Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The old Camp Dominion road - a milestone for many

...The pattern of His building ANEW
'As I write, the sound of the hammer fills the air, an aged tractor 'putt-putts' in the distance bringing in the hay, voices consulting and discussing the labors of the day mingle in the background. These are the sounds of LIFE – a first trickle of activity and building, first steps in the physical unfolding of the Lord's purposes here. The pattern of His building is sure; He is not allowing us to proceed in things tangible faster than or independent of things spiritual!
'These have been the days therefore, of spiritual building, of the laying of the foundation in lives in relationships which will stand. The finger of the Lord has been upon the marriage, family and closest circles of relationship which widen out from the nucleus. Not a day has passed, it seems, without there being some foundational work done in us, between us and out to the neighboring fellowships with whom we see we are inextricably bound. The key word is COVENANT, men pledging themselves to each other as they have to the Lord no matter what; unable to tend our own affairs while indifferent to the needs of the other.
'Our message and ministry is to be our life together, whatever that will take, for there is a 'go-for-broke' spirit among us that will not be satisfied with less (though not without tremblings).'

Ben Israel News-Prayer Letter (Fall 1975)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

'You cannot be a refuge without first being a community'
To be honest, we didn’t know what a ‘community’ was. We didn’t know how to establish it. We didn’t know who it was to be a refuge for. But within a short period of time we had fifty-five people on the property, learning what the Kingdom of God means, living in poverty beneath the minimum standard of living established by the United States government. It was to learn in our severe surroundings what it means to live by our faith.
I’m talking about winters like Siberia, snow and frigid temperatures five months out of the year, without adequate housing, the access to food in previously known abundance and variety.

But, we drew strength from the proximal assurance from the brother and his family next door that we were in something glorious – together!
I cannot begin to tell you what that meant, or how profoundly we grew to appreciate and value each other – not by our ‘lovable’ attributes and virtues but by our unlovable characteristics and tendencies and habits which became exposed. What do you do in that kind of naked, fundamental situation – which we experienced daily?!
Oh, the exquisiteness of it all.

It must have been the same at Antioch, and everywhere else we read about. That’s how we began twenty-seven years ago. And, today we have about thirty-five people on that property, ten or eleven households. The character of the community today is different than it was in the beginning – when agonies and disillusionments and glories abounded!
Now, the visible realities of the world have made clear for whom this refuge awaits. I believe it is but one of many that are hidden and in preparation. A great many have even yet to be formed and assembled. And, for what? Jews in flight from persecution in North America, coming down from Canada because we are only a hundred miles from the Canadian border which is a very porous border, very open.

As I said, there are other such communities being formed to receive Jews in flight in the soon coming persecution that is already beginning now in many countries where Jews have enjoyed favorable conditions. Now, there are synagogues being burned. Jewish children are being beat up in the streets. And, other threats of death are commonplace in such countries as France, Germany, England and America. It will be worldwide. A 600-percent increase of violent anti-Semitic episodes was documented in one recent year in France where there is a large Islamic community. And, the authorities have said openly they are unable to protect the Jews…

But, know this: You cannot be a refuge without first being a community. It is only a matter of time when you need to consider this because the Time of Jacob’s Trouble has commenced with every indication that it will be worldwide, affecting Jews in every nation. And the demonic spirit of hatred as in the times they experienced during Hitler will now be worse and global.

- Sofia, Bulgaria (2002)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 1964 - Jerusalem
'In my sleep, powerless to affect my own salvation'

