DIVORCE – arch-enemy and destroyer of our social stability

The number one problem in marriages today is not sex, or lack of finances, or adultery but the breakdown of meaningful communication!  Divorce, the archenemy and destroyer of our social stability, is rocketing at an alarming rate.  Seven out of ten marriages in SA are ending in divorce.  The quick solution for a failing marriage is believed to be an instant divorce, which appears to be the easiest way out. 
Divorce is a highly traumatic experience, not only for the husband and the wife but also for the children, family and friends.  Divorce has become a large part of modern life and it impacts each one of us.  Divorce is rated second on the life-stress scale, after the death of someone close to you. In some ways divorce is worse than death. With divorce come strong feelings of anger and betrayal that heighten the grief.
All of us have probably been affected by divorce in our family or among close friends.  The media constantly portrays divorce as normal and marriage as irrelevant.  For many, divorce is not a choice but a tragedy that has struck and destroyed hope and happiness.  Divorce is emotionally very traumatic and painful.  It leaves not only emotional and psychological scars, but spiritual ones as well and faith can be shaken at such a time.  It often becomes a desperately isolated and lonely road with burdens too heavy to bear.
The Bible is clear that divorce should be avoided at all costs. The question is: when divorce has been thrust upon someone; when divorce has not been avoided; when a marriage has been ripped apart and dreams have been broken, should the wounded victims be left at the side of the road to die?  Or should there be a compassionate and loving response to lead the crushed and broken person down the road to recovery and restoration?
It is not our place to make judgement about who is to blame.  All too often we make assumptions because we only hear one side of the story, or because we think we know the people involved rather better than we really do.  Neither is it our role to condemn people for their sin.  Divorce is not the unforgivable sin we have often assumed it to be.  Forgiveness is available to all who will accept it.  The Bible also insists that forgiveness is available to all, even if they feel they cannot forgive themselves.

LATHICIA KLACKERS is a minister’s wife.  She has over 28 years of extensive marriage counselling experience.  In 1990 she launched a divorce recovery program in S.A.  She presents these workshops, nationally and in the U.K.

My journey to divorce recovery –
I GREW UP FANTASISING ABOUT THE perfect man I was going to marry – one who would always love me and be there for me. I was in denial about the depression that made me feel such despair, failure, hopelessness and loneliness. Twelve years ago I met my husband. I was convinced he was God’s gift to me, who would make me a whole person, a person who would be accepted by God and society.
I entered the relationship with a lot of emotional baggage and very low self-esteem. I looked to my husband to fulfil my emotional needs and areas of lack in my life.
Initially I was so caught up with the security, a sense of well-being and happiness that was superficially there because of the intensity of the romance. I was blinded from seeing the gross flaws that were present in our relationship from the start. I thought that love was enough to keep our relationship healthy. However, we were not able to communicate freely on a deeper level where emotions and feelings could be expressed and we couldn’t really be transparent with one another.
I was desperately unhappy, depressed and lonely. I knew my marriage was in trouble, but I clung onto the broken fragments in a desperate hope that this would change. I believed that things would get better if I could be a better, more loving and more understanding wife. After all, I was a believer. I sincerely believed we would always be together. 
Throughout my marriage I struggled with ill-health and depression. We had many personal problems which sapped our energy. I began to escape into a world of busyness to avoid the pain and the hurts that were festering inside my heart.
After eight years of marriage and several attempts to seek counselling and help, I realised that I had to give my husband an ultimatum. He did not see the need to go for counselling because he didn’t think we had serious problems in our marriage relationship. My husband left and my world fell apart. I had a daughter to parent on my own. I was consumed with fear, anxiety, shame and guilt, but I felt I had to hide the truth from everyone. Three weeks after my husband left, he filed for divorce. I was very ill at the time and I felt devastated and angry. My dreams for the future and all my hopes and aspirations were shattered. I felt frustrated, misunderstood and rejected. I wanted to die….
For the next three years I struggled to come to terms with the pending divorce. I was in denial and had a self-righteous attitude. I had subconsciously allowed myself to become a victim and was hurting so much inside.
Earlier this year I became desperate to change my life. I no longer wanted to be miserable, lonely and hurting, but I was ashamed that I couldn’t make my marriage work. I realised that I needed help and  approached my church.
This is where I started my long journey to recovery. I realised that I couldn’t start to heal or restore my life until I could honestly admit that I needed help because my life had become unmanageable.
After nearly three months of individual counselling, my counsellor told me about a Divorce Recovery Workshop by Lathicia Klackers that was to be held the following week. The timing didn’t suit me because I had so many deadlines to meet for work, but in my heart I knew God had an appointment with me. I was anxious and fearful about making myself vulnerable, but deep in my heart I wanted to change and become well again.
The Divorce Recovery Workshop was the turning point in my journey to recovery. For the first time I could admit how angry and hurt I was inside. I could be myself and be honest about where I was at. I could also begin to see where I had failed as a marriage partner. It was hard to come out of denial, but when I began to embrace the truth I could  get closure and begin my journey to recovery.
Although I had to work through a lot of issues and emotions which were very painful, Lathicia and others were there to listen and encourage me not to give up.

