Hatikva Ministries In Desperate Need of Help

A few days ago I received the following letter from Joseph Good of Hatikva Ministries. They are in serious financial need, to the point of losing everything. I have met Mr. Good on a few occasions and recently met his wife and daughter. I have grown from his teachings. I have seen his heart. Please read this letter and consider doing what you can by way of tzeddikah to help fellow believers and a wonderful ministry survive. Hashem’s hands can only be seen through ours in situations like these.

For those who may not be familiar with Hatikva, you can visit their site here:

http://hatikva.org/

And you can enjoy free video teachings from both Joseph Good and his wife Debbie from this link:

http://arba4.com/category/hatikva

Here is the letter. May Hashem bless you for your generosity:

Shalom everyone,

This is one of the saddest letters I have ever had to write. Even in the midst of a very dark day there is some good news and I would rather start with that. The Ministry has lately seen some dreams come true!  The latest word from The Naked Archaeologist  is that the episode they filmed of our research on the Temple should air sometime around September. They still have not given me a date, but they assure me it is forthcoming. Secondly, the ministry has finally succeeded in paying off our expensive copier, printer, and scanner that provides so much of the ministry’s paper work. We still have a maintenance fee to pay but that is minimal. We have just achieved live video streaming for Chavurah and are very pleased with how that is going. In addition, our attendance is up in those who come to our office for Chavurah. For the first time in years we have almost as many children present as we have adults. Debbie has been planning and is looking forward to immediately starting children’s classes that take place in another part of the building. I just received a confirmation for the flights leaving JFK Airport on March 6th, 2011 on El Al Airlines for our next trip to Israel. Finally, I have a new book on prophecy (described below) that I began a few days ago and for the first time, the writing is literally pouring out of me. This is highly unusual for me as I struggle to write anything. At the rate that it is going the first volume of this proposed several volume work will be ready for printing in a few weeks. Boaz Michael (First Fruits of Zion) who presented to our Chavurah last week is putting me in touch with the printers they use who Print on Demand. All of this is good news.

Now to the bad news. The ministry has been struggling for some time. We pay $1.300.00 dollars a month in rent. There is more space here than what we need but we still require a considerable amount of room for filming, Chavurah, a Temple model, office equipment, and a large, very large library. We have tried to find something to lease or buy. The option to buy is no longer viable as we have been informed that it is virtually impossible to get financing from any institution if you are a 501 C 3 organization. In other words, non-profit.  Debbie and I have spent days looking at various rental properties. We have looked under every bush that we can find (there are no rocks in our area) and everything is either so small it isn’t even feasible or more than what we are presently paying for much less building. I spoke to our landlords about the possibility of renting half of what we have now. The building is in two sections. He informed me they would probably have to go up to $1,100.00 or more to do that. Nothing gained and our rent might go up here anyway. We looked at portable buildings to lease with the hope we could put them at our home or lease some property to place them on. We found that pre-built buildings are not an option as there is no way to get them into our backyard. We have not been able to find property that we could afford to lease to place buildings on. Either the zoining will not allow it or the property is too expensive to gain anything. We are considering framing in our carport and moving the office to our house. How we could manage there I do not know, but that seems to be the most likely option. Another factor in here is Debbie’s mother. Last week she turned ninety years old and just days before her birthday took a fall. She was hospitalized for several days and seems to be recovering but Debbie is having to spend much of her time with her. We will probably have to remodel her mother’s garage (which is in bad shape) as a mail-order office for Debbie so that she can take care of her mother and work.

Now for the real bad news.  The monies that come into the office have been deteriorating steadily and drastically over the past year. So many of our supporters have lost their jobs, had cuts in salary, and had to face sky rocketing expenses. Our sales of all materials are down to very little and our donations are only a trifle compared to what they were. We have three full time and one part time employees. There is Debbie and I and a young man who does our video and editing. We pay him a minimum salary. We have been able to make his pay as well as pay our part time employee. We are current with our rent and have been able to pay the utilities. Supplies for the office are bought on demand. I have six florescent bulbs in my office. Only one bulb works. The same is true for Debbie’s office and in the video editing room. What has not been paid are the salaries for Debbie or me. Day after tomorrow we expect the bank to foreclose on our home and for both of our cars to be picked up shortly. We have cut all spending to an as absolutely needed basis. We have a nice garden and that has kept food on the table. Both Debbie and I are seeking other jobs. In the past we have had a little reserve to draw upon. In addition, there have been several individuals who have stepped forward and sent rescue money which kept us afloat before. We do appreciate what they have done in the past but do not believe we should nor intend to go to these people again. It just is not right for us to do that. We love all of you and do thank you for all that each of you have done to sustain this ministry. If the house is lost I do not know where the ministry will relocate,  but I do know that we will keep going somehow. While the ministry will survive, It is likely that Debbie and I will be causalities of the battle to keep the ministry afloat.

We have been hopeful that when the Naked Archaeologist program comes out that the financial situation will improve. We also are hoping that this new book might turn things around, but neither of those are here now as we are facing this crisis. We are trying to take steps that will ensure that we stay out of the hole if we somehow emerge from this pit.

