Get Out There

This is a bit of a trial run for a new kind of post for me: a short talk. I hope the quality is good and that my editing isn't too terrible. Let me know if it works or not please!


 If the media player didn't work on your device then you can download the talk here.


Signatures, Semiconductors, Jedi & So Forth

A while back I received an email that the head of the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at my university, Wits, needed to have a meeting with me urgently. My first reaction was that I felt quite important, the HOS wanted to see me! I even had the pride to think he would be congratulating me for something or needed to my help to deal with a class problem.

When I arrived at the boardroom where I was to meet him I discovered that I was quite off the mark. There was quite convincing evidence that I had faked someone’s signature on an attendance register for one of my tutorials. My heart sank; it hit an ice berg and sank. I was innocent! But I realized that I had no way of proving my innocence. This reality hit me and it did something to me.  I felt hopeless, anxious and angry. It changed me for a few hours. The fact that I couldn’t prove the truth hit me hard. Eventually, however, the matter was resolved and the truth came out (a few hours later actually).

I was changed for those few hours because I grasped something true. A most unpleasant truth, but a truth nonetheless: I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t perform a Jedi mind trick and cause the HOS’s brain to be convinced I was innocent. I couldn’t magically find out what actually happened and conjure up the necessary evidence. I was stuck in an inability to change my circumstance and it felt horrible.

Reality tends to change people. The reality that green lights mean go and red lights mean stop has had a drastic impact on drivers and even more of an impact on those who ignore that reality (pun intended). The reality that people need food to survive has certainly made a difference to the world. Also, the fact that semiconductors have a non-linear current-voltage relationship has revolutionized the planet (Google it). What about the undeniable fact that every man should have some form of facial hair (wink wink)? No doubt, true factual reality orders all of life, from technology to beards!

Whether God exists or not should be of much more concern, therefore, than many people make it out to be. If His existence is factual and real then those who know it will change as a result and those who ignore it will once again be impacted one day. These are the two options, the Christian God exists or He doesn’t. I recommend that everyone who reads this does some serious thinking because His existence or lack of existence has serious implications. Say He does exist, what He has to say and who He is becomes quite important because if the Bible is actually His words then there’s some serious stuff in there! Say He doesn’t exist, what the Bible says is totally irrelevant and we must figure out the actual truth.

If God exists, then we are helpless outside of God. God says that all people are sinners and need to be saved. Much like my situation in the HOS’s boardroom, I could not save myself from whatever punishment it might have incurred.

If God exists, however, then the Bible is true which would mean that this is true:

“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation of blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:23-25).

The gift of salvation must be received by faith in God’s existence and who He is and what He has done in His Son Jesus Christ. This is important!

In thinking this through I have realized the great importance of knowing what God has to say in the Bible. Because if I truly believe He exists then those words and teachings must have a massive effect on my life because they are a reality and I must live according to that reality.

So Christians let’s take this more seriously, there is much more joy to be found in the scriptures than we have already, we can never have our fill of who God is. Non-Christians, read the Bible a bit (maybe start with the book of John), and take the question of whether what you’re reading or not is true seriously.

God exists.


Be Hated Boldly

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19

I am glad that Phil Robertson is not afraid of being hated by the world. His recent quotations of God's Word in an interview with GQ magazine have rocked the USA. He is being hated on an extremely public stage. All over every news station in America all day the last two days his communication of the truth of the scriptures has been debated and discussed. He has been suspended from his TV show for standing on the scriptures. The article about the interview can be found here (be warned, it contains strong language from the author of the article, if you do not mind this then I recommend you read it).

This is what is supposed to happen to Christians in a sinful world. It happened to Phil's master, Jesus Christ. He was hated for who He is and eventually died for the very people who hated him. And He did it willingly. He confronted the world with their sin and offered salvation for those sins.

Christians, may we who have been saved by Christ act like our master. Let us stand firm on God's Word and continue to bring it to those who hate us.

Friends, be hated and be hated boldly for the Gospel of Christ that the kingdom of our savior might advance through us.

