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.

Aug

29

Declaring Fearlessly

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”  Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Paul had just been encouraging the Ephesians to be strong in the Lord, to draw their strength from His and to clothe themselves with the full armor of God so that they’d be able to stand against the devil’s schemes. We’re in a spiritual battle and the enemy wants nothing more than to keep us from following Christ and from reaching others for Him. So he’s telling us to stand firm, gear up, and pray, pray, pray.

He tells us to pray for all the saints, then goes on to ask for prayer for himself. Why? Because he’s an ambassador in chains charged with sharing the Gospel. We can think of the chains figuratively, but in Paul’s case he was literally in prison in chains at the time.

As an ambassador, Paul was Christ’s representative. Christ chose him, entrusted him with the Gospel, commissioned him, sent him out to share it, and qualified him to do so. We are Christ’s ambassadors as well.  2 Corinthians 5:20 says this: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

God makes His appeal through us. What an awesome privilege and responsibility that is!

Even in jail, Paul’s priority was doing the will of God, sharing the Gospel, and encouraging others to do the same. Paul doesn’t ask for prayers to get out of prison. His own comfort and freedom weren’t top priorities in his heart or mind. Rather, he asks to declare the gospel fearlessly – without fear of the enemy, without fear of man – as he ought to speak. 

Whether we are in chains or able to go freely, we ought to proclaim the Gospel boldly, without fear. So what are some of the things that are holding us back from doing so?

Fear of rejection? Fear of persecution? Fear of embarrassment or humiliation? A lack of love for our fellow man?

Ask the Lord to reveal any fears that you have so they can be dealt with and you can be reconciled with God, ready to battle for Him and for those who don’t know Him.

Feb

12

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The sanctity of life message has always resonated with us however, in 2014 it became a passion amongst a group of our pastors and leaders as well.

It all happened after LIFE International provided a church leader training.  Approximately 30 of the attendees continued to meet as a group every other month to discuss how to impact their communities.

Why would this be important?

Because of the signs.  The signs that litter every pole and every bare space advertising pain free abortions as the option for unplanned pregnancies.

Because of the pain.  The pain that can be seen in so many faces.

Additionally, the Department of Health 2011 statistics report that the Free State Province (ours), leads in the number of legal abortions per year by over 9,000. They also report that legal abortions (this number) only accounts for 42% of all abortions within South Africa.

Because of all these factors, for the next two weeks we have asked LIFE International to equip our team to support and help the many who are post abortive, or those who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. Our team desires to reflect God’s love and heart as we walk alongside men and women who are struggling with these life-decisions.

Feb

5

FP Team 3x6

Back row L to R: Constance, Moeketsi, Nefthali, Thabang, Phillip, Sipho, Aaron, Moeti, Dudu and Busisiwe.  Front row: Sibongile, Martha, Nnini, and Nthabiseng.

God is taking our staff team on a journey where they are learning to specialize in areas, as well as individually mentor new volunteers.  Let me share:

Busisiwe Mosia our Director of Flashpoint for the past four years continues to  use  her leadership and collaboration with the schools to strengthen our team and expand our opportunities within Qwa Qwa.

Moeti Moloi is our Volunteer Coordinator and also works in our Discipleship program.  His gift of leadership and encouragement supports his fellow coaches. He is mentoring Constance as a CIT and Nefthali in our Discipleship program.

Aaron Sibaya as Administrative Support ensures all coaches have what they need for schools and encourages them along the way.  Aaron is mentoring Sipho.

Thabang Tshabalala as our Data Specialist works to compile, input, and report our data results twice yearly.  In addition, after reviewing results will propose ways in which we could improve our program.  Thabang is mentoring Moeketsi.

Nnini Sibeko as Administrator and Conference Organiser uses her gifts to organize attendance, events and assists all staff wherever needed. Nnini is mentoring Phillip.

Martha is our Writer and storyteller.  Her goal is to help you experience our Flashpoint program and classes through a variety of mediums. Martha is mentoring Nthabiseng.

Sibongile as Environmental Specialist sets the mood by preparing our environment both physically and with song/worship.  Sibongile is a gifted vocalist and is mentoring Dudu.

We are thrilled to see our coaches step into these new roles knowing it is a small part of the God-miracle that is unfolding this year.  In addition, we are delighted to welcome our seven volunteers who joined us for training.  We pray their time with us is fruitful, fulfilling, and God-willing may they join us as permanent team members in the future.

 

Dec

15

Have you let fear overcome your life, alter your dreams, or cloud your passion?

Has your purpose in life become so distant you no longer remember what it is?
It is vital you remember that you have Unlimited Potential.
How do I know that? Because God designed you that way and lives in you!

In Exodus 4:11-12 we find Moses questioning God’s plan for him and this is the Lord’s reply, “Who makes mouths?” the Lord asked him. “Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say.”

God called Moses from his hiding spot in the mountains to lead during a crucial time. Because of past failings Moses felt inadequate.  It was only by faith in the True God- the One who forgives, equips, provides wisdom, and directs paths, that he was able to accomplish all he did.

Moses did not need to fear Pharaoh or any of the Egyptian army because God filled him with the unlimited potential he needed to overcome and journey to the promised land.

Just like Moses, God has forgiven, equipped, filled us with wisdom, and is directing us today by His Unlimited Potential.

His very Spirit inside of us.

So, when considering your God-purpose look not to yourself because you are right, you cannot do it.
However, Christ-in-you can accomplish all things (Phil. 4:13).

So today. . .
Strip off every weight that slows you down and any sin causing you to stumble.  Run the race He has set before you while keeping your eyes on Jesus on whom your faith depends on.

Ready. Set. GO!

Dec

7

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As the end of his life drew near King David spoke into the life of his son, Solomon.

He gave Solomon instructions in regards to the call in His life, to build God’s Temple. He concluded his instructions with these words;

Be strong and courageous, and do the work.
Don’t be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly

(1 Chronicles 28:20)

The call God has placed in our life is no different; to build the Temple of the Lord, His dwelling place.  The role that each of us has in that call will differ, but we are all called to build.  To strengthen. To encourage.

To be His dwelling place, to be Christ to others.

So the words that David spoke to his son also apply to us.
We must be strong and courageous and do the work that we have been called to, and in doing so we must also remember God’s role in our calling. He will lead us, guide us and see to it that all the work is finished correctly as we follow after Him.

Remember, the results are not up to us they are God’s responsibility; our job is just to do the work.

So today I ask you, what has God called you to do?
What role has He given you to fulfil and, are you doing that work?
Don’t be afraid or discouraged, step out in faith and do it for the Lord God, my God is with you.