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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Prevention is Better, than Waiting for the Cure

Prevention is Better, than Waiting for the Cure

As a pastor of a local congregation I care deeply about the spiritual condition of the people that God has led into my care. One of the ways in which I demonstrate care is by encouraging everyone to become a part of the church more than through just the Sunday morning worship times. More so than anyone, I go through pain-staking lengths (yes, pain-staking!) to encourage people with addictive habits to join the small groups at church. It is quiet amazing how quickly people will agree to this and for a short while (three weeks being the most) attend the small groups. After gaining confidence in themselves their presence begins to wane. After observing this I would usually call the individual or couple and say, “I haven’t seen you in a small group this week, what’s going on?” This is the response i receive and it drives me nuts! “Sorry pastor, we were soooooo busy that we couldn’t make small groups this week, but we’ll be there next week (chuckle, chuckle…)” And lo and behold next week rolls around and they are not there again. The phone call is repeated. The response is the same. My frustration increases and I can see where all this is going to lead.

Two months down the road I receive a call, “Pastor, we need you to come and visit us urgently. My husband is drinking. I want a divorce….” and so on and so on. I’ve experienced so many scenes like this and every time I experience it, it is heart breaking. Suddenly people are in such a hurry to “fix” the problem when they deliberately got themselves into this mess. Why can’t people prevent all this by simply following the preventative measures? Why can’t they simply do the God-things?  I pray and hope that more Christians will take what Paul wrote to the Philippians about, he said, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Christian, please work out our salvation with fear and trembling! God will help but you must co-operate with him. It’s not the fault of the church that you are in a mess. It’s not the fault of your pastor that you are in this mess and it’s certainly not God’s fault that you are where you are! You are there because you put yourself there. You can take yourself out by cooperating with God. Start working out your salvation. Do it from today and never stop from doing it!

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in General Blog

 

Teaching Toolkit – Part 3 of 3

Teaching Toolkit – Part 3 of 3
  1. Problem Solving – The task of finding a viable answer to a perplexing situation, either by an individual learner or as a group assignment
  2. Project – Practical assignment that includes learning or an application of lessons already learned
  3. Question and Answer – Planned an guided process of involving students in the learning process, through the use of pre-chosen questions
  4. React Statement – The presentation  of a provocative statement, followed by an invitation for learners to react to it…agree or disagree and why
  5. Research and Report – An assigned task to investigate  some topic and subsequently to present the findings to the entire class
  6. Role Play – Generally, an unrehearsed dramatic enactment of a human situation, for the purpose of class analysis
  7. Scripture Search – An assigned, guided Bible search-study; usually with a follow up report to the class and/or discussion
  8. Story – A true or fictional account of a “happening”, generally for the purpose of illustrating some valued principle
  9. Symposium – A series of short speeches before an audience, presenting different aspects of a topic (may or may not be followed by discussion)
  10. Testing – Process of evaluating students’ knowledge in a subject area related to a current educational context (can be done in a non-threatening way)

This “Teaching Toolkit” is produced by courtesy of (Haston, Wayne: Centre for Excellence in Ministry (CEIM): ABWE: 2001)

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Teaching Tools

 

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Teaching Toolkit – Part 2 of 3

Teaching Toolkit – Part 2 of 3
  1. Game – A fun activity that is designed and directed for the purpose of communicating a lesson-related principle
  2. Group Discussion – A planned and focused conversation by several persons on a selected educational topic
  3. Handwork – An assigned “hand-on” activity that is designed to teach or reinforce a lesson
  4. Interview – A meeting in which a person is asked to present his or her views or experiences regarding a specific topic or set of topics
  5. Lecture – Oral presentation of a subject, sometimes accompanied by audio visual media and sometimes accompanied by class discussion
  6. Listening Teams – Sub groups in a class that are assigned tasks of listening for specific tyoes of information presented during a presentation
  7. Memorization­ – To commit lesson related information to memory, because of its perceived ongoing value to the learner
  8. Media Production – Assigned tasks of creating and presenting an audio and/or visual presentation that explains, illustrates, or reinforces the lesson
  9. Music – The embodiment and presentation of a lesson message in a musical format, presented by the teacher an or by the student(s)
  10. Panel – A planned conversation on a selected topic before an audience, involving multiple panellists and a leader

This “Teaching Toolkit” is produced by courtesy of (Haston, Wayne: Centre for Excellence in Ministry (CEIM): ABWE: 2001)

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Teaching Tools

 

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Teaching Toolkit – Part 1 of 3

Teaching Toolkit – Part 1 of 3
  1. Brainstorming – Problem solving method where group members suggest all known possible solutions, evaluation of ideas generally follows
  2. Buzz Groups – Small study or discussions groups that are part of a larger class, created to discuss specific assigned projects
  3. Case Study – True or fictional account of a life situation (a “slice of life”), generally presented for the purpose of analysis
  4. Circular Response – The process in which each learner in a group is called upon to express his or her view on a certain subject
  5. Creative Art – An original, imaginative visual composition to encourage individual expression on some lesson-related topic
  6. Creative Writing – An original, imaginative, written composition to encourage individual expression on some lesson-related topic
  7. Debate – Speakers for and against a proposition present their points of view in a structured order
  8. Drama – A rehearsed enactment of a set human circumstances, so as to tell a story
  9. Dyad/Triad – A discussion involving two (dyad) or three (triad) learners that is focused on a specified assigned subject
  10. Field Trip/Excursion – An out-of-class visit to some site that offers an educational value to the participants

