Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Offense of taking Offense

Walking on eggshells, tip toeing around someone, wearing kid gloves and scared to say something that can be misunderstood, measuring each word before you speak and each action before you do. How many of us have been in such situations with different people?  

How many of us have been this person? I was recently reminded of this and then someone spoke about the very same thing. It’s the offence of taking offence. I don’t know about you, but I have been on both sides of the fence.

I have been reflecting this in my own life and my life experiences. Here are some thoughts and observations.

What is it that causes us to take offence? What should I do when offense is given? Why do I take offense?

At the risk of sounding over simplistic I’m going to say it – PRIDE
The bible reminds me often, not to think too highly of myself. ( Romans 12:3) I ought to on the contrary  have a sober judgment or assessment of who I am and what kind of person I am in relation with others. I need to be humble and not expect everyone to treat me like the “Queen of Sheeba”.

What should my view of other be? Well the Bible tells me in no uncertain terms to “think of others better than yourself( Phil2:3) I should give others the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to conclusions about their motives , thoughts and behavior. Love always hopes, always protects, and always trusts. ( 1Cor 13:7) This ought to be my posture with everyone.
One might argue that this could lead to false modesty. I don’t think the Bible is suggesting that in any way. I could be a better tennis player than my friend; however she could be good at something else so I can appreciate that in her.

What about this offense thing? It’s basically putting a very high standard and having a high expectation from everyone else’s behavior, speech. It’s expecting others to be perfect while letting yourself off the hook on the same issues.

The Bible talks about picking dust from one’s brother’s eye while we have a huge tree bark jutting out of our own. Another word for this is hypocrisy or a pharisaical spirit. When we behave like this we expect everyone to treat us with kid gloves.

What is the result of such behavior? Here are some of my observations :
  • ·       Often these people are blind to their own faults while expecting everyone else to toe their line.
  • ·       They are slow to forgive and harbor unforgiveness for a long time. They like licking wounds, imagined or real
  • ·       They are not open to any feedback themselves , so when it  given offence is immediately taken at how one spoke, when one spoke, what tone of voice etc., etc. rather than the issue at hand.
  • ·       They are fault finders with everyone.
  • ·       When they take offence they often retreat or go cold on the friendship and are not interested in dialogue or reconciliation.
  • ·       The end result is because of this negative behavior pattern, people begin to avoid them and they feel rejected
  • ·       They are unable to discern who are their true friends, hence never form deep relationships because whenever there are true friendships there will be honest open talk which they cannot face.
  • ·       They can be controlling people because they want things to always go their way and have everyone toe their line
  • ·       Any criticism is taken as being against them personally and seeing as rejecting them personally
  • ·       Often time expectations are not voiced but they expect you to know and read their minds and when you don’t, offence is taken.
  • ·       In a church setting which is so much a part of my life I have seen this behavior pattern as very dangerous and detrimental to the unity and harmony in the church family. More so our prime enemy has a field day sowing thoughts of discord in our minds and before we know it we’ve got an issue with almost everyone or a lot of people and the poor souls are blissfully unaware of the offence they are supposed to have caused!! How silly is that?

What is the remedy?
  • It is simple but not simplicistic
  • It takes a battle of the mind not to fall into that terrible trap. 
  • It takes courage to speak up and clear doubts
  • It takes humility to hear what the other person has to say and receive it well. 
  • It takes strength of character to have a sober judgment of oneself.
  • It takes much grace and oodles of love and self sacrifice to appreciate others, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to let go petty issues. 
  • It takes fortitude to forgive even when one has been offended.
  •  It takes determination not to take offence even when it is given. WOW!!! How do I know this? Been there, done that.

But this looks like a list for a super heroes or something. Yes if tried in one’s own strength.
Thank God I don’t have to! The Bible tells me that Jesus was tempted in every way thereof is able to sympathize with my weakness.( Heb 4:5) When I am tempted to sin He does provide me with a way out- an escape route and will not allow me to be tempted more than I can handle.(1Cor 10:13)

I need to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and that when I am feeling weak, His power is perfected in me and then I am strengthened.

