Why I Do This

In this ministry, I have been posting about 3 times a week for nearly 6 years now. I have added different categories, improved my website, created a Facebook page, purchased a video creation program (so people can either read or watch my messages), and written three books.  I also have started to add personal pictures and videos now and then.

If you prefer to watch a video (which is why I bought the app), click on this link: Watch the video.

I have not made money from any of this. Although the people who have bought and read my books have given me positive feedback, they are not making any professional authors shake in their boots. I doubt Oprah will ever recommend me. I do this because I have the same feeling that Jeremiah had (not that I could ever come close to the class he is in) in that I feel a need to announce to everyone what I believe to be correct information about God and his salvation through the Messiah.

I do not tell anyone what they should believe in or what they should do- that is totally their decision. All I want to do is make sure that whatever decision they make, they make it using good information.

It’s just like when I used to go to people’s homes from telemarketing leads to sell them siding or windows. That type of sale is called a One Call Close, but you actually need to “close” them three times:

  1. your first close is to get the homeowner to buy the idea that they should let you into the house;
  2. the second close is to get them to admit they would like to buy your product; and
  3. the final close is to get them to actually buy it.

When I was working on the first close, I very often was met with the statement,” If you are going to try to sell me something you might as well leave now. No matter what you say I am not buying anything today!” My answer was, “It’s your money- I won’t tell you how to use it. But let me ask you something: when you do buy something, do you buy it without any knowledge of what you are buying, or do you make an informed decision about what you buy?”

The answer was always that they make an informed decision- this is what we call asking a question to which you already know the answer.

So, once they answered me, I would say, “That’s the best way to buy something. All I want to do is give you the information you need to make an informed decision. What you do after that is up to you.”

I am not interested in telling people what to do, only giving them the correct information so they know what they are doing.

When we read the Bible, this is what God has always done. God has never dictated what we must do. What he has done is to tell us IF you do this I will bless you this way, and IF you don’t you will be punished this way. He gives us the information then tells us to choose life or death. He then recommends we choose life, i.e. to obey him.

In Deuteronomy 28, Moses states the blessings God promises for obedience to his instructions, as well as the curses for disobedience, and after telling all these things to the people, in Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Moses says:

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I try to teach the truth about who God is and how “salvation” works. Most religions teach that God loves us and wants to bless us (which is all true) and that when we accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah we are “saved” from hell because he died for our sins. This is all true, but it isn’t the whole truth. They tell you when you faithfully accept Yeshua as your Messiah you are forgiven of your sins, but what they neglect to mention (what Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story”) is that without repentance, there cannot be forgiveness. God will not forgive someone who isn’t repentant. They also forget to remind us that the blessings God has for us are dependent upon our obedience-when we reject what God says we should do, we reject the blessings he wants to give us.

Here is what I have found to be a very hard thing for many people to grasp:

we are saved by our faith and not by what we do, but what we do shows how genuine our faith really is.

In other words, you can’t have your cake (constant, unrepentant sin) and eat it, too (still receive forgiveness.)

You can’t be a consistent, unrepentant sinner and receive forgiveness. Unfortunately, this is the message many religions teach.

God has no religion and his commandments, all of them, are for everyone. This is what I announce to the world, in different ways using different stories, so that people have the information they need to make the right decision about where they will spend eternity.

 

Thank you for being here; if you like what you hear please SUBSCRIBE using the button in the right-hand margin, and use the link above to subscribe to my Youtube channel, as well. Share me out, buy my books, help me get the information people need to know out to them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

What’s Important and What Isn’t ?

In discussions I have had with people about God, like the one I had with Believers I met at breakfast on a cruise this weekend, and also those discussions (cat fights, mostly) I  have followed in some discussion groups on Face Book, I have come to ask myself this question: “What is important, and what isn’t?”

Is it really necessary to know if there is a difference between the Ashkenaz mentioned in the bible and the Ashkenazim Jews from Eastern Europe? Are they descendants of Noah through Japheth? If so, does that mean they aren’t really Jews? Or is the term “Ashkenazim” just being used to identify them as different from the Sephardic Jews?

Better yet…does it matter?

Also, the pronunciation of the Tetregrammaton is vehemently argued, many using a “W” instead of the “V” in the third letter, justifying it by saying that in Paleo-Hebrew  the letter V (vov)  also was pronounced with a “W” sound.  I see the same thing with the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua, being restructured into Yehashua. Which is correct? Is God’s holy name Yahweh? Jehovah? Yehoveh?   Yeh-veh?

