Blogs (Faith), Life-Ecstatic (Faith)

My Heart is Smiling


I’ve had such joy in my heart the last few days – of the real kind – during the NCMI Equip South Africa 2013 time in Johannesburg. Some of you reading this blog won’t know what Equip is, so I best let you know. Basically, it’s a gathering of churches from around South Africa that partner with New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) in strengthening and planting churches and myriads of other things relating to the mission Christians have on this planet.

If you don’t know what I mean by the ‘mission Christians have’ then you can send me an email and we can reserve that for another discussion 🙂 For now, let’s get to why I’ve had such joy.


A key scripture for me during this time has been Ezekiel 46: 9 (this came up in our worship time together yesterday morning).

When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead.”

When people come in to worship God, who can really be known by us personally (an amazing truth), they should never be the same when they leave. This is what God does, little by little, every day – he changes us and conforms us to become like Jesus Christ. If you’re not a Christian and you’re reading that, I can understand you might not be sure of what I mean. Basically, part of what God wants to do in us is he wants to transform us into new people. The Scriptures put this so strongly that in 2 Corinthians 5:7 it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

This is both a one-time event (when you put your faith in Jesus, God changes your heart) and its an ongoing event, as we become more like Jesus in our hearts, which affects our thoughts, which affects our actions.

This is how I’m feeling this week. Sometimes this transformation is a slow process – a slog can be an apt word. Then there are these moments, very many times in events like these where so many Christians get together, when there’s a fast-track of the process. When you leave, you really aren’t the same.

This year’s change

The amazing thing about these EQUIP times is they’re often like this for me (they happen every year). Last year I felt God had finally done a transforming work in my heart around my ambitions. One of the upshots of that transformation has been a certain discernment where I can start easily picking up when I’m going down that road again, and I can do what I need to do to not go down there. This was a big deal for me. My ambitious nature makes me incredibly restless. And restless is not what God wants for us.

After God’s dealing with my heart on that issue, it seems at EQUIP this year he’s reminding me of many of the things He has spoken in the past to me about that I should be involved in. The brilliant thing is, this time I’m seeing them without the cloud of ambition and restlessness, but in clarity and joy. The first night of EQUIP was a ‘fresh commissioning’. This is for us as a group of partnering churches and partnering people. But I’m feeling this for my own life, and this is how God works – both corporately and personally. It’s one of the most amazing things about Christianity – God works with His church as one body; but he also works with us and speaks to us so personally.

The colour and vibrancy of the Christian life is starting to become a reality for me again. I feel very much like I did in my 20’s. Full of faith. But I was also full of idealism in those days. This time, however, this faith is coupled with my real-world experience of suffering and the knowledge in my heart that the Christian life is also filled with hardship and hard work.

I have the joy without the idealism. I have the commissioning without the ambition. Now this is gold.

Blogs (Faith), Life-Ecstatic (Faith)

Excited About EQUIP SA

EQUIP South Africa 2011

So 28 – 30 September is EQUIP South Africa, a training time for churches across South Africa. I’m quite excited about it. Here’s why.

Ephesians 4:11-16 talks about how God has given to the church the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints to do the work of the ministry and for building up the body of Christ.

It goes on to talk about the unity of the faith so that we may all grow up to mature manhood, so that we may no longer be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, that we would grow up every way into Christ. It ends off with how, when each part of the body is working properly, the body grows so that it builds itself up in love.

EQUIP SA is one of those key times in the year when all this takes place. We get to sit under some powerful teaching from guys who I have huge respect for. We get to ask questions. We get to connect with each other and enjoy each other as churches across the country. And, of course, when I say “churches” I don’t mean organisations – I mean the people, because we are the church.

All this helps us to grow into unity and mature manhood. It also keeps us from weird and strange teachings, like the many we can find all over the Internet. I think this is done not just by the content of the teaching we receive but the depth of the relationships we have the opportunity to form. When we form better relationships we know each others’ hearts better, so there’s more trust between us all, and more openness for correction and, of course, encouragement!

It’s about being built up together in love. See, verse 15 says that through this equipping we are able to “Speak the truth in love”, and so we grow. The end results are that every person in the body is performing their function while at the same time being built up in love towards each other, which brings unity. Friendship within function. It’s a marvelous picture and you get to see it happening at EQUIP times such as this.

