Most of us toss around the word “friend” as casually as we lob our dirty socks toward the laundry basket. Friends—we think—are buddies, chums, or pals; people we “hang out” and “do stuff” with, or know from work or school. We call, text, and Facebook with their disembodied avatars; we meet them for lunch, accompany them on errands, and invite them over for dinner. We “go to church” with them, attend Bible studies, partake in fellowship meals—even pray, cry, laugh, and perform ministry together. But on what basis can we consider all (or any) of these acquaintances true friends? Surely, there must be more than mutual, interactive enjoyment, the sharing of common interests, or mere situational convenience. By what standard should we call one another “friend”? Read more
I have this stupid idea that if each of us can stop thinking about ourselves for one minute, and humbly read the Scriptures without imposing our own preconceived ideas, pet theologies and personal preferences on them, that we will agree on the plain, simple truth of the Word of God. In this fantasy world of mine (you know, the one in which I have stupid ideas), even so-called difficult passages of Scripture fail to hinder us, because we no longer stand to lose or gain anything except the ability to know and follow God’s pure and perfect Word. In my enchanted and magical wonderland, we as disciples of Messiah are wholly submitted to the principles and commands of Scripture—no matter what they say, how they make us feel, or the cost that they insist we incur. Read more
Adonai has blessed me and Esther with three amazing, young disciples—our sons Isaac, Josiah and Hosea. Like all human beings, our boys regularly have to contend with their flesh (their parents have to contend with it regularly as well!), but they are nevertheless remarkable, admirable children, and their desire to please their Abba and Imma and serve Adonai with their lives is self-evident. Yet despite the positive affirmations of others and our most objective assessment of their progress, as parents, we still wonder from time to time (like, every day!) if we’re getting through… if we’re teaching them the right way… if they’re going to be okay. Read more
As Messianics on a quest for self-definition and the recharacterization of our faith, perhaps the most fundamental, core issue we face is that we too quickly and easily revert to religion, mistaking it for a tangible relationship with God. As such, when we demonstrate the fortitude to reject a given religion (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, etc.) in pursuit of a “true faith,” we find ourselves believing that whatever road we feel led to travel next (i.e. “Messianic Judaism,” Hebraic roots, et al) must therefore be the way to get to Him. This might be true, except for the fact that many of us have issues with shedding our religious tendencies, and more often than not, end up simply exchanging one brand of religion for another. Read more
The following is adapted from the introduction to the inaugural edition of Messianic Jewish Issues.
Let’s face it: we all have issues—some of us more than others—and the sooner we admit it, the better! Of course, I am poking fun at the title of our new publication, Messianic Jewish Issues, which was deliberately named for its double meaning. Indeed, we all trip and stumble in our walk with Yeshua, primarily because of our own issues. But we also have legitimate questions about living the Messianic Life, and we need clarity and direction if we are to be effective people of God. Messianic Jewish Issues exists, then, for this very purpose: to begin to deal with the issues that affect us as disciples of Messiah in and around the enigma that is the Messianic Jewish Movement… and to do it with the same Scriptural integrity and honest exhortation that Perfect Word has always endeavored to employ. Read more