Karlien Geldenhuis on Weekly Guidelines

 “Karlien Geldenhuis in Livingstone is a straight forward person. I learn to know her this way. She is a modern young woman. She is for sure a follower of Christ. Life matters to her. She is in the media world; photography etc. And she has a sharper view on things than the average and enjoys her work. 

     I want to know if the Weekly Guidelines sent out every week to help all of us to hear God’s voice from His Word perhaps more clearly, is helpful or not. Without hesitation she said: “Our small-group is not functioning well. We will talk about it again and see what we can do. But as for me the Guidelines, are not really helpful”.  Her answer is short and sweet. It is good and helpful to have parishioners like Karlien!

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God raised Jesus from the dead and we are raised with Him into a New Life. This week we focus on our Lord’s Ascension. Our New life is heavenly confirmed in Jesus’ ascension. It’s a pity that we almost forgot God’s saving act on our behalf, taking His Son, Jesus back into heaven.


Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47 or Ps 93; Eph 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53   Focus:  Our Lord’s Ascension in the story of Luke in Acts 1:1-11. Please listen also to the other texts for the week. Luke’s second story shifts from the Jesus-story [Gospel of Luke] to the risen Jesus-story, through the Holy Spirit, within us [Acts].  From now on God is acting/working salvation/ New Life [His Kingdom] within and through us – His Bride [The Revelations-stories in Easter]. It is overwhelming — amazing!  Does it really amaze you?  And how is He doing it?

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Towards a Theology of Empowerment

1. Introduction

This study paper provides mainly guidelines to stimulate discussion on an understanding of a Theology of Empowerment (TE). My definition of TE hinges primarily on the description of the church and Christians’ Biblical faith, witness and service to fellow human beings in a country where the gap between rich and poor gets bigger and bigger. In South Africa the richest 16,6% (7,5 million people) receive 72% of the income (and this percentage is increasing), whereas in the case of the poorest 50% (23 million people) it is only 3,3%.  It is known that the lowest 50% of the population are now in real terms poorer than 20 years ago.

More than half of the South African population is in the grip of extreme hunger and poverty and in places entire rural communities go without food for days, according to a report tabled by the President and founder of African Monitor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. The report comes on the 10th anniversary of the National Poverty Hearings. Poverty in South Africa has deepened over the past 10 years, with more than half of the population grappling chronic food shortages. Hardest hit are rural communities in the Free State, Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo bearing the biggest brunt (SABC news 22/10/2008).

Empowerment is the process by which a person receives power and shares it with others, and this results to the recreation of the community. Empowerment is the actualisation, enrichment and development of people’s potential and skills and leads to freedom, justice, growth, transformation (Van Niekerk 1997) and interdependence. Empowered Christians reflect the unique and transforming power of God by their actions.

A Theology of Empowerment starts from a distinctive theological  point of view, but follows an intradisciplinary approach; borrowing, adapting and integrating concepts, methods and techniques of other sciences e.g. sociology, psychology, economics, developmental studies etc. In doing theology a holistic approach is a necessity; it should lead to “spiritual, social and material change” (Myers 2005). TE is outcome based, contextual, transformative and liberating.

One of the most important problems is whether modern theology can adequately connect to the daily life of people and groups. Until now, it has failed to provide systematic and methodical answers to empirical questions and to incorporate these answers in theological thought. For instance, when and how do modern people have religious experiences, which religious attitudes have an impact on their individual and social life, how do they participate in the life of the church community, and how does the relationship between church and society take shape in ordinary life? It is important not to leave the research on these issues to the social sciences alone, but try to formulate, analyse and answer these questions ourselves from distinctive theological point of view (Van der Ven 1993)

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The bright side of wrong

Die FIFA Wereld Beker sokker toernooi is more 'n week oud en alle berigte is dat dit alle verwagtings oortref in terme van logistiek en organisasie. Baie van ons se doemprofesie is verkeerd bewys, MAAR hoor ek myself se ons moet nou net nie nou gaan staan en groot...

