Monthly archives for February, 2015

The Voice- February/March 2015

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Dear Readers!
What is your relationship to Jesus and what He did for us really? Do you talk to Him, seek His presence and live a life where you know He is with you? In the watchword for February Paul expresses something of His relationship to Jesus and what role the Gospel of Christ plays in His life: I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Romans 1:16 Paul knows what the Gospel means for a person. He was one who lived under the law and was zealously following what the law demanded. It demanded of him to throw Christians into prison, to fight against Jesus followers and even to have them killed. And yet Jesus meets him in love, in mercy and forgives him. Jesus even calls him to a different kind of life.

Before his life had been one of sternness, brutality, hatred and destruction. That is what happens if we become legalistic and want to force religion upon people by force. People who do this become radical and horrible. Paul then experienced love and mercy and this determined his life. This is what the Gospel is about. It is about Jesus meeting us where we are and accepting us like we are. He offers us peace with God, forgiveness and an unlimited source of love and grace. This love determines Paul’s life and he tells others about this Gospel at every opportunity and is never ashamed to talk about Jesus and to share what he has experienced. Jesus is his Lord and all he does is about Jesus.

Have you experienced the love of Jesus? He meets you where you are at the moment and accepts you like you are. He makes a new life possible in which you have total peace and where you can sleep well, because you know you are forgiven and there is nothing that needs to be dealt with before God.

I recently celebrated my 51st birthday and someone said I wish you another 51 good years. My spontaneous response was that I did not want to wait that long before I go home. When we live with Jesus we know where we are going and our lives are about living with Him. In His presence I experience a breaking in of the beauty of heaven and a yearning for a life that is fully in his presence comes about. There is nothing as beautiful and deep as his presence.

Do your experience His love and mercy in your daily life? Where do you hand this love on to others? Invite Jesus into your life today and ask Him to determine your thinking and your actions.
Shalom
Edwin

 

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Bishops Post

 

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes! Romans 1,16

Why does Paul even consider that one can be ashamed of the gospel? Well, it proclaims a weak God, a loser! Remember – he is writing to the Christians in Rome, the city of the mightiest ruler of that time. Caesar is proclaimed as god. With might and power he conquers one country after the other. Brutally he removes other mighty kings. The temples of other religions are plundered, the gods dragged along triumphantly by the conquering Roman legions: We are strong, we are mighty! Caesar is Lord!

How can one dare to claim that the crucified Jesus, crucified by these Romans, is the King of Kings? That is ridiculous!
Paul knows better. He met this Jesus Christ, while he was on his way to brutally extinguish these weak Christians. But then the crucified Christ stopped him in his tracks – not with power and might, but with kindness, grace and forgiveness! O yes, he has experienced this power of God that set him free and changed him completely.

During his many stays in prison he time and again experienced this power, when ruthless soldiers and wardens were transformed by the gospel, when beastly criminals repented and became new human beings. People for whom there was no hope were changed and started afresh. This is not a gospel to be ashamed of! That is why Paul longs to come to Rome, and there, under the nose of Ceasar, proclaim this gospel of Jesus Christ! Nothing to be ashamed of!
At the beginning of this year 25 adult participants at eQuip retreat in Hermannsburg reflected on what it means to be a disciple, a Christian, a follower of Jesus. We do not have to be ashamed that we are Christians. We serve a Lord, who might seem to be without power, yet he is mightily at work throughout the world. We serve Christ, who died on the cross, yet through that conquered the power of sin. We proclaim the crucified, who has risen and overcome death!