It’s not just about receiving teachings so we can be a sponge but to be equipped to actually DO the work of the ministry. And that work is multi-layered with one purpose: Jesus. To spread the good news of his life, death, resurrection, Kingdom and coming Kingdom. To work in every part of society to be salt of the Earth and let His Kingdom break through into the lives of the many hurting out there, rich or poor. It’s broad and yet focused, freeing and yet a challenge. All awesome.

EQUIP is not just for NCMI relating churches

The EQUIP time is run by New Covenant Ministries (NCMI) relating churches and I’m stoked that it’s being hosted by my church, Cornerstone Church, this year. But it’s not just for NCMI relating churches, it’s for everyone. Some people tend to think it’s exclusive but it’s not. I think it’s worth mentioning that.

There is going to be a host of guys from all over the world whom I have the utmost respect for who will be there to exhort, encourage, challenge and teach. On the Thursday and Friday mornings there will be two sessions, effectively. The second session will be a ‘break-out’ session where we can gather into more intimate sort of ‘workshops’.

Mike Hanchett from the USA will host Prophetic break-out sessions while John Bishop (Australia) will host Evangelism sessions and Jon Daniel (Australia) will host Worship sessions. These are more intimate times of teaching where we can ask questions and receive practical training as well and each of these guys are awesome.

It’s going to be fantastic and registrations for EQUIP SA 2011 are at R70 a session (five sessions) but as from Monday it will be R85 a session. If you’re looking for more info have a poke around that site but you’re also welcome to ask me and I’ll provide anything you need as best I can.

Also check out the EQUIP SA Facebook page or follow @NCMIEquipSA on Twitter.

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Equip Gauteng Was Great!

At last, after spending the entire weekend working at the rAge video gaming event at the Coca-Cola Dome, Northgate (JHB) I’m able to post a quick blog about the Equip Gauteng time that happened from Wednesday night to Friday night this last week.

(For those interested, check out the great coverage for rAge at

Anyway, Equip Gauteng was awesome. Although I had to work Friday at rAge, the time I did manage to spend at Equip was really awesome.

God really moved and spoke to me over the weekend, thanks to the wonderful facilitation done by the guys who came to preach and facilitate the electives.

Terry Virgo was one of these, and I thoroughly enjoyed his talk about the Holy Spirit, where he related his own walk into understanding the Holy Spirit.

I did the “Holy Spirit and Evangelism” elective, which had Keir Taylor and a team of others (whom I admit I don’t know) administer a wonderful time while relating some of their own experiences with the Holy Spirit. It’s really interesting to see how the same God works so personally and differently with everyone.

I think I’m finally starting to get it. Rather than trying to understand how the Holy Spirit works through some calculated, mechanical method, this keeping in step with the Spirit thing is more about the wind blowing wherever it pleases (John 3:8). This means the Holy Spirit, although the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, is also rather unpredictable. You can’t box Him and expect Him to react in a certain way. He blows wherever He pleases, and will do whatever He wants to do.

Of course, when people hear this they think that it’s all about throwing our heads away and forgetting about the Word. But this was Tyrone’s point – for too long the Church has argued over being either “Word based” or “Spirit based”, with people sitting in only one of these camps.

But actually, the Church needs to be Word AND Spirit based, the two working hand-in-hand.

Tyrone’s illustration that he has been using lately focuses around an aeroplane. An aeroplane needs TWO wings to fly, not one, and – likewise – the Church needs both Word AND Spirit to do what God has called us to do on this planet.

This is so integral to what we see in the Bible that to ignore it results in dire consequences for the Church.

Personally, I have faith more than ever now to see healings take place through simple prayer. Not mechanical prayer based on all the formulas I’ve been taught (“Say this!” “Believe like this!” etc.) but simple prayer with faith in Jesus to do what He did on this earth before when He walked it; not to try and formulaise anything when I see healings happen, but to simply let the Holy Spirit blow wherever He pleases; to stop trying to calculate and manipulate God, but rather simply live in the freedom He gives.

I’m excited!