The Great Commission Was Not a Request for Volunteers

The Great Commission Was Not a Request for Volunteers
“Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.” Neh 7: 4
Nehemiah had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, secured the internal structures and the people. Law and order had been established. The people were spiritually focused and committed to God. The Biblical community was again set in place, but one thing was lacking – there weren’t many people in the ‘new city’. What good was it for Nehemiah to have sacrificed so much, built all that had to be built? The physical structure of the city was supposed to be there to meet the needs of the people.
Where are the people?
God went to extreme lengths for His creation – you and me. He gave His best; He sacrificed Jesus so that His Kingdom could be established on earth. God’s intention is for His Kingdom to be populated. The devil’s clear-cut objective is to populate hell and he does not care how he does it. Jesus plundered Hades so that the way could be cleared to populate His Kingdom. Too often the Church secures itself by building high walls around it to protect itself from the ‘world’, the ‘enemy’ outside. When a few souls get saved and join the city, they think this is called ‘revival’…What a tragic picture of the Church today. Especially when it was God who launched the most intensive and costly rescue operation ever.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, might not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16
Jesus tells us a parable which gives us an indication of the urgency of today and how we need to GO OUT and get the people.
The parable of the great banquet
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come’. The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’” Luke 14: 16 – 23
Master and servant

The master of the house determines the timing of the banquet: The Bible says, “Now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor 6: 2. Our responsibility is to respond to the command to ‘Go’.
The servant just has to respond to the instruction, and he has to leave the ‘house’ – the confinements of the church walls – to invite people to the banquet.
The servant does the going and the telling while Jesus does the sending and the equipping. There is urgency in God’s heart towards the lost.
The servant carries the heart of the master with a depth of passion that is on the verge of desperation. “Go out to the roads and the country lanes and make them (compel) come in.” vs 23. How burdened are you? How desperate are you to see anybody come into God’s kingdom?
The servant’s goal is not to stop until the house is full.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the Harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest fields.” Matt 9: 37 – 38
The harvest is ready

The lack is not in the harvest.
The lack is with workers like you and me.
As we pray, a burden will develop for what needs to be done.
It is His Harvest and we are commissioned to work in His field.

There are two vital points that we need to consider. Firstly, Jesus considered it to be an essential life imparting task “to do the Will of Him who sent Me and to finish His Work.” Do you think that the task is complete? You and I both know that there is still much to do. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28: 18 – 20.
All we need to do is carry out instructions and deliver the message that was given to us. I am here today because someone ‘compelled’ and ‘fought for me’ to come into the Kingdom of God. Who have you found, fought for and brought in? How full are your nets?
Perhaps the Church is empty because no one has gone fishing or harvesting. This task has been left for someone else to do. How many times have you put off what you know you need to do? How many times have you used the ‘not the right time’ or ‘I’m not ready yet’ excuse?
Looking again at Nehemiah, we see that not only did he recognise the emptiness of a ‘renewed’, ‘back to life’ Jerusalem, but he goes on to say: “So my God put it into my heart.” Neh 7: 5. Jesus’ main motivation for doing anything was compassion. You will never progress effectively from point A to point Z, unless your heart is dealt with.
Who or what stirs your heart? Let us not give lip service to God, but let our hearts be moved with compassion and zeal for His Kingdom.
Being a worthy disciple
When people live their lives without God, they build all kinds of structures into their marriages, businesses and children because their lives are not built with the correct materials and are built on the wrong foundations. As soon as opposing elements come against them, they collapse. Everything comes down and the ‘walls’ are left broken and burnt. Not only can God restore a broken life, but He can make it all new again. The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away and behold all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5: 17
In the process of this transformation, there is the important part that this new creation plays. The problem lies with us, the disciples. Our devotion is not consistent and is often shallow at the best of times. In the book of Acts 2 : 42 the Bible tells us that these new ‘back to life’ disciples were devoted to:

“The Apostles teaching.”  Who are you mentoring and what kind of a model are you? Are you teachable?
“The fellowship.” Are you devoted to the fellowship?
“The breaking of bread and prayer.” Communion is an essential part of what the fellowship does; even more so is the devotion to prayer. The point I am making is that we need to be devoted, but then devoted to the right things.

