1 January 2017
This is the year! The year to turn the world upside down, to step into everything God has called you to be.
This is the year where our Powerhouse young adult community will turn the world upside down with counter-culture confessions. The year we speak hope into hopeless situations, living by faith and not by sight. We are those with a hope for the future, those living for something so much bigger than just ourselves.
Jesus himself came to turn the world as we know it upside down. In John 2 we see Jesus walking into the temple and breaking all tradition – breaking religion & breaking mind-sets as he turned over the tables in the temple. Jesus was done with religion. He had a counter-culture mindset, opposing what people of those days thought was ‘regular life’. He came to establish a house of prayer, where people can put their hope & faith in the Father, the creator of everything, the giver of life. We can now confess that what will take us years to try and achieve, Jesus himself has overcome in just 3 days.
What I love about this story is that Jesus actioned a counter-culture confession; a prophetic word that turned the world as it was known upside down. He doesn’t just confess that He is the overcomer, but also puts action to his words – and overcomes.
The life of Jesus was the ultimate gift of hope as he declares not just His death as the answer, but the power of His resurrection. This is what will stand true. He has overcome death.
This is the foundation of our counter-culture confessions: Jesus the hope of humanity. With this hope for the future we can be young adults crazy enough to believe that we can change the world, knowing with Jesus we probably will – this is our declaration.
Wessel Coetzee – Hillsong South Africa Powerhouse Young Adults Pastor
2 January 2017
I have to admit that I have let fear and doubt come between where I am and where I believe God has called me to be. In the past year I’ve allowed fear to anchor, restrain and even belittle me. My faith declaration for the year to come is courage.
For 2017, I believe that God wants me to get up and go; He wants His children to walk into all the promises He has laid out for us.
Song of Songs 2:13 (NIV) echoes God’s pursuit to have us rise up in faith:
“Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
The Father’s love and deep desire to see us rise up into victory is reflected in this gentle tug. I love how the Scripture says ‘come’ – meaning that God is calling us to where He already is.
I believe in the year to come that God is standing in the miraculous, in the breakthrough, behind the doors of opportunity that He will lead us to knock on. He is standing on the receiving end of our faith.
How do we walk into the unknown?
Before stepping into Moses’ shoes as the leader of the Israelites, God knew to command courage into Joshua: “be strong and courageous” – Joshua 1:1-18 (NIV). Courage in the next year will carry me where God will be calling me. Courage to step out of my comfort zone, to start a business, launch a blog, believe for stronger relationships and surplus to bless others.
I pray that God would deposit supernatural courage into you too. May we go beyond our wildest dreams and look back at the end of 2017 singing:
“not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” – Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
Rabi Lesutu – Hillsong Pretoria Leader
3 January 2017
Being a young man, trying to figure out ways to “know it all” for one day when I lead my wife and home, I am honestly on a constant battle to better myself: training myself to learn and grow, trying to make less mistakes and wiser decisions that will be beneficial to both my family and myself. It’s not that easy when surrounded by all the “worldly stuff”. I have to keep myself motivated and on the right track.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
This verse reminds me that God has a plan for me, and it’s to prosper me and not harm me. When you consider Isaiah 55:9 “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”, it also reminds us that God has a bigger plan and that we need to keep reminding ourselves of that.
What I am expectant for in 2017 is for God to use me to be a positive influence and to give me words of wisdom for those around me. To encourage everyone to seek out their God-given plan and purpose; and to let them know just how important they are in this world.
In this past year, God has done incredible things in my own life – I had no idea that I would have learned so much about myself and about God. The way my life was to where I am today, is completely different, and I want others to know that God has better things in store for them than they could ever dream of.
As I have been encouraged and challenged this past year, I am looking forward to doing the same for others in 2017. This is the year of “immeasurably more” for all of us.
Corban Anders – Cape Town Powerhouse Intern 2016-2017
4 January 2017
I woke up this morning reflecting on 2016. God has truly been so faithful and good to me. Last year was one of the worst years of my life. I almost lost my life with a kidney sickness. I spent thousands of rand on medical bills and I had the feeling that I got to the end of myself. I spent hours on my knees and hours drying tears.
At the beginning of 2016 I wasn’t too sure what the year would look like. I was hopeful that the year will turn better than the last and in the midst of my longing and seeking, God dropped a scripture in my spirit which, to say the least, he has fulfilled in my life this year:
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” – Joel 2:25 (NIV)
These words carried and sustained me and when I think about 2017 I am full of hope and dreams for what God will do. My biggest fear is that will live small and try to maintain all that God has done this year instead of push into the new things he has for me. When you have been through a crazy tough season and all of the sudden things are falling into place, the natural response is to draw back in fear that you will lose what God has given you. So, for 2017 I want to live a spacious, wide life that will beckon all that God has for me; a life that will inspire others.
