Month 7:4, Week 1:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5940:181 AM|
TESHUVAH 33/39, 2Exodus 1/40
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 27 September 2014
Tuning In, Tuning Out
Continued from Part 32
Would You Close Your Ministry?
How many of you leaders out there would be prepared to shut down your ministries or disband your churches/messianic synagogues if Yahweh told you to as part of their making teshuvah (repentance)? And would you be prepared to put your whole doctrinal belief system on the altar so that He could teach you anew if he demanded that of you?
The first time we did that was in 1992. After four years in Norway Yahweh told us to disband. There was no immediately obvious outward reason for us to do so. We had built several small but vibrant young congregations in Norway and Denmark. But we weren't living up to our own standards and we still believed in baggage brought in from other church traditions. The baby stayed but the bathwater went along with our name and a few other things. Some members left but most remained. Over the years, as new light and emet (truth) came our way, more and more left until there was an outright revolt. Ironically, those in revolt weren't what one might call 'traditionalists' or 'conservatives' but those who wanted to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start all over again - literally. They did, staged a coup d'état and failed. None of them are believers any more because they were so liberal, hated authority, rules and structure and resorted to persecution when the survivors wouldn't agree with them. A small remnant survived and started again...with the baby intact.
Admitting You Were Wrong
The hardest part of making teshuvah (repentance) is admitting you were wrong especially if you are in a leadership position. It isn't easy to eat crow. It isn't easy to lose face. One of the great temptations of all ministers is to construct their own little kingdoms and to progressively make unilateral declarations of independence from the Kingdom by making themselves and their works the centre of attention...all in Yahweh's or 'the Lord's' Name, of course. It happens all the time. The King's Name is retained but a new kingdom is set up with a different spirit to the authentic one in which the leaders stoop to carnal self-justification.
Collective Ownership Under the King
For one thing, the Kingdom cannot be possessed (owned) by any single ruler or group of rulers. It's not owned by pastors, prophets, priests, bishops, popes or patriarchs. It's actually a collective ownership:
A Bequest, Not a Right
"But the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever" (Dan.7:18, NKJV).
Moreover, that collective possession is a future event in the eternities and must be bequeathed or given...as you can't "receive" something until it is proffered. In the meantime, the King owns the Kingdom and we are but its servants, leaders and laity alike. We come and we go, nothing is permanent - all of us.
Guarding the Flock
That's not, of course to say, that ministers must relax guarding the flock:
No Private Kingdoms
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Assembly of Elohim (church of God), which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the emet (truth) in order to draw away talmidim (disciples) after them. So be on your guard!" (Acts 20:27-31, NIV).
Guarding the flock does not, of course, mean guarding our private kingdom but guarding them in scriptural emet (truth). If we take care of the emet (truth) the flock will by and large take care of itself and uphold its guardians - the shepherds - in righteousness.
Threats and Persecution
I have been asked, over the years, why I have persisted in this work when so many have deserted and some have openly threatened and persecuted me, trying to break up my family, get me thrown into prison or expelled from the country. They have tried these things. The reason is that my commission is not to guard an organisation but to reveal and guard Yah's emet (truth) and propagate it, irrespective of the cost. And the emet (truth) is always worth it, is it not? It is, after all, the ultimate freedom (Jn.8:32) and I can take it with me whether I am behind bars or not.
Reflecting 0n Our History
I was thinking about this ministry's history this morning and the number of times we have been told to start again. It has been more than the one time I mentioned earlier, though that was by far the most dramatic and most painful. It split families and destroyed some marriages as schism so often does. It needn't have as we have always sent our blessings with those who have departed even though it was never reciprocated. Our doctrines and practices have changed so much during our existence that looking back we sometimes wonder who on earth we were back then. We have had to learn and change as we have become more Torah-compliant. Members have come and gone, a few have returned. And as we have learned of the impermenancy of institutions down here on earth, having our carnal crutches removed one after another until all we truly cared about was what lies in the heavenly realm, so we have stopped trying to 'own' our members or our organisation and to let Yahweh run it the way He sees fit...or remove it altogether if that's what He might want.
Only Yah'shua and Those in Him are Permanent
Guarding the emet (truth) is infinitely less stressing and more satisfying than having to guard earthly things. Nothing here is permanent, everything changes. Look at the history of the Messianic Community throughout the ages and you will see this is so. Only "Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb.13:8, NIV).
In Search of Constancy and Security
We so much want constancy for our security and truly it is available, but not in the world. The only constant is Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Ruach (Spirit) and the divine tavnith (pattern) of Yahweh's ways. If we are tuned into Yah'shua (Jesus), we have constancy and security; and if, on a secondary level, we tune into fellow believers likewise tuned into Yah'shua (Jesus), there is constancy and secrurity in them too...until they tune out. And there will always be times when we have only Yah'shua (Jesus) to tune into while fellow believers make teshuvah (repent) and make life adjustments. We all, regrettably, tune out sometimes, even the strongest and most mature members, so don't lean on "the arm of flesh" for security and prosperity, but lean on "Yahweh our Elohim (God)" (2 Chr,32:8) .
Please Join With Us
Our boasting is in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) alone, in His Torah and in His emet (truth), and even if everyone should desert us as before, we would still continue to adhere to these. The Messianic Community (Church) that matters is the one in Heaven and it's our membership there that we should be the more anxious about, not what fickle man does down here. We had dozens of congregations in India once, long since gone because other ministries seduced them with finances we didn't have, and today we have many in Africa. Our reputation is not, in any case, in our numbers but in our integrity. If that interests you, please join with us in the sacred bonds of covenant. Amen.
Continued in Part 34