Monthly Archives: July 2022

Reaching Secular Jewish People for the Messiah

I pray that, as we reach the middle of the summer, you are finding time to spend with your family and friends and enjoying the slower pace of life. These can often be the times of refreshing that the Bible speaks about (Acts 3:19; Romans 15:32).

As I think about family, I cannot help but consider the ongoing struggles in Ukraine and the devastating impact it has had on families. I especially mourn the loss of so many children. I know you will join me in praying the Lord will have mercy on the children who have survived, as they will certainly be affected by the trauma of war for the rest of their lives.

We are still very busy helping the Ukrainian Jewish people moving to Israel. We are renting apartments where they can stay while they get on their feet. Our staff are helping them in the most practical areas of life, showing them the love of Jesus in all we do for them.

Though Your Mission to the Jewish People unashamedly shares the gospel with God’s chosen people whenever the Lord provides the opportunity, sometimes our actions speak louder than words. Jesus once told His disciples:

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35–40)

Often it is through genuine caring and outreach that God will open the hearts and minds of Jewish people to the love of God, which is in Messiah Yeshua, our Lord (Romans 8:38)!

We are eager to help you reach your Jewish friends, too!

Earlier this year, I presented the Messiah in the Passover at a local Baptist church and was approached by a delightful Christian who asked for some help in witnessing to her Jewish friend. She wanted to know if giving her friend, who was in his 90’s, my book Isaiah 53 Explained would offend him. She really loves her friend and prays for him each day. I suggested giving him the book, encouraging him to review it from a “Jewish” perspective, and then talking again to let her know what he thinks.

Our staff have dozens of conversations like this each month, and we want to help you share the good news with a Jewish friend. Equipping you is a major part of our Foundations ’22 annual campaign.


We are offering a free copy of Isaiah 53 Explained to all who ask. Although most Jewish people are more receptive to the book if it comes from someone they know, like you, if you prefer, you can give us their address, and we will send the book directly to them anonymously. Just complete the enclosed card and return it in the envelope, and we will take care of the rest! I recommend checking in with your friend in a few weeks to follow up with them and start the conversation!


When it comes to evangelism in general, as you know—one size does not fit all. There is no typical Jewish person with whom we share the gospel as each person is unique. The more we know about an individual and their beliefs, the better we can make the gospel relevant to them. Yet, there are some general Jewish understandings of Jesus that I want to familiarize you with as a good starting point.

While we reach out to Ukrainian Jewish refugees with love, hope, and practical assistance, we continue to approach religious Jewish people with solid arguments from Scripture—answering age-old objections to Jesus.

We also share the gospel with more secular Jewish people.

These folks probably represent the majority of your Jewish friends. To help you better understand them, please allow me to take a few more moments of your precious time to share some of my own background and suggest a few principles on reaching Jewish people who are more secular for the Lord.

Last month, I shared with you about my Ukrainian Jewish roots. Both sides of my family hoped that their children and their children’s children would grow up to be observant Jews. While affirming their Jewishness, my parents did not follow in their parents’ footsteps when it came to following the Jewish law. We were 100 percent Jewish, but not in the same ways as our ancestors.

When I became a follower of Jesus, that all changed for me. The Jewishness of my grandparents suddenly made sense, despite the secularism of America in which I grew up. The holidays took on new meaning, and I have come to delight in the feasts of the Lord! Many of the Jewish traditions, in fact, became forms of worship that I would eventually include in my life as a believer. It is fairly common that, when a secular Jewish person believes in Jesus, they usually become more Jewish in their expression of faith than ever before as we recognize that being born Jewish is not a serendipitous act of fate but rather part of a grander plan of God that we are called to join. Years ago, we used the slogan “Jesus Made Me Kosher” and, in so many ways, this is still true.


I remember a lesson I learned from my grandparents in a conversation from two decades ago like it was yesterday. My father and I were visiting his family, and while eating a bowl of chicken soup and matzah balls and engaging in deep philosophical discussion, my dear grandparents were doing their best to try to figure out why their grandson believed in Jesus and not Moses or even Marx.

