What Are We Doing?

AboutUS

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.“ Matthew 5:16

We are called to be a light in the darkness, and to light the way for others to experience connectedness with God through worship, prayer, & the Word. 

Worship & Prayer | From the beginning of our relationship the Lord called us into the place of worship & prayer.  We fell in love with the atmosphere of worship, prayer, & unity that existed in the place many call the “House of Prayer.”  We grew in our personal relationships with God as we discovered spontaneous worship, how to sing our prayers to Him, and how to sing the Word. We are now calling many into this lifestyle of living the first commandment through worship and prayer. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, and with and all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37 ESV) We are taking the tools we have gained over the years to raise up worshippers & intercessors in some of the hardest & darkest places in the world.

The Word | In our younger years we discovered the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, & Aramaic.  This filled us with a zeal to understand the Bible in its original context.  This zeal brought us to the land in which the Bible writes about, Israel.  We have gained deep insight and understanding in Biblical Hebrew & Jewish culture since we have been here. With this knowledge we want to inspire and draw the Body of Christ into an understanding of Biblical Hebrew and the roots that have shaped our faith today.  We are currently in the early stages of developing a website called HearHebrew.com, an interactive learning & resource center for Biblical Hebrew.

A Light in the Darkness | God has filled our hearts with deep compassion and love for the poor, oppressed, and hurting in this world.  Our greatest desire is to see people touched by God in these dark places.  Since March 2011, war has desecrated Syria.  According to World Vision, “hundreds of thousands of people have died, 5.1 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees, and 6.3 million Syrians are displaced within the country. Half of those affected are children.” Upon hearing about the Syrian refugee crisis, we felt the Lord showing us that this is the harvest field for our generation.  Thousands are seeking Jesus as the only true way to the Father. In the midst of one of the greatest tragedies the world has seen, people are being filled with a peace, hope & joy that surpasses understanding. And it’s all because of Jesus! We have and continue to participate in many outreaches to the refugees.  We also are dreaming of a project to send educational resources (books, teaching materials, musical instruments & art supplies) into Syria.

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Steady in You

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Out of a recent time of prayer & worship for the different trials being experienced in the Middle East I wrote a song.  I was also thinking about different hardships in my life & others that I know… and how thankful I am to have a man, Jesus, in my life who is PERFECT in every way.  I am fully satisfied in my relationship with Him, so I can constantly be in a place of steadiness.  The words of Psalm 16 ring LOUDLY in my ears. “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (verse 8)  I pray that God would use these words to remind you all that you can be steady amidst the greatest trials.  You can have peace in the scariest moments of your life.  He is there to protect, guide, and satisfy you.

Steady in You
There is a joy in trusting
No matter the trials in this life
I am found steady in You

There is a joy in letting go
For You are greater than all I know
And I am found steady in You

You are my rock
You are my safe place
You are my refuge
I run to You

Praise the Lord
Oh my soul
Everything within me!

To Listen & download click here.

Blooming Soul

       

Behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”

Song of Songs 2:11-12

Everything we are is wrapped up in beholding and becoming.

I choose to be found beholding Your face that I might become a truer version of the daughter You created me to be. 

Slowly times change, there is transformation and new life happening in me simultaneously.

It happens little by little, so unhurriedly it almost goes unnoticed.

Until the day I stop spinning and rest in the fields of green. And I see my untrue petals have fallen to my feet. The very petals I had used to define me.

I am lighter.

I am blossoming.

There is a springtime in my soul.

Focus

glasses3-600x316My friend and I are currently going through the Sozo training videos from Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  Sozo is a word found in the New Testament that means fullness or total healing.  These training videos are designed to equip the church to release healing wherever they are! I am excited to experience more personal freedom and to be equipped to walk others down this path in their own time.

Our first lesson was about colored lenses.  The teacher spoke about how our experiences and values determine the color of our sense.  We know the Lord always sees things clearly, but we often have lenses that are not allowing us to see clearly.  I was thinking about this a little while ago during my morning walk to Hebrew class.  In the 5th grade, my own God-made lenses began to become skewed.  I was constantly getting headaches because I could not see clearly the classroom whiteboard from my desk in the back row.  My parents took me to see my grandpa, an optometrist, who discovered the right prescription of lenses I needed.  He found the prescription that would help me see reality.