I can win and lick this problem. I have a choice – to be offended or not. I also have a responsibility not to cause offense – that my speech is gentle and seasoned with salt, my behavior is loving and kind at all times and I will be quick to forgive and not harbor ill in my heart. My prayer is that I would be a channel of peace.

 Confession: I at times have not reacted in the best way when offended and have taken offense when there has been no need to. I too am learning not to react but initiate reconciliation and restoration and give the other party the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy but when it’s done, it’s greatly rewarding. You win a friend back that you could have perhaps lost forever. Life is short. Let’s keep short accounts and be on the offensive about this offensive habit of taking offense!

Here is an old hymn I end my reflection with

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
( Author: St Francis)

Navaz D Cruz

Sept 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why write songs when we have Matt Redman?

Why write songs when you have Matt Redman? That question was enough to put the breaks on any initiative. In not so many words, a similar question was posed to me several years ago. 

At first it stumped me, and I thought to myself,” yea you’re probably right, what’s the point. I’ll never be able to write like him !” Then I thought to myself, “Hang on a minute, who says I need to sound like MattRedman?” Now just to set the record straight, I am a huge admirer of Matt Redman’s great gift and have learnt a lot about the heart of worship from this great lead worshiper and have even had the privilege of meeting him and having him in our home in Mumbai.  Having said that I believe God has blessed each one of us with a unique set of gifts that will be expressed uniquely because we are all made different. There are no clones in God's scheme of things.

You may say India is a land for  Hindi and all the other languages in between. Might I add, and  English too? There is a rising urban populace in India whose first and heart language is English, as is in my case. So though my heart language is English, my life experiences are special because they come with the flavor of my land and I have a new song to sing and to give the world. How do I know this? Revelation talks about people from every tribe and tongue and nation worshiping before the throne of God. The Psalmists encourages us to sign “new Songs “ to God . So this includes the English speaking of India. Also in keeping with the prophetic words over my life I have begun to take steps of faith. 
God wants to hear new songs being sung that are coming out of India and not just America, the UK or Australia ( good as they might be)This conviction has helped spur me on among other things 

 Many of us have gotten stuck because we have got caught in the web of comparison and trying to be like someone else and then being discouraged because we will never match up.You were never meant to ! I will never be like Matt Redman and God does not want that of me. He wants to hear my sounds and my song.He wants to hear my hearts devotion and He wants me to write songs that will help others express their devotion to him.

 So even though we have Matt Redman and all the other excellent song writers ( and may their tribe increase !) I have a new song to sing to my God and I shall write and sing  them to the praise of His glory.

 I could write a lot about different styles of music and all that, but I think the point is made and in my reflections I hope I have encouraged you to begin to think, to dare to dream, to step out, to do something you've always wanted to do but not had the courage to. I would love to hear your stories as well. 

Do you have a song to sing? A story to tell? A poem to pen? a canvas to colour? a delicious cake to bake?The world will be a better place because of your gift. Imagine if no one painted because there was Leonardo Da Vinci, no one sculpted after Michael Angelo, no one wrote music because there was Mozart, no one discovered anything after Galileo . The list can go on. Wouldn't the world be such a dull, boring place?

Now go and write or do what ever it is you are gifted at. The world needs more and God deserves to be worshiped and glorified in all the richness that diversity has to offer. 

Navaz D Cruz
Sept 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A case to defend

Over  the past few weeks we at church have been looking at the whole area of relationships, conflict resolution, forgiveness etc in a series called Family Matters.

 I have been reflecting on various aspects of this especially in the realm of conflict resolution and forgiveness. 

What I have observed over time is that often conflicts that don’t get confronted stay unresolved and tend to harden into bitterness, resentment toward each other and cold wars. The irony is that neither party are clear on what went wrong not do they know what to do about it. Have you been there?

