Monthly Archives: April 2012

Outreach to the DRC, Swakopmund, Namibia

It started off with holy discontent and the need to BE the change. As part of Shofar Christian Church, we as a small group felt the need to reach out. To live adventurous faith by adding hope to the lives of others.

So on 15th April 2012, after having collected second hand clothes and food supplies from church members, we packed them in cars and headed off to foreign territory – the DRC (the poorest part of Swakopmund, Namibia).

Driving as a group of white and brown people, we were somewhat still alien to the surrounding area. Upon arrival we were welcomed by Elizabeth and many children and their parents. So we spent time with the kids… playing and laughing…whilst poverty and need seemed looming imminently.

After clothes and supplies had been sorted, we started distributing. It seemed the number of people present doubled within the second of us starting the distributions. And heavyhearted we had to acknowledge that what seemed like a lot still back at our church would never even suffice to give everyone at least a piece of clothing.

It was an afternoon of laughter, loving, singing and dancing… and observing with God’s heart the need of people He early loves.

Please pray…

…for the children and their families at Ubuntu Day Care that their need will be met

…for Elizabeth…that GOD may bless her abundantly for what she accomplished there

…for us…to go again soon…and to BE the change

and for yourself…to become part of the change right there…where you live…and where need is imminent. May God give you a holy discontent too.

Christianity Live

Here the first of many newsletters from missionaries and Christians around the world.

I hope you will find joy in this enhancement of the Kingdom of God and that these newsletters and reports from the mission fields around the globe will inspire you to grow toward your full potential in God!

Praise be to GOD.

To read the newsletter, please click: Cup of Hope

God Bless!

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 1

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Islamic Teaching and Christianity

The Qur’an

The Bible

External sources (the Hadith and Sira) necessary for translating the Qur’an

Historical context contained
within the text of the Bible

Must know Arabic in order to “fully understand” the Qur’an (according to Muslim apologists)

Universal.  Can be translated into other languages without excessive commentary.

Chronological progression of the
Quran is from peace to violence.

Chronological progression of the
Bible is from violence to peace.

The words ‘torture’ and ‘punishment’ appear six
times more often than in the New Testament.

The word ‘love’ appears five times more often
in the New Testament than in the Qur’an,

Contains not a single original moral value.

The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and others.

Suffering is an excuse for violent revenge
and establishment of Islam by force

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” 
(Qur’an 2:191)

Suffering builds character

“We also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope”

(Romans 5:4)

Emphasis on this World

“And Allah has made you heirs to their land
and their dwellings and their property”

(Qur’an 33:27)

Emphasis on the Next

“Mine is not a kingdom of this world”
(John 18:36, see also Luke 14:33)

Kill, convert or subjugate Christians and Jews.
(Qur’an 9:29)

Share one’s faith with gentleness and respect.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Martyrs as Killers

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain”
(Qur’an 9:111)

Martyrs as Martyrs

“As it is written, For thy sake we are
killed all the day long; we are
counted as sheep for the slaughter”
(Romans 8:36)

Killing Apostates

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them”
(Qur’an 4:89, also Bukhari 52:260, 83:37…)

Letting God Judge Apostates

“For we know Him that has said,
‘Vengeance belongs unto me, I will
recompense,’ says the Lord.  And again,
‘The Lord shall judge his people'”
(Hebrews 10:25-30)

Punishment

“Let not compassion move you
from carrying out God’s law…”
(Qur’an 24:2)

Mercy

“Love is patient.  Love is kind…
It keeps no record of wrongs”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Charity and Non-Believers

Mercy toward fellow Muslims – ruthlessness toward unbelievers.  Muslims are warned not to befriend those outside the faith.  They must even ensure that their charity tithe (zakat) does not go toward the needy of other religions.
(Qur’an 48:29, 3:28, Sharia)

Charity and Non-Believers

Christians are specifically told that even
those who hate them are entitled to
kindness and charity.  They should be loved
and cared for as surely as any fellow believer.
(Mark 10:25-37)

The Qur’an does not command husbands
to love their wives, but it does give men
permission to beat disobedient women.
(Qur’an 4:34, Sahih Muslim 2127)

“Husbands, love your wives and
do not be harsh with them.”
(No permission to beat women)
(Colossians 3:19)

Explicitly allows Muslim men to rape their female slaves, even those already married.
(Qur’an 4:24, 70:29-30, 23:5-6…)

Tells masters and slaves to serve
each other as if serving God.
(Ephesians 6:7-9)

Muhammad is the messenger
of Allah. And those who are with him
are ruthless to the unbelievers”
(Qur’an 48:29)

“Do good to them that hate you”
(Luke 6:27)

Allah wills those that stray and are lost
(Qur’an 16:93)

God wants all people saved
(1 Timothy 2:4)

Warns Against Questioning Faith.
(Qur’an 5:101-102)

Welcomes Intellectual Challenge.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Violence as Virtue

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye
dislike it.  But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and
that ye love a thing which is bad for you.
But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”
(Qur’an 2:216)

Violence as Sin

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but
leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy
is hungry,  feed him… ‘”
(Romans 12:19-20)

Hell for unbelief.
Good deeds count for naught
(Qur’an 18:102-107)

Hell for bad deeds and the
failure to do what is right
(Romans 2:6-8, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:41-45)

Judging

“Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites!  Be harsh with them…”
(Qur’an 9:73)

Judge Not

“For when you pass judgment on another person, you condemn yourself…”
(Romans 2:1)

Taking wealth from others

“Allah promiseth you much
booty that ye will capture…”
(Qur’an 48:20)

Working for and giving wealth to others

“The thief must no longer steal but must
work hard and do what is good with his
own hands, so that he might have
something to give to the needy.”

