Issue 23: The Control Issue

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illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

In this issue: Idols of sand


Self control


Ctrl Alt Delete


Giving God control


8 tests of self control


Changing lenses




Cover designed by: Katy Breytenbach

g I started thinkin ly m o d n ra d n a day ll at University. h God the other ti it s w s g a n w ti I it e s il s h a w w I ened ent which happ id c in e n o is th of h

Katy Breytenbac

There’s this course that my church ran - Alpha - and I was leading a group. This course is one that’s aimed specifcally at people who aren’t Christian and have questions or who are new to the faith. So there was a lot of praying (this is probably an understatement, it was more like pleading) involved on my side, ‘Jes us, please give me a group that’s not too crazy/challenging … please?’

The first night came an d after the talk, we go t into groups to discuss to say before we begin questions. ‘Does anyo ?’ To my delight, some ne have anything guy (with his quiet and voice and began to as hopeful girlfriend by his k something. I realise side) raised his now that he wasn’t ac people in my group at tually requiring any resp all. He had come to ma on se from me or the ke a sta order for us to receive tement. He didn’t unde eternal life; it just didn’t rstand why Jesus had ma to die in ke sense to him. I open to help him see why Je ed it up to the table de sus had to be the ultim sperately trying ate perfect sacrifice for without dying first. But our sins and that He co alas, he left at the end uldn’t do that of the evening saying convinced. I never saw his question was answered him again. , but I wasn’t

I don’t remember what his name is or even what he looks like, just that he had come with questions and I had failed to lead him to the answers that brought peace.

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

Every now and then, I’ve remembered this incident, I don’t remember what his name is or even what he looks like, just that he had come with questions and I had failed to lead him to the answers that brought peace. And as I was sitting on my bed thinking of this, and also thinking of so many other people whose faith isn’t solid because of doubts/reservations they have, I saw this amazing picture and knew that I had to pray for him then and there. I can only trust that God has started shedding the blinds that have been covering his eyes and the fear of letting go which has been gripping his heart for who knows how long.

Designed by: Katy Breytenbach

tues/idols d him were these huge sta un aro all d an rt se de a in I saw a man standing and the idols were slowly s blowing all around them wa d win the t Bu . nd sa m e. The man made fro the air, making it hard to se in g irlin wh s wa nd sa the nd wouldn’t disintegrating as with his arm so that the sa es ey his g rin ve co rds wa turned his face down m the sandy haze and n, a big guy, appearing fro ma er oth an w sa I en Th . the man, he pulled blind him ring his eyes. As he got to ve co n ma the s ard tow g he was walkin

him up and embraced him, but it was – for lack of a better way to describe this – a solid ‘man hug’ (no shame/pride involved), as if they were long lost brothers or best friends. They excitedly started talking to each other and catching up on lost time, all the while walking away from the idols which were still disintegrating swiftly (NIV)

around them. A s they got furthe r away, with ar a robe appeared ms over each ot on the man who her’s shoulders, came to embrac too. They kept on chatting thou e the other one, gh and a crown as if nothing ha them anymore. d changed until I couldn’t see

As I sat thinking about that Alpha guy who had le mind, it was hu ft with the sam mbling to realis e question on hi e th at his walk with couldn’t make s him understand the Lord was ou anything. I had t of my control him away and –I to stop worryin I had to relin qu g that we had tu ish control to G that He was/is rn ed od , even all these working in this years later, and guy’s heart. Pra Holy Spirit gave trust ying for him from me through this th e insight that th picture gave m control. And I le e e peace and al arnt something lowed me to gi awesome in th ve up e process. Tha t as we allow w hat we was h umbling t o realise t his walk w hat ith the Lo rd was ou of my con t trol – I co uldn’t ma him unde ke rstand an ything.

think gives us of us – to b our security – those idols made e blown aw of sand are ay by the han d. And befo , Jesus comes to us different fo r each one as a loyal re we know of a King. fr iend first a A King wh it, we are w n o d a is takes us lk can just le easy to talk ing comfort arn to give a to b ly a n in d th h a e the reigns s all the an presence and the wa to Him, be swers and y that we li comes the W ve our live h o, if we answer to s. our questio ns

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

trolled, n o c f l e s of being s k a e p s e icture... l p b i r B e g e g h i t b n Whe text of a n o c e h t n i it is with

Being truly self-controlled is about living a lifestyle of saying, 'Not my will, but Yours be done’ and finding that on the other side of that lies life as we never thought possible! Let's stop trying to be better, and rather be awesome as we begin to fully understand who we belong to and what it means to give ourselves over to Him.


