Month: January 2014

Sharing good things: 5 January 2014

O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” — Isaiah 40: 9

Message

Our Bible text is taken from a passage written to comfort God’s people in Babylon. Large segments of the population of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom of Judah had been carried off to Babylon by the Babylonians, and the temple in Jerusalem – the religious and political centre of the realm – had been destroyed. The exiles had the feeling that they had been abandoned by God. Our Bible text addresses this situation of hopelessness and despair: with words of hope and confidence it expresses that God stands by His people and that He will lead them out of captivity and back to the land of their fathers. “Behold your God! Behold the Lord God” (verses 9–10). It is with these words that the prophet extols the powerful presence of God. He calls upon the people to look up to God and trust Him completely.

Let us extol God by sharing good things with others. God came into the world in Jesus Christ so that we could share in His grace, His peace, and His love. We can extol God in the proper manner when we too appreciate that which emanates from God in His perfection and share it with others.

Core Points

We extol God by:

  • grasping His grace and granting the same grace to all people.
  • seeking His peace in order to make peace in our surroundings.
  • feeling His love at the altar of God in order to counter the lovelessness of our time.
  • sharing our joy in the return of Christ with others.
  • always leaving enough room for the activity of the Holy Spirit, such that we may always recognise what is good.

Labour in Love: 1 January 2014

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6: 2

Message

We prepare ourselves for the return of Christ by acting in love. We begin the New Year in the awareness that the Lord has given us another period of grace in order to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ. Last year Chief Apostle Leber put the emphasis on professing our faith. I urge us all to continue on this path by embracing a special way of professing our faith. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13: 35. Faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated in deeds that are born out of love (Galatians 5: 6). Hence this year’s theme: Labour in love!

Core Points

Bearing one another’s burdens is part of our preparation for the return of Christ.

  • We help the sorely afflicted.
  • We show solidarity.
  • We help along in the work of God.
  • We do good to those around us.
  • We are prepared to forgive.

Chief Apostle Schneider visits South Africa

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Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Church, Jean-Luc Schneider, visited Johannesburg, South Africa late in 2013. On November 30, together with resident District Apostle Patrick Mkhwanazi, the invited District Apostles Nadolny, Lubasi and Ndandula, 11 apostles and 15 bishops, he attended a choral event at the University of South Africa (Unisa).

orchestra-resizedThe Chief Apostle and his guests were entertained with beautiful musical renditions by the Gauteng concert choir and orchestra as well as a very vibrant Sunday school choir. Some of the items performed were from well-known composers, such as GF Handel (Holy art Thou), and J Haydn (Sing the Lord), as well as one of our very own talented composers, the late Ivan Diedericks with the powerful composition The Lord God Reigneth. This was a wonderful tribute to the many great composers of the church in its 150 years.

The audience also enjoyed the Christmas Festival composed by L. Anderson and performed by the concert orchestra as well as a powerful organ recital done by one of the church’s esteemed organists, Theo van Wyk, performing Sortie, composed by Louis Lefébure-Wely.

In the Sunday divine service which took place at Gallagher Estate Convention Centre, three apostles and one bishop were retired. The service was transmitted throughout the entire working area of District Apostle Mkhwanazi.

Apostle Frank Mwape from the District Church of South East Africa, as well as Apostles Moses Mulopo and Willi Sweta (Zambia) had served in the Apostle ministry for 28, 17, and 10 years respectively, and Bishop Siachalwa Muchimba (also from Zambia) had worked as a Bishop for 26 years. The Chief Apostle thanked them for the long years during which they had served the Lord and the souls entrusted to them in love, loyalty, and humbleness, and wished them a richly blessed retirement. Steven Lishebo Lindunda (56) and Elvis Mubita Liywalii (51) were ordained as Apostles, and Oscar Sibote Kalumiana (49) received the Bishop ministry. All three ministers will serve in the working area of District Apostle Ndandula (Zambia).

