Is your job a launch pad into your ministry?

Exodus 3:1, Tending the flock. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness of Midian tending the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law. After this phase of his life, YHVH called and commissioned Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and then to shepherd them through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. This was the very same wilderness where Moses had shepherded Jethro’s sheep for forty years. Moses’ job as a physical shepherd prepared him for the next phase of his life—his ministry as a spiritual shepherd. 

Often YHVH chooses individuals as his servants based on their vocational background, which provides training for the spiritual ministry to which he then calls them. For example, David was a shepherd before he became the king over Israel. Yeshua was a carpenter before he became a builder of the spiritual house of Israel (Heb 3:3–6; 1 Pet 2:5), and several of Yeshua’s disciples were commercial fishermen before becoming “fishers of men” or apostolic evangelists. Sometimes our physical vocations may be an indicator of what our spiritual calling is. 

Being a shepherd of physical sheep is a most suitable profession to prepare one for tending YHVH’s spiritual sheep. A shepherd has to put the needs, comfort, care and protection of the sheep above that of his own. This is one reason why the Scriptures refer to those who care for and protect YHVH’s spiritual sheep as shepherds or pastors. There are many similarities between physical and spiritual shepherds, and physical and spiritual sheep. Unless one has been a physical shepherd and cared for physical sheep, it is unlikely these reasons will be readily apparent.

 

Called to the ministry? Here’s what to do…

Do you have a ministry call on your life? If you’re a disciple of Yeshua, then you should. Yeshua has commissioned every saint to help fulfill the great commission to spread the gospel to the world. Below are some basic guidelines on how to know that you’re in the perfect will of Elohim for the ministry to which he has called you.

Matthew 10:5ff, Yeshua sent out. The Commissioning of the Twelve Disciples.

There are several steps one must go through when receiving a ministry commission from Yeshua. The following steps are based on Yeshua’s commissioning his disciples in Matthew 10. As modern-day disciples of Yeshua, we need to take these into consideration when assuming a ministry role. These are the requirements of his laborers who will work in his harvest field (see Matt 9:37 for context).

  • Yeshua calls one into the ministry (Matt 10:1). Some people go into the ministry as a career like any other job by their own choice. This is unbiblical. Involvement in Yeshua’s ministry is by his invitation only.
  • After calling one into the ministry, there is a time of training. This is the biblical norm. For some, it was five years (e.g. the Levites), or forty years (Moses and Joshua). David had a period of training before becoming king, as did Paul the apostle and Elisha. For Yeshua’s disciples, it was three-and-one-half years. The Matthew ten account is part of the disciples’ training program.
  • After calling them, Yeshua gives his disciples their marching orders by telling them where to go and not to go (Matt 10:5–6). They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, although, later on Yeshua instructed them to go the Gentiles. Paul even taught in several places that the lost sheep of Israel were to be found among the Gentiles, as the ancient biblical prophets predicted they would be.
  • Yeshua then instructs them what their ministry was to be (Matt 10:7–8). They were to do exactly as Yeshua himself did: preach the gospel of repentance and the kingdom of Elohim, and to heal the sick.
  • He then gives them instructions pertaining to travel arrangements — what they were to take on their journey, where they were to stay, and how to act when encountering resistance (Matt 10:9–15). This includes lodging, food and financial remuneration. On the latter point, today many itinerant evangelists flagrantly violate Yeshua’s strictures in this regard and have become nothing more than travelling salesmen and peddlers always with their hands out for financial gain. They have simply become merchandisers of the gospel, sadly.
  • Next, Yeshua warns his disciples against persecution (Matt 10:16–26). He assumes that persecution would be a natural result of preaching the gospel. Conversely, it could be assumed that something is out of spiritual order when one preaches the gospel and persecution doesn’t occur. 
  • Yeshua then instructs his disciples about fear — who to fear and not to fear. They are to fear YHVH, not men (Matt 10:27–31). This is an important point, since preaching the gospel to the lost can be intimidating, which is why so few do it. Yeshua promises divine protection for his disciples who preach the gospel as he has instructed (Matt 10:29–30).
  • The workman is worthy of his hire. Yeshua promises spiritual rewards to those who preach the gospel (Matt 10:32–33).
  • For those who are called into Yeshua’s ministry, he demands total commitment. One must put Yeshua first above all other human relationships. For this, expect rejection from family and friends (Matt 10:34–39). 
  • Again, Yeshua holds out the promise of spiritual rewards for those who heed his call to become a disciple who works in his spiritual harvest field (Matt 10:39 cp. Matt 9:37).
 

