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 Oded Shoshani at
King of Kings Messianic Congregation, Jerusalem!
Every so often I get together with a certain non-believing friend for coffee. During our conversation this week, as we were discussing the weekly Torah portion and the revelation of God to Abraham in Genesis 18, we ended up talking about Isaiah 6. As I read later this passage, I noticed an interesting sequence: the prophet sees the Lord, he sees the seraphim glorifying the LORD, the prophet feels a tremor around him, and becomes fearful due to his consciousness of his sin. He states explicitly that he saw the LORD. Then, only after he is purified from his sins, he suddenly hears the voice of God!
Isaiah was able to partially hear what was going on in the heavens, but God Himself was silent until Isaiah acknowledged his sin, repented, and received forgiveness for his sins.
I pray that we also will always hear what is going on in Heaven, that we will always have a clear understanding of sin and the fear of the Lord, and that we will hear the voice of our Father with a clear conscience.
PRAISE & THANKS
Our worship teams continue to expand and strengthen. We now have three full teams that faithfully rotate leading worship at services. It is a blessing to see congregants use their giftings for to serve God and His body.
The congregation also continues to grow; in fact, during this past year alone, we welcomed seven new babies into the congregation! It is such a blessing and privilege to participate in dedicating these precious infants to the Lord, that they would walk with Him all of their days. To the left is a very dear family, that recently welcomed their 6th child.
Oded's studies are going well.
Oded enjoys learning and is acquiring new tools for ministry work. Please continue to pray for physical grace for Oded, as well as his ability to withstand the additional work load.
have brought a relief from the intensely hot summer. To the right is a view from our offices during a recent beautiful rainy day in Jerusalem. "Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness..."
The leadership team has officially begun to meet. It is a great blessing to begin this journey together. We are still in need of your continued prayers for the members of the team and their families, for the Lord's protection and grace over them, and for the continued growth of each and every one of them in their callings and giftings.
The state of security in the Land continues to be tense. Despite international attempts to lower the tension, there still exists a lack of trust between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. In media we hear about part of the attempted attacks, but there are also quite a lot of incidents that are not reported.
Furthermore, the state of security has caused a large decrease in the economic activity. In the famous Jerusalem open market, Mahane Yehuda, a significant decrease has occurred in the amount of buyers. While talking with a Muslim friend, he shared how, for a complete month now, he has not gone to work and it has caused him large financial damage.
Let's pray for:
deep repentance among the nation of Israel, spiritual awakening, foiling of attempted attacks, protection over the security forces and the general public, deep repentance among those living in the Land, tearing down the power of the incitement and lies, and exposure of the driving force of Islam behind the current riots.
Blessings, Oded & Sandy.
Truth vs. the Lie !
(This recent report comes from a friend in Israel)
Dear Faithful Friend,
It was three o'clock in the afternoon and a beautiful and quiet day in Israel. Just this morning I had been thinking that there had been very few terrorist attacks since the one in Paris last week.
We were involved in a meeting and so had not checked the news as we usually do at various times during the day. The phone rang and when I saw that my son was calling, I excused myself and answered it. Evan works in South Tel Aviv and wondered if I had heard of the attack that had just occurred. A Palestinian who was employed in a nearby restaurant had just attacked some men going out of a Synagogue on the 3rd floor of the same building where Evan is located. Before the reign of horror was finished, the terrorist had stabbed two Israelis to death and seriously wounded another two. Surrounding civilians jumped on him and held him to the ground until the police arrived.
A couple of hours later near Gush Etzion in the West Bank, there was an afternoon traffic jam. Suddenly a Palestinian jumped from his car and started firing at the people in their cars. His bullets killed three and injured two more. He went back into his car and tried to speed away but instead ran into another vehicle. With his ability to escape blocked, he jumped out a second time and began to shoot at more people but fortunately the security forces stopped him with their rifles. A few minutes later, this murderer of Jews was in a Jewish ambulance being rushed to an Israeli hospital to have his life saved.
Such a day in Israel...five dead and numerous others wounded by Palestinians whose only goal is to kill innocent people. And the current horror is not a rare occurrence but has been nearly a daily event. Over the past two months, 21 Israelis have been murdered and over 170 people have been wounded. They have been shot. They have been stabbed. They have been run over while standing in crowded bus stops.
