Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chronological Bibe Storying Training

As we continue to make headway with the Bible Stories at Crossroads Community Church, we too continue to receive training on how to become better story tellers and to self evaluate.

On Friday afternoon, Mbonisi Malaba, leader of New Creation Church (previously known as River of Life Christian Church), Sue Smith and Renee Cunningham lead us through a time of reviewing what we have covered so far in CBS and we did some fun activities as well.

As a review, we went through COWS:
C – CBS. This is telling the story in the Bible chronologically, or in order. It has different tracks i.e. Evangelism track, Church planting track and possibly leadership track.

O – Oral learners & culture. They learn through storys, through repetition while literate learners write things down and go through it later.

W – Worldview: The way a person thinks and sees things. It is affected by their background, environment and culture. It’s easy to tell a persons worldview by their behaviour. Worldview affects a persons beliefs, which affects a persons values and lastly, it affects a person’s behaviour.

S – Story tellers: Good story tellers command attention, use expression, voice tones, are time conscious, use body language and so on. They review and guide the discussion at the end.

Self-evaluationAs we tell stories, we need to self evaluate as well as getting key people to evaluate us.
Questions I’d ask myself are:
a) Have people understood the story and have they expressed themselves well during the discussion?
b) Did I include everything I wanted in the story?
c) Did I include or subtract from the story? Was I well prepared?
d) How did the visitors respond?
e) Time - was I too long or too short?
f) Were the questions relevant?
g) Did everyone participate in the story?
h) Did the story fit into the allocated time?
i) Was I confident?
j) Will it make people want to know God more?
k) Did I stick to the story?
l) Was my voice monotonous?
m) Did I overplay – dramatize the story or did I underplay it?
n) How did I sense the story went?
o) Was the language I used appropriate for the audience?

The Communication SandwichWhen giving feedback, we can use the analogy of a sandwich. The bread is all the positive things about the story and the jam or peanut butter in-between the bread are the areas we can improve.

What an excellent training time and we look forward to the next one in September.

Written by Molly Manhanga

Quotable Quotes.....

Tony Blair: Former P.M of U.K“There are limits to humanism and beyond those limits God and only God can work.”

Dave Gibbons: Founder and lead Pastor new Song Church, Irvine, CA“The truth is that loving our neighbour is not just a cross-cultural experience but an experience of the cross.”

Bill Hybels: Founder and senior Pastor Willow Creek Community Church“What has been true for us is true for you too; you will never take big hills without making bold moves.”

Tim Keller: Founder and senior Pastor Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhatten, NY“The more we look upward, the more we look outward.”

Harvey Carey: Founder and senior Pastor Citadel of Faith Covenant Church, Detroit, MI“You need to learn how to just go and do what Jesus said to go and do.”

Amazing Quotes. Praise God

Too Small To Ignore

A Precious child at Crossroads Community Church
Too Small to Ignore - Children are The Next BIG Thing

I read an excerpt from Too Small to Ignore; Why Children Are the Next Big Thing by Dr. Wess Stafford. I haven’t been so touched by an excerpt in a long time. Dr Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, obviously has a Heart and love for children – especially children in poverty.

As Michael W Smith says: Too Small to Ignore is a God thing. Wess builds a strong, passionate, and reasoned case for the cause of God’s children. He has received an explosive revelation: the reason children are such a low priority to the great institutions of this world is that there is an invisible battle going on – a spiritual war that rages over each and every child.

Research indicates that the vast majority of people who become Christians do so while still children, usually before the age of 14. If a person hasn’t accepted Christ as a youth, studies tell us that the probability he or she will ever know Jesus is only 6%.

Children deserve to know that they are valued, that they matter and most importantly, that they matter to Jesus. Children, no matter where they live, have some basic similarities – they play the same, they interact the same, and their desire for approval and love is the same. But their similarities end when absolute poverty is added to the situation.

Dr Wess Strafford says, no matter what goes wrong, the little ones pay the greatest price.

Childhood – we get only one pass at it, and yet it dictates the quality of the rest of our lives. What we think, feel, experience and endure in this earliest phase is the single most important indicator of what the rest of life is going to be like.