Loving as Jesus loves us
Discipleship is never an option, or something to be put off. The moment you are born-again into the Kingdom of God becoming a disciple becomes your priority. You might be thinking, ‘I did a discipleship course twenty years ago’. The truth is that your discipleship programme should never end. Mentorship is not an option. Jesus said: “Go out and make disciples.” Matt 28:19. You can only do this if you are being discipled yourself.
The book of Revelation states that the problem with the church in Ephesus was that people had lost their ‘first love’ Rev 2: 4. I think that this is often true of us. We have lost Jesus’ love for the poor, the lost, the hurting, the lonely, the sick and the dying. We don’t love our cities the way that He does. 
I want to love my city. I want to rebuild its walls. I want to secure the people. I want to reach out to those who need to come in, and I want to see the Kingdom of God populated. Your church needs you, your city needs you, and your God needs you. Do you want to be like Jesus? Then do what he cares for: “I have come to seek and save that which is lost.” Luke 19: 10

Bless Your enemies

Bless Your enemies
One evening a railway missionary was preaching outside the bar of a large city station. A group of drunken men cursed and jeered at him. As the whistle sounded for the train’s departure, he leaned out of the window for a few final words. One of the men, his face livid with fury, came right up to him, stuck his face inches away from that of God’s servant and spat in his eye. A deadly silence descended upon the group. The train began to move. Wiping the spittle from his cheek with his handkerchief, the missionary smiled, stretched forth his hand towards the man, and said clearly, yet gently:“The Lord bless you, my brother!” The watching men stood in stunned silence, their mouths agape as the train departed.
Towards midnight the train stopped at another large city station. God’s servant was awakened by someone calling loudly for the missionary. Standing forlornly on the platform was the man who had spat in his face. Still in his pyjamas, the missionary stepped onto the platform to join him.
“I took an express train to catch up to you,” gasped the man. “When you reached out your hand to bless me, it was as if an electric current flowed from you to me. I want to know your Jesus.”
Jesus said, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who ill-treat you. Love your enemies. Do good to them and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27, 35-36.
Going the extra mile
This is perhaps the most ignored of Jesus’ teachings, yet also one of the most powerful and profound. This instruction to bless our enemies flies in the face of every survival instinct – every law of self-preservation. We recoil from the thought, particularly when raw and hurting from some vicious attack on ourselves or our loved ones. Instead of blessing, we want to bring down the curses of God upon our enemies. We long to see them destroyed.
Here are powerful guidelines for how to bless our enemies.
•                     Be blessed with the PRESENCE of God.
•              Be blessed with the POWER of God
•              Be blessed with the PEACE of God
•              Be blessed with the PROTECTION of God
•              Be blessed with the PURPOSES of God
Just think what such a blessing implies: it is calling down the Presence and Power of the Most High, the Almighty and awesome God of creation and re-creation, to settle over our enemies. The Apostle Paul puts it this way:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of fire on his head.”
The ‘burning coals of fire’ sounds more appealing, but we need to remind ourselves it is the ‘burning fire of God’s Holy Presence’. When you bless your enemies, this is what you are calling down upon them. There is no need to be specific or prescriptive. Just let God be God.
Now for the practical bit. When you are burning with pain or outrage, try praying the ‘Five-P Blessing’ over the person responsible for your hurt. Do it as an act of your will. Do it repeatedly.
Two amazing things will happen: You will experience the Holy Spirit joining you in the blessing as the God of mercy begins to touch your enemy; you will feel the bitter poison of hatred and unforgiveness draining from you. This is the first step towards offering forgiveness – and it is one which God also requires. When we act like this, we are truly ‘children of God’.
The story of the Apostle Paul is one of the greatest stories of courage and Christian heroism ever told. He was beaten five times with the dreaded scourge of 39 lashes and three times with rods, cursed, punched, savaged by howling mobs, hated and betrayed by the Jews and those close to him. What was the secret that enabled him to become ‘more than a conqueror’? I believe it was his ability to bless his enemies, even while the vicious lashes were tearing his body to shreds.
Luke never wrote of these things in Acts. I believe it was because Paul forbade him to do so, for fear that he might be revered instead of Christ. But Paul undoubtedly knew the power of blessing his enemies and rejoiced that he was able to conquer enemy strongholds and win them for Christ.
In South Africa, we need to pray down the blessings of God upon those whom we perceive to be our enemies in government, society and in prison. What a change this could make! Can we ever gauge the effect that a blessing in God’s Name and Power could have on another human being? God will reveal it to us one day and we will see how our love for others led them closer to Him.

