Drinking from the saucer cuz my cup is overflowedReflections on my first LCJE conference
By Barri Cae Mallin, Atlanta GA
"Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation" (Romans 10:1).
This has been my heart's cry for the twenty-two years that I have been saved. I am not directly involved with Jewish missions, but my unsaved Jewish family and friends have been my mission field all these years. I have been an LCJE member for eleven years, having been told about the organization by Barry Leventhal. When I received my bulletin, the LORD impressed upon my heart to attend the Orlando conference. As I only had approximately nine days, I hurriedly booked a flight on the Internet, got permission from work for the vacation time, and excitedly awaited March 11-13.
After arriving in Orlando, I went for a run, and enjoyed some swimming pool time. Who should be camped out at poolside but Bodil Skjott, Theresa and Bruce Newell and Dr. Kai Kjær-Hansen, discussing LCJE business. I introduced myself, and opted not to attend the Gen-X'er dinner, but had some good quiet time.
God truly blessed our conference. The next morning, as I strolled to the elevator, I came upon Dr. Louis Goldberg. The last time that I had seen Dr. Goldberg was in Jerusalem in 1987, as he gave the sermon at the Messianic Assembly. We exchanged greetings and I made my way to the lobby, meeting Cheryl from Short Ministries. A large group then traveled to the Holland Experience. This was a wonderful time of reflection and worship. We strolled through the Jerusalem Street Market to attend presentations at the Garden Tomb and the Temple of the Great King. The extra-special thing was that we were able to fellowship with each other as we walked to the different venues. This was an historical LCJE meeting, as it was the first meeting with LCJE Spanish representation. As a speaker gave a presentation at the Jerusalem Model A.D.66, I tried to remember basic Spanish while conversing with Carlos from Florida. He introduced me to his Rabbi Peter (Citelli) and wife. After dining at the Oasis Palms Café, we scurried back to the hotel for the conference.
Theresa Newell welcomed us warmly. Dr. Kai Kjær-Hansen then welcomed us. He spoke on Jechiel Lichtenstein, a scholar/writer in the mid 1800's. It is always encouraging to hear of those who have gone before us, laboring in missions work to reach the Jewish people. Tuvya Zaretsky led the discussion of Dr. Kai's paper.
Rev. Marv Rosenthal, Executive Director of the HolyLand Experience, then spoke. He told us of the humble beginnings of this truly remarkable, God-ordained park. He spoke of many events that looked hopeless, yet every time, the LORD came through. I already know I must return for the Scriptorium opening, housing one of the largest private collections of Biblical artifacts in the world.
In keeping with the conference theme, Messianic Jewish Identity, Kirk Gliebe then spoke on "Jewish Children and Messianic Jewish Identity". He shared many concerns as well as ideas for congregations to incorporate into their programs. Derek Leman moderated the discussion afterwards.
After dinner, Rabbi Barry Rubin spoke on "Jewish Missions and Messianic Congregations". He listed several hindrances that affect cooperation between congregations and missions, and I would encourage you to read all these papers (www.lcje.net). Lively discussion followed, moderated by Steve Cohen.
We then were treated by worship led by Rabbi Peter Citelli from Congregation Aron HaKodesh, then Dominique and Baruch Bierman ministered in testimony and song. Dominique speaks at least three languages and she sang in Hebrew, Spanish and English. Rabbi Dr. Yosef Koelner led us in prayer, and David Sedaca gave a short but moving devotional from Isaiah 62. My cup runneth over; it was just a mountaintop day and evening for me. The speakers inspired, motivated and educated; the worship moved us. Great blessings abounded, thanks to God.
The next morning we were led in worship by Stan Meyer, of Jews for Jesus, along with Tuvya of Jews for Jesus. Dr. Richard Pratt from the Reformed Theological Seminary, Oviedo, FL, gave a devotional on Genesis 1. As we are made in the image of God, it is the job of the image of God to represent His will on earth.
Dr. Louis Goldberg spoke on the topic "The Torah: What is Authoritative and What is Not Authoritative?" I took too many notes to properly summarize his 'meaty treats' so I encourage you to read his paper on the LCJE web site. He did exhort us to always use Scripture to examine extra-Biblical texts. Mitch Glaser moderated the discussion following Dr. Goldberg's presentation.
Rev. Torkild Masvie shared about the "History of Jewish Believers Project" and Stan Meyer shared about the Jews for Jesus "Behold Your God' campaign in Tampa. Then Rev. Andrew Sparks of Messiah Now Ministries spoke on "Jewish Ministry in Context: A Modern Messianic Identity and Practice". His discussion was also 'meaty' and was very interesting. Bruce Lieske moderated the discussion of Andrew's paper.
After lunch, Rev. Fred Klett of CHAIM Ministries spoke on "Centrality of Messiah: Theological Directions of the Messianic Movement". He encouraged us to base our identity on Yeshua, and no one else. Jonathan Kaplan moderated the discussion.
Susan Perlman offered many timely tips in her presentation "Facing the Media". For all those in Messianic/Missions work, this paper is for you. Susan offers much solid advice in what to say to the media, how to say it, what not to say, and so on. Her paper offered great advice for anyone, and this is a definite read on the website. Stan Telchin moderated the discussion afterwards.
The business meeting followed and the LCJE meeting for 2003 will be in Dallas. After dinner, we had a panel discussion with Jim Sibley, Jewish Ministries Coordinator NAMB, Southern Baptist Convention, who spoke on happenings within the SBC; Rabbi Dr. Yosef Koelner Rabbi/LCJE Latin American Coordinator, and David Sedaca, Executive Secretary IMJA, who spoke on the Latin American LCJE happenings; and Leslie McMillan Director, Russian Community Life Center, Brooklyn, NY. Leslie wowed us with the fact that their ministry has 36 weekly Bible studies there around Brighton Beach, NY. They are doing a great work among Russian peoples in Brooklyn.
The evening was adjourned and several of us just 'hung out' poolside and fellowshipped. What a wonderful day. I was not able to stay for the Wednesday morning sessions but still got to meet Dan Gruber, Lion of Judah Ministries. I encourage you to read his paper; it is very thought provoking and challenging. I also missed Bodil's paper, and must read it. I also got to meet and chat with Wes Taber and am looking forward to reading his paper online as well. Prayer for Israel closed the session.
This was a wonderful time of learning, encouraging, net-working, and being ministered to by others, as well as the LORD. The salvation of the Jew and the Gentile is close to the Father's heart. So is oneness, echad, Jew and Gentile being one in Messiah, as Paul tells us in Ephesians. I encourage you to prayerfully consider attending LCJE's 2003 conference in Dallas, and I pray that you will drink from your saucer cuz your cup overflows with blessing.
Barri Cae Mallin