They replied, “Believe in the Lord Yeshua, and you will be saved — you and your household.” – Acts 16:31
In Israel, we have raised up several teams that have planted many home fellowships among both sabra Jews and Muslim Arabs. We have found several biblical principles and best practices to see this accomplished. Although an outsider to the Luke 10 style we do ministry may see some of these practices as “unorthodox”, we have found them rooted in the scriptures and practiced by the early Jewish followers of Yeshua. We have adopted these “best practices” for greater impact in the Great Commission to win the oikos (households) to faith rather than just individuals.
Fish With A Net and Not With A Fishing Pole
By targeting communities, households, and homogeneous groups for household salvation; we make sure that we are fishing for a “school” of fish rather than individual fish. Individualism has plagued our society for too long and is a modern concept, As we see both with the Philipian jailer and with Yeshua’s instructions in Luke 10, families and households were intentionally sought out for salvation and not individuals.
Evangelism in Homes and Not in the Streets
Many times in the past we would measure how God in his amazing grace would touch, heal, or deliver “one person at a time” on the streets. However, this was very hard to follow up, and led to individuals receiving the Messiah and not households. Like Yeshua, we have moved the heart of evangelism and healing ministry to the homes of those we are reaching. We have several examples of this in the scriptures including the mother in law of Peter in her house in Capernaum, Zaccheus house, Lydia’s house, Mary and Martha’s house, and many more. These are “houses of peace” that the Holy Spirit will open up for you and will become the hub of a gospel movement in an area. The house in Capernaum hosted several healing meetings and gospel meetings in Mark 1-4. Let’s intentionally assess our weekly evangelistic efforts by how many homes we were invited into and not how many people we shared with on the streets. We can be creative and wise in how we get invited to homes, Yeshua Himself invited himself over to eat into the house of Zaccheus. Moving ministry into the homes of those you are reaching also highly increases the chances of reaching whole social and family networks rather than just individuals.
We Make Disciples, Yeshua Builds His Kehila
Yeshua commanded us to “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations” (Matthew 28:18), and He also said, “I will build my kehila” (Matthew 16:18). We often confuse what is Yeshua’s job and what our job is. I believe we can expect whenever we go out and make disciples of households, those obedient households that come to faith organically are built into a household community of faith by Yeshua Himself. Understanding our role, Yeshua’s role, and the Holy Spirit’s role can make our job much easier in this blessed partnership. I personally believe if we spent less time trying to build the kehila and more time in making disciples, we will see entire households come to faith and Yeshua will build his kehila all over the country with new communities sprouting up everywhere.
Find a Prepared Person of Peace
Persons of peace according to Luke 10 are people that Yeshua has prepared to open up their sphere of influence to the gospel with his resources and influence. Oftentimes our evangelism efforts involve the evangelist or apostle providing for those they are reaching, but the biblical model is that the person of peace is recognised by his ability to provide for the evangelist, apostle, and the gospel movement he will start. This person of peace is usually the gatekeeper for his household, community, or homogeneous group. He more than likely will become the spiritual leader of his group and the gospel work is actually his work with the apostle and evangelist just coaching the person of peace. Our job as apostles and evangelists is not to usurp the leadership role the person of peace already has in his community, but to help and coach the person of peace to be the spiritual leader God has raised Him up to be and helping him to bring the kingdom of God into his sphere of authority. By working through a person of peace by helping his ministry, rather than creating our own ministry and usurping influence, we are better able to win households rather than individuals.
Go Slow to Go Fast
Many times the person of peace will want to receive water immersion in Yeshua’s name immediately, however, the only reason to delay water immersion is to wait for the entire family to be on board with him. This gives the person of peace while he is a seeker “plausible deniability.” Both seekers and new believers usually have a window of 6-12 months of effectiveness to lead their friends and family to the Lord. By going at the pace of the slowest person in the group, we can actually maximise a community effect of salvation. If we go to fast, we may gain the person of peace, but will lose the rest of his sphere of influence. Lets take our time and make sure “everyone is on board” while trying to lead a family and community to salvation.
