Hashtag society

Ever wondered where hashtags come from? They are everywhere. On social media, you can hardly type or search for anything without using a hashtag. If you do a bit of research (Google is your friend) you will realize that the hash (#) is a symbol that was primarily and significantly used to denote special meaning. But then the social network took over and we are where we are today. From a symbol to a trend.

The use of this hash from a basic symbol to a tag on social media, which makes it easy for people to search and find information on social networks, has become a phenomenon. This widespread use lead to the term “hashtag” being included in the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014. This means that before June 2014, the term Hashtag was not officially a word, it was just a thing.

Today, we all have contributed to this widespread use of the term hashtag. It’s part of our daily lives. Not many days go by without us using a hashtag. It’s become part our digital interaction.

This widespread use has also contributed to a lot of good and sometimes bad things. Topics discussed on social media gain global traction when hashtags are used. There is some power in a hash, there is evidence of this. In Egypt when the corrupt government was overthrown, the rise of the Arab Spring, the use of hashtags within the social media space contributed to that government collapsing. And we’ve seen it in the Oscar trial, where everything that was said about Oscar was hashtagged #Oscartrial or #OscarPistorious.

More recently in South Africa, we’ve seen the rise of #Feesmustfall. This gained so much attention that there were people in other countries who were willing to join the march to have the fees fall. The funny part now is, when we don’t like something, then “it must fall”. Example are #corruptionmustfall #Zumamustfall, and even in sport you had #NewZealandmustfall, when SA played New Zealand in the rugby world cup.

This really got me thinking, as a Christian, what else should fall? With these hashtags that we participate in – tweet, retweet, tag etc. with such conviction and emotion, could I do the same for my Christian walk? Can I use a hashtag that could describe my attitude and feeling within my Christian walk? And in this season of things “falling” my hashtag is #mysinmustfall. This means that #myselfcentrednessmustfall #myenvymustfall #myliesmustfall #mymaliciousspeechmustfall #myidolsmustfall. And I should be convinced of this, committed to having my sin fall. With the strength of the Holy Spirit, I am able to keep my sin in check and focusing on giving God the glory. That’s a trend worth following.

And you may ask why #mysinmustfall? It’s because #CHRISTISRISEN! #thetombisempty. He defeated death, conquered sin, overcame the rulers and powers of this age and of this world. He is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Shepherd and Overseer of our faith and those who put their trust in Him, will have life – eternal life. John 3:16-18.

So as you think of the hashtag #mysinmustfall consider the words found in Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

#Recharge and #ConnectwithGod
Irvine Rambau

Why invite

The problem with queues

One of the good things about living in South Africa is that we all have stories – stories about anything and everything. We talk about the horrible traffic every morning, we talk about the lack of service delivery, we talk politics, sports and even about the weather. At some level or another, we relate to these stories because we have been part and parcel of them. We have participated, lived or have been affected by some of these circumstances and situations we talk about so much.

One familiar way a person gets to hear all these wonderful stories is when we are queuing for stuff. And boy do we queue. We queue for everything – banks, malls, post office, grocery shopping and clothing stores – everywhere! Have you noticed though, how when you are in a rush, the queue is at its slowest? And when you look at the other queues at the other till points, it seems as if they are moving faster than yours? Right? You wonder what did those people do right to have the fastest queue?

Sometimes you see people you know in the other queue; family members, friends, people from work. I’ve seen the security guy at my complex in a queue and we started chatting about people who forget passcodes when they leave their complex and how frustrating it can be for everyone. I could relate – I was the one who forgot a passcode. It is always good to see a familiar face in a queue, because at least you can share the experience – even if it is a long queue. And when you see people you know, you start to chat. Dumelang! Ndaa! It makes the waiting slightly less stressful.

