COVID-19 | Response – Part 1


We are living in uncertain times! But, know that already.
When I read the reports about the ravaging capabilities of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it leaves me with an ominous feeling. It almost smells like death is inevitable. Even if you are not thinking in those extremities, it’s capacity for spreading fear, causing anxiety, cultivating relational suspicion, creating emotional chaos, and developing social distancing has crept into our most atomistic relationships. The world is frantic. World leaders can only issue commands, mandates, and guidelines for ensuring safety, knowing that this silent enemy, unlike anything we have experienced before could be lurking in our very homes. They do it in the hope that our precautionary activities will buy us some time. Time being a relative commodity is now more so than ever before. Some people might say that we are living on borrowed time. With every passing day COVID-19 entrenches its presence among us.

Would you have thought that in this modern era of advanced technologies, artificial intelligence, the most brilliants minds in every field, and with every kind of resource at our disposal, we would be left fondling for an answer to stem this pandemic? I can almost imagine this invisible enemy COVID-19 standing by and laughing at our feeble attempts to catch him out.

My mind goes back to approximately twelve thousand years when Moses, the greatest leader of the Israelites faced a similar situation in the desert. Back then, Moses was leading well over two million people. And, one by one they were dying, almost one-hundred people a day. No, it wasn’t a virus. It was God’s judgment on the nation Israel. And right there, in the middle of this invasion by death, Moses says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Right now, the human race, collectively, is under attack. It’s the HUMAN RACE! Not just America, or China, or South Africa, or South Korea, or Canada, or the UK…No! It’s the human race collectively. This is not an individual’s battle. This is a battle of EVERY individual.

It will be easy for me to be condemnatory and say that this is God’s judgment on humanity who have become errant, recalcitrant, arrogant, proud, stubborn, and self-sufficient. Perhaps it IS that, and it could be something else too.

Let’s talk about just one thing here in the time I have left with you. Let’s talk about social distancing. Social distancing is the prohibition of all social gatherings that exceed a certain number of people. In some places, a gathering of more than five people is prohibited, while in other places a gathering of more than one-hundred people is prohibited. This social distancing prohibition varies from country to country or city to city. This prohibition means that weddings would be canceled. What bout funerals? COVID-19 sufferers have died, will there be a funeral for them? Should there be a funeral for them? What id the prohibition for the funeral is not more than fifty people? Would a supermarket having a sale be considered a gathering? Would a business that has more than one-hundred employees be considered a gathering?
Is a gathering defined as an exclusive group of people who are familiar with each other, and who meet each other on a regular basis (churches, businesses, schools), or is a gathering an ad hoc group of unrelated people who have come for a planned event, or a one-time event (concerts, inter-organization conferences, inter-church conferences, inter-religious meetings, inter-schools)?

From a pastoral point of view, creating social distance may be more of a harm than good, especially if the group that is meetings are familiar with each other, and are fully transparent, and are taught accountability, should an individual contract COVID-19 elsewhere.

Are we coming toward the end of relationships as we know it? Taking our churches online is a great idea, but at what relational cost? And, when churches go online, does this mean that people remain couped up in their homes forever? Is COVID-19 a convenient reason to shift platforms form face-to-face to online? What about the blended church? Have an online service with everyone there and during the week small face-to-face gatherings? Or, better still, have people converge at different locations in small gatherings for an online church? Will the blended church be better?

COVID-19 is currently the most feared nemesis the human race is facing. Let’s think very carefully about how much we should cave in to his demands before we make decisions that when COVID-19 is gone, we won’t be able to reverse easily.

I look forward to your dialogue, suggestion, and your thoughts.

Selvan Govender, M.Ed
Pastor | The Safest Place on Earth


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How Much Is Enough?


How much is enough? How much more money do you need? How much bigger house do you need? How much fancier car do you need? How much is really enough? I am writing this post not to deprecate the desire for better things, but merely to remind us of the quintessence of contentment. There is always room for improvement, but let’s keep the standard of the room for improvement very objective. personally, I would love an upgrade on my car, it’s falling apart at the seams.

In my sermon preparation for this Sunday, the theme being “Finding Joy and Pleasure in God in this Life and in The Life to Come”  and the text is Psalm 16. In verses, 5-6 David says, “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

On your way to the top, I want to throw some caution your way. In preparation for this verse,  I came across this interesting journal article conducted by the Harvard Business Review (Donnelly et al., 2018), In it, the researchers interviewed 4000 millionaires, ranging from a net worth of $1 million to $10 million. Each millionaire was asked to report how much they currently had. How happy they were on a scale of 1-10. And then how much money they thought they would need to get to a “10” on the happiness scale. Shockingly, 26%, the largest response was assigned to “10x more,” the largest possible option given. 24% chose “5x more” followed by 23% at “2x mores.” Only 13% of respondents said they “currently have enough to be happy.”

