Category Archives: Christian Life

Letting Go / travelling light.

It is easier said than done, to let-go when changes occur. Some of these changes are physical, others mental or spiritual or emotional… none the less, there is a pattern that such changes follow that brings about despair or amazing chance.

It has occurred a number of times in my life and is about to happen again: leaving all materialistic stuff behind and starting a new life in a new place, on a new continent, in a new language.

Such change brings about emotional challenges such as saying good bye, excitement of the new, longing to hold on what was, fears of the unknown, and many others. There is a tension between what we consider good and bad feelings, or should I rather say, positive and negative feelings; though if we look at them openly and honestly they are in fact all positive or even neutral in character. They just are. They are normal. They cannot be denied and won’t go away. They might be pushed aside but are not resolved unless you embrace them and live through them.

Such change also brings along physical challenges. Those of starting a new home of leaving behind an old one (even in practical terms… getting a new bed, table, kitchen, clothes,…) of having to adapt to a new season, climate, language, etc pp. Continuing life with less materialistic luxury than you got used to over the past season in your life.

And there are spiritual challenges. Suddenly praying as usual feels different. Suddenly spiritual warfare needs to be dealt with differently and things you stand up for or against change. The calling to the new country can also entail challenges from God, can change your relationship toward Him, can be scary to exciting and could bring along insecurities God allows so you can grow in Him.

When I read in Luke 9:3, Mark 6:8 and Matthew 10:9 about what to take along as followers of Christ, when God sends us; the lists are similar and the symbolism the same… so I will stick to Luke.

Luke 9:2-4a And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.  And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.” Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.…

So here we are instructed if we are to leave and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Let us remember that any follower of Christ is called as a disciple and that the above is our core message! It does not need a mission trip, evangelistic event or occasion. We are called to proclaim the Kingdom. So we can know this command is for our daily lives.

Allow me to attempt some interpretation on some of the things:

Take no staff: a staff is a symbol of authority and identity.

When I leave from one job to the next, most of the times, it helps little or even hurts new relationships when I arrive bragging about how great I was at my last post, what authority and knowledge and power I had. I will have a pretty lousy and hard time finding my feet.

Take no bag: what goes in your bag when you leave?

Mine contains memories, rituals of how to do things, own securities in essence that help me to be self reliant, no matter what shape they might take.

Take no bread: this reminds me of the Israelites in the desert. They could only harvest manna for that very day. It also reminds me of how God says we should never worry about what we feed on tomorrow.

If I move from one place to the next, I leave behind a spiritual home. If I take along the methods and habits and rituals of that old home to the possible next, I will start comparing constantly. Comparison kills in most instances. Spiritual food provided by a local church will never look the same when you move to a next place. However God does. His Bible does. And through such HE will feed us.

Take no money: When I take money, I become self reliant…

(I am not speaking of preparing with wisdom even financially.) Money often gives us a false sense of security. And thus when it fails, it leaves us in despair for something it was never really able to give.

Take no two shirts/cloaks: there are certain things that we desire to take out of fear and egoism. They cause excess baggage.

In the days of Jesus, taking a second garment would have meant excess baggage. It was not a usual thing to do either.

When I look at my own suitcase I am busy packing, I find there are things I desire to take, that cause excess weight. I desire to pack them because of the “but what if’s”. They cause an unhealthy focus on me, instead of the providence of God and are caused by a lack of trust in Him.

So why would God cause me to take no bread, no extra cloak, no money, no bag, no staff?

When God sends us on an adventure, we need to prepare. We need to use the brains God gave us. We need to be wise and make provision. However there ARE things we will be wise to do without.

For me these are:

My staff: it doesn’t help if I pitch and show off with who I have been in the past or what I have achieved. It will make building new relationships harder than it already is.

My bag: I need to embrace the fact that most things that create a comfort zone for me now, will change. Holding on to the old ways and trying to be self-reliant, will not be of help in this new environment.

My bread: I will need to find a new spiritual home, even when I will find support from my old one and will even stay in covenant with them. Unless I am open to the possibility of a new packaging to the same Gospel, I will struggle more than necessary and will be prone to attacks from the devil.

My money: For me that is symbolic of my library of books, my guitar, and other ways I self-reliantly learned to cope with emotional stress that help me to NOT rely fully on God. (Now I am not against ANY of these… but they should always bring me into His presence, not prevent me from facing my own emotions and His presence alike.)

My extra cloak: In my desperation and sometimes fear to let go all of the old and start anew, I sometimes embrace things in a manner that you would think they bring salvation. I believe I cannot do without them, it threatens me to let go of them. However if I am honest… I haven’t needed them here in the past season; they will not save me or make the difference hoped for. I hold on to them in my desire to keep the old and in doing so they increase my reluctance to embrace the new (as my arms are filled already and my focus is on ‘poor me’.)

