A new and better city

We’ve been in Melbourne since Monday. This city seems so different and at the same time so familiar. The signs read in English. The people speak my language. And yet we feel a bit like outsiders. Strangers. Tourists.

It may be our NSW number plates but as we navigate our way around the roads, tram tracks, and train crossings we feel like we’re doing it all wrong.

It’s a good feeling to feel out of our comfort zone. It reminds us that we are citizens of another city. The heavenly one. One where because of Christ’s work for us, we shall never feel like an outsider. Never to feel like we’re not at home. Never to feel like we don’t belong.

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After only a week we’re reminded to long for that city. As nice as Melbourne is… and it is! We look forward to the city of God. The heavenly Jerusalem that will come when our Lord and Saviour comes.

1   Then I saw  a new heaven and a new earth, for  the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw  the holy city,  new Jerusalem,  coming down out of heaven from God,  prepared  as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold,  the dwelling place  of God is with man. He will  dwell with them, and they will be his people,  and God himself will be with them as their God.  4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and  death shall be no more,  neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

22   And  I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city  has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for  the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light  will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth  will bring their glory into it, 25 and  its gates will never be shut by day—and  there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But  nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s  book of life.

— Chris

Life under the sun

Today was one of those funny days where something just cuts through the ordinariness of life. Often life seems so normal, but from time to time it’s heightened as you marvel at something wonderful. But then the reality of death and suffering sets in and you’re left in despair. This dance of the ordinary, the beautiful and the broken is life as we know it under the sun.

With the kids trialling day care, we had a few hours up our sleeve to explore Melbourne. We were enjoying uninterrupted conversation and the freedom of spontaneity (remember that?). We had a nice lunch and caught the tram into Melbourne’s CBD.

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What a shock to hop off the tram and see the huge floral tribute to the victims of the Bourke Street tragedy. Five dead and at least thirty injured. As we pushed through the crowd we saw so many sad faces, people deeply disturbed by the senseless death of fellow human beings. Even as we were enjoying our day, we were reminded of the horror of death and the brokenness of creation.

Later we walked through the zoo and wondered at the bizarre array of creatures. What astonishing beauty and diversity there is among the animal kingdom! How amazing is God to make giraffes and meerkats? How can we not speak of the goodness of life and God’s incredible creative power?

This is life under the sun – the beautiful and the ugly, blessing and curse, life and death side by side. It’s hard to process these contradictory experiences and it’s impossible to understand them. Without God we would despair of life itself. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Yet we praise God because despite our circumstances He is unchanging. And although we can’t make sense of this creation, we live in certain hope of a new one. Thanks be to Jesus, who lived and died on this fallen earth only to rise as the firstborn from among the dead. And when this earthly life is over – whether it was mundane or privileged or painful – we who follow him will share in His life forever.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away”. Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)

— Stef

We’ve made it to Melbourne…

IMG_0DACE18CA785-1.jpegWe’re giving thanks to God tonight as we settle in for our first nights rest tonight. It’s been a long day of travel but we’ve arrived safe and sound.

Thanks for those who’ve been praying and continue to pray for the Overhall Family as we prepare for cross-cultural mission work with CMS at St Andrew’s Hall in Melbourne.

More to come in the week ahead.

— Chris

CMS Summer School – Thought for the day

Today we heard from Genesis about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a huge encouragement not to laugh at God’s warning of judgement, not to linger as if God’s judgement won’t fall and not to look back as we follow the call of God to go his way.

One J. C. Ryle quote has stuck in my head in reflection.

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What a great reminder for us in our lives of service to God.

 

 

CMS Summer School – Thought for the day

IMG_06AB99CE155D-1.jpegWe’ve been hearing from Genesis and God’s promises to Abraham. There is so much to say but here we just want to share a few short thoughts for the day.

Here’s 3 bullet points for you to consider…

  • God won’t allow us to achieve what he promises. He will achieve it.
  • What seems impossible is possible for God.
  • Being a child of God brings great joy and delight but also derision from the world.

Praise be to God – the one who dares to make promises and then cares to keep them.

— Chris

One day – one picture

We moved out of our house at Jannali and have arrived at CMS Summer School!

IMG_1725 2.JPG It’s been a fantastic start last night and this morning. We’ve been hearing from Genesis 11-14 so far about God’s plans and promises and lining our lives up with his purposes. It’s only when we line our lives up with what he’s doing that we will live lives that matter.

The Bible is honest about the failings of its spiritual giants. Abrahams failed time & time again.What can we do? We can only turn in faith to God. His plans are not thwarted and His promises are true — “Stef Overhall”

That’s why our car is packed up like this and why we’re following God’s call to serve him and the gospel in a different culture.

— In Him, Chris

What a last week!

IMG_E53E17371705-1.jpgWhat a week this past one has been. Prayers. People. Farewells. Encouragements. What a send off. We have certainly witnessed the good will of God’s people in our final days at Jannali.

We have been and continue to be the beneficiaries of other peoples generosity. We have felt this very much this week.

The house is nearly empty and Saturday is almost upon us.

We echo the words of Paul’s prayer —

3   I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Phil 1:3-5