Dear Ministry Partner,
What a glorious event it was when, on Pentecost, Peter stood to his feet and began to preach the message of the prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). Peter reminded the people that God raised the Jesus they crucified, and many in the audience saw Him before His ascension into the heavens: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Peter continued with a call to repentance, and the established Church grew by “three thousand souls” (v. 41) — the same number that had been lost when Moses returned from Sinai with the Law! (Ex. 32:28)
Beginning from this point, the Church sent missionaries to other parts of the world with this “good news” — the Gospel of Yeshua HaMashiach/ Jesus the Christ. We can thank our Jewish brothers and sisters for their part in our salvation. The early Church — solidly Jewish! — was the sending agency of the Gospel across the water to the rest of the world.
The remainder of the Book of Acts documents the life of Paul, one of the prime missionaries to travel beyond the boundaries of Israel. We find Paul preaching at Antioch, Iconium, Troas, Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Malta, and throughout Rome. And remember, there were no trains, planes, or automobiles.
Rather than trace the footsteps of Paul in his ministry, let’s examine his commitment to taking the Gospel outside Israel. Every reader should know that what began in Acts continues to this day, and you and I are to be intimately involved in the ministry that began over 2,000 years ago. I often hear Believers ask, “What can I do? I am not a preacher, prophet, or teacher.” Let’s review Paul’s earnest plea that all Believers (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah”) fulfill God’s purpose in their lives!
We’ll cover only two verses:
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1–2 NKJV).
Before studying these two verses, please remember how Paul writes his letters. He spends the first part (or chapters) teaching or presenting the main Biblical truth (doctrine, as we call it). Then he uses the last part to give the application. For instance, in Romans, Paul spends the first 11 chapters teaching the Biblical truth, and then completes the letter in chapters 12–16 by showing his readers how to apply that truth in their lives.
As Believers, we have certain duties and responsibilities. As we perform those duties, we dare not come up with a list of dos and don’ts that have no doctrinal basis. Confusion reigns in our world today because too many “lists” have been made using attractive words that appeal to the ears of man. It is not my place to judge anyone, but I know that you, Dear Reader, have a keen insight into what is truth and what is not. Let’s leave it at that.
NOT THROUGH ANY MERIT OF OUR OWN
Paul sets out in 12:1 “begging” or “urging” the Believer to present himself to God based on the mercies that God has offered. Remember that God, out of His mercy, chose Israel, blessed Israel, and isn’t finished with Israel to this day! We cannot come to God through any merit of our own. Let’s look back at chapter five to see what God has done for us.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:1, 6, 8, 9).
In chapter 12’s application lesson, Paul states that we should be “living sacrifices.” Often we feel as though we must have our life all neatly arranged in order to serve God. Paul says to present yourself to God, and He will put your life in order. When Paul uses the word “present,” he is looking back at a technical term used in the Old Testament as worshipers presented their offerings to the priest. The priest would then take the offering and put it on the brazen altar, acting as the mediator.
The wealthiest of people, like Solomon, offered thousands of oxen; but Mary, the mother of Jesus, offered two turtle doves. God, in His wisdom, accepts offerings from rich and poor alike. Paul is saying that we cannot come into God’s presence empty handed. We can only offer ourselves as we worship Him. We could make the Isaiah commitment: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8).
DIFFERENT, NOT ODD
In verse two, Paul urges the Believer to be different, not odd! Our goal is to be transformed, not conformed. Ever since the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, each Believer from that time to this day has the indwelling power to resist conforming to this world. But, we also have a part in that transformation by “renewing our minds” — to clear the clutter of the past before the Holy Spirit moves in. This may be the most difficult task, because memory can be triggered by many things. He gives good advice in Philippians 4:8,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.
Paul knew that occupying our mind with positive thoughts and visions would put us on the right track to being transformed.
Finally, when we have followed Paul’s prescription, it becomes much easier to find what he describes as “that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The remainder of chapter 12 talks about using the spiritual gifts that God has given every Believer, so that His will can be accomplished in the Church and throughout the world. From Pentecost to today, every Believer has a great responsibility to surrender him- or herself to God and spread the Good News that Yeshua HaMashiach/Jesus Christ is risen and awaits the day when He will come for His bride — the Church.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13).
Standing firm with Israel and ZLM,Tony
P.S. When we as Believers are surrendered and transformed, we can continue the vital work that began at Pentecost. We accomplish more together than we can separately; and we count on you as a vital part of Zola Levitt Ministries.
Zola Tours invitation from the Harts
In every Personal Letter we talk about opportunities to visit the Holy Land. This ministry has been taking Holy Land pilgrims to the land of Yeshua for nearly four decades. Our Zola Tours Manager Sandra is an industry professional who holds to Zola’s standard of working with “the best in the business.” Our tour guides and drivers are top notch, as are the hotels, restaurants, motor coaches, sites, adventures, teachers, worship leaders, and hosts … wait, that’s us!
