Tag Archives: being a christian

Social prejudice causing gender confusion

We all have prejudices – we just seem unable to prevent it. However how we allow them to influence us is a matter of choice.

In our churches, I sometimes find that prejudice causes tremendous harm to the body of Christ.

Allow me to illustrate some of the prejudice I am talking of by giving a few illustrated examples:

  1. If a young man loves to play rugby, soccer or tennis we are 100% fine with that.

If a young man loves to do pantomime, clownery, theater… well that                         is odd, but ok.

However if a young man loves to do ballet, rhythmic dancing or the                           likes, we presume he is homosexual.

  1. If a lady decides to choose to be a hairdresser, teacher or secretary, we seem ok with it.

What if a woman chooses to become a car mechanic for trucks and                              big machinery… and does so with absolute passion?

  1. If teenage boys hold hands to express their friendship and give hugs to one another to express their friendship when greeting one another…
  2. If men love knitting, sowing wedding dresses, become a make-up artist, …
  3. If woman become the president of a huge corporate company full of men in the management department, or if a woman becomes the president…
  4. If a young boy loves playing with dolls for a change …

What would your honest and most inward reaction be? Can you see how some of these touch on prejudice you carry?

While I am sure, we all have prejudice regarding some matters, and while I agree that at large we need to redeem the purpose and meaning and office of true manhood or womanhood, this is not the matter at stake here.

I have met young men in churches, who passionately worship God with rhythmic dance. They are men of God, in love with Jesus and fully steadfast in their gender as a man. However they are stigmatized due to our humanistic societal view of such behavior. They struggle, and if it weren’t for their love for God, they’d probably had left long ago.

But now let us stop and think here for a minute:

Would that not mean that we as a church are somewhat an “exclusive club” where people need to fit into pattern A or B? Do we thus perhaps even promote gender confusion?

What if a young man, were to leave church, find social acceptance in a society outside of church, to just be able to live their passion? And if with that comes the deception of the world, tempting them to enter sin as an unfortunate, yet life-destroying add-on to their passion?

I fear, many do.

I say, in that way we as a church fail all too often. We collect burning coals on our heads, as a consequence of our ignorance and lack of Christ-likeness, driving those seeking to sin.

What if today a lesbian couple were to enter our church, with an earnest longing for God. Would we facilitate an encounter for them, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin? Or would we treat them as lepers and try doing the job of the Holy Spirit ourselves?

We as a church should be different from the world but without the help of God, we will be no different. Changing our reactions to prejudice, facilitating God encounters for everyone, and creating space for people who are different, even if they might be just as broken and imperfect as we are, is something that needs divine enablement!

Let us be the change so longed for by a broken world. Let us love in spite of prejudice, let us embrace difference as what it is: Gods beauty in diversity on display.

And let us stand in unity on a path of conversion and transformation, where incomplete, broken people come to stand side by side to – by the grace of God – achieve advancement of His kingdom!

I am not saying, let us approve of sin, but I am taking a stand, that we should be able to discern when it is our lack of sensitivity and love, that keeps people from God.

Let us seek His face and trust for Him to reveal to us, where we can become more Christ-like in our daily walks, in our churches and communities.

May God bless you abundantly!

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Feedback from yet another mission trip

I have been part of a mission trip to Switzerland and Germany. The following is a summary and intends to encourage you to go on missions and outreaches more.

We departed from Cape Town International Airport and met for the first time as a whole team right there at the airport. Our desire was that God would knit together our hearts so that His love and unity would become evident to all though our lives and as a team. Well God has been faithful to the full extend!

We flew with Emirates Airline via Dubai to Zurich, then took a rental car and continued to Kerns, the area where we were supposed to hold the Europe Shofar Conference. (Shofar is the short form for Shofar Christian Church, which I am a member of.) God moved mightily and we all arrived in a sort of youth hostel in the midst of the European Alps. Surrounded by lush green, huge trees, mountains, meadows, rivers with icy water and cows that carry big bells around their necks.

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There we met up with Pastor Jaco from Shofar London and his team as well as the people from Switzerland. We were a very multicultural and international group and it was a miracle how God immediately knit our hearts together. I think one could rightfully claim that we instantly loved one another.

