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Wat Maak HRCO Anders?

’n Kerk waar die Heilige Gees die Here is, funksioneer heeltemal anders en is ook heeltemal anders. Die teenwoordigheid van die Here en Sy heerskappy kan nie net gesien word in spesifieke wonders, tekens en manifestasies nie, maar in die manier hoe die kerk funksioneer.

Die werking van die Heilige Gees in die kerk vandag is met die doel om God se skeppingsdoel te verwesenlik met die kerk. Dat die kerk tot volle wasdom sal kom as bruid van Christus.

Dan sal die kerk en die Gees uitroep; “Kom Here Jesus kom!”.

Die werk van die Heilige Gees is belangrik om te verstaan met betrekking tot ons persoonlike roeping en lewe as individue, maar meer nog moet ons tot begrip en kennis kom van die werk van die Heilige Gees in Sy Kerk.

Wat Maak Harvester Reformational Church Olifantsriviervallei Anders?

Van passasierskip mentaliteit tot vliegdekskip funksionaliteit.

Kerke bestaan nie meer vir die gerief van die lidmaat nie, maar vir die opleiding, toerusting, opvoeding en geestelike fiksheid en uitstuur van elke gelowige.

Van piramiede strukture tot planetêre stelsels waarin elkeen weet hoe om in sy wentelbaan te bly.

Kerkstrukture is dikwels saamgestel uit mense wat geen belang het by ’n gegewe saak nie. Hierdie vergaderings belemmer dikwels groei in die gemeente. In reformerende kerke word ’n meer funksionele model gebruik; leiers word geïdentifiseer op grond van ’n persoonlike roeping wat hulle beleef en nie volgens aanstelling of verkiesings nie. Vergaderings is kort en prakties van aard. Die behoefte om te beheer en te kontroleer deur ’n hoër raad, word as oorbodig beskou.

Van humanisme tot godsvrug. 

Godsvrug gebeur spontaan in mense se hart omdat hulle God ontmoet en ’n begeerte het om reg te leef. Stand- houdende verandering in mense gebeur nie deur motiverings en selfhelp tegnieke te preek nie, dit is die akkurate prediking van die Woord van God gelei deur die Heilige Gees wat die transformasie werk in ons doen. Ons preek geloof en nie om mense skuldig te laat voel nie. Ons preek nie die wysheid van mense nie, maar Christus Jesus se manier van lewe.

Van mensgerigte aktiwiteite tot Godgerigte fokus. 

Kerk kan soms baie mensgerig raak en sekere kerke word selfs geskoei op die sekere soeker sensitiewe model. Met die oogmerk om mense te bereik en die evangelie meer toeganklik te maak, kan ons in die gevaar beland dat ons nie mense wil afskrik nie en nie die volle evangelie verkondig nie. Kerk is nie vir ons gerief nie, maar vir God s’n!

Van selfgesentreerdheid tot bereidheid om te ly en op te offer. 

Soms kan ons so besig raak met mense se behoeftes en nood, dat die boodskap wat ons verkondig net gerig is op wat God vir ons kan doen, in stede van die fokus op wat ons vir God moet doen, en dan sal Hy in elk geval na ons behoeftes omsien.

Van konsentrasie op geboue en vaste bates tot die bemagtiging van die lidmaat. 

Party kerke se jaarboeke gaan oor die instandhouding van geboue en strukture, in stede daarvan dat God se Koninkryk uitgebrei word. Ons eerste verantwoordelikheid is die mens as kerk en nie geboue nie. Geboue moet die kerk dien, en nie ons geboue nie.

Van ’n ontsnappings tot voleindiger mentaliteit.

Sommige teoloë se fokus is om uit die Woord aan te dui hoe God ons gaan laat ontsnap van verdrukking en vervolging, terwyl God ons oproep om dit wat Hy ons beveel het klaar te maak! God se genade is vir ons genoeg, of Hy nou ons laat ontsnap of nie, daar is werk om te doen. Dit beteken raak betrokke, maak jou hande vuil, betaal die prys en wees gehoorsaam.

Van lokale tot globale perspektief. 

Ons kan partykeer so besig raak om skape in die kraal bymekaar te maak en te versorg, dat ons Sy roeping aan ons almal vergeet naamlik om te gaan. Gaan, waarheen? Nasies! Dis ’n apostoliese mandaat! Daar gebeur iets wonderlik in ’n mens wanneer jy buite jou wêreld na ’n ander nasie of kultuur uitreik.

Van selfgesentreerde lofprysing tot lofprysing wat God behaag. 

So baie lofprysingsliedere het heeltemaal te veel “my” woorde in die lirieke. Ons sing ook nie net van God nie, maar direk sing ons tot Hom. Van “die Here is lief vir my” na “ek is lief vir u” liede. Lofprysing in die Bybel gaan gepaard met ’n spontane emosionele en fisiese reaksie omdat ons ’n lewende God aanbid, en Hy nou hier by ons is! Wanneer God waarlik in die gees vir jou ’n realiteit en werklikheid word, sal jy hom anders aanbid. Dit is in wese wat Jesus bedoel het met die skrif: Ons moet Hom in Gees en Waarheid aanbid. (Joh 4:24)

Van onkunde tot volwassenheid in die geloof. 

My volk gaan ten gronde aan ’n gebrek aan kennis. Paulus spreek die gemeente aan omdat hulle nog deur iemand geleer wil word in stede daarvan om ander te kan leer. In reformerende gemeentes is daar ’n geweldige groot klem op opleiding en toerusting van die lidmaat, met die doel om elkeen ’n medewerker te maak en nie net ’n naam op die gemeente register nie.

