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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 publication (24)

Sunday
Apr102011

Another chapter published!

On Friday I received an email from Paul Chilcote to let me know that 'Making disciples in a world parish: Global perspectives on Mission and Evangelism' was published.

I was privileged to contribute one of the chapters that make up this book.  I wrote about the theology and ministry of Christians in Southern Africa in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  In my chapter I discussed issues such as the contextualisation of theological methodology, an insight into what it means to live with HIV/AIDS and what it could mean for Christians and the Church to respond appropriately in that context.  It is entitled 'Evangelism, mission and discipleship in Southern Africa: How hope is overcoming tragedy'.

I'd encourage you to check out the book at the following URL - you can purchase the book from Amazon here.

Friday
Sep172010

The body of Christ has HIV AIDS - an update

Some weeks ago I posted and entry entitled 'Christian and positive - when the body of Christ has HIV AIDS' A short while before writing that post I had recorded a brief video describing my thoughts on this matter. I only managed to upload my video last night. So I am posting it as an update here. Please see the video towards the bottom of this post. God bless, Dion Here's that original post with the new video inserted towards the bottom of the post:

Today my friend Grant Russell alerted me to an article posted in the Guardian Online Newspaper entitled Pastor's 'Jesus had HIV' sermon angers South African Christians by David Smith.

I can understand why the preacher in question, Xola Skosana, would preach such a sermon.  However, I can also understand why South African Christians may take offense to both the title of his message and the sermon's title.

First, let me say that I agree with Rev Skosana - the body of Christ does have AIDS!  

In an article that I have just published in the Epworth Review, Vol 32, No 2, 2010 (a theological journal that is published in England) I made exactly the same point.  You can read the article here: The Church has AIDS: Towards a positive theology for an HIV+ Church.

Here are two excerpts from my introduction to the article:

One of the most controversial statements in the contemporary Church is surely the assertion that ‘The Church has AIDS’! This statement challenges Christians to recognize that it is impossible to do theology and engage in Christian life and ministry without taking into account the impact of HIV and AIDS on the world...

Within the Church – the Body of Christ – there are many persons who are HIV+. This reality changes not only who we are as a Church, it also changes how we are the Church. In our creeds we affirm that the Church is ‘One’ – this unity is more than just a structural unity. Solidarity is central to the unity of the Church. It was out of this reality of true solidarity that the Methodist Church of Southern Africa adopted the following statement at its annual conference in 2005: ‘The Church has HIV/AIDS: We care. “When one part of the body is affected the whole body suffers” 1 Corinthians 12:26.’

This image is a photograph of a poster that was circulated in Methodist Churches in Southern Africa.  It bears the bold, and true, statement "The Church has HIV/AIDS - we care".

The point is this, Christians believe, according to Paul's theology, that the Church is the "body of Christ" (see for example 1 Corinthians 12:12, Colossians 1:18).  If there are members of the Church that are HIV positive then the Body of Christ is HIV positive.

That is controversial, but it is true.  If one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers 1 Corinthians 12:26.

In my article I argue something similar to what the Guardian reports on Rev Xola Skosana - we are responsible for one another, and as such the whole Church (all across the world) must consider itself HIV +.  The HI virus infects the whole of the body.  Unlike cancer one cannot remove the ailing part of the body.  The virus affects every part of the body.  

Here are some statistics about HIV from the article in the Epworth Review:

South Africa’s HIV/AIDS statistics are fairly well known.6 Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest precedence of HIV infection in the world. Where it is left completely unchecked the HIV infection rate has risen to as high as 1 in every 2 persons (50 per cent of some population groups in Botswana).7 Of the estimated 33.2 million persons living with AIDS globally, more than 22.5 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa – that amounts to 68 per cent of all HIV+ persons in less that 10 per cent of the world’s geographic land mass. Each day more than 1,600 persons are infected with the virus. In most government hospitals more than half of the patients are HIV+. By 2009 the life expectancy of a person living in Swaziland8 had declined from 60 years of age to just 32 years.9 Compare this to the United King- dom where the life expectancy of the average person born in 2009 is 79 years.10 Approximately 4,500 people in Sub-Saharan Africa die of HIV/ AIDS-related medical causes each day.

