Month 4:15, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5940:110 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Omer Count - Day-After-7th Sabbath #44
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 26 July 2016
A Divine Appointment
and a Warning of False Prophets
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and mishpachah! It is good to be back in Europe again after a swealteringly hot and humid three week visit to Mississippi, USA and a very short but blessed trip to the Netherlands to visit with a brother there. These trips were not planned and happened very sudden but were most definitely orchestrated by our Elohim (God).
A Thank You to Prayer Supporters
Because of this I have had to interrupt our series on Futile Religion to which I hope to return, Yah willing, after Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') in six days' time. I admit that being called to America so close to global financial collapse and chaos generally that I was initially very anxious indeed. However, important things had to be done there. I want to thank the many of you for your faithful support in prayer especially as I was able to give you so little information - for your trust and diligence. I believe those prayers were instrumental in holding back the hand of the Enemy in spite of being in the middle of his backyard, as it were. I have shared a little of what happened there in last week's sermon. My only regret is that it was not possible to visit friends in neighbouring states but I thought of you all, especially as I was flying over North Carolina and Ireland! I am also sorry that I could not make the last three sermons available before I got home to Sweden as where I was internet facilities were very limited.
Tying Loose Ends
Today's address will be brief and is only by way of an introduction to a much larger topic but contains, I feel, an important message. Personally-speaking, several important things happened to me whilst in Mississippi and I can testify that the Hand of Yahweh was definitely over me and my family. Equally importantly to me, as well as for this ministry, was, I have not the slightest doubt, a series of incidents which combined to solve and settle for me not only some important theological questions I had but also to give me a crystal-clear road-map as to how we, as a people, are to move forward in this and the last generation. You might say that the Messianic side and the Evangelical side of this work suddenly and beautifully slotted together in a tight fit, finally tying together some loose theological ends.
Radical Torah-Obedience and Radical Grace
As this was an extremely low-budget trip, and we did not therefore have much to spend, the hand of providence led me not only to a decisively important book that brought together many unassimilated strands of emet (truth) but also provided it for the bargain price of $1 in a Christian Thrift Shop in such a way that I could not miss the divine touch. Throughout my entire trip only this book stood out like a beacon shining out of the darkness and it was the only one I bought for myself. Written by an Evangelical Christian journalist, Philip Yancey, it resolved any remaining doubts that I may have had concerning the importance of the echad (oneness) union of radical Torah-obedience with the radical grace of our Messiah.
To the Printed Words of Philip Yancey
From Atlanta, Georgia, which I passed through twice on my current visit, Philip Yancey has published nearly 14 million copies of his books and is one of the best-selling evangelical authors today, two of which, The Jesus I Never Knew and So What's So Amazing About Grace? have won the ECPA's Christian Book of the Year Award. It was to the former - The Jesus I Never Knew - that Yahweh led me. Today he edits the well-known Christian paper, Christianity Today. As a journalist, he "writes with an eye for detail, irony, and honest skepticism"  - just my kind of person.
Challenging Tradition and the Status Quo
I read the book feverishly from cover-to-cover while I was in Mississippi, annotating it more than most books in my library. It's very rare that a book captivates me the way Yancey's did, with British journalist and Christian convert from Marxism Peter Hitchens coming a close second. It takes a lot for a book to captivate me but this one did it. I like those who challenge tradition and the status quo, a risky thing to do if you do not have the proper literary and theological tools, but intoxicating provided you carefully monitor your scepticism by remembering what Yahweh has definitely told you personally to be true. If you do that, Yah'shua (Jesus) will treat you to a lot of pleasant surprises and uncover sacred things. If you are not so disciplined, there is a real risk of shipwrecking your faith.
