Culture.

photo collageRecently, I was having a conversation with someone about culture. Making the statement that we should allow for and differentiate a person’s spiritual life based on the culture they are a part of. This statement has been challenging me multiple times over many weeks, and I’m finally putting my thoughts out in writing.

Everything is spiritual. Every breath we breathe is a gift by His spirit. The way we act, the choices we make, the priorities we have, the focus we choose everyday – these choices should be a result of the Spirit. If we live by His Spirit, we keep in step with the Spirit. If ANY culture calls themselves Jesus followers they ought to begin by recognizing their existence and very lives as being spiritual! Therefore we are now new creations! Our culture is gone! Because we belong to a spiritual culture. An upside down kingdom! This is not how the world lives. This is how Jesus lives. This is a Jesus culture! And it doesn’t make sense. It’s not popular. It’s not a culture of becoming like the world to relate to the world. NO. The call to advance the Kingdom is being against the grain. To go against the odds. To sail against the wind, and all the while, resting, in the consistent nature of our outrageously good God!

My vision is not to change a culture, to make African culture be more like American or to make American be more African or European or liberal or conservative or more self-confident or more educated or more politically free, more aware of color or less aware of color. My vision is to be like Jesus. To love His righteousness more than my own. To hate my own ‘self-righteousness’ so that I can receive His.

I want to be transformed by His presence and motivated by His heart. An ambassador for Christ as though God were pleading through me, Come closer to Him! Come to him and find his righteous heart of love. He made himself who is completely pure to be sin on my behalf! That I might become like Him in his perfection.

‘He sees you as perfect for Him. And He wants to make you perfect in His nature. Stamping the image of Jesus on you. And he will not rest himself until you have this revelation of what He is really, really like for yourself.’

I’ve had many friends comment, ‘Kaysha, when you are around, there is so much peace, it’s like I am a better version of myself.’ I am not sharing this to make myself sound amazing…Do you know? This isn’t me! This is Christ in me – the HOPE of glory. I don’t love myself. I love HIM. He is the ONLY perfect one. Looking for His integrity. That is my joy. Looking for His consistency. Looking for His sincerity. When He proves himself to you, which He will, you can’t help but follow after Him into craziness. And live in Him and move in Him. And represent Him. And count everything else as loss for the sake of knowing Him and growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him- a joy unequaled.

Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christ-like] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.

Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. – Phil. 3:12-19

But we are different, because our citizenship is in heaven.

Dare to be of a different culture. Dare to not only be a Christ follower, dare to bend. To be humbled. To become less you, in order to become Christ-like in nature, for then, and only then, will we see Heaven on earth.

12 Love Letters | Father’s House 7

Love, is a winding road. Older than old.

Love, is a mystery. It’s got a hold on me and I just can’t shake it.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThrough these 7 weeks I see 12 Love letters from Christ delivered to the world. That the world will know Him. Not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of the human heart.IMG_0530Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe transition into a ‘school co-leading role’ included many firsts for me that were not always easy. Yet here, in my weakness, He is the strongest, and the most magnified and the most glorified! The testimonies that were shared in this school were unbelievable. Our Father God’s redemptive work in the lives of His children never ceases to amaze me.

Such is our reliance on Him- not a confidence that comes from ourselves, but all power and ability and SUFFICIENCY are from God. It is HE who qualifies us- making us fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of this Love message of salvation through Jesus! – II Cor. 3:2-6IMG_0888I am without words to describe the joy..as well as the growth in what we experience these days, therefore I’ll let the photos speak for themselves and highlight a few unique moments during our discipleship school, Father’s House 7.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetP1100767Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_6153DSCN0211IMG_0975DSCN0180During the second week of the school we experienced a forest fire that was quite close to home. The fire started on the neighboring farm because of the drought and after a week of fighting it, the fire was finally extinguished. It wasn’t an easy week for the community, but together we saw the power of unity in prayer and God’s loving protection through it all.