In a chapter that I wrote for a forthcoming book entitled Alienation and Connection: Suffering in a global age. (edited by Lisa Withrow and Joerg Rieger) I developed this argument in a slightly different way.  The chapter is entitled Empire, economics and apathy: A theological reflection on suffering as a result of HIV AIDS.

I introduced the concept with another rather controversial statement, saying that any Southern African Church that does not have an HIV AIDS ministry cannot be a Christian Church!  [yes, I know that I will get into trouble for this one!]

My contention is this - if 68% of all HIV+ persons in the world live in this region, then the Church has a massive responsibility to see that God's loving will is brought to bear on this situation.  God cares about every person!  The Church is God's instrument, the instrument of the mission Dei (the mission, or work, of God).

So, yes, I agree with Rev Skosana - the Body of Christ is HIV+.  Perhaps I would have titled the message slightly differently.  Instead of saying 'Jesus had HIV', I would say that 'The body of Christ is HIV+'.

As a result I can understand how Christians may respond with shock at the statement that Jesus HIV.  That statement is not accurate.  But, I do believe that the point is well made.  As Christians we need to understand that we have a critical role to play in ministering to God's World.  And since this world includes HIV positive persons it is not a matter of 'us' and 'them'.  Rather it is a matter of 'us'.

Here is a video reflection that offers some further thoughts on this very important issue!

The body of Christ has HIV AIDS from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, reflections, and ideas!

You can find the Guardian article on Rev Skosana here.

Wednesday
Sep012010

Another article published (Lausanne World Pulse) - Business as Ministry

It is always humbling to have an article published! I am particularly grateful that my article on Business as Mission was published in the September Lausanne World Pulse!

It deals with a subject that I am passionate about!

I'd be grateful if you'd read it here and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks!

Dion

Thursday
Aug262010

Christian and positive - when Christ's Body has HIV AIDS

Today my friend Grant Russell alerted me to an article posted in the Guardian Online Newspaper entitled Pastor's 'Jesus had HIV' sermon angers South African Christians by David Smith.

I can understand why the preacher in question, Xola Skosana, would preach such a sermon.  However, I can also understand why South African Christians may take offense to both the title of his message and the sermon's title.

First, let me say that I agree with Rev Skosana - the body of Christ does have AIDS!  

In an article that I have just published in the Epworth Review, Vol 32, No 2, 2010 (a theological journal that is published in England) I made exactly the same point.  You can read the article here: The Church has AIDS: Towards a positive theology for an HIV+ Church.

Here are two excerpts from my introduction to the article:

One of the most controversial statements in the contemporary Church is surely the assertion that ‘The Church has AIDS’! This statement challenges Christians to recognize that it is impossible to do theology and engage in Christian life and ministry without taking into account the impact of HIV and AIDS on the world...

Within the Church – the Body of Christ – there are many persons who are HIV+. This reality changes not only who we are as a Church, it also changes how we are the Church. In our creeds we affirm that the Church is ‘One’ – this unity is more than just a structural unity. Solidarity is central to the unity of the Church. It was out of this reality of true solidarity that the Methodist Church of Southern Africa adopted the following statement at its annual conference in 2005: ‘The Church has HIV/AIDS: We care. “When one part of the body is affected the whole body suffers” 1 Corinthians 12:26.’

This image is a photograph of a poster that was circulated in Methodist Churches in Southern Africa.  It bears the bold, and true, statement "The Church has HIV/AIDS - we care".

The point is this, Christians believe, according to Paul's theology, that the Church is the "body of Christ" (see for example 1 Corinthians 12:12, Colossians 1:18).  If there are members of the Church that are HIV positive then the Body of Christ is HIV positive.

That is controversial, but it is true.  If one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers 1 Corinthians 12:26.

