I want to tell you a story. God created people because he loves stories. So I’ll tell you my story. My name is Stuart and I’m a New York Jew. I’m proud to say I was born in Flatbush, which next being born in Israel is the second best thing. I grew up at the intersection of the Christian and Jewish worlds because my father was from a very Orthodox family, my mother was the sixth child in a Sicilian family, and his family was just plain thrilled as you can well imagine. Even though my mother converted to Judaism, she was always considered to be second best. So I grew up in the midst of this dissonance between the Christian and Jewish worlds. And my whole religious mentality at that time was when we all drop dead, we’ll find out who was right.
My first career was in music I went to a place called Manhattan School of Music and one day a friend of mine invited me to a discussion group. She said, “Look, It’s about the New Testament. I know you’re Jewish, bu you might have some interesting opinions.” When I cracked open the New Testament I kept on bumping into Passover, which was rather surprising. I did not expect to find anything Jewish in this book but I did. I assumed that it was one of those books that I saw nuns reading on the subway. Something written in Latin. It was none of those things. But besides its native Jewishness, I remember reading when Yeshua said that it’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, it’s what comes out of the man’s heart that defiles him because out of the heart comes fornication, incest, murder, wickedness etc. These come from within and they defile a man. And I remember when I read that, it made so much sense to me. The problem of evil in the world is not out there in the air, in the ozone, in the system… The problem of evil comes from the heart of man.
Eventually, in the course of my reading this book, Yeshua said this: “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” That blew me away. And it was extraordinary to me that Yeshua’s words directly addressed my own felt need. When you pop open the scriptures, you pop open our Torah or the Tenach, the Jewish Bible. On every page, you find people who are interacting with God in the context of a loving relationship. What do I mean when I talk about having a relationship with God? A relationship with God through Yeshua? What is this relationship stuff? I’ve got to use a word that many people don’t like to use and that word is ‘experience’. That’s what I mean by relationship. It’s an experiential linkage with the Living God. So I would ask people, “Where is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Where is the God to whom the patriarchs and the matriarchs talked? Who had this two-way relationship? Are you interested in pursuing the possibility of this two-way relationship being a reality in your life?” In my experience and experience of many people I know, to our astonishment when we encountered Yeshua of Nazareth and began to think of Him in a different way than we have been brought up to think of Him, we all have discovered that this two-way relationship came alive.
Yeshua said of himself something. He said, “I am the door.” Now many people treat Yeshua like he’s the exit from Jewish life. I think that’s wrong. He is the door for me into a more passionate engagement with Jewish life, a total passionate engagement with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Don’t imagine that people like me who come to believe in Yeshua, that somebody gave us some kind of a fancy dancy presentation and explanation and we signed on the dotted line because we were gullible and we were easy to persuade. That’s not the way it goes. What’s missing from that scenario is the element of encounter. Moses had his burning bush. Abraham had God saying, “Lech lecha!” Leave the land of your birth and go to the land I will show you. These great patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel had experiences with God sometimes spaced apart by many years. But they kept on following God because they could not deny their experience. Each of us in the context of our own lives has encountered God in a way that we didn’t encounter Him before, in a way that we cannot ignore without denying ourselves. I’m talking about Transformational experiences that move our lives forward. I’m not telling you to make my experience your experience. I’m telling you that God will give you experiences of Himself that are sufficient for your belief. I can’t really explain it to you in the same way that your experience can. But if you can come to the point where you can say, “What if it is true?” Then just maybe you will taste and see. But when the most remarkable person who ever lived says, “I’ve come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly then you have got to take a second look. I did, and I’m finding that that life is more abundant. It’s life with a capital ‘L’. And it’s very different from life without Him. Trust me – better yet, trust Him! Don’t trust me – taste and see.
Stuart Dauermann is One for Israel.
Choose Life, Avoid Hell
Please hear my prayer.
- I admit I'm a sinner in need of a Saviour – [Romans 3:10 / 3:23 / 6:23]
- I believe in my heart that Jesus/Yeshua is Lord – Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, paying in full the death penalty for my sin. [Romans 10:9-10]
- I call upon the name of the Lord and I confess with my mouth Jesus/Yeshua is Lord and I believe in my heart the God raised Him from the dead, so I will be saved. For it is with my heart that I believe, and am justified and it is with my mouth that I confess and am saved. [Romans 10:9-10 / 10:13]