Celebrating Ezra’s 3rd Birthday!

Last week – 11 March 2014 – our second born Ezra David turned 3 years old! He’s such a smart and capable little guy, we’ve thought he was 3 for quite a while now. He already potty trained, rides a bike and knows how to count to 10. He’s our out-going little man who loves to make friends, but his favorite friends are his brothers. Right now, his favorite things to do are to play play dough, ride his bike, pretend to be a fireman, chase his brothers, swim, listen to books, and draw and cut with scissors.

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Happy Birthday Asa!

We celebrated our youngest boy’s first birthday today!  Can’t believe its been a year since Asa joined our family. Everyone adores Asa and he’s growing into such a strong little boy. Just thought I’d give you a picture walk through his first year of life. 

IMG00222-20130220-1906Asa Jonah was born 20 February 2013 in Durban, South Africa at Westville Hospital.

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Like both his brothers, he loved his daddy right away.

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At 2 months, he was such a smiley baby.

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And those blue eyes! Just love them! (4 months old)

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At 6 months, he loved tummy time and learning to crawl.

IMG_2735He enjoys being the firehouse dog with his fire-fighting brothers.

IMG_2842And he loved Christmas so much at 10 months.

IMG00667-20140220-1802Happy Birthday Asa! He grabbed that piece of cake like a pro and started eating right away.

IMG00673-20140220-1807I think he enjoyed it!

The Secret to Breakthrough

As a church, we’ve been reading through the New Testament this year by reading a chapter a day during the work week. Right now we are in the book of Mark and reading some of the incredible miracles that Jesus performed while walking on earth. One of the passages recently really spoke to me.

Mark 3:7-11
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.  

When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.  

Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.  

For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.  

Imagine the scene – Jesus is healing people, giving them the breakthrough they have been needing. And the people keep coming – from all over, trying to see Jesus, crowding him to the extent that he asks the disciples to take him out in a boat.

So many people needed a miracle in their lives. And Jesus healed many on that day. But here’s a key to those who received a miracle – they pressed into Jesus. They pressed in to the point He felt like they might get crushed.

If you are looking for Jesus to do something great in your life, you need to press in to Him more than ever before.

Another woman who pressed in for her breakthrough is the woman with the issue of blood.

Mark 5:24-29
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

The key to these people getting the breakthrough they need in their lives is that they pressed in to Jesus with faith. Today Jesus is not walking around, healing diseases and setting people free from  the issues that have held them back. But these breakthroughs are still available to us today. And even more so. We have the Holy Spirit available to us.

Jesus said in John 14:12 –  Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Just like those who received their breakthrough in the Bible  by traveling long distances, crowding around Jesus, and  pressing in to be where he was – we have to press in to Jesus if we want to see breakthrough in our life. We must be where Jesus is, where the Holy Spirit is at work. We must allow the Holy Spirit to be working in our own hearts and minds. We must press in to see more of God in our lives.

Press in by getting into God’s Word – read your Bible. The Bible is the only book that is actually alive. When we read God’s Word, and even speak it over situations, it has a transforming affect to our hearts and minds.

Press in through prayer. Prayer is so important to our relationship with God because it is our chance to communicate with Him, both talking and listening.

Press in through worship. When we are facing a difficult season, let worship strengthen you.  Listen to worship music during your day. Sing those great truths over your life. And don’t forget to be a part of a worship service on Sunday where the power of the Holy Spirit inhabits the praises of God’s children.

Press in by getting planted in a church. Don’t just be a consumer who attends church and waits for the breakthrough to come before getting involved. Join a church and start serving. Begin to make friends and open your life up to others. You will be amazed at the support you will find in a church family that will help carry you to that breakthrough in your life.

More than anything, God wants to have a relationship with you. Perhaps that struggle that needs breakthrough is the key to deepening your relationship with God. Press in with faith and believe that He is going to do something miraculous in your life.

Renewing Our Minds

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We have started out strong at church reading through the New Testament with the book of Matthew. The words of Jesus are full of great truths to renew your mind, especially good at the beginning of the year. Check out a few of these great thoughts:

On Serving - Matthew 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

When Jesus came and walked on the earth, He came to serve people. We should have the same mentality in our life today. Let’s model our life after Jesus and find someone we can help and encourage everyday.

On Forgiveness - Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Jesus is teaching that we should live a life-style of forgiving. Being mad at someone, holding grudges, and cutting off relationships will only hurt you. At some point we are going to end up with no people in our life. Forgiveness is the biggest part of having great relationships.

On Love - Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Loving God first and then loving our neighbor. This passage make life very easy. God has not called us to live by a bunch of rules, He has called us to live by love. Life is not complicated. We just have to focus on love.

I’m enjoying our time reading through the New Testament and its been so fun reading along with our church. Many opportunities to explain what we are reading has come up as members in our church have asked questions about the passages. Its so great to see people thinking about and applying God’s word to their lives.

Connect with Us

If you want to stay connected with what is happening with us and The Life Church of Durban, there are lots of ways to do so. Just wanted to compile all of our social media in one concise post, so you can pick which one you prefer (or pick all!) and follow us there.

