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Vessels Of Glory

Vessels Of Glory

Di Vezi

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Vessels Of Glory

Di Vezi

Lunghezza:
198 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Aug 28, 2019
ISBN:
9780463375556
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

In Vessels of Glory, Vezi makes a formidable and persuasive case for following Christ in the 21st Century. Vezi employs riveting personal anecdotes, experiences, metaphors and observable phenomena to translate what it means to follow Christ in our increasingly complex and divided ego-driven world. Ultimately, Vezi vividly demonstrates how followers of Christ have the mandate and can grow their effectiveness in manifesting the heart of God for humanity, especially in the face of evils confronting humankind, such as poverty, corruption, socio-economic injustices, racial, ethnic and gender hostilities as well as rampant human subjugation.

“This book is an inspirational paradigm shifter. It will cause you to re-evaluate the purpose for your living.” – Dr Takalani Dube, Durban, South Africa

“This is a very special and unique book. It will minister God’s liberating truth in your complex world.” – Noel Coetzee, Port Shepstone, South Africa

“This book will challenge you to let go of inferior and incomplete conceptions of God’s love and embrace His true and selfless love and live it out before humankind.” – Malijeng Ngqaleni, Pretoria, South Africa

“This book will appeal not only to Christians but also to anyone who may have doubts about the case for following Christ,” – Bongi Mhlongo, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

About the Author

Vezi is an amazingly gifted leadership coach who has developed a deep understanding of humankind’s cognitive landscape. Vezi is continuously studying and experimenting with the application of the teachings of Christ in order to displace corrupting influences of the world system. Vezi and his wife, Nhlanhla, run a ministry that enables leaders in all spheres of society to maximise the impact of the truths revealed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Aug 28, 2019
ISBN:
9780463375556
Formato:
Libro

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Vessels Of Glory - Vezi

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Foreword

I had the privilege of reading Vezi’s first book, Transforming Glory, and used it as a meditation guide. I remember a particular day in a hotel room in Minneapolis, USA, during my quiet time, reading his book and reflecting on Man of Sorrow (chapter 26). I appreciated the depth of Vezi’s inspiration and thinking. There was something unique, refreshing and uplifting about the reflections and thoughts shared in this book.

I have had the privilege of reading pieces from what is now published in this new book, Vessels of Glory. I was thinking that there are so few theological writings like Vezi’s that are inspired and rooted in our African perspective. As Africans, we need to stop defining ourselves by narratives that are foreign to our cognitive operating systems. In Vessels of Glory, Vezi argues that God is bigger than our theology (see chapter 3) and therefore our identity does not need to be defined by theologians or scholars from renowned theological colleges.

I was particularly blown away when I read Vezi’s piece on the Black Panther movie. The first time I watched the movie, I could not quite ‘decode’ it. I went back and watched it for the second time, trying to figure out whether this movie was rooted in the true spirit of African Renaissance or just a commercial artefact with the aim of merely scratching our backs once again. When I read Vezi’s thoughts titled The Black Panther movie phenomenon (see chapter 15), I realised how I was actually trapped in a peripheral celebration of Africanness (not a surprise; I breathe and drink Africanness and the African Renaissance). However, Vezi made me realise that though it was inspiring to feel elevated by the fictitious kingdom of Wakanda of the Black Panther movie, there is another kingdom that should provide us with an even more substantial identity and meaning – the kingdom of God.

My take-home from reading Vessels of Glory is about how the world systems and God’s kingdom work. Unless we understand that we are shaped and driven by systems – and that we actually have the choice to change how our cognitive infrastructures are configured – we, especially those of us who are of African descent, will continue to be victims of events and prisoners of our history.

Here is a quote from Vezi, The world system gives you an earthly identity such as ethnicity, race, nationality or vocation while the kingdom system empties us of ourselves and our egocentric thought patterns and fills us with overwhelming love as well as excruciating pain for the condition of humanity, such that our only choice is to step out of our comfort zones, and love the marginalised, bless our enemies and cry for mercy for humanity.

