News for Spring, 2015
The Peach Pit Prophecy
A year and a half ago, we had the privilege of hosting Doug Herschey overnight at our house. Doug is a prophetic guy who has a ministry of linking up Gentile Christians with Israel. During the night, he had a dream, and in the morning he explained the dream. There were three peaches in various stages of having their pits removed. Each peach stood for six months, he said, and at the end of the three six-month periods, our ministry would be ready for God to “eat.” This was another one of those time-significant prophecies that nailed down a time-frame without stating just what God was going to do at the end of our waiting. Doug also said this: “In my experience, houses of prayer that have a burden for Israel tend to prosper, compared with those who don’t.” Still, all we knew is that something was going to be released in January of 2015 in our ministry here, after a year and a half of waiting for things to mature.
Last November I was invited to do some video teaching with my friend, Dr. Brad Long, Executive Director of Presbyterian and Reformed Ministries International in Black Mountain, NC. During the teaching we also brought in Dr. Dan Juster from Jerusalem, to add a section of teaching by Skype, about how to pray for Israel. At the end of our teaching, Dan invited us to make a trip to Israel and visit him in Jerusalem. The result was that Brad and I, with our wives, made a trip to Israel January 27 to February 4. This was exactly a year and a half after the Peach Pit Prophecy. We knew this was a significant trip because (1) our trip was paid for by special donations that came in for this purpose and (2) we were seriously attacked by the enemy from Day One of the trip, through sickness (rare for me), confusion over flights (Delta lost a part of our flight plan) and luggage not arriving in Israel when we did.
A New Israel Mandate
God’s reason for taking us to Israel at this time began to come clear about the time that I (Doug) recovered from a three-day illness. The four of us visited the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, known as the Wailing Wall. From the moment we walked into the area until the moment we left the premises, Carla and I were overcome with grief, as has happened only a few times before in our lives. Both Carla and I experienced this at the same time, and we both know this was God meeting us and downloading His heart for Israel. We know we will be praying for Israel for the rest of our lives, because this is exactly the same thing that’s happened to us to introduce us to other life-long prayer burdens God has given us!
In the days since we returned, He has interpreted His grief as having three parts–as coming from three sources. To begin with, there is the Church’s unfortunate history of anti-Semitism, which comes from spiritual blindness and a resistance to the word of God (especially, Ephesians 2 and Romans 9-11). With the help of my friend, Rabbi David Rudolph of Tikvat Israel in Richmond, I have traced this pattern back to the end of the second century, when the Roman Church began to outlaw Jewish practices, the first of which was the Jewish method of calculating Passover. The pattern culminated with the Second Nicene Council in 787 AD, when the Church outlawed all Jewishness from the Christian Church. Serious persecution of Jews by Christians was the result of a habit of blaming Jews for the death of “our Jesus,” as though Jesus now belongs to us, and the Jews were responsible for the Cross.
Connected with that pattern, the rise of Islam, which challenged the Gospel of the Kingdom brought by Jesus, began in 610 AD. In 637, Muslims laid Jerusalem to siege and then took over the Temple Mount. The spirit behind this new religion claimed that Ishmael, not Isaac, was the child of promise, and, of course, if that were true, none of the scriptures in the Bible could be taken as the Word of God. Islam, by nature, rejects the entire line of Judeo-Christian revelation, accepting only as much of it, as to leave the opposite impression. Christians correctly saw this as an assault against the spread of Christianity, but the Church forgot the divine strategy of our warfare–Jew and Gentile, united in Christ, praying in one accord. Trusting instead in military prowess, the Church waged a series of futile military assaults against Islam. About all they succeeded in doing was to replace the moon-symbol on top of the Dome of the Rock with a cross. After 87 years, the Muslims recaptured the Temple Mount and put their moon back.
