from starving.” And others said, “We’re having to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. Look: We’re the same flesh and blood as our brothers here; our children are just as good as theirs. Yet here we are having to sell our children off as slaves—some of our daughters have already been sold—and we can’t do anything about it because our fields and vineyards are owned by somebody else.” [39] Nehemia could not finish the wall until economic restitution had taken place. Simply put: the funds are not getting to the right people! Through nepotism, carder-deployment, racial-preference, and BBEEE white farmers are seen as the enemy (privileged), while many of these farmers held the solution-key to mutual economic growth. By means of the AMOS[40] network of farmers who have already proven their Christ-centred heart and passion, who have already made enormous financial contributions to restoration and healing, there are already plans/businesses/projects that are waiting for FUNDING. Hennie Viljoen proposed an “everyone must give approach”[41] Mines, banks, supply and value-chain, government, and the farmers all give a portion towards an equitable, profitable, right-partnership farming enterprise.  He who increases his wealth by interest and usury gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. (Prov 28:8) 

TENET 5 The Fruitful village. 

How does a community/town/village/city look when God’s Kingdom has come? Although God’s Kingdom is in part an eternal future expectation, there is a part that needs to be established by His church here and now. (Luk 17:21; Mat 10:7) Eventually, all these father-family-faith-based projects begin to heal and restore communities by doing/executing/demonstrating Peace & Love solutions locally and hence gaining influence in Government, Health, Education, Law-enforcement and Business sectors.  

The Kingdom expands through Christ gaining territory in hearts through deep discipleship-based relationships.  Sin is the destruction and disruption of relationships: hate, offence, jealousy, pride, sloth, laziness, entitlement, deceit destroys relationships and family. God’s Kingdom is restored when relationships/community/family is restored. 

The relational process takes time, it is a long-term generational process.  

It is said that: “Throughout human history, most people live and die in the social class into which they were born. We cannot bring change to the individual if we do not affect the culture.” The best way to transform a culture is through raising healthy children, within a healthy extended family, the Church. “it takes a village to raise a child” or “it takes a church to raise a village”[42]

If we ever want to change communities, it begins at the ECD level.  Early childhood is a period of tremendous growth. Extending from conception to the age of 6, early childhood experiences carve out pathways towards health and well-being that persist throughout life. Supporting early childhood development, especially for the most vulnerable children, requires coordinated action to ensure health care, adequate nutrition, quality education, support for parents and protection of children’s rights.  But we need a new-employment-outcome-based kind of education. Children do not only need knowledge, but they also need skills, root skills in terms of character development, and technical production/entrepreneurial kind of skills that will give them a trade when they leave school not a certificate on paper.  

May your kingdom come and will be done here on earth as it is in heaven!


[1] 1 John 3:17 ESV

[2] https://discoversociety.org/2020/08/05/on-the-frontline-blood-in-blood-out-can-art-change-gangsterism/

[3] https://www.crown.org/blog/are-multi-level-marketing-companies-a-good-idea-for-christians/

[4] Moleko, N., 2017. Been Chasing Destiny. 1st ed. South Africa: Ngezandla Publishing, p.562.

[5] http://peaceandjustice.co.za

[6] https://www.janenchantal.com/report-of-the-restoration-of-land-and-the-dignity-of-the-people-conference-in-the-cape-of-good-hope-castle/

[7] Bracking A qualitative reframing of private sector corruption Considerations from the natural resource sectors in South., 2020. Anti- Corruption Resource Centre U4, [online] August 2013 No 7(U4 Issue), p.2. Available at: <https://www.u4.no/publications/a-qualitative-reframing-of-private-sector-corruption-considerations-from-the-natural-resource-sectors-in-south-africa.pdf> [Accessed 13 August 2020].

[8] Lapin, R., 2014. Business Secrets From The Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies For Financial. 1st ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p.33.

[9] The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, New York: Forbes Inc., 1968, p. 427.)

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatility,_uncertainty,_complexity_and_ambiguity

[11] http://www.grainsa.co.za/what-is-a-wheat-producer-s-percentage-share-of-retail-white-bread (retrieved August 2018) 

[12] Bernstein, Henry. (2013). Commercial Agriculture in South Africa since 1994: ‘Natural, Simply Capitalism’. Journal of Agrarian Change. 13. 10.1111/joac.12011.

[13] http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=13144

[14] http://www.702.co.za/articles/2138/how-south-africa-can-keep-on-producing-enough-food-for-everyone (Retrieved 31 December 2017) 

[15] Statistics South Africa, 2005. Census of commercial agriculture, 2002. Pretoria, StatsSA.


