Events and Outreach
The favorable attention and traffic that First Fruits of Zion received at the Southern Baptist Convention is another indication that God is doing some fantastic things in the Body of Messiah. Little by little, foundations are being restored. Many Christians are coming to see Judaism, Torah, and the gospel in a new and positive way.
Sitting in my office I can’t help but have a smile on my face as I recall this year’s conference. In a lot of ways it is like a family reunion that just keeps getting better and better each year. I am blessed and humbled to be a part of an organization like First Fruits of Zion, and I pray that HaShem gives us many more years of these conferences.
The Christian leaders I encountered expressed a common need that they have a deep love for the land and people of Israel, but they lack solid teaching and resources that instill that vision deeply into the culture of their various congregations and ministries—a huge void that First Fruits of Zion seeks to fill.
We are excited to announce the launch of the 12-21 website. With this website and our focused presence on 12-21 social media, we hope to be reaching and connecting with kids worldwide. If we don’t reach the next generation, this movement dies with us.
A delegation of 150 Messianic Jews and Gentiles from around the world gathered to welcome in the New Year, connect, travel, and experience our history together—no matter how dark it was at times.
The recent Shabbaton in Hudson this Hanukkah was, for me, an exciting opportunity to return to those friendships. And not only to do theology with these friends but to do life—to see what Messianic Judaism looks like outside the boundaries of biblical exegesis and exposition.
It’s not easy being a disciple of Yeshua in the world today, let alone a Messianic Jewish or Gentile teen or young adult. It can be a lonely and difficult road. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded friends who will help you stay on the narrow path and uplift your identity. That may have been the most powerful aspect of the whole event.
There are many Christian leaders out there that are looking to connect with a solid source for Messianic Jewish teaching. But we can’t wait for them to find us. We have to go find them. This makes it all the more important for First Fruits of Zion to be at venues like Catalyst.
We are very encouraged to hear testimonies like this. It motivates us to continue to present vision, teaching, and resources that help people to know and follow Jesus better by seeing him through Jewish eyes.
We are thankful that God has given us the ability to produce vision and teaching that is helping to shape and cultivate the development of Messianic Judaism in so many places. It was a fruitful time of strengthening existing relationships and establishing new ones.
It was amazing and inspiring to see the bonds that were formed among the young adults during the 2016 conference. We must continue to create opportunities for relationships and community to form within the Messianic movement, especially among its youth. FFOZ’s new initiatives will help to do just that.
There are lots of ways to experience the land of Israel, but FFOZ’s historical-geography study tour is primarily about placing the stories and events of the Bible onto the land of Israel. It’s a tour for serious students and for everyone who loves the Bible.
Our core principles as a ministry involve restoring the Jewish Messiah, restoring the Torah, restoring the gospel, and restoring Israel. It is our conviction that as these fundamental areas are restored to their biblical context, efforts to reach the Jewish people with the good news of Yeshua will be strengthened.
This June (God willing), First Fruits of Zion will host a special three-day seminar for Messianic students ages 15-20 titled “Decoding the Parables of Yeshua.” First Fruits of Zion teachers will present a crash-course on ten parables with emphasis on learning how rabbinic parables function, their role in Jewish teaching, and the tools necessary for interpreting them.
In 2016, First Fruits of Zion will be hosting two tours to Israel, and our annual Shavu’ot conference will be held at Beth Immanuel in Hudson, Wisconsin. Now is a good time to make a decision to join us. Get the dates on your calendar.
Last week, I had the opportunity to represent FFOZ at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) national conference in Atlanta. I am grateful for the progress that we can observe, but there is still much work to be done in expanding the presence and visibility of both Messianic Judaism and the work of FFOZ.