Words & a pic — 17 May 2016

Pastor Titus Joseph and Ravi at House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Titus Joseph and Ravi at House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene

Last weekend, Amy and I traveled to Durban, South Africa. We were hosted by Revs Titus and Jackie Joseph, co-pastors of the House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene. On Saturday, more than 80 attended my seminar, “Excellent Generosity: 10 Principles for Giving Living”. Sunday, I preached out of Deuteronomy 11, calling people to come to the mountain of blessing (Gerazim) and forsake the mountain of curses (Ebal). More than 400 were in church on Sunday as we participated in vibrant worship.

HOP (as they call it) places a special emphasis upon fasting and prayer. Many have given their lives to Christ and been delivered from demons, habits and hang-ups. I met Ravi (see photo) who had been a drug addict for 46 years. He has now been clean for 4 years, thanks to the liberating power of God and the tremendous support he has received at HOP.

We thank our Lord Jesus Christ that he still saves and sanctifies!


This week’s African proverb

“Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.” – from the Akan

 

Words & a pic – January 20, 2016

Greg welcomes Moses to Education and Clergy Development at the Africa Regional Office in South Africa.
Greg welcomes Moses to Education and Clergy Development at the Africa Regional Office in South Africa.

Last week, Amy and I were happy to host for 2 nights in our home Rev Moses Zigwewa. Moses was my student a few years ago for the course “Contemporary Theology” which is part of the Master of Arts (Religion) at Africa Nazarene University. More recently, he has returned to Malawi and serves as librarian at Nazarene Theological College of Central Africa (NTCCA). He also pastors the Nazarene congregation that meets in the NTCCA chapel.

Moses joins a group of librarians who are spending 2 weeks in Swaziland at Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU). Under the direction of Rev Dr Tammy Condon of the International Board of Education (IBOE) and Dr Sharon Bull, librarian at Northwest Nazarene University, the team of will be computerizing the 3 libraries at SANU. Others will be assisting with the installation of OpenCUAS, a student information system that will help streamline record keeping and administration. SANU was chosen as one of the pilot schools to roll out these programs. We are very grateful for the investment IBOE and sisters institutions are making in Africa higher education!

Helen Stocker (NTC-Manchester) and Anna Sibeko (NTC-South Africa) work to computerize the library system at SANU.
Helen Stocker (NTC-Manchester) and Anna Sibeko (NTC-South Africa) work to computerize the library system at SANU.

Amy’s African proverb of the week

“Words are the air expelled from the nostrils of the heart.”

Meaning:  The tongue gives away what is in a person’s heart. The words betray one’s intentions.

Source: Macharia Kiruhi, in Lessons in Kikuyu Oral Literature: Figures of Speech in Contemporary Use (Ongata Rongai, Kenya: Cortraph Ltd, 2006), 79.

From Greg’s latest blog post at “Theology in Overalls”

A sermon – “What’s love got to do with it?” – based on 1 John 4:16-21:

“This Jesus who was no ghost also exhibited that most human and divine of attributes: Jesus loved people. And so if – like Jesus said to Philip – whoever has seen Jesus has seen God the Father – and if Jesus loved people, then there’s only one conclusion possible: God loves people. God is love.”

Read the whole sermon by clicking here.

Words & a pic – November 4, 2015

Greg greets ANU Chaplain Rev Dr Cynde North (left) and Rev Dr Nina Guner (center).
Greg greets ANU Chaplain Rev Dr Cynde North (left) and Rev Dr Nina Gunter (center).

Africa Nazarene University (ANU) continues to amaze us. Besides taking part in meetings of the Trust and Council, Greg was honored to attend the graduation held last week. There were 1,288 graduates, including diplomas, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. What an impact for Christ ANU grads are having in East Africa and beyond! General Superintendent emerita, Dr Nina Gunter, gave the graduation address, entitled: “From survival to significance.” Here are some of the quotes from her excellent speech:

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

“There is never a right time to do the wrong thing. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”

“God transforms us so that we can become a catalyst for transforming others.”

Congratulations to the ANU class of 2015!

A quote from Amy’s reading

“Guns and arrows may stop an army, but they cannot stop men and women with their dreams.” – Louis L’Amour, in The Proving Trail (Bantam Books, 1978 ), 129.

From Greg’s latest “Theology in Overalls” blog post, entitled “Heaven isn’t enough”

“Church leaders are wringing their hands, wondering what they can do to make the church grow again. May I suggest sinning Christianity is the problem? Until we get to the place where we are sick of our sin and desperate for God’s holy love to fill us, we will have nothing of value to offer to people who look on and see only the same filth and absence of love that they can find 24/7 elsewhere.  If the church has a PR problem, it’s only because it has a sin problem. How can we offer deliverance if we ourselves are still enchained?”

Read the whole post by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Words & a pic – July 22, 2015

20150722_155417
Rev Anthony Van Zyl, bi-vocational South African Nazarene pastor and printer, presents a hot-off-the-press author’s copy of 30 MINUTES AVEC DIEU to Dr Crofford

John Maxwell tells of fifty people over the age of 95 who were asked what they would do over again in their lives if they could. One of the most common answers was that they would do things that would live on after they were gone.

My hope is that 30 Minutes avec Dieu (30 Minutes with God) is one of those things that will outlast me. It’s a 365 day devotional guide in French. Written in 2014, I offer an inspirational commentary alternating each day between the NT and OT reading, taking the reader through the entire Bible in one year.

There is little devotional material from a Wesleyan perspective available in the French language. This is my effort to help fill the gap. My prayer is that God will use it to deepen the faith of not only French-speaking Nazarenes but the larger Body of Christ.

