Alive with Passion: Tich Smith

It has been said that the chief ambition of most people is to live a life that matters and to make a difference in this world. Yet, practically speaking, the average person feels overwhelmed at the needs they see in the communities around them.

Some people have solutions to the needs, but lack the finances or know how.  That is why the Church is such a powerful vehicle for effecting God’s change and bringing His message of hope. Sadly, the Church (generally) is not acting as this agent, because it has forgotten the mandate to take care of the widows, orphans and prisoners. So many churches today are focused on overseas missions and personal building projects, that they neglect possibly the greatest needs in their local context.

God chooses you
Did you know that by the end of 2010, Africa will have over 50 million orphans? Or that the chief cause of society’s ills has been identified as the lack of fathers and fathering in families?

Someone who is aware and concerned is Natalian businessman, Tich Smith.  Tich would not describe himself as anyone special, nor as a “chosen vessel” by God. What Tich would say though, is that driving to work everyday and seeing little children playing amongst the litter and debris in the informal settlements, was enough to motivate him to do something.

A well-known sportsman, Tich played rugby for Natal and cricket for South Africa in his younger years. “Though I had everything I ever wanted, I lived in my own strength and ended up in a home for alcoholics at the age of 35. I gave my life to Jesus in 1986 and chose to walk His way, never looking back.” Now a respected figure in his community, Tich decided to get his friends, family, business colleagues and Christian contacts involved in making a difference – chiefly through a project called LIV – Lungisa Indlela Village.

Tich notes: “We have all heard it said that It takes a village to raise a  child. I wholeheartedly agree with that and realised that the only way one can truly make a difference to the millions of orphans is to start one by one integrating them into a loving family structure – where they can know the unfailing love of our Heavenly Father.”

The Church is the vehicle
“This concept came to me in 1997, while driving back from a conference, God gave me a picture of an African village on a hill, similar to the rural clusters of homes and villages we see when we drive through the Transkei. There were small homes surrounded by children, running and laughing. Mothers were sitting on the steps of these houses interacting with one another. A church was in the centre.

There were schools and a skills/business development centre. I saw fields of vegetable gardens. It was in this moment that God told me to build the village and create jobs…”

Several years after his vision, Tich started working in Amoati, with his wife Joan who fed starting children. According to Tich: “After eight years, we have over 600 children sponsored on our Back-To-School program, our Teenage Empowerment Project runs life skills in three high schools, we support, equip and train teachers in 27 crèches, feeding many of them, daily.

Meeting needs practically
We also assist and counsel families in crisis through our Children and Family Support Project, and employ sixteen previously unemployed members of the community. Weekly we are asked to take unwanted children.

In January last year, God told us to pass the baton to the local staff in Amaoti. It was time to build the village. Now the vision is for us to build many villages.

We found the perfect 83 acre farm north of Amaoti next to the Mahlabatini Community. The vision remains the same: The church in the centre surrounded by 100 homes, each with a foster mother and six orphans. Schools to cater for the children from crèche to matric.

They would grow up in a safe haven, knowing that their Father in Heaven is their Father and they are loved. We believe they will become future leaders and valuable members of society as they grow up, ‘the right way’ (lungisisa Indlela), and make a positive impact in our country. “

Giving hope to the hopeless
The crisis Africa faces is unprecedented; AIDS is rampant and the Church of Jesus Christ is the answer and has the resources and skills to make the difference. No longer can we sit in our church buildings and ignore the Father’s Heart for the fatherless. No longer can we ignore James 1:27 that tells us “pure religion is this: to visit and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself uncontaminated from the world”. No longer can we dare to ignore the warning our God gives us in Revelation 3:16 about being lukewarm…

All it takes is one glimpse of God’s heart, one encounter, to impact our lives. Tich knows this full well and tells of a Kenyan by the name of Charles Mulli  who… “made a huge impact on me when I read his book in 2008. He was a street child that nobody wanted. He found Jesus, and became a top businessman in Nairobi. One day, whilst walking in the streets of the city, he came across a group of street kids. God told him to look after these children, so he sold his businesses and moved these children onto farmland where they were loved and nurtured.

He has impacted and transformed the lives of more children than anyone else in Kenya. When asked how he would define prosperity he answered: ‘prosperity, in the eyes of God, is a changed life. When you impact a life and they, in turn, impact others. That is true prosperity.”

Imagine 10 000 villages…
Imagine 10,000 villages, each raising and impacting 500 orphans, ‘The Right Way’. 5 million children rescued, raised and rebuilt to become future leaders impacting the continent of Africa, reaching out to other orphans. 5 million each touching 10 orphans. Imagine…

The Church is the answer. We are the Church! We have the Father Heart of God within us to do it. Together, in partnership with business and government, we CAN do it. All it will take is for every believer to believe and answer the cry of the Father’s Heart… says Tich
The vision comes Alive
In keeping with his vision, Tich arranged a banqueting dinner to raise funds and garner exposure  for LIV.

