THE JOURNEY: LEAVING LIFE AS USUAL FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL
The call I didn’t expect
The phone rang late one night in August—it was my son Isaac, calling from India. He was about to return from a ten-week Jews for Jesus missions project called “Massah” (The Journey) and had a request: “Dad, I want to have a long talk with you when I get to San Francisco.” We arranged to do just that!
That weekend, Isaac walked me page-by-page through the journal he’d kept during his trip. It was not a travelogue of his experiences in Israel and India, but a daily record of his spiritual journey and all that the Lord had been impressing upon his heart.
I’d never seen my son as excited as when he told me that God was calling him into full-time ministry to Jewish people. I was thrilled—and surprised! Isaac had been surrounded by Jewish ministry all his life. I’m sure he thought it was fine for his dad, but never had I seen a hint that he might be sensing God’s call for himself.
It seems that God used Isaac’s willingness to leave “life as usual” to provide an amazing summer of discovery and ministry. In the midst of it all, he heard and responded to God’s call.
God speaks powerfully to those who commit to this journey
This month wraps up our tenth year of Massah and it never ceases to amaze me how every year, God speaks so very personally to those who commit to this journey. For some it is a call to full-time ministry; for others, it is a powerful experience of spiritual renewal and awakening. Some have even met their future spouses through this remarkable experience.
One reason Massah is so impactful is that participants meet and engage with young Israelis who are on a journey of their own. Tens of thousands of Israelis travel to India after serving their time in the army. They are looking for adventure but many are also on a search for meaning, a spiritual journey. Our teams share their lives and share about the purpose and peace they have found in Yeshua (Jesus).
More and more Israelis are coming to faith in Jesus in the land of Israel but many—maybe a majority of Israeli believers in Jesus—first heard the gospel beyond the borders of Israel.
It is not only Israelis, but Jewish people in general, who have to get past “life as usual” in order to seriously consider the gospel. Our culture predisposes us to reject Jesus as being anything more than a good man or a prophet. We learn from an early age that he is “not for us.” The busyness of life coupled with the pressures and expectations of family and friends doesn’t leave much space for us to question our presuppositions.
Not all journeys are geographical
The journey beyond the borders of “life as usual” doesn’t have to be geographical. It may be a new friend who lovingly shares his or her faith in Jesus, a new experience such as attending a concert or a Bible study, even an emotional crisis or family illness that provides a different perspective. God uses different circumstances to interrupt our lives so that we can see spiritual truths that we had avoided, ignored or rejected up until now.
Jewish people are just like so many others for whom the gospel is a foreign or forbidden concept. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is the fascinating story of Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who came to Christ. His story mirrors that of many Jewish people who answer God’s call to go beyond life as usual in order to behold and receive His gift of salvation.
Whether it be Jews, Muslims, new immigrants or the neighbor who just moved in next door, God has set many people on a journey that can open their hearts and minds to receive ministry from us. We just need to be sensitive to the opportunities. But that might require us to journey beyond “life as usual” as well.
What about your journey?
It’s tempting to become comfortable in our own routines, isn’t it? But if we isolate ourselves in “Christian bubbles,” we will miss the opportunity to walk beside the people God has strategically placed all around us.
We all need a willingness to take a bit of a journey ourselves—to venture beyond our own “life as usual”—if we want to be part of God’s work of helping others into His kingdom. Please join me in praying for our Massah team in India right now as they have gone way past their comfort zones to minister to hundreds of Israelis who are on their own spiritual journey. And while you’re at it, why not stop and pray about how and for whom God might be calling you to go beyond “the usual” in your own life, to offer new life in Jesus to others.
David Brickner is also an author, public speaker and avid hiker. Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule and possible availability to speak at your church.