One of our successes this year has been to link the Tiny bubbles Créche in Chris Nissen with the Nursery and Reception classes at Joel's school. A few of the parents have taken the créche to heart and really got involved. Sue, one of the mums wanted to do a Christmas party for the children in the créche and rallied the parents to give a quality present. Other parents contributed the food and one parent got a local sweet shop to donate 26 boxes of sweets. Father Christmas came too! All this made for a great party for the children. Joel came along as one of the helpers as did Hannah from his class and two girls from reception class. Joel and the helpers were brilliant at serving the food to the children and then helping Father Christmas with the presents.

Two mums; Amanda & Sue loading the presents into the car


Some of the children at Tiny Bubbles créche enjoying their party


Sammy-Jo, ?, Hannah & Joel were the helpers and did a fantastic job of serving the food


Father Christmas took time out of his busy schedule to give the presents


Each child received a good quality present


Joel coped really well with the whole event but wasn't too keen to go back to school, however as we arrived in the school car park a helicopter came into land next to the school. Joel was thrilled as we watched it land, saw a man run to it and get in before it took off again. Joel couldn't wait to go and tell Mrs Walsh and his friends!

Palace Result

Palace record their second win on the spin as Neil Warnock's side stretch their unbeaten run to five games. But Palace were forced to come from behind to secure the victory over Alan Irvine's side after Mawene gave Preston the lead. But goals from Morrison and Hill in the final five minutes of the first half ensured Palace left with all three points as the gloom surrounding Selhurst Park continues to subside. Palace's reaction to Preston's goal was superb with a swift attack and two goals to show for their efforts. This was a game Palace controlled from the outset, a few more like that and a dreadful start to the season could be forgiven and forgotten. Text from EagleEye Live, edited by Moi.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's comments

Next fixture: Sat 1st December, home to West Brom

Place Of Safety

Praise God for His faithfulness!

Today was a big day for Michael & Joyce as they were back in court with the ACVV social worker as the Place of Safety Order expired today. The ACVV were keen to formalise Michael & Joyce’s application to become registered foster carers and this happened this morning.

Hayden’s mother and ouma were at the hearing and gave the social worker a hard time, but ultimately there was no way the child would be returned to their care until radical changes were made by them. Michael & Joyce were brilliant and behaved very graciously towards the birth family and were very professional.

This is a tragic situation, but Michael & Joyce are being a real witness in the way they are caring for Hayden, who is clearly thriving in their care. Michael & Joyce remain a true 'place of safety' and a refuge for this wonderful little boy.

One of the things that really excites me about what Michael & Joyce are doing is that Michael is doing the bulk of the care, especially whilst Joyce is at work. This is so counter-culture and raises a lot of questions which they are more than happy to answer. Even at the court house, Michael was quite often surrounded by people who found it very hard to understand why he was the primary carer.

I love it when I see a culture being shaken by its own members.

Thanksgiving & Dedication

Michael & Joyce brought Hayden to church to give thanks to God for him and to dedicate him to the Lord.

We're so proud of what Michael & Joyce are doing! Hayden is clearly thriving in their care and he's a very happy little boy.

Please pray for Michael & Joyce, they're in court again on Tuesday 27th as the Place of Safety Order expires then. The social worker asked Dean for a reference for Michael & Joyce as they are being considered for long term fostering, particularly for Hayden. Pray that they would continue to be a blessing and a true place of safety for Hayden. Pray too that they would be ready to accept the courts decision, whatever it may be. Michael & Joyce's long term desire is to adopt Hayden, but that is a long way from happening at present.

Emyezweni Christmas Party

On Friday I had the privilege of entertaining the children at Emyezweni Pre-School in Lwandle. This seems to have become a bit of a tradition but it's a lot of fun and the children really appreciate it. This year I had my fire clubs fixed so I was able to juggle with fire too. As you could imagine it was a real hit and the children requested that I juggle fire again at the end.

The Christmas party was fantastic once again! Debs & Rach put a lot of time and effort into making sure that all goes well and this year was no exception. Sadly, fewer folk came from church than in previous years, but it was still a good party.

Father Christmas made an early appearance too, so everyone went home with a great present.

The children loved the Diablo, the simple tricks seemed to go down the best


The Cats Cradle


FIRE! The children were enthralled with this


Once again the spread was fantstic


Thumbs up for a great party!