Van wettisisme tot vryheid in die Gees. 

Die reëls en kode waar- volgens ons leef is die openbaring van Christus se bedryfstelsel en lewe in ons hart, nie die oorgedraagde wette van mense nie. Vryheid en vreugde is van die eienskappe van ware Christenskap en geloof in Christus. Alles wat ons doen is deur die geloof wat Hy in ons hart werk en waarin Hy ons dan die krag gee om opdragte uit te voer. Ons is dus vry van die val en opstaan bestaan van selfopgelegde godsdiens wat nie vrug dra nie.

Van statiese tot organiese groei. 

Die groei in ’n gesonde gemeente is beide kwaliteit en kwantiteit groei, en nie die een ten koste van die ander nie. Sommige gemeentes groei so vinnig dat Godsvrug en geestelike groei in die slag bly, ander groei weer net in kennis maar geen nuwe mense kom tot die geloof nie. Ware godsvrug sal altyd lei tot getalle groei.

Van leë toekomsbeloftes tot “dit is wat.” 

Mense is moeg om te hoor dat hulle moet bid, en hulle moet dit of dat. Mense wil leer hoe om dit te doen. Sommige kerke laat mens voel asof jy nooit godsvrug en geestelike karakter sal kan bereik nie, dit voel eenvoudig te ver en onmoontlik. Terwyl waar die evangelie van die koninkryk verkondig word, ervaar mense dat God naby gekom het. Ons prediking is nie net in woord nie, maar ook in daad.

Van Charismaties en gereformeerd tot reformerend. 

God se werk in ons hou nooit op nie, die hart van die eerste reformasie deur Luther was dan ook “Ekklesia reformans semper reformata”, die kerk moet aanhoudend reformeer. Ons dank God vir die kennis en begrip wat ons alreeds ontvang het, maar ons bly ingestel op wat God nou besig is om vir die kerk te sê.

Van sigbare manifestasies tot inwaartse hartsverandering. Sommige gelowiges is vasgevang in hul fokus op uiterlike sigbare manifestasies, as hierdie manifestasies nie gebeur nie, dan voel hulle verwyder van God en teneergedruk. Ons bediening is net in gehoorsaamheid aan God, en daarop rus Sy guns outomaties. Daarom hoef daar nie inisiële manifestasies te gebeur nie, wanneer Sy woord aangeneem word en toegepas word, sal daar vrug wees wat Hom eer bring en nie ’n mens nie.

Van vals tot eg. 

Omdat ons nie meer langer van die boom van kennis se vrugte eet nie, beskou ons nie ons foute en swakhede as negatief nie. God gebruik ons ten spyte van ons swakhede. In ’n atmosfeer van egtheid en eerlikheid is dit baie moeilik om vals te wees, inteendeel dit wys te maklik. Saam leer ons uit ons foute, en prys God vir Sy genade!

’n Nuwe perspektief op gebed:

Gebed moet beantwoord word met inspraak van God, anders het jy nog net met jouself gepraat.

Gebed is meer as rympies opsê aan tafel en snags voor ons gaan slaap. Gebed is nie ’n lys van behoeftes wat aan God deurgegee word vir Sy aandag nie.

Gebed is nie om God in te lig van jou probleme asof Hy dit nie weet nie. Gebed is om Sy wil te verstaan en daarvolgens te bid.
Gebed is om deur te dring in die geestelike dimensie en dinge vanuit Sy perspektief te sien.

Gebed is nie ’n program wat die kerk aanbied nie, maar die rede hoekom die kerk bestaan.
Gebed in al sy aspekte is die belangrikste oefening vir enige gelowige se strewe na godsvrug.

Ons hele lewe is ’n gebed, en elke asemteug ’n uitreiking van ons gees om kontak te maak en te bly met Syne.
Gebed is bloot die vorm van kommunikasie en verhouding in al sy fasette met ’n lewende nabye God.

Vas en gebed, en die vurige gebed van die regverdige, meditasie, intersessie, waak en wag is verskeie vorme van gebed om dieper met God in verhouding te staan. Elke gelowige behoort geoefen te wees in al hierdie aspekte van gebed.

Chuck D. Pierce in sy boek, The future war of the Church, beklemtoon die volgende verskille tussen die tradisionele kerke se perspektief op gebed en die nuwe apostoliese reformerings gemeentes se perspektief.

In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed ’n bykomstige omstandigheid, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes gebed sentraal staan.
In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed ’n roetine, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes is dit spontaan. Menigte kere sal jy hoor; “Kom ons stop en bid” gevolg deur ’n onbeplande en ernstige gebedsessie.

In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed nou en dan, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes is dit dikwels, tydens die aanbidding, tydens prediking, te midde van geselskap.

In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed passief, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes aggressief en onbeskroomd. Daar word werklik ’n antwoord op gebed verwag.
In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed stemmig en stil, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes is gebed uitbundig. Die hele gemeente sal sommer by tye in gesamentlike luide gebed ingaan waar almal tegelykertyd saam bid.

In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed eerbiedig, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes gebed uitdruklik en ekspressief is. Mense bid met hulle oë oop, sommige kniel of loop.

In tradisionele gemeentes is gebed emosieloos, terwyl in apostoliese gemeentes gebed baie emosievol is. Wanneer daar vir ’n saak ingetree word kan trane en weeklaag verwag word.

’n Nuwe perspektief op aanbidding:

Die herbou van die tabernakel van Dawid is ’n model van lofprysing vandag. Nuwe liede en sang geïnspireer deur die Gees, dans, hande klap en juig, bewegings gefokus om Hom in Gees en in waarheid te aanbid. Aanbidding gefokus op die realiteit van Sy teenwoordigheid hier en nou. Aanbidding wat wag en reageer op Sy inisiatief en liefdesteenwoordigheid. Aanbidding waar die hele gemeente jonk en oud saam beweeg en reageer op profetiese inspraak.

