The Lord is alive and well among those who love and support Israel! Problem is: there just aren’t enough of us!
During the Friday morning session of the ICEJ Leadership Briefing and Summer Conference we heard ministry reports from both the Jerusalem headquarters, as well as the US branch. Among ICEJ’s objectives are:
- Showing tangible love and compassion for Israel (Isaiah 40:1)
- Present to Christians a clear understanding of what is taking place in Israel (Psalm 102:13-16)
- Encourage Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122, Isaiah 62)
- Stimulate Christian leaders, churches and organizations to become effective influences on behalf of Israel (Genesis 12:3)
There are more, but you get the idea. I am amazed at all the ways the Lord has led ICEJ to fulfill their calling. Here is a small taste of what is going on through the ministry of ICEJ:
- Loving and caring for hundreds of holocaust survivors who live and/or come to activities at the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. (Initiated and supported solely by the ICEJ.)
- In cooperation with Operation Lifeshield, providing and placing bomb shelters in Jewish cities near the Gaza border. (They have placed over 35 bomb shelters in the past 5 years or so.)
- Providing bullet-proof vests to Israeli police, border patrol and IDF.
- Rendering tens of thousands of dollars in aid to needy families (such as providing passover meals during the Feast of Passover).
- Helping 2,000 or more Jewish people make aliyah (return to the homeland) each year. Currently, they are raising funds to bring home the remaining 9,000 Ethiopian Jews (living in Muslim-dominated territory). It costs roughly $800 per person to help Jews come home. (Do the math on that!)
- Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative. This initiative literally brings the world together to pray for Israel. Millions of people join together on the first Wednesday of every month to pray in one accord. If you would like to join the global movement, go to the Isaiah 62 Prayer website. (If you live in the Phoenix area, why not join together with us the first Wednesday of each month at 6:00pm @ Calvary Community Church in Room 301.)
- Annual tours to Israel for pastors and ministry leaders. Trips for pastors are highly subsidized so that pastors are able to go and learn the importance of understanding our Christian relationship to Israel and the Jewish people.
- Annual tours to Israel for young people. In an effort to reach the next generation, ICEJ makes tours and mission projects in Israel available to young people.
- Annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration. The Bible tells us that, one day, every nation will gather in Jerusalem to worship and exalt the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the Feast of Tabernacles. ICEJ hosts over 8,000 Christians from around the world at the annual Feast of Tabernacles, to engage in that experience here and now!
- Extensive partnership with Christian Friends of Yad Vashem. CFYV and ICEJ work to educate Christian leaders and churches about the holocaust and antisemitism. If left unchecked, antisemitism today will reach the levels of atrocity seen in the 1930’s. As Christians, we must learn to recognize the signs and do all we can to stand with Israel.
Honestly, I could go on, but I think you get an idea of the wonderful ministry of ICEJ…YOUR embassy in Jerusalem!
Another highlight of the day was hearing from Shmuel Bowman, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi from Israel, regarding the Jewish-Christian relationship. (He is also Executive Director of Operation Lifeshield and works very closely with ICEJ.) After literally millennia of distrust and, at times, hatred between Jews and Christians, the bridge is being built! Keep in mind that it was “Christians” who, by the second century, began to view Jews as second-class citizens. It was “Christians” who persecuted Jews in the Spanish Inquisition. It was “Christians” who murdered Jews by the millions during the holocaust.
Only in relatively recent years has the view of Christians begun to change for the Jews. As we show them the true love and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, they begin to let down their guard and trust that Christians truly do care for them. There are many who are working diligently to build that bridge, but none in a broader, more comprehensive way than ICEJ. What a joy to hear this precious rabbi talk about his appreciation and love in return for Christians…all because of the growing relationship in projects with ICEJ.
Dear believers, as Christians we must understand that we owe a tremendous debt to the Jewish people. After all, they gave us the Messiah and God’s Word (among other things). We must also realize that the Jews are God’s vehicle of world redemption. If not for the Jews, we have no salvation!
Let’s get this right! Let’s learn to rightly relate to Israel and the Jews so that we might fully understand God’s plan for the Jewish people and for us!