Friday, December 23, 2011

2011- The year that was!



Hello everyone!
Warm greetings to each one of you. It’s that time of the year when one spends time reflecting and looking back - hopefully with a heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving. We are overflowing with thanks to God our Father for His countless blessings that he keeps pouring into our laps. We are ever aware of His mercies being new every morning and His faithfulness that is beyond measure. It makes our hearts  full of praise and worship for this fantastic God we serve who is good and upright in all that He does. Praise be to Him forever and ever!

The year 2011 has been a year of being stretched on every front. Lets begin with the family.

FAMILY NEWS:
 ANDREW:This year has been a biggie for us as Andrew was in his final year at school and appearing fro his ICSE (year 10) examinations. I think it was a huge growth phase for him, in trusting God, exercising faith and pressing on. He did well in his exams and we are proud of him. The next hurdle was getting admission to the right college. The way the Lord led us was most amazing to say the least! Torn between two very good colleges, both of which we were confident of getting admitted  into, we did not want to face the burden of choice. And God spared us  just that  by delaying the Admission list of one ( the one which ought to have come out first) and by bringing forward the  list  of the other college which should have come out after the other! It always amazes me how He makes our paths straight! Not only that - God provided for us to pay the premium fees when we were greatly lacking at that point in time.
Andrew is enjoying his college, continues to grow and is now standing 6.3 feet tall!! He enjoys playing his drums at church, college and other Christian events.

Our JESSICA is 10 years old  this year - somewhat a watershed in her life as she will never be in single digits again! She continues to excel in her studies, music and art. She won the English elocution competition in school, got the first place for the 100mt sprint and the 1st place in her class in  the Computer Olympiad at school. She is making good progress on the keyboard and is adept at handling the DLP and laptop during worship at Church. Both children bring much joy to our hearts and we are grateful for all the talents God has blessed them with.

We, completed 20 years of life together on the 22nd of December. God has been more than kind to us. We have had a wonderful journey together serving the Lord for 17 years of our married life. In these years God has worked things out only for our good. His good and mercy have always surrounded us. We have learnt and are still learning to walk by faith and not by sight. We are learning that His ways are not our ways - he measures success by a yardstick of faithfulness and not how the world see it ( sometimes even the Christian world). We are learning and continue to learn that Christ is the only unshakeable rock- everything else is passing and shakeable. We look forward to spending many more years together and in His Majesty’s service.
Both of us have been using our gifts more widely. I (Colin) have been involved in training and teaching the Word in different churches.

Navaz has been using her gift of writing to write and Blog : www.somequietthoughts.blogspot.com.
 She has also stepped out in song witting. You can listen to them on Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/navazd/videos. These are amateur steps but as we are faithful in little we believe God will give us more.

THE CHURCH
What can we say? Except that Jesus is building HIS church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. June 2012 will mark 10 years of us coming to Pune and starting Word of Grace. We came alone - just us and two small children. We laboured hard and long and battled for the first fruits for 7 years!! We had to face the fact that Pune being a transient city with very high mobility - we were working in a challenging situation of a turn over of over 30% every year. So we would pour ourselves into people, train them, raise them up only to find them up and leave some times in as short a time as 6 months! In the last two months,we lost two of our key men( Vinoth and Mnason) who were with us for a little over 2 years. Having trained them to take much responsibility in the church it was heart wrenching to see them  both go in a span of a month due to job transfers. This challenge is ever before us. So in these years we have given away a least half a dozen trained men! And we start all over.

But that is not what we want to focus on. We believe the tide has indeed turned and this year we have seen great growth on many fronts.  So what are these areas of growth?

  • We have seen the Lord add to our numbers . We started this year with about 40-50 people and are closing this year with 90! God has been good. We are in faith for us to cross 150 soon. Many are hearing the gospel for the first time. Others who come from traditional Christian backgrounds find themselves confronted with the grace of God which they find irresistible, refreshing and liberating. 
  • This year we started a  training program called InDepth Discipleship  which was  held every month . We had trainers come from different parts of India. An average of 17 people have been on this training this year and have greatly benefited from it.

