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Judicious or Judgmental?

These two words may sound similar but how we affect others when we are judicious could not be more different than how we affect them when we are judgmental.

Who wouldn't want a reputation for being judicious? Wouldn't you? On the other hand, I don't think anyone sets out to be judgmental.

Now sometimes a judicious person can get a bad rap for being judgmental just because people tend to label any view that is less-than-affirming of their beliefs or choices as judgmental. This is an unfortunate illustration of what happens when we don't maintain the integrity of words and their definitions.

But most of us have to work at actually not judging others, at not deserving that label.

The best way I know to avoid being judgmental is to realize that it's part of human nature and to remember that if I don't recognize the tendency in myself, I can easily fall into it.

I came up with the following to try to stay on the right track. Let me know if you find it helpful:

It is judicious to seek out the facts.
It is judgmental to jump to conclusions.

It is judicious to listen to what people have to say.
It is judgmental to ascribe motives to people without hearing them out.

It is judicious to uphold principles as landmarks for one's choices and behavior.
It is judgmental to be unkind to those who either do not choose to believe or live up to those principles.

It is judicious to choose one's closest friends/mentors/influencers from those with shared principles.
It is judgmental to shun those who do not share our principles.

Judicious people are concerned with what is right.
Judgmental people are concerned with being right.

Judicious people recognize their own tendency to be judgmental; it actually helps them to detect and reject their own self-righteousness.
Judgmental people recognize other people's tendency to be judgmental but not their own; they usually mistake their self-righteousness for righteous indignation.

When judicious people are questioned about their choices, they may not like it, but will think it over to see if the questions should merit their concern.
When judgmental people are questioned about their choices, they are likely to dismiss the person who asks as judgmental.

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Sneak Preview: Excerpted from the yet-to-be-published biography of Moishe Rosen

Hey Rosen, where you going?" 

 "It's my lunch hour," Moishe explained, still on his way out [of Gart's sporting goods store where he worked].

"No it's not," was the retort. "We're too busy; we need you to cover."  He punctuated his demand with some rather colorful language. Moishe liked and respected three of the four Gart brothers; unfortunately, this happened to be the fourth.

Moishe swallowed hard, forcing himself to remain calm. "But my wife made a special trip. She wouldn't be here if you'd told me earlier you wanted me to work through lunch today." 

The man shrugged. "Well, that's too blank bad."

None of the other brothers used language like that in the store, much less in front of a lady.... Moishe barely concealed his anger as he announced once again that he was going to lunch.

"If you do," the other growled, "don't bother coming back—you're fired." 

Moishe put a protective arm around his young wife and left without another word.

They walked to their favorite lunch stop: Joe "Awful" Coffee's—where the coffee wasn't awful ...

"You don't have to worry, you know," he told [Ceil] reassuringly, as they slid into their favorite booth. "I'll start looking for another job right away."

"I'm not worried." She tried to match his optimistic tone....

In fact, Moishe already had an idea of the kind of work he wanted to do.... He had heard a radio interview in which [a man] ... insisted that until a person had worked with his hands, he was not worthy to be considered a philosopher.

After lunch, [Moishe] went home and ... began poring over the classified section of the newspaper. He purposely avoided sales opportunities in favor of manual labor. Before long, ... Moishe got [a carpenter's assistant] position.... Six weeks into the job his boss shook his head sadly and said, "Rosen I never seen anybody work so hard and fail so badly. I hate to do this, but I won't be able to use you after this week."

Next he tried driving a truck. That job ended on the very first day—when the boss asked to see his social security card and driver's license.... It had never occurred to Moishe to get a license because he had no car.

...One after another, Moishe attempted a series of jobs for which he was ill-suited.... [He finally] decided that respect for manual labor was all very well, but doing work he was actually good at was even better. When a friend mentioned that the Fairmount Cemetery had an opening for a sales manager, Moishe called and made an appointment for an interview....

Moishe answered the questions put to him confidently, and felt relieved as the interviewer nodded his satisfaction. "You can run the operation however you see fit, as long as sales remain up," the interviewer explained. "You seem very well qualified; the job is yours if you want it." Moishe wanted it.

