Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Tale of Two Passover Seder’s

First Night

On Monday night we attended our first seder of this Passover season in Euless, TX at Metroplex Messianic Fellowship www.metroplexmessianic.org. Metroplex Messianic Fellowship is a Torah Observant, Messiah Centered messianic congregation of about 75 people led by Rabbi Moshe (Marty) Cohen. This was our second year in a row to attend the Metroplex seder. This is a very well put together, laid back and enjoyable seder and is especially good for introducing someone to a Passover Seder who is unfamiliar with its themes. Rabbi Marty has been leading Passover Seder’s for 25 years and has conducted over 300 of them throughout the US. It is evident that Rabbi Marty has a gift in this area as he brings a very charismatic filled with Jewish humor approach to the evening. The room was set with round tables covered in white linens with water and wine (grape juice was provided as the fruit of the vine, unless you brought your own-we did :-)) glasses set along with the plates of Matzah, Karpas, Maror and Haroset for each individual. Dinner served was a Greek Salad, Matzah Ball Soup, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Chicken with Gravy (this meal was excellent and the catering team did a great job) accompanied by a tea station. There were probably about 200 people in attendance at this seder. The evening begin with a prayer by Rabbi Marty and then a 4-5 song set by Messianic Worship Artist Ted Pearce www.tedpearce.com that got everyone in a celebratory mood. It was announced that Ted and Rabbi Marty have been ministering at Passover Seder’s together for 19 years and it is such a blessing to have someone of Ted’s talent providing the soundtrack to the evening. After the initial song set the room was divided into two sections to begin the dinner lines, though not traditional (most would begin dinner after the second cup), this is something that really flows well at this seder. There’s more than enough food and you eat before the teaching and telling portion of the seder begins so your mind isn’t being controlled by your belly. During dinner, Ted continued to perform an additional 4-5 songs that begin to really build the anticipation for the telling of the Passover story. At 7:45 the teaching portion of the seder began and lasted until around 9:45. Though this Seder is not the most traditional in text or historical in details, it is wildly enjoyable and entertaining indeed! The only negative to the night was that it seemed the air conditioning wasn’t set properly for the room as there were many people breaking a sweat bead or two and fanning themselves throughout the night.  Here are some of the quotes and bits of info that I can remember from memory:

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” An introduction to the Haggadah and fulfilling the commandment to tell the next generation.

Rabbi Marty asked the room to raise their hand if it was anyone’s first seder – about a third of the room from my vantage point, Praise God! Rabbi Marty really challenged us as both Jew’s and non-Jew’s to share and live Messiah in a way that would provoke Jew’s to jealousy a la Romans 11.

“For many years the Passover Seder was conducted orally, but each year after the four cups of wine, the participants didn’t remember this year’s seder being like last year’s seder” On why the seder had to be written down.

” I understand now why Christian mother’s don’t like Jewish mother’s….Jewish mother’s invented Spring cleaning” Talking about the process of removing the leaven from the house.

“After Moshe left Egypt, he did what every Jewish man has been doing for centuries…..he married a gentile bride and started working for her father”

Rabbi Marty believes it is possible that the disciples families were in the same room as Yeshua but at different tables due to the high priority of this being a family meal.

Rabbi Marty stated that the numerical value of Chai which means “life” in Hebrew is 18. 18 is also the number of minutes determined for the process to make unleavened bread, which was the bread of affliction that became the bread of life for Israel coming out of Egypt.

I pray that God continues to bless Rabbi Marty, Ted, and the whole congregation of Metroplex Messianic Fellowship and I thank them and all who had a part in putting together such a wonderful seder and start to this festival season. Amen.

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Second Night

On Tuesday night we attended our second Passover Seder in Denton, TX at Heritage Messianic Fellowship www.heritagedfw.com. My brother Brandon has been going to school at North Texas University in Denton and had come across this congregation last year. Denton is a very artsy and eccentric college town and Heritage is a small messianic congregation with a heart for Israel and the Jewish people along with a passion for raising up disciples of Yeshua in college ministry. This seder was special in that we had a lot of family and close friends that were able to attend with us and it was such a blessing to see their faces and have their fellowship. The seder was led by Pastor Mark who is the lead teaching and preaching pastor at Heritage and though this seder was about half the size (100 people) of the one we attended on Monday, due to the size and warm setting of the room this seder had a very welcoming and intimate feel. The seder began at 7pm and ended about 10pm. The flow of the evening went well as we recited the traditional blessings and texts along with many unique insights and parallels to Yeshua that I hadn’t heard taught before at a seder. After the second cup we were served a magnificent mediterranean meal consisting of a Greek salad, roasted vegetables, humus, chicken, beef and lamb. Throughout the evening and especially during the meal we were treated to a classical violinist (I don’t remember his name? I should he was amazing!) who played traditional Jewish folk songs and many Fiddler on the Roof number’s that got many on their feet and dancing around the room. I couldn’t believe how fast the night had went when we came to the fourth cup of wine and said the final blessing’s of the meal. I am always left longing for more of the sights, sounds and tastes of this blessed festival. One day soon and may it be next year in Jerusalem!

