Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Where the Mind is Gripped with Fear

 Where the mind is gripped with fear 

And  the head is bowed low 

Where knowledge is stifled 

Where the world has been broken and fragmented

By dividing walls

Where words come  from lies and deceit

Where power hungry tyrants stretch their arms toward absolute control

Where blindness overcomes reason drowning us in cesspools of hate leaving us in distrust.

Where the mind is led forward by  selfish ambition 

Into a narrow vision of thought and callous action.

And from that hellish prison  

Save her my Father, 

Let my country awake.

Navaz D’cruz

(A modern-day adaptation of Where the Mind is without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Reflections on New Rhythms



 The two years pandemic has profoundly altered us. It has changed the rhythms of life – right from what time you wake up to how you get ready (or not) for work or school i.e. whether you shower and dress up or just show up in front of your screen in your jammies!

How we eat has changed, and how we do recreation has changed. Our relationships have altered significantly and who is or is not in your inner circle may have gone through a change.

For some new rhythms have meant going it alone because you lost a loved one in this catastrophic crisis. Your faith has either deepened or gone dull. Your value for the community has been tested. Your work-life balance has been shot down.

How have you adjusted? How are you doing? Do you have a plan of how you will lead yourself out of this global crisis?

Like it or not we have all changed because of the pandemic. We deserve a pat on the back for doing so well.

Now the challenge before us is how will we walk through and out of it. Will it be business as usual, going back to the ways things were?

I would like to suggest that there is no going back to the way things were before because “before “does not exist anymore. The landscape has changed – we have all changed, and the economy has changed.

There is a new rhythm, and we need to be able to perceive it. We need to pause and ponder, listen, and slowly change the rhythm of our footsteps to fall in line with the new so that we will not be out of sync and trip over our own lack of coordination.

What does that look like for you? As I ponder, I think of many areas in my life. Do I recognize the new rhythms and am I falling in line? Do I recognise how the world around me, people and community have changed?

Embracing this change will include a cross-over season that will look a little chaotic in the period of adjustment. Remember no one has walked this way before. There is no blueprint to follow except that you have a good plumbline by which you check how you are building going forward. In this chaotic season of change, I also need to embrace the pain of change, or the change will be painful. It is a season of uncertainty – no guarantees that this or that will work as this is unchartered territory.

So where do we turn to for wisdom, for light, for a dependable plumbline? Many leadership gurus will tell you this and that and some of it is very good advice.

I’d like to suggest a dependable plumbline, a lamp that lights my path: The Alpha and Omega who has not been taken by surprise. He knows the end and the beginning. He led an entire nation through forty-year crises of wandering in the wilderness to finally possessing the Promised Land.

God’s ways are higher and better and utterly dependable because He is Good and will work all things out for my good because I am loved by Him.

Jesus, The Way, will show me the way and I can rest in this confidence that as I follow in His footsteps, I will find the new rhythm and be in sync.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Slow Down



Slow down

Savour the moment

Smell the flowers

Such a sweet fragrance


Stop to talk

Sit and listen

Slow down the conversation

Sometimes silence is golden


Slow down

Life is slipping by

Deadlines can wait

Let’s ponder our fate?


Slow down

Good things will come

Waiting is a given

Just go with life’s rhythms


Slow down

Sift the chaff

Do what counts

We have but one life

So let's slow down.

Navaz D'Cruz 
Dec 2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Church Must Leave The Building



Covid 19 has forced us out of our church buildings. Now we must force the building out of the Church! God often displays in the physical what He expects us to follow through in the spiritual.

The lockdown has scared us into smaller social units and the local community.

It reminds me of the Book of Acts. Pentecost happened, and a massive revival broke out; the kind that we dream of having in all our churches. Thousands were being added to them daily. WOW!!! This is what the pastor's dreams are made of! Who would not want this to continue? Where one keeps on growing and signs and wonders and are daily phenomenon? No one wanted this to stop. It seemed like this was God's will. All growth must be from God and is this his way of saying you are on the right track?

Then Acts 8 happens. Scattering! Shaking! Shocking! Had we been there, we would have rebuked, and shook our fists at Satan saying 'this is the work of the devil'. Surely, he wants the Church to crumble and fall. We must hold prayer meetings against this diabolic act.

Ahem!! It looks like they had forgotten something Jesus said as they got caught up in the heady success of Pentecost. Jesus said, 'to the ends of the earth!' Why they had not even left Jerusalem. The Lord of History decided to shake and stir the pot a little. They needed a nudge to go into all the world. God used historical circumstances to fulfil His mission.

Does this sound familiar? In the last few decades, the mantra in Christendom has been 'bigger is better'. There has been so much pressure to grow big. If your Church gathering was not over 100 people, you are not even considered a legitimate church. We have forgotten a lot of the New Testament was written to the Church that meets in so and so's home!! We have forgotten the power of "where two or three are gathered" is the 'ekklesia'.

The heady success of the big stage, big band, music albums, published books,  international conferences that gathered the 1000s, millions of social media following has all become a massive industry. I  know this sounds harsh!! We have created a doctrine and used scripture to justify this. Every pastor worth his salt must have a building project or he is a man of little faith. Show me a budding pastor who dreams of a small church but with significant impact. Everyone wants the 1000s.

