Pastor Leigh RobinsonA few days ago I received this message from my brother-in-law, who has spent over thirty years of his life as a missionary in Thailand:

“Please pray for my friend Kias, a Thai Christian folk singer who is entering the hospital tomorrow for treatment. On March 23rd he was diagnosed with a rare cancer that has spread through his internal organs. He is spitting up blood and the doctor has not given him hope. Today he shared with me that he is at peace with God even though he is walking through the shadow of death, he is not afraid. His wife and young daughter (about 6) need grace during this time as well. Pray for God’s will to be done, whether it is bodily healing or whether it is a new body in heaven. Pray for Nok his wife to be strong in her faith.”

As I was running early this morning and praying for Kias my mind flitted to a testimony of a woman who has just become a member of our church. I read her story last night. She was born and raised in a Hindu family, but was never happy and comfortable with prayers and rituals the family had to perform. When she was 12, her uncle came to faith and she would often go to church with him. She left school in Grade 11 to look after her bed-ridden dad. At that time her uncle and elders of his church visited her dad and prayed for him. Miraculously he was healed and the whole family gave up Hinduism and embraced Christ.

Why do we not see more miraculous healings? Lack of faith? Lack of prayer? Lack of expectation? Probably! But then there’s ‘mystery’. Who can understand the ways of God! We must pray for healing, but “learn to trust his heart where we cannot trace his hand.”

Would you think of describing your conversion to Christ as “a wonderful car crash?” It is true that some conversions are quiet and gradual. You don’t know the time of your spiritual birth; you just know you’re alive! That’s what counts. But others experience a more definite, sometimes dramatic, conversion. In my last blog I told you about Louise coming to Jesus after twenty-five years of prayer. Here’s a bit of her story:

“I left the (morning) service in a daze. Something was happening to me. I was elated, excited, joyous. I told Tim I had found a great church, and went back for the evening service. As soon as it started, I realised that all the hymns we were singing, all the words being spoken, all the Bible passages being read, were all speaking to me loud and clear. It was as if I had previously witnessed all church related things in Russian! Every question I thought was being answered, specifically, by the Pastor almost immediately, and I was overwhelmed, and then I began to weep and weep, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord. I wept that Jesus has been quietly tapping me on the shoulder all these years, and I never turned to greet him. I was ashamed, and joyous, and a million things all at once, including embarrassed, as I am not one for being openly emotional, and I found it excruciating! When the penny drops, and you let the Lord in, the power of the Holy Spirit taking up residence is something akin to a wonderful car crash!”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When Irene and I served at Durban North Baptist Church in the early eighties we had the joy of seeing our neighbours a few doors up the road from us, Lucy and George, come to Christ. Both experienced radical conversions, grew rapidly, and brought us much joy. After a few years they, together with their young daughter, moved back to the UK. George died of a sudden heart attack, and Lucy went on to become one of the BBC’s top script writers. In all the years since then, Lucy has been on my weekly prayer list. As I have prayed for her I have prayed that her daughter, Louise, would come to know Christ and follow him with all her heart. The other day I received this news from Lucy:

“Just a happy message to you both: having been paddling around Christianity for years and years, and accepting that Christ is the Son of God, and believing in the Bible but never quite committing herself to Him, or becoming a new creature in Christ… yesterday Lou was born again. She’s just spent an hour telling me all about the joy of it all, and the excitement and the terror – all the ‘how is this going to change my life?’ stuff – and I just sat there, beaming, letting it all wash over me like a blessing. Which it is. I can die happy now. But not just yet, eh?
“I won’t tell you Lou’s story, because it’s hers and she may want to tell you herself one day.”

What joy! What encouragement to persevere in payer for loved ones who do not yet know Jesus!

Go HD in 2010!I spotted this DStv ad while driving on Sandton Drive early in February. Ok, let me declare upfront, I have no shares in DStv nor do I have any family member working there! The ad promised subscr ibers two new High Definition channels in 2010. Why get excited about HDTV? Well, HD is about clarity and quality of both picture and sound, and the applied technology makes television clear and defined. The quality of the pixel resolution is substantially higher than traditional TV systems.

