Monthly Archives: November 2019

A Vision for the Next Generation

Dear friends,

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).

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Filed under Brooklyn, Digital Media, evangelism, Israel, New York City, Uncategorized

We live in exciting times!

Dear friends,

Shalom in His peace.

We are excited and energized by new ministry opportunities in 2020! Allow me to quickly share some thoughts on three trends in Jewish ministry that profoundly impact our work and that we believe will lead us forward in new and dynamic ways!

Three Significant Trends

An increase in congregations and believers in Israel

When I first went to Israel as a believer in Messiah in 1976, there were fewer than 500 Messianic Jews living in the land and just a handful of congregations, especially Hebrew-speaking ones. There were some Jewish believers who survived the Holocaust and a few who had moved from North Africa to Israel, but most of the believers were not native Israelis. They had come to Israel as believers from other parts of the globe. Some came to be part of the great Israel experiment and others came to serve the Lord in the Holy Land. Now, 70 years later, there are more than 150 congregations and upwards of 25,000 Messianic Jews, most of whom came to the Lord in Israel. 

In fact, I believe we are in the midst of a second-generation outpouring of the Spirit that has transformed the national Israeli Messianic body within the Holy Land. This movement of the Spirit has also transformed our ministry in Israel. We continue to reach younger generations of Israelis along with hundreds of elderly Holocaust survivors whom we have served for more than twenty years. 

This second generation of Jewish believers were born in Israel, speak Hebrew as their first language, were raised in Israeli schools, and served in the Israeli army. They are young, bold, Israeli through and through, and willing to give their all for Jesus the Messiah! 

This is the reason we continue our Living Waters mentoring seminar each year and why we have a newly rented center in the greater Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. Each month, we organize outreach Sabbath dinners, concerts, café nights, Bible studies, reading groups for mothers and children, and so much more.

New ministry opportunities among traveling Israelis

We are also reaching post-army Israelis by meeting these wonderful young adults in places like the Upper West Side of New York City or on the South Island of New Zealand. We are also meeting them in India, Australia, Germany, South America, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Additionally, we are about to open up a permanent mission station in Brazil to reach these young Israelis. We are sharing the gospel with them as they hike, over a BBQ, during hummus nights, through late night chats, or while enjoying a lovely meal of traditional Chinese cuisine! 

We engaged with 3,000 Israeli travelers this year, and we will be meeting more in 2020! Let me share a couple of stories:

“The Lord gave us such a wonderful surprise last weekend: an opportunity to host Idan.* Within 30 minutes of his arrival, Idan asked, ‘Why do you host Israelis?’ We love this question because it is such a catalyst to a deeper spiritual conversation with our guests. For the next two and a half days, our conversations about Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, were frequent! We quickly realized we were not the first to share with him. The reason our conversations were possible is because Idan was processing questions from the conversations he previously had with other Christian hosts. On the morning he left, Michael shared his testimony as well as the words of his very first prayer as a believer. We were able to give him a Hebrew New Testament as well as a copy of  Isaiah 53 Explained. Please pray for Idan as he continues to stay with other believing hosts in New Zealand!”
                        —Teresa and Michael, New Zealand

“Today I got an unexpected phone call from our Israeli friend, Tom, who wanted to congratulate us on our baby girl. Carissa and I met Tom on Christmas Day 2015 at the Shelter on the Lake where we were serving and sharing the gospel with backpackers from Israel and around the world. Those three weeks we spent in Bariloche, Argentina, were transformational. I got to teach my very first Bible lesson for seeking Israelis…on Christmas Day! We saw that hiking, rock climbing, and camping are strategic opportunities for sharing the gospel. We gained experience applying what we learned in Bible school. We stayed up until 2:00 or 3:00 AM many nights with Israelis talking about spiritual things.”
        —BJ and Carissa, Backpacking Ministry

An increasing openness toward Jesus and the gospel among Jewish young people

We are surprised by the great numbers of young Jewish people from all over the world who are responding to our social media and Facebook ads, as well as engaging with our new campus ministries. A Barna survey revealed that Jewish millennials (aged 23–38) are more open than their parents to the possibility that Jesus is both Messiah and God in the flesh. We also discovered that the majority of the more than 10,000 Jewish people we met online through our digital outreach campaigns are younger. These efforts include our Isaiah 53 Explained Facebook campaign in the United States and in Israel, as well as our I Found Shalom video testimonies broadcast on YouTube and other social media platforms.

I am also very excited about our new residential outreach ministry at New York University called The House of Living Waters. NYU has the largest concentration of Jewish students in the United States. We chose four young men to live in an apartment across the street from the campus, and they are actively engaged in sharing the gospel with dozens of Jewish students.  They also collaborate with and train Christian students to share the good news with their Jewish friends. 

Some of the conversations these godly young men are having are just wonderful:

“We met Isaac,* a young freshman photography major in nearby Washington Square Park. He was drawn to the Hebrew literature on our table. We showed him prophecies related to Israel and then had him read Isaiah 53. He was not sure who it was about, but, on reflection, he said it seemed like it could be Jesus. We asked him what he thought that would mean, and he said that if his family understood this connection they would not be happy. We gave him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained and received his email address. Hopefully we will be able to meet with him in a few weeks and hear his thoughts about the book!”

“We met Eitan,* a young performer in Washington Square Park who sang us a song. We talked a little bit about I Found Shalom and what shalom is, and he expressed interest in receiving a book and making time for coffee. We had coffee the other day and began building a rapport with him. He is not particularly interested in spiritual things, but he said that recently he has gained more respect for the Jewish traditions of his youth. We gave him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained and asked him if he would like to come to a Sabbath dinner, and he said that he would really enjoy that! We are going to invite him for the Sabbath in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully he will come!”

All of these opportunities and the openheartedness of a new generation give me incredible hope for the future of our ministry. Such new horizons build my faith in the Word of God where Paul tells us that the day is coming when “all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25–29). However, we know what we need to do until that great day. By God’s grace, we must preach the gospel and be faithful to the unchanging message of God’s grace through Jesus the Messiah. 

With love and gratitude for His faithfulness and yours,

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Filed under evangelism, Israel, New York City, Uncategorized