Conflicts stay unresolved when stuff gets swept under the carpet and over time everyone is scaling Mt Evert yet unwilling to face the mountain of unresolve looming large in the face! What is to be done?

There is also the view that one must not say anything in ones defense because God will vindicate you and Jesus’ silence before his accusers is the quoted example to follow.

I have thought about this and it raised a few questions in my mind. I believe a lot of conflict in relationships happen because of assumptions or misunderstandings and these can be sorted out if we do not take such a stand  in any and every situation.

Jesus as I see Him in the Bible was outspoken when he needed to be, and explained himself to the disciples who were lacking in understanding at that time.

What does Jesus say about Conflict? We have two classic passages of scripture quoting our Lord himself.
Matt5: 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.
Matt 18:15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Nowhere in these two passages do I see room for being silent as the answer to resolving conflict. In fact, I see the very opposite. Jesus encourages us to go and have a chat and sort it out whether you are the perpetrator or the victim. The rule of thumb seems to be that when in doubt, speak up and not shut up.

I think if we practice this, it will end so many misunderstandings and cold war between friends and families. I have seen this in my own life. A friend who heard only a part of a conversation I had had with a common friend drew certain conclusions that resulted in a standoff in our friendship and sadly for many years. This disturbed me greatly but I did not know what the matter was, till I applied Matt5. However, when I learned the reason for the standoff I choose not to say anything in my defense and applied the “silent as a lamb” principle here. The result was the situation never changed which only added to my sorrow. Finally I decided that I needed to speak up and bring clarity to the situation. We visited these friends of many years and spoke face to face, heart to heart. The light came on! The assumptions crumbled in the face of clarity and truth and there was reconciliation in the relationship. What would have happened if I had continued to stay silent?

When then do we stay silent as a lamb? Look at the context in which Jesus was silent. It was in the presence of his enemies that were falsely accusing him with malicious lies wanting to crucify him. It was not a case of misunderstanding between friends. This was an evil plot to kill the King of Kings. I believe that when we are falsely accused like this we need to commit ourselves to our Father in heaven who will vindicate us.  We have experienced this time and time again. When vicious tongues wag and aim to slander us, our character and reputation with no intent of finding out the truth or seek clarification, we need to keep silent and let the Righteous Judge take over.  And we have seen God come through for us. If opportunity presents itself to explain ones actions one must do so in all humility, grace and wisdom.

But in most cases I suspect it is a case of applying Matt 5 or Matt 18. So let’s go sort out those misunderstandings. Sometimes the other party does not have the moral courage or the fortitude to face the situation. In those cases we are called to forgive unilaterally and let by gone s be by gone s and continue to express love to that person as Jesus would have us do. We are to trust God to grant us grace for such a situation.

I have realized that life is not made up of nice neat boxes all well stacked and labeled. We cannot dot every “I” and cross every “t”. We have to move on throwing aside everything that hinders and run the beautiful race in life that Jesus has marked out for us.

I end my reflections and rest my case knowing I rest in the shadow of the Almighty, my ultimate defense and deliverer.

Navaz D Cruz

August 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A faith struggle- straight from the heart.

Life throws many things at us - good, bad, perplexing and simple. The Christian life is no different. As life rolls on, we encounter so many different situations not only in our lives but also that of the family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

This is an honest, straight from the heart blog - no pretense, no mask, no charades. Today is a day that started with many question assaulting my mind. I feel like the psalmist David who was perplexed at times. Maybe you too feel like this sometimes.Then reflect with me..

We are called to live by faith and not by sight. WE are sons of Abraham, the father of faith. Jesus said if we have faith even as mall as a mustard seed we can say to a mountain "move" and it shall be done!!!

However, today I sit reflecting on those mountains that need moving and NOW. They seem to have been around for a looong time : mountains in my own life, in the lives of my friends, family, church. Mountains of crippling health situations, failing finances, relational strive, challenging addictions, a battle for spiritual fruit. The list can go on and on.