Moishe's membership at Trinity Baptist Church had brought him into contact with several luminaries from Denver Seminary (then called Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver), including Dr. Vernon Grounds, who, at that time was the dean.1 Dr. Grounds had shown himself a friend to Moishe, and through him, Moishe learned that many seminary students needed part-time work. He was welcome to come visit the seminary if he wished. Moishe felt that ministers-in-training would be sensitive in caring for bereaved customers. He visited the seminary and recruited his entire sales team from the student body.

It was the kind of move he would later refer to as "convergence" because it brought together multiple purposes. It provided compassionate care for his customers and it helped the theological students cover their school and personal expenses.

Selling burial plots wasn't nearly as much fun as selling cameras, but Moishe did well at it—and the sales job at Fairmount Cemetery turned out to be an important, if brief, chapter in his life. One of the men he hired from the seminary helped him to take the next step in his call to ministry ... a step that would help prepare him to change the face of Jewish missions.

Footnote:

  1. Dr. Grounds later became the president of the seminary.
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Sneak Preview ...

from the soon-to-be-published biography of Moishe Rosen

Over the hum of an old air conditioner and the muted yet audible din of street traffic and sirens, a loud voice burst from the other side of a closed office door. The words were muffled, but the tone was unmistakable. Raising a worried eyebrow, Susan Perlman winced and held her breath, straining to listen. The loud voice belonged to her beloved Great Uncle Gutel, who was engaged rather heatedly in conversation with Moishe Rosen.

Gutel, a regional director for the Jewish National fund, had spent much of his adult life raising money to reforest Israel. A devout pillar of the Jewish community, he was very upset that Susan had come to faith in Jesus, and worse yet, was associated with the nefarious Jews for Jesus that he'd read about in the Jewish Press. He blamed Moishe for Susan's move from New York to California and for changing her life. When Uncle Gutel had learned that the notorious Moishe was coming to New York (for the first ever Jews for Jesus summer witnessing campaign), he had asked for an appointment with him.

Now the two were alone in the room that served as Moishe's temporary office, and who knew what might happen next? Uncle Gutel was not only elderly, but very excitable. Susan feared he would get so agitated that he would have a heart attack.

Her worry only increased when a second loud voice interrupted the first, its cadence punctuated by the stutter that sometimes invaded Moishe's speech when his mind moved faster than his mouth—or when he was trying to get a word in edgewise. But to Susan's great relief, the shouting only lasted a minute, before both voices suddenly decreased in volume. Could they actually be having a calm, civilized conversation? The two were in there for a long time while Susan sat in the other room, alternately worrying and trying to concentrate on her work. At last the door opened, and Uncle Gutel came out.

Moishe's bulky six-foot frame appeared in the doorway, looking thoughtful.

"So, Moishe, what happened?"The tightness of Susan's attempt at a light tone betrayed the concern underlying her curiosity.

Moishe smiled reassuringly. "You know, Sue, I learned a lot from your uncle. After he calmed down, I asked him how he went about raising money for the Jewish National fund. He said he always tried to let people know personally how much he appreciated their support and encouragement. That's something I've always felt was important, so I asked what he did to express his appreciation.

"I guess you know that since your uncle doesn't drive, he's always taking trains and buses to visit people and make presentations for the cause. Well he told me how he put those travel times to use. He'd buy postcards, and while he rode along, he'd write personal notes thanking donors he'd met in previous places. It became a regular part of his routine, sending those handwritten personal postcards. I think that's a great idea, don't you? Maybe we should be writing personal postcards to our donors."

"Yeah, okay, but ... you two ... you parted as friends?" Susan was pleased that Moishe liked her uncle's postcard idea, but she was a lot more interested in how her uncle had responded to Moishe.

"Well, I don't know that your uncle would appreciate being referred to as my friend, but I think he would agree that we are now at least respectful and cordial acquaintances. Your uncle is a wise man who understands how to relate to people. I think I'd like us to try out that donor postcard thing."