“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life…” – 2 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV)
I welcome all that God has waiting for me in 2017.
Joel Kapepula – Powerhouse Cape Town Leader: Club South
5 January 2017
At the end of every year I take some time to reflect -jotting down the areas where I feel I’ve grown in, the goals I have achieved and the goals I haven’t achieved. Reflecting on the past year has been a bit of a bittersweet process because I was thrown some curve balls, but there is one thing I will came of 2016 knowing… I WANT MORE! I want more of God’s presence. I want to know more of God’s character. I want more in my quiet time. I want more in my worship. I just want more. This scripture perfectly illustrates my current desire:
“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you!
I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
traveling across dry and weary deserts.
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.”
Psalms 63:1-4 (MSG)
I believe that in 2017 I will draw deeper in my time with God, which will ultimately cause an outpouring in my worship. It will result in me knowing more of God’s character and experiencing more of His presence. I believe I will have a greater understanding of God and experience life with him like never before.
Tumelo Mogale – Hillsong Cape Town Powerhouse Leader.
6 January 2017
BRINGING IT BACK
2016 was a year of action. Personally, it was a year of stark changes and hard work. It was a year where students rose up and stood for what they believed in. It was a year of crazy reform in international politics: from Brexit to Trump. It was the year that brought the demise of social media – whipping the world into a mean, unwarranted frenzy. It was definitely a year that will be remembered in history – not necessarily for the right reasons.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering… 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. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”- Romans 12:2 (MSG)
Recently Pastor Phil recently spoke about the reason Jesus came to earth – not for political or economic reform, but for an internal reform.
As much as things will change in 2017, I believe that my internal life – my thoughts, my relationship with God, my faith, my hope – is what is going to keep me on course. I don’t know about you, but I want godly change to take place in my circumstances – His Kingdom and will. And if we want to be part of that kind of change, we need to be changed ourselves first.
2017 is the year of inner reform for me. It’s going to be a time to go back to the basics and find God at the source – before any of the ‘crazy’ of our fickle postmodern culture can set in. It is a year where I focus on the question, “What does God want?” and the proactively do what I can; building on solid conviction while the immaturity of the culture around us falls away.
David Webster – Powerhouse Stellenbosch Leader
7 January 2017
WHAT GOD HAS
We are privileged to live in the wonderful journey of life. As a young woman, out of university and married, I can’t help but dream about what the future holds.
The future can be seen a scary and unknown and every day I am confronted with daily choices: choices that will affect my future children, my husband and career, but most importantly my relationship with God.
I must ask myself, “Is this part of Gods plan? Are these doors that are opening and closing part of what He has called me to do?”
My prayer for 2017 is that I walk on the road that God has paved for me.
“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV)
My declaration for this year is that I will discover the little hidden treasures that God has along the way. I pray that I will be guided – with Him by my side every day as I uncover the beauty of who He is. This year I won’t be fearful of what’s ahead, but with confidence I will rely on Him and trust like never before.
Maria Ines Nascimento – Powerhouse Gauteng Leader.
8 January 2017
So, we are now in the season where everybody is talking about their New Year’s resolutions and things they are believing for. Generally, we hear people believing to get into better shape, read more books, work harder and all that jazz.
If it goes well, we see people committing to one or two things and working towards that.
That won’t be me.
In 2017, I am believing for, declaring into being and stepping into, everything.
Yes. Everything. Now don’t get me wrong, I will have things I focus on and active changes and decisions I will make every day in pursuit of short to long term changes, but see, that’s do-able. That’s something everyone can put their mind to and achieve.
So, for 2017, I want it all. The things that seem impossible and improbable. 2017, much like the years 1992 – 2016, will be a year that stands out for me as a miracle: a year that will stand as a testimony to God.
I am not believing in order to receive, but I believing in order to become better. In 2017, I want to step closer to God and to the man he has called me to be and within that, everything that goes with it.
We see in the very famous scripture:
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
That in itself is not an easy declaration, but it is something I am hoping and believing for. As I throw myself into everything that God has called me to; as I throw my faith on Him and hold to His righteousness, I will become the person I need to be.
Seeking after Him, truthfully, will lead into a life full and flourishing, in a manner only God can provide. And the miracles that flow through my 2017 will be a testimony to a great God.
