Worship Changing Lives, Changing the World: Restoration

Worship Changing Lives, Changing the World
Restoration – Mark Tedder

What do you do after a two year stint in Beijing culminating in leading the first live worship recording in China’s history (The Door)?  Mark Tedder and his wife Carrie took a month off to travel through Europe “We wanted to just hang out in the cities and sit in cafés and chill out – and we did that – but being a follower of Christ you can’t really get away from what God wants to stick in your heart.”  And what God ‘stuck in their hearts’ was a sense of spiritual desperation for Europe, and a vision for its restoration. This was no romantic coincidental ‘falling in love with Europe on holiday’ vision, this was a vision built on a twelve year history of the Tedders living in and ministering across Europe.

The seed of the ‘Restore’ project was sown, as a prophetic call for Europe to return to God based on Isaiah 58:12. The Tedders set to work writing new material and organising the tour which would see them and their friends in the ‘Worshiplanet’ band recording worship events in historic church buildings in England, France, Italy and the Czech Republic. “To be able to worship in places that were built to the glory of God was a very powerful reminder that there’s a heritage there, and we’re building on the faith of those that have gone before us. Mark explains.

The resulting CD/DVD recording is a testimony and proclamation of God’s faithful sovereignty over Europe with a vibrant fusion of acoustic songs, poems, prayers and beautiful imagery. To those of us disillusioned with our country’s abandonment of its faith, Mark issues a challenge: “God hasn’t pivoted from His position.  There’s still hope for Europe, for this continent that God so loves to be ‘Restored’.”

Skeptics Answered: Is Religion a Crutch for the Weak?

Skeptics Answered: Is Religion a Crutch for the Weak?
Humanist and atheist, Bertrand Russell, wrote in his book ‘Why I am Not a Christian’ that: “Man is the product of…accidental connections of atoms…no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thoughts and feeling can preserve an individual life beyond the grave…The whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruin…Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the souls’ habitation henceforth be safely built.”

Christianity is borne from adversity
Russell believed that man is an accident of the cosmos, formed by chance and chaos, directionless in life, and in the end, nothing but food for worms. Russell maintained that religion is simply a crutch for weak people, who cannot bear to face up to reality.

Some religions may be a crutch. Certainly atheism is a crutch. However Christianity is no crutch and many Christians throughout history could hardly be classified as weaklings.

In some of the worst of circumstances, Christianity has produced the greatest courage, the greatest achievements, progress, prosperity and freedoms ever known.

The courage of Polycarp
When Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, was arrested and brought before the Roman consul, he was told…“Do this, old man, just curse Christ, and I will set you free.”

Polycarp responded: “86 years I have served my Christ, and He has never done me any wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?” “I have wild beasts” threatened the pro-consul. “Bring them” Polycarp replied. “If you despise the wild beasts I will have you burned,” warned the consul.

“You threaten me with a fire that burns for but an hour, and then is extinguished. But you know nothing of the fire of eternal judgement which will never be extinguished. Bring what you will.”

As Polycarp was led into the arena he was heard to pray: “Lord God, Father of our Blessed Saviour, I thank Thee that I have been deemed worthy to…die for Thee and Thy cause.”

Steadfast unto death
Perpetua was a Christian noblewoman living in North Africa. In AD 202 when Perpetua was a 22 year old mother, she was arrested for being a Christian. When her pagan father visited and pleaded with her to deny that she was a Christian, Perpetua responded that it was impossible that she be: “called anything other than what I am, a Christian.”

When the governor ordered Perpetua to worship the emperor, her response was decisive: “I will not!”

“Are you a Christian then?” “Yes I am!” Perpetua’s determined response brought immediate condemnation. She was condemned to be thrown to the wild beasts and to die in the arena. Perpetua and her fellow Christians entered the stadium singing psalms in such a joyful demeanour, that the crowd demanded that they be scourged first. This was done.

Testimonies of courage
As the mob screamed abuse, Perpetua was heard to say clearly: “You have condemned us, but God will condemn you.” Perpetua encouraged the other Christians: “You must all standfast in the faith and not be weakened by what we have gone through.”

Witnesses in the stands described Perpetua in the arena as “young and beautiful”, “a pure and modest Christian lady”, “with shining countenance and calm step, as the beloved of God,  putting down everyone’s stare by her own intense gaze.”

Her example of Christian resolve and courage, choosing to suffer and die with a clear conscience rather than deny her Saviour, inspired generations of Roman Christians to stand firm in the face of relentless persecution. In time even the emperor was converted to Christianity.

Similarly, Lady Jane Grey refused to forsake her faith and was beheaded by her cousin ‘Bloody Mary’. None of these Christians could have been classified as weaklings. Their faith was hardly any crutch to avoid reality!

Millions of Christians, over virtually 20 centuries, have endured false testimonies, unjust arrests, summary trials, floggings, beatings, imprisonment, stonings, burnings, crucifixions and beheadings for refusing to deny their Faith.

One can hardly accuse people like Dr David Livingstone (who courageously pioneered missions, walking across the continent of Africa, confronting slave traders and setting captives free) of being “a weakling”, nor can one suggest that his faith was “a crutch”!

Who is really escaping reality?
However, it is in fact the atheists who are seeking to escape from reality. Atheism is actually a crutch for the immoral. Bertrand Russell lived an absolutely outrageously immoral life. His scandalous immorality and serial adulteries make it quite clear that he chose to create an alternate ‘reality’ in order to stifle his conscience.

The great philosopher Emmanuel Kant observed: life without an afterlife would be like a marathon race with no finish line. Without eternity, life would be an absurd and meaningless joke.

Atheism is a crutch
Swearing is the crutch of conversational cripples. Immorality is the crutch of spiritual cripples. Atheism is the crutch developed by those who seek an alternative reality to avoid the hard facts of Creation, the depravity of man, the Holiness of God, the immortality of the soul, the demands of God’s Law, the Day of Judgement and the fact that we are accountable to a just and Holy Creator. We have a sin problem and there are serious consequences to sin. “For the wages of sin is death.” Rom 6:23. When many people clamour for the freedom to do whatever they want, with whoever they want, whenever they want, and wherever they want, the result is moral chaos. Although they claim to be free, in reality those who indulge the sinful nature are slaves to sin. Sin is actually the root cause of much skepticism. It is the crutch of sinners.

