To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World

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Almost daily, Israel is accused of human rights violations.  The UN sanctions Israel more than any other country on the planet, and neighboring people groups are constantly alleging abuses.  But the fact is, since 1980, Israel has provided humanitarian aid to 140 different countries around the world, and her stories are being told on a broader scale than ever before.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting and hearing Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network, talk about his love for Israel.  CBN now has a significant presence in Israel, and Jerusalem Dateline has become a trusted source of news out of Israel.

CBN has also produced fantastic documentaries such as The Hope: The Rebirth of Israel and In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem.  Both are high-quality, historically accurate depictions of two very key events in modern Israeli history: their rebirth, and victory in the 1967 Six Day War.  (You can find them here.)

Recently, they have release To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World.  We previewed it at the ICEJ/ACLI Conference in Washington DC last month and it left me glued to my seat.  Here is the official trailer:

The 1.5-hour movie is astounding, and well worth carving out time to take it in.  You can view it for free online, so gather the family this weekend and get a glimpse of the incredible things Israel is doing for the world.

To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World

Enjoy!

Political and Prophetic Implications of the US Embassy Move

The Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) has ramped up Israel-related coverage in the past few years.  They produce regular Jerusalem Dateline segments and have an “Inside Israel” page on their website.  As a Christian organization that supports Israel, they are leading the media charge in taking up issues specific to Israel.

Gordon Robertson, president of CBN, was present and spoke at last week’s ICEJ/ACLI Summit in Washington DC, committing to continue efforts to put Israel positively in the news.

Recently, CBN produced The Embassy Move to Jerusalem: What it Means Politically and Prophetically.  I encourage you to take time to view the 22-minute report that includes Robertson’s comments at the Summit, VP Mike Pence’s comments at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, and an interview with the Guatemalan Ambassador to Israel following the opening of their embassy two days following the US Embassy.

Also, as you know, US Ambassador David Friedman now has a new address.  As the United States Ambassador to Israel, Friedman represents the interests of America to Israel, and became the first ambassador to occupy an official embassy in Jerusalem when, on May 14, the US officially moved the embassy from Tel Aviv.

The quiet-spoken, level-headed ambassador reflected on the move in a recent interview with the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN).  As we get used to diplomats moving into embassies in Jerusalem, it is no small matter that the US was the first to take the leap.

Listen to Ambassador Friedman’s comments (including a little-known story about President Trump) here.

As the “new” wears off and the embassy staff continues to take the necessary steps to stand with Israel, will you pray for Ambassador Friedman and his staff?  Pray God’s richest blessings upon them, and that God’s divine wisdom will guide their plans.  Blessings to the ambassador, and blessings to you!

Final Thoughts from the ICEJ/ACLI Conference

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Today I’ll share final thoughts and insights from the Israel: Seventy and Strong Gala & Summit, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) and American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) earlier this week.  (If you missed previous reports from the conference, please scroll back through the past few days of posts.)

Israel’s 70th anniversary and the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem were the obvious points of objective for the gathering of hundreds of Israel supporters from across the US and around the globe.  Within that objective, we heard from world-renown experts on various related topics.  The final day began with comments from several Congressmen who often quoted Scriptural references to Israel and to our responsibility as Christians to pray for and support Israel.  It was refreshing to hear our nation’s leaders reflect on God’s Word.

In one of the most interesting comments of the day, Pennsylvania Congressman Keith Rothfus said rhetorically that, in going “up to Jerusalem” with the embassy, America made aliyah.

Another highlight was hearing from David Parsons, Vice President and senior spokesman for ICEJ.  As an attorney, Parsons lent his expertise to the crafting of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.  There was no one more excited to see the fulfillment of that legislation!

In his remarks, he looked back to the years leading up to Israel’s rebirth in 1948.  Prior to then, the Jewish people endured the Holocaust.  Yet, if there had been only the Holocaust and not the rebirth of Israel, Parson surmised that perhaps the world would have seen the Holocaust as simply further curse for “killing Christ.”  Yet, the rebirth of Israel, partially fulfilling Ezekiel 37, seemed to be God’s way of confirming the Holocaust was not His curse and that He will faithfully fulfill all His promises to the Jews.