When it comes to children, we must stop thinking “someday” and start thinking of their worth and needs “today”.

The most precious thing we can give children is warm, positive memories.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga


KIDZ ALIVE…..our precious children
As we approach our first anniversary as Crossroads Community Church, I was reflecting on the children and how we have grown in number and hopefully spiritual depth as well. From the small beginnings of 4 faithful children, we are now averaging 180 at KIDZ ALIVE. The name for the children’s ministry is synonymous of the life within children.

Children are marginalized in communities. They are “Seen” and not “heard” – and as Crossroads, we’ve made it one of our priorities to LISTEN to the children, to love them, to play with them. We encourage the children continuously to pray and to sing. Many a time the children have been “silenced” and are simply onlookers at events. They are seen as “little” people. We want children to be children but at the same time, we recognise the fact that the very same spirit that is in adults, is in the children. God can use children mightily for the extension of His kingdom.

It has been my desire to see 200 and more children from the Mablauwuni and surrounding communities coming to join KIDZ ALIVE - To see the children worshipping God and living a life for Him. My hearts cry is for the children to know their worth and value and to give them warm, treasured and positive memories.

God has been true to His word, that He will give us the desires of our heart. This past Sunday, we had a whooping 249 children attend the service. The KIDZ Alive facilitators were as blown away as I was. I pray that they will “stick” with us and have a hunger and thirst after God.

With God, ALL things are possible!

Deuteronomy 6: 5 – 7
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Some of the Crossroads Children

By Molly Manhanga

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kingdom Finance - God's Perspective

Gottfried Hetzer
I had heard so much about Gottfried Hetzer and the book he wrote that when he came to Ebenezer, I just had to interview him. What an extraordinary man with a radical view on Kingdom Finance.
M.M: Gottfried, please tell me about your background.G.H: I was born near Hannover in Germany and I’m the first born of 7 children. I did 11 years of schooling before dropping out because I wanted to make money. I learnt to become an industrial salesman and yet I couldn’t do maths. I had a mentor who trained me and brought some stability into my life. I became a financial manager and worked for 15 years in multinational corporations. I knew my wife when I was 17 and she was 15 years old. We married 3 years later and I divorced her 6 years later. We both didn’t know God. During this time we both became Christians and we remarried again. We have been married now for 30 years. My wife couldn’t have biological children and so we asked God to correct that and He did. We have 3 biological girls and an adopted son from Kenya. In 1994, we left Germany following God’s call to missions. For 11 years, it took us to various African countries.

M.M: How best would you describe your family life?G.H: We had problems in our family life due to the baggage of the divorce, debt and the death of our youngest daughter in Namibia but Ruth (my wife), the children and I experienced God coming through amidst these difficult times. Today, I consider us to be a happy and blessed family with much love for one another. We are not perfect but highly fulfilled.

M.M: When did God start speaking to you about His perspective on finances?G.H: In 1997 God started teaching me on His perspective of finances. He did that here in Africa. Ever since, I’m trying to help people understand this paradigm shift from a life of serving money to a life of serving God.

M.M: Excellent. From your wealth of experience in training people, what kind of response do you get on Kingdom finance?G.H: There are 3 different response groups:
a) This group is absolutely anti Kingdom finance. They reject it to the extent of walking out.
b) This group understands the challenge, embraces it politely for as long as I’m around.
c) This group understands that something has to change and they want to get to know more. This group is by far the smallest – about 2% of those who listen.

Gottfried addressing the apprentices

M.M: Incredible. In a nutshell, how would you describe Kingdom finances versus a worldly concept?G.H: In the world, money is EVERYTHING and everything is judged by financial benefits – the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear, the position you hold and so on. In the Kingdom of God, money is a tool and everything is judged by ETERNAL BENEFITS which ALWAYS has to do with PEOPLE.
M.M: What is your opinion on the vision and heart of Ebenezer?G.H: You are “spot on”- Connecting spiritual truths with an outworking in the practical. One follows the other. The challenge is to give people an understanding of the power of money versus God’s money. The spirit realm, which is real, has a real influence on the power of money. When you help others for their benefit without having an advantage, then you’ve captured the Kingdom message. The ultimate goal is to lead people to the Creator.

