Jun

19

Educators, regardless of where employed, have a challenging job.

To accomplish their goals to teach and prepare students for life and advanced education, they must take many things into consideration.  For example, they need to incorporate various teaching-learning styles to enhance learning. They take time to identify learning challenges in an effort to help the student succeed.

However, what happens when significant challenges are discovered?
Working within an impoverished area in any country holds unique challenges.
How do you teach a child who is hungry? Alone? Abused? In an unsafe environment?

Many educators find themselves asking the questions . . .
What is my role? How can I help a person overcome such insurmountable obstacles?
After all, I am only one and the problems so very great.

Yet history clearly reveals ONE can create great impact.

Just look at Moses, Mary, Ghandi, King, and Mandela as a few examples of people who gave of themselves regardless of the cost.

With a passion to impact came boldness, love for others and a willingness to sacrifice.

The work here is hard and daunting. The number of students that are orphans or living in housing (hostels) with little adult supervision is overwhelming. Bullying, abuse and sexual predators are rampant and the list goes on.  Needless to say burn out for teachers is on the rise.

Our Educator workshops the past couple of months were filled with facts and truths as we lead them through self-discovery of purpose and passion.

Here are a couple testimonies from the school of Phahameng:

“I did not know how to speak positive words to learners if they did wrong. In fact, I was talking bad words and was easily angered. I even rebuked one in front of everyone!

I now realise the power of words and have learned to control myself, no longer speaking negative words. I know how to talk to the learners and have seen things change in my class just because I have changed the way I speak!”  ~Mme

“Prior to this workshop I saw my work as a job, as a way to pay my bills.

Lately it had become hard for me to work, I would get tired and want to go home early. I took my work simple. I did not know these were symptoms of burn out or what could be done to help.

The workshop showed me that though I may not have “chosen” my profession, it chose me!
I now see my purpose and have a heart to help, to impact the lives of the learners. 

Because of this workshop I have changed my life and am choosing to live out my purpose through my work!”  ~Ntate

Our Flashpoint youth programme collaborates with the schools to help students succeed in life. We  offer these services because of and through the support of our partners and friends.

If you are passionate to help youth overcome and be positive impacts regardless of their past, please consider giving a gift!

Jun

12

I ran my first full marathon in South Africa and it was grueling. The course was all hills and it rained the whole time. I was pretty much last – I only saw one guy behind me and he was walking because of an injury. To be honest, I was just happy to finish upright and not to be the last one.

No one wants to be last.

In Matthew 20 Jesus tells the story of some laborers hired to work in a landowner’s field. The men hired in the morning worked hard all day in the hot sun. As the day wore on, the landowner continued to bring in more workers. Then at the end of the day, he called them in last-in-first-out order, and paid them each a denarius for their work. The men who had worked all day were angry. They didn’t think it fair to get the same wage as those who worked less, and even worse, they were paid last.

No one wants to be last.

Jesus uses this parable to describe the Kingdom of God where the last shall be first and the first shall be last. (Matthew 20:16) But how is this possible? When is being last actually winning rather than losing? When we exalt God rather than ourselves. When we surrender our will to His will.
When we love, serve and sacrifice for others.

The morning laborers failed to do this. Instead, they compared themselves to others growing angry, jealous and discontent. They doubted the landowner’s wisdom, motivation, character and sense of justice. Then they powered up to get justice for themselves. As the first ones hired they wanted special treatment – payment befitting of being first.

They wanted what they thought they deserved.

A mentor of mine says that forgiveness is the oxygen of the Kingdom. It sustains life. It makes Kingdom living possible. If that’s true, then perhaps comparison is the carbon dioxide of the Kingdom. It sucks the life right out. It steals our joy, faith, trust and love, and turns our focus inward. It defeats and implodes, and out of the dust rises pride and insecurity. And it hinders us from receiving and demonstrating God’s love. That’s why comparison is such an effective scheme of the enemy.

The landowner ascribed value equally and unconditionally, just as our Heavenly Father does.
We can’t earn value through works, or attain it by comparing and striving to get ahead. Instead, we must put God and others first. That may mean last place for us, but there are both great lessons and great rewards to be found there.

I’ve never heard of a race where athletes train and run in hopes of finishing last. But then the Kingdom of God isn’t a typical race, and Jesus isn’t a typical coach.

Here’s to hoping for a photo finish with all God’s people tied for last.

What does training and aiming for last place look like for you?

Mar

27

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?

Feb

27

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?

Feb

9

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!

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

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.

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.

Jul

6

 

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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.

“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.

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

 

May

30

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I love the Psalms because they are so raw, authentic, and passionate.

They show us that we have a God who cares about us and wants to share in our triumphs and pains, in our hopes and fears.  He loves our praise, but He’s also ok with our cries, complaints and rants.
God wants it all.  That’s what being in relationship is all about.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”  Psalm 56:3-4

David was crying out to God because he was being pursued by his enemies.  He was feeling weary, discouraged, and fearful from fighting all day long.  And notice that he doesn’t say “if” I am afraid, but “when.”  Because it happens.  It happened to him, it happens to me all the time.

Like David, I have felt exhausted and battle weary at times.  I have felt trampled, hurt by naysayers and scared by doomsdayers in my life.  While I may not have actual soldiers chasing me with their swords glinting in the sun, my enemy (and yours) is even tougher, craftier and more persistent.

When negative comments and thoughts about myself and the world around me make me feel insecure, inadequate, and afraid that’s a sure sign that I’m putting my trust in something other than God.

Fear is a red flag that I’ve taken my focus off of God.

I love how David rallies his courage in this Psalm.  He remembers that he belongs to God and that God is with him.  He puts his trust in God and trust is the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” 

God wants us to place our trust in him – only him.
Anything short of that is actually idolatry…ouch!

So David turns his worries into praise, and he conquers his fears knowing that God has his back (and front and sides…)  As David strengthens himself in the Lord he realizes that no one and nothing can harm him or prevent him from fulfilling God’s purposes.

God will deliver him from the hands of his enemies, and God will deliver us as well.

Our fears stem from a lack of trust.
Not trusting that God has our backs.
Not trusting that God is with us.
Not trusting that God is speaking and that we’re hearing His will.
Too often, we listen to the voices of our enemy instead.

Where are you placing your trust right now?
Lord, please show me what it looks like to trust You in each area of my life.