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A question for the Christians


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McCabes

Hi all,

Our pastor has been very vocal recently and preaching against immigrating. Just recently he's taking to telling the congregation that if you believe that you aren't safe in SA, then you should go, get out, because then you aren't safe, but if you believe you are safe, then you will be.

Look, like every south African, I have trust issues, that said I do trust in God. At the same time, even God told Joseph and Mary to take Jesus out of Bethlehem because it wasn't safe there for them. If God gave instructions for his own son to go somewhere safer, shouldn't it follow that He would do the same for the rest of His children?

I'm not sure what to think about this. I don't know if I'm straining against God's will for us, and that's why I'm battling with this message from our pastor, or if I'm really being called to GO and that's why this doesn't sit well with me.

It just feels like they are trying to say that if something does happen to you, then it's because you didn't believe enough, or didn't believe in the right thing... I don't think it works like that. And it worries me that this is the message being sent out. :(

Any thoughts?

PS I've addressed this to the Christians as I'm a Christian and would like opinions from fellow Christians specifically, however I'm happy for others to offer opinions, but would appreciate it if these could be kept respectful of Christian beliefs please.

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HadEnoughofJuju

I'm with you on the safety thing. In South Africa it's simply a matter of if and not when something is going to happen. I felt that as a parent of a girl it would be irresponsible to stay.

Granted there is crime all over the world but at least where I am now I know that life still has meaning and people respect one another.

I liken it to trying to cross a train track when the booms are down and the warning lights are flashing. Eventually your luck will run out and you'll get hit by the train. As your pastor if that is responsible.

I believe God will open the doors that need to be open and shut those that he doesn't want you to go through and that's between you and Him not you and the pastor.

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BronHammond

In general discussions sometimes , when people speak about a accident or shooting etc where someone/s die , you would hear comments like " that would never happen to me/us cause we serve a living God and we trust God or we pray everyday . And i am like sitting there thinking are these people tryna say that those people ( vicitims of crime or road accidents ) didnt pray hard or didnt pray at all . I doubt it !

Being able to immigrate and give yourself and kids a better life , is in itself a blessing from God . Many are not able to do so because of sickness, finances etc .

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Donovan83

I'm not a Christian but I believe that any loving god would want you to make the most of the opportunities that you've been given. If you have the opportunity to go, and you believe that it is the right thing to do, then go.

Not going would be tantamount to that old story (which I am sure I heard at Sunday school when I was little) about the man dying of thirst in the desert who asks god for water and to be saved. The dying man turns down offers of water from 3 passing people and then dies. When he gets to heaven he asks the almighty why he didn't save him - to which the almighty replies that he sent those three people that he turned down. Surely an opportunity to move is a similar principle?

Lastly, with respect to the pastor, he is just a human being that is no smarter and has no more insight than any of us. He was probably sprouting his anti-emigration stuff from a place of fear, since I am not sure he'd have the option of living elsewhere if he wanted to. Maybe worth bearing in mind :)

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followmylead

McCabes, I am a christian. There are some questions that you need to work through to answer this question (and any others where scripture does not give you a chapter and verse answer).

1. Does the bible say anything specific against your decision (i.e - does he say you shalt not...). If there is clear instruction against it then that is it. No more discussion. In this case - the bible is silent, so it is not a moral choice. You have freedom to do what you want. So then you can just apply some basic principals to make a good decision.

2. How will this decision affect you spiritually - i.e, are you making a choice to live somewhere that will cause you to decline spiritually. Where there is no church or other christians to help you or where you will be tempted to fall into sin. Now this is harder to answer. I don't know where you are planning to stay, but according to what other christians here have shared with us - good, bible teaching churches are few and far in between. You may struggle (or be very fortunate) to find a good church that will build you up in your faith. Do they have bible studies etc. There are far less 'christians' here in Oz than in SA - or should I say, there are far less people that pretend to be christians. The ones we have met here are the real deal and we find it refreshing that only people who want to go to church go. It is not expected, so unbelievers don't go out of a sense of duty. When you are here, there are no outside forces that influence you to go to church and I have found that the secular society have made me more commited to Christ and needing to read my bible and pray. If you were forced to work in an enviroment that you find difficult - like an alcoholic in a pub, then the decisions may not be good for you either. I would advise you to investigate churches in the areas that you are looking at. See if the churches have websites. See what they believe and listen to some sermons online to give you a feel for the churches. You actively have to search for a church.

