A few years ago we had the privilege of working with Rose Publishing Company
as they produced a six-part DVD curriculum
on the The Feasts of the Bible
from Leviticus 23. Along with the six messages on DVD there was a Leader’s guide and Participant’s guide developed that provides wonderful teaching for Sunday school groups and Bible studies to show how Jesus is the fulfillment of these Feasts. Through The Feasts of the Bible project many congregations and individuals have been blessed and enriched by this teaching and we were excited about the opportunity to work with Rose once again to film another DVD series on the book of Ruth.
Last week as we were in Los Angeles to film the messages for Ruth it became clear that there was a mutual desire to communicate that the book of Ruth is more than a Ladies Bible Study but rather something that could speak to the entire body of Messiah. In fact, the message of Ruth is relevant for each one of us as we understand that Ruth is the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament book of Romans. Both books reflect the call of God upon Gentile believers to make Israel jealous through the mercy shown to them. The goal is that through this teaching many would accept Jesus as their true Redeemer (Romans 11:13-15).
The taping of the six messages revolved around the three main characters of the book who as ordinary people were living in difficult times. We follow the life of Naomi, a lost sheep of the house of Israel, who leaves Bethlehem, the place of promise and hope, to go to Moab, a dark place cursed by God. In this book Naomi goes from being totally bitter, hating the God of Israel, to being totally blessed and praising the God of Israel. Throughout this book Ruth’s faith in the one true God of Israel shines out like a brilliant star against the backdrop of death and despair. Ruth receives surprising grace in Bethlehem and brings her mother-in-law back to the Lord. This grace to Ruth is given by Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, who prefigures the ultimate Redeemer, Jesus.
The filming took place at a newly renovated independent studio where the owners are believers who desire to honor the Lord with the projects they do. This was their inaugural project and most of the crew came from various walks of life. For some it was the first time to begin each day with prayer and then during the breaks we had opportunities to minister to individuals and share the hope we have in Jesus.
The filming of the messages is just the beginning of the project, the next step will be producing Leader’s and Participant’s Study guides. Please pray for Natalia Fomin as she works with Rose Publishing
to complete the project by late spring. May the Lord use the Ruth project to build up the body of Messiah in His grace and also to reach out with the mercy and love to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
By Natalia Fomin
The Middle East conflict is well-known to most people regardless of how savvy they may be about politics. A day hardly passes without breaking news of some sort of unrest, tragedy and turmoil, or even threat of war. The cry for peace is expressed from every side. The best experts are called to the negotiating table to carve out some sort of solution to the turmoil in the Middle East. Yet, we who know the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, understand that the road-map to peace in the Middle East is paved by yielding to the giver of Peace, our Messiah Jesus. He foretold to us that there would be unrest and rumors of war, and gave us the Great Commission to proclaim His Good News of redemption. Salvation is not found in politics, an economic plan, charity, or prosperity, but in a person, in the Name that is above all names, Yeshua the Messiah. This profound yet simple answer is unrecognized in this global race for the answer to peace in the Middle East.
Despite these seemingly gloomy times of unrest, we need to appreciate the fact that we are living in the most interesting of days. We are at the threshold of God’s prophecies being unfolded before our own eyes; the time of restoration, when Jewish people are being returned to the Land of promise, and to the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jewish people.
God’s work is thriving in Israel despite the clever schemes of the enemy, who seeks to destroy and to discredit the testimony of Yeshua. I was encouraged by my recent conversation with one of our partners in ministry from Israel to hear that God is bringing spiritual renewal and restoration to individuals, and His redemptive work is in full bloom. Of course, there are difficulties and struggles, but the Good News is going forward with power to save. We are privileged not only to be eyewitnesses of His grace, but also to take part in His great work. We, at Word of Messiah Ministries, are excited to be part of what’s happening in Israel. We would like to contribute as much as the Lord permits to build up individuals, leaders and congregational communities in the Land.
We are asking you to join us in prayer for several projects and upcoming ministry opportunities. We must cover Israeli believers in prayer as they struggle to build the Body of Messiah right in the epicenter of the world.
Sam and Miriam will be returning to Israel in November and also in January to evangelize, conduct training and help establish congregations in Israel in areas that span from the Negev to the coastal areas, as well as Galilee.
In the Negev area, Sam will be teaching at a Bible Conference. This is an incredible opportunity to train and encourage the most persecuted believers in the Land. They face daily insults and threats for the sake of the Good News, and fully understand the cost of following Yeshua.