4 000 church leaders, business people and local government officials gathered at the Durban International Convention Centre recently (the largest dinner ever held there).

A substantial amount was pledged, which is a fantastic start, but much more is needed over a long-term basis to ensure the success and longevity of this project. The village consists of 14 clusters of nine  homes (pictured above right). Each home would house six children and one Christian house mother.
The village will feature a clinic, school, creche, sports facilities, a business training centre and much more. The striking feature of this project is the excellence of the plans and the generational change it intends to bring, through the power of Jesus Christ.

JOY! has pledged to build a house, and we encourage Christian business owners, organisations, lay Christians and particularly churches (who don’t have orphan-programmes) to get behind the  plans.

You can contact Mandy Cremer at or 031 562 9986.

Skeptics: Why Does A Good God Allow Evil?

Skeptics: Why Does A Good God Allow Evil?
The question of why there is evil in the world was never discussed by the ancient philosophers of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece or Rome. They were polytheists who had a pantheon of gods. Evil was the result of conflicts between the gods. However, with the understanding of a Holy and loving God, which was a Hebrew concept revealed through the Prophets of Israel, the question of how there could be evil in the world began to be discussed. The book of Job is the oldest Theodicy that we know of. A Theodicy is a defence of the justice of God in the light of evil in the world.

Sin and its sufferers
The friends of Job had a legalistic explanation that the reason Job was suffering so terribly was because he must be guilty of very bad sin. God severely rebuked these false counsellors and vindicated Job as a blameless man targeted by satan. When the disciples saw a man who was blind from birth, they asked Jesus: “’Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him’.” John 9:1-3

Evil a result of the fall
Suffering and evil is a result of the Fall. God made a good and perfect world. Before Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and give in to the temptation of satan, the world was without pain, suffering and death. Evil came into the world as a result of mankind’s rebellion against the Creator. All of Creation continues to suffer as a result of the sinfulness of human beings. Pain, disease, sorrow and death are the terrible consequences of human wickedness. We can also say that false religions cause most of the suffering in the world today: Animism, witchcraft, or voodooism, has produced terriffed, superstitious followers who have engaged in ritual killings, cannibalism and cruelty. Witchdoctors have routinely blamed individuals for natural disasters such as a bolt of lightning striking a hut, or a death by disease.

Religion causes pain
Poor people have frequently sacrificed their last chicken to ancestral spirits, instead of providing nourishment to their starving children. There is no doubt that animism causes untold suffering. Hinduism has produced idolatrous followers who have engaged in infanticide, widow burning and the burning of lepers. Missionary William Carey documented how widows as young as 11 years old were burned alive on the funeral pyre of their husband. Lepers would be burned in order to ensure “a better reincarnation!” Many mothers sacrificed their children by throwing them into the Ganges River to be eaten by crocodiles. Hindu temples contain vast fortunes of gold, rubies, sapphires and other precious stones in their statues, which are worshipped as idols. It is actually Hinduism’s reincarnation beliefs, protected rats, wasted resources and superstitions that are causing much of the poverty and starvation in that country. Islam has produced callous males who abuse females, engage in polygamy, slavery, kidnapping, terrorism and suicide bombing. Communism has produced commissars and comrades who have slaughtered tens of millions of people in the gulags and killing fields, in the name of freedom. Marxists have oppressed and impoverished millions more under their dictatorships, in the name of liberation. Secular humanist education is producing increasingly selfish and superficial socialists.

Rebellion against God
All suffering is ultimately a result of mankind’s sin and rebellion against Almighty God. Suffering is intrinsically related to the Fall. There was no suffering prior to sin. Suffering in this world is part of the complex of God’s judgement on the world. Everything has consequences. Sexual sin often leads to sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, etc. Gambling often leads to poverty and bankruptcy. Adultery often leads to divorce. Gossip separates friends. Our selfishness hurts others. Lies lead to bondage. Selfishness, cowardice, pride, greed, envy and hate causes untold suffering and pain. Passivity and neutrality causes even more suffering. Inactivity and a heartless refusal to get involved compounds the problem. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” We have all personally seen examples of the principle ‘of what a man sows that shall he reap’. However, we also know many cases of people suffering as a result of no fault of their own. So, many people ask: Why do bad things happen to good people? Many are innocent victims of other people’s unrighteous behaviour. Yet the Christian, confident in the Sovereignty of God, can declare: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those are the called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28

God is good
In the book of Genesis we read of the treachery of Joseph’s brothers selling him to slave traders. For 12 years Joseph suffered unjustly as a slave and as a prisoner in Egypt. Yet God raised him to becoming the Governor of Egypt to save the lives of millions from starvation. Later Joseph could declare to his brothers: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Gen 50:20

No one is good Except God alone
Of course, we could point out that no one is really good, not in the light of a Holy God as revealed in His Law. “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understands; there is none that seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one… For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:10-23 Instead of asking why do bad things happen to good people we should rather ask: why do so many good things happen to bad people? We generally receive much better than we deserve. God is most patient and gracious.

