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The Charismatic Movement: Dead or Alive?

We can quibble over when the previous wave of the Holy Spirit ended. But what's important is that we follow God's presence into a new season.

Some readers were offended when I declared in an online column a few weeks ago that the charismatic movement is dead. One woman even accused me of heresy, since—in her words—I believe "the age of the Holy Spirit has ended." (I didn't say that.) Others on the opposite side of the spectrum asked why I waited so long to state the obvious. All this discussion prompted me to address the issue further.

I am not a coroner. But I do believe the historic period we call the American charismatic movement ended a while ago. By making that pronouncement I was NOT saying that (1) the Holy Spirit isn't moving today; (2) the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit aren't available to us any more; or (3) people who are associated with this movement are all washed up.

Did Obama Edit History?

Even four weeks later, President Barak Obama's Cairo speech is still reverberating in Washington, D.C. To his credit, the president used the speech to shatter an ugly myth when he confronted Holocaust denial.

But unfortunately, President Obama's speech actually reinforced other dangerous myths about Israel's history and the true obstacles to peace in the Middle East.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stepped up to set the record straight. And last week, two Democratic senators—Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey—added their voices to the chorus of correction. Taking on a popular president from your own party is never easy. It is therefore of great significance that these two Democrats felt the need to clarify that when it comes to the specifics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the president does not speak for the party.

Meeting God at the Winepress

In biblical times, a winepress represented joy, singing and rejoicing. Farmers would harvest their grapes, place them in a pit hewed from a rock called a winepress, and crush the fruit to get the juice. They would use the grape juice to make wine and serve it at weddings, dinner and other gatherings. But according to Isaiah, the winepress is also symbolic of God’s wrath. To learn more about the ancient winepress, click below to watch the video.

You Can Start Again

There is hope in the middle of darkness. Usually in the midst of our dark times in life, we find ourselves filled with trauma and loss. These elements hide in our very cells. Trauma is like a snapshot from a camera. The picture of the trauma is stored deep in our brains, but the Holy Spirit wants to move in such a way that we are sovereignly delivered. He wants to give us a new perspective on life and the world around us.

When we do not deal with trauma effectively, we allow roots to grow that entangle our feet and keep us from moving forward on our new path of success. Trauma imprinted on our memory systems is also absorbed deep into the tissues of our brain (the processor) and affects our thoughts and our hearts. Trauma becomes the flashbulb that determines what we see and how we define the world around us.

Congress Votes for Bad Weather

Last Friday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the charge in passing a landmark climate bill. For many people concerned about the environment this legislation seems like a major step forward. Unfortunately in life and politics, a supposedly good thing done a wrong way can leave us worse off than if we had done nothing at all. Our first step toward cleaner energy could have begun with increasing our nuclear energy sources or several other strategic beginnings.

Israeli Basketball Player Selected in NBA Draft

The Sacramento Kings selected forward Omri Casspi at the 23rd pick of the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft held in New York City's Madison Square Garden last week. The 6-foot-9-inch 21-year-old is the first Israeli ever to be drafted by an NBA team in the first round of the selection process.

Casspi watched the draft from his home in Yavne so he could share the experience with his family.

The Revelation of the Kingdom of God

The longer I spoke, the stronger the vision came. I was in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July 2007, and I was preaching at three services back-to-back, beginning on a Saturday evening. While I was focused on speaking to the people who were present and sitting there in the congregation, something strange was happening.

It was as if I was someplace far away. I seemed to have tuned into something far beyond this gathering. The audience was attentive, hanging on to every word. Even as I spoke, I found myself wondering, questioning.

I kept seeing this supernatural picture, which the Bible calls a vision, superimposed on what I was viewing with my physical eyes—the people sitting there. Where was I? What was I seeing? What did it mean? How should I respond? How did it affect the people? Did it affect them at all?