Gods advice and instruction of what to take, applies perfectly to my life and the season I find myself in.

However no matter whether you find yourself in such a season, or just want to de-clutter your life a bit, His instruction will be able to lead you.

You will probably have to adapt the examples I used. You might even have to adapt the symbolism. Just remember that this is not something you should pretend will never apply to you.

I pray you life may be enriched by His presence, by an increased trust in Him and testimonies of His providence and love throughout your process of change.

God bless.


An adventure with God

P1150561 (South Africa upon arrival.)

It was last year late September, that I heard – first from people, then from God – that I was to go to Stellenbosch, South Africa to partake in a year of youth and student pastor training at our churches head quarters. And though the idea excited me, I was clearly unsure about it at first, until I heard from God about it.

Now I have approached my last week here in Stellenbosch, before returning to Namibia and then immigrating to Germany.

This is a letter of reflection … may God speak to you about your own life, as you read it.

So 1st October I resigned from my teaching job in appropriate time (our school year in Namibia ends in December).

January 2014 came and I was about to leave Namibia to go and live in South Africa, in Stellenbosch for a year. I had never in my life visited the Western Cape before, nor was I familiar with church services of 1000 people, rather than the 150 I was used to. I did not have family here, I did not know where I would stay or with whom, I did not know what the training would entail in detail or whether I would be able to relate to or love the people I was about to meet.

Whoever has ever visited Swakopmund in Namibia and also visited Stellenbosch in South Africa knows, that when it comes to surrounding nature, the two could hardly be more different. I love the desert and the Atlantic Ocean (like in Swakopmund) and here in Stellenbosch I was to be surrounded by mountains, oak trees, squirrels I would see daily, rivers that actually carried water and so called rain spiders, that have a solid hands-palm size, are black and hairy and enter your home when the rain comes and are able to jump.

P1150596(surrounding areas to Stellenbosch)

There are those moments where you repeatedly in seasons of your life would certainly affirm you have not only hatched, and grown feathers, but are also already able to fly and soar like an eagle. I had such a moment when I moved to Namibia end of 2010, just to be surprised that I had just left the nest for the first time in my spiritual journey and yet knew nothing about flying – contrary to my assumption. Now I would again encounter such a moment when arriving here in Stellenbosch… and even though I knew much more about flying at that stage it was a sorrowful flapping and had nothing eagle-like about it.

But with every such desperate flapping of ever-tiring wings, I learned lessons that would change my life. Allow me to elaborate on merely five of them (I chose some that most people, Christian or not, will be able to relate to):

Flying-lesson 1: God knows me AND he knows the people that are now around me, that is: my boss, my colleagues, etc. If I want to be offended, I must be offended with God, rather than with them – God intentionally put them there, knowing how our characters would clash!

THAT sorted things quickly and painfully! It would be the first and most hurtful lesson to learn, but one ever so valuable!

Flying-lesson 2: People are different! (This sounds like an obvious lesson, but believe me, when you are in it, it is not.) They respond to things differently than I do. What excites me doesn’t excite them. The social values I find enculturated in me are not theirs. My ideas do not always create excitement in them and the way I do things is not theirs. Oh yes, and communicating about it, doesn’t always help.

In short… you discover you are not a good communicator, for otherwise not as many misunderstandings would happen. And without friends that love you even though you come across rude most of the time in their culture – the time would have been aweful.

P1160370(Youth Service snap-shot: matching text with scriptures)

Flying-lesson 3: Never assume you will not undergo a culture-shock. There is that moment, after having arrived when flapping-lesson 2 hits home hard. You have found yourself constantly misunderstood and feel like you are swallowing everything handed to you as challenges, but others are not. It is good to have a mentor to pray during this time and bring the issues you are having to God as quickly as you can and as often as needed as to avoid offence or bitterness.

Flying-lesson 4: Language barriers are real, even when you understand basics of a language. The best way to deal with it is be open about it, let people know when you need translation and do your best as to learn the language!!! I started off this year struggling to follow a simple conversation in Afrikaans, asking people to speak slowly or to swop into English. During the past months I have taught Bible School year 2 in Afrikaans, comfortably pray for people in Afrikaans and answer phone-calls in that language at ease.

The challenge I am now left with is being tri-lingual and sometimes my brain gets the wrong language *laughs*.

Flying-lesson 5: You learn things, you never planned on learning. However never underestimate the power of a servant’s heart. I noticed the other night as I was about to fall asleep: I know the exact coffee, tea and ‘other’ drinking habits of 34 people here at Head Quarters. Why? I make them tea, coffee, … . Is it my job? NO. But I learned for what reason who of them likes and appreciates it how at which stage of their daily routines. For the one it is all about the touch on the shoulder when I bring the coffee, for the other it is just that short friendly smile interaction and for some it is just what it is… an urgently needed cup of coffee.

