Thankfulness and giving


I’m sitting in Maxi’s, Hatfield, and I’m having a nice tallish cup of coffee. Thanks to my brother, Willem de Lange (I know him as Willie or “broer”), I am able to work on a laptop. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a battery, so I need a place to plug it in. And that is where the waitresses of Maxi’s came in. The took my to a table where I could plug in my brothers laptop so that I am able to work. Thank you Willie and thank you waitresses of Maxi’s, Hatfield, for making it easier for me to work.

When last have you been thankful for the little things in your life?

When last have you shown your thankfulness?

For me it will be relatively easy to thank the waitresses of Maxi’s. I’ll give them a slightly bigger tip than 10% and write something on the slip. (I hope that this note will advertise their friendliness so that it will increase their customers and they will see that as thanks as well.)

I also want to thank my brother. Thanks that you are trusting me with your laptop and that you have “downgraded” yourself in a way to your normal computer. Thanks a lot for that! (You better read this note!)

The real reason for this note is the cold… Did you feel the cold this morning? Do you appreciate it? What? You may ask how on earth can someone appreciate a cold like this!!

Well, this morning, as I stepped outside, I was struck by the extreme cold! I couldn’t help but to think of two things. Thank God that I can walk outside and FEEL the cold! And thank God that I have warm clothes to give some comfort against the cold! (And thank God that I slept in a bed last night which have a warm blanket and that I didn’t freeze!)

Hoe many people are out there who don’t have a single jersey, not even to speak about a blanket. A few weeks ago I walked into a shop, wanting to buy a blanket to give some organization who hands out the blankets (they do have a better knowledge of where the need is). I was startled at the prices of blankets! I’m sorry to say, I couldn’t afford one. I did put away some money, and hopefully I’ll have enough at the end of the month to go and buy one.

Have you ever sat at church and wondered “What can I do to help (the poor)?” I believe that that is a great place to start. But then you have to go out and actually find out! Do some homework. Search for some place where you can offer your time and your money! I hate it if people preach in such a way that I feel I’m doing nothing, just because I don’t have the money or the time that some other people have. I’m done feeling guilty after such a sermon. So I won’t try to make you feel guilty either. You know what it is you can do. Start doing it! If you can hand out one cup of soup a week, do that! If you can afford one blanket or jersey, buy that! If you are able to give one hour a week to serve someone in need, do that!

Different people also have different passions. My passion is to serve the youth, and especially leaders and hockeyplayers. Your passion might be to serve the elderly, or the children, or the lame, or the ….. you get the picture. Start looking for place who share your passion, and start to volunteer there. Even if it is with your one hour a week or one blanket a year!

I sometimes get the feeling that there are more people like me. People who are frustrated when they hear of these awesome ministries and immediately hear that they have to give; and then they compare their little to someone else’s much. Stop that! Stop comparing what you have, or don’t have, with what someone else have (or don’t have!). Just start serving people with the little you have. Serve God with the little you do have.

In that way God can actually start working through you – not just in you!

I’m reminded of a little boy who once had five loaves of bread and two little fishes. You can read the whole story in John 6:1-15.

I’d like to imagine a conversation like the following.

Boy: “Umm, sorry, Jesus, sir, I don’t have much. Only these five loaves and two fishes. I don’t know what good it will do. Maybe you could use it a feed at least a few people?”

Jesus: “Don’t worry, son. I can use what you give. Just watch.”

After He thanked His father, there must have been such a big amazement in the eyes of that little boy.

I have to wonder, if we are willing to give out little, if we would also stand amazed at how God uses that.

I also wonder about the widow who gave her two coins. It was everything she had! Did she ever see whether that little was used, together with many other people’s little, and much, to put food on tables and give blankets for the poor? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say either. But Jesus did point to her as an example of faith and faithfulness. (Read that in Mark 12:41-44 – isn’t it interesting that Jesus actually went to sit where the people gave their offerings, to wait for the woman, as though He wanted to give her hope that her little doesn’t mean nothing?)

Maybe that is the challenge: To give the little we can give in faith and in faithfulness. We might never see how God uses out little. But I believe that He will use it!

Discipline in your faith Part 2


Ek het vandag weer ‘n klein bietjie tyd gemaak om verder te lees aan Celebration of Discipline. Ek is in eksamentyd. Is dit nie vreemd hoe mens baie tyd het en dan skielik gebeur alles gelyk in ‘n kort tyd? Wel, hier is die volgende deel van die lees van hierdie boek.

Today I actually made some time to read on in Celebration of Discipline. I’ am in exam-time. Isn’t it strange how a person have much of time, and suddenly everything happens in a small space of time? Well, here are the next part of my reading of this book.

