Categories
Blogs

Jesus the fulfilment of the OT Jubilee.

Good Friday’s Message in English (Deeper Study)

The Tri-Sabbatical Jubilee of restoration for Mankind and the Earth fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection.

I am so grateful that throughout scripture we always see God having a plan, a better plan for doing things and living, a plumbline and a measure of living by which all of mankind can thrive if we will only listen and obey. We do not have to anxiously run around trying to make our own plans. “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Pet 1:3).

From all over the world, we hear about the positive effect that global lockdown is having on the ecology. From cleaner air to liberated wildlife, coronavirus lockdowns across the world appear to have had a number of positive effects on the environment.[1]

Seeing the impact that rest has on nature and the environment made me think of the biblical Jubilee. The tri-sabbatical rest: The seventh day, the seventh year, and after seven cycles, the 49th year Jubilee is a divine rhythm instituted by God for the benefit of man and nature. God knows humankind, how work and profit can consume us, how we do not know when to stop and rest. The end result is; work gets a bad name and what is intended to be a blessing becomes a curse. The truth is; however, work is good for us. All mankind should work and earn a living through their skill and contribution to each other. 

God’s intention and the reason why He instituted the Jubilee, was to build and heal a nation who were trapped in inhumane slavery for 400 years. Never again may people who were created in the image of God be treated as slaves.

Since the abolition of slavery, human rights, labour unions, and strict workplace codes of conduct, we do not see this kind of slavery anymore. It has been reduced to secret sweatshops and sex trafficking. Today the biggest form of slavery is how unequal our world has become, in a South Africa, the GINI poverty-wealth index is 63. 100 is a most unequal, 0 is a perfectly equal society. In RSA, 36% of the population lives on R36 per day. But more concerning is our high levels of debt. Fortunately, our country has strict lending criteria and credit rating measures. But with employment in the late thirties’ percentile, the coronavirus could not have come at a worse time.  

People’s greatest fear in SA is not our health, the virus, or death. The greatest question in people’s mind is; ‘how are we going to survive financially?!’ Many people’s income has been affected by the lockdown. However, it is in times like this, where people are willing to take drastic measures, not because they want to, but because they have to. If the virus is making us focus on the essentials, what are the Biblical essentials where God would have us focus on. What is God’s blueprint for getting us out of this mess? How has mankind lost its way? 

According to the Bible, poverty is a systematic problem of the heart. Poverty comes to those who are lazy or greedy. Poverty is man-made.

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.”

Nelson Mandela

When a part of the population has opulent wealth, but the other part knows abject poverty, then there is an error in the financial model. Over the last decade, many writers and economists have started speaking out regarding the growing inequality of the economy. For the first time in history, a University book written from Harvard Press became a best seller. Thomas Piketty, an economist and mathematician, revealed how the current profit-driven capitalist economy is no longer sustainable. Roche and Jakub try to heal capitalism with their more Biblical-based proposed economy of mutuality: Their hypothesis is going to become a reality sooner than they could ever have estimated because of the virus. Most sustainable businesses are the ones who integrate their investment in economic, human, social and environmental capital. [2] 

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

LandSummit – Thinktank[3]

But long before modern economists came up with some clever solutions, for the great wealth-poverty gap, God had a solution. This solution may seem impossible to implement, yet it reveals the heart of God for mankind. 

Jubilee was the Jewish declaration of war to never duplicate the inhumane system of the Egyptian pharaoh. It describes their battle of social justice for their people to keep them liberated, where each citizen remains the brother of the other, ensuring the future of the common whole. Remember, the poor person I ignore today can become tomorrow’s thief. When I purchase property that is returned after 49 years and I write off debtors after 7 years, I continue to remain in contact with my debtors to ensure they can make good on their promise in the given time. In so doing, society will not fall victim to accumulative debt. (Deut 15:1-5) The Jubilee created a society of givers, where greed-based capitalism created a society of debtors. Our biggest concern at this time is, how are we going to pay our debt? 

Sabbath is a form of emancipation, release, quitting, letting go. I give and liberate my body with which I perform work, to rest. In so doing, I also give the ground and animals who produce for me, a time of rest. I do this in humble faith in God that ultimately He is my provider, not my body, nor the land that I farm. 

For one day in the week, master and servant are equal. The servant does not serve his master, and he does not get served. Both are works of God’s creation created in His image who enjoy His grace with thankfulness. Therefore, Sabbath is a celebratory meal. The poor person saves during the week in order to at least enjoy fresh bread with butter, honey and salt; a king’s meal at Shabbat! The master is no longer in control of his servant’s body. During Jubilee, the master also surrenders his property. The principle of reviving the soil is to handle the ground in the same way as we would the human body; the crust of the earth is like the skin of the body, that must not be disturbed. Today, fresh produce has lost its nutritional value—I wonder if we could rest the soil for a year if the earth will not repair and restore the flavour and nutritional value of the fruit? Dr James Blignaut heads up the “restory” initiative to curb further land-people-degradation. [3] His restorative land movement publicise no-tillage, mulching, composting and rotation farming best practise.[4] 

The biggest consequence of modern western capitalism is, its total disrespect for anything sacred. In modern capitalism nothing is considered holy, sacred, or spiritual. Pharaoh did not want to release the people to go and worship for three days. (Ex. 5:1-2). Pharaoh typifies the inhumane industrialist who needs to make profit at all costs. The pharaoh constructed bigger storehouses, to profit the gains when harvests are poor, and prices fluctuate. He turned Joseph’s divine storage solution during the 7th year drought into a system to gain people’s land who cannot pay and eventually making them his slaves. Owning land is dignity; it is God’s provision for every man to remain free. This is why the word Adam, and Adama stems from the same root word – earth. The pharaoh’s greed is how the wealthy Jewish families, who started off as recipients through Joseph of the best land (Gen 47:5) became landless slaves. Joseph instituted that one 5th of the produce be given to Pharoah (Gen 47:20-25), but eventually the pharaoh who did not know Joseph wanted it all. (Exo 1:8-11) 

When God delivered His people, He wanted them to not think of themselves as slaves anymore. Through the Jubilee, each person become a type of Moses deliverer and kingly father that emancipates his people from slavery. One day a week, and each seventh-year people are freed from pyramid type hierarchies of positional imperialism and domination. Everybody gets delivered from systemic Egypt, the place of slavery. In the following verses, you can clearly see, God’s heart towards slaves. 

And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. (Lev. 25:39)

For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God. (Lev. 25:42-43).

And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigor. (Lev 25:46)

He shall be with him as a yearly hired servant, and he shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight. (Lev. 25:53)

For years there has been criticism of the two monotheistic religions Jews and Christians, that we have ruled the earth and animals, at the expense of the earth and the ecology. Obviously, with the Jubilee, both the ground and the human being comes to rest. Both are important before God, and a provision for the other.

“You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute. 7 Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked. 8 And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous. 9 “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 10 “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. Exodus 23:6–12.

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. 6 And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you.” (Leviticus 25:2–6

He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Leviticus 23:11

The Sabbath rest literally means giving up control, releasing your grip, giving up your control. 

The rhythm of rest is the rhythm of giving. We work hard and create tension; the tension then gets released like breathing through the tri-sabbatical Jubilee. God’s system is natural and mutually beneficial. 

The highlight of the Jubilee is after 49 years, the ownership of the land is restored to the original owner (Lev 25: 23-28, 54). This giveaway prevents owners from becoming magnates and super moguls who gain more than they need. Through this act, we are all reminded that everyone is stewards of God’s land. 

In Lev. 26:35 ground that did not rest due to disobedience will rest indeed in the time of punishment. 2 Chron. 36:21 explicitly connect Jeremiah’s figure of 70 to Lev. 26:34.35. “Those who survived the sword, God exiled to Babylon … in fulfilment of the word of Adonai spoken by Jeremiah’ until the land has repaid its Sabbaths, as long as it lay desolate it kept its Sabbath until seventy years were complete.” Then, in the Book of Daniel the 70 years became “seventy ‘weeks'” = 70 x 7 = 490 years. Only with the passage of that period would the sin that caused the exile to be fully expiated (Daniel 9:24). [5]

What is the connection between Jubilee and Good Friday, Easter and Jesus?

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is our tri-sabbatical rest. 

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord [b]even of the Sabbath.” – Matthew 12:1-8

Christ Jesus’ death on the cross, His guidance, His sacrifice of obedience was the eternal, and greatest “reset” of all time! In Christ, everything and everyone in harmony with God and each other is reconciled. 

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (I Cor. 15:22)

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18)

When Jesus stood up in his home-town and declared these words, He announced the rest, reset, restoration, liberty, healing that will manifest through believing in Him.  

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-29) On the great day of Pentecost, when the new covenant was sanctioned, a Spiritual Jubilee took place. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44) It is our testimony that when people truly turn to God and become full of the Holy Spirit, they relinquish ownership of their own bodies and possessions.  

The Advantages of Christ-centred Jubilee

§ Jubilee is a form of “reset” for your body, the soil, and society. Like a computer or mobile phone that “hangs” needs a hard reset at times. All of humanity needs to return to Jesus’ value system and guidelines, the measure of the best life to live. Being born again, and receiving His righteousness is supernatural “reset” of our being. (2 Cor 5:17) 

§ In the Jubilee, both the working class and the master are equated, to give, and to place themselves under God’s rule. Jesus also gave His body to die on the cross to remove the middle wall of separation between slave and owner, and between race-superiority. (Eph 2:14-18) 

§ Everyone should work, and everyone should rest. In the current Western capitalist model, people want to make enough money, have so-called passive income and stop working. Retirement is not a biblical concept.  He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide.  (Proverbs 18:9 AMP) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Eph 4:28) 

A consumer-driven society becomes a creative, working, goodwill, benevolent driven society. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God created a new social eco-system, called His body, bride and church where we take care of another. (Col 2:19; 3:15; Eph 1:22; 4:4; 5:30; Rom 12:5) 

§ Both the soil and the human body can produce more optimally if we follow strict rest measures. We can only work harder, if we also maintain good rest! True rest is found in the rest of faith. (Rom 15:13)

§ The gap between rich and poor is drastically reduced, as we all take our responsibility of fraternity to one another seriously, to say, “I want to be my brother’s keeper.” The biggest systemic challenge of poverty is disconnection, exclusion, stigmatisation, distance in relationships. (1 John 3:17) 

A government as a Welfare State is replaced by a social system of decentralised localised interdependence, co-accountability which morph-develop from the ground up. These Jubilee changes will not be implemented from the top-down by the State. It will be implemented at ground-zero, the most local level, where authentic existing Farther-type leaders are gathering a Christ-centred value-based, new order of Social Covenant and mutual trust.[6] 

Our Agricultural Think Tank predicts that we will see Post-Covid19 a new form of financial collateral emerging: Currently, banks are only financing land value, and tradable shares. In the future, we will need to set up Development Banks, in order to see production as a collateral. Community banks, and community lending such as Stokvel will become mainstream. Communities will move closer with “social compacts” and “collaboratives”. We will see a new emphasis on localisation.[7] 

What is the Heart of Jubilee? GIVE, GIVE, GIVE!

God gave His only begotten son (John 3:16).

As we give, we become free from fear! 

As we open our hands, God is busy resetting us towards His purpose! 

As we receive Christ individually and collectively, we will see a new social order, and subsequent new economy develops God’s way.  

The biblical way to break through the uncertainty is to give up the fear of the future. Tobias and Dr Ruben Richards are currently leading an initiative whereby each Citrus producer in the OlifantsRiverValley will give a 10th of their local market earmarked oranges for the Western Cape Government to be part of the distribution of 50,000 food parcels a day for the winter season.

Beginning Tuesday, Wena Botha will be training the poor in Work4aLiving; to the community-led provision to 28 homeless people with a roof over their heads, daily meals. As a church, we are monitoring our people in the congregation’s situation, providing help through our apostolic fund so that everyone has food eat and is cared for.

In the weeks to come, we will give, even more, help and support, work for reconciliation, make peace, build bridges, the complete healing of the whole person. Because the Great Jubilee is abiding within us! 

  [1] Piketty, T. and Goldhammer, A., n.d. Capital In The Twenty-First Century.

 Roche, B. and Jakub, J., n.d. Completing Capitalism

[2] Piketty, T. and Goldhammer, A., n.d. Capital In The Twenty-First Century.

 Roche, B. and Jakub, J., n.d. Completing Capitalism

[3] https://landsummit.co.za/about/

[4] https://restory.co.za

[5] The Triple Shabbat and its Implications for Poverty, Accumulation of Wealth, and Human Freedom. Noam Zion, Hartman Institute, Noam.zion@gmail.com – excerpted from: Jewish Giving in Comparative Perspectives: History and Story, Law and Theology, Anthropology and Psychology. Book One: From Each According to One’s Ability: Duties to Poor People from the Bible to the Welfare State and Tikkun Olam. 

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

[7] https://youtu.be/22wIcMMrrNU Tim du Plessis 

Categories
Blogs

Who Will Save?