The sinful nature is a crutch
Julian Huxley, known as Darwin’s bulldog, the one who made Darwinian evolutionism famous, was interviewed on television. He was asked why evolution was accepted so quickly. His answer: “The reason why we accepted Darwinism, even without proof, is because we didn’t want God to interfere with our sexual mores.”

Here is an uncharacteristically honest answer from a leading evolutionist. Huxley never mentioned anything resembling scientific evidence, but merely that the idea of God interfered with sinful choices! Either the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.

Throw away your crutch
Reject the rotten crutch of evolutionism and atheism. Face the facts of the real world. A strong Gospel makes a strong people. The Reformation produced generations of courageous and principled people who changed history. Strong doctrine puts backbone into us. The Reformation faith gives backbones of steel and Puritan devotion inspires fire in our souls.

Take up the Cross
Reject the rotten crutch of atheism and evolutionary make-believe. Face the facts of the real world. God is Holy, man is depraved. There is a Day of Judgement and we all have an appointment with Almighty God. Each one of us will have to give an account for everything we do in this life. What you sow is what you will reap.

If you are sick you need a physician. If you are ignorant you need a teacher. If you are spiritually lost you need the Saviour. Jesus Christ came to set the captives free. “You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Throw away the crooked crutch of the world and take up your Cross. Deny yourself, forsake worldliness. Don’t follow the crowd on the broad way. Turn away from what is popular and easy. Choose the steep high road of the Will of God. Take up the sword of the Spirit and fight the good fight of Faith.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28

My Miracle Healing

My Miracle Healing
On the 16th April 1994 my world fell apart – literally. I was on a night hike through the Blue Mountains. I missed my footing, fell off a cliff and began to fall through open space.

I was totally terrified. I can’t actually remember hitting the jagged rocks, 35ft below. I had blacked out on the way down. But when I came round, the terrible agony I was in told me something catastrophic had happened. I had pain all over my body. My right elbow was broken, I was seriously concussed, my eye socket was fractured and though I didn’t know it at the time, my back had been fractured in four places.

My world had come to an end
I was unconscious for maybe two minutes, but when I came round I was lying in a pool of blood and the world as I knew it had come to an end. I was a nurse and I knew only too well what these sorts of injuries could mean. Others, who were with me on the hike, had seen me fall. They told me I landed on my right side and then bounced forward landing face down, unmoving. They shone a torch down from the top of the cliff and seeing blood all around my head, they thought I was dead.

I awoke to the sounds of yelling and shouting and lights flashing all over the place. I was lying on my right side trying to make sense of the scene. I was going through hell. I had hit my head, there was blood all over the place and I had pain all over my body. I vomited a number of times.

A fellow hiker, John,  took charge and decided not to move me in case I had a spinal injury. John and Tim stayed with me while the others went for help. We were in a remote place, so they built a huge bonfire to signal our location to the rescue team.
A friend David returned with the paramedics after four and a half hours. It was now the middle of the night. My system was going into shock and I urgently needed some intravenous fluids to keep me alive. Needing to assess my injuries, the paramedics cut off nearly all my clothes. I understood they needed to, but I still felt very embarrassed. As the night wore on, the physical pain intensified, but because I had suffered a head injury the paramedics couldn’t give me any pain-relieving medication…it was the worst pain I had ever known. The location was so densely covered with trees that a rescue helicopter couldn’t come till daylight.

I’d been lying there for ten and a half hours when the helicopter finally arrived and I was winched to safety and off to hospital. By the grace of God I had survived. As the helicopter buzzed through the sky towards the hospital, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The nightmare was over. I’m going to be OK…

What’s the point of living?
Over the course of the next week my injuries were gradually diagnosed. I had a massive soft tissue injury to the right side of my lower back, which had taken the major impact of the fall. The force of the fall was so great that four vertebrae were fractured. After a few days I managed, with the help of a nurse, to get out of bed and be wheeled into the shower. I remember looking at my back in the mirror for the first time – it was scary. The swelling was about 30cms out from my back! I had never seen anything like it before, even in my nursing experience.

The doctors did everything they could for me, but by the end of that year I had come to the end of myself and considered suicide, just to end the pain. What was the point of living? I was in constant pain, was very limited in any physical activity and was in need of permanent medication, which was having terrible side-effects. I had lost all hope of ever living a normal life.

Could God heal me?
Every young woman’s dream is to marry and have a family. My dream was shattered, with my body, on those rocks at the foot of the cliff. I knew that my health would never be the same again. And the government agreed, for their doctors believed that I had a long term disability and only a limited capacity for work.  So I qualified for a long term disability pension. I was officially on the scrap heap!

As a Christian nurse, I was a member of a Christian medical association called ‘Health Care in Christ’ headed up by Dr Ken Curry. I decided to go to their conference, but had no idea what God had in store for me.
One night…

A team from Ellel Ministries in the UK had been invited to teach on Christian healing. I had already been prayed for many times, but healing never came. So I had almost given up on God ever coming through for me.  It was quite a surprise when Peter Horrobin, who had founded Ellel Ministries as a Christian Healing ministry in the North of England back in 1986, asked what had happened to me.

Doubtful of prayer
When he and his wife Fiona heard the story, they asked if I wanted to be prayed for. My first reaction was very negative – I’d been prayed for so many times already, without success, that I didn’t want to find out again that God didn’t seem to love me enough to heal me!

Then Peter and Fiona explained that God had been showing them some important keys about praying for people who had suffered accidents and traumas. They told me that we have a spirit, a soul and a body and that when our bodies are traumatised, our inner being also suffers and is in need of healing. And that if the inner being remains unhealed, then the body will continue to reflect the inner pain and remain unhealed also.

An inkling of hope
That night Peter taught on how to bring healing to those who have suffered accidents. As I watched the dramas they used and listened to the teaching, I gained understanding of what might have happened to me. For the first time I began to have some hope that maybe, just maybe, God could heal me after all.

At the end of the evening, Peter invited me to come forward for prayer in front of 150 medical professionals! I hadn’t planned on being prayed for in front of all those doctors, and every single one of them was intent on seeing what God was going to do. They had heard the teaching, and now as good scientists, they wanted to see if the teaching really worked!