Ek haal aan uit hoofstuk 1 [I’m quoting from chapter 1]: The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to liberation.

“Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”

“The classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm.”

Daar bestaan veral twee wanindrukke oor geestelike dissipines.

There are two misconceptions about spiritual disciplines.

  1. Die dissiplines is nie vir “geestelike reuse nie”. Dis ook nie vir een of ander geestelike leier eksklusief nie.

The disciplines are not for “spiritual giants”. It’s also not exclusively for some spiritual leader.

“God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life to be for ordinary human beings… If they are to have any transforming effect, the effect must be found in the ordinary junctures of human life.”

  1. Geestelike dissiplines moet ook nie gesien word as ‘n boring storie wat vreugde wil steel nie.

Spiritual disciplines shouldn’t be seen as a boring story that wants to take away happiness or laughter.

“Joy is the keystone of all the Disciplines. The purpose of the Disciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear… Singing, dancing, even shouting characterize the Disciplines of the spiritual life.”

Die geestelike dissiplines is, in ‘n sekere sin, glad nie moeilik nie (alhoewel dit in ‘n ander manier tog moeilik is). Die primêre vereiste is ‘n verlange na God. Kyk wat sê Dawid in Psalm 42:2-3: “Soos ‘n wildsbok smag na waterstrome, so smag ek na U, o God. Ek dors na God, na die lewende God. Wanneer kan ek gaan en voor God verskyn?”

The spiritual disciplines are, in a certain sense, not difficult (although it is difficult in another sense). The greatest requirement is a longing after God. Look what David says in Psalm 42:1-2: “As the dear pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Diegene wat daardie diepe roep al beleef het van ‘n smagte na God en ‘n dieper verhouding met God, sal veral twee moeilikhede beleef.

Those who has experienced the deep call to God and a deeper relationship with God, will experience two difficulties.

  1. Filosofies / Philosophic

Die materiaele basis van ons dag maak dit so maklik om te glo dat ons nie verder kan gaan as die fisiese wêreld nie. Meditasie, as voorbeeld, word nie gesien as ‘n kontak met die egte geestelike wêreld nie, maar word gesien as sielkundige manipulasie (as dit enigsins toegelaat word!).

The material basis of the day has made it so easy to believe that we can’t move beyond the physical world. Meditation, as an example, are not seen as a contact with the real spiritual world, but are seen as psychological manipulation (if it is allowed!).

“Usually people will tolerate a brief dabbling in the ‘inward journey’, but then it is time to get on with real business in the real world.”

Selfs die beste wetenskaplikes, volgens Foster, begin erken dat daar meer is die materiele wêreld [Ek wonder of daar wetenskaplikes is wat hieroor sal wil kommentaar lewer?].

Even the best scientists, according to Foster, are beginning to realize that there are more than the material world [I’m wondering if there are scientist who would like to comment on this?].

“In intellectual honesty, we should be willing to study and explore this other realm with the rigor and determination we would give to any field of research.”

  1. Prakties / Practical

Ons weet nie hoe om die innerlike lewe te ondersoek. Dit was nie altyd waar nie. In die eerste eeu, en vroeër, was dit nie nodig om onderrig te gee in geestelike dissiplines nie. Die Bybel het mense opgeroep tot dissiplines soos vas, meditasie, aanbidding en viering en het geen instruksies gegee oor hoe dit gedoen moet word nie.

We do not know how to go about exploring the inward life. It wasn’t always true. In the first century, and earlier, it wasn’t necessary to give instruction in spiritual disciplines. The Bible called people to disciplines such as fasting, meditation, worship and celebration, and gave no instruction on how it was to be done.

Hierdie dissiplines is so gereeld gedoen, dat dit nie nodig was om onderrig te gee in die “hoe” van die toepassing nie. Vandag moet daar instruksie gegee word in hoe om die dissiplines te doen, juis omdat dit nie meer gedoen word nie.

These disciplines were done so regularly, that it wasn’t necessary to give instruction in the “how to” of the actions. Today, instruction has to be giving in how to do the disciplines, precisely because it isn’t done that regularly anymore.

“One word of caution, however, must be given at the outset; to know the mechanics does not mean that we are practicing the discipline. The Spiritual Disciplines are an inward and spiritual reality and the inner attitude of the heart is far more crucial than the mechanics for coming into the reality of the spiritual life.”

Wat is jou indrukke oor geestelike dissiplines? Gee jou indrukke, sonder om iemand aan te val asseblief.

What are your conceptions / thoughts about spiritual disciplines?Give your thoughtsm but please, don’t attack other people.

Menslike nommers by God?


