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The last two months have been full of emotions of all shades...
Maurits and Kirsten's wedding on December the 18th. Fantastic celebration. Came out to discover that one of our friends from antenatal class's gorgeous baby Justin had died the night before, apparently of SIDS. Danielle used to meet up with his mum Kathy and some other mums. Heartbreaking grief.
Then Christmas celebrations with lots of family and friends (was great having MJ and then Brett and Jo to stay) and Jonny and Debbie's wedding.
Danielle's parents came to stay as well for about 10 days in early January, great for us all to enjoy James developing together...
Then on Saturday 16th of January received a tragic phone call from my brother Andrew telling us that Simon Pettit had died suddenly of a heart attack in New Zealand. Simon led Jubilee Community Church for 14 years and was a great-hearted man. He ran to the end, always pointing upwards. Danielle and I were so privileged to have been on a trip with him to India in 2002. Almost every discussion I had with him made me see the issue in a totally different light. So full of life, it seems impossible.
The afternoon after his funeral, a young man in our church who has been suffering from a brain tumour died. His parents have been absolutely courageous.
Then on the 28th of January, one of my dad's oldest friends, Brian Hahn was attacked on the university campus and critically wounded. He eventually suffered a stroke and became unconscious the following wednesday, and died on Saturday the 5th of February. This has been really tough for my dad - they founded a Christian newspaper on campus while they were still students. He spoke at the memorial service today.
And in the midst of all this, I'm thoroughly enjoying being married to Danielle and a father to James. "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief" (Proverbs 14:3) has come to mind repeatedly. The New Testament seems to have a much deeper understanding of suffering than we tend to as well, been pondering these things. And praying for family members whose loss is profoundly deeper than mine.
Preached at Jubilee last Sunday night on building with gold, silver and precious stones - how we build the church.
Included this great version of the three little pigs ("Wolf-Side story"?) and a picture of the Taj Mahal, contrasted with the Cardboard House mentioned last week on Slashdot.
What kind of church are we after? Something temporary or something permanent, something functional, or something of beauty? We need to build Love, Obedience, Passion for spreading God's glory (Jim Elliot quotes) as well as Persistent Prayer, Faithfulness and Commitment, Sacrifice and Suffering and Discipleship. We need to avoid building mere structure. Building on the precious foundation of Christ, building for eternity means we cannot settle for less. And God supplies the materials by his grace (v10) so we don't ever have to settle for less.
Felt like it was delivered OK, people encouraging afterwards. Presentation here [dead link] and low-quality MP3 here.
Telkom can't explain its tarrifs. Well that's not surprising - a legislated, state-owned monopoly has been privatised and their prices are higher than prices in countries with competition. Why would they be otherwise. But at least the government seems to think its a problem. What smells of corruption is the quote from the Telkom representative:
Take look at the list of casualties by country in World War Two. Changed my perception of the war - far more losses in Russia and China than I would have expected...
Last night at church we had the final of three training seessions on being a multi-cultural community in South Africa. Jabu spoke about his experiences in the struggle, going to prison, what God did in his life. It reminded me of The Heavenly Man. Then Charles from the Foundation for Church-led restitution spoke about giving his farm for restitution to those who have been wronged, and Alastair spoke about restitution too ... Steve wrapped it up with presenting the education fund Jubilee is starting as a part of restitution.