A God of abundance.
A God of miracles.
Nic Brookes – Powerhouse Cape Town Leader
9 January 2017
THE REAL MVP: PROMINENCE OR INFLUENCE?
The Most Valuable Player. Man of the Match. Beyonce.
In a culture that places so much value on visibility and recognition – I’ve often found myself beguiled by the illusion of significance as prominence in the different spheres I’ve occupied.
I mean, when last did a street sweeper win an award for their work? When last did a carpenter get recognized for crafting the chair you’re sitting on?
In Matthew 16:21-27 Jesus reveals to his disciples the less than glamorous journey he would be embarking on (his persecution and crucifixion). Peter – beside himself with righteous indignation – politely pulls Jesus aside to explain how being King of Kings works.
In his response, Jesus completely disrupts the cultural paradigm of a life of significance:
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25 (ESV)
This truth put me at direct odds with a culture consumed by ‘gaining it all’. One which consistently tries to coax me into living a life dedicated to upward mobility, recognition and MVP status: an ironically small, banal existence.
It was in Christ’s demonstration of leading in love that I found the freedom to live a large life; one far greater than myself and my agenda. His love that stooped down to make me great, that renders me accepted and valued, that laid it all down to draw near to me – it is this love that brings me to my knees – to be as comfortable scrubbing toilets as addressing a room full of bright young leaders.
I now choose to embrace any position I find myself in as one of potential influence. To overcome the temptation to live a nomadic existence focused solely on shifting positions; but to build wherever I am: my focus on shifting narratives whether I am recognized for it or not.
Gali Kgame – Hillsong Gauteng Leader.
10 January 2017
THIS IS FOR EVERYONE.
In a world where culture determines your feelings towards religion, lifestyle, what wear and how to speak, it’s often hard to see the good from the bad. We live in a society where what was seen as bad is now acceptable and what was not accepted is now tolerated.
I meet people all the time that would tell me that they hate God because of something someone has done or because of the way they were brought up.
It hit me that the common denominator in their anger isn’t God. The common denominator is actually people. We get can be so hurt by other people that it blurs our relationship with a God that actually doesn’t care about how you look or how rich you are. He will always care about you and your heart.
I believe people aren’t against God. They are against those that misrepresent God – those who cast out the outsiders when all God did was love outsiders.
I guess this is a more of a message for those who feel like they are on the outside. It doesn’t matter how you look. It doesn’t matter how talented you are or what you have. God is an inclusive God, not an exclusive god. God’s grace keeps no record and has no requirements.
And to all the Christians out there, make way for those who are broken and lost because you were lost and broken once too. There should be no requirements to love. When you look to God, you can expect a willing, open, welcoming heart.
1 John 4:9 –11. Speaks about how we should love just as Christ loved his people.
Let us never forget those around us. Going into Summerfest 2017, let’s take South Africa and show them the purity, grace and the relevance of God’s love.
“This ain’t the intro, this the entree” – Chance the Rapper
Josh Govender – Hillsong Cape Town Club Leader
11 January 2017
In today’s world you don’t have to go too far to see the negativity that surrounds nearly every aspect of our world today.
Whether it be that news channel that we switch on every morning, or that political article that we read when we get to work, or that horrible video that we stumbled upon when we were browsing through the Internet.
It seems like everywhere you go there is bad news – almost as if things aren’t getting any better…
Could there possibly be an alternative?
I would like to suggest another way of thinking. I would like to tell you a bit about the word ‘Hope’:
Hope is not, I repeat not, wishful thinking!
“Oh, I hope I get that promotion”,
“Oh, I hope I do something significant with my life”
Hope has a name!
I’m reminded of the following lyric:
“I have this hope as an anchor for my soul
Through every storm I will hold to You
With endless love all my fear is swept away
In everything I will trust in You”
Hillsong Worship, Anchor (based on Hebrews 6:19)
Although life around us seems to wither and break away, although bad things are happening in our world, we put our faith in the unshakable truth of everlasting love that reaches far beyond human comprehension! We simply cannot fathom the reach of His love.
God won’t bring you this far just to see you fall again.
God is raising up mighty men and women of God that will see His kingdom be established here on earth AND he wants YOU to be part of it. Just for a moment, set aside all the impossibilities that you might be facing right now and wholeheartedly believe that He’s got the whole world in His hands.
And understanding that, ask yourself:
“What can I do to bring this Hope to humanity?”
