Saturday, October 02, 2010

Day at the zoo...and the hospital

We spent the most beautiful day at the Pretoria Zoo. The boys will be
going back to school on Monday and we thought to take the day and
enjoy the sun, fresh air and God's beautiful creatures. This morning
my shoulders are sore as the boys took turns sitting on my shoulders.
I love carrying them around, because I know the time is short for one
to do this. Soon they will be too big and I will miss these moments.

After our lovely visit, we went for cake and tea. Natalie had another
mysterious allergic reaction which led to a visit to the Emergency
Rooms. We don't have a clue what causes it. The first time she had
this reaction, she had a piece of tuna. The second time, some Italian
tomato sauce. This time, cheesecake. She''s gone for allergy tests,
only for these to come back negative. Eish, I hope we find the cause

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Go fly a kite!

My wife, Natalie, usually plays the cello at weddings on Saturday afternoons. This leaves me and the boys with ample time to do some "guy"-stuff. (Not that Natalie would mind whatever we do). Today there was a slight breeze in Pretoria. There is always a slight movement of air, but never really strong enough to call a wind.

Today it was a bit stronger and so we decided to dust off our kites and try them out. We have a rather big park not too far from our home, and so, with excitement, we jumped in the car, each with his own kite. Nathan took a kite which he got as a toy when we bought some pizza. Matthew took a bigger kite which his granny bought him, and of course, Dad hauled out his professional kite that has two strings and could do tricks when in the right hands.

Needless to say, my kite didn't take off. Nathan's kite tore, but Matthew's "Bat"-kite, which he calls "Batty", took off on the first try. We all watched in amazement as Batty flew higher and higher until there was no more string on the reel. Passers-by stopped their cars and looked. People came out of their houses, holding their children's hands while watching with smiles on their faces. I started feeling a bit self-conscious, but the boys cheered as they each had a turn to hold the reel.

Then I thought of the saying "Go fly a kite!", which usually means "Go do something worthless and stop bothering me". How wrong they are. The boys and I had a wonderful time and flew the kite for well over an hour. For that moment the troubles of the world ceased. It was all about the invisible force of the wind being the source of joy, relaxation and a feeling of victory.

Tell you what. If you are working during this weekend and feel like life is weighing you down, take my advise and go fly a kite!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

That's what friends are for

It's been three months since I last blogged. Part of the reason is that I went on holiday and took a break from social networking (Twitter, Facebook and blogging). Apologies if this caused anyone any separation-anxiety. It has certainly been an eye opening experience to see how addictive social networking is. Anyway, that is not the reason for this post.

I would like to ask a question. Do you have a friend? Of course you do. But do you have a friend who is honest and who dares ask the tough questions? I was reminded today of two of my friendships where these friends have been hugely influential in my formation. I have a lot of pals, but only a handful of friends. Do you know what I mean?

Friends are there to read between the lines, to encourage, but also to stretch us so that we will be honest with ourselves and with those whom we love. So, today I am giving thanks to God for these friends. My second prayer is that I will be such a friend to others. May I have the courage and the audacity to help others grow in their journey.

So much for now, before I get addicted to blogging again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Synod Bible study - 21 May 2010

I had the great privilege of leading a Bible study at our district
synod. Feel free to take a look at my notes here.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Facing Financial Struggle: 28 Days of Prayer

The international version of my book "28 days of prayer during financial crisis" (South African edition) is available for pre-order on Amazon! Please click here to be redirected to the site. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Matthew's winter school uniform

The pants are too big, the jersey too long, the shoes firm and hard, but doesn't he look great?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Prejudice and the Communion rail

Read Acts 9:1-20

These past two weeks have been filled with reason for anxiety, fear and increased prejudice. The killing of Eugene Terre'blance... the songs, words and aggression of Julius Malema... Jacob Zuma's chastising of Malema... the list goes on. As a result it seems as if many people are looking for a group where they will feel safe. Lines are drawn, sides are created and the differences between "us" and "them" are described, protected and used as ammunition for discrimination. Sometimes it is explicit, sometimes subtle, but it is there.

As I was reflecting on ET's funeral, I picked up a newspaper and saw an AWB-member in uniform. Immediately labels started flying through my mind, describing who this person is. "Extremist", "Racist", "Person living in the past" were some of my thoughts. I turned the page and saw a picture of a politician. Once again, the labels started flying. Strange thing is that as these terms came up, it was as if I knew these people very well. I could imagine every detail of their history, personality and even their ambitions. And then I heard God ask: “Do you really know this person?”. I tried to justify my thinking of my 'knowledge' of them. But I was completely floored by what I believe God was saying: "Believe it or not, Wessel I formed him in his mother’s womb. I know his mother and grandmother. I have journeyed with them in their past and know where they will be going". God really seems to know us all.

