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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Texas, Ambitions and God's Will

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Joseph, one of Jacobs twelve sons, in Genesis. God gave Joseph some dreams and those dreams included all eleven brothers and his parents bowing down to him. With great confidence, anticipation, and with great immaturity, Joseph told his father and brothers all about the dreams. Like Joseph, I probably told too many people all about my dreams and ambitions from an early age.

Joseph's Dream by Martha Stern
At the same time, I was getting kicked out of conferences, camps, doing a lot of detention in school and my dad was getting a lot of phone calls which started with, Hello, Rabbi Rosenberg, you need to come and pick up your son, Matthew.Never malicious, always loving Godbut ever stumbling over myself and my hyperactive body which moved faster than my brain could warn me of the consequences of my actions. I have always felt that God has called me to speak into the lives of thousands of people and for the first time in my life God is actually making it happen.

Ethiopia w/JVMI
In 2014 I went to Ethiopia with a group of eight young leaders, Jewish Voice Ministries International and Rabbi Jonathan Bernis. It was a forever life-changing experience. While in Ethiopia I had dinner with Pastor Wayne Wilkes. Wayne is probably one of the most encouraging people in the world, and at the time of our dinner in Ethiopia, he was not a pastor. He was just a guy who has been around the block a few times who wanted to encourage a young preacher. As a result of our meeting in Ethiopia, Wayne, who has since become the Pastor of Jewish Ministry at Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas, asked me to speak at Gateways Messianic service about Hanukkah.

The service happens once a month and the two previous speakers were Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Jonathan Bernis. My thought progression was, What?! Ok, Lord. Whoa, thats crazy! Thats heavy company. Crazy! Ok, lets do this! Whoa! Crazy!

The Messianic service at Gateway brought over a thousand people and I spoke about Hanukkah and how God wants to use us to Light Up The Darkness (watch the message here, December 2014).

Preaching At Gateway Church

After meeting and talking with many people after the service, I went back into the green room to get my things. I stood there by myself and said to the Lord, That was awesome, thank you for this opportunity.The Lord said back to me, very clearly, You did good, son!

Selfie During My Message at Gateway
For maybe the first time in my life, I did not question whether it was Lord. I didn't have the internal struggle over whether I was just trying to make myself feel better about myself or if the Lord really spoke to me. I heard Him. He was proud me. And that is the real reason I do what I do: For Yeshua. For His kingdom. To help people who are far from God come closer to Him.

Look, Im a Rabbi. Ive been preaching, teaching and encouraging people for the last ten years (and more before it was my job). Sometimes in the midst of all that we are doing for God, we forget why we do it. What an awesome reminder I received from the Lord that day in Texas at Gateway Church.

I want to make Him famous. I get mixed up sometimes with dreams of my own fame, with the greatness of my own name. But, I am reminded that all I have is from the Lord. His desire is for me to use everything He has given me to make Him famous. Among my Jewish people. Among the nations. Everywhere. Everyone.

In all the things that I am seeing God do with me, the moment I heard Gods say, You did good, son!was worth everything to me. I am in awe of all God has done in 2014. In my family, my marriage, my children, at Restoration (my synagogue) and all that He is doing.
I want to stay in awe of God. It seems to me that is the only place worth staying. I
have nothing without Him. To know that God is proud of me is worth more to me than likes on Facebook and Instagram. It
s worth more that the opinions of my colleagues, contemporaries, family, friends and congregation. In all honesty, its hard to believe
that and most of the time the opinions of other people are what I am striving for. I want everyone to be proud of me and think highly of me. But I want what God thinks of me to be the most important to me.

So, Im asking God to make His approval enough. I dont ever want to get wrapped up in positive or negative opinions of me. I want to be wrapped up in what God thinks of me. God approves of me. Not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Him and His son, Yeshua.

And guess what? If you turn your heart towards Yeshua, He approves of you, too!

I am confident that 2015 is going to be the best year ever! For me, my family, Restoration in Seattle, Messianic Judaism, and the greater body of Messiah. God is willing and able to do more than anything we can hope for and imagine. It doesn't mean 2015 will be without pain, hurt, and obstacles. But, it does mean that through whatever we go through God will never leave us or forsake us. He wants to walk with us through everything this new year brings.

At Restoration we opened 2015 with a preaching series through Pastor Steven Furtick’s book, Crash The Chatterbox. This series is the perfect way to start the year because it will help us hear Gods voice clearly and focus on the individual and corporate assignments that He has called our community to. We have been encouraging Restoration to buy the book for deeper reflection. (listen to the series here).

Even though we are all going through different things or have different dreams and goals, God has a hope for you and wants to make your dreams come true in 2015. Everything you have been through, all of the good and the bad, play a part in who are and who are becoming. Our mission at Restoration is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Yeshua.We never really arrive, we are constantly becoming more fully devoted to Yeshua. As our devotion increases, we see God reorganize our dreams and ambitions to fit His dreams and ambitions for us.

Neverland - Andy Mineo
Rapper Andy Mineo has a song called Rewind. It is currently one of the theme songs of my life. It goes like this:

People think were different

Were all the same
I got a little drama in my life, you got a little drama in yours What you do with it, its your choice
Cause Im looking at my past through the rear view mirror
Thanking God I made it through

I am in awe of all that God is doing in me and I know that He wants to do the same for you! He wants to make your dreams come true. This is your time. You can make God famous and have the best year of your life. You can hear Gods voice clearly and move forward in all that God has called you to do with your life.

Just pray this simple prayer: God I want to make you famous. I want my life to be about you and not about me. I want you to use me however you see fit to bring you glory in 2015!

He wont ignore you. He will answer. I know because He keeps answering me.