The main aim of the workshop is to help men and women to recover emotionally from the devastation and hurt surrounding divorce.  It is about recovery and restoration – it does not offer a quick fix, but rather offers an understanding of yourself, the process of divorce and its impact on you as a person.
The seminar will deal with the breakdown of the matrimonial relationship which results in emotional & psychological trauma.  It deals with the restoration cycle and examines the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, forgiveness, faith, acceptance and finally wholeness.  It also confronts the issues of loneliness, isolation and alienation from self and emphasizes the importance of family, friends and the adjustments necessary in the process of moving from married life to being single again.  Finally it leads to a new resolution and wholeness.
One of the advantages of the workshop is the group discussions between participants, which provide new perspectives, and the realization that there are a lot of people with similar and even more trying issues related to the trauma of divorce.  It allows for new friendships to be formed and enables each one to work through their pain and the process of divorce in a structured and meaningful way.  For those who are struggling in a stressful marriage:  Seek help, be committed to work through the difficulties in your marriage.  Your marriage can survive stress.
To those who are divorced:  You don’t have to carry the devastating effects of divorce with you for the rest of your life.  You can overcome the pain, make a decision to recover.  God heals the broken heart.

Lathicia Klackers
Divorce Restoration
P.O. Box 13058, Humewood 6013
Cell: 082 570 3144
Tel:   041 583 2385
Fax:  041 583 4204
Email: klackers@aerosat.co.za

Pastor – why wont you marry us

Fornication: What does this old fashioned, almost extinct term in Christian vocabulary, even mean?
Fornication appears 32 times in 28 verses in the New Testament and comes from the Greek Porneia = any sexual sin. The Old King James version of the Bible uses the direct Greek translation while the New King James version often replaces ‘fornication’, with ‘sexual immorality’.
Fornication carries a two prong meaning: On the one hand it generally refers to any sexual immorality, including adultery.  However, symbolically, it stands for idolatry – forsaking the true God to worship idols; Jesus is the groom, the Church is His bride, so idolatry is like sexual unfaithfulness to a marriage partner. (Rev 2:21, 14:8)
It is imperative that this issue is brought back into the spotlight. Why? Because the Bible tells us that fornicators will not make it into heaven. “…fornicators…will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21 & 1 Cor 6:9-10)

You cannot call yourself a Christian and a fornicator, they are mutually exclusive!
The Bible is crystal clear. The Church is called to be holy and fornication is not to be tolerated. Recent decades of Church leadership have all but failed the people of God. When is the last time you heard a sermon on fornication or sexual immorality? I’m convinced that one of the reasons sexual immorality is so rife in society today, is because the Church has abandoned its responsibility to confront the issue.
In a quest to gain and retain the old numbers/noise/nickels, many preachers have succumbed to popularity at the expense of righteousness. Not only should this subject be taught openly, it must also be addressed by leadership in congregational oversight. “Shepherd the flock of God…serving as overseers” (1 Pet. 5:2) Should a pastor learn of fornicators within his assembly, he should embrace the following approach: 

His first responsibility is to graciously speak with them and show them in the Bible where they stand with God and admonish them to repent (repentance being a change of mind concerning conduct). Their eternal soul is at stake! God is loving, gracious and forgiving and will cleanse from all unrighteousness any who repent (1 John 1:9). Redemption must always be the priority. If a couple have been living together, they should be challenged to separate and encouraged to spend six months building a sturdy, personal relationship with Jesus. After that time, and by consent of the pastor, they can then recommence their non-physical relationship (courting) for the sole purpose of weighing each other’s character for a lifetime together in marriage.
If the couple is unwilling to separate, then they should marry immediately in a private ceremony with a few witnesses present. This is not to be a big church wedding with all the fanfare and trimmings as it will make a mockery of the Church and its moral values. That type of ceremony should be reserved for those who have consecrated themselves and waited.
If the couple have children and want to remain together, encourage them to marry immediately because God is not into breaking up families.
If none of the above is adhered to, it leaves the pastor with only one option – the couple must be asked to leave the church.
Here is the challenge to pastors, which underlines all of the above: “Do not keep company with sexually immoral people … put away from among yourselves that evil person” (1 Cor 5: 9-13). Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” (1 Tim 5:20).

As a shepherd, the pastor carries a serious responsibility to protect the rest of the flock. Fornication, left unchecked, will allow an unclean spirit to spread like a disease throughout the congregation. Paul said that “a little leaven will leaven the whole lump” (Gal. 5).
So often the plea for trying to justify immorality is, “What about God’s love and grace and forgiveness?”  This is what I refer to as ‘greasy grace’. Yes, Jesus loves and died for sinners to rescue them. Yes, He forgives and cleanses the repentant sinner, but, after washing them clean by His blood, He wants them to stay clean and remain cleansed. Another cry is, “Judge not and be not judged!” My friends, judgment is to begin at the house of the Lord. How can the Church be the pillar and foundation of truth for society when it neglects to maintain uprightness within itself?
Over the years I have had the privilege of personally witnessing many who have given their hearts to Jesus and then, with the courage of conviction, disciplined themselves to live clean and consecrated lives. What a joy to see with time, these same once fornicating sinners, marry within the God-given margins of holiness, committing whole-heartedly to a lifetime together with God.

Marriage should never be broken except by death. Marriage and divorce is another controversy that has seemingly gotten out of hand. Sadly the Church and many of its leaders of today have blatantly disregarded the clarity of God’s Word on marriage. This is exacerbated by well-known Church personalities who have unashamedly divorced without merit, and then, with flagrant disobedience to truth, married again. In Matthew 19, Jesus clears up the issue by reaching back into the Old Testament, where He quotes Genesis 2:24 “and the two become one flesh”. He then states categorically, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

God’s undeniable position is that marriage shall be permanent; the marriage contract is binding until death. It’s a lifetime contract. In fact the only legitimate reason for divorce is continued adultery.  Here is that vicious animal again – ‘fornication’. Although Jesus permits divorce, (Matt 19), He does not command it. Only in irretrievable cases of repeated adultery is divorce to be tolerated.
Jesus addresses the Pharisees who quote Moses as their justification for divorce.  In Matthew 19:7 the Pharisees asked Him: “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce?”
Jesus clarified Moses’ position by pointing to the “hardness of men’s hearts”. (Matt 19:9)  “He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so’”.
Women in those times had no rights. If men disliked their wives they treated them with cruelty and abuse. So the certificate of divorce released her to leave and have a life again, reflecting the heart of God, granting liberty to the captive. Let me say it again, divorce is completely unacceptable, except for repeated adultery (fornication). “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). 
It must be stressed, hurtful and painful as it may be, that if one of the parties in a marriage falls into adultery, the other party should forgive him or her and seek to salvage the marriage. They should forgive them and then strive to win back their love and devotion. Even in the midst of failure, God is still committed to the marriage and its longevity!