Blogpost by Apostle André Pelser

Who can save us?

In Egypt, the 10 Plagues destroyed a nation to free another. God did signs and wonders to give Pharaoh a chance to repent and release the Jews to go and serve God, but he bluntly refused. There are many theories of how the plagues could have happened, like at a certain time of the year the red reeds in the Nile let off a substance that changes the color of the water to red, like how the plague of insects caused the plague of frogs, like how the Red Sea gets shallow at certain times, but the only true explanation is the plagues were supernatural. It was not a rare disease that killed the firstborn during the last plague, but the Angel of Death that flew over the homes of the Jews because they covered their doorposts with blood of a spotless lamb.

Revelation speaks of plagues that will come over the earth in the last days just like they did in the time of Egypt. According to Revelation, one-third of the earth’s population would die.

The Coronavirus has spread to over 27 nations from China where over 2 000 people have already died, and tens of thousands of Chinese are affected as a result of the virus. They have not found a cure for it yet. Wherever you travel you get confronted with a corona testing gun at customs and all officials wear masks. The epidemic has affected air and sea travel and passengers are stuck.

Chinese eat about everything. The coronavirus was transferred from animal meat to humans.

The SARS virus, also from China, has also struck fear in the hearts of people, as did the Ebola virus from West Africa.

One-third of Australia’s forests have been burned to the ground and many people died and others lost their homes. Then great hailstones the size of golf balls hit Australia and people had no answer.

Floods devastate many countries and heavy snowfalls cause havoc.

There are wars all over the world and cities look like ruins. People flee their own countries to seek refuge elsewhere. It is crisis upon crisis. The world leaders regularly meet to find answers, but they have none.

The world has become a fearful place and there is no safe place anymore.

Unless God protects us in these days, we have no protection at all. Unless the Lord protects the house, those who try to protect it do so in vain. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who try to build it will not succeed.

The answer is: only God. Only God can save us – no one else. The safest place is in the will of God for your life.

There are life-threatening diseases all over the world, malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis B and scores of other dangerous maladies. Inoculations help to prevent some of it, but unless the Lord protects us, we have no defense against the onslaught of evil infections.

Crime and violence have increased at a drastic rate, fraud and corruption bring nations to their knees, governments are dishonest and can no longer be trusted. Many nations are bankrupt in the world, and some that seem to be going strong is merely avoiding the collapse.

Paul said, in the last days terrifying times will come because of 3 causes: men will be lovers of money, lovers of self and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Greed is a result of the love of money; selfish interest is the result of self-love and lust results in loving pleasure. Europe speaks of a post-Christian era and no longer even believe in God. Young people everywhere are taught that Christianity is old-fashioned and religious.

Paul explained in the first chapter of the book of Romans that people who do not want to retain God in their thinking will be handed over to their own pleasures such as men doing unseemly things with men and women with women. The result of rejecting God is the cause of all the immorality, homosexuality and lesbianism in the world. God has handed them over to their own designs and lusts because they put God out of their minds.

Peter assures us that we can escape the corruption that is in the world through the great and precious promises of God in His Word, but people regard the Bible as outdated and no longer meditate in the Word. They have gone astray like sheep, because they do not heed the voice of the Great Shepherd. Most Churches in the world have rejected the Bible and priests and preachers give self-motivation lessons instead of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

And yet, amidst the chaos in the world, the Spirit of God is still brooding like it did right at the beginning of creation when God created everything out of dark chaos.

Out of the chaos in the world God is creating a new nation, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests and a peculiar people who show forth the praises of God in the earth, people who know how to worship God in spirit and in truth, the way God desires it.

Only God can save us and protect us from all the terrible things that is coming over the earth. He protects us in several ways.

He protects us through dreams and visions. He directed Joseph the husband of Mary, through dreams of Angels appearing to him and telling him where to go and when to go. God has protected us as a family through many dreams that Nola, my wife, had.

He protects us by His Holy Spirit that leads and guides us into all truth and even shows us things to come. The Holy Spirit gives an inner conviction what to do and what not to do, where to go and where not to go and what to say and what not to say. He nudges us with promptings to do the will of God. Hilton, our youngest son, was in Sri Lanka when the Holy Spirit prompted him to get up and leave immediately. Later, the same day, a revolution broke out with much violence and they closed down the trains, busses and airports. If he did not head the voice of the Holy Spirit, he would have been stuck for a long time.

Jesus promised those who believe in His Name that they would not be harmed even if they drank deadly things. Twice I have been poisoned in Africa, but survived by the grace of God. The second time the doctors announced twice that I was going to die. My heart actually stopped beating and all my vital organs stopped functioning and I couldn’t breathe. But Nola blew into my mouth and said, ‘Ruach!’ which is the Hebrew word for ‘Breath of God’. God saved me and brought me back to life again.

God has given men & women knowledge in medical science to create vaccines to immunize people against deadly diseases such as polio, malaria, yellow fever, influenza and measles. Penicillin brought relief to many sufferers, blood transfusion saved lives and heart transplants lengthen the lives of many.

God uses the wisdom of the elderly to give advice to the young ones, if they listen, they will be safe. Going to Church is probably the best advice to give to anyone, because that is where you hear the Word of the Lord. His Word upholds all things in creation.

His Word brings health to all your being. His Word guides you along your life’s path. His Word sustains you. His Word corrects you. His Word warns you of what is to come. God told Joshua to meditate in the Word day and night and then he would have good success and make his way prosperous. He needed wisdom to lead the Jewish nations into the Promised Land. Solomon desired wisdom above everything else and because he did that God also gave him fame and fortune. He had to govern a great nation after David, his father, passed away.

As God saved the Jews and brought them out of Egypt through the dry bed of the Red Sea after He made a miraculous way for them, so God will save those who trust in Him in these last days when Jesus returns to take His bride away from this earth. We are to encourage and comfort each other with these words. We have a blessed hope in Christ. We are not hopeless or helpless in this world. We have Savior in Jesus Christ. He will save us. We are to keep our eyes on Him, trust in Him and live for Him.

God will save us.

Categories
Blogs

Rediscover Our Healing Mandate

Why HRCO does what we do?

What is the foundational motive that drives us to do what we do?

I want to suggest it’s HEALING!

Michael Jr, the famous comedian says: “Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day, teach a man how to catch fish and feed him for a lifetime.” According to Michael this is quite complicated, because then you have to have a fishing rod , license, boat and a place where fish are, to be able to teach the man. So what if you teach him why he needs fishing, that makes it his job to teach himself? Michael Jr’s ‘ Why ‘ is to inspire people through humor to live their creation goal.  Since he discovered his ‘why’, the ‘what’ he does is no longer so important, because everything flows from his ‘why’.[1]

Simon Sinek explains a simple, yet powerful model for how leaders inspire action, on the basis of a golden circle and the question “Why?” as the core point. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers-and as a counterpoint Tivo, who struggles. 

The Golden Circle’s core is, why? How? And then what? The above three examples of business enterprises are individuals who market themselves and are driven from the core “why”.  Apple always markets themselves first as innovators who have produced among other computers. According to Simon, the “Why” we do things is the most basic ingredient that we present to each other. We are obviously grouping around people with the same “why”.[2]

This brings me to the core question about our congregation: Why do we exist? The answer came suddenly one day in my spirit, and suddenly everything fell into place. As an adopted 13-year-old son, my quest for acceptance became an identity. With my encounter with Jesus 35 years ago, He took me on a journey to discover His identity. The more I get to know Him, and do as He leads, the more I discover my true identity. Since then, I have experienced healing as a person in so many levels and have begun to strive to make the world a healed place ~ healthy people, relationships, communities, workplaces, and economy.

In 1989 I saw Dr Andre Pelser perform “Miracle Man”, a one-man stage production based on the conduct of John G Lake’s life. I was deeply stirred and inspired to seek healing for the entire human being.  Nearly 10 years later, in 1998 I became part of Harvester, and increasingly began to see God heal people completely in spirit, soul and body. Jesus heals and recovers first our broken relationship with God. Then He takes us on a journey of self-denial, to renew our minds by His word. As a result, we treat people differently, and He teaches us to walk in peace with all people, without compromise. By making ourselves accountable to His family – the Body, the congregation challenges our behavior.  Ultimately, we each find our function in the Body, and we become His instruments of healing, while still maintaining healing in us. 

For several years, the Holy Spirit has led us to make Jesus Christ our vision and mission. In 2019 we focused on an awakening to His righteousness. Systematically, the Lord led us deeper and deeper to discover His great “why.”  Jesus is our focus, but why Jesus? Why did Jesus become man, die for our sins, rise from the dead – all wrought for our salvation? The answer is now obvious.

Jesus wants to heal, reconcile, repair, restore, reshape, liberate and enable us to live His creation purpose to the fullest.

Jesus

A tree was made to bear tasty fruit. Likewise, God created man in His image to bear divine good fruit. Sin has misformed us, to sow destruction. Because of man’s disobedience and mistaken identity, our World has become more and more broken.  Sickness, infirmity, pain, discomfort, and their restrictions prevent us from being able to live God’s creation goal. Our cry is therefore for healing! We are all looking for sustainable, real, profound, complete healing! 

Illness is an obstruction, inhibition or limiting of our natural capabilities.  A healthy baby has a definite functionality regarding movement, abilities, and intellect. Illness or disease puts a limit on this functionality. This is why Jesus said: The Kingdom belongs to a child. (Mark 10:15) A child is innocent, uninhibited, free, love easily, forgives quickly, playful, innovative, appetite to learn new things, non-judgmental, and dependent. We often say when a baby is born: ‘it’s perfect!’ 

Why are we sick? What makes us sick?

There are many libraries filled with information about the causes of disease. I only mention a few: some diseases have a genetic cause or are virally transferable, and thus exist due to external causes. Psychologists suggest that 85% of all diseases have an emotional, psychosomatic cause.  Lifestyle choices, in terms of diet and exercise also play a huge role in regard to our overall health.  In addition, a misrelated identity, and consequential convictions, can lead our worldview into dramatic constraints.   Sin is disobedience to God, to decide against His will, and rather do your own thing leads to death and distraction. People living outside of His design, instructions, laws will never find complete health and wholeness. 

Dr Paul Carlin developed the “belief therapy” program after twenty year’s work in a Texas prison, because he said: “People do what they do because they believe what they believe”. Ultimately, these beliefs become a religious tradition, and a culture that keeps people stuck, limiting them to never reach their natural potential. Think how in certain religions, how the role of the woman and the child is still marginalized. 

Right now, we are experiencing a radical information revolution. There are 3.5 billion Google searches per day. About 1.3 billion people are registered on YouTube, uploading nearly 300 hours of video per minute. Most of these searches and information are directed around health and self-improvement.  There are currently more than 250000 apps available to monitor your health. New Smart Watches measure all kinds of aspects of your physical health: sleep patterns, heart rate, blood pressure, sugar levels, and heart rhythm ~ information that can help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis. New online websites like ‘Hello Dr’ can bring you into instant contact with medical professional’s advice.[3]

People are therefore physically healthier. People are generally living longer! But how healthy are we really? While we are being healed of one thing, we are getting sick again of something else. Health is, however, not merely a physical aspect. We are all becoming older, and so our bodies are not functioning optimally. When you speak with the caregivers in old age homes, they will soon say to you: “difficult youngsters become dramatically more difficult old people.” Health also cannot become a selfish looking-out-for-myself-only survival attitude. Healthy people also need to use their healthy lives to heal others. 

That total human being consists of:

  • Spirit — connection, consciousness.
  • Emotions – feelings.
  • Intellect – thought patterns, values, worldview.
  • Behavior – habits.
  • Social interaction – relationships.
  • Physically – physiologically.
  • Identity – the Self- the I.

In our journey with Jesus we discovered that health is not only the healing of a specific physical illness or condition, but a complete comprehensive healthy lifestyle of the total human being.

Thousands of hours’ diets, supplements, wonder agents, therapy and operations may be effective, but they all only deal with one aspect of our health. You can physically be 100% healthy but emotionally battered due to broken relationships. You can be a good person, with countless achievements and still feel something missing in your life because you haven’t yet made peace with God.   You can physically be healthy, intellectually brilliant, but if you are still broken within yourself, egoistic, self-directed, selfish and on a quest for self-determination, you are miserable and regressing. Think about the self-centeredness of a Hitler, and a yoga guru like Bikram Choudhury who deceived their followers.  

Jesus is Our Healing

Total healing is to be found only in Jesus Christ. Jesus is healing and health! When we awoke to the reality of His person, values, thinking, habits and way of living, we discovered the central core point of all medicine. Without Jesus there is not sustainable health and wellness. For, He does not only heal one aspect of our humanity. He stretches out His hand, asking us to follow Him. As we follow Him, doing what He says, we are responding to a life far healthier at every level, to help others to be healed. After all, there is no disease in heaven. Therefore, Jesus’ heart is His why, to see us healthy. 