A huge leap of faith
I had never actually known anyone who had been healed by God. I had read about it in the Gospels when Jesus healed people, but I had never seen it for myself. So it was a huge leap of faith for me to step up on that platform. Everyone was praying for me, the presence of God filled the room.

The atmosphere was electric as Peter and Fiona began to pray for the part of me which was still broken on the inside. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and I fell to the ground, lying in precisely the same position as I had been in at the foot of the cliff. And that’s exactly how I was feeling on the inside – it was as if I was 23 again.

The prayer was ever so gentle, but it went so deep into my spirit and soul. I was able to forgive the people who had led me into the dangerous situation I was in when I fell. I was in captivity on the inside to the terrible fears and traumas I had experienced when I fell and hit the ground. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to set the captives free – and that’s exactly what He did. He came and set me free. There were many different things they prayed about – and after each stage I felt more and more healing deep on the inside.

Obeying Biblical commands
Finally when all the praying was over Peter simply took some oil and did what the Bible tells us to do, anointed me with oil for healing. No-one was touching me, but suddenly I was aware that God was healing my body. The room was full of the amazed sounds of the doctors as they watched what God was doing. They said it looked as though angels were stretching my body into positions that I could never have achieved on my own. I felt as if I was receiving supernatural massage – I could feel my body being pulled and stretched (although I didn’t see it as my eyes remained closed throughout the ministry).

At one point, as I lay on the floor, my arms were pulled back behind me and my legs were pulled upwards, so that I grasped my ankles with my hands – it was incredible! These were things that just a couple of hours previously, would have been totally impossible for me to have done. My body felt wonderful for the first time in a very long while.

Exploding with praise
At the end of the evening all the doctors burst into song, singing the old hymn ‘Praise my soul, the King of Heaven’.  We gave God all the thanks, praise and glory for what He had done. I could not wait to get to a phone, even at 11pm, to ring my parents and tell them I’d been healed. I only wished they could have been there to share it with me. On 18 September 1996 Jesus totally changed my life and many of the lives of those who were there.

The next morning I woke at 6.10 am. I’d only had about six hours sleep, but I felt wide awake, my mind was reliving the events of the previous evening. It was a beautiful, spring morning, with clear blue skies, with the sun rising over the hills.

At the top of a hill nearby was a Prayer House and I thought I would try to make it to the top. That was the first step I took in walking out my healing. It was a step of faith, doing something I could never have attempted previously. I walked right to the top of the hill without even one twitch of back pain! I stopped only once to give my lungs a break as I was a bit out of condition, but my back felt great.

My heart was ready to explode with joy. A healing I had hardly dared to hope for had happened. There was an ease in my body I had not experienced for such a long time. I had never felt so released and so free in all my life. I wanted to hop, skip and jump for joy, but for now I contented myself with walking at a nice steady pace. My heart danced as I looked across the magnificent green hills, lit up by the morning sun. I felt alive again for the first time since the accident, really alive.

A note from JOY!
If you are battling with healing, you too can be set free and made whole by God. Study His Word and seek counselling from a trusted Christian or ministry. “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…and by His wounds we are healed.” Is 53:5

Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins – Mark Tedder

Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins – Mark Tedder
Mark Tedder is no stranger to big visions: his last project, ‘The Door’, was the first live worship recording in China’s history and a powerful statement of Christianity’s enduring strength under Communist oppression.  After leaving Beijing, Mark and his wife Carrie took a month off to travel in Europe, and found themselves inspired by the Christian heritage that surrounded them – a sleeping giant ready to be re-awakened.

“We weren’t looking to catch a new vision,” Mark remembers, “We just wanted to sit in cafes and regroup after our amazing experiences in Beijing.  But being a follower of Christ, you can’t really get away from what God wants to stick in your heart!”  Visiting the stunning cathedrals of Europe, Mark and Carrie were awestruck by the art and architecture, and saddened by a seeming lack of connection with the modern world.  “There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity going on in these huge structures that at one time had been created for the glory of God, and it broke our hearts.”  Moved by a sense of Europe’s spiritual desperation and the call of Isaiah 58:12 to ‘restore the ancient walls’, the Tedders caught a new vision after all, and the ‘Restore’ project was born.

A Strong Foundation
A prophetic call to Europe to return to God, ‘Restore’ was recorded in Lincoln, Lisieux (France), Prague and Florence at acoustic events in historic cathedrals.  For the musicians involved, the experience of worshipping in these historic buildings was humbling.  “It was a powerful reminder that we’re building on the faith of those that have gone before us,” Mark explains.  “Scripture talks about one generation passing along to the next, and we were overwhelmed to the point of tears at times, knowing that we were simply a link in a very long chain.”

Far from Hollywood’s fairytale image of Europe, ‘Restore’ is built on foundations laid during the Tedders’ twelve years living and ministering all over the continent.  In fact, it was their experiences of cross-cultural worship in Europe that led Mark and Carrie to form Worshiplanet, an international ministry dedicated to mobilising, equipping and networking local churches around the world.  “I think even back then, God was working on our hearts for the ‘Restore’ project,” Mark says.  “We had an appreciation of European cultures and we understood that God is a lover of diversity and He represents all nations, tribes and tongues.  I think it really helped us to go into ‘Restore’ with that perspective of God, to come alongside people and listen to their stories, and try to get a local expression of worship in each country we recorded.” 

Hope for the Future
The resulting CD/DVD is a vibrant fusion of songs, poems, spoken worship and beautiful imagery proclaiming God’s faithful sovereignty over the European nations.  Opening with the energetic ‘I Believe’, based on the apostles’ creed, the record incorporates a Czech string quartet and shades of jazz from Italy, as well as spontaneous demonstrations of worship such as a French pastor’s passionate prophetic prayer over Europe.  The title track’s plea, “Show your power in this land, bring salvation,’ expresses a strong spirit of intercession for a continent that has wandered far from its creator.

“God is not restricted by frontiers,” Mark reminds us.  “A lot of people are saying that south of the equator there’s a powerful work of God, but north of the equator it’s almost like He’s given up.  But I really think God’s not restricted by that.  This project wasn’t about a local church having a ‘knees up’ worship gig: it’s a shout out to Europeans to come back to Jesus; it’s a restoration call.”  To those of us disillusioned with our culture’s abandonment of its faith, Mark issues a challenge: “There’s so much to do that sometimes churches don’t act because they don’t know where to shoot the arrow.  We can become so focused on other people that we lose sight of who we are and what we’re called to do, but God hasn’t pivoted from His position.  There’s still hope for Europe, for this continent that God so loves.”

