Mishpachah Yeshua Newsletter

A Newsletter To The Family Of Jesus From Restoration Ministries

The Hebraic family is not simply an individual or private matter.
Rather, it is an institution in which the whole community has a stake.
Thus, the Hebrew word “mishpachah,” meaning family, not only refers to parents and children,
but to the whole extended family worldwide in the body of “Yeshua”—our Jesus.

[click here for a printable copy]

December 2001  Topic: Following Jesus — The Challenge is to Love

Dear Friends,
Because of the nature of the times we live in, Sue and I feel an earnestness to warn you as we write this letter, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” ( Heb. 2: 1). Many who have been close to Sue and me over the years have asked us to repeat some of the information again because what we write about is a way of following Jesus, not a method of knowing more about Him.
It’s interesting to note that few, if any, teachers have been recruited by our Lord to share the truths of the Hebraic Restoration. To join our Father in what He is restoring around the world requires that you first live it. That calls for a life of humble obedience, a manner of life and behavior that others can readily see lived out on a daily basis.
The first part of this letter is written in response to information we have been receiving as a result of the tragedy of September 11. As I began to write this morning, the words of Jude seemed appropriate, “although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v.3).

Input #1: The Barna Update: 11/26/01
How America's Faith Has Changed Since 9-11
“Pundits say that people's faith changes when their comfort zone is shattered. September 11 certainly shattered the security felt for so long by so many people. How has our faith changed as a result of the attacks on America? This week's report reveals:
• concern about the future is now much higher than pre-attack levels
• church attendance is the only religious practice to have increased, and it is gradually deflating to pre-attack levels
• spiritual beliefs remain virtually unchanged — except for an increase in doubt about the existence of Satan
• there has been a substantial decrease in belief in absolute moral truth
• there has been no change in the percentage of adults who have accepted Christ as their savior”

The information in the above survey is interesting in light of the multitude of “God bless America” stickers and signs you see everywhere. I believe that a false ecumenism is being ushered in through the coordination of several demonic principalities. We warned about the activity of anti-Christ in our April, 2001 newsletter, and in our May and June newsletters about the Queen of Heaven spirit. The anti-Christ spirit is attempting to create a Christianity without the authority and Lordship of Jesus. Jesus is spoken of as a prophet or teacher, but not as God the Son. The Queen of Heaven spirit is creating an atmosphere of religious tolerance that nullifies the uniqueness of the Cross as payment for our debt of sin. These and other demonic principalities rely on both the biblical ignorance of God’s children and on their desire to be accepted within religious systems without questioning the biblical basis for their practices. Sadly, the spirits have gained much ground.

Love is now understood to mean universal acceptance, and grace is an excuse to keep on sinning. We who follow Jesus can’t cave in to this form of religious delusion. Friends, we are writing about what is going on in the very heart of Christianity.

Input #2:
Have We Shamed the Face of Jesus?
Muslims in our Pulpits
By Dr. Tom White, Director, Voice of the Martyrs