Becoming like Jesus is the key to a fulfilled and happy life. You will then be the best spouse, the best business leader, and the best worker for any business enterprise. You will also be the best friend and the best parent. The mature character, values, mindset, ethics, habits, attitude and lifestyle of Christ are like a standard, a pacesetter, a directional standard to live the perfect life. We are the most beautiful people when we live most like Christ.  In other words, we are the best people if we are most like Him, if we do as He does right, follow His ethical and moral example, pursue His unspotted character and dedicate our lives to serving humanity. Living like Jesus is the best way of living! The Jesus-Life is a universal truth, a premise, a blueprint and basis for life. Christ is perfect, blameless, the right standard and median of morality. 

In our journey with Jesus, we also discover His divine paradoxical values: justice and kindness, impartiality and respect for all people, non-reactionary creativity, revolutionary pacifism, servant leadership, supernatural humanity, separated team-player, and so much more!

The moment we receive His life and start living accordingly, everything changes. Our relationships, thinking, work and lifestyle are healthy and healing to others.

Why does Supernatural Healing Has a Bad Name?

Any form of medicine has a certain success factor.  Why does supernatural healing have such an irregular success factor? Why do only some churches and minstries have reasonable success? How enduring is this success?  Someone who is sick is desperate for a solution, for any reasonable chance, even is satisfied with a 50/50 that will give a desperate sufferer new hope. But a form of medicine with such a poor success, will and must be rejected. Even natural medications have a much more significant conversion factor.  To pray for people for healing and describe it as God’s love is problematic, because why are some healthy and others not?

The question is not whether God heals people, but rather why He does not heal everyone.

From various questionnaires, most people, as well as doctors believe that prayer is beneficial to sick people. There are many recorded records of medically verifiable divine healings. The same question was asked of a panel of faith-based physicians and the answer was: to preserve the integrity and the heart of the gospel. Healing doesn’t happen to all but if there are healings, they never happen in the same way, nor by the same person. [4] The reason: when a certain person or method is 100% successful in healing every infirmity, humans will worship the person and the method and will capitalize the method without realizing the wonder and depth of God. It is also much easier for people to try any miracle cure or remedy without the hard work of behavioural change.  Often it is our very behaviour that caused the disease.

To ascribe healing to our faith, or its failure is also problematic, because although faith has played a part in most healings, the Lord has healed some without any faith on their part.  If faith alone is the solution, can’t we then just heal ourselves? Should we then also save ourselves too? Understand that salvation is a gift, and that our faith in God ultimately does work salvation. Yet there are many who truly believe, and truly are actively believing, and still have not received healing.  Therefore, praying from the knowledge that God always wants to heal is truly difficult if it does not happen. So, why not? Is it Satan? Too little faith? Dis you not kept the faith? We then have a problem. It brings little comfort, especially if you’ve mustered up all your faith praying for healing for someone you love. Although we believed, it didn’t work. Although we had compassion, it seemed not enough. Although we received promises from the Word and prophecy, it is not fulfilled. Where does this leave us? 

GOD IS HEALING

Healing is inherent who God is, the Earth and creation has a self-healing ability. This is precisely the wonder of creation, the medicinal natural drugs that are locked up in nature.   God created us to heal and be healthy.  “For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exo 15:26) Jehovah-Rapha – The Lord Who Heals. (Psalm 103:3; Psalm 147:3; 1 Peter 2:24) God is love, this means He is never not love. The same applies to Healing – God is the healer. This means, He is never not healing. Healing is part of who He is. Remember, we are not physically sick! Disease and illness are symptomatic not only regarding our bodies. Our economy is sick. We’re emotionally sick. We are relationally sick as a society. We are spiritually sick. The world is morally sick. Illness is symptomatic of an entire society that has been removed from God.  If all of society serves the Lord, be true to be doing what He says, appropriating everything He has made available to us, and then as Jesus bringing wellness to all people around us, should there be any more illness?

Illness’ Origin:

  1. Sin:
    1. Wrong habits and behavior: Miriam (Num 12:10); Gehasi (2 Kings 5:27); Uzziah (2 Chron 26:16-23) and Elymas (Acts 13:11). “Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” (Prov 3:8 NOT).
    1. Your words: The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Prov 18:21 NLT).  “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Prov 16:24 NLT)
    1. Unforgiveness ~ makes a person bitter and diseased, as if tortured. (1 Cor 11:28-30; Mat 6:21-35)
    1. Your thinking: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs 14:30 – NLT).  “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 – NLT)
    1. Not all sickness is due to sin. (Job 42:7-8)
  2. The Devil: 
    1. Demons: Mat 17:18 to 9:25, 42; to 4:35; 4:39
    1. Oppressed by the Devil: “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
    1. Spirit of infirmity: Luke 13:11, 16
  3. The Lord, God is sovereign: “Look now; I myself am he! There is no other god but me. I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!”. (Deuteronomy 32:39),  Gen 12:17, Ex 4:11, 15:25, 1 Sam 25; 37-38; 2 Sam 12:15, Deut 28:15-68, 32:39, 2 Chron 15:5, 2 Chron 21:18, 19, 26:20-2; Acts 12:22, 23; 13:8-12 as well as Job 5:18.
  4. Indirectly, by other people: A person can be infected by someone else through bacterial infections ~ a battle where innocent people become victims.  Therefore, another person’s sin and transgression can sometimes be the cause of your sickness and disease.
  5. The fallen nature: “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:18-22 NLT). Heat waves, plagues, drought, Tsunamis, etc. Sometimes life just happens like breaking an arm by stumbling and falling. 

Although it is important to know the cause of illness, the more important question is how do I become healthy? Ultimately, it is by God’s heart that we will live healthily (Deut. 11:26).

What is God’s Heart for Healing?

REVEALING THE ROOT OF DISEASE

Ever wondered why Jesus often had a firm admonishment to people not to tell of their healing? Was it not the point, that all would believe in Him?

Jesus never did any healing in the same way, but for Him healing was more than simply the healing of the symptoms. He always wanted to heal the root cause, and the whole man. This is why the leper man was asked to go to the priest, so that the quarantine could be lifted, and he was allowed again to be part of the community.  “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainsideSuddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.  Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Matt 8:1-5)

“But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, but he warned them not to reveal who he was.” (Matt 12:15-16). Here Jesus healed a crowd of people, yet He does not capitalize on the supernatural to draw even more people. It is clear as explained earlier: Jesus is not just a miracle guru, magician who heals all the sick! For then we would use Him to receive healing without the cause being revealed, the why we became ill in the first place. 

BEYOND PHENOMENA 

Jesus asked His disciples; “who do you say I am?” After Peter declared openly, admitting that He is the Messiah, they were commanded not to tell anybody about it!  Is it not the goal that people will know He is the Messiah? That’s what salvation is all about, that every man will believe He is the Christ? “Then Jesus instructed his disciples to tell no one that he is the Christ.” (Matt 16:20). Isn’t this an ever- deepening mystery! The principle is this: Jesus doesn’t just want us to worship him! He wants us to follow Him. It is our obedient pursuit of the person Jesus Christ, who brings healing to the total human being. 

Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount is a sheer proof of His divinity. People are natural doubters.  Why just allow a few disciples to experience it? Would the Pharisees, and all His enemies not come to repentance, if they saw for themselves what was happening there? “As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matt 17:9).  Jesus did not capitalize on the moment of His divine transfiguration and disclosure to man. Think of people who have been together in places of divine phenomena throughout the centuries, worshiping the phenomenon like robots. 

One of the most spectacular miracles Jesus did was the healing of the deaf and dumb man.  The man not only received society’s reintegration, but God restored his speech in one moment.  If someone’s hearing would be healed, it would take a speech therapist months to help the person speak correctly.     “Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!  Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news.” (Mark 7:36). Here is one of the most spectacular miracles, one which if happened today would bring about through today’s marketing techniques, undeniable evidence ensuring a faithful following. Yet Jesus did this miracle in privacy.  

PURSUIT OF HIS PERSON

Many people wondered about Jesus, but the demons knew exactly who He was. Is there no greater evidence of His ministry and authenticity than the demons recognizing him?  “But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered.” (Mark 1:25 – NLT).  Yet He did not allow them to speak.

Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. The healing transpired in secret, and then again “barred from telling it to someone else.” (Mark 8:26, 30)

The authenticity of the Gospel writers’ testimony is the seemingly useless information that is not omitted. The fact that Jesus instructs them to give the child something to eat, has seemingly no purpose. Yet it makes the stories, genuine and credible.  Once again a perfect opportunity to convince people. Jesus is not using an extravaganza to impress people.  Her parents were dumb with astonishment, and Jesus forbid them to tell someone what had happened. (Luke 8:56)

The climax of Jesus’ popularity is when He multiplies the food to the crowd. When the people saw the miracle sign Jesus did, they said: “He is truly the prophet, the one who had to come to the world.” When Jesus saw that they would come to make him king with violence, he went on to the mountain, he alone.” (John 6:14-15)

FAITH BEYOND HEALING

Again, Jesus is fleeing the elevation of people, the worship of men.  He wants to make us aware that there is something deeper than healing, miracles, and food supply.  All of these things are temporary, but there’s more that God wants to give us. These signs and wonders are just that, signs. It is like road signs, direction givers to a greater reality. Miracles are indeed important.  “And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Cor 2:4-5- NLT)

What is the greater reality that Jesus wanted them to see? Jesus said to them: “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”  They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:26-29) Jesus is the gift of healing, not only the event of healing. So, if I receive Jesus, I am healthy because I know the Doctor!  

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”  (Exodus 15:26).  

RETURN TO CREATION PURPOSE

Jesus wants to restore, heal, reformat, reshape and reconcile us to our creation purpose: to represent God, the divine, the good; uplifting, positive and fruitful.  Worshippers who have been worshipping to encounter a divine phenomenon have not yet realized their own divine-expressing purpose in God. They wait and beg for a miracle from above. They don’t realize the miracle is Christ, that He will come to dwell in us, and do so by the miracle of His living and doing right in us.

The healing Christ who is working in us is also more than just the physical healing. He wants to heal our entire humanity. He wants God’s creation purpose for us, in our restoration process.  “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”  (Romans 8:29 – NLT). In all these stories where Jesus admonished people not to tell of the healings for they were amazed and impressed with Jesus. So, they wanted to worship Him, but He disallowed it. He seeks more than our worship; He seeks our faith-filled obedience!

There are two accounts where Jesus was impressed: the one was the healing of the officer’s slave (Mat 8:5-13; Lk. 7:1-10; John. 4:43-54). This man also came to seek healing from Jesus, but when he saw Him, he greeted Him as Lord ~ he saw Jesus as a man with authority like him. So, he asked Jesus to only say the word. Jesus’ response was: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 8:10-12)

Read this verse thoroughly. Jesus is making a historical, watershed statement! “…many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven…”  God rejects the religious establishment of the day, favouring people who rightfully see Him. For those who see Him, truly see! People of every nation and language who sees Jesus for who He really is, who don’t just see Him as an “architype”, an impersonal machine makes people healthy.  

The other story is of the Canaanite woman who Jesus initially refused to help.   “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.” (Mat 15:28). She didn’t accept Jesus’ refusal, and continued to believe.  

We see that Jesus also wanted His disciples to really see Him, understand Him. Isn’t this the quest of any teacher, leader, or predecessor? Some people are there only for the money, the fame, the position, the healing, the miracle. Jesus finally wanted them to do what He was doing. They had to perform miracles just as He did in faith. (Luke 10:19; Mat 10:8)

Three miracles where Jesus shows His frustration of disciples that do not see:

  1. Jesus calming the storm. “Why are you afraid? Have ye not faith? “ (Mark 4:40)
  2. The multiplication of the bread. “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37)
  3. Peter is the first disciple to understand / see. Then Peter said to him: “Lord, if it really is you, command me to come to you on the water.” “Come!” he said. (Mat 14:28-29) Yet he quickly began to doubt when he looked at the waves. Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hand, grabbed him, and said to him, “Little, why did you begin to doubt?” (Mat 14:31)

“The purpose of Jesus is not only to save men from their sins, but by the grace of God to begin in the souls of men that marvelous development in the nature and mind and understanding of God our Father, until by the grace of God we are able to take our place and our part in the kingdom of Jesus Christ and bear our share of responsibility.”

― John G. Lake,

The Healthiest People Believe Right

“But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”(Rom. 14:23) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) How many of our decisions, choices, habits, are grounded in our convictions? How we see the products we buy? Why do we buy them? Where we live, and work is all grounded in what we believe about ourselves, God and the future.  

Jesus became man, physically demonstrated by what He preached, and finally died for our sin, to reconcile us to God. He rose from the dead, ascended and sat down at the right hand of God, and when the Holy Spirit was sent, He was to reign in us! What are we waiting for? What more on earth does God have to do? He has accomplished everything for us to be in Him, it is through His grace that we are empowered to live through Christ in every place He calls us!

So, if we see right, really see, we see what He did, who He is! If we believe it, with conviction, we suddenly see the world in a whole different light. While we continue to do exactly what He commands us to do, this life changes completely for us. We will have an entirely opposite perspective and have a new attitude toward life, things and people! We are healed, in body, soul and spirit.