This is a startling finding!

In an interview with The Atlantic (Pinsker, 2018), Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School Professor is asked the reason Why Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With the Money They Have? and Norton responds succinctly with these words, “This instinct to measure and compare doesn’t disappear once people have an obscene amount of money. “The problem is, Am I doing better than I was? is only [moving people in] one direction, which is up,” Norton says. And if a family amasses, say, $50 million but upgrades to a neighborhood where everyone has that much money (or more), they feel a lot less rich than if they had stuck to the peer comparisons they were making tens of millions of dollars ago. Hence the ever-shifting goalposts of wealth and satisfaction.” 


Let me leave you with what the apostle Paul said, But godliness with contentment is great gain.  7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV, 1984)

Article Downloads
Are Millionaires Happier

Donnelly, G.E., Zheng, T., Haisley, E. and Norton, M.I. (2018). The Amount and Source of Millionaires’ Wealth (Moderately) Predict Their Happiness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(5), pp.684–699.

Pinsker, J. (2018). Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With the Money They Have? [online] The Atlantic. Available at: [Accessed 27 Apr. 2019].

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Posted by on November 1, 2019 in General Blog


The Significance of Names

On the fourteenth of October Twenty-nineteen, Bophelo (pronounced Bop-helo) was born. She is the gift of life presented to Arthur, Carly, and Lola Fans, who are members of our church.
Bophelo (Bop-helo) means LIFE.
It’s ironic that Bophelo was given such a name. She was born at 1.6kg’s and as I write this devotion, she is in the hospital for nine days now.
This little baby is really taking her circumstances by the horns and she is living up to her name.
She’s growing well!

Let’s change scenes.
Let’s go back a few thousand years to the book of Ruth.
The book opens in dramatic fashion. It’s like an action movie that sends your heart pulsating right from the beginning.
It opens with these simple, yet profoundly important words, “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the Land.”
Why do I need to pay attention to this “small” fact?
This “small” fact is the promise of God’s judgement on the nation (Deuteronomy 28-29).
The writer is simply telling us that the nation is under the judgment of God.
Powerful right?

Now catch this!
The writer introduces us to a family. They are Elimelech (Elly-mel-ek), Naomi (husband and wife), Mahlon and Killion (their two sons).
The instinctive response of this family when the famine strikes, is to leave Bethlehem.
Guess what?
Do you know what “Elimelech” means?
Elimelech’s name means “My God is King,”
Don’t you think this is ironic?
Here’s the irony.
Elimelech (my God is King) chose to turn his back on God by leaving the community of Bethlehem. If you were part of God’s people, the nation of Israel, you didn’t leave the community, because God had established a covenant with you. You were tied into that land, and God was going to bless you there when you obeyed. When God’s people disobeyed him, he would often get their attention by allowing them to go through some tough times, and that’s what happens in this story.

Who are you?
You are Christian.
What does that mean?
Christ-follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are the child of the God of the Bible.
Let me ask.
When the chips are down, do you behave like Elimelech?
Do you live down your name like Elimelech did, or,
Do you live up to your name?
Do you leave God or do you hold on more firmly to God?
You are Christian.
Let’s live up to it!


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Posted by on October 25, 2019 in Biblical Names, General Blog


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World Suicide Prevention Day | Despairing Even of Life


Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).
Did you know that in South Africa there’s at least one suicide every hour?
When you read the literature on suicide, you will discover that suicide is the cause of 800 000 deaths worldwide. That’s alarming! That equates to 1 suicide every 40 seconds.

There is a multiplicity of circumstances relating to the cause of suicide. We cannot narrow it down to one single cause. However, in a desperate attempt to escape their circumstances, approximately 800 000 people internationally choose to take their own lives. By the time you complete reading this blog, a few people will have committed suicide.