Bernhard Langer Gives God all the Glory

Bernhard Langer Gives God all the Glory
•   Born 27 August 1957 in Southern Germany and the third child.
•   His father served in the German army during WWII and, after finishing  
     conscription, was a brick layer.
•   The lack of money in the family home set him on the road to a career
     in golf when he began caddying for pocket money at 8 years old.
•   He earned the nick name ‘Eagle Eye’ as a young caddy because he
     always found his players’ lost golf balls. He devoted spare afternoons 
     and weekends to honing his golfing skills.
•   Bernhard’s parents weren’t very supportive of his plans to play
     professional golf after school, but his father was impressed when
     Bernhard bought his first car – a yellow Ford Escort – from  his winnings
     at the German National Open in 1975.
•   In 1981 he was officially the best golfer in Europe.
•     He met his American wife, Vikki, at the Inverrary Classic in 1983 –  they have been
       married for 25 years and have four children.
•    Grew up in a religious Catholic family going to church almost every
      single day.
•      Tried to keep religious rules (i.e. not eating meat on Fridays, going to confession and 
         serving as an altar boy) but did not realise the need for a personal relationship with
         Jesus until much later in life.
•    Loves reading the Bible and often writes down a few verses every
      morning when on tour and carries them around with him.
It has been said of Bernhard Langer that his extraordinary talent, consistency and resilience have kept him at the peak of the game for decades and have seen him outlast most of his contemporaries by winning European tour events more than twenty years after his first victory. Yet, according to the player himself: “You can take nothing for granted in golf. Often last week’s tournament winner will miss the cut this week and sometimes finish twenty shots worse.” 
Despite growing up in Germany where golf is a minority sport, young Bernhard’s single- minded determination raised him to become ‘World Number One’ at one stage. In 1985, it seemed as though Bernhard had everything, but the Lord had his own plans for the 27 year old. Dressed all in red with wavy blond hair down to his shoulders, Bernhard held off Seve Ballesteros and surged past a stumbling Curtis Strange to win his first major championship – the Masters. Imagine the excitement he felt when he was presented the green jacket in the Butler Cabin. Then came the live interview with CBS Sports and an innocuous question about whether he looked at the leaderboard during his round.
God uses our mistakes
The response, as best Langer can recall, went something like this: “I looked up for the first time after nine holes and I thought I was playing well, but Jesus Christ! Curtis Strange was four shots ahead.” Only later did Langer realise what he had said and the number of people he had offended.

“I was not a Christian at the time,” he said. “It was powerful expression and a lot of people used it. A few weeks later, I had a number of fan mail – well, anti-fan mail – that asked who was I to be blaspheming on national television? To be using Jesus’ Name in vain?”
Langer is deliberate in everything he does. He often puts 20 clubs in his bag during a practice round, trying to figure out which club is best for that course and the various conditions. His strength has always been his mind. So his reaction to the ‘fan mail’ was no different. The letters didn’t make him defensive, they made him think. He began to ask himself who he was, what was important, what was meaningful to him.
Trusting God
“I had all the money I needed and a beautiful young wife. And yet it wasn’t enough. I didn’t have real peace. A friend on the tour, Bobby Clampett, asked me to attend a tour Bible study one evening. I agreed as I wanted to know more. I figured I had it all together – I believed in God and hoped I would go to heaven. I always thought that being a good person and keeping the commandments would get me to heaven.” This time, Langer took Clampett up on the offer and brought his wife, Vikki. The message that night was one of faith, not good deeds. He started reading his Bible and asking more questions. “I read John 3:3 where I learnt I must be born again. Since I committed my life to Christ, my faith has played a big part in my golf and every area of my life.”
Bernhard’s obstacle-strewn path to the top is perhaps most famously illustrated by his struggle to overcome the yips – putting problems that more than once dogged his career. Bernhard observes: “My putting was so bad that people were coming to watch me much like people who go to motor racing to see a crash!”
Faith that endures
Langer has 64 victories around the world in his career, two of these at the Masters. He went 16 consecutive years with at least one victory on the European tour, a hallmark of his consistency. He became a stalwart for Europe in the Ryder Cup – 10 times as a player and last year as captain of the biggest European victory in history. But for all his achievements, Langer is regarded as much for how he lives with and for Christ, than what he has won.“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31  
Fast-forward to 1991 at Kiawah Island in the Ryder Cup. Playing against Hale Irwin in the final singles match, Langer stood over a 6-foot putt with the trophy riding on the outcome. His miss produced one of the most compelling images of how intense the Ryder Cup has become. Langer threw his head back in utter angst, his neck straining as he let out a guttural cry of despair.
A moment like that could end someone’s career. But Langer won the next week in the German Masters by making a 15-foot putt in a playoff. “If the Ryder Cup happened to be 10 years earlier, I might have fallen apart. Who knows?” Langer said. “Having a personal relationship with God, knowing there is a bigger picture, knowing there is more to life than gold and success, I could cope with it.  And I got over it pretty quick. My faith has helped me not only in difficult times, but in good times. In fact, at all times.”
Seeking God first and seeing Him add the rest
Bernhard doesn’t beat his peers over the head with his Bible. He does not consider himself superior to others. And when he’s on the golf course, he is thinking about winning. “I did a lot of praying at the Ryder Cup,” he said of his captaincy, which produced a resounding victory. “I prayed for a close match – I’m grateful my prayer didn’t get answered!”