Jesus Cures the Entire Man

John G. Lake believed that Jesus’ healing work is threefold: (1) He frees us from evil, so that we may be spiritually healthy, and full of the Holy Ghost. We communicate and experience connectedness with God through our spirit. (2)  The Lord heals our soul and so our connection with people. Because we have made peace with God, the Lord heals our soul. Our soul is how we are connected with mankind around us.  (3) Soul-peace and peace with self and the people around me is healing!

Jesus was always holistically concerned about all human beings and not just the symptoms of disease.  He often first handled the spiritual aspects.  His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, focused on the basic conflicts in her personality.  For Jesus, health is more than just the absence of physical and mental illnesses — it is about the entire person.

God wants to heal us, but more: He wants us to heal others through our being healed! “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”  (Ez. 47:12)

“I said, “Lord, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” (Ps. 41:4)

Jesus Heals in Different Ways

God not only cares about the healing of our bodies. He also wants us to learn a authentic, healthy lifestyle.  You yourself is responsible for your health.  

  1. Confess your sin (James 5:16)
  2. Elders anoint with oil (James 5:14-15)
  3. Doctors are for the sick (Mat 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31) is referred to Luke as the “beloved Healer” (Col 4:14)
  4. Medical care:  The compassionate Samaritan connects with the man and anoints his wounds. (Luke 10:33 – 34)
  5. Alternative medicine: “Use a little wine for the stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23)
  6. Our presence brings healing: The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the Nations (Revelation 22:2; Psalm 1:2-3; Eze 47:12; Jeremiah 17:8)
  7. The Word of God heals. (Luk 4:4)
  8. When Jesus saw their faith: (Mar 2:5; Mat 9:29a)
  9. Forgiveness: (Mat 18:34-35)
  10. Associate by the sacrament of His suffering: (1 Cor. 11:28 – 30)
  11. Praise: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.”(Psalm 103:1 – 3 – NLT)
  12. Cloths and hankies were anointed: (Acts 19:11-12)
  13. Laying on of Hands: (Mar 6:5, 13; 16:15, 17–18)
  14. Casting out Devils: (Mar 9:14-29; Matt. 17:14-20; Lk. 9:37-43)
  15. Serve the Lord and avoid what is evil: “Then you will have healing for your body  and strength for your bones.”(Proverbs 3:8)

The Conclusion is: Christ is Health. 

When we are most like Jesus, we are the healthiest people on the planet!

It is also possible to live a healthy life:

  • When my relationship with God, self, people and nature is healthy and holy.
  • When I regularly exercise, sleep well, and follow a balanced healthy diet.
  • When my work is healing and in harmony with nature. 
  • When my thinking is like a garden, what I plant determines my decisions, how I think, and how I live.
  • When I help, give and serve others.
  • When I become like a child, having healthy fun is a miracle cure!
  • When I am hospitable to prepare wonderful meals for others. 
  • When I become a peacemaker working reconciliation among people.

God’s Gift of Healing to The Nations is His Healed Church

Our Meetings create an atmosphere for healing:

HARVESTER MEETINGS

We believe church has something to do with a healing garden, the restoration of Eden. Everything we do, in sacred diversity, complex simplicity, interdependence, creates a healing habitat, where people can be healed on every level.  

The Bible gives us no time indicative of exactly when believers have come together. We regularly read about ‘ daily ‘, ‘ first day of the week ‘, communal meals.  That is to say: Church-be happening in the side! We like to be together! We enjoy each other’s company, and to become profound spirit Fellows in our relationships! We therefore hold several gatherings, for children, adults, men, women, all-over, for Afrikaans but also English people, for old people and young people, for business people and farmers, for all who are in a married day! The list just goes on and on!

We hold all kinds of gatherings for all kinds of people, so that everyone can discover and learn Jesus to follow him!

Meeting Elements:

  1. Our meetings focus on scripture based, doctrinal balanced, accurate Jesus-centered preaching.
  2. Our meetings are spiritual, but space is given for spiritual and supernatural events, where we pray for the sick and lay hands on, and cast out devils, and flourish in the application of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Our meetings focus on praise and worship that pleases God.
  4. Our meetings make room for testimonies, mutual constructive inputs.
  5. Our meetings have participation as part of our nature.
  6. Our meetings are surprising, relevant, and creative.
  7. We make room in our meetings for prayer, meditation, and listening to what God wants to say.
  8. We commemorate the Lord’s sacrament as often as we can.
  9. We regularly offer people the opportunity to give as the Lord lays it on their hearts.
Healing For Relationships

HARVESTER HUISKERK

We believe in great gatherings that impact, but also in relationships that grow deeper not only in the small group. Our home groups must be close enough so that there can be real support in times of need. Therefore, we want to offer house churches in every town in the Olifantsvallei and Matsikama surroundings. The house church is your spiritual family, caring group. Here is where we learn to develop our spiritual gifts. Discipleship, accountability, and discipline happen in the loving intimacy of the smaller family. 

Home Group Leaders

  1. Jan & Celna Genis (Clanwilliam/County water)
  2. Willie & Wena Botha (Clanwilliam)
  3. Audrey & Dave Botes (Clanwilliam) 
  4. Dirkie & Lezel Mouton (Clanwilliam)
  5. Francois & Bertina Engelbrecht (Lamberts Bay)
  6. WP & Karien VD Merwe (Citrusdal)
  7. Tom & Haneke Ferreira (Citrusdal)
  8. Owen & Cherisse Burger (Citrusdal) 
  9. Neil & Olivia Hall (Citrusdal) 
  10. Van Rhynsdorp
  11. Vredendal
  12. Lutzville  
  13. Eendekuil
  14. Graafwater
Healing Our Thinking

HARVESTER BIBLE SCHOOL 

“For as he thinketh in his soul, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus constantly confronted and challenged people’s ways of thinking. The word of God is a framework, and platform, a guideline to learn to think right and sober. 

In a recent study done by the “Bible Engagement Centre” with 40000 people, it was found that people who study and read the Bible intently twice a week were remarkably healthier. Our “Miracle Bible Training Centre” curriculum is thus focused on working systematically through the Bible and understanding the Bible in the light of Christ. [5]    We also offer a wide range of practical subjects.  The most important course that everyone in the congregation should go through in the beginning is the foundation course that focuses on the six-part foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6, including: Discerning God’s Voice, Praise & Worship, Prayer, Five-fold Ministry, Discipleship, and Offerings.  The Bible School is not for some people. It is for everyone! This is because it is the primary method to work healing in people’s lives.  

The goal is to get Bible/Word fit. Therefore, the Bible School is not only a one-way communication, there are assignments, question-and-answer time, and homework  is involved  so that everyone can understand the Word for him or herself.  

Healing our Work and the Workplace

HARVESTER ACADEMY

We offer specific apps to help people who own their own businesses, to organise their business so that the people who work there can also be healed by their work engagement! 

Secondly, we also help the specific worker, to become a better worker, and in doing so also work on healing in the workplace.  The expectation and perception of many people about work is that it is carnal, earthly, secular, opposite-to-spiritual, a punishment, and cursing. Yet when people retire and don’t have to work, they work more than ever!  When we die, we say “rest in peace” as if the person is never going to work in eternity.

As we follow Jesus, He teaches us his way and principles to live. He grants us His grace, and works the fruit of the Spirit in our character. Our moral compass changes direction: Faithfulness, honesty, truth, integral, pay everyone’s due, be a good steward, etc.  ~ the new work way.  We begin to reign! Romans 5:17:  “Reign in this life” ~ we overcome our weaknesses, bad habits, wrong temper, addictions.  We interact with each other in the Body, to do business together, for each other. 

While we work together, shady spots are revealed in all of us, things that do not honor the Lord are brought to light.  For so many years in the church people have hidden their wrong lifestyle, because we can be one man in the church on Sundays, but Mondays in the workplace we are somebody else. For us, work is part of our worship.

Heal All nations/ethos/culture

HARVESTER MISSIONS 

The Jesus-life is simple: wait on the Lord and spend time in prayer, meditating with an open Bible, getting a revelation and instruction for your life, and then going walk it out.

Communion- Commission-Commission

Relational-Missional-Encarnational

Love-Faith-Hope

Father-Son-Holy Spirit.

This means that everyone in the congregation has a divine calling to fulfill.  That everyone knows what to do, not because they have been told by an organization to do it, we’re motivated and ratified by the Holy Spirit. 

It also means practically making disciples. We multiply. 

We give and share what we have received.  The congregation therefore makes an impact on the culture of the community.  

For each one functions and brings healing, restoration and reconciliation into the 5 primary government sectors: Government, economics, education, health, and Law & Order. 

But we also make a difference by the merging catalysts such as: Sport, the arts, recreation etc.  

We are salt and light! We bring healing and reconciliation to every nation, and ethos in our society where he sends us to.


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqhidTrkfrw&t=1760s

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4

[3] https://www.netwerk24.com/Sake/Ikt/digitale-revolusie-help-dokters-20181007

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MOJBxaKWXo&list=LLC7-ErbIS3FNtXIam108ffQ&index=35&t=265s

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNWvxexMri0

Categories
Blogs

Saving the local church and pastor from extinction.

When the smallest cell in the body is under attack,
it brings the demise of the whole. 

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a tension between the local church pastor and the staff of parachurch organisations. Parachurch organisasions work outside and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism. My battle has been that I sit in both chairs. I am leading a parachurch national initiative beneficial to the greater body of Christ, and I am also the pastor of a local church.  

I have been part of various efforts over the last 27 years of ministry, who with great difficulty and variable success lobbied to get all local churches to work together. I thus understand the frustration of trying to work with pastors. But why do we need to work together in a location? The truth is; one local assembly can’t foster all the support and mobilise all the different types of ministries available to the Body of Christ in one locality. We need each other.

None of us have it all together but together we have it all. Michael Wood

The body of Christ is made up of individual cells (1 Cor 6:19), the local assemblies (2 Cor 6:16), and the universal Church (1 Cor 3:16). When any part of this 3fold molecular structure is sick, or in isolation, the body is weakened. It is also clear that like our physical bodies, we have to discern the complexity of the diversity of the various functions and parts of the body of Christ. We cannot reduce the body to only one part or function. All of it is important and necessary! There is thus no inside and another outside part! Whether we’re part of a local general geographic assembly or part of a group of people who meet to focus on one specific human need, we are all meeting together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Remove the religious dualism between vocations as worship for His glory in the secular market place, and vocations seen as a ministry to another within the Church and your vision is suddenly expanded to a glorious network of diverse functions, that can only be God’s genius! All the individuals, meetings at all locations, for various ministry purposes are all called to be His holy Priesthood, a holy Nation, His bride to be. That is the picture on the puzzle-box, perspective! It is wonderful! Each piece of the body of Christ has an exact shape and creational purpose, like puzzle pieces. Toss all the pieces on a table, and it looks terrible!

The state of the local Church as single pieces? Endangered! Paralysed! Under resourced! Poorly trained! Fragmented! We all tend to make unclarified accusations against the pieces laying around as the sleeping, unresponsive Church. We have all been guilty of pointing a finger to a wrong out there, ignoring the wrong that persists in our own heart. Evidently, He is building His congregation, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (Mat 16:18) and at the end, there will be one final assembly, when all the dead will be judged at the white throne judgement. (Rev 20:11-15)

The question Afrika Mhlophe asked during the recent Africa Leader Forum needs more in-depth attention and dialogue; “WHAT KIND OF CHRISTIANITY ARE WE CREATING?”

We all recognise and acknowledge that the state of the nation in respect to corruption, nepotism, racism, and the enormous economic disparity experienced in SA, is because these strongholds still persist within most churches. We see the evidence of Christian Nations like São Tomé and Príncipe; DRC; Angola; Rwanda; Seychelles; Equatorial Guinea; Lesotho; Namibia; and Swaziland with more than 90% of their citizens being professing Christians are among the poorest Countries in the World.[1]  

There is hence a united outcry: REFORM THE CHURCH TO REFORM THE LAND!

There is an even greater dangerous innate disease threatening the Church. More and more people are leaving local institutional churches and pick and choose their spiritual diet on social media.  Evangelism, and belonging to a local body of believers is on the increasing decline!

According to the Pew Research Center, the ranks of the Nones have ballooned in recent years, making “no religious affiliation” the fastest-growing category among religious affiliations. Between 1972 and 1989, about 7% of Americans identified as having no formal religious affiliation, However, between 1990 and 2012, that figure jumped to 15%. Among people under age thirty. Just over 30% say they have no religious affiliation. At the same time, the percentage of the U.S. population that are Christian has experienced a steady decline, and other faiths have had modest growth at best.[2]

A recent study that was conducted by Barna Group reviewed the society’s perception in matters regarding faith and Christianity. Examining a new book called Good Faith; the findings indicated that Christianity is increasingly viewed as extremist. [3] The 2017 Pew research is more specific and reveals that most adults surveyed still do consider themselves Christians, even if they seldom go to Church.  These non-attendees beliefs on matters of sex, gender, nationalism, are widely more liberal than how it is portrayed and officiated by the formal Church.[4] It is thus abundantly clear that the Church is no longer unified on issues of doctrine, worldview, or best practise living standards. 