  • This is the first year we have been able to have “Life Groups” in more than one location. Through it an average of 40 people have been able to connect with each other through the week.
  • Finance -  the church has grown in giving. We want to thank God for sustaining us  over these 10 years where we have been self supporting for the last 7 years despite our small numbers. This year we got a fantastic Gift Day Offering that was taken toward development of Word of Grace and giving toward other Church plants and works among the poor.
  • We have grown a good worship band where worship is the focus and not performance. A new worship leader in Joyce has been raised up. Navaz has felt released to write many worship songs and they have been sung and well received by the congregation. 
  • Sunday school - is slowly beginning to take shape. While having teachers is still a challenge the children are enjoying it and are being impacted. We see this as a very important segment of the church and need to give to better attention.
  • Serving -  We still recall the days when the serving team comprised of myself, Navaz and Andrew while Jessica sat in her stroller! Today we have a whole group of young men and women willing and serving. We thank God for each of them.
  • Trainee - This is the first year we have a young man, Austine, train with the church. He is a part time trainee who helps out with the administration and is being mentored by Colin. His growth over this year has been evident to all.
  • Spiritual Gifts -  We are beginning to see people exercise the gifts of the Spirit by bringing prophetic words, pictures and praying for healing.
  • Answered Prayer -  We have begun to realize a special grace anointing upon us as we pray together. We have seen barren wombs opened, finance released, jobs obtained, houses purchased and changes in the city as we have prayed together.
  •  Leadership - This year we have had 4 people ( Vinoth, Manson, Sunny and Joyce) consistently lead the devotions, breaking for bread, administer the Offering apart from myself. They have been able to handle the Sunday meeting in my absence ( while I have been away on Trainings etc). This has been a significant area of growth as it released me to bless the wider body of Christ and has been of great value to themselves. ( However, this has now been greatly affected with Vinoth and Manson having moved to Bangalore).
  • Blog and media- We have started a church blog called http://wordofgracechurch.blogspot.com/ which has been widely read and is having an influence beyond the local church. Both Navaz and I have been given an opportunity to write for a Christian magazine on a regular basis. We feel this is a God given opportunity to influence the expression of Christianity through the articles we write.

There are many more things we can give thanks to God for - that would need me to write a book !:)

BUSINESS

As you know , we are involved in tent making ventures to sustain our stay in Pune. ( We do get a salary from the church but that is not sufficient to keep up with  inflation and  ever rising cost of living). Our heart has been one of never wanting to be a burden on the church, rather, to bless her in every way possible. Over the last 9 years of doing business we have found ourselves walking on water most months. We can only speak of God’s grace and provision to us as a family each month. The recession in the West has taken its toll on out business. Our Greeting Card venture is now producing and selling only 25% of what it used to. The result is where we gave employment to 5 people we now employ on 2 people for only 3 months in the year. While we have seen God’s ever faithful provision, we have not been able to sustain employment for these poor people.

Our Printing ventures have also face many challenges with freight and paper costs going up and printing costs in the UK falling. We are grateful to those of you who still continue to print with us. We would like to remind you that each time you print with us you help us stay financially afloat, and self sufficient without being ( like the apostle Paul has also said) a burden on the local church. 

As we have taken a hit in both these businesses, I have been forced to look at other avenues to generate income for my family. God has been good to us and other avenues are opening up but it means a lot of time away from the church and family and this too in a critical time of church growth. So we want to tread with wisdom and caution as we do not want to be distracted from our main objective, which is the church. We would appreciate prayers for this.

YEAR 2012

We look forward to the new year with much  anticipation for greater things and  want  to take leaps of faith like never before knowing God is on our side. We have also been sensing  for a long while that this is a season and time for drawing closer to the throne room of Jesus - into His presence in worship and prayer - that is where all the battles are fought and victories won. As we do this we know that God will add strength to us . We want to be faithful in continuing to make disciples, while we leave the building fo the Church to Jesus.

We pray ever blessing upon you and your family, and your work.

“ To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”(Jude 24-25)


Colin and Navaz
Dec 2011


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You live only once – Zindagi na melegi dobara




For my overseas friends reading this, the second half is the Hindi equivalent which when literally translated means “You don’t get to live twice”. So true! ( and yet it is a strange title in many ways for a land that believes in a cycle of death and rebirth!)









 However, that is not what not my mind is right now. I watched this new bollywood movie (that bears the above title). At first I was happy and then sad and shocked at various levels. It is a well known fact that the youth take a lot of cues from the film stars, the movie themes, and lifestyles portrayed. Whether Bollywood sets the trend or merely reflects what’s already going around is a debateable matter. But, that is not what not what is on my mind is either.