In the coastal area, Sam will be sharing the Word and equipping believers to be a more effective witness to their respective communities. We are also very thankful to conduct training on congregational planting in a very strategic school, where leaders are being raised up and trained to go out into their various communities. Sam will be using the Planter’s Manual that we recently published. At this point we are working toward translating this important book into Hebrew so it could be used as a textbook in the school.
We are expecting to have the book Messianic Discipleship released in Hebrew by November. Our materials in Russian are continually being used for ministry in Israel. Recently our partners led an evangelistic outreach in central Israel. They utilized our tract “Why the Holocaust” and thousands of people received the comforting news of God’s love and sovereignty behind history. We have also completed translation of Messianic Discipleship, The Messianic Answer Book, and Messianic Foundations into Spanish. Our materials for women’s discipleship by Miriam have also been translated into both Russian and Spanish. Although we are eager to have our teaching materials translated into Hebrew, nonetheless, thousands of Spanish and over a million Russian speaking Jews are returning to Israel; therefore, we are ready to minister to them in their own language.
The fields are white unto harvest, but the resources and workers are few, therefore, your prayers will provide that increase from the Lord. May we labor tirelessly to reach out to the lost and make a difference in the lives of many for Messiah’s sake. May even this generation see the mighty works of God and give glory to Him. Thank you for standing with us and please keep praying for the Good News to go out of Zion and to Zion. May His grace and the spirit of supplication be poured out even today that many will be pierced in their hearts and put their faith in Yeshua even as it happened in the days of the apostles.
On February 28th at Hope of Israel Congregation (Word of Messiah’s congregational plant in Charlotte) had the privilege of hosting a Pastor’s Passover Seder Luncheon for Charlotte-area pastors and seminary students. The purpose of the event was to teach the leadership of the greater body of Messiah about His feast of Passover, and to assist in training them on how they can implement it in their church.
What a joy to see the room filled with leaders who desire not just to learn more about our Messiah’s Passover Feast, but also to teach it to their flock!
In total, we had 24 pastors, Bible Teachers, and seminary students in attendance. Using the elements of the Seder plate, Sam explained what each item represented and how all of Passover points to or represents Jesus. About midway through the luncheon, Sam was teaching on how the specific days of the selection and slaughter of the lambs prophetically corresponded to the exact days that Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as our selected Lamb, and three days later was crucified.
At this point, one of the pastors had tears streaming down his cheeks. Prayers of gratitude and praise were offered by the pastors as they shared the third cup of the meal, which is the Lord’s Supper. For many, this teaching was new and welcome. Eyes were opened to some of the deeper facets of how Passover points to Jesus, and hearts were touched by the beautiful picture of love and sacrifice that our perfect and spotless Lamb poured out for us. At the end of teaching, Sam opened up a time for Q&A. Great questions were asked, and most of the guests lingered afterwards, asking more questions and purchasing resources.
Please pray for the seeds that were sown to grow and flourish! Also, please pray for Hope of Israel Congregation, that they will be seen as a resource for the greater body of Messiah. It is our desire to partner with the churches in reaching the lost. We are all His servants, and we are more effective and have a greater reach when we work together for His purposes.
We had not been in the Phoenix area to minister for a number of years, however, recently the doors opened for us to attend the Messianic Leadership Roundtable. On Sunday we ministered in a wonderful church in the morning service. Then in the evening we met with a Bible Study group, who had been utilizing the Feasts of the Bible DVD curriculum that accompanies the Messiah in the Feasts book. A number of individuals had Jewish friends and neighbors, so it was an encouraging time to not only share my testimony, but also provide ongoing material to help them in witnessing. Additionally, we were able to connect with some good friends who were so gracious to lend us their car for the conference.
The three day conference led by Jewish Voice Ministries included wonderful teaching and sharing from leaders. It was a privilege to reconnect with leaders who we had not seen in many years. The teaching seminars included new ideas for sharing Messiah in different countries, instruction on updating our internet and social media outreaches as we learned from younger leaders what is working with them. Throughout the conference I was often led to pray for the dynamic younger leaders in attendance. I realized in a new way that over the next several years, we will be passing the baton of leadership to them. It was a privilege to encourage some of these young men as they serve Messiah.
The week flew by and it was time to get back to Charlotte but that morning we were to leave for the airport we discovered that during the night the bathtub in our hotel room had filled with water and was about to flood our room. The maintenance men quickly responded to fix the problem but since we had to leave for the airport I washed up in a sink and prayed for the Lord to bless through it all. Miriam went to grab a quick cup of coffee but before I could leave I started speaking with Marco the maintenance man.