Motivatioal Gifts: Serving & Teaching

Motivatioal Gifts: Serving & Teaching
In previous issues we looked at the motivational gifts, and specifically at Prophetic Gifting. Now let us look at the second and third motivational gifts: Serving and Teaching.

Motivational Gift 2: Serving
The gift of a ‘serving’ motivated person is best displayed through deeds rather than words. For this reason they are gifted with their hands and equipped with physical stamina, often disregarding their own weariness. They have special insight into what needs to be done. A ‘serving’ motivated person will just keep going until the job is done. When they recognise a need, they are there to meet it and they want to see the job done immediately.

A Biblical example of a ‘server’ is Martha (Luke 10:38–42; John 12:2; John 11:1–40). When Jesus went to visit, Mary sat down at Jesus’ feet and Martha went to make food. Martha came back complaining, saying; ‘Nobody is helping me. Why is Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet?’ Martha recognised that everyone would be hungry after listening to Jesus. She identified a practical need and went off to make the food.

If you are servant motivated and actively involved, don’t hide away from spiritual things. Embrace the spiritual needs as well as the practical service you offer. It is important to remember that Jesus came to serve. We should always be looking out for opportunities to meet the needs of others. There is never a ‘need’ too menial.

Jesus said that when you are faithful in the little, He will make you ruler over much (Matt 25:21).

Characteristics of a server
a.    A server quickly learns specific likes and dislikes of people, and can recall them. They will remember what you do and do not like and will attend to these needs
b.    They detect practical needs and enjoy manual projects
c.    They meet the need quickly
d.    They have physical stamina and will work until the job is finished
e.    Will use personal funds to avoid delays
f.    They work with their whole heart, therefore they need sincere appreciation from people. They have the ability to detect insincerity
g.    They want to see a job done, so they often apply extra work
h.    They will be involved in a lot of activity because they are unable to say no. This is not good; although it is difficult, servers need to learn to say no
i.    Servers have short term goals as they are not organisers. They experience frustration over long term goals
j.    They become frustrated when limitations of time are attached to a job. The reason for this is they like to see a job done to perfection! They need to be given the space to do the job to the best of their ability
k.    They enjoy showing hospitality.

Misunderstandings of a server
a.   They may appear to be pushy (they want everyone else to be doing as much as they are)
b.   They avoid red tape, which can result in them excluding others from jobs. In this way they often deny others the blessing of being able to serve
c.   Their disregard for personal needs can extend to the needs of their own family
d.   They are inclined to become upset with others when they do not have the same motive
e.   It is difficult for them to accept service from others
f.    If they don’t receive sincere appreciation they are often hurt
g.   Their desire to help can interfere with God’s dealings in the lives of others. They can move in before God has had time to work in the situation
h.   They are inclined to become sidetracked with the needs of others, and miss God’s personal leadership toward them
i.  Their concentration on the practical gives them the appearance of being unspiritual. However, this is not true.

How their counsel will help you
Their counsel will help you to see the areas of service you may overlook and attitudes of ungratefulness. Note: Servers usually need sincere appreciation. Since they are workers and not feelers, they need to be told that they are loved and of worth. The server’s emphasis on things and projects may appear as spiritual superficiality and a lack of interest in personal relationships, but this is not necessarily the case.

Motivational Gift 3: Teaching
Teachers tend to believe that their gift is foundational to other gifts. Teachers love to read and study and place great emphasis on the accuracy of facts and words. They may get more joy in doing research than in teaching the material. A Biblical example is Apollos (Acts 18:24-28; 1 Cor 3:6).

Characteristics of a teacher
a.  They place emphasis on the accuracy of words and facts – they enjoy word studies
b.    They test the knowledge of those who teach them
c.    They enjoy research and use it to validate the truth
d.    They validate new information through established sources of truth
e.    Teachers present truth in a systematic way
f.     They avoid using non-biblical illustrations
g.    They resist Scripture out of context
h.    They are more objective than subjective
i.     They are intellectually sharp and easily develop the use
of a large vocabulary.

Misunderstandings of a teacher
a.    Their emphasis on Scriptural illustrations and interpretation can lead to neglect of its practical application. They need to try to make their teachings more practical in a day to day context
b.    Their research can make them appear more dependent on books than on the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit
c.    Their use of knowledge in testing others may appear to reflect pride. This is not necessarily so, as they just want to share the knowledge with others
d.    The details of their research may appear to be unnecessary to the listeners
e.    They may appear to lack warmth and feeling.

How their counsel will help you
Their counsel will help you to see the Biblical inaccuracies of statements or conclusions that you have made.

See next month’s issue for the follow-up article in the Motivational Gifts series.

Operation Pray for the Police

On 4th September, 1991 Jacques Smit, a Warrant Officer in the Detective Branch of the Ceres Police, surrendered his life to Jesus.  Over the next several years as his relationship with his Lord deepened and matured, he had a growing burden to reach out to the spiritually lost in the community, and for unity in the Body of Christ.

In 1996 he was appointed to the Serious Crimes Division.  More and more he found that his relationship with Jesus not only helped him to perform his task better, it was also a real support when dealing with many of the unpleasant, sometimes gruesome aspects of his job.

On Saturday 5th December, 2009 Jacques was called upon to investigate a farm murder in the Ceres District.  Not only was the murder a particularly brutal one, the victim was a close friend.  The motive? Robbery.

There were absolutely no leads or clues at all.

In sorrow, anger at this tragic waste of a human life, and in desperation at the lack of information with which to proceed with the investigation, Jacques and his colleagues cried out to God for help, and He is faithful.

On the following Wednesday while Jacques was praying he was led to 1 Corinthians 4: 5 – …He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts…

Three days later, on Saturday 12th, one week after the murder, they had a breakthrough.  An informer gave them some critical information.  Within 7 days the four killers were positively identified and arrested.

This started Jacques thinking about starting a more formal prayer movement involving the police and the community, to pray for the Police themselves and against the growing crime in the Ceres District.  In May this year (2010) a close colleague of Jacques’, Vian van Wyk, gave his life to the Lord.  