I think of all those people of the "faith movement" who keep shouting "believe it, name it, claim it..", like a magic mantra! You don't possess it because you don't have faith. How re assuring!!!!

But, when I anchor in the WORD I see two things happening- there are the suddenly s of God - where God breaks upon a situation causing the dead to come alive, the blind to see, the cripple to walk, finances restored, the stranglehold of addictions broken, storm stilled.
I also see the great heroes of faith ( that is what they are called) who despite believing died not having received what they were in faith for and they are still commended for their  - Faith ( not for having received what ever it was they were in faith for )

As Job said shall we accept only goodness from God and not accept the trials?James encourages us to persevere  under trials, testings of many kinds.

I know that my God is sovereign and in control. His ways are higher than mine and incomprehensible a lot of the times. When I sit perplexed on such a day as this, I know that in times like these, the wise thing to do is to sit still in His presence, still my soul and find rest in God alone.
He is my anchor, the horn of my plenty, my refuge and strength in times  of trouble.

My heart goes out to all those who I am praying for today - those struggling with illness, the pain of bareness, for children who long to see their father delivered from the clutches of alcohol, those who are longing to meet their life partner, the poor who feel trapped in their helpless state. Oh , this list can fill pages.. I know I long for rapid answered to prayer. 

But I also know I believe in a prayer answering God. Scratched out prayer lists over the years bear testimony to God's faithfulness. So I am learning to straddle the truth that faith can move mountains and will; while on the other hand there is the waiting and the possibility that the answer to a prayer is actually a "no".  I am reminded of a quote:WHAT IF ?

What if the Israelites had stopped circling Jericho on day six? What if Elijah had quit praying for rain after his sixth request? Or what if Naaman had only dipped in the river six times? (Batterson, Mark Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge 

This I know, God is for me and for all those who love Him and are called by His name. While we are promised abundant life ( the definition to that is open ended and does not consist of material blessings only ), Jesus also reminded us that in this world we shall have many troubles and I have to straddle the two truths with His grace.
"Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior. 
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights." ( Habbakuk 3:17-19)

So I end this morning's reflections lifting my eyes to the maker of heaven and earth, to Jesus, the great high priest who was tempted in every way therefore able to sympathies with my weakness. He is the author and finisher of my faith. He will keep me strong till the end. I'll end with copying the lyrics of a song I recently wrote and if you struggling to find faith in your heart - focus on Christ the hope of glory.

Christ in me the hope of glory
Christ in me bringing new life
          Christ before me, the world behind me
Gives me the power to live this life
Christ in me to will and do
Christ in me will see me through
Christ will be my guiding light
In valleys low and darkest nights

My hope is in Christ alone
He is my Rock, my cornerstone
And I will trust in His great name
Christ forever the same.

Christ in me, my help in weakness
Christ in me giving me the strength
Christ makes me an over comer
And keeps me strong until the end
Christ in me my help in life
Christ in me be glorified
Christ in me this hidden treasure
Life’s author and, perfecter.
Navaz D Cruz
© 2012 ( you can listen to it here

Stay strong, keep the faith!

August 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Heretic or Hero Part 2

Part 2
Every era throws new light, new revelations, new inventions and discoveries. Some of them are so radical that they challenge the very paradigm upon which the previous era rested its ethos, philosophy and world view. For instance Galileo discovered that the world was not flat but indeed round. He stirred up a might commotion in the world of science. The Industrial revolution was path breaking from the Guild System and the Master Craftsman of the day. The pioneers of that time had to endure much hardship and ridicule. Some of them even had their lives threatened and some even died being denounced as tools of Satan or heretics.
The is the concluding part of this 2 part blog. In order to read part one please click here

All this brings me to the points I was pondering upon. It’s not different today. This generation is throwing up challenges that are pushing and provoking our cognitive boundaries on some basic issues. There are many crying “foul” and that this is modern day heresy and  different preachers are being denounced for what they supposedly preach.  I am learning one thing in life i.e do not be too quick to pass judgment or start throwing stones.