The amount of lessons I learned would be much longer than any email, blogpost or letter can hold. I chose these five at random and trust you will be able to relate to some of them.

P1160456(Youth Service snap-shot: what is the Gospel to you?)

I feel privileged when I look back at this year. I never had as many spiritual growing pains ever in my life – and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all of them! I can see how I grew. I can see how not only my knowledge and intellect was fed and increased, but how I grew relationally equally much!

I was privileged to live with the most amazing woman of God, and her life-style and how real God is to her life, challenged me daily. Thank you, Co – I grew because of the legacy you left with me!

I was privileged to experience financial, time, relational and informational … impartation by Shofar Christian Church, our pastors here, my home base church of Shofar, friends, colleagues, students, and people I met. I never had too little, I never found myself wanting because of you… and I now not only have heard about covenant relationships, but I have experienced them first hand! You changed my life!

P1160460(Youth Service Worship snap-shot)

However my biggest thank you goes out to my family. The skype conversations were like a lifeline at times, your sms’s and whatsapp messages, the times spent on holiday, … you are amazing! My parents who supported me throughout, even though I presume they sometimes find it hard to relate to how I live my faith. My siblings who encouraged me, gave advise and where always also a part of the journey, my grandmothers and other relatives, that shared in my journey by reading regular emails.

I am about to say my good-byes to some of the most amazing people I know to return to Namibia. And while my heart is filled with sadness, it is also filled with gratitude, awe and excitement for the future.

Many of my friends as far away as Thailand, Germany, UK, America, Namibia, South Africa, Brazil, India, Australia and New Zealand and Pakistan… have prayed for me throughout this year. They carried me on eagles wings (the wings I did not have), they interceded and inquired how I was doing, they held me accountable, encouraged me and cheered me on. They loved me and journeyed with me, most of them via newsletters I would send out. To you I want to say: if I changed and matured in this time, it was because of Christ in you! I love you and I pray we will journey together some more!

I loved my year here! It has been the most exciting and amazing journey! Yes, it had plenty challenges… but it was like climbing mountains… it is hard to get up at times, but once on top it is breathtaking. You are the ones who made it possible!

May God bless you!



A game of pretence

I have met many Christians and non-Christians alike, who play a game of pretence with God with regards to their own behavior.

Here is why:

Allow me to bring-up a number of well known festivals in most countries:

Halloween, (Holi) Colour Festival, Christmas.

Or some other common topics that do more than just touch on this area:

Vodoo, Makumba, Yoga, Heaven and Hell, Music, God, … .

What do they all have in common? They have a history and an unavoidable truth attached to them.

This truth is foremost a Spiritual Reality, that we encounter when being exposed to or participate in these festivals, games, topics, beliefs, … . But our community and society would like us to belief otherwise.

We are told to believe, that if we do not believe in its spiritual nature or existence or truth, it will not affect us.

This is a lie.

It is like saying: “If I do not believe in love, I can never be hurt emotionally.” or “If I deny the health hazard of ONLY eating sweets and do not belief it is harmful, it will not affect me.”

We are all aware that that is nonsense. We are beings, created by God with Spirit, Soul and Body; denying the existence of one of the three parts, will ultimately lead to psychological illness and disposition.

However interestingly enough, we do not allow people to constantly punch us in the face – because it would cause hurt and damage. Our society becomes more and more aware, that verbal bullying has long lasting effects on our soul. AND most of the people worldwide, seek for a thing to worship and to connect to, spiritually (no matter where they might seek this).

If you are a Christian, you cannot shrug this off in ignorance – we cannot afford to do that!

Celebrating some of these festivals, give worship and honour and glory to other gods.

Listening to secular music, some of which is filled with sexual remarks, reference, abuse, activity; violence, greed, love for money, hatred and so much more, WILL affect your Spirit and Soul!

Watching TV, WILL affect your view on violence, sex, love, prestige, integrity, sin… !

As a Christian, our God is a jealous God! He wants to be LORD over our lives, so HE sets the standard by which we must live. No longer do I/ME/Myself reign, but He does by guiding me on paths of righteousness and I surrender completely to that path!

So let us keep that in mind, when we do listen to such music, watch TV and participate in festivals… and let us choose wisely.

If you are NOT a Christian, allow me to say this:

Not believing in hell, will not prevent you from going there, unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Not believing in God will not make Him go away, or make his laws or rules to life any different.

Should you have any questions with regards to faith that are not answered b y previous posts, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to facilitate your journey to discover the truth.

I understand you might have been badly hurt when these messages and sentences have been used out of context… please forgive me.

To all of us however, Christian or NON-Christian let us get educated and consciously get involved or abstain from involvement when we do.

We live in a society that turns values, morals and beliefs into a grey mixture of make-believe happiness and thoughtless blind following of what we are uncertain and unconscious of it is.