I think we are in another Acts 8 moment in history. God is pulling at every structure. Shaking everything that can be shaken so that the only foundation left standing is the on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. He wants a bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish and He will make that happen.

We have gotten comfortable with our programs: the ladies meet, the men's meet, the kid's club, the senior's meet, etc. etc. We have disengaged from the community and pronounce judgement on everything and everyone that does not talk and walk like us.

The lockdown has scattered us into our neighbourhoods: our Judea and Samaria. What will we do about it?

'The Church is not a building !' we charismatics (that met in school halls) would proudly say. Now we are being challenged because we have made our meetings and our multi-million dollar church building projects sacred and perhaps more sacred than His presence. The Church, through history, has morphed in how she has met. The Church moved from the courtyard of homes to catacombs during the persecution, to cathedrals, when Christianity got state patronage, to cell groups or cottage meetings at the advent of the Charismatic movement in the late 1960s, to conference centres when bigger became better.

God has taken us back into our homes. This is where it begins and must first thrive. They will know we are Christians by our love one for another. It is the secret sauce. Salt if not scattered in the community, is just a lump of salt in a sack. Light all gathered in one place is useless. It needs to spread out to dispel darkness.

In Acts 8, what the devil thought would finish the Church helped her flourish. The scattering resulted in the gospel reaching the shores of our land, and you and I get to encounter this glorious gospel and know Jesus. The Church grew like wildfire from home to home without the aid of modern-day technology. They did not even have the Bible as we now have it. So how much more we? We can use the internet etc. to reach places where we physically can't go. We will impact, but it may not reflect on your local site. Does it matter? At the end of the day, His glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. That is what matters. The 'small' is manageable, sustainable and deploys everyone. Everyone reaching out to someone will reach everyone!

In the new era, there are no well-worn paths. We will have to do things in ways we have never done before.  The big church model has played its part, but I think the writing is on the wall. The religious spirit that wants to hold onto structures will criticize and condemn. We have to have the courage once again to listen to what is the Holy Spirit saying. What is this 'new thing". We need spiritual eyes to perceive it and the courage to move in its direction.

There is a clarion call once again. The Church MUST leave the building to be salt and light in the community.

Navaz D'Cruz

Friday, October 23, 2020

SHORT REFLECTIONS Playground Or Battlefield | What is the state of your mind?

I am starting a small series on some of my daily reflections. Hope you find them useful. If you do, drop a comment below and let me know how this helped you.

Are you tired of living below par? Some live life as though they are running on a treadmill going in the opposite direction. It's exhausting and takes you nowhere. Our mind can be like that sometimes.

I too have sometimes been caught in a web of negative thoughts that are not life-giving. 
I am learning to remind myself that I need to be alert to what I am thinking and what self-talk am I  engaged in. If not, it will become a playground for the devil to plant all sorts of weeds of worry, negativity, criticism and being judgmental.

Now when I am alert and clear-minded as the Apostle Peter reminds me in 1 Pet 4: 7, my mind becomes a battleground where I take every thought captive and make it subject to God thoughts that I am learning to wield like a two-edged sword to fight off doubt, anxiety, anger, and more.

No more am I taken over by weeds as I begin to carefully tend the garden of my heart.

How do I do this?
I begin to think about things that are good, noble, loving, respectful and pure. I repent of my negative thinking and replace thought with thought.

I replace anxious thoughts with trust
I replace unforgiving thoughts with forgiveness.
I replace bitterness with kindness.
I replace thoughts of lack with promises of provision

When I do this I become what I think - matching my new nature in Christ.
I can learn not only to deflect the fiery darts of evil but I can turn it on its head and not just maintain ground but take ground for Jesus. Instead of being trapped by negative thoughts which perpetuate a negative situation I can generate positive thoughts that lead to positive action. What the enemy meant for evil I take and fling it back like a boomerang.

With Christ in me, I can chase 10,000. With Christ in me, I am able to conquer every thought. To every problem, there is a promise or provision. I just need to learn to take hold of it and stand on some eternal truths.

Facts may say that the situation is bad. Truth tells me God can work all things out for my good.
Facts may say I have an illness. Truth tells me I have a God who heals.
Facts may say there is a relational breakdown. Truth says He has given me the ministry of reconciliation and love is the greatest of all virtues.
When I do this I ware down the enemy of my soul.

A renewed mind leads to a transformed life.

Renewing the mind takes time. It is a process. I need to persevere and not give up. So will your mind be a playground for the devil or a battleground where you are more than a conqueror?

Navaz D'Cruz

Friday, May 22, 2020

No well worn paths


It's here there everywhere 
On every tabletop
Very door knob
Scrub, clean, scrub, clean
Drive out that demon
That cannot be seen

Stay indoors within four walls
Don't touch, don't cough
An arms-length distance may be enough
Pray every day to keep this at bay
God may this not have come to stay

Forming new rhythms
New normal everyone says
Isolation is your friend
You  don't want to land up dead in the end
New rhythms of life and conversing
Face to face is now zooming

This is a new era
Never walked before
No forefather can tell us
What to expect now
We will have to forge through
No well-worn paths
Make a new history
Can't learn from the past

Go on we must
In God we trust
He forever guides and leads
A cloud for daylight
A flame by night
Goodness pursuing me
All the days of my life.

Navaz DCruz