Av/Elul 5773 August 2013
MA CHADASH? WHAT’S NEW?
For many, the summer is a slower time of the year. Not for us at Shema! We will be busy reaching out to tens of thousands at the Ann Arbor Art Fair; Rabbi Glenn and Rabbi Loren are having outreaches to their own neighborhoods; we’re planning on sending a mailing to thousands of Jewish homes, telling them about Messiah and inviting them to our High Holidays services; we’re planning on starting an evangelism campaign using the Internet. We welcome your financial involvement and your prayer support – that much gospel seed would be sown, take root and produce a large harvest among the Chosen People and others, too.
THANKS VERY MUCH!
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks; for Your name is near; men declare Your wondrous works! (Psalm 75:1). The Hebrew verb for giving thanks (also giving praise) is yadah. The same letters, yod, dalet and hay, also form the word yehudim, translated “Jews.” Paul, the great emissary of Messiah Yeshua, alluded to the relationship between the words “Jew” and “praise” in Romans 2:28-29, where the definition of Jew is based on the inner-heart attitude. A true Jew is a human being whose praise comes from God, not men. So, you might say that giving thanks or praise to God is a very Jewish thing to do! How sadly ironic then, that comparatively few Jewish people today give genuine praise to the Three-In-One God of Israel. But it is more than sad irony, because our eternal destination depends on acknowledging God and transferring our loyalty to His Son, Messiah Yeshua. For that reason, we are committed to proclaiming the Good News to everyone, and we give thanks to God for your help in making that possible!
Do The Work Of An Evangelist! Part 2
Try to engage people in a conversation and ask them this simple question: Who do you think Jesus is? Where they are right, agree with them. Where they are wrong, correct them and instruct them. Asking this simple question helps you take the evangelistic initiative and stay focused on what is essential – Yeshua.
Use social interactions: In ancient times, God’s people greeted each other, pointing people to God. Here is an example from the book of Ruth. Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers (men who worked for him), “May the Lord be with you.” And they said to him, “May the Lord bless you.” This was a meaningful greeting and prayer that directed people to God. Today, we don’t do that. When meeting someone, people routinely say something like: “Hi. How are you?” The reality is they really don’t want to know. It’s a social nicety. Take advantage of social interactions to redirect people to God and tell them the Good News. Try using:
I am blessed. I am blessed by the Three-In-One God of Israel who rescues human beings when they know who Messiah Jesus is and transfer their loyalties to Him. How are you?
I am thankful to the God who created me and then redeemed me by sending the Messiah and making me aware of what Yeshua has done for me. How are you?
I am grateful to God for helping me in this life, and helping me live beyond this life in a beautiful New Universe He is going to make. How are you?
I am blessed. I am blessed more than I deserve by a gracious, loving God.
I am blessed. How can I not be blessed knowing that all my sins are forgiven, and that I’ve been reconciled to God because of what Jesus the Messiah has done for me?
Use the end of a conversation: At the end of a conversation, people used to say, “God be with you,” which eventually was shortened to “good-bye.” Today they use, “Have a good day.” When people tell you, “Have a good day,” try responding with something like this: “How can I not have a good day, knowing that I am right with God, and that I will live forever with Him throughout eternity?”
When a customer service representatives or bank teller asks, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” respond: “Yes. Thanks for asking. I want you to know that the purpose of life is not to make a lot of money working for (fill in the name of the company), but the purpose of life is to be reconciled to your Creator before you leave this world. You do so by knowing who Jesus Christ is and transferring your loyalties to Him. I want you to know that and experience His reality, and that’s what you can do for me.”
Instead of resenting sales calls, use them as opportunities to proclaim the Good News: When someone calls you, try saying something like: “Thank you for calling. I’m not sure I want your product or service, but I would like to tell you that the purpose of life is not to make a lot of money selling (fill in the name of the good or service), but the purpose of life is to be reconciled to the Creator before you leave this world. You do so by knowing who Jesus Christ is and transferring your loyalties to Him.”
Take advantage of special times when people may be thinking more about God, times like Christmas, Passover, Easter, Rosh HaShana: Send greeting cards to friends, family and co-workers. If you send a store-bought card, add your own prayer or thought to it. Make it personal. Even better than a store-bought card, send your own hand-made card or letter. In it, remind them about God, about the true meaning of the holiday, and add a pray for them. Regular mail (snail mail) isn’t used as much today, so its impact is more personal and meaningful.