I will not fear for You are with me! // He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in ALL your ways. You will not fear sudden disaster, for it won’t come near your tent. – Ps. 91 IMG_8714DSCN0176IMG_0891DSCN0219Processed with VSCO with a6 presetDuring week four, we traveled on three-day outreach to a township outside of Cape Town called Mannenburg. Over the years this specific area has become overcrowded with high incidences of crime and gang activity emerging. While working with several local ministries, our students joined to offer prayer and encouragement for local kids and families desperately seeking the hope and the love of Jesus in a dark place. God’s presence was tangibly felt with healing and salvation happening all around.IMG_0704Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_0702Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe last week of FH7 before graduation, our fearless leaders, Johan and Marie had the wild idea of taking our students on a 14hr train trip to a massive prayer gathering in Bloemfontain, located centrally in the Free State province of South Africa. You may have heard about this national gathering for prayer on the news, as 1.7 million South Africans gathered before God to pray for the nation politically, economically, spiritually and relationally in unity as a people. It was a huge privilege to be a part of something so radical and I believe as so many gather with one focus, we will see change and God’s love emerging at the center of a once broken nation.P1100981Processed with VSCOP1110012DSCN0282IMG_1225VCSI2520The gift of being a part of these 12 stories for 7 weeks is a privilege I cannot put into words. To see each student fall in love with Him, to blossom and flourish in family, to be willing to be broken and willing to be healed. To forgive, to cheer each other on, to fight for love- this is the vision. This is why we do what we do. That the world will KNOW Him.

All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Jesus. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are His ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Jesus when we cry, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Jesus, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Him. – II Cor. 5:18-20

Love is a dangerous word to those who fear losing control.

Love is a wild wind and no one knows which way it goes.

Love, it’s a dangerous word.

Following these seven weeks we continue with a two week extended outreach to three locations in the Western Cape. If you are interested in photos from our outreach work, I’ve shared them here: That the World will Know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

That the World will Know Him.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  II Cor. 2:14Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

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Witsand // Slangrivier, South Africa

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Swellendam // Railton, South Africa

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Montague // Ashbury, South Africa

IMG_0952IMG_0694IMG_0747IMG_0773IMG_0751IMG_0943IMG_1412IMG_0761IMG_0762IMG_1022IMG_0703IMG_0712IMG_1023The ‘mission’ can be seen in a myriad of ways in which the kingdom of God expresses itself– highly varied and always redemptive!

God the Father sent Jesus in grace to remove shame and distance that we created between us and Him. To draw us unto Himself from being orphaned in sin to being adopted as His own. Not because of anything we have done or deserve, but because of his great expansive Love.

That we might know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

Hope is Rising.

I’d like to walk you through a picture-story of our time in Europe to express an experience that I can hardly put into words. Through these photos I hope to share what God did, the beauty we encountered, as well as what was in my heart…europe map

1. The Netherlands / ZandaamIMG_6940We stayed with friends of ours- Hein and Elise who are like family to us by now! It was a huge blessing to enjoy their home and also learn from them as they share about married life, work, and being God’s Love in their community.

One morning we were invited to share at a small gathering where many Iranian refugees were attending to find a sense of community and faith as well as prayer. Most of them were praying for their wives and children still beyond borders. It really moved my heart to think of myself in their shoes. Completely helpless to connect with those you love most. The situation forces complete reliance on God and His heart to prove good beyond disaster and disconnect we experience in this world. His desire is to not only to unite family, but to unite nations!IMG_6958All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Cor. 5:18-19IMG_6985IMG_6983IMG_7002
IMG_7059IMG_7025IMG_7044While in Zandaam we also shared the pleasure of exploring Hollands quaint history and beauty in it’s gardens, waterways, windmills and windy days! We also celebrated Barbara’s birthday with brunch in Hein and Elise’s beautiful backyard garden.

See what great Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children in the family of God! – 1 John 3:1

2. The Netherlands / Riiland

In the following days we drove from Zaandam to Riiland, Holland- packed in our tiny car with matching bags as if we are a traveling soccer team. =)IMG_7058IMG_7055We arrived and were welcomed by The Lighthouse family to share and do life with their team. It was a special weekend of connection, learning, and worship together.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2IMG_7083IMG_7065IMG_7063One of my favorite memories was running with Barbara through the wheat fields to the top of the dam. It’s a mystery to see the ground beneath my feet that is, in fact, below sea level!…and I remain confused.

