Join us 6-7pm on Monday 9 August for socially distanced prayer in the main hall.
Saint John Chrysostom (349–407) wrote, ‘Prayer… is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings… The potency of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, it has bridled the rage of lions… extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases… rescued cities from destruction… and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt.’
History belongs to the intercessors. We can shape our generation through prayer. We can influence the course of history (Nicky Gumbel).
In Acts 12 there was an extraordinary prayer meeting, and the results are evident (vv.6–15). In answer to the Churches prayers God acted supernaturally. Peter ‘escaped’, or was ‘freed’ the night before his trial, in spite of being guarded by four squads of four soldiers each (v.4) – this was double the usual guard, and chains on both hands (v.6). Peter himself ‘slept like a baby’ (v.6, MSG). God’s answer involved visions, angels and chains falling off (vv.6–9). Obstacles were removed. The guards did not bar the prisoners’ escape, and the iron gate to the city opened in front of them (v.10).
After his miraculous ‘escape’ from prison, Peter went to where the Church was praying, but Rhoda, the girl who answered the door, was so astounded, forgot to let him in, and no one else believed it was actually him when she told the rest (vv.12–15)! They told Rhoda that she was out of her mind (v.15), but actually God had done what seemed impossible in answer to their earnest prayers.
The word of God continued to increase and spread (v.24). As John Stott wrote, ‘This chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing. It closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the word of God triumphing.’ (Excerpt from Day 168 Through the Bible in a Year with Nicky Gumbel).
A few weeks back, before the week of 24/7 prayer, CHS had no Life Centre building approval from the City of Cape Town, a R4 million-rand deficit to start demolition, & an unlikely ‘go-ahead’ decision was needed. Just over a week later, the approval had come through, & the Parish Leadership was unanimous for the go ahead, in spite of there still being a large shortfall financially!
On August 1st, we had our last Church services in the existing buildings, which were all really special (follow the link or visit website for Brendan’s message ‘Setting Sail’) with handover to the demolition contractor planned for August 12th!
Lord, help us to pray like the early church. May your hand be with us. May we too see a great number of people believing and turning to the Lord and the word of God triumphing.
Come & join us on Monday 9th August for our last prayer meeting inside the hall!
We are delighted to be able to announce that the St John’s Parish Council Executive and CHS Pastorate have both given unanimous approval to start with the first phase of the Life Centre – demolition and piling! After many years of prayer, a lot of hard work, many generous donations, the help of some amazing partners, a few miracles along the way and God’s incredible provision, we will be breaking ground in August.
We give thanks for the council building approval which we received on 9 July, the roughly R21 million raised in pledges thus far through donations both large and small, and for the prayers and encouragements which have kept us going even when we felt our strength was not enough. Please join us in sharing the story and praying for the remaining R4 million needed to reach our minimum build cost. We look forward with great expectation to all God will do by the transforming power of his love.
The changing landscape of where, how and with whom we worship, has called for much creativity and flexibility, especially in families. I’ve been reflecting on the observation that it’s like we’ve been given ‘new wineskins’ and we have this chance to drink a ‘2020 more complex, but richer wine’, in following Jesus with fresh honesty and freedom.
The ‘Sunday best mode’ has gone and in this time of crisis we are being called to grow a more real relationship with Jesus and each other, every day of the week, in our homes, with spiritual care primarily taking place in families.
However, many families are shaking and feeling lost and discouraged, hardly enjoying the beautiful taste of Jesus. And too many of our precious children have not been safe and supported. This has called our ministry to listen closely to the ‘at this very moment’ needs of families and to discern who might be at risk. The quality of the existing relationships we have in our communities has determined our ability to be faithful in this and for sure, we have needed the Holy Spirit to inspire and direct us as we imagine what encouragement will look like if it is speaking to those needs.
The challenges of differing needs, for example, ‘the digital divide’ in our city, has made us use resources in new ways to try and include everyone. We have driven around communities with individual packs full of educational and bible-based materials, “WhatsApp’d” lesson plans with online links and activities, produced videos, set challenges, made phone calls, created a new ‘Families Service’ and more…
It feels like we might have been learning the kind of mission Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 9 of ‘becoming all things to all people’ while continuing to preach the unchanging gospel of God’s life changing love and grace.