The question ‘Which system drives you?’ is worth asking ourselves, individually or collectively. In Vessels of Glory, Vezi poses some critical questions challenging us to critically examine how our beliefs are constructed and sustained. He also makes practical suggestions for us to embark on a journey to decolonise our minds from the corrupting patterns of the world system and genuinely embrace the transforming ways of the real Good News of Jesus Christ, not the Sunday service shows or the fake narratives that are overwhelming our social media.

In this regard, chapter 9, titled Five surprising ways Jesus decolonised His followers, is one of my favourite chapters and I believe that those who struggle to explain what the gospel is about should dive deep into it.

The bottom line of this jewel, which best explains how I regard this book, is this: to be free from a hegemonic system requires a great focus on the creation of a new system rather than an attempted critique or even reformation of an existing system. I am positive that you will feel renewed by reading Vessels of Glory.

Carlos Sanvee

Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, Geneva, Switzerland

Introduction

A few years back, when I had just completed the manuscript of my inaugural book Transforming Glory, the Holy Spirit said something to me which in hindsight, went completely over my head.

For almost a year, I had been having the most surreal experience of my whole life, beholding the glory of God. In fact, it was so good that in order not to miss my appointments, I had to set an alarm clock for the end of my prayer time. Otherwise, I could have easily spent hours beholding the glory of God.

So I was genuinely puzzled when the Holy Spirit said to me: Now you need to learn to fellowship with God. I began to wonder… What have I been doing all along then? Was beholding His glory not fellowship with God?

Anyhow, still ecstatic from my experience, I quickly let it go. After all, it felt like I could only live on ‘beholding His glory’ forever.

Fast forward a few years and the Holy Spirit began to teach me how to fellowship with God. I soon realised that fellowshipping with God was a completely different experience altogether.

You see, when I beheld His glory, I looked into the unfathomable treasures of His beauty. No human words can even begin to describe the wondrous experience of exploring the contours of His beauty.

Yet when I fellowshipped with God, I had a vivid experience of the dreams and desires of God for humanity. This was an entirely new experience for me; especially the realisation that most of God’s dreams and desires for humanity are yet to be fulfilled.

In essence, beholding the glory of God enables earth to reach out to heaven, while fellowshipping with God enables heaven to touch earth.

Here is what my new experience of fellowship with God entailed: as I sat in the presence of God, the Holy Spirit would bring my attention to the challenges confronting humankind and the condition of His church to represent His heart in these matters. For example, when our parliament in South Africa took the resolution to review the constitution regarding expropriation of land without compensation, a deeply emotive issue amongst South Africans, the Holy Spirit challenged me to search the heart of God in this matter (I share my learning about God’s heart in this matter in chapter 2). Increasingly, I found that my experience of fellowship with God was thematic and pertained to the difficult questions confronting humankind and the condition of the 21st Century church to represent the heart of God in these matters.

I have learnt two vital lessons from my fellowship with God. Firstly, I began to realise how much God had staked in us, the followers of Christ and vessels of His glory, the deliverance of humankind and all creation from the world systems into His kingdom. Secondly, I began to comprehend the pain of God inflicted by the debilitating shortfalls to His glory of the followers of Christ to represent the heart of God to humankind and all creation.

God, how could you stake so much, on such a broken and fragile humanity? Many times I have found myself asking this question, filled with trepidation.

Even if God had answered me, I probably still wouldn’t have been able to take it all in, as my brain still misfires when I consider the faith He has, to stake His dreams for humanity on us fragile, selfish and fickle followers of Christ like myself! A deep pain and sorrow for the condition of humankind and shortfalls of the church have since overwhelmed me!

Whenever I consider the treasures that His divine power has made available to us pertaining to life, and I observe how far we have fallen short of His glory, my heart is at once shattered in many pieces. Yet He continues to entrust us as vessels of His glory to be the expression of His heart to the deeply corrupted world.

So while beholding the glory of God was the most ecstatic experience of my life as I looked into the beautiful contours of His glory in Jesus Christ, fellowship with Him has been most sobering as I began to navigate the rivers of His pain in His heart for the condition of humankind and His church.

Ezekiel’s prophetic rebuke against the shepherds of Israel has since kept ringing in my mind, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. (See Ezekiel 34:2-5.)

