A church in the Netherlands zealous to make disciples of Christ

A church in the Netherlands zealous to make disciples of Christ

Pictured: Women of Christ Church Heiloo pray together

Deuteronomy 31:12
Assemble the people together-men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns- so they can listen and learn to fear your God and follow carefully all the words of the law.

Christ Church Heiloo (CCH) in the Netherlands is a multicultural, multiethnic, and diverse community. It has a remarkable outward focus despite being a small church – supporting five missions as well as the local food bank.

On Saturday, October 15, 2022 a group of fourteen very enthusiastic female members of CCH gathered to talk about starting ladies’ Bible study groups. During the following 2 weeks two different groups of ladies met to study the scriptures together. These Bible study groups aim to provide a learning community for everyone, a safe place where there is accountability and encouragement. It is also a place where members can invite non-believing friends to “come and see” what Christianity is all about.

Louise leads a group study on prayer at a recent women’s retreat in the Netherlands. 

Johann baptizes a family of new believers in the Netherlands.

Breakfast on the Beach – a new book about Simon Peter by Missionary Johannes van der Bijl

Breakfast on the Beach – a new book about Simon Peter by Missionary Johannes van der Bijl

One of the outcomes of pandemic quarantine was the publishing of a new book by Missionary Johannes van der Bijl in June 2021! The book is the fruit of much research and meditations on the scriptures about Simon Peter and his relationship with Jesus. It is also reflects Johann and Louise’s approach to ministry for many years in Southern Africa. They follow Jesus’ footsteps in disciple-making. – Kate Ulrich, Communications Coordinator

SAMS-USA President and Mission Director Stewart Wicker is pleased to offer an endorsement of Breakfast on the Beach

“Join in the journey of Simon Peter–with all his doubts and failings—in encountering Jesus. As Jesus draws Peter with restorative love, you will be attracted, too, through the power of this fresh, Biblically-grounded narrative.

Through meticulous and sound Biblical research, the Rev. Dr. Johann Vanderbijl fleshes out the story of Simon Peter. As his walk comes alive on these pages, the reader encounters Jesus anew in a profound, heart-changing manner.

With inviting ease, Johann tells the story of the discipleship of Simon Peter. In crossing cultures and centuries, accessing Jesus is simple, yet expansive. The love of Jesus permeates Simon’s personal journey of life transformation.  The call to cross all boundaries with this Good News reverberates throughout the pages.

Johann  tells Simon Peter’s story with passion and affability. As Peter’s life slowly changes through his time with Jesus, may others also partake in this transformative promise of love and extreme forgiveness.

Drawing from the whole Biblical narrative, Johann introduces the reader to Jesus through the eyes of the simple fisherman Simon Peter. In this journey of questioning and discovery as well as failure and restoration all may witness the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Brought me to tears and laughter—occasionally concurrently! Jesus comes alive through Simon Peter’s eyes!”

You may purchase Breakfast on the Beach: The Development of Simon Peter at various booksellers, including Amazon and Langham Publishing. 

Trusting God

Trusting God

1 Kings 8:1-6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43    Psalm 84    Ephesians 6:10-20    John 6:56-69

Trusting God


A story has been told about a man who went hiking up Table Mountain. As he was walking, the famous tablecloth descended upon him in thick, impenetrable folds – so thick he could not see where he was walking. He knew he needed to get off the mountain as quickly as possible, so he gingerly picked his way forward towards the path leading down to the parking lot below. At one point, he misjudged his step, slipped on a wet rock, and went plummeting down the cliff side. As he fell he instinctively grabbed for something that would break his fall…and to his relief, a rather large bush just happened to be growing out of the side of the mountain, and he clung on for dear life.


But he knew this relief was only temporary…he had to find a way to get his feet on firm ground so that he could scramble to safety…but he could not see anything and, try as he might, swinging back and forth with his legs, he could not feel anything. Then he felt the bush give a little…some soil and a few pebbles fell on his head. It was only a matter of time before his weight would prove to be too much for the bush’s shallow root system and his perilous descent would recommence.


So he summoned every ounce of strength left in him and cried out with the loudest voice he could muster.

“Help! Is there anyone out there? Please, help me.”

To his immense surprise, he heard a voice remarkably close by…in fact it almost sounded as if the voice was close to his ear.

“I am here. Do not be afraid.”

“Oh, please,” the man cried. “Are you able to help me?”

“I am,” the voice replied, “Are you willing to trust me?”

