- Recipe for Revival
- Teen Desert Process
- Virtuous Wives & Little Children
- Tribal Passover Celebration
What are your associations with the word “revival?” Does it conjure up the image of a large tent somewhere in an open field or vacant lot? Do you picture a too-big-to-ignore banner announcing “revival meetings,” a sawdust covered floor, and an old-time preacher shouting his message at the crowd while sweat pours down his face?
Or do you envision revivals in the history of Israel, such as the nation dedicating the temple with Solomon? Or later, seeking God in the days of King Josiah? While one is a caricature and the others are rooted in Scripture, there is yet another association I wish to bring into focus – a revival which is the model for us to follow. If the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Joel to prophesy end time revival upon the returning Jewish exiles – we need to check out His recipe for this revival. For it is this very revival that will precede the coming of the King, Yeshua.
Our model for revival is the original Messianic Jewish awakening in first century Israel. It is etched in the pages of The Book of Acts. What brought it on? And can we, 2000 years later, emulate those first believers in their pursuit of the Spirit?
Pattern for Pentecost
The key to the Acts 2 revival is found in Acts 1:14 and 2:1. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…When the Day of Shavuot (Pentecost) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
Contrasting this with scenes from the concluding days of Yeshua’s ministry on this earth, we can guess at the process His followers went through before they reached “one accord.” Those scenes included competition for position (Matthew 20:21-24), betrayal (Luke 22:3; 60-62), and doubt (Matthew Recipe for Revival 28:17). I can imagine that they were first humbled when confronted with their insecurities and unbelief concerning the Rabbi’s execution and resurrection. This leads to repentance, seeking one another’s forgiveness, and true reconciliation.
Such a heartfelt sequence inevitably brings the type of heart agreement they experienced as “one accord.” Thus they waited together in Jerusalem, according to the Lord’s promise/ mandate, until they were imbued with “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). It appears that Yeshua’s strategy was to get His disciples into selfless, loving, prayerful relationship.
When their hearts were right with each other, and their obedience to Yeshua full-hearted, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, as Joel the prophet said it would. What’s fascinating is that Joel not only prophesied the first century Messianic Jewish revival, but he also prophesied the 21st century Messianic Jewish revival. The clear context of his writings is the era “when I [the Lord] bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem” (3:1) followed by the “great and terrible day of the Lord” (2:31). This tells me that the “early rain and the latter rain” of Joel 2:23-24 speak of two revivals separated by a long winter waiting for harvest. Since we are the “captives” who are now returning to Zion, can we not expect the “latter rain” revival foretold by Joel and referenced by Peter (Acts 2:16-21)?
We’ve been given a recipe for revival. The ingredients can be mixed in a tent (why not?) or in an “upper room.” The setting is not the question. The question is our heart condition. Have we reconciled with our brother/sister before bringing our gift to the altar (Matthew 5:23,24; Mark 11:25)? Are we in genuine agreement in our intercession for national awakening (Matthew 18:19-20; Psalm 133)? Do we see our calling as priests before the mercy seat of heaven, Jewish and Gentile disciples of the High Priest, Yeshua – watchmen together on the wall (Isaiah 62:6,7) calling upon Him day and night?
This Passover Tents of Mercy again served to facilitate the national Katzir – Harvest youth movement in a 3 day camp. It included hiking across the desert and up the ancient Masada fortress. Our theme was “In Process” represented by the computer symbol of a file being downloaded. The focus was the process of becoming a true disciple of Yeshua.
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31: 10-12 NASB)
Half of the salaried staff of Return to Zion (Shavei Tzion) Messianic Congregation are women. They are anointed and willing to serve, but they are also mothers of small children. Their challenge is to combine work and motherhood. Not everyone has grandparents who live nearby and are able to look after their grandchildren according to Russian Jewish tradition. So these mothers have chosen to bring their young children to the office and our congregation is blessed to enable them to work and yet still be with their children.
Monday is the busiest day in the Shavei Tzion office. It is a day of consultations, reporting, task allocations and going over the upcoming schedule. There is a great deal of practical work that is involved in running a spiritual organization such as a congregation.
When taking care of an infant or a toddler in the workplace, it is important to combine the responsibilities of work while making sure the children have enough food and meaningful activities, and that they do not get into mischief.