We both laughed as I explained that glitches happen and he went on to explain that in these older buildings the pipes often get stopped up, so they need to be cleaned out from time to time.
I responded, “You know Marco there’s even worse stoppage than that.”
“What kind would that be?” he asked. I said, “Sin stops up our hearts, and cuts us off from God.”
I continued, “As a Jewish man my life was cut off from God but when I trusted in Jesus He gave me cleansing of sin, forgiveness and new life.” “Have you ever trusted in Jesus?” Marco responded, “Well my family is very religious.” I looked him in the eye and pointedly said, “ But have you ever personally placed your faith in Jesus?” Quietly he said, “I don’t know how.” So I explained the Good News and when I was sure that he understood I led him in prayer as he placed his faith in the Lord Jesus. And then according to my custom, I shared 1 John 1:9, and asked him to then take a moment of silent prayer. I reiterated to Marco, “God hears your heart so confess to God all your sins that you can think of, just to assure your heart that they are all cleansed by Messiah’s death.” I then prayed for him again that he would grow strong in the Lord.
“Marco would you please read John 3:16?” He did. “Now, Marco, read this verse placing your name in it.” And I asked him, “If you placed your faith in Jesus the Son of God what do you have?” He looked at the verse, and said, “I have Eternal life.?” “Yes,” I said, “and you will never go to hell but you will be with God forever.” Just then Miriam called me on my cell, “Sam, we have to leave for the airport right now, I’ll bring you a cup of coffee.” I replied to her, “First I want you to say hello to Marco, your new brother in the Messiah.” I handed the phone to Marco, and he was smiling ear to ear, and in response to Miriam’s question, “Did you trust in Jesus?” Marco responded and confessed the Lord for the first time, he said, “Yes, I have trusted in Jesus.” Miriam responded with a joyous, “Welcome to the family!”
I encouraged him to read the Gospel of John, and gave him my card, to write down anything he doesn’t understand and to email me his questions while putting him in touch with a congregation for him to attend in Phoenix. Thank you for your prayers as we continue to serve Messiah and share His Good News wherever He leads, whether to Israel in January, or to reach out to one divinely appointed maintenance man who the Lord so loves.
As 2012 draws to a close we want to express our appreciation and thankfulness for your prayers and support that has enabled us to keep reaching out with the Great News of salvation. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness and the doors that He continues to open. We want to give you a quick snapshot of this past year as we look forward to what opportunities the Lord will give according to the kind intention of His will and to the praise of His glory in Messiah.
Congregational Planters Conference
In December 2011 we held a 4-day Congregational Planters Conference here in the new facilities. There were over 50 people in attendance representing 14 congregations and fellowships to learn how to be more effective in planting new congregations and strengthening established ones. This conference was a success because Natalia Fomin, the organizer and project manager, along with WMM staff and volunteers from Hope of Israel Congregation worked tirelessly to bring it to pass.
Natalia also edited and published my book on congregational planting—Establishing Healthy Messianic Congregations to have it ready by this conference which was a great blessing.
Continued Ministry in Israel
In January 2012 we ministered in Israel and worked with congregations and leaders from the Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and Beersheba in the desert region. Our ministry in Israel continues working with leadership who are planting new congregations, and also with more established congregations to help strengthen them and their ministries. In light of this we spent time with individuals, small groups and congregations to encourage them in their various works in Israel. For our return trip to Israel the end of January 2013 we will be working with these same congregational planters and we appreciate your continued prayers for effective ministry in Israel. Thank you for praying for the believers in the Land who need our continuous prayers and encouragement to be a light for Yeshua as they reach out with the Good News. The translation of Messianic Discipleship is still in the process of being edited and printed in Israel in both Russian and Hebrew versions. Also several of our tracts are being translated into Russian for distribution to those ministries who would desire to utilize them.
Ministry throughout the USA and Canada
This past year I traveled to a number of cities to conduct leadership training, speak to mission boards and elder boards, speak at the Messianic planters for the Southern Baptist Convention and do outreaches. Besides speaking throughout North and South Carolina my ministry also included Richmond, VA, Columbus, OH, New York City, Kansas City, KS, Atlanta, GA., San Francisco, CA, New Orleans, LA, upstate New York, Groton, CT and a Bible Conference in Canada.
I continue to regularly work with individuals both on site at their congregations and also long distance through web based meetings. These Skype meetings give the opportunity to have more frequent discipling of men at various stages of their work in planting congregations and their discipleship both here in the states and in Israel.
