While in Ukraine recently four men from in a church in the Republic of Kazakhstan gave me several gifts as a thank you for what the Lord had done for them through our team’s ministry. One of the gifts was an authentic wine skin from their nation. A really special gift that arrived home safely in my long lost luggage. It sits near the desk in my study to remind me of these great men and their country (I hope to be there with them in 2009 as they have extended an invitation – and I have already invited my friend Dima (our second host) from Ukraine and Miroslav my interpreter to go with me). It also reminds me of the Lord’s comment.
Luke 5:37-39 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”
In other words – without going into too much depth about this comment – one obvious conclusion is that “Before the new wine can be poured, a new wineskin must be created.” (Brother Yun – Living Waters – page 266).
Well, in my humble opinion, the Church in North America is in trouble. I know, that was a blanket statement – but true in most cases. We have tasted the “old wine” and seem satisfied and think the “old” is better than the “new”. But, in some nations they were prevented from tasting the “old wine” due to communism and so are beginning to experience the “new wine” and like what they are seeing and tasting. They have no desire for the “old wine” because they have no idea what that might be and what that might taste like. They are too busy doing as the psalmist states: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. They are on the cutting edge of a new move of the Holy Spirit and are enjoying the taste of the “new wine” that the Lord is pouring out. And, interesting enough, they have a new wineskin that hardly resembles what we have here in North America. Thank you Jesus!
This “new wineskin” includes a lot less structure to their Church – a distinct lack of titles and “official positions” and a simple “do the ministry” and put your hand to whatever you see in front of you that needs to be accomplished. If there is a base guitar player missing at this service and you can play base guitar – go for it (just one of many, many examples). This “new wineskin” is one based in servanthood and loving the Lord, self and each other with their whole heart. This “new wineskin” is to do the will of the Master which is to “seek and save the lost” and that is priority number one everywhere you turn. Their worship is also a“new wineskin”. Yes, they have a few of the songs we sing here – but the vast majority of their worship choruses are home grown and new … and are seriously focused on loving and worshipping Jesus unlike a lot of the songs here which are declarations about the Lord and songs we address to one another about the Lord. And, their culture is much more entwined in their music and worship than the “no name” brand of worship we have here. There are no time limits to worship and the Word as they simply enjoy being in God’s Presence and will stay as long as the Lord wants them to – no time frames and so no time pressures.Great “new wineskin” in my opinion. It’s not that they are not busy people because they are and they have all the pressures of family and finances that we have here and more so due to the economic situation they face that does not exist here. They stay because they seriously love the Lord and find strength and refreshing in His Presence. And oh so much more!
I believe that in a short time they will be sending apostles and prophets to our nations here in the West to help us to discover this “new wine” and to teach us what the “new wineskin” should look like. But first we need to desire the “new wine” and walk away from the “old wine” which is familiar and comfortable. We need to defeat the spirit of religion (born again religion is still religion) and tradition that keeps us tied up and focused on things that are seriously insignificant and of little value to the work of the Kingdom and the salvation of souls. We need to become a “lean and mean machine” as the Church of Jesus Christ in North America and free ourselves from all the baggage that we have accumulated over the spiritual seasons we have lived through. Time to strip and get naked and let the Lord of the Church give us His “new wineskin” to cover us and equip us for the worship and the work that is set before us so that He can pur out His “new wine” into us.
I for one am ready and pray that it happens soon… I am weary of what now is and am not sure how much longer I can work with the apathy and lethary and lack of concern for the lost – when there is so much that can be done elsewhere in the world where people are actually hungry and excited about the Lord. (Excuse me for expressing my personal opinion and a feeling or two. I will stop before I really get going here).