What is it that made me happy?
The movie got it right - you have one life to live! The movie is about three best mates going on a holiday before one of them gets married. So it’s a bachelor party/holiday of sorts. Two are very successful yuppie businessmen. One in particular made work, ambition,and the acquiring of wealth his focus. This had repercussions on his social life and relationships. The movie goes on to show how this holiday helped him reflect and realize that money is not everything. There is more to life – and I couldn't agree more – but more of that later. There is a message here especially for the urban yuppy “wanna get rich quick” youth of today. Life is more than your work. It’s not an uncommon sight to see people in their twenties working 10-12 hours a day and sometimes even 7 days a week. They are being slave driven to the ground where they are not able to think beyond projects and deadlines. Their mind space has been totally occupied, their senses dulled. This is an unhealthy trend and we see it taking a toll on the recently married, young families etc. There is more to life than work. The Bible says in Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

What made me sad?
 I was shocked to see a blatant challenge to marriage in an open and almost approving display of “live in relationships”, “short flings” and sleeping around. It came across as this kind of life style is a given – nothing to be bashful about or ashamed of. I thought to myself – have we as a nation fallen so far? Some may mock me and say I am not keeping up with the times or that this has been happening for a long time it’s only coming out in the open. No I am not old fashioned and no I am not unaware of the happenings around me. What I am sad about is that this life style is getting legitimized through the media. Thirty years ago an affair between the movie stars was hushed up and the media warned not to come anywhere near it. Today it is being blatantly flaunted in the press and the movies.

This brings me to what I have been reflecting upon
The absolute standard as given and instituted by God for our well being –  holy matrimony. This was God’s idea right from the beginning and He knew that if we kept this one command i.e “you shall not commit adultery” – all would go well in the family and society at large. Today in my city alone there are over 300 divorced filed every month. The west has its own tale to tell and the tell tale signs of that life style is showing up in different kinds of social problems and breakdown. As a famous sociologist and historian Carl Zimmerman, in his 1947 book Family and Civilization, recorded his keen observations as he compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures. Eight specific patterns of domestic behaviour typified the downward spiral of each culture Zimmerman studied. 

* Marriage loses its sacredness; is frequently broken by divorce. 
* Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost. 
* Feminist movements abound. 
* Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general. 
* Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion. 
* Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities. 
* Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery. 
* Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.

Is this where India wants to be heading? God forbid! We can turn this terrible tide by teaching our kids the right values and modelling it.  I know I need to mix it with faith and prayer and ask the Lord to keep my children from evil and temptation. I need to talk the values with them and walk the talk thus modelling it for them. If our kids get it, we have a hope for a better future.

The other thing I was reflecting upon was : What is life all about?Is life about a better job, better education , better home, better car, better holidays, better this , better that? None of these things are bad in themselves – it’s how we use them – do we control these things or do they control us? Have they become idols in our lives? What is the purpose for which we are on this earth? The question has eternal implications. If life is all about “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” then we ought to live it up. But if it is where each one will have to give an account for their lives and we will be judged according to what we have done; where there are rewards to be obtained or lost because of what I did with the 3 score and ten years here on earth – ah! that puts a totally different complexion on things, doesn’t it? 

  While the movie got one part right , about the fact that we live only once, its interpretation of how we ought to live this life needs a serious reflecting upon. And the best way to reflect is to look into the mirror if God's word , the Bible.The movie  had a very existential note to it - live in the now, indulge yourself today because you don’t know if there is a tomorrow. How wrong!! There is not just a tomorrow but an Eternity to face ( whether you believe it or not) and a King on His judgement seat to whom we will all give an account. Death is indeed a leveler and it is final.

How then should I live? One of the principles from the Bible that has helped me in the choices I have made this far is and I quote is But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matt 6:33. I am more and more convinced that God is not a kill joy and He who created the heavens and the earth knows what’s best for me. When I put God in the centre of my life  everything falls into its right place and gets the right priority AND I am blessed.

As a Christian I have been saved and chosen at great cost to Jesus – I have been chosen for a purpose – to bring glory to His name by how I live here on earth. It’s not about me- it’s about Him. It has always been – right from creation.  As a Christian is my life centred on Jesus, His Kingdom, His glory, His fame? Or am I living with a “bless me God; make my life more comfortable, more easier, bless my gifts, my talents ....”

I have one life to live: I get only one shot at it and the years are zipping by faster than I can cope. I am already at the half way mark. I want to live to the glory of God. I don’t want to be short sighted. and live for a few fleeting pleasures of this world. I want to build with silver and gold and costly stones that will stand the test of fire. I want to blaze bright for Jesus. Pleasing him in all that I do is my highest aim. I want to give my life to something that will last forever! Reflecting on these things this is my prayer. So help me God!

