We want to use our time wisely to make the most of it for the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:16). We need to evaluate what we are investing our efforts in. Sometimes as we look back over years gone by, we can see what has been of eternal worth and what has not.
In 1988, I was serving as the principle of MCCA, a Christian Jr./Sr. high school. The class valedictorian gave a message on Psalm 90:12 - "Teach us to number our days." Today, almost 20 years later, that young man is serving with us here as co-director of our discipleship training center. His name is David Shishkoff.
This month I attended a prayer retreat in Israel that included Arab and Jewish pastors. There I met a young Arab man named, Salim Ramadan. In 1979 I was invited to a conference in the USA on Christian reconciliation between blacks and whites. I was the "token" Jew in the crowd. I felt uneasy when I realized there was an Arab sitting next to me. Then they called us to the front for a prayer of mutual forgiveness and affirmation. I was definitely not ready for it. However, since that time, Arab-Jewish reconciliation has been an ongoing part of our ministry. That Arab pastor's name was Suhail Ramadan - Salim's dad.
At the same retreat this month in Israel, Marc Chopinsky led the worship. He did a wonderful and sensitive job of bringing the multicultural group into the presence of God. In 1981, shortly before we were married, Betty and I used to go out witnessing as sort of courtship dating. We went to visit a Jewish man who we heard was interested in becoming a believer. He was playing guitar at a pizzeria in Maryland. His stage name was "Chopper." You guessed it - none other than Marc Chopinsky, in his pre-Messianic days.
In 1980, I visited Jerusalem for the first time. I went to the Wailing Wall, put on tephillin (the leather phylacteries of orthodox Jews), and began to pray in tongues. There I was "caught up" in the spirit as a waterfall of light came over me from the Temple Mount area above my head. The Lord showed me the power of the demonic strongholds over the city, particularly in religious spirits. He told me that our best efforts as Messianic Jews would not be enough to bring the victory.
I cried out to the Lord asking what must be done. He showed me that the breakthrough for the gospel could only be won if the entire international church would intercede in prayer for the salvation of Israel and for the Messianic Jewish Remnant. Today God in His grace is raising up worldwide networks of prayer, such as IHOP and "Back to Jerusalem" type ministries, reaching as far as China and Korea.
Finally, this week at our congregational meeting in Jerusalem, Simcha Juster was part of leading worship along with my two older sons, Freddy and Heskel. In the congregation sat Dan Juster. Dan and I met in 1978, and I became his "Timothy," serving him in whatever way I could. We have remained in partnership until this day. Now he sits as an honored member in the congregation that I am pastoring. How the wheels of God's timing turn slowly but surely!
As I look back over the years I see that possessions do not mean much to God, but relationships do. Accomplishments do not; advancing God's kingdom does. It is the love of God that "never ceases (I Corinthians 13)," lasting into eternity, while the things of this world are quickly passing away (II Corinthians 4:18).
What are the things worth investing your life in? By the examples above we can see:
God honors His covenant with us and our covenant relations with one another. May He give us the grace to do things today that will bear fruit for eternity!
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Four Principles of Biblical Success|
|Eitan Shishkoff: You've Never Been This Way|
|Avishalom Tekle-Haimanot: From Oppression to Inspirtaion|
|David Shishkoff: Revive Israel Quarterly Ministry Update - Winter/Spring 2006|