In Israel today, we are amazed and horrified not only at the daily terror against our people but also at the inability of the world to understand and condemn this situation.
The attack in Paris shocked the world. France declared war on ISIS and the world said "yes and amen". When Israel declares war on Hamas and Hezbollah, the sources of terror in this nation, the world shouts to exercise restraint. Israel is continually set apart, judged by a different standard and its response to terror attacks generally condemned.
One of the main lies that has contributed to this phenomenon is the growing world wide deception of Israel as an apartheid state.
What is the truth? Israel is the only nation in the entire Middle East that allows all people groups to share in the blessings of the nation together. It is certainly not an apartheid state.
- If you go to any Israeli hospital, you will find both its rooms and work force filled with Muslims, Jews and Christians sharing in the benefit and privilege of Israel's advanced health system.
- Come and visit any university in the nation. You will find the classes and faculty filled with Muslims, Jews and Christians.
- The public transportation is filled with all people groups sitting together.
- The Israeli Knesset has 17 Muslim members and the court system has numerous Arab judges.
- Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that allows all religions to practice their faith freely and openly. The nation is filled with mosques, churches and synagogues.
- Of all the nations in the Middle East, only Israel freely allows all people groups to buy real estate wherever they want. There are many mixed neighborhoods throughout the nation and it is illegal to prevent any people group from buying real estate.
The worst horrors and the greatest oppression of people occur in every nation of the Middle East except Israel. Christians are being forced by persecution and terrorism to flee their homes in every other Middle East nation. There are millions of Muslim refugees arriving in Europe and America in response to their fear and suffering from local radical Islamic forces. Untold numbers of Muslims are being executed by opposing Muslim forces throughout the Middle East.
Prime Minister Netanyahu summed up the situation when he commented on yesterday's attacks in Israel. "Behind these terrorist attacks stands radical Islam, which seeks to destroy us, the same radical Islam that struck in Paris and threatens all of Europe. Whoever condemned the attack in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It's the same terror. Whoever does not recognize this is a hypocrite and blind."
It's time to get it right! We are not asking for blind support but we are condemning blind condemnation. The scriptures promise that at the end of the age all the nations of the earth will embrace the lie and come to Jerusalem to destroy it. At that moment, the One who is the truth will come and save His people and destroy His enemies.
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!
Current Happenings with the BOHs !
- Pastor Jonathan Pinto de Almeida, with Congregation Shaar HaEmek (Gateway to the Jezreel Valley), is moving to Congregation Shemen Sasson (Oil of Gladness; Jerusalem) to become the Senior Pastor. Pastor Yaakov Paran will be leading Shaar HaEmek, who is BOH partner with Pastor Juan Pioquinto at La Fuente (The Fountain; Cleburne). Shemen Sasson is the BOH partner with Cleburne Bible Church. Please, be in prayer for all 4 pastors and congregations involved in these changes.
- Pastor Kody Hughes of the Heights Church is in Israel visiting with his BOH partner, Pastor Evan Thomas and Beit Asaph (House of Worship). Pray for God's blessings to fall on this meeting.
- Pray for 2 new BOH connections. Pastor Adam Mathews, at Nolan River Road Baptist Church, is building a "bridge" with Pastor Shmuel Birnbaum, at Yam Ahavato (Sea of His Love). And, Pastor Corey Cornutt, FBC Grandview, is building a "bridge" with Pastor Michael Yaron, at Tehilat Yah (Praise of God).
Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !
INCOMING TOURISM MAKES SURPRISE
JUMP IN OCTOBER
Despite a Palestinian terror wave, 290,000 tourists visited Israel in October 2015 - a 29% increase from September 2014 and a 5% inc
rease from the previous October. 2.4 million tourists visited Israel between January and October 2015.
Pray that multitudes who love Israel will continue to visit the Jewish state overcoming all fears and apprehensions regarding personal safety. Many in Israel depend upon the tourist industry - from tour guides to those who serve in hotels and shops - for their livelihood. Stand with Israel and have a life-changing experience by coming for a visit.
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:
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!
to learn more about Magen David
Previous Month's Definition
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)."
o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
Read this month's
The Star / Shield of David
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