Archives For Faith and Life

Overcoming the “My Ministry” Mentality

There is a phrase that we used in Bible school that I have all but purged from my vocabulary. It is the phrase “my ministry.” We used to ask each other, “What is your ministry?”,  “I think this will be my ministry”. Now, of course, we have unique individual callings, but rarely does someone fulfill that call alone. Yes, when the disciples scattered after Stephen’s death, Phillip goes to Samaria alone, but what is the first thing he does when the Holy Spirit is poured out? He calls for apostolic backup, and those stalwarts, Peter and John, are sent.

Paul worked in Apostolic Teams

We don’t see this concept of “my ministry” in the Bible. The only time it is used is when Paul says, “I magnify my ministry” in his efforts to win Jewish people to Yeshua. He is hardly exalting himself in an egocentric way; Paul was the ultimate team player. He begins his ministry serving Barnabas and the other leaders in Antioch. Then he is sent out as a junior apostle with Barnabas.  As the grace of God grows upon him, he becomes the team leader with Barnabas and John Mark. Later, we see Paul with Silas, Timothy and Titus.

Maybe no congregation was closer to Paul’s heart than Ephesus. He sends for the team of elders, not the senior leader alone, to give his final farewell to them. These are men who he raised up into leadership. He is not threatened by their success, as so many senior leaders are by those under them, but rejoices as they spread the gospel.

From there, he goes to Jerusalem to meet with James? No, to meet with James AND the Jerusalem Apostolic team.

Our Example in Tel Aviv

In our ministry here in Israel, Tiferet Yeshua congregation, we have a team of five couples in Tel Aviv. For several years, I led this team and just recently turned it over to a native-born Israeli—but I am still part of the team. Also, we are in covenant relationship with two other congregations in Jerusalem. Besides this, we have a growing relationship with five Messianic congregations in the Western and Eastern Galilee that have similar core values.

We have just started a brand-new show: Out of Zion on GOD.TV. I am the one who people see on screen, but it is the team that makes it happen. The program would be nothing without our producer Ivan, our cameraman Yigal, our soundman Michael and Ruth who does makeup and so much more. There is also Miriam, in the office. So now, Out of Zion is not MY ministry, it is the Lord’s ministry through which we, the TEAM, have the privilege of serving Him.

Young Leaders Sometimes Threaten Older Leaders

Sadly, some leaders have more of a king mindset. It is THEIR ministry and everyone else is there to serve them. In such a scenario, leaders of substance are rarely raised up. These lone leaders tend to fear men of authority and gifting, and so, they push away others with calling and anointing for leadership. They fear if they allow these leaders more exposure, it will lessen their impact. Consequently, they push them away and these potential leaders often leave in frustration, seeking to work with people where their gifts can be used.

The controlling leader is left with the equivalent of eunuchs or yes-men, who do their bidding. In some cases, he surrounds himself—yes, even in congregational ministry—with hatchet men, to keep young bucks in line. Paul abhors these personality cults and he rails at the Corinthians for saying, I am of Paul or I am of Apollos.

One of the great privileges of my life is to work with men who exemplify this mentality towards ministry. Asher Intrater, Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff made a decision in the 1980s that instead of birthing their own ministry, they would make a covenant before God to work together and serve each other. From that commitment, dozens of congregations have been birthed in Israel and the US, not to mention schools and discipleship training programs.

The Power of Synergy

We work in ministry teams where each one has a unique gifting. This is called synergy. The idea is very biblical and it means that the sum of the parts working together is greater than the sum, if they worked independently. Essentially, we, as leaders, can get more done in the kingdom, working in partnership, than we could if we worked alone.

But that takes commitment. It means not quitting when someone disagrees with you. It means embracing humility and rejoicing when your brother succeeds, not just when you do. It means preferring others above yourselves.

So, let’s shed the “My Ministry” mentality, and embrace the Apostolic Team model that we see in the New Covenant.

 

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Post Surgery Update

Ron Cantor —  December 29, 2016 —  Comments

Hey Friends,

Greetings to you during this miraculous season of light! It has been a while since I sent a personal update. Before I do, present subscribers often ask me if they can get a copy of my eBook, “The 15 Most Important Facts About the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict”. I am happy to offer it to you. Please click here to download the book.