Here I was, preaching on the fact that God was doing a "new thing." I felt almost embarrassed because I had expounded on this topic so many times before. A few years earlier, there had been a season when I had not been able to preach anything else. I had preached on it so often and for so long in the past that now I felt as if I were beating a dead horse—except I couldn't not preach it again this time. I couldn't get away from this driving message in my heart: God is doing something new.

Messianic Judaism Recognized in Israel and Elsewhere

The Messianic Action Committee (MAC) led the fight against two proposed laws meant to make Messianic Judaism illegal in Israel, and both of these proposals failed to become law in the land. Now, the MAC (under the name Action Committee for Messianic Judaism in Hebrew) has been officially recognized as an Israeli not-for-profit organization. This means that the government of Israel now officially recognizes Messianic Judaism!

This is really incredible news! Now, because Messianic Jews have stood their ground, Israelis will be faced with a decision. Is whatever type of Judaism they practice (or don't practice) more true than our form of Judaism—Messianic Judaism?

Recently, several books have been published describing Messianic Judaism in a rather positive light. A new book, written by a rabbi and yet to be published, describes Messianic Judaism as a branch of Judaism. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw a sketch of a seven-branch menorah that included our brand of Judaism along with Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

Poll Shows Israelis Losing Trust in Obama

The latest poll of Israeli public opinion shows that a mere 6 percent of the Jewish population consider President Barack Obama to be a friend of Israel, down from 31 percent a few weeks ago.

According to the Smith Research poll conducted for The Jerusalem Post, exactly half the people surveyed believe Obama's administration is more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36 percent said the policies were neutral.

A View From the Top

Standing atop Mount Olive, I got a panoramic view of Jerusalem and the Old City during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I could see the Temple Mount, the City of David, and the “pinnacle” or the place where the Bible says Satan told Jesus: “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you’” (Luke 4: 9-10, NKJV). To see the Holy City, click below to watch the video.

Building a Bridge Between the Church and the Synagogue

Tevye, the papa in the play/movie Fiddler on the Roof was surveying his sad situation—four unmarried daughters, a dry cow, a lame horse, Russian pogroms—he looked up to God and said,

"God it's nice that you chose me to be one of your chosen people, but would you mind choosing someone else for a change?!"

Obviously, Tevye thought being chosen meant he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. But God chose the Jews for something else. Through the Jewish people, he planned to teach the non-Jewish world about himself. Moses said to his people:

Look, I have taught you laws and rulings, just as Adonai my God ordered me .... Therefore, observe them ... for then all peoples [nations/gentiles] will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will ask, "What great nation is there that has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah which I am setting before you today?" (Deut. 4:5-8, Complete Jewish Bible, CJB).

Finding Jesus in the Promised Land

People who visit the Holy Land generally fall into one of two categories: tourists or pilgrims. Tourists go to see various sites, buy souvenirs, take photos and videos, and then return home to share with family and friends their pictures, purchases and adventures. Pilgrims go to experience God—and their lives are transformed in the process.

Peter Miano, executive director of the Society for Biblical Studies, made this observation: "Tourists pass through places. Pilgrims let places pass through them, allowing their hearts to be changed."

During the last 30 years, I have taken many people to the Holy Land, most of whom decided to go as pilgrims. Each one experienced a unique encounter with the Lord at some point during the trip.

Will God Judge America?

In the Old Testament book of Joel 3:2, the Word says: "I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, they have also divided up My land."

God makes it clear that He will bring into judgment any nation, America included, that forces the division of the land of Israel. That also includes the division of Jerusalem.

Recently, the Washington Post published an editorial titled "Israel's New Government." It emphasized what the Israeli's must concede to continue to have support from the U.S.

What was lacking in the article was what Israel's neighbors must do before they have acceptance by Israel and the U.S. for a two-state solution. Pressure should not be put on Israel alone, as the editorial attempted to do.

First Century Holy Land Artifact Popularized in U.S.

A Holy Land artifact that dates back the time of Jesus is expected to draw Christians' interest in celebrating the roots of their faith.

Dubbed The Jesus Boat, the 27-foot wooden fishing boat was discovered by two brothers in 1986 in the Sea of Galilee after a drought. The vessel, officially dated to the first century, was preserved and put on display at the Yigal Allon Museum in Israel.