When I finally had the chance to speak, I posed a question. I said, “Dad does not believe in God. Like Grandpa, he never attends synagogue, and yet he still says that he is Jewish. I, on the other hand, believe in the God of our fathers, learned Hebrew, married a Jewish girl, but believe Jesus is our Messiah. Which one of us is the better Jew?” My grandmother did not hesitate in her response: “Your father.” I dare say she spoke for the majority of the Jewish community!

In other words, you do not remain in the community by virtue of your beliefs, but you can be removed because of them.

The Jewish people you meet and witness to will be resistant to the gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of a theological disagreement over the identity of the Messiah.

You can help Jewish believers in Jesus by providing friendship and support as the Lord can use you to ease the pain of community rejection that is sure to follow their accepting the Messiah.

We are reaching many different types of Jewish people around the globe! Israelis, religious Jewish people, elderly Holocaust survivors, displaced Ukrainian Jewish people, and more! This month, I am excited to share with you the testimony of one of our missionaries who has been reaching out to Jewish people living in suburban America for decades.

The remainder of the newsletter is adapted from a paper he presented to the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) earlier this year.

“LCJE is the only global organization in existence today in which people involved in the field of Jewish evangelism can come together and—

  • Share information and resources
  • Study and report on current trends
  • Stimulate one another’s thinking on theological and missiological issues
  • Strategize on a global level so that more Jewish people will hear and consider the Good News of Jesus the Messiah
  • Arrange consultations that will be useful to those engaged in Jewish evangelism”1

I know his testimony will bless you, and I pray that you will gain some insight into reaching the Jewish people of suburbia with the gospel!

As always, thanks for caring!

1 “The Five Key Goals of LCJE,” LCJE, accessed July 5, 2022,

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Building the Future of Chosen People Ministries for a New Day

I hope and pray this letter finds you rejoicing in His grace and that you are experiencing a fruitful summer. We are getting ready for Shalom New York, our summer outreach program where dozens of staff and volunteers from all over the United States come and witness to Jewish people in the parks and on the streets and beaches of New York City, home of two million Jewish people.

This outreach is a significant step forward in restoring our in-person ministries. It is also part of Foundations ’22—our year-long effort focused on returning to doing what we have done best for more than one hundred years. Your Mission to the Jewish People was founded on the principles of personal evangelism and discipleship of Jewish people and training our brothers and sisters in the church to be more effective in reaching their Jewish family and friends for the Lord.


I just returned from my second trip to Israel in the last few months—making up for lost time! After spending three days with a group of young Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders and then with our Chosen People Ministries—Israel staff, their spouses, and kids at a staff retreat, I am still on overdrive. I wish you had been there with me to hear the firsthand reports of all the Lord is doing in Israel today. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully among a new generation of Messianic Jewish believers.

Most of these young Israeli believers:

  • Grew up in a Messianic Jewish Israeli home
  • Served in the Israeli military for the mandatory years of service—three for men and two for women
  • Spent some months traveling the world after the army
  • Returned to Israel to go to school or get a job
  • Married, had kids, and now serve the Lord through a local congregation in Israel

While there are exceptions to this usual pattern, the younger generation of believers takes this typical path, including some of our staff. This season of life is a busy time for these wonderful young people, many who work, go to school, serve in their congregations and ministries, and are raising children. Offering them the opportunity to go on a three-day retreat is an excellent way to support them.

The army experience is often where Israeli believers come to grips with their personal relationship with the Lord. Military service presents a very challenging time for these young, believing soldiers. Thank God there are some army programs offered by various ministries in Israel today that help believers prepare for the challenges ahead and remain steadfast in the Lord throughout their army years.


I still remember the days when there were very few Messianic Jewish believers in Israel and, therefore, no second or third generation of believers. Today, many next-generation Israeli believers were raised by believing parents, grew up in dynamic and growing Israeli congregations, and are finding the Lord in the Land. They are also active in sharing the good news with their friends, schoolmates, and fellow soldiers.