Why did Jesus suffer?
Another question which we should ask: Why did Jesus Christ have to suffer, He was the only truly good and righteous person who ever lived. Yet Jesus was misunderstood, slandered, falsely accused and lied about, hated and betrayed. He was forsaken by His followers, unjustly arrested, illegally tried and wrongly condemned. Jesus was mocked, beaten, whipped, insulted, slapped and crucified. Why did the Righteous One have to suffer? He suffered on behalf of us, He died for our sins. The just in the place of the unjust (1 Pet 3:18).

Love in action
God is compassionate. He entered into this world and suffered everything that we have suffered, and much more. He even experienced the wrath of hell, so that we would not have to. During His ministry on earth our Lord Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, He made the cripples walk, cleansed the lepers, and even raised the dead. The shortest verse in the Bible is: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35. The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh. Although Jesus was about to demonstrate His power to raise Lazarus from the dead, He was moved in Spirit and grieved over the suffering that His friends were going through. We do not serve a God who is unmoved by our afflictions.

Purpose in pain
We need to recognise that there may be a purpose behind our pain. Yes, we may be the innocent victim of somebody else’s unrighteous behaviour. The Lord may also be chastising me for disobedience to His Word. The suffering could also be part of the suffering for righteousness which all Christians are called to. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Tim 2:3 “Yes, and all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Tim 3:12 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuiness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the Revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Pet 1:6-7

Count it all joy
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James1:2-4 “…Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His Glory is revealed, you will also be glad…” 1 Pet 4:12-13 Suffering can be used by God to purify us and to prepare us for His service. All of God’s servants have known suffering while God purged and prepared them for His service. Moses was 40 years in the wilderness before becoming the deliverer of Israel. David was an outlaw and a fugitive for many years before becoming king of Israel. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Rom 8:18

Search me O God!
When we experience trials we need to search our hearts to see if there are some wicked ways in us that could be grounds for God to be correcting us. This chastisement is designed to lead us to repentance and to full restoration of fellowship. Is there an area of your life that needs sorting out? You may not know why you are suffering, but it is important that you respond in a Godly way. “For to this you were called because Christ also su¬ffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps.” 1 Pet 2:21

The worst suffering possible
Our Lord Jesus taught in the parable of The Good Samaritan that we are to love our neighbour by alleviating the suffering of others. For this reason, throughout the last 2 000 years, millions of Christians have been rescuing abandoned babies, adopting orphans, opposing abortion, founding and maintaining hospitals in all corners of the globe, providing emergency relief, assistance and projects to uplift the poor and the needy. Christians have steadfastly opposed the slave trade and slavery, abolished infanticide, widow burning and cannibalism. Feeding the hungry and launching missions to bring countless millions to Christ are just some of the many ways in which Christians throughout history have worked to reduce suffering worldwide. We also need to consider what is the worst su¬ffering imaginable? The answer is nothing that we will experience in this life. The most extreme pain and suffering will be experienced in an eternity in hell, separated from God forever. The Bible clearly teaches that those who reject Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Some people raise issues of suffering and evil in the world as some kind of theoretical smoke screen that they can use to reject the free gift of salvation from Almighty God. We need to warn people about the reality of a Holy God, whose Laws we have violated, and of the very real danger of an eternity of regrets in hell. All suffering ultimately is a result of mankind’s rebellion against Almighty God. No one is sinless except Jesus Christ and He suffered so that we would not have to suffer eternally for our sins. There are no truly good people on the earth. We are all sinful in the light of God’s Law.

Jesus dealt with sin
Pain can yield positive results in our character development. God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Jesus Christ came and shared in human suffering – He suffered more than any man. We can, and we must, help alleviate the suffering of others. Human suffering is ultimately caused by human sin and God nailed that problem to the Cross almost two thousand years ago.
PETER HAMMOND is a missionary, Bible-teacher and author. For more information, contact:
021 689 4480;; or email

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Kirk & Chelsea Cameron: Following The Master

Kirk & Chelsea Cameron: Following The Master
When most people think of Kirk Cameron, their minds automatically backdate to the 80’s saxophone-themed music of Growing Pains…with little Mike Seaver (Kirk’s character) running around causing chaos.

Fast-forward a couple years, and people may remember Kirk as Cameron ‘Buck’ Williams in the Left Behind apocalyptic film series (based on Tim LaHaye’s books). Mention the movie ‘Fireproof’ though, and immediately Christians the world over recall Caleb Holt, the fireman with a marriage heated by the flames of life’s fire.

