Showing posts by: Nic Lesmeister

About Nic Lesmeister

Our Exciting News for 2017

By on November 18th, 2016
Posted in Featured Articles


A Personal Invitation From Nic Lesmeister

By on October 6th, 2016
Posted in Featured Articles

Hello Friends!

Please take a moment to watch the video above.

On Thursday Evening, November 10, 2016, we will be having our 20th Anniversary banquet.

I want to personally invite each of you to join us for special evening, which will surely be a memorable experience.

We will honor two of my heroes – MJBI President Dr. Wayne and Bonnie Wilks – for their two decades of sacrificial dedication in providing global educational opportunities for Messianic Jewish believers.

We will also be glimpsing at what God has in store for the next twenty years!

Please pray about joining us for this wonderful time of celebration!

Check-in opens 5:30 PM // Event begins 6:30 PM

Arlington Convention Center – Grand Hall
1200 Ballpark Way – Arlington, Texas – 76011

Complimentary Parking – Formal Dress

You will be given an opportunity to make a financial gift.

May the Lord bless you, and I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, November 10th at 6:30pm!

Nic Lesmeister
Nic Lesmeister Signature
Gratefully, Nic Lesmeister – President and CEO

Shavuot: We Are Counting On You, Lord!

By on June 8th, 2016
Posted in Featured Articles

“One, two, three … forty-eight, forty-nine, FIFTY!” One of my favorite childhood games was hide and seek. It was all about building anticipation by counting to an agreed upon number, and then the thrill of the search for hidden friends—culminating in the absolute exhilaration of joyful discovery for both parties. The biblical Feast of Weeks carries the same sense of mounting anticipation except this time the feeling of expectation is intensified even more by counting numbers measured in days rather than mere seconds.

While all seven Feasts of the Lord are directly related to the celebration and observance of appointed times set apart by God, only the Feast of Weeks is named specifically after the idea of counting time itself. The first words in the Torah concerning the Feast of Weeks say, “And you shall count” and the following verse repeats the idea, saying “Count fifty days” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

The prayer of Moses as recorded in Psalm 90 has this truth embedded within it—“so teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). The annual cycle of the biblical feasts is a perpetual reminder that time is a gift from God. When we count it rightly, and value the times and seasons He has ordained for us, we will live in the reward of intimate knowledge of Him.

As the middle of the three pilgrimage feasts—when all the men of the nation were to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem—it is clearly an independent one (Exodus 23:16). At the same time, the Feast of Weeks is inextricably tied to Passover by counting the days between the two feasts. Therefore, to some extent it is the culmination of Passover.

Through marking the fifty days in-between celebrations, we see that the Feast of Weeks is one that is not only to build anticipation but also a season of time to link two realities together. In the Scriptures the number two speaks of witness and testimony. For instance, two witnesses establish a truth. Let’s quickly look at the themes of two names, two loaves, and two mountains found in this feast.

Two Names

The various names of the feast actually take their cue from the language of the verses mentioned above in Leviticus 23 as well as the written languages of the Scriptures. The Hebrew name of the feast is Shavuot, which means “weeks” and refers to counting seven weeks plus one day from Passover to establish the time of its observance. The Greek name of the feast in its Anglicized form is Pentecost, which means “fifty” and refers to counting fifty days between Passover and the Feast of Weeks.

Over the course of history, the two names of the feast in their respective languages have become indicative of a difference of emphasis between Israel and the Church, but I believe that when we bring the two together from a Messianic Jewish perspective, we gain a fuller picture of the significance of this feast.

Today in Judaism, Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of the Torah to Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses (Leviticus 26:46). Fifty days after crossing the Red Sea, when they came out of Egypt, the tribes of Israel were assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai. In receiving the Torah, the nation of Israel was birthed (Exodus 19:6). Deliverance from the bondage of Egypt came so that the tribes of Israel could be freed from their slave identity in order to receive the teaching of the Lord, which was the revelation of His character, nature, and ways.