New Wine in New Wineskins
Probably one of the most controversial aspects of oikos evangelism is that apostolic practitioners are often accused of not bringing new believers to a local congregation. To an outsider, it may look like we even are against the local congregation; however, the opposite is true. The kehila is God’s beautiful body in all its expressions and we appreciate all local congregations that God has raised up as God’s precious bride. We love the local congregation so much, we just want many more of them! We want to flood the country with local congregations!! The more the merrier! We agree that there are no lone rangers in the kingdom and that the full expression of Yeshua on the earth is seen as a body of believers. Neither can maturity and growth happen outside of the local expression of the body of Messiah together. Because of this belief, we often withhold new believers, especially persons of peace, from attending another local fellowship- neither do we send, as many evangelists do, the new believers to an established body. We see every new believer, especially persons of peace, as an opportunity for a new expression of a local congregation. When have found that when a person of peace is placed within an existing and established congregation, the likelihood of them reaching their sphere of influence is dramatically lowered. When we coach, disciple, and mentor the person of peace and new believer or seeker in his house, outside of an existing fellowship, the likelihood of them reaching their household is raised dramatically. So rather than enjoining them to an existing congregation, we actually see the potential of them establishing a new congregation with the person of peace as the potential leader and his sphere of influence as the new congregation. With proper disciple-making, coaching, and mentoring from the outsider (apostle, evangelist) these new fellowship can become very mature and reproducing fellowships.
Discovery or Teach?
There is room for both teaching the scriptures and encouraging inductive discovery based off of asking intentional questions. However, facilitating discovery is more easily reproducible and is more effective in raising up new leaders. 1 Corinthians 14:26-32 describes very open meetings where everyone is able to use their gifting and speak in a meeting. If we encourage this in our evangelistic approach to seeker households, it will carry over into when they become a living and breathing kehila. This does not mean that there isn’t a need for teaching now and then, but it means that discussion and participation is always encouraged.
Most important of all things is that the Great Commission encourages us to “teach them to observe everything I have commanded them.” Whether in evangelism with seekers, in discipleship with new believers, or in home fellowships in a growing maturing congregation- communities that learn to obey Yeshua together will stay together. The heart of a biblical congregation is covenanting together to lovingly obey Yeshua’s commands. This is the reason why application and obedience-based questions and accountability are so important in seeing entire communities and households come to faith and mature.
Let’s pray for the salvation of all of Israel, household by household.
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Turkey’s islamist leader seizes 50 more churches
JERUSALEM, Israel – As Americans are celebrating their nation’s founding, with all its associated freedoms, Turkish Christians are facing increasing persecution at the hand of the nation’s Islamist president.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confiscated another 50 Syriac churches, including the 1,600-year-old Mor Gabriel Monastery. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic used during the first millennium across the Middle East and Asia.
Erdogan’s most recent seizure, under the auspices of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) took place in Mardin province, Word Press reported.
According to the report, the Mardin governorate was compelled to transfer its churches, monasteries, cemeteries and other of the Syriac community’s assets to Turkey’s national treasury, which then transferred ownership to the Diyanet.
Among the state’s seizures is the historic Mor Gabriel Monastery, one of the world’s oldest ancient religious centers, dating to the 4th century A.D.
An appeal to halt the transfer of some 30 title deed registries by the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation was turned down.
Erdogan’s steady encroachment on the religious rights of all minorities in Turkey has intensified since a national referendum awarded him almost exclusive power over the country.
In 2016, Erdogan took control of six churches, home to Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox congregations, in Diyarbakir. One of the churches was said to be more than 1,700 years old.
“The government didn’t take over these pieces of property in order to protect them,” Ahmet Guvener, pastor of the Diyarbakir Protestant Church, said at the time. “They did so to acquire them.”