Ever since this I have needed to wear glasses or contacts. (Although I am believing God will fully heal my eyes one day!)  In different seasons I made the choice to not wear them. Sometimes it was because of finances.. but a lot of times it was simply because I didn’t enjoy wearing them.  My vision isn’t SO terrible that I can’t ever see anything.  In these times of not wearing my glasses or contacts I have noticed that my brain adjusts and I feel like I can see clearly.  I really can not see clearly though — I’m actually seeing a blurry reality!

I recently went through one of these periods of time where I decided to not wear my glasses.  But one day before I left to walk to class I decided to put on my glasses.  I was walking through the park and I began to notice details I hadn’t noticed in a while.  I was seeing clearly, I was seeing reality.   My heart was alive and full of laughter as I marveled at the beautiful world around me and all the little details I could see.  I was seeing reality again for the first time in a while and I LOVED IT!

So what is the moral of this story? It’s SUPER easy for our brains to adjust to seeing a blurry reality! But our good Father, the MASTER optometrist, has a pair of lenses that can help bring us back into seeing clearly again.

 

Why Israel? Why now?

I (Nate) wrote this blog initially in Hebrew. What will follow is an alternation between the English translation and the original Hebrew (for any of our Israel friends interested in correcting me 😉

I spoke today with an ulpan (Hebrew immersion course) classmate from England who asked me some questions that caused me to think in depth about the factors that lead Breanna and me to Israel. I didn’t come because of any confidence in a scholarly way of thinking or any goal of becoming some kind of scholar; I came to Israel to learn Hebrew with a heavy exposure to the language; I hoped that being here would give me an experience with the language in an environment that values the language and respects her nature. True, it’s upon me to become scholarly with the help of my studies in order to advance to a job that fits my life’s ambition, but I am in Israel to get used to Hebrew as a fully spoken and living language. I’m here to learn to understand the fullest meaning that is possible to imagine for every word in the Bible.

דיברתי היום עם חברה לאולפן שלי מאנגליה ששאלה אותי כמה שאלות שגרמו לי לחשוב בעומק על הגורמים שהובילו את בריאנה ואותי לארץ. לא באתי בגלל שום אמונה בדרך המחשבה האקדמית או מטרה להפוך כעין איש מלומד; באתי לארץ ללמוד עברית בחשיפה רבה לשפה; קיוויתי שלהיות פה יתן לי חווייה בשפה בסביבה שמעריכה את השפה ומכבדת את אופייה. אמנם, עליי להפוך למלומד בעזרת הלימודים שלי כדי להתקדם לעבודה המתאימה את שאיפת חיי, אבל אני בארץ להתרגל לעברית כשפה מדוברת וחיה לחלוטין. אני פה ללמוד להבין את המשמעות השלמה ביותר שאפשר לדמיין לכל מילה שבמקרא.

One learns grammar—true—and one also learns matters such as syntax, phonology, morphology, and the extensive ancient vocabulary, and yet the focus of the Israeli professors isn’t merely on conjugation or dissection of a hardly understood language but rather on entering into the world of the narrator as much as possible. We want to ask one simple question about the text: How does it seem to us that the person who wrote this saw the world? It doesn’t matter how many compilers wrote the book of Isaiah or even parts of the Torah. For believers, the whole Bible is holy and there’s no “fact” that can change this because our faith is not based on traditions of interpretation but rather on the simple belief that the Bible is the Word of God and that there exists within it a complete testimony to Jesus the Christ/Messiah. And this belief doesn’t necessarily flow from any fact but rather from the mercy of God!

לומדים דקדוק, כן, וגם לומדים עניינים כמו תחביר, תורת ההגה, תורת הצורות ואוצר המילים הרחב והעתיק, אך הריכוז של הפרופסורים הישראליים אינו רק על ניתוח או ביתור שפה בלתי מובנת אלא גם על כניסה לעולם המְדבר ככל האפשרי. אנחנו רוצים לשאול שאלה פשוטה אחת על הטקסט: איך נראה לנו שבן האדם שכתב את זה ראה את העולם? לא משנה כמה מחברים כתבו את ספר ישעיהו או אפילו חלקי התורה. למאמינים כל המקרא קדוש ואין שום ”עובדה“ אשר יכולה לשנות את זה כי אמונתנו אינה מושתתת על מנהגים של פירוש אלא על האמונה הפשוטה שהמקרא הוא דְבר האלוהים ויש בתוכו עדות מושלמת לישוע המשיח. ואמונה זו אינה נובעת משום עובדה בהכרח אלא מחסד האלוהים!