For much of the Church world, the Feast of Pentecost is the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the early believers in Jerusalem fifty days after the resurrection of Yeshua, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts. On the very same day—once again surrounded by miracles, signs and wonders—the followers of Yeshua were gathered in one place, empowered to carry the Word of God to every nation in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the international Body of Messiah was born that day!

Two Loaves

After counting the weeks and days leading up to Shavuot, the only other specific instruction on how to observe the holiday is a peculiar one! It has to do with the offering that was to be brought from each home and given to the priest to wave before the Lord. The prescribed offering was two loaves of leavened bread. In light of the connection with Passover (the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and the preceding wave offering of unleavened bread on First Fruits, which took place during the days of counting, the two loaves of leavened bread particularly stand out. Adding to the peculiarity of this Shavuot instruction, there are specific Mosaic laws that state no grain offering should have leaven in it (Leviticus 2:11).

Yet, at Shavuot the Lord commanded two loaves of leavened bread to be waved before Him by the priests. We already discovered that Shavuot speaks of both the birth of the nation of Israel and the birth of the international Body of Messiah. Could this wave offering be a foreshadowing of the mystery of the one new man of Ephesians chapter two, coming together by the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit? Leviticus 23 says it was to be an offering purified by fire and made holy for a sweet smelling aroma to God.

Two Mountains

The mountain top locations of the two most defining Shavuot moments in Scripture are Sinai and Zion. The parallels between them are astounding! Not only do the events share the same date on the biblical calendar, but they are both preceded by equally powerful days of preparation in anticipation of the historical encounter between God and His people. Much has been said by way of comparison between what happened in Exodus 19-24 when Moses met with God on behalf of the people on Mount Sinai and the one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper room on Mount Zion in Acts 2. There are many similarities related to being gathered in unity. We see the manifestation of the presence of the Lord in glory and power, which brings fresh revelation of who He is! All of this enabling us to boldly go forth declaring His name to the Nations!

There have also been comparisons made of the differences between the outcomes of the two encounters. I was recently reading Hebrews 12 and saw for the first time that it isn’t simply an issue of comparing Shavuot and Pentecost. In reading Hebrews 12, I realized that the perspective of that passage is written from a heavenly viewpoint looking down at the mountain. Whereas Exodus 19-24 is written from a viewpoint of looking up from the foot of the mountain where the nation was waiting for Moses to return with the words of the Lord.

I believe that in this season of counting the days leading up to Shavuot/Pentecost, the Lord is bringing together the two perspectives of names, loaves, and mountains to release a fuller and clearer picture of His plan for the complete restoration of the whole world through Israel and the Church!

Matthew Rudolph
– by Matthew Rudolph, International Director of Gateways Beyond International in Limassol, Cyprus. Matthew is a Jewish believer in Yeshua whose heart burns for God’s glory to be seen in Israel and the nations. Experiences gained from growing up in places like India, Europe, and the Middle East have given him a broader understanding of the heartbeat of God for the nations. Matthew serves on the apostolic team of Gateways Beyond International, which is a family of Messianic missional communities with ministry bases in Cyprus, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. He and his wife, Serah, live in Cyprus with their two beautiful adopted Ethiopian children.

For an authentic Purim recipe from Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen, click here: Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen


Purim: Joy, Boldness, and Morning Star

By on March 15th, 2016
Posted in Featured Articles

Purim is the most joyous of all the Jewish festivals. Why is this? I’m glad you asked! Let me tell you the story.

Many moons ago, in the land of Persia where our people were exiled, there lived a beautiful woman named Esther who risked everything to save her people. Esther captured the imagination of Jews through the ages, even to the point that a book of the Bible was named after her. Although God’s name is never explicitly mentioned in the book of Esther, we see his guiding hand on every page, from the chain of events that led to Esther marrying the king of Persia, to Mordecai (Esther’s cousin) providentially learning of a plot to assassinate the king and saving him from harm, to the divine deliverance that occurred on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar, a day that had been appointed for the annihilation of all Jews in Persia.