In my article I argue something similar to what the Guardian reports on Rev Xola Skosana - we are responsible for one another, and as such the whole Church (all across the world) must consider itself HIV +.  The HI virus infects the whole of the body.  Unlike cancer one cannot remove the ailing part of the body.  The virus affects every part of the body.  

Here are some statistics about HIV from the article in the Epworth Review:

South Africa’s HIV/AIDS statistics are fairly well known.6 Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest precedence of HIV infection in the world. Where it is left completely unchecked the HIV infection rate has risen to as high as 1 in every 2 persons (50 per cent of some population groups in Botswana).7 Of the estimated 33.2 million persons living with AIDS globally, more than 22.5 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa – that amounts to 68 per cent of all HIV+ persons in less that 10 per cent of the world’s geographic land mass. Each day more than 1,600 persons are infected with the virus. In most government hospitals more than half of the patients are HIV+. By 2009 the life expectancy of a person living in Swaziland8 had declined from 60 years of age to just 32 years.9 Compare this to the United King- dom where the life expectancy of the average person born in 2009 is 79 years.10 Approximately 4,500 people in Sub-Saharan Africa die of HIV/ AIDS-related medical causes each day.

In a chapter that I wrote for a forthcoming book entitled Alienation and Connection: Suffering in a global age. (edited by Lisa Withrow and Joerg Rieger) I developed this argument in a slightly different way.  The chapter is entitled Empire, economics and apathy: A theological reflection on suffering as a result of HIV AIDS.

I introduced the concept with another rather controversial statement, saying that any Southern African Church that does not have an HIV AIDS ministry cannot be a Christian Church!  [yes, I know that I will get into trouble for this one!]

My contention is this - if 68% of all HIV+ persons in the world live in this region, then the Church has a massive responsibility to see that God's loving will is brought to bear on this situation.  God cares about every person!  The Church is God's instrument, the instrument of the mission Dei (the mission, or work, of God).

So, yes, I agree with Rev Skosana - the Body of Christ is HIV+.  Perhaps I would have titled the message slightly differently.  Instead of saying 'Jesus had HIV', I would say that 'The body of Christ is HIV+'.

As a result I can understand how Christians may respond with shock at the statement that Jesus HIV.  That statement is not accurate.  But, I do believe that the point is well made.  As Christians we need to understand that we have a critical role to play in ministering to God's World.  And since this world includes HIV positive persons it is not a matter of 'us' and 'them'.  Rather it is a matter of 'us'.

Here is a video reflection that offers some further thoughts on this very important issue!

The body of Christ has HIV AIDS from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, reflections, and ideas!

You can find the Guardian article on Rev Skosana here.

Sunday
Jun132010

Some great advice for aspiring authors!

Since the launch of our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling', Graham Power and I have asked by numerous people how one 'gets published'.

Of course this question arises out of the reality that statistically only one in ever ten thousand manuscripts get published by a mainstream publisher.  First, let me say that this doesn't mean that those books that get published are better than the ones that don't.  Rather, it means that those manuscripts that make it through the process of being read, vetted, edited, published, distributed and sold have a reasonable business model!  Let us never forget that publishers are in business - they want books that have a good chance of selling and making them money!

A friend of mine recently wrote one of the most remarkable manuscripts that I've read in some time.  When he sent it to two of South Africa's major Christian publishers they didn't even read it, one simply said that they are not looking to bring any 'new titles' into their catalogue. I suggested that he self publish it - I know it will encourage and bless others, so it is too good to NOT be published because it doesn't make 'business sense'.

So, what do you do if you have a great story to tell or a ground breaking idea to share?

Well, there are various options to consider... My advice is don't wait for a publisher to give you 'permission' to be published!  

Some of the greatest success stories in recent publiciation come from self published books - have you heard about William P Young's book 'The shack'.  That great book started its life as a self published book. There are many other great examples! 

If you're interested in connecting with some great publishers who will help you to get your work in print then please leave a comment below, or send me a note via the contact section of this page, and I'll send you details for people that I've used in the past.  

