Stories from Our Congregations

 

Jeff Kipp, who serves with Chosen People Ministries in Pittsburgh, writes,

One of my greatest joys in life is leading a Jewish soul to Yeshua and then helping them integrate into our Messianic congregation, which is the perfect place for their discipleship. Over the years I have had many opportunities to do this. I have had the joy of being involved in their baptisms, weddings and in the training of their children. Our richest and most meaningful relationships and friendships have come from these communities over the years. My desire and motivation is that Yeshua be high and lifted up and genuinely glorified in all we do.

 

Ryan Karp, who leads Chosen People Ministries in Chicago and grew up in a Chosen People Ministries’ planted congregation, writes,

My family was part of a Messianic congregation when I was growing up. We were surrounded by other Jewish people, singing in Hebrew, celebrating Passover, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah and other holidays. My identity as a Jewish person who believed in Yeshua was rock solid. I learned the Jewishness of the Bible and grew a heart to reach Jewish people because of all of the events we held and the mission trips we took to reach Jewish people with the Gospel.

 

Oftentimes, Jewish seekers will hear about one of our congregations and simply visit a service. This happened a short time ago at our Brooklyn congregation. Robert Walter, who is part of the leadership team there, describes what took place,

An Israeli Orthodox Jewish man, who recently moved to Brooklyn, came to our congregation out of curiosity. As I spoke with him it was clear that he had a genuine openness to the Gospel, but does not yet fully understand what Jesus did for us. We cordially debated for nearly 30 minutes about whether or not Jesus changed or contradicted what God had revealed through the Old Testament. While he said he wasn’t ready to read the New Testament yet, he did take a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew and promised that he would read it and return to talk more.

 

Roy Schwarcz, who has planted a number of congregations and recently began MC2, a congregation in urban Chicago, writes,

The Messianic Congregation of Chicago (MC2) is a place where Jewish believers in Yeshua are coming to grow and be discipled in their faith. One young Jewish man, a veteran of the Iraqi war, came to faith in the military but foundered in his faith. He started attending our congregation and I have been meeting with him weekly for discipleship. He has grown greatly and has been able to better understand the Jewishness of his faith. He graduated from the same predominantly Jewish high school that my daughters did and now shares his Jewish faith in the Jewish Messiah with his Jewish friends and family.

 

Mike Herts, who was discipled through a Chosen People Ministries congregation and now leads one he planted, writes about how his ministry has impacted his own family: 

The greatest blessing I receive from leading a Messianic congregation is that my children understand what it means to be Jewish and believe in Jesus, and that my congregation is a living example of “Am Yisrael Chai B’Yeshua HaMashiach,” (“The people of Israel live in Jesus the Messiah”). This has also been a great testimony to my, as of yet, non-believing family!

 

Ari was raised in a traditional Reform Jewish home near Philadelphia. He celebrated the Jewish holidays, attended Hebrew school, had a Bar Mitzvah, and participated in Jewish camps and other traditional activities. Despite all of this, he never really believed God was real.

In his early 20’s, Ari asked his Rabbi what he thought was going to happen to him personally when he died. His response was that he didn’t know. Ari was floored that the Rabbi didn’t have an answer for his own self. Ari, therefore, began to question everything. Looking for answers and truth, he began to examine Eastern philosophy, however, through the love and witness of many believers, he came to the realization that “if God was real”, it meant that he was a sinner in need of atonement and forgiveness.

Because of his upbringing, Ari believed that Jesus and Judaism were “opposites at their cores.” Thankfully, the two came together when he prayed to receive Jesus as his Jewish Messiah on April 6, 1997. That day he read the New Testament for the first time. Ari cried out to the Lord and believed that He sent Jesus as the sacrifice in his place. And his very first prayer (after salvation) was telling God that he was sorry he had hated His name.

Soon after Ari’s profession of faith in Jesus as Messiah, he had a growing burden for the lost. In addition to sharing his faith as a Higher Education Administrator for over 10 years, his passion for reaching both Jews and non-Jews led him to serve full-time with two other ministries sharing the Good News with the Jewish people.

Now on staff with Chosen People Ministries, Ari’s desire is to help educate and equip believers to share about the miracle of forgiveness of sin.

Ari is married to Karen, a Jewish believer, and today they have three precious daughters Rachel, Liya, and Talia.

