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 am sharing an insightful word from Pastor David Lazarus, Pastor of Beit Immanuel and BOH partner with Bono Baptist Church
As you know, you must be careful with what you hear in the news, especially as it relates to the Middle East. Current events would have us believe that the Gospel is losing the battle among Arab peoples and that all Jews and Arabs hate one another. Well, maybe this article will help you to see that there is still Hope !
"The faces of Christianity in the Middle East are changing," says Mike Niebur, a Messianic Jewish leader from Jerusalem and good friend of mine. "We now have Pastors named Muhammed or Pastor Achmed."
Real change takes time, and I remember back in 1982. My IDF tank battalion was moving towards Beirut to flush out Yasser Arafat, and the PLO who were hunkered down beneath the civilian population. That's when I met Omer, a Southern Baptist from the USA, who was hip-hopping across Lebanon, on a BMW motorcycle, preaching the gospel to Hezbollah Muslims.
One day Omer brought his friend, Eli Hizbani, a Jew hating, Hezbollah jihadist from South Lebanon, until he stepped on a mine and blew up both of his legs. "As the blood drained from my body, I lost consciousness," Hizbani said to me with a twinkle in his eyes. "That's when I saw Jesus, and he told me to come to him. I don't remember everything that happened, but I found myself in a field hospital, telling other Hezbollah soldiers how Jesus saved me!" he told me.
Soldiers in my unit were moved by his story, so Omer and Mike brought Hizbani to Jerusalem where he began talking to Jews and Arabs about what happened to him. Back in those days we were shocked, and thrilled, that a Muslim jihadist would, or even could, believe in Jesus. "I love the Jewish people," Hizbani told me on his latest visit to Israel as we walked through the Old City of Jerusalem (he still limps). "When Jews hear my story, and I tell them about Jesus, they are shocked and want to hear more," he says.
Some thirty years later, my friends Mike and Omer brought a group of 70 Muslim background believers (MBB's) from around the Middle East to Jerusalem. "These men are laying down their lives by coming to Israel," Mike explained. "Some of them might be sent to prison when they return just because they visited the Jewish nation. They will be targeted by the Arab governments and even by Jihadists when they return to their home nation," he told me.
They call the gathering "CrossRoads." Over the years, they have seen the gradual fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah 19 which talks about the Lord building a highway of Christians across the Middle East, from Egypt to Assyria, with Israel in the midst.
The Israeli government is also showing interest in the MBB's. "Israeli Knesset members are calling us asking for access to our contacts. They want to build relationships with the new Christian leadership across the Middle East," Mike says.
Together with the 70 MBB's at the conference, members of the Israeli Knesset, including a former advisor to the Prime Minister's office, attended the meetings. Mike believes that the Israeli government is beginning to recognize that Christianity, and missionaries, can have a positive impact on the Middle East.
"Once they see and experience the country, these MBB's become potential supporters of Israel, and they go back to tell their own people. When they get a taste of the freedom here in Israel, it is intoxicating for them," Mike explains.
David Pillegi, pastor of Christ Church in Jerusalem's Old City, where the gathering was hosted, teaches the Muslim converts about the Hebrew context of Jesus and the New Testament. They are also being taught about the significance of the restoration of the Jewish people coming back to Israel, their ancient homeland. Egyptians and Iraqis are studying Hebrew. Israeli Messianics are traveling to Arab countries to help Muslim refugees. Iranian and Iraqi refugees coming to faith in Turkey now represent more Christians and churches than the entire Turkish church.
I hope these stories are a source of hope and inspiration to you, that our faith is making a difference, even in the tumultuous world of the Middle East.
What Scholars Found after Technology Scanned an Ancient Scroll
A 2,000-year-old scroll was sitting in an Israeli archaeologist's storeroom for decades that was too brittle to open. Now, new technology is revealing what is written inside, showing actual scripture from the book of Leviticus.
Researchers announced the discovery this week in Kentucky and Jerusalem.