We have the wonderful privilege to see how Christ is at work, silently, but with power! We need not be ashamed of him and his gospel!
Equip all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News from the ELCSA (NT)
1. After careful consideration, Ulrich Johl has decided to resign from his position as Programm facilitator of ELCSA NT for the end of January 2015. We thank him for his involvement and dedication to the Church and the work of the Church. May God bless him and his family on the way forward, and may he continue to be a blessing.
2. With the move of Pastor Burgert Brand to Namibia, Dean Theo Jaeckel is now the deputy to the bishop. I express my thanks to Pastor Brand for his support and assistance to me. We wish him God´s blessing and wisdom, as he now takes on the responsibility as Church leader. His induction as Bishop of the ELCIN GELC took place on 18 January 2015 in Windhoek.
3. With the relocation of Dean Dirk Köstlin to Bethanien, his deputy, Pastor Hugo Filter, became Dean of the Eastern Circuit on 1. January 2015. Thank you, Dirk, for your involvement. To Hugo: May your role as Dean bring you fulfilment, and may you be a blessing and be blessed together with the Eastern Circuit.
4. Pastor Werner Harms served the Hillcrest congregation for 2014. We are very thankful to him and Ilse for the commitment and involvement. Werner was willing to serve in Nelspruit for a few months after the retirement of Pastor Dieter Lilje end of March 2015. Unfortunately the sale of his farm at Elandskraal did not go through, and he had to change his plans.
5. The following inductions took place or are planned:
a. On 18 January Pastor Rene Risch was inducted as pastor in Hermannsburg Congregation and school. On the same day, the new principal, Martin Marx was inducted in his office. May God bless the community, school and all the people working there, especially with this big change happening.
b. On 25 January Pastor Reiner Focke was inducted in Empgangeni as new pastor in Trinity Zuluand. May the family and the congregation experience a fruitful journey together!
c. On 1 February Pastor Manfred Müller-Nedebock is to be inducted as pastor in Hillcrest. May the young congregation experience a good next phase in it´s development together with this family.
d. On 8 February Pastor Dirk Köstlin is to be inducted as pastor in Bethany, Izotsha. The congregation has embarked on a general overhaul of its manse, and Köstlins are staying on House Kandaze for the time. May God bless the work of Köstlins and the congregation!
e. On 1 March Pastor Rüdiger Lutz is to be inducted as pastor in Vryheid. May the couple quickly feel at home in the new congregation and Church, and experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit on the journey with the congregation.
f. Pastor Coll. Rolf Schmidt has moved to Harburg, where he continues his service as pastor coll. May it be a good experience for the family and the congregation.
6. On 31 March Pastor Dieter Lilje is retiring. After his ordination on 11.5.1980 he served Piet Retief (-1984), Pietermaritzburg (-1991) and then 18 years as bishop of ELCSA (NT) (1991-2009), before he served Nelspruit (2010-2015). As Church leader he guided the Church through the turbulent times from the old to the new South Africa, represented us abroad and locally, and guided many congregations and pastors through challenging times. We thank God for the wonderful work that
Dieter and Senta could do in our Church and beyond. The couple is retiring to live in
Pretoria. May they take a good break before the desire to serve leads them to another
challenge!
7. On 15 March 2015 the Northern Parish (with Polokwane as centre) is having is closing service. For many years the Parish was taken care of from Nelspruit. Due to the small numbers they decided to dissolve the parish. May the Lord guide them, into new congregations or towards new possibilities.
8. 15-18 October 2015 sees the last Synod session of this synodal period. For most representatives it is the third synod they attend. This session also elects the bishop and deputy to the bishop. According to the rules of our Church the election is for 6 years. The congregations are invited to nominate a candidate at their AGM´s. Although Bishop Müller can be nominated for a second term, it is important not to simply treat it as a re-election, but to prayerfully consider who should be nominated. Any Lutheran Pastor in active service can be nominated. May the Lord of the Church guide the process!

 

 

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (N-T) invites all ladies to attend a Women’s Day

“Stay connected through Christ’s Love!”
Speaker: Heike Jakubeit
DATE: 21 February 2015 9h00 to lunch
VENUE: St Peters by the lake – Johannesburg
COST: R50 per person * RSVP by 15 February 2015 to our church office,
Edna Müller: 012-348-3313 or
Heidrun Ottermann: 082-742-0740
Annual General Meeting: St. Peter’s by the Lake
8 March after the 9am service. At 9:45am.
Please come and attend. Take responsibility in the decisions for the work that we do for our Lord. We keep it as short as possible so that everyone can attend.

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