Shalom to all from Newport News, Virginia,
Well, it has been an interesting and busy time here this Spring. We decided to study through the Gospel of Mark for our Tuesday night class. I had been wanting to spend more time looking into the life of Yeshua, the King of Israel, so this has been doubly rewarding for me. In chapter 2, for instance, I learned that he was an unconventional rabbi for his day. Only those students who were the best of the best in their schooling could consider studying at the feet of a rabbi, and they would choose one and request to be considered for such a vocation. Other students carried on the vocation of their fathers. The rabbi would extensively question the petitioner and decide whether he had what it took to be a disciple in his school. Yeshua, on the other hand, chose his own disciples (cp. Jn. 15:16,) and, as evidenced by his choice of Matthias the tax collector, they were not considered by their society to be the best of the best as tax collectors were considered to be corrupt and traitorous servants of the hated Roman beast. I think we were all struck by the fact that we didn’t have to be among the elite of society to serve as Yeshua’s disciples.
The Spring edition of the Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Seminar has been held on Thursday night. The crowd has been consistent, enthusiastic, outspoken, and diverse. One student told us tonight how grateful she was for the classes as she felt, for the first time, that she could actually read and begin to understand the Scriptures. She has a friend who studies, and she can now share her own discoveries with her. Another young lady has gotten her husband to keep the kids while she comes to improve her grasp of the Bible. They have left the mainline churches because they feel that there is no study of the Word taking place there. We usually end up staying after the sessions answering questions and discussing principles presented that night.
On Friday mornings, we have started a Bible reading club that follows the Bible reading schedule on dailybiblereader.com. Virginia facilitates the meetings and Russ and I support the discussions with characteristic perspicacity, as I’m sure you’d expect. Because we look at the readings for the week, there is plenty of intriguing give and take on a wide range of topics. Here again, the participants are serious and enthusiastic. This last Friday, we considered the question of why, when presented with the blessings promised for faithful obedience and the terrible curses that would follow from disobedient idolatry, Israel chose evil time and time again. As you can imagine, the conversation concerning the flesh was interesting.
In addition to these things, I was placed on the speaking schedule for Hampton Roads ecclesia starting in January. From the feedback I’ve been getting, this has been a mutually rewarding experience. I did find out last time that their exhortations are usually twenty minutes or so- I’ve never come close to even the “or so,” but no one has walked out or thrown anything at me yet, so I guess everything’s fine. Or maybe they’re just sparing the feelings of the blind guy, huh?
We are in the middle of the Spring feasts on the Hebrew calendar, with the Feast of Shavuoth, sometimes called Pentecost, looking back at the renewal of covenant by the outpouring of God’s spirit on the Jews gathered in Jerusalem after the death and resurrection of Yeshua, and anticipating the ultimate outpouring that will make all Israel live again and begin the healing of this weary creation. May His spirit fill you with hope, joy, and power unto that day.