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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Entries in GDOP (11)

Sunday
May132012

World Prayer Assembly in Jakarta Indonesia

I leave for Jakarta (via Dubai) in a few minutes.

This time I will be at the World Prayer Assembly - a very special global gathering of Christians from across the planet (about 6000 or so). See http://www.wpa2012.org for details

I have the privilege of having 3 speaking slots at the conference (all around poverty and corruption / ethics), and a slot on the Global Day of Prayer studio broadcast on the 17th of May on GodTV.

At this conference I'll representing the work of our 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' campaign (see http://www.exposed2013.com for more), and the Unashamedly Ethical movement (see http://www.unashamedlyethical.com for details).

Please could I ask for your prayers for this journey and work? My desire is to activate many more Christians and Christian movements for God's work of justice and mercy.

Please also pray for Megie, Courtney and Liam at home. I miss them already!

Thursday
Jun092011

The start of the Global Day of Prayer International Conference in Jacksonville, FL

This morning we started the Global Day of Prayer international conference in Jacksonvillve, FL. Pete Sanchez, the author of the song 'I exalt thee' opened the conference in devotion and prayer.  Right after that Graham Power, the founder of the Global Day of Prayer, and Isebel Spangenberg, our International Coordinator, spoke about the GDOP movement - how is spread from one stadium of believers in prayer in Cape Town on the 21st of March 2001, to over 400 million believers praying in large and small gatherings in every nation on earth in 2010 on Pentecost Sunday.

Graham has such a powerful testimony because of his courage in obedience to God.  When he felt that God had called him to call Christians to pray for their city, nation and the world, and to turn from their wickedness, he simply hired a stadium and starteg gathering people!  The rest is history!

Isebel spoke wonderfully about how Christians in every nation and continent have embraced this call.  In 'closed countries' three or four believers gathering in homes and places of work.  In other countries hundreds of thousands of Christians gather in stadiums and open air places.

Of course the intention of the Global Day of Prayer is to awaken Christians to understand that they have a role to play in the transformation of their nations.  The establishment of God's grace in healing, economic wellbeing, social harmony, and God's loving power in all of creation.

The scripture that best sums up this movement is 2 Chronicles 7.14 which says:

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.

Tomorrow we will listen to Steve Johnstone, the international coordinator for the Unashamedly Ethical movement - Steve is an incredible speaker!  I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say about ethics, values and clean living.

If you're interested in reading more about Graham's testimony please see the book that I wrote on his life and ministry called 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'.  

And if you would like to read more about the wonderful movement of the Global Day of Prayer, then please see the great book written by Diane Vermooten called 'Not by Might nor by Power'.

 

Saturday
Jun042011

I leave for the USA tomorrow - already missing my family!

First Coast Global Day of Prayer

Tomorrow I'll fly from Cape Town to JHB, from there to Dakar, to Washington and then to Jacksonville - it is a marathon 33 hour flight / transit.  I did it in March.  I'm seriously praying for good seats all the way through!

We'll be in Jacksonville form the International Conference form the Global Day of Prayer, and then the international broadcast from the anchor stadium event at the Veterans Memorial Stadium on the 11th of June.

Please see http://www.fcgdop.org for details of the conference and the Stadium event on Saturday.  If you're in Florida I would love to see you!  Please come along to the conference and say hi!  We'll be speaking at two plenary sessions and a total of 6 breakout sessions.

From there I'll be heading to New York to spend some time with the folks from the Gotham Fellowship, an initiative of Tim Keller's Church (Redeemer Church, New York City).  Gotham focusses on ministering to people in the world of work, helping them to discover and fulfil their Kingdom potential through using the skill, influence and ability to work for the establishment of God's Kingdom of grace in every aspect of society.  I met Katherine Leary and David Kim here in Cape Town earlier in the year and was so impressed by the work that they're doing!  I can't wait to spend some time with them!

Fortunately I fly directly to JHB from New York and then back to Cape Town.  I'll be leaving the US on the 15th and be back in South Africa on the 16th of June. Take a look at this cool picture of my kiddies, Courtney and Liam - I took the picture at Steers when we stopped for some ice cream.  This photo was made with a great little app called 'wordphoto'.

Please pray for my family while I'm away - it is always tough to be away from Megie, Courtney and Liam. I will Skype (FaceTime) them daily, but it is not the same as being at home!

Please also pray for me and our team as we speak at various conferences, events and meetings. Etienne Piek from 24/7 Prayer, Steve Johnstone from Unashamedly Ethical and Isebel and Dawie Spangenberg from Global Day of Prayer will join Graham Power and I on Tuesday.