Now I know that I’ve probably opened a can of worms. Perhaps you have already made the mistake and have remarried. What should you do? Should you break up again? No!
The first marriage is already destroyed by the second marriage – the second marriage has broken the first. So now God holds the second marriage binding. Never break the second marriage. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Confess the past disobedience, and walk in God’s forgiveness. Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”. Friends, I write this as a man who once lived in the world, like the apostle Paul who described himself as the chief of sinners. Until Jesus rescued me I was a fornicator.  Today I thank God for the real men of God who preached the truth without apology and challenged my sinful lifestyle that was taking me to hell. Let those of us who have been entrusted remember James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment”.

PASTOR PETER FIELD, Senior Pastor of Potter’s House, Mosselbay. 
Email:  mbay@pottershouse.com

God, Government and the Ten Commandments

God, Government and the Ten Commandments
MANY PEOPLE LABOUR UNDER THE delusion that the Bible has nothing to say concerning social structures, constitutional models or political affairs.  However, while approximately 29% of the Bible deals with spiritual matters and our personal lives, 71% of the Bible deals with social, political and national issues.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught important spiritual principles and concepts that affect every area of social and political life.  To the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus said: “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given to you from above” John 19:11.  Civil authority is clearly delegated by and answerable to God.
The Bible is very clear that God has instituted civil government as “an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:4).  The civil government is called to be a minister of God’s justice: “to punish those who do wrong” (1 Pet. 2:14). 
The primary duties and responsibilities of civil government are the protection of law-abiding citizens and the punishment of law-breaking criminals.  Psalm 101 reminds us that the duty of God-honouring rulers is to destroy the wicked, to root out evil and to protect the law abiding.
Jesus taught that we are to: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:21).  The civil government does have certain legitimate rights and responsibilities, but these are very limited.  We are to pay taxes (but any taxation as high as 10% was condemned as: “oppressive” 1 Sam. 8:10 – 18), to serve in the military when required, to testify in court as a witness to any crime, and to respect the life, property and reputation of our neighbours.  However, our worship of God, the education of our children, our private property, our individual enterprise and personal views (freedom of worship, freedom of education, free enterprise, freedom of speech) are clearly not made in the image of Caesar and are outside of the lawful jurisdiction of a Bible-based constitutional state.
Our Lord upheld the authority of the moral, social, economic and political Laws of God as recorded in the Old Testament: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law… anyone who breaks one of the least of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practises and teaches these Commandments will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matt. 5:17–19
In His public teaching, Jesus affirmed the Old Testament Laws against murder, theft and adultery (Matt. 5:21–27); the dishonoring of parents (Matt. 15:4); and perjury (Matt. 19:18).  The Lord also affirmed the right to private ownership of property and the free market exchange and profit (Luke 16:11; 19:12–27; Matt. 20:1–15; 25:14–30).
Our Lord also taught that civil authorities are to be public servants (Matt. 20:25–28): “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves benefactors.  But you are not to be like that.  Instead the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” Luke 22:25–26. It is for this reason that officials in civil government are called “ministers” or “servants” of God. The concept that civil government is a servant of its citizens is a uniquely Christian idea that originated from these verses. Hence the term “Prime Minister” – as the first servant.
While most groups today emphasise external solutions to our many social problems – salvation through politics, or through changed social structures and laws – the teachings of Christ emphasise the need for internal change – within our hearts and minds. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…” Matt. 15:19
True freedom comes from within. The foundations for a truly free and prosperous nation can only be laid in characters, minds and lives changed by the grace of God. In order to be successful, a society needs to be made up of honest citizens who will not steal, diligent workers who are hard working and productive, compassionate families who are concerned for their neighbours, responsible workers who will fulfil their obligations and be faithful stewards of public resources. For nations to be strong, their families need to be strong.  For governments to be good, their citizens need to be good. Those who cannot control themselves are not capable of ruling over a city (Prov. 16:32). Those who cannot manage their household well are not qualified to lead others (1 Tim. 3:4–5).
God has instituted FOUR SPHERES of government:

Self government – symbolised by our conscience.
Family government – symbolised by the rod of discipline.
Church government – symbolised by the keys of Church discipline.
Civil government – symbolised by the sword of justice.

