Sacred Spaces 524 – ministry on the road

Its been awhile since i blogged here. But I’m back. 

So over the last three weeks i have been on tour with some students from Pneumatix (the college where i work.)

We’ve been across three provinces in the towns of Ficksburg, Despatch and now Calirzdorp.

I’ve learnt a few things along the way and want to share some thoughts with you:

(I’ve included pics of our team in action to give you an idea of what we do. )

1. From small towns comes the biggest hospitality.

2. There are little “gems” all over the world.

3. Sometimes a sermon (a preach) won’t bring someone to God… but then perhaps performing arts could help…

4. People like to be entertained. (That’s why theatre all over the world is packed.) The productions we put on… carry a message that we hope would inspire / challenge and encourage our viewers.

5. I have a new found respect for performers who need to remember their lines and / or remember their dance moves.

6. There is a lot of despair all over South Africa. Sadly but understandably.

7. When we as a touring team come to a town we don’t  “minister to” people but rather “minister with” – that struck me a lot.

8. We also can ask of every town “what can i learn from you” instead of always coming in with a “messiah complex” and demanding that you can teach and have the answers…

9. We as a visiting team may be the catalyst / may light some fireworks in the lives of those who come to our shows but the main work is done by the pastors and youth pastors of every town or community we visit. Those people deserve the true applaud and prayer. We may awaken some lives. But the helping with continued growth comes from the local churches.

10. Tour involves ministry to the team too. There have been 18 personalities i have had to learn with, encourage, motivate and monitor their wellbeing.

Thank you for reading my observations.

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Sacred Spaces 426– Cold

8 July 2014

As I climbed into bed last night, I felt a cold chill run through my body. I am currently house-sitting. The house has wooden floors and with the lack of sunshine over the last two days the building hasn’t been warmed up. I’m even wearing chav pants (tracksuit pants). It’s freezing in here.

But as I covered myself with a duvet and a blanket and felt my body warm up; I couldn’t help but think of those less fortunate than ourselves.

There are people in my country (South Africa) and elsewhere that shiver the whole night through. Just imagine being that cold.

There are people who live in shacks who are always protected by the cold winds. Imagine feeling constantly cold.

The problem is huge! There are people and organizations which are helping and meeting their needs. It’s a start at least. And we’re thankful for the difference that is made in each person’s/family’s life.

But I just want to remind those, who are warm at night… to be appreciative for what you have.

cold

Thought 2:

I then think of our singing on Sunday at church.
Our minister joined the evening band.
I couldn’t help but smile during the whole time.

He came in and brought such a free dynamic to the singing. It was all haphazard and not so structured. YET I loved it so much! 🙂

He apologized to the church for not “being well practiced.”
But he really didn’t have to.

What Sunday night had was joy; and that’s what singing to God requires?
Thankful and alive people appreciating their God, right?

Have a good week!

Quoted:

“With fire to keep us warm
and tools we made from rocks and bones
A roof over your head
and walls to keep you safe in bed” Dave Matthews Band

Sacred Spaces 355– At the ATM

Sacred Spaces 355– At the ATM
6 November 2012

(Disclaimer: I may differentiate between different races in this post.  But hear me out, I am not a racist.  This is just me thinking out aloud.)

The other day, while I was waiting to draw some money at the ATM, I noticed how there were about 5 adults before me (middle aged black African) who were each being assisted by the white lady who works for the bank.

As they approached the machine she gladly helped them through the process of drawing money or checking their balances.

This stirred some thoughts in me.  When I grew up, my father took me to the ATM with him and “showed me the ropes” (so to speak), thus as I grew older, I have never seen an AYM as an intimidating thing.  I know the gist of how it works.

This got me thinking about these 5 adults before me.  Probably growing up in the apartheid South Africa where black Africans were shunned upon.  (Still such a shame thinking about that); they were never taught as teens how to use an ATM.  (Among other everyday life skills)

Maybe God is calling me to a “ministry” to help teach simple life skills to others?

I then thought of all the hurdles I would have to “get over” to start up something like this.
(Maybe I am making mountains out of mole hills.)

The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, is the language barrier.  I cannot speak isiZulu.  (I even sucked at Afrikaans in school.)
I could always have a translator.

Then I got to think of my black friends and acquaintances that have made it “big” in the cities of Joburg, Cape Town, Durban and other places.  They speak English so well, yet I am certain they can still speak their mother tongue very well too.  (I may be assuming here.)