Also, on Thursday we'll be launching the American edition of Transform your work life at the GDOP conference! I am very excited about that! Thanks so much Mark Russell and Russell Media for their incredible work on the book!

I'll post updates here and on my twitter, Facebook and tumblr feeds as often as I can.

Saturday
Mar262011

Palos Verdes, Los Angeles - 25 and 26 March 2011

Graham and I arrived at LAX airport in Los Angeles on the evening of the 24th of March.  We are staying with our friends Dave and Kristen Wendorff in Rolling Hills (which is in the city of Palos Verdes, California - I guess by South African standards we would say that it is a suburb of Los Angeles).  These are such beautiful, kind people, and their surroundings closely match their wonderful hearts.  It is truly lovely to be among such sincere, loving, and dedicated Christians!

Dave is a property developer (like Graham) - he has had a great deal of success in that field.  However, what is truly significant is that he has seen his business as an opportunity to bless the people of the city, to develop infrastructure to support transformation in society so that the 'good news' may be experienced wherever he has been busy.  So, he prays for his staff, his clients, and even the land on which he is building homes.  It is fantastic to be with Dave and his family!  We hosted their eldes son, Nathan, in South Africa last year.  And their daughter Louisa will be with us a little later this month.  Here we are with some friends from elsewhere in Californa, and our friend Larry Ihle from Minnesota having breakfast.

We are speaking at a 2 day conference on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life at the Rolling Hills Covenant Church.  It is a remarkable Church (which has a South African, Matthew Kennedy, who is the worship pastor!)  We are being hosted by our friend Joy Handley who is the president of Asia Access (a missions organisation that works in Japan).  He was in Japan at the time of the earthquakes last week and share some remarkable insights on how things are going there after the Tsunami.  He and his organisation are doing truly wonderful work!  Then the local pastor is Dr Andy Noch - we have had a great connection.  This is a special guy in an awesome Church.

Today we continue to share on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life - there are about 180 men at this men's conference.  Yesterday we also had a special luncheon with some business leaders and their wives at a beautiful country club (I have no idea what the place was called!) and some meetings with David Wood and his team from Hollywood who are running a Global Day of Prayer event there.  

Today is our last day in LA - we start our long journey home early tomorrow morning (LAX to Washington, Washington to Dakar, Dakar to JHB, JHB to Cape Town).  It will take 2 days to get home, but I can't wait to be home with Courtney, Megie and Liam!

Thanks for your prayers for all of us!  I am so pleased to tell you that Liam has recovered from his tonsillitis and the whole family are doing great!  We skype each other every day / morning (when I wake up at 6am it is 4pm back home - so the timing works quite well!)

This has been such a wonderful trip!  I know that the Lord has done some wonderful work in the lives of the people that we have had the joy of meeting and sharing with. It is always humbling to be encounter people who are doing such wonderful things, sometimes they just need a little encouragement to seek obedience to God, connection with the challenges the world faces, and one or two ideas for doing ministry for transformation.

Wednesday
May262010

Shift happens - where is the Christian faith heading? A reflection on GDOP 2010

Last week was an incredible week of blessing, encouragement, discovery, friendship, and learning.  We had close to 1000 persons at the Cape Town International Convention centre for the Global Day of Prayer 10th Anniversary Celebration conference.  The Global Day of Prayer started at Newlands Rugby stadium in Cape Town in 2001 and this Sunday (23 May 2010) was the 10th anniversary of what God has done in and through the Global Day of Prayer.

As Graham Power, the initiator of the prayer movement, says - the Global Day of Prayer is truly a testimony to God's power and grace.  No person or committee or organization could ever have put together such a massive prayer movement.  In 2009 and again this year in 2010 every single country on earth registered their participation in the Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost Sunday.  From the rising of the Sun in Fiji until it set over the Hawaii Islands there were people in cities, towns, rural areas, schools, stadiums, Churches and homes praying together in repentance and prayer.  It truly is the largest recorded prayer gathering in history!  The conference was as great a blessing as the day of prayer.  Our team started working on putting together the venue, speakers and participant care well over a year ago. I was in charge of setting up the program (simply visit the GDOP 2010 website and click on the list of speakers in each of the 5 streams for details of the speakers in the Church, Transformation, Prayer, Missions and Youth streams).

What struck me most significantly was the fact that God is using 'new', 'fresh' and 'emerging' movements and groups to achieve great things across the earth.  The them of the conference was 'His Story, His Glory, His Call' and we emphasised that we wanted to hear from the global South and the emerging world.  This was indeed the case as speakers and groups from Asia, Latin America, and Africa shared incredible testimonies of what God is doing to redeem both people and places.  There were many stories of salvation coming to individuals and groups, as well as many stories of God's justice and mercy bringing healing and tangible transformation to political, social and economic systems throughout the world.  It was such an encouragement.

