I don’t know about you, but since the beginning of the year, God has been softening me up. On New Year’s Eve, I woke up with the song “Auld Lang Syne”
going through my mind. A little web research revealed that Robert Burns of Scotland had rewritten an ancient Scottish poem in the 18th Century into the words we know today. It’s the most widely sung song in the English language and the words, “Auld Lang Syne” actually mean “old long since.” The words of the song and its captivating melody extol the fond boyhood remembrances of two Scottish men separated by time and place calling them to drink a cup to “days long in the past.”
In the middle of this internet search, I began to cry. In fact, I’ve cried more often since January 1, 2004, than I have in years, not from sadness, but from the deep joy of the Holy Spirit. With that tune still playing in my head on New Year’s Eve, I ran into a friend at the store whom I hadn’t seen in 19 years. She had left the church years before under unhappy circumstances. I was genuinely glad to see her and through tears I began recalling our happy moments and offering to get together with her for lunch. The lunch we had two weeks later lasted five hours, and the renewal of our friendship softened my heart even more and created an open door to a prison in my home state of Texas.
Since January 1 unresolved personal struggles that would have festered in the darkness of denial without His healing light are coming to the surface in a number of places we’ve heard about. In our congregation, we are talking a lot about walking in that light, about forgiveness and transparent honesty.
The winter is over and gone. The Happy Farmer is back in town plowing up our fallow ground again, and I believe He’s preparing us to receive a new planting.
I believe that the Holy Spirit is bringing the body of Christ back to the cross right now, to our never-ending but often underestimated need for the blood of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but as I saw “The Passion of the Christ,” I got “hit” with a new dimension of His presence. All of a sudden, I wanted more than anything to be like Jesus, and I got a better understanding of what my sins cost Him.
Just this week, we heard first hand reports that the movie opened in the Arabian Peninsula with theaters full of Muslims crying, gasping and reacting the same way we all did when we saw Jesus’ back laid open for our sins. Muslim men’s groups are inviting Christians they know to talk to them about the life of Jesus. God bless little ole’ Mel Gibson. I think he just evangelized the “10-40 Window” by accident. His movie “has done more for the gospel,” Billy Graham said,” than a lifetime of sermons.” If the response to that movie is any gauge of spiritual hunger, something major is up in the earth.
This issue is designed to tantalize your spiritual hunger with articles that will encourage you to wake up to this new season in God. Steve Witt teaches about spying out your city’s history and praying its prophetic destiny into fulfillment. Ivan and Isabel Allum’s article will help you stir up the prophetic flow within you. Lynley Allan encourages you to let that flow splash on unbelievers who cross your path. Our friend, John Scotland, who has finally become sober enough to write, has written a wonderful article about what feels like to be made a living sign and wonder. After you finish reading, maybe you will also feel that something is up in the earth and that God has you in the right place for such a time as this. So let’s drink the New Wine to what God has done with us in the past and pray that we are ready to enter into this new phase of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
Originally Published July/August 2004 Editor Melinda Fish