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Because the vision of JCFI is to raise a greater awareness of Israel in the churches of Johnson County, we want to connect you to some of our friends who work to bless Israel.

This month I have an update from 
Pastor Evan Thomas, Beit Asaph (House of Worship) 
in Netanya !
 


Shalom Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Messiah Yeshua!" Philippians 1:3-6

We have chosen to begin this end-of-year report with these words of Paul to the congregation he founded in Philippi. Two things 'jump out' at us: the Apostle's joy as he thinks of his brothers and sisters in faith and secondly of their partnership with him . In the same way we think of and appreciate you. With some of you this partnership in the Gospel has been for more than 30 years! We thank God for all of you.

CONGREGATIONAL UPDATE

Cold Water - Warm Hearts  Lev and Evan are very encouraged seeing the Beit Asaph community move from strength to strength in key areas of ministry. It has been a year of  severe economic pressure but God has used this to increase our faith , develop our community prayer life and challenge us with regard to "living lives worthy of the Gospel" - a key theme of the letter to the Philippians (our present teaching series). As a result we rejoice in seeing a steady number of our young people commit their lives to Yeshua and demonstrating this through baptism. With the onset of winter the water is getting colder - but what does it matter when the hearts are 'on-fire'!

Ulpan  One of our biggest challenges within the Messianic community is our diversity of languages . Although Hebrew is our primary worship language , for 80% of our congregants this is not their mother tongue and we have perhaps 5 separate language groups. Can you imagine the challenges when it comes time for corporate prayer or teaching seminars? Lev has a vision to develop an Ulpan - a Hebrew language school and has begun a pilot program with several of our new immigrant families. He is using the Hebrew Scriptures as his primary text as the students have a great desire to be able to read the Word of God in the language of the Land. This is very moving to hear and witness. Please pray that this school would develop into something that could serve the broader community also and become a tool of outreach!!

New Outreach  During the month of December we ( the young adults together with Maala and Evan) will work on remodeling the center we are creating for outreach . We have been consistently meeting in the building for worship and prayer and now the time is fast approaching 'to get our hands dirty'. It is exciting to have new projects as the Lord inspires vision within the community. Pray for this please!

Bridge of Hope 
Over the past two years Evan has been slowly developing a relationship with a congregation in Johnson County, Texas called, "The Heights". He has visited twice to serve their community and now their young pastor and his family have visited Beit Asaph to serve us in the Word of God. This was very powerful as Pastor Kody spoke on the theme of digging deep spiritual wells that supply living water. This spoke to the heart of our community as we begin to 'open new territory' for the Gospel. We are very grateful for these types of fruitful relationships.

We send you this final report for the year so grateful for your support and encouragement and of course your prayers. It truly is a spiritual partnership that is mutually beneficial! We believe it is ordained by God that the Church of the Nations is deeply connected to Israel. The local Body of Messiah in the Land among the Jewish and Arabic followers of Yeshua is the obvious 'bridge' to the international church and God wants to use this 'partnership' to further HIS kingdom and glorify HIS name. Let this be an inseparable part of our thinking and prayers as we meditate on the lights of Hanukkah and the "light of the world" - Yeshua himself...

With deeply grateful hearts,
Evan and Lev and all the Beit Asaph team 


 
Numbers Don't Lie!

22 DEAD, 252 INJURED IN 3 MONTHS OF TERROR
Arab terrorists launched no fewer than 169 terror attacks against Israelis in 120 days - killing 22 people and injuring 252. Of those, 21 were injured seriously, 7 suffered from 'serious to moderate' injuries, 36 were injured moderately, and 177 suffered from light injuries, Magen David Adom (MDA) stated this week. MDA also treated 95 people for anxiety and post-traumatic stress. The 169 attacks included 68 stabbings, 19 car attacks, and 8 shootings. MDA has called on the general public to donate blood in light of the high demand. Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan told media sources: "We can't see the end of the terror wave. There is an obstinate and cruel opponent here that isn't ready to accept our existence in the land of Israel," said Erdan. "We have overcome this opponent time after time, and in this wave of knife terror too." (Arutz-7) 

