Cd. Juárez, Chih, Mexico; November 17, 2005. Chesvan 16, 5766
Restoration for Mistreated Sheep.
Many things have happened since my last bulletin "Used by God or abused by your leader." dated on July 31, 2005. I received some feedback. Here are some comments:
"...nowadays for me it is incredible see these things, you need to have your eyes wide open... there's still fanaticism in churches and it gets me mad... the same pastors assigned burdens to people."
"my wife and I suffered similar abuses under the leader - under the premise of 'submission, obedience and pastoral care' It is very sad to say, the majority of 'institutional' churches (regular or messianic) experience the same deceptions that you describe."
"This is well written. I think in time the Almighty Blessed Be He will give you more to write on this subject"
Thank you for your prayers and financial aids. It's incredible! Two years have already passed, since my job position disappeared in a company part General Electric. When I was dismissed I was not aware of all the consequences of this "paradigm shift". Being unemployed and being matured by God, not trying to justify how He's working in my life is difficult.
Neither is easy when people questions you and advises that you should have a solid financial situation "for G-d's glory." Other comments are related to why I'm wasting time, people get what they really want and spiritual matters are not important. Money is the most important thing... if you I do not have money... well, I'm worth nothing.- This last phrase was used by a believer? in G-d.
Redeeming time is not an easy task. In 2004 I put my energy to avoid the circumstance I'm living in. Furthermore, when God closes a door, there's no one to open it. Rev. 3:7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" I heard this verse on the radio. I jump from my chair when I looked for the Old Testament (TANAK) reference. It is in Isa 22:22 "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."
The key stands for authority. Even if you have knowledge, relations, qualifications, resources or whatever, if Yeshua does not open the door of opportunity, you can be wasting your time trying to open it. From the big corporations (Johnson Controls, Philips, Harman-Kardon, RCA-Thomson, Siemens and Valeo, to name some) I got first-time interviews. I have a recommendation letter from my former job. Two years and nothing. When I show up in other employment opportunities, I found out that I do not qualify. I have too much experience or knowledge. It is a funny fact, I've been having several "first time interviews" The employees in human resources ask me: "Have you not been here before? Your face is familiar to me..."
This bulletin has been in circulation in 2004 and 2005. The first bulletins were filled with my personal experiences and with some nuggets of Judaism. Now for the glory of the Holy One of Israel, almost 90% of the bulletins touch real problems in the messianic Jewish movement. I did not image myself writing. There are few bulletins, but as the expensive perfume, only in small amounts is produced. I wrote it in Spanish and I translated to English. A believer publishes the English version in www.fmh-child.org - Messianic Jew Newsletter.
Mrs. Carolina she's enjoying getting old. She is working as saleswoman, as servant of the Most High and as housewife. It's painful for me to watch her as she struggles with her weaknesses. It is difficult to do several chores at the same time. Her vision is blurry. Drastic changes in light intensity affect her eyes. Every day she relies on her sense of touch. Sometimes she has problems with her thinking pattern. She forgets some recent things. Her glucose levels have been high. But God has all under control.
Besides all, she has two Bible classes with women. I see how her ministry widens. Being weak, HE is strong. Every month she goes to a breakfast provided by a church in our neighborhood. There she shares with other believers.
Some times as on Nov-6-2005, we were aggressive. But the Spirit of Adonai does not allow us to be like fight roosters.
Managing stressful situations is difficult but not impossible. To admit one's mistakes and ask forgiveness is a process we're learning on daily basis.
The way the Spirit of Adonai always surprises me. Now the subject of my bulletin.-
Restoration for mistreated sheep
Biblical references taken from New King James Version.
Ezequiel 34:4-6 "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them]."
I want that you take notice of the following words mentioned on this passage, while you read my experiences:
| Sheep's circumstance
|| Action not performed by the pastor
| Diseased (Weak)
|| Bind up
| Driven away
Since the last Shabbat in June 2005, my mother and I left the congregation I wrote about my last bulletin. It was a sad decision, and for two months we visited different protestant congregations. I wonder where we would be for the Jewish High Holidays. I was unable even to think where God directed us.
The last Shabbat of August 2005, G-d set the need to visit again the congregation I left since June. I did not have money to pay the toll for the international bridge, much less to get on the bus. I passed by a "free" bridge to El Paso, and I walked around two hours to the congregation. When I arrived, I picked up the bulletin where a small ad that got my attention. The first Shabbat on September, the service will be held on another messianic congregation. Its name: Derech Olam. I was dumfounded!