(This is not an attack!)  With them being able to speak isiZulu and other African languages very well; have they not seen the help needed from the people of their culture and language?
(And please, no hate mail.  I am just thinking out aloud.)

They should invest in teaching simple life skills to others.

I know it’s not an excuse, I wish I was a good student and could pick up languages.
I could do lots of ministry in my own country in the language of the people who need help.
Then again, maybe I am limiting my God?
And the brain He has given me?
Or am I allowing hurdles to get in the way, instead of focussing on a very real practical trust I can have in God.
Maybe a ministry / service of this type would require a team and dependence of others; which in itself is a good way of doing things.

So I stand at this ATM, waiting my turn.
Asking God to stir things in my heart and I pray that we as Christian people; would be practical in our service to the world around us.

If this convicts you in some way, I am glad.
Yet hear me out, I mention merely one thing that we could help others with.
As a “white African” there is a lot I can do to help my fellow country citizen, either from my own culture or the other cultures in this land of diversity I found myself in.

The thing is, for everyone who reads this: we’re called to action!
What are you doing?  And will you keep challenging me too?

TWITTURGY
 
Are you seriously just sitting on clouds?
Thankfully not!
Practical Jesus
May we follow in your footsteps
Being your hands and feet to the world
Around us

Sacred Spaces 341 – This city


Sacred Spaces 341 – This city
17 July 2012

So I sit from this place where I am house sitting and get to see the most stunning view of Durban City. These city lights get me thinking these things:

Firstly a pic of Durban City Lights, my measly camera:

Then one I got off the net:

I guess best view is by day, from my camera again:

(Oh for variation in these SS)

Often, I think in lyrics (as you have probably noticed by now). These two songs come to mind:

1) Blindside – City Lights (Click on title of song to listen to it)
2) U2 – City of Blinding Lights

Some words from them:

“And I’m starting to smell something beautiful
Though these streets are rotten
Trade love for the city lights
You chose me to stay” (Blindside)

“I’ve seen you walk unafraid
I’ve seen you in the clothes you made
Can you see the beauty inside of me?
… Oh you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights” (U2)

I look at this city from above.
From this vantage point, I think of the view of God and how He could possibly see this city?

He sees potential in this city
He sees creativity in this city
He sees hurt in this city
He sees loneliness in this city
He sees life in this city
He sees death in this city
He sees joy in this city
He sees the movement of His spirit
He sees despair
He sees hope

This city is packed with a lot of emotions and conditions.
I thought of the whole “laying of hands” we do in church as a symbol of God’s anointing on the “person” we pray over.
That got me thinking about us on this hill that oversee the city. In a metaphorical way, what if “we laid hands” and prayed for our city?
Are we as people who loved God, pray-ers?
Do we pray for the mighty movement of God?
Does that prayer lead to effective action in our own lives?

We could walk past people in this city that are aching; would we notice?
We could walk past people, who need a potent word of encouragement spoken to them; would we speak that word?

Now, I am talking about the city of Durban, yet wherever you read this from; the same applies to you and the city or town or village that you see.

My mind wonders to this verse we know oh so well:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden… In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14 & 16)

Carry the Light of love and hope and grace into the city you see!

TWITTURGY
These flickering lights
From cars
And city buildings
Sometimes want to fade out
People calling out for hope
A Light that would shine
Upon them and their circumstances
Use me, Lord as Your torch

Sacred Spaces 302 – Sleeping with Rhino’s

Sacred Spaces 302 – Sleeping with Rhino’s
22nd August 2011

Two weeks ago I found myself in Zululand. Accompanied by two guides (the local rangers), 5 south africans (friends & family) and a Belgian couple.
We set out on a 4 day (3 night) adventure under African sky. (For more info click Imfolozi Wilderness Trail)

In His back garden God taught me many things. (I love how we can always learn new things.)
And truth is, none of us have arrived yet. There are still so many things for us to DISCOVER.

Out in the wild, I noticed a few things:

Our 2 zulu guides had very interesting names. First there was Sicelo.
His name either means God answers or Answer from God. (I spent ages trying to find the proper definition on the Net… however the internet failed this time)

Then there was Tom. But that was his English name and we wanted to know his Zulu name, so I asked him and he told us:
Sphamandla. His name means: Give us Strength!

The Zulu culture and the Jewish culture have a few things in common. One of them is the importance of one’s NAME. Each name means something. A person’s name is their IDENTITY. So before one would even speak to that person and find out about them, their name would tell you something.

