Sabbatical is a wonderful thing, no wonder God told Israel to do it! A time to reflect, to stare beyond the horizon, to ask the hard questions, to grieve and rejoice, to be a more attentive father, a more intentional son, and a better spiritual leader in my home. This has been a time of deep prayer about our future as we’ve sought the Lord for vision and direction, and the Lord has been faithful to answer. There have been good days and bad days, peace filled moments and moments boiling over with anger, but through it all we’ve felt the Lord’s favor and experienced His presence.
I anticipated a life of ministry alongside my brother, but the future belongs to the Lord and no one can alter His plans. Sean’s life was shorter than anyone would have imagined, but he lived and died in rare company among men who gave the best years of their lives in service of the Gospel and It’s declaration among the Jewish people. For this I am deeply grateful: that my baby brother has become my greatest inspiration.
Over the past month or so, we’ve explored each possibility regarding our future: leaving San Francisco and leaving Jews for Jesus, leaving San Francisco but staying with Jews for Jesus in another role, moving to Portland to study full-time in seminary while continuing our work with Jews for Jesus, staying in San Francisco but leaving Jews for Jesus to return to software development, and finally staying in San Francisco while staying with Jews for Jesus. With each possibility we prayed long and hard, seeking God’s direction, submitting our dreams and desires to Him. We began sensing various doors closing as our prayers became more and more focussed.
I’ve gained a sense of clarity. My goal in life is massive impact. Perhaps it takes a level of hubris to say it that way, but I don’t think grand vision is limited to people like Steve Jobs. I know I wouldn’t be satisfied by personal, financial, or career success; I want to change the world, and I believe this is what God has called me to do with my life. I have great confidence in the Rock that my feet is planted on, and the great truth that undergirds our postmodern world – that God sent His Son into the world to save us from sin and death, and that a day of reckoning is coming for all mankind. I cannot leave ministry because I have tasted the water of life springing up from the bed of death, and this water, once tasted, makes all other taste sour. My thoughts echo Peter’s in John 6:68 – to whom shall I go? Only Jesus has the words of Eternal Life!
So I will stay in ministry, working with grand intent to change the world, as God has set my heart ablaze with passion for the salvation of my Jewish people. Because there is nothing that will have a bigger impact on this world than a spiritual revival among the Jewish people. I stand on Paul’s words in Romans 11:15 – For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
Furthermore, I will stay in ministry with Jews for Jesus, as I believe in this organization: its values, its staff, and its great future. I’m proud to strive, along with my fellow ministers in Jews for Jesus, to contextualize our proclamation of the Gospel around the world, to question our methods as we seek to communicate the Gospel in more effective ways, and to wrestle with our past as we fervently seek the Lord for our future.
Yet with clarity and certainty I say that the future of Jews for Jesus is built upon Gospel: it’s explanation, proclamation, and transformational power.
Our goal isn’t to be liked, but to be heard. Our intent isn’t to offend, though the message of the Gospel is often an offense, but to clearly communicate the transformational message of God to his once and always Chosen People. Our communication must be tempered with both truth and love, our interaction with the Jewish community must reflect God’s heart for the poor, the suffering, and all who are lost. Our personal lives must be lived in submission to the transformational power of the Holy Spirit – with actions reflecting the Fruit of the Spirit and words spoken in love. Our community must reflect the characteristics Peter lays down in 1 Peter 3:8 – “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.”
My sabbatical continues through the end of 2014, but in 2015 I will be back – in San Francisco, in Jews for Jesus, and in the Minister-At-Large role with renewed passion and vision for the future of the Messianic Movement, Jewish Missions, and Jews for Jesus. My brother has passed on to glory, but I honor his memory and faith by raising higher the banner of Jesus, who has reserved for Sean a seat of honor at the banquet table of the Lamb.
Thanks for your continued prayers and support!