They released details of their discovery in a Science Advances journal and explained the technology that allowed them a closer look at the scroll they'd not been able to open before.
Scholars say that the passages from Leviticus offer the first physical evidence that the version of the Hebrew Bible used today goes back 2000 years.
The biblical scroll was first discovered by archaeologists in 1970 at Ein Gedi, the site of an ancient Jewish community near the Dead Sea. Archaeologists found scroll fragments inside the ancient synagogue's ark.
The synagogue was destroyed in a fire that charred the scrolls and the dry climate of the area kept them preserved, but when archaeologists touched them, the scrolls would begin to disintegrate.
The scrolls were shelved for nearly half a century, and no one knew what was written inside.
Last year, Yosef Porath, the archaeologist who excavated at Ein Gedi in 1970, walked into the Israel Antiquities Authority's Dead Sea Scrolls preservation lab in Jerusalem with boxes of the charcoal chunks. The lab has been creating hi-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest copies of biblical texts found, so he asked researchers to scan the burned scrolls.
Multiple burned scrolls were scanned using X-ray-based micro-computed tomography, a 3D version of the CT scans hospitals use to create images of internal body parts.
The images were then sent to a researcher in the computer science department of the University of Kentucky. Only one of the scrolls could be deciphered.
Researchers said this was the first time they have been able to read the text of an ancient scroll without having to physically open it.
The text discovered in the scroll is "100 percent identical" to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been used for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
"This is quite amazing for us," he said. "In 2,000 years, this text has not changed."
Kehila News Israel
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 29 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!
Una's Mom Is With The Lord
Leonardo & Una Bella lead Israel Prayer Mission, a unique and effective evangelistic and prayer outreach sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people. Leonardo and Una are phenomenal Believers, faithful Followers and good Friends.
Please, pray for the Bella family during this time.
Una's mother, Iris Mor, died in her daughters arms at 6am this morning (Sept.19) in Israel. Iris and her surviving husband Eli came into an eternal relationship with Yeshua a year ago as a result of your steadfast prayers for their salvation.. The radical transformation of their lives has touched so many people and will always be a source of joy to us as a family.
Una has spent the last 18 days at her moms bedside pouring out pure love from on high. Her immediate and extended family were so incredibly united during this time and the love that has been flowing has been so deep and worthy.
Please lift up Una's dad Eli in your prayers. He has lost his bride, his best friend and his constant companion of more than half a century. Eli's faith is strong and he knows with great confidence that Iris is completely healed and in the loving embrace of our perfect Yeshua.
Iris & Eli always cultivated and insisted on their three children really being close during their early years - so they could have each other as best friends in their latter years. Please keep Una, Doron & Gali in your prayers during this time of great loss.
Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !
INSCRIBED SCALE WEIGHT FROM SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD DISCOVERED IN JERUSALEM
An archaeologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found a scale weight that belonged to a high priest from the Second Temple period, 70 A.D., during a recent dig in Jerusalem's Old City. The discovery was made during an excavation at the Tiferet Israel Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. It is the second scale weight of its kind to have been discovered. This scale weight was found a meter under the floor of the synagogue under a burned layer of ground likely from the destruction of the Second Temple that was burned down. Two lines in Aramaic give details, which are still being studied, with initial findings confirming the name of a high priest from that era. The head of the excavation, Dr. Oren Gutfield described the discovery as having given him "trembles". He also reported that that traditional ritual baths and an ancient heating system were found at the site. (Kehila News)
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:
Zebach (zeh' bakh)
1. Sacrifice (sacrifice, sacrifices of righteousness, sacrifices of strife, the covenant sacrifice, the passover, annual sacrifice, thank offering)
Previous Month's Definition is
Hebrew word used to mean both "hello" and "good-bye"; literally, it means "peace." Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the related word shelem means to pay for, and shulam means to be fully paid.
o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
Three Things You Did Not Know About the Cross
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