Letter to the Mishpochah
Shalom in the matchless name of Yeshua. Some months ago Moishe Rosen sent you our first Mishpochah Message. I hope that you gained some worthwhile insights from his discussion of the need for unity among Jewish believers. Thank you for your many letters sent in response to the Mishpochah Message. They have encouraged us to want to continue this new facet of our ministry.
In our future Mishpochah Messages we hope to cover some specific concerns of Jewish believers. Feel free to send us a note with topics you would like addressed in upcoming letters.
By now you’ve discovered that Moishe Rosen is not writing this latest Mishpochah Message. He asked me to do this because, even as I’m writing, he’s on his way to England. Moishe will be conferring with a number of the leaders of the British Jewish Missions because we’re planning a summer campaign in the greater London area. He wanted me to send you his warmest regards.
Saved to Serve
One of the major concerns we all have as Jewish believers is the importance of growing in faith. It’s so traumatic and earth shattering when we first become believers, that we only slowly realize that there’s more to being a follower of Yeshua. In the Sayings of the Fathers it is said that the man who does not grow grows smaller” (Pierke Avot 1:14). Yeshua has called us to grow in Him. Rabbi Saul said,
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Yeshua Ha Mashiach.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
God has redeemed us from sin and has given us the ability to grow in faith. Ultimately He wants us to be transformed into the image of His Son Yeshua. How do we grow into His image? We grow by serving!
The Way It Was for Me
Back in 1970 when I was a new believer, I was convinced that spiritual growth came through fellowship. I use to be part of an holy Messianic huddle which would get together each day to socialize and pray. As a young believer I thought this was terrific! Daily fellowship is like a spiritual womb but fellowship without service can become a spiritual tomb. When the child starts to grow, he needs to flex his muscles by serving. It might be interesting for you to know that the Hebrew word for ‘worship’ (avodah) is the same word for labor or ‘working’. Spiritual maturity comes through serving the Lord.
Maids and Servants
We need to think of ourselves as bond servants of Yeshua. Both the Apostle Paul and James describe themselves as bond slaves. They were proud of being God’s servants. The Old Testament concept of a bond slave was one who was compelled by love and not constrained by statute. The big difference between a slave and a wage worker is that an employee works for benefits whereas a slave gives his life in trying to please his master. The early disciples looked upon service to God as the most exalted position one could attain. How many of us would be proud to say, when asked our occupation, that we are slaves, maids or janitors?
What About You?
I hope I’m not presuming too much when I believe that your heart’s desire is to serve God. Perhaps this is a priority that is new to you. If so, maybe there is a need to determine in your own heart and mind that serving God should be your all consuming purpose. The battle to grow is most often won or lost in our own hearts…if you’re willing to serve, then you’ll surely grow.
Our Last Survey
As servants of God, He has called us to serve one another. The recent Jewish Believer Survey has brought to our attention various needs that can become opportunities for service. Maybe you were one of the 1,200 Jewish believers who have responded so far to our survey. Again, thank you for your involvement. We need others of you to stand up and be counted by filling out a Jewish Believer Survey. We need information from as many of you as possible to maintain a large cross-section of Jewish believers for our data base.
We found that 35% of those surveyed were single. The average age of single women with no children was 24 and of single men was 27. Over 100 of these singles have 1 or more children. As a matter of fact, there are 213 children who are part of a single parent household. 65% of the married Jewish believers have Gentile spouses. There are over 800 children who are part of “mixed marriages.” These statistics make me wonder what sense of Jewish identity can be planted into the hearts and minds of these youngsters. I’m sure that it’s particularly difficult for those single parents and for those who are married to Gentile believers even though oftentimes the Gentile spouse is quite affirming.
I believe that there is a great need for children’s programs and materials. This might be a project you could undertake as your service for God.
More From the Survey
The average age of all Jewish believers, male, female, single, and married, is 36. This is remarkable when you consider that this was deduced from 1,000 surveys. The great majority of Jewish believers are between 30 and 39 years of age. Most Jewish men came to believe in Jesus at the age of 27 and most Jewish women at the age of 28. This shows an increase beyond our survey of 1973 where the average age of Jewish believers was under 25. Times have changed, but it must be remembered that the average age of Jewish people in general is rising due to greater longevity and lower birth rates.
The education level of Jewish believers is at least on par with the National Jewish Statistics. 46% of the females and 70% of the males who responded to the survey are college graduates. At least 1996 of the females and 43% of the males have spent a minimum of 1 year in graduate studies.
