Why Israel Matters is off to a great start! We had an energetic group, chomping at the bit to discover the nuggets we’ll uncover as we make the 12-week journey through the study. If you are just hearing about the study, it’s not too late to join the fun. We meet every Sunday morning at 11:00 in Room 209 at CalvaryPHX.
Also, because so many outside the Phoenix area have told me they want to be part of the study, I’ve decided to summarize portions of it in blog posts throughout the weeks of the study. It won’t be the full experience of being here for discussion, prayer and live teaching, but perhaps some of it will “rub off” as you follow along with us! So, let’s get started….
Why DOES Israel matter? It’s a tiny little country half a world away…and it seems only trouble surrounds her. Why should I concern myself with Israel?
As I was growing up in church, I wondered, “Why is there so much stuff in the Bible about Israel?” I heard enough lessons and did enough study as a student to know that Israel was where Jesus was born, and that most of the New Testament events happened there. I also began to understand the prophets wrote about Israel. Hmmm…there must be some connection!
I was rather studious and, as a young adult I began to realize the importance of Israel to Christians, but the pieces didn’t fully snap into place until my first trip to Israel in 2008. Wow! The picture came into view in a whole new way! The Lord absolutely filled my head with knowledge and insight and I thought my brain would explode if I didn’t write it all down. Those writings eventually became Looking for the Blessed Hope, the first Bible study I wrote about Israel. (Yes, my blog was birthed a few years later and took on the same name, and it is now the name of the ministry the Lord has established.)
Since then, I have traveled to Israel half a dozen times, have attended Israel-related conferences in Israel and the US, have taken classes through Israel College of the Bible and Yad Vashem School of International Studies, and have written a couple more Bible studies. I don’t consider myself an expert, but my hunger and thirst to understand God’s Word as it relates to Israel are insatiable. I just can’t get enough!
This study is the culmination of my initial quest to find out why Israel is so important to God and why it should be important to us as Christians! We’ll examine the answers to those questions, which will likely birth even more questions. (Don’t you just love the quest for God’s truth?)
Over the next several weeks, I will include a post or two (or more, if necessary) each week recapping material from my live class here in Phoenix. To differentiate from regular posts, posts about the study will include the “Why Israel Matters” logo at the top of the page, as you see on this post. I hope you will follow along!
Before moving on…
There is one very consistent element I include in every study I teach about Israel: praying for Israel. We can study all we want about Israel, but if we do nothing about what we learn, it is like owning a Stradivarius violin and never playing it! It sounds great only if someone puts it to use.
How do we put prayer to good use when it comes to Israel? First, COMMIT to pray. Psalm 122:6-9 commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It doesn’t have to be long, but develop the habit of praying each day.
Secondly, pray with PURPOSE. “How do I know what to pray?” I get asked that all the time! So, I point people to Isaiah 62 as a pattern of prayer for Israel. It just so happens that the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has an Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative and will provide specific prayer points every month! Join the global movement and pray in unison with Christians around the world!
So, we’re off and running! Tune in, because I will post more information from the study in the days to come.