April 25, '11 2:11 PM
By Regner Capener
Barrow, Alaska is the farthest north inhabited place in North America and (to the best of my knowledge) either the farthest north or second farthest north continuously inhabited place in the world.
It is a community where I spent 13 years of my life, both helping my father to build and establish a church and subsequently pastoring in the community years later. It is a place where the sun never sets in the summer for 86 days, and never rises in the winter for 66 days. With a summer temperature average (as judged by the calendar and not the actual summer that takes place) of 39 degrees F, and a winter average temperature of -25 degrees F, Barrow isn’t exactly the tropics. Nevertheless it does have a summer of about six weeks (sometimes longer) with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s (and on rare occasions and high holidays, in the 70’s).
As I’ve already noted in these Coffee Breaks, Della and I are making preparation to return to the arctic for ministry in Barrow, as well as in Wainwright, Point Hope, Nuiqsut, Atkasuq, Kaktovik (on Barter Island), Kotzebue and Nome – just to name some of the coastal communities. Back in the late 1950’s, my father took Howard Andersen, a Swedish Evangelist, with him and they traveled the arctic coast of Alaska beginning at Kotzebue in a 16-foot open fiberglass boat, conducting evangelistic meetings in every village, community and summer campsite all the way to Barter Island on the arctic Canadian border.
That’s an adventure story worth retelling all by itself one of these days, but that’s not where I’m going today. What the Holy Spirit has put in our hearts is to revisit those communities and to build upon some spiritual foundations that are already laid. At the same time, we have a television producer interested in accompanying us in our travels and working with us to produce a documentary that will tell the story and share the testimonies of some of the folks who are still around whose lives had those spiritual foundations established.
There was a remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit that took place across the arctic in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and generations of families were impacted by that outpouring. In the spring of 1980 while in Barrow, the Lord showed me a new move of His Spirit that would result in people literally falling on their faces in the streets crying out in repentance and turning to the Lord. Roughly 20 years later, Dwain McKenzie (a lifetime brother in the Lord and fellow pastor) was ministering in Barrow and he called me on the phone (Della and I were in Texas at the time) to report that vision coming true as a reality.
Because of the day in which we live and the nearness of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we feel impelled to impart the urgency of the hour and to ensure that folks understand the necessity for the Bride of Christ to “make herself ready” for His coming.
We are looking towards putting together – or more accurately, seeing the Lord put together -- ministry teams to work with us in ministering in these communities scattered throughout the arctic and throughout the Aleutian chain. I’m hoping to meet with a pilot in a couple of weeks who will fly us from village to village and town to town. When Jesus sent forth His disciples, He always sent them at least two by two. They never ministered by themselves. There was good reason for that.
There is simply no substitute for the power of agreement. When you have brethren ministering together who are in harmony with each other, who know each other in the Spirit and not just after the flesh, and know how to operate with an ear to what the Holy Spirit is saying for any and every given situation, what you get are the signs and wonders that Jesus promised.(See Mark 16:17)
You’ll remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:19: “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
That word “agree” does not by any stretch of the imagination mean “mental assent” nor does it convey the idea of being in agreement on some issue or another. The Greek word in the original text is sumphoneo – the same word which is the root of our English “symphony.”In a musical sense, this word draws a picture of intertwining notes, always being close to each other, always being in harmony, always flowing together. It denotes perfect accord, united objective and purpose, and the ability to always support the others, flowing, functioning and completing as one.
We have the perfect picture of sumphoneo in Father, Son and Holy Spirit – perfect harmony, perfect purpose, different functions and positions but always working as One.
THAT is what I believe God wants for us as we travel and minister in the villages and communities, and that is what we see the Lord putting together as team ministry.
Hmmmm… I sort of got going there in my introduction. Anyway, Greetings and Salutations! Grab yourself a good cup of some French-Roasted coffee, have a donut or a roll and pull up a chair. Let’s get back to Ezekiel.
Guess I’ve commented on this fact before, but once again I still find it amazing when I think back on my conversations to realize that I was being spoken with like an adult instead of a nine- or ten-year-old. If that fact alone did anything for my understanding it was that in the realm of the Spirit, there is no such thing as “age.”
In Heaven, I was not nine or ten years old. This was something that – while it was as tangible as anything I could see, hear, taste, touch or smell in the flesh – was taking place in the eternal dimension: the Spirit!