Gottfried(left) & Peter(right) walking the apprentice plots

M.M: I have so enjoyed listening to you discuss poverty. How would you define poverty?G.H: Mankind understands poverty as not HAVING anything or not enough of something whereas Jesus understood poverty as not DOING anything.

M.M: Very interesting Gottfried and time is just so short. Do you have any last thoughts or nuggets to leave with us?G.H: God in His power is unlimited. We need to be careful not to put him in a box. He is not dependent on financial logistics and so on. The principles laid down for our lives are the same no matter where we are or what context we find ourselves.

This has been very enlightening and inspiring. Thank you so much and be blessed as you continue serving God and sharing His perspective on finance. 

By Molly Manhanga

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Up close with Martin Tibbert

Martin Tibbert

It was great having an opportunity to interview Martin Tibbert, leader of Open Door church, St Neots.
M.M: Tell me something of your background?M.T: I grew up in South London until I was 6. We then moved to Bedford. I attended Brick hill Church which is part of New Frontiers in Bedford. I met my wife Dawn at church. We now have 2 girls: Ester 17, and Rebecca 15 years.

M.M How would you best describe your family life?M.T: Being the only male in my home, I am outnumbered – in a positive way and very blessed. I can plat hair and I used to play with dolls when my girls were younger. The girls also play my games too like football.

M.M: Excellent. Is this your first time in Zimbabwe? If so, what are your first impressions?M.T: Yes. This is my first time in Zimbabwe although I have been to Cape Town. I find the people are positive, warm and the experience so far has been tremendous.

M.M: What do you think of Ebenezer and the vision?M.T: I heard about Ebenezer 14 months ago. I’d also heard about farming God’s Way through new Frontiers. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Ebenezer and it has exceeded my expectation. The wonderful thing about coming now – almost 2 year later, is that I am seeing the fruit of everyone’s hard labour - The quality of young men and women. It’s incredibly moving hearing of the life the apprentices have had and the challenges they have.

Martin with Stephen Manhanga and the 1st year apprentices

M.M: Great. You taught spiritual lessons to the apprentices. What was your experience like?M.T: I think they as REAL questions which are challenging for those addressing them. There is honesty and a desire to understand. Generally, it was great. I had fun and the games were good too.

M.M: What has been the highlight of your visit to Ebenezer?M.T: The Combined Cell evening was the highlight – seeing the apprentices worship God. Another highlight is seeing God raising up men and women who will shape the nation, transform communities by planting churches.

M.M: How would you best describe your visit to the community?M.T: It is very rural and widely spread out. It’s very different. People have further to walk to get to church – 7km or so. I will take this back home.

M.M: What caught your attention at the Crossroads stand?M.T: 1 Thessalonians speaks of the churches faith and hope. I see that for Crossroads and the work involved is being known outside the region. It’s already happening with Crossroads and Ebenezer. There is so much more that God is gong to do in terms of exploits of faith being known.

M.M: How encouraging Martin. Thank you. Any last comments?M.T: One of the reasons we came here is in preparation to send future teams from our church to this part of the country. We want the teams to catch hold of what God is doing and to serve. We’d also like to build stronger links between the churches.

Thank you so much Martin. I am honoured. Be blessed as you continue to serve New Creations Church in Bulawayo. Have a pleasant stay in Zimbabwe.

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga

Getting to know Gavin Bateman

Gavin has formally joined the church staff at Open Door in St Neots and works closely with Martin. I was honoured to interview Gavin and came away very inspired by him and totally blessed.

Gavin Bateman

M.M: Tell me something of your background?
G.B: I was born near Portsmouth into a Catholic family. I left home at the age of 16 to join the air force where I was an apprentice for 3 years before becoming an engineer in the air force. At age 20, I was independent and spent the next 6 years going around the world. After some time, I moved to Peterborough and that’s where I met my wife Fiona. We married and have a miracle daughter Maisie who is a blessing. I was self-centered; career oriented but God radically changed my life. Fiona and I moved to Swindon for 6 months which I’d call Foundational time before attending Open Door Church– and we haven’t moved since. I have joined the church staff full time and Fiona started an International Women’s group 18 months ago with 5 people and now there are 85 women attending.

