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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 Howard Bass
Congregation Nachalat Yeshua (Jesus' Inheritance) 
in Beersheva!
 

As you read this report from Pastor Howard, notice the many challenges facing this congregation in  Beersheba: climatic, cultural, linguistic, ethnical, etc. Yet, their outlook is positive. They see these "obstacles" as greater opportunity to share about the Good News of Jesus' Inheritance! 
Nachalat Yeshua is a BOH partner with Grace Baptist Church in Grandview)

Greetings to you all,

At Yeshua's Inheritance Congregation we are dependent on the Lord for 
'decent' weather for our Shabbat services. We meet in a semi-enclosed 
courtyard, with sliding plastic panels, without heating or cooling. 
There may be a handful of times during the year that it is either too 
cold or too hot, but generally, God has been very gracious to us to make 
the weather pleasant enough for us not to be discouraged or to be 
distracted. Praise the Lord! Last Shabbat (2 Jan) was one of those days 
when it could be said that it was too cold, and also damp from rains, 
but, nonetheless, the grace of God was with us, and we were blessed by 
those who assembled together to worship the Living God in Yeshua's name.

Yesterday (9 Jan), the temperature was warmer than the previous week, 
and the sun was out, which in Beer Sheva makes a huge difference in how 
the winter temperatures feel. We had a very interesting mix of believers 
and unbelievers join us yesterday: an Israeli Jewish family who found us 
through the internet: the wife and her mother are believers, but the 
husband is not, yet they all came out with two babies in strollers; a 
former Muslim Bedouin woman with her daughter, whom we had not seen for 
a while because of her husband's disapproval; an inquiring Holocaust 
survivor who has been part of the bus tours that one of our members 
conducts; a couple of "street people" from the neighborhood; visitors 
from different parts of the world, some on their way to other parts. We 
are one family of a big Father God in a small world, all gathered 
together by our Good and Great Shepherd, who is also our honored and 
exalted Brother, and who is our Lord and Savior and Bridegroom! Thank 
God for the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah!

The students' group which meets each week has decided to alter the 
arrangements of always meeting at one time all together. Every other 
week they have begun to meet according to language -- Hebrew, English, 
German, Spanish. These students include Israeli believers who are 
studying in Beer Sheva; foreign students who are studying here in 
different programs for varying lengths of time at different levels of 
academic or professional achievement or careers. Many of them understand 
that they are also here to be witnesses of who Yeshua is, and some also 
serve Him within the congregation in different capacities. They add much 
to the life and character of Nachalat Yeshua!

We will begin this Shabbat a series on the seven letters in the Book of 
Revelation to the churches which the Lord Jesus gave to them and to us. 
Our central theme will be how to be light in the growing darkness of night.

Pastor Howard Bass








 
112 YEAR OLD ISRAELI HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
LIKELY THE OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD

A gran dson of Yisrael Kristal was contacted this week by the Gerontology Research Group based in the USA following the death of Yasutaro Koide in Japan, who was also 112. According to the organization, Kristal is now the oldest living man on record. Kristal was born in 1903 in the Lodz province of what is now Poland to a religious family. Later in life, Kristal married, had two children and eventually moving to the city of Lodz where he established a successful sweets and chocolate factory.  Following the Nazi invasion of Poland and the occupation of Lodz, Kristal was moved into the Lodz ghetto with his family but was allowed to continue operating his factory. His two children died in the ghetto, while Kristal and his wife were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Kristal's wife was murdered in Auschwitz but he survived doing forced labor in the concentration camp. After the war he returned to Lodz and once again re-established his sweets factory, marrying again in 1947.
 
In 1950, he made aliya to Israel with his wife and infant boy, Haim, born to the couple, settling in Haifa where he has remained ever since. The couple had a daughter, Shula, and Kristal, doing what he knew, established a new sweets factory in the city called Kristal's Sweets. "The Holocaust did not affect his religious beliefs," said his daughter Shula. "He believes he was saved because that's what God wanted. He is not an angry person, he is not someone who seeks to an accounting, he believes everything has a reason in the world," she said. "He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has," Kristal's daughter continued. She said that her father does not ascribe particular importance to his advanced age; simply attributes his extreme longevity to God, and believes that his old age is a form of divine grace that has been bestowed upon him. (J. Post) 

There are about 180,000 Holocaust survivors today in Israel alone. Most every Messianic congregation in Israel is reaching out in some way to minister to the needs of these amazing people, especially since many of the survivors live at or below the poverty line. If you or your congregation would like to help provide for Holocaust survivors, please contact me. There is even an opportunity to help someone right here in our area!

"With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation." Ps 91:16
 
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!

            
              
New Bridge of Hope
Nolan River Road Meets Yam Ahavato

Pastor Adam Mathews and Nolan River Road Baptist Church have connected in a Bridge of Hope with Pastor Shmuel (Stan) Birnbaum and Congregation Yam Ahavato (The Sea of His Love). 

Shmuel (then Stan ) was raised in a typical American Jewish home with a good warm family. He has fond memories of his childhood. After high school, came what he calls the stormy years of his life.  Between 1968 -1972, he allowed the waves of rebellion and change to radically alter his thinking and his life. It was not always a pleasant time.

In the fall of 1972, at Rosh Hashanah while in Albany, NY, Shmuel found himself in a desperate state.
 