Ruber Do Noscimento – Hillsong Pretoria Powerhouse Leader
12 January 2017
DO NOT LET OTHERS DESPISE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE YOUNG
I believe that living ‘counter culture’ means that, irrespective of your age, you walk in the authority of God’s calling on your life. In the Bible, Paul – one of the most influential leaders of the church in the New Testament – encouraged Timothy not to let others despise him because he is young, but to be ‘an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity’ – 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV).
In 2013, at the age of 25, I was selected as one of the top 100 Women in Business and Government in South Africa – named one of the top 10 Women in Engineering. The nomination spoke of my reputation because I am passionate about engineering. I’m always wanting to know more with the resources I have, understanding that He is glorified by me outworking His calling on my life.
As 2017 begins, at the age of 28, I now have my own engineering consulting firm where I, alongside other teams, am discussing multi-million Rand projects that will give hope to the infrastructural narrative of our continent. I do not doubt what God intends to do through me and every project is a testimony of my faith which He refined through my year of serving as an intern at Hillsong Church Johannesburg.
I believe that being ‘counter culture’ means that you allow your passion to point back to the One who formed the passion in you while you were knit in your mother’s womb. I believe that being ‘counter culture’ means that, irrespective of your age you walk in the authority of the calling on your life. I believe that being ‘counter culture’ means being an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.
I believe that being counter culture means giving God authority over your life and watching as He does far more than you can ask or imagine or request.
Vere Shaba – Hillsong Gauteng
13 January 2017
WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF FREEDOM?
So much of our modern time can be dictated by the word ‘Freedom’. Every world war, in fact, almost every war could be seen as the battle for freedom. Today that battle has different ways of manifesting – the freedom of speech, the freedom of equality, freedom to practice faith, freedom to live the way you want.
Humanity is chasing down the goal of freedom. But throughout history, it seems that many never find freedom. In our liberal society, it is important to fight for external freedom – but there is something way more vital that would help us all. It’s freedom for the soul.
Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin. – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
The freedom the world seems to be chasing is a freedom that allows ‘sin’. What is ‘sin’? Anything that eats away at your God-given, unique and powerful purpose. We have all been made with intention for a purpose:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
True freedom is not the freedom to sin, but the freedom from sin. The only way you find that is by allowing God to show you who you are. It is the coolest adventure ever – to discover the intricacies of how you were truly made by God to function. And once you have that revelation, you will want to live in a way that matches up to the will of God.
Jesus said it this way:
“Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”– John 8:34-36 (NIV)
I believe that as we realize our worth we will be able to find a freedom that cannot be shaken by circumstance. That’s how we can live ‘counter culture’.
David Webster – Powerhouse Stellenbosch Leader
14 January 2017
SO, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I don’t know!
Well, I do know, but I often struggle to answer that question. Even at the wise old age of 25 (I know, right?) I still find the most natural response to this being “I don’t know, let me ask my mother!” Well, technically, this would be the most accurate answer- but that’s a conversation for another day!
So, where are you from?
This question has become increasingly important in the world we live in today. A world where often where you’re from is equated to who you are. A world where we are often pressured to neglect our roots, as though nothing significant could come from “those places”, people, nation or department. (Don’t worry creatives, I’ve got your back!)
So, where are you from?
I am from a generation that is ashamed of its origins. A generation that is fuelled by notoriety and glitz. The underwhelming “success of likes”- a shadow of true belonging and peace, a brutal short-changing of purpose for vogue. We have even exchanged Satchmo for dabbing? Surely these are the ends of time…less art!
Again, where are you from?
I love this question, because it reminds me of a story about Jesus visiting his hometown. The story, in Matthew 5:53-58, is a classic case of “Where are you from”. The crux of the happening, is that Jesus couldn’t be himself, and do what he does best, because the people were like “We know you dude. You? The Son of God? Nah!”. What followed was sad – as Christ performed no miracles in his hometown due to their unbelief, because of “where he was from”.
So, where are you from?
I am from a small town, but will impact a nation. I am from a broken family, but will have a successful marriage. I am from struggle, but have found rest. I am from God, I am My Father’s child.
In a generation where everyone is trying to be someone they are not, this is being truly counter culture. It is in knowing where we are from, that we will stand to be all we were called to be. Being counter culture is more about who you are- and we are the one’s called to shape a brighter tomorrow for our nation!
Nolo Mokoena – Hillsong Gauteng Leader.
15 January 2017
I love the example Jesus set for us in His 33 years on earth. He gave people purpose, added value and equipped them to change the world. John 4: 7-40 is the perfect example of Jesus’ character and how he champions the underdog, I hope this speaks to you today.