God also established, in the government of Israel, TEN KEY PRINCIPLES of freedom:
A written constitution (covenant), based on the revealed Word of God, to clearly define and restrict the powers of government.
A separation of powers and functions into three branches of civil government:
Executive (the king or judge),
Legislative (the Council and Sanhedrin)
Judicial (the elders or judges in each community).
These three branches of government are based on how the Lord revealed His Government (Isaiah 9:6 – 7): “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law Giver, the Lord is our King…” Isa. 33:22
An independent judiciary and the right to a fair trial (2 Chron. 19:5 – 7).  In Deuteronomy 19:15 – 19, principles for a fair trial were set out:
one is innocent until proven guilty,
the right to due process of law,
witnesses must personally confront the accused,
a matter must be established by two or three witnesses,
judges must be impartial.
A national legislature (law making body) where one house was composed of representative judges or officials elected by the people (Deut. 1:13 – 17): “But select capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them as officials…” Exod. 18:21
A second house in the legislature was composed of two hereditary elders from each of the eleven tribes (or geographic areas) of Israel in addition to 24 priests from the tribe of Levi and two scribes from each of the 12 tribes.  This formed the Sanhedrin.
An executive officer (judge or king) elected under the guidance of God and with the consent of the elders (Deut. 17:14 – 20; 1 Chron. 11:3).
A decentralised state with most responsibilities and powers resting on the local government, the family and the individual.  (Centralisation of power in a unitary state has always been a pagan tendency as seen in Nineveh, Egypt and Babylon.)  Because power corrupts, it is wise to limit and divide the powers of civil government in a system of checks and balances. (Ex. 24:1; Deut 1:13 – 17; Acts 17:26)
A citizens’ army (militia) made up of trained citizens who have the right and duty to bear arms for the defense of their home, family, community and nation.  (Num. 1:2 – 3; Judg. 3:2; Deut. 20:1 – 4, 9)
A free market economy based on the private ownership of property and individual free enterprise.  Any taxation of 10% or higher was defined as oppression and any taxation of property, or inheritance, was strictly forbidden.  Institutions and individuals involved in the full time service of the Lord were not allowed to be taxed.  Biblical economics also forbids unjust weights (unback currency) and measures (inflation). (Ex. 20:15,17; Deut. 19:14; Proverbs 10:2 – 4; 1 Thess. 3:10; 1 Sam. 8:10 – 18; 1 Kgs. 21:3)
An education programme controlled by parents, aided by the Church, but independent of the state. (Deut 6:7; Ezra 7:23 – 24; Matt. 28:19; Eph 6:4; Col 2:8)
The Ten Commandments not only provide the foundations for all social order, but they are also the foundations for all our rights.  Each Command deals with a specific area: God, worship, speech, time, authority, life, love, property, truth and conscience.
The Ten Commandments cover our responsibility to God, our responsibility to our parents and our responsibility to people.  Obedience to the Decalogue would result in a respect for God, respect for people and respect for property. 
Each Command includes a prohibition.  For example: “You shall have no other gods before Me…” forbids polytheism, pantheism, and atheism.  However, each Command also includes an implicit right.  For example, the first Commandment implies freedom of worship.
Similarly, when the Third Commandment forbids profanity, false prophecies and blasphemy, and when the Ninth Commandment forbids perjury, gossip, or slander, these are the only restrictions given to speech.  Outside of those limited prohibitions, there is freedom of speech.
Aside from forbidding idolatry in the Second Commandment and covetousness, greed and selfishness in the Tenth Commandment, we have freedom of conscience.
Where the Sixth Commandment forbids murder, suicide, abortion and euthanasia, it entrenches the right to life.  Just as the Seventh Commandment prohibiting fornication, adultery, or perversion, entrenches the sanctity of marriage.  Similarly by the Eighth Commandment forbidding theft and fraud, it entrenches the right to private ownership of property.
The Ten Commandments are the foundation for all these rights:

Freedom of worship.
The right to know God’s Will and to do it.
Freedom of speech.
The right to work and to rest.
Respect for authority.
The right to life.
The sanctity of marriage.
Private ownership of property
The right to be protected from slander.
Freedom of conscience.

The Bible defines sin as “lawlessness”. (1 John 3:4)
Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15
“Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts… let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!” Amos 5:15, 24
As George Washington declared: “Religion and morality are the indispensable supports to good government.”
“He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; nor he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village, that cannot guide a family; nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern himself; neither can any govern himself unless his reason be Lord, and his will and appetite his vassals; nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God and wholly be obedient to Him.”  Hugo Grotius