Langer made it back to the Butler Cabin in 1993 with a four-shot victory at the Masters, the widest margin of victory in 10 years at Augusta National. Fred Couples helped him put on the green jacket.  Then came the live interview with CBS, and a question about how special it was to win the Masters for a second time. Langer couldn’t help but mention that he had won on Easter Sunday and how important that day is to Christians.It is exciting to see leading sportsmen using their talents to bring glory to God. If all of us “seek first the Kingdom” then we know “all things will be added unto us” Matt 6:33. What an amazing promise from our Lord and King!

The Biblical Solution to Crime

The Biblical Solution to Crime
There was a time when few of us were touched by crime. Then we all began to know somebody who had been affected by crime. Now each of us have our own stories of how we were stolen from, directly threatened by crime, or worse.  At a recent meeting, the 80-odd people in attendance were asked to name some of the crimes they had personally experienced. In short order, those present related house breaking, car theft, cell phone theft, fraud, assault, hijacking, armed robbery and murder – all experienced recently either by themselves or their immediate family.
At almost any social occasion, you can find South Africans swapping stories about a brush with death or the long-hand of crime having stolen from them and their loved ones.
Crime is a reality that affects each one of us. The situation in South Africa became so bad that the government at one time even placed a moratorium on crime statistics, forbidding the police to release statistics of incidents of crime in South Africa to the voters and tax payers they are meant to represent and serve.
The cost of crime
According to a study by the American Management Association, US businesses annually lose over $10 billion to employee theft, over $4 billion to embezzlement, over $2,5 billion to burglary, over $2 billion to shoplifting, over $1,3 billion to arson and over half a million dollars per incident of computer fraud.
According to the US Department of Commerce, approximately one-third of all business failures each year can be traced to employee theft. US law enforcement officials estimate that almost half of all employees are guilty of stealing.  Retailers in South Africa lose billions of rands each year to shoplifting and even more to theft by employees.
Who pays?
Obviously somebody has to pay for the costs of all this theft. You and I and all the other customers have to share the burden of the billions of rands shoplifted or stolen by employees. In addition, we have to pay for the increased insurance premiums, for the additional security personnel and equipment necessitated by this shoplifting spree. It all gets added to the price tag of everything we buy.
Of course, we also pay for the cost of crime through our taxes and in supporting the police force, legal and judicial systems and the prison service, which are all meant to be designed to protect us from the criminal elements of society. But far more seriously, a vast number of South Africans are directly suffering the effects of crime.
What causes crime?
I have heard university professors and other experts speaking about how very complicated it is to analyse the sociological and economic factors that lead to the phenomenon of crime etc. Yet, if we turn to the Bible, we will find a very straightforward answer: “Why do people commit crimes so readily? Because crime is not punished quickly enough.” Eccl 8:11
Surely that is the common sense answer. It is so obvious. Crime is increasing in our society because our courts seem to be more obsessed with the ‘rights’ of the criminal, but not as concerned about the rights of the victim, or the policemen for that matter. Murderers have been released while policemen have been prosecuted. Rapists have been set free on amnesties and Presidential pardons, while victims have been imprisoned for defending themselves. Right has become wrong and wrong has become right!
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.” Isa 5:20-23
The role of government
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 the law-abiding citizens and 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 – all to the glory of God.
“Every authority instituted among men, who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” 1 Pet 2:13-14
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong, for he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” Rom 13:3-4
Capital punishment
For those who hold the Word of God as authoritative, capital punishment is not a matter of choice or opinion poll, or even of court or parliamentary decree. It is God’s clear command: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” Gen 9:6
God instituted capital punishment long before the enactment of the Mosaic Law. In fact, capital punishment was declared not only for Noah’s time, but “for all generations to come.” Gen 9:12 “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. If a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from My altar and put him to death. Anyone who kidnaps must be put to death.” Exod 21: 12-16
“If anyone takes a life of a human being, he must be put to death. Whoever kills a man must be put to death. I am the Lord your God.” Lev 24:17-22
“Anyone who kills with a sword, must himself be killed by the sword.” Rev 13:10
“Bloodshed pollutes the land and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.” Num 35:33
