Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reason 3: Divine revelation of the Fatherhood of God

He is the way to the Father-heart of God. God is the father and He sent His Son to reveal His fatherhood nature. Christ lived his life to show us how to live with the Father and to reveal how the Father thinks and functions. God is a Father and His goodness far surpasses the best of Fathers on earth. Scripture says the family in heaven and earth is named after God the Father Ephesians 3:14 – 15. Understanding God as a Father implies some maturity in us as we mature into sonship. In spiritual growth we have children, young men and fathers 1 John 2:12 – 17. We also have carnal and spiritual Christians. Maturity helps our appreciation of the fatherhood of God. Our knowledge of God is incomplete if we do not come to the realisation that He is the father of all who come to Him through Christ. In the story of the prodigal son, we see the fatherhood of God exemplified Luke 15:11 – 32. He seems to be more interested in restoring His son than in checking him for purity or holiness or obedience. This insight into the nature of God should not be seen to negate the other reasons why Jesus was sent to us. Many such acts make some people erroneously believe that they can play with sin and God is not so interested in counting sin, He simply winks at it because He is a loving father.

Nothing could be far from the truth. Sin destroys everything in its path. We need to confess and forsake it so we can enjoy our fellowship with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ. Pleasing the Father should be uppermost in our affections for everything in life. Sons train their affections to come into alignment with the Father’s pleasure. Knowing God as your Father will minister a deep sense of destiny and acceptance. You will understand how to walk with Him, taking initiatives where necessary in your walk of Faith. Our prayer life takes on a new level of boldness, intimacy and clarity. The Father commits more to faithful sons who by practise have exercised and trained themselves to discern between good and evil. They may carry command and execute God-given assignments as sons who know the will of the Father and His times and seasons.

Jesus came to show us the Father-God. We need to have a face-to-face relationship with God when we know Him as our loving heavenly Father. We must cultivate a heart felt passion for God. This will lead to us having quality times in His presence. Many things happen when people have a real relationship with God as their Father.

Reason 2: Divine pattern of Sonship

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

He died to set us free but His life, death, burial and resurrection also shows us a pattern for us in living according to His will. This is the aspect of character formation, where inner attitudes and attributes like humility, intimacy and faithfulness are cultivated. The main issues here are that character-tests precede kingdom-promotions. He died and we are supposed to die to ourselves. Our flesh needs putting under. He carried His cross and we are supposed to be ready to carry ours. A body was prepared for Him as He was to lay His Body in death, and we to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Our motives and focus come to bear on our servant’s heart for God’s kingdom purposes.

The death process of the grain of wheat comes into focus here. We undergo the process of denying the self, taking up our cross and following Him. (see also John 12:24 – 26). In our death process, all the trappings of the old nature and its effects on our souls undergo death. Paul says “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and have Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. This aspect is not popularly preached because dying to self is not always palatable neither is it found when happiness is our ultimate goal in our Christian faith. Our motive in life should be our love for God and our focus should be Christ and His Kingdom.

Reason 1: Divine Exchange

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

This is the aspect of His substitution on the cross. He became poor so we can become rich. He took our place in rejection so that we can gain acceptance from the Father. By the stripes He took, we are promised healing. Our faith in the finished work of Calvary helps us appropriate the benefits His suffering made available to us. The streams of teachings on faith, spiritual warfare, pulling down strongholds, new creation realities etc, all come through this aspect of Jesus coming to earth. God’s attitude to sin is seen here: He sees sin as that which needs the blood of His Son to cleanse the human race. The Son carried the judgement of sin on behalf of the human race. This aspect also helps us to see how Satan operates in utilising sin as a means to deceive humanity and the power of the blood of Jesus over the works of darkness. We also see the concepts of authority and how the choices we make determine whose authority we are under. The finished work of Calvary gives us a new identity, a new authority (in His name as believers) and a power to choose to live above sin by the Holy Spirit. How well established we are in this is very much dependent on how we are taught and how much we meditate, internalise and ac on these truths to effect the renewal of our minds so we can walk in the will of God. We come into a new position in our relationship with God simply because we accept what Jesus Christ did for us at His death burial and resurrection. This is the divine exchange. We need to be strong in the grace that this dimension brings to us.

Three reasons why Jesus came

I was reading a magazine I received recently and came across this article which I thought was inspiring...... read on....

There seems to be a 3-fold pattern for most of the things of God in the Bible. For example we see god revealing Himself as the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, each revealing a part of God’s nature and purpose in His processes for the human race. Each of His revealed identity captures something of His purpose and all three give us a more correct picture of God’s plans and purposes.

