Hi, I’m Dave. Let me share some relevant information about myself so you know where I’m coming from.
I’m a non-Jew who practices Messianic Judaism.
What does that mean? That’s a great question. If you ask 50 different people, you’re likely to get as many as 50 different answers. For me, it means I’m a worshiper of the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, and a follower of Yeshua, known in most of the English-speaking world as Jesus. It also means that my faith community is a synagogue, not a church. I observe the Torah, to one degree or another. To simplify things, I’ll summarize it by calling it what others call it: “Jewish stuff”. You see, that’s all it is to some people, but in truth, where I’m at today in my faith walk is a result of a lifetime of learning, growing and pressing in towards a faith expression that is hopefully consistent with the intention of the apostles.
What I’m really about is trying to follow my Lord in a way that is more consistent with the biblical testimony. I’m not pretending to be a Jew. I just want to worship God the way He expects us to.
I was raised as a Roman Catholic in southern New England by morally responsible and hard-working middle-class parents. I’m more comfortable running my own business than working for others, like my father before me. I’ve had some stops and starts in my professional career, and have blown some opportunities along the way, but I have spunk and I keep trying.
In college, at the age of 19, I had a very personal encounter with God that changed my life forever. One of the results of this was that I shifted out of Catholicism and migrated into Evangelicalism. I felt this was necessary at the time.
Soon, I married and began raising a family. She had been raised Catholic as well, and early in our dating life I led her in a “sinner’s prayer”. Our spiritual journey took us through many environments; from Southern Baptist to Fundamentalist, to Reformed, then Charismatic, including FourSquare, Assembly of God and Calvary Chapel.
After 20 years of searching, including an 8-yr stint as an assistant pastor, I became dissatisfied with my faith. My belief in God never wavered, just my sense of balance and my confidence concerning my understanding of the scriptures and what I was supposed to be doing. I started having questions that I had never asked before. I began realizing that the Bible didn’t even teach some things that I had been told were “non-negotiable elements” of my faith.
What had seemed for so many years to be very simple had, over time, become anything but. Certain presumptions were no longer providing answers or even the needed perspective that was required for me to make sense of the many questions I found myself wrestling with.
One day, during this period of transition and uncertainty, I discovered a Jewish commentary on the Torah (the books of Moses). A Jewish commentary that, incidentally, was also centered on Yeshua the Messiah. I had studied this part of the Bible faithfully for nearly a decade and yet the insights I was gaining while studying the books from a Jewish perspective were just astounding. Things started making sense to me again. The Bible lost some of its inaccessible mystery and began to take shape in a truly cognitive manner.
Since that time, God has lit a fire within me to help other people like myself to navigate their own spiritual journey towards a deeper and more fulfilling understanding of the scriptures. I have found, over the past five years, that there are many people who are (just like me) finding themselves unable to relate with or connect to the modern Church. Many of these folks are still involved, but it’s only because they recognized the need for community. Some have even given up on that, and have turned to small groups, or television, or even other religions, to see if they can find what’s missing. They are curious about knowing more. Going deeper. That is what The Oasis is all about.
This is a safe zone for both Jews, Christians and others to wrestle with the Bible and with faith in an intellectually stimulating format, without fear of marginalization from their present community.
I currently navigate in the brackish water of the intersection between the Christian and Jewish world. I fellowship as a regular member of Tikvat David Messianic Synagogue, near Atlanta, under my rabbi Ryan Lambert, a close friend. I also am the founder of Oasis Fellowship, small-group and online teaching ministry that I began in 2014 while living in northern Vermont. My family and I continue to fellowship with and cultivate relationships with many other Christian friends and churches, as well as Jews and Christians from around the country and even the world.
I live in the Atlanta, GA area with my wife Michelle and our two youngest children. We have five children in all as well as five grandchildren.
I own and operate a carpet cleaning business as my chief source of income.
My life is not all that it could be but I do my best every day to bring a small measure of healing to the world around me; healing that I’ve needed myself and am still in the process of experiencing.
I suspect you’re probably feeling the same. Thanks for reading.