Susan smiled with relief. "I guess it went well. That's a real answer to prayer. And ... about the postcards, Moishe ... I think you're right. It just might work for Jews for Jesus, too—if you can get people to do it."

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4th of July Launchers

4th of July Launchers

Earlier this year David Brickner wrote an article titled, "Launchers," inspired by William Wilberforce and his zeal to find ways to "launch" into gospel conversations. Jews for Jesus has been using our own style of "launchers" for many years. Maybe you know from your own life and witness, these opportunities can be found everywhere!

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So What?

Discover how this month’s Bits from the Branches might encourage you to share your own faith.

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So What?

Here are some good things to know about how God brings prodigals home.

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From the Editor

Moishe Rosen was a dreamer.  One of his dreams was for the entire Jews for Jesus staff to become fluent in Hebrew in preparation for a big moving of the Holy Spirit in the Land of Israel. Similarly, he instructed all Jews for Jesus missionaries to keep a current passport so that we can be ready to go “where the action is” at a moment’s notice.

While it’s safe to say that all our passports are ready to go, we are not all equally gifted in the language department.  I don’t know that we can expect another Pentecost where we’ll all suddenly be able to praise God and witness in other languages, like Hebrew.  I do know that Moishe was fond of saying, “Pentecost was not so much about what happened in the upper room, but what happened on the streets below.” By which he meant, the point of Pentecost was the Holy Spirit enabling the apostles to preach the gospel in a way that everyone present could understand.

Moishe actually made his profession of faith in Y’shua (Jesus) on Pentecost Sunday in 1953, having prayed to receive Him the night before.  And, in God’s perfect timing, Moishe was called home, just as Pentecost* was drawing to a close, 57 years later.  The day after Moishe’s passing, our Behold Your God Israel campaign in the Sharon region began.  That entire day’s evangelism was dedicated to his memory (see more in Bits from Behold Your God ISRAEL).

Moishe also dreamed that we would one day have a facility in the land of Israel, and that it would expand our opportunities to minister there.  We are in the process of acquiring a property in the Land, which pleased Moishe immensely.  His one complaint regarding the building was over what to call it.

David Brickner and the Board of Directors planned to call it the Moishe Rosen Center, but a week before his homegoing, Moishe told David that it should be called the Ceil Rosen Center. His wife Ceil received the Lord just months before he did. She faithfully witnessed and prayed for his salvation, and ultimately led him in prayer to receive Christ. Anyone who knows Ceil knows that she would never sit still for having a building or anything else named after her.  Anyway, despite Moishe’s insistence—and he could be most emphatic—the plan for the building’s name has not changed.

Oh well, Dad, you couldn’t always get what you wanted.  But now you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of and we’re happy for you. We look forward to seeing you again, when Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes. 

 

*We’re not referring to Pentecost Sunday on the church calendar, but to the Jewish festival Shavuot (Pentecost) on which the church’s holiday is based. This year, Shavuot began at sundown on May 18 and ended at sundown on May 19.  Moishe passed into glory at 7:30 pm on the 19th, just about an hour before the sun set.

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Called to Controversy Sneak Preview

The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus

Since the heart-wrenching session a year earlier with the elder Rosens, Moishe and Ceil had honored Ben’s edict that they have no direct contact with them. They had, however, made it possible for Moishe’s brother Don to take [their daughter] Lyn to her grandparents’ house for weekly visits. Now that they were moving to New Jersey, Moishe’s father made it known that he did not want to be estranged from his son and daughter-in-law any longer. They would be welcome in his home as long as they did not attempt to discuss religion.

Ben [Moishe’s father] also made it known that he was genuinely concerned about his son’s mental health. He could not fathom how a sane Jew would choose such a life. He’d seen that his son was willing to be rejected, even disinherited–and for what? Had Martin considered that it [his belief in Jesus and call to be a missionary] might be a delusion? Would he make just one appointment to see Dr. Cohen, who was a psychiatrist? Ben was willing to pay for the visit.