To date, ‘Fireproof’ has  been the most successful Christian film of all time (Passion of the Christ was not produced by a Christian company) and effectively catapulted Kirk into the limelight once again. Yet, movies are not the chief focus of this evangelist and his supportive wife, Chelsea. For years Kirk has worked with Ray Comfort and ‘The Way of The Master’ evangelism ministries. Kirk is passionate about the Gospel and works tirelessly with Ray (a New Zealander), Todd Friel (an American radio host) and their team, in producing contemporary resources (like DVD’s, documentaries and teen-driven content) to reach a media saturated world.

Growing up in the limelight…
Born in 1970, Kirk is no stranger to media, having  starred in his first commercial for a breakfast cereal at age nine. Though his parents come from ordinary backgrounds (his dad was a school teacher and his mom a home-maker), Kirk’s younger sister Candace has also worked in showbiz (you may recall her as DJ Tanner in Fullhouse). Kirk met his actress wife Chelsea on the set of Growing Pains and they were married in July, 1991. This Father’s Day, we felt it appropriate to interview Kirk (himself a father of six; two biological and four adopted children) about media, ministry and marriage. It was not easy to track this international traveller down, but we got the scoop for you!

It must be challenging to remain steadfast within the entertainment industry. What are the difficulties you face?
I would think that it must be hard being a Christian in South Africa too. Persecution and temptation takes on many different forms…regardless of the industry you are in. The truth is, no matter where you are, if you are living godly in Christ Jesus, then you will suffer persecution. I thank God that America is still a free country and I hope it stays that way. If your heart is to follow Jesus because He alone is the Saviour, then you understand that you have found the “pearl of great price” and are willing to “sell all you have” for it. 

What are some of the stresses a married couples in Hollywood encounter?
Well, Chelsea and I have been wonderfully married for 19 years…which I think is something like 90 in ‘Hollywood years’! One word has saved our marriage – forgiveness. My wife has had much more practice forgiving me than I have of forgiving her, so she’s much more skilled at it and does a great job.
Here in Hollywood, the name of the game is comfort, pleasure, and convenience. If your spouse doesn’t float your boat, find a new one. If you don’t ‘feel in love’ then you can fall out of the relationship with a quickie divorce. Movies and television, with all of it’s glamourising of pornography, promotion of adultery, feminisation of men, and disrespect for women, kills marriages daily. In marriage, the heart of the problem is always the problem of the heart. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Hollywood or the Holy Land, selfishness is the real killer, and only God can redeem the human heart.

As a father and husband how is your family life affected by your film career?
I travel too much. Last month, I think I won the “Bad Dad” award because I was away so often. In fact, I am writing this article on an aeroplane on my way to Atlanta (the Camerons live in California). Filming a movie, speaking at churches, and even teaching marriage seminars can be just as much of a threat to your family life as alcohol or drugs.
Many men and women find themselves addicted to the thrill of career accomplishments, the praises of people, and the power of influence. Millions of parents unknowingly sacrifice their children on the altar of career goals, selfish pursuits, and personal accomplishments, leaving their kids out in the wilderness, not knowing what a real mother, father, or family is designed to be.
That’s why I’m personally committed to making more movies about fatherhood, family and marriage.

How did you come to be soundly saved?
Great question. Theologically, I’d say that God in His great mercy, reached down, turned my heart, and brought me to my knees in repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Personally, I was 17 years old, working on Growing Pains, and didn’t have a care in the world. I was rich, famous, and happy.
But as I began asking the key questions of life (“Where did the world come from?”, “Why am I here?” and “Where will I go when I die?”) I began to loosen my grip on atheism and doubt my doubts. I attended a good church one Sunday and heard the Word of God preached. I began to seek after the Truth about God and asked God to reveal Himself to me in a clear, understandable way – if in fact He was real. He did, through the Gospel and some faithful friends who led me to the Cross and helped me to grow in my faith.

When did you start working with evangelist Ray Comfort?
 While I was at a large convention promoting the ‘Left Behind’ movie, I was given a CD sermon called ‘Hell’s Best Kept Secret.’ I was so blown away by the message that I called the preacher and asked to meet for lunch. We did and Ray Comfort and I became fast friends.
Together we began to preach and teach together on TV and at live conferences. Our common desire was to teach Christians how to share the Gospel simply, effectively, and Biblically – the way Jesus did.

Has your evangelistic ministry created problems for you within the acting industry?
That depends on how you look at it. Sure, I bet there are parts I didn’t get because I’m the ‘Christian actor’ who likes to preach the Gospel. But I’ve also been spared the embarrassment, shame, and pain of being cast in roles that are dishonouring to the Lord. My faith and ministry have provided me with a filter that strains out much of the poison that I would otherwise have to deal with, and for that, I am grateful. On the flip side, the movie ‘Fireproof’ and the TV programme ‘The Way of the Master’ have strong messages of faith in Christ, and have actually revitalised a career in acting for me. To be honest, I don’t worry about it. God has always been faithful and my job is simply to be faithful in return.