Are you a budding rod?

Numbers 17:1–13, Aaron’s rod. Aaron’s rod that budded is a picture of what? Who was the rod or Branch from the stem of Jesse that budded forth with spiritual life for all those who will place their faith in him? Spiritual life for you and me came from what dead tree? Can we not see that Yeshua and the message of the gospel is at the center of everything in the Bible from the beginning to the end? Can there be any doubt that Yeshua is the Messiah? Only he fulfilled all the prophetic types and shadows that we find in the Tanakh (Old Testament).

Aaron’s ministry was anointed of YHVH. The rod represented his authority and its budding represented the fruitfulness of his ministry. It points to the ministry of Yeshua. If we are disciples and imitators of Yeshua, aren’t we to be doing what Yeshua did—bearing fruit as he did? 

Is your ministry anointed of YHVH? What are the spiritual fruits being born from it? Are people’s lives being changed for the good because of your spiritual example, or are you living in delusion of your self-promoting ministry thinking that you are called and anointed of YHVH when in reality you are self appointed like the rebels who challenged Aaron? 

If we are to be pleasing to YHVH we must periodically ask ourselves these hard questions and stay accountable before YHVH.

 

Yeshua’s Boot Camp Experience—Precursor to His Launch into Ministry

As believers in and disciples and imitators of Yeshua, we endeavor to follow the example of how he lived. This isn’t easy to do, for Yeshua experienced much that we as normal humans who prefer the comfort zones of our existence would rather not go through.

Yet, we must all face the stark reality: There is no gain where there is no pain. Every body-builder and athlete knows this. That means to be like Yeshua we will have to endure and overcome trials, suffering, resistance, hardships, persecution and growth pains. This is part of growing up spiritually.

The great thing is that Yeshua is there to help us along the journey with the help of his word and example. He also didn’t leave us comfortless—without the Helper of his Set-Apart Spirit to guide, strengthen and succor us along the way.

Now let’s take a look at what Yeshua had to go through to prepare him to be all that the Father wanted him to be, so that he could be a river of life to the world. This is an example for us to follow.

Mark 1–3

It is interesting to note the order of events as Yeshua was launching his ministry. He was about to enter a war zone! After John baptized Yeshua and he received his heavenly empowerment (Mark 1:9–11), he first went through a spiritual boot camp before stepping onto the battlefield of public ministry. Once in the “war,” it’s worth noting where the battle lines fell.

Yeshua’s spiritual boot camp was the wilderness where he fasted for forty days and nights to get his body, soul and spirit, and his mind, will and emotions in sync with the will of his Father in heaven (Mark 1:12–15).

His first battle was an internal one. The devil tested him in three areas: his body, soul and spirit, or, to put it another way, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life Continue reading

 

Why I don’t mention names…

Who’s dong the finger pointing and why? Do we have Scripture on our side, are we just defending our egos and our personal (income producing!) kingdom territories?

Last year I made and published a video where I take exception with some so-called Torah teachers who claim to be preaching what the apostles preached, yet, in reality, are largely preaching a message that focuses on end time conspiracies and esoteric, neo-gnostic and extra-biblical speculations. I mentioned the names of no people in my teaching; I dealt only with the issues.

