Herod and Pilate were enemies at one stage. But when both were involved in the trial of Jesus, they actually became friends. Jesus was the catalyst that brought the two warring rulers together.
A catalyst is a substance that binds two chemical substances that do not mix together to form a new substance. The catalyst disappears in the process. A catalyst is a third dimensional substance. It brings a solution in the third dimension that did not exist before it appeared. It creates a new dimension on which the two opposing chemical substances can relate. It destroys the impossibility of the dualistic dimension where science says that those two substances cannot co-exist. It introduces new possibilities to both substances that change their relationship into a new relationship. It makes the impossible possible.
God made man but man rebelled against God and came under the rulership of Satan. But Jesus was the catalyst that brought reconciliation between God and man. He took our sins upon Him so that God could forgive our sins. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin so that we can become the righteousness of God in Christ. (II Cor 5:21) Now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is a new creature.
When God called us to Australia we did not know what lay ahead. There was a list of things I knew I had to do in Australia, but I never thought that God will use Nola and I as one of his catalysts.
When we arrived in Brisbane there were 3 large churches. The pastor of the one church drove with me past one of the other large churches and promptly told me: ‘this is my enemy!’ The 3rd pastor told me how that pastor split his church and started his own church with half of his congregation! These three pastors never spoke to each other, never worked together and actually worked against each other. When the one had a special meeting on with a visiting international preacher, the other two would arrange something special for that weekend to prevent their people from going to listen to the international speaker. This disunity was well-known in Brisbane.
We did not know anything about it.
I was music director of the one large church. But I told the pastor I will do it for three months and then I have to fulfill call to preach throughout Australia to call a nation I do not know according to Isaiah 55:5.
When I started preaching God did wonders. That pastor got so upset that he forbade me to ever preach again. ‘God called you to Australia to teach music. From now on you will teach music in our Christian school!’ I laughed at him but he was absolutely serious. He said if I do not teach music he will force me to resign. So I resigned. Then he called me into his office and shouted at me: ‘I will crush you in Australia! You are nothing!’
I told him: ‘you must do what you must do; I’ll do what I must do!’
The second pastor of a big church told someone that he had me in his little black book and that he is praying me out of Australia. The 3rd pastor told heard that I was holding a concert campaign in Festival Hall and told me straight away: ‘who do you think you are? Jimmy Swaggart could not even fill that great hall. You can tell everyone I said you won’t even draw 300 people!’ The 1st pastor forbade his people to attend my concert.
We had 1, 700 people in the concert and 92 souls got saved. Miracles of healings took place. We planted our first church: Valley of Blessing in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
The success of our first concert campaign and the planting of our first church had these three pastors worried. They secretly got together and planned to oust me from Australia. They approached a strong women’s prayer group of over 300 people and told them to pray us out of Australia. The 1st pastor sent spies to our church meetings to find out where our next outreach would be. Then he would phone the pastors in that town and tell them not to co-operate with me or to let their people attend our meetings.
Reinhard Bonnke was invited as guest speaker to the Full Gospel Businessmen’s convention in Melbourne. I heard about it and phoned him while he was with Benjamin Idahosa in Benin City, Nigeria. I asked if I paid his air ticket from Melbourne to Brisbane if he would preach in our little church. He agreed whole-heartedly.
We had a little TV program on channel 9 in Brisbane and I advertised Bonnke’s meeting in our church. The 3 pastors were livid. They went to the chairman of the Australian Full Gospel Businessmen and blackmailed him by saying if he allowed Bonnke to come to Andre Pelser they will never work with the Full Gospel Businessmen again. The chairman called me in for ‘tea’.
I didn’t suspect him. Nola and I were so thrilled that such an important man invited me for tea. I still remember how Nola brushed my suit jacket before I left. She wanted me to make a good impression. But there was no tea!
When I walked in the chairman started shouting at me: ‘who do you think you are? You are a pea in a pod!’ (It sounded to me like pee in a pot, with my Afrikaans understanding!) He added: ‘you don’t understand church ethics!’ I asked him what he meant by that because I got a degree in ethics.
‘Church ethics is this: you are a nobody and you are getting Reinhard Bonnke to preach in your little church. The three large churches in Brisbane have been fighting to get Bonnke in their church for the past ten years and here you come and you get him before they do! You better cancel that meeting or there will be trouble!’
I said I will only cancel if Bonkke tells me to cancel. So soon afterwards I received a call from Bonnke: ‘Andre please cancell that meeting. It has become and international scandal.’
I did not know what he meant. He told me, ‘the leader of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International in San Diego has called him personally and said if he does not cancel the meeting with Andre Pelser, they will not give him the $10 000 for his new tent that they promised. I need that money, Andre!’
I said: ‘Reinhard, if I cancel your meeting no one will ever believe me again when I advertise something. They will call me a liar if they come to the meeting and you are not here, because I have advertised it on TV.’
‘Suffer that for my sake, ‘Reinhard pleaded.
I consented and cancelled the meeting. People that came to the meeting were disappointed when I said Reinhard was not going to be there. Half of them got up and left. We held the meeting anyway.
A friend of ours died and was buried. At his funeral service I noticed that the 3 pastors and I were all present. They greeted each other with warm embraces and handshakes and had smiles all around. But they did not greet me. I felt the hurt of being ignored by such prominent men.
I told Nola after the funeral. Our work is done. God used us as a catalyst to bring these three warring pastors together again. We can go home.
Shortly after that funeral I heard God’s audible voice, ‘My son, return to the land of your fathers.’ I know our work was finished. We held 56 concert campaigns in 18 months, preached in many churches of all denominations, spoke on the radio and at universities and schools, produced two musicals that travelled up and down the coast and performed in churches, won over 3 000 souls for the lord and planted 4 churches in 2 years. Besides that we had a TV program that reached tens of thousands of people and we freely distributed over 3 000 newsletters throughout Australia. We called a nation we do not know and God used us as catalysts for His glory. We disappeared in the process and returned home. My dad borrowed us some money for our return tickets which we had to repay over the next few years. We came back to South Africa with almost nothing to start over again as pastors of Southern Christian Church in Bassonia, the first church we ever planted.
Being used of God is not as glamorous as some preachers try to make it out. To be a catalyst is being used of God for His glory and you become nothing in the process. You just disappear.
Jesus was the catalyst between Herod and Pilate.
Jesus was the catalyst between God and sinful man.
Look how Jesus suffered. But look at how God glorified Him in the end and gave Him a Name that is above every other Name that at His Name every knee should bow and every tongue confesses that He is Lord! (Phil 2:9)
I am going to pray right now that God will bring a catalyst into your impossible situations. I am also going to pray that God use you as a catalyst for the sake of other people.
Nola and I have often seen marriages on the rocks being repaired and healed and they are still together today! We have seen how pastors that cannot get along eventually love each other and support each other. We have seen churches merge and become strong! We have seen businesses merge and become wealthy! We have seen warring family members reconciled and get a new appreciation for each other. We have seen the wonderful work of God when He uses us as His catalyst in a situation.
Let us pray: ‘Father, I come to you in Jesus’ Name and I ask that you send a catalyst into the impossible situation to change it and to bring peace and rest and prosperity! I also pray that you continue to use us as your catalyst to bring peace and prosperity into other people’s lives. I ask this in Jesus’ Name and promise to give you all the glory, forever, amen.’