Earlier this year I had a dream. I saw a pair of hands shaking out a T-Shirt with ‘GO’ written on it. The foot of the ‘G’ was fashioned to look like an arrow pointing at the ‘O’, which represented planet Earth. The message was clear and stirred up an aching passion to take the gospel to the nations. I was just emerging from four years of ‘recalibration’, that part of our walk where God disciplines and we, hopefully, adjust. Like a bodybuilder doing curls with a dumbbell in each hand, my vocabulary for the past four years had consisted of two words; repent, forgive, repent, forgive, over and over, repeatedly working those two muscles as God worked anger and bitterness out of me, down at ‘Humility Gym’.
I had no idea what ‘GOING’ would look like but I began dreaming again, and the opportunities soon rolled in. In fact, God had already begun orchestrating things a few months previously when we (my wife and I) had spent 4 days over December at Provence in Wellington with our dear friends Ian & Tess Richardson of iKhaya le Themba. A plan was hatched to have Joshua Generation Church’s Green Point Congregation (which we are a part of) visit for a playdate with the kids from some surrounding locations in Wellington, whilst a smaller team would help Ian with the garden. And so, plans became spirited action, and the day ended up being a great success with twenty odd people pitching in.
Then came the announcement that our congregation would be heading to our Four12 Partners Kingdom Community Church in Richards Bay to fellowship with and encourage them. I remember quietly weighing up the decision; to fly, using money I didn’t have at the time, to the other side of the country, for just a weekend didn’t make sense at all, but my heart was leaping and so I went. We could not have fitted more relationship building, mutual love, passion and encouragement into a weekend if we’d tried and our small team returned home brimming over. One Sunday morning, a few weeks later, a few of us went to support Ross Gillespie who was preaching at a Four12 partnering church in Mitchell’s Plain. It was an epic introduction to the Cape Flats and I was hooked!
And so it was that, as a couple, we needed no urging when the first ever “Four12 Training Cape Flats” was advertised. We leaped at the opportunity to serve and I’m so glad we did. In spite of a huge storm having just blasted through the evening before, bringing wet and icy conditions on the day, and our venue being a very basic warehouse in the middle of Philippi, which is a major crime hotspot in the Cape, together with the fact that worship was hampered for the first hour by equipment failure, the warmth of 400 hungry hearts pulling in to see what God was up to was palpable. As the seats slowly filled up, a team worked on the generator out back whilst the sounds of acapella worship filled the air. When a new generator finally arrived anxious glances and mechanical fiddling gave way to next level worship and the conference took off with a bang.
Of several themes preached, I think the standout was the idea of a partnership with the Four 12 movement, whereby the many small, and mostly disconnected churches spanning the Cape Flats could now benefit from recognised, healthy 5-fold ministry input. Another great preach highlighted the need to break with our manmade cultures and embrace a kingdom culture. Indeed, even in my own heart, God cut deep and removed the last vestiges of my own boyhood Rhodesian wartime influences which had maimed me with skewed views for too long.
As I went about my life in the days after this Four12 Training time, I noticed how differently I was feeling about everyday people whom I normally turned a blind eye to. I began to take my eyes off myself and consider their struggles and their pain. I wondered how different things could be if they too knew Jesus. We had experienced such a profound sense of love and unity that I couldn’t help yearning for everyone to experience it. I marvelled at how only Jesus can heal our hearts, bridge racial divides and unite every tribe, tongue and nation around his throne.
Whilst ‘GOING’ undeniably takes us out of our comfort zones, there is so much more God can do in our own hearts when we allow him to stretch us. My life is richer for having stepped out and I cannot afford to look back now. Whether near or far, I am fully convinced that going is for each of us and that we need to just simply step out and see what God will do.
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