I did, however, call for these type of teachers to come back to preaching a gospel-centric message where the good news of the Messiah and following his example of how to live is promoted front and center. For that wake-up call, John the Baptist-style message, I was blasted by name by a few folks including one prominent teacher on his YouTube channel.

Even some nine months later, I am still getting emails about this video calling me into question for my teaching on this subject like the email I just received the other day in the comments section of this blog.

Folks, the fact is that most people don’t know their Scriptures all that well! This includes a lot of so-called Bible and Torah teachers out there! They have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. It reminds me of my grade school days were we as first or second graders looked up to the “big” third and fourth graders as being so mature and knowledgeable.

Sadly, to many of these same self-proclaimed teacher-leaders are wont to blame, and accuse others of all sorts of things without any scriptural backing, or with only a very limited understanding of a few scripture verses. If we’re going to become teachers of the Bible, we need to learn the WHOLE COUNSEL of YHVH’s Word. It takes years, if not decades, of study to come to this point. The fact is that most of these teachers have been at it for only a few years—not decades, and, in truth, they don’t know what they don’t know. In many cases, they’re teaching well beyond their rank and pay grade.

Not only that, if we’re going to correct elder-teachers, we had better  be certain that we have our proverbial ducks in a row spiritually and scripturally before we go on the offensive, and start pointing fingers, or else we’re out of order biblically and may end up bringing divine judgment against ourselves.

Remember this. We all need to stay humble and teachable before Yeshua, because, in reality, we’re all like babes and little children before him in that we still have a lot to learn. This includes teachers and elders as well.

Now here’s my response to the person’s comment:

Except under very rare circumstances, we don’t mention the names of other people or ministries on my blog, which is why I deleted the name you mentioned. On this blog and in this ministry, we attempt to deal with issues from a biblical perspective, not personalities.

In the video teaching you referenced, I never mentioned a name. You can guess all day long the person/s to which I was referring, but you still don’t know for sure, since no names were mentioned. So let’s deal with the issue, not the personality, and not jump to conclusions, which is what the person you mentioned did with me in excerpting me on his video and putting my face on the cover of his YouTube video. This was presumptuous and unrighteous on his part. This is not a proper biblical approach or response.

The only times the apostles mentioned names of people in the NT was with grievous wolves and major sinners (e.g. Simon Magus, Ananias and Sapphira). Perhaps the person you mentioned thinks I’m one of these, which is why he mentioned my name. If so, then that’s between him and Elohim. He will answer to the Creator for his actions against me. If not, then, if he’s going to follow the example of the apostles, he shouldn’t be mentioning names. Otherwise, it’s simply about him defending his so-called reputation and ego. If so, that’s pride, and that’s a sin too. Again, that’s between him and his Creator.

Now with regard teaching things like the flat earth, etc. and calling it preaching to believers, your argument, with all due respect, doesn’t hold up. All of the epistles were written to believers in churches, not to the unsaved. Even so and notwithstanding, the apostles were still teaching the basics of the gospel message to these believers; they were not teaching all these fringe things that some Bible “teachers” are teaching today, as they gain a large following and sell a lot of stuff to fund their ministry-businesses. This, too is unbiblical and ungodly. Yeshua died penniless and so did the apostles, most likely. They did not make businesses out of their ministries. They were preachers of the way, not gospel peddlers who were selling books and videos and preaching at conferences for money!

So, instead of a gospel, apostolic model, what do we now have? All too often, we have many so-called Bible “teachers” preaching a non-biblical and non-apostolic “gospel message,” where they are following a non-biblical business model, and then unrighteously attacking those who are attempting to practice the biblical, apostolic model of ministry and preaching. They, therefore, have added sin, to sin to sin. I am not their judge. YHVH and his Word is. I’m simply examining the spiritual fruit on their tree (Matt 7:15–20; John 7:24) by looking at what they say and do and then comparing it with Scripture. Does that make me evil for shining the light of truth on them (even though I mention no one by name, but simply deal with issues pertaining to the righteous standards that are laid out in the Scriptures)? Perhaps so, at least in their minds. It’s like blaming the mailman for delivering mail that you don’t like. In the first century, the religious folks crucified Yeshua and some of the early disciples for doing the same thing—for not tickling ears and not preaching what some people wanted to hear, and for calling a spade a spade when it came to religious phonies and hypocrites. Now we crucify with our mouths and over the internet.