Ek het vir ‘n deel van my lewe gewerk by ‘n skool. As jeugwerker/berader. Ek het awesome jare daar gehad. Ek gaan kuier nog gereeld daar. Dis vir my mooi om te sien hoe mense daar groei. Mense wat ek leer ken het as onseker, skaam graad 8’s, wat volgende jaar graad 9, 10, 11 en 12 toe gaan, en no gander wat klaar maak met skool. Kinder swat al hoe nadir kom aan volwasse wees. Mense wat vriende en vriendinne geword het.

Volgende jaar is ek al drie jaar lank “weg” by die skool. Ek is “weg” daar toe volgende jaar se matrieks nog graad 9 was. Ek het nogal ‘n sterk verhouding met hulle opgebou.

Deur die afgelope jaar het ek twee keer heel skokkende gesprekke gehad, Elke keer was die meisie wat ek nie geken het nie, en dan wil ek hoor vanwaar hulle gekom het. Die gesprekke het iets soos volg geklink:

            Ekke: “Haai. In watter graad is julle?”

            Persoon: “ Graad 11.”

Ekke: “O. Wanneer het julle in die skool gekom?” (Ek het gehoop hulle sal se “vroeer die jaar”)

            Persoon: “Aan die begin van graad 8.”

Dis vir my sleg. Twee mense wat ej nie ken nie, in ‘n groep met wie ek so goed oor die weg kom! (Vir ander klink dit normal, maar dalk sal jy netnou weet waarom dit sleg is vir my.)

 

Ek het nogal baie bewus geraak van iets. Ek hoop wat ek se maak sin, want dis net ‘n klomp gevoelens wat ek tik/skryf wat huidiglik in my hart is.

Hoe maklik is dit on die “famous” mense te ontmoet, te leer ken, en te onthou.

Hoe moeilik is dit om moeite te doe nom die “unknowns” te leer ken.

 

Wie se skuld is dit?

Om dit te beantwoord, moes ek eers vir myself vra… “Wie is die famous en die unknowns?”

 

“Famous” val in ‘n paar groepe… (Dalk erken jy jouself in party van die groepe):

         Sportspelers (normaalweg ook net sekeres!)

         Akademiese sterre (tot so die top 50, miskien nog minder!)

         Kulturele heroes (party koorlede en revuelede, minder vorrtrekkers, ens.)

 

Unknowns:

         VCSV-lede en –leiers

         Skaakspelers

         Die bekende term… “sluipers”

 

Let wel: As jy in albei die groepe val, dan skakel dit jou outomaties uit van ‘n “unknown” tot ‘n “famous”.

 

Ek het ‘n vriendin. Sy is ‘n onderwyseres by ‘n groot skool.

By ‘n groot skool is dit maklik om sekere kinders mist e kyk. (Wie se skuld is dit? Ek weet nie…)

Op ‘n slag het sy uitgereik na een van die sluipers is haar voogklas. Dalk eerder ‘n super-sluiper (as jy kyk na die klas waarin hy was!)

Hy doen nie sport nie. Hy bly ver.

Hy’s nie groot op kultuurgebied nie.

Hy is ook nie baie sterk op akademiese gebied nie. (Dalk sou hy gewees het as hy nie so bekommerd was oor sy ma wie kanker het nie).

As gevolg van hierdie drie goed, is daar nie veel kinder swat hom raaksien nie.

Hy rook nie. Hy vleok nie. Hy doen sy huiswerk. Hy’s eintlik ‘n voorbeeldige seun (as is hy nie onder die top 50 van academies presteerders nie). Hy’s nie ‘n “probleemgeval” of ‘n “stoutgat” nie. So hy trek ook nie regtig onderwyseres se aandag nie.

Hy kon maar net sowel ‘n nommer gewees het in die skool.

Toe besoek my vriendin die nommer.

Iemand het belanggestel in hom… .n Mens!

 

Ek het nou die dag ‘n een van die kerke gesit wat ek af en toe besoek. Ek sien toe almal wat in die kerk gesit het. Kinder swat nou nog in skole is en wat die afgelope drie of vier jaar klaar gemaak het.

So ‘n klomp van hulle is die “famous” mense.

         Slimmes

         Sportvrate (of ten minste net rugby-, netbal- of hokkiespelers)

         Selfs ‘n paar kulturele mense

         En die sogenaamde “stoutgatte”

En ek sien toe diegene wat focus op hulle: Onderwysers!

 

Die hartseer ding is dat dit nie net by die skool is wat die nommer-stelsel gevestig het nie. Daar’s ook nommers by die kerk. En so baiekeer is die nommers by die skool ook die nommers by die kerk. (En die kerk is die plek waar die “standaarde” anders behoort te wees!) En daar’s ook nommer by Christelike kampe!!!! (Waar dit beslis anders moet wees!!!)