God’s Law remains in force after Calvary (Acts 25:22). As our Lord Jesus taught: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil 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.” Matt 5:17-18
By obeying God’s Law and punishing murderers with the death penalty, a nation can cleanse itself from the guilt of innocent blood. On the other hand, a nation that refuses to avenge the taking of innocent human life, must share the guilt of the murderer. (Deut 21:1-9)
The opposition of certain ‘human rights’ groups to the death penalty is selective. As capital punishment is only inflicted upon murderers, one is given to wonder why these groups are so concerned for the rights of murderers? Should we not provide compassion and justice for the many thousands of victims and families of victims of violent crimes?
Since the state unilaterally suspended the death penalty for murder in South Africa (in 1989), criminals have inflicted the death penalty on well over 500 000 innocent victims in South Africa. Who is campaigning for their rights? And what about the 300 000 who could be murdered in the coming decade? Surely any civilised society has the moral right and the duty to protect itself from those who have no respect for human life?
The taking of a murderer’s life is akin to the amputation of a diseased limb in order to save the rest of the body. All murder is serious and demands capital punishment. Capital punishment is necessary for justice, for the rule of law and for the protection of the innocent.
In cases of theft, arson or malicious damage to property, the Bible decrees restitution. Restitution is the restoration of a thing to its proper place or owner. It is reparation for injury or damage to property. The Bible requires that the restitution goes entirely to the victim of the crime. Restitution is also required for culpable negligence.
God’s Law is clear: the criminal is held accountable and is responsible to pay for his crime. He is to work and earn, in money or kind, that which is required for the reparation of what he stole, damaged or destroyed.
“… he should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or a donkey or sheep, he shall restore double. If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard. If fire breaks out and catches in thorns, so that stacked grain, standing grain or the field is consumed, he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.” Exod 22: 3-6
The punishment is to fit the crime. The more serious the crime, the more severe the punishment (Deut 19:15-21).
Under God’s Law, there would be fewer criminals, fewer victims and much less burden on the tax payer. Under our present humanistic system, our prisons have become a higher institute of learning for criminals, where they cross-train one another and work out how not to get caught next time. Instead of the victim and his relatives receiving restitution, under our present system the victims are forced to pay taxes which provide food, accommodation and entertainment for the criminals, while they languish in prison. The solution to this intolerable situation includes a return to the Biblical pattern of restitution.
Making sure crime doesn’t pay
There are also some practical, common sense measures which could ensure that crime does not continue to pay in South Africa.
1. Repeat offenders should be made to complete the rest of their
     sentence before beginning their second sentence.
2. No bail should be available for repeat offenders.
3. All violent criminals should bear the full responsibility for their actions,
    whether or not they were deemed mentally competent, drunk or of
    diminished capacity, or under the influence of drugs (Num 35:16-21).
4. Penalties for violent youths should be the same as for adults. Those
    who commit adult crimes such as rape and murder should suffer adult
    consequences (Ezek 18:10-13).
5. A return to the Biblical principles of execution for all first degree
    murder, rape and kidnapping; and restitution for all theft of, or damage
    to, property. (Exod 21 & 22).
6. As it is impossible for any police force to guarantee the safety of every
    citizen, no hindrance should be placed upon the right of law-abiding
    citizens to obtain and use firearms for self-defence. As the vast majority
    of violent crimes are committed by criminals with unlicensed weapons,
    it is clear that restricting the rights of citizens to own, carry and use
    licensed firearms, cannot prevent violent crime. Disarming the
   potential victims of crime can only serve the purposes of the criminal.
   We therefore must reaffirm the Biblical rights and responsibilities of 
   citizens to obtain, own, carry and use firearms for personal or family
   defence. (Exod 22:2; Neh 4:14; 1 Tim 5:8).
   It is time for the civil authorities to take consistent, strong and resolute 
   action to protect law-abiding citizens and to punish law-breaking
“Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed, or My wrath will break out and burn like fire because the evil you have done – burn with no-one to quench it.” Jer 21:12

Fergus Buchan – Sharing the Gospel through golf

By Val Waldeck

You’ve been a golf professional for 41 years. How did you get started?
I started my career as an assistant golf professional at the age of 16 in the then country of Rhodesia at the Royal Salisbury Golf Club. After serving a one-year apprenticeship under the resident pro, Dick Morley, I went back to Zambia and finished my apprenticeship under the late Jackie Muir. I was assistant-pro there for seven years.