Of course it is worth trying a publisher first, but if you hear nothing back, or if the reply is negative consider getting your manuscript proof read, get a nice cover designed, get an ISBN number (all of which are incredibly easy to do), and then get it printed!

You'll soon discover, as I have, that simply having a publisher doesn't mean that your book will sell!  Even published authors have to spend their time and energy getting their books into people's hands, on book shelves, and you still find that most of your 'sales' come from speaking engagements, book clubs, and personally sold copies.

We sell quote a few copies of 'Transform your work life' via stores and the web, but we sell far more copies at speaking engagements. Remember that your publisher has hundreds of authors and titles to promote!  They have limited staff, time and budgets to keep their business running!  So, unless you make the effort to set up speaking engagements, tell others about your book, and sell copies yourself you may just get forgotten.

This section from Seth Godin's post below seems to agree with my ideas:

...the fledgling author, the one who has been turned down by ten agents and then copies his manuscript and fedexes it to twenty large publishing houses--what is he hoping for, exactly? Perhaps he's hoping to win the magic lottery, to be the one piece of slush chosen out of a million (literally a million!) that goes on to be published and revered.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.

There's a hard work alternative to the magic lottery, one in which you can incrementally lay the groundwork and integrate into the system you say you want to work with. And yet instead of doing that work, our instinct is to demonize the person that wants to take away our ticket, to confuse the math of the situation (there are very few glass slippers available) with someone trying to slam the door in your faith/face.

You can either work yourself to point where you don't need the transom, or you can play a different game altogether, but throwing your stuff over the transom isn't worthy of the work you've done so far.

Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

A great story (or idea), hard work, and self determination are certain to get you published and read! I've been reading 'Rework' over the last few days (written by the guys at 37signals).  They have some incredible advice for entrepreneurs, much of it can be related to writing.  I'd encourage you to buy a copy of it.  In particular they encourage one to get your product or service to market as soon as it can meet a need.  If you get caught in the cycle of trying to get it perfect (or published) it may never make it into people's hands!

Feel free to drop me a line with a comment, question or some advice of your own.

Tuesday
Jun012010

How technology is changing, or should change, the way the Gospel is shared

The June / July edition of the Lausanne World Pulse was released today.  I am so blessed that an article that I wrote has been published in this edition.

In the introduction to this edition of the Lausanne World Pulse Doug Birdsall writes of the fact that the unchanging message of the person and ministry of Jesus must be presented in new and effective ways to encounter the evolving expectations and experiences of people across the world.  He notes that technology, and particularly communication technologies, are having a radical effect on the globe, and so too on the way in which we can engage the people of the world with the Gospel of Christ.  Of course communication technology is but one small part of the changing landscape of the world - advances in science, medicine, economics and even warfare all have to be taken into account if one is to bring the Gospel of Christ to bear on the world in order to work for Christ driven healing and transformation.  

There are some wonderful scholarly and popular articles to get one thinking and praying along those lines.

My article is entitled 'How technology is changing, or should change, the way the Gospel is shared'.  Here is an excerpt from the introduction to the article:

The German theologian Helmut Thielicke once commented, “The Gospel must be constantly forwarded to a new address because its recipient is repeatedly changing his place of residence.” This is a very challenging yet true observation about the nature of mission and evangelism.

One of the most significant Christian books of our era is Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Jenkins quotes Philip Yancey, who notes that:

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.

There is no doubt that the geographical movement of Christianity throughout history has radically changed the manner in which the gospel is shared—from its birth in Israel among disenfranchised Jewish peasants; to a state-sanctioned religion under the emperor Constantine; through Europe and the Reformation; taking a detour via the dominance of media and mega-church-driven North American Christianity of our recent history; to where Christianity seems to be finding its place among African, Asian, and South American believers. Each new context presents challenges and opportunities for the gospel and the faith.

The Next Shift in Global Christianity 
But what if the next shift in Christendom is not merely a geographical shift, but in fact a shift into cyberspace—a movement of a completely different kind?