Meet John and Lisa Bevere

Meet John and Lisa Bevere
John and Lisa Bevere have been travelling, writing and speaking for over fifteen years now. They have virtually been all around the world ministering the gospel of truth to those who are in need of a touch from God. Their books are in the millions, and their TV program, The Messenger, is aired in 216 nations. But what makes this dynamic couple succeed behind the pulpit? The truth can be found in the strength of their relationship with God, each other and family. We recently sat down with both John and Lisa to discuss marriage, life, family, scooters, and what they want for the next generation.
Q: With such busy speaking and writing schedules, what do you do to relax and unwind?
Lisa: One of the things that I love doing is working in my garden. There is something about working with the ground that clears my mind and allows me to refocus. With such a fast-paced life, it’s great to be able to do something that puts me outdoors enjoying God’s creation. I also really enjoy reading when I’m home. It’s a great outlet for me to relax after a busy speaking weekend.
John: I love to play golf. There are a few guys around town who are very good golfers and I love competing with them. Somehow the competition allows me to unwind. I win sometimes, and they win sometimes, but it is always challenging me to be a better player. I love that challenge about golf. My current goal is to shoot below 70 for a round. It definitely keeps me on my toes. I also unwind by playing cards with my boys or watching a movie with them. Just being with the family helps to relax me.
Q: How do you balance ministry and family life?
Lisa: I don’t travel as much as John does, so I tend to be home much more than he is. When I’m home, I’m really home. I focus fully on my family and pour into my boys as much as humanly possible. I’m there to send them off to school every morning, and I make sure that I’m home when they come home from school. I believe it’s very important for a mother to be there for her children, and so I make an effort to be available for them. Our family really enjoys spending time with each other; we have dinner together, we play games together, and I help the boys with their homework. We just love being together. And then when I’m out ministering, I fully focus my attention on ministry.
John: I agree with Lisa. When I’m home, I am a father first and a minister second. I try not to schedule too many things when I’m home that will take me away from my family. A lot of people say that my schedule looks very busy, but we really try to schedule our speaking engagements so that we are as effective with our time as possible.
Q: What’s your favourite memory as a couple this last year?
John: I really enjoyed our trip to Europe this past summer when Lisa and I ministered at Hillsong. London. We try to schedule a few trips each year that are just the two of us so that we have that alone time, but we do really enjoy just being together in our daily lives. I love riding scooter with my wife, exploring beautiful places, and having lunch dates.
Lisa: I think my favourite memories occur in the day-to-day activities with my husband. We go to our local health food store two to three times a week to have lunch. They have amazing organic salads, burritos and pizza. It’s really the best time of the day for us to connect as a couple, because once the boys get home from school, it’s go, go, go the rest of the night. Of course, whenever we get on our scooters, I’m always trying to beat John wherever we’re going.
Q:  Who’s the faster scooter driver?
John:  Definitely Lisa. She loves everything fast – skiing, surfing and scootering.
Lisa: I’m trying to break the scooter land speed record. Not really, but John doesn’t stand a chance when I’m on my scooter.
Q: What’s a typical day like at the Bevere household?
John: Very active. With four teenage boys, we are constantly on the go. I love praying in the early morning. We live on a golf course, and I find that it’s the best area for me to pray. I can be alone with a beautiful setting and just enjoy the presence of God. I find time to write after the boys go to school, and I’ll spend time up at the office when the staff needs me. I love being home when the boys come home from school. Lisa does a great job of making sure that we have at least one meal a day that we eat as a family. Food is definitely an attention getter for our boys, so that’s when we have our great family time and discussions.
Lisa: I’m not sure if there is a typical day! But it usually starts with John jumping out of bed ready to take on the world and all of its problems. I tend to stumble out and make my way to our espresso machine. After a chocolate cinnamon mocha, I’m starting to clear the haze in my brain. Then it’s the frantic race to get the kids off to school on time, and with three boys still in school, it can be a chore sometimes. Peace usually descends on the household for a few hours while the boys are at school. This is when I usually try and write for a few hours before answering e-mails and going into the ministry. When the boys come home from school it gets crazy again! Soccer practice, homework, dinner, games, and getting everyone in bed consume the rest of the day.
Q:  What do you enjoy doing most with your family?
John: Definitely playing games. Anything competitive will keep me interested. I love playing golf with my sons as well; it’s a great time to have those father-son talks.
Lisa: We’re Italian, so we love being in the kitchen. It’s a place where we can congregate and play games, talk, eat and laugh. There is a lot of laughter in our home. My favourite game that we play as a family is Settlers because I’m winning. Seriously. I’m ecstatic to be winning something right now. With five passionate men in the house, we always find a way to make anything competitive. We could play Candyland, and we would find some way to make it about world domination. We tend to not watch much TV, but we have been enjoying watching the TV show Lost on DVD. I don’t think I would watch it live on TV because of all the commercials, but the storyline is incredible.
Q: With four boys, I’m sure that you have quite a mix of personalities. What are some of the favourite qualities of your boys?
Lisa: You’re right. Each boy does have a distinct personality. We’re not trying to create John and Lisa clones; in fact, we’ve learned to celebrate and encourage the differences in our family. Our oldest son, Addison, has an incredibly strong sense of justice. He loves people and actually works for the ministry as our Church Relations Supervisor, talking with pastors all over the nation. Austin has a deep sense of who he is in Christ. Alec is Alec. He’s the jokester of the family and loves making people laugh. Arden is the compassionate one. He draws you in and has a very tender heart. I think the most important thing a parent can do is to understand their children and create an atmosphere where they can be different and not judged.
John: My boys are all incredible men of God. That’s one of my favourite qualities about them, their passion for Christ. Addison has a tender heart that is sensitive to God and His direction. He’s an amazing communicator who is very respectful to others. Austin is very consistent and organized about his life. He internalized his relationship with God, and it comes out in the way he lives his life. Alec is a people person. He’s passionate and hilarious. Arden is so considerate of other people and very tender. As I said, I love that all of my boys love Christ with all of their heart.
Q: What do you do for spiritual recharging?
John: I love praying early in the morning. That is how I recharge. Lisa and I tend to only pray together about very specific issues in our lives. As for our family, I really feel the most effective family devotions are done each night around the dinner table. The boys will bring up real-life situations to us, and we use that time to encourage them to handle it the way God would. This is really where the teaching and training of my boys comes from, just being together as a family.
Lisa:  I love praise and worship and journaling. These activities are intimate and hard to do with another person. Of couse, I love reading the Bible as well. I tend to read and pray with the boys as I’m putting them to bed. I feel the best way to minister to your kids is to live day in and day out as a Christlike example. When your children see you living consistent lives of prayer and surrender to God, it encourages them to do the same. I have a burning desire to live what I preach.
Q: What do you feel makes your marriage and family successful?
John: Lisa and I do life together. I really feel like that is the key to our success as a married couple, that we just interact together. I am constantly learning more about Lisa every day. I don’t consider marriage to be a destination, I feel that we will continue to grow and learn until the day we die. We apply those same principles to our family life. We just love being together as a family. We took a vacation this year as a family that really was one of my favourites. We didn’t go to some tropical location; we didn’t even stay at a hotel. All we did was turn off the cell phones and unplug the laptops, and we just enjoyed each other. We went shopping, went to a water park, and generally just hung out as a family. Those are some of my most treasured times when we can just focus fully on the Bevere family.
Lisa:  John and I are incredibly passionate people. We’re passionate about our marriage and family. We love each other more today than ever, and we love our family. If we make a mistake, we are quick to repent and forgive. I think that John and I live out our love in front of our family on a daily basis. This creates a sense of security for the boys so that they have the freedom to grow. We love laughing as a family. Oh, and John and I have learned the art of conflict resolution. John has a ‘conquering’ personality, and I used to escalate conflicts to battles. But I’ve learned it’s not smart. I now appeal to our desire for godliness and believe the best in him. Also, I don’t throw plates at his head anymore. That definitely helps our conflict resolution!
Q: What book is the favourite that you have written, and why?
John: Drawing Near has definitely been the favourite that I’ve written because it’s my passion in life to draw near to God and helps others do the same. Driven by Eternity has been the book that has most impacted my life. This message has riveted me and caused a new passion and urgency to grow in my life.
Lisa:  It’s a toss up between Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry and Fight Like a Girl. I have talked to so many women who have been healed and restored from the messages in these books. Young and old women alike have told me that questions they had for their entire lives have been answered. I love writing books that rebuild people’s lives and restore what has been lost.
Q: Do you have any advice or parting words for our readers?
Lisa:  Drop the dynamics of who’s wrong or right and embrace our differences. The world needs men and women to fulfill their roles in this world. We are allies, not opponents. When men and women unite, we’ll see what we need to see. Victory will come when the true image of women is revealed. The enemy is blurring gender lines in the hope that men and women will continue to battle each other. There is incredible power in women being women and men being men. When we get that in our hearts, we will see great strength enter back into the Church.
John: I believe that God is calling people to draw closer than ever to Him in this next year. Through that, we will begin to see people enter into their callings and fulfill the destiny that God has for them. I also believe that everyone needs to invest heavily in their families. The institution of the family is under heavy attack in the western world, and we need each of our families to be in a position of strength for the coming year. I hope that everyone will plant themselves in a local church.
Psalm 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God.” Being planted does not mean that we just attend; we need people in the church to get involved. Serve in the youth department, be an usher, sing in the choir, but whatever you do get planted – and you will flourish this year.