Here is information about the upcoming fall Zola Tour. Some extensions are already wait-listed, so please call Sandra soon at 214-696-9760, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit levitt.com/tours to explore the following options:
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Sep 16–26||$4,988|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Sep 16–29||$6,188|
|Grand Athens (Greece & Israel)||Sep 10–26||$7,988|
|Ultra Grand (Greece & Israel & Petra)||Sep 10–29||$9,188|
A Note from David and Kirsten
Pentecost. A reason we enjoy co-hosting Zola Levitt Presents is the foundational teachings from Zola himself, especially on the Jewish feasts, and Pentecost in particular.
Growing up in Christian homes, we learned that Pentecost marked the beginning of the Church, but we mistakenly thought that everyone at Pentecost became “Christians.” Yes, they became Christ followers … but they were still 100% Jewish — a fact that many churches today ignore or have forgotten. Zola Levitt Ministries continues Zola’s goal of teaching about the early Church of Jewish Believers! In fact, we are refreshing Zola’s series The First Christians in which we have some enlightening conversations with Dr. Jeffrey Seif about Zola’s original teachings. Please watch for them to air in August.
On Zola Levitt Presents this month
Recently at a Mexican restaurant near our home in Branson, a woman recognized us from Zola Levitt Presents. She approached our table to say, “Hi,” and then asked how long we would be in the States. “You live in Israel, yes?”
We let her know that though we sometimes tour and tape in Israel, we record the studio segments in Texas … and live in Missouri! The two of us fly to Dallas/Fort Worth three or four times a year for a week to record multiple series for Zola Levitt Presents. We often tape interviews, music videos, and other events on location in Israel when we are there with the ministry’s tour groups. But the set you see every week on the TV program is in Dallas … Fort Worth, actually.
On the subject of television production, during our most recent trip to the studio, we filmed segments for two new series. We enjoy updating vintage Zola teachings for you who have already seen them but are new to more recent ZLMers. Dr. Seif has just finished a brand new series (are we allowed to tell you this yet?) about Joshua! Look for it in October. Now for June — here is what you can look forward to:
- Divine Deliverance: from Avraham to Yeshua
- The Lord offered a message of deliverance through 12 significant Bible characters. Dr. Jeffrey Seif teaches on location in Israel and discusses the lesson’s application. Enjoy dramatic re-enactments from past series, along with Zola’s re-orchestrated music sung by David and Kirsten.
- Winning a beauty contest positioned her to avert a pogrom to wipe out the Jewish people. God raises up people like Esther in each generation to deliver His people, culminating in the greatest redemption: through Yeshua.
- On His last night, Messiah said that He wanted to be remembered by a Passover meal. He is the door, the light of the world, the Lamb of God, and the ultimate Provider of deliverance. We pray that you have experienced deliverance and follow Him.
Psalms 120–134 are known as the Psalms of Ascent. These psalms sung by ancients going up to the Temple in Jerusalem are appropriate for Believers today. In this eight-part series, David and Kirsten present teaching by Jeff Seif from Israel, messages from Eitan Shishkoff and Chaim Malespin, Hebrew lessons from Sarah Liberman, plus music by Marty Goetz.
- Psalms 120 & 121
- From Jerusalem and nearby Ein Prat, Jeff reminds us that King David had to deal with enemies and times of distress but realized that his sure source of help was the Lord.
- Psalms 122 & 123
- “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). This city has had its share of battles, yet it is still central in the hearts of Jews and Christians as we look to the Lord for mercy and ultimate deliverance.
Remember to set “record,” watch live, or go to www.levitt.tv to catch every episode of these fine series.
Understanding the Church’s connection to its Jewish origins is the BEST way to include modern Jews in Yeshua’s salvation dynamic. Your financial commitment to this ministry keeps that ministry goal alive and gets the monthly Levitt Letter into the hands and onto computer screens of tens of thousands around the world. We hope you’re enjoying the in-depth Bible study in Tony’s Personal Letter that you’re holding. It gets delivered into mailboxes and, when you pass it along, into the hands of your friends and family.
If you’ve mailed something recently, you know how expensive postage has become. Sending out two professionally published newsletters every month is possible (along with our weekly television broadcasts) because of your faithful giving.
Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim! —
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! — Psalm 122:6
David & Kirsten
P.S. When you commit to a regular schedule of contributing, it helps the ministry plan better and keeps vitally important news about Israel in people’s hands. We have the best supporters and viewers! You are appreciated more than you can imagine.
Zola Levitt Ministries is ECFA approved
I am thankful that Zola Levitt Ministries continues the mission that began at Pentecost, and I am determined to be more intimately involved.
Here is my contribution for June to help cover the costs of proclaiming Yeshua through inspiring, on-location teaching of Biblical truth.
The “birthday of the Church” explained as it happened on that dramatic day when the Holy Spirit came.
The “birthday of the Church” explained as it happened on that dramatic day when the Holy Spirit came.
The Lord appeared to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos and dictated the dramatic Revelation of Jesus Christ. His commentary on seven churches of the time has remained an object lesson for all generations — the Seven Churches of Asia as seen by the Head of the Church.
Jeff and Sandra examine Psalms 120 to 134, which are known as the “Psalms of Ascent.” While these psalms may have been sung by ancient Jews going up to the Temple in Jerusalem, they are surprisingly appropriate and timely for Believers today.