Transition: Look, Discern, Position

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Series: Transitions; Other Speakers

Sun am 7 April 2013 – Richardt Hattingh

Isaiah 43:19; Eph. 1:18; Gal. 5:25; Joshua 2:9-10; 2 Cor. 2:15-16

There are three key actions that will facilitate a successful transition: Look, Discern, and Position. The Lord gave me a key phrase regarding the Bizweni ministry – “Look what the Lord has done!” and this will be our point of departure to consider some transition principles. With this we do not disregard the efforts and sacrifices of God’s people through whom this work was established, we simply recognize that it could not happen without the Lord’s sovereign empowerment, grace and guidance.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19). Sometimes we miss what God is doing right in front of our eyes, we look but do not perceive, because God is working in an unexpected way (streams in the wasteland). That is why we need the discernment that Paul mentions in I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you (Eph. 1:18). Discernment helps us to understand God’s calling, and then we can be positioned to move with His purposes –Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Gal.  5:25).

There are several examples in Scripture where we see the Look-Discern-Position process at work in a time of transition. One of them is the story of Rahab in Joshua 2. She was the prostitute in Jericho that hid Joshua’s two spies on the roof of her house. Her conversation with the two men reveals remarkable discernment. I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us … We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you …. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below (Joshua 2:9-10). Rahab looked at the events in her country and had the spiritual discernment to understand that God had given the land to Israel. She also shows amazing insight into the mystery of who this God is, the omnipresent God with power and dominion over heaven above and earth below. It was this discernment that motivated Rahab to enter into an agreement with the two spies. She effectively positioned herself in a covenant joining with the people of Israel and with their God. This positioning had far reaching consequences in her life – she saved herself and her family, became one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 (v 31), and is even included in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5). Rahab teaches us the tremendous value of discerning the spiritual nature of events in a time of transition.

This Look-Discern-Position process has application during transitions on both an individual and corporate level. Looking at a diagram of Bizweni ministries we need discernment to understand how we need to be positioned to move with God’s purposes during this transition. In the diagram I distinguish between “Internal support ministries” meaning those ministries that support the work inside the Bizweni household, and “Kingdom impact ministries” meaning those ministries that focus on impacting the community with God’s kingdom, thus being salt and light in the world.

The internal support ministries include various Home Fellowships, Kidz Connection led by Hazel Swart, the Youth Ministry led by Debbie Bell, and the Young Adults MESH initiative led by Justus Swart.

The next level of ministry is the households operating in other geographical areas but still maintaining their relationship with Bizweni. These include the Worcester and Paarl households under the leadership of George & Lenie Collins, the Kraaifontein household led by Johan & Alta Cronje, and the Steenberg, Strandfontein, Mitchell’s Plain households led by Shane Egypt, assisted by Clive Collins.

Kingdom impact ministries include the Bell Valley Initiative caring for 200 vulnerable families with a focus on those impacted by HIV, and the Institute for Social Concerns, both under the oversight of Shane Egypt. The Institute runs a Toy Library in Sir Lowry’s Pass, a GOLD program serving 10 schools with an intensive 3 year peer education program for grade 9-11 students, and a Sewing Centre operating on the Bizweni premises.  Other kingdom impact ministries that function on the Bizweni premises are the Centre for Disabled Children catering for modestly to severely disabled children, and the Pre-primary & Daycare Centre which is a registered Nursery School with balanced educational program based on a firm Christian foundation.

The YARO initiative led by Beverley Adriaanse from her house in Macassar provides a soup kitchen, skills training and fun activities to 100 kids and other help to homeless and underprivileged people. Hazel Swart heads up the Owl House Art School at Bizweni and provides art training for both children and adults. And then there is the City Elders initiative headed by Kobus Swart to facilitate the joining of hearts as the City Elders dialogue and seek God’s face to pursue synergistic partnerships that will demonstrate the corporate SON in the Basin.

Looking at all these ministries and activities I discern a major and very significant transition in Bizweni over the last decade – the focus has shifted from internal ministry to external ministry. This was God’s intention from the beginning because He has given this house a prophetic mandate to be salt and light. The kingdom word that was preached for so long is being manifested and becoming flesh. In this process many prophetic words spoken over Bizweni have been and are being fulfilled. Look what the Lord has done!

At the same time we need to recognize that a relatively small community is carrying a tremendous weight of ministry, like a Gideon’s army taking on the might of Midian. Keep on praying for this work that God will strengthen us and upgrade our capacity to carry the weight of the calling and prophetic mandate He has entrusted to this household.

Paul also felt the weight of the calling God entrusted to him, For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Cor. 2:15-16). We can translate this question: Who has the intestinal fortitude to carry this prophetic mandate? In verse 14 of the same passage he gives us the key, But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ. Christ has already won the victory, so let’s trust God to lead us triumphantly through every challenge by the power of His Spirit!

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