The Torah Runner

All About That Bless

A big to thanks to Josh in Texas.

Have you ever tried to read through the entire Bible in a year? In today’s testimony, Josh tells us that his entire church set out to do that together. Find out below.

I grew up in Southern Baptist churches. My grandfather was a missionary Baptist pastor. I “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was very young. I proceeded with being very active in church throughout my childhood, and then into my teens and even college.

On my 21st birthday while reading a book (Tender Warrior) I realized that I had never actually given my life to Christ. I had given him aspects of my life but didn’t trust Him with everything. That night was when I truly gave my life to the Lord. From that point forward my life began on a new path. No longer was I seeking to live based on traditions but in a true relationship.

I stayed in the southern Baptist churches I was familiar with and sought to obey the Lord as best as I could, but was still not Torah Observant.

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering I ended up in the DFW area, where I got active in a new church with my wife. While there I felt God call me to “preach or die.” I followed that calling and became an associate pastor at a small church and then the senior pastor at a different small church in the metroplex. Leading this church we began growing and won many awards from our association.

It was in our “success” that I started feeling the Lord pushing me deeper. We may have had the most baptisms, fasting growing services and Sunday schools but I knew my church. Even though we were growing by account of the reportable numbers, my church members were NOT growing in their relationship with Jesus. My heart was wrought.

The next year I canceled all of our church programs so that we could be unified as an entire church to simply read the Bible. It was an opportunity that no one in the church had ever taken advantage of. So we adopted a reading schedule for the year for our church to all read, study, and preach through the Word in one year. Our church got excited about it at first. BUT….

I’ll never forget the day that the switch turned off. It was spiritual warfare and we got hit hard. We made it through the pentateuch and into the more exciting portions of scripture… we had actually made it into what are the most exciting portions of scripture when the church turned off. It was on the week that we read about Elijah calling down the pillar of fire against the prophets of Baal that our church just stopped reading.

I couldn’t understand it! They all just stopped. The excuses came pouring in, didn’t have time to read, didn’t understand it, etc… it was heartbreaking. Throughout the rest of the year the church wouldn’t get back in it. A few people read with us through the end. But it was in this year that I also realized that I just didn’t see any example of “church” in scripture that really resembled what we were.

By the end of that year I knew I couldn’t pastor like that any more. I felt led to start a home church (which we have been doing now for almost 3 years). But this home church gave us the opportunity to be more focused on the people instead of the facilities. We have never had worries about finances and don’t even have a gathering setup for our church. Rather we encourage one another to seek opportunities to give externally as much as possible (not ideal but it’s what we can do).

Our home church has had lots of peaks and valleys but a few have stuck with it the whole time.

This year after our Easter worship I was talking to a man who was Torah observant. I thought I was going to be able to share Christ with Him. When we began talking, I quickly saw that he knew Jesus and lived for him already but differently.

We talked about the Old Testament which I’m fairly familiar with. It was in this that he explained that they observed the feasts rather than the holidays of our culture. His emphasis was that he does that because he believed that it was a blessing to honor the Lord and worship Jesus as the scripture states, rather than just following traditions.

This was an aspect that I could grab onto very well. We had already left the traditional church setting in order to gather more focused on scripture. So I left the conversation with a question for the church, “are we robbing ourselves of blessing from the LORD by not simply observing the feasts that God gave?”

This isn’t a matter of salvation, but rather about blessing. It didn’t take much studying to come to the conclusion that we were, in fact, robbing from ourselves.

That study led to a study on food and then the whole Torah. Shortly after Easter this year, we shifted to all becoming Torah observant. Essentially what it came down to is that our act of worship should be based on the one who is being worshipped.

To quote Francis Chan, “if you went to to nice restaurant and ordered a medium rare steak, what would you expect to receive? If your waiter came out with a big bowl of spaghetti telling you that even though you ordered a steak, they thought you’d want this instead. It’s been perfected over years and years of culinary experience and expertise. The flavors, seasonings, and noodles are all

Perfect. Would you be pleased with the spaghetti? Of course not! You ordered a steak. It was simple. Likewise, God gave us his order and desires.” We are not suggesting Francis is Torah observant, but he makes a good point about churches. When we just use the WORD though, we find the same about our entire act of worship. God set up His order in the beginning and he doesn’t change. His order was perfect and true. Our act of worship then, should follow His order.

I canceled all of our church programs so that we could be unified as an entire church to simply read the Bible.

When we realized this, we began changing. Telling our families and close friends that things would be a little different.

Some has been easy and some has been tough. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns but is definitely not bad. Being persecuted for Yeshua’s sake is something we get to call a blessing.

This year I left my career as a mechanical engineer in aerospace to start a coffee roasting company, McGrew’s Brew Coffee Roasting Co I use this business to push fair trade coffee and change the world one sip at a time. Right now I have a YouTube account where I try to do some teaching, etc through it. We are also trying to become more active in our community by launching a coffee shop that will serve as a local gathering location for shabbat. We may launch a website for our church gathering to seek to reach other local believers as well as reach new.

…on the week that we read about Elijah calling down the pillar of fire against the prophets of Baal that our church just stopped reading.

We believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah (Christ) of the world. We believe He is God (Elohim).

For following Yeshua, and whom he was, is, and always will be, we have indeed been shunned. Some have condemned us, some simply don’t talk to us.

We believe that Torah defines God’s desire of worship. Since He is the one being worshipped, we choose to obey His commands and laws in order to worship Him the way He desires, rather than the way we desire to worship Him.

Torah doesn’t save us, but gives direction to us as a result of our faith and salvation. The warning I would give is to be ready. Becoming obedient to Torah gives great blessings including the ability to read, understand, and obey what is written in Scripture like you’d never realized. BUT it can create pride for/against those who don’t see the way we see.

This isn’t a matter of salvation, but rather about blessing.

It’s very important to not become haughty. I would encourage you to get ready for life to change and to see God in new ways. You need like minded believers for fellowship and encouragement because you weren’t meant to do this on your own. We worship with another family at our house.

Josh from Texas

Thank you Josh. We pray over you for peace, protection, and prosperity in your new venture.

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