Izzy here. I've been feeling a strong prompting from the Father to drop our monthly subscription to $20 (and annual to $200), and after seeking advice and receiving confirmation, we decided today to make that change.
We're not doing this because what we offer is only worth 65 cents a day - you'd be paying thousands of dollars for courses like this from most venues. I consistently hear exclamations of surprise from new students who realize they're getting so much for so little! We're doing this because we're feeling called to. I'm committed to operating as a ministry, and making the experiences of learning and community that we offer as affordable as possible - even if that means sacrificing on my side.
If you're already subscribed at $30 a month you could switch to our new rate, but I'm begging you to please consider keeping your current rate unless you absolutely can't afford to. Because I'll be honest with you, if many of our current students switch, it's going to put us in the red. If you absolutely DO need to switch, please don't unsubscribe and resubscribe. Just email us and we'll change the rate on your current PayPal subscription.
To be really open with you, I feel scared right now. People often think we're a big ministry, because we're reaching hundreds of thousands of people. But we're not - we're a little ministry doing big things, and operating on a very small budget. This change could result in us taking a serious hit that we can't afford to take right now, so please pray with me for ongoing provision and a smooth transition. And if you're not a subscribed member of our tribe yet, please become one here. :) Thank you so much.
If you're new to our tribe, you may be wondering why we charge at all - doesn't it say "freely you have received, freely give"? I can share three things with you about that. Firstly, in context those instructions weren't about online language lessons - they were about preaching the gospel of Yeshua in person. Secondly, when we got started years ago we actually did offer everything for free with a request for donations, but unfortunately the vast majority of people took advantage of my generosity, and we were finally forced to choose between charging a minimal amount for our core materials, or shutting everything down. And even after that, we still continued to we still continued to offer as much as possible for free through YouTube, internet radio, Periscope, social media, and email. And thirdly, a subscription isn't just a financial transaction - it's a reciprocal relationship, it's an act of love, it's a mutual agreement that we're in this together and that each of us are going to do what we can to help each other, and the whole world, follow Yeshua.
I hope you enjoy the rest of this digest. (I don't know how it's going to be for you, but reading Elliott's story brought tears to my eyes.) And if there's anything on your mind, just hit reply. We're here for you!
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I'm sorry I wasn't able to film much for lessons for you this last week! I've been working on the next Mishnah Snapshots lesson, and a Hebrew Sketches episode on "why do Jews say oy?" and I'm reaaaaally excited about them. But I've also been sick off and on for the last two weeks, and haven't been able to be as prolific. Please pray for my health and peace of mind, thank you so much!
I was able to film one Hebrew Verses lesson, baruch Hashem! We read Genesis Genesis 38:15-30. Amongst other things, we talked about why one of the words for prostitute comes from the word for "holy". Watch here, and discuss it here.
Elliott is following Yeshua in a Hebrew way! Here’s his story.
I do not claim to hold a story so profound or life-changing, one worthy of award nominations or publishing deals. But it is my story, and it is true. I am honored to share it with you and hope it will inspire, teach, entertain, and awaken something beautiful inside of you.
My story is much like many of yours. We all seem to share similar themes and patterns of how we had been lead onto this journey and that only affirms to me the fact the we are being led by and to the same source.
It all began five years ago (2011) while I was in Bible school in Southern California. I was born and raised into a non-denominational Christian home and attended a private Baptist school for the majority of my grade school education. My interests from a very young age were that of the arts. Drawing, painting, animation, and design. This passion led me to study art in college until two years later I felt the nudge to move out west. That cross country trek landed me at a University where I could study both the art of film making and the ancient scriptures of the Bible.
For four more years I dissected the Bible through and through, writing 15 page hermeneutical papers on two tiny verses. Even though I was completely immersed in Christian culture and the study of the scriptures, I felt a disquietness in my soul - something still wasn’t right.
I remember sitting in one of my Bible classes when a simple, yet tantalizing thought danced across my mind. “Why then?” I answered the call and danced with the thought a little longer. “Why did Jesus come then? Why did God send Jesus to that particular time period and that particular place in the world? Why couldn’t he have sent him to America in 2011?” “What if the only way to understand Jesus is to understand the culture he lived in.” I typed these words across my computer screen. Little did I know that these poignant little words would be so life altering.
I then made it my goal to learn and practice things from the culture of the first century, but not in the way you may be suspecting. I made it my focus to learn how to bake bread.
I had always bought my bread from the store, which was not the reality for the people of Jesus’ day. That week I gathered the ingredients and baked my very first loaf of bread. Through the simple action of mixing and kneading dough I felt my spirit come alive. Almost instantaneously I came to understand a whole new level of the Bible. That one little loaf of bread was baked full of spiritual revelations. All of the parables and teachings about bread, leaven, and provision all came alive and filled my tiny apartment with a sweet aroma.
I could not stop sharing with those around me all that I had learned about God and His Word through baking that bread. I knew I wanted to learn more and so I took it to a another level - I wanted to grow my own food.
Living in Los Angeles made it difficult to find a small patch of earth to till and keep, but a kind professor of mine who lived nearby allowed me to dig up his backyard and plant my very own garden. I thought baking bread was revelatory, I had no idea what was in store for getting my hands in the dirt. The amount of agrarian based parables and teachings from Jesus just came alive right before my eyes. The principles of sowing and reaping, the quality of soil, pruning, weeding, harvesting, and sharing were now something that I understood. Before I only comprehended the idea of the principle, but now I have experienced it. With dirt under my fingernails and bread baking in my oven, I came to experience the truths of God unlike ever before. Yet this was just the beginning.