“Yes!” shouted the man, “Yes, I am. Please help me. Quickly.”

“Let go of the bush,” the voice said calmly.

“Say what now?” cried the man.

“Let go of the bush,” said the voice.

“Let go of the bush? You’re kidding me, right? That’s not funny. Please, I am very scared…and I’m slipping…the bush is giving way…help me. I can’t hold on much longer, please. I don’t want to die!”

“I am here to help you. You will not die if you just trust me. Let go of the bush…there is a wide ledge a few feet below you. Trust me. I give you my word. Just trust me. Let go of the bush.”

For a brief moment the man hesitated. Then he screamed: “Is there anyone else out there?”


It is interesting to me that at the very heart of Solomon’s Temple – in the holiest place – the Holy of Holies – was a box containing just three rather ordinary things. One was a simple earthenware jug filled with a flaky substance…a small sample of Manna …the other was a simple wooden staff that had once budded…and the other was a block of stone with some words carved into it. If you didn’t know what these things were, they would look very plain and ordinary…


But in the right context, these things were very precious, not necessarily because all three were miraculous, but because they each had a remarkable story to tell…the strange, unknown bread graciously provided from heaven to feed God’s people in the desert… the dried out walking stick that had miraculously sprouted buds and flowers to confirm the God-given leadership of the High Priest, Aaron, Moses’ brother…and the Ten Words of God, or the Ten Commandments as we call them, carved out of rock by the very hand of the Almighty Himself.


You see, what made these items worthy of their placement in such a hallowed space was that each one represented the trustworthiness of God’s Word in the past…and, in the belief system of the Ancient Israelites, if God had done it before, He could be trusted to do it again in the present and in the future.


Or to use the words of the great King Solomon: “Praise the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel, just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us or abandon us.”


God’s Word is trustworthy…what He says He will do. But how can we be so sure? Well, basically because He has a proven track record. The stories in the Bible are there to show us that in spite of what humans think…in spite of what humans fear…in spite of what humans do…in spite of doubt, skepticism, cynicism, weakness, despondency, indifference, and sheer unbelief…God has always proved to be faithful to those who trust Him…and, graciously, sometimes even to those who do not trust Him.


Trust. I want you to see that this one word is key…it is central to our faith…trust. But not just a disembodied trust…it is a trust that is founded on His proven and tested Word.


When King Solomon dedicated the Temple, his focus was on the Word of the God Who had proved Himself faithful to His people and to His king. “You have kept Your promise,” he said, “You made that promise with Your own mouth, and with Your own hands You have fulfilled it today.”


And based on the fact that God is a promise keeping God, Solomon could confidently pray: “May You always hear the prayers I make…May You hear the humble and earnest requests from me and Your people Israel…(may You hear the prayers made by) foreigners who do not belong to Your people Israel…when they pray (to You)…May Your eyes be open to my requests and to the requests of Your people…May You hear and answer them whenever they cry out to You.”


The message seems clear: just as God heard the prayers of His people down through the ages, so surely He will hear the prayers of His people today and tomorrow and for all time, because He is a promise keeping God…He is a faithful God…and His Word is trustworthy.

This truth is crucial to our lives as followers of Jesus especially when it seems as if all hope is fading…when we just don’t understand…when we cannot understand…when we are hanging on by our fingertips…perhaps hanging on to things that are in themselves not trustworthy…things that are fragile and feeble and weak and failing.


Now, for a moment, I want you to put on the sandals of the disciples in Capernaum as they heard those baffling words spoken by their Rabbi, Jesus. Ready?


There you are listening – all anticipation – what is He going to say and do this time? And then you hear Him say: “Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him.” You do a double take? What was that? Eat human flesh and drink human blood? Cannibalism? Seriously? Surely that can’t be what He means, right? It has to be a metaphor…bread of life…bread of heaven…flesh and blood…this is really so hard to comprehend.


And then as you are still scratching your head, you see many other followers leaving…and they are leaving in droves!


Now, don’t judge these deserters too harshly…theologians are still arguing about the meaning of this text…during the Reformation, people lost their heads and were burned at the stake because someone did not understand what Jesus meant by “Eat my flesh and drink My blood”.


But then Jesus turns to you and says: “Are you also going to leave?”


Can you hear it? What is behind this question? “Do you trust Me?”


How did Simon Peter respond? Listen carefully to what he said. “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the WORDS that give eternal life. We believe and we know you are the Holy One of God.”