The God of Abraham reveals the aspect of God as one who provides even in the most impossible situation. He is more than able to do the impossible when we believe, have faith in his Word (like Abraham) and participate in His plans for our lives. The God of Isaac is the One who expects us to walk in submission and obedience. Isaac was revealed as one who was in subjection to his father and all through his life God’s purposes were fulfilled as he stayed in submission, even to the point of submission to death. To walk with the God of Isaac is to walk in submission to His will for your life. The God of Jacob is He who changes natures to fulfil His will for our lives. Jacob received the blessing through deceit but did not experience the fullness of it until some price had been paid and his nature changed with a name change. These all reveal the different aspects of God’s processes that need to be taken together to interpret the seasons in our lives and how to respond to them. This will also help us know how to understand what we are going through and how to participate in the seasons of life we find ourselves in.

There are 3 known motivations for anything we do in life. They are fear, duty (obligation) and love. These represent the must-do, have-to0do and want-to-do motivations. All three have their place in our developmental processes. The fear of punishment is the usual motivation we see in the Bible when people are faced with the consequences of disobedience. Then we see the sense of obligation (duty) to obey God. This is followed by the love motivation which pleases God. This is where God’s purposes can be experienced. Our greatest motivation is and should be love.

We see something similar in the words of Jesus when He said He is the Way, the truth and the life. He is the way to the Father, as He provided, through His sacrifice on the cross, the possibility of our acceptance, becoming sons, and He gives us a new identity and authority as believers. This elicits our thanksgiving. He is the Truth. Truth is a person as well as reality. When we come to God through the Way, we encounter the Truth who challenges us with the Word and the Word confronts the true states of our hearts. This is when we begin the transformation process, as we let go of the lower life in favour of the higher life. Our humanity and self life is challenged as we progress from the ‘outer court’ to the ‘holy place’. He is the life when ‘it is no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me’ and ‘the life I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.’ This is where it is none of me but all of Him. He is the life.

Once again, we see progression in the process of God captured by the 3 dimensions of the outer court, holy place and holiest of all. In each dimension we can have the difference between thanksgiving, praise and worship. Sometimes we experience different dimensions in the different aspects of our lives.

These are the three reasons why Jesus came: He came to take our place in the DIVINE EXCHANGE; He came to show us the pattern for living as a DIVINE PATTERN and he came to show us the true nature of the Father-God as the DIVINE REVELATION OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD.

Read more on Divine Exchange

Psalm 23

Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down
In green pastures
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths
Of righteousness
For his name sake
Even though I walk
Through the valley
Of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For you are with me,
Your rod and staff
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love
Will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house
Of the Lord

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Progress on the Kidz Block

Stephen Manhanga monitoring the progress on the Kidz Block

8 pillars up. Another 8 to go before we start the roof.

By Molly Manhanga

St Neots,U.K in Kezi, Zimbabwe

Stephen Manhanga with the team from St Neots, U.K

It was just great having a team from St Neots, U.K visiting Ebenezer and Crossroads yesterday. The team comprised of John and Pat Topham, Stuart Johnson and Esther Robinson. The team fellowship at Open door Church led by Martin Tibbert. The team will be helping serve the Caudry Community in Bulawayo, working closely with Graham and Sarah Giles.

Stephen sharing the heart & vision of Crossroads with the team

By Molly Manhanga

A minute with Esther Johnson

Esther Robinson with Stuart Johnson

What is your favourite drink?
Lychee juice

Who is your favourite bible character?

What is your favourite quote?
“When I was young I caught a reflection of myself in a spoon and I thought ‘wow, you’re really good looking.’ You should do this for a living – be professionally good-looking.” Zoslander

What is your favourite meal?
Thai green curry

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years time?
Still adventuring with Jesus

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A minute with Stuart Johnson

Stuart Johnson with Esther Robinson

What is your favourite drink?

Who is your favourite bible character?

What is your favourite quote?
Proverbs 3:6
“…in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct for paths.”

What is your favourite meal?
Steak and kidney pie

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years time?
More of the same

A minute with John Topham

John Topham (far left) with Xolani Ndlovu, Gerald Mangena and Steve Manhanga

What is your favourite drink?
Zimbabwe cider (Savanna Dry)

Who is your favourite bible character?

What is your favourite quote?
1 Corinthians 12:13

What is your favourite meal?

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years time?
Sitting here in Kezi, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

A minute with Pat Topham

Pat Topham

What is your favourite drink?
Red wine

Who is your favourite bible character?

What is your favourite quote?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

What is your favourite meal?
Any fish

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years time?
Still visiting Zimbabwe

Monday, November 8, 2010

Visiting Thembalezizwe Church (TLZ)

Taps Chizana - leader of TLZ and Hozzie

Poverty and Prosperity: The value of time
Stephen and I had an excellent time visiting Thembalezizwe Church led by Tapiwa and Flora Chizana. We met up with many friends and it was extra special seeing Joyce Mutangara – a dear, dear friend who is now based in Nampula, Mozambique, Xolani and Portia Ndlovu who were visiting from New Creation and Andy and Alison Fry who are visiting from the U.K.

