Tag Archives: challenges

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!

When God says “NO”

There are moments in our Christian lives when God says neither “yes” nor “wait” but contrary to our religious ideas gives us a loud “no” when we least expect it.

To make a long story short that is exactly what happened to me this year. I had a desire on my heart that I had brought before God time and time again. Knowing part of my calling from God, I got frustrated with where I was and started longing for where I could eventually be. Don’t get me wrong…I believe we should constantly strive to reach the best we can be at what God gives us, however I started despising what God had given me. Deep inside my heart, there were moments when I only exercised frustrated obedience to what God had last instructed me to do. However that is a long way from being submissive and surrendering unto God.

So beginning of this year, it finally seemed as if God was getting to move in the direction I had hoped for so long. I made an enquiry… a short one…doubting if I’d ever get any answer to it (as I had not received answers to similar enquiries in the past) and within hours basically got offered a job. My dream job as it seemed. They continued to pursue me and over the next couple of months ALL doors imaginable seemed to open. It even seemed God was preparing me for the job.

I then went overseas to meet the team in May. The idea was to see if I fit the team before signing contracts. Two weeks before my flight, I broke my foot surfing. From that moment on, it strangely seemed like doors that God had opened were closing. The question remaining: “Is it God showing me that this is not what He has for me, or is it the devil trying to keep me from my destiny with God?” I decided it was the latter. So I still went overseas…on crutches.

When I got there, everything seemed perfect. The teaching was solid, the possible colleagues were really friendly, the ministry seemed to flourish. However the joy I had had up to the point of breaking my foot about it, didn’t set in. So I started to pray for God to reveal to me what was going on.

I received verses from people I trust… and from God, which I didn’t quite understand…and although they seemed to imply something positive, I was hesitant. Only when receiving the full verse I understood why. Psalm 106:15

Then a dear friend that I shared my dilemma with made me aware of something essential. For the past 6 years, I had been reluctant in my obedience to God. I had never embraced what He had given me, but instead had behaved like being on the platform of a train station, waiting for my train that would say: “calling”. Whilst I was still talking to my friend, God’s voice clearly called out from my inside: “Is what I have for you, not enough?”

Long story short, I didn’t need more invitations to repent than that. I deeply repented, then put my dream and the prospective job on Gods’ altar, allowing Him to do with it what He seemed fit.

The next day it happened that I was reading the story of Balaam (Numbers 22:23-27). It was one of those moments, when the Bible starts becoming alive. It matched my own story SO much… Balaam going where he believed he was supposed to go, the donkey moving off track to avoid an angel from God with a drawn sword, Balaam hitting the donkey, the next time the donkey thus moves aside to the other side, crushing Balaams foot. Only THEN Balaam sees the messenger from God.

To me Gods’ will was clear now. I declined the job. Shortly after the event, joy was restored. My heart was even filled with gratitude for Gods’ correction to my life.  When I returned home, it truly felt like home for the first time. I decided to fully embrace my job, not waiting impatiently for Gods’ next move, but loving with all my strength, leaving it to God whether He thinks it’s time to move or not.

This “NO” was clearer than most “no’s” I have ever had in my life. It was painful and humiliating to accept it initially. But God provided even in these moments. Often we fear Gods’ “no” so much, however all He wants is to help us stay on track so we can walk within His will. I trust Gods’ plans are higher than mine and His thoughts better than mine. I am grateful for His “no” and am excited about God.

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!

The Authority of the Bible

The following scriptures and notes are not intended to give an all inclusive or exclusive view on the matter. However it is an attempt to lead you in studying the Word of God i.e. the Bible; and allow GOD to speak to youexplain to you and draw you closer.

My challenge to you is this:

Read 1 to 3 scriptures of these daily and meditate on what they mean, what implications they have for your life and how you could allow them to change your life in a practical way.

(Please take note that though most verses are the same, some verses might shift one or two in numbering as they are taken from a German Bible.)

The Basics:

Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 55:10+11; John 1:1+14; 1 Tim. 2:4;

The Bible is the basis for our faith. Knowing what it contains and what that content means will deepen our understanding…strengthen our convictions… lead us to make decisions, take positions and act upon what we believe.

1. The Word of God is infallible

2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21;

Belief in the Bible and its infallibility gives us a guideline to life.

2. The Word of God is/contains the thoughts of God

Isaiah 55:7-11

The Word of God and God are one. As God never changes, His word does neither. i.e. the authority and timeliness remain.