From Amy’s reading

“Lots of different things happen to all of us, the difference, perhaps, is that the writer makes a conscious mental (or written) note of his or her experiences and, even more importantly, goes on to forge or discover the kind of connects that adds depth and significance to quite ordinary observations.” – Adrian Plass, Cabbages for the King (London: Fount Paperbacks, 1993), 139.

From Greg’s latest blog, “Exposing the prosperity Gospel heresy,”  at “Theology in Overalls”

“…preachers of the prosperity message go beyond needs to desires. In so doing, they shift the center away from God, putting humans and our wants and wishes for success and wealth at the center. In the end, it is no longer Gospel – good news – but for those disillusioned by its unfulfilled promises, it is bad news, a modified strain of Christian faith that leaves little room for sin, repentance, the Cross, or the place of hardship and suffering in the Christian life.”

Read the whole post by clicking here.

Le Dieu qui nous cherche – 1 janvier

Bienvenue à mes lecteurs francophones au programme “30 Minutes avec Dieu.” Cette année, j’ai l’intention de mettre à la disposition du monde francophone en français simple une méthode quotidienne de s’approcher vers l’Eternel.

Il s’agit –

1) de lire les quelques chapitres bibliques — La personne qui le fait tous les jours aura lu toute la Bible en un an, du 1 janvier au 31 décembre. Pour consulter le programme de lecture tout entier, cliquez ici.

La version employée est la Nouvelle Edition de Genève (1979).

durée: 20 minutes

2) de ruminer le verset clé et le paragraphe qui l’accompagne – Bien que le lecteur doive lire tous les chapitres, le commentaire ne va s’occuper que d’une partie, c’est-à-dire il va faire un commentaire alternativement à propos de la lecture soit de l’AT soit du NT. Essayez de mémoriser le verset.

durée: 5 minutes

3) prier — Chaque jour, le site suggera un sujet de prière. Certes, vous allez ajouter les vôtres.

durée: 5 minutes

Allons-y!

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1 janvier

Lecture biblique

Gen 1-3, Matt 1

Verset clé à mémoriser

“Mais l’Eternel Dieu appela l’homme et lui dit: Où es-tu?” -Gen 3.9

Méditation

Tout ce que Dieu a crée est bon. Cependant, nous voyons que cette bonté a été endomaggée par la désobéissance de nos ancêtres, Adam et Eve. Heureusement, Dieu – dans son amour pour toute la création – a envisagé un moyen de réconcilation entre l’humanité et Lui-même. Il n’attend pas que nous nous approchions vers Lui. Gen. 3:9 indique que Dieu vient nous chercher! Il savait que le couple avait péché en mangeant le fruit interdit. Il leur a dit – et Dieu nous dit toujours – Où es-tu? Sommes-nous prêts par le sacrifice de Jésus de nous réconcilier avec Dieu?

Prière

Remerciez Dieu pour la beauté de la création, et demandez-Lui ce que vous pourrez faire afin de la protéger.

De la dîme à la consécration entière – 31 décembre

Lecture biblique

Malachi, Apocalypse 22

Verset clé

« Apportez à la maison du trésor toutes les dîmes, afin qu’il y ait de la nourriture dans ma maison;
Mettez-moi de la sorte à l’épreuve, dit l’Eternel des armées,et vous verrez si je n’ouvre pas pour vous les écluses des cieux, si je ne répands pas sur vous la bénédiction en abondance » (Malachi 3.10).

Méditation

Ce verset nous impressione parce que nous connaissons la règle générale affirmée par Jésus de ne pas mettre Dieu à l’épreuve (Deut 6.16, Matt 4.7). Par contre, ici dans le domaine de donner, Dieu nous encourage de faire justement cela! La dîme égale 10% de nos revenues. Dans le Nouveau Testament, ce n’est plus seulement 10% de nous revenues mais désormais c’est tout ce que nous sommes (Romains 12.1-2). La consécration n’est pas la consécration si ce n’est pas à part entière. Dans la nouvelle année, qu’allez-vous faire pour que votre consécration soit entière? Les bénédictions de Dieu attendent un tel engagement!

Prière

« Dieu, merci de ces trente minutes par jour que nous avons passés ensemble et comment tu m’as enrichi. Tout ce que je suis est à toi. Dans la nouvelle année, fais de moi une grande bénédiction aux autres, au nom de Jésus je prie, AMEN.  »

La mort va mourir – 30 décembre

Lecture biblique

Zacharie 13-14, Apocalypse 21

Verset clé

«  Il essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux, et la mort ne sera plus; il n’y aura plus ni deuil, ni cri, ni douleur, car les premières choses ont disparu » (Apocalypse 21.4).

Méditation

Dans ce monde, il y a trop de choses qui nous tracassent. Or, la nouvelle création qui aura lieu en Jésus-Christ ne sera pas comme cette création présente qui est endommagée par le péché. Les pécheurs n’y auront pas de place mais seront détruits dans l’étang de feu (21.8). Dieu lui-même essuiera toute larme ne nos yeux. Voici la vision de la fin des temps, un moment où tout ce qui nous attriste ne sera plus. La mort elle-même mourira. Nous serons réunis avec nos bien-aimés qui connaissent le Seigneur. Quel réconfort!

Prière

« Dieu, je suis convaincu selon la Bible que cette vie terrestre n’est que la première partie de mon existence. J’attends la vie éternelle auprès de toi un jour. Daigne que je vive avec cette réalité en vue, au nom de Jésus je prie, AMEN.  »