Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kidz Block Complete

What a joy to have our Kidz Block complete. It looks amazing and an eye-catching place in the community.

When you're in Kezi, stop over at Crossroads anytime and have a look!

By Molly Manhanga

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rest - A God Thing

We know that rest is good for our physical, emotional and mental state, just as we know that eating correctly, regular exercise, getting enough sleep and so on are also good for us – but, implementing these things can be quite challenging. In Genesis we read about how God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. If God did this, how much more do we need to take timeout and rest?

I’m on a 3 month sabbatical at the moment and have really enjoyed the rest. I spend time reading, exercising, gardening, blogging (I find blogging very relaxing),sleeping, cleaning our home, listening to music, watching telly, having tea
with friends and so on. It has been wonderful. Within the first 2 weeks, I realised just how much I needed this rest and spent most of my days sleeping. As my energy levels have increased, so has my general outlook on life.

I really enjoy the beauty of nature. A colourful garden with a variety of blossoming flowers and well manicured lawn appeals to me. It’s just so relaxing. My garden at home needs much attention as most week days Stephen and I would be in Kezi and over weekends, we’d be in town. Gardening certainly hasn’t been my top priority. However, I have put some effort into it at home these last 2 months and have purchased a variety of flowers. How I wish they’d grow instantly and beautify my home but patience is a good thing.

Rest, rest and more rest is doing me a world of good.....and my yard.....

By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thought for the day

Psalm 119:105,109 & 111

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.......
My life is continually in my hand.......
Your testimonies I have taken as
A heritage forever.”

The Marriage Course: Resolving Conflict

Couples relaxing just before the start of session 3

As a way of recap – we’ve covered
1. Building Strong Foundations: making marriage time a priority and caring for one another in our relationship.
2. The Art of Communication: Talking about your feelings with your partner and listening to your partner’s feelings without interrupting, criticising or offering advice.
Conflict doesn’t mean that the marriage relationship is doomed to failure. Resolving conflict can strengthen a relationship. Conflict happens because we are all different. It’s not good to try and force our partner to change and be like us or to do things our way.

Principles for handling conflict:
Understand and accept our differences:
1. Romans 15:7 “Accept one another just as Christ has accepted you in order to bring praise to God.”
2. Recognise differences in temperament, personality, and upbringing.
3. Understand that men and women are different.
4. Don’t try to change one another.

Express your appreciation of each other:
We should express our appreciation of each other regularly. No marriage will grow if there is lack of respect and a lack of positive words spoken to each other. We all need encouragement especially from our spouse.

Learn to negotiate:
Negotiation means discussing the issue that is causing conflict and finding a solution that works for the couple. Here are six practical steps to bring peace between a couple:
1. Find the best time
2. Identify the issue
3. Listen to each others point of view
4. Workout possible solutions
5. Decide the best possible solution for now and see if it works.
6. Be ready to try another solution. We can try something different if the first one we came up with isn’t working.

Learn to pray together:
1. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
2. Praying together helps us connect with God and with one another.

It really was an interesting session. We look forward to Saturday's session when we discuss “The Power of Forgiveness”

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Book Review: "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" by T.D Jakes

I purchased this book a few years ago together with the DVD. I thought it would be really helpful to read up on experiences faced by women. Some are heart-wrenching to say the least.

Watching the DVD and seeing how the women respond to T.D Jakes points are both entertaining and yet so poignant. The tears, laughter and jubilation at how God can set women free and heal them are really inspirational and moving.

“Woman, Thou Art Loosed!” is about healing the wounds of the past – traumas, tragedies, disappointments. God is a magnificent healer. There is nothing too difficult for
Him. Many examples of brokenness are given such as:

1. Broken homes often produce broken children
2. Molestation
3. Rape
4. Abuse
5. Effects of adultery
6. Deception is emotional rape
We may have gone through horrible times but Jesus is interceding on our behalf and his grace is so sufficient for our needs.

The first chapter is the ‘Infirmed Woman’ and speaks about the person, the problem and the prescription. It takes God’s word to put the past under your feet. “Every woman has something she wishes she could forget...............Forgetting isn’t a memory lapse; it is a memory release!” The last chapter deals with ‘Breaking The Chain’. It can be summarised in this paragraph:
“God knows there is a Sarah, a Rahab, a woman at the well, a Ruth, or even a Mary in you. Hidden inside of you is a great woman who can do great exploits in His name. He wants that woman to be set free. He wants that potential within you to be unleashed so you can become the person you were created to be.”