First Read John 4: 7 -40 in your Bible.
“Please give me a drink” – with this Jesus establishes the playing field. Even though He has all the answers in life, He shows this woman that she has value, purpose & something to bring to this world. He does not show superiority but actually steps down into her world. He asks her for help! As young adults we need to know that God has equipped us to make a change. I love that Jesus puts this woman first as He gives her purpose.
Application: Start off every day by believing that Jesus made you with a purpose. He has called you & wants you to bring value to others and this world.
“You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman” – This interaction goes against everything the culture of those days affirmed. Jesus includes this woman. He shows unconditional love. He blesses her even though she did nothing to deserve it. Jesus goes outside his comfort zone to include a stranger.
Application: Today, where could you step up and add value to someone you don’t know? Who could you bless even though you know they cannot give anything back? This is an unconditional act of service – even if it is just including someone you have been putting on the side line.
“If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – I actually think Jesus first broke the ice. He asked first so that she could feel free to ask back. Jesus first showed her that she had value and something to bring, but with Him she could have so much more. He spoke value into her, then He added value.
Application: In what part of your life do you need to increase your faith? Where have you tried to do things in your own strength? Today is the day you accept Gods free gift… ask & receive.
“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – What we can give Jesus will run out. We can bring water and drink it & end up thirsty again; but when we receive what God wants to give us in return, will last for eternity.
Application: Jesus doesn’t ask a lot, only that we believe. And that belief will refresh us, it will bubble up like a spring in us and bring eternal life to you and to others. Live by faith and not by sight.
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the testimony of the woman, “He told me everything I ever did!” – Because of this revelation – the goodness of Jesus, His grace on her life and her being able to forgive herself – the Samaritan woman went from obscurity to greatness. Her testimony changed a whole village. She couldn’t hold onto this for herself, she had to overflow into the lives of others.
Application: Your relationship with Jesus is personal, but it’s not private. It must be public. Write down what God has done in your life and go share it with someone today. This is living counter culture.
Wessel Coetzee – Hillsong Cape Town Powerhouse Pastor
16 January 2017
Growing up in Mitchells Plain – a community known as previously disadvantaged – I have witnessed first-hand how obstacles caused by circumstances such as substance abuse, poverty, lack of resources and knowledge can influence the mindsets of people. There have been individuals in my peer group who were paralyzed by their challenges and it stole their ability to dream.
Recently, a teen at church whose family is facing financial difficulties had the desire to attend Summerfest 2017. He decided to start washing cars for a small fee so that he could purchase a ticket. What should have taken him 10 car washes only took him 2 washes, as people were moved by his commitment and decided to bless him above and beyond his small fee. His ticket is fully paid.
God has given you exactly what you need in every season that you face. There may be moments of doubt or times you feel that you have reached the ceiling of God’s blessing for your life. You may feel that the vision for your life is limited to only what you have, or what your environment dictates. God has more in store for you this year, and he has plans to challenge you and grow your trust and faith in him. God responds when you move by faith.
“For we live by faith, not sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
God wants to do something new – something powerful that will blow your perspective out of the water.
Prayer: Lord I ask that you open the eyes of my heart to see above my limitation, the visions and plans you have for my life and the courage to trust you and move by faith towards it, in Jesus Name Amen.
Jotham Barry – Mitchells Plain Powerhouse Leader
17 January 2017
NEW SEASONS FRESH PROMISES
Starting varsity in 2013 and leaving home to start a new venture was exciting, but came with its challenges over time too.
Being in a new environment I remember looking for a church as I didn’t have one at the time, so I prayed about it. The following week our varsity newspaper advertised Hillsong church was opening in Pretoria. I attended that Sunday and it felt like home, and has been home ever since.
Being a varsity student, I felt like I needed an identity; I needed to fit in a status-quo and make friends while juggling my academics too. Being part of church, a connect group and our Powerhouse Young Adults Ministry really helped me along that journey. I learnt to place my identity in who God says I am – based on His words in the Bible. I saw Him place amazing friends in my life, who were there during hopeless times to encourage me. Attending Summerfest this past year also helped me grow my expectation in what God could do for me and it was amazing to see Him fulfil those expectations, academically, financially and spiritually. Uni Worships Nights on campus also allowed me to form more friendships and see God move in a new fresh way in my school and in my life personally.
