Some may be glad to be leaving 2020 behind—so many have described it as the year we would rather forget. But there are good reasons to remember this past year. If we forget the past, we lose perspective for the future. And despite all the bad news and the sad news of 2020, there are still good reasons to rejoice and celebrate. Some people were married last year, others had children. Some people received Christ this past year, and others grew in grace and knowledge of Him. Countless reminders point to life in all of its wondrous and varied complexity. Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective, as illustrated in the following story:
A man on a train, his eyes glued to the sights beyond the window, kept exclaiming, “Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!” As the train passed by slums, broken-down buildings, and filthy smokestacks, his fellow passengers became somewhat irritated as he kept repeating, “Wonderful! Wonderful!”
Finally, the passenger next to him remarked tersely, “Some of the things we’re passing don’t look so wonderful to me.” The man replied, “I’ve been blind all of my life, but through recent medical advancements and the donation of two corneas, I am seeing for the very first time. So, to me, everything looks wonderful.”
That story reminds me that our view of life is often based upon our own limited perspective. Yet, when all that we see looks dreary or even fearful, God’s perspective is very different.
His Wonderful Works
We have just celebrated the birth of the One whom Isaiah describes as a Wonderful Counselor. And it is because of Yeshua that we have eyes to see this past year through the lens of God’s plan to bring about His very best for the creation He so loves. When we remember that God is on the throne and that He is wonderful, we can see the world through His eyes, and we can say along with that man, once blind, “Wonderful!”
The psalmist declared, “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5).
His Wonderful Thoughts
God not only does wonderful things for us; He thinks wonderful thoughts about us. The Creator of the universe thinks about you and about me—and not thoughts of judgment as some might imagine. His thoughts toward us are WONDERFUL!
As we anticipate the coming year, it should thrill our hearts that the God of the universe not only thinks about us but also works on our behalf! That was true in 2020, and it will still be true in 2021. We may not know what lies ahead, but the Scriptures assure us that God will continue to do wondrous deeds on our behalf. Like the psalmist, we should proclaim His deeds and thoughts to one another and to the world. We might as well start now because there are “more than can be told”!
I encourage you to take a few minutes now to think about some of the good news from 2020 as well as some of the good things you are looking forward to for 2021.
His Wonderful Plans: Looking Back and Looking Forward
God’s plans have not been stalled by the ups and downs of 2020. He is working in our midst through your partnership. By God’s grace and thanks to your help, last year we added 13 new missionaries to the evangelism ministry of Jews for Jesus in the US, Europe, Russia, and Israel! That is pretty amazing when you consider the challenging economic times.
We are truly amazed by how God moved through your prayers and generosity during 2020. Thanks to the Lord and your partnership, we were able to leverage the physical limitations of the pandemic into creative ministry opportunities. This included everything from online workouts led by one of our missionaries with a background in personal training, to Bible studies over Zoom and FaceTime, an evangelistic art show in Tel Aviv (see picture of missionary Greg Williams above this article), and even hosting a virtual summer camp for Jewish children and youth!
We’ve held more than 50 virtual events including Passover livestreams, witnessing training, and an evangelistic forum (keep an eye out in future newsletters for info on upcoming virtual events).
We pioneered many new ways to reach the people of Israel by loving and serving those in need during the pandemic—from launching our evangelistic food truck to simply sending out missionaries to deliver supplies and New Testaments to Israelis in quarantine.
Here is a “by the numbers” snapshot so you can see all that you helped us do in 2020:
- 20,562 Jewish people attended events such as online group Bible studies or holiday services
- 27,856 people in need received food or other services in the land of Israel
- 16,045 evangelistic or discipleship visits conducted by our staff around the world
- 8,860 Jewish people connected with us on our website through LiveChat
- 2,482 unsaved Jewish people gave us their contact information to hear more about why we believe Jesus is the Messiah
- 160 Jewish people prayed with our staff to receive Jesus as their Messiah and Lord
What’s more, we launched a new branch in Jerusalem. We are thrilled to have a dedicated team now proclaiming the gospel in this city where Jesus taught, healed, died, and rose from the dead!
And we launched our first-ever full-time ministry to Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men and women with missionaries now on the ground in an undisclosed Haredi community.
In addition to building up new initiatives, we look forward to engaging with more people in person in 2021 through in-person visits, events, outreach, and our evangelistic coffee shops in Sydney, Los Angeles, and a new one opening in New York (more on this to come!).
I hope you will celebrate with us how the Lord is accomplishing His plans through your partnership with Jews for Jesus, but I also hope you will make a list of your own to celebrate His wonderful works. I would love for you to share your list with us so we can rejoice together in what the Lord has done in your life.
And think about this—the best is yet to come, not just for 2021, but for all eternity.
“As it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
Beloved, may the Spirit of God reveal even more to each one of us the amazing thoughts, deeds, and plans that He has prepared for our future. They are WONDERFUL!
Thank you for your partnership in the work of the kingdom, and may God bless you as you continue to help shine the light of Messiah to Jewish people in 2021!