Fireproof has rocketed to the top of the DVD sales lists and Christian movie hall of fame. How did you get involved?
After seeing Sherwood Pictures’ second film ‘Facing the Giants’, I was so impressed with the all-volunteer cast and crew, that I offered my acting services for the next movie. The producers asked me to audition for the role of Captain Caleb Holt, and I did. They gave me the part and the rest is history…

What film projects are you considering for the future?
I’m working on a documentary about America’s Christian heritage and the secret to returning our country back to it’s former glory, faithfulness, and prosperity. My wife and I are also developing a Gospel centred marriage and family ministry and a family action/adventure movie. I am also busy with Campfirefly. (Chelsea and Kirk currently run a foundation that hosts retreats for seriously ill children and their families. Children and their loved ones are treated to a week long, all expenses paid vacation, that offers them a break from the stresses of hospitals and medical treatments).

Any advice for aspiring Christian actors?
I’d say, “Put on your armour, because you’re going to need it.” Get plugged into a good church, Bible study, or Christian fellowship group as soon as possible, or prepare to die a painful death. Hollywood is notorious for shredding young thespians’ morals, convictions, and faith, reducing them to sad statistics and tools in the hands of the devil. “Buckle up!” is what I have to say, and “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve.”

In closing, what charge can you leave with the husbands and fathers reading
JOY! Magazine?
Men, we must take back our marriages and families for Christ. Jesus came to win His Bride and beautify her by laying down His own life for her, setting her apart in the world as His precious possession to treasure for all of eternity. We must do the same for our dear wives. Also, don’t miss a movie coming out late 2010 or early 2011 called ‘Courageous.’
It is Sherwood Pictures’ next film after ‘Fireproof’ and is all about fatherhood. It should be a tremendous picture and promises to ignite a fire in the hearts of men everywhere to be the fathers God has called us to be. Read a great book by Brian Molitor called, ‘Boys Passage, Man’s Journey’. It will stir you to rise up and show yourself a man.

Biblical Faith – Part One

Faith Part One
There is no limit to what the Spirit-filled Christian can do for God, no matter who or where he is, if he will (a) learn the ABC of faith; (b) dare to believe God and (c) act on the Word.

What is Biblical Faith?
There are different schools of faith and  many teaching different ‘types’ of faith. We therefore need to understand what the Bible says about faith, and lean heavily on the Scriptures.

Faith is not a magic formula, or a wand that you wave to get answers from God. Faith is a way of life (it is practical). Everyone can have faith, you don’t need to be educated or come from the right family, etc. God is a respecter of faith! And He requires faith of every believer. “The just shall live by faith.”

The definition of Faith
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Heb 11:1 (Quote this until you memorise it). The Bible speaks about two separate ideas: Faith and Hope.

Hope is the climate in which faith works. Your hope is your dream, your desire, your goal. Hope is the thing that you joyfully expect to receive. It is a joyful, confident expectancy. Therefore, my faith is the substance of those things I expect to happen. There is a difference between expectancy and hope. Hope = “I might see you.” Expectancy =“I expect to see you” (you will be there)
Faith on the other hand is now. It is the substance of this hope. It is the title deed or evidence that is yours. It is the right you have to believe God’s promises are true for you. Faith is the solid ground for what you confidently expect. It is a “doing” thing in that we must act on our faith.

Your Faith is active!
What do you expect God to do? To see great things, you need to expect great things of God. Faith is active! There is joy in living a life of faith. Our faith gives substance to the things we hope for. You can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t have a hope/expectancy, there is nothing your faith can give substance to.

People of faith, love to praise Jesus. In fact praise is the language of faith. Learn that God is El Shaddai – He is more than enough! If you put your faith in Him, He will do more than meet your needs
Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality now
Believing you have received it before you see it in the natural
Faith created by the Word of God perceiving as real fact that which is not revealed to our natural senses. We, for example, by faith understand and know that we are going to Heaven
It takes a positive faith – a now faith – to get positive results
You can always recognise hope because it is always future, but faith is now.

