Conservative? Liberal? Red Herring! Each are the sides of the Same Coin!

Conservative? Liberal? Red Herring! Each are the sides of the Same Coin!

I am sick of hearing the Right and Left bicker over politics. Each think they are representing G_d, and accuse the other of representing the Devil. Balderdash! It’s all Greek to me. I think that the best idea is a middle ground position that the Rabbis termed “Tikkun Olam” or repairing the world.

Ah, you say! That’s exactly what each side says it is doing! Right! I say, but they are not! Let’s look.

One side says that the “Right Wing Fundamentalist Christians” are trying to gain power to make us all religious, like any Religious Fundamentalists, it is posited, they only want power over the poor and disenfranchised. They cling to their Bibles and read them literally, without finding the relevance in them for today. They make it say what they want it to say to justify their ungodly positions. In some ways, this accusation is correct, but in others it is not, and there is also a third thing that makes them the SAME as the accusers.

The other side says that those “Left Wing Liberal Christians” are trying to make us into a Communist Country. They are robbing one group to help themselves. They are just looking to get power over private property so they can spend it on their own preferences. They discredit the Bible and then try to make it say what they want it to say to justify their ungodly positions. In some ways, this accusation is correct, but in others it is not, and there is also a third thing her that makes them the same as their accusers.

When you look at the accusations you see that they mirror each other. Both have at the core, a desire to be one’s OWN G_d. There is no sense of unity, no sense of understanding the “other’s” view, just same colored rocks lobbed over the fence at the “other”, which ironically, is who each SAYS they are fighting for.

In the Greek worldview, which the West is primarily steeped in, individuals or individual groups are the focus. Individual’s rights, individual’s culture, choices, etc. overtake the greater good. When we see a disenfranchised “group” be it the popular one or even our own peer group, we have a tendency to become myopic in our ability to see G_d’s concern for them and are only able to see our own. Unfortunately, unlike G_d, we are not Sovereign, nor are we impartial. Each group sees their OWN special interest. What we like to do with our own opinions is drag G_d into it. We self justify by saying “surely G_d would agree with me, that’s how I read His Word”. We superimpose our agenda, our individual preferences onto G_d and His Word. But, is this the way G_d actually works?

Is G_d interested in our petty fights? “Petty? you say. What’s petty? about this issue or that issue”. We are saving the world. We are repairing injustice. That’s the key word…Justice. Who determines that?

Very often the thing we forget is that G_d is not required to bless OUR actions. Rather, WE are required to go to Him, and ask permission as well as the power and help to accomplish HIS not OUR will.

 

Our G_d, while interested in individuals, and individual groups, has determined the divisions for those groups. We, in our minutiae laden categories, forget that G_d has a plan to ultimately unite the two groups, yes two, that He has identified. Those two groups are Israel, and everybody else.

But WAIT a minute…how about the church, the disenfranchised, the other religions, the other…whatever…. What? Did you think He forgot? Or maybe He’s on vacation…better yet sleeping…does G_d sleep?

Our agendas, no matter what side of the political (yes political) coin we are on, very often clash with G_d’s stated purposes and G_d’s stated categories. We decide rather than allowing G_d His rightful place to do that. We do not ask, nor do we follow, we just demand. We make our OWN gods. Hmmm, sounds like Gentiles huh? Yeah, that’s what G_d told Israel to stay away from… other gods.

Repairing the World together…Tikkun Olam is about working with G_d, allowing His Sovereignty, whatever that is, and joining with His people Israel to bring about His Shalom…

 

 

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The Heart of HaShem

 

I was asked to present this paper for your conference this week so that I could participate with you as you learn about HaShem. Who is HaShem? It is a Hebrew rendition of the name for G_d; an evasive synonym. Why would people avoid saying the name (HaShem) of G_d? Because He is Holy, and other and worthy of our Utmost Respect. We as people should honor Him above all. Yeshua did, in everything. So in this paper, we will do the same. HaShem means, “the name”; for now that is how we will refer to Him, later, we shall see another way to refer to Him.