Facebook
Greg
Kristin

Twitter
@gregnafrica
@kristinevans

Google+
google.com/+kristinevans

Pinterest
pinterest.com/kristinmerethe

On Facebook, we have a page for The Life Church of Durban, if you’d like to follow what is happening at the church:
Facebook.com/TLCDurban

And its still exciting to receive snail mail:
Greg and Kristin Evans
P.O. Box 2269
Westville, 3630
SOUTH AFRICA

Praise Reports from 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

As a church, we are currently in 21 days of prayer and fasting.           Saturday mornings we have corporate prayer and this past Saturday as I chatted with some ladies after prayer, we praised God for the good things He is doing during this fast.

One lady said her husband has been eagerly attending church with her for some time now. Before, when she attended a different church, she had to prod him along in the mornings and many Sundays he wouldn’t even go. But he’s been faithfully coming with her since she started coming to The Life Church of Durban.  On top of that, during this fasting period, he has been fasting with her and listening as she reads the daily Bible reading in the mornings. She just kept saying, “I know my husband, and this is a miracle from God!” Praise Jesus!

Another woman said her teenage son was hanging out with the wrong crowd – friends who are experimenting with drugs and alcohol. He would often stay out late on Saturday nights and then sleep in on Sunday mornings. But recently – since the fast started – he has been coming home earlier on Saturdays to get enough sleep and waking up early Sunday to prepare to come to church with her and her husband. He has even brings his Bible and notebook with him to services. God is so good!

We also have had a team from the World Race with Adventures in Missions (AIM) helping us on Thursdays this month. This group of girls are ministering in 11 different countries in 11 months and it’s their first time in Durban, so they are making ministry contacts for other teams that will follow. We met them when they came to church on a Sunday morning.  The place they are staying just happens to be right down the road from the church! This past Thursday, one of the girls was able to talk and pray with a first time guest at the Hope lunch. You can read her story here: http://emilyzion.theworldrace.org

God is so good! I’m so excited about what He has planned for us and for our church in 2014! If you are feeling down about life and directionless, I highly recommend a fast to get your heart and spirit in tune with God. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but just the act of denying your flesh, allows us to hear the Spirit a bit more clearly. It just reminds me that God wants so much for us that we crowd out with everything that competes for our attention. A fast just allows us to clear the air and hear His voice in our lives.

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

January Fast

At The Life Church of Durban, we encourage fasting corporately for 21 days each year in the month of January. This is part of a season of high-intensity prayer as a church family.  This year, we our fast as a church will go from January 6 until January 26. We will break our fast together as a church with a big day at church and lunch.

Biblical fasting is a way for us to eliminate distractions and to grow closer in our relationship with God. It’s not about going without food just to make you suffer nor is it something that only super-religious people do. Fasting helps us to push down our physical hunger and allows the spiritual hunger to rise up.

The kind of fast you choose should be based on what will challenge you spiritually and physically and will remind you of your dependence on God. Any type of fast from food should take into consideration your personal medical needs. Here are some common types of fasts:

  • Complete Fast – this fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
  • Selective Fast – this type of fast involves removing certain elements from a diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, bread, and rice from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
  • Partial Fast – this fast is sometimes called the Jewish Fast and involves abstaining from eating any types of food from the morning till the afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
  • Media Fast – this fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting foods, who have health issues that prevent the fasting of food, or who wish to refocus certain areas of their life that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media, watching television and movies, or listening to music for the duration of the fast and then choose how to carefully bring that element back into their life in an orderly fashion.

Whichever fast you choose, the object is to have a heart focused on God. When we set aside specific time to focus on God and our relationship with Him, we are blessed in the process. The fast we choose is not as important as a heart being focused on Him.

Read Through the New Testament in 2014

This year, as a church, we are reading through the New Testament. The new year is a great time to recommit yourself to daily Bible reading. We’ll read one chapter a day, Monday through Friday, taking a break from the schedule on the weekends if we need to catch up. On average, it takes about 3 minutes, 45 seconds to read a chapter. Those few moments in God’s word will have a cumulative positive affect on your life.

Check out our schedule for January here:

Wednesday 1 January  - Matthew 1
Thursday 2 January – Matthew 2
Friday 3 January – Matthew 3

Monday 6 January – Matthew 4
Tuesday 7 January – Matthew 5
Wednesday 8 January – Matthew 6
Thursday 9 January – Matthew 7
Friday 10 January – Matthew 8

Monday 13 January – Matthew 9
Tuesday 14 January – Matthew 10
Wednesday 15 January – Matthew 11
Thursday 16 January – Matthew 12
Friday 17 January – Matthew 13

Monday 20 January – Matthew 14
Tuesday 21 January – Matthew 15
Wednesday 22 January – Matthew 16
Thursday 23 January – Matthew 17
Friday 24 January – Matthew 18

Monday 27 January – Matthew 19
Tuesday 28 January – Matthew 20
Wednesday 29 January – Matthew 21
Thursday 30 January – Matthew 22
Friday 31 January – Matthew 23

 

Missionaries and church planters in Durban, South Africa.