The Rock ChurchThe Rock Church

By admin

Smashing generalisations

I’m not a fan of generalisations, even though I fall prey to them just like everyone else. Generalisations come in all shapes and sizes, and label people according to some strange grouping where everyone is ‘exactly the same’. Being a science-fiction writer this tends to make me think a little like this: people are robots and are classified into their neat little programmed groups – the hipster robots, the goth robots, the middle-aged robots, the home-schooler robots, the ‘snotty-nosed-kid’ robots, the Christian robots, the Atheist robots, the girl robots, the boy robots, the gay robots, the arty robots, the stuffed-shirts robots, the ‘other-race-that-isn’t-me’ robots and so on. I can only generalise about these groups if I see them as robots because otherwise I have to see them as actual people, with feelings and thoughts of their very own. And if I see them like that, I can no longer generalise about them. Generalisation is dangerous. It causes racism, xenophobia, discrimination, hatred, misunderstanding… the list goes on. So why do I hear it so much in the church? Even within the church we sometimes have the tendency to categorise ‘us’ and ‘them’. Unfortunately I’m not even talking, ‘Christians’ and ‘Non-Christians’, though I have heard that too. I’m talking ‘this-type­-of-Christian’ and ‘that-type-of-Christian’. I know because I’ve been guilty of it. I guess sometimes we forget that we serve this God who shattered our preconceived ideas of ‘us’ and ‘them’. He came to the Jews and told them Gentiles could come in too. He chose ordinary people to be his disciples instead of going to the synagogue to find learned men to follow him. He sat with ‘one-of-those-Samaritan’s’ and had a conversation with her. He claimed that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. Wow. Generalisations smashed to pieces. I don’t want to look at someone and pin a label on them because of what they look like or something they have said. People are made up of more than one moment, one impression, one choice. People are a lifetime of moments, interwoven with choices that make them into a unique individual, no matter how much they fit the label. And I don’t want people to label me either. There is nothing more frustrating than people making assumptions about me because of one thing they know about me. When they do that I struggle to trust that they will do the work to find out who I am. God requires more of us. He requires that we find out who people are before making these blanket statements about their faith, their ideas, and their choices. This is love: the work of getting to know a person and understanding their perspective and how God fits into it. The hardest part comes next: to continue that love even when we don’t agree, even when we don’t like, even when we find it hard to love.  And it’s by this that people will know that we are his disciples.