While sitting in church one Sunday morning I felt a deep unrest in my soul. A holy dissatisfaction came over me and all I could think was, “There has to be more than this. Was this what Jesus and his disciples did? Gather in a building, sing a few songs, pass the money plate, then everyone go their separate ways? There has to be more.”
At the same time I felt a deep conviction that I needed to rest. That I needed to take a sabbath. I immediately scoffed at the notion and shouted out all the reasons why I had no time to rest. After all I was working, going to school full time, working on my senior thesis, trying to maintain an apartment and a garden. There was no way. I had no time to spare. So I ignored the internal nudge and went about my business. Well if you have ever been convicted by God then you know that His nudge keeps nudging. Though I kept ignoring.
While walking on the campus of my Bible College in my defiant state, I noticed a sign that had the ten commandments written across them. My eyes immediately fell upon a specific section and I read those holy words, “Honor the sabbath day and keep it holy.”
In that moment something fell off my eyes and I could see those words for what they really were. “What does this really mean? What does it mean to honor and keep it? Why do we not talk about this? It’s one of the ten commandments, it’s here above murder even!”
I knew not the answers to these questions but I knew I had to do something about it. I determined to take 24 hours to rest and not do work. I informed my roommates and friends that I would be taking a sabbath and they were welcome to join me if they wanted. Two agreed that it would be a good idea to take a day off and we collectively decided that the best time for us would be Friday night to Saturday night.
And so the first week came, I baked bread, and we gathered in my tiny apartment to take a day of rest. The sun set and we all turned off our technology. No phones, no computer, no television. No homework. We felt a desire to light candles and my female friend requested that she be the one to light the candles. With a cozy blanket over her head she went around the living room lighting the candles. We all talked for a few hours over fresh baked bread before falling asleep in the stillness of the evening. The next morning we decided we should read a Bible story. So we picked our favorite “Old Testament” stories and read them aloud for the entire day.
Looking back now I can’t help but see just how “Jewish” we were. Without any foreknowledge we were observing Shabbat on the exact time and even participating some of the very same traditions. What a mystical experience to know that God was leading us and teaching us to observe His Shabbat in His way.
That first Shabbat changed my life. The next week I was not stressed or tired and not only did I get everything done that I needed to get done, but I found myself with extra time on my hands began reading a new book for pleasure!
I continued to host Shabbat gathering at my apartment and more and more people began to show up. Before long we had a dozen people crammed into my tiny apartment seeking God and His rest.
We began to read and study books that outlined the difference between Greek and Hebrew mindsets and how God had a Hebrew calendar that was different from ours.
It was such a rich time of learning, but we had no idea what it was we were actually learning. It all felt so new and we didn’t have words or names to put to what we were learning. We had often commented about how it felt as if we were “born again” and had to learn everything from scratch as if we were babies again.
Shortly thereafter I felt a calling to move back East. To make a long story short, I packed up all my belongings and landed deep in the Appalachian mountains at a very small church. The day I arrived was Pentecost(Shavuot), and twelve of us were gathered in a room and we all prayed. One woman took out a shofar and blew it loudly. That was my first time hearing the shofar and I had no idea what it was. She would be the first “Messianic Jew” that I would ever meet, though she did not go by that title. I learned much from her in my short time there, but then moved back North to the home of my birth.
While I was there I ran into an old highschool friend, and while we were talking I noticed she was wearing a necklace that had a menorah, Jesus fish, and star of David on it. I thought it was very intriguing and I asked her about it. She timidly told me that she was now “Messianic” and attended a synagogue near by. She was shocked to hear that I was excited and interested to learn more.
I visited her Messianic synagogue and for over two years learned as much as I could. The more I discovered the more I wanted to follow and obey. I dove right in and became kosher, observed all the holidays, wore tzit-tzit, learned to dance, and then eventually taught others to dance. It felt like I had been searching for where I belong my entire life, and I had finally found my home.
Everything started to make sense. All my questions had answers and everything connected and fell into place.
It launched me on a completely new path and focus for my life. My entire life had become one big mystery to explore and discover and eventually teach.
Coincidentally, Holy Language Institute followed me on twitter after I posted a Messianic inspired tweet. I followed them back and was excited to see their mission and purpose though I didn’t feel much pressure to participate.
Last year (2015) I made my first trip to Israel to celebrate Sukkot. It was there that I felt the specific calling to learn the Hebrew language intentionally. I had gleaned a lot through the congregation and study, but I needed to make it a priority to learn it. I want to understand Torah better and Yeshua’s language and culture, and I want to be able to speak with the Jewish people, especially those in Israel for when I return.
I returned from Israel and very shortly after I saw on my twitter feed Izzy’s face pop up teaching hebrew LIVE. I immediately clicked it and began to see and hear all that was being taught and I felt that this was a clear next step in this journey.
Already I feel such a deep connection and camaraderie with the Holy Language tribe and feel very encouraged to be able to connect with everyone here.
I know that my story is far from over, and I certainly could not have predicted how it has gone thus far. I am excited to see where Yahweh takes me and continues to lead His people as we become united for His calling and purposes. Thank you for letting me share my story thus far.
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