Milk and Then Meat
I don't give Yancey carte blanche, of course, and there were several things in his book I disagree with, but that is to be expected. I don't think he even realised the full import of what he was saying, particularly in relation to Torah. He has not challenged the Protestant frame of reference, nor all its creeds and dogmas, which for him would have to be the next 'dangerous' yet exciting step. But then I sense his mission is within the Evangelical world just as I sensed while in Mississippi that many of the Baptist leaders had a specific calling within the Baptist clan of churches. We have to be obedient to the calling we have. One thing I learned in Mississippi this trip was not to challenge people in areas they were not ready to be challenged. You cannot serve people the kind of emet (truth) they are not, and may never be, ready receive. You have to know what the Ruach (Spirit) wants you to say and do. If you aren't tuned in - if you're not listening - you will do more harm than good. Meat is not supposed to be served to milk-drinkers - they must first mature. To each as he is ready and willing. If we won't listen and insist on challenging every little error here and there, then our rightness becomes self-rightness...or self-righteousness, which is a curse and not a blessing.
Graduating into the Remnant
My mission is not now to Evangelicals where once it was, nor to Messianics where once it was too. As the Derech (Way) narrows, so too does the audience. My calling is now to the Remnant, to those who want all emet (truth) even if it hurts. And you do have to be prepared to be hurt, astonished and dismayed to graduate into the domain of the Remnant. You do have to pay a heafty price, included in which is the loss of lots of close friends who will either hold you at a 'safe' (for them) distance or reject you altogether.
Learning to Keep Your Mouth Shut
On my trip to Mississippi these last three weeks Yahweh taught me how to curb my passion and zeal for emet (truth) in order to find shalom (peace) in keeping my mouth shut when I would otherwise have loved to spout all I knew about one subject or another. A youthful and previously untamed part of myself was finally brought to heel without resentment on the part of the former. If we're supposed to be imitating Messiah, and if Messiah as Creator knew all things, and if He could keep quiet about 99.99% of what He might perhaps have wanted to say in order to be obedient to what His Father wanted Him to say, then you can bet your bottom dollar that He wants us to do the same.
Keeping Zeal Under Check
I started learning that lesson early on in Oxford, England, when as a youth in my 20's, I blabbered enthusiastically for half an hour to a member of MRA (Moral Re-Armament) about what I had discovered. I wanted to share everything I believed and I was tripping over my own tongue to do so. He was very patient and gracious with me and said almost nothing during my entire splurge. But what he did say, at the end of my impassioned speech, I shall never forget: "Christopher, if you listen as much as you can talk, God will use you as His instrument in helping others" (paraphrasing). That man was listening to the Ruach (Spirit) and his words pierced me like lightening. I never never forget them, even if I did subsequently forget the lesson several times when Zeal overtook and bullishly kicked aside Wisdom. You don't have to share everything you know in order to be 'right' or to have shalom (peace) - shalom (peace) comes from your communion with Yahweh, not how other people perceive you. Indeed, what others think of you is irrelevent. If you worry about others' judgment of you, you'll end up a nervous wreck.
A Divine Appointment
I had an appointment with Philip Yancey and Yahweh made sure I kept it. I have started reading dozens of books in the last couple of years and most of them I haven't got past the first three chapters because I became consumed by boredom. I didn't have a divine appointment with them. But this one I did. Over the next few weeks and months it will be my task to unpack Yancey's insights, put them in a Messianic Evangelical context, and take them to the 'next level'.
False Prophets Abuzz
False nevi'im (prophets) are buzzing around like frenzied hornets hoping to to catch peoples' attention and create a following, exploiting what is so obvious to all but the completely asleep to the critically important events piling up like a tidal wave assembling to do its destructive work. So be careful - very careful. One wild prediction is circulating that the end of the world will come in three days' time (it won't happen) and another (by an orthodox Jew hooked on 'Bible Codes') that 'God' will speak on the construction of a 'third temple' in Jerusalem a few days after that. Don't listen to these serpents for they will either distract you from your gazing on Yah'shua (Jesus) or, at the very worst, lead you down to hell. You have got to be in communion with Yahweh at this critical time and not leaning on the arm of flesh (2 Chr.32:8).
We have three important moedim (divine appointments) coming up on each others' heels in five days' time (Sabbath, Shavu'ot and Rosh Chodesh) and I look forward to seeing you then and to hearing what Yahweh has to say to us. Until then, Yahweh bless you and keep you securely in His arms. Amen.
 From his website, About Philip