• What JGIG Is:

    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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  • Broken Links – UGH

    Do you find it frustrating when you’re directed to a link that does not exist? Me too! My apologies for any broken links you may find here.

    JGIG occasionally links to to sites that sometimes change hosting sites or remove content, forums that periodically cull threads, sites/posters that appear to ‘scrub’ content from their sites (or YouTube posts, pdf files, etc.) when that content receives negative attention, and others that over time simply cease to exist.

    Please let me know via the ‘Contact JGIG’ drop-down menu item under the ‘About’ tab at the top of this page if you come across a link that is broken so that I can try to repair or remove it. Please include the name of the post/article where you found the broken link as well as the link itself. You may be able to find content specified by doing a search and viewing a relocated or cached page/post/video.

    Thanks,
    – JGIG

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Resurrection Day!

He is Risen!  Risen Indeed!

Some of you who read here believe that “Easter” really has pagan origins.  Depending on who/what you deem to be reliable sources will largely shape your view on the subject.

Resurrection Day, however, does not! 

A Chocolate Bunny’s Dilemma

I don’t have a problem that most of the Body of Christ celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter because as far as the WORLD is concerned, they have no idea of any paganism that may or not be a part of Easter celebrations.   By and large, the world thinks we’re celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in spite of egg hunts and chocolate bunnies.  And if we can draw attention to Jesus and Who He is and show the World the glory of God, then, YAY!

Some who read here believe that it is rebellion to celebrate Easter and that we should instead celebrate the appointed time of Passover given to Israel.

Jesus did celebrate Passover.  And as He did so for the last time, He established a NEW observance, that of remembering that His Body was broken and His Blood was shed for the remission of our sins.  He lived by the Law in His observance of the Feast(s), the shadow of things to come, and then instructed us to remember Him and what He did (Luke 22:14-20).  We are to honor the fulfillment of Who the Law with it’s feasts foreshadowed, not the shadows themselves.

And He Lives!  And we celebrate that He lives!  Every day that we reside among the living, not just on “Easter”.  We, as a family, do not choose to do the egg thing or the basket thing or the bunny thing.  It’s just not how we feel we can best honor what Jesus did.  We celebrate an empty tomb and the living Christ.  Do we praise and worship and lift the name of Jesus up on “Easter”, the day that most of the World recognizes as the celebration of His resurrection?  You Bet!  And we are worshipping and honoring JESUS, not a pagan sun god!  My big girls, when they update the wet-erase calendar on our fridge, draw a picture of an empty tomb with the stone rolled away, so I think it’s safe to say they get what we’re really celebrating =o).

I Think We Can All Agree – This is Cool

I know some of you Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism types will be conflicted with the whole Monk business . . . but don’t ya just get shivers hearing King of Kings and Lord of Lords and Hallelujah with that amazing music just the same?

In Messiah,
– JGIG

(Click HERE to learn more about Handel’s Messiah.)

Comments Policy

Comments are welcome at JGIG!

A few of the comments I’ve received at JGIG lately made me realize that a comment policy was long overdue.  Unfortunately I did have to go to moderated comments last year when some abusive stuff came through =o( .  So here’s the scoop:

1.  Please comment on issues related  to a specific post.  Some like to vent their frustration with this blog by picking a post and letting loose with an ad hom tirade, not addressing ANY points in the post on which they’ve chosen to ‘comment’.

2.  Some who are in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism streams of thought like to pontificate on their entire belief system in the comments section.  Comments are for discussion.  If you have that much to say, start your own blog.  I’ve gotten comments here as long as 6000 words.  Seriously.

3.   Think of commenting as a conversation.  Would you talk for 6000 words non-stop in a conversation?  Well, maybe you would, but don’t do it here.

4.   Dissent is welcome here.  Dissenting comments will be approved.  Even ad hom stuff will  be approved.  Just keep it of a reasonable length and at least loosely related to the content of the post on which you’ve chosen to comment.

5.   Obviously no abusive language or vulgar personal attacks will be entertained here at JGIG.  There is no profit for anyone in reading that stuff.

6.   No plagiarizing.  If you want to quote something or use another source to make your point, that’s fine.  Just cite your source.

7.   Comments building on the content of the post and edifying comments will be approved =o).

8.   Encouragement to the author will also be approved =o).

9.   Note that this entire post (not including the cartoon) is less than 300 words long.

Thanks, guys.  This information can also be found on a ‘Comments Policy’ page in the sidebar for future reference.

– JGIG

Celebrating the Birth of Christ – The Reality is Christ . . . . . (ya bone-heads) . . .