The Chief Apostle based his Sunday sermon on a Bible passage from 1 Chronicles 16: 35: “And say, Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise.” From this he derived the message that faith, grace, and perseverance are indispensable for the salvation of mankind. He literally stated: “For us, the plea ‘save us’ is associated with far more than the desire to be liberated from all that which causes us to suffer. It expresses our deep longing to live in eternal fellowship with God.”

* Article from New Apostolic Church – South East Africa

Pope receives NAC Catechism

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Pope Francis of the Catholic Church regularly receives many believers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Recently a Priest from Argentina took this opportunity to hand him a Spanish edition of the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church. Concerning this, Argentine District Apostle Norberto Passuni writes:  “It is advantageous for us as Argentines that the Pope comes from our country.”

In the process, two photos were taken, which the South American Church leader sent to the Chief Apostle. The District Apostle describes the little story in the background as follows: “One of our Priests who travelled to Rome with his wife was able to personally present a copy of the Catechism to the Pope. An interesting conversation ensued, during which the Pope listened attentively to our brother as he told him he is a New Apostolic Christian and explained what this means to him.”

Official presentation in the Vatican

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On the occasion of a trip to Rome in January 2013, the New Apostolic work group Contact with other Churches and Religions was able to officially present a copy of the Catechism in the Vatican. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, received the textbook and spoke with the New Apostolic delegation. Cardinal Koch who also sent a letter of condolence on the passing of Chief Apostle Richard Fehr on behalf of the Roman Curia.

* Article from New Apostolic Church International

Church leaders meet with the NAC homosexuality group

resizedRainbow-NAC called for a revision of the New Apostolic Church’s position on homosexuality. This was discussed at a meeting held on 20 December 2013. The meeting’s agenda included current issues surrounding the circumstances of homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual members within the Church. Participants discussed the Church’s position on homosexuality of 2005 and members of Rainbow-NAC once again emphatically requested a revision to both the German as well as the English formulation in particular. The participants agreed that there was a need to take action, and resolved to take further steps. The group also studied various ways in which Rainbow-NAC might be more closely integrated into the organisation and internal processes of the Church.

Rainbow-NAC also has a new official point of contact in the New Apostolic Church. The Project Group (PG) Marriage, Family, and Cohabitation will now be the official liaison between the leadership of the Church and the initiative of homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual New Apostolic Christians. This change is intended to integrate the group more closely into the decision-making processes of the Church. The Committee for Special Affairs (CSA) had served as the group’s official liaison to the Church over the previous ten years.

District Apostle Wilfried Klingler from the PG summarised the developments of the last ten years by stating that Rainbow-NAC has since become a firm constituent of the Church’s work and that a valuable and trusting working relationship has come into being. He went on to express the Church’s resolve to continue promoting and supporting the special position of the group in the future. As with the Committee for Special Affairs, discussions between Rainbow-NAC and the Project Group are to take place once each year. The next meeting is planned for December 2014.

* Article from New Apostolic Church International

Rainbow-NAC Cape District’s Annual Apostle Service

Click here to visit the Rainbow-NAC website.

District Apostle Mkhwanazi visits Eldorado Park district

The District Apostle, Apostle Dimba and Bishop Rudolph listen to the children’s choir who welcomed them with the hymn, If I planted a garden. It was a rainy morning on Sunday, 29 December 2013 as the congregants of the Eldorado Park District eagerly awaited the visit of District Apostle, Patrick Mkhwanazi. Against the backdrop of pouring rain and grey skies the children’s choir welcomed the District Apostle, accompanied by some of the district leaders at the entrance of the church with the singing of the hymn If I planted a garden from the Children’s Hymn Collection. Their singing resounded as the congregation inside the church hall listened on.

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

IMG_1089(1)This was the Bible passage by Apostle Paul that the District Apostle read from Romans chapter 8 vs 38 and 39, as a basis for the divine service.

Inspired by the rainy weather the District Apostle begun his sermon with the words “Beautiful weather”, and went on to explain the importance of water and rain in our natural lives as well as how spiritual rain allows us to bloom and blossom into beautiful fruit.

