Tag Archives: Gospel

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!

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!

Outreach to Khorixas, Namibia

Khorixas is a small town (around 6000 inhabitants if statistics are still up to date) in Namibia… you would probably call it a poor town. What others might think is the poor area of town is just a regular site you meet when entering here.

When my pastor, Jaco van Rooyen, from Shofar Christian Church, asked me if I wanted to go on this Outreach (30 April to 1 May 2012) I felt very privileged.

So we went… on a gravel road from Swakopmund (a town at the coast) to Khorixas. A 260km drive taking you from the cool coast, to the arid and very hot inland…over poor gravel roads … a good 3-4 hour drive. We saw the landscape change from coastal desert to dry, bush land (with occasional Mopane tree occurances). We stayed overnight at a campsite near Twyfelfontein and only went into town the next morning.

In Khorixas we met with Gisela, a Damara lady that lives there and is part of Shofar Christian Church in Swakopmund, when she finds a chance to visit. At her house were gathered a group of adults and children, waiting for us to hold a service.

Here we are entering Gisela’s place.

  We worshiped and sang not only to wait on God and tune our hearts to hear from God… but also to attract more people. Because worship (music in general you can say) attracts people of all nations easily.

Then I preached on the ‘prodigal son’, relating the story to the poverty and apparent situations of the people of that area. Gisela translated what I said to Damara (the local language there – with many click-sounds) and by that made every word understandable. I was very thankful for that…for I am not fluent enough to teach or preach in Afrikaans (another language that most understand).

Children listening to the sermon.

Afterwards we sang some more… anointed the children and speaking live and hope over them and into their lives.

We prayed for the sick and the broken hearted.

Then we left again… with a promise to return another day.

On our way further, we visited an orphanage in Khorixas we hadn’t made contact to prior to the time.

Greeting the Leader of the Orphanage and we exchanged contact details.

On our way out of Khorixas back to our camp site we get stopped by a young boy. Whilst most others came to get sweets, this perhaps 10 year old child came because “I hear you offer prayer? You need to pray for me so that God will heal my eyesight and that I can see properly again.”

I have not seen such faith for a long time!

    Pastor Jaco praying for the boy.

We then returned to our camp site. In awe of what God had done… in awe of how WE had been blessed by reaching out… and with a new perspective that would change our lives.

For sure we will return to Khorixas… for the fields are white with harvest.

Let us unite in prayer… to reach the lost… for those we reached to bear fruit… for the Gospel to reach even more with the live and truth that is found in Jesus. For lives to be changed… and for grace…to BE the change.