Resolve – Men’s Breakfast

Please join us on the 2nd of September for our 2nd men’s breakfast of 2017. The morning will consist of two Bible talks, tackling two battles that Christian men face. There will also be a few excellent books for sale, related to the topics covered. A free fry up will be served from 7:30 am, while cappuccinos will be available from 7:00 am.  Sign up here: Resolve Men’s Breakfast so that we can cater for you, and encourage your friends to come along too.

Discover – The Reformation

The convictions that under-gird our statements regarding the Bible, Jesus’ identity, what he has accomplished, what it means to know God, and how God reveals himself are all essential parts of the Reformation. Though our context is different, the issues that were dealt with then are the same today.

When we learn about the Reformation we are doing far more than merely studying history or even our theological heritage; we will discover the glorious truths that were lost but came to light by God’s grace at the Reformation. And those truths are certainly not abstract or irrelevant. They call us back from the same errors that rob Christians of assurance and God of glory. The Reformation was not an unimportant theological scuffle but the rediscovery of biblical essentials for living the Christian life.

Discover The Reformation is a 6 week course, running on Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm-8pm. It will run from the 8 August to 12 September.

Everyone is welcome.

Guest Service

Our money is something we all feel deeply about. Jesus has important things to say about money and God.

Come join us at any one of our three services: 7:45am, 9:30am and 6pm, this Sunday, 30 July, for a candid look at Jesus’ view of money and possessions. 

Everyone is welcome, so please invite your family, friends and colleagues.

Holiday Bible Club

Holiday Bible Club will be running each morning, 8.00 am-12.30 pm, Tuesday to Friday. It is for Grade R-7 and will be a club full of energy, excitement, singing, games, crafts, drama, cooking and much more. Also each day the children will look at a Bible story about Jesus. .The cost is R70 per day or R250 for all 4 days. Please sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/CCU-HBC-2017. Sign up closes 12 July.

PLEASE NOTE THE DATE CHANGE: It is no longer from the 11-14 of July but from the 18-21 of July.

Proverbs on Wisdom, Wealth and Prosperity

God blesses the wise with wealth (3:9-10, 15-16; 10:22)

This is unavoidable as we read Proverbs, but we must remember that the genre of wisdom employs principles that are generally true, not explicit promises or formulas. Material gain will result from wisdom in life, for God rewards those who honour and obey him. In addition to this general, though not guaranteed, promise of wisdom, wealth makes life’s challenges easier to navigate (10:15-16). Because God orders our universe, our actions have consequences; this is positively seen in wisdom resulting in blessing.

 

Foolish behaviour leads to poverty (10:4-5; 6:6-11)

This is most clearly seen in the contrast between the hard worker and the lazy (26:13-15). While laziness is the primary reason given for poverty in Proverbs, other follies are given: over-indulgence (21:17); oppression of the poor (22:16); even being frugal or stingy (11:24). In Proverbs, God urges us to be productive not sluggardly. Contrast with the first point, God’s wisely ordered universe means that generally speaking: if you are foolish and lazy, you will suffer want.

 

The wealth of fools will not last (13:11; 21:6; 22:16; 23:4-5)

Proverbs raises the tension of the wealthy wicked, rich fools, and righteous suffering (see Psalm 73; also Job and Ecclesiastes). This is a question many have when they look at our world and their own lives. But 11:18 reads, “Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.” Money is not as precious as right living for it cannot avert judgment (11:4). Despite God blessing the wise with wealth, it cannot be your security, nor should you conclude from your wealth that you are righteous.

 

Poverty is the result of injustice and oppression

Wisdom involves knowing when laziness is the cause of poverty as opposed to circumstances or injustice (13:23). Since God’s world isn’t mechanical and the human condition is complex, the poor person might be more wise than the wealthy (16:8), as we saw in the previous point. “The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD made them both (22:2). Therefore, poverty is not necessarily the fruit of laziness or folly. The Bible knows many righteous and godly people with persevering faith and integrity.

