|Every year I look forward to the Shalom Dinner Banquet, usually in the fall. However, this year we will have two banquets, one in the spring, and one in the fall. Now we can enjoy the experience of delicious food, Christian fellowship and a powerful message from a keynote speaker twice as often.|| Shalom Ministry Upcoming Events
– Additional Shroud of Turin Conferences (dates tbd)
For me, this year was the most unusual dinner banquet yet. On Tuesday before the banquet, Pastor John called and asked if I could be the Master of Ceremonies (MC), since our Chairman of the Board, Tim Broe, was suddenly called out of town. I responded that it would be not be a problem, since I speak in front of groups quite often at work. I had no idea that speaking in front of people would be the least of my worries that day.
“Friday, I woke up at 3:00 A.M., over 1,000 miles away from the San Marino Club in Troy, MI”
where the dinner banquet was going to be held at 6:00 P.M. that day. At the airport, I saw a non-believing co-worker. I told him I would be the MC at a dinner reception that night. Naturally, he asked about the purpose of the dinner function. I told it was to support Shalom Ministry, which is a missionary organization bringing the good news of the Messiah to the Jewish people. Then, I told him that I was extremely excited that David Brickner was the keynote speaker. Confused, he asked, who is David Brickner? To which, I responded that he is the Executive Director of Jews for Jesus. That left him completely perplexed.
“How can this man be Jewish and yet believe in Jesus?” he asked.
This day was going to be utterly crazy. I am a manager for the National Catastrophe Team of a very large insurance company. This Friday, a number of devastating tornadoes almost assuredly were going to hit the Southeast Region. Besides having to respond to these disasters, I was also terribly concerned that my flight would have several serious delays, which would cause me to miss the dinner reception. Sure enough, the connection in Atlanta was delayed 30 minutes. I thought to myself; I could be home about 4:30, still have time to change and arrive at the reception a little early to assist with the set up. A half-hour later, I was told that the plane was going to be delayed another hour. Now it was going to be a rush, and usually this news is merely a harbinger of things to come. Delays, turn into further delays, and then finally lead to cancellations. I began to become a little anxious,
“but then I remembered my God – He is sovereign, He is always in control.”
Nothing occurs without His approval. I decided once and for all to put the matter to rest. If God wanted me to MC Shalom’s Dinner Reception, He would get me to the dinner; otherwise, I was never meant to host the dinner in the first place. Everything would work out just fine, according to His master plan. Then the peace that surpasses all understanding became mine. Now, I updated my status on my Facebook page to let people know two things: one, I may not make the event, and two, if I did not make it, than that was precisely what God wanted so I was good with it.
Finally, the attendant announced that we could board the plane. It looked like I was going to be at the banquet after all. On the plane, I began to write some notes about something I felt God was putting on my heart. That unbeliever at Mobile airport was extremely confused about what it means to be a Messianic Christian, but something that he was not at all confused about was Shalom’s mission – that we felt compelled to bring the good news of Jesus to the Jewish people. Could our mission statement actually be that simple? For years, we have struggled with trying to define our mission to people who are not acquainted with the ministry. Nevertheless, when I told this unbeliever our mission statement, he never questioned it.
“Even an unbeliever understands the Great Commission of Christ.”
Now, from the notes, I figured I had about 5-7 minutes of speaking points; however, I was not necessarily a speaker, but rather, the introducer of speakers. Where did it make sense to bring this message? Truth is, I did not know. I only knew that I felt a particularly strong move of the Holy Spirit to share the message.
When I arrived in Detroit, I rushed to get my car and drive home. On the way home, I was in phone conferences about the tornadoes. Meanwhile, traffic slowed to a crawl. Apparently, I had to navigate my way through two separate accidents on the way home from the airport.
I arrived at home about 5:45. As soon as I ran into the house, my kids pounced on me. One wanted his allowance to go out with his friends. Another was having problems with the other one. I told them to follow me upstairs while I dressed and tell me about it. I paid the allowance and solved the issue. Then I grabbed my laptop and my phone. I still had several work issues to resolve prior to dinner, or I would have to leave the dinner and take care of these issues. Fortunately, a
friend, Herb Schott, met me at the house and offered to drive me to the function. Four emails, two phone calls and several text messages later, we arrived at the San Marino Club just after 6:00. All the business resolved and now I needed to set up the photo display projector.
Rabbi Loren began the ceremonies with a prayer and the lighting of Shabbat candles. Then dinner was served. Towards the end of the dinner, we began the presentations. Roman Clark opened the services with a prayer. Then, I, Don Lett, acknowledged the board members in attendance and the staff members.
I was still felt extremely rushed, although not anxious, in my spirit. Now it was time to introduce the singer for praise and worship.
“Toni Harkonen was phenomenal. She quieted my spirit and truly blessed us with a voice of the angels.”
Next, it was time for the Ministry Report. I discussed with Pastor Denson that I would like to explain our mission to the guests, and he could then follow up with recent activities and our plans for 2012. Therefore, as I stated earlier, I simplified our message. Our mission is the Great Commission. We are seeking to evangelize a segment of the population the church has sorely missed – the Jewish people. Why?
“Because it’s God’s Will.”
Everyone has a right to hear the good news of the gospel. Why has the churched missed its calling to reach out to the Jewish people? And, since most people do not know Jewish people –
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
This is what Shalom Ministries does! It will bring the gospel to the Jewish people, in a caring and loving manner.Pastor Denson then highlighted some of our past events, which included the Shroud of Turin Conference, First Meeting of the Michigan Messianic Ministerial and our new weekly radio broadcast Kosher Soul, which airs from 2-3 PM every other Monday (beginning Feb. 6). He also talked about our plans for a Holocaust Museum Center Tour, Passover Seders, and the first-ever Messianic evangelistic concert. Additionally, coming this spring Shalom will produce a DVD set of the Shroud of Turin Conference and hold a few more Shroud of Turin Conferences.Next, Sue Miller, Brenda Obezil, Roman Clark gave their testimonies about how Shalom Ministry has helped them. Rabbi Glenn Harris ended the personal testimonies with a powerful speech about why we need to support missions like Shalom that bring the true gospel to the Jewish people.
Finally, it was time for the main event. It was now time for David Brickner, the Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, to speak. He did not disappoint us. He speaks with authority and passion.
“He has been on the front lines, fighting the battle of truth.”
He spoke of the relationships between Jews and Blacks throughout history and in the bible. He spoke of Mosses and his wife. He spoke of the Ethiopian eunuch and Phillip. Furthermore, he elaborated how these two groups are able to uniquely identify with one another because of their common history of shared sufferings.John closed the night thanking David for his support. The pastors then gathered around David and prayed for his continued strength.During, the evening I recalled speaking with my non-believing co-worker early that morning in Mobile, AL. When I told him that when a Jewish person accepts Jesus as their Messiah they don’t have to forfeit their Jewish identity, I also began to elaborate how tremendous this commitment was to them. That friends, family and community may cut them off entirely and that Orthodox Jewish believers consider them traitors. Even while I was explaining this, it was actually having the reverse effect – impacting me! Their decision is not made lightly.
“Jewish believers in Yeshua have truly counted the cost of their faith. They deserve greater love, respect and support from their Gentile Christian brothers.”
I hope you will do what you can to support them and reach out to the Jewish Community with love and the salvation message of Yeshua Messiah.