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports on a protest march involving thousands led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition party.
Kilicdaroglu, who understands that in today’s Turkey, he and others could be hauled off to jail, said, “If we have to pay a price, we will pay it.”
The marchers are protesting Erdogan’s arrest and imprisonment of some 50,000 Turkish citizens, including 240 journalists more than a dozen lawmakers, plus academics, teachers and civil servants.
The march, which began two weeks ago in the capital city of Ankara, was initiated by the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Organizers are hoping thousands more will join the last leg of the 250-mile protest march, slated to wind up next Sunday in Istanbul.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, July 3, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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The exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum was called “Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest”. We walked into one of the alcoves, entitled “Placitas”. This was the name of the small town outside of Albuquerque where Connie and I enjoyed our January 1969 honeymoon in a cave, and were later that spring awakened by a rattlesnake in the rock wall of our refurbished adobe cellar.
In that museum alcove I had a strange experience. Right there, on the classy exhibit wall was a photo showing me in an impromptu jam session with a bunch of hippie friends! Seeing yourself in a museum is quite an experience. The exhibit documented that we were not alone in “leaving civilization” in our very early 20s to carve out an alternative organic/tribal/close-to-the-land/non-monetary existence. The professors of modern anthropology and the museum curators obviously saw our “back to the land” movement as an historical phenomenon worthy of study and display.
Disenchantment with the Status Quo
What compelled us? How did we summon the idealism and raw determination to leave the comfortable familiarity of cities and suburbs? For one thing we were disenchanted with the status quo. The burgeoning materialism of post-World War II America and the mushrooming influence of technology caused us to ask, “Is all this really bringing us closer to each other and to the bedrock meaning of life?”
Second, we had a dream. Our dream was to create a “society” in which people would help each other, work together, and enjoy the simplest things in life – thus bettering the world. True, the experiment did not endure. But that was because each of us “did what was right in our own eyes,” lacking the overarching unifier of the Redeemer and His magnificent redemption.
So, what are we supposed to learn from this – both for aging baby-boomers and for 20-somethings who are searching for life direction?
The Radical Bent of Youth
“Your old men shall dream dreams (and) your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). Through Joel, the Lord is speaking to our generations simultaneously. Seeing our times, the prophet anticipated the importance of approaching the modern predicament with Heaven-born hope and courage at a time when the outward signs would be anything but hopeful.
Here’s the take home lesson: it is vital not to lose our idealism. We must fuel the fire of vision – or recover it if it is dying out. The next stage of history will hand us the opportunity. The approaching time of conflict and confusion is our cue. By walking in refreshed faith and renewed vision we can be Messiah’s messengers, seeing many lives transformed.
When I was young and radical there was a certain way of thinking. We took a hard look at the world around us and found it severely wanting. (It still is.) We were carried by a utopian vision. And we were ready to make sacrifices to pull it off. Is this so different from our situation in 2017? Underneath the veneer of internet entertainment is a loneliness and self-centeredness that begs for change. There is a disillusionment similar to what we felt fifty years ago. And so I dare say we are poised for a wave of the Spirit even greater than the one that swept millions into the Kingdom back in the late ‘0s and early ’70s.
A Museum Wall or a Current Event?
I don’t want merely to adorn a museum wall. By His grace God washed my heart and gave me His dreams. No less than in our commune days, I want to devote myself to a vision worthy of my all. But this vision (without which we run amok – see Proverbs 29:18) comes from the Most High. It is the vision of living by the Spirit of God in such a way that sinners’ hearts are captured by Yeshua’s love and Israel’s revival impacts all the nations of the world. With that in our hearts, let us proceed with renewed and sanctified idealism as visionary pioneers in the last days.
This article originally appeared on Oasis newsletter, July 2017, and reposted with permission.
Eitan is the Founder and Executive Director of Tents of Mercy Network of Messianic Congregations is Northern Israel. He's a published author, having written "What About Us?", which answers the question about Gentile participation in the restoration of Israel.