 

Those with money must be generous (29:7; 3:27-28)

There are rewards and blessings for being generous (29:14; 28:27; 11:24). This idea is picked up by Paul in 2 Corinthians 8-9. In both Old and New Testaments we must recognise that being generous in order to get something in return is not actually generosity, it is selfishness. Again, because Proverbs presents us with generally true cases: generosity isn’t a formula to gaining wealth. That explains the book’s criticism uncritical generosity (6:1-5). We do not seek blessings from God through generosity, rather we should seek to bless others generously, and with wisdom.

 

Wisdom is better than wealth (3:14-16)

But not the ultimate good; we can say that because the book makes things relative using better-than forms (15:16, 17; 16:8, 16; 17:1; 22:1; 28:6). Furthermore, Proverbs provides numerous characteristics that are more important than having wealth: peace (15:16; 17:1), loving relationships (15:17); honesty (16:8; 28:6); and a good reputation (22:1). These, according to Proverbs, flow from wisdom (16:16), which is almost synonymous with the fear of the LORD (15:16) and godliness (16:8).

 

Wealth has limited value (11:4)

For wisdom enacted in right living keeps us from dangerous situations (6:34; 2:11). In fact, wealth can be troublesome (13:8):  exposing the rich to scorn (19:10) and bringing false friends (14:20). The points above, taken together with this final one, should warn us that it is foolish to: measure faith by wealth; to think that wisdom (and our relationship with God) is a means to wealth; and pursue wealth instead of godliness, virtue, and generosity.

These points are adapted from Tremper Longman’s excellent book, How to Read Proverbs (pp120-130).

 

Desired Treasures

Desired Treasures

By Brenda Daniels

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of greed is: Intense or excessive desire, especially for food or wealth.

Whilst the basic desire described in this definition is physical (food, possessions), I believe it doesn’t preclude desires for other things too, like desires for power, relationship happiness, or success. Desire is the underlying factor, whether for physical or non-physical things. In the book Killjoys, author on the chapter ‘Greed’, David Mathis, says that in the Bible greed can be equated to covetousness. The dictionary definition of covet is: yearn to possess (something, especially something belonging to another).

I can relate to coveting ‘relationship happiness’. Let me illustrate. For many years after I married I struggled to adapt to my new lifestyle. I had come from a home that prized routine. This routine gave me a great deal of comfort and security. But I had married a man whose job had virtually NO routine, from one day to the next, one month to the next, forever. And he was often away from home. Saturdays were particularly hard for me. I remember going out with my small children one Saturday and seeing EVERYONE else in happy family clumps. Husbands and wives, lovers, boyfriends and girlfriends – all holding hands, chatting, basically having a good time. Except me. Here I was alone, coping with two small children by myself when EVERYONE else was together. It was so unfair. I was miserable.

Focusing on what I didn’t have, coveting what I thought others did have, having an ‘excessive desire’ for what I lacked, had definitely robbed me of my joy. But more than ‘killing my own joy’ my comparison-induced misery had dishonoured the God I believed in. I had forgotten to be thankful to Him for what I did have. And most of all I had failed to trust in Him. To trust in the Jesus who, though he possessed everything, on the cross had made himself nothing so that I might have everything in him. Companionship, security, love, family.

Spend some time with your Freedom-in-Fellowship One-to-One partner discussing how you may have failed to trust in the God who is your ‘better possession’ by being greedy for what you do not have. Together meditate on Matthew 13:44 which says ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’

Think together about how you can trust more in Jesus, your greatest treasure.

One thing I ask from the Lord… that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever

Freedom in Fellowship One to One: Article 2

By Brenda Daniels. Material taken from Living Without Worry by Timothy Lane.

Hullo dear Freedom in Fellowship One-to-One ladies and happy 2017 to you!

Perhaps at the start of this new year you are feeling fresh, full of energy and looking forward to the year ahead. Or perhaps you feel anxious about what 2017 could hold for you.

Worrying about the future is often due to its uncertain nature. So, for instance, you may be concerned about having enough to eat or drink. Or being capable enough to find a job. Perhaps you worry about your future health, or if you’ll be lonely. Or maybe you find yourself asking a variety of “What if….” questions. When these uncertainties mount up in our minds we can become anxious, lose our appetites (or overeat), feel sad, paranoid or even depressed.