The misty skies and mysterious sea level remind me of what it means to run in this life by faith alone.IMG_7071Hope in His Love. The world does not know us..and we ourselves don’t know what we will yet be…but we know that we will be like Him – who is Love- so we hope for that!  – 1 John 3:3

And this hope will not disappoint us, because God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been freely given to us. – Romans 5:5

3. Germany / Starbach / Dresden

Meeting Barbara’s family was refreshing, and a bit like living in a story book. We learned about the grain business from her dad, while enjoying the tastiness of her mom’s delicious cooking and being spoiled by their delightful hospitality. IMG_7169IMG_7170IMG_7098IMG_7111IMG_7161IMG_7276IMG_7356One afternoon, we all jumped in the back of her dad’s 1958 truck for a rainy, and bumpy drive over hills of green farm land, to her dad’s favorite lookout spot.

Here, he prays for their community, for the local famers, for the government, and for his country. It was a privilege to be there agreeing with that prayer.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. – Hebrews 6:10,11IMG_7357IMG_7254IMG_7257IMG_7355IMG_7275IMG_7273Meeting this family, I am reminded of Gods delight in the details, in excellence in design, in hard work, in pioneering and praying through intense and even politically hard years, yet raising beautiful children with shining souls and bright futures.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of HIMSELF very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of this hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. – Hebrews 6:17-18

4. Czech Republic / Prague

Our first train in Prague I felt a surprising contrast between delight and despair. I was meant to be taking in the romantic beauty of the city, yet there was a stirring in my heart for the Czech people to be free from a heaviness still stifling personality and true joy.

I was encouraged by the simple curiosity of a child still untainted by a culture that was created in the era that went before her.IMG_7302IMG_7325When I went on a walk with our host Lily, she explained that during Communist control, even previous apartment buildings were designed in a way that prevented people from living in community.

I thought about the impact that a design like this can have on people. Over time, isolation and lack of community slowly breaks humanity down into lifeless beings with no freedom to share and celebrate and have joy-filled connections. Without connection we lose motivation and hope. We need each other. IMG_7360IMG_7402IMG_7408God was so good to allow us to stay with Lily- she invited us to her dad’s birthday party where we experienced a family full of love and affection for each other.

At their church we were able to share our story of full-time missions and encourage their community to be reminded of God’s passion for his Body across the globe. The people were really touched and received prayer before leaving to carry the gospel to Estonia.

And so….after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. He received his inheritance…JESUS. The only firm and secure hope for all his kingdom descendants- to enter Gods presence and receive eternal salvation. – Hebrews 6:15IMG_7335IMG_7721IMG_7417IMG_7432IMG_7434So let hope rise. And darkness tremble in your holy light, that every eye will see JESUS– Our God! Great and mighty to be praised!

God of all days, glorious in all of your ways- Your majesty, and wonder and grace are in the light of your Name! Let hope rise.

6. Poland / Swidnica

In Poland we met with a young mother named Paulina. She welcomed us into her home, fed us at her table, and shared with us all that God is doing in her small town of Swidnica. We were amazed at this connection we could not have planned ourselves. Paulina was full of expectation with our arrival, and we had barely been in Poland a few hours.IMG_7631IMG_7608IMG_7609IMG_7612IMG_7622IMG_7623Later that evening we went with Paulina and her family to the ‘Resting Place’ – basically a central space where they meet weekly to seek God, to pray and worship in their small community.

We were amazed at their hunger. They don’t have much in the eyes of the world- but a genuine, simple and bold way of worshipping the King of Kings! They looked at us with eyes full of expectancy and love, waiting to hear a word from the Lord. They came one by one, full of faith, ready in prayer, and in a moment were touched by His Spirit. Their hearts soft and ready to receive Him.IMG_7634We have this hope. JESUS. As an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:26,33

5. Germany / Berlin

Driving into the city I immediately felt a next level German efficiency and rigor! We toured Berlin with our friend Marvin, who took us by U-Bahn through the city center, to the Berlin Memorial, as well as the Holocaust Memorial. IMG_7563IMG_7531IMG_7537IMG_7897IMG_7550IMG_7558IMG_7904IMG_7568In the midst of the tour we were feeling strung-out and strange with the intensity of the city. We decided to re-connect with each other at the house of prayer at Marvin’s church.

There we soaked in the moment and gathered together to pray for Berlin and for revival in Germany. I was completely overwhelmed by God’s Spirit and could only feel His heart for the people- for the pain of the past- for the oppression caused by communism and control. I felt the intense heaviness of the burden and God’s heart just pouring out His love for His people, that they would reach out and find Him as He truly is. That they would allow His love and grace to banish every darkness and find hope arising there.