Elana and I are in Richmond, Virginia throughout the holidays. I grew up in Richmond and as my parents are getting older, we are trying to spend a bit more time here. We return to Israel in mid-January. In addition to overseeing Messiah’s Mandate, working with our congregation in Tel Aviv, being asked to take on more responsibility within our Israel-based international network (Tikkun), I was writing scripts and filming over 100 episodes for our new TV show, “Out of Zion.” This is in addition to traveling and ministering.

I am not saying this to brag—quite the contrary, I was doing too much and I knew it. I just needed the Lord to show me what should be cut out or passed on to someone else.

Then, a few weeks ago, I traveled to Dallas for a weekend of ministry. We had wonderful meetings, but by the end of the second service on Sunday, I was running out of gas. The next night, we had dinner with some dear friends here in Richmond. I felt a small pain in my stomach at the beginning of the evening. By the time I went to bed, it had gotten worse. I woke up at 2AM in quite a bit of pain that increased until 5AM.

We arrived at St. Mary’s and I had to sit at a desk and give information. Finally, I explained to the dear woman that I was going to fall over if she didn’t put me in a bed, now! She acquiesced. After about two hours of waiting in intense pain, they did a CAT scan. Twenty minutes later I overheard a nurse shout, “Acute Appendicitis,” like she had won the nurses pool! I knew she must be referring to me and that would mean immediate surgery.

The doctor came in just after that and confirmed that, yes, they were speaking of me. I wasn’t thrilled about having surgery, but now that it was diagnosed, they could at least give me something for the pain…and boy, did they.

A nurse pumped something into my IV and within three seconds all the pain was gone. However, it was like a mighty force rushing through my body. I don’t know what it was, but it felt like I was in a car and someone pressed the gas, hard! About ten seconds later, I settled into a wonderful rest until they took me into surgery.

The idea of going under and having someone operate on me is not pleasant. But I was grateful that I didn’t have a week to think about it. In fact, I didn’t have any time at all. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.

After the grogginess wore off, I was wheeled upstairs and was so happy to see Elana, all my girls and parents there. As the anesthesia wore off, I realized that I had no need to sleep at the hospital as the doctors wanted. Plus, the fellow next to me had pancreatitis—very painful. I wasn’t going to sleep well there. I told the nurse that I wanted to leave, expecting a fight. She checked with the doctor and had me on my way in 30 minutes. I was also concerned about the insurance. We have travel insurance and I had no time to even get permission for the operation. Staying another night would be expensive. Fortunately, the Israel travel insurance company was great. I called them the next morning and they said would pay the bill directly to the hospital.

The result was that I had to cancel the rest of my ministry schedule for December, including a two-week ministry trip to Brazil. My dear friends, Asher and Betty Intrater, made a last-second decision to replace me and Elana, so the folks in Brazil got an upgrade!

I am still in mild pain and have been resting the past two weeks. I hate not exercising and just started walking a couple days ago. And then yesterday Elana and I did a small hike over the James River. I will visit the doctor this week to see when I can resume a normal schedule.
We head back to Israel in January and will be filming a GOD TV special with Ward Simpson and many other guests later in the month, as well as a week of filming Out of Zion. However, we are going to work with a less intense schedule.

In addition, we have enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah all week with my parents and children.
We appreciate your prayers so much! God bless you.

And as this year comes to end, we are blessed that we have been able to pay every staff member and every bill, but that has left us with literally nothing left. We even had to empty our book fund. While we are happy to not be in the red, we could be so grateful if you could make a end of the year donation to Messiah’s Mandate. Thank you so much for helping us to reach the people of Tel Aviv! Go to www.StandWithMMI.org to make your donation.
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Or send your check to:

Messiah’s Mandate
c/o Maoz Israel
PO Box 535788
Grand Prairie, TX 75053

Thank you so much! Our Tel Aviv based team sends blessings!
Until all Israel is saved (Romans 11:26),

Ron Cantor

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Reminding God of His Promise

Ron Cantor —  December 22, 2016 —  Comments

When Jacob is coming back to his own land and knows he will encounter Esau, he becomes afraid and understandably so. Jacob tricked his brother out of both his birthright and blessing. For all he knows, the skilled hunter, will kill him and his family. And that is why Jacob prays. But he doesn’t just pray, he also reminds God of His promise.

