Introduction and report on European visit, Dietmar Joosten
We experienced God in a different way. Many people have gone through great depths but God is showing people their sins in a new way. God seeks out those who are despised and He works through them. The people are thankful and they want this Gospel. One wonders what they have experienced about revival all these years. When you speak to them about how God works, they do not seem to know how. It was with gratitude that we could spread God’s word. I enjoyed Romania. The people reminded me of our country and people. They do not have much because Communism destroyed this country and even now it remains difficult for them to pick themselves up. It is wonderful to experience the longing for God to work. Never, never despise what God has given us. Hold on to it. We still expect God to do great things. On the heavenly clock this is possibly a new beginning. We pray for His grace and mercy.
Report on CYPSA outreach to Gauteng, Pierre Crignon
I was privileged to join the team for 2 weeks. For the first week we visited 91 schools in the Johannesburg area and addressed about 60 000 children. We spoke at 2 radio stations – the first was DUT with a listenership of 100 000 and VCA, a community radio station, with a listenership of about 250 000. I was on this same outreach 2 years ago and at that time the doors to the universities were shut, but God worked so that we could visit many places at universities. On the last Sunday we were invited to 11 churches. We could also see God at work and people stayed behind to make their lives right. For the second week we were based at Pelindaba. We visited about 65 schools, visited 5 university residences, a rehab centre, a prison and an orphanage. What we experienced was heartbreaking. From the first grade right up into university there are huge problems. What used to be right is wrong and what used to be wrong is normal. What we heard from little children who opened their hearts is terrible. Children are faced with difficulties wherever they go. The need has got greater. People are beginning to wake up and look for something different. They realise that nothing works. We did not really preach to them, we just shared what God had done for us as individuals. People asked us not to take 2 years before we visited them again. People want to build relationships so that they can receive more help.
It was a privilege to be part of the team and work with those from different backgrounds. It is a joy to hear the testimonies of the men from CYPSA. People phoned us and encouraged us. They said they were thinking of us and praying for us. I could feel almost every single day that the devil is there and he wants to destroy. We have received something which is good. We must go and share the good news. Thank you to our leaders who made this all possible.
We see that the teachers in the schools carry heavy burdens. At one school the children openly smoked on the school grounds in front of the teachers and they were powerless to do anything about it. The teachers would come after we had addressed the learners and say they also need help.
When we visited the universities, one team member observed what was happening outside the residence. It seemed like the place was a brothel. If our children are in such institutions, we need to carry them in prayer.
When we visited the jail, we had very little time to provide them with individual counselling but there were so many who wanted to make their lives right. Some said that should they be released from prison, they would come to the Mission. We visited various churches where the ministers had attended the KSB Ministers’ Conference. The Lord is doing much through that conference because it has an effect afterwards.
We were unable to speak to many children individually but we did visit their classes where we introduced ourselves and where we came from. Some learners would already be touched and begin crying. Some had to be taken out of the classroom because they wept so much. May God grant many others this vision to visit the schools.
Thank you very much for all that we have heard. God is at work and there is nothing that can stand in the way of that which He has purposed to do. Jesus said, “I must do the work of Him who sent me while it is still day, for the night is coming when no man can work.” You need to have eyes to see God at work and if you do not have eyes to see, you need prayer to enable you to see.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:22–31
Jesus had work to accomplish in the short time He was on earth. His name was Jesus because He would save Him people from the mire of sin, the pit in which they found themselves.
In this text Jesus had much on His heart. People who came to see Him and witness the power of God at work crowded around him. When the crowds heard that Jesus had left, they searched for Him because they wanted to be with Him. He told His disciples to get into a boat and go over to the other side of the lake, while He remained to dismiss the crowd and do what He had to do. So the disciples got into the boat and went ahead of Him across the lake.
I would like to focus on three main points this morning: Firstly, fear or timidity that oppresses people and causes suffering. Secondly, doubt which causes us to lose out on that which God has in store for us. Thirdly, self-trust – which must come to an end, since man’s only hope is God.
After the disciples left, Jesus dismissed the crowd and climbed the mountain to pray. The Son of God who is one with God put aside time for prayer. We cannot walk this way in our strength, we need the strength of God. We cannot do anything in our own strength, only in the strength of God. Jesus spent time alone in prayer. He had to hear from heaven what he needed to do on earth – in contact with God and heaven in order to hear what His next step should be. Do you see the absolute necessity for a Christian to have contact with God, to have fellowship with Him and wrestle in prayer? You can speak to other believers and hear what they say but you need to hear from God and have absolute clarity on God’s will concerning your life.
A while after they had left the shore, a furious storm arose. The waves grew in size and they were in danger of being swamped. This time Jesus was not in the boat. There were times when Jesus was in the boat with them during a storm. The solution was close by – they simply woke Him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?” Mark 4:38 Jesus stood up and commanded the storm to be quiet and it immediately subsided. The disciples were amazed that even the storm and the wind obeyed Him. They believed that Jesus is the Son of God because the elements, the wind and waves, obeyed Him. This time, however, Jesus was absent. He was praying on the mountain. It was night. Jesus was not there to go to. They could not get into another boat to save them. Jesus is the Son of God. He does not need to book a boat or a plane or anything else to rescue you. Jesus is not prevented by lack of transport in order to reach or assist a person. Jesus can work immediately – in His own way.