My eyes were opened to God’s pain about the condition of humanity, particularly the followers of Christ, whom He has entrusted to preach the good news of freedom from the oppressive world systems. Often, as I fellowship with God, I have found myself questioning in frustration whether His gentleness and patience with us is perhaps not spoiling us!

Fellowship with God has instilled in me what beholding His glory may never have. It has instilled a sense of deep anguish for the condition of humanity. This sense of anguish has created in me a deep love and compassion for all humankind, even those who have little regard for me.

As my love and compassion for humanity grows, I find that this love, rather than my ego and sense of self-preservation, becomes the primary driver of all that I do. I don’t mean to sound puffed up, but I think I’ve had a tiny glimpse of what it is to be like God.

I am persuaded that the very reason that Christ paid the ultimate price of crucifixion on the Roman cross, was that we might, like Him, have the opportunity of experiencing what He treasured above all else: fellowship with His Father. As we fellowship with His Father, we too will be driven by love and compassion for humankind.

I have since pondered these questions: what will it take for us, the followers of Christ, to be the fullest expression of God’s heart for humankind and nature? What does it entail to live out the heart of God for humanity in our world?

In essence, this devotional is an attempt to articulate my convictions as I have navigated the rivers of pain in the heart of God for the condition of humankind and nature.

As I fellowshipped with God, the Holy Spirit challenged me to critically examine my understanding of God and His purposes for humankind and all creation, and my responsibilities relating thereto as a follower of Christ.

What I share in this devotional is only what was within my capacity to process. There is much more to explore and to understand. I am therefore not positing what are essentially my subjective glimpses into God’s heart as gospel truth, but rather, I do this to invite you to come and experience for yourself the heart of God for humanity.

Therefore, I believe with all my being that as you read this devotional and as you put together the glimpses from your own experience of fellowship with God with what I have shared here, an even clearer picture of God’s heart for humanity will begin to emerge.

In this regard, I eagerly invite you to drop me an email at vezi@uvezi.com anytime you have something to share. I look forward to hearing from you about what emerges!

ONE

How God works

Approximately 17 years ago, a few years into my marriage, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me in the most vivid manner I had ever experienced before, about a matter that otherwise would never have crossed my mind.

I had recently purchased a brand new car; in fact, my very first brand new car. Prior to that, I had owned mostly very old, troublesome cars. Unsurprisingly, I treasured my new acquisition with every fibre of my being.

Seemingly, out of the blue, the Holy Spirit asked me to lend that car to a couple who we had just met and who had recently immigrated to South Africa, until they could manage to buy their own car.

Now at this time of my life, I was deeply egocentric, self-serving and stubborn. Therefore, it was unthinkable for me to take a brand new car and give it to some couple I had just met. So when the Holy Spirit first suggested this idea to me, I instantly knew that it wasn’t just a figment of my egocentric imagination.

I determined that I was going to ignore the Holy Spirit with this unthinkable proposition. Yet the voice of the Holy Spirit grew firmer and undeniable. Each time I would be walking to my car, the Holy Spirit would unequivocally remind me the car should no longer be in my possession!

This increasingly robust voice of the Holy Spirit continued to speak to me for a few weeks until I agreed to do something about His proposition. I resolved to share this with my wife, Nhlanhla, hoping she would rescue me from this radical proposition by saying ‘no’.

I was rather disappointed to discover that my wife had had the same conviction, but was certain that I would have dismissed her outright if she had told me. So she immediately suggested that we approach the couple with the Holy Spirit’s proposition.

I finally gave in and reluctantly resolved to lend my brand new car to this couple.

When we met and broke the good news to them, the husband immediately went to his bedroom and brought back their prayer list. The car was on top of their list. It finally dawned on me that God had just used us as an answer to this couple’s prayer. Even in my egocentric orientation, it really felt good to be a vessel of God!

In my journey of faith, I have consistently observed that God always chooses to work with and through humankind to express His heart and engage humanity. In fact, it seems to me, as a matter of course, God only engages with humankind and all creation through human vessels and never unilaterally.

The narratives in the

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