3. The Word of God has strength and gives strength

Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12;

4. The Word of God provides spiritual life

2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalm 119:89+160; Matthew 24:35; John 8:31-32+37;

The Word of God provides us with core values in a time of chaos regarding definite values and morale. From beginning to end it is truth.

5. The Word of God effects:

A. Faith (Romans 10:17)

B. New Birth (i.e. conversion to God) (1 Peter 1:23 describes this experience)

C. Physical Healing (Psalm 107:20; Proverbs 4:20-22)

D. Victory over sin and guilt (Psalm 119:11;) (to answer the question of what Christians may or may not do study: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; we find two principles: 1. To do all things to honour God. 2. To do everything in the name of Christ and say thanks to God through Him) (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

E. Victory over Satan (Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Revelation 22:18+19)

6. How does God speak to us?

– Personally (Genesis 3:8-9)

– Through prophets (Isaiah 1:2)

– Jesus (Luke 5:1)

7. What do we do with the Word of God?

– Listen/Hear/Absorb (Acts 17:11)

– Understand (Matthew 13:23)

– Love (Psalm 119:47)

– Look forward to it in joy (Psalm 119:16)

– Treasure (Psalm 119:11)

– Trust (Psalm 119:42+74+81)

– Follow (Psalm 119:9)

Revelation 22:18-19

 

What climbing can teach about Faith.

I recently started climbing and bouldering and am enjoying it very much. However the question that determines most of the things I do is: “What does it teach me about God or my Faith?”

Though the below might not be an all inclusive list…it is what stood out to me:

Dependence is what keeps you alive. Even though society tries to convince us that independence is the ultimate goal, here tied to a top rope you learn to treasure the dependence of another person below. Likewise dependence on God is an absolute essential for life!

You only climb ahead when secured. Equipment to be in good shape and order is essential and secures life. Choosing the right equipment is equally important. When you climb you want to make sure that equipment is in place and in good shape. That goes for every walk of our lives…for when it is not…we suffer the consequences. When thinking of it, the equipment represents the basics you have learned in faith…it is your gifting and the anointing combined with the acquired skills. Climbing without being secured onto a rope (i.e. dependence on God and a congregation) and the right equipment will lead to failure.

The rope is you life-belt. It is quite simple… the rope breaks, you fall and possibly die. The rope is a symbol for your personal relationship with God and what you do to maintain and enhance it daily.

You need to put the weight and emphasis where your foot is. i.e. don’t climb primarily by arms strength or you’ll grow tired! This is a wonderful analogy to mission work and/or growth in the congregation. The foot represents the land you can conquer spiritually; the arms are your outreaches. Only when you have taken a solid stand spiritually does an outreach have a long lasting effect… otherwise it is often comparable to a drop of water on a hot plate.

(Foot)hold is only provided once you put your full weight on it. I have often met Christians who barely take in the land given to them, before they move on… it seems they are only on a journey through. However for the land to remain in your possession you need to STAND on your foot. Feel the ground… rely on it to carry you.

Once your foot can reach, your hand can follow. It is when you have taken the land in a spiritual sense (i.e. foot hold), that your arms and hands can reach out in ministry.

Your foot gets you up… your hand keeps you close to the rock. Your taking the land will allow you to advance… your reaching out will keep you close to the heart of Jesus, the Rock.

Think about where you want to go how BEFORE you climb that part. It is vital to know where you are headed to avoid failure and disappointment as well as burn out (the latter goes especially for spiritual matters).

You only concentrate on where you are at that specific moment – it’s of no avail to think of the top. If you do not focus on where you are at that moment, you are losing momentum, concentration and strength. Though this might seem simple and logical I have seen numerous people and Christians for that matter, that focus too much on the end goal to acquire the abilities/skills God wants them to acquire in the here and now. Likewise they disobey God in not doing what they do wholeheartedly and in love.

It is good to take a short rest and breathe once in a while… even enjoying the view. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what you do, finding rest and regaining strength. That goes for spiritual issues as well!

Technique is best trained when bouldering i.e. close to the ground. Bouldering is done in proximity to the ground… it is done without rope or harness to secure you. Your feet and hands are equally trained with your mind and eyes, to find good hold. The spiritual implication this has is: a congregation is a training ground…it is a place to learn technique and skills.

