Monthly Archives: December 2010

Harry Potter a Christian?

 Is Harry Potter a good Christian? That’s the matter discussed in a post yesterday at the CNN Belief Blog. This post caught my attention during lunch since it was featured on my blackberry homepage (I do the majority of my blog reading during lunch, I’ve found it to be quite therapeutic).

While reading this post a few ?’s came to mind about the larger media outlets of books and movies and their influence on culture. I often find many of the “pop culture is ruining society” arguments humorous and usually pretty narrow-minded from the various religious camps. Are there valid concerns with our various forms and types of media? Yes. Are they often overblown? Yes.

We know fictional books can be influential on children but for the most part I don’t think that’s the problem. Millions and Millions of kids (myself included) grew up with Disney and Marvel Comics yet when we reached a certain age (some later than others) we moved on, at least in the sense of differentiating between fantasy and real life. On the other hand some fictional books birth a religion (Scientology?). I have never read the Harry Potter books and have only seen parts of the movies but I’ve heard the debate for years. I’m not saying it’s all right, but from a purely amusement or socially informed perspective I don’t think these types of things are inherently evil as well.

Does reading a book or watching a movie equate to participating in the ideal or movement or whatever it is about?

We have a tendency (especially in religious circles) to read into something too much or look into something too intently. Often our perception is too narrowly defined and doesn’t include a full spectrum of perspectives on thoughts and actions that lead to a balanced view.

So, is Harry Potter a good Christian? I’ve never thought about it but the blog title caught my attention. Lauve Steenhuisen said it well in the quote below and I think answered our ? at hand and gave us something by which to measure:

 “To be Christian it has to be intentional about being in Christ”

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah!

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A Savior is Born

Tomorrow is Christmas. Christmas is the day on which the majority of believers acknowledge and celebrate the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) who the wise men declared was “born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). What many people don’t associate with Jesus’ birth is that of Moses’. Moses and Christmas? Not exactly. Moses and Messiah? Maybe more in common than you think.

It is interesting to point out that the 13th portion of Scripture according to the yearly Torah cycle is Sh’mot which means Names in Hebrew and begins the book of Exodus 1:1-6:1. This portion of Scripture details the birth of Moses and usually always falls during the Advent Season (Late Nov-Jan 6 referring to the 1st Coming) and this year specifically on Christmas Day. Just a coincidence? Maybe, but that’s not a kosher word in some circles.

At the time of Moses’ birth the people of Israel were slaves to the kingdom of Pharaoh and Egypt. They were oppressed by the Egyptians and no matter how hard they worked, their lives were ultimately spent in bitter futility. They were without mercy in their condition and needed a savior. This can be compared to the life of sin and death. This is similar to the situation Israel was in during the 1st Century under Roman rule when Jesus was born. This is also a situation, at least spiritually, that we’re all in until the Messiah is born into our lives or shall I say, we are born into his.

Pharoah had commanded the Hebrew mid-wives to kill all the male children at birth. According to the king of Egypt this would prevent the children of Israel from collectively rising up against Egypt and leaving the land. Ancient Jewish commentary says that Pharoah’s astrologers had seen a sign that Israel’s redeemer was about to be born (Exodus Rabbah) and that was the reason Pharoah had this fear. A similar fate overtook the male children of Israel around the time of Jesus being born. It was during the reign of the evil king Herod who ordered the slaughtering of all male Israelites 2 years old and under (Mathew 2:16).

During this turmoil in Egypt the baby Moses was born to a Levi couple and by God’s grace they were able to conceal the baby, send him down the river and amazingly have him be found in compassion by Pharoah’s own daughter who then unknowingly gives the baby back to his sister and mother to be nursed (even paying the mother for it) until he is old enough to be raised in the courts of Egypt. By God’s grace, Jesus was also concealed and protected during a time of infanticide and raised for a time in Egypt of all places.  The man Moses would then be selected by God to redeem His people out of the kingdom of darkness and the life of slavery and into His Kingdom of Light and a life of freedom. Sound familiar?

Moses was the prototype and foreshadowing one who was anointed (messiah or christ) and acted as  prophet, priest and king in Israel. Through Moses’ example we get a glimpse of the Ultimate Prophet, Priest and King of Israel who was to come. The Exodus story and Moses is the paradigm by which we have our greatest understanding of our redemption and salvation on a personal and corporate level through the Messiah Yeshua. Through the life of Moses we can begin to understand Yeshua’s messianic office and work of redemption in a better light if you will. Yeshua truly is this “prophet like unto Moses” that all the people shall listen to.

Deuteronomy 18:18-19  “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.”

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Grafted In: Part II

This is part 2 of my book review on Grafted In (Israel, Gentiles and The Mystery of the Gospel) by D. Thomas Lancaster.

