Sep

3

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “ Matthew 25:37-40

In this parable Jesus’ message is clear –how we love others and respond to their needs is how we love and serve God Himself.  They are one and the same.

God doesn’t judge the way the world does, based on possessions, power, influence or fame.  Instead, He looks at how we love and how we demonstrate that love through the simple day-to-day things.

Food for the hungry.  A drink for the thirsty.  Welcoming a stranger.  Clothing the naked.  Comforting the sick.  Visiting the lonely or imprisoned.

What these acts have in common is that they are simple – things that any one of us can do.  They are also things that only the person being helped will notice.

Notice in this parable that those serving didn’t realize it was Christ they were serving.  “When did we do that?” they asked.  Winning His favor wasn’t their motivation.  Instead their motivation was to serve purely out of love for others, even the least of them.  As a result, their attitudes and actions were credited to them as righteousness.

Continuing on in the parable, you’ll see that those who didn’t help others, who may have had they known it was Christ they were serving, were separated out and judged as having the wrong heart, wrong motives and wrong actions.

Our Father is delighted when we love and help others without expecting anything in return.  That’s how we experience the pure joy of serving.

And we needn’t think we have to do everything, fix everything or give everything that we have.  That is not the goal.  The goal is simply to love others well, and it’s the simple things can make such a difference!

Lord, please help us to be present in each moment, and to notice the people and needs around us.  Show us how to help in the simple ways that reflect your love each and every day.  Amen.

And to partner with us in loving others well in South Africa, please follow this link.

Aug

20

Guest Blogger: Jill Marshall

I’m an early riser. I set my alarm for 4:45am but am often awake even before that. I like to get up early so I can spend time with the Lord, workout and walk Zoe all before going to work. I love my morning routine even when I hate it. It has become my thing.

One of the challenges, however, is that Zoe insists on protecting the world from squirrels and raccoons, even at 4:45am. That’s her thing.

One morning I was praying and journaling about some things that weighed heavily on my heart. The Lord was encouraging me to see the best in everyone including myself, and to see the best in every situation rather than worrying about things outside of my control. Basically, to see people and circumstances through His eyes.

So I was feeling all encouraged and spiritual…until Zoe started barking, running back and forth, jumping up my back wall, and trampling all my flowers trying to catch a raccoon. I was ticked! And I was sure my neighbors were about to be as well. Zoe was in big trouble!

Then I paused. What did the Lord just speak to me? See the best in everyone? Did that mean my dog as well? Because she was just doing what dogs do. What she thought was right. Protecting her mamma. And that raccoon was 25ft in the air, in a tree behind the 6ft wall of my yard. Yet she barked and jumped as if she could actually reach him. It never even occurred to her that she couldn’t. I wish I had that same determination, perseverance and hope.

Did the Lord just school me using my dog?

I don’t want to over-spiritualize this. I still grabbed Zoe and pulled her into the house. Barking at 5am is a big no-no. But I love how God used her to reinforce his lesson to see the best, assume the best and to step out in faith trusting that he’s in control. He also reminded me of how quickly the enemy tries to snatch away truth through annoyances, distractions and challenges, and for that we must remain alert and guard our hearts.

May we all learn to snatch God’s truth right back with the same determination, perseverance and hope of Zoe girl.

Ps. In this picture Zoe went after a skunk rather than a raccoon. In the battle of Dog v. Skunk there are only losers. But you can’t blame a girl for trying.

At Ignite we purpose to see the best and call it out of leaders of all ages. For ways you can help, please follow this link.

Aug

15

Guest Blogger: Jill Marshall

“You complete me.” Whose heart didn’t just melt when Jerry Maguire dug deep into his soul and poured out these words to Dorothy, played by Renee Zellweger? And what woman (or man if he’s willing to admit) doesn’t long for the exact same thing?

To be complete. To feel complete. For someone or something to complete them.

I know I do.

In Colossians 1:28, Paul’s goal is to proclaim and teach the gospel so that everyone may be presented complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10 says that we are complete in Christ. Some translations use the word perfect.

So often I focus on the things that I’m lacking or have lost along the way. My flaws and scars. My fading beauty and energy. Goals not yet accomplished. Dreams deferred or destroyed altogether.

Then I try to rally by cultivating gratitude and “counting my blessings.” By focusing on what I do have rather than what I don’t. That works for about a minute, then it floats away and I’m back to beating myself up. This time with “ungrateful” added to my list of flaws. Ugh! Have you ever done this, or am I the only one?

What do the things I’m grateful for and the things that I lack have in common? They are things! Separate from me and even contradictory to who God says I am. They neither make me complete nor detract from being complete because they have nothing to do with it.

The truth is that I already am complete. With or without my 20-year old body. With or without a spouse or full bank account. With or without accomplishments, accolades or promotions. With or without Instagram followers or 1000 Facebook friends.

The truth is that I am complete. Because my Father, my Creator, my Lord and Savior says that I am.