Aanbidding wat ’n lewenstyl word en in alles wat ek doen Hom verheerlik. Akkurate en seker bewegings in die geloof, nie los betekenislose rituele nie.

In ons lofprysing word daar nie ’n onderskeid getref tussen ou en nuwe liede nie, ook nie ’n voorkeur van ’n spesifieke styl nie. Musiek moet die hart van God op daardie spesifieke oomblik reflekteer. Ware lofprysing is nie ’n spesifieke styl of noodwendig sang nie, dis ’n hart wat uitroep na God.

’n Nuwe perspektief op Kerkstruktuur:

Die erkenning en aanvaarding van die vyf genadegawes wat deur Christus gegee is om die kerk toe te rus vir hulle dienswerk: Apostels, Profete, Evangelis, Herder, Leraar.
Gemeenskap van gelowiges waar elke lid sy bediening ken, verstaan en uitleef.

Fokus om elkeen se funksie te verstaan en te erken sonder dat enigiemand hom/haarself ’n posisie toe-eien. Geen struktuur waar enige iemand bo (meer belangrik) die ander verhef is nie. (Piramides)
Strukture is daar om funksioneel te wees en nie struktureel te beheer nie. (Planetêre stelsels)

Kerk is die gimnasium waar elke gelowige hom/haarself in die godsvrug kan beoefen terwyl hy of sy uitgaan en dissipels gaan maak.

’n Nuwe perspektief op Bediening:

Elke gelowige het ’n roeping en bediening om te vervul in samewerking met die gemeente.
Dit is die kerk se verantwoordelikheid om die hele gemeenskap te bedien en te versorg, armes te voed, dié wat siek is gesond te maak, dié wat vasgevang is te bevry, dié wat moed verloor het te bemoedig en te versterk, en dié wat rigting verloor het perspektief te gee.

Die kerk se verantwoordelikheid lê verder daarin om die gemeenskap op te voed, te leer en te rig in godsvrug, en mense te help om geestelik te groei deur voorbeeld en geïnspireerde Woord verkondiging.

’n Kerk is ’n liggaam waar elke deel van die liggaam bydra tot die versorging en versterking van die ander. Daar is geeneen wat enigiets kortkom nie, nie fisies, emosioneel of geestelik nie. Elke behoefte word deur die liggaam gediagnoseer, behandel en opgelos.

Mens gaan nie kerk toe nie, jy is kerk en het elkeen dus ’n funksie om te vervul in terme van woordverkondiging, getuie wees en bediening.

’n Nuwe perspektief op Leierskap:

Leierskap is nie posisie nie maar ’n funksie. Dis deur God gegee as gestuurde om ’n sekere taak te vervul.

Die leier dien die gemeente deur die mense hoër te ag as hom/haarself en sy/haar lewe vir die gemeente te gee.

Die gemeente dien die leierskap deur te doen wat hulle sê, opdragte uit te voer en sodoende die werke van God te vervul.

’n Nuwe perspektief op Christen karakter en leefstyl:

Die Bybel moet ’n realiteit word in ons lewe, deurdat ons deur die Gees gelei, die Woord toepas en leef in elke faset van ons lewe.
Self verloëning is die begin en einde van hierdie proses, deurdat self sterf en die individu deur die opstandingskrag van God begin om te leef in die volle karakter van Jesus Christus. Hierdie is ’n daaglikse proses waarin self sterf en die persoon elke dag meer en meer verander word om soos Jesus te wees.

Egtheid, eerlikheid, integriteit en waarheid word die basis waarop alle ander godsvrug geopenbaar word. Om jouself te wees, natuurlik te wees, eg te wees, is die voedingsaar van heilig wees.

Die vrug van die Gees en goddelike karakter word dan deel van jou natuur en menswees wat natuurlik na vore kom alvorens die self verdwyn. Volwassenheid in die Here beteken dan ook verder dat ek in terme van God se natuur soos ’n kind word en die goddelike eienskappe van kindwees beleef as deel van my identiteit en menswees.

Om gevul te wees met Sy Woord en Sy Gees daagliks en sodoende in die Gees te wandel, te dink en op te tree is my fokus elke dag, want hier lê ware vrede en blydskap.

’n Nuwe perspektief op ons mandaat en die Groot opdrag:

Ons is almal geroep om dissipels te maak en die woord te verkondig, aan alle nasies, hulle te doop en te leer aangaande die leer van die koninkryk. Elke gelowige het dus ’n rol om te vervul in terme van uitreiking en bediening, om ’n voorbeeld te wees in Godsvrug om sodoende dissipels te kan maak.

Bediening is vanuit die uitgangspunt dat Jesus alreeds in mense is, Hy stuur, ons preek, Hy roep, iemand glo en roep uit na redding. Ons werk is dus om saam met God te werk, en dié wie se hart hy alreeds voorberei het te help om tot die volle lig te kom.

Prediking, verkondiging, proklamering, lering, teregwysing, redenering is die gereedskap wat God gebruik om mense tot inkeer te bring. Ons verkondig net die goeie nuus dat die koninkryk van God naby gekom het.

’n Nuwe perspektief oor ons finansies:

Elke gelowige wat ’n inkomste verdien is geseën om te kan gee. As God se rentmeesters behoort niks aan ons nie, ons is bloot die instrumente waardeur Hy kies om te werk.

