Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: James by Michael Eaton

“I regard Michael Eaton as the greatest
theologian in the world today.
He is an outstanding communicator
who makes his writings very refreshing indeed.”
Dr. RT Kendall
“Preaching Through The Bible: JAMES: Biblical truth for every believer” is an exposition of the book of James. The exposition is based upon the Hebrew and Greek texts. James is reader-friendly and the chapters are pretty short. It is a book with high standards – a guide to holiness of living and spiritual restoration.

“James’s readers were in bad spiritual trouble. It is obvious when we read James’ letter that they had became proud and critical people. They discriminated against the poor. They did not control their tongues. They were arrogant towards their employees. They were also facing many trials and troubles. God was not answering their prayers. Success was not coming their way.”

As Christians we should not be surprised when trouble or fiery ordeals come our way but we normally are. We really don’t like trouble or problems but what does it do for us? Trouble
1. Helps us grow spiritually
2. It shakes us and disturbs our complacency
3. Makes us realise just how much we need Jesus
4. Helps us discover our weaknesses
5. It humbles us and enables us to see ourselves

Every trial is bearable.
Praying for wisdom is important – without doubting. God is very willing to give “everybody” wisdom. He shows no partiality. “His offer to us is not affected by nationality, class, sex, niceness or respectability, intelligence, education, appearance, how much we deserve, our past record – nothing makes him reject us.” What is the wisdom that James is talking about? It is the wisdom that comes from above. The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. We shall be given the mind of Christ.

James tackles many practical, relevant issues such as poverty and wealth, discrimination, temptation, lazy believers, getting involved with the needy, wisdom, being like Jesus and so on. The “tongue” is a very crucial topic because it can set a fire ablaze and has the power of life or death. Cleansing the tongue is the fastest way to grow spiritually.

Our talk reveals the state of our heart. “What comes up from a water-spring is what is truly down there in the earth. What grows upon a tree shows what the nature of the tree is. And what comes out of our mouth shows what is hidden in the inmost places within our lives.” The tongue needs to be turned into a means of blessing. It has to be medicine not poison. Use the tongue to build other people up in the Lord. We need to learn how to create friendliness. We need to use persuasive, encouraging, well-timed, accepting, wise, optimistic, confident, gentle, affectionate, forgiving words.

Holiness is mainly a matter of love. Love is seen in what we say and what we do: talking and walking. 2 Corinthians 6:11 - 13

Have a go at reading “James”. It’s an amazing book!

Thought for the week

Hebrews 4:12 -13

“For the word of God is living and powerful,
And sharper than any two-edged
Sword, piercing even to the division of soul
And spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and
Is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
But all things are naked and open to the eyes
Of Him to whom we must give account.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Impression or Impact

Who has had the greatest impact in your life? Your character, conduct and conversation have been influenced by somebody.

Who am we impacting? Many people love to impress others with their education, wealth, car, clothes and so on and they love to talk about it. Impression and impact are different. Impact can be gentle or tremendously difficult. You have an obligation to impact people around you. Jesus said early in his ministry in Matthew 5:13 – 16: “you are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Follow Jesus and be connected to him. Our responsibility is to impact the lives of others. The followers of Jesus are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let us make a difference to people in our homes, at the workplace and so on. Salt impacts food and light impacts darkness. Long back, salt was a very valuable commodity. Salt makes a difference. Influential people don’t necessarily need an education, money, big house, fancy clothes etc. Their character, talk and how they handle themselves have an impact on others. Don’t give in to pressure. People cannot take Jesus away from you. There will come a time when you need to stand up and be salt. Salt penetrates and creates thirst. Let us live Godly lives: the peace, joy, security, confidence, assurance we have from Christ creates a thirst in others.

If salt loses its saltiness, it’s useless. If a child of God lives in sin, it has the same effect. We lose the power to influence others.

John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When Jesus came into your life, you became the light of the world. What does it do?
1. It points the way
2. It reveals things
We determine how bright that light is going to be by our conversation, character and conduct. The light is pure, clear and makes a difference. Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. The light collided with the Sadducees and the Pharisees. There was also a collision with Rome because the light threatened their power.

We need to remain unstained to the world. Romans 12:2 “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”. You do not win by compromising. The Church mustn’t compromise the truth in order to gain acceptance. I will be willing to be rejected to save my soul. It’s not what we do but who we are. When sin enters our lives, it darkens the glow in our life.

Whose lives are we impacting? Let our salt and light shine in the lives of others. Be more interested in Godliness than being accepted by others. If you want to see a change, walk in the light and you’ll impact others. The impact of our life is determined by the quality of our life. Trust God and take Him at His word. Your conduct, conversation and character are what draws people to the light.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Thought for the day

Colossians 1:9 – 18

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it,
Do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you
May be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and
Spiritual understanding; that you amy
Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every
Good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might,
According to his glorious power, for all patience
And longsuffering with joy;
Giving thanks to the father who has qualified us to be
Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness
and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
Fir by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth,
Visible and invisible, whether thrones or
Dominions or principalities or powers. All
things were created through Him and for Him.
And he is before all things, and in Him
All things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the
Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn
From the dead, that in all things He may
Have the pre-eminence.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Update on Kidz Block

Thatching has begun.......

