"One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare
your mighty acts." (Psalm 145:4)
Twenty years is the minimum
benchmark duration of one generation.
A twenty-one year process came to fruition on December 3, 2016. That
process began with the founding of the Tents of Mercy congregation. I was
privileged to found the congregation, inaugurating our fellowship in a
simple warehouse in Kiryat Yam, outside of Haifa in December of 1995.
Many years later I began to realize that the congregation would
eventually need a younger leader. This individual would have to be able
to communicate with the upcoming generation in Hebrew as well as be
familiar with Israeli culture to make him and the congregation relevant
in mainstream Israel. It was then that I saw the hand of God on Avi, and
sensed that I was to pour myself into him, with the likelihood that he
would be our primary leader for the next generation.
More than sixteen years ago I saw in Avi a man of character, with a depth
of commitment to Yeshua and an eagerness to grow spiritually. That he was
of Ethiopian Jewish origin served to further impress me, because I saw
his double determination. On the one hand he carried that heritage with
honor, and on the other hand he was fully involved with Israeli believers
of all ethnic and national origins. Then, to my permanent delight, he
courted our daughter, Hannah, and they married in October of 2000.
At that time Avi worked for the national Department of Health. During his
seven years in that post he gained valuable experience taking care of new
immigrants and enabling them to understand and benefit from the
appropriate government services. When he joined the congregation's
staff as an intern, I was immediately attracted to his heart for people
and his ability to make our humanitarian efforts touch lives. Spiritual
leadership soon followed. We have walked closely together, especially
during this past seven years of preparation to receive the mantle of
senior pastoral leader.
The Shabbat of Avi's ordination was thrilling. I'm not
exaggerating. The sanctuary was filled with congregational members and
many visitors who'd come to bless Avi and Hannah as we entered a
new era. Many of us were moved to tears, realizing the profound meaning
of the shift. After an eventful pioneering stage, Tents of Mercy would
now be led by a couple in their early forties instead of one in their
I cannot fully put into words the satisfaction, gratitude, and
anticipation that I am experiencing in this transition. It will be my
privilege to continue overseeing our five-congregation network, with
greater freedom to coach all of our leaders, and to serve the rest of
the Israeli body in several capacities that already occupy me.
Cause Them to Inherit It
When Moses commissioned Joshua to lead Israel in his place, he said to
"Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to
the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you
shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the one who goes
before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you;
do not fear nor be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).
This charge applies to Avi and to his entire generation. We have entered
perilous, yet momentous times. I urge you to join me in celebrating these
generational commissionings all over the globe, and to intercede often
for the next chapters to be written for the glory of our Messiah.
Here are a few of the many prophetic prayers and blessings declared
over the congregation and the new pastoral couple while they knelt before
the Lord and His flock.
Hanan Lukatz, chairman of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of
Israel: "Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 'Let the
Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the
congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may
lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may
not be like sheep which have no shepherd.' And the Lord said to
Moses: 'Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the
Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and
before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight'"
Asher Intrater, apostolic coordinator of the Revive Israel
Network of Ministries, focussed his keynote message on the Hebrew
meanings of the word "hasmacha". In Hebrew ordination and
authority and relying on someone all come from the same root,
These three meanings came to bear in the ordination ceremony for Avi.
Ordination in Hebrew literally means to lay hands on someone.
Anise Barhoum, highly respected spiritual father in the Galilee
among Arab Evangelical pastors and Director of House of Light: We
are a family together. We stand like a wall around you for protection so
only those our Father allows can come in. We are happy to stand here in
this place and bless this family including grandchildren to come. We pray
for this congregation to be family that loves each other, and focuses on
Patty Juster, Restoration from Zion: This takes place on
the day when the portion of Scripture is read in synagogues all over the
world, which speaks of "Generations". It is a holy time.
"For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments" (Psalm 78:5-7).
We are celebrating something today of our historic relationship one with
another - by God's grace being able to maintain covenant from
generation to generation. Why is this important to God? Because he
desires Godly offspring. There is a testimony established in the
line of Jacob. God desires this transfer of testimony of God's
goodness, faithfulness and ability to keep covenant. God has placed in
the hearts of men and women a demonstration of His covenant with His
people. And this is the fruit of that testimony - the goodness of the
Lord and his deeds being told from Generation to generation.
Guy Cohen, Akko pastor: God is with you. You are not alone. He has
prepared you and given you what you need. You have already broken through
many barriers, and God will break through many more through you.
Shmuel Birnbaum, Israeli pastor: God has promised to bring us into
the Promised Land and give us shepherds after His own heart.
Matthew Rudolph, Director of Gateways training school: The
Lord is rock and honey for you and for this congregation - the strength
of the rock and the sweetness of the honey.
Shmuel Aweida, Haifa pastor: "Not to us, LORD, not to us, but
to Your name be given glory on account of Your gracious love and
faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1 ISV). Walk in His sovereignty and
grace. There will not be a day you won't need them.
Avi's concluding words: Hebrews chapter 11 describes faith as
the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
This is spoken on the background of a cloud of witnesses - heroes of
faith who have bequeathed to us hope and promises from God for the coming
generations. We are here surrounded by a cloud of witnesses - fathers
standing behind us. We thank God for the heritage that He has given us,
more than we could have asked for.
"For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself" (II Timothy 2:11-13).
God is not dependent on this pastoral couple to establish His kingdom. He
is dependent on Himself. God who brought us to this point will be
faithful to continue working into the next generation, in power and in
As King David said in Psalms 23, our cup overflows. That which we have
received from God is not only full but overflowing.
As generations of fathers and sons we receive Your calling on us, humbly
trusting that You are faithful to fulfill what You have promised.
Help us stand with You. Help us bring Your people into the promises. We
declare Your kingdom in this land.