“What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?” we asked the 84 Israeli Messianic youth at the outset of this year’s Katzir (harvest) national, summer conference. Together we realized that when Yeshua said “Your Kingdom Come,” it was not mainly a reference to some future event, but an immediate prayer that His kingdom be expressed in the daily walk of the believer here on earth in very practical ways.
Our conference was held in the shadow of Mt. Tabor, which some believe was the Mount of Transfiguration. In the cool of each evening we gathered under the stars, led in praise and worship by the teens themselves. Then, into prepared hearts, speakers planted the vibrant seed of God’s word. The response of these young people, each one traveling through his/her own challenging journey of identity and faith, was remarkable. Some came forward, lifting their arms with abandon, signaling their surrender to the Lord. Others huddled together in small groups, praying with dedicated counselors.
Getting out of our comfort zone, to share the love of Messiah is essential for all of us. But for teens, who can get selfishly caught up in themselves, it’s crucial. So, during the camp one portion of the youth volunteered in senior citizen homes and in a home for disabled children. After seeing the challenging condition of those they served, more than one young person said “Wow! I’ve never been that close to someone so helpless. I didn’t think I could handle serving them, but once I began it was incredibly rewarding. I’ll never be the same.” The other group experienced an evening of open air outreach on the beach near Haifa. The teens themselves shared the gospel in creative ways using arts, music, and “treasure hunting” (a form of evangelism focused on hearing the voice of God to direct to specific people) to begin conversations with people. For many, it was the first time sharing their faith in public.
A Brick Wall
On the fourth day it felt like we hit a brick wall. After a long day of volunteering out in the hot sun, we came back to the camp grounds and faced some serious disciplinary issues. The morale of the group was deteriorating. So we decided to cancel the evening outreach and devote the entire afternoon and evening to seeking the Lord’s face. We needed God to show up; and He did! We experienced amazing breakthrough in the afternoon with many teens being touched very deeply. In the evening, the worship turned into a spontaneous time of moving testimonies and prophesying over the youth, something many of them are not exposed to very often. Chaim, our camp director, felt there was someone with pain in their leg who needed healing. He asked us to begin praying for anyone who had such pain or any other illness. Immediately after these prayers one of the young women came up with tears: “I’ve spent the last year and a half with pain in both legs. For the first time I’m relieved of all pain!”