Sunday, March 13, 2011

A little personal…

1976: Running hurdles at 13 At the age of 13, in 1976, I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at a Christian Students Association camp in Winkelspruit, South of Durban, South Africa. For the next 5 years I was very busy at school with athletics, rugby and karate (which I stopped in favour of rugby around 1979). I also studied… at times!

By the time my final year in school came around, my matric year, I was set to become a school teacher. However, I experienced a real renewal in God during this year, and really felt the call of God on my life and decided not to pursue a career as a teacher after all.

1981_myplatoon8SAI At that time, South Africa was still fighting the Angolan border war, when Namibia was still known as South West Africa. At that time, military service was still compulsory, and to be completed either immediately after matriculation, or after finishing university studies. I chose to go to the army first, and my army intake was in July 1981. (In the picture to the right I am standing 2nd from the right.) I finished my army service in June 1983, and then started working.

1987_leadingworship In 1985, I entered Bible College. The Bible College is an Arminian, dispensational college, and I came from a similar church. The next 5 years were very good years as I studied, and really excelled, especially at Greek, in which my average for my Greek courses was 96%. In my 3rd year I also started leading worship at college, then at cell, youth, and eventually at church as the leader of the church's youth worship band. It was in this year that my wife and I started dating.

In my final year (1988) the college instituted a student-pastor program in which some students would be chosen to complete their final year as student-pastors, working with an established pastor as the student's mentor. I was chosen for this program, and eventually decided to do this for 2 years.
This was a period of hard work as we visited up to 40 people a week in the congregations where we worked, as well as attending meetings, and more. Nevertheless, this gave us invaluable experience as we visited congregants, whom we prayed with and counselled.
1989_meandcharlainegettingmydegree In January 1989 I received my BA Bible/Theology degree. At this time, I still had to complete my final year as student-pastor. While I was a student-pastor, I was also involved in the youth, leading worship there and being part of the all-around youth ministry.

However, the end of 1989 came, when both my wife and I finished our study programs. Our wedding date was set for 7 April 1990, and at this point I had 3 possible calls from churches. However, I did not feel right about any of them, and as 1990 was coming closer at breakneck speed, I had to make a decision as to what was going to happen in that year. I eventually decided that I needed to find a job, as I couldn't let my wife's small teacher's salary keep us going, as that would have been an impossibility.

Due to the fact that I was qualified as a pastor (and only as a pastor), I ended up taking a job as a security guard at a government facility that handled secret/top-secret I.T. projects. While I was there I started looking out for a better job. I.T. started interesting me, and I eventually started as a junior programmer in the company's data security department, and was trained as a C programmer, writing code to search for and remove computer viruses. I enjoyed being a software programmer so much that within a year I was the department's top programmer. That was only the beginning. I have now been in programming for 20 years.

As the years went on after leaving Bible College, I continued to lead cell group at our church with regular attendance of between 20-40 at each cell meeting. By 1995 the internet started growing and I started debating these "Calvinists" through email discussion groups. This continued until at the end of 1997 beginning 1998, I was challenged by a Calvinist to read The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner. I took several months to read this book with my trusty NASB by my side. By the time I finished reading that book, I was convinced that the Calvinist doctrines were true to the Scriptures.

However, by the end of that year we were preparing to go to America, as I found a job there. We lived in Columbus, Ohio for 2 years, 1999-2000. I was not the typical Calvinist that believed in Covenant Theology, and I didn't believe in Dispensational Theology either. I differed with both of them, and I felt like I was the only one that believed the way I did. Then, while we were in America, I discovered a movement known as New Covenant Theology (NCT). It was amazing! Here was a movement that believed almost exactly like I did! I had found my theological home!

Well, to cut a long, boring story short, we returned to South Africa at the end of 2000, and I continued in I.T. on our return.

We returned to the church we were part of before we left for the U.S., as my wife's dad was one of the pastors there. It is an Arminian, dispensational church. From the time we returned, I started looking for a church that believed like I did, but it was not easy. Eventually I gave up the search, and decided to leave the search alone until my father-in-law retired, just to keep the family peace. At the end of 2009, my father-in-law retired and it was then that I started the search again. By September 2010, we had found a church that satisfied our search "parameters" most closely, and that is where we have been worshipping since then.

In the meantime, for the last 5 or more years, I have been tiring of I.T. Maybe even longer! I have come to a time in my life that I have found that I do not not think as quickly as I used to. In the past, I was able to come up with new ideas to write software in short periods of time. Now, those thought processes are slowing down. My heart is no longer in I.T. It is merely a means to an end.

I have come full circle. My heart is in teaching the people of God, and preaching God's Word to them. I feel like God has taken me on a tour, and I am back where it had all started. I want to teach God's people His Scriptures. I find that too few people know the Bible and the wonderful doctrines contained in it. This has become a consuming fire in me!

I know God has His purposes in the way He takes our lives, yet, would I have this intense desire without God putting it there?

So, it is my request from my two readers out there to pray for me in this regard. Pray that the doors will open at the right time, and that His will be done!

I know that this post is a little personal, but I just wanted to get this out there.

God is great, and He is good, and may He be glorified forever in the lives of His people!

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