Falling down is part of the deal, but you allow the rock/wall to challenge you and get up and do it again and try to improve on it. Falling is part of the deal…so are scrapes on your knees and the like… so you get up and do it again and avoid making the same mistake twice. Likewise in faith… you will not lead the perfect life… you will at times fail, backslide, get hurt and scraped… but remember… you can get back up… the Rock (i.e. Jesus) challenges you to do so… in order to grow.

No matter how good you get…you never really excel 100% and are still vulnerable and dependent (on the rock, the rope, the equipment, skills, …). It is good to remember this last point. It teaches you humility and respect. And that goes for faith and daily life especially.

So next time you climb… remember these lessons (or at least some of them) and allow God to teach you more on the matter. Or if you haven’t climbed before… why don’t you go and try it… it might teach you on faith through experience and a good, fun workout.

God bless.

Deliverance from sin

The problem often isn’t the one sin as such… it is our relation to sin.

The Bible informs us that there is no big and small sin – there only is sin. Sometimes our focus has been shifted to believe that one sin is greater than another. Likewise a dangerous shift in focus occurs when we start being disgusted only by some sins and not by others.

For many of us Christians (and I include myself) the time has come to pray and open our hearts completely… to be again convicted of the gravity of sin and the mercy of forgiveness. So that iniquity, (no matter whether it is lies or sexual sin) again disgusts us in the way it disgusts God, so that we turn from it and sin no more (for we are ALL sinners)…ALSO, I pray that we start LOVING the sinner with all our heart… and do not judge the person …but hate the sin.

No matter which sin. Sin is sin and it will be punished by death the Bible says. Knowingly remaining in sin or maintaining a sinful lifestyle is open rebellion against God.

However know the good news: JESUS died for the forgiveness of ALL our sins, so that we may stand before God without blemish! When we come to Jesus and repent (make a 180degree turn away from it) and ask for forgiveness, He WILL readily and gladly forgive us.

As for today I would like to speak of one sin amongst many: homosexual relationships.

All I ask is read… and allow God.

I will not tell you what the Word of God says this time… not in respect to sin – for you know it already as you feel it is wrong and you feel convicted. Should you have any questions in regard to that though, please feel free to ask. Let me tell you a bit about my relationship that was that way:

I loved her… I had some months before I got to know her, left my congregation for the sake of another woman… I struggled my but off to leave the congregation but my desire was stronger than my faith. Now 4 months later, I was in love with her. She was not one of those ladies that looked lesbian from afar… she was however what I longed for… she had great humour, seemed self secure, yet was vulnerable and no afraid to show it at times… we talked with open hearts when we did… and we both trembled when we first kissed, knowing this was more. To make a long story short… she was all I up to then had ever dreamed of. I loved her… and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

At some stage in my relationship, I started to pray. It had been a long while since I had prayed… and I hadn’t opened my Bible in ages it felt. But I started to pray because –strange as it might sound – I wanted to ask her to marry me.  God is gracious and He used that situation to reach out for me yet again:  I had a dream… and in that dream I found a treasure chest… like in the movies… with a great lock in front of it… and in my hand I held the key. On the key it said: “Jeremiah 2:19”. I put the key into the lock and wanted to turn it. In that instant I awoke. The dream still is vivid in me today as I recalled it then. But when I awoke, I did not know what the scripture contained…nor did I care to look it up till late that day in the afternoon (this was in November 2006). When I did, I actually flung the Bible into the corner of my room… such shock did I get. I later checked and found out, I had never before in my life read Jeremiah – which added to the uproar and unravelling I felt inside.

I prayed over the scripture for about a week… but didn’t get any answers. My life seemed perfect – so did my relationship. However even though I had long forgotten about the scripture, my life in general seemed to change. I cannot describe it really… but I remember my friends at university got worried – they thought I was depressed. I knew I wasn’t. I had been depressed before in my life… and this was something completely different – I was dying… from inside out… and it was spiritual. But how could they understand? I didn’t even want to know about it myself. It was December that year that I started to read my Bible again… away from all distractions and to talk to God earnestly. And it was in early January that I ended up in my old church… and came to a point in life where I knew: “I don’t WANT to live without her, but I CANNOT live without God. And to have both is impossible.” And these were truths that were echoed in my spirit and soul so loud I could not deny them any longer.