This “Teaching Toolkit” is produced by courtesy of (Haston, Wayne: Centre for Excellence in Ministry (CEIM): ABWE: 2001)

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Teaching Tools

 

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T.G.I.F

T.G.I.F

T.G.I.F! – I’ve seen this posted on facebook many times. TGIF means “Thank God it’s Friday. Today I walked into a store to buy some plumbing supplies and because when I first started buying from there I gave them my “business” card which had the title “pastor” next to me name, they started addressing the invoices to “pastor Selvan Govender” So after invoicing me for the necessary supplies today I went to dispatch to collect the items and one of the men there saw my “title” and approached me, he said, “Pastor, what words of wisdom do you have for me today?”  First I was taken aback; I can’t remember when last someone asked me that. I thought for a minute and I said, “Wellington (that was his name), my word to you today is this. “God did not call people to become Christians so that they can live nominal, obscure live wherever they are. God placed Christians in every place and the place that he’s put them is a strategic place. God has a purpose for the Christian sales consultant as well as the Christian janitor. God has purpose for the pastor as well as the Christian gardener. He has a purpose for the Christian school teacher as well as the Christian taxi driver. He has a purpose for every Christian and he’s placed them in strategic places. Your job Wellington, is to enable people to see God’s beauty through you in your work place and to draw them closer to the cross. Think about Joseph, God had a purpose for him in Potiphars house as well as in the jail cell. Think about Daniel, God had a purpose for him in captivity. Think about Esther, God placed her in that position so that many lives could be saved.” I continued and said, “Wellington, there are too many Christians who say, “Thank God it’s Friday”, what we need is Christians who can say, “Thank God it’s Monday!”. When Christians say this it means that they are operating in their God given place, in a God given way, through a God given attitude. These kinds of people are thankful it’s Monday because they can carry on the redemptive work they left on Friday. We need more people like this!”

Let’s change our thinking and instead of T.G.I.F let us say T.G.I.M. Are you a T.G.I F Christian or a T.G.I.M Christian?

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in General Blog

 

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The Power of Many

The Power of Many

When we think of the word TEAM we immediately think of a multiplicity of people. The word TEAM never means individualism, it always means more than one person. TEAM is an interesting concept; the letters of the word could easily say “Together Everyone Accomplishes Much” or “Together Everyone Achieves More” The Bible has a lot to say about TEAM. The wonderful mystery of the Church is that God in his profound wisdom brought together individuals who would complement each other perfectly. The Bible says (Romans 12: 4, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many  form one body, and each member belongs to the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us…”) in the church God has placed individuals with different gifts and we are wrong to withhold our gift from someone else. We would be wrong because we belong to each other.

In many churches today there exists not the power of many but the “power” of one. And where the power of one exists there is bound to be a malfunction of the body. Why is the power of many important? Why is it critical that ministry be carried out by a TEAM and not an individual? The power of many exists so that the body of Christ, which is the church, may be built up. Could it be that churches are struggling to grow because people are not giving of themselves to each other? Could it be that churches are struggling to grow because there is more individual display than TEAM display? Could it be that churches are struggling to grow because we feel that we do not belong to each other?

How about you; are you plugging in to your local church and extending the use of your God-enabled gift? If you are not then perhaps you should talk to your pastor about how you can be used to enable the growth of the ministry instead of wondering and complaining about why the ministry is not growing.

There is power in the power of many! Join your TEAM today!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in General Blog

 

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The Most Excellent Soul

The Most Excellent Soul

Henry Scougal said this, “The worth and excellency of a soul is measured by the object of its love.” (The Life of God).

In the church everyone claims to love Jesus and everyone claims that they give their best to Jesus. But if we move beneath the surface for just a moment we might discover that although they do love Jesus, they do not love him as much as they love other things. Underneath the surface we might discover that although they claim to give Jesus the best of their time, energy and wealth resources, their diaries tell another very different story, the physical enthusiasm during sermon times and ministry times are a dead giveaway that they did not come with their best energy and their bank statement will never lie about where their other wealth is going. Matthew 22:37 tells us very clearly what the greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew then says that this is the first and greatest commandment. It is very clear then that the most excellent soul is one that is undivided in its affection toward God. It is the soul that loves God first and loves him most.

What do you love most? If you say you love God the most then I would push you further by asking, “How do you show that you love God the most?” and after you answer this I would push you farther and ask, “Let’s look at the secret places to see if your love for God is what you say it is.” Let’s look at your prayer life. Let’s look at your church life. Let’s look at your social life. Let’s look at your family life. Let’s look at your career life? Let’s look at that credit card statement. Let’s look at the checking account statement. Let’s look everywhere! Once we start looking everywhere then and only then will we know where our true affections lie. As I leave you today let me ask you again, “What do you love the most?” or “Whom do you love the most?”

