Well its been a week since the Possum sighting. Since then I have noted the attack formation of geckos and discovered that toads always jump in one particular direction.
'Who's a pretty girl then....REGI'!
I have also successfully begun the English language training for the home Cockatiel with whom I co-habit ( named ‘Billy’ of course – as have been all the home birds owned by my host. Lacking in originality I feel!) So far Billy has managed one almost definite recounting of his handle, ‘Billy – boy’. I am confident that by the time I leave he will be singing at least one line of the well-known UK GB classic ‘It’s raining men, alleluia’!!
Nothing as good as a 'long black'!
So what else has taken my attention this week in Brisbane life? Well I have noted that GB leaders over here are definitely picky about after company coffee – and will drive miles for a decent brew. Also, interestingly in 30+ degree heat they wear tights with uniform….hardy lot these Queenslanders.
Also, it isn’t possible to buy alcohol in supermarkets over here – ‘liquor’ or ‘bottle’ shops are the only licensed place to purchase (same is true in Norway I discovered last year!) I was reflecting that maybe this system keeps a good balance in drinking, reducing availability a little ……. That was until I experienced my first ever ‘drive-through’ bottle shop last night!
Then of course, as you see from my tweets, there’s the IKEA comparison.
So, when can we have meatballs then?
I have now been twice (second time I managed alone, driving through the city without a care in the world….wonder if my host was as chilled at seeing her Xtrail drive off into the sunrise (they get up SO early) this morning. She did pray for Angels to surround me as I travel today ! I am pleased to report that the meatballs, although seriously misshapen into something that resembled an Aussie rules football, compare well with my experience of Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Sheffield, Wembley….
Those of you who are wondering at my purpose of being here, and about evidence of lack of focus…..fear not. I have had a great week reflecting on my Asia trip and gathering some notes ready to share with others. Also though I have enjoyed stepping back from the usual pace and taking a look at the people and place where I am staying. It’s just so amazing to do this at the same time as reading the Bible’s record of the Acts of the Apostles (There’s a rhyme that helps me to find it…’Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. ACTS and Romans follow on’….)
Yesterday I read about Peter whilst he was staying by the coast, at a friend’s house. (Jesus had previously named Peter as the man on whom the Christian church would begin tobe built and to grow )
Acts 10 is an amazing insight into the ways of God, and His love for people of ALL nations. Peter has a vision of all kinds of animals being served to him to eat – and is told by God that, although as a Jew certain foods and practices are seen as unacceptable (non-Kosher), If GOD tells Peter its ok to eat, then it is. OK, you may think. Strange but challenging for a lifelong Jew (now Jesus follower) to swallow (sorry!!)
The significance of his dream comes to life as te story unfolds, and it really blows my socks off every time I read this passage!
At the same time – THE SAME TIME as Peter is being prepared by God for a new move in his life as a Jesus follower, a Christian, a seemingly random conversation between a man called Cornelius and some non Jewish folk around him – a days’ walk away from Peter – prompts a whole new moment in the growth of Christian faith. One of the incredibly exciting truths I see in this story is how active God is by the power of His Spirit, in ways that are unanticipated and so holistic
How often do we think that God is one-dimensional. At the most He MIGHT speak with us, BUT here quite indisputably He is working His divine mission out through intervention and connection with 2 lots of people the same time – he’s preparing Peter, AND prompting Cornelius…..even though they don’t know each other and are unaware of the significance of what God is doing in them at the time
Cornelius was told to send for this man Peter, and bring him to his house in order that he will talk with him and his community about God.
He did as he was prompted, and when the men he sent arrived at Peter’s holiday place and asked for him by name Peter was already primed by God’s Spirit to go with these strangers when they called for him – no questions asked, even though they were not Jewish (it was considered unclean for Jews to mix with Gentiles – get the significance of Peter’s dream?!)
As a result of all that God was doing Cornelius’s community of non-Jews became the first Jesus followers (Christians) from beyond Judaism.
Jesus’ commission to his disciples was for them to share about Him (the gospel) in Jerusalem (the heart of Jewish worship and law) then Judea (Widespread mission to the Jews) and then to the ends of the earth (mission in places of mixed faith, new cultures….)
And Peter was the pioneer!
Why am I excited about this, as I explore the suburbs of Brisbane? Well I see churches all around, am meeting Christians and hearing of what God is doing here in this place, and am constantly reminded that as we obey God’s prompting in our lives – he will use US to bring the good news of His restoring love to His people.
Who would have thought that two seemingly random actions recorded in Acts, where 2 men heard and obeyed God, actually marked the watershed that means today in Australia, like any other places on earth, people are believing in Jesus and learning to live as his followers!
The stories in Acts continue to unravel the scale of the paradigm shift this represented to Christian faith – I just store in my head the truth that whenever God leads a pioneer there is often a bit of push and pull within the ‘known’ structures ….because the pioneer is treading now ground, and the systems that exist are more used to coping with the ‘way its always been’
In 1927 GB began its ministry in Australia (though I believe it took till the ’40’s for ‘affiliated’ groups to be seen). Someone pioneered mission amongst girls and young women over here.
As with GB Singapore (incidentally also begun in ’27) there are similarities to GB UK, presumably because both were pioneered by women from the northern hemisphere.
I’m grabbed though by the absolute truth that GB’s ministry in each nation, amongst their people’s cultures and contexts MUST be indigenously relevant, home led, and developed in response to the needs and cry of the girls and young women in that place.
Peter obeyed God and pioneered to the ‘ends of the earth’. Later the committees of church debated how and if a gospel for every tongue and tribe could or should work……mmmmm