The state of the Church today, thus stands in stark contrast to the early ekklesia, and body of Christ movement!  The early Church was attractive although persecuted: because of their practical caring for each other, their care of the marginalised, disenfranchised, orphan, children and, women. They held high standards of work ethics, positive attitudes, timeliness, honesty, and hard work.[5] They experienced huge exponential growth, to the extent that in 150 years, most of Asia Minor, and North Africa was transformed by Christianity and their former persecutors became the protectors of the faith when the Roman State accepted Christianity as their formal religion by 337AD.

In the book of Acts, we read of Paul’s work in Ephesus, and him starting a Bible School where he reasoned daily from 9:00 – 15:00 in the School of Tyrannus: And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:10) According to Dreyer the greatest motivators behind this growth were: First-hand authentic encounters; missional focus; willingness to suffer and a unified focus to model the life and teachings of Christ: His supernatural and moral life.[6]

CAN IT BE THAT BY LOWERING THE ENTRANCE STANDARD: WE HAVE LOWERED THE OVER-ALL STANDARD?

The ninetieth century can be labelled as the century of evangelism: Tent Meetings and large gatherings, television broadcasts, has seen millions accept Jesus as personal Saviour, by praying a sinners prayer. Examples: D. L. Moody, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Billy Sunday, and in more recent years, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Luis Palau, and Greg Laurie. And yet, in a 1990 interview with PBS, Billy Graham himself stated he believe that only about 25% of those who come forward at one of his events actually became Christians. In recent years, studies have shown that only 6% of people who “come forward” at an evangelistic crusade are any different in their beliefs or behaviour one year later. Of course, it is estimated that Billy Graham preached to more than 200 million people, and 6% of 200 million is still 12 million. That’s significant.

Emphasis is always placed on follow-up, and local churches requested to use the occasion to draw in the net. Effective follow-up and assimilation in discipleship programs have always been a problematic concern. My personal experience is: The bate that hooked the fish is what will keep the fish.  The food that attracted the fish is what the fish is expecting to continue to receive.   If we’re not all living and preaching one message, it makes assimilation to a local church, difficult. Furthermore: the most sustainable growth, is growing local churches, that mobilise their own members to make disciples! [7]

THE EARLY CHURCH MODELLED CHRIST, NOT THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES:

Being a follower of Christ entails, a journey, an adventure of discovery as you get to know Him better, and He teaches you how to live your life, of letting go. Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to worship Christ. Surely, we love and adore Him, but worshipping Him can make of Him an idol. We choose to worship the part of Christ we have fashioned according to our image, that we like most, and cost us the least. Becoming a faithful follower is the exercise and process of daily choosing to die to self, and abandon all in surrender to Him, again and again. 

The vision, objectives, focus, strategy and outcome of the early Church was Christ, and Christ alone! (Gal. 4:19, Col 1:28-29; 2 Cor 11:2; 1 Cor 2:2; 2 Pet 1:8; Eph 4:13)

The early followers of Christ were identified not by their buildings, and church names, but by their lifestyle. They were called “those of the way” (Acts 9:2; 24:14, 22)  

The name Jesus adopted for His new movement of followers were: ekklesia: gathering, assembly, meeting, congregation. (Mat 16:18) a non-spiritual term used by the Greeks for almost any gathering like the mob, instigated by the silversmiths for bad business in Ephesus. (Acts 19:33) Paul on occasion used ekklēsia in its real sense of an actual assembly to refer to the meetings of Christians. This usage is particularly clear in his references to the assemblies of Christians at Corinth —”when you come together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:18); “in church I would rather speak five words with my mind” (1 Cor. 14:19); “women should be silent in the churches” (1 Cor. 14:34; cf. 14:35). At other times, he refers to those people who assemble, whether the whole Church, as at Corinth (1 Cor. 14:23), or a smaller group, as in a house church (Rom. 16:5; Philem. 2). The great majority of instances of the word are in reference to a local church, hence the use of the plural for churches in a given region (1 Cor. 16:1, 9; Gal. 1:2, 22; Acts 15:41; 16:4–5). Less frequently, ekklēsia is used in a universal sense for all believers (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18).[8] It is clear that Church was seen not as various legal entities, but as assemblies, congregations, gatherings of people who met daily, small or great in number, in homes, beaches, synagogues, temples, homes, schools in the name of Jesus. (Mat 18:20; 1 Cor 5:4) Will this emphasis and perspective not free us all, from our denominational affiliations and loyalties.

WE ARE ONLY ONE IN CHRIST.

We who are many are one body (Rom. 12:5); one body (1 Cor. 10:17; 1 Cor. 12:20; Eph. 2:16; Eph. 4:4; Col. 3:15); as the body is one yet has many limbs, so is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12); by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, Jews or Greeks, slave or free (1 Cor. 12:13); Jew and Gentile made one (Eph. 2:14–15); all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28); Jesus died to gather into one the children of God (John 11:52); that they may be one even as we are one (John 17:11; John 17:22); that they may become perfectly one (John 17:23); that they may all be one (John 17:21); one flock, one shepherd (John 10:16).

PRESERVE THE UNITY, AS IT IS THE PRIMARY WAY GOD EXPRESSES PROXIMITY! HIS PRESENCE!

For the purpose of unity, there was no such thing as doing something to attain unity. Unity was only attained through our unification with His death and resurrection. (Rom 7:4; 1 Cor 15:22; Gal 2:20) Once we have received this glorious oneness in Christ and His Church, we ought to fight to preserve it. (Eph 4:1-6) Unity is not an objective; it is a consequence of the manifested Glory of Christ in our midst.

THE EARLY CHURCH WAS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT MOST WILL EXPERIENCE AS CHURCH TODAY:

For example, we know that the early Church met in homes for their regular church meetings (Acts 20:20; Romans 16:3, 5; 1 Corinthians 16:19).

They took the Lord’s Supper as a full meal (1 Corinthians 11:21-34).

Their church gatherings were open and participatory (1 Corinthians 14:26; Hebrews 10:24-25).

Spiritual gifts were employed by each member (1 Corinthians 12–14).

They genuinely saw themselves as a family and acted accordingly (Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:15; Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:25-26; 2 Corinthians 8:12-15).

They had a plurality of elders to oversee the community (Acts 20:17, 28-29; 1 Timothy 1:5-7).

They were established and aided by itinerant apostolic workers (Acts 13-21; all the apostolic letters).

They were fully united and did not denominate themselves into separate organisations in the same city (Acts 8:1, 13:1, 18:22; Romans 16:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1).

They did not use honorific titles (Matthew 23:8-12).

They did not organise themselves hierarchically (Matthew 20:25-28; Luke 22:25-26).[9]

IN THE END: ALL OUR WORK WILL BE TESTED.

According to Paul, all our work and ministry will be tested, with fire. (1 Cor 3:9-16) in the end, all will be shaken, and only that what is of the Kingdom will remain. (Heb 12:27-28)

Let’s presume all churches and ministries has the same goal, making every person a follower of Christ! A recent study was completed to determine the spiritual maturity of members. Spiritual growth was categorised between Exploring Christ – interested but not committed; Growing in Christ – expressed their belief in Christ but not yet adapted His lifestyle; Close to Christ – they can discern His voice and guidance but struggle and Christocentric – fully surrendered. According to this research, it is not the church programs that inspire growth; it is: We learned that the most effective strategy for moving people forward in their journey of faith is biblical engagement and exemplary Leadership. Leaders:  

1.         They get people moving

2.         They embed the Bible in Everything

3.         They created ownership

4.         They pastor their local community

The crux of spiritual growth is not how busy people are with religious activities, but how engaged they are with Christ. How close is a person to Christ? Are they fully surrendered to His will and His teaching? Do they prioritise faith in their daily lives? Are they growing in their love of God and others? To answer these questions, leaders need more than numbers; they need to see inside people’s hearts. In 2004, Willow Creek Community Church completed research that would eventually become the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey. Based on those initial findings, as well as data from more than 150,000 congregants in 500 churches, the REVEAL team discovered a way to see inside the hearts and minds of congregants. [10]

The outcome of the study reiterates the importance of scriptural Reformational type churches, who allow themselves as individuals but also communities to be continually reformed into the likeness of Christ.  The study reveals that it is possible, and it reveals what Christ-centred growth looks like. Thank God, there are members of the Body getting it right! There are wonderful, Christ-centered, spirit-filled, holy, consecrated, relevant local churches out there! We simply need more such churches! The study also highlighted, the changes some churches have to make.

Bringing me to the primary reason for writing this essay!

The local pastor is a dying superhero. He has to pray for the sick, but when the sickness returns, still love and help the individual to keep their faith. He has to discipline doctrinal error, moral and ethical failure, and manage egos who want to take over. While on the other hand, trying to mobilise people into ministry who barely have time to read the Bible and pray daily. He needs to be a financial, marriage, parenting and relationship consultant. He has to preach a TED talk calibre of brilliance every Sunday and compete with the best communicators on the planet’s podcasts, YouTube videos, and TBN broadcasts. The current trend is more and more people are leaving institutional, local churches, finding better food online. People do not want to engage in messy relationships of commitment. He has to deal with social justice issues and represent the Church at the local CPF, SAPS trauma Room, Pastors fraternal. He has to be a seasoned, respected mediator, psychological counsellor, and executive coach. Then he has to ensure the Church is relevant to every age group, interest group, ethnicity, and local human needs and wants. He has to manage all of the above while being trendy, physically and spiritually fit. But also, remaining a loving husband, and a relational parent to each of his children. He has to disciple at least 12 people, and be available 24/7! But the most difficult of all, he is expected to be true to the traditions of his employer and conduct weddings and funerals.

The members of the local Church on the other hand, are stuck in the extremity of doing life. It is increasingly difficult to find able volunteers to be mobilised in hospital visitation; youth outreach, feeding the poor, reaching the lost. The challenges of a diminishing economy and material greed is driving us further away from God and family! The antichrist of this age is convenience.  

HOW WILL WE INTRODUCE PRAYER, EVANGELISM, AND DISCIPLESHIP TO THE LOCAL CHURCH? 

The Bible always has made the distinction between priest and kings. The priests thrive when people blossom and discover and function in their diverse callings and roles. The kings succeed when profits are made to enable and pay for the needs of the growing population’s happiness.  We need to pray that God will both raise-up godly, Christ-centred kings and priests, that will influence culture to resemble heaven on earth. 

I believe the next move of the Spirit in the Body of Christ is the raising of Kings and Judges. 

Kings and Priests. Zech 4:2 “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” 

Chapter 3 is the vision of the High Priest, chapter 4 is the vision of the Zerubbabel the governor building the temple hence the conclusion Priest and Kings. “What are these two olive trees on each side of the lampstand, and what are the two olive branches that pour out golden oil through two gold tubes?” In the end, the answer is given: v14 “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” 

The Kings were tasked to build the physical building, the priest to build the spiritual building.  The two roles and functions were connected to the Lampstand by golden pipes to supply oil to the lampstand, the church through natural means.  

We are entering the final phase of God reforming His people in the Earth. Today the Modern Kings are people called to business and supply towards the physical buildings, and Priest are still called to build God’s spiritual house.  Business men seek profit, Priest seeks people. But evidently the two supplement each other, the church supplying people with Christ-centered character, values, mindset and habits to work a much-needed commodity to the workplace. Business people supply the funds, a much-needed commodity in the church to do the work of the ministry.  

And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

Rev 5:10

May we focus all our attention to serve the smallest part of the body of Christ, the local Church! The local Church, whether in a home, school hall or cathedral, is on the brink of extinction! How many called ones, feel a call to pastor a local church? How many burned-out pastors, have given up, lost their way, and given up on their faith?

The church in Acts were supported and nourished by a team of travelling apostles and prophets. None of the early apostles, seem to have pastored one local church only, they were concerned for the Kingdom of God as a whole. As a local pastor; I like to sincerely suggest that travelling ministries and national initiatives first recognise what the local Church is doing, then take hands to partner and support what is already happening in the local Church, we will see greater cooperation from local pastors towards the national, and international focus.

Finally: Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Ps 127:1-2 I am reminded of Bennie Mostert’s words: The ten fastest growing churches in the world have one thing in common: they pray more than all the others! Prayer that is focussed on listening and obedience is the ingredients God is looking for to bring transformational Revival, starting in every local Church in South Africa!

