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Steven’s BIG birthday celebration…

25 Nov

Last week end we had Steven’s birthday party at our house. What’s nice with Steven is that is a really relaxed kind of guy. Until the last minute, we didn’t know the time it would start (6ish) or the number of people coming (between 15 and 50). We knew it would be a braai and I assumed it would be late.

It did start after 6 (Young Adults are famous for the fashionably late arrival), it was closer to 50 people than 15, it was a braai and it did finish late. And it was a lot of fun!!! There was people everywhere. Most of them I knew, some I didn’t.

In the garden,

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by the pool,

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in the house,

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at the table,

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or just plainly on the floor – don’t ask!

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Kirstin made a lovely cake, of which I have no proof, in the shape of a guitar, for the artist-musician-singer birthday boy.

And the evening ended up with a few of the guests crashing on our couch to watch the movie 300.

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Terence gave us some of the sound effects accompanied with gestures – with a blurry effect because he’s soooooo fast ūüėČ

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Half past twelve, people were out and Steven was one day older…

Thanks Steven for sharing your birthday with all your friends!

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PRAISE AND WORSHIP

18 Nov

On Friday, we had our Young Adults social to close our year 2008.

We had a Praise and Worship evening with finger food. The nice thing about this social was that we didn’t have to organise anything. Nicole and Steven came up with the idea (the one wanted the band to be involved, the other wanted some easy food to nibble on) and the two ideas combined achieved a very nice, meaningful, entertaining and relaxing evening.

We all had to bring something to eat or drink. I drew up the roster of who brings what, and I either underestimated how thirsty YA are, or the people assigned to bring drinks didn’t make it. We had far more food compared to cool drinks.  In spite of this, we were treated to wonderful music, not only because the voices of Steven, Candice and Nicole are just unbelievable, but also because we sang songs of worship and praise to our Lord Jesus.

Looking back at the year, we had a great year teaching and learning about the identity and mission of Jesus (for the Mark groups),discovering the proper explanation of the Gospel, which is " the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (for the Romans groups) and taking a long journey through time and history revealing in the Bible how God brings everything under the headship of Christ (for the Bible overview groups). What a better opportunity than our end of year social to say thank you and to praise God for all the wonderful things that He has taught us throughout the year.

The band preparing,

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Beautiful candlelight display of the food,

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Praying time,

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And last but not least, Steven, being embarrassed by everyone singing ‘Happy Birthday!!!!’

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Thank you to all who are involved in the Young Adults ministry. I know I’ve said it before but without God’s people willing to serve Him, there would be no ministry!

LEADERS UNLEASHED

11 Nov

November months are always fully packed!! Now to keep up with the blog posts on all these end-of year thank yous, farewell, socials AND birthdays (as far as WE’re concerned!), it’s not easy-peasy – new word, I know – not easy-peasy!!!

So with a few days delay, I wanted to put a few shots of our leaders-thank you-social-braai. Pfew, it becomes complicated to name these things. 

We moved our table in the middle of our garden; it gives such an nice ‘picnic-magasine’ picture. Practically speaking, it gives more shade but the green adds to the charm of it ūüôā¬†We had such fun! The atmosphere was very relaxed, the people seemed pretty happy and chilled and the kids had entertainement provided for free (with some of our leaders being children-at-heart).

The reason why we have these end of year parties is not because we like to have an overbooked month of November but because we really want to say thank you to all the people that were invovled with the Young Adults ministry. If it were not for them, there would be no ministry to the Young Adults – nothing functionning properly at least. The growth that we see each year at Young Adults, not only in numbers but in maturity, understanding and application of their faith is due to God’s work in people’s heart, of course, but using the leaders as tools to teach and disciple these young adults.

So it’s a simple way to say thank you to you, leaders, for your hard work, your commitment to the studies and your commitment to be godly example by teaching and living God’s way.

dsc03266dsc03277Tiffany and David brought Jessie, Tiffany’s little sister. Her parents adopted her, just a year ago. She’s the most gorgeous little thing. She’s very peaceful and quiet and just happy. Discovering flowers…

dsc03280and (fake) butterflies

dsc03286Food was the center of attention, as in any appropriate social ūüôā

dsc03270dsc03278dsc03302Not just food but entertainment was also of the party. The big kids ¬†– and I’m not talking about MY big kids – can’t stay still for too long and they need a little bit of exercise.

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dsc03318dsc03319dsc03338dsc03339While the wives/girlfriends watched and seemingly encouraged their protégés.

dsc03329dsc03342And in the midst of all this, plenty of laughter, love and fellowship…

dsc03311Leigh and Killian, discussing the things of this world and the world to come,

dsc03334dsc03360dsc03366And I love the group picture! It will be such a nice memory!!