Maar dit wat geld vir die individu geld ook vir die kerk, wat moet gee en help om eerstens die evangelie te verkondig, dan die weduwee en die wees te versorg, die arme te voed en die lyding van die medemens te verlig.

Wanneer die kerk dus sy funksie vervul, kan die rentmeesters en regeer- ders ook hulle taak vervul deur die kerk te help om dié taak uit te voer. Die kerk en die besigheidslui is dus in vennootskap tot die uitvoering van bogenoemde behoefte.

Die gee van finansies in die kerk is nie bloot om ’n predikant se salaris te betaal en sodoende alle geestelike verantwoordelikheid op sy skouers te plaas nie. Maar die kerk in sy totaliteit word bloot die agent van hulpver- lening en uitreiking na die gemeenskap, waarin elke lidmaat ’n funksie vervul in terme van bydraes in persoon of in finansies.

Categories
Social Relevance

Rebuilding Trust in SA

A Christ-Centred value-based Morpho-genesis Collaborate Approach.

From the perspective of the wonderful outcomes of the speed of trust, we as civil society has come to a complete halt. [1]  There seems to be little trust anywhere.  The result of a determining legacy of more than five hundred years of self-determination at the cost of others, monopolies, division, and racism.  The dark side of capitalism: Self-interest.[2] The invisible ethical counterbalance of mutuality heals this vested-economic-selfish interest and makes is sustainable on the long term. According to Paretto’s efficiency theory, if we do not balance self-interest with mutuality, we inevitably become an unstable unequal society and collapse on ourselves. [3]

An additional result of self-interest and consequent mistrust in civil society and its formal agencies is that we work in silos, sometimes even against each other, with little impact, and hopelessly ineffective.[4] There is no common deep-rooted singular purpose than connects all these silos.  This low-outcome, inefficiency is perhaps the biggest contributor to broken trust in a nation. Society seems to have lost complete trust and respect for just about every formal institution.  Banks, churches, government departments are no longer the trusted agencies of a healthy society observing the low attendance rate at civil meetings, the hype of cryptocurrencies, and huge number of NGO’s in the Country.[5]

In one of my discussions with a trusted National Elder Mkangeli Matomela, we spoke at length about the phenomenon we have discovered at all the land summits, held in 2018-2019. [6]  Individual farmers with a personal conviction that they had an encounter with Jesus, and His way of ordering the world, is having a meaningful change of heart. At huge personal expense land, resources and market access were shared with the poor through a collaborative intentional knowledge transfer process. The only place you will find healthy mature TRUST is in the true Church, true followers of Christ type of churches, ministries and movements. A type of church that is: spirit filled, Evangelical Christ centred, contemplative inner wellness centred, socially relevant where every believer function in their God-Given ministry. During our Country-wide Bridge Building Land Summits I began to meet such churches and ministries. During COVID 19, churches are at the forefront of food distribution and poverty alleviation relabelling the importance of Faith Based Initiatives to bring diverse societies together and REBUILT TRUST. The focus is not doctrinal differences but doing the work of Christ. 

Mkangeli Matomela is one such leader, one of the pioneers of the New Nation Movement. I asked Matomela, “what do you think white people need to do to gain the trust of the black man?’ The enthusiastic wise Matomela answer without hesitation, “you need to just say you are sorry, and learn to share.” Sure, I responded, I get that. African cultures are known for sharing.  I put this to him, ask me the same question. What question? Matomela reflected. “What should black people do so they can earn the trust of the white man?” “Oh yes.”  “Well ask me.” I persisted. He laughed and then ask me politely: “What should black people do so they can earn the trust of the white man?” Be competent, successful and build something” I reflected. “Oh yes, that is right” Matomela replied: “white people are known for their hard work, and spirit of excellence”

This is the conundrum is it not? Successful people find it difficult to share, and if they share it is with conditions. Poor people yearn for inclusion and opportunity but lack the resources to gain the necessary skills to show-case or proof their success.  Of course, our conversation is a gross generalisation, for there are many black people who are tremendously competent, and there are many white people who are not, and there are white people who are extravagant in their sharing and there are black people who do not share.  

Trust can fundamentally not be achieved or sustained without upholding and keeping a value base throughout all operations. I propose the following basic values, as agreed upon through the various Bridge-Building summits:

Inclusivity

Intrinsic dignity worth

Personal responsibility

Equity 

Impartiality 

Non-violence

Non-partisan

Non-racist

Non-reactionary

Freedom of choice

Sanctity of life

Stewardship 

Matomela the champion of a value-based society agrees, by sharing the “ilima’ concept with me. Tilling the land, ukulima, Farmers are called “abalimi”. Tilling the land was a collective, collaborative and cooperative effort of the whole community. Communal cultivation, working-bee for cultivating (when neighbours help to cultivate a large field Field ploughed by communal cultivation).[7] In African consciousness one can only be an effective tribe in a locality if everyone pulls their weight, taking mutual responsibility of the whole.  

Unfortunately, things are looking gloomy for the ruling party who are not known for collaborating with all parties and stakeholders at lower structural levels. What have the ANC built in 25 years of reign? What values are they known for? The Grote Schuur hospital at one point known as one of the best hospitals in the world is a shadow of its former glory. The same applies to SAA, Eskom, Transnet, and many others.  Do not feel sorry for the ANC, and please do not become defensive if you’re loyal to the party. If you are chosen to rule, take responsibility. The ANC have the power, what did they accomplished with it? BBBEE did not help, as it alienated one part of our citizenry to save another section. The ANC have the best policies and plans, they fail to execute it. Most importantly! Do not label these dismal failures to a race deficiency. I suggest we all failed, because we failed to collaborate, unite our diversity and ALL together build a new Country.

