Find Hope

Dad disowned me for going to church.

As I came out I heard her singing “Jesus loves me.” The faster she rocked, the louder she sang. My parents heard her and we were kicked out of the house.

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I was born into an orthodox Jewish household. My grandfather was an orthodox rabbi. I grew up not understanding God and fearing God. Afraid that if I turned a light switch on after Friday night at sun down, that God would send a lightening bolt down. Or if I ate a ham sandwich or anything like that. In other words, I grew up under the law. And I grew up fearing God. At the age of twelve, I was hurrying to get home from school. I got out of school late. It was the night of Passover. As I got close to my house, this lady came off of her porch and grabbed me by the elbow and stopped me in a very hateful way. She said; why are you Jews still roasting the Passover lamb? Didn’t you know that Jesus was the Lamb of God slain once for your sins? I looked at her and said; really? I never heard that before. Is that true? And, she had enough nerve to stop me and tell me that much and then she disappeared into her house. I couldn’t find anybody to tell me the rest of the story. As I was growing up, I had a lot of questions. I was always very curious. I asked our Rabbi in the synagogue. I said; Rabbi, if we are reconciled to God by the sacrifices and we are not sacrificing anymore, what is going to happen to me if I do something wrong? Part of the problem was that I never knew if I was doing something wrong because there were so many different laws and different things. You know, you couldn’t mix milk and meat. By that I mean, for example, you couldn’t eat a cheeseburger because you were mixing a meat meal with dairy. One year, well, at the age of seventeen, I went in to go to a game and I got the dates mixed up. There was a big red and white banner on the stadium that said; Come hear about the Lamb of God. I said; well maybe now some one will tell me the rest of the story. I went into the stadium and there was a Billy Graham crusade there. Well, you would have thought I was watching the best baseball game ever. Because he was answering all of my questions. As I went forward a personal worker stopped me and said; would you like to trust Christ as your savior? In tears, I said; I would but I’m not allowed to do this. I’m Jewish. It’s only for you gentiles. And that’s when she opened her bible to John 3;16 and had me read one word. That one word was “whosoever”. She said; does ‘whosoever’ include little Jewish boys? I said; well, I guess it does. And she said; does it include gentiles? I said; yes ma’am it does. She said; would you like to trust Christ as your savior? I said; I sure would. On Sunday morning at six o’clock in the morning, I got up early and snuck out of the house and decided that I needed to find a church if I was a Christian. But my parents said; where have you been? Very softly trying to get past them I said; church. Where? Church. Twelve hours later literally at midnight, at the buckle end of my fathers belt buckle. I still have a scar on my shoulder from that beating. I finally pushed past my father, out the cellar door in fear for my life. A policeman picked me up and said that they had a report that I was a run away. And that I needed to be taken to the police station. I showed them what my father did to my back. He said; well, you’re a minor. I was a month and a half shy of finishing high school at that point. Well, the next morning my father was in my room. The Jewish modern day equivalent of renting your clothes, is if you’re a male, they cut your neck ties. At eight o’clock the next morning, he was in my room cutting my neck ties. He looked at me and said; as far as I am concerned, you are no longer my son. You need to leave. Well, I tell people, don’t feel sorry for me today. The God that saved me has taken care of me every since. That day, as I said, I was a month and a half shy of finishing high school. That day God gave me a job delivering furniture part time after school and a one room efficiency apartment that met my needs. I actually got invited to come home for a weekend because they had never seen their grandchildren. As we were unloading the car, my daughter had never seen a front porch with a rocking chair on it. Because we lived in military housing. As we were unloading the car, she started rocking in the rocking chair on the front porch. And the bedrooms were in the back of the house. So we were bringing suitcases. As I came out I heard her singing “Jesus loves me.” The faster she rocked, the louder she sang. My parents heard her and we were kicked out of the house. That’s the last time we saw them alive. On the Passover table today, there’s a lamb bone but no lamb. God prescribed a lamb not a, not a shank or not a bone. There’s three pieces of matzo. And just coincidentally, I say that a little sarcastically, coincidentally the middle piece gets wrapped in white linen at the beginning of the meal. The matzo is striped and pierced. It’s got perforations in it as well as burn marks. That middle piece gets wrapped in white linen and hidden at the beginning of the meal or buried. At the end of the meal, the kids look for it and it’s essentially resurrected. Whoever finds it is redeemed with silver. Then they all partake of it. They sip the last cup of wine. Then they sing a hymn which sounds very familiar to our Lords supper. The fact that God loved me enough to die for my sin, sometimes still even gets me teared up like it is now.

Stan - Dad disowned me for going to church.

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