It is impossible for Christians to understand Jesus without understanding His religion. It was not, as current believers sometimes understand, Christianity. Jesus was Jewish. He came from a long line of Jewish people. As such, He did not think about things like church, sacraments, saint days, Sunday School, Christmas or Easter. All of those things were made up by Gentiles decades and even centuries after Jesus left this Earth. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles and New Testament writers were Christians, they were all, until their dying day, faithful, Torah observant Jews. Additionally, Jesus’ name was NOT Jesus. Jesus is a transliteration of a transliteration of a translation. Jesus’ mother called him Yeshua. In honor of Him, so as not to obscure his identity, this paper will refer to Him by His name, Yeshua.

I thought I would bring you a study on how HaShem began to show His people Israel how He wanted to be known. The “Israel” of the Sinai Desert was made up not only of circumcised Jews but also of righteous Gentiles called foreigners or ger toshav. They had come with Israel, the community out of Egypt. It was there that HaShem commanded them to remember and to keep the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread as a perpetual Holy Day to Him (Exodus 12:14-28). Israel was both Jew and Gentile who claimed HaShem as their G_d. While there were different roles for those who actually became circumcised and became Jewish, there were also Gentiles who did not convert in the community. HaShem saw them as one community, just as Yeshua and the Apostle Paul did as well (Romans 11, John 15).

It was in the desert at Sinai where He brought His people, both Jew and Gentile worshippers out of Egypt. HaShem’s goal was to show them His Heart and how they were to approach Him. He wanted to dwell among them as their God. However, He could not dwell among a disloyal or impure people.

From the time they left Egypt, the people of Israel, both Jew and Gentile, were taught by HaShem, step by step. At first, their deliverance through the Red Sea, was a sign to them that their G_d wanted to deliver them. They passed through the waters of baptism symbolically through the Red Sea, in order to be a separated and holy people. Then HaShem gathered His people and gave them a covenant. His Law was to be followed by everyone in the community, both Jew and Gentile, as a sign that they were His people. The 10 Commandments, as we know them, were given to both Jew and Gentile. They were given to people who claimed HaShem as their G_d. All of the people in the community promised before HaShem, that they accepted and would follow His covenant. That acceptance was voluntary, not demanded and it came AFTER not before deliverance. HaShem sees Israel as one body, the same body that Yeshua and Paul talked about in the Apostolic Writings (the New Testament).

After their acceptance of the Torah as a sign that they were His people, HaShem asked the leaders to take an offering from the people. We begin today in Exodus 25:2, where HaShem now asks His people to show their love for Him through gifts.

Notice that HaShem did not have his people go back to Egypt to ask for donations from rich people. He asked His people to give of themselves. These people were in the desert, they had nothing but what they could carry from their impoverished lives in Egypt. What could they give? HaShem asked them to share what He had already provided them. He was able to produce the things He needed through what the people already had. He is not limited by lack of funds. He can make things out of nothing. It is not we by He who decides what is worth giving.

HaShem wanted “investors” in His tabernacle. He did not want to demand it, He wanted cheerful givers that identify as a community who loves Him.

Most of Exodus 25 is used for the detailed description of how the Tabernacle was to be built. HaShem’s particular instructions were to be followed exactly. The people did not see this as a burden or something that they could brag about. These instructions or “mitzvoth” were opportunities to show HaShem how they loved Him. Similarly the Torah, as given to the community of Israel was a joy with 613 opportunities (not laws) that allowed the people of Israel to show HaShem their love and devotion.

The important thing to note here is the Heart of HaShem is something that can be accessed by anyone who will accept His covenant and follow His instructions. You don’t have to be Jewish, however, His commandments, as we see here are not just for Jews. In fact, His Torah (which does not mean LAW but rather Instruction) is the very thing that Yeshua commanded His disciples to follow. (Matthew 5:17-20). If we say that we are believers, the Torah applies to us. It was not Yeshua or the Apostle Paul that did away with Torah. It was the Greek, Ante Nicene Fathers, who decided that the Jewishness of Yeshua was unacceptable. They, not Yeshua, not the Apostles and not the New Testament writers, decided to replace Israel with the “church”.

