Today’s child is exposed to multi-media, and empowered to download the programmes they wish to watch on their iPads, without the inconvenience of sticking to a TV programme, or bearing with the constant interruption of annoying advertisements. Today’s child is boss of his own stimulation. He decides what he wants to watch, when he wants to watch it, and how much of it too. Does the teacher or parent of today’s child sometimes feel like a human iPad? By this, I mean that they feel that children practice selective hearing, tuning adults out if they find the information boring. I’m talking about adults who feel that they are too old-fashioned and therefore out of touch with this generation of youth. I have a message of hope for today’s teacher and parent: The gospel never gets old!
Our eternal God is not caught off-guard by the changing times. We cannot outgrow our need for God, and we cannot advance beyond God. Solomon put it this way: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl.1: 9). Just because the Bible was written generations ago, does not mean that God remained in the past! Therefore, the teacher and parent, who are in touch with the Holy Spirit, need not fear that they are dull or irrelevant to their contemporary audience. God might not be a “modern” concept, but God is ahead of the times, all the time. The Holy Spirit, who prophesied about the New Testament back in Old Testament times, is the same Holy Spirit who prophesies about the end times. Surely, He who sees the future, foresaw what today’s child would need.
God is as relevant now as He has always been. He is the inventor of relevance. It is up to the dedicated teacher and parent to find creative ways to present our relevant, eternal God, to today’s child. “How do we do this task?” I hear the reader thinking…I offer a simple question in return: “Is the human psyche too modern and advanced to appreciate authentic relationships?” In fact, the advance of technology has further widened the canyon of human relationships. Children of this computer generation spend far less time in community, and more time in isolation. They hunger for someone to take a genuine interest in their lives. They long for affirmation, belonging, friendship, mentorship, and fellowship. The effects of too much interaction with counterfeit or computerized “personalities” has deepened their desire for human contact. In short, our children need love. Technology cannot hug a child. An iPad cannot listen to a child’s fears and offer comfort. A Game Boy cannot tell our children that they are loved no matter what – whether they win or lose, they are number one in our books.
Mega churches can boast about the sophisticated media they employ in their children’s ministries, leaving smaller churches feeling like they do not measure up. I must confess that I do enjoy using lights, sound-effects, smoke machines, cameras and action to entertain children, but I am convinced that there is no substitute to that of a genuine relationship with a significant adult. These relationships jet-propel the spiritual development of a child. These relationships change children’s lives. These relationships are obtainable to children in small or large churches, as long as the adults in those churches will step up to the task. This task does not depend on the church’s resources, or lack thereof. The success of this critical task lies squarely on the shoulders of adults willing to be available to the children.
The same Jesus who reached out from heaven to teach crowds on a mountain, or tell stories and parables to listeners; who truly listened to individuals, like the woman at the well, or Zacchaeus in the tree and defended the vulnerable, like the woman who was about to be stoned, or ultimately sacrificed his own life on a cross, is experienced by children through the lives of adults who are committed to them. Adults who are willing to come down to their level to talk to them, listen to them, share stories and principles with them in ways that they can understand, who are willing to eat at their homes, worship with them, and in smaller ways than Jesus did, sacrifice themselves for their sake. Adults who will take the time to show children that God truly cares about them; that God pursues them.
It is not my presentations that children remember most in later years. Young adults I used to teach as children, now tell me how much our relationship meant to them. By showing up consistently on Sundays (as best prepared as my resources allowed at the time), I was a message in flesh and blood that they matter to God. When children are given the opportunity to build a strong, meaningful, long-lasting relationship with a significant adult, this opens up their hearts to truly experience God. They find a safe, caring environment in which to learn to trust God. The bells and whistles are a bonus, but it is the relationship that is the true minister. This is why I encourage children’s ministry volunteers to give this ministry more time. Where there is a large turnover of children’s ministry staff, the children do not experience as much spiritual growth as they could. Instability is counterproductive to growth. Children first learn to trust adults, before that trust is rendered to God.
