Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Protea Valley Church!

Today, eleven years ago 17 people met in an old farm house a few hundred meters from our new building. An old honky-tonk piano led us in worship, the gospel of Jesus was preached and a church was born. Eleven years later some 400 adults and over 150 children call Protea Valley home and for that we're grateful to Jesus for His work in the valley.

Our prayer is that we'd always remain committed to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and that we'd always be growing the church and extending His kingdom.

Thank you Lord for your sustaining power over these years,
may you sustain us for many more for your names sake.
May your name be exalted, your gospel preached and your 
kingdom extended here through us and in us.
May your grace be our joy, the Bible our story, 
the Spirit our power and the resurrection our hope
Both now and forever more,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Malawi 2014

It's been some time since I have blogged. This has mostly been because I have needed to sort some priorities out in terms of my leadership of the church, and so for these last while the blog has taken a back seat.

I leave on Friday for Malawi and I thought it would be good to write a bit about our plans for this trip. For some years Gibson Banda from Malawi worshipped with us and as I got to know him I discerned a deep love for Jesus and a desire to serve him. Gibson returned to Malawi and as we have continued to keep contact God has been pushing an idea into my mind about planting a church through Gibson.

On Friday I head up to Malawi to go and spend time with Gibson as well as hooking up with a number of other missionaries in the area to see what God may be doing with us in Malawi.There is always a call on the local church to take the gospel to the nations as we're reminded by Jesus in Acts:

'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth'

So we're heading to the ends of the earth and we're trusting that Jesus is going to open some doors in this time and I'd ask for your prayers for safe travels and that the Holy Spirit would reveal to us what God's heart is for this. I am convinced that God puts people on our path for a reason and so we're simply following  what God puts before us in the hope that the church would grow and that God's kingdom would be extended.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Free access to Wikipedia

As people with money we often take much for granted but for many, access to information is not always easy. There is a move to get kids access to Wikipedia for free.  I think it's awesome and worth our support!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three questions...

Andy Stanley is one of the best leaders in the church in the US. I've heard him speak and he is outstanding at helping leaders step their game up.

If you are a leader,  whether you lead hundreds or just a few this is worth reading.

Can you answer the three questions?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Social justice and our domestic workers

For some time now the Missions team has been reflecting on a social justice issue, how we treat our Domestic Workers?

Our relationship with Jesus will impact and shape how we treat our neighbours, and how much closer a neighbour than the people who work in our homes. So, under Candice's lead, we have put together a draft Domestic Worker Charter which we want to put out for thought, discussion and feedback. What do you think?

Domestic Worker: PVC principles
·         Principle 1: Dignity and respect
o   Treat Domestic Workers, as the image bearers of God, with the dignity and respect you would show Jesus himself.
o   They are part of your family and integral to your lives. Therefore, Domestic Workers should be encouraged to feel welcome and loved in your home:
§  Eating and drinking with you and your family
§  Sharing your home
o   Treat Domestic Workers as valued co-workers, enabling them to learn skills that can improve their career prospects (e.g. attending a computer training course)
·         Principle 2: Living wage
o   Understand the financial situation of your Domestic Worker and pay a wage that allows him/her to live with dignity (rather than “the going rate”), taking into account all that we take for granted:
§  Living conditions
§  Safety and security
§  Transport
§  Nutrition
§  Education
§  Healthcare
o   Consider the luxuries you enjoy instead of paying a living wage (Isaiah 58):
§  Gym membership
§  Restaurant meals
§  Luxury cars
o   Consider helping your Domestic Worker to live in a warm, dry, secure home
§  Consider buying (or contributing towards) a home
§  [If you are able to live in an affluent area, it is possible to live in a home worth R100 000 less than “you can afford” and in doing so help your Domestic Worker to purchase a “brick house”]
·         Principle 3: Compassion
o   Get to know your Domestic Workers as you would your closest friend or family member.
§  Their families and life story
§  Their struggles and their dreams
§  Their walk with Jesus
o   Show compassion as Jesus did
§  Understand (and help to address) the challenges of living in difficult conditions (such as availability of healthcare, childcare, transport)
·         Principle 4: Labour Legislations
o   Ensure that, as an employer, you comply with all labour legislation, including:
§  Registering yourself and Domestic Workers with the Unemployment Insurance Fund
§  Concluding a written contract

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I recently had the privilege of going to an outstanding conference hosted by a group called Advance. They are a collective of like minded people who have a desire to see Jesus kingdom here and now. The conference was called and was really helpful for those who attended. The videos from the main sessions are available for download here.