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We spent the whole weekend together, fellowshipped, did some children ministry for their accompanying children and had numerous sessions with the adults where we gave testimony of Gods goodness and the pastors shared messages with all. It was a time of exhortation and encouragement. We also went on a hike along one of those icy rivers:

P1150764 The good news: those rivers are icy cold, BUT there are no snakes, scorpions, huge spiders or thorns.

After a wonderful weekend together, we drove to Stuttgart by bus and then continued by rental car again to Gaildorf, a smallish town in the middle of fields of southern Germany.

When we crossed the border, I felt a supernatural excitement rising inside of me! I was literally running around in the bus from one team member to the next telling them the obvious – that we are in Germany now.

I have known hospitality in Germany for years… but what we encountered there was SO much more than I ever knew existed. We were welcomed with absolutely wonderful foods!

That same evening we met with the leaders for dinner and then for a praise and worship evening. It left us absolutely in awe and filled us with joy to discover how at ease we all worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. There was instant unity through the Holy Spirit and it was a wonderful night of worshiping our Lord and Saviour.

Tuesday we as a team went to a hill that looks upon the town. The initial plan was to pray for Gaildorf. We did – later – but what preceded it was even more special than any one of us had imagined. We as a team, alone, worshipped in an open field; then God would reveal to somebody some area He wanted to bring healing or deliverance to; next whoever felt that was for them lifted their hand and two others would come alongside that person and pray for him/her. It was a morning of many tears… tears that brought healing to us. The prayer for Gaildorf that followed was absolutely amazing and prophetic! How interesting, that God would take us more than 9200km and would allow us to pay so much money in South African Rand to find deliverance and healing for ourselves there on that hill.

That evening we had a repeat of what we had experienced on the hill for the congregation. We worshipped and just like on the hill, God would reveal what He desired to heal, deliver from or bring to fruitition. Many had an encounter with our loving and almighty God.

Wednesday morning half of our team travelled on to the Netherlands, while 6 of us remained with Jan as our leader to continue ministry.

Wednesday we went out with a number of congregants in smaller groups to do street evangelism. The group I was with consisted of two men, a teenage boy and myself. We went to a hostel for asylum seekers and experienced how we were invited into the home of a Muslim to pray for his sick wife and were able to establish relationships.

Wednesday night we again had a service. I was the translator of our team since we had gotten to Germany as almost no one spoke German in the team. That night my speech-centre froze to the laughter of a whole congregation as I started translating from German to German. i.e. I had translated from English or Afrikaans to German and back all the time. Now I was hearing German, in my mind the words got translated to English and when I opened my mouth out came only German. The harder I tried to get it right, the worse it got. So I took a short break after which all was fine again.

Thursday was our day off as a team. We visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a touristy day off. That evening we were invited to the German equivalent of a braai/barbeque.

P1150803 P1150808 P1150811  Pictures taken during our trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

I must admit… we all probably gained weight. The food was absolutely stunningly over the top amazingly “lekker”! Our hosts were the most loving and precious people and such a blessing to us!

Friday we had our last day in Gaildorf. We started by anointing the farm and the hosts where I had stayed with the other single ladies of our team! It was such a precious moment of consecration and mutual trust. God really touched their lives as a family!!!

Friday night we started the service at 19h30. At 23h30 the whole congregation was still present, and no one was prepared to leave … the Holy Spirit was ministering to us all. I have seldom experienced his presence as powerfully!

We left Saturday morning for Frankfurt, where I was privileged to meet my brother Ruben for a cup of coffee (he’s a soldier in the German army and I hadn’t seen him in more than a year!)

Our flight back was pleasant though long and our goodbyes to one another sincere.

What I take home is the sense of deep gratitude to have been privileged to be part of this mission trip, to serve, to laugh, to cry and to minister among brethren in a foreign country that is at the same time the country of my birth.

I can only encourage you to go, the next time an opportunity like this one comes around.

Please feel free to visit youtube and view our two short videos of all our action. Type in “Shofar Missions Outreach Switzerland June 2014” and “Shofar Missions Outreach Germany June 2014” .

I trust you will enjoy the videos.

Abundant blessings!

When God says ‘yes’.

Just as there are times, when God says no, there are those miraculous times of His saying yes. Often an unexpected yes followed by a series of miracles that establish a completely new basis of trust in our relationship to our Saviour.