2005-mar7-16

In the writing of the previous post, Christ’s Birth – Why It’s Okay to Celebrate, I was aware of the controversies regarding the “history” of Christmas, but perhaps was not up to speed on the passion that some feel when it comes to their hatred for all things “Christmas”.

Wow.  My heart is grieved that so many put so much energy and hate into something that has been so clearly perverted by the Enemy.  There are several comments that have come to JGIG that were not fit to approve because they were completely agenda-driven and full of stuff that has nothing to do with the true celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, nor did they contain any thoughtful, personal experience or insight as did the comments that were approved.

So determined are some to convince those of us who do celebrate the birth of Christ that we should not that one commenter even plagiarized an article, making it seem as though it was her personal comment.  She made assertions that infant males are sacrificed on Christmas Eve, so I did a search to see if there was any documentation for such a claim.  I found something that looked familiar and what do you know?  There was an article that matched the commenter’s “experience” and “insight”, word for word.  When I emailed her about it, the exchange ended with her telling me to stop wasting her time.  Um . . . okay, I’ll do that.

Did you folks who sent those comments even read the previous post?  Can you not recognize a heart in a right place of worship for the Lordship and advent of  Jesus Christ?  Have you read Luke 2?  There was a celebration!  There was a distinct event and a marking of that event by God Himself.  The fact that the Enemy has perverted the event that was foretold in prophecy and has continued to pervert it after the actual event occurred – including in the hearts of those I’m speaking of  – does not change the reality of the event itself.

Is it so far out of your mental grasp that JESUS IS THE REALITY that MANY CHRISTIANS HONOR at Christmas time???

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.  (Colossians 2:16-17)

I spent some time poking around at a couple of forums which had linked here to JGIG regarding the Hebrew Roots Movement.  There were discussions there about Christmas that were incendiary.  These were supposed believers that were sniping and ripping (I am being kind in my description of the treatment of some by these people) at other believers simply because they choose to celebrate the birth of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

christm-as20toon

They take something that is for many Christians a sacred time of honoring God and turn it into something evil and ugly, claiming that Satan had “first dibs” on all things Christmas.  To all of you demon-behind-every-bush types I say save it.  You’re judging the hearts of people you don’t know, making ASSUMPTIONS about how they worship, WHAT they worship, WHO they worship, taking scriptures out of context and projecting evil where there was none originally (speaking of Luke 2 and the REALITY of the event again here).herb20roasted20turkey203a

Yep, I am aware of the pagan origins of many modern Christmas customs and traditions.  And my goal is not to convince you of anything except that the reality for me is CHRIST.  PERIOD.  There’s no tree-worship or child-sacrifice or sun-worship going on at our house.  And some of you Torah-observant types might be comforted to know that we prefer turkey over wild boar ham for our celebration dinner.   We just celebrate with hearts full of gratitude that God was willing to dwell among men in the flesh as Jesus Christ.

The lack of character and integrity I’ve seen demonstrated in those who vehemently oppose Christmas speaks for itself in the parallel demonstration of the fruits that they bear.  And the fruit is not good, folks.  It’s ugly and rancid and not fit for consumption.

[I’m done venting now.  Merry Christmas to the rest of you!]

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For some good articles covering the issues of paganism, date setting, and traditions concerning Christmas, click on the following links:

“Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?”

“Are Christian Holidays Pagan in Origin?”

“Should We Have a Christmas Tree?”

“Was Jesus Born on December 25th?”

“Do Some Christmas Traditions Have Pagan Origins?”

“Is Christmas Pagan?”

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Other Holiday-related Posts:

There are also links to articles from other sources regarding holidays on the Articles Page here at JGIG.

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Other articles of interest:

For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.   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.

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Hebrew Roots Movement – Humor Break

Discerning the errors of the Hebrew Roots Movement can be a heavy subject.  Let’s lighten things up a bit, shall we?  Following is a bit of satire my husband put together several months ago as I was in the thick of researching the HRM.  I found the following to be a fun read and thought it appropriate to post here on the heels of “Messin’ With the Word” . . . 

The Results Are In!

Dearest Wendy,
 
Great news!  The results are in!  Feel free to forward this to your mom’s forum friends.  Or not.
 
I’ve been in a bit of a quandary about those pesky Bible verses that just seem to keep popping up.  You know the ones.  They don’t quite mesh with our world view or our ability to give or receive love. And those verses where they encourage us to confess stuff or accept discipline!  Whew!  And then there’s that part about the “front” of the book not seeming to line up with the “back” of the book.  What is one supposed to do? It causes us to walk around with a dissonance in our hearts that just won’t go away.  So, “Huh”, I said to myself, “there must be an answer.  Surely my Creator would want me to ‘have life and have it the way that is most comfortable for me.’  I mean, what is right in my eyes never fails me, right?”