I’m excited for this year and what it holds and hope to continue having a revelation of God’s love in my life and who He made me to be.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
If you thinking of coming to Summerfest 2017, I want encourage you. God always has a fresh promise – something specific for your new season, and I know he has something in store especially for you (as well as a whole lot of new friends you get to make and some good food!).
Omphile Botlhale – Pretoria Powerhouse Leader.
18 January 2017
When I think about ‘new’ I think about discovery, exploring, seeing things for the first time. New roads and new destinations that lead to new sights and experiences. But just because I see a place for the first time now doesn’t mean it wasn’t there before. We all know places like Thailand or Rome exist but only those that convert their dreams into action and buy the plane ticket get to truly see them. In the same way I believe that the new things I’m expecting to encounter this year are already there, I just need to get outside of my comfort zone to see them.
God has taken me from a desperate place where I had no choice but to trust Him, to a safe and secure place where I can provide for myself. This time, trusting God to provide miraculously would be a choice, not a necessity. A new choice in a way. A new challenge. A new expectation.
The Bible is full of practical principles:
“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” Proverbs 12:11 (NIV).
And the Bible is full of mysteries:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV).
I’m hoping for a future where I earn enough money through my part-time photography to buy more equipment. I see a future where I can practice my creativity from Monday to Sunday. But I need to work hard and have the assurance and conviction that God is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Eph 3:20 NLT).
This year, I want to go from my current destination: a conqueror, to my new destination: overwhelming victory (Romans 8:37 NLT).
Rozahn van Schalkwyk – Powerhouse Stellenbosch Leader
19 January 2017
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Looking back on 2016 it has been such an interesting year: a year of trials but also a year greater growth. It didn’t go according to my plans and I’m so grateful for that.
Heading into last year, I thought this year I’d be in Cape Town doing the Internship program at Hillsong Church BUT guess what?
Opposition came, and I did the Internship program in Pretoria for only 3 months and became a full-time volunteer from there onwards. I started leading a connect group, I learned my purpose in life, became confident in who I am in Christ and most importantly I’ve grown to know God more intimately. Long story short, God is working in my life in ways that I never expected, and ways that are so unique to my life.
Going into this year, I’m expecting the UNEXPECTED.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
I believe God will speak to each person individually at Summerfest, and we will encounter him like never before. Life will be given to the dry bones in our lives and new dreams will be birthed. He has plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future. I’d like to encourage us to hold on to that promise especially when things don’t go as we planned, because that’s when His perfect plan kicks in.
Life may not be going according to plan for you this year, but God is not fazed. He has something NEW and UNEXPECTED for you – let the adventure begin!
Bogolo Putuka – Powerhouse Pretoria Leader
20 January 2017
The word ‘new’ simply a nicer term for the concept of the unknown.
A new pair of shoes are simply something nice to look at – but they are untested and you never know what blisters they might develop or how long they will last. A new job is exciting because it is different, but the true nature of your colleagues, the amount of traffic you will have to endure every day and the gritty part of your new role will only be evident over time. ‘New’ does not necessarily mean ‘good’. It just means different.
I don’t know what your experience of 2017 has been so far… My friend’s father works for a hybrid fruit company. They sent through a tray of what looked like pears, but biting into them they had the crunch of an apple and the taste of some watered-down peach. You could have bitten into 2017 hungrily, but pulled back with a different taste than you had expected. That comes with the territory of the word ‘new’.
But to be honest there are very rarely moments when what you get is exactly what you expected. Honestly, I love surprises. On the 24th of December last year, my mother phoned me before and told me what my gift was. She could not have done anything worse to ruin Christmas for me! I didn’t care if I got socks or a new car – as long as it was a surprise. The thing about surprises is that it brings change you cannot prepare yourself for. And I find the best kind of moments happen as a result! But how do you steady yourself for the coming season? How do you get ready for something when you have no idea what it will entail?
Imagine receiving a new car (Lord I’m ready!). How can you truly know that what you are receiving is a good thing? A great car will come with insurances and a service plan. Driving straight off the showroom floor it cannot prove that it will take you thousands of kilometers, but there are policies in place to ensure your satisfaction in the vehicle.
In the same way, as we head into what is new for all of us as young adults this year, we are not blindly walking into it. We have the guarantee of God’s Word – and our service plan is our daily personal connection with God.
‘Wait… for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!’ Psalm 131:3 (MSG)
David Webster –Stellies Powerhouse Leader
23 January 2017
WHAT TRULY MATTERS
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought that field.” – Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
The parable Jesus uses here describes His sacrifice on the cross but also the story of a man who finds a treasure that changes his life completely. His joy is so immense that he gladly gives up his all the things that previously mattered. He buys in with everything he has because the treasure makes the old things seem insignificant.
