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 several Pastors in Israel about a recent congregational picnic and a conference!
From Efraim Goldstein, Or HaGalil (Light of the Galilee):
"Saturday, October 17th was the annual Galilee Congregations picnic. This year Pastor Yossi Ovadia from Carmiel made an impassioned appeal in light of the current conflict for the Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian congregations to gather together. A contingent of friends from Or Hagalil Congregation made our way over to the Lavi Park to participate.
From our estimate there were close to 500 people, Jews and Arabs who were spread out over the park for four hours of fellowship, worship, prayer and, of course, food. In times like this, picnics are so essential to our testimony as believers in Yeshua. While we are engulfed with politics and tensions, our experience is more than that. Yeshua said:
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you of the love one another."
From Evan Thomas, Beit Asaph (House of Worship):
"Recently, we were privileged to be a part of the leadership team
training a new generation of leaders in reconciliation in our land
. Together with Salim and Kay Munayer and twelve young Palestinian and Israeli families, we were welcomed into a Christian community in the Black Forest in Germany. The young couples that took part in the training are already integrally involved in local ministries from outreach to Muslims, Jews, and to the local body of Messiah in their communities. Together we studied Biblical Principles of Reconciliation, Conflict and Forgiveness and Parenting with Love and Logic, which brought a lot of fun and laughter trying to discern each other's parenting styles. In between, we enjoyed times of praise and worship in Arabic and Hebrew, and devotionals and testimonies from participants lead to deep fellowship and prayer for one another.
What a blessing to see how open people are when the Lord prepares their hearts.
One of our Israeli-Palestinian participants commented: "We learned how to hold love in our hearts for people who are different to us, as Jesus taught us." Please pray that the bonds formed during this conference will grow even stronger as we look for ways to support one another through our present challenges."
Amazing reports of Jewish Believers reaching out in the love of Christ, especially given current events! That's the power of Good News!
Israel In Crisis !
(from Calev Myers, Jerusalem Institute of Justice)
Many people have asked me about the current wave of violence between Jews and Muslims in Israel. Why is it taking place? Is it the beginning of a new intifada (uprising)? Could it have been avoided? Does it create a risk for tourists visiting Israel?
First of all, it certainly could have been avoided. These attacks are not random, spontaneous acts of frustrated people. They are the result of many years of systematic Palestinian education in UNRWA schools, funded by the US and the EU, through which a whole generation of Palestinians have been taught that the very existence of the state of Israel in Dar al Islam (house of Islam) is illegitimate, and the only way to destroy it is by concerted violent jihad (holy war).
There is a constant explosive mixture of radical Islamic indoctrination fermenting under the surface and held back only by the security squads of Mahmoud Abbas. All that it takes for the explosion to be ignited is a green light, a "head-nod", from President Abbas and his dictatorial regime.
The West should take this into account, stop funding incitement to violence and start pre-conditioning its massive funding on serious Palestinian education system reforms.
Each intifada always has more to do with inner Palestinian politics than the Israeli-Arab conflict. When Hamas is losing popularity in the streets, it starts firing missiles at Israel. When the PLO loses popularity, it unleashes an intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Unfortunately, killing Jews is an easy way to gain political capital in the Palestinian street; it may be easy but it comes with a terrible price. Before the first intifada, a Palestinian from Gaza could easily travel to work at a bank or hospital in Beer Sheva and an Arab from the West Bank could freely drive with his family to a beach in Tel-Aviv on any weekend. With each wave of Palestinian violence, the movement, the commerce and the livelihood of Palestinians has been decreased significantly. Intifada always backfires.
Over the past few months, Mahmoud Abbas has been portrayed in the regional media as old, ineffective and illegitimate. The most widespread dialogue has been conjecture as to "who will replace Abbas?" As a very timely, carefully contemplated response, Abbas traveled to the UN a few weeks ago, stood before the world, and declared that the Palestinians "cannot continue to be bound" by their political and security agreements with Israel. Most of the world did not understand what was novel about this declaration. The Palestinian street, however, understood quite well: the limitations have been lifted. You are free to release your fomenting rage without fear of retribution from the PLO security forces.
Following the Abbas UN declaration, attacks on Israeli citizens ensued, mutual acts of violence followed, and Abbas has yet to publicly condemn any of it. His silence is deafening. Several of Abbas's government leaders have actually vocally supported the civil unrest. PLO Executive Committee Member, Mahmoud Ismail, declared that killing Israelis is a "national duty" and PLO Central Committee Member, Jamal Muhasim, stated that killing Israel settlers is "legitimate and legal".
In light of this, we should applaud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's explicit condemnation of recent Jewish retributive attacks on Muslims and his call for the Israeli Police to crack down on all acts of violence from both communities.