And I wrestled with God for six months, trying to avoid the implications of his revelation. But He would not let me go.
And in Jerusalem he backed me into a corner, having spent two weeks at the Hebrew University and reading every kind of book. If only the Passover Plot had been written, how greedily I would have run for it. And with every book I read and every professor with whom I spoke, the more I realized I was impaled on the hook of God. And how I was put on a bus that last day ten years ago to visit a chassidic ultra-Orthodox community and never got there. Wrong bus. Lost. Riding around in Jerusalem in a section I didn’t know and too Jewish to ride on aimlessly.
That’s why you meet us in your congregations.
I stepped out of the bus and I walked into the first door that I could find. And the woman was so gracious to make me a map, and I was about to leave and I saw I was in a bookstore. Me, an omnivorous reader. The kid with the flashlight under the sheets at night. And I took a look at the titles and stopped dead in my tracks. New Testaments. Bibles. Christian literature.
And I turned to look at this woman’s yiddishe punim, this Jewish face. And I said, ‘Hey, what is this place?’
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘we’re a congregation of Jews who believe in the Messiah Jesus, and this is our bookstore adjoining our chapel.’
Snap in my heart, and I heard the still, small voice that called me by name and spoke as I would be made familiar in the months and years since. In a very terse way always. Always in the form of command. Always without explanation. Always with the voice of authority from Him with whom I have to do. Always to inconvenience. ‘Art, you are not to leave.’ I didn’t argue.
I stayed four days and nights with these Pentecostal Jews and saw such a demonstration of the reality of the Spirit of God from which I could not turn. I heard Jews pray with authority and power. Not out of a siddur. And not ceremonially. As if they were actually being heard of God – and as if they expected answer!
And the thing that topped it off?
I watched them worship!
You say, ‘watched them’? I saw Jews with their hands above their heads, their sleeves rolling down as they raised their hands to God, and the tattooed numbers on their wrists from the concentration camps, praising God in the name of Yeshua Ha’Maschiach!
If ever Jews had a reason NOT to praise that name, it was they. And yet, the tears rolling down their countenances, and the joy on their faces could not be put away.
And four days and nights, they prayed for me, with me, over me. They opened the scriptures. Told me of God’s ‘plan of salvation.’ How ickey can you get? How fundamental can you sound? I didn’t like it. I couldn’t understand it. I was confused. I was bewildered. I got the most intensive bible course that any Jew could be given in four days and nights. And I was... rattled!
So simple that I couldn’t see it.
And I went to sleep on that front pew that last night. So bewildered out of my head. And in my sleep, powerless to affect my own salvation, the Spirit of God just brought things together in my heart. I could just feel pieces falling into place.
And I awoke that next morning with the most precious peace and calm that I had every enjoyed in thirty-five years of restless striving, and came to the breakfast table.
And the first words out of my mouth: ‘Rena, I believe I understand.’ And poor Rena toppled out of her seat onto the floor, chair knocked over and arms above her head, weeping and praising God because her prayer that night was ‘Lord, we’ve done everything for this stubborn man. You make him to understand…’

- Denver, Colorado ( February 1974)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Plans to build a giant mosque close to Ground Zero have caused a storm of protest from families who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks.
Angry relatives claim the move is an ‘insult’ to the victims of the World Trade Centre atrocity.
The mosque is part of a proposed 13-storey Muslim community centre, which will include a swimming pool, gym, theatre and sports facilities. Construction of the $100 million project just two blocks from Ground Zero is due to begin on September 11 next year – the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack... Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, said: ‘The time for a centre like this has come because Islam is an American religion.' ...Hezbollah leader Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi said the formulation of an ‘Islamic United States’ would herald the coming of Islam’s messiah.
London's The Daily Mail, May 16, 2010)

'Satan set this up with great brilliance'

See how great this mystery is - the dimensions of this great cosmic struggle of which the church is the key factor? Who understands this and will not be offended when the judgments come and Israel is being progressively reduced? It will be shocking. Jesus said that this time of trouble that is coming to the nation will exceed any previous trouble that the nation has known or will ever again know. And, if that time is not cut short, then no flesh would survive, he said.
But, for the elect’s sake, for the restored remnant, the time will be cut short. So, he is giving the description of something yet future, greater than the nation has ever known, even the Nazi Holocaust that took six million lives. We can expect an attrition greater than the six million, and certainly that this devastation of Israel will not be confined to Europe. This will be global. When the Lord comes, two-thirds in Israel will already have perished and one-third is brought through the fire. So, I suggest if that is the ratio of survival in the land – that will likely the ratio of survival in the world. If two-thirds of the Jews will be fated in the time of Jacob’s trouble to perish, we are talking about the demise of ten million Jews in a three-and-a-half year period of time.
Think of it – Jews worldwide in flight, and wholesale massacre! And yet, if we take the word of God seriously, it will be that devastating because of the vehemence and bitterness of the powers of darkness who know that their time is short.
What will save their false governing except that Jews are eradicated? By preventing Israel from returning to Zion as restored nation. How do you prevent them? By eliminating them. By abolishing them through genocide against that entire people.
So, where is there a church that is prepared by a scenario of this kind? Which will not take place in distant nations – but in our own nation? How can that be?
Because there will be an Islamic presence of such a kind that no government will be able to control or resist.
Look at what happened to the Pope who made one historically true and valid statement that is indisputable, about what was always the nature of Islam, the name by which uncounted churches have been burned in recent years. And he – the leader of the great Catholic church! – is retracting! Because no nation can stand up to the threat from Islam that now proliferates around the globe. You oppose them? Then your churches will be burned.
I wondered years ago how the predicted global devastation will take place and nations would become ‘Nazi-fied’ and participate in such genocide and be otherwise powerless to hold back the vehemence that is inherent in Islam and is now being expressed throughout all nations.
Islam is absolutely vile, absolutely deadly. And they are playing a so-called passive role. But, their peacefulness is only a momentary illusion. At the opportune moment, they will with great enthusiasm join the horde in seeking Jewish blood because it is their ticket to eternity. Killing a Jew and dying in the process is to guarantee their eternal salvation, according to the Islamic perspective.
Satan set this up with great brilliance.
So, just the contemplation of this scenario has got to stimulate the necessity for maturity in the church. It has got to bring a note of seriousness that these indeed are the Last Days, and they are apocalyptic. There will be great devastation right to the time of the Lord’s re-appearing. These will be the realities that prevail. There will be an anti-Christ spirit triumphing in the world, and it will hate the church as much as the Jew.
It makes our coming together now much more significant and serious than it otherwise would be. Now, we are not just available for a series of meetings. Now, every meeting, every coming together, every hearing of the word of God, every visit of a valid speaker is a provision from God to fit us and to prepare us for the awesome realities of the Last Days.
- Charlotte, North Carolina (2006)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ships that pass in the night and speak to each other in passing;
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak to one another,
Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence.
Tales of a Wayside Inn (Longfellow)