May president Rhamophosa, who currently did so well leading us through this turbulent global pandemic, seize the moment and facilitate more think-tanks, public-private-people-partnerships, public engagements and forums. But for success he will have to earn our trust, and that begins with owning up to the mistakes, and then making the tough decisions on behalf of the whole nation not just one part of the populous. Margareet Visser substantiate this point in her thesis “Farm Workers’ Living and Working Conditions in South Africa: key trends, emergent issues, and underlying and structural problems”. 

The fortunes of producers and workers are linked. It is therefore necessary that they try to find linked solutions to their problems, but also temporarily suspend their adversarial positions towards each other to address inequality in the value chain.

When government tries to help the farmworkers at the detriment of the producers, they invariably weaken the livelihood of the farmworkers. Government should rather seek to help these parties collaborate and come up with the solutions themselves. 

Maybe too many people are in the wrong positions of leadership all-together. What if we elect individuals to government after scrutinising first what they have built and accomplished in life for the common good for ALL instead of cadre deployment and nepotism.

The sobering reality is TRUST is at its endemic lowest point. 

Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) have several sources and channels which generally fall within three major categories: business-related activities (e.g. trade misinvoicing); criminal activities (e.g. drug trade, human trafficking, illegal arms dealing, smuggling of contraband and tax evasion); and corruption and money laundering. According to the Report of the High-Level Panel (HLP) on IFFs from Africa commissioned by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (2015),[8] over the last 50 years, Africa has lost in excess of USD 1 trillion in IFFs. A recent report by the AU Commission[9] indicates that “estimates of these amounts hover between USD 50 and 80 billion annually and seem to be on an upward trajectory. [10]

For the majority of the people to pay their taxes voluntary, we need a competent state! We live in a consumer age, where once we’ve paid for a product when it fails it gets replaced. We are paying huge amounts of taxes but are not getting adequate service delivery. As a result, we hear of tax-revolt type of reactions throughout the Country. But beware, taxpayers cannot fight for their vested interest, without acknowledging the big portion of society that is not paying taxes. 

The biggest portion of voters are loyal to the ANC, because they receive their livelihoods from the ANC. Somehow our diverse sentiments for certain political parties are still rooted in fear and animosity against certain apposing racial groups.  We hence vote the same sentiment into power and expect different results. It is a good thing that society organise themselves into formal agencies and collectives. Eventually all these agencies will have to get together and negotiate a consensus development strategy of economic mutuality and inclusion. 

All cultures in South Africa have their own bias and perspective of History mostly seeing each other as opponents.  We struggle to find a singular national uniting narrative. What is the one thing that will make South Africa great again? What is South Africa’s singular greatest export offer? Germany is known for its precision; the Swiss for their quality and durability; Italy for its passion and Rwanda for its rise out of an atrocious genocide. 

Maybe collaboration can be the way we as South Africans cultivate a new national narrative.  

#RebuiltSAtogether

Our recent success at the Rugby World Cup – where Siya Kolisi contributed collaboration as their reason for success is a welcome start. Collaboration can only work if we stop pointing the finger and begin to take hands.  No one political party can solve the complex problems in our nation alone. No one political party can and will ever be able to unite us as ONE Nation because it is by default divisive and based on the self-interests of their constituency.  Current Party politics divide our people because it is based on lobbying for various people’s vested interests.  This is not wrong, it is natural that various entities protect their vested interests, but not at the detriment of the whole!

It is only when all citizens at most local ground level finds purpose in common good, reach consensus through robust debate, and become an collaborative ILIMA community that one will ever achieve the speed of trust and eventually bring well-being to all. So many policies are made in boardrooms without sufficient public participation at the most local level. I suggest that poor participation and overall attendance of ALL stakeholders is because of lack of trust and respect.

Matthew Taylor strongly proposes a movement of citizen assemblies,[11] formed as a pragmatic, multi-dimensional, non-partisan, non-ideological collaboration of collaborations which will eventually advance a new National Narrative of trust and respect. These local Citizen Assemblies will however not be properly formed if existing trusted non-partisan leaders in the community is not leading and hosting the initiative. This is where I believe the CHURCH have such an important role to play!! The job of the church is reconciliation, healing and restoration. The job of the church is to provide a value-based ethical bridge for people to begin to trust each other again.  No one else can achieve this, and regain the speed of trust so quickly and effectively.

Our National voter turn-out is 47%, the lowest in the world.[12]  One needs a cross-section of society at the most local level, representing all the sectors, and organised agencies to rediscover a local mutual economic consensus and buy-in, a sense of ownership led by a new breed of authentic servanthood leaders and respected elders who display and proof they have no self-vested interests. These leader’s interests are served through the healthy outcomes of the 8 dimensions of the well-being of the whole community. (Spiritual, Mental, Vocational, Intellectual, Relational, Emotional, Physical, Environmental).   [13]  The developmental consensus achieved at CODESA that produced the Constitution and eventually our Constitutional Democracy was our first collaborative success. We can do it again, by coming together as South Africans, leaving our political ideological, cultural hats at the door, and negotiate a new economic development plan as ONE Nation. This however cannot be done only on the highest level, since by default we are excluding the broader excluded economy. The economy is also too complex and multi-facetted geographically and demographically. This debate needs to happen at ground level, and there consensus needs to be achieved.