Navaz D Cruz
Nov 2011.

Monday, October 17, 2011

At the foot of the Cross- Navaz DCruz

When all kinds of thoughts assail our minds, coming to the foot of the cross helps sift what is not wholesome and retain what is. The Cross has always helped me get my balance when I am going off. It has helped me make sense of life,and has helped me in the continual lesson in humility . The Cross reminds me that there is someone else who bore it all of me- Jesus. All that is left for me to do is worship and live a life worthy of the calling.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thank you


This morning as I sat down to view my mail, blog, Facebook etc.I was pleasantly surprised to see the ticker on this blog having crossed 1000 views. I am overwhelmed! This  is a short note to a BIG thank you to all of you who have been reading my posts. I do hope you have been encouraged and blessed.
We have now added a "like"  which you can click on at the end of each post.
Thank you for your support once again and do share this Blog with your friends.


with love,


Colin and Navaz.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Friends @ Home - Hospitality


Friends @Home : A Study on hospitality
This is an extract from a set of Bible Studies I had written for women a few years ago. I do hope you will be blessed as you read and ponder on this. Much of the material here has also been taken from a sermon my husband, Colin, preached a few years back.


A few days ago I came across an article in the newspaper that spoke of a modern trend amongst the “yuppy crowd” of our cities – that of no longer offer hospitality in their homes but prefer entertaining people in restaurants to avoid the “mess and work and clear up” that is involved when you have friends over. I mulled over this article and thought to myself about how much we are moving away from anything that disturbs our comforts zone and anything that we see as threatening our private space. What should the Christian response be? Am I against eating out, or talking friends out for a meal? Far from it. But when there is a trend that does not want to have people in our homes because it is seen as being a pain rather than a blessing, I think we need to go back to the plumb line and adjust our thinking: the plumb line is the word of God.


As a home maker what should my attitude be toward hospitality, toward having people over? 
One of the functions of a God glorifying home of Christians is providing Hospitality.  

Q. Are we willing to open up our homes to hospitality? When our husbands want us to have people over for tea, or a meal are we reluctant or responsive?
Hospitality is a practice that God has honoured and commanded.
Rom 12:13 “Practice hospitality, practice hospitality”.
Gen 18:3 “Let me get you something to eat so you can be refreshed..”
Prov 11:25 “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”
What was Jesus’ attitude to such mundane things as a home and food?
Mark 6:37-But he answered, “you give them something to eat”
 Mark 14:3-“ While  he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper..”

What was the early church like?
Acts 2:46- “They broke bread in their homes.”
In 1 Tim 3:1-7 Paul lists the qualification of elders and church pastors.
“. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach…”
In 1 Tim 5:9, 10 Paul lists out the character qualities of a godly widow who is eligible to be put on the widow’s list and being hospitable is one of them.
In 1 Pet 4:7-9 Peter begins by saying “7The end of all things is near. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”


The word hospitality is “philo xenos”. We know that philo is one of the greek words for “love”.
What does “xenos” mean? We get our English word “xenophobia” from it. – Fear of strangers.
Xenos is greek for “stranger”
So “philoxenos” is literally a lover of strangers.

There are several examples of people who excelled in hospitality in the early church viz Martha, Peter’s mother in law, Aquilla and Priscilla, Lydia to name a few.

Q. Is hospitality the same as entertaining?
In hospitality, the focus is on the fellowship and not on food. It is about keeping an open home where people feel welcomed. It may be that all you offer is a cup of tea or a light snack, or a simple “Dal and rice” for a meal. When you do this your home becomes a beacon for the Lord.  Keeping the meal simple  helps not to put a strain on ones finances and then one can do it more often than one large banquet done once a year. If you put up a big meal, people may feel fearful about inviting you over as they feel they may not be able to meet your standard. Also don’t busy yourself in the kitchen preparing or clearing up that your friends are left to entertain themselves with you absent most of the time.

Q. Who can be hospitable? ANYONE. You don’t need to be married or own a big home in order to be hospitable. Our experience has been the ones with small homes and incomes have been the most hospitable. I know a family of 5 that lived in a one room and kitchen home but had more people in their home for a meal than most people I know.

Q.What are some of the ways a single person can be hospitable? What about bachelors or spinsters?
We should aim to make hospitality a lifestyle and a family affair. Involve the children and get them excited about the prospect of having visitors over. In doing so you will train your children to be outgoing and friendly and welcoming to people who visit your home.