[16] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI?locations=ZA

[17] https://www.technoserve.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/South-Africa-domestic-remittances-report.pdf

[18] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dekulakization

[19] Kinzer, S., 2010. A Thousand Hills. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

[20] Saayman, Lehanri &  Middelberg Sanlie. The Effect Of Higher Wages On Production Cost And Mechanization: A South African Maize Sector Study. The Journal of Applied Business Research – March/April 2014 Volume 30, Number 2 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/14e9/b6dc7d78af29c2340b041d01dba3ff2717f8.pdf

[21] Le roux, Daniel. Autmotion and employment: the case of South Africa. 2018. http://suinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/automation-employment-case-1.pdf

[22] Meyer, F., 2012. FARM SECTORAL DETERMINATION: AN ANALYSIS OF AGRICULTURAL WAGES IN SOUTH AFRICA. BFAP December 2012, [online] Available at: <https://www.hopcal.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/article_files_61_bfap-farm-sector-determination-report-draft-17-dec.pdf> [Accessed 13 August 2020].

[23] Moyo, D., 2014. Dead Aid. Haffmans & Tolkemitt.

[24] http://jpatton.bellevue.edu/biblical_economics/morality-economics.html

[25] https://www.ethicaltrade.org

[26] Partridge. Dale, People over Profit, Thomas Nelson, 2015 

[27] Roche, B. and Jakub, J., 2017. Completing Capitalism. 1st ed. Oakland, CA 94612-1921: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

[28] See Gollwitzer,  Protestant Theology  : 191 –  2. Gollwitzer draws very briefly here on the imagery found in Mi 4.3f, Zec 3.10, and Rom 14.17.

[29] https://landsummit.co.za/14-models-2019/

[30] https://landsummit.co.za/the-heart-of-the-law-and-the-law-of-the-heart/

[31] http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC_NewSocialCovenant_Report_2014.pdf

[32] Dreyer, W., 2011. Praktiese Ekklesiologie En Bedieningspraktyk Met Verwysing Na Die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk Van Afrika (Afrikaans).

[33] http://www.unisearch.co.za

[34] https://ranyaka.co.za

[35] https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/asset-based-community-development/

[36] Friesen J. Dwight. Thy Kingdom Connected (ēmersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith): What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks” 

[37] https://herald.pressreader.com/@Deon_Pretorius.2/csb_ik_tdjif_gzuXh-IDPUy-_sjz7BnQdPRXsLmbL9DXMD4a-I1o5UKqkbPAccX08wa

[38] https://www.goodthingsguy.com/people/sam-twala-fixing-problems

[39] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Ne 5:1–5.

[40] https://amosafrica.net

[41] https://landsummit.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2019-February-28-Land-Summit-Everyone-must-give.docx.pdf

[42] Mitchell, M., 2001. It Takes A Church To Raise A Village. Shippensburg, PA: Treasure House.

Categories
Sermons

Communication is more than words.

Communication certainly is more than words: we communicate through music, art, food, clothing, house decoration, and acting. 

There are more than 100 types of digital communication.[1] Blogs, infographics, vlogs, podcasts, cartoons, animations, apps etc. Advertisers contend for your attention, to communicate their message to you in countless of ways. One of the number one requests and challenges in marriage is communication. In the workplace most problems arise due to poor communication.  Many parents complain: “I do not know how to communicate with my child anymore.” Let’s all concur: Communication is difficult! 

Most often arguments arise because of conflicting signals and wrongly pre-conceived misconceptions about a person. It’s important to realise that while actual words mainly include dictionary type meanings but add inference, intention, context, tone, facial expression, gesture, humour, irony and metaphor and the meaning and understanding of what is said are changed or enhanced completely. We basically communicate who we are.  What you are always speaks louder than what you say. 

Communication is Connection. 

Without connection there can be no communication.  Like a power chord needs to be plugged into the power source for the current of electricity to flow from one source to another. So also, we need to be plugged in to another person or people, for true communication and transfer of information to occur.  Artists, speakers, comedians, performers strive to connect with the audience, and then deliver their content. One cannot really transfer any form of information without connecting with your hearer/s.  Surely language and words are essential to communication, but connection is more than words. Connection involves reciprocal flow, dialogue, listening and reacting, finding resonance. 

Poor communication and lack of connection leads to misunderstandings, division, slander, gossip, anarchy, offense, war and chaos. Connections lead to life. When a husband and a wife come together, babies are born. When the spirit of a person and the Spirit of God come together, new birth takes place. (John 3:5) When brothers and sisters come together in unity, God commands his blessing (Psalm 133). When the disciples came together on the day of Pentecost, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)

God is the best communicator ever! He knows how to ensure that we get the message. From narratives retold from one gene