The Horror of Violence and the Tears of the Lord

How does one express in words the horror and the pain we feel when we hear of violence against our fellow human beings whoever they may be? And this feeling of revulsion and outrage is all the more real when such violation happens at the hands of those who are responsible before God to cherish and protect the vulnerable in our society. God created men to honour, respect, cherish and protect all women. And when God became a man, that is what he did - even to the point of laying down his life. Jesus was a true man and not a monster!

What have we become when something so ordinary as a visit to a post office becomes an opportunity for lust and violence or when children on their way to school and back are at the mercy of gangsters or when the aged are made the target of thugs.

For such things our God weeps and bled and died. May God have mercy on us at a time like this for we deserve His wrath. And may God grant that whoever we are we treat those made in his image with the honour and dignity that they deserve and with the grace that we ourselves want and need. 

Change - Part 1


God's Master Plan for Change

If you love someone you won’t try to change them. Love accepts people as they are, warts and all. Maybe you’ve heard that relationship advice before? But is it always true? Is acceptance of someone’s shortcomings really a demonstration of true love? God's love for us is a perfect love. And yet doesn’t love us for who we are. He loves us in spite of who we are. And because He loves us, He very much wants to change us.

You could say that the whole Bible story is about God's master plan to change lives. None of us are who we should be. Our lives are a very pale reflection of what God intended. Sin has taken its toll. We are all in need of a complete overhaul. That’s where God's master plan for change comes in. Before time began, God set His sights on loving and calling and restoring broken people. Romans 8:28 tells us that God is orchestrating every moment of every day so that everything we experience, if we are God's children, has been designed by Him to change us into the people He intended us to be – people whose lives look more and more like Jesus.

Made Possible by the Cross

God's great change project was made possible through the cross. The death of Jesus made real personal change not just a pipe dream, but an achievable reality. Titus 2:14 says that “Jesus Christ … gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” As Jesus atoned on the cross for our sin, paying its penalty and destroying its power, He opened up the possibility for change. That is why Jesus died. That possibility then becomes reality in the most incredible act of God's power and grace. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God unites people to Christ as they put their faith in him, so that they benefit from all that Christ achieved. God's simple purpose in doing this is so that “we may live a new life” (Rom. 6:4). The Bible calls this the new birth.

But God doesn’t stop there. Not only does God set his affection upon individuals in eternity past, not only does He unite them to Christ at the point of conversion in the present, but He also promises to see his change project all the way through to that point of completion in the future glory. Philippians 1:6 says that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is in the business of changing lives. He never does half jobs. And He has a 100% success rate. Through Christ He destroys the penalty of sin and the power of sin so that one day we will be free from the presence of sin.

Some of the implications

The implications of this are huge. Firstly, it means that change is inevitable for God's children. God is transforming us into Christ’s likeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). So I don’t have the option of stagnating on my journey to becoming more like Jesus. I must not be satisfied with mediocrity in my Christian life. If God's goal is perfection, then I should aim at nothing less. Secondly, it means that the key to bringing about change in my life and dealing with specific sins is found in the gospel. The gospel is our power and motivation to change. In the fight against sin we can do no better than preaching the gospel to ourselves again. Thirdly, it means that because God is not finished with me yet, I should not become overwhelmed by discouragement when change seems painfully slow. When persistent sin seems impossible to overcome and failure feels like a way of life, I need to remember God's commitment to present me spotless and pure on the final day. Because He loves me, that is His goal. And He will stop at nothing to achieve it.

Recommended reading: You Can Change – Tim Chester; How People Change – Tim Lane & Paul Tripp; Finally Alive – John Piper

Christ Church Umhlanga: Holiday Bible Club 2009


It was with great excitement that Christ Church Umhlanga prepared to hold its first Holiday Bible Club at its new site this year. The new building and facilities were a fantastic venue for the club and something that we continue to thank God for providing. The club ran from 30 June – 3 July, with a special family service on Sunday 5th.


Because the site had not had a holiday club before the church was apprehensive concerning the number of children that would come. The area where the church is situated contains a number of churches and there were at least two other churches holding Holiday Bible Clubs during the same week. With much prayer for the club, its teaching and its leaders; we also asked God to send us 50 children. The night before holiday club 34 had children signed up to attend. On day one 50 children arrived!! God had answered prayers and he continued to do so. By the end of the week 84 children had passed through the doors! There was much to praise God for.

The club was called “The Mystery of the King”; it revolved around a drama involving two bumbling palace guards called Stan and Ernie. Using the Bible for clues, Stan and Ernie brought different kings from the Bible out of the ‘time travel panel’ each day, in a bid to find the everlasting king. Their motives were slightly impure in that they wanted to find the everlasting treasure that belonged to the everlasting king! We met King Saul, King David and King Solomon (some of the children wanted to know why King Solomon was a Zulu – Khulula thanks for doing a great job of acting Solomon!). Eventually one of Jesus’ friends came out of the time travel panel and it became clear that Jesus is the everlasting king that they were looking for. His everlasting kingdom and treasure could be found in heaven.


Much fun and hilarity was had by all. The leaders although inexperienced were committed and enthusiastic and built good relationships with their groups. Overall the club exceeded our expectations and for that we give God the glory. We pray that next year we will once again have the opportunity to reach the children in our community with God’s Word.