Now imagine, for a second – on Judgement Day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back to fetch those who are his, those who lived their lives in obedience to him and trusted that he is the Son of God, there’s a queue. Let’s say 2 queues: one leading to heaven and another leading to hell. You are in the one to heaven because God by His grace and mercy enabled you to put your faith and trust in Christ and His work on the cross. Granted the queue could be shorter and move along much quicker but everyone in this queue is happy, singing and praising the name of Jesus. It’s a happy queue. But then you happen to look across the other side and you catch a glimpse of the slow, long, agonising, painful, sorrow-filled, hopeless queue to hell. It’s a place where nobody wants to be. But then as you look closer in the queue you see the security guard from the gate, or even still, you see your colleague waiting in that queue to hell. With no hope, no way out – nothing to save them. Embarrassed you try to hide so they don’t see you and your happiness, but they do. And from all that pain, suffering, the deadness they are feeling – all they say to you is “WHY?” “Why didn’t you tell me? You let me walk into hell and did nothing to warn me. Why didn’t you tell me I was dying when I thought I was living? Why didn’t you tell me?”

What you know about Christ is something you cannot keep to yourself. The word of God has the power to change lives – it changed yours. It has the power to save beyond this life. Tell someone.

In Ephesians 2, we are reminded that we were dead in our transgressions and followed the ways of the world (vs. 2,3), and we were made alive only through Christ, by God’s mercy (vs. 4,5). Romans 6 reminds us that the wages (the reward) of sin (rebellion against God) is death, not “la vida loca”, death! By believing in Christ, you have been made alive and received the gift of life from God. This is worth sharing and letting others know and experience the redemptive power, the same love, the same mercy, the same forgiveness and grace – all in abundance – as you have received.

Don’t wait to be reminded whilst In the queue that you should have told someone, or at least invited them to Church – it will be too late. Do it today. Trust God with your words and take lead from his teaching. At the point where you invite others to come to know him, he will not leave you.

One of the good things about living in South Africa is that we all have stories to share. Let’s share – the goods news of Christ.

#Recharge and #ConnectwithGod.
Irvine Rambau

Judgement – the Oscar trial

What if I put it to you….
Over the last 7 months we have been exposed to a spectacle of words and tears, with the whole Oscar court case drama. At the end of it all, after days of back and forth between the prosecutor, defense and judge, Oscar was found guilty on some of the charges (not all) brought against him and was sentenced to 5 years in jail – even though some feel this is too short and does not fit the crime.
All of us, myself included, are ready to jump at the chance of voicing our anger and disappointment at the county’s justice system and also how aggrieved we feel by what he did. We feel sad and hurt on behalf of Reeva’s family, because on some level we feel that justice was not done. Maybe as a community, if it was in our hands, we would have opted for the “off with his head” approach or even a life sentence in order for Oscar to pay back for the killing of a young, helpless and beautiful life.
We witnessed Oscar, as he was put on the stand and asked to account for his actions, detail by detail. Witnesses were called to aid the state’s case that Oscar should be details, because he is a murderer. At the same time, Barry Roux, Oscar’s defense attorney, tried his best to defend Oscar’s actions. how fitting that Oscar had someone on his corner to defend the charges against and ultimately this proved successful (at some level) because he was not convicted of the primary charge that Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, was hoping for.
Through all this, we saw how Gerrie attacked and attacked Oscar’s character, his intensions and even his testimony saying he was a liar. Oscar had to account for his actions after transgressing against the law of the land. He transgressed that one time and he was caught and he should have paid for it in full – is that not what he deserves?
I can continue to write and judge Oscar, but as I do I am reminded of my own transgressions against God and how short I have fallen before him – how I have transgressed before a holy God.
What do I mean by this? Well look at it this future: If you deny the Lord, and ignore him for who he is, the same fate will befall you on judgment day. You will have to account for your sins. This is not just one act of mistaken identity; this will be all the sins that you have committed, every day, every hour for all your life – against God.
In this court case, where you are charged, God is the prosecutor and the judge. You have no defense, it is you against God, who you willingly ignored and aimed against. If God is against you, who, on earth and heaven can be for you?
Your sins against God will not go unpunished. You won’t get off lightly and there will be no suspended sentence. You will face the full wrath of God and that is a million times worse that Gerrie Nel or 5 years inside the Kgosi Mampuru prison.
So how can you avoid the wrath of God? There is only one option and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. You see Christ has taken all that punishment that we deserved, when he died on the cross. He died so that we will not have to face the Judge, because he has faced the judge, accepted charges and was found guilty on our behalf. He took the punishment we deserved – he paid the price for our sins. He did this so you can experience the love, comfort, gentleness and compassion of the Father.
If you accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour and live under his authority and Lordship, God, the judge of the living and the dead, does not see you as guilty but as innocent, because of what Jesus Christ, his son, has done for you.
So I put it to you: How long will you disobey God and live under your own rules? How long with you ignore God? How long will you live life as if God does not exist?
When judgment day comes, and it will, who will be your defense? Take God seriously at his message and you will not suffer the fate of facing an angry judge who has the power to punish you for eternity.
By, Irvine Rambau
22 October