Some of the issues portrayed are so far removed from my own experience as a woman but I empathise. This book is certainly for the “single parent, battered wife, abused girl and insecure woman. There is a cure for the crisis.................and a deep cleansing for those inaccessible areas of the feminine heart.”

By Molly Manhanga

Monday, February 21, 2011

I feel like I'm falling by Hillsong

I’ve been listening to alot of music lately and when I heard this song by Hillsong, I literally stopped what I was doing just to listen to it over and over again. The words “I see a fire burning brighter, it’s calling me to catch the flames” – is kinda where I am at the moment.......Those 'embers' are beginning to burn bright.

It’s a beautiful song and it goes like this.....

“Standing tall in this wide space
Getting lost in your embrace
I see a fire burning brighter,
It’s calling me to catch the flames, Oh Lord

I feel like I’m falling
Over and over in love with you,
It’s not just a feeling
But I know that it is real.
I feel like I’m falling
Into the arms of the Mighty God.
It’s not just a feeling
But I know that it is real.

You’re drawing me closer to your side
It’s the safest place I know where to hide
With one glance you captured my heart
You speak your word,
You set me apart!
Hallelujah, yeah

I feel like I’m falling
Over and over in love with you.
It’s not just a feeling.
But I know that it is real.
I feel like I’m falling
Into the arms of the Mighty God
It’s not just a feeling
But I know that it is real.

I feel like I’m falling x 3
Into the arms of love.

I feel like I’m falling x 3
Falling into the arms of love x 3

I feel like I’m falling
Over and over in love with you.
It’s not just a feeling.
But I know that it is real.
I feel like I’m falling
Into the arms of the Mighty God
It’s not just a feeling
But I know that it is real.

The Marriage Course: Meet the couples....

Nicolas and Nosimilo

Nicolas and Nosimilo have been married for 11 years now. They head up The Family and Marriage Course at Crossroads. Nosimilo also heads up Kidz Alive at Crossroads together with a young lady called Simangaliso Ndlovu. Nicolas is one of the emerging leaders at the church and he works at Ebenezer Training Centre. Nosimilo is a stay at home mum.

The big question: What drew them together?

Nicolas: I liked Nosimilo's beauty and her body.

: I liked Nicolas body and his quiet attitude.


By Molly Manhanga

Meet Freedom Nleya

Freedom Nleya

I first met Freedom when he came to our home with David Cunningham for feedback on how the Marriage Course was going at Crossroads Community Church. Freedom is 24 years old. He is in a relationship with a lovely young lady whom he hopes to marry.

M.M: Tell me about your background?
F.N: I am a Bulawayo baby. I have 5 siblings. I did my primary and secondary schooling at St Bernard’s. Currently I am at Solusi University studying Family and Consumer Science. I am in my second year.

M.M: Which church do you attend and how long have you been going there?
F.N: I attend the Seventh Day Adventist Church and I’ve been there since 2004.

M.M: You are on holiday at the moment. Do you have a holiday job?
F.N: At the moment I am a volunteer with Family Impact, helping with the Monitoring and Evaluation in the Families for Life Department. I started in January but I’m hoping to go back to University in May.

M.M: How many Churches are doing the Marriage Course and in your opinion, how is it going?
F.N: There are 4 churches doing The Marriage Course at the moment: Crossroads Community Church, Brethren in Christ Church, Family Life Centre and Harvest House International. The course is going fine. Seeing as it’s a pilot project at the moment we are receiving many suggestions and alterations on the material. All in all, it’s fine.

M.M: What are your hobbies?
F.N: Chess, Bible Study and church activities. Occasionally I’ll play volleyball or soccer.

M.M: What are your favourite films?
F.N: Christian films especially on prophesy.

M.M: What is your favourite food?
F.N: Macaroni & Cheese. In the rural areas, I like sadza made from millet.

M.M: What is your favourite scripture?
F.N: Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory.”

M.M: Thanks so much Freedom.

By Molly Manhanga

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Update on Kidz Block....

We are ALMOST complete now. Hoping by tomorrow......Waiting with bated breath....

By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thought for the day

2 Timothy 1: 7

“For God has not given to us a spirit
Of fear
But of power and of love
And of a sound mind.”

