Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, January 27, 2020

Pillar Three: The Kingdom is Expressed in Community – part 2

In Hebrew we say “Kahal” (gathering).  In Greek we say “Ecclesia” (also gathering).

Matthew 16:18 And I also tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My community; and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it.

This verse does NOT make Peter the first Pope.  It’s a play on words.  “You are Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (Petra)… Greek.  The important part is the Hebrew “Kehilati” meaning “My community.”  We all know a “church” is not a building, but the people who make up a community.  But what “community” are we building?

Hebrews 8:5b …just as Moses was instructed by God when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For He says, “See that you make everything according to the design that was shown to you on the mountain.” 6 But now Yeshua has obtained a more excellent ministry, insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises.

What is the pattern for a Yeshua following community?  Let’s take a look.  Simply stated, our desire is to build a community of people who are mutually covenanted to one another through lasting relationships.  We are building a community where everyone does his/her part, including children.

Many (most) churches subdivide their population to minister to specific groups.  Children’s Church, College Youth, Singles, and Senior Citizens (oh, and the catchy names they give these subdivisions) just to name a few.  This program based mentality does not lead to life together.

It fosters a consumer mentality where God’s calling is not the issue, but rather, “Is the preaching and music up to my standard?”  Dan Juster says, “Most churches are Christian Event Manufacturing Corporations.”  He also says, “Seeker friendly usually means Believer lazy.”  Real seekers will go through the fire to find the truth.

At Shomair we can have times for youth (summer camp or other outings) and a young adults group, but our thrust is to keep the congregation together and minister as a family.  It’s not by chance that the “family” has been under attack in America for decades.  Where is “Father Knows Best?”  Among seldom watched reruns.

God’s pattern is to plant us in a community of people our presence enhances.  Everyone has a God ordained ministry.  Two verses come to mind to describe this experience.

Ephesians 4:11 He Himself gave some to be emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers— 12 to equip the kedoshim for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah.

Acts 2:46 Day by day they continued with one mind, spending time at the Temple and breaking bread from house to house. They were sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord was adding to their number those being saved.

When will this end?  Ephesians 4:13 This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben-Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness.

In closing for today, I want to emphasize this… Everyone is invited to the “party” of congregational life.  Nobody is to show up “empty-handed.”  Ephesians 4:8b (picking the words I want without changing the meaning) “When He went up on high, He… gave gifts to his people.”   Simply put, if you belong to God, then God gave you gifts.  To believe otherwise is to call God a liar, and none of us wants that.

This is fun.  It also is timely since I have to speak the “State of the Congregation Address” tonight (Sunday) at the annual member’s business meeting.  I plan to  more about this tomorrow.

Week 5
Memory Verse: Romans 8:28 Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.

* 21 1/27    Monday:        Genesis 39-40
22   1/28    Tuesday:       Genesis 41
23   1/29    Wednesday:  Genesis 42-43
24   1/30    Thursday:      Genesis 44-45
25   1/31    Friday:           Genesis 46-47

Question of the day:  What is special about the reading today?

Answer:  Everything and nothing.  In chapter 39, Joseph gets in trouble, through no fault of his own.  Joseph maintains his integrity and is punished for it.  Then in chapter 40, Joseph interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh’s cup bearer and baker accurately, but remains in prison.  While this is all part of a great story that will end the book of Genesis, I’m not feeling inspired to write about it yet.  So there.