Does it matter? Or, more realistically in this case- are we supposed to even know it? Are we supposed to use God’s own name, the Holy Name, as easily as Tom, Dick or Irving?

I have nothing against extra-biblical knowledge and study being used to help better understand the bible, the history of the Jewish people, the history of the split between Jews and Messianic Jews during the 1st to 3rd Century C.E. (that devolved into the many Christian religions we have today), or biblical archaeology. I have always said that when we interpret the bible, in order to properly understand what they meant when they said it, we need to know the cultural and grammatical meanings of the words and expressions they used back then. That knowledge of etymology, archaeology and history isn’t always found in the bible, so we need to look elsewhere.

What I am absolutely certain of, though, is that it is not necessary to know any of that in order to be saved. To be saved we only need to do T’Shuvah (repent), accept that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised and to ask forgiveness of our sins through His name. That’s all- repent of sinning, accept Yeshua as our Messiah, ask forgiveness of sins through His name, and change your life by living more for what God wants than for what you want.

After that, it’s all just gravy. Leaning more about God and what He wants from you is important, and all you need to know about that is in the bible. You do NOT need to go anywhere else. Learning about the history of the world at that time, about Judaism from a Rabbinical viewpoint (through the Talmud and even the Zohar) is OK, so long as you don’t let it get in the way of your salvation!  

What I mean is this: Yeshua died for you so that you could have forgiveness of sin and commune with God in the Olam Haba (world to come) forever. That is all you really need to know for salvation. What you learn from Rabbinical readings will not do any more for you regarding salvation; when you are reading Talmud and Zohar you are going beyond what is in the bible, entering into the realm of man-made information, and you need to step cautiously. Where you are is not where God sent you because what is in these volumes is not from God, it is from men. As such, you will need to remember that no matter how wise (and the Talmud is rife with wisdom) or how holy sounding, or how miraculous, or even just how sensible something sounds….it is not the inspired word of God, it is the inspired word of people.

Let me restate that I have nothing against knowledge. I love to know everything. Throughout my career (and I have had three different carers) I have always been the “Duty Expert”, the one with the answers. I have out-performed many of my peers over the years only because I made sure I knew more about what I was dong than they did. But when it comes to God, salvation and all the related topics, I try to keep it simple because… it is simple.

Moshe told us how simple it is in Deuteronomy 30:11-15:

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”  Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

Therefore here is my warning, if I may use so strong a word, to those who are new to salvation, or Judaism, or anyone who is thirsty to know more about anything involving God: PLEASE keep focused on the bible as the verifying document. If it isn’t explained in the bible, then whatever it is, it isn’t something God thought you need to know. And another thing- please maintain a humble and open attitude towards others who have different opinions. God gave us all Free Will so that we could choose Him or reject Him, as well as everything else in our life. We should respect that everyone has a right to choose to believe (or not believe) as they want to. If we are certain they are on the wrong path, we should try to convince them of what we know to be the truth, but you can never catch flies with vinegar so do not be nasty, derogatory or cruel and insulting when you meet someone with a different “spin” on something. When someone says something I find hard to believe, I ask where they leaned that, and if I am certain they are wrong I will suggest that what I learned was different, and will have to check out what they say. I would then politely suggest they may want to verify it with the bible, and I give them this advice:

For me, the “Acid Test” question is: “How will this affect my salvation?” So, when it comes down to it, will knowing (fill in whatever topic you want to) make me “more saved” or “less saved” than someone who (1) believes in God; (2) believes Yeshua is the Messiah and (3) tries to live as Yeshua said, by loving God and loving each other?

Isn’t that what the One who died for us said is all we need to know? To love God and to love each other?

All the rest is just “nice-to-know” stuff, and not important for your salvation.

Messianics 101: Approaching Jews about Jesus

First rule: don’t use the name “Jesus”- use “Yeshua.” The name “Jesus” brings up too many unwelcome memories to Jews, such as “Christ killer”. I grew up being called that by all the Catholic school kids. In the past decade or so Catholicism has “lightened up” on us Jews, but there is too much history to make a Jew comfortable with the name Jesus. And there are still many modern-day Christians who push Replacement Theology, which is an insult to God as much as it is to Jews. Even after understanding the truth of who Jesus is, knowing the Jewish Messiah Yeshua for nearly 20 years now, I am still uncomfortable with “Jesus.” And don’t even start me on the word “Christ!”