The Heart of HaShem is in Israel, not in the “church”, which is a 3rd century invention. HaShem’s heart, as we see in the construction of the tabernacle, is in the presence of those who are obedient to His Word. His Word, by the way, is what the Church calls the Old Testament. The New Testament just expounds on what was already there. Remember, it was not canonized until the 4th Century, hundreds of years after the death of the Apostles.

I would ask that you examine Exodus 25-27 with open eyes and open heart. Read the word as if you were the ger toshav not the replacement for Israel (which Yeshua would never uphold). As you see yourself as part of a community that existed before the church, how can you see HaShem’s heart? Is the heart of the Father, whose seat is in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, the same one that you want to know? Or do you want to know a Christianized version. One that replaces His Word, His Ways, His Torah, with something that even Yeshua would shudder to think.

I would encourage you to get to know Israel, the people of G_d, both Jew and Gentile, not the Church. If you would like to know more, please contact me, as we have online discussion groups and classes that you can access. Learning to know the TRUE Heart of HaShem is a life changing experience that you will not want to miss…..Shalom!

Read Exodus 25:27

How is the Ark of the Covenant a resemblance of the Heart of HaShem? Also, how should this represent the heart (in Hebrew the core of the human being) of the disciple?

How does this resemble the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:33? Who are the people HaShem makes the New Covenant with? Do you see that it is not the church? What do you know about Church History? You might start to try to find out…..

 

Study verses: 2Cor. 9:1-15 Giving to HaShem from what He has given to us

Paul talks to the community at Corinth. How does the concept of giving parallel the idea of giving in the Sinai? How should believers, both Jew and Gentile, give to HaShem? Does the responsibility for ministry fall on foreigners or on the local community? Why? How does the local body funding its own ministry model the community at Sinai? What can we learn from Exodus 25 that we can apply now? How does this show the Heart of HaShem?

In Matthew 5, Yeshua says this:

17 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Here he is saying that He did not come to do away with the Law but rather to complete or bring it to the forefront. He says that we are to follow it as well as follow the teaching of the Torah teachers, the Pharisees (although He said not to follow what they DO hypocritically). So what, are Christians to do? Yeshua says if we disobey even the least of the commandments (mitzvoth) we will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven (which is not a PLACE). If we are to be part of HaShem’s Heart, of His Kingdom which rules men’s hearts (again this is a Hebrew idiom another synonym for G_d’s name), we are to be holy, we are to follow His instructions (Torah) and His leaders instructions….pray about this, ask HaShem to reveal His Heart to you, and contact me at Cheryl@livingtruth.us letting me know what He is saying to you.

AMEN.

 

http://www.noachide.org.uk/html/ger_toshav.html

Ger Toshav – a Resident Stranger (Gentile) who dwells in the Holy Land.

(N.B. Currently in this era nobody can become a Ger Toshav, until the Jubilee Year is reintroduced in Israel when the King Moshiach comes).

 

In biblical times a Gentile who observed the seven Noachide laws in the Holy Land was regarded as a resident alien or Ger Toshav in Hebrew. (גֵר תּוֹשָׁב)

 

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 64b) quotes three opinions regarding who is a Ger Toshav, and they are:

 

1. Rebbi Meir maintains that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri (stranger) who accepts upon himself, in front of three “Chaverim” (Talmidei Chachamim), not to worship idols.

2. The Chachamim say that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts upon himself to observe the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach.

3. Acherim maintain that the above opinions are incorrect, and that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts all of the Mitzvos except for not eating Neveilos (animals that were not

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Different Thoughts at Christmas time

This year, I have a different type of challenge for you; it’s my gift to you! I hope that it will be received in the spirit of love that it was intended. This year has been a growing life changer for me, as I attempt to follow my Leader, the Lord Yeshua and Christmas will be quite different from now on. I am going to share my thoughts over the next two months. I hope that you will participate. Please respond to this blog, join our discussion groups via phone conference, or let me know if you want me to teach a web study on this topic, for your group, or church.