References

[1] Nag, O. (2019). African Countries Where Christianity is the Largest Religion. [online] WorldAtlas. Available at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/african-countries-with-christianity-as-the-religion-of-the-majority.html [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[2] Nicolaou, C. (2019). A None’s story : searching for meaning inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, & Islam (eBook, 2016) [WorldCat.org]. [online] Worldcat.org. Available at: https://www.worldcat.org/title/nones-story-searching-for-meaning-inside-christianity-judaism-buddhism-islam/oclc/964290564 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[3] Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Being Christian in Western Europe. [online] Available at:

Being Christian in Western Europe
[Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[4] Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Being Christian in Western Europe. [online] Available at: https://www.pewforum.org/2018/05/29/being-christian-in-western-europe/ [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[5] Schor, A.M., 2009, ‘Conversion by the numbers: Benefits and pitfalls of quantitative modelling in the study of early Christian growth’, Journal of Religious History 33(4)Pg 478. 

[6] Dreyer, W.A., 2016, ‘Historiese perspektief op kerkwees’, in ‘Praktiese ekklesiologie – Kerkwees in die 21ste eeu’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, suppl. 10, 72(5), a4378. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i5.4378 

[7] Rainer, T. (2009). Surprising insights from the unchurched and proven ways to reach them. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

[8] Ferguson, E. (1996). The Church of Christ. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

[9] Viola, F. and Barna, G. (2012). Pagan Christianity?. Carol Stream, Ill.: Barna.

[10] Hawkins, G. and Parkinson, C. (2011). Move: what 1,000 churches reveal about spiritual growth.. 1st ed. Zondervan.

Categories
Blogs

How to maintain a righteous standard in evil times.

During these 2019 elections, many Christians have fought for a righteous government. Hoping that a Christian Party will have more significant support and hence greater influence on lobbying faith-based Judeo-Christian values and policies.  Although the Christian parties gained some ground, it is small in comparison with the leading secular parties.  

A recent sermon of Bill Johnson, “reformation through loyalty” is an essential and inspirational word for SA, post-2019 elections. 

We can learn a lot from the period where Israel was captured by the Babylonian and Persians kingdoms, as a judgement of God for their idolatry. As always, there was a faithful remnant, of a small number of righteous people. How did these godly men and women leverage this unfair and unjust circumstance, to God’s glory?

The most amazing part of this story is how Daniel showed incredible loyalty and faithfulness to probably the most ungodly, evil ruling King in the OT, Nebuchadnezzar. This in the light of Daniel, not voluntary losing his manhood becoming a eunuch, uprooted from his family and home, and thrown amongst sorcerers, magicians, and probably the evilest unrighteous people on the planet at the time.   

Daniel did not compromise, but already early in the story displayed courageous wisdom and tact to sidestep intricate plots, demonstrate his faith and not pollute himself from the delicacies of the King’s table. Daniel and his friends quickly learned to adapt, keep a positive spirit, finding favour with the Master of the Eunuchs. 

Their phenomenal management of the circumstances, came from a deep-rooted fundamental belief, that God is ultimately in control. When faced with his first direct contact with this King, and his first vision interpreted. He disclosed a secret of the thinking of his heart. 

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. (Dan 2:20-22)

Daniel understood that God uses all things, even evil eventually will serve His purpose for His glory.  Daniel was elevated and promoted to become, “chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan 2:48) That is: All the wise men of Babylon! These wise men were not Jews. They did not believe in God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They held different beliefs and viewpoints, yet he had to administrate them peacefully, to the benefit of the Babylonian Kingdom. 

You can only have an influence when you are trusted, by your superiors.  When Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream, this time a dream about God’s judgment against him. Daniel said: Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the King spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! (Dan 4:19)

This statement from Daniel’s lips is such a beautiful admission of the real heart of Christ, the Prince of peace, who wants all men to be saved! (2 Tim 2:1-4) Even the evil, prideful, narcissistic ruler, deserved to get to know the truth. In the end, when he was restored again to his right mind, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the true living God. (Dan 4:34-35) 

Part of the Christian war for truth is fought overtly, sometimes publically.  There should be moments of public declaration and demonstrations, but equally important is the influence we establish through relationships in every sector of society through loyalty and trust. We do not speak evil against any person, party, ruler, leadership.  That is called blasphemy and slander.  We overcome evil by doing good. (Rom 12:21)

It is the same character displayed by Nehemiah, the cupbearer. Serving a heathen Persian King, and obtaining a letter of free passage and support to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  (Neh 1) Esther and Mordecai also walked in this anointing, finding favour with the King. Eventually, Mordechai became second in charge of the Kingdom. For Mordecai, the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen. (Esther 10:3) 

The church in Rome and Ephesus also faced an evil Rule and Government. Although the Romans practised a measure of religious freedom, many of their rulers became direct enemies trying to exterminate all traces of Christianity. It is against this backdrop and persecution that Paul writes: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the powers that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. (Rom 13:1-7) Please read this passage thoroughly. Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-3) 

When Paul arrived in Ephesus, after the resistance from the synagogue, started a Bible School where he reasoned daily from 9:00 – 15:00 in the School of Tyrannus. This overt infiltration of the Word eventually began to change the local economy, and the silversmiths of Ephesus started complaining about the decline of statues of Diana worship sales.  This was the evilest and prominent idol worship religion of the time.  (See Rev 2:13 Seat of Satan, the Pergamum altar, later excavated by Hitler, and rebuild in Berlin) A riot occurred as a result. When the Town Clerk asked the people: For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. (Acts 19:37) No lawful accusation could be made, and the crowd was dismissed.  The Kingdom of God was thus winning ground, without public display or prominence.  

We are called to be the salt of the earth. (Mat 5:13) This means we have to be in the soup. We are in the world but not of the world. Our overt infiltration where every believer demonstrates the Kingdom of God, as He leads, and where He leads is paramount! 

Categories
Blogs

Report of the restoration of land and the dignity of the people Conference in the Cape of Good Hope Castle.

The Genius of God at Work, in His Church, His Body, His representatives on earth.
The church is awaking from her slumber, and are taking a stand for healing, mediation and reconciliation.  The Mediation Foundation for Peace and Justice[1]organised a conference at the Cape Castle for the restoration of land and the dignity of the people under the leadership of Alan Nelson.
The African Christian Union[2]was founded by Apostle Gregory Kruyer to speak to the societal issues of Africa and they have been working to bring the gospel to all the five groupings of the Khoi Khoi, and bushman people. (Korana, Bushman, Griqua, Cape Khoi and the Nama.) On 19 May 2017 a royal degree was signed to protect their heritage according to International Law and basic principles of minority protection, and to declare their royalty and sovereignty as the first nations in Southern Africa.  The signing of this decree is significant as it brought unity to them as a collective.
Princess Chantal Revell is really the one who carries the spiritual burden of the Khoi. She holds it all together and has been on the journey of the restoration of her people for 18 years. She is on the national Khoi council, a statutory body and has connections with all the various groups although she is a princess in the Korana royal house.
Special care was taken to lead them to Christ, offering counselling and support. A 7 day fast was undertaken leading up to the anointing ceremony of this day, 8/8/2018. This was done prophetically to lay down their Kingdoms to the King of King Jesus Christ. Also breaking the curse of slavery and poverty that has rested upon these peoples for centuries.  The apostles of the city came and anointed these Kings and Queens as the Priest of old, to rule wisely, righteously, and bring peace to their people. Their kingdoms were thus declared and honoured, as the Bible ascribes in the Law, that we should honour our parents so that we may have a long life.
Calvyn Gilfellan CEO of the Castle of good hope, the oldest Colonial building in the Country welcomed all the guests by reminding them of the prophetic significance of the date. 8/8/18 Speaking of 3 times new Birth, 352 years since the arrival of Jan van Riebeek.  August is also declared Diversity Month, and the room used for the conference is called “allermans barracks”. The purpose of the meeting was to prophetically declare the restoration of first nations in South Africa. May God use this building (to many a tombstone of pain and suppression) as the birthplace of a new foundation. Let’s unite.
The Keynote speaker was Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. His message was from Jeremiah 30. The only way to achieve a truly sustainable solution to the emotional land expropriation issue is through peace, unity and shared prosperity.
Mogoeng Mogoeng the head of South Africa’s judiciary – a part-time pastor – challenged those present, who were mostly members of the First Nations (Khoi and San) royal houses, to seek the return of their land through peace and forgiveness. Speaking to the media outside the event, Mogoeng said the country needed to go back to basics if it wanted the best land expropriation solution.
“We need to get the foundation right. For us to resolve any of the serious problems that confront South Africa, we’ve got to deal with ourselves as a people.
“We are too divided to achieve anything,” he added.
The critical starting point therefore was for South Africans, black, white and especially First Nations people, to recognise that the overemphasis placed on artificial differences has taken citizens back.
“We need to recognise that we are one people, one nation. As long as we are divided, we are not going to achieve anything. This is a critical beginning that our country has everything that each and every one of us needs to prosper and realise our full potential.
“Let’s unite. Let’s pursue peace. Let’s love and respect ourselves because you can’t give what you don’t have.” Mogoeng also said there were so many things that enjoined and united South Africans as people, for too long the country has focused on what separated it.
“The rest of the African continent looks to South Africa for guidance and solutions because of the incredible capacity we’ve displayed for compromising and bridging our differences, and the infrastructure we have here.”  Mogoeng said he would visit a group of “mega farmers” in Parys at the end of August to engage and take his message to them. “The message is the same: don’t despair about the land issue. We are a peace-loving people as South Africans, and there is no solution that relates to the land issue except one that caters to all of us, that unites us, and is enduring.
“If we ever think we have arrived at a solution, but it is such that it benefits some but not all, it won’t last long. We will play games to try and sustain it, but it can never sustain forever. “That which will unite us and sustain peace, is the kind of solution that we must pursue.”
He again emphasised that solutions driven by love, reconciliation, peace and shared prosperity “will last forever. If not, it will fail, and it’s just a matter of time”.
There was a strong church presence during Mogoeng’s address and a ceremony to honour the First Nations royalty present. Mogoeng led those present in a prayer and asked God to lead the way as South Africans find solutions to what was a heart problem. “Nobody wants to be dehumanised, nobody wants to be exploited. So I understand where the anger comes from. But it is time to forgive,” he challenged everyone. If they do so, God would find a way for land to be returned to those who deserved it and for all in the country, black and white, to prosper together, he said.[3]
Mogoeng plainly focused our attention that the only Unifier is the one who knows the secrets of the heart and the future.  Jesus Christ!
A Judge understand judicial processes, it was significant that he directed us all, but specifically the descendants of the first nations of South Africa, to the Biblical healing process. Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous… for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.Jer 30:12-14.
In legal terms, this is a profound truth.  You were inflicted with wounds because of someone’s transgression against you, but because of the transgressional sins that you have entered in, your wounds are not healing.  Sins like hatred, bitterness, and resentment can do that to a person. For a person to heal of the inflicted wounds of someone else’s sin, you have no other option, but to forgive, and bless and pray for your enemies.
We are looking to people to heal our wounds, but do not repent of our own iniquity.
After 24 years, our best efforts have failed us, to unite this nation and foster prosperity for all.  The strong arm of our own efforts and strength has not availed. We need to turn our heart and eyes to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.
There are also many promises in the portion of scripture, whirlwinds of revival, restoration of what was lost, glory and restitution. However, please understand that no promise are without conditions.”  Stop the thinking of receiving and getting.  Adam worked. Prov 22:29 Those who are diligent will be brought before kings. Every single promise in the Word is always with conditions, and requirements first to be accomplished and fulfilled before the promise is released.
The message and person of the Chief Justice gives hope! There were many decrees and declarations made during the meeting of the birth of a New Nation. A united, peaceful and prosperous nation!
During the lunch break I was introduced to Chris Pienaar, a unionist from Paarl, with the most perfect Afrikaans accent, yet he is black. He smiled warmly: “one day I will tell you my whole story.” With a twinkle in his eye, he told me of how many times he would introduce himself over the phone, and then when arriving at the appointed meeting, see the confusion on faces, they expected a white person. After many years of winning CCMA cases he realised something has to change. They were winning cases, but destroying relationships, and destroying any future provision and favour for that individual.  They are working on a new type of workers Union based on a Christ-centred relationship mediation approach.
In the end of the meeting, once the royalties were honoured, blessed and declaration of anointing received. The moderator of the NGK church Nelis Janse van Rensburg spoke. He emphasised and offered a sincere apology for the abuses of the past. Declaring that the church will continue to apologise, again and again, until all receive the healing and restoration that Christ offers.  As the NGK church they have started a process called ‘the season of human dignity’. Together we will discover and affirm the human dignity given by God in Christ to us all and the implications of this discovery and affirmation for the church.
The values for this process are:

  • Listening
  • Respect
  • Embracement
  • Selflessness

At a certain point he said: “we want to bow before you and ask forgiveness” at that moment I felt we had to demonstrate this. We knelt before the royal guest, and started repentance from the heart, praying for another. There is so much pain! It is immeasurable! Yet as soon as we finished, these dear old leaders reciprocated and instantly gave forgiveness.
Something was released in the heavenlies as the Holy Spirit disrupted the program and many tears flowed. The atmosphere changed and healing was released.
This day was evidence of the restoration of the Hut of David, where all the gentiles come and bow their knee to the King of all kings.
As we now go out to our cities and town, may we seek more ways to reconcile, make peace, listen, talk, share stories, humble ourselves and see a nation healed, and a new nations awaken and rise up in righteousness.
May we see in our lifetime the healing of the nations in South Africa.
[1]http://peaceandjustice.co.za
[2]http://www.acu.org.za
[3]https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/mogoeng-calls-for-peace-forgiveness-to-resolve-land-issue-20180808

Categories
Blogs

Abide & walk in the Spirit – The only way to sustain life in triumph & victory.