3. As for not trusting God.... I don't think your pastor is right. When I lived in South Africa, i trusted God for my safety and my future. He did not promise me either, so my prayers were usually in the lines of, Lord, keep us safe, but if you have ordained trouble for us, help me to trust in you to deal with it and come through it. I don't much need to pray for safety here (I don't constantly feel under physical threat) - but even so, I have no doubt that I am still trusting in God for my safety and my future, because even here - he is in control of the events of my life and he may still chose suffering for me. I pray more often now for spiritual growth and opportunities to be able to share my faith and build up other christians than for daily physical safety.

To say' if you think you are safe then you will be' sounds a bit more like the power of positive thinking than biblical thinking to me.

Hope this is helpful to you.

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I just want to say up front that I am a Christian because my answer may seem cynical. Your pastor is but a man. The cynic in me thinks that if his "flock" all migrate then he will not have a job so his message sounds a little self serving to me.

"or should I say, there are far less people that pretend to be Christians" from above is true. However we have found in Adelaide anyway that bible study groups are alive and well as are Men Only get togethers and Sunday School. My mother always used to worry about the heathan Australians and how wrong she was. The thing we found difficult was finding a church that felt like our one in RSA. We were Anglican there and here Anglican is very high brow. Nowadays we go to a Uniting Church which has the right vibe for us.

So to get back to your question: your pastor is wrong. There are many stories in the bible were people went against the religious leaders of the day to fulfil God's plan for their lives. Follow your own path and as doors open (or close) you will know which way to turn.

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Any thoughts about this ?

This has the ring of emotional manipulation to me. If you go, you go because you know your faith is weak. This is low, unacceptable. I agree with Donovan83 in that this pastor was preaching from a viewpoint of personal fear. That is also wrong, for a pastor should actually preach a message from God, not a feeling from his own life. Every person is responsible to God alone for your decisions and how it affects your and others' lives. No one can tell anybody else it is because of lack of faith that you immigrate. For some of us this is actually a HUGE step of faith, for others it is a new opportunity.

Just think about the effect. In that congregation, ANY person that would dare attempt immigration, would show himself a person of weak faith. This is such a great example of spiritual terrorism !!! Where is each persons' personal search for God's will in your own life ? Of course there will be people whom God would WANT to stay because He still have a purpose for them here, and for them, it is obedience to stay and they WILL be protected. For others, it is God's will to go, for He has a purpose for them somewhere else in the world, no matter where. Who does ANY human being think himself to be to take such a responsibility of decision on others' behalf on himself ?

If his statement was true, then:

Joseph and Maria went to Egypt because of lack of faith.

Abraham went to Canaan because of lack of faith.

Israel left Egypt because of lack of faith.

The Puritans left Europe for America because of lack of faith.

The French Hugenots left France and Holland because of lack of faith.

I mean, really ...

In our own case, we resisted the idea when my parents told us they're going. Within three months, we were convinced. Of course we prayed and sought an answer from God and we got very definitely a positive affirmation that we should go, BUT it would take time. As in this month, four years and counting. But we know we'll be going. No other human being would have the authority in our lives to prevent us from going since we know we are obedient in this. Even though we've been safe, prosperous and happy up till now, NOTHING kicking us out of here. So we're happily going down under in God's own good time.

Edited by Alida
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OnYellowBrickRd

If the ship is sinking and God sends you a lifeboat you would be stupid to pray for the ship to stay afloat.

Don't trust the opinions of man. Pray about your decision and trust God to be with you whatever you decide.

Being a Christian doesn't require us to do anything because He has already done everything for us. Our thanks for this priceless gift is seeking to glorify Him in all we do.

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McCabes

Thank you, all of you! Just... wow. And thanks!!!

You guys rock!

God bless you all :)

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I am a Christian, and my mouth dropped open when I read what your pastor said. I completely disagree with his thoughts!!

Sometimes God allows bad things to happen in our lives because that is our path. We pray for God's will in our lives and to help us through the tough times...because it said in the bible there will be tough times. For your pastor to suggest that with faith nothing bad will ever happen is like trapping his congregation. Like someone else said...so if they decide to immigrate they are automatically labelled as people with no faith in prayer...uh uh...this is wrong on so many levels.

I believe that you pray for God's will in your life, we pray to keep us and our family safe we do, but ultimately it is God's will that will prevail.

For us...God clearly opened doors to get to Australia and closed all the doors holding us back in South Africa...he could not have been clearer,

Did anyone challenge your pastor over this??