I encourage creative teaching. I love novelties and gimmicks. It is part of my way of relating to children. It is my way of engaging the imagination of the child. I believe that God gave us the arts as a revelation of how awesome He is, and I fully intend to develop the arts to do just that: To communicate God to children in ways that speak to their hearts, their dreams, their souls. I want children to be so captivated by our God that they want nothing in life more than their desire for Him. I want children to develop their own creative gifts, as an act of worship. There is no glory in lazy teaching or parenting. We cannot hide behind laziness before Solomon’s words, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Eccl.9: 10). If I am to teach or to parent, I am to do it with might (force, power and capacity)! God did not leave much to my own imagination when he revealed Himself to me, in turn, I must do my very best to present God to children in practical and inventive ways. I think that God wants me to inspire the soul of a child.
It may seem that I have presented here a paradox, arguing for relationship over the use of technology, yet on the other hand demanding for the mastering of and use of whatever creative means (including technology) one can employ in order to teach and parent children. Perhaps a marriage of both relationship and method are required. The merging into one flesh of a learning, growing teacher and parent, who is willing to give children their time. When I stand before children, I realize that it is I, and not my methods, that can interact with them. It is I, and not my well-prepared movie clips that can discern their spiritual needs. It is I, and not my smoke machine, that prays with them. It is my life, and not the video game, that mentors them. Yet, it is my sincere attempt to speak their language that wins their attention. It is my fun attitude and my novelty methods that cause them to seek me out after a service to speak to me. It is that magic trick which I did, that begs them to come back for more, though it is I who can teach them the same trick to use to evangelize their friends. I become one with my methods: Relationship skill working in unity with a great presentation, to the goal of winning a child for Christ.
I leave you to consider your own teaching and parenting style. No two people are alike, or are used alike by God. I encourage you to “fan into flame the gift of God that is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). I believe that children’s ministry is not for a few selected “called out” ones, but rather that every adult can be involved in the spiritual journey of a child. There are as many different types of children as there are adults, each of whom may be impacted by your unique set of gifts. Ask God how you can contribute to the spiritual development of the children in your church. Whether your work takes you “behind the scenes” to operate a sound booth, to intercede, to raise funds for resources, to build props, to host events, or any multitude of support tasks available outside of the classroom “pulpit”, or whether you are called to teach in the classroom, you have a significant role to play in children’s lives. Today’s child is similar to yesterday’s child in this way – both depend on dedicated adults to take them seriously, and to teach them seriously. God is concerned about today’s child, are you?
Wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, employee…WOMAN. You may be one of these, or all of these, but is that all you are?
How much does the value you place on yourself come from what you do rather than who you are? If every title and every task was removed from you, would you see yourself as any less valuable?
In Genesis God tells Abraham that He will give him all that he sees. What do you see? Your authority is directly linked to your identity. You will only ever have and be what you see. I believe that the world has dumbed down the identity of women all over the globe, to diffuse and disarm us by convincing us that we, alone, are never enough. You are enough.With the power of the Holy Spirit within you, you are enough. With the love of God wrapped around you, you are enough. With the blood of Jesus that covers you, you are enough!
You are a mighty warrior. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are a woman of God, and that is invaluable. There is no weapon, force or army that can take you down when you decide to walk in your God-given identity!
The enemy may have thrown all hell at you – believe me I know what that feels like – but you have the choice to sit back and accept defeat, or stand up in the face of the enemy and every force that opposes you and fight for your destiny. You have the choice to fight for your identity and walk in a greater authority than you’ve ever anticipated.
“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”
This year at Arise 2018 come and shatter every ceiling, barrier and obstacle between you and all that God has for you.
Bianca Lee Norman
Mark Twain once said the two most important days in a person’s life is the day they are born and the day they discover why they were born.
I believe this year many women are going to have supernatural destiny discoveries through the programme that’s being prepared. God spoke to Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:5 and said, “Jeremiah, I am your Creator, and before you were born, I chose you to speak for me to the nations.” (Contemporary English Version).
There is a Word God’s been stirring in my heart, so I want you to get ready for what He’s about to do in your life during the Arise 2018 Conference.