Moishe could see that his father was not being sarcastic or mean-spirited, and he agreed to see a doctor, strictly for his father’s peace of mind. It began with a phone call. “Before I make an appointment there are a couple of things I need to know,” Moishe told the doctor. “Is it possible, do you think, that a sane Jew could believe that Jesus is the Messiah?” If the doctor felt that was grounds for declaring him insane, Moishe would not have seen any point in going. However, the doctor did not dismiss the possibility as insane. Moishe continued, “Then, if you examine me and find me of sound mind, will you give me a written statement to that effect?” When the doctor agreed, Moishe made the appointment for the very next day.

At the psychiatrist’s office, Moishe explained that he was there because his father wanted assurance that Moishe was not insane.

“Can you tell me why you think he doubts your sanity?” asked the psychiatrist.

Moishe began, “I have become a believer in Jesus, and lately I have felt the hand of God guiding me ...”

The doctor leaned forward and asked, perhaps a little too eagerly, “Tell me, Martin, just where on your body do you feel the hand of God?”

“No, no!” Moishe quickly explained. “That’s idiomatic. I didn’t feel the hand of God physically. I just meant I had an inner conviction, a strong sense that God had a certain direction for my life.” The psychiatrist’s initial assumption was not lost on Moishe. He realized that in just a year he had picked up a great deal of church jargon. He determined that he would never talk to anyone who wasn’t a Christian in a way that he himself would not have understood before he became acclimated to Christian culture.

Moishe continued to explain his plans to go to Bible school and become a missionary. The doctor asked routine questions and concluded that Moishe probably had a condition that he described as a low-grade depression, which he did not regard as serious, nor did he suggest any treatment. He wrote a brief letter certifying that in his professional opinion, Martin Meyer Rosen was of a sound mind, with no indication of insanity. Moishe often joked that no matter how often people accused him of being a meshuggener (crazy person), he had written proof of his sanity.

This is the very last “Sneak Preview” of Moishe’s biography ... because the book is finally in print!  You can order your copy of Called to Controversy: the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus today!

 

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Ruth's Ramblings

My father once said something to the effect of, "If we are doing all the same things to proclaim the gospel ten years from now, we will be obsolete." Maybe that's why I've been an unabashed fan and supporter of our Massah program since the beginning. While the gospel message never changes, opportunities to communicate are constantly changing, and we need to keep up with those changes to stay on the cutting edge.

Reaching out with the gospel requires courage, and that courage takes different forms. Not many of our missionaries have to do without the conveniences of modern living, but Massah-niks give up many of their creature comforts once they take off from Israel to meet up with trekkers in far-flung places like Leh and Dharamsala.

Not only do team members brave twelve-hour rides on mobile sardine cans known as busses, whipping around the mountains of India, but they are constantly sharing their lives with strangers, turning conversations to spiritual matters. And in the midst of all this, they are learning to depend on the Lord to meet physical and spiritual challenges, and to keep the group dynamic positive and God-focused.

I remember my dad nodding with approval as I explained why I support our Massah program. I also pointed out that it does not take the place of our summer witnessing campaigns. We are still saturating places like New York City, clad in Jews for Jesus T-shirts and handing out the literature for which our ministry is known. Fewer people actually take literature than in years past, but hundreds of thousands of people still reach out and accept the pamphlets and evangelistic post cards. The visibility, vulnerability and availability of those who stand identified as Jews for Jesus is itself a worthwhile testimony and a way to stimulate interactions.

I like hearing about the hardcore, gritty testimony of street evangelism that is going on right now in New York City, and I also like hearing reports from the more experimental Massah program that developed from the hearts and minds of young Israelis on our staff. And I like knowing that at the same time, we've got several camps going that are strengthening the next generation of Jews for Jesus. We can never take for granted that these kids will walk with Jesus just because many of their parents do, or that they will just naturally care about reaching the lost.

Those of you who have been tracking with Jews for Jesus for awhile know that for several years, we have been praying for and investing in the next generation, whose vision and creativity will be key in keeping the cause of Jewish evangelism on the cutting edge of creative communication. Campaigns, Massah, and summer camps all play a part in this, even though the primary purpose of the first two is direct evangelism.