After receiving a determining “no” from God last year in May, I then encountered His “yes” when September came around. This post is the testimony of that “yes” that came about.

It was mid September (the 19th I think) when I received news that I would be going to South Africa to the head quarters of my congregation to take a youth and student pastor training. I had been unaware of them considering such an option and had just settled to going back to teaching for an undetermined amount of time. So my response of utter surprise was “sounds great, but what are we talking about?”

I was filled in only on the idea that I would be taking a youth pastor training as of January 2014. The few other details I received said nothing about what my training would entail, what would be required of me, how I would get around financially, etc. and it left plenty room for insecurities, frenzies of panic, an amount of reluctance and frustration.

Well, matter of fact was that after that short conversation, there seemed to be NO way of getting more information. A convergence conference was on, after that a week-long pastor’s summit. And all the people I urgently wanted to speak to were unavailable. The school I was working at, had a policy of resigning before the 1st of October. I was in the middle of my planning for a field trip that was about to leave with 18 youngsters on 29th September. That left me with 10 days of not knowing more and having to make a decision.

Sometimes God’s “yes” come in packages that challenge us to walk on water. I fasted and I prayed. And even though my heart was settled on staying a teacher right where I was, I heard God saying “yes” to the offer I had received.

I had a choice to make. Either I could stay and remain with the securities I wanted. Or I could take a leap of faith in accordance of what I had heard from God and been unable to discuss much. I did what the world would call foolish, I took the leap. The day I departed for the field trip, I handed in my formal resignation at the school. I left with a sense of relief… so now the adventure would start.

The “yes” I had heard was a definite “yes” from God. Leaders around me had the wisdom not to advise what to do, but to advise to seek God’s counsel on the decisions. i.e. they refused to do the job of the Holy Spirit; and I am still grateful for that!

None of the doors since then just stood wide open, but all were unlocked. By that I mean… every single door caused spiritual growing pains in me. Every single door required me to walk on water a bit more. And every single door brought me closer to God, to the calling on my life and formed and transformed my character to be more Christ-like.

There were moments of struggling with God, there have been moments of desperation, moments of offence with God (for, as He showed me, He placed the leaders I have in my life, so any offence I’d take through them, I actually take through God) and working through it to the place of surrender and forgiveness.

And there were moments of rejoicing, of deepest satisfaction about what I am doing, moments of awe and gratitude toward who He is and what He is busy with.

When God gives His “yes”…

  • do not expect a walk in the park.
  • first hear from GOD about matters.
  • expect growing pains.
  • expect Him to be glorified through it.
  • decide to trust.

We live in a society where we sometimes want God’s “yes” to be like a candy shop. But candy shops only produce obesity. God desires us to grow closer to Him, He desires to be glorified and He will walk alongside you on the waters.

This is the most exciting, fulfilling and rewarding adventure God has ever taken me on. Yes, I am still on that adventure. What comes after that, only He knows. It is SO worth it! When God invites you to a “yes”, then go for it – if you are willing to grow, you will not regret it!

Finding God

As humans we all, constantly, look for solutions and answers. As a Christian one of the most vital ones seems the answer to where to find God… how to find Him… how to rediscover what it is all about…how to draw near again.

Let’s look at some biblical truth in this matter:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Amos 5:4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;

If anything, it seems that we CAN in fact find God. He wants to be found. However he will be found only in His true nature, when we seek wholeheartedly.

Here some ideas of where to look when you seek God and which ways will lead you astray eventually:

–          The Bible. I’d say the most logical place to look and the safest one if you want true information. For all we know about God will be found in there and in personal experiences, that no matter how personal they are won’t EVER contradict the Bible.

Books by Christians are often much loved and valued, are however never a solid choice. They might add to the picture given in the Bible, but every human depiction of who God is and how He is etc is fallible in itself.

So unless you just want to hype your feelings about what others experience with God, I’d suggest looking at the source of it all: God’s Word (the Bible).

–          Information outside the Bible and outside Christianity will – just like Christian faith – always be colored by a belief system. Thus is not objective, though it might claim to be (e.g. by saying it is scientific – because you find Christian scientists and non-Christian scientist that are thus again part of another belief system).

Though outside sources might support the biblical claims, I ask you to be aware of the fact that every person has a belief system and every statement made is colored by such.