Valentine's Day Service: LOVE.......

Jubilation at the Valentine’s Day service
Stephen started by encouraging the church not to be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap and whatsoever we do, we need to do it to the glory of God.
The 14th February is Valentines Day worldwide and people make the most of this day declaring their LOVE to a husband, wife, family member, boy or girl. Cards and flowers or dinner, a movie or some other special gift are the most common way of expressing love.

Older ladies singing group: They are encouraging the church to be like Jesus
John 15: 9
Words from Jesus “As the father loved me......” v13 is crucial. Jesus is talking about love. What is love? Stephen asked for an open discussion on what Crossroads folk thought love was. The participation was good. Here are some thoughts:

Love is..............• Being humble
• 100%, not 50/50 or 60/40
• Starts with the heart
• Having love in my heart means that I am able to share it with others
• Deep feeling for someone or something
• Love is in the blood
• Agape and Eros

When we talk about love, we need a clear picture of what it is. There is a saying: “Men are looking for sex and are prepared to give love for it. Women are looking for love and are prepared to give sex for it.” True or not, we all desire to be loved and appreciated.

Jesus gives us a new picture or way of looking at love. He brings love in a different way to what we expect. Look at sport: soccer, rugby etc. People are prepared to die for their teams. Jesus says “Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for his friend.” This is the true test of love.

Songs of love being sung to God

When we say we love someone, what do we mean? Do we lift them up, encourage them, stand with them, help them or are concerned about them? Stephen encouraged the church again to love one another. When we have love, we’ll be prepared to lay our lives down for each other. There is a song which speaks about the love of man being small whilst the love of God is BIG. Because we have God living in us, our love can be BIG too! We need to have genuine love for each other. 1 Corinthians 13 says love is kind, gentle, peaceable, patient, longsuffering etc. Let’s not just say we love one another but let’s “do” love – put the ‘walk’ to our talk. Let us spur each other on, encourage each other and stand with each other. That’s love!

Summarised by Molly Manhanga

The Art of Communication

The Marriage Course:

Last week we looked at Strong Foundations. The foundations are Marriage Time and caring for One Another.

Closeness in marriage requires effective communication as all of us have a longing to be understood and loved by another person. Building intimacy involves communicating our feelings and letting our partner know who we really are on the inside.
Some cultures don’t encourage us to speak about our needs and longings. Interestingly enough this is the case in Kezi where husbands continually give instructions to their wives and the wives find emotional support from their mothers or their sisters. The culture doesn't seem to allow the wife to express her longings and desires. Another interesting fact that cropped up especially with the ‘older’ couples was how tradition or culture influenced and shaped their marriages and now we are bringing God into the picture or what seems to be a ‘better’ way. It’s definitely a more attractive or appealing way to marriage but as the saying goes, “It’s difficult to train an old dog new tricks.” With God, all things are possible.

Listening is just as important as speaking. It is one of the most important skills to learn for a strong marriage. Our spouse can feel loved, valued by just listening. James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” There are blockages and bad habits to listening and I guess we just have to practise listening in order to improve.

5 steps to effective listening:
1. Pay attention to effective listening
2. Try to put yourself in your partners shoes
3. Reflect back to them what they have said
4. Find out what is most important
5. Help them work out what they can do.

We look forward to next week’s topic on Conflict Resolution. This should be good!

By Molly Manhanga

The Marriage Course: Meet the couples pt 2

Sanny and Mildred Dube

Sanny and Mildred have been married for 34 years. Sanny used to be a Councillor in the area which is demarcated by Wards. Mablauwuni Village where Crossroads is, falls under Ward 17 ward. Sanny then headed off to South Africa for a while. He has recently come back from South Africa, joined his family in the Mablauwuni community and joined Crossroads. Mildred is a real joy to have around. She is faithful in attending the services at Crossroads and is very active in doing necessary chores around the church. Mildred is 65 years old and was one of the older ladies to get baptised at Crossroads.

Well, the big question was what drew them together?
: Mildred’s beauty is what drew me to her.
Mildred: Sanny has a gorgeous smile. I really liked his teeth.

Sylvester and Kwazinkosi Maphosa

Sylvester and Kwazinkosi have been married 6 years. They are a lovely couple. Sylvester works at Crossroads while Kwazinkosi is a stay at home mum. She is also part of the Crossroads Catering Team.