2,225 ROCK ATTACKS IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS
The current wave of Arab terror attacks engulfing Israel started with a murder caused by a rock attack, and while the terrorists have launched repeated stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks, rocks remain the weapon of choice. Figures released on Wed. 16 Dec. 2015, show that in the last three months, a total of 2,225 rock-throwing attacks have taken place - making an average of 24 attacks a day. The first fatality of the current terror wave was Alexander Levlovitz, who was murdered on 13 September 2015. Levlovitz was murdered by Arab terrorists who hurled rocks through his window and made him lose control of his car as he drove in the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv where he lived. On Tuesday night, 15 Dec. 2015, a driver lost control of his car in a rock attack in northern Samaria. Fortunately no one was wounded in the incident. On Monday, 14 Dec. 2015, three people were lightly wounded in an Arab rock attack also in northern Samaria. (Israel National News)

Please continue to pray for the protection of border police, IDF soldiers and innocent citizens against terrorist violence. The instances of such attacks are tragically high and growing but many assaults have been foiled and your prayers make a difference.
 
PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM ! 


BOH Logo with text
Bridge of Hope Update... 
We Are Growing ! 
                  
One way JCFI raises awareness of Israel's role today is through building a Bridge of Hope (BOH).  A Bridge of Hope is a "bridge" built between a Church or organization of Johnson County and a Congregation, Home Group, Faith-Based Organization, or Individual within Israel. At JCFI we currently have 24 Congregational BOH's and 5 Organizational BOHs  that are up-and-running with MANY in the process. The BOH project is blessing people both in Israel and here in Johnson County as it provides connection through fellowship, prayer support, educational exchange, and more.  (Click  HERE  for more info)

We would love to hook you up!  I am Skyping almost weekly with those in the Land who are eager to link up in a "sister" relationship with a congregation or organization in Johnson County.  Be in prayer for us as we establish new connections with ministries in Israel that desperately need our support and prayer.   
If your church would like to know more about becoming a BOH to a congregation in Israel, click  HERE or contact me by phone at 817-556-1061 / by email at bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.

  Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!

            
              
Johnson County BOH Visits Israel BOH 


 


Where Jesus Walked  I spoke recently with Kody Hughes, Pastor of The Heights Church in Cleburne, after his trip to Israel. This was his first visit to the Promised Land, and it was a memorable experience. Pastor Kody was in Israel for close to two weeks, staying with friends in housing right near the Mount of Olives. It is a beautiful location looking over the 3 valleys that border the holy city of Jerusalem. From this local, you can see where Jesus would have walked and talked with his Disciples in the final days before the Crucifixion. Bible stories are vivid and illuminated by seeing where Jesus taught, walked, slept, and died.
 
The BRIDGE Works  I ask Pastor Kody about his visit with Evan Thomas, Pastor of Beit Asaph (House of Worship) and Bridge of Hope partner. Kody was blessed to attend a Sabbath service at Beit Asaph and spend some time with Pastor Evan. Kody said, "Beit Asaph is blessed with amazing facilities and location. They have over 200 warm and friendly worshipers. Pastor Evan has a long history and distinguished reputation of leadership in the Land." In fact, as a Bridge of Hope partner, Pastor Evan has now ministered at The Heights Church consecutively for two years. He has not only spoken before the congregation, but has provided valuable guidance and counsel to Pastor Kody and the leadership team.  Both Pastor Kody and I are excited to see how this new connection will continue to grow and be a blessing to all those involved.
 
Safe and Secure  I also ask Kody to share with me about his favorite site in Israel and about any safety concerns while in Jerusalem. Kody said, "I was very touched by a visit to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest." Jesus was taken here after the betraying kiss by Judas. It was at Caiaphas' home where Jesus would have been mocked, spit upon  , beaten by soldiers, and likely thrown into the cistern servicing the home. It was a moving experience for Pastor Kody. He also mentioned that there were a couple of sites like the Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb that he was unable to visit. "Our host could have taken us to these places but decided to err on the side of caution." Kody added, "At no time did I have any fear of safety for my life or for those with me."
 
