Changing clothes

Traditional Filipino dancing

Traditional Filipino dancing

traditional Flippino Dancing

For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain what we ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from this old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the culture in the Philippines and looking at what God is saying to us through it.

Clothes

The Filipino national dress is very different from my preconceived expectations. It is very noble looking and made of a mixed past inheritance. Everyday clothes are not much different to western countries – t-shirt and shorts. The Philippines wear more modest clothes than some skimpy western clothes. The thing about the clothing in the culture that took me while to understand is that Filipinos will change their clothes around 3times a day. You may spend a morning with a group of people and get to know their names – but by the end of the morning they have changed their tops and I loose track of who is who: for example the lady who I met 10 minutes ago wearing red is now in a yellow top.

In Kingdom culture we get used to people changing. Changing ourselves as individuals  so often that people don’t recognise one another and have to do a double take. We are not to hold snap shots of each other in a good or a bad moment which new stick to the wall of our mind like a family portrait. “Ah yes” we think when we look at our snap shot “I know how that person will react in this given situation – I have them organised in my thoughts”. We are to give each other room to make mistakes, room to learn and room to change.

As far as clothes go we are no longer to wear the rags of slavery. We are slaves no longer. When we live likes salves this looks like us expecting less than the best, putting up with dirt in our lives, being comfortable with less than good – both spiritually and naturally. I always thought it was spiritual to put myself down, humble not to ask for anything and submissive to live for others all the time. I am finding that to love myself and others does not mean I have to come last – we all come first.

Let’s stop wearing the rags of shame and guilt for past wrongs, wearing the filth of habitual rubbish, wearing the shame for thinking we are second rate and worthless. When I was a child I constantly walked with my head down. Why? Because I wore the heavy clothes of shame and I thought that was my identity. I thought that however hard I tried I could never reach the standard set for me. BUT then my Father God came. Picked me up. Washed me down. He told me that I was chosen, royal, a priest and holy. I was his special possession (1 Peter 2:9). The strange thing is there are days when I have listened once again to the lies and I have picked up my stinking rags again and put them on. How crazy! It is time to take off those things and burn them!

We put on our royal clothes. We are to be those who are meeting their lover.

So wash yourself. Pour oil on yourself and wear your best clothes. Ruth 3:3

We are to put on the robes of a loving Father. Bearing his acceptance snuggly around our shoulders

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Luke 15:22

We are not to be those who hide our royalty for fear of the responsibility it brings. Being royal means that you will be in the firing line. You will be drawn upon to bring wisdom, you will be called upon to give of yourself and you will be a representative of your Father’s Kingdom. People will expect much from the daughters and sons of heaven – we need to be confident in who we are and bear our responsibility well. See how the King of Israel treated his royal robes…29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Chronicles 18:29 (NIV)

We are no longer to wear clothes that don’t fit us. We are called to be who we are – not try to fit into other people’s shoes or clothes. They will be cumbersome, trip us up and at their worst they will make us ineffective in the task ahead. David had this dilemma when King Saul wanted him to put on his royal armour. He didn’t bend under the pressure of trying to be like someone else even under the persuasion of the king. He wasn’t tempted to put on posh clothes to show he was special – he just went in his own tunic to face his biggest enemy ever. There was a lightness to his spirit by being true to who he really was.

38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.  Samuel 17:38-39(NIV)

Lastly, but by far the least, we are not longer to wear clothes with badges. For a long time now the church has been just like Sainsburys – we all pin badges on ourselves during certain times. These badges may be lies stuck to us. These badges show others our ‘position’ in the church, our sphere of influence and also our limitations.  You are a musician of course I am not expecting you to offer to serve coffee, I am a crèche worker I am not qualified to pray for healing. In the Kingdom we are to wear our ‘ministry positions’ lightly so that they do not become our identity. Why do we presume we will always be in same place? everyone is interchangeable from the youth worker to the senior leader – we are there for a season only. This is the season of changing our clothes regularly.

Chasing the twisters

Let us continue chatting about culture change. would like to show you how dramatic it is to change from one culture to another. It is not a case of adjusting a few things, but of a massive upheaval. Please watch the following video to help understand what I mean.

I love the line from this clip ‘I have so many questions to ask’. This is exactly how I feel at the moment. Each time I discover something new I have more and more questions. I am finding there are few who can answer them – but that number is growing.

In the past I have had new vision and revelation at times. These have been life changing moments and I devoured all the understanding I could. Spurred on by someone’s sermon or seminars I read books, magazines, thought about it and then understood it –mainly with my head and then my heart was gripped with passion for what I saw. The Spirit brought me fresh revelation that amazed me. This new thing is transferred very differently. Yes I read, I watch videos, I listen to sermons and go to seminars, but the main way of catching this is heart transfer one to one. Let me try to explain this: When you want to experience the Philippines culture you could read manuals, watch programmes about it, visit the country and stay in hotels but until you spend time with the Filipinos and chat to them, visit the poorest and richest areas, let them share their history and dreams you haven’t experienced it all. Culture is all about people, not a place or traditions. It is about catching people’s heart.

I cannot catch this thing in my head, brain power is not how you understand the new changes. This can only be caught by a spirit, Spirit and mind blend. I love the Spirit and love moving in the Spirit but there is something different about this I have never experienced before. It is a heart connection with others and then somehow downloading their heart. Catching it with your spirit before your mind gets it. Understanding love, grace, freedom etc with my spirit first hand and then allowing my head to catch up. Letting God by his Spirit expand it inside bringing revelation and understanding. Thus the statement ‘ I have so many questions to ask’ is very true.

I do not have the answers, I do not understand it all, but what I do know is the way I have done things in the past is not enough for now.