So if you desire to find the Christian God, look at His own work – the Bible, read it.  

Pray – you will be surprised that God answers those that truly seek Him.

Seek fellowship with other Christians – they might in fact be able to guide the way further even though we are all fallible.

May God bless your journey in finding God!

If you are Christian but feel far away from God and want to draw near again:

spend time alone with God!

visit a church (even if it is not perfect – none is. But the Church is God’s choice for a body.)

read the Bible again!

choose to worship and make it all about God and less about yourself!

Trust… God will be found… He wants to be found by you again! You CAN draw near again! God is waiting for you!

And if you like… share your story about finding God with us! Email it to me… or post it as a comment!

Be blessed!

Looking back at 2012

Many often ask who I am and what I am doing. So here a recap of 2012 and what I spent my time on doing:

I am 31 years of age, teacher at a local private school and dedicated member and servant in Shofar Christian Church Swakopmund.

At the school I have a grade 5 as register teacher and teach Natural Science as main subject in it. Other than that I teach Physical Education in grades 3-7 and Religion and Moral education in grades 5-7.

Other than that, I lead a small group with teenage girls who I disciple and have the privilege of leading and accompanying into a vivid relationship with Jesus Christ. Also I am part of the intercessory group in my church and lead the Outreach and Missions Ministry.

Here a summary of what went on throughout this year in the outreach and missions ministry.

I pray you enjoy it and am looking forward to another year of serving our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Outreach and Missions presentation for blog

Abundant blessings!

Jessica

Reach out to your family this Christmas

The final post before Christmas…and I gave it quite some thought. As you probably read in my first post on the topic there are many who feel Christmas is a festival of hypocrisy amongst people they should love.

Love can however only flow, when we are reconciled and act in true love toward one another. Often it is reconciliation that lacks. Offence, bitterness, unforgiveness and even hate all too often dwell among those we should love most.

Now…no matter who started it, whose fault it was or who should make the first step… I want to challenge you:

YOU do the first step toward reconciliation. Take time… take beautiful paper…and write letters.

Letters to all those that you don’t feel 100% comfortable around due to one of the above reasons or where you deem they feel that way about you and you don’t even know why.

Write a letter to each of them. Make the letters individuals. Write and ask for forgiveness… forgive, and put into words you appreciation and you love for that person instead. Compliment them where it honestly applies… appreciate them for the things we often take for granted as well.

writing letter

Put the letters into beautiful envelopes and if you can… deliver them personally or make sure they still get them on time!

Only when you and I make the first step in love and humility towards reconciliation will Christmas happen in your own home too.

May you be abundantly blessed this CHISTmas!

How to give – Christmas

Perhaps the previous posts were not quite yours… or perhaps you enjoy giving and would love some more ideas? Well here is a marvelous idea:

Buy a big plastic bucket, then fill it with day to day goodies and staple foods:

Flour, sugar, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, cereals, … whatever comes to mind. Make sure not to buy the cheapest goods, but things you would have enjoyed receiving yourself!

food buckets

Then pray to God to reveal a person who would need such a gift for Christmas. Probably it will be someone you are barely acquainted with… the single mom next doors, an old lady you meet when taking a walk in the neighborhood, … .

Go there and deliver it with a card reading Christmas blessings you feel applicable.

Believe me when I say… the recipient of such a gift (when being shown by God to you) will be the happiest person you will meet in a looong time!

Blessings!

Christmas season – outreach idea

Here we go… I hope you enjoyed my last two posts on this topic. Here is a second idea on how to reach people with God’s love this Christmas season.

Go to: http://www.fathersloveletter.com/ and copy the text in the most common languages of the area you live in.

Print it on beautiful paper, roll the message up and bind a lovely ribbon around it. (You do want to take at least 20 of them… they will be gone quicker than you know.)

rolled up letter

(Sometimes attaching a sweet helps when distributing them.)

Then go out into the streetssmile!… and hand them out as season greetings to people you pass by. And experience the blessing of receiving a smile and knowing you just handed them the key that might lead to life!

Blessings!

A controversial season – Christmas season

Spending time chatting to friends on the net about this topic I find that there are in general two groups: those that love this season (for various reasons), and those that hate it. What makes each group feel the way they do? Why does this season arouse such strong feelings?

