Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, January 17, 2020
(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,
In English we say, “What’s up?” Or “Howzitgoin?” Or “What’s happening?”
In Hebrew we say, “Ma Nishma?” Or “Ma Inyanim?” Or “Ma Sh’lomcha?” Or “Aych Ata (At) Margish (Margisha)?
All of these are conversation starters (there are more, these are just samples). I bring them up here as a conversation starter for what’s happening in my life. It’s time to tell you, I have good news. Spoiler alert… some of you may need to sit down. I’m going to tell this slowly.
I’ve been enjoying a relationship with Mike McClung (pastor of Lionheart Ministries in Maryville) for about 20 years since we met as part of the Pastor’s Prayer Movement during one of their retreats. More than 10 years ago we held a “One New Man” conference together with Don Finto, Tod McDowell, Mike and me as the featured speakers. I hope some of you remember it.
For many years we have had lunch together every other month or so. A year ago I asked Mike to teach a series at Shomair called “School of the Prophets.” He asked Jan Strous to co-teach it with him and she did.
Fast forward to early last November. At the end of that lunch I asked Mike (Jan’s spiritual covering) if he would inquire on my behalf if Jan would be interested in a courtship relationship. He did and I got a text saying “Jan said she would pray about it.” I didn’t know what to make of that. Frequently, believers will use that phrase as a soft “no.” I found out later that Jan really did pray about it.
About 10 days later (on the Friday after Thanksgiving) I got another text from Mike that said, “Jan said to give her a call.” (Note: Mike must be a man of few words.) I called her and we decided to meet over coffee (yes, at Starbucks®) the following Monday.
Since that first meeting we have not looked back. With all respect, Jan’s version may vary from mine, and that’s okay. On January 7th I proposed in the jewelry store (Rick Terry Jewelry Designs – see the links below… the first one is an Instagram link… the second one is to RT’s website.) and we’ve planned our wedding for April 4th at 4pm (4/4 at 4) at the synagogue. You’re all invited to attend and celebrate with us.
Admittedly, this seems fast, but I have 3 things to say about that. First, when God is in it, things move quickly. Secondly, at our age it’s wise to move swiftly. Thirdly, Scott Moore (trans-local elder at Shomair and long time family friend) and Pastor Harrold Preyer are handling the pre-marital counseling responsibilities.
There are more people advising us, too numerous to name. But I especially want to thank Lisa Taylor for the lessons on courtship. On April 4th some would say the courtship ends. I prefer to think of the wedding as the time when the courtship really begins.
I asked Jan if she would like to comment in any way. Here is her response… “When Mike McClung relayed Michael Weiner’s request I was on my way to Raleigh to celebrate Thanksgiving with my daughter. For eight days my daughter, her husband, many of their friends, my grandchildren, and I prayed, fervently!!! I will be honest; this was a very difficult decision. I had been single for 40 years, and since my surrender to the Lord in the midst of that time period, the Lord has, with utmost perfection, stood in the place of my Husband. WHO could POSSIBLY do it better than He? I truthfully can say I had no want; Ps 23 was my resting place, even in the presence of my enemies. In 1996, during a life threatening battle with MS, which the Lord decisively won and healed me, Eph 3:20-21 became my life verses.
During my visit to Raleigh, I listened to the Lionheart Sunday sermon I had missed. Mike made reference to a YouTube video by Don Potter called “What Fits You.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x87xbUgpWt0 It must have been the Lord Who told me to watch that 17 minute video, the theses of which is, “Is God trying to give you a gift you don’t think you need?” The rest is history and as Michael stated earlier, we have not looked back. Surely, Our Lord God is the ULTIMATE gift giver!!
Let’s change the subject: For most of the last 15 years Dan Juster has preached a series of messages called “The 12 Foundational Pillars -Foundations for Tikkun Ministries.” A few years ago he put this message into book form. They also happen to be the foundational principles of the kingdom of God. I want to take some time to break these down (my way) and share them with you over the next few weeks. Here is what Dan says in the introductory paragraph.
TWLVE PILLARS – FOUNDATIONS FOR TIKKUN MINISTRIES by Daniel C. Juster, ThD.
“Since the formation of our network as a restoration oriented Messianic Jewish Network (1984), much greater understanding has been graciously granted by our Lord. This little booklet is from a message that has been widely preached in our network. This message is one approach to summarizing that message. It provides an understanding of those things that bind us together in a common vision and commitments which follow from these commitments. My desire is that these twelve pillars become twelve convictions in our leaders and people, convictions which will be established by continued vigilance. May we not stray from these pillars until we see our Lord face to face.”
That last sentence grabbed me. These 12 Pillars are foundational. The Bible says much about building on a firm foundation. It even identifies Yeshua as the foundation on which we are to build.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what is already laid—which is Yeshua the Messiah.
The following verse begins to break down how we build. 1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss—he himself will be saved, but as through fire.
These pillars are expressions or manifestations of the kingdom of God. We’ve all heard the phrase “mission, vision, values.” These pillars are values. The mission is why we build, the vision is what we build, the values are what we use to build. It could also be characterized as how we build.
Each of these pillars is found in the word of God (they don’t just come out of thin air). Yeshua, Himself, mentioned their value when He said in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house; and yet it did not fall, for its foundation had been built on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
The Bible goes on to say that the people who first heard Yeshua say that were astounded. We too should be astounded, because these words are just as effective today as when Yeshua first spoke them. I’m excited about where the Lord is going to lead us in this. I’m glad you’re along for the ride.
Memory Verse: Romans 4:20 Yet he did not waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God. Rather, he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that what God has promised, He also is able to do. 22 That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
11 1/13 Monday: Genesis 18-19
12 1/14 Tuesday: Genesis 20-21
13 1/15 Wednesday: Genesis 22
14 1/16 Thursday: Genesis 24
* 15 1/17 Friday: Genesis 25:19-34; 26
Question of the day: What’s the saddest thing the Bible says about Esau?
Answer: The last phrase in Genesis chapter 25 (34b), “So Esau despised his birthright.”
This whole “birthright” thing is a great blessing. A “birthright” is a heritage, an inheritance. Among our patriarchs, this was more than the family fortune, it was the family relationship with God, the One Who gave the blessing. We, even to this day, have the opportunity to inherit these same blessings.
Like Esau, we can also despise our birthright. Our birthright is to sit with Yeshua at the marriage supper of the Lamb. How do we despise that? By not walking with God according to His commandments.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
I have good news. It’s not too late to make a change. God says… Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.