It is not that God is forgetful or needs reminding. It is for our benefit, to strengthen our faith in God. This is one of the main reasons that God gives us His prophetic word. So that when everything is screaming, “It’ll never happen!” you can rely on God’s word. Jacob could say, “Okay…it looks like my big bro is going to take me out for what I did, but Lord God Almighty, You told me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives and I will do good with you.’ So, I am going to choose to trust you.”

Reminding God of His word is biblical. I think of one of the most powerful passages in Scripture where the Lord tells us to remind him of His promise.

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Is. 62:6-7)

The Hebrew would be better translated “they will never be silent day or night, those who REMIND the Lord.” The word that the NIV translates as “call” is “Mazkir” which means to remind. And in this case, just like with Jacob, Jerusalem is not living up to her calling, which is to be a “praise in the earth.” Jerusalem has an anointing, a calling to bring blessing to the world. But presently she is the source of great controversy. She is not the City of Peace or “praise in all the earth” and, in the natural, it doesn’t look like it will come to pass any time soon.

Our Israel Tour Group Walks the Walls of Jerusalem as Watchmen.

Our Israel Tour Group Walks the Walls of Jerusalem as Watchmen.

So, believers from around the world serve as “watchmen on the walls”. The Lord says to these watchmen:

  1. Remind me of my promise to Jerusalem.
  2. Give me no rest until I do it.

Okay, that is Jerusalem…but let’s return to the personal—to Jacob’s experience. Jacob was being tested. God was sending him in a very scary direction. In the natural, it was a direction that could bankrupt him in every way. His wives could be abused. His children could be enslaved. So in this insecurity, he reminds Yahweh— “You told me to do this and it would end up good, so I am trusting you.” And in so doing, Jacob’s faith is strengthen. In the end, Esau greets Jacob as a brother, not an enemy. The Lord gives Jacob great favor with his brother.

So, what are you facing today? Is the Lord leading you into uncharted territory? Is it scary? Remind the Lord of what He promises—both His personal prophetic word to your heart and the plethora of promises in His word.

For me, just this morning, I was with a friend. God has a great call on his life and opened a mighty door. But there are few Esau encounters before him. We were able to find courage and strength in the Lord, by remembering the incredible prophetic confirmation that led him down this road. We recounted some of them to remind us, “God is with us, there is nothing to fear, the battle is the Lord’s.” No, the Lord had not forgotten, we needed reminding!

So let me encourage you not to give up. God has a plan. Remind Him of His promise to you.

Dear friends, we also know that God has set us on this path in Israel. We are seeing great fruit at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. More and more of our folks are reaching out, feeding the hungry and meeting the needs of the poor. God has opened a supernatural door for me to be on Television around in the world through “Out of Zion” on GodTV.

I want to invite you to stand with us as we continue to minister from the Holy Land. Your year-end tax-deductible gift can change lives and have an eternal impact in the restored nation of Israel. Just go to www.standwithmmi.org to partner with us. And send in your prayer request so our team in Tel Aviv can pray for you.

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Or send your check to:

Messiah’s Mandate
c/o Maoz Israel
PO Box 535788
Grand Prairie, TX 75053

Thank you so much! God bless you from Tel Aviv, Israel!

 

An amazing thing happened the other day!

We were filming the fourth episode of a series on the Six Day War for #OutofZion, when I began to read a powerful and long quote from Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who gave an amazing speech as Israeli Soldiers took Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in 1967. Suddenly, I felt God’s presence in a powerful way. Deep emotion welled up and I spoke with passion. We were in the Western Wall Plaza and a small crowd formed around us. While we had already filmed three episodes, this was clearly different.

When I finished speaking, I noticed an Orthodox family. The father told me how powerful the message was and asked me if I would come give sermons at his Orthodox synagogue. He said that had been looking for someone to bring messages. He hung around while we finished a small video clip. After I finished, I thanked him for his encouragement but told him, “You might not want to invite me to share sermons, as I am a Messianic Jew. I believe Yeshua is the Messiah.”

He responded, “You just lost a job.” And then added I could still do t’shiva—repentance and become orthodox. I told him I repented when I found Yeshua and added that it was nice to meet him.

The point is that he and his family felt the presence of God, but his bias towards Yeshua quickly closed him off. Of course that is why I wrote Identity Theft—so people like him can see that believing in Yeshua is perfectly Jewish.