You’ll recall the scriptures I quoted in earlier posts such as the one where the Lord speaks to Jeremiah and says, “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified (or set you apart) you and ordained you to be a prophet unto the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5)
Then there was the revelation that came to David.“Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days of my life were written, before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.”(Psalm 139:16)
Thus, when I was born, the Lord already knew me and had already placed His call and His ordination into my DNA.I had pre-existed with the Lord in Heaven, just as all of us had. So you’ll excuse me if I tell you that my 69 years here on Earth are a fraction of my existence in the realm of the Spirit. When Ezekiel (and all the others) carried on their conversations with me, therefore, they were conversing with someone whose spirit knew no time and was far older than 9 or 10 years. That revelation still really grips me periodically!
Even so, when Ezekiel was sharing (as noted in the previous post) about things that were going to unfold in my life and warning me not to become reactionary but to hold things steady, he was speaking to me as one who would return to this time-space-based existence out of eternity and have to function throughout the years in time as a representative and voice of the Lord.
This brought our conversation to something I had seen in the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel. God was speaking to him and saying, “Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.”(Ezekiel 33:30-33)
“Would I be right in thinking,” I asked, “that the Lord was identifying you in the same manner as one of sons of Asaph, Heman or Jeduthun whom David appointed to prophesy musically with their instruments?”
“You would be absolutely correct,” Ezekiel answered.“Although the Scriptures do not dwell on this point – and it probably was not necessary – my family was Levitical.Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun were all Levites. When you follow their lineage throughout the Word, you find those families always involved in prophetic ministry, and always a part of what God was saying to His people. Their heritage was my heritage. Invariably, they would sing the Word and play skillfully on their instruments. That anointing made the message they were sent to deliver something that would remain in the minds and spirits of the hearers.
“God’s Word – all by itself – has an eternal staying power to it, but setting that Word to the music that His Spirit would cause to rise up made it stick in the memories of those who would hear it. The melody that went with that Word would continually rehearse in the minds and spirits of people and cause the Word of the Lord to come back over and over and over. The music gave it a declarative force that people just couldn’t evade.”
Ezekiel paused for a moment in his narrative before becoming more personal.
“My father, like his father before him, and his father before him throughout the generations, was both priest and prophet. He was part of the same thread of singing prophets woven throughout our Levitical heritage beginning with Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. My father’s name was Buzi. In Hebrew that means “to scorn” or “to be despised.”His name all by itself was a prophetic picture. It was a picture of the state to which Israel had fallen. He was scorned in the same way that Israel and Judah scorned the Law. They scorned and despised the Word of the Lord, and they ridiculed and made light of our acts as priests in the offering of burnt sacrifices for sin.
“Growing up in that environment where I saw what my father endured somewhat prepared me for the role God called me to. I knew the power that could be exercised with music. I knew that the Word could be made extremely effective if it was sung or played on an instrument. It was an easy resolution in my youth, therefore, to apply myself to learning to play various instruments.
“In his day, David developed what we called the “psaltery” – an early predecessor to the guitar you now play. It became my favorite instrument to play and I practiced until my fingers were so sore they could hardly stand to touch the strings. But I stayed with it. Throughout the years, I became skilled at the psaltery and harp so that I could pick one of them up, close my eyes, and just get lost in the reverie of the presence of the Lord.
“As the prophetic ministry began to unfold that God called me to and His Word began to flood my being, it became a cry in my spirit. I literally felt His disappointment at Israel’s backslidings. That cry began to come out of me in songs of tender love and mercy as the Spirit of God yearned for His people’s repentance and return to Him.
“Jeremiah and I prophesied to Israel and Judah during much the same time. What Jeremiah preached and prophesied as declarations and decrees came out of me as songs. Although he and I never actually appeared together in our declarations of the Word God was speaking, it was always clear that we had been sent to Israel and Judah as a prophetic team. We often spoke nearly the same prophetic utterances although we never once compared notes with each other prior to prophesying.
“Sometimes his declarations and decrees were – in my opinion at the time – the more explosive and impacting than those I was commanded to deliver. It seemed that because of my nature and my ability and inclination to impart and convey the Word as a song or as a psalm it lacked the dynamism of Jeremiah’s delivery; and yet I knew that God was using my prophetic methodology and delivery to reinforce that same Word to the people.”
