In Matthew 14:22-31, the disciples left by boat while Jesus stole away to the mountainside for alone time with God. By the time Jesus was ready to rejoin the disciples, it was near dawn and the boat was far off, being tossed by the wind and waves. Jesus went out to them, walking on water. I love how that part is thrown in so casually and matter-of-fact, like he could have just as easily been walking down the street.
The disciples saw him and were terrified at first. It’s not every day you see someone walking on water. But today wasn’t going to be like every other day. Jesus called out to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” And that’s when Peter, empowered by courage and faith replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus did, and Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water towards him. But then Peter saw the wind and became afraid, and that’s when he started to sink.
So often with this story we focus on Peter’s crisis of faith, the fear that crept in, how he took his eyes off Jesus, and Jesus’ rebuke. Maybe it’s because we can best relate to this side of the story. I know I’ve had times when I’ve bailed out on my faith, afraid of the winds and waves around me.
But there’s another side to this story.
Peter hoped for the best. Better yet, he expected the best.
And even better yet, he actually did it! I think this side is harder to relate to because so often we hope for the best, yet expect the worst. We stifle our faith with a myriad of worst-case scenarios and back-up plans.
What would our lives look like if we retrained our minds to hope for the best and then truly expect it? The Bible teaches that through the power of Christ we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20), accomplish more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and do even great works than Jesus Himself (John 14:12).
But only if we both hope and expect it to happen.
What is God calling you to today?
Are you expecting the best, or hoping for the best while expecting and planning for the worst?
And if it’s the latter, what does that reveal about your faith and trust in God?
A desire of Ignite is to help leaders (of all ages) dream big, discover their gifts, and pursue God-sized goals. Goals help us move forward, focus on what’s important, prune away distractions, overcome obstacles, and ultimately accomplish great things. Goals are a good thing.
But what makes a good goal? What should be the goal of our goals?
First of all, our goals should bring glory to God. Not ourselves, not anyone else. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches us that no matter what we do, we should do it for the glory of God.
As Pastor Rick Warren says in Transformed “Any goal that causes you to trust Him more, to depend on Him more, to love Him more, to love other people more, to serve God, to serve others, to be more unselfish”, that’s the kind of goal that honors God.
Anything and everything – from housework and yardwork, to going to school, raising children, even leading a multi-national corporation – can be done for God’s glory if done with the right motives.
Do your current goals honor God in this way?
Second, our goals demonstrate God’s love in the world. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” That is what love in action looks like.
When we operate in love, we put others first, treat them well, partner with them, and accomplish so much more than we could ever accomplish on our own. An old African proverb says,
“If you want to go fast travel alone, if you want to go far travel together.”
Do your current goals reflect the love of Christ in this way?
God won’t further goals that are motivated by selfishness, pride, jealousy or fear. But he will get behind (and in front of and alongside) goals that are motivated by glorifying Him and sharing His love with the world.
Goals are a good thing. And if our ultimate goal is to become more like Christ, then doing everything for His glory and His love is the path to success.
So, what goals are you currently pursuing? And are you pursuing them with right motives and right ultimate goal in mind?
Isn’t due to location, finances, smarts, or even who we know. Becoming more…
begins with a thought.
Who we are today and tomorrow begins with a single thought.
In fact, what we think is the foundation for every action we take, our actions develop into habits, habits evolve into a lifestyle and thus our lifestyle propels us toward our destiny.
Common knowledge you say?
If so, then why is it that we allow all the negative talk, discouragement, and bitterness to reap havoc in our thoughts and emotions. If we truly know that our thoughts direct our outcome and destiny, why is it that our failures and disappointments are the focus rather than our destination.
God instructs us to renew our mind with His Word for a reason. He knew that our greatest battle, the only one that can overcome us, is in our mind. Whatever we focus on is guaranteed to become larger whether it be a problem or the solution.
Our focus ENLARGES and leads.
Our focus directs our life and penetrates our heart.
We are invited to focus on the following for purpose.
Whatever is true and noble, right and pure, whatever is lovely and admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)
Our purpose in life is to be directed by God’s truths.
His truths about you (You are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works).
His truths about life (Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind).
His truths about people (love your neighbor as yourself).
Even His truths about disappointments and hurts (forgive as I have forgiven you).
His truths will guide you and ensure you accomplish your purpose in life (seek His will in all you do and He will direct your path).
So once again I lay a challenge before you.
Throw out the garbage and lies you’ve allowed yourself to ponder.
Discover what the truth truly is in those areas (hint: Look in His word and email me if you can’t find it).
Then.. think on them daily, speak them out loud and live the life you were purposed to achieve!
I adore shopping for others.
Gift giving is a joyful way to let others know how much you care for them. Especially when the gifts are the thoughtful, don’t cost a ton of money, but “I was thinking specifically of you” type of gifts.
