Month: May 2014

Celebrating 32 years of marriage

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The New Apostolic Church Midrand Congregation would like to congratulate Inora and Thys Venter on 32 years of marriage this Wednesday on 28 May 2014. May your marriage continue to be blessed and may you continue to serve as an example to other couples in the congregation. Enjoy the celebrations.

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Iron man, Superman and Spiderman, God trumps them all

Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” — John 1: 48–49

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God can give you the power to do anything. This was one of the messages delivered during the Sunday school service held on 25 May 2014. Sunday school kids were treated to an hour of understanding how divine power works and in Jesus Christ, we recognise and experience the power of God.

Shepherd Lance Smith, rector at Midrand Congregation, began the service by explaining the difference between physical and emotional strength. He then recalled the story of Nathanael, who was well acquainted with Scripture, but who at first, took offence at the background of Jesus of Nazareth. It was only after a personal encounter with Him that He acknowledged the Son of God. Nathanael recognised the divine power in Jesus’ words.

The Shepherd explained to the congregation, especially the kids, that God loved the world so much that he gave us Jesus, whose teaching we were meant to listen to and practise. Jesus knows every part of us, and he wants to live within us. He wants to give us love, hope, peace, patience and the ability to accept the bad that others do to us, so that we can build on what God has placed within each of us. God chose us to be a part of his work, said the Shepherd.

In his serving, Evangelist David Cooks explained the concept of power. He asked them if Iron man, Superman and Spiderman or God was the most powerful being in the universe. The kids answered God. Using the analogy of superheroes, he explained the concept of power. He asked the kids if they could stop the sea, and some of them said no. The evangelist then reminded them of Moses who was able to part the Red Sea because God gave him the power to do so. He made the kids promise that they will allow God’s power to work in them.

Priest Gershon Monk also served, informing the kids that the Lord only has successful stories, and they were a part of those successful stories. He reiterated the Evangelist’s comments about power, informing the kids that they have the power to do everything. “If anyone says you can’t, you tell that that you have all the power because your father in heaven has all the power.” He reminded the children to trust in God, and pray to God. He also explained the power people receive when participating in the sacraments.

To sum up the service, the kids and congregation learnt that we experience the power of God in His salvation-bringing word and in the sacrament, which leads us out of the domain of power of sin and death, and into life.

The month of May is dedicated to the Sunday school in the New Apostolic Church, South East Africa district.

Sunday school tuition forms an integral part of the spiritual care of the children of the New Apostolic Church. Lessons generally take place after the Sunday morning divine service. A child’s Sunday school career spans a four year Sunday school course, a three year Religious Instruction course and a one year Confirmation course which run consecutively. The lessons in each syllabus have been expertly designed to meet the needs of the developmental stage of the children in each course. The content of each lesson is scripturally based with a contemporary application so that the children are able to experience their faith.

The foundation for future musical development is laid into our children. All children are exposed to choir singing in Sunday school, and are also encouraged to learn to play the recorder. Further progression to the playing of an orchestral instrument is thereby promoted. Children’s choirs sing in divine services and on various other occasions.

Divine Power: Sunday School Service: 25 May 2014

Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” — John 1: 48–49

Message

In Jesus Christ we recognise and experience the power of God. Nathanael, who was well acquainted with Scripture, at first, took offence at the background of Jesus of Nazareth. It was only after a personal encounter with Him that He acknowledged the Son of God.

Core Points

  • Nathanael recognised the divine power in Jesus’ words.
  • We experience the power of God in His salvation-bringing word and in the sacrament, which leads us out of the domain of power of sin and death and into life.

Trust in the Lord: 21/22 May 2014

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” — Matthew 8: 8

Message

Unconditional trust opens the way to the Lord’s power. The account of the centurion seeking help from Jesus for his sick servant offers a profound teaching about trust. Many people wish to experience the miraculous power of Jesus Christ, but not all recognise that trust is necessary for this. Trust is an essential aspect of faith.

Core Points

Experiencing the Lord’s help depends on actively seeking and trusting Him.