M.M: Praise God. This is really exciting! How best would you describe your family life?
G.B: It’s an amazing blessing. I am excited for our daughter Maisie as she was prophesied over. I want her to see Zimbabwe and the ostriches. There is so much more to see in the world than what is back home. I have rediscovered the importance of family and God keeps on showing me just how blessed I am.

M.M: Fantastic Gavin. Is this your first time in Zimbabwe? If so, what are your first impressions?
G.B: Yes it is my first time in Zimbabwe and I am just blown away. Since coming out here, I have been at a loss for words. It feels so much like home, natural and comfortable. My head is spinning.

M.M: What do you think of Ebenezer and the vision?
G.B: Ebenezer – I didn’t know what to expect. I came with a British, European view of things which has changed in 24 hours. Walking the field and seeing the apprentice eyes, you just catch the vision. The dam is impressive.

M.M: You taught spiritual lessons to the apprentices. What was your experience with them?
G.B: Amazing! Seeing the apprentices sitting with notebooks and a Bible in their work clothes is like such a contradiction. They have so little and yet so much. They listened to what we were saying and were applying to their lives before asking questions. There is lots of Ebenezer to catch and take back home. The apprentices were inspirational.

M.M: Great. What has been the highlight of your visit to Ebenezer?
G.B: Combined Cell. It was incredibly strong and easy to connect with God.

Combined Cell evening at Ebenezer

M.M: How best would you describe your visit in the community?
G.B: It was a privilege and very humbling. I was given a chance to understand rural life here.

M.M: What caught your attention at the Crossroads site?
G.B: Crossroads. I watched the children. The poor children were smiling and it was a beautiful sight. Crossroads is surrounded by beautiful kopjes and when Stephen shared the vision, I could actually see it. The word I had for you was to “Build a tall church”. It’s not so much in the physical building but about a church that stands tall – that’s resolute in the word and can be seen for what it is.

M.M: Truly inspirational. Any last comments?
G.B: I have a real sense that Crossroads Community Church – the purpose, vision, position is for a stronger community. It’s the greatest Church planting lesson. What is modeled through Crossroads will be impressive. It’s the final piece. You and Stephen have been prepared for this work. It’s Crossroads you have been coming to all this time.

M.M: I am now at a loss for words. Be blessed Gavin as you continue to be salt and light wherever you go.

A lighter moment: Gavin at the computer with Paul looking on….

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga

One on One with Paul Edginton

Paul serves at The New Community Church in Stanford, U.K. I was so blessed listening to his testimony and getting to know him better.

Paul Edginton

M.M: Tell me something of your background?P.E: I was born in the Suburbs of West London from a working class family. I have an elder brother and a younger brother. I didn’t enjoy my school years. I liked nightclubs and drank too much. I met my wife Anne in a nightclub and we got married. We have 3 children, Claire, Christopher and Rachel. I gave my life to the Lord and he set me free from alcohol. Anne got saved as well. We lived in Northampton for 15 years attending Kingdom Life church which was adopted into New Frontiers through David Devenish. We have since moved to the New Community Church in Stanford and it’s really exciting.

M.M: Awesome Paul. How best would you describe your family life?P.E: Lots of fun and really exciting. Our children are all grown up. We have great family times. Our children changed from “children” to our best friends. God has blessed me and my family. It’s remarkable.

M.M: Is this your first time in Zimbabwe. If so, what are your first impressions?P.E: It’s my first time in Zimbabwe and the continent of Africa. It is a place of real beauty and real contrast. There is joy, happiness, seriousness and courage in the midst of all the difficulties. There is a lot of open space.

M.M: Brilliant. What do you think of Ebenezer and the vision?P.E: Fantastic. I love the idea of impacting local people, supplying what the people need. It can be likened to a beacon in darkness. There are Godly ways of doing things and it can turn a nation around by it being replicated elsewhere.

M.M: You taught spiritual lessons to the apprentices. What was your experience? P.E: They were thoroughly engaging and challenging with their questions.