As we left the house of prayer to make the walking journey back to our hostel, I couldn’t shake what the Spirit was doing. I wept uncontrollably.IMG_7573IMG_7582We descended the stairs to the underground subway where young people were gathering and partying, it was all I could do to not start bursting out the name of Jesus! For in His mercy to save them from their aimless goals and dead end pursuits…from their obvious cries for attention, seeking worth and beauty and lusting for food that will numb but not satisfy.

And I wept. My spirit groaned deep within me.

For the very dream of God is for all to come to Him; full of hope and expectation. He IS who He says He is! He is the best friend who knows you. He says you’re never alone because you are His! Because He died for you! He satisfies every distant dream and longing, with HIMSELF. He IS the very food we crave. He IS the bread of life. He IS the Father to the fatherless. IMG_7600IMG_7601IMG_7604We get it all wrong. We think hope is having expectation that our worldly circumstances will change, and if and when they do, then it’s all worth it. No. Hope in God! HE alone is worth it. This life is temporary! Hope in what the world offers and you’ll end up with depression, anxiety, fear, hunger for power and control, temporary highs, restlessness, loneliness, temporary relationships and torn families.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Oh my soul, put your hope in the Lord, for with Jehovah is unfailing Love and with Him is full restoration. – Psalm 130:5-7

7. The Netherlands / Amsterdam

Our second time back in the Netherlands offered one cloudy day to explore the city. It was rainy in Amsterdam, but the city provoked my curiosity.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you restless within me? Hope you in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who IS the health of my countenance, my God, my Creator, the Maker of the heavens and the earth.- Psalm 42:5 IMG_7701IMG_7694IMG_7685Hoping for different, ideal, or secure circumstances is a temporary satisfaction and a weak foothold. Hope in God is secure.

Hope in His Love- His never changing nature is a solid foundation for living this life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Give up your vain pursuit of self, give hope to the poor in spirit. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” – Luke 12:32-33 IMG_7703IMG_7705IMG_7678For all goodness, and every perfect gift is from above; it simply comes from the Father of Lights -the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens- in whom there is no variation…no rising or setting or shadow cast by His turning like the moon in an eclipse. For He is perfect and never changes! – James 1:17

When nations choose JESUS alone- Hope in him will bring justice where there is injustice, peace where there is anxiety, unity where there is division. We need you, God of Love. God of Mercy. Show us how to love. Make us more like Jesus.

For every tribe and people and nation…

May the God of peace- who brought up Jesus from the dead, giving us an eternal covenant with His blood- May He equip you with hope and all that you need for doing His will.
May he produce His Love in you, through the power of Jesus, and every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory going to Him forever and ever. – Hebrews 13:20-21

It is Him, I hope to give you. Go and change the world!

Living in the Wineland, South Africa

“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” – John 12:24-25

I am here getting settled at my new home in South Africa and the first few weeks have already been full of adventures!

Our discipleship school will begin next week, so in the meantime, I have been exploring and having some fun with the team I am living with here on the farm.

One day last week, two of the girls and I hiked one of the nearby mountains for a full view of the vineyards. The valley is so incredibly beautiful and I am filled with awe and thankfulness to be here and excited for all that God has in store.IMG_6550IMG_6553IMG_6555There is always a lot of activity on the farm where I live. With it being harvest season in the winelands, I was able to join the workers in the vineyard for harvesting early one morning and also stopped in the wine cellar to  learn a bit about how the grapes are fermented and bit of the winemaking process. IMG_6592IMG_6595IMG_6591IMG_6603IMG_6602IMG_6597IMG_6606 Also last week, my housemate Barbara and I visited the little farm Kindergarten down the road. The farm workers take their small children here to be cared for during the day while they are away working in the vineyards.

The Creche is simple, and the children do not have an environment that really fosters learning or even playtime. The little ones were so happy to see us come to give them some attention, and I really look forward to spending more time here, loving on them and speaking life into their little hearts and minds. IMG_6509IMG_6513IMG_6530IMG_6526My life here is very simple and all about family. Even when the day is busy, we take time to prepare meals together and our table is surrounded with loads of joy and laughter. I am so thankful for this season and also full of expectation for the coming weeks as we will be leading students during the Father’s House discipleship school.

In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s House, watering the arid valley of acacias. – Joel 3:18

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