Magandang gabi – language of the kingdom

Tuning fork (Diapason) on resonance box, by Ma...

Tuning fork (Diapason) on resonance box, by Max Kohl, Chemnitz, Germany. CWRU Physics Dept. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Language

In the Philippines there are over 700 dialects. This means that you could be living on a street and one side of the street could speak one language and the other side could speak another. Tagalog is the language of Manila, the capital, although many people with education do speak English (American English). The words ‘magandang gabi’ (seen in the post title) means good evening in tagalog. Most of the street signs are written in English and official documents are in English. This means that to get a job you need to be educated.

In this new kingdom culture that we are looking at, words that used to sound the same to me now mean something completely – just like a new language. Please let me explain:

When I heard the phrase ‘Father God loves me’ I understood it. It made sense and my heart responded in faith and love. But a cosmic shift has occurred in my understanding, over the last 18 months, of what that looks like, feels like and how it expresses itself. It is almost as though I didn’t really understand what it meant at all. The words “My Father loves me” look the same as before but my heart is resounding in revelation to those words differently. It is such a different sound – like learning a new language.

All I can compare it to is a tuning fork. My parents had a few at home that had belonged to my granddad and I loved to play with them. He played in the Halle Orchestra during the war and would use them to tune his cello. They are basically just a stick of metal that branches out into two arms (there is a fancy one in the picture above). If I hit the tuning fork it would vibrate but made so little noise I could barely hear it. This would change, however, when I placed the base of the fork on one of my father’s lovely wooden chests – the sound clear and pure would come ringing out. The vibrations resonating from the fork found a new medium through the hollow wood in which to produce new and clear sound. This is how the words resonate through me. When I say the word ‘loved’ the sound that comes out of my mouth may sound the same, but it is different than before because the word is resonating in my heart vibrations of a different tune. I can actually feel it sometimes almost vibrating with excitement inside my heart. It is a new sound from inside me.

These are a few other words that sound new to me grace, honour, love, respect, authority, relationship, openness, healing, unity, trust……….

It is no longer enough just for me to do bible studies gaining knowledge, and understanding, in my head – it needs to make the ‘18 inch journey’ from my head to my heart. The words need to be understood at the very centre of me with a reality that overwhelms my soul. The words can then rise out from my depths bearing all the truth and understanding I have grasped at my very core.

Heart responses look very different from head logic. Should you have that 3rd scoop of ice-cream, jump from a plane with a parachute, fall in love or scream on a rollercoaster? Heart responses are made with passion and life. They take us out of the boring, safe and mundane onto a different level of living. That is why heart responses can be scary, because they don’t always seem make sense.

The way of understanding this new language cannot be done with the head, it is a case of letting the heart find the truth and then letting the head work it through. No we don’t steer away from biblical truths, but there are far less absolutes than I once thought and much more freedom. We can let our hair down, find some space, relax and respond to the vibrations of heaven’s truths. We can respond to the God who “in the beginning was the word” – in a new language (1John 1:1). We can know God heart to heart, core to core on the same frequency.

Today: Are you responding to Gods love language with you head or your heart? How can you cause your heart to vibrate to the love song of God with a clearer sound?

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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!

The challenge of culture change

Tea Time

Tea Time (Photo credit: Maia C)

I have travelled to various places in the last couple of months – the Philippines, Wales and England – soon America and Ireland and I have been challenged in my thinking. I am amazed how soon we presume that we have the normal way to approach life. We settle for the ways of doing/being that we are used to. We become short sighted and narrow minded. We think our way is the sensible way maybe even the only way. When I walk into a different culture I find little things that challenge my concepts. Simple things perhaps like making a cup of tea. I have experienced in the last few months Yorkshire tea bags in a mug (yes in Yorkshire), Lady Grey tea in Manchester, tea in a cup and saucer in Wales, fresh mixed tea leaves in Rugby with hint of Earl Grey, Chinese tea with lime juice in the Philippines, lemon grass iced tea in Palawan and strong plain unsweetened iced tea in Singapore airport. I mean how many ways can you make a cup of tea? I even got to youth tonight to find a lovely leader with a china pot and teapot and some fresh Darjeeling!

Our life’s journey means different experiences, cultures and different tastes. For the next week or so I will be chatting with you about the concept of culture change. I will be expanding my thoughts on a word preached locally. I want to unpack the implications of these thoughts for our lives,  pass through the initial clash of cultures and onto a new path of being.

You are welcome to listen to it whilst relaxing to a lovely cup of tea -however you chose to make it. The title is Changing Culture Changing Us and you can find it here- http://www.community-church.co.uk/media/audio

Fantastic Philippines Youth Gig

New Day relaxing after their exciting gig

New Day relaxing after their exciting gig

Last night was amazing. Boy is the voted councillor (the position is not political it is a person voted in who they go to if they have issues) for the village (of 3 thousand) on the edge of Manila. He is also the newest leader in the church team.