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dsc03370Ouf, and voila! It only took me an hour to upload these pictures…

ūüôā

TO LIFE…

21 Oct

This week end was our Young Adults camp. I LOVE camps! I do. It’s a lot of preparations but it is so worth it! The kids were very excited at the idea of being ‘on camp’ for weeks now. It was not the ideal date for Young Adults (since it was 2 weeks before exams) but through a range of circumstances (I can hear my husband choking behind – it was mainly my fault…) it was the only available date and campsite. Nonetheless we had more than 50 people there. What a blessing!!

I was quite excited about this camp for two reasons:

  • First because we didn’t have one at the beginning of the year. Because Easter was so early, it would have clashed with the YA Easter Convention. So this camp was our only St James Young Adult camp of the year.
  • ¬†Secondly because the theme was the work of God’s life-giving Spirit. From Death to Life. With four talks, and four chosen passages from Ezekiel, 2 Timothy, Isaiah and Acts, we explored the role of the Holy Spirit in God‚Äôs magnificent plan to deal with the consequences of man‚Äôs rebellion and once again bring life to those whom he had created in his image.¬†

Phillip handled the four talks and it has been an immense privilege to be given this opportunity. We can never out-give God and the crumbs that we think we give Him (by doing ministry or ministry-related things) undoubtedly come back to us (with growth and maturity in our faith and understanding of our Lord Jesus). Preparing for these talks has been for Phillip a personal growth in the knowledge of God and his Spirit.

 

 
   

 

¬∑¬†First talk – Ezekiel 37: God gives life to a world dead under his¬†judgement¬†by his Spirit through his word. Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones will run shudders through your back but gives us great hope in a God that wants to give us Life.

¬∑¬†Second talk – 2 Timothy 3: This word comes to us through the “God-Spirited” Scriptures and points to Jesus as the¬†destroyer¬†of death and bringer of life and immortality.

¬∑¬†Third talk – Isaiah 53 & 61: Jesus, God’s faithful, Spirit anointed servant,¬†destroys¬†death through his death in our place.

¬∑¬†Fourth talk – Acts 2: The risen and¬†ascended¬†Jesus is King in heaven and pours out God’s Spirit on¬†all¬†believers to give them life, obedience and the gift to speak God’s words of life to a world dead under God’s judgement.

This week end, God has given us a vision. We live in the valley of dry bones. We’ve been challenged to prophesy, like Ezekiel, to the “dry bones” and proclaim that Jesus¬†IS¬†the King. Without the Spirit’s work, there will be no Life .

This is the hall where we walked diligently for the sessions, and meals and everything else.

Each session had either a time of prayer, or an interview helping us to get to know someone new. Adam led a session where we prayed around different issues like Zimbabwe (with beforehand a brief but very neat explanation of what is happening there at the moment by ‘the most patriotic Zimbabwean girl you’ll ever meet’ – by her own words, sweet Jessica ūüôā ), our church, Young Adults ministry… Dave led a session and interviewed freshly-married-youth leader-Julia ¬†and I led a session and interviewed short-time-memory-issue-Nico. It was nice to have other people involved in the ‘making’ of a session.

In between Phil’s talks, Sean managed the Bible Unwrapped. It’s a workshop where we take a tricky passage from the Bible, or a passage that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. We break into small groups and we work at it and try to unpack its meaning. It’s always so helpful and useful for me as it really equips me to understand the Bible for myself. I’m often lazy at that, usually waiting for Phillip to explain things to me (when you have a teacher at home, why would you want to make the hard work yourself ūüôā ) So this kind of workshop challenges me to think for myself. We looked at John 16 when Jesus prepares his disciples for His death and tells them that the Spirit will come after He leaves.¬†

Sean unwrapping John 16.

That’s an example of the small groups (although I think the study time was finished seeing that Bibles are closed… Leon!!!!) with Mark, Leon, Dave, John D, Evan and half of Murray!

Those small groups were not the only time of discussions. I made sure I intruded on many other talk-time with my disruptive camera…

Trav’ and Simon

Kirsty, Gillian and Nikky,

Spending time together with God’s people is also synonym with fun and laughter… Just good fellowship!

Nicola, Chantall, Caryn and Megan (Is that right?)

Kim and (louuuuuuuud) Candice,

Adam, Trav’, Dave and Sean¬†

Sorry for the red eyes, Sean… I could edit but it just takes extra time!

Enough of Kim now!! Does he ever stop, Julia??

Well, too many people to name names…

Two of our very talented musicians, Randall and Ryan with two of our guests, Nic and Kyle.

And Jess and John D

Murray and Grant (you always look so tired, Grant! What’s up with you!!)