And I realized that human beings are very clever. We spot trends and tendencies in people and we formulate these as our truths. At the same time we are also lazy. We don’t engage with people, we use these formulated truths to dictate our response to anyone who vaguely reminds us of them. Social psychologists call this the use of schema's. Reading the passage in Acts reminds me that I am not alone in this struggle.

Ananias was no different. He heard about this person called Saul. An image was created in his mind of who Saul was and what he was capable of. And so we read that he was filled with fear. He even tried to get out of meeting with Saul. But here God is, saying to him: I know Saul. I have spoken to him. Go to him. Ananias my not have thought it possible for Saul to hear God or for God to speak to Saul. I'm often tempted to think that God doesn't speak to those who are a threat to me or my beliefs. God surprises Ananias by revealing that God is already at work in Saul's heart...without Ananias' permission!

I am so glad that God does not act like a human being. Can you imagine how God would respond to you and me based it purely on a generalized observation? If God were far removed, observed and created a schema of humanity, God may look at me and say: "Wessel belongs to that specie that cannot love and which is destroying my planet, and so I will encounter him as an angry and vengeful God". No, God comes to us with the bias of love, compassion and grace.

Furthermore, God stepped down and entered the realm of humanity as a person to "live our life and to die our death". What enables God to resist generalized schema's? Perhaps the willingness to walk alongside us. For this reason I am convinced that if we are to work for peace in our country, then shouting from the edges won't help us one bit. Perhaps we need to walk a mile in each other's shoes. But before you do that, you have to take off your own.

This means trusting that God loves everyone, that God is at work in everyone. So, this week, I am going to draw alongside those who are a threat to me. I waant to pray with them and for them. Hopefully they will do the same with me. And where we meet as threatened individuals, may even find that place where we can look at each other and call each other "Brother" or "Sister".

Dear followers

Thank you for following my blog. In the recent weeks I have received a lot of spam comments and people trying to post on my blog.

For this reason I have upped the security on posting and comments. Please accept my apologies to those who often leave very meaningful comments.



Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Garden Tomb

On this day I remember our visit to the Garden Tomb. Who knows if this was the actual place where Jesus' body was laid? All that I know is that our group celebrated a very special Communion service here and that the resurrected Lord was very real to us in that moment. I remember this day with fond memories.

Easter Sunday

Every Easter Sunday we celebrate a sunrise service at Eastview Methodist Church. It is situated on the plots in the Eastern suburbs of Pretoria. this morning's sunrise was spectacular. It only became more beautiful as the day progressed. See the mist forming in the valley in the second picture.

During this time we celebrated hope. We prayed for our country, especially after hearing the news that Eugene Terreblanche was murdered by some of his farmworkers. ET was an extremist and very few white people agreed with his views. But his brutal murder does nothing good for exiting racial tensions in South Africa. It sparks more anxiety in the singing of a song with the words "Kill the Boer (farmer)" by Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League president.

We pray for South Africa. We pray that God's answer to human violence my raise hope and love in our hearts so that we may truly be reconciled to each other and to Him.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

God is at the craps table again

This is one of the most entertaining, educating and funny articles I've read in a very long time. Well done, Tertius Kapp. Read the article here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What a privilege!

Teaching is my passion! Once a semester UNISA offers group discussions whereby students from all-over come to Pretoria and engage with us, their lecturers.

This morning it was my turn to present a class and I felt such a thrill, stepping into the auditorium with the students eagerly waiting. They introduced themselves and told us where they come from. Some were from Pretoria. Others came all the way from Soweto (about 70km away) by public transport. One person came all the way from Louis Trichardt (about 4.5 hours drive) also by public transport. And I am humbled.

I am always humbled by their commitment and effort to attend these classes. And so I make sure that I am well prepared. I make sure I listen carefully. I remind myself that this is their time at that this moment is about them, and not about me.

Thank you to all our students for making today such a humbling and worthwhile occasion. I hope you feel the same.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A bad day

What a day!!!

It started off in traffic while taking Matthew to school. In the car behind us was a very pretty lady. At the robot, I admired her beauty, then she stuck her finger in her nose and put it in her mouth. What a day!

Got to the office and met someone in the hallway. Their world had come to an end and I didn't know about it. What a day!

Started marking assignments and am convinced the students do not read a single thing we write. What a day!

Wrote a Bible study on the book of Job. What a day!

Spilled my cup of Milo all over my Bible and textbooks. What a day!