Now, what if I told you that you could turn those gifts into intentional blessings?
Well, you can!
When you buy online Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to the charity of your choice.
To do this login to your account using AmazonSmile (CLICK HERE). Choose your charity – I highly recommend Ignite South Africa, Inc 🙂 and make your purchases. Every month Amazon totals the purchases made and designated to Ignite, then mails the donation.
Personally, I bookmark the page for easy access. Currently I have donated $38.09 to Ignite South Africa through my account. What a gift Amazon gives in allowing me to benefit my favorite charity as I buy!
I encourage you to do the same.
Sign in to your account using AmazonSmile and choose Ignite South Africa as your charity.
As you do that, your purchases will even bless others!
It’s finally here!
Today, we are launching our 1st #GivingTuesday campaign!
Your gift will directly impact over 500 at-risk girls with counseling, support, and classes to choose LIFE and prevent unintended pregnancies in South Africa.
Ignite South Africa works in areas where teen pregnancy and abortion are considered the highest. Together, we can show the love of Christ to these girls!
Give $30 today to provide pregnancy counseling and education to 5 young girls!
Youth everywhere experience challenges.
Those challenges may be due to disabilities, relationships, abuse, bullying, drug, and so many other factors. Far too often adults do not see the child’s challenges or take them seriously. Many assume naughty children are just naughty rather than considering it a cry for help.
We are grateful to be in a position to see, hear, and intervene for youth through our Flashpoint program. Meet Bonolo, one of our 8th grade students, and hear what she has to say…
“Before Ignite my life was a mess. I had nearly committed suicide because I saw no hope and usually had a short temper. After all the lessons that I learned from Ignite I experienced change.
Thanks to you Ignite South Africa I now have reason to hope and my life is back on tract. I am speechless but I want to say thank you for supporting me, you’ve changed my life completely.”
Bonolo’s testimony is one of hundreds that we received this school year.
We are grateful to the Department of Education who allows us to teach and speak words of encouragement and hope into their lives of these students.
Our Flashpoint bi-weekly classes were attended by over 1,800 students this year as we taught grades 7, 8, and 9. Follow this link if you want to check out our curriculum. Our curriculum is available to be used free of charge, contact us at email@example.com to request the book(s) you are interested in!
Starting the Year Right
The first of the year can be hectic with school starting and teams coming. To prepare well we decided to print the first 6 months of our Enrich Discipleship class materials. This is our adult education program.
Nefthali is making over 100 text books for the 9 classes that our volunteer teachers will hold all over Qwa Qwa. We estimate it will take 3 days of diligent work to accomplish this goal. In a couple weeks the coaches will join him to collate, bind and ensure each book is made well.
Our new Printer is well used and loved
We are delighted at how simple and error free our printing has become since the purchase of the Riso printer. Though grateful for the old Duplo, it was clunky and the copies of medium to poor quality making reading hard. I truly believe that God has allowed our classes to expand (nearly doubling next year) as we have the capacity to meet the need.
Thank you to all who contributed and made this purchase possible at the beginning of the year. I know that our ability to print well has opened the door allowing the Enrich Adult Education program to expand. You see, without it we would never have been able to handle the printing needs required. So grateful to you.
I thank God for bringing Ignite South Africa into my life when He did.
I first took the FCG course which proved to be more than I was expecting as its name state, Foundation for Christian Growth. But in real terms it is nothing foundational rather intensive. After finishing it I took on God’s Plan as a second leg but I failed to finish it due to different storms which attacked me from all sides. So I took it again this year and I believe it came at the right time. I believe this whole plan was orchestrated by God himself.
As a result of attending this class I managed to establish a couple of classes at church for different level. The adult Bible study was established because of this God’s Plan for Christian Service course and a courtship class was also started seeing that we had more and more youth who are falling pregnant and becoming single parents.
Because of a better understanding of intercession, I began to teach relevant teachings to the youth and their parents. My teachings were improved and became more direct and simple for anyone to understand and as a result I saw growth of up to 50% of older men (fathers) attending the church and visitors who are touched by the gospel they received or heard from church. I have learned so much from this class.
We thankful for Pastors that are passionate about God and His direction and praise Him for multiplying their efforts!
This is our first place winner Mofokeng Popi and here is what she shared:
When I was much younger, I lived with my grandmother in a small village. Often she would have to fight to get me to school because I hated it so much that I would pretend to be sick so she’d let me to stay home. When my mother visited us I acted out because she forced me to go to school.
My absenteeism was so bad that I had not learn to do the basics of grade r. During the year that I somehow completed grade r, my mom bought a house in Phuthaditjhaba. The following year she decided that I should move in with her so I could get a better education. However, I had to perform a test to determine if I was able to start grade 1. For the test, I needed to write the first five letters of the alphabet and count from 1 to 20. I failed miserably so I had to repeat grade r.