Have you given much thought to the way in which the 'next shift' in global culture is reshaping the way in which to Gospel should be shared? I would like to encourage you to read this month's articles on the impact of technology on Christianity and the world.

If you have some ideas, or maybe some examples or more compelling statistics to share, please drop a line in the comments below.

 

Saturday
May222010

The launch of my new book - Transform your work life

Yesterday we launched 'Transform your work life' at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) as part of the Global Day of Prayer 2010 conference. We were in the main ballroom and had about 400 people attending. It was so fantastic to have Megan, Courtney and Liam there! Megie's parents also attended the launch. Ed Silvoso, Brett Johnson, Al Caperna, Steve Johnstone, Graham Power, Anja Morkel and I spoke at the event.

The book has already been selling well! I am humbled and grateful! I believe that we sold over 500 copies during the week (it certainly felt like I signed 500 copies!!!)

It also launches in Malaysia on Sunday! And will soon be available in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, and Indonesia - it is being translated into Indonesian, Chinese and Portogeuse. We are concluding the deals for the US and Brazil. How cool is that!? Thanks so much to everyone who has played a part in this special project please be praying with us!

Look here for the Malaysian copy:

http://canaanland.com.my/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=27449

And here for South Africa:

http://bit.ly/transformwork

God bless, and please keep praying that the message and testimony encourage and help many Christians to find blessing and be a blessing their workplace and their work life!

Tuesday
May042010

Transform your work life is for sale at Christian Republic!

Copies of 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' are now available online at www.christianrepublic.co.za

Order you copy today and discover how you can transform your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling!

Once you've ordered your copy of 'Transform your work life' please visit our facebook page and share your testimony of how God is using you in your work life.

Your story could encourage others to discover the joy and blessing of being used by God in the 9-5 window!  

Also feel free to share any requests for prayer or help, or interact with the authors.

God bless! Dion

Tuesday
Apr202010

African relational ontology, individual identity, and Christian theology

Yup, the title of this post is a mouthful... It happens to be the title of an academic article that I wrote some time ago that is being published.  

The article will be published in the July / August edition of the SPCK Journal 'Theology'.  This is by far the most prestigious journal in which I have had the privilege to publish an article.  I am truly amazed that it was accepted, and humbled to have it there.

Perhaps the title was so obscure that they thought it was worth a chance!?  The full title of the article is

African relational ontology, individual identity, and Christian theology: An African theological contribution towards an integrated relational ontological identity (Theology, July/August 2010 Vol CXIII No 874 ISSN 0040-571 X).
The article comes from a body of research that I conducted over a period of some years in which I investigated the problem of individual identity (what does it mean to be 'me').  How is my identity formed in relation to other persons and my context?  And what aspects of the Kosmos can be relied upon to validate who I truly am?  Do I rely on my appearance, or my experiences, or is there something more concrete and substantial to 'true identity'?
 
This article focusses on the importance of relationships and intersubjective identity as the locus of understanding who we are as human persons. It relates these important social aspects of our identity to three prominent Christian doctrines (the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christian anthropology and the doctrine of soteriology (salvation) - it is something of a systematic approach).  
I have another article from this same body of research that contains more of the neuroscience and psychology of identity that will be published in the South African Journal HTS later this year.  And then I am still working on the book 'Why you may not be who you think you are.  Adventures in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and philosophy' (I am under contract to Cambridge Scholars Press for this book).
Here's the abstract for this article in 'Theology'.
African theology has a great deal to contribute to the theological discourse on human identity. Relationships are central to the formation, expression and understanding of who an individual person is. The African philosophy of ubuntu, more accurately expressed as umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (a person is a person through other persons), affirms the critical under- standing that identity arises out of intersubjective interactions between persons. This paper discusses how concepts of identity in African philosophy and religion can enhance our theological understanding of individual identity. Hence this research presents an African theological approach to identity that is systematized in relation to the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christian anthropology and the doctrine of salvation.
If you're interested in reading more about my research in this area, and various other thoughts on neuroscience, identity and Christian theology please follow this link.