Your life is way bigger than the moment you’re in right now, your influence is far greater than you realize, you have been chosen and called to the kingdom for such a time as this.
Can’t wait to see what the Holy Spirit is going to release into and out of our lives this year. See you there.
by Lynette Beer
It breaks my heart when I see a woman with low self-esteem, who doesn’t have the confidence to live her dreams and reach her full potential. It is the most unnecessary feeling in the world! If you know who you are and specifically who you are in Christ, you will have all the confidence to take on the world.
One of the biggest mistakes a woman can make is to try to be like someone else. Why? Why do you want to look like that model in the magazine? Why do you want to be like your pastor’s wife or your sister or your colleague at work? You have to be yourself.
That’s who God made you to be. Listen to what the Bible says in Ps 139: 13 -16:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking!Â Body and soul, I am marvelously made!Â I worship in adoration – what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,Â how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;Â all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. (The Message)
You were born to be somebody, to leave your mark and to change the world. You were born to exceed the limits placed on you by others and to live a life of success and to have a spirit of excellence. You were born to be extra-ordinary and to live beyond your circumstances, rather than be defined by them.
So what happened to you? When did you decide that the road of greatness was not for you? When did you decide that you are the victim of your circumstances? Why do you allow fear, and the voices of discouraging people, to handcuff you?
God sculpted you from nothing into something and before you were even born, He had a plan for your life. There is something very specific He wants you to do with your life. He created you with purpose and He left a dream in your heart.
It is up to you to make that dream a reality. But you can only do that if you have confidence in yourself. You have to understand that there is only one of you. You are unique. You have a specific character, temperament and personlity with weak points and strong points, with talents and gifts. Learn how to enhance your strong points, polish your talents and be the you you were born to be!
with Lynette Beer
I don’t want to know how busy you are, or how much you are doing for your church. I want to know if you live a focused, purposeful life. In other words, are you living life to your fullest potential, according to the plans, dreams, talents and gifts that God has built into your heart even before you were born?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
You need to grasp this truth today. There is no such thing as a man or a woman without a dream. We were all created to have dreams; we have a destiny and a reason for living. What is your calling in life? Maybe you don’t even know where to begin figuring this one out. Well, what is that one thing that you did when you were a child? Maybe you were always playing with your dolls, pretending they were sick and you had to get them back to health. Or you lined them up in a row and played you were the teacher. Maybe you didn’t like playing with dolls at all, but were forever building stuff with whatever you could lay your hands on, designing towers with your mother’s pots and pans or making roads in the dirt.
But, somewhere along the line you changed. You didn’t do that anymore. You started to listen to what other people were saying about what you should do and not do, what you should study and how you should live your life, and eventually that passion faded. Now, every time someone talks about fulfilling your dreams, and adhering to your calling in life, you have this niggling uneasiness in the back of your mind. And you wonder… what if I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing?
Then of course there are the things you catch yourself daydreaming about. Maybe it is to write a book, be an artist, start your own business, but then you forget about it again and carry on with your normal, day-to-day life, wondering if this is it? Is this what life is all about?
No, a 1000 times over no! God thought of you before you were born and he had a plan for you before you were in the womb. God knew who the accountants, the business men, the writers, the actors, the engineers, the teachers, the chefs, the pathologists, the home-makers, and the mechanics would be. Regardless of what you do, what your title is, or what your salary is, you were created to have an impact in the world and to leave a mark on our generation. Just do it!
with Pearl Kupe
Greetings to all you incredible women out there!
Well, we are slowly, but surely counting down the days until we all meet in Port Elizabeth for the Arise Women’s Conference. As we prepare our hearts, minds and spirits for what promises to be an AMAZING time in His Presence, it is my singular honour to share a few words with you on this blog!
The scripture we are looking at is from Colossians 2:2-4 (Message Bible) and it reads as follows:
I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery!
There is so much going on in the world these days, with the violence against women, corruption, wars, terrorism and extremism we see around the world, poverty and crime, it is easy to start panicking and to take our eyes off of God.
