Don’t be hoodwinked this Easter

The cross was not a sad mistake, as some may think, but crucial to the mission of Jesus.

At the cross, Jesus made a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He made propitiation to God for all the sins of all of God’s people throughout all the ages.

Jesus’ death is central to Christianity.

The symbol for Christianity, is not an empty tomb or a dove, but a cross.

The importance of the cross may seem self-evident, but a characteristic of prosperity preachers, with their false theology and ”victorious” version of Christianity, is that they downplay the importance of the cross.  They speak about victory, anointing and breakthrough; but they seldom speak about the sin-bearing death of Jesus.

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Only one life

We had the great pleasure of having Dr Jim Plueddemann (a professor in the Mission and Evangelism Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) preach at our church.  Jim and his wife, Carol, have served as missionaries just about their entire lives.  Jim served as SIM’s International Director from 1993 to 2003.

He told of how he, as a 12-year-old boy, was struggling with an overwhelming sense of meaningless.   He considered all the millions of people who had died before him and all the many millions who would die after him.  He too, no doubt, would die.

Would his life count for anything? How could he make a difference that would outlast his earthly life?

Later that day he was begrudgingly washing the dishes and his eye caught a short poem that his mother had glued in front of the basin on the wall. It read:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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A call to Spiritual Discernment

I was visited recently by a lovely, Christian person who claimed to have received a message from God for me and our church.

The message was this,

“Your church will enter a time of unprecedented miracles, signs, wonders, blessings and conversions.  However, you shouldn’t limit God.  You need to open yourself to the work of the Spirit”

Apparently, the gospel about Jesus’ death and resurrection is good and essential, but it is not enough.  Seemingly, we need demonstrations of God’s power (like healing, prophecy, words of knowledge and miracles) to show people that God is real and the gospel is true.

I tried to persuade the person that, according to the New Testament, the gospel is enough for Christian conversion, Christian growth and Christian life; but I did not convince the person – after all, God had given them a vision.

It’s interesting that throughout the letter of 1 John, the Apostle John warns his readers not to be deceived by those who would undermine the sufficiency and power of the apostolic gospel.

In our world and country, we are inundated with people who claim to speak on behalf of God – Angus Buchan being one of them – claiming all kinds of visions, messages, warnings and prophecies.

What are we to do?  Fortunately, this is not a new phenomenon.

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Christian, stop being Satan’s co-worker

A long-lost relative of an eccentric New York heiress, stood to inherit 19 million pounds (R320 million) of her 300 million POUND fortune.  Unfortunately, the relative, Timothy Gray – a homeless man, age 60, was found dead from hypothermia under a bridge in rural Wyoming, in the US.

Timothy Gray was a millionaire but didn’t know it.

He ended up dying outside in the cold.

The Apostle John in his letter of 1 John said that Christian people must know what they have in Christ, and not forget it.

If Christians forget what they have in Christ, they will be like Timothy Gray, and miss out on many good things, such as Christian assurance and Christian confidence before God.

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Countdown to the real Day Zero

Day Zero refers to the day when the City of Cape Town will shut off the water supply to taps because dams have reached a collective level of 13.5 percent. Residents will have to physically collect water at collection points – a maximum of 25 litres per person per day.

To avoid Day Zero the City is asking residents not to use more than 50 litres per person per day.  Unfortunately, it seems that not enough Capetonians are adhering to this limit.

The Democratic Alliance, who controls the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town, has a four-point plan to save Cape Town called #DefeatDayZero

Day Zero now seems to be the topic of every conversation.

And Capetonians are hoping and praying that Day Zero will be avoided.

Yet there is another Day Zero that will have far more severe consequences and repercussions.  This Day Zero cannot be avoided or defeated.

Sadly, most Capetonians don’t even think about this day.

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Portraits of faithfulness

In a world of unfaithfulness, what does a faithful gospel worker look like?

Phumezo Masango is a great example.

Phumezo is a good friend of mine and a lecturer at George Whitefield College, the Bible college affiliated with our denomination. He has also been a minister at Christ Church Khayelitsha for many years.

He has faced many challenges serving among many who embrace African Traditional Religions, where the ancestors are venerated and prayed to for help, guidance and protection.

Phumezo and the team at Christ Church Khayelitsha face particular challenges around the practice of circumcision.

They don’t have a problem with circumcision itself, but they do have a problem with the boys being part of rituals that call upon the ancestors.

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