“It was called the "Congress of the Cults." Over 4,000 priests, pastors and ministers from all denominations were assembled. They had elected Joseph Stalin as their honorary president. One after another went  to the podium proclaiming that Christianity and communism were fundamentally the same. They could co-exist. They could "all get along."
A young Christian woman could bear it no longer. She looked at her husband, a Lutheran pastor, and said, "They are spitting on the face of Jesus. Go wash the shame off His face." Her husband warned her, "If I speak against the communists, you will no longer have a husband." The pastor's wife, Sabina Wurm-brand, simply replied, "I do not wish to have a coward for a husband." So Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a lone voice among the 4,000, went to the microphone. He was well-known in Romania, and everyone believed he would go along with the assembly for the sake of "peace." He didn't. He spoke only of loyalty to Jesus Christ. He could not "co-exist" with any entity that opposed the Great Commission principle.
For his simple protest, Richard paid dearly—as did countless Christians who refused to "bow down" to the ways of communism.
Today we face the same scenario. Jesus is being spit upon in American churches. Christians are selling their soul for a "peaceful co-existence" found in deceit. But who will come forward and wipe away the shame?
I cannot take it any longer. How many of our brothers and sisters must be beaten, tortured, burned, or decapitated before we realize that Christians and Muslims DO NOT serve the same God?
We love the Muslims. Many of our co-workers put aside their own safety to reach them for Christ. We print special literature in their languages; we produce and broadcast special programs into the Middle East. We are willing to give our own lives to win the soul of single Muslim. But we will never, never align ourselves with Islam and its militant teachings. To do so would destroy the very witness many of our brothers and sisters are dying for.
Across America pastors and Christian leaders are allowing representatives of the Islamic faith to freely speak in their pulpits. This happened at Willow Creek Community Church, the largest church in America, where a Muslim man named Faisal Hammouda was allowed to share the pulpit. During the interview with Pastor Bill Hybels, Hammouda claimed: "As a matter of fact, we, all of us…believe in Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I believe in Mohammed and all the prophets. So our mission here is to introduce people to God." He also stated, "We believe in Jesus more than you do, in fact."
But the Koran says, "…The Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word…" The Koran also claims that Jesus was never crucified. Muslims do not recognize the sovereignty of Jesus Christ or His sacrifice. They do not accept the way of the cross. So how could this be the same God? (Read 1 John 2:22,23.)
…How foolish have we allowed ourselves to become? Three Sundays after Faisal Hammouda gave his "enlightening" presentation, 16 of your brothers and sisters were gunned down in a church in Pakistan. You may blame this on the war against terrorism, but you would be mistaken…If Faisal is right and Islam is "peace-loving," why are our brothers and sisters in ALL Islamic-controlled countries facing severe persecution?
…There is no love in deceit. We are in danger of loving the Muslims to hell. …God forbid we trade salvation for "safety." …Jesus said that if they hated Him, they will hate us. Nevertheless, we are called to be a witness. We are not called to figure out a way to get people to accept us….The simple fact is: Muslims do not "peacefully co-exist" with Christians…Islamic teachings offer no tolerance for those who reject Mohammed for Christ.
…The main issue at stake is the deity of Christ, not mutual understanding, dialog or feeling good about each other. Any question-and-answer session or dialog where Christ is not clearly presented as the only way (John 14: 6) and as the complete Godhead in the flesh (such as Colossians 1:15-20 and 2:8-10, and 1 John 2:22,23) is blasphemy and a shameful attack on the cross. Christ described His way as narrow, not an "all-faiths club."
…Muslims wish to neutralize Jesus for the same reasons the chief priests and scribes did. Some Christian leaders may try to squirm out of this conflict to maintain a politically correct, man-pleasing church. Choose this day whom you will serve. If we begin to present a fuzzy God (such as, we all worship the same God), we are opening the doors of hell to our people, not the gates of heaven.
…We do not hate the Muslims. We hate deception. We do not advocate violence. We advocate love and truth. We desire peace but will not trade it for compromise. We will reach out to Muslims but will not deny the sovereignty of Christ and the cross as the only way of salvation. And we will not turn our back on our family members who are suffering and being killed under Islam for their faith and witness in Jesus Christ. Islam is the dominant force trying to eradicate Jesus Christ in their nations and neutralize Him worldwide as another "prophet." We will not prostitute the gospel for a politically correct peace. Should any of us do otherwise?”

