A Word from Pastor Michael
A Challenge Won, Another Issued
As many of you are aware from our service on the first Sunday of October, I firmly believe that God issued a challenge to the forces of darkness that have stood against our church and against you individually. Perhaps one of the most difficult types of services to oversee are those when the Spirit of God moves in silence, because we are so unaccustomed to silence in our culture. Yet, last Sunday God moved in just this way and I feel that we answered his call and stood our ground on his behalf in the face of a tremendous battle that the Lord had orchestrated. We have been called out and a door has been opened before us, now it us up to us to enter in and continue to pursue the destiny that God has placed in our hands.
Let me take my space in this newsletter, to more fully explain what I saw concerning the Maori styled challenge that the Lord issued to the enemy during our prayer time on Sunday morning and that the enemy responded to during our service. Let's start with some background on who the Maori people are and what a Maori challenge entails. The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and the "haka" is their traditional dance, used frequently (though not exclusively) as a challenge to their enemy before going out to war. War hakas were traditionally performed to demonstrate the strength of the people and to intimidate their enemy. With that said, why would the Lord choose to make this type of proclaimation before a service to honor him. As those of you who were present already know, I believe it was to draw the enemy in to a position of battle with us and then to destroy the forces of darkness that answered the call and arrayed themselves against us.
It would be helpful to understand the imagery of this event in order to better see what God was doing. The name "New Zealand" itself is our first indication of what is happening in this hour. Notice that the nations name could be easily pronounced as "New Zeal Land". I believe that the Lord is instilling a new "zeal" into us as his people and that the purpose for that zeal is to launch us into our labor in the harvest that is upon us. The ancient name for New Zealand was Aotearoa and it is loosely translated as "the land of the long white cloud". Interestingly, it was with a pllar of cloud (a long/tall white cloud perhaps?) that God led the children of Israel on their journey through the wilderness and to the Promise Land. I believe that God has set before us clear direction and a clear call and that it is now up to us only as to whether or not we will answer that call and move in the directions he has set for us.
Additionally, the term Maori itself is interesting in this context. The word maori literally means "normal", "natural" or "ordinary" and it was used to distinguish the ordinary native peoples of New Zealand (the Maori) from diety. The challenge issued in our service was one that pitted us as individuals and as a corporate body (in all of our weakness and foolishness) against the forces of darkness and our enemy was lured into battle much as he was against God's servant Job. Thankfully, the Lord never allows us to go out to battle alone, but rather he goes forth both with us and before us. As we began to declare the holiness of the Lord just as the Book of Revelation recounts the living creatures as doing, I believe the elders responded that He was worthy and further that we would exist by His will and in His image and we put on the Holiness of God in that moment. Our filthy rags were cast off and we were clothed in the Righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. We faced an enemy that cannot succeed in the presence of holiness and suddenly we were made holy before the Lord. Our enemy was defeated at the very moment that he expected triumph. Now we must walk in that victory as Children of the Light and allow the rivers of living water to flow from us and the light of God to shine through us to bring forth life from the harvest fields around us.
This was perhaps one of the clearest prophetic insights I have ever had in the midst of our service. I believe fully and completely that the strongmen that had been assigned to you and to this church were beaten and pushed back. Now we must AWAKEN, ARISE and TAKE the ground that the enemy has retreated from. By faith, begin now to move out in new areas, to speak out with new boldness and to act out with new authority and power, In the Name of Jesus!
To see a modern haka in the context of a rugby match click on the photograph above. Our expectation of how the service would flow on the first Sunday morning of October was that both Cedric and I would share in bringing the word. While it did not occur as expected, the Lord gave me the words of our "haka" in my prayer language during prayer and Cedric represented the movements and facial expressions during worship on the drums.