May God bless you, and may you have an encounter with Jesus, that will change your life forever!

The Leap-Frog

A group of scientists studying frogs did the following experiment:

They took a frog and measured the distance of its jump. After three consecutive jumps the average was taken and noted down. Then they removed one of its legs and repeated the experiment. Every time they repeated the experiment round, they removed a further leg.

Every time they had removed a leg, they commanded the frog: “leap, frog, leap!” And it did.

When it failed to do so after removal of the fourth leg, they decided to draw their assumption: “When you remove all four legs of the frog, it goes death.”

Now while this is a small anecdote, in our Christian communities, often much of this happens before our noses and we do not seem to realize. Allow me to contextualize this anecdote in merely two possible ways to explain what I mean:

  1. The drawn assumption does not match the condition.

The underlying assumption of the frog having gone death after removal of all its legs is like assuming the love for Christ can be measured by the person’s active involvement in church ministry.

The love of a person for Christ can be absolutely genuine and deep without that person being a leader of some ministry or being constantly actively involved in such a ministry. It might very well be, that the respective person is called to minister Christ to people outside a church setting primarily. Likewise the opposite might be untrue. A person very much involved in church, might merely be religious or lonely outside of church and thus find own fulfilment within the service toward others, rather than demonstrating devotion to Christ.

However we as Christians often fall into this pit, without even noticing, judging people unknowingly and falsely at that.

  1. Increased pain eventually stops our listening skills.

This is true so some extend. While some pain in a person’s life might draw them (closer) to Christ, surmounting pain, will make them oblivious to anything significant said to them, outside of this pain.

It is this knowledge that allows us to understand that the starving person will first need food before they will be effective listeners to the Gospel.

At some stage, constant and increased pain will blindside us. Then it is vital to get perspective again and re-calibrate our faith and lives with the help of others and God.

Unless the pain is alleviated however we will die (physically – possibly due to severe illness and thus might be with God; or spiritually – turning away from Christ due to pain experienced.).

Recognizing this second condition in time, will prevent unnecessary damage to people’s faith.

While the “leap frog, leap” is a mere anecdote, it points to significant issues of life. Living a balanced life in the midst of emotional and societal pain and prejudice/assumptions, we will have to learn to not only cope with these two scenarios effectively, but likewise to anticipate and when possible learn to prevent them, living a pro-active rather than re-active life as a Christian.

May God bless you!

It’s all about ME.

I remember standing in a school line up some years ago where junior primary students prayed the “Our father”. What I heard as a sweet mistake of one of the smallest ones however is SO fitting to our current society: “[…] MY kingdom come, MY will be done, in heaven, as on earth.”

In our Western world, it is common for our thoughts and ideas and beliefs to circle around us. Quite similarly to the old idea of all the planets circulating around the earth, the idea is propagated that everything in our lives must serve our own ideas/needs/thoughts/desires/ideals … .

The challenge is … this is a humanist idea, it is NOT biblical.

When we look at what the Gospel is all about, we find the most fitting and shortest summary is given by Jesus himself in Mark 1:14+15 (The time has come, the kingdom is near, repent and believe the good news. paraphrased ).

In short: It is about a kingdom, a king, a change of rule, you and me as subjugates, and good news.

To put it even more plainly: it is NOT about ME, but about HIM. It is not about MY dreams, but HIS. It’s not about MY plans, but HIS.

Thing is, God has a plan, a vision, a kingdom, a purpose … for His creation. He is inviting me to join Him in it. He is not so much concerned about my own ideas, plans, dreams, but He is concerned about my future in eternity. Everything we experience now will become relative, once we enter eternity. What is important to me now, will probably NOT be important to me then.

It is His love for me/us that moves Him to compassion and that causes all these gracious gifts we so desire and love. And there is nothing wrong with desiring them and asking for them – please do not get me wrong. But it is not the main purpose or goal of my existence here, nor should it ever be the reason why I follow Christ.

Our society sometimes assumes that we as Christians adhere to faith as a crutch. This is a consequence of a need-based gospel. A gospel in other words, where people come to Christ for what they want or need. However once they get what they needed/wanted, they no longer have a need for Christ and leave. Allow me to say, THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL, and we should not preach it!

Once we understand the principle of His KINGDOM more, we start realizing, it is all about Him. He is king and I am subjugated. He decides and rules in my life and I get little say in the rules to this life and His kingdom.

HOWEVER, understanding His LOVE for us, allows me to ask for His favor, his grace, gifts in my life, His everything He promises in His word, as asking a father.

The good news is GOOD because this King is extraordinary. He protects perfectly, He cares, He is involved, He truly loves, He forgives, He provides, … . His love is unconditional and never-ending!

The good news is NEWS because we are talking about a living relationship with GOD. We are talking about communication with God who is NOT bound by our own ideas of what is and is not; who created me, and who literally has NEWS to share and loves to do so.

