We are excited to introduce the new Shofar Encounter Series with a fresh look, updated content, and a big focus on each participant encountering the love of God. The previous Foundation series served us faithfully over the years, but was in need of an update.
The new Encounters are both Word- and Spirit-focused. Our aim with the updated content is to anchor the teachings in God’s Word and to create space for the Holy Spirit to transform lives. We are rolling out Life Encounter (Encounter 1) first, and the rest of the series will follow in the next year or two. We trust that many more lives will be changed through these courses.
I recently spoke to a Christian man who has been visiting our church for a month or two. He told me that he was blown away by the faith he experienced with us, that we would believe God to heal people miraculously in our church services. He shared with me that he has a church background, but that he has never experienced anything like this. I was encouraged by his testimony, for Christians are also called “believers” for a reason. We should believe! It sometimes leads to a misunderstanding when people hear that we expect God to heal individuals miraculously. They sometimes think that this means we reject the medical field and the healing that can come through the help of medical professionals – which is far from the truth.
We love medical professionals. We love what they do and the sacrifices they make to help hurting people. Their careers are often a calling, something that they do at great cost to themselves. Their role will always be important, and they have been given talents and skills by God to help people. We celebrate that. The human body is an incredibly complex biological machine that was created by God with profound self-healing capabilities. Medical professionals don’t heal people, they simply assist the body’s self-healing processes, created and placed there by God, so that the body and mind of the individual can be healthy. These are natural methods which help the body heal naturally. There are limits to what can be done by physical means. When practical medical care is not available (as in many places) or is unable to help the body recover sufficiently, then supernatural means are needed. Supernatural intervention is also God’s way of revealing the love of God to someone and pointing them to Jesus. Every miracle is a sign that points to Jesus.
We are not promoting supernatural physical healing at the expense of the medical profession. We believe there is a powerful partnership between the two. The nurse who reveals the love of Christ to a sick person by being kind and caring points the patient to Jesus and brings glory to God. It’s not a second-rate healing when someone was blind, but now after surgery has their sight restored. To the patient, it is a precious gift and as good as a miracle from heaven. It’s also a great honour for the surgeon to use his natural God-given skills and the laws of biology to help the patient in such a beautiful way. God created the natural world and uses the natural processes and laws of this world to help people. God is also a supernatural being able to transcend the physical laws so that people can discover who He is and how much He loves them. Jesus died for every human being, from the least to the greatest. Every person is infinitely valuable to God and deserves the best love and care we can give them. We believe that God the Holy Spirit wants to help the medical professional through supernatural wisdom, insight and know-how, to provide the best possible medical care. We encourage every professional to ask for God’s leading, to maximise their natural skills and abilities to help hurting people. As believers, we are called to follow Jesus and to live as He lived. To serve people with practical service, as Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, and with supernatural ministry by healing the sick as His disciples did.
Whether it be by natural means or supernatural means, let’s bring glory to Jesus.
20 years ago, I became a believer. Since then, not a day went by that I didn’t fully believe that God was all-powerful, able to do anything. However, around 4 years ago, my wife and I were confronted with the realisation that although we believed in the power of God, we never experienced His power in our personal time of crisis.
It began 7 years ago when my wife, Sonika, began to battle with terrible insomnia. She would get into bed at around 9pm and often still be awake at 3am. I distinctly remember those long fearful nights, waking up to find her on the floor in the bathroom, weeping profusely, unable to sleep. Night after night we cried out to Jesus, trusting that the Lord would heal her, set her free, but nothing changed. We had exhausted all of our options, both natural and spiritual. This continued on-and-off for about 3 years. Bad nights became the rule, good nights the exception.
At times I was worried that Sonika would lose her mind. Burdened by the lack of sleep, depression slowly settled on her soul. The situation stole our joy and robbed us of our peace. We felt as if we were being held captive, with no hope of escape. My heart was breaking for my wife.
I was confronted with the reality that although I believed Jesus to be powerful, I didn’t actually know His power. I had been in full-time ministry for more than 10 years at that time and had to acknowledge that I was missing something significant somewhere.
The Lord used this whole ordeal to birth in us a deep thirst for more of Him and to truly experience the fullness of His power, for the sake of Sonika and many other people in our congregation, who were living defeated lives. The Lord began to teach us about physical healing and although I had only ever seen 2 people physically healed in my first 10 years of ministry, we stepped out in faith and over the last 3 years, have seen many people physically healed. Jesus healed Sonika and unlocked a whole new paradigm for us from the Scriptures.
The Lord began to speak to me about His church and about the fivefold ministry. I realised that the healing grace we were experiencing was only a small component of one of the fivefold ministry anointings, or rivers of grace, that flow from Heaven. What we were experiencing had nothing to do with being any more special than anyone else, but rather it was our deep and desperate thirst for a breakthrough that led us to a deeper measure of God’s empowerment. This same grace is available to every believer.
Out of this experience, I have written a devotional book entitled Increasing Heaven’s Flow in 40 Days, as a tool to help believers renew their minds according to Scripture and to reposition themselves in the midst of these fivefold ministry Flows, so that they can experience the same and more of what we’ve been experiencing. In the book I share specific truths that will help each of us become more evangelistic, empowered by Heaven to lead others to Christ, more pastoral, to see our relationships flourish and more prophetic, that we may know a greater measure of God’s presence in worship and prayer.
Ephesians 4 reveals that the fivefold ministry gifts will cause the Body of Christ to come to “the fullness of Christ”. This is my heart’s desire. This is my life’s mission. I love the Bride of Christ, His Church, and I hope that this book will help prepare the Bride, that we would look more like Jesus.
In our Ask the Pastor series we ask questions about being Christians, church members and family. Sias le Roux from Shofar Stellenbosch and André Kruger from Shofar East London answer, “I can only do one extra church ‘thing’ apart from Sunday services and small group. What should I choose?”