Recently I traveled to Germany and Nigeria. After developing friendships and ministering with believers there, I was led to think about Christians around the world and our connection to them. There are churches and Christian communities in every nation and in every land. These people carry the same faith as us and struggle to advance Kingdom purposes in their surroundings. When we join together in relationship, friendship, prayer, and support, it encourages and strengthens us to march on in our life and mission. We express solidarity by championing the same cause: Messiah Yeshua, the Son of the God of Israel in our own societies and cultures. The believing communities in every nation all stemmed out from one community - the original Jewish Body of Messiah in Israel. I believe that this congregation, this body of believers that is Jewish and Israeli will again rise up in unity, revelation, theological authority, and revival into a place of influence in the global community of believers.
At the airport in the capital city of Abouja, Ron Cantor and I were asked what our purpose was in Nigeria. We started to explain that we had come to visit Christians and prepare for an evangelistic campaign. The man inquired, "You are missionaries?" I thought to myself, "Well yes, we are functioning as missionaries here." In Israel, the word "missionary" is more taboo than "church," "Christian," and "cross". Aside from all the ascribed meaning to the word (especially in Jewish society), is not a missionary simply one who is sent out to share the gospel in another place? Were not the first Jewish Israeli believers the first missionaries, who traveled all over the world to spread the gospel? We have a missionary calling. Today in Israeli culture, young adults travel around the world backpacking. This culture has great potential to mesh with Israeli Messianic missionary culture.
Yeshua's instructions to the first congregation of His followers were to spread the gospel to their city, their country and then on a global level (Acts 1:8). In my opinion, traditional Judaism does not have much to offer non-Jews. The Jewish idea of being a 'light to the nations' is seen as a concept that will only be fulfilled in the end-times. The Jewish religion as understood by the Orthodox stream does not apply to non-Jews. If it did, then they would seek out Gentiles to convert to Judaism. Through Yeshua and the New Testament, faith in the God of Israel and the Hebrew Bible becomes universally applicable.
Ron and I were greeted by a kilometer-long convoy, and almost a thousand people waiting to listen to our message and receive prayer in a remote city out in Adamawa State, Nigeria. We have an opportunity to be a part of God working in this nation. The multitudes are open and interested in our faith, in the God of Israel, the nation and people from whom we have been sent. Nigeria as a nation has a calling to play a pivotal role to influence all of Africa.
Yeshua's instruction to spread the gospel is preceded by the instruction to wait to be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49). Yeshua knew that the task required wisdom and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Often we as believers look to Africa or China as places where God's power is evidenced through miracles and revival. I recognize and believe in what God is doing in Nigeria. However, my impression is that Nigeria has not been given some secret ingredient that we do not have. I believe that we have all the same potential that believers in Nigeria have and that we too can experience healing, prophecy, and revelation in our own communities. We can see lives changed if only we are expectant that God will work through us, where we are, and among our own people.
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: Rediscovering the Roots that Remain|
|Marty Shoub: Sasha - He Who Edures to the End|
|Eitan Shishkoff: A Tribute to a Spiritual Father|