Before you  throw me to the stakes as well, let me say while every generation and era has pushed the boundaries, there has always been the danger of false doctrine infiltrating the church and we need to be ever watchful and safeguard the sanctity of scripture which is infallible and eternal. We need to be careful that when we look at doctrine we view it and understand it in the context of the whole canon of scripture and not in isolation. No doctrine can be based on one isolated verse. So I am not talking about false teachings which challenge the deity of Christ, the trinity, the finished work of the Cross etc. I am referring to our understanding of things like Grace, faith, miracles, the finished work of the cross etc.

I spent time reading and listening to the preaching of some well known modern day preachers. Up to this point I only had second hand information, and reviews on the web to go by. But I felt prompted to reach and study for myself before I decided if this guy is a heretic or hero of the faith. I was stunned!  I thought I knew everything about Grace having being in Newfrontiers for 40 years ( i.e even  before it came to be known as New frontiers) and whose father is Terry Virgo the great Apostle of Grace. No disrespect here, we owe a deep debt of gratitude for Terry's faithful  teaching on Grace,  but I was beginning to realize that what one generation receives the next on build upon and takes it further. And that is how it should be and always has been. 

This man Joseph Prince blows grace wide open: it’s refreshing, liberating and an empowering message. Nowhere does he advocate that grace is  a license to sin or even therefore treat the local church casually. There is so much that he is saying that could well be out of the leaves of Terry Virgo’s book God’s Lavish Grace”.

Prince is not against working hard nor is he advocating a Christianity apart from the local church. Let me share a quote from his book “Destined to Reign” “All I have shared works most powerfully and effectively within the environment of the local church. These truths are for the greater good of the body of Christ and should never result in you becoming a law unto yourself. Beloved, I want to see you enjoying the safety of the covering of a local church where there is accountability and submission. This is where our blessings are tremendously multiplied” ( Destined to Reign- Joseph Prince, pg 306). Who can argue with this?

 You may say, but what about this and that. Does Prince have all revelation? Or for that matter do you or I? I think Prince is building on what the last generation began to open up and he has taken it further. His book is not supposed to be another manual of does and don'ts for every area of life. Our legalistic bent of of mind likes every "i" dotted and every "t" crossed.  "The law makes one self conscious. Its always asking 'what must I do? . But grace makes one Christ - conscious. It is always asking , "what has Jesus done?" (Destined to Reign- Joseph Prince, pg 33)

 Now there are always those who only hear what they want to and cherry pick in their practice and we look at them and question “is this what Joseph Prince is teaching?” .  I have been guilty of this. All I can say is those people have got the wrong end of the stick and are using the liberating doctrine of grace ( which has happened even with Terry Virgo's preaching) to rationalize their sin.There are some that accuse Prince of having a liberal view to sin.

 Allow me to quote "Licence to Sin?.. Let me begin by asking this: Have you noticed that people are already sinning without a 'license'? Allow me to make this explicitly clear in black and white so that there is not doubt I, Joseph Prince am vehemently , completely  aggressively and irrevocably AGAINST SIN!. Sin is evil. I do not condone sin. A life style of sin leads only to defeat and destruction.. Some think that it is by preaching more law. I am convicted that is is by preaching the grace of God."  (Destined to Reign- Joseph Prince, pg 30)

So who knows what the next 20 years will throw up? Unraveling the mysteries of an infinite God is never ending and God is restoring truths that got lost in the cobwebs of trying to live the Christian life by a ton of rules. We will never completely comprehend everything. No one individual has all revelation or knowledge. Even what we know is not perfect. While we have the privilege of attaining some revelation in one area of the Christian faith, we could be flawed in another. Therefore we need to walk humbly before God. 

