June 2019

Positive Bewilderment

Okay, here we go; are you ready for a ride? Deb and I are on a new ride; and in a state of “positive bewilderment.” About two months ago we were asked to consider a small Messianic Congregation in Lindenhurst IL called Sanctuary Messianic. Their current pastor, Steve Barak, was looking to pull back from various ministerial responsibilities. Though a minister never completely retires, Steve was looking for a break. His wife has had some health concerns, they were moving to Indiana, and continuing to lead this precious group of believers was becoming too much for him. We have been serving as assistant pastors at Agape Gathering place in Waukegan. Art had also started a new job this winter teaching at Fusion Academy in Lake Forest.

We were not looking to pastor, we were not looking to pastor a messianic congregation. But, as the scriptures say, “every man plans his way, but the Lord directs the steps.” So, nu, guess what? Art and Deb are going to start pastoring Sanctuary Messianic Congregation starting June 15th 2019. Oy vey, oh wow, Praise God, and here we go.

Our current state can be best described as “bewilderment.” Agape Gathering Place meets on Sunday mornings, and Sanctuary Messianic meets on Saturday mornings, so we are not looking to significantly change our on-going level of involvement with Agape. We will have pastoral responsibilities at both congregations, Smiling Maven Ministries will also continue, so we will be involved with three ministries. Oh, by the way Art plans to continue his graduate studies at Moody Theological Seminary. As for the part-time position teaching at Fusion Academy, no immediate changes, but we will see how many hours really exist in a given week. There are also some more rumblings about Israel, but we will save that for another article or letter.

Both of us “feel” like we are in a positive state of bewilderment. Not exactly overwhelmed, not exactly anxious or excited, just positively bewildered. Bewildered to find ourselves in this new season and in these new responsibilities. Your prayers, support, and communication, as always, is greatly appreciated.

The Bewildered Bunch,
Art and Deb Weiner


January 2019


Merry Messiahmas to all our dear friends!

Y’shua is the reason for the season. Glory to God in the Highest!!

So, here is an update:

We had our first Israel Conference in October. There seemed to be a blessing on our time together.  We finally uploaded the three messages to the website.

This crazy Jewish grace fanatic finished his first semester at Moody Theological Seminary. I was rather consumed with finals and papers the beginning of December. Yesterday, I received the first of my two final grades. 1st Semester Greek – A. I praise God for the desire and ability to learn Greek. I thoroughly enjoying the class. I am presently applying for some scholarships for summer 2019 and the 2019-2020 school year.

The Galatians Grace series at Agape Gathering Place has been continuing.  The messages are posted here: Galatians Grace.

We have updated our prayer requests.

Blessings to you for a season filled with the love of Messiah!


Autumn is upon us.   We are in the harvest season.   This week we celebrate Feast of Tabernacles.    This Fall Feast focuses both on the understanding of our temporary journey on this earth followed by an entrance into His land forever, and the understanding of harvest, both physical and spiritual.

Here are a few updates about our ministry:

We are preparing for our first Israel Conference.    There is great grace coming to Israel; and through Israel to the rest of the world.   We are excited and looking forward to the weekend conference in October.

Galatians Series is continuing.  Grace, grace, grace and more grace.

We are sharing a new article about Giving and Receiving. 

We have also updated our prayer requests.

We have also made a few other more general changes to the website and created a Smiling Maven Facebook page.   So, we encourage you to explore the website as well as view the new Facebook page.

May the King of the harvest bless you with His abundance throughout this season.


September 2018

Walking Into the Impossible

A Second Step

Dictionary.com defines “impossible as “not able to occur, exist or be done. Though not normally added to this definition is the understanding that ‘impossible’ is based upon normal human, earthly, present understanding.  That is apart from divine intervention or miraculous occurrence.

Messiah Jesus said that with man something might be impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  So, there it is.  The amazing contrast; our limited-ness, and God’s limitlessness.   Deb and I are finding that we are intensely limited, without, and humanly speaking, unable – basically going forward is impossible. But somehow we just go forward.  In this season, according to earthly and present understanding, the forward that we are walking is impossible.  This summer, this early autumn, we have taken our second step into this season of “impossible”.

Our trip into the impossible involves the following:

  • We have been entering into an increased time commitment and involvement in ministry, further development and expansion of Smiling Maven Ministries.
  • An increase commitment and connection to Agape Gathering Place (our home fellowship). We are involved in numerous responsibilities and ministries including young adult ministry, new believer Bible study, preaching series, men’s ministry and more.
  • Deb and I experienced our first joint trip to Israel in May; a joint deepening connection to the land and the people. This autumn we are beginning to schedule weekend conferences on Israel.
  • Unexpected and radical changes at SMT Health System that hastened an end to my employment with them.
  • A follow through on going back to graduate school. I was accepted into Moody Theological Seminary and am attending part-time working on a MDIV in pastoral studies.
  • Deb pursing ministerial licensing with Foursquare International.
  • Deb has also been battling through some medical concerns during the past 1 to 2 years.

We are walking into this season and journey without a significant visible source of income.  Yet as we continue to pray, we continue to walk into this “impossible” future.

There are various ways that you might consider connecting with our impossible journey:

Pray for us.  Pray for us.   And pray for us.  View prayer requests.

Leave us a comment on this website.

Invite us to share at your fellowship.   We are scheduling conferences on Israel, and our always glad to share about the Jewish Feasts.   Contact us.

Consider a financial gift to Smiling Maven Ministries.   We are thankful for both one-time gifts as well as regular monthly support gifts.  Donate.


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