Sunday, April 26, 2009

"So, Jimmy. Are you Jewish?"

I get that question a lot. I hear everything. "You look like you are." Really? Since when is having dark hair, Ashkenazic-ish complexion, and just overall good looks something that you rarely find in a non-Jew? (Ok, so I'm working on that last qualification, but still....) "But the way you think and talk, your gestures, your're Jewish!" All I'm gonna say is I've been around the culture long enough. "You seem to have a strong understanding of Yiddishkeit, though (Definition -" I'm sure you would, too, if you just read enough books and had enough conversations.

Look, the bottom line is simply this. No, I am not Jewish, and in my opinion, nothing I do will ever change that. Being Jewish is about being a bloodline descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, b/c it was w/ them that God established His covenant, thereby creating the children of Israel (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:19-21; 28:10-15; 32:28). Even if I were to make a full conversion to Judaism, adopting all of the practices, that doesn't change anything as far as I'm concerned. A Jew is a Jew b/c he is born a Jew, the same thing goes for a Gentile, and to say anything to the contrary would make God out to be a liar in my mind.

That having been said, I feel it's important for you to understand that I do believe in Yeshua(Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures, through faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel. Consider, if you were to visit someone's house w/ a friend of yours, who would be the most important person? More than likely you're going to say that nobody is more important than anybody else, and if you've said this, you've answered well. However, only one of these three people is the host, and is it not fair to say that you should honor this person? Likewise, there are many nations comprised of many individuals, all of whom are equally esteemed by God Almighty (II Chron. 19:7; Rom. 2:11). However, only one nation has been chosen to host us into the blessings of God, and no matter how many other guests we invite, the host is still the host. It only makes sense to me, then, that I should honor the host, the Jewish people, b/c in not doing so, not only am I showing disrespect to them, I'm acting in grievance against God.

So to answer your question one last time, no, I am not Jewish, but I am honored to be loved by the God of Israel through the redemption I've received from Him in the Messiah, Yeshua, and I feel so immeasurably indebted to let that be known amongst all peoples.

"Do not boast against the branches (the Jewish people). If you boast, remember, it isn't you that bears the root, but the root that bears you." - Rom. 11:18

If time is money, no wonder it's rarely free (The chaotic schedule that is.......)

So what does the average week in the life of Jimmy Ballenger look like these days? Well, I'll break it down for you as follows:

Sat. morn. - afternoon: Services/fellowship at KSS (

Sat. late afternoon - night: Work

Sun. morn. - afternoon: Errands, chill (a *little*)

Sun. late afternoon - night: Work

Mon.: Same as Sunday

Tuesday morn. - late afternoon: Work

Tuesday eve.: Come home, get dinner, throw my things together, drive up to PA

Tuesday night: Arrive in Coatesville, get settled in, go to bed

Wed. morn. - late afternoon: Staff lectures/helping out any way I can

Wed. eve. - night: Helping out w/ YWAM-Coatesville's Spanish ministry

Thurs. morn. - late afternoon: Helping out around the base, manning reception in the afternoon

Thurs. eve. - night: Work in fundraising

Fri. morn. - late afternoon: Same as Wed.

Fri. eve. - night: Same as Tues. (in reverse)

So that's what life's looking like for me pretty much these days. Despite how hectic that sounds, it's not that bad. I do get enough downtime here and there each week to relax and spend time w/ others (I do have to have time to eat, you know). I guess that's all there really is to say for now, then, so thanks again for taking the time to read:)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So the adventure's begun (my journey back into YWAM)

Hola, shalom, and all that good stuff:) Well, it's been a while since I've posted any material online, and I thought now would be a good time for me to go w/ a site that's a little more blog-oriented (being a writer by trade, I prefer to take what I do seriously).

So what's new w/ me? Well, there's definitely a lot to catch up on, but I'll leave it w/ this for now. In case you haven't heard, I just got started back w/ YWAM (and in case you don't know what YWAM is, click here to find out more - If you know me at all, you're probably well aware that I have a major heart for New York City. I took quite a few trips to the area between spring '04 and fall '06 (living in Northern Virginia makes it easy to do things like that:). In the last few years, however, I started to realize that everything that drew me to NYC could be found in some fashion throughout much of the Northeast (namely the 8-hour stretch along the I-95 corridor from D.C. to Boston). This got me pretty excited, and it was only a short matter of time before God called me back into YWAM.

After taking some time to pray about where I should join, I felt like I should link up w/ a base in Coatesville, PA (about 3 hours from where I live). I've known the leader of YWAM-Coatesville for quite a few years, and it turns out we've both been getting a burden for Philadelphia (the only remaining major city in the northeastern U.S. in which there is no YWAM presence). Some time had passed, and the door eventually opened for me to join staff at the beginning of this month (how that happened is quite a story, too...but I suppose it's better left for another time:).

I'll have more to share about the ongoing details of my life in later posts, but I'll close w/ this. If you know about YWAM, you know that everybody who gets involved has to raise their own financial support (yes, even the founder, himself, does not receive a salary). I have a ways to go w/ this, so I am continuing w/ my current job during the first half of each week until I've raised enough funds to join on as a full-time staff member. Please do keep me in your prayers as it comes to mind, and if you would like to help me in this journey by supporting me financially, feel free to get a hold of me and let me know.

God bless, and thank you so much for taking the time to read.