Faith always has a good report
“For by faith and trust and holy born of faith, the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.” Heb 11:2 (Ampl)

“For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” Heb 11:2 (NKJ) When you are a man or a woman of faith, your life carries a good testimony (your lifestyle and words speaks of your faith). You can see and hear a man of faith – he confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Joshua and Caleb gave the people a good report but the other ten spies gave an evil/bad report (Num 13:32). The people chose to believe the faith-less report of the ten spies. Therefore they chose a leader to take them back to Egypt. Because the children of Israel chose to believe their evil report, unbelief of the people kept them from entering the promised land, and they were forced to turn back and wander in the desert for another forty years (Num 14:22-24;33)
What was binding the children of Israel was not giants, but their own thoughts and unbelief, and their concept of God. “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight” Num 13:33. This ‘grasshopper mentality’ is prevalent in Christians across the denominational spectrum. Many Christians have this faith-less mentality because they don’t walk by faith
Some Christians speak and act negatively, despite saying that they have faith and believe God can do great things. The Bible says: “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks” What’s in your heart will always come out. If you pray, but your words and deeds negate your prayers, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your prayers don’t get answered. We have to “believe you have received and it will be done for you.”
It is imperative that we know and confess the ’faith Scriptures’. These are the promises and Word of God that inspire and build our faith. When we believe God’s Word above our own thinking or the words of others, we will start to see Godly results.

What are the giants in your life? Don’t believe that you are unable to conquer. If you are a person of faith, nothing will be able to stop you. These men had faith and they carried a good report. What makes you ‘big’ as a Christian is when you realise that you serve a great God, and when you look at your giants compared to your God, they are no longer a problem.

Pastors, Leaders, Elders: Raise The Standard!

Pastors, Leaders, Elders: Raise The Standard!
Recent reports from both the local and international Body of Christ concerning the disturbing trend in marital conflict and divorce among senior Church leaders must be a major cause of concern for Christians. There appears to be a discernable lowering of standards in the Church of Jesus Christ, especially with regard to the covenant institutions of marriage and the family. The sacred institution of marriage has taken a battering in the Church recently with several high profile Christian leaders reportedly involved in highly controversial divorce cases.

There is no reverence
Apparently, a US televangelist who divorced his wife after an adulterous relationship with a member of his worship team is returning to the ministry one year after marrying the woman he committed adultery with.
Other local and international Christian personalities appear at conferences and on television shows to rapturous applause, while their marriages are falling apart. It appears the sheer star power of these Hollywood-type celebrity figures have effectively relegated the God-given institution of marriage to a minor inconvenience.  Televangelists with global audiences and million dollar budgets hardly miss a beat when reports emerge of marital infidelity and impending divorce, insisting “the show must go on…”! If all of this sounds suspiciously Hollywood – it is.
The current abominable practise of trivialising marriage within the Body of Christ is a direct result of a steady but almost imperceptible lowering of Biblical standards in the Church. The sanctity of marriage and the family – the most fundamental and enduring pillars of society – is currently being eroded by the very institution tasked with upholding its integrity. Marriage is often sacrificed on the altar of ministry expediency and apparently no longer forms part of the integral qualifications for the high calling of Christian ministry.

The Church in dire straits
Sadly, when it comes to marriage, the Church is almost indistinguishable from the world. Christian leaders are allowed to continue in their ministries, preaching and teaching the Word of God, even though their marriages are failing.
Tragically, the Body of Christ seems to have come to terms with this lowering of Biblical standards. The Church is riddled with leaders who are public successes, but personal failures. I learned very early in my Christian life that a man is nothing more than what he is in his family.
In God’s sight, the covenant relationship’s of marriage and family is infinitely more precious than any achievements in ministry. The fact that so many Christian leaders are prepared to sacrifice their marriages and families in the quest for more ministry success is the surest indication they have no intention of honouring God. Incidentally, God still hates divorce.

A sacred institution
There appears to be very little accountability and commitment to Biblical principles in the Church, when celebrity status trumps the authority of God’s Word. The Biblical qualifications for an overseer in the Church of Christ in 2 Timothy 3 is clear. A leader must be the husband of one wife. Sadly, this instruction is rendered irrelevant by the behaviour of many in contemporary Christianity. The sacred institutions of marriage and the family are being undermined in the Church, with devastating consequences for both the Body of Christ and society.

The catastrophic fallout of family breakdown litters the social landscape of South Africa. Ordinary Christians reinforce this disturbing trend by flocking to events where big name preachers appear, despite knowing their marriages are in trouble. As a tragic consequence, the holy institution of marriage and by implication, the Word of God, is made subservient to these high profile ministries.

Inevitable consequences
When foundational institutions like marriage and the family are devalued by the very institution called to defend and protect it, the inevitable consequences are evident not only in the Church but also the society we are called to serve. Sexual sin has infiltrated the Church because we are more concerned with being politically correct than Biblically correct. Political correctness has paralysed the Church with the majority of Christians afraid to call sin by its name.

As a consequence, sin – especially sexual sin, thrives in the Church. Openly homosexual bishops are ordained in the Church and paedophiles elevated to pastoral roles to sexually abuse children. Pastors and high profile Christian personalities cheat on their wives; divorce them, marry their adulterous partners – and then return to the ministry. However, God is not buying this.