The Myth of ADD – Biblically Redefined

The Myth of ADD – Biblically Redefined
THE CHILDREN OF OUR NATION are in trouble.  A million AIDS orphans, school violence, teenage pregnancies, drug abuse!  Sin and worldly parenting approaches are wreaking destruction among our children.
However, another devastating, silent, destructive epidemic is sweeping our nation – that of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  The real danger here though is that many well-meaning parents are being led astray rather than finding help for their children. They are desperately seeking answers to this problem but are being caught between the crossfire of inadequate medical approaches, and the huge lucrative pressure of the pharmaceutical industry that is pushing a drug which offers limited and temporary help at best, as it primarily treats only some of the symptoms of the problem.
In this brief article on ADHD we wish to point to a secure direction that will effectively give help, hope and a solution to Christian parents and children battling with the ADHD dilemma.  We begin by clarifying what ADHD is NOT.
Recent literature emanating from the medical and psychological world begins with the presumption that ADHD is now a defined medical disorder.  This is not the case at all.  Behind this apparently specific definition lies a fog of evolutionary influence. Their definition has ultimately been formulated not around any clinical source or physiological condition, rather, observed behavioural problems and concentration difficulties that have been progressively categorised, and then labelled.  Over the years, as new symptoms have been observed, so the label has been extended from ADD to ADHD and so on. In their quest to respond to these ever increasing behavioural problems, widespread confusion exists as new symptoms have been incorporated into the evolving definition as the wave of behaviourally unstable children has increased.
Having categorized the behavioural and concentration symptoms, the psychological world has then made the great leap to subjectively define these categorized symptoms as a ‘disorder’.  This  despite the fact that there is no medical diagnostic test to verify that ADHD is indeed a physiological condition, or has any resultant physiological impact that is traceable in the body.   On the basis of this unfounded leap, their next dangerous step was to deduce that one of the major means to deal with this now classified ‘disorder’ is via the use of strong Schedule 5 or 6 medications in order to try to suppress aberrational behaviour and thus stimulate more focused concentration.
 This is all based on the subjective observation of expressed symptoms and the subjective determination that these symptoms constitute a medically treatable disorder.  Very little attention has been given to whether such aberrational behaviour and concentration difficulty could be directly precipitated predominantly by reversible developmental and environmental influences.
Although in the medical world there are numerous dogmatic claims that ADHD is genetic, there is no medical evidence that can validate this claim.   How can it possibly be genetic if it is impossible to trace any objective clinical or physiological source?
The loudest voices speaking today about ADHD are that of the world.  But where is the voice of the Christian?  What does God have to say about ADHD?  Rather than find the answer to this question, most Christian parents are trying to find the best specialist, the latest medication, the next programme.  Many do not realise that Biblically-directed Christian parents are the ones mandated by God as the only adequate specialists for dealing with behavioural problems in their children.
Life Enrichment Ministries has worked with many families battling with ADHD.  This ministry is fundamentally a Biblical counselling ministry where people are discipled to grow and walk in God’s way with His help through His Word.  Our conviction that principles from God’s Word hold the answer to this vexing problem, led us to write the book “The Myth of ADD Biblically Redefined” in order to give Christians much needed spiritual insight.
The principles and methods in this book have been put into practice by many families with whom we have worked over the past years. God has transformed ADHD children into people pleasing to Him and others. We are not surprised at this “success” because we firmly believe that God’s Word gives “all that we need for life and Godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), especially when it comes to effective and balanced living.
The common understanding is that ADHD is either seen as a physiological disorder or a disability with regard to the intellect of the child, which results in him/her being unable to behave or think in a concentrated, focused way without distraction. We agree that the behavioural and concentration symptoms categorised by the psychologists are present.  We strongly disagree as to their cause and remedy.  Our contention is that the problem does not lie in a physiological disorder, nor in the intelligence capability of the child, but in emotional age-typical immaturity.   One of the important goals of parenting is to developmentally shape a child progressively through Biblical culture and structure in the home, so that stage-by-stage they will reach age-typical emotional maturity.  Emotional maturity is attained as the parent works daily on a consistent basis with the child.   This work is done in the context of a deliberately formulated Biblical family culture and structure.
Family culture is an environment that the child is born into – created beforehand in the home by Godly parents, who in a Godly marriage have already established a home run on Godly standards.  The child born into this home imbibes Biblical principles taught and modelled in a structured, principled way, which moulds and shapes the child into progressive emotional maturity, a maturity that assists them to handle their intellect and interpersonal interactions in a balanced manner.
When Biblical family culture and structure are lacking or temporarily disturbed in the home, the particular emotionally affected child will independently and immaturely attempt to control his/her world so that he/she can create their own security.  The emotional immaturity and selective focus of the child will primarily be demonstrated in behavioural and concentration problems with focused application of themselves being a significant difficulty.
Well-meaning parents who desire the best for their children, may be experiencing this in their home and not know how to rectify this, because they have been unable to define the cause.  The answer lies in following God’s way, but this will not be a quick fix.  It involves hard work and time commitment.  It involves remedially confronting issues that have needed to be dealt with, but which may have been avoided or inadvertently overlooked, this particularly around structure in the home.   The remedial implementation of God’s plan is not the easiest way, but it is a road that will lead to lasting rewards.  God is faithful.  He does give families the strength to do all that is needed, and He will ensure they see fruit for their labours.

