Influencers Presentation February 24, 2017

Netivah Ministry for Messianic Jews


God is working in Israel through two leaders in our Influencers Band of Brothers, Phil Hanlen and Ryan VanDeusen. Phil reminds us that God will work his will whether or not we’re on board so it’s best to get on board. Jesus Christ came to minister to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Israel is still relevant to God’s will today. Netivah (Path) Messianic Jews is an organization that God connected Phil and Ryan with on their recent trip to Israel. The vision is to get behind the hearts of the people that God is already working with in Israel. Phil and Ryan’s ministry is to bless young Israeli soldiers with the love of God through the Netivah organization.

Matan is the Netivah Soldiers’ Ministry coordinator and is a second generation Messianic Jew in Israel. He finished his tour of duty in the Iraeli military and has been called of God to show the soldiers that they need to be a light for the true God in Israel.

Isaac, another leader in the soldiers’ ministry was brought up in a Christian family in Israel. He finished his three year military service in the Israeli special service. Isaac was trained in England in a Bible college. He was called back to Israel to minister to young soldiers.

Joel Goldberg the Director of Netivah is a Messianic Jew. He traveled with Phil and Ryan in Israel for three weeks. Joel’s parents were Jewish Americans who moved to Israel to raise their children. Messianic Jews worship in a synagogue and live their lives for their Lord Jesus Christ. There are very few Messianic Jews in Israel. Israel is about a quarter of the size of the state of Washington. Only about 0.02% are Messianic Jews. Although there are many in Israel who profess Christianity, Messianic Jews believing in Christ is inconsistent theology for most Jews. Many Israelis believe that a Jew believing in Jesus is a heretic. When Joel was growing up, a national youth conference of Messianic Jews consisted of only 25 people. Most of these people are not walking with the Lord today because of lack of Christian support. It’s difficult for Messianic Jews to contend for their faith in a hostile environment. Thirty years later, God has called Joel back to this work to stand up for young Messianic Jews. This community is now growing and maturing in the Lord. From about 3000 when Phil was growing up, there are now about 15,000 Messianic Jews in Israel. As ministry’s like Joel’s “plant and water” God is giving the increase.

The purpose of Netivah’s ministry is Isaiah 43,: 16-21: Thus says the Lord who makes a way through the sea and a path (Netivah) through the waters. Behold I will do something new. Now it will spring forth. Are you not aware of it? I will make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert…. I have given waters in the wilderness. And waters in the desert to give drink to my chosen people and the people whom I formed for Myself will declare my praise.

God’s purpose is to restore his people to the land of Israel. Conflict always accompanies God’s mighty work in Israel. By the grace of God and reconciliation through faith, the Arab and Israeli Christians are finding unity in Christ. God has called Joel to serve in a land where there is need for the water of life for Jesus said, “I am the fountain of living waters.”

Joel studied for two years in western Oregon to train as a youth minister. This was his preparation to serve in Israel with youth and soldiers. Today Netivah ministries have 80 people on staff. They train and educate youth leaders and pastors in Israel. Loving Israel does not mean to be anti-Arab. God’s calling is to love those who are lost regardless of their tribe and nation of origin. As the scripture says, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in the unity of Christ Jesus.

Military service is mandatory in Israel for both men and women. The Israeli military culture challenges young soldiers to contend for their faith. The military strives to make soldiers in their unit one unified force. In the midst of the secular military culture, It’s difficult for soldiers in Israel to walk independently as Christians. Netivah conducts a 10 day program to help young soldiers commit to their Christian Faith. Their theme is “choose ye this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Netivah’s challenge is to discipline soldiers in the Word of God to contend for their faith and to show their fellow soldiers that Jesus Christ is the Lord and that he is the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah. The training classes prepare young soldiers to stand and make biblical decisions when they confront ethical and moral dilemmas in the military.

Netivah’s ministry consists of youth conferences, prayer meetings, and training programs. One of their Arabic leaders’ wife Nevin was recently diagnosed with cancer. We are encouraged to keep her in prayer.

