Netzari Communities & Fellowship
I've been reluctant to put up a list of congregations because I cannot honestly give a recommendation if I don't personally know the congregation and the values/disciplines being lived. The "Netzari" label is being adopted by Seventh Day Adventists, World Wide Church of Gawd folks, JW's, Mennonites, etc., who claim to be Netzarim but have not left the ideology, theology and lifestyles of their former churches. There is a Christian church called Nazarene who are Torahless, a branch off Catholicism who use the Anglicized label. Many "ex-Christians" call themselves "believers" and use words like Torah and Shabbat and the Name of Yahweh but for them Torah is a theology rather than a lifestyle. There are "leaders" and speakers using the Netzari label who would never be allowed into mainstream churches because they are thieves, liars, adulterers etc. with no transparency or accountability, they live behind computer screens and can't produce references for their "ministries" or service to YHWH's people, they look to be served and want a following and financial support for their theological dissertations. Be careful.
There is also a new breed of Ebionites who label themselves as Netzari, some live under Rabbinical authority and are looking for people to come under their authority. Others call themselves Netzari who are hierarchical (Ignatian) and/or super-spiritual charismatic manipulators just like their uplines from the Churches they've come out of, so what does a person do who is looking for fellowship?
Ask questions, ask a lot of questions. Ask for references, it's a very small world. Ask for testimonies. How long have they folks been Netzari, where did they learn? What does it mean to be Netzari? What is their vision for the next 3 to 5 years? Have they been to Israel, to Jerusalem? Have they lived in a Jewish community? What kind of relationship do they have with other Jews and Christians? There are a lot of fear-mongering folk out there who think the Netzari Faith fits in with their global conspiracy theories as the Faith, no it was never "hidden", there have always been Torah observant followers of Mashiyach, it has simply not been a popular endeavour.
We need support and the ability to connect with others, yet Mashiyach taught that, wherever two or three are gathered in the Name of YHWH that He will be in their midst.
Wherever I happen to be living my house is always open for those of like precious Faith to join me for Shabbat, or for prayer during the week. I've been in the Vancouver BC area for some time and see the beginnings of a beautiful community coming together but I'm a temporary resident and on the move again, I'm not a big city boy.
Canada, Langley, BC for a few more weeks...
We read the same annual portions of Torah that are read in Synagogue but in English and we make Hebrew and English prayers and sing (sometimes afterwards we do Davidic (Israeli style) dance on the lawn). We study the Parasha, Haftarah and a portion of the Ketuvim Netzarim and have open discussion on whatever the Ruach puts upon our hearts. Weather permitting and if the park is not overly congested we visit a local park in the afternoon. We are not a social club so those who fellowship do so to learn and study Torah and pray and plan for how to properly prepare for future events. I have little patience for fear-mongerers, big talkers or social butterflies who go from group to group with the latest cliché's, and I'm honest enough to tell people that they probably wouldn't like spending a Shabbat with me unless they've have a love for Hebrew and the Jewish people. I don't have a problem with Rabbinical traditions that don't make void Torah or Y'shua, but I don't necessarily base a Torah service upon an Orthodox model, although I enjoy many of the minhagim because much of it has roots in Tanakh.
Canada, British Columbia, Vernon a small group of Torah Observant followers of Mashiyach meet together for Shabbat, those of like precious Faith who are interested may contact me and I will forward your information to David or Cynthia so you can arrange a meeting with them. There is also a new group of ex-WWCG brethren who are meeting in Salmon Arm, Enderby and Vernon BC. I had the privilege of joining with these Brethren and would be happy to forward your information to them if you live in the area. They are not Netzari per se, but are studying Torah and love Mashiyach, they are independent older brethren who study deep into the Word of YHWH and have lively discussions and fellowship each Shabbat.
USA, Ohio, Fredericktown Kehilat Beyt Avraham is a lively Netzari fellowship in Central Ohio, USA. I was first contacted by Daniel from this congregation about a year or so ago and here's a family of Believers that I am delighted to share with others. For more information about their fellowship click here.
Some thoughts about Fellowship
When we meet together in the Name of YHWH and His Mashiyach we are entering into His Time, into His Rest, and into His Spirit but it can be difficult to leave "the world" behind and turn off the mindset and conversation we've heard during the rest of the week. Fellowship with YHWH and His Mashiyach is the goal of fellowship and for this to happen the entire congregation must learn to protect the joy (simcha) of one another.
Fellowship begins when each of us seeks fellowship with the Father first and then with others. This is why we pray in our "prayer closets" and this is why we dress modestly before YHWH. According to YHWH's original Hebrew instructions in Micah 6:8 we are told to "humble thyself" in order to walk with YHWH, rather than walk humbly with. See the difference? YHWH is the Almighty Creator and Architect of all Life and Master of the Universe, He doesn't need to "humble Himself" we need to. We need to worship Him so that we can hear His Voice and receive His Joy into our spirits.