Therefore, it doesn’t bother me when some professor says to me that it’s hard to believe that something actually happened in a way that I hope it happened: The important thing is that it is possible to conceive from familiarity with this ancient text some kind of guidance and confirmation in my relations with God and with others around me. As I study, I am asking myself: What do we know with certainty about the language of the Bible and what are the assertions and speculations that we simply accept or assume for one reason or another?

לכן זה לא מפריע לי כשפרופסור כלשהו אומר לי שקשה להאמין שמשהו באמת התחולל באופן שקיוויתי שהוא היה: העיקר הוא שאפשר להשיג מהכרות עם הטקסט העתיק הזה איזה הדרכה ואישור ביחסים שלי לאלוהים ולאחרים מסביבי. כשאני לומד, אני שואל את עצמי: מה אנחנו יודעים בוודאות על שפת המקרא ומהן הקביעות וההשערות שאנחנו סתם מקבלים או מניחים בגלל סיבה כלשהי?

For example: the meaning of the word “created” in Genesis 1:1 is hard to understerstand in its original context. Some claim that its meaning is related to creation of the world out of nothing (ex nihilo), but there are also those who claim that its meaning is not decidedly related to the “out of nothing” argument but rather simply to the “building of the world” as it is (even to this day) and that’s it. Either way, it’s possible to see the nature of God: He has made the world using this action of “creation” and still today this order continues which is agreeable to God. It is self-evident that the god who makes everything can also create the world from nothing but the most fascinating thing in the verses on the creation of the world is that some scribe thousands of years ago thought about God in a way that is similar to my thinking and I feel an impulse/desire to identify with this God and with the scribe who wrote this.

למשל, לדעתי: משמעות המילה ”ב.ר.א.“ בס׳ בר׳ א,א היא קשה להבין בהקשר המקורי שלה. יש הטוענים שמשמעותה קשורה לבריאת העולם יש מאין, אולם גם קיימים הטוענים שמשמעותה אינה בהחלט קשורה לוויכוח של יש מאין אלא פשוט לבניית העולם כפי שהוא (אף עד היום הזה) וגמרנו. כך או אחרת אפשר לראות את אופי האולוהים: הוא עשה את העולם דרך הפעולה של בריאה ועדיין כיום נמשך הסדר הזה שאיתו האל משלים. מובן מאליו שהאל שעשה את הכול הוא יכול לברוא את העולם יש מאין אבל הדבר המרתק בפסוקים על בריאת העולם הוא שאיזה סופר לפני אלפי שנים חשב על האלוהים באופן דומה לי ואני מרגיש איזה דחף להזדהות עם האל הזה ועם הסופר שכתב את זה.

I want to bring light to the world as God has, I want to direct waters (to my house for instance on their way to the sea), I want to cause plants to produce fruit, and I want animals to live in abundance! I am astounded when I read that like this God, I am entitled along with all humans to rule (for my pleasure) over all of creation. And in this I see a potential contradiction: If I don’t listen to other people, I will in fact plunder from them a basic right that belongs to ALL of us together!

אני רוצה להביא אור לעולם כמו האל, אני רוצה לכוון מים (לביתי לדוגמה בדרכיהם לים), אני רוצה לגרום לצמחים לעשות פרי, ואני רוצה כי חיות העולם יחיו בשפע! אני תמה כשאני קורא שכמו האל הזה, אני זכאי יחד עם כל בני אדם לרדות בכל הבריאה. ובזה אני רואה סתירה פוטנציאלית: אם לא אשמע בני אדם אחרים, אני בעצם אשלל מהם חירות יסוד ששייכת לכולנו ביחד!

This is the power of the Bible: to cause us to identify with our maker, our creator, and to understand our nature and our character. And the result of this involvement with God and with others is that we will understand Jesus as our Christ/Messiah and in his own words “friends.” There is no need to argue over minuscule matters but rather to receive the wisdom and understanding of God that lead to Jesus our perfect ruler.