You need to know some background information of why I was surprised...
About 25 years ago, the first messianic jewish congregation was established in El Paso, Tx. Its name was Ben David. From it, three messianic congregations flourished: Shearyt Israel, Derech Olam and Beth Israel. The first separation was Derech Olam and its leader Michael Washer. And from Derech Olam another split created Beth Israel.
When I arrived 6 years ago, G-d put me in the original congregation Ben David, that by those years it change its name to Shearyt Israel. Sometimes I visited Beth Israel. The leaders are always zealous over you and they give bad remarks of other congregations.
But the comments about Derech Olam were the worst.
By 2000 I was in a Bible study about the Tabernacle led by a Jewish man. When you show up as Messianic believer, he wanted to know to which synagogue you belong. Two different nights two men arrived and introduced themselves as part of Derech Olam and personal friends of the leader, Michael Washer. This man stopped the flow of the Bible study and shares the basics of Yeshua's atonement for salvation. And he stressed that these visitors were unable to pay with their life for their sins. They were very wrong.
In the Messianic Judaica catalog, there were some paintings made by Michael Washer. Those faces were very ugly! They showed wrath, frustration and death.
In 2001 a very quiet man arrived at Shearyt Israel. He was from Derech Olam. He was deeply hurt. One of Washer's daughters prophesied, that this man was going to be a thief and robber of the congregation. He disappeared before that happened!
Other comments were about that "Rabbi Washer" controlled the lives, finances and decisions of the members. Even some marriages were arranged by him!
The first Shabbat in September I visited Derech Olam. On the first visit, there was little communication with the host congregation, many of the attendants of the guest congregation wanted to talk with me; they had not seen me for 2 months. Some of the members of Derech Olam were impressed by the "rabbi's charisma". Some left Derech Olam for the other congregation.
Early in August 2005, "Rabbi Washer" was asked to resign his position by other messianic leaders.
But the congregation was damaged because of his 18 or 20 years of leadership.
I began attending on regular basis. They are reticence with me, of course. I do not blame them. After the service, there's an Oneg (lunch). There I saw some troubles:
* They were looking for a messianic organization for credibility- Michael Washer was independent.
* There was violence on their communications and reactions.
* One young lady was happy that "she was not forced to introduce herself as the 'whore' of the congregation". I was astonished!
* For some former visitors, the leadership asked forgiveness because of the mistreatment when Mr. Washer was there.
*They used shouts & profanity to set up order or to impose an idea.
* Fear of not being able to pay off the mortgage of the new building.- Some families were forced to take it.
* Opposite feelings- sometimes very sure G-d will keep the congregation alive- other times very sure of the fact of closing it.
* Feeling helpless- Where are going to join in? - Fear of losing "actual family".
* When a complaint arises, it makes cry the actual leadership.
* Polarized attitudes.- One day they can cheer up one to prepare himself for the ministry and another day to shout at him... that his teaching is not longer accepted.
* Depression for the dwindling population of the synagogue.
Can you see the circumstances on these sheep: weak, sick, broken, driven away and lost? Are you able to see how they were ruled with cruelty and force?
How G-d has intervened?
The changes I have witnessed by the hand of the Almighty:
* They are able to see how God has equipped them for worship and teaching.
* They are open for suggestions.
* G-d is sensitizing them for the needy.
* Every day they are able to hear clearer the voice of the Holy Spirit.
* New visitors show up.
* They are trying not to use profanity.
* They are looking the voice of the L-rd in the Scripture.
What is the next step the L-rd will do?
Eze 34:11 "For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out."
Ez 34:15-16 "I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment."
Remember how Yeshua describes himself as the good Shepherd. (John 10: 11, 14)
Check the order in how God intervenes:
| God's action
|| Sheep's circumstance
| Bring again
|| Driven away
| Bind up
But the fat and strong sheep, by the bad shepherd, he will destroy them. I have not idea how the Lord will fulfill this word.
A point that grabs my attention, the two first actions are for those outside, the two latter for those inside the sheepfold.
Are you willing to be a channel of blessing for these mistreated sheep? Be the tool G-d requires. God will grant you patience, love and strength to deprogram these beautiful children of God.
Are you an abused sheep? God wants your COMPLETE HEALING. The first step is that God will return to you His fold. Don't fear, because the BAD shepherd will never return,
Ez 34:10 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them."
I want to hear your comments. I ask your prayer for wisdom and that the love of the God of Israel and his Messiah overflows these broken sheep.
Carlos O. Pérez Hurtado