To quote Prof Deon Pretorius the originator of the Morphogenetic Approach to Social Development [14] on the success of the Nordic Model of National Social Development we need to realise that building trust takes time: 

To understand this debate properly, one needs to acknowledge that the Nordic Model has been developed through perpetual reforms. It is the product of an ongoing morphogenetic process. It does not build on a single blueprint or grand design but has evolved gradually. And because parties from both sides of the political spectrum have contributed to the development of the model for more than a century, it is founded on a general consensus. All parts of society have played a part in this process. Labour unions, employers and cooperative movements have been heard, as well as represented, by their respective parties in multiple cross-bloc political compromises.[14] The Sunday River Valley is a good example where all stakeholders leave their “hats” positions, status, and ideologies at the door to negotiate through robust debate well-being for all.

The immerging debate on electoral reform and non-partisan independents becoming part of parliament as chosen by their constituencies strengthens the argument and hypothesis of this blog. [15] People want to take ownership again. People are tired of party politics not delivering on their promises. Ideologies do not feed the poor, nor provide employment. The Church again is rising to the challenge to train and prepare young people a Biblical Governmental Worldview. COVID 19 is providing us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate for our collective common good, intrinsic value and dignity, and mutual responsibility as good stewards of what we have.   

There simply is no other way! 

South Africans who could immigrate, did exactly that. Those who are now staying, have to make this country work. We should stop comparing, stop complaining. Let’s get together and begin to collaborate, and in the process build and rediscover understanding, empathy and eventually trust.


[1] Covey, S. and Merrill, R., n.d. The speed of trust.

[2] James, Harvey & Rassekh, Farha. (2000). Smith, Friedman, and Self-Interest in Ethical Society. Business Ethics Quarterly. 10. 659-674. 10.2307/3857897.

[3] As understood by the Pareto Efficiency Principle: Pareto efficiency, named after the Italian economist and political scientist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), is a major pillar of welfare economics.

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2013/10/02/the-silo-mentality-how-to-break-down-the-barriers/?sh=55d94bf38c7e

[5] There is an estimated 200000 NGO’s operational in SA. https://mg.co.za/analysis/2020-03-05-ngos-today-competing-for-resources-power-and-agency

[6] https://landsummit.co.za

[7] https://ilimafoundary.com/meaning-of-the-name-ilima/

[8] https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/PublicationFiles/iff_main_ report_26feb_en.pdf

[9] African Union Commission (2019). Domestic Resource Mobilization: Fighting against Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows. AUC Publishing, Addis Ababa.

[10] https://www.oecd.org/tax/transparency/documents/Tax-Transparency-in-Africa-2020.pdf

[11] https://www.thersa.org/projects/deliberative-democracy

[12] https://theconversation.com/south-africas-voter-turnout-a-mathematician-runs-the-numbers-117199

[13] https://umwellness.wordpress.com/8-dimensions-of-wellness/

[14] https://www.mistraurbanfutures.org/sites/mistraurbanfutures.org/files/Access%20for%20Just%20Cities%20-%20Master%20Document_with%20Annex.pdf

[15] 21 February – Kgetlengrivier Municipality in Shambles | Carte Blanche | M-Net https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIZS1I7li2I

A powerful, nonpartisan solution to fix U.S. Politics | Katherine M. Gehl | TEDxMileHigh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixk8d3GQJnQ 

https://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Politiek/bring-kiesafdelings-terug-se-roelf-20210220

https://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Hof/ons-stel-voor-300-uit-400-lps-moet-verkose-wees-20200612

https://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Politiek/sa-kiesstelsel-pootjie-lps-se-toesigrol-zondo-20210205

https://www.news24.com/citypress/news/new-electoral-system-proposed-20210221

https://osa.org.za – Michael Louis & Mmusi Miamane

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What Differentiate a Biblical Kingdom-centered Enterprise from the rest?

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However, I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” (1 Kings 10:4-9)

How We serve GOD.
The queen of Sheba recognized how Solomon served God. “his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD” His commitment and loyalty to God was thus visible, and evident not hidden. What about the entryway was special? Maybe the fact that it was close to his Manor, Workplace? The entryway was closely accessible and clearly, the pathway indicated frequent use. When leaders and business owners serve God it should be visibly evident in everything they do. “Therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” Justice and righteousness cannot be hidden, it is evident in everything you do, the way you do transactions, conduct meetings, discipline workers, determine prices, negotiate deals.

How we Serve our CUSTOMERS.
“the food on his table” what made the food different? Was it the taste, presentation, abundance, opulence, variety? Something stood out. It was noticeably different, of high standard and quality. We honour customers by treating them like kings and queens. We give them special treatment. We make them feel special.

How we Serve our STAFF.
“the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers” This little descriptive sentence is very interesting. What about the way he treated his servants, his staff was distinctively different? Their seating, apparel and their service. For servants service to be notably different, means they were alive, connected, happy, friendly, conscientious. Opposed to being dull, robot-like, and disconnected. Their seating was different? What about it? Well, servants never sit. They certainly do not sit with Kings and Queens. Solomon must have had a seating arrangement for his servants to be included in the proceedings. He thus treated his servants like kings and queens too.