Hitler was not the first to propose the idea of a “final solution.” Long before Hitler, there was a wicked man named Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites (the archenemy of Israel), who hatched a diabolical plan to exterminate all Persian Jews on Adar 13 and convinced King Ahasuerus to support it. But instead of the Jews of Persia being destroyed on Adar 13, the tables were turned and Haman and his wicked minions were destroyed instead. The Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) tells us that Esther persuaded the king to save her people. The king by law could not repeal his order of annihilation, so instead he issued a second order: That the Jews were to annihilate the annihilators. What a drama! This is how our people responded when they heard the good news:

“In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating…On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them” (Esther 8:17—9:1).

Amid the joy and gladness that day, and in the days that followed, Mordecai established a new festival called Purim that was to be observed by his people for the generations to come. It was to be a joyous festival in memory of God’s deliverance. Notice how many times the Hebrew word simcha (joy) appears in the text leading up to the proclamation of the new festival:

“This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.”

“The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.”

“That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.”

“Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor…These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants” (Esther 9:17-22, 28).

The joy of Purim continues to find expression today in Jewish communities around the world. We have Purim spiels (plays) where the Megillah is read to cheers of “Hurray!” when Esther and Mordecai’s names are mentioned, and shouts of “Boo!” drowned out by the sound of groggers (noisemakers) when the name of Haman is uttered. This is to symbolically fulfill the words of Deuteronomy 25:19, “You shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”

Synagogues hold Purim carnivals where children and adults dress up as characters from the story. My daughters loved to dress up as Queen Esther (or Queen Vashti!). And of course, how can one have a Purim party without Purim songs and our beloved hamantaschen (cookies made in a triangular shape and filled with various kinds of sweet fillings to recall Haman’s stuffed pockets, ears or hat—depending on the tradition of your family). Personally, I like my wife Harumi’s apple Hamantaschen the best!

While Purim is fun and joy filled, it is also a festival that has profound spiritual meaning. For example, it is notable that the heroine of our story had two names: Hadassah and Esther. The Midrash tells us that Hadassah (which means “myrtle”) was her Hebrew name because the myrtle is a plant with a sweet smell and a bitter taste (Esther Rabbah 6.5). Hadassah spread a sweet aroma to those around her through her good deeds and bold witness of the God of Israel. But for those who walked in darkness, like Haman, she left a bitter taste.

Esther was her Persian name. The Targum of Esther (a kind of early Jewish paraphrase of the story) and the Talmud both connect the name Esther with the Persian word setareh (which means “star”) and explain that Esther was as beautiful as the Morning Star, the planet Venus.

The Midrash tells us that “She was like a statue which a thousand persons look upon and all equally admire.” R. Nehemiah said: “They put Median women on one side of her and Persian women on the other, and she was more beautiful than all of them” (Esther Rabbah 6.9).

Because Esther’s name is identified with the Morning Star, our rabbis connected her acts of courage in serving the Lord with Psalm 22. Why Psalm 22? Because the title of the psalm says, “For the music leader, to the tune ayelet ha-shachar,” which can be translated “morning star.” In other words, our rabbis saw this psalm as Esther’s psalm and they believed that she lived it out in her own life. I think this tradition is very significant because Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm that Yeshua (who refers to himself as “the bright morning star” in Revelation 22) lived out in his own life.

The first verse of the psalm says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yeshua said this to his father in heaven, the King of Kings, when he faced the climax of his ministry on earth, to save his people from their sins by laying down his life on the execution stake, the cross. Similarly, Jewish tradition tells us that when Esther appeared before the king to save our people, when she entered the king’s throne room, she (the morning star of our people) said to the Lord, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If this tradition is reliable, then Esther like Yeshua was probably meditating on the meaning of the whole psalm, which is a praise to God the King for being the savior of Israel. Psalm 22:3-5 goes on to state:

“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”

We can imagine Esther having this faith in God as her savior as she stood before the king. We can imagine her praying at that moment, when her life hung in the balance, that the Lord would deliver her people and save Israel.