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Boks support BAFANA

ill be out in full force at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday night as they take their support for soccer heroes Bafana Bafana to a new level.

The South African soccer team faces a crucial match against Uruguay at the rugby stadium and it is vital for them to win if they want to qualify for the second round of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

An administrative bungle has turned into a good omen as the Boks donated 30 tickets to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society to give underprivileged children the opportunity to watch the game on their behalf.

The tickets were initially bought by the South African Rugby Union for the team to support Bafana but the South African Football Association gave the team tickets as well. After consultation by the management it was decided to donate the extra tickets to charity.

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Our transformation challenge: The Blue Bulls show the way!

I went to bed on Saturday night very proud to be a South African, and full of confidence that, despite our well documented problems, this is a fantastic country with heaps of potential. We all just need to see the good in it and stop focusing on the negative.”

“It just shows how far we have come as a nation” were Victor Matfield’s final words as he reflected on the Bulls semi-final in Orlando Stadium, having said earlier “Hearing vuvuzelas and boere-musiek playing as we arrived in SOWETO (South Western Townships – lest we forget) was awesome!”

Juxtapose this with the recent report in the Sunday Tribune that 80% of school kids surveyed recently have plans to leave South Africa when they finish matric. According to research conducted amongst 3 500 kids by an events company, Three Ring Circus, this is up from 20% three years ago with the reasons being given as the recession, corruption and crime.

If we have transformed, why are our youth so disillusioned, why is our press so negative, why are visiting 2010 VIP’s hiring bullet (rocket) proof cars and stab-proof vests, why have so few South Africans ever visited the Apartheid Museum, and why have so few white South Africans ever been into a township, why, why, why?

“Transformation is first about behaviour and second about attitude,” a sweaty, vuvuzela-blowing, horns-in-hard-hat Blue Bulls supporter said as he offered me a Captain and Coke in a shebeen deep in Orlando West. “I used to think it was the other way around, but crossing the boerewors curtain, coming to Soweto and watching die Bulle, my manne, wen has changed my life forever” he enthused.

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Why Partnerships are the future of American Congregations

Johan Kotze stuur onlangs hierdie uitstekende artikel van Alban aan. Ek deel dit graag met julle

Lees die volledige artikel op Alban se webwerf

Playing in the Same Sandbox
by Wayne Whitson Floyd

Why Partnerships are the Future of American Congregations

Running adult educational events for congregations and their leaders is not that different from the work I did forty years ago as a volunteer with a Head Start program in Mississippi.

Give people a respectful place to spend the day, provide them something to eat when they get hungry, and send them home able to do something they couldn’t do when they arrived, and adults, like children, generally tend to be pretty adept at playing in the same sandbox while they’re at school. They don’t tend to get all that exercised about the ways they are different from one another or the rest of the world around them.

If this happens so easily when we’re young or not really thinking hard about it, why are church gatherings so likely to be homogenous—meetings of the like-minded, celebrations of sameness? Why are churches so often the poster children of the post-modern epidemic of sandbox-intolerance and bad manners? I got a look last week at how it might be different, when I helped to host a one-day workshop in Philadelphia facilitated by independent consultant and Alban author Joy Skjegstad on “New Ways to Fund Your Church’s Ministries.”

In attendance were about one hundred fifty ministers and laity from faith-based nonprofits and a breathtaking variety of churches—Abyssinian Baptist, A.M.E. Zion, and Hispanic congregations, as well as a plethora of Mainline Protestants, including United Methodist, Metropolitan Community Church, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Reformed, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Unitarian Universalist Association congregations.

People came not just from Philadelphia neighbourhoods, but they also drove for six or eight hours from Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia. Or they flew in from Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina and California just for the day.