To be sure, every family needs privacy. However, today the trend is towards individualism and self comfort. This is not biblical. Many people, even Christians want to live in luxury and to live undisturbed by anyone. They offer no invitation to others and will not take the trouble to cook even a simple meal for someone.

Hospitality is one of the ways love is demonstrated amongst believers and members of a church, especially toward new comers to the church. Statistics show that if a new person makes 5-7 friends in a church, he/she is more likely to stay on.

If you find yourself struggling in this area ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Ask Him to pour love in your heart for your brothers and sisters in the Lord. All our acts of service should be motivated by faith and love or else they will be a dead works for which there is no reward.
Take some practical steps to help you get into a new groove. Call up people and fix a date for when you can have them over. This ensures commitment on your part and theirs rather than leaving it vague and to chance.
Reflections:
Q. Think for a moment about your own attitude toward hospitality-
 Are you open to having people in your home or are you reluctant and see them as an intrusion?

Q. When was the last time you had people from the church over to your home for a meal?

Q. Do you find hospitality difficult? If so, what are the factors that are hindering you and how can you overcome them?

Q. Spend a minute to consider who you can invite to your home in the next month and write down some names here. Then make it a point to call them up within the next few days after you have discussed it with your husband ( if your are married).

____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Hebrews 13 urges us to follow the example of the ancients who emphasized hospitality and because of it sometimes unknowingly welcomed angels into their homes. The reference is undoubtedly to Abraham and Lot entertaining strangers and later discovering them to be angels (Gen 18).

Q. Who do you invite to your home ? Be careful of only inviting “your type” of people viz ethnic group, language group, economic status, marital status etc. We are encouraged to be hospitable to all.


Remember what Jesus says: In Mt 25:31 onwards -31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

So with these thoughts in mind let us motivate ourselves to becoming more hospitable.. Jesus offers a kingdom to those who have been hospitable.  Wow – what a reward!

 Navaz D Cruz

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Courage to encourage





The courage to encourage

 Encouragement: Who does not want it? Who does not thrive under it? This thing called encouragement is very powerful. It can lift up the lowly; make the failure to fly into the realms of success, the heartbroken to hope again, the weak to do things beyond themselves. We have all received encouragement at some point in our lives and have been the better for it. We can remember the people that gave us encouragement very distinctly. Those memories are etched in our minds and hearts forever. Many of us are doing the things we are today, only because somebody had the courage and cared enough to encourage that gift, that ability and see the diamond in the rough.

 The question I ask myself is will I be that somebody for someone else?  It takes courage to do that. Because encouragement it not flattery, it’s not glib talk, it’s not irresponsible words spoken. People cling to those words as it promises hope and a new future. So when we encourage we bring hope and kindle faith in a flagging heart.

There are many challenges that ones who encourages may face and those are challenges of the heart.  We live in a world where criticism is rife; putting others down is the way up, envy and jealous rule the day and secrecy is the way to secure success. To spare a kind thought, word or deed is not a common practise these days.  Often the outlook is “what’s in it for me?”

Here are some things I have been pondering on and some questions I would like to challenge myself with. Maybe you would like to reflect with me?

  • ·        Am I willing to put myself out to encourage someone else and make them feel good about themselves? Can I look beyond my own nose? In order to encourage, I should practice being able to think of others better than myself. Sometimes my own pride gets in the way of encouraging someone else. It feels like giving ground to someone else. I need to practice humility and honouring others. (Rom 3:12, Phil 2:3) It’s not good enough to think the good thoughts in my head; it needs to be vocalized to the person who deserves the praise. Am I deliberately holding back praise from someone because of envy, jealousy or selfishness?  Don’t we all remember being in situations where a lot of effort was put into something and no one even says a word of thanks? Let’s not do the same to others.

  • ·        Am I willing to play the part of Barnabas (Acts 9:26)who brought Paul to the other Apostles. Paul went on to be one of the greatest Apostles who wrote so much of the New Testament. If Barnabas had not played his part I wonder how history would have panned out. He did a selfless thing. He did not promote himself. He had the courage to stick his neck out for the “the new kid on the block”. And you know what? Paul gets to be part of the Inner circle and Barnabas is left out in the cold – or that is how history gets recorded. We don’t hear of Barny anymore. (But you know, there is another perspective to all this. If I get caught up with recognition and affirmation from people alone, I will be left sorely disappointed and despondent. DON’T. People can be self absorbed and fickle. But there is one who sticks closer than a brother and who is faithful to the end. His encouragement is forever and with it comes rewards that are eternal. He is Jesus our Lord).

