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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • 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.
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Entries in George (1)

Wednesday
Nov102010

George4Jesus, South African Idol Elvis Blue and prayers for rain

Yesterday we drove from Cape Town to the city of George on the Southern Cape's garden route - it truly is one of the most beautiful cities in our country. We had been here last year on the 6th of October (2009) when the region was in crisis, experiencing the worst drought in more than 100 years.

The leaders of the city had asked us to call a 'day of prayer for rain' - I realize that there are some sensitivities around such events. However, my basic point of departure in such matters is always to err on the side of grace and faith! If the mayor and City leadership invite us to come and pray with them and their people that is a good thing in my books!

Of course we prayed that God would meet their needs for the water that they need in order to care adequately for their community. However, we also had a wonderful opportunity to talk about the care of creation (one of the results of that effort is that the George community was able to save enough water to fill an entire dam). But we were also able to address other important issues in the city such as the need to engage in the establishment of God's Kingdom values in their society. Thus we addressed things such as poverty alleviation, economic empowerment, racial reconciliation, care for the most vulnerable in society, and practical and tangible expressions of the Gospel - my challenge last year, and again this year, was for Christians and churches in the area to take personal responsibility for being God's good news in society, primarily as good news agents in action.

Yesterday was a special day - I would guess that there were about 4500 or so people at the George stadium who came to offer thanks for their answered prayers. The city's water supply is sitting at 70.2% compared to less than 23% in at the same time on 2009. We were also able to meet with the Mayor, Mr Petrus, and his City Councillors. They have taken the 'good news challenge' to heart and are working really hard to see that the needs of their community are cared for. There is a very effective primary health care clinic right at the municipal offices, we heard of some great projects that are helping people to gain skills and start businesses, housing is being formalized for those who live in squatter communities... The list of Gospel work goes on and on....

So, I was nervous as I stood up to speak to the crowd, but I did my best to encourage them to take responsibility for their sphere of influence. I am convicted that so often we don't do as much as we could because we're waiting for a better situation in which to serve God and His will... Perhaps we long for a better working environment, or maybe we're longing for more time or resources to do ministry. I used Micah 6.8 as my text 'What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God'.

I am struck that the most pervasive and established institution that works for good in the world, the local Church, was built on the courage of 11 teenage men and 3 young teenage women... Yup, 11 young men in their late teens and twenties and some very courageous young women. We make a mistake when we think that Jesus disciples were established, older, men. No, like Jesus they were young people. Their commitment, courage, and love started a revolution that has persisted throughout history. Because of their courage to do community in the manner of God's loving Kingdom, many millions have been fed, clothed, educated, found hope, and been re-connected with God over the last 2000 years.

God's revolution begins with the obedient courage of the faithful few... If you and I can take responsibility for what we already have it will be powerful. The metaphor I used was that of driving at night - you know that you're heading to a destination, yet your car's headlights only light up enough of the road for you to see a short distance. Yet as you move they drive out the darkness and bring you closer to where you need to be. You don't need to see everything, or have complete vision, to make it. You must just keep moving forward in the small space of light before you - that is enough.

Manie, a friend in George, have me this quote

"While any fool can tell how many seeds are in an apple, only God knows how many apples are in each seed".

So, let's live with courage, faithfulness and love today. It may just start a revolution!

One of the highlights of the day for me was meeting the South African Idols winner, Elvis Blue (Jan Hoogendyk). He is a deeply committed disciple of Jesus with a heart for the Gospel and a commitment to justice and transformation. He sang beautiful songs of worship and praise. We spent some time talking before luck and at the stadium. I shall be praying for him and his family. I am certain that God has a great plan for his talents and gifts!

Here's part of a video I took during his worship session - it clips a bit since I recorded it on my iPhone.

http://www.Twitter.com/digitaldion (@digitaldion)
2010/11/09 3:53 PM
Elvis Blue singing 'How great thou art'! At George4Jesus http://twitvid.com/RAIOA

Let me ask you - what do you do when people ask you pray form them? How do you feel about asking God for rain? Is it all that different from asking God for food, health, or peace?