And if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ, you are too!

Lord, you complete me. Thank you that I am complete because you are complete, and you are in me. Help this truth sink deep into my soul. And may it fuel joy, gratitude, confidence and power in my life. Amen.

Pastors, leaders and youth need to know they are complete in Christ, and in Christ alone. If you can help us reach them with this truth, please click here.

Mar

6

Correct Interpretation of the Bible is Possible!

Ensuring correct interpretation of the Bible is what our Hermeneutics class is all about.  Learning how to do that consistently certainly requires Bible reading and listening to the Holy Spirit. However, understanding the genre, original language, history, culture and even the audience it was intended brings additional insight.

According to social psychology, people interpret situations based on their own experiences. While this may be acceptable in life, it is very dangerous when it comes to the Word of God. Imagine if every leader was to interpret the Bible based on their personal experiences!

We have heard of preachers who minister based on misinterpretation and seen how it can lead congregations astray. As this is one of the greatest fears as a Pastor, we chose to include this course in our curriculum. 

Additionally, the Hermeneutics course plays an important role in achieving our mission to model and equip godly leaders.  In providing resources and teaching participants to use various study methods and resources, they glean a deeper, more accurate understanding of God’s Word.  

Follow this link to read  testimonies from the leaders who completed the course last year. We look forward to even greater reviews as we continue to multiply Godly leaders in South Africa.

If you are passionate about ensuring that the Word of God is interpreted as intended,  you can be a part of this mission by providing resources or funding . please contact us to get details.

 

 

 

Dec

5

Our Capstone Leadership class is the final class in our discipleship training series.  It provides a variety of opportunities for students to practically apply what they have been learning through oral presentations, journaling as well as creating a project that reaches out to their communities.  In addition, the leadership classes help students identify and grow in the different areas of ministry that God has called them.

Our 2017  Capstone class had this to say about what they learned:

God has helped me to know that as a leader I am called to equip, I am called to teach, called to lead by example and with integrity. – Lizzy Khoabane

In this class God has blessed me a lot for I learned even from the topics that we were given to present. The lesson of self care in ministry was important to me for I learned that God cares for us. Meaning He is not just caring about our spirituality but for both spiritual and physical as well. – Moeti Moloi

Each student had to determine local needs then design and implement a project that would impact their local community.  Here is what a couple of them had to share about their project:

During the course of this class, I led a gathering for Men in the church but made it to focus on all men and not men of our church only.  I wanted us to find a way to bridge a gap between men, because our culture dictates that a man live should be on island (alone). Secondly I wanted old men to open a direct communication channel to us young men. Knowing how we live here in Qwaqwa I did not expect many people but on the set day many men arrived! – Paul Maleke

 A testimony of my project to teenagers. The teenagers loved everything that we did and they wanted us to continue (past our scheduled date). The teaching was about living on purpose, and some of them knew some of things, and many didn’t understand a purpose for their life’s and I explain to them about purpose and they were encouraged. – Martha Moloi

As these students graduate we look forward to seeing how they will use their gifts, knowledge and skills to impact and change their communities.

Jun

14

My favourite class to teach is an applied hermeneutics class created last year. I laugh a little when I say that as I think of the struggle most have to say the word.  Also, how the word alone carries an impression of greatness and is therefore one of the reasons for the interest in taking the course!

I knew from personal experience that hermeneutics can be challenging and really wanted to make it a practical course. Thanks to generous gifts and donations we have been able to build a resource library (including computers) for the students to use to apply the methods as they learn them.

The truth is that many do not know that Bible study can (and should) include more than reading the text.
The fact is that many of the pastors and church leaders here are amongst that group.
The truth is that inaccurate interpretations may lead to false truths or even heretical beliefs being preached.

Kind of scary when you think of it that way.
Regardless of our best intentions we could lead people astray…

Though all of those things are important, the real reason I love teaching the class is seeing the students come alive as they learn to use various resources. As they uncover cultural or historical facts that bring a deeper understanding of God’s Word to them. When they realise the various scripture interpretations are exactly that…. interpretations – some of them better than others. And finally, when they experience the impact it makes in their own life.

Our recent class just finished and here is what a couple of them had to say:

I was blessed learning how to use different study aids and materials, knowing the difference between bible translations and how to SOAP journal. I have been using what I learned during my personal devotion times and when preparing for sermons. This year as I prepared for Passover I spent time studying the significance of the feast and was able to prepare a powerful message. I saw the Holy Spirit make His presence evident during the service in a way I have never seen before! ~Rev. R.P. Maleke

It was a blessing to me to learn about various methods of interpretation, analyzing scripture, reflection and resources. I have already been using it while teaching in my church and plan to organise a bible class at my house for others to learn as well. I have a much richer understanding of God’s Word now. ~Pastor T. Nhlabathi

Nov

14

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By Rev. Paul Maleke

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!