Went to pick Matthew up and he decided to wait at a different gate. After half an hour I found him. What a day!

Went to pick up my wife's new phone. One highlight in my day, another toy to play with. Then they told me they were out of stock. What a day!

Nathan threw up in the car. What a day!

At Bible study I was reminded that someone was not greeted. It was my weekend off and I wasn't there. What a day!

A glass of red wine and some classical music. Ah, what a day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Talk at Cobblecrab workshop

Last week Wednesday I had the privilege of sharing at the Cobblecrab Publishers writer's workshop.

Cobblecrab is a non-profit company that seeks to publish the stories of people's walk with God. Their books are of a good quality and very affordable.

Here is a link to their site:

Thanks to John Bailey for the invitation and displaying our books so generously for the whole week at the workshop.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


While Julius Malema was singing "Shoot the Boers" at an ANC Youth league rally, farmers were being killed in the Limpopo province.

And no black political leader said anything.

I find this sad. I find a great inconsistency in our country. If any white person uttered the words "Shoot the Zulu's" or "Shoot the Xhosa's", they would have reason to fear for their lives. In fact, when someone dared finger the presidential convoy, this person was arrested and humiliated by the authorities.

I want to believe in this country. I want to believe in its potential. I want to believe that my children can grow up here without having to apologize for being white.

Somehow we all need to reach the place where we share a common responsibility for building a nation which looks beyond race. This Sunday I am preaching on the Old Testament lectionary reading. The people of Israel had to rededicate themselves to God. They ate of the fruit of the land (God fulfilled the promise)...and the Manna stopped falling (now they had to take responsibility). I think this passage is speaking to us.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Events and organizations

I belong to a Christian denomination which is renowned for its organizations. These organizations have dress codes, constitutions, membership fees and conventions. They are also dying a slow and painful death. Why? Because we have in our churches a younger generation who live according to the philosophy that "If it is not life-changing, it's not worth it"

Today my friend, Themba, said something profound: "People respond to events, not organizations". It made sense instantly. Thinking about it, I can testify to this phenomenon. We have had so many "events" in the life of our church, and I cannot recall any of these that was not well supported. When we tried to turn these events into a structure, whereby people had to put down their names on a piece of paper, all of a sudden these opportunities would run dry.

I think it is because people want to feel part, but not necessarily bound by anything. Furthermore I was challenged to think about how I live out my faith. Can I describe the practice of my faith as an event, or an institution, a happening or a structure? I fear that if I became clinical in my faith to the extent that I judged others by measuring their commitment to adhering to my organization, I would be deceiving myself.

I'm challenged.

I got spammed

Dear friends

As you may have noticed, someone, somehow posted spam on my blog. Wonder how they did it???

Please, don't deposit money into anyone's bank account. If you have the insatiable desire to do so, I can send you my details via a secure, encrypted e-mail.



ps. I deleted the post. It made my site look cheap.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cape Town, meeting and sunset

I am spending a few days in Cape Town. The main reason is for attending meetings. I treasure this time as Cape Town is always good for my soul.

This afternoon, after a 7-hour meeting, my friend, Pete Grassow took me on a a trip of Cape Town on his BMW GS1150. Now let me explain. I am used to a Vespa. My brain knows how to process 70 km/h...downhill. This was a new experience all together, the adrenaline still pumping through my veins. Everytime we neared a bend I would start praying "Our Father". I couldn't get past these words "Our Father, our Father, our Father...Ooooooo VVVVVVVVolkstaat!" Hey man, I have to get myself one of these!!! Thanks Pete.

Here are some photos from Llandudno. The fairest Cape of all!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Steve de Gruchy

Prof Steve de Gruchy passed away. He went tubing with his family in the Mooi river. He fell off and disappeared moments later.

His body was found today.

This is sad, sad news. I knew him from the Theological Society of South Africa and as the editor of JTSA. Although a genius in his field, he always had time for conversation. His sense of humour was sharp and his presence inspiring.

We will miss you, Steve. Our love and prayers go to your family.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A delicate tension

Ministry is tricky. Ministers like being popular and agreeable. We generally don't like confrontation. I certainly don't. But this week has stretched me to the point where I have not been and will not be very popular.

I was told in my Bible study that I have caused discomfort for allowing people to see a different perspective. I know that the person who mentioned it is sincere in her journey and I have to respect her points of view. Furthermore I am in the process of helping a couple realize that they are not ready to make their vows to each other. At this point I certainly can't stand in front of them with a clear conscience when I know they have a lot of work lying ahead.