On one hand, the event is a testimony to the financial pressures that churches and their leaders are feeling just to “stay in business.” On the other hand, the day’s program had not even begun when I realized that I was looking at a snapshot of the future of American congregations, all gathered together because of a seemingly unlikely partnership among:

•  The Alban Institute, an ecumenical and interfaith non-profit  organisation whose roots were planted originally in Mainline Protestantism
•  Word and Deed Network, part of Evangelicals for Social Action
•  Esperanza, “one of the largest Hispanic Faith-Based Evangelical networks in the United States”
•  Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, “a Christian university of the arts and sciences”
•  A network of African American and Hispanic churches of urban Philadelphia who had worked previously on community ministry projects with our workshop leader, Joy Skjegstad.
I came away having learned some important lessons from this experience—mainly that these kinds of partnerships are the future of American congregations. Why? Because…

1.    Diversity wasn’t the point of the day; it was the outcome of intentional partnerships forged to address a common, pressing need—in this case for alternative funding strategies for congregations and their ministries.

2.    This shared commitment brought us together to play in the same sandbox for a day without having first attended to any of the differences that could have been obstacles to such a gathering—e.g., beliefs, language, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, theology, or geography.  We were so different from one another that we could not pretend politely to be the same; we had to be who we were and trust that we each had brought something to the table that all the others might find useful.  It was truly a kind of Pentecost moment!

3.    We were able to partner with one another in good faith because we realized that each of the four sponsoring organizations brought something that the others didn’t have—a hospitable location for a large group to park, meet, and be fed; a national network for marketing the availability of the event to a wide audience; connections with urban African American and Hispanic, as well as Caucasian Protestant, constituencies; experience organizing and facilitating large educational events; a reputation among evangelical Christians involved in social action and community ministry; expertise in grant writing and starting faith-based nonprofits.

4.    At this gathering, not only was the whole greater than the sum of its parts, but the particularities of our diverse backgrounds and perspectives—cultural and religious—were what gave authenticity to what was said, heard, and learned that day. No one spoke in broad generalities. The authentic voices that were heard spoke out of the concreteness of lived experience, struggling to find resources for their very specific communities of faith and practice.

5.    Each of the partners who had arranged and led the event felt that we had been the ones to gain the most benefit from our common efforts. Talk about a win-win situation!

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The Temptation of St Antony

(A Paintely Tradition) St Antony’s Egypt point to a time when the last reflections of the ancient world was reflecting on the beginnings of the new, where the old doomed gods undermine hope and the heresies compromise faith. Antony the Egyption anchorite whose path to...

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Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide?

Published in Time 11 January 2010 One Sunday last fall, Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor at the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago's northwest suburbs, was preaching on the logic and power of Jesus' words "Love thine enemy." As is his custom, Hybels was...

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Tying the Clouds Together

Rob Bell’s metaphors and references make his listeners stretch, but his wisdom for preachers is down to earth.
A Leadership interview with Rob Bell | posted 2/01/2010

He once planted a church by teaching through Leviticus. He can use a rabbit carved from a bar of soap to illustrate the nature of suffering. Google his name and the term “Sex God” will appear among the top entries.

Rob Bell is the most interesting preacher in the world.  Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but his reputation as an innovative communicator came largely through his video teaching series, NOOMA. Since launching Mars Hill in 1999, Bell’s ministry has expanded into books, DVDs, and live tours, but he is still committed to shepherding his community at Mars Hill through preaching.

Leadership managing editor Skye Jethani sat down with Bell to discuss his approach to communicating, the state of preaching in the church, and the risks the pulpit presents to a pastor’s soul.

Your sermons are known for pulling from unexpected sources—everything from art history to quantum physics. Why?

When Jacob woke up after his vision of angels ascending and descending on the ladder, he declared, “Surely God was in this place and I did not know it.” And Jesus says, “My Father is always at work even to this very day.” Jesus lives with an awareness, an assumption that God is here and he’s at work. Dallas Willard calls this “the God-bathed world.” This has deeply shaped me.

My assumption is that God can be found in all of the interesting things buzzing around us all the time. So we can take something from here and something from there and bring them together. A friend of mine calls it “tying the clouds together.”

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