Friend

A lot of people know that Jesus is the friend of sinners, but not many people know he is the friend of saints as well! Join us in a 15 minute video to explore the practical ways Jesus wants to be a friend to you, and how you can love other people by being a friend to them.

(Part 2 of series: Loving like Jesus)

The embrace

How are you doing at loving people? It’s quite hard when we’re struggling to keep ourselves together. But the key to entering into the passionate love of God for a broken world is not hard…

Enjoy part 1 of a new series on Loving like Jesus (19 mins)

What on earth does that verse mean?

I guess we’ve all got stuck on a verse of the bible at some time and just wanted someone to explain it to us. So, we think, “maybe I should do this properly and get hold of a commentary!” But where on earth do we start? I’m not going to make any recommendations in this video, but I do want to help you have some realistic expectations!

A video about using a commentary (8 mins)

Tackling corruption: a wild idea

I am writing this on the day of the Move One Million marches across South Africa. The movement has caught international attention in showing “solidarity against a bent and corrupt system that can no longer be allowed to have its way with the future of our people…” It’s fantastic that so many across the nation and overseas have been given the opportunity to take action and express their determination to see South Africa free from this thievery.

What is not so clear is how this action is going to change things. (Peaceful protest always does sound like an oxymoron!) We can always hope of course, but what are the political realities here? Corruption is endemic in South Africa. It’s beyond the point of an isolated case or two that can be stamped upon. It has become a many headed hydra: for every head that is cut off the monster another two spring up in its place. For all the outrage against corruption by the President and others, there has not yet been a single person charged out of the state capture inquiry, for example.

So what is the problem? As I see it there are two obstacles to seriously tackling corruption. First, too many hands have been in the till. Which means that among the political classes almost everyone has dirt on almost everyone else. Which leaves us trapped, because it’s just too costly for the truth to come out. Leadership (especially the collective leadership style espoused by the ANC) is paralysed by its own complicity. Letting sleeping dogs lie would actually suit most people in government.

The solution that screams out at us (and the one implicitly envisaged by the Move One Million marches) is to replace the present corrupt government (self-confessed “accused number one”) with a new clean administration. But how? Polite peaceful protests? Again, we can always hope, but the political likelihood of the ANC losing national power in the short term seems very remote. There is no coherent alternative. And if there were an alternative, why do we believe that political power in other hands would be any less corrupting?

Which brings us to the second obstacle: corruption has acquired a status of normality in the culture of much of the nation. Of course no one would put it quite like that. But the idea that political advancement and connection for an individual should bring material benefits for them and their family seems unquestionably right to many. Especially to those individuals and their families. Corruption is the word we reserve for the Guptas and Zuma. But all I want to do is get a job for my son and some business for my brother. Surely that’s not corruption? And a new 4X4 would be nice. Where’s the harm in that? And that is exactly how it all starts. The ANC has no monopoly on this notion – it just got to try it out first.

Now culture is not easily shifted. Once that particular belief about political entitlement is ingrained, it takes a strong shock to dislodge it. How can we break this insidious culture? How can we achieve a transition to a civil society characterized by integrity? How can we reactivate a paralysed leadership? So here is a wild idea! (If we are going to see the back of corruption, it’s probably going to take some wild ideas!)

26 years ago South Africa achieved a momentous transition from white minority government to democracy. What could have been a moment of civil war was largely peaceful not least because of the functioning of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So for a new transition, here is my proposal: a Truth and Integrity Commission.

Central to the proposal is amnesty. There will be no truth without amnesty. We can spend billions on multiple commissions of enquiry, painfully chasing truths that vested powers don’t want to come out, to produce charges against a few individuals that take years to grind through the courts in trials and appeals. Or we can draw a line in the sand. Tell us what you have corruptly obtained. Full disclosure for full immunity. Big fish and little fish. Politicians, civil servants and business leaders. Up to this date. After that the full weight of the law applies without mercy. Double the penalties.

And I think that means that the perpetrators get to keep their ill-gotten gains. Or however much they have left. Sure, it sticks in the throat, but there are two reasons for this. First my instinct tells me that the cost of recovery could be huge (I’m no forensic accountant, so I could be wrong here!) But second and more important, recovery could well bankrupt many perpetrators which would seriously undermine the amnesty incentive.

Would it work? I’ve no idea! I’m sure there are lots of people out there who would be eager to tell my why it wouldn’t. All I know is two things: 1. South Africa needs something drastic to happen and 2. The kingdom of heaven arrives with truth and grace in the person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that double whammy of truth and grace is just what we need.

Representing God part 4: Corporate anointing

How do you take a bunch of ordinary people and transform that into something that shows the glory of God to the world? Quite a challenge! When we think about this we usually want to start with transforming the lives of individual people. We want to turn them into something extraordinary. But there is a limit. Most people are, by definition, ordinary! So today I want to talk about a different way, a way for a bunch of ordinary people to become extraordinary together. It’s a synergism called corporate anointing.

Enjoy the video (18 mins) and please engage with us via the comments feed below.

Representing God part3: A Holy Temple

You only have to mention the word “church” to discover a whole bunch of people who are unhappy. And some of us are deeply unhappy. But the church has a calling to fulfil as the holy temple of God where the world can encounter him. It’s time to move beyond our disappointments.

Enjoy the video (20 mins) and please engage with us via the comments feed below.

Representing God part 2: made in His image

How do I know God’s purpose for my life? There are some happy people who know with unshakeable certainty that God has called them to be a doctor or a teacher or something, and that simplifies a lot of these life choices. But most of us rely on gut feelings, or passions or prophetic words to know what God’s purpose is for us, and down the road, when things get rough, it’s easy to feel that maybe we misheard. I want to give you a rock-solid theology of purpose, that I think can take away a lot of the pressure for us and bring us into a whole lot of freedom.

Enjoy the video (20 mins) and please engage with us via the comments feed below.

Sin, morality and grace

The church is in turmoil, if we’re honest, around this one. Fifty years ago it was all very simple – no sex outside of marriage. But since then every time we have tried to draw a line in the moral sand a new cultural wave of sexual liberalization has come crashing in and the we’ve beaten a hasty retreat to higher ground. Just how do we move forwards?

I’m not going to begin to respond to the gay, trans and even paedo debates in just 8 minutes, but I do want to give us a way of thinking about things that can help us move forwards. Watch via the link below and then PLEASE engage with us via the comments feed at the bottom. Enjoy!

Representing God part 1: confident in His presence

I love big picture questions. Particularly in times like these when we are trying to navigate the next days and weeks, I find it so helpful to be able to step back and look at some broader perspectives. And one of those big picture questions is “What are we here for?” What are supposed to be doing here on planet earth? And the longer I meditate on that question, the more I keep coming back to one thing – we are here to represent God.

The video sermon follows the life of Samuel to see how he came to represent God to his generation. Enjoy it, and PLEASE engage with us via the comments feed below.

Why Jesus had to die

The bible tells us in many places that Jesus died for our sins, but why? On the road to Emmaus Jesus told the two disciples that it was “necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory.” Why was it necessary? How was Jesus’ suffering an indispensable part of setting us free from our sins?

Watch this 8-minute video to learn some of the answers that have been put forward. And PLEASE engage with us via the comments feed below!