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Remembering a hero: The Yoni Netanyahu story
“I must feel certain that not only at the moment of my death shall I be able to account for the time I have lived. I ought to be ready at every moment of my life to confront myself and say, ‘This is what I’ve done.’” – Yoni Netanyahu
What makes a person a hero? Is it something they’re born with? Is the term exclusive to comic books full of superpowers and capes – or is it something more?
On July 4, 1976, Israeli Special Forces successfully rescued more than 100 hostages held by Palestinian extremists at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells had hijacked an Air France flight eight days before. As a result of Operation Entebbe, all of the terrorists, as well as dozens of Ugandan soldiers, were killed. But only one Israeli soldier paid the ultimate price.
That man was Yoni Netanyahu, the mastermind behind the raid. At his funeral, Defense Minister Shimon Peres said, “A bullet had torn the young heart of one of Israel’s finest sons, one of its most courageous warriors, one of its most promising commanders – the magnificent Yonatan Netanyahu.”
But for those who knew him best, Yoni Netanyahu’s acts of heroism was just a natural expression of a man who loved fiercely while consistently looking after the needs of those around him. He walked a difficult tightrope between his love for his family and his duty to his country. His internal struggle was clearly seen throughout his military career in the letters he wrote to his family.
This hero’s life and death are explored in The Film Sales Company documentary Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story.
As the oldest of three boys born to Benzion and Cela Netanyahu, Yoni was unique from the start. He excelled in school and distanced himself from those around him in how hard he worked to succeed. As the oldest child, Yoni cared for his younger brothers while also being a leader to them.
“We truly were a band of brothers,” younger brother and current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Yoni was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces as a teenager and quickly moved up the ranks, emerging as a leader in his unit. While in the military, Yoni began to experience the agonizing struggle of balancing civilian and soldier life.
In 1967, Yoni was wounded while commanding troops during the Six-Day War. After spending several months recovering from his injuries, Yoni married longtime girlfriend Tuti and the two moved to Boston, Mass., where Yoni briefly studied at Harvard University, before transferring back to his homeland and continuing his education at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. But war soon called him back to the front lines of combat, and he found himself commanding troops during the War of Attrition with Egypt.
“On me – on us, the young men of Israel – rests the duty of keeping our country safe,” Yoni said in a letter to his parents dated March 6, 1969. “This is a heavy responsibility, which matures us early. I do not regret what I have done and what I’m about to do. I’m convinced that what I am doing is right. I believe in myself, in my country, and in my future.”
That letter was sent shortly before Yoni joined Sayeret Matkal, a Special Forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1972, he was appointed as the group’s commander. The demands of his military endeavors weighed so heavily on his personal life that in 1972, he and his wife divorced.
Yoni continued to lead his Special Forces unit as the group battled in some of Israel’s most notable conflicts. He voiced his resolve to his brother Benjamin in a letter dated December 1973:
We’re preparing for war, and it’s hard to know what to expect. What I’m positive of is that there will be a next round, and others after that. But I would rather opt for living here in continual battle than for becoming part of the wandering Jewish people. Any compromise will simply hasten the end. As I don’t intend to tell my grandchildren about the Jewish State in the 20th century as a mere brief and transient episode in thousands of years of wandering. I intend to hold on here with all my might.
Tragically, Yoni lost his life in the rescue mission he led on July 4, 1976. A mission that was later renamed “Operation Yonatan” in his honor. But even in death, Yoni died as he lived: in front of those he led. The commander was the first to go into battle and the first to stand in front of those he led and loved.
Yoni Netanyahu was a hero, not merely because of the way that he died, but because of the way that he lived. Throughout his personal and military career, he devoted himself to his duty fully and completely. Although his military pursuits came at great personal cost, his life demonstrated the balance many soldiers experience in balancing love and duty. His heroism lives on in the lives of those he touched along the way.
