What was it like when the cloud moved? I always envisioned it as some glorious, exciting time, filled with the anticipation of new territory. But now I'm picking up on another element. "The cloud is moving! The cloud is moving! Quick everyone, it's time to pack up, there's no time to waste. Hurry. Don't forget the blankets. What about water? Have the children eaten breakfast?" When the cloud moved it stirred the insecurities and revealed the weaknesses within the camp. Change. Entering the unknown demands change on the inside. That's how I'm seeing our situation at Tents of Mercy and around the world.
We just celebrated our tenth anniversary as a ministering community. It's been a joyful, encouraging celebration. What next? Are we standing still, having reached a plateau? No. The cloud is moving, and we must follow. But that movement is activating stuff inside of us. We are grappling with the added requirements of progress. The camp is larger. The goals are greater. I must grow and so must our congregational leaders. What does God want to do now? Where is the cloud leading us?
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Well could we sing Dylan's song of forty years ago "The times they are a changin'." In 1965 we questioned society's previous assumptions about life. The issues of war, racial inequality, poverty and materialism pressed us to seek change. We did not know Yeshua then. But He brought us to the Truth through our dissatisfaction with the status quo. Unless we are dissatisfied with the world around us as it exists, we will never see the spiritual revolution so achingly needed.
All around us there are symptoms of the cloud moving. Natural disasters are shaking entire nations. Acts of terror rip through innocent lives in diverse places. Governments flounder attempting to find stability and prosperity for their people. Streets in cities around the world reek of corruption, pandering to the basest perversions. Another popular song from the 60's echoes like a cry from God's own heart "Ah, look at all the lonely people." This is our cue, beloved. It is time to move with the cloud. Isaiah 61 is our theme. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me... to heal the broken hearted and to set the captives free. We are called to be midwives, while the earth shudders with the birth pangs that will bring back the King and install His Kingdom forever.
God beckons us. "Leave your selfish insecurities. Trust me to care for you. Have I not said that if you seek first my Kingdom and righteousness that all things would be added to you?" This is The Call. He is taking us straight into the storm, not intimidated by the wind and waves. He brought us out of darkness to show forth His marvelous light. This is our time. Pack up your tent, the cloud is moving.
Where Do I See The Cloud Moving?
In the midst of modest success, I feel a divinely authored dissatisfaction. The Spirit of God within provokes me to hunger by showing me how much farther I have to go. Here's why the cloud is moving. Here's where I'm hungry:
1) TOUCHING THE LOST. With all my heart I want to touch Israel, to make Yeshua real, to be a friend to sinners. I want Israel's Messiah to be a reality in the society through people working, playing, and just plain living among their neighbors.
2) MAKING DISCIPLES. I now see that this is the "rubber meets the road" instruction of Yeshua to us. "Make disciples" he commanded. Many of you are challenging the wine skin of central weekly worship meetings as the engine of spiritual life. I'm not against these times of celebration and inspiration. I'm a pastor/rabbi who loves being with the gathered flock. But we must make our faith real so that it takes root in the lives of a select few that He gives us to invest in. His goal is sons and daughters living with Kingdom character and power in the midst of a cruel, crippled world, not a room full of people sitting in chairs.
3) CLEANSING OUR LIVES. There's a lot of junk in us that needs cleaning out. This parallels the Galilean fisherman/disciples repairing their nets before going out on the water. A bountiful "catch" is coming in the near future. Our lives and relationships (the fishing nets) will need to be clean and whole. The tools to repair the net are repentance, purification, inner healing, deliverance. Healing and victory are top priorities for oppressed believers. Marriages long for healing. Children wait for fathers. Congregations yearn for honest love.
4) RELEASE OF THE SUPERNATURAL. As in the days of Elijah, we look to heaven for falling fire. Miracles must return in Yeshua's name. It HAS to be as it was in the first century, when Jewish followers of Jesus went about healing the sick and casting out demons. Jews seek a sign. Israel today is screaming for revelation of the Living God. The prophets promised a Great Awakening upon our return to this land from exile. It is time to earnestly seek His face for the revival spoken of by Joel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, until it comes.
5) WISDOM IN DEVELOPMENT. I'm beginning to understand why, of all the things he could have requested, Solomon asked for wisdom. Phew! The faster the train of life rolls down the tracks, the more desperate I become for wisdom and understanding. We are blessed by the ministries and visions God is breathing life into: outreach to prostitutes, a volunteer program to aid the city of Akko, the Nazareth soup kitchen, pro-life counseling that rescues the unborn, a business park/entrepreneurial training center to create jobs. And this list is incomplete. So many decisions to make. So many relationships to grow in. So many opportunities. Which are the God-ordained ones? Ya'akov (James) said that if we lack wisdom we should ask for it. Please join us in asking God for a greater "download" of His wisdom.
What To Do When The Cloud Starts Moving?
So, how do we handle it when things around us are shaking, when I don't know what's coming and things are changing faster than I can keep up with? The apostle answers in 1 Corinthians10: "Brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah."
This speaks to me of two elements I need increasingly, the living water and the solid rock from which it flows. Living Water is pure communion with Yeshua. He bids me to come away with Him and drink freely, as His Beloved. If I am not regularly experiencing intimacy with the Bridegroom, our relationship will lack the energy to move when the cloud moves. Secondly, The Rock is my source of total security and provision in changing times. I must know that in His unchanging majesty and authority, God will never abandon me. I am safe. My needs will be met. The Shepherd will guide me with a sure hand as I move with the cloud.
The pillar of cloud was the Presence of God in the camp of Israel on the way to the Promised Land. The cloud was taking them to their destiny, to a land flowing with milk and honey. That's where the cloud is taking you. Don't be left behind. Don't be afraid or discouraged. You came into the kingdom for such a time as this.
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Do We Want the Jews to Disappear|
|Martin Shoub: A New Life - A New Song|
|Shani Orfani: Part of the Mosaic|
|Holly Wallace: For Such a Time as This|