So allow me to say: It is all about HIM. His kingdom is NOW. Allow the change in dominion. Surrender all. And rest assured that it is both GOOD and NEWS. Now… be ready to sacrifice ALL for Him.

May God bless you!

A revelation of the Cross

A few years ago, I sat at a theatre piece in one of the Aldiana Clubs one evening and was watching “the Lion King”. At some stage in the piece, Scar or his hyenas threaten the little Simba after his father’s death.  At that very moment, with an authority that came completely unexpected and extreme outrage a 4-5 year old boy, jumped up and screamed his outrage, threatening the hyenas and Scar, waving his fist and making his way across the rows of people. In fact he made 4-5 rows literally over people, raging and swinging his tiny fists in loudly voiced rage and accusations against these perpetrators, before anyone was able to grab him and even try to contain him. He spent the next 2 minutes kicking and outraged and continued his endeavour until his parents were able to calm him down. The interruption had the actors on stage flabbergasted. And in retrospective it caused a very entertaining evening and served for many lovely conversations afterwards.

Why do I mention this anecdote at the beginning of something as vital as a revelation of the Cross?

Because this young boy, had a revelation of something that was outrageous in a way the others in the room did not. He reacted promptly and appropriately (considering it had been a real situation instead of a theatre piece).

In have talked and heard about the Cross plenty times. I have watched “The passion of Christ” and was moved to tears.

But did I really have a revelation of the Cross?

Would I talk about it the same way, if I had witnessed it; if it was a loved one like my brother being crucified?

I guess not. And I am ashamed to say that. For I fully understand that I will certainly fall short of representing Christ, if I lack revelation of the Cross.

Too often, we do exactly what the crowd in the short anecdote does, we dismiss outrage as inappropriate and unfitting (even now it would be both, appropriate and fitting), we hold back those who react the appropriate way, we stop authority and later chitchat over the entertaining aspect of it all, ridiculing the person at stake.

However as Christians the Cross is part of the centerpiece of our walks with Christ. I say ‘part of’ because there is so much more to the Gospel of God than the Cross, but none the less, without it we would not be reconciled to God.

Now if you allow me, I will take you on a short journey, hoping to open your eyes to something that only the Holy Spirit can open them to:

Imagine you were there… right there, in the dust and heat and sun scourging, with sweat and blood in the air. Witnessing the crucifixion of the person most dear to you (whoever it might be)… the crucifixion of an innocent person.

Imagine you are there, smelling, feeling, hearing, and seeing. Yes, witnessing in its full implication.

Every moan and scream of pain coming from your loved ones mouth will cause you to writhe in your gut; will draw up disgust that brings guile to your mouth; will cause you to want to turn your eyes away and hold your ears shut – but you cannot.

Every expression of pain draws to your innermost being two emotions at once:

  1. Outrage and disgust
  2. A painstaking reality, that if they are not in that position right then and now, you would be. And admittedly, you’d rather not be.

Just allow yourself to interrupt your reading right here right now. Spend some time… just close your eyes and let that realisation sink in. Take your time. Allow what the Holy Spirit wants to do in your life right now.

Do you recognize the bitter-sweet fragrance of it all? Bitter for all that it was and is…. and sweet, for it redeems you for all eternity.

Once we recognize the Cross for what it is… once we recognize the price paid for us… once we acknowledge our own depravity… we are ready to be changed.

How could we/I/you ever not want to talk about this outrageous demonstration of love? How could you not want to do everything in your power to help people recognize what you have just started seeing?

I believe more words in this post won’t make it better.

I challenge you to walk a new road with Christ, thanking Him for the Cross more and more, as you come to recognize, what it actually means!

May God bless you!


Blessing and Curse – do we get it?

Blessing and Curse are commonly used terms in a Christian and also a biblical vocabulary. Lately I have noticed something that worries my however:

We have reversed the Biblical idea of blessing and curse.

A blessing in the Bible is that which drives me to my knees and causes me to know how much I need my God.

A curse in the Bible is that which gives me the illusion that I can depend on myself and I’ll be just fine.

In our current society and even community of Christians, we seem to have reversed the understanding of both.

We deem challenges to be from the devil all too often, rebuking the devil, when it is God pruning us and circumcising our hearts. On the other hand we have given a free ticket to anything that soothes our soul, pleases our senses and allows us to stand self-sufficiently in our daily life – even calling it a blessing.

Looking at the biblical context we find real life challenges that men and women of God faced:

Abraham being asked to leave his home country and relatives without knowing where the journey will take them to follow the call of a God, he is yet to get to know; David is anointed as king, yet spends years fleeing from the current king fearing for his life; the disciples of Jesus being requested to leave behind everything and follow Him without knowing what that might entail; Mary, the mother of Jesus, being an unmarried, single teenager, pregnant and claiming it is the Holy Spirit that impregnated her, in a society that is deeply religious;

Every single of these challenges circumcised the hearts of men and women of God shaping them as effective tools in the advancement of His kingdom.

