By Sam Nadler
Thank you for praying! The Lord has given the increase to the proclamation of the Good News during the Fall Festival with people coming to faith in Yeshua the Messiah! Last Thanksgiving, Neal came to faith in Messiah. As a board member of a local synagogue, he was drawn to the Good News and the peace of God in Messiah. Isaiah 53 played a key role in Neal recognizing the truth that Yeshua is truly the Messiah of Israel, and Lord of His life. Along with his public confession of Yeshua, Neal shared his new faith with his parents in Tampa, Fla. We went thru discipleship together, and then Neal obeyed the Lord thru water immersion (tevila, or baptism). The peace that Messiah has brought to Neal’s life really caught his parent’s attention, so Lisa and Stu decided to come up from the Tampa area to visit with their son and attend our Rosh Hashanah services here in Charlotte.
The Erev (evening) service for Rosh Hashanah, I taught on “The Three Books” from Daniel 7:9-10 and Revelation 20:12-15, utilizing the Talmud to show how God’s judgment is absolute and that only the Messiah can have our names indelibly inscribed in the (Lamb’s) Book of Life. Several people responded to God’s invitation to receive Yeshua’s free gift of salvation. The next day, for the morning Rosh Hashanah service, I taught on “The Joy of the Lord is our strength” the Rosha Hashanah teaching in Nehemiah 8. In that portion, though the walls of Jerusalem were built, the people wept at the reading of the Torah, for they realized that their own defensive walls could not protect them from the righteous demands of Torah, and that we all fall short. But they are told not weep, for the sacrifice for sin had been made. As right as it is to weep over sins, it’s just that wrong to weep after the sacrifice has been made. Because of the sacrifice, we can rejoice in our forgiveness from God, for “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Neh 8:10). The Hebrew word for “strength” (maoz) is “stronghold” or fortress –this is our true protection –not in the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves, but in the provision that God has made in the final and perfect sacrifice of the Messiah. Once more, there were numerous people responding to God’s gracious invitation to trust in Messiah, including Neal’s mother, Lisa.
Following the service, during Oneg (a time of light refreshment and great fellowship), I went over to the table where Neal was sitting with his parents. I leaned over and asked his mom, “I noticed that you raised your hand.” And she responded with the biggest smile, “Yes, it’s wonderful!” But being me, I additionally asked her, “Did you trust in Yeshua this morning as your Messiah, Lord and Savior?” And again smiling from ear to ear, she responded, “Yes, it’s wonderful!” Then Neal said, “and so did my dad!” So, I turned to Stu and said, “You did? I didn’t see your hand?” And Stu said, “I did it last night.” And, being me, I then asked, “Wow, that’s great, but I didn’t see your hand? So, you believe that Yeshua is the Messiah and Lord”? And he looked me in the eye, and said, “Yes, I do.” They both said what really got their attention was the change Yeshua made in their son, Neal’s life. All I could say was, “PTL!”
Stu and Lisa are being followed up in Florida and discipled in the faith by Steve Weiler and Ed Marvin of Shoresh David Messianic Congregations. Neal reports that his parents are now reading the bible together and that they’re rejoicing in the Lord.
Gerry had come to faith over 20 years ago, and is in our worship team. He also helps with the discipleship of the youth. He has witnessed to his parents consistently, but apparently to no avail. His parents recently retired to Charlotte, started visiting our Shabbat morning services, and they too came to that same Rosh Hashanah service. Following that service, his dad, Don, asked if I would come to their home and talk about the matter, which I did two days later. Don’s questions revolved around knowing for sure that Yeshua is the Messiah. We read Isaiah 53 together, and when we finished, I asked him who he thought was being spoke about. He said, “Yeshua, clearly.” This clinched it for Don. He asked if he should wait until the upcoming Shabbat for him to place his trust in Yeshua, so that Gerry would be encouraged. I reminded him that though he can pray to trust in Messiah anytime, he’s not to do this for Gerry, but only for God. Don thought about that and then, said, “Then let’s do it now.” And we prayed together as Don placed his trust in Yeshua the Messiah as his Lord and Savior. Isn’t the Lord good!
Thanks so much for praying for our High Holy Day outreaches. And please keep praying for the Lord to keep giving the ongoing increase as Messiah’s Good News is proclaimed, even to the Jew first.