When I passed and moved onto the next grade I made new friends, all of whom surpassed me academically. I was seen as one of the dumbest children in class because I was struggling to write and read my name and surname. Whenever I was asked to answer a question in class the other kids would laugh at me and tease me because I always got it wrong. Their constant harassment changed me. I became a troublemaker and a bully because I was full of rage. I wanted to make their lives a living hell, so I ate their lunch and took their pocket money not because I needed money but because I wanted them to feel the pain I felt when they were laughing at me.
Grade 2 and 3 were very similar in that I always made friends with the bullies and was often in fights, we broke all the school rules. I passed grade 3 and was sent to another school because I still wasn’t doing well academically. I started playing soccer and joined a netball practice; I thought these activities would restore joy in my life and give me a reason to live because every day that I went to school I wished I’d die, knowing that I was always going to be a laughing stock.
In grade 5 my behaviour remained relatively unchanged. I was still enraged because of my incompetency. My teachers used to say that I would never make it in life because they had lost all hope in me. This pushed me deeper into the dark hole that I was myself in and I felt worse about myself. My self-esteem and confidence had been eroded, but my parents didn’t lose hope; they kept pushing and taking me to different schools and even paid tutors to teach me how to read and write. It seemed as if they were wasting their time and money, but God was in control. In grade 6 I started seeing things in a different light. My hope was renewed when I started to believe that God would change my situation.
When the time came to write my final exams I was anxious because it was becoming harder and harder to move on to the next grade. When I got my report I was so scared of failing but I got the shock of my life when I found out that I passed with high marks. I was even awarded a certificate for remarkable academic improvement. I was so happy because it was the first certificate that I had ever received in my life and I also knew deep down that God was busy sharpening my life for His own glory.
But in grade 8 I found myself wondering if I could do as well as I did before. Doubting myself; I cried uncontrollably in my room, wishing that I could die instead of having to go back to school where I would, without a doubt, be the school’s laughing stock. On the day that we were set to write an English paper, I was beyond nervous. Everyone seemed to enjoy the test but I was clueless. My nerves held me back as if I were instantly paralysed. It was then that I had an encounter with God that I still can’t quite put into words.
I’m now in grade 9, I’ve come to realise that it’s my time to shine and show all my full potential. It might sound impossible but I’ve come to realise that when you want something bad enough, putting your mind to it and doing your level best is the way to go. That and a little help from God.
Remember that God is not a son of man who can lie, nor will He change His mind. Like He said in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
I believe and I declare my life will never be the same again. Walk in the light.
Join us as we congratulate and thank Popi for sharing her story with us!
On August 22, Rosemary Mlotshwa received her first call on our Pregnancy Center Helpline. Here is her amazing testimony of life change and a life saved.
Expectation is something that is wonderful and it has power; sitting and waiting for the phone to ring gives you much power to have patience. So that’s what I did. I waited…and waited…and practiced patience. Until it happened!
Late one afternoon I got our first call from a young lady who was pregnant, scared, and was concerned about getting help for an abortion. When the phone first rang, I’ll admit I panicked at bit. But then I took a deep breath, remembered the training I received, took out my training document, and answered the phone with a shaking voice.
Fortunately, God was there with us in that moment. He picked me up, made me strong, and calmed my fears. The girl’s voice was shaking and she spoke very fast. She was nervous, afraid, and desperate for help with an abortion. I managed to calm her down by the grace of God, and after talking with her she agreed to meet for an appointment the following day.
This was as new for me as it was for her. We both were scared. But I also knew that it was a divine appointment from God. On my way to the appointment I prayed, studied my notes, prayed, and studied some more. Then my phone rang and my heart dropped thinking she was calling to cancel. Instead it was just to confirm where to meet.
I was happy to finally be in the field and to be used by God to help someone, but at the same time it’s hard to be happy while someone is desperate and scared and sad.
We met at the church, and in a warm and beautiful office started talking…and talking. I did my part by applying what I had learned, and God did his working in her heart and changing her mind. After a long, difficult chat she decided to keep her baby. I was so proud of her.
Together we saved a life that day.
Through this call, I learned more about love, patience and life. Life begins even before a child is in the womb, and every life is precious to God, our Creator. I thank God for bringing me this deeper revelation. I thank God for the training I received both in the classroom and in the field. And I thank God for the opportunity to save lives.
While I am changing someone’s life, it’s surely changing mine as well.
Please pray for Rosemary and our other helpline workers – for strength, wisdom, patience and love as they answer the call. And if you can help sustain the work they are doing, please visit our strategic giving page and select House of Refuge.