He also reflected on 2013 and made mention of critical events that occurred in Africa as a whole, with special reference to the Marikana disaster, deaths that have occurred nationally and internationally. He urged members to utilise prayer and provide the necessary support where needed.

Another passage was referred to which was in line with the text and makes mention of the assurance of the blessing of God and how this blessing allows us to see more clearly. He also addressed the youth with a special message.

The District Apostle concluded the service by addressing the importance of thankfulness, saying that we should never thank God last. In addition, he also said we should pray for those who are suffering, and allow ourselves to grow in understanding the love of God.

During the divine service the District Apostle called on District Elder Moody, Bishop Rudolph and Apostle Dimba to serve along.

* Article from New Apostolic Church – South East Africa

 

January 2014: Jesus Christ is in the boat

Dear brothers and sisters,

January-resizedAt the beginning of a new year, people wonder what the year will bring and how much happiness or suffering lies ahead. For us, however, there is yet another question. What will the new year bring in terms of our faith? We can trust that God will protect us, yet at the same time we know that there will be storms and dangers ahead. In this connection I would like to draw your attention to an incident in the New Testament with which we are all familiar: the storm on the lake. Jesus had asked His disciples to take Him across to the other shore. A storm swept over the lake, the boat began to rock, the waves broke over the boat, and the boat began to fill with water. The disciples were terrified and awakened Jesus who was asleep. The Lord calmed the storm, but criticised the disciples for their lack of faith: “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” This incident first of all affirms that Jesus, as the Son of God, has authority over the powers of nature. Moreover, the boat mentioned here can be used as an image for the church of Christ.

The boat of the church of Christ will continue to find itself battling storms. In Europe we are facing a decline of the Christian faith and unfavourable demographic developments. In other parts of the world we are confronted with the rising influence of non-Christian religions, growing materialism, and difficult political environments. It would be foolish to deny that these dangers and risks exist. I am convinced that God could solve all these problems with the wave of a hand. But He does not do so. Consequently we must ask ourselves what we can do.

The first thing we can do is to have confidence in the Lord. The disciples could have mustered more trust that the boat would not sink. After all, Jesus was with them. We believe that Jesus will complete the work He has begun. And we believe in the church instituted by the Lord.

Faith in the church of Christ is inseparably linked with faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God in­carnate. Of course we suffer on account of the troubles and deficiencies which afflict the church of Christ in its historical manifestation, but we do not call into question our faith in the church that was founded by Jesus Christ and is led by Him.

Whether minister or member, let us not feel threatened or discouraged by the storms that we have to weather.

  • In a storm it is normal to take the sails down so that they do not rip and plunge the boat into a disaster. The sails will still be needed. The fact that the number of congregations in Europe is decreasing and that we are tailoring our expenditures on a global scale to match our financial capabilities does not mean we are resigning ourselves to the idea that we are sinking! Quite the contrary, we are equipping ourselves with the means to weather the storm.
  • The water that has come into the boat has to be bailed out. Let us be untiring in our efforts to battle the damaging influences that seek to harm the Church. To name only a few, these include alleged miracle healings, questioning the Apostle ministry, and the substitution of faith by sheer ethics without belief in God.
  • In a storm, all those on board have to work together and support one another. It is indispensable for us to be there for each other in brotherly unity. Let us be sensitive to the cares and concerns of others and, if is possible, let us help them carry their burdens.

There is one requirement that applies to all of us—always and everywhere: Jesus has to be in the boat, in our Church. It is not enough to maintain that Jesus is on board: this must be demonstrated! We should all think about ways in which we can manifest the presence of Jesus even more visibly in our Church.

Yours sincerely,

Jean-Luc Schneider

First International Church Convention of the New Apostolic Church

International-Church-Convention-of-the-New-Apostolic-Church-imageWhat do Kevin from Austria, Samantha from the USA, Chris from South Africa, and Svenja from Germany have in common? They have all been invited to the first International Church Convention of the New Apostolic Church in Munich, Germany in June 2014. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says in his video message that the church convention should become one that is attended by members across all groups from children to youth to senior members. An interesting and varied programme has been planned for this year’s convention with lectures, discussion and presentations. It will also be a time for members from around the world to network and exchange ideas.