The standard is His Word
The standard He gave us is His eternal Word. And it contains His never changing Commandments, principles and precepts. When the Church of Christ fails to uphold the Truth of His Word, we lower the Royal Standard, allowing deception and sin to infiltrate our lives. The Royal Standard is flying at half mast in many of our churches today because the full Gospel is not being preached. Big name television preachers have elevated themselves above God’s Word as a result of their fame and fortune. And even though these leaders brazenly flout foundational Biblical principles, people still choose to follow them. Marriage, a holy and sacred institution is being trivialised and devalued in the Church so that man can be elevated to idol status. Much of the Church today is teaching an unbalanced Gospel. God’s Love and Grace is taught exclusively and to the detriment of God’s Law, Justice and Holy Nature. The solution is to raise the Royal Standard of God’s holy Word and cut off access to the enemy. Isaiah 59:19 says, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him”.

God’s Holy standard
Raising God’s Holy standard in His Church entails preaching the entire Word of God, including the fact that Jesus did not come to abolish God’s Law but fulfil it, Matthew 5:17-20. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. A distinct lack of wisdom and the fear of God has legitimised behaviours in the Church we considered unacceptable a few years ago. When the Church of Jesus Christ compromises His Word, the implications are not only felt in the Church but in the surrounding society. As a result, we are losing the battle against rampant sexual sin in society because we have allowed it to infiltrate the Church.

Judgement in the Church
So how do we remedy this? We raise the Standard of God to its rightful place in the Church by reintroducing a largely neglected principle called, ‘The Fear of the Lord’. The fear of God is absent in the Church. The holy and reverential awe of God is being replaced by a familiarity that borders on contempt. As a result, many take God for granted. We have surrendered to an insipid gospel that promotes the erroneous concept that God loves us so much we can get away with almost anything.

To be sure, God loves us unconditionally because He is the source of love. However, He is also perfectly Holy and just – and as such, a God of justice. God’s Holy nature demands justice. And the Scriptures declare the judgement that preserves that justice “begins at the house of God” 1 Pet 4:17. Sin has infiltrated the Church to the extent that it has lowered the Biblical Standard of Righteousness to a carnal level.

Biblical Christianity
In Dr. Peter Hammond’s Discipleship Handbook, he writes, “When something is repeated in Scripture, it emphasises its importance. Loving God, His Name, His Law and His Word is mentioned 88 times in the Bible. Trusting God and His Word occurs 91 times. There are 278 references to fearing God in the Bible. The fear of God is mentioned more times than any other aspect of devotion. The reverential awe, respect and fear of God must be the fundamental attitude of our faith. Any view of God which doesn’t lead us to fear God and obey His Law cannot be a Biblical view”. Consequently, much of what is transpiring in the Church today has nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

The benefits of the fear of the Lord
The Bible, especially the Book of Psalms reveals so many benefits of the fear of God that it must be considered the greatest act of worship. If the fear of God is central to our worship, we would never belittle the sacred institutions He gave us. Psalm 103:11, 17-18 says, “For as high as the Heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy for those who fear Him…But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them”.

The Scriptures clearly indicate that God is a covenant keeping God and as such, places great significance on covenant relationships. A healthy reverential awe of God helps us understand that we cannot trivialise covenant institutions like marriage and the family and still expect God’s blessing and favour. The Church is undoubtedly in crisis. What is urgently required is the preaching and teaching of God’s Law, the fear of God and the fact that God’s wrath against sin is still a New Testament reality.

We need Grace and the Law
Consequently, the Grace of God is cheapened by the absence of the teaching of God’s Law. No Christian will fully appreciate the Grace of God if they fail to understand the wrath of God. Hebrews 10:26-27 warns, “For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgement and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries”.

Significantly, God is not impressed by mega ministries, fancy buildings and television programmes. He is pleased when we obey His Word and honour the sacred institutions He gave us. So how will we know the fear of God is resident in the Church again? One indication will be when Christian leaders begin setting a Godly example to the flock by laying down their ministries in order to save their marriages. Until that happens, marriage and the family remains relegated to third class status in the Church.

A Biblical Renaissance: Art From Africa

A Biblical Renaissance: Art From Africa
It’s been said that the Renaissance “…could not have become a real movement involving a whole society until that society had a positive need to learn about the classical past.” Today in the 21st Century, we are closer to First Century oral culture than at any time before. World wide, the media age has made us prefer to learn through story like the earliest church who portrayed their faith in Bible picture storyboards on the walls of the catacombs in 250AD.

This is how the testimony of the Christian faith was first communicated picturing the Bible stories. The Arise Auction has commissioned art pieces as commemorative pieces from world renowned artists to inspire a new Biblical Renaissance from Africa. The pieces will bring a message through Biblical storytelling art for the global Church and for society from Africa. Two such artists commissioned include Stellenbosch based painter and sculptor, Portchie and American painter, Hyatt Moore.

