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COVID-19 | Response – Part 1

COVID-19

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
http://www.thesafestplaceonearth.org

 

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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.”
Oops!
Famine?
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?
Absolutely!

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

2019_wspd_banner_english

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 | 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 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
ddgovender@gmail.com

 

 

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From Vision to Fruition

Walt Disney, famed for Disney World, died before Disney World in Florida in the United States was completed. On opening day in 1971, almost five years after Disney’s death, someone commented to Mike Vance, creative director of Walt Disney Studios, “isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this?” “He did see it,” Vance replied simply. “That’s why it’s here.”

Many individuals and organizations have a vision but they don’t have the fruit. Reminds me of the short sitcom tune, Love and Marriage, it goes something like this, “Love and marriage, love and marriage. Go together like a horse and carriage, horse and carriage. You can’t have one…without the other!”

Vision and fruition is exactly like that. They go together!A vision of a good marriage will show the fruit of it. A vision for business success will show the fruit of that. A vision for God will show the fruit of that. A vision for your organization will show the fruit of that. A vision gives you and your organization a clear understanding of where you are heading and on the way you can eat the fruit of the journey. Nehemiah 2 gives us some principles for moving from vision to fruition.

A vision of a good marriage will show the fruit of it. A vision for business success will show the fruit of that. A vision for God will show the fruit of that. A vision for your organization will show the fruit of that. A vision gives you and your organization a clear understanding of where you are heading and on the way you can eat the fruit of the journey. Nehemiah 2 gives us some principles for moving from vision to fruition.

1. You must ASSESS how things are (Nehemiah 2:11-16)

The text tells us that Nehemiah made a thorough assessment of the condition of Jerusalem. He did not assume nor did he presume. Nehemiah did a complete post-mortem. When last did you do a complete assessment of your life? When last did you do a thorough post-mortem of your organization? Nehemiah needed to know how bad the situation was and what is required for the rebuilding process.

2. You must ACKNOWLEDGE your situation (Nehemiah 2:17)

Nehemiah did not hide the dirt under the rug. After assessing the situation he reported back that the situation was deplorable. He acknowledged that the situation brought disgrace to God. Reminds me of Isaiah in Isaiah 6, when he was confronted with God’s holiness he said, “Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips and I come from a people of unclean lips…” Are you sweeping personal misdemeanors under the rug and bring disgrace to Christ? Is your church or organization sweeping misdemeanors under the rug and not acknowledging that there is something wrong? Fruit will only start growing when you start admitting something is wrongAre you sweeping personal misdemeanors under the rug and bring disgrace to Christ? Is your church or organization sweeping misdemeanors under the rug and not acknowledging that there is something wrong? Fruit will only start growing when you start admitting something is wrong

Director of Shepherds Heart SA

http://www.shepherdsheart.co.za

 

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Moving Your Organization or Yourself Forward

I remember when I was growing up I tried riding a bicycle. I was bad at riding bikes. I would almost always fall the moment I got on. I was told that in order to keep myself from falling I must have momentum. Movement prevents falling.

This is also a great organization and personal principle too.

If organizations lack momentum, two things will happen. First they will plateau (stagnate) and second they may fall (become obsolete). This fate also applies to the personal lives of every individual as well.

When we read through the opening chapters of Nehemiah we will notice some antidotes to organizational death and the corollary is that we will experience forward movement in our organizations and in our personal lives. Here’s how Nehemiah teaches us to overcome organizational and personal death.

1. If you want to move forward we must cry over how things are (Neh.1:4; 2:1-4)

Nehemiah was sad over the current situation of Jerusalem. He was sad that Jerusalem became a laughing stock. He was sad that God’s glory was being defamed. When you look around you and when you look in your own personal life, what is there that’s defaming God’s glory or being made a mockery of? You should be crying over it. It must sadden you. It should cause you grief.

2. If you want to move forward we must confess why things are the way they are (Neh.1:5-10)

Nehemiah took responsibility for Jerusalem’s current circumstances. He did not criticize. He did not ridicule. He did not shift blame. He did not point fingers. He confessed that it was his sin also that has contributed to the downgrading of Jerusalem. What role are you playing in the damage to your family’s life? What role are you playing in the damage t your organization’s health? Maybe you too should own-up to the things you are not doing that is bringing organizational and personal death.