You’ve travelled quite a bit. Where have you played?
During my time in Zambia, I had the opportunity of playing extensively in East Africa, Zambia and the European Tour. While in Europe, I had the opportunity to be coached and to coach at the Lesley King’s Golf Studio, which was centred in London. That helped me tremendously.

Why did you come to South Africa?
Due to government policies in Zambia and acute foreign exchange shortages, then President, Kenneth Kaunda, decided that sport was not a priority and that put an instant end to my two Pro Shops and my livelihood. I landed in Johannesburg with the princely sum of R17.00 in my pocket – just enough for one night at a local hotel.

Did you meet your wife here?
I was offered a position at the Observatory Golf Club in Johannesburg. I was there for three years and that was where I met my future wife, Joanne. After we married, we moved to the Springs Country Club where I taught for fifteen years. The Lord blessed us with four beautiful children – Fraser, Kirsty, Sheena and Alistair. During this time I played extensively on the South African circuit with some success.
It was at this time that you had a life-changing experience. Tell us about it.
This was one of the pivotal points in my life because we lost our precious son, Alistair, in a tractor accident in 1988. Joanne and I both found the Lord Jesus Christ as a result. We were visiting my brother, Angus Buchan, at Shalom Ministries. Alistair loved to call him ‘Auntie Angus’ and they went on a tractor ride. He fell under the tractor and there was nothing Angus could do to save him. I know what it means to be a broken vessel. My life then was very worldly, but from that time onwards I have served the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart.

Is that when you became a missionary?
No, we committed our lives to the Lord and served Him, but I continued my golfing career. After a time of grieving, the Lord opened doors for me to coach golf in Germany for eight years. He blessed us financially because He knew what was in store for us later. I was struck down at this time with a malignant melanoma and given only a few years to live. The Lord healed me miraculously and called me into fulltime ministry.
My son, Fraser, left Germany to work fulltime with Angus. He accompanied his uncle on the Seed Sower truck on its maiden journey up Africa. We followed him in 2001 and I worked with Angus for five years as Shalom’s Adminstrator. A while back, while on holiday in Germany, I had a telephone call from Fraser. The Lord had called him to start a mission outreach and that very morning Angus had released him from Shalom Ministries. God called Joanne and me at exactly the same time and I was as excited as Fraser at the direction the Lord was pointing us. I couldn’t wait to get home.
We bought a beautiful property in KwaZulu Natal near the Greytown area and opened a Mission Station. It’s called Messiah Ministries. Our vision is to preach the Gospel in areas not often visited by others because they are inhospitable and hard to reach. We work extensively locally and throughout Africa. Interestingly, the property we purchased is the site of a Mission Station originally planted by Lutheran missionaries years ago.

Is golf still part of your life?
Absolutely, after 41 years of being a PGA Professional, golf is still in my blood and I often have the opportunity of playing the SA Senior PGA tour.
Golf reminds me so much of our walk with God that I am planning a series of Golfing Breakfasts  – Spiritual Golf Clinics – as an outreach. I will be giving a full-blown professional golf lesson (complete with golf balls!) and, at the same time, sharing the Gospel. We are planning our first one in Durban in the near future.
Golf is a long walk, sometimes through the rough – you never just arrive. That is what the Christian life is like too. People watch you closely and you have to be on your honour. At the same time, it is an individual sport. At the first tee, it’s just you and your golf equipment. Our walk with the Lord is just like that. While we obey the Rule Book (our Bible), we walk down the fairway of life with Him. What I especially love about golf is that it is the game of a second chance. Every day you get to start again. That is a precious truth as we walk with the Lord.

What plans do you have for the future?
Messiah Ministries has a heart for the people of Africa. God has opened many doors for us. We are waiting for our first 4 X 4 vehicle to be commissioned and this will enable us to go further than ever with the Word of God. Our trucks are small and nippy, fully equipped with lighting and sound and we are trusting the Lord for a great harvest.  We have already been in Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Germany. We are going back to Zimbabwe soon, taking food, clothing, Bibles and the Gospel. We are really excited about what God is doing.

Fergus, Joanne and Fraser Buchan may be contacted at: or  or 033 445 0056/8/9.