There is still a lot more information to compile. In our next Mishpochah Message we’ll try to bring you up-to-date on how Jewish believers feel about their Jewish identities and the means by which the Holy Spirit is bringing our people to Yeshua. There may be questions you have about Jewish believers which you’d like addressed in the next Mishpochah Message. Why not jot me a note so can take your suggestions into consideration?
Cause for Concern
One of the most distressing results that surfaced while assessing the Surveys was that 20%-25% of the respondents did not have a regular commitment to a local congregation. There are many Messianic mavericks in the country who do not want to attach themselves to a congregation. I remember the good advice Moishe Rosen gave me when I was a young believer in regards to joining a fellowship. He told me that once I found a perfect fellowship I should avoid joining it because as soon as I did it would become imperfect! No congregation is perfect and neither are we, but it’s critical that we commit ourselves to a congregation. A local fellowship provides the best opportunities for growing by serving.
The surveys also indicate that God has given Jewish believers a tremendous breadth of talents and abilities. Maybe you can act, sing, write, draw or simply “be creative.” Are you using your talents for the Lord? If you are, then you know the wonderful occasion it affords for growing in His grace. I like to think of Jews for Jesus as being on the creative cutting edge of what God’s doing in this world. Perhaps we could inspire and encourage you to develop and use your God-given gifts.
A Personal Note
Don’t be afraid to be creative! Create first for God and then allow others to appreciate your creativity. I remember the first few songs I wrote for the Lord. I thought of them as private prayers to God from my heart…to His ears. I wasn’t particularly well-trained musically, but friends like Moishe Rosen, Susan Perlman and Baruch Goldstein encouraged me to keep writing my songs so that others could use them as vehicles for expressing their devotion to God. It’s remarkable to me that a number of my songs have appeared on the Liberated Wailing Wall and other Jews for Jesus albums.
Create for God and for those you fellowship with on a regular basis and see where the Lord takes you from there. Why don’t you speak with your elders letting them know that you have abilities in certain areas that you’d like to use? Try it! It couldn’t hurt.
Co-Laborers in Messiah
God has an area of joyful service especially designed for each one of His children. Perhaps one of these following opportunities for outreach available through Jews for Jesus might be His opportunity for you. As you might already know, we’ve begun a volunteer “Co-Laborer In Messiah” program. Chapters are being established throughout the country which are affiliated with the Jews for Jesus ministry. Recently I’ve received letters from some of you who long to have an outreach in your own community. Some of you have felt that you lack the training and support framework necessary to do the work. But you did say you have the desire. If you’re one of these people who are looking for a chance to serve, then please consider becoming a Co-Laborer in Messiah. Each approved applicant is required to attend one week of training. We have two training sessions annually. This summer we will have our training at Wheaton College located in a suburb of Chicago, from July 18th through the 23rd. There’s a lengthy application process so, if you’re interested, please contact us.
Summer Witnessing Campaign
Plans are moving steadily ahead for our Summer Campaign ’83. We’re excited over the high caliber of volunteers who have applied to serve with us this summer in New York City. Physicists, military personnel, college students, engineers and others who really can’t afford the time are setting aside five weeks to serve God in this intensive evangelistic challenge. Summer Campaign is also an excellent time for those of you who are seeking a career in Jewish missions to test the calling of God on your life. Although it is late to apply for the campaign (but not too early for 1984), if you or someone you know would like to be considered, write me a letter and we’ll try to do what we can to get an application your way as soon as possible.
We are in need of prayer partners for our campaign. Why not send me a note stating your desire to be a prayer partner for Summer Campaign ’83. I’ll pass your name along to one of our campaigners who will write you personally, inviting you to pray for the individuals to whom they’ve witnessed. You may not be able to be out on the streets with us proclaiming the Gospel or distributing broadsides, but you can be by our side, standing and serving with us through prayer. Your invisible presence will strengthen us more than you’ll ever know.
One of the ways Jews for Jesus is growing is by serving you. We are committed to provide creative materials and witnessing opportunities for all of our Mishpochah. We’ve just produced a new booklet entitled The Growth Book. It covers such important subjects as how to tell your family you’re a believer, how to tell your rabbi, a section on the Jewishness of baptism and even a crucial discussion of deprogramming. If you have questions that are not covered in The Growth Book, then I’ll try to answer them myself. If I can’t answer them, I’ll give the questions to my secretary, Elaine Davis, who is a nice Jewish girl from a religious home, and is even a Bible College graduate. If she can’t answer your questions, then you’ll have to wait until heaven to get them answered. We really do want you to have this Growth Book. If you feel that you don’t personally need it; send for it anyway so you can have it on hand to give to someone who might. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.