Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Call to Repentence: Isaiah 58:1

This is a message that God feels with such passion, that He says “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.” We are to ‘hold nothing back’ as we declare this message. Surely this means we are to speak with the Lord’s urgency, passion and emotion expressed, even if this conveys some of His holy anger, remembering that everything He says and does to and for His people is motivated and couched in His infinite and immutable love. May His love in us be the sole motivation in our hearts as we give and receive this message. The Lord says, “Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.” Seldom, if at all, in all His instructions to the prophets, have I seen such urgency and passion in God’s heart. As full of God’s love as we should always be, this is a stern rebuke and an urgent wake up call to God’s people, for the Lord says, “Raise your voice like a trumpet”:

Sibs Sibanda (now based at God First Church in South Africa) puts it so well, “The word ‘trumpet’ is the word ‘shofah’ in Hebrew, which is a ram’s horn. This is a call to attention, not a strike up of music or celebration. The sound of a ram’s horn is ok when it is far away, but when it is right next to you, it can be a loud and irritating sound. As Champions the Lord’s word to us is not to expect this voice to be sweet to men’s ears. We should not go out expecting to receive warm embrace, because this is not a call to celebration, it is a call to repentance. Our message will be embraced, but through hardship and trial.”

Sibs goes on to say, “ ‘Declare to my people their rebellion…’ This is a message primarily for the Church. Rebellion is a direct result of an inflated self-view or self-opinion. In other words it is essentially born out of self-centredness or selfishness. Not many in the church today would relate to being called a rebellious or selfish people. This is why this message will be like a ram’s horn, irritating and annoying, because no one wants to be told that they are rebellious. We must thus see God as He truly is, because unless we do, none of these things will come together.”

The vision of Foundations for Health

Foundations for Health is a project which equips churches to respond in nutritional and self-sustaining ways to disease and sicknesses as well as equipping them in preventative health measures to bring health and restoration to the nation.

Mission Statement:
Equipping and empowering individuals that can assist and impact their community to improve health standards and decrease incidences of sickness.

We are currently doing 2 pre-pilot studies: One with Maoko ane tsitsi team and one with the “grassroots” out at Westgate. We have found discrepancies already and want to do a review of the manual before pilots will take place. We are envisioning twelve “pilots” through our emerging “church plants” in the near future. We encourage individuals that are interested in doing a pilot to build relationship in their communities and identify the need for a health focused project. We can then reach out with the eight session Foundations for Health programme to hopefully make a lasting impact in the communities.

What are pre-pilots projects? What is “grassroots?” What are emerging “church plants?” Read on in the next Foundations for Health article.

Introduction to Isaiah 58: The rebuilding process

At a Foundations for Farming Champions Conference in 2006, Sibs Sibanda (now based at God First Church in South Africa) brought a brilliant exposition of Isaiah 58, in which he said, “The context of this passage is a message to the nation of Israel, but it is an admonition and warning to all and is not to be confined to those of any one age. Certainly, for us as God’s new covenant people, this message is applicable and is appropriate for us to allow these words to instruct us today. As we look at Isaiah 58 let’s look at what matters most to God, so that we do not go out simply in great busyness, but go about our father’s work as Jesus did.”

Matthew Henry begins his commentary on Isaiah 58 with these words, “When our Lord Jesus promised to send the Comforter, Jesus added, ‘When he shall come he shall convince (the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement)’ (John 168:7); for conviction must prepare for comfort, and must also separate between the precious and the vile, and mark out those to whom comfort does not belong. God had appointed this prophet to comfort his people (Isaiah 40:1); here he appoints him to convince them, and show them their sins. He must tell them how very bad they really were.”

Brian Oldreive too has often shared with the champions that they must not fear or reject the Lord’s admonition, because it is always given in His love. Three times in scripture, in Proverbs 3: 11-12, Hebrews 12:6 and Revelation 3:19 the Lord tells us that the one He loves, He rebukes and disciplines. If we respond to the Lord’s chastisement in humility, repentance and obedience, it will result in our great comfort and help. Brian prays that we, as God’s people, are set free by Christ Jesus, joyfully living under grace in His wonderful sanctification process, will allow the Holy Spirit to convince and convict us of our sins, so that this wonderful process of healing, reformation and rebuilding can begin.

For this reason it is very important for us to take time to establish the strongest foundations on which to build. If we diligently follow the Lord’s instructions in this magnificent chapter, He tells us in verse 12, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”The condition for this to happen is that we approach God with the right attitude of heart, which He calls ‘The True Fast’ (vs. 6 to 10).

Before we embark on this great quest, it is important that we prepare and convince our hearts thoroughly, and we must do so in a theologically sound way, i.e. ‘God’s Way’. God’s truth is the grounds for Unity in Him. It takes courage to face the truth about ourselves, and it especially takes courage to be the ones called by God to declare that truth to God’s people.

Brian prays for this courage for us all.

The vision of Foundations for Family


A church where families loved, really loved each other
A church that children couldn’t wait to get to
A church which was the best place for teenagers to hang out
A church for all ages from grandparents to infants
A church where hurting and bruised people found a warm welcome
A church of loving, faithful married couples
Whose homes were filled with fun and laughter and praise to God
Homes in which children were secure and cared for.
This church would impact a community and change a continent.

That is the vision of Foundations for Family which aims to make God’s plan for family life joyfully central to church life and programmes by celebrating the beauty of family in the purpose of God.

The practical importance of Foundations for Family is grounded in the necessity of good family relationships in the Kingdom of God if our communities are to be transformed.

The spiritual significance of Foundations for Family is based on the character of our God who, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is like a family from eternity to eternity. Human family life flows from our creation as male and female, two-in-one people, in his image and likeness.

The beginnings: Brian and Cath Oldreive's story


On the 1st of October 1982, Brian and Cath Oldreive arrived at Hinton Estate with their five children to begin their new lives and Brian’s new role as manager of the estate. They had just come through two years of fiery testing that had begun with Brian’s promise to the Lord that they would never again grow another leaf of tobacco. They had embarked on growing only food crops on our sand veld tobacco farm in Tengwe, 227 kilometres North West of Harare.

Instead of the anticipated blessing they thought they would receive from following their conscience and obeying God, the Oldreive family had experienced two very severe droughts, which had resulted in them losing almost everything they owned. Looking back on it now, they see that it was a very important preparation in their lives for what was to come.

As they began unpacking their belongings in their new home, they noticed a welcoming card on our bed. It was from Lyn and Judy Everswick, who pastored a church 45 kilometres away in the nearest town, Bindura. The Everswick’s very kind welcoming message ended with Isaiah 58:Lo11 “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” This was a remarkably prophetic word for the years to come.
Ever since, the whole message of Isaiah 58 has been intricately used by the Lord to guide the Oldreive’s in the vision to which He was calling them. God would soon show them the depths of the poverty of the people of Africa, and would reveal to them His plan to remove this yoke of oppression, and then His blueprint for the rebuilding of a continent in ruination. God would show us the age-old foundations on which the rebuilding would happen, and how this adventure would all begin by teaching them to farm in His way with a faithful, humble and unselfish heart.
This method and process would largely be based on how to preserve and enhance His soil and capture the rain He sends us, to hold it in the soil and to transfer this moisture and His nutrients more efficiently to the plants.

Through this foundational faithfulness, God would also show us a very simple, yet profoundly effective, implementation management system, which would also apply to all other endeavours of production and intent, and which would be so instrumental in His plan to bring Africa out of poverty.