There are two important aspects of Netivah’s ministry to Israeli soldiers. The first is to be available to them for comfort, fellowship and support during their military service. The other aspect is to train and educate youth leaders to have a clear vision and calling to “commit that which they have heard of the Word of God to others who shall be able to teach others also.”

Phil Hanlen and Ryan Van Duesen are planning a trip this fall to minister to Israeli soldiers through Netivah. They will bless young Israeli soldiers with gifts and with the love of God on this journey and mission to which God has called them. The web address for Netivah is Please keep Netivah and the mission trip in your prayers.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message February 17 ,2017

Take up Thy Cross

In Luke Chapter 9 Jesus continued his training of the twelves disciples. He reminded them twice in this passage that he would go to Jerusalem to be beaten and tortured and then he would have to die. Jesus was dedicated to his mission to draw men unto him to have fellowship with him. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, fellowship was broken between God and Man. His mission was to redeem mankind by paying the price for sins and the sin nature that we inherited from Adam. We’ve been redeemed by Jesus’ payment for our debt of sin through the sacrifice of his innocent blood. We have been bought with a price. Because of our righteousness in him, those born again of the spirit have been reconciled to God in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

After Adam’s fall, God asked Adam, “why were you hiding from me?” Adam said, “because I was naked and ashamed.” God said to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” The devil has been reminding us of our shame and our shortcomings our ever since. However, the wisdom from above is learning to see life from God’s point of view, not satan’s.

Jesus came to reconcile man back to God… to restore the broken fellowship between God and man. In a fallen world, if we look around us, if we look at others or at the man in the mirror, we’ll be depressed. However, when we look to him we’ll be blessed. The devil will try to get you to “eat your words.” He’ll accuse us of being hypocrites when we speak the Word, because the Word is perfect, but in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.

When the crisis comes, God expects his men to be the reliable ones…ones in whom his testimony is true and faithful. When you become a Christian, the call to worship is “the Lord your God is one God.” We shall worship him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength… We shall worship him with our very essence…Christ in us the hope of glory.

Our strength and our perfection is not in our flesh, but only in his gift of Holy Spirit… The spirit of Christ in us . In verse 23 of Luke 9 Jesus said, “if any man desires to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.” The five thousand men in the crowd had just been fed. They were in awe of Jesus because he had performed a miracle by feeding the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus told his twelve disciples, if you want to be my disciplined followers, you need to forsake yourselves, take up your cross, and follow me. Jesus said two things are required to follow him. The first is to give up the rights to your self….to deny yourself. The second is to take up your cross daily. The cross is the symbol of death, shame, ridicule, and mocking…for cursed is anyone who hangs on a cross. The people understood that the cross was a symbol of a shameful death for sin and guilt and iniquity. Before we can follow him, we must crucify our flesh. Jesus said, For whosoever shall save his life shall loose it. But whosoever shall loose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

In Chronicles, the there are four prerequisites to hear from heaven: to humble yourself, to forsake your wicked ways, to pray, and to seek his face. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, they taunted him saying, if you’re the son of God, walk off of the cross and save yourself. He could have called 72,000 angels from heaven, but he didn’t. It wasn’t the nails that kept him hanging on the cross. Rather, it was the love that he had for us…for he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

In Luke 9, Jesus needed to separate the sheep from the goats. A true follower is not one who is looking for self aggrandizement or self actualization. The true followers are those who take up their cross daily and follow him. One man approached Jesus and said, “Lord, I’ll follow you where ever you go.” Jesus responded, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus said to another man, “Follow me.” The man replied, “First I have to go bury my father.” In Luke 14, Jesus said, “If you do not hate your father and your mother, your wife and children, your sister and brother, and even your own life, you cannot be my disciple.” Jesus said that compared to loving me and putting me first in your life, whatever competes with your devotion to me, then you need to “hate” that thing in comparison to your love for me. You can’t look back while plowing or you cannot plow a straight furrow. If you look back, you’ll fall into the ditch. As we carry out our great commission as salt of the earth and as the children of light, our lord’s command is “focus steadfastly upon me.” Our faith will be tested to discover what’s really important. What is it that you put above your love for the lord? God will put his hand on our family for a reason. God teaches us that He is merciful even when he doesn’t give us what we think we want.