I spoke in three sessions (a plenary and two track sessions).  In the Youth / emerging generation plenary I used a quote from Philip Yancey (that comes from Philip Jenkins' great book The Next Christendom:  The coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press), 2002):

As I travel, I have observed a pattern, a strange historical phenomenon of God “moving” geographically from the Middle East, to Europe to North America to the developing world.  My theory is this: God goes where he’s wanted

Now of course this observation is true (I add a few subtle steps).  Christianity began in Israel, then shifted to Asia (and North Africa), from Asia it moved to Europe under the rule of Constantine, then from Europe to England, from England to North America, and from North America the 'weight' of global Christianity has shifted to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

But, where is Christianity shifting to next?  I my presentation (entitled 'Shift Happens') I made the conjecture that Christianity's next global shift will not be a geographical shift, rather it will be a shift onto the internet.  If you were to take the registered users of facebook as a population group, facebook would be the 3rd largest country on earth (behind China and India).  It is a simple fact that most of the emerging generation do not posit their primary identity in their geographical or primary cultural context, rather their identity and sense of being is shaped by global interactions through the internet, television, movies and others forms of rich media!

The title of my presentation 'Shift happens' comes from the incredible video below:

The question is:  If this shift is so powerful why are there so few ministry groups and Christians doing strategic work on and through the internet?  Most of the Christian groups I know use this 'new media' in an 'old media' manner - i.e., as a broadcast mechanism (posting reports, putting up text that does not allow for interaction, using 'long form' posts (such as this one!) instead of the short form posts like twitter's 140 characters...)

I've made a short video reflection on my thoughts in this regard which you can watch below.

Reflection on GDOP 2010 new media and ministry from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

 

The two persons I mention in this video post are @jaesonma and @olgalvaro - check them out. Of course you can also connect with me on twitter @digitaldion.

Also, consider this.  Long after the next Lausanne congress has met, hundreds of thousands of people from all across the earth would have interacted around the issues of bringing the whole Gospel to the whole world.  And, after the participants in the third Lausanne Congress have left Cape Town, after the World Cup Soccer has come and gone, the conversation will continue!  Rather than a 'static' medium (such as a journal with conference papers) the collective wisdom, and immeasurable wealth of international connections and relationships will be the force that sustains and informs evangelism going forward!

Shift is happening - my prayer is that more Christians will get ahead of this shift.  This does not mean an abandonment of the 'established' ways of being faithful in worship, service and community.  But, we do need to engage people where they are moving to!

The theologian Helmut Thielicke summed it up best when he said:

The Gospel must be constantly forwarded to a new address since its recipient is constantly changing his place of residence.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this point!  Do you think I am missing something?  

By the way, I have a more critically researched article on this phenomenon being published in the Lausanne World Pulse in the next month or so.  I'll post a link here once it is published.  That has both statistical and empirical research as well as clear references.

Thursday
Mar252010

A quick video greeting from Malaysia

I have two great benefits on this trip:

1.  I have free wifi access in the hotel!

2.  I am struggling to sleep!

So, I went to the gym early this morning and then recorded this little greeting when I returned.

Greetings from Malaysia! from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

 

Have a truly blessed day! I would appreciate your prayers for myself and my family back home.

PS.  If you think that there is something wrong with YOUR video don't worry! For some reason when I encoded the video it has only captured every few frames (so the video doesn't quite line up with the audio... No matter, it's only a talking head!)

Sunday
Mar212010

Cape Town for Jesus - the final countdown!

With just 19 hours to go to the start of the Cape Town for Jesus event at the new Cape Town stadium in Greenpoint, my excitement is growing.

I spent the day here with our wonderful Global Day of Prayer team running through the rehearsal and final arrangements for the day. Etienne Piek, the head of GDOP has done an incredible job on putting together a diverse group of participants - with a wide range in age, gender, race and theological background. Among the participants will be Graham Power, Angus Buchan, Nicky Cruz, Barry Isaacs, Zoleka Majola, AyJay Jaantjies and many others.

 

 

In the one picture in this post you'll see my friend John van de Laar who runs a ministry called Sacredise.  John is a gifted musician who has his own CD's and has even written books on worship.  His particular specialty is bringing together diverse styles of worship (contemporary and liturgical, as well as African and more western styles - see http://www.sacredise.com for more on his ministry.  Some of the other musicians who will be leading worship include Retief Burger, Trevor Sampson and Usher Bell.