Yigal, one of our cameramen, said that it reminded him of when the people said of Yeshua, “he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Of course, it wasn’t me, but any New Testament communicator under the anointing would have been just as effective. It is the Presence of God.

Please pray for him and his family.

Here is the quote I was reading as the first Jewish soldiers entered the Western Wall Plaza towards the end of the Six Day War:

“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem – rebuilt!”

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I am writing to you from JFK airport in New York (10 days ago) as Rosh Hashanah comes to a close. I was supposed to fly to San Diego and give one message and get home to Israel before Rosh Hashanah, but then I was invited to Orlando to promote our new show on God.tv, “Out of Zion.” I really didn’t want to go, but Elana said, “If you go, you can fly through Richmond on the way back and spend Rosh Hashanah with the girls.”

Chabad Richmond

And that is what I did. What a great day it was to be with my parents, my sister and my daughters. We went to the Orthodox Jewish synagogue with my parents. This was not the Conservative synagogue in which I grew up, but the far stricter, “Chabad” stream. And this synagogue has a special place in my heart. The rabbi’s father was the rabbi when I was a kid. After I came to faith in Yeshua, my parents asked me to meet with him, and we did, weekly. His goal was to convince me that Yeshua was not the Messiah and that I should simply become an Orthodox Jew.

Yankl Kranz (in the picture) was a dear, sweet man with good hopes for Richmond. He used to drive a huge ‘bookmobile’ trying to get Jewish kids to read Jewish books. It was a library on wheels. We really enjoyed each other. He died young and his son, Yossel, took over for him. Yossel and I have a bit in common. We are both American Jews, rabbis of sort, and we both married beautiful Israelis. He is a fantastic communicator and unlike in Orthodox Judaism in Israel, he doesn’t put guilt trips on the more secular Jews, but seeks to draw them in at whatever level they are willing to enter.

Theological Divide

However, despite the similarities there is a great theological divide. Though his sermon was well written and quite humorous, his basic point, as we were beginning the High Holy days—days where our sin is highlighted and we seek forgiveness—was not “Repent”. But the opposite. “You are far more righteous than you think. Don’t say I don’t keep kosher, say, I keep kosher most of the time. Don’t say, I don’t keep the Sabbath, but say, I keep the Sabbath most of the day.” He does not see us as sinners.

He characterized Jeremiah as depressed, not understanding that he was broken over the sinful state of the Jewish people as he saw prophetically that they were about to be conquered by the Babylonians and their Temple destroyed (586 BCE).

“If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Orthodox Judaism fails to understand that the Torah is not a set of rules to please God, but that our inability to keep the Torah revealed to us that we are sinners in need for forgiveness (Gal. 3, Rom. 7). While we should strive to keep the Ten Commandments, each time we read them we realize how far we fall short. Isaiah said that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Is. 64:6) To be clear, the analogy is referring to a woman’s monthly cycle.

We have Sinned!

Both Daniel and Isaiah cried out, “We have sinned” but modern Judaism (really post 2nd Temple Judaism created by Yochanan Ben Zakkai [read this about that guy!!] after the 2nd Temple was destroyed) says, we can earn forgiveness through:

  1. Giving
  2. Repentance
  3. Prayer
  4. Good works or mitzvot 

It is during this season however—the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—that we sing Avinu Malkenu, Our Father and King. The very second line is:

Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha

אבינו מלכנו חתנו לפניך

And no, it does not mean, “Our father in heaven, we tried really hard.” It means, “Our father in heaven, we have sinned before you.” This cry is the cry of the Hebrew prophets. And God answered by sending us a Moshia (Savior) who was qualified to take the punishment we deserve, as Isaiah said, “So the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6)

In the same way that a judge doesn’t reward a murderer for the people he didn’t kill or the thief for how much he didn’t steal, God will not turn a blind eye to our sin just because we do some good things. But Yeshua came, and according to Isaiah, He took our punishment.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Yeshua came to make us holy, not through our keeping most of the Sabbath, but through His death and resurrection. Here is a video I made related to this.

May this be the Yom Kippur season that the we see the words of Zechariah come to pass:

 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Please consider a special gift this Yom Kippur to help us reach Israelis with the message of the Messiah. Thank you!

Support Messiah’s Mandate

 

 

 

 

 

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