Let me leave you with these principles that I hope will give you encouragement, motivation, hope, and an increase in faith. They are found in the Bible,

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NIV, 1984)

  1. Adversity is COMMON to Everyone
    The Apostle Paul, a man chosen by Christ himself was not exempt from adversity. Adversity is common to everyone. You must know that you are not suffering in isolation while the rest of the world’s population is living care-free. We go through adversarial situations. Your hope must flow from the fact that you are not a target for adversity.
  2. Adversity Threatens to CRUSH the Human Spirit
    Sometimes the weight on your shoulders will seem so heavy that your spirit is crushed. It may even seem like you’ve reached the end of the road. This is only how it seems but the truth is, you have not reached the end of the road. See how Paul describes the strength of adversity. He says, “We despaired even of life…we felt the sentence of death” Adversity can be the thief of hope.
  3. Adversity is Leading You to CONSIDER Your Best Resource
    When you are financially bankrupt, where do you turn to for help? Perhaps you turn to a bank or a friend who is financially wealthy. But you will never turn to yourself because you cannot lend yourself anything. Paul knows that if he is to overcome this adversarial phase in his life, he must turn to someone who can bail him out. He turns to God. Notice what he says, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” In whatever circumstance you are right now, you probably need someone more reliable than yourself to bail you out. You must allow the intervention of the supernatural. You need God. He will deliver you!
  4. Adversity is Weakened through COMMUNITY
    The problem with so many people is that they choose to suffer in silence. After they die, people usually say, “He didn’t say anything, we didn’t know he was struggling with…” Community is essential and it is necessary for you to overcome any adversarial situation. Paul says this, “…as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” Shout out! Tell someone about your struggles. Allow someone to walk your journey with you. When you face your struggles within the context of community, you will find hope, courage, faith, answers, and life.

My hope is that you will find the strength to hold on courageously to life. You don’t have to capitulate to death. I look forward to hearing from you should you want to shout out.

Selvan Govender


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Posted by on September 10, 2019 in General Blog, Social Justice, Suicide


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Newsletter | September 2019 | Volume 1

Dear Partner, thank you for praying for us and walking this journey with us. We appreciate you very much! Please view the September 2019, Volume 1 Newsletter and continue your tremendous support.

Click on the link below
September 2019

Your friend and fellow pilgrim,
Selvan Govender | Pastor


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Posted by on September 8, 2019 in General Blog


Newsletter | August 2019 | Volume 2

Please download our latest newsletter. Through it, you will have a great idea of what God is doing and how you can be a part of this exciting journey toward him.

Selvan Govender | Rev., Pastor, Hons(Theol(., M.Ed (in progress)
The Safest Place on Earth | a Baptist Church
Mountview Secondary School
5 Russon Street, Brindhaven, Verulam
Durban, South Africa

August 2019 Volume 2

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Posted by on August 31, 2019 in Newsletter


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The Musing of a Car-Guard | Looking Inside

Welcome to The Musings of a Car-Guard! I am reminded of a Bible verse that tells us that “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5.
The ‘desert’ (look at the introductory post) has provided me with the time and occasion for self-reflection and introspection.
I am grateful for that! I have learned some good lessons in the ‘desert’. One of them was taught to me by a taxi driver.
Yes, you heard me, a taxi driver.

My opinion of taxi drivers whom I don’t know personally is that they are arrogant, insensitive, prone to violence, often limited in education, and rude. I am sure you will come up with more adjectives to describe taxi drivers.
The taxi driver, a black man, pulls into the desert parking lot. Parks his taxi and goes on his errand.
After a little while, he arrives. He pulls out of his parking spot.
As he approaches me he does the most unexpected thing.
Yep, you guessed it. With respect, and by extension of his arm, he gives me some money.
Here I’m thinking to myself (lighting quick), “This taxi driver is actually giving me money.”
Honestly, my jaw dropped.
I said to him, “I didn’t expect this. I’m surprised.”
“I didn’t know taxi drivers gave car-guards money.”, I continued.
His lips parted revealing a smile and as he did so he said, “Not all of us are the same.”
That was the most humbling moment for me.
His word pierced my heart like a hot knife through butter.
I was ashamed of judging him.

I repeat that story over and over again because I am prone to judging people before they have given me cause to.
Ever since that day, I have struck a friendship with many taxi drivers with who I share that story on a regular basis.

The purposes of our heart are deep waters. That day in the desert I was sensitized to cancer in my heart. That cancer is what often leads me to keep certain types of people at a distance from me.
Let’s be honest here.
Most of us have a caste system in our hearts.
I know I did, until someone said, “Not all of us are the same.”

Selvan Govender (Hons.Theol., M.Ed)
Pastor of The Safest Place on Earth
Mountview Secondary School, Room 27
Verulam, Durban, South Africa
Sundays at 9am

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Posted by on August 18, 2019 in Social Justice


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The Musings of a Car-Guard – Introduction

Even before I begin this new series entitled The Musings of a Car-Guard, please allow me to introduce this series. Through a strange twist of events, I found myself “guarding” cars in a parking lot. The parking lot where I work is literally a desert place. On occasion when there is a strong gust of wind, one may even experience the rushing sand as they take flight, offering a sand-bath to everything in its path. Whether the clouds cry or the sun beats down against this desert place there is no hiding place. This is just to give you an idea that it’s not a mall parking lot. There is no luxury here. I call this the desert.
Let’s get on with the story.
For many months, beginning in mid-2018 I was preoccupied with thoughts on social justice. Being on course to complete my Master of Education degree, my preoccupation focused on social justice in the area of education. Fast forward to mid-2019 and I am in the desert-place. Here, in this desert-place, I am being confronted by thoughts of social justice on a daily basis.