So after 3 days and nights without sleep…struggling with God about the decision that was upcoming… I called my friends in the middle of the night. Friends from university… telling them what was up and that I couldn’t help but follow God’s call and terminate my relationship to my girlfriend. They had seen me the weeks preceding and admitted that though they couldn’t understand my decision, they supported me fully.

I was ready to fight. And I did. Later that morning after relentless fighting alone with God and my soul, I asked the pastor to assist me in the final step of my choice. His wife, he and I went into a quiet room… they asked me to repeat after them a prayer of salvation. However they included the sentence: “I renounce the spirit of homosexuality.” It took three attempts until I was PHYSICALLY able to say those words into the spiritual realm… but when I did, the spirit left and I was set free.

I will not lie to you… it was only the beginning of the battle. I still had to go home, call my girl friend, split up with her, clean my house spiritually (i.e. I tossed everything that did not honour God into big plastic bags and into the trash it went!) and continue a battle against my body. I split up…and I have never heard or established contact with her again. I threw away music, videos, photos, clothing, jewellery, and friendships that were connected with that life style. I wouldn’t have been able to make the transition otherwise. I mourned my relationship for quite a while as I had loved. And I knew there would be no easy way. But I had come to the conclusion that I loved God more… and that no matter if my feelings would ever change from being homosexual, I would live a sanctified lifestyle and live it to honour God and in complete obedience to God.

I entered a process of filling my spirit and nourishing my spirit again with the Word of God, reading the Bible… going to church, praying regularly with prayer partners who knew the whole story and meeting once a week with an evangelist that worked through deliverance with me. It took 10 months… but then things had changed. I had decided to renounce the lifestyle, no matter if God would change how I feel about women. But HE delivered me completely. I have never since seen in a woman what I have seen in women so many years of my life. I do not feel that kind of love any longer for women… and never have since. Instead I feel that kind of love for men.

What once was, is part of who I had been… it serves as a testimony today, to reach others with the love of God… but does not determine who I am in Christ, for I am a new creation and was fully restored.”

That is my story. Perhaps it will encourage you to share what at this stage you are afraid to share … I have come to know my weak spots spiritually. There are days when I cannot watch movies others take as ‘normal’ … there are books I cannot read at times. I have learned to respond to the Holy Spirit immediately, because if I do not… I trip and fall into sin. So I try to be sensitive to the Spirit at all times… respond as vigorously and immediately as I can fathom and stay as far away from sin as possible. Today I do no longer struggle to maintain friendships even with people who feel they are homosexual. God has given me a powerful testimony and has blessed me with the ability to share it without condemnation.

You have to choose. No one can take that from you. And the choice isn’t an easy one – but the struggle and fight is worth it and you do not stand alone… an army of angels will be right there by your side…and Jesus with them.

I have tried to show what I believe is a problem with many Christians… the fact that we judge too quickly and that we are no longer disgusted by sin itself. We have started to choose which sin may disgust us – but God doesn’t make that distinction… and God loves the sinner and made a way for every one through Jesus Christ.

Likewise I have opened my past, for you to gather a glimpse to see and be a witness that I speak out of love… not condemnation.

I cannot and I will not choose for you. I will pray for you. I will not bible-bash you to decide the one or other way. I have said what I was led to say… and will not pressure you with it. You know my heart and my story now. It might not be yours… for all I know yours might be completely of a different nature… but I pray you will be able to transfer of it what you need to hear.

I am your friend…and I will stay your friend. And I refuse to judge.

from one desert to another

“What is it with you and deserts, Lord?” We tend not to appreciate the desert times with God that much. Many sermons have circled around them and we so totally miss the point!

Living in Swakopmund and being basically in the Namib Desert here, I felt called to go visit a missionary in the Kalahari Desert in Noenieput, S.A.

But let me start at the beginning:

When I moved from Munich, Germany to Swakopmund, Namibia end of 2010 it was a move from a big European city to a small coastal city that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namib Desert. A city that finds comfort and familiarity more essential than rapid service and anonymity. Where roads are made out of salt (which creates a total mess IF it ever rains), the Light House is still the highest building and there are still places where you can come and pay tomorrow – provided you know the owner (which is in fact still very likely). A place where it still possible to know all about every other person you get to know and at the same are deceived by thinking you know them at all.

It was here that I perceived Gods calling to go and spend a week in Noenieput to meet a missionary there. Which I did. I thought I was going there to be blessed by God. I went with this sense of excitement believing God was going to reveal something very important to ME there and that I would be SO blessed through that. He did…but He did so very much different from what I thought. However I went with an arm long list of questions I had for God.