By admin

The lost keys

It was a simple text message.  Terse and begging an immediate response.  “Help please, any idea where my car keys are?”  Having three high energy children, dressed and ready to go somewhere requires a fair whack of energy.  To have that effort scuppered at the final hurdle by the sudden disappearance of the family vehicle’s keys, is a setback which can end the entire day’s events. “Have you checked my brown shorts?” I asked Julie, when I called her back.  The previous night we had done things a little differently.  Julie had a dance meeting she was to attend at Glenridge, and because it was Wednesday, I was going to take the kids to home group. Julie was going to take my car, since it’s the smaller one and lighter on juice.  I was simply going to cross the road.  When her meeting finished, Julie came and joined us at the Raubenheimers and we all went home together in the little green Peugeot, kids all sleeping on the back seat. Then there was the haze of getting three sleeping children into their beds, without them being woken by noise, cold or accidental, dad-induced head bumps, as well as setting Noah’s camp cot back up.  What actually happened to the keys, I cannot recall. Asking Jules to check the pants I had been wearing the night before was my first port of call.  Maybe I had forgotten to take the second set of keys out and to put them back on their hook?  But no, this was not the answer. Of course!  We’d probably left them at Mark and Les’ place the night before!  Between transporting the sleeping siblings and gathering the various items they had shed during the night, we must’ve simply overlooked them.  So Julie sent Ethan across the road to check if Mark was home.  He wasn’t. So, feeling pretty sure that they were definitely, without a major doubt, sitting on one of Mark’s tables, I proceeded to make a plan with Jules.  I’d come home from work to give her my set of house keys.  She could then take the big car’s spare keys and go do what they needed to do.  The day would be an unqualified success! Except that when I got home, we discovered that the spare key’s battery was dead.  When we tried to open the door manually, the key broke.  I was starting to smell the faint scent of Randela’s burning through my cotton pants. I decided to give both Mark and Les a call, asking if they’d noticed our keys lying about.  Mark was only twenty minutes away from arriving home.  Julie and I basked in the glow of a spontaneous family lunch, while I bristled internally with unbridled key-finding confidence.  We heard Mark hoot almost bang on the twenty minute mark.  Ethan and I scurried over, stomachs full and joy in our hearts.  After five minutes of searching, joy only seemed to remain in Ethan’s heart. I trudged back.  Ethan ran.  My mind raced.  Joy was still pouring forth from my eldest as he cheerfully announced to Julie that the keys weren’t at Mark’s place.  Show some sympathy for your dad, son! Then both Jules and I started doing that thing you do when you’ve lost something.  Check all the places you’ve already checked three times, but this time, you look with more intent!  Your eyes start to bug out.  You stare into corners, hoping to unfold the space-time continuum.  Then you check all the places you noticed your spouse was just checking, because somewhere along the line, the mission became a surreptitious competition.  Motivation ebbs and flows.  A switch flips in your brain.  You start checking all the places a lost item shouldn’t be.  You look in bins, sugar containers, freezers and cupboards that have been locked and never opened.  You berate the animals for eating your prized possession and then depositing the bits in the four corners of the earth.  You open containers too small to actually hold the item you’re looking for.  You look between sheets of paper.  By this point, you’re really into wiping out all doubt.  Nothing is certain anymore.  You actually visit Narnia, but you’re too obsessed to care. Where did we go from this point?  Logically, we grilled the child with the most comprehension about the movements and behaviours of the least communicative, but most inquisitive member of the family.  Noah had started pushing chairs around a few days earlier.  He was using them to climb up onto surrounding tables and shelves in order to discover more.  Had he reached the key rack? “Ethan, have you seen Noah with the car keys?” Julie asked. “Yes!  I saw him with them, but I don’t remember where,” replied Ethan.  It was a great clue.  One we’d only wished we’d received fifteen minutes earlier.  Efforts to actually interrogate the teething toddler proved futile.  He smiled and we melted. The clue did trigger something in Julie’s memory though.  She had remembered seeing Noah’s play keys outside on the patio.  His play keys are actually real keys from a previous home that we no longer needed and they generally lived with our other keys up on the key rack!  Evidence was mounting!  Had he also been playing outside with our keys?  We silently and not-so-silently wondered if he had tossed them outside into the heavy Mount Moreland foliage!  Outside we went, scratching in the undergrowth, looking in weed beds, in bushes and under all manner of things. Hope faded.  The skies darkened.  Time ran out.  We needed a miracle.  We prayed.  But the game was up.  I needed to go back to work and we needed to make a decision about what the family was going to do for the afternoon.  Defeated, they stayed at home and I returned to work. The drive back was peppered with thoughts about the keys.  I started praying fervently, asking for help.  Had I dropped the keys outside on the way to the Raubenheimers the night before and a stranger had picked them up?  They’d have access to the house!  Do we need to get a locksmith?  What about the car’s spare keys?  Do I need to get a new set and a new battery?  I saw problems and costs mounting.  I prayed more. With the true, fervent prayer, peace and clarity came.  I felt the voice of the Father, the one who can love and cut us at the same time ask, “Will you pray for the lost like this?”  As eternity loomed large over me, my response could only ever be ‘yes’.  In an instant, I understood something more about His heart.  Life was added to my knowledge.  The gospel received some legs. Once we were all like our lost keys; important, valuable and horribly lost.  But now we’re found.  The work however, is not finished.  Don’t try to do evangelism.  Ask God for His heart for the lost.  Let yourself be overwhelmed by His heart which beats for the lonely, broken and forgotten.  You will naturally, and supernaturally, start to do His will. And what happened to our keys?  We found them a few hours later.  They were in the door.    

By admin

Ignition Youth Camp

A couple weeks ago we headed out on our annual youth camp. This years camp was one full of new things and experiencing God’s love in a fresh and exciting way. Each of the kids that came with us walked away from it being touched by God in some way or another. This years camp was one of new heights. Check the video out to have a look at what they have to say about it.