I pray that all those Christians who are hated for standing firm in Christ, including Phil Robertson, would be encouraged by the fact that "these things are being done to you on account of Christ" (John 9:21). So do not fall away, for Christ "has overcome the world" (John 16:33). Our treasure is in heaven and our favor in God's eyes rather than the eyes of men.


To Save a Man - A Short Story

What am I?” Paul asked.

He seemed to be floating in an empty space. He felt wind violently tossing his greasy black hair against his face. There was something like smoke all around him. It was so thick that it didn’t seem to be affected by the wind. There was a flash of light every once in a while which barely broke through the dense fog. But the darkness was clear. It penetrated the smoky gloom and surrounded its victim like it was ready to crush it into nothingness. But it didn’t.

“What am I?” Paul repeated, but he wasn’t sure who he was asking. Was he asking the darkness? Or was he asking the flashes of light?

“What am I?”

He could hear no voice from the darkness or from the light answering him. He was terrified. His arms and legs were steady, hanging from his body as if they were bound by the darkness. His left hand started rising towards his eyes but the darkness blocked it from sight. Another flash of light burst through for a moment and there upon his wrist he saw something which horrified him.

Paul awoke. He had lived a rather extravagant 37 years, extravagant compared to his fellow citizens. He enjoyed life because he made sure he was surrounded by everything that he enjoyed. He always had his favourite foods stocked in his food locker. His favourite people made their dwelling in the same housing unit and his least favourite people lived on the other side of the Rock. He had money – enough to ensure his own continued good looks, whenever he saw something appear upon his complexion which he disliked he would simply call up the Youth Doc to get it removed.

“Morning Paul,” said a small humble sort of a voice from across the housing unit bedroom.
“Morning Thomas,” replied Paul as he sat up out of his bed grasping his left wrist to see a mediocre middle-sized man standing before him. He noticed that the other three beds in the room were made up and unoccupied and he could see through the doorway into the eating chambers that the Sunday food locker slots were all empty except for his own. Paul was used to being the last one up but this was the first time Thomas had ever awoken him.

“Did you hear the news Paul?” asked Thomas eagerly, “But of course you have, the Council of Dreams is going to make an appearance at the Rock today! The others have already gone; we must leave immediately if we want to get a good view!”

“What? I don’t remember receiving that message,” replied Paul, “When did you get it?”

“Why last night of course, you should really start paying more attention to your dreams Paul.”

Paul had never dreamed the same dreams as everyone else, although he had always acted as if he had so that no one would think less of him. He had always wondered about this Council of Dreams and why they never sent him any dreams. Curious for an answer, Paul hurriedly prepared to leave for the Rock.

Paul and Thomas rushed through housing unit after housing unit until they reached the closest elevator to the Rock. They squeezed inside with all the other excited citizens. Then up it rose, straight out of the building heading up higher and higher towards the Rock. Its wheels against the track made no sound and all the people fell silent as they gazed with admiration at the endless sea of housing units below and the thousands of other elevators rising silently on their tracks towards the Rock. The Rock was a massive mountain which rose in the middle of the World; it was more massive than the millions of housing units which surrounded it. Every citizen of the World worked inside it somewhere and right on top was the palace which housed the Council of Dreams.

Masses of citizens gathered around the palace in eager anticipation to hear from their leaders. A horn was blown and a hush fell across the crowd. No one uttered a sound. From the top of the palace rose a platform higher and higher and there sat the seven council members all dressed in long white coats. The Speaker arose and headed toward a podium in the middle of the platform.

“Citizens of the World, thank you for gathering here today. We know that you all must be very inquisitive as to why we have asked to see you all today outside of your dreams. We felt that what we have to say today should not be said in a dream.

“You have all heard the stories of our World’s great history. How citizens of planet earth were corrupt and worked against each other for their own individual interests. They destroyed their planet as a result and so they died with it. But a few of the citizens of earth left that place in order to start anew. Their goal was to build a new home, one whose citizens worked together for its good. And now thanks to your harmonious labour for the World’s wellbeing this has been achieved!”

A deafening cheer swept across the crowd and the Speaker stood still and silent as if he had expected nothing less. Several moments later the cheer abruptly stopped. Paul felt a sense of unease about it all. The cheer was too uniform, too consistent and too perfect.