School Sports Spiralling Out of Control

School Sports Spiralling Out of Control
JASON BANTJES, PSYCHOLOGIST AT Diocesan College (Bishops) in Cape Town, says “Competitiveness in schools is partly due to schools increasingly being seen as business units which compete with one another for pupils.”
There is a perception that the measure of a school is in its sporting performances. One must not forget that when a boy reaches the adolescent ages between 14 and 16, he has surges of testosterone which are 400 % higher than when he was a toddler. Boys also buy into the idea: “Where am I in the hierarchy and the pecking order?” Added to this physiological drive to perform and assert oneself, sporting achievements against other schools are very public displays of a school’s performance. A school’s academic successes or debating results are not necessarily perceived as the same form of public display of a school’s successes as its sporting achievements.
For example, there is huge hype about televised games between two big schools. Of course, the first team players and their coach are under enormous pressure to perform. But you can lose perspective and the plot. This happens when people start to measure their school’s performance by the results column of the first rugby or cricket team. That means that when your first team is winning, you feel that your school as a whole is doing well. And when they are losing, your school is not doing great.
Because of the increased competitiveness in schools, there is a very real temptation for young athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs in order to gain a competitive edge. Bantjies  has experienced that pupils at under 16-level have asked very pertinent questions about the pros and cons of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, which suggests that they were seriously contemplating the use of these substances. Parents sometimes also add to the high level of competitiveness in sport. Some parents see their children as extensions of themselves and attach heightened importance to their children’s achievements or take personal credit for what their children do.
“We must not play down the importance of competitiveness. It presents an opportunity for sporting people to assert themselves, and to achieve, and can be a powerful force in driving individuals to achieve remarkable things. The competitiveness of young athletes is something to be celebrated but kept in check. But it is vital to keep the perspective of the other assets of sport – to enhance your health, to enjoy yourself, to have fun, to meet other people and to make friends, as well as the continued improvement of your level of skill,” says Bantjes.
Bantjes, who has completed a masters degree in psychology on “The gender strait jacket”, says many South African boys on the brink of manhood have the perception that the worth of a man is measured by what he achieves.
“It seems many males measure their worth and virility by their level of achievement rather than by the quality of their relationships or the values they hold; it is extremely important for young athletes to keep perspective on their sport achievements or lack thereof and remember that one’s worth is not measured by one’s achievements or sporting prowess,” adds Bantjes.
Dave Watson, school counsellor and head of life orientation and coordinator of the leadership program at Hilton College, emphasised the importance of playing down the competitiveness of sport at school level, instead of schools setting themselves up as sport academies.
“Sport should be educational in schools, not professional in the true sense of the word. Sporting people should do their level best in an attempt to win, but if they lose, they should do it graciously,” he adds. “Some schools employ professional coaches who teach one class a week, in an attempt to beef up their rugby. Competitiveness in certain schools has become so strong that players would commit professional fouls and revert to other forms of gamesmanship for the sake of winning.” He recalled an instance where a teacher of another school tried to unsettle his school’s finest batsman in 2004 by making a remark: “That delivery nearly got you. You should be careful.” Some parents are also hard to control at matches. They put huge pressure on their children, who push themselves too hard. Those injuries would not have occurred if they were not driven beyond their capabilities.
Watson says Hilton College has won 70 % of its rugby matches in 2006. Yet they have focused more on participation of the boys. The school teaches healthy ethics. Boys are not allowed to run onto the field and swamp the winning team. 
“We try to develop children to play to the best of their abilities, but fair play and sportsmanship is not negotiable. Developing the whole person is important,” says Watson.
Dr. Pierre Edwards, a former Springbok-fullback and currently headmaster of Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool in Pretoria, says his school pulled out of the competition for the Beeld-trophy. They only play friendly games.
 “School sport has become too professional, and is in danger of being overwhelmed by an obsession with trophies and competition.”
It is more important for his school to involve 28 teams in rugby and cricket than for a select few to focus on trophies.
“We experience in Pretoria that in order to win a trophy, we have to play against the same school four times, but some of these competitions take place at the expense of the normal pupils.We have become too obsessed with achievements and feats. My view is that we are not here to produce professional sportsmen, but to educate the child and prepare him for life. When the ranking list of SuperSport was introduced, there was tremendous pressure on schools, especially from old-boys of some of the schools. They were making the life of the pupils a living hell,” added Edwards.
“School is the one place where one can keep sport at amateur level. We don’t give pupils sporting bursaries. We don’t believe in child prostitution – in paying a pupil to come to our school to do sport. Every pupil should be welcome at our school, in spite of his sporting achievements or lack thereof. We want to create balanced individuals who can make a success of their lives,” says Edwards.
Edwards says there is added pressure on sporting people at school level because of the introduction of under 19- and under 21 World Cups. It is almost as if good sportsmen see achievements at school as an inside lane to get into the national teams. That is because the clubs and the National Defence Force are no longer the nurseries of future national stars that they once were. He only played for the U.19 C-team at school and spent many years at university playing for the day students and later Carlton League rugby before making it into the Springbok team.
