Welcome to the first of my Romans 15:8 monthly blog posts. I plan to post updates to the blog most months and reply to questions raised.
If you have joined the network a big ‘thank-you’ for doing so. In joining this network you are marking an important statement and giving encouragement to many people. Please also invite colleagues you know to join as well. If you have not joined, please can I strongly encourage you to consider doing this! The process is simple - please follow the steps outlined on the Roman 15:8 pages.
Also, if you any questions to share or insights to give please submit these via the Romans 15:8 pages. Again the hope is this site will provided a safe place for open dialogue and for genuine theological reflection, encouragement and missional engagement.
Teaching reflection of the month (April)
We all, I am sure, understand that when people came to a saving and living faith in Jesus, there is nearly always a process (journey) which takes place. Often a number of people have helped along the way, and a number of attitudes and understandings have changed over a period of time.
Regarding the witness to the wider Jewish community, I am aware of a sequence of changes which often can be seen when Jewish people came to faith. Clearly each person is an individual and each faith journey is different, nevertheless I think these eight attitudinal changes are worth noting. These eight stages I have identified are based in part on work done by the Messianic Jewish theologian and congregational leader Avram Poljak who identified seven stages in his writings.
- Ceasing to condemn Jesus
- Beginning to think about Jesus
- Recognising Jesus as Jewish
- Recognising Jesus as a good teacher within Judaism
- Acknowledging Jesus as a true prophet
- Seeing Jesus as the central figure within God’s Kingdom purposes
- Accepting Jesus as Messiah
- Accepting and serving Jesus as Messiah and LORD.
In terms of our own personal witness while we must always be open to the plans and promptings of the Holy Spirit it would seem unfruitful or unwise to rush in and to try and bypass any of these steps.
May we all be encouraged in knowing Jesus and seeking to make him known.
Ministry news update
The past few weeks have been very full of ministry opportunities and events. Firstly, I had the privilege of attending the At the Crossroads conference hosted by Christ Church, Jerusalem. This conference was attended by about 140 delegates from throughout the Middle-East. This conference is at the very heart of a true understanding of reconciliation and is a prophetic witness to the vision of Isaiah 19. During this event I was invited to preach twice at Christ Church. One of these sermons can be listened to via the CMJ Israel website, click here to listen.
Following on from this it was ‘Passover week’ and I led Passover meals at three churches. Having led these Passover meetings over many years, I am convinced that such events are great ways of introducing Churches and individuals to an awareness of the importance of the Biblical roots of our faith and to an awareness of the value of CMJ. Therefore, if you are reading this blog and your church community has not yet hosted a Passover meal please consider contacting the CMJ office and requesting a CMJ staff member comes to you and leads a Passover event in 2019?
Finally, I have just got back from attending the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) in Atlanta. As always, the teaching and fellowship at the LCJE was very good. Again, the seminars and papers presented will be made available to download for free from the [LCJE website][(http://www.lcje-na.org). When you visit this site please check out two of the papers this year which were given by two of my CMJ colleagues Dr Garth Gilmour and Dr Theresa Newell.
During this time in Atlanta I was also able to share in some ministry events with CMJ USA led by my colleague Canon Daryl Fenton. One such event was a mission training weekend, hosted by All Souls Church, Jacksonville. I was invited to preach at the main worship service on Sunday 22nd April. Again if you wish to listen to this sermon which was based on the lectionary readings for this day (Ezekiel 34, Psalm 23 and John 10) you can access this via the All Souls Church website.
A Profile of Jewish Believers in the UK Church, Jonathan Allen (Wipf & Stock, 2018).
This book is based on Jonathan Allen’s doctoral research, overseen by Trinity College, Bristol. It is a thoughtful and insightful glimpse into the challenges and opportunities of Messianic Jewish Identity in the UK context.
100 Days with Luke, Alex Jacob (Christian Publications International, 2018).
100 Days with Luke is my new book which takes the form of study notes on the Gospel of Luke. This book is aimed at new believers in Jesus, especially but by no means exclusively for new Jewish believers. Hopefully, this book will be seen as a helpful resource both for individual devotional; study and for more formal group study and mentoring.
A free copy of this book will be sent to each new member of the Romans 15:8 network while initial stocks remain.
Monthly Memory Verse
Let us hold fast the unwavering confession of hope, for He who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10: 29- Messianic Jewish Family Bible)