Where does EMC Squared come from? The Testimony…

The vision

Thursday 24 October 2019.
I was sitting with Ilonka Esterhuyse discussing her history in film, her skills and the foundation that she has started and the work that it is doing. She sent me a video previously, created to show her supporters where their donations are going, and the relief and joy it is bringing. 

I asked her what she needs now, and her response was that she needed God to give her insight into the process for registering for all the tax certificates, etc. So I asked, why doesn’t she just ask God to send her someone who knows how to do this? 

At which point, a vision started playing in my head of a conference in the Royal Elephant Hotel, with the heads of many ministries sitting at tables filling in forms about the resources they have at their disposal. 

From there I saw them switch to apps on their tablets and smartphones and then I started drawing… just basic line drawings of ministries, their needs and their resources, connecting a resource from one to a need from a second, while connecting the resources from a third to the needs of the first. All the while I was asking, “is this for my church? or my city?” and the whole time I felt, no… bigger…. why do you want a limit? 

I think Ilonka just graciously sat for a while because I do not know how long I was scribbling and note taking.

That Friday morning, at our weekly prayer meeting, I shared the vision, and everybody that was there reacted positive. Extremely positive, I should rather say… with people to connect to and names and numbers… I was in a good place.

The doubt

First week of November 2019.
I was extremely excited, but really needed to know if this was my own creative problem solving idea, or inspired by and empowered by God the Father. I have done enough foolish things “in the name of Jesus” or “christianity” to know that if God is not in it, its not going anywhere. 

At which point a small voice started speaking to me about the tower of Babel. A people that didn’t want or need God. Wasn’t this what I was doing? Removing the need for God’s supernatural provision? It left me brooding and distraught for a week. I kept asking God, but just didn’t trust myself to hear. It is just such a good idea… And I couldn’t ask anybody else because I can’t think of a ministry or outreach that doesn’t need some kind of a resource. And then there is the resources we would need to build it and sustain it… and then I started thinking about legal impact. Who decides? What happens with theological, moral or ethical questions. If one group believes we are supporting work with another group that is questionable according to their theology and doctrine… what do we do? At best, they will complain on social media. At worst, they could try and take us to court? The rabbit hole got really deep, really fast!

The Prayer

Friday 1st November 2019.
So I was in doubt until the next Friday. At my Prayer Group, I told the guys that I am under attack. Fear and doubt were clouding my mind, and my prayer request was this: I want a scriptural response from somebody that doesn’t know about this. Yeah, I know, its Gideon all over again!

The response

Sunday 3rd November 2019
As we are driving to church, a good friend of mine sent me a screen-grab of his bible from his phone, highlighted in green and underlined in blue with a huge exclamation mark. 

My response to him was one word: CONTEXT? 

The verse was this: Isaiah 9:7

“…There will be vast authority 
and endless peace 
for David’s throne 
and for his kingdom, 
establishing and sustaining it 
with justice and righteousness 
now and forever. 
The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this…”

Only a few minutes later, we were in church, worship has started and during “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord” – God did just that. We must all be good stewards of what was entrusted to us. And what was entrusted to us we will need to give account for! 

In my mind’s eye, the parable of the Talents played out (Matthew 25:14-30) It wasn’t the values that struck me, but that something was given, not to keep safe, but to hustle with. To increase and be effective with. 

It knocked me over because it was a double whammy. Not only did God say to me that I can hear just fine, and then proceeded to explain and reveal a spiritual truth to me (I did ask God to open the eyes of my heart, after all, and a few hundred people were right there next to me asking the same in the worship service… ) But also the fact that being Good Stewards means we need to actually do stuff. I know it sounds straight forward, and it really is, but the revelation that what we have was given to us, so that we can increase the harvest.

It is not “Take Care Of” – It is “Make Profit With” 

Although, in this case, I really didn’t think it had anything to do with finances. It wasn’t making a profit for the sake of profit, but using resources to build out The Kingdom inside God’s Will.

So I entered the week feeling pretty confident… but God wasn’t done yet.

