“The greatest of these is love.” As I have been planning these essays, Paul’s words keep coming back to me. “The greatest of these is love.” We left our normal lives in the USA because of love. We thought we knew what love was. We thought the way we live should look different because of love. Continue reading Love
Living a life of abundance and freedom is so much more than material abundance and financial freedom, but these are certainly tangible examples that we can easily relate to. Talking about finances and provision is uncomfortable and awkward but a lot of what has God has taught us has been either in the realm of money or money was a factor in the lesson. My personal hangups have to do with not wanting to ask for money or misinterpreted as such. I am still on a journey in this and I haven’t arrived, but please know that this isn’t a sales pitch. Continue reading Abundance and Freedom
Christlikeness is one of the destinations of our journey. It is our promised inheritance, but defining it quantitatively and qualitatively is not easy for us. We haven’t walked with Him the way His disciples and friends did. Some of the stories we have been given give us clues. Continue reading Spirit, Soul and Body
We are on a journey. We are all on a journey. Most of us acknowledge that is true, but it seems there is very little space in church culture for it. The destination isn’t always clear. The path is described as straight and narrow but seems winding and rough. Abraham was told to go where God would tell him. His descendants were told to go the land of the promise. This was their inheritance, but the way to claim it was to walk with God until He brought them there. Continue reading Journey, Inheritance and Forerunners
Community is the second aspect of the call to intimacy. It is impossible to love God and not love those who carry His image and likeness. We are designed for community. Our very existence comes from the intimate relationship of Father, Son and Spirit. It is our design. We are made for heart to heart connection. When God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” I always assumed He was only talking about marriage and male-female relationships. Logically, though, marriage leads to families. Families lead to communities and communities make up cities. For most of my life I assumed if it was me and God alone on a desert island, that would be the perfect life. But in Genesis, when God and Adam had a perfect relationship, God’s evaluation was “It was not good.” God was saying we need more than a relationship with Him. We need each other. Continue reading Community
A major part of our story is that we were unsatisfied with life as we knew it. We longed for more, a deeper connection with God and with others, more significance in what we were doing. We felt that if we committed ourselves to a life of loving and serving others and if we sought to live out Isaiah 58-61, we would find those things. Father has seen those desires of our hearts and honored them. We are experiencing a deeper connection with God and more significance, but not how we thought. Continue reading Intimacy
On June 28 we will have our five year anniversary in South Africa. With less than a month to go now, I feel I should do a little series of what God has shown us as we have journeyed with Him these five years. He has called us and He keeps opening our eyes to His plans and purposes. When Christina’s parents were here last month, we talked quite a bit about defining vision, mission and purpose, giving words to the things we feel in our spirits. Continue reading Why are we here?
A friend of mine in South Africa posted this video on Facebook. It is an animated, abridged version of a TED talk given by author Johann Hari. He wrote a book about substance abuse called Chasing the Scream. He realized he had a number of addicts in his life and didn’t know how to help them. He went on a journey to find answers and wrote about it. I haven’t read the book, yet, (I have started.) but I think his findings are worth considering.
Addiction is a major factor in our community. (Today I was praying with two young moms whose own mothers are addicted to crystal meth. These mothers no longer have relationships with their children or grandchildren.) In many cases, the shame and isolation method of treatment isn’t working. It is making it worse. This author postulates that love and community may be much more effective tools in setting people free, which resonates with where we see God leading us.
Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the Grade R (kindergarten) at the Ocean View Care Centre. I had no idea until I arrived. The excitement was abundant because it was truly a day to celebrate plus, God had provided a free trip to the circus for the school as a birthday present! Two years of miracles are certainly worthy of celebration.
The story is remarkable. The school was born in pain. The founder lost his young son to cancer at the end of 2014. He decided that he was not going to allow the children of Ocean View to be lost through lack of academic preparation. He couldn’t change what happened to his boy, but he could change the paths of the children of Ocean View who seemed to be falling through the cracks because they were on the streets when they should have been in a Grade R preschool.
The school was started with a simple decision. We will do it and God will provide. There was no building and no budget. These children’s families could not pay for this school and yet these children needed nutrition if they were going to learn. He found a retired teacher to do the teaching, and they rounded up about 20 kids who were Grade R age but were playing in the streets during school days. On February 10, 2015, the school started outside in the corner of a building. It rained that day while kids sat huddled in a corner of an abandoned building.
The school started to grow. More children came and so did more volunteer teachers. In April, the school and Ocean View Care Centre received 16 used shipping containers and were allowed to put them on a plot of council land. Now the school has its own classrooms and kitchen. Playground equipment was donated and a small support staff feed and care for the students.
Every day is a miracle here. Everyone is a volunteer. There are no salaries. When they come to serve, it is a miracle. The children are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack every day with no budget. Miracle. 85 children completed the first year. There was a total of 98 who came at some point during that year. Miracle. That was overwhelming so they capped enrollment at 55 the second year with a smaller staff. Miracle. This year they have about 40 students. Miracle. Almost 200 children’s lives have been impacted over this two years. Miraculous.
During our morning prayer meeting, I found myself praising the “God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.” He has made a school out of shipping containers and a vacant lot. He has fed and taught almost 200 children and prepared them for a better future. He has changed the lives of countless parents, observers, and volunteers who He has touched as we watched Him work with willing hearts and no budget.
The crazy thing is this is only the beginning of the impossible and preposterous things we expect God to do in Ocean View, in the Fish Hoek Valley, in Cape Town, in South Africa, across the African continent, and around the world. Get ready to participate with the God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.