There are a few other things lined up where I know I will have to speak the truth in love. That is the challenge, isn't it. "Speaking the truth in love". I have to be aware that it is my truth, or the truth I believe that would liberate.

I do not get a kick out of being unpopular or voicing an unpopular opinion. Those closest to me know that I will exhaust all options before drawing a line in the sand. But I believe that in these instances it needs to be done, for there will be more hurt and the cost will be greater if things continue as they are.

Please pray for me to have sufficient wisdom, to be generous in grace and have the courage to say the unpopular things in love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some humour

During the past two weeks the following happened:

1. On the first day of school a little boy walked into his Grade 1
class, looked at all the children, and said: "Hello, all you infidels!"

2. At Sunday school this past Sunday the 5 year old's were taught the
difference between wisdom and knowledge. The teacher asked: "Can
anyone here tell me what it means to be wise?". A little boy
replied: "You are wise if you know when to keep your mouth shut when
there's a woman in the house"

Thought this was worth blogging.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Matt's first day at school

I won't say too much, except that we are very proud of Matt today. Enjoy the photos.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Taking God out of the Church

It is interesting how we start seeing patterns. Coincidentally my friend Pete Grassow ( wrote about his experience outside the church buildings which resonates with a piece I wrote this morning for my book of Lenten devotions. The piece I wrote is based on the healing of Simon's mother (Mark 1:29-34).

The thing that struck me is that Jesus left the synagogue and went to Peter's house. I assume that Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John went to the synagogue to worship and that Simon invited Jesus over after worship. It is here that Jesus encountered Simon's mom-in-law and healed her. The thought struck me (with the help of the Interpreter's Bible) that we so often leave God at the place of worship. What would happen if we, like Simon, invited Jesus to our homes or our places of work? Will we be surprised to see that Jesus enters these places and touches the people who need Him most? (I am tempted to play the mother-in-law line here, but I will refrain).

I hope your day is filled with the assurance that God did not stay behind at your quiet time this morning, and neither did God remain at church. God is with us. I will be chewing on this one a bit further today. Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Vodacom, E220, Windows 7

It turns out that if you have a Vodacom E220 usb dongle, running on a
pc with Windows 7, then you might experience some difficulties with
your internet connection. Turns out that the Windows Updates corrupt
the drivers for the dongle, so this is what I have had to do with
another person's computer (I run Mac, which is a Latinese word for
"no problems").

1. Do a system restore on your computer to before the critical
updates were installed.
2. Make sure all Vodacom programmes have been uninstalled on the PC
and disable and uncheck all the Windows Automatic Update boxes
3. Use another computer to download the newest firmware update and
software for Windows XP. To do this, do the following:
3.1 Take the simcard out of the dongle
3.2 Go to, Services, Broadband, Downloads, pick
the correct file for download
3.3 Insert the sim-less dongle and run the files
3.4 Unplug dongle and insert sim
4. Plug dongle into the Windows 7 pc and follow the prompts
5. IT WORKS!!!

ps. I don't take any responsibility for any loss or damage to files,
hardware or software if you follow this advice. This purely worked on
this computer because it did not have important documents on it.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sabbath and rest

How do you rest? What is your understanding of a time of rest?

A friend and colleague of mine, Schalk Pienaar said something the other day which made me think about the way I rest. Schalk told us that our times of rest should not be there as the time to collapse after we exhausted ourselves by over-committing. Times of rest should be used as moments where we get ready for work that lies ahead.

Think about this for a bit. It impacts on the way we see work, the way in which we commit ourselves to opportunities. If we simply commit, we will work, not being able to wait for that moment were we can simply space-out. This kind of rest is seldom effective. If we use times of rest to gain strength, prepare our spirits and our minds, then work becomes the blessing in which we pace ourselves, and could actually find ourselves being fulfilled by that which keeps us busy.

This past year, 2009, is the first year that I did not write any exams. Usually December is a time to collapse. This year I collapsed for a day or two, but then started to take care of myself and my family. While doing this, I actively spent time getting my spirit and mind in gear for the year which lies ahead. no, I did not plan the year nor did I do anything that can be classified as work. I simply prayed, surrendering things to God. It has been a time of saying: "Lord,..... is yours. I trust that you will let me know how to manage it". I did this with all kinds of things: my health, my family, my work relationships, projects that I know I will have to face". and each time a simple message returned. It said "Take each day as it comes. Do what you can, but don't panic if you do not finish what you set out to do. There may be a next day."

I moved my day-off to a Friday now and hope that this will not be a day of collapse, as Mondays always turned out to be, but rather times of refreshing and renewal.
I enter 2010 feeling ready, rested and relaxed. I pray that this will be the year of good news.