 

 

The stadium itself is something to behold! It is incredible!  There is a high priority on security - could I please warn you not to bring bags of any kind with you (women may bring a small handbag, but that's about it).

 

 

Remember that the gates open at 11am and you must have sourced your ticket from Computicket beforehand at http://www.computicket.com - I have had a few people contact me regarding the parking arrangments for the event.  Please see this PDF document for details of parking around the City of Cape Town for Cape Town for Jesus.

If you're attending look out for me and say hi! I'll be running behind the stage in a bright orange golf shirt with a GDOP logo on it. Also please leave a comment below to let me know what your experience of the day was.

When last I heard 50 000 of the avialable 55 000 seats had been allocated. So we're looking forward to an awesome time!

Tuesday
Mar092010

Cape Town for Jesus! iKapa lelika Yesu!

I attended the program committee meeting for the Cape Town for Jesus prayer gathering that will be taking place at the new Cape Town (Greenpoint) Soccer stadium on the 22nd of March.

The incredible variety of participants in the program is so exciting!  It is going to be an awesome time of diverse worship, many opportunities to focus upon and pray for important issues (among them are the City of Cape Town, the Soccer World cup - there will be 32 soccer teams in attendance!, issues such as human trafficking, racial reconciliation, crime, poverty, HIV/AIDS, ethics and values and a whole host of other important issues).

I had the joy of speaking with uncle Angus Buchan at the Turn2God event in Pretoria on Saturday - he is so excited about speaking at the Cape Town for Jesus prayer event.  I also had a chance to speak with Helen Zille and Kenneth Meshoe (who have both indicated that they will be in attendance at the event).

Please could I ask that you publicize this event as widely as you possibly can?  Please put it in your Church's notices, get your youth groups, women's and men's groups, your friends, cell groups and family to get their tickets as soon as possible.

Tickets can be purchased from Computicket (either online, or from any Checkers store).

There are only 2 Sundays left before the event, so please don't miss the opportunity to give it some exposure in your notices this Sunday.  Gates open at 11am, the worship will start soon after that, and the official program will run from 13.00-16.00.

For more information you can see the Global Day of Prayer, South Africa, website at http://www.gdop-sa.com

Lastly, if you use twitter you can follow the events for Cape Town for Jesus at http://www.twitter.com/CapeTown4Jesus

Below are a few images from Saturday's Turn2God event at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.  

Some of the volunteers

A few of the Christian sports personalities in attendance

Angus Buchan and Helen Zille

Some of the leaders in prayer

 

 

Wednesday
Feb172010

Cape Town for Jesus tickets available! 22 March 2010

UPDATE:  Here is the direct link to book your tickets for this great event.

I had the joy of attending the Turn2God event in Pretoria this week and it was so special!  Cape Town for Jesus will be just as great!

Original post:

I received the following email from our Global Day of Prayer offices this morning. See http://www.gdop-sa.com for more.

This is going to be a special event where people of all ages, races and denominations will gather to pray for the city of Cape Town and for the World Cup soccer events that will be taking place in the city (and the nation). I would encourage you to be part of this special event! I would love to see all my friends in Cape Town joining together to pray for our city.

Let's not allow theological differences to keep us from celebrating our love for Christ, our commitment to our city, and modeling our Christian unity in diversity!

I remember the first Transformation Africa event at Newlands Rugby Stadium in 2001 - it was such an awesome time to see young and old, poor and wealthy, white and black worshiping and praying together for the city!

Mayor of Cape Town (Da Plato) and our Provincial Premier (Helen Zille) will be in attendance, as will a number of Christian sports persons, soccer world cup ministry leaders, and of course many Christian leaders from across the country and the world! I hope you'll be among them!

Good News!!

Tickets for “Cape Town for Jesus” prayer gathering are NOW OPEN FOR SALE at Computicket.

 

'A great prayer gathering will be held on Monday 22 March (public holiday) this year at the new Cape Town stadium'

This special occasion will be the first opportunity in which this beautiful new stadium will be fully utilized prior to the handover to FIFA for the Soccer World Cup tournament.

The program for the day will have as its focus prayer and blessing for the stadium; our city; provincial and national leaders; the Soccer World Cup Tournament; our children and youth and the emergency services operating in and around the stadium. Uncle Angus Buchan will be the main speaker on the day. Let’s join together with 68 000 others to commit our city, our nation, and the 2010 soccer stadiums to the Lord!

Tickets can be booked at Computicket http://www.computicket.com/web/event/cape_town_for_jesus/110515079

Entrance: R40pp (all persons (including babies) are required to be in posession of a ticket)

Gates open from 11:00 Prayer program from 13:00 to 16:00

There is no limit to the number of tickets you are allowed to purchase, so BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment!