On 12th October this year (2010) Jacques, Vian and six other detectives spent a morning in prayer at the cross at the top of Michell’s Pass near Ceres.  While praying, Jacques was led to Joshua 1 verses 1 to 9:

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide:

“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west.  No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  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.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Jacques said he knew God was speaking to him.  He shared the passage with the other members.  Vian confirmed  that he had just been given that exact same passage as well! While returning from the mountain where they prayed God laid it on Jacques’s heart to start something for the police at Ceres.

It was at this point that Jacques remembered reading an article in the June edition of the Joy Magazine about the tenth anniversary of the Rondebosch Police Station Prayer Group.  He contacted Tony Hoare, the founder and co-ordinator of the group, to ask him for some guidelines.  They spoke and Tony explained how the Rondebosch Group had started – first by his getting the approval of his Church Council, then by him contacting all the churches in the area and inviting them to participate, and finally by speaking to the Station Commissioner.  In the case of Rondebosch the Holy Spirit had clearly been busy, because the response had been uniformly enthusiastic!  

Jacques promised to let Tony know when the inaugural meeting was to be held, and on 27th October Tony and his wife Anne drove out to Ceres from Cape Town to be there.  The meeting was attended by all but three of the 15 local pastors who have joined the initiative, and they had made their apologies because of prior commitments.  Also in attendance were a number of the Police Station members together with members of the community.

The meeting started with a short but powerful time of worship – there were some 20 people present but it sounded like 200! – followed by Jacques outlining his vision for ‘Operasie Bid vir die Polisie’.  Then followed a time of prayer.

“The police”, said Jacques, “ are the watchmen on the walls (Isaiah 62:6), and we need God’s intervention through the prayers of the community and our colleagues if we are to succeed in our battle against crime”.  

He went on to say that the battle is not a physical but a spiritual one (Ephesians 6: 12) and it will only be won by constant and focussed prayer.  In addition, the police themselves need the spiritual support of the community given the pressures and temptations under which they operate.  He believes that God wants to put spiritual watchmen and women in place to pray for all of these needs.  

The plan is to circulate specific prayer pointers to the participating churches.  A roster has been drawn up whereby the different churches will be responsible for the following:
1.    Prayer for the Police Station and the members;
2.    Intercession for breakthroughs in specific cases;
3.   Bringing the Word and prayer on Wednesday mornings at 08h00 in the policestation at Voortrekker Street Ceres.

Given the unity in the Body of Christ in Ceres we may well shortly be reading of revival in Ceres, not just in the police but in the town as well.

We as the Body of Christ must intercede daily for our policemen and women who are working under very dufficult conditions.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3: 21-22)

Jacques can be contacted on 082 557 9537 for more details.

Postscript:  The reading for Tony Hoare’s daily devotions on 27th October (which he was only able to read that evening) was Haggai 2: 1 –9:
“…But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.  This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.”

A Boy in the Headlights

I switched off the generator and the lights strung between poles around the green canvas tent went out. I was plunged into darkness. Another African crusade had come to an end. The singing of a million crickets seemed to fill the night around me, reminding me of where I stood. I slowly walked toward the place where I had parked my car. I got in and started the engine, switching on the headlights, driving across an open field toward the dirt lane home. As I neared the edge of the field, suddenly a slight boy ran into my path. He waved his arms to flag me down.

The power of the Holy Spirit
I stopped and rolled down my window. “Is something wrong?” I asked. He would not come close to the window; I could see he wanted to be polite. It was part of his tribal heritage. “Please, Moruti Bonnke,” he said, using the title of respect, “I want you to lay hands on me and pray for me.”
A great weariness was on me. I had finished a vigorous sermon under a strong anointing. Many had come to the Lord. I had prayed for the sick. “How old are you, son?” “Seventeen,” he said. “I got saved in your crusade. Jesus has forgiven me all my sins. But I knew you would pass here, and I wanted to ask you to pray that I would receive the Holy Spirit before I return to my village. It is far away.”

The fruit of a life transformed
This request went to the heart of my call to Africa. My weariness lifted at once. I left the car running with the headlights on so that I could see what I was doing. “What is your name son?” I asked. “David” he replied. “Lord, according to the promise of Your Word, I ask that You fill David with Your Holy Spirit.” I laid my hands on his head.
He undulated like a bolt of lightning had run down his spine. Then he began to cry and praise God. This was a familiar sight to my eyes. After a few moments, I said good-bye to David.
Months later in Johannesburg, I began to hear reports of a revival that had broken out in the tribal region of the (then)Transvaal. When I asked who the preacher was, I was told that he was no preacher at all. Just a boy whom God was using greatly – it never entered my mind that David was that boy. A year later I returned for another week of meetings. One night after preaching I heard a knock at my door. I opened it, and there stood David. His face was beaming with joy. “After you prayed, I walked home. It was like walking on air. As I first saw my village, I noticed a woman leaving the kraal. She was carrying a bundle in her arms, and I thought that I could hear her crying. I knew this woman.
The week before I came to the ‘Christ for all Nations’ meeting, she had lost a child to black fever, she held out a bundle in her arms, and I could see that she carried her second child, a young boy. I could see that this child would soon die too. When I saw this woman I felt love come from me like I had never known. I could not contain it.”

Revival and healings
“It was against tribal rules but I asked her if I could pray for the sick child the way you had prayed for the sick people in the tent meeting. She said, ‘Yes, yes, anything, please.’ I laid my hands on the child, and I could feel the fire of the fever burning in his head. I asked God to take the fever from the child. Suddenly, he stopped crying.
The child sat up and said, ‘Mommy, I’m hungry. I’m thirsty.’ The mother was amazed. That woman’s eyes grew so large! She ran with the child to the village ahead of me. She went straight to the chief’s house. ‘David prayed for my child and healed him. Look the fever is gone.’
I went to my hut and began telling my family about your prayer for me, and about what had happened that morning. Suddenly, a runner came. He summoned me to an audience with the chief. I was afraid but the chief said to me, ‘David, I heard what you did for this mother. I have a daughter that no doctor can help. She is crippled. She was born with twisted limbs.’
He said, ‘I have taken her to the finest doctors in Cape Town, and they can do nothing. I have taken her to the witch doctors. Nothing has been able to help. Please go to her hut and pray for her as you prayed for this child today.’