By admin

Digital missionary

After an insightful conversation with some very interesting guys* I have discovered a very interesting theory about the internet – a place (yes, I consider it a place even though it exists in ‘the cloud’) I really enjoy. The internet, like any other place, forum or social platform, is a mission field. Like any mission field it has its own culture, its own ‘rules’ and even its own language. And like any missional Christian, you need to learn how to navigate the culture you find yourself in so that you can effectively communicate the gospel. Like it or not, the world is moving towards becoming technologically saturated. To those of us who are still a few steps behind, it can be scary. And often, a lack of understanding makes us resistant and critical rather than embracing. People complain about how ‘the younger generation’ spend so much time online and on technological devices, rather than interacting with other people. The truth is though, they are communicating. Even though it’s not in a language we’re accustomed to, this generation writes more on a daily basis than most generations before them. These small bursts of writing are most often interactions with other people online. This form of communication doesn’t look like the conversations of the past but we cannot discredit it – this is the way the youth are communicating and if we do not participate, we will misunderstand them entirely. And worse, we will be misunderstood by them. What does this have to do with being missional? Well, there are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of voices out there in cyberspace who will not set foot in a church building. They will be living in homes where their parents are fighting with each other. They will be bullies or kids who are being bullied. They might even be a lonely old lady in a retirement village, abandoned by her children. The internet is a marvellous burrow of connected rabbit holes that give us portals into the lives of other people. Through a blog, a youtube video, a website or a Facebook page, we can get into their homes and say something to them. We can share the love of God, as they stare into that screen. These are not the kind of people who want to be smacked over the head with the gospel – they don’t relate to that and closing down a window is easy to do if they’re not interested in what you’re saying. They are the kind of people though, who like humans throughout history, crave love. And isn’t that what we have in spades? Isn’t our God LOVE? I think the internet is a brilliant resource. I know that like any great invention, it has the potential to be corrupted and that, at times, it can be a minefield to navigate BUT navigate it we must. If we do not at least try to keep up with this new form of communication we will not be able to speak the language – making everything we say sound like garbled alien prose. We need to speak their language so that we can communicate our God – the LOVE we have found – to these people. If you spend any time at all online, I urge you to be a digital missionary. Spread the love. *The interesting guys I mentioned are the ever entertaining Brad Herselman and Mark Nyman. Sit down with them some time… they’re rad.  

By admin

Tongues of healing

Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, makes some very interesting observations about human behaviour and particularly the way we speak. For example, Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame.” Have you ever experienced somebody cutting you off in mid-sentence and then monopolising the conversation? Such a person usually walks away without an apology or asking what you were going to say. You are left feeling like the person isn’t interested in you, your life or what you have to say or impart, but rather values only their own opinions. Scripture tells us in Matthew 12:34 that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Proverbs 15:4 says that a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. We, on the other hand, should endeavour to do good and give due honour and respect at every opportunity! Proverbs 15:4 says, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.” And Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Always be eager to speak to everyone with kind, loving, hopeful and encouraging words that will uplift, soothe and heal! When you are speaking (and listening) to people, do you give them undivided attention, as if they are the most important people on earth, making them go away feeling like a million bucks? If this is not part of your lifestyle, then try it sometime, you might be surprised at the results!

By admin

Something’s moving, something’s changing.

For many years I have suffered from headaches and migraines. When it started I would get a headache about once a week or so and sometimes it would get worse and develop into a migraine. As the years went on my headaches became more regular and it got to the point where I was going through about two packs of Myprodol a month.

I went to the doctor and they ran every test on me that they could, and they found nothing wrong. They eventually just said I was a person who suffered from migraines for some reason and there was nothing I could do. It got to the point where I would wake up with a headache every day. I would have to carry Myprodol, a migraine stick and a migraine cocktail around with me wherever I went. Some days nothing worked and I would try and sleep it off in a dark room under the covers. I would also suffer from low blood sugar which didn’t help my headaches at all. My doctor suggested I start my day off with a strong cup of coffee and loads of sugar so that’s what I did for about two years and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t. About two years ago I started to get dizzy spells  when my blood sugar dropped and would have to eat a chocolate or have a glass of coke to increase my sugar. Again the doctor couldn’t do anything about it, because it wasn’t bad enough to be diabetes, thankfully, but it still sucked!

I had been praying for healing for ages. Let’s be honest, no one likes headaches, let alone migraines and I hated the fact that it would ruin some of my days where I would have to go to sleep in the middle of the day or I would be kept at night because my head was pounding so badly I couldn’t fall asleep. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t want to take pain medication because I didn’t want to get in the habit of taking it every day and so I would be grumpy and get irritated easily. Then Paul Tothill had a word of knowledge about migraines and I ran up for prayer, literally!

I woke up the next morning with absolutely no trace of a headache! And still have had no headaches or migraines in the two and a half weeks since! And I have had no dizzy spells and sugar lows either! God has replaced the pain, grumpiness and irritation with such a joy and peace. It is amazing! God is always working, He is always moving and changing us.

By admin

Transformation Key 2 – Leveraging Relationships

In my younger days, as I was struggling to lift a massive rock to move it 3cm, I recall my friend, Ed Strong, saying, “Don’t let the rock be smarter than you.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. Ed got that usual big grin on his face and eased in close to me.  He began to whisper in his big deep voice, “I’m going to teach you the secret to the universe.”  Now I knew Ed was a Godly man but at this point I was sure he was smoking something.