Some of the girls, posing on a plank…

And Kim AGAIN and Cathy (hope your foot is better now…)

On Saturday afternoon, we had lots of free time and most of us went to the beach. We (as in Phillip and my kids, with Sean and Kirsty and her kids) went to Onrus beach. Going to the beach with kids is a completely different experience than without kids. You can’t lie down or you lose your kids (they either drowned or got lost or have been kidnapped) which, after you’ve been covered with sand, found wet suits lying on your bag, realised that the last clean nappy is now being used as a bathing suit and noticed that the cookie you’ve had your eyes upon is now crushed half on your towel, half on your clothes, well after all that, if they don’t drown by accident, I would easily drown them myself. Nonetheless, they had a good time!

Stella and my middle K,

My most gorgeous baby… Isn’t he gorgeous?

Last but oh so not the least is the music. We are immensely privileged to have top-notch musicians and singers in our Young Adults. I thank you very much guys for using this God-given gift of music. Not only the songs chosen are powerful and give us focus into the talks but you certainly bring out the emotional side of it with such talent!! 

Well done to Randall and Ryan for the bass and drums, Nicole and Candice for the vocals, Kirstin with the clarinette and our very very talented Steven ūüôā for the guitar and vocals and much more than that…

Preparing the laptop for the words ( I think…)

And voila!!!

Thank you to all for such a great week end. I hope that it’s been as good for you as it was for us!!!¬†Start booking NOW for the next one: end of February, same place, (some of the) same people, and more!!!

ūüôā

I BELIEVE IN TULIPS!

6 Oct

Last week end we had our close friends Craig and Kerry over for dinner. As always it’s a good treat, especially for Phillip who never gets to see Craig (since they moved last year living now 40 minutes away from my house). I get to see Kerry regularly at the rugby so I’m not deprived as much!¬†

But Kerry taught me something I didn’t know ( ah! ah!). She taught me that I believe in tulip(s). Or shall I say TULIP (it is an acronym). I know what I believe in, I know what my faith is about, but this makes it maybe academic but still interesting to remember. (I do realise it might be a bit boring for some of you but at least for my own benefit, I will write it down).

There are two mains camps of theology within Christianity: Arminianism and Calvinism. Calvinism was taught by John Calvin. (And Calvin was french!!!) at the time of Martin Luther ( if you haven’t seen the movie Luther, it is soooo worth it, it even remains fairly true to the true story!)¬†

TULIP defines the main 5 points of Calvinism:

Total Depravity 
Unconditional Election 
Limited Atonement 
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints 

      

      Total Depravity: 

Sin has affected every part of our being: our heart, emotions, mind and body. We’re not as sinful as we could be but we are completely affected by sin.

One question arises:¬†“In light of the scriptures that declare man‚Äôs true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”¬†

      Unconditional Election:

God does not choose us based on anything that we could have done, or will do, He chose us before the Creation of time, according to ‘the kind attention of His will”. His election is not based on anything that He sees in us.

Limited Atonement:

Jesus died for the sins of everybody. His death was sufficient for everybody. However, it was only efficient for the elect.

Irresistible Grace:

When God calls his elect, they cannot resist His call. The Gospel message is for everyone (external call) but to His elect, the Holy Spirit extends an internal call that cannot be resisted. The Holy Spirit works in the hearts and mind of the elect and brings them to repentance and faith.

      Perseverance of the Saints: 

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†You cannot lose your salvation. It’s the same as ‘once saved, always saved’. The elect is eternally secure in Christ.

Writing down these 5 main points of what I believe in has been a wonderful exercise for me. The last one, in particular, is such an encouragement. Knowing that¬†God promises to never let me be tempted beyond what I can handle is a good reminder that even when I don’t ‘feel’ christian, when I do shout at my kids, or when my heart is filled with hatred, God¬†is the one being faithful to perfect me until the day of Jesus‚Äô return.

And to this, I say Thank You Lord…

GOSPEL CABARET

3 Oct

ATTENTION TO ALL!!

The famous Gospel Cabaret of St James – 10th Anniversary! – is happening on the 24th and 25th of October. It’s a great ‘happening’ to bring friends along. You will hear some very talented people that love singing the praises of our Lord. Every time that we went, we’ve never been disappointed. It’s amazing all those hidden talents!

If you are interested in coming, and in case you can’t read the pamphlet, you must phone the St James office at 021 – 671 7070. They will give you all the extra info you need.

CRY OUT TO JESUS

22 Sep

Yesterday was the conclusion of our evangelistic week at St James. At the evening service, our YA band played. It’s always such a pleasure. From the choice of the songs to the way they sing them, everything is great. Steven did an item and borrowed a song from the band Third Day called Cry out to Jesus. The words couldn’t be more relevant to, well anyone really. It’s relevant to anyone. I thought I would copy and paste the words.

Cry Out to Jesus

To everyone who’s lost someone they loved
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love
They’ve done all they can to make it right again
Still it’s not enough

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame
And your suffering

When you’re lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who struggles with being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

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