Sunday Collectives 4/17/17 – 4/30/17
We communicate creatively!
Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian presuppositions and lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for “them” not “us.” In order to get beyond that assumption, we have to be innovative in the following areas:
We write and illustrate hand-lettered pamphlets with plenty of humor in an informal, conversational tone. (We take God seriously but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.) We call these gospel tracts “broadsides” and our staff hand-delivers more than eight million of these “invitations to interact with the gospel” each year.
What Are We Chosen For, Anyway?
Mordecai and I had agreed to meet in order to “exchange our points of view.” But both of us knew what we really meant by that phrase: each of us was intent on changing the other one’s mind. I wanted to tell him about my faith in Yeshua, and Mordecai wanted to tell me about the joys of living an Orthodox Jewish life.
“Avi, Avi, Avi,” Mordecai moaned. “I look at you, and I see such a tragedy. You’re like a man who went searching for treasure. But instead of looking in your own back yard, you decided to dig in the gentiles’ yards. Whatever you think you’ve found, it can’t compare with the beauty of what you’ve left behind.” He drew in a mournful breath, then let out a sigh. “Come back, Avi. You’re one of God’s chosen. Come back.”
Due to a variety of influences, including missions to the Jews, persecution, charismatic figures and a post-Haskalah* orientation, many Jews in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries professed a belief in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah. This “new breed” was known as Hebrew Christians, or Christian Jews. Most saw themselves as “converts” to Christianity, but others maintained their Jewish identity and culture.
One such community dwelled in Kishinev, Romania, founded by Joseph Rabinowitz, considered the father of modern Messianic Judaism. That whole community (save one person) of Yeshua believers perished in the Holocaust. For the most part they are nameless; but when it came time for their death, they faced it with faith in eternal life in their Messiah Jesus.
I grew up in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, where I assumed that everyone else was Jewish like me. Schools were closed on the Jewish holidays. We never saw Christmas decorations or Easter bunnies other than on television.
I was aware that non-Jews existed. I even had a Gentile friend who didn’t live in the neighborhood, but who attended my school. One day, she approached me at the school playground with the accusation, “I learned that you killed Jesus!” She was very upset and so was I. I went home and told my mother. She comforted me and let me know that “they” (meaning the Christian world) believe that we killed “their God.” I remember thinking what a crazy religion Christians must have if they taught lies about little Jewish girls killing “their God.”
At the age of 33 I was a Jewish physician living in Little Rock, Arkansas. I had finished my medical oncology training at M.D. Anderson Tumor Institute, Houston, Texas, and was already board certified. I had been in private practice in medical oncology for more than three years, and my practice was successful beyond my wildest dreams.
I was happily married to an incredible woman (who was also Jewish), and we had two terrific children, a girl and a boy. We lived in a large, beautiful new home with a swimming pool. My wife and I both drove new cars, and we had been accepted in our new social circle.