When I read this scripture, the word CONFIDENT popped up in my spirit. The world teaches us to have confidence in ourselves and in our own ability, but the Word of God says we are to be confident in God. The world teaches us to have confidence in our looks, our intelligence and in our abilities, but the Word says to be rooted and established in Him. It is not a sin to want to look good, smell nice and to keep in shape, but as we do so, let us be fully conscious of the fact that our CONFIDENCE must come from being a Child of God and from being connected to God.
Galatians 3:27-29 says the following:
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The scripture reminds us that it is not about the tribe we come from, the class we belong to, or our gender, but it is about having our IDENTITY in Christ. When our identity is in Christ, we are fully able to walk in confidence knowing that it is well with us and our families.
Won’t you step out in confidence today, knowing that because you belong to Him, you are safe and because you belong to Him, He will keep you, increase you and your household and that you will live to see the faithfulness of God and to testify of His goodness, mercy and grace!
BE CONFIDENT IN HIM!! BE CONFIDENT IN HIS ABILITY! BE CONFIDENT IN HIS POWER!
Much love, Pearl Kupe
Meditating on what has once again been a powerful and life-changing Arise conference, but mindful of the fact that each of our eleven women’s conferences has had its own particular impact, so many thoughts run through my mind.
In my preparation for yet another conference – for the pastors and their wives in Dar es Salam – I realized that of everything one can do in life, this is the calling where the subject of relationships can be the most trying. There are specific challenges that come with ministry, such as working with people who have a great deal of brokenness in their lives and dealing with rejection from people you have put your time, care and energy into. This work, and the broken relationships that so often accompanies it, has a very real impact on pastors personally, as well as on ministry couples and volunteer workers across the world.
We have an enemy who knows that because we have influence, the area of relationships is the most vulnerable and challenging in our lives, and that it has the potential to negatively impact many people, if it should break down.
But above all, pastoring is about the people and shining God’s colours to and with others. When we are exactly and uniquely who God made us to be, we shine our particular God colour in our area of influence. Life is full of possibilities and opportunities where God allows us to be real and to shine. In a colourless and challenging world we have the real answers and we need to reflect these in our lives. Your area of influence is your world where you are called to shine!
This year at Arise God spoke to us in a challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable, but relevant way.
ChiChi Bismark’s life is a testimony of what can happen if the biblical principles about success are followed. She is worth millions as a result of conducting her business the kingdom principle way. Through her wise use and investment of money – as well as her creative thinking – she has achieved financial success in a country that is both bankrupt and corrupt. That said everything to me! God’s kingdom finance principles work wherever you are, if you are willing to change your lifestyle and do life God’s way.
Timothy Kieswetter was a breath of fresh air who went ‘where angels fear to tread.’ He was both tactful and funny! We have received testimonies from husbands who are grateful to Timothy for being at Arise, saying they received a ‘new wife’ and that their marriages were healthy again. We have heard of many women who have changed their attitude toward their husband since the conference and have seen their marriages restored.
The atmosphere of peace and the sounds of laughter that filled the air were wonderful – even our store holders and therapists remarked on this. Our workshops were outstanding, and our praise and worship anointed. The anointing was so strongly felt on the church grounds that people started weeping with joy as they drove in without knowing why.
I have always said that Arise is not just a conference, it is an experience.
We have the most amazing line-up of speakers for 2017, which I believe God has specially put together for us. Each one is truly powerful! Book now to pay the best price and secure your space! I believe we are going to be packed out.
I am ‘Captivated’ with anticipation for Arise 2017!
Pastor Mariana Crompton
by Timothy Kieswetter
I would like to start today’s article with one of Solomon’s wisdoms. When it came to marital doings, he knew what he was talking about. With a thousand women, he certainly may not have done everything right, but he definitely knew that everything in a marriage can go either wrong or right.
“Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions…”
This might be such a simple short verse, but it contains a deep and powerful truth. Hate brings arguments and love covers what was done wrong.
Visualize that your marriage has two rooms. There is a hate-room and a love-room. The room in which you live, is the room that will affect your marriage the most.