So how, as Christians, do we begin to deal with this future worry? Well, we need a sense of perspective. Jesus gives us this when he tells us about hell in Luke 12. “I tell you my friends,” begins verse 4, “do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear him, who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” Hell is a final reality, one our just God will use to ultimately judge sin. It is God we should ultimately fear.

At the same time as Jesus speaks about hell in Luke 12, though, he also provides a solution to this problem: forgiveness through the Father’s grace. In Luke 12:8 Jesus says: “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.” Jesus’ explicit purpose for coming to Earth, you see, was to deal with the fearful reality of God’s judgment of sin and the awful nature of hell. He tells us what to worry about, yes, but then (when we believe in him) he takes away our need to worry and gives us the wonderful promise of eternal fellowship with him in heaven.

So, in the ups and downs of the weeks to come, the stresses and strains of your uncertain future, let the certainty of your eternal future be what you cling to. May God grant you grace to embrace the truth that, if you belong to Jesus, hell has no power over you.

Share some future worries you may have with your Freedom in Fellowship partner and pray together through Psalm 27:4-5:

One thing I ask from the Lord,

            This only do I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

            All the days of my life,

To gaze on the beauty of the Lord

            And to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

            He will will keep me safe in his dwelling;

He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

            And set me high upon a rock.

 

Be a Plodding Blogger

Being urged to be a “plodder” can be helpful to a number of different areas of life. Here, an article from www.challies.com encourages Christian blog writers to be “plodding bloggers”:

I believe that blogs have been a blessing to the church in the twenty-first century. Maybe I have to believe this since I have blogged nearly every day of the century. Still, with every bit of objectivity I can muster, I say it and believe it: For all their problems and all their shortcomings, blogs have been a blessing. They have served the church and the cause of the church.

Over my years of reading and writing blogs, I have seen thousands of blogs and bloggers come and go. There are many reasons people have stopped writing: Some have had life’s responsibilities overwhelm the time they would otherwise dedicate to writing, some have had to refocus on family or local church, some grew weary of critics and criticism, some have simply run out of things to say. But I think the most common reason people have given up is that they grew tired of the plodding. Over time they grew discouraged by the distance between the effort and the reward, between the investment and the result.

And let’s not kid ourselves: Blogging is hard work. Far more often than not, it is mundane, unglamorous, thankless work. In that way blogging is a lot like most of what we do in this world. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes skill, and at the end of it all you wonder if it has made any difference to you or to anyone else.

Today I want to put out a call for plodding bloggers. I’m taking my cue from Scott Slayton who recently put out a similar call to plodding church planters. In that article he pointed out that many church planters delude themselves into thinking that they will move to a new town, start a new church, and see immediate, overwhelming results. But in reality, most move to that new town, start the new church, and see only very ordinary results. Unless they are plodders they will be tempted to give up.

And in much the same way, many bloggers set out with grandiose dreams of writing a few articles and witnessing an explosion of readers, of receiving mountains of grateful feedback, maybe even of seeing publishers waving book contracts. But the reality is far different. They publish a few articles, see little response, and find themselves tempted to give up. Or perhaps, even worse, they publish an article, see it explode in popularity, and then never again come close to matching that one. And soon the daily blogging becomes weekly blogging becomes occasional blogging becomes abandoned blogging.

Slayton says,

The man who plants [a sound, faithful church] must be willing to do work that doesn’t make for interesting tweets. He must be a man who cultivates his relationship with Jesus, his wife, and children each and every day. He has to be willing to spend hours glued to his chair with his head in the Bible so he can faithfully teach it to others. This man will dedicate significant time each week to purposeful conversation with other Christians, helping them to understand how to follow Jesus.

The task of the Christian blogger is different but the same. He, too, needs to do a lot of living that will never turn into tweets or blog posts. She, too, must first cultivate relationships with her Saviour and her family. He, too, must be constantly learning and growing through the Word. She, too, must put aside desires for other visions of success in favor of the simple joy of helping others understand how to follow Jesus. And what a joy that is! And what a blessing that blogs make it possible.