It was a trip full of blessings. A trip full of a silence that is able to still the inside storms. A journey from one desert to the next. But little did I know why I was being sent. But I was about to find out. Arriving there I had two choices…get unravelled about the fact that there was no common electricity, no cell phone reception and only bore hole water, OR I could embrace this fact to get a break from the speed in our lives that sometimes mutes our souls just once to many.

So I calmed…and the presence of horses made it ever so much more easily, as horses do not communicate primarily verbal but with body language. And they allow you to just “BE”.

I spent a week in the beauty of vast open spaces in a desert…coming from another desert and being left with finding: “God does in fact love deserts!”. I met an amazing man of God and his wife (Barrie Burger and his wife Annette) and we talked before the sun came up and after it had long left the horizon to give way to a starry sky. We talked and shared the silence looking into the fire. We prayed together and shared testimonies. We shared the air we breathed and at times that was all that was needed to answer both our questions. For sitting in silence with another person without feeling the urge to talk is something wonderful. And during that week I met more people… I met people of which I now – weeks later – call some friends. And I cannot help but discover that I have changed.

And I too cannot help, but find that I was responding to God’s need for me to be there as a messenger much rather than being only on the receiving end.  Being sent there to accompany another on her way from the cross closer to Jesus heart. To walk with her a while and lead her to a place where she finds that Jesus wants to serve her too. Talking with yet another and being the partner in conversation that was able to exalt Gods glory and His healing power – where he had believed…but now was allowed to witness and see.

In the end… I left with tears streaming down my cheeks. Knowing… I had spent a week in the centre of Gods will…serving others and yet being served… by my glorious Lord and Saviour!

“What is it with you and deserts, Lord?” I have come to love the desert…and I will embrace every one of the deserts I get to be in, knowing… they calm my storm and bring me closer to my Lord and God!

Normal life with a mission

Many times people have asked me what I actually do – being in Africa, working as a teacher … and if there are chances to evangelize, and work for God too. This time, let me tell you how exciting an ordinary week of mine can be – especially with God.

I am a teacher…at a private school in a small coastal town called Swakopmund in Namibia (a country in southern Africa). I teach 33 lessons a week – most of them sports (Grades 3-7), Religion and Moral Education (Grades 5-7) and I have my own register class (a grade 5) where I teach Natural Science and Mathematics as well. Most learners of that private school come from wealthy households and people might think they need less attention as they surely lack less. They do not know HOW MUCH they are mistaken. Every day, I come across learners that desperately desire to be taken seriously, be listened to earnestly, be heard, be loved and that seek who they are with every inch of their being.

So here is a typical week:

I get up daily at 04h50 to spend an hour in prayer for my learners (for otherwise I would not make the day)…then get ready for school…and cycle 4km from my flat to school. There I encounter friendly and challenging faces, moods, colleagues and learners. They all are in need for someone to honestly ask how they are, and they all need to be served with loving kindness that only Jesus can grant sufficiently – but to be honest many do not want to hear that part.

When teaching I encounter questions from learners that allow deep insight into their souls. They are looking for a reason to live… a reason to form values and morals, they are in need for a better reason to continue learning than a short answer of how it helps in later life… they struggle with their peers, are saddened by fights among class mates… are terrified of test results (because they get measured too often only by performance results)… and struggle to understand adult behaviour and choices at times.

They get told what to do when, where to perform how and many times sit next to someone they dislike in their class – just because it helps keeping them quiet. They sometimes have been given up… their dreams have been demolished and they seek for a place and world where they can just BE who they at that stage hope to be.

I started a project in my RME classes last year. I made them write a letter to me (or rather an imaginary diary that would then answer them) talking about what moves them inside and inviting them to ask questions (primarily) on faith that they have. They were allowed to do so, using an anonymous name. I started it with my register class of last year… this year continued it with all the grades 5-7 of my school. And the results are shocking, moving to the core, heart breaking … they make you laugh and cry… hope and despair… and they call out for a change!

Here are some typical questions and needs that come to light through these letters:

– How can I deal with my friendship challenges (fights, disagreements, …)

– I cannot concentrate in school because I am so concerned for my mom – how can I help her?

– I get bullied by … what can I do?

– I hate my life… and I am thinking of committing suicide.

– There are so many accidents happening – why can’t people just drink responsibly?