Is Portchie your birth name?
No. Actually it dates back to high school where as soon as it became known that I came from a family of vegetable growers and merchants, I was nick-named ‘Portuguese’ later shortened to Portchie.

Did you intend a career in art?
I drew pictures from early on but never thought of it as a profession. I first worked in business as a transport economist and then transitioned into art at age 27. Now I travel extensively and gather universal story themes and paint with images that celebrate life.

The white-steepled church is a characteristic image in many of your paintings. How far back does your connection with the church go?
I was raised in the church but it was only when I was 16 that my faith became part of me. In university I went on missions trips to build churches in the Transkei that I now often depict in my paintings. The painting of people bringing their chickens to the church is my reflection on giving from the heart. Each day I reflect on its message as it speaks about how we must bring our gift to the church. It is more than bringing finances which is often a Western perception of giving. It is rather the gift that costs you personally.

I think of the Biblical story of the widow giving her last coin to the Temple and the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son as the greatest gift God gave us. The image of the boy giving one of his three chickens is impactful because he likely knows them each by name.
Your commissioned auction painting features a fence made up of crosses. What is the significance of this addition?
The fence is made up of poles with crosses that envelop the boy and the gift he is bringing. As I painted this soon after Easter, this addition resonates with the reason for the boy’s gift – the significance of the Cross that has out given us all and from which flows our gratitude in giving sacrificially.

Is your art a form of story telling?
Painting is a story without words – you create your own words and because of that everyone adds their words until the story becomes their own. I find myself at different times in different roles in the painting – at times I am the person sitting in the church at other times I am the giver and also at times the receiver of the gift.

Hyatt, You’re an internationally recognised artist, how did you start out?
I began painting in 1998 when, waiting at a stop light, I saw a painting and thought to myself “I can do that.” I was still with Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, a 32 year-career with five years as president.

Tell us about your unique rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper – ‘The Last Supper with Twelve Tribes’.
This was a painting I did as a mural for a backdrop at a booth displaying art for my wife. It was as I walked back and forth between painting the twelve tribal people that I added the colour to Jesus’ face and He became a composite of all the colours on the brush as I walked to and fro completing the painting. This in itself has a message of incredible meaning that adds to this painting’s story which I often share with audiences at speaking engagements.

What inspires you to paint?
I paint many things but I love painting people as God’s highest creation. My paintings of ethnic people introduce the viewer to another world that they might not otherwise know or appreciate. Many are those whom I had contact with while serving with Wycliffe. Among my latest are some monumental faces beginning with ‘Her Eyes on the Cross’. It’s a 6ft by 8ft oil painting depicting a young girl from Cameroon with her eyes fixed on the Cross as visible in her pupils.
This piece (featured on the opening page before) is being auctioned at the Arise Auction and is one that I feel has significant depth. Paintings are like poetry, with meaning at multiple levels.

Is painting a form of storytelling with a message?
Actually, it’s the moment that a painting captures. The larger story might be something immediately obvious or need explaining. Most viewers see these paintings as people of interest and possibly beauty and dignity. Christians will see that and more – as individuals representing people of high value and for whom God also cares. At least I’m grateful when the paintings convey that message.

We invite the joy! readers and Christian businesses to participate in the auction process and to find out more about the art pieces…
The art in this article are available for bidding and will benefit compassion ministries in Africa and Arts initiatives in the global Church. Portchie is also printing 50 signed canvas prints of the original available to readers for purchase at R2 500 ex postage. To learn more please go to

Boycott Naked News Channel

Boycott Naked News Channel
Family Policy Institute (FPI) calls on all responsible South African citizens to reject NakedNews vulgar and contemptible attempts to profit off the negative stereotyping and objectification of women.

NakedNews is a cheap and puerile attempt at legitimising the sexual exploitation of women. Women, ostensibly reading the news and shedding their clothes primarily for the sexual gratification of men and no doubt curious children, cannot be considered newsworthy or an acceptable form of entertainment under any circumstances.
Utilising the school boy charade of a pornographic news bulletin to reinforce the destructive stereotype that women are mere sex objects should be a criminal offense in a country where the rape and sexual abuse of women and children are epidemic.
The fact that NakedNews will be available on cellphones for as little as R10 a week means millions of children will be easily exposed to pornographic images, which is a criminal offence in South Africa. FPI calls on government and the Film and Publication Board to urgently investigate NakedNews compliance with adult content regulations.
FPI is consulting with Church groups across the country and will not hesitate to call a national boycott of the sponsors of this appalling attack on the dignity of women. FPI calls for the prohibition of all pornographic images in the mass media and the strict regulation of its consumption in adult stores. The rights and dignity of women and children must be paramount in a civilised society. For more information contact: Errol Naidoo, Director of FPI on  or 082 778 8818