  • ·        Am I ready for the person I lift up to go ahead of me? (Phil2:3) If my motives are clean it will not bother me, it will only make me glad. I remind myself of that final day of reckoning when the books will be opened and everything we have done will be tested by fire, I do not want to be found wanting .

  • ·        For those of us who have received encouragement – go back to those who gave you a help up and thank them for the role they played in your life. Lack of gratitude is a bad thing.

  • ·        Does envy and jealousy catche my throat and cause me to withhold the praise that is due? I need to repent and the only way to overcome it is to do the very opposite.  I need to be profuse in my encouragement to the one I am envious or jealous off. It will take the sting away. Thank God for the talent/gift/ abilities God has blessed them with.

  • ·         I should expect nothing in return – this helps clean up the motives. I will get my reward in heaven.

  • ·        Am I afraid of encouraging someone else because they might then get noticed and get ahead of me? Do I believe in a sovereign God? Then I should be careful of manipulating circumstances. God can bring a man crashing down on his face in a day and exalt a man in a second. We have plenty an example in the Bible and the starkest one is that of Joseph – one of my own personal heroes. His brothers thought they could manipulate his destiny and keep him away from the lime light. But God worked things out where he got exalted way beyond anyone’s expectations of wildest dreams ( I don’t think Joseph knew his this was how his dreams would pan out)

I want to be the one who will be remembered for moving people forward and up and not manipulating people into the shadows and down.

When I do this my father in heaven is pleased, God is glorified, blessings come down and there is enough to go around for us all.  So I want to  encourage and thank those who have been sources of encouragement in my life.

Navaz D cruz

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rats !!!




Running like rats on a treadmill is what some days feel like. Then a restless begins to descend deep into ones soul and begins to express itself in a sharp tongue, ill temper and anxiety for no reason at all.
Have you been there and done that? I plead guilty many times over. I then I want chide myself and say "how foolish"!! Don't you know the source of Peace and stillness? Don't you know better than to be anxious? How often I forget, and do the very things I ought not to.

Then my heart and spirit lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, to Jesus throne and I am stilled like a child. Did He not say His yoke is easy and burden light? Did He not say "Be still and know that I am God?” Did He not say that He will renew my strength? Did He not say he will give me living water that will quench my thirst? Did he not promise to leave his peace with me? How foolish have I been!!! I turn in repentance to giver of LIFE and PEACE - Jesus.
I realize that the practice of being still takes a lifetime and is often ruffled by life's busyness. I have to make sure I do not wander away from this. Here is where my soul finds it’s anchoring - in His presence alone. So this is my prayer:

 To know you more take - me deeper Lord
To seek your face takes - me to your throne
To love you more - pour out your spirit Lord
And make me yours alone.

To live in your presence - that’s where I want to be
To draw closer and linger is my heart’s desire
To wait on you for renewed strength
To draw on your grace that flows without end
To hope in you and have faith rekindled
This is my desire, this is my desire.

Navaz D Cruz

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

THE CANCER CALLED CORRUPTION

It looks like this has been a season of reckoning for governments, autocrats, dictators, corrupt politicians and the like. We are all fed up with reading of a new scam in the newspaper each day. It makes one wonder how many more are out there that are un accounted for and that goes on, on a tiny scale below the income tax radar and the big ones, big enough to fly above the income tax radar.
We can all look out there and say that’s where the problem is. It’s those corrupt politicians that are the ruin of the nation. Crucify them!!!!
I have been brooding over the world events of the last 3 months. It has made me to stop and think and pray and reflect. I like to reflect against the mirror of the Word of God , the Bible. When a nation is going through turmoil, hardship, famine etc what does the bible have to say? Some of explain it away with “O the end times are here” and that may well be true. But I see something else being mentioned as well.
I am reminded of  2 Chronicle 7:14 which says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This seems to be the solution God is offering. Where does the responsibility of the well being of a nation lie? I think the passage is clear: with the people of God and not Anna Hazare going on a fast (though it might be effective for a short while) .
We the people of God have a responsibility toward our nation.  I, as a child of God am first of all called to humble myself – acknowledge the problem is too big for me to handle at a human level.
I am to seek God’s face – ie To make him no.1, to covet his presence more than anything, to find out what is on his heart, to spend time with him.
Turn from my wicked ways – Wow!!! God does not mince words. We would like to sugar coat the pill. He calls my wandering ways “wicked”. Can I call it anything else? Its only when God’s people get distracted with others things, other than focusing and worshiping Him, does He called their ways wicked. I would be wise to take this seriously. What ways in my life does God see as wicked? I only need to read His word to find that out and the list is shocking.
When I do this - the country will prosper, the land will be healed and our sins forgiven. WOW , !!  So the future well being of my country is dependent on how I as a Christian live my life? Are you serious? Well, read the passage again- I don’t see any room for discrepancy.
  Does this means I can’t really fault the government, the judiciary, the army, the police, the politician etc etc. ? I believe everyone has to give an account for what they do and do not do. But God has given His people a clear mandate and a responsibility: To walk humbly, live righteously, to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, to repent or our wicked ways. This is the key that will unlock might blessings in our nation.
 So let’s hit the floor.
I have written this song as a prayer . Pray as you listen to it , for a spirit of supplication to fall upon you.

