Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving!
I am still enjoying the afterglow of our Inside the Middle East Crisis Conference, which was held at The Moody Church in Chicago and co-sponsored by The Moody Church, The Moody Bible Institute, Moody Radio and The Joshua Fund, the ministry of our main speaker, Joel Rosenberg.
Since I wish every one of you could have attended the conference, we have decided to recreate the event on the web! The videos from the conference are now available on our website—so you can watch the conference on your computer at your own pace. I know you will enjoy the messages from Dr. Charlie Dyer, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Joel Rosenberg, Dr. Michael Rydelnik and myself, along with the extraordinary testimonies, one from a Russian Israeli and one from a Palestinian believer from Gaza.
Chosen People Ministries Around the World
I am grateful this month for the wide variety of outreaches among the Jewish people that are conducted by Chosen People Ministries around the world! Believe me, it is very difficult to summarize the work of more than a hundred missionaries working in countries representing 98% of the world’s Jewish population. Your Mission to the Jewish people is still going strong in our 117th year of ministry, and we could not possibly do this work without your partnership and friendship.
I want you to know how grateful I am for your continued prayers and financial support that keep our missionaries on the field and our operations working smoothly. These have been difficult days for our nation and our world, but the Lord continues to keep His hand upon Chosen People Ministries—and I know this is in good part due to your prayers. On behalf of our global staff, Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for you!
Thoughts on Jewish Evangelism
May I share a few thoughts about Jewish evangelism that have come to mind over the last few months? Some of these are lessons I “re-learned” as a result of our Isaiah 53 Campaign and the two outreach events in Chicago during the Middle East Crisis Conference.
1. Direct evangelism is more important than ever!
We live in a world of confusing messages. Barraged with information through the media, the web, constant e-mail and mobile phones, our society is on “message overload.”
This is no reason to decrease our public testimony, or feel as if we are only a small voice in the wilderness! Instead, we should increase our Gospel communications and try to communicate the Good News in even more creative ways. Through the Isaiah 53 Campaign, we discovered that the Gospel, when presented well, does attract seekers and is appreciated in our modern marketplace of ideas. We also understand that biblical truth needs to be presented with respect, recognizing that seekers may know little about God and the Scriptures. I believe our Isaiah 53 Explained book presents the Gospel in this way and is written in a very friendly and winsome style. I was delighted to see that non-believers were interested in our straightforward, biblically-based Gospel presentation.
2. Our Gospel proclamation must be Jesus-focused.
Allow me to explain again why our evangelistic campaign utilized Isaiah chapter 53. Take a moment to read the chapter in your Bible, and you will see that Isaiah 53 (the passage begins with chapter 52, verse 13), written more than 700 years before the Incarnation, includes all the salient elements of the Gospel message. We learn about the humility and perfection of the Savior, His substitutionary death for our sins, as well as His predicted resurrection from the dead. It is all described by the Jewish prophet Isaiah!
Through our advertising on the web, on billboards, on subways and on buses in New York City, we were clearly presenting a Person, not a philosophy. Jesus is our Redeemer, not some new self-help guru or quick fix to our problems or path to happiness. It was such a joy to present the Person of Jesus through Isaiah 53. I believe our evangelism will be most effective when we focus on Him.
3. Our Gospel presentation will be accepted by a few.
I usually shy away from discussing the numbers of Jewish people coming to faith, yet I am often asked, “How many Jewish people are there today who believe in Jesus?” I understand that we often want to know specifics so that we can rejoice in what God is doing. I can only give you an approximate number, as no scientific, worldwide studies have been done to make this determination.
Some in the Jewish community suggest that there are more than 300,000 Jews who believe in Jesus, but I would place that number a bit lower—maybe at 200,000. The number of believers in Israel has grown over the last two decades from just a few thousand to perhaps more than 15,000!
We do see Jewish people coming to know the Lord, but with 14-15 million Jewish people in the world, it is clear that the numbers are small—we are just a remnant.
This does not disappoint me, though, as the Lord told us that this would be the case! The Scriptures teach us that there is a remnant according to the election of grace! (Romans 11:5)
The Bible teaches us that we should be both confident and realistic, as God has preserved a remnant of Jewish people who will come to faith in Jesus, and that this remnant will increase as we draw closer to the end. The Apostle Paul affirms this in his great treatise on the relationship between Jewish people and Jesus in Romans chapters 9–11.
Like you, dear friend, I look forward to that great day when the Lord will save this growing remnant of His people. Until that day, let’s remain faithful in bringing the clear, biblical message of our dying and rising Savior to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.
The messages at the Inside the Middle East Crisis Conference were excellent and reminded us that we do live in dangerous times, and that many who do not know the Lord are also concerned about their future, the future of their children, and the safety of Israel and of the Western world! These are real issues today. But the speakers also reminded us that God is in control, and that more and more people are seeking peace in a troubled world. What a joy to know He is the answer to every seeking heart! I pray that each of us will have the opportunity to bring the message of the Prince of Peace to Jews and Gentiles during this wonderful season of thanksgiving.
Thank you again for your faithful support and prayers! Enjoy the reports of God’s work through Chosen People Ministries’ workers around the globe.
P.S. Please continue to pray for the renovation of the Brooklyn Messianic Center in the heart of Jewish Brooklyn!