Monthly Archives: March 2012

Palm Sunday and Reconciliation

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,  on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”                                                               Zechariah 9:9, 10

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. ” Luke 19:41

I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to live at the time Jesus was walking the earth, to be a participant or spectator to his life and ministry. I did have the opportunity to tour the Holy Land in 1977 and have always wanted to return. There’s something special, almost magical, about walking where Jesus walked, visiting places he touched – Bethlehem, eating St. Peter’s fish on the Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, Golgotha, the Garden Tomb, to name a few. On the other hand, as a small-town Assemblies of God pastor’s son I was SHOCKED by all the Catholic, Orthodox and other religious shrines that dotted the landscape competing for attention and funds from the many tourists groups.

I think I would have relished the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, the chase to keep up with Jesus to get another morsel of bread & fish, the amazement of seeing another miracle or healing. The crowd and clamor at the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem would have had a festive, parade-like quality, giving one the sense of being part of making history. Honestly, I don’t think I would have wanted to be there a week later when He was arrested, falsely accused, beaten and whipped beyond recognition then brutally hung on a Roman cross – the ultimate humiliation – to suffer the cruelest of deaths, slow suffocation. I too, like the other disciples, would have fled and hid myself and my eyes from that horrific day.

But now, here’s Jesus riding into Jerusalem, coming as their King yet, “humble, gentle” riding on a donkey – actually the animal of Kings – yet coming in a gesture of Peace, not as a conqueror riding on a white steed. His was an offer of reconciliation between a people, a nation, and their God, a God they had always had a special relationship with and yet, because their religion had become institutional and corrupt, they hadn’t recognized Jesus as their Messiah. Things haven’t changed all that much. I have to admit that I too might miss Jesus because of my triumphalist desires and expectations.

To the Roman soldiers, this “Triumphal Entry” must have seemed laughable having witnessed the return of one of the Caesars to Rome from conquest and victory. One such event took three days of pomp and glory for Caesar to display the prisoners and all the spoil he had taken in battle.

Right up till today Jesus continues to come to us in humility and gentleness, with an offer of peace and reconciliation. He doesn’t approach us as a conqueror, though he is. Nor does he want to parade us through the streets as his subjects. He continues to approach us as a lowly servant, a suffering savior – that wasn’t part of the Jewish paradigm.

Prayer and reconciliation are the ministries I’m invested in. When I try to come as the expert, the one with all the answers and solutions, rather than in as a servant, carrying the love, grace, truth and presence of God, I end up sowing the very seeds, the weeds, that will blur and obscure the Work of God, the Misseo Dei,  I’m endeavoring to accomplish!

For God so loved the world that he gave….. He doesn’t just love soccer moms, suburbanites, the upwardly mobile, western people – but the World. This challenges and expands my world view.

As we commemorate and celebrate Palm Sunday 2012 lets look for and engage a mindset  of loving “our” world the way God does. We must have the same mind and posture as Jesus, who though God, did not grasp at authority and dominance but took the form of a servant and embraced the pain and suffering of those He met while at the same time extending to them the greatest gift of all – Salvation, Eternal Life and an intimate relationship with the Father of all Creation. Humility, servant-hood, suffering and compassion will accomplish far more than all our intellectual, theological, programmatic approaches. My thoughts for today and tomorrow! Lord, I want to be more like YOU, not just in the Church but as I live my life daily in this world.

Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord,

Ron Archer
North American Coordinator
International Reconciliation Coalition
 

To Contribute to this ministry send a check or Online Bank Payee:

IRC North America
P.O. Box 941749
Simi Valley, CA 93094-1749
Memo: North America
 
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IRC North America Update

 February – March 2012

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.” Amos 9:13

The above scripture speaks of a coming time when there will be an enormous harvest and time of fruitfulness. Spring is in the air—the trees are budding, flowers blooming, birds are singing and the days getting longer. A spiritual Spring is also breaking out in our county. For years we’ve been praying for unity and revival and we’re beginning to experience serious movement in that direction. Let me share a few things to illustrate this.

Eagles Nest: Identifying Redemptive Gifts of Cities  On March 2-3 our Eagles Nest group in Ojai organized a seminar to help us identify the redemptive gifts of our cities. Karen Vercruse from Chico was our presenter/facilitator. She’s been involved in significant city-reaching/reconciliation efforts across the USA and internationally. This teaching, based in deep historical research into each city/area, helps us strategize in prayer, reconciliation and outreach to more effectively heal our wounds and reach our cities with the Gospel.