Navaz

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breathe on me - A story of God's faithfulness

 Have you ever had a dream , a dream close to your heart, a dream close to what you know is God's call on your life, a dream that feel is too big and just "like a dream"? I have been there. I lived in the shadow of a dream for over a decade. I had  prophetic confirmations I needed many times over to take that leap of faith . And yet, I lacked the confidence to take those steps of faith in spite of knowing I had a BIG God backing me and giving me His approval. I made feeble attempts at accomplishing that dream and felt I could not do it on my own. There were some friends who encouraged me to step into making the dream a reality.  So I sought the help of other people I thought could help and had a similar vision. But it did not materialize and I was left hanging, waiting for this dream to take shape.I landed up getting frustrated, disappointed and buried that dream in despair thinking I had got it all wrong.  The Bible says "Hope differed makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life " Prov 13:12. I was in this place with regards to this dream for many years and I did not know how to get out of it and then came a stage when I couldn't care.

But , the ever faithful God who does not give up on us or our dreams in his great love pursued me patiently. HE who is the author of that dream was not willing for it to die without bearing some fruit. 

Last year in February we attended a 3 day conference for Church Leaders. It was there that I had the most significant coffee conversation  yet. The lady whom I was chatting with, out of the blue asked me if I wrote songs. I thought the sky would fall on my head. I was shocked as the question was prying the nails I had banged hard and strong in that coffin. I could not run from what I knew was the Lord wanting to take off the grave clothes and bring back to life that which was deeply buried. I sheepishly answered in the affirmative and said I had tried everything , tried getting help in vain and that I had reached the end of myself and any inspiration. She felt I should not give up and try new doors. The Coffee break ended and we assembled for another session. 

The session was on taking responsibility for what happens in our lives and not giving into a hostage mentality or a victim mentality. The speaker gave us a moment to share with each other. This friend shot out of her chair and came straight to me and said "GOD IS SPEAKING , IS N"T HE?". Heaven was using a megaphone. I knew I was cornered by the Living God himself. I felt the Holy Spirit  work deeply in me. I felt deep conviction for giving in to satan's lie and giving into a victim mentality. I went through deep repentance. I was overwhelmed at how much God was interested in this dream, this gift seeing the light of day.

I resolved to make another attempt and push every door for help that I could possibly think of . 

I prayed  a desperate  prayer asking the Lord Jesus to breath a fresh on me, to anoint me for what He want me to do,not to give up till the end of my days, to be faithful with every gift He has given me so that when He comes again He will see that I have multiplied what He has given me.

That prayer  became my first song - the first of this dream , this gift coming out into the open. I titled it "Breathe on me". Since then , there has been an overwhelming flow of new songs, that has  even take me by surprise. My book is full of lyrics leaping out of the pages waiting to be sung.
I look back at the last year and am amazed at God's  faithfulness. As I took those steps of faith, the lyrics fell into place, fresh tunes flooded my mind, new doors of help opened up that only encouraged and guided me so well. 
I have walked with the Lord for nearly 4 decades and there are so many lessons to learn and so many life patterns to unlearn. I am grateful that He is the author of my life and He will finish what He has started in me. He will not give up. And all I can say is " To love and serve You is the greatest thing, To love and serve You, Jesus my King"
Here is the link to the song. Be blessed as you listen to it. Share it freely.



Navaz

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Humbly You Came - Navaz D Cruz



Phillipians 2 has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. It has given me a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and how I ought to live. I have been most provoked and challenged by our Servant King - being in the very nature God , chose to be born in a lowly state and serve the very ones who would betray, abandon and be ungrateful to Him - the Author of Life.
When life and different circumstances get me down,  I lift my eyes to Him and everything falls into place.
Be blessed as you listen to this. Share it with your friends.