If I am honest, I prefer it when I can be self-sustainable and self-reliant during all phases of life. However none of these moments caused me to seek God more or to draw me closer to Him.

On the other hand, I do admit I have frequent “spiritual growing pains” when the challenges put before me by God really reach deep into my soul and cause me to come to a place of surrender to Him.

All too frequent we hear the resounding echoes of phrases that end with “…I am so blessed” when what they really express is gratitude toward God rather than blessing from Him. And I DO agree we need to openly and publicly express such gratitude.

However confusing our words and calling it a blessing, causes a wrong perception among current Christianity of what a blessing of God is really about.

Understanding what a biblical blessing is all about, will help us embrace what God has for us, instead of rebuking the Holy Spirit.

Understanding what a curse is in the biblical interpretation on the other hand, will help us discern the schemes of the enemy that at times confuse and deceive our perception of matters.

May you be blessed by God!

Understanding the Question

I often find people asking questions, and people answering them. Then a bit further down the line, they encounter communicative problems as a consequence that sometimes lead to broken relationships.

I believe that often the causes of these problems are the underlying implications and assumptions every question brings with it. In this blogpost, we will look at some questions that refer to Christianity and will try and analyse some underlying assumptions to such a question. The idea is not giving you answered engraved in stone. The idea of this post is getting you into a habit of discovering the underlying assumptions and implications that lead to people’s questions. After that we will look at what to do with our discoveries.

Here some typical questions posed to Christians:

  1. Why is your faith the right one?


  • There is more than one right faith system
  • That again implies, there is more than one God
  • It makes for an abundance of assumptions about other faiths
  • Faith is something that should profit me.
  • I can ‘shop’ for a faith system.
  • There is truth in many places to be found.


  1. Are the different religions not all part of the same spiritual thing?


  • The idea behind this is the idea of, a metaphor often used of, an elephant.
    • Each religion is touching another part of the elephant and being blind folded describing it to be what they perceive
    • These descriptions are very diverse, yet all describe the elephant.
  • The fault in this assumption is that it is deeply arrogant because it assumes that the person posing the question is the only one that is NOT blindfolded and that can in fact see truth.


  1. Are Christians and Muslims not worshiping the same god?


  • Their definitions of God are equal (which they are not)
  • Muslims and Christians would agree that the other religion adheres to the same god as they do (which they don’t)
  • ‘god’ is just a concept of an overarching maker you pray to. (the definition of ‘God’ implies something quite different though)


  1. Why should I choose your church?


  • There are many different Christian churches and they compete with one another.
  • What they have to offer has to enrich my life and make it better.
  • Finding a church is like finding a fitness studio – you choose the one that best fits your desires and expectations.
  • For Christians, it’s all about church.
  • The church belongs to people, not God.


  1. Does Christianity allow for divorce?


  • Marriage is nothing more than a contract
  • Divorce is an option I should keep open like a back-door
  • Can my possible choices of the future (which might imply sinful behaviour) be catered for?


  1. How ‘far’ can I go and still be in the will of God?


  • God needs to cater for my own needs
  • My will be done
  • The will of God is unclear
  • God is not truly Lord, but just a supervisor of my behaviour.


  1. How do you know the Bible is true?


  • There is more than one truth to be found.
  • The Bible has been disproved (numerous times).
  • The integrity of the Bible cannot be established.
  • If it falters at any given point, I can continue in sin.


Now these are just a number of typical questions. The assumptions are neither exhaustive nor elaborated further.

If you are a Christian reading this, you will possibly/probably know that whereas you have heard the question before and were assuming you need to answer it, all the underlying assumptions were wrong (with regards to Christianity). (If you have a question regarding any of the assumptions and are unsure if that assumption is untrue, please contact me via email and I will gladly discuss the matter with you.)

So what now? What should you do with all of this?

First of all, start looking for the assumptions in questions, when you engage in communications with people. In the beginning it will take some time and might not be possible during the actual conversation, but only later. However the more you do this, the easier it gets.

Remember that looking for the assumptions is not looking for fault or doubting the question. It is in fact UNDERSTANDING the question for what it is.

Only once you UNDERSTAND the question, you can rightfully ANSWER it!

If you are not a Christian, this post might have been insightful with regards to your own questions. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about Christianity or truth. I hope you could none the less make the transferral to your own situation and communication situations.

Be abundantly blessed!


Why should I choose YOUR church?

I have recently encountered an atheist and was presented with a question that registered with me as I had heard it before on numerous occasions.

She asked: “Why should I choose YOUR church?”

She had been looking at different churches and faiths … she had visited our church service and had encountered and spoken to a number of our members.