Lancaster is an effective story-teller and brings extra imagination to familiar bible stories. This makes reading his theological propositions very enjoyable indeed. In fact some of the first ?’s that Lancaster asks about the biblical narrative is “How do I fit in the story?” “Is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob really our fathers?” “Do I have permission to partake in Torah?” “Am I an Israelite?” Throughout the book Lancaster provides answers to these ?’s and more from his unique and often tongue in cheek perspective.

Lancaster himself is a non-Jew who leads a Messianic Jewish congregation that is primarily non-Jewish as well. A paradox you say? Definitely. Outside of this modern phenomenon of the last 40-50 years of a Gentile majority in what primarily began as a Jewish movement (Hebrew Christianity/Messianic Judaism) is there any historical parallels that we can look to? Ummm, surely you’ve heard of by now a little Jesus movement known as Christianity?! A glance through the book of Acts shows the beginning of what would become by the 2nd Century a Gentile majority in what began as a Jewish movement. The rest as they say is history and a very interesting and enigmatic history it is.

In Chapter 1, Lancaster asks “What is the Mystery of the Gospel?” and says that one could assume it was the Good News of Messiah Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection that Paul proclaimed, one could assume this but they would be wrong. What about the “Offense of the Cross?”. Was it Messiah’s death on a tree that was so offensive to Jewish ears? Not exactly. Was it His voice from heaven or vision in the temple that Paul heard and saw of Yeshua that offended his Jewish brethren so much? Not really. From the Acts narratives (specifically Acts 13 and 21) it was Paul taking the message of inclusion to the Gentiles that sent the mob into a frenzy. Lancaster states that from the Acts narratives and Paul’s perspective in Galatians, the “offense of the cross” is the Gentile inclusion in Israel. It was for the offensive idea of Gentiles being included in God’s family (Israel) that got Paul into so much trouble.

Galatians 5:11 But if I, brothers, [2] still preach [3] circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

So What about the Mystery of the Gospel?

Ephesians 6:19-20 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

To Paul, the inclusion of the Gentiles into the House of Israel was the mysterious part of the Gospel.

Ephesians 3:1-3 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.

And that’s not all, Paul goes on in Chapter 3 of Ephesians and reveals another mystery, the Mystery of Messiah (Christ)?

Ephesians 3:4-6 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is [1] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The Mystery of Messiah is that Jews and Gentiles are heirs together as members of one body, a congregation of One New Man (Ephesians 2:15). To Paul this mystery which had been hidden for the ages was the mystery he had been entrusted to reveal God’s riches of Messiah to the world.

Ephesians 3:7-11  Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in [2] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Grafted In: Part I

 This is a book review of Grafted In (Israel, Gentiles, and The Mystery of the Gospel) by D. Thomas Lancaster. I picked this book up a couple of months ago at the First Fruits of Zion Headquarters (FFOZ) www.ffoz.org on my way back from a Sukkot celebration in central Missouri.

I have to admit that I should have been through with this book over a month ago but my extra-biblical reading got derailed a bit the last month due to my lack of motivation and general laziness. This seems to happen every so often but fortunately it seems that I’m coming out of the fog once again. Praise HaShem!

The author D. Thomas Lancaster has become one of my favorite bible teachers to listen to and read from. He is the congregational leader of Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship www.bethimmanuel.org and educational director of FFOZ. He has authored multiple books including Restoration and King of the Jews as well as being the main contributor to FFOZ’s expansive Torah Club commentaries.

Grafted In was originally published under the title The Mystery of the Gospel in 2003. Since the original release of Mystery of the Gospel, Lancaster and the team at FFOZ have continued to refine their brand of Torah Theology. Once labeled “One Law”, in 2009 FFOZ publicly made a transition from “One Law” Torah Theology to the self-defined “Divine Invitation” Torah Theology. With this further development of theology came updates to two of Lancaster’s books: Restoration and The Mystery of the Gospel, the latter newly retitled as Grafted In.

Grafted In deals primarily with the questions of Gentile inclusion and relationship with the people and land of Israel such as:

Who is Israel?

What is the Mystery of the Gospel and the Mystery of Messiah?

What is the offense of the cross?

In who should believers find their identity? Messiah? Israel? Both?

What is the Gentiles role within the people of Israel, Messianic Judaism and the Kingdom of Heaven?

These and many more questions are put forth and discussed in this oft-debated and generally misunderstood position of being Grafted In to the Messiah and people of God – Israel.

Who or what can be defined as physical Israel or Israel according to the flesh? Jacob, Jacob’s physical descendents, The Land, United Kingdom/Political Entity under the rule of David and Solomon, The 10 Northern Tribes, The Jews who returned from the Babylonian Exile, Judaism as a whole, and the modern political state and it’s citizens can all be described as physical or legal Israel.