Of particular interest were the sessions by Dr Ed Stetzer whose insight is really are worth listening to. He has been instrumental in developing the Gospel Project which is material that is currently being used by our KidsChurch teams. He also is president of LifeWay Research an organization that helps churches understand the culture and community in which they minister by providing research and statistics for them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to identify potential leaders

As always Dave Kraft with some insightful ideas about building new leaders.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Politics and Christianity

A great thought provoking post by Tim Keller

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do not judge...

From his new book, Tough Topics, Sam Storms tackles the non-Christian’s favourite verse.
Whereas it comes as no surprise that most Christians have at least one favorite verse of Scripture, it is somewhat startling to learn that most non-Christians have one as well. Non-Christians may know little of the Bible, but as certainly as night follows day, they can quote for you Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And, ironically, this verse—which they love most—they understand least.


Never has a passage of Scripture been so utterly abused, misunderstood, and misapplied as this one. Non-Christians (and not a few misguided believers as well) use this text to denounce any and all who venture to criticize or expose the sins, shortcomings, or doctrinal aberrations of others. One dare not speak ill of homosexuality, adultery, gossip, cheating on your income tax, fornication, abortion, non-Christian religions, and so on without incurring the wrath of multitudes who are convinced that Jesus, whom they despise and reject, said that we shouldn’t judge one another!
This problem is due in large measure to the fact that people hate absolutes, especially moral ones. To suggest that there really is an absolute difference between good and evil, truth and falsity, is to risk being labeled as medieval and closed-minded. In brief, for many (if not most) students today, “There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything.”
The irony, of course, is that in judging us for judging others they are themselves violating the very commandment to which they want to hold us accountable! To insist that it is wrong to pronounce others wrong for embracing a particular belief or moral practice is itself an ethical position, a moral stand. To insist on uncritical tolerance of all views is extremely intolerant of those who embrace a different perspective.


Jesus is not forbidding us from expressing our opinion on right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, can be demonstrated by noting two factors: the immediate context and the rest of the New Testament teaching on judging.
Virtually all of the Sermon on the Mount, both preceding and following this text, is based on the assumption that we will (and should) use our critical powers in making ethical and logical judgments. Jesus has told Christians to be different from the world around us, to pursue a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees, to do “more” than what unbelievers would do, to avoid being like the hypocrites when we give, pray, fast, and so on.
All criticism must be preceded by confession.
Not only this, but immediately following this word of exhortation in Matthew 7:1 Jesus issues two more commands: don’t give what is holy to dogs or pearls to pigs, and beware of false prophets. “It would be impossible to obey either of these commands without using our critical judgment,” says Stott. “For in order to determine our behavior toward ‘dogs,’ ‘pigs’ and ‘false prophets’ we must first be able to recognize them, and in order to do that we must exercise some critical discernment.”
Direct your attention to such texts as Matthew 18:15–17Romans 16:17–181 Corinthians 5:3Galatians 1:8Philippians 3:2Titus 3:10–111 John 4:1–42 John 9–113 John 9–10; and especiallyJohn 7:24, where Jesus himself says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment,” (emphasis mine).


What, then, does Jesus mean in Matthew 7:1–6?
It would appear that Jesus is prohibiting the sort of judgmental criticism that is self-righteoushypercritical, and destructive. He is prohibiting the kind of judgment we pass on others not out of concern for their spiritual health and welfare but solely to parade our alleged righteousness before men.
Jesus is prohibiting not loving rebuke and constructive criticism, but rather self-serving censoriousness. To be censorious, Stott explains,
. . . does not mean to assess people critically, but to judge them harshly. The censorious critic is a fault-finder who is negative and destructive towards other people and enjoys actively seeking out their failings. He puts the worst possible construction on their motives, pours cold water on their schemes and is ungenerous towards their mistakes.
To sum up, “The command to judge not is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers which help to distinguish us from animals) but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges).”


