Shalom in His grace and Happy Thanksgiving. I am sure you are grateful for all the Lord has done in your life and in the life of your friends and family.
Years ago, I did my master’s thesis in seminary on Psalm 119. I examined the supposed synonyms for the Hebrew word Torah (Law) in this lengthy psalm of 176 verses! I concluded that the various terms that seemed to be interchangeable with Law—commandments, testimonies, judgments, etc.—were actually different parts of the corpus of the Law and not merely synonyms. It was a fascinating study and I learned to love the Word of God even more than before! But one of the added benefits of the project was that I regularly had to pass through Psalm 118 to get there!
Psalm 118, which invites us to thank God for His lovingkindness and mercy, and for His person, is quite different from Psalm 119, which teaches us to appreciate God’s Word. The two psalms are fairly close in theme and are great portions of Scripture to read and reflect upon during the Thanksgiving Day meal. Of course, if you read all of Psalm 119, your turkey might get cold!
David writes regarding the Law, the true love of his life:
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (119:97).
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth (119:103).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105).
Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold (119:127).
These are beautiful words and an invitation from the King to feast on Scripture and not just on mom’s delicious sweet potato casserole! I find myself grateful for His provision of the Bible as I am able to better understand the will and mind of God and be guided by His Word to live according to His holy plans and purposes.
I am thankful for the Word of God and the beauty of His person.
His nature is also revealed in Scripture and by His Spirit in my everyday experience. As the psalmist penned, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:1).
I rejoice this Thanksgiving because of Him. He is good and He is gracious! The Hebrew term chesed, translated lovingkindness, should be understood as “covenant loyalty.” I am grateful He is a loyal God who cares for His children. And further, His grace and loyalty to me and to the Jewish people extends throughout eternity.
125 Years of Service for the Lord on Behalf of the Jewish People
Your Mission to the Jewish People has experienced 125 years of this loyalty and love! In fact, we only have one more month to go in our celebration of 125 years of ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It has been a wonderful year of joyous celebration. On November 15, we concluded our year of gratitude with a gala in Brooklyn, where we were born as a ministry. We heard from Jay Sekulow and we were blessed by Janet Parshall of Moody Radio, America’s most beloved radio host. We heard testimonies from Chosen People Ministries staff workers in Israel and Brooklyn and from friends of our ministry who were able to testify to God’s transforming power in their lives through the work of this 125-year-old ministry among the Jewish people.
Very Humble Origins
As you know, we were founded by Rabbi Leopold Cohn who came to the United States from his native Hungary in the late 19th century. Not long after he arrived, he heard a Polish Presbyterian missionary and preacher on the lower side of Manhattan proclaiming the gospel inside a Dutch Reformed Church. Once the Lord gripped the heart of the rabbi, he committed himself to the lifelong effort of reaching his fellow Jewish people with the gospel, and before his death, baptized almost 1,000 Jewish people!
I am the seventh president of the Mission and grateful to be called by God to this incredible position. I know the value of Chosen People Ministries because it was this mission that discipled me, paid my way through Bible college, and gave me opportunities to serve the Lord. Chosen People Ministries also helped me gain the skills to help others who want to tell their Jewish friends about Jesus.
My wife came to faith in Los Angeles through the work of a Chosen People Ministries missionary who trained a group of Korean Christian teens at a very Jewish high school to share the gospel with the Jewish people and, praise God, they shared the good news with my wife.
I have been president of Chosen People Ministries for twenty-two years, and am as excited as ever about the growth and potential of our ministry. Of course, you have heard the aphorism, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” Funny thing about this…it is true. Walking with Jesus is never static; it is always dynamic. Our world is changing, the Jewish community is changing, and Chosen People Ministries is changing, too.
We are not changing or adapting the eternal message of the gospel, although our culture pressures us to do so each day. We remain more committed to the essentials of the gospel than ever! But our strategies, methods, and tactics are changing in order to reach a new generation of Jewish people with the gospel.
Without you, we simply could not do the ministry to which God has called us. Your Mission to the Jewish People is now in more than twenty-five cities in North America and in nineteen countries around the world serving the Lord among the Jewish people.
And as we step into 2020—our 126th year of ministry—we are ready, available to God, and thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord, Jesus the Messiah.
Three Major Focuses in 2020 and Beyond
After a long season of prayer, planning, and discussions with our staff, board, and friends, we have decided to embrace three major areas of ministry starting in 2020 and beyond.
First of all, we are going to do all we can to reach Israel with the gospel. There are more than six and a half million Jewish people in Israel, and more are moving there all the time. Israelis are now more open to Jesus than ever before. I believe that it is the time to strike while the iron is hot—we are increasing our staff and establishing congregations and centers all across the country. We now have ministries in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and in the northern part of the country among young adults, children, Holocaust survivors, and more! We have more than twenty staff members serving the Lord in the Holy Land.
Digital and Social Media
We are using the power of digital and social media for His glory. We want to focus on evangelism, discipleship, and building community online for those who come to faith. We are having good success through our Facebook campaigns that engage people with Isaiah 53 and a new discipleship series entitled Follow Messiah. Soon, we will roll out other websites like Chosen People Answers, an almost encyclopedic apologetics website for Jewish people that I believe will revolutionize Jewish evangelism.
The Joshua Initiative
We are also investing in the next generation of Messianic Jews and leaders in the field of Jewish missions. This is why we started the Feinberg Seminary program in Brooklyn almost fifteen years ago, which has graduated thirty students, most of whom are serving the Lord in Jewish ministry. We are discipling new Jewish believers and helping them become part of our congregations and centers. We will also intensify our efforts on college campuses and emphasize children’s ministries through camping and providing educational resources. What a joy it is for us to train young people for the Lord.
The Future Is Bright for Israel and the Jewish People
According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25–29, a day is coming when all Israel will be saved. But until then, please join me in praying, supporting, and helping us reach God’s beloved chosen people with the unchanging message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.
On behalf of our staff, I cannot thank you enough for your faithfulness in response to His faithfulness.
Thankful to the Lord and for you.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).