So if you are not sure whether certain conversation is appropriate on Shabbat save it until after Shabbat. If others are ignorant of your Shabbat peace you must request a time after Shabbat to speak with them so they understand the difference between social butterflies looking for a new sentimental emotional experience versus a disciple of Mashiyach who seeks to welcome the Ruach haKodesh in fellowship and worship, in our thoughts and, in our conversation each and every Shabbat.
Fellowship is a beautiful thing, the word "fellowship" speaks of unity, togetherness and belonging. Over the years I've met "Messianic" Jewish "Rabbis" who go out to restaurants for Chinese food on Shabbat, or go to malls, shop for new cars and get hairdos because their carnal minds are more active than their spiritual beings. There is little point in trying to explain to a carnal Pastor (or Rabbi) what it means to be in Mashiyach on Shabbat, if these don't understand it's because they are content with the social club or crowd mentalities. One brother refers to these congregations and their leaders as "hobbyists", ideas about Torah and Mashiyach are a hobby for many religious people, they are not interested in having Torah written upon their hearts or preserving Shabbat peace, what they have is an ideological theological identity and with all the religious cliché's to prove it.
Torah teaches us how to bring glory (kavod) and beauty (tifereth) and oneg (delight) to the Commandments of Elohim, this is a personal discipline that we each choose. It must be a discipline of everyone in the fellowship, otherwise there is little or no spiritual renewal, oftentimes the immature members will steal, kill and destroy Shabbat peace simply to get themselves a bit of recognition from a group of people. It's a very regrettable thing when it's your pastor or rabbi who needs lessons on spiritual maturity, but this is often the case. There are times when a leader is desperate for recognition and getting their ego needs met, so it's a good thing to ask YHWH how to deal with such a situation, take them aside and explain the joy of Shabbat peace to them, and how to honor everyone in the congregation rather than use pettiness and jesting to entertain.
Fellowship includes the social meetings and good food, and pleasant conversation but if this is the goal of your meetings there will be little or no deepening and residual joy in the things of the Spirit. If we focus on welcoming the Ruach haKodesh into our meetings then true ministry will occur each and every time we meet.
Everything in and about YHWH that is Beautiful, Set-Apart, Glorious and Wonderful is within Torah and in Mashiyach Y'shua. The observance of Peace and Justice and Blessings are a weekly experience for Netzari congregations and this is one reason why most Netzarim have maintained "underground fellowship" because those who delight in YHWH also delight in Shabbat and in keeping worship and conversation Set Apart and pleasing to YHWH and His Mashiyach. Observing Shabbat takes discipline and not everyone is interested in controlling their carnal mouths and bellies for their own souls or for others so quality is always better than quantity.
Unfortunately, many who come from Christian backgrounds can only see the Beauty of the Commandments and "tradition" as a theology, one brother became upset with me for asking him to pick his Bible up off the floor. He had to give me a lecture on Shabbat that his Bible was simply cigarette paper and leather to him, he was ignorant of a common respect that Netzarim have for the Word of YHWH. Any fool knows that cigarette paper and leather is not what was being referred to, but he and his buddies think the same thing of a Torah Scroll, it's just paper and ink for them.
There's no point in trying to teach a fool, Solomon suggested stripes for a fool aren't going to change a fool into a refined and caring individual. The best way to keep everyone happy is to invite fools to go to other "fellowships" with those who have similar values as they. Now, if you're reading this and think you are the one I'm referring to don't worry, plenty of Christians have been asked not to put their Bibles on my carpet, some listen and respect others don't, you know who you are. :)
Do what you want in your own home, but in my home there is respect for the Word of YHWH and one another, it's just that simple. You'll get a pleasant warning, and then, you will go somewhere else if that doesn't work for you. Another thing, you won't be eating or drinking while I oversee a Yeshiva, not in my house and not in your house either if you want me to conduct a Yeshiva. Yes, you will have to stop filling your mouth if we have prayed and asked YHWH to open His Word to our spirits, it's just that simple, or please find someone else to teach because Torah is not a mundane thing for me, and hearing from the Ruach haKodesh is a great honor... one that very few seem to understand.
You won't be talking over other people or interrupting others if I'm in the room. You will wait until others have finished speaking their thoughts or you won't be in my Yeshiva again. If you're not the solution to the problem then you won't be talking about others or their problems in my home or in my fellowship. You won't show up at my fellowship with empty hands or not do something to make a meaningful contribution to the wellbeing and welfare of everyone else. You can do what you want in other "fellowships" but in my "fellowship" you learn to respect the simcha (joy) of everyone present, it's just that simple.
These are "little things" that are important for fellowship, I believe in direct and immediate enforcement and I could give many examples.
Are you looking for fellowship or a "good time"? Do you want a routine Shabbat party once a week where there is great food, wine, dessert, laughing, singing, catching up on the latest gossip etc? I've visited numerous congregations where there would be dead silence if certain people were not allowed to gossip or incessantly talk about their conspiracy theories on Shabbat. No, in such a situation we both know that carnal talk is an abomination to the Father and the reason people talk carnal things is because they've filled their minds with carnal talk rather than the things of YHWH and His Mashiyach.
We all talk about the things that are important to us, Y'shua taught that from the abundance of the heart the mouths speaks. So I'm saying that you're not alone, if you've been looking for intimate fellowship with others of like precious Faith, there are thousands like you, who like you, are not satisfied with conventional religious meetings. It is always music to my ears when I hear from brethren who are meeting in small home groups and delighting in the Word of YHWH each Shabbat.
Some congregations routinely bring in "speakers" who are professional talkers and this makes everyone feel uplifted...by the are often talkers, not doers of the Word. The difference between ministry and talk is much like life and death, but talk isn't cheap because the clock is ticking and just listening to big talkers is going to leave you unprepared and ill-equipped for future ministry opportunities. Many congregations I've visited have a few designated "talkers" who are very interesting to listen to, these are entertaining people who are fully equipped to amuse you and even share some spiritual insights and deep esoteric systematic theological knowledge that stimulates the spiritual senses, you can walk away with a warm fuzzy that melts by the time you make it to the parking lot or you can "enter in" to Fellowship with YHWH yourself.
I often hear of those "starving" for fellowship but what many suffer with is simply a lack of discipline, they want a Rabbi or a teacher or a worship leader or a speaker so they can plant their butts in an upholstered chair, open their mouths wide and get fed like little birdies.
I suggest these souls open up the Word of YHWH daily, meditate upon His Word and find others who also love His Word and want to adapt to a Torah-based lifestyle in Y'shua. Perhaps if you can't find fellowship it may be that you're just boring to be around? No that wasn't a pretty thing to say, but, if YHWH has called you to walk in Torah, in the Love of Mashiyach Y'shua, then He has called YOU for His purpose, don't dig in your heals and complain about not having fellowship, you learn how to become a fellowship yourself. You are called to WAIT upon the Ruach haKodesh and make a contribution rather than be dependant upon others for teaching.
If you could see yourself through the eyes of Mashiyach you would realize that you have unlimited potential in Him, you do, not just your leader. Have you learned how to control your thought-life on Shabbat? Suffering and discipline are two wonderful teachers are they not? Better to go to the house of mourning than the house of partying, why? If you learn the disciplines (and precious few brethren know this) about how to keep your mind from wanderlusting on Shabbat then you will know why the order of the Service is as it is and why Torah gives hundreds of disciplines for the mind and heart each Shabbat. All we have to do is be willing.
Most ex-Christian and Messianic Jewish "believers" are ignorant of the basic hiddur mitzvoth (beautify the commandment) elements of Torah observance, even to talk about it becomes a burden for them, often because of the anti-Semitic or anti-Rabbinical sentiments that don't allow them to think beyond a preconceived religious framework. The Shabbat oneg is taken from Isaiah 58:13 but unfortunately many "believers" are so busy hating all religious "tradition" that they also hate the Truth of Scripture that some traditions are solidly based on!
We all learn about Torah and Mashiyach over our lifetimes, so then how much are you prepared to invest in your spiritual walk this Shabbat? Can you not see that from one Shabbat to another Shabbat we live in an opportunity to experience a progressive revelation of Mashiyach?
Getting people to come for fellowship is easy. Work and earn money, buy groceries, prepare some food, fix up the house and invite people over, believe me, they will come, then wash the dishes, clean the house and take out the garbage, imagine! Is it so difficult to have a fellowship? No, it's easy to have a social club, but not so easy to have intimate and meaningful fellowship when living in a backslidden, materialstic, relativistic world.
Would you take the time to learn Torah and also work a side job to give others a meal who come to your house to learn Torah? And then maybe listen to them gossip about some flaw they found in you? Would you serve others who would never consider giving a tithe or offerings as long as they had some food on Shabbat and a nice place to meet?
We need to learn to "be" a fellowship, a worshipper and a disciple ourselves rather than look for a fellowship to attend. You would be amazed at how many people become unsatisfied with my leadership, not my cooking, not my musicianship and not even my teaching but with my leadership because I would rather build community than talk about it. Do than preach. I would rather ban gossipers and their gossip than have to deal with a gossiping spirit every Shabbat.
I would rather fellowship with two or three brethren where there is peace, than have to endure a lying or gossiping or controlling spirit come and play religious games on Shabbat.
Fellowship is time very well invested for the Kingdoms sake, but social clubs are detours and distractions from maturing in Mashiyach. It's time to make a detour from religion once and for all, rather than look for a fellowship, become one yourself. Rather than try to find a speaker who will pump you up how about going and encouraging someone yourself? How about acquiring the tools you need to minister to yourself and others? YHWH says, be still and know that I am YHWH. It is within these times of wanting to hear His Voice and seeking Him that we can truly experience wonderful fellowship. The only limitations that you have upon yourself are those you've put, our Father doesn't limit our potential, we do.
YHWH be with you,
Baruch Ben Daniel
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MASHIYACH.COM All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2005 MASHIYACH.COM All Rights Reserved.