There is debate as to how many Israelis are Messianic Jews, but I can tell you that it is a whole lot more than my first trip to Israel back when I was still in seminary in 1976! Our best and most recent estimates say there are between 15,000 and 30,000 Messianic Jewish believers and between 200 and 300 Messianic congregations throughout Israel.

God has done an extraordinary work, but I also feel like we have just begun (Romans 11:25ff.).


By the time you receive this letter, we will have completed a young adult retreat with about thirty-five mostly post-army young adult Israeli believers. We used to hold this event each year before the pandemic, and it is wonderful to be back in person. Most of the participants either work in a secular or ministry job, go to school, or continue to serve in the army. They are eager to experience spiritual renewal and improve their skills to serve the Lord in the Holy Land more effectively.

This year, we invited Pastor Greg Stone, a Jewish pastor serving at Gateway Church in Texas, to be our guest speaker. He taught these young Israelis how to use the Psalms in personal ministry among those they are discipling and serving.


I want to thank you for your prayers for our growing Israel staff. We have relaunched all our in-person programs, including ministries to Holocaust survivors, personal evangelism, congregational meetings, outreach concerts, and Sabbath dinners. We gather dozens of young people, serve great Israeli food, and preach the Word. Of course, lots of non-believers attend all these events as well.

I am also thrilled to tell you about some of our staff’s new ministries in Israel.

Michael and his family moved to the Golan Heights and are starting house churches in this relatively remote part of Israel. Right now, they are getting to know their neighbors and making friends.

Moti and his wife are part of our Tel Aviv team, and Moti is now a well-known “gamer.” He has a following of thousands of younger Israelis who he reaches through their interest in video games. In addition, he has more than 50,000 Israelis who are part of his online TikTok audience.

Our teams are still very involved in reaching Ukrainian Jewish immigrants and even some new immigrants from Russia fleeing the war zones and moving to Israel. We are helping them adjust to Israel, learn Hebrew, find jobs, and get their kids in school. We express God’s love to them in practical ways, and they are always interested to know why we are willing to help.

I thank God for the dedicated and creative team we have in Israel and again ask you to pray for their ministries.

We are also reigniting our ministries around the globe to traveling Israelis. After the army, young Israelis travel to some pretty exotic spots, including New Zealand, China, Brazil, India, and more.

We send combined teams of Israelis and short-term mission workers from North America and Europe to reach these wandering young Israelis. They are more open to the gospel as they travel when they are free to make their own choices. The environment also causes them to be more open to new ideas and religious beliefs, including learning more about Jesus the Messiah.


Over the past 128 years, Chosen People Ministries has faced some major world events, including:

  • the mass immigration of Jewish people to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century
  • rising antisemitism in the United States during the pre-World War I period
  • World War I
  • the Spanish flu
  • the Great Depression
  • World War II
  • the Holocaust
  • the founding of the State of Israel and the wars related to it
  • the fall of the Soviet Union
  • massive Russian Jewish immigration to the West and Israel throughout the 1990s

More recently, we were challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war between Russia and Ukraine. Yet, all these world events affected the everyday work of our historic Mission to the Jewish People.

These influential events with global impact caused us to pause, reflect on our ministry, and consider new perspectives and ways of sharing the gospel. It has also challenged us to be flexible enough to adapt to the changes thrust upon us.


I believe Chosen People Ministries is experiencing another historic turning point. The dark times of the pandemic seem to be passing, but the days ahead are not without new challenges.

We do not know the future, of course, but we know the One who not only knows the future but shapes the future with His wisdom, power, and love. We have our marching orders: to preach the gospel, baptize, and disciple those who respond to our proclamation of the good news. Our particular field of service is in reaching Jewish people, and we take Paul’s mandate in Romans 1:16 seriously—to bring the gospel to the Jewish people first. This passage guides us and undergirds all our ministry activities.

The Jewish community around the world is more open to the gospel today than in previous years. Jewish people are ready to discover the love and healing available through a relationship with God the Father through the Prince of Peace!

We are excited about the future and the new opportunities to share the Lord person to person and heart to heart with the Jewish people!

Thanks for joining us in the journey through your prayers and support!

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