We all know how difficult some parts of the Bible can be.  So I’ve decided that instead of adapting my life to Scripture, or better still, letting the Holy Spirit lead my life, I’m just going to edit the Word as I see fit.  Well . . . therein lies a bigger issue!  What sort of marker is appropriate for the job?  Well, honey, your Dear Husband is on the job!  Did you know that Office Depot stocks TWENTY-FOUR BRANDS of markers??  That’s right!  Twenty-four!  Woo-hoo!

My initial choice was of course the “Mean Streak.”  Seemed fitting.  The problem was it comes in yellow and some other completely inappropriate colors.  I mean, come on, we’re looking for complete coverage!  (On a side note there is something appealing about yellow, for some reason.)  [Update: The Mean Streak does now come in black!]
 
So, to jump right to it…  the winner is, after hours and hours of testing (just kidding), the Sanford Sharpie Magnum in Black!  This puppy can cover!  And with its wide tip I can blot out entire paragraphs of scripture in just a couple of passes.  Don’t like the stuff about speaking in tongues?  Gone!  Can’t seem to reconcile the “women speaking in the congregation” stuff? Blammo!  Just can’t stand the Apostle Paul at all?  Toasted!!!  Best yet, I have seen this thing completely remove from my Bible all the references to the Blood of Jesus and living a life of faith in Him!  Pow!  Freedom!  Who knew it could be so easy?  Please keep in mind that this coverage doesn’t come cheap.  These bad boys run $3.29 a piece.  But guess what, the ink is toxic!  Perfect.
 
For those budget-minded blotters out there the choice-du-jour would of course have to go to the Eberhart Faber 3000 Chisel Point Permanent in Black.  Great editing at only  $.59 a piece!  Be warned – more strokes are needed, but when you’re on a roll what’s a few more passes? 
 
Honorable mention would have to go back to the Sharpie brand with their “Click-It” line of retractable markers.  A great little product that allows you to edit almost anywhere.  Please be advised that the tip is tiny compared to the winning choices so care will need to be taken to get full coverage.
 
I hope this has been helpful.  I am so excited to know that even though Jesus said that “His burden is light” and we should “take up our cross and follow Him” that with a mere swoosh I can do it the way I want to do it.  Yeah!  What peace.
 
One word of caution.  These are PERMANENT markers!  They seem to work best for some reason.  I just marked out some stuff and got carried away – I marked out something about “your sins are forgiven” and now I’m not sure what to do.  Oh, well.  No worries . . . 
 
Love,
Your Dear Husband

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The American Concept of Harvesting

With all the news stories about farmers not growing this in order to grow that in order to make the other . . . well it got me to thinking about the farm “industry” in this country vs. the small local farmers.  And that made me think of this . . .

The American concept of successful harvesting is for a farmer to climb up into the big air-conditioned cab of their combine, fire it up, crank up some tunes, and proceed to mow down the fields before them.  There is little contact with the ground, and the harvest is swift.  The crop is shuffled off to the next stage in production (cleaning, sorting, inspecting) and then arranged neatly in attractive packaging for sale at market.

Hmmm . . .  do you see any elements of the above paralleling some [mega] churches and formula-based movements out there?

The Sacred Sandwich (Ya gotta check this out)

So I was sitting here last night with my sore throat and wheezy cough not being able to sleep and was just poking around the blogosphere when I stumbled upon a funny link at this site

I followed several of the pointing fingers to more funny stuff, but the site offers so much more than satire.  The site is The Sacred Sandwich and I encourage you to go and check it out. 

[Acting as your waitress] May I suggest that you start with the “Our Declaration” page followed by clicking on the teeny-weeny “Is This a Joke?” at the bottom of the sidebar on that page.  Click then on The Sacred Sandwich at the top of that page and move on to “Food For Thought” on the sidebar.  

There you will find Appetizers of the Gospel and Devotions, Entrees offering Bread of Life, The Sacred Sandwich, and Our Meat Dishes, and finally Beverages including Water of Life, Sincere Milk, and The Hard Stuff. 

In the midst of the feast of classic teaching, condiments of satiric comedy (and great comedy always contains an element of truth – and this site pulls it off pretty well) are offered for extra flavor and punch.

If you’re one who thinks that poking fun at the Church is irreverent or inappropriate, you might want to skip The Sacred Sandwich.  If you do choose to indulge, do check out all of the items on the sidebar, as there is more classic teaching to be found therein. 

I’ll be visiting The Sacred Sandwich from my sidebar on occasion.  Won’t you join me? 

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