 

Wednesday
Apr142010

Sci-Fi meets society - my Artificial Intelligence research used...

I have mentioned elsewhere on my blog that I practice a simple discipline of NOT 'googling' myself (sometimes it is called 'vanity searching' - I think that is quite an accurate description).  It is a simple choice not to search for my name on the internet.  It is quite liberating not to worry about what others are saying, or not saying, about me!

However, even though I have chosen this, every now and then someone sends me a note about something I've written, or a comment that someone has made about my research or writing. I'm ashamed to admit that it feels quite good (what the Afrikaans would call 'lekker').  

This was the case with this particular entry.  A friend sent me a link to point out that my research on 'strong Artificial Intelligence' was quoted in an iTWeb article! Very cool!  

It was quite exciting to read the context in which my ideas were used.  The article is entitled 'Sci-fi meets society' and was written by Lezette Engelbrecht.  She contacted me some time ago with a few questions which I was pleased to answer via email (and point her to some of my research and publication in this area).  Thanks for using my thoughts Lezette - I appreciate it!

You can read the full article after the jump.

As artificially intelligent systems and machines progress, their interaction with society has raised issues of ethics and responsibility.

While advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and robotics have brought improvements in fields from construction to healthcare, industry players have warned of the future implications of increasingly “intelligent” machines.

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, at the University of Johannesburg, says ethics have to be considered in developing machine intelligence. “When you have autonomous machines that can evolve independent of their creators, who is responsible for their actions?”

In February last year, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) held a series of discussions under the theme “long-term AI futures”, and reflected on the societal aspects of increased machine intelligence.

The AAAI is yet to issue a final report, but in an interim release, a subgroup highlighted the ethical and legal complexities involved if autonomous or semi-autonomous systems were one day charged with making high-level decisions, such as in medical therapy or the targeting of weapons.

The group also noted the potential psychological issues accompanying people's interaction with robotic systems that increasingly look and act like humans.

Just six months after the AAAI meeting, scientists at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, conducted an experiment in which robots learned to “lie” to each other, in an attempt to hoard a valuable resource.

The robots were programmed to seek out a beneficial resource and avoid a harmful one, and alert one another via light signals once they had found the good item. But they soon “evolved” to keep their lights off when they found the good resource – in direct contradiction of their original instruction.

According to AI researcher Dion Forster, the problem, as suggested by Ray Kurzweil, is that when people design self-aggregating machines, such systems could produce stronger, more intricate and effective machines.

“When this is linked to evolution, humans may no longer be the strongest and most sentient beings. For example, we already know machines are generally better at mathematics than humans are, so we have evolved to rely on machines to do complex calculation for us.

“What will happen when other functions of human activity, such as knowledge or wisdom, are superseded in the same manner?” (read the rest of the article here...)

Friday
Apr092010

The role of the Church in reconciliation in South Africa

I was asked to write a brief article on the role of the Church in working towards reconciliation in South Africa during and after apartheid for the Lausanne World Pulse.  I had forgotten about that article until the daughter of a friend phoned me from Geneva this morning to say that she had read the article in preparation for some meetings. (for those who know Sidwell Mokghotu, it was Sid's daughter Fofo who phoned - she is doing an internship with the World Council of Churches in Geneva).  

I asked her for the URL - and there it was!

If you're interested in reading the article please follow this link.

Today is a very important day to remember our history of reconciliation and peace.  South Africa has come a long way since the end of Apartheid.  However, we still have a long way left to go!  Today is the funeral of the white supremacist leader of the AWB, Mr Eugene Terreblanche.  He was murdered on his farm over the Easter weekend.  His murder has raised racial tensions that have been fueled by the inflamatory and insensitive (even racist) statements of the leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema.

Please could I encourage you to distribute the call to prayer (below), which was written by my friend Etienne Piek, as widely as possible?

In a time of trouble it is extremely important that the Church takes a stand for the Kingdom of God first and foremost. The Kingdom of God operates on the basis of the Word of God as the absolute truth. Therefore the principles of the Bible determine our behavior and attitude towards any issue we are facing. The Word of God is very clear concerning conflict situations:

1. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27,28). Speak the blessing of salvation in Christ to those who perpetrate evil.

2. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21; Rom 12:17). Think about what is proper, noble, aiming to be above reproach in the sight of everyone.

3. Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19; Matt 5:39; Rom 2:1). Pray that the minds of people will not be filled with vengeance or hatred but to petition God for His righteousness and justice to be established.

4. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, anger and clamour (loud quarrelling) and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:30-32; Matt 6:12-15; Matt 18:21-35; Luk 23:34). As Jesus demonstrated forgiveness on the cross, so we as believers must also follow His example in forgiving those who wrong us. Let us forgive and so end the cycle of violence and retribution.

5. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder … (Matt 15:19; Luk 6:45). Actively fill your heart with God’s word and meditate on His instructions for us at this time. Resist evil thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart and mind, the mind of Christ.

6. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12). Pray and resist the evil forces behind racism, bloodshed, violence, rebellion, revenge and the spirit of witchcraft.

This is a unique opportunity for us as believers to unite to change the history of South Africa. God has not lost control, nor is He unaware of what is happening in our nation at this time. It is a time for each believer to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, to let go of selfish interests and to beseech the Lord Jesus Christ to come to our aid. This is not the time to judge or to accuse, but to plead for God’s plans and purposes to be established in our nation. Let each of us empty ourselves, repent and willfully turn from all hatred, bitterness, judgment, racism or fear, and allow the Holy Spirit to use us as instruments of reconciliation and healing in this torn nation. Pray for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to guard the hearts and minds of all South Africans (Phil 4:7), and pray for the God of peace to crush the evil one under our feet (Rom 16:20).

Join us in prayer for revival in the church. The church is still God’s answer (Eph 3:10) – but a church that lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, stands on the authority of the Word, putting Jesus Christ in the centre, praying for a lost and broken world, taking care of the poor and needy.

If you want more information on how to participate in a 40 days prayer initiative for revival in the church visit info@global24-7.org or info@jwipn.com.

Mobilise prayer groups in all possible places – your home, place of work, schools, factories, business, etc.

Respond to God’s call to the nations and join in a day of repentance and prayer on Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 2010. For details please contact info@globaldayofprayer.com or visit the website www.globaldayofprayer.com

 

Endorsed by: Jericho Walls International Prayer Network, Global Day of Prayer, NIRSA, Shalom Trust/MMC2010, Turn2God, Unashamedly Ethical, HeartCry and New Heart

Wednesday
Feb242010

Transform your work life! The new book is almost ready for print!

Last night Struik Christian Media sent me the 'galleys' (PDF proofs) for the new book that Graham Power and I have written called 'Transform your worklife:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'

I am so pleased with the work that they have done in the layout!  I can reveal to much about the book yet, but all that I can say is that it tells some wonderful stories, and shares some great resources and insights, to help Christians to transform their work life and work place into an opportunity for honouring God, blessing others, and finding great peace, blessing and fulfillment!

The book is a mixture of narrative (stories and testimonies of various people who have done remarkable things for God and those around them during their work day).  It also has some sound theology, a few suggestions and practical points, as well as some questions for group study.  Graham and I sat down and worked through the concept of each chapter, and with the help of people like Ed Silvoso, Brett Johnsonn, Trevor Hudson and some other great friends I wrote up each chapter.

The book is due to be launched in May at the Global Day of Prayer conference!  So, it will either be on the 20th or 21st of May.  Please do keep an eye on this site for more updates.

Can I also ask that you keep this project in your prayers.  As my friend Gareth Killeen said last night:

As you point out in this book, work is such a huge part of people’s lives, but such a small part of the church’s focus, and we should really look to redress that whatever way we could.

I can't share the cover art or any of the contents with you at this stage - all that I can say is that it is exciting!  I'm working through the 'galleys' now and they'll go off to print on the 4th of March to be printed and shipped back to South Africa in time for the launch.  

Thanks for sharing in my excitement!