New Day Dancing

New Day Dancing

He has been working in his village with the youth. The New Day (the churches youth group) put on a concert for them. The GIG (Get involved with God) was due to start at 5 but actually began at 7.30pm. All the children arrived on tricycles booked by Boy and it took some time for the 10 tricycles to turn up with approx. 40 kids. They watched New Day’s dancing presentations, drama, testimonies and a gospel presentation.

There were some chatting but by the end they were all sat listening. Boy asked for a response to God for his love and they nearly all went forward apart from 2. We are not sure how many gave their lives to God but as they all prayed some had such sincere hearts you could see it on their faces.

Youths responding to God's love at the GIG

Youths responding to God’s love at the GIG

They finished the party with an amazing dance from the village kids – which went down a storm. Then a swim in the pool and food. Just to say we didn’t go in the pool but we did have some more delicious food. 🙂

Eden was saying that he needs wisdom with what to do next. Do they set up a church plant with only youth? How do they accommodate all these hungry hearts? What we can do is celebrate what God is doing here and pray for them.

Phippines full of Grace

Pink tricycle with child on board.

Pink tricycle with child on board. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well yesterday, after swimming, we went to the corner shop called Daily Grace. We met Joshua (Eden and Fe’s youngest son) who was very excited about the practice they were doing at their church building – Grace HouseFor a place with so much Catholicism there is a lot of grace!

We walked from here to the House of Grace in the heat to watch them practice. I showed Trev around the church building. The back yard, which was full of rubble and rubbish is now a lovely garden area, the small rooms are finished and there are toilets and shower on the back of the building. The top layer was a little taller but not much. We took a tricycle ride back home. (Andrew -Francis’ memory of the team was the cycle helmet we made for your tricycle ride. He was still laughing at the memory)

Last night we had a great time with Eden and Fe. They turned up with hugs and smiles and warm company. We caught up on news like old friends over a pizza.

This morning we met with the church (after a quick swim). I was excited to see about the team last year. many of them said how much they miss you guys. I was excited to see  how the church has matured and how New Day have grown up. Darwin was laughing at me as in the time I have been away he has grown taller than me :). The apostolic ministry Peter Brooks was talking about drinking the waters and we had time to pray for people. The church was so thirsty for God. It was exciting as we prayed for the new leadership team and great to hear their heart of a group ministry not a one man platform.

We then ate lunch together with the guys from Australia and the leadership team here.

It seems like we are in for a treat later on as the youth group (New Day) prepare for a gig. (A quick note for last years team – we are going to Boy’s residence where the house group was cancelled last time we came because his son David was very ill. They are hoping to start something new there). The Filipinos tell me that this is a particularly hot summer – and I am proud of myself for how I am coping with the heat. Tonight will be hot – so they say. Mm with no air-conditioning or fans there might be a possibility I may melt.

Philippines Hello Again

English: Coat of arms of the Philippines

English: Coat of arms of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its amazing to be back in Manila and to find I have internet access for a while.

The flight was 16 hours total flying time – 25 hours door to door. Every time I fly I get the overwhelming sense of how small we humans are. How tiny our houses and gardens are when you are a mile or two above earth. I make such a big thing about whether my house is tidy, or the lawn is mowed – but when you get a bigger perspective it all looks so insignificant.

Had a really different experience on the plane. I usually try to fit in as many films as I can but I found myself just lying in God’s presence singing a new song I wrote (in David’ Hadden’s office on his guitar – just catching a bit of his anointing;)) I just hoped no-one saw me crying and singing! I did watch two films. The cartoon about Dracula’s hotel was funny.

Anyway it was lovely seeing the sunrise over the Singapore clouds. We had a couple of waits in Munich and Singapore. Both airports tranquil – not like the chaos in Hong Kong during the Hurricane last time – and the flight was much smoother. I did have to hold someone’s hand to help them with the landing 🙂

We went to Market, Market yesterday – the large mall- to change our money and have tea. Filipino food is so tasty. We were fascinated by several groups of teenage boys dancing on the arcade game “Dance Now”. They were really giving it everything as not as embarrassed and self-conscious as British youth.

This morning we went swimming in the condominium pool. In the Philippines the house/flats are built in fenced area communities. Each with several guards, swimming pool and basket ball area. It houses many families. We are in the same condominium as Eden (the pastor) and his wife Fe – we are just in the next block.

We spent last night and lunch today with Joshua (Eden and Fe’s oldest son). He is a qualified nurse and has been working with the navy surgery for 5 months now – first in accident and emergency and now on the wards.

Eden and Fe have been away on a conference with Peter Brooks from Australia and are back tonight. I am looking forward to having tea with them later.