And then something happened, something that left Paul still and speechless. They fell, all at once every single citizen fell to the ground around him, everyone except for Paul. Paul stood motionless thinking he must still be dreaming. He looked all around him and there was nothing but lifeless bodies lying on top of the Rock as far as the eye could see. Paul’s shocked face looked up towards the platform and there stood the Speaker still and silent as ever.

“Hello Paul,” said the Speaker.

Paul stood deathly still. His strength in every part of his body failed him. There was nothing but silence and seven pairs of eyes on him. He was confused and troubled.

“The time has finally come Paul. We are incredibly disappointed that it has had to come to this but it’s time for you to go back to Earth and join your people. This place’s purpose has unfortunately failed us yet again.”
Paul’s mind was racing. He was incredibly confused expecting to wake up again at any moment. He decided in his head that this must be a dream. This made him feel slightly better and so he replied, “But you just said the earth was destroyed by the old citizens. I was born in the World. I know nothing of earth besides what you just said about our history. I am surely not one of those people. I am a part of the harmonious labour team in the Rock.”

“My friend, you were born on earth and you are exactly like those people,” said the Speaker, “did you not notice differences between yourself and the citizens of the World? They all had the same dreams, you did not. They were always content with their current situations, you always wanted more. They never caused fights or divisions amongst themselves, you discriminated between those you liked and disliked. They were perfectly good, you rarely did good and even when you did it was always looking out for yourself. Don’t you see? They were programmed to be perfect and to dream good dreams. You are human.”

Paul was feeling confused and troubled again. He always knew that he was different from the others. In a last attempt to convince himself of the absurdity of the Speaker’s words he replied sarcastically, “What are you saying? That they’re all robots or something?”

“Yes, Paul. They are – robots designed to be perfect, programmed to be the complete opposite of the humans of earth. We thought if we could surround a human who had not yet been subject to the evil influences of his own people with perfect creatures, that we could save that human from the evil of his people. You are our seven hundredth subject and the last. It would seem that evil comes from within rather than without.”

Paul was dumbstruck. His entire universe had just been shattered. All he knew, thought he knew, was a lie. But he had questions and could think of nothing better to do than to ask them, “Who is the Council of Dreams then? Are you perfect? What will I do on earth? How will I get there?”

“We are scientists and engineers who seek after what is good. We are humans who see man’s problem and want to cure it. We created the citizens of the World and built everything on this planet with them. We have tested subject after subject here, but to no avail. We have tried to save mankind and start a perfect generation, but alas we have failed.

“You will be transported back to earth by our machines and you will join your people. What you do there is none of our concern. As for the Council, we will continue looking for a solution. Goodbye Paul.”
Paul suddenly noticed something appear on his left wrist and then he vanished. The platform lowered back into the palace and the Speaker took his seat troubled to the core. He examined his left wrist. A black mark like a tattoo bracelet greeted his eyes as they filled with tears.

“It will take something more than us or our creations to save us,” said a voice from across the platform now inside the palace, “We cannot remove the mark.”

The Speaker looked up and replied gravely, “Yes, I see that now. Why do we even try? What urges us to seek after salvation? No matter what we do the mark remains,” he was weeping now.

“We found the mark. Perhaps salvation must find us,” replied the voice.

The Speaker fell to his knees in mourning, “I give up! Here I am! Salvation, find me!”

Before he had finished speaking he noticed a change in his mark. Something like a flash of light seemed to break through…

The End


A Serious Matter

I saw a Facebook status some time ago which said 'how much must you hate someone to not share the Gospel with them?' The Holy Spirit used this to make me think much deeper about evangelism and to search the scriptures for help in it. After having meditated on it for some time I have become ashamed of the number of people for whom I have displayed hatred - all the people with whom I could easily have shared the Gospel, but I didn't due to my being ashamed of my Father of Heaven. Now I say no more tomfoolery in evangelism, this is a serious matter!

We often get excited at the thought that when we evangelize we might be used by God to bring people to salvation. Truly, this is a glorious thing to be excited about. But consider this, perhaps when we fail to evangelize someone God uses our lack of 'Gospel action' to condemn them to an eternity of suffering. God uses means for many things. I say again, this is a serious matter.