What drew this couple together?
: Kwazinkosi has a good listening ear.
Kwazinkosi: I fell in love with Sylvester as he is a very handsome man – good to look at!

Interesting! Meet the other couples soon......

By Molly Manhanga

The Marriage Course: Meet the couples pt 1

Morris and Letta Ndlovu

Morris and Letta have been married for 35 years. Morris is one of the village leaders in the Mablauwuni community and he does a brilliant job of keeping the peace in the community. Letta is very faithful in attending Crossroads and she heads up the Women’s ministry in the church. She is also very passionate about children and has started a Play Centre for 3 -4 year olds.

Well, the big question was what drew them together?
: I saw Letta’s heart and patience and knew we’d be together.
Letta: Morris was a very neat and smart man. That is what drew me to him.

Mbusiso and Pretty Ndlovu

Mbusiso and Pretty have been married customarily for 3 weeks now and are in the process of planning for a church wedding which will be held at Crossroads on April 10th. We are all really excited about this as it will be the first wedding at Crossroads between 2 faithful members. Both Mbusiso and Pretty work at Ebenezer Training Centre. Pretty is involved with the praise and worship at Crossroads.

What drew this couple together?Mbusiso: Pretty is a beautiful woman and I love her.
Pretty: I noticed how hardworking Mbusiso was in his field as he has a heart like mine.

Interesting! What drew me to Stephen?.......... You’ll just have to wait until the end of the Marriage Course!

By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update on the Kidz Block

The thatching is well underway now and the thatchers have assured us that they will be complete with the Kidz Block by Friday this week.It will be awsome if we arrive on Sunday morning and see that this is the case......We've already started our main Sunday services in the Kidz Block because the marquee is in shreds now. It was quite a challenge meeting under half a marquee when the rains came down, and then a quarter of the marquee etc. Thank God for the Kidz Block.......

By Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thought for the day

Psalm 18:1 – 3

“I will love you, O Lord, my
The Lord is my rock and my fortress
And my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will
My shield and the horn of my
Salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is
Worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Book Review: "unlikely angel" by Ashley Smith

“unlikely angel” is The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero. It’s not the type of book I usually read but I was ‘blessed’ with it by a friend who knows that I enjoy reading. All in all, it was good........

Hostage situations can make interesting reading and Ashley Smith has done brilliantly in capturing how she was being held hostage at gun point by Brian Nichols – an accused rapist and murderer. I really like her down to earth approach by highlighting her struggles i.e. drug abuse, death of her husband and wanting to raise her daughter Paige who was living with her aunt Kim, her thoughts, her conversations with God or rather praying and pleading with God to help her out of this situation and how Brian Nichols mellows down, eventually handing himself over to the authorities. Her use of “flash backs” is really great because it gives us a picture of what she was like before being held hostage and how her life fell apart after her husband Mack was murdered.

I don’t know too much about drugs and drug use particularly, drugs called ‘ice’ and ‘xanax’ but what I do know is that they have adverse effects on the mind and body. It’s interesting seeing how Ashley had her “God moment” and was released from the desire of drugs while she was being held hostage. I guess moments like that make one realise what is important in life – in this case, Ashley shared about God and desired to get her daughter Paige back. It seems like “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren had an impact on her too as she recalled some of the chapters from the book.

The terrifying moments of being held hostage ended peacefully for Ashley – a result of prayer. Four public servants weren’t so lucky. God has impacted her life so radically with scriptures like “The truth will set you free” – being honest and experiencing the freedom that goes with it. Ashley has a strong, healthy support network around her and she is giving God all the glory for the outcome of this hostage situation: “God was the real hero.”

No-one could ask for a better ending to a story – a true story. Praise God.

By Molly Manhanga

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Marriage Course

Last year, we focused on The Five Family values and this year we are piloting The Marriage Course based on Nicky and Sila Lee's (Holy Trinity Brompton, U.K) work. I had the priviledge of meeting Nicky and Sila in May 2007 at HTB while I was attending an International Alpha Conference and needless to say, I thought they were just an incredible couple. Piloting the marriage course in a rural context will be really interesting and different. Things considered to be romantic like candlelit dinners or lounging around a fireplace with coffee and mushmellows or strawberries and cream won't be of much use in Kezi because fires and candles are on the go daily for cooking, for light, for warmth etc. We'll see how it goes......