The bottom line is that we need within the next few days a minimum of $5,000.00 dollars to barely get by.  That would allow the ministry to catch up on some of the salaries (mine and Debbie’s) for the months of March, April, and May. Our hopes are that somehow many of you who have the means and have not supported us will do so. If a few could give large donations and many others could give small ones, it might all work out. We do not want anyone to send anything unless you believe that that is what you are supposed to do. We are not wanting those individuals who have helped so nobly in the past to do this. If it’s the will of Hashem for us to fall, then so be it. Regardless of the outcome, we remain your faithful servants.

Thank you and again Shalom,

Joseph Good

Teaching Opportunity

Today I had an opportunity to teach at an event in a public park, hosted by a friend of mine, Justin McDade. The event started with a group of young girls involved in an expressive worship dance group. Next, I sang a few songs and then spoke. And rounding it out was my friend Justin who spoke and sang as well. I feel we need to create medals for the poor souls who sat through the entire event in an outdoor amphitheater with absolutely no shade in 90º+ temperatures without melting into the concrete.

I spoke on Becoming a Disciple of Yeshua. It seemed to go over well, and was possibly an entry point for people to look into the Jewishness of our Messiah and our faith. Ultimately, I hope the end-goal was that people become more passionate about studying Scripture and more devoted as a disciple of the Master.

Justified By Love?

I recently read an interview with Christian artist, singer, songwriter Jennifer Knapp in which she not only announced her comeback to her music career after a seven year hiatus, but that she’s “come out of the closet” as a lesbian who has been in a same-sex relationship for the last eight years. This may come as a shock to Christian music fans, but this news is actually a few months old and is all over the internet.

I am not writing this post to condemn Knapp or spread lashon hara or to gay bash. The reason for this post is to show how traditional Christian interpretation of the Bible can be used to justify any sin, behavior or lifestyle. The traditional Christian perspective on the Bible and its focus on grace being opposed to the Law has provided the ammunition for tens of thousands of people around the globe to justify sinful lifestyles (not in the least bit limited to homosexuality).

Over the last decade I’ve heard of many Christian musicians “coming out of the closet,” (many of which hit you out of nowhere), many scandalous lifestyles, many countless adulterous relationships, divorce, drug addictions, etc. Why should one more be newsworthy? The reason Knapp’s confession makes the top of my news is because she was honest. What do I mean by that? Let’s listen to her own words.

Have you ever felt like you had to choose between your faith or your gay feelings?

Knapp: Yes. Absolutely.

Because you felt they were incompatible?

Knapp: Well, everyone around me made it absolutely clear that this is not an option for me, to invest in this other person—and for me to choose to do so would be a denial of my faith.

What about what Scripture says on the topic?

Knapp: The Bible has literally saved my life. I find myself between a rock and a hard place—between the conservative evangelical who uses what most people refer to as the “clobber verses” to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they’re eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics, and various other Scriptures we could argue about. I’m not capable of getting into the theological argument as to whether or not we should or shouldn’t allow homosexuals within our church. There’s a spirit that overrides that for me, and what I’ve been gravitating to in Christ and why I became a Christian in the first place.1

Notice her reference to Torah (the Law given to Moses):

“I find myself between a rock and a hard place—between the conservative evangelical who uses what most people refer to as the “clobber verses” to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they’re eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics.”

This is where she’s completely honest. If I were to put it in more plain terms, she’s saying, “If you can pick and choose what you want to obey in the Bible, so can I.” There it is. Hypocrisy in full swing. Unfortunately, the Evangelical Church has so much demonized the Hebrew Scriptures and their application to the Believer, that we no longer have a moral compass by which we are directed. We have reverted back to the days of the Judges in which “every man did right in his own eyes.”

What Jennifer Knapp is saying here is the truth of the matter. If we can justify living lives contrary to the directives of Hebrew Scriptures, saying that they are no longer authoritative, why should the New Testament Scriptures be any different? The Hebrew Scriptures were valid for the world for around two thousand years until Christianity decided they were no longer valid. Now the Christian Scriptures have had their fair shake for the last two thousand. Why should they be relevant any longer either? If God can abrogate his Word once, why can’t He do it again?

What makes a Christian any different from a “moral pagan” these days other than a creed? This is why Torah is invaluable, and the missing component in our walk of faith. If we want to stop justifying our sins, and truly become the people of God by which the Scriptures speak, we need to wake up and smell the coffee and allow the whole of Scripture to inform our life of faith.

Thoughts?

  1. This interview with Jennifer knapp can be found on the Christianity Today website: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/music/interviews/2010/jenniferknapp-apr10.html

J-BOM Review for “The Lost” forthcoming

Yes – I know I’m behind. But it’s been a crazy month, and The Lost: A Search for Six in Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn is a hefty book, both in size and in depth. This reminds me of Tevia (Fiddler on the Roof), as Derek was saying that I was behind on my reviews, I was shouting out “I von’t be late!” Well… I’m late. :-)

I wish I could devote all of my time to academics & such, but it just doesn’t happen when you run your own business and have 4 small children. So, I’ve come to the resolve to just “being late” from time to time, as much as I hate it. I’ve already started my review, but it probably won’t be finished for a few more days. Thanks for bearing with me. Shalom!