When the Bible speaks of being selfcontrolled, it is within the context of a bigger picture. The goal is not selfcontrol and mastering each and every area of our lives so that we can get a pat on the back. The reason that we need to be self-controlled, is et it right? the very same reason we came to g t o n e w o d , Why then this faith in the first place –to bring us to the realisation that our lives From what it says in His word, we are not about us. should be! Due to the work that Christ did on the cross, the power of Being in control of yourself, being in sin is broken over our lives. Sin, true control of yourself will only being a broad term for anything that come when you begin to understand is not in alignment with God's will that this story is not about you. We and plan for our lives, can range are called to greatness in Him, and from the obvious (poor eating habits, therefore are in ourselves great! chasing or misusing money and When that realisation sets in of who sexual immorality) to the not so we are in Christ and where obvious (which is a discussion for we are

going with Him, we will find a new kind of strength to draw on – one that at first feels new to us, but as it grows will help guide us through every difficult situation.


another time). Possibly, the reason that we struggle with the same issues week after week is that our focus is wrong. The emphasis in popular Christian culture, I believe, is on behaving well. If we have our life in order by attending church once a week and not sleeping around, then we are doing okay.


Ferri Scott


s believers, we are required to live differently. We are to be self-controlled; appreciating the pleasures of this world in moderation and as the Lord intended. The Bible makes numerous references to this fact, and it is something that is generally understood in Christian circles. While the theory is relatively simple, actually putting it into practice is a different animal. If we took a second to think, I have no doubt that we could all list a number of areas in our current lifestyles that we so wish were different.

's. lby Schnelli Photo by: Ko

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

Designed by: Mari Schoeman



B avid

By D

I was standing on a rock beside a small river. About a metre below my feet, the stream rushed through a narrow gap formed by rocks, the one I was standing on, and other one on the other side of the river. I wanted to cross the river, and this seemed the best place, where the flow was constricted by these rocks. So I stepped back to improve my momentum, then lunged forward and jumped over the river to the rock on the other side. This took place many years ago, when I was a young teenager. The reason I have never forgotten it is that I did not jump hard enough, and got very wet! But the point is that I began with a step backwards. Ctrl-Alt-Delete doesn't seem to work with modern computers. It used to be a stand-by procedure when one's computer 'hung' and nothing would make it work properly. The only solution was to press Control, Alt and Delete together. This forced the computer to switch off and start again. As it rebooted, it dealt with the problem that had caused it to 'hang', and it became meekly obedient to the normal keyboard and mouse commands. Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a backward step. It is an erasing, forcing a new start. At our Theological College we were given a lecture or two on Marxism, to alert us to its dangers. One of its tenets was that the bourgeois society was so corrupt that it needed to wiped out and

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

erased completely, so that it could be replaced entirely by the proletariat of the workers. (Please forgive my faulty memory if I have got that wrong!)

to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Jesus was not a Marxist, even though some aspects of Marxism seemed to be based on His teachings. Jesus did not believe applying 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' to people or society. For Jesus, people are so valuable and so important that He willingly died on the cross for all of us.