And as I work with various congregations I find that God gives witnessing occasions as well. Just a few weeks ago I spent the weekend working with a congregational planter and his team to strengthen their infrastructure. The time together included speaking at the morning services with a period of Q & A. But there was an unexpected blessing as I had the opportunity to speak with an unsaved Jewish man whose believing son had invited him to attend. The congregational leader had recently given Mark* a printed chapter of Messianic Foundations where I covered the topic of God being a jealous God for His people. Mark asked me, “How can God be jealous if He truly is God, then He would not be jealous about anything right?” I answered, “Mark you are confusing jealousy with envy. God is not envious but rather he is concerned, zealous or jealous for His people. God is angry at the sin and zealous for His people.” After we discussed this idea together I shared my testimony with him and what began as a hostile question ended up with Mark being open and interested to learn more. We are grateful to sow seeds and know that God has a remnant that will respond to Yeshua.
Miriam loves ministering to women and besides speaking in several churches she spoke at four women’s conferences this past year in various locations including South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and the annual Hope of Israel women’s conference in Blowing Rock, NC. It is my privilege to regularly pray for many of you as you send us your prayer requests. Please let us know how we can remember you before the Lord this coming year! We pray that your life will be filled with the abundant blessings of Messiah Yeshua. Thank you!
During the Festivals and Feasts that the Lord has given us in the Scriptures, we have special windows of opportunity to reach out with the Good News of Messiah. To this, Hanukkah is no exception. It is an occasion to reach out to your Jewish friends and neighbors as you interact during this coming holiday season. Please consider the following suggestions as a way to reach out:1. Pray! First and foremost pray for an opportunity!2. Send a Hanukkah card to your Jewish friends.
This year Hanukkah begins at sundown on Saturday, December 8th and continues for eight nights.3. Engage your neighbors in conversation
, asking them how they celebrate it. You could ask them to tell you the story of Hanukkah as they learned it from their upbringing. Then share with them that the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament part of the Bible. They might be quite surprised to learn that Messiah Jesus celebrated this important part of Jewish history. 4. Share a tract.
We have created a tract entitled Messiah’s Hanukkah Message
that will be helpful to share with others or just to learn more about Hanukkah. 5. Explain how Hanukkah holds spiritual relevance even today
. For example, if king Antiochus would have had his way, all of Israel would have become assimilated into Greek worship and culture, and the Jewish nation would have for all intents and purposes ceased to exist. But if Antiochus would have succeeded in destroying the Jewish people, how could Messiah be born? How could God be seen as faithful to His people?
6. Invite your Jewish friends and neighbors to your home.
Traditionally fried foods are eaten like potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts as part of the celebration. 7. Invite your friends and neighbors to a Hanukkah Celebration.
If you are in the Charlotte area during one of our Hanukkah outreaches invite a friend to come hear Good News in the context of Hanukkah.
There is no better time to plant and water a seed than now utilizing Jewish Feasts and see friends come to salvation in Yeshua! Thank you for being Messiah's hands this season!
Messiah’s Great Commission to His disciples stated in Matthew 28:19-20 contains a command to make disciples. We can achieve this in various ways including:
- One-on-one for new believers
- Small groups for developing disciples
- And through the pulpit ministry
During our Annual Messianic Men’s Conference held on September 1-3, men who gathered together from various congregations and backgrounds, were unified in understanding the need for fulfilling the Great Commission.
This year, Henn Hetzroni was the conference chairman, and he and his team did a great job. The teaching was presented by Dr Michael Herts of B’nai Avraham (Hampton, Va), David Nixon (Hope of Israel, Monroe, NC), Tony Mardian (Hope of Israel, Roanoke, Va), Stephen Smith (Hope of Israel Congregation, Charlotte, NC) and myself covering the theme Fight the Good Fight —in the heart, for the home and for the community.
The Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles received the instruction on how to be victorious in their personal walk and in their spiritual leadership for their families, and in their outreach into their communities with the Good News. In the small group settings, they were able to discuss the practical applications for their respective communities. Additionally, some great ideas were developed and plans put together for implementation. Personally speaking, one of the most meaningful times of discipleship happened as the men prayed with each other, encouraged one another, and even challenged each other to press on to the mark of our high calling in Messiah! During extended times of prayer, there was not only confession of sins, but also a deeper commitment to trust Yeshua in areas of our weaknesses.
