It never ceases to amaze me just how often, when I am trying to work out what the next step should be, how God uses the picture of the actual physical Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem to help. This should be no surprise I guess, God is always using pictures of fortresses and rocks, doors and bread & wine – physical things – to describe and help us understand spiritual things.
In our case Hezekiah’s tunnel has always been a picture of God working through our lives collectively to find a way to bring His gifts – prophecies, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, healings, etc. – into the midst of the everyday life of Open Arms. The picture has been one of digging down, removing boulders and rubbish from our lives individually and collectively so that the Holy Spirit can spring up through us individually and collectively for the building up and encouragement of us all.
The real tunnel in Jerusalem was dug underground by two different teams of people and took many twists and turns before the teams finally met up.
When you look at the route the two teams took you can understand why it was such a miracle that they ever met at all. It is no surprise that – 2,700 years ago – no one else, not even the Egyptians, were successful at building something similar. With no guidance technology except people banging on the ground overhead, any tunnel that presumed to go as deep as Hezekiah’s was never going to go in the right direction all the time.
At Open Arms the leadership and many of us in the church have been crying out for God to move more powerfully by His Spirit and He has been answering. The results have been messy and challenging but then we should hardly expect it to be any other way. When Jesus entered His temple in Jerusalem it was sometimes very messy, coins everywhere, tables turned over, people in uproar.
In some ways the group that has been meeting on Monday nights for these last 9 months has been a part of this and in other ways we have been quite separate. The same can be said for the HT WhatsApp groups, in some ways a part of what has been going on in the whole OA community and in some ways separate.
Again, the picture of Hezekiah’s Tunnel should help us understand this. There were two separate teams working on the tunnel until they met up in the middle. The North Tunnel team digging from the Gihon Spring towards the Pool of Siloam and the South Tunnel team digging from the Pool of Siloam towards the Gihon Spring.
Last week I said I could hear the sounds of the South Tunnel diggers. It was very encouraging to me and it meant they were very close. Having talked to PJ and Sean during the week I believe the Holy Spirit is saying that there has been a breakthrough and the two teams have met. I hope you will all agree with me in this.
So what next? Well it won’t be the same as it has been. There are now no longer two teams but one working together for the same end – working with the Holy Spirit to bring the healing, pure waters of the Gihon Spring (His gifts and ministries) into the midst of all that is happening in the church.
There is still much digging to be done. The depth is not right yet in people’s lives for the Spirit to flow. He knows the level that needs to be reached and who, and how many, people need to reach that level.
Over the coming weeks we should all seek the Lord so that wisdom and insight is given to those appointed by the Lord to bring direction to Open Arms as to how to continue the digging. One thing is clear however, it will build on but not be through the existing HT2 or any HT3 structure. Something different and much more integrated with the overall OA program will need to be put in place. There is no longer a separate team digging a part of the tunnel. There is one team working on making the existing tunnel deeper and able to carry the healing waters into the midst of the church.
We will all know that work has been completed when we regularly see God confirming with signs and wonders that He is with us (Acts 2:22, Mark 16:20, Acts 14:3, Hebrews 2:4, Acts 2:43, Acts 15:12, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Acts 4:30, Acts 6:8).
I hope no one thinks we are there yet. That would be a great loss and make all the digging that we have all been doing to date useless. It would be like so many other unfinished projects of a similar nature that have occurred over the years I have been here in OA. Again the physical reality on the ground in Jerusalem shows a similar story:
There have been several efforts to bring the Gihon Spring’s waters to various parts of Jerusalem, the picture above shows at least 6 different tunnels and channels. Most of them have had a limited or little impact on the life of the city itself.
Similarly, in Open Arms, there have been many attempts by different people to bring healing ministries, prophetic teachings, etc. into the midst of the way OA operates. The leadership team have always been supportive of any Holy Spirit led efforts and have facilitated several themselves, including bringing Steve Williams along to give weekends of teaching on the prophetic to us. I have also been involved in several of these initiatives over the last 15 years as have several members of these Monday night meetings and the HT2 WhatsApp group.
OA is a significant work of God. It was started in God and has impacted the lives of many people. However the harvest is plentiful and the workers are still pitifully few. If we are to see this country reached for God something much more powerful and impactful will have to be happening than a few hundred people meeting in a shed every Sunday and a few 10s of them meeting in small groups during the week.
When you add together all the efforts of the many good men and leaders of life giving churches in this country together the impact is even more significant. However, you only have to have watched the Late Late Toy Show last week to realise just how irrelevant the character and name of Jesus is to so many of the millions of citizens of this country. If the aim of the Church is to spread the knowledge of Jesus’ name and character like salt and light in this land then it is clear we are failing despite all our efforts. We need to start seeing the impossible done much more often and much more obviously if people are to really believe and be saved.
One thing is clear, we have yet to see the Holy Spirit to move like He did in Acts in this country and I believe there is no other answer to the needs of this country than that.
With that in mind, please pray that the leadership of OA are given all the wisdom, courage and insight they need to work with the Holy Spirit so that His gifts and ministries can be released in a way we haven’t seen before. Seek Him earnestly over the coming Christmas break and let’s see what God does.
As there is no longer any need for a separate HT team I propose we close down the current works including the Monday night meetings and the WhatsApp group and await direction from the leadership of OA. We have done a good work and, though there is much left to be done, the way it will be done is going to be different from here on. That may or may not involve the Tree of Life ministries that we have been watching over the last three weeks.
Bless you all and keep digging!