What strikes me in this conversation is the fact that most of us would be inclined to fall for this question. However doing so, will not promote the Gospel.

While I love church and while I will always encourage people to come to church, the church I am part of, this was not the actual question at stake. And the reasons I would give for joining church would not have been a good answer to her question either.

Answering to this question means, we allow the unwritten implications of the statement. Here are some of the implied assumptions that possibly lead to such a question:

  • There are many different Christian churches and they compete with one another.
  • What they have to offer has to enrich my life and make it better.
  • Finding a church is like finding a fitness studio – you choose the one that best fits your desires and expectations.
  • For Christians, it’s all about church.
  • It is OUR church, not Christs.

The fact however is: IT IS NOT ABOUT FINDING A CHURCH! It is about discovering GOD.

If we allow people to believe they do this god-thing for their own benefit and what they can get from it, we allow a needs-based gospel. The problem with that is this: People come to Christ because of need; and when the needs are met, they have no need for Him any longer.

That makes finding a church quite a different thing from finding a fitness studio! You find God and then you follow His lead!

The sad truth in the implications however is: churches are in a ‘beauty’ contest. We have reduced church to being in competition with what the world offers and with what other churches offer.

That was never what church was meant to be.

The word ‘ecclesia’ translates to our current word ‘church’ in modern language. However a literal translation would much rather be ‘called out ones’. Church thus is a gathering of those who have heard the call of God and responded to if with a ‘yes’.

That makes church a living organism. Because we have different views and ways of worshiping God, of formatting a service etc, we have different denominations. However all people who are disciples of Jesus, who follow His lead (no matter in which church they find themselves) form part of the worldwide church of Christ, called the bride of Christ.

Instead of competing with one another (competitiveness is an unbiblical concept) they should exhort and encourage one another.

That would make the search for a church the following:

  1. A listening to Gods’ voice – where does He want you.
  2. A fellowship of believers where you find spiritual nourishment.
  3. A fellowship you become part of and where you find leadership you submit to.

So in essence “church is a community engaged in disciplines that make following the master/teacher possible and sustainable.”

So the next time you are asked the question at hand, let us preach the Gospel.

May you have a blessed week!

What is discipleship anyway?

This is a long post. It is not the typical blog post, but it is me spilling my innermost thoughts on a matter close to my heart. I hope you will read it none the less and that you will allow it to challenge you.

Studying course material on “Exploring Biblical Discipleship”, I have started on a journey of re-determining what discipleship is to me; what the functions of the church are with regards to the topic; where I stand in all of this and what the biblical demands are and what possibilities with regards to enhancing His kingdom are contained therein.

My frame of reference to churches exercising ‘discipleship’ is relatively small, regarding the fact that I have merely been a member of the Lutheran Church, the Pentecostal church movement and the Charismatic church movement, having visited merely one of each throughout my life. However the picture seems somewhat too similar to miss.

If the topic of discipleship even arose it mostly consisted of measures to make people better members, help them understand the doctrines at hand more easily, gain a life filled to a greater deal with freedom God has for us, and propagating conformity to ‘our style’ of church through and by the use of courses, participation in programs, short (often not more an one hour per week, sometimes a day) impact moments that in turn were supposed to transform lives.

If I am honest, I find all these approaches have failed in most of all instances. Looking at my own life, I admit I have often gained knowledge and have achieved becoming a better member, co-worker and participant in the specific denomination I was in. I have learned how to pray, worship, preach, socialize and talk the lingo of the community of that church. I have even acquired disciplines related to that. But I have not necessarily become a better follower of Christ. I have experienced conformity to church rather than to Christ. I have adopted pride for my church, believing I was more holy and godly than before and in that pride hindered myself from becoming more Christ-like.

If I think of discipleship as an apprenticeship however, I notice how momentary events, programs and courses fail to fulfill this task. Watching my mother bake bread, or even helping her mix the dough, will as a standalone event that might happens once in a while, not make me a baker. Following a recipe of Jamie Oliver, to the point, will not allow me to be a cook as good as he is, even if I cook one of his recipes once a week and soon might get the gist of the procedures.

Apprenticeship is just so much more.

I have been involved in and participated in so called discipleship programs, courses or events for the past 18 years (the first nine years on and off, the latter on a continuous basis). I have gained much knowledge, attained some disciplines (some of which were only applicable in a certain type of church) and learned to speak the lingo, be a profitable member to any church and yes, I got to know God more;

It recently dawned on me, that although I have been involved in disciple-making and being discipled the past nine years, my life and walk with God has changed the most when I spent three years teaching at a small private school in Swakopmund. I learned more about the fruit of the spirit in the first year of teaching a grade 5 class, than I have in seven years of being involved in a church. And while spending numerous hours together with my learners in various subject classes, they soon became a thermometer to my walk with Christ by reflecting my attitudes, my moods, my passions, my abilities and disabilities that I unknowingly imparted into them.