'We've never BEEN there with each other'

We’re utilitarian. We want God for what we can obtain from Him that we might do it and teach it and be seen teaching and enjoy the kind of exhilaration of serving God. He’s only an expediency to provide us with that which is needful. But knowing our hearts and loving us and being the God who sees that utilitarianism is the spirit of the world and not the spirit of the Kingdom, He says, “Come up unto me – and BE there.”

An apostle must, above all men, know this in his experience. Because the apostle and the prophet are the foundation of the church. There is no true church except by the foundation laid by the apostles and the prophets. Not only in their teaching and what they impart in the sublime knowledge of God and His ways but what they convey and communicate and exude from what they have obtained in His presence – because they have come up and they have been there!

You know, guys? This is how we’re failing each other?

That’s why guys like me have had to go eighteen years of too frequent harshness at home – because we are so shallow in our own relationships with “brothers” that I could not find a friend who would love me at all times. We’ve never BEEN there with each other.

And, even while we’re talking to each other our minds are racing to some next thing. Or, what awaits us on Sunday? Or this commitment and that responsibility… Or did I forget this or that…Do we ever really give our whole attention to each other? That’s fellowship of the kind that God intended.

The mystery of the fellowship.

That mystery is so little known to us. Our fellowship is so much less. Back slap; brusque bear hug.

Ships passing in the night.

The briefest kind of acknowledgement.

And, I praise God that we are canceling our convocations this summer. We’re not going to have any schedule of meetings, with the thousands pressing in, and this whole weary mechanic of things that need to be served. But, as many who will come who are sent in God’s own time, when He has bidden them come up by the Spirit.

“Aw, c’mon, Art. You’re getting melodramatic now. You’re just talking about ‘summer vacations’- aren’t you?”

What do you mean “just”? What are you trying to imply? That a summer vacation is some kind of ordinary excursion?...

How dare you bring that ordinary, the earthly mentality into the holy place?

What do you mean “just” a vacation? The word “just” ought to be abolished from our speech.

How dare we presume to go anywhere, or to do anything except that we be bidden…

Woe unto us if we dare to presume so upon God.
- Dallas, Texas (1982)

Friday, May 7, 2010

'We're always looking up!'

Dresden (at right), the capital of Saxony reduced by four fire-bombings in three days at the end of World War II - and after an unrenounced pre-historic legacy of occultism and pornography.

'I'll never forget my experience in East Germany in some remote section of that country infamous for occultism and every kind of filthy and dark, degenerate thing that goes back in primeval and barbaric Germanism before the advent of Christianity. Still alive and still lurking in that dark place.
Until a Lutheran pastor and his wife had come.
And in their sincerity toward God to be in that place, He brought them into the knowledge of the Holy Ghost. And they became full of the Holy Ghost.

'And when I talked with this brother's wife, she hardly looked at me.
She would nod as she would look up, putting her hand over her heart, looking up, nodding, looking up, nodding...
And I thought, 'My God, what is she looking at?'
And as I was leaving I asked her: 'Are you aware that you are always looking up?'
You know what the heck of it is? She wasn't?

'And those who are 'aware' - aren't 'looking up.'
We've got to come to that place of total unawareness, of such utter selflessness, so lost in God that, habitually and characteristically, we're so suffused with him, His purpose, the jealousy for His glory... We're always looking up!
As against that class of men who are always looking down, who dwell on the earth and whose hearts will fail them for fear when they see the things that are coming upon the earth which we don't see.

