Thursday, July 28, 2011

Farewell to Sungarden school

Last night I said farewell to Sungarden Nursery School.

I had served as the chairman of the Board for the past 3 years and served as an ordinary boardmember for 3 years prior to that.

Sungarden School had become part of my life. Along with an excellent team of people, and largely by the grace of God, we managed to build a new school in record-time and now look forward to expanding the school into a fully fledged, affordable, community primary school. Grades 1 and 2 are visioned to open in 2013.

To anybody who does not believe in miracles, I invite to simply come look at this school. Last year this time, we heard God's call to build a school on the property of Eastside Community Church. By end of August we got plans together and estimated that it would cost in the region of R1mil. Nobody had the money and we were smack-bang in the middle of the global economic recession. Furthermore, the plans needed to be approved and the necessary government and municipal regulations had to be met.

Well, where plans usually take months to approve, our were passed within 48 hours of submission. This in itself is a miracle. No special contacts, no bribes :-), just prayer and people committed to walking with the papers. The last outstanding amount on the building was paid in April. NO DEBT!!!

Was it a stressful time? Absolutely! Did it keep us on our knees? Like you cannot believe!!! The school is now operating AT A slight PROFIT (with 55 children), with room to grow (up to 100)!!! I cannot rejoice enough. Most important, the children are happy. This makes me happy and thankful that I had the opportunity to be part of the process.

The school has now been, with me stepping down as chair, completely handed over to Eastside Community Church.

There were moments in the process when I couldn't wait for this day, as one's patience was continuously tested by people, doubt and a general output of tremendous energy. This is not what I am feeling now. I shed a tear on the way home, but with great hope as I listened to our dreaming continuing of a school which is environmentally friendly, exposing children to the greenbelt which borders the school and allowing them the opportunity to enjoy nature within a safe context. My sincerest thanks go to the staff of Sungarden and of Eastside.

I look forward to sending Nathan to Grade 0 there next year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sermon notes on Gen 29

The deceiver is deceived. Do you remember the story of Jacob and Esau, how Jacob deceived Esau in selling his birthright? Do you remember ho Jacob got Esau’s blessing by covering himself with lamb-skins? These stories and this one seem to be linked. The Jewish Midrash tells of how Leah was destined to marry Esau (eldest daughter to marry the eldest son), but because of the deception, Jacob was now considered the firstborn and therefore designated to Leah. We read that “her eyes were weak” (NIV), because of her constant crying that she actually wanted to marry Esau, and not Jacob. And so, the deceiver has to eat the fruit of the seed he planted, to face, according to custom of the time, the consequences of what he had done. He furthermore goes on to marry Rachel as well, something that would be considered a taboo in Jewish law later on – for a man to marry two sisters. Perhaps this became the reason for such a law. We don’t know. A complex story. Stories of deception often are. How many stories to we hear of public figures caught in webs of deception? Besides our own public figures, the globe is looking on in interest as the stories of deception in “News of the world” are revealed. As one listens to these stories, they become so complex that one struggles to differentiate between victim and perpetrator. The story of Jacob teaches us a few things.

Deception has a way of coming back to you.

Jacob seems so surprised and angered by the fact that someone managed to pull the wool over his eyes. “Why did you deceive me?” The so-called truth of deception only comes at someone’s cost. Esau carried the first cost. Now that Jacob faced the cost, now all of a sudden it all seemed so unfair! You cannot have your cake and eat it! Truth be told, if Jacob only dealt honestly with those around him, especially his brother, Rachel would have been rightfully his to marry (according to Jewish teaching on this Scripture). So, there is a warning to those who deal in deception: Don’t think you will get away with fooling anybody for your own benefit. The very deception you are dealing out will become your own downfall. The seeds that you plant will produce a harvest, and you will have to eat of its fruit as well.

How people try to make their deception right.

Jacob runs to his mom, Rebekah (who is just a guilty as him)
Jacob goes to his dad and says: “Ok, I’ll go away”
Jacob bargains with God: “If you only let this go away, I promise”
Jacob appeals to Laban: “But I paid my dues”
Jacob makes a covenant with Laban
Jacob sends gifts to Esau
If it made headline news, it would probably read: “Problem, what problem?”
The point is that in order to deceive people around you and to think you can get away with it, you first have to deceive yourself in thinking that it will all turn out alright in the end. Fact is, it doesn’t. The seeds we plant will produce a crop from which we too have to eat. So, where is God in all this?

Jesus encourages his followers to sow seeds that will have good consequences.

As Christians, we learn from Jesus that the Kingdom of God is about sowing seeds that will have good consequences, where everyone can experience the love and presence of God in their lives. Jesus calls this “The Kingdom of Heaven”. It doesn’t come about by a sudden change or transformation. It comes about by sowing small seeds of goodness, love, compassion, and in this instance honesty and integrity and it will grow into a tree that will benefit even the birds of the air. So, we start off with doing the small things right.
Secondly, we learn from Scripture that the Spirit intercedes for us so that we can grow in truth and in the love of God, for in God’s presence there is no room for deception. But perhaps the most profound teaching is that despite Jacob’s rich history of deception, God is still able to use him to become instrumental in fulfilling the promise God made to his grandfather, Abram and to his father, Isaac. As the new firstborn and as he grew in his relationship with God, he became a recipient of grace. God did not abandon him, but pursued him, wrestled with him made him painfully aware that God is a God of justice, but also of grace and forgiveness.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

PC Scam alert

I have just been phoned by a lady who stated she was from Microsoft. She told me that they picked up a number of errors coming from my PC and that I should check it. Unknown to her, I work on a Mac, but I wanted to find out what she was on about, so I hauled out my netbook.


She told be to go to Start and in the command tab, to type in cmd. This takes you to the DOS-command panel. She then told me to type in “assoc”. Luckily I know DOS pretty well. This command lists all the associated prompts and files for specific programmes. I was told to look at the third last line, which reads “.zfsendtotarget CLSID” followed by a number.


I opened my browser and looked up the meaning of this number. She told me that the number 888DCA60-FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062 refers to my specific computer. I responded: “That’s not what Google says!”. This number is not unique to individual computers, in fact, if you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, it will probably be the same. She then tried to persuade me that it was indeed my computer and that she could gain access at any time. I then read her the “Scam-alert” from


Needless to say, the conversation ended rather abruptly. So, friends, this is just a heads-up to be careful when people phone you claiming that your computer is infected with a virus.


Keep your Windows security updates to date, install a good antivirus, make sure you only access dependable websites and you should be safe from harm.





Saturday, July 09, 2011

If I didn’t

If I didn’t injure my finger yesterday, I would not have taken my boys’ bicycles to be fixed instead;

And we wouldn’t have gone to MacDonalds for lunch;

I wouldn’t have seen them enjoy themselves on the jungle-gym;

We wouldn’t have meandered around in the hobby shop talking about cars, boats, planes and trains;

The excitement in their faces to get back their fixed bicycles would have been missed;

Excited by being in a bicycle shop, we wouldn’t have thought about going for a “long ride” to the park;

We wouldn’t have had our first downhill-race;

Natalie wouldn’t have met us at the park, cheering the boys on as they played their hearts out;

We wouldn’t have promised each other to do this again.

Now, if I woke up knowing that I would experience the excruciating pain of pinching my finger with a pair of pliers, I would have refrained from even opening the garage.

Moral of the story: Be thankful that you don’t know what lies ahead. Even the most painful experiences can colour your day with good memories.