Is the message of Easter really going to change lives this year?

How much do I change my life as a result of the fact Christ died for me?  

These may very well be the questions that Christians will be asking themselves this Easter period.  It is also ones we ask of ourselves at Rope and with our international partners as we constantly seek to see tangible examples of where lives have changed as a result to the fulfilment of the Easter message.

Our partners in South Africa are such an encouragement to us.

Father to the fatherless

Operating in Worcester, South Africa they have been called to work with men, long term drug addicts and gang members.  Their 5 year ministry, which on the face of it, looks like a drug rehabilitation programme, has much deeper significance.  

The Lord has developed a passion within them to bring fathers back into this fatherless community.  

They estimate that 80% of children are being brought up in families without a father figure as this drug and gang culture has destroyed the sense of family values.  

This is not part of God's plan for His people as how can any of us fully understand Father God if we have never had the love of a human father?

Our partners want the men they work with to be the fathers God wants them to be, so all can experience His unconditional love for themselves.

The ultimate sacrifice

Listening and learning more about their work has given me a chance to reflect on what it is to be a father.  I recognise that as a Christian man, who wants to see real change in my community, I need to show people what being a father is all about.

And Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross enables us all to have communion and live in unity with God the Father. He brings us back into the Trinity - the perfect family unit - so we can be transformed into being the people God wants us to be.

It is the ultimate sacrifice.

Transformed lives

We feel privileged to be supporting the work of Erena and her team in South Africa and rejoice in the transformation that we are seeing in the lives of the men being saved.  

They are being healed of their addictions, coming to faith and reconciling with their families so they can be the fathers that their children need them to be.

As many of them have never experienced positive parenting themselves, they are having to learn it afresh through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The results of this work are summed up with the two pictures.

The first is of one of the men seeking prayer and healing before God.  The other is of the project team worshipping God the Father.  As a team they often walk together to a 12 foot wooden cross, which is planted in Brandwacht Mountain in Worcester.   On this particular Sunday morning the men stood before the cross committing to stand in the gap of the fatherless within their community.

So is the message of Easter really going to change lives this year?  

I believe it is doing so.