This recent escalation could come and go quickly like rain clouds which blow over the horizon, but it could also develop into a longer term drawn-out intifada. It is too early to say. What we know is: when it is all over, many will try to ascertain which side "won" in this conflict. Such calculations are asinine. When human life is lost, nobody wins. The destruction of any life, Israeli or Palestinian, is the destruction of a whole world. In order to support Israel, we should not harm Palestinians and in order to support Palestinians, we should not harm Israel. We should advocate for the improvement and protection of life and livelihood for both peoples on both sides of the conflict. As mentioned above, I believe this starts with education reform.
For those who may be planning to travel to Israel in the near future, I would not change my travel plans. These are very targeted criminal acts being carried out against specific Israeli Jews and Muslim Arabs, in specific geographic locations. None of the attacks have been directed against tourists. Tourism is equally important to the economies of the Jews and the Muslims. Furthermore, the international media tends to exaggerate the tensions. Regardless of current events, Israel continues to be safer and have a lower crime rate on average than the safest major city in the United States.
In any case, we should all be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I look forward to seeing you in our beautiful city.
Please, PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM !
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
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
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 email@example.com.
Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!
Please pray for all our BOH Leaders!
(Below is the current list)
Brian McClure, Friendship Baptist & Efraim Goldstein, Or HaGalil (Light of Galilee)
Jerry Cox, Crossroads Church & Eitan Shishkoff, Tents of Mercy
Kody Hughes, The Heights & Evan Thomas, Beit Asaph (House of Worship)
Troy Brewer, Open Door & Ron Cantor, Tiferet Yeshua (Glory of Jesus)
Rick Hope, FBC Lillian & Shlomy Abramov, Crown of Jewels
Kirk Cross, The Meeting Place & Tsebaot Baykedon, House of the Generations
Greg Robinson, Bono Baptist & David Lazarus, Beit Immanuel (House of God)
Mark Greenroy, Victory Family & Avi Mizrachi, Adoni Roi (Lord our Shepherd)
Mike Lehnhardt, Chambers Creek & Yossi Ovadia, Congregation of the Way
Zane Mitchell, Deeper Life & Alon Tamir, Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov Fellowship
Juan Pioquinto, The Fountain & Jonathan Almeida, Shaar HaEmek (Gate of the Valley)
Keith Whitt, North Cleburne Baptist & Zvi Randelman, Salvation of Israel
David denHartogg, Cleburne Bible & Baruch Lieberman, Oil of Gladness
Rick Douglas, Covenant Church & Eddie Santoro, Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Jesus)
Todd Barham, Hope Church & Oded Shoshani, King of Kings Hebrew
Chuck Mellott, Carpenter's Church & Leonardo / Una Bella, Israel Prayer Mission
Clark Stricklin, Impact Country Church & Reuven Berger, Congregation of the Lamb
Jerry Clements, Lane Prairie & Ofer Amitai, El Roii
Wade Taylor, FBC Alvarado & Meno Kalisher, Jerusalem Assembly
Adam Mathews, Nolan River Road & Stan Birnbaum, Yam Ahavato (Sea of His Love)
Corey Cornutt, FBC Grandview & Michael Yaron, Tehilat Yah (Praise of God)
Randy Brown, Grace Baptist & Howard Bass, Nachalat Yeshua (Jesus' Inheritance)
Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !
MASSIVE ISRAEL OIL DISCOVERY
A massive oil reserve has been discovered in the Golan Heights by an Israeli energy company, regional news outlets reported mid-week. The find by Afek Oil and Gas, confirmed to be 10 times larger than the average oil field worldwide, could boost Israel's relatively young oil industry and meet domestic energy demands. Israeli oil companies were searching for oil around the clock, with little success until the latest discovery. It was first announced last month, but the size of the find was only confirmed recently. Since Israel's founding, companies have drilled 530 exploratory wells in search for oil, but few of them have turned up commercially viable product. (WND)
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)
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
with any definitions you think we should ad.
This month's Hebrew Help definition is:
Eretz Yisrael (er-ets-yis rah-el)
the Land of Israel. Related biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, and Palestine. The definitions of the limits of this territory vary between biblical passages, with these specifically in Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47. Nine times elsewhere in the Bible, the settled land is referred as "from Dan to Beersheba, and three times it is referred as "from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of Egypt" (1 Kings 8:65, 1 Chronicles 13:5 and 2 Chronicles 7:8)."
Previous Month's Definition
Yom Kippur (yôm kiˈpo͝or)
known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Based on Leviticus 16:29, its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
Read this month's
"Giants in the Land !"
by David Lazarus
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