Lord, you want to partner with us. Our prayers, Your answers. Our works, Your grace. Our possessions, Your blessing. Our obedience, Your call. Our weakness, Your strength. This is a great mystery. Please help us to make this sacred partnership more seamless and flowing, more reciprocal, intimate and natural.

In the same way, Jesus could do nothing without the Father, we also can do nothing without the Holy Spirit. Jesus could do nothing without seeing the Father do it (John 5:19-20, 30), He only did the Father’s will (John 6:38), only did what the Father taught (John 8:28), according to what the Father commands (John 12:49). In order for us to live and move by the way of the Spirit, or as the apostle Paul put it: “Walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), we must learn to be holy – devoted to and depending on the Holy Spirit. We literally can do nothing without Him! Jesus exemplified total reliance on the Father, we should learn from Him and become totally reliant on the Holy Spirit.
In the OT, people lived by the Law. In the NT, believers live by the Holy Spirit.
It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (Zech 4:6).

ALL LIFE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS BY THE SPIRIT

Know God by the Spirit: No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit(1 Cor 2:11).
Walk according to the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. It is the power of the Spirit life that free you from the gravitational downward pull of the flesh and sin (Rom 8:2-4; Gal 5:16). A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (Rom 8:2; The Message).
Set your mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:5-8).
Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit (Rom 8:13).
The main characteristic of being a child of God is being led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14).
Know the Fatherhood of God and subsequent ‘sonship’ by the Spirit (Rom 8:15-17).
Hope in the Spirit (Rom 8:23-25).
Pray in the Spirit (Rom 8:26-27). In other passages Paul mentions— (Jude 20)
Be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
Serve in the Spirit (Rom 7:6; 15:16).
Love by the Spirit (Rom 15:30; Gal 5:22-23; Col 1:8).
Know one another by the Spirit. The way of the Spirit is more accurate and also quicker! Jesus knew the heart of Nathaniel even before He had met him (John 1:47). Similarly, the Lord revealed to Ananias not only the change in Saul (Paul), but also his destiny – before he met him (Acts 9:10). Phillip was divinely led to meet the servant of the court of Ethiopia (Acts 8:26). Jesus knew what was in the Pharisees’ hearts. He knew the woman at the well in the Spirit (John 4). Imagine a church where people know each other in the Spirit, where everyone knows their place and function, and they work together naturally without complaining and strife because they do not feel threatened by one another.
We are taught by that what the Holy Spirit teaches (1 John 2:27; 1 Cor 1:13).
People err when they try to interpret the Bible without the Spirit (2 Cor 3:6).
We can only know God by the Spirit because He is Spirit (1 Cor 2:10-12).
We cannot be regenerated and born again without the work of the Spirit (Tit 3:5).
The Eternal Spirit, through the Blood of Christ, cleanse you from an evil conscience (Heb 9:14).
Help me to walk, live and have my being in the Spirit alone. Let me be able to say like Jesus: I do nothing unless the Spirit, I say nothing unless the Spiritguides and instruct me.

ABIDING IN THE SPIRIT

It is only in the Spirit that we are safe. It is only in the Spirit that we cannot be deceived and misled (1 John 4:1; John 16:13). He will defend words and deeds done in the Spirit (1 Cor 2:13). In the Spirit we are accurate. In the Spirit we are holy and perfect (John 17:17). In the Spirit we are righteous. In the Spirit we will know the way in the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:8). In the Spirit there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17). In the Spirit we are whole and able to speak the whole gospel. In the Spirit we have access to all things: gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7-10) and fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:21-22). In the Spirit we are seated in heavenly places and will have authority (Eph 2:6). In the Spirit we know all things and intentions of the heart (1 Cor 2:10). In the Spirit we will know how to rightly discern and speak the truth. In the Spirit, the dead are made alive! It is by the Spirit that we are unified and become one like the God-head. It is by the Spirit that we are convicted, regenerated, filled, sanctified, justified and glorified. We have no life, existence nor substance outside of the Spirit. All spiritual life is by definition in the Spirit.
Life in the Spirit is a decision. It is a conscious, intentional and awakening partnership.  The Holy Spirit does not possess a person.  We need to learn to yield to Him, He is not an overpowering control. Being in the spirit is an awakening, not an unconscious, senseless, paralysed, cold, inert, insensate, insensible, lethargic, numb, passed out, stupefied, tranced state of being. Those are characteristics of being possessed by demons. Satan makes you like a zombie!
The Spirit gives life and unlocks supernatural inert abilities that God has already birthed in us. By the Spirit, we are united in the divine!

WE MISS OUT ON THE SPIRIT-LIFE BECAUSE OF:

Self: ego, pride, insecurities, flesh. The way of carnality and fleshly thinking is enmity to the Spirit (Rom 8:5). There is no middle ground, no compromise.
The Holy Spirit is Jesus who walks in our streets today. He is a Person. He does the same work that Jesus has come to do (John 14:15).
The people treat Him the same way they treated Jesus. Who crucified Jesus? The religious and so-called clergy of that time. The Holy Spirit wants to work through us. He wants to use us and let His gifts work through us and lead us to the Father. He wants to reveal Christ to us so that He will become a reality in our lives. He wants to make us His disciples. He wants to lead us into deeper dimensions in the Spirit.

HOW WE RESIST THE SPIRIT

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and grieved his Holy Spirit.
Asab: A verb meaning to hurt, to pain, grieve, to shape to fashion.
Through our own experiences, and culture we have formed a shape and an image of God, a construct in our minds, without having a face to face reality of His person. Rebellion is holding on to that construct, even when the real appears. Some people prefer the god of their own making, than the awesome fearful wonder of the true Creator God.
Matthew 12: 31-32 Therefore I say unto you, every sin and blasphemy shall men be forgiven; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven of men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him in this age, nor in the coming.
blasphēmía: Blasphemy, verbal abuse against someone which denotes the very worst type of slander mentioned in Matthew 15:19 with false witnesses; wounding someone’s reputation by evil reports, evil speaking.
By reading the context of this portion of scripture in its entirety, we will gain understanding by allowing scripture to speak for Himself.  Jesus healed a demonic blind, mute man. (v22) The people (multitude) were clearly amazed and were contemplating whether this could be the son of David the Messiah. (v23) The Pharisees were losing ground, how do they explain this? How do you defend you standpoint, after seeing such a powerful demonstration? They countered by saying Jesus did this miracle by the power of satan. Specifically that He was possessed by Beelsebub. (Mar 3:22) And Jesus disclose the reason for His stern warning at the end of the passage. “because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mar 3:30) Finally Jesus declares: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Mat 12:28) It is thus very clear that their attack was against the Holy Spirit, and therefor the very stern/fearful warning: “but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” Why? There can be no salvation or repentance without the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 7:9; John 16:8)
Acts 5:3, 9 Then Peter said, Ananias, why did Satan fulfil your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep the price of the land? Then Peter said to her, Why did you agree to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who bury your man are at the door, and they will carry you out.
pseúdomai; fut. pseúsomai, mid. deponent of pseúdō (n.f.), to cheat, defraud, falsify. To lie, to speak falsely or deceitfully.
By God’s grace this never happened again, else more people will fall dead in churches all over the world. Many by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit make commitments and declarations publicly, to reverse, procrastinate, and never comply.  We sometimes forget the Holy Spirit is God.  He is in no way inferior, or less powerful than God almighty. He is fully God, like Jesus, and the Father! The way He reveals God’s nature is predominantly as a dove, being gentle, and not forceful. However, we should revere and acknowledge His person with holy fear.
Acts 7:51 You stubborn and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit; just as your fathers, so also you.
antipíptō; fut. antipesoúmai, from antí (G0473), against, and píptō (G4098), to fall. To fall or rush against or upon in a hostile manner, assault, resist by force and violence, fall or strive against (Acts 7:51).
Stephen the martyr, was addressing a generation, a culture, a system of revolt against God. We see this clearly through History, how the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit can be suppressed, stifled and openly resisted. The tone of the words used in the accusation is violent and shows the open revolt of a culture against God.  The power of culture should never be underestimated. Many people who have come to the truth, have experienced the pain and suffering of families turning against them, being ostracized, persecuted and isolated.  To the point that they were willing to kill someone like Stephan, who only did good, publicly.
Acts 8: 18-22 And when Simon saw that by the laying of the apostles the Holy Ghost was given, he offered their money19 And said, Give me this power also, that whosoever shall lay my hands upon the Holy Ghost can receive. 20 But Peter said to him, Let your money go away with you, because you thought to receive the gift of God through money. 21 You have no part or fate in this matter, because your heart is not rightbefore God. 22 Repent therefore of this evilfrom you, and pray to God, whether the mind of your heartmay be forgiven you.
Some people are totally against spiritual things, then there are others who seek the power of the supernatural for personal gain.  It is interesting to see the words used: heart not right, evil heart, mind of your heart. This shows that Simon needed salvation. He had to repent, and tern form his wickedness.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Sbénnumi: To quench, extinguish.
Oh, have we not all been guilty of extinguishing the small still voice of the Holy Spirit! You feel uncomfortable about going with friends, or about a TV program, or certain company, yet we ignore the prompting of the Spirit, and persist most often to our own detriment.  May we become more alert, and sensitive to adhere the small nudges of the Holy Spirit. The more obedient you become to His voice, the more you will hear and discern His voice.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
lupéṓ̄: to grieve, afflict with sorrow; to be grieved, sad, sorrowful, to offend.
Most Christians are more scared and sensitive not to offend man, than God.  We will go out of our way to not offend man, but think it nothing to offend God, knowing His will.  The more we do this, the weaker the voice of the Spirit becomes in your heart.  God can never be offended and thankfully He takes no offence.  May we see His heart! May we really feel what He feels! May the Holy Spirit reveal His heart to us, so that like Mary Magdelene we see the suffering Christ, soon to be crucified, and pour our love on Him. (John 12)

BEING IN THE SPIRIT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ISOLATE YOURSELF

Being most connected and in tune, in the Spirit, enables you to connect on a higher level with people, and being really present in their deep hidden needs, wants, desires and motives.
Be connected in the Spirit first, then He will connect you with man, but on a higher level, so that you can pull them up and not be pulled down by man’s devices.
Being in the Spirit does not disconnect you with man to become ascetic, it connects you to man on a deeper, divine, spiritual level. People are most carnal and do not understand the ways of the Spirit. It is foolishness and strange to them. There are very few people who live and abide in the Spirit. Life in the Spirit is like living by the natural law of helium, but the way of carnality – by contrast – cannot escape the natural law of gravity. Therefore, people who do not live in the Spiritwill always pull you down. They do not even realise it, but that’s what they do.

THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD

The WORD and the Spirit is One. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word (Eph 6:17).
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life(John 6:63).
The language of the Spirit is the Word of God. Every single word we speak in the Spirit is based and founded on Scripture. It is like someone who has memorised all of Scripture and has understanding and insight into the whole of Scripture. Your spiritual vocabulary is Word-based. They only speak from the Word (Josh 1:8). The Spirit gives life to the Word. By the Spirit, the Word becomes flesh in us.
You cannot be like Jesus without the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who resurrects, reveals and manifests Christ in us. Only the Spirit reveals Jesus in us.
It is simply not in man to be like Christ, any human attempt is of the spirit of the anti-christ.
The way of the Spirit is holy and sacred. Life in the Spirit is holy, consecrated, sanctified, precise, accurate, on the mark – Jesus.
The only way to be sinless, is to be in the Spirit. It is He who works it in us and draws us closer into a more holy consecrated lifestyle.

WE CAN EVEN WORK IN THE SPIRIT

Oh God, may we walk in the Spirit continually! Help us to remain and abide in the Spirit. Help us to find our complete habitation in the Holy Spirit. Work done in the Spirit is worship and glorifies God. Work can be done in the Spirit, for daily labour is not ungodly, secular nor sinful (Ex 31:3, 5; 35:31). Work is part of our creational purpose – to subdue and multiply (Gen 1:28). When we work by the Spirit it will not be laborious, but innovative, precise and intentional. In the Spirit, you will be able to focus and accomplish what you set out to do. Your work will be a blessing! Your work will be a sermon, an extension of His grace and character in you. Your work will reveal God in the same way His creation reveals Him. Your work will be excellent and spectacular, creative and rich in precise detail and order.
Believers being in the Spirithave created many new inventions.
Work done in the Spirit makes this world better because it resonates and reflects heaven! (Matt 6:10)
When living in the Spirit, our constant focus and attention are on His ability, not ours. His strength, power, fruit, gifts, testimony and riches. We are dead to our capabilities, efforts, methods, trying and achievements. Our confidence is in Him. Our default is Christ. We have died to self, our dreams and ambitions. We have died to our mistakes, failures, inabilities and incompetence. The life we now live, we live in the Son, by the Spirit.  It is the Spirit that enables.

