Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tribute to a real champion

Peter Goosen
Died on 12th January, 2011

Peter was gifted in many ways, and did many things. His largest contribution was to the mining industry, but I want to remember today the wonderful way in which he brought God’s grace to farming in Zimbabwe and to many other nations.

Peter served on the national committee of ‘Farmers for Jesus’ for many years, and I remember his passion for evangelising the workers on the farms in our nation. This also involved sharing the Gospel with the farmers themselves, and Peter had a wonderful way of sharing his testimony with clarity and boldness.

Peter also diligently served ‘Farming God’s Way’, which has been the model that the Lord has given us primarily to feed the hungry and to set them free from captivity to poverty by teaching them to feed themselves in a sustainable and godly way. In all this Peter and Nan were totally united in their fervour for the vision and in their love for the poor.

Peter and Nan remained faithful to the quest when the Lord asked us to change the name to Foundations for Farming when God showed us that Godly Farming was to be a foundational platform for the rebuilding of our nation. Peter travelled widely in Zimbabwe and South Africa putting in many Well Watered Gardens. I remember putting in a model with Peter at Petra High School, which began the process through Jenny Coltart, to her husband David, who then a few years later, as Minister of Education, invited us to take Foundations for Farming into all the schools in Zimbabwe.

Many years ago we asked Angus Buchan to come up and speak at our annual Farmers for Jesus Convocation, and Angus watched us put in a Well Watered Garden on the Bulawayo Race Course in front of the main grandstand. This began a remarkable friendship between Angus and Peter, which resulted in Peter becoming Angus’s faithful armour bearer. Peter often went before Angus into many nations to prepare the way for Angus to follow and preach. Peter would then accompany Angus as a great support for him, and Peter would faithfully share the Farming God’s Way vision with every one he met on these trips. This has resulted in Peter and Nan’s deep friendship with Pastor Jason James, who together with Shane Ivers, have recently asked us to officially launch Foundations for Farming into Australia at the end of March this year. Peter’s friendship with Angus has also contributed towards the huge call we are now receiving to take Foundations for Farming into South Africa.

Apart from Peter’s service to agriculture, he has left a wonderful example of Christian manliness to our younger men. His deep love and commitment to Jesus shone through in his humble dignity, and he seemed to be a man who knew what God wanted him to do. Peter was a very faithful friend to so many of us.

Finally I want to make mention of how magnificently Kim represented her mum and sisters to Pete in the time he was up in Harare. Pete and Nan would have been very proud of her, as they were of the remarkable family they have left behind.

Brian Oldreive
Foundations for Farming founder

" will be called Repairer of Broken Walls." Isaiah 58:12

1 Corinthians 3:11 "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus christ."

The walls of any edifice constitute the main body of the building or structure. They enclose the occupants that live or function there and/or any goods stored there. The walls hold up the roof and generally hold the whole structure together and give it its appearance and character.

The ‘walls’ can figuratively represent the laws, morals, values, ethics and norms that hold a society together and in place. O, just imagine a nation that is built on the principles, wisdom and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ! This is not as impossible as it seems, because this happened in Britain and Europe and America in the Great Awakening in 1650 to1750. There was such an outpouring of the Spirit that pubs closed down and whole nations were affected and their laws and ethics were changed and this has influenced their development ever since. But sadly they have largely turned away and the moral decay has begun in earnest.

Many of us dream of a similar awakening happening in Africa. We have often heard that revivals begin with a small group going to earnest prayer, often motivated by observing and then sorrowing for the decadence in society that causes a urgent turning towards God, and so we see that repentance plays a vitally important part. I have just been reading in a book entitled “The World’s Greatest Revivals” by Fred and Sharon Wright. They say that these great revivals of the past were preceded by a wave of truth powerfully preached. They say that through these revivals, God is orchestrating the restoration and rediscovery of key truths so that the Bride of Christ can make herself ready for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb:
The Reformation, released through Martin Luther, restored the truth that Jesus Christ is the only means of Salvation.
The First Great Awakening, released through John Wesley, restored the truth that the Church needs to fulfil the Great Commission.
The Pentecostal Revival, released through William Seymour at Azusa Street, restored the truth about the baptism, infilling, indwelling, and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Father Heart Revival, powerfully released in Toronto, restored the truth that we need to experience the Love of God the Father and enjoy intimacy with Him

Imagine if the Lord has chosen for another revival to come out of the restoration of the truth of His love for the poor and His plan for their relief through applying the Good News to them in the way He meant it to be. I pray that this outpouring will clear away the destructive norms of behaviour and values in all our cultures in Africa, which cause so much suffering and poverty. We pray that the many churches, which will be planted and the many converts to Jesus will demonstrate and spread the Kingdom of God far and wide, even to the other continents.

Have we made getting married too hard? pt 2

Seeking to straddle both the old tribe and the new tribe of God, we have ended up placing heavy burdens on our young people who want to marry. The weight of these burdens often deters people and they end up deferring their marriage plans. As the prospect of marriage grows dimmer (due to inadequate finances) many people, unable to control their passions get caught up in sexual immorality (that is, engage in sex before marriage). We must not make it difficult for people to be obedient to God when they want to get married.

I would like to see Christian parents cutting out the dowry or lobola requirements for the marriages of their children. I would like to see the covenant nature of marriage reinforced in a simple celebration without all the expensive trappings of western clothes and food now expected. My understanding of the marriage ceremony is that the only essential thing on the day is the speaking of the vows to one another in the presence of the church and the blessing prayed upon the couple by the leaders and the church as a whole. The goal should be simplicity and freedom. This will help the couple to focus on the essence of the ceremony: the entering into covenant with each other before God.”