Enter Pastor Suzy Silk from Church of the City New York. On Tuesday I was listening to their podcast series about the Missional Life, and part of her teaching text was on Deuteronomy 24:19 

“Whenever you are reaping the harvest of your field and you leave some grain in the field, don’t go back and get it. Let it go to the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows so that the Lord your God blesses you in all that you do”

…but more importantly on Leviticus 19:9-10:

“When you harvest your land’s produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don’t gather up every remaining bit of your harvest . Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the Lord your God…”

Mind Blown! 

Her descriptions about margins and edges pretty much matched my vision of a ministry: The Ministry has a chunk of resources given to it, it’s field. The middle of the field is where their tithe should come from (YES, a ministry should also tithe – Numbers 18:26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering…”)

The rest of their field they should use to power the ministry to its full function. But the edges, the edges are for other ministries. To use and to grow as God releases. It is not for us to judge who should get what but to trust that God will bring those who need to us. However. God didn’t prescribe how much needs to be left of your “edges & corners”, just that you need to leave some. But just like your tithe, where God says “Test Me!” I believe that we will find large edges for our needs when we leave large edges and corners for others. 

I shared all of this with my wife early on. My fears, my doubts… what I believe the calling is… and her word to me was simple. Test it. Find a need, and then find a resource… and solve a problem. 

But this felt wrong… I didn’t want to be a “fixer” I felt this should be a process, a system that works naturally. So imagine my surprise on Friday when I met Martin. I pulled over to send a message to a friend and saw Martin at the McDonalds drive-through. I have driven past him a few times, might even have given him food or money once or twice, but otherwise, no interaction. 

Today, however, I felt I need to buy him breakfast. So I grabbed Martin, which I then learned (while waiting for our order) is a plumber that used to work the mines and then came to the city for better prospects. But the work was scarcer than he thought, and his savings ran out quicker than he thought and has now been on the streets for 6  months. He also really needed shoes. Shoes that are two sizes smaller than mine. So I popped a message into one of my support groups if anybody has shoes and a few minutes later, a private message came back. “Can I  send you money to help him out?” – Off course I said yes and half an hour later,  the money arrived… from another country! 

I was emotional, but didn’t realise until that night what had happened. I extended my margin instead of racing past to get to my office. I was hit by a need, half of which I could provide, and half not. Without trying to build the connections purposely, I shared the need, connected with another “margin”, which then supplied the second half of the need. Across cultures and across borders, without judgement or justification. 

I have, you need, here take it. 

No… this is not a Tower of Babel, it is empowering followers of Christ to be obedient to their calling and purpose. 

God Provides. 

The Holy Spirit Guides

Jesus Saves… 

This is a tool like a car, a meeting place or a projector… no more, no less…

And Then… 

Saturday 9th November 2019
I spent the day working, and came home early afternoon. I was with my kids when I got a message from a friend that they dropped of shoes for Martin, but was worried that it would get wet, so they left it in a “container” – I sent out my son to go fetch it quick, while I changed out of my work clothes. But he came back in saying there are no shoes… or containers… Just “this”

I turned around and he is holding Car Keys… Wildly confused I walked outside while phoning my friend. 

Turns out the shoes were in the boot… but the car was for us. A prayer that I have never voiced to anyone but God, a discussion I have had with God numerous times sitting in traffic… one of those what will I do? prayers… Help me show me. 

And then God reminded of what I wrote that morning about this project: This is a tool, like a car… and from the first scripture verse: “…The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this…” i.e. not your own power, and not your own provision. 

and Psalm 119:93 that I read that morning before leaving for work:

“…I can never forget the profound revelations you’ve taught me, for they have kept me alive more than once…”

and verse 95 I declare for myself:

“… I will set my heart before you to understand more of your ways.”

Enough now Gideon… 

Sunday 10th November 2019
I was driving with the new car to a photoshoot, pondering everything that has happened in the last two weeks or so and may I be so bold as to say the Holy Spirit started nudging me… Enough Gideon, more Nehemiah. 

Start making a list of what you need to put the plan in action, and start speaking to people that know what they are doing. 

I still don’t know if I am just the activator, the builder or the “ideas man” but God is driving something, and I am committed to a part of it until He tells me I am done!