So how do I respond?

Life is never black or white. Which of us is perfect in all things? I am learning more and more that one must not throw the baby and the bath water out. If we do this we will become very narrow and bigoted, lacking in charity, fragmented and very alone.

Augustine of Hippo said “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” The great St. Paul put it so eloquently and showed us the most excellent way in  1 Cor 13 – the way of love. We can keep splitting hairs on doctrine and its application and like the Pharisees we will strain the gnat and choke on the camel! 

So these are some of the things I have been pondering upon. I am glad I read and am re reading "Destined to Reign". I could not fault what was written.It lifted my spirit, made me worship Jesus and want to know Him more. It has given me a fresh boost to know that I can live this Christian life with all its struggles , victoriously. I recommend you read it for yourself .

 I end my reflections here with these thoughts :This I know God is for me, He died for me, my debt is paid in full. I have a destiny in Him which involves the ends of the earth.  I want to love and serve him all the days of my life until my last breath. And by His extravagant grace I will do mighty exploits for Him and one day Grace will lead me home.

Now these 3 things remain – faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is LOVE.
So while I aim to have a right understanding  of scripture and live according to it let us go our ways to love and serve the Lord – the author and perfecter of our faith to whom be praise forever and ever ! Amen.

Navaz D Cruz
July 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Heretic or Hero?

Since the summer break I have been pondering many things about the Christian life : what we believe and how it affects our being and our living. Here are some of the thoughts that have been running through my head and upon which I have been pondering.

We live in a fast changing world. What‘s “in “today is on its way “out” tomorrow. It’s hard to keep up with the pace of technological advancement. Before you know it the ‘latest’ phone you've bought is getting out of fashion.

Our world is punctuated by fads which have a following among folk whose life experience, cultural, social, economic context is almost unrecognizable from that of the previous generations.

We all products of the socio economic and historical period that we live in. It does shape our worldview, our way of thinking, our problem solving our creativity and even how we respond to God sometimes.

Every era throws new light, new revelations, new inventions and discoveries. Some of them are so radical that they challenge the very paradigm upon which the previous era rested its ethos, philosophy and world view. For instance Galileo discovered that the world was not flat but indeed round. He stirred up a might commotion in the world of science. The Industrial revolution was path breaking from the Guild System and the Master Craftsman of the day. The pioneers of that time had to endure much hardship and ridicule. Some of them even had their lives threatened and some even died being denounced as tools of Satan or heretics

Many a Christian fore father had to endure much the same for revelations they received that they strongly believed were Biblical and from God. For instance the Ana Baptists firmly believed in baptism by immersion and they paid for it with their lives.claiming that since infant baptism was scriptural and null and void, the baptizing of believers was not a "re-baptism" but in fact the first baptism for them. Balthasar H├╝bmaier wrote:
But the right baptism of Christ, which is preceded by teaching and oral confession of faith, I teach, and say that infant baptism is a robbery of the right baptism of Christ...As a result of their views on the nature of baptism and other issues, Anabaptist were heavily persecuted during the 16th century and into the 17th by both Magisterial Protestants and Roman Catholics.
  Martin Luther was denounced as a heretic for talking about justification by faith. The list can go on and on (You just need to read The Foxes Book of Martyrs) . What about those who believed that the gifts of the Spirit are available for us even today? They were mocked, ostracized and put out of main stream churches. 

This gave rise to what we know as the Charismatic movement that many of us enjoy being a part of today. Many paid the price for the path breaking revelation the fruit of which we now enjoy and take for granted. Today we look upon them as heroes of the faith and not as heretics as they once were.

The Bible does tell us that we know in part and we prophesy in part. Now we shall see dimly but then we shall see clearly.  ( 1 Cor. 13:9-12) 

Even Jesus was met with much resistance from the established order of the day. What He said and did was radical and provoking – it was unlike anything they had ever experienced or knew how to relate to. This incensed the Pharisees greatly who were “ever hearing but not understanding”. Claiming to see, therefore blind. Jesus paid with his life to set us free, to give us a new way to the Father.