Each year at Passover I come away with new and renewed insights about the Grace of God, His Redemption, Slavery, Freedom and what it all means to us as a people of God and myself individually to have been purchased with such a costly price and to walk out our salvation collectively and individually in a manner worthy of His calling. Halleluyah for Messiah Yeshua!

Chag Sameach!!!


Creation and Campfires

This past weekend was spent by myself and five friends camping out at Turner Falls, Ok. The occasion was to celebrate our friend Jay’s upcoming wedding in April. We arrived about mid-afternoon on Friday with plenty of time to get the campsite set up and everything ready for Shabbat. Turner Falls is located in the Arbuckle Mountain Range of Oklahoma and has some magnificent peaks and valleys with beautiful streams and waterfalls running throughout the park. After surveying the available campsites we settled on one that was somewhat secluded and down by the river at a spot where the water was rushing. It was kind of like having one of those nature cd’s on the whole time, especially good for sleeping. By sunset we were ready to bring in the Sabbath. My wife Elizabeth had made a challah loaf for us to take on the trip and Coley had brought the wine. We had also gathered enough wood for the next day and done all the pre-work we could think of to honor the Shabbat to the best of our ability ( this was not without some very lively discussion). We begin the evening by reading a letter Elizabeth had written for Jay that she wanted me to read aloud that contained many blessings in Hebrew and English for Jay’s upcoming wedding. We then said the traditional blessings over the wine and bread and our first night had begun. For the next two day’s we grilled Hebrew National Hot Dogs (dinner, breakfast and lunch the first day), burger’s,Kosher marshmellows’ (ate too many s’mores), drank Wine, Mexican Coke and Dublin Dr. Pepper (it’s a Texas thing) while sitting around the campfire discussing relationships, theology, buzzards, body parts, careers, unanswerable biblical questions and arguments, becoming Sages of America (this conversation got pretty ridiculous :-), tried to define modesty, dietary instructions (pondered on the Giraffe for a while), the wind didn’t stop blowing, The Proverb about having “smoke in the eyes” came to life many times over, chased raccoons, hiked miles of streams, rocked climbed, explored caves and castles (who knew?), irritated a huge snapping turtle, played mandolin, fiddle, harp and guitars, danced, climbed tree’s, and for the most part just really enjoyed each other’s company and God’s creation. It was a blessing!!!


Heard it in a Song

I was driving home after taking my daughter to pre-school yesterday when I heard one of my favorite new songs on the radio. I was heavy in thought about the preperations and work that needed to be completed before Pesach started when How He Loves by the David Crowder Band www.davidcrowderband.com came on. This is an amazing song and one of the verses really stuck with me and got my spirit moving and my mind ready for worship on this Feast of Redemption. Here is the verse:

“We are His portion and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes”   How He Loves – David Crowder Band


JBOM: JPS Haggadah Commentary – Notes and Comments Part 5

We are now 4 nights away from the first seder this year, Monday March 29th. I am really excited about this upcoming festival as I reflect back on our life since last Passover. God has greatly sanctified myself and my family from this point last year. I pray that sharpening from Him and yearning for Him is never quenched. This year I get an added bonus before Passover as I start a 10 day vacation tomorrow. Myself, my brother and a few close friends are going to celebrate one of our friend’s upcoming wedding by taking a camping trip up to Turner Falls, OK  this weekend. God’s unmerited favor has been poured out upon this group of guys over the last 5 years through twists and turns only His hand could have guided. We will surely praise and bless Him and marvel at His ways as one’s who have been called into the Kingdom of His Glorious Son. I now switch gears and give you my notes from The JPS Commentary on the Haggadah Part 5:

The Other Maggid Texts That Are in Common Use

The Maggid section is the “telling” part of the seder having to do with our Redemption and the story of the Exodus. These other Maggid texts are the most common additional texts that are ancillary to the standard Maggid texts throughout various communities.

The Passover of the Sages: This text has to do with two different but similar stories of various sages having an all night Bible study either on Exodus or the Laws of Passover. These events are believed to have taken place in the first decades after the Second Temple was destroyed.