Signs and wonders!
When we entered the hut, I saw a crippled girl lying there. Her legs were terribly twisted beneath her. Again, I felt that powerful love of Jesus coming from me toward her. I told her about Jesus. I told her that I could not do a miracle, but Jesus Christ could do what is impossible for us. So then, I laid my hands on her and started to pray.
As I began to pray we heard a popping and cracking sound. I did not know what it was at first, but then I saw that the girl’s legs were straightening out before our eyes. The woman who was with me screamed and ran from the hut to tell the whole village. She stood for the first time in her life, and walked with me from that hut.

A village comes to Christ
At that moment, the chief announced that he would host a week of meetings in the village. He sent runners to all the tribal villages, commanding them to come and hear the Gospel. I’ve been preaching and praying for the sick every day since then.”

A warning to all…
“You are the one,” I said. “David, I had no idea that you were the boy they have been telling me about. Reports are running all over South Africa that God has been using a boy to bring revival among the tribes. This is glorious.”
I would like to have ended this story here. But sadly, I have it from several reliable witnesses that David has left his tribal homeland in the north, and has lost himself in the impenetrable slums of Soweto. He does not fellowship with the people of God anymore, and he no longer walks with the Lord. The truth about David must surely contain some lesson that is more important than a feel-good ending.
This must serve as a warning to each of us. No matter how the power of God has been demonstrated in our lives, we can choose to walk away from fellowship with Him. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall”, the Scripture says.
Recently, I took a drive through Soweto. I was just driving, looking for David. Not that I expected to find him. That would be like finding the needle in the haystack. Still I drove with an ache in my heart, and as I drove, night fell. I thought to myself, what would I say if David suddenly appeared in the beams of my headlights? He would be forty-five years old. Would I even know him? How would I respond?
I would leap from the car and run to him, putting my arms around him. I would assure him that the love of God is the same today as it was on that dark night. He can begin again. And I would like to help him on that journey to restoration.
The Holy Spirit does not possess us. He honours our choices. But we must learn to follow His promptings. 

Nieuwefontein: Solving the root cause of drug abuse

Nieuwefontein: Solving the root cause of drug abuse
Nestled in the heart of the Great Karoo, about halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town is a place of refuge for people who cannot cope with the dynamics of an ever changing world. Addicts, alcoholics, people with obsessive compulsive behaviour patterns, including gambling problems, can rediscover who they are and why they exist.

Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm (United Nations World Drug Report, 2009). Statistics have also shown that 15 percent of South Africa’s population has a drug problem and that our nation is one of the drug capitals of the world. Nieuwefontein Empowerment Centre (NEC) believes that only Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer – can help addicts.

Christ-Centred rehabilitation
Nestled in the heart of the Karoo, NEC is a refuge for people with destructive behaviour patterns such as substance abuse. Local businessman, Michael Clarke, owns this 3 000 ha farm and the centre has been running for close to six years. The programme is not funded by the government, it is run by a group of dedicated Christians.

The causes of drug abuse
Dereck Cromhout, one of the founders of NEC (which is affiliated with the TCN Christian Network) says that peer pressure, low self-esteem, the need to be accepted and dysfunctional families are some of the main reasons for drug abuse: “It is a bondage that gets people caught up in lies, manipulation, stealing, cheating and deception.”

South African psychologist, Professor Charles Parry, lists some of the factors contributing to the use and abuse of alcohol as: social drinking (habit-formation), psychological distress (substance abuse as coping mechanism), boredom and pursuing a lifestyle that the media portrays as desirable.

Poverty is another significant reason for drug abuse (escapism), as well as the persistent use of medication (both prescription and over-the-counter).

Finding a solution
The leaders at NEC believe that drug abuse is a symptom and not the root cause of the problem: “Substance abuse or any other dysfunctional behaviour is merely an attempt to cope with issues of the heart. Close to 90 percent of the people we work with have issues regarding unforgiveness and rejection.”

This rehabilitation centre focuses on a relationship with God as the solution to all forms of anti-social behaviour. “If you hold to My teaching…you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

At NEC, Biblical principles are implemented through God’s Word and through Christian literature. The programme does not discriminate, however, and anyone who is prepared to participate is accepted. A Christian twelve-step programme, as well as praise and worship, also forms an important part of the healing process.

Healthy living
Patients at NEC must maintain a structured work programme, as well as a healthy farm lifestyle. Dereck explains that “most residents who come on the programme are unfit and undernourished.”

Their new lifestyle on the farm includes healthy eating and working. Activities such as gardening and sports (soccer, swimming, gym, hiking, horse riding) are an essential part of the life-changing process. As many addicts have neglected their education, NEC also offers opportunities for residents to complete their schooling, or any other studies via correspondence.

The reconciliation of the family as a whole is a crucial part of the process at NEC: “We do as much as possible to restore broken relationships.” There are regular parent seminar weekends where the family is empowered to continue an environment of recovery once the individual returns home.

Why we need to intervene
As disciples of the living God, we need to be aware of the pain of those around us. We cannot take a passive stance while the enemy devours our children. Pray for people you know who are caught in the claws of addiction and pain and get in contact with Godly professionals.  There are Christian rehab centres like NEC in existence to help these desperate souls. Take heart, what is impossible with man is possible with God. He can make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).

Why Your Vote Counts!

Why Your Vote Counts!
Your Biblical Duty to Vote
As responsible citizens, Christians must strive to honour God in all areas of life (Matthew 5:14-20). We are to oppose evil (Isaiah 59) and work for righteousness. Christians therefore have a Biblical duty to vote.

“Select capable men from all the people – men who fear God; trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them as officials…” Exodus 18:21

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” Proverbs 14:34

Does your one vote really count?
When you do not vote, by default you cast your vote against the person or proposal you would prefer. When you do not vote, that vote is one less the opposition has to overcome, thus your “no vote” is a vote for anti-Christian policies.

70% of South Africans confess that they believe in God and see themselves as Christians. In 2009, the ANC got 66% and the other parties 34% of the votes. Only 18 million people of the 30 million eligible voters voted. This means that the Christians who did not vote and those who voted for the ANC allowed the ANC to get into power!