Which of those groups do Gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua fit in?

Lancaster divides Israel into two groups: “Legal Israel” are those who are physical Israelites according to the flesh. “Kingdom Israel”  is made up of both physical (Legal) and non-physical (Spiritual) Israelites who are believers in Messiah Yeshua.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul is writing to a community composed of both Jewish and Gentile believers. He starts the chapter by acknowledging that “our fathers” were in the wilderness with Moses. On one level Paul equates this community of both Jewish and Gentile believers with the community of Israel as the “forefathers” of even the Gentile believers of Corinth. But in verse 18, Paul makes the distinction with “Israel according to the flesh” and a legal privilege that separates the two groups.

1 Corinthians 10:1-5  For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:18  Consider the people of Israel: [1] are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

When speaking of Gentile believers being included with Israel, Paul didn’t use the terms “Legal or Physical Israel” or even the terms “Spiritual or Kingdom Israel” but rather “Israel of God” and “Commonwealth of Israel”.

Galatians 6:15-16  For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Ephesians 2:11-13  Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The main borderline between Physical Israel and Kingdom Israel for Paul is not Torah observance but rather a status “in the eyes of men”.

Romans 2:28-29  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

1 Corinthians 7:19  For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

Acts 15 and 21 is also telling in its distinction made between Jewish and Gentile believers. Acts 15 and 21 affirmed Jewish obligation to Torah but left room for Gentile participation perhaps due to a general misunderstanding of justification. However, the Gentiles were put on the trajectory of Torah since the Apostolic writings were built upon the foundation of Torah. “In Acts 15 and 21, the apostles affirmed that obedience to Torah is absolutely mandatory and binding for Jewish believers. But they granted Gentile believers significant space. The Gentile believers were placed on the trajectory of Torah by Acts 15, the writings of Paul and discipleship to Yeshua, but Paul and the other apostles were unwilling to place the Gentiles under the full obligation of conversion into legal Israel because that was wrongly understood as a prerequisite of salvation.”

Gentile believers do have a place in Israel. That doesn’t mean that they become Israel physically or that they replace the Jewish people who are and will always exist as Israel. The believing Gentiles are joined alongside the believing Jews as the “Israel of God” or “Commonwealth of Israel”. What Lancaster calls “Kingdom Israel”.

Romans 11:11-24  So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion [2] mean! 13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root [3] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

The participation in Israel and Torah is the natural mode of faith expression for a member of Israel whether physical or spiritual. Yeshua asked how could we understand spiritual things if we don’t understand the natural. Both Israel and Torah have natural and spiritual components. Both Israel and Torah will play a primary part in the Kingdom. It’s long overdue for us as believers to start trying to understand these things in the here and now for a foretaste of the future.

Romans 11:33  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Repentance, Revelation, Resurrection and Restoration

 These are my notes and reflection from the sermon given by Rabbi Marty Waldman last weekend at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue www.baruchhashem.com. Rabbi Marty has been in a mini-series the last few weeks looking at some of the parallels between the life of Joseph and Jesus.

Luke 12:40  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

A major theme in the Joseph narratives is “to expect the unexpected”. Joseph’s life was full of twists and turns and had enough real-life drama to produce a more than worthy prime time tv series or blockbuster movie (Someone please make this!). In this message Rabbi Marty explored what he called “Joseph and the 4 R’s” and jokingly made a reference to the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” by subtitling this Torah portion “Clueless in Cairo”

Primary Text: Genesis 44:18-47:27    Parashah: Vayigash (He approached)

Rabbi Marty looked at the 4 themes of Repentance, Revelation, Resurrection and Restoration in this portion that parallels between the life of Yosef and his brothers and Yeshua and his brothers (The Jews). 

Repentance – Shuv’ or T’shuva in Hebrew means to turn and go back to God. Metanoia is the relatable term in Greek and it means to turn or to change your mind.

The first steps of Repentance is conviction and confession. This is also the first steps to healing and forgiveness.

Gen 42:21  Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”

Gen 44:16  And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.”

“What goes around comes around” and “You reap what you sow” is not just some Eastern philosophy of Karma or New Age fad but a Biblical principle.

Numbers 32:23  But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

Like Yosef’s brothers and Judah especially, Yeshua’s brothers will one day be given the gift of repentance by God and acknowledge in humility the guilt concerning their brother and Savior Yeshua.

Genesis 44:33  Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers.

Repentance leads the way to Revelation.

Revelation – Joseph himself exposed the essential revelation of his identity. This intimate moment was in his own timing and was reserved for family only. Joseph acknowledged his brothers guilt but confirmed God’s sovereignty in it all. Ultimately it was the brothers stumbling in part that led Joseph to become the “Savior of the World”.