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in General Blog

 

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God is NOT done with you yet!

God is NOT done with you yet!

Today I was having a conversation with a guy in our neighborhood. I was standing around talking to him while he was repairing his car. The car was old and he felt that he had been ripped off by the purchaser. However as he was bending down and pulling a panel here and straightening a panel there he said, “This is such a junk; its fit for the scrapyard!”. After listening to him talk I said to him, “We are all like this car in the sight of our Lord, but instead of God assigning us to the ‘scrapyard’ God graciously bends and straightens us back into shape.”

I want you to know that God is not done with you yet! If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ then God is set on completing the work he started in your life; “Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God, our Father is resolute about completing in us what he started. He wants to shape us more into the likeness of Jesus Christ and that involves some serious “spiritual panel beating” but when he’s done with us we’ll be a sight to behold; in fact as we willingly submit to the process we will definitely be a sight to behold. If we truly want to be the masterpiece that God intended us to be then we must “Continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

God is only done with us when we stop cooperating with him in the process of this “spiritual panel beating” but please remember this, that until then, God is NOT done with you yet!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in General Blog

 

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The Battle Belongs to the Lord!

The Battle Belongs to the Lord!

I remember the days of being in school and i think especially of the physical education session that was part of our weekly curriculum. Every Friday we would gather on the grounds waiting for the instructions from our physical education instructor. Most days he would declare it a “freestyle” session. Whenever this happened we would always choose to play soccer. I clearly remember the insatiable desire to be on the winning team. The winning team consisted of strong, skilful and athletic people. I figured if i went onto that team; the winning team,  then i would most certainly taste victory.

We are built that way right? Whenever we prepare for an event, a sports game or even a argument; we always go in prepared with the best. Going in prepared with the best is not necessarily bad; in fact it’s great! It’s only bad if God is not with the best. It’s expected then that if you are preparing for battle and your opposition has an army of 10 000 soldiers it would makes sense for you to also have at least 10 000 soldiers. This way of thinking and reason makes sense to us but to God it doesn’t.

There’s a place in the Bible (Judges 7:1-7) where Gideon; God’s chosen leader of his people for that time is preparing to go into battle with an opposing nation and he, like any other sane human being, is preparing to take a big army along with him. This is sort of normal thinking with human beings but with God it is a whole different story. This is what God says to Gideon after Gideon chooses his men, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…” in the subsequent verses God whittles Gideons vast army to a mere 300 men.

God has done this to:

  1. Prove that our strength in and of itself is not enough
  2. Prove that he alone can secure any victory over any opposition and over any number
  3. Prove that our strategies for victory are not redemptive only his is
  4. Prove that people are as strong as the choice of their God

The battle belongs to the Lord! What is God challenging you to whittle away in your life so that you can claim victory only through him?

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in General Blog

 

Stop Mixing It!

It seems almost unavoidable for the Christian today not to mix things up. Especially today, we have mixed priorities. We have mixed feelings. We have mixed friends. We have mixed marital families and last but not least we have mixed gods, among whom we might assign a place to Jesus Christ. The reason people don’t experience the complete blessing of God, instead they experience his common grace, is because they have mixed every other thing, feeling or action with the God thing, God feelings and God actions. Mixing it up is destructive!

In the book of Joshua we are invited to a new era in the life of Israel and this new era will take them to experience God’s promises. In order for them to experience God’s promises they must first live out his word. I remember one person recently telling me that Christians who are successful are those that work the word. In other words those of them that trust and obey will find themselves living in the land of God’s promises. In order for Joshua to lead his people into the Promised Land they had to conquer the many cities that were there. The first city was Jericho. Jericho was a monster and it stood imposingly as the doorway to the land. Once Jericho was conquered things could be a little easier. After trusting the Lord’s word we notice that the Israelites conquered Jericho with no problems at all. Now after Jericho there was another city. The Cities name was Ai. Ai was far smaller than Jericho and victory over Ai seemed to be a cinch. But Israel failed! Why? Why could Israel defeat Jericho and not defeat Ai? After all Ai was smaller than Jericho, what went wrong?

I believe that things went wrong because a certain man in Israels army mixed things up. This is what the word of the Lord says in Joshua 7:11-13, “11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.  12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you any more unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.  13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them,`Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.”

Notice what the Lord says in verse 13, “They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” By virtue of one man’s choice to mix things up a bit, the momentum of growth came to a standstill. By one mans choice to mix things up a bit, the experience of God’s promises was postponed.

This is what happens when Christians mix everything else with the God things; their lives grind to a halt and instead of securing victory they are running in retreat and surrender. Instead of experiencing God’s promises they are experiencing danger and destruction.

What are you adding in your life that is being mixed with the God things and which is causing you to be an unproductive Christian? Let me close with this verse so that you will know how you can get right with God and how you can be productive again, “the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.”

Get rid of everything that you mixed in with the God things!

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in General Blog

 
 
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