During this joyous season of Purim, let us reflect on the holy boldness of the morning star of Israel, Esther, who risked her life to save our people. Proverbs 31 says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Let us be inspired by Hadassah’s myrtle-like qualities, the sweetness of her good deeds and testimony, which won her favor but also provoked a bitter response from those who walked in darkness.

It is said in the Talmud that he who dreams of the book of Esther will see miracles in this life (b. Berakhot 57b). May we all dream of these events that took place long ago and may they cause us to be that much more devoted to our Messiah, the ultimate morning star of Israel.

David Rudolph
By Rabbi David Rudolph, PhD – Director of Messianic Jewish Studies at The King’s University

For an authentic Purim recipe from Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen, click here: Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen


The Salsa Lady

By on September 2nd, 2013
Posted in Featured Articles

After attending her very first MJBI banquet with husband, Carl, many years ago, Delma Hansen says she was changed. “I felt like I had stepped into a whole new realm of my Christian walk…a genuine love for Israel began to cultivate immediately in my heart.” From that point forward, the Hansons began sharing and supporting the vision of MJBI.

Delma then quit her full-time job years later to help raise her grandchildren. Although their income dropped, Delma’s desire to support MJBI did not. Inspired by the fundraising passion the late Freda Lindsay exemplified at a banquet one year, Delma began to ask the Lord for a creative way she, too, could raise money. His answer? Make and sell jars of salsa to sponsor and host a banquet table.

As she began sharing this God-inspired idea with others, Delma was quite surprised by the response. The Lord began to provide jars, fresh produce, and even cash donations through both friends and strangers for the fundraiser. When it was over, Delma had enough that first year to sponsor not just one, but TWO, tables!

Because of her continuing fundraising efforts, Delma is now affectionately known around the MJBI office as “The Salsa Lady.” And this year marks the Hanson’s eleventh year of MJBI banquet attendance.
“I have witnessed the process the MJBI staff goes through in bringing together all the parts of the banquet in a spirit of excellence and integrity,” says Delma. “Both Carl and I consider it a privilege to (labor) together alongside MJBI history makers – to seize these moments in time and watch the salvation of all Israel – the apple of God’s eye.”

THE SALSA LADY

By Tara Kieschnick, Contributing Writer


An Historic Precedence

By on September 2nd, 2013
Posted in Featured Articles

AN HISTORIC PRECEDENCE

An Historic Precedence: Jewish Studies at The King’s University Yields First Doctors of Ministry in Messianic Jewish Leadership

The MJBI has the great pleasure to oversee and endorse the Messianic Jewish Studies Program at The King’s University for all who want an accredited degree. Dr. Ray Gannon, who directs this program while also serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the MJBI, contributed to this report.

On June 9th, Chancellor Jack Hayford beamed as he opened the 16th Commencement exercises at The King’s University main campus in Van Nuys, California. Among the nearly 100 graduates were five graduating with their earned doctorates in Messianic Jewish Leadership: Jack Cairns (New Jersey), Shawn Moir (California), Steve Galiley (New York), Greg Stone (Minnesota), and Lon Wiksell (Missouri). While several bachelors and masters degrees have been awarded, this was the first time in history that Jewish ministry leaders could claim the doctoral degree in Messianic Jewish Leadership since the inception of the program in 2007.

This dramatic event was not lost on those of the Messianic community in attendance that evening, nor on Dr. Jack Hayford. Accolades of “a job well done” were interspersed during the graduation festivities with abundant praise and thanksgiving to God for such a gracious blessing for Messianic Judaism. He made it clear that TKU was deeply committed to the continued development of the MJSP as an integral part of the corporate vision. In fact, Dr. Hayford cited the opening the MJSP as one of three crowning achievements in TKU’s history that has helped it become such a rapidly expanding national university.

Rabbi Dr. Bruce Tucker, academic supervisor to the doctoral candidates, declared, “This cohort, brought together by Dr. Ray Gannon, has a repository of Messianic Jewish knowledge and understanding and experience that has not existed in history until today. This is historic!” Dr. Tucker went on to state that he believed these five doctoral graduates are going to help cast the vision of where and how the Messianic Movement needs to move into the future through their writings and ministry impact.