Click below for
2006 Christmas Party
2005 Christmas Party

Palace Result

Palace finally break their run of nine games without a win by handing Neil Warnock his first victory as Eagles boss with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Colchester. It looked to be plain sailing for Palace after just 10 minutes after taking the lead through Morrison' 101st goal followed by Baldwin's sending off. But this is Palace and we made incredibly hard work of it. Palace were made to pay for a string of missed chances in the opening period after Jackson leveled for the home side after 73 minutes. But just two minutes later Morrison struck the vital blow to secure the win for Palace. Morrison took and age to finally score his 100th Palace goal a few weeks ago so hopefully he'll get back to his goal scoring ways now. Text from EagleEye Live, edited by me

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Tue 27th Nov' home to Preston

Christ, A Radical Too Far?

Heavenly Sanctuary is a Christian ministry that puts on Conferences around America on the Character of God. This year they hired an artist named Lars Justinen from the Justinen Creative Group to paint this picture to use on posters advertising their conference. Under this picture they had captions like "Follow the Leader," "God IS Great," and most accurately, "Jesus - Still Too Radical?"

Heavenly Sanctuary had contracts with several malls in the Seattle area to hang these posters advertising their conference, but no sooner had the posters gone up than angry calls began flooding the malls. Many people -- but, it seems, mostly Christians -- were offended at the image of Jesus washing Osama Bin Laden’s feet. There was such an outcry that each of the malls decided to go back on their contract and take the posters down. The Christian College that Heavenly Sanctuary was renting space from to host the Conference also canceled their contract. Brad had to scramble to find a secular venue (which, ironically, had no problems with the poster).

What does this say about how many American Christians envision Jesus? Obviously, the protesters believe that Jesus would not wash Osama Bin Laden’s feet. But Jesus died "not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world" (I Jn 2:2) -- and this obviously includes Osama. So if Jesus died for Osama, how are we to imagine him being unwilling to wash his feet?

What the protest reveals is that many Christians have tragically allowed their patriotism to co-opt their faith. They have allowed their American citizenship to take priority over their Kingdom citizenship -- despite the New Testament's instruction for disciples to consider themselves "foreigners" and "exiles" wherever they happen to live (Heb. 11:13; I Pet 1:17, 2:11) and to consider their real citizenship "in heaven" (Phil 3:20). Many American Christians seem to want a Jesus who will defend their country and hate their national enemies as much as they do. Many want the Jesus of the Middle Ages whom Crusaders called on to help them slaughter -- not serve -- their Islamic enemies. Many seem to want to reduce Jesus to just another version of the tribal gods that have been called on for centuries to bless tribal battles. Most wars throughout history have been fought under the banner of some god or another.

Fortunately, the real Jesus isn't anything like this. Knowing all power had been given to him, John says, he wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the dirty, smelly feet of people he knew would deny and betray him in a couple hours (Jn 13:3-5). Knowing he could call legions of angels to vanquish his foes, the real Jesus rather chose to let them crucify him, because this is what they needed him to do (though they of course didn't know it). Then, with his last breath, the real Jesus prays to his Father to forgive his barbaric torturers -- and all of us (Lk 23:34).

This
is the kind of power the omnipotent God of the universe uses against his enemies. And this is the kind of power we're to use against our "enemies." It's the power of Calvary-like love.

We're called to imitate the Jesus who washes the feet of enemies, dies for them, and prays for their forgiveness. We are to "live in love, as Christ loved us and gave his life for us..." (Eph. 5:1-2). When we were enemies, Jesus nevertheless ascribed unsurpassable worth to us by paying an unsurpassable price for us. We who claim we are his disciples are called to do the same. We're to sacrificially ascribe unsurpassable worth to all people, including our enemies -- even Osama Bin Laden.

In light of God's servant love toward us, we must be willing to wash Osama's feet -- and pray for his forgiveness.

Jesus says to us:

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt..." (Lk 6:27-29)

And in case we missed the point, he comes back five verses later and says:

"...love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. (How important is this? Read this next sentence carefully). Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Lk 6: 27-29; 35-36).

When we act like our kind Father, we reflect the fact that we are his children.

In Christ, God's been kind to Osama. May we who are his children do the same. May we be encouraged by the above picture rather than offended by it. May we pray, "Father, forgive Osama. He doesn't know what he's doing."

