Tag Archive: stellenbosch vineyard

so botswana was hot. very hot. hotter than the camembert cheese (or lack thereof) in the monty python ‘the cheese shop’ skit was runny. and so a lot of the time it was a case of existing and surviving and seeking shade.

but there was some contemplation that took place, in between the gaps (surely you mean ‘in the gaps?’ – yes, quite, i clearly panic’d!) about life, the universe, and a whole bunch of stuff. well seven. seven stuffs. at least, and maybe eight.

but one of those was next year and for those of you who don’t know (or haven’t asked in a while), the plan for next year is waiting on God for a plan for next year. not a kind of random, let’s wait around and hope something turns up kind of waiting, but a more purposeful i-believe-God-has-lead-us-to-specifically-wait-on-Him-for-the-next-life-plan-and-journey plan kind of thing…

i resigned my job after working for 6 years at the vineyard church in stellenbosch and the beautiful val is in the final throes (or throws, perhaps) of finishing her masters thesis in development studies at the u of ct (first draft handed in, waiting for it back so changes can be made, if necessary, before final submission)

so we are waiting, and it is both tremendously exciting and slightly nerve-wracking cos what if God doesn’t show up? what if i heard wrong? what if a wood chuck could chuck all that wood, or if anyone knew what chucking was in the wood chuckian context?

and the closer it gets, the more nerve-wracking it should become i would imagine, according to latent locked-away mathematical propositionals lurking in the grey matter of my brain… yet botswana somehow proved the opposite… i really wanted to spend a lot more time in prayer and contemplation and thinking and dreaming and co-dreaming with tbv and so on, but the heat and context took care of a lot of that. but i did do a bunch. i managed to get up on a few mornings before manyone else and sat in the funky camp deckchair (with foot rest) next to the fire and mused.

amused. at times. and just plain contemplative at others. and chatted to God a bit. and read some ezekiel (wo!)

and i didn’t hear anything much. but i did feel a lot more peace. and calm. i really haven’t been much stressed about the whole thing at all, altho i think that is more likely more due to my ostrichsitis than my calm prevailing trust (which does exist, but possibly not quite as much as my maybeifidontthinkaboutititwillgoawayorjusthappen’ness) and botswana for me was a lot of just reducing the one and increasing the other, and so now, altho january is soon, i am fine with that. i have been still and known that He is God, and i really believe that He has this one. and it excites me.

and the moment i hear anything about next year and know what is going to happen, you will be one of the top ten to know so PLEASE STOP ASKING ME THE FLIPPIN QUESTION? cough. thankx. i know you care. it means a lot. but until we know, we don’t know. it’s that simple.

[oh and we’re not particularly wanting to have kids at any stage and val’s thesis is going well, thankx.]

so last week at enGAGE (sun eve congregation gathering at stellenbosch vineyard church) we had over 40 people there including a bunch of first-timers and roymond preached up an elijah storm in his first ever preach on the firetruck in the desert and your buckets capacity… at the start of the service i challenged the congregation to be more committed in terms of choosing to hang with us more regularly (attendance can be a bit sporadic at times) not wanting to make it a heavy ‘you-must-come-to-church’ vibe but also when i preach this term a series that build on each other it really helps to have people coming more regularly to get the whole journey as opposed to one or two of the pit stops

so last nite, once the worship team took their places – and we don’t have a worship team of 25 people – there were close to ten people left – from 40 plus to under 20 – great upping of commitment there – and so i was completely bummed

before then i was only partially bummed – we have a prayer time with the leaders and whoever wants to join us before the service and everyone felt so dead and withdrawn and no one was really praying or anything so i felt like God wanted me to pray for peoples amping and filling with the Holy Spirit and so i shared a bit of that and then said whoever wants God to fill them or up their amping please stand and i will pray for you – by then i was super amped to see God just pour Himself into people and really bring His joy and life and ampdness…

til no one stood – a room of 6 or 7 people and no-one seemed ampd to be ampd – and then one of the guys tried to cover over the awkwardness perhaps by making it into something else but i really felt strongly that this is what God was wanting to do and if no one is ampd then that’s fine but i really want to pray for anyone who does – my beautiful wife Val stood and i got to pray for her which was amazing – but again, no one else – and i’m sure people have their reasons and so on and that’s fine – i’m not judging them, but i’m just saying that i was super bummed…

and so during worship singing time i really didn’t know what to do because the preach i had prepared on engaging with those outside of the church seemed a bit random when there were only about 20 people inside the church and so i decided to lus my preach and instead share the anne rice/john ellis stuff that i’ve been blogging and thinking about – i started by saying how i know the pastory type guy has to have it all together and can’t be bummed and so on, but i am and mentioned the previous week’s commitment thing…

and so i read Anne Rice’s three comments/posts and we had the raddest discussion and within about two minutes i had left super bummed behind and just embraced the potential and opportunity to discuss something that is quite real in the church and the world right now – the importance of understanding where a lot of christians are coming from at the moment – loving Christ completely but not so ampd for some of the horrible hurtful things church can get up to

this week i also read the headline of a story of a church in the US (think i know which one if their reputation is anything to go on) who are planning a koran burning on the 9th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers – i can not begin to imagine the damage that might cause – i can imagine the ‘message of love’ it is sending out with the label ‘church’ attached and i can fully understand a lot of people wanting to have nothing to do with being associated with that particular label

another friend of mine commented on the anne rice note i had on facebook something about those clowns who love Jesus but leave the church – again words of love which are really going to help ‘those clowns’ realise how misguided they are and draw them back towards the church?

at the end of it all, and the really delightful participationary service it had become, the conclusion was this – it is our responsibility and opportunity to draw alongside the anne rice’s and the john ellis’s and so many more people out there in similiar waters, and demonstrate to them a church that IS known by the love they have for each other, that is loving the sinner (while hating the sin but making well sure the sinner realises the difference between the two), that is involved in society actively building, reaching out, loving, reconciling and being the body of Christ in a world that is desperately hungry to see a church that lives out what it says it believes

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