When the doctors told Pete in the father’s waiting room, “we’re loosing the baby’s heartbeat,” Pete went to God in prayer. God said to Pete, “how much control do you have over this situation? “No matter the outcome of this trial, will you still dedicate your life to love and serve me?” God was teaching Pete that the one true thing is to dedicate your life to your Lord. The first and great commandment is “thou shalt have no other gods between your face and my face.” Not my will, but thine be done.

When Peter preached the first sermon to the Church on the day of Pentecost, the crowd noticed that Peter was not an educated man, but that he had been with Jesus. The power we have is in proximity with him.

A few weeks ago Pete and his beloved wife Susan went to their family doctor to get an MRI to address her recent episodes of mild dementia and memory loss. Last Tuesday, the doctor said, “Susan you have a brain tumor.” The follow up appointment next week is with a neurologist to determine the prognosis and course of treatment. This trial is an opportunity to test what is really important. In this world, all relationships end in pain and disappointment. However, with Jesus Christ, all relationships end in the hope of eternal life with our Lord. Whatever happens in this life, despite the pathologist’s reports, God is merciful for all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.

In this passage in Luke chapter 9, Jesus prepared his true disciples how to be more than conquerors. We need to kill the casual Christian inside of us. For I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live I life by the faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message February 10, 2017

Trust Training

In Luke 9 Jesus sent his out his twelve disciples to preach the gospel, to heal the sick, and to cast out Devils. Jesus was training his disciples to trust him…to learn to be men of faith instead of men of fear. He gave them the two things they needed to get the job done: power and authority. Power is the ability…the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses unto Jesus Christ to serve him and to bear fruit for him that will last for eternity. In our own power we will not bear fruit that will last. Likewise, Jesus has called each of us with his power to preach and minister from our spiritual gift. The authority and power Jesus gave them over demons and illness was to authenticate the message of the gospel of the kingdom. The purpose of the gospel message was to prepare men’s hearts for God’s harvest… to “write their names in heaven.”

In the following chapter, Jesus sent out seventy on another faith trip to speak the gospel, to cast out demons and to heal people. He said to take nothing with them on the trip and to rely on the hospitality of those to whom they ministered. They reported back to Jesus with a joyous report of the great and mighty works that they had done in Jesus’ name. However, Jesus admonished them, “rejoice not because the devil fell from heaven like lightning, but because your names are written in heaven.”

The stories in Luke 9 and 10 are about Jesus’ training his disciples how to become men of faith. After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus met a man whose son was possessed with a demon. The disciples could not cast out the demon. After Jesus had delivered the man’s son from the demon, the disciples took Jesus aside and asked him why they could not cast out the demon. Jesus had said to the crowd that had followed him, “O faithless generation.” The disciples had been corrupted by arguing who was the greatest among them. They had reverted to the ways of the world and the thoughts of the flesh instead of the thoughts of the spirit. Who is really Lord of your life? In verse 18, Jesus had asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” The disciples answered, “Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the Old Testament Prophets returning from the dead.” Then Jesus asked them, “But who say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God.”

One of life’s greatest lessons is that God doesn’t always need our help to accomplish his will and his work. Sometimes he calls us to rest in him and to prepare for the spiritual battle. Men often want to be on the front lines. However, God’s timing is not our timing. Our challenge is to make our will his will. Our exhortation is to die to ourselves in order to live for him. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”

John said to Jesus, “there were men casting out Devils in your name. We rebuked them for using your name.” However Jesus said, “Forbid him not, for whoever is not against us is for us.” In Mark 9:51 Jesus had set his face to go to Jerusalem through Samaria. However the Samaritans rejected him. Jesus said to the Samaritans, “you do not know who’s spirit you are following.” He came to deliver them from the spirit of the world, but they rejected his message. In our culture the “Samaritans” will not stand up and cheer when the word of the Lord is spoken.

According to 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The secret to forgiveness of sins is not to dwell on the sin, but to turn to the savior from sin. Jesus taught his disciples that we need to walk in the world and get our feet dirty. Jesus called his disciples to the upper room before he died and washed their feet. This illustrated that he came to wash us from the contamination of this world. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.