Kody's Thoughts  "This was truly a life changing trip. Many have asked how the tensions in the Middle East affected our trip. I now know God's peace in a new way. We felt at home. Like we belonged somehow. Never anxious. Maybe because what we were seeing was so fascinating. The word became a story book and now I had clarity on what it was really like. Truly amazing. If you are considering travel to Israel you will be glad you did. I can't wait for a return trip. Thank you to bridge of hope for developing life long relationships between pastors here and in Israel. 
 
Let's join with Pastor Kody and The Heights Church in praying for the Peace of Jerusalem !

  Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !


ANCIENT SHILOAH OLIVE PRESS FOUND 
 IN TIME FOR HANUKKAH

During the latest archaeological excavation season at Tel Shiloh, the site of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that preceded the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, an impressive ancient olive press was found in the southern portion of the site. The press was dated to be from the 7th to the 10th century AC. The large structure was clearly used as a public olive press by local Jews. The discovery of the olive press testifies to an historical continuity in the production of olive oil in the Binyamin region of Samaria in general, and in the region of ancient Shiloh in particular. At the beginning of Hanukkah 2015, which began Sunday, 6 Dec. and celebrates the miracle of olive oil lasting eight days in the Temple after the Maccabees defeated the Greek occupiers over 2,000 years ago, ancient Shiloh renewed the production of olive oil. During the holiday an oil harvest was held for those wishing to take part, with families invited to come harvest olives, press oil at the ancient press, fill bottles with the oil and other activities at the ancient city that was the capital of Israel for 369 years, over 3,000 years ago. (Arutz-7)

What prophetic overtones might this have?

Recom Reading List Logomended Reading

This month JCFI encourages you to get a copy of:

by Alfred Edersheim (One of the best known and important references on the life of Christ)


Hebrew Helps
As we work to build a greater awareness of Israel in Johnson County and continue to connect to Believers and Jews in the Land, we are often ask, "What does that word mean?".  So, each month at JCFI we will ad to a glossary of terms to help broaden our Hebrew vocabulary. Please, enjoy this Hebrew Help and contact us with any definitions you think we should ad.


This month's Hebrew Help definition is:
 
Ela ion (el'-ah-yon)
Oil. Olive Oil. Used throughout Scripture in many ways. Figuratively, representing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 25:3-8.

Click  HERE to learn more about the Olive Press & Jesus' Agony

Previous Month's Definition

Magen David (mäˈɡen däˈvēd)
Another name for "Star of David." Actually means "Shield of David" in Hebrew. Today, the official Israeli flag bears this symbol. However, the history of the Magen David remains somewhat mysterious!

Click  HERE  t o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
  

Read this month's 
FEATURED ARTICLE

The Olive Press
A Picture of Jesus' Agony



HOW CAN I STAND FOR ISRAEL?
 
Since the Banquet, many have ask me, "What can I do for Israel?"  While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are a few suggestions I hope you find useful:

1. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psa.122:6)
    "For Zion's Sake I Will Not Be Silent" by Rebecca Brimmer is an excellent guide on
    prayer for Israel. Click HERE for more info.

2. Learn more about Israel-related ministries
    There are wonderful Israel-related ministries doing a great work to support Israel. Click HERE to learn more about a few of them.

3. Learn more about the Hebraic Roots to Christianity
    The Bible often takes on deeper meaning in the context of its Hebraic Roots. The
     Ancient Hebrew Scroll project at the CHF is a testimony to this fact. There are
     numerous writings about Hebraic Roots. A good place to start is the book by
     D. Thomas Lancaster entitled Grafted In.  

4. Take a trip to Israel     I've been blessed to travel to Israel many times.  It has
    changed my life. I baptized my daughter, Lauren, in the Sea of Galilee during my trip
    there in 2011. She had accepted Jesus as her Savior 3 days before we left. This
    should be at the top of any bucket list!

5. Be an Israel contact person for your church
    The vision at JCFI is to increase the awareness of Israel within the churches of
    Johnson County. Maybe you could support your pastor by volunteering to be the
    church's Israel contact person for JCFI. 

6. Build a Bridge of Hope
    Speak with your Pastor / Church Leaders about building a BOH.  Feel free to
    contact me for more info by phone at 817-556-1061 or by email  at                                 bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.


Kevin Bentley, JCFI Director
2 North Caddo Street, Cleburne, Tx 76031
817-556-1061