PREPARING TO BE USEFUL

Source: PREPARING TO BE USEFUL

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Remembering 3rd Day (Live)

Day at home: Listening to music feeding my soul

Change the regular albums, dust off the old

Offerings II, Third Day, WOW

Memories? First heard it in Butterworth, who can say that!

At a friend’s house, who got it from a friend

Who worked at a Gospel Store and heard the new stuff

It was the start of a new birth of passion in my music

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It was the first time I was exposed to Worship music that RoCkEd, was that “allowed”?

Some said “NO”, some still do. I wasn’t arguing, I’m still not –

Some things in life you, well you just have to feel, to GET, to drink in, to savor

It’s a “Live Album”, so to do it justice I’m writing “Live”

It was and is a bit raw – I love that about the album

I don’t “DO” prepared to the Nth degree in worship

It makes no sense to me. At all. It’s gotta be REAL, else what is it?

So the stutter and giggle at the start of track 1 hooked me. What?

No sense of over-produced perfection here

Then the man’s voice hit me – that gravelly throaty roar, I pictured MeatLoaf

Same sense of “Give it Horns” passion, although the Loaf may object to that comparison

Sorry to him

and to others who don’t get that: for a muso, passion is passion.

OK, where’s this going?

To a place where almost half the songs hit the church song roster

I knew we weren’t 3rd Day, and I wasn’t ever gonna be that singer

But that didn’t matter, it was the learning that we, that I, could be freer than I was

That although pumping the beat a bit on “What a Friend” was one thing

There was more. There IS more.

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This is a personal journey. To those who were with me on it, I salute you

We did “Offering”, of course. We also did “Sing a Song”, sans the giggle.

We REALLY did “God of Wonders”: man, did we do it 2 00 or 300 times?

“Nothing Compares” to the song of that name … and

Their version of “Turn your Eyes” became our standard

We even did, “Take my life” even though it’s not your average sing-along song

It didn’t really take root, but who cared – we tried!

And then there was THAT night. When our home group led the Sunday evening.

We “did” all these, mixed in a few standards – but at the same intensity

See, there were no expectations of the group “on stage” that night

HUGE up’s to our group leader, my fellow Church Team member…

We set out to change everything up, just ‘coz we could

We turned the lights in the hall off, before the congregation arrived

We went candles; not our “norm” – kinda Catholic, but that was the idea

To jerk us all out of our comfort zone

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We did what we did, and the Lord did what He does when we get out of His way

He visited us and moved our hearts; our Offering fell sweetly on His ears, I believe

Some really spiritual peeps in the Congregation said afterwards,

They thought they were hearing a heavenly choir. I couldn’t say.

I heard the stage monitor, and I heard my Lord and I heard my Leader behind me.

And she said “OK” when I asked if we could end with “Show me Your glory”

We’d hoped to. We’d practiced it, though it was unknown to all.

But we agreed that, if we really REALLY felt it was fitting, we would end with it.

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I’ll never be the same

Show me Your glory
Send down Your presence
I want to see Your face
Show me Your glory
Majesty shines about You
I can’t go on without You, Lord

When I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won’t settle for ordinary things
I’m gonna follow You forever
And for all of my days
I won’t rest ’til I see You again
Show me Your glory
Show me Your glory
I can’t live without You

So, that’s where I leave the story. That song never got done in the church again.

Where do we go when we climb down that mountain?

‘Coz nothing compares. NOTHING. And if you’ve been there, you know. You can’t fake it.

and you really can “never rest till I see You again”

The world is seen through a different lens forever. Thank the Lord for that.

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We are all in the driver’s seat of our own lives.

From here we take instructions from the greatest driving coach, God Almighty.

He tells us how fast to go, in which direction to turn the wheel, and when to slow down.

We simply need to keep our eyes on the road.   And yet …

Objects

In the rear-view mirror

May appear closer than they are

We can choose to stay focussed on the past

To allow our accuser to remind us of our fallings and failures

Our pain, grief and hopelessness

Sin, shame, stereotypes and sicknesses

Depression, danger and defeat.

Objects in the rear-view mirror appear closer than they are

Jesus took these miseries from us

He really, really REALLY did

He paid the ransom price for them

We are no longer under judgement for them

We can look forward, not at that infernal piece of glass and its reminders

With hope, with peace and Joy

Secure in Love

Set fantastically and forever free

Knowing His grace

And the Life Abundant that he has for us

Objects in the rear-view mirror

No longer exist

In Jesus’ name

THIS is our place.

Thandi – A Story of Hope

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Step 1

The reflected sun glowed gold off the smooth sea, and though the afternoon breeze brought a chill filled with salty spray, my heart was still warm; I hoped that it would stay that way forever.

It had been a day like none before, and it was one hard to imagine being matched again soon. Wow. Just wow!