It is evidenced by:

  • our confidence,
  • our patience and humbleness,
  • by acknowledging His authority and praising the Lord.

Fellowship with Christ: 18 May 2014

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. — Revelation 3: 20

Message

Those who hear the voice of the Lord and let Him in will experience fellowship with Him. Doors separate spaces and people from one another. In much the same manner, sin has led to a separation between mankind and God. When someone opens a door to a person who knocks, it is a sign of hospitality and trust. When Jesus seeks to enter a person’s heart, He does so in a loving manner. He never imposes Himself on anyone!

Core Points

Just as doors separate spaces and people, sin separates us from God.

  • Jesus offers Himself to help us overcome this separation, but He never imposes Himself upon us.
  • Our heart’s door can only be opened from within; whether we open it or not is up to us.
  • Those who let the Lord in will experience fellowship with Him: already today in the meal fellowship of Holy Communion, and ultimately also at the marriage feast of the Lamb.

Turning back to the Lord: 14/15 May 2014

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. — Luke 15: 10

Message

The repentance of the sinner produces joy. The parables of Jesus make use of familiar experiences from daily life which Jesus uses in order to illustrate the nature and standards of the gospel. This is also the case in the parable of the lost coin, from which our Bible text is taken. The lost coin is likely of great worth to the woman. She is so happy upon finding it that she even goes and tells others about it. Genuine and profound joy increases when it is shared with others and becomes collective joy.

Core Points

  • Just as the woman in theparable has lost a coin,the sinner has lost his direct proximity to God.
  • Both are aware of the value of what they have lost, and make a big effort in order to find it.
  • The remorse of the sinner over his wrongs allow him to find grace with the Lord.

Our future: Seeing with a pure heart: 11 May 2014

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. — Matthew 5: 8

Message

Let us keep our hearts pure so that we can see God. To have a pure heart means to be pure and upright in our thoughts, words, and deeds. It is a daily battle to preserve such a pure heart and to remain honest and upright. Let us make this our endeavour.

Core Points

The Old Testament already relates that it was only possible to enter the holy place of God with a pure heart. Just as we need to listen to our bodies, we should also pay attention to the needs of our souls: what keeps us pure before God and what mars this purity?

With a pure heart, we can:

  • Believe and make Christ the centre of our lives,
  • Love—and therefore seek fellowship with God and one another, and
  • Hope for our future salvation.

God grants blessing: 7/8 May 2014

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God. — Deuteronomy 28: 2

Message

Let us obey the voice of God and grasp His blessing. The blessing of our heavenly Father, which Deuteronomy 28: 2 refers to, constitutes divine providence and care in all situations. The verses that follow list the ways in which this blessing can manifest itself: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out” (Deuteronomy 28: 3–6)

Core Points

The blessing of God makes its way into all areas of our lives, both the natural and the spiritual areas. The spiritual blessings

  • Lead us to the goal of our faith, to our eternal home.
  • Provide us with the strength we need in order to deal with difficulties
  • Give us courage, even when the situation appears nearly hopeless.
  • Provide us with security, even when we feel lonely.

Jesus invites us for fellowship: 4 May 2014

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”— knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. — John 21: 12–13

Message

We want to accept the invitation of the Lord because it promises us eternal wealth. Our Bible text describes the impressive events surrounding the encounter of the Risen Lord Jesus with His disciples. The Risen One was waiting for them at the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. Through His words and deeds, the disciples were quick to recognise that it was Jesus who had appeared to them (verse 7). This was also the reason they did not ask whether it was really He. This was an expression of their fear of God: encounters with the divine create certainty! He then called upon the disciples to come and share in a meal with Him. It was this invitation that made them realise that it was the Lord. It reminded them of their experience at the Feast of the Passover, when Holy Communion was instituted, as well as of many other such occasions on which the Lord had shared in fellowship with them at the table.

Core Points

  • Let us accept the invitation that Jesus extends to us.
  • If we accept the invitation of Jesus Christ, we can enjoy fellowship with the triune God already today.
  • Our fellowship with the triune God strengthens us, comforts us, and grants us joy in our life of faith.