Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Slow Down

 



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

 

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?

SHORT REFLECTIONS 1.
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



 NO WELL WORN PATH

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Kill The Virus Not Time

Corona has got all our attention. The whole world has zoomed in with microscopic lenses dissecting and digesting every piece of information coming its way.  We do magnify what we focus on.

What should the Christian response be? I have been pondering on a few things.

 For a Christian, nothing happens by accident and nothing is ever wasted in the kingdom of God.

The question to ask is what does God want to be for me now and what does he want of me?
Like Isaiah, we need to see the Lord high and lifted up above all. Isaiah 6:1-3. In a national crisis, Isaiah knew what to focus on and that it's what He magnified -  The Lord Almighty. He is sovereign and Is not taken by surprise.
The whole world's focus is on the virus. What we focus on in the next few days is very important. 

Many of us have grumbled that the work scene is so bad and that we have no time to think or breathe. Now we have all the time in the world! How will we steward this time? What will we do with this bonus time given to us? How will we use this gift? Will we invest it or squander it?

As children of God are never to be under circumstances. We are called to reign and rule in every situation. What is the Spirit of God saying to us? He is not a silent bystander to what is happening.

I believe this sudden stop is for a sharp change in direction. God wants to do some fundamental changes in our thinking and how we do life, family, work and church.

This is a second chance for some. 

When the famine hit Egypt, Joseph was not taken by surprise. He prepared not only for his country but also for those around. 
This is a time for us to meditate on and store up the Word of God in our hearts so that not only will we not go hungry but we will be able to feed others as well.

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭Be prepared to give people an answer for the hope to which we are called.

What Satan meant for evil God will work out for our good. The devil wants to grip is with fear. We need to focus on faith. He wants us to panic but will be in perfect peace as  Peace Himself dwells in our hearts.

This is a classic bump and lift. Satan comes to steal kill and destroy. It's got his fingerprints all over it. This is not the hand of God as some may think. Jesus said I have come to give life in all its abundance and to destroy the works of darkness not add to it.

We live in a fallen world and sickness and disease and trouble are a part is it. One day the earth will be redeemed and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Till then we will face trials of many kinds but we can take heart as Jesus has overcome and we are overcomers through Him. God can and will use any situation for his glory.

So what is Satan trying to distract us from? Let us use this time well and redeem it. While he is out to steal our peace and joy let's spend time praising God.
While he is literally trying to kill us off let's be sensible and take all the precautions. Let us also take this time to breathe fresh life into our families, marriages, other relationships, be a good neighbor to those who need help, etc.

Where he is trying to destroy countries economies let's steward the work from home well and not add to our company's losses. Let's see how we can help the poor.

This is a God-given time not to be squandered. What will you do during this time that you have always wanted to but never had time to? 

On another note but it seems to fit in here. Early this year I felt the Lord impress on my heart that we would do church differently. In a new era, you have to build a new template. We are in a new decade and a New Era.

I felt we would often meet in smaller settings. Home meetings will become a new normal and we will have to train people to do that. I feel every few Sundays we as a church should do something to engage the community, the neighborhood in which we live. This is the only way we as Christ-followers will make a real impact and be the salt and light. We are to be the aroma of Christ.

This is not a time to gather and huddle but to scatter and influence. We are to be the healing for the nations. We need to be those oaks of righteousness,  the big tree in the garden where all hail the birds take shelter. 

Let's redeem Corona and use this time to bring the life of Christ into our homes, churches, and communities.

Kill the virus  not time.




Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Place At The Table



A place at the table
Face to face
Equal
Not standing behind
In the shadows
Not hushed into silence
To numb our thoughts, our thinking.
But a place at the table
Where we are seen as able
To bring wisdom, clarity and
Make a difference!!

And where there is none
We will craft our own
Making room for many voices 
To be raised in a joined chorus
Speaking of, speaking out speaking for
Those whose voices cannot be heard
The ones silenced
The ones weak and small
Frail and afraid
We create a table
To bring transformation
To bring change


Navaz D'Cruz