How Does the Largest Protestant Church in the US Permit a Muslim in the Pulpit to Blaspheme Jesus?
I observed the beginnings of a “global religion” mentality in the late 1970’s. Within two years of becoming a follower of Jesus I worked in the accounting department of a prestigious Christian college and then an evangelical seminary. In both positions I had frequent access to members of the Board of Trustees—many of whom were presidents or CEO’s of major corporations in the Boston area. A good number of them were also elders in the more prominent churches in the area.
One day while talking with several of these men, one of them commented to me, “Mike, do you realize that we Christian business leaders are more loved by God than the poor are? God has shown us His love by making us wealthy.” I choked on what this man was asserting, but the other men present strongly corroborated his statement. [While working for the two institutions, I uncovered widespread embezzlement and misappropriation of funds at the highest levels of administration, even reaching into the Board of Trustees. One institution came close to losing its non-profit tax status.]
Several years later, while ministering at a retreat center in Connecticut I found that what I heard that day from the Board member was the Masonic spirit that has entrenched itself throughout this nation with dominance among many Christian leaders and organizations, as well as among key government officials. The principality of Masonry is a topic worth your study, but consider this: The men in pulpits who have sold their soul to it do so in exchange for prestige.
One of the dominant voices in the Church in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s who propagated the lie those trustees embraced was a pastor from the Boston area. He had the first really BIG church in New England and became a nationally known speaker on church growth. The methodology he espoused had nothing to do with the Bible, but was taken right out of Corporate America—How to have a successful company.
For many years as I counseled pastors in New England, this man’s teachings ruled their thinking. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get those men who were both inspired and intimidated by this man’s success to consider what the Bible taught on “church growth.”
Now, 20 years later, the fruit of this man’s teachings can be seen in the enormous “mega-churches” that have sprung up. These “Seeker Friendly” congregations, of which Willow Creek Community Church is the flagship, are the offspring of what began among the Mason-dominated churches in Boston: Success = Size + Prestige.
It was inevitable that this demonic takeover of much of the Church in the US would ultimately lead to blasphemy from the pulpit. Paul foresaw this day in the US when he wrote, “Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:3,4).
The man of lawlessness is the spirit in the pulpits of so many mega-churches. The means to its control is to keep people from being personally responsible for applying God’s Word. By offering entertainment, not conviction, they keep people returning each week under the deception that soulish satisfaction devoid of repentance is acceptable to God.
I have seen this! I am a witness to the takeover of much of the “Christian” community. I have also, along with Sue and many others whom our Lord has drawn to Jerusalem during these past decades, been recruited by our Lord to share what HE considers HIS CHURCH. God is countering the spirit of lawlessness with followers of Jesus who are fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy: “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law [the way of the Lord] will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3).

“It is no trouble for us to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you”
(Phil. 3:1).
Fortunately, this newsletter goes out to some of the strongest yet most humble followers of Jesus this nation has ever seen. This isn’t to flatter you, but to recognize the suffering that accompanies your unwavering obedience. It is to you that Sue and I write our letters, hoping to strengthen and encourage you in your resolve to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Most of you have experienced painful alienation from those with whom you once enjoyed fellowship. As your earnestness for the Lord increased, you found your once-close friends estranging themselves from you. Sue and I know the loneliness you’ve experienced. We also know the precious intimacy of serving our Father and His wonderful Son, Jesus.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”
(Heb. 4:12).
We want to share with you  four tests by which you can evaluate anyone's teachings. Although these tests are designed to test prophecies, we believe they will benefit you in testing any teaching you receive.

1. The Doctrinal Test
Does the teaching agree with Scripture? Does it apperceive what is in the Bible?
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16,17).
As the person presents his/her teaching, are you given time to determine the biblical validity of the material offered?
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
If the anti-Christ or spirit of lawlessness has influenced the teacher, he won’t emphasize a biblical basis nor encourage you to determine through self-examination of the Word if what he is teaching is true.

2. The Confessional Test
Does it sound like something Jesus Himself would teach you?
In the Book of Revelation the Apostle John erroneously focused his worship on the angel who was speaking to him. This misplaced adoration has happened among many worshippers in mega-churches who are enamored by the entertaining teaching style of their pastor. They drop their spiritual guard. The angel brought John to his senses: “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’” (Rev. 19:10). The testimony of Jesus is found in the teaching of those who represent Him in Spirit and in truth.

3. The Moral Test
Does the teacher’s personal life reflect Jesus?
This doesn’t refer to the pietistic demeanor that has been adopted from Hellenism and has now become a false measure for evaluating a person’s holiness. We are talking about the way he treats his wife, his family, and others he encounters regularly. Does he role model in his daily life the type of Jesus you want to emulate? The pastor we mentioned earlier was later found to be committing adultery while he had been teaching other pastors how to be successful. How tragic that he had no men in his life who were committed to mutual accountability rather than to “nickels and noses”!
“Watch out for false prophets [teachers]. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them (Matt. 7: 15-20).
God’s shepherds personally know the individuals they shepherd, and he is personally known by them. The Corporate-America church only calls for impersonal direction and control from the top, entertaining teaching, and satisfied attendees.

4. The Inner Test
Does the teaching witness with your spirit? It’s not what the teacher’s message says to you, but what it does to you to align your walk more closely to Jesus. If the initial three tests come up positive, does the Spirit of the teaching witness to your spirit?
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4: 5,6).
We encourage you to memorize these four tests and apply them to all teaching you receive—even this one! These tests are useful for testing teaching, prophecy, words of knowledge, and anything else people tell you is from God.