Wow! That raises many questions! Do you agree with John Kpikpi? Is this problem true in Zimbabwe also? What can church leaders and family champions do to make it simpler for our people to be married?

"....and will Raise Up the Age Old Foundations" Isaiah 58:12

1 Corinthians 3:11 "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."

The strength and excellence of any building must be established on strong foundations; in fact many professional builders will tell you that a building is as strong as its foundations. For a rebuilding of anything after ruination, it first requires the re-establishment of the original foundations. Were they strong enough and were they built on the firmness of solid bedrock?

If they were originally built on the machinations of man, leaning on his own understanding, they are bound to be much weaker than if they if they were built on God Himself and His ways. How can fallen man build correctly in a way, which conforms to God’s Ways, when He refuses to consult the Creator of all things, and has other fallen men as his consultants, whose boss is the ruler of this world? This boss is also known as the Ruler of the kingdom of darkness, the Liar, the Deceiver, the Thief and the Destroyer. He is cunningly clever at making facsimiles and counterfeits that dishonour God.

Even Christian builders and rebuilders must be very careful not to build on traditionally accepted methods and principles, no matter how educated and sophisticated these models appear to be. The Lord hates compromise and contamination with the world, or any form of compromise and lukewarmness! So with all earnestness we must go back to the age-old foundations, the principles and methods, which were established in God’s heart before the foundations of the world!

This is why the Lord has asked us to change the overall covering name for His Way of farming to Foundations for Farming. We certainly are learning to farm His Way, but even that must be founded on God’s Foundations, and Foundations for Farming is the Lord’s choice as the entrance point of demonstration of how to build and do all things His Way on His Divine Foundations! The principles established in Foundations for Farming is God’s entrance point model for the Foundations for Nations, Family, Education, Health, Law, Order and Justice, Business, Mining, Environmental Care, Services, Preaching etc.

It also conforms to the Lord’s time sequence for the multiplication of man into society and civilisation and dominion over the earth, because working and caring for the garden was the first occupation and responsibility He gave to the first man, Adam. (Genesis 1: 28-29 and 2: 15). If we want to be used by God to rebuild and develop the infrastructure and society in Africa, then we must raise up His age-old foundations. Let us begin again where God began!

Have we made getting married too hard?

John Kpikpi is a leader at the City of God Church in Accra, Ghana and oversees the Newfrontiers family of churches in six West African nations. In his book, God’s New Tribe, he says that Christians, who are God’s people, make up a new tribe and that our first loyalty should be to Jesus and God’s New Tribe. In a chapter on God’s New Tribe and Marriage, he writes, “My purpose is to make an urgent plea for all of us who have escaped from our old tribes and become part of God’s new tribe to see the futility and danger inherent in the old tribes’ way of ‘doing marriage.’ Let us remember that we, the new tribe of God, have, by God’s grace, been redeemed from the ‘empty way of life’ handed down to us from our forefathers (1 Peter 1:18).”

Then he has this to say about getting married: “A friend of mine commented that he had to marry his wife three times before she became his wife! This was a reference to the series of ceremonies many people in Africa pass through in the journey towards getting married. Two people who wish to marry are required to: fulfil the requirements of the old tribe (by performing the customary rites, paying a dowry etc); fulfil state requirements (by legally registering their union); and fulfil the requirements of the new tribe (by entering into covenant with each other and having their marriage blessed in the presence of God’s people).

Serious questions begin to arise: At what point along the process can two people consider themselves husband and wife and begin to live together under the same roof? In which order should the various ceremonies be performed? A more revolutionary question is: Should we continue with all these ceremonies or is it time to scrap some of them? For two young people who are both committed to honouring God in their marriage, these are very real issues.

Read On......

"Your people will rebuild Ancient Ruins......" Isaiah 58:12

1 Corinthians 3:11 "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."

The Lord sees that in a continent like Africa, the combined poverty of the great majority of our people results in a widespread poverty in mind, body and spirit that covers individuals, families, communities, towns and cities, and nations. He has shown us that this whole ruination has started with unfaithfulness with the Land, which is the first thing He gives any people group to take care of and use. The ‘taking away’ that ensues also affects the entire infrastructure of all of the nations, because our Holy and Just God will not ‘add to’ unfaithfulness.

Using the term ruination will no doubt offend some people, but the facts are that Africa is the poorest continent with the highest hunger and disease levels, the lowest life expectancy, the least production to natural resources ratio, huge corruption levels, the most wars, and the least inspirational inventiveness. I want to say this gently, but the lord says emphatically that we are to shout it out aloud with a voice like a trumpet. The Lord says, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” To stubbornly deny the facts or get angry when they are revealed is actually a form of rebellion. God’s love inspires us to speak and to face the truth.

The ruination by man of anything that God has created must bring Him dishonour, and must be a distinct measure of unfaithfulness, so in our love for God and our desire to bring Him glory, surely we must concern ourselves wholeheartedly with the rebuilding of what has been ruined. What an honour and privilege it is to be named as the rebuilders, on the basis of our heart for the poor.

The rebuilding process must begin with a plan for the poor and with the land. In Africa we have some of the most abundant and best soils and rainfall in the world, and because of the lack of a sophisticated industrial and services infrastructure, and a huge unemployment problem, we must begin by resettling the poor on the land and teaching them to be faithful and productive with it. Many of the poor have failed on the land and have gone to the cities for jobs that don’t exist, and many squat there in tremendous hardship and suffering.

Because of this failure with the land and the association it has with poverty, agriculture as a way of life is now scorned and ridiculed and has no value or status in most people’s minds. This very poor reputation and lack of hope in agriculture as a concept or as a career, and its causal lack of management and stewardship ability, have resulted in ever-increasing neglect and abuse of the land, and so it cycles downwards in this chronic form of captivity to unfaithfulness and poverty.