Navaz

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some quiet thoughts : Reflections: Perspective

Some quiet thoughts : Reflections: Perspective: "'To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest criti..."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Perspective

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is it. Nothing else matters really. Thinking about this, all lofty thoughts are leveled and wild emotions tamed. We are called to be LIGHT and SALT. Nothing more , nothing less. The Great Teacher, Master and Lord of our souls  said, what you do  to the least of my brothers you do it for me. Be faithful in the little things. What is done is secret , the Father in heaven will reward. He does not forget those long hard hard hours, those tears of frustration , those dark depressing days when you wondered  if sunrise could come quicker. He knows when you have been that listening post for someone, the one who shared salvations great message with them, the one who quietly prayed for the sick and needy. the one who lent a helping hand to a struggling brother/neighbor. When some one's face lights up because of you, it is enough. When some one is confident that their last breath on earth will be their first breath in heaven because you shared Jesus with them, that is enough .

Lets measure our lives and how we live by what truly matters - most of all to hear the King of Kings say "Well done good and faithful servant"

Navaz

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some quiet thoughts : Reflections: His eye is on me

Some quiet thoughts : Reflections: His eye is on me: " Through nearly four decades of walking with the Lord , there is one thing and only one thing that I am 100% certain about i.e Je..."

His eye is on me

 Through nearly four decades of walking with the Lord , there is one thing and only one thing that I am  100% certain about i.e Jesus is the Solid Rock - everything else is shifting sand. I have known His faithful hand guide and lead me through troubled waters, in fiery situations, in times of plenty and want.

 Eighteen years ago God called Colin and I to leave our secular employment and serve the church. They have been 18 good years but not without its ups and downs, challenges and churning.The most testing times of all has been our 8 1/2 years in Church planting in Pune. We heard God speak to us about "having stayed on the mountain too long" and that it was time to move on - from a thriving church back home in Mumbai to a new city, new people, and a lot of uncertainty.

We came with all our belongings a 7 year old son and a 6 month old baby - that's what the church planting team comprised of. This meant  the 3 of us were the serving team, hospitality team, worship leading, preaching, prayer meetings, follow up, administration etc etc etc. We had much joy  and faith in our hearts and enjoyed serving God's people  and had great visions and plans to this plant and ones we hoped would come in the future.
However very soon all hells fury was hurled at us and it came in various forms : freak accidents on Andrew our son, ill health, wild accusations , gossip , slander, divisiveness, and more. We were in the firing line of the most evil flaming darts. Loniless  was our companion. 
As we continued to march on we began to see a little fruit here and there only to be snatched away very quickly. Being in a transient city meant physical mobility because of job s was very high - so we  virtually had a new congregation every nine months or so.

With inflation increasing at a pace we just could not keep up with we felt the Lord lead us in the most amazing way to start our own tent making enterprise. We saw God's favour and grace rest upon us.
With Rs 2000/- ( the last of what we had ) , like Elijah and the widow with the jar of oil, we took that  and invested in art material to make glass art and then greeting cards. Thus our company More2Art was born. Truly the Lord will never leave or forsake His own. We have seen His faithful hand of provision month after month.

Two years into being in Pune,  and a new business venture just taking root we were miraculously led to buying a beautiful 3 bedroom apartment for which we did not even have 1% of the total cost. It's sheer madness anybody would tell you. But - the Lord's way is not ours. He made gracious provision come to us through loving members of the family. Can one doubt His eye on us?

Years of drought and hardship on the church front persisted till the 7th year.God was teaching us many things through all of this - the most important being humility, faithfulness, walking closely to Him and dong His will, amongst other lessons.
Yet through it all , God has only been faithful , more than we could ask or imagine. The tide is finally turning. We are entering a new season of harvesting and reaping what has been sown in tears and pain. It is in this season that many a song got birthed but lay between the leaves of my book. Confusion and doubt cause them to lie there.. till the God of second and third chances gently nudged me yet again to get them out into the world. Feeling utterly helpless and in adequate despite, the deep desire to pen line after line in praise of my King, I took that plunge to bring out the songs written .

His Eye Is On Me is a tribute to the ever faithful God , the keeper of my heart. Psalm 121, 91 and Romans 8:28 onward have been some of my favourite passages of scripture. This song is based on those passages. As you listen to it, recall God's faithfulness in your own life and remind yourself that "His eye is on me". Be Blessed.
Navaz.