All kinds of busy

December 2011 is turning out to be the craziest month in my 28 year history.

We got keys to our new house on 7th December and we’re planning to move in on 29th December. That means, we need to get tiling put in, get the wooden floor laminate installed, get the internal wall painting done, evaporative unit installed, security system installed, furniture purchased and delivered, the house cleaned and dusted and everything in our rental place packed and ready to move. All that in a span of a little more than 3 weeks. And somewhere , we will be celebrating my dear wife’s birthday and Christmas. It is going to be fun fun fun.

From 2012, this will be our home. Our very own suburban dream come true.  

A house is a big deal. It is something that we’ve saved up and sacrificed for. Now that we’ve got a nice new home with beautiful furnishings, so what? What now?

I am reminded of 2 passages in the bible that relate to building houses.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7:24-27

and

After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ …
The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you…
2 Samuel 7:1-7, 11

Both significant scriptures with loads to say. I’ll be looking at these 2 scriptures in the next few weeks or maybe when things settle down.

I am reminded again and again of the goodness and greatness of God. I am so in awe that all I can say is in David’s prayer of praise: “Sovereign Lord, you are God!”

“LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
2 Samuel 7:27-29

“Welcome Home” is what you will first read when you enter our church in Bibra Lake, Western Australia. We (I and my wife) have been struggling with calling this chuch our home. Home is not quite how we feel when we step in the church.

This is not because the church is horrible. We already know it is not perfect. What inhibits us from experiencing the kind of church that we can call home is cultural difference. While our original (racial, family and experience) cultural identity bows down to the kingdom culture and we find unity in the kingdom culture, our expression of kingdom culture is different.

This affects everything, from a macro level (administrating and organising the church) to a micro level (a single comment in a conversation). I guess we have yet to fully assimilate into the Australian culture. It simply isn’t that easy. In every conversation, my mind goes racing back and forth to find a culturally appropriate experience to what I am hearing, then speed around again to search for a culturally appropriate response, all while my face produces an agonising awkward look (usually a kind of laugh). Imagine this happening in every conversation in every single small group, ministry meeting, after church coffee time. I’m suprised I don’t break a sweat while having a conversation.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
C. S. Lewis

I think I have a new found respect for missionaries and bible translators. To be an alien in the foreign land and live as one of them without disregarding their cultural identity and at the same time appreciating a different culture, that takes skill. Then to mix it all together and form an appropriate expression of kingdom culture, that is all God.