December Follow-Up in February and Beyond!
As 2015 has drawn to a close and a new year has begun, we have had many opportunities to rejoice! God has graciously given the increase, and we are still following up with those who responded to the message of salvation communicated through our outreaches during the month of December. Though some may think that December, with the dual celebrations of Hanukkah and Messiah’s birth, is an ‘either/or’ month, we have always handled it as a ‘both/and’ opportunity.
Hanukkah, which began in early December, opened the door for numerous occasions on which to teach about this Feast of Dedication. Many people in Bible-believing churches do not realize that Hanukkah is a New Testament Feast, spoken of in John 10:22-30, where Yeshua personally identified with this feast and used it in His teaching. In light of this lack of awareness, some may think that churches could care less about Hanukkah; however, this assumption is wrong! Besides our own Hanukkah outreaches, we had amazing responses in every church where I brought the message. With its theme of dedication, Hanukkah became a natural opportunity to proclaim Messiah as the “Greater Maccabee” who can change lives. Many hunger for this kind of change in their life, and numerous people who heard this message responded to Messiah’s love and placed their faith in Yeshua as their Lord and Savior.
As always, at out Messianic outreaches, we were privileged to see the Lord give the increase to the teaching and add to the Body. Hanukkah became an unusual opportunity for believers to invite their Jewish neighbors and friends to hear the message of Messiah in the context of this feast. For many people, Hanukkah can seem like a rather minor holiday. However, nothing is ever minor when the Messiah is proclaimed. The message of Hanukkah is life-changing as people realize just how much more Yeshua can do for them than the religious heroes of the past.
These Hanukkah outreaches were just the beginning of a month of blessing. Though we do not celebrate Messiah’s birth according to the customary Christmas traditions of trees, Santa, or mistletoe, we are continually blessed by the 3-fold miracle that historically took place when Yeshua came to this earth: He was miraculously born of a virgin, was God Himself come in the flesh, and was the marvelous confirmation of God’s faithful promises given to Israel (see Romans 15:8-9). So, though our celebration may look different than that of most people, we do take the occasion to help people understand Yeshua’s birth through Jewish eyes. As we do this, it becomes a wonderful and clarifying opportunity to share with pre-believing Jewish people that the Messiah has come. We also take this time of year to share with nominal Christians about the vital importance of personal faith, uncluttered by the traditional wrapping paper of snowmen and reindeer.
We do this by looking at the roots of our faith, the Messianic prophecies of Yeshua’s birth. In several churches, I taught a message entitled, “Christmas Thru Jewish Eyes,” from Isaiah 9:1-7. The truths of this 700-year advance birth announcement so astounded some of the listeners that they chose to let the Light of Messiah impact their lives and relationships, and publically surrendered themselves to Him. Some of these new believers testify that they felt “compelled” by the Holy Spirit to turn their lives over to the Lord!
At our Messianic outreaches surrounding the celebration of Messiah’s birth, we took an in-depth look at Micah 4:8, which speaks of Migdal Eder, a region outside the town of Bethlehem called the “Tower of the flock.” When studied by the ancient Jewish sages, this section of Scripture was traditionally recognized as a Messianic prophecy. A careful study reveals that the area of Migdal Eder was the very area where the shepherds “watching over their flocks by night” were suddenly met by a multitude of angels praising God and speaking of the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2). The background and testimony of those who first testified of Messiah is so stunning that people responded to the prophecy of Messiah’s birth with their own new birth in Him!
At a subsequent outreach, we had the opportunity to speak of the uniqueness of the divinity of Messiah from Micah 5:2. As our humble King, Yeshua came from eternity in order to rule in humility, providing a unique testimony of how true, godly leadership is God’s light of grace into the disgraceful darkness of this world. Once again, numerous people responded, and two more Jewish individuals became b’nai Elohim, children of God!
Please continue to pray for us as we follow up with these new believers (As I write this article, Miriam is speaking with one of them, a Jewish woman). Pray also that we will continue to utilize all that the Bible teaches in order to reach out to all with ears to hear, even “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).
And, if by His grace, we can testify of God’s love throughout December, just imagine the opportunities we will have to proclaim His everlasting love surrounding St. Valentine’s Day! Keep praying and praising!