Follow Me: The Netanyahu Story runs for 1 hour and 27 minutes. It was directed by Jonathan Gruber and Ari Daniel Pinchot.
This article originally appeared on Philos Project, May 9, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Jonny Gamet serves as the youth pastor at Grace Baptist Fellowship in Greenville, S.C. He graduated from Bob Jones University with a B.S. in Radio Television Broadcasting and went on to complete a master's degree in Broadcast Management and a master's in Biblical Studies. He also currently serves as the sports information director at Bob Jones University. A self-proclaimed coffee and theology addict, he enjoys studying and writing about sports, religion and entertainment. He is a gifted writer and blogger, speaker and social media strategist. Most of all, he is a husband and a father to three beautiful children.
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The Bible in full color
Maybe you’re like me and you grew up with the companionship of Bible stories all the way from Sunday school and cartoon movies to daily devotionals and weekly sermons. The images you saw of those critical characters and powerful places looked a lot like the comic book picture Bible in your mind’s eye. Or maybe when you imagine Jesus calming the storm, you still envision the Bible movie cartoon character that said aloud the simple message of “Peace be still.”
Perhaps you’ve studied layers of language from David’s Psalms, examining and imagining what the “valley of the shadow of death” must have really looked like here on the earth we walk on. You’ve come to understand the ancient language root words like adamah (land) in Hebrew or agape (love) in Greek. We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but he also grew up in Nazareth, preached in the Galilee, and then, walked the streets of Jerusalem to worship at the temple and to ultimately be crucified. Maybe you’ve seen it on maps, but really, do you know how it fits together – the geography, the distance, the terrain, the journey?
Coming here, to Israel, the Land, you’ll experience something you maybe didn’t even know you were missing. You’ll experience the words on the page alive in person. You know God, you know his love, you embrace faith and we’re not saying that’s going to change. What we are saying is that this journey brings your Bible to life in a way that might be difficult to imagine. You’ll go from seeing it in black and white to seeing it (and experiencing it) … in full color.
OK, you’re not here yet, and maybe this description feels a little, well, abstract. What we’re saying is, as you prepare, get ready to experience the Bible with your five senses. (Yes, I really mean all five!) Imagine… Imagine…See and stand on the steps leading up to the same temple (2nd temple) where Jesus taught. But also notice the many cloaked peoples of Jewish, Arab, and Christian backgrounds filling the cobblestone streets with different traditions, languages, and rituals in search for God. See and stand on the steps leading up to the same temple (2nd temple) where Jesus taught. But also notice the many cloaked peoples of Jewish, Arab, and Christian backgrounds filling the cobblestone streets with different traditions, languages, and rituals in search for God. Hear praise songs in the original language of worship and the emphatic conversation in Hebrew’s modern version on the streets of Jerusalem. But also, hear the buzz and murmur of the traditional Jewish prayers recited at least three times a day.Taste the bread and wine of Jesus’ sacrifice here where the last supper happened. But also eat of the traditional local food with its vibrant flavours and middle-eastern spices. Smell the subtle fragrance of the Sea of Galilee as you board the boat imagining what it must’ve smelled like in Jesus’ time. But also breathe in the potent wafts of spiced Arabic style coffee (that’s cardamom by the way!) that bear the invitation for a long seated conversation with friends who are like family. Touch the walls (the Western Wall) that bordered the temple, and today bear the tears of Jews throughout history crying for redemption, crying for healing, crying for a savior. But also grab the hand of the person you connected with that lives their everyday life here either by choice or obligation. The words of the Bible are alive filled with power and meaning for the individual to the masses, for the poor and forgotten, all the way to the wealthy and esteemed. Here’s your chance to explore this reality on a whole new level with your feet on this ground, interacting with the Land of the Bible, and the Israel of today.
This article originally appeared on FIRM and is reposted with permission.
FIRM (Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries) is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.