We are in the closing days of the springtime discipleship session at Revive Israel, called "Shaar HaKerem" (the vineyard gate). This was the first full time program that we held at our new location, since our move last summer. The idea has been to build upon our core morning worship prayer and teaching watches, which have been taking place in Hebrew all week long, year-round for the last 4 and a half years. To those core discipleship facets, a new one was added this semester - hands on work in a physical vineyard. There is a literal vineyard and extensive biblical garden in the Messianic moshav (rural settlement/community) where we are located. The full time discipleship students spend their afternoons working in the vineyard and biblical gardens here, and using pruning shears as they internalize what it means that "every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2)

Many years ago, one of our team members supernaturally received another verse also concerning the vineyard. "Now let me sing to my Beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine ... He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes ... For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help." (Isaiah 5:1-7)

Today as we look around us in Israel we see the very same thing happening, the house of Israel is still on the whole not bringing forth good grapes. The newspapers here are just as full as other newspapers around the world, with reports of corruption, waste, violence, poverty, etc. God's expectation portrayed in Isaiah's vision was to see good fruit coming forth in the lives of those who are of the house of Israel.

Our day begins with four hours of prayer, worship and teaching. Then the students work a half day with their hands in the biblical gardens. This gives a practical outlet for growing in character and understanding spiritual truth. In addition, this program is also a step in the direction of encouraging marketplace vision and economic ingenuity and helps significantly reduce the amount of tuition fees students would otherwise have to pay. The program also includes biweekly field trips and extended learning and outreach trips to the Galilee, Tel Aviv and the Negev.

The staff and students have seen much growth and grace in this time, and we are excited about this kind of combined program and its potential for receiving more and more Israeli believers in the future.

 

By David Shishkoff

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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Daniel Juster: The News Media
Moshe Morrison: Pigs Have Kosher Feet
Marty Shoub: You Give Them Something To Eat
Asher Intrater: Stephen The First Martyr