Welcome to my Romans 15:8 monthly blog for February 2020, the second blog of a New Year and a new decade.
I am writing this blog on the same day, 214 years ago when Auguste Neander (the great Church historian and Jewish Believer) was baptised- at his baptism he wrote to the minister who baptised him and said;“ My reception into the holy covenant of the higher life is to me the greatest thing I have to thank-you, and I can only prove my gratitude by striving to let the outward sign of baptism unto a new life become, indeed, the marks of the new life proclaiming the reality of the new birth.” I trust that in some way all of us may be able to prove our own gratitude to the LORD and to those who help us on our journeys of discipleship in the coming months.
Hopefully in visiting this webpage you have noticed the CMJ website which hosts the Romans 15:8 network has had a major ‘facelift’ and upgrade. I hope you will spend some time on the website and will find some of the pages of interest.
Teaching reflection of the month (February)
I have been exploring issues around discipleship. Being a disciple of Jesus is a commitment to learn from Him and to become more like Him. This is indeed an immense calling and for each disciple our experiences in seeking to follow this calling will be rich and varied. This richness and variety will also be shaped by our contexts, personalities and opportunities. However, I think it can be helpful to try and list what things a disciple should be seeking to do and the attitudes behind such actions. For what it is worth here is my ‘Top Ten’ check list- based in part on my own experience, success and mistakes! I would be interested to hear of your own ‘Top Ten’ check list.
A disciple of Jesus should be ready to:
- Share one’s faith in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15)
- Give generously (1 Timothy 6:18)
- Pray as the Holy Spirit prompts and directs (Ephesians 6:18)
- Go wherever and whenever the LORD calls. Discipleship always requires movement.
- Stay even when you want to go (Luke 8:38)
- Keep on learning. To learn and to study is a lifelong process. The best teachers are those who keep on learning
- Seek new gifts of the Holy Spirit and to stir up the gifts already given
- Help build the Kingdom and not your own ‘empire’ or to fulfil your ‘agenda’
- Keep on keeping on as a disciple even when you don’t see many (or any) results
Ministry News Update
In the past few days I have spent time with both our Community Based Evangelist (Tania in London and Jonathan in Manchester) and have been encouraged by their unique ministries in two very different Jewish contexts.
Over the next few days I will be sharing in an Envisioning Day with trustees and staff colleagues, followed by our CMJ council meeting.
Also I am beginning to plan for some Passover events (mostly during Holy week) – I and some colleagues have a few spare dates still in our diaries so if you would like to invite a CMJ rep to lead your congregation/fellowship in a Passover meal it’s probably not too late to make a request.
I have enjoyed reading this month Theodor Herzl- From Assimilation to Zionism by Jacquues Kornberg (published by Indiana University Press, 1993). This well researched book gives new insight into the life and thinking of Theodore Herzl and his journey to seeing the possibility of a Jewish State which was the climax of his lifelong search for a new autonomous mode of Jewish assimilation and pride. His ‘’conversion’ to political Zionism is explored carefully with much reflection and insightful quotations from primary sources.
The book concludes with details of the First Zionist Congress and the publication of The Jewish State in 1896. The book argues that Herzlean Zionism was in the first instance, an appeal not to the Jewish world, but to the Gentiles. I am sure this book will benefit both well-established Zionism scholars and first time readers into this vital interface of history, politics and theology.
Monthly Memory Verse
“ADONAI is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:19) (Verse taken from the MJFB)