This ministry of encouragement spilled over into our meal times and informal discussions around the tables. All of these opportunities for spiritual growth were woven together by the wonderful times of worship led by Pat Campbell (Hope of Israel Congregation, Charlotte, NC). Great worship leadership was also provided by several members of Sha’arei Shalom Messianic Synagogue (Cary, NC) as they led us through Havdalah at the end of the Shabbat. By the end of the conference relationships were formed, developed and enriched in our mutual commitment to the Lord. And as a band of brothers we will continue to pray for each other as we press on to Fight the Good Fight of Faith for the glory of Messiah’s name.
Planning is already underway for next year’s conference. Next year’s theme will be Sharing Messiah and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Michael Brown, Fire Ministries (Concord, NC), who is an expert on answering objections to the Gospel.
Having plenty of opportunities to train other leaders, I realize the responsibility to appoint well prepared and biblically qualified elders, in order to lead healthy congregations to bring glory to the Lord and cause His kingdom to grow. The role of the elder can be seen in areas of prayer, teaching, and overseeing.
Therefore, it is my desire to start Eldership Training, so the servants of God will be ready and well equipped to live out the redemptive priorities through the three vital responsibilities: Ministry of Prayer, Ministry of the Word, and Ministry of Overseer.
Since these responsibilities are rooted in the person of Messiah Himself, in light of His own three-fold work as Priest, Prophet, and King. Messiah is our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). He is the prophet “like Moses”—not only did He prophetically minister the Word, but He is the Living Word (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Finally, He is the King of kings, the greater son of David (Isaiah 9:6-7). He oversees our activities by His absolute authority, reigning over our hearts and lives. His ministry is what we are to live out in our spheres of influence—in our hearts, homes, and congregations.
Prayer, Worship and Teaching
I think of prayer as the most important responsibility for a congregation. In fact, this may be the only aspect of congregational life taking place in Olam Haba (the world to come). In light of this, the ministry of prayer is preparing us for our future home. Prayer and worship can be considered together because, whether it is in singing or speaking, both prayer and worship are praises and supplications directed to the Lord and intended to bless and bring honor to Him.
Biblical teaching must be at the heart of prayer and worship ministry. The Samaritans did not have sound teaching, and thus it was wrong even if it was sincere (John 4:22-23). Worship has the additional by-product of further discipling in the truth. Additionally, worship may bring the truth of God and His salvation deeper into our souls. Therefore, sound teaching must be the basis of our prayer and worship.
The Scripture teaches that His house “will be a house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). The prayer ministry is the essential issue in victory—for Israel, for our homes, and for our congregations. Likewise, Paul tells Timothy that in the congregation there is to be prayer “first of all” (1 Timothy 2:1). Our community life is to be a Beit Teflilah, the house of prayer. Therefore, elder-led prayer is biblically normative. Men everywhere are to lift holy hands in worship, perhaps to show that prayer would be primary in how a man manages his own home (1 Timothy 3:5; 2:8). If men are not leading in prayer at home, how can we expect them to lead in prayer in the congregation?
Not only do we want to make sure we are praying as a community, we want the leaders to be praying for the community. In fact, one of the marks of the spiritual leader is that he leads in prayer. In the Biblical picture of heaven, the elders are forever falling down on their face before God, leading in prayer. They are prayer and worship leaders. Whether in the home or in the congregation, prayer prepares us for heavenly service like nothing else. May we all be found faithful to worship our coming King, Yeshua. We seek your prayerful support as we embark on this venture of Eldership Training in Charlotte, NC to raise qualified elders to teach the word and be good stewards of God’s flock.
Have you ever used the expression, “that was a divine appointment?” I know I have, but find myself always cautious to overuse this phrase in an off-handed manner, since it conveys that only God could have orchestrated the circumstances that just occurred. Just recently after ministering in a church in upstate New York, we decided to go to Lake Placid for lunch which was only ½ hour drive.
The elders of the church gave us a specific recommendation of where to go for lunch for good food and a lovely view of the lake. So with the GPS programmed we drove to what we thought was the right place, however after inquiring we found it was not the same recommended restaurant. I was pretty hungry and ready to eat, but instead we decided to drive a few more miles to find the right place. There were plenty of open seats, but we were seated at the end of a deck beside one other couple. Our tables were fairly close together so we struck up a conversation by asking what was good to order on the menu. This questions led to more discussion and for the next hour we spoke together about various subjects discovering that Morris* and Sherry* were Jewish and on vacation from Montreal.
