ccm Cross 0026
February 11, 2012

Woodstock Baptist Church
Woodstock, South Africa

ccm Cross #0026

GPS/DMS 33.9294° S, 18.4497° E Cross 0026 Woodstock WEB 01

Additional photos after Testimony

2961 cdd Neighborhood Revival
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 13 Number 050

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Matthew 11:25
At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” NKJV

My name is Pastor Jack Bruce. As Pastor of the Woodstock, South Africa, Baptist Church this is my story:

This is my neighborhood — we call it the Woodstock – Pine Road area. I grew up here, my roots are here and traveling full circle the Lord has led me back to this place — to be the Pastor.

When I was a child this area became known as the worst of the worst neighborhoods. Prostitution, drugs and alcohol were the demons of our streets. And they were manifested as two rival gangs fought for control. Our homes were not safe, our streets were not safe and after dark we were not safe. I was engulfed in every sort of sinful activity just to survive.

Pastor Robert Low of Shepherd Baptist church in Cape Town came to our rescue — in a special way. Pastor Low decided to hold a one week Christian rally in our neighborhood. I wanted nothing to do with it. My brother and two sisters on the other hand were attracted to the music and preaching. One by one my siblings gave their lives to Christ at the meetings — then they dragged me to a meeting and there on the streets of my neighborhood I met Jesus.

By the end of the week everyone in the neighborhood met Jesus. it was remarkable. We started home cell Bible studies and attended church. The gangs continued their evil ways but there was a hedge of protection around us — they left us alone.

As we grew in the Lord my brother Willy became a preacher — wow — then two years later I followed. I got married, we had four children and I started working with the youth and eventually became head pastor. Then we were called Namibia — we were there for 2 1/2 years. Then my wife left me and the children. I was devastated.

In 2001 I returned to Woodstock with my children —the neighborhood had changed — more gang members fought over the streets and many Muslims moved into our area. On top of that depression gripped me — I couldn’t preach or even attend a Sunday service and we could not afford rent because I could not find a job. Finally in desperation I cried out to the Lord, “Lord, if you are real, reveal yourself to me.” A few days later my brother Willy invited me to a church meeting — I didn’t want to go but out of respect for him I went. It changed my life:

After the sermon that night we broke into small groups to pray. It was a bit unusual since adults and children were in each of the groups. I wondered how this would work out? Then it was a small 10 year old girl next to me that opened my eyes. As she was praying a strong, anointed and fervent prayer — I heard a still small voice whisper in my ear. It had been nearly ten years since I heard direction from the Lord. I heard, “What more truth do you need of my existence than out of the mouth of babes springs forth wisdom.”

This stuck with me — I tried to get it out of my head — it kept coming back to me. Then in the middle of the night I awoke with a presence in my room I’ll never forget. At first I was frightened and pulled the covers up over my head in fear. I shouted who are you? The answer was direct, “I am the Lord your God.”

I said, “Lord, what is this fear I’m sensing — I’ve never felt it before?”

Then the fear departed and perfect peace filled me. I dropped to my knees on the floor and prayed through the entire night.

In the morning I called Willy and told him all that had happened — from that moment on everything changed.

I received a full time job with the city government and we moved into a home of our own. I started attending the church where my children had been attending and Pastor Patrick was so kind to slowly begin to use me — over time I was leading the men’s ministry and then some preaching and finally Pastor Patrick was called to a larger congregation. He recommended me as pastor for this Woodstock Baptist Church.

At first I was hesitant but the Lord is gracious and forgiving — now we are growing. Some time ago we could hear gun fire most every night as part of the gang drug war — but recently a new peace has settled in the neighborhood. We are still in a prostitution, drug, alcohol and gang infested area but the hedge of protection is back and our men’s, children, family, prayer and evangelism ministries are flourishing.

What started as a childhood neighborhood revival has come full circle and now here I am with my children and a new wife right where the Lord wants us — being used of him for a neighborhood revival.

Pastor Bill this cross planted is way bigger than we expected but we should have known better. We serve a big God and when Jesus does something we have come to expect it to be big — so why shouldn’t our cross be big and declare the glory of God throughout our neighborhood. The cross represents to me my favorite verse in the Bible:

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” NKJV

In the past few weeks we have baptized 12 young men who are sold out for the Lord Jesus Christ and we look forward to our cross shouting to the neighborhood: Gang Bangers, Prostitutes, Atheists, Alcoholics and Muslims: “Under the shelter of this cross is peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Prayer:Father thank you for the Cross which in no uncertain terms tells the wonderful story of the love and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

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Pastor Jack and Gordon Swart prepare hole

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Beams arrived a few days early so they were
stored inside the sanctuary for safe keeping
until we arrived

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Gordon prepares the notch on the cross beam

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Pastor jack and Gordon center cross beam

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The digging got so tough we rented a jackhammer
which was not very helpful. We completed
digging the hole about 18 inches short
of our goal.

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This young man celebrated his birthday today
by helping us plant the cross. When Gordon
asked what he wanted for his birthday he said,
“I’d like to help”
Gordon let him work on the nuts and bolts

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Lifting cross

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One final big push

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Construction Crew

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Pastor Bill and Pastor Jack attaching the plaque

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Plaque “Declaring God’s Glory” over
Woodstock, South Africa