Sep

9

Hermeneutics Bible

SOAP is a simple yet powerful method for studying Scripture.  It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.

  • S – Scripture:  As you study scripture, make note of the key verses that jump out to you.  Writing them out helps you to slow down, really see them, and allow God speak to you through them.
  • O – Observation:  Write down your observations about what you’ve read.  Who is the author?  Who is the audience?  What is the situation?  Are there certain words repeated or emphasized?
  • A – Application:  Write down how those observations affect your life today and how you can apply them.  This is where God’s Word becomes personal.  What is God saying to you today?
  • P – Prayer:  Pray to God about what you’ve learned and how to live it out.  Also pray about anything else He may have revealed including any sin that may be getting in the way.

This is just one of the many study methods that students learned in our recent Hermeneutics class.  When asked about how they were blessed by the course, here is what some of our students had to say.

“God blessed me through this class…It class taught me about the Old and New Testaments, and I want to thank God because now I have resources like books and notes that will help me to read and understand the Word of God so that I can be ready to preach the Gospel to others.” – Mokokeng Motsami

“One key lesson that I have learned and enjoyed is how to work with the word SOAP when it comes to Bible study…I have been applying this method in my teachings in the church and it has been helpful.  I thank God for you and others in the class.” – Jeanette Mofokeng

“I enjoyed the class times and learning with others.  Before this class, I would become frustrated at times when I didn’t understand certain Scriptures.  Learning to study scripture in context has made a huge difference in my understanding of it.” – Amanda Radebe

We are currently building a resource library in our new office facility.  If you have any new or gently used Biblical resources that you’d like to contribute, please email office@ignitesouthafrica.org and we will help with the necessary arrangements.  

Sep

5

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Prosperity. Success. We may define it differently, but we all want it – for ourselves, for our children, for our children’s children.  Fortunately for us, in Joshua 1 God gives us the secret to prosperity and success.

And the secret is…Wait for it…Obedience.

The Lord was busy encouraging Joshua in his new role as leader of Israel.  Joshua had big shoes to fill after Moses, and was likely feeling a bit intimidated and unqualified.  So the Lord promised to always be with him, and encouraged him to be strong and courageous not once, but 3 times. (4 if you count his soldiers saying the same thing.)

But the part that struck me in the encouragement was the call to obedience.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:7-8, emphasis added)

While strength and courage are important, its obedience that leads to prosperity and success.  And who doesn’t want to be successful wherever he or she goes?

Now, both the world in general and our American culture in particular have much different definitions. For example, Merriam-Webster defines prosperity as “the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money.”  We tend to think of wealth, possessions, influence, and power, and then project that view on God thinking if we obey God we will be wealthy.

Yet reality doesn’t pan out…

Because God doesn’t define prosperity or success the same way we do.  I love what Jen Hatmaker says in For the Love.  When it comes to how we interpret the Bible, “If it isn’t true for a poor, single, Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” In other words, God’s Word must be true for all.  If it isn’t true everywhere, then it isn’t true anywhere.

So if we determine that obedience leads to material wealth and power, yet it doesn’t work for that poor, single mom, then we’ve misunderstood the character and Word of God.  Prosperity and success must mean something else…

The Lord tells us if we obey, then we will be prosperous and successful.  Imagine if our values and goals, words and actions, marriages and parenting, work ethics and relationships were all rooted in God’s Word.  Imagine if we modeled Christ in every area of our lives.

That sounds pretty prosperous and successful to me.

Praying for prosperity and success in your life and mine.

Sep

1

Hermeneutics Class

Just as we need to eat nutritious food for physical health and strength, we must spend regular time feasting on God’s Word for spiritual health and strength. And as anyone with young children knows all too well, it takes learning and practice to master eating “big-people” food.  The same is true for studying God’s Word.

Hermeneutics is a discipline that teaches us how to study God’s Word. It takes into consideration things like cultural and historical context, literary genre, grammar, syntax and semantics to better understand the author’s intended meaning.

In our recent 13 week Hermeneutics course, based on the book How to Study the Word by Terri Lawson, students learned methods of Biblical interpretation for both personal spiritual formation and for teaching others.

As they shared testimonies, many said that they discovered falsehoods they had believed based on their own cultural traditions, but they now felt better equipped to study, interpret and teach the Bible for themselves with the help of the Holy Spirit and the tools provided.

“This class has been a great blessing to me indeed, as it has given me the ways of taking the word of God from the pages to my heart. From now on I know how to study the Bible in a different way than I did before. And the most fascinating thing was to learn that the Bible has its own original language, that was a key lesson for me, though a difficult one, but it makes me want to dig deeper and deeper to find out more. So far, I have applied the methods I’ve learned in my devotional journal. As I study the Bible, I’ve been practicing what I’ve learned. I’ve also been helping my brothers in the Lord by teaching them.” – Thabiso Makhorole (pictured bottom left)   

Please pray for our recent course graduates as they practice what they’ve learned and press deeper into the Word of God.