At one point as Sam was explaining that we believe in a God of love that is expressed in Messiah’s coming. He said, “The Scriptures teach us that God loves both Jews and Gentiles equally with an everlasting love.” Sherry exclaimed, “This is wonderful news” and Morris added, “We didn’t go to synagogue yesterday but now we are getting a good drash (teaching).” We told them about Beth Ariel Congregation which is a place that expresses God’s great love for all people right there in Montreal. We parted by leaving them with several tracts including Sam’s testimony. As we drove away from this hard to find restaurant we were humbled by God’s timing and opportunity to share Good News.
It struck me in a fresh way that divine appointments are there for all believers to have because God has chosen each one of us to be His ambassadors even as Paul wrote to the congregation at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Messiah, be reconciled to God.
In fact, all of us have divine appointments each day. As His emissaries we have the privilege and calling to represent Messiah’s great love for all. It could be at the grocery store, on the job, at the gym, on vacation, at school, on the phone or any time we connect with another person.
We are so thankful for your prayers and we pray for you as well to have many divine appointments for Messiah’s sake.
I want to share one story with you which I hope helps others to see the need for healthy Messianic congregations. My wife, Michelle and I have been in prayer for discernment as to what we are to do in regards to a Messianic outreach/fellowship/congregation in our area.
There have been many mornings where I simply break down on my knees in prayer that goes something like, “Really, LORD, us? Me? Here in Roanoke Virginia?” As I have met with pastors in the area a common question is asked, “Are there really that many Jews in South West Virginia?” My answer is simple: there is at least one that does not know Messiah. One morning I wrote in my journal my struggles and my pleading with God to give me hope that we are on the right path and this is one incident of many that the Lord used to encourage me.
I was in Chicago for work and my plane was to leave at 8:09 pm but I received a text that it was delayed until 9:20 pm. Ugh, I really wanted to see my wife and babies and just knew that they would cancel the flight. I decided to go to dinner with a co-worker and at 6:30 I received a text saying, “Flight change, now departing gate F1 at 8:09.” Oh no, I will never make it. We jumped into a cab and begged him to get us there in time.
We ran into a tremendous traffic jam which was a major obstacle but miraculously the cab driver found an alternate (obstacle removed) and we made it to the airport with some time to spare. I got to the security check point and there was a huge line. I was very concerned that the line would not permit me to make it, and just then a security guard came and asked me to step into a newly forming line (obstacle removed). I was directed to go to a specific terminal which happened to be the wrong one but as I was running to make it from one end to the other they moved it again to the terminal directly in front of me (obstacle removed).
I could go on and on and so as I sat on the plane giving thanks to God for getting me there, a woman in her late forties sat down beside me. I had my Bible and an article about atonement on my lap to read for the flight. This lady (Sally) made mention of her husband working long hours and that he immigrated here with his family when he was age four from Israel. After some time we were talking about our kids and discovered that we share a mutual friend who, she said,
“goes to church with us”, to which I immediate said with joy,
“So, your husband is from Israel and he knows Messiah Jesus?” She said laughingly,
“Oh no, he will come occasionally for Easter or Christmas, but he always feels they are trying to convert him or save him so he just won’t go”.
So I let that sit while I regrouped, and then I told her that my wife and I are in prayer about planting a Messianic congregation in the Roanoke area to better communicate the gospel message to Jewish people.
I went on to share with her how hard it is for Jewish people to recognize the Jewishness of Jesus that most churches portray because it is so foreign, and they fear, as her husband does, losing their Jewish identity. Before I knew it I was sharing with her ways to show him things in Scripture, we talked about Isaiah 53 and we read it out loud there on the plane. I kind of felt like a ‘street corner preacher’ as the people sitting nearby were all listening intently as I shared how we as believers need to be sensitive and understanding. Then she told me this which broke my heart, her husband’s uncles and aunts were all taken to death camps, but his parents were able to escape with him and his sisters. This discussion seemed to be a breath of fresh air for her. I think she began to have hope for her husband to come to faith. She was beginning to understand the obstacles he was running into in seeing the Messiah that our people are looking for.
It wasn’t until I got off the plane that I realized what had been happening, I believe there was a divine appointment which I needed to make on that plane. I share this with you as one example of the kinds of “Jewish Opportunity” there is among the many Jewish people throughout Southwest Virginia. There is work to do and God is faithful in encouraging us whenever we get weak in the vision.
We want to thank Word of Messiah Ministries for helping Michelle and I as we try to be obedient in what the Lord has revealed to us to do thus far in the planting of a Messianic congregation here in Roanoke, VA.