You might think that hate is a terribly strong word to use. After all, you do not have hate in your heart for your husband or wife. Our first thought of hate is those emotions that you feel just before you kill someone, and because you do not really want to kill your spouse, you do not really hate the person. Therefore I want to show you that hatred, like any other emotion, has degrees of intensity. And no matter how cute your husband or wife is, we all have a “hate-room” in our hearts.
There are some key differences between our hate-room and our love-room that will indicate in which room we spend most of our time.
- Hate is motivated by what is right and wrong, true love is motivated by grace. If you are constantly focused on the right and wrong in your marriage, it’s always going to evoke bitterness and hate emotions rather than grace and forgiveness.
- Hate will always focus on a person’s behaviour, whereas love will try to see the bigger picture. For example, your husband comes home drunk, and you immediately zoom in on his negative behaviour, this immediately places you in your hate-room. But if you are in your love room, you will always try to put your husband’s behaviour into CONTEXT. You ask for context by grace, not by cross-examination. Then you might find out that he lost his job, or his father died and you are able to (because love always pursues the context and not the behaviour) promote intimacy, instead of hostility.
- Hate will always make you the victim. You start feeling sorry for yourself because you deserve better. Keep feeling sorry for yourself long enough and you will be one step closer to falling into the clutches of depression. Love on the other hand, is NOT focused on the OWN I, but the brokenness of the other person. Because it sees the bigger picture and understands the context of your partner’s behaviour, you have the emotional capacity to NOT make this YOUR battle, but to see and acknowledge your partner’s cry for attention and acceptance.
Broken people use negative behaviour to get attention and love. This is not the best way to get any of the two. So, when we stay in our hate-rooms we will give exactly the opposite of what the broken person needs. We’ll just deepen their brokenness and thus remain trapped in the negative and unhealthy cycle of behaviour.
- Hate judges a person on what he has done. It is great at digging up old cows and makes a habit of linking a person’s value and character to their mistakes. Hate never lets the past rest and keeps the person from ever moving on with their life or making right what had gone wrong. The offense will forever hang, like a sword, over the person’s head.
Love works a little differently. Love doesn’t connect a person’s value to what they do or didn’t do, but focusses on the divine potential in every person. It speaks to the good and beautiful in everyone.
In what room do you find yourself?
What kind of atmosphere is present in your marriage? Quarrel or peace? Hate or love?
The door between your hate-room and your love room contains FORGIVENESS. Start today by forgiving yourself, forgive the people around you and forgive God. Move out of your hate-room and come into your love-room, where you can experience peace and quiet.
All these words come to mind when thinking about this year’s True Colours Arise conference.
Have you ever read Alice in Wonderland? ‘WONDER LAND…’ The thought of entering, and like Alice, living in ‘Wonderland’ conjures up so many images in my mind. What is a land of wonders?
We are meant to live in a wondrous place of grace, beauty and power with a wonderful God. “Great God of wonders, God of grace,” as the old hymn says. Our God is supernatural – He lives in that realm of the heavenly places where miracles are normal and signs and wonders are part of His ways.
Wonderful! Wonders all around! Wondrous!
In my mind’s eye I see flashes of light, like colourful stars all around, and have a feeling of being lifted off the ground, floating – delightful and wondrous! I see myself looking down on a broken world, and being a part of the answer, if only in a small sense.
Ladies, don’t ever lose that childlike ability to enjoy God. You see, if you are childlike, it means you are dependent on God. It also means you enjoy and take pleasure in who God is and what He does. If He IS, then He must DO, because love always brings action. Love starts in our heart and manifests through our hands, our feet, or our mouth (in words). In other words, there is action.
We need to shine our ‘God colours’ in a world needing ‘character colour’ to shine, and in this way draw people to the God in us, producing in them a desire to know Him. He demonstrates His wonderful and generous nature through us.
God has many, many attributes, but this time we are talking about His wonders. God desires us to live in Wonder Land – because He is wonderful and He wants to make our lives wonderful. Actually, you are a wonder. Sometimes you become a sign in this world to make people wonder.
See you at Arise!
Pastor Mariana Crompton