זה הכוח של המקרא: לגרום לנו להזדהות עם עושנו בוראנו ולהבין את טבענו ואת אפיינו. והתוצאה מהזדהות זו עם האל ועם אחרים היא שנכיר את ישוע כמשיח שלנו ובמילים כמו משלו ”חבריו“. אין צורך להתווכח על עניינים קטנטנים אלא לקבל את חכמתו ואת בינתו של האל המובילות אותנו לישוע מלכנו המושלם.

So now I return to the thoughts that lead me to write this blog. What caused Breanna and I to come to Israel and what value is there in our being here? Aside from the hope of blessing those with whom we interact, I also hope that we will become fluent in Hebrew in order to take a thousands-year-old text that points to Jesus and to help others read it in its most basic and original form available today.

ועכשיו אני חוזר על המחשבות שהובילו אותי לכתוב את הבלוג הזה. מה גרם לבריאנה ולי לבוא לארץ ואיזה ערך יש בהיותנו פה? חוץ מהתקווה לברך את אלה אשר להם נתייחס, אני גם מקווה שנהיה לשוטף בעברית כדי להשתמש בטקסט בן אלפי שנים המצביע על ישוע וכדי לעזור לאחרים לקרואו בצורתו הכי יסודית ומקורית שיש בידינו כיום.

His Way Meekness & Lowliness

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Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

This past month I started to spend more time immersing myself in the Hebrew language on a daily basis. I set my feet on the Ulpan journey — Ulpan is the Hebrew language courses they offer in Israel!  It has totally changed my experience of living in Israel. I can now read words, although I don’t always know what they mean. I am able to express simple ideas about who I am and what I need in a moment. This new journey has been wildly fun for me, but super super exhausting & humiliating! It is SO not easy to learn a new language — it violates all these rules inside our heads that we have accumulated over the years.  On top of the struggles, there’s the humiliation — saying words wrong in public, or encountering people that are sick of ones like me and that don’t appreciate my learning efforts.

Before the Lord takes me on certain journey’s, He usually puts it in my heart to meditate & sing about something for a season. Toward the end of summer He began to speak to me a lot about His way.. that His way is meekness & lowliness.  And He was  calling me to lay down my idea of what is the “right way” and to join Him in His way.  Even more than that to LOVE His way.  The most amazing thing is that this way of meekness & lowliness leads us to rest, peace that surpasses understanding, & a light burden.

Have you heard this saying before? Beholding is becoming.  As we set our eyes on this man, Jesus, and study His way — we become transformed into His likeness!  We become so filled with His peace that things don’t get us as frustrated which often leads to harshness & being inconsiderate.  We become meek & gracious like Him.  And as we continue to seek Him & be transformed into His image — He sets us free from our pride, entitlement, & all that yucky stuff.  He makes us lowly, teaching us to walk out 1 John 2:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” How can we lay down our lives for our brothers & sisters if we are filled with pride!?  We can’t we must allow His flames of love to burn away all the muck so we can enter into His humility & lowliness.

Often times I daydream of what the world would look like if it were filled with ones that were like this —  people overflowing with love & compassion!  As I continue down this journey, learning to partner in His way, I pray He leads us all deeper into this & that we would be transformed into His likeness every day!

Seasons of Rest

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I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
– John 15:5

This past month the Lord backed me into a corner and said: “Rest!” I didn’t really want to, and every time I tried to rest I began to feel the weight of condemnation come upon me. “What are you doing, nothing!” “Work! Get something done already!” I desperately needed the Lord to change my perspective, so that I could partner with Him in the season He had set aside for me.  And instantly He spoke to me and revealed that I had been viewing this season as a curse, and I had begun to partner with lies. He wanted to BLESS me!

If The Lord has blessed you a season of rest… Don’t let the enemy lie to you about your identity because your not DOing much. Your identity is not found in what you do, but it is found in being a branch connected to the Vine.

It’s easy to view seasons of rest as a curse, because there’s not much to do & you feel like you’re failing at life, but The Lord can give us these times as a gift! Receive it! He strips us bare, harvests the fruit & prunes us. Just so He can remind us how desperately we need Him. He’s our own only hope to ever bear fruit again. We need Him. He’s our hope, our love, our life.