Visit http://www.gdop2010.com for more information.

Finally, there are 10 000 tickets that are made available at R10 per ticket (this covers the cost of the train and / or bus into the city) for persons who cannot afford to travel to the city, or cannot afford to pay the regular ticket price. These tickets can be booked via the GDOP offices at 021 856 3130. The regular tickets, at R40 per person, cover the cost of some of the city amenities that we're using (safety officials, permits etc), plus the cost of hiring the stage and equipment for the day.

Please consider advertising this event in your Church bulletin, or letting friends and family in the Cape Town area know about it.

Thanks!

Dion

Tuesday
Feb162010

A calendar for Church Activities in the City of Cape Town

The South African Council of Churches (SACC), Consultation of Christian Churches (CCC), Transformation Africa (GDOP Cape Town) and The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) agreed at their last meeting to try and set up a single calendar for the Church’s events in Cape Town.

Please see http://bit.ly/CTchurch  If you would like to add anything that your ministry is doing please contact Willem at the CCC to get it added.  

Here are Willem’s details:

Rev Willem Malherbe
Administrator: CCC

CCC Kantoor/CCC Office
Phn:  021 914 0441
Fax:  086 605 7114
Email:     
ccc@genesis.org.za

Office hours:  Mon-Fri 09:00-13:00

Please feel free to share this link with anyone who may be interested!

Rich blessing,

Dion

 

Tuesday
Jan192010

How do you cope with stress and pressure? (and remain productive)

Like many others I returned to work early in January after a break over Christmas and the new year.  It was great to get back into the swing of things.  I love what I do, and I like being engaged in multiple tasks; I even enjoy working with a bit of pressure!

However, 2010 is a massive year for me!  First, we have a large stadium prayer gathering in Cape Town (in the new Cape Town stadium on the 22nd of March 2010 - see http://www.gdop-sa.com for more details).

Next, we have an international conference for the Global Day of Prayer from the 17th - 23rd of May at the Cape Town international Convention Centre.  I am responsible for handling the programme at this conference, but I also play a central role in most of the other committees for the events.  You can see more about this conference at http://www.gdop2010.com - it is actually two events, a conference from the 18th to the 20th and then a stadium event at the Newlands Rugby stadium with a global television broadcast on the 23rd of May).  There is more work to be done for this conference than I have hours in my day!

Next, there is the Lausanne Congress on World evangelization which is taking place here in Cape Town in October this year.  I am a member of the arrangements team, as well as serving on the Theological working group, heading up the social media strategy, and I am also one of the officially invited delegates to participate in the congress (there are 50 persons from South Africa who were invited to participate in the congress, so it is a great honour to be among that number.  I am fairly certain that I must be among the most junior of the group, and that my practical involvement in the congress is what got me the spot!  There are certainly far more gifted theologians and leaders in our context!  However, I shall do my best). You can read more about the Lausanne Congress at http://www.capetown2010.com and follow Lausanne on Facebook and on Twitter.

Together with these big responsibilities I also have two new books coming out in 2010.  I had a very tight deadline to write a book on workplace spirituality and faith at work for Struik publishers (this book will be launched at our Global Day of Prayer conference in May - so, the content must be finished in the next week in order for it to be edited, proofed and sent to India or China for printing (I'm not sure where it is printed, but it is in the East, and then it is shipped back to South African in bulk).  Please do pray for me!  I have been waking VERY early and going to bed VERY late to try and finish the 12 chapters for the book!  I need both strength and inspiration to meet the deadline (I have done 7 chapters and have 5 more to go).

The other book that I am working on is a reworking of my doctoral research which Cambridge Scholars Press is publishing entitled 'Why you may not be who you think you are! Adventures in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and theology'.  I'm afraid that is on the back, back burner for a little while (until May at least).

Apart from these big projects I have my regular work to contend with.  I am a chaplain in a company that has 2000 employees, I am a chaplain to the Global Day of Prayer, serving on the regular working team of various ministries and boards, and then also still doing a bit of teaching and some post-graduate supervision at the University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch where I hold academic posts.

Most importantly I have to take time for my family and my faith, and of course there is my health....

When I consider all of this I do get a little stressed at times!!!

SO, here's the question... What do you do to remain productive and cope with stress?  Please not that emphasis on remaining productive while coping with stress.  I love my work, and I like to be busy, but I want to find some tools to keep a 'handle' on it.

Here's a little video that explains what I am currently doing.

However, I'd love to hear your wisdom please!