Categories
Blogs

We will not forget or let go, of the legacy of the reality of Pentecost in SA

What we have easy today, have come at a great price for men of women of faith and obedience paying with their lives, so that the seed of His Word can continue to spread over all the World.
May we be counted worthy to enter into the labours of these heroes of faith, and see God transform our People by His Glory For His Glory in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Though your beginning was small,
Yet your latter end would increase abundantly.
“For inquire, please, of the former age,
And consider the things discovered by their fathers;
For we were born yesterday, and know nothing,
Because our days on earth are a shadow.
Will they not teach you and tell you,
And utter words from their heart?
Job 8:7-10
John G Lake’s legacy of starting a work of Pentecostal outpouring in South Africa!

One day some years ago, being environed by certain conditions powerful and influential enemies who pamphleteered us throughout the whole world, broke confidence in our work for God to that extent that the little pittance of financial support almost dwindled away. I had one hundred and twenty workers out on the frontiers of South Africa, beyond the confines of civilization. The question arose as to what to do for these at such an hour. I said, “There is only one thing. That is, be honorable with these men and women. Let them know the true condition. If possible, let us call them in and let them decide as to the best thing to do.” So we sold our household possessions; we sold our watches, we sold everything that was salable for money enough to bring that hundred and twenty in.

When they arrived in Johannesburg, I poured my heart out to them as I am to you today. And alter a while they said, “Brother Lake, we would like to be alone for a little while and we ask you to retire. We have a decision to make.” I retired into the vestry for a half hour, and then they called me in. When I came in I found the hundred and twenty sitting in an oval in the middle of the tabernacle.. They had cleared the chairs away, made a large open circle with a hundred and twenty seats around, and a little table in the middle with bread and wine. They said, “Brother Lake, we have made our decision. We are going back to our fields. If we die, if our wives die, if our children die, we will never reduce that ministry that Jesus Christ has established through this work in Africa.” They said, “Brother Lake, serve the bread and wine.” I took my place at the head of the circle and started the bread around and the wine around. And every man said, “The new testament in my blood,” meaning “my blood to save South Africa.”

They put only one restriction: They said, “Brother, if we die. one request—come and bury us.” And twelve times in that year of hell, I stood beside twelve of the finest men and sixteen of the finest women and children God ever let live in this world. ] buried them because they starved to death, or they died because they could not get proper nourishment. That is the reason that the work in South Africa lives, and that is the reason that all the damnation on earth has never been able to assail it. But like a conquering glory it has gone on these years, conquering and conquering in the name of our Christ, until my hundred and twenty have grown to two hundred and fifty white preachers of the same character and until our five hundred black preachers have grown to be twelve hundred preachers of the same type and character, and until our mission stations are planted all Over Southern Africa.

May God grant us and enable us in the same way, than these powerful heroes of faith, to continue in the message of the Kingdom with signs and wonders following!!

“Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Taken from: The New John G. Lake Sermons, edited by Gordon Lindsay!

Categories
Blogs

Do we have a Biblical Mandate to pray for the Sick?

Do we have a divine mandate, command to heal the sick? Do only certain people get to be used who have these gifs of power? What is the conditions, spiritual criteria to operate in signs and wonders?

ONLY BELIEVE

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

these signs will follow those WHO BELIEVE

SIGNS OF AN APOSTLE

Paul was not only an accurate theologian, dividing the Word, but he operated in the supernatural!!
Spirit & Word is the divine ingredients for new creations to take place
Acts 5:12 through the HANDS OF THE APOSTLES many signs and wonders were done among the people.
Acts 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
James 5:14 And the PRAYER OF FAITH will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
He who believes: John 3:18, 36; Acts 2:38; 16:30, 31; Rom. 10:8–10
2 Corinthians 12:11-12 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIGHTY DEEDS.
Acts 14:3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, GRANTING SIGNS AND WONDERS to be done by their hands.
Rom. 15:18-21 in mighty signs and wonders, by the POWER OF THE SPIRIT of God
Acts 15:12 DECLARING how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.
Acts 19:11 Now God worked UNUSUAL MIRACLES by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

GOD BEARING WITNESS CONFIRMING THEIR WORDS

God does not confirm the person, he confirms His word. The word of our testimony.
Declaring the gospel of salvation stirs faith for people to get saved, in the same way declaring god is present to heal, stirs faith for healing.
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.
Acts 4:29-30 grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
Heb. 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
You cannot theorize the work of the supernatural. If you never have done it, you have no right to even an opinion.
The Kingdom is not in words only but power 1 Cor 4:20; 2:4 but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
If their is thus no signs and wonders, no miraculous, people put their faith in vain in the wisdom of man.

PEOPLE CAME TO THE FAITH AFTER THEY SAW THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH VARIOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS.

Many churches are losing the young people, falling away because there is no miracles:
We will not hide them . . . ; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God . . . and that they should not be like their ancestors . . . whose spirit was not faithful to God. . . . They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them. Psalm 78: 4–11 NRSV, emphasis added
The disciples believed in Jesus after He turned water into wine in John 2: 1–11: “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” (verse 11 NIV1984, emphasis added).
People believed in Jesus after He healed a royal official’s son from a distance in John 4: 43–54: “Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he and all his household believed” (verse 53 NIV1984, emphasis added).
There is no record that the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda in John 5: 1–9 caused anyone to come to faith, but this healing is followed by a passage in which Jesus deals with people believing in Him in order to pass from death to life (see John 5: 10–47, especially verse 24).
Five thousand people believed in Jesus after He multiplied bread and fish to feed them in John 6: 1–14: “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (verse 14 NIV1984). The term Prophet here is a messianic title. During the interbiblical period between the Old Testament and New Testament eras, one of the views was that the Messiah would be a Prophet. Another view was that Messiah would be a King, and another was that He would be both Prophet and King.
A man born blind believed in Jesus after Jesus healed him in John 9: “Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (verse 38 NIV1984, emphasis added).
People believed in Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11: “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him” (verse 45 NIV1984, emphasis added).
Likewise, look what the chief priests and Pharisees were thinking after that miraculous sign: “‘ What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation’” (verses 47–48 NIV1984, emphasis added).
John 12 also records more fruit of belief from the raising of Lazarus: “Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him” (verses 9–11 NIV1984, emphasis added).
Following the resurrection, the disciples put their faith in Jesus again in John 21: 1–7, after they miraculously caught so many fish by switching the net to the other side of the boat, as He had instructed them to do: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” (verse 7 NIV1984).

Categories
Blogs

Following Jesus, the greatest life ever lived.

Many people know the name of Jesus, like knowing the name of one famous actor, but do they know Him? We preached Christ crucified, resurrected and ascended but equally important is His incarnation.  Principally as the model and example of our lives, we need to focus on his daily lifestyle and suffering (1 Pet 2:21) not His heavenly reign.
Jesus is the best life ever lived.
This was the primary reason why He became flesh, to be an example! To show us it is possible as humans to also live without sin. Many Christians aspire to have His reign, seated in heavenly places, ruling and triumphant without the crucifixion of self. (Gal 2:20; Mat 16:19; Rom 6:11; Rom 12:1) He became flesh so that we will have a priest who have compassion, and mercy. (Heb 4:14-16) Remember 90% of his life was hidden, 30 years obeying and submitting to earthly parents. (Luk 2:13)
Many pastors and church leaders have put themselves on a throne, and want to be treated as kings and lords. But the King of King, and Lord of Lords came as a servant! Some church leaders change their voices, and wear fancy robes, to distinguish themselves, when He came as God Emmanuel, here-with-us.  Some men see themselves as the head of the wife (Eph 5:21) and thus the king ruler of the house. They assume the right to command and demand their wives to submit, and also making decisions without their consent or knowledge. Some men do not play with their children, they also assume this high position in their attitude towards them. Speaking down and belittling them. Parents must discipline their children but never without showing them respect and dignity. To shame them is not to discipline them.
We are called to reign in this life.  Rom 5:17 We reign over sin, destructive habits, emotions and our flesh.  We reign over difficult circumstances! We reign in spite of persecution and suffering for the sake of the gospel.  But we do not Lord over another! Like Jesus the king became flesh to serve mankind and do good.
They way Jesus lived His earthly life, is the way, the life and the way.  He modelled the Bible, making it flesh. So by learning from his earthly life, we unlock the secrets of living with purpose.  In studying the gospels we discover: His forgiveness, (Luk 23:34) His abhorrence of false hypocrisy (Mat 6; 15:7; 22:18), the way he treated women (John 4) and children (Mark 10:14), the way he touched the untouchables (Mark 1:40), His compassion for the lost (Mat 18:11), and much much more!
According to James Martin in his book the “Jesus a Pilgrimage” the newest archeological studies has revealed the Nazareth was “on the fringe of the Roman Empire, both geographically and politically.” Only two to four hundred people lived there in Jesus’s day.
Today the ruins of the houses in Nazareth are scant, but the archaeological evidence has revealed small dwellings built with local stones (basalt or limestone) that were stacked roughly atop one another. The floors were of packed earth and the roofs thatched, constructed over beams of wood and held together with mud. Families lived in small houses clustered together around a “yard” where common activities were performed.
Evidence from the rooms points to little privacy for the inhabitants, but a great sense of community. Everyone knew each other, is this not the carpenter’s son (Mt 13:55–56).
A more correct rendering of this word is artisan. Which means he actually belonged to the ancient middle-class.  Artisans from this period in Galilea, were mostly masons and carpenters, or both as these skills was interrelated to the building of houses. Jesus makes more reference to buildings than specific woodwork practice.  Rebuilding the temple in 3 days (Mat 27:40), house build on a rock (Mat 7:24-25), he is the door (John 10:1-9), He is the cornerstone rejected (Mat 21:42). Again showing his knowledge of how building was constructed.
But being an artisan was not work done in isolation, it was mostly team work because no heavy moving equipment existed in this time. He was skilled with his hands, taking his time to make a whip, learned from his trade, as ropes was standard equipment in his trade.
The little village was “filthy, malodorous and unhealthy” by contemporary standards.
Most skeletal remains predictably show iron and protein deficiencies, and most had severe arthritis. A case of the flu, a bad cold, or an abscessed tooth could kill. Life expectancy, for the luckier half that survived childhood, was somewhere in the thirties. Those reaching fifty or sixty were rare.
Life was hard, and people lived perilously close to the edge, economically and socially. People did not travel afar much, since it was both dangerous and expensive. When they did— for example, for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem— they did so in larger groups so as to ward off bandits. Life was, “predominantly local.”
Nazareth is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament. Nor is it mentioned in the Talmud, which lists sixty- three other villages in Galilee, or in the writings of Josephus, who names forty- five other Galilean villages. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asks Nathanael. (John 1:46) In that Gospel passage Nazareth is, quite literally, a joke. And yet, just four miles from Nazareth was Sepphoris, a bustling city of thirty thousand, which was being rebuilt at the time by Herod Antipas.
One archaeological team wrote about Nazareth: “The principal activity of these villagers was agriculture. Nothing in the finds suggests wealth.” In his parables and stories Jesus frequently makes use of images not from carpentry, which one would expect, but from farming— the sower and the seeds, the mustard seed, and the weeds that grow up alongside the wheat and about laborers.
This background was Jesus’ training ground. His school of Life, where He learned to do nothing unless His Father shows Him.  The working class has this characteristic embedded, no pomp, no wasting time with image and self-consciousness, for it is all about survival.
But the greatest mystery of Jesus life was Paradox. He is earthly, human, simple, with a fine sense of humor and playfulness, justice and fairness, always reasonable.   He got tired, possible would sweat, have normal earthly urges, became angry John 11:38 (brimáomai – to roar, storm with anger, to be enraged, indignant, to express indignation against someone) but not loose His temper. On the other hand, he cast out demons (Mat 12:28), summons the wind (Mar 4:39), walk on water (Mat 14:25), and heal the sick (Acts 10:38).  These supernatural acts and conduct makes Him heavenly and divine.
Remember He was our example, and thus expect us to also walk in this same paradox.  Being humanly frail and vulnerable, yet spiritually strong and temperate.
This lifestyle is only possible once He has removed all duality of a sinful nature, and we walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:19) A better metaphor for this kind of life, is to become like a child. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:4) Children are playful and unconcerned. They forgive quickly, and live in the now. They do not carry emotional baggage from the past, and is unconcerned about the future. They love unconditionally and are passionate. They have no self-awareness or self-consciousness.
There is so much to learn and discover of His life, studying the OT references to Messianic prophecies. His different names, and how it reveals his character and personality. His teachings, on values, insight and perspectives.  The power of His resurrection, enables us to overcome sin.  His Miracles and various healings shows us how he was connected with the Father and heaven.  His suffering, rejection and grief shows us how to life through life’s obstacles and challenges.  The sumtotal of His life, gives us all we need to grow in godliness!