Ek’s seker jy het dit al gesien: Die domineer/pastor/jeugwerker/jeugleier/groepleier wat meest van sy/haar aandag gee aan die sportiewes, slimmes, rykes en “stoutgatte”. Selfs daardie ouens/meisies wat vanoggend nog hangover gehad het, is vanaand in die “famous” groep (“Red die ongereddes, maar vergeet van die gereddes”-houding of “Mik vir sekere ongereddes en vergeet die res”-houding).

 

Die hartseerder ding, besef ek toe, is date k een van hulle is. Ek is een van daardie mense wat focus op sekeres (en gewoonlik weer van die “nommers” vergeet!).

Wel, ek troos myself hieraan: Dit is ‘n groot skool. En ek werk met baie mense! So ek kan seker maar hier en daar party mense vergeet? Of nie by uit kom nie.

 

En dan kom die gedagte by my op… God is anders. By Hom is daar nie nommers nie.

Psalm 139 vertel hou God intens betrokke is by elke liewe persoon. Hy ken elkeen deur en deur. Hy ken elkeen intiem. Hy het immers elkeen gevorm en persoonlik aanmekaar geweef.

En so as ‘n ekstra gedagte… Jesaja 11:1-5. In vers 3 se Jesaja dat God sal oordeel, maar nie volgens ons standaarde nie (ons kyk mos baie maklik na die uiterlike en gaan op wat ander mense se). Nee, God kyk na die hart van die mens. En Hy maak tyd en leer ‘n persoon ken, uit eie inisiatief en firsthand, nie volgens wat ander se nie! Vers 5, vertel van ‘n Regeerder wat regverdig en betroubaar is!

 

Ek het niks teen sprot nie. Ek is life vir hokkie en krieket en so bietjie tennis. Ek het goeie vriende en vriendinne wat baie sprotief is. En slim mense? Wel, ek het twee onderskeidings gehad die jaar en ek ken seker die hele top 15 van 4 grade by ten minste twee skole! En ek travel maklik om koor en revue te ondersteun!

 

Maar, hoe is ons Vader? Hy is betroubaar. Hy is regverdig. Hy ken almal. Hy doen moeite met elkeen, voordat Hy enige oordele maak oor die persoon. By Hom is daar nie ‘n nommer nie.

Ek weet ek sal onmoontlik nie almal wat in die een skool is ken nie (om nie eers te praat van al die skole waar ek betrokke is nie). Ek wee took ek sal nooit almal ken waar ek eendag gaan predikant gaan wees nie (as die Here wil he ek moet dit doen oor vyf jaar!).

Maar ek weet ook ek wil soos my Vader word. En om dit te doen, moet ek tyd maak om mense te leer ken vir wie ek nie andersins sou tyd maak nie. Dit beteken dalk ek sal uit my comfort zone moet kom en mense leer ken wat ek nie ken nie. Dalk moet ek meer gereeld by ‘n tafel gaan sit waar daar mense is wie ek nie ken nie. Op so manier kan daar dalk minder nommers in my lewe is.

Daar’s mense wat ek ken, wat ek nommers gemaak het deur my optrede teenoor hulle. Jy weet hoe dit is: Soms loop jy ‘n CAN of CUM en jy sien iemand wat jy nie wil groet nie. Wat doen jy? Weet nie. Ek, loop skielik af in die gang waar die bababoeke is, en raak besig op my selfoon, net om seker te maak ek lyk besig! Wel, dis iets wat ook moet stop! (By my, ek weet nie by jou nie)

 

Dink jy dis moontlik dat daar minder nommers in jou lewe kan wees? Hoe kan jy van nommers mense maak?

 

God se karakter


Die Bybel vertel ons van God. In “geleerde kringe”, word gese dat die Bybel vertel van mense se belewenis(se) van God. Daar word baie eienskappe van God gegee, en Sy Name word gegee en dan gekoppel aan spesifieke gebeurtenisse.

Voorbeelde:

         In Psalm 23 is God die Goeie Herder

         In Eksodus 3:15 gee God een van Sy Name (eintlik SY NAAM) vir Moses.

Ek gaan nou nie meer voorbeelde gee nie…

 

Elkeen van ons het sekere belewenisse van God. Elkeen van ons het God op spesifieke en spesiale maniere leer ken deur ons elkeen se geestelike lewens.

 

Watter van God se eienskappe het jy al beleef?

Watter deel/dele van Sy karakter het jy al ervaar en leer ken?

Watter van God se Name het al werklikheid geword in jou lewe?

Se ook hoe dit gebeur het.