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Shalom and greetings, my dear brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord, Yeshua HaMaschiach, Jesus the Messiah. Since my last letter to you, our fellowship, Tikvah BaMidbar (Hope in the Desert) has celebrated its 26th annual citywide Messianic Passover Seder. Thank you for your prayers, for nothing is impossible when our requests are laid at the foot of the Cross—at the wondrous Cross of Calvary. It is here we behold His victory!
Vi's daughter, Kipling, with David Wimbley
(Lighting the candles at Passover)
Yes, we do have a Spring here in Arizona—when flowers bloom and trees bud (and allergies prevail), and rains (and even snow and hail) temporarily moisten our desert landscape. But it is also exciting for another reason—it is the season which begins with the observance of Passover, the first of the seven feasts God outlined for Moses to proclaim in Leviticus 23 as holy convocations at His appointed times. The celebration of Passover is a clear prophecy of a greater story—the account of redemption through our Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God who lived, died, and rose again for the redemption of all who will believe. The message of Passover is “deliverance.” It is the central theme in Jewish history and worship—just as Calvary is the central theme in our Christian faith. In fact, as we celebrate the Passover, believers in Jesus the Messiah can see how Jewish Christianity really is since our Savior, Bible, and even our faith all have Jewish roots. We praise our Lord that 300 people attended the Passover Seder, and for the seeds that were planted in the hearts of the unsaved Jewish individuals who heard and saw, for the first time, the foreshadowing of the Messiah in the Passover. Please pray that those seeds would come to fruition.
“WHY DON’T JEWISH PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THEIR PROMISED MESSIAH?”
I praise God for the unexpected opportunity to engage in a conversation with an unsaved Jewish man who attended the Seder. My daughter, who flew in from Chicago, had gone to high school with him in Chicago and had invited him to the Passover. Afterward, he told me he thought the Seder was beautiful. When I asked him about his background, he told me that he’s a traditional Jewish person, attended a conservative synagogue in his youth, wasn’t “religious,” but tried to live his life with kindness and love toward others. “After all,” he said, “isn’t that even the Christian thing to do?” He also wasn’t sure about an afterlife, as he really didn’t feel it existed and thus didn’t think about it. After I shared numerous prophetic verses from the Older Covenant with him, he gave me the pat answer that “everything in the Bible was open to interpretation.” But then he asked me, “Why don’t Jewish people believe that Jesus is their promised Messiah?” He also asked what the rabbis’ objections were concerning the verses I shared with him, since they studied and were such learned men. Our discussion included questions about worshiping one God, what is Truth, etc. We parted as friends, and it encouraged my heart that he called my daughter and told her he was researching on his own everything I had shared with him, including views on an afterlife. However, every time he googled something, the “Jews for Jesus” ministry would pop up. Since he didn’t think they would say anything different than what I had already shared with him, he preferred to visit the traditional Jewish sites. My daughter warned him about placing too much stock in the Internet. However, he’s also thinking about meeting with a rabbi to ask him the same questions he asked me. Please pray for his salvation—that God would pierce his heart with the Truth and lead him to His saving grace.
AN UNEXPECTED BLESSING
As I was perusing Facebook, I saw the following Lenten Gratitude post and it touched my heart:
“Today I am thankful for a dear couple who met me as a middle-schooler and mentored me for many years. . . . They taught me about Passover and the depth of God’s love for humanity when Jesus conquered death. I was able to fumble through an introductory lesson on the Passover Seder with my middle schoolers as we continue our year through Hebrews (we’ve been studying Moses for a month in the middle of Hebrews 11) and reflected on the fact that I was their age when I first began learning this important feast. . . . One of the younger kids questioned why I would celebrate Passover because I’m a ‘Christian’ and I explained that I am a follower of Jesus and I believe it’s important to understand the holidays he celebrates and the depth of his actions during the ‘last supper,’ which was the same Passover Seder. . . . It was a profound moment for me (even if it feels like it is totally lost on the kids). . . . I am thankful for Barry and Violette Berger. Your lessons were not lost on me as a middle-schooler! And in that wisdom I will continue to do the good work of youth ministry even when the uphill battle is slow and seems ineffective. . . . Because when they are 40 they will get it, too!” (Elizabeth Shetter Sims)
Thank YOU, Elizabeth Shetter Sims. You have always held a special place in our hearts. You are truly a student of the Word . . . and you “got it” when you were a middle-schooler. And you never forgot it! I praise God for how willingly you use your gifts to His honor and glory. You continue to make a difference! You have blessed us and the house of Israel.
Thank you, my dear friends, for your faithfulness—for your love, prayers, and generosity. Thank you for your steadfastness in standing with me for the salvation of Israel. Shalom Aleichem! (Well-being be upon you!) May we continue to rejoice together in God’s indescribable gift to us—Jesus!
In Messiah’s love and mine,
As the Lord leads, please include a note preferencing all future gifts for Violette Berger to:
PO Box 345
San Antonio, TX 78292-0345
PO Box 14616
Scottsdale, AZ 85267
Phone: (800) 926-5397