Love Israel: Prayer for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora  On March 5th we helped Liliana McDermott of Jacob’s ladder, a Messianic Congregation in Ventura, launch a monthly prayer gathering for Israel. In light of growing anti-Semitism and the increasing pressure on Israel from surrounding nations and the rest of the world the timing couldn’t be more crucial. This gathering are take place the first Monday of each month @ Jacob’s Ladder, Ventura.

Chumash Reconciliation Gathering:  On Saturday March 10th we had a wonderful day in Saticoy (Ventura, CA), originally a Chumash village, meeting with a number of Chumash people from our county. Julie Tumamait-Stenslie, the Lead Tribal Elder, addressed a group of approximately 35 Pastors, Leaders & Intercessors from VC about the history and current challenges of the Chumash Community. We took time to protocol/gift Julie and her cousin Eleanor Arellanes, a wonderful Spirit-led believer, who helped open this door for us. We were joined by RainSong, (Terry & Darlene Wildman, First Nations Music & Storytelling) from Arizona and Red Spirit Ministry from Long Beach who presented Native American music and stories as well as assisting in our protocol of the Chumash. Pastor Rex Holt, Conejo Church in Newberry Park, hosted us along with a team who are getting ready to launch a new Church plant in Saticoy. It was their first “official” meeting at that location and they felt it laid a significant foundation for the vision of this new church.

After fellowship over a delicious Mexican lunch many of us went to a nearby 6 acre property, recently given to the Chumash, to pray over and bless the land. Greg, the caretaker of the land, had put together a circle of rocks with four entries in the cardinal directions and a pattern in the center that very much resembled a Star of David. The point was to enter the site in a respectful and honoring way. Greg says he has a vision of seeing the land developed and used for ministry. Please pray for our ongoing contact with the Chumash Community in Ventura County!

Simi Valley City-Wide Prayer Awakening: I’m one of the founders and members of the Simi Valley Praying Pastors. The SVPP has been meeting from 12-1 PM every Wednesday for over 15 years sharing & praying for each other, our city and churches . A fresh wind has begun to blow and we feel encouraged in our process of unifying the church to pray and work for an outpouring of God’s Spirit of Love & Grace in our City, County, State & Country. At the beginning of the year I shared my desire to see concentrated, collective, unified prayer with the Pastors and there was a very affirmative response.

We had planned to begin this Prayer Initiative on Sunday, April 1st (Palm Sunday) but due to another important  event that same night we’ve decided to postpone it until Sunday, May 6th. We’ll be meeting from 7-9 PM the 1st Sunday of each month and will begin at Church of the Living Christ but also plan to meet at other Churches in Simi Valley over time. Pastor Steve Pope and I have been meeting together to be sure we have the right focus and purpose for these upcoming prayer gatherings. We’re praying that we’ll have the favor of God and the other Pastors/Churches in Simi Valley. Please keep us in your prayers!

Family Update:  Kai turns 4 next week so I’ll be heading to San Diego this weekend to be with him and Rachelle and celebrate this milestone in his life. He’s a very big boy, like his daddy, but is also very sweet and loves his Opa (Dutch for grandpa). We always enjoy our times together which seem to fly by. It’s the first time I’ve seen them since Christmas when we were all able to be together—Rus flew down from Portland for a few days to be with us in San Diego. It had been over 2 years since I had seen him.

Financial Update:  I have always found it a bit difficult to talk about money. We all get so many letters and requests and we’re all faced with the same financial challenges. We’re also all poignantly aware of the rising cost of living—especially “Gas Prices” at the moment. I stepped away from my job at KL Megla-America and back into full-time ministry about 2 years ago and began to live by faith and on monthly support again—the partnership of family, friends and churches. God has been very faithful in providing for my needs and travel/ministry expenses. I try to live as simply and frugally as I can. Recently my support has dropped some just as expenses are increasing. I’m spending a lot of time in the car driving to meetings all over Southern California and find myself all too frequently at Costco filling up—again, at about $75 a pop. I share this primarily for prayer. Many of you are already partners in this ministry and have been faithful and generous in your support. I would value your prayers for me and the IRC North America. God is opening some amazing doors of ministry and I need His help and your prayers and partnership to be able to complete what he has called and gifted me to do. Thank you for standing with me at this time.

I have the privilege of working with wonderful, amazing, gifted and dedicated people, here and around the world. My passion is to network God’s people into communities of prayer, reconciliation and service that will transform our cities, state and nations. May He receive Glory through our lives and ministry to him. I’m praying that you too will experience a Spring Season in your life and ministry!

In His Shalom,

Ron Archer

North American Coordinator

International Reconciliation

If you would like to contribute to our ministry – send check or online bank payee:

  • IRC North America
  • PO Box 941749
  • Simi Valley, CA 93094-1749
  • Designation: North America