Paul addressing the 2nd year apprentices

M.M: What has been the highlight of your visit to Ebenezer?P.E: Practically – it was walking in the apprentice fields and seeing farming God’s way in operation. Spiritually – It was Combined Cell especially when there were hands that went up to receive the Holy Spirit.

M.M: Yes. I will remember Combined Cell for a long, long time. It was amazing! How would you best describe your visit to the community?P.E: Surprising. It is very spread out and people have so little.

M.M: What caught your attention while you were at the Crossroads site?P.E: The vision of Crossroads Community Church and the expectations. Stephen talks the talk and it is God planned. You and Stephen are in tune with the people. Crossroads is a work of God and a work of love and there is an anointing that Stephen carries.

Paul with Stephen at the Crossroads site. The congregation meets under this marquee.

M.M: Wonderful and thank you. Any last comments?P.E: I’ve already made so many comments. You can choose.

Thanks Paul. This interview was amazing. God richly bless you as you continue to serve.

Interviewed By Molly Manhanga

A visit from the U.K Team

The blessings of the Lord shall overtake you

Gavin Bateman (with sun glasses), Paul Edginton & Graham Giles
The blessings of the Lord certainly did overtake us this past week as we had the privilege of spending time with Martin Tibbert and Gavin Bateman from Open Door church in St Neots, and Paul Egdinton from The Community Church in Stanford, U.K . They are leaders of New Fronteir churches and Martin is an Apostolic leader. This visit was God inspired and so timely. The gentlemen enjoyed their time at the Ebenezer Dam as well as the breath-taking view from the chapel.

They started with a tour of Ebenezer and were blown away with the diligence of the apprentices and just how hard they work. The evidence is showing in the crops they are harvesting.

Ebenezer Dam
They served us so excellently at Crossroads Combined Cell as well as with spiritual training of the first and second year apprentices at Ebenezer. They also had an eye opening community visit in the Mabhlauwuni area. The vast difference of rural life in Zimbabwe and rural life in the U.K was so evident as well as the whole concept of “community”.

Typical Zimbabwean rural homestead

It was a joy getting to know them and hearing their testimonies.

Martin Tibbert addressing the 1st year apprentices
By Molly Manhanga

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Corporate Prayer

Prayer changes things
My (Father’s) house will be called a house of prayer
Philippians 4:6
James 5:15
Ephesians 6:18
Luke 6:12

Prayer is one of our values at Crossroads and it’s amazing when the body come together in corporate prayer. Our times of prayer and Fasting are wonderful. More and more people are joining us as they feel the need to pray for the church, the community and the wider body of believers.

As Terry Virgo says in his book “A People Prepared”:

“ My (Father’s) house will be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). A biblical church will have a strong prayer emphasis. The early church devoted itself to prayer. Jesus modeled a life full of prayer and his disciples tried to emulate him. Churches must do the same. Evangelical churches in the UK have always had their regular prayer meetings. Many of the so-called ‘new churches’ have replaced that with important house-group meetings, but this must not mean the abandoning of prayer!

Corporate prayer is fundamental to the success of the local church. Through fervent believing prayer we affect local government decisions, promote godliness and righteousness in schools and bring about effective evangelistic breakthrough in our neighbourhood.

Prayer is a great weapon. Our prayer meetings should be the most important gatherings of the week, especially if we take spiritual warfare seriously. The local church is a body of disciples, an army at its best when its members pray fervently together. You may say, “I rarely go to the prayer meeting. My weekly schedule is too full.’ If that is so, you must make radical changes! Prayer is the life-blood of the biblical church. If you do not take part in the regular corporate prayer life of your church, I urge you to change your programme and make it a top priority.”
At Crossroads, we take corporate prayer very seriously as it definitely is the “life-blood of the biblical church.”

Home Based Care Meetings

It’s so exciting when women come together with a heart to learn and share experiences. I’m always amazed at the care and concern the community has for each other. The ladies make time to visit friends and family that are sick.

At our first HBC meeting 15 women were able to attend. The number has leapt to 40 with still others showing a keen interest in getting involved. God is definitely at work in the hearts and lives of these precious women.