What Kind of PRODUCT we Produce.
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon…” She did not hear his wisdom yet, she saw his wisdom in what he created with it. The house that he had built, the food on his table… Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings. (Prov 22:29) Work done in the Spirit and in union with God is worship and glorifies God. Work can be done in the Spirit, for daily labour is not ungodly, secular, or sinful. (Exo 31:3,5; 35:31) Work is part of our creational purpose, subdue, and multiply. (Gen 1:28) When we work by the Spirit it will not be laborious, it will be innovative, precise and intentional. In the Spirit, you will be able to focus and accomplish. Your work will be a blessing! Your work will be a sermon, an extension of His grace and character in you. You work will reveal God, the same way His creation reveals Him. Your work will be excellent, and spectacular, rich in precise detail, order and creative. Believers being in the spirit has done many new inventions. Work in the spirit makes this world better because it resonates heaven! (Mat 6:10)

What Kind of LEGACY we Leave.
God is seeking fruit that will endure. Fruit today are produced for the consumer’s eyes, not their stomach. Jesus calls for fruit that remains. (John 15:16) Anyone can produce fruit that looks great externally, but can it remain? Does it have any true nutritional value? who’s work will endure (1 Cor 3:12-15) Many businesses only want to make a quick profit, God wants us to leave an after-taste, a residue, and legacy that will make people remember the experience. “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom” Solomon’s fame, and reputation was talking about, the news spread. He was doing thing differently. Even centuries later, his wisdom poems and principles are studied in the book of proverbs. Believing followers of Christ leaves good behind.

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The number of MAN 666 and COVID 19 Vaccine?

The protestant church has consistently been infected by anti-institutional viruses for more than 500 years! Institutions are depicted as inherently evil, forcing and manipulating the weak. Any group that regularly meets, become a system, and eventually an institution. There are surely good systems and bad ones.  God’s system the CHURCH (ekklesia) is called to be a HEALING, redemptive, reconciliation, empowering COMMUNITY-FAMILY system. 

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

https://landsummit.co.za/about/ 

The simple truth regarding the plight of the poor and COVID 19 vaccines are: They could not care, most of them will possibly never see a vaccine in their lifetime. If they are lucky to receive a COVID 19 vaccine they will most possible soon die of other infections and curable diseases. What COVID 19 has amplified, is how unequal our western/modern/capitalist/privileged economy is. Consumer self-interest and convenience has driven us into an unnatural unhealthy rat race disproportionate to our humanity. It is this radical unequal economy and society who has caused this virus in the first place. 

I propose this economic-anti-Christ humanist-secular system is the real enemy of the church. Most people are taking on 2-3 jobs to survive economically leaving little or no time for prayer, mediation or volunteer ministry work.  It is increasingly difficult to LIVE the LIFE and values of Christ in this current economic system. 

Over the centuries the number 666 has been associated with the papacy, freemasons, Israel, Islam, Iron Maiden, and possibly every movie ever made with apocalyptic themes. In recent decades, conspiracy-minded individuals who combine idiosyncratic interpretations of the Bible with fears that evil governmental or religious forces are overtaking society have variously interpreted 666 as a reference to the United Nations, some presidents of the United States, the Washington Monument, and the European Union. It is easier to point to a foreign enemy out there than to expose the materialistic, consumer-convenience, apathy within our ranks! 

Given the commercial associations with 666 in Revelation, such interpreters also commonly identify the flexible symbol with the modern barcode system, the “www” of the Internet’s prefix for the World Wide Web, RFID seals used for tracking and identification, and smart cards used for cashless swiping. Such conspiratorial speculation unhelpfully feeds the phobias of some, whose fear of the number 666 has yielded a new term: “hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.” [3]

To understand the expression ‘mark of the beast’ we must remember that not only cattle but slaves also were branded or marked. The mark meant that the slave belonged to his master. Very soon the expression ‘to receive the mark of someone’ began to mean to belong to someone, to serve or worship someone.  In Revelation 14:9 we read: ‘If any man worships the beast … and receive the mark on his forehead’. Here ‘receiving the mark of the beast’ seems to mean ‘worshipping the beast’. Similarly, in Revelation 14:11: ‘They that worship the beast … and receive the mark of his name’ (cf. also Rev. 20:4). So ‘receiving the mark of the beast’ seems to mean ‘belonging to the beast and worshipping the beast’. The ‘mark of the beast’ is the God-opposing, Christ-rejecting, Church-persecuting spirit of antichrist, wherever and whenever it shows itself. This mark is impressed on the forehead or right hand (cf. Dt. 6:8). The forehead symbolizes the mind, the thought-life, the philosophy of a person. The right hand indicates his deed, action, trade, industry, etc. Therefore receiving the mark of the beast on the forehead or right hand indicates that the person so characterized belongs to the company of those who persecute the Church; and that—either preeminently in what he thinks, says, writes or more emphatically in what he does—this antichristian spirit becomes evident.[4] 

Dr Riekert Botha explains the number as in contrast to the number 777, which means threefold perfection. The number 666 is “the number of a man” as opposed to God. It is man in opposition to God. The number says man-man-man or imperfect-imperfect-imperfect. One commenter also translated it as failure-failure-failure. Another way to put it: Me, Me, Me or self, self, self. Church History proofs that the human-self-centred spirit of man as the greatest enemy of the way of Christ bringing division, controlling and manipulation and infigting.

I agree with William Hendriksen’s explanation and interpretation of “the mark of the beast”. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He focused on the heart. It is from the well-spring of the heart from which all evil proceeds! (Mat 12:34) God looks not to the mark of the flesh, but the mark of a circumcised heart. (Col 6:15; Rom 2:28; Deut 10:16) People whose hearts have been touched perspective of life changes, they do business differently. The redemption of the heart leads to the redemption of one’s evil and unjust ways of acquiring wealth. The enactment of the spiritual Jubilee recorded in Acts was the first sign of the huge change of heart, when no one lacked, because of the sharing of the first believers. (Acts 4:34) 

Of greater importance to me, than the threat of receiving the mark of the beast, is whether one has received the mark of righteousness! (Ezek. 9:4, 6; Rev. 14:2; 7:3; 22:4) Without this mark, you will not enter the Kingdom/heaven’s eternity with God. Those who are born again and who have received the Holy Spirit have been sealed (marked). (2 Cor 1:22) It is like Jesus says: You cannot hide this light. (Mat 5:14) Followers of Christ always carry the sign of death (2 Cor 4:10) as we continue to live a surrendered, abandoned life unto Christ. (Mat 16:24) Our quest should be to question people boldly about their faith in Christ Jesus alone! Have they bowed their knees to Him in surrender, to now live His WAY of LIFE?