Add a prayer or Bible verse (or both) to birthday cards, anniversary cards, graduation cards.
Write a letter to friends or family telling them the Good News: I knew a woman from this area who was a Messianic Jew. Edith was a college graduate when most women didn’t go to college. I think she may have become a believer after graduating from college. As she was getting up in years, she wrote a letter to all of her graduating class who were still alive, telling them the Message about Messiah. She wanted to make sure that all of them heard the Good News before they died.
Use social media: Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, email or other social media. Include a Bible verse or a thought that points people to God and their need for God.
Have some good pamphlets available: I love the L’Chaim booklet and theWhat Is Messianic Judaism? pamphlet. There are other good pamphlets available. Include them when leaving a tip, paying your bills, getting into a conversation with someone who shows some spiritual interest.
Wear a Jesus Made Me Kosher t-shirt in public: The slogan is funny, true, gets people thinking and starts conversations. Wear it while doing errands, while shopping, working out at the gym, on a walk or run.
Join us when we engage in public evangelism by handing out pamphlets and wearing our Jesus Made Me Kosher shirts at places like the Ann Arbor Art Fair, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and other events.
Use buttons, decals on your car, special jewelry, like a star of David with a cross combined, or that new symbol of a fish, star and menorah that merge together.
Host a neighborhood discussion group: I’m concerned for my neighbors. I recently sent the following letter to all the homes in my subdivision:
Greetings. This is Loren Jacobs. Many of you, my neighbors, know my wife, Martha, and me. If you do, please excuse this form letter. For those who don’t know us, you might recognize our house as the one that has the amazing crocuses and miniature irises in the front yard during March. Or, you might recognize us as the ones who walk Cider, our Jack Russell terrier, around the neighborhood. I’m a “Jews for Jesus” rabbi. I’m the senior rabbi of Congregation Shema Yisrael. We meet in the area – at Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church, on Telegraph north of Long Lake.
I’m writing to you because you are my neighbors and because truth is very important. Jesus said: “The truth will set you free.” I’ve experienced the “setting free” results of truth and want everyone else to experience the same thing. So, consider yourself invited to our home on three consecutive Sundays for a discussion of the following topics:
1. Five Reasons For God’s Existence: Sunday, July 14, from 11:00 to 12:00.
2. Ten Evidences That Demonstrate That the Bible Is Unique Among All the Religious Books Of The World, And That It Is The Divinely Inspired Word Of God: Sunday, July 21, from 11:00 to 12:00.
3. Six Evidences Why Jesus Is The Messiah: Sunday, July 28, from 11:00 to 12:00. Come to any one of them, or all of them. Please RSVP by emailing me at ### or by calling ###. I hope you can join us. And if you’d like to know how Jesus set me free, please see my story at shema.com/kosher-kosher-1229
Sincerely, Rabbi Loren
P.S. Enclosed a copy of the material for the second discussion. My prayer is that it becomes a blessing to you.
Consider sending a similar letter to your neighbors, inviting them to a discussion group in your home.
Name your wireless router: Many of us have wireless routers. They broadcast a signal to your immediate neighbors. They can be given a name that points the neighbors to God. Mine is named “Messianic Salvation.” Other possibilities: John 3:16, Isaiah 53, etc.
Have breakfast or lunch with a co-worker: If you’re in a work environment where it’s difficult to share your faith, invite a co-worker to breakfast or lunch and talk with him over a meal.
Be able to give your story how God made you aware of His reality: It can be powerful to share with others how God has worked in your life and revealed Himself to you. Articulate your story so you can give it in a clear, compelling way in 3-5 minutes. Write it out and practice it.
Invite people to Shema, or arrange for them to meet Rabbi Glenn or me.
These are some practical ways to do the work of an evangelist. I’m sure that there are other things to do as well.
Remember, even though Timothy may not have been an evangelist, Rabbi Paul told him: Do the work of an evangelist. This instruction was not just for Timothy. It’s for all of us. I am telling each one of you the same thing: Do the work of an evangelist! Make it your priority to proclaim the Good News like an evangelist would – to everyone around you. Do so because humanity’s greatest need is to hear, understand and act on the Good News. Do so because it’s a command that we are required to obey. Do so because we have been entrusted to carry on Messiah’s mission. Do so because we will be in trouble if we don’t proclaim the Message. Messiah warned us: “If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father.” Do so because we will be better off if we are faithful to do the work of an evangelist. God will be honored, and a lost and dying people will get what they need the most. So, do the work of an evangelist!