The Musings of a Car-Guard was conceived in this desert-place. Here I have experienced social-injustice at an alarming level. I must confess, that even though I am in full-time pastoral ministry for almost twenty years, I have insulated myself against the presence of social injustice at the atomistic level in our communities.

That is, until now.

I have made a few discoveries in the desert that I hope to reveal to you in the coming days. I am hoping that the revelation of these discoveries will help us to tweak our attitudes toward social injustice and move us onto a trajectory toward social justice. My perspective might differ from yours, and I hope that this difference will lead us into dialogue so that we reach a consensus that will be for the benefit of other human beings.
The posts may vary in length and they will certainly vary in subject matter, but the goal in every musing will be to sensitize us to the value of human beings around us.
Perhaps for far too long, we have had blinders on that have prevented us from seeing those beside us and my hope is that through The Musings of a Car-Guard you might regain your peripheral vision.

Selvan Govender (Hons.Theol., M.Ed)
Pastor of The Safest Place on Earth
Mountview Secondary School, Room 60
Sundays at 9am



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I Hate Cross Words (But I Use Them Sometimes)

One of my rituals growing up was filling in the Sunday Tribune cross-word puzzles. I love cross-words.
It gives me an opportunity to stretch my mind.

There is another kind of Cross-Word as well.
The dictionary defines the word ‘Cross’ as “angry, annoyed, irate, irritated, in a bad mood, peeved, vexed, upset, irked, piqued, out of humour, put out, displeased, galled, resentful”

We all are great at “cross-words” but not with the newspaper kind.

Proverbs 25:11 is reminder to me of how cross even my words can become at times, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”

Words have a profound effect on the person they are directed to.
Through words of encouragement you can lift out a person from the deepest pit.
Yet, with words of ridicule and mockery you lock someone into a defeatist mode.

With words of hope you can release someone to realise their potential.
Yet, with words of deconstructive criticism you can de-motivate anyone.

With words of honesty and truth you could help someone see something they were blinded to.
Yet, with words of deception and lack of pluck you may send someone into a life of turmoil.

Words are the most precious commodity you trade in daily.
I must admit, I too regretfully sometimes engage in “cross-words” with people. Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood”

How are your words to,
Your family?
Your friends?
Your co-workers?
Your employee?
Your employer?
You get the idea, right?

Keep growing!

Selvan Govender | Rev. Pastor
MA (in progress. Biblical Studies with a concentration in Education, Clarks Summit University – USA)
Associate Pastor – Caneside Fellowship Centre

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Posted by on September 13, 2018 in General Blog


Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?

In 2011 during our building project I experienced something familiar, yet strange on that particular day.
I experienced fear.
I was on the concrete slab, about six meters of the ground. I was eager to get to another section of the roof that was completed the prevous day and the only way to the other section was along a scaffolding plank resting both ends on concrete slabs.

I had to walk for about five meters to the other side on a plank with no support underneath.
I reached the plank.
I looked down.
I looked across.
I walked.
I retreated.
Fear gripped me!
I felt like giving up.
I felt like going back.
I don’t know why I felt so afraid.
I stood there motionless for a few moments gripped with fear.
I finally mustered the courage to walk across.
Shortly after walking across the plank I realised that fear can have a crippling and debilitating effect.

You know what you need to do but you’re afraid.
You know where you need to go but you’re afraid.
You know what you need to change but you’re afraid.
You know what you need to straighten out but you’re afraid.
You know what you need to say but you’re afraid.

Perhaps the most empowering words any human being could hear during the times of crippling fear is found in Joshua 1. In it,

Three times God said, “…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.””

God repeated these words to Joshua three times.
God knows about the crippling affects of fear.

When Joshua heard these words he actioned himself immediately and achieved amazing results.
Even when you act with strength and courage you’ll discover that you CAN accomplish great things for God.

There are some things in your life that you are afraid to confront.
It’s eating you up.
Step out in strength and courage.
You honour God with willingness and God will honour you with his presence.

Have you felt like giving up lately?
Step out.
Be strong and courageous.

Selvan Govender | Rev. Pastor
MA (in progress. Biblical Studies with a concentration in Education, Clarks Summit University – USA)
Associate Pastor – Caneside Fellowship Centre

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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in General Blog

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