'I mean, we're not ignoramuses. We're very aware of the things that are happening, but it's not affecting us. That's not what determines our being or our response or our conduct.
Our determinations are from Heaven wherein also is our citizenship.
- Sacramento, California (1985)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

'The immersion into reality itself'

'What is the practical value of 'apocalyptic', of end-time considerations?

It is 'the completion of what NOW is - NOT an escape from it. The wholeness of what we NOW see in part - NOT its repudiation.'

Such Biblical or Prophetic anticipation 'is thus thoroughly practical; it assures us of the reality of all the acts and words whose transcendent sense is disputed and contradicted by the age we live in.' This preoccupation with Apocalyptic 'is not a florid [fanciful] passage tacked onto an end to give a flourish to our rhetoric but 'the immersion into reality itself,' the issue of God's coming Kingdom and its rule in our present life. It has a unique power to stir us to new and greater obedience, deepening our resolve and consecration and 'fortifying us for the long haul… It gives stamina to our courage and energizes our witness - realities that are in strict correspondence with what has already been begun in us and will [assuredly] be completed. This is not a new form of escapism, but the intensification of involvement with God in His [final] purposes by employing the stuff that is in our lives right now.' (From Eugene Peterson’s devotional entitled, The Completion of What Is)

'This preface is appropriate in view of the dire and tragic events of 2001 sounding an ominous note of yet greater dread for the year and decade ahead. It may well be a final decade - or at least it should be lived as if that were so. What greater evils will yet be loosed? What real defense from demonic terror against which the best of societal safeguards might be vain? On the positive side, the issue of God and of the Faith have as suddenly become elevated and central. No longer can believing constitute a mere Sunday addendum, a pleasant amenity in an ordered and secure world. The fellowship of the saints no longer casual affability, but become now the very grit of apostolic living! The wisdom of God in the uncertainty of the future to be had only in the counsel of the many; the 'time to speak to one another in the fear of the Lord' our privilege and our sanity.

'For now, at the end, as it was at the first, those that believe must be together. The one heart, and one soul and one mind that alone issues from true fellowship break the power of selfish and private living that has until now so effectually robbed us. Private, personal, devotional prayer must become a vital daily engagement with the Living God - early and late. Corporate prayer, the measure of truth of our Body, must become the apprehending of our High Priest's intercessory mind and heart. Time must be found, made, ruthlessly contended for in the daily urgent seeking of the Lord. Unabashed and unashamed witness, our responsibility in the world, be expressed in the very places from which we have shrunk - and this now in the more hostile prevailing atmosphere that abhors 'fundamentalist fanaticism'!

Backlash, opposition, eventual persecution are prospects now as real for us as the experience of distant, remote Christians, provoking in us a cry for new infillings of the Holy Spirit too long unsounded (and unneeded!). Inhibiting timidity, self-conscious and repressive fear of man [even of Christians!] be crucified with Christ! Buoyant, joyous faith, unfeigned choruses of praise, the inclusion of our committed children, be the staple of the Church is our best wish and prayer for us all in the new year that has come.

'For that has the Lord enjoined us to this end 'that men ought always to pray and not to lose heart' (Luke 18:1). So is prayer, heartfelt, vibrant and alive, the very provision of God for the terrors and uncertainties of the future that would otherwise depress and overcome us - even to the possibility of the very forfeiture of faith. So does the parable of the importunate widow end with the question, 'Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?' That is, will he find prayer in the earth? For the issue of prayer is the issue of faith for 'no man comes to God but that He believes that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him' (Hebrews 11:6).

Many Christians would be wise to take note of the feeble and infrequent condition of their prayer as a serious index of a declining faith - for the two are inextricably joined.

'In all this, don't confuse faith with correctly held doctrine about the faith. The issue of faith is the issue of relationship - not credal correctness.

- From 'End-of-the-Year (2001) Meditation' - Laporte, Minnesota;
above photo from the Kathryn Kuhlman program in 1970.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Messianic Judaism
and the Holy Spirit

'I'm a steward of the mysteries of God, and therefore I have to sound a note that is not necessarily sounded by my brothers though I applaud and acknowledge the value of many of the things that they say and that they uphold. But in that I have not made myself, and it has pleased God to fashion me as he has and to give to me the particular burdens that he has, I need to sound them.'

