Jewish Roots and Israel

Materialism Antidote

March 31, 2017
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Over the centuries, one of the chief challenges for the descendants of Abraham, with the point of stumbling again and again has been the desire to be like everyone else. So it is today in the Western church. More than one renowned prophet has viewed the Church in America as being a prototype in need of the correction received by the first century Laodicean Church when John was on the Isle of Patmos: “You say you are rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing. But I say to you that you are miserable, wretched, poor, blind and naked.” This condition describes the dynamics underlying a materialistic society.

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Mobilized Community

June 23, 2016
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Jewish tradition has a long track record of benevolence and providing opportunity for the less fortunate. The design of helping your neighbor is to provide the opportunity for them to stand on their own. In farming settings, ancient Jewish tradition stresses the importance of leaving the leftovers, the gleanings of the harvest for the poor and needy to gather up themselves once the harvest is complete. In the world’s economy, everyone is focused on taking care of themselves. It engenders squeezing everything out of an opportunity for the benefit and future of the business or individual. However, in God’s economy, the practice of gleaning illustrates looking out for your “neighbor,” others in the community less fortunate and even providing the dignity of work while fulfilling the need of food that is obtained from the “leftovers” of the gleaning. In Jewish tradition, taking care of the genuinely needy carries the promises of God’s blessing. It is written that if you assist with the needs of the poor, of the orphans and destitute widows, then will your light shine in the darkness and your darkness be as the noon day. In Jewish culture poverty is viewed as temporary, with the community bearing a responsibility of assisting with the stepping stones in getting beyond this interim state.

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The Legacy

June 14, 2016
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As the world becomes increasingly aware of the Jewish phenomenon, it has been during our day, that there has emerged a global movement to glean the truths and the ways of the Jews. This awareness has extended to nations like Vietnam, who have reached out to Israel. With such unexpected alliances is a growing recognition of the legacy of the Jews. It is a legacy of power. Yet it is a different type of power. It is the power that closes the gap with creativity and discovery for the good of mankind. In talking about gaps, it is pertinent to address the gap that Jesus, as the Jewish Messiah, came to bridge. He made His Jewish identity very clear. His teachings gave focus to the purity of the issues that had become muddied. He advised His followers to give heed to the foundations held by the pharisaical Jewish leaders, but to be wary of what he referred to as the leaven of the Pharisees: the speculative religious add-ons unnecessary to know God and walk in His ways. He referred to these religious leaders of His own people who misused their positions and power for personal gain and elitism, as hypocrites. Jesus gave focus to truths that had long been foundational to what have made Jews distinctive. He pointed to their destiny, to a future that would fulfill the promises of God to His people and restore the order God had originally intended for those who believed. He dealt with the proper use of power, of righteous power, in a corrupt world. He also talked about restoration, the restoration of the foundations to form a society He referred to as the Kingdom of God. As already noted, He did all this in the context of a distinctive Jewish identity.

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Community Builders

June 11, 2016
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Community builders are big-picture thinkers. They foresee future alternatives and opportunity, but never lose sight of the importance of community building and making a viable pathway for posterity. Community builders understand that spiritual and social capital often have more enduring importance than financial capital. It involves tapping into the unseen world and anticipating the changes and the future. Community builders employ this mind-set in planning. They know what it means to operationally make the Lord their Senior Partner in both the community and economic endeavors of those comprising the community. In one of the areas in which we’ve conducted our entrepreneurial program, we met with a group of entrepreneurs who also were pastors. It was to their credit that their influence in their communities was enhanced by the micro-businesses they each managed. In each case, the operation of their businesses only required on average two to three hours a day allowing them to devote the rest of their time to their flock. These small businesses provided much needed additional income in a challenging economic environment, while expanding the sphere of those they knew in the community. They met regularly to pray for one another and to encourage and advise each other in both the enterprises and pastoral roles they were stewarding. They served as community builders. Community builders are opportunity enablers. They play an important role in the success of other community members. They groom the next generation and nurture their talents, imparting wisdom that connects generations and marks their identity as a people. Entrepreneurial thinking undergirds the process of creativity and innovation. The discovery of opportunity is blended with the goal of serving and shaping society with their output. Advancements in society, technology and business are ever at the forefront of the community builder mind-set.

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Disproportionate Success

June 11, 2016
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The psalmist captures a number of key dimensions on the importance of posterity and community to these people. It is the catalyst passed down which builds from one generation to another. It is the mantle that endures. It is written that even in darkness, light shines for the gracious, compassionate and righteous. All goes well for the one who is generous, who lends freely and conducts their business fairly. The righteous deeds of such people will long be remembered. This particular passage concludes by noting that while the wicked may seek to undermine people who truly live their lives in this way, the intentions of the wicked will eventually come to naught. It suggests that success will follow the one whose ambitions are generous, honorable and serve the needy and the community. Although the path will evoke the ire of those whose ways fall short of this standard, the outcome will be that when good prevails, it will overcome evil. Jesus indicated that we would know people by their fruits. Jesus’ Jewish way of viewing things had strong words for those who misused their positions or power for personal gain, whose religious leanings disparaged others to their own benefit. Likewise, one of the most revealing passages unveiling God’s heart by the prophet Isaiah similarly takes a hard stand against the hypocritical, who point the finger in scorn.

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The Creative Advantage

April 30, 2016
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The advantage begins with mind-sets. Thinking like Jews begins with their identity being in God. Jews hold to the belief of being a prophetic people of God whose ways reflect the pattern of their forefather Abraham: to be blessed to be a blessing. For the most part, they have resisted assimilation and from age to age they have maintained their unique identity culturally. Jewish beliefs nurture the dynamic of community as much or more than any other culture; but with the approach of being a trust society. They foster entrepreneurship and creativity from within and build incisively from the bottom-up.

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Spirit Planning

April 30, 2016
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Another insight into hearing God accurately, especially in the process of planning, involves keeping a written record of what you discern in your “hearing” together with questions that arise from what you’ve heard. This process begins with the revelation of what you hear. A very natural tendency is to act too fast on what you hear. However, just as it is written that the naïve believe everything, but the prudent takes his time and considers the steps and the alternatives. So, when you get a revelation from God, make a record of it. More importantly, keep praying and ask the Lord questions about what you’ve heard. In other words, pray about the revelation until you get the illumination on the revelation.

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Stewardship

April 25, 2016
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Effective stewardship is an expectation and commitment required of each member of the community, and the businesses in the community, each according to their own talents and abilities, to do their part. It is also a commitment by the community to nurture its destiny and future by preparing each generation to assume their roles in this pathway. When stewardship is operating in community according the books of Moses, it results in disproportionate achievement. Jews have a track record as disproportionate achievers. It is written that diligence is an invaluable possession for the one who knows how to apply it. Diligence produces excellence. Diligence involves hard work. The operational word for “work” in the Hebrew language is avodah. The meaning of this word “avodah” bears on the Jewish mind-set toward work. Avodah shares the root word with three Hebrew words: purpose, passion and future. Work provides the purpose and passion setting the stage for the future. It is vital to good stewardship. Mentorship is also an important part of stewardship and very Jewish in its practice.

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The Gift of Community

April 25, 2016
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This community is an excellent example of how God’s gift of community is designed to operate. God is at the center with people of prayer who have made Him their Senior Partner. This gift of community is like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, which has the potential to grow into a tree. It is like the yeast which a woman kneads into dough, producing something that grows into a whole lot more than at the start. It reflects both the standard and the supernatural operating in the fishing community we previously spoke of that were described by the psalmist. It reflects the model operated by the father of the Jews, Abraham. It is a community that is God-centered and entrepreneurial. We’ve been taking a closer look at and unveiling the dynamics incorporated in Jewish business secrets. These factors combined to overcome the adversities and bring them success. What transpired reflects the spiritual authority to overcome which was evident in the psalmist’s fishing community. These combined factors are drawn from the source and foundation of the Christian faith, which is Judaism. The steps these Eastern Bloc brethren took involved some very Jewish mind-sets. With close associations with Israel, this group of believers understood the roots to their faith. The standard for success from a Jewish perspective involves a different way of thinking. This different way of thinking will map out a sometimes unexpected path and set of priorities. It is a way of thinking engrained in the Jewish culture and an important part of our discussion of Jewish business secrets.

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Entrepreneurship

April 3, 2016
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Entrepreneurs are change artists. They create and innovate. They spot opportunity and know what to do about it. They build, establish a new order of things and in so doing they bring increase. They challenge the status quo with better solutions to problems and they know how to do so at a profit. The Jewish perspective in viewing these prime entrepreneurial characteristics, of creating and bringing increase entails even more. A finely honed stewardship is one of the unique dimensions of Jewish business secrets. A vital element of the stewardship that has endured within Jewish culture that triggers the creative to bring increase is a form of generosity. This dynamic is described best by the Hebrew word tz’dakah.

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