We were also reminded that Israel’s rebirth was a religious and cultural shock to the Arab-Muslim world as well.  Muhammad claimed to reveal truth, thus proclaiming a superior faith and a superior people.  When “inferior” Jews defeated “superior” Arabs in the early years of Israel’s rebirth, conspiracy theories arose.  One theory was that the Holocaust never happened, or that it was much, much smaller in scope than history has recorded.  Others proposed that Jews actually collaborated with the Nazis.  The results have been varied, but the protests we are seeing from the Palestinians are based on the theology of Mohammad and the conspiracy theories suggested.

Finally, a thought about Matthew 22:21:

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.

Jerusalem belongs to God…let’s render it to Him!

Arab Christian Pastor Thankful to be an Israeli

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We were blessed with so many fantastic speakers at the ICEJ/ACLI Conference earlier this week, and I want to share about one of the most interesting speakers of the event, Pastor Saleem Shalash.  Pastor Shalash is an Arab Christian living in Nazareth (Jesus’ boyhood hometown), shepherding Home of Jesus the King congregation.

His gratitude for salvation is clearly obvious, as is his love for Israel.  Only 1% of Christians in the Middle East live in freedom, and the vast majority of those are in Israel.  He humbly recognized that he has more rights than Jewish Israelis, including lack of mandatory service in the IDF (as a Christian Arab), though having the same right to subsidized medical care.

Additionally, he confirmed what is known by mamy: the Arab-Palestinian cause is very lucrative.  Monetary and humanitarian aid given to the Palestinians could be used to build dozens (if not hundreds) of schools, hospitals, government facilities and much more, yet those resources flow right into the pockets of Palestinian leaders.  Founding leader Yasser Arafat, current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal are all worth over $1 billion…while the Palestinian people suffer.

Saleem fully recognizes the stark contrast between his fellow countrymen and himself, calling it “the difference between heaven and hell.”  Whereas Arabs and Palestinians, in general (particularly in the Gaza Strip and West Bank), live in turmoil, he enjoys peace and relative prosperity in Israel.

Regarding his homeland (Israel), he stated unequivocally that it is the prerogative of the Israeli government to determine its capital.   With great excitement and energy, Pastor Shalash exclaimed that the move of the US Embassy was not just history, but HIS story…God fulfilling His covenant with Abraham to use Israel to save the world. (See Israel: God’s Vehicle to Redeem the World and Israel: God’s Vehicle of Eternal Salvation)  Indeed, He is!

In closing, Pastor Shalash used a familiar Bible account to illustrate God’s work in Israel today.  In Luke 5:1-7, Jesus was standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and found two boats on shore and fishermen (Peter, James and John among them) cleaning their nets.  Jesus got into Simon Peter’s boat, cast out a short distance and began teaching the crowds on shore who had followed Him there.

When He finished, He instructed Peter to put out into deep water and cast the nets.  Peter was a master fisherman and had just spent a very unproductive night fishing, had gotten the nets cleaned up for the next day, and was perhaps a bit indignant at being given fishing lessons!  You see, it was the wrong location.  Fishing in the deep was not what they did!  They knew the fish stayed in more shallow parts of the lake.

Not only was it the wrong location, but it was also the wrong timing.  Fish don’t bite in the daytime!  On top of that, it was the wrong tools.  Their nets were not made to fish in deep water.  Wrong location, wrong timing, wrong tools.

Yet, they obeyed and the nets were so full of fish they needed help hauling them all in!

Comparatively, many would say Jerusalem is the wrong location in Israel for embassies!  After all, not a single nation’s embassy has been in Jerusalem since the 1980’s.  Some would say the timing is wrong.  Though the US Embassy was the first to move (on May 14, 2018), there is outcry that it will result in extensive regional conflict, which some nations and people groups have vowed.  Still others argue that moving embassies is the wrong tool.  Do something different…just don’t move embassies to Jerusalem!

You see the parallels.  However, God chooses foolish things of the world to confound the wise!  (1 Corinthians 1:27)  His thoughts are also higher than ours.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
~Isaiah 55:8

We were truly blessed by the boldness and contagious joy of Pastor Saleem Shalash, but we were even more grateful for the evidence that God is indeed calling all people to Himself.  Pastor Shalash sees the Light and is a Lightbearer to his fellow countrymen.  The love of Jesus to all mankind is shining brightly into the Arab community in Nazareth Israel and beyond as Saleem takes his message of Christ’s love and redemption around the world.

Praise God His love isn’t reserved only for a small group of people, but for the entire world!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
~John 3:16