About Me

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I am committed to a life provoking the invasion of The Coming Kingdom through: human service, ecstatic prayer, halakhic observation, community building, nurturing hope, and drawing down abiding faith...

Friday, December 31, 2010

What should we be focusing on?

It seems to be rather obvious that everyone has his/her unique calling toward advancing those things which are crucially important for the Messianic Jewish movement:

Jewish-Christian relations
Hebrew education
Creative thinking
Developing halakhic standards
Developing siddur material and music

All of this goes towards the ultimate goal of developing community that addresses the needs and goals of the MJ movement for itself and the world.

I am preparing a book revew of Rabbi Elie Kaunfer's Empowered Judaism which I will be presenting late next month. As a part of this review I will be touching on the applicability of Rabbi Kaunfer's model for the MJ movement. As I have been engaging in this project some questions have manifested:

How can the way we move forward respond to our particular needs as a community (as opposed to making us look like a particular, already-existing, form of 21st century Judaism)?

What does being an empowered Messianic Jew look like...what should we be focusing on?

I'm looking for some feedback from all of you on your answers to some of these questions :-)
I hope some of the feedback I receive here will help me develop a more diverse and responsive presentation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In The Likeness of Men

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Messiah Yeshua, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Messiah Yeshua is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5–11 (NASB)

On the surface, Paul is encouraging the Philippians to live a life of humility and total devotion to God. The reason given is Yeshua’s humility, though being worthy of exaltation. By the end, we find Yeshua bearing the Name of God. One might ask which of Yeshua’s attributes we are to admire most: his humility or his equality with God. The answer is both. Yeshua is the fullest expression of what it means to be in the image of God, an appellation given to Adam in Genesis. The revelation of his Divinity comes to pass through the perfection of his humanity. Because he is the perfect man, he is the Son of Man . . . The Son of God. What we find is that his humanity is perfected in his divinity. But this is not so that we would not aspire to be fully human, but rather he teaches us to be more fully human than we could ever be. By connecting to his humility, we tap into what can be mutual between us and God: the capacity for sacrificial love.

When we submit fully to God we are responding to the sacrificial love he bestowed upon us. His sacrificial love was fully realized in his death, burial, and resurrection yet it was activated by his very birth. God gave us the fullness of himself completely over to us in the form of a little baby. God gave us an opportunity to truly see his face in one another as we were given privilege to see his own face. What child is this? Who is this King of Glory? Our Messiah Yeshua, the risen One, the crucified One, the Word wrapped in flesh, the baby wrapped in poor cloth, the Light of the world!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chodesh Tov-Tevet

Chodesh Tov everyone!

I pray your Hanukkah has been filled with light and gladness...We are entering the month of Tevet where am Yisrael have the task to carry the light of Hanukkah into the upcoming days. We will celebrate renewal once again in Sh'vat (stay tuned...)

In the meantime, there are lessons to carry from Hanukkah that we are given space to reflect on in the seemingly "empty" month of Tevet (apart from one minor fast day on the 10th).

1. Our particularity has universal implications

The Jewish people live as a reminder of a unique relationship with God, one that is constantly growing and bearing fruit. Without the Jewish people, we could not consider God as faithful or loving (heaven forbid!). any time a nation or ideology comes up to espouse universalism at the expence of particularity the root of all things good in this world is removed: Love. Love requires particularity. I do love all people, but I also love my family uniquely. I care for both and one group does not have intrinsic value over the other but my focus is on my family. Without the uniqueness of love, there is no God of the Bible. God loves creation. God loves humanity uniquely among creation. God loves those who draw near uniquely among all people. God loves the ekklesia uniquely among those who draw near. God loves the Jewish people uniquely. God loves Mashiach Yeshua as the embodiment of all, uniquely.

Let us all never forget this in a world in love with universalism that the love of the all can only be real when there is the ability and acceptance of unique love.

2. Assimilation will not save us

The Jewish people cannot become more "palatable" to the world by assimilating. It is only in being who we are, deeply and fully that we can hope to represent God in this world.

Let us carry this into Tevet. When our hanukkiot are no longer lit may we be living hanukkiot when the Hanukkah products are taken off the shelves, and the token ode to our people has been forgotten.

3. A little light goes a long way

It doesn't take much light to light up a dark room. It doesn't take large numbers to keep the Spirit of God and our people alive. As our brothers and sisters in the Church worldwide will remind us on the 18th of Tevet (this year) it only takes one birth to change the world!