Tag Archive: rocklands


OctLnow

One of my favourite weekends of the year, when i’ve been privileged enough to be a part of it [which is quite often!], is the weekend known as October Leadership.

i have been part of at least ten of them and spoken on about 8 of those and it has never failed to be a life [and hopefully school etc] transforming weekend.

Run by Scripture Union, the purpose of October Leadership has been gathering together the Christian Union committees from the various high school around Cape Town and training up the leaders to lead the Christian groups and impact their schools for the year to come.

The two pictures above are of October Leadership as i remember it to be, 7 to 10 years ago, when we had the campsite at close to full capacity with close to 20 different schools represented, and then camp this weekend which must have been about half the size.

[Apparently last year they only had about 30 people and only had to make use of the top half of the campsite]

With the theme of Live Out Loud [LOL, but not really] this year felt like another significant time of inspiration, challenge, opportunity to deal with the crap in our lives holding us back and being handed the question, “WHAT IF?”. Inviting the young people to start to imagine and dream and wonder – what if God pitched up* at your school? What would it look like if the kingdom of heaven really broke into your school in a big and real way?

[* where by ‘pitched up’ i am not suggesting for a second that God ever left but for me the idea of God doing some discernible and very noticeable work]

So i have no doubt that it was a significant weekend for a number of the people who attended. Hopefully everyone in different ways.

But, during worship on Friday night, i did something i really don’t do all that often. [We’re talking once every ten years, if that, although i would be more than okay if it was more]

I started to cry. 

Looking around at the people who were there, it was almost more obvious to me who was not there. My old high school, Westerford, was one of the schools that was not there. S.A.C.S. and Bishops and i think Wynberg Boys were not there. Rondebosch boys was represented by one person. Most of the schools from the Stellenbosch and Somerset West side. Parel Vallei. Fish Hoek. Many more…

The worship session followed a time when the young people had gathered in their CU committee groups and written down a little bit of their current reality and they shared that with the big group. What added to my breakdown was hearing from some CU groups that used to be really huge and influential in their schools who now had more people on their committee than attending meetings. Listening to at least three schools that had to bribe people with biscuits or chips to come to their meetings. Schools represented that didn’t even have a Christian group of any kind.

It was quickly obvious to us that something had gone wrong. Someone somewhere had dropped the ball. Somewhere along the line, people had just started taking this camp for granted or had just not had a clue about the significance of it. And these poor kids [and many of those not represented and possibly a bunch of schools in the Western Cape who have struggling, dying or non-existent Christian groups] had been caught in the crossfire.

THIS IS NOT OKAY!

Val and i had a bunch of conversations about a lot of the reasons that may have led to this and hopefully i can tempt her into writing a post to express some of them more eloquently than i did. What resulted was that she ended up doing the last talk this morning and just hitting it out of the park in terms of confession and being able to name some of the things and being able to inspire, challenge, encourage and hopefully give these young people something to work with.

God showed up [as He does when you create space for Him and invite Him and step out of the way] but it should have been such a more significant weekend for a whole lot more individuals and schools represented and something needs to change to get us back there. Who in the Western Cape will stand in the gap to help Daryl Henning [old mate of mine who has just become the leader of the SU work in the Western Cape and who i am so grateful for and know has some great plans in mind to head things in the right direction] and others lead this thing back to a great place? i have heard that Schools United are doing some great vibes and there are some cool youth ministries and leaders around. But the legacy of strong schools ministry feels like something that should not be let go too easily.

The one passage that followed us around the weekend and is one of the inspiring pieces we held onto as we said our goodbyes and moved out was this passage from Ezekiel 37:

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

 

so back in new year’s times i met a guy called gabe at an event i was mc’ing and it wasn’t the greatest of meetings – we had a difference of opinion over some or other thing, i blogged about it without using his name (altho everyone who had been at the event knew who i was talking about) and he (and more particularly his friends) didn’t like that i did that so much (some of his friends got quite pissed off with me telling me what a solid follower of Jesus he was and how i didn’t know him and how could i say stuff and blah blah blah)…

turns out funnily enuff that despite the event being on the other side of the country, Gabe is from nearby to where i live and so when i finally was able to get hold of him, he very graciously agreed to meet (slash take me out for pizza) and we met and chatted and got to know each other better and dealt with the new year’s vibe and put it behind us… which was pretty cool.

anyways, i was invited a long time ago to speak at the Rondebosch/Rustenburg schools Christian Union camp which i did this last weekend, with the beautiful Val joining me in a really fun Relationships workshop and we had a complete vibe at the camp…

turns out, the other speaker on camp, was none other than mister Gabe himself – i had already gone to hang out with him in Jan at a camp he led worship at for one nite and so i’d seen him in ministry mode, but it was cool getting to see him ministering in another way…

and i learnt stuff… not necessarily new stuff i didn’t know, but in both of his talks there was at least one key thing that he unpacked differently to how i’d heard or seen it before and so it really was a growing situation for me which was really great – revelationary stuff…

the one was about Jesus being baptised in Matthew 3 (see title) which ends with “As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3.16-17]

and then Jesus heads out to the desert to fast and pray and eventually be tempted by the devil…

actually, as i’m writing this i remember two things that Gabe brought out of this passage…

[1] the first is to note how many miracles Jesus had done up to that point, how many great preaches He had done, how many of His acts of spending time with the people in society – women, children, tax collectors, lepers, samaritans – that no one liked or spent time with, and the answer is none. Jesus had not done any of His public ministry yet and He receives complete affirmation from God. God’s pleasure and love is a result of God, not of Jesus achieving or earning it. That is a pretty hectic picture of grace.

[2] and the second is that when the devil comes to tempt Jesus, he starts with the questioning phrase, “If you are the Son of God…” in the same way that he met Adam and Eve in the garden and questioned what God had said to them. But we’ve just witnessed it in Matthew 3 as did Jesus – heaven opened and God boomed out in a loud voice “You are the Son of God” – Jesus has heard that He is the Son of God, from His Father and so when the devil comes with his little “if you are the Son of God” He is able to stomp all over it and point back to what just happened. Because Jesus has His identity firmly wrapped up in God and who the Father says He is, the temptations and accusations of the devil fall completely flat.

So stop doing stuff to try and earn God’s love – you already have it [do stuff as a result of incredible gratitude and response to the love you have received – Christ’s love compels me…]

And find your identity in God, stop being sidetracked by the lying voice of the devil… if you follow Jesus, you have been made into a child of a king, live in that status…

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