Behold, I make all things new! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? - Isaiah 43:19
The Lord has really been speaking to me this year about the new things he wants to do and the importance of having "new wine skins" in order to perceive these new things he is doing. In Matthew 9 it says unless we have new wine skins to hold the new wine, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined.
Since many of us can not relate to the analogy of a wine skin, a modern day analogy might be a can of vegetables. If you emptied out a can of vegetables, you wouldn't reuse the can and put vegetables back into it, especially if the can was rusty. The vegetables would become contaminated and wouldn't be edible anymore.
The wine skin or tin can represents our mind. Our mind needs to be constantly renewed by the Holy Spirit in order for us to perceive the new things God is doing.
Just as there are mysteries in the natural world yet to be discovered, there are mysteries in the spiritual realm that have yet to be discovered and the Lord is looking for people whom He can share these mysteries with. We could never exhaust the mysteries of God. Even with the gifts of the Spirit, scripture says there are many variations of the same gift (1Cor. 12). You may have the same gifting as other people but it is not necessarily going to look the same.
Often we want to hold onto the old ways of doing things or cling to what God did in the past. We want what feels safe and familiar. When we do this, we put God in a box and we become blind to what God wants to do.
Times are changing however and what worked in the past isn't going to necessarily work in this day and age.
This type of attitude is rampant in the Church! People like what is comfortable and they like to do things the same way they have always done them, even if it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Tom and I have also seen this attitude to a large extent in the Charismatic movement. Often times, people who were involved in the Charismatic movement in the 70's, want it to stay the same, with the same songs, same speakers, and same way of doing things.
Currently, there is a group of us that meet in our home and at the church once a month for praise, worship, an opportunity to practice the gifts of the Spirit and pray for one another. We do not call it a "Charismatic" prayer group because we believe the gifts are available to the Church as a whole and not just a fringe group of people. Also, hearing God speak is not just a "charismatic" thing. All believers are called to have a 2-way relationship with God. The way our God is different from the so called gods and idols of the nations is that we can hear Him speak to us in the depth of our heart. There are many Saints that heard God speak to them, had visions and other mystic experiences but were not labeled "charismatic". They also were not considered "Saints" at the time they had these experiences.
As far as our meetings go, we don't want to limit the people who come, so we don't want to get caught up in labels. There are also many Charismatic prayer groups that still meet in a small room or closet in their church and they haven't branched out from that or invited others in. They also do not use the gifts of the Spirit outside of these meetings. That's not what the gifts are for! They were meant to be taken out, beyond the 4 walls of the church and used to reach unbelievers!
Quite frequently we get people asking if we can play the older charismatic songs. There were some good things that came out of the Charismatic Renewal. If it weren't for the Renewal, I don't know if I would be alive or following Christ. Personally however, I have no desire to go back to what God did in the past. I want to move beyond that and be open to the new things he wants to do now! The next great move of God if going to look completely different than what He did in the past.
We need to allow Christ to renew our mind. There are great spiritual mysteries that have yet to be discovered and that God wants to reveal to us but we will miss it if we are only looking at what He did in the past.
1 Cor. 2:9-10 - "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God."