– I want to be good again – how can I do that?

– I have been to my hometown. There is great poverty. What can I do to make a change?

– My parents are not living together any longer. I struggle with that and sometimes I wonder if it is my fault. Can you tell me what I can do to fight my sadness?

– I get mad so often…but I don’t even know why?

– Why does God love sinners?

– How do I know God is real?

– Why is there so much violence because of religion?

– What does nothing look like?

– Who created God?

– How does God communicate with us?

– Did Jesus really die for us?

– Why are we here on earth?

– Religion says God created the moon, however science says something else. How can I know who is right?

– I think I am gay… what now?

– Can I be a Buddhist AND a Christian?

– I smoke and drink…and no one notices.

– No one seems to have time for me.

– I want to spend eternity with Christ. HOW CAN I BECOME A CHRISTIAN? Please tell me how!

There are so many more things they tell me… they ask… and some are funny and humorous, other shocking and state more severe need to interact than even the worst one’s above. I answer every single one of them… in letters – handwritten. I offer for them to continue writing. Some take me up on that offer. And all I do… I pray… I ask what really moves them and what questions they still have… and the results are honesty beyond words, questions that I feel need to find a place at home but quite apparently don’t (for whatever reasons). I do not judge… I listen. And I allow their pain to be displayed in full force and I bring that to the cross of Calvary.

Besides that I teach them… about healthy living, team work, the miracles of our body, core values and morals; about Judaism, and Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and African Cults in comparison to Christianity, the Bible, the person of Jesus, Christian worship and Christian persecution. We discuss who we are… the ‘self’, the community we live in… matters of life and death such as abortion, artificial insemination, death sentences, euthanasia, medically assisted suicide and many more.

And when the school day ends after 8 lessons of teaching every day… I go home… and do the work only teachers know of really. Then I come before God… and I prayfor grace when talking to parents that are desolate of ideas to help their child, for patience and other fruit of the spirit when dealing with my learners, for ideas to teach curriculum and syllabus appealingly…and so much more. And I thank God… for loving me… for granting wisdom… for giving hope and a future… and for placing me, where I admittedly sometimes dislike to be…but know I am at the centre of His will for the meanwhile.

So if you ask me what I do… I might just as well answer… I am a servant of the Most High God! … and I need your prayers and His grace daily!

5 Steps to knowing God personally (leading a conversation during evangelism)

The following can be used as a guideline in evangelism… it can also serve to give a quick overview on the matter as such. However it is not a recipe or an absolute. Not every person is the same… not every person gets saved the same way…or acknowledges God in the same fashion.

Even so, I decided to post this as many do not seem to know and ask about how to get it down to a simple guideline. So like it if you do… discard it if you don’t. The more you learn about people, the easier and more comfortable you will feel around them. The more you know and learn about God, the more comfortable you are around Him and the more authentic you are in sharing about Him.

So here it comes, this is how a conversation guideline could look like (please remember that the below points are just your central theme points… it is NOT your complete or actual conversation!):

1. Gods plan for everyone

Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?

2. The crucial question

If you would die, this very moment. Are you sure that you would spend eternity WITH God?

–          Yes. That’s great, so what gives you this assurance?

–          No. Then continue with 3.

If their answer is still another…continue as if they answered “no”

3. The problem

The Bible shows us that God is perfect and holy. We are separated from Him by our sin and iniquities.

Romans 3:10+23 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

4. Gods love

God loves you unconditionally. That is why He has gives his most precious for you: His son Jesus Christ, that has paid for all your sin.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

5. The most important decision

You can get to know God personally. Discover His plan for your life and have assurance of eternal life.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Now invite the person you spoke with to receive Jesus Christ through a short prayer. There is no fixed form for this prayer. They can pray it on their own… you can lead them in prayer…either form works fine.

As from my side I would like to ask you to:

–          PLEASE do not pressure them into it! It is the Holy Spirit that needs to do the convincing – not you! Even so DO ask them and offer to!

–          PLEASE do not sell them short of the whole truth! Life will NOT be without any struggles just because they become Christian!

–          PLEASE invite them or offer further contact to other Christians… a church (and it does not have to be your church – it can be any good bible believing church)… teach them how to read the Bible and how to pray… and most of all:

–          PLEASE remember… if you get the chance… the journey only starts at this point. The bible asks us to make DISCIPLES, not converts!

May God bless you!

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!