Those that love it are in fact few. It is those that love spending time on holiday, with family, and loving others. In our society this group is getting smaller by the minute.

Among those that hate it are those that feel forced to hypocritically play the game of “ideal idyllic world”. They are sick and tired of fighting all year long and having to PLAY peace over Christmas… they long for true reconciliation and true love and true acceptance. However every year they feel like hypocrites (which they condemn and hate), and they lose faith in ever celebrating a truly felt Christmas.

Then there are those that hate it, for they feel lonelier than ever in this season. They lack family, true friends, company, an ear and a heart that listen. Some even lack essentials…

And there are those that bear bitterness in their hearts that surmounts all love directed toward them in this season. They would even argue that NO love is ever shown towards them. And looking at it with human eyes…some of them would have every reason to feel that way.

HOWEVER, does it have to be that way? It seems around the world this season is used to promote help for aid organisations, mobilise consume of every and any kind, and to promote happiness. Surely that arouses anyone’s feelings. Those that promote it get excited when people like it…and when they explicitly don’t.

Those that hate it… they long for joy, not happiness, peace of heart, not of a moment, love unconditional instead of all the conditions attached. Every event, occasion or date that explicitly celebrates and names JESUS, is increasingly becoming such a controversial matter. Jesus doesn’t leave people untouched.

So what can you and I do to change Christmas for the people we meet this festive season?

–          ask for forgiveness (no matter who’s fault it was), and choose to forgive (EVERY TIME)

–          (confess) love and make a point of giving true compliments

–          give… of your time, your love, your effort… not to gain back…but to demonstrate love

–          spend an amount of time, doing something you never did before, to bless others (ideas for that will follow here on the blog throughout the next few days)

–          spread the GOSPEL… spread the message of the light in the stable that became the light of the world, when dying at the cross.

In short,… BE Jesus to them…even if it seems like little to you… it might mean the world to others. Live your faith, without hypocrisy, applied practically, authentically and full of love…and witness about how your needs were met by Jesus.

And if you need ideas on how to do this… observe this blog… I will post an idea every day until Christmas now.

May God bless you abundantly!

Jessica

What if … ?

“What if…” – a standalone phrase that we say all too often. I want to challenge you to not brush it off this time…but to let it sink in and to allow it to revolutionize your life.

Let me state before I start, that this post is directed specifically for Christians.

So let us be honest with ourselves… let us pray in advance:

“Dear Lord, I love you and I want to remain teachable in response to your Spirit. I pray that the parts of this post that are applicable to my own life will stand out to me, and those that simply to not apply, will not condemn, but simply fall away. I trust and I believe in your unconditional love and I invite only you, Holy Spirit, God to work within me today. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.”

Now, read through the post, even if you didn’t pray…perhaps you feel like it later, if not, then not. Allow me to ask some bold “what if – questions”.  You might want to read them as though they are questions you pose toward yourself.

What if…

… I believed every word the Bible contains?

… I believed that God truly loves me unconditional and always has my best in mind?

… I believed that God is judge and that there is a hell?

…  I believed the punishment for sin is eternity in hell?

Would I live differently? Would I then act differently? Would I stop to fancy sin? Would I fear God?

What if…

… I believed that there was a heaven?

… I believed God doesn’t want to see ANY person end up in hell?

… I truly believed that Jesus has died for every sin and is willing to forgive ALL my sins?

… I believed I am being forgiven in the same measure that I forgive others?

… I believed the Bible is a love letter from God to me?

… I believed that the great commission was given to me?

Would I read my Bible more? Would I love more? Would I forgive more? Would I share the Gospel more?

What if …

… I believed God truly knows the depths of my heart?

… I believed God is the same: yesterday, today and tomorrow?

… I believed submission to leadership is from God?

… I believed that there lies immeasurable power in prayer?

Would I allow God to purify me? Would I trust in His provisions more? Would I believe in miracles? Would I submit more instead of gossip and moan? Would I PRAY more?

As a Christian we answer to all these “what if’s” that we do. However does that reflect in our behaviour?

EVERY person on earth ALWAYS acts on what they TRULY believe.

(If you believe it will rain any second, you will not go outside the house unprepared – right?)

FAITH is only true and honest faith, if we act on it.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?

God bless you!