The Four Children: This text has represented four different types of children who range from the wicked child to the pious child based on their questions about the Passover story in a very Midrashic way. During this section my wife Elizabeth really felt compassion for the allegorical “simple” child who is also called “foolish” by the sages.

The List of Thanksgiving (Dayenu): Tabory included an interesting discussion to us in this passage that I had never heard of before as to the dating of this text and it’s relation in one way or another to the Christian Liturgical text known as the Improperia or Reproaches.

The Other Maggid Texts That Are Specific to Certain Communities

Mah Chbar: Yemenite text in Arabic.

Utkol (And you shall say): Tunisian text having to do with Abraham’s acknowledgement of God from idols.

I Am the Lord: text that portrays the attempt of the angels to punish Egypt but God rejects their attempt. This text was rejected by Rashi.

He Gave Us Their Money: text about the difference between the booty taken at Egypt verses the booty taken at the sea.

Emunim Arckhu Shevah: Poem by Aharon Cohen from the 15th/16th century.

The Psalms Before the Meal: Psalms 113 and 114. There was a dispute between the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai over whether Psalm 114 should be included as part of the evening or not.

The Blessing over Wine: The Blessing of Redemption

The main theme of this blessing is praise of God for redeeming Israel. The closing formula is “Blessed art Thou, God, Redeemer of Israel”

JPS Haggadah Commentary Part 6 coming soon.

Shalom Aleichem!


Well Versed: Jeremiah 9:22-23 (23-24)

Included in this weeks Haftarah portion to Parashah Tzav Leviticus 6:1-8:36 is Jeremiah 9:22-23 (23-24). These verses really resonated with me today as I was reading. The translation I have been reading and studying for the past couple of years is David Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible. He translates “practicing grace” rather than “steadfast love” and “in the land” rather than “the earth”.

Jeremiah 9:22-23 (23-24)

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Shalom Aleichem!


Sermon Sessions: The Fullness was Pleased to Dwell

These are my notes and reflection from the March 21, 2010 sermon by Matt Chandler at the Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. This is the 5th part in the series on Colossians. Listen at www.thevillagechurch.net

“You have to do something with the historical Jesus. Either he is out of his mind for making the claims he did or he really is who he says he is. I don’t see a third option”

Primary Text: Colossians 1:15-19

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

Does Jesus walk in the fullness of God?

 Does he posses attributes that only God can?

Omnipotence – Is Jesus all-powerful or does he get filled with the Spirit to do great works, or maybe he is a magician? What do the Gospel’s say?

John 2:1-11  This miracle is attributed to Jesus’ glory in and of itself, not shared or through any sort of trickery.

Matthew 8:23  Jesus calms the storm. The disciples are amazed and attribute this solely to his power.

Eternal – Has Jesus always been?

John 1:1  In the beginning…..was the word….the word was God. This word became flesh and dwelt among us.

John 8:58-59  Before Abraham was, he was “I AM”. This is one of Jesus’ clearest self-pronouncements of his divinity.

Omniscient – Does Jesus know all?

John 6:64  Jesus knew his betrayers from the beginning.

John 2:25  Jesus knows what is in a person’s heart, their inner thoughts.

Sovereign – Is Jesus in full control?

Matthew 11:27  All things are handed over to Jesus.

Philippians 2:9-11  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is YHVH (LORD) in the flesh.

Why was the Fullness of God pleased to Dwell in Jesus?

Romans 8:1-4   There is no condemnation for those in union with Jesus. He who knew no sin became sin to deal with sin so that we might live!

Hebrews 2:14-18  So that Jesus could become a merciful and faithful High Priest making atonement for our sins. He was put to the test within the same human nature that we are, so that he could help us who are put to the test and tempted by the adversary.

Matthew 28:20  Jesus is with us always! Amen and Amen.


Holidays: Pesach is Coming!

As I write this, we are one week away from Pesach (Passover) – The Feast of Redemption. We picked up a couple of boxes of Kosher for Passover Matzah today after visiting 4 or 5 grocery stores in our area that only had Kosher-but not for Passover Matzah (at this point I am unsure of the difference?). We also started cleaning out the pantry and marking items in the fridge and freezer that had to either be eaten or put out by next Monday due to their leavening content. This physical exercise of preparing our homes and scrutinizing our dwelling places is a great yearly activity and reminder of the carefulness and diligence we should have in our spiritual lives empowered by the Holy Spirit with Messiah in us, to rid our hearts and minds of the “leaven” which is left over from our old nature, which left unchecked can all too easily spoil and puff us up full of pride, hard-heartedness and deceit.