Many of you know that I have been involved in a Ph.D. program that examines the Jewish roots of Jesus (not His real name) in an effort to enable more authentic discipleship. My journey began before I took this course of study, back in 2006. I took a course in Christian History that surprised me. That course began to open my eyes about the reality of the church in such a way that it has lead me to critically think through and question everything I believe about Christianity in order to know truth. The reason to question is not to undermine faith, or to question G_d, but to strengthen my faith by rooting out ideas that did not come from Scripture, Yeshua, and/or the Biblical Authors. Along the way I found that there were many things that I was taught were not actually biblical but more often ideas spun from philosophers, apologists, and other theologians attempting to make sense of their own faith, and often neglecting the context of the Bible they said they were interpreting. Understanding how certain ideas came to be, and learning about the historical origins these ideas, soon showed me that we should not just “take as gospel”, everything we hear in Church or in Christian circles, as the adage says Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware! I do not think I will ever be the same again. The Jesus I am just beginning to know, looks nothing like the Jesus that was sold to me. He is NO less than what I was told, but He is much, much more…and most Christians are missing out, perhaps to their own peril.

One of the things that I thought I knew, but never really critically thought through, is that Jesus, my Savior, was Jewish. Let that sink in. Jesus was NOT Christian, He was/is Jewish. That is more than race, more than genetics; it is a way of life. It includes ethnicity, but also includes culture, religion, ethics and really an entire worldview that differs from what we know in the U.S. as Christianity. We pay lip service to the fact that Jesus was Jewish. We pretend that He really wasn’t, and we try to make HIM into the Jesus we want Him to be.

I am sure that you’ve heard this before. The usual answer is, so what? That was a long time ago and now HIS CHURCH is moving forward to make sure that all are “saved”. The Church is the new paradigm, we have the New Testament, and the New Mandate! We need to press on with the message of the Gospel. The problem is that the Gospel we are spreading might NOT be the Gospel at all, but rather some replacement of the real Gospel, and a made up version of Jesus. THAT is a problem, because if we are spreading the wrong gospel, or one that would be foreign to Jesus and the Disciples, then we could be the people Jesus is talking about when He says, in Matthew 7:21….”Be Gone! I never Knew You!” If Jesus said that He did nothing but what the Father told Him to do, and He told us, if you love me, OBEY my commandments, then we need to see what those commandments are. Just to love God and others like yourself, in any way you see fit, might NOT be what He had in mind… How much do you really know about the Jewish Jesus? What do you think His religion was? How closely did He follow Second Temple Rabbinic Judaism, the Judaism of his time? How much about that have you been taught? What about the Sabbath, what about the festivals, what about the idea that Jesus was telling His disciples to celebrate Passover, “in remembrance of me”? What was baptism to Jesus? What things did Jesus really change? Why did the early believers worship in Synagogues? Why did they leave? Did they celebrate Christmas? No? Why not? What is a Yarhzeit? Why is it important? Are you sure? Have you read the history?

Let that sink in…..most of us have NOT read the history. Most of us go on the assumption that what we learn in church is the absolute Biblical Truth. Newsflash! It might not be. It might be handed down doctrine that has not been questioned much, so how much do you know about your own beliefs? How do you get your Biblical understanding…is that Kool Aid you are drinking? How’s it taste?

I am going to give you a link, and if you are brave enough, you might read the article. WARNING, this is not for children, nor is it for people who are weak in their faith and worship the traditions of men and not the things of God. It will challenge your idea of what Christmas is all about…it will make you think twice or maybe ten times……ask yourself, how does this holiday honor Jesus? What would HE think about its origin, its practice and its authenticity? Would He want you to do this? or something else?