We as God’s people may have simple common names, HOWEVER we carry an identity as God’s children.

John 1: 12
tells us: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

We are also told in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 “that anyone who is in Christ a NEW creation, the old has gone and the new has come.”
We don’t always hold onto our identity as much as we should. We often belittle ourselves, compare ourselves to others and not realise our own WORTH in Jesus. I can imagine Him telling us to look in the mirror and as we stare at our reflection, we would notice Jesus next to us pointing to you and I; saying “You are mine. I love you more than you know.”

Lesson 1.

Among all of us we indentified 60 species of birds in three days. (In the world there are over 10000 species of birds.) That’s a heck of a lot! What does that tell us?
Simply and profoundly… God is an AWEsome Creator! Why create more than one type of bird? Why not?!
Could it be that God wants us to love our lives and EXPLORE his beauty and creation with wonder and awe and enjoyment. One bird would be awesome in its unique complexity. YET God creates over 10000 species. That’s epic!

Why? Simply, God is allowed to show off… TRUTH, all of creation is their to bring GLORY to God.
I thought of Romans 1: 20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have clearly been seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men (mankind) are without excuse.”

Look at that array of colour. Look at the beauty. If creation was a crime scene… then God’s fingerprints would be all over it. Everyday the sun rises and sets (not technically, but you know what I mean). There is always a new pattern in the sky, and its always so beautiful! My time in the African wilderness reminded me of that truth.

We learnt about ants and what they do for their Queen; and just their engineering and genius construction, wow! I am always awed by the connection of creation. For example. The DUNG beetle lives off the dung of other animals. And also that dung is used to fertilize the earth.

Then check this out:

A twig insect. Wow! Haven’t seen that in ages. Check how camoflauged it is. It’s design is intentional.
I just can’t not see God in all of this. HE is so PRESENT!!!

Also on the hike, we had no WATCHES or cellphones with us. It was cool to not let TIME dictate. And to just be. In the wild, with our Maker and our friends. So another lesson: less is more
And don’t rush life away by being so time bound.

We each carried ONE spoon, one bowl and one mug. That was enough! And it always can be. Even in our “western worlds”
We tend to collect so much “stuff” in our lives.
We ate every meal with those 3 utensils.
And guess how we washed them? Yes, you got it right… with sand and river water… that’s it!
Okay so we didn’t take a picture of that, but here is a picture of our earthly dinner table, with our great chef, Tom:

I also really liked sitting around the FIRE, getting to know about other cultures and just to pause and enjoy the simplicity of life:

Maybe in our lives we need to pause a bit more and just share stories. Because just as Jesus told parables and people learnt stuff from them, so can we learn from each other’s stories. Whether they’re fables or of their own experience.

While walking around the bush and learning from our guides and stopping and resting in the African sunshine, we were told to not speak too much. Firstly because we would scare the animals away such as these Buffalo:

And also so that we may embrace our surroundings. I also used the QUIET to listen and talk to God. I offered my thoughts on ministry and the church and what direction I need to GO. I felt God give me this verse from Luke 4. And I pray that you would add that to your FAITH journey too.

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In the temple Jesus unrolled the scroll from Isaiah and proclaimed that that was His mission.
I felt God say to me; I need to measure what I do in the future with this above mission statement.

How do I (and you) proclaim GOOD news to the poor and FREEDOM to prisoners? Etc Etc.
I think we as Christians and churches cannot just look inwards to our “holy huddles” but rather be “hands on” in the world and community we ourselves in.
(What do you think about that?)

So I ask you to pray for me (and yourself) as we try by His grace and strength to live out mission of the Luke 4 verse above!!!

I could talk (write) a lot more but would rather just keep quiet for NOW and let these pictures below speak for themselves. A picture paints a 1000 words, but you know that already…from sunsets, to sunrises, to beautiful animals and birds, to playing baseball with rhino dung and to sleeping under the stars… we are alive and well!

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John 10: 10 “I have come to give you LIFE and life in the full!”

While walking in the bush I kept having Johnny Clegg songs play in my head. So I thought I’d add this youtube clip for some video interaction. (May you be the one with a great heart as you allow God’s heart to beat in yours)

This clip involves a great story about starfish and you will hear a collection of South African artists singing this great tune together:

(If you recieve this by email… this link won’t work [its a problem with WordPress] however go to the blog and you can watch it there.)

I hope you have enjoyed and learnt something from this interactive Sacred Space. God bless you abundantly!