As the founder of Sabbath Steams, this has become one of the most common questions I receive. I have a dear friend, raised in a non-observant household, who calls me with questions about "her people" and the traditions she is just now discovering.
But no, I am not personally of Jewish ancestry. My family has been traced back to the 1600's and on both my mom and dad's sides we are mostly Welsh, Irish, and Scottish. Actually, my family has been in the America's since before the Revolutionary War -- and so, there is some Native American thrown in the mix as well (there are those who are teaching about a 'house of Ephraim,' and some who believe the Native Americans may be descendents of the 'lost tribes' so I suppose it could be possible for there to be some Jewish blood in me, but I am unsure of this and so do not claim it for myself).
I have had more than one person be very surprised by that answer -- as they have said that I seem to have a "Jewish Soul." I don't know about that one either. I see myself as more of a Ruth -- or a Rahab. I have fallen in Love with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If it were possible to convert without renouncing Yeshua as Messiah, I would seriously consider it. But I love my Savior too much, and besides Paul clearly taught that one does not need to ‘convert’ (be physically circumcised) to have a heart that is converted (spiritual circumcision). (Romans 2:28 & 29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.)
I was raised in a Christian Home and heavily involved in church life. We were Baptist, and my father was the Pastor. So when I say we were Baptist, we were very Baptist. I even attended a Baptist Bible College years ago. . . . Through a series of life events, I ended up at a strange little neighborhood church where I not only experienced being 'laid out in the Spirit,' but where there was an attempt to study and learn and practice the feasts of Israel. The Spirit had directed them that "to go forward you must first go backward" and so they were going back and looking at the roots of the faith.
Romans 11:17 & 18 says: "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you."
And yet, Christians in general know very little from the root. As I began to learn, I began to recognize that there is much the body of Christ does not know, does not understand and has not been able to experience because we have not been getting nourishment from the root. Personally, I had been asking for years: "Where is the power of the early church?" "Where is the fruit you said would follow?" As I sat in this quirky little church, I began to hear, "There can be no fruit without the nourishment from the roots. It's true in the natural, why would the Spiritual be any different?" Thus began my search to understand the root -- and in this way -- to understand my faith and my God, and to begin to see real fruit in my life.
We have been asked lately about having women leading the ministry.
As I prayed about how to address this issue I was reminded of a site that covers this issue with excellent scholarship and eloquent writings. Why reinvent the wheel? Rather than spend the energy and time addressing this issue, I would like to refer the reader to a place where all your questions can be answered.
For a specific answer to the question of Women as pastors – please check out Should Women Serve as Pastors? by Barbara Collins. This article explores the arguments on this controversial subject. For a list of more articles on Women in Ministry, visit godswordtowomen.org/womenministry.htm and for lots of articles on Women, their roles and treatment, explore the entire site godswordtowomen.org
While we certainly will not agree with everything that is posted on their site (or anyone else’s for that matter), there is much there that we can all, at the very least, prayerfully consider in our attitudes about women leading a ministry.
I know that understanding some of these teachings from this site is part of what freed me to begin to function in my gifting as a teacher/preacher.
Be blessed as you study and seek the Lord in this matter.
A word from Craig Bass, Elizabeth's husband:
Greetings! I realize that there are many who believe that I should be "the teacher" of the Sabbath Streams Ministry by virtue of the mere fact that I am the man and my wife is the woman in our marriage and in this ministry. While I understand traditional convention in this and other matters, I must also admit that I do not feel the call or the equipping that my wife has received from God to found and lead Sabbath Streams.
I firmly believe she is called by God, blessed by God, and equipped by God unto this ministry. She has my full blessing; who am I to presume to disallow God's blessing upon her?