In Hellenistic literature “making a mark” referred to a mark on the body—like a tattoo—usually put on a runaway slave. Paul said that he bore in his body the “marks” (stigmata) of Jesus. He was not ashamed of the stigma. (Rom 1:6) At one stage Peter ran from a stigma—when he denied knowing the Lord. But the day came when he embraced it. Sometime later Peter and John could hardly believe how blessed they were that they were privileged to bear the stigma of Jesus. Having been warned and flogged by the Sanhedrin, they left the Sanhedrin “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering dis-grace [“shame,” KJV; “dishonour,” ESV] for the Name”

Persecution has many forms. Hidden persecution is happening right NOW within an evil/unjust system where everyone is doing and covering-up wrong-doing. It is clear from learning from the Zondo commission; that corruption is a social-cadre-deployment-comrade-loving enterprise. “You will give me the job although I am not qualified, because of your affinity with the struggle against white monopolies.” Almost every sector in the economy is plagued by unjust systems of control or poor remuneration. How can we as believers make a stand? This is where our testimony and faith count most. Should you keep your business open on Sunday’s? How does your need for production infringe on your worker’s responsibility to also be good parents? Are you paying your workers a worthy compensation as you would your own family members? Are you good stewards of the natural resources available? 

The true CHURCH will become a safehaven/eden for those who obey Him.

The Babylonian economy is where the real battle is fought, with sometimes severe casualties like losing jobs, forfeiting profit, closing down of the business. The biggest plight of the poor and marginalised in South Africa is INCLUSION. Doing business and getting your product sold to the 5 main retail monopolies in SA, is almost impossible. Is this not already what the Book Revelation is speaking about? “and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:17) Already this Babylonian-economy is dictating to society through media, and television its demonic anti-family, self-saving, everything-goes-no-consequences, humanistic-super-hero doctrines! Surely this is a much greater threat to the church than a COVID 19 vaccine?  But take note: this Babylonian tyranny is said to fall, and come to an end. (Rev 14:8; 18:1-8) More importantly, there is a direct command to the church to: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” (Rev 18:4) 

The essence of the number 666, and it’s biblical meaning is clear: for it is the number of a man (Rev 13:18; 21:17). This spirit of man has been an enemy of the church from the beginning of time. It is this spirit of man in Peter that Jesus rebuked: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” The arm of the flesh opposes the things of the spirit. “It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profit nothing” (John 6: 63). “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom 8:5-8) 

The rest of the chapter Rom 8 explains how life in the Spirit works: We are led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14) the earth groans in labour pains for the revealing of the sons of God. (Rom 8:19) I am not afraid about the number of the beast, I am yearning with fire in my spirit for this revealing of the sons of God: The triumphant awakened church who knows their true identity of the resurrected Christ within!

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s returning is at hand, let’s do (finish) what we are called to do while there is still time. It is the beginning of the best and worst times of our history. Do not live in fear, it is the time for the church to RISE! (Isa 60)

[3] Frances Flannery, “666 in Popular Culture and History”, n.p. [cited 16 Dec 2020]. Online: https://www.bibleodyssey.org:443/passages/related-articles/666-in-popular-culture-and-history

[4] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1967), 150.

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DIT IS GENOEG! Dis tyd vir ‘n draaipunt!

‘n Goddelike Omkeer Strategie!

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

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

Plan van aksie:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Herbesin die gesondheidswaarde van fisiese samekomste v gelowiges

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMPARTATION: 


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

GROEPSDINAMIKA 

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

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

GERIEF BRING NIE NOODWENDIG GROEI NIE

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

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

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

ONDERSTEUNENDE TOEWYDING 

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

GEESTELIKE AUTORITEIT EN GESAG 

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

ONS ONTHOU ERVARINGS BETER AS INLIGTING

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

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

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

DIE BALANS TUSSEN INDIVIDU EN LIGGAAM.

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

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


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

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

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

Categories
Social Relevance

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

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

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

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

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

How NOT to earn a LIVING. 

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

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

Why do we have to pay taxes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do the righteous earn money? 

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

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

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

The role of agriculture. 

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

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

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

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

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

The RICH and POOR Gap. 

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

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

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

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

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

Sharing willingly or taken by force? 

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

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

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

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

Economy of mutuality and inclusion

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

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

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

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

Those who are in Christ Jesus already have the solution! 

Building Bridges, Repairers of the breach! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•          Poor relationship with God – Poverty of Intimacy

•          Poor relationship with myself – Poverty of Being

•          Poor relationship with family – Poverty of Trust

•          Poor relationship with community – Poverty of Security

•          Poor relationship with Creation- Poverty of Stewardship 

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

TENET 1: CHRIST-CENTRED REVIVAL 

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

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

TENET 2 Asset Based Community Development.

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

TENET 3 Morpho-genetic Social Developmental Approach.

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

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

TENET 4 Funding of God-inspired initiatives. 

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

TENET 5 The Fruitful village. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


[1] 1 John 3:17 ESV

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

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

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

[5] http://peaceandjustice.co.za

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[25] https://www.ethicaltrade.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[33] http://www.unisearch.co.za

[34] https://ranyaka.co.za

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

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

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

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

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

[40] https://amosafrica.net

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

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

Categories
Social Relevance

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
Social Relevance

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.

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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!