All my life, I felt and knew that I was missing something. I spent so much time and energy searching for anything that fill that void. The world told me to strive for upward mobility: that one day I would be good enough. I would climb to the top of the ladder, look back and say: “I’ve made it, now I can enjoy the spoils”. I was taught to base my identity on my education, career, and wealth; that success is the ultimate. So, I put all my energy into these things, but it still left me feeling empty.
But then I had an encounter with Jesus! The more I got to know my Saviour through reading the Scriptures, the less everything I had been striving for made sense. I realised that these things actually didn’t have much eternal value. So, instead of basing my identity on worldly success, I took Him at His Word.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
The craziest thing of all is that when I started valuing serving my Father more than these things, He gave them to me anyway.
Pieter Schoeman – Stellenbosch Powerhouse Leader.
24 January 2017
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE SPLENDOR OF THE KING
My declaration for 2017 is the year of MORE. Personally speaking, 2016 was a year of complacency. The danger of complacency is that it kills the creativity of our Creator, we default to comfort because we fear the failure of “radical”! However, I pray you gain hope like myself when reflecting on the Kingdom of God. I believe the kingdom of heaven is the most purposeful and content atmosphere, a place where there is no chaos, confusion, complexity or conflict. A place where God sees you and you see Him, His presence permeates your soul, and all you do, is done in a stance of utter praise.
I believe the lens of Heaven sees perspective and people. Perspective portrays a higher view point, it’s this “birds’ eye view”, where I believe one can see and believe that the King truly is Among US. Heaven sees people! God always desires to be with His people, He’s personal, He’s a Father besotted over His children, full of Agape love.
“He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
I pray that we would take heart, and challenge this life we are living! That our feet are on the ground but our hearts are in heaven, aligned in this truth. That we would be in awe and splendour when seeking his presence. That while we are here, we would personally have an understanding of Matthew 13:31-32, “that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed…”, that we challenge the status quo through simple faith that has radical response, which has always been about loving humanity unconditionally.
The expression of Heaven is purposeful, simply through the example of Christ himself who was purposeful in pursuing our hearts.
Let us take on 2017, with this awe-inspiring reality, that we can have a heart like heaven!
Michelle Weedon – UCT Powerhouse Leader.
25 January 2017
When asked what I think the Kingdom of God is like or what my revelation on it has been, I was pretty stumped for a moment – wondering if what I say will make sense, hold weight or even be theologically sound?
But the truth is, I’m on a journey of finding out what exactly God’s Kingdom is like. We live in a world where being mean is cool, feeling is stupid and showing emotion is weak. We model our relationships by what we watch on television and wish true love would arrive and sweep us away… Well that was my story.
Somewhere in the midst of it all, I think we forget that kindness should not be mistaken for weakness and fear has no hold over our thoughts and future.
“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)
SummerFest is all about Counter culture and how the culture of the Kingdom of God is so different to the world’s. We’re not here to force the Bible or Jesus on to people, but we are here to live by God’s power. You see, I grew up listening to many words and voices: some positive, but mostly negative; all of which tainted who I thought I was or who I wanted to be. The weight of our words has an eternal impact on somebody’s soul if not spoken with caution.
Now thinking about it, I think the Kingdom of God is less about what we say to one another, and more about what we do for one another, you see, we are called to love and to preach the Gospel; use words if necessary.
If actions speak louder than words then may God’s power be deafening.
Cinzia Govender – Powerhouse Club Leader.
26 January 2017
THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE A MUSTARD SEED
In Matt 13:31-32, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as being like a mustard seed that starts out as one of the smallest seeds but grows to become larger than all the plants around it. When I read this parable over again I was really interested in why Jesus would use a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of God. Kingdoms are supposed to be mighty so why not liken it to an established and towering fortress? Plants aren’t exactly a typical symbol of power and might by regular standards. But throughout the Bible we see the value placed in small beginnings and the seemingly insignificant.
One thing God continues to remind us through this parable and other stories like it is the importance of the process.
I’ve recently been navigating a part of my life where it feels like I can’t see any movement toward realizing the dreams God has placed in my heart. I hit a few life bumps and was forced to deal with things I didn’t plan on dealing with. I ended up doubting God’s promises because I couldn’t move past the obstacles quick enough and progress to where I thought I should be. But God started to show me the importance of this slow season.