Are you blogging to build yourself a platform, so you can be known and admired? No platform will ever be high enough and no amount of fame or admiration will ever satisfy. Are you blogging as a kind of necessary evil on the way to a book contract and a conference stage? You will forsake authenticity and true substance in favor of manipulative click-bait headlines. But if you are blogging out of a desire to glorify God by doing good to those who are created in the image of God, now you are in the spot where God can and will use you, even if he uses you in small ways and ways that are hard to detect. When I bump into readers of my blog and they tell me about articles that have been helpful to them, almost invariably these are the small articles that I would have deemed unsuccessful. They are the minor articles that barely registered. And yet the Lord chose to use them to encourage one of his people. Hearing this blesses and strengthens me every time.

I believe we are living in a golden age of writing, where any Christian with a heart for the Lord and the Lord’s people can have a voice of edification and encouragement. This is a tremendous blessing! We have thousands and tens of thousands of Christians eagerly using this new medium to tell others about what Jesus has done in them and for them. We are all the grateful beneficiaries.

So my message for my fellow bloggers is this: Plod on! Be content to be a plodding blogger and trust that God is glorifying himself and blessing his people through your faithfulness.

Pumpkin Party!

An article by Imogen Schafer.

The time had come once again. The months of planning and designing the costumes had reached a close as Christ Church Umhlanga’s annual Pumpkin Party began!

Children flooded CCU on Friday night, 30 October 2015, all geared up in their amazing costumes. Wors sizzled on the braai, sugar pumped through the children’s systems and the adults enjoyed a well-earned cappuccino as their offspring busied themselves going through various activities. Excitement, laughter and music were heavy in the air as the children made crafts, iced biscuits and played games.

One of the evening’s highlights was the short talk that Grant Retief gave. Aimed at people of all ages, Grant taught that God made everything and was in control of everything, even the scary things. Because of this, no-one has to be scared of anything, even sin, which Jesus defeated on the cross.

Everyone had an amazing evening learning about God’s power and love and the costume designing has already started for next year’s much-anticipated Pumpkin Party!

Pumpkin Party 2015.2Pumpkin Party 2015.1Pumpkin Party 2015

Music & Ministry

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1 Timothy 1:15, written by Paul).

Justin Mote and Tertia Hendricks will be at CCU this Easter. Justin will be preaching on Good Friday, 3 April and on Easter Sunday, 5 April, at the 7.45am and 9.30am services (both days). Tertia will be involved in the music at these services and on Sunday at 5pm will perform in a concert. Bring your own picnic to this event; the live show will be followed by a Q & A with Justin.Justin

Justin Mote is one of England’s foremost Bible teachers and trainer of Bible teaching. He lives in Leyland near Liverpool, and is married to Jo. The couple has three children, the oldest of whom will be with Justin at Easter. Justin is the head of a training and church planting network called The North West Partnership. He is also the president of the Anglican Mission to England – a new organisation aimed at holding Anglicans to the revealed and authoritative word of God.

Justin loves cricket, South Africa and the sun!

Tertia

 

Tertia Hendricks is a Christian singer, classic-jazz pianist, and music teacher. Born to Christian parents and raised in Cape Town, she began taking piano lessons at 10 years of age and became a believer in Jesus at 13. After completing her formal music education she began teaching, performing at various events, song writing, studio recording, and producing two albums. She also engaged in music ministry at St James Church, Kenilworth, and at Christian conferences. Her husband, Ian, is a marketing consultant and since 1992 they have together worked with children, teenagers and adults of all ages through Bible teaching and music. Their goal has been to encourage these age groups in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. From 2003 to 2007 Ian and Tertia have lived in Zambia and Malawi, working in business management, and travelling and networking with Christian missionaries through music, education and hospitality. Currently, they live in the Western Cape, serving at Christ Church Hermanus, enjoying family life and home-schooling their daughters Morgan (eight) and Lizelle (three).

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3).