Sunday, June 4, 2017

Spiritual Disciplines


Discipline is a bad word in our culture today. Although, when surveyed, people will often say we need more discipline in our society, many of these same people actually work against it in the daily habits of their own lives, and in the lives of their children. Why? Because in our society discipline infers the values of self-control and self-denial, things we are loath to do as Americans. Discipline, like the habit of flossing, is for our own good, and, whether the good we seek is dietary, financial or time management, we need to recognize that our most important discipline need involves our spiritual lives.

Disciplining ourselves to actively develop basic spiritual habits is essential if we are serious about growing as followers of Messiah Yeshua.

According to the dictionary, discipline means “Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.”  In other words, discipline is an active pursuit toward personal development. The Hebrew word for discipline comes from lamad, to learn, from which we get the word disciple talmid: one who has learned, accustomed oneself, been trained. The word is often used as a challenge in Scripture to live out God’s Instructions. 

God expects his people to learn of him and to actively accustom themselves to living their lives his way!

Paul states in Romans 12:2, “…do not be conformed to the standards of this world. Instead, keep letting yourself be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.” Don’t be spiritually passive about your spiritual disciplines. Live up to God’s expectation as a faithful talmid!

Forward for Messiah,
Kirk Gliebe

Rabbi & Director

Thursday, May 4, 2017

G-d Efficacy

What is it that makes people succeed despite their personal circumstances? Several years ago in the April 29, 2008 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck wrote an article listing impressively successful people who struggled significantly early in life, yet never gave up: Julie Andrews was rejected by MGM Studios as an actress for “not being photogenic enough”, The Beatles were rejected by Decca Records because they “didn’t like their sound”, Walt Disney was fired by a Newspaper editor for “lacking imagination”, and Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity basketball team for not being a good enough player. Despite rejection and setback, these individuals kept pursuing their goal and found success. The article called this self-efficacy, “the unshakable belief that some people  have, that they have what it takes to succeed.” 

I believe it is important for us as believers to properly evaluate ourselves and our abilities, based on G-d’s Instruction found in Scripture:

“For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as G-d has assigned to each person a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3 TLV)

Living successful lives certainly demands a willingness to work hard, stay focused and be tenacious. But truly living a spiritually successful life demands more than anything else faith in G-d and submission to his righteousness.  Maintaining a positive faith in ourselves is simply not enough!

If we desire to live spiritually successful lives, we must deepen our daily understanding of what it means to live lives of faith. I can guarantee that you will struggle, face rejection and even seemingly fail, but with G-d’s help based on faith in him, your efforts will eventually lead to amazing success. It’s not self-efficacy, faith in ourselves and our abilities, that will get us where we need to go as followers of Messiah Yeshua, it is G-d-efficacy. Let’s make sure we are keeping our minds focused on the Righteousness of G-d!

Forward for Messiah,
Kirk Gliebe

Rabbi & Director

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Our Passover Lamb

Despite growing secularism within the Jewish community today, most American Jews will still make the time to attend a Passover Seder. They are drawn by the food, being with friends and family, the story, and the points of remembrance found within the Seder.

The New Testament records that Messiah Yeshua used Seder elements as tokens of remembrance of his sacrificial death to bring redemption from sin: the broken matzah a reminder of his body and the Third Cup of the Seder, which traditionally reminds us of the blood of the Passover Lamb, as a reminder of his blood which ratified the New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 speaks of the spiritual renewal of Israel that would come about through the New Covenant that G-d would establish to bring about complete forgiveness of sin.

Yeshua said that his death ratified this New Covenant first for Israel,
and then through Israel for all the people of the World.

Forgiveness of sins and a relationship with G-d are found today for anyone who will repent of their sin and by faith alone personally believe in Messiah Yeshua’s sacrificial death for them.

At Passover, all of us as Jews will take a piece of matzah in remembrance of a lamb. But for us as Messianic Jews we take this piece of matzah in remembrance not just of the Passover Lamb from Egypt, but we take this matzah in remembrance of our ultimate Passover Lamb, Messiah Yeshua, who died as our sacrifice so that we could have forgiveness for our sins and a relationship with G-d. Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

Forward for Messiah,
Kirk Gliebe
Rabbi & Director


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Togetherness

“Why can’t we all just get along?” Back in 1992 Rodney King asked a question similar to this in an effort to calm the Los Angeles riots as a result of his own violent arrest by the police. As we have seen time and again because of sin, the thin veneer of civilization of our own modern American society can come quickly undone, resulting in violence and instability.