Genesis 45:4-8  So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Resurrection – Paul said in Romans 11 that the Jews stumbling and rejection of Yeshua caused riches and reconciliation for the world, and that their accepting him would mean “life from the dead”.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Restoration – That God brings restoration and blessing upon His chosen people (Israel/Jews) is a central tenet of Scripture.

Acts 3:21-26  whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

Zechariah 13:1 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

May He who ordains the universe establish His kingdom soon and in our day, B’Shem Yeshua! Amen.


A Christmas Conversation

Hanukkah is over and we are full steam ahead and right in the midst of the Christmas season blitz. For many, Christmas is about Christ and his birth, fellowship with family, friends, good food and fun. For others, Christmas is about cash (getting, giving, spending), shopping, feeling warm and fuzzy, etc etc. Some, dare I say believers don’t even blink an eye when it comes to Christmas and it’s celebration of commercialism, Santa, reindeer, and other outdoor decorations that light up the 1st century manger scene replica like the 2010 Vegas strip, and “any reason to party must be a good one” mentality. Many believers though do make it a point to keep the focus of “Christ in Christmas” and are conscious of their motives maybe more during this season than at any other time of the year.

For the past 12 years or so I have been at odds about the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. It started in the late 90’s while I was in high school that my parents from one year to the next said “we’re not really going to celebrate Christmas anymore”. “What? Are you kidding me? How crazy?” my brother and I thought. We didn’t grow up in a religious home but from our birth we had taken part in one hell of a Christmas celebration each year with plenty of presents, decorations, stockings stuffed full, good meals, fun, and a few talks, prayers and readings about Jesus for good measure! How could we give this up cold turkey after nearly 20 years? How could they give this up cold turkey after 40 years? How could anyone in their right mind give this up at all, ever?!?!?

“Paganism” they told us. “Christmas is full of paganism and mysterious origins that don’t compute with what the Bible says”. I didn’t know what on God’s green earth paganism was but, if it was what we had been doing all these years then it sure was a lot of fun to me. My parents begin to systematically explain that Christmas wasn’t Christ’s true birthday but was an adopted day from the ancient Romans and Persians who celebrated the Sun God on or around the winter solstice which falls in late December. They told us that the Catholic Church had adopted December 25th as the birthday of Christ in the 3rd Century when Christianity became the religion of the State and made converts out of the pagans and their customs. I didn’t understand why they cared so much about being “pagan”. At the beginning I was in shock and just felt that it would be a passing phase within a year or so, but my parents continued to research and study this area of new interest while at the same time beginning to gradually read and study the bible a bit more. I wasn’t much convicted or convinced either way for about 7-8 years, though I did find a lot of the information they shared to be interesting and mysterious indeed. It led to some humorous and knee-jerk response type conversations with my buddies and friends at work.

It wasn’t until the beginning of 2007 when I went to see a Hebrew/Jewish Roots teacher and I picked up a series of his on the history of Christmas and Easter that I became full on convinced of the errors and misrepresentation of Christ that these holidays put forth. I have since lightened up a bit (no pun intended) in regards to these holidays and how others celebrate them. I have thought about how many people might never consider Jesus or hear the gospel at anytime other than Christmas or Easter. About how many people are genuinely seeking peace and good-will towards others during the Advent and Lent seasons. About how many millions if not billions celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World on Christmas and proclaim the Resurrected Messiah of Israel during Easter. The dates and customs of these holiday’s might be suspect and can be debated but the fact that millions or perhaps billions are proclaiming Jesus as Messiah is not. Granted, it might not be the most accurate or historical depiction of the Gospel accounts or the most historical and biblical Yeshua (Jesus) but great strides are being made in these areas in the faith and theological worlds.  Is not one of the greatest commandments “to love your neighbor as yourself” and our most basic calling as believers to “proclaim the gospel“? Didn’t Paul say “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice” Philippians 1:18. I know my own journey has been chock full of information and mis-information along the way and I’m still seeking, searching and learning. I feel that it is up to each community of faith and individual to weigh the evidence of anything against the Scriptures with a fair, honest and balanced weight. As Paul also said “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

So I guess my main point in having this conversation is to admonish and encourage all in their respective walk of faith and practice.

Keep Christ center during this season, but not only during this season.

Remain in His steadfast love and joy in His Spirit this season, but not only during this season.

Promote peace and good-will toward others and charity during this season, but not only during this season.

Pray, seek and study to show yourself approved and be informed about your faith and expression of it during this season, but not only during this season.

The biblical life of faith is not just a compartment or component that is expressed or lived out at a certain point in the day or a certain day of the week or at certain times of the year. There is no great divide between sacred and secular, this is a myth. The life of faith is all-encompassing.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!