As we are working to bring along the next generation of Jewish people who will carry on the mission of making Jesus known to Jews and Gentiles, I sometimes pray for the unseen people who are preparing the next generation of Christians to understand the need for direct evangelism, and to be passionate about missions to Jews, Arabs and others who need to hear about Jesus.

Probably most of the next generation of Christians who will one day choose either to support or overlook Jewish missions will not be reached by print ... or even electronic communications. They will depend on you—their parents, aunts, uncles, Sunday school teachers and mentors—for the kind of heart-to-heart talks that can inspire them to claim a part in carefully and compassionately reaching Jews and other gospel-resistant people for Jesus.

We're caught up in some intense and rewarding opportunities to reach the lost, and, in the process, are raising up the next generation of missionaries. As you pray for us, we are also praying for you. God bless you as you invest in those whom the next generation of missionaries will one day look to for the encouragement, prayer and support that many of you so faithfully provide for us.

The Real Question

Karl deSouza just explained how part of a missionary's job is to discover the real "question behind the question." That's not always easy, but here are a few hopefully-helpful-hints.

When is a question not a question?

If a person has absolutely no interest in your answer, they are not really asking you a question.

So, a question is not really a question if the person cuts you off almost as soon as you begin to answer. Or, they might let you finish your answer, but rather than acknowledging or interacting with what you said, they immediately ask another question. Now some people may get excited, and interrupt you for that reason. But if you say, "Excuse me, I'd like to finish answering your question," if the question was real, they will listen.

When is a question masking another question, or even more likely, making a statement?

Sometimes people ask a question that they believe will force you to prove their point. In our July newsletter, David mentioned that when people ask us, "Do you believe I'm going to hell because I don't believe in Jesus?" we normally respond with another question. "Do you believe in hell?" Quite often, they don't.

Why would a person who does not believe in hell ask such a question? They usually want to prove to themselves, to you or to anyone who might be listening how narrow minded and/or judgmental Christians are. You can turn this around by not taking it personally. The very fact that people are so sensitive to being judged is a great topic for conversation. Among other things, it gives you the opportunity to let other people know that we don't see ourselves as being more righteous than they. You can make the point that none of us wants to be judged, and that is why you are so glad that God judged the sins of the world at the cross!

Which brings us to another kind of question behind the question, and Karl touched on it.

Many people ask questions that are really statements of their outrage over God's grace as well as His judgment.

"Do you mean to tell me that a criminal who's done blank and blank can receive Jesus and be forgiven, while a wonderful sweet woman like my grandmother who only ever did good things will go to hell because she did not believe in Jesus? I could never believe in a God like that." The real question is,

"Can God truly be good if He doesn't care how evil or righteous a person is, but only whether they believe in Jesus?"

That question is a real question, but it springs from three missing pieces of the picture.

The first piece is awareness of God's holiness; the second is understanding of our sin; and the third is the fact that God gives grace to those who repent and are born again through faith in Jesus, not merely those who mouth a belief in Him.

The part of us that can discern God's holiness in contrast to our own sin is blind, dead even, until the Holy Spirit breathes a spark of life. All we can see is how good we or those we admire are, compared to other people who are more discernibly wicked. So the thought of grace for those who are so apparently wicked is repugnant, and the thought of condemnation for the wickedness we don't recognize seems unfair. This is particularly true for Jewish unbelievers who have heard a simplified or distorted view of Christianity, usually from other unbelievers.

Yes, there are illustrations and ways to show people that we are all sinners, but it still takes a work of the Holy Spirit for people to understand how deeply offensive all our sin is to God, and just how loving and gracious it was for Him to lay the whole burden of it upon His Son.

But one thing that we can do is correct the misunderstanding that if a person simply repeats the "magic words" that they believe in Jesus, all is forgiven. While it is true that none of us can do anything to merit God's forgiveness, without repentance we cannot enter His kingdom.

This time of year the High Holidays focus on the problem of sin, as David Brickner pointed out. They can offer the perfect opportunity to ask your Jewish friends some thought-provoking questions of your own concerning their views on God, sin and salvation.
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