May YHVH have mercy on us all!

 For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says YHVH. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. (Isa 66:2)

 

How do you know if Yeshua’s calling you into the ministry?

yeshua-teaching-disciples

Matthew 10:5ff, Yeshua sent out. The Commissioning of the Twelve Disciples.

There are several steps one must go through when receiving a ministry commission from Yeshua. The following steps are based on Yeshua’s commissioning his disciples in Matthew 10. As modern-day disciples of Yeshua, we need to take these into consideration when assuming a ministry role. These are the requirements of his laborers who will work in his harvest field (see Matt 9:37 for context).

  • Yeshua calls one into the ministry (Matt 10:1). Some people go into the ministry as a career like any other job by their own choice. This is unbiblical. Involvement in Yeshua’s ministry is by his invitation only.
  • After calling one into the ministry, there is a time of training. This is the biblical norm. For some, it was five years (e.g., the Levites), or forty years (Moses and Joshua). David had a period of training before becoming king, as did Paul the apostle and Elisha. For Yeshua’s disciples, it was three-and-one-half years. The Matthew ten account is part of the disciples’ training program.
  • After calling them, Yeshua gives his disciples their marching orders by telling them where to go and not to go (Matt 10:5–6). They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, although, later on Yeshua instructed them to go the Gentiles. Paul even taught in several places that the lost sheep of Israel were to be found among the Gentiles, as the ancient biblical prophets predicted they would be.
  • Yeshua then instructs them what their ministry was to be (Matt 10:7–8). They were to do exactly as Yeshua himself did: preach the gospel of repentance and the kingdom of Elohim, and to heal the sick.
  • He then gives them instructions pertaining to travel arrangements — what they were to take on their journey, where they were to stay, and how to act when encountering resistance (Matt 10:9–15). This includes lodging, food and financial remuneration. On the latter point, today many itinerant evangelists flagrantly violate Yeshua’s strictures in this regard and have become nothing more than travelling salesmen and peddlers always with their hands out for financial gain. They have simply become merchandisers of the gospel, sadly.
  • Next, Yeshua warns his disciples against persecution (Matt 10:16–26). He assumes that persecution would be a natural result of preaching the gospel. Conversely, it could be assumed that something is out of spiritual order when one preaches the gospel and persecution doesn’t occur.
  • Yeshua then instructs his disciples about fear — who to fear and not to fear. They are to fear YHVH, not men (Matt 10:27–31). This is an important point, since preaching the gospel to the lost can be intimidating, which is why so few do it. Yeshua promises divine protection for his disciples who preach the gospel as he has instructed (Matt 10:29–30).
  • The workman is worthy of his hire. Yeshua promises spiritual rewards to those who preach the gospel (Matt 10:32–33).
  • For those who are called into Yeshua’s ministry, he demands total commitment. One must put Yeshua first above all other human relationships. For this, expect rejection from family and friends (Matt 10:34–39).
  • Again, Yeshua holds out the promise of spiritual rewards for those who heed his call to become a disciple who works in his spiritual harvest field (Matt 10:39 cp. Matt 9:37).
 

Spiritual Boot Camp: Entering the Ministry Means Preparing for War

Mark 1–3

22328224

It is interesting to note the order of events as Yeshua was launching his ministry. He was about to enter a war zone! After John baptized Yeshua and he received his heavenly empowerment (Mark 1:9–11), he first went through a spiritual boot camp before stepping onto the battlefield of public ministry. Once in the “war,” it’s worth noting where Continue reading