Shofar - a ram's horn sounded in Biblical times to communicate signals in battle, to warn of danger and to call the people together on occasions of vital importance.
What is all this about a shofar and why do we need to respond to it?
I believe there is a shofar-like blast coming from the Throne of God, calling us to return to the simplicity of the faith as it was originally given to us. It is a call to pursue God out of love, not religion.
God did not visit Abraham for religious purposes. Moses did not go up on the mountain to get religion, but to meet with and hear from God. Jesus did not come to earth to make us religious but to restore us to relationship with God.
It's all about relationship.
Yet the church today has become very religious and very complicated. At the same time most people in the western world find little in the gospel message that seems relevant to their lives. They don't find it interesting or useful because, let's face it, religiousness is generally either a crutch for the weak or a tool to dominate and control those weaker.
Please note that I said religiousness. The gospel of Jesus Christ is anything but religious. It is about relationship.
Did you ever read in the gospels, in the Psalms or in the prophets and notice how these were just ordinary people living extraordinary lives? Most of them were not very religious at all. They were down-to-earth, hearty and knew how to touch God. They were able, through their daily connection to Him, to change the course of battles, rescue whole nations out of slavery, heal the sick, even raise the dead.
How did they get to be that way? They didn't have stained glass windows, hymnals, steeples, or rituals. They lacked buildings complexes with sport halls, they didn't have large church staffs with multiple pastors, nor did they have huge budgets. Praise and worship bands, programs for every conceivable need, ministries for the elderly, childrens' ministries - they lacked all of these.
Responding to the Shofar's Call reveals how this change took place. It lets us take a peek behind the scenes in ancient Israel as well as in the Roman world of Jesus' time to see how things went wrong. But much more than being about what went wrong, it shows us what God originally intended for us and how we can get back on the right path.
(From the Preface)
I have three great passions in my life, outside of the Lord himself and my family. I love history. I especially want to know: what was it really like back then! What was life really like back before Noah, in the time of Moses, in the time of Jesus and the early church. The more I have read and researched, the more I am convinced that the common conception of these times is little like the way it really was.
I love to consider what is coming as well. What does the Lord have planned for us? How will the next few years really work out? Are we coming into the End Times, and if so, what does the Lord want to do in this time? What does Biblical prophecy really say as well as what is the Lord saying to His church today?
I love the people of God too. I have had a growing conviction that Israel is far more important to the church than we have generally recognized. I have found much to respect and admire in Jewish culture. I have discovered that the essential character that the Lord originally set into the language and culture of the Hebrews is still present to some degree and that it is something that the church needs to learn from them. It is not that there isn't just as much corruption and evil among the Jews and in Israel as in any other culture. There is. But I have found much for the believer in Jesus Christ to learn from them. Israel and the original God-given Hebrew character of the nation and its language have become passions in my life.
Recently I would have to say that the Lord has been renewing my passion for the church as well, as I have begun to see what these insights into Israel should mean for us, the church.
If you start talking with me about any of these three topics you are almost guaranteed to get a passionate response. Usually I am a rather reserved and quiet person, but if I get started talking about one of these topics, watch out! I can get very animated!
A few years ago I was doing a lot of reading of history as well as trying to learn Hebrew through a correspondence course from a wonderful Messianic Jewish Israeli who stressed the importance of learning the Hebraic mindset of the language and scriptures.
At some point in this time period I was meditating about the apparent riddle that Jesus posed when He said that He had not come to destroy the Law but fulfill it, that not the slightest mark or letter would pass from the Law. And yet at the same time it is clear that something changed, or there would have been no need for a new covenant.
I had come to recognize the great good in the Torah, in the lifestyle that God had given Israel, and what a preserving effect it had had in Israel's history. How is it that Jesus could say that this good and God-given Law won't disappear, yet Paul seems to indicate that a new way of life has come?
When the answer came it surprised me. There is a very good explanation for this change, and the answer has to do with the Lord's passions, not ours! The changes that Jesus brought about were truly the fulfillment of the Torah and they were intended to release Israel and every one else who believes into an even more fulfilling life in God.
As the picture unfolded I found that all three of my great passions are involved. The true history of Israel and the church need to be re-discovered as well as the Lord's intentions for both. And the reason they need to be rediscovered is because that which the Lord intends to do in this, the End Times, is to restore both back to their original purpose. And when that happens, His passion will be satisfied! His purpose in the coming years is far more about restoration than about judgment!
This book is an attempt to communicate those answers that I believe the Lord gave me at that time. It may teach some things a little differently than you have heard it in the past - or it may confirm things that you have always somehow known in your heart but never heard in quite this way before.
Our culture (whether European, American, African or Asian) affects the way we see Jesus. Our history as a church over the past two thousand years has also colored our perception of the Bible in ways we may not have considered. Let's try now to take a step back from our tradition and traditional view of things and take a fresh new look at what the Lord really intended to give us - both in the first covenant and in the new.
This book is about regaining a Kingdom of God culture. This book will make you think. Please do. At the same time, I have done my best to make it an enjoyable reading experience - though perhaps not a light reading experience.
Interested in discovering more about this book? Then check out these resources:
Let me say I love your teaching in your book. It is so timely. It is dove-tailing so much with what God is speaking through others to the Church right now. I am amazed at the depth of your research into so many areas... the Church, Israel, Hebrew and more. Anyway, the understanding of what God desired for us from the beginning, seems to be emerging in many parts of the Church. The true Bride is being called (by the shofar).
Ever since I read Rick Joyner's book (so many years ago) where he met Paul in a vision, I have pondered one of his statements: Rick said Paul told him that "we must recover the ministry and the message." I didn't understand that, but tried to substitute various religeous ideals for those two things. Now, I feel like a veil is being pulled back by you and others. And though I believe others are beginning to proclaim the message of God's deepest heart, I know you personally and one other who have written of these things.
L. Elphic - Oregon, USA
"Your book is really great. And that you wait till the end of the book to tackle the topic of the relationship of the church to Israel is, I find, very successful. To me it was the crowning conclusion of a masterpiece through which Yeshua will lead his Bride to unity and bring back to her Hebrew roots. Thank you for letting God use you for this work."
H. Drechsler - Germany
"Jim Gettmann wants us to return to our roots. Therefore he asks: "What are these roots? And then he goes another step further to ask, "What does God actually expect of us?"
Anyone expecting standard answers would be well advised to put this book, which has considerable spiritual depth, quickly aside. The author, who today lives near Rostock, Germany, wants us to rediscover the original, hebraic flavor of Christianity. Whoever sets out to live by the conclusions found on this journey of discovery will quickly encounter many obstacles which begin to spring up.
Whoever dares set out on this journey through time with Jim Gettmann had best be prepared to have his biblical world-view challenged - and more than once! Certainly he will find out by the end of the book that his view of Jesus - Yeshua - has changed, grown. Or should I say that I see him better now without my opaque european glasses?
The book is both extremely enthralling and uncomfortable, but in order to get closer to Jesus, it is a book that you just have to read."
Anonymous Reviewer - Amazon - Germany
Jim Gettmann has been helping build churches for over 30 years. Together with his wife Linda (and 4 children, 1 grandchild) he has been involved in different projects in countries like Austria, Kazakhstan, and Hungary. For more than a decade they have been living near Rostock, east Germany, where they have been experiencing organic church.