Interview with Nina – Mother of Six
Why don’t you just leave the kids at home when you come to work in the congregation?
Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone to take care of them. Their grandmother, who selflessly assisted with our older children, recently passed away. I cannot leave the younger ones alone at home after school because the older ones don’t get home until late.
How would you describe your work?
I am responsible for two projects: I manage the congregation’s humanitarian aid food distribution through our soup kitchen, as well as the children’s music school. In the soup kitchen I check the profiles of all applicants and decide whether we can help them. The work consists of routine control, placing orders, coordination, quality control and so on. Administering the music school consists of meeting with the children and their parents, and hiring suitable teachers. Occasionally the children have exams and concerts.
Couldn’t this work be shelved for a few years until your children grow older?
In this ministry it is not feasible to stop in the middle. And unfortunately, it isn’t that simple to pass the work on to someone else. Music school pupils want to continue their studies. At the same time, my young children want to stay with me. They are not bothered by the long day in the office, and they enjoy seeing a lot of people.
How many hours do you spend in the office?
I work seven to eight hours on Mondays, which is not always easy. I try to be in the office at least twice a week, because the work piles up. From home I work by telephone and computer. In the office I have meetings with people and try to find solutions to their challenges. We are also still developing my role in decision making as the pastor’s wife.
How do you cope with your younger children at your workplace (ages 1, 7 and 10)? How do you keep them occupied?
The youngest one sleeps in her buggy, sits on my lap, or plays with the older children. The older kids do their homework. They also learn to play the violin or go to the gym. After 5 p.m. the congregation is “flooded” by children, many of whom attend the music school. The kids “play school” in the lobby and do homework. Our children are the same ages as Olga’s children (a fellow worker).
How do your children feel about spending time at your workplace?
They ask to be able to stay with me at the office. To them it seems interesting. They like to say that they’re going to help their mom at work.
Do you wish things would be different?
Sometimes I wish we could have volunteers who would spend time with the small children – perhaps someone who could help in English, for example. That would allow us working moms a tiny bit of additional freedom. But I’m not complaining; everything will be fine!
Interview with Olga – Mother of Five
Why don’t you leave your small children at home when you go to work?
I don’t have a relative or anyone else who would be able to stay with them, and to hire a baby sitter would be very expensive. In addition, my youngest is still breastfeeding.
How would you describe your job in the congregation?
I am the coordinator of Haifa Theological Institute (HTI). I communicate with the students and teachers, plan schedules, maintain our website, and manage further development. I also help with Hebrew communication and documentation.
Have you ever considered taking a prolonged maternity leave? Some believe that mothers should be at home with the kids until they grow up.
I agree that children do better in their mother’s care, but not necessarily at home all the time. Motherhood should not be expressed only by staying at home with the children.
How many hours do you spend in the office?
Generally three days a week, five to six hours per day. The remaining hours I work from home.
How do you cope with your younger children at work (ages 1, 4, 6 and 10)? How do you manage to keep them occupied?
I buy things like stickers, markers and paper they can bring with them. They also watch cartoons on my tablet and play with toys and games. I bring fruits, yogurt and cookies that they love. The older children look after the younger ones.
How do your children feel about spending time at your workplace? Would they rather stay at home?
They were born into this reality and are used to being with me at the office, even if they might prefer me to be at home all the time.
Alina – Mother of Three
My children are 3.5 years, 2 years and 1 month old. The oldest goes to kindergarten before lunch, and the two youngest ones are at home with me. I volunteer in the congregation’s humanitarian aid warehouse, prepare Erev Shabbat dinners for new immigrants on some Friday nights, and help my husband with organizing projects. Sometimes I leave the children to play in the congregation’s nursery room, but they don’t always want to stay there alone. Evgeni (my husband) works as the congregation’s youth leader, and helps with the children during my warehouse hours.
It felt like each table was a mini version of one of the twelve tribes. Together we were the Children of Israel. Our Moses and Joshua (Eitan and Avi) led us from the stage in a millennia old recounting of deliverance. Each separate table put on dramatizations of the plagues. During the meal, our resident jazz musicians serenaded the guests with an inspired Passover jam session.
There are a few challenges involved in holding a large Passover Seder as compared with a small intimate family one.☺ We were privileged to reap the fruit of all of the effort put out by those who made it happen. You know who you are. Thanks!