PE Report July 2014
Pastor Phil and Priscilla Visagie have seen the hand of the Lord work with them in Port Elizabeth in so many wonderful ways. We rejoice together with them.
Their estranged daughter has come back and serves in the church again. Pastor Phil operates a small business and in the past months he has received orders that will see him through for the rest of the year. They have also paid in full the hall rental where they hold Harvester church services.
The local radio station asked him to speak for 3 hours on a Saturday night and minister to people that call in. This costs him nothing.
Two Sundays ago they held a feast instead of the normal service. They asked the small congregation to invite friends for the lunch. One of their congregation couples cooked a wonderful curry and briyani for the meal and the people even had fruit salad and ice cream, tea and coffee to round it off. It worked out about R40 per person. Sixty people came and six new souls were added to the church. Two visiting couples also decided to be added to Harvester.
I came to PE to meet some of the new members and we held a house meeting where as usual we also had a lovely meal. I shared on ‘Resilient Faith’ and demonstrated it by walking on the carpet to show how footsteps are marked on a carpet, but a resilient Van Dyk 7 shield carpet has such strong fiber that it bounces back leaving not footprints at all.
Our faith is a shield against all the fiery darts of the enemy and it has a bounce back quality that sustains it.
I also shared how Paul the apostle had many reasons to stop believing in God because he suffered so much for the Gospel’s sake. But everytime his faith bounced back. He mentions much labor, shipwrecks, persecution and being beaten with rods, besides receiving 195 stripes with wips from the Jews, five times more than Jesus. Once he was stoned and left for dead but when the believers prayed he got up again. He survived a night and a day drifting in the deep ocean. Perils in the city and in the wilderness were part of his experience. He was even betrayed like Jesus was. Above all of those suffering and hardships he daily had the care of the churches upon him.
Why could Paul keep on believing in Christ? Because he had a prophetic word from Ananias when he was converted that he would suffer great things for Christ but also be brought before great men to witness to them about Jesus Christ.
His faith bounced back every time. The same with Peter. He was beaten and imprisoned but his faith bounced back. He wrote in his epistle that we have received ‘like precious faith’. I told the believers that they already possess resilient faith. They are not going to get it because I am preaching about it. I am simply sharing a quality of the faith that God gives that is not often mentioned. Most people think faith is just a way to get things from God.
Resilient means ‘elastic, durable with a bounce back quality’ like the expensive carpets.
When Paul faced another shipwreck he spoke to the captain of the ship and said, ‘this night the angel of the Lord appeared to me and told me the ship will be lost, but the lives of all the people will be saved. Therefore give them some food so they may be strengthened, for I believe God whom I continually serve that it will be as it was told me.’ (My paraphrase)
Those three words are so important: ‘I believe God.’ If you can say that in the midst of the trial of your faith it will sustain you. Say it continually. Speak it and believe what you are saying: ‘I believe God.’ Your faith will bounce back no matter what you are going through.
Pastor Phil also has a wonderful way of allowing people in church to reply and give immediate feedback after he preached a sermon. In this way people are allowed to share their insights or what the sermon meant to them.
After praise and worship he also gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to minister to the people. People can share and prophesy.
One thing I told them about prophecy is that it has to be judged. You cannot give soullish prophecies to override the will of people.
For instance you cannot say, ‘you will be married before the end of the year!’ but you can say, ‘before the end of the year you will meet someone.’ You cannot put people under bondage through prophecy. You need to keep a space for their will to operate.
Faith is not faith until it is tested. Pastor Phil and Priscilla’s faith was severely tested over the past 18 months since they started Harvester P.E.
But they held firm under pressure and the Lord has started blessing them.
He received two invitations to minister in Peru and in Brazil but decided to focus on building the body of Christ in PE instead.
Priscilla testified how I always arrived at the right moment to encourage and strengthen them throughout their lives. God’s timing is perfect.
They were some of our very first members in our first church, Southern Christian Center, Johannesburg South.
One of the things they envision is to feed the entire church on a regular basis and make sure people have food and clothing. Their involvement in charity work over the years has given them much experience in this regard.
One of the church members remarked: ‘Our church is small but powerful! God answers our prayers!’ A new born believer could not find a job and came forward for prayer. Within 3 days he found a wonderful job! The prayer was answered! They also prayed for a sound system for the church.
Harvester Cape Town has put together a sound system for PE Harvester and it will be collected within the next month. Another prayer is answered!
To see how God looks after the flock is amazing in hard times where many business close down in PE. God is able to sustain believers at all times.
The four apostolic platforms are visible in PE Harvester: Commission, Communion, Compassion and Care. Pastor Phil allows different people to share at the time of communion. In this way they are developed to speak in front of people.
They use the Miracle Bible College material to teach the people in the house groups. I reminded them of how Harvester began: we see every church member as a Bible student and every full time Bible student as a church member. We do not separate the two. Dr. Gray at Miracle Valley where I studied told us, ‘unity comes through the preaching of the word.’ It brings church members into the same unity of faith, the same frequency of spirit, one heart and one soul.
The perfecting of the saints and equipping of the body of believers have strong emphasis in PE Harvester.
Let us continue to pray for them and support them in whatever way we can. We love them in the Lord and stand with them as they continue to work in PE.