Tickets for the convention can be ordered via a commissioned person in each congregation up to January 31. Thereafter you will be able to purchase tickets online or on site during the event at a box office. The tickets cost – when ordering via the congregation – between 8.50 euros (R129) for a 1-day reduced ticket and 50 euros (R760) for a 2-day family ticket. Starting February 1, the prices are between 10 and 60 euros (R152 and R913 respectively).

Visit the convention’s website for more information.

Click here to watch the video message.

Ralph’s faith flies high

Ralph's-storyFrom the age of about five, I dreamed of becoming a pilot. As a result of eye problems it was not be possible to become a fighter pilot and as I believed for many years even to become a pilot. Four years ago when on holiday as a result of poor weather I purchased an aviation magazine and after looking at the pilot training adverts and the adverts for aeroplanes I realised although it is expensive to be trained as a pilot I could afford it.

I then started to research the local flying schools and get quotes for a private pilot licence. I then contacted my rector, the then Evangelist Lance Smith and explained my dream of getting a private pilot’s licence and he said that God would grant all my dreams. I then decided to first complete the aviation medical, expecting to experience problems with my eyes during the aviation medical. After completing the aviation medical eye test the aviation doctor asked if I wanted to continue with the medical saying that if I stopped the aviation medical at this point he would not charge me for the medical as he does not expect I will pass the medical.

Knowing that our Father will open the way as per the words form my rector, I insisted that we continue with the aviation medical and then go to an eye specialist to get the required written report for the aviation medical review board which will decide if I will be granted a medical certificate. At the medical board I am declared medically fit to train as a private pilot by the grace of our Father in heaven.

The next test of faith comes in February 2010 on the intro flight, when my instructor and I returned to the Grand Central airport and he asks me if I can see the airport, which I only identify when we are alongside the airport. My instructor James then worriedly said that he had never experienced that a student did not see the airport. Although this weighed on my mind I hold onto the word from my rector and I continued with the pilot training.

After completing all the required written exams and practical flying tasks, the flight exam was set for 14 June 2011 and on the day, after preparing the previous two days, I arrived at the airport for the pre-flight test which would be followed by the flight test. The instructor who was to test me then told me that the visibility was very bad and that he did not want to put me at a disadvantage as a result of the poor visibility and suggested that we possibly postpone the flight test to another day. I checked the visibility while completing the pre-flight checks on the aeroplane and then remembering the blessing received from my rector I thought that our Father in heaven would not have chosen this day for me to complete the flight test if I could not complete it successfully so I decided to complete the test. After we took off and headed out to the first way point the visibility, the weather improved, making it a really good flight culminating in the successful completion of the flight test and the issuing of my private pilot license.

Our Father in heaven throughout the entire time of working to the private pilot license has always been there to remind me of the promise He gave me and then on the day of the test He was there once again to open the way for me.

An extended trip to West Africa

CA-Visits-West-AfricaIt was an extended trip that brought the spiritual leader of the New Apostolic Church, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider, to West Africa, where he visited the countries of Ghana, Benin, Niger, and Burkina Faso. In the divine services conducted in Accra, Ghana and Porto Novo, Benin he retired Apostles Houdnjo Paul Yedenou, Johnson Moses Jantuah, and Eric Yaw Ampadu.

Chief Apostle Schneider thanked these tried and true men of God for the long years in which they had served the Lord and the souls in their care in love, loyalty, and humbleness, and wished them a retirement filled with the rich blessings of the Lord. He then ordained two Apostles and two Bishops. For Ghana, he ordained George Nortey Anom (53) as an a Apostle, and Charles Addo Asare (51) and Charles Kesse (40) as Bishops. For the country of Benin, Vincent Yedenou (27) was ordained to the Apostle ministry.

Click here to read more about the messages delivered during these divine services.

* Article from the New Apostolic Church International