'I attended a messianic conference a few years back and was a bit irritated by one of the speakers in particular. And some of the brothers came to me and said, "Brother Art, we don’t understand why you're irritated. He's like you. He has the baptism in the Holy Spirit." "Oh," I said. "Well, that's odd. Why then does he condescend to inject this humor in his presentations, and this little shticklech, and little do-dads and gimmicks to make himself fetching and attractive?" "Well, Art, don't you know that he's a little nervous and apprehensive, and he's afraid that if he doesn't make himself attractive that people will not receive his word?"
'I've never forgotten that explanation, because it's an illustration of a profound truth: You can have the baptism in the Holy Spirit and still not be living by it. In moments of crisis, in moments of ministry, in moments of demand, in moments of fearfulness, you fall back again on your own life, your own cleverness, your own wit, your own devices. And that has not the ability to bring life. Paul said: "In him I move and live and have my being. For me to live is Christ." What is messianic life? It's to be in Christ – moment by moment, cleaving to the Tree of Life for every necessity, a wisdom beyond our own, a knowledge beyond our own, a strength and a boldness beyond our own.'

- Kansas City, Missouri (1977)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

'...Intuiting his Spirit'

‘In times not too distant when I received a commitment to come and speak someplace, maybe months before I was to go or in the making of the commitment, the very message flashed on my heart and I knew what was to be spoken. Then that disappeared. And maybe some weeks just preceding the meeting, God would stir in my heart and shape me for what was to come forth – then that disappeared. Then maybe the day of the meeting or the very night before, something would begin to stir in my heart – and that disappeared. Then, arriving at the meeting, I would understand what was to be spoken. Then that disappeared.
‘Sitting on the platform, waiting to be called on, I would hear the still small voice and know what was to be spoken – then that disappeared.
‘I tell you people – it’s getting so that now I have to move almost by intimating what is the will of God, cleaving to God in such a way as to catch the very intimations of his heart, intuiting his Spirit. And I believe God is bringing me even closer than that – that the very thought that is in my mind, and the very impulse of my heart is his thought and his impulse.
‘And that the day might come that the very word out of my mouth, unpremeditated and spoken in the impulse of the moment, is the word of God.’

- Richardson Springs, California (1985)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springfield, Missouri
'And, I have some thoughtful things to say also. And then, a further hindrance is that I have such a command of English…
Well, the eye of God goes to and fro across the face of the earth, seeking that one whose heart is perfect toward him. But, I was struck this morning that Satan is equally roaming to and fro over the face of the earth, seeking to devour exactly that one.
That’s a marked man.
And, I’m something of a marked man myself. And, I can remember in Arkansas, in Hot Springs, when George Otis got up and said: “Who will stand with this man,” referring to me, “who is among Satan’s most wanted men in this nation?”
I pray that I’m still in that category…’

- Voice of the Overcomer Convention, March 1983

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Laporte, Minnesota
August 2006

‘That through your mercy (Israel) also may obtain mercy… The question is: Do we have a mercy that we can extend?’

At right, 'mercy' was withheld in the first Ha Shoah ('Holocaust')

'The issue of mercy is the key issue of the End – that they might obtain mercy by the mercy that you extend. The question is: Do we have a mercy that we can extend? Have we received mercy? Are we conscious of that mercy? Do we recognize that what we have been receiving these days is mercy? This purest mercy is what has gone forth over these tables?*
"But, if we don’t see it as that – we’ll have an attitude of matter-of-factness. We cannot obtain it as mercy, and we cannot extend it as mercy. So, we need to become much more mercy-conscious that mercy is not a platitude, that mercy is not a doctrine. Mercy is an existential reality. And, that we’re living by the mercies of God that are new every morning. The mercies that endure? Are we conscious of that, of how frail our lives are?

Maybe that's why God will bring a stud like me into a place of such sickness and dependency that my fever is up or down in such variables as cannot be contained, just to show me the frailty of this life.
" 'It's not you, Katz. The breath that's in your mouth is my mercy. That you came to this school out of it - without inspiration... And if anything has been taking place of any consequence - it's my Mercy!'
"So, I’m enjoining the church to appropriate mercy in a palpable existential way such that you’ll have it to extend. But, if mercy is only for you a doctrine, only a statement of a rhetorical, verbal kind and not an actuality, that’s not a mercy that can be extended to them. They will not need a statement; they will need a reality. And, we’ll have it in proportion as we have received it – and are continuing to receive it.
"Our every day is a mercy. The church needs to become conscious of the mercies that are new every morning that endure forever. We live by His mercies. We’re capable of nothing. Anything that comes is of His mercy. It’s not only our initial salvation; it’s our continuing salvation. It’s the privilege of the school. It’s the privilege of relationship.

