As we approach the Feast of Shavuot, or Pentecost, I find myself once again asking these questions: What was God’s purpose in sending the Spirit? Do we have his power—the very same supernatural power that the early church received on that day? And if we do, how exactly does the Spirit manifest himself through the ministry of Caspari?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, pray in tongues, and lay my hands on the sick—who sometimes actually get healed. And yet it often seems like his unique work can easily go unnoticed or even be mistaken for ordinary human gifting and activity. So one more question must be asked: How do we discern the Spirit’s work, and know that we are not wasting resources on mere human endeavors but are pleasing God by letting his Spirit be our divine Helper?
If Caspari was, say, an evangelistic ministry, the job of discernment would be easier. A genuine conversion from unbelief to faith in Jesus would be a wonderful proof, since only the Spirit can accomplish this. The same would go for a deliverance from demonic oppression: in Matthew 12:28 Jesus said it was by the Spirit of God that he was casting out demons. But Caspari’s main thrust is neither evangelism nor exorcism, but teaching. We teach and train believers, usually with no dramatic manifestations taking place, because in a teaching ministry the Spirit transforms hearts and minds, quietly working in the invisible realm. But since in the Messiah God became man, the fruit of the Spirit’s work is visible—as in the case of G., the mother of Yael and a participant of our Shabbat school seminars. She says:
I was at the main lecture, listening to Pastor Daniel Yahav’s message about loving the kids who are different. As he shared about his personal struggle to be patient with his adopted son, who has Down syndrome, I kept thinking of my own struggle with my daughter’s ADHD. Even after I understood the syndrome and realized that Yael is not ill-willed, my temper was often still too quick and I lashed out at her. As I was listening to Daniel, he shared a scripture I knew, but never heard with my heart: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).
When he read it, I felt like God himself spoke to me, warning of the serious danger that my daughter and I were in. The fear of the Lord hit me as I realized that my unjust anger could become a stumbling block for Yael, leading to disastrous consequences. Right there and then, in the middle of the lecture, I began to inwardly pray with a passion I never knew before. I cried out for the grace to overcome my impatience, and continued in this prayer for several months. Looking back today, I can see that Daniel’s message was a turning point in my long struggle. I am still far from perfect, which keeps me on my knees, but there is a definite change in my communication with Yael, and she sees it too.
If that is not a testimony to the work of the Spirit, then the earth is flat, you come from the moon, and I am a grizzly bear. Please keep praying for G., her ministry in her congregation’s Shabbat school, and our seminars. The Holy Spirit is not a solution, but the only solution to many of our problems!