Posts Tagged 'forjewsforjesus'
Published on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00
Written by Jews for Jesus
We had been married for two years when we joined the Liberated Wailing Wall. We were on the road for almost three years (Jan. 1999-October 2002) with two different teams. When we started out, we only planned to be on the team for 18-months, which was a pretty serious commitment. We didn't know too much about Jews For Jesus. In fact, we were surprised when we found out that street evangelism was a weekly part of our job.
For those of you that don't know, the Liberated Wailing Wall is a mobile evangelism team that brings Jewish Gospel music presentations to churches, messianic synagogues, universities, schools and street corners. Unlike most touring groups, the musicians are on tour consistently for 15 months with very few breaks. Between six and eight people live on a 45-foot tour bus in very close quarters. One can imagine that living in such close proximity to each other caused some tension and it did. We got to know each other very well.
On our first tour, our team struggled with speaking the truth in love and it ate away at us and nearly caused our destruction. But God was faithful and merciful, and as he often does, he used these extreme circumstances to refine us, deepening our walk with him and teaching us to be like our Messiah. In the end, our first tour was one of the hardest experiences of our lives and also one of the most rewarding because of what God taught us. Our first tour was so hard at times that we were really looking forward to the end, never dreaming that God had other plans. We were one-year into our 18 months when God completely changed our hearts and showed us that he wanted us to sign up for another tour. Josh was asked to lead the team and we became really excited about living on the bus Xfor another tour. We knew we were a little mashugina, but when God tells you to do something it's always best to obey.
The second tour was by no means a cake-walk, but it was much easier at the beginning, thanks to the lessons God had taught us the first time around. One of our major prayer requests was that this team would never have a blow-out. We had learned that almost every team throughout the thirty-year history of the Liberated Wailing Wall had experienced at least one tumultuous time of intense personality conflicts. We knew what this was like from our first tour and we were determined to avoid it. We knew that we couldn't make this happen without God. So we all joined together and prayed daily that God would preserve us and allow us to communicate openly and honestly with each other. God honored our prayers and we never reached a point in our relationships were we felt like giving up.
God used our time with Jews For Jesus to change us in many ways. We not only became better communicators, we also grew in our boldness to share the gospel. When it's a daily experience to share the good news of Jesus the Messiah, your faith naturally grows. We were constantly searching the Scriptures so that we would be ready to defend our faith. Our individual relationships with God grew as did our marriage relationship. We learned to love our team members and treat them like family. Both times our tours ended and we went our separate ways, we felt like we were saying goodbye to part of our family.
We are back in Sacramento, California now and are actively involved in our local Messianic Synagogue, Beth Yeshua. We are more involved in leadership now than before we left because we are better equipped to serve in ministry. We know that we are different people now because of our time being polished with Jews For Jesus. There were definite times when we wanted to give up because of the hardships we faced. God blessed us for finishing the race that he set before us.
Josh and Rosemary
Published on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 19:15
Written by Moishe Rosen
Dear friends and fellow laborers with Jews for Jesus:
It hardly seems possible that we are approaching our thirtieth year anniversary as an organization. But then Jews for Jesus has been more than an organization to some of us.
I wanted to take a moment and share some brief reflections with some of you who might care. First of all I want to thank God for opposition; if it hadn't been for organized opposition from the Jewish Community we would not have had the many opportunities to tell our message. If it hadn't been for some disappointed staff who left I might not have thought to write a letter seeking to draw close and celebrate your participation in our adventure of Jews for Jesus.
I have been thinking of the many people who had served so faithfully and so honorably and who helped build Jews for Jesus into the witness that it has become.
I want to thank each and every one of you who had a part in making this testimony possible. It was back in 1969 that I realized the problem that Jewish People didn't feel free to consider the gospel because most Jews felt that Jesus was not for us. Very few had ever met or seen a Jewish believer in Jesus. It was possible for the Jewish community to say without fear of contradiction Jews do not believe in Jesus." Hence if a Jew believed in Jesus then you were not really a Jew. Most of us were indoctrinated to believe we must never give up our Jewishness. That doctrine that Jews don't believe in Jesus kept most from considering that the New Testament just might be true.