Followers of Jesus — The Challenge is to Love
As we are working to develop an extended family of people who are establishing halakhahs for their lives, we’d like to share with you an example that typifies the joyous interaction we’re having. It’s a wonderful privilege to be part of the lives of those living for Jesus.
Below is a series of emails that I recently exchanged with a young couple whom Matt befriended while living in Atlanta. They have now become part of our extended spiritual family—our mishpachah.

Dear Mark & Jill,
You come to my mind often. As Jesus has been guiding me into what we can do next to help His people, He prompted me to ask, "What can I do to help you?"
I’m glad Matt will seeing you all this holiday season. God has given me a gift for the holidays which I have already begun to give—it is to help His people put aside their emotional safeguards and to be able to freely demonstrate the affectionate side of love to everyone. The Lord has shown me that unabashed affection is a true sign of the freedom we have in Him. Our fear of what others think of us or how they might hurt us are only indicators of areas where we lack freedom.
This is what the Lord has given me to hand out as His Christmas present to His family. Sue and I look forward to a time when we might spend some time with you. God bless and keep you and may He make His light to shine upon you,
Mike & Sue

Dear Mike & Sue,
I really wanted to thank you for such a heartfelt and kind letter. It is so comforting and encouraging to know that we have friends like you who think of us and pray for us....we really appreciate that and thank God you are a part of our lives. We pray for you daily as well. "What can you do to help us?".....that's always a great present to get from the Big Dog!
Of course, what you wrote in your email is right on the money and I would like your advice on "Our fear of what others think of us or how they might hurt us...again" category. Here's what Jill and I seem to constantly experience. If you could give me your advice on it I would appreciate it:
Jill and I are always the first to extend ourselves in helping others (particularly neighbors)—especially in their times of need. We do this because we love to and know Jesus wants us to do so.
The problem is, many of the people we help respond to our "good deeds" by slandering and gossiping about us...go figure.  Come to think of it, the overwhelming majority of the gossip and slandering is by women.
Even in our times of need (which we have had) most of these same people (including the men) looked away, never offered to help, call, express concern or anything.....all the very same things we did for them. This has really hurt Jill and me in the past.
We have discussed this many times and try to bring the focus back to:
1) these are 'fiery darts"...don't accept them.
2) When doing these things, not to expect anything in return.
3) "Blessed are those who are persecuted for His Namesake".
4) "Building our treasures in Heaven"
5) Seeing the face of Jesus in these people....doing these things for Jesus.
6) This is what Jesus calls us to do.
Even knowing these things, I have to admit, sometimes it still really hurts...and angers us on occasion..which can hurt the peace in our home. The reason I'm telling you this is that I want to ensure that Jill and I don't "have our guards up" when dealing with people (especially neighbors) in the future because of past events. Jill and I have forgiven these people and always look to bless those — even those who hurt us.
One question is, Should we continue to reach out to help the same people who consistently and repeatedly respond in this manner? If so, perhaps there is a better way to go about it in the future.
Thanks for you time. May Christ continue to Bless you and guide you always.
With Love,
Mark and Jill.

Dear Mark & Jill,
As you wrote about your and Jill's experiences my heart was touched. Mark, you were writing about the 24 years of following Christ that Sue and I experienced. Our  son, Mike, was embittered about the treatment we received at the hands of people. He would often encourage us to fight back or stop helping people. I just couldn't find that in the Bible.
The challenge for Sue and I is to love the next person we help as much as the last person. In the late 80's my older mentor, Bert Schlossberg, whom we went to stay with in Israel, used to tell me, "Mike, you can never walk in the fullness of Jesus until you wash the feet of Judas." His words stung me because I knew I fell short of that. After he left for Israel in 1989 a prophecy was given to me of incredible suffering I would endure at the hands of people. For 4 years it went on with betrayals by close friends.
One of my closest friends sent a letter to many clergy in Connecticut defaming me. My challenge was to lean on the Spirit and to love again. As a matter of fact I used to say in those days, and I still do, "If the Holy Spirit wasn't going through this with me, I couldn't take it." It was the Holy Spirit Who has enabled us to love and to not concern ourselves with how people treat us. I could never have done it alone.
I can tell you of the gift of it all. I became closer to Jesus. I camped on 1 Peter 2:21, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."
In the middle of one of my darkest moments of betrayal I really complained to my Father. Do you know, He answered me! He told me to read the Book of Acts and find out how many times His children are plotted against in the book. I read the whole book and found thirteen plots. When I finished reading He told me, "If I permitted My Son and My children who went before you to be hurt through plots, what makes you any better?" I was deeply embarrassed, Mark. I felt so unworthy to even be called His child.
This may not make your own pain any easier, but to know that people I care about are suffering because of the goodness they are trying to do in the lives of others, that makes me care all the more. There is genuine affection among those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus!
My love,
Mike & Sue

