The Scriptures often speak out against gossip, or “talebearing” in some versions…especially when what is being said is malicious or untrue. The tongue, James tells us, although one of the smallest members of the body, can be extremely destructive. So spreading stories about others is frowned upon for good reason.
However, there are two forms of gossip that are commendable.
The first is when you gossip about Jesus. There is absolutely nothing negative you can say about someone who is perfect now, is there? And He is perfect…He came in the likeness of humanity and was like us in every respect, yet without sin. Gossiping about Jesus is a very positive thing to do as when others hear about Him and how wonderful and awesome He is, they want to get to know Him for themselves. The next step is then to simply introduce them to Him and let Him take it from there…
The second form of permissible gossip is when you gossip about missionaries and whatever it is the Lord has them doing in His vast harvest field. Now, unlike Jesus, missionaries are not prefect…sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but we are fallen, broken human beings like everyone else. But…and here comes the good part…you can talk about what Jesus – the only one who is perfect in every way (unless you believe in Mary Poppins) – is doing in and through us! See? Then you are spreading good things…and, indirectly, Good News too!
So, Louise and I give you full permission to gossip about what Jesus is doing in and through us as much as you like. You see, when you gossip about us, you keep us alive in the hearts and minds of those we have left behind in the States…and you introduce us to new folks who may be interested to hear about the Lord’s work in southern Africa, but just don’t know anyone who works here.
So, go ahead…gossip about Jesus and about what He is doing in and through us all you like…you have our permission!
Another testimony of how our training in Strategy has had a positive impact! This time, from Swaziland. Our coordinator, Mandla Bhembe wrote:
Happy to hear from you.
God is helping us and we meet every Wednesday with the group around Mbabane. Busy with the 60 days Study in the life of Jesus Christ. I have also met the clergy from the East Region hope classes will be starting soon by Rev Ntokozo Ndzimandze. My phone got broken God has provided with a new one and hope now communication with you will be much easier now.
Finances are still a challenge but the Lord is helping us. When ready will be happy to invite you again for the further study you have highlighted.
God bless you sir
We don’t often get feedback from our trainees, but when we do, they are always special. Like this one from Phiwa in Durban. About our most recent training in Strategy he just wrote:
The Lord is with you.
I can’t thank you enough for the spiritual armaments that you have imparted into my spirituality as well as ministry through this training.
The material is so divine to extent that I have waited for such since 2008, but I really would not put my head around to formulate anything like that, even though I knew that something is missing in the way I teach the children of God. But now with this material every thing will be so easy. I would like to read the 4 Chairs book, please advise as to how can I get it.
Thank you once again.
Yours in Christ
The image was disturbing. A decapitated Christ – repaired, but broken nonetheless. Who could have done such a thing?
But even more disturbing were the security fences around the church…obviously vandals needed to be deterred, but the spiked fences, electrified wires, and thorny shrubbery were there to keep out the very ones who desperately needed the one Who came to give His life for the world. The Lamb of God Who died as a propitiation for our sins. Heartbreaking.
Everyone in the Durban area lives behind high walls and have all manners of security features from electric wires, to rolls of barbed wire, to cameras…and they live in fear. A friend I met for the first time in 45 years told us horror stories of car highjackings – she herself was highjacked once – break-ins, murders, thefts, and other lawless deeds that were everyday occurrences. She was obviously nervous and did not wish to stand on the pavement to say goodbye for too long…
I have brooded over these images for days now. Were these images somehow images of our lives as believers? After all, we are the Temple of the living God and if our defences are so high – for whatever reason – that no one can get close enough to catch a glimpse of the crucified yet risen Saviour we represent, what purpose do we serve in the Kingdom? What are we hiding behind?
To be sure, vandals break hearts as well as statues, and we do need to protect our church buildings as much as we need to protect our bodies…but was His body not broken to bring the world in?
“I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” These words of Nehemiah, addressed to those who were opposing the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, have encouraged us more than once in our Kingdom work.
The enemy is so determined to defeat the work of God’s people that he will use any tactic possible. He will use people, often even God’s own people, to discourage us. He will use situations and stories to incite fear to make us reluctant to go somewhere or to speak to someone or to do something risky and yet important. This should not surprise as, as the enemy used the very same tactics with our Lord Jesus. We are also warned in the Scriptures that we are at war, not with people, but with powers and principalities of darkness in the heavenly places. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour. So, we are not ignorant of his efforts.
We find our courage and determination to press on by focussing on Jesus who who was made a little lower than the angels, who took on the form of a slave and came in the likeness of humanity, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, who endured shame, humiliation, betrayal, desertion, and crucifixion…all for the joy that was set before Him…the joy of knowing that His labour was not in vain. That through His sacrificial suffering and death, many would be reconciled to God the Father through faith in Him.
This past week, Louise and I trained a number of potential disciple makers in the Diocese of Natal. The first two days was focussed on the first of the four modules in the LEAD Program training, Strategy. The attendees were mostly clergy and lay leaders. We were so encouraged to hear this group say that, while they have heard about discipleship for years and have even attended various courses on the subject, this was the first time they felt we had given them the tool they needed to do the work!
They were so excited about the material that they decided they want to translate it into their own language, Zulu, so that they can teach many more people how to make disciples! We will be sending them the Xhosa and English versions this week so that they can strike while the iron is still hot!
The second group was mostly made up of lay leaders. For this training we teamed up with Trevor and Estelle, our team members from Growing the Church, as it was the first time we would be teaching this material. We had heard quite a bit about Rooted in Jesus and it is used in many African countries, but we have never been trained to teach it. Estelle worked out a three day program and gave us a few sections to teach and to lead. The training is divided up into teaching sessions, workshops, and practical sessions and everyone participates. It was a lot of fun and the group really enjoyed it. At the end, each participant had an opportunity to say how the course had touched them personally and what they were going to do about it! Watch out Natal!
Once again we were reminded that we are engaged in a great work…that in spite of the many distractions, disappointments, and discouragements that the enemy hurls at us ever so often, we must be determined to press on…because we really do live for Christ and for Christ alone. Jesus faced what He faced because of the joy that was set before Him…the joy of knowing that many would come to the Father because of His labour. By His grace and His aid, we can do the same.
We are engaged in a a great work…we cannot come down.