3. If you want to move forward we must consent to getting things to the way they should be (Neh.1:11-2:6)

Nehemiah didn’t just cry over things and make a confession that he was a culprit in causing damage, he also consented to making things right again. When the King asked him what’s wrong, Nehemiah explained and asked permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Your organization’s walls may be broken. Your personal walls may be broken. But, things will never get rebuilt if you do not consent to getting them to the way they should be. Please consider today how you can participate in the rebuilding process so that you don’t experience plateaus or death.

Shalom
Selvan Govender
http://www.selvangovender.com
Director of Shepherds Heart SA
http://www.shepherdsheart.co.za
Principal of Bethany Mission School

 

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Leadership Seminar – “Relationships”

Leadership Seminar – “Relationships”

“Children don’t know what causes their misery. In fact, children don’t realize their dysfunctional home is abnormal. Even physically abused kids don’t realize, while young, that nofrmal parents don’t beat their kids; they think that there is no other way to live.” —Nancy Curtis, Beyond Survival, (Lake Mary, FL: Strang Communications, 1990) pp. 27- 28.

The Coming Week
We are conducting a Seminar to undergraduate students on the important subject of “Relationships”. In it we will explore some essential ingredients for fruitful relationships. We will also be talking about the impact that conditioning from other relationships has on us and others and how it impacts everything you do. We all know that everything we do is built on the platform of relationship

Your functionality as a person is directly proportionate to the health of your relationships

Book a Seminar With Us
You may call us to address your school population, youth groups, employee groups, etc.

Our Details
If you are interested in more information please call

Selvan Govender |Director |063 309 5622 you may also visit us at http://www.shepherdsheart.co.za

 

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Twenty-Eighteen

We stand on the cusp of twenty-eighteen
Thinking of all the things gone by
Hoping that the next year will be more elevating
Because we know we may not have given this year our best try

Some of us have gone through deep hardship and sorrow
Anxious about what each day held
And I remember Jesus saying, “Listen my child, don’t worry about tomorrow.”
For he knows that if you do you’ll be overwhelmed

There’s a place in the Bible where it says don’t look behind
But we all do and we lose the path
Forgetting that it’s important to stick to the grind
We turn our head and we face the aftermath

You may be entering the New Year with some trouble
A great burden or some hardship, perhaps a grieving heart
Focus on them and they’ll most likely double
Instead let Christ, strength to you impart

It’s easy to fall apart when things don’t make sense
When the bible and real life doesn’t seem to match
Waiting on God does take patience
And in His time out of your trouble he will snatch

Everyone will rush into twenty-eighteen with gusto
Hopping around, working and hoping for the best
You’ll seem unstoppable, moving like an Armadillo
Until you face a challenging test

When this happens and it will
Not always will the road be smooth
You’ve just got to know He’s God and be still
And your sorrows he will soothe

What twenty-eighteen holds I do not know
We hope that it will be far better than this year
With much overflow
One that you’ll conquer without much fear

I wish you every success
Both now and until the end
As you remain true to the Word of God your GPS
You’ll see it’ll guide you around each bend

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in General Blog, Uncategorized

 

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A Perspective on Adversity From the Nativity

By Selvan Govender

I wonder what Mary thought
When she approached the parking lot
And found that instead of ease
The Inn was a tight squeeze

We are wrong to think that because in God we have life
That our journey until we die will be without strife
It’s clear that with Mary and Joseph this wasn’t the case
Of their ease we find not a trace

Although they knew that Mary was carrying the Savior
It was far from them to ask for a favour
We must understand that adversity is inevitable as sparks fly upwards
But we all wish that life was as tasty as cake and custard

But in the age we are living I think we have it all wrong
Because as soon as trouble comes we lose our song
God created us to be great
But when adversity comes we fumigate

Don’t we know that trials are our school?
I know that you think that God is out to make you a fool
You’ve got it wrong my friend
For through trials God wants our nature to mend

Let us learn from story of Joseph and Mary
Carrying the Savior didn’t give them the little house of the prairie
Because they knew they were helping in the divine purpose
They resorted to do their best and they did so with surplus

When adversity comes our way
We are too quick to stray
No matter how favoured you think you are
On this journey through life you may get a scar

But do not fret my friend
For God knows what’s around the bend
And he’s not out to harm or hurt
Recieve His grace and you will be alert

It’s wrong to think that God has called you His daughter or son
And now he’s robbing you of your fun
From now when a trial you get
Remember that God is using it to change you, not to cause you to fret

Shalom
Selvan Govender

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in christmas, Uncategorized

 

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