I recently read a book by Sebastian Junger called “Tribe” in which he described, through the illustration of societal breakdown due to war, the value of real community. Junger proposes that community, in its most basic sense, is simply genuine sharing and caring for others, especially in times of stress. He uses as an example the communal meal, food provided by all whether large or small, elaborate or simple, demonstrating both the human desire to care for others as well as the desire to be cared for.

We see this idea of community taught throughout Scripture, but it is clearly demonstrated among the new Yeshua followers in the book of Acts. 

Day by day they continued with one mind, spending time at the Temple and breaking bread from house to house. They were sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. (Acts 2:46-47 TLV)

May we demonstrate today their deep commitment to community ourselves, whether in prosperity or peril!

Forward for Messiah,
Kirk Gliebe
Rabbi & Director

Friday, February 3, 2017

True Passion!

Superbowl Sunday is almost upon us!! For many it’s more about the commercials than the game. Yet there will be many passionate to see anyone win but the Patriots this year. Passion is an interesting concept. I say concept because I think too many people do not know exactly what passion really is. They express enthusiasm, stating their love for pizza or brats, or as we see with the Superbowl, their allegiance to their favorite sports team. But is this real passion? Of course there are the romantic notions of love expressed, but is much of this real passion?

The English word for passion comes from the Latin word patere, which means to suffer. The Hebrew word for passion is נָ֫פֶשׁ (nephesh) which has to do with our very being, our souls. Thus passion is more than mere enthusiasm; it’s something much deeper.

True passion demands intense emotional and personal suffering
in regards to something
longed for!

I think of Rav Shaul, (the Apostle Paul), and his statement “…my sorrow is great and the anguish in my heart unending. For I would pray that I myself were cursed, banished from Messiah for the sake of my people… who are Israelites.” (Romans 9:2-4 TLV)

That’s true passion! That’s my passion! This is what drives me to get up early and work late. I want to see my Jewish people come to know who Messiah Yeshua really is!

What are you passionate about?

Forward for Messiah,

Kirk Gliebe
Rabbi & Director

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Daring to Dream


I was speaking with a young man in my office recently about the uncertainties many young people in their 20’s feel about life. He stated that they feel frustrated about their opportunities to succeed in life compared to previous generations; they feel locked out of the American Dream.

It is true that we face serious issues as a nation, and it makes sense for young adults to feel some anxiety. In just a few weeks we will swear in a President unlike any other before him. How will he do? We do not know, and we won’t really find out for a while. This reminds me of the uncertainty the Israelites must have faced as they prepared to go into Canaan. They had experienced a change of leadership from Moses to Joshua and they also had to conquer a land that they had never seen. They faced nothing but uncertainty … except for the fact that God had given them a certain dream (a vision) to believe in, the dream that He had a Land he wanted them to have.

God gives dreams (visions) to his people to allow them to experience
His power and provision,
and to move forward His Kingdom!

Here are some things that I have learned in my ministry about dreams from God that I believe are important to consider:

·    Every dream from God is motivated by a holy discontent with the status quo.
·    Dreams from God demand courage to act in spite of fears, and are driven by deep personal conviction & sacrifice.
·    Spend time with others who dream big because of their belief in a big God.
·    People who dream big for God never stop dreaming.

What exciting opportunities has God dreamed up for you to accomplish for Him?

Forward for Messiah,
Kirk Gliebe
Rabbi & Director

Monday, December 5, 2016

Living as Lights


I confess! I love Holiday lights. The sparkles, the flashing … all works to elevate my spirit in the midst of December’s dark skies and cold weather. Recently in my conversation with a non-Messianic Jewish friend we were discussing the lack of Chanukah lights in comparison to Christmas lights. I reminded him that this is simply because in Jewish tradition Chanukah was never a big public event until Jewish tradition bumped into American marketing.

Light is an important symbol in the Scriptures. It most often has the spiritual meaning of G-d’s illumination: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 TLV). Many times the word is used specifically by G-d to challenge His people to live as His illumination in the world. When G-d called Israel, He called them to be His light to the Nations: “I, Adonai, called you in righteousness, I will take hold of your hand, I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light for the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6 TLV). Messiah Yeshua, when speaking to his talmidim in Matthew 5:14, also made this point, calling them to be the light of the world! He then added: “In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16 TLV). 

G-d is always looking for people to shine His truth into His world!

What an awesome responsibility and privilege it is for us to live as lights for the Light of the World: Messiah Yeshua! Give thought this month to what this truly means and how you can be someone who lights up a room, spiritually speaking!

Chappy Chanukah & Merry Messiahmas!

Kirk Gliebe
Rabbi & Director