Mar
26
by: SRC Church Planting

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What’s been happening at Hope City Presbyterian in Cape Town, South Africa

It’s been a while since we updated you with news from our little community. A lot has happened in the last few months. By God’s grace we’re now in the second year of our plant (in 2 months time we’ll celebrate a year of Sunday worship services). At the start of this year we really felt we needed to focus on the basics of the Christian faith. 2013 had been a good year for us and our basic structures were all up and running but we felt we were lacking in doing some of the basics well. So we made two commitments to each other in January, and asked God for his help in these:
 
1) That we would cultivate deep spirituality both individually and corporately. We got together and prayed for God to meet with us in a special way, filling us with his love and assurance. Without the life-blood, which is the love of the Father, we cannot hope to plant this church and so cultivating a robust and deep spirituality had to be a number one priority in 2014. This means increased focus on prayer, corporate worship, and the practice of spiritual disciplines – both communally and as individuals.
 
2) That we would cultivate meaningful relationship both inside and outside of our church. God’s love needs to spread – that’s simply the very nature of his love. And the way he has consistently spread his love is through relationships – people sharing their lives with each other while keeping the gospel at the center. We knew we couldn’t hope to plant this church if we were not cultivating these relationships with people in our church and with people who are not yet part of our church. We ask for God’s help in this great task and privilege.
So far the year has been exciting as we’ve committed to these two things. New people have joined us, for which we praise God, and our church has been growing in depth and in opportunities to serve our city. The Lord has brought interesting and diverse people to us and is teaching us how to be community to each other in all the ups and downs of life. He’s also opened doors for us to serve the community (see the picture of the the team serving at the Arise Family Day). Hope CityI prayed earnestly at the beginning of this year that God would expand our relational base – to date he has been very faithful in answering that prayer. God is definitely at work, and for this we are deeply grateful.
 
Please uphold the following things in prayer with us:
  • Continued growth both numerically and in terms of the depth of gospel understanding in our group.
  • That God would honour our commitments to cultivate deep spirituality and meaningful relationships.
  • Please pray for us as we think about how best to serve families with children. To date we haven’t developed this area of the church and so we’re looking to expand here and serve people in this life stage.
  • Pray for God’s spiritual protection over our community. I seem to be having way more pastoral meetings this year than last. I have no doubt that Satan would like to disrupt the work here so please pray for God’s strength in the hard times.
Thank you again for this partnership in the gospel. 
 
God’s Richest Blessings,
Stephan and Robin Murray (and the rest of the Hope City Crew!) 
Feb
27
by: SRC Church Planting

POSTED IN: News & Events
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Meet Ralph Cunnington

Ralph Cunnington is the newest member of the Spanish River Church Planting family. Ralph is planting New City Church in Manchester.

Feb
5
by: SRC Church Planting

POSTED IN: News & Events
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Sharing the story of God’s work in Cuba

Alfredo Forhans, pastor of the Holguín church in Cuba writes:

“Families in Cuba are much like they were before the revolution – hurting. Young people get married in their teens. The island’s severe housing shortage forces most to live with their in-laws and other relatives straining even the best of marriages. When stress comes, divorce is easy; stroll down to a notary public’s office, plunk down $4 and get divorced in twenty minutes. 70% of all marriages end in divorce because of these liberal divorce laws. The other issue influencing Cuban families is legalized, free abortion – the abortion rate in Cuba is 62% of all pregnancies. And yet something interesting is going on. Orquesta Sinfonica y el Orfeon de HolguínFor the last three years the symphony orchestra of the city (the director is our friend and a devoted Christian leader) is giving concerts every year at Christmas. This year the orchestra played in the main theater of the city, sang many Christmas carols, and at the end the song by Chris Tomlin’s Jesus the Messiah. This song, with a very clear message of the gospel, was sung by the choir of the town accompanied by the symphony orchestra. You know, this is something amazing, the people began to sing this song with the choir. For years this was remotely impossible, now we were here, worshiping God and proclaiming him through this glorious gospel song!”

Please pray with us for the youth of Cuba. The gospel has power to change lives, develop new patterns of living and provide models of Christian families. Also pray that we can train and provide helpful information to the married couples of Cuba. This year we will be printing 5,000 copies of Paul Tripp’s book, What did you expect?. Pray that the couples will be able to apply the truths that they learn to their lives and then teach others in their community.

Dec
22
by: SRC Church Planting

POSTED IN: News & Events
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Image Church – Matt Jensen

Matt Jensen writes about what has been happening at the Image Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Image Church is wrapping up it’s first year and is off to an amazing start! We have seen many people become Christians and baptized, community groups started, and solid partnerships formed to serve the poor in our city. Every week we gather as a very diverse community and preach the gospel, literally on the corner of Liberty St. and Confederate St. I often walk around in disbelief that this is actually happening! Trust me, we are privileged to experience this HUGE miracle. I hope this is just the beginning, and we want more than ever to KEEP GOING with the gospel of Jesus! In 2014, we plan to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, continue building a diverse leadership team, hire a second staff member, add our first local elders, and plant several more community groups to make disciples of Jesus across our city.

Here is just one of our recent salvation stories. Skinny, had all kinds of religious understanding but didn’t know the purpose of God for us in the gospel. He struggled from a “me syndrome” in his words. Thinking he could do life on his own. Listen to his story.

Dec
19
by: SRC Church Planting

POSTED IN: News & Events
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A note from Kris Hassanpour

Joanne and I have been doing really well! We’ve worked hard to find a rhythm that works for our family in this busy season of planting a church and having our third child. We now have three children: Braylon (5 years), Kyler (3 years), and Sayla (7 months). Each of them brings so much joy to Joanne and I as we watch them grow and make new discoveries. Please pray that God would protect our family from the enemy and that God would continue to provide for us in 2014.

IMG_1671Our church plant recently celebrated one year in September! 2013 has been our first full year in church planting, and we’ve seen God protect us and provide for us in special ways. We’re rejoicing in the people whose lives are being changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for us to have a spiritual and tangible impact on the people in our city. We want to see more people coming to faith in Jesus and worshipping him.

Thank you so much for your support of my family and our church. Spanish River Church will forever be part of any legacy our church leaves behind in this city. We are grateful to God for the leadership and committed members of Spanish River Church and pray the same prayers of protection and provision for you.

Love, Kris Hassanpour