“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.” Psalm 107:2-3
We’re thrilled today to share with you the testimony of one of our ministry participants, in his own words. Take a few moments to hear from Ken, who has been with us since May, 2020.
My testimony is short but eventful. I have only been a “believer” for 3 and half years. Why do I put believer in quotes? I am a different kind of believer than most, if not all of you reading this. I am a Jewish Believer or, as we are known, a Messianic Jew.
Although I differ in that way with most Christians, I am what most of the Apostles and original “believers” were: Jewish. My Jewishness gives me a special relationship with the Father (Abba) and with Yeshua (Jesus’s name in Hebrew and how we typically refer to Him). Jesus/Yeshua was, is, and will always be Jewish: a son of David, son of Jesse. No human is more revered to the Jewish people than our King David. I can talk about this connection all day, but – my testimony.
If this testimony helps anyone, I’m grateful. The love of Yeshua came to me in April 2019 while in Israel visiting my brother and his family over the Passover holiday. While sitting at the traditional first night dinner table, known as the Seder, we began an after-dinner conversation. Jews spend much more time sitting around the dinner table talking than they do eating. Mostly debating/arguing! On this particular post-dinner conversation, the Spirit came to me and let me open up about some of my difficulties, mostly around relationships.
(Let me back up and tell you about my family. My brother immigrated to Israel 40 years ago and became a believer in Yeshua while in Israel, a very rare occurrence. Not only that, he went on to lead his own ministry in Israel and has been a leader of the Messianic movement worldwide. He and my sister-in-law have four children, two boys and two girls. All grown, wonderful, and all believers. Although they grew up 8000 miles away, I have a special relationship with each of them. I now have 7 great-nieces and nephews.)
So we are sitting around the table, and I lose it. Tears are flowing, and I’m a mess. They all got up, laid hands on me, and my Lord Yeshua was in my heart. Immediately, my brother and oldest nephew pulled out the Bible and opened to Isaiah 53. I didn’t realize its significance that day; I do now! From that point, my brother was my spiritual mentor for the next few months.
He encouraged me to join a congregation, and he started to look for one nearby. In the Messianic faith, “nearby” does not exist. We are small group of an already small group. Eventually, he remembered an old friend who had a Messianic synagogue in Needham, MA, an hour away from where I live. After a month of thinking and praying about it, I went to visit for Shabbat (Sabbath) Saturday morning service. There was an instant connection. The service was like my synagogue growing up. The people were caring and welcoming. They not had one but two Rabbis. I could not wait to get back the next week. The Rabbi now likes to joke, “Ken came and never left.”
Over the past 3 plus years, I have tried to involve myself as much as I can with a connection with God in this new way. To a believing Jew, the Shabbat is Holy. As the fourth Commandment, only loving the One and only God comes higher. God doesn’t recommend or suggest it; He commands a sabbath day of rest.
I have based my life around my synagogue and community. I am a lay leader, and as a musician, I lead worship in a regular rotation and provide whatever is needed. I am also being elected as a Board member this November as Director of Facilities, an honor I don’t take lightly after only 3 years attending.
How does this relate to my being involved with Alive in Christ?
After only one year of being with the congregation, I had a fall and acted out on my same-sex attractions, which became public. It could have led to an arrest. I lost my job, and a friend from the congregation heard about it. He and the Rabbis showed me love and support, while requiring I follow through on dealing with this particular issue (a related issue to my same-sex attraction, they knew I was same-sex attracted already and held no judgement). Part of that was getting involved with Alive in Christ and getting counseling. My Rabbi is friendly with Brenna and connected me. Once again, I came and never left!
I attend regularly because it not only helps me connect with others with similar experiences, but it brings me closer to Jesus/Yeshua. It’s a weekly reminder of how He will and does help me with my temptations. Any other “men’s support” group would not be offering this kind of insightful help. Through the teachings, books, and open sharing, I am growing in my relationship with Yeshua as it relates to my same-sex temptations and life in general.
It’s been a great experience hearing from and relating to the many thoughts and frustration I feel. Growing up Jewish and gay does not carry a sinful weight – at all! We go to synagogue once a year on Yom Kippur (High Holiday of atonement), spending a day fasting and praying, and then you’re good for another year! Unfortunately, my Jewish brothers and sisters are missing the boat. The Messiah has arrived and has atoned for our sins. So once it became clear to me that same-sex attraction was leading me to sin, it has become a stronghold I struggle with daily, more than any other. Alive in Christ helps me process some of these things and give me the opportunity I need to speak freely in a safe environment.
I have a few scriptures I cling to on this journey. Psalm 23 is probably my favorite. If I can always remember that the Lord is my Shepherd, it’s a good way to deal with my fears.
I appreciate the opportunity to share a bit of my testimony. I hope this is helpful to someone.