P.S. In case some of the faces on the poster are unfamiliar to you, they are (left to right) German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Tony Blair, England; Kofi A. Annan, UN; Osama bin Laden; George Bush; Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; and Jiang Zemin, former president of China.
Text and image ©Greg Boyd
See original post on Greg's Blog here.

Comment:
So how do you feel about the above image? Are you offended?

Personally it encapsulates much of what I believe as a Christian, that Jesus came to draw in the lost, not to exclude people.

The only issue I have with the picture is that I'm not convinced Jesus would wash the feet of any of the people in the picture as he had a far greater passion for the poor. Jesus' interactions with leaders tended to be a bit negative (from their perspective) and He invariably rubbed them up the wrong way.

However, I love the symbolism of the picture and fully appreciate the message.

DISGRACEFUL!

Can there be any other way to describe a totally inept display by a rubbish team? England fully deserved to lose and lived up to that expectation. Having been gifted an easy final game following Israel's win over Russia, beating Croatia at Wembley really shouldn't have been a tall order, especially when a single point would have sufficed.

McClaren was never the man for the England job and thankfully has proven the point. His decision to drop Mrs Robinson in favour of Scott Carson was very odd, but to leave him off the bench was stupid. I'm no fan of Mrs Robinson or Calamity James, but surely in the face of such a huge match it was not the time or place to mess about with the team. Eight minutes in would have been a good time to sub Carson off and give Calamity the gloves, but no, Carson got a full 90 minutes on the pitch. Why? As for the 4-3-3 being moved to a 4-5-1, what on earth were they thinking!!!! What's wrong with a 4-4-2 in which two strikers receive service from 4 midfielders. Please make the next England manager play proper football!

So McClaren won't resign. Well he clearly has no integrity or dignity and would rather wait for the ignominy of being sacked. With the FA meeting this morning, I guess he won't have long to wait for his P45. Good riddance!

Whoever takes on the England job (who would want it?!?) has got a tough road ahead. The time has come to stop hanging a limp team on some limp superstars. Beckham can no longer bend it. The only consistent thing about Owen is his inconsistency! (I know he wasn't on last night).

The England team should be built around the many promising youngsters coming through the ranks of the Premiership, not on has-beens who would serve better on some naff reality show.

Blooming Weather!

Late November is a bit of a strange time of year here. People are either frantically trying to get things sorted ready for the Christmas/Summer shutdown or their cruising along just running down the clock until the Christmas shutdown. Either way it's not really a good time to be starting new things, which is just as well because we're not planning to.

However, we are once again in the process of organising Christmas Hampers for the needier folk amongst us. Last year we distributed 35 hampers but this year we're planning to distribute 62. We're away for most of December so won't actually do the hard physical work this year but we will oversee the planning of the operation. Last year the hampers cost R150 each, this year they will be R248 for exactly the same items. Apparently food inflation only runs at 10% so either our maths is dodgy or 'official figures' aren't quite as precise as they could be.

Today is a truly vile day weather wise. Summer should be well and truly here by now but Winter obviously doesn't want to bid us farewell just yet. I've been soaked three times today. Firstly as I was riding from 6am in Jonkershoek (a brilliant 50k ride) I was drenched. Then just after lunch I went to pick up 9 tins of paint which have been donated to Chris Nissen. As I was loading the tins onto the bakkie the heavens emptied themselves on me. Not much of a blessing! Finally as I was visiting in CNP I again got soaked. Brilliant!

The rain is expected until the end of the week when hopefully Summer might finally poke its head out.

Playball

Joel had his last Playball session of the year today and is very proud to be showing off his envelope containing his report card and fab certificate! Playball has been brilliant for him for the past 2 years. It focuses on gross and fine motor skills with balls in a very fun and exciting way. Joel has certainly struggled with some activities, but he absolutely loves it and adores his 2 coaches, Matt and Toni. Playball has really helped him to persevere with things that he finds difficult because it is all done in such a fun way. We hope that he can carry on with Matt in a new group from his school next year.

Dragonfly

This stunning Dragonfly was on our doorstep this morning. It was obviously on its last legs as each time it tried to fly it landed on its back and struggled onto its feet.

Joel was delighted to see such a stunning visitor.








