Tag Archives: pray

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.

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!

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!

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!

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.

Outreach to the wood crafters of Swakopmund

It all started when I had too much time at hand and decided to find out what people really needed. I walked down toward the Mole (that is the beach near the city centre of Swakopmund) and just before arriving there, I stopped at the wood crafters market. The men that work there make wooden souvenirs for tourists to buy and try to make a living of that. Most of them come from Kavango (an area in the north of Namibia), Zambia or Zimbabwe and Congo.

Of course when I arrived I was treated like any customer…asked to come and look at their pieces of art and acknowledge their work. So I did… but not without letting them know that I wasn’t here to buy anything but to talk to them about Jesus.

We talked and shared… about our lives with Jesus. And they voiced their need for Bibles… their need for someone to teach them how to reach out to their (mostly atheist) European customers. I promised to be back.

Next time I went… I brought some Bibles I could get. They wanted me to write a dedication into each one of them. I exchanged cell numbers with Alex (a local there) to keep track of who needs a Bible still and who is to get the next one.

So I went again… and again… sometimes with Bibles (sadly not every time, as I do not have some available every time I go) sometimes just to sit and chat.

One day… Walter (an artist there) invited me…to come on Sunday afternoon and teach them. Spontaneously I said yes. That Sunday after Church I invited JP and Dorette & Leon to come along. All of them were all fired up to the task and we went at 15h to reach out at the wood crafters market.

Inviting people individually we gathered them… and preached on the “Prodigal Son”  – of the 30-40 men and women that came to hear, 8 or more got saved that day!

The Sunday after we went again… teaching on “Why God allows suffering” as that was a topic that came up. We also started bringing our guitars and introduced the song of “Jabulani Africa”. John entered discipleship with Dorette and Leon that day… wanting to be discipled as he is on the verge of being married.

 

The next Sunday we went… we talked about following Jesus. Jesus being LORD and living a sanctified life!  We also talked about baptism. Dominique as well as John decided they wanted to be baptised. We could not agree more. Both do not have a church yet and have a strong faith. So we agreed to go the next Sunday at 12h to baptise them in the sea.

Today is the Sunday of Pentecost and the Sunday of John and Dominique’s baptism. Two men have decided to publicly proclaim their belonging to Christ! Dying to their old self and rising from the seawater clothed in Christ being a new person!

 gathering at the beach   off we go into the water   we baptize in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

   instantaneously glorifying God after rising from the water.

We will continue to go… we intend to start discipling a group there and to help them to learn how to disciple others themselves (for we do not want this reaching out and fellowshipping to be nonexistent once we do not come). We intend to provide more Bibles… and to teach them how to reach out to their customers as they desire to.

Please pray that we will get more Bibles and to gain wisdom to teach to open hearts and open ears and eyes. That more lives will eternally be changed!

Making a living as a wood crafter is anything but an easy task. Many use witchcraft to gain customers and often therefore the Christians amongst them have a hard time to get round financially. Many have problems with alcoholism and need deliverance that only God can give.

Please intercede for these precious men (and women) of God!

May God bless you! And remember… one person CAN make a difference – by BEing the change!

Outreach to the DRC, Swakopmund, Namibia

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

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

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

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

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

Please pray…

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

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

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

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

Our Superhero died, and we bolted

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

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

Let’s look at some of them:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless you!

10 Steps, a Recipe or Christianity?

We are human. We love a recipe… for every aspect of life; to cook, to lose weight, to get fit, to escape burn-out, to define ourselves, to success,…

Then we look at the Old Testament Pharisees and we condemn them of giving the Israelites a recipe on how to live life that is pleasing to God. We call it dead religion.

Then comes Jesus. Radical, NON religious as it gets, revolutionist, DIFFERENT from every recipe or 10 step plan mankind knows up to then… and changes it all! He is disgusted by ‘dead religion’, by all the rules set out to please our need for a recipe to fix and do it all and get it all right.

Today, here we stand… and again most of us are stuck with a recipe on how to be a Christian and a 10 step plan on living sanctified lives. We often are no different from these Pharisees… our rules just SEEM different. They sound something like this:

–          go to church on a regular basis

–          don’t smoke, drink, etc

–          don’t watch movies like…

–          do good works for God

–          pray a prayer of salvation and let the pastor affirm you are saved now

–          cleanse your house of anything that might deny God

–          …

And I imagine Jesus standing by and shouting out to get heard through the haze of tradition and religion, weeping because what we follow is a 10 step plan or some modern recipe that is NO different from the Pharisees tradition… but we miss the point. We are to follow HIM.

All we are to do…is get to know Jesus/God more. Know Him more today than yesterday, tomorrow more than today.

How do we do that, if not by our newly created religion? Easy…and difficult at the same time:

Instead of following instructions by people who claim to be Christians (and authors at times, of Christian books)… read the Bible, pray…read it again, pray… and again! Every time you fail to understand what it means, get down on your knees and pray. Don’t give up… continue to pray. Your knees are sore?… then get on your feet and pray… talk to GOD… scream out for Jesus… ask for wisdom (for God promises to give it to us if we ask for it). If you feel you cannot go on, on your own…get a brother or sister in Christ… now both of you… get down on your knees… pray!

Draw near to God! Draw closer to Jesus! Let the Holy Spirit confirm your salvation to you… let Him confirm God’s will to you by allowing you to understand the Bible! Let GOD speak to you!

And many of the things that you would have done out of purely following recipes before, now will follow out of conviction and a relationship to God!

You will not KNOW GOD more by following the religious recipe of Christians! You will miss the point if that is all you do. Even if you do it with an upright heart and devoted soul.

Unless JESUS and a relationship to HIM is the centre of your being… the rest is dead works…and will lead to death… not to the life you so dearly desire.

Change your life today! DRAW NEAR TO GOD!