“Who will rise up for Me against the wicked? Who will make a stand for Me against the workers of iniquity?” Psalm 94:16

South Africa’s Proportional Representation System
In the Metropolitan and Local categories of municipalities, half the councillors are elected through a proportional representation ballot, where voters vote for a party, which means that the more votes a party gets, the more councillors will represent that party on the city council. (The other half are elected as ward councillors by the residents in each ward.)

With simple maths it can be explained why opposition voters who do not vote in our proportional electoral system increase the ANC’s support. For the sake of the example, we accept that only ten voters had cast their votes. The percentage of councillors which each party receives is then calculated out of ten votes. If the ANC had obtained six votes and the opposition four, the ANC will get 60% of half of the council positions available in that city and the opposition gets 40%

If one opposition voter stays away, the ANC has still obtained six votes while the opposition now only has three votes. The calculation is then done out of nine and no longer ten. The ANC has six out of nine votes or 66%. Without the ANC obtaining more votes, the ANC suddenly has 6% more council members in that city. The stay-away-voter therefore caused the ANC to improve its performance!

Preferably the aim should be to replace them with a coalition of parties committed to pro-life, pro-family, free enterprise policies.

The South African Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide aims to inform Christians about how the different political parties have voted on legislation that affects pro-life, pro-family, and free enterprise issues.
The 2011 Voters’ Guide is downloadable from www.savotersguide.com in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

Register to Vote!
5 and 6 March 2011 – Voting registration stations open 08:00 to 17:00. SMS your ID to 34139 or go to www.elections.org.za to check whether you are registered.

If you registered to vote in the last election and have not moved to a different residential address, then you do not need to register again for these local municipal elections.
Where do I register to vote? See www.elections.org.za

NB: Voters have unknowingly been removed from the voters roll for the forthcoming local elections. This situation arose with the re-demarcation of wards in municipalities. Voters have now in some instances been sorted into new wards and will have to re-register for that ward as a person can only vote in the ward where he/she lives and is registered. In some existing wards more voting points have been added and have in some wards been taken away and voters will also have to go and register at their voting points.

For more information please contact the IEC toll-free on 0800 11 8000.  You may vote in an election only if your name appears on the Voters’ Roll.
Requirements for registration:
To be entered on the roll you must:
• apply for registration in person
• be a South African citizen
• possess and show a valid barcoded identity document (ID) or valid temporary identity certificate (TIC)
You may apply to register only for the voting district in which you are ordinarily resident. Where you are “ordinarily resident” is defined as the home or place where you live or to which you regularly return after any temporary period of absence.
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it…” Ezekiel 22:30

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont 7735
Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481
E-mail: info@christianaction.org.za
Web: www.christianaction.org.za

How SA’s Local Elections Work (copied off http://www.etu.org.za/toolbox/docs/govern/elections.html#electoral)

Local elections (municipal)
There are three different categories of municipalities in South Africa and they have slightly different electoral systems.

Metropolitan municipalities (Category A):
Metropolitan municipalities exist in the six biggest cities in South Africa. They have more than 500 000 voters and the metropolitan municipality co-ordinates the delivery of services to the whole area. There are metropolitan municipalities in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Ethekweni (Durban), Tshwane (Pretoria), Nelson Mandela (Port Elizabeth) and the Ekhuruleni (East Rand). These municipalities are broken into wards. Half the councillors are elected through a proportional representation ballot, where voters vote for a party. The other half are elected as ward councillors by the residents in each ward.

Local municipalities (Category B):
Areas that fall outside of the six metropolitan municipal areas are divided into local municipalities. There are a total of 231 of these local municipalities and each municipality is broken into wards. The residents in each ward are represented by a ward councillor. Voters in these municipalities also vote for district councils.

Half the local councillors are elected through a proportional representation ballot, where voters vote for a party. The other half are elected as ward councillors by the residents in each ward.

Only people who live in low population areas, like game parks, do not fall under local municipalities. The areas are called district management areas (DMA) and fall directly under the district municipality.

District municipalities (Category C):
District municipalities are made up of a number of local municipalities that fall in one district. There are usually between 4 – 6 local municipalities that come together in a district council and there are 47 district municipalities in South Africa. The district municipality has to co-ordinate development and delivery in the whole district.

The district council is made up of two types of councillors:
Elected councillors – they are elected for the district council on a proportional representation ballot by all voters in the area. (40% of the district councillors)
Councillors who represent local municipalities in the area – they are local councillors sent by their council to represent it on the district council. (60% of the district councillors)

Who votes for what?
Metro Council voters: one PR vote for metro council
one ward vote for individual candidate
Local Council voters: one PR vote for local council
one ward vote for individual candidate
one PR vote for District Council
District Management: one PR vote for DMA representatives to DC,
Area voters: one PR vote for District Council

Note: in some very small local councils with very few councillors, there may be no wards and only a PR vote.

Christianity & Psychology: Are they Mutually Compatible?

Christianity & Psychology: Are they Mutually Compatible?
In a world dominated by ‘self-help’ gurus and pop-psychology TV shows, it is easy for Christians to dismiss the field of psychology as a humanist endeavour, of no value to believers.

Yet, when a Christian struggles with bipolar tendencies, or feels chronically depressed, or simply needs direction in life, sometimes Bible reading and basic church counselling does not seem to suffice. We spoke to Professor Nicolene Joubert of The Institute of Christian Psychology, to find out if there is a middle ground in this contentious debate…

It has been said that the very foundation of psychology is based on humanist philosophy – thus Christians can have no part in this, and should only get their help from the Bible. What are your thoughts?
Secular psychological theories are based on a Western humanistic worldview which differs radically from a Christian one. However, this doesn’t mean that we should reject all information gathered in the field of psychology. Research and observations of human behaviour provide valuable knowledge that we can use as Christians.

If we reason that we can’t use any psychological knowledge as Christians, we should apply the same rule to all scientific fields of study (medical field, economics, etc). Secular universities offer all their courses from a non-Christian worldview perspective and Christians have the responsibility to distinguish non-Christian principles included in these courses from Christian principles and to apply knowledge in a God honouring manner.

The Bible gives us sound guidelines for behaviour and spiritual growth, but is not a handbook on all mental disorders, the causes thereof or possible treatments. Biblical principles and truths are our point of departure but it doesn’t mean the total exclusion of the application of knowledge.