As I lay on the hospital bed, and I thought of the band of souls with whom I’m knit and those over the years. I cherished each one as a gift from God, a mercy. I'm seeing the saints in a new light, a deeper appreciation as being the very extension of God’s mercy.
"So, that’s the heart of it at the End – that we will have a mercy to extend when, if they don’t receive it from us, from who will they receive it? And, if they don’t receive it from us – they will perish. For they will be in the place of ultimate extremity. They will be banged out of shape. They’ll be nigh unto death. They will be dark and despairing and without hope.
The people who died in the Holocaust weren’t necessarily the physically weakest. They were the people bereft of any hope. Those who survived had some hope by which their life was sustained however much on a thread."

We’re going to have a people come to us who’ll be totally emptied of any confidence which they formerly have had in themselves, in man, in the world. And they’ll be devoid of anything and be the objects of abuse from forces of hatred calculated for their annihilation. And in that condition, they’ll need our mercy. They’ll need it physically. They’ll need it psychologically. They’ll need it emotionally. They’ll need it spiritually.
"The issue is: will we have it to give? Will we be willing to give it when to be observed giving it makes you a candidate for persecution? It’s not a mercy that you’ll be able to give at your convenience. It’s a mercy that you will give at sacrifice. And when you’re willing to give it at sacrifice for them when they are everywhere hated – how can they not be moved to jealousy and say, ‘What is it with you? What is different about you? Why aren’t you joining them and hating us as everyone else? Why are you willing to take these risks? Why are you being kind? Why are you extending yourself? Why are you making yourself a candidate to be persecuted yourself? What did we ever do for you that you should be extending yourself for us?’
"That’s the mystery."

*2006 summer Prophetic School

(Go to http://benisraelblog.blogspot.com/ to view Ben Israel Fellowship blog)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bad Nauheim, Germany
October 2004

'But a Germany of What Kind?'

(Katz was one of several speakers who attended a three-day conference, billed as a gathering to promote "…building bridges between the nations and Israel – setting up partnerships with Israel in sharing the gospel – unifying the Body – sending volunteers to Israel – power evangelism – prophetic evangelism – setting up five-fold ministry teams – setting up bridges between business enterprises in Israel and in the nations.” He chaffed at his single occasion to address the audience.)

'I'll be giving you the heaviest message of which I am able. It is so heavy you’ll not be able to understand it in one hearing. You will need to study it more than to read it.
“So, we have come all this way for one message. But let it be such a message as to be worth all the distance and all the expense, sinking something very deep into the foundation of the church of this land."
He spared no harshness toward the "new" generation of Germans, prodding them for their vulnerable history as architects of the Holocaust... confronting the believers before him with a stern, almost intimidating demeanor, addressing them directly and without any pulpit patronizing, emphasizing the word "you" accusingly.

'To forfeit taking the gospel to the Jew first is a woe unto you. It will be as much a threat to your apostolic character as it was to Paul’s. Of course, you’re not yet a church that even is able to understand what such a loss means, which is already a statement of that loss because you have too long ignored the mandate of the gospel to the Jew.

"You have lost the distinctive that makes the church 'the church.' For the issue of the 'gospel to the Jew first' is the issue of the gospel, and the issue of the gospel is the issue of the church. And the issue of the church is the issue of the nation. And as recent history has revealed, the loss of this nation affects all nations. More than we understand, as Germany goes, so goes the world. "But a Germany of what kind? A Germany that is not affected by the presence of an apostolic church in its midst is a danger and a threat to all civilization.
"History has revealed that, and we stand now even presently before the possibility of yet another such unthinkable repetition. If you forfeit the issue of the gospel to the Jew NOW, you condemn the church to irrelevancy, to leaving a spiritual void in the land, a nation that is not tempered and affected by the presence that God intends through the church of an apostolic kind. And what could be more dangerous for the world than a Germany that still harbors imperial ambition and has already assumed a foremost place in the European Union of nations?
"And if that 'Japheth' nation is not somehow touched and affected by the issues from 'Shem,' it will be condemned…
"God never intended a separation of the sacred from the secular. The sacred is to affect the secular, to temper and to modify, and to bring even such humane consideration into the exercise of its power in order to save it from that unbridled secularism that results in bestiality.
"And, the issue of the Jew is the issue. Because 'they are the enemies of the gospel for your sake' because it makes bringing the gospel to them a greater requirement."

His words boomed louder, like distant thunder growing closer and becoming more threatening to his paralyzed audience that listened wide-eyed.