The praise and worship was vibrant and fun. 2 emerging leaders/preachers (Hozzie and David) shared on The value of Time:
Hozzie spoke first and emphasized the importance of doing things on time. What is the purpose of time? The Bible says “Selah” meaning pause – to think things through. Time was given to mark out the seasons. How valuable is time to you as an individual? When time is lost, you can’t get it back.

Andy and Alison Fry at TLZ

Unless you know the purpose/value of a thing, you’ll
1. Misuse it
2. Abuse it
3. Not use it

In Genesis 1:14 we see God as a God of order. In Genesis 2:2, God had created the world in 6 days and on the 7th day, he rested. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 8 “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven….”and 17 “I said to myself, in due season, God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.” We see that there is a time for everything. We’ll need to give God an account of what we did with our time here on earth

Romans 5:6 “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” It says “at just the right time”…In other translations it says in due time….or at the right time……an the appointed time…. God gave us his son to save us we all have 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. John 9:4 “All of us must carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all the work comes to an end.” How do we value our time? Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Hozzie encouraged us not to just exist, but to make proper use of our time. He challenged us by asking us how faithful have we been with the days and years we’ve had here on earth. If we haven’t used our time wisely, it’s time to evaluate. There is a saying:”God doesn’t give second chances but many chances come daily.” If we haven’t done things on time the first time round, we have another opportunity – daily. Lamentations 3:22-23 “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.”
David picked up from that and continued by asking us what happens when we do things on time? As farmers we can make a profit. Proverbs 10:4 – 5 “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. A wise youth works hard all summer; a youth who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame.” We need to harness our time – to plan and be organised like God. We are made in His image and likeness. It doesn’t only apply to farming but to all aspects of life. Keeping time reflects an aspect of respect.

3 things we can expect if we are on time:
1. Work becomes easy
2. Good results
3. Becomes a part of our lifestyle – all I do will be on time.
Let’s not do things randomly. There is another saying “procrastination is the thief of time.” Let’s work and be on time. All that we do should be Christlike and Christ cam to give us life in abundance.

What an excellent service.

By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

David Rowsell at Crossroads

David Rowsell

It was excellent having David and Ann Rowsell come to Crossroads and share the word of God. David told the story of Jonah and these are some of the highlights of the story….
1. God had a plan for Jonah and for Ninevah
2. Jonah realised that God’s plan was best.
3. Jonah said sorry to God for being disobedient and God forgave him.
4. Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish.
5. Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights.
6. God caused the fish to spit Jonah out.
7. God gave Jonah a second chance.
8. Jonah listened and followed God’s plan.
9. The people of Ninevah listened to Jonah, stopped their evil ways and turned to God.
10. God’s rescue plan worked out in the end.

David Rowsell at Crossroads
The Bible is clear where we stand with God. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. None of us can know God on our own. Our actions, words, attitudes all fall short of God’s holy plan. Like Jonah, we can’t do it on our own. God loves us and has a plan for us. While we were still helpless, Christ died for us. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.

David then called up 2 groups of people for prayer.

It was a word in season.

David planting a tree at Crossroads
Summarised by Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Men's Breakfast at Crossroads

Mick Richardson: Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;” Mick emphasized that as we have received compassion from God, we can show compassion to our children. We can have the compassionate heart of God.

Steve Hunter: Steve asked two men to run a short distance and the illustration was to show that the men wanted to win the race. God wants us to win the race. It’s not how we start but how we finish that is important. We are encouraged to run well and to finish strong.

Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.”
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Steve encouraged the men to run well in their marriages and in their families. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her….”
1. Lay your life down for your wife: What does it mean? Jesus loved the church. For us it is different in that we show our wives that she is more important, we are for her and interested in her…..
2. It’s important to receive input from our wives: wives are a blessing and a gift of God. Be open to your wife speaking into your life. You’ll need to be in a good relationship to receive input.
3. Biblical headship (making decisions) The man has the mandate of making decisions on behalf of the family. Adam and Eve: God said to Adam “Adam, where are you?” Typically, Adam blamed Eve and yet God held him accountable. Husbands will be accountable for their wives.
4. Knowing how to love and cherish your wife and care for her. We need to show appropriate affection. Your wife should be special. The way you are with your wife is unique. The way you handle outside relationships with other women is important. Save your affections for your wife. Be mindful of her.
5. Be a husband who gives praise. It’s like putting money into a bank account. You can only withdraw what you put in. If nothing has been put in, nothing can be withdrawn. Affirm your wife instead of putting her down.

Steve concluded with 1 Timothy 2:8 “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” They spent some time in prayer with the men lifting their hands to God.

Summarised by Molly Manhanga