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    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Tim Russert 1950-2008

For those of you who pay attention to the political aspects of life, you know who Tim Russert is.  He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on this past Friday, at the young age of 58.

He’s one of those people who took great joy in and had great passion for what he did professionally as well for life in general.  By all accounts he was a nice guy, religious, highly intelligent, a committed family man, loyal, enthusiastic, and a hard worker.  To say he will be missed by those he worked with and by his family is an understatement.

I’d be reminded every now and then throughout the weekend that he was gone, and I’d be like, “Oh yeah, Tim Russert died.”  And the reality of our mortality – a reality for all of us – was brought a little closer to the front of my mind.  A song kept coming to my mind, as well . . . 

Who Am I

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am yours

I am yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I am yours
I am yours

(Psalm 139 / Psalm 52 / Ephesians 2 – Lyrics: Mark Hall / Music: Casting Crowns Copyright 2003)

We are here today and gone tomorrow.  We have a brief time in life to know He who created us and the depths of the love, grace, and mercy He has on and for us.

My prayer is that Tim Russert knew the saving grace of Jesus Christ and that he rests in the presence of his God and Saviour.  My prayers and condolences go out to his family and all who knew and worked with Mr. Russert personally, as he will be greatly missed. 


2 Responses

  1. Dear Sir or Madame:

    Tim Russert spoke at our Old Dom. University graduation. I was a religion major.

    I would like to know if you are aware of the hate crime against the gay men in Secaucus NJ and if you are aware that an historic court decision in Hudson County, Jersey City NJ successfully won against Secauscus NJ for the most unbelievable hate crime we have had in this area (of this nature) that I have ever heard about. A KKK style attact by the town firemen.

    Aren’t you interested in social issues and justice issues which go along with Feel Good Christianity? We simply must get past some of this. If you can report on this wonderful man’s funeral…and I will always have sort of warm feelings toward him because it was such a great job he did on a very special day….but if you can write about his funeral which so much is available to read anyway, then why not address an historic decision give a fig leaf of protection for the most descrimated and hated group in America who suffer for not being like everyone else. I bet you $10 that this e-mail will never even be read seriously by a decision making executive.

  2. Hey there Sir Calahans of Hobokan NJ –

    First of all, you owe me 10 bucks. Being the [only] decision making executive of this blog, and having read your comment seriously . . . pay up =o).

    On the other hand, I don’t know if this is a serious comment or not. I’m not in your neck of the woods and am not familiar with local NJ news, and have no way to verify or even comment on what you’ve submitted here. Suffice it to say, unprovoked violence against anyone is reprehensible.

    Am I interested in social issues and justice issues? Yes. I see freedom and justice crumbling around us at an alarming rate. In the Church as well as in the secular world.

    How do those things go along with “Feel Good Christianity”? Not quite sure what you mean by that. When it comes to discrimination, consider those who truly bear the name of Jesus Christ. Pop on over to certain parts in Africa sometime and see how Christians are faring there. How ’bout North Korea? China? Laos? Any of the “. . . stans”? Some places in India? That’s just mentioning a few. There are Christians who are being at the least kept in secret captivity and at the worst are being tortured and are dying horrible deaths for their faith in Christ all over the world. Simply for not denying the Name of Jesus Christ and for telling people about Him. Check out http://www.prisoneralert.com, or pick up a copy of Jesus Freaks at a local bookstore or on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Freaks-Stories-Those-Ultimate/dp/1577780728 . . . read some of the reviews posted there, too) for some perspective.

    On a more local level, do you know any Christians (true Christ-followers) who take heat on a regular basis in their schools or workplaces?

    You’re right, a lot has been written about Tim Russert’s passing. But it’s my blog and if something is rolling around in my mind or heart that I want to write about, I get to write about it. If I feel that God is prompting me to write about an issue, I’ll do that, too.

    And about being the most discriminated and hated? Jesus was right there. He knows what rejection and ridicule is all about. And He took it for all of us. Get to know Him. He loves you and gave everything to have relationship with you and give you life.

    Check back every now and then. What you read here may surprise you occasionally . . .

    May God bless your hearts and minds (and I do sincerely mean that),

    P.S. Go ahead and give that 10 bucks to your local Rescue Mission for me, would ya?

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