Pierre Spies (Snr.) also did not make his school’s first team but later represented South Africa as an athlete, and also played for the Northern Transvaal rugby team.
“The danger of fast tracking athletes from school level to national stars, is when career threatening injuries occur. It might be a classic case of: ‘from hero to zero within one injury.’ We need to make pupils understand that there is a life outside sport, and beyond sport,” warns Edwards.
Frans Cronjé, a former SA Schools cricketer and rugby player who also represented Free State at senior level in both sports, warns against competitiveness in schools getting out of control.
“It is getting ridiculous. Teachers are so concerned about winning that they don’t develop the individual skill and talent of the pupils. An example is that teachers won’t use a specific pupil’s skills as a spin bowler, simply because he will go for runs. So they will encourage him to bowl fast, just so that the school might win. Sure, winning is important, but now it is over the top.”
Cronjé gained the insight from Johan Volsteedt, headmaster at Grey College, that sport is an important training ground for life and that you will live the way you play your cricket or rugby. 
“Sporting talent is God-given, and must be expressed, but not at the expense of other things in life that are important,”  says Cronjé. 
“It is very important to win. Only a stupid coach would train his players to lose,” comments Volsteedt. 
Morné du Plessis (a former Springbok-captain) once said, “If winning was not important, why do you have a score board next to the playing field?” 
Volsteedt adds, “Grey College will introduce a new sport institute in 2007. It is to give sportsmen the best possible opportunities to prepare themselves for excellence. One of the reasons for introducing the institute is because some top teachers with coaching abilities have left the profession. Yet, balance is needed in terms of competitiveness.” He was one of many headmasters of private boys’ schools who asked that the SuperSport ranking system be scrapped, claiming that the ranking system only contributed to added competitiveness and pressure.  Grey was the top-school in the Free State academically in 2005.
The purpose of school sport is to develop a sound mind in a healthy body. In brief: the development of the whole person is important. Also, Grey focuses on all its sporting teams. When Grey competes against Paul Roos Gymnasium, they have 28 rugby teams, 16 hockey teams and 12 tennis teams. All these teams are important.
When Ian McIntosh (a former Springbok coach) comes to the school to coach the rugby teams, he is asked to coach every single team, not only the first fifteen.
“We believe in the adage that God must have loved the average man, and that is why he made so many of them,” says Volsteedt.
Bernie Bitter, director of Sport Outreach Africa, says the Biblical perspective on competitiveness at school level would be to give 100 % and to give God the glory.
“Unfortunately, that is not happening at schools. The motivation is basically to win at all cost. School sport is basically an extension of the classroom. The goal should be to prepare young men and women for life. Currently, that is not happening. School teams are playing to improve their rankings. Many of them are employing outside professional coaches. The continuation of their job is based on results. There is a real threat that they are not going to emphasise playing by the rules, but extending and stretching the boundaries. In the end, the winning, and not the competing, becomes the be all and end all of school sport,” warns Bitter.
Bitter says he appeared on a SABC TV-program with a former Springbok, John Allan, who warned that school boy rugby might spiral out of control. When some pupils are not making it to the major teams, they leave the sport all together. The huge drop-off factor is becoming a concern when obsession, rather than competing for the sake of enjoyment, physical exercise and the fun element, is at the centre of school sport. The win-at-all-cost approach has some dangers attached to it. Sport becomes an obsession, and some pupils are considering the use of steroids, to bolster their performances.
“Coaches might turn a blind eye to the use of these performance-enhancing drugs. They would not drop a player like that, because winning has become all-important,” says Bitter.
Schools are sometimes more concerned about their reputation than they are about their responsibilities. Sponsorship has become a part of school sport. Sponsors are only choosing the top-teams to sponsor. The right coaches must be chosen, ones that are prepared to show players what is right and what is wrong. They must be prepared to discipline players who get out of line.
Sport is an ideal training ground for life. And teachers have that responsibility to teach their pupils how to win and not be boastful, and how to handle disappointment when they lose.
Jonathan Manley, a teacher and sport coach at Somerset House, says there is a real danger that sport as a fun event which is used as physical exercise and a way of socialising or developing skills, is abused only for the sake of professionalism in South African schools.
“At Somerset House, we try to expose as many children as possible to sport. We try to develop them and do skills transfer. We give children an opportunity to compete. But also, we see sport as a means to character building, of experiencing team work, of setting goals. It is a fundamental way to experience the theory of living.”
Research in Australia has shown that pupils could specialise too early. It might be too early to start focusing on a specific sport at age 6. One should rather wait until age 14, to decide whether you have a natural ability as a soccer or rugby player. The danger is that children are pressurised by parents and then become disillusioned and decide to quit. They lose their healthy life-style, and as a result you don’t produce the adults you want.
Also, many school children suffer because of a lack of realistic expectations. They are pushed hard by parents who don’t realise that the number of athletes who become successful professional sporting personalities, are 1 out of 50 000.
“For physical training is of some value but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1Tim 4:8