During the Reformation years, Suleiman the Magnificent blocked up the Golden Gate of the old city (facing east) because he wanted to keep out “the Christian’s king.” Ottoman Muslims also used that occasion to turn the eastern slope of the Mount into a Muslim cemetery, with the idea (again) of keeping out the Christian’s king. And, of course, the Temple Mount has been completely taken over by Muslims worshiping at the Al Aqsa mosque and at the Dome of the Rock. All this represents a hardness of heart against the love of Jesus, and God longs to love Muslims into the Kingdom of God. However, He chooses to use the prayers of the saints in the process. Significantly, conversions of Muslims have greatly increased since Christians worldwide have been praying for the “10-40 window,” the region of the world that contains the Islamic countries. The weapons of Christian “warfare” consist of prayer and unity in Christ. Our enemy can only hope to divide us and distract us from prayer. In this he has very well succeeded until recently.
A third source of grief was clearly visible when we visited the Temple Mount. Ultra-Orthodox Jews maintain a type of spirituality that out-Pharisees the Pharisees. We learned, for example, that some Ultra-Orthodox teach that you can’t so much a tear toilet paper off the roll on the Sabbath day, because that is considered “work.” So you have to tear your toilet paper a day in advance. This, and many other teachings from the Ultra-Orthodox seem to specifically fly in the face of everything Jesus had to say to the Pharisees of His day. I believe that God is grieved by people who so entirely misunderstand His laws of love.
On March 1, and again on March 28, using a power point presentation, we shared all that we had learned from our encounter with God in Jerusalem. We have been invited to share it again at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Richmond on Tuesday, April 28 at 10 AM. While this is a women’s group, I am told that all are welcome, men and women. Also, we have started another weekly prayer meeting specifically for Israel every Friday at 9 AM. Call us if you’re interested, at (804) 347-3303.
Our Leadership Group
Last summer, we were led to reach out to a dozen or so people who have been led to Charles City in recent years. We felt that we would all be strengthened by coming together, sharing our stories and vision of what God has spoken to us. It was amazing how all our stories fit into a common pattern. All, it seemed, had been led to this county with a vision to create a place of refuge of some sort, a place God could use in future times of trouble. We also had a guest, Stephen Burke, who shared with us how God is just doing this sort of thing all over the world right now–the vision of the Cities of Refuge. So we are learning to see ourselves as part of a God-ordained pattern. We also learned that, according to the pattern, all such areas God is building have a house of prayer in the middle of them. So our little group continues to meet, sensing that we have a unique calling from God, and it’s important for us to share, each of us, what we are hearing from the Lord about it.
The Prayer Dunamis
Back in 1990, Brad Long of PRMI invited me to co-author a series of conferences called The Dunamis Project. (PRMI stands for Presbyterian and Reformed Ministries Intl.) The purpose was to teach mainline denominational leaders how to walk in the Spirit, and open up to a deeper life of prayer. It has become apparent that Carla and I continue to have a calling to teach this material internationally during the coming years. Our specialty is to teach on prayer, while other members of the Dunamis Fellowship team teach on the other subjects, such as “Gateways to Empowerment” (how to open up to the Baptism with the Holy Spirit), “Gifts of the Spirit,” “Healing Ministry,” “Spirit-empowered Evangelism,” and so forth.
This month, we are teaching the Prayer Dunamis in Edmonton, Canada. And at the end of October, we are assigned to teach the Prayer Dunamis in Korea. We are excited by how this whole series of teachings is proliferating. This year, the Dunamis teaching has found its way into Asia to help equip the Back to Jerusalem movement, and we are quite excited that God is using our humble teaching in so strategic a way. This teaching is truly going viral; it has a life of its own. We are so grateful to God that He has seen fit to prosper our work like this.
To conclude: We continue to keep our guest-house open for visitors. If you need a place to stay for a while, to get into the clear with God, don’t hesitate to contact us about a stay. We offer a quiet place, full of the beauties of God’s Creation, totally away from the stresses of life. Best to call Carla, our scheduler, at (804) 347-3306. We would love to hear from you.