Shalom from Tel Aviv!
A couple of years ago we were participating in a fast for revival in Israel. We were attending an inter-congregational prayer meeting in Jerusalem. As we were praying, I suddenly saw myself facing west. In the spirit I was standing on the hills of the city of Jerusalem looking down upon the coastal area of central Israel.
As I looked up and down the coastline where most of Israel's population resides, I saw an unending throng of people with hands raised in worship toward God. In fact, from Ashdod in the south to above Haifa in the north, the entire coastal plain was covered with an innumerable mass of Israelis praising God.
As I turned to the north, I saw pockets of believers in Galilee, then sparser pockets on the mountains of Samaria. Looking south on the hills of Judea, then into the Negev desert area down to Eilat, I saw even fewer pockets. I said in my spirit, "Oh Lord, does this mean that not many are going to be saved in Judea and Samaria, in Galilee and in the South?" Then it dawned on me that these areas have less inhabitants. I was seeing relatively fewer believers corresponding to the sparser population.
I COULD NOT SEE JERUSALEM
I tried then to look down on Jerusalem where I was standing, but I was not permitted to see anything at all. It was as if my standing there restricted my view to look straight down. Jerusalem is God's secret which He did not share with me. However, what He did give me a glimpse of is massive revival throughout the nation.
More Israelis are being saved than ever before, but this is not yet the revival we know is coming. Throughout the land, the majority of the leaders in the land know revival is coming. It is on the way. We are working, preparing and praying. We can ask ourselves--and we do--what yet needs to be in place for revival to be effective? What is lacking for sustained revival where fruit will blossom, grow and remain? Here are ten needy areas (not exhaustive) which we ask you to earnestly consider and pray for.
1. More teachers and preachers who can minister in Hebrew. The number of Hebrew speaking teachers and preachers is growing. Twenty years ago, they were almost nonexistent. Yet until today, in most Messianic Jewish congregations, the majority of members are immigrants, not native-born Israelis (called sabras). One of the reasons is that there have been exceedingly few Hebrew-speaking mature believers who could labor in this harvest field.
Immigrant leaders need to keep working on their Hebrew. Secondly, we need a strong focus on discipling the sabras that are in our various congregations.
2. More literature in Hebrew from Jewish perspective, culture and background. In my mind, there is no greater lack. We need more Hebrew books of testimonies of how Israelis received salvation. We need books for searchers who have many unanswered questions. We need discipleship courses, devotional books. Israelis need the same opportunities that English speakers have. Books can bring more fruit than possibly any other medium.
We (Maoz) are working on basic books and manuals for those searching and for brand-new believers. Other individuals and organizations are also producing literature. But because the population of Israel is so tiny, and the total number of believers only a few thousand, there is not a market for large printings. This causes publishing costs per book to be very high. Yet much more variety is needed to feed the flock and to give believers the opportunity to be enriched and balanced by reading books on many subjects of the faith, and by authors with a variety of giftings.
3. More workers called to minister to children and youth. Because many congregations assemble in small apartments or homes, the children often have little space to meet. Frequently they are crammed into a tiny bedroom, kitchen or other such non-facility. Much worse is that there are few here who are called of God to minister to children or teenagers. Moreover, today's youth ministers must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and skilled in reaching the hearts of youth wandering about an electronic world moving into its last-day spin towards destruction. English-speaking believers who are in Israel temporarily, have often served in this capacity for various congregations. However, as God is now saving sabra families with Hebrew-only speaking children, the English speakers cannot help these Israeli kids--who often know absolutely nothing about the Bible. Teenagers have even greater needs. They need mature leaders who can "speak their language" in more ways than one. Certainly Hebrew is an absolute minimum requirement.
4. More administrators, secretaries, bookkeepers, etc., to help in the orderly and efficient management of the affairs of the Body of Messiah. I would guess that the majority of congregations and virtually all Messianic organizations in Israel are in great need of office personnel. More often than not, Israeli pastors are worked to the bone doing jobs at which they are not skilled. Meanwhile, they are unable to do what God has really called them to do. The Book of Acts explains that the Apostles felt they must limit their activities to "prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4) in order to adequately serve the flock.
The Scriptures explain that God has raised up in His Body those with the gifting of administration and helps. These gifts are absolutely necessary in order to preach the Gospel, plant congregations, evangelize and disciple without getting into trouble.
Bills must be paid, books must be kept for tax authorities, letters must be written to strengthen the infrastructure among believers. Projects such as conferences, publishing, distributing teaching tapes, writing and publishing worship music, creating periodicals for believing youth, etc. etc. demand the creativity and faithfulness of office talent. Israel has a singular lack of such workers. Many ministries--including our own--could do much more if we had more trained office personnel.