Stunning colours


Joel delighted with the Dragonfly

Gone Fishing

Fishing has never held a great appeal for Dean having only fished on a few occasions and thankfully never caught anything, so he's never had to handle anything slimy. However when Rod rang to ask if Dean & Joel wanted to go fishing this afternoon they leapt at the chance. So off to Grabouw they went with enough kit for a small army for a couple of fun hours fishing and chatting with Rod and Nathan.

There are worse ways to while away a few hours!


Joel quickly got into the swing of things and was quite serious about it


Joel and Nathan, fishing like two old pro's


The lake was very warm and a dip was just too much to resist!


In the absence of a cold beer some juice and chips were in order, followed by a lolly in town

SS. Jolly Roger

Daddy's bakkie has been renamed the SS. Jolly Roger and apparently can be seen sailing the seven seas in search of treasure. A lot of fun was had this afternoon, especially when we went for a walk in the local park and spent a good hour on the 'pirate treasure island' throwing stones into the river. Unfortunately the camera battery died after the first photo.


Cpt. Trumpet Trousers ordering his deckhand around


Pirates on-board the Jolly Roger


What a fearsome bunch!


Throwing stones

Christmas Pageant

On Thursday evening we enjoyed Joel's Christmas Pageant at school (it was held early as the Reception teacher leaves today). Nursery, Reception together with years 1 & 2 participated to make a great evening.

Joel had a special bit to do as the snowman with a carrot nose who has his carrot stolen by a naughty hungry bunny. Until his bit he was very nervous but afterwards he was very relaxed and participated brilliantly. Mrs Walsh, Joel's teacher, was delighted with him.

Joel made us very proud!


Right to left: George, Morgen, Joel, Arden & Pabatso


Singing Jingle Bells


Arden, Joel, Morgen, George, Ross, Liam & Stuart as reindeers


The snowman with his carrot nose


Sipiwe the naughty hungry bunny about to steal the carrot. That's Mrs Walsh behind Joel


Now we're getting into it!

Our Back Garden

On Saturday we spent the afternoon in the Nature Reserve and as ever had a great time. The tortoises are all out of hibernation so the boys were delighted to see them again. Eli is developing the same curiosity about them as Joel used to have. The ducks and 'Spikey' the porcupine remain their firm favourites in the reserve. The Reserve is definitely an extension of our garden.


Lollipop time in the Nature Reserve


Eli really got to grips with his ice cream

Life Goes On

It's a while since we last posted here, but that's not to say life's been dull. Far from it! We've had Richard, Sal, Josh & Isaac for a couple of weeks, but they've now returned to Blighty. It was great to have them out here and brilliant for the boys to re-establish their adoration of Sal! Our boys got on great with josh & Isaac which was a real blessing and means that they'll have some friends when we're visiting family at home over Christmas.

Last weekend Dean spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning at our church camp as official photographer. The kids (10-13 years old) had a fantastic time with loads of testimonies of kids being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. The theme of the Launchpad camp was NZULU which means to go deeper. Many of the kids and leaders truly experienced going deeper with God! At least a third of the kids were from Chris Nissen which is really encouraging. As a church we're having a big impact amongst the children in CNP.

We tried the boys in bunk-beds for a few nights but have chalked that up to experience and won't be rushing to do it again! Both boys slept really well but the mornings were disastrous. Joel is an early bird and Eli is a sleepy head, not a great combination for sharing.

Our work in Chris Nissen continues to be challenging. H.O.P.E. home based care is going well and the ladies are growing in confidence and winning a lot of respect within the community. Dean's bible study group has all but fallen apart, a long story, so the rest of the year he'll meet with whoever is around on Thursday afternoons in a social context before re-launching the group again next year. Paula's cell continues steadily.

Enjoy the pictures below:


Josh, Richard, Sal & Isaac enjoying a drink in Pringle Bay


Richard & Joel attempt to bury Josh


Having fun at the beach


Joel & Josh enjoying the sea


Eli up to his waist in trouble


Sampling some of South Africa's delights, this time at Delheim


Peter Pan & Simba planning a new animation for Disney?


Joel got bunk beds so now he and Eli can share - oh no!


A self portrait by Joel


Archie & Joel at the Launchpad NZULU camp

Hot or Not?


Whilst checking out the football scores yesterday I came across the unusual job variations advertised on the Croydon Guardian.

Hot or not?

You decide!

We've not updated this Blog for a while but will do soon. In the meantime check out the new photos on Finnie's In Focus.