Back in those days I longed to be able to stand up and shout: "But there are some Jews who believe in Jesus." I wanted to make Jesus an issue among the Jewish people. Maybe I was overly ambitious but I wanted our Jewish people to understand that the destiny of Israel is entwined with the future of the soon coming Messiah.
I had a yearning and a vision as to how it might happen. It would take a number of activists working together like they did in the anti-war movement. But let me say that it did not happen exactly the way that I had hoped when I was executive director. We made mistakes in strategy; like the times that we picketed in front of a Reform Temple and came back and realized that was a mistake. We made mistakes in our declarations but for the most part we got out the Word. And then, of course, there were mistakes in interpersonal relationships. We had a tough job to do and sometimes I fear that I was too tough on some of you. For those mistakes, I truly apologize.
At the same time, I want to say that I thank God for those who came alongside to help me in this ministry; most of you served beautifully with love and affection. Together we changed the spiritual climate and showed that Jews could believe in Jesus.
We saw ourselves as a leadership training cadre and trained people for leadership. If God had an army, I hoped that Jews for Jesus would be the commandos or the Marines and that we could get the tough job done. Many who are leaders in the Jewish mission movement today were associated at one time or another with Jews for Jesus.
I marvel at the bravery, the diligence and the endurance that I saw on the part of most of you. And yet there were pains caused and harms done. If I could make it up to those bruised or hurt by my mediocre leadership I certainly would want to try.
But that is not why I am writing this letter. I am writing to say that I thank God that you were with me back then in this adventure. No one in the Jewish community says anymore with any confidence that there are no Jews that believe in Y'shua because they have seen with their eyes and heard with their ears and we have been out there.
In thirty years we have managed to make Jesus an unavoidable issue in the Jewish community and they are responding. I hope that you will always be proud of your service with Jews for Jesus. If you have any good memories with Jews for Jesus and would like to share with others why not send them to this web address? I know that David Brickner and the rest of us on the staff would love to hear from you. On the other hand, if you think that there is something that we should be doing to make things right with you, it is important to hear from you as well.
Let us continue to celebrate what God has done and that He allowed us to be part of it. We don't know what the next 30 years will hold for us but it will probably be an adventure.
I hope that you will pray for David Brickner as he steers this great testimony. In addition do pray for the many staff, as you know from your experience it was not easy but it sure was worth it.
Most sincerely yours,
My exposure to Jews for Jesus goes back to 1973, and I have known their founder, Moishe Rosen, since the early 1960s. Sadly (to me), I cannot take a public stand in favor of every organization identifying itself with Jesus. But Jews for Jesus is #1 on my list of missions worthy of respect, trust and support.
For one thing, I respect Jews for Jesus as a thoughtful group of people. Don't be fooled by their good humor. They certainly are fun and innovative. But they take seriously their responsibility to think things through with solid, credible answers for intelligent seekers.
I respect their humility. They have made themselves accountable to the highest standards of theological and financial governance. Our church donates money to Jews for Jesus with every confidence that it will be managed responsibly. If I have a question, I get an answer, not an evasion.
I respect the courage of Jews for Jesus. They love a challenge, because they know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life for everyone everywhere. Maybe that is what makes some people mad. In a world of radical uncertainty, confident principles can be perceived as threatening. But then, didn't the prophets of ancient Israel get the same reaction? The real motive for opposing certainty is a proud unwillingness to face the possibility of truth-claims.
If I had two lives to live, I would spend the first one fulfilling my present calling. Then in my second life I would apply for a position with Jews for Jesus. It would be a privilege to serve with them. But would they take a gentile like me? As I said, they have a sense of humor.
Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.
First Presbyterian Church