This past week-end (18-20 April) I had the privilege of being part of possibly the largest gathering of Christian Men in South Africa ever. We came from everywhere and overwhelmed the small town of Greytown, Kwa-Zulu Natal. From the moment we left home in Rustenburg at 08:00 on Friday, all the way down to the conference we were surrounded by men in cars, buses, bikes and trucks. All going to the same destination! Angus Buchans farm.
In a 12km traffic jam for 3hrs, we waited excitedly to gain entrance to the farm. Not a single voice in anger, not a single murmur of dissent and not a single thought of turning away. Peace reigned! as the sun set the atmosphere grew, swelled and an awe settled on us as we knew we were witnessing an event that no-one could have foreseen... initially planned for 25000-30000 men the event burst it's banks and soared to 60000+. Those of us carried along by the "flood" experienced what I believe was as close as a modern Christian could get to the experience of first Pentecost in Jerusalem, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit. There where no visible tongues of flames alighting on the men, but there was a very visible flame burning in their faces! It reflected off the glistening cheeks of our neighbours as we lifted our hearts, our voices and our faces to receive God's blessings.
Angus Buchan and his team ministered to the thousands, themselves in awe of what God had sent to his farm. The message "Dying to Live" is by no means a new Christian teaching but it was presented in a plain and unfettered way. Simple words, simple actions, direct challenges with direct consequences - the way men who don't have time to waste, needed to hear it!
In a country in need of God, crying out for Him, this was a cool salve blowing across that pain. It was for everyone, the leaders, the pastors, the downtrodden, the zealous, the ordinary and the extraordinary. People can be glib and belittle week-ends like this, passing them off as mere flights of fancy, an attempt by the religious fanatic or powerless citizen to seize an opportunity at trying to believe that the world can change. They miss the point... Week-ends like this don't change the world, they change people! If you change enough people, then you change the world!!!! 60000 men is a very good start! 2 years ago there was 270 men, last year 7000 this year 60000, next year? There is also the country wide tour of prayer in stadiums all around the country, linked as well to the swell from other Christian movements. Yes, Angus has started his MMC (Mighty Men Conference) but other Christians are also busy! We had a drama on salvation recently preformed at a local church, planned to run for 4 nights, it eventually ran for 7! to full houses every night! The hunger and need is being fanned by God in every town, every city, every home across South Africa. Revival isn't coming, it's here!
So what happened this week-end? Men from all walks of life were challenged to lay it all down for Christ. To put away Pride, to banish it from their lives in all it's forms. To stop "standing" on their so called rights. In a world that constantly adds more and more "rights" to people, but in reality ends up taking everything away. All our so called rights are laid out in the law books now, in black and white. To the degree that you cannot open your mouth to exercise the "right to the freedom of speech" without the fear of violating someones "right to freedom of association"... crazy! Now we are challenged to relinquish all our rights. Die to self and live in Jesus! Men of Christ laying down the rights ascribed to them by the world to allow God to raise them up and use them mightily! A mighty man is one whom you find on his knees in the dust, humble and ready for God's plan in his life.
One of the topic's discussed around the week-end was to stay in South Africa or to leave. Well 1st off the most obvious answer is as a Christian, have you taken this to God? His plan for you may include leaving for another country, the question then arises what is His Purpose for sending you there? To provide for a better future could sound a little self centered, can our Great Awesome God not provide that for you here? is His arm too short?. Or maybe the reason is to have a safer life, says who? crime is a worldwide phenomenon. It could be to evangelise the unsaved, that sounds like a plan God might have for an emigrant.
Alternatively, in Faith I have accepted that Christ died for me and my family, so for me to live is Christ and to die is gain! You cannot threaten a Christian with Heaven! So I'm staying, until God says otherwise. I realise that this answer seems too easy and on deeper thought there may be issues that one may feel I have overlooked. Things like my security, wealth, children's future, quality of life and career. Nope, all of these issues, and more, have weighed heavily on my mind over the past 10 years. More so over the past year or two as I have become more affected by criminals in our country, poor governance, immoral behaviour of leaders, self-centered greed and political posturing by everybody in every walk of life. Yet I see Gods hand here, in my life, in my wife's life, in my children's life. He is a reality to me, a tangible force everyday. Going to another country would not remove Him from my life, remember His footprints are the ones when there were only one set. Rather if I left, my faith may grow academic, my faith might loose is muscle, my faith may become an existential thought, I may become lukewarm...
Some of my family that has moved overseas may be saddened by reading this news, I hope not. The truth is that my Faith is tested here daily, refined by God, I intend to allow Him to use me here. To no longer be ashamed of speaking up for Him, no longer allow His honour to be questioned, no longer apologise for being a Christian!
Lig julle hande na Bo