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Remember we are not chess pieces that God moves around a chess board. He has given us free will and a brain to make choices! I am horrified that your pastor even preaches that. We have no doubt that our move to Australia was God's will and we have been so blessed it is evident that we cannot have gone against God's will by making this move. Certainly sounds like the 'man' talking and nothing to do with God!

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SurferMan

I'd confront him, he is not speaking from the KJV. Pray and listen to God, He will answer your prayers. We tried to leave for Aus since 2002, could not pull it off. Then we prayed to God to help us leave after a number of crime points, and boom, we were on our way in two months!!! To put that into context, we had done our papers etc, but I got an offer in Sept, we sold up and said our goodbyes in Oct, landed Nov.

The KJVis littered with examples of diaspora. Nedbudchadnezzar was made an animal for his arrogance. Remember MENE, MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. God said He gives and takes kingdoms to whom He pleases. Daniel had to flee. Moses les the Israelites from pharaoh. Jacob sold to slavery. Saul to Paul, Jew to christian, and on and on.

Pray and don't rely on any man.

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AndreaL

I am not a Christian and believe that people essentially have free will and make choices each and every day in the belief that they are good choices.

It may help you understand where I am coming from if I tell you that the closest I have come to some sort of faith that fits my belief system is pantheism. I feel that I can't accept or believe in one man's God, yet deny another his/her God

'

Pantheism is derived from the Greek roots pan (meaning "all") and theos (meaning "God"). There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God.[4]:P.8

As a religious position, some describe pantheism as the polar opposite of atheism.[5] From this standpoint, pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God.[2] All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it.[7] Others hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical.;[8] in other words: that the Universe (with all its divine extensions, planets, suns, galaxies, thrones and creatures) is what people and religions call "God".

Theologian Daniel Waterland put it this way............""It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substance—one universal being; insomuch that men's souls are only modifications of the divine substance."

Anyway, from this belief base, my thoughts are that your pastor is confused about his message, or perhaps sadly combining his personal feelings in his sermons, remember he is a human, just are you are.

I think that many people make a decision, or have an idea about migration and then pray for guidance, this is about faith, you have to have faith in your God and that you will receive answers to your questions from your God...............your God is in your heart.

From a common sense point of view, I believe that if you put yourself in harms way, or live somewhere where harm is more prevalent, that you have a greater chance of facing harm and that your duty as a person and as a parent, spouse, sister, daughter, is to try to protect those you care about from harm.................as mother, you stop your children from doing things that would harm them, you teach them to be safe and to not put themselves in harms way...............it would be wrong to teach them that they will be safe if they believe they will be......................................would you let them go out as teenagers without ensuring that they knew what to do if a difficult or dangerous situation arose?

In your heart you know what is right, for you and your family, and I believe that your God has given you the ability to make choices, and that your faith in him now will guide you.

One thing I absolutely know without a doubt, is that your God loves you regardless of the choices you have made in life, both good and not so good, he believes in you, just as you believe in him.

I think that the lovely people above have given some wonderful advice and support................and I agree with several of them that your pastor's words are wrong in many ways and to me are quite unfair to all of his congregation. Trust yourself, trust your heart and trust your God.

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You can go to Australia and be murdered exactly the same as you can be murdered in South Africa, there is no guarantee what so ever.

If the Lord has planned that for you, then that is what you going to get, for none of us know the time of our calling, that is what we are told. Therefore we are told to be ready for that day, that is what is in our control, our taking is not in our control in the most case, some people are lucky because they get ill with terminal diseases and are offered a 2nd chance to get prepared.

The Lord also tells us to go out and do things as well, not just sit on our backsides, as in the parable of the servants and the gold bag (Matthew 24:14-30). The important things is that you spend time in prayer and ask for his advice and guidance, he will tell you if what you are doing is incorrect, and he will show it to you in a number of ways.

The Lord is not going to give you something if he knows that it will ruin you, make sure you listen to what he is telling you. There are people who are so blind that they push ahead without his blessing and then they get what is coming for them, divorce, financial ruin and so forth.

If he told you it's the right thing to do, then go out and do it, remember your faith, if he says it's not, then be content because there is something else he has planned for you.

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SurferMan
McCabes

Thanks everyone who added.

No, unfortunately no one has confronted him. Our church is pretty huge- think Ray Macauley (but not). It's an off-shoot of an AGS church, quite Hill-song -ish in praise, very passionate, upbeat pastors.