Second Rule: don’t quote from the New Covenant writings. Jews don’t believe it is Scripture, they have been told that Jesus created a new religion (that hates Jews) and the New Covenant is what He wrote (not true, of course, but that doesn’t really even matter.) You need to be totally familiar with the Messianic passages in the Tanakh. You also need to know more about the Tanakh than the Jewish person you are talking to, or at least enough to impress them that you have some knowledge of, and respect for, Judaism. The fact is, if you don’t know the Old Covenant and the Messianic scriptures that define who Yeshua is and what He will do, then you shouldn’t minister to anyone because you aren’t fully prepared. Counting on the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is fine and useful and biblically sound, but you still need to know enough to talk to a Jew like a Jew if you want to get through to a Jew. Nu?

Third Rule: Don’t tell, ask. Believe me, when you start to talk to a Jew about Yeshua, and you talk about Isaiah 53, and Jeremiah 31:31 and Joel, and Zachariah, and all the other 144 or so Messianic passages in the Tanakh (and you should know what “Tanakh” means) you can tell a Jewish person all there is and when you think you’ve sold them, they’ll simply say they don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah, “Because He isn’t, that’s all!”  That’s what they have been taught for centuries; in fact, for more than two 2 millenniums. The best way (take it from an old “sales” pro) to make someone accept what you say against what they have been told is not to tell them why something is so. You start out by making them doubt what they think is the truth as maybe not really being all that true. “And how”, you may ask, “do I do that?” The answer is: you don’t tell, you ask.  Instead of telling them all the reasons you know why Yeshua (remember: we don’t use the “j-word”) is the Messiah, ask them why they think Yeshua is not the Messiah. I can almost guarantee that 99.9% of the time, the answer will be, “Because He’s not, that’s why.” And they answer that way because that is what they have been told is the truth by parents, by their Zayda and Bubbe, by their Rabbi, by everyone they know who is Jewish. He just isn’t, that’s all there is to it. Once you get to that point, you can then ask these questions, in this order:

  1. Do you think that recognizing the Messiah when He comes, no matter who he is, is important? (if they say no, don’t waste any more time on this one)

  2. When you have to make an important decision, do you feel better doing it with good information or by just blindly guessing? (again, if they say guessing is fine, move on)

  3. (If you make it to this question, here’s what you say next) Well, then I’m confused: You say you want good information yet you have nothing but, “Just because.” You are choosing your eternal future on no information instead of listening to good information. (Don’t pause to let them speak but go right into the kicker)…If I told you there are hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and are still 100% Jewish, practicing Judaism exactly as you do, holy days, Shabbat, Torah, everything exactly as you have been brought up doing, would you be interested in hearing  just a little more about Messianic Judaism?

These are the essential three steps to ministering to Jews. If the answer to that last question is, “Yes”, then you have planted a seed. Now you have to let it grow, at it’s own pace. Now you can tell them more about the Tanakh passages and, since they doubt what they knew to be true (which is, essentially, you can’t believe in Jesus and still be Jewish) and are open to the real truth, you can take the Tanakh passage and relate it directly to the New Covenant passage. And remember, also (this is VERY important) to point out that the New Covenant is NOT a new religion, Yeshua never taught against the Torah or Judaism, and that the New Covenant is the eye-witness account about a Jew, written by Jews, of what happened to Jews. That is also the description of the Old Covenant, isn’t it? Eye-witness account written by Jews of what happened to Jews.

If you can master these questions, and deliver them with the compassionate understanding that for thousands of years Jewish people have been told believing in Jesus is being a traitor to your family and to God, then you have a good chance of helping Jews to find and know their own Messiah.

If you “bible-pound” Jewish people with threats of hell and eternal damnation and quote from the New Covenant, you might as well “kick against the goads” and not even waste your breath. Being a Jew I can tell you this: Jews will not be able to accept the truth about who and what Yeshua is until they can get past all that they have been told He isn’t.

Here is an absolute truth: people believe only half of what you tell them, but 100% of what they say. You need to get them to doubt what they believe before you have a chance of them listening to what you have to tell them.