But we must not stop with verse 7:1, for Jesus has much more to say on this subject in the verses that follow.
The reason he gives for not judging others in a self-righteous and censorious manner is that “with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (v. 2). The problem here is determining whether this refers to the judgment we experience at the hands of men or of God.
When we set up a standard to which others must conform, we are no less obliged to keep it than they are. That is why humility and love must govern our judgments. All criticism must be preceded by confession. Before we point out a fault in others, let us first confess its presence in our own lives.


An illustration of this principle is given in Matthew 7:3–5: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye,” asks Jesus, “but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
This principle applies to any number of situations, such as denouncing the external, visible sins of the flesh, like adultery, theft, murder, in order to excuse or minimize the internal, less visible sins of the heart, such as jealousy, bitterness, greed, or lust. Related to this is the tendency to point out the faults of others precisely to throw them off the scent of our own sin. This form of judgment is nothing more than self-justification. We think that if we can just make known to others the gravity of their sins, we will by comparison come out smelling like a rose.
Saints are not to be simpletons!
There is also an opposite and equal danger. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” Here Jesus points out the danger of being overindulgent and undiscerning. In loving our enemies, going the extra mile, and not judging unjustly, there is the peril of becoming wishy-washy and of failing to make essential distinctions between right and wrong and truth and falsehood. Whereas the saints are not to be judges, neither are they to be simpletons!
Jesus is not saying that we should withhold the gospel from certain people we regard as unworthy of it, but he is a realist and acknowledges that after multiple rejections and mockery of the gospel, the time may come to move on to others. There are those who are persistently vicious and calloused, who delight not in the truth of Scripture but only in mocking it.


In conclusion, then, several points should be made.
First, it’s important to note that Jesus speaks of “pearls” and not “gravel.” We must always keep in mind the priceless treasure and incalculable value and glory of the gospel message.
Second, there are going to be different sorts of people to whom we witness, and we must learn to discriminate among them (see Acts 17:32–34).
Third, we need not present the gospel of Jesus with the same emphasis at all times in an unthinking and mechanical way. Some are already weighed down with sin and guilt and conviction of the Holy Spirit and thus need to hear of God’s love in Christ. Others need to hear of the holiness and wrath of God. Others need to come to grips with the depravity of their hearts, while still others need to be confronted with divine mercy and forgiveness. Remember that this instruction is set in the context of loving our enemies. Whereas we are not to cast our pearls before swine, neither are we to be nasty and vicious and uncaring.
This instruction is set in the context of loving our enemies.
Finally, Matthew 7:6 probably does not need to be taught in certain churches or to certain Christians. Their problem is not that they are inclined to be undiscerning and often cast their pearls before swine. Their problem is that they aren’t casting their pearls at all! This verse is addressed to those who are so zealous for evangelism that they fail to discern the scoffer from the hungry soul. Most likely, our problem is that we have no such zeal to evangelize in the first place.

Originaly posted @ TheResurgence

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Thanks NG Kenridge!

Each Sunday for the last few weeks the Dutch reformed church in Kenridge has graciously opened their doors to us,  we are grateful for your care for a homeless sister!

But not for long :-)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Parents, Kids and church

Originally posted at iamtotallythatmom

You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant carseat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.
When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together.When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary.  I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.

I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family - with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


2 hours and we're out.  Every chair, plate,  file, cable and piece of tech equipment.  Well done team you did an amazing job! Proud of our church today!

In a few weeks we do it in reverse into the new building. Exciting times!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard died today aged 77.

Many of you will not know the name but Dallas was a philosopher, theologian and author who was happy to wrestle and face the great unanswered questions about God. His books are deep slow reads that have a huge amount of profound thought about the Christian life.

I spoke to him at a conference a few years back after he had made a statement that the church has made confession the means to salvation instead of calling people to actually follow Jesus. It was one of the most formative conversations I've ever had and I was deeply grateful for a challenging chat delivered in a slow and gentle American drawl.

Thanks Jesus for Dallas,  for his life work and ministry and for how he lead people to you.