Praise and Thanksgiving for the Phoenix Conference!

By Sam Nadler

Thanks for praying! The Lord blessed our latest Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations Conference in Phoenix over Presidents’ Day weekend! We are very thankful for the gracious host of Arrowhead Messianic Congregation, and their leadership under Allan and Anita Moorhead. The Lord packed out their fellowship hall with leaders from all over the Southwest US, and all with a desire to do more for Messiah through new congregation plants and developing other congregations to do even more in Jewish evangelism and Messianic discipleship.

Besides conducting the women’s break out session, Miriam Nadler lead each morning’s worship time which opened all our hearts to what the Word of God would instruct our souls and feed our spirit. In fact, one area of our conference study was how worship prepares our hearts for God’s edifying word.  Though we utilized my book “Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations” as our text, in reality, it was the Word of God that guided our discussions and directed our growth in Messiah’s service.

We covered over the weekend “The 4 Major Problems Which Hinder Your Messianic Community’s Growth,” which are leadership’s greatest challenges:

 

  1. Scriptural problems that lead to a lack of purpose.
  2. Strategic problems that produce unclear direction
  3. Internal problems that reveal a lack of unity
  4. Implementation problems that cause a lack of growth

The “Scriptural problems that lead to a lack of purpose” refer to the importance of community expressing God’s love, and the Messianic congregation’s vital importance for expressing God’s faithfulness to Israel, and thereby to the nations. Most people, even many that attend a Messianic congregation do not understand the New Covenant’s teaching on the whole Body of Messiah’s calling “to the Jew first.” By not comprehending this Messianic calling, individuals can take for granted the missional work of a Messianic congregation, and not understand the commitment as a commitment to a calling from God. Far too many believers think of a calling that reflects their personal preferences. So when their preferences change, their calling changes as well. But the calling of God upon every believer in Messiah is scriptural, i.e., “to the Jew first” and to make Israel jealous for Messiah (Romans 1:16; 11:11). And the Scriptures, like Yeshua the Messiah, “is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), for the written word represents the living Word.

In light of understanding our pose “to the Jew first” we then considered “Strategic problems that produce unclear direction.” Our vision is Yeshua, for we are all called to be “conformed to the image of the Son” (Romans 8:29). And as the Father sent Him, so He sends us (John 20:21), and “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). In being conformed to the image of the Son, we too must be sharing the Good News. In my evaluation of the Body of Messiah, it is shocking how little evangelism is being conducted. We spent a great deal of time understanding the whole Bible’s instruction on evangelism, from Abraham through the writings of the apostles. I taught them how to teach a Jewish Evangelism Seminar, and how to establish their budgets and schedules to reflect the priority we must have for evangelism. Through it all we recognized our need to depend wholly upon the atonement of Messiah, so that the life of Yeshua would minister through us.

As for “Internal problems that reveal a lack of unity” we studied Messianic discipleship. In truth, the undiscipled believer is the dysfunctional member of the Body of Messiah. But we were very careful to understand that Messianic Discipleship must not be another form of “Messianic Legalism”! For in fact, it is not a matter of following more rules and regs, but rather “Discipleship Develops Our Dependence on Messiah!” Only to the “degree” that you died with Messiah does His love control your heart’s desire to love as God loves & to live out His blessed will for you (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). When “I am crucified with Messiah,” I die (daily) to self, my focus of faith is Yeshua –not my prayers, my study, fellowship or witnessing as any validation of my life–for though all those activities are good, Yeshua alone is lifegiving and He alone is my life.  Prayer, devotions, community & our witness are all both outgrowth of my abiding in Yeshua & also the spiritual means of growing into Him. The result of discipleship is the life of Messiah manifested, i.e., the fruits of the Spirit, so we’ll sacrificially love God & others as we live out Yeshua’s life – even to the Jew first!

Finally regarding “Implementation problems that cause a lack of growth” we discussed leadership and the planning process. Yeshua made it clear to us all, “If you know these things, then blessed are you who do them” (John 13:17). Without acting upon the Word of God, the weekend’s teaching is mere religious ear wash. Growth takes place by being a doer of the word and not a mere hearer (James 1:22). And with these and more exhortations to apply what had been learned, we ended with much prayer, praise and thanksgiving.

Feedback from the attendees was highly positive.  “It challenged me personally and in my role as Elder,” remarked one of our participants.  On principles learned, others wrote: “Outreach leads to discipleship; discipleship must be tested and monitored.  Discipleship is critical to all aspects of congregational life and leadership”, “[Sam] is very knowledgeable about the Bible and how to apply it.  I will be looking for more help in discipling in evangelism.  The process of becoming a functional congregation through contacts, discipling, membership and leadership was very good.  The facts conveyed about Jewish people was also very enlightening.” “Enjoyed the uplifting of Yeshua first.  Then all else last.  Plenty of Bible chapter and verse.  God’s word first and foremost.”

Thank you again for praying for Word of Messiah Ministries that the Word of God and the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah will be going out to all with ears to hear – even to the Jew first.

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