The above correspondence and other letters and phone calls like it represent a joyful part of our Lord’s call for us. We commend this couple’s yearning to grow in their care for others. A growing number of people in their 20’s-40’s like this couple are hungering to wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Sadly, few of them around the country are finding any older people who hunger for more of Jesus and are willing to share their lives with them.
I wish there was a way we could recruit more older followers of Jesus who are willing to have relationships with younger couples. Somehow, it seems that churched older couples rely almost exclusively on religious activities to be with others socially. Few seem to rely on relationship-based hospitality and just invite a younger couple or single person into their home.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Phil. 2:1,2).
We want to encourage you not to follow the trend into the spiritual and emotional darkness that is increasingly descending upon this country. Remember the Lord’s own words, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). We know that there are many facets to a Christian walk, but I want to encourage you that the only one that will count is whether you permitted the Holy Spirit to empower you to love. (See Gal. 5:6.) I believe that’s why Jesus brings us back to how we must become like children to enter the kingdom of God.
Little children approach their parents with unabashed affection. This is how we are to become through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, unabashed affection disappears over time as people mature because so many of us begin to guard ourselves from further hurts and let-downs. Remember, we are born anew from above. We have become children of our Father. This isn’t wishful thinking but a reality known throughout heaven. We have a new family!!! Neither our loving Father nor His precious Son deserve that we guard our feelings in Their presence. Nor do people made in God’s image deserve your guardedness—they deserve your unabashed affection!
It is time that we who follow Christ permit Him to circumcise our hearts completely: “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:11,12). When he finishes removing what is not of Him, unabashed affection becomes the hallmark of our very nature. Why? Because we take on His nature, and His nature is love.
Our fear of others and our concern over what others think only indicate the work He wants to complete in us. Yet, every one of us who has set our hearts to follow Jesus has been wounded along the way. Yes, the wounding is a painful reality that requires the healing of our Lord as we choose His will to forgive. But our response to the pain cannot be the guarded emotions that withhold love from others. In the time of the coming darkness that is already descending on this nation, our Lord needs us to represent Him and His likeness. That likeness is seen not in just the kind actions that love produces but in our faces and our mannerisms. To be in Jesus is to be empowered by loving affection.
Do you have a readiness to smile at others as you greet them? Are you the first to extend your hand in greeting, or to initiate a hug with a friend? If you were Jesus or a little child, would there be more readiness? If so, ask the Lord to circumcise what hinders you.
Do you have a readiness to use the Name of Jesus in conversations with unbelievers? Or, do you hide behind the use of the generic word, “God”? If you struggle to speak the Name “Jesus”, then ask our Lord to complete His circumcision of your heart. Ask Him for affection so great that you can’t help but proclaim His Name! When people see the enthusiasm of your affection for Jesus, they will be drawn toward that love, or mystified by it. At least they’ll respond!

“For in Christ Jesus...the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6).
No matter how you view your faith pilgrimage, the Holy Spirit tells all of us that when this life ends there will be only one thing that counts: “faith expressing itself through love.” That affectionate, self-sacrificing love shines like a light into the hearts of others. This will be even more important as darkness continues to control the hearts of people. These will be the days of which Jesus spoke of when He said, “Many hearts will grow cold.” We followers of Jesus cannot let cold love freeze our hearts. How could we ever stand before Him having failed to reveal His love to those around us? It’s time the people we know not only hear the Name of Jesus from our lips, but experience the affection of His love for them through us.
We want to leave you with this reminder: the goal of our lives is Jesus; the challenge is to love. If you abide in Him, you will grow in His love. It is a way of living. You will not grow through reading books or listening to tapes. To have His affectionate love for others, you must ask Him with “clean hands and a pure heart”, as the Psalmist wrote. Then get ready, for He is sure to put in your path those with whom you can express His affection!