Mark Kieck of the Baptist Church in Port Alfred left the audience inspired at the Christian Men’s Association breakfast on Saturday, with his strong message of hope, love and giving yourself to God.
He first thanked the audience for allowing him to share his message, and giving a special thanks to Lyndon Bartlett, and he jokingly said to the audience Lyndon had asked him to keep his message short because people wanted to catch the Rugby World Cup, and he asked them how they feel about compromise, and if they would mind if they only watched the second half of the match.
“I am a recent addition to the pastoral team at Port Alfred Baptist but have been serving in the church since the beginning of 1997. If you have been in Port Alfred for more than a week, you will be familiar with the Kieck family,” Kieck said.
“My grandparents moved here when they retired… around the time of the rinderpest. Most of my childhood years were spent in a Christian home and I can’t really remember a time before I was the pastor’s kid,” he said.
After leaving school he went to Port Elizabeth to study electrical engineering. For him leaving home meant leaving the rules as well. So he went his own way and that also meant being away from God.
“God called me back to him one night at a rock show in PE. I was standing in the crowd, the band was rocking out and I noticed the crowd had their hands in the air. At that moment I realised that music was made so that we can worship God and not for self-glorification. I walked out of the show and into church that Sunday. Fast forward a few more years and I am back in Port Alfred and in the furniture business, a complete change of direction… and if I look back, a direction of my choosing.” Kieck said.
After studying he came back to Port Alfred and later on started a furniture business with his father-in-law as a partner. They enjoyed five years of good business but a bad business decision started a sequence of events that led to the closure of the business in May 2013 and the sheriff of the court knocking on their doors.
“It was a difficult time in my life that was only going to get worse. A year later, I lost my father-in-law to suicide due to the losses we faced from the business,” he said.
He then started studying theology in 2017 and has recently started in full-time ministry.
“Like Jonah, I tried to take my own path but God, gracefully, brought me back into His plan. So that’s a little about me and my journey. The real question is: What does God want to tell us today?”
He read from Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Kieck said: “The middle part of this verse has been running through my mind lately… ‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice’. How different would our lives look if we really took this to heart? How different would this world look if we took Romans 12:1 seriously and as an act of worship offered ourselves to God, holy and pleasing to Him.
“I believe that we would get off our holy pedestal and move out of our holy huddles and begin to treat the world as Jesus did. We would take a stand on God’s promises and storm hell’s rusty gates. We would meet sinners where they are, eat with them, and challenge them with the gospel. Jesus did just that and sets the example for us to follow,” Kieck said.