March 2014 Newsletter

the VINEYARD community

A distinctive, growing church that loves God, reaches the lost and changes the found

ONE CONGREGATION   Five expressions

From now until Easter we are taking the opportunity as individuals, and as a congregation, to focus our attention on prayer.  We are hoping during this period to encourage both private and corporate prayer.  This bulletin is for our own personal reflections, and over the next weeks we will have available further reflections on prayer.

Especially for this period, starting on Wednesday 5 March, we have a prayer meeting at 06h15 at the NG Noord.  Please join us there!

Prayer Groups

Stellenbosch

Thursday 09h30, NG Noord Kerk, Janet  T. 021 8838319

Wednesday 06h15, NG Noord Kerk, Chris  T.  0827793180

Jamestown

Thursday 19h30, 59 Whiteheart Street, Martin  C. 0787917496

Prayer Chain Monday 24h00 to Tuesday 24h00, Donnie  C. 0722521234

Kayamandi, Cloetesville, Idas Valley

Wednesday 17h00, William C. 0835874748

Wednesday 23h00, William C. 0835874748

Vlottenburg

2nd Saturday of each month, Ladies prayer 15h00, Sarie C. 0729915693

For the past 15 months or so prayer groups and churches all over South Africa have been taking part in the “7 Days on the Wall” prayer initiative.  The idea is to take a stand like watchmen on the walls of a city and pray for our country.  The main themes are prayer for revival in churches, salvation of the lost and social justice.  There have been many amazing testimonies from participating groups of how God has answered prayer and blessed in various ways all across the county from little prayer groups in townships to whole churches.  There are even prisoners “praying on the wall”.

The church in Stellenbosch has chosen to pray for the 7 days from 9-16 March and we at the VCF are joining in with the rest of our brothers and sisters.  There will be a prayer space in the Stadsaal, open to everyone who is able to go and pray there at any time.  In addition, each church or prayer group is free to organize the week as it suits them.  This is one way where we can be united as Jesus prayed, even when we can’t all get together in one place or building.  Let’s join in and encourage others to do the same, inviting fellow believers to come to ‘our’ times of prayer or going with them to other places we know about.  It has been said that when God is preparing to do something He sets His people praying, so let’s be a part of what He want to do!       Janet Rawlings

Do you have an urgent prayer request?  Please contact Janet (0833791728) or Gail (0829242983).  They will pass the request on to people who will faithfully pray.  All prayer requests will be handled with utmost sensitivity.

40 Days to Easter starts Wednesday 5 March       Lent is a Christian festival in the traditional church calendar.  It is the 40 days leading up to Easter.  Some Christians try to follow the example of Jesus in the desert by giving up luxuries and practising self-discipline.  They then try to put aside more time for prayer so they can really let God into their lives.

I would encourage you to make an effort and give up some of your time (a real luxury) with the same intent as is done throughout the Christian world.  Give up time and pray.  Give up some sleep and 45 minutes every Wednesday morning, starting on Wednesday 5th, at NG Noord, 06h15 and come and pray and focus on God.  We get so caught up in our busy lives and we lose sight of our true priorities.  Jesus alerts us to this danger (Matt. 6:25-33).  Let’s bring our priorities in line with God’s.  As Paul says ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message.

Remember – prayer makes the extraordinary possible!

Looking forward to Wednesday!                 Gail Goddard

PAGE 2:

Luke 11:1

The Lord’s Prayer:

Once Jesus was praying in a particular place.  When he had finished, one of his disciples approached.  ‘Teach us to pray, Master,’ he said….

All disciples should constantly be coming to the Lord with this request.  ‘Teach us to pray’.

The following is taken from Richard Foster’s book ‘Prayer’.

Moving Inward

Seeking the Transformation We Need

To pray is to change.  This is a great grace.  How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.

The movement inward comes first because without interior transformation the movement up into God’s glory would overwhelm us and the movement out into ministry would destroy us.

A disciple once came to Abba Joseph saying “Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, my little fast, and my little prayer.  And according as I am able I strive to cleanse my mind of all evil thoughts and my heart of all evil intents.  Now, what more should I do?”  Abba Joseph rose up and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire.  He answered,          “Why not be totally changed into fire?”

Question:  Lord what are you doing in me at this moment? … that I may pay attention to it!

Moving Upward

Seeking the Intimacy We Need

We are exiles and aliens until we can come into God, the heart’s true home.  Pride and fear have kept us at a safe distance.  But as the resistance within us is overcome by the operations of faith, hope and love, we begin moving upward into the divine intimacy.  This in turn empowers us for ministry to others.

Leo Tolstoy tells the story of three hermits who lived on an island.  Their prayer of intimacy and love was as simple as they were simple:  “We are three; you are three; have mercy on us.  Amen.”  Miracles sometimes happened when they prayed in this way.

The bishop, however, hearing about the hermits decided that they needed guidance in proper prayer, and so he went to their small island.  After instructing the monks, the bishop set sail for the mainland, pleased to have enlightened the souls of such simple men.

Suddenly, off the stern of the ship he saw a huge ball of light skimming across the ocean.  It got closer until he could see that it was the three hermits running on top of the water.  Once on board the ship they said to the bishop, “We are so sorry, but we have forgotten some of your teaching.  Would you please instruct us again?”  The bishop shook his head and replied meekly, “Forget everything I have taught you and continue to pray in your old way.”

Question:  Lord, what are you saying to me? … that I may hear your voice!

Moving Outward

Seeking the Ministry We Need

Transformation and intimacy both cry out for ministry.  We are led through the furnace of God’s purity not just for our own sake but for the sake of others.  We are drawn up into the bosom of God’s love not merely to experience acceptance, but also so we can give his love to others.

The world writhes under the pain of its arrogance and self-sufficiency.  We can make a difference,if we will.

In earlier days we tried to serve out of our spiritual bankruptcy, and we failed.  We now know that ministry must flow out of abundance.

Bernard of Clairvaux writes,

If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal.  For a  canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before   overflowing, and thus communicates, without loss to itself, its superabundant water.

In the Church at the present day, we have many canals, few reservoirs.

We have determined to be reservoirs.

Question:  Lord what are you doing around me? …that I may see it and be involved!

Have a look at these passages – we will be dealing with them over the next month.

Matt 6:5-15

Luke 11:1-13

John 17:1-26

Luke 18:1-8

1 Thess 5:17

James 5:16

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