It’s easy to get caught up into the distractions of this world. God has called us to repent…to do an about face and to turn away from the world by turning to Him. God did not call us for the purpose to call fire from down from heaven or to cast out the devil spirits. Jesus said, I have not come to destroy, but to save. He did not come to destroy the law of sin and death, but to fulfill the law. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death. Jesus did not call us to protect his reputation. His righteous standard stands on its own. He did not call us to defend the truth. The truth is its own defense. He shows us the imperfections in ourselves and others so that we can know what to pray for. Jesus said, “bless them that persecute you, bless and curse not.” Jesus’ prayer was, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus has called us unto Liberty. Our Liberty in Christ is not to be used as an excuse to sin, but rather our Liberty is to serve others in love. Speaking the truth in love will turn an upside down world right-side-up. He didn’t call us to condemn unbelievers to hell. For Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

Therefore, stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage. Following in the footsteps of our Lord as his true disciple is continuing in his Word. Jesus said “if you continue in my word, you shall be my disciplined followers. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message February 3, 2017

Power and Authority

In Luke 9 Jesus sent out the twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out demons to heal diseases and to preach the gospel. He instructed them that whatever house received them to stay there, but if they did not receive them to shake the dust off of their feet and move on to the next house. Jesus gave them power and authority to get the job done. The power is the Holy Spirit. The authority is in the name of Jesus, for at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the father. What does discipleship mean? He sent them on a faith trip so that they could learn by experience the meaning of discipleship. You learn how to be like Jesus by spending time in his presence and by obedience to his Word. The power of God is manifest by those who do and speak in the name of Jesus.

God has called each of us with the power and authority to do the job that he has called us to do. The power of God is the ability to do the task. Our responsibility is our response to his ability. Jesus said that apart from me you can do nothing that will impact lives…nothing that will last into eternity. A pastor’s first assignment is to preach the gospel and to let the chips fall where they may. We’re called to plant and water but God gives the increase. The second calling of a pastor is to spend time in the presence of the Lord. The first and great commandment is to love God above all…that there shall be no other gods between our face and his face. A man of God serves Christ from a heart of love.

In Luke 10, the apostles along with seventy others that Jesus sent out returned with a joyous report saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Satan falling like lightning from heaven must have been a spectacular revelation for the seventy. However, Jesus admonished them, “rejoice not because you have the power to cast out Devils, rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

God blesses obedience. Jesus related a parable about a master who had two servants. One said that he would do the master’s assignment, but the other man said that he would not. However, the only servant who carried out the master’s will was the man who had originally refused to do it. Which man do you think that the master blessed? God doesn’t bless our promises, rather, he blesses our actions according to his will. The blessing is not in agreeing to perform but in the performance itself. For it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. He is a rewarder of those who are obedient to his commands. The abundant life is living life without regrets. The greatest sins are the sins of omission, “I could have walked in fellowship with my Lord, but didn’t.” The more abundant life is lived in proximity with our Lord. We were not called to “bury our talents in the ground.” Rather we were called to invest our talents in service to him…for great is your reward in heaven. Jesus said, if any man says he is my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me. Following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus is true discipleship. This is what it means to let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which which is in heaven.

Jesus has called us to be men of prayer. Prayer is aligning our heart with God’s heart. Prayer focuses our will on his will so that we can will and do of his good pleasure. Prayer is God’s force multiplier… praying always with all saints in the power of the Holy Spirit.

According to Psalm 19 the expanse of the universe was created for the glory of God. He reminds us that we are significant when we align our hearts with the creator of the universe. Otherwise we are insignificant in the vastness of God’s creation. We who are born again of incorruptible seed are the purpose of God’s creation. He has given us all things richly to enjoy when we serve our risen Savior. God has called us to the church of the living God so that we can draw our hearts together as like minded believers in service to our Lord. We’re in this together. He has called each of us as individual fittings within the body of Christ, fit for the master’s use. For we have this treasure in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of him and not of us. Our assignment is to walk with him and to have no other God’s between our face and his face… For what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,