Many believe that Christians should be complete in Christ and thus not require the services of psychologists. (I.e. they should be “healed” from depression and anxiety through prayer alone)…
Rebirth takes place when one accepts Christ as Saviour and repents of one’s sins. The old self is regenerated, but it doesn’t mean that we are without sin or the brokenness caused by sin. The process of sanctification starts after rebirth and in this process Christians often struggle with wrong lifestyle habits and the consequences of their sins and the sins of others.

Victims of abuse suffer the consequences of the sins of other people and often struggle with unforgiveness and bitterness. In dealing with the aftermath of trauma, psychological knowledge about trauma could deepen the understanding of how to help a person in the healing process. Clinical depression is caused by a chemical imbalance and in this medication is required to help the person. People who are clinically depressed find it very difficult to pray and exercise faith and if they are accused of being depressed because they haven’t got enough faith, the problem gets worse and not better.

Psychological knowledge has a lot of value for understanding issues and treating mental illnesses. Although the power of prayer is not disputed and God can heal any situation supernaturally, He often works through his servants, medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. In the area of psychological problems, the same principle applies. God may choose to work through a psychologist or psychiatrist to “heal”.

What is the difference between psychology and psychiatry?
Psychology is based on study of human behaviour, thoughts and emotions. Psychiatry is a branch in the medical profession specialising in mental disorders. Psychiatrists normally prescribe medication as part of the treatment, whereas psychologists provide psychotherapy (a structured process of talking and working on problem solving) as treatment without prescribing medication. Psychiatrists deal with the biological and medical aspects of the presenting problem and psychologists deal more with the psychological and emotional roots of a problem.

What is Christian psychology?
It is a development in the field of psychology calling for the reconstruction of psychology from a Christian worldview perspective. The conceptualisation of Christian Psychology as a science field started in the 1950s in America and it is an ongoing process.

In the 1950s a strong reaction against the humanistic worldview that underlies the fields of psychiatry and psychology was expressed in various Christian circles, ranging from ministers to Christian psychologists and psychiatrists. A debate regarding the integration of Theology and psychology was sparked and various attempts made to provide a “method” for integrating Theology and psychology.

Christian psychology is an approach to psychology that takes into account the spiritual needs and functioning of Christian clients and psychologists by explicitly formulating and addressing these needs.

How does it differ from traditional psychology?
Sigmund Freud is generally viewed as the father of psychology; his observations and analysis of human behaviour during his work as a neurologist and psychiatrist led to the development of a new discipline (i.e. psychology). Stemming from Freud’s psycho-analytical school of thought, various other psychological theories developed including views about human nature, human behaviour and how to solve psychological problems versus medical problems. Most of the traditional schools of thoughts are based on a humanistic worldview with the implication that faith and a spiritual level of existence are scarcely included or acknowledge in the theories.

Christian psychology postulates that humans are holistic beings, implying that humans have a physical, psychological and a spiritual dimension of existence. Christian psychology exerts that all dimensions of existence influence mental health and should be taken into account in the helping process.

Tell us of your role as a pioneer of Christian psychology in SA?
As a Christian studying psychology, I was frustrated about the general negative view of religious beliefs expressed in psychology theories and unhappy about the omission of such an important aspect of human functioning, (faith in God). The role of faith in God in human functioning was either ridiculed or seen as a primitive form of functioning. I couldn’t reconcile these views with my own experience of faith in God and I questioned the soundness of psychological theories regarding religion and spirituality. My concerns were strengthened by the need in many of my clients to discuss spiritual issues as part of their problems. In the light of this, I decided to investigate the role of faith in God in psychological well-being. A vast number of people seeking psychological counselling are Christians who believe in the healing power of God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

My own conviction that the Holy Spirit can lead us in counselling, brings comfort and works emotional healing in people, spurred the endeavour to develop an academically based training programme in psychology that addresses and incorporates the transpersonal aspect of our functioning. My desire as a Christian is to honour God and to acknowledge Jesus in everything I do, including my work as a psychologist.

ICP is not only a higher learning institute; many of your lecturers are in private practice. Tell us more.
Yes, several of our lecturers are in private practice and as such incorporate valuable practical knowledge in their lectures. Many of our B Psych students are pastors or lay counsellors, desiring to further their studies. Together with the lecturers, and former students, they also form part of our database of Christian counsellors that the public has access to and can request from us.

The self-help movement is a multi-billion dollar industry. How is it different from what you do?
In the self-help movement there is no requirement in terms of training. Clients suffering from serious mental disorders need more than a self-help book to guide them. They need long term professional help. Professional help in the form of psychotherapy is done as part of a range of medical services provided. Psychologists are professionally trained and have to be registered with the Professional Board of Psychology before they are allowed to practice. The fee structure is set to prevent the exploitation of clients.

What characteristics classify a patient for psychological help, as opposed to counselling?
The nature and intensity of the problem indicate whether a person needs basic Christian counselling, or more in-depth help in the form of psychotherapy. An example would be a person suffering from reactive depression because of the loss of a loved one and somebody suffering clinical depression. Reactive depression because of loss could be dealt with and resolved on the basis of grief counselling.

If the depression persists long after a normal period of grief the person has to go for psychotherapy (psychological help). Clinical depression based on a chemical imbalance requires more than basic counselling. A person suffering from clinical depression needs medication, as well as psychotherapy. Clients who suffer from serious symptoms of anxiety need psychotherapy and/ or medication.

Likewise people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder I and obsessive-compulsive disorder need psychological help.  Children suffering from problems such as Autism and Asperger syndrome need psychological help and possibly medication.

A person suffering from work-related stress that hasn’t escalated into burnout symptoms could be helped by a Christian counselling process. It is important to consider the nature of the problem, the duration and severity, when a decision is made about the type of help recommended.

What advice can you offer to people who struggle with a problem which does not seem to improve despite seeing a psychologist?
A therapy process requires several sessions spread over a period of time before real and long lasting changes in behaviour, thoughts and emotions would be experienced. The first session can provide a feeling of relief (catharsis) because the person could unburden and vent, but this is not enough for deep changes in behaviour, thoughts and emotions to take place.

People who complain about not experiencing any results from therapy sessions have either terminated the therapy pre-maturely, resisted the process, or followed a process that simply didn’t work for them. In this case a psychologist following another type of therapy could be consulted or a combination of prayer, emotional support and therapy could be applied.