One of the characteristics of South African Christians influenced by the West is our consumer spirituality. "I consume therefore I am" had become the principle of our day, whether we speak of commodities, entertainment or even knowledge. Without realizing it we have paid dearly for it.
In 2014 Christianity Today asked the online Bible site YouVersion which Bible verses are the most popular in the world. Out of the 160 million users surveyed Jer. 29:11 came in fourth. It didn’t get a podium finish, but as a consolation the weeping prophet did take the gold in Canada, Australia, England and of course South Africa. One might feel sorry for Jer. 29:11 losing out to Romans 12:2 and the old favourite Philippians 4:6-8, but at least he can take courage in the fact that ‘The Lord has plans for you...to prosper...plans to give you hope and a future’.
Having said that, spare a thought for the remaining 32 verses in Jer. 29 - always being discarded and left behind. They are the real stars of the show, as a matter of fact they are the guys and girls giving verse 11 its meaning!
19-02-2017 If you thought that paganism is something archaic and not applicable to us moderns - think again. To be a pagan implies that you worship a thing and cannot see it as part of the bigger reality. Today we don't have as much sun and river-worshipers as before, but we do have Family, Money, Work, Status, Self and many other.... ‘worshippers’.
The Bible warns us that you need to worship God and Him alone, because you will ultimately become what you worship. Hence you have a choice of becoming 'Work-like', 'Attractive-like', 'Mother-like, or the non-pagan version - Godlike.
15-01-15 Socrates famously remarked that the unexamined life is not worth living. Soon after embarking on such an examination you are bound to be confronted with the question of meaning - what on earth am I here for? What is the significance/reason/purpose of life?
All worldviews have to wrestle with this question and needless to say, derive at different conclusions, but for many Christians the idea of 'a calling' can help solve the riddle.
Before we officially jump into the distractions of 2017, let us first try to wrestle with one of the most asked questions in the world.
Jesus left us two visual images to remember and summarise his work on earth. One image is expressed in bread and wine. The other is immersion in water. But what does it mean? Water is central in understanding the message of Jesus.
2016-11-20 The hiddenness of God is something that bothers a lot of people today. Yet it is nothing new. The travelers to Emmaus also did not recognise the presence of the living Christ in their broken and shattered world.