Maturing in our walk
Over the last month we have talked a lot about the Messianic Lifestyle and Discipleship. So to what purpose is all this discussion? Hopefully it will equip and encourage each of us to strive to walk closer to G-d and His Messiah.
This walking close is best shown in Rabbi Sha'uls statement about "renewing the mind". Renewing the mind is changing our focus on things of this world, and instead focusing on G-d and how He would have us act. At Beth Ha'Mashiach we have chosen to adopt many practices the Messiah utilized when He walked the earth to help us conform to this new image and renew our mind.
So what specifically does maturing in the faith mean, and how can the Synagogue help? The Synagogue strives to provide training, environment and opportunities for people to become Talmidim (Disciples) and grow in their walk. These (training, environment and opportunity) work together to help the individual mature. While some maturity can occur only utilizing 1 or 2 of the above methods, growth is best achieved by integrating all 3 aspects.
Let's look at what is available, and how it helps us grow.
* Weekly Services - provide growth and discipleship through allowing the teaching of key concepts, experiencing the festival cycle, hearing the word, corporate prayer and opportunity to serve others
* Feast Days - provide teachings about Adonai's great truths presented in those days and provides a rhythm and cycle revolving around Adonai for our lives
* Shabbat - provides a weekly reminder of Adonai's provision and stresses obedience to G-d over the world by ceasing work on one day a week.
* Lifecycle - stresses the life of each individual through many key events and how that life cycle is provided for by G-d for our blessings. Events like birth, circumcision & naming, Pidyon Haben, Bar / Bat Mitzvah, marriage, and even passing to the next world are all part of G-ds Plan.
* Synagogue Membership - Introduction to Messianic Beliefs - Membership entails commitment. Commitment is necessary for any real growth. We have all heard, "no pain, no gain". This is true in sports, life, and relationship to G-d. The requirement for the teaching CD's (and small test to make sure key beliefs are understood) becomes the foundation to build upon as we grow in knowledge and wisdom of Adonai.
* Bar / Bat Mitzvah & Discipleship Training - We now combine these as they naturally fit together. Where many Synagogues stress only memorizing Hebrew. We want both a knowledge of Hebrew and a solid understanding of Messianic Judaism, Jewish life cycles and principles to help us continue to grow.
* Yeshiva - the Yeshiva provides the opportunity for a well rounded understanding of beliefs and principles behind Messianic Judaism. 5 levels of teaching are provided from someone wanting to take one course (only certain courses apply), to those wanting to obtain 1 of 4 levels of training, including training required for ordination.
* Service - Service is a critical step in discipleship as all that we have learned gets focused outward to help the individual need and the needs of the Congregation / Community. Service is the fruit of all our discipleship efforts. There are many opportunities for service, all of them important to the body. All that is needed is a willing person who understands the need to mature into the position of service them aspire too.
* Conversion - I hesitate to put this in as it can cause controversy, yet I feel it is important to realize that conversion is a from of dicispleship. It is not for everyone, nor is it required; but for those choosing to do it, it is a definite commitment to a lifestyle of discipleship.
Hopefully we can see that the Synagogue provides a comprehensive plan for members to grow in their walk with G-d. Each person is at a different place in their walk, so we are not to judge one-another on where we are. We are however to: encourage one-another on that walk, provide a path of growth in that walk, and to assist those on their walk with Adonai.