From May 2002 through March 2003 I was the Intern Messianic Rabbi at Congregation Shema Yisrael. There I learned much about running a congregation, counseling, and how the IAMCS and MJAA were obeying God to create a Messianic Jewish movement and a Jewish subculture .
Then, under God's leading, I ran a small congregation in Eugene, Oregon from March 2004 until July 2007. It was named P'nei Adonai after the intensely refining presence of God. Within it a half-dozen core families strove to follow the first-century roots of our faith. With God's guidance and a lot of scholarship we slowly grew in our understanding of how to worship and how to see the world as Yeshua does. During those years our congregational activities evolved to look less like the Messianic Judaism I had been trained about and more like a contemplative first-century experience focusing on worship, discussion and discipleship.
That congregational website remains online even though the congregation is currently inactive. Many online visitors still find helpful its content about worship, dance, and concepts.
Perhaps God will call me to resume ministry work at a future date.
At one point the P'nei Adonai website contained a discussion of the traditional Jewish weekly Torah portions. Those pages were eventually removed to reflect the group's more primary foci even though sermons and discussion continued to follow the traditional weekly cycle.
Those pages are now here for your enjoyment. Each page has two sections. Notes collects the fruits of the congregation's discussion: insights we heard from God or shared with each other. Traditional Jewish Commentary has cultural "common knowledge" about each portion of scripture. In both parts references are included where appropriate and possible; unfortunately, both modern sermons and ancient Jewish tradition contain many instances of passing along commentary without proper referencing.
These pages will eventually be updated. I know one of my "back burner" assignments from God is to go through all my old sermons and extract what is useful into these pages and the concept pages.
The Chabad calendar is a good resource to learn how the weekly portions are assigned to this calendar year.
The P'nei Adonai website also used to contain a discussion of the scriptural holy days, which were also eventually removed to reflect the group's more primary foci even though the congregation still celebrated them. Those pages are also now here for your enjoyment.
Scripture classifies holidays in two ways. A holiday may be a moad (appointed time). If a moad, it may also be a chag (pilgrimage festival).
Whoever makes an appointment gets to set the agenda. If you make an appointment with your boss, you set the agenda. If your boss makes the appointment, he or she sets the agenda. The maodim (plural of moad) are when God has called the Jewish people, under the covenant of Sinai, to meet with him. On these days God sets the agenda. In the Torah, God tells us what should happen on these days.
There are also holidays that are not moadim, which are like parties thrown for God, in contrast to a meeting called by God.
The holidays that are a chag foreshadowed Yeshua's first coming, and teach about fearing God. The holidays that are not a chag foreshadow Yeshua's second coming, and teach about repentance.
Both moad and chag
Moad but not chag
Neither moad nor chag
Besides these pages about the scriptural holy days, the congregation frequently had people ask us what we thought about Christmas, and we had written a response.
Here I collect some old religious essays.
I have written a translation of the Tao Te Ching with commentary.