5. More businesses and business people among the Body of Messiah. The Body includes a large number of immigrants, and often it takes some years, at best, before an immigrant can find himself in a financial situation on a par with the rest of the population. If more Israeli believers owned and operated their own businesses, they would be tithing their profits and creating jobs for other believers. Immigration of more business people to the land would greatly strengthen the congregations and evangelism outreach in the land.
Even when an Israeli believer purchases an apartment, he is helping the Body at large to deepen its roots in a spiritually hostile environment. He can use his home as a light to his neighborhood, as a place for prayer meetings and Bible studies, without the risk of being tossed out. When he can buy a car, he can visit believers and unbelievers and help bring people to the congregation, especially on Saturdays when there is no public transportation. Our own congregation spends an inordinate amount of tithes and offerings on cabs bringing people to our Sabbath meetings, because there is absolutely no other way for them to come. We are praying for more cars in our congregation.
6. More public buildings around the country for growing congregations. We are convinced that as more public meeting places become available to Israeli believers, our numbers will increase dramatically. Many Israelis visit believers the first time they hear of a meeting. Because most congregations are not allowed to erect a sign--they meet in a house, or in a place not zoned for public meetings--only the members know where it is.
Costs of properties are so phenomenal in the crowded tiny nation that only a true act of God can bring a congregational building into being. A neighboring congregation has ventured forth to buy a warehouse for their expanding flock. It is with great faith and perseverance that they are pressing forward to meet the mammoth payments. We ourselves are looking to God for an outreach center in Tel Aviv. We know that when we acquire such a building, our real "problem" will only begin. It will be, "What shall we do with all these people?"
7. More musicians, song writers, praisers. Every revival is born on the wings of its music. How can we praise the Lord without voices and instruments and a new song? We have a growing number of singers, musicians and worshipers. But we still need a much greater volume of Hebrew praise and worship songs-that-are an expression of what God is doing among His ancient people today!
8. More mature intercessors within the land. In a spiritual frontier land such as Israel, pioneer leaders must be all things to all men, literally. They must be preachers, teachers, counselors, entrepreneurs, accountants, secretaries, computer programmers. They must visit the sick, witness to individual searchers, take care of the plumbing, find the right screw for the air conditioner, and learn how to fix the furnace. Members of the congregation often spend several hours on the bus to work, and have all too little time with their families.
Comparatively few believers here have the luxury of time to be intercessors. Because there are only a few thousand believers in the whole country, we have few widows, retired couples or financially independent people who have a number of hours a day to be serious intercessors.
In order to see the spiritual breakthroughs, the answers to prayer, the salvations and healings which are part of revival, our God must provide us with more laborers in this area.
9. Greater network of intercessors from around the world. Even with the Israeli believers praying and working for the revival of masses of Israelis, there is no doubt in anyone's mind here that we need the spiritual support of the nations. Satan knows that when he loses this people, he is finished. God's Word reveals to us that revival in the world is somehow tied together with revival in Israel.
For if their [Israel's] rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Rom. 11:15
We are becoming increasingly aware of our own need for more time for prayer, and for more intercessors to personally cover our family and the Maoz ministry in prayer. Next month, the month when Israel goes into a new year (5757), we are going to ask for those who will pray personally for us and for this ministry on a daily or weekly basis. We do not look for multitudes, but rather for those who will do so at the Spirit's urging. We do not wish to place burdens on our readers who have not received a call to do so. But if we have a faithful group, with whom we can correspond weekly by fax or e-mail giving a list of our immediate requests, we believe we will see a step-up in the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our service to the King. We only request that during this month, you ask the Lord if you should be praying regularly for us personally. We will give you opportunity to respond next month.
10. Greater network of financial supporters, especially from America and Europe, that will enable Israeli leaders to rapidly expand congregational growth, evangelism and discipleship programs. There is hardly a Messianic Jewish leader in the land that could not be harvesting considerably greater yields for the Kingdom of God if he had the financial capability. It is certainly true for this ministry.
Because God has promised that all Israel shall be saved, Israel is a sure investment for those wishing to store treasure in heaven! But so much more important is the salvation of the precious souls of Israelis who will hear the Good News, understand it and receive it because you chose to participate in bringing them the message of salvation. What gratefulness, what unspeakable joy! What greater gift could we bring any human being than an opportunity to receive life everlasting? Because of this free gift of God--at great cost to Himself--we are constrained to challenge our friends and co-members of the Body of our Messiah, to give or to continue giving for the salvation of the House of Israel.
For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. . . And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. Gal. 6:7,10
Your co-workers in the Harvest,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram