Why The Name Issachar Community?
Glad you asked!
According to Jewish tradition, the tribe of Issachar was known for being the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy, i.e. the Law) students and scholars of Israel. Our current body grew out of a mutual desire to learn the whole word of God, especially the Torah, through which we gain tremendous insights on how to live in a way pleasing to God.
We've found that studying the Torah has really expanded our understanding of the New Testament since so much of what Jesus taught refers directly to the Torah and the Jewish thinking of His day. Not only that, it has locked in the Old Testament as an integral part of the New Testament in our lives. A key verse showing how this is important is John 5:46 which says,
"If you believed Moses (Torah), you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me." (Jesus)As we study the Torah we've found over and over how Jesus is revealed in Moses' words. It really is amazing! For us, this has truly welded together the "right and left sides" of the Bible into one Word!
Secondly, according to 1 Chronicles 12:32 the sons of Issachar "understood the times and knew what Israel should do...". This speaks of having insights of current events and having God-led direction on how to plan for what's coming.
This would be a written Word and "living" Word concept.
Pastor Jay once asked a Modern Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem about this. "Was it because the tribe of Issachar were Torah scholars that they could understand current events and could think strategically how the Lord was directing Israel?" Pastor Jay asked. "Yes" Moshe replied. "I'd never thought of that before! That's very likely!"
Hence, the name Issachar Ministries. We strive to know what we should do now and what we can anticipate for the future.
As a growing Body, Issachar Community pursues study of the whole Word of God, both Older and Newer Covenants, with a hebraic mindset to understand as best as we can how the original hearers understood the Lord's Word. We then strive to live the Word in all aspects of our lives. Pastor Jay's tag line is "Study to Learn, Learn to Do".
Our services are an interesting mix of both light synagogues elements and contemporary Christian worship with singing, reading and preaching of the Word, and congregation-led prayer. We're not a Messianic Jewish group. We're a community of Gentile Christian disciples who are excited about the Jewish Roots of our Faith!
This new congregation has established the following as key components of our vision:
- Evangelical, Spirit-filled congregation that teaches, trains, and lives in a Hebraic perspective.
- Teaching the Jewish roots of Christianity without making people feel they have to observe certain practices in order to be accepted.
- We promote biblical practice as the Holy Spirit leads us.
- The Torah is the foundation of God's Word and all of the Bible is crucial to spiritual life and maturity.
- Worship is intended to engage people with the Living God, while providing opportunities during worship to pray for and encourage people.
- Develop mature, wise, and decisive leadership for proper congregation care.
- Encourage relationship building among those who regard themselves as part of the congregation.
- Teach and model lifestyle evangelism.
- Loving outreach to Jews and Gentiles in practical ways.
- Promote Feast celebration, conferences, and seminars to provide additional teaching and training to the community at large.