Ari’s Presentations:

* Personal Testimony * How to Share the Good News with Your Jewish Friends * Provoking the Jewish People to Jealousy * Jew and Gentile – One in Messiah * The Spring Feasts and Messiah * Jesus in the Fall Feasts * Saved by Grace – A Jewish Perspective * Seeing the Gospel in the Feasts of Israel * Jesus in the Old Testament * The Jewishness of the New Testament * Why Israel? * The Light of the World - Feast of Dedication * Messiah in the Passover * A Heart for the Lost (Romans 9-11) * Messianic Prophecy

C.S. Lewis once said, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

Prior to coming to faith at 18, Travis describes his life as filled with perpetual emptiness, yet accented by a faint feeling that there had to be something "more." For years he thought that this "more" could be found in the world, and so he drank deeply at all the wells of sin commonplace in the 21st century. However, his thirst was still not satisfied.

Then in the fall of 2004, through a divinely orchestrated series of events, Travis began reading the New Testament. Through the pages of the Bible and by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, Travis experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Travis describes this encounter in terms of finally feeling washed clean from the guilt of sin, empowered to repent, and compelled to surrender his life fully to God.

As Travis continued to cultivate his relationship with Christ in the following months, he started sensing a strong calling to reach Jewish people with the Gospel of Messiah. Over the years God has continually confirmed this call and provided Travis with amazing opportunities for ministry and study. In 2006 he was blessed with the opportunity to study and minister in Israel for 9 months. From there he moved to Chicago where he completed his B.A. in Jewish Studies at the Moody Bible Institute. Travis completed his Master’s of Divinity at Regent University.

Tali was raised in a Messianic Jewish home just north of Chicago, but had experienced her own season of rebellion from the Lord in college.  Upon graduating from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, she moved back to Chicago and found herself becoming more and more disenchanted with the party scene.  After hearing a sermon from a local pastor exhorting the young 20-something crowd to stop trying to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the church, Tali came under deep conviction for her lifestyle.  This began a process of renewal in her own life as she sought God’s mercy and joined a women’s Bible study at her church.  Over the next two years, Tali grew in her faith and discovered a fresh appreciation for her Jewish identity as a believer. It was in 2013 the Lord brought her to Dallas for a new job, and met Travis.

Nearly one year to the day from the time they met, Tali and Travis were standing under the wedding canopy together, exchanging vows.

Tali and Travis long to see the local Jewish community of Dallas, with more than 60,000 Jewish people, transformed by the power of God’s love. Please pray for this team, as Jew and Gentile in the Lord, to be a unique instrument in the harvest.

Background

Jack was raised in a Conservative Jewish family in Portland, OR. He attended Hebrew school until he was Bar-Mitzvahed when he was 13. After his father died a few months later, he continued working with his mother in their Deli until he went into the Army.

After the Army, he entered Portland State University, earned a degree in Business, and met Alice there. They dated and he attended church with her occasionally. He began comparing the Jewish Scriptures (Tanach) with the Old Testament references in the New Testament. It became clear to him that Jesus was the predicted Messiah. He received Jesus (Yeshua) as his Messiah in 1959, and married Alice in 1960. They have four adult children (one daughter and three sons) and two grandsons.

Upon graduation he worked with Arthur Young Accounting, and received his CPA certificate. He coached boys' softball and basketball teams at church, counseled at a Youth Retreat, and realized he needed Bible training to answer their spiritual questions.

Training

  • Grad course at Multnomah School of the Bible 1962-1963
  • ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary in Biblical Studies 1967
  • Twenty-two years in the pastorate 1968-1990
  • PhD from Trinity University in Theological Studies/Old Testament 2000

Ministry experience

  • Twenty-two years in the pastorate in MS and TX 1968-1990
  • Taught Bible,Theology and Jewish Studies to new missionaries with Jews for Jesus in New York. He and Alice were also the chaplains for the North American branches of Jews for Jesus from 2000-2010
  • Taught Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey at The Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Studies in New York 2011-2013
  • Now serving with Chosen People Ministries in Oregon

Rich F. was raised in a Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts. In college a young man shared the Good News about Jesus with him and challenged him to read the Hebrew prophets. After reading Isaiah 53, Rich realized that Jesus was Israel's promised Messiah.

Soon after, God called Rich to full-time ministry. After graduating from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with an M.Div. and a Th.M., Rich, with wife Michelle, and their three boys went on to pastor two EFCA churches in CT for 27 years. During that time Rich completed the work for his Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Presently, Rich is the Chaplain, Director of Field Education, and an Instructor at the Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies as well as the lead church planter of the only English-speaking Messianic congregation in Brooklyn, NY. Rich also leads the southern CT branch of Chosen People Ministries.

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