By Molly Manhanga

How to register your name in heaven

Names represent identity, authority and character from the Hebrew or Greek stand point. The book of Revelation says new names will be given to over comers. When the scriptures say, God gave Jesus a name above every other name, it has to do with the authority invested in that name because of His character (fully obedient to god), His achievement (He defeated the enemy and all his schemes) and He inherited the name from the Father God.

In Luke 10:19, Jesus told the disciples that they should rejoice that their names were written in heaven. They were awed that they could cast out devils and demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus. He said their rejoicing should be more because their names were written in heaven. Were their names simply written because they believed in Jesus?

Paul was obviously known to the demons in Acts 19:15, as they clearly said when they challenged the sons of Sceva, who were attempting exorcism in the name of Jesus. Names are known in the spirit world and heaven is real place too. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Names and works are written in the books in heaven. Names can also be blotted out of books in heaven; Rev 20:12 – 15, 13:8 and 3:5. Jesus promises to confess our name before the father as we confess him before men. Heaven is a real place and it is called the throne of God and the earth is his footstool. There is the government of God in heaven. Labourers are recognised, those who reckon with heaven usually get heaven’s intervention when needed (Matthew 5:34)

Daniels friends had heaven’s intervention when they were thrown into the burning furnace. The fact that Joseph still made it to the palace was a result of heaven’s involvement in man’s affairs. The roles these folks played as a contributory factor to the involvement of heaven in their affairs. In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas praying and singing praise in the dungeon. An earthquake came to break all their chains.
How to make sure you are registered:
• Be genuinely born again Luke 10:19
• Be a labourer for God’s kingdom; preach the Word; be a witness; cast out devils. Mark 16:16 – 18
• Be a giver. Lay up treasures in heaven, Matthew 6:19, 1 Timothy 6:17 - 19

Thought for the day

Ephesians 4:25 & 29 - 32

“Therefore, putting away lying, “Let
Each one of you speak truth with his neighbour,”
For we are members of one another.................

Let no corrupt word proceed out of
Your mouth, but what is good for necessary
Edification, that it may impart grace
To the hearers.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of
God, by whom you were sealed for the day
Of redemption.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour,
And evil speaking be put away from you,
With all malice.
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted,
Forgiving one another, even as
God in Christ forgave you.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What a Mission getting to Crossroads

Maleme River on route to crossroads

It was really interesting trying to get to Crossroads yesterday. We have been praying for rain and God certainly has answered our prayers. The bridges in the rural areas are pretty low and so it’s easy for water to flow over and get quite flooded. The levels of the water on these low bridges can become quite hazardous not only for pedestrians but for small vehicles. Such was our case when we reached the Maleme River as we were heading to Crossroads. The vehicle couldn’t cross. We decided to use another route with the hope of getting to Crossroads. That attempt failed as well due to water levels on the dirt road. We eventually decided to call it quits and head back into town. Steve suggested that he cross the Maleme River, (with the water level reaching knee height); borrow a bicycle and ride to Crossroads to inform the leaders that we couldn’t make it. He came back about 15 minutes later with a friend in a 4 x 4. We parked the smaller vehicle we were in at one of the homestead’s in the community and we went to church. Needless to say, our efforts in trying to get there made us pretty late but Steve got stuck right in and announced that Sam would be preaching while the Kidz were to head out with the facilitators.

Steve crossing the Maleme River

Sam preached an excellent message on the Kingdom of God while the Kidz Alive children are going over the Evangelistic Track of Chronological Bible Storying. The first story is on how we got the Bible. They seemed to enjoy that.

Another interesting thing about yesterday’s service was that it was our first time to meet in the Kidz Block. It’s not complete but it beats us meeting under our marquee that has been shredding since the rains began and is irreparable. The space in the Kidz Block felt great and the service was excellent. Ministry at the end of the service is always a highlight. Although we had a hectic start to Sunday morning, it ended up being great. Praise God.

By Molly Manhanga

Thought for the day

Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose
Waters do not fail.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

God always fulfils His promises by Steve Manhanga

The themes for 2009 and 2010 were: “Arise and build”, “Brokenness before power, leading to a double portion”. In 2011, our theme at Crossroads is “An Open Door”: God has given to us promises and He always fulfils them.

Text: Numbers 10: 29 – 36
In 2010, we spoke about the Five Family Values, looked at the 7 churches in revelation, went through the Book of Acts as part of Chronological Bible Storying (CBS) and we looked at Nehemiah – how he built the walls of Jerusalem. Stephen’s prayer for 2011 and beyond is that we implement and put into practise the things we hear as God speaks to us.

