Friday, September 30, 2011

Our True Identity in Christ

We are justified (declared righteous)
No condemnation awaits us

We are set free from the power of sin that leads to death

We are sanctified (made holy) in Jesus Christ

We are pure and holy in Christ

We will be given new life at the resurrection

We are a new creation

We are made right with God

We are one in Christ with allother believers

We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ

We are holy and without fault

We are adopted as God's children

Our sins are taken away, and we are forgiven

We will be brought under Christ's authority

We are identified as belonging to God by the Holy spirit

We have been raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly realms

We are God's masterpiece

We have been brought near to God

We share in the promise of blessings through Christ

We can come boldly and confidently into God's presence

We are members of Christ's body, the church

We are made complete in Christ

We are set free from our sinful nature

We will have eternal glory.

Thought for the day

Ephesians 3:20 - 21

Now to Him who is able to

do exceedingly, abundantly above

all that we can ask or think, according to the

power that works in us, to Him

be glory in the church by

Christ Jesus

to all generations

forever and ever.

Book Review: God's New Tribe by John Kpikpi

I really enjoyed reading God's New Tribe by John Kpikpi. Our culture truly does affect our outlook, behaviour and perceptions.

I have jotted down sections of the book which I think gives us a good idea of what God's New Tribe is all about......

"The message of Jesus Christ is fundamentally a 'message of reconciliation' 2 Corinthians 5:19. As christians we worship God on the one hand and are still deeply intrenched in cultural practises on the other which are horrendous to God. The sad/horrific part is that as christians we seem to live quite comfortably with tribalism.

 Tribalism is the idea that one's own tribe is superior to all other tribes. Wide spread discrimination, injustice, division and wars have resulted from this sinful belief which has taken root in people's minds. We therefore allow customs and traditions to take precedence over the holy word of God - infact, the word of God does not find a comfortable home in our hearts. The sin behind tribalism is human pride and arrogance.

God is looking for a people who have been drawn from every tribe and language and nation (Revelation 5:9) and joined together. How can this come about if we reject each other simply because of cultural differences. We need to line up our thinking with God's. Whenever God gets involved, he rebuilds lives that have been torn down, restores that which has been devastated and heals and makes whole that which has been destroyed.

Building new communities which reflect the glory of Jesus Christ as they seek to work out the implications of being God's new tribe will require God's chosen and annointed leadership. Every culture in every nation of the world is faced with the same key questions about leadership: Who should be the leader? How should a leader be chosen or selected? What is the work or role of the leader? Should the leader do any work at all? etc, etc.....

Leadership positions have been abused so often that in many parts of the world today the concept of leadership has become almost synonymous with any or all of the following: oppression, robbery, authoritarianism, harshness, dictatorial rule, plain wickedness and an attitude of lording it over the people. In such contexts, leaders become liabilities to the people they lead rather than the blessing that God intended them to be. Today all over the world people are crying out for a new kind of leadership. They are looking for a new style of leader one with a genuine heart and concern for the people they are leading.

God is always looking for a people who are a people - a community.........this community should be a people of Ephesians 4:4 - 6 .........One vision, one purpose, one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all. We have been redeemed from our cultures by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:18 - 19.

Part Two tackles practical and heart issues like leadership in God's New tribe, marriage, work and death."

God's New tribe is an excellent book. It's one of those books that you can read over and over again.

Molly Manhanga

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gardening News


It's becoming quite interesting walking through my little garden and seeing the plant variety. I'm now fascinated at how the blossoming flowers are attracting birds and butterflies. I've had a few comments from kind visitors saying that my garden is starting to take shape. I have put some effort and tried to be a little creative but I still have a long way to go.......

Rake 'n Shake yellow

As I'm working in my garden, I realised that I have a few soil types and clay being the most difficult to grow plants because it compacts easily and has slow/poor drainage. I attempted to plant some flowers and watched them wither as their roots weren't strong enough to make their way through the soil. I've started adding organic matter to the soil and hope things improve.

Last week, I put humas on my flowers and part of the lawn. The growth is amazing but so is the growth of the weeds. I guess I better get on top of that. I'm now looking at ground cover and different types of shrubs. Trial and error. I'll see what happens.......


By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The problem with critics....

We live in a world where opinions are given freely - some with thought behind it and others, well, lets say it's an opinion. Some folk are pretty positive while others not. This is what I read about critics.....

"Critics talk much and do little that is constructive. They are more interested in making themselves look good by making others look bad. If Nehemiah had listened to his critics, the wall around the city of Jerusalem would never have been rebuilt. Some of what the critics said to him was accurate. The wall was rubble and fire had burned the stones and caused them to crack and crumble. But the critics talked much and did absolutely nothing to help.