(Ephesians 4:28)

Calls down Allah’s curse on Christians
and those of other religions.
(Qur’an 9:30)

Calls down God’s blessing on
those who curse Christians.
(Matthew 5:44)

Arrogance & Privilege

“Ye are the best of peoples,
evolved for mankind”

(Qur’an 3:110)

Humility & Servitude

“If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35)

“O you who believe! do not take My
enemy and your enemy for friends:
Would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth?
(Qur’an 60:1)

“Love your enemies…”
(Luke 6:27)

Our Superhero died, and we bolted

We all have Superhero’s … some of them are more obvious than others: rock stars, TV actors, top athletes, the pope, pastors, our fathers … and so did the disciples.

They had wondered the face of the earth for about three years with their master and mentor, Jesus. They had reached situations where there was clearly NO way out… but every time Jesus came through with the solution…always a bit late but never too late it seems.

Let’s look at some of them:

A hungry mass of people (5000 to be exact – counting only the men; add a fair 10000 to get the total) walking after Jesus, waiting for a touch, a word, an encouragement from Him, followed the disciples and Jesus from morning until late afternoon. Jesus is clearly done teaching and the disciples are tired and hungry too, but instead of sending them home it’s suggested the disciples give these 15000 followers something to eat. However a mere 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish will not do. (John 6:1-13) But in the last instant, AFTER the disciples had to settle these masses in groups of 50 (try doing that for a change), JESUS comes through… and SOMEHOW when he breaks the bread and fish… it becomes more. All the people get food until they are FULL and 12 BASKETS full of crumbs remain.

Jesus tells his disciples to row out onto the Sea of Galilee (that is known for fierce storms with immense high waves). (Luke 8:22-25) Whilst He takes a nap in the boat, the disciples enter a storm (one of these fierce ones – and mind me say… these men KNEW how to steer a boat, they were fishermen). Whilst they are fighting to keep the ship OVER water, Jesus continues sleeping. When Peter wakes Him, shouting at Him to make it clear they are about to drown, JESUS gets up, tells the storm to stop, and immediately even nature obeys His command. What a superhero.

When friends during one of His crusades through the country approach Him with the news, that his friend, Lazarus is severely ill and needs His healing powers, Jesus makes His way there (healing many along the way and being delayed). (John 11:1-45) So when He arrives Lazarus is dead already and Martha, one of his sisters approaches Jesus in despair and tells him he’s too late. Jesus is deeply touched by this moment – He even cries. However, again the disciples are to witness yet another miracle, when Jesus tells Lazarus to get up from the dead, and he does.

So here we had only three incidents… one of power over the amount of supplies, one where power of the forces of nature is displayed and one where even Hades seems to buckle under His command. There are even more, when looking at all the healing miracles, but I guess you get my point. Here is a genuine SUPERhero. He was a Superhero to the nation that got touched by His powers, to the people whose lives had been changed forever, to His disciples (for even though they spend time with Him constantly, He never seemed to fail in His superpowers).

Now comes the events around Jesus crucifixion and the disciples for the first time witness a Jesus different from their self made Superhero. Jesus seems to be in despair (they had never seen Him like that before), He talked things they more and more did not understand (about temples being destroyed and rebuilt (John 2:19), Him dying (Mark 10:32-34)) and here HE is, seemingly suddenly powerless when they come to arrest Him, try Him, sentence Him (John18) and crucify Him. HE DIES.

Of course they bolted. Wouldn’t you have? They were scared! They had never seen their Master like that! He didn’t seem to have any super powers any longer, which meant that they as His followers might be in dire straits too. They bolted.

And so would you, and so would I. And so we have.

Often our superhero’s are less obvious... they are our pastors, mentors, parents, friends… and when they mess up, we are quick to drop them. I have seen many leave churches, for their superhero’s were defeated (they were eventually only human) pastors, leaders, mentors. I have seen many, leave a ministry, when their superhero leader of it, fails to fulfil their dream goals.

Following a pastor, a mentor, a leader OTHER than JESUS was never intended. People leave churches, ministries etc due to lack of performance according to their standards. They leave because their focus… their superhero was a human being. Instead of praying for them and giving support.

In the body of Christ, we should never deify people. Unless JESUS is our superhero and the reason why we are in it – all is in vain. I therefore ask you to think and pray about your own life. Change perspective and make JESUS your focus and aim to please HIM instead of people.

May God bless you!