So, I asked myself, “What would happen if each one of us looked at Christian living through the lens of high definition and lived our lives accordingly in 2010 and beyond?” Imagine a lifestyle established on godly and sound principles. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9,13 I marked four words that spell high definition living, i.e. Hear, Love, Teach and Fear:

  • Hear the truth continually – the more we hear the truth about God and his plan and purpose for us the more our lives will be uncluttered. In our busy lives we are not hard of hearing but hard of listening. Check the time you spend alone in the Word, in fellowship with others and in public worship.
  • Love the Lord fervently – this is about our total devotion to God and our whole being caught up in him. It is about guarding against anything that would cause our love to grow cold. Loving him this way will enable us to love and serve others.
  • Communicate diligently – the teaching and communication is done in the context of everyday life. This is being missional and intentional. The mission field is wide open for us, be aware of opportunities God brings your way and be ready to share whenever appropriate.
  • Fear God greatly – this is not a frightened fear but a deep and awesome respect for the living God. Fear the results of a disobedient lifestyle. Fear the consequences of walking against his will. And may that fear restrain us from presumption and pride.

I urge you therefore, to go for “High Definition” living in the power of our God…

Missionally yours,
Pastor Ndaba Mazabane

Welcome to my blog! This is the place where I get to introduce you to some of the amazing people who are part of the Rosebank Union Church family.

Soon after we arrived at Rosebank in September 2004 and started getting to know people, we began to be inspired by who they were and what they were doing. Within months I started a file which I called “Rosebank’s Amazing People.” That file steadily grew as I got to know more and more people.

Through this blog I want to introduce you to people who inspire and challenge me. They are ordinary people who have stretched themselves to do the extraordinary. They are people who have seen a need and rearranged their lives so that they could fill that need. They are people who love South Africa with all his challenges and complexities and are determined to make a difference to this country and her people.

The movie “Australia” ends with a quote by the young boy who plays one of the leading roles. His quote sums up why this blog exists. “One thing I know. Stories are important because that’s how you keep people belonging.”

I’ve met many fascinating people at Rosebank. But I certainly haven’t met them all. To keep this blog going, I need your help. Tell me who inspires you. Who have you met who has a story to tell. Let’s discover together the people who make our church what it is.

The church is about mission!

On Friday and Saturday of last week I found myself, along with several hundred pastors and leaders, attending the Urban Force Conference where Mark Driscoll, founder and senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, was the main speaker. Mark is a hard-hitting, practical, down-to-earth Calvinist who has been used by God to spearhead one of the fastest growing churches and church planting movements in America. I was deeply challenged by his emphasis on the fact that the church is a mission organisation committed to fulfilling the Great Commission; the leaders are to be missiologists who understand God’s Word and the culture in which they are carrying out God’s mission; and the people are the missionaries who gather for worship and scatter to carry out Christ’s mission in their world. Together with other Rosebank leaders and members who attended the Urban Force event, I want to do my part as senior pastor to move RUC toward being more missional in its focus. We’re doing a lot of things right, but we have a lot to learn and a long way to go if we are to influence our city and our world for Christ’s kingdom.

The church is about mystery!

Yesterday (Monday 15 March 2010) I stood beside a hospital bed and wept with the parents and close friends of a dear little two-year old boy who died as a result of a freak accident. His parents are our missionaries, fully committed to the mission of God in the world. I cannot explain the pain we all felt as we watched the grieving parents kiss his lifeless body and wet it with their tears. The question behind the silent stares and the tear-stained faces of all in that tiny ward was, “Lord, why?” As I stood there I recalled the words of a wise missionary after several members of his family had died in a tragic motor accident in Namibia: “With God there are mysteries, but no mistakes.” With wet eyes and choked voices we whisper, “Yes, Lord!”

Being a pastor means learning to live with mystery as you focus on mission.