Today: Determine to find out is who is changing around you, who has seen something new, who understands this new culture, who can you catch it off? When you see them and find them get alongside them. They may not be in your home town, they may not be leaders. I am chasing those with fresh hearts and asking them questions. It is like those people who chase tornados and find the spot on where the mighty twisters hits the ground and starts changing the landscape. Find the twisters. Let them share heart with you, do a heart connection download. Catch it!

You don’t belong here

Downtown Chicago Building Roundup: North

Downtown Chicago Building Roundup: North (Photo credit: Josh*m)

The only way you will find a new culture is if you realise the old one isn’t for you 

Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” Exodus 2:22

 Moses was adopted into the Egyptian culture at the highest level. He was an adopted prince living in the palace of pharaoh himself. He had experience the best of life in this rich land. He had known the best of the fashion and cloth, architect, social structure, artwork and delicious cooking. His original family were nomadic wanderers, farmers – those nutters who went on about a promised land. In worldly terms he had the best life as prince in such a powerful nation – yet he knew that he didn’t belong. He knew that he was not one of them and he couldn’t settle.

He named his eldest son “foreigner” so that every time he called his son he was reminded of his home land far away. His heart would leap once more at the promise there was something better. A land where God lived amongst his people and it was like heaven on earth.

His ancestor Abraham saw the same

10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Heb 11:10

Moses knew in his heart that although he couldn’t fully understand what it was there he knew there somewhere even greater than this land and culture that he was an integral part of.

Life may seem good. You have what you need and the friends, family around you. You are settled, happy and content. If you are then can I suggest that you are not ready for an adventure? If you set off with others you will always be harping on about what you left behind, what you could have been, where you could have lived. If you are settled and happy – then exploring a whole new culture isn’t for you.

This adventure is for those searching for a better kingdom. For those not satisfied with the number of people they have seen healed, how many people they have helped their lives turn around or the state of family and community. They are not satisfied with the lack of justice, the suffering of the poor, the loneliness of the old, the vulnerability of the young. They are not settled and want things in their old culture to change. They are nnot happy with aggression, drunkenness, depression, confusion and self-rejection filling their streets and churches. This kind of person sees something better –a different kingdom. These people are desperate for change. They think about it every day. They are ready for something big, new and exciting.

How about you? Are you ready to give up everything to understand something bigger and greater? Are you hungry for the kingdom of God, His city and his culture? Or are you too settled?

A new way of being

Egypt: Gizeh

Egypt: Gizeh (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum)

We looked yesterday about how God called us out of Egypt. Let’s take a closer look today at what that means.

Egypt in the bible is a picture of worldliness :  materialism, fashion, keeping up with the Jones. We find competition, striving, control, petty mindedness and selfishness. We see Solomon was warned by God about having horses and chariots as it represented strength in power and riches, fighting for yourself and being proud of your own achievements.

The tragedy is Egypt creeps into the church. There is control, labels of position, traditions, loneliness, keeping up with the Jones, striving,  judging each other, religion, apathy, self-loathing, depression, selfishness, jealousy, tussling and tribalism. Members of different groups say I am a Baptist, I am NFI, I am Catholic, I am Vineyard –each believing themselves to have the keys to revelation.

God is calling us out of churchy and worldly culture into a kingdom way of being. He is re- aligning our hearts to the ways of heaven. He is giving us space and room to learn a kingdom culture – a wide and open place of exploration. Coming out of one level of understanding into something new

I have had so much re-learning to do at the moment. This adventure is life changing and dramatic. Come and walk it with me.

Called out of Egypt

I recently heard on radio 4 that ‘a traveller doesn’t know where they are going and a tourist does not know where they have been’. One journeyer does not appreciate the way ahead, the other does not recognising the importance of the path behind. I do not wish to be like either one; wandering aimlessly in life not knowing how I get to where I am heading or nor having any idea how I came to be here in the first place. I want to be one who looks both ahead and behind and finds strength, solace and direction in understanding.

Culture Change

 ‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ Exodus 19: 3-6 (MSG)

The Israelites had been slaves for many generations since their ancestor Joseph had died. They had become slaves and been ruthlessly treated. During their time in Egypt the passing generations had gradually adopted the customs of this culturally rich nation. They dressed and put make up like the Egyptians, ate their tastes in food, became used to living in the style of housing, they ate on Egyptian designed plates with Egyptian style cutlery and drank Egyptian speciality tea.  They read the language, spoke the language, understood the traditions and worshipped the same gods. They even walked like an Egyptian ( 🙂 )

God was calling them out of the land and out of a nation of people. They were not Egyptians they were Israelites and they needed to find their own identity again.

Not only did the culture became ingrained in their way of thinking they had become accustomed to the role of slavery. They were told where to go, what to do, given boundaries to live in, ordered to follow certain rules and to obey without question certain people. They had become so used to taking on the mantle and chains of slavery in a foreign land that God had to call them into a wide free space to find out their personal and co-operate identity.

We see God speak to them to start kick-start the truth of their identity in the verse above. He tells them “You are not to be slaves to men, you are a free people. You are not objects to be owned with a number – you are precious children, my special treasure. Far from being nothings and nobodies remember you are a chosen people, a priesthood, holy nation. Not only have you been chosen there are times when I carried you myself to freedom and made a safe place for you. “ This was Father God calling imparting truth into his children

The life in the desert was to be a time of re-adjustment for the people. They had to learn afresh how to be free, loved, powerful, holy, treasured and Gods. This was time to learn a whole new way of being, way of thinking to a new way. God’s way.

Today: Say out loud to yourself ‘I am not to a slave to men, I am a free person. I am not an object to be owned I am a precious child, God’s special treasure. I am not a nothing and a nobody but I am part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Not only have I been chosen there are times when has God carried me himself to freedom and made a safe place for me. “