– I originally wrote this back in September 2018 –
What is it about houses?
These floors know the first tentative steps of infancy. The stampede of children’s play. First breaths, short breaths, sighs and last breaths. These doors observe good night kisses, others slammed in fits of rage. Darkened corners watch frustrated tears, hear desperate prayers.
Our houses are more than structures of wood, steel, brick and plaster. We shape our homes, and in turn they shape us. A home speaks. These houses we inhabit tell the beautiful and terrible tale of humanity’s journey from, and to, home.
In the bible there are only a few basic principles that lay out how we should do church together. In scripture the Spirit does describe the identity and purpose of the church and lays out some basic principles, but the bible is silent on many questions we may want it to answer:
When should we meet? Where? How large should gatherings be? What’s the best way to obey the command to make disciples in groups? How should leaders be trained? What’s the best way to finance things? Exactly what level of influence should leaders have over the congregation?
The one who created hydrogen bonds,
Autumn and E minor.
The one who breathed the fire in the sky,
Who placed the stars in space and hung the earth perfectly.
He who decided birds would fly and fish would swim.
Who created the tides and the waxing of the moon,
Who breathes air into lungs and who commands the sun to rise.
The one who spoke creation into being,
That’s my father, that’s my God.
The God whose name is higher than any other name,
Whose love is deeper than any ocean.
The God whose rule and reign shall ever be,
Whose word won’t fade and whose power shakes the earth.
The God who loves despite failures,
Who ransoms souls and called me by name.
That’s my father,
That’s my God.
Joshua 5:13-15 describes with only a few words one crazy encounter Joshua had on the eve of battle.
They were looking to overthrow the great city of Jericho. While Joshua apparently needed loads of encouragement at that point he may have thought they already had it in the bag. He had a promise of the land, he had a plan, he had a strategy.
We’ve been doing this House Thing for a couple of years now, and as happens from time to time, this is another of those hinge points. This is a crucial moment in our journey where we again need to pause, take a look around, turn our ears to God, assess where things are going and ask “what’s next?”
The contract at 93 will be up for renewal early September, Seb will be jetting off to his fantastic YWAM DTS in Mexico, Jack’s planning to start travelling and Sumanth will likely be with us only to the end of the year. At least one of our houses won’t be affordable. Way more important than all that though is that we always want to be doing what God’s blessing rather than asking God to bless our plans. If the cloud moves, so must we.
We’ve just signed contracts for our second house, which you can call The House Thing II, or Number 33, or my favourite: Number Fir Tree Free.
Fir tree? Yup.
Yonks ago a few of us spent a few days praying individually about the house, and met up on a Friday evening to pray together and share inspirations and what God had been saying about it all. Josh often gets some quite specific words of knowledge but wasn’t sure about one in particular: one thing he heard from God was simply “fir tree.” He had no idea what it was about, and neither did we.