"...We are all called to be pilgrims, strangers and sojourners in the world. And, to a pilgrim path. And the Jew is compelling us to find it and to walk in it – unbeknownst to themselves.
"Even in their unbelief and even in their apostasy, their formidable presence in our midst compels US to wholly review OUR life and purpose and meaning, and OUR ‘lifestyle’ itself. And if we will obey, if we will respond, God will not only have a restored Israel, he will have a bride for the bridegroom adorned for him, having his glory because it shares his consecration and his totality.
"The Jews bring US to this necessity - or else we will continue to be content with so much less.
"Paul saw something more than Israel’s redemption; he saw the church’s transfiguration compelled by the crisis that the Jew represents that can only be met in an apostolic way, not by individual virtuosos. But by a church that is a body that is integral, that is related, and that is authentic and shares the calling and purpose of God.
"The issue of the gospel to the Jew, especially in Germany, is not some ethnic consideration, as if they deserve consideration only as gypsies. What Germany needs is a large purpose of meaning. "If it will not receive God’s purpose, it will serve evil. These are the 'powers' that brought Nazi-ism into your land and took possession of the whole apparatus of state by which the whole of civilization was threatened, and one-third of Europe’s Jews was exterminated; these powers are not defeated by military defeat. They still brood in the air over the nation, awaiting their next opportunity when there will be a spiritual void into which they can come.
"And this is created by a church that has forfeited its identity because it has forfeited the gospel in forfeiting the Jew.
"Your nation’s future is at stake. And, as your nation goes, so also goes the world.
"You need to be saved from trifles, to be saved from some ersatz substitute. For the true relationship with the Jew that is more than blowing his shofar. However tedious, you must be taught what 'hell' means. And, who has had more opportunity historically to know that than any other nation - and may yet know it again unless the church be 'the church.'
"That is why this room is half-empty, because your pastors and counselors have warned you not to attend and to hear a man who is 'anti-Semitic' because he believes Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.
"These last days will require all from Germany - beyond 'all' that your fathers were willing to give and who wanted only a beggarly Christianity without a heart for the apostolic faith.
"It has been a woe unto us. May it not be a woe again. We are without excuse. With hundreds of thousands of Jewish kinsmen in our midst, what a test of fidelity to the truth for those rightly called the 'enemies' of the gospel, who have every right to be its enemy, seeing how it has been depicted for them by those who made their blood to flow in every German hamlet and town!"

Suddenly, a woman cried out unintelligibly from the back of the audience, gasping with loud guttural shrieks and groans. People jerked around to see. Katz and his translator were even surprised. Others began to weep. Such a validation of a "message" instantly transformed it into an "event." *


'Return' to Ben Israel
Parable of a Legacy

Copyright 2010 (unpublished)

(Go to http://benisraelblog.blogspot.com/ to view Ben Israel Fellowship blog)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'It's a remarkable grace to be able to preach, having passed through that traffic congestion...'

At right, the driver maneuvers with seven passengers; pedestrians,
vehicles of every size and sort, going in all directions, slalom around the potholes.

he two million citizens in Cameroon’s most populous city, Douala, navigated such treks across moon-scape surfaces of gouges and ruts, forbidding any smooth travel in lieu of horrific traffic congestion and paralyzed chaotic intersections. Katz’s astonishing suggestion in his first speaking appearance boggled the minds of visiting out-of-town pastors and leaders, many who had expected lectures on modern preaching methods, catchy theological technique and attaining ministerial success. He began expounding “a message for Africa” with a quotation from Solomon’s proverbs:

“‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ …There are daily occasions for righteousness or the neglect of it. Even in the small things, and in the every-day things. The issue of righteousness should ever be before us as the church. Because the church is intended as already the leaven of a kingdom to come, a certain presence within society of a moral kind…
“If we will not exert a moral influence in our African society, from where shall it come?
“What is moral is to insist upon the dignity of what is made in God’s image, and not to go along with conditions that degrade men and rob them of their essential humanity. This is the devil’s business – to deform and to assault what is in the image of God. The devil hates God and hates God’s image in men. And we, the church, have an obligation to stand for what God has created in his image.
“So, just in the trip coming here tonight...”

Katz’s French-speaking interpreter stopped suddenly, not expecting what came next.

“…We had to pass through your typical traffic. Of course, you have lived with it for so long that, for you, it’s normal. I want to tell you that I’m not speaking from the perspective of a white man from America. I’m speaking from the perspective of a prophetic man from heaven!
“Your traffic conditions are immoral! They’re degrading! To fight for position, one car edging the other, belching smoke, bumper to bumper. So much time to pass through an intersection for the want of a simple traffic light! And due respect for order that the traffic light represents so that men can move in order, await their time without competing and striving – because otherwise it’s contrary to God’s image in man.
“You may think I’m picking on some absurd issue, and you can find examples much worse than what I’m describing. But such conditions should not be tolerated. They need to be opposed by the church that stands for God, stands for righteousness, stands for what is moral, and for man in God’s image!
“It’s a remarkable grace to be able to preach, having passed through that traffic congestion and just sitting in the back seat. If I had to drive it, I would have become immobilized.
“How does one become spiritual and able to speak the word of the Lord after you have been fighting your way through conditions like that?
“And those conditions can be remedied. Those conditions can be altered – when the church makes it an issue! And expresses its concern, as it ought, to establish a traffic light that obliges men to observe the structures of ‘law and order’ for their benefit.
“Don’t you understand there’s a struggle between darkness and light that’s taking place in the earth, and the powers of darkness, the principalities and powers of the air, want to prevail in the world? And they are unchallenged, and they run the show? And they stand for chaos and destruction. God stands for light and righteousness. And sends his ‘kingdom come in earth as it is in heaven.’
“Order is intrinsic to the nature of God, and we need to respect it, to desire it, to see that it functions, and that men do not circumvent it because they have money, or influence or can bribe their way. All men should stand equal before the law. It is a fundamental, foundational necessity for the integrity appropriate to human life.