The disciples found themselves in a serious dilemma. It was midnight. The waves beat against them. They were in danger of being drowned, when some distance away they saw an approaching figure. They doubted and were filled with fear. Some cried out, “It is a ghost!” They were confused. They saw Jesus in a different way. They were fearful and doubtful. In this situation, Jesus brought the solution. He intervened immediately by saying, “Do not be afraid, take heart, it is I.” What do we have to fear if it is Jesus whom we see? He says, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” He did not need to say His name because they knew His voice. It is I. I have come to rescue you. I have come to save you. Do not fear. I have seen your predicament. I have seen the trouble you are in. I have come to rescue you. Do not doubt whom you see. It is I, the One who works with you, the One who lives in your midst. It is I. Why do you fear?
Christian, are you weighed down by fear and doubt? Do you find yourself in a situation where your boat is rocking and unstable? Has it become dark so that you cannot see where you are heading? No, take heart in your situation. Jesus says, “It is I, do not fear.” Many say that the future for our country is bleak and dismal. Some people only see problems, they do not see Jesus. Possibly in your own life you only see problems and difficulties, you do not see Jesus. What kind of a Christian are you? What type of Christian life is that?
Difficulties and problems ought to make you rejoice and say, “Lord, they are helping me to know You better. I am not like others who, when they experience problems, have no future, no solution. I know to whom I can go when I have a problem.”
Some people’s faith has been shipwrecked. The storms came and their boat sank. Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I.” What fear is this? I have come to save and rescue you. Be strong and courageous for I have come. I have arrived. I am in your midst. I have come to deal with your problem and sort it out. Take heart and be strong. Let your fear, unbelief and doubt stop, for Jesus is in your midst.
Peter’s life changed, in the midst of that storm. His outlook changed. When Peter realised who it was he said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:28 Peter did not rush out of the boat immediately, saying that if Jesus can walk on the water, surely, I can also walk on the water. He was not presumptuous. The fact that walking on water was an unusual experience was not of importance to Peter, he wanted to get to Jesus. How did Jesus respond? He did not say much – just “Come.” Come now, come right now. Peter stepped out of the boat, out of his comfort zone, the safe place because of his love for Jesus and his faith in Him.
Where are you in relation to Jesus? Are you with Jesus? Are you coming to Jesus? It was important for Peter to be with His Lord, to be close to Him and associated with Him. Child of God, do you realise how evil it is when you backslide, drift away and there is a distance between you and the Lord? Do you see the grave danger you are in when you are lukewarm? There are so many things that can come upon you because you are lukewarm. When you are lukewarm you doubt, you find fault and you criticise. A lukewarm person begins to doubt the work of God. He will one day regret his opposition to the work of God.
Is there a person who doubts the working and power of God? Is there anyone who is blind to the miracles God performs daily? Look at the daily provision of food. When one asks the kitchen staff how they manage, they say it is only God. Two weeks ago, we had a funeral. This auditorium was filled to capacity. I wondered whether there would be enough food. People simply arrived. We did not know how many there would be but God knew and He prepared His children so that it was all ready when they came. That is God at work. People are saved on a daily basis. Do you not see that? It is tragic when you doubt God, His presence and His power. You are to be pitied.
Although Peter’s only desire was to be close to Jesus that day, he was privileged to walk on water as Jesus did. When he took his eyes off Jesus, things went wrong and he began sinking. He began to notice the trouble he was in. At that moment Peter called out and said, “Lord, I am perishing, save me.”
You need to call out in a clear audible way so that your cry will reach the ears of Jesus. It would not have helped Peter if he had kept his mouth closed and pretended that there was nothing wrong. He had to call out to Jesus in that storm in such a way that Jesus heard him.
Why do you keep quiet while you are sinking in your sin? There are so many sins troubling you. You are sinking into the miry clay of sin but you remain quiet? There are some sins that you are in such bondage to that you cannot sleep before committing that sin. Why don’t you call out to Jesus and tell him what your problem is? “My tongue, Lord, I speak too much. I get involved in other people’s business and I speak to others about it.” Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” You need to do that. Lord save me because I have a problem with my eyes. I look at evil, dirty things. I am in bondage. I need eye salve. Lord, I am drowning in the miry clay of sin, of pornography. Cry out to God and say, “Lord, please save me.” Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and grabbed Peter. Jesus did not delay. Don’t you not want to be saved today? Don’t you want to tell Jesus about your life and that you are a person who brings friction. You are stubborn. You always want to do your own thing. Say, “Lord, I am perishing because of my sin. I am stubborn. Lord, save me!” Peter found himself immediately standing with Jesus next to him, his dear friend whom he loved. He was safe. He did not need to depend on his own strength and power. Jesus does not want us to come to Him with our preconceived ideas. No, He wants us to come to Him and accept the help and solution He offers us. You do not need to tell Jesus what a good person you are. You need to say, “Lord, without You I am utterly hopeless and helpless. I need you to rescue me.” Pray and say, “Lord, save me from my own self-sufficiency because Lord, I cannot do anything without you.”
We will receive help if we say, “Lord, I am utterly hopeless and helpless without you.” The miracle happened on the sea before it started happening on the other side. When Peter reached the shore, he had learnt to trust in Jesus and in Him alone. Jesus grabbed hold of his hand, He rescued him and he experienced the comfort of safety in the arms of Jesus. He wants to take hold of your hand, if only you would call out to the Lord and say, “Lord, save me!” He wants to save you today.
Songs by the Domino Servite School