Our discussions surrounded the following:1) How does God fit into this area of HIV/AIDS and can he REALLY heal AIDS? Scripture tells us that sickness is not from God, He is our healer, by His stripes we are made whole – to quote a few. We live in a fallen world but God is compassionate – faithful and just to forgive us of our sin, but there are consequences for our sin.
2) We discussed the stages of HIV/AIDS.
3) Everyone has a story to tell and we told card stories which were an absolute ‘hit’. The HBC ladies laughed so much. It was wonderful. They didn’t realize we could have so much fun at a training session.

Prayer Pointers:a) Favour and approval as we are in the process of registering, building relationship and getting to be known by the District Aids Council (DAC) and Matabeleland Aids Council MAC)
b) Unity and continued at our next meeting on 17th June 2009.

Written by Molly Manhanga

Planting New Testament Churches pt 2

Church Planting….
I was reading the New Frontiers website on UK Church Planting and was intrigued by what I read. Some of it is as follows:

Before God uses a leader there is a period of preparation – on growth so that God can make us the people that He can use. He does this as we grow in relationship with him, learn to handle difficult times and situations in our lives and grow in character
I look at the preparation in my life and sum it up as HARD and yet God is so faithful. I think of His word which says He will be with us always and He is. I have shed many tears and felt great pain but God has brought me to a place a peace that surpasses all understanding. I marvel at what He has done in my life.
Why are we committed to church planting?a) It’s close to God’s heart
b) Church plants will enable God’s people to play a greater role in changing a nation through evangelism, caring for the poor, social injustice and critical transformation.
c) God has always wanted a people – to pour his blessings into. Genesis 12:1 – 3
d) It’s an effective way to reach the lost Matthew 28:18 – 20
e) It’s the fastest way to fulfil the great commission
f) If the church is the hope of the world (which it is) then the best way of transforming local communities is by starting lots of churches.
g) It is the best way of pioneering into new areas with the gospel.
h) It produces growing Christians.

Exciting stuff. Praise God!
By Molly Manhanga

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crossroads values....

Crossroads values……

We had a fantastic service yesterday at Crossroads Community Church, with a highlight being a gentleman from the community testifying that he thanks God for Crossroads Church plant in the Mablauwuni community as it has enabled their eyes to be “opened” to God and all that He is going to do. Just wonderful!

Stephen Manhanga then shared on our Vision and Values which were divided into 3 parts: Absolutes, preferences and non-essentials.

Our Values are:
1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ
2. The power and the presence of the Holy Spirit
3. The final authority of the word of God
4. Grace
5. Pioneering then Pastoral
6. The priesthood of all believers
7. Home Cell groups
8. Transparent, down to earth leadership
9. Apostolic and Prophetic foundations
10. Cross-cultural expressions
11. Church planting
12. Remembering the Poor
13. Kingdom people
14. Healthy families and raising Godly children
15. Generous
16. Prayerful
17. Worshipping
18. Evangelism
19. Added and devoted
20. Open to change

There was a question and answer time afterwards and the participation was good. It’s wonderful when the church feel so free to ask questions in a safe environment. May God continue to grow the church spiritually and numerically.

By Molly Manhanga

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Overcoming the Identity 2

Start seeing yourself the way God sees you

In part 1 we saw how Your identity is your individuality or personality and one of the greatest crises in the world today is that of identity.
Who are you really? Are you who the world says or thinks you are? We looked at Jesus knew who He was; He was one man that never suffered identity crisis.

David’s family evaluated him from the natural standpoint while Joseph’s brothers didn’t believe in his dreams.

You might even be assessing yourself by your own opinion of yourself; who do you say or think you are? Your opinion of yourself could be a combination of who the world and others say you are, on one hand and on the other, your background and past experiences. Gideon formed his opinion of himself by his family background. He said to the angel: “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15) Gideon’s experience had been that of Midianite oppression of his people which had not only left them poor but had also stripped them of every confidence. Your past ugly experiences might have made you into someone with a very poor self esteem, because you’ve allowed them to form your opinion of yourself, you have used them to appraise yourself. Some people have experienced broken relationships or other forms of disappointments or rejection and they have allowed them to define who they are.