This article was written by one of Jesus’ own people, a Jew. These are the people Jesus loved, and lived for. These are the people He called His own.

http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm#_ftn3

 

Oh, I forgot! Merry Christmas….and a thoughtful and more faithful New Year!

SYNT

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Is it right to expect Loyalty?

There are a few topics that hit the American Christian mail forwarding list that I often find funny but sad. One of those topics is the idea of immigrants (those who have taken the oath of citizenship) and those who are let’s say resident aliens.

Some Christians believe that when a person makes a legal commitment to be a citizen of the U.S., they need to put that loyalty ahead of whatever other loyalties that they hold, a belief called the “social contract.” It is a western concept that enables the United States to sustain its freedom despite its multicultural diversity. In becoming a nation, all subjugate their other loyalties in order to protect that freedom. These same people have another notion that anyone who is living or staying in this country, citizen or not, has a duty to respect the laws, culture and customs of this country. While I agree, I find it interesting that those who attach their loyalties to the U.S., claiming it a “Christian Country” have lost sight of the fact that they too are alien residents; not as Americans, but as citizens of Israel.

It seems odd that there is an expectation of immigrants into the U.S. should not alter the customs of the U.S.; however, Christians have no qualms about altering the aspects of Judaism into some new religion. They claim to have “replaced” Israel and now the covenants and promises are theirs. They claim that the Law was done away with and so they are free to make up their own worship, their own communities and their own holidays, such as “Christian music,” Christian Churches, and Christmas and Easter.

For some reason, no one finds this strange. It is accepted as if Jesus and the Apostles started these things. The truth is, they didn’t, and furthermore, they did not envision Christianity as it is today; as my Grandmother would say, “OY Vey!” what a mess.

If you get a chance, read through Ephesians 2, and try not to carry bags into the text. Try to see that text as if it was written by a first century Rabbi, who was trying to tell some new citizens about the new country (Israel) that someone paid their entrance into. See if you can find any differences from what you believed yesterday.

Here is the chapter in the “Complete Jewish Bible,” a version that helps remove the confusing language, replacing it with more accurate and descriptive language. When you find a term you are not familiar with, Google it. You might be surprised about a few things. Email me at Newsletters@livingtruth.us and we will publish your findings..

Ephesians

1 You used to be dead because of your sins and acts of disobedience. 2 You walked in the ways of the ‘olam hazeh and obeyed the Ruler of the Powers of the Air, who is still at work among the disobedient. 3 Indeed, we all once lived this way – we followed the passions of our old nature and obeyed the wishes of our old nature and our own thoughts. In our natural condition we were headed for God’s wrath, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love 5 that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, he brought us to life along with the Messiah – it is by grace that you have been delivered. 6 That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with him in heaven, 7 in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.

11 Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth – called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised – 12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near
through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.

14 For he himself is our shalom – he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah
which divided us
15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity. 17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, b 18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family. 20 You have been built on the foundation
of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself. 21 In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord.
22 Yes, in union with him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

 

What do you think Paul is saying that the meaning of being “IN CHRIST” means? It’s not about how you feel, it’s not about your behavior, but rather it’s about two different people groups subjugating their OTHER allegiances to the community IN HIM.

So what does Jesus’ community look like? HINT: It’s NOT Christian…it’s NOT Church, it’s NOT Christmas, and it’s NOT Easter (the Babylonian Fertility Goddess whose symbols are rabbits and eggs).

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Hey! What am I? Chopped Liver?

Hey! What am I? Chopped Liver?

 

I am increasingly bewildered as to how a group of people calling themselves the people of God can forget the tree they are grafted into. Instead, they act as if the tree is supported by them.

 

I hear sermon after sermon, commentary after commentary, talking about Christian this, Christian that, as if Jesus or even Paul came her specifically to start some new religion called Christianity. It is amazing, to me how little some people know of their own faith!

It’s as if, when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, Israel went along with it. Additionally, everything Jewish went too. Poof! Disappeared, and now the new name for Israel is Christian! One word: Balderdash!

