My Mission And Statement Of Purpose
From the beginning of time, the Father has always made a way for anyone who wishes to worship Him as their God to be counted among His chosen people. We see evidence of this, time and again, throughout the older testament with commands to Israel to treat the sojourner or foreigner among them as if they were native born, with there being one set of laws that applied equally to both.
However, in Acts 11 we see doors flung open wide to allow all Gentiles by birth to join their Jewish brethren in study and worship in order that they may fully know the Father.
Later, in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas came across a harsh teaching wherein “certain people” were teaching that in order for a Gentile to follow YHWH, they would first need to be in full adherence to every commandment as passed down through Moses. While the Jews had been taught these things from birth and circumcised on the eighth day of life, the Gentiles were not afforded such an upbringing and had much to learn in order to walk in the way of our Messiah. This is akin to requiring a child to be able to pass the high school graduation exam as a requirement for enrollment into kindergarten.
Therefore, Paul and Barnabas strongly objected to this teaching. They took it before the Jerusalem council to be advised on how to proceed as there were many Gentiles seeking to join the faith and worship YHWH.
The Jerusalem council saw the movement of the Father’s hand in all of these Gentiles wanting to join themselves to Israel and realized the need for them to have time to learn and grow in spiritual instruction. Therefore, they set a minimum standard of rules that would allow the gentiles to study and worship among the Jews without causing outrage or gross offense to them due to their lack of knowledge and experience in the faith. The stated goal and understanding was that each week at Shabbat, the Gentiles would be in the synagogues being taught from the foundational scriptures of our faith, the first five books of the Bible (known as the Torah in Hebrew and Pentateuch in Greek).
With this excellent example, the function and framework of our group is based upon the wisdom of Acts 15 along with the instruction of Joshua 1:8, with both verses held in the context of the entirety of YHWH’s Word.
A. The purpose of this Bible study is to help people read the whole Bible for themselves, not dictate how they respond to the Word. I will endeavor to accomplish this with no bias for or against any particular denomination or sect of Believers.
B. A Simple Requirement: Whereas the Jerusalem council required gentiles to abide by a minimum standard in order to join their synagogues and study alongside them, my simple requirement is that members agree to and abide by the group rules.
C. Comprehension Of Diversity: The Father has brought together a diverse group of Believers in this Bible study, representing countless denominations and walks of the faith. With this, I understand and accept that we will be diverse in learning styles, stages of development, and implementation of our faith.
D. The Challenge Of Diversity: I recognize that diversity can be a challenge as our inclination is to sequester ourselves into only like minded groups. However, as we are called to love our neighbor who may not think or live as we do, it should be a small thing to love our neighbor who also loves our God. When this presents itself as a challenge to us, it is my hope that we will seek the Father’s help to rise to and grow through that challenge.
E. Standard of Behavior: It is my earnest desire that we bring further honor and glory to our King through the operation of and daily interactions within this group. Therefore, the standard of behavior set forth by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 will be the standard striven for within this Bible study and expected of all who participate.
F. Unjust Expectations: I operate on the understanding that it is not justified to expect anyone to follow the Word of YHWH without having read it. Further, neither myself nor the members of the group possess the ability to judge anyone’s heart, progress, or depth of understanding after they have read it.
G. The Difference Of The Holy Spirit: For those seeking to live by the spirit, we can hold different views with no lessening of love, respect, or kindness shown to one another. As followers of the Most High, I have faith in us being able to rise to this standard.
H. Splinters vs Beams: In line with the group purpose, we are not here to point out sin in one another but to encourage and aid one another in growing closer to the Father through His Word, thereby entrusting Him to shine a light on changes that we will need to make as we grow and mature in our faith.
I. We Serve An Audience Of One: As we seek our Father, study, learn, and grow in our faith, we may still walk it out in vastly different ways. We should all strive to remember that we serve an audience of one, and each of us will give account for how we walked out our faith, not how well our neighbor walked out theirs, or how well we followed the teachings of others. May we strive to love one another with the grace, patience, and kindness with which He loves us.
J. Those Who Focus On What Divides Us: We are a group of seekers and we are of one accord in many things. There is simply no place in this group for those who seek to focus on what divides us rather than what brings us together.
K. I Will Only Move As He Directs: No one member or group of members will be able to alter the structure and function of the group to suit their desires over that of the community. Suggestions may be taken under advisement but ultimately I will only move as the Father directs. It is my hope that new members will consider the years the group has been in operation and understand that, in how the study operates, there is a long history which has been tested and proven.
L. Maintaining A Safe Space: Privacy of brothers and sisters is of the utmost importance. A Bible study community can be a place of vulnerability, where brethren feel safe to share their struggles and prayer requests. I will, to the best of my ability, use whatever means available to me in order to maintain any platforms I have as safe, trustworthy, and encouraging spaces for brethren to learn, ask questions, and make requests for prayer.
M. Self Appointed Gatekeepers of Salvation: We are a varied group of people with passionate views on many things. With the understanding that the Father will lay certain issues more heavily on some hearts than others, it remains vital that we not appoint ourselves gatekeepers to salvation. The gift of salvation is not ours to give, nor are we able to discern the heart of our brethren in terms of where they stand in the eyes of the Father.
N. A Common Goal Unites Us: The Father is leading this group and He has assembled many to join Him in His work here. We share a common goal but our implementation and how we walk out our individual faith may differ, in some cases significantly so. We do not have to agree on all matters to be of one accord in our goal (see A).