He drove his minivan to the local synagogue, but instead of going in, he prayed privately in the back of his vehicle. The God of Israel heard this troubled twenty-year-old Jewish young man.
 
His eyes somehow spotted a card with an amazing question: "Are you lonely, depressed, in need of salvation?' Shmuel knew it was for him, and gladly drove that evening to the Christian coffee house listed on the card.
 
At the meeting he listened, and then took literature to read. The next morning, in the privacy of his "hippie van," he read something that challenged him to receive his Messiah. With one sincere prayer, his life was eternally changed!
 
Immediately, the long hair and hippie life style went away. Shmuel began to devote his life to his new found Messiah. He was excited to be a born again Christian.
 
The next number of years moved along as he joined a fellowship, received a call into ministry, and studied at a Bible School. He married Chaya (then Heather), who was also part of the little church fellowship. In 1983, after serving nine years as an assistant, he became the senior pastor of Capital Christian Church in Troy, New York.
 
Change would soon come again!
 
In the spring of 1987, while at an early morning, prayer meeting, he sensed the Lord speak to him about returning to his people, the Jews. He was amazed. With almost no knowledge of Messianic Judaism, but knowing that God had clearly spoken, he understood that he was being called to start a new messianic congregation. With this call, came also a certainty that Israel would one day be his family's home!
 
He attended two messianic conferences, which helped. That summer, the Seed of Abraham in Albany was birthed. From 1987-1991, he saw the congregation prosper. It was a time of joy and delight. However, there was another big step ahead for the Birnbaums, now seven in number.
 
In 1991, the entire family moved to Israel and thus began the greatest challenge of his and their life.

It is now over twenty years later. The "young" middle-aged man is now sixty-five and looks back with amazement at all God has done. His children have all integrated fully into Israeli life. He and Chaya enjoy their home in the Land, their relationship with the people, and the life style in the Middle East.
 
Best of all, they are privileged to lead and shepherd a growing, loving congregation, the Sea of His Love, Yam Ahavato, in their city.
 
The journey for Shmuel continues, but through it he has seen His God faithfully lead and support him in every way. 
 
Shmuel (then Stan) was raised in a typical American Jewish home with a good warm family. He has fond memories of his childhood. After high school, came what he calls the stormy years of his life.  Between 1968 -1972, he allowed the waves of rebellion and change to radically alter his thinking and his life. It was not always a pleasant time.
In the fall of 1972, at Rosh Hashanah while in Albany, NY, Shmuel found himself in a desperate state.
 
He drove his minivan to the local synagogue, but instead of going in, he prayed privately in the back of his vehicle. The God of Israel heard this troubled twenty-year-old Jewish young man. His eyes somehow spotted a card with an amazing question: "Are you lonely, depressed, in need of salvation?' Shmuel knew it was for him, and gladly drove that evening to the Christian coffee house listed on the card.
 
At the meeting he listened, and then took literature to read. The next morning, in the privacy of his "hippie van," he read something that challenged him to receive his Messiah. With one sincere prayer, his life was eternally changed! Immediately, the long hair and hippie life style went away. Shmuel began to devote his life to his new found Messiah. He was excited to be a born again Christian.
 
The next number of years moved along as he joined a fellowship, received a call into ministry, and studied at a Bible School. He married Chaya (then Heather), who was also part of the little church fellowship. In 1983, after serving nine years as an assistant, he became the senior pastor of Capital Christian Church in Troy, New York.
 
Change would soon come again!
 
In the spring of 1987, while at an early morning, prayer meeting, he sensed the Lord speak to him about returning to his people, the Jews. He was amazed. With almost no knowledge of Messianic Judaism, but knowing that God had clearly spoken, he understood that he was being called to start a new messianic congregation. With this call, came also a certainty that Israel would one day be his family's home!
 
He attended two messianic conferences, which helped. That summer, the Seed of Abraham in Albany was birthed. From 1987-1991, he saw the congregation prosper. It was a time of joy and delight. However, there was another big step ahead for the Birnbaums, now seven in number.
 
In 1991, the entire family moved to Israel and thus began the greatest challenge of his and their life.

It is now over twenty years later. The "young" middle-aged man is now sixty-five and looks back with amazement at all God has done. His children have all integrated fully into Israeli life. He and Chaya enjoy their home in the Land, their relationship with the people, and the life style in the Middle East.
 
Best of all, they are privileged to lead and shepherd a growing, loving congregation, the Sea of His Love, Yam Ahavato, in their city. The journey for Shmuel continues, but through it he has seen His God faithfully lead and support him in every way. 

Pray for both Congregations as they begin this new journey together ! 


  Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !


Cherry tomatoes were originally engineered in Israel in 1973.

Breeding and raising pigs in Israel is illegal for Jews.

The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.

Bamba, a peanut butter flavored snack made exclusively in Israel, is considered by many to be Israel's national food.

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:
 
Kohen  or Cohen (kohain) 

A man who offered sacrifices and performed other religious rituals at the Temple in Jerusalem. The kohanim were descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. The priests were mostly from the Sadducee sect of Judaism. See also "Levite."
 
Click  HERE to learn more about the Priests of the Lord

Previous Month's Definition

Elaion (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  t o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
  


Read this month's 
FEATURED ARTICLE

The Priests of the Lord



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