“So, somebody needs to go to the legislature, who are indifferent to this condition because they don’t have to face it daily. They are living in very elect suburbs with beautiful palatial residences and chauffer-driven cars. They don’t have to fight these conditions. They’re living in a place of unreality, and they’re not at all affected by what is degrading men in this city every day.
“So, would it be improper for a committee from the church, a committee of concerned Christians, representing a network of churches to have collected tens of thousands of signatures, and to go to the legislature and present them as a moral requirement to establish a traffic light at critical intersections – because it’s righteous?
“Well, I know that you are not accustomed to thinking or acting like this because it’s not ‘spiritual’. And, we’re not concerned with the world, and only with spiritual things.
“You’re doing God disservice not to recognize that this is a spiritual issue because there’s a moral question here that affects the whole character of life in Africa and degrades men rather than exalts them in God’s image.
“If you’re going to have moral concern, you’re going to be required to have political expression. And what begins with a traffic light – needs not end there! This is more than just an improvement. This is the issue of structure and of order that dignifies human life and gives men a better sense of themselves, and the respect and esteem for their own humanity that pleases God.
“The powers of the air will be terrified if the church begins to think like this and acts like this. Because when you begin to install order, the powers of darkness and chaos are set aside. You’re making a statement of a kingdom kind, of a godly kind that breaks their influence, and if you keep it up, they’ll be required to release their captives. So, they prefer that you remain passive and live in these conditions. After all, they have gone on for so long, and we’ve gotten used to it and learned to live with it. That’s not a reason to continue with it – because righteousness exalts a nation!
“God will be blessed by the traffic lights, by the sense of the order. Something will come into the atmosphere of a city that has taken the pains and the expense to establish these elementary conditions appropriate to human beings made in God’s image.”

The message to the nation of Cameroon, at least from Katz in the spring of 2005, was about morality, righteousness, and petitioning government for relief from human degradation – by first installing traffic lights!
The message was unique – and uniquely Katzian.*


'Return' to Ben Israel
(Parable of a Legacy)
Copyright 2010 (unpublished)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

With Philippe Bodi (second from left) at a
fellowship on the Serbian/Rumanian border,
circa 1980.

'It's going to do wonders for us'

“I think we’ve been living in a criminal way with our misuse of resources and with such affluence and comfort that would have boggled the mind of the richest potentate in times past…
“I believe with all my heart, without knowing to what degree and to what length, but we shall face a great time of severity and trial. And, it’s going to do wonders for us!...
“There is simply not going to be any way that we can stand and survive in our own aloneness – except that we cleave to each other.
“We’re going to pass through a necessary crisis of disillusionment, and face our lives as they really are, however threadbare, and begin from there before God to see and live in honesty and in truth.
“We’re going to learn what it means to confess our sins, our faults, one to another that we might pray one for each other that we might be healed.”
“And, it’s going to do wonders for us.”
– 1974

“It’s interesting that in the two principal cases where God describes the character of the koinonia of the first church as being together that there is an economic as well as a social statement being made. If there is no economic consequence, then any performance of pseudo-koinonia is deception and death.”
– 1992

“I have never played the game, and I once asked a more current, internationally-recognized prophet, ‘How is it that I’m not invited to your prophetic functions, seeing that I have the history in this calling long before any of you?’
“He said, ‘Art, the reason you’re not invited is that you are not an ‘in-house’ prophet. We can’t count on you to go along. You might upset the apple cart.’
“What I recognize in this flush of the new prophets is a fraternity of mutual, self-congratulatory men who affirm one another, and I do not fit in with that environment. They know it, and so I am not in that dimension.
“I am not known, or if I am known, I am either little known or scorned.”
– 2001

(Go to http://benisraelblog.blogspot.com/ to view Ben Israel Fellowship blog)