In the third verse of the Bible, “…the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The root word meaning is referring to a bird-like action.
Several chapters later in Genesis 8, a dove goes to and fro over the floodwaters after the judgment, seeking a resting place. The dove finds a place to land. It happens to be an olive tree. The dove in typical nesting behavior, carries an olive leaf in its mouth and becomes a symbol of peace between God and man, and peace between man and man.
Exodus 25 speaks of God dwelling among Israel, specifically between the wings over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Psalm 84 speaks of a bird finding a home and a nest near “Your altar.” Rabbinic tradition describes the Shekinah dwelling presence of God as having wings. Psalm 132 speaks of God coming to His resting place.
Finally we see the Dove on Yeshua as He is immersed in the Jordan River:
“And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained [rested] upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” ( John 1:32-34).
For John this is a primary proof that Yeshua is indeed The One anointed of God’s Spirit!
The Spirit of God is searching throughout the world and throughout history for individuals, peoples and places in which He can dwell. God has a nesting instinct! It might sound disrespectful and sacrilegious, but it’s true. He is preparing an abode that will be completely His. Anyone who has longed to own a home knows this emotion.
He is looking for vessels He can fill. He wants to abide. Yeshua said, “He who abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit” ( John 15:5).
A heart-wrenching Israeli song says in disappointed longing: “You promised a dove, an olive leaf.” On the face of it, the song is yearning for peace and the end of war. But the reference is clearly to the dove of Genesis. Subconsciously mankind is also yearning for the indwelling presence, yearning for God’s Spirit to come to us. “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” ( James 4:5).
God’s Spirit is the Dove. Similarly Israel is the Olive Tree – including its ingrafted branches from the Nations (Romans 11). Individually and corporately, how much do we want to be that resting place, that olive tree in which God’s Spirit can “nest”?
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The Eagle Project was created for Messianic congregations in Israel, to serve young adults who have completed their service in the Israel Defense Forces. This program also aims to establish relationships and build bridges between believers in Israel and Norway.
Our hope is that God will use the project to build up His next generation in our communities. We trust to see fruit and for the young participants to make a strong connection with the youth abroad and to serve the goals of our God together.
The idea was to bless each participant – spirit, soul and body through: discipleship, rest, renewal, hiking, a young adults conference, worship, sharing testimonies, experiencing the Holy Spirit and exploring God’s leading in their lives.
Øyvind Furnes, Norway: “The Eagle Project came straight into our vision of building relationships between Gentile and Jewish believers. It has been a great privilege and an answer to our prayers. We met open doors everywhere we contacted people to join in. May God bless you all, and we are excited about future opportunities.”
This summer eight young adults participated in the program for one month. We were warmly welcomed and received great support from the local believers. We met God’s servants, God’s creation and the Holy Spirit. Through our time together a strong bridge was built between Israeli and Norwegian congregations.
Our Journey Step by Step:
Week 1: Fellowship; stayed with families in Oslo and Bergen, Norway.
Week 2: Lived in communes together with local young believers; Bible study, worship, prayer and hiking.
Week 3: Hiked to one of the most beautiful places in Norway and went on a 2-day road trip to the north. Met with local believers at Vaksvika and attended services with military testimonies and Messianic worship.
Week 4: Took part in a 5-day international youth conference; our soldiers met the Holy Spirit there, saw miracles, received God’s Word, and heard prophesies. Together with a hundred young believers, we worshiped our God and learned to be guided by Him.
The Next Step
God has blessed this project, and we believe that He will make possible future gatherings of young adults from Israel and Norway. Our vision is to open this program to all Messianic congregations in Israel to bless ex-IDF soldiers, beginning in 2016.
Our annual sleep-away “Reshet” (congregational network) Camp is a labor of love, made possible by the hard work and generosity of so many people. Experiencing community life 24/7 together is what I imagine it must be like to live in the very best kibbutz. Orit and David work with me from beginning to end to come up with the theme and supporting activities, and implement them. Then there are the teens and young adults from our congregational network who serve as counselors from morning until night, and the pastors who come and share during the evening meetings. And finally there are our friends and co-laborers who fly all the way from Abilene, TX to do everything else! With a group like this, how could camp be anything less than a great success?!
This year, our theme was “Becoming Heroes.” We explored the many facets of heroes – fictional and real, biblical and modern. It was great fun to impart this concept to the kids through drama, crafts, teaching and activities. But I was most touched by a short teaching given by a dear friend from Texas. Tammy and her husband, Pat, have been serving at the camp for years. They have a special heart for our kids – encouraging them to grow in the love and understanding of God.
That last morning, in our final meeting (sitting on the floor because all the chairs and tables had already been put away), Tammy walked to the front of the hall with bags of river rocks in her hands. On each rock was hand written the word “חי” (Hai – life). As the bags were passed around and everyone chose a rock, Tammy told us how they could not afford to come this year. Then, through the generosity of friends, and some inexpensive airline tickets, it became possible. She explained that this gift of rocks was inspired by Joshua 4. Just as God commanded the Israelites to collect stones from the riverbed to make a lasting memorial to His miraculous provision, these small stones were a tangible reminder that God is the source of everything in our lives.
Tammy’s “sermon” wasn’t planned to fit neatly into the series of “hero” messages that we had scheduled for the week, and yet in a providential way it did. Because ultimately, our desire for these precious kids whom we entertained and taught all week, is that they grow into heroes of faith, impacting their friends, community and country for God. This will only happen when they understand that our God is faithful, yesterday, today and tomorrow. He will provide them with the courage and resources to do all He is calling them to do, that they may be heroes for Him.
As summer passes and camp becomes only a fun memory, my “life” rock sits on the kitchen windowsill to remind me of the heroic life that God desires to raise up within each one of us.
For most, the teen years are not easy. It is a time of rapid change, an emotional and physical roller coaster. My heart goes out to youth, especially the youth of Israel. For many years we’ve sought to create a setting in which they could receive encouragement, healing, liberation, calling, and equipping. The Katzir (Harvest) camps have become such an environment. This summer we spent a week with 83 Israeli teens from Messianic congregations across the country. I’d like you to hear what happened through the voices of the young people themselves.
These are their words, spoken to all their fellow campers our last morning together. We had worshiped, hiked, prayed, served, and played for seven solid, very full days spent mostly in the beautiful Golan Heights of Israel. That evening, the Spirit of God filled our meeting place in the bustling city of Tel Aviv. Many youth turned to Yeshua with tearful repentance, receiving His saving grace, while others sought and received the fullness of His Spirit. To behold the work of God among teenage people is to discover treasure. They will be the workers and leaders in the final harvest!
I began weeping during one of the meetings—at the intensity of God feeling our hearts; as well as His heart for each of us.
I had a personal breakthrough because the praise and worship was alive. This time I really discovered what it is to praise God and not care what others are thinking. I was amazed with joy at being drawn in by the depth of the worship.
Up until now I waffled about being immersed in water, but I have decided to go all the way with Yeshua and be immersed (baptized).
The power of God was so strong that I felt that the Ruach was inside of me and also outside! …I encourage you not to be embarrassed…I had felt the Ruach in the past but had held back…. After a while, I just threw caution to the winds and God filled me…We prayed together–the girls and the leaders–and the Spirit came flowing out of me…We prayed and yelled with joy. It was like a fountain of life…it went on and on. [These accounts came from a small group that experienced an outpouring of the Spirit during their Bible study.]
I want to live as a believer among non-believers and continue coming to these camps.
Two months ago I decided to be immersed. On the way my mom was killed in a car accident. It was SO hard to receive the Lord after that. I felt a wall between us. It was very hard to come to this camp. I was SO mad. Why did He take her? Finally, I came to the camp. So many people held me up here, so that God could work. I felt that God wanted me. I want to thank all those who have lifted me, and thank God-for forgiving my anger. I know that He is working and watching over us. Walk with Him…He’ll be with you in your hardest time.
I discovered that people could be real and not put me down. I thank God that he released me from prison and I don’t want to return.
I wasn’t interested in coming to Katzir. I’ve been really far from the Lord even though my dad is a pastor. God touched me so deeply here! After this I want to draw near to Him and live differently.
Please continue with us in prayer for the courage and sound mentoring these young people crave.