If you are of the opinion that Jesus or Paul or any other Apostle was Christian, you are drinking the Kool Aid! There is no place in the New Testament where anything like that idea is promoted. So why is it that so many Christians don’t even know their own religion? Is it fear? Intellectual Laziness? Ideological stupidity? or what? I believe it is a conglomeration of all three.

We all like to believe that what we think is true, and for a certain amount of time, we can claim that. However, if evidence comes along that shows that what we have believing needs investigation, to not do so is idiotic. What if you have been told that salvation is one way, but at the end, you find out that you missed the whole thing because you didn’t want to find out truth? Many Christians are on this page, thinking it is OTHER people and not themselves whose beliefs are in question. I am not naming names or picking on specific groups…but if the shoe fits…

What if we read the bible in context and not ideologically. What if we read it the way it was intended to the understood. It is baffling to me how some people condemn the deconstruction of a text, all the while anachronistically superimposing terms and ideas back onto the text…what’s the difference, for example: CHRISTIAN. That institution did not exist at the time of the NT writing. The community was a Kehela, a community of Jewish and Gentile believers in NOT CHRIST, Messiah.

 

Which brings me to my headline. In Romans 11:17, Paul tells the Gentiles NOT to separate from the Olive Tree. Who is the Olive Tree? Israel. In his day, believers gathered in Synagogues, celebrated Shabbat on Friday night, celebrated all the feasts and all the holidays that G_d had ordained as moedin

or appointed times for His People to observe in honor of Him. Well, what are we doing? Are you celebrating Sukkot this week? How did you do for Rosh HaShanna? and Yom Kippur? How did you repent? What will you be doing for the 8 days after Sukkot? What ? You don’t know what that is?

Why not? What changed? Paul never told anyone to change, neither did Jesus, who celebrated them all, up to and including the meal of Messiah on Passover that we know as “communion”. Actually, what holiday was Jesus talking about when He said, do THIS in remembrance of me? How about Shavuot? What significance did that have to Israel about Messiah? What do WE call Shavuot, and by the way WHY do we call it that?

 

The community that Paul told us that we were becoming citizens of is ISRAEL. We are to become part of them, not them of us. And while we do not acquire Jewish Genes when we come into the community via Christ, we do become citizens of Israel. In the U.S., what do we expect of our new citizens? Some people are angry because immigrants want to change the official language…how about us? As citizens of Israel, do any of us speak the Language? Hebrew? (not Greek). Some people in the United States get angry when immigrants don’t celebrate the 4th of July. Well, then what holy days are we not celebrating? Get the picture? If we, as Paul says, are citizens of Israel…what do we make Israel out to be? Chopped Liver?

 

Think about it as you read, Romans 11….

SYNT

 

 

 

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To Be a Real Christian

 

Many people today think that real Christianity is going to church every week, going to Bible studies that address their felt needs, and Christian events. If the church is doing some kind of mission work, participation in that rounds out the necessities for keeping the eternal Heaven ticket, which we didn’t earn anyway.

If we do all of the above and we give money to the church, if we think we can afford it, and hang out with other Christians, to keep us from being dirtied by the world, and then we’re good right? I don’t think so.

If we are that great at Bible Study, and watching the times as Jesus told us to do, how is it that we totally miss what has been happening in the believing community in the last 50 years? Why is it that churches are scrambling for more marketing programs to get people “saved”? Why is it that despite the millions of dollars we spend on Christian music, programs, bible studies, etc., the church is still dying?

Some blame it on Modernity, that the churches are following and Enlightenment way of thinking and that the Postmodern philosophy is a much better way. I would suggest, however, that it is not the case that Modernity killed Christianity. It happened WAY before that, when the Ante Nicene Fathers, separated the Church from its Jewish roots, virtually removed the grafted branch from the life giving Olive Tree. It was virtual church suicide via a slow and painful death.

