- A Message from the Cassette Tape Archives
- The Friendship Paradox
- Branch of the Galilee Day Camp
- A Taste & a Test Flight
- Download September Newsletter as a PDF
A Message from the Cassette Tape Archives
Connie and I got inspired this summer to clean out and reorganize our storage shed. Amidst boxes and dust and unused scraps of wire, pipe and lumber (saved “just in case”), we found a substantial collection of cassette tapes. Few of us still have cassette tape players anymore. As we went through the tapes one by one, we realized that we would NEVER be using them again.
Aside from the nostalgia evoked—especially looking at the collected classics of Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Billy Graham and Michael Brown—there remained, deep inside the cardboard cartons, the praise music we “grew up on.” Carefully stacked were Integrity Music tapes, Andre Crouch, Israel’s Hope, Lamb and many others that we now have downloaded to our newer electronic music devices.
While pitching a trash can full of these former treasures into the dumpster, I found myself thinking about what really lasts in life. Cassette tapes certainly have not. Other forms of music, voice and film storage continue to change with each new information technology breakthrough. Already fading are CDs and DVDs technologies that only a few years back, still felt “revolutionary.”
What else will become passé?
That which today impresses us as innovative, groundbreaking, new and exciting—will tomorrow be obsolete and worn out. This wakes me up. It compels me to adjust my world view and my decisions about acquiring more stuff. There was a play whose title I remember: “You Can’t Take it with You.” The play was a comedy, but Job’s life certainly was not. Job stated it succinctly long before Broadway. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return…” (Job 1:21 NKJV).
The tragic passing, yet heroic fight for life, of our friend who grew up in Jerusalem, Esther Ridings Moore, at the tender age of 29, underscores this issue of mortality. Not incidentally, Esther made her life count. Writing and performing worship songs with Israeli teenagers, teaching and inspiring youth and adults alike, she invested her days in glorifying God and drawing people closer to Him through Yeshua. This forces me to ask a blunt question. What am I doing with my days?
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16).
These two exhortations speak directly to the issue of life being finite. It’s almost a cliché, but nonetheless true, that I really don’t know how much time I’m being allotted for this stage of my life’s journey. I want to invest my days in that which pleases the Lord, in that which helps others know Him more deeply. I want to see eyes opened to the awesome mercy of God through Yeshua haMashiach. And I want to walk in His light, bringing hope, healing, and deliverance to those He places in my path.
No matter where you are in life or how much you’ve already accomplished in the Lord, may you be renewed to exceed every previous limitation.
Cassette tapes have become irrelevant.
But the love of God demonstrated through you, will never become irrelevant. – Eitan Shishkoff, Tents of Mercy
The Friendship Paradox
On the other hand we hear that all we need is Yeshua, He is all-sufficient and provides all our needs.
Both of these are true, and so we are faced with something of a paradox on the topic of friendship.
As believers in Yeshua, it is through our friendships that we are can be connected not only in the flesh or through emotions but also in the Spirit. A good example of this is the way that John the Baptist responded with excitement to Yeshua while they were still in their mothers’ wombs. So it can be with us when we see someone we know and love. The spirit within us gets excited when we come in contact with each other.
Why is this? It can be emotional, physical and spiritual. It may be because we are in relationship; we have something in common and we understand each other. This is what the congregation is built on; this is what it means to connect. In Hebrew the word connect or connection comes from the same root as the word for friend (Chaver). A friend takes our focus off self and puts it on to someone else. We are connected and concerned for each other.
Yeshua said, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Why is it so important to be a friend? A friend in this context does not control or manipulate but is genuinely concerned. Friendship like this knows no selfishness or jealousy but its purpose is to build up the other person out of a desire to truly care for one another.
With all of the social media and hi-tech advancement of today we are missing out on personal relationships. A beautiful example of a true human connection can be seen in the relationship of Jonathan and David. In I Samuel 16 we read that David played the harp for Saul to release him from the effects of a tormenting spirit. Yet in I Samuel 17:56-58, Saul does not even know who David is. However, Jonathan did not forget him. In I Samuel 18:1-5 we read that their friendship had knitted their souls together. Saul had apparently not honored David at all, whereas Jonathan went far beyond honor. He set aside his own right to the throne, and in verse 4 Jonathan gave David his own royal authority. He did this on his own, in love, not at the command of any other. What a friendship they had! Jonathan even risked his life to help David escape from Saul. And David, despite everything, loved both Jonathan and Saul to the end. (II Samuel 1:23)
The solution to the friendship paradox is the love God revealed when he came and walked among us. All we need is Yeshua. Yeshua is our example of the ultimate faithful friend who sacrificed everything for us and in spite of our failings, loves us to the end. And … if the focus of our lives is a personal relationship with God through Yeshua, then we will also be empowered to share His quality of love with others, becoming a true friend to those around us.
(This article is dedicated to a dear friend and servant of the Lord, Ron Dodds, who recently passed into eternity.)
GUY COHEN – Harvest of Asher, Akko
Branch of the Galilee Kid’s Day Camp
Dear Friends,In July the “Branch of the Galilee” Congregation in Nazareth (a ministry of Return to Zion), organized a kids day-camp together with the neighboring congregation “Zur Yeshuati” and a group of youth from America. Forty children ages 7-15 speaking Russian, Hebrew and Arabic gathered in unity as one team! This is the fifth year in a row this camp has been conducted.
The camp lasted eight days, most of which were spent at the congregational facility. The children and youth engaged in various activities and enjoyed cooked meals. On the eighth day they went to a water park on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The delight of the children and the joy of their parents were very touching. We praise the Lord for His protection. No one was hurt, and all were blessed by these special days together.
Each day we started and finished with prayer, and throughout the day the children were taught lessons from the Word of God. Through the children, their parents also learned about Scriptures. We believe the seeds that were sown in the children will sprout and bear good fruit!
We appreciate your prayers for these children, that God may do a good work in and through them! – Vakif Khassanov
Branch of the Galilee Congregation in Nazareth – A ministry of Return to Zion
A Taste & a Test Flight
We have just finished a week that was a little taste of heaven, and a test flight into the joint destiny of Israel and the nations. How could all that happen while conducting a camp for 60 Israeli children?
Tents of Mercy Congregation organized and sponsored the logistics for the Israeli end of the camp. As has happened every year for the last eleven years, a large team of selfless volunteer servants of God came from Beltway Park Church in Abilene, TX, to intercede, serve in every way imaginable, and in general help shine God’s love into the hearts of the kids. The children, along with their selfless young Israeli counselors came from our northern Tikkun-related network of congregations.
The inspiration for our camp theme came from the almost magical way a hot air balloon rises from the ground and travels through the air, moved along by the wind, something we cannot even see with our physical eyes (bear in mind that in Hebrew the word spirit and the word wind are one and the same – “ruach”). We desire to see our kids lifted off the ground and flying in life – powered by God’s Spirit and not our/their own strength. Hence camp week was a kind of test flight.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 ESV).
Of course there was lots of fun and games, and food and water to cool off the hot days. Then came the evening worship and impartation of encouragement to live life in dependence on God’s spirit. We saw a new level of breakthrough in worship, in prayer and in the general atmosphere. Children heard God speak to them, and we could see they were truly touched.
And come to think of it we did have a taste of joint destiny in “Acts 2:44 style” community – which also happened 2000 years ago through the power of Gods spirit. In a small way, during a week of kids’ camp, Israel and the Nations were becoming one. This happens in mutual service and in relying on God’s Spirit – the only source that can empower us to live lives of witness.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8 NIV). – Tents of Mercy