O. Continued Love Of Brethren Regardless: It is my hope and prayer that each person the Father leads to this study will continue with us and become a healthy part of the community. However, that is not always the Father’s plan. From time to time there may be brethren who feel they outgrow our community and choose to step away. This will not affect our relationship as brethren and fellow servants of our Messiah.
P. As Jesus/Yeshua Welcomed, So Will I: As Jesus/Yeshua spoke to the people, all who wanted to hear His voice were welcomed. This is my model. Therefore, it is my goal to meet people where they are at and not deny membership to those Yeshua would have welcomed in His audience.
Q. His Word Is Truth And We Need Never Stop Growing: It is my firm belief that the whole Word of YHWH is true, relevant, and applicable to our lives today. His Word does not rely on my defense to make it so. Therefore, my faith is not threatened by those who disagree with me as I am seeking to agree with the Father. Over time, I expect my own understanding to continue to deepen and grow and therefore it is the goal of this study group to leave room for others to do the same.
R. Faith By Compulsion: I operate on the understanding that faith by compulsion is not a true faith. We can lead a person to the Father, but we cannot make them worship Him.
S. I Will Not Put A Time Limit On Growth: I will not put a time limit on the work of our Father in the life of a brother or sister. Rather, I trust Him to know the pace at which each person learns. Even if a person has read the Bible 70×7 times, there is still much to learn and understanding some concepts may come easily for some but more slowly for others. Therefore, I consider each of us students of the Word, none of us having graduated from the school of our Father’s wisdom.
T. Jesus/Yeshua Is Our Standard: Apart from Messiah, I do not seek to hold up any faith-walk as the only righteous one, knowing that each of us lacks and falls behind in something.My Job Is To Encourage: I will not condemn others, regardless of their role in the group, for not walking out their faith as I do. I will love and encourage everyone as they walk out their faith regardless, in my hope of helping as many as possible (including myself) grow closer to the Father.
U. Our Diversity Is Evident: The diversity of the group is also represented in our admin team. I do not require anyone to walk as I walk in order to be a part of this group. The integrity of this statement can be proven by the makeup of both the group and the admin team.
V. Love Of Family And Neighbor: All who serve and seek the father are my brethren. Those who are not my brethren are still my neighbor and my goal is to represent Him in such a way that all will feel His love and hear His voice so that they will seek His face and eventually become my brethren.
X. I Am Held Accountable: I am accountable to the Father. He has led me every step of the way and His grace and leading are what holds me wherever he places me. This Bible study and any resulting communities are His creation and also accountable to Him. I will endeavor each day to remain accountable and obedient to Him, with gratitude for the support system He has put in place in my life to help me in this endeavor.
Y. Dividing What The Father Has Joined: Since our founding in 2016, there have been various members and groups ask that I form additional groups centered around denominations or particular faith walks. My consistent policy remains: what the Father brings together, I will not seek to divide.
Z. Jesus/Yeshua Is My One Benchmark: I am seeking to follow the Father, live by His word, and walk in the footsteps of my Messiah. Each day, I awaken and seek Him and each day He leads. I will stumble, I will not walk it out perfectly, but I will not cease in my earnest daily endeavor to follow Him to the best of my ability. As a result, the only person who others can look to as an example of my faith is Jesus/Yeshua. No person on this earth represents my faith until He returns.
These are in reference to our Bible study group on Facebook.
1 Kindness and manners are required
If you can’t say something nice, this isn’t the place for you. We spend our energy studying the Word and loving one another, leaving no time or energy left to judge how our siblings walk.
2 No political talk. Period.
This includes topics that have been politicized. Our goal is to read the wholeness of the Father’s Word so that we can grow closer to Him and live according to His ways over our own. I know avoiding politics gets hard sometimes so I recommend sitting on your hands to keep them from typing until the urge passes. Grace is shown once. Repeat offenders won’t last much longer than that.
3 No bad language or bad behavior
This includes inflammatory, unkind, or demeaning remarks. With a group this size, we simply don’t have time to watch over folks who kick up trouble.
4 No links to GoFundMe pages or similar type campaigns are allowed
Please share these on your personal wall rather than the group. Any links such as these will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be removed from the group.
5 Prayer thread
Prayer requests are welcome! Please share your prayer requests to the Prayer Request thread. You can add your requests at any time as this thread is always open for comments. By adding prayer requests to this thread it enables us to see them all and your request won’t get lost in the shuffle.
6 Arguing – Fruit Check
We will not argue with one another. Respectful discussion is wonderful and we are all free to do that, but we will do so in a way that lines up with the fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
7 Bible Translations
We will be respectful and kind with regards to Bible translations, knowing that we all have different preferences. It is the policy of this group that the best Bible translation is the one you will read and we leave it at that. *We ask that you avoid demeaning others Bible translation choices as well.
8 Respect for brothers and sisters
We will respect one another’s differences in how we walk out our faith and obedience to God, knowing that will look different for each of us. This includes patience and kindness towards other’s observance of holidays and Holy days. We further ask that you not demean any denominations as this group is diverse and we are all here seeking Him.
9 Season your words with grace and kindness
We want to encourage our brethren in their reading of the word. Tone can be difficult to convey in text so please make every effort to be kind, gentle, and grace filled in your comments. If your comment comes across as brash or unkind, it will be removed and you then have an opportunity to rephrase it in a gentler manner. If we have to remove repeated comments over a period of time you may be removed from the group.
10 Please avoid extra-Biblical books, links, etc
Please avoid extra-Biblical books (books in current Protestant Bibles are our focus in this group), links to other sites (other than known Bible sites), social media teachings, youtube, etc. *Why we do this: This can cause confusion & discouragement for first time Bible readers.