As Theodore Roosevelt noted, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood.....and who....if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Where do you see yourself in this picture? Are you being pelted by unfair criticism as you are serving Christ? If so, keep on going and God will reward your efforts. Or do you recognise yourself as one who tends to be critical of others? If so, it’s time to quit the demolition team and join the construction crew."

“From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thought for the day

Hurting God

Psalm 51:4

“Against You, You only,
Have I sinned, and
Done this evil in Your

When we hurt another person, we hurt God. If I wrong you, I am also offending him. If I steal from you, I am robbing him. If I lie to you, I am lying to the one who is truth. If I take your life, I destroy what is precious to God. The truth is often forgotten in the lax moral environment of our culture.

We may feel sorry when our actions inflict undeserved suffering on others. This is commendable. But when there is deliberate wrongdoing, a tearful apology is incomplete if God is left out of the confession. Until we see the sin for what it is – rebellion against God – we have not come to grips with it.

When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9) And in Psalm 51 David confessed, “Against You, You only, have I sinned” Surely David knew he had stolen another man’s wife and murdered a loyal soldier. Yet he went to the heart of the matter – no excuses, no rationalization. He had sinned against God! That’s the admission God is looking for, because He longs to give us His mercy and forgiveness.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Synopsis of Philemon

Paul is writing to convince Philemon to forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus, and to accept him as a brother in the faith. Slavery was very common in the Roman Empire and evidently some Christians had slaves. Paul does not condemn the institution of slavery in his writings, but he makes a radical statement by calling this slave of Philemon’s – brother in Christ. Key verse: “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good – no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.” Philemon is a private personal letter to a friend.

Philemon was a prominent Christian, probably a member of the church at Colosse and the owner of a slave named Onesimus. This slave had run away from his master, and then somehow he had come in contact with Paul, who was then in prison. Through Paul Onesimus became a Christian. Paul’s letter to Philemon is an appeal to Philemon to be reconciled to his slave, whom Paul is sending back to him, and to welcome him not only as a forgiven slave but as a Christian brother.

Synopsis of Titus

Paul gave Titus advice in his responsibility of supervising the churches on the island of Crete. Paul sent Titus to organise and oversee the churches on Crete. This letter tells Titus how to do this job. Key verse: “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” Titus is very similar to 1 Timothy with it’s instructions to church leaders.

Paul calls for church order and right living on an island known for laziness, gluttony, lying and evil. The Christians are to be self-disciplined as individuals, and they must be orderly as people who form one body, the church. We need to obey this message in our day when discipline is not respected or rewarded by our society. Although others may not appreciate our efforts, we must live upright lives, obey the government and control our speech. We should live together peacefully in the church and be living examples of our faith to contemporary society.

1. Titus is reminded of the kind of character that church leaders should have, especially in view of the bad character of many Cretans.
2. Titus is advised how to teach the various groups in the church (older men, older women who are to teach younger women), young women and the slaves.
3. Paul gives Titus advice regarding Christian conduct, especially the need to be peaceful and friendly and to avoid hatred, argument, and division in the church.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Casting the floor at Crossroads

Last Wednesday the community got together to cast half of the floor in the Kidz Block at Crossroads. That was lots of hard work as Steve carried water to the church, river sand, rubble etc. It was great that he had some faithful young men assisting him.

This coming Wednesday, they'll complete the second half of the Kidz Block!

Synopsis of 11 Timothy

Summary of 1 Timothy:
1. Warning against false teaching in the church.
2. Instructions about church administration and worship, with the description of the kind of character that church leaders and helpers should have.
3. Timothy is advised on how to be a good servant of Jesus Christ and about the responsibility that he has towards various groups of believers.

Paul wrote 11 Timothy to give final instructions and encouragement to Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul was virtually alone in prison; only Luke was with him. Paul wrote this letter to pass the torch to the new generation of church leaders. He also asked for visits from his friends and for his books. Key verse: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Because this is Paul’s last letter, it reveals his heart and his priorities – sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance, and everlasting love. Paul gives helpful advice to Timothy to remain solidly grounded in Christian service and to endure suffering the difficult days to come. It is easy for us to serve Christ for the wrong reasons; because it is exciting, rewarding, or personally enriching. Without a proper foundation, however, we will find it easy to quit during difficult times. All believers need a strong foundation for their service, because Christian service does not get easier as we grow older. It will become no easier as the time of Christ’s return grows closer.

1. Endurance in the face of suffering and opposition.
2. Timothy is warned about the dangers of becoming involved in foolish arguments that do no good, but only ruin the people who listen to them.
3. In all this, Timothy is reminded of the example of Paul’s own life and purpose – his faith, patience, love, endurance and suffering in persecution.