"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:13-14)

The fact is that no one who does not hear about what Christ has done for sinners will call upon the Lord and ask Him for salvation. The responsibility is ours as 'God's fellow workers' (1 Corinthians 3:9). Jesus Christ himself commanded those He taught to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). We are commanded to share the good news of Christ's death, resurrection and ascension to 'all nations'.

"...Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Indeed we should speak the same way of ourselves if we do not spread God's Word. Let us "endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of  the Gospel of Christ." (1 Corinthians 9:12) May we not be obstacles.

In order to be moved to do this we must greatly appreciate, no, adore the Gospel story and what it has done for us and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We evangelize to all kinds of people all for the sake of the Gospel because of the most wonderful blessings we already share in (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). If we truly care for Christ and what He has done for us then surely we would love to see more and more people loving and adoring Him with us - having the same joy and peace as we. Before continuing in this text, let us stop and ponder again the amazing gift of salvation we have received because of this very Gospel.

How can we now keep this silent? How can we still be ashamed? Friends, we do not have to have eloquent speech or clever words to share the Gospel. We dare not boast in ourselves as we share Christ's works (1 Corinthians 1:17). It is Christ's power that saves not our measly words and yet He chooses to use our words! Perhaps we are shy to evangelize because we believe the Gospel's power can be limited to how well we can present it. We must repent of this at once! But still we must strive to be well prepared:

"...but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter 3:15)

Perhaps we do not share God's Word because we are afraid of ridicule. Live for Christ and share your hope in Him with respect even to slanderers and they will be put to shame (1 Peter 3:13-17). There is no reason to keep silent about God's Word.

Therefore, let us boldly demonstrate God's love through evangelism rather than cowardly demonstrating our own sinful hate for those around us through inaction. And let us be ever in the Gospel ourselves so that we may never lose our love for it. We might just find that sharing the Gospel with others preaches peace and love to our own souls as well. This is the power of Christ through His Gospel. Let us say with Paul:

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16)


A Little Bit of History

When I finished high school in 2010 I knew I had to take a gap year in order to earn some money for my studies. I also needed a car and some time to sort out my matric paperwork from overseas. I found a job I really liked even before I was finished with high school. I applied for the post I wanted and got the job on a two year agreement.
The name of the company where I worked is Camp Discovery. It is a leadership and adventure centre for school, team building and other similar groups located 60km north of Pretoria, just into the bush of Limpopo. I became a facilitator there, my responsibilities among other things included writing programs for groups, basic maintenance on activity equipment and taking groups for activities such as game drives, obstacle courses, archery and air rifles. It is a really well managed place with incredibly high standards in service and product delivery.

I was forced to adapt to living away from home and my family for these two years (I had around eight off days a month). I also had to conform to the high standards and uphold them and improve upon them to the best of my ability. I had up to that point had hardly any responsibility compared to what I had there. I managed, by God’s grace, to excel there and I became the head training facilitator and for the last four months of my career there I was the assistant manager. Through all of this I learned and grew more than ever before in my life. Added to that I met literally thousands of people and was able to share God’s Word to many of them. Camp Discovery will always have a special place in my heart because of my experiences there.

But there was one thing I left behind for those two years which was difficult for me. I left my church family behind. I was hardly able to attend one Sunday service a month with my off day situation and I also missed out on many young adults meetings, bible studies and other church events. Whenever I did visit my church I just felt as if it was the best place to be.
I have been attending Free Grace Baptist Church since 2000 and although it has never really been a large church in numbers or one about which you always hear amazing stories, I still love my family there. Every week I have my ‘spiritual batteries’ recharged and I am always blessed by the meetings and ministries.

Having missed out on all of that for two years I was incredibly excited to return at the end of my Camp Discovery career. I have been back since February this year and I have never been more excited about it. I feel like I missed out on a lot during my two years at Camp Discovery so now I attend eagerly as many meetings as I can. Added to that, I have my fellow members of the body of Christ around me all the time to pray with me, to share burdens with and to fellowship with in Christ.

The local church is the centre of my life as it is the core of my service to and relationship with God. I am truly blessed to be a part of the loving family of the body of Christ which will one day worship Him forever  and always in heaven.