Thursday, 16 October 2008
How planets are formed
A lady stood in front of me in the church building in Brooklyn, Pretoria where Nola and I pastored the last church before we moved to Cape Town to pursue our apostolic ministry, and said, 'I have a word from the Lord for you!' She owned her own insurance company and was not one of those dilly women who constantly tried to be spiritual, so I was prepared to listen to her.
'Don't look to the stars; look to the planets!'
With that she walked away and I was left standing in limbo. What on earth could that mean? I knew we had many 'stars' in our large congregation; sport stars, business stars, music stars, acting stars and some who just thought they were stars! But I was stumped when it came to planets!
I read up on some astronomy books and discussed it with Nola and the kids, but then I left it behind me. The word just didn't make complete sense to me. But it haunted me. It stayed with me.
A long time after that, when we already lived in Milnerton, Cape Town, I revisited Pretoria and knocked on the door of a prophet who has since moved to America (it ssems that all prophets end up there in the end!)
As I walked into his office he said,'have you been studying the universe lately?' How on earth could he have known. I thought to myself.
So on my return to Cape Town we made a concerted effort to go to Sutherland, where all the nations of the world have their Observatories. It is the place in the Southern Hemisphere where the skies are the clearest. There are no industries nearby for an area of 70 kilometres.
We attended some lectures - which, I must be honest, were far too scientific for my brain that looks for scripts to act out as an actor! But at the end of a lecture the scientist opened the floor for any questions.
'I have a question,' I ventured out,'what's the difference between a star and a planet?' At first I thought everyone would laugh at my foolish question, but instead, the man commended me,'that is a good question!' I felt relieved. It felt like we were all back at school in a classroom situation. The man continued his explanation:
'A star burnes on its own gas. When the gas is burnt up it uses its last gas to become a shooting star. A planet is a group of stars that have given up their own identity and uses their energy to melt together to form a new planet. The planet has no light of its own. It relies on the sun to make it shine! Just like the moon.'
It solved my riddle...
Unity is only obtained by those who are willing to lay their lives down for a cause. C. T. Studd, the old English cricketer who gave away his entire Eaton inheritance in order to be totally reliant on the provision of God as a missionary to China and Africa, said, 'if Jesus Christ was the Son of God and gave His life for me, then the least I can do is give my life to him!'
Half hearted efforts in life, luke-warmness, hesitancy not only causes delay, but eventual defeat! Whole hearted effort brings results in every area of life. If someone is not really with you, it will show up in due time, but so much time was wasted in the interim!
When everyone has their own agenda it is difficult to create unity. Unity comes only from people willing to give up their own ambition in order to serve something far greater than themselves...the Christian martyrs serve as a prime example of people who were willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Christ.
But even in sport, Mike Hussey, Mr. Cricket, as he has become known, the Australian batsman that is second only to the great Sir Donald Bradman in test averages, tells in his biography how he made up his minde to give cricket his best shot, even though he was just an average player, with a slight build and often self-doubting person. When he had made up his mind, he gave it all he's got and he has earned the respect of those who doubted him as well as his team mates. But in on the last page of his book he says he wants to be remembered as a team man and a good bloke who also played some good cricket! He is sold out to what he chose as a profession!
If you and I can take a page out of his book, we may be able to turn the tide in our affairs of life as well!
Instead of trying to be a star, lets form planets that outlast the stars!
This has become the definition for our church and our church network; we are not looking for stars, but for faithful people who are willing to give up their own ambitions to make the dream of Jesus Christ come true: a church where He is truly the Head of the body of believers! Paul reminds Timothy to only appoint faithful men who are able to teach others also - avoid the big talkefs and the ones who only rely on their giftedness!
A plante finds its orbit around the sun...but that is another chapter altogether!
Remember, stars might shine bright for a while, but eventually become shooting stars!