So I believe it is true for us. We have not received all the revelation there is to receive. Remember we are always encountering an infinite God whose ways are not ours and can never be totally comprehended on this side of eternity.

One generation gets a portion of the revelation according their measure of faith and lives according to it as best they understand. Then, comes the next generation which throws up further light. Often the pioneers are met with resistance and ridicule before it is received.
Take the message on the wonderful doctrine of justification by faith : Martin Luther shed some light on it. But then down the ages more people have had further revelation and taken our understanding to another level.

As I said earlier we are products of our time that has bearings on our outlook to life, and our understanding . The 1800s, and early 1900s saw society transforming at a very slow pace but a transformation work had begun. New cities were emerging and science was making great advance. There was a time there was wide spread scarcity and poverty and only the upper class gentry knew the “good life”. And so the focus naturally was on just coping from one crisis to another. Life was hard and often cruel. The focus of the Christian was to persevere under every trial that was flung at them and to keep the faith. Frugality was a  great virtue. Godliness with contentment was of great gain.

As time went on the socio economic conditions began to improve all around with the Industrial revolution opening doors for new opportunities and financial well being the chance to break free from the never ending cycle o f poverty. Once could better one’s station in life. As society rises above the basic needs, higher aspirations come into play. One is able to lift one’s vision higher from just “give us this day our daily bread” to realizing that there is so much more in the kingdom of God. And we see progressive revelation come into play. Christian writings begin to change in their slant and flavor from endure hardship, be diligent ; to " lift up your eye and look around you - the nations are waiting",  "you can believe in miracles",  "there is so much more than just coping" etc.

Then there was a fresh wind blowing across the church in the early 1960s and it was being carried across the nations. There is now a whole new movement of “faith” “baptism in the Spirit” . "gifts of the Spirit", the Ephesians 4 ministries ,which was looked upon with suspicion at first. Today we embrace it as core and foundational. 

Am I suggesting that our doctrine is a reflection of the age we live in and therefore relative and subject to change? This  I know, that the Word of God has stood and will stand the test of time. It is eternal, unchanging and timeless. But I do know that there are mysteries to unravel and more revelation to be obtained and history bares witness to a change in understanding and therefore practice.

My pondering are this: does a particular age help usher in new revelations and how does that understanding then get translated into life and society?  A women’s plight in one age was pitiful, but in another, men of God upon receiving further revelation of God’s word begin to change things and see men and women as equal. This starts a whole cycle of change for woman and society .This is true of the slave trade as well. Change came with revelation from God and Godly men spear headed the abolition of slavery.

So what are the new challenges we are facing today? What new revelations are we resisting as heresy and which men of God are we denouncing as heretics only to be crowned heroes in years to come? More thoughts ,in the next blog post.

Navaz D Cruz
July 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

At the table, we remember

As Christians , the "breaking of bread" or commonly known as "the Communion"  can be a practice that we get over familiar with. Over time we can forget what it stands for and what we are asked to call to mind when we partake of this beautiful sacrament. 

This provoked me to write a song . Here is the link to listen to it . The lyrics are below. May it make you reflect the next time you partake at the table.

Here at your table

Here at your table        
We remember      
The blood once shed  on the cross  
And as we partake we remember 
Your body broken bruised for us

 Here at your table
We consider
The finished work of the cross
Its brings me wholeness
And reconciles me
By making peace through His blood.

What a love what a  life
So pure and holy sacrificed     
My death you died , you paid my price         
What a love, what  sacrifice!

Here at your table we consider
All our weakness nailed to the cross
And as we partake we remember
The victory you have won for us


Jesus blood saves me
Jesus blood heals me
Jesus blood delivers me
Jesus blood – covers me

©Navaz D Cruz June 2013
Bridge section : co written with Karen Wood