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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Tikvat Israel

Tom Douglas and his wife Lynne are regular fixtures in the 8:30 worship service at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, but they are also regular fixtures in the worship services of a synagogue just down the street.  How do they manage both, and what does it mean?  Take a look at Tom’s article below and his suggestion about how we might partner with our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters.

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Three weeks ago, we ended our first year of KOH2RVA: “A year long, every member mission trip.”

Lynne and I weren’t there for the One-Sunday event but we were able to watch it on our computer at home. It was heart-warming to listen to the awesome testimonies that were given, to see what so many wonderful people have been doing and it made us very proud to be members of this church, to be associated with people who really are involved in community efforts that are much needed.

The next Sunday, Pastor Jim charged us to not only continue what we had started a year ago, but he asked the church to extend beyond our boundaries to include partnering with other organizations and he called it KOHX2.

We have a wonderful opportunity to partner with Tikvat Israel. Tikvat is the Messianic Jewish Synagogue located within walking distance of First Baptist, at the corner of Boulevard and Grove. Who better to partner with than our Jewish brothers and sisters who believe, as we do, that “Yeshua” (that’s Jesus’ Hebrew name) is our Messiah?

Briefly, Messianic Jews worship much like the first century Jewish believers in Jesus did. They live a Jewish lifestyle and they celebrate all the Jewish holidays and customs that God Himself gave them and they believe in Jesus as Messiah.

I have been attending Tikvat for a number of years now and have many friends there. They are a friendly and loving congregation just as we are.

I would like to propose that First Baptist partner with Tikvat in its prison ministry. I have been overwhelmingly blessed to have been a part of this ministry for five or six years now. The thing about those who are in prison is that they basically have nothing. As with any such group–the homeless, the less fortunate, the underprivileged–you find people who have no pretense: people who are at the lowest point in their life, just looking and hoping that someone on the outside will do something to let them know that they matter, that they may be welcomed back into society when their time is up.

I visit this group of Messianic believers once a month. We hold a Messianic Jewish worship service. What you could do to help is maybe write letters to one or more of them, maybe visit one or more of them, or maybe come with me to one or more of our services. Or maybe make a donation, we always need prayer books and other religious materials. Passover comes around the time of Easter and supplies are expensive.

This would be a step in KOHX2 and a step in enhancing Jewish/Christian relations, which have suffered way too long.

Matthew 25:31-40 says:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.‘ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Thank you for your consideration. God bless all of you in whatever mission you do.

Contact:

Tom Douglas
Home: 264-0774 after 6:00pm
Cell: 804-334-8038
E-mail: tomatbap@yahoo.com

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Snuggle_Buddies_by_DragonflyHeartSometimes everything just comes together.

It did this morning at community missions, down on the basement level of our building.  I try to go down there every Wednesday morning to greet our homeless neighbors and make them feel welcome.  I usually share a thought and say a prayer.  I don’t always know what my “thought” is going to be until it’s time to speak, but this morning everything came together. 

I was watching people come in from outside, shaking the rain off their caps and jackets.  I knew that it wouldn’t be long before they start to come in shivering from the cold.  So when Brenda Andrews announced (confidently) that I was going to share a good word I began to tell them about David.

For four weeks now on Tuesday nights I have been telling the story of King David out at Westminster Canterbury, the elegant retirement community on Westbrook Road.  This week I was talking about the end of David’s life and how, when he was an old man, he just couldn’t stay warm.  “He would go to bed at night and shiver beneath his blankets,” I said.  “His bones would ache with the cold, his knees would knock together, and no matter how many covers they piled on top of him he couldn’t get warm.”

I could see people nodding their heads; they’d had nights like that, except they hadn’t had a bed to sleep in and not nearly so many covers.

“You may have read in the Book of Ecclesiastes,” I said: “‘Two can stay warm under the same blanket, but how can one stay warm alone?'” (Ecc. 4:11). 

I’m not sure they had read it, but I could see that it made sense to everyone in the room.  “Yes, two can stay warm under the same blanket!”  Some of them smiled at memories they would have been embarrassed to share.

“So David’s advisors suggested that they find the prettiest girl in Israel and let her try to keep David warm at night.  This idea pleased the king (Oh, did it?), and so they held a national beauty contest, going through every village from Dan to Beersheba looking for the prettiest girl in the land.  They finally settled on Abishag the Shunnamite, and from that night on (although the Bible makes it clear that she had no “relations” with him), Abishag slept in David’s bed and kept him warm.”

I don’t think most of the people at community missions had heard that story before, though it’s right there in 1 Kings, chapter 1.  They smiled at the image of the old king finally warm at night, and some of them must have wondered how they would stay warm when the winter winds begin to blow.

“The thing I love about David,” I said, “is that he was so human, so real.  He had been a great warrior—a giant killer!—but he got to be an old man who couldn’t stay warm at night.  He loved God and wanted to please him but he also made some terrible mistakes along the way and had to beg for God’s forgiveness.  Still, he was remembered as the greatest king who ever lived in Israel, and his story gives me hope.”

“If God can use someone like David, he can use all of us, can’t he?”

And they nodded, they really did. 

“Of course he can!”

 

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