….Who am I really? I am definitely not who the world or others say I am; and not who I even think I am. I am who God says I am. No matter who the world says you are or what other people’s or even your own assessment of yourself is, it is time to overcome that crisis by embracing in reality who God says you are, in His word. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Overcoming the Identity 1

Start seeing yourself the way God sees you

Recently I received a C.D, a newsletter and a pamphlet from Fountain of Wisdom Ministries entitled “Overcoming the identity Crisis”. It’s part of the Wisdom teaching tracts. As I read through the pamphlet and listened to the C.D,  thought again of how important it is to know who we are in Christ and to have our identity rooted and established in Him. I’d like to share these insights with you…..

The Bible says: “We have stopped evaluating (appraising, assessing) others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being………..What this means is that those who become Christians become new people. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:16, 17. NLT)

Your identity is your individuality or personality and one of the greatest crises in the world today is that of identity.
Who are you really? Are you who the world says or thinks you are? The world rates women by their looks and sizes, so a lot of us invest a big chunk of our time and money on those things trying to be acceptable. The trend in female fashion is for clothes to be as “revealing” as possible; it seems like the more sensual they are the better! The Bible says we should not love the world or the things that are in it which are: the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. (1 Jn 2:15,16) The world rates people by how much money they have, the size of their houses, the car they drive, the kind of clothes they wear, etc.

On the other hand, are you who others say you are? The apostle Paul said they used to assess Christ from the natural standpoint. People saw Him as a carpenter’s son and related with Him as a mere human being. They didn’t acknowledge who He was in the spirit. Even when he called himself the Son of God, they wanted to kill Him. The Bible says Jesus could not do mighty miracles in His hometown because of their unbelief: they didn’t believe in Him. Some said He was John the Baptist, some said he was Elijah and others said He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets. (Matthew 16:14) But thank God Jesus knew who He was; He was one man that never suffered identity crisis.

David’s family evaluated him from the natural standpoint. He was the smallest in the family, yet God had chosen him to be the next king of Israel. David was just watching over a few sheep, he had no military training; yet he was the one that would bring down the head of Goliath. He said: “He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Psalm 18:34); he had been in God’s own military school, but his brothers didn’t know it.

Joseph’s brothers didn’t believe in his dreams.

Planting New Testament Churches

I feel so excited about Crossroads Community Church and extending the Kingdom. Throughout the gospels, Jesus spoke mostly about extending the Kingdom. Then, in Acts 1, Jesus met with the disciples and again spoke about the Kingdom. How was it going to advance in an on-going, sustainable, healthy manner? Acts 2, the first local church is born in Jerusalem.

The establishment of vibrant local churches in communities can transform many lives. The kingdom is advanced through local churches that are beacons of light – where people are born again. So exciting!

Brief History of the Church
Extract by Terry Virgo

Terry Virgo

John was amazed. He had never seen anything like it. The sight drained his strength and he collapsed to the ground paralysed with fear and wonder. Then the most tender voice he had ever heard – strangely familiar it was – told him not to fear. He looked again. None other than the glorified Christ stood before him; the one he had seen humiliated and crucified, now in glory that defied description. The King of the universe and the Lord of history had come to speak to John and to tell him a series of amazing secrets about the world and its ultimate destiny. Breathtaking visions were about to be revealed, with implications which stretched down through the centuries. But first, Christ, the Master of all history, wanted to speak to some particular local churches about their present problems and pains, their joys and fears.

We tend to think that although Christ loves the worldwide church, local churches have no special place in his affection. But the book of Revelation shows Jesus not as one vaguely in the midst of the church, but walking amongst the individual lamp stands. He knows each local church intimately. He commends one and warns another. He notes steadfastness here and apathy there. Each is an open book to him. His longing for a bride is seen in His concern and ambition for each congregation. Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Ephesians 5:25. She is his special delight in all the universe. She is his joy, his preoccupation, his passion, his darling bride. In all creation one thing fills the heart of Christ – his beloved church.

We need to rediscover the incredible value and significance of the local church in God’s plan and perspective. She is not to be ignored and despised; she is to be honoured and cherished.
I just LOVE the local church