Look, it could be that I misunderstood. I'm pretty good with my second language, as I talk it every day, but maybe this just didn't translate well?

No, I don't really think that's the case. I'll try fill in the forms they give out if anyone has any comments/feedback/questions, and see if anything comes of it.

I just especially don't like this, knowing my hubby is still trying to make up his mind about whether we are going or not, and here's our pastor saying only those who are weak in faith will/should go... that's really not a message I was wanting right now.

Thanks Surferman I appreciate the Bible-based response. (not that I don't appreciate the others... sorry). LOL that did not come out right. I ALSO appreciate the Bible-based response.

Thanks again everyone.

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SurferMan

Deuteronomy 1:8

Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

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Sometimes, McCabes, it is exactly such kind of cop-out comments of other people - pastors or not - that makes one think about your own way of thinking. Senseless comments sometimes make you think about the sensibility of your own thoughts. Don't worry about your husband, he'll make up his mind in due time and then you'll have to spark to keep up !!

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TheFilanders

The Word For Today

2014/04/25

Genesis 12:1 NIV

Let God Show You Where To Go

Where you are matters. You can't grow bananas in Alaska, but you can grow them in Jamaica. What's the point? Simply this: sometimes you need to change your location in order to succeed in what God's called you to do. Look at the life of Elijah. 'The word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there"' (1 Kings 17:2-4 NKJV). Ravens normally don't deliver food, they eat it. But when you do what God tells you and go where He sends you, you move from the natural realm to the supernatural one. God not only has a plan for your life, He has a place for it. Yes, you must have the right strategy, but you must also be in the right spot. '...I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go' (Isaiah 48:17 NIV). If your heart's desire is to honour God in all things, He will show you the best location to succeed in. Indeed, He will go ahead of you and rearrange circumstances to your advantage. He did it for Abraham. 'By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going' (Hebrews 11:8 NIV). Ask God, and He will show you where to go.

Soul food: Luke 19:1-27; Genesis 32-33; Psalm 25

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McCabes

Alida - that is EXACTLY it. I came away questioning a lot of how I think. I mean - am I wrong in thinking that's not how it works? Am I wrong in thinking that saying something like is just hurtful to someone who has had something horrific happen in their lives? Friends of ours lost their eldest son in a car accident on Christmas day, about a week before he would have turned 4, when someone was overtaking on the wrong side of the road around a corner. They are some of the strongest, truest Christians I've ever known - but now, based on what the pastor said, am I supposed to think this happened because they had a lack of faith? I'm sorry, but that just doesn't compute for me.

No, no-one really has a good answer (or any answer) about why bad stuff happens to good people, but I really don't think this is an answer either.

Thanks Filanders! Love it :)

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I think you'll find millions of believing Christians have migrated over the centuries.

In more recent times, there were many believing Christians who left war torn Britain after World War 2 to find a better life for themselves and their families in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

They came in vast numbers here in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

Are you so different in the 2010s to seek a better life for yourselves?

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OubaasDik

I think you'll find millions of believing Christians have migrated over the centuries.

In more recent times, there were many believing Christians who left war torn Britain after World War 2 to find a better life for themselves and their families in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

They came in vast numbers here in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

Are you so different in the 2010s to seek a better life for yourselves?

I think the difference here, Bob, is that the postwar vicars and priests weren't preaching against it. Just my take.

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Psalm 107

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
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McCabes

Wow Eva!!!

I should have been looking in the Bible for an answer, I guess. That is absolutely perfect - thank you!

Thanks Bob! I agree...

LOL OBD, no they probably weren't. Or you never know, they might have - they'd have been losing their congregations as well.

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SurferMan

Wow Eva!!!

I should have been looking in the Bible for an answer, I guess. That is absolutely perfect - thank you!

Thanks Bob! I agree...

LOL OBD, no they probably weren't. Or you never know, they might have - they'd have been losing their congregations as well.

McCabes,

ALL of life's answers are in the Bible. Here is some inspiration.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

McCabes,

Recall also in Job that Satan was granted permission to torment Job, AFTER being granted permission to do so by God. The evil came from satan, not God. So you can infer that satan petitions God to afflict people. Many people read Job and say it is God and the devil having a wee wager. I dont believe that. After Job endured and God has the longest single diatribe in the bible, He restores 3 fold to Job all his glory and riches. A very difficult read is Job, as is Daniel.

I hope this helps.

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