How on earth did they know?


Well, during the time they had spent with Jesus these disciples had come to believe and know first-hand that the words of Jesus were trustworthy. He had not failed them before. He had done all things well. Why then would they abandon Him when the going got tough…when things were hard to comprehend…when it seemed as if they were on the losing side?


Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about fatalism. I’m not espousing a “Let go and let God – a que sera, sera attitude to life. I’m not even talking about blind faith.


No, what I am referring to is the Word of a God Who has made promises with His own mouth and has fulfilled those promises time and again. The Scriptures and history itself testifies on His behalf. What He promised He did…His Word is trustworthy…


And it is this Word that helps us through trials and tribulations and troubles…it is this Word that defeats unbelief…it is this Word that quenches the fiery arrows of the evil one…it is this Word that keeps us afloat in the storms of life…it is this Word that is our only offensive weapon in the armoury of God.


What God has promised, He has done…what God has promised, He will do…what God has promised, He does. He is trustworthy…the Scriptures testify to the fact…the saints throughout history testify to the fact…and I am sure your own lives testify to the fact.


This is one of the reasons why I love the Eucharist so much. This is a picture…a portrait of our Lord’s trustworthiness. Way back when sin first entered our world, God promised that He would send someone…the Seed of a woman, as the older translations have it…to set things right. And He did. The second Person of the Trinity…the Son of God Himself…left His glory…He set aside His majesty…so that He might take on human form to annul a penalty that was mine…to die a death that was mine…to pay a ransom that was mine…


Here at His Table, we see His Word re-enacted…performed…demonstrated…with simple and ordinary elements…bread and wine…as simple and as ordinary as an earthenware jug, a dry walking stick, and a piece of stone. But in the context of this gathering of His people, these ordinary, simple elements take on a whole new meaning…a profound meaning…a life changing meaning…here these elements tell us a story of promise and fulfilment…a story of faithfulness…a story of love…a story of trust.


So when the clouds descend upon your life as a blanket…when you simply cannot see one step ahead of yourself…when you are hanging on for dear life…when others are losing hope…when so called common sense and logic fail you…trust Him…trust His Word.


Dearest beloved brethren, place God’s Word in the most sacred space in your life…at the very centre of your existence…and allow it to be the governing force behind everything you think and do and say. Only then will you be able to trust Him…


Johannes W H van der Bijl © 2018-08-20

An invitation for South African Church Leaders

Here’s an invitation for South African pastors and priests and your community leaders to the Divine Renovation Conference that will be held in Johannesburg from the 13- 14th of August 2018 at the Church of the Resurrection Bryanston OR 16 August St Joseph’s Morningside Durban OR 18 August Holy Redeemer Bergvliet Cape Town.
We are honoured to have Father James Mallon, Catholic priest and the author of the bestselling book “Divine Renovation: From A Maintenance to A Missional Parish”, http://www.divinerenovation.net/the_book an engaging guide for parishes seeking to cultivate dynamic faith communities centred on missionary discipleship, as our keynote speaker. Father James Mackay of the Docklands in the East of London will also be speaking on his experience with the Divine Renovation model. (See video clip links below…)
The message of Divine Renovation has resonated in the hearts of hundreds of pastors and the laity throughout the world. It has inspired and motivated them to act and seek help in transforming their own faith community.
R150 for Durban and Cape Town which are one day events.
We are very excited and look forward to having you and your community leaders with us.
Thank you so much and God Bless.
Check out these interviews:

Resources for Missionaries and Wannabe Missionaries

Three Resources for you:
The Call is not Enough:
In this first article, Ryan writes: “I had a psychotherapist a few years ago who I often brought personal issues of meaning and vocation to.   I remember him saying, “The need does not necessitate the call.” In essence, he was saying that the existence of an issue in the world—be it social, political, humanitarian—does not mean a certain individual is called to engage it or help solve it. The unique ways in which we are each made informs how we are designed to be in the world, how we are meant to live and serve. And just as the need does not necessitate the call, the call does not necessitate the readiness. Or put differently, even when we are we called, it doesn’t mean that we are prepared to go. The call is not enough.”

Why Missionaries Nee to Know their own Wounds

The second article deals with wounds…and, indeed, the need to deal with our wounds.

From the Inside Out by Ryan Kuja:

And…Ryan has also written a book: https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Out-Reimagining-Mission-Recreating/dp/1532616392/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1527779893&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=ryan+kuja