A New Life - A New Song
| By Martin Shoub |
Every Shabbat, hours before the service begins at Tents of Mercy a husky man with a bushy grey beard and gentle demeanour prepares to lead our people in worship. He checks the sound levels and tunes his guitar but his preparations go well beyond the accoutrements of audio checks and music rehearsals. As he prepares, he quietly prays and meditates on the question, "Lord, what do you want to hear today?" First and foremost, our worship leader Marc Chopinsky prepares his spirit to bring an offering that is pleasing to the Lord.
Music has been a central facet of Marc's life ever since he taught himself to play at age 13. Like many aspiring young guitar pickers he honed his craft copying the popular guitar styles of rock and roll stars and practicing hours a day hoping to one day join the ranks of the famous. This is not a new story; many young men have picked up a guitar trying to establish an identity for themselves. But God had another path for Marc - a path to his true identity, not as a rock and roll idol but as a disciple of Yeshua. The path of worship and praise to The Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel---the path that winds down through the centuries.
Marc's story is familiar to many North American Jews growing up in the 60's. Born in Philadelphia in 1950, his parents had been raised in a strict Orthodox home, not particularly religious but maintaining a strong Jewish identity. "I first learned my biblical history from Charlton Heston," Marc jokes. "Every Passover our family would gather around the television to watch Cecile B. DeMille's epic production, The Ten Commandments."
Lillian, Marc's mother, was an ardent Zionist and collected money for the Jewish National Fund and the Zionist women's organization, Hadassah. Marc recalls his mother shared his love for music and filled the house with Jewish music, Israeli folk songs, klezmer music and the strains of "Ha Tikva," (The Hope), Israel's national anthem. Even though Marc's mother had no particular synagogue affiliation she wanted her son to be bar mitzvah'd and found a Reformed rabbi willing to formally induct Marc into the traditions and faith of his fathers.
Marc's initial formal entry into the Jewish faith community didn't take hold in his heart. He soon sought other sources of spiritual inspiration. Like many young American Jews in the 60s and 70s and many young Israeli Jews of the present day, he began searching for meaning in New Age mysticism and philosophy. Marc also continued to pour himself into his music and became a proficient journeyman guitar player, keeping himself financially afloat through various gigs and bands, all the while hoping for that one break that would separate him from all the other guitar hopefuls.
One day while hitchhiking, a "Full Gospel Businessman" offered Marc a lift. This man spoke to Marc of a Messiah who is alive, who heals and answers prayer. Marc told him how he had been plagued by back trouble since his birth and now as a young man was in constant pain from his condition.
The man offered to bring Marc back to his home so that he and his family could pray for him. Marc agreed and soon found himself seated in a believer's living room surrounded by an entire family speaking in tongues and laying hands on him. Marc didn't feel any miraculous sensation in his body but to his own amazement was able to get out of his chair with ease and without pain! Prior to this prayer encounter, Marc could not stand without slowly settling himself up from his sitting position; a process that could take several laboured and painful minutes.
Because Marc had no one to shepherd him he left this house knowing he had an encounter with the God of Israel, but with seemingly only his bewilderment and a copy of the "Four Spiritual Laws" to guide him. In time, Marc's yearning for spiritual meaning and the memory of his healing both faded. It was a full ten years before the Father's love drew Marc back to Himself.
Through the persistent friendship of a young woman and her mother, Marc was reintroduced to the Messiah who still was calling out this son of Israel. This friend also gave Marc a copy of the "Four Spiritual Laws" but this time the veil over his mind lifted and by faith Marc received the Messiah. Marc recalls, "Instantly I felt the sensation of an invisible hand gently raising my chin and I heard words I had never heard before: 'I am the glory and the lifter of your head.'"
Marc settled into the nearest Baptist Church but soon learned of another fellowship just around the corner, Beth Messiah. Here Marc saw Jews wearing kippahs and tallits reading from the Torah in Hebrew and singing the same songs his mother used to sing but alive in the Spirit of Yeshua HaMashiach. It was 1981.
Without any deep roots Marc had dismissed his Jewish identity long ago. Now his newfound faith in the Messiah was guiding him back to his roots and his true identity as a son in the household of faith and a son of the house of Israel.
Marc put away his guitar, wanting to make a clean break from his former aspirations for identity as a rock musician. For someone who had devoted almost 20 years of his life to music this was a significant act of devotion. But The Creator had endowed Marc with a musical soul. Lovingly, the Creator restored music back to his son. Marc found a new music flowing from his soul, praise to his God.
Soon after, fellow Beth Messiah worship leader Paul Wilbur recruited Marc and saxophonist Rene Bloch to form the now legendary trio, Israel's Hope. For eight years the group travelled the U.S. and recorded their music, even earning a Dove award nomination in 1988. The group disbanded in 1990, but Marc continued leading worship at Beth Messiah. By that time new songs were flowing from the anointing God placed on him to provide a new sound of praise and worship for the growing Messianic movement.
In 1993, Marc clearly heard the Spirit speak, "Get your house in order and begin to learn the language of your fathers. This is your time of preparation, I am going before you to prepare your way to Israel." Marc heeded the Spirit's instructions and in 1996 together with his wife Leah and son Eli, arrived in Israel to start a new life in the land. The Chopinskys had several long standing friendships with believers at Tents of Mercy and quickly became vital members of the congregation. When Marc joined the worship team the musicians quickly recognized his gift of leadership. He soon stepped into the worship leadership, a rich and lasting blessing to us all.
This worship leader understands he is called to a holy task. He is careful to ensure everything he does is directed towards the honour of Ha Shem. "Worship is our primary calling," Marc explained. "I see my task as assisting people to take their minds off their troubles, cares and anxieties and focus their sole attention on God. My heart's desire is to help everyone who comes together to meet with God, to be changed and blessed by His presence."
Marc has adapted his musical expertise into a small business in Israel. He is the owner/operator of Future Visions Studio Ltd., providing all facets of studio recording and sound consultation. Marc has engineered several musical projects for Messianic artists in Israel and produced Tents of Mercy's first record, "Ata Kochi-You are my Strength," as well as the popular Israeli youth CD "Korban Chai-Living Sacrifice."
Currently, Marc is applying the finishing touches on Tents of Mercy's latest recording project, "Sing unto the Lord a New Song", a compilation of songs written by congregational members and Messianic songwriters in Israel. Marc expects the CD to be ready sometime early in 2006 - Stay tuned; we will keep you posted on how to obtain a copy!
Marc Chopinsky had hoped to make his mark as a guitar player, obtaining fame, admiration and identity through his skill and talent. Marc has received a far greater identity as a son of God and a joint heir with The Son, Yeshua HaMashiach. Marc's guitar acumen has been transformed, not to draw attention to himself but to herald the fame and wonders of the God of Israel.
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Do We Want the Jews to Disappear|
|Eitan Shishkoff: The Cloud is Moving|
|Shani Orfani: Part of the Mosaic|
|Holly Wallace: For Such a Time as This|