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Who really cares?

January 21st, 2013

Now that the winter hostilities against Israel seem to have died down and a cease-fire put in place, at least for the time being, life for the rest of us goes back to normal.  The world keeps spinning and the media is on to the next thing.  

But what’s going on behind the scenes? I’m not talking about Israel’s enemies stirring up trouble so dependably … No, this is about Israel’s friends who don’t stop what they’re doing either.  

As a Christian tuned in to this subject for 20 years, I’ve seen so many doing so much. But it’s occurred to me recently that, being in different social circles, you might not even know they’re there.      

We’ve heard of those righteous Gentiles doing what any decent human would do to defend other humans … but do we realize how unrecognized they probably were while their lives and stresses were happening? And on that same note, how many other heroes are doing big things we don’t even know about now?

These are your friends defending Israel online or off: dedicated bloggers, teachers, writers and tweeters. People living regular lives to all appearances but at the same time using their free time to stand up for truth.   

I wish I could introduce you to Betty-Lou or to Gail, just two of my many friends hard at work in this arena. Betty-Lou is relentless, getting the other side of the story out there one email after another … while Gail teaches workshops and teaches others to teach workshops on the subject. Warriors, both of them.  

Then there are high-visibility friends like best-selling author Joel Rosenberg who wrote about 9/11 before it happened; Mitch Glaser of Chosen People Ministries putting the truth out there with passion; Dean Bye at Return Ministries working to enable Jews making aliyah; … or our own Daniel Muller here at New Covenant Forum, bridging the gap between our two faiths.  

There are too many to be listing all, but they’re out there. Watching Israel’s back and caring about her people worldwide.  

So today, no matter how quiet things seem – and how loud the silence gets – I wanted you to know you have friends.

Contributed by Shari Menzel, a Gentile believer in Jesus with a great heart for the Jewish people.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Israel, Jews and Christianity, Shari Menzel, This, That, The Other Thing, Zionism and Israel | 1 Comment »

What does Christianity have to do with Judaism?

September 22nd, 2012

What does Christianity have to do with Judaism? It seems like everyone is asking the same thing these days.

First, I got the question from an older lady at church. She didn’t get why I’m interested in Jewish history, traditions and culture. From the way she talked it was like we’d been reading 2 different books – even though I’m sure her Bible and mine say the same thing. But while mine opens up awesome historic writings jammed with deeper Hebrew meanings, it sounded like her Bible reads generically. Either that or she’s managed to skim over all the parts about the origins of our faith … or how early believers would have viewed prophecies and events … or how much the Feasts tell us about the Messiah. I guess she missed the part about God’s covenant with Israel too. 

So to her the question made sense. Clearly she didn’t get the connection.

She’s not the only one. Although it’s exciting to see more and more believers waking up to the huge debt of gratitude we owe Jewish people today, at the same time—for some unknown reason—just as many Christians seem totally unaware. If you walked up to them in church and asked them, they’d probably stare at you with a blank expression. What does Christianity have to do with Judaism?

So it’s no surprise then that Jewish people are asking the same thing.  

Astonishment is a normal first reaction when I ask these friends more about their history, faith and how they observe it. They’re usually skeptical to some extent. But even then my Jewish friends are pretty good about helping me dig deeper. Maybe they’re waiting for me to slip up and give them a clue as to why a Christian is interested to begin with. After all, where’s the connection?   

One man I met was more direct than most. He was a Jewish leader new to our town and my plan was to meet and let him know about strong (non-Jewish) future friends and supporters here in the community. But it turned out he had no interest. Our coffee meeting turned into a cross-examination with him determined to uncover my dark motives in connecting with Jewish people at all.  

Christianity should have nothing to do with Judaism, from his perspective.

So with Christian and Jewish friends asking the same question and with all the different reactions I’ve seen on this heated topic, I’ve asked myself the same question more than once. Really, what does Christianity have to do with Judaism? And why do I even care?

But somehow just asking the question helps me refocus. Without Judaism, I wouldn’t be a Christian because there’d be no such thing. We wouldn’t have Scriptures or any of those powerful prophetic promises. We wouldn’t know about miraculous fulfillments in and around Israel. God wouldn’t have shown His undeniable covenant with one tiny nation. We wouldn’t have seen the proof of His faithfulness. There’d be no understanding of good versus evil because we’d have no moral absolutes handed down through Moses. And in a world with no sense of evil, where would any of us be?

But for me it gets even more personal than that.  

Without Israel, I wouldn’t have a Jewish Messiah.

Contributed by Shari Menzel, a Gentile believer in Jesus with a great heart for the Jewish people.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Goyim for God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Personal Stories, Shari Menzel, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | 2 Comments »

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