Shalom and Happy New Year!
We are one year closer to the return of Jesus! And in light of current events I bet you just want to get up and shout along with me…“even so, come Lord Jesus!”
We begin 2016 with our eyes turned to the Lord, hearts filled with faith and a myriad of concerns for our country, the nation of Israel and for the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.
We will face challenges this year, which include the unraveling of our most cherished values, ISIS, and the clear and present global danger presented by Islamic extremists who seek the destruction of all we hold dear. These are times of great desperation for the Jewish people, as antisemitism is growing globally and the rise of personal terrorism attacks in Israel is becoming a “new normal” for Israelis.
We begin the New Year in something of a kosher pickle! But, the Good News never changes and Jesus is still the SOLUTION to life’s deepest and most difficult problems and we need to constantly learn how to trust Him!
So, more than ever—the work of bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people needs to continue—in full force.
A Vision for 2016
One of our staff members asked me to write a letter sharing my vision for Chosen People Ministries for the coming year, and I am more than happy to do this. I hope it will help you pray and know how to invest your giving to Your Mission to the Jewish People this year.
Let me give you a quick overview of our plans for 2016, and you will see how important people are to all that we believe God wants us to do!
Continuing What We Are Doing
My greatest hope for the New Year is that by God’s grace we can continue the good work we have been doing in 2015! We have dedicated and well trained missionaries who are serving the Lord in more than a dozen cities in the U.S. and in 15 other countries around the globe! My hope and prayers for our team is that the Lord will bless their everyday efforts in evangelism and discipleship and that their families will remain safe (especially those in Israel and France) and wholesome.
My hope is that the families of Chosen People Ministries’ staff will be blessed and protected and that the children of our staff members would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.
With this in mind, let me share with you some of my additional hopes and goals for 2016!
We will continue to reach Israelis wherever they travel after their service in the army: India, New Zealand, South America and even New York City! These young people are very open to the Lord. We now have a permanent work in New Zealand and actually own a backpacker facility that is constantly filled with 40-plus Israelis with whom we are able to talk to about the Lord.
We have built a great team in Tel Aviv now as well so we can follow up on those we meet around the globe when they get home to return to “normal life” and go to college, get jobs and start their post-military lives.
We will expand our ministries among Holocaust survivors living in the Holy Land as well through visiting them, taking them on trips and providing food staples through our distribution centers around Israel. We cannot speak about Jesus when we are providing food, etc., however, we do build relationships with people in this way, and it is wonderful to see how they initiate the discussion about faith.
By God’s grace we recently baptized five of these elderly Israelis.
We will begin a new ministry in two larger urban suburbs in the greater Tel Aviv area that are currently without a witness for the Lord. So far, we have placed three full-time young couples in these areas to reach younger Israeli families, whom I believe will be the building block for the future church in Israel.
The names of the “urban suburbs” are Ramat Gan and Givatayim. We are trying to rent a storefront on the main commercial street as a center for our activities but so far, we have not found an Israeli landlord that will rent to us! But, we know that God will provide.
The Charles Feinberg Program
We have had a blessed few years training new missionaries to the Jewish people through our fully accredited seminary program that is a partnership between Chosen People Ministries and Talbot School of Theology (part of Biola University). We rejoice with our 14 graduates and continue to recruit those who are led by God to serve in Jewish missions.
As you might know, we purchased and renovated a former Jewish funeral home in Orthodox Brooklyn and have been using the center to house the seminary, as well as our new congregations planted in the heart of this community of almost a million Jewish people.
By God’s grace, we have no debt on the building and therefore the funds donated to the Feinberg Center go towards running the Center and to the ministries housed in the Center!
We hope to recruit a dozen new students (twice the usual number) for the Feinberg seminary program this year and to expand this wonderful ministry by developing online courses as well.
Online Ministries – The Daniel Project
We have created an online evangelism team at our New York City headquarters that we call the Daniel Group! We chose this name based upon the prophecy of Daniel 12:4,
But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.
We believe we are in the end times and…let’s face it…the web has transformed the way we learn and has made knowledge available to everyday people as never before. This includes the Gospel! We are able to tell people about Jesus—in ways our forefathers never dreamed of. The web has transformed Jewish evangelism work in the same way that air travel transformed missionary work in general.
We are living in wonderful days of opportunity.
The Isaiah 53 site focuses on offering the evangelistic book Isaiah 53 Explained that is now in eleven languages! I Found Shalom has approximately 40 video testimonies (and growing) of Jewish believers in Jesus of every age and walk of life.
We also have translated the Isaiah 53 site into Hebrew, Russian, Spanish and now French. These languages cover more than 90% of the Jewish population in today’s world.
We will soon create sites to match some of the other book translations—including our latest…Farsi. This will become the key strategy to reach the hundreds of thousands of Iranian Jews scattered throughout Israel, the United States, England, etc. with the Gospel.
We have learned how to use Facebook advertising to find the sites Jewish people search and have had more than 1,000 Jewish people order the Isaiah 53 book and the booklet we offer on the I Found Shalom site! I have not seen anything like this in my 40-plus years of Jewish ministry.
We will expand these online evangelistic efforts beginning with a special outreach in southern Florida, the home of the third largest Jewish population in the United States, during the months of January and February!
We also plan to expand these online ministries to Russia, the United Kingdom and Australia this year. Our follow-up teams are busy calling the interested and visiting those who want a more intensive witness. However, what we have found is that most of the Jewish people responding to our websites are hearing the Gospel for the first time! So, we are prayerfully and patiently reaching out to these folks and we are further developing ongoing evangelistic e-blasts that we are sending to these seekers each month.
Can you tell I am excited? Because the web allows for some anonymity and enables a Jewish person to move at their own speed in seeking the Lord, it is almost as if the web was built for Jewish evangelism!
All About People
The most important tool God uses to reach Jewish people is people! The Good News is most powerful when preached person-to-person and heart-to-heart. Jewish seekers—like Gentile seekers—respond to the love, warmth and transformed lives of individuals, as people all need people.
Please continue to pray for all of these efforts, that the Lord will bless the work and that Jewish people everywhere will hear the Gospel and come to know their Messiah!
Thank you for joining me by investing your prayers, support, love and encouragement in the staff of Chosen People Ministries!
Your brother in the Messiah,