Ezekiel paused in his sharing and I seized the moment to ask him the following:
“As you sang and played on your instruments delivering the Word of the Lord to the people, did you ever feel like it was the Lord who was doing the singing or playing? Did you ever have the sense that you were nothing more than the instrument He was playing?
“Maybe I can put it like this. Did you ever have the sensation that you were hearing the words come out of your mouth but it wasn’t you actually speaking? Did you ever feel that when you plucked the strings of your psaltery or harp that you were watching your fingers perform in a way you knew you couldn’t – that the music coming forth was being supernaturally created? There! That’s what I’m trying to ask! Did you ever feel like your voice was His voice, or that your fingers or hands were His fingers or hands?”
“In a word, Yes,” he responded.“But that response really doesn’t do justice to what I saw, felt and heard. One of my contemporaries, along with Jeremiah, was a young prophet by the name of Zephaniah. He gave forth a short but powerful Word that I think expresses it better than any other way. After uttering an edict of woe, here’s what Zephaniah prophesied:
“For the Lord your God [who is] in the midst of you is mighty; He will save, He will rescue, He will avenge you and get the victory; after which He will rest in silent satisfaction in what His love for you has done. Then He will shout over you with songs of joy and exultation!”(See Zephaniah 3:17 – expanded)
“When Zephaniah let loose with that Word, I honestly could hardly contain myself! He was describing and declaring that the Lord Himself was singing! I knew he had captured the essence of what was happening inside my being when I almost felt like an onlooker to what was happening – even though it was my voice speaking and my fingers strumming and plucking the strings. He was confirming for me what was happening as I sang the prophecies. Those times when I had the 3rd person onlooker sensation were real! It WAS the Lord singing and playing through me and He Himself was crying out to His people.”
Now Ezekiel had me going! I couldn’t resist the next question.
“What I don’t understand is, if the Lord Himself was doing the singing or the playing, and He was pleading with Israel, why didn’t they listen and pay attention? It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could actually resist the direct voice of the Lord like that!” His answer was instantaneous.“Let me take you back to the Word that the Lord spoke to me, even in the midst of my singing and prophesying. Remember this?
‘As for you, son of man, your people who talk of you by the walls and in the doors of the houses, say one to another, every one to his brother, Come and hear what the Word is that comes forth from the Lord. And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear the words you say, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after and is set on their idolatrous greed for gain.
“Lo, you are to them as a very lovely love song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument, for they hear your words but do not do them. When this comes to pass – for lo, it will come! – then shall they know, understand and realize that a prophet has been among them.”
“Now you understand, don’t you? The people had shut their hearts off to receive the truth! They listened to the words coming forth, but they heard it as music, as entertainment to please their ears and their souls – NOT as the Word of the Lord. Never mind the fact that they came to listen supposedly to hear what the Lord was speaking, it didn’t fit with their mindset, their personal agenda; and so they ignored it!”
Ezekiel finished his conversation with me like this:
“Your next conversation is with Daniel and he will add to what I’m about to tell you. You may not remember these words and they may disappear from your conscious memory for many years, but the Spirit of the Lord will bring them back to you at the appropriate time. The cry of the Lord in your being has been birthed, but it has yet to come to maturity. In the years to come, you too will begin to prophesy with instruments and declare the Word of the Lord to another generation.
“You too will experience the frustration of people not paying attention or heeding the Word of the Lord and you will cry out for answers. The Spirit of the Lord will bring you back to the same Word that He spoke to me about folks hearing you sing and play and considering you a fine musician, but they will not hear the words that come out of your mouth until they actually begin to see them come to pass.”
He was right! I completely forgot this Word and put it out of my mind until the Holy Spirit brought it back to me at age 33 when I was ministering at Long Beach Christian Center. The Lord reminded me of that Word during a period of extended fasting and prayer and crying out to the Lord for answers. It was during that same time frame when the Holy Spirit brought back Jeremiah’s instruction to me and the prophetic Word God had used him to implant in my spirit.
Next: HEAVEN XV: Daniel.
A paradigm shift is taking place in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has been preparing the Bride to show forth the greater works that Jesus promised. We are in the midst of a huge transition. That which God is about to reveal will shake and shatter the religious foundations of the calcified church!
Blessings on you!
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