The children of Israel number about 2½ million. They have been camped at Mount Sinai for about 12 months (1 year) v11: In the second year of the second month on the 20th day, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle. They now leave for Kadesh-Barnea – an oasis on the Southern Border of Canaan. God gives specific instructions to the tribes: who should go where and when and how they should move forward.

In 2011, we need to hear from God before we move or do anything. We need to seek God and ask that His presence goes before us. If God doesn’t move, we won’t move. V13: They set in a special order. There were 12 tribes of Israel. God is a God of order. In 2011, let’s do things in order.

V29: Moses has a conversation with a man called Hobab. This man was Moses brother in law. Moses father in law was called Reuel or more commonly known as Jethro. Moses asks him to go with them as they set out for the place God has given them.
The invitation: Come with us. Stephen invited everyone to come with Crossroads as we enter into what God has in store. The proclamation: we will do good to you (For God has promised good to Israel.) God has good plans for us, to propel us, to give us a hope and a future.

You would think this guy would jump at this amazing opportunity – but no, he refuses, declines, and rejects v 30.

V31: Moses pleads with him “Please don’t leave us, for you have certain talents we need.” Stephen asked the church again to go with him to all that God has in store in 2011. He assured the church that the road will be bumpy and rough, that we will face opposition, there will be trials and hardships but God is on our side. If God be for us, who can be against us. The promises of God are ye and Amen to those who believe.

If we are to fulfil all that god has for us in 2011, then we need to be a people of Faith. Let us genuinely and passionately love one another and this community we live in. You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. There are many people with various needs, emotionally, physically and spiritually. As a church, as part of this family, we need to commit ourselves to getting involved and playing our part. Let’s not sit on the side lines but let’s be involved in the game.

V33: So they set off from there on a 3 days journey. We are setting off from here on a 3 days journey of prayer and fasting. Seek to hear from God, for yourself, for others and for the church.

Our prayer will be “Arise, o Lord and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.”

By Molly Manhanga

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Update on Kidz Block

Kidz Block to roof level

We had really hoped to have been finished with the Kidz Block by year end but, we have started the thatching which is a welcome relief. A more recent update will follow shortly........
Molly Manhanga

Trip around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 6

The journey to antelope Park was LONG and arriving in Gweru a welcome relief. We made it in time for dinner and we all had an early night.

Antelope Park – dining hall

It was wonderful meeting up with Tongai and Joy Mahobele – leaders of River of Life Westgate church in Harare, at Antelope Park. It was nice catching up. We all did different things to pass the morning: Sam went for an elephant ride, Stephen went fishing, Marlene read while I was on the internet catching with comms.

Antelope Park is lovely and relaxing but we were all eager to get home and relax in our homes. We are already talking about our next visit around Zimbabwe – Chinhoyi and Lake Kariba – God willing.

Antelope Park

It was a wonderful and memorable week. Zimbabwe is truly a beautiful country.

By Molly Manhanga

Trip around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 5

Our brief stop at Troutbeck Inn was nice. Again, it had the Christmas feel and their were quite a few guests. We wondered about for a bit looking at the amazing scenery and reminiscing about our time at Troutbeck Inn.
Part view from the deck of Troutbeck Inn
We didn’t stay long as a storm was building up in Nyanga and we needed to head off to Antelope Park – a 6 hour drive from where we were, in Gweru. We got away just as the rains were starting.

Stephen Manhanga and Marlene Poe at Troutbeck Inn

Stunning view at Troutbeck Inn

By Molly Manhanga

Trip around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 4

The scenery in Nyanga was excellent – lots of forest area and hills. Our first stop was at The Montclair Hotel. That was neat and clean with a Christmas feel but we opted to head to The Inn at Ruparara. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and so were the rooms. The personal touch made it special. Sam, Marlene, Stephen and I really enjoyed our evening dinner and spending time together. The lighting made it a pretty romantic setting.

Mt Ruparara at 5:00am

I was up at 5:00am the following morning to look at the sunrise over the Ruparara Mountain and to experience yet again, the quiet, stillness of my surroundings and listen to the birds etc. AMAZING how each rock “sits” on the other and how the trees just grow in and amongst the rocks. After breakfast, we went on a game drive and that was really interesting. The flora and fauna was excellent. We saw giraffe, sable, eland, zebra, impala, and wildebeest. Our guide certainly knew his stuff. The interesting part was when he asked us to use our imagination to identify different animals that the rocks seemed to form. We first saw a crocodile, an owl, a baboon, chameleon and lastly the face of a man. That was really good.

Game drive scenery


From Inn at Ruparara, we drove to Troutbeck Inn and had a quick look around. I really like it at Troutbeck Inn. It’s so relaxing and there are quite a few activities to do.

By Molly Manhanga