5 couples have been invited and the wonderful thing is that the marriages ranges from 35 years to 2 weeks. There will be 7 sessions:
  • Building Strong Foundations
  • The art of communication
  • Resolving conflict
  • The power of forgiveness
  • The impact of family - past and present
  • Good sex
  • Love in action

The Marriage Course at Crossroads is being spearheaded by Nicholas and Nosimilo Ncube who have been married for 11 years. They are a lovely couple and have wonderful children.

Stephen and I will be joining in on the sessions. We've had a great start on Saturday and hope that this will be the beginning of the strengthening of marriages in the Kezi community.

By Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Encouragement" by Sam Poe

Hebrews 3:12 – 13 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Hebrews 10:24 – 25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

Hebrews is a book of encouragement and it is written to the Hebrews. Let us consider one another and think of one another. What words of encouragement do I have for my brother? How can I spur my brother on in love and to do good works for Gods glory? Some people are pulling away from fellowshipping with others. Maybe they were offended, discouraged or have lost heart. We can help each other especially those who are hardened.

Every church needs a culture of encouragement, not a culture of criticism, harsh words or finger pointing. Hebrews is a culture of encouragement. There are warnings like do not harden your hearts. The purpose of the letter is to encourage God’s people on. Sam then encouraged Crossroads to develop a culture of encouragement.

We really do have an enemy who uses discouragement and comes with a finger of accusation. People may not think good thoughts and have negative words. These are the lies of the enemy. Come back to Jesus and see what He has done for us. Yes, I have sinned, messed up but I have a wonderful Saviour who has given me righteousness.

The letter to the Hebrews causes us to look to Jesus, our High priest, who represents us to the father. God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit, is for us and his purpose is to do a good work through us. Out of a loving community, we are to love one another, bring words of encouragement to one another. Through our triune God, there is a constant flow of love and we are to learn to do the “one another” verses in the bible e.g.
1. Serve one another
2. Love one another
3. Bear with one another
4. Wait for one another
5. Forgive one another
6. Honour one another
7. Be devoted to one another etc, etc

If we are to be in the church, we are to forgive each other. We don’t always get it right. Let’s share our stuff with one another, sing to one another etc. It’s biblical. Encourage one another.

There is the story of 2 men who were close friends, like brothers and these men were Jonathan and David. David was a commander in King Saul’s army. He was young but God was with him powerfully. David rose in popularity. Saul was King at the time. The ladies would come out and sing about Saul killing thousands but David killed tens of thousands. Saul was jealous of David and this jealousy began to work in his heart. David was popular and Saul was thinking “what about me? What about me?” In King Saul’s heart, the jealousy and envy turned to hatred and he wanted to kill David. Hatred makes people want to kill others and it starts with jealousy.

Jonathan (King Saul’s son), had a good heart. Jonathan met David and they hit it off very well. They became close friends and made a pact together. They were like blood brothers. When Jonathan went home to King Saul, he saw his father pacing up and down muttering hatred towards David. Saul called his officers and Jonathan together and told them that they will bash him down. Jonathan stood up for David and pleaded with his father Saul. However, jealousy continued to eat Saul’s heart. Jonathan helped David escape from Saul. They escaped into the wilderness. Jonathan at times experienced the wrath of his father Saul.

David was living in a cave when word came to him that Saul and his officers were looking for him and wanted to kill him. David was discouraged. Jonathan wanted to find his friend David and encourage him in the Lord. Jonathan went out despite the danger of his father Saul and his officers and eventually, Jonathan found David. They were happy to see each other. Jonathan encouraged David. He brought him words of strength and new life. Jonathan then returned home and David stayed in the cave. David wrote many psalms of these things. Psalm 27: 1 – 3. These are the words of a man going through a difficult time but he was encouraged by his friend and by God.

What does this story teach us? It teaches us to develop a culture of encouragement. Jonathan was a man with a heart of compassion, love, preferred someone else over himself. He had a passionate heart. Discouraged people often go into hiding. David had no choice. We need someone to come along and lift us up, to say lets pray and God is for us.

Sam encouraged Crossroads again to be a church that grows in a culture of encouragement. He ended the service by prophesying over several people. That was incredibly encouraging!

Summarised by Molly Manhanga