Happy Lord’s Day, friends!
The 2016 ICEJ Leadership Briefing and Summer Conference in Murfreesboro TN has come to an end…and what a wonderful event it was! There is much that happened today, so allow me to simply review with a few bullet points:
- Dr John Swails from Oral Roberts University provided insight into the situation in the Middle East. He gave us two key points. First, that Islam made a noticeable change in the focus of their theology in 2008. Prior to that, Islam’s primary enemy was Israel. Now the focus is as strongly pointed toward Christians as it is Israel. Thus, we are seeing persecution in numbers we never dreamed. Secondly, Dr Swails encouraged us that, despite the distress in the world today, God is at work. As Christians we have unlimited power in the God of the universe, but the church is asleep and failing to tap into that power. There is still time to “take back” our nation, but the church must wake up. How does that happen? It begins with repentance. I agree…how about you?
- Daryl Hedding, Assistant Director of the US branch of ICEJ, followed that up by emphasizing that America is a post-Christian nation. Statistically, over half the American population now supports immoral standards such as gay marriage and abortion. Statistics within the Christian community are stunningly close to that of secular America. (How sad!) Thus, as we walk away from the authority of God’s Word, we see America wilting under an administration intent on destroying the relationship with Israel. He, too, encouraged us not to give up, but to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance in all things. We also need to raise up a younger generation that will stand faithfully on God’s Word, and with Israel. ICEJ conducts special tours to Israel for young people. In 2017, consider sending a young person on one of these fantastic trips of service and learning the Biblical basis of our support of Israel.
- From Isaiah 60:1-3, Susan Michael (ICEJ-US Executive Director) explained that, while God’s work with the church has to do with individual hearts, God’s work with Israel is about restoration of nations. The light will shine out of Israel to the rest of the world and His glory will be shone!
- Finally, Michael Hines, Director of Outreach, closed the conference with a passionate overview of the entire book of Isaiah and how it helps us to understand our right relationship with the Jewish people. The theme of the conference was “Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.” Thus, he appropriately focused on Isaiah 2, where the prophet Isaiah describes the Day of the Lord when the house of the Lord is established on the mountain…Mt Zion! The work of God goes out from Mt Zion. While the restoration of Israel proves God’s Word to be true, nations will be judged according to how they treat Israel.
I will try to share reflections on my time here over the next few days. However, I can tell you that my heart and mind resonated with the message that we ended on…that how Israel is treated is a very important issue to our Lord! I am more convinced than ever that God’s purpose for me is to continue to share that message, encouraging believers to rightly relate to Israel. We facing challenging times, and they will become even more challenging in the days ahead. The church in general may be diminishing, but I believe truly committed Christians will rise to the occasion. As believers, let’s move in the right direction. That direction begins with humility and repentance, and we are all capable. May we be found faithful by our Heavenly Father!