Our global world is in a peculiar state. Young and old walk with masks on their faces, sanitise their hands constantly, and restrain from making physical contact. What might have seemed strange in early 2020, is now worldwide the norm.
We were born for such a time as this.
Experiencing a revival has become a yearning in the hearts of ATS’ people. It started growing from deep within us and has become more and more urgent. We are thinking about it and are listening to the whispering of the Holy Spirit to help us understand this yearning. We wonder if revival should not be the dream or desire of the church of Jesus Christ? Is it correct to think this way, or is it just wishful thinking or worse, a way to escape reality?
I invite you to reflect very seriously on God’s calling for your life. Do not shake your head too quickly. Rather, read slowly and listen to the whispering of the Spirit. As I grow older, I become more aware of the importance of God’s calling in a Christian’s life. I am surprised by the tragic fact that the devil has managed to rob God’s people of this truth, and by the boundless losses that God’s kingdom has suffered and continues to suffer.
Ek nooi jou om baie ernstig te besin oor die feit dat God jou roep. Moenie jou kop skud nie, jy moet stadig lees en die fluisteringe van die Gees hoor. Hou ouer ek word, hoe meer word ek bewus van die belangrikheid van God se roeping vir ’n Christen. Ek is verbaas oor die tragiese feit dat die duiwel daarin geslaag het om God se mense van hierdie waarheid te roof en daarmee saam die grenslose leed wat God se koninkryk daardeur gely het en steeds ly.
Abstract: Our whole life is a prayer which consists of a praise to God, a hallelujah, an amen, an echo on the Lord’s Prayer. It embodies the kingdom of God advancing forcefully and us vigorously laying hold of God’s kingdom. It represents our calling. Paul’s statement on the ministry of the Spirit was spot on: “But thanks to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” (2 Cor 2:14). We should never settle for less, for Jesus’ death was too costly.
The Gospels convey a lot of information about Jesus’ prayer life. He prayed through the night, rose up early in the morning to pray, went alone to the mountain side to pray and went to lonely spots to pray. The writer of Hebrews commented on Jesus’ prayer life as follows: “He offered prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, …”. (Heb 5:7). He talked to his Father in the dark moments of his life on earth and made great decisions after long periods of prayer.
Summary/conclusions of the findings
A great majority of the participants (68.5 + 15.8%) know with certainty that they are called and that the calling is from God as was revealed to them through the working of the Holy Spirit (43.4%). For many, this conviction of their calling has been known for a significant period of time – it is not a fleeting experience or a spur of the moment feeling.
Many participants (57%) have suppressed their calling in the past or are continuing to suppress it (11.4%) and therefor not living out their calling.
As Christians we are prone to make a few very common mistakes, which can have major destructive consequences (sometimes even more so than the results of common sins), namely:
1. We tend to underestimate God’s greatness. God wants us to constantly recognise His greatness. Or at least progressively grasp part of the extent thereof. In the Old Testament God regularly ensures His people of His greatness by declaring that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe.
Paul was convinced that the extent of God’s greatness surpasses our mental capacity. He therefore prays in his first prayer to the Ephesians that the Holy Spirit must reveal God to us so that we may know Him better (Eph 1:17). However, if we underestimate God’s greatness then we are living based on inaccurate facts, therefore making wrong decisions and even becoming prone to sin. As a Christian it is of absolute importance to allow the Holy Spirit to constantly convince us of God’s greatness.
Christianity is in the midst of a perfect storm! The authority of the Bible and Jesus Christ’s position as God’s Holy Son are assaulted at every turn and by every voice. Quick and easy answers from pulpits are just not good enough anymore. People are connected and exposed to a meticulously designed onslaught on core Biblical truths. If we do not rise to the challenge, our children will be left at the mercy of the Darkness.
We were called for a time like this! (Esther 4: 14) He is able to keep our calling safe till His glorious day (2 Timothy 1: 12) but we have to do everything possible to be as excellent as possible at our task. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed…” (2 Timothy 2: 15)
The challenges of our day demand of us to be craftsmen: people meticulously prepared and equipped for the task at hand.
Be ready and fully equipped for the day: the “great professor of all there is to know” tells our children that “there is no God in heaven and there is no hell below” (quote from Almost like the Blues, Leonard Cohen).
ATS is called to equip the leaders of tomorrow to extend God’s kingdom. We are compelled by the times we live in to make an urgent call for workers, to be equipped and sent into His harvest field (Luke 10: 2).
The church – the people of Jesus Christ – now lives in the final or the eschatological age. We are living between the times. Between the first coming and return of Christ. The period between his victory in the decisive battle between God and Satan and the day of final victory. Satan is the father of all evil and opposed to God. He, our biggest enemy, is defeated but not yet eliminated. For this reason Christian parents and children live on the battlefield. Christian parents and their children must be watchful and prepared for this spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10-18).
Paul (Rom. 8:20) asserts that after the Fall creation was subjected to futility (Gr. mataiotes), emptiness, frustration, sin, evil, disharmony, and apparent meaninglessness. This condition came after creation was complete. After the Fall, Adam and Eve and all their descendants lost their innocence and real freedom (Rom. 5:12). People not only commit sins but are sinners, and the nature of their children are inherently affected.
Pastoral Counselling offers the Church an immense opportunity for diverse ministry within both the congregation and the broader community. Pastoral counselling is normally perceived as an action that takes place only in a counselling room or study. The perception is also that this interaction is limited to the counsellor (or pastor acting as counsellor) and the one or more individuals who face a counselling crisis. This limited view has deprived pastoral counselling of its tremendous contribution to an assembly’s ministry potential.
We face many challenges in the post-modern societies that we live in. It is not only financial constraints and unemployment that people have to deal with. There are numerous other social challenges that the church has to address. In an assembly in close proximity to ATS, the pastor has discovered that more than 75% of his female congregants were abused at some stage in their lives as children. This has a dire effect on their adult functionality and on their experiencing God as a loving Father. Trauma experiences are part and parcel of our post-modern society, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome in many peoples’ lives. Intimate partner abuse and family violence is rife in too many communities. The list is almost endless, describing the post-modern life-style that both Christians and non-Christians have to cope with on a daily basis.