In Romans 11: 17-22, Paul warns us of the very thing that less than one century later actually occurred. He speaks of the church, being graciously allowed to participate in Israel’s community and promises, and warns them of the dire consequences if the church becomes proud, thinks it has replaced Israel, because God will cut the church off just like the branches. The difference is, as Paul says, that Israel, being God’s chosen and have the eternal covenant, has a better chance of being regrafted than the Church. Just because it took as long time to die, doesn’t remove God’s warning. It could be that He is waiting for us to respond to Israel before we die.

This is the Season of God’s Appointed Times…so here are a few questions to ponder during these times.

  1. What are God’s appointed times?
  2. Why are they important to God?
  3. How are they relevant to the church?
  4. How do they help us be who God wants us to be?
  5. Why would Jesus want US, the Church, to celebrate those times with Israel?
  6. Why do we have Christmas and Easter and why do we worship on Sunday?

We will focus on the next 5 questions in the next few weeks. There will be opportunities to discuss the themes online, so please send us your email for a schedule to participate via an online teleconference.

SYNT

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What I learned at God’s Table about Sabbath

 

I had the pleasure of participating in a group gathering for Dr. Skip Moen’s Hebrew Word Study Group

from “At God’s Table” Ministry. This is a community of believers daring to investigate and think about what they believe from a truly Biblical Perspective with other believers across denominational and faith barriers. I hope you will check it out. Also, sign up for the 30 Days of the Hebrew Worldview so that you can get up to speed on some of the concepts that are foundational to these often erudite discussions.

This morning’s discussion was about the Sabbath, which has been a frequent topic in Today’s Word, Dr. Moen’s daily blog. There was a power point presentation which we all got a copy of later, and the topic was one we all need to deal with. Here is my take on what I learned.

Very much like parents mandating activities for their kids, because they understand more about what their kids truly need; God ordains Sabbath so we, His Children, get off our too busy Hamster Wheels and realize what we are missing. As an old saying opines, “It’s a have to be there moment”.

Additionally, as busy as we are, we do not even notice how much time we spend on said Hamster wheel, nor do we feel the effects until and unless we experience the opposite of the continuum, REST. The supposed time that is saved on the various electronics and other devices is really a misnomer. We just do more with the time…like a junkie. Like an intervention, Sabbath puts us in touch with the “atsav” we avoid.

The time we spend with the various diversions we have, alienates us to some degree from people or distorts our view of face to face relationships. That being said, Sabbath, confronts us with the reality of reality, which is iconoclastic to the virtual reality that consumes our other six days. The reality of the Kingdom, its timeframe, while it is different, beckons us like a Homerian Siren.

The REAL reality we face in Sabbath faces us with the limits of our tech savvy world and our progressive genius. It shows us a place where time goes on forever (or at least seems that way), and it slows and quiets us to hear what is important in our relationships to HaShem and His creation.

Sabbath is a required healing space that God has created and ordained according to His time and His space to keep us from dissolving into our self-destructive pursuits.

When we give our control of our time (chronos) to a God who can transform it into His time (Kairos) , then we are awakened to the possibilities of a life that we have not even imagined. By stopping our striving for control, we see that we really didn’t have any of that; nor did we need it, really.

We are always in a hurry to get somewhere; but where are we going? In our Greek, linear, thinking, we are in a hurry to move forward. Like the kid in the car, always saying, “are we there yet?”, we strive to get there faster or first.

What if there isn’t anywhere to go? What if the Kingdom that we are looking for is not a place at all? What if, as we speed along in our go fast cars, we are missing the mark? (Chata) Hmm? that’s the same root for the word sin. What would the other end of the continuum be for that? Yara! Hey, isn’t that the root word for Torah? Wow, what an insight. What if the things we thought of as places, were only that way because of our world view? What if what we thought were places were really people or relationship? Like, Kingdom of God, an evasive synonym for God Himself, or the personification of Torah, Yeshua Himself? Maybe we ought to stop, and spend a little time with the person who has the answers. Maybe in sitting with Him, and resting like He says we should do, we will find the place that we are rushing toward; a relationship with God could just be that place.

SYNT abovenbeyonddiscipleship.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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