Although no one knows whether Jesus or His disciples ever used the boat, Christians helping promote the Jesus Boat believe it can "stir the imagination" and "inspire the faith of people."

Reality Check: The Case for Relational Christianity

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul modeled accessibility and had close bonds with their disciples. That's the way we should do ministry.

A friend in Alabama recently told me about a preacher who came to his city in unusual style. The man arrived at a church in a limousine and was whisked into a private waiting room behind the stage area. The evangelist gave specific instructions to leave his limousine's engine running (I guess he wasn't concerned about rising gas prices) so that the temperature inside his car would remain constant.

This evangelist then preached to a waiting crowd, took up his own offering and retired to the waiting room for some refreshments. Then he left the church with his entourage without even speaking to the host pastor.

vision girl

What is Your Vision?

Ever since I was 12, in 1957, I have had a vision for ministry and the harvest field. In 1981 that vision began to include Israel, particularly Jerusalem. God was so wonderful to give my husband and me the opportunity to share the love of Yeshua with those living in Israel not once but twice. We served there for three years and returned home. In 2007 we were able to go back and serve there for three months before having to come home.

Both times we left I felt a sense of loss, frustration and failure in having to return home from the city that had consumed our hearts and lives for so long. After leaving Jerusalem I asked the Lord: "Now what? Am I supposed to just sit back and retire?" I could not shake the restlessness. I felt unfulfilled and useless and went through a deep mourning thinking my "vision" had died.

The New Slavery Must Be Stopped

For several years I (and others) have called the way in which immigrants both, documented and undocumented, are treated - "the new slavery." If you believe that politics as usual can die, the president's statements about immigration at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference last week were very encouraging.

President Obama declared that he is committed to a "comprehensive immigration overhaul." The dilemma with this statement is that the word comprehensive often includes an amnesty provision for undocumented persons. The problem with blanket amnesty is that there is a wide variety of people within the huge immigrant community, ranging from criminals who scoff at our laws to dedicated family people. To date, a great number of pandering politicians want to avoid dealing with the complexity of the current situation by simply waving the magic wand of amnesty.

It's Time to Turn Back!

Editor's Note:The message below was first published on June 17, 2009, as Today's Prophetic Perspective, an e-newsletter of Shekinah Today Ministries (shekinahtoday.org). The word from the Lord that follows the author's introduction was given to Cindy deVille on May 25, 2009.

I can hear God say, "This is the time!"

It's time to get back in the fight! When we survey biblical history, we see that it was always the victors who took the spoils of war. And those who were defeated either lost their lives or became slaves to their enemies, losing everything.

As God's people, we must never surrender to the forces of darkness and never give in! We must never give up the fight—in our nation, our cities, our churches or our personal lives. To give up or to surrender is to declare our enemy the victor and the conqueror. As God's people, we must surrender only to our God and King.

Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls

Considered the lowest surface area on earth, the Dead Sea lies 410 meters below sea level. Located northwest of its shores is one of Israel’s most spectacular, ancient sites—the Qumran caves. Qumran was home to a sect of Jewish zealots who penned what has come to be known today as the Dead Scrolls. The members buried their precious scrolls deep in the crevices of the caves, where they remained until they were discovered thousands of years later. To see the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, click below to watch two videos.

Why Israel Still Matters

The fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 shook international Jewry and greatly influenced the thinking of the Christian world. The Jews had resisted the power of Rome for years, but the Romans ultimately responded with unprecedented slaughter and cruelty, carrying out what was described by the early historian Josephus as a terrible holocaust.

The gentile church fathers interpreted this devastation as an indication of God's rejection of the Jewish people—in spite of the statement in Romans 11:28 that Israel was elect or chosen because of the patriarchs. Some church fathers still believed in Israel's final conversion at the end of this age, but the general thrust in Christian theology at that time was toward "replacement"—the idea that, under the new covenant, the church is the replacement for Israel.

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