The time when a seedling is hidden underground and pushing through the soil is a vital part of growth. If the seedling is removed from the ground and exposed too soon it won’t survive. I had to learn that rushing to see growth on the surface would actually be detrimental to my growth. I also had to embrace the fact that from seed to surface, there would have to be a whole lot of dirt I’d need to push through but these times of resistance and pressure are a healthy part of the process.
When a seedling is making its way to the surface it doesn’t know where it’s going. It doesn’t give up and turn back because it’s taking too long. It just goes. In the Kingdom of God, when it’s dark and we can’t see the progress we can still trust that God is growing something great in us.
Dambisa Hara – Powerhouse UCT Leader
27 January 2017
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE A GROWING SEED
“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
As a slight control freak, this parable challenged my faith more than any other kingdom analogy. The man who scattered seeds had no control or understanding of how or why this seed was growing. Yet, when the time to harvest came, he was still prepared.
This left me with one question: have I become so fixated on trying to control the plans God has for me? Am I obsessed with trying to understand why things aren’t going the way I expected them to? Have I missed the harvest that stands ready? As a 22 year old, I thought I’d be working my dream job by now but my reality is far from that. I spent a large part of last year trying to rationalise where things went wrong and working out how can I regain the control I once had. To do that made sense because it’s what the world has taught us as young adults to do.
But I love that the theme for Summerfest this year is ‘counter culture’. God isn’t asking us to become caught up in the logic of his plan because His thoughts are higher. He doesn’t expect us to control it because that diminishes the grace and favor he wants to bestow on our lives. All He expects from us is to be obedient enough to get up and go when the harvest stands ready.
Adi MacMaster – Powerhouse Stellies Leader.
28 January 2017
This past New Year’s Eve, I was watching the sun go down and for some strange reason I became immensely aware of the fact that this beautiful and weird phenomenon – where skies are shaded in multiple colours and a bright pink ball seems to sink into the sea – is completely filled with God.
Jesus describes The Kingdom of Heaven as, “yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Yeast in bread dough spreads, breaks down and modifies the very properties of dough so that dough is able to rise and have a lighter structure. Similarly, I think the Kingdom of heaven is something that permeates society, our lives and this world. It alters the very fabric of our reality and hearts so that nothing is “normal” anymore. The Kingdom of Heaven is all around us. It was never meant for one moment in time or place. It was meant to be in and through everything in our lives.
Which has lead me to believe that even if you think you’re alone – you aren’t. Even if you feel like you’re falling – he’s close by, ready to catch you. God is in everything and has always been as near as a word, a thought, a tear, a sigh, a view. He is never far because the Kingdom of heaven isn’t either.
I think the only difference about that sunset from all the others was that two days before I had buried my dad. I needed God to feel like He was close, so I became more aware of the fact that He was. He has and is continually establishing his Kingdom daily and if we open the eyes of our heart, we’ll see it.
Clarissa Coetzee – Powerhouse Cape Town Pastor.
29 January 2017
The way we live is getting crazier every day. The pace of life is spinning out of control – the opinion-based striving, the desperation for outward success, the fight to be seen as important so that you can feel important.
In many ways, we see our personal lives as democracies – where we open ourselves up to everyone’s opinions and convictions. In an ideal world where everyone loves each other and where everyone is fully aware of the consequences of their actions, it could work. But as much as democracy could work to rule nations, it is a poor governance system for the soul.
Jesus was born into the world during the rule of the Roman Empire. Tyranny was the way authority was established. His nation was literally beaten into submission – their sacred places were defiled and their culture was ridiculed mercilessly. In many ways, this is a clear picture of our society today – where self-image is defiled and difference is ridiculed in many direct and subversive forms.
Yet in that chaos 2017 years ago, Jesus came with a simple message. One that preceded any miracle he performed:
“Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” Matthew 3:2 (ESV)
That phrase, “at hand”, actually indicates ‘extreme closeness’. Jesus brought God’s rule as close as it could ever get – close enough for us to reach out and take hold of it.
Instead of opening ourselves up to the fickle waves of this shallow world, we can ground ourselves upon the opinion of a God who has seen it all and who has authority that out-shadows the greatest successes on this earth.
All it takes is for us to reach out – to give up the concerns of this current world for something so much greater. That’s the essence of repentance. To shed what we have tried to build on our own and vulnerably invite the power of the Creator God to rule our lives instead.
This is my prayer – that my generation in South Africa would reach for God’s authority in the midst of our struggles; that there will be a clear desperation focused towards God instead of each other; and that we will live affirmed by God and nothing else.
David Webster – Powerhouse Stellies Leader.