Synopsis of 1 Timothy

Over the past couple of months we’ve covered the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and Philemon. They have been very encouraging books to go through as their practical, day to day issues were applicable and relevant.

1st Timothy gave encouragement & instruction to Timothy, a young leader who was one of Paul’s closest companions. Paul sent Timothy to the Church at Ephesus to counter the false teaching that had arisen there. Timothy probably served for a time as a leader in the church at Ephesus..
Paul hopes to visit Timothy but in the meantime, he wrote this letter to give Timothy practical advice about the ministry. Key verse: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

1 Timothy is a personal letter and a handbook of church administration and discipline. Paul advised Timothy on such practical topics as qualifications for church leaders, public worship, confronting false teaching, and how to treat various groups of people within the church. Right belief and right behaviour are critical for anyone who desires to lead or serve effectively in the church. We should all believe rightly, participate in church actively and minister to one another lovingly.

1. Warning against false teaching in the church.
2. Instructions about church administration and worship, with the description of the kind of character that church leaders and helpers should have.
3. Timothy is advised on how to be a good servant of Jesus Christ and about the responsibility that he has towards various groups of believers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet Mcebisi Ncube

Mcebisi Ncube better known as Ma “O” or Ma Zero, joined Ebenezer in November 2008. He graduated in December 2010 and is now part of the graduate programme which he says is going fine.

Mcebisi is one of the emerging leaders at Crossroads who works closely with Steve Manhanga. He plays the bongo drums (ngoma’s) in the church and seems to really enjoy that. He enjoys the Sunday services especially the worship and the word.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thought for the day

2 Corinthians 5:17 - 21

Therefore is anyone is in Christ

the new creation has come. The old has gone,

the new is here! All this is from God, who

reconciled us to Himself through Christ

and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

that God was reconciling the world

to Himself in Christ, not counting

people's sins against them. And he has committed to us

the message of reconciliation. We are

therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God were making

his appeal through us. We implore you

on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God

God made Him who had no sin

to be sin for us, so that in him we might

become the righteousness of God.

Meet Honest Matavire

Honest also joined Ebenezer in November 2008. He graduated in December 2010 and he too is part of the graduate programme. He feels it’s really good.

Honest is also an emerging leader at Crossroads. He is involved with the praise and worship and plays the bongo drums. He is passionate about sharing God’s word with people and seeing people get saved. He enjoys Sunday services. Some Sundays are great while others can improve.

By Molly Manhanga

Movie Review: The Eagle

The Eagle: The Destiny Of A Soldier. The Honour Of A Slave. The fate Of An Empire.

This is another early century movie. It’s a historic epic set in second century Britain. Honour, valour, restoration, making peace etc seem to be the thread running through these early century movies.........and alot of fighting. For me, Martin Luther King Jr’s words encapsulate this movie: “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) is out to find out what happened to the Ninth Legion which his father was commander of. The Ninth Legion went missing 15 years earlier in the mountains of Scotland. Aquila makes quite a journey with his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell) in an attempt to recover the last Legions golden emblem – the valuable and treasured Eagle of the North. They encounter savage tribes of the land and I found it quite interesting when roles were reversed – Aquila becoming Esca’s slave – which was part of the plan and a way of helping Aquila which he found out later.

The emblem is recovered and returned in and amongst battles and honour is returned to Marcus Aquila. It’s an interesting movie with a good storyline.

Meet Mbekezele Moyo

Mbekezele, better known as Mbeke, originally comes from Mapane which about a 3 hour walk from Crossroads. He is 22 years old. He joined Ebenezer in January 2008, graduated on August 15 2009 and completed the graduate programme in 2010.

He is employed with FSP (Faithful Stewards Programme) where he works with the farmers in Mablauwuni and Silozwe communities. He is also helping out at Crossroads. Mbeke is in partnership with Mxwayisi Dube in running the Crossroads Tuckshop which serves the community. Generally, the Tuckshop is doing well and they stock up weekly.

Mbeke is the only man at the moment involved with Kidz Alive under Letta Ndlovu and we thank God for that as the children need to see male role models who are interested in them. He is part of Steve Manhanga’s emerging leaders.

By Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Field Officers visit from Mapisa

Model farmers – now Field Officers feedback
It was excellent seeing Mqondisi Moyo and Tawanda Moyo, Field Officers at Mapisa with Beyond Belief initiative, visit Crossroads on Sunday. It has been a month or so since they left Ebenezer Training Centre and relocated at Mapisa where they are working with farmers in the community. I managed to catch up with them and this is what they said:

M.M: What have your challenges been so far since moving to Mapisa?
1. The greatest challenge has been working with older people. In any culture it’s usually the older people who teach the younger ones but here we are, young people training older people. We find that they do not come to their fields on time.
2. They initially enjoyed making compost but they fail to maintain it (turn it around at the correct time) due to priorities. The more diligent farmers can see “life” in their compost.
3. We were spoilt at Ebenezer by having all 3 meals cooked for us. Now, we have to cook for ourselves. Steve Manhanga was impressed when he visited the team in Mapisa and was offered eggs, bread and tea for breakfast. Nice! Well done guys and gals.
4. Another challenge is adjusting to the environment. It is difficult and the adjustments are slow.
5. Seeing huge black mamba’s (snakes) has been challenging!

M.M: Uphill and upward trends. I’ll call it that because it sure is an uphill work. Have you seen any upward trends so far?
1. Most of the farmers are looking forward to seeing the project working.
2. The farmers are trying to listen to us even though we are young.
3. The field preparations are going well. We are hoping to plant tomatoes this month.
4. We are getting the opportunity to speak to the whole group on spiritual issues. Some are loving it while others are resisting. It was wonderful getting backed up/supported by one of the local pastors.
5. Generally, the farmers and community approve of what we are doing. Bringing God into farming has helped.

M.M: Did you enjoy being back at Crossroads?
The service was good. We feel like we are missing out. The music and the word were good. We enjoyed the service very much.

M.M: Thanks guys. Wonderful seeing you. We’ll continue to support and encourage you as you extend God’s Kingdom!

By Molly Manhanga

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We bow down

Whats been happening at Crossroads?
1. Well, the Hospital and Home visitations are going really well. The Medical Outreach that we had gave us an indication of just how many people are not well and need prayer and encouragement.
2. Stephen Manhanga has completed the Church Planting Track with Chronological Bible Storying. That went pretty well.
3. Visiting and supporting the 6 Field Officers who have moved to Maphisa has been a high priority. They are adjusting to their new environment and new role. Generally, they are settling down well. I guess going as a team has helped them.
4. Kidz Alive is doing really well under Letta Ndlovu and her team. Her passion for children is amazing and I just love seeing their enthusiasm.

There are those songs that just catch your attention and "We bow down" is one of them for me.

We Bow down

We bow down and confess
You are Lord in this place
We bow down and confess
You are Lord in this place
You are all I need It’s your face I seek
In the presence of your light
We bow down, we bow down
By Viola Grafstrom

It's a lovely song that makes me bow down to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

By Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Movie Review: Spartacus

First Impressions: Lots of blood and guts – fighting for freedom.
It’s a riveting movie set in 72BC where the Roman Empire conquered countries in Europe and sold their citizens into slavery. One slave dared to take a stand: Spartacus (Goran Visnjic). He vows to one day live as a free man. Spartacus courage and determination to be free motivates other slaves to follow him.
Although the Roman Empire was a powerful empire, “they were alarmed at the growing slave insurrection. Spartacus had to be stopped at all costs.”

This man Spartacus is admirable on so many levels:
1. He doesn’t only think about himself but others
2. He leads by example
3. He is fearless and courageous – hero material
4. His desire for men and women to be free drives him and “in the final battle of slaves versus Romans, Spartacus’ epic fight for freedom becomes the stuff of legend.”
5. He falls for one woman and they have a son. I would guess the son would continue his fathers’ legacy.

Where there is a hero, a villain is inevitable. Needless to say there will be a betrayer of the hero who will either get bought off or promised some position of authority.

Spartacus, an epic revolt, is worth the watch, especially if you like early century movies.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Meet Mxwayisi Dube

For those of you that have been out to Ebenezer or Crossroads, you may remember Mxwayisi Dube......He is now living at Crossroads and works very closely with Stephen Manhanga. Mxwayisi, better known as Mx comes from Njelele. He joined Ebenezer in August 2007, graduated in 2009 and completed the graduate programme. At the end of 2010, he left Ebenezer and joined Crossroads full time as he is passionate about the Church.

Mx loves Jesus Christ, does brilliantly at translating English into Ndebele and sharing God's word. He is spearheading hospital and home visitations as well as all night prayer meetings. To get an income, he is in partnership with Mbekezele Moyo in running the Crossroads Tuckshop and he oversees the chicken project in Mablauwuni village for Beyond Belief.

I asked Mx recently how things were going for him his response was:
"Things are going good but there is room for improvement. I'm beginning to see more clearly what God has called me to do. I enjoy Sunday services."

He is such a blessing to so many of us.....

Molly Manhanga