If you would ask me today, when I have most likely succeeded in ever making true disciples, it was in those three years, spending my time, my energy, my heart, dedicating and directing my prayers and fasting, my visions and ideas, and investing it into the lives of primary school students.

Why would I say such a thing, when I was taught that true discipleship happens in a church program?

I see the effects, the after-math of my time there. The contact I still have with some of my students; the fact that they confide in me; that their parents contact me when needing advice on their child’s dating; that they ask for prayer – even over a facebook chat and are overjoyed when I take the time to answer some of the difficult questions in life or just listen to them; when they honour me by mentioning me in the best possible contexts without me ever knowing beforehand that that is how they see the impact that I had in their lives and that it pointed them to Jesus, then I am truly humbled, then I stand fearing God, knowing I didn’t pray enough for them, that I have failed giving them my best in so many instances and yet Gods grace was sufficient to allow a divine impartation to their lives through mine.

These facts let me question how we do discipleship. They urge me to reconsider my stand point.

I have read much about discipleship be it in articles, books or the Bible. I have listened to teachings, participated in courses and am even now again participating in a course that seems to revolutionize my view completely. However most of the material, out on the market, seems to propagate a discipleship I have also encountered and described above. Some of the material has challenged me to stop, think and critically review my own take on the matter, which leads me to my current philosophy of discipleship. I say current, because I acknowledge finding myself in a process of conversion and reviewing this topic as one of many on my journey with Christ and becoming more Christ-like. I deem it necessary to remain teachable in all this, but at the same time stand firmly rooted on the revelational truth I have thus far.

I carry an ever expanding dream within me. A dream that shouts ‘discipleship’ at the top of its lungs. A dream that seems impossible to realize by humanly power, yet seems so much more like a possibility to redeem our culture, our humanity and enhance His kingdom.

I dream of a church that is the center of connecting ministries that we wouldn’t even call such in our current churches:

Imagine all teachers that are part of the church come together regularly to pray; over their challenges, for their students, for colleagues, for curriculums, for families, etc. no matter which school they teach at. Imagine their teaching to be fully acknowledged a ministry of the church, even though it might not be a ministry in the church. Imagine that ministry being backed up by intercessors, feedback, and treated as a branch of the church where discipleship happens without the condition of constantly speaking of Christ and people coming to church first. Yet living Christ and allowing through work appropriate transparency to make one’s own faith tangibly visible.

Now imagine doing that with many other professions also. Imagine the impact we could have!

I dream of a church where family becomes an intentional ministry within itself and also to replenish where our community lacks. Imagine, men of all trades in church, rising not only as priests of their own households, but even rising to replenish something where our society is broken, becoming fathers to the fatherless and considering that a full ministry with all it needs.

Imagine young university students, pitching at the netball and rugby matches of school going learners, supporting them, cheering them on, and celebrating their lives through that. Imagine the lasting relationships that would be build and the spiritual impact that could and would happen at the side of such a field, when suddenly teachers, friends, parents and even enemies would notice the impact in that sportsman’s life.

Imagine the church instead of protesting in front of abortion clinics offering a home for the next 12 months to these women (no matter whether they abort or not) to live with families or couples (of course with a certain reasonable and appropriate contract) in the time of finding their feet in life (whether healing emotionally after an abortion, or learning to be a parent). Either way it would be offering a solution, rather than condemning them and leaving them alone in a stigmatized society trying to find their feet and survive.

Imagine a church that connects people to real life experiences like these and many more – for ideas in this respect seem endless. I dream of a church where discipleship is not a word, a course or project or seminar, but where it becomes a way of life. A church where the Sunday sermons and the time of fellowship before and after are merely a mean to rejoice, receive some teaching and instruction, but likewise to make connections that enable true life relationship, apprenticeship, yes discipleship to happen. A church that is church more outside of the Sunday services, than it is now.

Only such a church enables apprenticeship that leads to a transformation to our master, Jesus Christ. We would find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, living closer together than we deem socially the norm, being more transparent than we feel comfortable with and constantly challenged by the reflection in the lives of those around us that reflect the impact we make, and give constant live-feedback on our own discipleship progress through conversion on all levels.

I do not have a plan how to change our lives and church experiences to match such a philosophy of discipleship.

I know that one step I am taking myself, is returning to teaching in the upcoming year. Considering the impact this changed view will have on the kingdom of God right there where I will be, fills my heart with anticipation and fear of God recognizing my own depravity in the light of who I am and who He is.

As I continue to journey, a mere disciple of Christ, helping and facilitating others to become disciples also, I find I have much yet to learn. But I trust, that by His grace, we will be able to redeem ‘discipleship’ for His kingdom in a way, that is worthy of our Lord and God, our master, our King.

Dare to dream bigger, dare to trust God and go, LIVE discipleship with all you are and have!