The story of C4

The one question most people have been asking me in the past months is “When did you decide to plant a church?” The answer to that always brings about the same reaction in almost everyone who hears it. The ICU ward in Sunninghill hospital Joburg got me to think about church planting. Having suffered a Pulmonary Embolism and spending 10 days in ICU one has a bit more time to think clearly and evaluate their life and circumstances. It was at that time that I decided it would be great and honouring to the Lord for me to at least think, pray and investigate what is involved in church planting. Technically speaking Cross Centred Community Church – C4 was born in a hospital.

About two years ago a group of 18 adults and a bunch of kids started meeting as the core group coming out of Christ Church Midrand. We met weekly for bible study, training and prayer. We also met as a community to do life together. It soon became clear that we needed to grow and expand our efforts and so we started a Sunday morning gathering where others could attend. Many others have come to join us including some non-Christians. We are a church of small gospel communities because we are convinced this is the best way to evangelise, disciple and pastor each other in our context. Many people have found this refreshing and new, it’s authentic community where people are loved and cared for but most important they see the bible come alive in practice. We have now been meeting officially as a church for the last 8 months and are encouraged to be part of what God is doing in our community. It’s early days but they are good days indeed.

C4 meets on a Sunday morning in a pre-school hall in Bryanston. God has blessed us with this great facility because it’s comfortable for adults and awesome for our children in a big way. Our aim is to see young professionals and young families come to know Jesus and grown to maturity in Him. We want the gospel of Christ to be clear, to be relevant and culture transforming in our community. As C4 we want to see many un-churched and un-believing people come to Christ as Lord and Saviour. We believe we have a role to play in Joburg, we love Joburg it’s our city and because God has put us here. We pray and look where God is working and partner with him there for the good of the city.

C4 Camp 2012

In March 2013 we had our first C4 Church camp. It was a fantastic weekend of worship, fun and connecting as a community. They say that one weekend away as a church is worth more than 52 Sundays. This is very true judging from the vibe, excitement and love for Jesus many had on their return.

Our guest speaker was Glenn Nesbitt who is a lecturer at Johannesburg Bible College (JBC). Glenn taught from the book of James, which proved helpful for many as we struggle to live for Jesus is a broken and fallen world while we ourselves are broken and fallen individuals. One of the highlights of the weekend was our Saturday Karaoke evening. We saw it all that night – the good, the bad, the ugly and the down right no talent!! It was a great night to remember indeed. The greatest thing though was the encouragement from the book of James, we were led to see the grace of God that has no limits in the light of sinful hearts.
What people had to say

“Some testimonies about the camp…”

“This was for me what I needed to hear once more” – Rochelle. “What a great book! What a great God!”- Ms. K

Latest Articles

12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Something Online

Before you post that blog, Facebook status, or tweet, what would be some indicators you might want t...

Allowing God to lead your emotional healing

I’m English and we are commonly associated with the phrase “keep a stiff upper lip”: an implac...

How do you compare?

We like to measure and compare things. We compare the coffee at one café to another. We compare one...