“Adam, do you see this little stick and this little steel rod?  Watch…”  He placed the strong, small oak stick under the edge of the nearly 1 ton flat granite cap stone.  He then took the small steel rod approximately 2.5 cm in diameter and wedged it under the oak stick.  By leaning on the oak stick he was able to pick up the 1 ton rock ever so slightly and slide it the 3cm it had to move.  He looked back at me and said, “Leverage is the secret to the universe”.

I have never forgotten that day or those words.  As I look at Jesus’s life I see that this is exactly what Jesus did over and over again.  He used leverage to move people into relationship with Him.  This is the second key in bringing true transformation.  The first, Enter Their World, is crucial to using leverage in an honouring way.  If you haven’t entered the world of the other person, leverage becomes bullying.  That is definitely not what Jesus was about.

Jesus leveraged relationships.

Studies show that when a person comes into a relationship with Jesus, the clock is ticking on the current relationships they have with people.  Eighty five percent of all Christians sever relationships with outsiders after a year and a half. Somehow, we have bought into the lie that to follow Jesus, we have to sever relationships. Do you know nowhere in the Bible does it say we are to sever relationships with unbelievers. Interestingly, it does say in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that we are to sever relationships with Christians who don’t act like Christians. (ouch!…).

I see this best with Matthew’s life. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him                        (Matthew 9:9).

What is surprising is that Matthew is not even his real name! In Mark 2:14 we read the same story told by Mark: as he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him (Mark 2:14).

Why would Matthew use a different name?  Levi is a Jewish name, which carries some significance.  Levi was the tribe from whom the Levitical priests came.  Levi came from a very religious household and therefore had an upbringing that was religiously rigorous.  For Levi/Matthew to be a tax collector was horrific.  Tax collectors were labeled the same as thieves and murderers.  They stole from their own people.  Therefore Levi had changed his name from the Jewish Levi to the Greek Matthew.  What is truly amazing is that Jesus didn’t call him Levi.  He accepted him as Matthew.  Jesus also didn’t tell Matthew to leave all his thieving friends.  Jesus leveraged the relationship by accepting Matthew, which in turn allowed Matthew to leverage his relationships to bring transformation to a community.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners (Matthew 9:10).

Jesus doesn’t ask us to sever relationships.  He asks us to become disciples and leverage those relationships so that people are moving toward him, even if it is 3cm at a time. Leverage is the secret to the universe

By admin

Unboxed potential

We tend to live our lives in the boxes we create. We try to create our identities around things that we think make sense, but in fact it is just a whole lot of rubbish. We are so busy worrying about what we don’t have and what we can’t do, that we forget about what we have and what we are capable of. We say we aren’t good enough to do something, but we haven’t even tried. We haven’t even put our toe on the water, but we still say we cannot walk! Even with the things we can do, we do them at only half our potential because we are content there. We are capable of so much more than we think. So much more can still be done. So much more can still be experienced… we just need to go!

We sit the background of our own lives and personally, I am sick and tired of putting limitations over my life. Who says I am unable to stand in the podium at the karate world champs, representing South Africa? Who says I can’t travel, who says I can’t make a difference, who says I cannot impact a child’s life? Who says I cannot speak words of life into lives older than mine? Who? Nobody but myself!

We need to stop putting ceilings up in our life. We need to stop living an ordinary life when we were created for the extraordinary. We cannot complain about something if we have no intention of changing it, or at least trying to.

We push to move onto the next moment so quickly that we forget about the current one. We don’t see that right in front of us we have people celebrating with us, that the annoying bird outside is signing us a song, that the child climbing all over you just wants a hug. We are so busy with our own lives that we brush off others and complain about things that other people would bleed for.

I want to be part of generation that cares more about the person next to me than the next big TV series. I want to be part of the generation that fights for what we want. I want to be someone that works towards something instead of expecting it. I want to make people feel worthy. I want people to be loved. I don’t want to live a mediocre life sitting in the same chair just because it works and life is peachy. I want to be able to run freely, to sit in hundreds of chairs but most of all I want to be on the stage and not be part of the audience.

So many people think that they are worthless but I want to say, ladies you are princesses and gentlemen you are princes, because your father is a king. So now take that and show others! Show others their worth, and look in the mirror and see yours!

CHECK THIS OUT! Just a few weeks after Michelle wrote this blog she won two gold medals at the SA Championships for Karate. Amazing! Here’s a perfect example of someone living ‘unboxed’ – well done, Michelle!