I was just another girl from a rural village. I’d never been much further from home than my cousin’s house in Peddie. As a child I’d been once to family in Port Elizabeth, I was told. And before I was born, I had travelled in my mom’s pregnant tummy from Cape Town after my father’s funeral. This place was something beyond. Far, far over and above anything I had hoped or dreamed of ever being in.

I had joined my friends as always that morning, expecting it to be just another routine day of being unemployed; watching repeats of soapies on the box,  talking about fashion and giggling about guys; looking at pictures in magazines and dreaming of living the life of glamour they showed. It was a far cry from the poverty we lived in.  But girls are girls anywhere, why shouldn’t we dream?

Of course, Xoli kept going on and on about the heat as we sipped our lukewarm orange squash, wishing it was an ice-cold Coke instead. Ever the drama queen, that one!  As if, I’d thought to myself, such luxuries would become everyday things around this dusty place anytime soon.A fridge that worked properly wasn’t to be found in many houses around here. If only…

The sound of a car hooter in the distance brought me back to reality. Not just once, it kept on and on until we were irritated and curious enough to walk outside and around the back of the rondavel to see what the noise was all about. There was a fancy white 4X4 on the gravel track across the valley about 500 metres away, and standing outside of it, waving their arms and signalling frantically, stood two women. One was black like I was, the other white.  What brought them this far from the tarred road? I was irritated by their constant hooting, but curious. Maybe they had car trouble?  Perhaps we’d better go and see if we could help, I suggested.  But none of my friends had been interested. It was too hot to walk all that way for nothing, so they headed back inside.

Old Ma’am Doris from across the way looked at me from her chair and called out, “Go over and see what they want, Thandi. It can’t hurt you to be helpful.  Maybe they’re lost and you’ll get a few rands for just giving them directions. Go on, girl!”  Sighing, I headed down the slope, along the path through the thorn bush, across the dry river bed and up through the field of scattered aloes on the other side.  I thought I was wasting my time, but my mother always said I was similar to the father I’d never known; a kind-hearted person. So I kept going, though I was tired by the time I bent down and climbed through the wire fence next to the road.

Step 2

 

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Click… BOOM

atrap1

The beginning

I had nearly finished my six day assignment, leading a group of gap-year students over a mountain ridge trail to join up with their parents at Lake Suki. I had been forced to retire after 20 years as a Park Ranger there, and I enjoyed these occasional opportunities to teach youngsters more about the forest eco-system. It was terrain that I knew and loved and, although I still had a limp from the fall that had injured my back, keeping up with those couch potatoes was a breeze.

The “survival guide” title the marketers gave it was more for dramatic purposes than anything –these days one was hardly ever out of mobile phone range, should something go wrong.  Huh, I thought to myself, this generation just had too many distractions to appreciate nature anyway!  We had one last night left out there. By the next week they’d have filed most of what I showed them at the back of their minds under “Useless but Interesting Information”.

I had been at the back of the string helping “big” Dave when the leaders saw the carcass. The poor animal must have suffered a horribly slow death, I thought – the sight of the rotting skeleton wrenching my gut. The small buck’s skin was still relatively intact, but the worms and insects had done a pretty good job of the rest of its body. So the rumours had been true – there were still trappers and poachers active in this forest. One of their crude wire snares had done its ugly job right here not that long ago.

There were misty-eyed lumps in all of our throats and some tears were washing dust off a few faces, but there was nothing we could do. I covered my mouth and nose with my bandanaand moved closer. A few quick twists and clicks with my army knife later,I could at least lower the animal’s head to the ground and give it some dignity. I looped the snare itself and put it intomy rucksack to hand over to the Rangers at the lake.

“Right, team – there’s nothing more we can do here, let’s get moving!” I said, taking the lead this time and making good time to get their minds off what they had just witnessed. It wasn’t long before their cries of “Slow down, Mr H,” started up again. I let them suffer a bit longer, knowing that the clearing I planned to stop in for lunch was only a few hundred yards away. Once there, I laid my backpack down and took out my wrapped lunch. Kezra, my designated back marker, soon came and confirmed that the group were all safely there. Thanking her, I took a swig from my water bottle and moved to the forward end of the rocky outcrop that bounded the far end of the clearing.

“That is an antenna at Lake Suki, people – the end of your journey of discovery. Between now and tomorrow lunch time; we will have to cross the road to the camp-site three times. I don’t want anyone getting clever ideas about hiving off down it as a short-cut, because it’s not. It zigzags its way down, whereas we’re going straight.” There were a few dramatic groans about ruining their fun, but this group had been one of the better ones, generally speaking. A few may even try camping again, even if only with their own children one day.

“Right, five more minutes and we’re heading out,” I said, reaching for my energy snack – a lovely ripe banana. “Please check that you’ve left nothing behind.” I said.“I’ll be checking for wrappers and aluminium foil as usual.” Once they were all strapped up securely, I called Kezra aside and told her to lead off at a steady pace. “Don’t wait up, keep going to the camp – I want to backtrack to check something.”

The Trap

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