In John's Gospel, it is put more simply (see John 3:3): 'No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'

A Christian is a person who has made a new start, and is now a member of God's kingdom and God's family. This begins with repentance, when we take But there is a time for 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete'. Paul describes a step backwards. We hand over our previous lives to God, and thus die to them. Then he gives us new it in Romans 6:3-9 (NIV): life, his life, which is a different order of existence, Don't you know that all of us who were baptised into belonging to heaven, and is never-ending. The Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death modern martyr Jim Elliot put it like this: 'He is no fool in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new he cannot lose'. There is no comparison between the flawed and mortal life which ends, and the life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his heavenly life which we begin to live here on earth. It is the way to the fullness of life promised by Jesus. resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be The only way to heaven is the cross of Christ, and done away with, that we should no longer be slaves the Ctrl-Alt-Delete (or backward step) of true repentance. Have you pressed the button? Designed by: Wanja Foccaracio


“I often feel as though I don't know where I'm going or which stop I should get off at. The bus timetables are also so confusing if one hasn't used them before...”

One of the things that surprised me most when we first moved to Cambridge was the number of buses everywhere. We actually live very close to the central bus station, so this later started making more sense to me, but seriously … they are everywhere! The public transport system here in the UK is really good, as I'm sure you've heard before, with bus stops left, right and centre as well as trains and cabs if needed. We don't have a car with us here, but have been managing quite well by making use of the transport options available to us. We have also actually been cycling to places nearby and getting some exercise in the process, which is just an added bonus.

The buses have been extremely helpful though, especially when I have had to travel far for supply teaching, but can also be really scary at times. I often feel as though I don't know where I'm going or which stop I should get off at. The bus timetables are also so confusing if one hasn't used them before, but they are starting to make more sense to me now. I regularly doubt that I've read the times correctly and get a bit worked up because I'm scared I've missed my bus, but actually I haven't. The stress doesn't stop once I get onto the bus though because then I still have to signal to the bus driver which bus stop I need to get off at, but sometimes I'm not sure how that stop looks exactly … drama, drama, drama!

UNITED NATION Tales of a South


African living in


By Nicci Martin

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

Designed by: Leanne Rhodes

“I am all fo r tr driver' in m usting God as the 'b u y life, who will help m s the right d e get to estination safely, wh Him or ne en I want ed Him to be. But so I'm scared metimes of where H e wants to me. Some lead times I'm n ot sure if I' to do wha ll be able t He wants me to do. Sometime s I lose fait h momen tr y to take tarily and control of the situatio myself.� n

After a few months in Cambridge I am feeling more confident about which buses to take and where the stops are, but have thankfully been getting work closer to home so don't have to take them as often anymore. I have been able to cycle or walk to school which has been a welcome change because I have control over my daily comings and goings (and don't have to rely on anyone else). It's amazing how much calmer I've become because of it. I must admit that being in control, in the sense of getting myself to and from work without having to rely on buses and their schedules, is also not always an easy task. Sometimes it's tiring, or the weather is rainy and windy, and tiny bugs often fly into my eyes (which sting badly and have almost caused me to fall off my bike many times) but I still insist on doing it for some reason. I like not having to rely on buses, their drivers and their timetables because their times don't always suit me and I often feel as though they're wasting my time. I think, in a way, my relationship with God can often be like this too. Maybe you can also relate to this? I am all for trusting God as the 'bus driver' in my life, who will help me get to the right destination safely, when I want Him or need Him to be. But sometimes I'm scared of where He wants to lead me. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'll be able to do what He wants me to do. Sometimes I lose faith momentarily and try to take control of the situation myself. By doing so I might get off at the 'wrong' stop on occasion, the one God hadn't originally intended for my life, but I just sometimes cheekily think I know better than He does or can't be bothered to wait for Him and His timing. God is amazing at being patient with me though. He always allows me to make my own choices, may they be the right or wrong ones, but He always stays with me and supports me. He wants me to be able to learn from decisions and turn to Him in the process. He gives us all the free will to choose whether we want Him to be a part of our lives of not. The great news is, He is always ready and waiting for us to hop on board with Him whenever we are ready to. He wants us to allow Him to be with us and help us get on the right course. He will guide us through the traffic jams, through the storms and through the unexpected wonderful or painful times in our lives too.

Let's take up the challenge of giving God the control in our lives and not be so quick to try and control everything ourselves. All aboard?

Designed by: Leanne Rhodes

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

Designed by: Louise van der Westhuizen

illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011


illumin8 - Issue 23 - August 2011

Designed by: Rachelle Vermaak


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