Located in Van Nuys since its inception, The King’s University has had multiplied branches throughout the West and South. But beginning this fall (2013), the TKU main campus will be near Dallas, Texas, hosted by Gateway Church in Southlake. Dr. Steve Riggle of Houston and Dr. Robert Morris of Southlake will be the President and Chairman of the Board respectively. .

Under Pastor Morris, the campus is undergoing massive renovations and making state of the art educational advances to guarantee the finest of theological and Messianic educational opportunities anywhere. Use of The Tree of Life Bible in The King’s University classrooms will be consistent with Chief Academic Officer John Spurling’s strong conviction that the Hebraic dimension of solid biblical teaching must permeate the entire university program.

Dr. Ray Gannon, dean of the Messianic Jewish Studies programs, expresses his constant gratitude to Rabbi Jonathan Bernis of Jewish Voice Ministries International and to Dr. Wayne Wilks of Messianic Jewish Bible Institute for taking many giant steps of faith in the launching of the MJSP. Jewish Voice has offered generous scholarships to assist Jewish and non-Jewish students alike at all levels of the program. With Messianic faculty like Dr. Jeffrey Seif, Dr. Dan Juster, Dr. Michael L. Brown, and an impressive string of others, students in the MJSP will immediately benefit as will the Kingdom of God long term.

Information and/or applications for the fully accredited bachelor or masters programs in Messianic Jewish Studies (on campus or online) or the doctoral degree in Messianic Jewish Leadership can now be downloaded at www.TheKingsJewishVoice.org

By Dr. Ray Gannon, Dean of the Messianic Jewish Studies Programs


SMT: “Acts 29” History Makers

By on September 2nd, 2013
Posted in Featured Articles

SMT: “ACTS 29” HISTORY MAKERS

Just as the Father used men of old to pen the Bible, He is still using men to proclaim and spread His word today. Jesus and the early apostles used whatever means (or technology) available at the time to share the Good News. The revolutionary message of the Gospel was proclaimed and spread from house to house and country to country on foot, by boat, or by donkey. But in these modern times, it is by today’s technology of satellites, computers, and cell phones.

Methods may change, but never the Message.

I have heard that the last words people utter before they depart this earth are the most important ones they want us to remember. According to Matthew 28:19-20, among the last words the disciples heard Jesus say were “go,” “make disciples,” and “teach.” We call these instructions the Great Commission.

Contained within the MJBI mission statement are these same instructions:

The MJBI equips leaders (make disciples) who will establish Messianic Jewish congregations and ministries in Jewish communities worldwide (go). Additionally, the MJBI seeks to equip (teach) the Church in its responsibility to take the Good News to the Jew first (Romans 1:16).

Our online School of Messianic Theology (SMT) is one of the 21st Century ways MJBI strives to obey this Great Commission. We capture the Word of God and the Messianic message on video and spread it across the world via the Internet.

The Lord has blessed the SMT in numerous “loaves and fishes” ways in a short amount of time. For example, on a minimal budget He accelerated the knowledge of our staff which enabled us to configure systems and produce video quicker than anticipated. Also, the media department was told by programming experts it would be impossible for the high definition videos to work on mobile devices like tablets and cell phones. But God!

Initially begun to reach English-speaking students, SMT now has a worldwide scope with registrants from over 120 nations. Courses are currently being dubbed into Russian, and there are plans to expand into Spanish, Hebrew, and about ten other major languages. We have also developed small and large group programs (for Bible studies, home groups, or congregations) in English and other languages.

The prophets and apostles of old had no idea at the time that they were making history. We believe that many of the SMT instructors continue to add to that legacy as today’s prophets and apostles to the Messianic Jewish world. By capturing, archiving and dispersing the life messages of these teachers from our small studio, we—along with our ministry partners—are embracing the prophetic promise that Jewish acceptance of Yeshua means “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15).

Come join with the SMT as we do our Great Commission part in helping redeem those “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5). The Book of Acts did not stop with Chapter 28. It is still being written today!

By Frank Lugenheim, MJBI USA Director of Operations


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